The fog of disclosure: Why we must see the visuals, but never will

Killing of bin Laden deserves to be fully recorded and reported.

Historic events in the life of a nation deserve to be chronicled, accurately and completely. The dispatching of Usama Bin Laden is one of those events. We must see the photos and videos (however gory they may be) for two reasons: (1) that is the modern and preferred medium for historical records, and (2) the disclosure of facts has been so “foggy” that the warm sunlight must now be brought to bear upon the events to clear the fog. Continue reading “The fog of disclosure: Why we must see the visuals, but never will”

Comparative qualifications between General McChrystal and the President

Comparative qualifications between General McChrystal and the President

I picked this off of an email and assume the facts to be correct as to the General. Pretty impressive guy!  A friend who passed this along to me suggested that perhaps the dust-up leading to General McChrystal’s resignation was “staged” in order to highlight problems in the Afghan theater of operations. Surely that must be the case.

General McChrystal Biography

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/

Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan

United States Army

SOURCE OF COMMISSIONED SERVICE: USMA EDUCATIONAL DEGREES

United States Military Academy – BS – No Major

United States Naval War College – MA – National Security and Strategic Studies

Salve Regina University – MS – International Relations

MILITARY SCHOOLS ATTENDED:

Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses

United States Naval Command and Staff College

Senior Service College Fellowship Harvard University

FOREIGN LANGUAGES:

Spanish

PROMOTIONS DATE OF APPOINTMENT:

2LT 2 Jun 76

1LT 2 Jun 78

CPT 1 Aug 80

MAJ 1 Jul 87

LTC 1 Sep 92

COL 1 Sep 96

BG 1 Jan 01

MG 1 May 04

LTG 16 Feb 06

GEN 11 Jun 09

FROM TO ASSIGNMENT:

Nov 76 Feb 78 Weapons Platoon Leader, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Feb 78 Jul 78 Rifle Platoon Leader, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Jul 78 Nov 78 Executive Officer, C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Nov 78 Apr 79 Student, Special Forces Officer Course, Special Forces School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Apr 79 Jun 80 Commander, Detachment A, A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Jun 80 Feb 81 Student, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia

Feb 81 Mar 82 S2/S3 (Intelligence/Operations), United Nations Command Support Group Joint Security Area, Korea

Mar 82 Nov 82 Training Officer, Directorate of Plans and Training, A Company, Headquarters Command, Fort Stewart, Georgia

Nov 82 Sep 84 Commander, A Company, 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia

Sep 84 Sep 85 S3 (Operations), 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia

Sep 85 Jan 86 Liaison Officer, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Jan 86 May 87 Commander, A Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

May 87 Apr 88 Liaison Officer, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Apr 88 Jun 89 S3 (Operations), 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Jun 89 Jun 90 Student, Command and Staff Course, United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

Jun 90 Apr 93 Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia

Apr 93 Nov 94 Commander, 2d Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Nov 94 Jun 96 Commander, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington

Jun 96 Jun 97 Senior Service College Fellowship, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jun 97 Aug 99 Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia

Aug 99 Jun 00 Military Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, New York

Jun 00 Jun 01 Assistant Division Commander (Operations), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Kuwait, Camp Doha, Kuwait

Jun 01 Jul 02 Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan

Jul 02 Sep 03 Vice Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC

Sep 03 Feb 06 Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Feb 06 Jun 08 Commander, Joint Special Operations Command/Commander, Joint Special Operations Command Forward, United States Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Aug 08 Jun 09 Director, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC

Jun 09 Present Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan

SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS:

S2/S3 (Intelligence/Operations), United Nations Command Support Group Joint Security Area, Korea (Feb 81-Mar 82, Captain)

Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia Jun 90-Apr 93 Major/Lieutenant Colonel)

Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to include duty as Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 01-Jul 02, Brigadier General)

Vice Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC (Jul 02-Sep 03, Brigadier General)

Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Sep 03-Feb 06, Brigadier General/Major General)

Commander, Joint Special Operations Command/Commander, Joint Special Operations

Command Forward, United States Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Feb 06-Jun 08, Major General/Lieutenant General)

Director, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC (Aug 08-Jun 09, Lieutenant General)

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 09-Present, General)

SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS ASSIGNMENTS DATE GRADE

Army Special Operations Action Officer, J3, Joint Special Operations Command, OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM, Saudi Arabia (Jun 90-Mar 91, Major)

Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Kuwait, Camp Doha, Kuwait (Apr 01-Jun 01, Brigadier General)

Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (May 02-Jul 02, Brigadier General)

Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces Afghanistan, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan (Jun 09- Present, General)

US DECORATIONS AND BADGES:

Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)

Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)

Bronze Star Medal

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)

Army Commendation Medal

Army Achievement Medal

Expert Infantryman Badge

Master Parachutist Badge

Ranger Tab

Special Forces Tab

Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

_________________________________________________________________

Barack Obama Biography:

Birthplace:  Location remains questionable.  Proof of United States Citizenship hasn’t been provided.

Education:  Columbia University, Harvard Law School.  Records never produced, attendance remains questionable.

Military Career:  None

Business Career:  None

Political Career:  Community organizer, Chicago, 1983-86; civil rights attorney, Chicago, 1991-96;

University of Chicago, lecturer, early 1990s-2004; Illinois State Senator, 1996-2005; U.S. Senator, 2005-2008; President 2008-.

____________________________________________________________________

I gotta think that the wrong guy resigned.

Tea Party Member Stuns Crowd

I previously posted this directly onto Facebook, but want to preserve and further share this marvelous moment. This former marine belts out the 2nd verse of “The Star Spangled Banner” — which I frankly never had heard. (lyrics below) It’s a stirring verse and he really belts it out. Notice the crowd when you view the video — it takes them a bit to realize the origin of the song, and to stand and salute.

This marine obviously stood up for something — America — and still does. It seems to me that a lot of the trouble with some folks today is that they’ve never stood up for something important, maybe not even for themselves. Many people can be proud of their country, their religious beliefs, or their favorite team without having been in the military or the clergy, never having played pro football, but they can still become “invested” in that endeavor and its tenets.

Of course, most who DO step up into something important will stand up for that entity or activity for a lifetime.

But conversely, if you have an “America hater” you almost always have a person who never stood as a “servant citizen” — military or otherwise.

Now listen to someone who has stood up, and now stands out.

OR here for an alternative site.

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, “In God is our trust”
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Roger L. Simon » Times Square: It’s the jihad, stupid

That statement seems so obvious. And it is, in my estimation.  Yet the attitude you see discussed in the following clip (and you should read the article) is the same attitude that has the United States of America revealing to the entire world the number of nuclear warheads we have!

So let’s tell them all of our military strategic information, scrub perfectly descriptive words from our lexicon, and assume that our enemies place the same value on life as do we, here in America.  They do not.  And quit apologizing for being America!  “They” are our enemies because of the GOOD in America, not because of a damn thing for which we must apologize.  Have we as a nation erred on occasion?  Heck yeah, and so have every one of us individually.  But with these attitudes we would have lost WWI and WWII and the attitudes are the same that caused us to walk away from Korea and to lose Vietnam.  That’s right, lose it.  My 18 months at sea during that time was not lost because I and all of us were doing what our country asked us to do.

But the wrong-headed thinkers lost it, just like they’re losing America’s might in the world — the might that is the only thing standing between you and a jack-booted thug.

Read the article.

[Shahzad is probably a jihadist]  Yet only months after the Ft. Hood massacre, our government and leaders refuse to name our enemy. In fact, as a recent PJTV video reminds us, they are running the other way. Words like “jihad,” “Islamic fascism,” etc. — the very ideologies cited by the 9/11 Commission as the causes of September 11 — have now been expunged from the lexicon of our government and even our military.

Times Square reminds us how dangerously self-destructive that is. Were it not for our concerned citizenry and smart law enforcement, our civilization would be on its way out. Many of our leaders are evidently ready to hand it over.

via Roger L. Simon » Times Square: It’s the jihad, stupid.

Photo Of The Day: Iraq Elections — the impossible just takes a little longer

“Stay the course” justified. The difficult is hard, the impossible just takes a little longer. No, this war is not over but this event, the significance of which is embodied in this photograph, is a significant battle won.

A young Iraqi girl asked for her finger to be inked even though she was too young to vote in this Iraq election. Iraqis voted in Sunday’s election as insurgents killed 38 people across the country, unleashing a barrage of mortars intent on disrupting the historic day.

via Photo Of The Day: Iraq Elections | National Review Online. (http://www.nationalreview.com/the-feed/329/photo-day-iraq-elections accessed 3/8/2010)

While we mourn the lives lost and disrupted, the Iraqi elections with (albeit too many) fewer casualties of terrorism than in previous elections indicate continuing improvement in our fostering of freedom in another corner of the world. It may not become democracy as we understand it, but the added freedom is not trivial.

A different Christmas poem

Please see the note at the bottom about the origin of this poem.  Regardless of the true origin, it’s a beautiful thought and worthy of preserving.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

”  So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

According to snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/glurge/different.asp) the true author is Michael Marks.  And on another site (http://officespam.chattablogs.com/archives/2006/11/lcdr-jeff-giles-sc-usn.html), I found this comment:

Jeff Giles has been incorrectly cited as the author of “A Different Christmas Poem”. The poem is actually entitled “A Soldier’s Christmas” and was written by Michael Marks on December 7th, 2000. The works of Mr. Marks have been featured in the Washington Times, hang in the Titan Missile Museum, and are featured on the International War Veteran’s Poetry Archive at http://www.iwvpa.net/marksm

I know, because I am Michael Marks. LCDR Giles simply forwarded my poem long ago and had his email signature appended at the bottom.

Warmest regards,

Michael Marks

Thank you, Michael Marks, for a beautiful piece.

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/glurge/different.asp

North Platte, Nebraska — a place in WWII history

I am a proud son of the Greatest Generation — those people who endured and brought us out of World War II and into prosperity as truly the greatest nation the world has ever known. My father, like the parents of most of my friends, served in WW2 and there can be no doubt that these were great people for they endured hardship in battle yet came home — the lucky ones did — to work and prosper and, amazingly, never did they complain! They just worked and had an ethical structure that they tried to pass on to their children. I think it stuck to me, mostly, and I’m thankful for it. But then there’s North Platte, Nebraska. What about that?

The folks there took up a cause to support soldiers and sailors just like my father, and boy did they ever do it up right. I had never heard of North Platte before, at least not in this light, and the story is truly amazing. The YouTube video follows below and you really need to spend the 7 minutes it will take from your busy day.

And when you’re done, thank a solder, a sailor, an airman or marine.  Now grab a tissue, pull up a chair, and click ‘play.’

Stand up, Silent Majority

Stand up, Silent Majority. Take a moment and consider this, Lt. Landaker’s last flight. The following is the “punch line” from an excellent piece:

Quote:

February 7, 2007, Anbar Province , Iraq .  1st LT Jared Landaker United States Marine Corps, Hero, from Big Bear California, gave his live in service to his country.  Fatally wounded when his CH-46 helicopter was shot down by enemy fire, Jared and his crew all perished.  His life was the ultimate sacrifice of a grateful military family and nation.  His death occurred at the same time as Anna Nicole Smith, a drug using person with a 7th grade education of no pedigree who dominated our news for two weeks while Jared became a number on CNN.   And most unfortunately, Jared’s death underscores a fact that we are a military at war, not a nation at war.  Until we become a nation committed to winning the fight, and elect leaders with the spine to ask Americans to sacrifice in order to win, we shall remain committed to being a nation with a military at war, and nothing more.  (And possibly no funding if congress has their way!)

Now go  and read the rest of it . Then visit his life story page.

Stand up, silent majority.

I originally wrote this piece in March, 2007. In February 2009 (the date I pulled this from my old blog site), little has changed.

Freedom isn’t free

Freedom isn’t free. Not now, never in the past, and never in the future. I grow increasingly weary of an ungrateful vocal minority hogging the media landscape in this time of our nation’s unique war against a faceless and stateless enemy that is already spread throughout the world and within our own borders and institutions. I tire of those who have never fought criticizing the fighter, and the disingenuous politicians with their pompous speeches, speaking of that about which they know nothing. I tire of the irrelevant factions of society — notably those self-aggrandizing parasites in Hollywood — attempting to seem relevant with their diatribes against those who gave them the right to be irrelevant, yet to speak.

How many of these — the ungrateful minority — have done anything but be takers? When have they been givers? For how much longer will the givers outnumber the takers within our society?

Freedom isn’t free and the ungrateful should not take it for granted. Disagreement is one thing, and a good thing, but the debate in America has turned uncivil on almost every front of the national discourse. Statesmanship has departed Washington and is waning in Austin. Civility among neighbors is strained to the breaking point and our leadership is letting/causing it to happen by example. And yet, those within those groups who have the freedom not only to dissent but to do so disagreeably, forget. They forget that freedom isn’t free.

Thank God there are people still, in large but largely silent numbers, who know from whence freedom comes and are willing to fight for it and to support those who do.

Enjoy the video on the Gathering of Eagles website (“American Soldier” by Toby Keith) and this poem which I repeat here lest it one day be lost in cyberspace:

REMEMBER

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers’ tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.

From http://www.gatheringofeagles.org/ (accessed March 6, 2007). Attributed to http://www.operationmom.org/remember.html.

A Marine’s Marine — GySgt Carlos Hathcock

Check out this link with your sound up for a clip on Carlos Hathcock.

Carlos Hathcock was an ace sniper during Vietnam, and his shot into an enemy sniper’s scope was portrayed in the movie “The Sniper.” Read more about him on WikiPedia.

An awesome story. Make me wonder if all men are truly created equal. He was apparently a very unassuming and not large man, but had guts that are hard even to contemplate.