Tag: Military

Monday Roundup

I get backlogged on stories. And I hate open tabs. So here’s a smattering of stories I don’t have time to do full blog posts on but thought were interesting.

  • The White House put the kibosh on the Platinum Coin idea, the IOU idea and the 14th Amendment idea and the President had a presser today calling on the GOP to raise the debt ceiling. The death of the Coin caused much angst among the Platinum Front of Judea crowd (who also turned on Jon Stewart when he ridiculed the idea). But it’s yet another data point showing that as dumb as the President can be, he’s not as dumb as his supporters.
  • A good read on a pair of developers who have taken on Philadelphia’s entrenched trade unions. They bid out a project, gave a little over half the contracts to non-union businesses and became the target of union wrath and violence. A peace has been reached but the terms are unclear: the unions are saying the developers’ next project will be all-union, the developers are saying they’ll bid it out to everyone. It will be interesting to see if this cracks the trade union stranglehold on Philadelphia business or if the Pestronk Brothers give in.
  • The minute I heard Lance Armstrong was interviewing with Oprah, I knew he was going to confess. The sky is turning red with lawsuits and the Feds may get involved as well. This is going to get ugly.
  • At the President’s Reddit chat, one question he ignored that has gotten some fun discussion is “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?” I’m not surprised he skipped it since it was probably much more substantive than most of the other questions. To me, it’s not even a question. You choose the horses. Ducks look nice on TV and they behave in a pond. But, like almost all fowl, they can be nasty violent dangerous creatures when they want to be. Horses, too, of course. But I’ve found birds to just be plain mean. Must be that dinosaur heritage.
  • Military suicides hit a record last year. It doesn’t seem to get that much attention, how much strain these wars are putting an increasingly narrow sliver of our nation. Let’s hope our politicians take a break from creating crises to figure out something that will help.
  • I’m sure we can have an argument about one of those things.

    The Cold War Vets

    Today is Veterans Day, when we honor those who have served. The WSJ has an interesting article up today on a group of veterans that are often neglected: those of the Cold War.

    This weekend, Americans will honor soldiers who fought the country’s wars, from the Somme to Kandahar. In Manassas, Va., 30 miles from the nation’s capital, a parade on Saturday will honor veterans of another big war: the one that never happened.

    The Cold War, from 1945 to the Soviet Union’s breakup in 1991, was all about avoiding total nuclear war. It turned hot in Korea and Vietnam and sparked conflicts from Lebanon to Grenada. But soldiers on duty between flare-ups didn’t do battle. When the war that wasn’t came to an end, they got no monuments, no victory medals.

    Nor can they join the American Legion—which makes the parade of Cold War vets in Manassas a minor hot spot of its own.

    The Cold War erupted into two major conflict in Vietnam and Korea. But for many, it was an undeclared quiet war, without parades or victories or medals; only casualties. But the millions and men and women who, sometimes figuratively sometimes literally, stood on the wall against the encroachment of one the greatest evils in human history should not be forgotten. The only reason the Cold War did not erupt into a shooting war in central Europe was because they stood on that wall, rifle in hand, tank manned, missiles ready to fly — letting the Soviet Union know that not a step would be taken into the free nations of the world without a price.

    I know we have veterans who read this blog, including some who served in shooting wars. Today is the day we set aside to remember and thank them not just for the freedom we enjoy, but for the peace we enjoyed. The ones who fought in Vietnam and Korea shed real blood and all too many made the supreme sacrifice. But those who stood on that wall for almost half a century did their part too, making sure that war stayed as cold as it did. Had they not, it’s likely all of us would be somewhere quite warm right now.

    Petraeus Quits: Cites Unauthorized Surge into Unknown Woman

    Alright, he appears to have forgotten that he’s working for a Democratic Administration, so I don’t know why he felt that he had to resign.

    I’ve seen some murmurings that there may have been something else to this. Me personally, I don’t see a lead here. He failed to follow the First Law of Having an Affair: Shut. Up. This just appears to be something a guy like Petraeus would do when he’s done something that he knows is dishonorable and is going to hurt his boss.

    Sure, the timing is strange coming after the election and before the Benghazi investigation FINALLY gets some lift. But I mean, if he’s was going to resign, why in the world would he do it in a way that publicly shames himself and his family in such a way? He was a GOP favorite for 2016, not so much now. He could have taken the heat for Benghazi and STILL been a contender.

    Fire off with your best conspiracy theories, but this just looks like an episode of one man’s bad judgement to me. Damn pity. I have long admired his service.

    Holiday Homecomings

    There is no place like home, and for a Soldier, Marine, Airman, or Sailor, the worse time for being away from home is the holidays. Being a vet myself (did not make a career of it or serve in a war zone) I understand (and still remember) those melancholy days, being thousands of miles away from family during the holidays. And although the Armed Services, when they can, go the extra mile in making these times a bit more comfortable for the troops, it is a poor substitute for being with loved ones.

    A photo in my local paper this morning highlighted a San Jose family who was waiting at the airport for a son, husband and father, a Marine, on leave from Afghanistan, lucky enough to get leave over the holidays. The family, decked out in “welcome home” signs, and an entourage in waiting, all to make this Marine a special deal, and rightly so.

    The Thanksgiving Holiday is one of the busiest times for flying, and many of these travelers will be those military folks that have looked forward to this for the entire year.

    And many civilians feel compelled to do their part in welcoming home our warriors:

    A small group of dedicated folks in Bangor Maine have been at it since 2003, whenever a military flight lands, they spring into action.

    For those coming home, this will be the best tasting turkey ever, your annoying sister, mom piling on too much yams, and dad yelling ,”you guys tackle like my Aunt Mae”, not withstanding.

    And speaking of football, we got us a smorgasbord tomorrow. There is a big storm forecast for tonight, DISH, don’t fail me now.

    Football and our military, enjoy:

    Now that was awesome.

    Called To Honor

    The human condition has always fascinated me. Whether it be heredity or environment, or a combination, some folks can step up to a challenge , turn on that switch and summon the effort at will, while others will wilt, run from it like a hot stove, and seek the comforts of ignominy and mediocrity. But it’s more than just doing the right thing. That voice in your head (conscience) can be either be magnified and unrelenting, or it can be dismissed and ignored, each person hears and obeys to his own tune.

    It is with this in mind that we recognize the latest recipient of our nation’s highest award for bravery:

    An Army Ranger who lost his right hand and suffered shrapnel wounds after throwing an armed grenade away from his fellow Soldiers will be the second living Medal of Honor Recipient from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    On July 12, 2011, President Barack Obama will award Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry, with the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Petry will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan, May 26, 2008.

    The MOH is not something that is given out for just average acts of gallantry:

    The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.”[1] Due to the nature of its criteria, it is often awarded posthumously

    And what exactly to did Sgt. Petry do to warrant such high praise?

    Recognizing the threat that the enemy grenade posed to his fellow Rangers, Petry — despite his own wounds and with complete disregard for his personal safety — consciously and deliberately risked his life to move to and secure the live enemy grenade and consciously throw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers, according to battlefield reports.

    The military services have always recognized their heroes, not just because they are deserving of the accolades, but it speaks to the nature of the men themselves, their training, and the code by which they have chosen to live by, and such actions should be emulated.

    I think that all men have this inner conversation within themselves at some point in their lives, namely, do I have the proper mettle? Whether we are talking about Omaha Beach, Picket’s charge, or even defending the hot gates as Thermopylae, what makes these soldiers do what they do?

    The main reason the military focuses on esprit de corps in training, to foster the cohesion of the unit, the squad, and the platoon, is that when you are a team, you will subordinate your welfare to that of your unit. You will not let your buddies down, period. When writing this post I was thinking about that hero of heroes, Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in American history:

    When asked after the war why he had seized the machine gun and taken on an entire company of German infantry, he replied simply, “They were killing my friends.”

    Yep, nothing will piss off a soldier more than seeing his buddies in danger.

    Petry has served as a grenadier, squad automatic rifleman, fire team leader, squad leader, operations sergeant, and weapons squad leader.

    He has deployed eight times in support of the War on Terror, with two tours to Iraq and six tours to Afghanistan.

    It’s times like this that we put away the politics, and the wisdom (folly) for placing our best and brightest in harm’s way in this manner, and we pay tribute to extra ordinary achievement from someone who was just doing his job, but did it in a manner that makes us all proud.