Monday, June 30, 2014

So much for no 'boots on the ground'.....

The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property, officials said Monday. 
That raises the total U.S. troop presence in Iraq to approximately 750, the Pentagon said.

I'm fully behind sending in the FAST [Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team] and the CRE [Contingency Response Element]...this is exactly what we have stood the units up for. But we've already exceeded that mission. Now, when the first attack comes against these guys, either at static sites or in transit, we'll have justification to further expand the footprint and the scope.

This is how it begins. Again.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

When the Right is just as farcical as the Left

The latest ignorant tripe going around the Christian Right blogs, is from a Stars & Stripes article speaking to the start of Ramadan and it's effect on sercive-members stained in Bahrain.
U.S. personnel accustomed to drinking their coffee on the drive to work will have to put that habit on hold for about a month. It’s one of a few lifestyle changes Americans will have to make during the holy month of Ramadan. 
For the 8,200 U.S. personnel living here, and those serving throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility — including servicemembers, civilian personnel, contractors and family members — the month may require changing some daily routines. 
Businesses and government offices will reduce hours and most restaurants will be closed during daylight hours. 
While not required to fast during Ramadan, in Bahrain, Americans can be fined or detained by local authorities for eating, drinking or smoking in public when off-base during daylight hours.

The headline and comments at these blogs illustrate a cognitive dissonance between the hyperbolic charges being leveled by the Islamophobia industry and their enablers....and the primary source being used for the charge. Statements such "US military begin forced to submit to Shari'a", and "our troops being forced to pray to the Muslim god" are rampant. It's really saddening that otherwise seemingly intelligent people show such obtuse ignorance. Further, is it their own lack of education on this subject that prevents them from knowing that this has been the case in Islamic nations where we are stationed, for years....or is it merely convenient feigned outrage, and another chance to use POTUS's middle name...because you know...wink, wink...he's one of them.

The Ramadan rules being enforced in Bahrain [as referenced in the primary source], are part of Bahraini Penal Code 309. This means that businesses will be closed during the daylight hours, so service members used to stopping by one of the few Starbucks in Manama on their way to base [if they live off base], won't be able to do so between dawn and of the *gasp* charges made in the source.

Apparently, we're so haughty that we should expect a sovereign nations laws to bend to our convenience...and when they do not, we cry 'forcible submission to another religion!'

Ironically, the mouth breathers have shot themselves in the proverbial foot. Because if adhering to a host nations laws [fully comporting with the SOFA] equates to submission to a religion, then anytime I'm forced to listen to an invocation or benediction at a ceremony or government function....or am prohibited from buying alcohol or other shopping on Sundays.....I'm now being forced to submit to another religion.

But wait! I'm always hearing that simply being exposed to and inconvenienced by  religious pomp and ceremony, doesn't mean I'm being forced to abide by said faith. So are these who are seeking to be offended merely hypocrites...or is the Abrahamic god of Christians inferior to the Abrahamic god of Muslims?

I'm going with hypocrites.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

NRO: Barney Fife meets Delta Force

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.” 
Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged. Why not here? Certainly this is not a legal matter. The principle of posse comitatus draws a valuable distinction between the national armed forces and parochial law enforcement, and one that all free people should greatly cherish. Still, it seems plain that the potential threat posed by a domestic standing army is not entirely blunted just because its units are controlled locally. To add the prefix “para” to a problem is not to make it go away, nor do legal distinctions change the nature of power. Over the past two decades, the federal government has happily sent weapons of war to local law enforcement, with nary a squeak from anyone involved with either political party. Are we comfortable with this? 
The Right’s silence on the issue is vexing indeed, the admirable attempts of a few libertarians notwithstanding. Here, conservatives seem to be conflicted between their rightful predilection for law and order — an instinct that is based upon an accurate comprehension of human nature and an acknowledgment of the existence of evil — and a well-developed and wholly sensible fear of state power, predicated upon precisely the same thing. As of now, the former is rather dramatically winning out, leading conservatives to indulge — or at least tacitly to permit — excuses that they typically reject elsewhere. Much as the teachers’ unions invariably attempt to justify their “anything goes” contracts by pointing to the ends that they ostensibly serve (“Well you do want schools for the children or don’t you? Sign here”), the increasingly muscular behavior of local police departments is often shrugged off as a by-product of the need to fight crime. This, if left unchecked, is a recipe for precisely the sort of carte blanche that conservatives claim to fear.

Question of the Day

Why does Fox news talk about the 'mainstream media' as if it's not a part of that 'mainstream media'?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Always a Brother.....

Soldiers dressed in full Army Dress Blues filled the front seats of Mountain View High School graduation ceremony on June 7, 2014; a unique sight, even for a city located just outside a military installation. As Lluvia Loeza’s name was called, the Soldiers rose to their feet and rendered a salute. 
Lluvia’s brother, Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr., was an Infantry Rifle Squad Leader and Headquarters Platoon Sergeant in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Tx. He deployed with the unit to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011. Before leaving, he made a promise to his youngest sister, Lluvia, that he would be at her graduation to watch her walk the stage but unfortunately could not keep that promise.  
Staff Sgt. William Berry a member of Charlie Company and a friend and comrade of Roberto, stated that, “Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr. was a loving and caring father and family man. His Soldiers held him in very high regard and respected his leadership and presence.” 
Roberto died of injuries sustained by indirect fire on May 25, 2012 while serving in Logar Province, Afghanistan.  
Roberto’s brother, Esteban, wanted to surprise their sister. He sent out a message through Facebook to Roberto’s old unit asking for volunteers to stand in his place. The call was answered immediately.  
Though the majority of the unit is deployed once again to Afghanistan, the Battalion’s rear detachment known as Task Force Stalwart West led by the Battalion Executive Officer, Maj. George Chigi, along with Maj. Christopher Penwarden and Sgt. 1st Class Bernie Brooks, organized a group of Soldiers to attend Lluvia’s graduation.  
More than 30 Soldiers from 1-4 Infantry Battalion attended the graduation. Also in attendance were several Soldiers from the Ft Bliss area that knew Roberto well including Penwarden and Sgt. 1st Class Jason Yeazel.  
Lluvia was completely surprised by the Straight and Stalwart Battalion Soldiers who gathered in their Army Service Uniforms. Making the event even more special for her, Chigi was given permission by the school district’s superintendent to present Lluvia with her high school diploma.  
Lluvia was just as impressive as her older brother; her discipline and drive earned her the distinction of the 4th highest grade point average in her high school. Lluvia’s brother is sure to have been proud to know that Lluvia’s efforts earned her more than $100,000 in college scholarships. 
The entire Loeza family was overwhelmed with emotion. They were happy to see so much support from the Straight and Stalwart Battalion for their son and Lluvia. The families of the other graduating students were awestruck by 1-41 Infantry Battalion as it rendered honors to Lluvia, the family, and Roberto. 
“It was a very emotional and uplifting event for us and the family. All and all we fulfilled a fallen Soldier’s promise and we did it with pride and honor and represented the 1-41 Infantry Battalion with nothing but the upmost respect and pleasure doing it for the family,” said Brooks, the Charlie Company First Sergeant.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Quote of the day...Relevant to today

Delusions about democracy are subverting peace and freedom. The American system of government is collapsing thanks to ignorant citizens, lying politicians, and a government leashed neither by law nor Constitution. While presidents and pundits harp on democracy’s inevitable spread around the world, it is perishing at home. - James Bovard, author of Attention Deficit Democracy

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The stupid is strong in Harry Reid

Or perhaps it's political perfidy?
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): But what else should we expect? The decisions by the Supreme Court have left the American people with a status quo in which one side’s billionaires are pitted against the other side’s billionaires. Except one side doesn't have billionaires. We must undo the damage done by the Supreme Court’s recent campaign finance decisions.
Oh Harry, you silly goose.....don't be ashamed of your own billionaires.

Well....this is uncomfortable......

On Memorial Day in 2013, John McCain went on a secret trip to Syria to meet with the rebels who were fighting against Bassar Assad. At the time, McCain described his visit as ‘moving.’ During an appearance on CNN, McCain elaborated on his experience. 
“It was a very moving experience to meet these fighters who have been struggling now for over two years. And they’re very aware of the battlefield situation and they’re very disturbed about the dramatic influx of Hezbollah fighters, more Iranians, and of course, stepped-up activities of Bashar Assad.” 
McCain posed for pictures with these rebels, smiling as the camera snapped. Now, ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, is using those pictures as a campaign ad. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Legal lessons from the IRS scandal

Apparently....if I get an audit notice from the IRS, all I need do is claim that I lost my receipts.

After all, a Constitutional Republic wouldn't hold a citizen to a higher legal stander than a federal agency......would it?

The Stupid is strong in this one.....

At the second annual 'March for Marriage' in Washington D.C., one of the dimmer lights in the ironically named "pro-marriage" Catherine Andujar is quoted thusly:
"How are we supposed to reproduce in this nation if it's a man with a man and a woman with a woman?" 
"They will just keep the chain going and going. It will lead to no human race [or] reproduction."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How the GOP shoots itself in the foot

I understand that our polity is generally ignorant......Obama has a second term, after all, and fed tabloid pablum by a media bought and paid for by both parties. But I don't understand the strategy of claiming an intellectual preeminence by virtue of a superior ideology [at least some parts]....and then patronizing the lowest common denominator of that polity, by offering outright lies and obfuscation, in order to throw stones at the current Administration.

It's a lack of integrity that has gone a long way in keeping me from every rejoining the GOP.

First, the usual subjects from 2002-2003 are in the media spotlight lying about the decision to withdraw forces from Iraq in 2011 [decision signed in 2008 of course]. Now throughout the media and blogosphere, we have public questioning of the 'timing' of the capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, perpetrator of the Benghazi attack.....alleging that we knew where he was the entire time, but chose this moment to deflect from the VA, Bergdahl, ISIS, IRS e-mails, etc....

Now I don't know the operational details of that mission, and wouldn't speak of them if I did. But the fact that nobody in our media, or in the party that claims such an affinity for the military, is raising unclassified institutional reasons for why we wouldn't roll him up right away. We don't have a great picture of the Jihadist networks in Libya. To undertake that effort, we focus on key leaders and facilitators with the end state of kill/capture. But to do so we use the various intelligence source [signal, human, open, cyber, etc..] to establish a 'pattern of life'. This pattern of life will also yield acquaintances,  bed down locations, transit routes, accomplices, funding sources, etc.

A very good reason for why we might have known Khattallah's whereabouts, was to use his pattern of life to illuminate more of the Ansar al-Shariah network, finally rolling him up when that discovery was as complete as we could hope for, or other time-sensitive matters made it practical.

I suppose it's too much to ask for a media who's business model is wholly built on the left-right divide, and a public who will know more about Honey Boo-Boo than foreign policy......but damn, it's maddening to watch our society to devolve intellectually.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Iraq blame game

With the news of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS] blazing a path through northern Iraq, the chattering class is again harping on the withdrawal of US forces in 2011. And predictably, the charges are rampant, that Obama "pulled the troops out early" and/or "refused to pursue a Status of Forces Agreement [SOFA]" with the Maliki regime.

Sadly for both talking points, the agreement reached between the Bush and Maliki negotiation teams, that stipulated US forces exit Iraq by Dec 31st, 2011....was a Status of Forces Agreement. It's accurately titled the Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq.

During those negotiations, the Iraqi's made it clear that "We will not accept any memorandum of understanding if it does not give a specific date for a complete withdrawal of foreign troops" BBC

Now, one could argue that the Bush Administration was simply having no luck in keeping US forces in country past 2011.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says no U.S. troops will be left in his country after 2011, calling the agreement for all American soldiers to leave by then "not subject to extension, not subject to alteration." Politico

But then one is going to have to acknowledge the same luck for the succeeding Administration.

So the politically and media driven noise machine is forced to support ignorance of this fact, forced to suppress any questions as to why the Bush Administration couldn't or wouldn't extend the withdrawal date....just as it supports an enforced ignorance of the differences between terrorism and insurgency....and the various groups involved with that servile, patriotic fervor can be whipped up for campaign season..and for issues such as this.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Can we end ignorance in our time?

Yeah....I didn't think so either.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

If hear one more time.......

the equating of the Quetta Shura Taliban...with al Qaeda and 9/11...equating the aims, motivations and threat posed to the United States......

I'm going to lose my shit.

I expect nothing less than vacant-eyed, mouth-breathing, slack-jawed sensationalism from our shit media......but I would really like to hold Congress to a higher standard.

Pipe dream, I know.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Democrat indicted for gun-running to terrorists...still gets 287,950 votes

Democratic California state Sen. Alex Padilla and Republican public policy honcho Pete Peterson are neck-and-neck in the crowded race for Secretary of State. Peterson narrowly leads in early returns, with 29.8 percent over Padilla, who is in second place with 28.8 percent. 
Despite being the center of an alleged gun-running scandal unearthed by the feds, Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee is in third with 10.7 percent. 
Who are these people? Did they read the news? Enough Californians to populate and in fact overfill the City of Irvine chose to vote for Leland Yee, who is facing big-time corruption charges. In fact, he came in third.

I'm sort of at a loss for words here.....

Feminists against self defense

So 'Miss Nevada' is crowned 'Miss USA'....yawn.

But what gives the feminists hot flashes, is not the objectification of women, but the answer that Miss Nevada gave regarding dealing with sexual assaults on college campuses. Apparently, according to at least one tweeting [screeching?] feminist, teaching women the means and confidence to defend themselves against such attacks.....only "empowers the rape culture".

That's like saying locking your front door, only empowers home burglaries.


"Because of you...I got to have them....."

After being separated for four years, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jeffrey DeYoung will finally see his brother, "Chicken," again. 
DeYoung, 23, gave the black Labrador, actually named Cena, the moniker and called him his brother when the two worked by each other's side for about six months from 2009 to 2010 during explosive-searching service in Afghanistan. 
"I probably won't sleep tonight," DeYoung, a Grand Rapids native, said on Wednesday, June 4, of his anticipation to see his partner. 
Now that 6-year-old Cena has completed his military service, DeYoung will adopt him. They will reunite at Detroit Metro Airport on Thursday morning. 
"Hopefully, he'll remember it," DeYoung said of the name Chicken.
Though they hadn't seen each other for four years, DeYoung and his old friend seem to get along perfectly -- and judging from the MLive video above, he's not the only one in the family who's fallen in love with Cena. 
"Because of you, I got to have them," DeYoung told Cena as his two young daughters made friends with the dog.

Monday, June 2, 2014

When the SOCOM Commander should listen

This has been on the net for a couple of weeks now, so I'm finally getting around to sharing it. THIS is what commencement speeches should be.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Curious Case of the Walkabout Deserter

So Bowe Bergdahl has been released in exchange for five Taliban detainees. I'm happy we have him back, but what would otherwise be euphoria over the return of a Brother-in-Arms, is tempered by the fact that he deserted during wartime.
UCMJ Article 85. Desertion 
(a) Any member of the armed forces who– 
(1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or(3) without being regularly separated from one of the armed forces enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another on of the armed forces without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated, or enters any foreign armed service except when authorized by the United States; is guilty of desertion. 
(b) Any commissioned officer of the armed forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently is guilty of desertion. 
(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.
Bowe Bergdahl left OP Mest in Paktika Province, where he was a member of B 1/501st (ABN). He left in the dead of night, without his weapon and kit. And according to some who served with him, he left after acting and speaking strangely...about the war, his 'purpose in life', etc....

Some of his teammates have stated other points about his 'capture'...but that isn't confirmed, at least for public knowledge. But we do know soon as he entered status as a DUSTWUN [Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown]...a massive amount of resources were pulled away from scheduled missions, countless lives were endangered [and some quite possibly lost] looking for Bergdahl and his 'captors'. Some accounting can be read over at The Liberty Zone. Another unverified source is the Twitter account of one who claims to have been in Bergdahl's platoon at OP Mest. I can't vouch for the account, but as a longtime Infantry guy....his accounts ring true.

Although he will be the subject of an Article 15-6 investigation, I think it is likely that the ruling will be that he had 'suffered' enough at hands of his captors, and he will be medically discharged from service with a pretty enormous amount of back pay and the status of former prisoner of war. Nobody is going to wish to shine light on how Bergdahl's actions prior to his 'capture' went unnoticed, unreported, or un-actioned. Nobody is going to wish to shine lift on how Bergdahl was able to leave OP Mest undetected and unmolested.

Much hay is being made of the fact that we 'negotiated with terrorists', and the underlying implication that this position is US policy and something we simply do not do. However, a cursory scan of the history of US foreign policy will reveal that we always negotiate with terrorists. And we always will. Much of it doesn't come to light, and much of it is whitewashed for public consumption, but the fact remains.

Frankly, I'm not worried abut the five Taliban detainees that were released in exchange for Bergdahl. The Quetta Shura Taliban, the Haqqani Network, HiG and lesser groups, do not pose a transitional threat to the homeland.

But this will be another act in the politico-media theater that drives most people's lives and gives them something to bitch about.