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July 2008

The mission of Blackfive and free ice cream

I love the Blackfive readership in a huge way. You people are amazing and you have enabled us to do so much good that I am honored to have been part of it. The blog was formed for specific reasons that come directly from supporting the troops, and that is obviously the raison d'etre of the site.

But I am going to ask you to do me a favor and quit the complaints if a post that doesn't fit the exact criteria of the site's mission. Good gravy, have we not given enough free ice cream to ask for a little indulgence? All of us have interests other than the military and if those aren't your interests then you have the option of skipping the post. At most off-topic posts make up a tiny proportion of the content we put out here. I would like to think we have earned the right to indulge ourselves (or myself) once in a while. Obviously it should not impinge on the important coverage we do, but the idea that it somehow compromises the site is hardly fair in my mind. Think of them as palate cleansers to prep you for the next wicked beatdown. That is what they are for me, mental floss to refresh me for the next round.

I am not trolling for "We love you UJ" comments. This is important to me because I don't want to alienate anyone from our audience, but none the less I don't think these "transgressions" ought to cause problems.

jimbo AT unclejimbo.com

This Used to be called “Mopping Up”


The Jawa Report has this from the Washington Post:

Baghdad, July 30 -- The leader of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and several of his top lieutenants have recently left Iraq for Afghanistan, according to group leaders and Iraqi intelligence officials, a possible further sign of what Iraqi and US officials call growing disarray and weakness in the organization.

Couple of points here:

Number 1:  This punk-assed pansy is running like the beaten goat humper that he is.  No thanks to Nancy and Harry and the rest of the defeatocrats but this clown and his hoard of radical, pedophile worshipping subhumans have been thoroughly throttled in Iraq.

Number 2:  He did not run to Afghanistan because he knows he would be hunted down and ventilated by US forces.  He went somewhere far more friendly like Pakistan or Berkley.

His day will come and hopefully very soon this scumbag will take the dirt nap.  Maybe from a rapid dose of .50 caliber diplomacy.

Is Obama wearing a KIA bracelet?

Double UPDATE: I'm throwing a BS flag on myself for this one. I spent a fair amount of time looking for photos of Barry and I found pics pre-dating his current military difficulties where he had the bracelet on. I called him out for doing it to cover his ass for the troop dissings. That does not seem to be the case, but I also saw that he seems to trot it out around military and national security events. That is lame but not the offense I threw the initial flag on. SO, I am sorry I accused you of pandering on this issue Senator.

UPDATE: Yes he is, and reader Akinoluna points out a mother gave it to him during the primaries. If he has been wearing it consistently since then, I apologize. If he just pulled it out again now when he is catching crap, I retract my apology and he can bite me.

Kev called me today up in arms because he saw what looks like a KIA bracelet on Barry O's right wrist. Given his disdain of flag pins and eventual caving on the issue, it doesn't seem impossible that he has put one on. He caught a wave of deserved disgust when he wouldn't visit the troops without his handlers and needs to pander hard to convince people he respects the troops. I doubt he will make any headway with the troops, but he needs the press to tell everyone he really does support them. I mean aside from all that "Busting his ass to lose the Iraq war" stuff right. Here are a couple of screencaps showing the bracelet. It does have the right size and color, but the left has plenty of bracelety causes and it could be a "trans-gendered, vegan, tree-sitters" support bracelet. What do y'all think? The video of Barry sleeves up and gesticulating is here.



Vets for Freedom- Back to Iraq

Here is some interesting news that I have to say didn't surprise me much (since I am helping with the project). Vets for Freedom is sending 8 folks back to Iraq to report first hand on the success.

Vets for Freedom is sending eight Iraq war combat veterans "back to Iraq" to embed with U.S. combat units and assess the security and political situation on the ground. The media—-along with recent Iraq visitors—-have not sufficiently reported the gains on the ground...so we'll do it ourselves.

We will return to the Iraqi cities where we once patrolled—-cities like Fallujah, Baqubah, Samarra, and Baghdad—-to provide a true "before and after" perspective and analyze the results of the surge, observe ongoing counterinsurgency operations, and examine future scenarios that might confront U.S. and Iraqi forces, as well as the Iraqi government.


All eight Vets for Freedom members have received their media credentials through Blackfive, National Review Online or The Weekly Standard. And while in Iraq, we will provide regular updates through the above media organizations and at www.vetsforfreedom.org. We will be blogging daily, writing full-length pieces, shooting video footage, and reporting live from the ground.

Embeds will be meeting with U.S. and Iraqi military and civilian leaders, and will focus our analysis on determining the durability of recent gains, the potential consequences of a rapid American withdrawal, the proper "conditions-based" metrics needed to measure future force levels, the status of displaced Iraqis, and the prospects for the return of al Qaeda to Iraq, among other issues.

As a matter of fact I am sitting in the VFF office in DC and will be coordinating the online media for them. The media did a brilliant job of highlighting the carnage when Iraq was in chaos, but bailed as soon as things started looking good. Well we will make sure that video, pictures and the voices of those who know the situation on the ground are heard.

UPDATE: Had a couple of questions about donating to help this. VFF is a non-profit so they have to be constantly fundraising. Here is a link to their donate page.

A Quick Follow-Up To Something Different

Last week, I wrote briefly about doing something different with my day. For those interested, the contract is signed and the person is indeed walking away from medical school and into Marine OCS. They may be older, but I think they have the physical to make the requirements, and the stamina to go with it. I wish them well, and think the USMC will be the richer for this -- as we all are anytime a Man (male or female) steps forward in this manner.


Somewhere over the Arabian Sea


An MH-60S Seahawk assigned to the "Wild Cards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 participates in a vertical replenishment between the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and the Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Rainer. Lincoln is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom as well as maritime security operations. Photographer: Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Blake, Navy Visual News Service.

...coming forth to carry me home...

Back when I was a PFC, my company was out in the field for a week for MOUT training.  The first day was spent practicing reflexive fire.  When the sun goes down at Ft. Bragg the humidity rises and the temperature seems to hold steady. 

Even with the sun's burning stare gone we did not find any relief.  An hour before midnight we started our march.  We followed a tank trail around the perimeter of the training areas.  I could only see the cat eyes (glow in the dark patches we attach to the back of our helmets) of the man in front of me.  The night was silent except for the sound of soldiers on the march.  There wasn't even a breath of wind as we trudged through the darkness.  Loaded down with our equipment and already tired from the day's training we walked in muted silence.

At about 2 A.M. the wind picked up and a mummer passed down the line.  Everyone knew what was coming.  This wind brought no relief, it brought rain.

The temperature remained just under sweltering as we were bombarded by rain being blown so hard it was coming horizontally.

The miles stretched out and we walked.  The rain finally slacked off to a drizzle and then to a mist.  I remember listening to the slosh of my boots with each step.

From forward of my position I witnessed a member of a heavy gun team trip and go down.  The other two members of his team rushed to help him as I neared their location.  They had almost gotten up on his feet again right as I was passing them.  I admit I was paying more attention to that micro drama than on the ground in front of me.  Little did I know that there was a large hole in the road, directly in my path.

As I was taking my very next step I noticed there was no ground there and I fell face first on top of my weapon in 5 inches of water.  Under those 5 inches of water was a bed of large sharp rocks.  My right knee had taken a direct hit on one of said rocks in my less than graceful landing.  This is the same knee I've injured several times over the years and being jammed with a rock really aggravated it.

My squad leader jogged up to my position to ask if I was "O.K."  I said something to the effect of: "I'm wet, now I'm cold, I'm hungry, my knee is filling with fluid, I can feel it swelling...  O.K. just isn't the word for how I'm doing right now."

He walked with me for a mile to see if I was going to make it or not then returned to his position in the line.  As soon as he was gone I dropped the tough guy act and started limping and cussing to myself.

We stopped counting miles and started counting hours.  Soon I was no longer following cat eyes as the light returned to the world.  My knee had stopped bending and now everyone behind me could see me limping.  My squad leader returned with a worried look on his face but I refuse to be beaten by a pebble. 

We were entering a clearing when the sun finally crested the horizon.  To our left there was a great marble pillar, a memorial to fallen soldiers.  Above us the remnants of the rain clouds were painted with the brightest red, and the deepest violet.  As the sun's rays painted a fiery panorama I picked up another mummer coming from the front of the formation.  Slowly the murmer rose and more voices joined it and I picked out a rhythm.  It was a simple song, just a few notes.  The soldiers were just humming a few lines over and over.  As the soldier in front of me started humming the song I recognized it and started singing along to myself.  "Swing low, sweet chariot"

Walk with us in your mind's eye as 130 soldiers, tired, wet, cold and hot all at the same time, walked past a memorial to our fallen brother's under a sky set afire by the rising sun of a new day.  One hundred and thirty male voices softly humming that tune barely loud enough to hear.

There are moments when I hate my job.  Then there are moments that remind me why I do what I do.  It is something we cannot understand or make someone else understand.  You can only experience it and if you're like me, try to write about it (and do a poor job of portraying the way I felt too).

Obama and McCain absolutely do not agree on Iraq

The left has decided to use their usual tactic of just lying about what McCain actually believes about Iraq. They are trying to form a meme that McCain agreed to a 16 month timeline, which Barry O pulled right out of his ass. He did not. He said if conditions improve enough we may be able to do what we would always have done, i.e. pull troops as conditions warrant. Barry O's plan was, is and will likely always be his arbitrary BS timeline based on his need to placate his base. Don't allow the press to game this and conflate Obama's naive political position with McCain's principled, informed stance.

The military experts who expounded on this ridiculous concept are these two maroons.

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. He can be reached at [email protected]. Chris Wilson is an editorial assistant at Slate in Washington, D.C.