Friday, August 10, 2007

Conclusions


Back home now, in fact I'm done with terminal leave. I hope all goes well with the surge, indications are we are finally doing things right. The question is will the Majority party in Congress give Rave Petreaus enough time. The smear campaign has already begun-he is somehow to blame for Iraq being awash in weapons because the IA were and are corrupt. Even the GAO report tries to jump him into that mess. One would think our illustrious Senator's had never traveled or done business overseas. Or for that matter poured any concrete in the home district.
The Army: has come in for much of my blanting, and rightly so. The institution is in need of a slash and burn re-org and a major bloodletting amongst the leadership, especially the officers.
Not that you can't take your safety belt and drape on the dash of that cab you'll drive in Fayetteville, Sergeant Major. For too long the Army has been a refuge for fools to hide behind T-walls from life and the enemy (real civilian life is the "contingency" we need to bring the troops back home to guard against). Not that I damn all, perhaps not even most. Most soldiers are warriors or they wish the system would let them be...but there are two Armies: the fighting Army, and the force structure Army. *
*Goldwater/Nichols 1986-the law of unintended consequences
The fighting Army is like a smokestack corporation attempting to keep up with a nimble, brilliant, innovative startup while saddled with a huge, unionized troglodyte semi-socialized workforce with a huge unfunded pension plan. Think of the US traditional airlines or GM. That's the "contingency" PX that PVT Casey is guarding at home-the force structure Army.
Get in the war, or get out.
The Lawyers: Silent Enem Leges Intra Armas (the law is silent in war).
The law must be sent packing from the ranks, or the ranks can pack up and the lawyers can face the enemy (n.b Mr. Biden). This circle could not be squared by Cicero 2000 years ago (above quote) and still can't be even by the most "morally evolved" Ivy Leager.
The Surge: is the last ditch before our home soil. If you think you can hold Afghanistan or invade Pakistan (risible) after losing Iraq...you can't read a map. Or people.
The Soldiers: best men I ever knew, most of them young. If we can keep America going strong for 20 years we'll make it another 100 on their shoulders. It's the baby boomers that usher our doom...we must stop coddling their Oedipal complex about America.
The leaders: some of who I outranked...SSG and below good to very good. Above that...we were hurting, the good ones are coming rare (I know I cannot speak for everywhere...but I can't ignore what I went through either). See the soldiers entry above, and get out of the way.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Correspondence on Bachevich's death (LT type)

There was a 27 year old army lieutenant named Andrew Bacevich from Walpole MA killed in Balad last week. His father is a brilliant political scientist who teaches at Boston University. I think he's the clearest thinking man out there. Condolezza Rice ought to get a basic lesson in history (and in reality, she's crazy) from him.
Funeral is Monday. Did you know him or anything about his demise? Very unfortunate.
Fr James

****************************************************
Fr. James,

I have read some of his father, I only know what I read in Iraq Slogger about the LT's death....but it made the news when he was killed. I think he (the father) wrote American Empire or something like that a few years ago....the basic point being that our foreign policy has been remarkably similar regardless of party for the last 100 years...hegemonistic spread of democracy, and that the parties overblow very narrow differences to get elected. He is essentially correct on this point.
If you want to get better informed of the Iraq view (both American and Iraqi) check out Iraq Slogger. www.iraqslogger.com And please understand that as much as the left has done a good job of adding Saddam & CO to their panetheon of victims to make Bush look guilty of aggression, that's not what happened. The biggest sin of Bush in fact is no mass firing of his DOD civilians and most especially Generals who allowed us to come in here without any post conventional war plan (despite the fact we have a great deal of experience in this area) in other words no occupation plan. This is a failure primarily of the military leadership, as the deputy CDR of 3D ACR (McMaster's old command) LTC Yingling has pointed out.* They have failed their country, their soldiers and the Iraqi's who trusted us, and the reason is that they put their careers and themselves first. Did you know at Abu Gharib the Military Intelligence COL and General Geoff Miller (the one bought from GITMO) took immunity and the 5th to testify against their own subordinates? And this has happened again and again...Commander's take the 5th, enlisted take the fall. Now that's crazy, and absolutely has nothing to do with Condi Rice. This is who these people are, that's their character when they face the test.
Whatever we have acheived here we can at least say we bought the rest of you in the homeland several precious years.
To go the the F@&%ing mall.
Finally...understand absolutely that this will come back on our soil, with results that cannot be predicted except that they will be terrible, costly and that all of you will regret that you threw away the chance to do it elsewhere with the November dolchstosse.
If you really want to know what I think... www.free-our-fobbits.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Open the FOB's

If the US won't expand the FOB's (spread the excess security ink) then open parts of them. 10% of the money put into the FOB's put into the streets would buy us at least a 20% reduction in trouble. Safe corridors, with the same security arrangements we have now could be opened to areas of our Camps and FOBs. We open four building's immediately:

1. Hospital

2. Natal Clinic

3. School

4. American University

If you want to show them America works for everyone, then start letting them in.
Graveyard Blues

...A modest suggestion...

We need to gain back some lost psychological ground. Every day bodies go unclaimed, perhaps even untouched in the streets, morgues and rivers of Iraq. Muslims hold the burial of their dead preferably by sundown that day to be very sacred. Currently it's not safe even to pick up a body in the streets. Let's put together Joint USA/Iraqi patrols specifically to do just that...recover the bodies (yes, even before we fix the trash problem), use our vaunted technology to ID the body as rapidly as possible so as to speed it back to the family with all respect. Make sure only Muslims handle the body if possible-preferably some of them American. Give the GITMO chaplains something to do besides pass notes in class.

Gestures like this would buy us some street cred, and get some lost good faith back.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The (not so) Straight Path

Perhaps God still looks after the United States, even when its' being drunk and childish.* Consider this; to walk the Straight Path (jihad) the erhabi first negotiate their families, who either have instilled in them the values that make them fight even though it goes against the "liberal mainstream" values of the ruling elites**or they radicalize and must truly divorce their families first (as opposed to the false denunciations of Osama and Dr. Z's families). Then they must negotiate the ruthless security services** of their own country, make a dangerous journey thru several hiding with new friends from new foes along the way to the land of two rivers.
Then they face us, hostile locals, pick their moments carefully or die quickly.

Now we come to we Amiriki's. We too usually come from traditional families, warfighting families, take up arms in defiance of the liberal consensus (the central pillar of which is that nothing is worth killing over) but also with the tacit approval of our soft, degenerate princes as long as we don't do something ugly on TV (getting caught). We then must journey a morally and spiritually dangerous path past cowardly ner-d0-well trainers, crooked contractors and leadership paralyzed by their peers jellyfish stings if they're not the mindless stinging jellyfish themselves. If you want to see this in action, attend a staff meeting.
The role of the political police is performed internally by JAG, CID, NCIS, OSI...who being guardians of the law are of course exempt from it. Externally we face the relentless scourge of the media. All of these Iscarioti betray us with a kiss (support the troops). When we come to the land between the rivers we chose between our life and our liberty each time we unsafe our weapons. Our superiors; faithless, false and owing allegiance only to themselves will surrender us up to the howling jackals upon demand, like a crafty sheik who senses the wind has changed.

In fact, the only people we can trust..maybe..are our brothers in the platoon. For a platoon to be successful over here it requires a level of trust within, and paranoid distrust without precedent in Western militaries. You almost have to be as tight as....a cell.

So without planning it...our corrupt princes are creating within us a true match for the enemy by duplicating his training process.

*or perhaps he just wants to watch a good evenly matched fight.
**but with the tacit approval and covert support of many of same, as long as you don't get caught.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Defeat in Detail

We are already defeated politically here and at home, and we lost the media war by keeping our best reporters (the soldiers) gag ordered. We have long since ceded the population-the primary objective-to the enemy, and are only now making an effort to take it back. We are spread out amongst many FOB's and now even more so with Joint Security Stations and Combat outposts.*
In 2004 the Mahdi Army was able to mount a serious challenge with only a few thousand ill trained militia. They now have tens of thousands well trained, well equipped veteran militia and Iran has 32,000 agents here to assist them. If the combination of the Fallujah uprising and the Mahdi Army uprising in 2004 put a strain on us, I wonder what could happen to this demoralized Maginot Line force** now? Our Generals had better hope the enemy's innate caution and patience win out over temptation. Or they'll be the ones being investigated at long last. You can't blame strategic defeat on junior enlisted.

*although I applaud this...in fact I think most of the FOB's should be emptied out and put on patrol.

**If you don't agree, ask yourself why they bought in 20,000 fresh troops when most of the ones already here are still sitting on their fobs. Cuz the one's here are ruined.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The code is cracked

Not that it's going to solve our problems, but our young soldiers have come through with the answer again. Last night, one of many interminable long nights at the checkpoint a solider told me a story that explains a lot about the New Inaction Army.

In High school, he had a radical English teacher (that reminds him of me...maybe I'll vote Democratic next time just as a nod to the gods of the polis) who taught the students something about critical thinking...or at least something other than rote memorization. He also had a principal who liked rules....no grind dancing at the high school prom. No hip hop. And slow dancing only at a distance of six inches apart...since that might lead somewhere. The whole rebel drama played out...eventually the principal quit cuz the English teacher started a movement to punk him out.

What jarred his memory on this was a trip to the pool....we have a flea 9 assigned here whose place of duty is pool enforcer of standards. His job is to walk around the pool and make sure, that people don't wear headphones, or too skimpy a bathing suit. Or that the Navy diver can't wear his issue diving shorts...too tight.

Miss Grundy is running the Army....and sorry, they may be young but it's NOT school teaching. Your job is NOT to keep them from mischief. Hell...your job is to make sure they get up not only to mischief but bloody mayhem, and beat (KILL) the other guys out at it.

Do us a favor...get the Fiki out and go teach. Elementary school, not TRADOC.

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Our Katrina

The Big Army can congratulate itself, it is now completely part of the Federal Government, and Iraq is our Katrina. Our assets are stacked up waiting to go...and they never do. People come to us for help, and we promise to get back to them and later becomes never. Meanwhile please spend your remaining moments dragging the shackles of your earthly coils around our endless, ever growing bureaucratic labyrinth. Bring us information? Thanks for risking your life. We'll file that somewhere, maybe a warehouse at Tobyhana depot. Maybe someday some enterprising reporter will use it as background in his book on Iraq.

However, that doesn't mean money doesn't get spent. You just have to be a contractor (non-Iraqi) to get it. Then not only will the floodgates open...you'll spend the taxpayers money to make more of the taxpayers money...but you'll get US military escort. Unless we're sick of you too...in which case you'll get the taxpayers to pay for mercenaries.

The main difference between this and Katrina? We're occupying the high ground of the Superdome, throwing Toby Keith concerts inside, while outside the flood waters never really abate. And yes...there are many great organizations and people doing heroic work like the Coast Guard did during Katrina. But the head shed is "Brownie" holding press conferences and sending plaintive emails, and no Russel Honore has yet appeared to get things moving.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Cui Bono?

(who benefits)

Can anyone tell me what we are doing here? Certainly Command didn't come here for the hunting, did they? We are pulling our entire oversized squadron back inside the wire just as the mortars (predictably) are really getting their groove on. Supposedly we are under 100 days, I'll believe it when I see it. I've seen both parts of this movie before: last spring/summer the mortars increased with the rising heat until we decided to stop sitting on our collective asses and start patrolling the villages, and we also did the "we're short, pull everyone in" part late last fall. Then we got extended. Let's see if the short squeeze suckers buy in again and start making vacation plans.

I really can't point to much in the way of tangible accomplishments beyond $5000 a day in meals to KBR. Sure, we bagged a few bag guys but if they had let us fight we would have bagged a few hundred, more importantly we'd actually establish some security around this base and show these people we are as serious as the enemy. Whose chain of Command I'd exchange for mine in a heartbeat.

Hell, I'd rather follow the kids at the gate who spy, steal and pester us. They've got more motivation, better leadership and more courage than my entire chain from E7 to POTUS. And they've got more time inside our wire than my chain does outside it.

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