Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Open Response to a Load of Dung.

Before I start my Open letter in Response you need to know its a response to this article.  I'm not going to go through it bit by bit and I'm not going to quote it.  I'm a college student and I really don't have time for that kind of nonsense.

So here's my response (because as you'll see they disabled commenting)

Dear Sir/Ma'am,

I am this "Doc" Bailey you spoke of in your article.  Before I even start my reply I need you to understand one thing.  Doc is a title.  It is earned by field Medics and Corpsmen, bestowed to them by the Infantry they serve.  It is not "given" out or even official.  It is a sign of respect from one professional to another.  That you didn't bother to actually get my first name suggests either you didn't do your home work, or you're just trying to get screen grabs.

I should also note that I did not start the ball rolling on this whole thing.  It was actually another soldier who was far angrier about the film than I am, who started the group "2-16 Vets against Liars (ie Ethan McCord)".  That group was closed by facebook moderators.  I started the second group 2-16 (and 4th IBCT) Vets for Truth.  Why? because McCord is one guy, and as a sole voice doesn't even come close to representing the rest of the Company that was on the ground, or the pilots who were in the air.

As an aside the Pilots of Crazyhorse 1-8 and 1-9 have refused to come forward and name themselves for fear of retribution.  This is not widely known, but imagine if they did.  I doubt very highly that wishing that a car mysteriously hit them, or that they could be punched in the face would be the least of their worries.  I believe that some idiot DA would use the MEJA, to try to prosecute them, and there might be someone that actually hits them with a car.  All in the name of "peace" or avenging perceived war crimes of course.  You don't have to take my word for it.  The anti-war movement tends to be quite militant in its views.

I would also like to point out to you that thus far I have seen no evidence of "death threats", and even the wishing of doing potential bodily harm is not in itself a crime.  People said all the time that they wish someone would punch Bush, or assassinate him (even made a movie about it).  This was considered "free speech" back then.  What has changed?  To be clear saying "I want to punch McCord in the ovaries" while humorous, is not an actual threat against his life, also if you study trends, while death threats (real ones) are scary, they almost never precede actual violence.  Why?  Because unless someone is an idiot, to threaten actual physical bodily harm then to carry out said harm means one literally can't get away with it.  They pointed the finger at themselves. 

I also take issue with the hysterics displayed by Ethan.  Stating you're going out to buy a pistol because your feel afraid for your life is a bit of a joke.  Yes there are people who truly fear for their lives that go and buy pistols all the time.  But McCord talks about "protecting his family".  At what time was his family ever brought into this?  I have yet to see any evidence that any of the 2-16 Veterans of the "Surge" would ever intentionally harm women and children.  Likewise when you look at the things that former infantrymen might do, sure they could kill him.  Most of them could hit a target at 300 meters with no difficulty.  Some of them can hit targets as far as 800 meters away.  They are fully versed in tactics that, should they have friends assist, McCord wouldn't have a chance in the world of defeating.  These are tactical realities.  Is that scary?  Sure if you forget one thing, these men are professionals.  They will only kill their enemy.  Despite the perception that Ethan Stabbed them in the back, he is not their enemy.  Sure he's an asshole, but not an enemy.  

Indeed while these men can kill Ethan, and all sorts of ways that I'm sure has you biting your nails,  they won't.  They would rather face him, man to man and "have it out".  They want to hear from him, to their face why he betrayed them, then they would "go out back" and settle it.  Sure they'll give him a lot of bruises.  They wouldn't leave him near death, they wouldn't use weapons, or beat him to an inch of his life.  That's not how infantrymen settle things.  They will challenge Ethan to a fight.  They will fight till there's a clear victor.  One or the other can "tap out", or they can pass out.  This might seem brutish or barbaric to you, but it actually works far better than most of the alternatives that you see.  Even if Ethan wins, he will be made to understand just how strongly the issue is for these men.  If he loses, well, in the end what they really want is for him to admit he was wrong.

Lastly I want to speak of PTSD.  I do not know if it is a joke to you.  I do not know if you think this is a funny little game where you can turn us all into little psychos, that are really just victims crying out for attention, but even the mention of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in your article was way, way, WAY off base.  I know that it's the new buzz word like ADD was in the 90's  (believe me i have first hand experience on that one) but its clear that both you and your viewers have no idea what the symptoms, causes, and reasons behind PTSD are.  Believe it or not people suffering from PTSD are the exact opposite of Rambo.  They won't freak out and go on a rampage destroying a small Washington town in the process.  If anything they are withdrawn, and their feelings of being so far apart are what cause so many of them to self medicate.  They do not act out in the way characterized in your article.  Take it from this (former) military health professional. 

I take issue with the responses to your article.  I take issue with the article and the presumptions in it.  I take issue with how you present me.  It is clear that your Bias has lead you to make false assumptions and to hype non-issues.  I doubt highly that anyone actually threatened McCord's life, and I doubt McCord's life is in any danger, unless he forgot basic firearm safety and has a Negligent Discharge while cleaning (or playing) with his shiny new gun.  That actually is far more believable that the idea that there is someone stalking him waiting for a moment to take out both him, and for good measure, his family.  You really need to check yourself.  Saying stupid stuff like that is kind of why no one trusts "journalists" anymore.

"Doc" Bailey

PS please be sure to tell Ethan to get all appropriate licenses.  It really would be a shame if he was pulled over and didn't have a CCW.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Problems, and Benefits of Blogs

As you read this, you are (fairly) anonymous. You might feel free to comment and tell me just how right or wrong I got things. Chances are I won't have a clue who the hell you are, and so you can feel free to call me a genius (exceptionally rare) or a first class retarded asshat (admittedly more common). For my own part I can come on here and spout just about anything, say that flogging cats against trees under a full moon will prevent warts (thanks crazy cat lady), or I could come on here bring up serious topics for debate, that I feel should be talked about, say the current unsustainablility of our public spending plans. 

Regardless of what I say this illustrated a couple of the major advantages, and conversely the drawbacks of Blogs, Forums, and the Internet in general. While the pseudo-anonymity (trust me if they want to find out who you are, they can) gives you a level of protection it also strips a level of civility from every debate. You can literally say anything and no one will be any bit the wiser. If you're a gossip in "real" life word WILL get back to those your gossiping about. Just go read the Democratic Underground sometime. People go on there and say all sorts of things that I doubt highly they'd say (assuming they are in somewhat respectable society).

This anonymity, once stripped away opens a flood gate for all sorts of abuse. I'm a nobody now. I mean literally no one knows who the hell I am. Google my name you'll see an obituary (my fathers) a professor of something, hell I don't think I've ever seen anything online that points directly to me. But imagine I weren't a nobody that nobody cares about? Say I posted my address, then spouted on an issue, say "the post-racial" America is more racist than ever (or at least incredibly sensitive about non-issues). How long do you think before my mailbox (the actual Snail Mailbox) would be full of letters telling me I'm an ignorant boob, or calling me all sorts of things.  It would probably be even worse because I like to challenge people's perceptions ("challenge your perceptions or they will challenge you").

Another problem also clearly illustrated is "how the hell do I separate the Wheat from the Chaff?"  That there is one of the biggest and most disturbing questions about the Internet as a whole. To be certain people will always cluster around people that think (generally) like them. It raises some very difficult questions. To be clear no one is going behind to clean up or delete old material. Once it's out there it's out there forever. How do I find something recent on a topic? You may be stuck going through pages and pages of BS to find one stink nugget that doesn't smell as bad as half the stuff you just read. There in lies the problem. There is literally SO MUCH OUT THERE that you could spend several lifetimes reading the material published in say the last 30 days. So you have to cluster on Blogs or Forums that think like you.  The lone voice out there, will be lost like a drop of water in the sea.

The clustering presents yet another problem. When everyone agrees with you, you start to think your shit don't stink, as they say here in Dub V. I mean I personally get very worried when everyone agrees with what I say. I am always watching out for intellectual arrogance, but what happens when an individual, blogger or commenter, does not have my rather ruthless sense of introspection? I write assuming everything I write is horse manure, and I am pleasantly surprised (and slightly suspicious) when said writings are praised. I do this partially from my self confidence issues from childhood, but in a larger perspective the second you start to believe your infallible, you're setting yourself up for the worst kind of failure. You go surf these blogs and you'll notice one thing, very few have actual debates. You'll have people who *generally* agree with you, and people that think you're a baby Hitler/Stalin (depending on your political leanings). Indeed the Troll problem is so bad that these antics have become legendary, and also tend to (spectacularily) back fire. 

It is my ascertain that in the end you can not have a "discussion" on the Internet. Do attempt to do so is a losing proposition. One has only to watch the Huffington Post and what happens to their detractors comments (they and the threads they start get deleted) to know that you're unbelievably lucky to actually have any form of debate. Rather one must come on here (or really any forum or Blog) and speak in an "open letter" to the ether in the hopes that it gets noticed. I doubt I'll get the notoriety others like John Lilyea or Blackfive, or RightChange get. Even so I'll keep doing what I'm doing because really the alternative is to be silent. Boys with ADD are not good with silent

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting Things Right.

I have delayed for a long time writing about this.  I like to keep my blog off topics that are current, the reason is that I don't like getting dragged into debates that are going to turn into petty and really pointless mud slinging fights.  The events surrounding 12 July 2007, are just one of those fights.  One only needs to see the name of the gunship footage Wikileaks gave.  "Collateral Murder" indeed.  It pissed me off then, and it pisses me off now that so many people buy into this meme of American Service Members as thuggish brutes that love to slaughter innocents.  

So I have a dog in this fight.  Sue me.  I also absolutely despise groups like IVAW, and World Can't Wait.  Not because they're anti-war.  To be honest I don't know anyone whose been to war and is pro-war.  I despise them because they tell half-truths or outright lies to tug at the heart strings of people who are not in the know.  Seeing as there are only 1.5 Million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in America (which is a little less than half a percent of the total US population) every time a jumped up yahoo pops up and talks about how "wrong" the war was or "360 degree fire" or "free fire zones" they're taking things that the public has no possible frame of referance for, so far out of context that the truth isn't just bent, its shattered.  

"Truth is the first casualty of war" they say.  Shouldn't it bother them that they are so willing to lie then?  For my part my only interest is the truth.  Washington Post writer David Finkle called us "The Good Soldiers".  It is my firm belief that 2nd Battalion 16th Infantry Regiment were the very best of soldiers.  Sliced off from our parent brigade (4th IBCT 1st ID) which itself had been treated like a red headed step child (light units in Mech Divisions don't mix) which had a pretty rough deployment themselves (2-32 FA commander lost both legs, 1-28 got hit pretty hard and Quarter Cav wasn't faring much better).  We were given a sector of "New" Baghdad that had never had US or Coalition troops in it since the beginning of the war.  The mission was simply put, get in their faces.  Put as much pressure as we could on the militia, give the IA time to train up, and get confidance.  

In one way this was very much like Vietnam, and the "Vietnamazation" program Nixon had started, but unlike Vietnam, there would be no raids into foreign countries to stop the flow of weapons, and there would be no large force on force battles.  This was the fight that Gen Abrams had to fight, and this time we had all the tools he wished he had.  Imagine what a flight of AH-64-D's might have done in Vietnam.  Their command of the battlefield is such that they can pick out things like AK-47s from almost a half mile away.  We had a ton of shitty missions.  We executed like professionals.  

Now the war is over and in a lot of ways we're still fighting it.  It is my accretion that despite what may leaders of this very government said publicly or otherwise, we won.  We won through the blood sweat and tears of the troops on the ground, that refused to give up.  I am proud to have been a part of that history, to have been counted among their number.  

As for July 12th 2007.  There are a lot of issues present.  So I'm going to take them one by one.

1). First of all, it doesn't matter if Noor-Eldeen, and Chmagh, were legitimate Press.  There was nothing identifiable that they were at the time of the incident.  They were not wearing distinctive vests, or have any kind of markings that could be clearly seen.  That they were carrying cameras with telephoto lenses does not in itself give the Apaches reason to pause.  JAM, and really nearly all militias would include their own press photographers, and more than once these individuals have been killed in the course of legitimate operations.  Their overall familiarity with the insurgents shown and the close proximity, makes them a legitimate target.  

2). Noor-Eldeen leaning around a corner to get pictures may not in and of itself represent a hostile act, but the fact that he was in a perfect firing position (as his pictures show) to destroy a HMMWV makes it clear that he was a threat.  I know a lot of civilians can not wrap their minds around this one but if that had been the RPG tube (which its only really able to be seen after the fact with much enhancement) he could have had a catastrophic kill on that vehicle. 

3).  Noor-Eldeen's position was already receiving fire in the form of 40 MM grenades from an M-203.  A number of soldiers were occupying rooftops while on Obj Silver and the only reason he was still alive when the Apaches fired is that these grenades detonated on the myriad of wires that constitute the Power System in Baghdad at the time.  had the Apache not killed him, he would have died anyway when the Infantry assaulted through.  

4). the Van that came on scene came a little too quickly, and to many observers that day seemed to come as if summoned.  Two military aged males jumped out and started loading bodies.  When Crazyhorse asked permission to fire again, they were questioned by the acting 1SG of Bravo Company, if they were loading Bodies or Bodies and Weapons.  From their position the Apaches confirmed bodies and weapons.  To be very clear, had it just been bodies the Bushmaster elements WOULD HAVE DENIED PERMISSION TO ENGAGEThe second one of those males picked up a weapon and put it in the van (not seen in the video) they became a legitimate target IAW to the standing ROE at the time.

5). Had Crazyhorse not engaged, then the eventual Infantry Assault would have undoubtedly caused secondary casualties.  Even the best, most well trained troops can not prevent rounds going astray.  

6). one of the most telling things about this whole incident is that there are three distinct engagements in the full 30 minuet video.  The first the reporters and accompanying insurgents are killed, the second the van is disabled and the two military aged males in it are subsequently killed, the third, a bunch of clearly well armed, clearly militiamen are walking into a building and that building is engaged with Hellfire missiles.  To my knowledge this is almost completely forgotten or left out of the "discussions" about what happened that day.  It is rather telling that this engagement is COMPLETELY  LEFT OUT by the people who wish to make the case that the Soldiers were hopped up on testosterone, getting their rocks off by killing kids.  

7). The children were treated by one of the very best medics I have ever known, and transported to FOB Loyalty, where they went on to the 28th CSH.  AMEDD may have some real screw balls at the top, but its Doctors Nurses and Medics are first rate.  they were given better care that you would be if you had received a similar injury stateside (say hit by a drunk driver).  I, as 2nd Platoons Medic, gave care to two men who perhaps 15 minuets earlier were trying to kill me and mine.  Had I been killed, or any of my buddies been killed they STILL would have been treated to the best of the ability of whoever treated them.  I have yet to see or hear of any of the Militias, or Terrorist forces doing the same.  

8). Jaysh al-Mahdi were bad.  As bad as they come.  They had Iranian support in material, training, and even direct action support.  The Quds, Iranian Special Operation forces from the Revolutionary Guard are the very worst, and were directly supporting and in some cases leading JAM militants against American forces.  They were smart lethal and cruel.  I treated a boy that had been drug out of his home kicking and screaming in full view of his mother, doused with gasoline and lit on fire.  This boy was perhaps 8 or 9.  What sin had this boy committed?  None as far as the Terp who questioned the mother could ascertain.  If Noor-Eldeen could be so easy in such company, is he really a loss?  I personally think not.  

Now I am going to state again, for all to hear, that my concern is the truth.  I don not care for personal Glorification.  I know one Blue Falcon has already received "Peace Awards" and been called all sorts of heroic things because he "spoke out" or broke the cone or cube or box or rhombus of silence.  There is no institutional reason soldiers do not talk about such things, rather, for me personally I don't talk about it because it forces me to relive the worst month of my life.  Craig died on the 25th of June, then this shit happened,  then Harrelson died, and 4 others were injured 5 days after this event.  So its totally cool when people bring it up and call me and mine all sorts of vile crap.  By July 20th, I was ready to lay down and die (literally).  It took one of the best NCOs I've ever had smoking the ever loving dog shit out of me to get my head back in the game.  I do not deserve Glory, or to be called a Hero.  Save that for a man who just turned 19, and lost his life.  Save that for a man who only saw his baby daughter one time before he died.  

The film "Incident in New Baghdad" did not win an academy award.  But even if it had, it would have been part of a larger problem.  The well is poisoned.  The Military (rightly) distrusts Hollywood and the Media.  This has been a distrust that has built since Vietnam, and now, while we are at best "cool" in terms of reception to reporters, behind the scenes SMs are outright hostile.  As we progress further into the Information age, this hostility will continue if not get worse, unless and until those that have the microphone stop and consider every word they say.  As John Kerry discovered, much to his dismay, We are watching.  This lesson should not be lost on News Anchors, Film Directors, Hollywood, or Politicians.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Using Condom Sense.

I've got to tell you when it comes to dating. . . women have it easy.  I will be the first to admit that it is incredibly difficult to maintain standards of beauty, and I think the reason women's clothing is so expensive is to offset the fact that when said clothes are worn correctly they can get men to do just about anything (physically possible).  Think about it, decent or hot girls sitting at the bar only have to feign mild interest in a guy and he'll buy her drinks all night, when going to a restaurant, it is not only expected but in some cases required  that the man take the check.  You want to get some?  See how fast you're not if you even think about going Dutch.  

Yes women take an hour to get ready to go out.  And that's usually an hour on top of the time they already told you.  All she has to do is look pretty and you, the guy will drop your jaw, drool and say "uh-buh?".  Just try to talk intelligently when a woman leans over and gives you a sight of just some cleavage (and they do that on purpose all the damn time!!!).  As a guy, you are expected not only to look good, but also to be intelligent, interesting, look good, and actually have any money.  You want a second date (or a long night) try being a fat ass that is not interesting or incredibly funny, or rich.  In fact trying being poor, boring, unattractive, and unintelligent.  You had better hope there is some Pity factor going for you.

Now take the simple act of buying, getting or having Condoms.  If you've ever had an Army Saftey Briefing you'll have heard a First Sergeant telling you to "Wrap it up" Or "Use your Condom Sense".  But think about that for a second.  The second you grab a box of condoms, its not like you can really say you're going to do anything but have sex.  Oh you can try to hide it in the midst of a shopping cart full of stuff, but what you get is going to say a lot.  Magnum hugh?  you really think you're that big do you?  Glow in the Dark? Obviously you're down with the Rave scene.  Flavored?  So you're expecting oral sex are you?  Plain old unlubricated condoms.  You cheap bastard. 

All these things are going through your mind while you're looking at the condom section sweating because in then end it really depends on what she likes.  Then there's where do you keep said condoms on said date.  In your wallet?  In your car? what if you've got a hotel room, do you keep them there?  Or if you're going to her place do you get a little brown bag and take them in?  What if she goes to your place and you have a night stand full of the things.  Its going to mean you a). Masterbate a lot, b). are a player and thus a dirty SOB or c). you're expecting her to give it up.  A lot.  Any one of these assumptions could in theory kill the mood.  

then there's the actual moment you have to put one one.  I don't know if you've noticed it, but there's not exactly a smooth way for a guy to say "wait, hold up, I need to put a condom on".  I mean usually by the point you need to put a condom on, doesn't matter whose on top, doesn't matter if said condoms are on the night stand they're always out of reach!  So invariably one or the other has to roll off, said wrapper is torn open furiously (DAMN YOU FOR GETTING IN MY WAY!!!) and assuming the lights are out (which lets be honest they pretty much always are) you have to figure out which way they actually go.  Now if its the woman applying said condom there's a chance she will get it on wrong (air bubbles are bad)  but if you put it on, you pretty much have to put you're whole attention on the act of putting on the condom.  Now said condom is on (dear god did I really get glow in the dark?  for the love of God WHY?!?!?)  wait. . . where were we again?  Oh yeah (here's hoping you're still in the mood).  

Ok so you're in the act.  Everything's going great or at least appears to.  Great time to pull out.  Uh-oh where did it go? Oh snap is it still inside?  Um. . . excuse me.  you might want to check yourself.  Yeah that goes over great.  Or you have to grab it off yourself and make a dash for the nearest trash can.  Kinda kills the after glow if you leaf it on (also lets face it, it's gonna come loose, and dirty condoms in bed are a no no) but congratulations.  You just had sex!  Hopefully the whole thing was a blast and all the worry about condoms was much ado about nothing.  That is until next time. . .

Being a guy ain't easy, still, at least you used Condom Sense.     

Monday, February 20, 2012

Once the Pin is Pulled Mr Grenade is No Longer Your Friend

It might seem childish to say but once a pin (and the secondary safety is sweeped off) the only thing keeping the "spoon" (the little handle looking thing)  from flying off is you're hand holding it.  Did I mention there's a spring that makes it want to fly off?  Let go, and the spoon flies off you have approximately 5-10 seconds to get rid of it!  So every private who ever carried, or had to throw grenades has this little simplistic statement drilled into them.  Holding onto grenades and letting them "cook off" is a really bad idea. 

Once the spoon flies off, a small pin strikes a fuse which slowly "burns" down to a blasting cap, and the explosives inside.  Now understand that the current M-67 Grenade is designed to kill everything in a 5 meter radius and and seriously wound anything in a 15 meter radius.  the only way to avoid that is to jump on that grenade (actually something we were trained to do in basic.  Drills would throw a grenade simulator and the closest man would dive on it to protect his buddies) sure you might  be able to get away in time.  Of course you just as likely might get killed while trying to get away.  You either 1). throw it back, or 2). Jump on it.  Option 3). let it go off ends in many people being killed. 

The pin has been pulled so to speak on Iran.  That the British and Our CJCS strongly urge against it, is pretty much beside the point.  Israel can either strike, or wait till its too late.  We should not only "let" them, but actually activly participate in helping them.  Why?  Well if the Shi'a state of Iran has Nukes, how long before the Saudis get them?  Once they have them how long before Jordan and Syria, Egypt and Sudan, Hell I'm sure the Kuwaitis would feel pretty threatened, and Iraq, well they did fight a massive and costly 8 year war, I'm sure that they'd need nukes as well.  In all seriousness, Iran having even one Nuclear warhead would be tantamount to pulling the pin on a grenade.  Would the destruction reach America?  Probably not.  For all the talk of Suitcase Nukes and Dirty Bombs such things are not easy to deliver. 

Now avoiding war in the ME is a pretty good Idea.  For all the talk and bluster the terrain for a ground war in Iran is such that maneuvers would be a nightmare, and the total land mass is greater than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. To actually contemplate a ground war in Iran one would need to triple the size of the Army and Marine Corps, and even then. . . Deployments might be for the duration, or they might be 18 + months.  And the country as a whole would never go for it.  These very simple facts leave the political critters wringing their hands thinking that there is nothing they can do. 

This is actually not true.  I would point to Operation El Dorado Canyon.  It wasn't a "massive" strike by any means, it really boiled down to one carrier and a few AF units conducting a few sorties into Libya.  But those few sorties literally scared the shit out of Momar.  It took Libya from one of the leaders in state sponsored terrorism, down to, well really a country no one really cared about.  When we invaded Iraq, Momar was so scared we'd do the same he voluntarily opened up all his WMD programs and disarmed, something the CIA didn't catch. 

For too long we've let Iran simmer.  There is actually a popular front inside Iran that wants liberalization, and wants western influence.  We could easily turn this adversary into a friend.  How we do it, is actually rather simple.  We strike, hard and without warning, at the sites were nukes are being developed.  We strike their military, destroy all their military aircraft (something we can do) and their significant military hardware.  Then we make an open plea to the people.  We have seen the discontent with the Mullahs.  We can use that.  The choice is wither we do it or we wait till Israel thinks they have no other options, and they do it.  Trust me when I say that would be the worst possible solution. 

It appears to me that the choice is Clear.  Our Air Force and our Navy can do the job.  Maybe not as easily as the civilian public has come to expect, but they can do the job, for now at least.  Waiting till this is a full blown crisis, may, in the end be the same as seeing a grenade land in a foxhole and picking up the pretty green ball.  Not a good Idea. 

My Problem with the Anti-War Movement

Ok first let me make this very very clear.  I am not "Pro War".  War is a terrible thing, that causes untold hardship and should only be entered into for the most serious of reasons.  Even if the reasons for entering into a war are good, if you begin a conflict without clear objectives, goals or some cohesive measurement of victory, then you have not adequately prepared for war, and you're pissing away lives for no reason.  There are many presidents that are guilty of this.  From the airstrike happy Clinton, to the Great Communicator himself, many Presidents have been  guilty of sending troops into harms way without proper Force Pro or clear Objectives.  It is not a recent development, but as no one really bothers to study American history past the 20th Century I am left with the latter half of the 20th century to talk about, which everyone "knows"

Lets face it, the current Anti-War "movement" (and I use that term very loosely) has its genesis in the Anti-War movement of the 60's and 70's.  There are a lot of aging hippies that are trying to bring back the "Good Old Days" like Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, Bill Ayers and his wife, and certain other notables.  They have enlisted certain disenfranchised or embittered veterans, or college students who haven't really ever had to deal with the consequences of their actions, or even shiftless drifters looking for something to latch onto.  The problem with this movement is that a large percentage of the country remembers how the hippies tried (and nearly did) rip this country apart.  It has soiled a lot of their once allies and advocates. It also doesn't help that a lot of the Early peacenicks actually have power now.  It kinda makes protesting, and "fighting the Power" hard, when your people are the ones with so much power.  

To be clear, there are people who are strict pacifists.  I have no problem with said people.  I think their naive, but if they hold a deeply held belief that all conflict is wrong then I will not make a moral judgement upon them.  Unfortunately that is not the case.  Take Code Pink.  I first became aware of them it 2007, when I watched the Petraus hearings live in Baghdad.  Now Code Pink is a feminist Anti-War group that took their name from the old (and fictional) color coding of military alertness.  It really wouldn't make much sense if they called themselves DEFCON 1, so that's probably why they used the Movie version.  It also has the tragically ironic coincidence of being the Code that Hospitals call for Missing/Kidnapped babies (you can now spend hours wrapping your mind around that one.  Somehow I think they didn't think this one through all the way). 

What did they do to earn my Ire.  Well aside from spreading the "General Betray-Us" flyers and pamphlets, they would also stand up in the middle of live, televised senate and house hearings, and scream all sorts of obscenities, dressed like fruit cakes.  Keep in mind I was watching this in Baghdad.  How many people around the world do you think saw Americans acting like perfect jack asses.  Never mind the painfully obvious leading questions Senators and Representatives would ask.  It only gets worse from there.  From naked or near naked protests (trust me something you don't want to see) to running up to Condalisa Rice with red paint on their hands (trying to insinuate there's blood on their hands) the theatrics and hysterics are too much for me, and really trash the whole process, I get protest, but these hags obviously do not realize there is a line, that ought not be crossed.  From trying to shout down (with pointless chanting) speakers, to spreading falshoods about what's going on, Code Pink has pulled out all the stops to get attention. 

Perhaps the worst part, though is that this is not about the actual war.  Its perfectly fine apparently for them to support supposed "Aid" convoys to Palestine (in truth full of weapons), because apparently Israel is being a Bully.  How a country that is daily being threatened with total annihilation is a bully is still not clear to me.  During the "Arab Spring" they actually had to be saved by those "evil" contractors, who literally saved them from rape.  Not a word of thanks. 

How about IVAW (Iraq Vets Against the War).  It is clear that it was modeled on VVAW, and indeed it followed some of the unsavory practices when they attempted to repeat the unqualified "success" of Winter Soldier.  The uniquely named "Winter Soldier II" put on by IVAW, with greatly exaggerated stories of "atrocities" and pointless displays of disdain, like throwing one's medals (symbolically) away.  You'd never even know that a lot of the "Veterans" of the Iraq war had never actually been to Iraq, and those that had been, there were only a very few that were actually in combat arms.  Ironically enough the same thing happened during the original Winter Soldier, which testimony (or at least the cliff notes) were taken before Congress by John Kerry.  Yes that John Kerry.  

IVAW is somewhat laughable though, because even after 8 years of war there were only about 1.5 million people who ever deployed to Iraq in any capacity.  where as people could actually believe that there were so many disaffected Vietnam vets (seeing as they were about 12% of the US population, chances are you might have actually known someone that was a Vietnam Vet), and worse yet for the (bowel) Movement, people seem to actually like Soldiers.  The image of Soldiers as the "Victims" or "Baby Rapists/Killers" are mutually exclusive (though it is interesting how they try to link the two) , so there are issues with their take on the war.  It also doesn't help that with alternative media, it's almost impossible for a single source to call the war "unwinnable".  The fact that the main faces are also constantly being called out for their "errors" adds greatly to the "clown" factor.  

I could detail the laughable off shoots, like Under the Hood.  I could talk about how they very nearly aided the Nasser Abdo, when he tried to repeat Maj. Hassan's actions.  I could talk about Cindy Sheehan who took her very real tragedy, the loss of her son, to make her a central figure in the anti-war movement.  It was almost forgotten that she and Cassey Sheehan had almost no contact after he joined the Army.  I could  talk about how she skirted the line of the law as much as she could, and tried to get as many soldiers at Ft Hood to deserters or get CO status.  I don't mind if you really do have a change of heart and want to get CO status, but trying to get Privates who don't know any better anyway some (really bad) Barracks Lawyer advise on exactly how to get out of going to Iraq (and sadly more than one dumb-ass private took the bait and paid for it with his/her career). 

No I could talk about all of that, but I want to leave you with this thought: "Truth is the first casualty of war".  I find it interesting that the Anti-War movement is far more willing to indulge in "subjective" truth, than the actual war fighters.  If they are so willing to Lie, What then are their ulterior motives?  If they are so narcissistic, and the flunkies are so fanatic, what else might be going on there?  We've given the War so much scrutiny, and those who "support" it and the troops that fight it.  Why haven't people given the same scrutiny to the Anti-War movement.  After all these are the people who believe so highly in Machiavellian plots an machinations, is it possible that they might be guilty of the same thing that they accuse the Warriors of? 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"To Stand Still. . . Is to Surreneder"

One of the most amazing quotes I've ever heard in regards to NASA is Gene Kranz who said "to stand still in space is to surrender." For decades NASA amazed not just America but the entire Human race. Niel Armstrong walking on the moon was televised live to the Soviet Union, one of the first broadcasts ever to do so. Prisoners in the Hanoi Hilton were asked "how can your country go to the moon and say 'we come in peace for all mankind' and still be at war?" the prisoners would respond "the Moon?!?" and from then on point to the moon and say "USA" which infuriated the guards. When the Space Shuttle first delivered then Fixed Hubble, it captured the imagination. We saw distant galaxies, and our understanding of the world vastly increased. Now almost every week we're finding planets around distant stars, some even appear to be Earth-like.

Yet as this happens, we now are not moving forward. At all. The planned follow up to the Shuttle "constellation" and the Aries HLV are scrapped. The target for budget cuts. To get to the ISS (International Space Station) we have to go through Russia. That is if the most expensive construction ever built is still there. See Russia has stated they plan on bringsaid station back down to Earth in a few years. As if that weren't bad enough now the Chinese are talking (seriously) about putting their own men on the moon. While I have no doubt they will sacrifice many men to get there, I believe they WILL get there

Here's the thing that (ought to) shock you, you know that "smart phone" you have? I'm sure it's only got a few gigabytes of memory right? Know how much memory was in the Mission Control room when they landed on the moon? About 30 Megabytes. Now a gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes. Your phone typically has what 16 GB? think about that for a second . Your phone has more computing power then all the space craft that NASA put into space until the Shuttle, and Mission Control COMBINED. Your phone if properly programed could fly an entire Apollo Capsule, land on the moon and return. All that is lacking is the hardware to get it there.

So how do we proceed? NASA isn't high on the Government's priorities list, in fact to tell the truth even the things the Government should be doing don't appear high on it's to-do list.  Indeed I'm not really sure what we've gotten for all the debt we've accrued, but I think for a couple of trillion dollars we could not only have gone to the Moon, but probably sent a couple of people to Mars.  Actually I'm sure of it.  Now talking about going to Mars when in a rescession is a bit much, but when you think that for all the debt that President Obama racked up, we could get at least Gingrich's moon base.

It seems to me more and more clear that NASA has lost the wind in its sails.  While it is great to find out that there are "Earth-like" planets in far flung star systems, it really does us no good unless we start trying to figure out how to get there.  We have this multimillion dollar Space Station.  What are we doing with it?  This was the investment (by most of the world no less) to get not only a permanent home in space but to go further.  To sue this station literately as a spring board to bigger and better things.  Why haven't we?  Well part of the problem is it costs about 10 Million dollars to get a Metric Ton of stuff (whatever that may be) into space. 

There are about a million ideas from "Space Elevators" to literally shooting stuff up into orbit via gigantic cannons, to reduce the cost.  There are private companies that are coming up with different designs, for just about everything that you could imagine to get things up there, but there needs to be a boost (if you'll excuse the pun) to these systems.  We saw that with the "X-prize".  This is the competition to have a privately funded vehicle go into space, come back safely then turn around a week later and go back again.  The winner was (no surprise to the aviation industry)  Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.  Keep in mind this is the guy that built the "Voyager" the first plane to fly non stop around the globe.  SpaceShipOne is perhaps one of the most amazing aircraft ever built, because it defies a lot of the logic that we would usually think about space flight.  He went into orbit, and yet didn't "burn" for re-entry. 

So Here's what I think.  NASA should do something similar.  Call them the X, Y, and Z Prizes.  X prize is say, going to the ISS with a minimum of 10 passengers and say a metric ton of cargo (or appropriate mix) and much like the original X prize, the vehicle should be reusable and have a 1 week or less turn around.  The Y prize is to take 5 men to the Moon.  Stay for a week, and come back (preferably in a reusable vehicle).  The Z prize.  The mother load.  Take at least three NASA astronauts to Mars.  Stay for say at least two-three weeks, and return safely. Set the prize (and following contract) at a fixed amount.  No more Cost + contracts.  If you want a profit, buddy you better come in on budget.

Here you would provide the dreamers a dream, open the field to literally everybody, and you also get the added bonus of actually going to the Moon or Mars.  If you want to Put NASA on it, fine.  We can make sure that NASA astronauts are sitting in the drivers seat, but if you think about it the last man set foot on the Moon was in 1972?  Hell we managed to fight one of the most massive wars in our history and go to the Moon at the same time.  So do not tell me it can not be done.  All that is required is a dream, and a desire to make it happen and it will happen.  It is my firm belief that this is not a pipe dream, but our destiny, and it will belong to those that have the strength, determination and will to simply reach for it.  When put like that, Space Travel is as American as Apple Pie. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Army Family.

They say that the Army is a family.  I really really big family, but a family nonetheless.  When I did my first hitch I thought that they were referring to the FRG. I thought the fact that we practically bent over backwards to accommodate the Army Wives were what it was all about.  But this isn't actually the case.  I learned this a little bit when I was deployed.  The guys I with were like my mulch-dysfunctional, semi-retarded family.  We quarreled like any large family at thanksgiving, more so because we literally could not escape each other.

It wasn't until I PCS'd that I really began to understand the the "Army Family" was actually referring to the whole Army.  See when I got there who should I find, and ironically become subordinate to one of my Squad Leaders in Hawaii.  SSG Garza, ironically enough knew one of my Senior Medics in 2-16.  SSG Garza and his family were very welcoming to me, and made me feel very much at home.  Being a single soldier and all.

Well I, being a dumb ass, decided to re-up.  Who should be the guy to Re-up me?  My first Commander Major Steven J. Richter.  Now if that doesn't seem like a small world fine.  So I get to Riley.  Who should be there but SGT Sanders, my squad leader in Ambulance Platoon.  (he was in 610 BSB) and that wasn't all.  Once I actually got to Rusty, I ran into of all people Smitty.  SSG Smith, another squad leader I had while in 225 FSB.  She happened to be assigned to 3rd ID, and in a completely different unit. One of the best parts one of the Infantry Platoon Sergeants in Delta Company was actually one of the Drill Sergeants I had in basic.

No if that doesn't seem insanely coincidental, then you must not think too much of things.  Here's the real coinkey-dink, that's actually pretty common.  The Army Family is actually an institutional fact of life.  One of the things that's perhaps the most poorly understood about the Military.  Yes we grunt and make gorilla type noises when speaking, but we are also a family, in more ways than one. 

It is this family mentality that keeps soldiers in for 20 years (long after their knees, back, and neck are screaming for them to stop).  The Army becomes like your Mother, when you're a Private, a Mistress when you're a Specialist, and something akin to a wife when you're Sergeant and above.  Yes that sounds a bit of an Edapis/Electra complex going there, just bare with me, I'm living in West Virginia after all (Kidding!)  Your friends become Brothers, and Sisters, and it is entirely possible, if you are in a co-ed unit, something more.  There are actually as much as 17% (this was in 2004) of marriages in the Army are Dual Service. It is understandable then why so many soldiers find a "home" in the Army.

When you've done your 20 (or more as necessary) a lot of the Old Soldiers will "Fade Away" to their porch, having lived a life that very few could ever understand, they will sit on their figurative porches with several years still available to use for work (presuming no injury).   We will look back fondly after "the kids have left the house" and be fond in your memories, never remembering the many squabbles and fights that marked the time.

Yes the Army is a Family.  A strange, screwy weird family, but a family nonetheless.  Its nice to know that I still have fathers out there if I need them.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

for those in love, or wanting to be in love

Love is a funny thing.  It will make men do things that are distinctly uncool, or feminine in the hope of placating the woman they love.  Women for their part will put up with all our Masculine idiosyncratic traits.  So for Love, today I say, drink up.  If you're male or female chances are you'll make a fool of yourself for love, and probably enjoy every second of it. 

Happy Valentines Day.

It has more impact when other people say it.

interesting how when a Brit says it, it seems to have weight behind it.  And you said the Euro is such a great idea. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Mother of all Battles.

With all due respect (non thank you very much) to the late Sadam Hussein, Desert Storm which he sold to his people as the "mother of all battles" was not even close.  Indeed his defeat was one of the most lopsided victories against numerically superior forces in history.  Even though he had more troops, and pretty good equipment (for the time), and had a pretty battle hardened army, he received the biggest bitch slap in human history.  How did we win?  We used tactics pioneered by Erin Rommel, the "Desert Fox".  No the title of Mother of all (land) Battles goes to the Russians and Germans at the Battle of Kursk (the Largest Naval Battle was the Battle of the Philippine Sea between the USN and the IJN).

How big was the battle of Kursk?  Well to be honest it was a 100 mile wide battle, but that's just the size. Take a look at the German Forces: 780,900 men, 2,928 tanks, 9,966 guns and mortars, and 2,110 aircraft.  That's about the size of the current incarnation of the entire US Army, and US Air Force.  But then look at what the Soviets brought to bare: 1,910,361 men, 5,128 tanks, 25,013 guns and mortars, and 2,792 aircraft.  To do a little math that's a total of: 2,891,261Soldiers, 8,056 Tanks, 34,979 Arty pieces/Mortars, and 4,902 aircraft.  Now if you can find any battle in history that is that big, I will gladly shut my yap on historical matters.  Even the Battle of the Bulge was small by comparison. Now the causalities:  The Germans lost: 203,000 casualties, 720 tanks and assault guns, and 681 aircraft.  The Soviets lost:  863,303 casualties, 6,064 tanks and assault guns, 1,626 aircraft and 5,244 guns

Why am I talking about this battle?  Aside from the fact that you can always expect totalitarian militaries will have huge militaries, there is actually a larger lesson that the US can learn from from this battle.  Well for one, we need to be very cautious when engaging a totalitarian regime.  The Soviets won, largely because they mobilized the civilians, into a massive work force.  They used this force to essentially build 100 miles of fortifications which the Germans cut their teeth on until they were very bloodied.  I could talk about one of the largest minefields ever deployed.  This should give everyone pause when talking about war with Iran or China.
 But the larger lesson is that while the Soviets were getting battle hardened, they were also not nearly as professional or well trained as the Germans.  They had better planes, they had tanks that could hit harder, and had better armor, and they could maneuver far better.  They still lost!

Right now the US Army is second to none, in ability, and training.  One has only to go to any base and train with active troops to know that they are training all the freaking time.  Even MOS' that traditionally only practice rarely  (Artillery/Mortars) are as professional as possible and always training.  I can not speak for the Marines, but I can tell you that the Army knows it stuff, and each private is expected to have a cornucopia of skills.  Everything from tactics, to basic vehicle repair.  In some cases they even use their own God given talents to improve the tactics and equipment.  This is expected of privates.  The days of the dumb knuckle dragger are long over.

But the US army is small, and getting smaller.  To put this into context, we have 10 divisions now, with enough separate brigades for another division and a "pocket" division.   There are 500,000 soldiers.  That sounds like a lot, but that's 500,000 period.  That's not just shooters, and that's not just Active Duty.  60% of that is Reserve or Guard.  The Wehrmacht at Kursk outnumbers our entire Army, and the Russians outnumber the entire DoD.  

We are (not morally) in the position of the Germans.  No one can argue that in '43-44 the Wehrmacht Luftwaffe and Waffen-SS were not the best in the world (the Kriegsmarine isn't really worth mentioning because aside from U-boats, their contributions were quite minimal).  The Russians, won Stalingrad more for Hitler's errors than for their actual fighting ability.  We are potentially thinking about taking on Iran, which I believe we could defeat, and possibly China (which we would only be able to defeat in my opinion if we allowed for the use of tactical nuclear weapons).  That doesn't include the myriad of other countries that we might have to engage.  Everything from Chad, to Uzbekistan.  We simply can not do it with what we've got.  We should also be very aware that if we get into a serious all out brawl like the Battle of Kursk, our soldiers will fight and die hard.  The outcome though is very questionable. 

We as Americans need to seriously reexamine our role on the international stage.  We can be the white knight that comes to the rescue, or the distant parent that scolds the children but not if we keep cutting our defense budget like we have been.  There will come a time very soon where we may simply not be able to do the mission anymore.  How many soldiers we lose then, may truly appall the American public. 

Diversity or Equality.

one of the funniest things (Funny odd) about Progressives, is their constant talk about the need for more Diversity and Equality.  Diversity, obviously means that you don't want one homogenous group.  There's actually a pretty good reason you want a society that has more than one place to trace its roots.  Equality. . . well that is actually a bit more difficult.  Factual Equality would mean that everyone is the same height, sex, and whatever other characteristic you can think of.  That's not only impossible, its actually the exact opposite of Diversity.   Now think about the idea of human beings, no two humans are the same in ability, or even their desires, which one could reasonably argue play a large role in what people can and more importantly will do with their lives.  Income Equality?  That means everyone earns the same.  Sounds great at first, until you realize that there is no incentive to succeed, and even, no measurement for success. Equality of Opportunity?  While a level playing field is preferable, how exactly would you define for objective measurements a level field.  The only place where you can (realistically) make sure the "playing field" is level is in actual sports and even then there isn't equality.  Ask your high school football team to go up against the San Diego Chargers and see what they say.  In truth efforts to "level the playing field" end up making said field look more like WWI no-man's land complete with mines and craters.   

Indeed, if you listen to a Liberal/Progressive talk there is actually a lot of buzz words, but chances are at one point or another in a conversation you will get two of the major ones, Diversity and Equality.  They, are, logically mutually exclusive, but do not try to point this out.  Look at Economic Diversity.  That's actually what we have right now.  We have a diverse workforce that take its many skills and applies it to a diverse number of tasks.  Indeed the outcomes of these labors is not the same leading to the many "classes" that we have.  The virtue of American classes (as opposed to those described by Marx) is that an individual is not born into, or really forced to stay in one particular subset. 

What about Cultural Diversity?  Well actually that one is vastly more difficult, and ultimately impossible.  Quick name a mulct-cultural society.  If you said present day America, you'd be. . . wrong.  While we are an amalgamation of many different societies, keeping what Americans as a whole feel is beneficial, and ditching the traditions we feel are not, we are one society, and one culture.  If you really wanted to see a multicultural society, you'd have to look at turn of the 20th century New York, or Chicago.  An Irishman wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near an Italian, and god help you if you were caught dating a Pole.  Indeed there were not one, but several race and culture riots in the major cities, and a low grade gang war that lasted almost up until the 40's.  Why did it end?  Well after a generation or two, there really wasn't any difference in the cultures.  They had adopted the larger American culture.  While it is true that America welcomes all, it is only through integration, and the adoption of the host culture that we have really avoided the large scale strife seen in France.  Unfortunately this is one of the main weaknesses of the "diversity" argument, that has largely been ignored. 

Both words are remarkably simple in their meaning, and remarkable complex in their actual implementation.  To be clear I think that Egalitarianism is a dead end.  It is only a matter of time before an attempt to enforce "equality" becomes destructive to the individual civil liberties we so enjoy.  Rather, we should not focus on making sure that everyone has an equal share of resources, opportunity, or income, we should labor, for moral reasons, to ensure that everyone has enough. Likewise while diverse worldviews can lead to unique solutions, there is also an extreme danger of increased conflict, both internationally and societal, when one starts trying to enforce such a thing.  I can see Economic Diversity, not as a policy, but rather a reality of the situation.  Not everyone can be a millionaire, and while it is unpleasant to think about, someone has to do the scut work. 

It seems clear to me that our society has bought into myths that the Progressive Era desperately wanted to instil (but couldn't because reality caught up with them).  Indeed the Progressive Ideals on the surface seem so alluring, because they play on our higher moral beliefs.  Unfortunately they fail to play out the "they should just make sure everyone has an equal shot" idea.  If you really want to follow that to its logical conclusion you end up with really horrifying regimes, and consequences.  Why did the Progressive Era end?  Prohibition.  They went one step too far (actually three if you ask me), and tried to make people more moral.  The end result. . .  people got pissed and found a way to drink anyway.  Had the Progressives retained power, it is possible that we might've seen a more Soviet like way of making sure people acted "morally". 

Thus, in the end, though the Equality, and Diversity talk starts out from a good place, an actual desire to help their fellow man (or woman as the case dictates) what ends up happening is quite disastrous.  This is why it is important to always make sure that when a Progressive talks about such things you always press them for more than the "we'll do this and everyone will be happy" mien.  Chances are that everyone will be very much miserable (to include those that suggested it in the first place).  How do I know this?  Leon Trotsky.  'Nuff Said. 

Around Her Hair She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. . .

"I support the troops"  How many times have you heard this?  It's great all well and good to "support" the troops, but do you actually know any troops?   Do you, oh reader, have an emotional connection with said Troops?  Do you still tie a yellow ribbon around the trees in your lawn?  Do you send troops care packages?   

One of my favorite cadences in the Army was an old Cav cadence, that the Army as a whole adopted.  it goes like this:

Of course the band Rally Point did a bit of a more interesting version

 If that doesn't jerk a tear or two you're a heartless bastard.

In the last ten years our society has been flooded with images of sacrifice and victory.  Triumph and tragedy.  Hope and despair.  All having to do with the military, their deployment and the War (singular) we are fighting. There are many to whom these images resonate.  None more so than those that marry into the military, or date a soldier. 

One of the most endearing image that we have from this (or really any war) is the goodbye, or the welcome home.  The image of the loving wife, the children or the parents all crowded around a soldier hugging him or her so fiercely that you wonder if they are being choked. These images are powerful in their simplicity.  You don't even really see the soldier's face most of the time, but the look on their family members is utterly priceless.  The relief felt by those left behind, when their soldier returns home often makes those that have never seen it first hand stop and really look.

Likewise pictures of single (looking) women crying over the graves of their husbands, or hugging the flag draped coffin, even the pets laying, obviously missing the human they loved.  Videos of children asking "When is Daddy coming home?" and the painful look on the face of a mother that needs to explain that, no, Daddy isn't coming home.  These are Images of war that are as enduring as they are tear jerking.

As a Soldier, I rarely had anyone waiting for me.  Yes my parents, but on both deployments I returned to an Empty Room in the Barracks.  I will tell you, to have survived a deployment, and return to almost literally nothing. . . that is one of the most desolate feelings in the world.  I do not know the pain of those left behind.  For me, facing the danger, which was in front of me, and yes, at times terrifying, was far easier.  The pain I expected to feel if I were injured, and what I might feel if I died, were known to me.  I knew the likely ways that I would die.  Not in a John Wayne movie sort of way where I clutch my gut and fall down, but in a far more graphic, and in many ways intimate way.

I knew what could, and in my mind probably would, happen to me.  But the Wives, Girlfriends and children old enough to understand never would.  They wouldn't know those dangers first hand.  They would only know what they see in the News, and the "war porn" that some people (especially for some reason the Anti-War folks) revile in.  The worst images of combat would be lade bare before them.  Gone were the days where one might be able to believe that one did clutch his gut and simply fall to the ground.  Now the Wives and Girlfriends are confronted with the worst possible realities that their loved one might face.  I am not excluding males.  There have been husbands left behind to, Females have died as well, and those males too must confront the image of a once beautiful (I assume) wife killed in a very gruesome fashion.

It is to those we leave behind, that live with an anxiety I could not understand, that we should also raise a toast to.  Loving someone, whose job it is, to possibly die, can not be easy.  In many ways these people are the mistress, and they must watch their significant other who is "married" to the military, but that marriage, the notional marriage, above their very real one.  It can not be easy.  It explains why there are so many marriages that break up in the Army.

To all the Wives.  To all the Girlfriends, Husbands, and Boyfriends we soldiers left behind, You have my thanks.  You have kept the home-fires burning, and given us a vision of that most celestial of places, Home.  Your sacrifice, is just as real as ours, and though you may never get a medal for such, you are most certainly deserving.  You're love and affections allow us to rest (when we can) knowing that all is right with at least one part of the world. 

Thank you for everything you do.  Charlie Mike!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Goes Around Comes Around

People believe that the internet gives you anonymity.  There is a group of "activists" know as "anonymous" who seem to revile in causing as much chaos as possible whenever someone gets up their hackles.  That they target the DoD, CIA, NSA, and even fortune 500 companies, and seriously penetrate the same, should give some people pause.  But nothing, not even on the internet happens in a vacuum.  The things you do, and say will get back to you.  Blogging is the most obvious example, but we've seen social media get back to a person in a really big way as well.  Even Anonymous has been itself penetrated, and some of the ring leaders names released.  That the group is diffuse and that they are not so much coordinated as pointed at a target has been an asset to them, but again, that is not fool proof. 

I want to give you a few examples of how things you can say get back to you.  Way back in 2004, I was working at the Ivory Combat Clinic in Kirkuk Iraq.  It was named for a 173rd Airborne trooper that had died of non-combat related injury, in 2003.  Now I was curious to learn more about this individual so I went looking for him and found a message board where I left a brief message:

SPC Bailey of ICC, Kirkuk , Iraq

 It was nothing much to me and I completely forgot about it.  Flash forward a few months and 225 Forward Support Bn is getting ready to go home, and Lt Ammeda pulls me aside and asks me to take the board that  had been hanging on the T barrier in front of the Aid Station. 

The lower one.  The white sign to my knowlege still hangs in the Company area in Hawaii

Sure says I, even though I've already been tasked with an Aid Bag (lest anything happen) and my own personal bag.  I asked her why, and she stopped.  and looked at me rather seriously (which is impressive considering she is about 5'1")

"hasn't anyone told you?"
"Told me what ma'am?"
"Did you leave a message on a message board about SPC Ivory?"
At this I really racked my brain, and in one of those "ah-ha" moments remembered something that had taken all of five seconds.  
"yes ma'am." I said this with trepidation.  The Army was cracking down on bloggers
"Well SPC Ivory's parents found out about that, and contacted our PAO, we're presenting it to them when we get back, and its all thanks to you."

Well needless to say I was rather stunned by this.  It was an honor and a privilege to carry this sign back, even though it quickly grew to headache proportions when we finally got to Doha.  We finally get back, I am told to give up the sign and I kind of forget about it again.  Until SPC Ivory's mom and Step Dad come to Hawaii, and we give them the sign.  A lot of the members of the company were treated to a dinner at Ruth's Cris (if you've been to Hawaii, you'll know that this is a top flight, steak house).  I was given a coin, and despite the fact that I protested vehemently that I really hadn't done anything, I was treated like one of his son's best friends by his step dad.  One small throw away line gave a man a measure of peace regarding the loss of a child he called his own.  Sometimes the Internet can be a tool for good.  

There is of course a number of negative examples.  I don't think I need to talk about the "Army Wife, Army Life" blog.  It's been well documented and responded to.  This is an example of a negative action getting back to you.  Of course there's PFC Manning, who I really won't get into, Matthis Chiroux, whose favorite hobby is going around to schools and telling kids that the military rapes half the women serving, and lies about his service.  The truth comes out eventually, and though most people know Matthis is a liar, the little things he says will come back to haunt him.  

Another person, who has caused my personal Ire, is Ethan McCord.  I could go into a long winded explanation about how much of a jackass he has become, but seriously, that's not necessary, I'm not the only one that is pissed about it.  The Incident itself is surprisingly well documented.  He talks about "War Crimes" and how we're daily gunning down women and children.  He talks about the Children he saved, and the pain he has from that day.  Which I might have sympathy for.  If he hadn't gone and sought out the media when PFC Manning had released the video that would become Collateral Murder, and then fallen in with IVAW, and Not Your Soldiers.  He has become the darling of the Liberal Masses (I'm thinking the Unwashed strongly in the forefront), and forgotten what it means to be a Soldier.  

I firmly believe he is doing this for purely narcissistic reasons.  He is a darling now.  He is getting all the love that he can stand, and though I don not think that there is massive monetary compensation, I would not be surprised if there is.  In the process he has thrown every Soldier he ever served with under the bus.  I've decided, now that some of my fellow comrades have actually shown interest in hitting back at this Blue Falcon. . . I make this public Decoration for all to see.  For everyone to know and in the hopes that it will get back to McCord.  

My name is Michael Bailey.  I swear that I will fight the negative image tooth and nail, that I will support and defend my battle buddies in this fight, and that I will make sure that everyone knows what a Blue Falcon former Spc McCord is.  

So help me God. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rights and Privileges

I believe, firmly, that the Rights do not come from the Government.  I also believe that anything that is a Right, can not actually cost anything.  Take Religion, or Speech, or Gun Ownership.  On the whole, those do not cost the individual a dime unless they want to pay.  Yes the Church expects you to tithe, but at the end of the day you have to want to give that money.  The same can be said for the Right to own firearms.  You have to want to own a firearm, but if you want to have a gun, by all means go and get one.  

How about the Right to speedy trial?  This one is *sadly* forgotten too often now a days, as the courts can take months or years to hear and decide cases, but on the face of it, this one does cost money, as does the Right to trial by Jury.  The cost here is something that you have to weigh with the larger wrong of Kangaroo Courts.  Which is worse, a moderate cost of money and time, or untold innocent people sent to jail.  As it stands we labor intensely to make sure that no innocent man goes to jail.  Mistakes can be made, but not as many as Hollywood would like you to believe. 

What about the right to be silent if you feel that the answer might incriminate you?  Yeah the 5th Amendment might be annoying as hell in corruption cases, but it prevents a larger wrong of compelling a person to speak, and possible talk him or herself into a conviction.  People say stupid things when their nervous.  What about the Right to Due Process?  Again this one is a no brainer.  It makes sure that all prescribed steps are followed, before sentences are handed down. 

What about the Right to Healthcare?  Well tell me how much does that Cost?  Lets start with doctors education.  About $150-$200K easy.  That doesn't include the Nurses techs, and all the support staff, and their training.  Now think about the supplies used.  Drugs aren't cheap.  Neither are sterile 2x2's 4x4's or blood products, IV bags, etc.  Even the oxygen costs money.  (FYI the air you are breathing right now is +/- 21% oxygen.  The air that comes out of a tank is 100%).  That doesn't even go into the cost of the electricity to keep the heart monitors, lights, and CT/MRI/X-ray machines running.  Yes.  Healthcare actually does cost.  A LOT.  It costs more when you begin to realize that you and that other guy that paid are paying for three people that didn't.  This is, of course, figured into the cost of your care.  

What about food?  FDR was big on this one.  A Chicken in Every Pot, as the saying went (it may seem like small potatoes to us now but during the great depression that was HUGE).  Again, while we would like to feed everyone everywhere someone somewhere is going to have to pay for it.  But even starvation (in America at least) is something that's highly over blown.  Stop me if you've heard this one.  Fat guy, with his very obese wife and very obese kids walks into Mikey-D's and pays with food stamps.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is the only country I can think of where the poor people are fat and the rich are skinny.  I mean how many meals can you be skipping if you weigh in excess of 200 pounds?  If you compare that to kids in Africa I don't buy for a second that poverty in America is as horrendous as we are lead to believe.  So they can't afford nice things, that sucks, but come on, they're alive and (obviously) well fed.  

We have a very serious problem in this country.  It's not the war we're *still* fighting, and though the huge debt and deficit is a problem, that is more a symptom of the larger problem we face right now.  We have forgotten or mixed up our Rights and Privileges.  A Privilage is something you get to do, but can be taken away from you.  Take Occupy Wall Street, and their many sympathetic responses in other cities.  It is a Privilege, that you are allowed to continue this protest.  It has already been demonstrated in Oakland, LA, New York, and DC that these people are a menace.  There have been Rapes, and Thefts a plenty, and the sheer sanitation issue should have caused civic leaders to close down these events long ago.  Be that as it may, they are allowed to continue at the tolerance of their local government and local citizens.   They do not have a Right to vagrancy.  

Likewise when the police finally do move in many of the Unwashed, feel the need to "resist".  Though they will say peacefully, I would argue otherwise.  Again there is no Right to keep you from being arrested for "using your Freedom of Speech".  Indeed, I could be drunk off my ass and telling everyone that "I hate [insert racial epitaph here] i wish they would all [bleep] Die"  believe it or not even though that speech is protected I can still be arrested.  Drunk and Disorderly.  Sucks.  But back to the Unwashed Masses, if you impede the police from doing their duty, unless said duty involves shooting babies, or flinging cats off a bridge, you do not have the Right to resist.  You certainly can do that, but have to understand that there will be consequences to your actions.  

It has become increasingly clear that we have no clue what the hell the founders meant anymore.  Take the example of cruel and unusual punishment.  I take it to mean that if I steal I'm not going to have my right hand (the hand you don't wipe with in Arab culture) taken off.  I do not take it to mean that if I commit a crime I'm going to get a nice cozy cell with cable TV or else I have to be released.  When the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decreed that California had to release 32,000 inmates because of overcrowding I went to look. These men were in open bays with wall lockers.  If the 9th Circuit court wanted to see over crowding they should have seen COP Bushmaster 1, where we'd stick 20 guys in a room, where there was barely any room to fit said 20 cots.  Cruel and Unusual Punishment does not protect one from harship they might have to face because they committed a crime. 

What our country is, what our values are, are slowly eroding.  We have lost the JFK's that told you to go out and do for your fellow man, and accepted the Clinton and Obama's that feel its somehow a crime if the government does not make sure your every little need is met.  Our Rights have become this jumble of misunderstood ideologies, which have somehow translated into "do whatever the hell you want and if anyone tries to stop you they're obviously Nazi Fascists!".  "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" is replaced by "where's the Gub'ment?"   Here's a news flash.  There are 600 people making policy in Washington.  There are 300 MILLION Americans.  Even if the Government wanted to there's no way in hell it can even begin to address every single citizen's needs or wishes.  It is not a Right, that the Federal Government will save you from your bad decisions.  Nor is it a Privilege.  

When it comes to the Constitution, I think more Americans need to actually RTFM (Read the F**king Memo) or this society is doomed.   

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I have PTSD. I am still your guardian.

There was a pretty good Article over at the Rino Den, called "I have PTSD. . . So What".  It's actually a pretty good read.  But here's the bottom line.  In our country there is an irrational fear of our Veterans.  maybe it is only in a small subset of our society but it is very real nonetheless.  Take a recent incident where a Vet calls a suicide hotline.  SWAT breaks down his door.  TAH did a pretty good piece on it, but this isn't the first time.  Pima county Sheriffs did one of the sloppiest Door Charges ever and killed a Former Marine.  Why did they fire over 100 rounds into him?   Weed.  And they knew he was a Marine. 

I have, and struggle with my own form of PTSD.  It helps to work out to have a goal to drive towards.  It helps that I know that I'm not alone.  It helps to know that I am still the guardian of these people around me, even if in a much reduced capacity.  This is how I get through.  It isn't easy.  There are days where I (still) wish I had never made it out of Rustamayah.  I still can't listen to "Sweet Home Alabama" without crying my eyes out.  But I am not, repeat NOT going to go on a rampage.

Do hippies and the like make me so angry I want do cause *ahem* "grievous bodily injury".  Oh you bet.  I'd even piss on their corps afterward. . . in my fantasy.  I will never actually act on that.  Why?  Because despite the fact that I find their form of humanity the most despicable form, and that their words are the most insanely offensive. . . I get a kick out of reminding them that if they were in the countries they purport to love so much they'd have been hung disemboweled stoned then shot.  But I also know its a small victory (that they are totally ignorant of) that they can say these things without fear.  In the end I realize that despite the truly terrible things they say about me and mine. . . I'M BETTER THAN THEY ARE

PTSD is not a death sentance.  Its not even really that bad for most of us.  Sure we sit with our backs to the door, and understand that saftey is an illusion, but at the end of the day we are still strong.  We are wise.  We are the best America has, and it will remain that way.  I encourage you to look around your work place.  Find the one that is the most dependable man or woman on your staff.  How much you want to bet they're a Veteran, or in a family of Veterans?  I have said it before, and I will say it again.  The only way to combat this stereotype is to stand up and Speak up.

EGO Sum usquequaque a Miles militis

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Glad to see it (FINALLY)

Ok so this post will require a bit of Background.  First.  12 July 2007, if you haven't seen the video, then here's the short version:  A couple of insurgents were getting ready to jump Mortar Platoon 2-16 Infantry regiment who were sitting in a blocking position supporting Bravo Company.  They were spotted by two Apaches from 1-227 Aviation Regiment.  What followed were three distinct engagements.  The first, was pretty obvious, and in the process a Ruiters photographer was killed.  Following that there was a van that pulled up that started loading the wounded.  This was engaged as well.  Lastly there were a bunch of Military Age Males with full on combat rigs (this particular part is almost completely ignored) they went into a building then got fired up by hellfire missiles. Here's the Video that shitstain Manning released (not I put out the unedited video, because the edited one is utter horse shit)

ok so on the face of it there's a lot to talk about here.  Is it disturbing?  Yes, a vehicle appears to drive over a body (you really can't see in a humvee), the children were pretty bad, it was shocking, and you can hear Bushmaster 6 immediately get on the radio and begin evac.  Then you also see a lot of other activity.  There's a lot of things I could say (because I was there).

I'm going to be honest after the video was released and blasted on the news I had some SERIOUS issues.  Shortly afterwards I called McCord and said something to the essence of "can you believe this shit?"  well he said don't worry about it.  I thought that was the end of it.  He went ant talked to the media and I got a little worried.  A little while later ADM Mike Mullen came to WVU and I confronted him about the video and asked how they would protect us from this slander.  He actually gave me a coin after that (never have to pay at a dining in AGAIN!!!) well that got my name out to reporters. 

I got contacted three times about the incident.  One of the people that contacted me was James Spione, who was creating a video called Incident in New Baghdad.  Well I had my doubts on the whole thing, he didn't have money to come to me and I didn't have money to go to him.  I genuinely believe it was a scheduling issue, not anything untoward.  Well that leads to this video.

Yeah guess what.  It's nominated for an academy award.  That's pretty eye opening.  I take some serious issue with McCord talking about Craig, who was my guy, and not in his platoon.  He was nowhere near Craig when he died, and if you've read my post "my side" you'll understand that I took his death pretty hard.  Then this shit happened.  5 days later, Harrelson died.  So i tend to over react when this particular time period is talked about. 

Well apparently the Nomination has spurred some of my former comrades into action.  I tried *desperately* to get them involved when Spione was actually making the documentary, but no one thought anything of it.  Right now it's just a Facebook group 2-16 Veterans Against Liars (i.e. Ethan McCord).

I think that it's too little too late, but I shot this off to as many people as I know.  Now its a bit of a waiting game to see if anything happens. 

Also here is my account for you.  If its a bit odd I had to use Paint to cut it down some.  I'm not going to rewrite the whole thing so just take a look here.