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August 2006

More "Support" for the troops

Just like Smash reporting on those oh so supportive Code Pink skanks protesting at Walter Reed Hospital, we have yet another example of liberals being "supportive" to our troops while patriotically dissenting from the war.

That is unless you don't think that pulling a gun on a National Guardsman in uniform and then having four of your friends kick his a$$ while you call him "baby killer" is supportive.  Apparently, the five "dissidents" were white kids in their 20's driving around a Suburban that one of their daddies bought them.  Just once I'd like to see the base CO muster the base for a giant formation run into town and see if any of these little bitches want to scrap it up then.

h/t Drudge

What are SEALs for?

In this morning's NRO, W. Thomas Smith has asked if we are properly employing our SOF assets in Iraq and to put it more specifically, are we "burning up SEALs"?  In the wake of PO Marc Lee's death while protecting his fellow frogmen, it is a question worth asking.  Let me say from the outset that in NO WAY do I believe that Marc Lee's life was "wasted".  Marc Lee is and will always be an American hero who placed the safety of his comrades above his own and personally ensured that Ryan Job and probably other members of his platoon are alive today.  There is no greater deed that can be done in this life of ours than to lay down your own life to protect your family-which is what Marc gladly did.

Smith interviewed among others, LCDR Mark Divine, who is not only a fellow SEAL Reservist, but a personal friend of mine.  Mark is a key figure in the new SEAL recruiting efforts underway in the Navy and his dedication to the Teams cannot be questioned.  Mark is also a unique man in that he is an extremely intelligent advocate for the Teams and perhaps one of our most important strategic thinkers.  He is a Master's level instructor in Leadership training at the University of San Diego and a person totally committed to the development of young American minds and especially young SEALs.

Divine pointed out that the operation in which Marc was engaged when he died was to support US Army conventional units in a cordon and search mission in downtown Ramadi.  By all accounts, this is an unusual role for a SEAL platoon to play as Navy SEALs are strategic assets which are designed to be used to accomplish missions of a strategic nature.  SEALs are used to being supported by conventional forces in the conduct of operations that will have a strategic impact on a conflict-not the other way around.  The very limited number of SEALs on this planet necessitates that they be reserved and employed only on missions that are of the utmost importance and too complex for conventional forces to perform. 

To be perfectly frank, one of the reasons that I became a SEAL instead of staying in the Marines, was because I believed that I could serve my country better being a member of an elite unit tasked with conducting highly specialized missions as opposed to facing large elements of enemy infantry in open combat.  Traditional SEAL missions are characterized by utilizing stealth, surprise, and violence of action in order to acheive a strategic objective.  Conventional infantry, on the other hand, does its work by employing large numbers of troops using superior firepower, manuever, and aggressive infiltration to acheive tactical control of a target area. 

That said, I can understand why conventional commanders would want to use SEALs in a counter-insurgency role as they are, in a sense, insurgent-type fighters.  The problem with that idea is that there are simply not enough SOF operators in the inventory to risk them in such a broad scoped guerilla war. 

The Long War: Thinking About Issues Raised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff

First, if you have not seen this elsewhere, read it now:  Vice Director Admiral Sullivan of the JCS Strategic Planning and Policy's take on the Long War

(H/t for hosting it: Sic Semper Tyrannis.)

What follows in the extended entry is a discussion on the subject between myself and US Army officer, West Point graduate Major M. Wegner.  I have redacted only a few personal remarks.  Major Wegner granted permission for me to share the email chain with you.  The first response, from me, is my reaction to the PowerPoint show linked above.

Continue reading "The Long War: Thinking About Issues Raised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff" »

The King of all media

I posted this back at madison.com for obvious reasons but I figgered I'd share since y'all like to make fun of me too. This is part of a marketing campaign we are currently running and my flapping cakehole is plastered all over town. It's a full page in the Onion although I assume only the local version.

OK, so I only have to answer this once, yes it is me in the madison.com ads in the paper, the Isthmus and the Onion. The responsibility for this glaring lack of taste and judgement lies squarely with our marketing folks. In the midst of shooting their ads for this campaign it occurred to them that everyone they were taking pictures of was in their twenties and good looking. So their fearless leader thought of me as a definite departure from that and since they wanted to feature the discourse that our site facilitates that made sense too. Technically I'm just another non-pretty face to add diversity to the campaign, but since I've already had a couple of people ask I figured I would ride the free pubs. If anyone wants to photoshop the ad and make fun of me I will post them.


On the 29th Rumsfeld spoke at Fallon Air Station. During a question-and-answer session, Rumsfeld said “the one thing that keeps him up most at night is the manipulation of the media by terrorists”.  He says it bothers him how clever the enemy is. You know something? He’s right. You’ve known it for some time, how the media likes to put their spin on things and make the


look like the bad guy all the time. Its easy for them, they are protected by the rights the warriors deployed are protecting! 

You say it can be! The media are Americans! You say they always “sell” the truth?? Look below, I beg to differ!

As mentioned before the scumbags are always willing to point out how Americans kill innocent civilians and the bone head media goes right with along with it. The facts are that the scumbags have killed thousands if not more innocent Muslims and yes hundreds of women and children!

Have you ever heard the media call the enemy “terrorists” or how about dirt bag scumbags? Nope you hear them use terms like “militants, radicals, gunmen and even freedom fighters." These are American reporters, not German or other foreign country reporters, American, the same country that had its people in NY attacked by these guys! They had rather spend numerous man hours finding dirt on an ill fated service members return from


than help push a positive theme about our country and the war. We are at war you know and if it weren’t for the media, we might be light years ahead in the fight against terrorism! 

Capt B sends.

(Remind self to get Rumsfeld a cigar)

The Real Plame Conspiracy (UPDATED)

Lost in all the excitement over Jon Benet and Katrina flagellation could be one of the most pernicious acts of political backstabbing in a generation.  It occurred to me this morning that the Plame kerfluffle may very well have been a kind of conspiracy-or at least a little payback from one Cabinet member to his President.

It is clear that Richard Armitage did not deliberately tell Robert Novak about Plame's status as a CIA employee in an effort to destroy Joe Wilson's credibility, but it is likely that once the information got into the political bloodstream as a story damaging to President Bush, he intentionally did nothing that may have helped explain the situation.  Armitage is well known as someone who is not a "political gunslinger" in Novak's parlance, but he was also a well known opponent of the Iraq War.  So was his boss-Colin Powell.

Powell of "you break it, you buy it" fame with respect to Iraq was convinced by the President and ostensibly US Intelligence information that Iraq did have WMD notably made the case for war in a speech to the UN.  As a man of stature (or who believes he is of stature in any case) I doubt he would have made that case at the UN just because the President said so-in the absence of credible evidence.  But perhaps he did do the speech over his own objections-and when he felt burned, he decided to get some payback.

The first major objections to what was initially a popular war arose with Joe Wilson's infamous op-ed in the NY Times.  The media-still shellshocked by 9/11-was looking for an excuse to turn on a Republican President and war and took Wilson's ball and ran with it.  Then the Plame allegations dropped into their laps and they finally had something to sink their teeth into. 

Armitage had inadvertantly been the progenitor of a big story that was hurting the President and discrediting a war that he didn't support-so he sat on it.  From recent reports we know that he told a few fellow State Department colleagues that he was the leaker so it seems logical that he mentioned it to Colin Powell at some point as well.  This morning's Washington Post confirms that Armitage told Powell:

Armitage and two officials he later briefed on his role -- State Department legal adviser William Howard Taft IV and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell -- each discussed the matter with the FBI and testified before the grand jury, the former colleague said. But Fitzgerald told Armitage in February that he would not be charged with a crime, he said.

While Armitage and Powell were busy enjoying their just desserts, the nation began to turn against the war and our troops.  And they said nothing.  Fitzgerald continued with the case knowing that there was no intentional disclosure of a secret agent.  And they said nothing.  A reporter went to jail to protect a source.  And they said nothing.  Scooter Libby was indicted.  And they said nothing.  WMDs were found in Iraq.  And they said nothing. 

If this had been done by a Democrat it could reasonably be described as another liberal putting politics ahead of the country and allowing people's lives to be ruined to get back at an opposition President.  What do you call it when members of the President's own Cabinet do it? 

Blackfive on Pundit Review

Last Sunday night we talked about the Recon Marines of 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division as Someone You Should Know.

And then we talked about the call of Marine Reservists, Haditha and John Murtha and how you can help an OIF vet (and her baby) displaced by Katrina who needs our help.

Or just visit Pundit Review, and, as Instapundit would say "Just keep scrolling."


I wonder if we will get ambushed tonight. I wonder if the American people have forgotten about us. I wonder if that Iraqi kid knows I’m really trying to help him. I wonder what it will be like to have a real steak when I get home. I wonder if we will get another sand storm tonight.




Blackfive Interview with Marine Captain James Kimber

The following interview with Marine Captain James Kimber was conducted by myself and the other authors of Blackfive.  Captain Kimber commanded 3/1's India Company, and, along with the 3/1 Battalion Commander and Kilo Company Commander, was relieved for "lack of confidence" following Time Magazine's reporting of one version of the Haditha incident.  Because India Company was in another town (not Haditha), the reasons for Captain Kimber's relief are very suspect of political pressure stemming from Haditha.  [Update 09-02-06:  Deleting the next graph thanks to Commenter Carl providing a timeline of events.  See this Hot Air post for more info.]

Among others (but perhaps most prominent) you can thank John Murtha for causing the removal of a competent, assertive and intelligent US Marine Corps Officer.

The interview is a bit long and I think it's very worth your time to hear what a Marine, who's been treated very unfairly by the Corps that he loves, thinks about the state of affairs in Iraq and the Haditha incident.

Ladies and Gentlemen, US Marine Corps Captain James Kimber:

Blackfive: For openers, let's discuss the Rules of Engagement (ROE).  For those who might not know our jargon, could you explain the ROE for the 3/1 Marines?

Captain Kimber: ROE or ‘Rules of Engagement’ define for Marines what is considered ‘hostile act/hostile intent’, and the criteria for engaging that threat. Marines must have PID (Positive Identification) that someone is committing a hostile act/has hostile intent before they engage. An example is a man maneuvering tactically toward Marines with an RPG may be engaged; RPG = hostile intent, maneuvering tactically toward Marines = hostile intent. As the ROE changes form time to time, I am unsure what 3/1’s current ROE is. I can say that the ROE has become more and more restrictive since we first entered Iraq, due to the gradual stabilization of the Iraqi government, and consequently, the ramifications of innocent deaths upon its credibility in the eyes of the civilian populace.

B5: How would you change the ROE?

Capt Kimber: The ROE exist to shape the way Marines fight and perceive the fight. While they do on occasion hamper Marines’ abilities to address threats, I think they are very useful in maintaining the strategic goals of the Coalition Forces (support of the Iraqi government by the people). I do think that as ROE becomes more and more restrictive, there is a ‘tipping point’ where the Marines need to turn it over to units more comfortable operating within its confines, i.e., Iraqi Police, UN Peacekeepers, MPs, etc. While Marines train hard to operate within the restrictive counter-insurgency environment, let’s not forget the primary mission of the Marine infantryman; “To locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.” However, the biggest detriment of our ROE is that the insurgents know exactly what it is, operate within its limits, and exploit it at every opportunity to achieve their goals of murder, intimidation, and undermining of the Iraqi Government.

Continue reading "Blackfive Interview with Marine Captain James Kimber" »

Godspeed Marine Corporal Jordan Pierson

May 24, 2006 - CPL. JORDAN C. PIERSON of Milford gets a hug on the head from Sgt. Martin Castro after being slightly injured by a grenade in Fallujah, Iraq, in this May 2006 file photo by Tom Brown (Hartford Courant).

Via Seamus, we have the sad word the Corporal Jordan Pierson was killed in Iraq.  First, the words of the Hartford Courant and then the words of Pierson's First Sergeant in Iraq.

Flags At Half Staff For Marine Killed In Iraq    
               Courant Staff Writers
    August 28 2006, 8:56 AM EDT
Flags are flying at half staff today for a U.S. Marine corporal from Milford who died from hostile gunfire Friday while on foot patrol in Fallujah..

Cpl. Jordan C. Pierson, 21, was shot once through the shoulder and died at 12:12 p.m. Iraqi time, according to Lt. Col. Gerald Larghe, commander of the U.S. Marine Center in Plainville, where Pierson's company - Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines - is based.

He became the third Marine with ties to the company to be killed in action since the unit was deployed in March.

Pierson joined the U.S. Marine Corps in December 2003. He was wounded in the arms and legs by shrapnel from an insurgent grenade in May. He was treated at Camp Fallujah and awarded the Purple Heart...

And from his First Sergeant, 1stSgt Ben Grainger, who's letters I've posted here before.  Grainger was hospitalized in Germany and was about to escape by tying 23 bedsheets together when they released him to go back to his company in Iraq....only to find out that Jordan had died:

It’s with a saddened heart that I returned to Charlie Company last night as we have lost a great Marine to the rigors of combat in Iraq, Cpl Jordan Pierson. Cpl Pierson had been a bright spot in his platoon, in a place, that can take the softest of hearts to into a void of darkness. Even when the gloom of combat reached deep in a man soul, Cpl Pierson could bring the Marine back to a sense of purpose, a sense of why we were here, and that we were making a difference. Cpl Pierson was destined not to only be a Marine, but a leader among Marines. He fostered a sense of caring for Marines while still embodying all it meant to be a Marine. Like before, it has sent a tidal wave of mixed emotion throughout the company at a time when we were just getting through the loss of LCpl Dechen. Marines are saddened and angered as they deal with the loss that they know has not only hurt them but his family back home. Marines are here to protect the American family and Cpl Pierson was one who strongly believed in that. That no harm would befall any American as long as he had the title of Marine. He fostered such a positive spirit that it was contagious to all even to an old 1stSgt, a spirit that made people proud to do what they were doing. He carried us all through another day here on many occasions. Another cut has been sliced across the heart of every Marine here; a cut that has hurt deep, but with time will hopefully heal. A cut that will forever remind us of the Marine Cpl Pierson was. A cut that will heal, slowly over time, but we will forever look upon and remember our fallen brother until we are all once again joined and our hearts are finally mended. We miss you Jordan,  Semper Fi


1stSgt Grainger

Godspeed Corporal Pierson, godspeed.