Friday, December 31, 2004

While I Was Away

The tsunami is being covered by many blogs. In fact, the blogosphere is doing a much better job than the MSM. I'm ready for the United States to leave the UN and to tell the UN to leave the United States. Find a new home in Russia or China. Call us stingy? The ungrateful, small, nasty people that make up a majority of the UN shouldn't be allowed on US soil. Get out, now. Go. And don't let the door hit you in the ass.

Buster's Top Ten is out. Excellent. Buster is .. Buster, son of The Anchoress, slayer of liberal ideology. There are so many other great recent posts by The Anchoress. She recently started using Trackback and comments to her older posts went the way of .. well, they're gone. I'm forewarned. Tae is probably in therapy. Oh, and did I really miss MoDo's comments??? Dang.

Mudville Gazette has a roundup of MilBloggers on the Mosul bombing and Secretary Rumsfeld's Christmas visit.

Michelle Malkin takes Thomas D. Quinn, Director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, to task. His ridiculous (insane) dress code for the air marshals is a leading indicator that this man lives in fantasy land. Yes, he's got a career in the Secret Service backing him. So what? There are jerks in the Secret Service, too -- one less since Quinn retired.

Six Navy SEALs are suing the Associated Press. You can find the story here.

The SEALs' legal action doesn't strike me as being particularly helpful -- or smart. Hopefully, someone in Special Operations Command will intervene before this gets even more out of control than it already is.

As much as I detest the slanted reporting of the Associated Press, the problem, in this case, lies with the SEAL who sent pictures of covert operations to his wife who further exacerbated the problem by publishing the pictures to her website.

Apparently, she forgot the part about the World Wide Web being WORLD WIDE -- much as her husband forgot the part about covert operations being COVERT.

My assessment still stands: knucklehead.

In Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer, former KGB Colonel Viktor Cherkashin recounts his "victories" against the United States.

Yet another former KGB officer exposé. I look forward to reading this one. Cherkashin was a master of the game.

Still, I will not be taken in by Cherkashin's account of his intelligence/counterintelligence exploits. I will not be led to believe (falsely) that the "house of mirrors" was owned by the Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti -- as Cherkashin is apt to claim.

The KGB merely shared a lease with the CIA/FBI/NSA. They did not own it.

The DC Cocktail Party Elite, who rip our intelligence community at every opportunity, fawn over the likes of Cherkashin, a high-ranking KGB officer who knew the truth (or were you just stupid, Viktor Ivanovich?), yet sold his soul for trinkets -- a whore for one of the most despotic regimes in history.

I will be skeptical of Cherkashin's account of his handling of Aldrich Ames and Richard Hanssen. With the Venona program in mind (might there not have been other such programs), I will leave room to wonder if the CIA/FBI/NSA might have known of Ames and Hanssen years before they were arrested.

For one look at how the FBI ran circles around the KGB and GRU (post-Venona), I recommend Cassidy's Run. For a sample, you can watch this Booknotes program.

Viktor Ivanovich, when you're done with your chest-thumping; after you've dazzled your audiences with your brilliance; after you've cashed that first royalty check; and as you sit counting your money and polishing your Order of Lenin medallion for the umpteenth time, you are left with these incontrovertible facts:

We won.

You lost.

The United States still stands.

Your beloved Soviet Union -- which President Ronald Reagan so accurately described as the "Evil Empire" -- is no more.

Game. Set. Match.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Off to the swamps!

It's been 16 years (where does time go?) since I last spent Christmas with my mother and I'm excited.

I can hardly wait to see the Christmas tree and the little church with that magical music box inside that you can wind up and it'll play "Silent Night" . . . for at least 75 years it's been doing that. Definitely not made in China.

Lil Sis, I know how it is. You'll be missed if you can't get through the snow and ice. Don't take any chances. I'll eat your share of Christmas turkey & dressing and peas & corn ... and, yes, the sweet potatoes in orange half-shells, sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with melted marshmallows. So don't worry -- it won't go to waste.

Santa Claus, I know you're reading so take note. I will be in the swamps.

Oh yeah, despite what those sniveling, whiny little elves may have told you, I've been nice. Don't make me come find you, old man.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Herbert J. Lloyd: The REAL Man From Hope

Retired Brigadier General Herbert J. Lloyd is a native of Hope, Arkansas. He joined the Army as a private and served as Rifleman, Machine Gun Squad Leader, and Rifle Platoon Sergeant.

As a Sergeant First Class, he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Lieutenant of Infantry in 1964.

He served two tours in Germany and saw service in Vietnam in 1962-63, 1966-68, and 1972.

He served as a Platoon Leader, Company Commander, and G3 Training Officer in the 82nd Airborne Division.

He also served as an Advisor with the Vietnamese Rangers and the Vietnamese 6th Airborne Battalion.

He was Chief of Tower Committee and Chief of Operations in the Airborne Department at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Additionally, he has served as:

Tactical Officer, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
Brigade Executive Officer, 8th Infantry Division, Germany
Commander, 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry, 5th Infantry Division, Fort Polk, LA
Deputy Chief of Staff, 5th Infantry Division, Fort Polk, LA
Commander, 2nd Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, Fort Polk, LA
Chief of Staff, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY
Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Korea

Lloyd & Love - Colonel Herbert J. Lloyd with his righthand warrior, Command Sergeant Major Ivanhoe Love

He is a graduate of the US Army War College, the Command & General Staff College, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Ranger School, Pathfinder School, Northern Warfare Mountain Climbing School and Jungle Warfare School. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from Auburn University.

Here are just a few of his awards and decorations:

2 x Silver Stars
1 x Soldier's Medal
7 (not a typo - SEVEN) x Bronze Star Medals (with "V" device for Valor)
2 x Purple Hearts
Combat Infantryman's Badge
Master Parachutist Badge (with 3 Gold Stars for combat jumps)
Ranger Tab

Herbert J. Lloyd: American Samurai & Greatest Warrior of the 20th Century

He has so many awards and decorations that when he wore his Army Dress uniform, his Combat Infantryman's Badge very nearly rested on top of his left shoulder.

In 1986, while still on active duty, then-Colonel Herbert J. Lloyd was inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia. OCS graduates will understand what an extraordinary honor that is -- especially considering who the other inductees are and that most are inducted long after they have left active duty.

Herbert J. Lloyd is one of the most extraordinary men I have ever met. Any soldier who has ever served with him can attest to the life-changing influence he has had on them.

In my humble opinion, he is the greatest warrior we've had in modern history.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2004


(scroll down for Updates)

At least 19 American soldiers are dead. Over 50 wounded.

What happened? ... well, they don't know yet. First, the military thought that it might have been a rocket or mortar attack. Now they have backed off those early reports (by the way, first reports in combat are almost always wrong).

Update from Defense Department Operational Update Briefing, 22 December: Shortly after noon yesterday, anti-Iraqi, anti-coalition forces attacked the dining facility located within the Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, killing 22 people, including 13 U.S. military, five U.S. civilian contractors, three Iraqi security force members and one non-U.S. person. An additional 69 people were injured in the attack, including 44 U.S. military, seven U.S. contractors, five Department of Defense civilians, two Iraqi civilians, 10 contractors of other nationalities and one of unknown nationality and occupation.

What happened? Soldiers died needlessly due to negligence.

Someone, somewhere in the chain of command forgot that these soldiers were in a combat zone. Some commander(s) somewhere in the chain of command is negligent.

Terrorists may have been the bombers, but the high death toll is directly attributable to the chain of command.

How can I say this?

Look at the pictures. Just about any soldier or marine can tell you what's wrong with these pictures.

No tactical feeding. They were bunched up in a mess tent where one explosive device can take out most of your unit.

No Kevlar helmets. Instead, they're wearing we're-in-the-rear-with-our-gear softcaps -- except that there are no rear areas in this combat zone.

It makes me sick. It pisses me off. I want the chain of command to answer for this massacre.

Meantime, do not use mess tents to feed troops in a friggin' combat zone. Conduct tactical feeding. Make the troops spread out .. 5-10 meter interval between each soldier. Just like every damn field manual, tactical SOP and common sense tell you.

If you thought the mess tent was a morale booster, what do you think now?

And get rid of the damn softcaps. Burn 'em. Get your soldiers in their Kevlar helmets ... and with the chinstraps snapped. The helmet is standard headgear in a combat zone -- for a damn good reason. It greatly reduces the chance that flying shrapnel will pierce your skull.

And where is their LBE (load bearing equipment) that contains a couple of things mightily vital in a combat zone -- a first aid kit and ammunition?

No Nuclear-Biological-Chemical protective masks - a standard part of a combat uniform. It is always with you. You sleep with it just as you sleep with your weapon.

At least they had their weapons, but with a situation this screwed up I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't have ammunition for their weapons. Not that it would have helped in this situation, but what if the bombing or whatever was followed by a ground attack?

An old boss of mine, one of the most decorated soldiers in our Army's history, taught us many things about combat. One of the things that Herbert J. Lloyd taught us:

"Laid back commanders have laid out troops."

That's what happened here.

UPDATE #1 (11:00pm CST):

Associated Press:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A 122mm rocket slammed into a mess tent Tuesday at a military base near the northern city of Mosul, ripping through the ceiling and spraying shrapnel as U.S. soldiers sat down to lunch. Officials said 22 people were killed in one of the most devastating attacks against Americans in Iraq since the start of the war.

The dead included 20 Americans - 15 of them servicemembers and five civilian contractors. Two Iraqi soldiers also were killed. Sixty-six people were wounded, including 42 U.S. troops, Capt. Brian Lucas, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said early Wednesday.

(emphasis added)

This is the part that is just maddening:

Like most mess halls at U.S. bases in Iraq, the dining area at Base Marez is covered with a tent. Insurgents have fired mortars at the mess hall more than 30 times this year, Redmon said. (Jeremy Redmon, a reporter for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch embedded with the troops in Mosul)

Mortar attacks on U.S. bases, particularly on the huge white tents that serve as dining halls, have been frequent in Iraq for more than a year. Just last month, for example, a mortar attack on a Mosul base killed two troops with Task Force Olympia, the reinforced brigade responsible for security in much of northern Iraq.

I don't know what to say .. other than this is unacceptable. You don't have to be on the ground in Iraq to know that this is just flatass wrong.

If this part of the report is true -- that we're using mess tents at most U.S. bases in Iraq -- then Generals Abizaid and Casey have some explaining to do.

I'm stunned.

UPDATE #2 (2:15pm CST):

ABC News is reporting that it was a suicide bomber.

Nothing official from CENTCOM or DoD.

I want to be clear about something. I know General George W. Casey, Jr. He's a fine officer and a good man. I know General Abizaid by reputation only -- and he has an exemplary one.

But they need to explain to the American people why some of the bases in Iraq have a military posture not far removed from a stateside garrison.

I think I know some of the answers that would be given, and I'd be curious to know if I'd be standing alone in my bewilderment.

UPDATE #3 (3:10pm CST):

Suicide Bomber

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that from investigations into Tuesday's blast in a mess tent on the base, "it looks like it was an improvised explosive device worn by an attacker."

The explosive was apparently packed with pellets the size of BBs that ripped across the tent when it exploded, Brig. Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of Task Force Olympia - the main U.S. force in nothern Iraq - told Bill Nemitz, a columnist with the Portland (Maine) Press Herald who was embedded with the troops at Marez.

At a Pentagon press conference, Myers defended Ham over security measures at the base. "We know how difficult this is, to prevent people bent on suicide and stopping them," Myer said. "I think he has a very good plan for force protection. This is an insurgency."

"As we know someone who's attacking can attack at anytime using any technique," Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said, speaking alongside Myers. U.S. personnel "have to be right 100 percent of the time. An attacker only has to be right some of the time."

I disagree with General Meyers' assessment of BG Ham's force protection plan.

I agree wholeheartedly with Secretary Rumsfield. We have to be right 100% of the time.

But what does right look like?

It ain't clustered troops in softcaps in a combat zone.

UPDATE #4 (12/23/2004, 3:10am CST):

Excerpts from the Defense Department Operational Update Briefing, December 22, 2004.

Question: Can I do a follow-up, Mr. Secretary, on that same issue? Do you and General Myers think it's unwise or was unwise to put 400- plus servicemen and civilians and others in a huge tent the size of a football field on a base in a combat zone, a base that had been hit by mortars and RPGs? And if you do think it's unwise, are either one of you or both going to sound off to Generals Casey and Ham, or take them to the woodshed?

General Meyers: These are the calls that the combatant commanders make. And any judgment that General Ham is up there and not worried about force protection is ludicrous. This is a man that's -- I don't -- can't remember when General Ham first went in up there -- that has been working the security up there in that region for the Iraqi people for many, many months, at great personal sacrifice to himself and his forces. He has led them well.

We have had a suicide bomber, apparently, strap something to his body -- apparently a him -- and go into a dining hall. We know how difficult this is, to prevent suicide -- people bent on suicide and stopping them.

We understand how difficult that is. But I think -- this was the insurgents that did this. It's not General Ham that attacked his dining hall. I think he has a very good plan for force protection. I know what some of the long-range plans are up there.

This is an insurgency. And I think if you step back a minute and you think about insurgencies versus conventional warfare, in conventional warfare at some point you're going to get to an unconditional surrender, and in many cases you have very neat front lines. We have no front lines. The front line can be the dining hall, it can be the road outside the base, it can be the police station or the governor's office or the mayor's office down at Mosul. That's their territory. They operate all over that. They can wear -- and they do -- wear clothes like every other Iraqi. It's a much different thing and the mindset has to be much different.

What it tells us is -- and we know this from our history with insurgencies -- it's going to be very tough. And as this insurgency has changed in its nature and is character and has become more intense, our resolve just has to be all that tougher. And I know the Iraqi resolve is hard and tough and I know that our resolve is hard and tough.

Question: Would you not agree, both of you, however, that putting 400 people in a huge tent is a tempting target for the insurgents or anybody else?

General Myers: There are lots of congregations like that of various formations where it's, for a(n) individual bent on suicide with a VBIED -- vehicle-borne improvised explosive device -- or one strapped to their body -- we've seen in other countries -- and so, I mean, it's not a viable strategy to ask everybody to separate. So I think commanders are very much aware of that and try to prevent that.

(Emphasis added)

Entire briefing

"We have no front lines. The front line can be the dining hall, it can be the road outside the base, it can be the police station or the governor's office or the mayor's office down at Mosul."

Exactly! All the more reason not to cluster troops. All the more reason to burn the softcaps and wear Kevlar helmets. All the more reason for wearing LBE with ammunition, first aid kit, NBC protective mask, etc.

I don't want to hear that wearing all that combat gear is a pain in the ass. I already know that it's a pain in the ass.

It's also a pain in the ass to be wearing all that combat gear plus a 90-pound rucksack on a 12-mile forced march -- through mountains -- at night -- in sub-freezing temperatures. And just when you think you can't take another step, it's your turn to carry the 23-pound M60 machine gun.

Pain is relative.

Wearing only the Kevlar and LBE doesn't sound so bad now, does it?


Welcome to readers of The Anchoress

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Unauthorized Disclosure

That's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

The origin of that line is debatable (Dr. No?), but all we cared about as young guns was that it worked (No, really. It did -- to varying degrees of success) on the babes at the "Triangles" club down the road from Fort Huachuca.

I suppose we could have said, when queried about what we do:

That's classified. I could tell you, but then I have a personal, moral, and legal responsibility at all times to protect classified information, whether oral or written, within my knowledge, possession, or control. Further, I must follow procedures that ensure that unauthorized persons do not gain access to classified information. I have been advised that any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by me may constitute a violation, or violations, of United States criminal laws, including the provisions of Sections 641, 793, 794, 798, 952, and 1924, Title 18, United States Code, and the provisions of Section 783(b), Title 50, United States Code.

... but the former phrase was considerably easier to remember and recite in a state of blissful inebriation while working towards hormonal convergence. And the "Triangles" babes were quite taken with it.

Sooooo...what are we to make of the recent disclosure of classified information by 3 Democrat senators?

If you haven't heard, Senators Jay Rockefeller, Dick Durbin and Ron Wyden -- Rockefeller and Wyden are members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- disclosed, without authorization, classified information.

Not just any classified information, either. Nosireebob, they went whole hog.

To get to the seriousness of what they disclosed, let's look at some definitions.

Classified information falls into 3 categories:

1. Confidential - unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security of the United States.

2. Secret - unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security of the United States.

3. Top Secret - unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.

The information the 3 senators disclosed falls under category 3.

Examples of "exceptionally grave damage" include, but are not limited to, armed hostilities against the United States or its allies, disruption of foreign relations vitally affecting the national security, compromise of national-level cryptographic systems, exposure of intelligence sources or methods, and substantial disruption of the capability of the National Command Authority (i.e. the President/Secretary of Defense) to function in times of peace or crisis.

It gets worst.

Top Secret information is further protected by compartments -- that is to say, certain programs are so sensitive that access is restricted to a relatively small number of folks who:

a. hold a Top Secret security clearance
b. work on the program, or
c. have a need to know about the program

There's even a name for it. Top Secret - Sensitive Compartmented Information, aka Top Secret/SCI or simply TS/SCI.

Now at this point, we haven't necessarily entered the "Black" world. Not all Top Secret/SCI programs are "Black", but ALL "Black" programs are Top Secret/SCI.

Black programs are off the books. Unacknowledged. Don't show up in the intelligence budget.

An even smaller number of people are cleared and have a need-to-know.

Some refer to Black programs as "Above Top Secret". Legally, that is not accurate -- but it is true.

Black programs are officially known as Special Access Programs (SAP) and not just anybody with a Top Secret clearance is gonna be allowed to know anything about them.

Those who work on the programs or have a need-to-know about the programs must never acknowledge there is such a thing as, say, Project X.

If queried about Project X, "That's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you" is not an acceptable answer. Neither is, for that matter, "no comment". You don't even try to be cute. There are acceptable responses, but if I told you ...

Further, if someone cleared for a Black program is questioned by a non-cleared person, a report to the appropriate security official is mandatory. A process follows to determine if the program has been compromised. You would rather be nibbled to death by ducks than to go through that process.

A lot of money, time and energy (less if we would be smarter) are spent on protecting these programs. Often the cover is elaborate and includes a disinformation plan.

Now, I realize this may all sound a bit like James Bond -- or worse, Maxwell Smart -- but it is very serious business.

As a democratic society, we've not come up with a better way of protecting our most sensitive secrets from the likes of China, Iran and North Korea.

There is oversight on the Black world -- to include congressional oversight. Americans should not want it any other way.

But we should expect those who oversee the Black world to not behave like idiots.

Senators Rockefeller, Durbin and Wyden did not get permission to disclose the information before they blabbed about it. There are established procedures to do that. They ignored the procedures.

Well, maybe they knew that the answer would be no and felt so strongly about it that they were willing to risk criminal referrals. Maybe so.

But before we let the press make them out to be martyrs, the chance of U.S. Senators being prosecuted is nil. And the senators know this.

In fact, prosecution is very difficult even if the defendant is not a U.S. Senator. You end up disclosing more about the program and intelligence methods and procedures than you would if you just leave 'em be. Maybe a shot across the bow (criminal referrals, in this case). Publicly disgrace them (but that assumes they are moral men). Anyway, that's about all that will probably happen to the SOB'ing senators.

If I were King, they would, at a mininum, be removed from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and their security clearances would be revoked.

But alas, I'm just a Monk.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Merry Mad Monks of the DMZ

This post is born through encouragement from one of my favorite bloggers and Dennis who actually lives in a monastery 9 months out of the year. Thanks for your interest.

Our lineage dates back almost 600 years to Kim Chong-so, a powerful warrior/councilor who secured fame in establishing six military garrisons in northeast Korea under King Sejong's "expansion of the frontier region of Chosun".

Chosun Warrior (Seoul Art Center)

In 1953, after the Korean War, a small group of highly trained American soldiers unofficially became part of a Korean miltary order that traces its lineage back to Kim Chong-so and his Chosun warriors.

Initially garrisoned with Korean soldiers in austere quarters near Munsan-ni, a few miles south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), they were nicknamed the "Merry Mad Monks of Musan-ni" by other American soldiers who marveled at the lives these men led.

While officially known by another name, they adopted the moniker Merry Mad Monks.

In May 1957, the nickname was changed to the Merry Mad Monks of the DMZ.

In 1961, the unit moved even further north and was garrisoned at Camp Kitty Hawk. A new facility, appropriately named The Monastery, became a home away from home for the Monks living on the DMZ.

The Monks lead a highly specialized, hand-picked, 600-man American/South Korean military force which protects members of the Military Armistice Commission, visiting Heads of State and other dignitaries. It also guards the truce village of Pan Mun Jom and conducts ambush and counterinfiltration patrols in the DMZ.

While most Americans are not familiar with the Merry Mad Monks, Pan Mun Jom, or the DMZ, the South Korean government officially recognizes these men as national treasures.

On "Conference Row" aka "Death Row". The "MP" armband is a requirement of the Armistice Agreement. These are infantry soldiers, not MPs.

Eyeball To Eyeball -- My friend Jorge "Ranger" Rangel keeping a watchful eye on North Korean guards peering into the Military Armstice Commission building at Pan Mun Jom. It's an intense place. Stay alert, stay alive.

Sniper Practice. One shot, one kill.

Patrol returning from mission. In the background is a North Korean guard tower. These types of daytime patrols are multipurpose: provide security to the villagers of Taesong-dong, the only South Korean village in the DMZ; conduct reconnaissance; show force.

The most infamous incident involving the Monks was the 1976 Pan Mun Jom Axe Murders.

In August 1976, two of our Monks -- Major (promoted posthumously) Arthur G. Bonifas and First Lieutenant Mark T. Barrett -- were, without provocation or warning, attacked and massacred by a superior force of axe and pike wielding North Korean troops.

Click on photo to enlarge

The incident nearly re-started the Korean War. American and South Korean forces were put on the highest state of alert. As 2nd Infantry Division and 1st ROK Division combat units maneuvered into the DMZ,  US aircraft carriers took up positions in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.

Faced with the reactive and combined forces of the United States and its Korean Allies, Kim Il-Sung issued his first ever and only apology.

Besides the brutal deaths of Major Bonifas and First Lieutenant Barrett, 59 other Americans and 377 ROK soldiers have also made the supreme sacrifice in defense of freedom and democracy in Korea since the Armistice.

In 1984, a firefight occurred at Pan Mun Jom when Vasily Matauzik, a Soviet citizen visiting North Korea, ran across the Military Demarcation Line (boundary between North and South) to defect.

North Korean guards immediately started firing at him and ran across the line in pursuit. JSA soldiers returned overwhelming fire against the North Koreans, killing 3 and wounding 5. One JSA soldier, Corporal Jang Myung Ki, was killed and one, Corporal Michael Burgoyne, was wounded.

Jang Myung Ki -- Killed in the line of duty while protecting the lives of his comrades and a Russian defector on 23 November 1984.

One of the 3 North Korean soldiers killed turned out to be Captain Pak Chol. In 1976, he had ordered the murders of Bonifas and Barrett. Captain Pak, aka "Bulldog", was taken out by a JSA soldier firing a 40mm grenade launcher. It was a direct hit.

In 1986, Camp Kitty Hawk was re-named Camp Bonifas.

The poem below was read August 18, 1986 by Mrs. Arthur Bonifas, widow of Major Arthur Bonifas, at the ceremony memorializing Camp Bonifas in honor of her late husband.

There he stands, that man of mine,
out on that lonely plain,
In a country strange and different --
it's hard to say its name.
Does that country ever value
how much he sacrifices,
To guard their lives, their hopes, their dreams
in the face of their world crisis?

He stands and he feels loneliness,
alone there standing guard,
To see that our flag of freedom
flies from that fragile lanyard.
And does our country realize
that we too share that post with him?
For our sons are growing up without him
and his parents' eyes grow dim.

So please don't take for granted that man
who patiently stands,
Away from home and family
serving in a foreign land.
He has, and will continue
to strive to ease our pain.
For the tears that fall from your eyes
are reflected in the same.

Yes, there he stands, that man of mine,
out on that lonely plain,
In a country strange and different,
and we scarce can endure the pain.

The "Merry Mad Monks of the DMZ" remain active. The traditional lifting of vintage snake wine to welcome newly joined Monks and to bid farewell to those departing can be heard throughout the halls of the Monastery on frequent occasions.

The north wind moans amid the bare boughs
the moon shines coldly on the snow.
I stand, great sword in hand
on the furthest frontier fortress.
I whistle; and the long loud sound
hangs unanswered on the air.

Kim Chong-so (1390-1453)

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Bill Kristol and Senator John McCain want a new Secretary of Defense.

I want a new 500 horsepower, 8.3-liter, Viper-powered V10, Dodge Ram pickup truck. I prefer fire engine red. I'm short by about $46,000, though. If you wish to give me one of these fine machines, please leave contact info in comments.

Secretary Rumsfeld has performed a great service to this nation in very difficult times -- under pressure that most of us can only imagine.

He serves at the pleasure of the President of the United States. President Bush wants him to stay on longer. When President Bush decides it's time for change, he'll accept Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation and nominate someone else for Secretary of Defense.

I put a heckuvalot more trust in President Bush on this matter than I do William Kristol or Senator John McCain.

And Lord, help the military if John McCain were to become the next DoD chief. Some of the same generals whining to the press about Rumsfeld would gain a new appreciation of "Don't ask, Don't tell." Bend over buddy.

Rumsfeld took charge of a Pentagon that had, for 8 years, suffered from the lack of adult civilian supervision. Bill Clinton, the draft dodger, didn't want to be viewed as an anti-military Commander-in-Chief. He appointed weak Secretaries of Defense and let the generals run the place. That suited the generals just fine.

Contrary to popular myth, a lot of Pentagon generals are adverse to risk. They may not have been that way in their younger days as studly Captains and Majors, but after multiple tours at the Pentagon and other staff jobs -- jobs that take them away from troops -- something happens. They lose the edge as they gain rank and prestige. Too many worry about punching the ticket to the next billet. Don't rock the boat. Play it safe.

Not all generals. Too many.

That's why we bombed Serbia from 15,000 feet. It's why we launched cruise missiles at aspirin factories, unoccupied Iraqi intelligence headquarters, and empty tents in the Afghanistan sand.

Most of these generals sat on their thumbs as Clinton and Congress (Senator McCain's buddies, the Democrats) decimated the military ranks. Don't rock the boat. Play it safe. Get that next plum assignment. Get that next star.

Not all generals. Too many.

They played it safe, got their way and they got used to getting their way.

Enter Donald H. Rumsfeld.

He took charge and left little doubt who was boss. He did more than ruffle some feathers -- he rocked their world.

And the world of the Pentagon generals needed rocking.

He hadn't been in the job 3 months before some generals started whispering to the Washington Post: Rumsfeld was mean. Why Rumsfeld acted like he ran the place!

Before September 11, 2001, Washington conventional wisdom had Rumsfeld being replaced by year's end.

But that all changed. Rumsfeld stood tall in the storm. He showed uncommon strength and purpose. The American people responded positively to Rumsfeld's daily briefings -- they loved him.

For a long while the whispering generals let Rumsfeld be. They could read the situation. They're not stupid, afterall -- just political.

Again, not all generals. Too many.

I don't know that the generals are whispering to the press about Rumsfeld today. Some of that is probably still going on. This latest criticism of Rumsfeld seems to come mostly from politicians and pundits.

As you listen to the criticisms of Rumsfeld -- not enough troops, not enough up-armored HMMVs, forces stretched too thin and on and on -- keep in mind what he inherited.

Bill Clinton and the liberal Democrats decimated our military. They cut the Army from 18 divisions to 10 .. sent 300,000 soldiers packing. They cut the Navy in half .. from 600 ships to 300. The Air Force was equally decimated. Overall, the active duty military lost 700,000 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen.

[PAUSE] . . . and consider those numbers.

They tried to have Defense on the cheap, shifting assets, that were best left in the active duty lineup, to the Guard and Reserves.

As Clinton and Congress slashed and hacked our military strength, Clinton increased our operational tempo (deployments) by 300% -- sending us to deal with such "national security threats" as Haiti and Bosnia and Kosovo (we're still there carrying the Europeans' water).

And there's more .. 20 out of 22 of our Army training centers were rated at the very lowest level of readiness. Political Correctness ran rampant. "Consideration of Others Training" came close to trumping combat training .. and on and on.

Remember these headlines?

Click on photo to enlarge

"An Army In Decline -- What Clinton-Gore accomplished that our enemies could not"

President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld inherited a mess. What took 15 years to rebuild after Vietnam, the Democrats decimated in Clinton's first term.

By the middle of Clinton's second term, the military readiness situation was dire. Plans for further cuts were shelved. Secretary Of Defense William Cohen tacitly admitted that the cuts had been too deep. The Defense Department initiated a program to try to get recently cut junior officers and noncomissioned officers to return to active duty. The service chiefs from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines were dispatched to Capitol Hill to ask for more resources.

The Clinton administration learned too late that it is easier to tear the military down than it is to build it back. With a stroke of the pen you can cut the force, but it takes years to train replacements. It takes years to build the Staff Sergeants, Sergeants First Class, Captains, and Majors -- those mid-level ranks that run the military -- the ones who took the brunt of Clinton's cuts.

Then before President Bush had even completed 8 months in office, with our military force structure dangerously thin, with our operational tempo still hovering around 300% over norm, with our military stretched to the breaking point .. two terrorist-guided commercial jets brought down the twin towers, another crashed into the Pentagon and another, aimed at either the Capitol or the White House, crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when brave passengers said "Let's Roll!" and attacked the terrorists.

We have been at war ever since.

Believe it or not, Rumsfeld's critics are using this recent statement to beat up on him:

"As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

What am I missing?

Oh. My new 500 horsepower, 8.3-liter, Viper-powered V10, fire engine-red, Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Syria Doesn't Believe Us

A powerful editorial in today's Wall Street Journal, makes it painfully clear that Syria is our enemy.

I'll take it another step.

Syria is waging war against the United States. We need to acknowledge it and start fighting back.

The dithering diplomats at the State Department have had their chance. They have failed.

We needed Condi as Secretary of State about 2 years ago.

Peters on Intel Reform: Ralph!

In his latest NY Post column, Ralph Peters blows off some steam and just about blows his cookies. He's frustrated about the lack of true intel reform.

I share most of his concerns, although his statement -- "Having been inside that world, I can tell you that the No. 1 use of classification markings is to mask inadequate performance." -- is an unfortunate instance of hyperbole. But that's Ralph sometimes.

Unlike Ralph, I am no fan of Senator John McCain. Ralph refers to him as one of the "good guys" who wants to fix the intelligence system. Grandstander is more what I think.

That aside, it's another fine article from one of the brightest thinkers in the national security arena.

Having worked in intelligence for more than two decades, I was fascinated by all the lying as Congress wrestled with intelligence reform. So much of the intel world is hidden from the taxpayer's view that unscrupulous politicians, cynical bureaucrats and defense contractors can make any wild claims they wish with little fear of exposure.

The good guys, such as Sens. McCain and Lieberman, wanted to fix our intelligence system. Their opponents sought to protect power and funding. The good guys won a partial victory. But the intel community's mandarins remain committed to a system that is outdated, inadequate and very, very expensive.

Our national intelligence capabilities are not as bad as sensation-seeking critics tell us. The problem isn't that our intel system is inept. It's just mediocre. For 40 billion bucks a year, we should get occasional bursts of excellence. But we don't. The system plods on, devouring money and crushing talent, producing moderately helpful tidbits.

The issues at play are straightforward. For decades, we favored technology and slighted people, buying incredibly expensive satellites and other systems that were going to solve all of our intelligence problems, while minimizing the irksome human factor.

But we live in an age when the human factor is paramount — despite the siren song of technology. Ours is an age of fundamental hatreds, of religion reduced to bigotry and superstition, of a struggle over the fate of civilizations. Our intelligence community's approach has been to buy more systems that can locate warships, tanks and buildings, as if the Soviet Union had never dissolved.

Now the vested interests within the intel world, the same men who refused to regard terrorism as a significant threat, want to buy yet another $9.5 billion satellite. It wouldn't be useful in Iraq, or against terrorists, or even against the underground nuke sites in North Korea and Iran. It's a Cold War relic.

Our intelligence system needs people: analysts, agents, linguists, interrogators, special operators and counter-intelligence specialists. 9.5 billion bucks would buy a lot of talent. But the insiders are fighting to purchase that "stealth" satellite, even though it's a case of yesterday's technology designed to find yesterday's enemies.

Why can't this satellite scam be killed? First, because the shabby details of all the errors of judgment made by intelligence executives remain hidden behind classifications above the top-secret level. Having been inside that world, I can tell you that the No. 1 use of classification markings is to mask inadequate performance.

Our intel system continues to measure success the way the Soviets did, by fulfilling norms of volume, rather than concentrating on utility. During my own service, I found that our intel executives understood systems architecture, but had only a superficial grasp of actual intelligence work. You get to the top by buying stuff, not by thinking hard.

Read more

Christmas and the MSM

For Vox Blogoli VI, Hugh Hewitt asks: What does Newsweek's story on Christmas tell us about MSM?

I slogged through that 7-part Newsweek hitpiece and my answer is this:

The MSM fear Jesus Christ and Christians to such an extent as to be anti-Christian.

There's no sugar-coating it.

Al-Jazeera would be proud.

I'll leave it to the theologians (no, I'm not one) to take Newsweek to task -- point by point.

Instead, I'll share the words of our 40th President, the great Ronald Reagan:

Meaning no disrespect to the religious convictions of others, I still can't help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion.

Where is the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time -- possibly to your own home town. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father's shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father's shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most.

He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried, and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing -- the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb.

End of story?

No, this uneducated, propertyless young man who left no written word has, for 2000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals; all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived -- all of them put together.

How do we explain that? ... unless he really was what he said he was.

Ronald Reagan
Daily radio commentary (syndicated)
December 1978
from The Quotable Ronald Reagan
by Peter Hannaford

I am currently reading God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life, by Paul Kengor.

I like it a lot.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Today, President Bush awarded retired General Tommy R. Franks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I wish everyone could meet Tommy Franks. He is one of the greatest warriors in our nation's history ..

American Soldier

and a good man . . .

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Venom of Villains

Doctor: Yushchenko Poisoned With Dioxin

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Dioxin poisoning caused the mysterious illness of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, a doctor said Saturday, adding that the poison could have been put in his soup.

Yushchenko is now in satisfactory condition and dioxin levels in his liver have returned to normal, Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of Vienna's private Rudolfinerhaus clinic, said at a news conference.

A series of tests run over the past 24 hours provided conclusive evidence of the poisoning, Zimpfer said.

"There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Yushchenko's disease - especially following the results of the blood work - has been caused by a case of poisoning by dioxin," Zimpfer said.

The 50-year-old opposition leader first fell ill in September and was rushed to the Vienna hospital. He resumed campaigning later in the month but his mysterious illness had left his face pockmarked and ashen.

Yushchcenko also suffered back pain, acute pancreatitis and nerve paralysis on the left side of his face.

He has accused Ukrainian authorities of trying to poison him ahead of Ukraine's presidential vote - an allegation they have denied.

"We suspect involvement of an external party, but we cannot answer as to who cooked what or who was with him while he ate," Zimpfer said, adding that tests showed the dioxin was taken orally.

Zimpfer said Yushchenko's blood and tissue registered concentrations of dioxin - one of the most toxic chemicals - that were 1,000 times above normal levels.

When first seen by the Austrian doctors, Yushchenko was in a "critical stage" but was "not on the verge of dying," Zimpfer said.

"If this dose had been higher, it may have caused death," Zimpfer said.

Dioxin - one of the contaminants found in Agent Orange - is formed as a by-product from industrial processes such as waste incineration, chemical and pesticide manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching.

The tests showed that Yushchenko suffered from chloracne, a type of adult acne caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, which sometimes takes two to three years to heal, hospital dermatologist Hubert Pehmberger told The Associated Press.

Dioxins are a normal contaminant in many foods, but a single high dose can trigger illness, London-based toxicologist John Henry said last month.

Shortly after the announcement of the diagnosis on Saturday, Henry told British Broadcasting Corp. television that Yushchenko's case was, in his experience, unique.

"We've never had a case like this, a known case of large, severe dioxin poisoning ... It's normally fairly mild. It can cause liver damage," he said. "It's usually low-level, long-term poisoning. A very large dose, nobody has any real idea of what it would cause. Now we do know."

Read More

Friday, December 03, 2004

Somebody Smack That Knucklehead

Better yet, recycle him through the first 8 weeks of Naval Special Warfare Training.

That'll get the knucklehead's attention. He'll never make that mistake again.

What knucklehead? Which mistake?

The knucklehead SEAL who sent look-at-me pictures home to his wife. She then published them to the internet. Or at least that's the story.

Back in the day with the JSA, the monkhood motto was:

"What happens in The Monastery stays in The Monastery."

I know what you're thinking. What the hell is he talking about??


And somebody PLEASE get control of those damn digital cameras!

The last thing we need is pictures of our special ops folks published to the world.

The secret war they are fighting is a major part of the War on Terrorism and very, very few people have a need to know. In fact, besides the President/SECDEF/chain of command, and a handful of congressmen (about 8), no one has a need to know. Not me. Not you. Certainly not our adversaries .. especially the MSM. OK, maybe the MSM are not the enemy, but they certainly do the enemy a lot of favors.

What really worries me is that political correctness has pussified a large segment of our nation. Oh Auntie Em, Auntie Em! They're not being kind to the terrorists!

I guess I shouldn't be blogging. I'm pissed off.

But there it is.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Reactions To Violence

Reaction from around the NBA to Friday night's brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons:

"Shocking, repulsive and inexcusable — a humiliation for everyone associated with the NBA."

— NBA commissioner David Stern

"That's not what we stand for. That's not what the league is about. That's not what the fans want to see. It's just one of those situations that never should have happened. It escalated, it got out of control."

— Orlando Magic coach Johnny Davis

"I'm pro-NBA and image in total is important, that's fans and players — the whole thing. It's all about the product, so anything that's negative toward the NBA, I've certainly got a problem with."

— Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff

Reaction from around the Democratic Party to the violence and vandalism against Republicans and the Bush/Cheney heaquarters:

" "
- John Kerry

" "
- John Edwards

" "
- Terry McAuliffe

" "
- Tom Daschle

" "
- Nancy Pelosi

" "
- Harry Reid

" "
- Jesse Jackson

" "
- Bill Clinton

" "
- Hillary Clinton

" "
- virtually all other Democrats (Zell Miller excluded)

Reaction to the silence of the Democrats on the violence and vandalism against Republicans and the Bush/Cheney heaquarters:

"Shocking, repulsive and inexcusable — a disgrace for everyone associated with the Democratic Party."

— The Monk

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Spurrier To South Carolina

Paul Finebaum is reporting that Steve Spurrier will be going to University of South Carolina.

According to Finebaum, the Ol' Ball Coach signed a contract worth $1.9 million a year.

That's a bunch of money, but less than what he got at University of Florida.

Gator fans, your world has just been rocked.

For The Record: Thanks to Finebaum, The Monk beat the following MSM to the punch: ESPN, CNNSI, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Iraq, Iran & North Korea

I believe both Iran and North Korea pose greater threats to US national security than did Iraq.

Iran's fingerprints are on various terrorist acts against the USA. Many in the intel community believe Iran aided al-Qaeda in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1998 US Embassy bombings and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole.

Further, there is reason to believe Iran, even now, gives safe passage to and harbors al-Qaeda operatives.

Iran has long worked toward acquiring a nuclear capability. Some analysts suspect that Iran already has nukes, purchased in 1993 from rogue elements in the former Soviet Union.

North Korea probably has at least one nuclear warhead, maybe several. They have the missiles to deliver the warhead(s).

The Taepo Dong 2's estimated range is 10,000 km (capable of striking Hawaii, Alaska, and the West Coast). They are working on a third stage that could boost the range to 15,000 km (capable of striking all of North America).

So why did we take down Iraq first?

I don't know, but here are some considerations (aside from WMD) that are not often discussed:

1. Iraq never fully complied with UNSC Resolution 686, which very deliberately stated that the cease fire was not a definitive end to hostilities -- that could only be achieved by Iraq's compliance with the terms of 686. Further, Iraq failed to comply with 16 subsequent UNSC resolutions.

2. Taking down Iraq was doable. We owned 2/3 of their airspace which gave us, not just Air superiority, but Air supremacy. We've had equipment prepositioned in Kuwait since the end of the first Gulf war. We had additional equipment (floating stock) at Diego Garcia. We had access to deep water ports and airfields from which to rapidly build up combat power. Our military trained extensively for just such a scenario. We had studied Iraq for the previous 12 years (we had fat target books).

3. It was, strategically and operationally, a smart thing to do. From Iraq, the military is postured to strike Syria, if necessary. Iran is sandwiched between US forces in Iraq and US forces in Afghanistan. This military posture, by the way, has not been lost on Persians or Arabs.

Iraq is further proof that the United States means what it says (just in case there were doubters after Afghanistan); a warning that we will no longer play patty cakes at the UN; that we have the means and the will to put you down hard.

Either play ball or get the bat stuck up your ass (Incidently, Muammar Qadhafi decided he'd look pretty silly walking around Tripoli with a Louisville Slugger poking out his robe).

North Korea is included in that target audience, but they are tin-eared knuckleheads who think they can go toe to toe with us. One North Korean scenario (according to NK defectors) has the North conducting a massive ground attack on the South in a grab for as much land as possible, then go to the U.N. and sue for peace. That is extremely dangerous thinking on their part.

The danger increases exponentially with North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

No one in the world, including the North Koreans, doubts the USA's capability to wipe them from the face of the earth.

But does Kim Jong Il believe we have the will to do it .. to burn North Korea down with nuclear fire? I haven't seen any indication that he believes it. If he did, he'd be closing up shop on his nuclear weapons production.

There are some reports coming out of North Korea indicating that all might not be well for the Dear leader. More on that later .. in another post. If I've learned one thing about North Korea it is that rumors of regime problems are ususally just that, but some of the sources do appear credible.

Other things that cause intel officers to grow old before their time:

- North Korea has the fifth largest armed force in the world. The ground force has almost one million active duty soldiers.

- About 70 percent of the North Korean Army is deployed south of Pyongyang, where they are capable of attacking with little tactical warning.

- A large number of North Korean long-range artillery systems can instantly strike Seoul from their current locations.

A conventional war on the Korean peninsula would make the Iraq war look like a skirmish.

If there's an upside, it's the six-party talks (USA, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Russia and China). While I have little confidence that major progress will occur anytime soon, this framework is the correct one.

The most asinine foreign policy decision in the latter part of the 20th Century was the Clinton Administration's decision to hold bi-lateral talks with North Korea. It demonstrated a naiveté that was utterly stunning and a recklessness on the part of the United States that was unprecedented in the history of the Armistice.

See Korea: The Unfinished War for more info about the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Apples in Wine & Cinnamon Sauce

From Justin Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cookin'

This is a good topping for ice cream, over fresh-baked biscuits, or over not-too-sweet cakes. Serve warm or cold.

1/4 lb (1 stick) margarine or butter (butter is better)
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups sliced apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, melt butter, then add the wine and stir in the apples. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the apples and stir. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Continue cooking for 2 hours, stirring occasionally until the apples break up.

Yield: about 3 cups

Whoooooo boyeeeeee! I gaw-RAHN-tee!


"Leo calls this his Justin Wilson decor. We're wearing both a belt and suspenders -- not taking any chances." -- Justin Wilson (1914-2001).

Monday, November 15, 2004

Fallujah: Combat Footage

Watch 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) soldiers take it to the terrorist thugs in Fallujah.

This is the real deal, unedited.

Ralph Peters writes about the difficulties of urban combat.

Urban warfare is formidably difficult and dangerous. The utility of our wonder-technologies plummets when we have to fight inside wrecked industrial plants or in the labyrinths of ancient cities. Past a point, the intelligence systems can no longer see. The troops at the tip of the spear engage enemies at short range in abruptly chaotic circumstances. Who lives or dies is decided with rifles, grenades and automatic weapons.

Viewed from a distance, our victory in Fallujah was impressive from the opening round. But the sense of ease we get from 24/7 summaries isn't shared by the Infantrymen fighting their way through a booby-trapped city defended by enemies who seek death as a blessing.

In urban combat, the physical difficulties and psychological stresses soar. There are few clear fields of observation and fire. Everything seems a deadly muddle. The enemy might appear from any angle, in front of you, behind you or on a flank, firing from a window or a rooftop, waiting in a ruin to detonate a booby-trap or popping up from a tunnel or a cellar with a rocket-propelled grenade.

For the Infantry squad — sometimes reduced to a half-dozen members — there's no time-out. Even during pauses to bring up ammunition or water, the danger meter always pegs out. The adrenalin rush of combat alternates with weariness of body and soul. Nerves move outside the skin. All senses intensify.

Read more

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Radio Narada

Narada now has streaming internet radio.

This is a good thing. I've been a fan of Narada artists for years, but don't tell the guys at the barbershop .. they might not take kindly to it:

"Yew tuh'nin inta ah bluestate'uh on us, boy?"

No sir, but I do like her:

She reminds me of her --

another gifted pianist

But that's a long story from a long time ago . . .

Learn more about Narada.

Blue Bred Rednecks?

The Leftists continue to rage at the Red States: greedy, warmongering, gay-hating, ignorant, stupid, bigoted, Christian, rednecks.

Led by Lawrence O'Donnell and Geraldine Ferraro, they continue to talk of secession.

The Monk presents some inconvenient facts that the Left should ponder:

Blue Staters that voted for President Bush

West Coast/Pacific Northwest


Upper Midwest


New England/Northeast

New Hampshire.......330,848
New Jersey..........1,587,494
New York............2,796,157
Rhode Island...........161,654


Grand Total.......25,657,838

That's a bunch of greedy, warmongering, gay-hating, ignorant, stupid, bigoted, Christian, redneck, Blue Staters -- by the Left's definition. A whole bunch.

And that's after massive migration of Blue Staters to Red States in the last 10 years.

Do the Lefties propose a purge?

It would fit their loony logic.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Foster in Fallujah

Cindi Barton sends this update:

PFC Foster Barton, her son, is back in Iraq and has been in the midst of the fighting in Fallujah.

"He has had several close calls. The humvee ahead of his hit an IED [Improvised Explosive Device], then they were ambushed. Then fired upon by snipers. Lost some soldiers and had several injuries."

You may recall that PFC Barton was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he suffered last August when his Humvee was hit by an IED. Foster almost lost his leg from the attack.

While back home recuperating from multiple surgeries, PFC Barton was viciously attacked in the parking lot of the Germain Amphitheater after a Toby Keith concert. The cowardly attacker, was later arrested and charged with felonious assault.

And now Foster has recovered from THAT attack and is back with his buddies in the 1st Cavalry Division as they fight the terrorist thugs in Fallujah and throughout the Sunni Triangle.

Where do we find men like this? PFC Foster Barton hails from Grove City, Ohio and he is living the legend of America's First Team and then some.

You can write to him here:

PFC Foster Barton
A/4-5 ADA 1 CD
APO AE 09344

PFC Foster Barton, his fellow Cav troopers, and the Marines are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. As they do, they are bringing hope to a place where hope once seemed forlorn. And they are securing the future for us, our children, our grandchildren .. and our grandchildren's children . . .

May we always remember and honor their sacrifices.

And may we keep them and their families in our prayers.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Remembering Rick Rescorla

It was a hectic day in the northern Arabia desert in January 1991.

We were busy when we received word that a journalist was on his way to the command post. This was not the kind of distraction that any of us wanted.

Brigadier General Tommy R. Franks set us straight. This wasn't just any journalist. This was Joe Galloway who had spent 3 days and nights at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley with 1-7 Cavalry, a squadron of 1st Cavalry Division.

Most of us were somewhat familiar with the story of 1-7 Cav in the Ia Drang. Some of us even knew the story of Joe Galloway. Many did not.

Joe Galloway not only covered the fight in LZ X-Ray, he fought along side the Cav troopers. And now here he was, 25 years later, to write a story on the present day 1-7 Cav.

Some months later back at Fort Hood, I bought the book Galloway co-authored with Lieutenant General (Retired) Hal Moore, We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young. I could not put it down. I had read a lot of war-related books, but none like this. I only thought I knew the story of the Ia Drang campaign.

Years later the book was made into a movie starring Mel Gibson. An excellent movie. The first honest look at the Vietnam War. But the movie only covers the first half of the book -- 1-7 Cav's fight in LZ X-Ray. You'll need to read the book to learn of 2-7 Cav's day of hell in LZ Albany.

If you've seen the movie and have thought that the situation 1-7 Cav was in could not get more dire, the story of 2-7 Cav in LZ Albany will wrench your gut and break your heart.

Of the many Cav troopers Galloway and Moore write about, one captured my attention for the sheer bravery he displayed against all odds. Bravery and valor that stood out among many brave and valorous men.

Rick Rescorla fought in both X-Ray and Albany and it is not by happenstance that his picture graces the cover of the book.

Lieutenant Rick Rescorla

His troops and fellow officers called him "Hardcore".

From We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young:

The most savage one-day battle of the Vietnam War had just begun. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry had walked into a hornet's nest.

A deadly ordeal by fire was beginning in the tall elephant grass around Albany and along the column of American troops strung out through the jungle, waiting for orders to move. It was 1:15 p.m., Wednesday, November 17. By the time the battle ended, in the predawn darkness the next morning, 155 American soldiers would be dead and another 124 wounded.

Those who survived would never forget the savagery, the brutality, the butchery of those sixteen hours.

[Rick Rescorla and his men, recovering from 3 days of intense combat in LZ X-Ray, had only been back at the base camp for a few hours when they got the word that they would be going into LZ Albany.]

"At about 1600 hours," Lieutenant Rick Rescorla recalls, "Captain Diduryk walked up. 'Get the Company together. Battalion's catching hell. We may have to go in. You're the only platoon leader left in the Company. Help all the platoons get their shit together.' Men spilled out of the Clubs and double-timed to their equipment. They worked quickly, throwing on their harnesses. No protests, but their eyes were filled with disbelief. Again? Diduryk then issued the shortest frag order in Bravo Company history: 'We'll be landing from the southeast. Open fire at anything on your left. Run to your right.' A hostile landing with one side of the landing zone held by the North Vietnamese. Situation Report from the ground: Grim. Expect to be sandwiched between friendly and enemy fires."

At about 5:45 p.m., Rescorla gathered the platoons. "They pressed in close, listening intently to every word. Eighty or more. Young faces, old hollow eyes. 'You know the battalion is in the shit,' I said. 'We have been selected to jump into that shit and pull them out. If you fight like you did at X-Ray you'll come through it. Stay together. Come out of those choppers ready to get it on.'

"Across the field the first lift ships were sweeping in. 'Head 'em up.' Captain Diduryk growled. I turned and walked ahead. The road stretched out past the permanent hooches of the rear echelon at Holloway. Word spread that we were on a suicide flight. Tumbling out of cozy bunks, Holloway's finest lined the road to watch us depart. Hawaiian shirts, aviator shades, jeans, beer cans in hand. Cooks and bottle washers, the shit-burners, projectionists, club runners. Same Army, different species."

"No one had shaved, but our weapons sparkled.

'What outfit are you?' one spectator asked.

'The Hard Corps of Bravo Company, 2nd of the 7th.

'Where are you headed?'

'To kick ass,' I replied."

"First pass over Albany I stared down into the smoke and dust. Between the trees were the scattered khaki bodies of at least a dozen NVA. They lay face up on the brown gravel of a dry streambed. Firing snapped around us. We circled out to safety. 'NVA bodies. You see them?', I yelled. Fantino shook his head. He had been looking out the other side. 'Lots of American dead down there, Sir. Mucho!' On the second pass I saw the blackened track of the napalm. American bodies and equipment dotted between the anthills and scrub brush. Getting ground fire; the pilot was clearly upset, hunched low. He jabbered into his mike, expressing doubt that we would get down. Darkness was closing in around us. I stood on the skids hovering at least twelve feet over the LZ. Too high."

The sound of two bullets hitting forced Rescorla back. "Looking sideways I saw a trickle of blood down the pilot's sleeve. The chopper dropped a few feet. The pilot yelled at the gunner. The gunner snarled, 'Get out.' I hesitated. "Get the f*** out!" Four of us dropped a bone-jarring ten feet. We were on our own. Up ahead we heard sounds of American voices. We sprinted into the perimeter."

Lieutenant Larry Gwin watched the reinforcements arrive: "I saw Rick Rescorla come swaggering into our lines with a smile on his face, an M-79 on his shoulder, his M-16 in one hand saying: 'Good, good, good! I hope they hit us with everything they got tonight -- we'll wipe them out.' His spirit was catching. The troops were cheering."

Two years ago, I was reading Bill Gertz's book, Breakdown, when I learned of Rick Rescorla's death. I felt as if I had been punched hard in the stomach.

On September 11, 2001, Rick Rescorla was at his desk on the 44th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when the first hijacked airliner slammed into the North Tower. He was the vice president for security at Morgan Stanley.

As Bill Gertz relates in his book:

Rescorla sprang into action. Grabbing a bullhorn, he went to work in the same calm fashion he showed under intense combat fire in Vietnam.

The company had 3,700 employees in the World Trade Center -- 2,700 employees in the South Tower on floors forty-four through seventy-four and 1,000 employees in Building Five across the plaza. There was no hesitation. He ordered everyone to evacuate the building immediately.

A short time after the aircraft hit, an official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the Trade Center towers, called. Everyone in the building should stay put because there was no danger, the Port Authority man said. Rescorla shot back: "Piss off, you son of a bitch. Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it's going to take the whole building with it. I'm getting my people the f*** out of here." He recounted the exchange in a telephone call to his longtime friend Dan Hill, then ran off and began helping the evacuation.

By the time the second hijacked airliner hit the South Tower at 9:07 a.m., most of the company's employees were out. But Rescorla's work was not finished. Three employees were missing. Rescorla and two assistants went back to look for them. Rescorla was last seen on the tenth floor of the burning tower. He died when the building collapsed a short time later. But he had saved thousands of lives. Out of 3,700 employees, Morgan Stanley lost only six, including Rescorla.

I met Joe Galloway again at Fort Leavenworth in 1996. He was a guest speaker at the Command & General Staff College. His topic was on the media and the military (Joe Galloway is responsible, more than any other person, for the concept of embedded media).

We were chatting backstage and I thanked him for telling the story of the 1st Cavalry Division in the Ia Drang. I asked about meeting some of the soldiers who had fought in LZ X-Ray and LZ Albany. I specifically asked about meeting Rick Rescorla. Mr. Galloway smiled at the mention of Rescorla's name and told me that it would tickle Rescorla pink to talk with a young 1st Cavalry Division veteran.

I kept that as one of my goals. To meet Rick Rescorla.

If I make it to Heaven, he'll be one of the first angels I look up.



The FReeper Foxhole Remembers LZ Albany (11/17/1965) - Apr. 6th, 2005

Thanks for mentioning the blog,Sam. And thanks for all you've done and continue to do for our country. -- Monk

Slouching Towards Secession

I first read of secession talk the day after the election. I laughed. Afterall, I told myself, consider the sources: leftwing blogs, forums, websites and bulletin boards. Way, way leftwing. I've noted some of them previously.

When I doodled the graphic for the Bureau Of Liberal Affairs post, it was all in good fun. It was to, as Rush says, demonstrate absurdity (secession) with absurdity (reservations for Liberals).

It has been fascinating watching the Left come undone. I find myself waiting for this little guy

to pop out of one of them and go scurrying across the stage on national television.

Or perhaps one day soon we will witness Lawrence O'Donnell really lose it:

By the way, remember Ripley?

Hurt me.

Hmmmmm ... there was a point to this post, but I seem to have lost track . . .

Oh. Right.

Read Tony Blankley's editorial, Secession. Excerpts below.

Now where did I put that Alien DVD?

The apotheosis of this political dementia was put forward in my very presence on last week's McLaughlin Group by my friend and colleague Lawrence O'Donnell. Lawrence, in cool blood and in apparent full control of his senses, asserted that this election will give rise to a serious consideration of secession from the Union by the blue states.

I should point out that, though Lawrence has been barking more than usual in this election season's TV commentary, he is a brilliant political analyst and a serious Democratic Party player. He was the late Sen. Moynihan's top Senate staffer. He comes from one of the great Democratic Party families. I believe it was his uncle who was President Kennedy's White House chief of staff. He is also the most gifted writer/producer on the NBC show, "West Wing." He is not one of those no-name nitwits who the cable shows pull from obscurity to recite Democratic Party talking points.

I elaborate on his enviable pedigree and qualities of mind and experience, because if he says such a thing to a television audience of 6 million viewers, it must surely reflect some measurable body of senior Democratic Party sentiment. And although it is inconceivable that any senior elected Democratic Party officials would ever repeat or act on such a deranged notion, it is a measure of how deep is the Democratic Party elite's contempt for and estrangement from the American public.

Read more

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bureau of Liberal Affairs

Power Line reports that talks of secession are spreading among Democrats:

Threats of secession have brought out the best in our readers. Nathan Bissonette writes:

The secessionists are looking at the state-by-state Red/Blue map. A better indicator is the county-by-county Red/Blue map [on which almost all of the counties are red, even in the blue states]. Liberals don't need to secede. We need to turn Blue counties into Liberal Reservations, just like Indian Reservations. They can have their own law requiring taxpayer funded partial birth abortions, and we can have ours prohibiting it. Women who want one can visit the reservation, just as they did to get divorced in Reno, and just as they do to play the slots at Mystic Lake. I nominate Al Gore for Commissioner of the Bureau of Liberal Affairs to run the reservations, hopefully as efficiently and courteously as BIA works now.

So I got to thinking about it and I got to doodling:

Click on photo to enlarge

And I got to liking Nathan's idea even more.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Things We Take For Granted

Waking up in the middle of the night in a warm house in the winter to get a glass of cold water from the refrigerator.

Stepping into a hot shower and staying as long as we want or until the hot water runs out -- whichever comes first.

Jumping in the car/truck/jeep just to scoot down the road, to get away, maybe enjoy the turning of the Autumn leaves.

Punching in a number to call a friend.

Staying cool when it's hot, warm when it's cold, dry when it's wet.

Fast food, fine dining.

Pizza. Delivery or frozen.

He hardly has a free minute of time and when he does there's not a lot to do with it. But sleep. Sleep beautiful sleep. Napoleon supposedly said that he would not give up the luxury of a bed for the highest throne. Ditto.

He is abroad, thousands of miles from home, from loved ones, from comfort. He wonders if he might never see home again, might never hold her again, but he doesn't dwell on it. He has to stay focused.

Which is not a difficult thing for him to do. Not in this hostile place where he does his work.

As he laces up his boots in the dark, he wonders if Auburn's for real this year. Seems like it. Undefeated so far. It's 0400 hours. Stand to. Long day ahead. Long, long day. And probably a long night. He's operated on less than 4 hours of sleep per night for the last 90 days. Probably no sleep tonight.

He can hear his platoon sergeant outside the tent talking over the diesel engines. The ammo truck is outside and a detail is offloading crates.

He snaps the chinstrap of his Kevlar helmet, velcros his Kevlar vest, buckles his load-bearing equipment, picks up his M-16 and works the action. He cleaned it before he went to sleep. The condom is securely over the muzzle. It keeps the sand and dust out. The sand gets into everything. Hair, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, uniform. Clean uniforms last about 15 minutes before they get that stiff crunchy feel.

He walks outside the tent. His platoon sergeant is checking ammo crates as the detail breaks them open. Soon everyone will be issued a full load of ammo. He checks his ammo pouches to make sure he has all his magazines.

The artillery explosions have been going non-stop. He wonders how he ever learned to sleep through it. He remembers when he once thought it impossible to do so. Artillery is a beautiful thing, though. Burn 'em down, he thinks. Burn as many of 'em down as you can.

In the distance he sees a steady stream of fire pouring down (it seems from the clouds), as AC-130s work over their targets. This is followed by secondary explosions on the ground that light up the sky. Then there's a single brilliant flash and a tremendous explosion. It's either a B-52 arclight or a JDAM hitting home. He can hear the distinct sound of Apache helicopters, but can't see them. It's Dante's inferno up there! Is this what his Dad meant when he said beneath the midnight sun they had walked the edge of hell?



The Colonel talked to the battalion yesterday and said the battalion was gonna start at one end of the city and fight through until it gets to the other end. He feels a little less confident than the Colonel sounded, but he's ready. The platoon is squared away and well-led.

His platoon sergeant is grinning at something one of the squad leaders just said. Everyone is going about final preparations. Finishing up their MRE breakfast.

The artillery and rocket strikes are intensifying. The AC-130s departed at first light. They're easy targets during the day. Air strikes are still going in. F-16s and A-10s and the Apaches, of course.

The platoon sergeant raises his right hand over his head and makes a circling motion. Time to load up.

He climbs into the Bradley with his crew. Everyone is quiet. No chatter today.

She's probably getting off work about now.

The Bradley bucks forward, accelerates.

North to Fallujah.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Alabama-style Shrimp Bake

Here's one for the holidays .. or any day, really.


Doesn't take long to prepare and will knock your socks off.

Note: The serving size is for 6, but get ready for a fight if you have more than 3 dinner guests. No matter what other dish you're serving. It's that good.

The recipe comes from The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Cookbook:

Alabama-style Shrimp Bake

1 cup butter or margarine, melted [The Monk uses real butter]
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 pounds unpeeled large or jumbo fresh shrimp
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced

Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs

Combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside

Rinse shrimp with cold water; drain well.

Layer shrimp, lemon slices, and onion slices in an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish.

Pour butter mixture over shrimp.

Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, basting occasionally with pan juices.

Garnish, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings. (SEE Note above)


Saturday, November 06, 2004

Pray For Our Military Families

I noticed, on Drudge, a story about Marines praying before battle and I decided to do something I don't ordinarily do.

I want to share with you an email I recently received from an old friend.

Please tell everyone thanks for voting. Buy them a beer
if they voted for President Bush. What a load lifted from
our shoulders!

We are usually too busy to think about home, but the
election weighed heavily on us. The results have
confirmed for us that the American people support us
and what we're doing.

We're gearing up for a big fight. Ours will be with the
terrorist thugs in Fallujah. Beyond that I can say
little else.

I included the Psalms verses you sent when I
talked to the men.

We are ready. We are about a great work.

Pray for our families. Ask our Holy Father to give them
strength in these days to come.


[name withheld]

Battle is hard. Watching and waiting from the sidelines is hard, too .. especially when you feel completely helpless to affect the outcome.

Our military families live this every day. Only a soldier would ask for prayers for his family and not think to ask us to pray for him.

I am reminded of what Jesus said of the centurion: I have not found so great faith.

The Psalms my friend referred to is Psalms 18:32-42

It is God that girdeth me with strength,
and maketh my way perfect.

He maketh my feet like hinds' feet,
and setteth me upon my high places.

He teacheth my hands to war,
so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:
and thy right hand hath holden me up,
and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me,
that my feet did not slip.

I have pursued mine enemies,
and overtaken them:
neither did I turn again
till they were consumed.

I have wounded them that they were not able to rise:
they are fallen under my feet.

For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle:
thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies;
that I might destroy them that hate me.

They cried,
but there was none to save them:
even unto the LORD,
but he answered them not.

Then did I beat them small
as the dust before the wind:
I did cast them out
as the dirt in the streets.