Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Humid Summer Night Musing...

I have been feeling angry lately. I try not to, don't want to and it's just not 'me' to feel this way. I am drained and a big part of me just wants this election to be over. I don't really want to talk to my liberal friends until after November 2nd...Maybe they feel the same way. My husband is worse --he has now arrived at the conclusion that any vote for Kerry is a vote to kill his kids (wow-I've created a monster!) .
It's not just politics --my husband owns a business and this too has diminished my opinion of the human race as well. I can not believe how many people screw you. The worst thing is that 'friends' are the worst offenders. How do you have work done and just not pay for it? I am baffled. I was really supportive in this whole 'I want to work for myself and leave my job with a pension and benefits when we have two kids and you are a stay-at-home mom' thing. SO supportive...who am I to stand in the way of someone's dream for monetary reasons? I was under the false impression that it would be fine because when you do work for someone they pay you --WRONG! So very very wrong...
This is frustrating for me because I was always the 'happy one' -the joking one and I don't want to be the angry one. I want to be able to agree to disagree --but when you TRULY believe in your ideals how do you do that? If the Dems had nominated Joe Lieberman I would feel a bit better --he is socially very liberal but consistently strong on defense. I would feel more secure with him running...As far as saftey goes -we would be OK either way.
A new fear presented itself today amidst the swiftboat vets accusations...I have heard numerous military personnel calling various radio shows saying that they will not re-enlist should Kerry be elected (and people thinking of joining that are waiting until after the election to do so). This is attributed to 2 things -their feeling that he betrayed the military with his Jane Fonda/Vietnam Vets Against the War alliance and the rustling among the enlisted about the sweeping cuts that were sustained during the Clinton administration. I do not know about the second point as I was not in the military then -nor am I now. If re-ups and new enlisting drops in the midst of the 'War on Fundamentalist Islam' will the draft have to be re-instated? I have read a few anti-war sites lately that strongly advocate a draft(?). They claim that it will even out the fact that it is 'only poor uneducated people in the military'.
So this is where I am at tonight...mad at dead-beats with no regard for other people and mad at the prospect of a weak-on-defense President.
I want to be happy again ---it would be a great help if everyone could just pay their bills and re-elect Bush in the fall. Thank you.


Tom said...

I thought only white conservative Republican men were "angry". Must be catchy.

Are you going to stick with the new blog name or is this an experiment?

redleg said...

A comment on your your last fear, and great blog by the way--came here from CB's blog which I read every day just before the early bird.

I am serving-- enlisted under Reagan, commisioned under Bush 41 and survived 8 horrible years under Clinton. I watched the 2000 elections knowing that I would get out after 11 years of service if Gore was elected. I had to vote in that election because the consequences were too high if I didn't. The reason I had never voted previously was that I was taught that professional soldiers don't vote (the first step to politicalization of your military), you vote every time you head to the field, step up to the paratroop door, or send an artillery round down-range. I lived that philosophy until the 2000 election. Thank God, Bush 43 was President on 9/11. I just could not take another 4 years of it. After 9/11 everything changed and we had an administration that actually meant what it said and didn't change its mind according to the polls. You may not like what the administration does, but they are certainly up front about what they are going to do.

I'm in the 82nd Airborne now, and I think I will probably hang up my hat at 20 years if Kerry gets elected. Bush 43 sent me and my Brigade to war in Afghanistan in 2002-2003 and anyone who says our intervention was a failure has been reading too much Carlotta Gall and the NYT editorial page. As CB has said, and hopefully it is not true, a vote for Kerry is a vote for Al Qaeda. The war on terror will become another failed "war on something or other" in the annals of American History, and all those precious lives lost will have been squandered. Our paratroopers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have not yet died in vain, but this election makes that a question. Again, I hope that isn't true, but I think it just might be.

I think a lot of our soldiers are rethinking reenlistment options, but paratroopers here are reenlisting at good rates-- not great. Some of it has to do with the deployments, and some of it has to do with the 9/11 volunteers hitting their 3 year point and getting out. Nothing against these great Americans- they did their bit and it is time for them to go on being great Americans. Most of our have deployed honorably to both the 'Stan and Iraq so I have no heartburn with soldiers not reenlisting. They did their part, and now we need other soldiers to step up and do theirs. They always have before, and god knows where we get them but they are fantastic.

Best wishes to all

ALa said...

Tom- I'm sticking with the name change -doust thou approve?

Redleg- Thanks for your comment, I really enjoyed reading it. Is that really why a lot of the military doesn't vote? Do you think this is a good or bad thing? I always just assumed that those serving would be the first to vote and was surprised when I read CB's post that said no one wanted to.
I wonder if either of my boys will join someday (they are only 3 & 5 now) --they are both OBSESSED with 'army men' --but maybe all little boys are...
Thank you for 20 years of service!
Thank you for 20 years of service!

Tom said...

Personally. I think it's redundant. Like that? Charming, eh? Tell the truth, if we were both single you'd meet me for a drink at Dirty Frank's on 13th & Locust, where bar patrons tap you on the shoulder and ask, "You gonna drink the rest a that?" {Don't laugh, that's where I took my wife on our first date.]

But seriously, I think the name change captures the essence of the blog. Good choice.

I've always been a little wary of Lieberman. He sold out a little too easily when Gore chose him as his running mate, which makes me wonder just how steadfast his view on defense would remain as president when the Democrats in both the congress and the media started putting the screws to him. And I don't think his pro-abortion stance comports well with his alleged pious adherence to the tenets of Judaism.

But now I'll really be blunt: Joe Lieberman, as a Jew, doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of rising any further in the Democratic Party so long as it remains hostage to its anti-semitic left wing, particularly the minority constituency led by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Tom said...

By the way, the Dirty Frank's reference was based on the assumption your location is Philadelphia, PENNSYLVANIA, not the one in Mississippi.

ALa said...

Yes, Philly, PA (Peeeeeaay as we say...) I have never been to this establishment though -should I check it out or steer clear? Are you in Philly?
I obviously would pick Bush over Lieberman, but lately his strength to stand up to others in his party has impressed me (I even wrote him a letter about it). I asked a boss that I had once (who was Jewish) why anyone that was Jewish would support/have an abortion --as they believe the Messiah has yet to be born --what if he were aborted? Her answer, 'Well God wouldn't let that happen'... This has always bothered me.

Tom said...

I found this little tidbit over at the NY Daily News and thought you would find it amusing. Convincing people he's straight won't be half as difficult as convincing them he is not a low-grade moron:

"Moby is still committed to convincing people he's straight.

"Appearing at a storytelling event sponsored by The Moth, the rave rajah spun an interesting tale about a debauched night he'd spent in Times Square.

"He'd started the evening in question, about six months ago, at a benefit hosted by Bette Midler. Having had a bit too much to drink, he decided to make his first trip to a gentleman's club. One of the dancers offered him a lap dance.

"Instead, he gave her $400 just to talk. 'She gave me a bag of cocaine,' Moby told an audience Monday night at the China Club. 'I'm 38, but I'd never done coke before. I didn't know you were supposed to share.'

"When he told the stripper he'd Hoovered her bag, she 'got very aggressive.' He tried to calm her down by buying a $400 bottle of Champagne.

"Around 2 a.m., after soiling his 'sleazy Versace suit' during an emergency trip to the bathroom, he figured it was time to go home. When the tiny techno-rocker couldn't get to sleep, he called an ex-girlfriend, who offered to come over. 'We made love all night,' he remembered.

"Hey, bud, thanks for sharing."

ALa said...

Friends of mine own a bar on 7th Street (next to the Electric Factory) called Wiskey Dix --the kind of place where you will see bras hanging from the various dead animal things that hang on the walls --very charming (haha)

ALa said...

Wow --what a weirdo (Moby)! (Though I already knew that)...I am dying to go to his 'Meat is Evil' cafe in NY wearing a Bush/Cheney or Not Fonda Kerry shirt and ask for a rare steak!

Tom said...

I was born, raised, and spent much of my adult life getting crocked and smoking myself half to death in and around Center City, Olde City, and the Art Museum area. Which I guess pretty much explains why I am the way I am. On the one hand, I'm hesitant to recommend Dirty Frank's to mature, classy women who call bars "establishments". On the other hand, you strike me as a tough cookie.

Put it this way, the place is aptly named. Or it was, anyway. I haven't been in there in a few years (though I drive by a lot). From the outside, it doesn't look like it succumbed to the trendy disease that kills great hole-in-the-wall bars. During the day it was a quiet place where neighborhood alcoholics enjoyed themselves. If you went at night you thought you died and went to grad school hell. There's a similar place, McGlinchey's, on 15th Street between and Locust & Spruce. They were about the only two bars in Center City where you didn't have to take out a loan before ordering something stronger than water.

Anyway, back to politics ...

Bigandmean said...

It is frustrating when friends rip you off by not paying when you've done work for them. I had that happen a lot duing my first few years of law practice. I changed my policy and my cash flow by making it clear upfront what I expected. Some people want to believe that since they have a friend in the business that you'll work for them for free.

It's OK to give friends and family a discount when you operate a small business. But you have to explain to them that this is what you do for a living and not a hobby. I got burned lots of times until I learned to look them right in the eye and say "how do you want to pay for this"? If that makes them angry, you didn't need a friend like that anyway.

The final straw for me was when the wife of a friend of mine screwed up her checking account, wrote several hot checks and was charged with theft by check. She was actually booked and jailed. I don't do crimianal law, but when my friend called me I rushed to the county jail and bailed her out. I paid the face amount of the checks and the charges were dismissed. I didn't charge her for my time but sent them a bill for the amount of the checks she had written that I covered. She paid me back with a hot check.

The first time it happens, shame on the person who betrayed your trust. If I let it happen agian, shame on me. Works for me. Good luck.

this we'll defend said...

You say "numerous military personnel calling various radio shows saying that they will not re-enlist should Kerry be elected (and people thinking of joining that are waiting until after the election to do so)" - The military has not seen a drop in re-enlistments and there has never been a correlation to politics. This is not a real concern. If the radio shows you listen to are far-right radio talk shows then only those who hold similar beliefs call in, so it isn't representative of the force.

It is also amazing that those who serve would think of leaving the service in wartime because they disagreed with the will of the people. That is why I don't believe it. Some disgruntled individuals may leave because they don't like Kerry. Others may decide to stay because they do. Few soldiers, however, make career decisions based on elections. Nor should they, ever.

You say military men are thinking of not re-enlisting if Kerry is elected because: "their feeling that he betrayed the military with his Jane Fonda/Vietnam Vets Against the War alliance" - more distortions from the right-wing. He and Jane Fonda and millions of others were anti-Vietnam War, but when Jane Fonda took her traitorous trip to Hanoi he disassociated himself with her (as most people did). Yet right-wingers seem to have the inability to separate legitimate protest from traitorous actions. That is pretty scary. Let's make this simple:

Many loyal Americans disagreed about the Vietnam war.

Some believed in the dominoe theory and felt that if we lost in Vietnam we would be fighting communists in the streets of America.

Others said that the Vietnam war was a civil war and not part of a monolithic war on communism, and that pulling out of Vietnam would not mean we would have to fight commies back home.

We pulled out of Vietnam, we didn't have to fight commies back home, and Vietnam engaged in a short war with Communist China shortly thereafter, proving that there was no "monolithic" communist front. So the latter group was proven right, although victory in Vietnam would have been even better (something that was never possible because politicians in both parties weren't willing to level with the American people and tell them the true cost victory would require - read the Pentagon Papers). Both those for the war and those against were loyal and honorable and decent Americans. Those that served in Vietnam deserve the most respect because they answered their country's call.

A tiny minority of those against the war were actually anti-American and pro-communist, instead of simply anti-Vietnam war. Fonda was one of these. These traitors were never in the mainstream of anti-war protestors. They did not represent the millions of people who felt the Vietnam war was a mistake. And the right-wing always trots them out to prove how wrong the anti-war movement was. Except - the anti-war movement was proven right - no dominoes fell, communists fought each other, and we won the cold war. Had we never deployed to Vietnam we would have 58,000 more Americans alive and we still would have won the cold war. Kerry's protests against the war were not the same as Fonda's treason, and by equating the two (such as your "Not Fonda Kerry" t-shirt) you equate legitimate protest with treason. Our Founding Fathers wouldn't look kindly on you for that. Sure, it makes a good sound bite - but the message is chilling. Does that kind of politiking help our Republic in the long run?

"and the rustling among the enlisted about the sweeping cuts that were sustained during the Clinton administration. I do not know about the second point as I was not in the military then -nor am I now." Well, it is a myth. Yes, at the end of the Cold War we drastically reduced our armed forces - it began during Bush I and continued under Clinton. Perhaps we do need more aircraft carriers, Seawolf submarines, and Stealth Bombers, but why? So that we can invade Russia? What we need is more ground troops and a transformation of the military to address current threats, something that began under Clinton. The Stryker program started under Clinton, the Bush administration has tried to kill it and has cut funding for it (Gen. Shinseki fell on his sword over it). Military experts called for an increase in end-strength for the Army over three years ago, the Army has just now been given permission to add 30,000 troops and even that is considered "temporary." I could go on and on, but the "Clinton neglect" of the military is yet another right-wing myth and the leadership of the Army knows it. In addition the Bush administration, instead of beefing up ground forces, has asked for billions and billions for national missile defense. Read up on the Maginot Line to see how spending enormous sums on defense doesn't necessarily translate into a stronger defense.

"If re-ups and new enlisting drops in the midst of the 'War on Fundamentalist Islam' will the draft have to be re-instated?" No, not at all, but it is a fair question since the Army is stretched right now (an increase of 30K that started three years ago would have helped enormously, but that's your "strong on defense" president for you). If re-ups drop we don't need to resort to forced labor for the military. Why not let the market forces work - pay more money to soldiers in harm's way? Right now an E2 Army 11B light weapons infantryman in Iraq gets the same pay as an E2 Air Force file clerk back in the states. Not to knock the Air Force, but is that right? Air Force crew chiefs get paid more (flight pay, etc.) than Rangers of the same rank do. Is the hazard or skill level the same? Special Forces soldiers can quadruple their pay by leaving the service for private military contractors (it is quite a testament to their honor and loyalty that so many choose not to).

Instead of a draft, why not pay more for those jobs we need the most and have the most trouble filling? If we need more riflemen but have all the crew cheifs we need then pay riflemen more. More people will decide to heed the call of the infantry and we will have a volunteer force that is fully manned. Few people would claim the pay differential is unjust - and those that do are free to go to Fort Benning (the School of Infantry) and say so.

Imagine a re-up bonus of $50K per infantryman. If 100,000 riflemen re-upped it would cost $5 billion - or less than 3 stealth bombers. What do you think contributes more to our national defense, 100,000 riflemen or 3 stealth bombers? But, see, stealth bombers result in huge profits for defense contractors, while re-up bonuses are "wasted" on soldiers and their families. Again you can see how spending enormous sums on defense doesn't necessarily relate to improving national defense. If we offered $50K, or even $25K reup bonuses (and only if we have trouble filling the force) we will get qualified volunteers, who serve longer terms, and we can be quite picky about who we allow to enlist or re-up.

A draft would result in costs just as huge (billions), would put people in the military that don't want to be there, and would result in a lesser-quality force that would be much less effective on the battlefield. Not to knock draftees that served this country honorably, but conscript armies are never as good as volunteer forces. Any trained rifleman will tell you that he would rather go out on an operation with 10 well-trained, motivated volunteers than 100 conscripts. We always fight outnumbered and win. A draft would change that for the worse.

"I have read a few anti-war sites lately that strongly advocate a draft(?). They claim that it will even out the fact that it is 'only poor uneducated people in the military'." Of course you are right that a draft won't "even out" our military. If any one group is over-represented in the combat arms it is the rural white man, and I don't hear a lot of people raising hell about that. But here is where you and I differ - I don't look to the extremes in your party to decide what a typical right-winger is like. I look to the President, VP, and the majority of Republican Party supporters to see what the right-wing is like. You seem to (and I will stereotype here) and the right-wing seem to look to the far, far left to see your opponents. The majority of this nation did not vote for Bush in the last presidential election. That does not mean that the majority of your fellow citizens hold extreme left-wing views, are pacifists, don't believe in a strong national defense, or want to burn the flag. Why read extreme anti-war sites for information? They don't contain any, they are extreme ideologues. Your democratic opponents want a strong national defense just like you do, we simply disagree about how to do it. Bush wants enormous sums for defense contractors and thinks invading Iraq helped. Democrats want to spend more on end-strength and ground troops and think invading Iraq was a big mistake (and yes, Kerry's vote was not for invasion but to give the President the authority to do so - BIG difference).

So, I am also mad at dead-beats with no regard for other people and mad at the prospect of a weak-on-defense President. And I'm voting Kerry to change that.

ALa said...

Thanks for your encouragement...small business owners and successful large business owners alike seem to have the horror stories to tell. I guess we are just paying our dues. I can't believe your 'friend' with the checks (I had my husband read your comment) --that's were we are with the 'friends' now...forget the labor, but you have to pay us for the materials...Everyone did tell us that it would be an uphill struggle for the first 5 years -it's only been 2.
I personally think that many that were protesting then are still protesting now. The types of people that usually protest are ...well, most are just career protestors.
I have never read a Kerry denouncement of Jane Fonda --and many on 'your side' (my brothers included) claim that she did nothing wrong and it was all a fallacy --and even if she did that 'she apologized and is a Christian now'...This looks like a recent picture to me...
Some of the 'right wing' calls were on NPR -not exactly a conservative establishment!
I said that I have seen support for the draft on anti-war sites --I wasn't using this as an indictment on the entire left (as you claim I was)...I mentioned it because I thought it was strange that ANTI-WAR people would advocate a draft...I know that you (and most everyone I know) is against a draft....
Don't even try the "democrats want to spend on this and that for the troops" -it doesn't fly here --95% of the delegates at that convention are against the war and would pull out tomorrow in appeasement creating the mess of all time...YOU may be a Democrat that is strong on defense, but don't say this is the norm -it doesn't fly here and Kerry's record proves it! He would say that he will give everyone a pet DNC donkey if it would get him elected. Even Dems admit this as the polls show that Bush means what he says as opposed to Kerry will say anything to win.
The defense money would be gone tomorrow into a welfare system that uses 73 cents on EVERY dollar for administrative costs.....

Tom said...

This we'll defend:

"[Kerry] and Jane Fonda and millions of others were anti-Vietnam War, but when Jane Fonda took her traitorous trip to Hanoi he disassociated himself with her (as most people did)."

Come again? "Millions" of others were anti-Viet Nam War? I told you ten thousand times, don't exaggerate (sorry, I couldn't resist). Is that why Richard Nixon shellacked George McGovern in 1972 even after everyone realized he had lied in 1968 about his "secret plan" to end the war? Quick, tell us you meant worldwide (which you didn't, but I'm giving you an out). Tens of thousands maybe, and most of them were baby boomers crapping their pants over the prospect of their draft number coming up (quick, here's where you throw in your "Bush dodged the draft" standby). Funny how their anti-war ideals petered out after American troops came home. They didn't have a thing to say about North Viet Nam violating the peace treaty, overrunning the South, and slaughtering thousands. "Pol Pot?! Hey, man, where can I score some of that?"

But I digress, and you might be too young to remember all of that. Where'd you hear about the millions? As an undergrad?

Anyway, find me a statement (or any evidence, for that matter) in which John Kerry implicitly or explicitly "disassociated" himself from Jane Fonda's wing of the anti-war movement after her (what liberals now feel safe to call) "traitorous" Hanoi trip. Give me a break, please. You think the pro-Kerry media, if any such evidence existed, wouldn't be printing it daily and playing it nightly?

"Many loyal Americans disagreed about the Vietnam war."

Typical liberal obfuscation - and illogic. In response to well-documented allegations that John Kerry was a slimey, disloyal, opportunistic gas bag who slandered what he now has the unmitigated gall to call his "band of brothers", allegations you and the pro-Kerry media can't refute, which is why they're doing their best to ignore everything about Kerry save his four months playing sailor in Viet Nam, you stammer, "B-b-but, many loyal Americans criticized the war." Yeah, they criticized the war, they disagreed over policy, they voted for candidates with different ideas about how to fight communism, but (pay attention now, this will come in handy later on) THEY DIDN'T GO BEFORE CONGRESS AND LIE ABOUT AMERICAN SOLDIERS COMMITTING ATROCITIES AS RULE. THEIR WORDS WEREN'T USED BY THE ENEMY AS A MEANS OF PSYCHOLOGICALLY TORTURING AMERICAN POWs.

Don't compare losers like John Kerry with honorable men like Eugene McCarthy. In the words of Michael Corleone, it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry. If Kerry's protest against the Viet Nam conflict was so loyal, so patriotic, so AMERICAN, why is he leaving it up to supporters like you to make fools out of yourselves trying to defend it? Why is he ignoring it, to the point where he makes jokes about it in interviews? Or perhaps you missed his appearance on Meet the Press, where after watching a tape of his ridiculous accusations against American troops on the Dick Cavett Show, Russert (who temporarily forgot he's supposed to HELP the democratic candidate), asked him, "YOU committed atrocities?" Kerry laughed, "Heh-heh-heh, where'd all that dark hair go, that's what I want to know, Tim." Yeah, real funny, asshole.

You better find a better cause to defend, defend.

Tom said...

this we'll defend:

You're amazing. About the only thing "reading up" on the Maginot Line reveals is not to trust one's defense to the French. How you draw an analogy between their moronic construction of artillery batteries that couldn't be turned around with modern missile technology is evidently one of those divine mysteries that will be revealed in the afterlife.

this we'll defend said...

Actress Jane Fonda was also present at the Valley Forge rally (although she was not yet known as "Hanoi Jane," as her infamous visit to North Vietnam did not occur until two years later). Kerry's aides have stressed that John Kerry and Jane Fonda were only acquaintances, and that the rally was held before the actress' contentious trip to North Vietnam, an action that Kerry did not support.

An action that Kerry did not support - enough said. Lie if you must, twist the truth if you must. The facts are out there. Tom, there is your "one" source, but there are many others - including, of course, Kerry himself, but you won't listen to anything he has to say. For other readers, do a google search and see if Kerry agreed with Fonda's trip to Hanoi. I won't list the many, many sources of such information.

As for "millions" - 250,000 gathered on a single day in D.C. on Nov. 15, 1969. I'll let you do your own research on that one. Perhaps ALL of the protestors nationwide gathered at that same place on that same day. More reasonable, of course, is that any movement that gathers 250,000 together in a single place could have millions of supporters. You say not. But wait, there is more: From "In New York, over a million people took part in one demonstration. The public opinion polls showed that a narrow majority of the people still supported US involvement in Vietnam. However, the polls also indicated that much of this support came from middle class families whose own sons were not at risk." Then there were the teach-ins, the moratorium against the war, etc. etc. On 15 Oct 69 over a million took part in the anti-war moratorium across the nation, including 50 members of Congress.

So yes Tom, Millions. Including females not eligible for the draft and students who had deferments. I didn't learn this as an undergrad, but do I detect a bit of anti-intellectualism about you? I will repeat: Millions of loyal Americans thought Vietnam was a mistake. Millions protested against it.

Tom, you continue, in your search for the truth, to claim that THEY DIDN'T GO BEFORE CONGRESS AND LIE ABOUT AMERICAN SOLDIERS COMMITTING ATROCITIES AS RULE. No need to shout Tom. And Kerry didn't lie about anything. Read the transcript of Kerry's 1971 testimony before Congress and give me one lie Kerry told the committee. Just one. C'mon, that's not too much to ask. Just one. Make a fool of me. I beg you. Just one.

ALa71, some people have forgiven Fonda. Don't lump me in with them. I have not and never will. Traitors deserve death. 'nuff said.

As for your claims that 95% of democratic delegates were against the Iraq war - that is perhaps true but it is a much higher number than I've seen. I'll buy it though. As to your claim that they would be appeasers and pull out - Kerry and his platform say that is NOT what he would do, and that is not what I would do - the war is here and we would not be better off leaving Iraq in anarchy. Claiming the invasion was a mistake is different from claiming we should quit and lose. Kerry has consistently said this - the invasion was a mistake, the occupation poorly planned and poorly executed, making it harder to win a stable and non-hostile Iraq - but we must win a stable and non-hostile Iraq. He has consistently said that we will not be better off by leaving Iraq in a mess. So your claims that the democratic party will appease Saddam only go against what the official platform and Kerry have said, that's all. Apparently a plan to pull out that is (you claim) supported by 95% of a party is something that you don't actually put into a platform because it is too controversial, instead you knowingly lie about it (even though 95% of the party members agree with it) in an attempt to fool everyone. Does that pass the common sense test? Dean ran on a platform to immediately pull out. so did Kucinich. The Democratic party chose Kerry instead, a candidate that took a different position. Yet you insist the dems will "appease." Well, go ahead. It isn't true but go ahead.

Your claim that Kerry will do or say "anything" to win rings kind of false given the President's continued refusal to 1) condemn the Swiftvets ads, and 2) think of a single mistake he has ever made. Or Cheney's continued insistence of - oh, hell, anything that Cheney says.

this we'll defend said...

Tom, perhaps you weren't able to make the connection but your brain resorted to auto-French bashing. A system such as the Maginot Line did not address the likeliest threat the French faced. It merely encouraged a reliance on the Line while their enemies had many other ways of attack. It ate up billons of French defense dollars that would have been better spent modernizing, training, and equipping their ground forces.

Here is the divine mystery revealed: A system such as National Missile Defense does not address the likeliest threat we face. It merely encourages a reliance on missiles while our enemies have many other ways of attack. It will eat up billons of US defense dollars that would have been better spent modernizing, training, and equipping our ground forces. And, it is less of an asset then the Maginot Line, which at least slowed some German units down. If we have an impregnable shield then our enemies simply don't go that way, they attack some other way - and meanwhile we will have devoted so many resources to the project that we will be more vulnerable somewhere else - as the French were. How do you like that for an analogy?

If we had National Missile Defense in place today: 9/11 still happens, we still are fighting in Iraq, we would be several hundreds of billions of dollars poorer, and the system is not even guaranteed to work. But, lots of defense contractors would be rich and the Right-wing could claim they are doing everything to defend the nation, as the supporters of the Maginot Line did in France.

ALa said...

I was not linking YOU with the Fonda forgivers (I would have bet that you felt the same as most vets)BUT, my point was, that many in your party do ...whether you like it or not that Mumia-loving Rab dude is indicative of much of the party (at least the ones I've met in Philly, NY & NJ). Hence we complete the cyclic process of me asking 'why would you classify yourself as a liberal when you are so not'...
I also said nothing about Kerry platform as it was hogwash (I've been looking for a way to use that word)--that was my point --his platform is BS and not AT ALL representative of the feeling of the party (which isn't as high as the 95% of the delegates, but I believe somewhere around 78% that don't think we should be there/we should pull out). Bringing up Dean proves my point -he actually represents where the party is now and should have been the nominee. I have said this before and will say it again --I have yet to meet ANYONE who had Kerry as their first choice. If primaries were all held on the same day (as they should be) the Dems wouldn't have descended into group think and Dean would have surely won...Instead you were left with the 'Buyer's Remorse Re-Invention Convention' --pity.
Anyway, as for Fonda-- you didn't explain the picture of them together recently (I provided the URL) --It is ridiculous to say that 'Kerry's aids' have said....blah blah blah --what the hell are they going to say now--produce Kerry denouncing her actions AT THE TIME...he can say whatever he wants now...(and he always does...)
As for the swiftboat vets...President Bush has NO RIGHT to condemn then (and neither do you). They served their country and bled for the right to say what they believe -end of story. Please--do better than the 'talking point' of Bush can't think of any mistakes --that 'press conference' was a blood bath set-up and everyone has admitted it was an embarrassment. No one in the right mind (ha maybe that's the point) would have thrown raw meat to the savages...
I am disappointed to see your arguments turning to Terry McAwful's talking points -I have come to expect more from you.

redleg said...


I'm old school Army and didn't think professional soldiers should vote. Salute the civilian leadership and work to make things better in the Army and for the mission. Let the civilians muddle through with their politics. I have since revised my philosophy after experiencing "Clintonian Love" for 8 years. We may be busier under Bush, but at least we know what we're doing and hurting the enemy a lot more than he is hurting us. Most of our units make the voting aids available and it is easy to register. I have never kept track of who voted in any unit I have been in and I don't plan to ask. I have told soldiers to register and told them it is a good idea to vote, but I will not tell them who to vote for. CB's comment is about on track with most high speed/low drag coefficient units I have seen. If you have low voter registration, then you register everybody. I will vote to keep Bush in the White House for the time being. He surrounds himself with smart people who know how to show resolve and handle a crisis. Can't ask for much more than that from Washington. He also knows how to delegate and let the military take care of business. The U.S. military, not the U.N., has rebuilt more nations successfully than anyone around. It may be messy but there it is.

I don't want to leave Iraq and Afghanistan the same way we abandoned Kosovo to the UN and NATO. Years after the 73 day abortive air campaign things are still stuck in reverse. We owe Afghanistan and Iraq better than that.

With Kerry in the White House I would feel OK about retiring with 20. That's 3.5 years away for me so I will not be retiring during the war. Because if Kerry gets in the White House, we will do the soft soap on terrorists and continue trying to prosecute them using the ICC or some such legal organization. The way I read his current plan is that he will attempt to cut and run after 6 months. Doing that, we will have abdicated much as the Phillipines and Spain have effectively done. This is why everyone who hates the United States (not opposing political parties or those with different viewpoints) wants anyone other than Bush in the Presidency-- because he scares the hell out of them. And scared terrorists hide in caves and hit you when they can. Unscared terrorists fly planes into buildings. Take the offense with the enemy or he will take it to you. You can call it active defense if you want. These people want us and our civilization wiped from the face of the earth. Nothing less will make them satisfied. You don't, you can't negotiate with people like this. You kill them. Pretty it up all you like but there it is. If not, I am here to serve as long as we are at war and serious about it.

My feelings are this- I want to kill the enemy over there rather than giving him a chance to get killed here. Your children deserve better than that. A car bomb or VBIED in Mosul is better than in anytown USA. Plus we can fire back over in Iraq without overly restrictive ROE (Rules of Engagement). And we have great Americans such as CB doing that work on a daily basis. Again, I don't know where we keep finding guys like this but they are the best at what they do, no matter how little they want to be the guys doing it at any given second.

Take care and all the best

~Jen~ said...

Redleg, I sure have enjoyed reading your comments today. I am very pleased to meet you, and I look forward to reading more of your comments.

Ala71 - I've been in angry-blonde-republican-mode (grrrrrrowl) for about a week now, though I am a bit more relaxed now that CB has posted again. What a relief.

BigandMean - I remember that story, but it is making me crazy because I can't remember who it was! I'll call you tonight.

Hey everyone! Tomorrow is BigandMean's birthday! I'll leave it up to him to tell you which one. *grin*

Hi to everyone else. I am kind of falling off the planet in blogland for a bit because of work, but I'll be back and on fire after the weekend.

this we'll defend said...

Redleg, you say "These people want us and our civilization wiped from the face of the earth." Who, exactly, are "these people?" Are they Al Queda and other like-minded terrorists? Yes. North Korea? Yes. The clerics in control of Iran? Yes. The entire Arab world? No. Every Moslem? No. Iraq under Saddam Hussein? No. Iraq now? Yes, but it didn't need to be that way - we made new enemies instead of seeking to destroy old ones (or we put ourselves in a position where old enemies that presented no threat to us now can attack our soldiers and do us damage).

It is easy to be in an "us v them" mode, and feel like you are accomplishing something by doing "something." But doing "something" doesn't mean you are improving things. You shouldn't dig a hole merely to dig a hole and feel busy. I've seen units at the NTC work really, really hard, put in enormous effort, put up deep defenses in depth, and be easily defeated by the OPFOR. I've also seen units that don't seem to be doing much - employing subterfuge and tactical patience - that almost beat the OPFOR (nobody wins a rotation but the OPFOR - it is possible but it just has never happened). The OPFOR has even (rarely) lost individual battles during a rotation - and it wasn't the hardest-working units that beat them, but the smartest. It isn't just shooting or invading or killing people that makes us safer - it is thinking strategically, avoiding fighting where it won't help and committing everything when it will. This isn't appeasement or a lack of will - it is sound military tactics.

At the JRTC we practice urban warfare (MOUT), but an important lesson is: Don't engage in house-to-house fighting when you can bypass the urban area and meet the enemy on ground of your choosing. If you do go down into the urban areas and fight well, and take and hold the cities, you won't do as well as another unit that manages to engage and destroy the OPFOR without exposing themselves to MOUT fighting at all. OC's will point that out too, as you may know since you claim to be old Army.

A commander should seek advantage instead of just blindly going after the first enemy they see. A good scout screen will help a commander decide which avenues of approach to use and which to avoid. That is, good information helps. Yet, even if the scout screen fails it is the commander's responsibility. I've seen commanders make good calls even though the scouts had the wrong picture. And, of course, vice versa.

That is the "war on terror" in a nutshell. Bush paints it as a choice between appeasement and fighting back. That is simplistic. It, instead, is a choice about which avenues of approach should have been chosen. Bush, despite the best military advice to the contrary, chose to prosecute the war on terror in Iraq. I claim that this was world-class stupid. You may disagree. But by continually pointing out how much 9/11 meant, or how we MUST defeat our enemies, how he was right all along, it only shows that the Bush team is missing the point of the criticism. Nobody is criticizing Bush over Afghanistan except to say that not enough force was deployed (a lack of full commitment) and the criticism over Iraq is that it helped, not hurt, our terrorist enemies and hurt, not helped, ourselves. The Bush team still claims they were right, and that those who disagree don't want to fight the terrorists. It simply isn't true.

It is hard to focus on who the true enemies are, to make hard choices, and to have the ability to choose a course of action that leads to the best results. You would rather fight terror in Mosul than in LA. Me too. Who wouldn't? That doesn't answer the question: was the invasion that led to us fighting in Mosul something that made us safer? And Bush is blaming the CIA for bad information about WMDs - even though many, including myself, the military, the AF, the State Dept., and our allies in "old Europe" had a good read and argued against it at the time. They were ignored in favor of people like Chalabi. And the CIA was in fact not even in agreement itself - at the time it faced enormous criticism for even putting in caveats and many analysts were surpringly frank about how much pressure there was to present a picture favorable to invading Iraq. I've seen it time and again at the NTC. The commander gets the enemy picture he expects by forcing his scouts to tell him what he wants to hear, by deploying his scouts only where they can confirm his guesses as to what the OPFOR is doing, instead of where they can deny his expectations. He insists that anything that contradicts what he expects to hear is simply a bad scout report. He gives too much weight to favorable reports. And he deploys only to find the OPFOR has led him into a trap, getting him to take the approach they wanted him to take. Good commanders sometimes make such mistakes - and they always respond the same way. They admit they were wrong. They praise the scouts who disagreed with them. They focus on how to avoid such mistakes in the future, such as by using their scouts to find out information that destroys pre-concieved notions. Bad commanders (those most likely to be relieved as ineffective) also respond alike. He blames the scouts and insist that his plan was correct even while the OPFOR is planting the OPFOR colors in the middle of his TOC (and dancing naked on the objective - but that is only for OPFOR to discuss).

You decide which kind of commander the Commander-in-Chief resembles.

During the cold war the idea that communism was this monolithic entity controlled entirely by Moscow (an easy thing to believe) led us to miss huge opportunities and invited errors. We missed that China and the USSR were not only not allies, but were close to being outright enemies (we caught on only decades later). We missed that North Vietnam and South Vietnam was not and should not have been a front in the cold war. We drove potential supporters who had leftist or even socialist tendencies into supporting the USSR because we refused to see the difference between an Italian socialist loyal to Italy, for example, and a communist dedicated to defeating the capitalist west. It took us years to realize that Yugoslavia's Tito might be an ally rather than an enemy even if we went to war against the USSR. We missed a lot. Why? Because it was simply easier to be anti-communist and hate the lot of them. Those leaders who tried to point out such opportunities were labeled soft on communism and defeated in the elections. As a result no politician would face reality until Nixon went to China. He deserves enormous credit for doing so, but he deserves blame for being one of those who would have roasted anybody else if they tried it - even though it was the best for our nation and helped us to win the cold war. Being "seen" as a cold warrior was better than actually doing something to win.

Now we seem to be lumping an enormous amount of threats together into the "war on terror." Terrorism is a method - how do you make war against a method? Our enemies aren't all people who employ terrorism (although all who do are despicable). We shouldn't fight the IRA, or the FARC in Columbia, or Hamas, or Hezbollah, or ETA in Spain. We should, however, seek out and destroy those who would harm us. The war on terror also doesn't include Iraq (at least initially), Iran, North Korea, or any of the other real threats and potential threats (China?) that we face.

So we must win in Iraq - but we didn't need to be there. And we should have had full committment in Iraq instead of trying to win on the cheap. Instead of claiming that yes, we did have enough troops - how about asking why didn't we have twice as many as we needed just in case? Especially since it turns out it would have helped? Why would we even risk it? Because it would have been controversial at the time, revealing the true cost of the war? For political reasons?

Finally - The ARMY shouldn't vote. Soldiers should. You should, you always should have, and you should encourage your soldiers to vote. You should seek to be informed about the issues so as to cast an intelligent vote. When you put on your uniform you didn't cast aside your citizenship.

redleg said...


I admire your approach, but it's obvious you were an OPFOR geek at NTC (no offense). I have seen much the same at JRTC with 35+ rotations, as both BLUFOR and observer/controller. It is very easy to lump units into a category while they are struggling against many different elements the OPFOR is not (and neither are the O/Cs). I jumped in on a rotation at JRTC in Sep 02, only 15 months after I left JRTC and I learned what a huge difference not having an O/C radio means. Wise decisions are hard to make when you have had no sleep, are fighting 3 simultaneous fights, and have an incomplete picture of the enemy. What the CTCs provide is a realistic training environment par excellance. Can't dispute that-- they are there to help us fight better when all of the chips are down. I used my experiences as an O/C and from that rotation to help us fight in Afghanistan.
Your argument is based on the fact that we had a choice to go to war. I would argue that we did not. When was enough? Failed resolutions for 12 years, a growing threat by all evidence (even if later proved wrong), and the inability for the UN to mean what it says. I remember commanders at JRTC forced to make tough choices under all of the above situations. President Bush called Saddams bluff. Senator Kerry would not have with all of his statements, as Clinton did not. To do nothing would have been far worse, for that is exactly what our Muslim Fundamentalist friends want. For us to do nothing. I hear the media castigate the administration every day about lying to take us to war. I keep remembering what my Drill Sergeant told me in basic training at Fort Benning- "Do something, even if it's wrong." The other option is to let the enemy (read Muslim Fundamentalists 18-40 years of age, male in gender) dictate the battlefield. Semantics I am tired of, and I am afraid of waging the more sensitive War on Terror that John Kerry envisions. I listened to semantics for 8 years under Clinton and watched the Army evolve into one that would cut and run at 18 deaths in Somalia. I am sure you saw some of this as well. We did manage to keep the Army training during this time, but there was no help and little sympathy from the Administation. That is why I considered getting out if Gore won. And plenty of professionals were thinking the same way. I was one of them.
I won't argue about Post-war planning, the Iraq we entered was not the one envisioned. So we got that one wrong, and what did we do? You will note the Coalition Task Force soon started working to fix it, no matter what the media reports. The result seems to be an Iraq that is making decisions for itself, whether we like it or not. I also disagree that we should have waited until the most force was on the ground to invade. "Get there furstest with the mostest" that was Nathan Bedford Forrest I believe, and it stood us in good stead. Baghdad did fall, I remember. I also disagree with your evaluation that we should have gone in with more force in Afghanistan. That is classic heavy army think. With that line of though we would still be evaluating COAs about transformation. SOmetimes you just gotta do, before the enemy does it to you. What was needed was light infantrymen, helicopters and special forces. And we had them. We had a huge area to cover, yes, but your comments show (again, no offense) that you are mistaking Afghanistan for NTC. Fort Erwin it ain't. We made most of our money with PRTs, Civial Affairs, and SF in remote firebases interacting with the population. The only thing I could have done with an M1A1 tank or a Paladin would have been to station them around Kandahar or Bagram and have their crews stand gate guard. Equipment in Afghanistan was useless unless I could sling it in by helicopter or it was tough enough to roadmarch over the worst roads imaginable(Afghan Highway 1 or streambeds at worst). Force is a relative thing, and we had enough to do the job. An average roadmarch was 300+ kilometers one way. ANd the first roadmarch I did was with a Romanian task force in Soviet era BTR-70s.
I repeat-- you take the fight to the enemy or he will take it to you. Even if we made a mistake in going into Iraq and liberating 55 million people from ruthless dictators and Muslim Fundamentalists, we are fighting the enemy there and not here. A big plus in my book. The enemy (read Muslim Fundamentalists 18-40 years of age, male in gender) is reacting to us. Those who were against us prior to the invasion of Iraq are not magically on our side, but most Iraqis and Aghans are tremendously happy we are there. I submit they will never love us, but at least let them respect us. We have killed more terrorists or potential terrorists than we have in all in years leading up to 9/11. Germany, France, and indeed much of Europe and NATO have been neglecting their defenses and growing apart from United States interests for years now. Even if Kerry is elected, these countries won't be able to help us in any way that will ease our load in Iraq. And they don't sound very hot about supporting Kerry any more than they have supported Bush, mainly because Europe has been growing apart from us for years. Kerry has recently made overtures to both France and Germany to see if they would help us out if he is elected and diplomats from both nations gave him a nice raspberry for his trouble. The sad bottom line is this- we have protected Europe for years and not forced them to defend themselves. These countries are fooling themselves into thinking they can reduce the Muslim Fundamentalist threat by bringing the noise level down. Would be great to believe that as true. I can't. You may believe as you wish.

I still believe soldiers shouldn't vote. I was influenced by an early reading of Heinlein's Starship Troopers or something. I am firmly against the politisization of the military- first step to a coup (please don't tell me it can't happen here). Clinton taught me (again) that ideals are fine, but a vote would have helped. Mine is the minority view, I know. That is why I have never told soldiers how to vote, but I made the tools available for them to vote and decide for themselves. But after these last two elections and seeing how incredibly polarized the American public is, I decided I had to vote to make my voice heard. Maybe I sold out, I don't know. All I knew in 2000 I could not handle 4 years of Gore. And looking back, President Bush 43 was the right man for the job. 9/11 proved that to me. Gore would have imposed sanctions on Outer East Mongolia or shot a tomahawk at something. Bush acted. I am an Independant and have never given money to either party voluntaryily- either on my tax forms or elsewhere. Bush means what he says and that is what we need to fight for our civilization. I don't want to change horses mid-race. That's why he gets the vote from me in 2004. Kerry reminds me of General McClellan (Little Napoleon) running as a Democrat against Lincoln in 1864. If Sherman hadn't taken Atlanta our history would have been very different. I remember that every time I look at Senator Kerry.

But I still think I vote every time I exit an aircraft or every damn day I get to come to work in the morning with America's finest... I am sorry I couldn't continue to vote in that way.

Good conversing with you--hurricanes or tropical storms raging down here in North Cakolakey. Be safe all, and send your best thoughts to CB and all of our troopers around the world.

"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing..."

91ghost said...

How do you fight a sensitive war?

redleg said...

I was going to ask my fire direction officer to see if a High Explosive round has a sensitive setting, but I fear it is one more thing I will ask my paratroops to adapt to.

Good Blog BTW Ghost 91, I like reading your stuff. I sat out Gulf War I (the great patriotic war) in Korea.

All the Way!

The Oracle said...

I know exactly how you feel. This election almost has a civil war (small c and w) feel to it. I have many otherwise rational friends who are ardent Bush-haters. When they go on a rant, I just let them talk themselves out and change the subject as quickly as I can. It's the only way I know to save the friendship, because if I told them just how criminally stupid I think they are we would probably never speak again.
My oldest son, whose wedding I will fly to Oregon to attend next month, deliberately tries to bait me into an argument. His younger brother shares his views, but has the good sense not to press the matter.
I'm 59 and I've voted in every presidential election since Humphrey vs. Nixon and this election has me more worried than any before.

ALa said...

Ghost-that was going to be my post subject for today-a sensitive war...everyone is ignoring a previous comment when he said "we have to invent weapons that don't kill" --a Star Trek fan I guess... but I fear that the NJ Governor has usurped the spot!

Oracle- I feel your two younger brothers are flaming fire-brand liberals. I love them both but consider pistol whipping them into submission on Nov. 2nd...haha They are still in their 20's though -so I hold out hope! BTW Congratulations on the wedding!!!

redleg said...

they will get mugged sooner or later

it is bound to happen

Old political adage "Your career in Washington isn't dead unless you get caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl...."

leftyjones said...

Did you ever read an entire quote in your life or are you actually the talking point puppet you seem to be becoming? Write out the entire "sensitive" comment....I dare you. It's not quite as simple or soft as you are trying to make it be. Kerry is reffering to working with allies, other countries with as much to gain or lose as we have. Believe it or not, people die in other countries from terrorists might make sense to hear what they have to say.
Of course, we could go look at Bush's plan........

Oh that's right. He hasn't given us one. No plan. No vision. No purpose.

Remember the winning the peace plan we never saw??? It's the reason Kerry voted "against the 87 billion after he voted for it" know that one? the other quote you love to distort.

There is no plan. Do you understand this? The only thing this guy is running on is a war that he has our soldiers fighting that does not have a plan as to how he will win the peace.
He's got nothing else to hang his hat on.

I realize that its somewhat pointless to try and make the blind see but i will leave you with this.

It's not anger you're feeling or tasting.

It's fear.

Not the fear of scary men from bad places. It's an even worse fear.
It's the kind of fear that is forcing you to confront that you've been had and you took the bait. That you believed in a man not worth believing in.
The kind that gnaws on your insides because you know the emporer has no clothes and all the talking points in the world won't make that change.

It is sad and it makes me feel bad for you.

leftyjones said...

Oh yes, and while I will not be back until tomorrow night and may only have a chance or two to respond...please consider me "engaged" as per your request and don't do a poor lib any favors. Fire away:)

The Oracle said...


redleg said...


you're beautiful man, I love your fiction. I know and I feel your pain. I felt it in 1996 when I found out Clinton had been reelected. I hated him almost as much as the left hates Bush right now. It sucks being right, but the sad fact is that only 1/2 of the nation believes that we're at war and we should be trying to fight it. And you're on the wrong side. I love that you disagree-- it's why I throw myself out of perfectly good aircraft in the dead of night. I want you to have the right to think I'm afraid and spout off any opinion you want. John Stuart Mills had something to say about that, but you'll just think I'm quoting somebody smarter to make you feel dumber.

And for a point, read my post. I haven't distorted anything. Remember your adjectives and stop throwing me into the vast "right wing conspiracy" pool. I work for the government-- we're just not that good. Under Clinton, I remember the USA cutting and running in Somalia, dithering on Bosnia, doing nothing in Rwanda, screwing up Haiti and Kosovo with half measures designed to fail. At least we are trying in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is more than Kerry or Clinton would have ever let us do.

You have to drain the swamp or you are done for. There is no containing this threat. You can't negotiate with it, you can't compromise with it, you can't poll have to kill it. And you do it by going to the threat and eliminating it. That is what we are doing. And that is why our enemies (and Europe less Great Britain) is terrified. If I was Al Qaeda or a 2 bit dictator, I would be throwing all available cash John Kerry's way. His campaign is the only hope for self respecting terrorists. Good luck to them and you

Stop trying to make tactical and strategic intelligence mean that this is good solid data and always reliable. It is constantly changing information submitted to decision-makers at confusing intervals and subject to multiple different interpretations. The best intelligence officer is one who will guess, and he will be wrong most of the time. It isn't perfect and by the time it is it's hindsight. The top decision-maker is the guy who has to make the shitty choices with imperfect data. And young men die as a result. That happens whether you make good choices or not. You always hope less. That's what Bush did.

We mean to drain the swamp. The enemy should be scared. They think we will cut and run. And I am afraid that if we buy Kerry's line, we will throw in his metaphorical medals again (which are now proudly displayed in his office for some reason)and go home to bemoan our losses. With that you just made all of our casualties in vain. And I can't do that. Afghanistan and Iraq deserve better and they are getting it. You just don't like it, and most of the media agrees with you. That doesn't make them right either. I saw journalists fly into safehouses in Afghanistan look for the story they wanted and fly out again without ever really reporting their story. Their bias is obvious. They didn't want any story that deviated from their preconcieved notions. It is the same in Iraq. It is why the best reporting of the war came from embedded journalists who spent time with the troops on the ground. There are a few distinctions-- Tom Ricks from the Washington Post stick in my mind. Sometimes I don't like his opinion but he gives the facts and actually does the job of reporting, which many journalists have forgotten is their profession. Report the story as it is, not as how you wish it to be.

Take the fight to the enemy or let the enemy come to you. You choose-- Iraq or the Washington Mall? Or your hometown, or Wall Street? I agree with Gen Franks-- over there better than here.

Ala71-- thanks for the forum

be well-- even if you don't agree with me. I'll still put my uniform on in the morning.

91ghost said...

This We'll Defend said: "if anybody is over-represented in the combat arms, it is the rural white man." Absolutely. Especially in the infantry. And yeah, nobody seems to be complaining about that.

I forced myself to watch a few minutes of social thought programming tonight, otherwise known as CBS news. I had to turn the TV off when the newswoman, all in an excited huff, started breathlessly declaring "how surprising" it has been to note all the "insurgents" from Iran. The battle for Najaf took a third place seat to the news about the gay Governor from New Jersey, and the California Supreme Court decision regarding San Francisco granting marriage certificates to gay couples. What an order of priorities.

redleg said...

Amen brother

good night to all

91ghost said...

Redleg: It is good to hear from a fellow redleg! I'd be very interested to hear anything regarding your field artillery experiences in either Iraq or Afghanistan, or anywhere for that matter.

redleg said...

Amen brother

good night to all

ALa said...

redleg- Use the forum at will - I love the diversity of the posts and more so the diversity of those posting them! Welcome to the mix!

ALa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ALa said...

TWD: If those swiftboat vets are such liars and Kerry such the pillar of truth --why is he having his historian (D. Brinkley) change the Cambodia story? He said that it was SEARED in his memory--and hence it was a know what they say --where there is smoke...

this we'll defend said...

Wow, what a great debate!!!

I am an OPFOR geek, but also several Blufor rotations as well, and many more at JRTC as a lightfighter. I know OC radios make every decision seem easy when it isn't. Remember, though, the OPFOR doesn't have OC radio. We have good old fashioned planning and scout pushes. My point was that calls are hard to make - but making them without seeking a good scout push and trying to get a good read is guaranteed a losing proposition. This is what I think Bush has done. You say the war was inevitable, but I think that same line could have been used about the USSR throughout the cold war. Invasion just seemed easier, but it was never inevitable. And in reality, as most military experts predicted, it was not likely to easy at all, but much harder.

Still, if it improved our national security it would be the right thing to do - take the hard right over the easy wrong. Fact is, the course of action chosen didn't recieve the kind of deep thought and war gaming and shredding by the appointed devil's advocate (remember the job of the S2 at war games?) that it deserved. No, that isn't right either. The invasion idea was shredded, it was criticized by those professionals who claimed it would have the exact results we see today. that is even worse - a good scout read simply ignored.

Of course we had a choice. You say that to do nothing would have been far worse, for that is exactly what our Muslim Fundamentalist friends want. well, I agree - doing nothing is always wrong. But there is a wide range of options between doing nothing and invasion, as I'm sure you realize. And, again and for the thousandth time, Saddam was not and is not a Muslim Fundamentalist or a terrorist. He was a secular tyrant. And I think we did exactly what our "muslim fundamentalists" wanted us to do. That is why I think they are praying to Allah that Bush will win in November. His actions are better than an enlistment bonus for them.

I was not engaging in classic heavy army think about AF - we needed more force in Afghanistan to capture the AQ there and I don't give a fuck about the Taliban but only about the AQ. Heavy forces won't help you clear a ridge in the mountains, or search a bunker or a cave, so no I'm not advocating classic army heavy think. I don't want a heavy mech force at tora bora - but I sure as hell wish we had 3 or 4 brigades of light infantry there, perhaps more. Perhaps 3 divisions, whatever it took. I'm advocating more troops on the ground to clear ridges and search for AQ, which we didn't have - Brads wouldn't help, as you say, but neither did nothing which is what we had too much of. You fall into the "mission creep" of this administration. Yes we defeated the Taliban with the force we deployed. Yay. We toppled the world's poorest govt with SF and local cooperation. BFD. We didn't go there for the Taliban, but for AL QUEDA AND OSAMA. That little fact keeps getting lost - like Osama from Tora Bora. You say we made most of our money from CA and PRTs and SF, but I say the only money to be made was Osama & Co dead or captured. We didn't make the money at all.

Yes we should take the fight to the enemy - our fundamental disagreement appears to be who the enemy is that we should focus upon. I say the war on terror should be against the terrorists who attacked us rather than a tyrant we had successfully contained for over a decade. Oh, but WMD... what WMD? See my point?

Fighting the enemy there and not here is, as I've said, a no-brainer good thing. But winning against the enemy is my goal, not a protracted endless fight while we encourage more fundamentalists, and these new recruits join with our enemies and come attack us. I'm all for fighting - I disagree that fighting in Iraq was the right thing to do. Because it wasn't. Bush wants the debate to be just that - which is why you believe that "only 1/2 of the nation believes that we're at war and we should be trying to fight it." But that isn't the case at all. 1/2 the nation seems to believe that Iraq was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time and detracted from our war on terror. The other 1/2 think we were right to invade Iraq because of "9/11." You think they are right? I don't. They are misinformed. Iraq didn't attack us on 9/11, AQ did. And they are still out there, and invading Iraq helped their cause.

You say "These countries are fooling themselves into thinking they can reduce the Muslim Fundamentalist threat by bringing the noise level down." Again, doing nothing is not the right answer, but invading was also the wrong answer. And Egypt's defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood is worth studying before you dismiss other ways to defeat terrorists.

I understand your wish for the Army to remain apolitical, and agree. When the Army becomes a political force it will be as a result of the Army betraying the very reason for its existence. But individuals should vote as citizens. That is why I always despised officers with campaign stickers on their cars - they don't understand their sacred oath. Why I hate Bush and Cheney campaigning repeatedly on military bases, giving political speeches to military audiences. But individual soldiers should and must vote - remember it was the many soldiers who voted for Lincoln in their role as citizens that helped defeat McClellan.

You say "Under Clinton, I remember the USA cutting and running in Somalia, dithering on Bosnia, doing nothing in Rwanda, screwing up Haiti and Kosovo with half measures designed to fail. At least we are trying in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is more than Kerry or Clinton would have ever let us do." I agree he F'ed up big time pulling out of Somalia, but you should investigate the republican positions of the time on every other intervention you named. For example, I don't remember a lot of support for Rwanda intervention from the right - or now in Sudan. Clinton dealt with a lot of crises during his time in office because the end of the cold war changed geopolitics. Had Bush been in office we would probably have been bogged down somewhere fighting an unnecessary war long before 9/11. IMHO.

"Drain the swamp" talk is popular with neo-cons seeking to transform the world, but it is highly innaccurate. No Iraqi terrorists attacked us on 9/11 - in fact because of the repressive regime of Saddam that stamped out fundamentalists as a threat there weren't Iraqi terrorists. Those that did attack us weren't poor Afghans or Palestinians, they were rich, well-educated, privileged Saudis and Egyptians. What swamp? Our enemy came from the mall. You and I agree that the way to win against them is to track them down and kill them. We disagree that this is what Bush has done.

I also agree we must win in Iraq - but not because that would mean our dead will have died in vain, but because it will be better than losing. I never think it is right to throw good men into battle because we lost other good men. We only throw them into harm's way if it will be better than not doing so. "Staying the course" has a great ring to it, but I prefer winning even if it involves radically shifting course.

As to those who are taking the "sensitive" comment out of context and turning into a big group hug of a war - if you can't read an entire quote, or understand a quote of more than ten words, then yes you probably are big Bush fans. He is simple - for our or against us, us v them, fight in Iraq or here at home. As for me, I think the world is a little more complicated, with a lot of different variations and options and nuances, so I'll go with the nuanced candidate you see as a weakling because he understand the many meanings of the word "sensitive." As I said in a post above, smart guys always win in battle. So I'll go with the smart guy.

I say we take the fight to the enemy - but let's carefully define "fight" and "enemy" and what it will take to win. Then let's do it, even if it isn't easy. Take the hard right over the easy wrong. I think, and events seem to be bearing me out, that invading Iraq was the easy wrong.

this we'll defend said...

I just re-read what I posted - I didn't meant that to come across as harsh, so if you read it please imagine me saying it in a reasonable, respectful tone of voice.

And Redleg - you write well. I always thought the NTC and JRTC didn't replicate indirect fire as well as we should have. Yes I'm a rifleman, but I love combined arms because combined arms wins. God bless you for your service.

I wish we could meet and talk over a beer - even though I would have to shout since you are FA and hard of hearing.

Splash over.

MrMalcolm said...

My boyfriend Jorge claims that my cat Rowena talks to him and she wants me to tell TWD "if the glove doesn't fit you must acquit". I don't know what in the hell they're talking about.

Subsunk said...


Although not a Green suited member of the military, when I served in the Pentagon (OSD) from 93 to 95, I remember the Army went from 20 divisions under GHWB (41) to 18 divisions, and from 18 to 12 under WJC (42). I don't think you are correct in saying that GWB (43) is the reason the Army is overstretched.

While I certainly agree that these divisions would probably be more effectively used now if we had them, the truth is we don't. My best friend was on the Joint Staff Quadrennial Defense Review in 95-96, and we discussed their work pretty heavily while we were at night school. The reason we lost divisions from 93-2000 was due to budget constraints laid on DOD by the administration at that time (happens in every administration). When given only so much money and told to come up with a strategy to support it, Generals will give you a strategy that says we don't need to have the largest, most effective Armed Forces in the world. Only enough to get by with fighting 2 major regional conflicts (Win in Iraq, while holding in Korea for 90 days, and then transferring the victorious forces in Iraq to Korea to kick North Korean butt in 90 days -- or vice versa -- look familiar??). I know this was the resulting strategy and the reason behind it. I watched my buddy wear himself out over it.

(In 1995 the average age of a truck -- not a HMMV, just a plain old 5 ton truck -- in the Army was 28 yrs old. How do you keep 6 divisions and replace enough old unsexy equipment to fix that? You don't. You make bad choices, but choices you have to make. When North Korea goes to war with S Korea, you'll be glad you have those B-2s and submarines because they aren't the pushovers Iraq was. But they aren't ten ft tall and bulletproof either.)

I will agree with you that 43 and Donald Rumsfeld have followed this same philosophy of "do just enough to make sure we win what we need and only what we need". This philosophy is wrong because it is based on predicting the future 5-15 yrs in advance of the threats. (And we all see how well our intelligence agencies are at prediction -- when the study came out saying we would not need to build missile defense because we would know if anyone would be able to develop ballistic missiles to threaten us 15 yrs before they could field them, then 6 months later N Korea launched a Tae Po Dong over Japan and halfway to Hawaii. Surprise! Missile defense requirement. They routinely threaten to "turn the West Coast of America into a lake of fire") I know this because I was there and read the newspapers and intel reports.

But this philosophy is the only thing the American people will support because they still don't believe they are threatened by people who can't socially advance past the 7th century. 3000 deaths are not enough to convince the country of this. Don't ask me why -- I've been against Muslim fundamentalists since 1979 -- again because I was alive and read the news.

Please don't get discouraged when it seems like friends betray you. Just keep your pretty chin up and tell your husband to keep on trucking. God (or Allah) takes care of those who are kind to others and keep trying to do good and succeed in life. You will do fine after this rough patch.

I think you are both somewhat mistaken if you believe that soldiers don't vote. Soldiers do what they are encouraged to do. And most units encourage soldiers to vote absentee. They certainly don't tell, order, or otherwise influence them in whom to vote for. But a soldier who doesn't vote is wrong not to do so. I know. I was in charge of my ship's voting registration and most of my crew voted.

Regarding retention, soldiers will re-enlist if they feel they are appreciated and are doing something useful for their country or their family. (Barring major detractors like getting severely wounded or lots of non judicial punishment or some such other detractor). Our men and women will stay if treated with respect and care. And they will grumble about whomever is President, even if it was Jesus Christ. They still love and respect their country and would never bring disgrace to it by voicing their preferences for President while in uniform. But they will vote and exercise their right to choose whomever they wish to grace that office.

I won't comment on Kerry vs. Bush. Each man or woman must make their own choice. But I won't support anyone I think will misuse the office, and I don't think Americans, especially soldiers, anywhere will either. I don't believe the press because I've been there when they were wrong -- and that's 50% wrong for 95% of the time. But I haven't seen my leaders in the military be seriously wrong in their assessments of our chances or our plans.

What strikes me as odd is how reporters and editors and politicians think they know more about warfare and insurgencies than those paid to professionally run our armed forces and actually fight wars and insurgencies. And it is clear to me that current events support the view that we are winning decisively in our current conflict. You need only compare my father's war (WW2) to today to know that we are better and more moral than ever before. So stop trying to tell me we aren't.

I hope you will both remain civil in your words and tone to everyone, because once this election is over, somehow, Americans must still live together in this country. And if you think the current tone isn't poisoning the country's future, --- look at Baghdad. Do you want to live like that??? It can happen here, and it did in 1861.


this we'll defend said...

Subsunk - you rule!

The Army was too small under Clinton, but not overstretched. The increased optempo of the '90s led to many calls for increased endstrength, and after 9/11 it should have been a no-brainer, but the administration resisted until just recently, and it still claims the 30,000 increase is only temporary while many reservists are on their second tour. Clinton was right to downsize, but it went too far. It would be wrong to have kept a 16 or 18 division Army for 10 years if we didn't need it - I don't think we need a force that large now, but we need more troops than we currently have. I hope Gen. Schoomaker's UOA plan works (for the unitiated, he plans to eliminate many military jobs that can be better suited to civilians, or eliminated altogether, and transform those positions into combat troop slots). I also think transformation can go much further - why do we even have Air Defense Artillery today? All ADA jobs should be converted into infantry slots - now.

We can replace equipment when it is deemed a priority, but a bunch of scattered contracts don't have the same lobbying power in Congress as a juicy airplane order or aircraft carrier purchase. That is why 28-year old trucks carry troops while B2 bombers get built.

I disagree with you on the utility of the B2 and advanced subs were we to go to war in North Korea. No the NKPD aren't invincible, but they are tough bastards and would be night and day different from the Iraqi army, not to mention that the terrain negates many of our technological advantages. If every B2 in the fleet were grounded my guess is we would still have complete air superiority in North Korea (or any nation we fight), and if no Seawolf had ever been built we would still have total SLOC control. I would rather the money for those weapons were spent on 2 or 3 more divisions, and fast sealift and more airlift. Airlift isn't nearly as sexy as a B2, and fast sealift ROROs aren't quite as coveted a command as an aircraft carrier. Thus the Navy and Air Force don't fight as hard as they should for such things, and the Army (which relies on the Navy and Air Force and can't do anything without them) doesn't have the clout to do it because the Army doesn't let huge contracts like those services. The Stryker is the biggest one lately, and it is puny compared with a typical AF or Navy program.

I think NMD is a bigger waste, but I discussed that elsewhere.

As for everything else you said in your eloquent post, I agree - and those points I disagreed with you about, you argue convincingly and civilly. You practice what you preach. I hope you stop by here and on my blog often.

redleg said...


TWD- it's obvious we disagree. Let's agree to do that. Your points are thoughtful and eloquent. We simply went through the exact same experiences as I did and came to completely different conclusion. No issues with that and you have a good head on your shoulders.

I am hard of hearing -P2 so far but I do enjoy a beer. Too many night fire missions as a Battery XO in Korea and elsewhere. And no I don't ever want to fight there for real.

I do wish you would rethink your position that we could have gotten more force into AFG. Please study the logistics needed just to get 1 Brigade into the white mountains without any of the enablers, let alone 4 Divisions. Remember you are talking an average of 7500 ft altitude in the vallies. It's a tough fight and we did the best we could and people (especially soldiers) make mistakes. That gray area kicks your ass. And at Tora Bora we trusted our allies and they let us down (and now we're going to go more international and more proactive, etc.. and et. al-- admit it he is going to get fried for that comment). Using two composite helicopter battalions in 2003 we were able to lift effectively 1 battalion plus task force into an operation. How in the name of God would we have gotten 1-4 Divisioins there, or even 1? None of our allies save the Brits can even field an operation Division now (fact!). Points to ponder. And a good S2 is worth his weight in gold. I think we were going against exactly who we needed to go up against. Taking their sanctuaries away and hitting them where it hurts. You can't do that unless you put your young men in harms way.

Subsunk-- thanks for the Petagon speak. I knew something was going on when I wasn't getting money or training done during the 90s. I know Clinton wasn't the worst President we ever had...good things got done on some of things he focused on, but he was definately the worst man we ever made President.

91-- you're a redleg too? Your name made me think you were a medic..but your posts do talk about FASSVs. HGua. Still have not found the sensitive setting on my 105mm fuzes-- maybe it's only on the 155mm ones. I will check

take care

91ghost said...

Redleg: Check out my profile. Indeed,I was a gunbunny.

redleg said...

91 Ghost-- many and profuse apologies-- I saw 91 and jumped to conclusions that you were a medic. I just didn't check my facts and have independant verification. They should take my safety certification away and send me back to blockhouse signal mountain.

TWD-- JRTC and NTC both have problems with replicating indirect fires. We would have immense problems with gamesmanship among the OPFOR and the 81mm mortars. We would place errors in the database to account for laying with a compass and the like, and it would work for say 3 rotations. Then the mortarmen would make friends with the firemarker ladies in the Zulu Cell (like the starwars building) and it would be game on again with the nuclear tipped 81mm rounds. No O/Cs with the OPFOR didn't make it a level playing field. Plus firemarking was often late and didn't make a big impact on maneuver commanders minds. Sometimes I think the only way to get the use of fires and combined arms across to the unbeliever is to actaully get shot at. Big believers then, but that is too late. We never found a satisfactory solution, but I think we trained the Army as best we could. Also made the 509th bring their mortars out to the range and lay by compass and try to hit a target. 400 meters off at least. Which is why Joe Iraqi only aims at large fixed targets. No precision. That also worked for about 3 rotations, then it was back to square 1. We had problems with our OPFOR believing the myth that they were far superior to the BLUFOR-- they were a training aid and an extremely effective one. They just usually didn't have to worry about doctrine, logistics to a great extent or casualty evacuation. BLUFOR did. So my experience has taught me to listen to BLUFOR and see how he applies the lessons learned. OPFOR tactics and lessons are great, to an extent. I will submit to you that the only organization in the world from 1980 until today that actually had a grasp on the employment of a Motorized Rifle Regiment is the OPFOR at NTC. The Soviets sure as hell didn't. And they trained the heck out of our heavy forces. The CTCs were the only reason we retained any readiness at all during the dark years and I will always be thankful for them. But I don't like saying the OPFOR was the best light infantry/best armored force in the world until they are burdened with the same amount of O/Cs looking at them.

great talking with and spirited debate is the only way to bridge the polarization we now face.

Ala71-- I do love the forum

Tom said...


Sorry, but what Kerry's aides say now doesn't count as sufficient evidence of Kerry disassociating himself from the anti-American Fonda wing of the anti-war movement 30+ years ago. You have to do better than that. I love, too, your disappoinment that no one will accept "Kerry himself" as a source. As if you would accept Bush as a "source" that proves he fufilled his national guard duty. You should do stand up. What's really funny is how you can go on for several paragraphs making your claims, but can't find the time or devote space to just some of "the many, many sources of such information." It's a puzzler.

You still hide from the central issue: If Kerry's anti-war activity was so honest, so loyal, so American, why is he running away from it?

Tom said...


Your Maginot Line analogy is silly, and fails on a number of levels, not the least of which is your conflation of what is currently called "asymmetircal" terrorism with a modern mechanized army of the type the French thought they could defend against with immovable cannon. Even if on 9-10-01 we had the most modern, well-equipped, well-trained fighting force where every dollar spent could be found in their readiness to wage war on the ground, 9-11 still would have occurred because 9-11 was an intelligence failure, not a military failure. You operate under totally false assumption that Missile defense - like the Maginot Line - is intended to substitute for traditional forces needed to wage war against an enemy that fights so-called symmetrical warfare. It is not. It is intended to supplement the defense of the US against another type of threat like that brewing in North Korea, Iran, and the one that has always existed in Communist China -i.e., nukes. You lump the varying so-called symmetrical and asymmetrical military/ paramilitary/ terrorist threats the US faces at the beginning of the 21st century with the very symmetrical military the French confronted in the middle of the 20th but were too stupid and lazy to take seriously. The comparison doesn't hold up to even under the slightest scrutiny.

redleg said...

91 Ghost-- the Nov-Dec 2003 copy of the Field Artillery Journal has an article we wrote about the 'Stan. I haven't seen it online yet. If you can't find it, I will scan one and post it on my blog, once I figure out where that is. It was an interesting fight-- two of our batteries converted to 120mm mortars. Like I said, interesting.

take care

this we'll defend said...

tom - you didn't meet my challenge, so I'll just ignore you until you either retract your "lying to Congress" charges or prove them.

redleg - you and I disagree on Clinton and politics, but we agree on a lot of stuff. Yes it would have been tough to deploy to Afghanistan, but we did have bases established nearby that could have supported a larger force package. We simply chose not to. It was penny-wise and pound-foolish.

As for the OPFOR - you are right, the world's largest graphic training aid. We didn't have OC's helping us (they tend to rule against us in blatant BLUFOR violations of ROE, and don't even try getting a safety kill on BLUFOR, the OCs just god-gun everybody). We did have the advantage of knowing the terrain like the back of our hand. Our two biggest advantages, though, were 1) that we went through an NTC rotation every month, with the most mileage put on vehicles of any unit in the Army, so we simply had more experienced troops, and 2) Time. TIME. TIMETIMETIME. Blufor gets their mission, and starts the 1/3rd-2/3rds planning sequence (or 2/5ths or whatever it is now) and in a good unit the BDE sends down the op a few hours later to the BNs, which, in good units, sends them to the companies a few hours later, so that the companies and platoons have a few hours to plan and rehearse before hitting the LD. It often happens that people roll across the LD with a FRAGO they just received, with no rehearsal time. Even in the best units, where the opords come quick and complete, at company level they have 2 hours at most to prepare/rehearse. The sleep-deprived troops try their best but most roll across the LD with no idea of what is going on.

OPFOR is given the mission and wargames their course of action weeks in advance. I've spent an entire day wargaming one mission, 10 hours of full-on full-battle staff wargaming, with countless COAs and variations. We then boil it down to the famous "cartoon" OPORD which is so simple - minimum of 3 COAs and all in 2-pages or less. Of course we have a 35 or more page standard OPORD that nobody ever looks at because it is always the same (as you said, no logistics worries, etc). Good writers know that making something shorter takes time. Simplicity is harder to arrive at than complexity most of the time.

Then the OPFOR rehearses, in detail, on huge sand tables, with walkthroughs that include every soldier. we may do this for hours. By the time we finish every driver, gunner, etc. knows exactly what the plan is,where to go, what to do, expected enemy COAs, etc. don't forget that we do this ALL the time, so the mission we are rehearsing in detail is probably on terrain that every soldier has fought on before - they know every nook and cranny and can understand the way that the battle will unfold. They can be dropped anywhere into the desert blindfolded, take off the blindfold, and tell you exactly where they are on the map. They know the key terrain - the PFCs know that if you sieze the Iron Triangle east of Barstow road in the central corrider that you can pour out of the Colorado or Debnam washes without problems. BLUFOR PFCs have no idea where they are while their LTs are desperately trying not to get lost in a desert that all looks the same to them. OPFOR leaders aren't looking at their maps but scanning for enemy, just as somebody driving to work isn't fumbling with a roadmap but is on auto thinking about other things. BLUFOR is hoping that they are attacking in the right direction and usually have their heads down trying to make sense of exactly where they are, like somebody in a car in an unfamiliar city trying to find an address they have never been to before.

We roll after a good night's sleep (and a steak dinner), cross the LD, and destroy BLUFOR. Without being "buttoned up" so we can see 360 degrees while the BLUFOR is peeking out of those cracked and dirty glass blocks. And I always was amazed at so many OPFOR troops attitudes - "man, we rule. they suck." "Why would they do that? Dumbasses." "Don't they know what is going on?" "The toads are lost" etc. I usually was thinking "man, that unit we just beat was awesome - they responded quickly, changed their entire plan on the fly, deployed their reserve correctly, great job!"

I've fought units that we "zeroed out," including killing the chaplain and the nurses. Totally wiped out. And thougth to myself - "If I deploy to real combat again I want to be in that unit, they are awesome."

So the OPFOR are a great training aid, but not the most combat-effective forces in the Army.

Tom said...


I hate to make anyone look like a fool, but I dunno, maybe you get a kinky thrill out of begging for it. No one has to read the transcript to find out Kerry lied. He admitted to it himself on April 18th of this year during an appearance on Meet The Press. Do your best Clintonian parsing, TWD. We can all use the laugh.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, when you testified before the Senate, you talked about some of the hearings you had observed at the winter soldiers meeting and you said that people had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and on and on. A lot of those stories have been discredited, and in hindsight was your testimony...

SEN. KERRY: Actually, a lot of them have been documented.

MR. RUSSERT: So you stand by that?

SEN. KERRY: A lot of those stories have been documented. Have some been discredited? Sure, they have, Tim. The problem is that's not where the focus should have been. And, you know, when you're angry about something and you're young, you know, you're perfectly capable of not--I mean, if I had the kind of experience and time behind me that I have today, I'd have framed some of that differently. Needless to say, I'm proud that I stood up. I don't want anybody to think twice about it. I'm proud that I took the position that I took to oppose it. I think we saved lives, and I'm proud that I stood up at a time when it was important to stand up, but I'm not going to quibble, you know, 35 years later that I might not have phrased things more artfully at times.

Tom said...


Now, about that asinine Maginot Line analogy ....

~Jen~ said...

Holy moly. What a fascinating debate.

this we'll defend said...

Tom: Good try. But a no go. Keep trying to make me a fool though - you have now backtracked to April 18th of this year, keep going and you might make it to 1971 when the hearings in which you say Kerry lied took place.

1) where is the admission that Kerry lied? I see him saying that he would have phrased things differently, but not that he lied. Where is it?

2) He was not relaying what he personally observed, but what he heard others claim - and some were lying, and he admits that this is true - he didn't know that at the time.

3)And some were telling the truth. As Kerry says "a lot of them have been documented." Ever heard of a little village called My Lai?

Atrocities happened - Kerry wasn't calling all veterans war criminals, he was saying that war crimes were occuring and the military wasn't responding properly. Compare today when a war crime happens (such as at Abu Ghraib) and the Army does the right thing, investigates, prosecutes, and doesn't sweep it under the rug. Apparently you want impunity for those who shame the uniform they wear. I don't, and neither did Kerry. And, again, not only was this not an admission by Kerry that he lied, it instead supports his honesty and truthfulness.

So you strike out, and I didn't need to determine what the meaning of "is" is to do it.

so, again, please find one lie that Kerry told to the Senate in 1971. Perhaps instead of claiming Kerry has "admitted" lying when he has not, you might want to read over that transcript.

ALa said...

TWD: I already told you of one lie that has been PROVEN a lie --Christmas in Cambodia --remember he told the Senate that it was SEERED in his memory...Now he tells his own historian to change it --after the swiftboat allegations...hmmmmmmmm

this we'll defend said...

ALa71: I wasn't ignoring you.

I was wondering if Tom would ever show me where Kerry lied in his 1971 Senate Testimony (a common right-wing allegation). He first said Kerry admitted it - I've shown that not to be the case. Then you again bring up the Christmas in Cambodia story - again unrelated to the 1971 Senate Testimony. Typical right-wing tactics - make repeated accusations, one after the other. As the candidate answers one you make another, and as he shows that is false you make yet another. Throw enough mud and hope it will stick. And if you ever get a small amount of mud to stick many, many people will assume the more serious charges must be true as well.

So before I move on to Xmas in Cambodia, I again ask: somebody please show me where Kerry lied in his 1971 Senate Testimony, my original challenge, without changing the subject to different decades, speeches, or anything? Or admit that he did NOT lie and the constant charges that he did are BS?

Kerry either goes into full-time defense, or he goes on the attack, but either way voters will turn off both candidates and vote without getting the true facts. Which, in this case, would help Bush since the facts show a failed presidency. So every time a false charge is answered and shown to be false the message the public hears is that Kerry might be a coward, nobody in the Navy liked him, he lied about his purple hearts, etc. It is a despicable way to win, but it is the only way Bush can win given his failed record - and I think he will do anything or say anything to win.

Now on to what I am sure will be a series of charges, follwed by my proving them false, followed by more charges, until election day and the people speak (hopefully, assuming no "irregularities" again):

First, you say Kerry ordered Mr. Brinkley to change it (calling Brinkley Kerry's "historian" as if he served on his staff). Not true - at least I couldn't find anything about it.

What I found was that both Douglas Brinkley's biography (he's a "biographer") of Kerry and Kerry's own war journal mention only that he was near the Cambodian border on Christmas Eve, not across it. (Although the journal entry ends with a sarcastic message to his superiors: "Merry Christmas from the most inland Market Time unit" — at a minimum a reference to being right on top of the Cambodian border. Then: "You hope that they'll court marshal you or something because that would make sense" — possibly a reference to crossing the border.)

Brinkley said "On Christmas Eve he was near Cambodia; he was around 50 miles from the Cambodian border. There's no indictment of Kerry to be made, but he was mistaken about Christmas in Cambodia."

The assertion that Kerry's whereabouts in the middle of a night some 36 years ago can now be ascertained with a degree of certainty is ridiculous when he was known to be 50 miles from Cambodia during the day, and in command of a boat capable of travelling more than 25 knots. Thus it is entirely possible Mr. Brinkley is mistaken, not Kerry.

Official records don't support Kerry's claim, which the Swiftvets have said supports their claim that Kerry is lying about ever having gone into Cambodia.

But Mr Brinkley rejected accusations that the senator had never been to Cambodia, insisting he was telling the truth about running undisclosed "black" missions there at the height of the war - and Kerry's citations show he was dropping off and picking up SEALs and SF, a normal Swiftboat task.

Given the mudded history of Vietnam, an official government stance should hardly translate into certain fact -- especially now that it's known that the U.S. government conducted numerous secret operations throughout Cambodia during the Vietnam War as early as 1967 (as PBS's "Frontline," among myriad others, has reported), but denied it at the time (the point Kerry was trying to make).

So we know Kerry certainly operated in the area of the Cambodian border in late 1968, Americans were definitely making border incursions at the time, and the CIA certainly had a lot of people in Vietnam in 1968. That doesn't mean Kerry's story is true, but it's certainly plausible.

One "swiftvets for Bush" and former Kerry crewmember claims it was impossible to take a Swiftboat into Cambodia, but no support for that claim has appeared. Given that he is part of the group known to make blatantly false charges he simply isn't credible.

A Kerry supporter and former Kerry crewmember, Jim Wasser, says "On Christmas in 1968, we were close [to Cambodia]. I don't know exactly where we were. I didn't have the chart. It was easy to get turned around with all the rivers around there. But I'll say this: We were the farthest inland that night. I know that for sure."

Wasser's recollection introduces the idea that Kerry and some members of his crew might simply have been confused about where they were.

On other occasions, Kerry has said he was not actually in Cambodia but rather "near" the country. In an interview with the Providence Journal-Bulletin that appeared in April, 1994, Kerry said "Christmas Eve I was up getting shot at somewhere near Cambodia." He might have dropped off teams "near" the border knowing they were headed across it and that is what he meant by "being" in Cambodia - that he was involved in operations that breached the border while the government officially lied about it.

So this much we know to be true (from

1. John Kerry was in Vietnam serving in the vicinity of the Cambodian border - true.

2. John Kerry has said repeatedly that he crossed into Cambodia - probably true.

3. Some U.S. forces were crossing into Cambodia during the period in question - true.

4. During the period in question it was being officially denied that U.S. forces crossed into Cambodia - true.

5.The disjoint between (3) and (4) was the point of the story John Kerry was telling - true.

It is possible Kerry exaggerated to make a point - not an outright lie since he was in Cambodia, or very near it, and perhaps not on Xmas eve. It is also possible that he told the truth. And, your first assumption, it is possible he knowingly lied. That charge should be proven before you claim it is proven. And given the false charges flying about Kerry's honorable service, he is guilty until proven innocent - a tough and unfair position to be in for a candidate.

Old soldiers use the term "war stories" derisively because over the years the roadmarches get longer, the rucksacks get heavier, etc. Much like walking 5 miles to school in the snow stories told by parents that grew up in Southern California and a few times walked a few blocks to school in "chilly" weather. But we do know that Kerry came under enemy fire on Dec. 24, 1968, so I refuse to jump on the neo-con "liar liar pants on fire" bandwagon even if Kerry were only "near" the border. Much like the Bush service in Alabama is pure BS - who cares if he missed drills, the NG didn't and it was quite common at the time! But, see, Kerry isn't really a veteran at all according to those making these charges.

What we do know is that Kerry definitely wasn't in Texas, and there is more evidence to support Kerry being in Cambodia than to support Bush drilling with the NG in Alabama. And assuming he wasn't in Cambodia on Dec. 25, 1968, but was under fire 50 miles away from the border, he would be guilty of lying about where he was on Xmas to make a point - not of lying about his decorations, of earning a bronze star and a silver star and three purple hearts.

So, ALa71, the "lie" was not only not PROVEN, but it might actually be the truth, and in any case, it is only a big story because it is tangled up in all the other Swiftvets accusations that seek to destroy Kerry's record.

Now, can we take these charges one at a time?

Kerry has been accused of lying in his 1971 Senate Testimony, something that is fast approaching "conventional wisdom." I say that is BS. Somebody either a) show me where he lied, or b) admit he did not.

redleg said...

Oh my dear god!

Why are we still fixating on his Vietnam service?

That's about the only part of this candidate that makes him look good! Let's discuss his senate record if we need a snooze. I like military history, the I agree with TWD arguing over what happened 35-36 years ago during combat action in the Mekong Delta is completely irrelevant to the election at hand. Nobody would read a book about this this because it is unimportant. It's a footnote at best. Get over over it-- his fellow swifties didn't like him much because he's just not a real likable guy. They didn't bring this stuff up at the time for whatever reason and now they're justifiably afraid he'll get to be president so they are bringing it up now. Prefecting natural, but a little late...strike that...way late. Attack him for prolonging the Vietnam War for his protests...a perfectly rational charge of aiding the enemy, even unwittingly. Attack him for deception to congress in 1971, throwing his medals away and now displaying them proudly in his office or any of the numerous inabilities of almost any political candidate to pick a lane and stay in it. Kerry just wants everyone to like him and he goes to such an extent I just can't believe that he means what he says. He isn't the worst candidate I've ever seen, but I am afraid we would get 4 more years of Clintonian tears and apologies. Not what we need trying to fight a war on terror. Bush will at least do something and get it done.

Sorry TWD, for the long winded rant, but I have to take your side on this one. And I believe Kerry testified in front of the long winded War Crimes commission in 1971-- I am looking for the transcript. I don't know about him lying to congress but what he said he saw other do was pretty damning. MPs are going to jail for watching the same thing in Abu Ghraib, but again that was a different time and place. CPT Medina was able to retire with 20 years and a silver star for his tour in Vietnam, and LT Calley only did time served before being pardoned by Nixon.

this we'll defend said...

Redleg, you damn with faint praise. I don't get that you are much on my side with your first paragraph, but I'll let that drop after pointing out one thing: Not all his fellow 'swifties' dislike him. Indeed, 10 of the 11 men who served on his two swift boats all have sworn by John Kerry; nine living members were in Boston. Every serious journalist that has examined the record has come to the same conclusion, the Boston Globe and Washington Post most prominently. See, a lot of mud thrown and a little ends up sticking, so now most people think his men didn't trust him. They did. One said that if Kerry was on a one-way mission to hell and asked for volunteers Kerry's men would only ask "when do we leave, Sir?"

You might want to check this site out:

Try a google search for Kerry april 1971 senate and you will get lots of hits with transcripts of his testimony.

Kat said...

Here I go...

The Christmas in Cambodia, where he actually states that he was in Cambodia, before the Senate, was in 1986, when he was putting his two cents in on the support for the Contras against the communist Sandanistas. Basically, using his Viet Nam experience, he states that he is afraid that the continued support for this group would lead the US to become more involved there on the "pretext" of fighting communism.

During this rant, he makes the ill fated claim of being
"in Cambodia" being fired at by the Cambodians and VC, during Christmas of 1968 and it was "seared-seared" into his brain while the President "lied" about whether troops were there or not. He makes this as a point of his speech because he is afraid that our soldiers are or will be there (Nicaragua) and dying and no one will know it, because that was what almost happened to him.

In that testimony, clearly recorded in the Senate record (which I have a photo copy of on my own site) he clearly states he was "in" Cambodia. Not near it.

In 1992, he makes those same statements to a reporter.

Now...I think he was over blowing it to make a point and now he is being called on it and wants to back pedal. You can't really disclaim what you said on the Senate floor that is recorded for posterity.

In regards to his other Viet Nam service, I don't really care, although, I don't see his 4 month tour as the making of a commander in chief, nor do I find his "heroic" activities anymore heroic than some other vets I know. So that is just a bunch of hogwash as my friend says.

The real teller of the Kerry/Viet Nam issue is that it did something to him. It has made him what he is today. And what that has made him is an idealist that is scarier than anything that Bush can say.

He truly believes that the best action is no action.

You think he will stay the course? You've been saying that for some time TWD and I have to dispute you on that. From his own mouth he has stated that within 6 mos of taking office he will pull back 3/4 of the troops.

Maybe he thinks his secret plan of getting France and some others to become involved will supplement this withdrawal? Or, is he planning to was his hands of Iraq like Pontious Pilot the same way he demanded the government wash it's hands of Viet Nam?

Since France, et al are stating, no how, no way, doesn't matter who is President, will they become involved in Iraq, I would have to assume that he is goin with plan 2: wash his hands.

You want to stand by him while we leave that place a mess?

That's what will happen or he will have to eat his words. as you like. Delude yourself.

The truth is, Viet Nam made him what he is and we aren't talking about "commander in chief". We are talking about his policies.

He has an innate belief that American interference in foreign countries is not necessary the same as you are supporting the Viet Nam withdrawal in which case he states himself that it was not a danger to us, just as you do.

That's how he looks on the spread of fundamental islam in these countries. Nothing that we need to be afraid of. Just set back and let it happen. We will deal.

Well...we already know what happens when you set back and let it go. 3000 dead not enough for you?

It's apparently not enough for Kerry. 3000 dead and 9/11 and terrorist alerts are "fear mongering" according to him. I read his speech at the DNC. That's his take. away. If he wins, you will be eating your words about how he understands what is at stake and will take the fight to the enemy.

Viet Nam screwed with Kerry's mind and we are going to suffer for it if he is elected.

this we'll defend said...


We must agree to disagree. The facts you state are either wrong or don't contradict at all what I have said, but you make them sound like they do. And I disagree with your conclusions, such as your contention that "Vietnam screwed with Kerry's mind" (a terrible insult to combat veterans - and scarily similar to attacks on John McCain during the 2000 Republican primary) or that Kerry will not allow us to defend ourselves.

As I have said many times on this blog and my own, there is a wide range of options between doing nothing and invading/occupying Iraq. There are as many other courses of action as human beings can imagine, some good, some bad, some with unknown outcomes. You and other Bush supporters apparently are convinced that every situation we face will consist of only two options, and the President's job is to chose one of them and stick with it. For us or against us. Good v Evil. Invade or appease. Agree with the President or surrender to France.

I would prefer a president that creates more options - as I've seen good military leaders do time and again, naive young inexperienced thing that I am. As I've seen good politicians do in my young naive uninformed life.

The difference between the two campaigns is this:


1) Kerry says what he will do, and

2) attacks Bush for what Bush has already done.


1) Bush says he never did what he did (WMDs turn into "WMD related program activities" which morph into "liberation from tyranny"; a tax cut will not erode the surplus - I mean, it won't cause a deficit - I mean, only a small deficit, - I mean, sure, a large deficit but it is temporary and will restart the economy and create new jobs - I mean, deficits don't matter anyway. Isn't the economy great?; Mission accomplished, major combat is over - I mean, we have a long hard road ahead and let's stay the course; Clinton had nothing to do with the 90s boom, but Clinton is to blame for the current recession) I could go on and on, but this is the honesty go you support, AND

2) Bush attacks Kerry for what Bush says he will do, even though Kerry's platform, plans, and statements all say the opposite - such as your assertion that we will leave Iraq in the lurch if Kerry is elected.

How do you prove a negative? How do you prove you WON'T do something if your opponent keeps insisting that you will? Ohhh, I see... How could Saddam prove he didn't have WMDs? Even after readmitting inspectors, and the inspectors beg the US not to invade and claim they haven't found anything and don't expect to, Bush only has to say Saddam is just hiding it better... now Kerry has to try and prove he won't surrender to France and install a communist regime. The "family values" candidate comes into focus.

You should watch the Wizard of Oz and look at the little man behind the curtain before you imply I am deluding myself, my deluded friend. I don't think in 30-second sound bites.

Frater Bovious said...

I like Blonde Sagacity. Good name.

Tom said...


Sooner or later you will realize that your sophistry is merely foolish.

Kerry's own version of the Cambodia myth:

"I remember spending Christmas Day of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese Allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

His biographer, Brinkley, who has access to Kerry's journals, so your "not his assistant" irrelevancy is as laughable as just about everything else you post, is revising that to:

"On Christmas Eve he was near Cambodia; he was around 50 miles from the Cambodian border. There's no indictment of Kerry to be made, but HE WAS MISTAKEN about Christmas in Cambodia.

50 miles is "near"? Oh, well, even if one is a dope at judging distance, 50 miles from is not in. And Brinkley never used the "secret missions" story in the biography of Kerry, Tour of Duty, though he had access to Kerry's journals.

Kerry didn't "exaggerate to prove a point". He's not even "probably" telling the truth. He lied.

Tired of looking like a fool yet?

this we'll defend said...

Amazing that your "info" that you use to make me a "fool" could have come from my post. Did you even read it? It would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Sophistry. Indeed.

Thanks for pointing out that Brinkley, Kerry's biographer, said exactly what I already pointed out he said. Repetition is helpful and helps a lot in a helpful way. Repetition, that is.

You still haven't either a) retracted your statement that Kerry lied in his Senate testimony or b) show where he did. You said, and I quote you:

"John Kerry was a slimey, disloyal, opportunistic gas bag who slandered what he now has the unmitigated gall to call his "band of brothers", allegations you and the pro-Kerry media can't refute, which is why they're doing their best to ignore everything about Kerry save his four months playing sailor in Viet Nam, you stammer, "B-b-but, many loyal Americans criticized the war." Yeah, they criticized the war, they disagreed over policy, they voted for candidates with different ideas about how to fight communism, but (pay attention now, this will come in handy later on) THEY DIDN'T GO BEFORE CONGRESS AND LIE ABOUT AMERICAN SOLDIERS COMMITTING ATROCITIES AS RULE."

Slander? Playing sailor? Go before Congress and lie? (notice I didn't SHOUT).

These are your quotes Mr. Tom. I challenged you to show me where Kerry lied in his 1971 testimony before Congress, a charge you said I could not refute. You have not done so. Instead you have simply made other false charges (which I also refuted) and then you tell me that I should feel like a fool.

I addressed the "playing sailor" charges that Swiftvets have made and you blindly repeated. You continue to repeat them. It is a technique that, while effective in convincing the uninformed, is not honest. And I am anything but uninformed, so I question your intelligence in trying such tactics on me.

You appear to have no integrity or any ability to see the truth through your overwhelmingly partisan eyes. You seem to only see two sides to every issue, and if the truth won't fit into either one of them you will make it fit by twisting it however you can. If it does fit into the side you don't agree with you will counteract it with lies (as with Swiftvets false allegations that Kerry didn't deserve his combat decorations - charges that you repeat). You have no honor and until you admit you were mistaken (I'm being generous with that characterization) about claiming Kerry lied to Congress in the 1971 testimony I think I will ignore you.

In short, (pay attention now, this will come in handy later on) you are a liar.

Tom said...


Try not to be a moron all of your life. You repeat my paraphrase of Kerry's big lies in his '71 testimony, so your childish demands that I keep providing one lie are very tiresome.

But, oh, well, since you're so literal:

In his 1971 appearance, Kerry testified under oath that the war crimes committed in Southeast Asia were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at ALL levels of command.” [emphasis added]

He had no proof of that and based it totally on the hearsay obtained during the bogus Winter Soldier investigation in which men later revealed to have never served in combat passed themselves off as combat veterans who were either ordered to commit atrocities or committed them with full knowledge of their superiors.

Following from that lie, he went on to state that "... the torture of prisoners (was) accepted policy in many units in South Vietnam.”

In order for Kerry to believe that such actions were "accepted policy" so as to be able to testify truthfully to it, Kerry had to have evidence that such actions were encouraged, condoned or at worst even ordered by everyone in the chain of command. NCOs and line officers do not make policy for the American military. Even if you give him an oath that asks him to swear to swear "to the best of his knowledge", he testified to something he didn't "know" at all and had to know he didn't know - unless he was a flake like you.

Absent evidence, and testifying under oath that something is true when you know you possess more than a resonable doubt that it's true is lying. That holds true even if he never hemmed and hawed and backtracked in his MTP interview back in April of this year. I only used that to show you that even he is backpedaling.
And speaking of which, TWD, the next time you give "partially" true testimony under oath, make sure you let the judge know. I'd love to find out what he thinks.

I mean, come on, are you really this stupid or are you just pulling our legs?

this we'll defend said...

About time.

I expected you to merely repeat the everyday lies floating around right-wing blogland, and so you have.

You say:
In his 1971 appearance, Kerry testified under oath that the war crimes committed in Southeast Asia were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at ALL levels of command.” [emphasis added].

Yes. Except the 'emphasis added' suggests that if Westmoreland himself wasn't aware then Kerry is a liar. So how is this: Westmoreland himself was aware. That should make it easier for you to prove me wrong. For those who don't know, Westmoreland was the senior military officer in Vietnam during most of the war - the "Centcom" commander of his day. We know he was aware because he knew about the Tiger Force investigation as well as the My Lai Massacre as well as being briefed on UCMJ investigations throughout his command.

What was Tiger Force? It was a commando unit of the United States Army, which fought in Vietnam, from May to November of 1967; as part of the Vietnam War. The unit, consisting of 45 paratroopers, has since been accused of committing various warcrimes, including indiscriminate attack, mutilation, and torture. Some reports state that the soldiers wore necklaces composed of human ears. In 2002 the Toledo Blade newspaper received a tip about unreleased Army records of an investigation into warcrimes during the Vietnam war. The newspaper spent eight months investigating the story and in October 2003 ran a series of feature articles on atrocities committed by the Tiger Force unit. The Blade reported that the Army investigated the actions of Tiger Force for four and a half years, from 1971 to 1975, and that the Army substantiated many of the allegations of warcrimes but filed no charges. See more at Westmoreland knew.

You continue and say that "He had no proof of that and based it totally on the hearsay obtained during the bogus Winter Soldier investigation in which men later revealed to have never served in combat passed themselves off as combat veterans who were either ordered to commit atrocities or committed them with full knowledge of their superiors." Interesting way to twist the facts - as if Kerry were attempting to report firsthand so that you can use "hearsay" as an accusation.

In fact, Kerry said: "I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago, in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents..." Notice, dear readers, how Tom "missed" that initial attribution. Kerry started his testimony by saying "here is what some other people said." He thus was quite clear that this was hearsay - and Tom later attacking him for basing his testimony on hearsay is a subtle trick. But wait, I'll get to the main point. Don't worry.

Later investigations revealed that some "veterans" weren't veterans but fakers. The co-founder of VVAW was a faker. According to the investigative work in Guenter Lewy's 1978 book America in Vietnam and B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley's Stolen Valor (Verity Press, Inc., Dallas, Texas there were many imposters, liars, and plain nutjobs who infiltrated the ranks of the anti-war movement, and, in some cases, testified to war crimes and atrocities that never occurred in order to get attention, sympathy, and, in one documented case, medals and honors. This is what most attempts to cast Kerry as a liar are based upon.

It is also true, as noted by author Gerald Nicosia in his authoritative history of the Vietnam Veterans Movement "Home to War" that those discredited voices were never key witnesses in either the Winter Soldier Investigation or in subsequent war crimes investigations such as the congressional Dellums Hearings of 1971 (Don't get me started on Dellums - he was a freak but his hearings brought out many terrible stories). You can read that testimony at Neither of the books America in Vietnam or Stolen Valor refutes any of the testimony given during the Winter Soldier Investigation.

This was also all AFTER Kerry's testimony. But even if all of those at the Winter Soldier hearings were lying (ALL, not some) it doesn't change the fact that hundreds of known war crimes violations were prosecuted by the military. The massacre at My Lai (and subsequent cover-up by the chain of command) was best-known. Perhaps some of the stories Kerry heard were untrue, but that eliminates the force of the argument: Despite the possibility that some testimony may have been falsified, the evidence of atrocities committed on both sides in Vietnam is irrefutable, and we have verifiable, documented examples such as My Lai as examples that bad things did happen. Vietnam was a war, and war is hell. There's no rational reason for doubting this testimony. And Kerry testified first-hand about his experience in free-fire zones, zones that violated the Geneva Convention.

My Lai, for the unitiated, was a massacre of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians by US soldiers on March 16, 1968. It prompted widespread outrage around the world and reduced public support for the war in the United States. Under the orders of Lt. William Calley, the soldiers killed hundreds of civilians – primarily old men, women, children, and babies. The precise number killed varies from source to source, with 347 and 504 being the most commonly cited figures. The soldiers also engaged in torture and rape of the villagers. According to a South Vietnamese army lieutenant to his superiors, it was an "atrocious" incident of revenge. See

Often little noted is that the massacre was halted by a US Army scout helicopter crew who landed their vehicle between the attacking American troops and the remaining Vietnamese who were alive. The pilot, Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr., confronted the leaders of the troops and told them he would open fire on them if they continued their attack on civilians. While two members of the helicopter crew — Spc. Lawrence Colburn and Spc. Glenn Andreotta — brandished their weapons at the men who had participated in the atrocity, Thompson directed an evacuation of the village. The crewmembers were credited with saving at least 11 lives. Exactly thirty years later, the three were awarded the Soldier's Medal, the army's highest award for bravery not involving direct contact with the enemy. I had the privilege and honor of hearing one of the aviators speak at Fort Benning. In the 60s and 70s they were called "traitors" for telling the truth and "betraying" their fellow soldiers, but they got a standing ovation at the infantry school. I guess if one of them ran for president he would be blasted by the right-wing just as Kerry is today.

Note that Kerry didn't say officers "ordered" crimes (although they sometimes did - Calley was an officer) but that they were "aware" of them. He also didn't say all or most soldiers were war criminals, but that war crimes were taking place and that the public was being kept in the dark. He was right. Army investigations were known to the chain of command, and soldiers were prosecuted, but also some atrocities were covered up and the military failed to prosecute many criminals. The cover-up of My Lai by the chain of command was an egregious example. Only Calley was convicted, of premeditated murder in ordering the shootings and initially sentenced to life in prison; two days later, however, President Richard Nixon ordered him released from prison. Calley served 3½ years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning, Georgia.

As for "isolated incident," while no one involved with the Winter Soldier Investigation, and subsequent Senate hearings, ever accused "all" servicemen of misconduct - it was obvious the problem had grown beyond "isolated incident" status. Even the other Kerry in the Senate, Sen. Bob Kerrey (Medal of Honor winner and former Navy Seal) have admitted to involvement in war crimes. It wasn't that US soldiers are criminals, it was the nature of the conflict.

The problem was perceived by Kerry as epidemic, and was seen as ignored and even condoned by leaders at all levels in the military and government - hence the coverups. Kerry sought to finally bring national attention to this situation, and to expedite the end of America's participation in the Vietnam conflict. I think it's also important to note that the mention of these atrocities is a very small part of Kerry's testimony. The bulk of his testimony was spent questioning the motives for the war and wisdom of continuing it. The wisdom of asking young men to "die for a mistake", as Kerry put it. This is hardly slanderous.

You say that "following from that lie" (what lie? I've shown there was no lie) Kerry stated "... the torture of prisoners (was) accepted policy in many units in South Vietnam.”

You misquote (not surprising). He actually said "in the use of free-fire zones; harassment-interdiction fire, search-and-destroy missions; the bombings; the torture of prisoners; all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam." Wisely, you focus only on torture of prisoners. Read a little more on Tiger Force, on "tiger cages" and on the Dellums commission and return when you have done your homework. I'll be happy to blast you again. The current ass-kicking of your lies is getting too long already.

You say that "In order for Kerry to believe that such actions were "accepted policy" so as to be able to testify truthfully to it, Kerry had to have evidence that such actions were encouraged, condoned or at worst even ordered by everyone in the chain of command. NCOs and line officers do not make policy for the American military." I think Kerry's point (I KNOW his point) was that it was not and should not be accepted policy, and that by covering it up, by not prosecuting violators, that it was being condoned. Given that it was President Nixon that ordered Calley released, a man who shamed the uniform I am so proud to have worn and who should have been shot by the US Army (and lots of proud soldiers would have volunteered to do it), I will let readers decide how high up such a policy went.

So other than US Army reports, Senate testimony, undisputed accounts by veterans, newspaper exposes as recent as 2003, and actual pictures of the My Lai massacre showing heaps of dead babies, I really don't have any "actual evidence" to support Kerry's contentions that war crimes were occuring throughout Vietnam and that the military and the government weren't correcting the problem. Just the truth, that's all I have. Which he was telling.

I've already corrected the false assertion that Kerry backtracked on Meet the Press. He said he was proud but would have worded some things better - not that he was wrong. Again, he stood by what he said. I won't go into the details again. Look it up on Ala71's blog, it is here somewhere. So you were wrong about that too. Flake.

I think it all comes down to two points of view:
An article in the LA Times where Vietnam veteran Dewey Brown is paraphrased:

"Good soldiers do their duty and keep their mouths shut. They don't come home to criticize their country's mission while others are still fighting. But that, in his view, is what Kerry did."

I couldn't disagree more. John Kerry did his duty as a soldier, and he did it honorably. He then came home, and did his duty as a responsible citizen of this country. He spoke out. I think Dwight D. Eisenhower put it best:

Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.

There is a book floating around called the New Soldier - it's now out of print. It was an inflammatory tract that contained much commie nut-bag rhetoric and anti-american crap. The anti-war movement did attract many subversives, but that does not mean that all anti-war protestors were subversive any more than today. Kerry was known to be an effective and moderating influence on the movement, and disassociated himself from the subversives and kept the faith with his nation and his fellow veterans. The right-wing whisper-mill is that it is Kerry's book (thus alleging he agrees with everything in it). In fact, Kerry's contributions to The New Soldier seem to be pretty innocuous, at least to me. For example, the final paragraph of his epilogue says:

"I myself went into the service with very little awareness of the people in the streets. I accepted then and still accept the idea of service to one's country. But because of all that I saw in Vietnam, the treatment of civilians, the ravaging of their countryside, the needless, useless deaths, the deception and duplicity of our policy, I changed. Traditional assumptions and expectations simply were not enough. I still want to serve my country. I am still willing to pick up arms and defend it -- die for it, if necessary. Now, however, I will not go blindly because my government says that I must go. I will not go unless we can make real our promises of self-determination and justice at home. I will not go unless the threat is a real one and we all know it to be so. I will not go unless the people of this country decide for themselves that we must all of us go."

What a traitorous liar he was, huh? And where was Bush while Kerry was "betraying" this nation by speaking out about deceptions, lies, mis-management, and mistreatment of American soldiers? While Kerry was standing up for what was right? He was somewhere in Alabama, right?

I love that line: "I will not go unless the threat is a real one and we all know it to be so. I will not go unless the people of this country decide for themselves that we must all of us go."

Whether you agree or disagree with me this election is important, and if you are concerned about Kerry's testimony I suggest readers read the entire thing for themselves rather than getting it through such partisan twist-factories such as instapundit or Tom's blog. Think for yourselves! It is one of the great speeches of all time, and can be read in full at

Vote Kerry!!!!!!!!!

ALa said...

TWD: One [serious] question...Honestly, if he is so proud of all this why is he blocking his book from being re-published, blocking the release of his entire military record and blocking the record of his Senate Intelligence Committee attendance....disclosure dispels speculation...

this we'll defend said...

He isn't blocking the book (it isn't his to block) and it is already out there anyway.

He isn't blocking the release of his military records as I've pointed out time and again. They are and have been available. See and look in the right-hand box under "Service Records." His entire 221 file is in there, even travel payment orders and useless crap like that.

He isn't blocking his attendance record at the Senate Intelligence Committee but he was rarely there. That campaign commercial factoid from the Bush campaign that said he was only there something like 1/3rd of the time was correct (although it implied he missed meetings after 9/11 when in fact he wasn't on the committee after that). He hasn't sought to release those records but he hasn't "blocked" it either. Why not release them? Because he was rarely there and it helps the Bush campaign. But nothing dishonest or underhanded about that.

And those are all different subjects anyway. There is a smear campaign that seeks to prevent the truth about a political candidate, and I don't like it when they do that to Republicans any more than to Democrats. I want the American people to discuss the truth, not base their votes on who has the best campaign commercials and which side was the most devious in tarnishing their opponent. The trend with the right appears to be make repeated accusations, and when they are disproved make more, and then more, and then more. Throw enough mud and some will stick. Fine. But they shouldn't complain when they are called dirty filthy mud-slinging liars - because they are. Like Tom, filthy little man that he is.

ALa said...

TWD: No reason to get mad...healthy discourse remember--and what will we all do after the election? I ask about Kerry's military records because one of the Democrat Senators (not sure who it was so must be a lesser-known) was saying that he thinks that John Kerry should fill out some form that releases all his records - and that he has yet to do that (and I saw that yesturday). He was saying that it just hurts him and makes him look guilty not to do it...of course the Repub. counter-part agreed.
Also, I want to ask you some questions about AWOL and don't want to do it in this forum -can you email me?

this we'll defend said...

I emailed you.