Giving Russia No Respect
The more I hear SecDef Robert Gates, the better I like him. But the following came as a bit of a humorous surprise today.Gates was on the hill answering questions from Congress when he was asked about the recent visits to Venezuela by the Russian navy. His response is a classic:"In fact if it hadn’t been for the events in Georgia in August, I probably would’ve tried to persuade the president to invite the Russian ships pay a port
 
He’s Baaaaaaaaack ...
Our good buddy Jesse Macbeth has apparently paid his dues to society or is at least out on parole. Macbeth has decided that it is now his mission in life to apologize for what he did previously (a good thing) and to blame it all on the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) - the usual thing (see blame shifting post for the argument).You see, the IVAW made him do all of what he did ...
 
Britain, War, Obama, Political Leadership and the Military
Michael Portillo writes an interesting column on the thesis that "Britain has lost its stomach for a fight".After saying that Britain failed in Iraq and the primary reason was political, he covers the secondary reason for their failure:The secondary cause of failure was a misplaced British disdain for America, shared by our poli
 
December 7th - Remember Pearl Harbor
Great article about Pearl Harbor, past and present,
 
Weaponry - Lasers and Microwaves
On the laser front, it looks like airborne laser technology is about to get a little smaller and thus able to be deployed on tactical fighters:American weaponry researchers have awarded a $21m contract for the design and development of a 150-kilowatt energy weapon, high-powered enough to blast missiles out of the sky yet light enough to be carried by a jet fighter.
 
Federal Forces and a role in the Homeland
Any number of people seem to be in a tizzy over the suggestion that federal forces (Army, Navy, Airforce and Marines) be used in a domestic capacity in times of natural disaster or an attack on the homeland. The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials re
 
Mess with the bull ...
You sometimes get the horn.Hint for the Taliban. If the ratio isn’t better than 8:1, you may want to consider retreat as first option: In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used
 
China to build aircraft carriers?
China seems to be seriously looking at such a project:The comments from Major General Qian Lihua, director of the ministry’s Foreign Affairs Office, come amid heated speculation within China and abroad that the increasingly potent naval arm of the People’s Liberation Army has decided to develop and deploy its first aircraft carrier. Traditionally,
 
Happy Veteran’s Day
I had the occasion to attend a mini-reunion of some of my old friends from the Army. About 12 of us gathered at a restaurant in Birmingham to tell stories about each other and absent comrades and remark about how old we were all looking.Anyway, it was nice to see them all again. As a tribute to all our veterans today, I’d like to dust off one I did a few years ago to veterans everywhere. And I’d also ask that if you know a veteran, of any e
 
Semper Fidelis
MARINE CORPS ORDER No. 47 (Series 1921)HEADQUARTERSU.S. MARINE CORPS Washington, November 1, 1921The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name
 
Mixed Messages
Obama has been speaking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to defense:When it comes to defense, there are two Barack Obamas in this race. There is the candidate who insists, as he did last year in an article in Foreign Affairs, that "a strong military is, more than anything, necessary to sustain peace"; pledges to increase the size of our ground forces by 65,000 s
 
What is the cost of the bailout?
A lot more than $700 billion. Steve Shippert says it may cost us our national security:The effective cost of the various bailout packages is that the expansion of the U.S. military that had been set in motion is now effectively dead. D-E-A-D.That’s the word in Washington that no one wants to talk about, proving once again that
 
When should the military be deployed?
Jeff Jacoby catches Obama doing a 180 about genocide and the use of the military.Last night Obama said:In such cases, answered Obama, "we have moral issues at stake." Of course the United States must act to stop genocide, he said. "When genocide is happening, when ethnic cleansing is happening . . . and we stand idly by, that diminis
 
Another one out of the closet
The things you can find offered as serious journalism.PERHAPS the most insidious byproduct of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been a reflexive sanctification of the military. To put this in bumper stickerese: Support the Troops.Well, I have an ugly confession to make: I don’t support the troops - at least not
 
Army changes Class A uniform to blue
The Army is tossing its green "Class A" uniform in favor of its older "Dress Blue" uniform. Stratfor would like you to believe it is because the Army envies the Marine’s dress uniform.After a century of green uniforms, the last one is being retired from the U.S. Army. The new "Class A" uniform, as of August 21st, 2008, will be the current blue "Dress Uniform.
 
The "Ray-gun" is a reality
Of course it isn’t something a young space cadet will be using anytime soon - it weighs 12,000 pounds:Boeing announced today the first ever test firing of a real-life ray gun that could become US special forces’ way to carry out covert strikes with "plausible deniability."In tests earlier this month at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Boeing&rs
 
Operation Continuing Promise
As you all know by now, I had a very interesting and unusual week this week. As a member of the DoD Blogger’s Roundtable, I was offered an opportunity which, frankly, I couldn’t refuse.Tuesday evening I boarded the USS Kearsarge, a Wasp class Amphibious Assault ship based in Norfolk VA. As you can imagine, the Kearsarge, commanded by Capt. Walt Towns, is a real, no-kidding, you’d-recognize-it-anywhere Navy warship. I was given the opportunity, if I wanted too, to do th
 
Flying off the USS Kearsarge
Danny Glover, of Eyeblast TV and one of the bloggers on the trip with us got some great video of our trip off the Kearsarge. 
Things you probably wouldn’t want to see your pilot doing ...
We showed up on the flight deck yesterday at the appointed time, 1015, only to be told our flight going to Miami wasn’t leaving until 1200. We’re flying a UH-60.Eh, we’re there, not hungry and its a beautiful day so we decide to hang out there, sit in the ragged chairs and view the proceedings. We joked about being on the "Ledo" deck and waiting for our waiter to come along and serve drinks. Later it became more imperative I find the
 
Impressions of the voyage
Granted, in terms of time (3 days/3 nights) it wasn’t much for duration, but in terms of keeping us busy, it was pretty darn packed.First impression of course, when you see the ship, is "wow, that’s big". It’s not an aircraft carrier, but its not that much smaller. We got to the pier, entered through the side loading ramp and walked by "the well". That’s where they launch Marine amphib vehicles. It fills up with water and they
 
Well, I made it
I’m sitting in the PAO office aboard the USS Kearsarge writing this post. Everyone has been amazing. And this ship is huge. I’ve been up and down the maze of corridors and I still couldn’t find my way around on a bet. When running this maze you almost forget that this is like a self-sufficient city on the sea. Anyway, it is shaping up to be one fun few days. There are any number of different groups represented on this v
 
From Galula, to Anbar and the Surge
In the ongoing discussion of who has done a better job of describing the time line around the surge, I certainly recommend McQ’s discussion.The Minuteman however has a couple of key points to make on this issue as well:But if McCain has the timing wrong, what about Obama? How could the US have failed t
 
Good news and good advice
First the good advice - I’m becoming a real fan of Robert Gates - SecDef. Andrea Scott Tyson reports:Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned yesterday against the risk of a "creeping militarization" of U.S. foreign policy, saying the State Department should lead U.S. engagement with other countries, with the military playing a supporting
 
Canada and the deserters
Another article portraying the pitiful plight of US military deserters in Canada. Yes, bless their little hearts, Canada doesn’t want them and they just can’t figure out why.Apparently Ian Austen, who wrote the article for the NY Times, hasn’t a clue either.He proffers this as
 
1,215 in Baghdad ...
Re-enlist in the US military on the 4th of July:Awesome.Fittingly, they took that oath in one of Saddam
 
Here’s an anniversary to note
From a DoD press release:July 1 marks the 35th Anniversary of the All-Volunteer Armed Forces.Until July 1973, the military operated under an involuntary draft policy to produce manpower to fight the country’s wars. For the past 35 years, volunteers manned 100 percent of the armed forces during the nation’s times of need, including the Cold War as well as conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. They filled the ranks and fought in the Persian Gulf, Pana
 
Hundreds of nuke components unaccounted for ...
And you wonder why Sec. Gates fired the Air Force chief of staff and Air Force Secretary?The US military cannot locate hundreds of
 
Reorienting the AirForce?
That may be exactly what Sec. Gates is doing with the appointment of the new Air Force Chief of Staff:Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates took action Monday to dramatically reorient the leadership of the Air Force, calling for the nomination of the first non-fighter or bomber pilot to lead the service since its inception after World War II.
 
Adm. William Fallon’s first interview
And, unsurprisingly, just what you’d expect from a real professional military man (and, I’m sure, very disappointing to the left - no Ricardo Sanchez here). Read carefully as Kyra Phillips provides every opportunity for Fallon to blame everyone else and he refuses the bait:PHILLIPS: Fallon&r
 
Warrior Codes and the Warrior Ethos
Apropos of the discussion generated by Dale’s "Do the Right Thing" post concerning the Marines who are now facing charges for an incident in Iraq, I found this article in which a professor from the Naval Academy discusses her course on "The Code of the Warrior" and why it is so critical:We talk about how <
 
Doing the Right Thing
I’m saddened to watch the progress of the legal case against some members of 3rd Battalion/1st Marines (The Third Herd; The Thundering Third).There’s a significant amount of background to this, so you might want to check out this article from Defend Our Marines, and this  
A Memorial Day Reminder
Yes, it’s a day of fun, family, frolic and festivity. But take a moment, if you will, and remind everyone what Memorial Day is really about:
 
Future Generals
Victor Davis Hanson wonders if the next group of officers promoted to brigadier general by the Army will contain any Grants or Shermans:Who becomes a general — and why — tells us a lot about whether our military is on the right or wrong track. The annual spring list of Army colonels promoted to brigadier generals will be shortly released.
 
Canada withdraws the welcome mat for US military deserters
For my second "no sympathy here" post of the week:Canada is set to deport in June the first of possibly hundreds of American soldiers who sought asylum to avoid military duty in Iraq, a group backing the US deserters said Wednesday.Corey Glass, 25, came to Canada in August 2006 afte
 
Happy Armed Forces Day
A little reminder:"A Veteran - whether active duty, retired, National Guard, or Reservist....is someone who
 
No Sympathy here ...
From AFP:Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American US military recruiters love [or at least he fits the stereotype the MSM loves to perpetuate - ed.]."I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old told AFP."I was ’filet mignon’ for recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade,"
 
Myanmar - "Please bring more"
I just had the opportunity to speak with the pilot of the initial US C130 into Myanmar this week (thanks to the Blogger’s Roundtable). CPT Trevor Hall (USAF) described the flight in from Thailand, where he and his crew had been supporting a USMC exercise, as uneventful. But the one hour and forty-five minute flight took them in over part of the devastated area, which, according to Hall, had massive flooding, houses destroyed and trees blown down. By all appe
 
US Army Individual Ready Reserve
Consider this your continuing education segment on how the Army works.You’ve read the stories about "former" soldiers who thought their obligations were complete but had been called back to active duty?Almost to a man they claim they were sure their obligation was complete and further claim the military was unlawfully calling them back. Eh, not really.I had the opportunity to talk with MG Sean Byrne who commands
 
Meanwhile in Afghanistan
Interesting conversation with COL Michael McMahon who is the Director, CJ7 (Force integration and Training), Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A).All of that means he’s the guy charged with training and equipping both the Afghan Army and the Afghan police.COL McMahon gave a short update on what their goals were and what their accomplishments have been to this point. Their goal, with the Afghan Army, is to build a fo
 
PFC Ross McGinnis to be awarded the Medal of Honor
McGinnis, who was profiled in this Project Hero post, will become the 2nd soldier (Sgt Paul Ray Smith was the first Soldier to receive the MOH) to receive the nation’s highest award for valor in Iraq. Like all of those previously given, the award is posthumous.President Bush
 
Rethinking women in combat
I’m an old dog and I’ve resisted the concept for years. But I’m rethinking it now in light of what the many women who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan have done - in combat.I still resist putting them in combat MOSs, such as infantry or armor. I don’t think women should serve as infantrymen, and while I’m sure that there will be some who howl in protest, there’s a certain aspect of male bonding which occurs in
 
More "happy talk" on the DoD blogger’s roundtable - the Ft. Bragg barracks problem
The title, of course, refers to Oliver Willis’ uninformed assumption that only right-wing bloggers are allowed on the DoD’s blogger’s roundtable and that all we hear is "happy talk". Of course neither of those assumptions is true, but the one I participated in yesterday was far from anything which could be characterized as "happy talk".You remember this video of the
 
Inexcusable (update)
It is things like this which just burn me up. As far as I’m concerned this is inexcusable.Here’s a video from an obviously angry father whose son is serving with the 82nd Airborne Division. First watch the video: 
Petraeus to take CENTCOM
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has just announced that Gen. Petraeus has been nominated to take over Central Command, the command recently vacated by Adm. Fallon. LTG Ray Odierno, Petraeus’ deputy in Iraq until recently, will get his 4th Star and take Petraeus’ sl
 
Air National Guard Pilot grounded for unauthoized Fenway Park flyover stunt
Check this out:Says
 
A little lesson in leadership
I was reading a post at "Comments from Left Field" in which Kyle Moore tells what he is pretty sure is an apocryphal Navy story about an Admiral and recruit. You can read it here:
 
Continued troop levels in Iraq "major risk"
I’ve covered this before. The troop levels we have in Iraq is unsustainable and it has degrade our ability to answer a call elsewhere in world. That’s both recognized and a given. Again, as I’ve stated, that’s dangerous and something we have to "fix" as soon as possible. Senior Army and Marine Corps leaders said yeste
 
Incredible
One of the stories I did for Pundit Review’s "Someone You Should Know" series was about a young PFC named Channing Moss. And while the story is about him it is also about those who worked so hard and risked so much to save his life.It is an incredible story. Listen to if first here. Then, watch
 
Lynndie England - Iraq Insurgency Media’s fault
As harsh a critic of the media as I am even I wouldn’t try this little trick.Lynndie England, the poster girl for slack-jawed stupidity and the Abu Ghraib scandal, has managed to outdo herself: In an interview with the weekly magazine Stern conducted in English and posted on its Web site Tuesday, England was both remorseful and unrepentant—and con
 
In case you missed it, they held "Winter Soldier II" this weekend
Apparently it was pretty much a non-event in terms of any revelations which could be called news (or atrocities). The Iraqi Veterans Against the War were the sponsor. In case you’re not familiar with the first Winter Soldier event, you can catch up here.Jonn Lilyea from This Ain’t Hell attended and wrote a v
 
Adm. Fallon to resign
The New York Times claims it has to do with policy differences with the administration over Iran.Adm. William J. Fallon, the top American commander in the Middle East whose views on Iran and other issues have seemed to put him at odds with the Bush administration, is retiring e
 
A couple of Vietnam notes ...
Today is the 40th anniversary of the battle of Hue. While a huge victory for US forces, a huge defeat for the VC and NVA and an foretelling of the murderous nature of the Vietnamese communists, it was spun by the US media as part of an overall defeat for us in what was known as the "Tet offensive".It is a story well wor
 
Russia: Satellite shot a weapons test
Of course it is:Russia said Saturday that U.S. military plans to shoot down a damaged spy satellite may be a veiled test of America’s missile defense system.The Pentagon failed to provide "enough arguments" to back its plan to smash the satellite next week with a missile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement."There is an
 
The Hatred of Idiots
The city council of Berkeley, California, hateful, spiteful, small-minded little idiots that they are, have giving notice to the Marines to get out of town:[T]he Berkeley City Council...voted 8-1 Tuesday night to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay,
 
Pre-emptive nuclear strike NATO Option
At least it should be an option according to 5 former senior NATO generals:The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west’s most senior military officers and strategists.Calling for roo
 
The "Golden Hour"
That’s what doctors call the hour after an injury or wound. It is the most important hour because if they can get the injured or wounded soldier to a doctor, he or she has a much higher chance of survival, no matter how bad the wound or injury may be.The guys and gals who do their level best to make sure that happens are the Medevac crews - pilots, crew chiefs, medics and door gunners who all team up to do what is necessary to get that soldier from
 
Why the Iran/US Navy encounter is important
In my post about the incident of the 5 Iranian speedboats and the 3 ship US Navy group, I mentioned I thought the Iranian actions were a probe of sorts. Let me flesh that out a bit and point to a wargame the Navy held in ’02 as an explanation.The Straits of Hormuz is a highly restrictive waterway. Because it is so narrow, there is very little room to maneuver, especially when
 
Teheran Tony says US Navy video is "fake"
Yes, we have to give an appropriate name to the person who would claim, like our friend Baghdad Bob, that up is down and black is white. And that is exactly what Tehran is claiming about the video the US Navy has produced showing the attempted confrontation by Iranian speedboats of 3 US warships in international waters:"The footage released
 
The Navy and the Iranians
Ralph Peters thinks the Navy lost its nerve:EARLY Sunday morning, the US Navy lost its nerve and guaranteed that American sailors will die at Iranian hands in the future.As three of our warships passed through the Straits of Hormuz, five small Iranian patrol craft rushed them. As the Revolutionary Guard boats neared our vessels,
 
Reports of Russian sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran
Russia says they’re false:The federal agency overseeing Russia’s military exports on Friday denied reports that the country is planning to deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran.Iran’s defense minister said this week that Russia is preparing to equip Iran with the missile systems that would
 
The Army’s Junior Officer Drain
Billy Beck calls my attention to an article in the Washington Monthly entitled "The Army’s Other Crisis: Why the Best and Brightest Young Officers are Leaving" by Andrew Tilghman. Actually it was Dale who drew my attention to Billy’s post and in my discussion with him I
 
Leadership and the Warrior Ethos
Via Lance at A Second Hand Conjecture, I note that the Superintendent of West Point, LTG Buster Hagenbeck, took the opportunity of the latest defeat during the Army/Navy game as a leadership teaching point. His point, of course, was that regardless of the odds and the mission, leaders don’t quit:We cannot have leaders who quit. Your Soldiers will not survive under it. Our
 
NATO being tested - and failing
I’ve said in the past that with the fall of the USSR, NATO was an alliance looking for a mission. With no conventional enemy facing it any more the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (note the first two words), an alliance which required all members to support any member who was attacked by the Soviets or their satellites, was functionally out of a job.Then the Balkans came along and NATO warped its defensive charter into a preemptive one with offe
 
This is NATO
And it is mostly useless:Canada continued to press some of its reluctant NATO allies Friday to contribute more to front-line fighting in southern Afghanistan, but had to settle for a few more Polish helicopters.Nice. And how many troops had been requested of the NATO members?NATO still was unable to find another 1,000 to 1,500 troops to join the rank
 
Military families don’t like the war - big surprise to the LA Times
Apparently the LA Times thinks this rates as news:Nearly six out of every 10 military families disapprove of Bush’s job performance and the way he has run the war, rating him only slightly better than the general population does.I disapprove of Bush’s job performance as well. That doesn’t mean I think we
 
Bravery isn’t just found in a firefight
I think you’ll enjoy this story. It is the script of what I’ll be presenting tonight on Pundit Review radio’s "Someone You Should Know" segment. The story comes from a Gina Cavallaro piece in the Military Times. There’s also a video at that link which is a "must see".

 
Combat leaders and perfumed princes
Ralph Peters, who usually enjoys smacking the "brass" around, gives some rare praise in his most recent article.I bring it up because of who it is he praises. He praises LTG Ricardo Sanchez’s replacement, LTG Ray Odierno (he also praises Petraus), and he gives voice to why Sanchez is a retired LTG and sniping for the Democrats
 
Wounded vets jeered in UK
The US isn’t the only place where incidents of anti-military bias have shown their ugly head. From the UK:Injured soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for their country have been driven from a swimming pool training session by jeering members of the public.The men, injured during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, were taking part in a
 
The Mouse That Roared
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former US military commander in Iraq, has given the Democratic response to the President’s weekly radio address. Apparently, the general doesn’t much like the president.Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who led coalition forces through the first critical year of Iraq’s insurgency, said Saturday in a nationally broadcast radio address that Presiden
 
SNAFU followup - demand for bonus return a "mistake"
You remember the story yesterday about the wounded veteran receiving a letter from DoD demanding he pay back a portion of his enlistment bonus because he hadn’t fulfilled his contract. Of course, he was medically retired because of his wounds, but the bureaucracy didn’t seem to understand that or care. Well it seems  
SNAFU: Military demands bonus money from wounded soldiers
What mental midget in DoD authorized this stupidity?The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eye
 
Thanks for your support - from the troops
This is a good story written by a Major deployed in Iraq. For those of you who have taken the time to send things, any thing, to the troops overseas, she tells you what it means. And it’s all good. My favorite paragraphs:This past May, a young soldier received several hundred tributes drawn by children at McNair Elementary School in Her
 
Run silent, run deep ...
And pop up like a cork in the midst of a carrier battle group:American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.By the time it surfaced the 160ft So
 
Remembrance Sunday
I’m reminded that today was "Remembrance Sunday" in the UK. It is the day, each year when the war dead are honored.(HT: Charles Robertson and in honor of his father)
 
Happy Veterans Day!
I’ll say, up front, anyone who doubts all veteran’s are heroes need read no further. But for the vast majority of you who do, I’d like to take a little different slant in my tribute to veterans on Veteran’s day than you might read elsewhere. Most of the time, when you hear tributes to vets, they’re filled with the stories of those who’ve fought and suffered in combat and we see pictures showing the battle-weary combat vets which po
 
Semper Fi - 232 years of fighting for freedom
In celebration of the United States Marine Corps.Happy Birthday,Marines!Two old warhorses, Brigadier General Thomas V. Draude and Colonel H.C. “Barney” Barnum, Jr. (Medal of Honor, VN) gave voice to what it means to be a United States Marine.Draude:“Marine will be part of your biography
 
Abolish the Air Force? II
The American Prospect post about abolishing the Air Force brought more heat than light to the point of the discussion. And while it is sometimes entertaining to get involved in a comment section discussion, why do that when you have a blog? So to the subject at hand – Should the Air Force be abolished?The short answer is no. And we’ll endeavor to explain why that is so. But first, it’s important to understand all the roles the Air Force has.
 
Abolish the Air Force?
That’s a discussion a group of bloggers is having over at The American Prospect. I’ve added my opinion in the first comment of the thread.
 
Is this the state of academics today? (Updated)
Probably not, but it is so hilarious that it is worth noting.Michael Goldfarb of the WorldWideStandard.com catches a Huffington Post author in some of the most egregious errors of fact that I’ve seen in a long time. It painfully points out that most academics are best off if they stay in their area of expertise and esc
 
Who is "we"?
I’m as big a fan of "A Band of Brothers" as the next guy. I thought it was fabulous. And I don’t say that about many "war movies". And I’m as pleased as I can be that two of that band, William Guarnere and Edward Heffron, both in their 80s, have written a book about their experiences, entitled "Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends," recently published by the Berkley Publishing Group. I’ll probably buy it and look forward to reading it.
 
Speaking of heroes - Spc Rachael Hugo
Oft times we forget that it isn’t just our sons who go to war these days. It is our daughters as well.RIP Rachael.
 
Retaining Special Operators
Seems the Pentagon strategy for keeping our Special Operations folks is to offer 6-figure bonuses:The Pentagon has paid more than $100 million in bonuses to veteran Green Berets and Navy SEALs, reversing the flow of top commandos to the corporate world where security companies such as Blackwater USA are offering big salaries.The retention e
 
Dolittle Raider dies
It was probably one of the most audacious and heroic raids ever made. It had little military effect, but the psychological effect on morale was incredible.Nolan Herndon, a member of the famed Doolittle Raiders who bombed Japan in 1942, has died. He was 88.Herndon died Sunday of pneumonia, Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home director David Burnett told The Associat
 
Wow - Now this is just pitiful
If you’re interested in one of the most - and I’m scratching around here for an appropriate word, oh I’ll stick "stupid" for right now - character assassination attempts I’ve yet seen, check out a post entitled ’Phonied-Up Republican Soldier - Yes, Phonied-Up’, here.Clumsy? Lame? Sad? All of the above?I mean, it’s actually
 
Amend those orders!
This sort of nonsense irritates the living hell out of me: Nearly half the members of one of the longest serving U.S. military units in Iraq are not eligible for a more generous military educational benefit, with some falling one day short of eligibility.The Army has agreed to review the status of the Minnesota National Guard’s 1st Brigade
 
The War
Is anyone else watching Ken Burn’s "The War"?I’ve been saving it on Tivo and am now up to the D-Day landings.The stories are fascinating. I’ve been absolutely riveted by some of them. I believe his name was Edward Burke (well I know it was Burke but for some reason his first name has escaped me). He was a ball-turret gunner on a flying fortress. The descriptions of his experiences were the one’s which hit m
 
Bombing Iran - wishing and hoping edition
Next to knocking the war in Iraq, the favorite pass-time of many on the left is predicting the bombing of Iran (and then using such an event as a basis for impeaching Bush - it all flows together folks, keep up.).Interestingly Matt Yglesias is the one who dashes the contention of one of our favorite participants here when he tells Oliver W
 
"Star Wars" not quite the joke it was
Brian Faughnan draws my attention to this:The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced today it has completed an important exercise and flight test involving a successful intercept by a ground-based interceptor missile designed to protect the United States against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack. The flight test results will help t
 
Beauchamp’s Bde Cdr talks about investigation (update)
I had the opportunity to speak with COL Ricky Gibbs, the Brigade commander of Scott Thomas Beauchamp on the Blogger’s Roundtable today. Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard asked COL Gibbs if in fact Beauchamp was being prevented from speaking with the media in general or The New Republic specifically.COL Gibbs answered, "We don’t order them not to talk to the press". Goldfarb pressed, asking if he was being specifically
 
"The Trial’s Still Going On"
Jack Murtha is confronted by a young lad on video, asking if Murtha would like to step back from his "in cold blood" comments about the Haditha marines.Mr. Murth’a reply? "The trial’s still going on." Yes. No doubt he doesn’t want to prejudice the proceedings in any way.Too bad he didn’
 
Running up the BS flag ... again. (update)
There’s a post on the DailyKos claiming the big plan to hit Iran is afoot and the military is only awaiting the order (and yes this is a reoccurring theme we’ve been hearing for 6 to 8 months now, but this is really "it"!).The source? An "LSO" on a "supercarrier". I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and stag
 
Infantry combat: "young man’s work"
Excellent article and description by a former infantryman now embedded with the Marines in Iraq about why infantry combat is "young man’s work". His realization was one I also came to in my time. It is a tough one to accept, but reality is reality and there’s not much you can do but accept it. But his description of life
 
The plan to strike Iran – Oh no!
The Raw Story entices us with this headline: “Study: US preparing ’massive’ military attack against Iran”. However, it leads with this:The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings
 
Blogger’s Roundtable: LTC Nora Linderman, Army Long Term Family Case Mgmt
The Army has started a program which is both outstanding and long overdue. I’m talking about the Army Long Term Family Case Management program (ALTFCM). I had the opportunity to talk to the chief of that program yesterday, LTC Nora Linderman. She said the program began in February of 2006 and was operational in May. The purpose of the program is to provide case assistance to the families of the fallen (whether the death is combat related or non-combat
 
"Knees in the breeze" Friday nite
As a follow up to National Airborne Day, and as about as close as you can get to the rush of a mass tactical jump, I give you:I still have
 
Airborne Day II
It wouldn’t be Airborne Day without a reference to the Jumpmaster’s Dance.
 
Happy "National Airborne Day"
RobB reminds me that yesterday was "National Airborne Day". So a belated greeting to all my airborne bretheren.Click To Enlarge
 
The usual "it is worse than ever and it is Bush’s fault" story
It is as predictable as sunrise:Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday, found there were 99
 
What’s wrong with this picture? (Udated)
Hmm. Take a look at this picture. Look closely.Now, read the caption that AFP appends with the picture.An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house following an early coalition
 
Haditha Marine cleared of all charges
LCpl Justin Sharratt has been cleared of all charges against him in the alleged murder of three Iraqis in Haditha, Iraq in 2005. "The evidence does not support a referral to a court-martial," Lt. Gen. James Mattis wrote in his written decision.LTC Paul Ware, who conducted the Article 32 investigation was absolutely unequivocal in his findings
 
Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp
I agree with every word Megan McArdle has written here. The least convincing rebuttal of Private Beauchamp’s allegations is that "American soldiers are good people!". But on the other hand, the least convincing defense is "atrocities happen in war!" Both can be true, and irrelevant to the question of whether Private Scott Beauchamp is an incredible jerk, with enough other incredible jers around him that he m
 
Discussing "Honor"
The post yesterday about the revelation of "Scott Thomas’" identity (Howard Kurtz comments on the situation here) spurred quite a discussion about the concept honor and it’s place in the military. I’ll simply say that in my almost three decades of service, honor was an extremely important part of it. Probably more so than in any other pro
 
Getting to the Bottom of the "Scott Thomas" Deal
Well, now that we know who Scott Tomas is, his superiors in the 1ID know, too. They’re taking a closer look at things, apparently. The PAO for the 1ID at FOB Falcon writes The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb:We are in the midst of a formal investigation into the allegations Pvt Beauchamp has made. That’s all I can
 
Follow up to the BS War Stories Post (Update)
From The New Republic via their blog "The Plank" in reference to this:Several conservative blogs have raised questions about the Diarist "Shock Troops," written by a soldier in Iraq using the pseudonym Scott Thomas. Whenever anybody levels serious accusations against a piece published in our magazine, we
 
A little history for your Saturday
Probably one of the more interesting discoveries in recent years was that of the Confederate submarine "Hunley". It got its name from its inventor and builder, Horace Lawson Hunley, and became the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship (the USS Housatonic, an 11 gun steam ship) on February 17, 1864 in Charleston harbor.The Hunley was actually the third attempt by the inventer to successfully launch a submarine, the first two having failed. One of the
 
Apaches to the rescue
Folks, Apaches are attack helicopters, not Medevac birds. Well, except when they have to be:Apache pilots from Company B, 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment (Attack), 36th Combat Aviation Brigade and Company A, 2nd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, engaged extremists and saved a critically-wounded Soldier’s life during a firefight in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on June 30, 2007.How’d they save him? Well he was
 
Someone You Should Know: Chontosh, McCormick and Kerman
The story of 3 Marines who, outnumbered 50-1, still took the fight to the enemy ... and won.UPDATE: SYSK is available on iTunes. Search "Pundit Review Radio Podcast".
 
WWII Medal of Honor winner dies
One of the legendary submarine officers of WW II has passed away:Rear Adm. Eugene B. Fluckey, one of the greatest naval heroes of World War II who was awarded the Medal of Honor and four Navy Crosses for his daring submarine attacks on Japanese shipping, died June 28 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was 93 and had Alzheimer&rs
 
Glenn Greenwald is at it again
Greenwald has hatched a new conspiracy theory apparently based on absolutely no evidence. Citing an email from a commenter published by Josh Marshall, Greenwald concludes:That the Bush administration, and specifically its military commanders, decided to begin using the term "Al Qaeda" to designate "anyone and everyeone (sic) we fight against o
 
Why I love Oz
Let me count the ways. Apparently before the Iranians captured the British sailors, they went after some Australian sailors:It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.The Australians, though, to quote one military source, "were having none of it". The BBC has been
 
Dishonor
I should have opposed torture for the same reason I oppose just about every other surrender of power to the government that naive people (in this case, like me) tend to think looks good on paper: Because the government won’t use it competently, because the government will abuse it, and because the government will find new, inappropriate contexts in which to use it. — Radley Balko
 
Advances in Weaponry Part II
This had to have been the result of some drunken discussion somewhere. The fact that it was actually taken seriously afterward has to make you feel a little better about the recent shakeup in the Pentagon:What if it could release a chemical that would make an opposing army’s soldiers think more about the physical attributes of their comrades in arms than the threat po
 
Breaking: Gen Peter Pace, Chairman of the JCS replaced
At least that’s what I’m hearing. From an MSNBC broadcast:Susan, it is Sharon in the control room. Bringing in breaking news from the Pentagon waiting for Paris to come out. They are saying that Secretary Gates replaced General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with Mike Mullen. Wow.UPDATE: CBS
 
Supporting the troops San Francisco style
Horror of horrors, the "Blue Angels" will be flying in San Francisco and the anti-military factions there can’t stand it:The annual aerial show by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels — a San Francisco tradition dating back to 1981 that pumps millions into the local economy — is running into opposition from three local peace advocacy groups that are ca
 
June 6th will always be "D-Day"
It actually started on June 5th. And it almost didn’t start then. The weather had turned bad. A great storm had blown in from the Atlantic. High wind and high seas had forced ships of all kinds back into bays and inlets. Low clouds made it impossible for aircraft to find landmarks. If the weather didn’t break, nothing would happen until at least July.But the weather did break, and so, it began only a day later than planned.Th
 
VT-8, "The soul of America in Action"
That’s what Herman Wouk who wrote "War and Remembrance" called the men of Torpedo Squadron 8 who flew off the US carrier Hornet and into and annals of US military history.
 
General Betrayus?
Amanda at Think Progress tells us, or at least claims, that General Petraeus is no better than any of the rest of the scalawags that populate the military leadership in Iraq:In April, during the congressional debate over war funding, Gen. David Petraeus pushed back against a withdrawal timeline from Iraq “because we’re only about two months into the surge,” assuring Co
 
Clandestine entry just got easier
Amazing little technology story here (the article is a year old, but the wings are due out this year): A new military parachute system which fits wings on soldiers could enable them to travel to 200 kilometres (124 miles) after jumping, Jane’s Defence Weekly defence magazine said Friday.The system, which involves the d
 
Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori
Lord knows that a good portion of my life has been spent in and around the military. The son of a career Army officer and serving myself for 28 years of both active and reserve service, it has been a part of the majority of my life. I have had the privilege and honor over my lifetime to have met and known some of the finest people in the military that anyone could ever hope to meet. Incredible people who’ve put not only their service first, but ri
 
Pay raise for troops (or shooting yourself in the foot)
The Army Times headline says "White House: 3.5 percent pay hike unnecessary".In fact, what the White House says is a 3% payraise is sufficient, and 3.5% is unnecessary.That’s quite a difference. Of course that doesn’t stop the usual suspects, in thi
 
War Czar named
According to AP:An administration official says President Bush has chosen Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute _ the Pentagon’s director of operations _ to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as ’’warczar.’’Looks like we’re going to get a War Czar whether we like it or not. I wonder how those 4-star Combatant commanders are going to enjoy taking
 
The failures of military leadership redux (update)
Ralph Peters makes some interesting observations about today’s top military leaders:The Army hasn’t fielded a four-star with the breadth of vision to wage war at the strategic level and the killer instinct to win on the battlefield since Gen. Barry McCaffrey retired a dozen years ago.As the
 
MRAP will replace armored Humvee
If you’ve been wondering what the new vehicle that should increase the survivability of our troops against IEDs looks like, this is it:The Pentagon will phase out its armored Humvees in Iraq and Afghanistan and send in vehicles that bet
 
Listening to "Commanders on the ground" and such ...
MG John Batiste in November of last year:John Batiste, a retired Army major general who also joined in the call for Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation, described the Congressional proposals for troop withdrawals as “terribly naïve.”“There are lots of things that have to happen to set them up for success,” General Batiste, who commanded a division in Iraq, said i
 
Some Walter Reed interviews
While at the Milblogger’s Conference, I had the opportunity to meet Kevin Whalen who does "Pundit Review Radio" on Sunday nights and brings the best of the blogosphere to the radio on WRKO in Boston. This past weekend he did a number of interviews at Walter Reed. Take a few minutes and listen to the 4 of them. They’re short and so well worth the time. He also
 
Supporting the troops
Last panel. Gateway Pundit has a great roundup.
 
Milblogging and the GWOT
Moderated by John Donovan of "Castle Argghhh", this panel is an eclectic mix of bloggers who are discussing milblogging and its role within the GWOT.Panelists inclued Noah Schactman of Wired’s "Danger Room", Lex of "Neptunus Lex", Murdoc of "Murdoc Online", CPT A
 
From the Home Front
It is hard enough on the battle front, but equally as difficult is the home front.The Moderateor is Andi of Andi’s World. Andi is a phenomenal lady, married to an active duty soldier and has put the Milblog convention as well as another convention next week on the west coast known as SpouseBuzz which is a family support convention.Other panelists include Rachelle of " 
From the Front
Some of the premier milbloggers are now up on a panel. Some are vets, some are active, some are guys who have embedded with US units.First up, and moderating the panel, is Matt Burden of Blackfive.Sean from "Doc In The Box". Sean won a "Milbloggie" for Best Military Blogger of the Year, US Navy". Sean has had 3 tours "in the b
 
President Bush addresses the Milblogger Conference
OK, that was cool. We just were shown a pre-recorded message from President Bush acknowledging the Milblogger 2007 conference and thanking Milbloggers for the effort they’ve made during the war to bring the voice of the soldier to the American people. We’re now getting an update via live feed from Admiral Fox in Iraq. He’s re
 
Live Feed for the Milblogger Conference
You can catch the live feed of the milblogger conference right here.
 
A sense of community
One of the first things that strikes you when you walk in this group of mibloggers is a sense of community.An example could be found at the reception last night and it was best professed by someone completely unfamiliar with milbloggers and their efforts over the years.As mentioned, my niece, Delanna Studi, was in DC by coincidence and I got to see for the first time in 5 years. W
 
Army backs down on Milblogs
I’m on my way to help liveblog the Milbloggers Conference tomorrow and have been following a story which surfaced yesterday in which the Army had all but shut down active duty military bloggers with a new regulation.Matt, of Blackfive, is the best one to fill you in on this.
 
Spinning the spin: Jessica Lynch
Upfront I have to say the Pat Tillman fiasco is inexcusable. While I’m not sure, nor is anyone yet, of all the machinations which led to the false reports about his death, it should have never happened. And those responsible should, metaphorically, swing.However, lumping Jessica Lynch into that specific problem in an effort to characterize exaggeration as a more general problem within the military, is really an overreach. LTG DeLong gives us
 
General Failure
Apparently there’ll be an article published today in the Armed Forces Journal by LTC Paul Yingling which criticizes the past top military leadership in Iraq:Many majors and lieutenant colonels have privately expressed anger and frustration with the performance of Gen. Tommy R. Franks, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odiern
 
Iraq: Funding shifts for military begin
While "Alternate President" Nancy Pelosi, et al, are enjoying their spring break, RS Insider, via National Journal, points out that some of the fund shifting in the military the left claimed wouldn’t happen or if it did wouldn’t be such a big deal has beg
 
Where are Britain’s Terry Waters now?
Melanie Phillips, in a post entitled "Weep for Britain" relates this story of the fortitude, courage and principle by which most of the world learned to respect the British military. It’s a story of something which Phillips feels, in light of the Iranian hostage fiasco, has been irretrievably lost to them. From "The Edge of the Sword" (Star, 1981), first published in 1954, by the late Ge
 
It is a matter of culture
Militaries have their own cultures just as societies do. In fact, within a military, various services will have slightly different cultures.One of the striking things about the British hostage situation that has caused so many American veterans (and active duty members) to react with a level of shock is the apparent speed in which the hostages cooperated with the Iranians. As I’ve been theorizing, some of that has to do with a lack of training.
 
Mark this: It is the Democrats who continue to call for a draft
John Murtha:"I voted against the volunteer army." "We ought to not have a select few who volunteer. I think everybody ought to be obligated to serve." "I think [the draft is] absolutely needed." Don’t believe me ... watch it yourself:
 
Improving the Army’s officer corps
A fascinating discussion of officer promotions in the Army over at the Weekly Standard blog which speaks to a particular problem the Army suffers.It is fascinating to me because I’ve personally seen exactly what those commenting on it (Kagan, Tanji, Koehl) are talking about. Anyone who has served during war and peace know there are two
 
Pace on Homosexuals in the military (update)
I have to admit being less and less impressed with Gen Peter Pace’s judgment as time goes on. There have been a few instances that something he said in this hearing or that made me question his suitability for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. It’s more of a temperament thing than a competence problem. He’s certainly strikes me as being competent.
 
Before this gets blown all out of proportion
The San Francisco Chronicle’s headline reads "NATO’s U.S. forces in Kosovo may lose benefits of combat status." Another example of "not taking care of the troops?"Not really. It has to do with determining whether an area still qualifies as a hostile fire area (or a combat zone). If it does, there are certain ’benefits&rsq
 
Good riddance to former Army Sec Harvey
Why?Well it’s a personal pet peeve of mine I guess. As it turns out, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey didn’t resign over the leadership failures at Walter Reed Army Medical center, he was asked to leave.I could see the commander being relieved. That made sense. But I was a littl
 
My General is Better Than Your General
One of the constant, low-grade irritations I’ve felt for the last couple of years has been...generals. Military generals, I mean. And Admirals, too, I guess, though none immediately come to mind.Actually, it’s not the generals, per se that irritate me. It has been how both the pro-and anti-Iraq war people tend to trot out generals, in order to make what are essentially arguments from authority. The Democrats would trot out Tony Zi
 
Cry ’havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war!
I got about three lines into this and realized that I was reading something written by a combat infantryman. And his lament is the same lament I’ve heard since Vietnam. Apparently they’re just as true now as then. I thought we’d learned some of these lessons.
 
Inexcusable
According to BusinessWeek, the Inspector General (IG) for the Defense Department has found some persistent, and frankly, inexcusable problems:The Inspector General for the Defense Dept. is concerned that the U.S. military has failed to adequately equip soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially for nontraditional duties such as tra
 
US Troops don’t buy the "support the troops, but not the mission"
For those of you out there who still think that the "I support the troops but not the mission" is a position the troops accept as valid, this may finally make the point I’ve been making all along: 
Unity of Command and the "Surge"
There was a very important, but little noticed exchange in the Senate Armed Forces Committee confirmation hearing between Sen. John McCain and LTG Petraeus:SEN. MCCAIN: Do you understand the command and control relationships between the American and Iraqi forces in this new plan? I’m very concerned about unity of command.GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I share your concern. Again, on the one hand, though, we have pushed the Iraqis to do more, to
 
Big Green Big Blue
Kiss the green Army Service Uniform goodbye. This is the year that the Army goes back to being "Big Blue".Introduction in the Army Military Clothing Sales Stores should begin in fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007. Introduction in the Clothing Bag should begin first quarter 2009. The Mandatory Possession Date is expected to be fourth quarter fiscal year 2011.The white dress
 
Arming the Troops II
Once again, complaints about the AR15 platform are coming out of Iraq/Afghanistan.Official reports show high levels of dissatisfaction with the M-4 carbine, M16 rifle magazines, and M249 machine gun. The small size of the 5.56mm bullet used in these weapons is also highly controversial among some troops...In one official report, 13 to 20 perc
 
Grumbling in the ranks?
Yes, according to the Washington Wire:Vocal opposition to President’s Bush’s strategy of sending more than 20,000 additional troops to help secure Iraq has grown to include some of the troops themselves.A group of more than 50 active-duty military officers will deliver a petition to Congress on Tuesday signed by about 1,000 troops calling for a
 
Arming the Troops
Recently, I’ve been looking into some of the weapons-related comments coming from returnees from Iraq—mainly Marines, since that’s who I have the most contact with.One thing is clear: The level of satisfaction at the troop level with the M16A3/M16A4/M4 hasn’t improved with use in combat. The complaints are the same ones that those of us who served at the pointy end have been making since... well... Vietnam. The same two issues k
 
Surge Math (UPDATED)
Fred Kaplan has a piece out in Slate in which he says no matter how bright a guy David Petraeus is, the general slated to take over in Iraq, he just isn’t going to have the troop numbers necessary to do the job. That is if the job is counterinsurgency.If the job is counterinsurgency (COIN), argues Kaplan, by his own doctrine (Petraeus wrote the new Counter Insurgency manu
 
Our Nation’s Highest Military Honor
The Congressional Medal of Honor will be awarded posthumously Thursday to Marine Corporal Jason Dunham.The president will present the Medal of Honor to the family of Cpl. Jason Dunham during a ceremony in the White House’s East Room on Thursday, according to White House officials.Dunham was an infantryman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, when he w
 
Questioning the Surge (UPDATED)
Yesterday, Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman articulated the case for the much discussed “surge” of troops in Iraq. Said Lieberman:“The battlefield is in Baghdad and Anbar, not in Washington, and we need to support the president as he goes forward — hopefully — with exactly that kind of new initiative in Iraq,” he said. 
This Irks Me
Yet another thing to add to the list of things that irk me, is stuff like the image below:Why can’t anyone outside of the military ever get our country’s uniforms right? It’s not like the wear of uniforms is some sort of deeply-held national security secret. Every service’s uniform regulations are publicly published. But in the picture above, not one single uniform is cor
 
Blogger Andrew Olmsted heads to Iraq
Andrew Olmsted, who’s always been a good friend to this blog, and who blogs at his own blog and Obsidian Wings, is heading to Iraq soon. Olmsted, a major in the Army Reserve has been serving in the US but has now been tapped to serve in Iraq on a military training team:It seems that the situation in Iraq is worse than I thought. The Army has accepted my application to active d
 
Joint Chiefs agree with Powell
Yesterday I talked about the point Colin Powell was making concerning the lack of a clear mission for any increase in troops in Iraq.It appears the Joint Chiefs of Staff agree:But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have
 
Fixing the force before it is too late
The lead paragraph in Ann Scott Tyson’s piece about the military asking for increased troop levels:The Army and Marine Corps are planning to ask incoming Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Congress to approve permanent increases in personnel, as senior officials in both services assert that the nation’s global military str
 
The military: Career of last choice?
I guess for some Democrats, the military is the job of last choice for those who have no real prospects elsewhere:I want to make it abundantly clear: if there’s anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wan
 
China sends a message?
Bill Gertz reports that a Chinese submarine apparently successfully stalked the USS Kitty Hawk battle group recently:A Chinese submarine stalked a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group in the Pacific last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected, The Washington Times has learned. The surprise encounter highli
 
Semper Fi, Marines!
Happy birthday. Despite the inter-service rivalry and humor that goes back and forth between the services, I have a real fondness for Marines. They’re grunts after all and being a grunt is a universal thing. Infantrymen give each other grief but they truly are brothers in type and no matter the service they respect each other.Anyway, the Jarheads are celebrating today and rightfully so. A proud and elite service who’s history an
 
Look for big changes in Iraq says Ignatius
David Ignatius provides us with a peek into the Rumsfeld Defense Department which is, at least to me, very enlightening:Senior military officers referred to it as "the 7,000-mile screwdriver.’’ That was their way of describing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s penchant for micromanaging aspects of the Iraq War that interested him. And it&
 
OMG! War Plans!
Oh glory be, Lilly, get the dog in the house and head to the basement:The Pentagon has stepped up planning for attacks against North Korea’s nuclear program and is bolstering nuclear forces in Asia, said defense officials familiar with the highly secret process.The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the accelerated military p
 
A Desperate Cry for Help
John Kerry may have—inadvertently or not—implied that our troops serving in Iraq are...uh..less intellectually gifted than others. But it’s unusual for dummies to have such a keen sense of satire:One thing about American soldiers. They don’t have an excessive amount of respect for "authorities" who aren’t in the chain of command.And, so
 
Bye-bye Milbloggers
Some of the most interesting writing about the Global War on terror has come from the people fighting it: the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen who are part of the Milblogging community. But, as Jules Crittenden notes in the Boston Herald, the military is about to shut down that avenue of communication.Now, the military has assigned a National Guard
 
Army Strong
Ok, this is just an old Army vet who got a hell of a lot more from the Army than he ever gave it just being proud of his service.Indulge me.The Army’s new ad campaign "Army Strong": 
You can’t fight a "nice" war
Yesterday I was thinking about our podcast where we discuss the mistake we made in Iraq of standing by and doing nothing in the immediate aftermath of our military victory, and how that had, unfortunately, allowed the present violent situation in Iraq to begin to take root.I also thought back to Gulf War I and the "Highway of Death", where, when we had the Iraqi Army (and especially s
 
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves. Britons never will be slaves.
At one time Britain’s Royal Navy was the most formidable naval force the world had ever seen. The very existence and survival of the British Commonwealth was directly attributable to the power the Royal Navy projected.Although the RN has a storied past, it is presently a shadow of its former self. Concerning the upcoming UN force necessary to enforce the UN sanctions against North Korea  
Playing Politics the Army way.
I’ve been thinking about this since I heard about it yesterday:For planning purposes, the Army is gearing up to keep current troop levels in Iraq for another four years, a new indication that conditions there are too unstable to foresee an end to the war.Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, cautioned against reading too much into the plann
 
Democrats: Always Supporting the Troops...
The Democratic Party’s web site makes a big show of supporting our troops, which is nice. It’d be even nicer if the picture of the soldier they’re using actually was one of our troops. I’m sure the individual is a darned fine soldier, and he’s probably professional as hell.</td
 
The Military’s emerging new doctrine
I’ve spoken a number of times about the apparent cognative dissonance within the Pentagon concerning force structure with an eye to who we would most likely to be facing in future wars.Well it appears reality is finally making itself known in the "puzzle palace" with a new doctrine
 
Re-examining "Jointness"
I’ve been considering something the last few days, based on a few articles that have popped up in a number of places, including Armed Forces Journal, like this one, by Seth Cropsey, discussing the power and limits of jointness."Jointness" can be most easily defined as "u
 
When Should We Kill Foreigners?
An email correspondent has apparently been looking over some our old Neolibertarianism writings, and has asked me the following questions:[Y]ou declare that neolibertarians support: "a policy of using US military force solely at the discretion of the US, but only in circumstances where American interests are directly affected."Now, ironically, that sounds like something a paleoconservative might say. Supporting humanitarian intervention, only
 
More on NBC, Trophy and my blown gasket
Jon sent me a link to an article from DefenseTech about the Trophy system and the NBC - Lisa Meyers report on which I went off on yesterday (thanks for the link Jon).DefenseTech takes a shot at the NBC report, which, if I read it correctly, doesn’t so much dispute the content as much as it disputes the timing. As Jason Sigger of  
Pentagon Politics at the expense of soldier’s lives
This absolutely inflames me when I see nonsense like this.First the story. Israel, through Rafael, its armament development authority, has developed a vehicle mounted system which tracks and destroys RPGs (and other anti-tank missiles) before they can strike the vehicle.RPGs, or rocket propelled grenades, are the scourge of the insurgent fighters. They’re
 
Just War: The principle of Double Effect
One of the arguments now raging, at least around here, is that about the killing of innocent civilians by the Israeli military. For some the argument is reduced to this: killing any civilians is unjustified and thus morally the Israelis are as bad as Hezbollah.The given here is Hezbollah is "bad". And the moral equivalence is that the Israelis are just as "bad" because the civilians
 
A US Army of Mercenaries
Kos sits down for an interview and immediately slurs his "brothers and sisters in uniform"...TAPPER: A comment a lot of people cite as an example of the harshness of your rhetoric on your Web site is after four contractors were killed in Fallujah, you wrote these are mercenaries making money off the war, screw them. And I wonder if you regret having written that?<
 
NYT: Skinheads in Baghdad
Yes folks we have a new report that claims thousands, thousands I tell you, of skinheads are in the military thanks to, wait for it, recruiting problems and the lowering of standards because of the war in Iraq.A NY Times story today opens with this:A decade after the Pentagon declared
 
Watada Charged for refusing to go to Iraq
As I mentioned in my previous post about this case (actually I mentioned it in the comments), Watada has been charged with violations of the UCMJ which have nothing to do with his reasons for refusing to go to Iraq. One was expected: missing movement.The other two apparently  
Tactics and Stuff
McQ’s post on the apparent tactical error made by the squad leader of the troops that were kidnapped and killed a few days ago has raised the ire of a commenter, who opines:As an infantry officer of 10 years, I am well versed in the book answer on things. Having commanded a rifle company in Iraq, I am also well versed on the various considerations that you take into mind when em
 
Iraq: 2 Missing American Soldiers
Not a good development:The American command in Baghdad confirmed that two Americans were missing on Friday after insurgents attacked a checkpoint they had set up on a canal crossing near the Euphrates River. One soldier was killed in the attack, which appeared to be an elaborate lure intended to isolate
 
The anti-war left’s newest "hero"
I have very strong feelings about this, but I don’t believe it necessary to go into them. I’m sure most regular readers of this blog know full well how I feel about this person. Suffice it to say this guy won’t be showing up on any "Project Hero" posts:In a rare case
 
Keeping Haditha in perspective
In a blog entry entitled "Hijacking Haditha" Michael Yon provides some much needed perspective to those who would narrowly focus on the alleged events there without understanding what troops are faced with daily and how, in the vast majority of cases, they react to the violence of Iraq:Few people know what happened last November in Haditha. I first heard about it when the
 
The 6th of June, 1944
As incredible an event as it was an invasion, the dawning of that grey day changed the world. And it was an event carried that day by mostly 19 and 20 year old men for whom the beaches of Normandy were their first, and for many their last, taste of combat. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the d
 
Pentagon withdraws from Geneva Convention
I was afraid this would happen. The McCain ammendment required that we "establish the Army Field Manual as the uniform standard for the interrogation of Department of Defense detainees". So what does the Bush administration do when Congress insists we go by the book? They try to rewrite the book.
 
Haditha: another perspective
I’m still not commenting on the particulars of Haditha until the investigation is completed, charges filed and the court martials held.But here’s a little perspective for those among us who are quick to say that the alleged murders in Haditha are only the tip of the iceberg and that, in fact, it is something which happens all to often. My guess is CNN reporter A
 
On memorial day, remember it all
Cassandra at "Villainous Company" addresses the situation in Haditha as it should be. I agree completely with her. We need to look it right in the eye, unflinchingly, and do what is right. But we need to avoid making it a spectacle or a rush to judgement. All I can add to her post is "well said, Cassandra".
 
Kerry still fighting the Swift Boat Veterans
In the 1972 Olympic Games, the USSR won a contested basketball game against the USA after refs repeatedly re-set the clock, giving the Soviet team more chances at a winning shot — one of which, they eventually made. That game is still hotly contested to this day, among people who care about such things. Still, as hot as the tempers run, it would be very, very odd to see the game re-run on television, or recounted in great detail within the New York Times. Y
 
What real heros do with their medals
A pretty neat story and perfect for Memorial Day.
 
IVAW Jettisons Macbeth
The organization Iraq Veterans Against The War has given Jesse Macbeth a Dishonorable Discharge:Questions have been raised about Jesse MacBeth and his claims of service in Iraq. MacBeth came to Iraq Veterans Against the War in January 2006 asking for help, and the organization and its members extended itself to help him in various ways. Assisting veterans is one of the founding principles of IV
 
Marine investigation complete: War Crimes in Haditha
I’m glad an investigation took place, but I’m sorry to see the result...A military investigation into the deaths of two dozen Iraqis last November is expected to find that a small number of marines in western Iraq carried out extensive, unprovoked killings of civilians, Congressional, military and Pentagon officials said Thursday. Thought it happens i
 
Speaking of Uniforms...
It looks like the Air Force Uniform Board is gonna get rid of the stupid business suit "uniform" that stupid Merril McPeak forced on us during his ill-starred tenure as COSAF. Man, were we all glad to see him go. The stupid silver Navy-style sleeve rings for officer ranks got punted the day after he retired, but we still had to keep the stupid US Airways uniform that stupid Merril McPeak made us wear.Anyway, there’s a new Service Dress
 
A tale told by an idiot,
Full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Well, it appears that the Jesse Macbeth video has disappeared from peacefilms.org. In it’s place is a pretty picture of the world. It’s nice. There’s no message, or any other accessible content at the site, although one lefty blogger, who’s quite perturbed with us, notes:STOP PRESS STOP PRESS a message appeared on the peacefilms.org website
 
Out, Damned Spot!
Apparently, someone over at Just Citizens decided to do a little citizen journalism, and contacted the Army about "Special Forces Ranger" Jesse MacBeth.Today, the Army ran a check on Mr. MacBeth’s credentials. It turns out, not surprisingly to anybody with half a mind, that Mr. MacBeth has NO Army service record. Anywhere. Period. This is a direct quote given to me by
 
The winter soldier is back: Jesse MacBeth is a fraud
A comment on another post brought "Ranger" Jesse MacBeth to our attention. Apparently it brought MacBeth to a number of people’s attention. And it isn’t attention MacBeth is going to enjoy.Presently MacBeth is the star of a vid
 
The Senior Senator from Massachussetts
Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrat icon, "lion of the Senate", senior Senator from Massachussetts and a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee said this a few months ago on Meet the Press:When we send over Americans that have had 12 weeks of training, like the nephew of my wife, and is a tail gunner on a Striker—12 weeks—and we have the best-trained American servicemen
 
Style v. Substance
It seems this is the week for generals. This time it is active duty generals and criticism for the way they act by a British officer:A senior British officer has criticised "shoulder-holster" American generals for trying to emulate film stars.Brig Alan Sharpe, who worked alongside Americans in Baghdad, said there was a "strong streak of Holly
 
Those darn generals
The Washington Post has taken an interesting editorial stand on the whole generals/Rumsfeld controversy. Their conclusion" Rummy should go, and generals should STFU.The money ’grafs:Much of [the generals’] analysis strikes us as solid — but the rebellion is problematic nonetheless. It threatens the essent
 
Military Competence: applying the lessons from Abu Ghraib
Jon correctly highlights some military incompetence below. As we all know, the debacle at Abu Ghraib was also a result of military incompetence at various levels.The good news is the military has learned from the problems encountered there and has responded with a solution:Army leaders a
 
Another retired general speaks out
This time, in support of Rumsfeld. LTG Michael DeLong, a USMC general who was the number 2 man in CENTCOM has his say in the NY Times. It hits me as a pretty level headed assessment of Rumsfeld, warts and all, by a guy who worked with him almost daily. He was tuned into the whole operation from 9/11 through the Iraq war as the "answer man" for Rumsfeld - th
 
The Generals and Rumsfeld, part 2
Call me underwhelmed with MG John Batiste’s interview on NPR.On the other hand, this sounds much closer to the truth, at least from my discussions with old comrades in arms. It is a response from an active duty combat arms Lieutenant Colonel citing a
 
Ex-generals call for Rumsfeld’s ouster
I see some ex-generals are demanding Donald Rumsfeld be sacked. More precisely, some retired generals are making the demand.Frankly I find that to be disturbing. If they were so opposed to what Rumsfeld and crew were doing, I wonder if in fact they shouldn’t have put their stars on the line when they served. Joe Galloway, a journalist wh
 
Losing Junior Officers: NYT spin
The NYT is reporting that the Army is alarmed that junior officers, especially captains, are leaving at an alarming rate.Or so they would have you believe. Young Army officers, including growing numbers of captains who leave as soon as their initial commitment is fulfilled, are bailing out of act
 
Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think what Seymour Hersh is breaking as a hot story is, in reality, pretty run-of-the-mill Pentagon planning:The administration of President George W. Bush is planning a massive bombing campaign against Iran, including use of bunker-buster nuclear bombs to destroy a key Iranian suspected nuclear weapons facility, The N
 
Military deaths since 1980
Military duty is inherently dangerous, even in peace time. Some interesting numbers [pdf] have been released. They give the totals and reasons for military deaths from 1980 through 2004.Of course we’ve had no full-scale war on our hands in that time other than Iraq (yes we had various actions and even the Gulf "War", but certainly nothing like Vietnam, Kor
 
Cleaning up the gene pool
I bet you wouldn’t have figured that as a job for the US Navy, but then, perhaps you’re not familiar with the average IQ among pirates in the Indian Ocean.USS Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez returned fire early today on a group of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, killing one and wounding five, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command officials reported today.
 
Special Ops Forces expansion plan
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been discussing the needed shape of the furture military and the expanding need for special operations forces over several posts. I’ve been of the opinion that a rather large expansion of Army special opera
 
The Return of Ranger Merriken
I belong to the US Army Ranger Association and receive their quarterly newsletter, "Ranger Register". It is the usual association newsletter, filled with stories about association activities, reports, where the convention will be and stories about members. In this month’s issue there was a story which just blew me away. I thought I’d share it with you.In June 26th of 2003, a young Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment was greviously
 
Iraq: Army may shorten tours
Another indicator that things are going better in the effort to train up the Iraqi military and police forces is the possibility of shortening the tours of Army units presently in Iraq:The Army will move to shorter tours of duty in Iraq as American forces take on different roles in the months ahead. Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told U.S. News
 
Structuring the Army properly for the future
Larry Korb, asst. Sec Def under Reagan, isn’t all that impressed with the findings of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) as it pertains to the Army. He feels the Army is presently dangerously stretched and needs to be larger. I share his view. While it’s not broken at this point, it can’t sustain this present effort in Iraq indefinitely. And, given th
 
Recruiting: "Broken" military holding its own
January’s recruiting numbers: ServiceRecruitedGoalPercentage Army8,3378,100
 
More on the Guantanamo Detainees
An email correspondent whom I trust provides me with the following information.The statistical information that Stuart Taylor relied upon for his summary appears not to have come from the Seton Hall study, but rather from the background info for separate National Journal stories, also written by Corine Hegland, that can be found here and  
The Guantanamo Detainees
I have to take some issue with Jon’s post below. Let me stipulate that I agree with Jon’s ultimate conclusion, which is that the administration has been fundamentally dishonest about the Guantanamo detainees. Yet, though I ultimately arrive at the same place, I reject Jon’s reasoning in its entirety. His objections rest on a deeply flawed premise, and a fundamental lack of understanding about the law of armed conflict, which, in
 
Future War: The shape of things to come in force structure
Dale put an interesting and thoughtful post up concerning future wars and the varying opinions on how the force should be equipped and structured. For the most part I agree with his analysis and assessment. In this piece, I’ve mostly focused on these thoughts by Dale:If I were to really think about it, I would probably come up with a proposal to redefine the missions of the Arm
 
Low-Intensity Conflict and the Transformation in Military Affairs
Ralph Peters isn’t a blind convert to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s doctrine of Transformation in Military Affairs (TMA).From Iraq’s Sunni Triangle to China’s military high command, the counterrevolution in military affairs is well underway. We are seduced by what we can do; our enemies focus on what they must do. We have
 
US Military: Under Strain, at Risk
Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has chaired a study on the state of the US military, the product of which is entitled: "The US Military: Under Strain and at Risk." [pdf] Among other things, they concluded that the current strain on the military, "if not soon relieved, will have highly corrosive and potentially long-term effects on the force." If ad ho
 
The Army isn’t broken
There seems to be a concerted effort among some to make this conventional wisdom:Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.I’m not ready to buy into this yet. That’s primarily because many of the i
 
Technology adapts to our new war
Most military people will tell you that no matter how hard we try not to, we always train to fight the last war. That’s because wars are unique. The time, terrain, technology, enemy and other variables make each conflict a one-of-a-kind, and what any military ends up doing is adapting its tactics to the tempo and techniques of its latest enemy.Advances in technology are one reason why all wars are different. The longbow decimated the charges of a
 
Trying to make something out of nothing
First a fact or two. Total active duty personnel in the US military is 1,098,397. Now add 861,000 Reserve and National Guard.That’s a total of just under2,000,000 in the military.Now to the AP story entitled "More soldiers tr
 
Citizens Against the Troops
Sometimes words fail. Sometimes you just have to point to something and let others form the words for themselves. From probably one of the vilest websites I’ve ever been unfortunate enough to find, a Dec. 2nd posting:"I was surprised and elated to hear the news that 10 marines were killed in one blast
 
First troop cuts officially announced
Note that these cuts announced by Rumsfeld take the troop strength under the 138,000 troop baseline which the Pentagon has been maintaining in Iraq. This cut is over and above the 12,000 to 15,000 troops who were maintained above the baseline for the Dec. 15 election (and who are also coming home):The United States will have two fewer brigades in Iraq in 2006, Defense S
 
Remember them at Christmas
If you spent any time in the military, and were ever deployed, chances are you’ve spent a Christmas away from home and your loved ones. As I can personally attest, it’s a tough time. Yet, as you’ll see, it’s also a good time in a sense. Because while you’re not at home with your family, yo