Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen, a nice guy named Joe Bartilucci has decided to present me with that "one single solitary shred of evidence that the Bush administration linked Iraq to what happened on 9/11." Are you ready for his evidence? Here goes:
"Are you serious? When DOESN'T Bush try and link Iraq to 9/11 in order to justify sending over 1800 American men and women to their deaths? Do you just type stupid remarks here without listening to anything Bush says?"
In other words, "because I said so."
Thanks, Joe- thanks for making my point for me.
"Stupid" is such a strong word, isn't it?
I have heard Bush (and many others) talk about how the geopolitical structure of the world changed after 9/11, and with it our need to adjust our strategy in how we deal with lunatic dictators in the mideast. Joe might think that's a stupid approach- I think it's pretty smart. Let's agree to disagree. I've never heard Bush (or anyone associated with him) say anything that even implies that "Saddam orchestrated the attacks on 9/11." These are two completely distinct and unrelated concepts that people like Joe try to equate and manipulate into their own twisted version of reality. How do they do it? Read my post carefully, and then look at Joe's repsonse:
Me: I politely ask you to show me one single solitary shred of evidence that the Bush administration linked Iraq to what happened on 9/11.
Joe: Are you serious? When DOESN'T Bush try and link Iraq to 9/11...
See that? Joe decided to remove two words from my post- I guess he was hoping nobody would notice. By removing those two words, Joe changes the premise of the whole argument- thus allowing him to dodge my challenge, rant about how stupid I am, call Bush an evil murderer, these are a few of his favorite things.
Please note the way in which Joe decides to indict Bush for the deaths of 1800 American men and women without offering any words for the terrorists who killed them. It's a sickness, folks. A disease.
Wow, look at that. I just destroyed someone's argument by presenting thoughtful and factual information- and I didn't even have to call anyone "stupid!"
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I don't anticipate this getting much coverage in the much maligned MSM, so I thought I'd do my part to help spread the good word. Seems our friends at MoveAmericaForward.org are taking action. Make sure you watch the video link at the bottom.
I was wrong. I thought Cindy Sheehan was doing our country a disservice. But then I read this unbelievable post by one Scott Randolph (via LGF). Cindy Sheehan just might be the beacon of enlightenment that we've been waiting for all this time. Keep up the great work, Cindy- and thanks to Scott Randolph for putting it all into perspective. And you must read the comments. I'm telling you, there's hope for the good guys- no matter how the MSM tries to spin things.
Speaking of the MSM...
Did anybody catch this article that appeared in the NYTimes of all places? Here's a clip (my emphasis added):
Editors Ponder How to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq
Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.
"Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?" the anonymous polemic asks, in part. "Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?"
"Of course we didn't know!" the message concludes. "Our media doesn't tell us!"
Ms. Goudreau's newspaper, like most dailies in America, relies largely on The Associated Press for its coverage of the Iraq war. So she finally forwarded the e-mail message to Mike Silverman, managing editor of The A.P., asking if there was a way to check these assertions and to put them into context. Like many other journalists, Mr. Silverman had also received a copy of the message.
Ms. Goudreau's query prompted an unusual discussion last month in New York at a regular meeting of editors whose newspapers are members of The Associated Press. Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.
"The bottom-line question was, people wanted to know if we're making progress in Iraq," Ms. Goudreau said, and the A.P. articles were not helping to answer that question.
Really? Ya think?
I posted the email in question way back when.
John Hockenberry Confuses Everyone
During his appearance on the Daily Show, John Hockenberry mentioned that I was "retired from the Army and living on the west coast." He was just trying to help protect my "secret identity."
Alas, I'm not quite retired- that would mean I'm getting a pension for having put in over 20 years of service. That would be nice, but no- I just resigned (after 8 wonderful years- the 4 years at West Point don't count) and became a civilian. As for living on the west coast- well, let's just say I'm somewhere east of the west coast. Many thanks to all the people who have offered to buy me a drink in Sacremento and have me over for BBQ's in San Diego. Maybe someday!
An anonymous reader just alerted me to the fact that the Hockenberry interview is online at the Daily Show Video Archives. Go check it out!
Thanks for the tip, whoever you are...
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I always like to see the comments that pop up here in the Forum- some are witty, some are brilliant, some are heartwarming, and some- well, some are just comments. But today a comment surfaced on an old post, and it really struck me. It reminded me of why I started this site, and it reinforced my commitment to keep it going. Since it was an old post- buried deep in the archives- I'm going to repost the entire entry, and I'll follow it with the comment that just surfaced. Trust me, you'll understand exactly what I mean.
Below is a short article [written by Owen West] about a Marine shot 4 times and then fragged in Fallujah. The sacrifice by all the Marines and soldiers in Operation Al Fajr--including those who fought in the April battle--brought extraordinary results. Fallujah has turned from hornet's nest into one of the more peaceful cities in the triangle. Indeed, the excision of the terrorists in Fallujah is directly correlated to the overall drop in violence and the spectacular election. Semper Fi
The path Darrell Carver chose out of his Salt Lake City high school was similar to that taken by other overachieving classmates. He'd married his high school sweetheart when he was 20, had three wonderful kids by the time he was 27, and was leading an elite team for his company by the time he was 28, sating his mild addictions to fitness and hunting when the occasional free hour presented itself.
But Carver followed a calling imbued in just a sliver of the population. On November 20th, 2004, while most of his peers were in office parks earning money with keyboards, Darrell Carver was approaching a tin-plated door in the heart of Fallujah, Iraq, with his rifle stock held firm in the crook of a shoulder tattooed with "USMC" and two terrorists praying to end him on the other side.
Gunnery Sergeant Carver is a member of an elite slice of America that has emerged on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq: the warrior class. Drawn from across the socio-economic spectrum by an uncommon confluence of duty, adventure, and martial spirit, this all-volunteer cadre has demonstrated that it belongs among history's elite fighting units. That men like Carver choose to serve in combat arms, a deadly profession in which few transferable civilian skills are gleaned, says a lot about the fabric of the country. Before September 11th, America carried a soft and feckless reputation among its mortal enemies. Beyond low-risk tactics skewed toward technology-cruise missiles, invisible bombers-they concluded that America had no will to fight. Now those enemies are meeting America's core strength: young men with an innate desire to carry rifles for a living.
The ferocity and direction of the attack into Fallujah shattered the enemy's initial defensive plan. It was left to infantrymen like Carver to rip the terrorists out of closets and bedrooms were they had scattered in small packs.
On one side of the doors stood men who believed they would be judged how they lived. On the other lay men who believed they would be judged on how they died. How these two groups of men, who were more alike than different as boys, had traveled tens of years and thousands of miles to kill each other was best answered by the professional philosopher. For a professional warrior like Carver, combat was the natural culmination of moral divergence. A murderous enemy had infected Fallujah. Politicians could not excise them. Marines and soldiers could.
Fallujah had been parsed into familial nicknames. Clearing the Upper West Side had been hard enough, but when Carver's platoon was sent to help the effort in Queens, a particularly nasty corner of the city near the Euphrates that was littered with corpses of Iraqi "collaborators" who had been executed, it seemed as if a terrorist was hidden in every third house, hell-bent on dragging a Marine into the ground with him.
It was "tiring work," as Carver puts it. For most Americans, the office is a cubicle tract where conflict is limited to harsh emails. For a Marine, the office is a smoldering, stinking, ear-splitting arena filled with young men who are trying to kill each other.
The battle was an intensely personal, face-to-face fight inside individual rooms where the screams often muted the gunfire and the crawl spaces muted the American technological edge. This meant that a Marine had to burst into a room with his rifle shouldered, steady his barrel on a concealed target, then break the trigger before the screaming lunatic trying to ambush him could manage an aimed shot and a proper "Allahu Akbar!"
If anything, the madness of it just made the Marines angrier. Everything in Fallujah was upside-down. Religious leaders demanded violence. Stray cats feasted on fallen men. Zarqawi had constructed a torture chamber twenty-five feet away from a small amusement park.
Even the smoke settled strangely. In his first firefight on November 20, Carver charged into a room behind a grenade. The acrid dust had climbed the walls and spilled across the ceiling, broiling in the top half of the bedroom instead of falling. He heard the terrorist shuffle toward his men. Instead of dropping into a firing position that might have exposed him, Carver leapt up into the smog and onto a bed. He ended the threat.
In the second house, the door swung open and there were two terrorists lumbering toward Carver like zombies in some horror movie. He and the other force reconnaissance Marines had honed their shooting skills over hundreds of hours and thousands of bullets. Four bullets did the trick.
The day was an hour old.
The Marine team crept down the hallway of the third house in a human centipede stack bristling with rifles. Carver had moved into point position and now he stood outside another door wondering what the hell was waiting for him inside. Hundreds of doors opened already. Hundreds more to go.
He opened the door with his left hand, keeping his front sight post moving with his eyes. Someone coming out of a closet, firing an AK-47. The flat, booming report reverberated under his body armor. Carver had to shoot the terrorist several times before he flopped onto the spent casings.
Now more firing from behind the door on his left. Two rounds slammed into his thigh and another passed clean through his calf. They felt more like baseball bats than hot needles. Carver wheeled to maintain his balance and center his weapon. Saw smoking holes in the door. Another bullet popped through and smacked his shoulder, ending any hope of remaining on his feet.
It was an enemy grenade that saved him. Without it, Carver would have tumbled inside the room, into the kill zone. Instead the grenade came bouncing out toward his boots, as mesmerizing as a giant wasp, and blew him clear out of the room.
Twenty-one minutes later Navy doctors were plucking dozens of fragments from his body and sewing the four quarter-sized holes. Twenty-one hours later Carver checked out of the field hospital with a crutch in his armpit instead of a rifle and the hazy memory of a phone call to his wife, Holly.
Holly got the call in the afternoon. "Honey I got hurt," her husband told her. Of all the casualty notifications given to family members, a phone call from the wounded warrior is the best. Phone calls from doctors or officers are bad. Doorbells are the worst. Darrell was now one of the twelve thousand casualties in Iraq. One of the lucky ones. The untold story of war is the burden shouldered by the families. Devotion to their soldiers is well known. But the hidden buttress of an all-volunteer war is devotion to the cause. Families are serving the country every bit as fervently as their soldiers. Without their commitment to the war, second and third deployments to Iraq would be zero sum decisions for soldiers. "If he had to go back (for a third tour), I support him," says Holly. "It is worth the sacrifice of separation to help the people of Iraq."
The costs of the war on terror may not be spread wide, but they are deep. Families like the Carvers are willing to shoulder the costs of the national interest for the lowest risk-adjusted wage in America and zero fanfare. In other societies, warriors are motivated by externalized power. Ours are motivated by internal duty. Geopolitics aside, the country should be thankful that it has cultivated a tiny warrior class that can dominate an overseas battlefield while upholding its best values.
Owen West, a trader for Goldman, Sachs, served with the Marines in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
And now the comment I was telling you about-
I have just gotten the chance to read this article about my brother and it really brings the reality of what war is. Darrell and my brother dustin and I were all present for the war in Iraq at its opening stages. being from a family with one sailor and two marines is a source of great pride.
My younger brothers and I would like to thank all the families of our Fallen and wounded and wish them our best
-MA2 (AW) Ryan Carver
Thank you, Ryan- and thanks to your whole family for all that they do for this great nation of ours...
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Mohammed from Iraq the Model posted this must-read message to Cindy Sheehan. As I read it, I thought back to all the stories that my Iraqi friends would tell me about the "dark ages" under Saddam's rule. During one supply run in downtown Mosul, the shop owner's sister (a widow and mother of 4) told me about the time she and her young children watched as Saddam's henchmen showed up at their door, dragged her husband into the front yard, and shot him in the back of the head. He was an Iraqi Air Force pilot, and he was suspected of saying "bad things" about the regime. Stories like that found us pretty much anywhere we went. People would wait their turn to thank us with tears in their eyes- sharing stories of loved ones who never lived to see their nation on the cusp of freedom.
Mohammed's post took me back to all that. I wish Cindy Sheehan would go to Iraq. I wish she would talk to the people who gained so much from her son's sacrifice. From where she stands now, she can only hear the voices of the terrorists who so capably use our media as a global megaphone- drowning out the voices of all those good Iraqis who are saying "thank you."
No, you won't find Mohammed's message in any newspapers. You see, he chooses not to precede his message with videos of violent car bomb attacks or grotesque beheadings- so he is ignored. But I'll give him some press- seems only fair, since he represents the vast majority of the Iraqis out there:
Freedom is not an American thing and it's not an Iraqi thing, it's what unites us as human beings. We refuse all kinds of restrictions and that's why we fought and still fighting everyday in spite of the swords in the hands of the cavemen who want us dead or slaves for their evil masters.
We cried out of joy the day your son and his comrades freed us from the hands of the devil and we went to the streets not believing that the nightmare is over.We practiced our freedom first by kicking and burning the statues and portraits of the hateful idol who stole 35 years from the life of a nation.
For the first time air smelled that beautiful, that was the smell of freedom.
His blood didn't go in vain; your son and our brethren are drawing a great example of selflessness.
God bless his free soul and God bless the souls of his comrades who are fighting evil.
God bless the souls of Iraqis who suffered and died for the sake of freedom.
God bless all the freedom lovers on earth.
Read the whole post.
Thanks to Blackfive for pointing the way...
Suicide Bomber Eats Lead
Thunder 6 gives a fantastic account of a suicide bombing that resulted in nothing but a suicide.
We didn’t know it at the time, but the sound we heard in the CP wasn’t a mournful cry - it was the sound of victory. Thanks to the alert soldiers in Demon Company the only life that ended that day was the suicide bombers. All that will mark the bombers bitter existence is a scorch mark on a worthless piece of road. A scorch mark that will forever recount his dismal failure.
Read the whole thing- this guy can write like no other...
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Several people have asked for my thoughts on this, so I figured I'd give it a go. This is one of those ugly subjects that nobody likes to touch, for fear of coming across as callous, cold-hearted, insensitive, etc. Not fun, but it's a subject that needs to be dealt with...
Cindy Sheehan has a right to voice her opinion, and I respect that. If she wants to go to the Crawford Ranch or the White House lawn and claim that President Bush killed Casey Sheehan (her son), then so be it. I have no problem with her. I'll disagree with her (I think Islamofascists killed her son), but I won't argue with or question the actions of a grieving mother. I couldn't even fathom what she's going through...
My problem is with the media vultures who descend on her like a cash cow from heaven. They give her all the credibility in the world (despite some serious credibility issues) and make her the face of the "mourning mother" in America. But why does she get all the attention? Why not give some equal press to the mothers who still support the cause that their son or daughter died for? Clearly the family members who support the war make up the vast majority of those who have fallen loved ones. Just look at Casey Sheehan's other family members.
I'll tell you why these people don't get equal coverage- because it wouldn't sell. It wouldn't stir the "emotional pot" the way Cindy Sheehan's story does. It wouldn't get the big ratings and all those key demographics that the networks so desperately covet. And so now Cindy has become a pawn for terrorist apologists like Michael Moore to exploit beyond the limits of their wildest imaginations. People will listen to Cindy, they gloat to themselves- her son died in the war! Yay for us! We have a ringer! It's sickening.
The one thing we need to remember here is that Cindy's opinion is more controversial than what we typically see from families of the fallen- not more credible. She is using her son, a fallen hero, as a prop in a misguided campaign against her own country- that is her right and she has to live with her actions.
Congrats, Michael Moore- you got yourself another one...
That was really something. If you missed it last night, you have a chance to catch it today at 10 am eastern and again at 8 pm eastern. Watch it.
I just read Kate's take on it, and I think she says it way better than I ever could:
Last night on the Daily Show, John Stewart interviewed John Hockenberry on his upcoming article in Wired on military bloggers. Stewart has been reading milblogs and was enthusiastic and complimentary on the quality of writing - which is no surprise to those who follow the blogosphere. He seemed puzzled that the mainstream had ignored their stories - also no surprise to those who follow the blogosphere.
Hockenberry explained how he became interested - relating an incident about running head to head with a then little known milblogger "2Slick" - and how badly it came back to bite him...
...They quickly made amends, 2Slick is retired and back in the States, and there is a "convert" in the media...
...Hats off to John Hockenberry - I don't know if his email (John.Hockenberry@nbcuni.com) still functions, but I sent him a congratulations and thank you. You don't often see that much humility and integrity in journalism, but he displayed it last night.
So true. He's a class guy, and I'd love to see people swamp him with appreciative emails- his current email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Seriously, how often have you seen mainstream journalists make that kind of effort to publicize the stories that aren't being reported? Thanks, John- we appreciate it...
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
To all Milblog readers and writers out there:
Tonight you need to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Yes, he leans a little too far to the left on most issues, but he's usually pretty funny and the show is entertaining. His guest tonight will be none other than John Hockenberry, an emmy-winning journalist who just wrote a great article about Milblogs for Wired magazine. He'll be talking about the article and how he came to be interested in the world o' milblogs.
Sure, Mr. Hockenberry and I got off to a rough start, but now he's a friend of the Forum and a friend of the milblog community- so let's all support him by watching the show tonight.
11 pm Eastern on Comedy Central.
Be there or be square.
Since so many people seemed to appreciate my "reader mail" segment yesterday, I thought I'd share a more serious and thoughtful email in today's post. I received it just before I left for my honeymoon, so my apologies for taking so long to respond. Here goes:
I purchased a copy of "Desert Sky" awhile ago. I apologize for not watching it yet. The past few months have not been conducive for viewing a DVD about OIF in Iraq. I have some time off, so I plan to watch it sometime over the next 2 weeks. If my husband and I have any questions, are you still willing to answer such questions, via e-mail? I know you mentioned this, but that was many months ago. Is it an invasion of privacy to ask your first name, as you said you were in this film. thank you for your service
Well, thank you L&H! The money you spent on that Desert Sky DVD went to a scholarship fund for children of fallen soldiers- you are great Americans! I am absolutely willing to answer any questions that anyone may have about the DVD. Since much of the film was produced while I was in Kuwait (serving out a second tour), I didn't get to participate in it as much as I would have liked- but I'm happy to report that I (along with some help from my aunt and a few cousins) was able to contribute from afar. Eric did a great job putting that film together, and I'm just proud to be associated with it. As for revealing my "true identity"- I'll give you the same answer that I gave John Hockenberry when he offered to mention my name on the Daily Show tonight:
...As a condition of starting the blog, I had to make a promise to my wife that I would always remain anonymous. Why? She's convinced that if Karl Rove ever leaked my identity, we would immediately find ourselves besieged by crazed anti-war lefties and bloodthirsty radical Islamists- all fighting for first dibs on my spleen. Personally, I find that scenario a bit far-fetched, but as I'm sure you know- the lady is always right...
But trust me- my identity is not a factor. Watch the film, enjoy it, and send me your questions and/or comments. The ones I like will be answered right here on the Forum. Somewhere in my responses, I promise to mention how cool you are for buying the DVD, watching it, and taking the time to write me about it.
"Hockenbone" (Not to be confused with the aforementioned John Hockenberry) seemed to generate quite a response. You'll note a comment from Froggy (of the excellent Froggy Ruminations blog) asking for the guy's email and IP addresses. I was confused when I saw this, because I was certain that I had posted his email address- but then I looked up there and sure enough- no email address. What gives? Can the "Blogger people" take that stuff down? Or am I just getting old before my time? In any case, here's the contact info for "Hockenbone"- fire for effect!
Email address: email@example.com
IP address: 220.127.116.11
Monday, August 08, 2005
Since I started this blog almost one year ago, I've received thousands of emails from good people all over the world. Most of the emails were very kind and from the heart, and I just want you all to know that they are greatly appreciated. As an example of just how thoughtful most of you are out there, I'd like to show you something that came to my inbox just last night:
Subject: thank you
Just a moment of time to say thank you for your service and dedication to our country. God Bless you - and may life bring you the best of everything.
Isn't that nice? Well I'd just like to take this opportunity to publicly say "you're welcome" to Paula (the nice woman who sent me that), and to thank her for the kind words. Thanks, Paula!
Next, I'll share with you a far less typical email- one that I received a while back. I'm sure he's a decent person who means well, but something about his tone made me feel like he might not be a big fan of the United States. Decide for yourself as I answer his email publicly, point-by-point:
thanks for all your courage in fighting GWB's not so secret family fued.
You're very welcome, Sir. I prefer to call it the "Global War on Terror," but we all have our own ways of saying things. I don't know that I'd claim to have any courage, though- I just did my job. But thanks for assuming such a thing. You're very kind!
thanks for helping oust the horrible dictator that our government created.
No problem! I agree that our government is responsible for creating many things in this world (the Internet, ways to fight world hunger, cures for lots of diseases, freedom for those who otherwise wouldn't have had it, etc.), but I'll bet Mr. Hussein's parents had a lot more to do with creating said dictator than our government did. But I'm not a doctor or a scientist, so you may well be correct!
thanks for protecting the saudi royal family and lining dick cheney's pockets once again.
Thank you for giving me so much credit! I feel like I helped to protect a lot of people from a lot of bad things, and of course that makes me feel good. If you were especially concerned for the Saudi royals, then I'm glad to have helped put your mind at ease about that. I, for one, was more concerned about protecting my buddies on the battlefield as well as my friends and family back home, but we all have our priorites. Thanks for assuming wealth and wisdom on my part, but I must confess- I never did make any financial contributions to the Bush/Cheney campaign last year- but- if I'd had any extra disposable income at that time, I think that would have been an excellent investment on my part- Bush and Cheney are exactly what this country needs right now, and I'm glad that you and the vast majority of American voters agree!
thanks so much for not finding osama bin laughin'.
Wow, I could thank you for the same thing, but I actually think it's not a good thing that he hasn't been found yet. Sorry to disagree with you on this one, but I think you and I both should keep an eye out for him- he's bad news, trust me! I think you spelled his last name incorrectly, but who cares, right? The guy's a jerk.
thanks for killing inocent people so you can play out some f***ed up little boy army game that still obviously haunts you to this very day.
I'm sorry, but I think you're thinking about someone else here- never killed anyone (innocent or guilty), never played army games when I was a little boy (but I'll bet that would've been fun!), and the only thing that haunts me these days is the fact that celebrities in California can kill anyone they feel like killing, without having to worry about silly things like "justice" or "rule of law." That's scary, man! If you find yourself leaving a restaurant with Robert Blake, you'd better watch out! He just might have to "go back and get his gun." Whoa!
did your daddy stop the hugging machine a little too early?
My dad never bought me a hugging machine (how much do those things go for, btw?), so he wouldn't have had any way of stopping it- early, late, or whenever. I wouldn't have known those things existed if you hadn't mentioned it- do you still use yours?
thanks for still not getting any pussy.
Once again, you're thinking of the wrong guy. My wife and I own a cat- he's 3 years old and we love him very much. And why would you thank me for not having a cat? I think it's an awesome thing to own a cat! You should go out and get one- seriously!
you suck as a human being for even considering the military.
I know, I know- you got me there. I shouldn't have even considered it- I should have just signed up without ever having given it a thought! Trust me, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have considered it- I would have just done it. You are obviously wise beyond your years, but some of us "slower folks" learn as we go.
what would your little jesus think of your behavior?
Again- wrong guy. I don't have any children yet, but even if I did- I don't think "Jesus" would be the name I'd choose for my son. Obviously, "Jesus" was an acceptable Jewish name 2,000 years ago, but you just don't find many Jews named "Jesus" these days...
you will burn in hell for your deeds.
No argument there- let's just say I was young and needed the money.
f**k you and f**k the marines and f**k republicans and f**k democrats for that matter.
Hey, no need to get political here- even if you are bipartisan! But I am happy to be connected in some way with the Marines (I greatly admire them), Republicans (I admire most of them) and even Democrats (Joe Lieberman is cool, I guess). So thank you!
Wow, you see fit to give me a 2nd emphasis? Over the Marines and all those politicians! Thanks again, Sir!
you arent protecting my family from anything you c**ks**king warmonger.
True- but if you gave me your family's contact information, I'd be happy to protect them! Just showing them a copy of your email would probably alert them to a few realizations that just might serve to protect them somewhere down the road- just guessing here. And please- I prefer "former Army Aviator."
i cant wait till they send you home in a f**kin bodybag!
Well, I don't know that I was in that much of a hurry to get home- but thanks for your obvious concern, and you'll be happy to learn that they sent me home several months ago!
you deserve to die for your involvement in this dirty f**kin mess.
Well, the way I see it- we're all going to die someday whether we deserve it or not. Thanks for the note, and please write again soon!
Well, that was fun- I hope you enjoyed his email as much as I did!
Saturday, August 06, 2005
I just read an interesting article about a National Guardsman who recently found himself in some hot water after blogging against his mission while stationed in Iraq. I'm certain that we'll hear some tired old arguments about "free speech" and "every soldier has a right to an opinion" and blah blah words words ACLU blah blah Bush is a big stupidhead words words. Well it's all a bunch of crap.
This man is drawing a paycheck, and he's expected to perform a service in return for getting paid. As a former member of his profession, I'm well aware of what that service entails. Duty, Honor, Country- I won't bore you with the details.
Think of it in terms of football. Keyshawn Johnson wasn't getting paid to simply catch the ball when it was thrown to him- he was getting paid to help win football games. That was the expectation when he was hired. He was paid handsomely for his services. But when he started mouthing off about how bad the coaching was and how miserable his job had become, he was in effect doing the opposite of helping to win games- he had become a distraction to the team, a burden on the coaching staff, and so his employers wisely decided to cut him loose. But that's football. If they don't win games, then oh well- there's always next year.
What happens when Leonard's anti-mission attitude and public denunciation of his own organization cause his unit to become distracted? Can they just suck it up, and hope for a better season next year? No. Unfortunately, when selfish publicity-seeking morons like Leonard infect an organization within the ranks of the military, they can certainly end up getting good people killed. It's simply a matter of fact. His chain of command acted appropriately as far as I can discern, although I'd have probably been less tolerant if I were his commander. I'll have to see how it all shakes out.
Don't be fooled by this clown. Don't commend him for his "service"- admonish him for endangering the lives of good soldiers in a quest for publicity and political gain. That's right- political gain. He plans to run for the U.S. Senate when he returns home. Read all about it, my friends. He's just another pathetic John Kerry wannabe looking to sacrifice good people on his way to fame and fortune. I hope he fails, and I hope he rots in hell for attempting to use our nation's military as a credibility-boosting political podium in time of war.
This reminds me of an old rant I once wrote about the most liberal Senator from Massachusetts. Here's a blast from the past just for you, Leonard- enjoy your Article 15, my friend!
John Kerry Blows
-A Rant by 2Slick
John Kerry served more than most and should therefore be honored, right? Wrong! How about our "heroic soldiers" who abused the prisoners in Iraq and took the photos for all the world to see? They served more than most people. Like Kerry, some of them might have actually performed an act of courage here and there. Should they be honored? Absolutely not!!! Their lame-brained sex games caused countless insurgents to take up arms against us and kill who-knows-how-many American soldiers. To make a blanket statement along the lines of "anyone who served should be honored" is just plain ignorant. There are bad apples in every bunch, and the sad truth is that there is a small minority of soldiers in every American war that did more to hurt the cause than to help. John Kerry is one of those bad apples. "Why" you ask? Well, it has nothing to do with the fact that he lied to get medals.
As a leader/officer in wartime, one must ensure that soldiers know one thing above all else- that their leaders are looking out for them. The soldiers must believe that the ones in charge will devote every last breath, drop of blood, bead of sweat to ensure the soldiers' safety during the course of the mission. John Kerry did no such thing. He got 3 band-aid wounds, and promptly headed home. Remember- great leaders like Ollie North refused Purple Hearts so that they could stay and lead their troops. John Kerry went after those Purple Hearts like a man possessed. One commander refused to give him one, so he waited until he had a different commander and then asked again. What kind of message did that send to his sailors and all the other enlisted sailors in his unit? I'll tell you what message it sent- "officers look out for themselves." Officers will get rattled and say "OK good luck guys! I'm outta here!!"
Apparently a handful (maybe 9 out of about 300?) of the sailors he served with have forgiven him. Understandable, given the fact that he delivered those troops a national cheering audience that was more than 30 years overdue (at the DNC in Boston). But I'll tell you who will NEVER forgive him for what he did- the officers who served with him. He complicated their efforts, he hurt their unit's morale, he put their lives in danger, and he quickly rubbed salt in their wounds by coming home and bashing the ones who were brave enough to stay behind and do their duty. He had an anti-war agenda before he even joined the Navy. He used his credibility as an officer to propagate outrageous theories that hurt the ones who were still held captive, and caused years of unfair bias and hard feelings toward thousands of brave and honorable vets after they returned home.
He did all of this in order to win political fame and favor in the Democratic Party. It was his ticket to the big time, and he cashed it without a second thought. Reprehensible in every sense of the word. Say what you want about whether or not he deserved his medals- I could care less. As a leader in the US Military, he was an insult to our profession. He would have served his country much better by never having gone to Vietnam.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
What most of you don't know is that John and I have been corresponding since then- via phone and email- mostly because he expressed a profound interest in writing an article about milblogs and the milblogging milbloggers who write them. I gave him a few leads (Mudville was probably all he needed), and he charged onward. Now that I think of it, I still have all those email exchanges- maybe I should ask for his consent to post a few of them- it would be pretty interesting, I think. But I digress- the article has arrived! You can find it here and in the current issue of Wired Magazine. Check it out!!!
I actually got an email from John last night- he'll be talking about the article on the Daily Show on August 10th- MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
I didn't know Steven Vincent, but I became familiar with his work soon after I heard the tragic news of his death. He was enormously talented, gutsy, and fully determined to make the world a better place. I believe that history will show that he succeeded. He will be missed.
Get the Stories that Matter
The good people at the DoD's Public Affairs Office do a lot of hard work, and too often their great work gets drowned out by the sensationalist "big media" coverage of car bombs and rocket attacks. I spent quite a bit of time with PAO folks while I was in Mosul, and I can tell you that they do their very best to get the word out. The rest is up to us- we need to filter through the sensationalist headlines and find the stories that the bad guys don't want us to see, and the CENTCOM Bulletins are a great place to start. In my left margin, I'm going to place a permanent link to the CENTCOM web page- so now you have no excuses for not getting the real stories behind the ongoing operations.
There is another courageous journalist/blogger in Iraq- his name is Michael Yon, and I've been following him for a while now. He's fantastic. We can only hope that people like Michael and Stephen Vincent will inspire a new generation of writers who seek to promote truth and hope as opposed to cashing in on hatred and violence.
In Case There Was Any Doubt...
Michelle Malkin is still one of the best out there. Her take on Air America's latest scandal is priceless:
If a conservative radio network had been entangled in a scam to steal from black children to line the pockets of wealthy white con artists, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would already be staging hunger strikes in protest. But both have hefty political and financial stakes in Air America's success -- and the big mouths aren't about to badmouth their friends.
There's simply no better way to say it.