If you are not regularly reading The Liberty Zone, you should be. There is a lot that can and should be said about the travesty that is the VA, and as usual, Nicki hits it out of the park with National Shame, Part II.
Bust Their Chops
It doesn't sound nearly so nice phrased that way, does it? It is far more blunt and honest though than the pablum of 'respecting other cultures.' The news has been full of the story, and in particular the case of SFC Martland.
My friend Nicki says what needs to be said over at The Liberty Zone. For me, I simply note that, in my opinion, for even an unofficial policy to be as widespread as this requires the willful ignorance of those in command, if not their outright encouragement. For it to become the defacto official policy, it requires acceptance at very high levels.
Go read Nicki, and share your thoughts. If you were over there and care to share, please do but you might want to use a non-work & non-personal computer to do so.
US Army soldiers take rest during patrol in Baghdad suburb, Monday Nov. 17, 2003. U.S. forces have reacted to the increasing attacks in which dozens of Americans and their allies have died by mounting a massive show of force in central and northern Iraq. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Ah, a paratrooper rendering the proper salute to the press. It brings tears to my eyes... Airborne! All the Way!
[Stephen] Nardizzi is an advisory board member of the Charity Defense Council, an outfit with lofty ambitions. The organization wants to remake the entire charitable sector to be more permissive of high overhead and high executive compensation,explicitly citing as its model the oil industry’s efforts to rehabilitate its public image.
This is because Stephen Nardizzi is the CEO of Wounded Warrior Project and was paid $473,000 by WWP in 2014. FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!
Nardizzi’s group not only engages in the selling of donor information, but he’s apparently proud of it, brazenly arguing in its favor.
So if you want your name and address sold to other entities, keep donating to WWP.
President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., May 20, 2015. During his comments, Obama discussed the impact of climate change on national security. DoD screen shot
President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy last week. At first, I think that he does a very presidential job of talking about history and the place of the graduating Cadets in our national strategy.
...We need you to safeguard our ports against all threats, including terrorism. We need you to respond in times of disaster or distress and lead your rescue teams as they jump out of perfectly good helicopters. We need you in the Caribbean and Central America, interdicting drugs before they reach our streets and damage our kids. We need you in the Middle East; in the Gulf; alongside our Navy; in places like West Africa, where you helped keep the ports open so that the world could fight a deadly disease. We need you in the Asia Pacific, to help our partners train their own coast guards to uphold maritime security and freedom of navigation in waters vital to our global economy...
Sound about right?
Then he gets political...although I agree that sequestration should not affect national security.
...We’re moving ahead with new Fast Response Cutters, new Offshore Patrol Cutters. We’re on track to have a full fleet of new National Security Cutters -- the most advanced in history. And I’ve made it clear that I will not accept a budget that continues these draconian budget cuts called sequestration, because our nation and our military and our Coast Guard deserve better...
But really, sequestration is not a budget cut as much as a mechanism to enforce a budget. Depending on your views of where the money should be spent, your mileage will vary...
Then we move on to climate change....President Obama talks about the undeniable science and facts that our globe is heating up before moving to the actual threat about our national security (although he calls it "global security"):
...Around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. Rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from Bangladesh to Pacific islands, forcing people from their homes. Caribbean islands and Central American coasts are vulnerable, as well. Globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees. And I guarantee you the Coast Guard will have to respond. Elsewhere, more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water and food, increase competition for resources, and create the potential for mass migrations and new tensions. All of which is why the Pentagon calls climate change a “threat multiplier.”
Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East. So, increasingly, our military and our combatant commands, our services -- including the Coast Guard -- will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, because you need to be ready...
Not exactly sure how one factors in climate change into a near term op...unless it is planning to use bio-fuels and solar energy to power radios etc...
...Climate change, and especially rising seas, is a threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the American people. Already, today, in Miami and Charleston, streets now flood at high tide. Along our coasts, thousands of miles of highways and roads, railways, energy facilities are all vulnerable. It’s estimated that a further increase in sea level of just one foot by the end of this century could cost our nation $200 billion.
In New York Harbor, the sea level is already a foot higher than a century ago -- which was one of the reasons Superstorm Sandy put so much of lower Manhattan underwater. During Sandy, the Coast Guard mounted a heroic response, along with our National Guard and Reserve. But rising seas and stronger storms will mean more disaster response missions. And we need the Coast Guard to be ready, because you are America’s maritime first responder...
So, how to respond?
...Now, everything I’ve discussed with you so far is about preparing for the impacts of climate change. But we need to be honest -- such preparation and adaptation alone will not be enough. As men and women in uniform, you know that it can be just as important, if not more important, to prevent threats before they can cause catastrophic harm. And only way -- the only way -- the world is going to prevent the worst effects of climate change is to slow down the warming of the planet.
And that's why I’ve committed the United States to leading the world on this challenge.
So, going forward, I’ve committed to doubling the pace at which we cut carbon pollution. And that means we all have to step up. And it will not be easy. It will require sacrifice, and the politics will be tough. But there is no other way.
So this will be tough. But as so often is the case, our men and women in uniform show us the way. They're used to sacrifice and they are used to doing hard stuff.
The Coast Guard is building more fuel-efficient cutters. So you're already leading. And, Cadets, as you go forward, I challenge you to keep imagining and building the new future we need -- and make your class motto your life’s work: “To go where few dare.” This is a place where we need you.
Across our military, our bases and ports are using more solar and wind, which helps save money that we can use to improve readiness. The Army is pursuing new, lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The Air Force F-22 broke the sound barrier using biofuels. And the Navy runs an entire carrier strike group -- the Green Fleet -- with biofuels. Our Marines have deployed to Afghanistan with portable solar panels, lightening their load and reducing dangerous resupply missions. So fighting climate change and using energy wisely also makes our forces more nimble and more ready. And that’s something that should unite us as Americans. This cannot be subject to the usual politics and the usual rhetoric...
I wonder how carbon free the Obama retirement home in Hawaii will be?
We executed a brilliant raid into Syria, ventilated a bunch of bad guys and got all our folks home safe. Bravo!.
But why did we tell the whole world about the raid before we even had a chance to catalogue the intel we picked up? This compromised our ability to exploit that intel properly and seems like another example of Obama spiking the football on an extra point.
We also still have no strategy in Iraq and may as well be acting as the Iranian Air Force as they are the Iraqis main allies now. Not that the fight there is even going at all well, with Ramadi falling. So Yay for dead tangos, and Boo for all the rest.
As a Chicagoan, it's not my preferable airport, but it bears a name that many don't know... Butch O'Hare.
In 1942, LtCdr Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare became the first naval ace of WWII when he destroyed 8 bombers headed for his carrier, USS Lexington, in the Pacific. He was the first sailor to receive the Medal of Honor during WWII. The MoH citation reads in part:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron 3 on 20 February 1942. Having lost the assistance of his teammates, Lt. O'Hare interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of 9 attacking twin-engine heavy bombers. Without hesitation, alone and unaided, he repeatedly attacked this enemy formation, at close range in the face of intense combined machinegun and cannon fire. Despite this concentrated opposition, Lt. O'Hare, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship in making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down 5 enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point. As a result of his gallant action--one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation--he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage."
On the night of November 26, 1943, O'Hare's fighter group fought with a group of Japanese torpedo bombers. Reports after the fight indicated that O'Hare's F6F Hellcat was shot down. That was the last anyone ever saw of Butch O'Hare or his fighter (never recovered).
On September 19, 1949, Chicago's Orchard depot airfield was renamed in honor of LtCdr O'Hare.
Could Mayor Rahm Emanuel be thinking about renaming Chicago’s airports, perhaps after President Barack Obama?
Emanuel brought up the airports' names during a candidate forum Wednesday night atChicago State University
Mayor Emanuel quickly backtracked on talking about renaming O'Hare or Midway (named in honor of the WWII naval battle).
“Look, I made a mistake, and I was quick to change it. I’m not perfect. When I make a mistake, I hear it and change it,” Emanuel said. “And I don’t have a problem saying that. But I won’t make an apology for the fact I think President Obama is a great president. I wanted to honor him. I wanted to be the city to have the first high school named after him. In my rush to do it, I clearly offended people, so I backed off of it. I will never back off of my love and affection for a great president. But I made a mistake.”
You know what the real mistake is, Mr Mayor? That you and your friends in the administration don't understand why the names O'Hare or Midway should never be changed. You worry more about the sacrifices made to get votes than the sacrifices made to keep to the world safe.
Mayor Daley should kick your ass.
Retired Colonel Ellen decides that defending valor isn't for you guys at This Ain't Hell...
Valor cannot be claimed and doesn’t need to be defended because it can’t be stolen, so stop beating people up over it.
So, Muzzleblast, a retired Soldier who was severely wounded in the GWoT had this to say:
This is why we can't have nice things.
People like this green persimmon squatting retard keep getting promoted, and can't understand that the Valor being referred to is the bravery of others for doing something they did not do.
Until I see these SV asswipes pretending to have spent their careers shoveling shit in Louisiana, I won't hesitate to portray them as stealing valor. They are all special navy force seal recon paras, all operators, all just one hill over from the one, all secret black bag, records destroyed in a fire, received a medal they can't wear because disavowed, etc.
But this doorknob humping O6 doesn't get how they are "stealing valor." If they received nothing for their claims, would they still do it? What if one of them got the job at the Women in International Security and Sewing Circle instead of her, and they based the hiring decision on the relative merits of a retired colonel, or a different retired vagina owner who was also former military, but also claimed she had a DSC for her role leading seal team five (like team 6, but missing one thing.) Would she then feel like doing something about it?
Individually, the fakers do things from the harmless, using stories to score coeds, to the criminal, using lies and fraud to claim VA benefits. As a group, they all do something--they prey on the good will of others who wish to repay those who have served for their sacrifices. Fakers all, in some way, are wrongly benefitting from the sacrifices all veterans made. They, when found out, harm all veteran's credibility. They all deserve our ridicule and scorn, as does anyone who doesn't understand that.
The Valor lies in the sacrifice, not in the award. Valor is not reserved for the battlefield; I have witnessed valor in a hospital physical therapy room, or recovery room, and even in hospital waiting rooms. I think some of the least conspicuous, yet most praiseworthy gallantry belongs to those who have taken the long walk, from their car to the behavioral health office, to seek help.
When shit sacks claim PTSD from their time on a secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden, but instead found Obama money and Joe Biden's missing dignity, and were then forced out of the specwarops force to hush them up... yeah, that steals valor. When they claim to be physically injured from the war... but really, the war was with their conscience at the golden corral, and their kidneys and pancreas were regional powers. Yeah, they steal from the Valor of those men and women who fight daily to take their lives back.
They cheapen all our sacrifices.
But you could never explain that to her, because her drawer full of medals have no V's. No one has ever officially told her they thought her actions, her sacrifices were valorous. She doesn't feel like she is worthy for anyone else to consider her service valorous.
Which is a sentiment shared by most people I know with a MoH or other valor award.
Colonel Ellen also sued the military to include females in combat. More at TAH: Female colonel sues military to include women in combat, Advocates; Pentagon not killing women fast enough, and Expert in combat tells us what is important about combat
I was coated in hydraulic fluid and profoundly grateful as I stumbled bowlegged away from the helicopter.
It doesn't matter if it's a 46 or 47 (and I suspect true of any similar make anywhere in the world), you and everything in it gets a fine coating of the fluid. Just the nature of the beast. On the up side, the camera still hasn't needed lubrication since (extra cleanings, yes). As for stumbling, that came from being wedged into place among the other cargo, legs spread far wider than comfortable. I'm not saying that the few of us that made the bird had our legs forcibly spread so wide that porn stars were shocked and awed, but... Yes, it was painful but I was secondary cargo and glad to be able to get out on that particular bird no matter the contortions. In short, not an atypical flight.
There were some interesting maneuvers on the Marne Express (and similar flights), but those were to prevent people from being able to easily shoot at us. Being a sick puppy, I found them pretty fun, and they reminded me of some even more interesting rides down at Ft. Rucker back in the day (between those two trees, no, between THESE two trees!). I will not say the Blackhawks are more comfortable than the old Hueys but will note that you can cram a lot more people and gear into them.
If anyone shot at myself or any of the units I was with via small arms fire, they either did so using suppressors or from such a distance we could not hear the shot, and were lousy shots. At the time I was there, the largest form of attacks were IEDs, rockets, and mortars. The only time there was the sound of gunfire (other than practice ranges) was in the run up to Operation Browning, and I still wish I could have stayed for that.
As for one particular 5 o'clock Charlie, the safest place to be was his known point of aim. Sadly, like most sports pools I enter, my picks as to distance missed/what is actually hit have a dismal success rate. Whoever it was that kept betting on the greater than distance made out like a bandit. Say, wait a minute...
For whatever mainstream media still checks us out, Brian Williams is a hint as to why troops neither like nor trust reporters. If you check out the writings by or about dedicated military reporters (Dan Lamothe, Tom Kludt as but two of several articles), you will find that they are livid too. Far more surprised I think than milbloggers, but... I also want to point to this story about Stars and Stripes, the first major publication to investigate and run the story. Note, however, that they were the first old-school media to run it; it was social media/new media that first began to expose it.
As for me, my decision to have my "media" badge say "Blogger" instead of press or media was reinforced by hearing more than once about previous mainstream media embeds and pithy discussions of "misremembered" reporting. Giving the number of personal videos and other recordings made, I would not be surprised to see more than Brian Williams be deservedly bitten in the ass for "misremembering" and "misreporting" events. My own opinion is that such extends far beyond military coverage, and the rapid circling of wagons indicates that others see this more than mildly damaging for the media. Kudos to Tom Brokaw for his reported thoughts on the matter, and if Dan Rather has to try to defend you...
Worth the view...almost wished he'd drop the mic.
[Edit note: Cotton was a Representative. He is now a Senator.]