Below is a Navy Chaplain's report about his short stay in Afghanistan. He's a Rabbi assigned to care for the spiritual warfare of Marines - assisting with the jewish holidays. Thought you might find it interesting:
Thursday, 24 September
Finding a computer is a real challenge – and then hoping the internet is up is the next challenge. They do have an internet tent which is very hot, crowded and very slow…so, this borrowed account is my best chance.
Getting out of Camp [redacted] was the last event I last wrote about – and I have since learned that this is the norm. So there we were, having missed the 3:30 p.m. flight and told to wait until 5:00 p.m. or so, when we were then told that 7:05 p.m. would be the next possibility. Now, if you want to walk about 2 miles across the runway to the other airfield that launches planes (not helicopters) there should be a C-130 transport plane that is supposed to fly to Camp [redacted]. Was it the heat, the dust, the walk or that I just didn’t believe anything anyone said, and that they just wanted us to stop bothering them? So we stayed put and we waited...
We've seen a few new blogs and sites come up recently that put out some pipe-hittin', hard-chargin' expose's and information on many groups (just go see BigGovernment.com re: ACORN) and the new Legion blog is working their way there.
The BurnPit, over at burnpit.legion.org, lays it out on those VERY leftist organizations that purport to support us vets, but really do nothing of the sort. In fact, they RARELY even have true 'vets' involved. Sickening. Seventh Son writes writes a blistering piece about a few of our 'fave' groups. Only a group that has told the President face-to-face ''No'' can pull this kind of piece off and be totally honest in it.
The Kitchen Dispatch has up a post that anyone interested in the care the troops receive needs read. Thanks to Soldiers' Angels Germany and others, we have a very good idea of the care they get once out of theatre, but this is a chance to see the care they get before they evac. My thanks to Kitchen Dispatch and her husband for deciding to do this post.
Aircrew and plane captains preflight an HS-7 Dusty Dog SH-60 onboard USS Harry S Truman during a recent at-sea period. Those helo bubbas get a lot of grief at times while plying their trade in their "million bolts and washers all flying in close formation", and while I never had to opportunity to avail myself of their aircrew rescue skills, they are always a welcome sight to see when flying around the boat.
I was listening to talk radio last week and one of these talkie talk kinds of guys, I don't remember his name, was asking listeners to call in with their opinions about what to do when traditional media dies, because nobody wants to pay for subscriptions or advertising, and when that happens there will be no way to get news, which will make the free functioning of our liberal democracy in danger or something like that. Someone called in and said, well, hey no worries, because he'd just get his information from blogs. And then the talkie kind of guy says yeah, but what will the bloggers blog about when the the old skool journalists don't have the money to spend time in Iraq or Afghanistan, or whatever, and there are no stories or "hard news" for the bloggers to get bloggy and linky with. Touche. And then this stoner guy called in, and said he'd be able to get "hard news" from Twitter. But then the talkie guy ridiculed him and made fun of Twitter, and the stoner guy was too stoned to defend his point, which could easily have been accomplished by mentioning Mike Yon or Michael Totten, or the fact that much of the news we got out of Iran during their stolen election came from Iranians using Twitter. Heck, Twitter was the news of that stolen election.
Fast forward to today.
I'm hitting up my Google News and I find a story from Reuters, written by a fellow named Steve Holland. And I come across this quote:
"The president is going to hear opinions from people he trusts and respects who are likely to be at odds with each other. In the end he has to make the decision," said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A fairly innocuous quote, as I'm sure you'll agree. Which struck me as odd: Why on earth would an administration official feel compelled to give such an innocuous quote on condition of anonymity? I can think of just two possible answers. The first is that there is no such administration official, and that Mr. Holland pulled the quote out of a paper bag. And the second is that the administration official was so uninterestingly junior and unimportant that Mr. Holland was embarrassed to mention him as a source. Either way, it strikes me that hard news isn't quite up to the august standards set by Dan Rather back in the day.
-- Uber Pig
Wow -- I just received an email from Dan Rather:
Dear Mr. Pig, I was able to set up a Google News Feed to show whenever people write about me in news articles or on their blogs, and so stumbled across your bloggings. I appreciated your musings on the state of journalism as well as your implicit acknowledgement of the high standards I set -- Standards which are still higher than a flock of giraffes on roller blades. No doubt you have followed the railroading given to me by that harridan Les Moonves of CBS and that scrunched up old ball sac Sumner Redstone of Viacom, as well as the absurd ruling laid down by the New York State court of appeals:
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York state appeals court on Tuesday dismissed former TV newsman Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS Corp in which Rather claimed he was made a scapegoat in a scandal over a 2004 report on then-President George W. Bush's military record.
The ruling on Tuesday by a panel of judges of the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division said Rather's $70 million complaint should be dismissed in its entirety and that a lower court erred in denying CBS's motion to throw out the lawsuit.
Rather says CBS breached his contract by not giving him enough on-air assignments after he was removed as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" in March 2005.
The appeals court ruled he failed to sufficiently support his claim that he lost business opportunities due to CBS's failure to release him to seek other employment.
Rather sued CBS, parent of the CBS television network, Viacom and others in September 2007, claiming he had been made a scapegoat to "pacify the White House." CBS was part of Viacom until the companies split in 2006.
Well my good friend Uber, I'm not going to take it lying down. I'm tougher than week-old East Texas road kill. Which is why I sued them both in the first place. And now that I've become an expert on the Interwebs, I've been able to do my own research. I'll be appealing to the US Supreme Court now, using new evidence I was able to uncover by following Moonves and Redstone on Twitter. Boy I tell you, I have them cornered tighter than Bernie Madoff wearing spandex with these direct quotations. If their hands aren't dog-dick red then I don't know what is. From February 4, 2005:
@lesbianmoonunit is looking at this contract he has with Dan Rather, trying to figure out which turd burglars in the legal department allowed the clause in there about maintaining his air time.
@andrewheyward has it all under control. Schieffer is in the house!
June 02, 2006:
@sumnerballsac is thinking Dan Rather's salary is pretty high.
June 04, 2006
@sumnerballsac is wondering what to do about these forged National Guard documents
@lesbianmoonunit Hit me up on AIM and we'll figure out who to scapegoat. I'm thinking Cheney will need a big name to be pacified.
@Sumnerballsac You mean Dan?
June 06, 2006
@lesbianmoonunit Happy "D-Day!" it is, then. The beginning of the end. As long as if by "D" you understand that I mean "Dan." Heh.
Jun 30, 2006
@sumnerballsac Rachel Maddow wants to hire Dan Rather! Hilarious. That will be a cold day in hell.
So again, thanks for keeping the faith and I'll keep you updated as this fights gets into later rounds
U.S. sailors from SEAL Teams 1 and 7, Special Boat Teams 12 and 20, and medical personnel assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force - Philippines, assist residents in Manila, Philippines, Sept. 27, 2009. The sailors used two boats to assist more than 52 people, including a woman in labor, elderly residents and children following flooding that destroyed homes and displaced thousands of people in the area. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Ramsey
"Out of every 100 men, ten shouldn't even be there, Eighty are just targets, Nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back." - Hericletus, circa 500 BC
Sergeant Nelson brought them back...below are historical links to this case to free Sergeant Jermaine Nelson:
In all honesty, I don't know - I would guess it would depend on a lot of things, but primarily the perceived level of the Iranian threat and the military assessment of whether such a strike would be a) viable and b) effective.
All that follows is speculation based on the military aspect of any such strike. I don't doubt the Israeli will or ability but I do have grave doubts about about some specific and difficult problems within the situation that render the structure of the IDF incapable of performing the mission because of them.
We're all familiar with the famous Osirik strike by the IDF in which Iraq's nuclear capability was taken out in one fell swoop. Iraq had helpfully grouped all of its nuclear facilities in one area and the Israelis destroyed them. They did the same thing to a Syrian attempt last year.
So, as many ask, why can't they do the same thing to Iran. Primarily because Iran took note of what happened in Iraq and purposely spread its nuclear facilities all around its country. It eliminated the possibility of a single strike crippling its efforts toward realizing its nuclear goals. As you can see on the map, hitting the key Iranian nuclear sites would require a bombing campaign, not just a single strike.
The recent revelation also points to another probability. It appears that Iran is building redundancy into their nuclear facilities. Nothing says there are only two enrichment facilities. In fact the existence of two argues that there may be more that haven't been discovered yet. But it does make the point that even if key known facilities are hit and destroyed in Iran, there is absolutely no assurance that those strikes will have destroyed Iran's capability.
Then there's the distance involved. Even with Saudi Arabia supposedly telling Israel it will turn a blind eye to their incursions into Saudi airspace in order to hit Iran, we're talking about a limited ability to do so without refueling. Israel has some converted Boeing 707s it uses for the job but certainly not enough to support a campaign of this size. And while it has developed technology with which it can mount external fuel tanks to weapons stations, that obviously trades fuel for weaponry, meaning more aircraft will be necessary to do the job.
That limitation, coupled with the way Iran has spread its nuclear facilities out, means Israel would have to commit to a bombing campaign as I mentioned earlier. Several hundred sorties are likely to be necessary to degrade all the facilities necessary to neutralize Iran's nuclear capabilities. I say several hundred because part of getting the strike aircraft to their targets will entail other aircraft flying air defense suppression missions. What we call "wild weasel" missions would require other aircraft to clear a path for the strike mission by taking out Iranian air defense radar capability prior to the insertion of the strike package.
All of that requires tremendous coordination. Once the first strike goes in, whether successful or not, the defense level of the Iranians will rise to its highest levels. At that point, follow on strikes would find getting to their targets unscathed to be a much more difficult job. And, of course, there's the necessity of staging search and rescue operations for downed pilots. Given the countries the IDF would have to fly over, even with permission, staging SAR would be next to impossible.
So, in my opinion, the combination of distance, the requirement of multiple sorties against spread out and redundant Iranian facilities and no assurance of success argues pretty strongly against an Israeli military strike. That's not to say that the Israelis won't figure out a way to do it, do it well and survive it. They've surprised us before, but I'd suggest the odds aren't in their favor.
Of course, last but not least, any strike by Israel, whether or not successful, is an act of war which Iran will seize upon to not only step up its proxy war against Israel, but use as a basis for a direct attack on that nation at a future time and place of its choosing. The question will be when, not if and it will certainly include speculation as to the type of weaponry Iran will use to reap its revenge.
I listened to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu address the UN this past week. I heard the palpable disgust he has for the members of that body and their refusal to act to thwart Iran's nuclear threat. But I also heard a little pleading in there as I think Israel has come to the realization that this is a situation in which they don't have the military capacity to take care of business. He was quietly pleading with the US and the rest of the world to actually step-up and prevent a possible nuclear catastrophe that could, as Iran has claimed to desire, wipe his country from the map. Israel has come to the realization that perhaps their audacity and bravery won't be enough this time. They may need some help. And with the revelation that Iran now has solid fuel technology for their long range missiles, they may need help very quickly.
Where it will come from, unfortunately, is not evident to me or to them. They may end up having to take a short-term, high risk chance and live with the long-term no-win consequences.
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.