Saturday, July 31, 2004

60 Minutes: We’re waiting for the retraction:

We know that Joe Wilson is a liar, thanks to the 9/11 report.

Now we have
MORE information from GEN Franks on the value of Richard “Bin Laden Family Transportation Coordinator” Clarks intel to CENTCOM while at NSC.

Franks singles out White House Counter-terrorism Czar Richard Clarke as
never providing him with "a single page of actionable intelligence" and
of engaging in mostly wishful thinking. Franks also believes the U.S.
invested too much in electronic spy surveillance and not enough in
spies. "We can't send a Princeton-educated New York lawyer to
infiltrate al-Qaeda. To get information, we have to marry the devil or
at least employ him. You have to deal."

After so many hours supporting Wilson and Clark, should we wait long for CBS to do the right thing…..hello……hello……..

Convoy Attack in Baghdad

Not a gore-fest, not a bunch of body parts all over the place.

What it does show is how a simple drive to work in Iraq isn't. Turn up the volume, and think hard when someone says, "Oh Fred. He is just in a support job over there."

And no, I have no idea where they guys in the Humvee are shooting. And I bet they aren't 100% either.

..... coming soon to a town near you, if we don't do this right.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Lieutenant John Forbes Kerry's FITREPs

There is something for everyone here. No commentary required, if you know how to read FITREPS. Though I don't think they are as bad as they say, the Swiftboats Vets link has a good FITREP brief for those that do not know how to "read the tea leaves".

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Ignore the pundits and politicians in an election year. Talk to the Warriors.

In a change from some of the FOD published by GEN Zinni over the last couple of years, The Naval Institute's magazine Proceedings has a great article from a Marine about Iraq and the National Command Authority's decision to go in. This from the perspective of a trigger puller. A must read.

Ask the Warriors about Iraq
Lieutenant Colonel (select) Stanton S. Coerr, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Proceedings, August 2004

President George W. Bush gathered U.S. support for invading Iraq by using two arguments: Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein supported al Qaida terrorism. Now, vicious words and gratuitous finger pointing keep coming from people who insist they were misled. Politicians and TV experts sharply critique the Bush administration. Yet, I have not heard a word from anyone who actually carried a rifle or flew an aircraft in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and its ugly aftermath. What about consulting the guys who had, and still have, the most to lose?

As a Marine Corps reserve major, I was the senior U.S. officer attached to the 1 Royal Irish Battlegroup (a reinforced British rifle battalion). I commanded five Marine air-naval gunfire liaison teams and was the liaison officer between the U.S. Marines and the battlegroup. Seventeen days after activation on 14 January 2003, my Marines and I were in Kuwait, ready to go to war.

Having studied political science at Duke University and government at Harvard University, I understand realpolitik, geopolitical jujitsu, economics, and the realities of the Arab world. I am not a blind follower. But the war made sense then, and our presence there makes sense now.

At dawn on 22 March, we crossed the border in trace of the 5th Marine Regiment's sweep through the Ramaylah oil fields. We were the guys you saw on TV every night: filthy, hot, exhausted. Although the National Rifle Association's right-to-bear-arms mantra is a joke to me, I carried a loaded rifle, a loaded pistol, and a knife at all times. I pointed a loaded weapon at another human for the first time in my life. We killed numerous Iraqi soldiers. I directed air and artillery strikes in concert with my British artillery officer counterpart. Close up, we saw dead bodies, helmets with bullet holes in them, handcuffed prisoners, and oil well fires with flames leaping 100 feet in the air. In short, I did what I had spent 14 years training to do.

Apart from the violence, a number of things lifted our hearts. Thousands of Iraqis ran into the streets at the sight of us, screaming, waving, and cheering. They ran from their homes when our vehicles roared in from the south, bringing us bread, tea, cigarettes, and photos of their children. Much was lost in language differences, although my clear impression was: "Thank God, someone has arrived with bigger men and bigger guns to be on our side at last." We saw in the eyes of the people how a generation of fear reflects in the human soul.

For those who oppose the war, let there be no mistake: the Ba'ath regime was the Nazi Party of the second half of the 20th century. Saddam Hussein's brutal dictatorship raped, tortured, murdered, extorted, and terrorized the Iraqis for 35 years. Mass graves bear testimony to countless crimes. One U.S. Marine battalion liberated a prison populated entirely by children, where the jailers had brutalized the weakest of them and killed the strongest.

The Ba'ath Party retained power by placing officials in every city and village to keep the people under its boot. We found munitions and weapons everywhere. In Ramaylah, the local Ba'ath leader's desk contained brass knuckles and a handgun. These are the people who are in prison, where they belong.

Consider this analogy. For years, you watched the same large man come home at night. You listened to his yelling and the screams of children and the noise of breaking glass. You and everyone on the block knew he was beating his family. On behalf of the neighborhood, you asked him to stop. Then you begged; finally, you threatened him. Nothing worked. So, after 13 years, you muster the meanest guys you can find. You kick his door down, punch him in the face, and drag him away. The house is a mess, the family poor and abused. But now there is hope. You did the right thing.

I can speak with authority on the opinions of British and American infantrymen: at no time did anyone say, or imply, to any of us that we were invading Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction and avenge the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. We were there to oust a tyrant and return Iraq to its people. Marines carry out policy decisions, not make them, and none of us had the slightest doubt about the righteousness of our actions.

Take it from someone who was there and stood to lose everything. We must stay the course in Iraq. We owe it to the Iraqis and to the world.

Lieutenant Colonel (select) Coerr, a Marine reservist activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom, is an attack helicopter pilot and forward air controller. He is in the Home Depot Store Leadership Program in San Diego, California.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part I

N2, call your office. N2, call your office.

I don’t know about you, but now and then I get a kick out of watching those old back & white movies you only see at 0300 about a bunch of guys on safari in Africa where everything goes wrong.

One of my favorite scenes, copied by hundreds of movies, is where the “Great White Hunter” is stalking a
Kudu or something and suddenly he hears a rustling of leaves behind him. He stops, listens for a minute, shrugs his shoulders, and then continues hunting. Everyone watching the movie is thinking “Watch out! There is a lion behind you!!!!” Well, I won’t spoil what happens later on in the scene, but I am sure you can figure it out.

Anyway, lions, tigers, dragons, whatever.

Here is the seque.

Looks like the PLAN, Peoples Liberation Army Navy (now if there was ever an organization that needed to restructure itself just to get a new name), continues their long-march towards the next large war if we want them to or not. Go to the
bottom of the page to see our new friend, Yuan.


I know we have our “WMD in 45 minutes” experienced intel types focused on, quite rightly, Bin Laden and the Funky Bunch, but a new construction submarine, even a evolutionary development from Song and Kilo, should not be a surprise to anyone.

Enough of the babble about the shortage of Arab linguist preventing proper intel on Muslim extremist. You cannot swing a dead cat (prepared in the Cantonese Style of course), in a major university’s engineering department without hitting both native born, 1st-3rd generation American, Taiwanese or Red Chinese (I love that Cold War term). AND WE DON’T HAVE A METRIC BUTT-TON OF INTEL ON MARITIME CONSTRUCTION!?!?!?!?! Sigh. We must be focused on
more important things involving the Western Pacific region.

As they continue to build their
submarine fleet, we are focused elsewhere. Say what you want about the Chinese, they are very focused on their long term strategic needs. They will continue to study the way we do business at sea, and they will make sure they are ready when the call comes. Are we?

A lot of folks hear rustling in the woods behind us.

Friday, July 23, 2004

#1 Threat to National Security: Arrogance, Incompetence, and Cluelessness

Well, lookie here. As an poster-child of the title of this post, one of my favorite players from the Clinton administration has reared her, um, distinguished head. It looks like Hazel O’Leary has some issues with waiting with the rest of the great unwashed.

For those that have luckily forgotten, Ms. O’Leary is the genius that made the color-coded security badges ar Los Alamos labs changed to all one color so, and lets all repeat at the same time, SO EVERYONE IS EQUAL. Well, the clueless one didn’t want to hear that there is a myriad of different classification for different clearances to limit exposure to little things like NUCLEAR SECRETS to those that do not have a need to know. A typical PC worry-wart, she sees everything through the color of someone’s skin.

I cannot believe she was hired to run Fisk University. At least the nation’s future isn’t at stake. The sad thing is that she has the future of her students in her incompetent hands.

Another case of rewarding failure.

Wesley, how very sad.

Yep, I know, this isn't the timeliest post, but some foolishness is so mind-boggling that it is truly timeless.  
Note to military professionals: when you retire, retire your ego as well.  Otherwise, it will force you to sell your soul to the lowest bidder.

Hmmmm, maybe we should add a new feature, the WALL OF SHAME. Got to figure out how.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The draft, the elite, and the make-up of the military

Representative Rangel call your office, your jock was found over at the Harvard MBA program's computer room……

I am not sure what is more irritating when it comes to miseducated, 1960’s-hangover (Not you Rep. Rangle, you served your country very well in Korea, I just don’t agree with your draft idea, respectfully) people who always start their chant about “the need of a draft” and/or “war is only fought by the poor and uneducated” bla, bla, bla.

Well, for those who read Generation Kill by Rolling Stone embed Evan Wright, you should be familiar with Nathaniel Fick.

In an OP-ED piece on 20 AUG, he knocks it out of the ballpark. Here is a short clip:

“Many of my enlisted marines were college-educated; some had been to graduate school. All had volunteered once for the Marines, again for the infantry, and a third time for recon. They were proud to serve as part of an elite unit. Like most demanding professionals, they were their own harshest critics, intolerant of their peers whose performance fell short.

The dumb grunt is an anachronism. He has been replaced by the strategic corporal. Immense firepower and improved technology have pushed decision-making with national consequences down to individual enlisted men. Modern warfare requires that even the most junior infantryman master a wide array of technical and tactical skills.“

But read it all for yourself

I always find it funny when the Northeast elite, Ivy League know-it-alls (Nathaniel Fick not included) yap on about needing all of society to contribute to the military and share the butcher’s bill of combat. Their answer is always the draft, and a repeat of the lies they told about those that died defending their nation in Vietnam.

Doctor (PhD), heal thyself. From Bowdoin College to Byrn Mawr it is next to impossible to find anyone who wants to serve in the military, much less have a ROTC unit at their precious cocoon of an institution. They love to complain about how Southern, Western, right-wing, and “Red State” the military is, but don’t want themselves or any of their well protected classmates to serve for a few years.

The irony of it all is that the talk about "cultural difference" between the civilian and military culture is a direct result of this apartheid created at elite institutions. If they truly cared about changing the culture of the military, they would take the military in, join it, understand it. Instead they let the military be dominated by Southerners, Westerners and the middle class. The self-described "elite" that I come from is predominately from "Blue America". Due to the elite's self-imposed quarantine of the military, they should not be shocked that it is very much from "Red America".

People are often afraid of things they do not understand. The elite are afraid of the military because they do not have a cousin, uncle, brother, sister, mother, or father that has a military background. Too bad. It is bad for our country when the best and brightest do not feel the need to defend it. When someone in their family does serve, it opens their mind and makes them and their family better citizens.
Frank Schaeffer’ s outstanding book, Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Journey about Love and The United States Marine Corps

is an outstanding example of this. BUY AND READ THIS BOOK.

What is the answer? Well, the Solomon Amendment was a step in the right direction. Force them to open their minds. Force them to associate with people and ideas they don't understand. Both sides will be the better for it. The website
YaleROTC is a great resource to show that even in that rarified air, there are good people that want to do the right thing. If nothing else, a big advantage to getting more of the elite to VOLUNTEER to serve their country for a few years so I will have more people at work that understand Lacrosse and field hockey.

Well, let's give this a try and see what happens

I have been thinking about getting this started for awhile after bothering a man greater than myself, CDR Bluebeard, to start a blog.  If for no other reason than to post his rantings (if he will let me), err insights, I decided to give this a start and see what happens.

As for me, well I'm a Navy Commander.  That is about all you are getting out of me.  Going public with your opinions as an active duty officer is in a way just dumb if you want to get recommended for promotion and don't want someone's "pinky finger" spiking you at a selection board.  The Naval Institute's Proceedings( is a great institution, but you publish at your own peril.  Sad really.  You can publish technical and tactical pieces with them, I have.  But opinion?  Not so smart.  We will cover boards and command influence later, but let’s just say that blogging is a better institution until you get outed.  Lets see how long this takes..............if I get edgy.  I don't know how edgy I will get.  Maybe my random thoughts and postings will just float around in obscurity and be ignored.  Hey, if nothing else, it is cheap therapy.