Tag Archives: defense

*SNORT!*

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Gotta love junior Marines.  Positively brilliant sarcasm.  And they miss NOTHING.

I wish I could find one of the green skivvie shirts they were peddling in Ramadi.

Ramadi Spring Break 2004

“Ain’t no party like a workin’ party!”

H/T to YEMX.ORG via D James

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The Chinese Economic Collapse

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It is bad, far worse than is thought.  As is the case in totalitarian governments when economic conditions turn hard down, the scapegoats are to be found within and without.  Finding domestic entities and individuals to blame for a market collapse is bad enough.  The blaming of foreigners has resonated thunderously across the world markets.

In a worrying signal for global investors with a presence in China, some officials have argued strongly for a crackdown on “foreign forces”, which they say have intentionally unsettled the market.

“If our own people have collaborated with foreign forces to attack the soft underbelly of the market and bet against the government’s stabilisation measures then they should be suspected of harming national financial security and we must take resolute measures to subdue them,” said an editorial in the state-controlled Securities Daily newspaper last week.

One Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager, who asked not to be named, said: “Global investors are listening to the language of retribution and watching this witch-hunt going on, and they are trying to understand what this means for them.”

Any serious attempt by China, or the Chinese Communist Party (because they are, after all, one in the same), to punish foreign investors for their economic troubles will lead to an immediate exodus of foreign capital.  Companies and funds with Chinese equities will divest in a flash, as once-trusted Chinese government policies will look more like Venezuela than the United States.  When that happens, the bottom is likely to fall out entirely.   Such would be remarkable in itself, as China is a very large economy on the world stage.  But there is the added and unpredictable factor.  The Chinese Communist Party has for three decades or more tied its legitimacy to economic prosperity.  Should that prosperity evaporate, as is seemingly very possible, the Party may be in a struggle for its very existence.  And when a long-entrenched ruling caste struggles for existence, it becomes increasingly desperate.  Which often causes that caste to look externally to agitate against foreign governments and push patriotism as their means of holding onto the levers of power.  South China Sea, anyone?  Korea, perhaps?

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Once Again, the Duffel Blog Nails It

Pure genius.

Pentagon Angered At Speed Of French Military Awards System

WASHINGTON, D.C. — American military officials are reportedly shocked at the speed at which France was able to approve of their nation’s highest award which was presented to American Airman Spencer Stone, Spc. Alek Skarlatos, and some random civilians who participated in the righteous beating of a terrorist last week in Paris.

“This was easy when we originally thought it was Marines,” said Sergeant Maj. of the Marine Corps Ronald Green. “I had their charge sheets all written up and was ready to read them their Article 31 rights over the phone, but man, what a letdown.”

Other senior members of the armed forces are grappling with how to deal with this blatant breach in the American military tradition of foot dragging and outright dismissal of awards for junior enlisted personnel.

“There’s no way Airman Spencer rates an actual Legion d’Honneur,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. “We’ll probably just submit it as a Letter of Appreciation in his record book. It’s not like it will get him any points for promotion anyway.”

Shortly after Cody’s remarks, it was announced Airman Spencer would be nominated for the Air Force’s high non-combat award for being wounded while engaging in hand-to-hand combat with a fully armed enemy.

Major Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, agrees.

“Spc. Skarlatos hasn’t even earned an ARCOM yet,” said Hokanson. “How in the world can we justify this medal? Besides, I don’t have one.”

Hokanson further pointed out that Skarlatos hadn’t re-certified on the online Level 1 Antiterrorism Awareness module so he couldn’t possibly rate a medal for actually fighting terrorism.

Some senior officials speculate the French didn’t bother to hold an awards board, where in American tradition, awards are sent back to be rewritten multiple times until the originator quits trying in frustration. In other cases the submission is downgraded to a certificate of commendation so junior service members do not earn an award greater than any officers they are subordinate to.

“Rank has nothing to do with the military awards process,” said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley. “Except that it does.”

Senior enlisted from both services are salivating in anticipation of forcing both servicemen to verbally provide the guidance allowing them to wear the award.

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Hans Blix, Call Your Office

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Such the deal with Iran, Barry.  Seems there’s an opening for a doddering, pliable, easily-fooled IAEA inspector.

Iran has already stated that no American inspector would be permitted into the country under the deal. The accord also grants Iran a 24-day notice period before inspectors enter any site suspected of being used for nuclear weapons work.

“Any individual, out of IAEA’s Inspection group, who is not approved by the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot enter the country as the agency’s inspector,”

The billions are already pouring into Iran’s economy, where they will be spent as promptly as possible on the latest Russian CDCM and air defense systems.  The diplomatic incompetence, Islamist sympathizing, and anti-Israeli (anti-Semitic) rhetoric of this Administration is profound.  In fact, little more damage could be done if the entire Administration was comprised of Soviet agents.  With Obama’s former Secretary of State (is there really “secret” somewhere in that title?) ensuring our enemies are read into SI and TK, a Soviet agent would be Hero of the Soviet Union for such deeds.   How bad is this deal?

“Administration claims that this was the best possible agreement are pathetic. First Kerry abandoned anytime, anywhere inspections,” Rubin said. “Then Obama claimed this was the most rigorous counter-proliferation regime ever, never mind that it failed to rise to the Libya and South Africa precedents.”

“Then we learned that no Americans are allowed on the inspection teams and that Iran will do its own soil sampling,” Rubin added. “Now the Iranians claim that all IAEA inspectors have to be vetted by Iranian intelligence? It really can’t get any worse than this.”

Current Secretary of State John Kerry, last seen happily roaming around a Communist dictatorship in a Che Guevara t-shirt, could not be reached for comment.   Sokolnikov and Bubov, er, McConnell and Boehner, will ensure that the treaty cannot be overturned by Congressional action, as the Constitution requires.

Enemies, domestic.  All ethnics, no ethics.

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Some Additional Thoughts on the Relief of LtCol Kate Germano

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The recent relief of LtCol Kate Germano, CO of 4th RTBn at Parris Island, is an event that I have been following with some interest.  Quite frankly, I don’t know quite what to make of it.  I have largely refrained from commentary for that reason.  But let me put forth some thoughts.

The announcement that she was relieved because she “created a toxic work environment” smacks of whining about hurt feelings and people being offended.  The Depot Chief of Staff, Col Jeff Fultz, commented “She was telling them their male counterparts will never respect them if they don’t get good physical scores. You just don’t do that.”  Actually, Colonel, you do.  Marines who are physically marginal to substandard, regardless of gender, do not inspire the respect and confidence of seniors, peers, or juniors, especially when compared to those capable of leading by physical example.   If that was the case, LtCol Germano was speaking an immutable truth of leadership.

However, there are also allegations that LtCol Germano disobeyed her chain of command, which is a serious matter.  I can also imagine, having been at the periphery of zealous activism on the part of feminists, that she might have done and said things that she should not have, that indeed were abusive, and did undermine her boss’s authority.   I happen to know Dan Haas, the Recruit Training Regimental Commander, having served with him in 10th Marines a number of years ago.  And I think a lot of his talent and professionalism.  What seems very possible is that LtCol Germano said some magic words to or about the wrong person about a subject she was passionate about, likely more than once, and she got fired for it.  Her complaints, however, deserve examination in whole and in part.  Other than what she has written publicly, I know little about her personal views or why she holds them.

On the whole, however, LtCol Germano is witnessing the head-on collision between two mutually exclusive interests.  The advocacy for women, the accommodation made for them, the emphasis put on their importance, their empowerment to destroy careers and lives of male service members with an unfounded accusation, have caused women to serve in an environment where they are often not held to task or standard, and where they are not expected to perform.  No amount of feminist outrage can take the truth from that statement.  Women are seen, and not unreasonably, as dangerous to one’s career.  Hell hath no fury like a woman with an EEO complaint.  What LtCol Germano identifies is the predictable residue of favoritism.

That favoritism is also the cause of not a little resentment among male service members.  While they are TOLD that women are their equal at all things military (and disagreement a punishable offense, regardless of evidence to the contrary), what they really see is the dichotomy where their female comrade is portrayed as a helpless victim of unwanted sexual advances by evil men, while somehow at the same time being a fearsome she-warrior of the Ziva David variety, kicking male ass at every turn.   The truth was quite a bit different, as you can imagine.  As an example, when I was with 2nd SRIG in 1993-94, it was a staple of every quarterly conditioning hike to have to take note of the gender of the hike drops.  These were pretty mild affairs, as we carried a mere basic load for about 12 miles, and there are virtually no hills at Camp Lejeune.  From a unit of about 400 Marines (HQBn), it was not uncommon to have 30 hike drops, which would almost inevitably include every female in the battalion, of which there were between 24 and 28.   Hike after hike, not a single female could complete the event.   We were warned, however, that mentioning that fact was tantamount to sexual harassment, and we would be held accountable.   Once, one of the female Marines from 2nd UAV Company actually made the hike, and the SRIG SgtMaj wanted her to get special recognition.   If Kate Germano is looking for causes of low expectations, the climate created that would allow such a thing is a great place to start.

In detail, however, LtCol Germano’s assertions also bear some examination.  I spent three years on the Drill Field at Parris Island, graduating eleven cycles, with time thrown in as OIC of Academics and Close Combat.  My position was as a series and company commander, significantly closer to the training than Kate Germano was likely to be on a daily basis.   Though I left Parris Island before LtCol Germano was commissioned (gaaah!), some things likely still haven’t changed.  The problems she identifies regarding female marksmanship and physical fitness are not new.

First, marksmanship.  Marines, as we know, love our marksmanship.  Every Marine a rifleman, even the females.  Female recruits struggle to qualify at the same rate as males.  We explored that answer in detail some years ago, and what we found had little to do with expectations or instruction or emphasis.  It was the raw material.  Primary Marksmanship Instructors (PMIs), coaches, Drill Instructors, Series Officers, and Range Officers all came to the same conclusion, that relative to their male counterparts, far fewer female recruits had any experience handling or firing weapons.  When the PMIs would ask a recruit platoon how many had ever fired a rifle before, about a third of the male hands would go up.  On the female side, sometimes none would.  The entire concept, language, handling, and operation of the service rifle was completely foreign.  The amount of new information they have to process in comparison to their male counterparts is far greater over the same period of instruction.  (Anecdotally, the females who had fired a weapon tended to do far better than those who’d never handled one before.)   One proposal was to lengthen basic training for females by a week to give them an extra “grass week” to work on fundamentals, but with the requirements of service and cost, this was an impossibility.  While LtCol Germano may be able to work some significant improvement into female rifle scores, an effort which I loudly applaud, I believe it is the starting point of female versus male recruits that more than anything determines qualification results.

(I hate to bring this up, but LtCol Germano wears two Marksman badges, the lowest classification of qual for rifle and pistol.  What is true of physical fitness is also true of weapons proficiency.  Practicing what you preach and shooting expert would help a great deal with credibility…)

In the physical realm, we experimented back in the late 80s/early 90s with increasing female running and hiking requirements to approximate male standards.  What we wound up doing was injuring female recruits in large numbers. Here is where Mother Nature was most unfair.  The injuries to the female recruits were far more serious than to their male counterparts.  Males would suffer stress fractures in their shins, below the knee.  Painful, for sure, but when healed, not debilitating.  Female recruits would suffer their stress fractures in the femur and pelvis.  Often those injuries did permanent damage.   We were breaking female recruits at an alarming rate, so the experiment was stopped.  I don’t know if the prevalence of girls and young women on the sports field will eventually have some impact on the disparity, but I would caution that we would continue to break females at an unacceptably high rate, with serious injuries, by implementing male standards for female recruits.

I didn’t see where LtCol Germano advocated for integration of male and female platoons.  If she did, I missed it.  I hope she does not.  Such would be a catastrophe, destroying the character of both male and female training.  The reasons are legion, and I will not explore them here.  Perhaps in another post.  But her lament about being “away from male training” doesn’t really hold water.  When I was at Parris Island, Third Recruit Training Battalion was farther from the main parade deck than Fourth Recruit Training Battalion was/is. “Where nobody can hear your pleas for mercy”, as one of my favorite Senior Drill Instructors was fond of saying.   4th Bn should embrace being “away from the flagpole”, as we did out in the woods with 3rd Bn.

So, I cannot get a feel whether I find LtCol Germano’s relief justified.  I can empathize with and agree with some of her assertions.  I can applaud her zeal in trying to ensure her Marines are trained to the sharpest edge.  I also cannot tell whether I would agree with her in a sit-down regarding the training and leadership of Marines.  She does not come across as a girl-power feminist whose cause comes before Corps.  But again, I don’t know.  I would be disappointed if she were.   What I do surmise is that her relief had little to do with “integration of women in the Marine Corps”, as both sides of the discussion seem to want to make it.

But what we definitely saw was the head-on collision between special treatment and high expectations.  They are mutually exclusive.

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Mil Times: VA Doctor Regrets Post Telling Gun Advocate to ‘Off’ Himself

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So typically VA.

Gorton was responding to a post that came through his Facebook page by an apparent gun-rights supporter, according to images posted to the website Imgur and described by the newspaper.

“I am all for gun control,” the user wrote. “If there is a gun in the room, I want to be in control of it.”

Gorton replied: “Off yourself, please.”

Gorton said he would not call himself a gun-control activist.

“I have concerns about gun violence, but many of us do,” he said.

He should have concerns about his next paycheck, because he should be fired immediately.

For what it is worth, and it is worth a ton, the VA Hospital in Philadelphia commented on the incident, as the AP tells:

“The post was totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans. We are taking steps immediately to address the situation,” the VA told the newspaper.

Yes, it perfectly portrays your commitment to Veterans.   And is a symptom of a much larger problem.

In an unrelated matter, VA officials told Congress this month that nearly a dozen employees at the regional office in Philadelphia could face discipline over their errant handling of a backlog of benefit claims.

The VA’s inspector general had found that Philadelphia staff neglected mail, altered claims dates and reviews and made $2.2 million in duplicate benefit payments as it tried to reduce backlogs.

Unrelated, my ass.  The debacles in Phoenix and in Philadelphia and across the VA system should result in people being charged with criminal misconduct (including Federal charges relating to retribution against whistle-blowers), and if clinicians are found to have had knowledge or willfully participated in the scandals, they should have their licenses to practice medicine revoked.

The VA is an unaccountable, unresponsive, inefficient, bureaucratic nightmare, where medical care is decidedly uneven.  There are good people trying to do good work, to be sure.  But far, far too many who are of the ilk that begets the kind of despicable and dishonest mismanagement we hear about daily from the VA.  Secretary Bob McDonald, who took over for Eric Shinsecki, needs to fire people, loudly and publicly.  Heads on plates.  Gregg Gorton’s should be among them.  Along with his newly-revoked license to practice psychiatry.   If Gorton’s head is not on that plate today, perhaps Bob McDonald’s head should be served.

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More on Door-Kicking, Aggressive, Unnecessarily Escalatory “Peace Officers”

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From that urbane sophisticate, LTCOL P over at Op-For, where he references WAPO, via SurvivalBlog:

The culture that encourages police officers to engage their weapons before gathering information promotes the mind-set that nothing, including citizen safety, is more important than officers’ personal security.

Worth the read, both LTCOL P’s cogent commentary and the original article.

Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety can’t always come first.

Very tired of Police Officers asserting that their “safety” trumps Constitutional liberties.  Especially when they are more aggressive toward law-abiding American citizens than I was ever allowed to be toward Iraqis.  Sadly, as LTCOL P points out, they behave like Volkspolizei because we have allowed it.

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