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December 2006

We Are Not Afraid

Blackfive highlights a real concern/serious threat that has already brought out predictable trolling. To answer one particular bit of excrement, here is an image I came up with after the first (and may it be the last, though I doubt it) London terror attacks. I agree with Blackfive that such are a strategic mistake, because while the Brits may be stoic and more, there is that wild Celtic side, as evidenced by my (and Blackfive's) Scottish Clan motto: Fierce When Roused. Pretty much sums it up. BTW, feel free to grab the image and use it on your site if you like, as others have done.



Cease Fire! Cease Fire! Target Destroyed (nice work, people)

RE:  Blackfive - When you steal from a Milblogger
RE:  Blackfive - When you steal from a Milblogger II
RE:  Mike Yon - Speak Out to HFM

The Huntress delivers the news that HFM's Shock magazine has shut down

According to Keith Kelly of The NY Post:   SHOCK IS OVER AND OUT.  GONE. DEAD.

HFM has pulled the plug on that piece of trash SHOCK magazine that stole Mike Yon's iconic photo and then reneged on a settlement even before the ink was dry!...

More at Huntress's Diary of a Hollywood Refugee.

A big thank you to all who boycotted, contacted HFM, retailers, etc.  You made a difference.

And Instapundit has a post on it in context of bloggers and old media

FYI - more than likely, Mike will be back in Iraq just in time to catch Santa.  Mike wants to spend the majority of 2007 in Iraq, but will need support in order to do so.

So, please, if you want the truth out of Iraq, go hit Mike's tip jar and send him some support.

Haditha revisited

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Four Marines have been charged with murder in the 2005 killings of 24 Iraqi civilians, and four officers are accused of failing to investigate and report the deaths properly, the Marine Corps announced Thursday.

It's been a while so here are two bits that lay out what would make this a crime and what would make it simply a tragedy.

What makes a shooting a massacre

Good men pushed too far?

That is all this really boils down to, one question. Did they think they were in danger? That is all a trial will determine. If they reasonably believed they were under attack and the Iraqis were killed in the course of immediate actions responding to those attacks (real or imagined) then no crime was committed. The determinative factor here is the mindset of the Marines involved, and that is the only relevant factor. It is easy to sensationalize this event by focusing on dead children and the press accounts but when it comes time to render a verdict, the only thing that matters is what those Marines thought was coming from those buildings.

The interesting thing to me in these charges is that four officers were charged, although none were actively involved in the shootings. I think I see something developing. The accounts of this incident most people are familiar with came from some very shaky sources and the video and pictures of the incident have not been shown to match descriptions of the event. The people living in this area have had strong ties to insurgents and any eyewitness testimony would be subject to intense scrutiny and questioning by defense attorneys for the Marines involved. All of this means getting a conviction will be tough. Prosecutors must convince a jury that these Marines knew there was no threat and just decided it was time to waste some Iraqis. That is something plenty of the left could easily envision, but this will be a jury of other Marines and they know better.

The prosecutors pretty much need one of the shooters or the others who were there to admit they knew there was no threat. Or for one of the shooters to have admitted that to someone else who will testify. The physical evidence and testimony of Iraqis is not likely to be enough to convict, as it doesn't matter whether there actually was a threat, just whether they reasonably thought there was. Back to those officers, none of whom was a shooter. They are ultimately responsible for the actions of the enlisted men they lead. That responsibility sometimes leads to accountability, and charging four of them leaves plenty of sacrificial lambs and scapegoats. I would bet the case against Wuterich and the other three is too weak for comfort and the officers are charged to make sure somebody fries. We shall see what a trial brings.

Matt pointed out a couple of other good pieces in the comments.

Some other references that might interest our readers:

Waiting for Haditha by Grim

Military Justice: A Brief Primer by Greyhawk

Re-Update: The savage wenches at Euphoric Reality have a detailed look at the many discrepancies in accounts of these events

Saving Pvt. Journalism, Pt. 8

Originally posted June 23, 2003

In my opinion, one of the largest problems facing real journalism today is the practice of advocacy journalism. To my mind, advocacy and journalism are an oxymoron as to dwarf any other two words of your choice, from military and intelligence to politician and trust.

Continue reading "Saving Pvt. Journalism, Pt. 8" »

Christmas Terror in London?

    "It's important ... that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people and a desire to impose extremism on the world." - Prime Minister Tony Blair, July 7, 2005

Via most merciful Allah:

British intelligence and law enforcement officials have passed on a grim assessment to their U.S. counterparts, "It will be a miracle if there isn't a terror attack over the holidays in London," a senior American law enforcement official tells ABCNews.com.

British police have been quietly carrying out a series of key arrests as they continue to track at least six active "plots" tied to what they call "al Qaeda of England."

Officials said they could not cite any specific date or target but said al Qaeda had planned previous operations during the Christmas holidays that had been disrupted.

"It is not a matter of if there will be an attack, but how bad the attack will be," an intelligence official told ABCNews.com...

This doesn't sound very strategic to me.

Remember "We're Not Afraid!"...?

One of the first pictures (of thousands) at "We're Not Afraid!"

Thoughts and prayers to the people of London this Christmas.  And more thoughts and prayers for the police to stop it from happening.

More at Hot Air.

Update:  Why a strategic mistake?  I wrote this on July 7th, 2005:

The third thought I had this morning after learning of the attack was that Al Qaeda just made a big, big mistake.  I'm not talking about responses or revenge.  I'm talking about Al Qaeda misjudging the incredible people of London and Great Britain.

If Al Qaeda is expecting a Spanish-like response to their act, I think they'll be surprised.

For example, of all things, I saw a woman passing out cups of tea at one disaster scene.  An act so stoically English and so defiant at the same time...

These are the people that withstood the Battle of Britain...

Dems consider votes against reinforcement

Some Democrats are looking at President Bush's likely plan to increase troop levels in Iraq as a good place to start being the opposition.

Mrs. Clinton said that she was disinclined to support an increase in troops to Iraq, even short-term. "I'm not going to believe this President again," she said.

Since they own the checkbook they could effectively stop such a move from happening. This would do wonders to fire up the nutroots left, but I don't think it would play well with much of the rest of America. If W puts forth a call for one more push to victory, I believe even many war weary types will understand that we owe the Iraqis a full effort, but more importantly we owe our military a full effort. Any loss goes on their record and those who died and those still fighting deserve a shot at a win.

A retreat from defeat in Iraq would be a crushing blow to our prestige as a fighting force worldwide and we can't afford that. Part of the utility of a powerful expeditionary military is it's deterrent effect on bad actors. The knowledge that if you start screwing around too much Uncle Sugar will send you some Marines certainly stops some percentage of aggression. The idea that we were defeated by an Arab Muslim terror army would be a huge factor in our dealings with all the folks we are currently having trouble with. Al Qaeda triumphant, recruiting at will all over the ebbing Western world, the Mullahs adding another client to the roster, Syria vindicated and elevated, Iraq as a living hell. I don't see much of an upside.

Americans hate losing, we really do. If the choice is presented as reinforcing a full faith effort to secure Baghdad and put a boot on the necks in Al Anbar or some flavor of withdrawal, I believe a goodly majority would support the shot at victory. If the Democrats decide to draw a line in the sand and refuse to allow us the opportunity to win it may blow up in their faces. Hillary has already begun trying to triangulate her initial support for the war, with her base's hatred of it. A vote to deny reinforcements would be a huge bat to pummel her with come '08, but she can't possibly vote yes with the nutroots outside with torches and pitchforks.

One of the few pieces of faith I have left in W is his will. He is not going to make a decision because political winds are blowing a certain way. He understands the strategic implications of a loss, and I expect we will see a proposal for victory in early January. I really wish that Congress would consider any votes regarding this based on our national security, but fat chance of that. Some will, but far too many will put a finger in the wind and vote the politics. We must make sure that any who vote for defeat pay the price.

2/8 Marines in the News

Grim's Hall co-blogger, and BlackFive commenter, Major Leggett sends this story about his unit.  It ran in the LA Times.  Joel is quoted in the article, which you wouldn't know from the article itself -- since he is identified as "Maj. Joel Garrett."

On a related note, did you see today's 'Day by Day' cartoon?

Best to the 2/8, and all our Marines.

LTG Petraeus for Centcom

There is an excellent article in the LA Times today, did I just write that? It's about the retirement of Gen Abizaid and who will replace him as Commander of Centcom and primary architect of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both of these are counter-insurgencies so you would like to believe the candidates for this role would be our flag officers most knowledgable about that topic. If that is the case then Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus should get the nod.

He led the 101st Airborne into Iraq in 2003, got the program to train Iraqi troops running and just finished a rewrite of the Army and USMC counter-insurgency manuals at the Combined Arms Center. He is widely regarded as wicked smaht, and has focused extensively on low-intensity conflict and the very conditions we currently face in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are plenty of fine General officers senior to LTG Petraeus, but this situation cries out for the best possible person.

The military is often looked at as monolithic with all the basic units and commanders as interchangeable. But there are huge differences in mind set, tactics and general world view between individual officers, different units and branches of service. The bulk of the officers in the military would properly be classed as conventional warriors. Their training and experiences have been in conducting conventional military operations i.e. moving troops and materiel into position to lay some hurt on someone or something. That is vital, but not applicable to the problems of counter-insurgency, which are social and cultural as much as military.

If we faced the possibility that the Iranians and Syrians were going to roll tanks toward Baghdad, then I would wholeheartedly support an old school Armor general to command the slaughter. But with two active insurgencies to deal with I want someone a lot more focused on how the actions of his forces either help or hinder the effort to gain trust and support of the people away from the insurgents. We have never had enough troops to garrison the whole of Iraq and make an insurgency impossible. What we need is a commander who can use our forces and our resources to convince the Iraqis to make the insurgency impossible.

So give the gig to Petraeus, send another couple of boatloads of troops to secure Baghdad, and send him a bunch of satchels of cash to give to local sheiks and to fund local projects. Get our troops and the Iraqi troops among the people, living, securing, rebuilding. Oh and one last thing, LTG Petraeus...please bust a cap in Mookie's ass.

Some Quick Christmas Links and Reposts

Remember Uncle J's "Walkin' In A Sniper Wonderland" from 2005?  There's audio at that link of the only crooner on Blackfive singing WIASW.

Don't forget to have your kids help NORAD track and protect Santa this Christmas Eve!

And Soldier's Silent Night (with audio) aka Merry Christmas My Friend and the A Different Kind of Christmas Poem?

Well, here is In the Company of Soldiers take on Merry Christmas My Friend:

Send the troops working Gitmo Some Holiday Cheer

Received this from my friends at Pundit Review (I added the bold emphasis) via one of their regular listeners, Marlene:

I'm hoping you'll be able to use your blog and radio program to help our soldiers/marines - you know, the good guys - at Gitmo per below.

I was listening to a national radio program yesterday.  A retired military officer and former Green Beret was being interviewed from Guantanamo (he was "visiting" our guys down there).  I was stunned with what he reported.  The terrrorists being held at Gitmo are receiving thousands of "well wishes" from Americans who sympathize with the terrorists and condemn America.  Our troops, who are handling very dangerous detail there, aren't getting much of anything except grief from the terrorists and from their sympathizers.  The retired officer...provided the address, shown below, hoping that people would show support for our troops by sending them cards, letters, pkgs, etc., whatever you could manage, throughout the year, but especially at this time of year.  I've heard today that the response by Americans has been overwhelming.  So I thought I'd let you guys know about this, too, so you could send off a card or something to our guys if you're so inclined.  Perhaps you could have your kids, grandchildren, get involved, too.  If you are going to send something, make sure you include the 2nd line of the address shown below (c/o Col. Wade Dennis) line because the post office and the military will not accept anything simply addressed to "Any Soldier" because of terrorism and anthrax, WMDs, etc.  So I hope you'll help to make one of our guys - you know - the good guys - feel good by showing them they are not forgotten and they are appreciated and supported.  Thank you.  I pulled this info below from the radio station's website.

  Merry Christmas to all of you.

    Any Soldier
    c/o Col. Wade Dennis
    JTF Gtmo
    APO AE 09360

I think that this is a great idea!