Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Doggies R Us

Truth and love must triumph over lies and hatred
--Vaclav Havel

We keep hearing assurances from the United States,

but we are, like, once bitten, twice shy

--Afghan President Hamid Karzai

During Ranger's time playing soldier the Marines had a derogatory term for doggies: Bullet Magnets. As though doggie wasn't lowly enough.

Welcome to the Phony War on Terror (
PWOT ©), the Great Equalizer: now members of both services have become bomb magnets, and it is no laughing matter. A recent 60 Minutes news report covered a purely volunteer EOD in Afghanistan whose mission it was to run roads and search, defuse and/or serve as targets for roadside bombs (IED's). the Unit was commanded by an 06 and appeared to be an element of the Michigan National Guard.

These soldiers are equipped with million dollar MRAP's that they use up at a rather quick pace, the concept being it is better to lose equipment than troops. A laudable concept, but a dream I had serves to make a pointed comment on the policy.

There was a dimensional element missing from the operational scenario that should have been addressed. It would benefit the unit's effectiveness if a Light Observation Helicopter (LOCH) with a mini gun were added to the teams.

This aircraft would operate as a "low bird" and air reconnaissance all likely bomber locations, and also help cut off avenues of escape after a manual bomb detonation. It appears that the Afghanistan IED's are electric capped and command-detonated, differing from those generally used in Iraq that were set off with wireless electronic detonations. The Afghanistan resistance is less sophisticated and limited to direct action.

Since an assigned helicopter could prove to be a valuable asset, so why are these soldiers going without? We are spending billions of dollars on Predators but cannot provide vertical support for troops doing an extremely hazardous job?

As for that job,
the bombs are aimed at U.S./NATO forces, not the Afghan people. The best way to neutralize these bombs is first to stay off the roads. This can be accomplished by putting our people on an airplane headed West.

If there are frequent IED's, then it is obvious that the people we are there to protect might have other goals than those being mouthed by Generals Petraeus and McChrystal. Just maybe.

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Anonymous barcalounger said...


Apologies beforehand. This comment is totally offtopic, delete it if you so choose. But you mentioned this man was at your commissioning ceremony. I just found out about this and thought I would give you a heads up.
Colonel Lewis Millet Dies At 88

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 11:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Actually COL. Millett presided over our commissioning service. BGSU 1968.
Thanks for the update.
He'll be missed and can't be replaced since live recipients of the MOH are not forth coming in this PWOT.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 10:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

As of now there are 149 living recipients of the MOH. The are dwindling and I can't help wonder why the military institutions don't demand living recipients simply as an institutional imperative.
The level of heroism has been met in many situations in which DSC s and other service equivalents have been awarded.
What gives? Are we afraid of what live heroes might want to say?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

sorry 148 is more correct.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 12:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i saw a grunt chopper pilot do a crude but very effective mine sweeping operation.

dude hitched up about 40 feet of chain link fence to his huey and dragged the field.

shit went off all over the fucking place.

one of the most disgusting things we were tasked to do was to farkle about smartly and draw contact for the arty and airdales to get their licks in.

re MOH: the old toast "to us, to those like us, damn few left."

rings sadly true doesn't it?

at first, i was a bit outraged at the willy nilly handing out of silver stars to folks like jessica lynch and pat tillman. calling shit like that a propaganda tool is giving propaganda tools a bad name.

then i remembered. i got my star during a time when selfless and beautiful heroism was the order of the day. i got noticed, partly because a lot of folks were watching while i did it, and partly on account of the guy i hauled back was a marine general's son.

the reality? dude owed me money from a poker game. i was goddamned gonna collect.

phoney decorations are perfect for this phoney fucking war.

maybe off topic but fuckitinabucket.

i've been reading "the war that killed achilles" by caroline alexander. it's taken me back to the iliad.

that epic is focused very narrowly, on two weeks in a ten year war. it starts with an account and description of the rage of achilles:

"sing, goddess, of the rage of achilles..."

thing is, achilles was raging against agamemnon. he spends the first book of the epic telling agamemnon that he is a for shit commander, and that his cause is not worth the lives of achilles and his mymidons, much less, the lives of the other greeks.

at one point achilles says:

i, for my part, did not come here for the sake of the trojan spearmen to fight against them, since they have done nothing to me.

they have not spoiled my crops nor stolen my sheep and horses.

...but for your sake, at your behest, thou great shamelessness, we have followed to do you a favor, you with your dog's eyes, to win back your slighted honour and the wife of menalos from the trojans..."

sort of reminds me of mohammed ali saying

"no viet cong ever called me nigger..."

anyhows, maybe it's apropos of nuthin...still, that fucking regions sure seems to attract pointless fucking bloodshed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 2:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It would benefit the unit's effectiveness if a Light Observation Helicopter (LOCH) with a mini gun were added to the teams." RAW

Add this to the cocktail: LOACH down low and a pair of Cobra's overhead.

MB: don't forget Ali's said that 10,000 miles from 'Chuck'. Had Ali been a treeline away......history would have been different


Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 2:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The high bird/ low bird is a great combo for a fighting scenario. These EOD types are really not fighters but bomb detectors that need to chase an occasional insurgent.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 3:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

"This can be accomplished by putting our people on an airplane headed West."

That's a real strategy I can get behind!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 4:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Publius said...

Ranger, I know you. And you're a real smart guy. Now, me, I'm not so smart. But why is it we both along with Blackhawk 187 know exactly what you're talking about with birds, and none of that highly publicized hot-shit talent running this goat fuck don't know it?

Inasmuch as those running things don't seem to know as much as us broke-down dudes, I think your idea about the airplane heading west is the right tactical approach.

MB, I always wondered why all those Greeks were so willing to follow Agamemnon. 'Course, I always wondered the same thing about those willing to follow George Bush.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 9:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

strangly enough, history is rife with many famous, but inconsequential and really fucking stupid wars and battles.

the hundred years war between england and france accomplished jack fucking shit for the english and the french. despite henry v's resounding, and miraculous victory at agincourt, he had bankrupted england to mount his offensive to press his claim on the french crown (which had been a bone of contention since william of normandy). then he ran his army into the fucking ground at harfluer. the main thing he accomplished at agincourt was to get his army out of france alive, so he could return to england and die young.

the 100 years war still had 30 to run. the main result was that the plantagenets were finished as the dynasty of england (replaced by the tudors) and the valois were done as the dynasty of france (replaced by the bourbon). other than ruining two proud dynasties and setting the stage for the spanish to dominate europe for a few hundred years, the war between france and england accomplished nothing. 100 years to accomplish the ruin of the two states that went to war.

the peloponniesian war between athens and sparta ruined both athens and sparta. athens ceased to be a democracy, sparta was never again a power to be reckoned with and the persians were able to accomplished with diplomacy and the backing of one side, then the other what they never accomplished through force of arms which is the ruination of sparta and athens.

nature, abhorring a vacuum like it does filled that void with epaminondas of thebes, then philip and alexander.

alexander never lost a battle. he also never consolidated a single conquest. with his death his "empire" disintegrated, macedonia went back to its natural state of being a jerkwater petty fief ruled by a warlord. the only real dynasty which came out of alexander's reign was the house of ptolemy who took over egypt.

native americans in our wars with the americans learned the harsh lesson that many times the absolute worst result of a battle for us was a victory. the few and far between times we won were almost always followed by more americans with revenge and murder in mind.

one of the strange things about the iliad is that a story about the futility and absolute waste of war got all turned around. instead of achilles, who is the best warrior of all, they started to teach folks that hector was the real star of that show.

hector, who despises his punk ass brother paris, who knows that troy is doomed, that his son will be killed, his wife raped and enslaved and his city destroyed forever but fights on anyway is supposed to be the paragon we model rather than achilles who questions, and for most of the story, rejects the greek cause, their commander-in-chief, and were it not for the death at the hands of hector of his brother in arms patrocles would have sailed himself home to live out his life in peace.

give me the questioning, difficult achilles any old day. he wouldn't fight until he had a cause he could believe in. then, he pretty much single handedly reversed the course of the war, despite interventions by the gods. achilles was ready to kick apollo's ass.

i too think that the military would benefit from reinstating the draft. going back to the traditional small peace time core of career professionals who would raise and train an army of volunteers and conscripts while congress was raising the fucking money is a much better way for democracies and free people to manage their armed forces.

draftees are moody, difficult to handle and lead. they are also hell with teeth in a fight for a few years. then they get bored and want to go home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 3:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

just before i dropped off to sleep i remembered something else about draftees.

if you lead conscripts into a stupid ass blundering meat grinder they have the good sense to break and run.

officers hate that. they want professional, disciplined troops so they can marvel at the incredible bravery of the guys they stupidly send to their deaths...

Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 11:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Publius said...

Hector is the good soldier who follows orders, no matter how stupid or futile, even unto death.

Achilles is the generals' nightmare. Achilles is a citizen-soldier.

The draft? Well, didn't keep us from stepping on our dicks in Vietnam. Wouldn't again in the future. Anybody really think the draft would have held Bush back from 2001-2006? Nah. We'd have gone into Afghanistan and war hero Bush would have gotten carte blanch for Iraq. Americans love that war shit, just so long as they think they're winning.

Americans also love to be lied to. About taxes, budgets and wars. We're now at about, oh, say 1968, in public estimation of these wonderful overseas adventures. So if we follow a similar timeline, GIs will be getting killed needlessly until around 2014.

I agree we need the draft, but we need to know our fellow countrymen, cheerleaders all.

Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 11:31:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Yes we had a draft in RVN and it still got F'upped b/c these personnel were utilised as replacementsw etc... and led basically by a careerist officer corps. More or less.
The reserves were not called up like in WW2 and Korea so it remained a regular war.
Now I would expect more resistance from Governors and NG members as well as Reserve discontent BUT it just doesn't seem to happen.
I think the disconnect is that even reserve components are now considered professional volunteers- so nobody cares that they are being abused in a frightful manner.
As always, nice to know that you're out there.

Friday, November 27, 2009 at 11:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Terrible and Publius,
Actually i endorse even flying east and giving the troops I and I in Bankok.

Friday, November 27, 2009 at 12:21:00 PM GMT-5  

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