I ran this back on 1 March, but think I am going to be posting it every six months instead of once a year.
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C. Blake Powers
aka Laughing Wolf, LW, etc.
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Not that I haven't had a sickening feeling from politicians in both parties whose spine has an elemental consistency that ranges somewhere between gelatin and mannecoti since about 2008 (ish), but the blood pressure machine was about to spontaneously combust after I saw this about the testimony of the parents of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods and then read this list of the people who walked out that hearing.
And one name stuck out to me because her hackitude is epic; Rep. Tammy Duckworth.
I have searched for a way to say this, but I can think of no other way: You madam, are an epic POS.
You, Representative Duckworth, of all the people who sat on that esteemed panel, should be acutely aware of what must have been running through the minds of Tyrone and Sean as they waited on the ground for a rescue force while enduring hostile fire. A rescue force, that it turns out, the President in Name only was of no mind to send, because he had something pressing in the morning and he wanted to get his rest.
You, having endured being grievously wounded and fighting to land an aircraft that was falling out of the sky in hostile territory probably can tell the story of how the minutes felt like hours until you saw a QRF that had IR "U.S." tabs on the chest plates of their IBAs coming to secure your aircraft, help treat you and your crew for your wounds, and evacuate all of you to safety at the risk of their lives so that you could be treated and returned to your families.
I bet you are glad that the QRF did their duty November 12, 2004 huh? Couldn't be bothered to do yours though right? Didn't you want to hear how those men and those families deserved the same response you received? For you to walk out on those families and not even give them the common courtesy to listen to their story speaks to the epic hackery that is your career in politics and speaks volumes of your (in)ability as a leader.
You have insulted those families by refusing to hear their concerns, as elected representatives are duty bound to do. "Leave No Man Behind" evidently means nothing to you, along with your oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
My bet is that you don't know this, but when you are a leader, you can't just take the easy ones, you have to take the hard ones too. And sometimes, you have to do the hardest thing and take the lead when you are in the wrong and make something right, that in this case, has your political party's fingerprints all over it.
But evidently, that is just a bridge too far for you because your allegiance to your party trumps your humanity, integrity and common sense. You dishonor your service to this country as a member of the US Army and as a Congresswoman and your dereliction of duty is noted.
This morning, a graphic made the rounds on Facebook purporting to show the number of mass shootings on military bases before and after the gun ban. The graphic was questionable in some regards (gun ban started under Bush Sr. and was taken to new "heights" by Clinton, numbers not verified, etc.), but it raised a much larger and more interesting question: How has the whole idea of infantilizing the troops worked out?
Just a bit over a year ago, I was asked for an honest opinion by a commander over something done months previously to which I was witness. Short version is that because the commander wanted to make a good showing at something, he had ordered his troops locked-down (confined) to barracks so that no one would/could drink the night before. My response that if he wanted his troops to act like adults they should be treated as such was not well received, but did appear to sink in at least somewhat.
I would invite you to share your thoughts over on my Facebook page (specific link here), and for those of you who aren't on Facebook, here. What have been the results of the ongoing efforts to treat the troops as children who not might make the "right" choice but as children who WILL make the wrong choice gone? Is it time to rethink not only the gun ban, but the entire philosophical approach?
PS: One, Facebook has the old Soviet crowd green with envy over the perfection of the memory hole, as not only did the graphic disappear but all posts related to it/linking it. Two, my page is approaching 500 likes, would love to break that number and if I can tell who was #500 and #501 I will send them a print if they like.
For once, I find myself completely and totally in agreement with President Obama: the shooter yesterday was a coward, who committed a cowardly act.
As such, I will not name it as it deserves no fame, no recognition, only obscurity. Already its photo is huge upon many homepages, front pages, and other media outlets.
These names, their photos, their stories, deserve to be writ large in memory bright:
John Roger Johnson
No only is it the right thing to do, but I will bet that any outlet that bucks the trend and does so will do well by it. Do the right thing, the different thing, and push it off the front page and put them upon it.
Remember and honor them and the others murdered and wounded yesterday.
I'm covering this on Facebook, and want to remind everyone of the following:
Initial Reports Are Always Wrong
That said, it appears to be a multiple-shooter event. There are NO accurate numbers for wounded/killed at this time. Twitter #NavyYardShooting brings you the best and worst of coverage/discussion. The only confirmed info out right now from the Navy says that there are multiple injuries and reports of fatalities, but latter are not confirmed.
All we can do now is hold those affected in our thoughts and prayers, wait for real numbers and solid info, and hope for the best. Oh, and let idiots self-identify.
UPDATE 1356 hrs: The only solid info right now is that three wounded were transported to the hospital, and that is because the hospital confirmed it. Of the three, all were reported consious and alert. They also confirmed there are casualties, no word on number or anything else. That was a few hours ago. It appears that there was more than one shooter, but that is not confirmed. The old media has once again identified an innocent person as the shooter, and there is a LOT of bad info out there. Take anything in the media with a tun of salt for now. Is things develop will update at FB and here as I can.
UPDATE 1400: Per Navy, shelter in place order remains in effect. RPT Shelter in place order at Navy Yard remains in effect.
UPDATE 1430 Hrs: DC Mayor and Police Chief are confirming that 12 have died, police are seeking two suspects, and that FBI is taking over as lead agency for investigating the shooting. Navy has confirmed that shelter in place order remains in effect. Situation is still active.
UPDATE 1455 Hrs: As a result of the incident, the Navy has issued an "Order to Account"
for all Navy uniformed personnel, both active duty and selected Reserve,
assigned to commands in the D.C. metro area. The order also applies to
family members, Navy civilian employees, as well as, NAF and NEX
personnel. Personnel muster through the Navy Family Accountability and
Assessment System (NFAAS). To muster, visit the NFAAS website at https://navyfamily.navy.mil. You know the drill, report in.
UPDATE 1500 Hrs: White male being sought has been identified and is NOT a suspect or person of interest. Search continues for "B/M 50 yrs, w/rifle, drab olive military uniform"
UPDATE 1630 Hrs: Transcription notes from press conference. Press conference notes: additional suspect still being sought; no idea
of motive at this stage, that will be investigated, no reason to suspect
terrorism but not ruled out; additional victim has died (male); no
additional information on victims at this time; baseball game is
postponed; still active scene, please continue
to shelter in place if there/nearby; still looking for info from public
on shooting/shooter; FBI confirms Alexis is shooter, seeking info,
everything they can about him, his associates, etc.; oh sweet fluffy
lord save me from politicians near a mic; FBI dot gov will be releasing
information; 13 confirmed dead including shooter, a "dozen or more
wounded" or injured without being shot; we don't know that there's a
second gunman on the loose, but need to run down lead/info; multiple
engagements with suspect leading to final gun battle with suspect; one
of the worst things we've seen in DC. Another press conference in two hours.
Anyone in the Media want to ask Howard Dean About This?
Posted By Deebow
He had quite a bit to say about foreign policy and war in the Middle East back in 2003....
Maybe you could have him on the Sunday Shows, do an analysis, quote for quote, then to now? You know, kind of a comparison thing. I promise, there is much to be mined here:
"When Congress approved the President's authorization to go to war in Iraq, no matter how well-intentioned, it was giving the green light to the President to set his Doctrine of preemptive war in motion. It now appears that Iraq was just the first step. Already, the Bush Administration is apparently eyeing Syria and Iran as the next countries on its target list."
This dude should get a lottery ticket, how could he have known that?
"Theirs is a radical view of our role in the world. The President who campaigned on a platform of a humble foreign policy has instead begun implementing a foreign policy characterized by dominance, arrogance and intimidation. The tidal wave of support and goodwill that engulfed us after the tragedy of 9/11 has dried up and been replaced by undercurrents of distrust, skepticism and hostility by many who had been among our closest allies."
Wow. That sounds pretty familiar. He must be reading the latest updates on the interwebs....
"This unilateral approach to foreign policy is a disaster. All of the challenges facing the United States, from winning the war on terror and containing weapons of mass destruction to building an open world economy and protecting the global environment can only be met by working with our allies. A renegade, go-it-alone approach will be doomed to failure, because these challenges know no boundaries."
Hmmm.... You don't say? Unilateral action is bad?
"Even the largest, most sophisticated military in the history of the world cannot be expected to go to war against every evil dictator who may possess chemical weapons. This calls for an aggressive and effective diplomatic effort, conducted in full cooperation with a united international community, and preferably with the backing of the multilateral institutions we helped to build for just this purpose. This challenge requires treaties such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that this Administration has sometimes treated cavalierly. In any case, war should be a last resort or an option to be used in the face of an imminent threat."
Anyone of the alleged journalists out there want to ask him about his apparent change of heart? I guess having principles and beliefs is tough...
It is a short, but interesting read... And before you do, see someone with an Air Assault Tab to get some TAPE, Pressure Sensitive (100 MPH variety) and wrap it around your head first so the hypocrisy doesn't cause your head to explode.
For those who are familiar with the real reasons Russia went into Georgia a few years ago, an interesting discussion on how pipelines may be figuring into the current politial calculus is up at ZeroHedge. There usually is more than one level in these considerations, even if one in particular dominates the thoughts of top leadership.
I would like to know if anyone has seen my unicorn? It must be around here somewhere. Hang on.... I got it. I know where it went. It must be the same place the Anti-War Left has been hanging out, because I can't find either of these these mythical beasts anywhere.
Wasn't it awesome when the Anti-war Left actually had the courage of their convictions to protest both LBJ and Nixon instead of just protesting a Republican president who went to war in a Middle Eastern country based upon a brutal dictator suppressing his own people, using and possessing chemical weapons, using them on innocent people, using "hard intelligence" about WMD and terrorism as justification and getting approval from Congress and making his case to the American people.
But no word yet on the march to Washington by the mythical Anti-War Left against a Democrat President who wants to start a war in a Middle Eastern country based upon a brutal dictator suppressing his own people, using and possessing chemical weapons, using them on innocent people and using "hard intelligence" about WMD and terrorism as justification and trying to get approval from Congress and making his case to the American people.
What about it Anti-War Left? Gonna get your march on? Cat got your tongue? I know, it must be hard to criticize the President you voted for based upon his ability to stop the seas from rising and heal the planet, what with everyone who speaks out against his policies being called a racist for just opposing him on principle.
And it was nice to see that Code Pink got their act together enough to show up to protest both this Secretary of State when he was giving his statements to both houses of Congress, and the first black woman to hold the post as well when she was talking abou the last great Persian Excursion. Must have been hard to protest a fellow traveler who was for it before he was against it, especially since many in this administration spent the last administration talking about how bombing dudes with WMDs was wrong and immoral, and getting the help of Code Pink in their government funded publicity stunts.
"It is for me, but not for thee" I guess....
And why in the world has the smartest president EVAH! decided that we should become AL-Qaeda's Air Force in their hour of need? This fight between the "Crips and Bloods" of the Middle East is best left to them, so that we can reduce the number of people we are going to drop some more Tomahawk missiles on to a more reasonable number after a winner is decided. I mean, really, who would not want to watch Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda shoot each other in the face?
But if our plan is to launch some missiles so that we can hopefully hasten the downfall of the Assad regime, so that Al-Qaeda can get their hands on a country with WMD, then Bravo! Mr. Nobel Peace Prize winner, your plan is working perfectly. It is not lost on many of us the irony of a Nobel Peace Prize winner bombing a country further into the Stone Age.
The Russians and the Chinese know the Preezy of the United Steezy is a scared punk who is trying desperately not to look spineless after talking about "red lines" and then spending these many months not rushing to judgment over Assad high jumping them. I mean, Arabs killing each other without WMD involvement is all kinds of copasetic with him, and destabilizing an entire region and flipping the bird to our only ally in the region are just a serendipitious benefit of what this administration does.
"Red Lines" mean something, and the hypocrisy over the issue of dictators who have WMD and use them on their people would be laughable at this point, except those on the Democrat side of the fence fail to see it, so that just makes it sad that anyone with two functioning brain cells would vote to have any of the current players in this administration run anything more complicated than the Fry Station at Mickey D's.
This collection of mental midgets and their RINO enablers have no idea what words like "Commander's Intent" mean; let alone simple words like "Objective," "End State," or even "Victory."
Can you imagine what the rough draft of that Commander's Intent statement looks like?
Commander's Intent:To destroy Syria's ability to use WMDs (Oh wait, that sounds too aggressive). To hinder Syria's ability to fight off Al-Qaeda (hang on, can't talk about Al-Qaeda, people might think they are not "on the run" like I told the Media everyone). To harass and hinder Assad's lines of communication (wait, harassment is something I should check with HR about). To look strong in the face of adversity and confirm our belief in red lines and how they should not be crossed. (looks like a winner).
The fact that Bella Pelosi has a 5 year old grandson with a greater intellect and understanding of foreign affairs than she has was among the most unsurprising things I have encountered this year. Even he understood that becoming decisively engaged in this region of the world was a bad idea. I was even less surprised when she wasn't able to make the case to him. I guess her plan is to vote on the resolution and then read it.
Liberal Trolls are going to hate me (more), but that doesn't leave me sleepless, because liberal trolls aren't scary people. I don't give two poops in a pocket if Assad kills his own people or kills Al-Qaeda while he eats halal goat and sings the chorus of "There is Nothing Like A Dame" because when there are two groups of people deciding they want to kill each other, and you don't like either one of them and they certainly don't like you; you don't offer charity to either of them in the form of Close Air Support and weapons so you can look "strong." You pop some corn, order a pizza and watch the show.
It will not all of a sudden be a world that includes all of the warm fuzzy's in the title once the Tomahawk missiles and Mark 82 Rockeyes stop raining down, it will be much messier, much more complicated and galactically more dangerous.
It will not be another Iraq. It will be much worse. This is a bell that cannot be un-rung. It is dangerous ground Mr. President, and your hubris is showing...
Leading from Behind isn't and Campaigning is easy, it is the governing that is hard; but I bet you knew that already....
Posted By Laughing_Wolf
First, I want to thank all those who were honest brokers in the marketplace of ideas and put forward their thoughts in regards my simple question on Syria. Second, I want to thank those who stepped up and debated the concepts raised by Donald Sensing. Third, I want to thank those who discussed cascade effects.
On the matter of Syria and taking "limited" action there, I agree with Grim's position (and urge you to read his comments below) and feel strongly that we should just say no. No one was able to posit a clear and compelling matter of national interest, though several made the case on an emotional basis (and at least one on a more rational basis) that any use of chemical weapons constituted such an interest.
In Syria, neither government nor rebel is a friend to the United States and both are fully committed against the ideas of individual liberty and responsibility that lie at the heart of the Republic. In point of fact, both sides have fought hard against the United States and our efforts to protect ourselves from terrorism and more. That by itself should preclude any thought of a solid national interest in backing either. However, given that politicians and other lawyers thrive on straining at gnats and swallowing elephants without a quiver I have my doubts that such will be a major consideration.
My second point of consideration is that we have set no measurable goal for any such venture, and the push is that simply doing something will be sufficient. I would submit that failure to set measurable immediate, intermediate, and end-state goals is a necessary component to the process, both for simple self-interest and for at least some consideration of it being a just war/action. Indeed, I consider the failure to set such goals to be a large factor in what has happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, but you go to war with the civilian leadership you have, not what you want or need. (please note this is not a slam of W, but is aimed at more than one member of that administration).
The third point of consideration are the cascade points this will create, and the likely cascade effects as mutual defense treaties and pledges are honored by powers in and out of the region. Things need not go literally nuclear to cause a figurative meltdown of economies and more; and, there is a real possibility (probability) of an expanded and protracted conflict. To date, I have not heard anyone in DC acknowledge this consideration much less offer any thought of how to prevent or contain such.
Finally, I would touch a bit on legalities. The written Constitution does indeed place the responsibility of declaring war with Congress. The unwritten Constitution is up in the air on the subject. Since the end of WWII, we've lived with the fact that war as practiced in the past no longer truly exists. The days of ranked armies and formal declarations is pretty much dead, and notice of conflict comes from attack rather than a diplomatic note. The concept of a punitive expedition is not new, and history is replete with some good examples. However, almost all of those involved situations on or near our border and had specific stated goals along with strong public support (at least in the areas affected).
I am intrigued by the arguments advanced by Donald Sensing and respect that he raised them. I also am intrigued and in no small amount of agreement with the counter-points raised by Grim and TSO. That said, I think that a good bit of the discussion is focused on the minutae of legalese and frankly nitpicking. Were the administration to request a declaration of war against Syria, it be rejected, and the administration press ahead anyway it would indeed create a decision moment in regards legal orders.
That's not going to happen. What is going to happen is that an appeal will be made to Congress to strike. Much depends on the actual wording of that appeal and approval/disapproval, but:
• The President is Commander-in-Chief of the military and, by law and consent, has a great deal of latitude in making decisions and giving orders. Much of the legal basis comes from a point no one has yet touched on, which are the laws and regulations enacted in the face of nuclear war. These were adopted and consented to by Congress to ensure that in an emergency when seconds count that the President could respond immediately (and effectively it is to be devoutly hoped). That these also formed the basis of our response to terrorist attacks is oft overlooked.
• To the best of my memory, no administration has ever acknowledged the legality and Constitutionality of the War Powers Act. There has been lip service payed by both current major parties, and the George W. Bush administration worked within it even as it worked equally hard not to legitimize it by those efforts. It remains an untested law in the Courts overall, and there are good and valid reasons for it to retain that status.
• Congress has by inaction abrogated many of the functions of the declaration of war not covered under the laws and regulations cited above. As such, they have created legal precedent for the President to take action not approved by them. I would simply note that while this is true, that the written Constitution can be re-installed by actions of two of the three branches of government. Such would create an interesting situation, and there would be merits to declaring such ex-post-facto and not applicable to any actions taken in the interim.
What will truly matter is the precise proposal presented by the administration, and the precise wording of any approval of or rejection by Congress. To be blunt, unless Congress specifically says that no military or other action is to be taken against Syria, the President can -- with full legal authority -- take actions not rejected by Congress. That does not touch on other aspects that could (and I hope would) prompt civilian and senior military leadership to pause and think. There is fine parsing legal, and then there is Legal, and it is the latter that should cause good Men (male and female) to think and take principled action even at cost to themselves. It is oft overlooked that much of what led to the famed Nuremburg trials was technically legal within German law based on legislation, regulation, executive orders, and precedent (short-term).
I have a very strong concern that the point on lawful orers raised by Mr. Sensing is correct, and that there are several groups that would love to make it such no matter what. One set of groups will do so because they are determined to eliminate the military as an effective and efficient force for domestic political gain, and will see this as one more way to do so consequences be damned. Others will do so because they see it as a way to attack and defeat the administration and use that for domestic purposes, consequences be damned. Yet others will do so because they want to destroy the U.S. and they really can't do so as long as we do have a strong, effective, and efficient military. Few, if any, will do so for the good of the military and the Republic IMO.
All of this remains, for now, academic. The government of the Republic -- all three branches -- have yet to work their way through to the end. To that end, I urge my representatives in Congress to vote no, and to be specific in intent and language. We have no national interest in the situation as currently defined; we have no immediate, intermediate, or long-term measurable goals; and, no need to give enemies foreign or domestic any excuse or opening to act.
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.