RANGER AGAINST WAR: Back Street Boys <

Monday, March 17, 2008

Back Street Boys

Brigadier General James Milano (center)
at a project for water pumping and sewage removal

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may ask yourself--well...how did I get here?
--Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads

Though I spends me time
In the ashes and soot

In this 'ole wide world

There's no 'appier bloke

--Chim Chim Cheree
, Mary Poppins


The thought of Dick Van Dyke as Bert the Chimney Sweep comes to mind after reading this article and hearing George W. Bush speak recently of the
romance of the thing. Yes, he must 'ave had an image of Bertie singing whilst cleaning wot put 'im in mind of pining over missing the romantic side of it. President Bush is daft if he thinks such things are romantic, or he has a coprophilic kink.

Remember when Colin Powell used his head for something other than a hat rack? Loosely translated, he said, "If you break it, you buy it," and clearly it is broken. This presumes we broke it, but the Iraqi infrastructure was dilapidated when we crossed their borders.

If their state was functioning on an adequate level, then why did we break it?

U.S. News and World reports on "The Hard Slog to Restore Public Services to Iraq":

"These types of problems are [Gen. Milano's] daily grind, with an assignment that has placed him in charge of overseeing the restoration of essential services to the Iraqi capital; that includes electricity, hospitals, sewers, and drinking water."

Ranger has some questions:
  1. Why is an Assistant Division Commander of an infantry division responsible for the above functions? As ADC his job should be to assist the Division Commander in fighting his division. Combat officers are not public service souls; their jobs are to break and destroy things. So why assign him as an angel of mercy?
  2. Where is the State Department in this picture? This is their venue, so why are they MIA?
  3. Is this why we surged -- so excrement will flow in Baghdad sewers?
  4. Why is the U.S. Army performing functions that should be the purview of the Iraqi National Government?

"If the project isn't completed on schedule in August, the local residents can look forward to another sweltering summer with tides of raw sewage flowing through their streets. "If we don't get the essential services done this year, I don't know when we will ever be able to do it," says Milano. 'The infrastructure is degrading, the people have little faith that the central government can deliver, and the security window could easily close.'"

Obviously the people should have no faith in a central government that does not deliver goods and services. We will hold off comments on New Orleans at this juncture.

"The Americans want to see the government of Iraq employ members of the largely Sunni awakening groups, many now being paid by the United States to help secure their neighborhoods. Getting those men to put down their guns and accept, say, a civil service job could cement security gains and increase employment. But the Shiite-led central government is making slow work of the task. Only a few hundred have been transitioned into the police forces or the army. Fewer still have made the change to civil service jobs like picking up trash."

"The Americans want to see"? It is not about what the U.S. wants, it is about what the Iraqi government is willing and able to do. Hasn't anyone read the Petraeus COIN manual? It's not about us, it's about them.

"To resolve the endless problems, the Iraqi government has appointed a special council to oversee the process and meet regularly with Milano."

Why are the Iraqis meeting with Milano?

"Right now, the general can use any help he can get."

Why does the general need any help at all? This is not his problem, this is not his job description, this is not his country.

Gen. Milano is a combat soldier and my taxes pay his salary for him to be a combat soldier, not a garbage collector.

Ranger posits Gen. Milano get out of the way and let the Iraqis solve their own problems.
If the U.S. Army is a utilities type concern, then let us do the garbage pick up in our country where it will benefit the taxpayers.

If you want to be a street cleaner go to any metro area in the U.S. Come to the hamlets of the homeland, for that matter. And if you're successful, we will give you another star.

Right on your forehead.

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Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Dude, you rock! Great post, as usual.

Imagine the recruitment slogan--"Become a plumber in the New Army". Every young person in America will flock to the military. They'll all say, "I can't wait to become a plumber. I heard they kill."

Monday, March 17, 2008 at 7:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


After they complete their deployment as overseas Super, they can apply to become a White House plumber.

As Jim always says, flush twice, it's a long way to the Pentagon.

Monday, March 17, 2008 at 7:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Roger said...

Back when I was a 2LT of the Engineers serving in the division battalion of the 9th ID at Ft Lewis in the mid 1970's, I had a very tired E-7 assigned as my platoon seargent. He was very close to retiring, so he was better at telling stories than keeping the squad leaders hopping.
One story he told was how as a young engineer soldier he had deploy to Vietnam with the 4th ID. He said that the engineers went in advance of the rest of division. They built nice base camp and everything was fine he said. Then the infantry arrived.
Immediately the VC/NVA started shelling the base camp.

Maybe the infantry should leave Iraq.

Monday, March 17, 2008 at 8:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

roger .
roger that.
One of the big lies is that fighting them there keeps us from fighting here. If we left today the war would end and Iraq and Afghanistan would be forced to reach realistic accomodations with their citizenry-or not.Our Army is not responsible for solving their political problems.
Leaving theater tomorrow is leaving one day too late. jim

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 9:06:00 AM GMT-5  

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