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November 2009

Honoring the Sacrifices: Police Officers in Washington State

A reader writes to point out that the Washington police officers killed at a coffee shop were all married with children, and that it is right we remember the police who serve as well as those in the military. 

I asked for, and have now received, information for those who wish to help the children.  I don't know how it is in Washington, but judging from what I've seen of firefighters in Georgia, their families may have a long road before they receive anything like due compensation from the state for their breadwinner dying in its service -- if they ever do.  Here is the information on how you can help.

Lakewood Police Independent Guild accepting donations
The Lakewood Police Independent Guild is accepting donations for the families of the slain officers.
Every penny will go to the families; if you want to donate to a specific officer you can write his or her name in the memo section.
Please make the check out to the LPIG Benevolent Fund and mail to: P.O. Box 99579 Lakewood, WA 98499. Visit their web site for more information: The Lakewood Police Guild.
Forza sets up donation boxes
Forza has set up donation boxes inside their stores for the families of the fallen Lakewood officers.  The coffee company's web site also is accepting donations. Go to their web site: Forza Coffee Company.
[Update from Blackfive:  It appears that police shot and killed the cop-killer.  Please help the families by donating to the fund.]

Michael Moore's letter to Obama on Afghanistan

Well this is just too rich to ignore. Michael Moore is offering the Obama his sage advice on military strategery. I was gonna compare that to me advising Mikey on film making, but I realized I actually make videos with a measurable level of expertise. Mikey has less than zero experience in war fighting. Anyhow Tally ho!

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new “war president”?

Of course he doesn’t Mikey, but the evil W invented this enemy that wants to take over the wingnut world and he is stuck until you can make a documentary proving that al Qaeda is a fictional, neocon, Zionist invention.

The rest of an exhaustive Fisking of this at the House of UJ.

On Afghanistan Victory

I've been saying for the last two months (sometimes with the media so it's documented) that President Obama will deploy more troops to Afghanistan.  After all, he made it his fight, picked McChrystal to run it, and appeared to be working to find a solution.  Due to General Jones insistence, he will send less than General McChrystal has requested (there are reports that the request was 80k) - the news reports that the request was for 40k more.  Most likely it will be tens of thousands of US troops and thousands of NATO troops (reports coming in that the UK will send one more battalion than scheduled).

With regards to NATO and COIN, more work needs to be done.  We have heard about the good work of the Canadians, the Brits, the Lithuanians, the Poles and even the French (yes, the French - I had a good friend who worked with them tell me he could use hundreds more like the men he worked with).  And we need more of them.  I think we could do without the Germans and some of the others.  We need to expand the COIN academy to be able to train those troops effectively.  We also need a lot more State and NGO involvement.

We also need to move off of the FOB.  Push out.  And that goes for Bagram too.  If you're wearing a glow in the dark belt to go to chow or the gym or Pizza Hut and you're not working at a hospital or the flight line or depot maintenance, chances are you could be doing more away from the FOB.  If you're on Bagram and you're carrying a brand new rifle, perhaps we should think about getting the new equipment to the men in the COBs and FOBs and outposts that are using damaged (combat) or barely acceptable equipment.

My criticism for the President, believing as I do that he wants to have victory in Afghanistan, is that he has used the delay ("dithering" to some) to try to club Karzai into reforming his government.  Perhaps the administration thought that Karzai would have lost the election.  Perhaps the administration believed that they could strong arm Karzai.  Perhaps the administration wanted to give their political base the imagery of the President's agonizing over the unpopular decision to fight the war.  Perhaps the administration was waiting for the right photo opportunity.  Perhaps the administration was waiting to see how close Pakistan was to the precipice of collapse.

It's probably all of the above.

Which points to a distinct lack of experience and a distinct disregard for the troops fighting this war.  It's also evidence of a President who is campaigning rather than governing.  That's not the "get 'er done" mentality - that's the "how can we use this delay" mentality.  That's ignoring the need for a unified will to win.  While that may not sit well for us, we need to come together behind Generals Petraeus and McChrystal and finish this thing.

So, tomorrow, when the President announces this troop increase along with a plan to end the conflict, be wary of those who deem it an "exit strategy."  We might not ever leave Afghanistan - there most likely will always be advisers.  Most likely, in terms of endgame, his plan will be like the one for Iraq (no distinct timetables...yet).  We all know that Afghanistan is completely different than Iraq.  We all know that Afghanistan is the most formidable territory to fight and win on.  We all know that this won't be over in 2011 so don't let anyone off the hook who tries to claim that it's possible.

We must be behind the effort and support our troops in a time of war. 

No matter who our President is...

Update:  Two additional points.

1.  We will take a lot more casualties.  It always happens when we go on the offensive.  And now the Taliban have all winter to refit and plan.

2.  I want to be clear that more troops is not the whole answer to victory.  A change in mentality, strategy, and willpower is the change we need in Afghanistan.  I probably could have written an entire treatise on the need for more COIN training for troops prior to setting foot on Afghan soil.

Update 2:  Must reads.

A history lesson from Senator Carl Levin and Senator John Forbes Kerry is not complete without Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette.

The Pakistan Drift...

Fighting intensifies in Afghanistan...and airstrikes take out 26 Tali/Al Qaeda fighters (Chechens among them).

Old Trooper at the Burn Pit on the will to win

Story Time w/ Uncle J- Spanky & the Shark

I attended a short-lived course run by the same Scuba Nazis who teach the Combat Diver qual at Key West called the Waterborne Infiltration Course. It was by any account an epic adventure and I have many tales to tell about it. One of my favorites is this one about a foolhardy attempt to spear a trophy shark.

Oh, did I mention that Uncle J is back in effect?

Is the "Brothers" movie a big, Ugly Military Stereotype, or is that just the trailer?

Please take a moment to look at this synopsis for a movie called "Brothers," with Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tobey Maguire:

When a decorated Marine goes missing overseas, his black-sheep younger brother cares for his wife and children at home—with consequences that will shake the foundation of the entire family. BROTHERS tells the powerful story of two siblings, thirtysomething Captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) and younger brother Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal), who are polar opposites. A Marine about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, Sam is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, the aptly named Grace (Natalie Portman), with whom he has two young daughters (Bailee Madison, Taylor Grace Geare). Tommy, his charismatic younger brother, is a drifter just out of jail who’s always gotten by on wit and charm. He slides easily into his role as family provocateur on his first night out of prison, at Sam’s farewell dinner with their parents, Elsie (Mare Winningham) and Hank Cahill (Sam Shepard), a retired Marine.

I haven't seen the film but a cursory examination of the trailer suggests a movie chock full of wistful looks between former child-actor Natalie Portman (not only beautiful but hey -- she went to Harvard!), dreamy Jake Gyllenhaal (not just dreamy, but military cred from Jarhead! and acting chops from Brokeback Mountain!), interspersed with what looks like an epic spazzing out session by recently returned Marine Tobey Maguire (Showing the same dark side he showed us in Spiderman 3!).  Of course you can't judge a movie from it's trailer.  It's entirely possible that this is a thought provoking film about the difficulties servicemen and women have on returning from a combat zone with PTSD, and reintegrating into family and civilian life.  More likely, I think, is the possibility that this is just another Big Hollywood movie that stereotypes soldiers or Marines as angry (because the military is where people go when they can't get into prison!), humorless men (which is why they don't go to college!) who scream a lot, beat up on family members, hate hippies (because they hate their own latent homosexuality!), throw dishes for no good reason at all, and beat up on women and little brothers.  Okay, well, I never actually saw Tobey's character beating up on Jake's or Natalie's characters, but I definitely got the feeling that if he didn't, then he was like, THIS CLOSE to pulling out his belt and using those awesome hurt skilz (Because the Marine Corps brainwashes hurt skilz into their paid killers using psychotropic drugs! (Jacob's Ladder!)). Even more stereotyped is the shortened version of the trailer, which they showed during a commercial break in the Steelers Ravens game.  The short trailer is only about 10 seconds long.  It's pretty much all yelling and screaming and throwing dishes by Tobey, without the leavening influence of wistful looks from Jake and Natalie.  Because they only had 10 seconds, dig?  So they had to get in the important stuff?  The stuff people want to see?  The stuff we can't get enough of?  You know, like flipped out, mentally unbalanced servicemen with PTSD!  So even if the movie is thoughtful and sensitve and has something interesting to say, I'm kind of hoping it fails miserably because of the studios' very Jody-like marketing tactics.  I'm hoping that I'll see it in the $3 bin at Blockbuster soon.  Right next to "Redacted."

-- Uber Pig

PS:  If anyone has a way to get a copy of the shortened version of the trailer, I'd love to put it up to better illustrate my point. Here's the longer version:

Afghanistan? Tora Bora? Bush's fault forever

I grow bored of rehashing something we have been rehashing so long that the links to where I did an exhaustive analysis of it at Madison.com are no longer even active. So Tora Bora, let me make this simple.

1. We invade A-Stan with small number of Spec Ops guys and partner w. Northern Alliance and in amazingly successful operation kick Taliban and al Qaeda asses.

2. Many of them die, some run to Paktia province, some (incl. bin Laden) run toward Pakistan and stop in highly-fortified Tora Bora.

3. We do the math and since Tora Bora is way the hell up high in the mountains figger out we would have a wicked time resupplying any troops we managed to get up there w/ our limited helicopter support and also they would be ambush bait for bad guys who are real good at that.

4. So we decide to try the same thing that worked to kick their asses already. We partnered with local tribes to provide the manpower while we sent Spec Ops support and massive air power.

5. We push up there and even the Spec Ops guys have a helluva time because of the terrain. The local tribes more or less screw us and take the money but don't fight much.

6. We still kills hundreds of Taliban and AQ but bin Laden slips off to become a ghost.

7. A talking point for the ignorant left, their enablers and military geniuses like F John Kerry is born.

8. Rinse and repeat whenever the left needs a club to try and lose a war.

Next freakin' slide.

If you want to get back in the weeds on this again, Greyhawk is doing his usual excellent job of journalizing.

Tom Friedman on the Terrorist "Narrative"

An unusually common sense piece from Tom Friedman in the NY Times. He takes up a question that many of us would consider common sensical but which most of his compatriots in the media have been willfully ignoring, the terrorist motivation of Nidal Hassan.

Here’s my take: Major Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced — I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is. But the more you read about his support for Muslim suicide bombers, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled “Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam,” and about his contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric famous for using the Web to support jihadist violence against America — the more it seems that Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist spurred to action by “The Narrative.”

The rest at UJ

The return of UncleJimbo.com

Yes folks your prayers have been answered, I turned unclejimbo.com back on. I have way too much to complain about that has nothing to do with the military, so to quote myself:

I need a place where the vicious beatdowns, vitriolic rants and profanity-laced tirades can sit right next to the thoughtful, engaging, informed commentary. You heard me right.

So bookmark it and you will be rewarded with the most professional content available for free on the intertubes.


Accusations of abuse against our troops & the ICC

I have a bad feeling that we are going to be seeing a lot of folks claiming that our forces have roughed them up. First of all it is right in the al Qaeda training manual. They are told to start whining early and often that they were tortured or otherwise abused. We saw last week that the guys scarfed up by our SEALs complained about a fat lip. Did it happen? Did he do it to himself? We don't know, but we know they are taught to make the claim. Today we read that two Afghans are claiming they were "tortured" in the Spec Ops holding facility at Bagram Air Base in AStan.

At the beginning of his detention, he was forced to strip naked and undergo a medical checkup in front of about a half-dozen American soldiers. He said that his Muslim upbringing made such a display humiliating and that the soldiers made it worse.

"They touched me all over my body. They took pictures, and they were laughing and laughing," he said. "They were doing everything."

Can we get this guy a Whaaambulance? Don't mouth off about your Muslim upbringing buddy, there's an awful lot of goat raping going on over there, so I don't want to hear about your delicate sensibilities. Hell all prisoners in the US get a strip search. Now these two make some claims that they were beaten and forced to look at pornography, but all in all pretty weak tea. Here is the problem though, the chump who runs the International Criminal Court has decided he has jurisdiction over our troops in Afghanistan, even though we aren't signatories to his tribunal. He is making noises like he wants to investigate us for war crimes such as torture, bombing civilians etc. The even bigger problem is that our own government makes this more likely by trying terrorists as criminals thereby undermining our claim to be at war with them.

By undermining the legal architecture supporting the use of military force against al Qaeda and its allies, this decision carries further profound implications for the United States' ability to defend itself in the future.

Even as it jettisoned the term "war against terror," the Obama administration has confirmed that the United States is engaged in an "armed conflict" -- an international law term for "war" -- with al Qaeda, the Taliban and their allies. President Obama has not withdrawn the United states armed forces from Afghanistan and even plans to increase them.

Characterizing the struggle against al Qaeda as an armed conflict is critical because it is the law of armed conflict that permits the United States to use military force in Afghanistan and elsewhere. If the law of war does not apply here, if al Qaeda and Taliban operatives are not enemy combatants but civilian criminal suspects, then armed attacks by American soldiers against them are illegal.

Such attacks would be war crimes leading to potential criminal liability not only for the individual U.S. servicemen involved, but all the way up the chain of command to the president himself.

The attempts by this administration to make everyone like us may backfire and wouldn't it be kinda ironic if they brought Obama up on charges for the drone strikes he has been using to kill terrorists? The law of unintended consequences is a mofo.