I just have one comment about the verdict today. The defense moved to throw out the count of aiding the enemy recently, and the judge disallowed the motion. The reason the defense thought the motion was reasonable is striking.
The judge heard a request from the defense on Monday to drop the charge. David E. Coombs, the lead defense lawyer, argued that Private Manning did not have “actual knowledge” that by leaking the documents to WikiLeaks he was aiding the enemy.
In the past, the government had argued that through his extensive training, Private Manning should have known that the information could end up with groups that wanted to harm American military personnel. But the government acknowledged Monday that “should have known” was not enough to define “actual knowledge.”
A hundred thousand OPSEC briefings later, only an absolute moron would not realize that publishing classified documents on the Internet would mean that the enemy would have access to them.
The judge refused to drop the charge, but apparently was convinced by the argument. Being a moron is apparently a positive defense here, justifying an actual acquittal of the charge of aiding the enemy. No doubt this precedent will improve the standards of good order and discipline in the US Army.
Over at This Ain't Hell, Jonn links to a very well done piece by Paul Szoldra (aka StrikeFO at TAH) in Business Insider. It is well worth a read, some good thought and discussion, and well placed to get it out where more of the public might notice and discuss.
PS: Yes, it is a year old, doesn't change that it is good and we need to find a way to kick this discussion off again.
It is becoming increasingly apparent to many Americans that we are going to have to rely on the cast of Mama Mia' and Rent, augmented by the LBGT community for our survival as a nation in times of war. In fact, it appears that the US Army is taking some significant steps to ensure they look FABULOUS!!!
The March debut of the Combat Uniform-Alternate is the first in a series of moves the Army hopes to make in the next three years to help female soldiers feel like more professional members, officials said.
With narrower shoulders, a slightly tapered waist and a more spacious seat, the unisex clothing line has been in the works since 2009 and is being issued to all installations – except Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. – for men and women with a smaller or more slender body.
Now we are concerned that they don't "feel" professional in their uniform? Can someone throw a lifeline down this f'ing rabbit hole to me please? I just keep tumbling and tumbling.....
And let me correct the the Media; it ain't a "unisex" uniform if you can't sell it at Fort Benning; home of the Airborne, The Infantry, Sniper School, Ranger School and the factory where the crucible is located that cranks out a good portion of the world's supply of Modern Combat Bad-Assery.
The trousers feature wider areas at the hips, waist and backside; elastic around the waistband instead of pull string; adjusted pockets and knee-pad inserts; and a shortened rise in pants.
The jackets include adjusted rank and name tape positioning, adjusted pockets and elbow-pad inserts, slimmer shoulders, a thinner and more fitted waist, and a longer and wider coat bottom.
Because Matty O' has always asked lovingly to keep it as PG as possible, I am going to refrain from jokes regarding wider areas for hips, waists and backsides, changes in knee pad placement, the need for elbow pad adjustments and anything regarding "longer and wider" in regards to jacket size. Please work on your own for this portion.
IMHO, unless that uniform also has an electro-hydraulic up-armored exoskeleton attached to an Arc Reactor from Stark Industries, I am not certain how it is "better" for female soldiers. I guess it will look fabulous on them when they are sweating that 81mm baseplate up the hill.
Roughly one in every six soldiers is a woman, and last month, the Army announced that the ratio likely will increase by early 2014, when the service will continue its efforts to open all closed units and military occupational specialties to women
Great thinking Big Army, create a "unisex" uniform that fits 1/6th of the Army (and those waify looking dudes in finance) because that's what will make them want to make them choose a career with attributes like lifting heavy things and walking them all over God's Green Earth and then living in the mud when you get there; new, form fitting and flatteringly spiffy uniforms.
Someone in the puzzle palace is making the bold move of staking their career on sexual harrassment in the Armed Forces going up I guess.
Do they get a nifty beret to go with it? Did the US Army hire the PIO team from The Onion and Clinton and Stacy from What Not To Wear? Are they really f'ing serious about the direction they are taking the Army in?
Make a new uniform for the ladies all you want. I thought they had what it took to be professionals all along. Just not Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, Armor or Special Forces professionals....
ZenPundit has composed a piece that is a thoroughgoing sketch of what has been done wrong in Afghanistan and, to a lesser degree, was done wrong in Iraq. I suspect all of you will find much to agree with in his commentary, and most of you will find at least one or two things to object to as well.
Email from W.E.B. Griffin on the 60th Anniversary of the Ending of the Korean War
Posted By Blackfive
July 27th is a notable date, the ending of the
Korean War. It is hard to believe that
sixty years have passed; yet, this conflict still makes the headlines with the
despotic North Korean leaders constantly calling for genocide against the South
Koreans and Americans.
Best-selling military fiction author W.E.B. Griffin whose
real name is William E. Butterworth III emailed a piece about his impressions,
having served in Korea from 1952-1953 as a combat correspondent assigned to the
223rd Infantry Regiment, 40th Division and the 10th
His article is noteworthy since it reflects on how the draft
was able to incorporate all segments of America’s society, making the armed
services accountable to all citizens, not just the ones who, today, put their
lives on the line by stepping up to the plate and volunteering.
The article by
W.E.B. Griffin is listed below:
The late General Donn W. Starry, universally recognized as both a
distinguished warrior and one of the Army’s greatest intellectuals, began his
address to the Corps of Cadets and several hundred of his fellow graduates on
the 50th Anniversary of his West Point graduation with this comment:
“I have many memories of my four years as an inmate of this institution, none
of them favorable.”
Similarly, I have many memories of my service in Korea , few of
which reflect favorably on our society today.
I remember, for example, standing at a cross-road in the Punchbowl
behind Heartbreak Ridge in a freezing rain waiting for a jeep to pick me up. I
had just come from seeing Captain George S. Patton, who commanded a company “Up
On The Ridge” of 140th Tank Battalion tanks named after his
father. With me, also rain-soaked, un-shaven, shivering, hungry and miserable,
waiting for a jeep to pick him up, was a young major. His name was Eisenhower,
and his father was President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of its
I remember, too, a week or so later, being in a sandbagged bunker,
command post of an infantry company of Colonel (later Major General) Curtis W.
Herrick’s 223rd Infantry Regiment, quite literally on the front of
the front line. In the bunker were the company commander, a captain; his
brother, a lieutenant assigned to the regiment on our left flank; and a GI
correspondent―a PFC―of the Army newspaper Stars & Stripes.
As we tried without much success to warm ourselves with coffee
heated on a small stove, we heard the grinding of gears on a truck, and moments
later a first sergeant made his way into the bunker to announce ‘six
replacements, Captain, one of whom insists he shouldn’t be here.”
A moment later, a nice looking young man appeared. He told the
captain a mistake had been made. He didn’t belong in the infantry, he said,
because he was a Harvard graduate.
“Wonderful,” the captain said. “You’ll be right at home here. I’m
Harvard ’49. My brother here is ’51. And I’m surprised you don’t recognize PFC
John Sack. He was famous around Harvard Square as the only man ever to be
simultaneously editor of both the Lampoon and the Crimson. First Sergeant, take
this splendidly educated rifleman to his platoon sergeant.”
At the time, I thought it was hilarious.
Sixty years later I’m saddened by the thought that exchange would
not have occurred in Iraq or occur now in Afghanistan . With rare and notable
exceptions―Vice President Joe Biden’s and Senator Jim Webb’s sons leap to
mind―the sons of the politically powerful and the alumni of the Ivy League seem
now to feel that picking up a rifle and going off to fight for the United
States is something best left to the untermensch.
W.E.B. Griffin Late Sergeant/Combat Correspondent X Corps, Korea
Everyone who donated $100 or more to the Normandy effort (excluding
those who said they did not want the incentive, did not have an address that could be accessed,
and one person who asked for a delay in shipping) should have their
photos today. If you donated $100 or more, and did not get the photo
you should have, please let me know asap. The signed and numbered
prints are limited and I want to be sure that everyone is taken care
of. Thank you! Remember, donations to http://www.gofundme.com/2wwguw help with embeds, books, shows, and more.
Just got pinged on Facebook that a 1971 graduate of West Point named Jacobson seems to have lost his class ring. If you know this person, or are them, the ring can be claimed by contacting news.department at WHNT.
UPDATE: Owner found, WPPA can stand down, repeat stand down. :)
If you are Army South and needing to train a unit that will be patrolling, scouting, moving to secure locations or other, and generally making life interesting for the enemy, who do you call? Why, you call the Cav, of course. It's a natural.
In this case, to train the Guatemalan Inter-Agency Border Unit (IABU), you call the Texas Army National Guard because not only are they Cav, they've done similar missions in Europe and South America. Below is an interview I did with LTC Anthony P. Flood of the TXARNG about the mission. It is a bit rough, and why is below the fold as it has nothing to do with him or the mission.
Posted By Laughing_WolfIN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to
dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and
to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station
to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the
causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths
to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure
these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in
such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and
Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long
established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to
suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by
abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train
of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a
design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it
is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards
for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of
these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to
alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present
King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations,
all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny
over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing
importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should
be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation
of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the
right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them
and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative
bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the
depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing
them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others
to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of
Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise;
the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of
invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured
to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing
the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to
encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new
Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our
constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to
their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which
they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province,
establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its
Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for
introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to
compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with
circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most
barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to
bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their
friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring
on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose
known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages,
sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have
Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions
have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is
thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the
ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to
our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts
by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We
have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and
settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and
magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred
to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our
connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of
justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the
necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the
rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
the Representatives of the united States of America, in General
Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the
rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the
good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these
united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent
States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,
and that all political connection between them and the State of Great
Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and
Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace,
contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and
Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support
of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes,
and our sacred Honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George
Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Whatever else one may say about the desire to have the best in the new Inter-Agency Border Unit (IABU, and was told late yesterday that is correct), it is exemplified by having the majority of the leadership come from the Kaibiles (Kaibil, individual). While there are a couple of positions not held by members of this elite unit, all the field/operational leaders are from that unit.
An officer talking to a squad playing OpFor
What are the Kaibiles? A quick and accurate description is that they are the Guatemalan version of our Rangers. A more precise description would be to say that they combine that Ranger component with aspects of the Gurkhas and other elite forces into something uniquely their own. Their motto says it all:
If I advance, follow me. If I stop, urge me on. If I retreat, kill me.
Briefing before an exercise
The training is intense and two classes are run each year. According to some reports, while 64 start each class no more than 10 have made it through any given class. Any member of the armed forces can apply to take the training, but a rigorous physical and psychological testing process weeds out even before the class starts. Part of the testing and training is designed to evaluate the candidates military and moral capabilities (according to multiple reports), and during the training each candidate is assigned a fellow candidate as a "Brother." If one brother makes a mistake, both pay the cost.
Discussing an exercise as an observer looks on
During training, it is reported that the right to eat and the right to sleep must both be earned. It is worth noting that the training takes place at a location known as "El Infierno" or Hell, so called for the extreme temperatures in this jungle location. There are number of interesting rituals referred to during and at the end of training, including having to drink out of a mug with a bayonet tied to it so as to teach caution.
A High Dynamic Range (HDR) treatment of the discussion image
While they were formed to do anti-guerrilla work, today the focus for the unit is more on anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics operations. I can say without reservation that while I found the Kaibiles I met to be decent leaders, I was particularly impressed with three of them. The fact that I had several of the trainers who had worked with the IABU confirm to me that they were indeed "High Speed, Low Drag" confirmed the good impression.
For the IABU, leadership will be critical. Having the Kaibiles, especially those three I got to know and respect even during the brief time I was there with Army South, in leadership positions provides a good foundation. What will come remains to be seen, but a foundation is there.
A variety of advertising sponsorships are available, and you can contribute to this trip and other embeds at GoFundMe.
HDR version of photo by Scott Bragg (NSFW) who is dragging me into HDR photography and otherwise forcing me out of creative ruts. You might also enjoy his wife's venture into a creative way to let people know if you "give an F" (potentially NSFW).
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.