Friday, August 17, 2007

National Airborne Day

Turns out today is National Airborne Day, which is well covered over at Blackfive, so check it out there.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

On the Soldier

I am going to be away from the net for a while and will not be posting for a week or so.

I've got a lot I'd like to post, and quite a bit of bullshit has happened that some will find humorous, but I don't have time to rant right now.

What I would like to share tonight is something about the character of a Soldier. While we might be crass, crude, occasionally vulgar, and of course dangerous under the wrong conditions it is also true that you will have no better friends than those you make in the Service.

Every day something happens that makes me pause and reflect on how it would never happen in civilian life. American individualism is one of her greatest characteristics, but it does also create a lot of self-centered, self-important people. The military however is a different culture, one more concerned about the needs of the many over the needs of the few (or the one.)

I can't speak from experience of other Services, although I believe it is the same, but Soldiers look out for each other. "Don't screw your buddy", "help your buddy", "look out for your buddy" - I've heard this thousands of times from Drill Sergeants, Platoon Sergeants, First Sergeants, and Sergeants Major. And I have seen it from so many of my buddies - putting their needs, their time, their priorities behind taking care of each other. And you can read in the stories from the war. Soldiers have an incredible capacity to stand deprivation and suffering for each other. Certainly I am not saying it is perfect, but it is a noble character I have observed time and again - not in the institution, but in the men I serve with.

Mainly I post this becauseI have been observing it daily and it has been on my mind how different it is from the business world I have spent most of my professional career in. Just on my mind I guess.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Surprising change in surge reporting

Well, maybe I shouldn't give up on the mainstream media just yet. While I have been getting frustrated by the disconnect between what on the ground journalists (such as Michael Yon and Michael J Totten and milbloggers have been saying and the drumbeat of defeat coming from the press and the Dems, something funny happened - the media is hesitantly starting to acknowledge what those who really understand counterinsurgency operations have been saying. Namely, the so-caled "surge", which much more than additional troops represents a radical change of tactics, is starting to have a noticeable impact.

As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory,' but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.
- Brookings Institution analysts Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack whose report has been broadly covered in the press

Attacks against U.S. forces were down sharply last month nationwide, and military officials have expressed cautious optimism that a security crackdown is working
This should be a cause for hope - after all we have spent much blood and treasure, and to have a chance for that not to be in vain is in the interest of every American of every stripe. But for certain members of the Democratic party, it is the worst possible outcome:

  • Most Democrats seem so invested in defeat in Iraq that they apparently have no 'Plan B,' which would be success. - Miami Herald
  • a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democratic leaders are 'not willing to concede there are positive things to point to' in Iraq.
  • House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn said that a favorable report from Gen. David Petraeus '(would be) a real problem for us'
  • Freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda of Kansas, who unseated Republican Jim Ryun last fall, bolted from a hearing room when retired Gen. Jack Keane described positive developments in Iraq.

Politicians just suck.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Support Those Who Really Support Our Troops

While it has become cliché to say “I support the troops” without really doing anything to evidence that support, today I ask everyone who believes they support the troops to ask themselves what they are going to do today to lessen the pain and suffering of those who have paid a price for fighting on your behalf.

There are some great organizations out there who are dedicated to help our troops and their families, and here’s a great way for you to help them – visit and vote for your favorite military-focused charity. VAJoe is going to donate $2,000 to the charities as follows:

  • Grand Prize—$1,000
  • 2nd, 3rd and 4th Places—$300 each
  • Raffle—$100 for a randomly selected charity
That money can do a lot of good – from helping a family left behind in need, to providing temporary housing, or fighting for quality care for those who are wounded. And while you are voting, consider donating to some of those great causes, either from VAJoe’s site, or using the banners in the right column of this very blog. Sergeant Grumpy has been a long time supporter of the DAV and the American Legion's American Legacy Scholarship.