Military Archives

Aid NGOs Complain Military is Doing Their Job

From Instapundit yesterday:

HAITI RELIEF? Soldiers told to stop handing out food. “Food handouts were shut off Tuesday to thousands of people at a tent city here when the main U.S. aid agency said the Army should not be distributing the packages. It was not known whether the action reflected a high-level policy decision at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or confusion in a city where dozens of entities are involved in aid efforts.”

One is likely to assume that the lack of a cohesive government down there and logistical problems would be to blame.  However, one of Glenn’s readers replied with his first-hand experiences.

The “aid” agencies did the same thing in Afghanistan. Being a logistics specialist, I volunteered to help an American NGO with rebuilding schools, and was on the ground in Kabul in January of ‘02. (I later ended up in charge of UNICEF’s warehouse/distribution operation for all of the new school supplies…leaving me with a complete and total disdain for all things UN-related.)

For the NGO community, to be seen co-operating with the US military was the kiss of death. NGO co-ordination meetings specifically warned against co-operation with the US military, as opposed to UN agencies. The supposed reason was that they wanted a clear line between the “killers” and those that were “there to help”.

Hey folks, get over it.  Stereotyping the military in this way does no one any good.  How many NGOs have facilities to desalinate ocean water and provide food as much as an aircraft carrier does?  Yeah, thought so.  America is using it’s vast resources to help and all you can do is this:

They would actually COMPLAIN that the military was out doing things like rehabilitating wells and such, whining that these were things that should be left to the aid agencies. The irony of the fact that we were all sitting in a meeting, DISCUSSING it, while the US military had already been out DOING it, was completely lost on them.

Sounds like it’s same-old, same-old. Nothing but tools, the lot of them.

Yup, ya’ gotta’ get over it.

Homeowners Association Caves: Veteran Allowed to Fly Flag

Follow up on an item I previously noted and a very happy ending. A 90 year old Medal of Honor winner won his battle with his homeowner’s association with an assist from both of Virginia U. S. Senators (hat tip: Hot Air):

RICHMOND, Va. — A 90-year-old Medal of Honor recipient can keep his 21-foot flagpole in his front yard after a homeowner’s association dropped its request to remove it, a spokesman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday.

The Sussex Square homeowners’ association likewise has agreed to drop threats to take legal action against retired Army Col. Van T. Barfoot, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said.

The association had threatened to take Barfoot to court if he failed to remove the pole from his suburban Richmond home by Friday. It had said the pole violated the neighborhood’s aesthetic guidelines.

This was a no-win situation for the homeowners’ association and they made the right decision. Hats off to Senator Mark Warner and Senator Jim Webb for standing up for Col. Barfoot. The homeowners’ association also made the right decision by allowing this American hero to keep his flag.

Remembering Pearl Harbor’s Last Hero

The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Station on December 7, 1941 marked one of the darkest days in America history and prompted our entry into World War II. Fifteen servicemen were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on that day but only five survived the battle. Lt. John William Finn, who turned 100 years old this past summer is the only remaining survivor of those fifteen men. He reportedly was headed to Pearl Harbor today for commemoration ceremonies. Mary Katherine Ham has a wonderful profile of this genuine American hero that is well worth reading.

Ed Morrissey reminds us also of the enduring lesson of Pearl Harbor:

The lesson from that war is that appeasement and complacency doesn’t keep one from having to fight a war. It usually forces one to fight from an extreme disadvantage. That’s a lesson we have not remembered in dealing with expansionist powers in our own time, even after a second shock like 9/11 after years of complacency in dealing with al-Qaeda. We’re falling back to treating radical Islamist terrorism like a Law and Order episode, and allowing one of the main drivers of radical Islamist terror, Iran, to arm itself with nuclear weapons with no consequences whatsoever.

We must never forget Pearl Harbor.

Decorated Veteran Ordered to Remove Flagpole

Click on the video to see the story and prepare to be outraged. 90 year-old Colonel Van D. Barfoot who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor this week was served with a notice from his homeowner’s association to take down his flagpole because it violates the association’s bylaws. This is nitpicking by the homeowner’s association. I sincerely hope that they realize what a tremendous debt we owe to Colonel Barfoot and millions of others like him who have faithfully served their country. Perhaps his homeowner’s association could find a way to exercise some grace and allow him to keep his flagpole.

Hat tip: Townhall

A few thoughts, stemming from the murderous rampage at Fort Hood.


While some are cautioning us to not immediately make a radical Muslim connection with the fact that the alleged killer is an Arab American, one has to wonder at how quickly the label “Right-Wing-Extremist” would have been applied had the mass murderer been white.


It appears that the alleged killer was stopped by shots fired from a civilian police officer. Per CNN,

A civilian police officer who shot the Fort Hood gunman four times during his bloody rampage stopped the attacker cold, a U.S. Army official said Friday.

Officer Kimberly Munley of the Fort Hood Police Department is a “trained, active first responder” who acted quickly after she “just happened to encounter the gunman,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, Fort Hood’s commanding general.

Cone said the officer and her partner responded “very quickly” to the scene of the shootings — reportedly in around three minutes.

One point of clarification, if Officer Munley was on duty, and responded quickly to the situation, she was a second responder (which in no way diminishes from her courageous actions). First responders would be those initially and directly under fire.


President Obama continues, unfortunately, to approach serious issues in amateur fashion. In the video below, consider the fact that Obama took nearly two minutes to actually get to the topic of the shooting at Fort Hood. Evidently, he thought that giving various “shout-outs” had a higher priority.


Update: More on courageous Officer Munley who, in addition to responding to the scene quickly, immediately engaged the situation, thereby stopping the killer.

Munley’s toughness and grace under pressure were on display Thursday when she and her partner responded within three minutes of reported gunfire, said Army Lt. Gen. Bob Cone.

Munley, who had been trained in active-response tactics, rushed into the building and confronted the shooter as he was turning a corner, Cone said.

“It was an amazing and an aggressive performance by this police officer,” Cone said.

How Monopoly Helped Allied Prisoners Escape

This story is a great antidote to the avalanche of political stories being blogged about of late. Few realize this but secret maps and other things were smuggled to Allied prisoners of war during World War II inside Monopoly sets. It’s a terrific story of ingenuity and creativity in keeping prisoners involved in the war effort. (Hat tip: Free Republic)

For fans of the game, check out Philip Orbanes terrific book Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game And How It Got That Way. I previously reviewed the book here.

Honor the Jackson 5

No, not that Jackson 5. The first 5 American servicemen and women named "Jackson" who died in Iraq. They won’t get media coverage or the attention of those following celebrities, but theirs was a sacrifice we should honor.

PowerLine has the details.

…(and his post has the quotes to show that many Lefty bloggers do), then Collin Brendemuehl wants to know if the Left is going to blame itself for what one of its "peace activists" did; killing a military recruiter. 

The question is simple: Where is the contrition? Where is the self-deprecating admission that maybe, just maybe, the mainstream Left might be entirely wrong? They vandalize our nation and kill people and pretend that they have nothing to do with any of it. They protect the radicals and act like nothing is wrong.

(Ok, this is what I anticipate some them to say about this crime: The murderer was a convert to Islam and did this because he hated what Bush started. Bush made him do it. Right. And Nixon made Armstrong blow up the math building at UW.)

May they pretend to set an example by acknowledging that they might actually be doing what they contrive for us.

As of right now, big blogs from the left — Think Progress, TalkLeft, Talking Points Memo (can’t link to a search result) and Daily Kos — have absolutely nothing mentioning "William Long", the man who died in this killing. 

And yet blogs on the Right are all over themselves denouncing the violence done, ironically, in the name of the pro-life movement.  I’ll state for the record here that I find the killing of Dr. George Tiller absolutely wrong, just as wrong as the millions of abortions done each year, and just as wrong as killing a military recruiter who is posing no threat to you. 

Will the big voices of Left do the same?  Or is their outrage so very selective?

Change? Did I Say "Change?"

A few links covering much of the non-change the Obama administration is giving us.

* The Audacity of Patience on RedState, noting status quo in cabinet appointments, the Bush tax cuts, but mostly the closing (or not) of Gitmo.

* The Washington Times:  "Don’t ask, don’t tell"?  Don’t hold your breath.

* The New York Times (yes, that New York Times):  Reality rears its ugly head regarding Iraqi forces.  I like this line:

“I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary — likely to be necessary — to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.

Yes, I’m sure that’s the catchy way he said it in all his speeches.

Back to the Future

This was the title of a post on Redstate by Aaron Gardner, regarding where the Republican Party goes from here.  Gardner started, as his foundation of what the Republicans need to stand for, from the party platform of 1980, when Reagan was swept into the White House with 489 electoral votes.  He made some of his own modifications, but overall the (lengthy) statement stands as a good starting point.

Read the rest of this entry

Regarding the recent invasion of Russian forces into Georgia, Rod Dreher links to Fred Kaplan. Kaplan states,

Bush pressed the other NATO powers to place Georgia’s application for membership on the fast track. The Europeans rejected the idea, understanding the geo-strategic implications of pushing NATO’s boundaries right up to Russia’s border. If the Europeans had let Bush have his way, we would now be obligated by treaty to send troops in Georgia’s defense. That is to say, we would now be in a shooting war with the Russians. Those who might oppose entering such a war would be accused of “weakening our credibility” and “destroying the unity of the Western alliance.”

Dreher states,

To be fair, refusing to defend a NATO country that had come under attack would weaken the credibility of the alliance. But of course it would be insane to get into a shooting war with Russia — which still has nuclear weapons — to defend Georgia. This is why Bush had no business leading the Georgians on with this kind of crazy talk…

As repellent as I find the prospect of an Obama presidency, the idea of hotheaded John McCain sitting in the Oval Office now trying to figure out how to deal with a newly aggressive Russia makes me extremely nervous — this, to the extent that a McCain administration, on national security and foreign policy, represents a third Bush term.

Maybe Dreher and Kaplan should spray some Windex on their crystal balls.

The way I see it, the Russians not only see us as resource-stretched (and rightly so), what with our commitments to Afghanistan and Iraq, but they also see a lame-duck president.

More importantly, however, I think that they view the American people’s will as weak, and that their own fortune-tellers are envisioning an upcoming administration chock-full of platitudes, yet devoid of substance.

Notice that many of the complaints and criticisms of the way we’re handling the global war on terror link back to 20th century modes of thinking. Comparisons are made to Vietnam, the Cold War, NATO, etc. The problem is, we aren’t living in the 20th century. There is no Soviet Bloc, we aren’t on the verge of nuclear annihilation and, for the most part, we aren’t facing an enemy clothed in identifiable uniforms.

In Rethinking Russia on Terrorism Issues, Douglas Farah states,

…Russia is set on selling weapons to those who want very badly to hurt us, and who buy their weapons with the stated purpose of using them for that.

Everyone sells weapons, and yes, the United States plays in the game. But Russia’s willingness to arm non-state actors and states that are facing international sanction is qualitatively different.

This is the world we face, in the 21st century.

Women in Combat; Time to Reconsider?

The military and its use in defending the country are one of the powers expressly enumerated in our Constitution.  Unlike other responsibilities that some would like to give to it (e.g. health care, as I’ve discussed here before), this particular duty is spelled out quite clearly.  Our founding fathers, in attempting to limit the federal government’s powers while leaving the rest to the states or the people, made sure that this power was indeed a federal issue.  Defense of its citizens and interests is a proper role of government.

Over time, aspects of the military have changed, but none more controversial than its makeup.  When a racially-integrated military was suggested, initial reactions against it were mostly due to racial prejudice than anything else, either on the part of the person reacting or on the assumption that such prejudice existed in the ranks.  As racial views changed, that integration became far easier.

Over time, another type of integration took place; that of including women in combat.  The concept was not entirely new (it goes back to ancient times), but in the US, while the controversy was heated in earlier decades, as women were included more and more the issue isn’t considered that big a deal anymore, on par with racial integration.  However, I think that recent events should give us pause to consider the question again.

There have always been the straw arguments that proponents of women in combat have attributed to the other side that either were never actually presented or were extreme minority opinions.  One of those was that women weren’t as patriotic as men or willing to die for freedom.  This was typically presented as the claim that women were just as patriotic, with the implication that the other side didn’t think so. 

However, there are a number of arguments against women in combat that represent real physical and psychological concerns, and not always on the part of the women themselves.  Wikipedia presents some of these arguments, including physical differences and the reaction of men to wounded women.  The tradition and seeming instinct of protecting women plays into this.  The cry, "Women and children first", was never taken to be a call to arms.  The Wikipedia article notes, regarding experiments with women in integrated units in the Israeli Defense Force:

The reason for removing female soldiers from the front lines is no reflection on the performance of female soldiers, but that of the male infantrymen after witnessing a woman wounded. The IDF saw a complete loss of control over soldiers who apparently experienced an uncontrollable, protective, instinctual aggression.

Say what you will about the male and the protection instinct, it’s real and it’s there (and it’s not a bad thing).

Another issue has been that of romantic relationship within the unit, causing a couple to perhaps become more concerned about each other than the remainder of the unit, or a love triangle which would create less concern between some.  Unit cohesion is paramount in combat, and adding this dimension can easily cancel out any other gains.  (Incidentally, this is, at least to me, the main reason to be against gays in the military.) 

It’s this sexual angle to the inclusion of women that can be the most destructive.  And to some, it can be far worse than an issue with a jilted lover.

Read the rest of this entry

Living Loud For Liberty

Jane Hampton Cook, author of the excellent book Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War, has posted this terrific video as an Independence Day tribute for those who sacrificed so much so that we could enjoy the blessings of liberty.

Macro and Micro economics normally look at the economics of nations (and I’d think multi-nationals) vs the economics of individuals and smaller corporations. There is less discussion, as far as an outsider like myself, in making similar distinctions about Macro and Micro political theory, that is the theory of the body politic at the small scale (family/village/precinct) vs the theories of the same at the larger scales. In this essay, I’m not going to talk about the continuing dystrophy evident in the micro-political in America and how that anticipates movements towards autocracy at the macro-political level. For there is another “macro” to be discussed. That of time.

If we imagine the goal/end of government is to establish a small subset of Goods for its people, e.g., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for not just tomorrow but larger timescales. The Ancient Coptic society and it’s form of government lasted for an astonishing length of time, from about 3000 BC through until about 500 BC and Assyrian conquest (although “officially” it really fell in 31 BC when Rome conquered it). The point is, right now our leaders and thinkers about policy and politics do not try to imagine America and its democracy and how their policies might fit into a nation lasting for millenia. Heck, given medicare and social security and demographics and a little math and logic it is hard to imagine that they think much beyond the next election [ed: There is of course the possibility that they do in fact “think” beyond the next election but because of fundamental innumeracy the term “think” deserves scare quotes.] However this is not just their fault for very few people do consider the consequences of policy and praxis, of custom and lifestyle and how that will play out if repeated (and perhaps amplified) for 1,000 generations or beyond. Read the rest of this entry

The Long War (v. 4)

AQI Facilitation Networks Still Active in Syria

In its latest effort to target al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) financial and logistical networks operating out of Syria, the Treasury Department designated today four members of a key terrorist facilitation network. Such facilitation networks have long operated out of Syria and have been the target of periodic designations. As recently as December 2007, Undersecretary of the Treasury Stuart Levey called on Syria to “take action to deny safe haven to those supporting violence from within its borders.” Today’s designation suggests Syria still has far to go in this regard.

While Syria has reportedly taken some measures to curb the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, recently disclosed documents seized from insurgents in Iraq revealed that while fewer foreign fighters have been entering Iraq Syria remained the preferred route.

Car Bomb Rocks Southern Thai Hotel

On Saturday night, a 20 kg bomb hidden in the back of a car was detonated in front of the CS Pattani Hotel in Pattani, southern Thailand. Two were killed, three are in critical condition and 15 others sustained moderate injuries. It was the boldest attack by Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand in recent months. Some 3,000 have been killed since the insurgency got underway in January 2004. Violence peaked in June 2007, and has gone down, owing to stepped up counter-insurgent operations; but the average rate of killing today is still above the 4-year average. This is not the first car bomb in southern Thailand, but the first in over a year.

Islamabad bombing targets foreigners

The Taliban and al Qaeda continue their terror campaign in the nuclear-armed state of Pakistan. The latest bombing occurred at an Italian restaurant in the capital city of Islamabad. At least one civilian was killed and 15 wounded in an attack that appears to have targeted foreigners in the city.

The bombing occurred in the courtyard of the Luna Caprese restaurant, known to be frequented by foreigners. Pakistani police ruled out a suicide bomb attack and believe the bomb was planted and detonated remotely.

[tags]gwot, global war on terror[/tags]

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