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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Today We Mourn a Vietnam Hero...

Retired Navy Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, who won a Medal of Honor for his inspirational conduct as a POW in Vietnam, died yesterday after a battle with a different kind of enemy - Alzheimer's Disease.

Visit Echo9er for the press release from the DoD.

You can find more information about this Navy hero here:

World's Finest Navy
Medal of

Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.

Damned if We Do, Damned if We Don't

Came across this early this morning, on the MSN home page, and had a "Stan-from-South-Park-pinch-the-bridge-of-the-nose" moment...

Who's in the Army Now? - Why we can't send more troops to Iraq-By Fred Kaplan

This "military analysis" plays off of the fears of the draft, sings the old "Bush's world domination" song - all the usual goodies.

Among the gems here, Kaplan says:

"As we're often told, 1 million men and women serve in the U.S. Army. So, why is it such a strain to keep a mere 150,000 in Iraq? What are the other 850,000 doing? Why can't some of them be sent there, too? And if they really can't be spared from their current tasks, what broader inferences can be drawn about America's military policy? Should we bring back the draft to provide more boots on the ground—or, alternatively, scale back our global ambitions so fewer boots will be needed?"

"Soldiers could be given less training and be allowed less time at their home bases. But the chiefs know that if they did that, they would soon have a disgruntled, ill-prepared Army—and a smaller Army, too, since such strains would torpedo recruitment and re-enlistment rates, which even now are falling well below target. (Soldiers and civilians might feel differently if the war in Iraq were truly a war of national survival or a titanic struggle of civilizations. During World War II, after all, millions were perfunctorily trained before shipping out to Europe or the Pacific, and they stayed there for years until the fighting was over. But the stakes of the present war are far less momentous.)"

If you think that the stakes aren't high in Iraq and Afghanistan, you're kidding yourself. Of course, even the most liberal of liberals usually stay far away from the subject of Afghanistan. You see, it's ok if we go after people AFTER they fly civilian airliners into buildings filled with thousands of people (well, sort of, anyway). It's not ok if we deal with people BEFORE they attack. Oh, wait...over a decade of defying UN sanctions, and frequent - sometimes daily - shots at aircraft in the no-fly zone...doesn't that qualify?

The stakes in the present war are the freedom of a nation, and the message that the terrorists can't win. To back out of Iraq now would be disastrous, both for the Iraqis and for us. (And, by the by, one of Osama's many convoluted criticisms of us is that we stranded Afghanistan by not helping them against the Soviets...). To leave a fledgling democracy, with a still-new military, would have very grim, and predictable, consequences. We have a responsibility to see this one through. To minimize the importance of Iraq is ludicrous. The stakes in both current major engagements are very high. Saddam tortured and killed a whole lot of people, but apparently not enough. He paid reward money to the families of terrorists who blew themselves up, but he didn't actually blow anything up. His weapons shot at our planes all the time, but since they didn't manage to do too well, it apparently doesn't count.

Talking about military restructuring, Kaplan says (among other things),
"In short, it's a smart gap-filler, but little more. It won't allow George W. Bush to send more troops to Iraq or Afghanistan, much less to other countries that he might like to liberate."

"They can't clone or borrow soldiers to float an imperial army."

I don't have the requisite military experience, or the kind of comprehensive military knowledge, to be able to respond to all of his particular comments about the percentages of active versus National Guard / Reserve troops. Admittedly, there are some issues with the current military structure (and eight years with a president who did nothing to enhance the military didn't help - a discussion for another time). But it's clear to me that Mr. Kaplan and critics like him aren't doing anything that qualifies as a "military analysis." It's more Bush-bashing, and gloom-and-doom military criticism. It sounds, from reading this, as if we're losing in Iraq. Same song, yet again. It's clear that this is analysis with an agenda; a way to get in a few shots at the present administration under the guise of studied opinion. And of course, if we were sending more troops there, if we did have a larger active force deploying, that would be wrong too. Then we'd be back to the "quagmire."

I'm left with the feeling that if Mr. Kaplan was analyzing a menu change at the Pentagon cafeteria, it would still have something to do with George Bush wanting to rule the world.

Humanitarian Mission in Afghanistan

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to Task Force Eagle provide security during a humanitarian assistance mission for flood victims outside Bagram, Afghanistan, July 4, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Harold Fields

More pictures at: Defend America

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS — Forward Air Control soldiers from the Polish 2nd Battle Group coordinate air support with Mi-24 Hind helicopters in Babil Province, Iraq, June 28, 2005. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Arthur Hamilton

In Today's News - Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Quote of the Day
"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can."
-- Samuel Adams

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Medical Airmen Save Infant's Life
Reservists Go From Ground Zero to Iraq
Gunmen ambush two top diplomats in Iraq
Al-Zarqawi denounces Iraq army as enemies
U.S. soldier killed, two wounded in Iraq
Suspected Terrorist Killed Planting IEDs
Photos: July Fourth in Iraq

Operation Enduring Freedom
Bodies of Special Ops Troops Recovered
Bin Laden reportedly in Afghanistan
Guard Soldier Says Afghan Troops Eager to Serve

Fallen Heroes
Two Navy SEALS Found Dead

UN Follies
U.N. to Hand Over Notes inOil-for-Food Probe

Fox News
Bush Arrives in Denmark
Bush Rips Gonzales Critics
Bush Birthday Reminds Boomers
Envoys Attacked in Baghdad
Rice Offers to Help Egypt
Teen Confesses in Court to Creating 'Sasser' Worm

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Iran protests Austrian probe of new leader
Israel commits large force for pullout
Sandstorms disrupt daily life in Baghdad
Pakistani envoy leaving Iraq after attack

Reuters: Top News
Thousands to march as G8 leaders meet in Scotland
Baghdad gunmen mount campaign against diplomats
U.S. wants G8 climate debate to move beyond Kyoto
Jail for journalists in leak case, prosecutor urges
Africa urges G8 to scrap debt, reform trade
Firm on Gaza pullout, Sharon confronts settlers
Bush starts formal process of Supreme Court pick
White House to give budget update next week

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Countries With Diplomatic Ties in Iraq
Bush Thanks Denmark for Helping in Iraq
Zarqawi says Qaeda forms wing to fight Shi'ites-Web
Bahrain, Pakistani diplomatic convoys attacked in Iraq
Bush Urges Patience 'Until Fight Is Won'
Egyptian Envoy's Abduction Heightens Fear in Baghdad

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
Officials: Insurgents Target Iraqi Progress — Story Transcript

Hospital Opening Furthers Iraqi Progress — Story
Engineers' Teamwork, Sweat Gets Job Done — Story
Iraqi Civilian Tip Leads to Weapons Cache — Story

Air Force Recognizes Historical Name of Iraqi Air Base
Task Force Baghdad Delivers Tons of Food

Black Hawk Crew Rescues 3 Afghan Children

Nationals Support Troops — Story
Effort Helps N.C. Troop Families
Atlanta Parade Salutes Troops
Parade Reunites Families

Progress Continues
Troops Track Terrorists
Doc Who Aided Terrorists Captured
Photos: Rebuilding Erbil
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)
'Eye on Iraq' (pdf)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Fact Sheet: Helping Women in Iraq

U.S. Servicemember Rescued
Statement Expresses Regret
Former Rebels Sign Pledges
Battles Near Kandahar Kill 3 Enemies
Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Bush Topics: Terrorism, Freedom
Officials Release Strategy
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Vinson Concludes Gulf Operations
President Calls for Support
Recruiters Reach Out
National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Army Casualties — Story
Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf
Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Today in History
- King Richard III of England is crowned.
1535 - Sir Thomas Moore is executed in England for treason.
1699 - Captain William Kidd is arrested in Boston.
1777 - British General Burgoyne captures Fort Ticonderoga from the Americans.
1785 - Congress resolves that U.S. currency will be named the "dollar," and adopts a decimal coinage system.
1798 - U.S. law makes aliens "liable to be apprehended, restrained...and removed as alien enemies..."
1885 - Louis Pasteur performs the first human inoculation (for rabies).
1908 - Robert Peary's expedition sails from New York City, bound for the North Pole.
1923 - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed.
1928 - The first all-talking motion picture is shown in New York; America's heaviest hailstone falls in Coffeyville, KS (1.67 lbs.).
1944 - Fire breaks out at the Ringling Bros. Circus in Hartford, CT - 170 are killed.
1945 - Nicaragua becomes the first nation to formally accept the UN Charter; President Truman signs the executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom.
1958 - Alaska becomes the 49th U.S. state.
1976 - Soyuz-21 carries two cosmonauts to the Salyut-5 space station.
1978 - Israeli jet fighters bomb West Beirut.
1987 - Sikh extremists carry out the first of three massacres in India.
1989 - U.S. Marshals and the FCC seize Brooklyn pirate radio station WHOT.

1747 - John Paul Jones, Naval hero (said, "I have not yet begun to fight")
1796 - Czar Nicholas I of Russia
1903 - Axel Theorell Sweden, biochemist, studied enzymes, Nobel Prize winner
1923 - Nancy Davis Reagan, First Lady
1945 - Burt Ward, actor (Robin-Batman)

1189 - King Henry II of England
1415 - Jan Hus, burned for heresy by the Church at Constance, Germany
1535 - Sir Thomas Moore, executed for treason in England
1990 - Paul Wynne, KGO-TV SF reporter, of AIDS

Missing in Action
Hestle, Roosevelt L., Jr., USAF (FL); F105F shot down, wife believes she saw him in film footage from a Hanoi press conference
Morgan, Charles E., USAF (CA); F105F shot down, remains returned July, 1989 - ID'd April, 1990
Tomes, Jack H., USAF (AZ); F105D shot down, released by DRV February, 1973 - died December, 1984
Young, James Faulds, USAF (MI); RF101C shot down, released by DRV February, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive and well as of 1996

Hughey, Kenneth R., USAF (CA);F4C shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel as of 1996 - alive as of 1998
Pollack, Melvin, USAF (NY); F4C shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Lt. Colonel as of 1996 - alive and well as of 1998

Mahoney, Thomas P. III, USMC (CA); KIA, body not recovered

Carr, Donald G., US Army SF (IN); passenger in OV10A believed shot down while on recon mission
Thomas, Daniel W., USAF (IA); OV10A believed shot down while on recon mission