"Where did we find such men? They are typical of this land as the Founding Fathers were typical. We found them in our streets, in the offices, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms." - Ronald Reagan, January 25, 1974 speaking of returned POWs from Vietnam
Here's a story that's incredible - a Staff Sergeant, severely wounded during a battle in Baghdad in December, was retired while in a coma because the doctors believed he was going to die. They amputated both of his legs...and he came through it and survived.
"If they hadn't retired me, I'd still wear the uniform, even with no legs."
The BBC recently published exerpts of editorials from newspapers in Pakistan. It is insteresting reading. It seems they are very concerned about American troops within the borders of Pakistan searching for Osama bin Laden.
Is the concern because they want to do the job instead of us?
Is the concern for the lives of our troops?
Of course not...
It is to be welcomed that the government has rejected the participation of US forces in the operation. But, if the US forces decide to enter our territory in the name of hot pursuit, what will be our strategy? Will we try to repulse US forces with all our might? If so, then what measure will be adopted to avoid a big war? - Pakistan
Great. You worry about us pursuing mass murderers (and basically because you can't do it yourselves) and you wonder about your ability to repel us? Good luck with that. I particularly enjoyed the comment about 'a big war'. Talk about illusions of grandeur. Haven't you heard of the 'Mother of All Battles'?
Next, John Hawkins has his Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select The Dinner Guests From Hell posted. I was asked to participate but because of events beyond my control this weekend, I was unable to participate. It's a great list. The top ten is what I would have had except for Chomsky. Just didn't think about him.
"The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions. They're for tax cuts and against them. They're for NAFTA and against NAFTA. They're for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act. They're in favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts." - President Bush Addressing Republican Governors, February 23, 2004, Washington, D.C.
“On September 11th, 2001, terrorists left their mark of murder on my country … With the passing of months and years, it is the natural human desire to resume a quiet life and to put that day behind us, as if waking from a dark dream. The hope that danger has passed is comforting, is understanding, and it is false … These terrorists target the innocent and they kill by the thousands. And they would, if they gain the weapons they seek, kill by the millions and not be finished. … The evil is in plain sight … We will face these threats with open eyes, and we will defeat them.” - President Bush in London, Nov 19, 2003
We are not in the middle of a 'crisis'. This is not a 'contingency op'. We are a nation at war. Many don't understand this premise.
We have now rotated 9 of our 10 active Army divisions to Iraq and Afghanistan. The only division that won't be rotated will be the 2nd Infantry Division which has responsibility for Korea. More than 128,000 reservists have been activated since 9/11. More than 300,000 soldiers have been deployed. We are at war.
We are facing an enemy that is committed to preserving the ulitmate authority of religion, intolerant of any other faith, opposed to modernizing ideas from the West, and willing to murder thousands of innocent people. If we faced less than one percent of the Islamic population of the world, our enemy combatants could still number in the millions.
Then, there is North Korea and China. Two of the most repressive and irresponsbile regimes that the world has ever known.
We, as a nation, seem to continually evolve and depend upon technology and advances in weaponry to wage our fights for us. But, our indulgences in this arena have proved that it is the Soldiers and Marines that are needed now more than ever. We simply need more troops to protect our freedom. The Pentagon just cancelled the Comanche helicopter program. This comes on the heels of the cancellation of the Crusader missle system. This is the right train of thought - cancel the expensive tech programs and focus on what works. I believe we'll need more than 30.000 more troops in the active force. We'll need to spend more than 87 billion on the Iraq reconstruction. At least the focus has shifted, and this is a monumental (or unheard of) effort for the Pentagon. Secretary Rumsfeld is, for a lack of better words, kicking ass and taking names.
What worries me now is that America just might elect another "feel good" president.
What I am afraid of is a president who won't expand and improve the military force because he lacks the moral clarity to do what is needed. To fight and win.
Call it a "dark dream" or just never forgetting 9/11. We can't aford to get past those feelings until the day dawns where Al Qaeda is destroyed and the mechanisms that allowed Al Qaeda to fester are no more. Then, we can wake to a new day.
Until that day, President Bush is the only one who can lead us to the right path to wake from the "dark dream".
I recently found your web page via an article on MSNBC. I'm a twenty-year veteran of the Air Force who is trying to get the word out to Ohioans in the military re proposed legislation called the Ohio Patriot Plan.
The legislation is geared to help active duty, reserve and national guard personnel assigned outside of the state, and to also help their families. Among other things, it allows children of parents who have been
deployed to remain in their home school district, and enables college students who have been recalled in the middle of a semester to receive military leave from school - rather than forfeit tuition or be otherwise penalized for serving their country. It also allows deployed personnel to cancel cell phone contracts without penalty.
I've attached a summary of the law. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have on how I can get the word out to military personnel from Ohio who are serving in Iraq and elsewhere. The bill co-sponsor, Representative Peter Ujvagi (firstname.lastname@example.org) from the Toledo area, is looking to hear from military personnel who favor the law. He is looking to build as much support as possible as soon as possible.
Believe it or not, there is a chance the bill may die in committee which is one reason I am trying to help drum up support.
Thank you for any help or suggestions you can provide. God bless you for your service to our country.
I will put the Ohio Patriot Plan in the extended section of this post. If you live in Ohio please contact Representative Peter Ujvagi and tell him of your support for the plan. While the representative may want to hear from the military on this issue, I think it would be important for ANY person living in Ohio to voice their support for this plan. Our military men and women (and their families) deserve no less!
Reuters has an article based on info from American and Pakistani military sources:
U.S., Pakistan Deny They're Closing in on Osama
By Mike Collett-White and David Brunnstrom
KABUL/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's whereabouts remain a mystery to U.S. and Pakistani forces as they crank up efforts to flush out al Qaeda and Taliban rebels hiding near Afghanistan's eastern frontier, officials said on Monday.
U.S. military officials in Kabul have boldly predicted his capture in 2004, and Britain's Sunday Express weekly reported that the world's most wanted man was "boxed in" by U.S. and British special forces in the rugged Pakistani mountains along the Afghan border.
The newspaper said bin Laden was within a 10 mile by 10 mile area, being monitored by a U.S. spy satellite.
"As far as the reports of Osama bin Laden's location, I don't take much credence in them because if we knew where he was in Afghanistan, we would go get him and if the Pakistanis knew where he was in Pakistan they would go get him," U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Bryan Hilferty said...
I agree with him. If we knew where he was (with his operators), we would be on him like Michael Moore on a donut.
But then, the Australian says that the Pakistanis are closing on Al Qaeda:
PAKISTAN has conceded it is stepping up its hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qa'ida fugitives, massing thousands of troops along its border with Afghanistan to try to pin them down.
More than 8000 paramilitary soldiers have taken up positions in South Waziristan, a semi-autonomous tribal region that has become a sanctuary for al-Qa'ida and Taliban rebels. More than 4000 regular troops are deployed in the area.
American troops have also stepped up activities across the border in the Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia and Paktika. However, Pakistani officials denied reports that American soldiers would also be participating in the offensive inside Pakistan.
CIA director George Tenet visited Islamabad in secret last week to discuss the joint operation with senior officials.
Lieutenant-General David Barno, the top US officer in Afghanistan, said he hoped Pakistan's efforts, combined with a change in US counter-insurgency tactics in Afghanistan, would create a "hammer-and-anvil" effect to trap al-Qa'ida fighters between US and Pakistani forces.
Seriously, if we (or the Pakistanis) got bin Laden, I would take the day off and celebrate. It would be a good day.
So, are we closing in on him or not? Probably not. As some of you have pointed out, these stories could be leaks designed to cause more communications amongst Al Qaeda - which would give us more intercept opportunities.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.