Archive for 2005

How Did WWII Afftect Newspaper Editors?

December 12th, 2005 by xformed

Jim Sr. and I went to hear of the exploits of two men who served as armor officers in Patton’s 3rd Army during the fight across Europe, but we got something different.

On December 1sth, a lecture was sponsored by the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg Campus, that featured Eugene Patterson and John Germany. Eugene spent from 1943 through the end of the war as a platoon leader in tanks as part of the 10th Armored Division. John arrived later in the war as a replacement platoon commander in the 13th Armored Division, taking the place of a Lt killed in action, for a unit that had seen plenty of action prior to his arrival. Both men had grown up in the southern part of the country, and after the war, Eugene went on to be the editor of first the Atlanta Constitution, the Washington Post and later the St Petersburg Times. John became a lawyer, and later a judge in the Florida.

Eugene began the evening by reading us a letter he had written to his granddaughter, who was working on a paper for her journalism class. Her question to her grandfather was how did the war experience shape the newspaper editors’ perspective? As he read his response, I heard some interesting things and I believe a key to why the MSM is how they are today.

Eugene began by saying what had really changed was they came back from the war as Americans, that the southern legacy of the Confederacy no longer held it’s allure for them as Southerners. Next he said the GI Bill had “emancipated the ignorant of the South.” I understood this, but that short sentence put it in a better, more far reaching perspective for me. Those both are huge issues in the growth of our nation. First is that having had the depth of bonding between men in combat, they had begun their training as strangers from all over the country, and ended up with deep friendships, now with the shared stories of their fellow soldiers from all parts and economic backgrounds. The second part of that opening indicated the GI Bill brought college to many who would have never had the opportunity otherwise. It seems to be common wisdom that that great plan gave us the men who helped continue the economic improvements that made us the unequaled world leader we have become.

Eugene went on to say the men changed as a result of their experiences of the terrible battlefields. They came to be able to recognize straight talking leaders easily and also had known real fear. They took this “education” from the war zone to their professional and personal lives after the war. He then went on to list a number of major newspaper editors who had served in the Army, Marines and Navy. Following these statements, he next said something very interesting. He then began telling the story of the desegregation movement, from the view of a major newspaper editor. He said they (the editors he mentioned earlier) had been around the world and seen things done differently, and it was time for a change in our nation. I then heard a story of how he and his reporters became a supporting organization for the desegregation movement. I think this is wonderful, certainly from a moral position, but the sense I got was he, and these other editors, decided they were going to use their papers to make this change happen. He didn’t speak as though he made sure his reporters reported the news, but that they went out of their way to make the news. His story came more from the perspective of an engaged participant, rather than an objective observer.

I think this is a key to today’s media “activism” in the war with Iraq. Could this generation of editors, the men who had gained a new life perspective from WWII have even preceded the activist leanings we saw from the press in opposing the Vietnam War? I think that when there are allusions about the media seeking their “glory days” of the Vietnam era, I suspect it goes further back to the 50’s when these WWII vets became the people in the influential news media.

During the Q&A period, Eugene went on to comment that “we must have newspaper journalism” for “we tell you what the Government is doing.” He made these remarks with great emphasis, as though he viewed the government as something to be consistently under suspicion. In doing a little research tonight, as I cleaned up this post, I found Eugene Patterson was the Washington Post editor when the Pentagon Papers were published. I’d certainly say it was his passion to be an agent of change in our society.

I think this holds another key to the attitude of the media. Rather than a vehicle to consolidate news from all over, they have decided they are self-appointed watchdogs for the people. I have long objected to this philosophy, which I first heard come from the mouth of Fred Francis, then with CNN, at a conference on media relations held at the Naval War College in the fall of 1987. Fred stood in the auditorium and announced that he worked for the American people and if he asked one of us a question, we were obligated to answer him, no matter what the security implications may be. Trust me, in a room full of military officers, he didn’t get a warm response. At least he was balanced by presence of Tom Brokaw and Carl Rochelle, who had recently returned from the Persian Gulf in the middle of the Iran-Iraq Tanker Wars. The two of them expressed a desire to get the news out, but understood it was sometimes necessary to hold the release until American/allied troops were no longer at risk.

As I consider this set of circumstances, and the philosophical positions taken, I thought of how the current set of conditions around the GWoT will shape our future leaders. Last week, on a talk show, a caller said his son had generally been apolitical all along, but in the last few weeks, once the Democrats began calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, he told his dad many of he and his fellow soldiers were so disgusted, that they were becoming Republicans. I suspect, after having the battlefield experiences, they, too, will return with a healthy appreciation of straight talking leaders, coupled with a real knowledge of fear. They’ll know how to peg those people quickly, and the others they will detect for their lack of loyalty and self serving attitudes. Consider our young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will come home and be able to attend college, and then enter the professional world, knowing there are those who did not support them when they were in a war. With the legacy of activism established by the veterans of WWII, our modern day warriors have ample precedent to do the same thing, but from the right side of the political perspective, I’d venture. Possibly, and I can only conjecture, they will come home with a burning desire to ensure the country supports it’s warriors.

All in all, it was a night when Jim Sr. and I expected to hear some war stories, but the talk and discussions afterwards almost exclusively focused on social change and the role of “print journalism” in affecting that.

Update: HT to Mudville Gazette Dawn Patrol for a post by They Call US “Doc” about the 278th RCT Commander from their local paper, the Tessessean. It conveys a little piece of what people get as a new perspctive on life from war zone experiences…

“Things here are important, obviously, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m not going to lose my life if I miss a deadline. There, you lose your life for something similar. I think everybody who was over there is going to have that same attitude.”
– LtCol Jeffrey Holmes

Full disclosure: I’m no journalist. I just enjoy sampling life and believe I stumbled across something worth “reporting.” My own thoughts are blended in, so this is my editorial on the topic, and not “news.”

Category: Army, History, Military, Military History, Political | 1 Comment »

“DOH!” Moment of the Day – CIA Knows More

November 29th, 2005 by

Stunned, STUNNED I AM!

CNN is reporting that the CIA knows more about Osama bin Laden than they are saying…

I think a Louisville Slugger sized clue bat needs to be applied here…

When did Homer go to work for AP??

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Congressman Sam Johnson Responds to Jack Murtha

November 29th, 2005 by

I could be jaded and maybe biased, but this speech was made by Congressman Sam Johnson from the 3rd Congressional District in Texas on the 17th of November. Why didn’t the press manage to blast this one out on every outlet they had?

As I contended a few days ago, Congressman Jack Murtha may be a veteran, but I suggested those with more background on the subject would have been more appropriate speakers to the strategic and geopolitical issues at hand.

I think Sam Johnson is well qualified to disccus the matters of morale as a result of the contreversy that has followed the Democratic demand to pull out of Iraq.

Thank you, Congressman Johnson, for your commitment to serve in the very bad times, as well as the good, and to continue to serve this nation.

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The XBox 360 is Here! Did the DoD Play a Role?

November 23rd, 2005 by

A while back I blogged on some history of training development I worked on in the Navy with the Battle Force Tactical Trainer (BFTT) project, begun by Capt. Herb Kahler in the early 90s….

Does the new XBox 360 owe a tip of the hat to a bunch of war fighters and federal tax doallars for it’s development? hmmm…consider how your tax dollars keep giving and giving….

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Broadening the Viewpoint – Information Warfare

November 22nd, 2005 by

I checked Chapomatic’s blog this morning and enjoyed his article and the links to the issue of pulling out of Iraq.

I began what I thought would be a short comment, but it grew.

Here are my thoughts (first read his post, “I just Don’t Get It” to get the flow of my discussion:

I just had a scary thought….

Common thread: The strategic tool that gets us to the tipping point for those events listed is the Media.. I have long thought, since my college days after Vietnam, that war was going to be waged in very different spheres, the press being one. Subsequently, we saw our peace partner, Japan, wage an economic war agaisnt pretty much the rest of the world. We, to some extent, did a similar thing to the USSR under Reagan, but, I have never felt the NCA, and alkl of us who have or are working for same, really “get it.” It’s not just on the physical field of battle where we must excel.

As I wrote that line, we have become the Redcoats, in our rectangular formations, while the farmers and indians send small, “untrained” (meaning tactailally thinking unconstrained) bands to pick at our flanks, until we can no longer see how to win.

Yes, there is Information Warfare, but we seem to continue to confine it to a mostly military discipline.

This IW is much, much bigger than that, and, as I said in one of my posts, they may not have tractors from John Deere to harvest rice and rubber, but they still understood a part of the spectrum far better than we did then and possibly even now.

I heard rumors some of the very first visitors to the new Sandanista government were NVA types, particularly to get them geared up in the IW arena against us. Congress also took a serious swipe at our national security there, as they were defeated in the press, the same as they had been during Vietnam. And, here we go again!

Now to the scary thought: Make PAO staff types part of the unrestricted line, based on the rising importance (or at least so we can catch up) in IW.

Doesn’t that send a shiver up your spine? I don’t think we can afford to “outsource” this to the press corps any longer….

Anyhow, to add one more pice of a puzzle, as we don’t see the Republicans, or the President using in your face verbal assualts on the opposition, neither do we see him going after the global enemy in the World press, as they are dong to us. Time to take the gloves off, in my opinion, in the War of Words, and put the Islamic agenda out for what it is, adn has been since AD 622, when Mohammed and about 200 followers went to Medina, expansion and control of the world, pure and simple.

The particulars of which specific tools we have to wage war have changed, but the underlying premise of why hasn’t.

See this trackback to Mudville Gazette for Greyhawk’s added commentary on the post from Chapomatic…

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A Different Take on “Cut and Run”

November 21st, 2005 by

Just a little over-analysis but, you’re here now…

“Cut and Run” – Democratic Strategic Plan. Brilliant in it’s use of few words, so the kids of the country that aren’t getting a quality education can hope to follow along (thank you, NEA). Also, Marlene Caroselli would approve, I’m sure.

I like to divide their words and expose what it really means:

“Cut” the head off of Nick Berg and Christian school girls. If you can, cut off President Bush’s head before a world audience, if you can get so lucky as to have the Democrats take over the nation. This, dear people, is what the Democrats are afraid to discuss, but, they have nailed the enemy’s strategy.

“Run” away like the frightened knights in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail.” This is what the the non-courageous do when faced with a tough job. That would be the strategy of the Democrats. Here is what it sounds like in practical application.

And now, I can hardly wait to here this as a result of my commentary….

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Echos of the Vietnam War Today

November 18th, 2005 by

In the fall of 1987, we had a lecture in the big auditorium at the Naval War College.

I sure wish I had more than mental notes about it, but here’s what I recall:

There was a three day conference on the media and one of the resentations was by someone who had researched on the theory that there had been little support for the Vietnam war. He had pulled together the opinion polls from a substantial period of the conflict and showed some interesting things:

1) Most people did support the war. The numbers for those supporting the war remained above 50% until the Tet Offensive (early 1968), then declined slightly after that for the general population.

2) The “belief” that older people and college educated people didn’t support the war was debunked, showing that both of these categories supported the war, for the most part, at higher percentages than the rest of the population, but it was the college educated group that had consistently shown the highest support for the war.

3) The one group that had the lowest support for the war, and it dramatically fell after the Tet Offensive, was Congress.

So, here we are and this has become a “quagmire.” Not in the rice paddies of the Mekong River delta, or in the triple canopy jungle of the highlands, it was at the end of the Mall in Washington, DC, fueled by special interest groups.

Once more, we are faced with our politicians, led by John Murtha and John Kerry, who are about to hand a victory to the enemy, the ones who do not want us out, they just want us subjugated (at the least), or dead, at the best.

I found this interesting commentary at Veterans Today, about that war from almost 40 years gone by, which shows we had victory almost within our reach, and the anti war crowd (led by Congress) allowed it to be unreachable. Nothing like quotes from the enemy to let you know how close you were, or how right you were..

“However, he read U.S. newspaper reports and editorials which claimed TET was a communist victory rather than an American one. General Giap read in these same U.S. newspapers about our campus protests and anti-war activities. He came to realize that the American military did not have the support of the citizens. He changed his strategy from aggression to attrition. He believed he did not have to defeat America to win. He saw that America would defeat itself. He simply needed to hang on. Consequently, General Giap did not surrender. He simply hung on.

In 1971 and 1972, the United States military launched a relentless bombing campaign against North Viet Nam. Most major factories were destroyed. The morale of the people and the NVA was broken. As he stated in this same interview, General Giap was about to surrender a second time. Again he read the news accounts of public protests, university campuses in shambles and marches in the streets in opposition to the war. The unrest in America gave him the resolve to stick to his strategy….just hold on. America will defeat herself. Again, he did not surrender, but simply hung on.

Although he made several profound statements, General Giap shared how important the American media was to his cause. He called our newspapers and university campuses his “Fifth Column” and said they accomplished more than his own army. In fact, as early as 1966 the (North) Viet Namese News Agency wrote “We praise the American peace champions. The movement of the American people to protest against the war of aggression has really become the second front against U.S. imperialists.”

The bottom line: Congress lost their nerve and lots of people in SW Asia died as a result. And don’t forget, that was a war begun with Eisenhower at a low level with money and material for the French, but it took Kennedy and Johnson to really dig us in deep. Nixon got us out, and then was blamed for most of the things that went wrong. If the Democrats hadn’t engaged us so deeply, Nixon wouldn’t have had to pull us out. So, that said, who really is to blame?

More importantly, how will we do it this time?

Another issue: By the nature of the “employment,” service members on active duty don’t really have a voice, nor will they go very far when commenting on such issues as we are now faced with.

I wonder why the voices of combat soldiers and Marines, who are presently in theater, or have recentlt served are not being considered. They aren’t, because it might disprove the lies (a partial truth is a lie, which “partial truths” are those things meant to mislead).

One post in particular that would say we are winning is this one, titled Id al-Fitr.

That link is to but one of many that are reports from the front line of what goes on daily in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are winning with muddy boot diplomacy, backed by thousands and thousands of people world-wide, who provide things for the troops to use to build good will and equip a reforming nation.

I’ll also throw this story in, as a memory from November, 1963: I was living on Okinawa, in base housing at Kishaba Terrace on Ft Buckner. My neighbors were Green Berets, and next door to me was then Major David Watts (he made it to MG, I found out about 8 years ago). I played with his two sons, and he built us a tree house, and gave me a Green Beret from the 5th Special Forces Group. I know when President Kenedy was assasinated, those soldiers from the Special Forces were devastated, having lost not only their benefactor, but a combat veteran worthy of putting their lives on the line for to pay any price and bear any burden.

I ask, in light of this display of affection and respect for John F. Kennedy: Where are the Democrats who are worthy of having their stories written into a book titled something like “Profiles in Courage?” We need them right now.

Thanks to The Political Teen and Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Category: Geo-Political, History, Military, Political | Comments Off on Echos of the Vietnam War Today

College Professor Calls for Assassination of the President

November 18th, 2005 by

I quote from the Constition of the United States:

Article 2, Clause 1: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;…”

John Daly of Warren Community College sent an email to a student who was planning to have an Army Lt Colonel Scott Rutter speak on the campus about what was happening in Iraq. One line in it, this english professor said: “Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors.”

Am I misreading the Constition, or is this English professor advocating a military coup, through the vehicle of murder, which would include “superiors,” the most superior of which is the President of the United Sates.

I wonder if he felt that dogs barking at terror suspects being held in Abu Gharib prison was too extreme and considered torture? Seems like a case of situational ethics, all for his personal agenda.

If I’m not wrong, it’s time for a vist to John Daly from the Secret Service, for he has communicated a death threat towards the President.

In the rest of the text, he commented on how US sanctions on Iraq (meaning UN sanctions in fact) killed thousands of Iraqi children.

“…you can begin with the more than a million children who have died in Iraq from U.S.-imposed sanctions and war.”

Note to clueless John Daly: Good move, bucko. Lets suggest murder for murder. The only problem is that rudderless, increasingly irrelevant institution of the UN was in concert with the embargos, and also the leadership of the UN raked in the cash by the billions, while those children starved, watching the new palaces go in along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Stick to English, or brush up on your history. Would you consider condemin the rightful inflictors of the human pain, or are you just mad at George Bush for not wanting to fund NPR?

My suggestion to you: How about you pack your bags and find Osama bin Laden. I’m sure he’s down with that Hammurabi law code deal from ancient times. You’ll feel right at home living about several thousand years in the past with the Islamic world domination group. Oh, and study up on how to pay your tribute to your new masters, just in case they give you that option when you convert to worship Allah. Just know, holding onto an atheistic position will get you called infidel, just like the rest of use.

Update: It seems the President of Warren Community College believes that John Daly is exercising his First Amendment rights with this harassment, and that Rebecca Beach’s expose of this to the media is giving the school a bad name. At least he’s right on the second part, but it’s her right to use the Constitution as well. The link to the article above have the details of this response from the school’s president.

Thanks to The Political Teen for the Open Post!

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Comments on Comments of Congressman Murtha

November 17th, 2005 by

This is what I’d call a “target rich environment.” I’m sure there are plenty of other bloggers out there who wil l have opinions on Congressman John Murtha’s demand to pull the US out of the Iraq War and to do it right now. Greyhawk of Mudville Gazettev has a rather cogent post up already, which speaks to the numbers of wounded quoted by Congressman Murtha, and how it implies over 15,000 of our troops have been horribly injured. It’s presented that way, more than likely intentionally, in order to bias public opinion.

I’m not one for wearing like a sailor, like I used to, but I think I will just refer to these types of people, who are obviously in the “game” only to further themselves, as: “Power Whores.” Quite simply, they will do anything to be in power. I’d think there is some pressure on Rep. Murtha in his district to really step up and show how much he hates the war, or risk losing his seat in the House. His speech today certainly showed us what he’s made of. He wants the seat.

Here’s another take on Rep. Murtha’s comments: Michael Savage said we must listen to Rep. Murtha, because he was a decorated combat veteran. I disagree that that is the going in position to accept him as a credible voice. I honor his service, which included time in Vietnam, but I’d like to see that he has some other experience from his 37 years in the Marines that would validate his understanding of grand strategy issues.

I scanned his webpage for information on his educational background, specifically looking for his attendance at any of the service war colleges. The closest connection I could find is he has an HONORARY degree (read: a piece of paper that implies no substantive understanding whatsoever) from the Army War College. Pardon my lack of bowing and scraping, but, big deal!

He served 37 years in the Marines, and began at the bottom of the enlisted ranks, and retired from the reserves as a colonel. Impressive. Most of his time was spent in the reserves (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but that hardly provided you with opportunities to be reguarly involved with situations that expand you understanding of strategic warfare. His own college degree was in economics, and he studied political science at Pitt.

My contention is he does not have any real standing to be able to be talking strategic moves. I would listen to him on tactics at the Company level, for he lived that in a combat zone.

About 40 years ago, the returning service men were spit on in many places. I’d like to think now, in only a fancify way, that the troops would love the chace to spit on you. Read this letter from a Sgt in the storied 101st Airborne Division, Army, telling it like he and his platoon feel about all of this. I’m ceratin that young man would like to be there to spit.

The difference is that military membet is that they have too much class to spit on congressmen. The “indoctrination” intro the service teaches you how to be a respectful of someone’s position, by virtue of their rank. Due to that, I suspect you will never see a service member doing anything less than showing these people respect.

Congressman Murtha, your comments are of value in that you have access to voicing your opinion, the same as I do, but I do not believe you have other than anecdotal understanding of the larger strategic picture that is being played out now in the war on terror.

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In Case You Were Curious – Valour-IT Project Results

November 14th, 2005 by

To begin with, don’t forget the Valour-IT Project is an ongoing thing. The fund raiser from 11/2-11/11/05 was but a moment to leverage off the Veteran’s Day Holiday for donations.

I was away from the net from Friday afternoon until last night. I had a hard time finind the consolidted After Action Report (AAR) on the big blogs (Mudville Gazette, Black Five, etc. I did find this wrap up on the project webiste (go figure!) and it’s incredible.

Note how a bunch of competetion by nature people got over enthused and instead of taking the $21,000 mark as the goal, each service branch team took that amount on as their goal. I was amazed myself to find out I hadn’t read the directions in my promotion, but I’ll take this type of failure any day….

Here’s the AAR from FbL, the project coordinator of Soldier’s Angels for this project, who took on this important project for our troops:

Fundraising Competition Totals

What can be said in the face of such amazing generosity, creativity and hard work? Mere words do not do justice to the impact you all will have on the wounded warriors who benefit from this. And superlatives cannot begin to describe the efforts and activities of those who have made it happen. You have gone far above and beyond the call of duty!

As for me, saying “thank you,” feels strange because I am not the one benefitting from this. But I sit here in awe and in tears as I try to comprehend the scope of what you have accomplished in these last ten days, and what it will do for beneficiaries of Valour-IT. It has exceeded expectations by such a scale that I can’t wrap my brain around it.

Our first fundraiser (in August) netted about $15,000 in three long weeks. I thought I was stepping out in faith by setting the bar for this one at $21,000 total in ten short days. Instead, you have more than quadrupled that! And there is still more to come as checks are counted and corporate matching funds come in. Current* totals (including auctions and online contributions not made through a team) are:

Donations Funds Average

209 $19,607.00 $93.81

Air Force
123 $11,114.11 $90.36

258 $23,652.57 $91.68

223 $23,831.76 $106.87

154 $10,128.00 $65.77

967 $88,333.44 $91.35

*The information in the table above is not official. It is gleaned from automated totals for teams as of midnight PST on November 11, the information from team auctions, and the PayPal email notifications of donations made. It does not include checks mailed in (believed to be a minimum of $5,000), or matching funds (unknown). When those totals become available (hopefully by Tuesday), this information will be updated and a final winning team can be declared.

Watch for another post soon, detailing significant contributions of time, PR, and hard work of various people.

posted by FbL @ 9:28 AM

I’m not sure if it’s factored in above (but I imagine it is) a total of $2638 was raised by things put up for auction by various people. Not bad for a bunch of people sitting around in their pj’s at a computer, I’d say!

As noted, “we” in the teams, really screwed up and assumed we were all supposed to get $21K each. I hate it when mistakes like this happen, but the up side is it seems someone with “means” (read money and a heart) has taken note of the success of the 10 days of fund raising and is discussing significant support for the Valour-IT Project. Check out what FbL says here, and, as she orders, pray and cross your fingers for success in the negotiaions…

The winners are the current comabt vets who have stepped up to the plate and taken what came their way. Thanks to all for your support.

Again, a reminder that this isn’t a one time project fund raiser, and not only this project, but others, need your support on an onging basis.


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