An email from Iraq…..

Two civilian guys were standing around last night looking like they had just gotten here and were trying to figure out where stuff was. They were pretty obviously American of course.They saw my patch when I walked by and one of them smiled and said “Go Hogs!” I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled as I walked past and said “Go Hogs!”

The guy replied,”Now that’s what I’m talking about!”

Anyway, it made me laugh. Must have been some Arkansas fans, not from our unit but you run into people even out here.

Another thing reminded me of that scene from Empire of the Sun. Remember when Jim was looking through the fence at the Japanese zero pilots?

I was out smoking and SFC Greenwood and I saw an Iraqi pilot sitting on a bunker out on the airfield, the Iraqis work with US pilots (they fly their own helicopters not any of our stuff). Greenwood told me some guys talked to one of them at some point, got one to come over to the fence and talk, he said if you wave at them they will wave back, so I did and the Iraqi pilot waved back.

Don’t worry though, I’ve got a 9mm and ammo on me at all times in my drop holster plus those guys are pretty seriously checked out and are not armed. It’s actually pretty dangerous for them when they have to go home for their leave, (because of course they have to drive off the FOB and go home).

1LT Dean told me yesterday he had a guy and his family (wife and kids) run out onto the road when Dean was a platoon leader and on route clearance, he said the guy was speaking and waving frantically at his house, come to find out the guy told Dean there were 40 insurgents
that had taken over the guy’s house, he was worried and didn’t want his house to get blown away by a helicopter but he also wanted those insurgents thrown out of his house.

Well, anyway, I think that got resolved, was a while back.

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The fabulous Christian Bale brilliantly played the role of Jamie Graham in Empire of the Sun. I remember secretly hoping that if any of my children faced such extreme circumstances as did Jim that they would use everything they have to survive.

My husband and I took our children to loads of movies when they were young and with the advent of the video cassette recorder we viewed many of the classics as well as current films. My husband and I shared our favorite movies from our youth with the kids as well.

Our son was about the same age as Jim in the movie Empire of the Sun when we first watched it. It’s become one of our family favorites. Many of the scenes in the movie are unforgetable. During the relatively halcyon days of our childrens’ childhood war only happened in the movies.

Being a student of history though, during the nineties, after the quick video-game-like resolution of the Gulf War and the defeat of President H.W. Bush, I worried as our children got older and the Clinton administration didn’t seem to meet any middle eastern despots they didn’t like.

The legacy of the Presidency of Bill Clinton? Appeasement R Us.

Perhaps it was the cynic in me but we had lived in Panama just after the days of Operation Just Cause. Our quarters were riddled with bullet holes from the military operations and a few months later we discovered that we lived next door to a PDF cell. It was an exciting but very scary time.

After returning to the states I thought a lot about the military and economic strength of our nation and the need for it to be led by leaders who understand the essential role that American military strength plays.

But, no, unbelievably, America elected Bill Clinton.

His first action? Placing blame on Janet Reno for the Branch Davidian siege.

Second action? Don’t Ask don’t tell.

Third action? Treating the first World Trade Center bombing/attack as a criminal act.

Fourth action? Changing the focus of our mission in Somalia from that of making secure corridors in order to get UN food to the starving people in the interior, to that of nation building, which was never part of the military function. Nation building, when done after World War ll was a state department responsibility whereby the military just provided security and specialized training when called upon. The U.S. controlled Japan and Germany for years, much longer than we have been in Iraq.

The military that President Bush inherited from Clinton, though with great potential, had become a tremendous first strike force with no staying power. Clinton reduced even the effectiveness of the first punch to a certain extent and after President Bush’s assumption of office in 2001, Rumsfeld recognized that the force that he received was a very reduced capability force.

Rumsfeld’s first act was to try to restructure the military force so that the combat punch would move from division to brigade level. That would have potentially allowed a smaller support force which would be used in quick mobile warfare.

Clinton’s destruction of the support structure of the military as well as its reduction in strength did not allow for the formal U.S. solution for insurgency which was an inundation of forces. (which had already been defeated once in Vietnam)

The Clinton generals wanted to keep their combat formations, did not want to go to a brigade structure and they fought Rumsfeld at every turn. This revolt by the Army hierarchy left the force structure in the same weakened state as when Clinton destroyed it. Our generals seemed to be very effective in denying any value of this new idea. (although the Marine Corps has used this effectively for many years)

It seems that the Army generals for the most part wanted a World War ll structure no matter what the cost and when it was demonstrated to them that the cost would be prohibitive politically, as well as financially, they did not care. They had inherited a cold war mentality that would not allow a rethinking of any other contingency.

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We are very fortunate to have a non-typical Army general (Petraeus) now leading our forces in Iraq. One wonders how the call for non-support by the Democrat party will encourage those with the rigid thinking mentality so prevalent in our past to remain the power brokers in our military. The result of this is as plain as reading a non-revisionist history book and will repeat the disasterous mistakes made in Vietnam and Korea.

Hillary Clinton aspires to be Appeasement R Us Part Deux. She stepped out of her “faux moderate support-the-war closet” when she announced her candidacy for President and with every passing day becomes more shrill in her denouncements of the Bush administration. Claiming she wants to “reign in the President” even with news of successes in Iraq she reveals that the paradigm of Clinton is still that of a poll-driven, panderer. Even though the surge is succeeding Hillary Clinton and her fellow democrats cannot deal with that reality.

Hot Air has more on the good surge news.