I read all the breathless headlines about looming civil war in Iraq and I wonder, so what?
Firstly the Sunni reprobates have been conducting one for a goodly while, and the remaining Sunnis have not distinguished themselves with their opposition to the carnage. We put considerable effort into solving this problem politically, but the recalcitrance of the Sunnis has been a constant drag on these efforts. I certainly don't advocate warring on civilians, but as Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) now represent an increasing and likely soon the dominant force in the country, I would not want to be living in the Sunni areas where the bad guys operate.
The Sunnis have a serious choice to make, and the clock is tick, tick, ticking. The time bomb that goes off will have largely been of their own devising. While many voted and they have engaged in the political process, too little substantive opposition to the bad guys has been shown, and obviously far too many support the terrorists.
Increasingly Zarqawi has had to fill the ranks of his group with Iraqis as we have ventilated or captured many of his leaders. This puts the cross hairs squarely on the former oppressors of all Iraq, and I would have no qualms about pulling our folks back to their bases, while the ISF lay some smackdown on the whole Sunni Triangle. The ISF represent the legitimate arm of the legitimate Iraqi government, and if you want to call operations by them against the hiding places of the Baathist scum attempting to regain the keys to the rape rooms civil war, then so be it!
That's what some of my friends still in the Special Ops community have been calling the War on Terror since 9/11 (and maybe since Khobar - I just may not have been paying attention). We're fighting the crusaders this time - crusaders that want us either converted to their religion or dead.
And our fear and unwillingness to fight in various ways may be our undoing.
Osama and his murderers want to drive a wedge between the West and Islam, and guess what?
Believe me, there's times where this slightly right of center guy wants to say to the Islamic world, "You want a fight? Good! You've got one." (Just insert a few choice expletives and you've pretty much got it.)
Then on other days, you have people like me on this blog asking sincerely, "where are the moderate Muslims speaking out against these atrocities, or denouncing these violent riots attacking American embassies over cartoons published in Denmark, or working towards reform for women or religious tolerance in their countries?", you get some commenter who weighs in with two or four links of quotes from moderate Muslims.
That doesn't quite cut it. They either aren't there or aren't being heard (thanks, media!).
But rational, tolerant people do live in Muslim countries. I know they do. I have friends in Turkey, Jordan, India, and Indonesia (and here in the States) that are socially liberal moderates who are devoutly Muslim. Not to mention muslim soldiers of countries that I've served with and trained with...And they are terrified of both the extremists in their lands and our deaf ears here in the States.
How in the hell did we get here?
You can blame our media for displaying the worst of the Islamic extremists daily (and for bowing to the pressure of the worst of them - they're cartoons for crying out loud), and you can also blame the theocracies for feeding the blood lust and keeping their followers uneducated and duped in order to retain or build power. You can blame their governments for not protecting the moderates and the socially liberal among their societies. You can blame the rich oil sheiks for playing geopolitical games with their billions. And you can blame the moderates themselves for being cowards, much like the cowards in our own country who acquiesce at the first sign of a fight - whether that fight is taking down a murdering tyrant or cow-towing to the Politically Correct Police.
Have we had enough BS from the extremists to taint our feelings towards every Muslim in the world? Have we let the media influence us so?
I doubt it, but that's the story that's being told now.
This Tipping Point just points out that Osama is winning as long as we let him drive that wedge between us and the Islamic world. He's got the media figured out. He's got the right people in place in the theocracies. We've given that bastard enough ground already in the Reverse Crusades.
After the first crusaders took Jerusalem in the eleventh century, a Kurd Sunni from Tikrit by the name of Saladin took it and much of the crusader gained territory back. Saladin, even seen as a conquering enemy, was revered by European courts for his grace, kindness and intelligence. They regarded him as a Knight. In actuality, he embodied more of the gentle and honorable traits of a Knight than most of the European gentry sent off to rid the world of non-Christians.
In the Reverse Crusades, our Saladin is not a "who", but a "what". Our Saladin must be the idea that all men and women were created equal and free.
We need to wage both war and peace at the same time. Both require strength of will, both require passion and understanding. Both require love. And both require that we understand that some people just need their chops busted AND some people need to be protected.
The Clash of Civizations has not occurred yet, but it is coming. It.is.coming.
Brigadier General Robert L. Scott, who wrote the famous book God Is My Co-Pilot has passed away. General Scott was one of several local aviation legends, and was an influence on a number of future pilots, including myself. His determination to fly, and to fight, and the unique way in which he reached his dream, were an inspiration indeed. One of the first plane models I ever built was a P-40.
One of the best things that came from taking an unexpected year to stay with my Dad (other than time with Dad) was that I finally got to meet the man behind the legend. He worked at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, and cheerfully met with all the visitors he could. He wasn't what I would call shy about himself and what he had done (which was more than most know), but he preferred to talk of others, in particular his hero: Lt. General Claire L. Chennault. I had hoped he would be there the day Tammi and I went, but alas that was not to be. A fond memory of mine was to receive an invitation to his 90th birthday party at the museum, and it was quite the party.
He was positively gleeful in telling of his breaking away from most official Communist Chinese handlers years back, and not only walking most of the route of the Great Wall, but in returning to AVG country and putting in place a plaque honoring General Chennault at a special spot.
His was a story of perseverance, of striving to do well, and doing what he felt most strongly was right. Thank you "Colonel" for the inspiration, for being yourself for so many, and for keeping the history alive.
Rest in the light, and know that you will be missed.
I hesitated and actually quivered a bit as I contemplated writing this, but honesty means taking on your icons too. William F. Buckley Jr. is one of the most brilliant and entertaining thinkers in American history. When he recently wrote a column saying we need to admit defeat in Iraq, I was disheartened. He has opposed the endeavor from the start but now he moves in a direction not reflective of the actual situation. I realize that I step way above my station to say that we should not take his view, but I don't rise to gainsay WFB. I rise to gainsay those who have held powerful views during their lives and fought the good fight, but counsel against action in their advancing years. For WFB it could be simply the solidification of a life of conservatism, although he seemed considerably more keen for action during the anti-communist rather than the current anti-Islamist battle, or maybe that was just Blackford Oakes.
Yitzhak Rabin transitioned from hawk to dove as he aged, and eventually opposed the same policies that gave him the security to oppose them. Former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger underwent the same pacification and opposed the Iraq War warning of the cost to humanity and the tens of thousands of casualties we would suffer taking Baghdad. Now I am not saying WFB is becoming a dove, but I think he is taking a more fatalistic view than is warranted. People's views often evolve from the heady world-changing activist days of youth, to the grind of middle age where every good thing must be earned, to the twilight where it's tougher to see why you should upset any stability.
Update: This piece sounds more down on Bode than I actually feel, I openly invite him to come party with Matt & I in Chicago. But I hated the Nike ads, for their glorification of an I don't give a fark attitude. For a rip by someone who is really down on the Bodacious one read this.
Bode Miller gave an exemplary reminder of the difference between an Olympic athlete and a self-absorbed, over-exposed, ski bum.
I figger Nike spent $10-20 million or more on the JoinBode.com campaign during the Winter Olympics. The commercials were full of the Bode-man spewing bushels of new age tripe about how he is just a free spirit, he trains when he feels like it, he parties when he feels like it, and he basically just surfs the Karmic wave dude. Nike assumed he would rack up some golds, get on the cover of Sports Illustrated and they could market slacker-chic to America and the world. Don't get me wrong, he is a great skiier, but Nike focused on his Me, I, My philosophy and how this powers him to amazing feats.
Problem was, he sucked like a Hoover. He didn't even contend in any of the five races he was in, and now I will be quite interested to see what Nike does with all their Bode booty. I really hold no beef with the Bodemeister himself, he was just exploiting the foolish folks at Nike and their insatiable need to create new shite we have no need for. I hope he gave the money they paid him to someone other than the dude who grows that wicked hydroponic though. Ah heck, he can always give ski lessons to rich maroons in Aspen and regale them with how he "rocked" in Torino.
I don't begrudge him his flakestyle life, there is something quintessentially American about it. I just enjoyed watching it all blow up in Nike's face. They ruined pro basketball, by paying prodigy dunkensteins with zero basketball skills, tens of millions. At one point Nike was Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods embodying the best as athletes and sportsmen, now they offer the chance to JoinBode on the couch to watch the medals ceremonies. HA! - Uncle J
Filmaker Wants to Interview soldiers of Polish heritage
Posted By Blackfive
If you know of someone who would be a good candidate for a documentary (for a Polish TV station) about Polish people serving in Armies around the world, email me and I'll put you in touch with the filmaker working on the documentary.
He's specifically looking for American military people of Polish heritage or Polish citizens serving in the American military, and he's very interested in those who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
HouseholdSix has a post about Cindy Sheehan bringing her protest to Germany outside of Landstuhl Army Medical Center. Landstuhl is usually the first stop for our wounded coming back from the war on their way to Walter Reed or Bethesda or Brooke (San Antonio).
Sheehan is trying to get Germans to not support the war by demonstrating where our wounded can see her. The goal is to get Germany to deny the use of American bases in support of the war...por ejemplo, she wants Germany to deny our use of a hospital to care for our wounded coming back from Iraq.
Evidently, Sheehan wants our troops to die instead of receiving care to stabilize enough to survive the flight back to the States. Once this horrific intent gets enough attention from us, watch her deny it or claim that she's being used by other groups, but that's the purpose of the protest.
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.