The Alliance: New Precision Guided Humor Assignment: Cheering Up A Marine

The Alliance:

I admit that I've fallen down in my duties to the Alliance of Free Blogs. However, I see this week that they've got a contest going on that warms my heart. It's called "Cheering Up A Marine," although properly speaking it's "Cheering up a Recruit."

It seems that one of our Alliance members - Chris of FlashBang - has joined the Marines and is currently enjoying the delights that boot camp has to offer.

It's a tough row to hoe, but perhaps we can do something to lighten his load.
Being a monster, I once sent a postcard to a friend in Boot Camp addressed to:

General [Recruit's Name], "The Pushup King"
PLT XXXX, Echo Company
2nd Battallion

But let's try to come up with something nicer for our fellow blogger. The Alliance suggests jokes. Jokes are nice.

The Nations Gun Show

Gunslingers, Unite!

I'll be heading to The Nation's Gun Show tomorrow, up at the Dulles Expo center. I'm given to understand that two of the candidates for governor of Virginia will be there, getting to know the public. Virginia is the only state with a gubernatorial election this year, and it happens to be the state in which I reside, so I'm interested in what they have to say.

If any of you are planning to drop in, and would like to have a beer with Grim, drop me an email.


The Real Thing:

If you want to hear a real story about an American fighting man and an Iraqi child, check out BlackFive. Some of you may remember it, as this is a followup post. There is new information, however:

BTW, and this is an important message, to the twenty-two reporters who routinely visit this site and requested the contact information for Gunny Francis, but, when it took me too long to get back to you, you couldn't believe the story...refused to believe it based on the word of a Colonel...and sent your skepticism along with some nasty remarks...I put the Gunny in contact with the ONLY journalist who wasn't a total @#$% about it.
So: bad news about soldiers and children, run without checking the facts; good news about soldiers and children, don't run even after verifying the details with an O-6, and be nasty about it to boot.

Mudville Gazette

Media Ignorance:

The Mudville Gazette links to a terrible story from The Grand Junction Sentinel:

The 31-year-old soldier who liked to tinker with cars and recently moved to Grand Junction left behind his family to serve in Iraq. It wouldn't be a quick fix, but the man who loved to fix things died trying.

On Saturday, he stepped in front of a young Iraqi girl, one of many children caught in a crossfire in Baqouba, Iraq. A bullet struck his heart, killing him instantly. He was less than two months into his deployment.

Kenney, a posthumous recipient of the Purple Heart, will be buried Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
He and his wife, Amber, recently purchased a home in the Grand Valley. The couple met at Metro Church of Denver and would have celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day.

Their last communication, according to family spokesperson and Homefront Heroes president Phyllis Derby, was a voice message Amber left for her husband: "And if this is you, Jonathan, I love you." ...

He served with the 1-44 Air Defense Artillery Battalion, the same unit his wife would have served with. She was finishing up her training at Fort Bliss, Texas, when she learned of her husband's death. As sole surviving parent of Joshua, she was honorably discharged, Derby said.
This story is a complete fraud, one that was used to collect donations from the community. There are two details in the quoted passage that should have raised questions for any journalist who knew anything about the military; but almost none of them do.

Can you spot them? Check your answers against Greyhawk's.
Well. I must say this was unexpected.

Eason Jordan has resigned. (hat tip: Instapundit).


I was not expecting that. So soon anyway. As is typical with these things, it really isn't the original action that is so troublesome, its the attempted stonewalling and cover-up.

What is really interesting is what Ed Morrisey pointed out, which was repeated by Instapundit, and bears repeating here:

The major news organizations now have to report the resignation of the head of a major news organization for a scandal they never reported to their viewers.

I thought Rathergate was a fluke. I guess it was not. It is a whole new ball game, folks. Wow.

So. When Brill's Content went and folded, I was presented with some options for the balance of my subscription. One of them was the Atlantic Monthly. Everyone is probably generally aware of the magazine. Since it's senior editor, Michael Kelly, was killed in Iraq, the magazine has been circling in a downward spiral of hackery that is making the magazine unreadable.

The March 2005 issue is the straw that has broken the camel's back as far as I am concerned. In an article entitled "The Accuser" (subscription only for the entire article) by William Langewiesche, who I thought was better than this, I read, in a quote very boldly set off in a side bar, this:

"For twenty years Hania Mufti was the most persistent investigator of the Iraqi regime's crimes. It is because of the efforts of people like her that Saddam and his lieutenants will now be brought to trial."

What. The. Fuck. Over.

And here I thought it was because 140,000 soldiers from the United States, Britian, and Austrailia invaded the place, defeated Hussien's army and captured him and his cronies. (Those that weren't killed that is).

Whatever other virtues Mufti may have, apparently she is against the plans to try Hussien, along with such groups as Human Rights Watch, because, they assert, Justice cannot be served by the Iraqis.

Langeweische himself says in the article, "A nation court in Iraq is simply incapable of delivering the sort of justice required."

I think the Iraqis know just what sort of justice is required.

So here again, we see the goal posts being moved once more, together with absurd attempts at rewriting history. This irritates me so much I think I'm acutally going to go through the bother of cancelling my subscription rather than just let it run out.

Look for more of this from the usual suspects in the future.

David Yeagley's

Ward Churchill:

I haven't had anything to say about our Mr. Churchill, whose behavior is self explanatory. However, Bad Eagle does have something to say which I hadn't heard before. Apparently, Mr. Churchill's ties to the American Indian Movement go back to to the 1973 Wounded Knee incident, about which you may have heard.

During the course of my education, I have met two of the principles of that incident. They claimed that they bore rifles for AIM during that brief period when it felt bold enough to take on the US Army. The sentiments expressed by Mr. Churchill would not have been out of place in their own mouths. They were Lakota, which falls under the Sioux side of the feud Bad Eagle cites as the one that once supported Churchill.

All this makes me think that Mr. Churchill -- whatever the facts of his genetics -- is a more authentic member of AIM than their disavowal of him would suggest.

Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news and business from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam


Unremarked, but remarkable, are the results from this week's elections in Thailand. Thailand is a "major non-NATO ally" of the United States, a diplomatic category inviting Thai purchases of some of our most advanced weapons. Thailand also faces a native, Muslim insurgency in its southernmost provinces. The Asia Times shows how poorly the government did in those provinces.

Those provinces aside, however, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government did extraordinarily well. Thaksin is now the first Thai prime minister ever reelected. Not only that, but his party did so well as to be able to set aside any coalition government, and rule as a single party. Thaksin came under fire for his handling of the insurgency in the south, which opponents charge has been managed with unnecessary violence -- a charge, I think, which isn't entirely without merit.

Regardless, Thai voters returned him with an increased majority. In doing so, Thailand follows precisely in the footsteps of Australia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United States' electorates. There is a lesson here, and I think it is this: democratic bodies around the world are starting to look toward the challenge to democracy posed by Islamist extremism. There is forming a global, democratic reply. Only Spain, so far, has fallen outside this general trend: and, in their defense, they went first.

This is no small matter. What is being measured is the conglomeration of millions upon millions of individual wills. That is a terrible, an awe inspiring force. What comes next has all that force behind it.

Miami's Mad Max Marines - Page 1


Soldier of Fortune has a piece out there now called "Miami's Mad Max Marines." SOF knows how to write, I'll give them that.

Marine Corps News> Hawaii Marines take fight to enemy in Afghanistan mountains

Hawaii Marines:

While Snowbird Sovay plays on the beach, Hawaii Marines are playing in the snow -- in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Leaping from CH-47 Chinook helicopters hovering just above the jagged, snow-covered mountains that ring the Korangal Valley, Marines from both India and Lima Companies inserted into different parts of the valley; they quickly cordoned and searched several houses believed to be hideouts for mid-level Taliban and HIG leaders and fighters.

“We flew in fast and low and jumped off just outside one of our main target’s house,” said 2nd Lt. Caleb Weiss, a Lima Company platoon commander. “They couldn’t have had more than a few moments to react to having entire platoons dropped on their heads.”

The Marines charged into the village and quickly established a presence, preventing the possibility of their targets escaping. The Marines then detained several men suspected of being members or supporters of anti-government forces without having to fire a single shot.
There are photos, too.

The Korea Times : US to Dispatch 690,000 Troops to Korea in Crisis

Korean White Papers:

If the Korea Times is to be believed... well, to be honest, I find them a bit hard to believe:

About 690,000 U.S. troops along with 2,000 military aircraft and 160 warships would be mobilized to defend South Korea in the event of a war on the Korean peninsula, according to a document released by the Ministry of National Defense Friday.

The Defense White Paper said the U.S.' contingency plan included the deployment of 70 percent of its Marine Corps. The remaining forces consisted of 50 percent of the U.S. Air Force and 40 percent of the U.S. Navy.
Those are astonishing numbers. But here's some background.

The US is pulling 12,500 servicemen from US Forces Korea, to reassign to other duties. The ROK citizenry has mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, they're glad to see us go; large scale military basings (and even large-scale shore leaves) are always friction points, in Korea as in Okinawa and elsewhere. Welcomed after the ravages of the Japanese occupation, Americans have come to be regarded as a mixed blessing.

On the other hand, just over the border are 700,000 starving DPRK soldiers, backed with 13,500 artillery pieces and probably two to six nukes. Seoul, capital and megacity, is within range of the guns and missiles.

There are three possibilities arising from this story, assuming that it is correctly reporting US information.

1) The US expects to defeat the DPRK without substantial loss of life, but feels it is likely to need 70% of the USMC to stabilize and rebuild the place. In this case, much of the initial fighting would be standoff fire from the USAF/Naval elements, with the Marines advancing to engage the enemy once it was already substantially degraded.

2) The US believes the DPRK could effectively force a Marine engagement with their lines before those lines could be substantially degraded, perhaps by bringing Seoul under fire at a level our political culture couldn't tolerate. If the Marines had to fight against dug-in DPRK positions, in the face of guns and unknowable nuclear power, very severe loss rates are possible.

3) The US is bluffing, and expects never to have to put up the 690,000 troops. The DPRK military suffers from a combination of logistical poverty and the inability to advance off static lines of defense without creating massive vunerability. Thus, it is safe to reassure the ROK populace about our troop drawdown by promising massive reinforcements if there is an attack, while also giving the DPRK official notice that an attack would be doomed to failure.

If I had to, I'd bet on position 3 being the true one. If I were correct about that, it explains what is otherwise a little baffling -- why the US would permit its contingency plans to be described in detail by the ROK Defense Ministry. It is not otherwise clear either why the US DOD would permit its plan to be made public, nor why it would have the ROK DM do it instead of releasing the plans themselves. If the white paper is an information operation, however, it becomes clear: the release is permitted because we want the enemy to know this information; and ROK DM is doing it rather than DOD because US information operations must take pains to target foreign rather than domestic audiences. A statement by Rumsfeld would draw US eyes; this paper may not draw so many.

Hat tip: China E-Lobby.

'Intimate killing' - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - February 07, 2005

Intimate Killing:

Thanks to JHD, who sends this piece by a retired commander of the Army War College. It concerns General Mattis:

For those of you who might have the image of a knuckle-dragging troglodyte, let me assure you that he is one of the most urbane and polished men I have known. He can quote Homer as well as Sun Tzu and has over 7,000 books in his personal library.
One of the enduring cultural myths in America is the notion that the military is filled with uneducated, or undereducated, lackwits. This has most to do with Hollywood, I think, which seems to love to portray the military as filled with people who are largely disinterested in, if not hostile to, education and the cultured pleasures of life.

I think that the recent thread on orchestral music here at Grim's Hall demonstrates the untruth of that myth. This article about General Mattis does likewise. People forget that a substantial percentage of servicemen join the military precisely because they are interested in education, and want help paying for college, or advanced technical training that the military in many cases can provide. People are unaware of how much of the life of an officer -- whether commissioned or NCO -- is spent in school.

The military is one of the last bastions where at least a smattering of Latin is usually understood. The Army has a school of heraldry. The Navy and especially the Marine Corps have their own traditions, some building on foundations inherited from the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Corps. The effect is to foster a felt, a lived connection to the sweep of Western civilization: back through our American history to British roots, back from there through the Middle Ages, to Rome, and to Athens.

Marine Corps University at Quantico, VA (motto: Ductus Exemplo!) maintains a professional reading list for all Marines. Marine Corps HQ maintains another, large enough to be broken out into sections: Commandant's favorites, Heritage series, Leadership & Biography, Theory, Nature & History, Strategy, Policy, Operations, and on and on. Headquarters also posts lists to "over 2,500 free e-books" on the same page: classics, poetry, drama, literature.

Late last year, I argued that the military exists as a parallel structure to academia for the life of the mind. At its best, it is at least the equal of the Ivy Leagues at the real business of education -- the creation of capable men and women, schooled in both the liberal and the practical arts. I've known a fair number of both sorts of alumni, both Harvard men and servicemen. I've known plenty of military men who could discuss Homer and opera, as well as the pleasures of good whisky and a fine cigar. I've met one whose training enabled him to serve successfully as the provisional governor of an Iraqi province suffering from the ravages of war. I've yet to meet a Harvard man who was a decent shot with a rifle or a pistol, and Harvard is running in the opposite direction:
In fact, MIT claims to have 42 varsity sports, one more than even Harvard. Of course, Harvard scoffed snootily, "Hearing that MIT was claiming 42 varsity teams, officials at Harvard, which has 41, chafed. They point to MIT's varsity pistol and rifle teams as evidence of MIT's skewed vision of varsity sports."

Hey, wait a minute! I was ON the Harvard Rifle Team in 1973! The team capitan, a member of my "freak fraternity" and now owner of a software company in Houston, had the key to the Harvard rifle range and we would go down there in the wee hours under the effects of whatnot and invent weird games like hanging tootsie roll pops from shoelaces tied to the mechanized target holders. When we rolled 'em back down the range, the lollypops swung around wildly and were wicked hard to hit. Or even see, for that matter.

We lost all 12 matches that season. Most of the guys we were shooting against were steely-eyed vets with thousand-yard stares just back form Nam and trying to finish college on Uncle Sam, while we were just a bunch of Ivy freaks who liked to play with guns.
Time was, the Ivy Leagues -- whose alumni now cannot match the services' officer and NCO corps in demonstrating a real, liberal education -- were competition even for West Point and Annapolis. Harvard produced Francis Parkman, one of the finest historians in American history, who wrote:
[I]f any pale student glued to his desk here seek an apology for a way of life whose natural fruit is that pallid and emasculate scholarship, of which New England has had too many examples, it will be far better that this sketch had not been written. For the student there is, in its season, no better place than the saddle, and no better companion than the rifle or the oar.
There stands an indictment of the modern Ivy League from one of her own; but there also stands, unspoken, praise for the American serviceman.