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The Senior Senator from Massachussetts
Posted by: McQ on Friday, May 05, 2006

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 and the best soldiers in the world, there's no reason in the world that we can't expect Iraqis to be trained with four months, eight months, 12 months so that they are going to fight for their country and they're going to be willing to die for it. And I think that is what is missing when we hear these numbers batted around like we did today.
I'll give him a pass on the "tail gunner on a a Striker" remark. My guess is he meant "air guard" on a Stryker which is nothing more than the guy sitting in the cupola exposed and manning the machine gun when the vehicle moves. It's not a primary MOS by any stretch.

What I find hard to forgive is his apparent ignorance about what it takes, institutionally, to turn out a trained soldier in 12 weeks.

First there are the facilites. Posts with barracks, ranges, maneuver room, support facilities, etc.

Then there is cadre. Officers and NCOs with years of experience who's job is to turn civilians into soldiers. There's also a civilians support structure at work.

Then there are the logistics of the operation. Meals, uniforms, bedding, ammunition, radios, weapons and parts.

Maintenance anyone? Who does it, and who trains them?

Command and control. Senior officers and NCOs aren't just designated, they earn their rank through years of experience. And they have to be trained as well.

There has to be an approved program of instruction (POI) and, of course it has to meet the needs of the miltiary.

All of these have to be in place and functioning before the first recruit can be pushed through a 12 week system. It doesn't just happen by magic. If it were as easy as Kennedy contends, every third world nation would have an army to rival ours.

Of course none of that infrastructure was in place when we began to rebuild the Iraqi army. This was a program which had to be built from scratch. And since there are no short cuts to turning out soldiers like Kennedy's nephew, you'd think a senior Senator on the Armed Services Committee would at least be passingly familiar with the process and requirements of training such soldiers.

Which leaves me to wonder if he's as ignorant as this sounds or just flat disingenuous. And, frankly, I'm not sure which is worse.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

To paraphrase JFK:

This nation should commit itself, before this decade is out, of voting out this moonbat, and returning him safely to Hyannisport.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Unfortunately as long as there are voters in Massachusetts, and a Kennedy to run, there WILL be a Kennedy in office, no matter how drunk, stupid, pompus and hypocritical he may be.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
True, looker, but why is that? Do the Kennedys have a leprechaun they brought over when they emigrated from Ireland? Does it cast a magical spell in every election of a Kennedy?
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
It has something to do with a place called Camelot. The problem with the dynasty is the Once and Future kings are dead, and all they have left is the Toad from the moat, so they vote him in anyway, because he’s a Kennedy.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Kennedy ought to know all that as much as MSNBC ought to know there is no such thing as a "Striker"... but they don’t.
Written By: steve sturm
Man this is a BAD day, when I feel sorry for Congressperson McKinney AND stand for Ted Kennedy, but really I don’t think you can expect too much in the way of military savvie from 70% of the US Senate and not much from the MSM. It may or may not be sad, after all can we be experts on EVRYTHING, well yes of course I can be, but the average mortal is much more limited. I daresay when you, as a transcriber hear, "Stryker" you write "striker"...and think of "Ted Stryker" and wonder why the Army named a vehicle for a movie character, even if he WAS screamingly funny.

It’s like expecting Sen Kennedy to know the four amino acids or what ATP is, or the average reporter to know what they are. I don’t know’em and I only remember ATP from an article this morning. I’m NOT an idiot, but I’m not that knowlegeable either.

Of course I don’t publicly comment on Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and ????? either.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Kennedy remains in the Senate because he brings Mass. pork-barrel spending projects such as the big dig. Earmarking that union labor must be used is an added bonus. Why do you think Ted Stevens, Trent Lott, Bob Byrd, etc continue to get re-elected?
Written By: bains
URL: http://
I don’t think you can expect too much in the way of military savvie from 70% of the US Senate and not much from the MSM.
Well if the 70% are not senior members of the Armed Svc Committee I might grant your point. And furthermore, the training is a process and is a huge part of what our Army does. Anyone who doesn’t understand what it entails and how it works doesn’t deserve to be on the Armed Svc Committee or taken seriously about anything he says about the military.

"Tail gunner, indeed".

As for the misspelling of Stryker by MSNBC, big surprise. If Kennedy knows little about the military, MSNBC knows even less.

BTW, as an interesting note, the "Stryker" is named after two enlisted soldiers each named Stryker but not related, both of whom were awarded the Medal of Honor. One in WWII and one in VN.
Written By: McQ
This might be an eye-opener for some: a major problem in training the Iraqis is non-coms and one of the biggest problems in that area is literacy.

When you read accounts of 60%, or 70%, or higher literacy in most of the countries of the Middle East, it just ain’t true.
Written By: Dave Schuler
Send that to Ted, will you Dave. He might learn something.

Heh ... who am I trying to kid.
Written By: McQ
Hmmm, if literacy is so low, how do these guys know what the Koran says?

Oh, right, self-appointed imams tell them.

I watched some MEMRI clips of the Iraqi TV show where they show insurgents they caught, and they didn’t seem to be very "literate" if you know what I mean.

Literacy campaign in Iraq could be very useful.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

Hmmm, if literacy is so low, how do these guys know what the Koran says?
Rote memorization. If you’ve ever seen video of how madrassas operate, they sure seem to “read” the Qu’ran by group recitation. The other answer is they don’t: they take the word of others.

It’s more complex than simple literacy. Arabic is diglossic (a high/literary language and a low/vernacular language). In the case of some remote dialects the difference between Modern Standard Arabic (the high language) and the vernacular is enough to render them mutually incomprehensible.

This is a subject I’ve posted about at some length.

I’ve seen estimates of the literacy rates in some Gulf states as low as 25%. It’s controversial: everybody has their own numbers.
Written By: Dave Schuler
Basic training in the army takes 9 weeks. Whatever MOS this individual has evidently requires only 3 weeks of training. I haven’t checked but I do not think the army has an MOS which requires only 3 weeks of training. It may be difficult to imagine, but I think the Sen. may be in error as to the amount of training this individual received.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Regarding the number of Kennedys in public office, we should be thankful that alcohol, to paraphrase Shakespeare, increases desire while decreasing ability, else we would have an appallingly large number of them in congress.
(Migratory fowl?)
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
He’s talking about AIT, which is why I pointed out that "tail gunner" isn’t a primary MOS.

But you’re right to point out the additional 9 weeks for basic.
Written By: McQ
"Which leaves me to wonder if he’s as ignorant as this sounds or just flat disingenuous."

It’s 50/50, depending on the issue.

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Good points, and I’m a partisan Democrat. I doubt he was implying it should only take 12 weeks, but then again your post didn’t hinge on such an implication. It does make you wonder: If 12 weeks is such an unrealistic time frame to train an army (and I agree with you that it is) then why did Rummy say "six weeks, I doubt six months"? Just like reconstruction would cost 1.7 billion and oil prices would go down, right?

Nobody can tell me we didn’t know this would happen, but still they said it wouldn’t. The masses weren’t asking questions and they liked it that way. The few who did were torn down and shouted down. Now that we’re here, you’re right that we shouldn’t expect great results, but isn’t that what they promised?
Written By: Snook
Now that we’re here, you’re right that we shouldn’t expect great results, but isn’t that what they promised?
Might want to READ a few of the speeches, Snook... yes the Administration promised great things, not today or tomorrow. you might have missed the phrases about "long struggles" and the like in your BDS. As was said above, makes me wonder if you’re that ignorant or just disingenuous.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"He’s talking about AIT"

Where does he say that?
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Dave Schuler and others, re: literacy...

The really insidious thing about literacy in a "Holy Book" society is, when they become able to read the Qu’ran themselves, they’re going to be able to make their own interpretations of it. That means no more having to rely on religious "elites" in their society.

Does this sound familiar?

If so, you’re at least passingly aware of what the printing press did to Europe. All those Bibles...

I say — (to use a tired cliché) — strike while the iron is hot. Let’s flood the literati there with as many translated Enlightenment and pro-liberty works as we can find. Something that actually works to our advantage is that they have so few books of their own; we’ve developed our memes in a highly competitive, highly literate society for the last few hundred years.

Some will say my idea smacks of cultural imperialism.
Guilty as charged.

Because what really wins epochal wars is one of the constitutional forms being discredited. And that makes the war of ideas the real war here, because we can’t do something as simple as dismantle their states. That worked on the Fascists and Communists because they had invested virtually every part of their ideological hopes on their respective States.
Our new enemies have cleverly rejected that for the time being, making a theocratic fascist pan-Islamic state a future aspiration rather than the initial instrument. For the moment they are decentralized and fighting 4th-generation warfare, meaning that they are capable of operating across borders rather easily. We have to do the same, and outcommunicate the bastards.

Anyway, this is getting rather far from the topic of Ted Kennedy, but it caught my attention.
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
testing. yeah, kennedy, tail gunners, alcohol.
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Where does he say that?
As I read it he was inferring that his nephew was trained as a ’tail gunner’ in those 12 weeks. That alludes to MOS training as we don’t train everyone in the same job in basic.

The fact that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about doesn’t keep me from reading between the lines (heh, figure that sentence out, but I think you know what I mean).
Written By: McQ
I think you’re far too kind to Kennedy, McQ. The problem isn’t that Kennedy is ignorant it’s that 99% of the people who hear/read what Kennedy said is ignorant. And I’d bet the children’s college fund that Kennedy knows that as well. Just look at Timmy "Supply Curve" Russert. He didn’t bat an eye(and neither would I if I didn’t read QandO). Forgive him(and me) not Kennedy, who is, I believe, the ranking Democratic member of the Armed Services Committee.
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Correction to above:

Levin is the ranking Democrat rather than Kennedy.

Hopefully the point still stands.
Written By: frontinus
URL: http://
Ted kennedy the liar of the senate you cant trust this fool
URL: http://
not today or tomorrow.
When they said "Mission Accomplished" and they put it in the past tense, were they talking about years in the future then too, or was that just the one lie they ever told and you hate how liberals always bring that time up? Or should I have read all the speeches to really get what they were saying? I watch the news and I saw what 80% of the country saw, and I heard "I doubt 6 months" and I heard $1.7B and I heard WMDs (none, or at least so few that we still can’t find them) and Al Qaeda (only contact with Al Qaeda was supressing it) and Nuclear Weapons. Yellow cake was in the mother of all speeches, but I guess I should take for granted that I am supposed to also read the news when they correct the speeches — the "12 words" and, "the president didn’t mean [energy independence] literally."

And I suppose I’m not supposed to think that it’s dishonest to say one thing to 90M Americans and then correct it for the 1M who are listening and remembering what comes next. Nor am I supposed to think that all the pundits and cheerleaders — who never imagined an insurgency and the basic problems we’re seeing today, and spent their time on air and in print talking about everything but the problems we would be forced to deal with for the next 5 or 15 years — shouldn’t be listened to any more; *sshole pundits are a dime a dozen, why not find one who, despite his pro-war stance, knew this crap was coming? If there is a mess today (and there is) then everyone is to blame who should have known but never thought about it, or thought and never told.

Calling me names isn’t going to change my mind or discredit what I’ve said, but you knew that didn’t you? You should tell all the chicks at the bar about how you totally burned me using the same diction as the original post! That was killer awesome.
Written By: Snook
"I’m a partisan Democrat."
"When they said "Mission Accomplished"... yadda yaddaI watch the news [on CBS, CNN, etc.]...and I heard WMDs...and Al Qaeda...Yellow cake..."
Come on, someone is giving us a parody of of the typical uninformed Democrat here. Come out and take a bow.
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://

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