The Latest Tweets from Team NRO . . .
Cnbc Report Card
My CNBC appearance last night went well. No doubt, they called me in hopes that I’d take a swipe at Secretary Rumsfeld. After I made it clear in the pre-interview that this was not my line, there was little effort to push me in that direction. Instead, I was presented as someone who took a relatively unusual middle position on the troop issue between the “terrible error” and the “no problem” camps. And I got to make all my points about needing a larger military, and the importance of boots on the ground.
Military Guy Buckles
Military guy gets a little mushy on us:
For the record:
I was a heavy force soldier most of my career, and only saw the air force truck drivers early on when I was still falling from airplanes under bedsheets. And we can’t forget the Tac Air teams that hump their rucks with dogface soldiers as well, or Navy Corpsmen who ruck up with the jarheads. We’re all in it together (though North of Afghanistan guy should recognize payback when he sees it in terms of billeting!).
The real bottom line is, I love all of my warrior brethren, and wish I had five lifetimes so that I could spend one in each service (including the Coast Guard here, they’re warriors too).
Whatever I say about airedales, squids, swabs, and jarheads – I’ll get pugnacious with any never-served Soldier-of-Fortune wannabe who picks on ‘em. All y’all can have your opinions, and can command the forces in the terms of civilian control of the military and have opinions on our competence, utility, et. al. – but if you ain’t walked the walk, I ain’t interested in your disrespectin’ talk, that’s for me and my homeys, the Musicians of Mars. I’ll sooner listen to a soldier of the great war who only served loading ships in the US than I will some snot-nosed punk dweeb who finds the notions embodied in the term “Band of Brothers” a
To the forces in the field: Good Luck, Godspeed, Good Hunting – All y’all!
I Think It’s Awesome
That Jonah is on such a Corner roll.
I Don’t Know About Anybody Else
But I think it’s awesome so many military folks read the Corner/NRO.
“Ygbsm! Re: Military Guy Vs. The Airforce”
From a reader:
Re: the Corner post of 1 April, 08:20.
A minute percentage of Air Force flyers, perhaps only a couple dozen, will take off from their home base, press to combat targets, and then fly home. The only
guys I can think of who do this are some of the B2s flying out of Missouri. There may be a handful of others that I’m not aware of, but many thousands of
other USAF flyers, maintenance troops, logisticians, etc. have forward deployed to many wonderful “garden spots” and are doing their level best to ensure the way is as clear as possible for our bro’s in the Army and Marines.
Now, as for the pulling about air conditioned tents… I can’t vouch for all the dozens of locations from which USAF aircrews are delivering their 1500 daily
doses of whupass, but I know the Marines and Army bubbas are glad the AF is pounding the ever-loving-snot out of the Iraqi thugs before the US troops come into contact with them. If some of the AF folks have air conditioned tents, and the Marines and Army get to enjoy a straight-shot-250-mile roadtrip to the outskirts of Baghdad, it sounds like a fair trade to me.
Also, I’m not sure if the YGBSM acronym translates easily: “You Gotta Be Sh*tting Me”.
Love your work, NRO, The Corner, and NRODT.
Active duty Air Force Lt Colonel, with a cousin in the Army (in the thick of things now), another cousin in the Coast Guard, a brother in the Navy, an Uncle who is retired Army, a grandfather who was retired AF -RIP, and my father was a Marine – KIA at KheSahn
…have posted more before 9 AM than most cornerites post all day!
Re: Gavrilo Princep
From a reader:
It seems that every time I read one of your columns/blogs curiosity takes me to the land of the Looney Tunes. Since I was not real sure how Pinocchio father fit into you blog I Googled him and ended up finding the real cause of WWI. http://www.zayra.de/soulcom/america/blackbird2.html.
I was never really sure what caused that war but it turns out it was the results of the “dark fruits of the misunderstanding of the Battle of Kosovo” in 1389. Something I would never have known without you, the web, google and assorted whack jobs.
Re: Military Guy V. Air Force
From a reader somewhere North of Afghanistan (how cool is that!):
I can’t say I know what the conditions are in the Iraqi area of Operations but I can tell you that I am stationed (somewhere north of Afghanistan, still working Operation Enduring Freedom) on an Army post. And while we all live in similar tents now, the Army is having hard billets built that we have been told would be for Army only. The Army has cable (ok so it is just Armed Forces networks) in their tents, the AF does not. While the support aspects of the Airforce usually live it up nicely compared to the Army, Military Guy would do well to remember that the airplane operators and maintence often live right there near the forward line of battle. Of course, I can be biased since I am a C-130 pilot, and I know Military Guy acknowledged the aircrews who “fly off to bomb one day and come back the next” but he overlooks the part of the airforce that gets right down into the dirt with the troops – the Tactical Airlift and the C-130 Hercules…where else is are the soldiers going to get their bullets and beans without an Airforce 130 that is willing to fly in at 300 feet to a blacked out dirt landing zone that 4000 feet long in a combat zone? The army has it, we haul it…
But I don’t feel too slighted by Military Guy, we are the low priority on the USAF list as well, probably because we are closer to more of the Army than the Air Force, something of a step-child is the joke in the community…
Women and Children
The checkpoint shooting incident is a perfectly legitimate story. But here’s the thing: all day long listen to how the story is reported. Already, I’ve heard a dozen different accounts on radio and TV. Each time the formulation has been essentially “women and children in a van shot at a checkpoint.” The anchors and reporters don’t say “women and children in a van shot at a checkpoint when the driver refused to stop. This is not a quibble. It is the journalistically more accurate account. The way I’ve heard Paula Zahn, NPR, Katie Couric and others refer to it, leaves this important part of the equation. You will hear this all day long.
From military guy:
Your concerns regarding Syrian infiltrators are exactly why we need more troops on the ground, so that we can intercept (and, if needed, kill or capture) these bravos from Syria. I know they are gnashing their teeth at the Pentagon, and the logisitics will be a nightmare… but it’s time to consider calling up the National Guard combat brigades to make ready to take on the rear echelon security jobs and get the regulars into Baghdad and on the borders.
The surest sign for me that the plan called for a very short, sharp campaign is that unlike in Desert Shield/Storm – we haven’t called up any of the Guard combat units.
I don’t have an inside picture, and it really could collapse quite quickly in Baghdad, but to me, prudence would initiate the call-up of a couple of the brigades. It would serve two purposes – it would show we’re in it for the long haul, and it would also actually serve to help Rumsfeld in his ‘Transformation’ battle – i.e., that the guard heavy brigades can take up the slack in armored forces that Rumsfeld wants to slash from the active force. Shoot – the war is starting to look like a scenario you would design to test and prove the theory.
In this one, however, I think we’re going to go soft and try to do this cheap, which is a mistake in my reading of history – meaning we’ll be playing catch-up.
Of course, even more worrying is the idea floating about that Saddam pushed his stuff to Syria for safekeeping. That is a horse of a completely different color – and we have Chirac, Schroeder, and Blix to thank for that. If Osama is in fact the anarchist who blew up the world, amazing ain’t it that the French are at the heart of the matter, again. Mincing little weasels.
Re: 24/7 Coverage and The Big Picture
From a reader:
This is similar to something I heard about the coverage of Khe Sahn during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam (I was only 4 yrs old at the time, so I am recalling a book or a History Channel Documentary or something along those lines). The TV news reporters doing broadcasts from Khe Sahn liked using a crashed supply plane as a backdrop for their reports. Seeing a crashed plane every night on the evening news gave the impression that they were getting swatted like flies, but in reality, it was the same one every night. Maybe one of your “Guys” knows the details more clearly, but I try to keep that in mind as I filter the war news from Iraq.
Give Cosmo a “High Paw” from me.
Anslar Al Islam & Wmd
CNN On Air is reporting suspected chemcial/bioweapon evidence found at the camp seized over the weekend.
Send along this link to folks you know who might want to include their favorite military guys and gals abroad in out “post-a-note” feature. We’ll be adding more of your entries as the week rolls on. Keep ‘em coming.
Military Guy Vs. The Airforce
My Military Guy takes exception to Dave Kopel’s post. I await Air Power Guy’s retort.
From Dave Kopel (who I am NOT annoyed with, he’s just reporting here): “…If you don’t have a particular recipient for the gift, the program will send your gift to someone in the Air Force.”
What? Defaults to the Airedales!?! The guys who live in air conditioned tents? Who wave at their officers when they go off to war? The officers who come back to the O’Club and a nice, air conditioned tent (or to their regular home in England and Missouri)? Gimme a break here!
Don’t get me wrong – I tolerate the Air Force, they’re generally pretty useful, you just have to learn to duck when they’re around, ‘cuz sometimes their target id is a little fuzzy…
Since 3rd ID and 15th MEU don’t have PX’s with them, how about defaults to those logistics guys who are pushing all the stuff forward, running the gauntlet, as it were?
The AIR FORCE! Oh for pity’s sake. Those guys are getting better than the Marines at good press. Sheesh!
There is one exception I will make for the Air Force – the family members of the air crew who leave home to fly off to bomb one day and come home the next. Those families have a stress that is daily and immediate in a way not like anyone elses… except those families who are watching TV and see their loved one in the middle of a fire fight, but even that is only once, not a near daily fear of ‘will daddy come home tonight?’
Syria is letting more volunteers into Iraq. It seems to me the Syrians are playing a very risky game. According to various reports, they honestly fear they might be next. If that’s true, then it’s in their interests to make the inevitable defeat of Iraq as costly as possible so as to discourage the US from trying this sort of thing again. Similarly, coming to the aid of a brother (and rival) Arab nation might buy good will and assistance from other Arab nations if the US does go after Syria. The problem is the Syrians are wrong in their analysis. The US surely does not have plans or intentions to invade or attack Syria. But the one way the US could formulate those plans is if Syria keeps playing these games.
I’ve long thought Osama Bin Laden might go down in history as the Gavrilo Princep of the 21st century. If more countries like Syria misread the situation, I fear that analogy may become even more apt.
24/7 Coverage and The Big Picture
A reader makes a good point:
There has been commentary about the coverage being narrow and missing the big picture. The other thing (for me), is the repetition of a single event (like the downed Apache helicopter). I’ve heard it Sunday, Monday on Internet and TV, and now on Tuesday in my local paper. Those who may not pay close attention may think that there have been 10 Apache’s shot down. I have to clarify my mind to eliminate the impression that this was more than one event.
It pains me to admit it, since this story is from Reuters, but it’s true that the Coalition has seemed too eager to deliver good news that doesn’t pan out.
Then and Now
On February 2, 1981, Pope John Paul II delivered an address to members of the NATO Defense College, on the topic of war and peace. Here’s the money quote:
In my recent Encyclical I pointed out that foremost among the threats to peace was not only the stockpiling of atomic weapons, but a manipulation of the very notion of peace itself for the purposes of self-interested parties. In this regard I stated: ‘The technical means at the disposal of modern society conceal within themselves not only the possibility of self-destruction through military conflict, but also the possibility of a ‘peaceful’ subjugation of individuals, of environments, of entire societies and of nations, that for one reason or another might prove inconvenient for those who possess the necessary means and are ready to use them without scruple. An instance is the continued existence of torture, systematically used by authority as a means of domination and political oppression and practised by subordinates with impunity.”
Thus there can be no peace where the dignity of human individuals is denied. For wherever we find the domination by one person over another in the latter’s choice of destiny or rightful access to the truth, there we will already discover the seeds of a bitter resentment or deep-seated animosity. Yes, guaranteeing freedom is an essential part of working for peace.
It seems to me that if the Pope still held to this vision, he wouldn’t be opposed to the war on Iraq, or at the very least not so stridently opposed. What do you suppose happened in the last 22 years to change him?
Oh, That Explains It
Here’s De Genova’s full letter.
Frankly, after reading this, I hate this guy more than I did before. What particularly grates isn’t his juvenile blather about imperialism or his fashionable dislike for white folks, but his excruciating pedantry. For example: not his snide aside about “American” referring to “all of the Americas, not merely to the United States, as U.S. imperial chauvinism would have it.” You can almost see him smirking as he says this to a bespectacled girl in a coffee house. Someone smash this guy guitar on the Delta House wall.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt (but you should really read the whole thing):
… I also affirmed that Iraqi liberation can only be effected by the Iraqi people themselves, both by resisting and defeating the U.S. invasion as well as overthrowing a regime whose brutality was long sustained by none other than the U.S. Such an anti-colonial struggle for self-determination might involve a million Mogadishus now but would ultimately have to become something more like another Vietnam. Vietnam was a stunning defeat for U.S. imperialism; as such, it was also a victory for the cause of human self-determination.
Is this a tirade against “anything and everything American”? Far from it. First, I hasten to remind you that “American” refers to all of the Americas, not merely to the United States, as U.S. imperial chauvinism would have it. More importantly, my rejection of U.S. nationalism is an appeal to liberate our own political imaginations such that we might usher in a radically different world in which we will not remain the prisoners of U.S. global domination.