Monday, August 30, 2004

Najaf Close Calls

Close call standards in combat change, as this article by Alex Berenson confirms, mortar shells hitting fifty feet away don't matter as well as bullets that whiz overhead instead of hitting your armor EXCEPT for one item: Never, never underestimate your enemy. In the most brazen attack, a guerrilla jumped onto a U.S. tank in the cemetery two weeks ago and killed two soldiers before fleeing."
"You have to be careful about underestimating your enemy," said Lt. Col. Myles Miyamasu, commander of the battalion. "Their tenacity, though not equal to our own, probably surprised us a little."

"Besides the deaths and injuries, many more men have stories of close calls, mortar shells that failed to explode or bullets that smashed into body armor instead of skin and bone. On the front lines, soldiers no longer blink at mortars that explode 50 feet from their armored vehicles or rocket-propelled grenades trailing sparks by their heads, instead methodically trying to figure out the location of the guerrillas in order to destroy them."

"A close call would be getting hit in your Kevlar," the chest and back armor that every soldier wears, Siapco said. "A bullet whizzing by, that doesn't count. You don't have to worry about that."

U.S. forces advanced daily so that by Thursday the rebels had no ground left to give. Early that morning, U.S. tanks reached the gates of the shrine and fought in its shadow. On a bombed-out street illuminated only by the stars and the glow from the lights attached to the mosque's walls and minarets, the tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles turned their turrets left and right, searching for targets.

Guerrillas fired rocket-propelled grenades from buildings nearby, but even direct hits did not seriously damage the U.S. armor. The Bradleys returned fire, pouring bursts of 25-millimeter high-explosive shells, essentially miniature grenades, into the buildings. The shells glowed red, setting fires that burned orange in the night. With the shrine's golden dome as a backdrop, the street had a surreal beauty, and soldiers said they were astonished to be fighting so close to one of the holiest sites in Islam.

But the Mahdi Army did not stop fighting. Snipers took aim at Maj. Doug Ollivant, a U.S. commander directing the battle from about 100 yards away, and a hidden mortar position rained shells around Ollivant's armored Humvee. The mortar was so close to the Americans that soldiers could hear shells being fired 30 seconds before they landed, because they essentially were traveling straight up and down.

"It's going to kill you, you know," Ollivant said, as one soldier lighted a cigarette not long after a mortar crashed nearby.

By Friday afternoon, with a cease-fire in place, the scene in the Old City was very different. Men walked through the streets, surveying damage and walking past U.S. troops who would soon be pulled back.

"You never know if some of these guys were the guys fighting us," one soldier said to another, watching the men walk by.

"I guarantee you some were," the second responded.

But 1st Sgt. Justin Lehew of the Marines, whose men killed the fighters whose bodies the medics were gathering Friday, said his soldiers were not unhappy that the fight had ended without a climactic battle.

"They just want to go home," Lehew said. "Like everybody else."

Najaf: An uneasy calm, a terrible toll

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Gregory MacDonald:Honoring a fallen son Bravo Co. 4th LAR's Own Offers Challenge From Grave

In a sealed letter to his brother, to be opened in the event of his death, MacDonald offered comfort and a challenge:he reminded family and friends that ''freedom isn't a moment in life; it is life. The plight of human suffering consumed me and I dedicated much to trying to find the ideas that might lead humankind toward alleviating it for all. If you know anything about me, you know that. Understand it and come to understand how the suffering of others tormented my soul. Then, seek to honor my memory by trying to achieve what I could not."

At 29, Gregory MacDonald, ''Mac" to the men of Company B, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, was the old man of his unit, a scholar with a degree in philosophy, graduate training in Near East Studies, and a halting command of Arabic he taught himself.
It was a background that ''made for great debates and intense discussions" in the unit, a fellow gunner, Lance Corporal Benjamin G. Ferris, wrote to the MacDonalds. ''The war actually brought Mac closer to his dream: bringing freedom and peace to an area of the world ravaged by war and sadists."

Peacemaker is not the conventional view of Marines in a war zone, but Arthur and Diana MacDonald are learning that that is how others saw their son, how he saw himself. Read On. / News / Local / Honoring a fallen son

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Jihad Jane Starts Magazine to Fight the Infidel

As a nation where women's rights rank next to the nearest door stop, Saudi Arabia now has its first magazine devoted to Jihad Janes or female jihadis aka holy warriors. Al-Khansaa magazine, produced by the women's media center, will feature fitness tips, first aid information and advice on raising children to fight the nonbelievers.
Scoffers note: saudi women are not allowed to exist without permission, shop unescorted, vote, drive cars, marry without permission and their "main mission is to present lions to the battlefield". "however" women can fight without the permission of their husband or guardian since it would be a duty, and duties do not require consent." The inexorable march for women's liberation through loopholes continues.
Islamist women use Web for war with infidels - The Washington Times: World - August 28, 2004

Alpha Co. 1st LAR Escorts Water

Escorted by a Light Armored Vehicle from Alpha Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Marines are delivering a critical item of first priority to Iraqi residents in the desert: WATER. "We were trying to search for some way to have an immediate impact, to introduce ourselves to our Iraqi Neighbors," said Maj. Thomas O. Mayberry, force fires coordinator and information operations officer for the MEU. "That's where the idea of water came up. We slapped a [water tank] full of fresh water on the back of a 7-ton truck," said the Leawood, Kan., native. Although the water was received with mixed reactions, the Marines did learn of ways they could help their neighbors. One resident mentioned an Iraqi howitzer a couple hundred yards from his home, close enough for his children to play on it. He asked the Marines to remove it and offered an insight into the needs of the local residents.

LAR Teams Discuss Ambush Formations

"During a rehearsal for a convoy north to Iraq, members of the 24th MEU Light Armored Reconnaissance detachment gathered around a white dry-erase board that they'd propped on the back of one LAV. Lights from another vehicle illuminated the scene. They discussed the types of formations they would use, how they would treat local traffic, and what they would do in response to different forms of enemy attack."Like a modern-day version of the "Rat Patrol," their Humvees are mounted with .50-caliber heavy machineguns and MK-19 automatic grenade launchers. All have the latest bolt-on armor attached to the sides and undercarriages. Inside, water containers and MRE boxes consume the limited space between stacks of metal ammunition cans.
The Daily News, Jacksonville NC:

Friday, August 27, 2004

Delta Co. 4th LAR Marines celebrate Reading.

Delta Co. Marines 4th LAR gave up their Saturday Morning recently to help reward kids for sticking to their summer reading schedule. The huge community effort had more than 700 participants helping in setting up booths and demonstrations for the library kids.

B Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. host Children's Day

Take Your Child to Work came to Fort Detrick recently as the men of Bravo Company did a show and tell for visiting kids from around the state.
Children could also sit in military vehicles from the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center and B Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Firefighters from Fort Detrick's Fire and Emergency Services gave tours of the Washington County's Safety Mobile showing common home safety hazards

Children clambered into the Marine's Light Armored Vehicle, closely
Courtesy photos

Mark Dressler, manager of the post waste management plant, gives children recycling tips during his "Trash to Energy" program.
watched by Sgts. John Brangaccio and Jim Santoro, an Iraqi War veteran who deployed with B Company last year. Six-year-old Georgi Blackburn poked his head through the turret and smiled down at his mother, Yelena Golubeva, a senior research technician at NCI at Frederick and Russian native.

Children go to work at Detrick: "B Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion."

Ist LAR and Cobras Lead 200 Truck Convoy Safely Thru Hell Fire

Major John Vincent won the Bronze Star for cool actions in combat leading Cobra gunships and Light Armored Reconnaissance units against insurgents attempts to ambush their convoy.

Marine Corps News> Depot Marine awarded Bronze Star

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Over Najaf, Fighting for Des Moines

Over Najaf, Fighting for Des Moines


Najaf, Iraq — I'm an average American who grew up watching "Brady Bunch" reruns, playing dodge ball and listening to Van Halen. I love the Longhorns and the Eagles. I'm you; your neighbor; the kid you used to go sledding with but who took a different career path in college. Now, I'm a Marine helicopter pilot who has spent the last two weeks heavily engaged with enemy forces here. I'm writing this between missions, without much time or care to polish, so please look to the heart of these thoughts and not their structure.

I got in country a little more than a month ago, eager to do my part here for the global war on terror and still get home in one piece. I'm a mid-grade officer, so I probably have a better-than-average understanding of the complexity of the situation, but I make no claims to see the bigger picture or offer any strategic solutions. Two years of my military training were spent in Quantico, Va., classrooms. I've read Sun Tzu several times; I've flipped through Mao's Little Red Book and debated over Thucydides; I've analyzed Henry Kissinger's "Diplomacy" and Clausewitz's "On War"; and I've walked the battlefields of Antietam, Belleau Wood, Majuba and Isandlwana.

I've also studied a little about the culture I'm deep in the middle of, know a bit about the caliph, about the five pillars and about Allah, but know I don't know enough. I am also a believer in our cause - I put that up front just so there isn't any question of my motivation.

We marines are proudly apolitical, yet stereotypically right-wing conservative. I'm both. And I'd be here with my fellow devildogs, fighting just as hard, whether John Kerry or George W. Bush or Ralph Nader were our commander-in-chief, until we're told to go home.

The other day I attended a memorial service for an old acquaintance, Lt. Col. David (Rhino) Greene. He was killed July 28 while flying his AH-1W Cobra over the eastern edge of Ramadi. His squadron was composed of reservists: "old guys" like me who had been around a little while. But unlike me, these guys had gotten out of active duty to pursue other careers and spend more time with their families. Now, they were leading the charge against the Iraqi insurgency.

The night after the service, I sat around in an impromptu gathering of $10 beach chairs in the sand, watching the sunset and smoking some of Rhino's cigars with friends I hadn't seen in almost a decade. I listened in awe as they told me about their Falluja April, about how they had all cheated death, been shot down, again and again. We talked about the war, pretending to know all the answers, and we traded stories about home, bragged about our wives and kids.

We also talked about the magic bullet that ended Rhino's life. It could have been shot by a sniper who had slipped in over the Iranian border, or maybe it came from the AK-47 of a rebellious Iraqi teenager who viewed shooting at Yankee helicopters the same way mischievous American kids might view throwing rocks at cars. No matter, the single round pierced his neck, and within seconds a good man was dead, leaving his wife a widow and his two children fatherless. I won't soon forget that day, but it was quickly overshadowed by events to come, as I was thrust into the heat of battle in my own little slice of Mesopotamia.

On Aug. 5, after a few days of building intensity, war erupted in Najaf (again). When we had first come to Iraq, we were told our mission would be to conduct so-called SASO, or Security and Stability Operations, and to train the Iraqi military and police to do their jobs so we could go home. Obviously, the security part of SASO is still the emphasis, but our unit's area of operations had been very quiet for months, so most of us weren't expecting a fight so soon.

That changed rapidly when marines responded to requests for assistance from the Iraqi forces in Najaf battling Moktada al-Sadr's militia, who had attacked local police stations. Our helicopters were called on the scene to provide close air support, and soon one of them was shot down. That was when this war became real for me.

Since then my squadron has been providing continuous support for our engaged Marine brothers on the ground, by this point slugging it out hand-to-hand in the city's ancient Muslim cemetery. The Imam Ali shrine in Najaf is the burial place of the prophet Muhammad's son-in-law, and is one of the most revered sites in Shiite Islam. The cemetery to its north is gigantic, filled with New Orleans-style crypts and mausoleums. We had been warned it was an "exclusion zone" when we got here, that the local authorities had asked us to not go in there or fly overhead, even though we knew the bad guys were using this area to hide weapons, make improvised explosive devices, and plan against us. Being the culturally sensitive force we are, we agreed - until Aug. 5. Suddenly, I was conducting support missions over the marines' heads in the graveyard, dodging anti-aircraft artillery and rocket-propelled grenades and preparing to be shot down, too. My perspective broadened rapidly.

At first there were no news media in Najaf; now, I assume, it's getting crowded, although the authorities have restricted access after a group of journalists "embedded" with the Mahdi Militia muddied the problem and jeopardized others' safety. I haven't had time to catch much CNN or Fox News, and although I've seen a few headlines forwarded to me by friends, I don't think the world is seeing the complete picture.

I want to emphasize that our military is using every means possible to minimize damage to historical, religious and civilian structures, and is going out of its way to protect the innocent. I have not shot one round without good cause, whether it be in response to machine gun fire aimed at me or mortars shot at soldiers and marines on the ground.

The battle has been surreal, focused largely in the cemetery, where families continue burying their dead even as I swoop in low overhead to make sure they aren't sneaking in behind our forces' flanks, or pulling a surface-to-air missile out of the coffin. Children continue playing soccer in the dirt fields next door, and locals wave to us as we fly over their rooftops in preparation for gun runs into the enemy's positions.

Sure, some of those people might be waving just to make sure we don't shoot them, but I think the majority are on our side. I've learned that this enemy is not just a mass of angry Iraqis who want us to leave their country, as some would have you believe. The forces we're fighting around Iraq are a conglomeration of renegade Shiites, former Baathists, Iranians, Syrians, terrorists with ties to Ansar al-Islam and Al Qaeda, petty criminals, destitute citizens looking for excitement or money, and yes, even a few frustrated Iraqis who worry about Wal-Mart culture infringing on their neighborhood.

But I see the others who are on our side, appreciate us risking our lives, and know we're in the right. The Iraqi soldiers who are fighting alongside us are motivated to take their country back. I've not been deluded into thinking that we came here to free the Iraqis. That is indeed the icing on the cake, but I came here to prevent the still active "grave and gathering threat" from congealing into something we wouldn't be able to stop.

Weapons of mass destruction or no, I'm glad that we ended the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. My brother and other American jet pilots risked their lives for years patrolling the "no fly zone" (and occasionally making page A-12 in the newspaper if they dropped a bomb on a threatening missile battery). The former dictator's attempt to assassinate George H. W. Bush, use of chemical weapons on his own people, and invasion of a neighboring country are just a few of the other reasons I believe we should have acted sooner. He eventually would have had the means to cause America great harm - no doubt in my mind.

The pre-emptive doctrine of the current administration will continue to be debated long after I'm gone, but one fact stands for itself: America has not been hit with another catastrophic attack since 9/11. I firmly believe that our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq are major reasons that we've had it so good at home. Building a "fortress America" is not only impractical, it's impossible. Prudent homeland security measures are vital, to be sure, but attacking the source of the threat remains essential.

Now we are on the verge of victory or defeat in Iraq. Success depends not only on battlefield superiority, but also on the trust and confidence of the American people. I've read some articles recently that call for cutting back our military presence in Iraq and moving our troops to the peripheries of most cities. Such advice is well-intentioned but wrong - it would soon lead to a total withdrawal. Our goal needs to be a safe Iraq, free of militias and terrorists; if we simply pull back and run, then the region will pose an even greater threat than it did before the invasion. I also fear if we do not win this battle here and now, my 7-year-old son might find himself here in 10 or 11 years, fighting the same enemies and their sons.

When critics of the war say their advocacy is on behalf of those of us risking our lives here, it's a type of false patriotism. I believe that when Americans say they "support our troops," it should include supporting our mission, not just sending us care packages. They don't have to believe in the cause as I do; but they should not denigrate it. That only aids the enemy in defeating us strategically.

Michael Moore recently asked Bill O'Reilly if he would sacrifice his son for Falluja. A clever rhetorical device, but it's the wrong question: this war is about Des Moines, not Falluja. This country is breeding and attracting militants who are all eager to grab box cutters, dirty bombs, suicide vests or biological weapons, and then come fight us in Chicago, Santa Monica or Long Island. Falluja, in fact, was very close to becoming a city our forces could have controlled, and then given new schools and sewers and hospitals, before we pulled back in the spring. Now, essentially ignored, it has become a Taliban-like state of Islamic extremism, a terrorist safe haven. We must not let the same fate befall Najaf or Ramadi or the rest of Iraq.

No, I would not sacrifice myself, my parents would not sacrifice me, and President Bush would not sacrifice a single marine or soldier simply for Falluja. Rather, that symbolic city is but one step toward a free and democratic Iraq, which is one step closer to a more safe and secure America.

I miss my family, my friends and my country, but right now there is nowhere else I'd rather be. I am a United States Marine.

Glen G. Butler is a major in the Marines.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Yahoo! News - Reservists Say War Makes Them Lose Jobs

There is always that 10% that doesn't get the WORD. You get your job back when you return from active duty. Period. There are subtitles, of course there are subtitles, what would the world be like w/o subtitles, even so one third of the cases were upheld by the govt. one third had no merit and one third the yankee govt. lost contact with the personnel or they returned to active duty.
Yahoo! News - Reservists Say War Makes Them Lose Jobs

GOTTA SEE THIS-War Endur.Freedom 8/7/04-Basra,Najaf,Sadr City

Combat photos of action in Iraq from the raghead side.
GOTTA SEE THIS-War Endur.Freedom 8/7/04-Basra,Najaf,Sadr City

Watch for Car Tire Size Burn Spots in the Road: IUD's

Traps had been laid. A NEWSWEEK correspondent watched as other fighters brazenly planted more than a dozen hidden bombs, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs). First they set fires inside tires lying in the street, which melted the macadam underneath. Then they sank the IEDs into the molten asphalt and let them cool. Within hours, there was no sign of the devices, which could be detonated with the remote control of a car alarm whenever Coalition vehicles passed by.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

LCPL Ryan Logan First LAR is home recovering from injuries received in combat

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.(Aug. 13, 2004) -- I am sad, but I don't think about it that much," said Lance Cpl. Ryan Logan, crewman, Weapons Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. "Maybe I don't want to. Maybe I just don't feel like I need to. People say I'm a hero. I don't think I am. I didn't do anything to be a hero. I just did my job. That's all I had to do. If that makes me a hero-OK. I don't think so. I'm the guy that got hit and then was able to go home."

On June 7, around 6:30 p.m. in the city of Ramadi in the Al Anbar Province, 20-year-old Logan and his crew were the lead light armored vehicle in a convoy during a route recon when an improvised explosive device went off on the right side of his vehicle.

"I was sitting down inside the LAV, and my friend Bowman was blown out of the vehicle," said Logan, who's been a Marine for two years. "[Killed in action] instantly. There was nothing we could do for him. After the IED went off we started to get engaged by small arms fire from the right side of the road. We were the only vehicle hit."

Logan suffered extensive damage in his legs that doctors say will leave him with a permanent limp and scars to remind him of that dreadful day.

"I got hit in the knee and the thighs here," said Logan as he slightly pulled up his red shorts to reveal bandages on both legs. "It goes all the way up to my hip. At Pendleton it got infected. They had to cut all the skin off and let it sit in open air. Altogether I was hospitalized for a month."

The impact of the explosion was almost unreal to Logan.

"The bomb went off and it was like the animation in cartoons when a character gets blown up and turns to ashes and they blink for a second before they realize what happened. That's kind of how it was. I looked around, and after the smoke cleared I noticed Bowman lying on top of the vehicle. His legs were in the way and I couldn't shut the door so I yelled, 'Hey Bowman. Hey man, move your feet.'"

At that moment, Logan felt a paralysis that left him confused.

"I didn't know I was hurt," said Logan. "I didn't feel anything. I reached for my weapon because they asked me to get out and provide security. I said, 'Yes, I could do it. I'm fine.' I touched my thigh, and that's when the pain kicked in, and I realized what happened. My friend, Jonathon, got hit in the shoulder. I told him I couldn't move, and he took off."

Worried that his crewmate abandoned him, Logan was relieved shortly after to see his friend return with help.

"That's why he took off-he didn't leave me there," said Logan. "The corpsman came and pulled me out, and that's when I saw more of Bowman on the vehicle."

Logan was unaware that his friend did not survive. While bullets almost grazed him, Logan could only think of his friend's safety.

"I had no idea he was dead," said Logan. "I thought he was unconscious. I didn't find out until I arrived in Germany. I thought he was all right. He was lying there, and I thought the corpsman would take care of him, but when the enemy started to shoot at us I was thinking, 'Bowman's laying up there exposed; somebody should get him down.' But the
corpsman looked at him and didn't do anything. I thought, 'Bowman's up there, he's fine, he's just unconscious. Well, if he's unconscious then why doesn't anybody pull him off of there in case he gets hit again?' The corpsman can only treat the wounded."

In the meantime, Logan knew the enemy was approaching when he noticed the corpsman pulled out his 9 mm pistol and returned fire.

"I looked around; I could see bullets hit the dirt," said Logan. "I'm getting hit with the dirt, and I'm thinking, 'I'm going to die. This is it. Why do I have to die in the middle of Iraq in the middle of a road?' Then all of a sudden the enemy stopped for some reason. Another corpsman came to help, and the enemy started to shoot at us again. One of the corpsman fell on top of me to cover me. I thought he had been hit because I heard rounds and the bursts of
a machine gun. He got up, and they put me on a gurney."

Now that he is on convalescent leave in the home he grew up in, Logan only wishes he could walk normally again and go rock climbing. He walks with a limp assisted with a cane and does not have full mobility of his right foot.

"They said it's going to be permanent, but then they said I wouldn't be able to walk for six months," said Logan. "When you tell a Marine he can't do something what is he going to do-he's going to do it."

It didn't take long for Logan to get back on his feet. In a short amount of time he was walking around the hospital ward.

"Now I can walk around the hospital ward. It took 30 minutes to get around the whole ward but I made it."

The idea of going back does not cross his mind anymore, although he admits he wanted to when he returned to the states.

"I thought about the Marines a lot," said Logan. "I saw them on TV a couple of times. I recognized them. When you're around the same group of guys for five months you have your close set of friends, but you know everybody. When you're fighting alongside the same group of guys for five months you know everything about them."

Now that he is home, Logan is subjected to anti-war propaganda but encourages people to voice their opinion.

"I have nothing to say to them," said Logan. "Look at the book I'm reading right now," he said as he pointed to a book that displays a photo of Michael Moore. "The way I look at it is they can say whatever they want to say but it's OK because I give them the right to say that. Bowman gave them the right to say that. Marines gave their lives for people to say whatever they want. I don't support them, but I'm not against them."

Logan will undergo a medical board to determine if he is fit for duty. He is hopeful he will return to active duty with his unit upon their return from Iraq.

"I said I was going to do four years," said a determined Logan. "I'll do four years whether I'm behind a desk or doing my job. Afterward, if I can stay in I'll reenlist if I can't I don't know what I'll do."

Marine Corps News> Injured Marine wants to stay in Corps

Part II: The continuing struggle between office pogs and warriors for the soul of the Corps

On War #79

Corruption In The Corps?

By William S. Lind

In an earlier column, “Two Marine Corps,” I alluded to the increasing corruption I see at Quantico and in Headquarters Marine Corps. A number of Marines have asked me what I meant by that. Are Marines taking envelopes of money under the table? Are defense contractors flying them to Vegas for free weekends of poker, booze and floozies?

Well, floozies are usually a big draw with Marines, but that is not the kind of corruption I am talking about. Even most Congressmen know better than to take money under the table; it is much safer to wait until they retire, then get paid off by the interests they served, often with well-remunerated positions on boards of directors.

The corruption I had in mind is more subtle, and perhaps also more dangerous. It is corruption of institutional purpose.

When I first came to Washington in 1973 to join the staff of Senator Robert Taft, Jr. of Ohio, I assumed naively that our armed forces defined themselves in terms of winning battles, campaigns and wars. Senator Taft thought that is what they should be about, which is why working for him was both a pleasure and an honor. But I quickly discovered that for three of the four, victory was defined less in military than in bureaucratic and political terms. The Army, the Navy and the Air Force had already lost sight of their institutional purposes. What they were about, at senior levels, was selling programs and getting money from Congress. Whether the program had any relevance to war was not important, so long as it sold.

My wake-up call came when the Navy approached the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which Senator Taft served, with a request for $1.4 billion (in 1974 dollars) for a nuclear-powered “Strike Cruiser.” Senator Taft and I had the same response: How do you fight the Soviet Navy, which was largely a submarine navy, with nuclear-powered cruisers? The Navy had no answer, and Taft led the fight to kill the program. The ship was never built, and the Navy has hated me ever since.

At that time, and for many years more, up until the mid-1990s, there was one service that stood out as an exception to the corruption of institutional purpose: the Marine Corps. At all levels, including the most senior, the Marine Corps was still about war, not money. When I began writing on maneuver warfare in 1976, Marines of every rank were interested. They weren’t quite sure what I was talking about – there was then very little literature in English on the evolution of German military doctrine – but if it pertained to war, they felt they should learn. That joint effort of civilians, Marines, and Air Force Colonel John Boyd culminated in the adoption of maneuver warfare as the Marine Corps’ official doctrine when Al Gray became Commandant.

Sadly, the Marine Corps is no longer an exception. As has long been true with the other services, now, if you talk about war at Quantico or HQMC – especially Fourth Generation war, the kind of war Marines are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – you are neither right nor wrong, you are simply irrelevant. Fourth Generation war does little to justify programs and increase budgets, so it is not of interest. The “real world” is the world of budget politics, not war.

As I said, this type of corruption, corruption of institutional purpose, is subtle. Few Marines, or soldiers, sailors, or airmen for that matter, ever make an explicit, conscious choice to become corrupt in this way. They merely accept the rules of the game as given and play by them, and that is all it takes. As members of hierarchical, bureaucratic organizations, they have been encouraged since their first day at OCS to play by the rules. Thinking about whether those rules were valid was “above their pay grade” – and still is, even when they become generals.

Ironically, corruption of institutional purpose was one of the reasons the Soviet Union fell. It is inherent in socialism, because it is a natural tendency of government bureaucracies. Absent an annual balance sheet that shows either black or red ink, there is little mechanism to keep an institution’s focus on the outside world where its intended purpose lies.

A friend of mine who holds a senior position in the Pentagon gives a briefing around the building in which one slide says, “The Pentagon now controls the world’s largest planned economy.” No one blinks. It is fair to say that the American armed forces are now little more than the Soviet refrigerator industry in odd-looking green or blue suits? With individual exceptions, at senior levels and in major headquarters, I think it is. There, the only difference I now see between the Marine Corps and the rest is that the Marines’ dysfunctional refrigerators are somewhat smaller.

William S. Lind is Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation

If you would like to interview Mr. Lind, please allow me to be of assistance.

Jill Sutherland Farrell
Director of Communications
Free Congress Foundation
717 Second Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Phone 202-204-5304
Fax 202-543-5605
Mobile 703-405-8905

The Free Congress Foundation is a 26-year-old Washington, DC-based conservative think tank, that teaches people how to be effective in the political process, advocates judicial reform, promotes cultural conservatism, and works against the government encroachment of individual liberties.

Corruption In The Corps? By William S. Lind

"'They do an amazing amount with what little they have.'"

Toe to toe with the ragheads in the Najaf Cemetery First Cal. Charlie Co. give as good as they get.

Yahoo! News - Najaf Cemetery Becomes Killing Field:

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

1st LAR Builds Forts for Iraqi Border Guards

"By putting these forts up, the IBP will be much more effective and they will have full-time patrols,' said Capt. Sean W. Pascoli, a 36-year-old from Wheeling, W.V. serving as commander for Weapons Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. 'The importance is to be in control of who comes in and out of the border. Border Police are at the tip of the spear.'

According to Pascoli, the border police have been shot at more than Marines since patrolling the borders.

'These guys have it just as bad as we do,' Pascoli said. 'They live in wooden shacks in 137-degree weather.'

The hard structured buildings will include small open squad bays, kitchen, showers, lounges and a guard post on each corner. The forts will house 40-50 border policemen."
The Military Family Network at

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Sock Method : How to cool your water in the desert from 1st LAR

Marines of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Camp Al Qaim, Iraq, discovered the “sock method” to beat the heat and cool off their drinking water. The concept might sound a little “ripe,” but those who use it would bet their boots, er... socks, on it.

The first step of the “sock method” is to make sure there's an extra sock in your daypack. Socks straight off the feet, even to Marines who have been in the field for days and weeks at time, are just too funky.

Step two is to thoroughly wet the sock, insert a plastic water bottle completely inside it, and set it in the shade for about ten minutes. The end result is cool and refreshing, at least to a grunt who has been slogging along in temperatures topping a hundred degrees.

“It is a quick way to cool down when you don’t have any ice available to you,” said Staff Sgt. Vince Peralta, a 30-year-old Weapons Company platoon sergeant from Los Angeles. “Using the sock is better than just drinking hot water. There’s a huge difference. That’s why we always use it.”

Marines unfamiliar with the sock method were hesitant to try it at first, but once the word got out as the thermometer readings climbed, everyone’s daypack included a spare sock.

“I didn’t believe it at first because it didn’t sound like it was real,” said Cpl. Robert D. Brooks, a 22-year-old from Ypsilanti, Mich. “Then I tried it and it convinced me. It actually works. If it sounds, well, stinky, think about the alternative when your water bottle has been heating under the desert sun. Drinking hot water makes you sick to your stomach.”

The method itself is nothing new. Desert bags were popular for Marines during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. The square canvas bags would be filled and soaked on the outside. The concept is the moisture on the outside wicks away the heat as it evaporates. As long as the cloth covering - in this case, the sock - stays wet, the drink stays cool.

“The key thing to all this is once you pour water on the sock you have to keep it in the shade or else it will take longer to cool down,” Peralta said. “But on any given hot day you will find me using the sock method just so I can have cold water to drink.”

“I love it, because I don’t like hot water at all. Even when I take shower, I don’t like to use hot water,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua D. Crawford, 22, from Salem, Ore. “I like to use the sock method after making tea. I let it sit in the bottle and sock and cool off. I guess the sock method is a LAR thing. It helps them stay hydrated and they enjoy drinking the cool water. It helps beat the heat.”
The Iraq War: Another View |

Sunday, August 08, 2004

My name is A.Y.S , male. I live in Baghdad ,iraq . I work as a dentist .

I feel so relaxed and glad when I express my thoughts and ideas, I said that it’s wrong to sign the amnesty law! And no one execute me! Freedom and democracy is cool!
Iraq at a glance

Friday, August 06, 2004

3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion

"Marines, from 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion were deployed as part of Operation: Iraqi Freedom.

Some heading to Iraq for the first time, some for the third time, they packed gear and boarded buses as duty called them to an unspecified location in Iraq to help stabilize the country" | More local troops head for war zone:

Monday, August 02, 2004

On the difference between Terrorist and Guerrillas

Denbeste at USS Clueless outlines the Whats and why all Marines should understand the difference.

The money quote:"In terms of classic doctrine, the critical difference between terrorist warfare and guerrilla warfare is that attacks made by guerrillas are primarily intended to directly harm the enemy, whereas attacks made by terrorists are primarily intended to provoke reprisals."

USS Clueless