Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1) the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2) in the public domain, with free use granted for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2006 - 2008 by the respective authors. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Site contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
Details at A Soldier's Perspective.
Update: Read this too.
A report on militia battles from a front-line milblogger. Read the whole thing - that should go without saying. (My condolences to those whose networks deny access to blogspot.)
A brief quote:
Today I read a message from AlSadr's office calling for a cease fire. I would hope so because the only people suffering from their actions are their own people.The degree of that suffering is clear from the linked post.
This will be a critical week in Iraq.
But no matter how you try to spin it, this...
Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers Sunday to lay down their arms and end six days of clashes against U.S. and Iraqi forces if the government agrees to release detainees and give amnesty to Sadr's fighters, among other demands....is not a surrender - it's a demand for the government to surrender. ("not proven guilty of crimes" is another way of saying "awaiting trial.") That demand is effective only if Sadr is negotiating from a position of power - and actually has control of his "legions".
In exchange for an end to fighting, Sadr demanded that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki release hundreds of detained Sadr followers not proven guilty of crimes. Over the past few months, Iraqi security forces have raided the homes of hundreds of Sadr followers, arresting and detaining them. Thousands more have fled. Sadr demanded that they be returned to their homes.
But while that pasty faced fat boy and his goons may have reporters everywhere in awe, American soldiers are less impressed.
Not forgotten, and I hope it brings peace to his family.
The father of a soldier listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004 said Sunday that the military had informed him that his son’s remains were found in Iraq.
The man, Keith Maupin, said at a news conference in suburban Cincinnati that an Army general told him DNA testing had identified the remains of his son, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, or Matt, as he was known.
But what kind of woman would carry a child to term, only to hand him over moments after birth? Surrogates challenge our most basic ideas about motherhood, and call into question what we've always thought of as an unbreakable bond between mother and child. It's no wonder many conservative Christians decry the practice as tampering with the miracle of life, while far-left feminists liken gestational carriers to prostitutes who degrade themselves by renting out their bodies. Some medical ethicists describe the process of arranging surrogacy as "baby brokering," while rumors circulate that self-obsessed, shallow New Yorkers have their babies by surrogate to avoid stretch marks. Much of Europe bans the practice, and 12 states, including New York, New Jersey and Michigan, refuse to recognize surrogacy contracts. But in the past five years, four states—Texas, Illinois, Utah and Florida—have passed laws legalizing surrogacy, and Minnesota is considering doing the same. More than a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and, most notably, California, specifically legalize and regulate the practice.
Military wives are attractive candidates because of their health insurance, Tricare, which is provided by three different companies—Humana, TriWest and Health Net Federal Services—and has some of the most comprehensive coverage for surrogates in the industry. Fertility agencies know this, and may offer a potential surrogate with this health plan an extra $5,000. Last year military officials asked for a provision in the 2008 defense authorization bill to cut off coverage for any medical procedures related to surrogate pregnancy. They were unsuccessful—there are no real data on how much the government spends on these cases. Tricare suggests that surrogate mothers who receive payment for their pregnancy should declare the amount they're receiving, which can then be deducted from their coverage. But since paid carriers have no incentive to say anything, most don't. "I was told by multiple people—congressional staff, doctors and even ordinary taxpayers—that they overheard conversations of women bragging about how easy it was to use Tricare coverage to finance surrogacy and delivery costs and make money on the side," says Navy Capt. Patricia Buss, who recently left the Defense Department and now holds a senior position with Health Net Federal Services.
I can't (and won't) use government resources to my personal financial gain. i.e. - I can't sit at my work computer and monitor e-trade or build an e-bay empire. Folks who live in on-base quarters are limited in their "work from home" opportunities for similar reasons. Obviously the surrogate issue poses some thorny problems for the DoD.
But in case you're wondering why Newsweek is trying to generate controversy at this point in time, my guess is it's part of the hype campaign for an upcoming Tina Fey comedy:
But even as surrogacy is becoming less of a "Jerry Springer" spectacle and more of a viable family option for those who can afford it, the culture still stereotypes surrogates as either hicks or opportunists whose ethics could use some fine-tuning. Even pop culture has bought into the caricature. In the upcoming feature film "Baby Mama," a single businesswoman (Tina Fey) is told by a doctor she is infertile. She hires a working-class gal (Amy Poehler) to be her surrogate. The client is a savvy, smart and well-to-do health-store-chain exec while Poehler is an unemployed, deceitful wild child who wants easy money.All done!
When Fey's character refers to her surrogate as "white trash," we're supposed to laugh. "I just don't understand how they can think that," says surrogate Gina Scanlon of the stereotypes that influenced the film.
The Easter Offensive of 1972.
The B-2 bomber.
Barely connected together here.
I'm just trying to get my head around this -
What many(not myself) would consider to be the weakest Army in the Middle East is challenging, holding and even making modest progress against what many would consider the most powerful Iranian Proxy Army in the World.
Do I have this framed right...the so called "Incompetent Iraqi Army" has gone toe to toe against the most powerful militia in the world and is doing modestly better than "just holding on"?
...a surprisingly reasonable analysis of the fighting in southern Iraq - in the New York Times.
Update: And here's some analysis from the BBC. To boil it down: The Iraqis are bogged down (presumably the militias are much stronger than - or at least a match for - the Iraqi forces) and British soldiers are watching from the safety of their enclaves.
Few have noticed that this round of fighting - the heaviest occurring in Basra and reportedly with flare ups primarily in the Iraqi-controlled southern provinces - is a fair approximation of what both Democratic Presidential candidates (and most everyone else in America from the President on down) desire for a future US military role in Iraq - providing a support function to Iraqi combat troops. Within the next week we'll have some idea of how close to reality that goal is.
Mike Yon phones home - and you can get an advance copy of his book.
...because soldiers aren't capable of living in the cold cruel world outside the hellish military cocoon.
At least that's what the LA Times wants you to believe. Vets Face Grim Job Prospects - and if you think I'm exaggerating above, here are a few key quotes from the first few paragraphs explaining why.
One, the economy is awful:
sagging economy... struggling domestic job market limits their options even more... almost in tears because the outlook was so bad... want so badly to go to work, and there's no question that organizations want to hire them. It's just bad timing that the economy is so awful... forecast for young veterans seems grim.And two, even though the economy has tanked, no one wants to hire untrained, ignorant psychotic cripples whose only experience is with tanks:
...weren't prepared for the rigorous application process... ...duty didn't prepare them for the kind of work they hoped it would... Some return to civilian life with physical injuries and psychological damage... skills they gained in the military don't carry over to the current job market... Their only options are unstable, entry-level positions... the military misleads young recruits into believing that a stint in the armed forces turns them into attractive job candidates... transitional assistance program run by the Department of Defense is insufficient... when veterans get intimidated by the lack of job opportunities, many give up on finding civilian work and reenlist.And by all means, if you think the repetitive mantra I've culled from the first half of the story is balanced in any way, read it for yourself - it's not.
If you can make it to the bottom paragraphs you'll find (without a hint of irony) that the reporter gathered this information at a job fair held specifically to recruit veterans:
Thursday's free event was the 23rd of more than 100 fairs scheduled around the country this year by Cincinnati-based RecruitMilitaryI'm not clear if the reporter believes being forced to earn a living as a cop is worse than military life or if it's equally bad - I guess that's left to the reader to decide. Likewise, we are left to determine for ourselves whether the municipalities, universities, or insurance companies actually hired any of the ignorant, untrained slugs who shuffled up to their fancy-schmancy tables that day.
Among those recruiting Thursday were the city of Los Angeles, Regent University in Virginia, US Airways and MetLife Inc. But far more visible were the rows of representatives from police departments and home-security firms.
"We're always impressed with the veterans," said Pedro Cariaga, a recruiter with Bally Total Fitness Corp. who said he had hired several former service members as personal trainers and fitness coaches. He was also hiring for sales positions.
We are only told of the experiences of two of the young candidates:
Discouraged by an unsuccessful job search, with no gas money to go to interviews or college, Fabian Serrano, 27, of Riverside County, said he was tempted to rejoin the Marines.So damn those major cartoon design firms for not supporting the troops.
He doubts he will ever find his ideal job as a cartoon designer, or any other worthwhile post. And with a wife, parents and younger brother to support, Serrano said he can't take a minimum-wage position and hope for a promotion later.
Another member of Serrano's unit, Oscar Flores, 29, of Los Angeles, said he worked as a Sprint Nextel Corp. representative to tide him over temporarily. He has been scouring the Internet and newspapers for better jobs.Imagine the humiliation of attending your 10-year High School reunion and explaining you're in a "stepping stone" job while your former classmates are all CEOs, full partners in law firms, and MDs in lucrative private practice - or, in the apparent case of the author of this unbalanced piece of crap, a reporter who hasn't even graduated High School yet -but still has a job with the LA Times. (By the way, no word on whether they had a booth at the fair either.)
The former corporal, who lacks a college degree and spent eight years as a mechanic and a firearms instructor, knows his prospects aren't exactly exciting.
"I'm pretty confident I'll be able to find another job, it just won't be the one I want," he said. "I'll just have to settle for another steppingstone."
But what do I know? I'm an ignorant psycho cripple too - maybe only a special class of veteran can get a decent wage these days...
The film Bad Voodoo's War airs on April 1st. Deborah Scranton and my Platoon Sergeant SFC Toby Nunn, have done an outstanding job telling the story of the Bad Voodoo soldiers. I know for a fact, my family, friends, and several of my readers are excited to see what I finally do over here.
It's always tough to explain my job. Even after my last deployment to Afghanistan from 2004-2005, I had some short video clips, photos, and my blog to help illustrate my job as an Infantryman. But man, having this film is way neater.
As a military blogger, I don't share alot of what I experience as an Infantryman. I never have. Not because of the so-called new restrictions on blogging or because of lack of support from my chain of command, on the contrary, the DoD guidelines on blogging have never prevented me from writing online, and I've always had great support from my leadership. No, I choose not to write about things I do, because my family and friends read my blog, and I'm sensitive to their feelings. Therefore I choose write about simple things, like Care Packages and other day-to-day experiences.
Now, with this film, my family and friends will know alot more about me. More than I've ever shared.
Hollywood keeps churning out anti-war movies and (when they flop) pretending that the public doesn't want Iraq themed films.
Too bad that Bruce Willis deuce-four film never got started....
A story from the FBI...
A LIFE-AND-DEATH STORY That Really Hit HomeRead the rest here.
On Friday, dozens of FBI agents and support professionals at our Headquarters in Washington lined up to give blood to the brave men and women of our nation’s military—the first time that the U.S. Armed Services Blood Program has ever held a blood drive outside of a military facility.
How that happened is quite a story.
It began with an urgent phone call last August. A contractor at FBI Headquarters named Matt Dick was contacted by the founder of a non-profit group called “Soldiers’ Angels” that supports soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A group of Army rangers, she explained, had been on patrol in the mountains of Afghanistan, gathering information and verifying intelligence about insurgent activities in the area. Suddenly, they were surrounded and attacked by a much larger force. In the fierce, seven-hour firefight that followed, two members of the unit were killed, including the commanding officer, and another seven wounded.
Now, she said, one of the young lieutenants from the unit was bringing the commanding officer’s body back to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery just outside the nation’s capital. But since they’d just been called up, the lieutenant and three of his wounded comrades had no dress uniforms for the funeral and little money to buy them with.
The founder of Soldiers’ Angels, who was calling from California, needed someone in the Washington area to buy the uniforms for the soldiers once she wired the money. “Can you help?” she asked Matt, whom she knew and had worked with before.
However, that would not address emissions from burning the fuel, said Robert Williams, a senior research scientist at Princeton University. To do more than simply break even, the industry must reduce the amount of coal used in the synthetic-fuel blend and supplement it with a fuel derived from
Something that will make Farm State Senators Happyplants, Williams said.
In a recent letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Rep. Waxman wrote that a promise to control greenhouse gas emissions from synthetic fuels was not enough. Waxman and the committee's ranking Republican, Virginia's Tom Davis, cited a provision in the energy bill approved by Congress last year that bars federal agencies from entering contracts for synthetic fuels unless they emit
More Pork for More Senatorsthe same or fewer greenhouse gases as petroleum.
Forget about Britney Spears - today's USAF news is dedicated to Hanna Montana:
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. (AP) - On a wind-swept air base near the Missouri River, the Air Force has launched an ambitious plan to wean itself from foreign oil by turning to a new and unlikely source: coal.In other news from Montana:
"We're going to be burning fossil fuels for a long time, and there's three times as much coal in the ground as there are oil reserves," said Air Force Assistant Secretary William Anderson. "Guess what? We're going to burn coal."
Anderson said the Air Force plans to fuel half its North American fleet with a synthetic-fuel blend by 2016. To do so, it would need 400 million gallons of coal-based fuel annually.
America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.Thern again, there's always nuculer power...
In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a new report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana.
(It might be a while before I get tired of using this picture...)
Hawk wrote: "Does anyone know if we're banned on Air Force computers?"
The United States Air Force: Nothing comes close...
...to their public relations f*ckups.
Over on the naval side of the milblogosphere there are some sharp characters on strategy. At the same time there have been a few documents coming out with critiques of what the Navy's put out; the Armed Forces Journal cover story, an OSD think tank, and the House Armed Services Committee.
Here's the state of play if you like digging into this stuff. By this time next week you'll see a burst of posts and so forth about it, some of which might be of some consequence.
USS Russell's XO, the ol' Yankee Sailor, is reporting on deployment on his blog.
Or at least the ensign and the ET3 are writing a darn good blog and they let the XO share the credit...
For some Reason I keep hearing that Brittney Spears song as I read this story:
The U.S. Air Force mistakenly shipped fuses that are used in nuclear weapons to Taiwan in 2006, believing the crates contained helicopter batteries, officials at the Pentagon announced this morning.Yup, no one comes close.
The error -- undetected by the United States until last week, despite repeated inquiries by Taiwan -- raises questions about how carefully the Pentagon safeguards its weapons systems.
Among other things, officials will try to determine why no one noticed that the four boxes of components were missing, even though Pentagon policy requires inventory reconciliation every three months. The probe will also focus on whether any other material has been wrongly shipped or cannot be located. An initial evaluation suggests the devices were not tampered with while they were in Taiwan, officials said.
Henry, who called the error "disconcerting," said the government of Taiwan acted "very responsibly," quickly notifying the United States that the four boxes it received in fall 2006 did not appear to contain what had been ordered.
Wynne described the devices as "the electrical firing mechanism that allows" an intercontinental ballistic missile "to detonate -- just like the fuse on a stick of dynamite."
And since I know I'm already bad bad person for using that graphic twice in four days I'm going to refrain from adding a smart ass Chinese ranguage joke to the end of the following clip:
"It wasn't until this week that we became aware that they had something akin to a nose-cone assembly," Ryan said. "There were early communications, but we thought we were hearing one thing, and in reality they were saying something different."By the way, does anyone know if we're blocked on USAF computers yet?
Update (Since I can't bring myself to do yet another USAF-related post here): Speaking of Air Force, here's a retired Air Force guy speaking:
I never made a plan that relied on the courage of my own troops. You hope that -- and they generally will -- fight bravely. Your plan ought to be predicated on more realistic assumptions.Somehow I think it's all related...
Keep up with the latest goings on here at MilBlogs - a nice addition to fine sidebars everywhere, I think.
via Weekly Standard
John Hinderaker at Power Line writes, "…our principal news media outlets have fabricated an alternative reality around the Iraq war by simply misreporting the facts." That’s true, especially with regards to Saddam’s terror ties. And, as Power Line has noted on a number of occasions, the media has gotten a lot of help from partisan members of the U.S. Intelligence Community (both current and former).
Having done more than my fair share of time Surfing the Shortwave Radio in the Middle East in 1980 I'll way in.
There was something called "The Non Aligned Movement" that fit in nicely to the needs of various governments in the Region. It was more than common to hear someone blathering on endlessly about the "Soviet-American Capitalist Imperialist Pigs".
People like Saddam had visions of being the leader of a Pan-Arab Nation. That whole idea never went anywhere...because the very thought of leaving someone like Saddam in charge push most Arab countries to seek the protection of either the Soviets or Americans.
A Pan-Arab nation could never take place until both the American and Soviet Capitalist Imperialist Pigs could be driven out. So the fundamental needs of the non-aligned movement and the Pan-Arab nationalists was the same. Both the Soviets and Americans would need to be driven from the region.
The briliance of BinLaden and Zawahiri was to wrap the whole thing up in religion. The maps of the Islamic Caliphate, Non-Aligned Movement and Pan-Arab Nationalists are all almost identical. Of course, the leaders of all three groups have enough hubris to believe they would be the ultimate leaders.
So the question in my mind isn't whether the various interests of the three groups intersected...they did...and as a bit of a cynic...I tend to believe that if one assumes someone will act in their own selfish interest...than one will be correct the vast majority of time.
It was in the interest of the Pan-Arab nationalists, non-aligned movement and Islamic Jihadists that the US and Soviet Union be driven from Arab lands.
That lead me to believe that logically they conspired to make it happen....either thru acts of commision(Active Support) or omission.(failing to notice 5K jihadists training in your desert )...absent a body of evidence to the contrary.
Just a couple of more thoughts(updated)....
It was in the interest of the United States that the Soviet Union not control the Middle East...and it was in the interest of the Soviet Union that it did control the Middle East.
Can I say "Perfect Storm"...or as I refer to it "The Middle East Security Situation"...The M.E.S.S.
Every US President since Roosevelt has had a hand in creating The MESS...as well as every Soviet Premier since Stalin(Stalin and Churchill jointly overthrew the existing Iranian Government in the early 40's).
Various idealogues of various political persuasions will want to point a lot of fingers...the cold hard truth is that the various idealogues of various persuasions created The MESS...Democrats..Republicans..Socialists..Communists et al ..so there is no point in pointing fingers. We should focus on how to transform The MESS into something the world can live with.All done!
H.P. Lovecraft's got nothin' on me...
Well, perhaps being a better writer is one thing he might have.
"[W]e have lost control of the seas to a nation without a Navy, using pre-World War I weapons, laid by vessels that were utilized at the time of the birth of Christ."
A frustrated admiral said it.
In working on a solution, one idea looked like this:
We're still working on it, as noted here.
...is the key to airpower.
This story is from a couple weeks ago, but I just saw the quote in the final paragraph for the first time:
Air Force Blocks Access to BlogsSome might argue that if flexibility is defined as "the distance one can ram one head up one's own ass" the US can be assured of maintaining global air superiority for years to come.
Nearly three years after the Army took notice of Soldier blogs and began insisting the writers register with their chain of command, the Air Force is going in a different direction altogether: restricting which blogs its airmen may read.
But while the Army -- which now has regs requiring security reviews of blogs before publishing -- acted to keep sensitive information from getting out, the Air Force’s move appears driven by a desire to choose which news sources are legitimate.
As a result the Air Force Network Operations Center at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. - the so-called "Cyber Command" - has slapped a ban on all sites with "blog" in their URLs, the magazine Wired is reporting.
The magazine quotes a command official as saying Airmen may still access information sources outside official Air Force outlets, but only "primary, official-use sources."
"Basically," said Maj. Henry Schott of the command’s plans and requirements section, "if it’s a place like The New York Times, an established, reputable media outlet, then it’s fairly cut and dry that that’s a good source, an authorized source."
Stand by for possible vet on vet action:
Tom Reynolds, Republican congressman from New York, announced Thursday he won’t be running for reelection (join the club!). He was facing an Iraq war vet, Jonathan Powers, supported by the antiwar Left (Moveon, VoteVets.org).I see "may" and "considering" as key words in the above.
Powers may have a real fight in front of him – and Congressional District 26 may soon become one of the most watched races of the year. NRO learns that retired Army staff sergeant David Bellavia “is strongly considering a run for the Reynolds’ vacated congressional seat.”
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, but you might not have seen much about it on TV recently. Just 3% of the news in February was dedicated to the war and fewer than one in three Americans know how many American troops have died in Iraq. Believe it or not, a study just released by the Pew Research Center shows that press coverage of the war is at the lowest point since the war began.I did.
Please take a minute now to sign an open letter to the media and demand that major networks increase their coverage of the Iraq war.
I'll bet the networks respond quickly, and I'll bet they lead off with these stories.
No doubt after that 60 Minutes will do in depth coverage of the awe-inspiring story of the Mike Stokely Foundation's Project Yusufiyah. After all, the story of a father of a soldier killed in Iraq raising donations to send supplies to schools in the village where he fell is network GOLD, right?
Noah Shachtman: "I think the golden age of soldier blogs, you know, soldier-on-the-front-line-blogs, is over, unfortunately."
Oops; darn facts keep getting in the way again.
According to Army statistics ... 70 percent of soldiers eligible to re-enlist in 2006 did so — a re-enlistment rate higher than before Sept. 11, 2001. For the past 10 years, the enlisted retention rates of the Army have exceeded 100 percent. As of last Nov. 13, Army re-enlistment was 137 percent of its stated goal.Good discussion of what is behind the numbers, and a "my bust," by retired MG Scales here.
via E-mail from MNSTC-I
A graduation ceremony will be held for the 4th Brigade of the 5th Division of the Iraqi Army at Besmaya Range Complex. A force generation unit formed through the "Unit Set Fielding" program which is used to build capacity for the Ministry of Defense.
The graduating 4/5 Brigade is the first brigade to be fully equipped with equipment (M16s, M4s, tactical and non-tactical vehicles and more)purchase through Foreign Military Sales. Once they graduate, this brigade will be moving out directly to their battlespace in Diyala.
Few will recognize the importance of this accomplishment.
The Old saying...One goes to war with the Army you have..one wins a war with the Army you need holds true.
21st Century Conflict will be dominated by nation building. A role the US Military has been quite vocal it did not want for some time.
Nation building involves creating stable, profressional institutions of Governance...Army, Police, Health Services etc.
Most of the world security forces spent the last 20 years or so downsizing...as a result..when the need to build an entire nations security forces from scratch arose the expertise, beaurucratic procedures , staff and infrastructure pretty much didn't exist.
It's taken 5 long years...but we now have a 'cookie cutter' Security Force production line at a place called Besmaya Range that can churn out a fully equipped brigade a month.
Things are a bit dicey in Diyala and Ninewa you say? Not to worry..we'll just churn out a few more Iraqi Army Brigades.
Moqtada AlSadr might end his cease fire you say? Not to worry..we'll just churn out a few more Iraqi Army Brigades.
Iraqs neighbors should take note...Iraq's Army will continue growing until the violence stops...it is usually preferable to have neighbors with smaller Armies than your own
Admiral Spruance carried one around with him.
Don't know why.
But they are part of the tool kit of sailors at sea and getting the wrong answer or not being able to get the answer can be deadly.
As set out here.
First we have to define what is news.
In 1976...a year without war in Iraq the muder rate was 12/100,000 population population
Corrected for current population the expected murder rate in Iraq would be 3060 murders per year in Iraq...or 8.3 per day.
If we take the 1980 US Homicde Rate of 10.2 per 100,000 population 10.2 per 100,000 population (admitted not a good year) and adjust for Iraqi population we end up with 2,600 murders per year or 7.1 murders per day.
From my own spreadsheets...excluding exposive related deaths and badly decomposed bodies..the average "Muder Rate" in Iraq has been at EIGHT/DAY since December 2007.
The expected number of murders occurring in a relatively peaceful society is NOT news.
Explosive related deaths make up about 2/3rds of Iraqi Casualties...this is news...there has been an average of one suicide bombing a day since December 2007 The vast majority don't make news because they are single digit suicde bombings. While appropriate for local news...the threshold for international news is at leat a double digit death toll.
Personally, I would be ashamed of myself if I decided I wanted to blow myself up and take a lot of people with me if I only killed 2 or 3 others. How hard can it be to leave the gas valve on, invite a few folks over and light up a smoke?
There is no news...because everyone with a brain already knows...the war has ended...its just a matter of the DUMBASSES who can't manage to take more than 2 or 3 people with them when they blow themselves up realiizng it.
...what Cindy Sheehan thinks of Barack Obama, wonder no more.
US military casualties in Iraq, from the Brookings Institute's Iraq Index:
Civilian casualties in Iraq, from the Brookings Institute's Iraq Index:
Reporting on violence in Iraq, from Reuters:
Attacks across Iraq have fallen by 60 percent since last June, when extra troops were fully deployed. There has been a fall in violence since January but U.S. commanders in Iraq say this does not represent a trend.More here.
A good article in the National Journal by Sidney Freedberg, Jr. this week:
Since 1991, the United States has been the world's sole superpower. Now, 17 years later, the armed forces that underwrite that status have begun to fray. Nowhere are the limits of the U.S. military more evident than on the ground in Iraq, and so Congress and the media have focused their attention on the stretched ground forces of the Army and Marine Corps. U.S. control of the seas and skies is something that the public and policy makers tend to assume, as they have since the fall of the Soviet Union. But on the sea and in the air, America has coasted for two decades on investments made in the 1980s. Now, after a generation of heavy use around the globe, from Somalia and the Balkans in the 1990s to Afghanistan and Iraq today, hardware bought during the Reagan buildup is simply wearing out.
Air Force and Navy gear is aging, while the ground forces expenditure of assets in combat conditions drives its own recapitalization requirements - requirements that are unlikely to be resourced in the next administration no matter who wins the White House, or what majorities prevail in Congress. Which leads me to this conclusion:
Here are two statements which are simultaneously true: 1) We are not spending nearly enough money on defense accounts, 2) We are spending an awful lot of money on defense, nearly half of the world’s total. The real question we should be asking ourselves (as always) is not so much, “how much do we spend?” but, “what is it we expect to accomplish?” Answer the second question and you have answered the first, less whatever “risk” you decide to take on.
Because if our answer is that we cannot afford the force we have, then what we are really saying is that we cannot afford the mission set we have signed up for and it’s time to either 1) swallow our pride (and decimate our industrial base) by buying cheaper kit abroad, or 2) pull back from the away game and see what rushes in to fill the space we leave behind.
The alternative of course is a "hollow force," and those of us that have been around for a while have so seen that show before.
Kenneth J. Theisen is an organizer with the “World Can't Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime!”, he explains why he doesn't support the troops -- [Berkeley Daily Planet]
The "support-the-troops-but-oppose-what-they're-doing" position just doesn't cut it, since supporting one requires support of the other. But it doesn't stop them saying they support the troops, while in the same breath, scream the troops are murderous rapists who terrorize women and children.
At least these guys are finally admitting they don't support the troops, while calling our men and women of the Armed Forces, war criminals.
IVAW are streaming the conference.
9:00AM – 10:45AM Rules of Engagement: Part One 11:00AM – 12:30PM The Crisis in Veterans’ Heathcare 2:00PM - 3:30PM Corporate Pillaging and Military Contractors 4:00PM - 6:00PM Rules of Engagement: Part Two 7:00PM - 8:30PM Aims of the Global War on Terror: the Political, Legal, and Economic Context of Iraq and Afghanistan
Good times already here! We started the day with a Rodney King reenactment. Well, not really.
So I walk up, and all the Viet Nam vets smile and welcome me as I show my military ID. Walk further up, all smiles, fluffy bunnies, unicorns frollicking etc. Get to the last gate and they ask me "Your name?" Lots of teeth, all smiles.
"TSO, you guys heart me." (Or something to that effect.)
"Who are you with?"
"Vets for Freedom." Me smiling, until I notice that the situation has changed. A lot. A real lot.
...I'm escorted everywhere I go. Some people sneer...John Lilyea is here with me. We are sitting in the back, with our security guards
One of the panelists (TSO knows his name- I’ll insert it later) claimed that he couldn’t get treatment because Walter Reed only treats combat casualties. That’s complete horseshit - I had my gall bladder removed there just a few years ago - I had a private recovery room. They treated me for pneumonia just a few weeks with the usual long wait - but the guy claimed he was on active duty and they wouldn’t treat his injury (shoulder injury playing football in his stateside unit) because it wasn’t combat related. Please
Recently discovered US Army documents profoundly undermines the VVAW’s original atrocity claims.
Of 76 Army witnesses who appeared at the group’s 1971 “Winter Soldier” conference, summary reports of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigations are available for 48. Three witnesses were not identified. The rest failed to allege criminal acts and were apparently not interviewed.
HotAir correspondent Jason Mattera confronts John Kerry about his Winter Soldier testimony
IVAW offers to cover funding for veterans to fly to Colorado for the new "Winter Soldier" hearings. Not chump change, really. There's money floating around here somewhere.
Let's play Connect The Dots.
The Code Pinkos and anarchists of the world are protesting and picketing the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Berkeley... Maybe that had the exact opposite effect?? Perhaps drew attention to the fine work the USMC does?? Look at that number, Medea!
The Code Pinkos and anarchists of the world are protesting and picketing the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Berkeley... Maybe that had the exact opposite effect?? Perhaps drew attention to the fine work the USMC does?? Look at that number, Medea!
OORAH, HOOAH, BRAVO ZULU and WHOOHOO to those fine young men and women who joined!!
DoD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for February 2008
The Department of Defense announced today its recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for the month of February.
· Active Duty Recruiting.
· February Monthly. All services met or exceeded recruiting goals for the month of February (below) and to date have surpassed goals for FY 2008.
· Reserve Forces Recruiting.
· February Monthly. All six reserve components have met or exceeded their accession goals through February 2008.
Army National Guard
Marine Corps Reserve
Air National Guard
Air Force Reserve
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
With the resignation of Adm Fallon various groups have themselves all in a twitter over an 'imminent war with Iran"
The Combat Studies Institute has a rather lengthy study(211 page pdf) done in late 2006 called Troop Density in Contingency Operations
A notable conclusion...the Post Invasion Phase of OIF optimally should have had 47 Brigade Equivalents based on a population of 25.5 million.
I'd just point out the Iran has a population of 70 million and the US Army has 43 Active Brigades. A ground war with Iran does not compute.
Office of the Press SecretaryStory here.
For Immediate Release March 11, 2008
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Admiral William Fallon has served our Nation with great distinction for forty years. He is an outstanding sailor -- and he made history as the first Naval officer to serve as Commander of Central Command.
From the Horn of Africa, to the streets of Baghdad, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen of Central Command are vital to the global war on terror. During his tenure at Centcom, Admiral Fallon’s job has been to help ensure that America’s military forces are ready to meet the threats of an often troubled region of the world, and he deserves considerable credit for progress that has been made there, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With service in Vietnam and as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Commander of Pacific Command, and many other positions, Admiral Fallon has served this country with honor, determination, and commitment. I thank his wife, Mary, who knows that military service involves the whole family, and I wish them all the best as they begin the next chapter in their lives.
Tom Ricks quotes Admiral Fallon's own review of the article in question at the Washington Post:
Asked about the article yesterday, Fallon called it "poison pen stuff" that is "really disrespectful and ugly." He did not cite specific objections.
Mike Stokely Foundation Inc.'s Project Yusufiyah is now in full swing with shipment of nearly 1,000 pounds of supplies sent parcel post to Capt. Starz of 101st AB DV on Thursday 6 March, and I anticipate arrival in 14 - 20 days.
Here is what was sent - 35 boxes, weighing from 20 lbs to 58 lbs:
Boxes 1 - 15 of 35 - contains 13 2.5 gallon zip lock bags for school children each bag containing a three tab folder with unlined paper, with additional loose paper for future insert, 1 dozen pencils, two Bic ink pens, colored pencils (or markers), hand held twist type pencil sharpener, small bag of hard candy.
Box 16 of 35 - contains 11 more bags as listed above.
Boxes 17 - 26 - these ten boxes are for teachers and contain chalk, dozen pens, four or more dozen pencils, a full ream of three hole punch paper and a full ream of white paper, two hand held pencil shapeners, some colored markers, quart size bag of hard candy, toilet/facial tissue, several three tab folders, and topped off by a stack of loose three hole punch plain paper and a stack of plain white paper.
Box 27 of 35 - This is a box for the Tribal / Civilian leaders - it has a dozen pens some pencils and several reams of paper.
Boxes 28 - 35 - these 8 boxes, divided as four boxes three hole punch plain paper and four boxes of plain white paper to re-supply the teachers and students.
74,000 sheets of paper,
225 three tab folders,
244 dozen pencils,
100 dozen pens,
225 pencil sharpeners,
251 dozen colored pencils (or markers),
100 boxes of chalk, and facial tissue.
$822.00 to ship the supplies, but that is pretty good considering the weight and distance.
Hopefully, these basic supplies will help the children and teachers of Yusufiyah where Mike served, and nearby Muhlafayed where he died from a roadside bomb. We are planning a follow-up shipment once we get a clearer assessment of remaining needs.
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 Aug 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq
E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG
I'd like to add that Robert Stokley is a precious gem. To my joy, I met up with him again recently at the Soldier's Angel's Conference, a soft spoken man (with a georgian twang) who honors his son and all of our fallen sons. And what better way to honor them, than to insure that the freedom they fought and died for, can be invisioned by the iraqis thru education.
If you'd like to help Robert with this project you can contact him thru here.
Thank you Robert for your sacrifice.
DUTY HONOR COUNTRY
You have an officer who has a distinguished, but otherwise standard issue career path through Flag Rank. He gets promoted to Vice Admiral, 3-stars - but soon after his promotion is fired in disgrace due to the "command climate" he created with those he works with and those who work for him.
Due to the short time as a VADM, he has to retire as a Rear Admiral, 2-stars. After his military service though, he runs around claiming to be a 3-star. When challenged, he bluffs or waives his child's medical record in the questioner's face - or goes old-school Shoe on them. Generally, he throws a hissy-fit because reality will not allow him to be the rank he wants to be.
That doesn't stop him. He still lets everyone - and has his "people" make sure others who want to talk to him - refer to him as a retired 3-star.
Who is this 2-star prancing around in 3-star shoulder-boards? Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA). Fired by the then CNO and now CJCS Admiral Mullen. If you think this is wrong - more here with all the pictures and documentation you need to get your blood pressure up.
...at Mudville. (And thanks to Mike Yon for permission to use his photographs!)
Navy had 'em.
Army had 'em.
Marines had 'em.
Even Merchant Marines had 'em.
More about 'em.
Is it a Rhino or an EM-50? See what I mean here.
BTW - In the "it's a small milblogging world", I ran into acclaimed milblogger Badgers 6 and discovered we are in the same AO.
HT Mrs G.
It wasn't worth it...we accomplished nothing(If we accomplished anything it was radicalizing a population). As much as I may or may not like GWB...at least the United States of America has been above board on his watch. Gonna torture folks...fine with me...what are the rules? Gonna overthrow a genocidal dictator...fine with me...lets just say we are doing it. If there ever was anything I absolutely HATED about Carter and his LAPDOG Brezinski was their propensity to take actions that resulted in millions of dead....and claim complete ignorance.
The American Leader with the most blood on his hands...IMHO was James Earl Carter...most folks consider him the "Peace President".
Genocidal Pacifists....Madeline Albrights pals.
Shawn Sage, a foster child, who appeared before judge Mackel to ask (beg) for permission to sign with the Marines for an early enlistment was denied. Children's Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel reportedly told , Shawn and a recruiter that she didn't approve of the Iraq war, didn't trust recruiters and didn't support the military.
“The judge said she didn’t support the Iraq war for any reason why we’re over there,” said Marine recruiter Sgt. Guillermo Medrano of the Simi Valley USMC recruiting office.
“She just said all recruiters were the same - that they `all tap dance and tell me what I want to hear.’ She said she didn’t want him to fight in it.”
His foster parents, as well as his social worker, supported his decision to enlist early but since he is a foster child, I suppose his LEGAL GUARDIANS have to provide (or withhold) consent. In this case, that appears to be the court.
So much for a judge administering justice impartially.
And she’s done this before, Stop the ACLU has more.
Our local paper ran a piece in today's paper that led with 5 crudely scrawled hash marks and the title "5 Years in Iraq: Photographs recall unforgettable moments of a long war." (I don't know if that was the title it was distributed with or if a local editor's touch) by Jerry Schwartz with the Associated Press tag. Schwartz starts out with this query: "When you close your eyes and think of Iraq, what do you see in your mind's eye?
The whole thing (with images) at Some Soldier's Mom. And I ask, when you close your eyes and think of Iraq, what do you see in your mind's eye?
If ignorance is bliss, nothing could make Americans happier than this story from ABC News.com:
What, then, provoked one U.S. Marine to let himself be videotaped apparently flinging a yelping puppy over a cliff, bursting into laughter at the sound of the animal's body hitting the ground below?On the other hand, he might just be an asshole.
The motivation for such an act, if it did indeed occur, may be as complex and deep as the U.S. war that has dragged on for more than four years, experts told ABCNEWS.com. Chief among them: Having to live with the constant fear of being injured or killed might have led this Marine to take his aggression out on a defenseless animal, several psychologists said.
Only took 5 years, better late than never I suppose. Now we don't have to rely solely on Iraqi interpreters, risking their lives and eliminating the worries of trust.
(I'll add this came out in Oct 07' but still)
In New York
New York City police officers and firefighters cordoned off much of Times Square for more than two hours after a small explosion — apparently set off by a manmade device — damaged the front of the Armed Forces Recruiting Center on the traffic island bounded by 43rd and 44th Streets, Seventh Avenue and Broadway around 4 a.m., officials said. No one was injured, and after a temporary interruption, subway service was restored.Elsewhere (last month) in Gotham:
About 20 antiwar activists gathered outside an Army recruiting office in East Harlem this afternoon to protest what they described as the military focus on persuading young blacks and Latinos to fight in Iraq.Update: More details emerge.
Yes, it is election season, and voting is in order. Teleflora is running a Mother's Day contest.
If your Mom is among the 15 semi-finalists vying for the title of America's Favorite Mom, she will be featured on NBC's Today show during the five days leading up to Mother's Day, May 11.
This will give the TV audience the chance to meet a wide range of wonderful Moms, including the Working Mom, the Single Mom, the Military Mom, the Non-Mom and the COE (Chairman Of Everything) Mom. Each day, viewers will cast their votes online.
One woman we've all come to know and love has truly become a mom to an entire military community.
Tired of Pup-o-gate? Tired of primary babble? Tired of a lack of real news from Iraq about real issues? Well, from the NYT to the WSJ to Gen. Petraeus at MNF-I; enjoy the sounds of the coming Spring and have joy in your heart.
...to John McCain.
I was a reluctant (at best) supporter of "the surge" last year, but having lived it it's impossible to deny it worked.
But I don't think that accounts for McCain's success - nor do I think any of the pundits have acknowledged his real strength within his party. The political center has shifted in recent years, and quite obviously, with actual liberals (not to be confused with those Rush Limbaugh calls "libruls") changing sides almost daily throughout the early part of the decade. This is to the consternation of the more conservative edge of the Republican Party - without recognizing they are now in a "big tent" they haven't hesitated to express their dismay...
Meanwhile there's an extremely narrow range of positions on the issues available to any viable national candidate from the other side of the aisle - as some have noticed, there's really no one anywhere to the left of the Democratic frontrunners. While that won't be acknowledged publicly any time soon, this seems to suit the remaining Democrats just fine. (Though now I wonder if Republicans in the remaining primaries will help them pick a winner? )
I'm going to take this postion.
An Abu Graib has happened in every prison on the face of the planet. To be locked in a cage de-humanized both the individual locked in the cage...as well as the person doing the locking.
We live in a society where relatively young people(as well as old) make poor decisions...as does everyone else in the world.
The military..as much as I respect the people who serve...is an authoritarian regime with a centrally planned economy.
I find it unbelievably hypocritical that the same people that criticize the military...support authoritarian regimes with centrally planned economies.
The world is filled with ignorant people who will critcize something while advocating the same thing under a different name.
UPDATES: just to show you can't lump the actions of a couple of idiotic marines with the rest.
There's this story
And this story of Mama and Boris (USA Today Story (video below)
This one goes way back
Here are a few other videos from Iraq:
Soldiers Find Puppies in Iraq
Puppies in Iraq
Does that matter? The damage is done.
As Laughing Wolf put it:
They have given domestic enemies ammunition to use against the military and in support of the enemy.
During my Dawn Patrol rounds, I ran across this disturbing video within hours of it being uploaded. I immediately emailed BlackFive, to assist in making sure the Marines were aware of it and an investigation underway. The Marines were already on it.
I'm not going to speculate whether it's real or fake, whether the dog was dead or alive, making the video either way is damaging enough. If this guy is guilty it will be the Marines that will happily hang him.
My immediate fear is the retaliation against this marines family. His personal info has been spread all over the net and it's not where he's currently living but I believe of his parents house, not sure. Either way someone got a big WTF is happening moment when the press arrived at their door. I'm not quick to condemn this Marine's family for something stupid he allegedly did.
The Media is acting just as I suspected it would, no surprise there, revealing a name before he's been positively identified, placing this story with a video embedded of the fugitive Marine from NC that killed a female comrade, and I hear they're also interviewing dog owners for their opinion.
Well I'm a dog owner, and although our troops receive yet another blackeye, my thoughts on this align with my fellow mil-spouse, also dog owner, Cassandra, who put's it elequently
however wrong/bad, horrifying and inhumane it may seem, is never going to amount to an act significant enough to encompass the entire war on terror.
So with that thought, I'm going to do what I do best and show what our troops do on a daily basis with very little recognition from the mainstream press.
Starting with BlackFive 's Someone You Should Know
A few stories out of many from MNF-I
Knee Deep in the Hooah! who currently is in Iraq has this to share - Operation School Supply
we worked hard to get 600+ pounds of donated school supplies to the children in the Diyala Province. The donation was the result of Mike’s request and an email I sent to a friend at the Mead Corporation. Mead donated 600 pounds of school supplies, and friends and church members donated more on top of that.
The word 'infantry' just doesn't seem to cover everything we do here. Over the past couple weeks we escorted doctors and medics all over our area, to treat ailments ranging from TB and polio to impotence and measles. Our mobile footprint was relatively light, but the impact was tremendous. We distributed thousands of dollars in medical supplies, comparable amounts in humanitarian assistance, and even more in medical expertise and personal care. The force behind this operation
was almost exclusively American
And it's only befittin to end with The Wolf's story Marines Send Home Some Love
Updates to follow.
Linking some brave men, the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Gore Vidal, Mr. Roberts - a big fleet, a captive vessel and even the famous "Snark infested waters"...here.
From the father of a [British] soldier recently returned from service in Afghanistan:
"As you can imagine it's obviously a great relief as far as I'm concerned to see him home in one piece," Prince Charles said before leaving the air base. "I'm enormously proud of what he has done."
I understand completely. And to Prince Harry -- Hooah, young man. Well done.
Story here (including increased security concerns for the young Prince as extremists call for his kidnapping and execution.)
And be sure to watch the extended SkyNews video (link in story) as proof it was no pufter assignment... and to hear Harry "the soldier"...
Our son's Marine battalion, the 3/3, has returned to its base at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, from the hinterlands of Fallujah after a 7-month deployment. He and his Marines are full of praise for the battalion that went before them, which did most of the heavy lifting in the destruction of al Qaeda in that corner of Anbar Province. Both are entitled to high praise, and we can all be grateful that the 3/3 returns to America without losing a single Marine during their deployment.Elsewhere:
Al Doura, Baghdad — As I step out of the humvee into the street, I have two facts in mind: I’ve been here before; and this time, I don’t have a weapon.
Recalling the tension of my first patrol in this neighborhood as a platoon leader, my five senses are sharp. The dusty road below greets my boots, some of the smells are eerily familiar, and the sound of idling humvees is my only comfort. My head swivels to scan the street. My hands are naked without an M-4, so I find the nearest soldier.
Soon — as a young child approaches — the wary familiarity gives way to fascination. I may be in the same geographic location, but I’m not in the same neighborhood. This is not Al Doura, at least not as I knew it. Where did all these people and shops come from? Where is all the trash, and the open sewage? Where is the fear — the deep-seated fear?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Air Force decision awarding a $35 billion aircraft contract to a team including the European parent of Airbus landed like a bomb in Congress on Friday, drawing howls of protest from lawmakers aligned with the loser, America's Boeing Co .More
Although Boeing was favored to win the contract, the Air Force awarded it to a partnership between Northrop Grumman and Europe's EADS.
Conventional wisdom was running so strongly against Northrop-EADS in some corners of Capitol Hill that Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's office issued a statement late on Friday declaring Boeing the winner. It was swiftly retracted.
Lawmakers from Alabama, where Northrop and EADS plan to do some tanker work, were effusive in praising the Air Force.
"I thought all along that the Northrop Grumman-EADS proposal was the best," Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, told reporters. He said the contract would bring nearly 7,000 jobs to the state.
The Congressional delegation from the Seattle area said they were "outraged." Kansas Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt vowed to seek a review of the decision "at the highest levels of the Pentagon and Congress" in hopes of reversing it.
Boeing has big facilities in both Seattle and Wichita, which stood to gain from the long-term project to build up to 179 aerial refueling tankers.