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When do you move from "retired senior officer" to "political hack?"
I would argue that Wesley Clark jumped that shark a long time ago, but here is another data point for 'ya.
Gen. Wesley Clark, acting as a surrogate for Barack Obama’s campaign, invoked John McCain’s military service against him in one of the more personal attacks on the Republican presidential nominee this election cycle.....but if you follow that logic .... getting shot four times does?
Clark said that McCain lacked the executive experience necessary to be president, calling him “untested and untried” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” And in saying so, he took a few swipes at McCain’s military service.
After saying, "I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war," he added that these experiences in no way qualify McCain to be president in his view:
“He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn't a wartime squadron,” Clark said.
“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”
"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."
-- USAF Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak on the courage of American troops.
General McPeak in Vietnam - from his official bio:
USAF Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak, 1994, models the uniform that didn't last beyond his tenure. Among other McPeakisms: people didn't have to wear any or all of their medals, if they didn't want to. (And he led by example.)
9. December 1968 - January 1969, F-100D fighter pilot, 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of VietnamAnd from his wikipedia entry:
10. January 1969 - August 1969, operations officer, later commander, Operation Commando Sabre (Misty Fast FACs), Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
11. August 1969 - December 1969, chief, standardization and evaluation division, 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
Upon completion of his tour with the Thunderbirds he was assigned as an F-100 pilot with the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phu Cat Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam. In the early months of 1969, he was reassigned to the "Misty" squadron, a special group of high speed forward air controllers trying to stop traffic down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He ended up commanding this unit and moved with it when it was transferred to the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa Air Base. Rotating out of his command, he served as chief of standardization and evaluation for 31st Wing. McPeak completed a total of 269 combat missions while in Vietnam, remaining in-country until 1970, after which he attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.Seems absolutely respectable to me. Lots of squares filled in little time (not uncommon among the designated fast burners), and completing that many combat sorties while assigned primarily to various staff positions demonstrates an aggressiveness and determination not uncommon (and highly desirable) among the fighter pilot breed.
And while McPeak may never have made a plan that relied on their courage, the Misty's were an impressive unit. Here's their web site. And here's a book (Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail) about the unit with a forward written by none other than (drumroll...) John McCain. (I wonder if those pages in McPeak's copy are intact...)
McCain wasn't part of the Misty's - but his Hanoi Hilton roomate was the unit's first commander.
Misty began with 16 pilots and four aircraft as Detachment 1, 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam on 15 June 1967. Its official name was, "The Commado Sabre Operation." Major George "Bud" Day was the first commander, and the first Ops Officer was Major Bill Douglas.Among military members, Bud Day needs no introduction. For others:
George "Bud" Day was seventeen in late 1942 when he badgered his parents into allowing him to volunteer for the Marine Corps. He spent nearly three years in the South Pacific during World War II, then returned home, went to college, and got a law degree. In 1950, he joined the Air National Guard. When he was called up for active duty a year later, he applied for pilot training and flew fighter jets during the Korean War. After being promoted to captain in 1955, he decided to become a "lifer" in the Air Force.Here's a video of Bud telling the rest of the story (once again - you'll recognize the name of his Hanoi Hilton "roomate"). More here and here (including his Medal of Honor citation).
In 1967, Day, now a major, was put in command of a squadron of F-100s in Vietnam involved in a top-secret program. Nicknamed the Misty Super Facs, their mission was to fly over North Vietnam and Laos as "forward air controllers," selecting military targets and calling in air strikes on them. On August 26, ground fire hit Day's plane, destroying its hydraulic controls and forcing it into a steep dive.
In February, 1971 several American prisoners at the Hoa Loa camp gathered for a forbidden religious service. Suddenly they were interrupted by the enraged enemy guards. As the guards burst into the meeting room with rifles pointed at the prisoners, one of the Americans stood to his feet. Ragged, battered but unbroken, it was George Day. Looking into the muzzles of the enemy rifles he began to sing. The song was "The Star Spangled Banner", our National Anthem. Next to him another prisoner stood. Commander James Bond Stockdale was the ranking American in the prison and he lended his voice to Day's anthem of freedom. Soon the other prisoners joined the refrain, and then from throughout the entire prison camp, came the sounds of others. Stockdale, who would join "Bud" Day in receiving Medals of Honor five years later wrote that, although he was punished for the episode, it was exhilarating: "Our minds were now free and we knew it."
John Donovan, writing in a different context:
For those of you who aren't familiar with Once an Eagle, Anton Myrer's story of an Army that no longer exists, Courtney Massengale is the officer who is the consumate Organization Man in a Suit. Always playing the game the right way, angling for the right jobs, etc. Sam Damon is... a warrior.Bud Day defines warrior:
All armies have their share of both. Successful armies find enough Damons to counteract the Massengales. The Massengales, while happy to use the Damons, also tend to drive them out, because a Damon makes a Massengale uncomfortable, and isn't as skilled at "the game" as the Corporation Man.
He is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. service member since General Douglas MacArthur, having received some seventy decorations, a majority for actions in combat. Day is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.Without ever once citing the fairness doctrine he went on to make the Massengales of this world extremely uncomfortable. More on that later.
After being passed over for nomination to brigadier general, Day retired from active duty in 1977...... At his retirement he had nearly 8,000 total flying hours, and 4,900 in single engine jets, and had flown the F-80 Shooting Star, F-84 Thunderjet, F-100 Super Sabre, F-101 Voodoo, F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, F-4 Phantom II, A-4 Skyhawk, A-7 Corsair II, CF-5 Tiger, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and CF-18 Hornet jet fighters.
Update: Bad links to Salamandar's place have been fixed (that's what I get for posting late at night. Sloppy on my part...) Hopefully now this post will make sense, at least the part about the pictures and THE FAIRNESS and all...
Get ready - here comes National War College Class of 1973-74 Graduates for Truth. First revelation: McCain's butt looks kinda fat in those pants. The next shocker, over at Salamandar's
Gen. McPeak also said Mr. McCain received special favors when he returned to the U.S.As I mentioned in my comment over there, I think that reveals more about McPeak than McCain.
"McCain was always kind of an exception," Gen. McPeak said.
But anyone who's ever been in any position of authority in the military and never dealt with a subordinate whining about the fairness doctrine regarding another troop please raise your hand.
Didn't think so. How about parents of more than one child?
While always listening for any underlying basis of truth (or personal grudge) in the complaint, I have a sliding scale of response based on age and experience level of the offender (and my mood). If he (or she) is under 20 I'm a bit more understanding. Thirtyish? Zero tolerance.
More: Lex has this one, too. Along with another Air Force-centric quote (suspiciously timed, if you're up on your Pentagon infighting) from the same column.
And these two (unrelated to this story) headlines (Lex and Slamandar, respectively) go in the "wish I'd thought of that one" file:
And I'd link this, but Mrs Greyhawk would have a fit if she saw that picture, even though I explained it was actually about the story.
Also, that would mean one more link for Salamandar than for Lex, and I'd have to find another Lex post to link to keep it fair.
Still more: Fairness established - and once again, I link the post, not the picture. (Whatever you do, don't click the small one for the high-res version - it has no text.)
And still more: Regarding that (supposedly from a Taliban intercept) quote at Lex's I referenced: “Tanks and armor are not a big deal. The fighters are the killers. I can handle everything but the jet fighters.”
I just can't help myself - but it reminds me of a Merrill McPeak quote from 2003!
For all but the resolutely sightless, it is now obvious that air combat determines the outcome in modern war. In the early hours of March 20, the salvo aimed at [Saddam Hussein] himself was preceded by nearly a month of air attacks in and around Baghdad -- to say nothing of a decade or so of bombing in connection with enforcing the no-fly zones. <...> Because of this aerial preparation, Iraq's air defenses stayed mostly silent and our aircraft were able to begin reducing opposing ground forces immediately. Army and Marine Corps formations, judged by "experts" to be much too small for the job, captured Baghdad in just 22 days, and with comparatively light casualties. Not only did coalition air power systematically disorganize Iraq's ground forces, it did so at small cost.When it come to Iraq quotes, McPeak is a goldmine.
I'd like to introduce you to three incredible Americans.
Melissa Stockwell, Scott Winkler and Carlos Leon served in Iraq and suffered serious injuries. Since then, they have overcome incredible obstacles to earn the right to represent the US at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China. IAVA will be sponsoring their journey from now until the games begin in September. We are hoping to raise $20,000 to help Melissa, Scott and Carlos pursue their dreams of gold.
Can you make a tax-deductible contribution to help us reach our goal? Take a minute to watch a short video about their incredible journeys.
Melissa Stockwell was the first female amputee from the Iraq war. Less than a year after losing her leg, she ran the New York City Marathon. She had never swum competitively before losing her leg, and recently became the first Iraq war veteran to qualify for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
Carlos Leon managed to survive an entire year in Iraq as a Marine in the Sunni triangle, only to tragically break his neck in a swimming accident just weeks after returning home. After attending a Paralympic Military Sports Camp, Leon discovered a hidden talent and passion for throwing the discus. Carlos is headed to Beijing as the best in the world in the discus.
Scott Winkler was unloading an ammunition truck near Tikrit while under fire when he fell and became paralyzed from the chest down. He was introduced to sports during a Paralympic Sports Clinic. At the clinic, he tried throwing the shot put for the first time, and less than a year later he broke the world record. He is expected to dominate his field in Beijing.
Together these athletes carry the hopes and dreams of 30,000 other injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. They are role models for turning adversity into opportunity.
Can you donate today to help us reach our goal of $20,000 to help them get to the games? Your contribution will help Melissa, Scott and Carlos cover the expenses they'll incur over the next few months of training.
Along the road, Melissa, Carlos and Scott will be updating us on their progress. You can follow their journeys at www.iava.org/warrior-champions.
We're honored to be helping these three veterans represent our country at the Paralympics. Can you help them get to Beijing?
Thanks for your generous support.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Due to a rash posting on my part, and decisions made above my pay-grade, I have been ordered to stop posting on Kaboom, effective immediately. Though I committed no OPSEC violations, due to a series of extenuating circumstances – the least of which was me being on leave – my “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” post on May 28 did not go through the normal vetting channels. It’s totally on me, as it was too much unfiltered truth. I’m a soldier first, and orders are orders. So it is.
John of Argghhh! has more
How come nothing like this ever happens to me in tax-free land?
Sexy CBS siren Lara Logan spent her days covering the heat of the Iraq war - but that was nothing compared to the heat of her nights.Hmmmm; a new term perhaps? Embedding a reporter?
The "60 Minutes" reporter and former swimsuit model apparently courted two beaus while she was in Baghdad, and has been labeled a homewrecker for allegedly destroying the marriage of a civilian contractor there, sources said.
Passions got so hot in the combat zone that one of her lovers, Joe Burkett, brawled in a Baghdad "safe house" with her other paramour, CNN war reporter Michael Ware, a source said.
Anyway, read the whole thing because in the end you will see that, when push came to shove, she wasn't supporting the troops at all.
An 8-hour pro-troop web-a-thon. This broadcast is to support the push to send the largest single shipment of care packages to U.S. troops in history. "From the Front Lines" will be co-hosted by MAF's Melanie Morgan and HotAir.com's Michelle Malkin and feature some of the biggest patriotic leaders of our time.
Goes live on Ustream.TV at 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific.
I’ll be in beautiful Mountain View, CA all day today for “From the Frontlines,” our ground-breaking web-a-thon for the troops. Move America Forward’s Melanie Morgan and I will go live on Ustream.TV and right here at MichelleMalkin.com (as well as at HotAir.com) at 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific. (Just hit the play button on the embedded video player above when showtime arrives; if you’d like to join the live chatroom, make sure to register at UStream beforehand!) I’ll be updating this post all day as I liveblog the event from UStream’s studios. Thanks to all our fellow bloggers who’ve helped spread the word!
We’ve got a star-studded line-up of troops, military charities, celebs, and talk radio stars — from Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin to Dr. Laura and Laura Ingraham to musician John Ondrasik and “Lone Survivor” author and Navy SEAL hero Marcus Luttrell — who’ll be joining us in our eight-hour marathon fund-raising drive to help send the largest number of care packages in history to our men and women in uniform serving overseas.
You can sponsor a care package right here, with items ranging from $15.99 to $899.99. Let me know what you picked out (leave it in in comments or e-mail me) so I can keep a running tally.
Video messages can be sent to Danny Gonzalez, Communications Director at Move America Forward. Contact Danny at: email@example.com
Complete information on "From the Front Lines" can be found at: http://www.MoveAmericaForward.org
And - get those video messages emailed to Danny Gonzalez ASAP!
Someone fetch a Catholic Chaplain; Sen. Obama needs some extra Church'n about Augie's thoughts ....
...should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?Huh? Does he mean this Sermon on the Mount?
Welcome to the official blog site for the 2008 MilBlog Conference. Okay, we're off to a late start this year, but the ball is finally rolling..... All news and information about the conference will be posted here. We'll be sprucing the blog up a bit over the next few days but for now, we're just concentrating on getting information out.
As most of you know by now, the MilBlog Conference joined forces with Blog World Expo this year. The 2008 MilBlog Conference will be held in Las Vegas on September 20.
Panel topics/times are below:
Date: SEPTEMBER 20, 2008
Location: Blog World Expo, Las Vegas
"McCain is my friend," said 75-year-old Mr Duyet as he feeds the caged birds he now keeps in his garden in this coastal city.
"If I was American, I would vote for him."
Tran Trong Duyet - must rank as one of John McCain's more unlikely supporters. Mr Duyet reminisces instead about how he often summoned the future US presidential candidate to his private office for informal chats.
"We used to argue about the war - about whether it was right or wrong," he says.
"He is a very frank man - very conservative, and very loyal to his country and the American ideal.
"He had a very interesting accent and sometimes he taught me words in English and corrected my accent. I have followed his career since he left prison."
..."So now I consider John McCain my friend because he did much to mend relations between our two countries. And if he becomes president he will do more to improve those ties."
McCain can't be beaten.
I know we try and keep partisan politics off this page... so you can read the rest of the rant if you want at Some Soldier's Mom
An image like the one below was necessary in longer range naval warfare:
As discussed here.
OMV Letters From Home....Support YOUR Marines!!
What would you say to a warrior deployed to Iraq if you could chat with him? You might say "Thanks for protecting us", or "We support you", if you were somewhere in passing. But what if you were sitting down, sharing your feelings over dinner? Then what would you say to him? Think about it, because you now have that opportunity.
We have a large group of Marines currently located in a remote area of Iraq. Mail might arrive once a week if the fates are with them, and water is obtained from a well on site. These are your Marines, living on the edge of the empire, alone and determined to succeed. They don't live in Fallujah, they don't have a PX or a store. They operate with the bare bones and a can do attitude. Adapt and overcome are the pillars of their structure, while rebuilding in an insurgent filled area. Police stations are built and governed by Lt's, and life and death decisions are made by 20 something year olds.
They sleep in WWII era wooden huts and sleeping bags, as the constant blowing dirt finds its way into everything they own. They cherish the basic things most take for granted in the states. Operating flawlessly in the 100+ weather is not the exception, it's the expected. They are a tight group that redefines the phrase, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy".
While deployed, I've heard about others who have asked you, our awesome supporters, to step up to the plate. You've been asked to help keep morale high and to show your men how much you appreciate them. And you have! Well, I'm asking again. Through our blog www.OneMarinesView.com (OMV) "Letters From Home", you can send your warriors in Iraq an email to show them how much you care. You may have sent a letter in the past where one or two servicemen got to read it. This time, sending in an email will give OMV the right to publish it in any format, thereby allowing me to publicly post them all. This way many will benefit from your support, instead of just a couple. Please take just a few minutes to let your Marines know how proud you are of their outstanding service, and incredible spirit.
Your servicemembers are making a difference regardless of the small amount of press showing their great achievements. YOU know they are doing great, make a difference yourself and email them your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org !
One Team One Fight-Maj Pain
The lowest of the low:
Military families misled by Red Cross impostor
A scam using the American Red Cross brand is conning military families into believing that a loved one in the service has been injured overseas so that the perpetrators can steal personal data or ask for a donation to the charity.
The nonprofit's Office of Investigations, Compliance and Ethics says the caller contacts a spouse or another family member of a person in the military and identifies himself as a representative of the Red Cross. The caller then states that the service member has been injured while on duty in Iraq and is being, or will be, airlifted to Germany for treatment and care. The OICE warns that the caller may ask for additional information about the service member, such as date of birth or Social Security number.
In subsequent calls, the caller updates the family member and asks for a donation to the Red Cross to help cover the cost of the airlift and medical care.
The Red Cross warns that its representatives do not contact military members or military dependents when a service member has been injured or killed in action. Family members should know that the service member's command or the casualty assistance branch of the respective service contacts the primary next of kin when a service member has been injured or killed in action.
The Red Cross urged military families not to give out any personal information or money over the phone, or even confirm that a family member is deployed, if contacted by unknown or unverified individuals. Report any such calls to the local Family Readiness Group or Military Personnel Unit.
...but I suspect that if we we're running the country instead of simply winning its wars our popularity would plummet. I mean, probably not as low as 12%, but a bit. So I'm keeping the plan for establishing the junta in the drawer. For now.
Kudos to the guys who came up with the mind-control satellite, though. That's obviously paying off in a big way.
..shocked, I tell you, to read this.
In fact, don't click. Don't read. Just scroll on. I shouldn't have even clicked "post." Don't know what I was thinking. Scroll on.
I'm not sure what to make of this:
Campbell Robertson, the dogged Times journalist who has worked his way up from office clerk to gossip reporter to Broadway-beat man, is headed to Iraq.I wish him well. The Tony's are over, his recap is here.
“We were out last night and he was picking my brain on Iraq,” said Times Baghdad bureau chief Jim Glanz in a telephone interview on June 17. “He said that people have been asking him when he’s going to Iraq. And he said he’ll go once the Tonys are over!”
More from the Observer:
“Look, he’s an untraditional war correspondent the way a lot of us are,” said Mr. Glanz, who was a science writer before leaving for Baghdad four years ago. “He’s coming from a different background and point of view from everyone else there. And right now, we can use some fresh ideas and perspectives.”
I am thankful that I was protected during intense indirect fire starting Easter Sunday and several weeks following.That's Vince in Iraq - I believe he knows of what he speaks. (And if you've never visited the Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division page before, click around for a while, you'll be glad you did.)
In Sadr City, the battle went from kinetic (shooting) to non-kinetic (reconstruction) over night as the Iraqi Army progressed through the City block by block. As each block went non-kinetic, Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces were right there with water, food, clothing, first aid and other humanitarian assistance. Next came the Amanat Baghdad (Public Works Department) repairing water and sewer pipes, restoring electricity and picking up trash. Now the markets are restored and commerce flourishing in Jamila Market. Not everything is perfect but normalcy is being restored.
This past week, I had the opportunity to visit and talk with a young soldier. He was recovering in the Combat Hospital adjacent to our compound. He was injured in the lower legs an attack. During our conversation he was grateful to be alive and was committed to the mission he was on. He was proud of the role his unit played to support the Iraqi Army and together, with the Iraqis in the lead, win the battle of Sadr City.
Via the Dawn Patrol, natch.
Today's equivalent of Weinberger's Soviet Military Power booklet is titled simply Human Performance, and it was written by the JASONs, a band of top scientists that advises the Defense Department. Completed in March, it has surfaced thanks to Steven Aftergood, who issues a weekly compendium of interesting government documents for the nonprofit Federation of American Scientists. The report warns that potential foes — none is named, although there is a backwards nod to "East German Olympic athletes" — could put better troops on the battlefields of tomorrow through medication, surgery and mind training. While such changes are not imminent, the study says, the science behind them needs to be monitored carefully so the U.S. military can anticipate what it might face in a future war.The actual report (Approved for public release; distribution unlimited) is archived on the FAS site here (pdf).
Of course, we at MilBlogs are fully aware of our own government's Secret Program For Gentically Modified Celtic/Native American Psychic Ultimate Warriors, and reconize this latest bit of "news"as an attempt to throw others off the trail...
James Taranto: "Back in the Vietnam era, patriots like John Kerry depicted American servicemen as baby killers. Now Kerry's heirs are depicting them as babies."
My own thoughts on the draft haven't changed since my first tour in Iraq.
He adds this postscript: "No Senators have taken me up on the offer to act as a tour guide in Iraq, but the offer stands."
At least two of them missed an even easier (and therefore less forgivable) opportunity just last week.
And here's another video.
A recent proclamation has been made for June 14th.
These proclamation are often made by Presidents but I had a funny thought, and I know this is old news but if Obama wins the Presidency, do you think he'll follow this or amend it?
And When will Google start showing some patriotism
HOOAH! to the men and women of the Army, Happy Birthday.
...another new twist on old stories.
Army wants to see officer cleared of charges back at work
A congressman on Monday protested the return to duty of an Army officer who was cleared more than two years ago of killing two Iraqi civilians, saying he deserves more from the military that falsely accused him.
U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ask that 1st Lt. Erick Anderson's return-to-duty order be reconsidered.
"It is unconscionable that after all Anderson has been through — at the hands of the Army no less — that the Army thinks he should give it another go as if all is fine and all is forgiven," LaTourette wrote. "This young man lost almost two years of his life defending himself against scurrilous and false murder charges."
The officer must report to Fort Benning in Georgia on Aug. 3 and could be sent back to Iraq. Puckett said he will offer medical evidence that Anderson suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and should not serve again.
Anderson was a platoon leader in an infantry regiment in August 2004. Four men in the 36-member platoon were convicted of murdering unarmed Iraqis during operations near Sadr City.
On Dec. 5, 2005, the Army dropped murder charges against Anderson, who was accused of giving soldiers in his platoon permission to kill two Iraqi civilians. Anderson could have gotten life in prison if convicted.
Proposed "new" conventional wisdom: "In all this, we should be clear on one thing: Even if the optimistic scenarios prevail, this war was a mistake from beginning to end."
Before I went off to Iraq last year as part of the surge I was told that it had failed. While there I learned that few Americans cared what General Petraeus had to report from Iraq. On top of that, now that I'm back I discover that it wasn't worth it.
Some of you may have noticed my ongoing Genesis series over at Mudville - a look back at four years of efforts to enlist the support of the residents of Anbar (to include organized insurgent groups once hostile to our cause) in the battle with al Qaeda - and the development of the strategy behind the surge. That history is obviously pertinent to the current political argument (albeit completely uninteresting to most folks involved in that argument) of whether just one or both of those developments is significant to the current level of violence/recent successes in Iraq. More on that in the continue reading section. Here I just want to highlight this side issue/talking point from a June, 2005 interview (the main focus of which was the revelation of ongoing negotiations with Anbar Sunnis) with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
FOX NEWS SUNDAY' HOST CHRIS WALLACE: We had Secretary Rice on last week, and she tried to make the same argument I think that you are, sir, that while the political progress -- and there's no question there's been political progress. There's been an election, there's been the forming of a government, the forming of a constitutional committee.Skip forward three years and you get
But while all that's going on, the insurgency...
RUMSFELD: There's still violence.
WALLACE: ... seems to actually be on the increase.
Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space, a time for the political change to occur to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn’t happen. Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn’t accomplish its goal.In short - while violence is down there's been no political progress.
Lately there's been both reduced violence and political progress - and the "credit the Iranians" argument has been tried - thus far to zero traction. But if all else fails and Iraq becomes peaceful and prosperous (or even just continues down that road this summer) a new consensus is waiting in the wings: "In all this, we should be clear on one thing: Even if the optimistic scenarios prevail, this war was a mistake from beginning to end."
So neener neener neener once again.
The "just one" argument goes like this: "THE SURGE IS NOT WORKING... The reduced violence in Anbar Province is the result of cooperation between American forces and Sunni tribes, which started more than 18 months ago, long before the surge." It's an interesting mix of fact and fallacy - the surge demonstrably worked (does that need to be argued now? Even it's harshest critics have moved on to the "it wasn't worth it" argument) and while the remainder is factual it's an extremely useless supporting statement given the point it's supposed to support. It's an acknowledgement of a real and long-sought American success in Iraq - as the Genesis series makes clear. Because "a" preceded "b" does not make either less critical - in fact either would have failed alone - but those who argue in favor of "a" are hoping others will argue in equal ignorance (fools might oblige) in favor of "b" while missing the real point on "a" - which is we made that happen, too.
By the way, when "a" was in the development stages it's detractors (some of whom might now be making the "a-favorable" argument linked above) dismissed it as "negotiating with the enemy/terrorists" and later as "arming the militias." Yet another "change."
Even some who might argue the reasoned "a and b are both important" point might not be fully aware that both were engineered successes. Deep background on all that begins here.
Where are the reporters now? Is it blood and guts they want to see? Iraq is a brutal country. But perhaps we need to inform reporters and “News” stations that “its’ not about gore, its about progress and success. How come we don’t have embedded reporters here now in Iraq? Has anyone else noticed their absence? Where are the “Special Reports” on Iraq during prime time TV? Are our service members lives any less important now compared to when the embeds were here? Does the news agency think this is a less important time in Iraq or for that matter in Afghanistan? The actions of the news station says yes. Sex and gore sell, US service members winning, kids getting fed and democracy doesn’t.
My last two deployments here we were taking one step forward and three steps back but now we are progressing with one step at a time to the front, partnered with the Iraq people. Everyday I work with sheiks, Iraqi Police and Iraqi Soldiers and I see they are making a difference and doing what we have taught them a year ago. Recently, in an Iraqi community, they established a city council. They elected members to be apart of the council, then they elected a council leader. Last time I checked this is that thing called democracy, but hey who are we kidding, US soldier deaths are better headlines. Yet again, I guess its better to put a story about Paris Hilton on the network instead an altering event like democracy being established and peoples life being changed, forever, yes, I would much rather know how many time Paris Hiltons dog takes a crap. (That was sarcasm for you tree huggers trying to hack my blog.) The local Iraqi people are making it happen. From locals surrendering as former insurgent sympathizers, because they are tired of being intimidated to the Iraqi police man working for free to make a difference. Fox news, CNN and many others are so worried about not competing as well with its rivalry news station that they have become more of an entertainment show than a news and information broadcast. Consequently they are missing the entire picture and major events like the growth and changes in Iraq. Sure, they have I-report, and the like but this is exactly what I’m talking about. They are more concerned about a sexy logo on their screen to peek interest than actually reporting the news. How about taking the money invested in one week of “I-report” and fly a reporter to Iraq, where the rubber meets the road. Wouldn’t you rather know about the growth and success in a war torn region by your military or would you rather see some mediocre You-tube video of ducks crossing the street. The news station would say ducks, or should I say ARE saying ducks. Don’t get me wrong here, I wanted this post to focus on Iraq, the successful surge and the great things its people are doing for their country. Its just you, the ”world” doesn’t get the word about it or if you do its skewed bits and pieces from CNN & Fox then you have been entertained and not really “informed”. Don’t be one of the sheep and be fixated on the “only source of news”, be a sheep dog and know that there are other sources out there like blogs, radio etc. This way you will be in the know and not just entertained. Fox and CNN spread so quickly because they are convenient and we are so busy and most of all people believe it all. This is why you should demand they report accurately and give the news. I challenge other blogs to post this as this is the backbone of blogs, hell; it was the backbone of the newspaper before blogs. I get irate, when I hear the half assed comments from home. “Iraq is in turmoil”, “We haven’t really made a difference for the time we have had troops in Iraq”, or one of my favorites when they approached me when I was home, “Let me tell you about Iraq”. Are they shitting me? Here is a key factor, listen, unless you have been here or in Afghanistan, and I’m not talking about one of their 3 day adventures you read about then hear them say “I just got back from Iraq” bullshit in Newsweek magazine, or you have dedicated a very significant time researching this area in its “current” situation, then really, you are basing your internal decision and opinions about Iraq on merely on what news agencies have told you. Yes, I know you have a life in America, I don’t expect everyone to go to Iraq. I would expect you to demand that your news bring you the un-political unbiased truth or listen to those who have been there. You deserve better! Iraq isn’t about democrats or republicans; it’s about freeing a country from evil tyrants and assisting it to grow from our help. American politics have not been largely affected by a series of small villages becoming one and growing free of evil but the Iraqi politics have been affected by this. Just think what kind of great messages could be sent if our politicians did capitalize on the military’s above and beyond accomplishments here. Perhaps that’s why the news entertainment reporters haven’t been here lately, perhaps they don’t want to admit and show all the good that has been completed and ultimately admit that President Bush did it right. I think you deserve better but that’s just One Marine’s View.All done!
Gen. Norton A. Schwartz has a background in transportation and cargo flights. His nomination is seen as a message that the Air Force must focus on ground war needs.Some details from his official bio:
He participated as a crewmember in the 1975 airlift evacuation of Saigon, and in 1991 served as Chief of Staff of the Joint Special Operations Task Force for Northern Iraq in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1997, he led the Joint Task Force that prepared for the noncombatant evacuation of U.S. citizens in Cambodia.Not sure if that's the "ground war needs" the Times feels need focus or not.
Tony McPeak, the retired general who was Air Force chief of staff during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, said in a telephone interview Monday that he welcomed the selections of Schwartz and Donley.
(For the record: the evil Greyhawk does not believe this and is just trying to fan the flames of paranoia. The fact that the General led a Unified Command is probably more central to the decision.)All done!
Now To the Fallen artist Seaman Apprectice Tommy Stanley has made it to the final 12 on Nashville Star
Check out the show and make sure you vote for Tommy Stanley.
To vote for Seaman Stanley call 1-866-978-2702.
Check out #4 on the "Turn the Page in Iraq." One hopes for a hoax, but methinks not.
This has been linked here and there around the milblogosphere already, but if you haven't read Col H.R. McMaster's comments at AEI yet, you can now.
Meet Daniel. He's a retired Army Capt. wounded in Afghanistan (lost his arm from the elbow down). He is driving across the country with his dog Rockstar, to meet the people that supported him while he was deployed (camping or sleeping in his truck when he has to). He's funding his trip w/donations through his blog.
He has some great travel stories had some tales of torment along the way with his truck named The Pinto Bean (ya think it's name means it's a gas producer? Not by the looks of it) For all the misadventures Dan has kept a lighthearted attitude. His post are quite entertaining and an adventure you must follow.
He currently is in Reading, Pennsylvania now working his way to Maine. If Dan is in your area, offer him a place to stay or a hot meal and throw his dog a bone. Or hit his paypal button. He definitely deserves our support.
HT: Chuck Z
Ahhh, so much I could say, but so little time.
It's almost sad to think I might not get much more use out of this:
Wired has a good review here.
But now that I think about it, perhaps with that potential "USAF-friendly" SECDEF in the wings I'll get a bit more mileage from that image after all...
For all but the resolutely sightless, it is now obvious that air combat determines the outcome in modern war. In the early hours of March 20, the salvo aimed at [Saddam Hussein] himself was preceded by nearly a month of air attacks in and around Baghdad -- to say nothing of a decade or so of bombing in connection with enforcing the no-fly zones.Cha ching!
Because of this aerial preparation, Iraq's air defenses stayed mostly silent and our aircraft were able to begin reducing opposing ground forces immediately. Army and Marine Corps formations, judged by "experts" to be much too small for the job, captured Baghdad in just 22 days, and with comparatively light casualties. Not only did coalition air power systematically disorganize Iraq's ground forces, it did so at small cost.
Update: Here's the New York Times coverage of USAF incompetence that led to the firings. And we already know the official USAF position on the New York Times:
"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."And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Strong medicine, well needed. I hope those involved with Navy shipbuilding follow.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Secretary Michael W. Wynne were forced to resign Thursday during hastily arranged meetings with their Pentagon bosses.Slow, but on target.
Moseley was summoned to an early morning meeting with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss a report on the Air Force’s problems handling nuclear weapons. The report, by Navy Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of naval nuclear propulsion, convinced Defense Secretary Robert Gates that senior officials should be held accountable.
Moseley resigned in response.
CAMP PENDLETON, California (AP) -- A military jury acquitted a Marine intelligence officer Wednesday of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis, including women and children.
Cheers erupted as the seven-officer panel cleared 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, who was the first of three Marines to be tried in the biggest U.S. criminal case involving Iraqi deaths linked to the war.
The judge, Maj. Brian E. Kasprzyk, admonished those in court, telling them: "There will be no more of that."
The verdict came five hours after deliberations began.
Grayson, who maintained he did nothing wrong, was not at the scene of the killings on November 19, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq. He was accused of telling a sergeant to delete photographs of the dead from a digital camera and laptop computer.
Grayson was acquitted of two counts of making false official statements, two counts of trying to fraudulently separate from service, and one count of attempt to deceive by making false statements.
Phillips: [Esquire magazine writer] Tom Barnett made it appear that you were the only man standing between the president and a war with Iran. Is that true?Gosh, I wonder what he meant by that?
Fallon: I don't believe for a second President Bush wants a war with Iran.
This will certainly big big news, I'm sure. And it will undoubtedly put a stop to any future references to that Esquire story (and the subsequent Fallon was forced out coverage) as factual.
Time to dust off the hunting boots.
The UN and the putative government of Somalia say it's Open Season on Somali Pirates
And, as set out here - if you can catch them between the colored lines, there's no bag limit.
Comments and thoughts from www.OneMarinesview.com
• "Eighteen American soldiers died in May, the lowest total of the war and an 86 percent drop from the 126 who died in May 2007."
• It will be an interesting campaign if the Dems continue to pull the get out of Iraq because we are losing schpeel - - just wonder if any journalist will have the guts to say, "Um, excuse me, last we checked, we're winning."
• The surge didn’t work in Iraq…………….no really, they said that, or should I say continue to say that.
Local Sheiks in our area have continued to tell of stories about how life was with Al-Qaida present. The evil that existed and now, its not a new way of life, it’s a new era. Economy growing, shops opening, insurgents are now the outcast, not the shop owner, not the Iraqi Policeman, the insurgents. I remember how it was on my previous deployments; it was not a good way of life for any of the above, except for the enemy. Now things are back in the peoples hands. Why can’t some Americans see this? Why can’t they see the growth of the Iraq’s, their leadership taking steps, their cohesion? May be those that deny it see it but ignore it. The insurgents see this, and they hate it. Maybe a letter from one insurgent to another would read like this.
Dear fellow scumbag, how is your mother? Oh yes that’s right you killed her. Any ways I was looking to find that prime spot to plant that IED in the city yesterday you know that hole your cousin dug last week just before he pre-detonated?? Any way I couldn’t help but notice those dang Marines are everywhere, what is an insurgent to do? I can’t even go get my insurgent unemployment card because they are in all of the streets. Arrrghh!! I was trying to intimidate the local sheik but he told me to come by this afternoon to see him and when I got near his village. AArrrgghhh more Marines. You don’t think he was trying to trick me do you? No of course not I am too intimidating for that…right? I remember the old times when we could scare the silly Americans with threats, but those days are gone my fellow scumbag. AArrgghh! Now I have this silly IED vest on that your brother made, you know I have to tell you he isn’t all that smart, there is no kidding explosives in this thing. I mean I could be getting out of my car smoking a cigarette looking at the new line of sheep in the area and boom dang detonator gets hung on the seat belt. Did I mention its cumbersome, how do I tend your funeral wearing this? It doesn’t go with my latest attire. AAArrgghh. Well I must go my fiend, those pesky Marines are approaching and I have to run before they come here and I snag my fashionable detonator on the door handle on the way out. It will ruin the carpet…..AArrrgghh..
Perhaps your introduction to naval tactics was something like this:
Or maybe it had red and white pegs. Or was electronic.
Still the same game, though, no matter how it is dressed up.
As set out here.
Missions are going very well for us. We have detained several bad guys and corresponded warrants for them. The weather has been hot, then full of sand as the movie like sandstorms roll into our area. As we conduct our partnered American and Iraqi missions, we compliment one another as they can notice things we cant and we can bring a hell storm to the scene in a blink of an eye. I know you arnt hearing anything about how well the Iraqi’s are doing but they are doing great things, every day. They are listening to us, learning and when we see them make several small strides we know we are on the right path. Some working for free, only to make a difference. They are making a difference!
Your Marines have great morale. Living in sandy uncomfortable conditions, covered in sand after each sandstorm as their wooden swahut allows the dirt to flow in from the constant blowing wind. I love these times, I really do. You have those unforgettable events with fellow Marines, you live them. Like the ones you may have have experienced at a family reunion when you laughed so hard you cried. Here, there are times to laugh and times you are ready to throttle up. Times that make you shake your head and think that there is no way you could make these things up. Sharing the misery, building an indescribable bond.
Making a difference, a difference that won’t be on the TV screen in front of America’s faces tonight but a difference to that family who has lived in fear but now can replant their fields to grow vegetables because “We are so glad the Marines are around to keep us safe”.All done!
The Washington Post:
THERE'S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."(Via Glenn Reynolds)
Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained "special groups" that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans.
Here's how I said it last October:
We've won the war.This is the only "but":
Lt. Gen. Odierno is absolutely right to note: "it only takes three people" to construct and detonate a suicide car bomb that can "kill thousands". And John Kerry was wrong when claiming (in an effort to undermine homefront morale in another war) that no one wants to be the last man to die for a mistake. In fact, al Qaeda will always have someone eager to prove him wrong.That first paragraph will be true forever, but I think my Tet/Bulge scenario - as far as al Qaeda is concerned - is less likely now. (As for Iran, keep scrolling.)
Yes, they could pull off a "Tet". Hell, they could manage something like their own version of the battle of the bulge, but the reality is they're whipped.
They brought ass, we kicked it.
If Barack Obama (per WaPo urging) and Hillary Clinton could rapidly re-work their withdrawal policy the last hope for terrorist victory in Iraq would be crushed. Not sure Obama is positioned to do that any time soon though - his withdrawal from his "church" might be all the "change" he can afford this week.
But we can surely "hope".
Ms. Pelosi: What I hope we don’t hear from General Petraeus next week is any glorification of what has just happened in Basra and a presentation that says that the Iraqi forces went in there, did the job, violence is diminished, mission accomplished, because the fact is there are many questions that arise in relationship to Basra.Poor Nan didn't realize at the time she'd credited US troops and validated the need for the surge and their continued presence - so here's the retraction:
...they [Iraqi troops] weren’t winning this engagement on their own. It wasn’t until the U.S. came in to help that the resolution came about.
Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn’t accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians-they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities-the Iranians.A trick they learned from the Russians, who ended the Cold War in a slightly less dramatic fashion then Hitler - who, you will recall, decided when to end WWII in Europe.
See also here and the posts immediately below.
...which is actually the topic of another post at Major John's.
There's an excellent document titled "The Calm before the Storm: The British Experience in Southern Iraq" available here. It's from February, 2007, but while not "current" it's a great backgrounder.
I'd also recommend the article Forgotten Iraq - The War in Maysan Province.
Maysan promises to be a tough nut to crack. Should Maliki turn his focus in that direction I predict another round of "failure" stories coupled with examination of how Iran is benefiting tremendously from the effort. That story cycle might run a bit longer than the Basra news.
By the way, loved this picture:
Don't waste any anger on the downbeat tone of the writing, but instead - give credit to the WaPo for letting the world see these images. They tell, in better elequence than a hundred blog posts of my writing, of why I am here helping the Iraqi Army .