22 June 2008

I have things to write about!

Sadly, most of them have necessary background that I can't write about.


So, does anyone have a pool yet on how likely Iran is to remain unbombed by cranky Israelis? Maybe then they'll be too busy to send EFPs over the border.

Australians are some odd ducks. I'm going to like working for them, I think.

20 June 2008


Yeah, so I'm in Iraq, finally. I'm disgusted six ways to Sunday already, but this is a Corps headquarters. I don't know what else I could expect. Echelons above Reality. . .

18 June 2008

This is joke, mistah?

Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”

He spelt out how American troops, spies and anti-terrorist officials could learn key lessons by understanding the desire of terrorists to emulate superheroes like Luke Skywalker, and the lust for violence of violent football fans.

Seriously, where the fuck does this shit come from?

The wanna-be National Security Adviser to the wanna-be President of the United States is offering me a children's book as the blueprint by which he'll decide where I go, when I go, and who I'm going to put in a grave when I get there. If Barak Hussein Obama gets elected, I want mandatory piss-tests for him and all his damned appointed officials, because this shit was not dreamed up by a man without recreational chemicals in his bloodstream.

A brief comment on Colonels and Scumbags

On Colonels, we have the dismissal of charges against Lt. Col. Jeffery Chessani, USMC. Colonel Chessani, for those playing the Home Game, was the commanding officer of the battalion involved in the (so-called) Haditha shootings. After seven other Marines were charged with various murder charges, he was charged with failing to investigate the incident vigorously enough. However, now that the Government has dropped charges against five of the Marines for lack of evidence, tried to bring one to trial but was acquitted on charges, and has downgraded the charges for the remaining Marine to manslaughter, they realized this was not going to fly either. So his charges have been dropped.

Neener, neener, neener.

Bet that unless you read it on a blog, you haven't heard of this happening. Compare with the number of Old Media stories on the (fictional) incident when it allegedly happened.

Scumbags: IVAW shows its true colors again, as a member of that illustrious terrorist support network decided to not only deliberately miss movement, but do so in a publicly obnoxious manner designed to attract attention and boost the morale of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

SGT (and does THAT fact disgust me or what) Matthis Chiroux somehow managed to duck deployment while on active duty, serving a grand total of six days in Afghanistan (??? How did he do that?). However, he cheerfully collected a government paycheck while pogueing it out on bases in the United States, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines--how he did all that in a mere five years, I'd love to know. But as is common knowledge these days, all enlistments are for 8 years, which means he owed the remaining three years as IRR time, and the Army decided they needed someone with his particular skills in Theater. Boo-frickin-hoo. I weep. Seriously. Lots.

Six days in five years? I'm still baffled as to how he managed that, although I guess if he were Public Affairs support (Stars and Stripes describes him as a journalist) to an Important Person visiting theater, I could see how it happens.

Now, I'm on my third damn deployment, my wife's had one herself. I signed up for this job. I volunteered, as did dumb-ass Buck Sergeant Chiroux. I continued to volunteer, Buck decided he didn't want to play Army any more. I can respect that. But the IRR commitment is in the contract, and it occasionally bites folks in the butt. He could have stayed on Active Duty past the eight year mark to ensure it didn't--but that most likely would have meant a deployment. He chose to gamble, and he crapped out. It sucks--but this sort of whiny, self-serving aggrandizement to make a political point and directly support our enemies is bullshit.

He certainly isn't any use to the Army as a journalist. The informational side of this war is too important to have an outright terrorist sympathizer doing that job. He's already made it perfectly clear that he will not be professional in any sense of the word, but will grandstand and cause trouble and the Public Affairs shop is too damn sensitive a location to have a jackass who is a deliberate troublemaker.

But having said that, I sincerely hope that he gets dragged in front of a military judge who sentences him to a 455 day stay at Ft Leavenworth with a large cellmate on a life sentence.

Buck Sergeant Chiroux is NOT making the position of IVAW Spokesperson "ArmySergeant" any more plausible. She tried to argue in this blog that IVAW does NOT support al-Qaeda in Iraq, does NOT support mutiny, does NOT support desertion or missing movement, etc, etc, etc. Just honest, professional Soldiers who happen to disagree with the Government's policy. Setting aside the fundamental question of whether Soldiers who disagree with the Government's policy need to demonstrating in the streets and generally acting the fool in what I always was taught was an unprofessional manner, this sort of cowardly and unbefitting behavior is precisely what I keep bringing up in this little quasi-debate. I breathlessly await the explanation. Or not--I need to keep breathing to fulfill my professional duties as a noncommissioned officer--something armysergeant needs to start considering.

Discussion Question:

Article 94 of the UCMJ defines mutiny as:
"Any person subject to this chapter who-- with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuse, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny."

The elements of this charge are:

(2) Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duty.

    (a) That the accused refused to obey orders or otherwise do the accused's duty;

    (b) That the accused in refusing to obey orders or perform duty acted in concert with another person or persons; and

    (c) That the accused did so with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.

The explanation is:

(b) Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duties. Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duties requires collective insubordination and necessarily includes some combination of two or more persons in resisting lawful military authority. This concert of insubordination need not be preconceived, nor is it necessary that the insubordination be active or violent. It may consist simply of a persistent and concerted refusal or omission to obey orders, or to do duty, with an insubordinate intent, that is, with an intent to usurp or override lawful military authority. The intent may be declared in words or inferred from acts, omissions, or surrounding circumstances.

IVAW encourages its members to refuse duty in Iraq. Should then an IVAW member who refuses duty in Iraq be considered to have done so "in concert" with other IVAW members, some of whom are on active duty and hence subject to the UCMJ?

17 June 2008

Not sure what to write

The usual subject matter of this blog is a bit more serious than the Livejournal, and I find myself at a loss for things to write.

I am in Kuwait, waiting to go North, dependent on the vagaries of June weather in Kuwait, which runs to howling sandstorms.

I've been to some interesting briefings and classes, but the extent of what I'm willing to write about is a handful of bald facts upon which I have difficulty elaborating without running into the borders of what I consider acceptable subject matter. I have not, nor will I in the future, discuss information which deals with what we call TTPs, or Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.

For instance, I'm comfortable saying that the United States Army is continuing to refine both tactical and technical counter-IED measures beyond even where we were 18 months ago. Obviously lots of smart people are spending a lot of time on this, and we're winning the fight, defined as reduced casualties, higher percentages of IEDs found and cleared without damage or injury, and other metrics. Beyond that, I just don't feel comfortable discussing. I mean, the insurgents are pretty good about observing what it is we do. But why give them any help. Not that I think it's probable that some smelly goat-herder is surfing my Blogger site, but you never know. Better to be paranoid than to contribute to some guy getting whacked because I discussed a system in too much detail.

We did a tactical site exploitation class that was really fun. They've got this spiffy house built of some 3,000 square feet, and stuff hidden every where. Booby-traps, hidden caches, weapons, documents, cell phones, all sorts of stuff. The idea is not to turn Soldiers into CSI, there's a 40 hour course that does that, more or less, this is only four hours. But the focus is on finding well-hidden stuff and documenting it well enough that it is acceptable evidence in the Criminal Courts of Iraq. I really was amazed by the emphasis they are putting on this stuff, since it's been primarily the province of specialists in the field previously. But it ties into the increasing focus on law enforcement-style operations and intelligence gathering at all levels. This is a huge change from the way we did business in 2003-04, and a continuation of trends seen in my last rotation. Based on a lot of the reading I've been doing on the subject of counter-insurgency and the experiences I've had, this is a key element to finding the bad guys--we're getting outstanding conviction rates these days, and it's apparently amazing how much stuff a guy looking at the hangman's noose will give up, or so I'm told.

Anyway, I'll be posting erratically on this journal once we get North--not sure how much I will be able to write.

03 June 2008

Attention to Orders

The President of the United States of America, authorized by act of Congress, March 3rd, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an M2 .50-caliber Machine Gunner, 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on 4 December 2006.

That afternoon his platoon was conducting combat control operations in an effort to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. While Private McGinnis was manning the M2 .50-caliber Machine Gun, a fragmentation grenade thrown by an insurgent fell through the gunner's hatch into the vehicle. Reacting quickly, he yelled "grenade," allowing all four members of his crew to prepare for the grenade's blast. Then, rather than leaping from the gunner's hatch to safety, Private McGinnis made the courageous decision to protect his crew. In a selfless act of bravery, in which he was mortally wounded, Private McGinnis covered the live grenade, pinning it between his body and the vehicle and absorbing most of the explosion.

Private McGinnis' gallant action directly saved four men from certain serious injury or death. Private First Class McGinnis' extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.