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March 2011

Now That's Timing!

Some of you may know Cassie Fiano from The Greenroom at HotAir, or from her Marine spouse blog Hard Corps Wife.  What some of you may not know is that Cassie has been waiting on a couple of arrivals, and they have ocurred.

Her husband arrived home from Afghanistan on Monday.  Her son, Ben, arrived last night.  All are reported to be doing well, and thanks to Carrie for the update!  All the best to them all! 


New Author

We're adding some more authors over the next few weeks/months.  First up is Tantor who is coming off the Comments section and into the Author group.  We've know him for years.  His bio is on the side bar, and while he was a weapons officer in a F4, we still maintain our ZERO level pilot participation, and thus our record remains unblemished.

Welcome, Tantor!

Making Might Right

Below is an Op-Ed submission from a soldier (and Army pal of mine) in Afghanistan:

Making Might Right

Day by day, there are pundits and politicians calling for an end to the U.S. actions in Afghanistan. Yet, one never hears the same learned individuals explain what is to happen in Afghanistan after we leave them with a mighty force... A mighty force that is not a right force. Afghans have seen this before. The USA supported the mujahideen in the 80s to defeat the U.S.S.R., and then, as success was realized, we left a small quality force that was insufficient in size to wrest control from the Taliban as it became more powerful, more mighty. The U.S.S.R. itself built a capable force that included MiG fighters, armor, and artillery. Yet, that force was not right either.

The challenge is a common problem throughout history with military force. The key is finding the fulcrum, the balance point, between quantity and quality. Quantity might seem clear to many as one reads the word, but too often, when discussions regarding military forces occur, the quantity becomes the default discussion. Those who fear, or disdain, standing military force argue for a small force. Those who fear the loss of power, national or personal, argue for a large standing military force. Neither of these arguments consider the quality of the force. A quality force is a professional force that is capable of stewarding its people, equipment, and resources (e.g. funding, food, etc.). Additionally, a quality force recognizes the need to build institutional knowledge in its individuals and the overall organization.

Let us consider a couple of examples. The Swiss Guard that has protected the Pope for five hundred years is a high quality, professional force. That force is designed to protect the Pope and the Vatican within the concentric security bubble provided by Italy and Rome. That force does not need to protect against a military attack from a major land force. So, its might is right; the force is built to the appropriate size for its mission and professionalized with quality troops who train continuously.

Another example is familiar to many after seeing the movie 300, the story of the Battle of Thermopylae. This example juxtaposes a very high quality force of just 300 Spartans against the might of the Persian army - one million strong. While the Persians won the battle, they lost the war and were unable to complete their objective because the professional, quality force of just 300 men had decimated its ranks and caused fear and uncertainty in the remaining.

From 2003-2009, the international effort in Afghanistan was heavily weighted on the quantity side of the fulcrum. The Afghan National Army had might but lacked quality. It's soldiers could not read the serial number on their weapons; they could not conduct maintenance on their vehicles according to the manufacturer's instructions; they did not understand how to conduct a movement to contact as modern armies have instructed for decades (those who saw Band of Brothers likely could perform better).

Since November 2009, the international community has recognized the need to rebalance the effort. It has increased spending and focused on making right the effort to build the Afghan National Security Force. Mandatory literacy training and the establishment of the middle managers, non-commissioned officers, is moving that weight towards the fulcrum and promoting the correct balance for an enduring, self-sustaining Afghan National Security Force.

Proceeds that matter to the USA are already taking place. On March 22, President Karzai announced that his forces would begin transitioning responsibility of security in 2 provinces and 5 cities from the coalition to his own forces. He iterated this first transition as the beginning of the overall transition that allows coalition forces to end combat operations by the end of 2014. In mid-March, the ANSF destroyed more than $140 million, repeat $140 MILLION, worth of narcotics. Those narcotics will not reach the cities of the USA, the children of the USA, and they will not fund the Taliban or other terrorist groups.

The cost of this war is great. The cost in blood is undeniable. However, ignoring the past and failing to make might right here in Afghanistan will undoubtedly result in a terrible burden in the future whether it be terrorist attacks on U.S. soil or the soil of our friends, narco-trafficking throughout the world, or fomenting extremist networks. Afghanistan is the core of Central Asia and sits at the cross-roads of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Only by making might right, balancing quantity and quality, in Afghanistan can we make way against the two major challenges our world faces today and for the foreseeable future... extremist elements and narco-trafficking. We must make might right here and learn this lesson evermore when we consider utilizing the military element of national power in the future.

This Is Why We Have Meetings....

Or conduct a walk through before moving out to the LD, rehearse actions on the objective, or do a final briefback at the ORP to ensure everyone knows the plan and understands the changes.

Evidently, this is a concept that is quite unfamiliar to the current OinC and his SecDef...

Saturday from the OinC's weekly radio address---

When innocent people are brutalized by a leader like Kadhafi who was threatening a “bloodbath,” and when nations are prepared to respond together, “it’s in our national interest to act,” he said. “And it’s our responsibility.”

Followed today (Sunday) by SecDef on Meet The Depressed---

David Gregory:  Is Libya in our vital interest as a country?

Robert Gates: No, I don’t think it’s vital interest for the United States, but we clearly have interest there and it is a part of the region which is a vital interest for the United States.

So, the support by fire didn't pay attention to the green star cluster marking the assault element crossing the objective, thereby putting bullets where bullets shouldn't be at that time....

I know that many expect Chicago Jesus and the cabinet he barely talks to to be able to conduct leadershipy kind of things, but this is what you get when the the non-stop amateur hour that is this administration tries to actually do something, because doing something is a much different thing than talking about doing something.  This is exactly what happens when you put someone in charge that has only had to organize a community, moderate "breakout sessions" or give speeches. 

The sycophant stenographers in the Old Media just can't really bring themselves to spend endless broadcasts bashing the president over 4 dollar a gallon gas (constant with the last president), high unemployment (when unemployment was 5.5% in the last administration), looming inflation, possible insolvency and a destructive healthcare bill.  I would think that their hypocrisy meters would be pegged far enough past "overload" that they would have to stop ignoring the "it is for me, but not for thee" attitude.  The type an amount of completely opposite statements that came from state senator Obama, US Senator Obama, Candidate Obama and now President Obama should have caused their heads to burst at this point.  Then again, maybe there is a bit of room in there...  Something that they forgot about when they were swooning and fainting at his campaign events was that you can't vote "present" when you are one in charge.

It is my belief that if this "bong hit diplomacy" continues (one of my favorite Uncle Jimbo-isms BTW), we are in for at least a generation of rebuilding our character and relationships around the world, because this President can't seem to be able to order an omelet without having to first check the poll numbers (would mushrooms be offended if ham and onions were not included?), consult what MSNBC thinks about eggs (too much cholesterol--have some granola instead), ask the UN if it violates the eggs rights, get the buy in of our allies to ensure the omelet has the right amount of calories (can't have a "heavy" package omelet--allies might not like it), minimize collateral damage to chicken farms and on and on....

I had an old platoon sergeant who I watched tell my new platoon leader during an unguarded moment while training "Sir, you need to lead, follow or get the hell out of the way."


Recondo history

The Center for American Military History is seeking input from members of the veteran community. The project has built an online encyclopedia that focuses solely on preserving U.S. military history, on the same platform as Wikipedia.

One of the trial articles covers Recondo School, which turned out the world's finest jungle warriors during Vietnam. The culmination exercise for the intense, two-week course was a live reconnaissance patrol against real enemies, resulting in both U.S. and enemy fatalities.

There is a discussion page for each entry, where veterans and family members can connect and share stories. Users can add content - with or without creating an account - just like Wikipedia. Only this site is made by veterans, for veterans. The Center for American Military History is also utilizing the site to bridge from the internet to print; in addition to being thoroughly sourced, each article will also list books on the subject. Future plans include a nationwide network of military history libraries.

Stop by and check it out. The site will officially launch in just over one month.

Military Art and/or Artists

I've started to get to know some of the many and talented military artists out there.  Some do fine art, some do illustration, some do comics, and some do all.  What I thought I would do is share some of the comics and artists I'm slowly starting to get to know, and will update this post with additions as I get them.  Meantime, go check them out. 

Air Force Blues

The Bozosphere

Broadside Cartoons

The Colorist

Crew Dogs

Delta Bravo Sierra


Front Leaning Rest Comics


Jenny the Military Spouse (hiatus?)

John Cox Fine Art

John Sheppard -- Cartoonist

Lost in the Woods

Power Point Ranger

PVT Murphy's Law

Terminal Lance (not for the Mrs. Grundy types out there *G*)


Giving the Islamists some rope

It looks like the Islamists in several of the Middle Eastern countries are rearing their heads. Shocker, I know. The Muslim Brotherhood is on the rise in Egypt and lo and behold some of our rebels in Libya, who we are not supporting, happen to be AQ and on the other side in Iraq & Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists," but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".

Lovely.  But wasn't this going to happen regardless? In most of the countries on fire, the people were not allowed to organize in any fashion other than around religion. So when the iron sandal comes off their necks it is the religionists who will make the first gains. The beards will come out, the women will go in sacks and the repression will transmogrify from tyrannical dictatorship, to totalitarian Islamism. OK, it may not reach the level of state control such as when the Talibs ran Afghanistan, but it will be pushed and it will be pushy.

The story has always been that we can't defeat the Islamists at the barrel of a gun, and after you kill a certain number who really need it, they are right. It has to be won on the battlefield of ideas, and the biggest advantage we have is that their way of life sucks Hoover. Living under Sharia and the barbaric, misogynistic ass banditry of these people just truly sucks. But with the ubiquity of electronic devices, it is near impossible for a bunch of medieval obscurantists to hide the world from their Ummah. So the young people will be able to see what the options truly are, and they may not choose to submit.

That is where US strategy should have been focusing all through this Arab Spring. We need to ally ourselves with everyone but the extremists in any way possible. The words of President Reagan penetrated the Gulag Archipelago and gave hope and strength to Soviet dissidents. As much as Obama loves the sound of his own voice, maybe we could get him to say something about the freedom and dignity of all men and a basic human right to live free of oppression. Maybe he could wear that as yet undeserved Oslo bauble and at least give rhetorical support to people who may soon be running their own countries and deciding who their friends are. Nobody needs friends who didn't help you out when you most needed it. No rolling tanks, no no fly zones, just a coordinated effort to show why we are more fun to hang out with than the bearded bastards. Shouldn't be too tough eh? I vote we make Charlie Sheen Special Envoy to the Middle East for Winning.

I remember some guy mentioning this kind of outreach almost five years ago. And watch this whole clip where one of Pakistan's top actresses mertilizes a bearded wanker. She is the type of ally we need.

Casting Call Notice

Got this last night, and am passing it along:

My name is Lauren Kalb and I'm an LA-based casting director, currently casting a new Action/Adventure competition show called "The Assailant" for The Discovery Channel.  I am hoping you will be able to help spread the word about our show by passing on this press release to people who might be interested!

WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR: Highly specialized former military, special forces and/or law enforcement agents who are mentally and physically fit. In each episode, four contestants will have to re-enact actual missions that were executed by elite branches of the military - IDF, Spetsnaz, MI-6, Delta Force, Recon Marines, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, etc.

I have attached our press release with more information about the project. Please feel free to pass on to anyone and everyone (age 18+) as we are looking to cast a number of episodes. Also, feel free to take a look at our website <http://www.metalflowersmedia.com>www.metalflowersmedia.com so you can become familiar with our slate. We've proudly cast THE COLONY, BULLRUN, PITCHMEN, DUEL, AMERICA'S TOUGHEST JOBS and the upcoming INFRASTRUCTURE VIGILANTE.

Anyone who is interested can email me at <mailto:[email protected]>[email protected]

As a note, as with requests from the media, this is passed along without comment.  Posting in no way implies endorsement, non-endorsement, or anything other than passing along a request that may (or may not) be of interest to our readers.  If not interested, skip.  If interested, drop them a line.  No animals were harmed in the making of this post, and tax, tag, and title are extra.  Void where prohibited.