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May 2004

Marines and Iraqis Fighting Side by Side

Here's another must read forwarded by Jarhead Dad (who's son is a 2/2 Marine in Iraq). It's written by Marine Major Dave Bellon (Operations Officer of 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion) who talks about the Marines around Fallujah. Here's just a taste of the Must Read letter:

You probably heard that Mike was wounded this week. We take rockets and mortars from time to time and he got caught outside when a rocket came in. He was lucky as he only got hit with some shrapnel in the back of the head. Grateful that it was only a flesh wound. He was medivaced to a surgical unit. I got word that he was going to be medevaced to the surgical unit on my camp and went by that evening looking for him only to find out he went to a different treatment facility. They put some staples in his head and he hopped a helo to return to his camp and was back at work that night. He is a tough guy. In fact, I actually saw him yesterday as I had to go to his position for some business. It is always a quietly thankful moment when you see a guy who has been wounded or who you think was wounded and he turns out to be ok. Mike was actually embarrassed about the whole thing and shrugged off any mention of it as he feels like he is not "doing enough" right now.

We only were able to talk for a short time and I swear that within a few minutes I had forgotten about the whole thing until we shook hands when I had to go. He turned to leave and I saw the zipper of staples on the back of his head. He was going back to work.

And he writes not just of Marines, but of the Iraqi forces the Marines are training:

I could tell you stories of individual heroics of Iraqi soldiers. One specific example is of an Iraqi SgtMaj who came into our lines during the first days of fighting in Falluja. He made his way through the mujahadeen and risked being killed by us to tell us that he was concerned about the ICDC (Iraqi Civil Defense Corps) armory in town. He knew it was only a matter of time until the muj went for the armory to take the weapons. Honestly, I would have thought that they had already done it as the police stations and every other good piece of ground seemed to be occupied by the muj by that time. In short, he wanted to let us know that he was going back into the town to get the weapons. The Marines asked him if he wanted us to help. No. He only wanted us to take the weapons from him when he came back through. This guy took a couple young Iraqi soldiers with a truck and drove back through our lines into the hornets nest of Falluja. He went to the armory, emptied the weapons and ammo stored there and brought it back out through the fighting to us. We expected him to want to stay with us or to move on to Baghdad or some other safe area. He refused and stated that he was going back into the city as that was where his duty was. Not a coward by even the most cynical standard.
And finally, for those of you who see John Kerry surrounded by veterans, there's a few more million veterans that you don't see because we don't support him. Major Bellon has something to say about Kerry and Dan Rather, too:
...I punished myself by watching CBS news. I saw the anchor come on and just before he spoke, I told my rack mate "Lets see what the opening line is going to be...." Sure enough before he said anything else, he said "It just keeps getting worse and worse...." Yes, he was talking about Iraq. Honest to God we laughed at him. I'm not kidding. It is getting to the point where the Marines are getting past their anger at the talking heads and are laughing. To really get a rise out of them, requires a retired military officer who betrays his oath and stokes the fear mongering.
So go check out the whole letter. It's long and I've only given you about 20% of it.

From what Major Bellon has to say, it looks like Wretchard at the Belmont Club was right about Fallujah.


Abu Ghraib and Lieutenant General Sanchez

"Curiouser and curiouser..." - Alice, Alice in Wonderland

U.S. Denies Report That General Saw Abuse
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military command on Sunday denied a report that the top U.S. general in Iraq was present during some interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison and witnessed some of the abuse of Iraqi inmates.

The Washington Post, in a story first released on its Web site Saturday night, said a military lawyer stated at an open hearing April 2 that Capt. Donald J. Reese told him that Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and other senior military officers were aware of the abuse at the prison.

The military lawyer, Capt. Robert Shuck, represents Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II, one of seven members of the 372nd Military Police Company facing criminal charges for abusing Iraqi inmates. Reese is the company commander.

"There was a news report published May 23, 2004, which suggests that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of Multinational Forces-Iraq was aware of, and in some instances, present at Abu Ghraib while detainee abuse was occurring," the U.S. military said in a statement. "This report is false."...

Phil Carter (of the recently New and Improved IntelDump) believes that this is beneficial for the case. It probably is beneficial right now, but I don't think the positive impact will last.

In light of LTG Sanchez's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee and statements that he has made concerning Abu Ghraib, either he's a gigantic liar or the defense is led by amateurish JAG Officers. Both scenarios are unlikely so the truth is probably somewhere in between.


Bush Falls While Riding His Mountain Bike

...and doesn't blame "that sonofabitch" (Secret Service Agent) for his fall.

...Bush was on the 16th mile of a 17-mile ride when he fell, Duffy said. He was riding with a military aide, members of the Secret Service and his personal physician, Dr. Richard Tubb.

"He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees," Duffy said. "Dr. Tubb, who was with him, cleaned his scratches, said he was fine. The Secret Service offered to drive him back to the house. He declined and finished his ride."...


It's Large Package Week

It's the Annual Large Package (Drop) Week at Pope AFB and Ft. Bragg where the Air Force gets to drop, well, lots of large things...including paratroopers. For those of you who are ancient enough to remember what Gamma Goats were, I saw the Army get rid of a few by not providing adequate canopy for a safe landing during one of these kind of mass equipment and paratrooper drops. They burned in and sent up puffs of dust when they were stopped abruptly by the North Carolina dirt. I felt sorry for the boys that had to clean up that mess...well, not sorry enough to keep those crappy Gamma Goats around.

Below is an Air Force photo of a drop yesterday:

040511-F-9085B-018c

AIRBORNE, ALL THE WAY!!!...to the pub.

Here's the Air Force write up of the Large Package Week.

Update: Can't help this...Now, I normally don't take cheap shots at other military services (right, Jarhead Dad?), but I have to ask the question, "Who else but the Air Force would term an exercise Large Package Week?" Feeling a bit deficient, are you fellas? They should've gotten Wilt Chamberlain to be spokesman...

Sorry, couldn't help it, Zoomies.

*back to the normally PG-13 rated blog*


The Never Ending Nightmare

Abu Ghraib. Just like every other MilBlogger, I've written about my belief that the book should be thrown at those responsible in the chain of command as well as the ones who committed the crimes. I believe that I mentioned that said book should be thrown over-handed, fast pitch style...

What's nightmarish about this is that, while the media does have a responsibility to uncover and report the issues concerning the prison, the media is also using that responsibility to shape the news towards their own skewed view of the world. Nick Berg's death only suits their needs when they can get an anti-Bush quote out of a grieving father who's political views are well known.

I asked and still wonder, "Where the hell is the outrage over Arab prison abuses?"

Glenn Reynolds linked to a prison abuse story in France.

And now, the media is going to cover the Arab summit with baited breath, awaiting the condemnation of the Abu Ghraib scandal while prisons in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. ad nausem, are the worst in the world in terms of human rights violations.

Here's a taste of what's to come, courtesy of the New York Freakin' Times:

Arab Meeting Expected to Produce Mostly Criticism of U.S.
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Published: May 22, 2004

TUNIS, May 21 - Arab leaders gathering for a summit meeting on Saturday and Sunday in this North African capital are expected to issue a collective criticism of the United States for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners and what they view as the anemic American effort toward ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.
<...>
"It will be difficult for America to promote democratic change, given the great failure in Iraq," said Wahid Abdel Maguid, an Egyptian political analyst at Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies. "The model doesn't exist, plus the U.S. doesn't have the moral credibility that it used to have to impose its will on other countries."

A draft version of the final communiqué sharply censures the United States for the mistreatment of Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.

"The Arab leaders strongly condemn the inhumane and immoral crimes and practices committed by the occupation forces against the Iraqi detainees in the prisons and demand that the perpetrators of these crimes be tried," the draft document reads in part. It also calls for an effective United Nations role in ending the occupation of Iraq...

It's almost laughable that we are going to see our media take this B.S. lecture from the world's despots about prison abuses and throw it in our faces over the next few news cycles. Would they have sought out and openly punished the violators? Would they have apologized?

I must point out that we had better retain our "moral credibility". Imagine what would happen to the world if our country, with all of our resources, were as morally bankrupt as, say, Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Syria...

What would happen to the world if we, like them, didn't give a rat's ass about moral credibility?

Think of that while you read and hear about the Arab League's outrageous indignation over Abu Ghraib.


No Better Friend

Dizzy Girl blogger, Gennie, lost her nephew in Iraq. Marine Jeremiah Savage was killed in action. This quote is from Jeremiah's mother, Eva Savage:

If you are so inclined, you may want to drop by and leave a message for her. We owe her family a debt that we can't repay.

Thank you, Jeremiah, for living the motto - No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.

(Thanks to Mark H. for the info. I can't believe I might have missed it.)


Outcry from the Arab World?

Bill T. sends this email from a Marine Viet Nam veteran:

I am not condoning what happened to the Iraqi prisoners...however, I think it is vitally important that in my head I have these matters in proper perspective...

Saddam had Iraqi men, women and children put to death in human meat grinders on a daily basis...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

Saddam had people thrown off of 3 - 4 story buildings, while their relatives were forced to watch...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

Saddam had people's tongues cut out, limbs chopped of, and even beheaded, while their families were forced to watch...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

Saddam's sons, as well as other Administrators and military personnel raped and sodomized Iraqi girls, some as young as 8 years old, on a daily basis...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

Saddam's regime indiscriminately put to death millions of Iraqi citizens on a daily basis, during the term of his brutal dictatorship, as evidenced by the mass graves recently uncovered in various parts of Iraq...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

Terrorists recently exploded several car bombs in Baghdad, killing 17 innocent Iraqi children and several dozen innocent Iraqi citizens...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

Terrorists have been killing American/Coalition soldiers on a daily basis since we sent our troops, many of whom gave their lives on Iraqi soil, used US taxpayer dollars to liberate the Iraqi people...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

Four Americans were killed in Fallujah, their bodies were burned, mutilated, drug through the streets and hung on a bridge...while Iraqi people cheered and stoned the bodies...
NO OUTCRY FROM THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR THE ARAB COMMUNITY...

AND NOW, A FEW IRAQI PRISONERS HAVE BEEN HUMILITATED (poor babies)... A PAIR OF WOMENS UNDERWARE PUT ON THE PRISONERS HEADS, A FEW NAKED PHOTOGRAPHS... AND THE IRAQI PEOPLE AND THE ENTIRE ARAB COMMUNITY GO BALLASTIC... GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

As I said, I don't condone what happened to the prisoners... but, until the Iraqi's and the Arab Community gets their act together, I wish the American news elite would stop being part of the problem and stop using this story to the benefit of the Arab community.

I DON'T WANT MY PRESIDENT TO APOLOGIZE TO THE ARABS FOR ANYTHING! WE ARE AT WAR!

While I think that the President showed courage and strength by apologizing, we are at war and not getting much help from the Arab world (at least, not in front of any television cameras). But, we're not getting much help from our own media, either.

Here's an example over at Patterico's blog - Patterico's Pontifications.


Celle-marketers

Since you pay for minutes on your cell phone for incoming calls, I wonder how this will play out?

Cell phone directory to be issued
Critics object that it could be abused by telemarketers, e-mail spammers
Jube Shiver Jr., Los Angeles Times
Washington -- Mobile phones, once immune to telemarketers and e-mail spammers, could become as vulnerable as home phone lines and computer inboxes when a wireless subscriber directory is published later this year.

Critics fear that the directory being developed by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association will undermine privacy and flood cell phones with unwanted calls and messages.
<...>
In the 30 years since cell phones burst onto the market, wireless numbers have remained mostly private because recipients of calls have to pay for air time and, thus, have been reluctant to distribute numbers widely.
<...>
Cell phone numbers can be added to the Federal Trade Commission's do-not- call list. Many telemarketing operations, though, don't belong to the Direct Marketing Association, which honors the list....

The backlash against telemarketers calling cell phones will be huge. I'd contribute to any non-for-profit org going up against these people.

Lesson Here: Put your cell phone number on the National Do Not Call List.


Feel The Outrage?

An Al Jazeera employed was killed during a battle between insurgents and the US. Of course, Al Jazeera is upset.

But, if you were a soldier or an insurgent and saw someone on the rooftop above you, you would probably shoot.

Jazeera Newsman Killed in Clashes in Iraq Fri May 21, 2004 08:27 AM ET

DUBAI, Reuters (Reuters) - Arab channel Al Jazeera said on Friday one of its employees was killed overnight in clashes between U.S. forces and militiamen loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
<...>
The father of six was killed while Al Jazeera was filming fighting in the southern city of Kerbala where U.S. forces are battling to put down a weeks-old rebellion by Sadr's militia.

"Al Jazeera announces with a heavy heart the death of Rashid Hamid Wali, a member of its team covering events in Kerbala. Rashid died as a result of a bullet that hit him in the left eye, exiting the back of the head," a statement said.

"The fateful incident took place while Al Jazeera's team, positioned on the rooftop of their hotel, was covering fierce fighting between U.S. forces and the Mehdi Army," a network statement said.

"Wali was hit by a single bullet when he stuck his head out from the rooftop of the hotel, looking down on the street, after hearing the sound of U.S. armored vehicles moving."...

Since Al Jazeera frequently *cough* assists embeds with the insurgents, I'm surprised that a lot more haven't been shot.


Blog Survey Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Blog Survey.

Here is the link to the Blog Survey Results.

Side note: It's kind of funny that, in response to my post about taking the blog survey, I received a lot of constructive criticism about Blackfive. I have received a few emails about how much my banner sucks. Yeah, I am aware that it's just text. It keeps your page load speed faster. I might put a graphic up some time in the future. Probably HALO (not the game, but the method of insertion - High Altitude Low Opening) or something.