1 Post That Started It All

Pirates as plunder

We have been letting the pirates run the ocean for too damn long. Our occasional feats of brilliance, like when the SEALs wished the Maersk hijackers a Happy Easter, are brutally overshadowed by episodes like the recent slaughter of four Americans while we motored along behind them, and the more recent capture of seven Danes. We have had a few successes trying these wankers either in African courts or bringing them to the US, but both of those plans are full of holes. Kenya decided they didn't want to be our trash disposal service and for most of these Somalis, US prison would be a Shangri La.

No the real problem is interdiction. We don't want to be negotiating with pirates holding hostages, ideally we should be circling over wreckage counting dead pirates before the sharks get there. We have made some tentative baby steps in that direction and the Navy has floated the idea of hitting the pirate base camps, which prompted the following response from our resident SEAL.

Froggy said... Existing technology cannot measure the level of AWESOME that would be Navy SEALs on a Somali pirate hunt.

Now I am not holding my breath that our government is going to unleash the SEALs of War against these parasites, it goes against too many diplomatic and international niceties for our timid leaders. You would think this is the simplest of problems and custom-built for one of these trans-national collections of tea-sippping, petit-four nibbling, meddlers telling formal lies in formal wear. I mean if we can't agree that piracy is a scourge and all necessary means should be employed to stop it, then WTF good are these groups? I answer my own question.

So cue the scary music and enter the bad guy. Erik Prince is a super villain, he is a Christian crusader with a private Army to do his bidding, he is a cold-blooded uber-mercenary, and purveyor of evil. I know this is so, for I have read it in the NY Times. Apparently now he has made common ground with the pirates and will be assisting them in their predations.

Erik Prince, the founder of the international security giant Blackwater Worldwide, is backing an effort by a controversial South African mercenary firm to insert itself into Somalia's bloody civil war by protecting government leaders, training Somali troops, and battling pirates and Islamic militants there, according to American and Western officials.

Wait, what's that you say? He is working against the pirates? Why would he want to do that? Oh yeah, because nobody else will. It shouldn't really surprise anyone that a man who has spent his adult life working in the field of maritime badassery would have an objection to piracy and would be willing to help eradicate it. But that is not the media narrative, so we get spin and hit pieces rather than analysis.We have quite a few well informed, experienced folks around here who think that Congress ought to be cranking out a few Letters of Marque for pirate hunting. If Mr. Prince can organize a posse and help take care of this problem, well fine by me.

Deebow is on board with a nice succinct hunting license.

French comments on US military

We at Blackfive have a long history of showing love to our French allies. Actually since Sarkozy was elected it has been kinda fun to have them back on the team. Here is an article about what their troops think of ours. Good stuff.

Subject: French view of US Military by Jean-Marc Liotier


American troops in Afghanistan through the eyes of a French OMLT infantryman

  The US often hears echoes of worldwide hostility against the application
of its foreign policy, but seldom are they reached by the voices of those
who experience first hand how close we are to the USA.  In spite of
contextual political differences and conflicting interests that generate
friction, we do share the same fundamental values - and when push comes to
shove that is what really counts.

  Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams)
infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground.  In contrast
with the Americans, the French soldiers don't seem to write much online - or
maybe the proportion is the same but we just have less people deployed.
Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony which is why I
decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a
glimpse of the way European soldiers see them.
Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand impressions of a soldier
in contact - but that only makes it more authentic.

  Here is the original French article,
http://omlt3-kdk3.over-blog.com/article-22935665.html  and here is my

  "We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they
are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose
name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it
is a unit just like any other.  But we live with them and got to know them,
and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most
renowned units of the US Army - one that the
movies brought to the public as series showing "ordinary soldiers thrust
into extraordinary events".  Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how
is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT
every day?

  Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on.
This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support
company.  They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of
view the language they speak is not even English.  How many times did I have
to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying
various pronunciations of a seemingly common word?  Whatever state they are
from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis
situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

  Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and
creatine (Heh.  More like Waffle House and McDonalds) - they are all heads
and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo.  Our
frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of
us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

  Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken
to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this
outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley.  Honor, motherland - everything
here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the
outpost, just like the one on the post parcels.  Even if recruits often
originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here
has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner.
Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides
them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote
front-line location: books, chewing gums, razor blades, Gatorade, toothpaste
etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people
backs him in his difficult mission.

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All Things French - Blackfive's Encounter with a French Army General

Original Blogspot Posting - June 18, 2003

Back in 1992, I was a First Lieutenant (1LT) in the US Army. I was an Executive Officer - 2nd in Command of a Company - in the 3rd Infantry Division (3rd ID) and was headquartered in Wurzburg, Germany, which was nestled in the hills of the northern tip of Bavaria. It was the end of June, and I was getting ready to head back to the states.

Now, normally, when you are leaving one post for another, you receive about ten days administrative leave (read vacation or time off) in order to put your things in order - things like shipping your car back to the states, packing and shipping your belongings, and ensuring that you have properly filled out about ten reams of paperwork properly. It is during this standard, ten day period that you are considered untouchable for additional duty assignments. For all intents and purposes, you are supposed to be considered already gone...

Well, over the Fourth of July weekend, the 3rd ID was going to celebrate it's 75th Anniversary. Major General (MG) Keller, the Division Commander, was going to bring every living 3rd ID Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient to Germany. This meant that each MOH winner would need a junior officer as an escort. You guessed it, MG Keller caught me in his net for junior officers even though I was supposed to be left alone.

Please understand that is was a great duty to escort a MOH winner - so I didn't complain - hell, I wanted to meet the heroes and I ended up as escort officer for Ola Mize. He was a Sergeant when he received the MOH and ended his career in the Army as a Colonel. He was a great guy, very easy going and funny. I really liked being around him. I even had the Division Staff Duty Officer - charged with knowing everything that was going on at night and had keys to open every building - open the bowling alley on base for Colonel Mize at midnight so we could bowl and have a beer. After bowling, I dropped the colonel off at his VIP suite. I caught up with the other junior officers who escorted MOH winners that day, and the consensus was that every single one of them were great guys. All of us had been treated with enormous respect. Hell, I bowled and drank beers with an amazing American hero that I would have willingly carried on my back around the base.

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