We are still short funding for a flight home and other expenses. If I can't raise the funds very quickly, the embed may be cancelled. This could be the start of something very good, so if you can, please help.
Thanks, and thanks for putting up with all the pitches.
I had an unexpected treat last night, when a friend came in from out of town. Better yet, he brought his studio lights so we went to a semi-regularly scheduled photo seminar and shoot. We shot. They shot. Fun was had. Problem is, however, that I have two versions of a photo and can't decide which I like better. Go over to Laughing Wolf and let me know which you prefer. Comments are open.
I didn't retire to insult General Officers, it seems to be a perk of the status though, and this is the dumbest thing I have EVER heard any General say:
Earlier this year, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said the sexual assaults might be linked to the longstanding ban on women serving in combat because the disparity between the roles of men and women creates separate classes of personnel — male "warriors" versus the rest of the force.
So you think they will be sexually assaulted LESS OFTEN if we train them to be Army Rangers and Navy SEALS and forward deploy them? FFS! Is there no one in on his staff that has the sense or courage to tell him what an asinine thing to say that is? Or even have the courage to tell the nation and the Administration what an asinine idea this is.
Women may be able to start training as Army Rangers by mid-2015 and as Navy SEALs a year later under plans set to be announced by the Pentagon that would slowly bring women into thousands of combat jobs, including those in elite special operations forces
If you are new to this argument, you can review what some of us think here and here, here and I spoke about it here.
Not the top-level finding, that the CIA's analysis didn't always give specific categories to the people killed in allegedly-CIA-led drone strikes. Nor the secondary claim, that the CIA is lying about the number of civilians killed.
No, the worst news was that the CIA couldn't just ask.
For a decade, these tribal regions where these drone strikes have been conducted have been one of the very top priorities for US intelligence collection. The most rudimentary of human intelligence networks could have come up with a definitive list of who was killed. Almost no risks would have been run in collecting on this topic, as it would have been the subject of common conversation among everyone in the area -- everyone whose family members might have been killed, for example. No one would have thought it was odd to ask who died in yesterday's drone strike. You could collect on this kind of thing without breaking a sweat, if you had a HUMINT network at all.
What this means is that the CIA has completely failed at its main function, in one of its highest-priority areas, for more than a decade. The reason we're turning to all this fancy "collect-everyting-anyone-says-anywhere-at-any-time" technology is that we've failed at traditional tradecraft. The bueraucracy isn't doing its job.
As the CIA case shows, there are a lot of disadvantages to relying on SIGINT. It's simply nowhere near as reliable as human intelligence. You can't ask questions: you have to infer from what you are told, or what you can happen to see in the signal. The reason we don't know isn't that we aren't collecting everything SIGINT can show us: as we see here, Pakistan was one of the NSA's most intensely-collected states.
I personally would like to see a lot of this SIGINT capacity dismantled, on the theory that we ought to be as secure in our electronic communications as in those we write on paper and seal in a thin envelope. But whether you agree with that or not, the fact is that it's less reliable than the traditional capacities we no longer develop. That failure -- a failure, I believe, of will -- is driving these scandals. Because these SIGINT techniques are less effective, that failure is also putting America at risk.
Sorry, but last week was brutally beautifully intense. I went to bed at about 1000 hours last night, and was very grumpily awakened by some sickeningly happy and cheerful early risers at the campground about 0600. Finally gave up, got up, and got in the car to warm up at 0730. For the record, I've camped everywhere from the high moors of Norway to the Superstition mountains, even in freezing Iraqi winter nights. Last night is the coldest I can remember being. I ran the heater in the rental car for about five minutes, decided to rest a bit, and the next thing I knew it was after 1000 hours. Had to make a supply run (note for the future, stores do not sell ice thank Ifni for helpful restaurants!), do laundry, and other mundane stuff.
Right now, I'm torn between trying to catch up on all the writing and all the photos I need to go through, or going out and doing more. I really hope to spend several more hours at Pointe du Hoc (six or more would be nice, sigh), among other things and places I really want to visit. I still need to do Omaha and Utah right, have not spent near enough time at either even with wading through the brambles above Omaha today. Well, I had to do something while waiting on the laundry to dry...
So, no ice cream today but there is more to come. For those complaining about only one story a day, keep in mind: I can write or I can do, and I choose to spend my time getting as many stories and photos in a day as I can; my computer is like me, old and slow, and it has less than half the memory "suggested" for the software in use and the data transfer is from 2007, which means it runs at about one quarter the speed of newer systems -- which impacts operations in that it is taking me 2-4 hours to download one chip from the camera, and you don't want to know about the backups; I do have to do mundane things too, like sleep, laundry, etc. though I really don't care to do so; I also admit I've gotten caught up in things to the point that I miss deadlines, like the times most hotels, stores, etc. close in more rural France and, yes, that has indeed made life interesting; and, wifi is available, but a lot of "free" wifi comes attached to restaurant bills I can't afford right now. Want to change the latter, hit the tip jar.
Don't mean to sound (too) grumpy, just want to lay out the facts. Fact is, I'm having an amazing time, meeting some truly wonderful people, and may be able to bring some neat and even exclusive stories to Blackfive (and my site) even if it means limiting posts to but one a day. Then again, I somehow think most of you won't mind if the posts run on a week or three. I really want to get some of my camp neighbors (who shake their head at my bivy sack) on tape as several of them could hold doctorates in history for their research into D-Day. Also glad one or two of them may take me under thier wings and make some introductions and show me some things. Meantime, just saw an "American" duck check into the camp, think there might be a story to that so...
Well, it appears that TRADOC is now well into the process of attempting to destroy the greatest armed force that the world has ever known.
Training and Doctrine Command has launched “two major efforts in support of this full integration of women soldiers.” TRADOC has started a scientific review working with U.S. Army Medical Command, U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine and Army Research Institute to assist in the development of gender-neutral physical standards for all Areas of Concentration for commissioned officers and military occupational specialties for enlisted soldiers.
In addition, the “TRADOC Analysis Center is examining the institutional and cultural barriers related to integrating women soldiers into previously all-male specialties and units in order to develop strategies to overcome these barriers,”
I am curious how the armed forces, particularly the US Army (and by extension the US Marines) are going to "gender norm" the physical standards.
My argument is, the standards are already gender neutral...
The furnace surrounding Benghazi needs to be hotter on the players involved here, and we are seeing this becoming an indictment of not only the Administration and its leaders, but an indictment of the Media as well (as Crush has pointed out). I have been watching the hearings and the press regarding Benghazi and I have no doubt that a scandal of this magnitude would have ended the Bush Presidency (hell, it would have ended the Coolidge presidency). Benghazi taking place in 2006 for instance; would have seen the Lamestream Media running nothing but breathless reports and "breaking news" and endless coverage of the hearings about how the evil Bushitler left brave Americans to die and that Vice President Dick Cheney personally approved the "stand down" order and 6 weeks prior to that he had personally signed the supply requisition that provided the matches and mortar rounds to the terrorists so they could kill those men.
That tripe, thankfully, to those of us who have a brain, is old and busted. New and Hot is "What Difference Does It Make?"
I could go into chapter and verse about what difference it makes Madame Secretary, but my guess is that you know exactly what difference it makes and you were counting on all of this to go away as you lied to the faces of the families of these men about what happened there. Jonah Goldberg does a great job with Shrill Hill here, and Bing West at NRO has this to say as well, but that ain't what I want to talk about. I want answers about this:
Later, Hicks testified, he asked military commanders to send a Special Forces attachment led by one Lieutenant Colonel Gibson back to Benghazi, but was denied by the brass at U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM):
"People in Benghazi had been fighting all night. They were tired. They were exhausted. We wanted to make sure the airport was secure for their withdrawal. As he and his three personnel were getting in the cars, he stopped, they called them off. He said that he had not been authorized to go."
"Lieutenant Colonel Gibson was furious. I had told him to bring our people home. That is what he wanted to do."
"Hicks quoted Gibson as saying then that it was the only time in his career he saw a diplomat have “more balls” than the United States military."
I have never been an officer, so I can't speak to this; I have one question to ask:
Today's Democrat Party views the United States military as nothing
more than a political tool to further their agenda. And after Benghazi
we see that our troops and intelligence operators are expendable if
Democrats think sacrificing them is in their best political interests.
But don't take it from me; just look at what they do.
of preserving the world's most effective combat force, the Democrat
Party views the U.S. military as a massive source of funding (defense
budget cuts), an opportunity to shore up political support through
social engineering (allowing openly gay service members), and a means to
further their liberal internationalist agenda (so-called
“Responsibility to Protect” operations like Libya).
They know that
the military community tends to vote strongly Republican, which partly
explains their open contempt of the men and women that serve in the
Armed Forces – whether falsely labeling them cold-blooded murderers
(Rep. John Murtha), comparing them to Nazis, KGB, and the Khmer Rouge
(Sen. Dick Durbin), joking about their intelligence (Sec. John Kerry)...
the examples of the Democrat Party's distaste for the military could
easily fill an entire article.
But throughout American history,
our troops knew at least if they were wounded, in danger of being
overrun, or even killed, our military will do everything in its power to
get rescue or recover you.
No one gets left behind. At least that's how it used to be.
is, until Benghazi, which has become one of the most dishonorable
events in American history. When our consulate was attacked and overran,
President Obama left Americans to die. Any rescue attempt was cut off –
not by our enemies, but by the Obama administration.
than the tragic and preventable deaths of four Americans, Washington's
reaction over the last eight months shows the utter disregard the
Democrat Party and media have for not only the fallen, but for all of
our troops and operators.
I am not saying that each and every
Democrat politician wanted those men to die. But can you name any
Democrat politician that has said we need to get to the bottom of
Benghazi? Has any Democrat even so much as distanced themself from their
party's callous disregard for the fallen? Washington can say they
support the troops all day, it's time they show us how they support our
Since day one, the Democrat Party – primarily the Obama
administration – and their media allies have sought to make the story go
away. Since that didn't work, they have resorted to distracting the
American people and redirecting the focus by claiming Republicans are
only making this an issue for political gain.
Just imagine if your
son or daughter was killed in the attack and politicians reacted by
saying that anyone trying to find out answers was only using the tragedy
for political leverage. That really says something about our nation
when the majority party can shamelessly stoop so low – and get away with
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.