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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lance Cpl. Richard D. Pietrulewiez sits behind his M-240G machine gun at the entry point of Traffic Control Point Flea at Al Asad, Iraq, Oct. 24. Pietrulewiez is a greeter at the traffic control point and is with 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). He is a native of Allentown, Pa. USMC photo by Cpl. James B. Hoke

'Dirtboyz' keep Balad airfield operational
Senior Airman William Cravener operates a steel wheel roller Nov. 3 at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Airman Cravener is a 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and equipment journeyman deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alice Moore) Full Story

How Will You Honor Vets on Their Day?

Veteran's Day is more than parades, more than a day off of work (if you get one - I don't).

It's a chance to say thank you to those who give so much to - and for - all of us.

Why not do something to say thanks - something to give back.

With time running out for the Valour-IT blog competition fundraiser, we're still well short of our goal (The Navy Team is closing on theirs!). But that doesn't mean it's out of reach.

And what better way to thank our vets than to help those we need, and who need us right now.

Please consider a donation to Project Valour-IT - whatever you can give, as a way to honor those who would sacrifice all for our freedoms.

Information about Project Valour-IT:
Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT
Valour-IT Blog

Team Standings:

Team Leaders:
Army - Blackfive
Navy - Chaotic Synaptic Activity
Air Force - Op-For
Marines - Villainous Company

Atlantic Ocean (Nov. 7, 2006) - An AV-8B Harrier assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron Two Six Four (HMM-264) launches from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). The Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group is conducting a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the Atlantic coast with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., prior to an upcoming regularly scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeremy L. Grisham

My Post-Election Two Cents - The Wisdom of 'Old Blood and Guts'

OK. I've had a day to be angry, upset, and worried. I've had a day to be knocked back on my heels, vis-à-vis my morale. But now it's time to regroup. The results of the elections Tuesday can't have been pleasant for anyone whose belief system mirrors my own. But whining about it, and refusing to learn the lessons of this past Election Day, is going to cause far more damage than the elections themselves. We just have to be sure we learn the right lesson – or the Right lesson.

I find myself thinking of a lot of Patton quotes today. And Old Blood and Guts has a lot of wisdom to lend to the discussion.
The test of success is not what you do when you are on top.
Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
Talking heads on the Left are saying that this was a mandate from the American people regarding the Right’s need to move more toward the middle – more towards them. But is that really the case?

Many of the Dems' shining stars this past Tuesday weren’t the far Left elements. They were “moderates,” or at least sounded like them. And the Dems didn’t say a whole lot about what they intended to do with their power if they got it. Rather, they spent their time criticizing the Right. There’s a whole lot less risk there than in putting their own agenda up for examination. The bigger problem, at least from my perspective, is that Republicans were doing the same thing – instead of explaining why they were the ones you should vote for, they tried to explain why you shouldn’t vote for the other guy. It’s not an approach that works well for the GOP.

And then there are the turnout numbers. Out of the more than 200 million eligible voters, only about 89 million showed at the polls - Voter turnout, in general, is estimated at about 40% nationally this year. The Dems pulled more voters than Republicans to the polls for the first time in a midterm election since 1990; an estimated. Many Republicans stayed home. Most of the time, I feel there’s no excuse for not voting. It’s a slap in the face to everyone who’s fought for your right to vote. But with the choices facing everyone this time around, are the low numbers really all that much of a surprise?
Better to fight for something than live for nothing.
Stand for something.
The biggest issue hamstringing the GOP right now is a serious identity crisis – and herein lies the most important lesson of this election – and the biggest potential trap. Democrats made significant gains – and Republicans suffered significant losses, among key groups. And it all looks to be a casualty of the growing ambiguity in American politics. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing. And American voters don’t like people who don’t stand for anything. Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.

And how will our enemies see this? Very likely, it will be used as confirmation of the message they’ve been tossing out all along – that the Americans don’t have the stomach to finish the job in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else. That could spell disaster both for American interests abroad, and for those on the home front.
There is a time to take counsel of your fears,
and there is a time to never listen to any fear.
So where to go from here?
There are key strategies that the GOP is going to need to implement, and fast, if it doesn’t want to place this country under total DNC domination in 2008. In essence, Republicans are going to have to stop doing what they’ve always criticized the Dems for doing – saying anything to get elected, and abandoning principles to the prevailing political winds.

Watch what people are cynical about,
and one can often discover what they lack.
Look carefully at what the Dems deride, and you’ll find their weaknesses.
The Dems are weak on defense, and always have been. So show Americans that the GOP is not. Reagan continued to call an enemy an enemy, even when all conventional political wisdom advised that he temper his words. Where is that honesty now?

The Democrats are weak on national security. Amnesty and porous borders are perhaps the biggest concerns of America today. And yet the Republicans are the ones leading the charge for such disastrous plans as Mexamericanada, and a 700-mile fence on a 2,100 mile border. Give the American people what they want – secure the borders first, and deal with the illegals next. And while we’re on the subject, illegal immigrants aren’t “undocumented” – they’re illegal. By their very presence, they’re criminals – say so.

The Democrats are the traditional party of big government – so let them stay that way. The Republicans are no longer committed to staying out of the public’s homes and lives. New agencies, new committees, all contribute the massive overhead of government. The Democrats have been the ones all along who show that they believe that people are too stupid to run their own lives – and now there are Republicans adding to that insult. Get back to expecting personal responsibility, and government prudence.
You need to overcome the tug of people against you
as you reach for high goals.
Clean House.
Corruption isn’t the sole domain of either party – it’s way too prevalent in both. If accountability is to be expected from the hoi polloi, it’s all the more vital in government. Politicians need to serve one master – their constituency. Above the party line, above all – it is the voters to whom they owe their loyalty. Become the party who actually does what it says it will, and is who it says it is, and you will win the masses. Stay on the leash of prevailing political winds, special interests, and the purse string, and you will fail.

Speak Plain.
The biggest failing of the present Administration is its failure to adequately communicate the need for military intervention in Iraq, and swift and sure action in the War on Terror. Islamic extremism is the greatest danger this country faces. Say so. Not in polite, apologetic tones. Say it. Al-Qaeda doesn’t just want to supplant democracy – they want to kill Americans. You, me - any American. They have killed Americans. They continue to do so. And if we don’t stop them, it will get worse.

Make the Iraq War important in the greater consciousness of the American public, and the country will back you. Iraq was never really about the “spread of Democracy.” It was about removing an enemy of the U.S., in an area of enemies. No WMDs? Really? Why did you never openly speak about all of the banned weapons we have found? Why did you so quickly abandon the link to Al-Qaeda that did – and does – exist in Iraq? Don’t just tell people to “stay the course” – tell them WHY – the entire WHY. And that includes a clear conversation about why Iraq’s security is so important given Iran’s presence. Tell the WHOLE STORY about just how dangerous Iran is. Tell the WHOLE STORY about the role of Iraq in the grand scheme of things.

I don’t give a flying fig whether Iraq has a democracy, a republic, a dictatorship, or is ruled by an asthmatic goat making decisions after asking questions of a Magic 8-ball. Couldn’t care less. All I care about is making sure Saddam is never an issue again, and making sure that Iraq is not a threat. Period. Why is spreading democracy in the Middle East important? Not as a goal in itself, but because democracies don’t fall prey to the type of lunacy, and the dangers, that Islamic extremist nations do. It’s simple risk management. So stress the REAL goal, not the flowery one that sounds nice. We’re over there because there’s a risk to us. And the U.S. will not tolerate threats. Deal with it.

The object of war is not to die for your country
but to make the other bastard die for his.
Go to War with the big guns – and fight, for Pete’s sake! If the U.S. is pissed enough to send troops to your shores, you should be very, very afraid. We have the single best military ever constructed – so use the damn thing!

Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
Gloves off.
I’m not saying all bets are off, and atrocities are OK. What I am saying is that war is messy, and people will die, but some things are worth fighting for – so deal with it. Sounds cold, but that’s the way things are. Our brave sons and daughters join the military knowing full well that they may be wounded, maimed, or killed. They do it knowing that because they are willing to endure that fate for our country. We owe them the decency of not hobbling them. Al-Qaeda and all of their warped little friends are the enemy – don’t arrest them; KILL THEM. Turn the US war machine loose - and don't apologize when it does what it needs to.

We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.
Let the Warriors run the War.
Get the State Department the hell out of the war – let the war be fought by those who know how to fight. Any grunt can tell you that stuffed shirt diplomats don’t know a damn thing about war. Stop inserting them into the planning. Let the Generals – the good ones – do the planning. Let the diplomats handle the packaging.

If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there,
you'll be amazed at the results
Back your Military
Tell them what to do, not how, and give them the resources to get it done. Just tell them the military goals, give them the funding, the equipment, and the manpower to get it done, and then get the hell out of their way.

When they make judgment calls in the fog of war, let those calls be evaluated by those who know – not desk generals and politicians. The military knows what’s right and what’s wrong. And they’ll make the right call if you keep them free of political criticism and media smear. They have courts martial, and they know how to use them. So let them do the job. Quite frankly, if you shoot a civilian who was stupid enough to look like he was setting an IED, all I think it deserves is a shrug. Is everything OK? No. But there’s a hell of a big difference between making a judgment call in a split second in the heat of battle, and murdering an innocent.

Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.
Screw Geneva
Let me qualify that. Screw Geneva when you’re dealing with enemies that have said the same thing. Geneva applies to those that signed it – Al-Qaeda didn’t. And hell, sometimes the only ones who actually seem to follow the damn thing are us, anyway. Our troops are beheaded, while the slime at Gitmo eat poached Salmon. How does that make any remote kind of sense?

Battle is an orgy of disorder.
War is Hell.
Our current enemy understands only one language – brutality. I’m not saying we should be cruel – I’m saying we should be brutal – there’s a difference. Shoot at us and we will kill you. Not arrest you – we will kill you. Hide behind women and kids, and we will not wait to drop the bombs. Their blood is not on our hands – it’s on YOURS if you choose to involve them. Bush said we will hunt terrorists down wherever they are – let’s try living up to that for a change. How about we try killing them until they decide that screwing with us isn’t all that fun anymore – that’s the kind of message they understand.

Americans like winners – yes, we’re winning, but start visibly winning, and the people will back you.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
Get on with it, already!
That applies to the war, and it applies to domestic affairs. Get rid of the bargaining, get rid of the focus groups, and get rid of the ceaseless polling. Tell the people what the hell you want to do, and let them say “Yes” or “No.”

Quit wringing your hands about Iraq. Tell their government to get off the stick, and use every means of pressure at your disposal to make them do it. Don’t plan to hang around for the next twenty years. Tell them it’s time to move, and if they don’t get moving, they’re going to have to find someone else to bleed for them. Either that, or you people need to start coughing up the cash to pay for the extensive services we’re providing. You want us the hell out of your country, fine – then show us how we can leave without having to come back here and put up with this crap again. Watch what happens in that country if we say we’re leaving. They don’t all want us to leave. Some of them want us to stay so they have a scapegoat for every problem in that country.

And quit arguing with each other. Set your goals, and get moving.
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
In short, be the party of ACTION, not the party of rhetoric. Get back to basics, to your roots, to the Reagan ideals. Do that, and you’ll win. Keep playing the pandering game, and keep failing to address your problems, and what happened at the mid-terms is just the beginning.

Buy the media story that the GOP’s trouncing was all about Iraq, and you’re already done. It wasn’t all about Iraq. It was about your failure to be who you say you are – the same Achilles heel that doomed the Dems last time around.

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
The change needs to start now – right now. Rumsfeld’s removal is a start – it’s not a bad thing to get a fresh look at Iraq, and anyway you cut it, we’re not where we want to be strategically.

The same goes for other matters. Start listening to some of the new voices. Start listening to the people. Start listening to what works.

Be the party of hope, the party of honesty, the party of strength, and this mid-term will be just a bump in the road. Business as usual, and you’re headed right for the biggest political sinkhole you’ve ever seen.

Maybe people didn’t vote for the Republicans because they just couldn’t see them – after all, they’re getting pretty hard to recognize.

Yep, I think Patton had it right.
Do your damnedest in an ostentatious manner all the time.
I for one am going to redouble my efforts to support our Heroes - it's more important now than ever. The anti-war crowd is going to be energized by this election - as is the anti-troop rhetoric. While the GOP gets its house in order, it's time for the rest of us to regroup, and Soldier on.

David at The Thunder Run has a post on this topic you'll want to read -

In the comment section of Justin Levine’s post I Couldn’t Vote Republican This Time…Literally, found on Patterico’s Pontifications a commenter took me to task for my post Cutting Our Nose Off to Spite Our Face. Commenter Charlie though didn’t attack my premise that we lost the election by somehow sending a message to the Republicans he complained that the war was predicated on a lie and the lives lost were in vane, and that is why the Republican's lost the election. Of course he can say it a lot better than I...
Check out David's Response.

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PRESENCE — U.S. Army 1st Lt. Bart Brimhall, from Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, provides security during a presence patrol in Hasawah, Iraq, Nov. 4, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sean A. Foley

In Today's News - Thursday, November 9, 2006

Quote of the Day
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth- and the amusing thing about it is that they are."
-- Father Kevin Keaney, 1st Marine Division Chaplain, Korean War

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Lawmakers Extend State of Emergency in Iraq
Iraq War Critics Cheer Rumsfeld's Leave
Rumsfeld move means U.S. troops may leave Iraq sooner
Baghdad car bomb blast kills six, wounds 28
Dems to use clout to force change in Iraq (But Howard Dean said on election night that there really wasn't much they could do...mixed messages from the Left? What a surprise.)
Gates Seeks to Resuscitate Iraq Policy
Iraq Hopes Vote Means More Security

Operation Enduring Freedom
NATO Forces Kill 28 Suspected Taliban Rebels
U.S. surprised by strength of Taliban fightback
AP: Startling findings in Tillman probe

Other Military News
Bush's Pentagon nominee no stranger to contention
Gates mostly praised for Texas A&M work
Rumsfeld did not Change With the Times
Veterans Await a Resting Place That is Truly Final
France tests new long-range nuclear missile

Mid-East Ceasefire / Hamas Rising / Israel at War
Palestinians Bury 18 Shelling Victims
French troops almost fired at Israel jets: minister
Gaza killings divide Israel

Worldwide Wackos
Iran's Larijani to visit Russia on Friday
Nicaragua's Ortega slams U.S. over Iraq - Video

Homegrown Moonbats
Activist Cindy Sheehan, Two Others, Arrested for Interfering With a Government Function at White House

Politics / Government
Democrats win control of Congress
Bush, Pelosi to Meet in Search of Common Ground
Control of Senate Hinges on Virginia
Allen expected to comment today on too-close-to-call race amid speculation that Webb won
Dems' Congressional Wins Embraced Overseas
Iowa Governor to Enter Presidential Race
Bush lowers partisan tone after election losses - Video
Bush Accepts Role in Losses
Democrats Turned War Into an Ally

In the Courts
Justices have pointed abortion discourse

U.N. News
Biden says U.N. envoy Bolton "going nowhere"

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News
Talk radio hosts lick election wounds

Science / Nature
Teeth bared in battle over world shark stocks
Blind mice see again after retina cell transplants

Man hopes jail means no support payments
Shopkeeper purged over Mao condoms

Other News of Note
U.S. rejects referendum for rebel Georgia region

Fox News
49ers to Move NFL Team Out of San Francisco
Microsoft Finishes Work on Windows Vista
Stocks to Watch: Viacom, Cisco and News Corp.
U. of Miami Football Player's Death Ruled Homicide

Reuters: Top News
Helio unveils phone with location services
Microsoft to pay Universal for every Zune sold
Take off, light up, chill out on smokers' airline
New Orleans weighs fate of historic public housing
WHO urges ban on some pesticides to curb suicides
Low carb, low fat diets pose similar heart disease risks
Prince launches purple Vegas reign
Dollar near 6-wk low versus euro, U.S. data eyed
Gold off one-week low, bides time before U.S. data
Cisco quarterly profit, sales top expectations
LSE shares gain on talk of 1,400p/shr bid: dealers
Spitzer's Wall Street legacy
Rethinking charitable giving
World No.3 PC maker Lenovo's Q2 disappoints
Siemens confident after profit rise
InBev Q3 core profit rise beats expectations
Fiat Auto raises 2006 profit goal
Global giants to dominate Asia buyouts: Texas Pac
Adidas sees "positive" Reebok orders in H2 2007

AP World News
More college students taking Web courses
Federline seeking support, child custody
Cisco Systems 1Q profit jumps 28 percent
Mental health crisis strains New Orleans
'Ugly' Oberto leads Spurs past Suns
Carter, Nets hand Jazz first loss
Back in Black: Padres hire Bud Black
Fla. fraternity shut after hazing claims
Obituaries in the news
Man charged in fatal dog attack in S.C.
California to rebuild with model plan
Fresno teen charged in fist fight death
Carjacker executed for Texas slaying
Baldwin brother arrested in SoCal
Army Holds Fast to Museum Plan
All Military Headlines

CENTCOM: News Releases



USJFCOM to join high-tech scientific research network
Planning discussions continue for next multinational experiment
More about Multinational Experiment 5
USJFCOM to participate in Orlando military conference - podcast

Department of Defense
Iraqi Army Builds Trust with Citizens - Story
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

Medical Personnel Provide Care to Residents - Story
Afghan Officer Saves Governor, Coalition Soldiers - Story
Hawija SWAT Unit Graduates Elite Fighting Force - Story
Iraqi Marines Learn Critical Maritime Security Skills - Story
Security Marines Change the Pace of Logistics - Story

Iraqi Army Brigade Receives New Pickup Trucks
Iraqi Police Complete Second Phase of Training
Soldiers Deliver Supplies to Iraqi Children
Army Corps of Engineers Teach Safety Rules

Coalition Sponsors Chamkani Sports Tournament
Afghan Reconstruction Projects Continue
Turkey to Open Provincial Reconstruction Team
Afghan Men Test for Military Academy Class

Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF)
Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Update

Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Officials Identify 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


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
1526 - Jews are expelled from Pressburg Hungary on the order of Maria of Hapsburg
1720 - The Rabbi Yehuda Hasid synagogue is set afire.
1799 - Napoleon becomes dictator (First Consul) of France.
1861 - Battle of Piketon, KY.
1862 - U.S. Grant issues orders to bar Jews from serving under him.
1872 - Fire destroys nearly 1,000 buildings in Boston.
1904 - For the first time, an airplane flight lasts more than 5 minutes.
1913 - A storm sinks 8 ore-carriers on the Great Lakes ("Freshwater Fury").
1915 - The Italian liner Ancona sinks after being hit by German torpedoes, killing 272.
1918 - Bavaria proclaims itself a republic; Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates after the German defeat in WW I.
1923 - In the Beer Hall Putsch, the Nazis fail to overthrow the German government.
1924 - Miriam (Ma) Ferguson becomes the first elected woman governor (of Texas).
1927 - In China, the Giant Panda is discovered.
1930 - The first nonstop airplane flight from NY to Panama occurs.
1932 - A hurricane storm wave sweeps over Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba, killing 2,500.
1935 - The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) labor union forms.
1938 - "Kristallnacht" (Crystal Night) - Nazi stormtroopers attack the Jews; Al Capp, cartoonist of Lil' Abner, creates Sadie Hawkins Day.
1953 - Cambodia (Kampuchea) gains independence within the French Union.
1961 - PGA eliminates its Caucasians only rule; USAF Major Robert M. White takes the X-15 to 30,970 m.
1965 - At 5:16 PM, a massive power failure hits New England and Ontario (NY blackout).
1967 - The first unmanned test of the Apollo-4 reentry module occurs.
1970 - The "Seattle 8" (anti-war protesters) go on trial.
1976 - The U.N. General Assembly condemns apartheid in South Africa.
1984 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial ("3 Servicemen") is completed.
1989 - East Berlin opens its borders
1990 - President Bush announces the doubling of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.

1802 - Elijah P. Lovejoy, American newspaper publisher/abolitionist
1825 - Ambrose P. Hill, Confederate Lt. General.
1841 - King Edward VII of England (1901-10)
1903 - Gregory Pincus, inventor (birth control pill)
1905 - James William Fulbright (Sen-MO)
1913 - Hedy Lamarr, actress (Samson & Delilah)
1915 - Sargent Shriver, VP candidate (1972) / Director of Peace Corp
1918 - Spiro Theodore Agnew 39th VP (1973-77)
1932 - Carl Perkins, singer (Blue Suede Shoes)
1934 - Carl Sagan, astronomer/author/professor (Cosmos); Ingvar Carlsson, PM of Sweden (1986-91, 1994-1996)
1936 - Mary Travers, folk singer (Peter Paul & Mary)

1874 - Israel Bak, creator of the first Hebrew printing press
1952 - Chaim Weizmann, first President of Israel
1953 - Abdul-Aziz ibn Sa'ud, founder of Saudi Arabia
1970 - Charles DeGaulle, President of France; William L. Dawson (Rep-IL)
1988 - John Mitchell, former Attorney General

Reported Missing in Action
Armstrong, John W., USAF (TX); F4C shot down (bombardier / navigator, w/Sijan)

Brower, Ralph W., USAF (OH); HH3E shot down (co-pilot), KIA, body not recovered

Clay, Eugene L., USAF (TX); HH3E shot down (flight engineer), KIA, body not recovered

Maysey, Larry W., USAF (NJ); HH3E shot down (rescue specialist), KIA, body not recovered

Nolan, McKinley, US Army (TX); AWOL/Deserter, last seen November, 1973, reported alive in 1978

Rehn, Gary Lee, USMC (MN); KIA, body not recovered

Sijan, Lance P., USAF (WI); F4C shot down (pilot, w/Armstrong), DIC January, 1968- remains returned March, 1974