Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A bit of a whitewash 
That's my assessment of the Inspector General's report, in which the Army finds that there was no systematic discrepency between the logistics support available to reserve component and active duty troops.

They've fixed a lot of stuff, but there were serious differences between the level of support provided to mobilized Guard units and active duty units, and at least in the spring and summer of 2003, it was HARD-WIRED INTO THE SYSTEM.

Case in point: When my unit, the 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry regiment was mobilized, we took along our old Viet Nam era flak jackets. But we saw that our equipment was out of date: The Air Guard guys attached to us as observers showed up in the modern IBVs, so we immediately requested the new vests and plates.

We were told repeatedly that Army policy was to sustain, not support, mobilized Guard units. Active Duty units would be supported, of course. But Guard units need not apply.

As a result, my light infantry battalion was stationed and running operations in Ramadi, Iraq for weeks before we were able to obtain the IBVs that were issued to Active Component units as a matter of course. And only then because of some creative scrounging by our foraging teams in Baghdad. The vests were available. The Army policy at the time, and CFLCC policy at the time, was to sustain, not support, Guard units.

Here's what I wrote about it at the time.
This fact alone would appear to falsify the Inspector's position that there was no systematic difference in the level of support provided to Active and Reserve units. If the Army's policy was to sustain Guard units and not support them, then how can it be that there was no "systematic" discrimination?

The discrimination in the personnel and pay systems were even more severe.

The Army had active and reserve component troops on entirely different pay systems, and the reserve system was wholly inadequate to the task.
Reservists were not allowed to send an allotment home to their families. Active duty soldiers were.

Reservists were not allowed to make automatic paycheck deductions into the Federal Thrift Savings Program.

Reserve and guard battalions exhibiting pay problems could not get them addressed by parent Active Duty units. Because of the Army's refusal in the first year or so of the war to mobilize Guard battalions as part of their parent brigades, the Active Army could not access Guardsmen's pay information on their systems. Pay was screwed up for the entire unit, and I'm STILL fixing pay problems, more than a year after the fact, mostly related to the inability of the reserve component pay system to account for the tax-free status of combat zone pay.

The replacement system for the Guard and Reserve was beyond fucked up. It was outright nonfunctional. So was the promotion system. I had a good E-3 who I wanted to move to E-4. The Company commander wanted him promoted. The 1SG wanted him promoted. I wanted him promoted. The Battalion Commander wanted him promoted.

The Army blocked it, repeatedly. He was attached to us from another Guard unit and was an engineer by trade, though he was working for us as a cook and doing a fine job. "You can't promote him, because he needs to be working in his MOS."

"Oh, no problem. Just cross attach him to a slot in an engineer unit and attach him back to us so we can promote him."

"No. You can't do that. Your unit's under stop loss."

"But we're not losing him!"

"Sorry. That's policy."

Yep. That was policy.

Remember who the Army Inspector General works for. I would love to get a state Adjutant's General's take on the IG report.

A lot of things have been fixed, fortunately, since then. But I've got to call a spade a spade. The Army was not successful in integrating active and reserve component forces in the first year of the war.

Housing and billeting was inadequate stateside. Reserve component drill sergeants mobilized to Fort Dix and other training areas are still getting substandard quarters, years later.

The inadequate housing afforded to recovering wounded at Fort Stewart caused a mini scandal in 2003.

Wounded reservists and guardsmen were warehoused in WWII barracks far from their communities, because the Army couldn't figure out how to contract with civilian doctors where these soldiers actually live.

Active duty soldiers have their wives and children near these posts. Reserve component troops do not.

And the Army is going to issue a report saying there was no systematic discrepency between the support offered to active component and reserve component troops?


This is the greatest Army in history, with the best supported troops ever.

It can be even better. But not with self-serving reports like this. Ask the state adjutants general and their IGs. Ask the retiring CSMs and 1SGs. Ask the maintenance warrants about getting parts for the substandard vehicles in the Guard (I.e., M35A3 trucks, standard issue in the Guard, but the active duty CLIX parts system didn't even contain them.)

Splash, out


AP's subtlely racist coverage in New Orleans 

White people "find."

Black people "loot."

Splash, out


UPDATE: Turns out there was nothing to it.

"When we see people go into businesses and come out with goods, we call it looting," said Santiago Lyon, AP's director of photography. "When we just see them carrying things down the road, we call it carrying items."

Lyon said the photographer who took Tuesday's photo, Dave Martin, had seen the man go into the store and take out the items.

As for the other photo, Getty said it stood by its caption and its photographer, Chris Graythen, who says the subjects of his photo were simply picking up items floating by in the dank waters.

And Graythen, frustrated by the controversy, wrote an emotional response on a photojournalism Web site, SportsShooter.com.

"These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics," he wrote. "They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow."

Consider the post retracted. My apologies to Yahoo, the AP and the AFP.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Iraq vets hitting college campuses 
No wonder young warriors volunteer for additional combat tours. You can have more respect for your adversaries.

NRO looks at what happens:

“A woman on campus had apparently learned I might be a Marine. When I told her I was, she said, ‘You’re a disgusting human being, and I hope you rot in hell!’ ”

Indeed, Martinez, who will be the first male in his family to receive a college diploma, says he is receiving more of an education than he bargained for: “There are a lot of people who don’t appreciate military service in college,” Martinez said. “If someone asks me about it, and I think that they’re not too liberal, I might tell them I was in Iraq. But I don’t tell them the full extent of it or anything about the Navy Cross.”

The Navy Cross — as in second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. Martinez, formerly of 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, is a bona-fide American hero and the first Hispanic American since Vietnam to receive the Navy Cross. During the Battle of At Tarmiya, one of Sergeant Martinez’s fellow marines had been hit in the legs and left for dead by five terrorists holed up in an adobe garden shed. That’s when Martinez used his body to shield the dying marine from the terrorist before mounting a 20-meter frontal charge at the bunker with nothing but a depleted rifle and a grenade. With enemy bullets pinging off his gear, Martinez unpinned the grenade, slammed his body into the adobe building, and lobbed the device into the window of the structure, killing all the terrorists inside.

But as liberal professors and antiwar activists continue to wage a nationwide campaign to rid university campuses of military recruiters — in some cases going so far as to throw water bottles and scream epithets at them — it is easy to see why Sergeant Martinez would remain tight-lipped about being one of the nation’s most decorated heroes.

Read the whole thing.


Johns Hopkins Professor Equates Bush with Al Qaeda 
In an entry for the Moral Equivocation Hall of Fame, a Johns Hopkins professor named William Connelly equates the U.S. and Al Qaeda.

From the Baltimore Sun

Finally, we must initiate cross-country citizen dialogues with people of the Muslim faith who find both the state terrorism of the Bush administration and the nonstate terrorism of Al-Qaeda to be abhorrent.

I think its wonderful that we have a society in which our teachers can lead such sheltered and lives.

Splash, out


Saudi newspaper: "Sheehan is a liberal nutcase who needs to be put in her place." 
Amazing position taken in the Arab News, an English-language Saudi Arabia newspaper. More:

Ms. Sheehan and other appeasers around the world provide the fuel that feeds the fire of terrorism. If not for this fuel, terrorists would realize that they do not have a chance to sway the minds of people and would end the bombing. Terrorists are not stupid, they understand that bombing innocent civilians will not change the minds of the strong, but will break the will of the weak. So they attack the weak and the weak fold.

Spain is a good example of this reasoning. Would the terrorists have attacked Spain if the whole population stood strong against terrorism? No. What would be the point?

Every time an appeaser voices his or her opinion against the war in Iraq terrorists gain hope that they can change the will of the people. So whether they want to admit it or not, appeasers protesting the war in Iraq are indirectly responsible for the death of the innocent. And the death of our soldiers.

In fact appeasers are directly responsible for the death of Ms. Sheehan’s son, not George W. Bush. If the whole country was united for the war in Iraq, I doubt if the terrorists would have started their suicide bombing campaign.

Don't know if I would go that far. I do think they are encouraged by domestic dissent. But that's not the only reason they kill.

Splash, out


Email of the day 
An OIF field-grade officer writes in his assessment of the Oil Spot Strategy:

I must agree, I read his article and it made no sense to me.

It is based, IMHO, on a faulty assumption, that the Army is doing sweeps, instead of a more terrain based approach anyway. From what I saw when I was there, in the Baghdad AO, this is how brigades are laid out anyway, and since they all have secondary missions of training Iraqi security forces that is what we are doing. It is a terrain based deployment based on cities and there is minimal movement in bdes throughout their tours, and very few big arrow movement.

What I find funny is that the aforementioned "Sweeps", if you were to ask him to define his terms, are those like "Matador" that the Marines do, which when the numbers get crunched end up being 1-2 bn operations. SO at any one moment there may be 2-4000 people, mostly USMC, in western AL Anbar province almost exclusively, doing "sweeps", as opposed to the other 130000, who are not. In terms of maneuver battalions these sweeps are 5-8% of the total effort.

Basically a false premise but a logical argument, and a false conclusion. Krepinivich is smart enough to realize this is not a Vietnam-level of search and destroy if he crunched the numbers. The fact that this paper was in "Foreign Affairs" strikes me as odd, because that is the sort of bunch that doesent know the tactical facts that he disregarded and/or overlooked. Most of the other stuff, and metrics, are tracked, and he is pushing on an open door.

If he was to read Michael Yon's writing, for example, the two units Yon traveled to (the 1/25 strykers, and 1 ID) stayed more or less in the same areas through out their tours. Sounds like oil spot to me.


Won't stop the usual bunch of amateurs from hoisting him on their shoulders and parading him through the streets, though.


Oil Spot Smeared 
High Clearing echoes my skepticism about the "Oil Spot" strategy, and deals with it at greater length.

Of Krepinevich summarily, reading it made me think of two things. Really, three. The first is the old roleplaying game cliché of “quickly and quietly.” As in, “We move quickly and quietly down the corridor,” a classic example of play groups trying to have it both ways at once, bluffing the gamemaster into accepting that they can achieve both sides of what is really a tradeoff between values at the same time. The clearest example of “quickly and quietly” in Krepinevich is when he says that, oil-spot strategy notwithstanding, US and Iraqi armed forces should also continue with sweeps beyond secured territory to keep insurgents from enjoying the leisure to organize themselves. Since his thesis statement is that “Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents,” and he argues that hunting down insurgents has been distracting the US from providing loyalty-winning development to secured areas, this seems like a cheat.

The other bit is something that I remember from an old Sandbaggers episode, but that surely predates it: “If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs.” This pops up throughout the article, where Krepinevich argues that if we had this, and that, we could have this and that.

Check out the whole thing.

Splash, out


More Code Pink 
Missed it before, but here's Code Pink openly endorsing those who kill U.S. servicemen and untold numbers of Iraqis:

What can we as anti-war activists in the US really do? What do you do with an administration that has degraded the rule of law, raped and maimed it? The Tribunal was just the beginning of filling a void. A void created because all the governing bodies that should be carrying out this task, or should have prevented the horror in the first place have been rocked to sleep, or bound and gagged. We the people need to continue to stand up and not complain about what is lacking, but to fill the voids as citizens, citizens not just of the United States but also of the World. We must begin by really standing with the Iraqi people. It is so amazingly obvious; we must get out of Iraq now. They will rebuild their country, it will take time, a long time, but they cannot start until we are gone.

I wonder if this Castle High School teacher knows this?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Oil Spot Strategy 
Foreign Affairs has some useful suggestions for changing the focus of the U.S. effort in Iraq.
Instead, U.S. and Iraqi forces should adopt an "oil-spot strategy" in Iraq, which is essentially the opposite approach. Rather than focusing on killing insurgents, they should concentrate on providing security and opportunity to the Iraqi people, thereby denying insurgents the popular support they need. Since the U.S. and Iraqi armies cannot guarantee security to all of Iraq simultaneously, they should start by focusing on certain key areas and then, over time, broadening the effort -- hence the image of an expanding oil spot. Such a strategy would have a good chance of success. But it would require a protracted commitment of U.S. resources, a willingness to risk more casualties in the short term, and an enduring U.S. presence in Iraq, albeit at far lower force levels than are engaged at present. If U.S. policymakers and the American public are unwilling to make such a commitment, they should be prepared to scale down their goals in Iraq significantly

The problem: Anbar and Baghdad both would lie outside the oil spot. In order to maximize the oil spot strategy, you have to cede Baghdad and Ramadi and Fallujah.

Well, we ceded Fallujah, and it became a huge car bomb factory which was directed against Baghdad, which is the seat of power whether you pursue the oil spot strategy or not.

I think he's correct that the decisive element is the strengthening of the Iraqi forces. And I think he's absolutely correct that our most successful leaders should be promoted and retained in Iraq, rather than replaced every year. This war is a war of personal contacts and hard-won trust between tribal sheikhs and American officers.

But the strategy would simultaneously reduce the attrition of insurgents while increasing attrition of U.S. personnel in the short run, at least, while ceding wide swaths of the Iraqi countryside to the insurgent. It also gives away the U.S. advantages in firepower and mobility.

Still, I think there's a lot in this writer's thinking to recommend him. I would like to see a good professional discussion among military thinkers, armchair and otherwise, in the comments to this post, because I know you readers well enough to know that most of you are smarter than me.

Click on "Link" below to leave a comment, and please check back often.

Speaking of Code Pink 
I just visited an old friend who is a teacher at Castle High School in Kaneohe, Hawai'i. I met another teacher, on duty, who was wearing a "Code Pink" T-shirt.

Castle High School is a few miles away from Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station. Most of the kids on base go to Kalaheo High School, in Kailua, but some who live off base will go to Castle. Castle is also an excellent performing arts magnet school which attracts kids from all over the island, which has a lot of military families, including dozens from Kalaheo.

So if your dad was deployed to Iraq, how would you feel about seeing an authority figure in your school wearing a Code Pink shirt?

I'm all about freedom of expression. But what is an appropriate limit to set? Did the teacher stop to consider how she might be percieved by the students?

Splash, out


Code Pink Walter Reed Protest genuine? 
I was reluctant to write about the folks standing outside Walter Reed, where many of our nation's most severely wounded are recuperating, holding signs that read things like "MAIMED FOR A LIE," because I was sceptical that even Code Pink could be that stupid and vile, and suspected maybe some right-wing idiots had set them up.

Turns out that there was something to that suspicion.

Don't know if they're right wing ringers or not, but even Code Pink is not happy with what's going on at their vigil.

In recent weeks, the vigil has attracted some people who have tried to change the tone and message of the vigil, including yelling and holding up inappropriate signs. The organizers have asked the newcomers to be respectful and wonder if they might indeed be infiltrators whose aim is to disrupt the vigil.

Code Pink's a bunch of idiots. But there is nothing wrong with the stated purpose of this vigil, which is to draw attention to a veterans medical system inadequate to deal with 28,000 wounded, and the gates of Walter Reed seem like as good a place as any to do it, to me.

Code Pink is stupid for a lot of reasons. But maybe this isn't one of them.

On the other hand, look at all the other things they specifically take credit for, and encourage, including commandeering the names of our dead to plaster on recruiting offices, and making signs that say 'You can't be all you can be if you're DEAD' and "All coffins 50% off"

So were they hijacked by the left or the right? Don't know. One commenter says the guy in the Walter Reed video is the same guy LT Smash had a run in with back in his protest covering days. Which would, if true, suggest that Code Pink was coopted by the left instead of the right.

Or, it's thoroughly possible that it's all Code Pink, and they're just lying through their teeth to try and distance themselves from their dumber members. Which is tough to do if stupid people make up the majority of your organization.

Splash, out


Sheehan refers to foreign jihadists in Iraq as "freedom fighters" 
World Net Daily has the video:

"You know that the president says Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism, don't you believe that?" asked Mark Knoller of CBS, surrounded by a host of other reporters.

"No, because it's not true," Sheehan replied. "You know Iraq was no threat to the United States of America until we invaded. I mean they're not even a threat to the United States of America. Iraq was not involved in 9-11, Iraq was not a terrorist state. But now that we have decimated the country, the borders are open, freedom fighters from other countries are going in, and they [American troops] have created more terrorism by going to an Islamic country, devastating the country and killing innocent people in that country. The terrorism is growing and people who never thought of being car bombers or suicide bombers are now doing it because they want the United States of America out of their country."

Natch, the media duly reported her remarks, and questioned her on them, right?


Nope. Almost all bloggers and a few op ed people.

Nothing in the NY Times search engine, either.

Yet another gaping, yawning hole in the incompetent coverage of the war and the people connected with it.

Good job, MSM!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hitch rocks the house 
Hitch is so the man.

"Who's Next?" The Nation looks at Army Recruiting 

The article appears factually correct, and well reported, on the surface, but the author doesn't seem to quite grasp her own reporting. For example, the author notes that the south comes up with a much higher per capita number of recruits, implying that that's because the military preys on poorer kids, but makes no mention of the deep cultural connection of the southern United States with the nation's armed forces, which transcends economics.

I love the snide crack about JROTC instructors being retired military "who may or may not have college degrees."

And this bit:

The Army, which encourages high school career counselors to administer the test--ideally, making it mandatory for all juniors or seniors--has stopped spelling out the acronym in the past few years

Well, newsflash...it's not an Army test. And here's another newsflash: I took the test in 1986 or 87. Nobody spelled it out then, either.

The Nation quotes the parent of a disgraced sailor as advising that parents of interested youngsters tell the recruiters that their child is gay or lesbian. (Heh. Speaking of defamation. Yet another instance in the ever growing body of anecdotal evidence that the American left is increasingly made up of desperate, pathological liars.

I wonder where this sailor, who was discharged under other than honorable conditions, got his moral compass from?

Moreover, in Leftyland, parents become "troubled" by reports that 18 percent of graduates of certain Chicago area military-style schools later enlist in the military, and so move to shut down the schools. The Nation, being the Pravda of Leftyland, of course thinks this is rooted in some sort of normalcy.

Splash, out


College newspaper running fake anti-war letters 
This story comes courtesy of Nothing But Static from the MSM:

For two years, Carbondale residents have been riveted by the writing of a little girl imploring her father in Iraq: "Don't die, OK?"

Only now are they learning there was never any danger of that.

The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University's student-run newspaper, today will admit to its readers that the saga - of a little girl's published letters to her father serving in Iraq - was apparently an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a woman who claimed to be the girl's aunt.

In fact, the newspaper will report today, the man identified as the girl's father was never in Iraq, and it was the woman who apparently wrote the letters and regular columns that were published under the little girl's name - and even impersonated the girl in telephone interviews.

Such is the state of the antiwar movement. They even produced a photograph of the nonexistent little girl.

They were also pondering how it was that the girl and the woman became so close to newspaper staff members that no one thought to check out their story - even after the woman once showed up in the newsroom claiming to be not herself, but a twin sister.

But, but, but...we're TRAINED JOURNALISTS!

The apparently fictional Dan Kennings at one point visited the newsroom on what he said was a furlough. Staff members recall a large, crew-cut man who looked the part.

Oh, he looked the part. So it must be true! Here's a tip for journos: Every soldier in the Army is required to have an AKO address. That's a quick way to check somebody out...write to their AKO address and see if they can respond, and if it's the same guy. It's not a foolproof method, because any soldier can also set up a guest AKO account and use that to perpetrate a fraud. But you can also call the unit's rear detatchment or PAO and verify a soldier in the unit by that name, and verify that he's been deployed to Iraq.

As the old saying goes, "if your mother says she loves you, check it out."

(That's why I haven't written up the people protesting in front of Walter Reed yet. There's some nagging feeling in the back of my mind that's telling me they might be ringers.)

But in hindsight, several staffers said Thursday, the girl was painfully shy in person, and would seldom talk. Yet when she called the newsroom on the phone, said current student editor Zack Creglow, "she talked so much that we'd pass the phone around the newsroom."

"That part creeped me out so much last night that I couldn't sleep," Creglow said Thursday. "No one really knew what Kodee's voice sounded like, she was so shy (in person). Now it looks like it was this woman (on the phone) talking in a little kid's voice."

Nice. Somewhere there's a young girl who's been taught that it's acceptable to be paraded around a newsroom while the adults in her lives are telling lies about her, and being turned into an accessory to fraud. This lady is pathological. The proof:

The story began unraveling this month, when the woman contacted the paper and said the girl's father had been killed in Iraq.

Hell, I would have killed him too, had I found out his whole existence had been fabricated. And no jury in the world would convict me.

Staff members began gathering background for a story on the girl's father's death - the kind of backgrounding that hadn't been done in the two years the paper had written about Kodee and carried her column. They quickly discovered that the military had no record of Dan Kennings.

Already suspicious, several staffers and former staffers - including Brenner, the former reporter, and Creglow, the current editor - attended a memorial that Kodee's "aunt" arranged in the Carbondale area. At the small, informal event, they looked at photos of a man presented as Kodee's father - but who, they noted, looked nothing like the man they'd once met in the newsroom.

Now that the hoax has been exposed, the aunt is telling the press that she had cooked up the story with the newspaper editor himself in 2003.

I hope the newspaper goes back at her with charges of fraud and defamation. It would not be hard to show genuine economic damages, and she'd have no safe harbor in the truth-as-absolute defense, unless she can show evidence that she and the editor DID conspire to deceive the newspaper and its readership.

My gut tells me the editor was genuinely had, though. Nothing But Static is more suspicious. Much more there.

Hat tip: Radio blogger

Splash, out


Update: Buzzflash.com is describing the hoax as "pro-war." (link highly perishable)

IEDs down 20 percent?!? 
General Rodriguez lays it out.

Q General, Sandra Erwin with National Defense. Can you tell us what kind of IED -- what is the level of IED attacks that you see in your area? We heard from General LaFontaine last week that the attacks have doubled. Can you give us a sense of what kinds of threats do you see now in your area from the IEDs?

GEN. RODRIGUEZ: I think the question is about IEDs. And we have, of course, had a tremendous effort ongoing to combat the IEDs, which are the most prevalent weapon that has been used against us. Over the last three months, they have decreased in both number and effectiveness by about 20 percent. This has been a combination of several things. One, of course, is the tactics, techniques and procedures that we're using as we conduct our operations. The disruption in the senior leadership that we've been able to have on the leadership of the insurgency, they've been a little bit less complex because of the pressure that we've been able to keep on them. And also, we continue to get a large number of tips from the Iraqi people to help us discover them and get the word when they're putting them in, as well as the impact of several large caches that were seized throughout the last three months. So we continue to use all available technology, tactics, techniques and procedures to decrease the impact and effect of IEDs on our forces.

Q A follow-up on that. Some of the other officials we talk to say the IED sophistication has been increasing; but you're saying the opposite; you're saying that they're going down in numbers and sophistication?

GEN. RODRIGUEZ: Yes. Right now in this area they are going down in number as well as in sophistication. For example, there have not been as many buried and camouflaged, covered or concealed as had been in the past. And I think I explained why we thought that was.

Wretchard crunches some numbers. His commenters are always worth a read, too.

Splash, out


Friday, August 26, 2005

Why won't Cindy Sheehan meet with him? 
Why won't Cindy Sheehan meet with the father of a Marine killed in action?

(Well, I think it has something to do with his characterizing her cause as "sick.")

Via the Confederate Yankee, who has lots more, including quotes from moonbats describing how they really feel about the families of our honored dead.

Via the Ace of Spades HQ, which always has cool stuff up.

Splash, out


This is a wonderful time to be a soldier in the U.S. Army. 
So says Joe Roache in this op-ed in the Washington Times.

I agree.

Troop quality is better than ever. Troop morale, from where I sit, seems to be as high as it's ever been, and total strangers in our Army now greet and part no longer strangers, but with an embrace.

In the crucible of combat, our Army and our brothers in the Marine Corps and the Navy corpsmen who support them, has morphed into the biggest family in the world.

All this is under the radar of the Manhattanite and LA media, of course, because it usually takes place far from their eyes, in communities which are strangers to their expense accounts. But it's quite real, and that's why reenlistment rates are so high, and it's part of why the troop quality of new enlistments are so high, and it's part of why our nation's 4th estate is so thoroughly blowing the story.

It's as if the Army and USMC exist in the third dimension and the newspapers are putting their Help Wanted ads in the Flatland Herald Tribune.

Splash, out


Wargaming an American withdrawal 
The Mesopotamian wargames what might happen if the editorial board at The Nation gets its way.

Day 1: The American and other Multinational forces have almost completed withdrawing hastily, the decision having been taken by the U.S. administration to “cut and run” as it is said.

Day 2: The Anbar province - whole formations of Saddam’s previous organizations emerge from their holes and take control of the streets: Presidential Guards, Mukhabarat, Fedayeen Saddam, General Security, Private Security, Military intelligence, Party Units, etc. etc. ; in addition to Al -Qaida and various assortments of “Isalamists”. The whole of the province falls very quickly even before the last American soldier leaves Baghdad. The takeover takes place without any serious resistance apart from assassinations and murder of all those who are not entirely to the taste of the abovementioned. This takeover takes place over the entire western region right down to Abu Ghraib and Ghazaliya and other suburbs in Baghdad. Some fighting takes place in certain areas of Al-Anbar, but those tribes who were considered insufficiently hostile to the Americans and their friends, are quickly subdued with much bloodshed. In short the regime that is going to take over the country quickly takes shape in this region.

Other Parts of the Sunni Triangle: Similar situation develops in other areas such as Mosul, Tikrit, Sammara etc. in the North but with varying degrees of resistance and bloodshed, however the balance of force is in favor of the “insurgents”.

Diala Province: In the east considerable fighting and sectarian bloodshed, all civil services are disrupted and fighting continues.

South of Iraq: Badr Brigades, the Mahdi Army and various assortments of armed groups take to the streets and considerable fighting takes place near the southern approaches to Baghdad (the triangle of Death Latifya-Usufiya-Mahmodiya etc.) between Shiaa and Sunni groups, without any definite results initially.

Baghdad: All the middle class new neighborhoods start to be taken over by various armed groups with much looting and arson. This will be directly influenced by the speed of the U.S. army withdrawal; in particular the western part of Baghdad starting from Abu Ghraib right down to the up-scale Mansur Area.

The Mahdi Army and other Shiaa militias and tribal armed groups appear in the streets of Sadr City, Kadimiya and other neighborhoods with clear Shiaa majorities. In other mixed areas street fighting, looting ravaging and murder of families in their houses takes place on a large scale under various pretexes..Those who are weak and unarmed suffer most.

The little of electricity, water supply, sewerage and other municipal services, that there is comes to a complete halt. All shops, markets etc are closed and start to be looted.

Day 3:

The well defined main provincial areas, from the sectarian point of view, have quickly come under control of the various sectarian forces, Sunni ones in the Sunni areas and Shiaa in the Shiaa regions, and the most dangerous and destructive civil war in the history of Iraq has formally started, a war that will continue for many years and bring the country to a state worse than what followed the Mongol Invasion of Hollako in the 13th century. Ethnic and sectarian cleansing is going on within these areas with large scale movements of refugees from the various regions in all directions.

After that it gets ugly.

Hat tip: The Middle Ground

New York Times twists source's words 
I was right...

The Times' principal source went to them with a good news story, and the Times turned it into a bad news story. And the source is ticked.

Splash, out


West O'ahu rocks! 
The West O'ahu little league team, that is, which is thus far undefeated in the little league world series.

Ikaika e mua!

I've gone native!

I've pretty much dropped that stupid mainland accent I aquired, and I've picked up my Hawai'i accent.

I got some portuguese bean soup from Zippy's, of course, some bento lunches, some spam musubi, some Kalua pig and cabbage, and some more spam musubi.

Even got a couple of good seisuns in... one at O'Neill's on Lewers street in Waikiki and another this evening at a house session in Niu Valley. There are some pretty strong players here!

If I don't head back to Florida early due to the hurricane, I'll be at O'Neill's again on sunday.

Splash, out


The unit just got mobilized for Hurricane Katrina.

That's the second trip I've had interrupted by hurricanes, but I'm thousands and thousands of miles out of position right now, and don't know how I'm getting back right now.

I'll wait out the full damage assessment and see how things go. The last two mobilizations we didn't even make it out of the motor pool. But with 1.4 million people without power they will need some National Guard presence for a while.

Normally they try not to mobilize those people directly in the path of the storm. Which would be almost everybody in my battalion, the 1st of the 124th Infantry.

Soldiers, after all, have homes and families they have to look after themselves, and the best way to destroy retention is to pull them away from their families during a time of crisis and bring them on active duty, unless the emergency is really very major.

But between all the civilian emergency personnel and those with possible severe family or home problems themselves as a result of the hurricane, well, it's going to have an effect.

Just how much of an effect I can't say, because I'm so far removed from the scene.

We'll see how it goes.

Splash, out


For the record... 
Apparently, those weren't guardsmen busting up that rave in Utah. Those were local law enforcement, no doubt cracking down on illegal coffee usage. I understand they confiscated espresso and latte machines, and the ground was strewn with sugar packets, filters, biscotti, and other caffeine-tweaking paraphernalia.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Army Colonel wins Distinguished Service Cross 
Army Colonel James Coffman Jr. has been awarded the DSC for this action leading Iraqi security forces in repulsing an attack on an Iraqi police station in Mosul.
He accompanied a commando Quick Reaction Force with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Special Police Commando Brigade on Nov. 14, 2004 to help a commando platoon under attack in a Mosul, Iraq police station.

As the QRF approached the station, it was besieged with rocket-propelled grenades, small arms fire and mortar rounds. Coffman and the commandos fought the insurgents for four hours before help arrived. When the initial firefight killed or seriously wounded all but one of the commando officers, Coffman rallied the remaining commandos while trying to radio for assistance, according to his award citation.

“Under heavy fire, he moved from commando to commando, looking each in the eye and using hand and arm signals to demonstrate what he wanted done,” the citation said.

When an enemy round shattered his left shooting hand, damaging his M4 rifle in the process, Coffman bandaged it and continued fighting with AK-47 rifles he collected from commando casualties until each ran out of ammunition. He also passed out ammunition to the uninjured commandos with the help of the remaining commando officer; when all that remained were loose rounds, Coffman held magazines between his legs and loaded the rounds with his good hand.

When a second commando unit arrived four hours after the fight began, Coffman led them to his position and continued to fight, refusing to be evacuated for treatment until the battle was over. Not long after the commando reinforcements arrived, air support and a Stryker Brigade Quick Reaction Force were on hand to assist to assist in the battle.

Coffman supervised the evacuation of injured commandos and led another group of commandos to the police station to make contact with the Iraqi Police inside. Once the additional air and ground support elements began attacking buildings the enemy forces were hiding in, Coffman went back to his initial position to check on the injured commandos and then agreed to be evacuated for treatment. Twenty-five insurgents were killed and dozens injured.

I'm linking to a U.S. Army publication because the PAO guys did more original reporting than did the Associated Press (which edits out the complimentary things Colonel Coffman said about our Iraqi colleagues), and of course does more original reporting than the New York Times does, which is zero so far, even though the Times usually has two or three first-line reporters in Iraq at any one time.

In fairness, the PAO guys do get a head start on the story.

The Times does mention that the Distinguished Service Cross is second only to the Medal of Honor, and mentions Medal of Honor medal Paul Smith. But somehow, the Times doesn't seem to grasp that the DSC is also equivalent to the Navy Cross, and so makes no mention of USMC Captain Brian Chontosh, who was awarded the Navy Cross last year.

A look at Google news reveals that the only news service which has covered the DSC award at all is the Associated Press. Even the Army Times is so far relying on the AP story. It's still only a day into the story, though. The New York Times really sucks at this, but the Washington Post is pretty good at coming up with good follow-up stories, when they set their minds to it.

One other question:

It took four hours for help to arrive. What's up with that?

Strykers? What's the deal? Is it an active duty thing? Was it at the end of a four-day weekend or something?

Splash, out,


So I finally watched "Over There" 
The episode I saw involved the squad sitting in a blown out little bunker outside of a town, staking out the home of a guy they thought might be a spotter for a mortar crew, which had been making life very dangerous for coalition traffic along the road going through the town.

But they weren't sure about it, so they didn't want to just assassinate the guy. So the squad sits in the bunker for a couple of days straight having their little morality play about whether or not to shoot the guy.

Apparently, there's an important logistical convoy which is about to come through the town, and the brass wants to take out "the spotter," thinking that by taking out the spotter, they can make the road safe for traffic.

No, enemy mortar crews, despite having been laying on the same section of road for days, never register their tubes on a known and fixed piece of terrain, apparently.

The squad's unit, furthermore, is too stupid to, you know, simply go and raid the guy's house to see if he has a radio, or even if the mortar fire stops or becomes less effective the day he's picked up.

No, they'd rather let a squad make a target of themselves for days on end sitting out there accomplishing nothing, waiting for the suspected spotter to do us the courtesy of stepping outside with his radio and binos in hand. Because people in Hollywood are apparently that stupid, so their characters have to be that stupid, too.

So, anyway, the squad sits there in the bunker and watches as a humvee "runs the gantlet" one night. Actually, a lone humvee runs the gantlet. With two chicks in it. Yes, because the U.S. Army routinely sends unsecured, lone humvees drive around Iraq, willy nilly. Bonus points if they're women. Even more bonus points if they leave their lights on, knowing they're being observed. And here's the tactical problem: How to defeat an enemy mortar crew who does us the favor of setting up somewhere and lobbing shells at the same spot day after day.

Apparently, this squad is basically disembodied from the rest of the Army, because while the squad leader correctly gets his orders from a lieutenant platoon leader, the platoon leader apparently gets his orders directly from the most underemployed general in the history of the military. What's more, it's a general who apparently doesn't command any assets other than that squad, because even though we know the enemy mortar has set up within a few thousand meters of the road (thanks to the fact that we know a mortar's effective range), the unit apparently doesn't bother with patrolling to find the mortar.

Nor, seemingly, does the general command any indirect fire assets. Because even though the enemy mortar crew has foolishly decided to set a pattern by firing on the same section of road repeatedly, there is no counterbattery fire to be had, despite the fact that our Q36 and Q37 radars have the capability of acquiring the exact 10 digit grid of the mortar crew, sending the information to directly to the the self-propelled 155mm which the 3rd ID most definitely has in the inventory, and launching the ordnance at the mortar crew while the incoming shells are still in the air. (The only thing that slows us down is how fast we want to clear fires.

Apparently the general doesn't command any aviation assets, either, because despite the importance of the logistical convoy, they don't bother leading the convoy with an aviation screen, which would have no problem checking out the most likely mortar launch points based on a map recon or based on painstaking local sector knowledge worked up by the infantry, would no doubt be aggressively patrolling the whole time, in order to flush out the mortar cr... oh. Right.

Nor does it occur to the Americans that you can easily drop a curtain of white phosphorous and smoke rounds between the convoy and the suspected spotter location, even if you're not willing to use HE on the guy's house.

Nope, there's no such thing as a combined arms team in Hollywood. And so there's no patrolling. No counterbattery. No aviation. No close air support. Nope...apparently the squad fights the war all by itself.

So the squad makes the decision to shoot the suspected spotter, who has destroyed a cab for no reason I can figure out (other than for the advantage of further compromising the position of the mortar crew.)

And so the semi trucks come over the hill, with their precious cargo of toilet seats. Smoker, a tough street kid from Compton, doesn't think the cargo of toilet seats is worth the risk.

Smoker apparently missed the OIF I rotation, but I digress.

Anyway, the semis come over the hill with little if any security escort, doing about 20 miles per hour, and bunched up like they were going to a tailgate party. The squad gets its sniper to shoot at the window where they think the spotter is. Good call.

The American sniper fires through the window and curtain and scores a direct hit on the observer. We know this because despite the fact the impact of the round would naturally send the guy sprawling backwards on the floor, in hollywood reality the guy actually fell TOWARD the American sniper, with enough force to actually break the window.

What's more, the guy manages to hold on to the radio and a pair of binos even as he crashes forwart through the glass. The wife runs out and screams her head off, because that's what Iraqi women do on this show, apparently. But the squad makes no attempt to arrest her, despite the fact that now she's a material witness who may have knowledge of the identities of the mortar crewmen. After all, she knew her husband was in close touch. But that's neither here nor there.

But somehow, the squad has a psychic in their ranks, because even though rounds are still falling on the convoy, vicinity of the road, and even though the road itself can be easily observed from the surrounding hills and from the villages, the squad thinks that now would be a good time for all of them to break overhead cover at once and go out and stand by the side of the road, all within a single lethal burst radius of one mortar shell.

If this squad's chain of command really acted this way, they would all be immediately and justly relieved for incompetence.

I gather that hollywood screenwriters have rather more job security.

News flash: Good military consultants shouldn't limit themselves to ensuring uniform authenticity.

Splash, out


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The preamble:

We the people of Iraq, newly arisen from our disasters and looking with confidence to the future through a democratic, federal, republican system, are determined -- men and women, old and young -- to respect the rule of law, reject the policy of aggression, pay attention to women and their rights, the elderly and their cares, the children and their affairs, spread the culture of diversity and defuse terrorism.

We are the people of Iraq, who in all our forms and groupings undertake to establish our union freely and by choice, to learn yesterday's lessons for tomorrow, and to write down this permanent constitution from the high values and ideals of the heavenly messages and the developments of science and human civilization, and to adhere to this constitution, which shall preserve for Iraq its free union of people, land and sovereignty.

Read the whole thing.

The Guardian reports that the muj are running the place.

Note the description of Zarqawi as "America's most wanted "militant."

The term "terrorist" appears nowhere on the page.

Brave Utah Guardsmen crack down on loitering, "hooliganism" 
If this is how Utah misuses National Guard troops, remind me never to join the Utah National Guard.

See the video. You can clearly hear someone (a guardsman?) threaten the cameraman to 'put the camera down or you're under arrest.'

I very much want to know more, and although Kos gave the topic it's airing, I think any conservative who cares about our National Guard ought to be demanding answers as well.

Splash, out


The Metamorphosis 


The residents of Fallujah are asking the authorities to increase the number of voters' registration offices in the city as the existing ones are not enough to finish the registration process of all eligible voters before the day of the referendum planned for October 15….

I'm just waiting to get an email from the John Kerry campaign blaming it on Diebold.

Splash, out


For the record... 
Pat Robertson is an idiot.

That is all.

5th Column Alert 
The editor of Editor and Publisher Magazine is calling on his news and media colleagues to use their outlets to agitate for American surrender.

At this critical moment, it's time for newspapers -- many of which helped get us into this war -- to use their editorial pages as platforms to help get us out of it. So far, few have done much more than wring their hands. Now, it's literally do-or-die time.

Actually, if Mitchell were more of a man, he might simply find some Iraqi who is risking his life and the lives of his family for the sake of freedom, and stab him in the back.

Or he might do the same to a soldier or marine.

Splash, out


Making excuses for Saddam's thuggery 
Writes Mad Tom, another South Floridian, apparently, and proprietor of a blog called "This Fucking War" in the comments to this post:

Not exactly fair. All you have advanced is that saddam was a brutal dictator. But you have not addressed the issue of woman's rights or the facts about the position of women in Iraq society.
Declaring victory while sounding the retreat won't fool anyone, no matter what the talking points say.

Perfectly fair.

It is not neccessary for me to advance anything more than the fact that Saddam was a brutal, sadistic, murderous, totalitarian dictator, in order to falsify the ridiculous notion that Iraqi women had enjoyed anything like western style equality under Saddam. Really, this argument reminds me of the old saws about Hitler not being so bad -- at least he made the trains run on time.

Don't tell me that in a world in which a woman would be targeted for gang rape for the actions of a relative, or that in a world where a woman could be beheaded on the whim of a Ba'athist with no due process that this idea of the rights and the affirmation of the dignity of Iraqi women have any meaning whatsoever.

Don't you dare.

Anyone who would trivialize the memory of the tens or hundreds of thousands of women who perished horribly, and the thousands more who suffered rape, torture, or mutilation at Saddam's hands is no friend of womankind.

And any veneer of occidentalism with regard to the status of women in Iraqi society is nothing more than a ring in the snout of a pig.

Juan Cole gets the burning he deserves 
If the moral authority of those who have lost loved ones in Iraq is absolute, as Maureen Dowd recently wrote, then what of those who have lost their husbands to jihadist murderers, and who are then slandered by vile cretins on the left?

This open letter from the wife of murdered journalist Steven Vincent, to Juan Cole, who falsely accuses him of sleeping with his interpreter, who was also shot by the jihadist pigs, is one of the great responses to punditry in history.

I recommend every word.

Via Glenn

CBS Anchor: "There were virtually no terrorists in Iraq before the invasion. 
Just watching the CBS News morning show and watched the token nonhot chick anchor say this to a Presidential aide:

Here's my question: The President is still trying to connect Iraq to the War on Terror when we know that there were virtually no terrorists in Iraq before the invasion.

God almighty, I wish some newsguy would ask me that on live television.

Unfortunately, the White House spokesperson totally failed to take the tactical offensive here - the latest in a long litany of rhetorical failures from the White House. The White House doesn't lie nearly so often as it enables liars by refusing to correct the false record of the media. When journos say something stupid on live TV, the White House should hit back hard, and shame these journos into doing their homework.

Who benefits? We all do. Including good journalists, the competent of which will have a chance to rise to the top as producers get tired of the current crop of half-wits having their superficial knowledge of national security issues routinely shown up on national TV.

What we need are more "Hitchens-like moments" like these, more consistently delivered. No journo or anyone else should be permitted to minimize the close and intimate connection of Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorism without getting immediately and decisively crushed under an avalanche of undisputed facts:

Prior to the invasion, Ansar al Islam was operating openly, in Brigade strength, in Northern Iraq - perhaps the only country in the world at that time in which Al Qaeda could actually put a large conventional formation in the field since the fall of Afghanistan. This fact *alone* may put as many as 2,000 terrorists in Iraq's borders prior to the invasion, and decisively falsifies the argument.

Prior to the invasion, Saddam Hussein was sheltering Abu Nidal, the man who took over the Achille Lauro and murdered Leon Kinghoffer. More than that, he was on Saddam's payroll, working out of a government office. This fact *alone* falsifies the claim that there were no terrorists operating as envoys of the Saddam regime.

Abu Abbas was likewise a guest of Saddam's regime prior to the invasion.

Zarqawi was a known Al Qaeda op, and was being harbored and succored by Saddam Hussein prior to the invasion.

Saddam - and this fact is grossly underplayed in the media thus far - is directly implicated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, since Yassin was living at his uncle's home in Baghdad, with the full knowledge of the Iraqi government.

Saddam was bankrolling homicide bombers responsible for hundreds of deaths in Israel and Palestine, including the deaths of several Americans. We have the canceled checks.

And you still want to claim that there were virtually no terrorists in Iraq before the invasion?

Splash, out


"Western-style equality" 
"Iraqi women have enjoyed secular, western-style equality for more than 40 years."

Yeah, if you consider the right to gang rape at the hands of government officials and a cattle prod applied to the cervix your idea of western-style equality.

For more on Iraqi "western-style equality," see here.

Maysoon al-Assadi was an 18-year-old university student when she was arrested for membership of a banned Islamic organisation. During her interrogation, she was hanged by her hair and beaten on the soles of her feet and then sentenced to hang by Judge Awad Mohamed Amin al-Bandar. Her last wish - to say goodbye to her fiance - was granted, and the two married in the prison. But while saying goodbye to other prisoners, she made speeches condemning the leadership of the Iraqi regime, and the prison governor decided that she should be put to death slowly. She was strapped into the jail's electric chair and took two hours to die.

More equality, a la leftie.

Ahlam al-Ayashi was arrested in 1982 at the age of 20 because she was married to Imad al-Kirawee, a senior Dawa member. When he refused to give information to the security police, two torturers - named in the report as Fadil Hamidi al-Zarakani and Faysal al-Hilali - attacked Ahlam in front of the prisoner and his child, torturing her to death.

Here's some equality for ya:

Wives were forced to watch their husbands hanged before being placed in the electric chair, were burned with acid, tied naked to ceiling fans, sexually abused. In several cases, women were poisoned or used as guinea pigs for chemical substances at a plant near Samarra believed to be making chemical weapons.


A typical entry in Imprisoned Memories: Red Pages from a Forgotten History - compiled by Ali al-Iraq in the Iranian city of Qum - reads as follows: "Samira Awdah al-Mansouri (Um Iman), born 1951, Basra, teacher at Haritha Intermediate School ... married to the martyr Abdul Ameer, a cadre of the Islamic movement military wing ... member of Islamic Dawa party ... Torturers: Major Mehdi al-Dulaymi who tortured while drunk, Lieutenant Hussain al-Tikriti, who specialised in breaking the rib cages of his victims by stamping on them ... Lieutenant Ibrahim al-Lamee who beat victims on their feet ... Um Iman was beaten ... hung by her hair from a ceiling fan and and suffered torture by electricity. Having spent two months in the prison cells in Basra without giving way, al-Dulaymi recommended she be executed for carrying unlicensed arms and belonging to the al-Dawa party."

In fact, Um Iman was transferred to the Public Security Division in Baghdad, where further torture took place over 11 months. She subsequently appeared before the Revolutionary Military Security Court, which sentenced her to death by hanging. She spent another six months in the Rashid prison west of Baghdad, until - when she might have hoped that her life would be spared - she was, on a Sunday evening, transferred to Abu Graib and executed by Abu Widad.


In 1982, for instance, a Lieutenant Kareem in Basra reportedly brought the wife of an insurgent to the prison, stripped and tortured her in front of her husband, then threatened to kill their infant child. When both refused to talk, the security man "threw the baby against the wall and killed him".

More equality:

Awatif was pregnant but was set upon by a man called Major Amer who beat her with a metal chair and then sexually abused her. At her trial, Judge Mussalam al-Jabouri suggested that "a miniature gallows should be found for her baby daughter because she had sucked on her mother's hate-filled milk". Awatif was taken to be executed for the first time with two female colleagues and forced to watch the hanging of 150 men, 10 at a time; as their corpses were taken away, she recognised one of them as her husband. She was then returned to her cell. She was later executed in an electric chair.

According to Robert Fisk, there are 550 pages of descriptions of equality in this one report.

Here's more from the State Department:

Under the pretext of fighting prostitution, units of "Fedayeen Saddam," the paramilitary organization led by Uday Hussein, Saddam's eldest son, have beheaded in public more than 200 women throughout the country, dumping their severed heads at their families' doorsteps. Many families have been required to display the victim's head on their outside fences for several days. These barbaric acts were carried out in the total absence of any proper judicial procedures and many of the victims were not engaged in prostitution, but were targeted for political reasons. For example, Najat Mohammad Haydar, an obstetrician in Baghdad, was beheaded after criticizing the corruption within health services. (Amnesty International Report, Iraq: Systematic Torture of Political Prisoners, August 2001; Iraqi Women's League in Damascus, Syria)

The Iraqi Government uses rape and sexual assault of women to achieve the following goals: to extract information and forced confessions from detained family members; to intimidate Iraqi oppositionists by sending videotapes showing the rape of female family members; and to blackmail Iraqi men into future cooperation with the regime. Some Iraqi authorities even carry personnel cards identifying their official "activity" as the "violation of women's honor." (U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2001, March 2002; Iraq Research and Documentation Project, Harvard University)

Torture. The Iraqi Government routinely tortures and kills female dissidents and the female relatives of Iraqi oppositionists and defectors. Victims include Safiyah Hassan, the mother of two Iraqi defectors, who was killed after publicly criticizing the Iraqi Government for killing her sons after their return to Iraq. Women in Saddam's jails are subjected to the following forms of torture: brutal beatings, systematic rape, electrical shocks, and branding. (U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2001, March 2002; U.S. Department of State, Iraq: A Population Silenced, December 2002)

Murder. In 1990, Saddam Hussein introduced Article 111 into the Iraqi Penal Code in a calculated effort to strengthen tribal support for his regime. This law exempts men who kill their female relatives in defense of their family's honor from prosecution and punishment. The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women reported that more than 4,000 women have been victims of so-called "honor killings" since Article 111 went into effect. (UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, January 2002)

But this jackass fails to mention that Saddam Hussein was actually rolling back rights that women gained under Iraqi law after about 1980.

The 1980s and 1990s, however, saw the gradual erosion of many of the gains made by women under the onslaught of massive and systematic human rights violations committed under the government of Saddam Hussain (1979-2003). During the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war, women’s emancipation suffered setbacks primarily as a result of the overall deterioration in the human rights situation.
(Source: Amnesty International)

And here are some examples of Saddam's enlightened treatment of women from AI:

Women were frequently targeted because of their family relationship with male opposition activists, and were subjected to gender-specific human rights violations such as rape and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

At the beginning of the war the government deported thousands of women, men and children to Iran, solely on the basis of their actual or alleged Iranian descent. They included Shi‘a Muslim Arabs and Feyli Kurds. Entire families were stripped of their properties, possessions and Iraqi identity documents and, under armed guard, forcibly transported in trucks or buses to border areas and ordered to cross into Iran. The majority of deportees lived for years in refugee camps inside Iran. Thousands of men and boys from such families, and some women and girls, aged between about 16 and 40, were arrested and detained indefinitely in Iraq. Although many were released in subsequent years, thousands "disappeared", never to be seen again. Most were probably killed.

Here's equality at a mini Babi Yar:

In a recently discovered mass grave near the village of Hadhra, south of Mosul, remains of about 300 Kurdish women and children were uncovered by a team of forensic scientists. They were believed to have been shot from close range in the back of the head or in the face before their bodies were buried in a pit.(

senior Iraqi security officials had been involved in the trafficking of Kurdish women and girls for the purposes of sexual exploitation as part of the government’s repression of the Kurds. Secret communications discovered after the overthrow of Saddam Hussain’s government included a document of 10 December 1989 from the Kirkuk Intelligence Directorate to the General Intelligence Directorate that listed the names of 18 women and girls, aged between 14 and 29, who had been detained in the Anfal campaign and sent to nightclubs in Egypt.(


Women and children were also widely reported to have been used by government forces as "human shields" in military operations to quell both uprisings, and to have been killed in cross-fire between the security forces and insurgents.

Western style equality:

Ahlam Khadom Rammahi, a mother of six children who had left Iraq with her husband in 1982, travelled back from London to Iraq to visit her sick mother on 28 July 1999, using her British passport. She had not seen her mother since leaving Iraq. On 5 August she was arrested in Baghdad at the home of relatives and detained for a month before being released without charge on 7 September. No reason was given for her arrest, and her terrified family were unable to find out where she had been taken for several days. During one interrogation session, she told Amnesty International after her release, a security agent said: "You know our torture methods don’t you? We use electricity. You better tell us about your husband, your contacts with Iran, with al-Da’wa, with Saudi Arabia; your husband has criticized Saddam Hussain and the regime hasn’t he? If you don’t talk we will pierce your hand with a drill." She said that security officers threatened to torture her daughter in front of her if she did not confess to opposition activities in London.


Rape was used as a form of torture on women in custody because they were relatives of opposition activists or in an attempt to force Iraqi nationals abroad to cease political activities. In June 2000, a videotape showing the rape of a female relative was sent to Najib al-Salihi, a former army general who fled Iraq in 1995 and joined the opposition. Shortly afterwards he reportedly received a telephone call from the Iraqi intelligence service, asking him whether he had received the videotape and informing him that his relative was in their custody.

More here.

There is nothing the left will not excuse, so twisted have they become.

Splash, out


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Recruiting Problems Solved! 

Moonbattery in San Fran 
By a vote of 8-3, the San Francisco city council voted to reject the mooring of the retired battleship USS Iowa, citing opposition to the war and the military's stance on gays.

Yes, a museum ship that fought in World War II, Korea, and the Gulf War, and a piece of our nation's history isn't good enough for San Francisco.

Just don't question their patriotism.

Splash, out


Just what we need... 
Another gang of idiots with another Media Jihad.

As if Jeff Jarvis's Holy War against Dell wasn't gruesome enough.

News 24 doesn't bother with a link. Thanks for nothing, guys!

Splash, out


Guardsmen with college problems 
New York guardsman John Byrnes describes his experience dealing with the mindless bureacrats in the higher education system in New York, as he was going through a series of mobilizations.

The administrator, a minor functionary, who needed to sign off on my withdrawal refused to do so, until I presented my official orders mobilizing me. She claimed it was a policy that no one could change. I recalled to her the president’s email, but she was obstinate about her stance. This is where we have a clash of cultures, one that needs to be resolved in favor of citizen soldiers everywhere. Although the military doesn’t do anything without an official written order, these often occur ex post fact, after a verbal order has set things in motion. And a soldier might be nowhere near a fax machine, copier or a post office when the formal order reaches him. In this case while I was mobilized on 1 October, I didn’t receive my official written orders until late November.

I've had similar problems with my employer, who asks for written orders for everything, and can't understand that much of what we do happens on verbal orders and a sign-in sheet.

Read the whole thing.

I should say that while I hadn't heard of too many problems for our Iraq mobilization with colleges, the supportiveness of Florida colleges for our students who were mobilized for the series of tropical storms and hurricanes that struck Florida in the summer of 2004 were in many cases, less than understanding.

His fix:

I am calling on the President of Hunter College to appoint a Dean for Veterans and Reservist affairs. In fact I am calling on the CUNY Chancellor to make it requirement at all the CUNY schools. This official should be an advocate and a watchdog. Not only a point person and a resource for soldiers to cope with the inane bureaucracies that have thrived in the CUNY system, but someone who can advocate policy changes to the colleges and the University. People have adjusted to the new realities of the post 9-11 world. It’s time that institutions like CUNY did so too.

Via Betsy Newmark, guesting on Michelle Malkin.

Splash, out


Friday, August 19, 2005

On vacation 
Sorry for the thin blogging. Been at the unit most of this week, and working late, in preparation for a major IG inspection.

Next week, I'll be visiting family in Kahalu'u, Hawai'i. It will be the first time I've been home in 8 years. I'm not planning on doing much blogging. I'll also be seeking out some acoustic musicians, Irish and otherwise, in Hawai'i. (Great place for Kiho'alu guitar playing!)

Thanks for all your emails and comments, both critical and supportive. Thanks for the hate mail...it keeps me going.

Check back around the beginning of September!


Do you really want to trust a newspaper's military analysis... 
...when their editors don't know the difference between a rocket and a mortar?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Blogger, Los Angeles Attorney, and thorn in the side of the L.A. Times Patrick Frey has a message for the paper:

News flash for journalists: you aren’t lawyers. You clearly don’t have the slightest clue how to read a legal opinion. So just stop trying to interpret them — especially when your guidance is clearly coming from leftist activists who aren’t going to tell you the truth about what the opinion says.

Just stop already. I’m serious: you’re embarrassing yourself. Just stop.

You can read the whole thing at


Splash, out


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cindy Sheehan slandering her son's memory 
I hadn't commented on Cindy Sheehan before, because I really thought it was a nonstory. She's one of nearly two thousand moms who lost a child in Iraq, and she's just one of tens of thousands of war protesters. And it's great that we live in a country where she's free to camp out Crawford and protest the war.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being against the war (depending on the reasoning) and there's nothing wrong with protesting, if you feel that way. And the grief of a mother should be respected.

But Now she's dragging the Israelis into this?

And thinking she doesn't have to pay taxes for 2004?

Sheehan, who is asking for a second meeting with President Bush, says defiantly: "My son was killed in 2004. I am not paying my taxes for 2004. You killed my son, George Bush, and I don't owe you a penny...you give my son back and I'll pay my taxes. Come after me (for back taxes) and we'll put this war on trial."

Yeah, right.

Pay your taxes out of the death gratuity, you nutjob.

If I were the anti-war movement I'd be backing away from this lady very slowly before she costs us any more credibility.

I just don't get this over-the-top, shameless, "everything-but-the-kitchen sink" rhetoric.

War crimes?

If George Bush is guilty of war crimes, then guess who it is who executed his orders?

Yes, her son, and others like him. She slanders her own son's memory.

Splash, out


Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Big Fat Straw Man 
The Washington Post today turns to anonymous sources to publish the World's Biggest, Fattest straw man

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

Excuse me, but just who was out there expecting Iraq to generate a whole bunch of Jeffersonian small-"D" democrats and mini Thomas Paines? Can you name them for me? I'm at a loss.

Iraqi officials yesterday struggled to agree on a draft constitution by a deadline of tomorrow so the document can be submitted to a vote in October.

Geez. Just when in the history of political science has a constitutional convention NOT "struggled to agree?" But, you know, is it too much to ask that the editors of the Washington Post check the newswires?

If they had, they would see that President Talabani expects that the convention will reach a full agreement tomorrow, one day ahead of schedule.

Barbers post signs saying they do not shave men, after months of barbers being killed by religious extremists.

Oooh. That changes everything.

"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."

Mmmhmmm. If I didn't know the difference between a republic and a democracy I wouldn't want to be identified either.

There's nothing wrong with Iraqis wanting a strong muslim influence on their republic. I mean, Saddam Hussein's regime was secular, and look how friendly to U.S. interests he was.

On security, the administration originally expected the U.S.-led coalition to be welcomed with rice and rosewater, traditional Arab greetings, with only a limited reaction from loyalists of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein

Rice and rosewater? Rice and #&@*ing rosewater???? Cite please, WaPo. Actually, I demand a citation. Show me an on the record instance of any senior White House or Pentagon official making such a claim. Not so much that Iraqis would welcome us with flowers, because that much is true, a thousand times over.

But who was out there saying their wouldn't be a potent insurgency to contend with? I mean, we already knew that there was a brigade or so of Ansar Al Islam operatives, plus Zarqawi. Those were two of the reasons we went in in the first place.

So where's the backup, reporter?

Splash, out


Body armor: The goalposts move again 
The New York Times finally acknowledges that the US had gotten body armor to every single deployed soldier sometime months prior to May of 2004.

But now, the New York Times breathlessly runs the scoop that now that every soldier has the state-of-the-art SAPI body armor, that not all of them have the extra-super-duper new improved version of the SAPI plates, as seen pitched by Florence Henderson on TV.

Cpl. Nicholas Roberts, 23, a marine from Colorado, was wounded last December in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, when his armor plates failed to deflect an insurgent's attack. He just started walking again this summer after nine operations. In wearing the armor, he said, "you know your risks, that it's not going to stop everything."

"Unfortunately," he added, when told about the enhanced plates, "they didn't have that when I was in."

Umm, yeah. And the Times interviewed a guy who was wounded nine friggin' months ago!

Worldwide, the Army would need nearly 2 million plates to supply all 996,00 [sic] troops using body armor with the enhanced plates.

Umm, yeah. We have 160,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan so in order to fit them all we'll need 2 million plates. That's media math for you.

The article makes no attempt to differentiate between the deferring levels of need. Not every soldier needs the additional armor, because not every soldier has to leave the gate regularly. Nor is any attempt made to quantify how many soldiers haven't received it yet.

And hey, guess what, genius...it DOES take time to field new equipment. Really, for the Army to begin fielding a new and improved version so soon after the first one is fielded is pretty damn impressive.

I have no idea what marginal extra protection the new plates will provide. The old plates will stop an AK 47 round and most frags. Money doesn't grow on trees, either. If they want two million plates at six hundred apiece, we're looking at spending more than half a billion dollars on what may be a marginal improvement.

Is this really the highest and best use of the money?


But the New York Times article wasn't much help. If our logisticians walk on water, I'd expect the New York Times to run a 64-point type headline, "Army Can't Swim"

Splash, out


Why is Haditha important? 
We're starting to see some attempt to contextualize the deaths of those 14 Marines - not in our mainstream media sources, which can't be bothered with anything outside their standard frames, but in the alternative conservative press. (The more detailed article in the New York Post requires a subscription, and I haven't read it for that reason.)

Here's the synopsis:

As usual, reporters have focused on the loss of life without any apparent effort to understand the context of the fighting that led to these casualties. I suggested that the casualties stem from Coalition forces having stepped up their campaign in Al Anbar province to destroy the insurgency by depriving it of its base in the Sunni Triangle and its "rat lines" — the infiltration routes that run from the Syrian border into the heart of Iraq.

I said that the latest action, Operation Quick Strike, is substantially larger in both scope and magnitude than earlier operations Matador and New Market, and thus will enable the Coalition to apply simultaneously force against a number of insurgent strongholds. The previous operations, although successful up to a point, still could not prevent insurgents from abandoning one town and moving to another that was not threatened by allied forces. According to one U.S. officer, Operation Quick Strike has substantially hindered the movement of insurgents on both sides of the Euphrates River.

All in all, it's great news. It's news that we're out clobbering the enemy. But why is the enemy choosing to put up such a fight for Hadithah, when it's easier and safer to skedaddle in front of the Marine combat formations, fall in on prestocks in other towns along the USMC main supply route, and blast the logistic convoys to smithereens with IEDs?

Well, Hadithah happens to be the site of a major hydroelectric power plant, which supplies most of the power to the Euphrates River Valley for more than a hundred miles, all the way to Baghdad.

From the WaPo:

When the U.S. military planned its invasion of Iraq, strategists pondered the Haditha Dam, recalling oil wells set ablaze by then-President Saddam Hussein in his scorched-earth retreat from Kuwaiti during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Sabotage to this dam could unleash walls of water from Lake Qadisiya on towns and villages for hundreds of miles. It would cripple the country's electricity supply. It would destroy vast fields of irrigated farmland.

The insurgents want the dam. Not to run it, obviously, but to break it, just as they do their damnest to break oil pipelines and cause millions of barrels to dump in the Euphrates river, which brings life to millions.

If the insurgents are able to turn Haditha into jihadi-owned real estate - as the US foolishly allowed them to do in Fallujah in the spring of 2004 - they could muster the strength to pose a serious threat to overrunning the dam itself. It's unlikely in my view that they would succeed, but they did try to storm Abu Ghraib at one point, so I wouldn't put anything past them.

More likely, though, they would focus on attacking the transmission cables that carry the power from the dam itself to the surrounding countryside, while forcing Americans to pay a heavy price for maintaining and supplying a battalion task force (-) on the dam itself.

As this satellite image shows, the town of Haditha sits astride the Main Supply Route linking the U.S. garrison at the Dam itself with its bases at Al Asad, Camp Fallujah, Junction City (outside of Ramadi) and Baghdad in the south.

The U.S. must therefore not let the moojies gain traction in Haditha. They have the heat to make themselves heard, but they cannot be allowed to attain dominance in the region. The U.S. must therefore carry the fight to the enemy in order to prevent that from happening, and in order to keep the Iraqi security forces in the game. As long as the ISF are in the fight, they are much better than the U.S. at rooting out "inside baseball" intelligence on the rat lines that feed the insurgency in Ramadi, Fallujah, Baghdad, and points south. Haditha is one of a number of towns that if held, will help cut the moojies in the larger cities off. As long as the IPs can stay in the game, you can keep a lid on things. If the IPs are driven out of Haditha and other towns like Khan al Baghdadi, Hit, Rutba, and of course Al Qaim, then all hell will quickly break loose in Baghdad and Ramadi in short order, since the moojies will be able to smuggle car bombs, terrorists, and weaponry into those cities unmolested except by US checkpoints on the highways, which will themselves become vulnerable to attack by car bombs.

The US is therefore fighting to retain Haditha, and the moojies are fighting to take it, or at least drive the IPs out (hence the bombing of the Haditha police station and other operations in which they moojies clobbered the Iraqi security forces near there).

That is why the Marines were out in force, and that is why the moojies built such a large IED, and that is why they were willing to devote a 500 pound bomb to interdicting American tactical operations there, rather than saving it for a more spectacular op in Baghdad.

Splash, out


Jack Kelly picks up on Wolf Blitzer's ignorance 
Wolf's statement that the 14 Marines killed in a 31 ton armored vehicle by an IED would have been safer in a Humvee was so baldfacedly ignorant, such a slam-dunk example of cluelessness, such a perfect example of the media's willingness and eagertude to find fault where no fault exists, that when it didn't get picked up by the blogosphere or anyone else, I thought to myself "was I hearing things? Was I so pissed off that I didn't listen correctly? Was I, as they say, "on crack?"


I'm not the only one, apparently, who heard it.

Says columnist Jack Kelly

It is curious to cover a war by emphasizing friendly casualties, without reporting the context in which they occur. On June 5th, 1944, our casualties in the European theater were low. The next day, June 6th, they were much higher. But what was important about June 6th, 1944, was not that our casualties rose, but that the Normandy invasion was successful.

Casualties rise when one side goes on the offensive. Typically, it is the side that is on the offensive that is winning. We currently are engaged in the biggest offensive since the fall of Fallujah, striking simultaneously at insurgent strongholds along the Tigris and Euphrates "ratlines" along which al Qaida terrorists infiltrate from Syria.

This could be the climactic campaign of the war. But while most Americans know 14 Marines were killed in a single incident last week, few have heard of Operation Quick Strike, of which they were a part.

About 1,800 U.S. soldiers and Marines, and hundreds of Iraqis are taking part in the offensive.

You've heard the expression "winning the battle but losing the war?" Well, you can also cover the battle and fail to cover the war. You do this by decontextualizing battlefield events. In the newspapers, you'd think that troops just bitch and clean weapons, write complaining letters to congressmen, then leave the gate and die. Nobody ever has a mission, nobody ever succeeds. If an American dies, it's rarely during an engagement in which we killed or captured dozens of the enemy. It never happened on a convoy that did, indeed, manage to deliver much needed food, ammunition, parts, mail, or anything else, which the enemy failed to stop. Every death is isolated, and soldiers just wander around the countryside in random patrols, waiting for a chance to get clobbered.

It ain't like that. (It might seem like that from time to time, from a private's point of view, or from the point of view of a journalist who, laboring under the handicapped of years of education, fails to grasp the tactical, operational, and strategic context of the op he's covering.

Well, in this incident, near Hadithah, the media, alas, didn't even manage to cover the battle.

Splash, out


Japanese officials still trying to bury the Comfort Women story 
More than a million Japanese are boycotting Japanese Public Television to protest the network's refusal to broadcast a segment.

With a popular aesthetic culture so firmly rooted in the ancient Japanese Hentai tradition of sadomasochistic comic book pornography depicting sex with schoolgirls in little sailor uniforms, the network can't argue that sex doesn't sell.

This is one stain in the carpet that Japanese society ought to have its nose rubbed in again and again. It's good to see real Japanese taking a stand, though.

Sprash, out


Apparently, strict disciplinarians don't care about people. 
So the San Diego Union Tribune seems to believe.

Despite some accounts that Frey is a strict disciplinarian with a fierce image, colleagues said the 50-year-old veteran of three wars genuinely cares about people.

Why on earth would a reporter use the "despite" construction? What kind of veteran commander of three wars would NOT be a strict disciplinarian? How can you care about people in a combat zone and not be a strict disciplinarian?

The gulf between our military and media cultures yawns ever wider.

Splash, out


Washington Post comes late to the party 
The Washington Post comes out with a sort of wierd look at soldiers' blogs.

Out of more than 200 blogs and blog entries they could have featured, here's what they picked:

1.) 1 post from Sgt Lizzie describing her getting her face smashed by an IED. (Sergeant Lizzie, I hate to break it to you, but you're still beautiful.)

2.) A post by Leonard Clark, who was court martialed and found guilty of publishing classified material and referred to his CO as a "glory hunter" and his command sergeant major as an "inhuman monster." (Ahhhh I wish I could be an E-4. You know, so I could know everything, too.)

3.) Michael Cohen's post in which he announces his blog is being shut down.

4.) Colby Buzzell -- who ran a truly gripping blog, the equal of any war writing ever produced, IMO.

5.) Greyhawk, who's cited more for being the father of the milblog movement (which he is), rather than for his content (which is plentiful and terrific.)

It's good that the WaPo has done this, and yes, the opsec issue is interesting and important. But the article is a big disappointment - a wasted opportunity. I feel like the WaPo totally missed the point. It's pretty bad when more than half the blogs they mention aren't even posting new content.

It seems like they didn't do much reporting on this at all.

Splash, out


Thursday, August 11, 2005

From a reader... 
"I keep reading the explanations of how the troopers collected rent for the morale fund, but I keep imagining them with a New Jersey accent.

"Yo, Achmed.  Me an' Rocco here is taking up a little collection for the troops, ya know what I mean.  You all nice and comfy here in the Green Zone?  You wouldn't want anything should happen to your shop?  Know what I mean? So maybe you'd like to buy a few tickets to the policeman's ball and hey, Badda Boom Badda Bing, everything is golden, right?""

Good stuff. Keep 'em coming.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Morale Funds and PX's 
Via the Emperfect, here's more on the 1-184th and LTC Patrick Frey:

California Army National Guard troops charged unauthorized, off-the-books "rent" to Iraqi-owned businesses inside Baghdad's Green Zone in Iraq to raise money for a "soldier's fund," military officials and sources within the troops' battalion said Friday.

The disclosure is the latest to emerge from a wide-ranging investigation into the conduct of the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment of the Guard, which is headquartered in Modesto, Calif.

Military officials had confirmed previously that the battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Frey, had been suspended and that one of the battalion's companies, based in Fullerton, Calif., had been removed from patrol duties and restricted to an Army base south of Baghdad, the capital.

According to military officials and members of the battalion, soldiers from the battalion's Bravo Company, which is based in Dublin, an East Bay suburb of San Francisco, approached several businesses earlier this year that were owned and operated by Iraqi nationals.

The businesses -- a dry cleaner, a convenience store and the like -- catered to U.S. soldiers and were located on the fringe of the U.S. military's operating base inside the Green Zone, the fortified hub of the Iraqi government, U.S. occupation officials, embassies and contractor headquarters. The businesses were asked to pay the soldiers "rent."

Lt. Col. Cliff Kent, spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq, confirmed Friday that two vendors agreed to pay.

The money was used to create a "soldier's fund," said one member of the battalion, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Such funds are used by troops for a wide variety of purposes, such as small loans to repay bills back home or buying commemorative so-called "challenge coins" -- often specially minted to foster morale inside a unit. Kent said the fund created from the rent money also was used to buy T-shirts, patches and a safe.

So far, no one is alleging that the funds were misallocated. It sounds a lot like the deal we make with the Army/Air Force Exchange program: A portion of proceeds goes to the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation fund on every post. My own company ran a mini PX in Iraq which was very popular, and a portion of those proceeds went to MWR programs in Iraq, and it was entirely legit and above board.

And vendors at PXs pay rent everywhere you go, in order to do business with soldiers.

Let's get some perspective here.

Just don't rely on the Los Angeles Times for it.

Splash, out


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