Bust Their Chops

Boots on the Ground to Train "Moderates"

We are sending 400 troops to train "moderate" Syrian rebels... finding a moderate Syrian rebel is like finding a moderate Red Sox fan...they may exist, but only in the off season.  Via the Army Times:

The U.S. will send about 400 troops to train the moderate Syrian opposition, defense officials confirmed Thursday night.

This is years too late.  The moderates are, most likely, all dead or assimilated into the radical groups.  Also, it won't just be 400 trainers.  This kind of statement is par for the course for the Obama Administration - it helps keep the perceived number of troops lower than what will actually be "boots on the ground".

In addition to the 400 trainers, enablers will be needed to support them, Smith said.
More than 2,100 U.S. troops are in Iraq; President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 3,000 U.S. troops to that country.


President Obama, You Have Got to Be ****ing Kidding Me?!

After being a no show during the anti-terror marches/protests/kumbaya...our American administration brings James Taylor to France to play "You've Got a Friend".  No, that's not from the Duffel Blog or the Onion.

First thought after, Is this the most embarassing foreign policy moment in our history?, would be...

This is the response we bring?! (via Allahpundit)

Twitchy has the acerbic reactions to this complete buffoonery.  

This is just unbelievable.

CMH Recipient Dakota Meyer to ISIS: "Hopefully, one of those assholes actually shows up."

B35nxmTCUAAVRYDFrom Gruntworks.com

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer had this message for ISIS, via Scout.com:

Let me say what a lot of us are thinking...If ISIS is using social media to track me, that's a dream come true in my book. These guys are a bunch of bullies that just prey on the weak," says Meyer. "I can't travel over there anymore now that I'm out of the Marine Corps, so having them come to me would help out a lot. ISIS targeting the U.S. military is like a sheep targeting a lion. Hopefully one of these assholes actually shows up. They'll definitely get more than they want at my place!

Visit Scout.com to read the whole piece and see a hilarious photo of how worried he is...

My main problem with the ISIS threats is the federal government asking veterans to take down any online reference to their service.  This is an absolutely ridiculous request and one from the nanny state.  Let me get this straight...we are supposed to not be proud of our service, particularly against the evil that is Islamic Fanaticism?!  What?  Should I take down the flag in front of my residence, too?  What the @#$%?!

We should be aware of the threat.  We should not fear the threat.
We should know what ISIS is capable of.  We should end that capability.

Last, Dakota Meyer and RangerUp have teamed up to create a new shirt that says it all.


Changing the Retirement Benefit - "Foreign Policy" Egghead Vs. Grunt

Over at Foreign Policy, retired Navy Commander John T. Kuehn writes about "If I could change one thing in the US military personnel system (1):  It is time to extend the age of military retirement."

Kuehn is the Major General Willam A Stofft chair of historical research at the Command and General Staff College, and, yes, he has a PhD.  Here is why Commander (ret) Kuehn  believes a change in the retirement system is needed.

...The current system was designed because between the 20 to 30 year stretch was statistically when military personnel had been physically and emotionally "used up." However, these conditions no longer apply.

Today, folks are a lot healthier when they retire and could reasonably be expected to serve under the generally harsher circumstance of military service longer than they could in the past. The current system needs to recognize and account for the improvements in healthcare and lifestyle by those Americans who qualify for military service in its promotion and retention policies, and it should do this with meaningful policy change. .. 

The problem with this argument is that the author seems to be entirely disconnected from the last 13+ years of combat, and what that combat does to young men and women...possibly the disconnect exists because he is a reseracher and a retired Navy Officer, not a 40 year old infantry platoon sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division.

In backchannel  discussions on this piece, Army soldier TCOverride offers up a solution for the retirement situation.  I think you'll enjoy it.

 I call this the risk = return method.
Combat tours--real tours, not quatar/doha/buehring tours--earn 2.5x the retirement rate.  A one year tour counts for 2.5 years towards retirement (but not pay.)  A non combat, but unaccompanied tour counts for 1.5.  Tours based on any LSA earn 1.75%, except for individuals listed below.
Any tour during which a person receives a PH, or Valor medal, counts for 3x.
No multiplier is added for E9, or O6 and above.  Especially E9, as they have, as a population (albeit with notable, and damned few exceptions) contributed nothing of measurable value.  Unless E9 has PH or Valor awards.  BSM without 'V' is pretty, but worth squat.
No multiplier is added for people beyond minimum retirement (20 years) unless the recipient has a PH or Valor award (multiplier always counts for these people, regardless of length of service.)
PH or valor award multiplier is not limited to tour in which award is earned, once earned, modifier applies to any and all future tours and the tour where award was earned.  Additional awards gain a .5 modifier.  2 PH would earn 3.5, 2 PH+BSV earns 4.0, etc.  E9 with BSV would earn the 3% modifier.  
Sailors and other undesirables only get tour multipliers if they participate in actual combat.  Being a cook on a carrier is not actual combat.  Being on a seal team is.  Unaccompanied tours multiplier still counts for sea duty.  Having a missile fired at your ship is combat.  Docking at a port in a terrorist threat nation (like Yemen) would result in earning the multiplier only while docked/underway in that nation's waters.
Marines on embassy duty in nations where Ivan or Mohamed are the given names of over 40% of the male population, or where women dress like ninjas, or where goat buggery is commonplace (with exclusions for Australia, Scotland, New Zealand) would receive a special rate of 1.75%, which would go to 5% if at any time a clinton or kerry is the SECSTATE.
Of course, they could also do silly things to reduce the VA claims backlog like analyzing your medical condition(s) annually according to VA standards, and determining the severity/rating as you go, so that when you retire you already have a rating.
MOH: automatically qualifies for 20 years' service retirement eligibilty.
Service in any TRADOC (or other service equivalent) posting beyond 24 months without at least three requests by the soldier for immediate worldwide reassignment result in no accrual of years' service for retirement.
Goes along with this Military Motivator

Free Fire Zone- A Tale of Two Sergeants

President Obama gave vastly different treatment to a couple of military folks who were in trouble. For SGT Bowe Bergdahl, he traded five Taliban terrorists and a pallet load of cash to our enemies. For SGT Andrew Tahmoressi (crickets chirping). I take a look at the two cases and a serious look at the horrendous deal he made to free Bergdahl in the Free Fire Zone.

Ebola made a 3am phone call...and no one answered

Why Barack Obama is having problems now..

This Ebola thing is potentially spiraling out of control.  What with the UN declaring that we only have 60 days to control this thing, to promises of it not getting out in the US, to Africa having up to 10,000 cases a week, we are potentially watching history before our eyes.  Hopefully, not the end of it.

One essay I find interesting is the comparison of Ebola to the Influenza of 1918-1919.  I understand the history of this pandemic well, as it affected my home area of Wayne County WVA quite harshly.  Out behind the homestead, we have 2 cemeteries.  In each of these there are many graves of those in the family and area that succumbed to the disease- in one plot, a mother, son, and 2 infants all died within a week in late 1918.  My grandfather, who fought in WWI, told the family of all of the sick people he knew.  Ebola may be our generation's plague, if we don't get this under control.

What I do know about this potential outbreak (and it's still not a full-fledged one in any way) is that, should we need to really break glass on this, the duty for overall coordination will fall to USNORTHCOM in Colorado Springs.

Likely under ESF's #6 and #8 (Mass Care and Public Health) NORTHCOM could, nay SHOULD, come to the fore to address coordinating the prevention of the spread.  Why NORTHCOM?  Since a full outbreak would require more than one federal agency to coordinate, and FEMA isn't a lead, HHS/CDC can't, then it would fall to NORTHCOM to coordinate all responses, should the President declare it.  And he should.  HHS, DoS (travel ban? and coordinating with Canada/Mexio) as well as many other local and federal groups would require some entity with the resources to assist.  THIS WOULD NOT INDICATE TROOP INVOLVEMENT on the ground- just an agency that would help alleviate 'who's in charge here' problems.  

This is an outgrowth of Hurricane Katrina; yes, Homeland Security would be involved, but they are NOT the ones that should be running the show.  NORTHCOM has the personnel and expertise.

So far, we've heard nothing from NORTHCOM on any response preparedness.  I wish we would.  I'd feel better about it than the CDC trying to go it alone...

NYT 'Discovers' Iraq had chemical weapons

Last night, the NYT (PBUT) released a long, detailed article regarding chemical weapons that were found in Iraq.  It is interesting to note that they waited until now to release this information.

If you've been paying attention, you'd recall that within the last week, reports out of northern Iraq have said that ISIS may have used some chemical weapons against the Kurds.  Based on photos that were obtained of the Kurds who were killed, the injuries on the bodies seem to indcate some sort of chemical weapon affected them.  Speculation by experts points to ISIS having obtained and used some of Iraq's old chemical weapons.

Back in the day (was it really only 10 years ago?) during my tenure there, I handled reports by the Iraq Survey Group, who was tasked with finding Saddam's 'special weapons' that he had squirreled away since the UN ordered them dismantled in 1991.  Saddam had manufactured tons and tons of nasty stuff; the ISG was primarily concerned with locating and disposing of WMD's, which don't always include chemical munitions.  

I had a few discussions with Charles Duelfer, who was the lead of the ISG (after David Kay resigned) on things they were finding; chemical artillery rounds were NOT something they keyed on; the MANUFACTURING facilites were however.  Saddam had dispersed these munitions so far and wide that finding all of them was a sisyphean task.  Most were likely to have been taken to Syria to try to keep them out of reach of the US and the UN inspectors.


These munitions were certainly a huge problem, a risk, and a serious one.  BUT THESE WERE NOT WMD.  So why is the NYT coming out with a huge article now?

To take pressure off of the administration.  To throw this football back in the Bush camp.  That since he didn't find and destroy all of these munitions that any use by ISIS is his fault.

This is patently false.  ISIS has had opportunity to recover munitions on the Syrian side of the border; these could have been Assad's munitions, or, just as likely they were ones ferreted away from Iraq post-1991.  The article also tells the stories of soldiers who handled these munitions, and that their command chain didn't take it seriously.  That is the fault of their commanders and health care providers- for not realizing just how dangerous the regime munitions could be.

In one incident where I had to contact ISG, I received a call from a sergeant who had been on a patrol that had set off an IED; but instead of blowing half his squad up, it sort of 'poofed' and fizzled (his words).  When EOD showed up to recover it, they found out that these were wired 155-size artillery rounds that were chemical in nature- not high-explosive.  The insurgents could not tell the difference back then- that these were not meant to blow but to disperse.  So the sergeant called it in as a 'chem find'.  The insurgents had set this up like a typical IED- and the chemicals never fully released (go to Castle AAARGH if you want an artillery primer).  

Another implication of the article is that the US didn't do anything about what we found, and that we tried to 'sweep it under the rug'.  While we didn't go buying full-page ads in NYT or USAT, we never discussed operations in such detail that the NYT was ever satisfied.  I find this entire article disingenuous, especially on the part of Eric Schmitt.  He visited us several times, received briefs on items such as this, and we sat and discussed them at length.  All in 2003 and 2004.  So I really find this 'shock face' they are putting on pretty insulting.  But it's par for the course for a media outlet that cannot let the legacy of this administration bear any burden of shame and fault.

If you want a more historical look at these, take a look at this CIA article; we were releasing reports as far back as 2003 and 2004 on the fact we were finding chemical rounds, and admitting we were going to find many more.