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April 2008

ANZAC Day!

Just the other day, thanks to this letter from Australia, we were talking about how much we appreciate the folks from Down Under.  Well, today is ANZAC Day, which is similar in many respects to our Memorial Day. 

We'd like to join in the salute to our comrades.  I see that the Castle got started without us:  if anyone else has an appropriate post, add it in the comments here.

Advance Australia Fair!  This rendition begins with a phrase that I've only heard British and Commonwealth units use:  "Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding."  It's a fine way of putting it, joining both the physical and the moral actions that are requested to show due honor to nation and service.


In the Crosshairs- Not Moqtada Sadr

Mookie Sadr is the media's favorite boogeyman in Iraq and they simply will not let him slink off and hide in Iran. A fair look at the past few months would conclude that Sadr got his ass handed to him by Maliki and the Iraqi government. About the only folks still propping up Sadr are the media and his handlers in Iran. Al Qaeda in Iraq is more scared than scary so as the press look for ways to keep the hope of defeat alive we get pieces like the AP report that Mookie is going to go all out against the US and carve out an Iranian shadow state just like Hezbollah has in Lebanon.

I hate to harsh the APs latest defeatist propaganda party but Mookie and his boys just got thumped pretty hard in Basra and it wasn't even US troops it was Iraqi Army forces making mounds of dead tangos. He has never had the guts and incredibly bad judgment to go head to head with us and now taking a stand against the Iraqi government could prove just as terminal. Things are looking pretty good for the Iraqis as the main Sunni group agreed to return to the government and Mookie may have served his purpose in the question of whether the Shia-dominated government and Army had the will and the ability to move against the Mahdi Army's Shia militias. Well, yes and yes are the resounding answers and all those new Iranian weapons and radios the Mahdi hotshots were bragging about a few weeks ago didn't matter much against the Iraqi troops. Mookie ran up the white flag soon after the Government troops started stacking his thugs like cord wood.

Mookie's time has passed and while he will still be an aggravation his power is broken and he is discredited. But that won't stop the media from trotting his carcass out to keep those defeat fires burning.

For the smahty, ahts, fahty crowd I offer an existensialist interpretation of this ITC.


A Better Use of Iwo Jima

Here's something that turned up at the local grocery store:  a wine called "Jarhead Red."  It also comes in a bottle with the Marine Corps Emblem, but in honor of Time magazine I got this one:

April_08_009

Why is this acceptable, and the Time cover bad?  Two reasons:

1)  This uses the Iwo Jima image in its proper context:  to honor and celebrate a hard-won victory by the United States Marine Corps.

2)  According to the back:  "The net proceeds from the sale of this wine benefit the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation who provide educational assistance to the children of fallen Marines.  Please consider directly supporting the Foundation at www.mcsf.org."

If you live in one of those states (unlike mine) that lets you order wine through the mail, it appears you can buy it from here.

So is it any good?  Heck if I know -- if it was a beer, I'd hazard a guess, but wine isn't one of my usual interests.  So I'll stick to what I know, and leave writing about wine to wine critics.  Maybe they'll return the favor.


Can I Beat the Hippies Now????

I am starting to get "tired" again....

I think I am really going to have to start punching hippie "peace" fascists when I find them, because this is something that deserves a firm response...

This is from the New York Chapter of a Gathering of Eagles where an Iraq War Veteran and his family were attacked while staging a counter protest in Edinboro PA.  Their 14 year old son went across the street to videotape some of the protest that was going on.

This is a little piece of what happened...

Seeing the escalating tension across the street, the veteran and his wife crossed over, leaving their three youngest children on the other side for safety while they went to retrieve their eldest son. Two of the female ‘peace’ protesters then attacked the veteran’s wife. When the veteran pulled one of those attackers off his wife he was jumped by four or five of the ‘peace’ people and knocked to the ground where they held him while beating him and smashing his eyeglasses.

The son pulled the remaining attacker off his mother, but the attacker managed to get in one last kick to his mother’s head with her boot. She then punched the son in his face while his mother called the police.

But the fun didn't stop there....

Continue reading "Can I Beat the Hippies Now????" »


Global Counter-Insurgency (COIN) -Petraeus to head CENTCOM

Petraeus_maliki UPDATE: This seems like very good news in building a Global COIN strategy. Congratulations Gen. Petraeus and good luck.

Almost seven years into our active fight against al Qaeda and Islamic extremism, we still have difficulty characterizing exactly who and what we are fighting. We have twisted ourselves around in verbal gymnastics to avoid using the word Islam in the description of this war and I actually agree that is a good thing. Although our enemy is comprised almost entirely of Muslims, everyone knows that and consequently calling it a battle against Islamic anything doesn't add anything.

Our enemy is a stateless, amorphous, ad hoc group of Islamic religious extremists who are conducting a global insurgency of opportunity against us and all free societies. The one area of the world where we have had major success against them is Iraq of all places, and the reason for that was a complete change of strategy from top-down nation-building to bottom-up, grass roots counter-insurgency. We aren't fighting Islamic warriors who march into battle against the Great Satan flying the flag of jihad. No, we battle cowards who brainwash children with hate and strap explosives to mentally disabled women sending them to kill other innocents. Sadly they enjoy the support of far too many other Muslims and that is where we must fight them. If we only focus on sending jihadis to their hellish paradise, we will play an endless game of whack-a-mole. While killing terrorists must be part of our game plan, we must also use the strategy and tactics required to defeat this enemy on the battlefield of ideas.

America needs a Global Counter-Insurgency (COIN) plan to expand on the gains we have made in Iraq. It is not the current generation of Iraqis who will create the final defeat of al Qaeda there. It will be the youngsters who we have been giving medical care to, and building schools for, and at the most basic level, playing soccer with. They have known the evil of Saddam and the horrors of sectarian violence and terrorism. They have also seen that our forces now have shared their sacrifices and stood  back to back with them securing their own neighborhoods. Once the Iraqis believed we were on the front lines with them, their pride kicked in and they began to volunteer in droves to protect their families and friends. Now political progress is being made and the idea of victory is no longer foreign.

Those opposed to the war have often claimed that Iraq was a distraction from the greater fight and also that we have no comprehensive plan to fight Islamic extremism. It is valid to argue the efficacy of invading Iraq in 2003, it is folly to ignore the current state where al Qaeda consistently calls it the central front in their war on us. I again would agree that we have no coherent foreign and national security policy that addresses the enemy we face and that is why building a program that focuses all our resources in a Global Counter-Insurgency is vital. This effort must include our military, especially the Special Forces and Civil Affairs units trained for this mission, but also the State Department, USAID and other humanitarian organizations. Too often institutional differences have led to poor coordination and even working at cross-purposes. These same problems made it difficult for our Armed Forces to operate well together as recently as the first Gulf War in 1991. Since then virtually all missions are joint combining the best of all services in a common goal. The same integration is necessary between military and civilian agencies if a Global COIN strategy is to succeed.

This will require the abandonment of some pre-conceived notions. The left must understand that when dealing with bad actors, effective diplomacy happens best when the threat of military force backs up the words, and the right must accept that we will parley with our enemies and even make deals with them. Those efforts must be combined with humanitarian, civil and entrepreneurial assistance that shows our commitment to helping people live free, productive lives. Get all of those plates spinning and we just might win this.


Mike Yon, Professor, The Proof of the Unmentioned American Strategy

As my Differential Equations Prof used to say, "the proof of this theorem is left to the student, as the result is obvious to those with the knowledge to seek it".

Michael Yon's new book, Moment of Truth in Iraq, has been reviewed by the New York Post. In that review, the quotes selected echo the theme which has played itself out throughout the War on Terror and is the True underlying strategy behind the War on Terror, wherever it is fought by Americans today.

Those who visit Blackfive occasionally may find it vindicates certain points of view.

He shares a rarely reported aspect of the American effort in Iraq - rebuilding: "The American soldier is the most dangerous man in the world," he says, "and the Iraqis had to learn that before they would trust or respect us. But it was when they understood that these great-hearted warriors, who so enjoyed killing the enemy, are even happier building a school or making a neighborhood safe that we really got their attention."

Heard that somewhere before?

Press on. To Victory.

Subsunk


LA Times Staying Classy

Evidently, the LAT ran out of material to run on Hillary lying about sniper fire and Obama and his association with Jeremiah Wright and have stumbled across this HUGE scandal with the McCain Campaign.

Seems that the LAT believes that McCain, as a result of being shot down, severely injured during ejection, and then held prisoner for 5 years, as well as tortured while in captivity is unfit to be the Commander in Chief because he receives a VA Disability Pension.  And it is tax free!!!

Oooohhh!  The Humanity!

Evidently, the big question the LAT thinks this raises is:

The fact that he is legally designated with a disability pension may raise further questions.

And then this waste of skin piped in...

"It is a legitimate question to ask about the commander in chief: Is he fit to serve," said Robert Schriebman, a senior Pentagon tax advisor and tax attorney who recently retired as a judge advocate for a unit of the California National Guard.

I want this lawyer (Shakespeare was right) to come down here and tell me, a disabled veteran who continues to serve that I am not fit to serve, or Captain David Roselle is not fit to serve.  I would put my foot in his, well, you get the picture....

We all know that Senator McCain is entitled to that benefit, regardless of whether or not he is Senator McCain, or Principal McCain at Abraham Lincoln High School, or CEO McCain of ABC MegaCorp. or Janitor McCain.  He receives that as a benefit of his honorable service to this country.  Any man who can survive the situation he found himself in is not only fit to be the CinC, but someone that would bring a unique perspective to the job.

As far as I am concerned these oxygen thieves at the LAT deserve to burn in, after watching their reserve cigar roll, for questioning whether or not McCain's disability pension takes away from his abilities.

But they may have gotten pwned and not even know it....

Paul Galanti, another former POW in the group, said that while McCain's injuries were serious enough to qualify him for disability, it would not affect his performance as president.

"I don't know of any physical requirements to be commander in chief," Galanti said. "He would have a nice car to drive around in and a nice airplane to fly in."

I think next they should check into whether or not Hillary's bad vision would keep her from reading the launch codes properly.  I mean, have you seen those glasses?

Like I said, what a bunch of oxygen thieves....


This just in...

I came across this wonderful blog the other morning while checking my Google News feeds- The full text is below the fold.  Its a wonderful support piece that deserves wide dissemination.  She obviously loves her soldier- even if she disagrees with the politics behind everything...

I also just returned from Kuwait/Iraq where I was on a quick trip to check up on things; I had a chance to talk with one of the Soldier's favorite morning DJ's- Linda, who's STILL on every morning in Kuwait on 99.7 FM.  She's still doing her show, and tells me she misses the calls from Soldier's who were ''all over Kuwait'' in 2003.  She relayed some stories of US troops, heading north to the border, listening to her show all the way.  She says you can hear her show nearly all the way to Najaf.  I won't comment on her music selection, but what a perky voice to be hearing out in the middle of the desert!

She asked that I relay a 'hello' to all those that listened to her over the years, and for all to stay safe...

Linda, better words never spoken...

-Wolf

Continue reading "This just in... " »


And the White Horse Looked On

Lieutenant G, a scout cavalryman who enjoys great respect here for his literary skill as well as his work, writes from Iraq:

Augustly, it shoots out of the Babylonian dust to defy the sandstone skyline. Surrounded by a haphazard maze of tiny homes and shops lacquered in grime, a sea green minaret sits on top of the building like a crown. It has overseen more easy wars and more fragile peaces than any human being could ever fathom, even in this post- oral history era. The mosque stands as proudly today as the day it first became a place of worship, many dawns ago.

The sound of a loudspeaker’s hollow echo rolls over Anu al-Verona from the mosque. It is the early morning prayers of the Salah. My interpreter, Biggie Smalls, often translates these words for me while we’re out in sector and sometimes joins in to pray for us himself; admittedly, it has taken some time to not feel threatened by these austere, foreign chants unleashed in Arabic. I justify this visceral reaction by comparing the prayers to certain passionate sermons I remember from back home, spoken in words I understood, but emotions that I did not. Spiritual cadences from the heart uttered in any language will sound menacing to a stranger. With my terp’s help however, I’ve come to appreciate the tranquility offered in the simple repetitiveness of some Muslim prayers.

Meanwhile, the literary editor of The New Republic -- a publication whose reporting section has enjoyed scant praise from BlackFive.net -- writes from America:

For a long time I did not hear the beauty of church bells; or more accurately, I did not wish to hear it. They sounded only like Christianity, which in my early years was a vexing triumphalist sound--the pealing of history, from which my honor as a Jew required me to recoil. When the tintinnabulations of the Church of St. Francis Xavier on Avenue O reached my ears, they brought the message that I was a member of a minority....

I was loitering in the magnificent little cloister at Magdalen College. It was a late afternoon in an Oxford autumn, and the yellow spears of the waning sun were landing in the severe stone geometries of the place and striking the walls like friendly lightning. Suddenly I heard the harmonies of a choir rehearsing evensong--a piece by Byrd, I later learned--in an adjoining chapel. Fixed by the lights and the sounds, I was overcome[.]

According to the story, St. Vladimir converted Russia to Christianity because of his emissaries' reports of their visit to the Hagia Sophia.  He is said to have consulted with Muslims and Jews as well, but it was that "Christian beauty" that convinced him.

I have my own -- strong -- opinions on the relative values of the various religions, and am a partisan:  but I understand what these two men are saying.  I've also heard the calls to prayer, and wondered at them.  For a while, last autumn, we were getting mortars shortly after the end of the curfew on a regular basis.  The morning call to prayer, just after the curfew was lifted so that people could get to those prayers, was like a warning.  Yet, if to me they were a warning, and to the insurgent a signal, there were thousands in Baghdad for whom that same mosque's song was only what Lt. G. describes: a soothing moment in a hard life, a time to welcome the dawn and pray that today will not be terrible.

Lt. G says, "How did I help the counterinsurgency today? God only knows." 

Perhaps.