Soldier from the Korengal Valley up for the Medal of Honor

The Korengal Valley

A US paratrooper who took part in some of the heaviest fighting in the war in Afghanistan – in the remote Korengal Valley – has become the first living nominee for the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war.

The highest American decoration for military valour, the Medal of Honor has been awarded only eight times, all posthumously, since 1973. Two were given to snipers for the part they played in the battle of Mogadishu in 1993 in protecting a downed helicopter pilot. Since then, there have been six awarded from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but none of them has been given to a surviving serviceman.

Although the Pentagon has refused to comment on the identity of the soldier, the Army Times reported on Friday that it had established that the proposed recipient was Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. His name is understood to have been put forward after he charged into a wall of fire from Taliban fighters, who were attempting to overrun his position, to drag away another US soldier.

The episode, which took place on 25 October 2007, is described in Sebastian Junger’s new book, War, which describes the fighting in the Korengal Valley. A documentary, Restrepo, made by Junger with cameraman Tim Hetherington and covering the same period, is released this weekend.

Describing his attempts to reach a wounded colleague, Giunta told Junger: “I did what I did because that’s what I was trained to do. I didn’t run through fire to save a buddy – I ran through fire to see what was going on with him and maybe we could hide behind the same rock and shoot together. I didn’t run through fire to do anything heroic or brave. I did what I believe anyone would have done.”

Read those last few words again.  This guy is a true, real and live hero.

Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq are light situations.  They’re deadly serious.  There are areas in both that are deadly.  There are areas in which one can sit on a FOB for a year and never come under enemy fire.  The media doesn’t run stories on this phenomenon.  The enemy-less FOBs out there that see no real enemy combat.  I’ve been on quite a few FOBs over there that see no enemy contact.  I’ve been on some that see rocket and mortar attack.  And I’ve been on some that have taken enemy fire.

I’ve never been anywhere close to the Korengal Valley or it’s daily hazard of enemy contact.

The guys in that valley acted heroically on a daily basis for weeks at a time.  There are lulls, of course.  Times when the taliban and the Arab fighters crawl back into Pakistan to lick their wounds and re-supply.  Even so, the danger is ever present in a place like Korengal.  There is no let down.  The stress is unimaginable.  The bond created by that stress.  A bond forged in fire is indescribable.  Seeing your friends killed or wounded and the unspeakable horror of the possibility or likelihood that you could be next.  How does one speak to that.

I had conversations back in the States with some civilian friends of mine.  Guys who had never been in a combat zone.  They kept telling me that all of our soldiers were heroes.  Some even characterized me as a hero.  I’m simply a contractor over there.  I can leave any time that I feel the pressure is too much.  Hell, I could leave just for the hell of it.  I was able to take holiday every 3 or 4 months.

Not so for soldiers.  They’re there.  For the duration.  They’ll rotate in and out on leave once during their 12 to 15 month tour.  Other than that, they’re stuck.  No choice but to sweat it out.

But.  There are two types of soldiers over there.  Those who see combat and those who don’t.  Some soldiers never leave their FOB.  Never see an enemy combatant outside of CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.  Some of these sit at FOBs that directly support combat troops.  Some sit in rear areas like Bagram or Camp Phoenix and never leave the FOB.  Others drive around green zones wherein no enemy contact is made.

I spent 18 months at Bagram Air Field (BAF).  We were rocketed or mortared once a month at best.  There was always a rumor that the insurgents would try to infiltrate.  Bullshit rumors at best.  Anyone with any knowledge of the situation in Afghanistan and of the insurgency knew that the insurgents had neither the equipment nor the manpower to breach BAF.  It just wasn’t going to happen.  Aside from the occasional rocket and the daily detonation of mines being detonated on the perimeter, I never felt truly threatened at BAF and the war rarely intruded on my day.

That’s how a great majority of soldiers and almost all of the Navy and Airmen spend their tour in Afghanistan.  Contractors are, for the most part, in the same category.

Not so for your average Combat Soldier in Afghanistan.  Not so for your average Marine in Afghanistan.  These guys are sent out to do the heavy lifting.  These guys fight.  For those in Western Afghanistan, it’s a bit of a lighter load.  Excepting parts of Farah and Badghis Provinces.  I know this because I was there for 30 months as a mentor and trainer for the Afghan National Police.  I know how much more dangerous some areas are than others in Afghanistan.  I’ve spent time in Qandahar as well and up in the Mountains of Ghor.  I’ve experienced some of these places and have spoken with folks just out of other areas.  I know people in some of these places right now.  Out in the East and the South, the fighting is much more intense.  Korengal is in the East.  Curved up next to Pakistan.  I’m sure that during some of the Ops that those guys ran in Korengal, they looked straight down into Pakistan.

Those guys are fighters.  Those guys are heroes.

I knew Officers and NCOs over there who never left the FOB.  12-15 months sending Soldiers and Marines out in harm’s way.  Never once did they inspect these troops.  Never once did they share their hardships and dangers.  These Officers and NCOs were not heroes.  They weren’t even leaders.

I know this is not politically correct of me to say, but, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who sit at FOBS and never see the enemy.  They’re just Joes doing their job.  There doing nothing heroic.  Contractors out there are hired to do a job.  They’re not heroes.  There are exceptions to this, of course.  Some men and women will fall into situations and become heroes.  Others will fail and become cowards.

The men who fight on those hills.  They’re guilty.  Guilty of going above and beyond and becoming heroes.  These are the men who in earlier times would have inspired tribal tales and cultural myths such as Hericles, Perseus and Achilles.  These are the rough men standing ready to defend us.  They join the military for adventure.  They join the military for college funds.  They join the military because if they didn’t, they’d probably spend their lives in prison.  They join the military for as many reasons as there are individuals out there fighting.  Regardless, they find themselves in hell.  They fight for their brothers and die for their brothers.

Personally, I feel it’s a stain on the honor of the truly heroic to call all members of the military heroes.  It’s even worse the way the term is bandied about as concerns Sports personalities and others of the like.

The title of hero is an honorific that’s earned.  It’s an honor above all others.  It’s about selflessness.  It’s putting the lives of others above yours.

Despite their protestations. these men in the Korengal Valley and similar places are heroes.
We should not diminish their legacy by such easy use of the word.

If you want to delve more deeply into the War in Afghanistan or the Korengal Valley, I recommend reading WAR by Sebastion Junger. It is an amazing read.

It’s true that heroes are inspiring, but mustn’t they also do some rescuing if they are to be worthy of their name? Would Wonder Woman matter if she only sent commiserating telegrams to the distressed?
Author: Jeanette Winterson

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. Arthur Ashe

A “Visit” to North Korea

Technically, I’ve been to North Korea.  I’ve never been to a city there, but, I’ve stepped foot across no man’s land into North Korea while stationed at Camp BonifasFile:CampBonifas1.jpg in the Republic of Korea as part of the United Nations Command Security Forces-Joint Security Area (UNCSF-JSA). While there, I was allowed to go over to the North Korean side of Pan Mun Jom a couple of times. I, also, snuck across a couple of times in the DMZ.

Not very far mind you. Technically, the North Korean Guards could shoot you if they spotted you crossing the DMZ. They would point their rifles at us all the time. There were a couple of areas on the North side of the DMZ that were over grown with shrubs, trees and high grass. We used to go up there and take our pics just to say; “I’ve been to North Korea.”

The North Koreans (in the Guard Towers, not those in PMJ) would point their rifles at us all the time even when we were on the RoK side of the DMZ. They (and we) were authorized to shoot at anyone in the two klik (or mile?) no man’s land within the DMZ. I think the DMZ is like 6 miles or kliks across. I remember the first time that I saw a rifle OBVIOUSLY pointed at me. I was at “The Bridge of No Return” re-enlisting. US Flag and everything. Standing there at the mid point with my right hand raised reciting the oath of re-enlistment and out of the corner of my eye I could see a NK sniper pointing his rifle square at my head. I swear the guy even winked at me.  It could have been the sun in my eye.  Who knows.  The memory is from ages ago.

Back then the US had soldiers patrolling inside the DMZ.  We had maps of minefields on hand for our side and known MFs for their side. I actually kept one of these maps and have it in my storage room back in Kentucky. It delineates all major and minor positions as well as minefields and known incursion sites and incident sites, known trails as well as the defensive perimeters and positions around PMJ, Bonifas, Liberty Bell, OP Oellette, Barrett QRF Facility and Freedom Village. We used to drive around up there as kind of a joy ride/patrol. They encouraged us to go out as a show of force. Mostly just for that….for show. I was actually able to take my (ex)wife up to Freedom Village and pretty close to the DMZ. She was pretty excited about it.

I was up there when Kim Il Sung passed. The NKs pulled everything up on line as if they were massing for an attack. They pulled out of the Armistice. We were preparing mentally to die when that went down. Making peace with our maker so to speak. We didn’t know what was going to happen. Clinton sent Carter in and Carter sold us down the river and Clinton was hailed as a hero and peacemaker. When in reality all it did was give NK the potential and tools to go Nuke on the World.

While there I learned about the “Axe Murder incident.”  One of the Korean guys who worked for me was the man that drove the truck over Bonifas and Barrett to stop the NK Guards from further mutiliating their bodies. He risked his life. It was huge. Meeting a real life hero. He was also a Vietnam War vet. Korea sent one Brigade over there for a time. I think they were pulled out because they were so brutal.  US Soldiers who were stationed at the DMZ during the incident and a few other times were authorized to wear the 2ID Patch as a Combat Patch. It was odd seeing old guys running around with that Combat Patch.

I’ve heard that when the US patrolled the DMZ, that occasionally US troops would meet up with NK troops and sometimes they’d actually interact in a positive manner. That said, if either sides troops are caught on the opposite side patrolling, deadly force was authorized. To my knowledge, the US was caught up in firefights as late as ’92 when we pulled the majority of our troops out of the DMZ.

In Pan Mun Jom, the NK soldiers and US and RoK troops interact on a limited basis. Mostly eye contact and smiles, though.

Every once in a while, a NK trooper will defect by running across to the RoK side. When that happens, it usually results in a firefight. The NK Officers will order their men to shoot the defector. The RoK and US soldiers will try to get him under their protections as soon as possible. To my knowledge, no RoK Soldier has ever defected to the North in Pan Mun Jom. No US soldier has ever defected via that route either. Though, I seem to recall a US Navy Seaman defecting to NK in the 80s or early 90s. I may be mis-remembering.

It was fascinating being up there. That said, when I crossed Freedom Bridge out of the DMZ for the final time…it was as if a great weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I hadn’t realized that it was so stressful while I was there, but, as we crossed Freedom Bridge and we stopped for one last look back and to throw our coins into the Han River, a feeling of intense relief that I had survived that year flooded through me. It was immense. Intense. Indescribable.

Below is a photo of the North Korea Flag which flies just beyond the DMZ.

The world's tallest flagpole in the North Korean village Kijong-dong

While I was there, Soldier of Fortune magazine had a 1,000,000 USD reward for a piece of the flag…and proof, of course.

Post Script:  I wrote this a long time ago.  The events herein occurred a long time ago.  Early 90s.  Memories from 20 years ago are now pretty hazy.  That said, I know that the NK guards in the towers on the DMZ would trail us with their rifles as we drove around the DMZ.  As for the re-enlistment scene that I describe, that may have been the over active imagination of a 23 year old.  But I know for a fact that the United States violated the Armistice agreement by keeping prohibited weapons close to and inside the DMZ.  Why would I expect that the North Koreans did anything different.   Also, I was there when Kim Il Sung died.  Kim Jong Il famously pulled out of the Armistice for a time and pulled massive amounts of Armor and Arty up onto the DMZ.  We thought we were dead.  Those of us at Camp Bonifas and Camp ‘Liberty Bell.  The KATUSA’s spent all day kissing and hugging each other good bye.

Here I am re-enlisting at the Bridge of No Return:

gmakior copy

 

 

And a few more photos of what I think is me in Freedom Village:

 

freedom village

 

The first picture below was taken from inside of one of the buildings at Panmunjom.  The second, I’m not sure.

 

nk

The Muslim World

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I like this. Except that I don't see any of them as scary. I see those labeled as scary as folks who need to be dealt with violently. Not all, but, those who would act violently against US.

On the Muslim World

Muslims see themselves as a community. They always have and always will. The only way to stop that is to kill all of them.  Christians think of themselves as a community as well.  Christendom is a concept only recently gone out of fashion. There are mentions of Christendom from the 19th Century, I know. Europe was still speaking of Christendom until only recently. I think Churchill mentions it a few times. That was the 20th Century.  It is not a foreign concept to think in terms of a World Wide Religious or Cultural community.  We think of the West. The West is Christian. No matter how greatly this is denied by atheists and secularists within the West.  The West is merely a more secular term for Christendom.  The West is as guilty of this kind of speak as is Islam.   The difference is that we, in the West, agree with Western Culture. We don’t see it as problem and arrogantly believe that the rest of the World should be overjoyed to join us.   Muslim lands. Christan lands. During World War I and at the end of World War I, “The West” celebrated the return of the “Holy Land” to it’s rightful Christian hands by virtue of it’s capture after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire encompassed most of what we now speak of as the Middle East. Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and a few others were https://i1.wp.com/www.iranian.com/main/files/blogimages/Middle%20East%20-%20Map400.bmpall part of the now defunct Ottoman Empire. This was considered the Muslim World or the Lands of the Mohamadens (Saracens) and spoken and written about as such by Christian or “Western” writers and historians.  That some in our era do not understand the concept of Muslim lands is fairly meaningless. The Great Tides of History are against their ignorance. It’s simply that they are ignorant of the history of the region. Not their fault.  Our schools are more interested in Political Correct thought processes than learning.  If one truly desires to rail against this concept and this ideology, though, one should at least be aware of this history.  Me, I don’t care what history says about Muslim lands. Prior to the Muslims, these lands were all Western (Roman) and/or Christian.  Not that Christians ruled them justly either.

History also shows us that the most violent and war like culture wins out in the end. The winners determine the future and control history.  Except in our current era, where idiotic pacifists, socialist, multi-culturalists and self defeatists in the West want to write history based strictly upon their feelings of guilt and ignorance of history.  They remind me of mini-Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung pretenders.  The greatest threat to the West (Christendom) is not the Muslims or even Communist China. It is the 5th Column of corrupt leftists and extreme liberals within our own borders. In order to finally defeat the Islamic threat, we will need to defeat this 5th Column by making them irrelevant.

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A call for Islamic Reform

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OUR GOALS

  • to educate Muslims about dangers presented by Islamic religious texts and why Islam must be reformed
  • to educate non-Muslims about the differences between moderate Muslims and Islamists (a.k.a. Islamic Religious Fanatics, Radical Muslims, Muslim Fundamentalists, Islamic Extremists or Islamofascists)
  • to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Moderate Muslims are also targets of Islamic Terror

OUR MANIFESTO

Brothers and Sisters!
Do not make the next generation of Muslims clean up your mess!
Fight Islamic Fascism now, so your children won’t have to!

Acknowledging mistakes
The majority of the terrorist acts of the last three decades, including the 9/11 attacks, were perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists in the name of Islam. We, as Muslims, find it abhorrent that Islam is used to murder millions of innocent people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Inconsistencies in the Koran
Unfortunately, Islamic religious texts, including the Koran and the Hadith contain many passages, which call for Islamic domination and incite violence against non-Muslims. It is time to change that. Muslim fundamentalists believe that the Koran is the literal word of Allah. But could Allah, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate, command mass slaughter of people whose only fault is being non-Muslim?

The Koran & the Bible
Many Bible figures from Adam to Jesus (Isa) are considered to be prophets and are respected by Islam. Islamic scholars however believe that both the Old and the New Testament came from God, but that they were corrupted by the Jews and Christians over time. Could it be possible that the Koran itself was corrupted by Muslims over the last thirteen centuries?

The need for reform
Islam, in its present form, is not compatible with principles of freedom and democracy. Twenty-first century Muslims have two options: we can continue the barbaric policies of the seventh century perpetuated by Hassan al-Banna, Abdullah Azzam, Yassir Arafat, Ruhollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, etc., leading to a global war between Dar al-Islam (Islamic World) and Dar al-Harb (non-Islamic World), or we can reform Islam to keep our rich cultural heritage and to cleanse our religion from the reviled relics of the past. We, as Muslims who desire to live in harmony with people of other religions, agnostics, and atheists choose the latter option. We can no longer allow Islamic extremists to use our religion as a weapon. We must protect future generations of Muslims from being brainwashed by the Islamic radicals. If we do not stop the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, our children will become homicidal zombies.

Accepting responsibilities
To start the healing process, we must acknowledge evils done by Muslims in the name of Islam and accept responsibility for those evils. We must remove evil passages from Islamic religious texts, so that future generations of Muslims will not be confused by conflicting messages. Our religious message should be loud and clear: Islam is peace; Islam is love; Islam is light. War, murder, violence, divisiveness & discrimination are not Islamic values.

Religious privacy
Religion is the private matter of every individual. Any person should be able to freely practice any religion as long as the practice does not interfere with the local laws, and no person must be forced to practice any religion. Just as people are created equal, there is no one religion that is superior to another. Any set of beliefs that is spread by force is fundamentally immoral; it is no longer a religion, but a political ideology.

Equality
Islam is one of the many of the world’s religions. There will be no Peace and Harmony in the World if Muslims and non-Muslims do not have equal rights. Islamic supremacy doctrine is just as repulsive as Aryan supremacy doctrine. History clearly shows what happens to the society whose members consider themselves above other peoples. All moderate Muslims must repudiate the mere notion of Islamic supremacy.

Sharia
Sharia Law must be abolished, because it is incompatible with norms of modern society.

Outdated practices
Any practices that might have been acceptable in the Seventh Century; i.e., stoning, cutting off body parts, marrying and/or having sex with children or animals, must be condemned by every Muslim.

Outdated verses
The following verses promote divisiveness and religious hatred, bigotry and discrimination. They must be either removed from the Koran or declared outdated and invalid, and marked as such.

Outdated words & phrases
Use of the following words and phrases or their variations must be prohibited during religious services:
• Infidel / Unbeliever: these terms have negative connotation and promote divisiveness and animosity; Islam is not the only religion
• Jihad: this word is often interpreted as Holy War against non-Muslims
• Mujaheed / Holy Warrior: no more wars in the name of Islam
• American (Christian / Crusader / Israeli / Zionist) occupation: these terms promote bigotry; at this point in time, Muslims living in non-Muslim lands have more freedoms than Muslims living in Muslim lands

Islam vs. violence
Islam has no place for violence. Any person calling for an act of violence in the name of Islam must be promptly excommunicated. Any grievances must be addressed by lawful authorities. It is the religious and civic duty of every Muslim to unconditionally condemn any act of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam. Any Muslim group that has ties to terrorism in any way, shape, or form, must be universally condemned by both religious and secular Muslims.

Portrayal of Prophets
While portrayal of Prophets is not an acceptable practice in Islam could be personally offensive to some Muslims, other religions do not have such restrictions. Therefore, the portrayal of the Prophets must be treated as a manifestation of free expression.

The Crusades vs. The Inquisition
While the Inquisition was a repulsive practice by Christian Fundamentalists, the Crusades were not unprovoked acts of aggression, but rather attempts to recapture formerly Christian lands controlled by Muslims.

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So long as idiots in the West keep excusing it, the violence of Islamic extremism will exist.

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Muslims and The West: Hate, Fear and Suspicion

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On Trust, Fear and Hate

Moderate Muslims do what moderates of all stripes do. They stay home and keep to themselves. It’s why their called moderates.   Look, I absolutely abhor the Wahhabis and about 90% of the inane nonsense that is preached by these idiots and the Clerics and the IRG and Hizbollah and Hamas, etc.  You won’t find many people who know as much about Islam as I AND who rails against that idiotic religion more than I.  That said, the logic of the “hate, fear, [dis]trust” rhetoric here is flawed. I know many Muslims who want no part of the extremists. I know some “moderate” Muslims who feel threatened by the West.  We have encroached upon their lands, their culture, their people. We’ve forced our way on them. It’s only natural that eventually there will be push back.  If they did the same to us would we sit back and take it.  There are regular, every day people out there who just happen to be Muslim. The majority of Muslims are like any other people. They observe their religion casually and don’t really get all that silly about it.  Then you have the freaks. The Government of Iran and most of it’s Clerics, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and it’s pets — Hamas, the Quds Force and Hizbollah. You’ve got al Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, al Jihad and the rest of the off shoots from those gangs of criminals and miscreants.  You can brand all Muslims as this or that about as much as you can brand all Americans as this or that.   I’ve traveled, lived and worked amongst Muslims for over a decade. They’re not all bad people.  Are all Christians bad because of the murderers of abortion doctors? Are all Texans bad because of the murderers who dragged that black kid in chains a decade ago.   Are all Americans bad because of the criminals who take advantage of war and rape and pillage the people whom we are supposedly liberating?  NO!

I don’t think that ALL Muslims distrust the West/America. I don’t think that ALL Muslims trust the West/America either. I’ve met Muslims who like and respect America who still don’t really trust us per se. They know that America is going to do what is right for America. This is correct. They understand this. Some of these people also understand the politics of America and know that we will change depending on the mood of the country and who we elect based upon that mood. America doen’t really have much continuity of ideals. We are ever evolving and constantly moving between the two political polars. Bush initiated the current Iraq war and Obama ran with our withdrawal as part of his platform. Many of the Muslims with whom I have dealt over the years understand this dynamic. Many of the Muslims with whom I have dealt know that America and the West have no real stomach for actual violence and war.  Even though we love the fantasy of it. The enemies of the West and America understand this as well. They know that we’ll get riled and ramped up for a period of time. They also know that they can wait us out and we will grow impatient with a lack of result or too many dead bodies even when we are winning the greater war. They know that our ardor for war and patriotism has clear boundaries. They know that they can wait us out. The Muslim community and especially that part of it that hates the West/America knows that over time they can defeat us because we do not have the stomach for war. They know that the majority of the West has that pacifist strain that will eventually lead to our downfall. There are many Muslims out there who would love to ally themselves with the West and bring about a more or less secular Islam. These people, though, do not trust the West to help them see that struggle through to it’s conclusion. They know that their deaths and the end of this alliance is one Obama (or Carter) away. Even Reagan withdrew from Lebanon after the bombing there that killed 280+ Marines. Reagan stared Soviet Russia in the eye and still backed down quickly from the violence of Islam. It happens time and time again. Many Muslims love the West/America. They see the potential for a life of liberty and freedom AND Islam therein. Even so, they fear our inability to stay the course. They do not trust our fortitude especially in the face of adversity and violence of the type that the other extreme of Islam will bring to bear while fighting us.

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In the West and amongst Modern Christianity, voicing one’s opinion that runs counter to the Extremists brings criticism and possibly ostracism.  In the lands of Allah, criticizing the extremists brings violence and death.  Who here, in the West, would raise his voice first with the full knowledge that it will bring death and/or violence to yourself and your family?

That’s about what I thought…

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This is what happens to Muslims who speak out against Jihad and the battle against the West.

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An Introduction to World Geography: America and the World

My Fellow Americans!  Is this how you see the world, too?

A friend sent me this on facebook.  I almost died laughing.  Especially the depiction of Europe.  He’s a Brit, though.  He wanted to know where the Brit Isles were or wy they were omited.  His thought was that surely the Brits weren’t being mixed in with the Euros.  lol

His comment:

no, but the nation that gave you your great great (repeat as req,) families doesn’t make the map????? its wrong…
and why would an anti-american spell centre like a yank???? not sure, but I like the map!!!
As for me, I love the map.  Especially the summation of Europe.

As the Angst Builds in Bangkok…

Dave is heading to the beach.

It got real bloody last night.  Sirens all night long.  I couldn’t hear the explosions or shooting, but, you could tell something was going down.

Yesterday, they shut down the BTS at 1630.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal.  I simply walked home and fortunately found a shorter way home.

I hope this thing gets settled without more bloodshed.  It will only cause more problems later on.

BANGKOK WAR ZONE

Seven civilians have died in clashes between United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship protesters and security officers in downtown Bangkok.

Soldiers take up position as anti-government protesters burn tyres near Bon Kai intersection yesterday. Security forces tried to push protesters back, sparking sporadic clashes. APICHART JINAKUL

Clashes started late yesterday morning and continued throughout the afternoon at the Witthayu intersection, the Thai-Belgium Bridge, Lumpini police station, Ratchaprarop Road, Din Daeng intersection, Silom Road and Soi Sala Daeng.

Soldiers used tear gas, rubber bullets, and live rounds against protesters, who retaliated using home-made rockets and Molotov cocktails to block advancing soldiers and by setting fire to a bus.

The sound of gunfire was heard from both sides.

Air Assault!!!

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Graduated from Air Assualt School in 1992.

It wasn’t all the difficult, but, it wasn’t all the easy either.

A Dude in Korea at Camp Greaves drew this for me from a picture my friend took right after the 12 Mile Road March that was the “graduation ceremony.”  We started out with about 160 students.  At the end of the course, there were about 70 of us left.  Drop outs.  Test failures.  Injuries.  All had taken their toll.

Most of us made the road march in the alloted 4 hours.  One guy did it in 1 hour and 14 minutes.  He was hauling ass.  I think I did it in 3 hours.  It wasn’t that difficult.  We ran 7 to 10 miles each day over the course of that 2 week course.  By the time it was over, most of us were in pretty good shape.  I aced my next PT test.

After the road march, those of us who finished on time were lined up in groups of about 12 to 15 and presented with our Air Assault Badge or  “wings.” Our instructor walked over to us, pinned our wings on our uniforms.  Then he asked if we wanted blood wings.  I think everyone opted for blood wings.  Everyone in my group at any rate.https://i1.wp.com/www.armchairgeneral.com/wordpress/wp-content/gallery/tactics101-043-loading-plan/image019.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/www.drum.army.mil/sites/postnews/blizzard/blizzard_archives/issues/5-3-2007/photos/aaslt.jpgHe had pinned our wings on us without the backing.  The wings are placed on the graduates chest about where the heart is located.  Our instructor then hit us in our chest.  Right on top of the wings.  The wings stick in your pectoral muscles and when you pull them out, you bleed.  I bled a bit, but, not much.  A couple of guys were bleeders and the blood spread over their t-shirts.

After that, you are blooded.  Blood Wings!

It actually pretty cool and not painful at all.  Our instructor was a pretty big dude.  6′ 6″ and about 250 pounds or so.  Not fat.  Muscle.  When he hit those wings, you didn’t feel the pins sticking into your pec.  You felt his fist hitting your chest.  Took my breath away.  I didn’t feel the wings sticking into my chest.  Didn’t feel anything until I snatched out of my chest and started bleeding.

Air Assault School was a challenging and really cool experience.

You start by learning to rappel from a tower and proceed until you can prep equipment to be air assualted (carried by helicopters) to an objective and you finish by rappelling from a helocopters.  We trained on Blackhawks.  Rappelling from a helo is awesome.  I loved it.

Later, I went to Rappel Master School.  In that course, we started with 22 students.  7 of us graduated.   When the instructor told me that I had passed the Final Exam, I almost jumped through the roof of the building.  Amazing feeling of accomplishment.  Especially since I was a Corporal at the time and everyone else were more senior NCOs and Officers.  I was about 22 years old at the time.  Hell of a great experience for me.

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A buddy of mine who also went through Air Assault School sent me the following:

I got my AA badge in the spring of 1986.  I didn’t think it was that hard, either – at least physically, but then again I was 18 and in shape from running cross-country and playing soccer during my senior year of high school.  The most challenging aspect for me was the rigging and slingloading phase – we lost quite a few from our class for screwing that up.   Very few had problems with the “pathfinder” phase – setting up LZ/DZs – and very few had problems with the actual rappelling (the guys who were scared of heights were weeded-out on the big obstacle course on Day One), but we lost a lot of students for “gigging-out”, uniforms fucked up, trying to cheat with lightened rucksacks – that sort of thing.   Everyone had hyped it as “the toughest two weeks in the Army”, so maybe I had built it up in my own mind, but it didn’t phase me ’cause I loved that kind of shit.  The funny thing though – it was a big deal for my unit.   When I came rolling back onto school grounds at the end of that final road-march/run (2 hours/10 minutes), my team leader, PLT SGT, and company commander were all awaiting me, clapping me on the back, cheering me on.  That made me feel pretty fucking proud, I’m not embarrassed to admit.   lol   It’s funny you brought this up, Dave – I was just reminiscing about Air Assault School earlier this week when we were talking about going rapelling in Red River Gorge.  At the Ft. Campbell school we had a rule that you had to always be running anytime you were on AAS property, and every time your left foot hit the ground you had to yell “Air Assault”, so it was pretty comical to have a couple hundred students at any given time sprinting around the block talking to themselves.   lol

Going back even further, my best buddy growing up was a kid named Eric Reynolds (he’s the guy who had a lung removed a few years back from what he’s convinced is Gulf War Syndrome), and we used to rappel all the time – off the roof, out the attic window, from the tops of tall trees – you name it, we jumped it.   Anyhow, at Ft. Jackson they have that big obstacle/rope course called Victory Tower, which culminates in a 20-ft rappelling wall.   After watching many of my BT platoon struggle down – shaking/trembling, flipping upside down, just freezing in fear, whatever – I went down in a single bound.   Hit the ground, yelled “off rappel!” to my belay man, and as I was sprinting off my DSGT grabbed me and pulled me aside.  Of course, my first thought was “oh, fuck, what did I do?” until he just looked at me, grinned, and said “you’ve done this before, haven’t you Daniels?”   lol    You know what I mean when I say that it was the first moment during the entire Basic Training stint when I thought “wow, my Drill SGT might actually be human after all”.  lol   It was another one of those proud moments for me.

I’d forgotten about having to yell “Air Assault” every time your left foot struck the ground.  It was funny as hell.  A bunch of soldiers running around; “Air Assault!  Air Assault!  Air Assault!” everywhere they ran.  And yes, you had to double time (run) everywhere you went.  There was no walking during Air Assault School.

Every school of this sort in the Army left me with a sense that I just passed a huge test.  That I’d come closer to being a real soldier.

Finishing Jungle Warfighting School in Panama left me with the same feeling of accomplishment.  You feel a better part of the team.  You’re now able to offer more to your peers and to yourself after having graduated with a new set of skills.  These schools teach real world skills.  It’s not like a college course or high school wherein you pass a course but aren’t sure exactly how that course is going to help you in life.

Eventually in the Army, you’re going to deply.  You’re going to war.  You’re going to be sent on a mission.  Many of the skills one learns are directly translatable to those endeavors.  Along with the drop out rate for some of these schools which can be staggeringly high, this sense of having learned something useful is a unique feeling in my learning process throughout my life.  I’ve never felt the same sense of accomplishment after having gone to a University or College course.

It’s an excellent sense of accomplishment that one feels when finishing a course of this sort in the US Army.

Israel has the Right to live under a Government of their choosing! They have the right to exist as they are now.

http://adithoughts.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/land-for-peace-20060724.jpg

Right:

18. a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral: You have a right to say what you please.

19. Sometimes, rights. that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.: women’s rights; Freedom of speech is a right of all Americans.

Their claim to the land in which they lived. Their claim to the land which they purchased. Their right to live under governance of their own choosing as opposed to being forced to live under an Islamic Despotic State.

My opinion is that they had/have this right.

Would we deny this right to ourselves.

In 1948, there was no real and just governance or government in that region. It was a mandate. Once the mandate ended, the people should have been able to choose their form of government. The Muslim despots wanted to force all and sundry to live under Islamic rule or authoritarian, monarchic rule. The Jews did not wish to live in a state of that kind. They did not wish to live under a government that was wholly corrupt and historically pre-disposed to violence and genocide towards non-Muslims in general and Jews in particular.

Therefore, I say that the people of the area had a right to choose and fight for the governance of their liking. They had to right to fight to not be forced to live under Islamic rule.

If the Muslims didn’t like it, they had the choice to fight it. They have and they do.

I don’t think that we have blindly supported Israel. Anyone who resorts that that hyperbole is wholly ignorant of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict or lying to make their point seem better.

The Israelis have more or less been our allies in the region since ’48. We have acted counter to their security interests at times. They have acted violently towards us and at times, they have acted counter to our national interests. Over all, we have acted with each other in accordance with the standard practices and behaviors of allies.

The Muslims have almost never acted as allies. More often that not, they have diabolically and diametrically opposite of how an ally would act towards us. The Arabs sided with the wrong side in World War I. The Arabs sided with Hitler in World War II. Going so far as to travel to Berlin to learn the art of the Final Solution so as to import it to the Middle East. In order so that they might use the Final Solution on the Jews of the Levant. In the Cold War, Syria and Egypt both sought to be non-aligned until they were obviously in the Soviet Camp. By then, it was obvious that non-alignment meant taking money from the West and Tactical/Strategic aid, advisors and equipment from the Soviets.

We should have severed ties with the Arabs decades ago.

The Israelis had just as much right to an Independent Nation in the areas that comprised the Palestine Mandate as did any other people who lived there. The Jews created the major cities. The Jews created the jobs to which the Arabs flocked in mass numbers in the area. If it weren’t for the Jews who live[d] in Palestine, there would be nothing over which to fight in the area.

If the Jews were to leave Palestine, they’d take with them their technology, their labor and the area would return to the dust from whence it sprang.

Economic right. They created the economy of Palestine. Were it not for the Jews, there’d be a few date farms and a few thousand sheep and some dusty old towns wherein lived naught but poverty stricken Muslims.

The Jews are the only reason that the area is worth having. Without them, there would be absolutely nothing there.

For a great example, look to the Sinai. When the Israelis occupied it, they civilized the land. Cultivated the land. Irrigated the land. They started pulling oil out of the Sinai. You can see the remains of the old Israeli settlements. Even as remains after having been bulldozed by the Israeli Gov’t in order to keep the settlers from returning, they’re still more habitable than the Arab/Egyptian towns. Oil production is almost nil. The ARabs can do almost nothing without outside assistance.

Israel had to go to Egypt and show the Egyptian government how to irrigate and desalinize to save their cotton crops. Egypt! One of the oldest civilization on the planet is no longer able to properly irrigate their crops without the assistance of Israeli science and technology.

The Israeli people had the right to choose the government under which they would live.

The Arabs wanted to force them to live under Muslim rule. The Arabs wanted submission.

That is why I can not, will not support he Arabs in this conflict.

The Israelis should have driven all of the Palestinian Arabs into Jordan. Jordan is the true homeland of the Palestinians.

http://www.theaugeanstables.com/essays-on-france/paris-notes-fall-2o05/

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http://www.danielpipes.org/6257/arabs-israelis-and-underdogs

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dry bones pro israel

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File:Map of the Arab-Israeli conflict-tag.svg

All of the Nations not in Blue are Muslim countries.  Yet, they [the Muslims] must have this spec of blue territory as well.  Why?

Number English Français עברית العربية
Israel / Israël 1 Israel Israël اسرائيل
Gaza strip & West Bank /
Bande de Gaza et Cisjordanie
2 Gaza strip Bande de Gaza
3 West Bank Cisjordanie
Arab Nations / Nations arabes 4 Morocco Maroc
5 Algeria Algérie
6 Tunisia Tunisie
7 Libya Libye
8 Sudan Soudan
9 Djibouti Djibouti
10 Somalia Somalie
11 Oman Oman
12 U.A.E. E.A.U.
13 Qatar Qatar
14 Kuwait Koweït
15 Mauritania Mauritanie
16 Comoros Comores
Have been in war with Israel /
Ont été en guerre avec Israël
17 Saudi Arabia Arabie Saoudite
18 Iraq Irak
19 Syria Syrie
20 Jordan Jordanie
21 Lebanon Liban
22 Egypt Egypte
23 Yemen Yemen

Americans United for Separation of Everything and State

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“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

“The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.”

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

“It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”

“If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race?”

–Frederic Bastiat

“The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.”

–Thomas Paine

“I believe that all government is evil and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.”

“The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.”

–H.L. Mencken

“It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”

“Law never made men a whit more just.”

–Henry David Thoreau

“Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.”

“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

–Thomas Jefferson

“If man is not fit to govern himself, how can he be fit to govern someone else?”

–James Madison

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for yourself.”

–unknown

“I let go of the law, and people become honest. I let go of economics, and people become prosperous. I let go of religion, and people become serene. I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes common as grass. When the will to power is in charge, the higher the ideals, the lower the results.”

–Lao Tzu

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

“A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.”

“Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”

“Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.”

“There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual but permitted to a mob.”

–Ayn Rand

“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its many waters.”

–Frederick Douglass

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”

–Plato

“The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society.”

–Mark Skousen

“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither.”

–Milton Friedman

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain–that it has either authorized such a government as we have had or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

–Lysander Spooner

“The measure of the state’s success is that the word ‘anarchy’ frightens people, while the word ‘state’ does not.”

–Joseph Sobran

http://www.antiwar.com
http://www.lewrockwell.com
http://www.mises.org
http://www.reason.com
http://www.constitution.org/law/bastiat.htm (read less)

Another Excellent Cartoon Commentary on Afghanistan

Rape and Murder: The Tools of Karzai Democracy

The Karzai Government is corrupt and beholden to Thugs, Thieves and scandalous, corrupt Mullahs who want to force medieval religious “values” on the common people as they use Islam to rape the country.  These thieving scoundrels use Islam as a tool of rape, plunder and intimidation.  They use their power in the government and their association with the United States to empower themselves and to bully the people.  They use rape and murder to intimidate any voice which rises in defense of the people of Afghanistan.

The worse thing about this situation is that it is American money and influence which allows this situation.  Rumsfield, Cheney, Bush and, now, the Obama Administration are keeping these men in power.  These scum are the anti-thesis of Democracy.  They are Taliban lite and in some cases, they are worse than the Taliban.  They have become so under the protection and with the help of the US and NATO forces.

We empower these corrupt “leaders” and allow them to use Democracy as a guise under which they protract a decrepit despotism that they started after the fall of  King Zahir Khan.

America is not spreading Democracy in this region.  We are doing the very opposite.  It’s shameful.

We should be supporting the Malalai Joyas of Afghanistan.  Instead, we are supporting the evil, murdering and raping despotic Warlords who are democratic only in the sense that they mouth the word from time to time.

IT IS SHAMEFUL!

https://hereticdhammasangha.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/b2ad9-joya.jpg

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Xi’an and the Terra Cotta Warriors

Finally made it to Xi’an (Jee AHN) to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.  Unny and I spent the last week traveling around Beijing.  We visited the Forbidden City, Baita Zu, the Confucius Temple, the Lama Temple with it’s huge Buddha statue, the Summer Palace, the Beijing Zoo and all of the Pandas and Albino Bengal Tigers, The Temple of Heaven and, of course, Tienanmen Square.  We tooled around the Hutongs and Bei Hai Park as well.  We had a great time.

After 7 days in Beijing, we flew down to Xi’an to see the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and the beginning/end of the Silk Road.

The night we arrived, we were exhausted.  I was down with a cold from Jinshanling and Simitai.  We both just passed out.

The next day, we arose early and headed out of the city to see the Soldiers.  It’s about a 35 minute drive from Xi’an to the Qin Terra Cotta Warrior and Horse Soldier Museum.  Nice little drive through the country.

We had an “English speaking” tour guide who spoke English.  Just not so well.  He guided us around but didn’t really provide much detail and couldn’t really articulate much for us.  So we just took it in and read the literature ourselves.

Near the end of the main Museum Hall, you pass through a book store.  A small, ancient looking Chinese guy is sitting there surrounded by books and postcards about the Terra Cotta Warriors.  He’s one of the Seven Farmers who found the Warriors while digging a well.

We purchased one of the books and a packet of postcards and he signed the book for us.  It’s kind of funny, though.  As they call him “the founder of the Warrior Museum.”  Meaning simply that he’s the guy who found the Warriors.  Not the actual FOUNDER of the Museum.  I got a good little chuckle out of that.

He signed our book and posed for a couple of photos with us.  We told him; “Xie Xie” and shook his hand.  He was quite proud and signed our book with huge Chinese characters.  He signed his name and “Founder of the Warrior Museum” on the inside of the book.

We moved on our way and continued through the Museum to the brass  chariot and horses.  They’ve only found one set of these Chariots and horses.  Though they speculate that there are three more.  One for each of the four cardinal directions.  The one that they found was painted White which (I think) designates South in Chinese mythology/symbolism.  Eventually, as they continue to excavate the site of the Warriors, they expect to find three more spread out in the other three directions.

No timeline, though.  They’ll get around to it as they get around to it.  China doesn’t seem in much hurry to do anything in so  far as these antiquities are concerned.  I reckon they figure that they’re under there and aren’t going anywhere and they’ll get around to finding them eventually.

They take a long term view of the whole thing.

Of course, I took hundreds of photos.  These are 95 or so of them.  I didn’t resize them.  So they may take a bit of time to open if you are on a slow network.

The Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 in the eastern suburbs of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province by local farmers drilling a water well 1.5 miles east of Lishan (a mountain).[2] This discovery prompted archaeologists to go to Shaanxi Province, China to investigate. The Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the First Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang, “shi huang” means the first emperor) in 210-209 BC. (He declared himself the first emperor of China in 221 BC.) Their purpose was to help rule another empire with Shi Huang Di in the afterlife. Consequently, they are also sometimes referred to as “Qin’s Armies.”

The material to make the terracotta warriors originated on Mount Lishan. In addition to the warriors, an entire man-made necropolis for the emperor has been excavated.

According to historian Sima Qian (145-90 BC), construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and involved 700,000 workers. Qin Shi Huang was 13 when construction began. He specifically stated that no two soldiers were to be made alike, which is most likely why he had construction started at that young age. Sima Qian, in his most famous work, Shiji, completed a century after the mausoleum completion, wrote that the First Emperor was buried with palaces, scenic towers, officials, valuable utensils and “wonderful objects,” with 100 rivers fashioned in mercury and above this heavenly bodies below which he wrote were “the features of the earth.” Some translations of this passage refer to “models” or “imitations,” but he does not use those words.[3]

Enjoy.  We certainly enjoyed seeing them live.

Contracting “US Companies” in Afghanistan

US Contract Companies are hiring 15 to 20 Third Country Nationals (Indians, Filipinos, etc) for every one American in Afghanistan. 10% of Americans out of work and DynCorps, Fluor, CACI, AECOM, KBR and all of these other “American” International Contract companies aren’t interested in hiring any of them.  Maybe they’ll hire some illegal immigrants as well.

They are keeping their bottom line in check with these moves.  Making millions of dollars in profit by stiffing the American worker.  DynCorps, KBR and Fluor can hire 20 Indians for the cost of hiring one US Citizen.  The US Government is awarding these multi-million dollar contracts to these “American” companies and they here 80-90 percent foreign employees.

What I think is even more humorous is that the US Government is making this concerted effort to break up large contracts such as the KBR LOGCAP II contract as well as others.  There are very few companies that can handle the logistics of these operations.  What ends up happening is that Company A wins the contract from the US government.  Company A then subcontracts to KBR (or whatever company) or a subsidiary of KBR.  The same company winds up with all of the contracts that they had before.  The difference is that there is now a middle man.  It’s all a shell game.  I guess Congress and the average American out there are idiots and are fooled by all of this muddling of facts and actions.

Another thing that Company B (KBR) does is form another company/corporation.  It looks like a separate company on paper but it’s indirectly owned by the same people.  They even hire the same folks from earlier contracts to run them.  Same PM, same DPM, same cast and crew.  On the surface, a new company is in business and winning contracts.  In reality, it’s the same group of folks making the same money.

And it’s easy to see.  Easy to investigate, but, the US government is too lazy or incompetent to see the obvious.  I’ve been laughing for 5 years.  Same crooks winning the same contracts and the same Congress and DOD/DOS getting scammed for more and more tax dollars.

Fools!

It’s been the same story since at least World War II.  I bet that some of these companies can be traced back to the War between the States.  The US Government never learns.  They just open that check book and sign more checks.

No, I’m not a disgruntled employee or former employee.  Most of my contract work requires that I am a US citizenship.  This doesn’t affect me and never will.

 

The Media: How Do They Get It So Wrong? ALL THE TIME!

Camp Phoenix, on the outskirts of Kabul, is run by US forces, with some NATO member nations maintaining a presence there.

It is also a base for the Afghan army, which is being trained by international forces in the hope it can take over the responsibility for fighting the Taliban insurgency.

The camp occasionally comes under attack, mostly from rocket and mortar fire, though without casualties.

Camp Phoenix has never been mortared.  It’s never been rocketed.  Not while I was there.  Not while I was at Camp Eggers and not in the past 3 years.  I’d know.  I lived at Camp Phoenix for one year.  I lived on Camp Eggers for a year as well and visited Phoenix frequently.  I’ve been to Camp Phoenix several times over the past 3 years as well.  I have friends at Camp Phoenix right now.  One who has been there for 3 years.

Camp Phoenix has never been a training base for Afghans either.  Not the ANA or the ANP.  There are two Camps about ten miles down the road called Camp Blackhorse and the Kabul Military Training Complex (KMTC).  Afghans are trained there.  Afghans are trained at Darulaman and there are 2 or three ANP training bases within and around Kabul on which ANP are trained.

I see this happening all the time.  The Associated Press (AP) picks up a story written by some idiot who never leaves the safe confines of his hotel room or villa in Shahr-e Naw or Wazir Akhbar Khan.  These morons report as if they are on the scene.  They mix up place and location.  They hack together stories based on second hand information and pawn it off on the public as gospel truth.  The guy who wrote this story should be fired.  He printed a hand full of lies and sent it in as if he had actually visited the places about which he wrote.  A bunch of older hacks will probably award this poltroon a  Pulitzer and they’ll all sit around in a smoke filled chamber and congratulate each other on their bravery and literary brilliance.

I’ve seen this kind of irresponsible writing of lies and half truths all over the globe.  Korea when Kim Il Sung died.  When Qandahar was attacked.  In Kabul after various attacks.  In Herat after suicide bombings.  From whom do these morons obtain their “facts?”  Dr. Suess?  The Brothers Grimm?  Hanna- Barbera?  Does anyone back home in America fact check or edit their hotel room ramblings?

I read the newspaper and online journals and I often wonder if these folks are even in country.  What happened to reporting from the front?  These guys are reporting from the whorehouse or from the tea parlor.  They’re definitely NOT on the scene.  Not here in Afghanistan.  I can assure you of that.

Wahhabism Must Die!

Osama: Wahhabi, Salafi, or What?

We must realise that Islam is not our enemy.  Muslims are not evil people.  It is this virulent and violent form of Islam started by al Wahhab in the Nejd and spread like a plague across the globe by the Saudis in their oil funded madrassahs that are the enemy.  The House of Saud must fall.  Until it does, we will have these criminals amongst us and their numbers will continue to grow.

Osama bin Laden is but the latest thug to attempt to infect Islam with this disease through terror and violence.  Study the history of Islam.  Specifically, study the history of the Arabian Peninsula.  Study the history of the British Raj of the late 1800s.  Even the Ottomans fought the Wahhabis in the Nejd near the end of their Empire.  There is precedent in history for the events of today.  The Ottomans warred on the Nejd from Egypt in the 1700s and 1800s.  Their fight was against these same followers of the doctrines of the apostate al Wahhab and the ancestors of the current Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Wahhabism must die.  The sooner the better for all of the world– Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

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A picture of the culprits.  The criminals of the House of Saud and proliferates of the disease contracted from their forefathers.

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Al-Wahhab ibn Sulaiman ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rashid Al-Tamimi[1] (1703–1792) (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الوهاب التميمي‎) was an Islamic scholar born in Najd, in present-day Saudi Arabia. Despite never specifically calling for a separate school of Islamic thought, it is from ibn Abd-al Wahhab that the term Wahhabism derives.

He believed that those who practice innovation in Islam such as “taking the graves as a place of worship” which is practiced in Sufism and Shia Islam, are Kufr.[2][3][4][citation needed]

For this reason, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab destroyed many graves and was also considering destroying the grave of the Prophet Muhammad, out of fear that it might be worshiped.[2][5]

This was due to the sayings of the prophet. Who said before his death, while on his death bed.

“May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets”.[6]

Alliance with the House of Saud

Upon his expulsion from ‘Uyayna, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was invited to settle in neighboring Dir’iyya by its ruler Muhammad ibn Saud in 1740 (1157 AH). Two of Ibn Saud’s brothers had been students of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab in Uyayna, and are said to have played a role in convincing Ibn Saud to take him in. Ibn Saud’s wife is also reported to have been a convert to Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s cause. Upon arriving in Diriyya, a pact was made between Ibn Saud and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, by which Ibn Saud pledged to implement Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teachings and enforce them on neighboring towns. Beginning in the last years of the 18th century Ibn Saud and his heirs would spend the next 140 years mounting various military campaigns to seize control of Arabia and its outlying regions, finally taking control of the whole of modern day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1922. This provided the movement with a state. Vast wealth from oil discovered in the following decades, coupled with Saudi control of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, have since provided a base and funding for Salafi missionary activity.

Legacy

Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab considered his movement an effort to purify Islam by returning Muslims to what he believed were the original principles of Islam, as typified by the Salaf and rejecting what he regarded as corruptions introduced by Bid’ah and Shirk.

Although all Muslims pray to one God, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was keen on emphasizing that no intercession with God was possible without His permission, which He only grants to whom He wills and only to benefit those whom He wills, certainly not the ones who invoke anything or anyone except Him, as these would never be forgiven,[31]. Specific practices, such as celebrating the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were also deemed as innovations. He is hence considered by his followers to be a great revivalist of Islam, and by his opponents as an innovator and heretic. In either case, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s impact on Islam has been considerable and significant.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab also revived interest in the works of the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiya.

The followers of this revival (see Salafism) are often called Wahhabis, though most reject the usage of this term on the grounds that ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s teachings were the teachings of The Holy Prophet Muhammad(Peace Be Up on Him), not his own. Thus, most generally refer to themselves as Salafis, while during his lifetime they often referred to themselves muwahhidin (“monotheists”).

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s descendents are known today as “Al al-Shaykh” (“House of the Shaykh”). The family of Al al-Shaykh has included several religious scholars, including the former grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad ibn Ibrahm Al al-Shaykh, who issued the fatwa calling for the abdication of King Saud in 1964. Both the current Saudi minister of justice and the current grand mufti of Saudi Arabia are also descendents of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

Commentary

Perceptions of ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab are varied. To many Muslims of the Salafi persuasion, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab is a significant luminary in the proud tradition of Islamic scholarship. A great number of lay Sunni Muslims regard him as a pious scholar whose interpretations of the Qur’an and Hadith were nevertheless out of step with the mainstream of Islamic thought, and thus discredited.[32] Some scholars regard him as a pious scholar who called people back to worship of Allah according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. Others, often Sufis, regard him as a one who stopped at nothing to gain power and manipulate others. Natana DeLong-Bas, meanwhile, has recently published a self-described “controversial” book that complicates the idea that ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab contributed to the “militant stance of contemporary jihadism.”[33]

These are the madmen whom we empower through oil consumption.

No Need for a Jewish Homeland?

Animosity against Jews intensified. Notes nailed to the homes of Jews accused them of working for Israel and corrupting Muslim morals. “Jews were specifically targeted by Houthi rebels,” says a spokeswoman for the Yemeni embassy in Washington.

In January 2007, Houthi leaders threatened Jewish families in Saada. “We warn you to leave the area immediately… [W]e give you a period of 10 days, or you will regret it,” read a letter signed by a Houthi representative cited in a Reuters article.

Virtually the entire Jewish community in the area, about 60 people, fled to the capital. Since then, they have been receiving food stipends and cash assistance from the government while living in state-owned apartments in a guarded enclave, says the Yemeni embassy in Washington.

President Saleh, a Shiite, has been eager to demonstrate goodwill toward the Jews. On the Passover holiday, he invited TV crews to videotape families in the government complex as they feasted on lamb he had ordered.

Raida became the last redoubt of Yemeni Jews, who continued to lead a simple life there alongside Muslims.

Ancient stone homes dot the town. Electricity is erratic; oil lamps are common. Water arrives via truck. Most homes lack a TV or a refrigerator. The cell phone is the only common modern device. Some families receive financial aid from Hasidic Jewish groups in Brooklyn and London, which has enabled them to buy cars.

Typically, the Jewish men are blacksmiths, shoe repairmen or carpenters. They sometimes barter, trading milk and cow dung for grass to feed their livestock. In public, the men stand out for their long side curls, customarily worn by observant Jewish men. Jewish women, who often marry by 16, rarely leave home. When they do, like Muslim women, only their eyes are exposed.

It is bewildering to me when people question the need for a Jewish Homeland.  The Jews have been persecuted for centuries.  Since the Roman era diaspora.  Christian purges, Czarist pogroms, Islamic expulsions.  The Holocaust of Nazi Germany.  Jews are forever the scapegoat for the inadequacies, incompetence and criminal acts of the elite.

Yet, today, people question the need for a homeland wherein the Jews can defend themselves and live with dignity.  A place where the Jewish people can live without fear.  A place where a future as a Jew is possible.

Palestine is a fiction.  There was never a Palestine in history except as a Roman province.  The name itself comes from the Roman language.  The Romans dubbed the area Palestine as an affront to the Jews.  Palestine is the Roman transliteration of the word Philistine.  Thus, the Romans named the area once known as Judea after the ancient enemy of the Kingdom of Judea.  Jews have had a constant presence in the area for thousands of years.  They have been present in the Levant since the time of the ancient Kingdoms of Assyria and Babylonia and the ancient Persian Kingdoms.  Alexander’s Generals and historians wrote of the Jews there.  The Romans conquered them there.

Then came the Muslim Empire.  The great and bloody Empire of Islam.

Islam conquered the area and forced mass conversion on the inhabitants of the region.  Well, technically the didn’t force conversion.  You had choices.  Flee.  Become a slave.  Pay a hefty tax called the Jizya.  To avoid all of these choices, one had merely to convert.  State three times the words “there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his Prophet.” Yes, many people “chose” to convert to Islam.  And what a choice it was.

Today, all across the Muslim world, Jews are second or third class citizens.  They are treated poorly.  Subject to rules and regulations and the whims of a mostly illiterate populace.  Antisemitism is on the rise across the globe.  Especially in Europe and the Arab lands.

The Arabs like to say that Israel is a guilt price for the actions of Europe during World War II.

And perhaps there is some truth to that.

Even so, the Jews have paid their own blood price for that land.  When Israel declared independence in 1948, the Arabs attacked.  Killing thousands of Jews and proclaiming that they would drive the Jews into the sea.  The Jews fought back and held off that bloody calamity.  The Arabs maintained a steady war of attrition for the next 30 to 40 years.  Attacking at the borders.  Raiding across the border and murdering families and communities much like the bloodletting and rockets that the Palestinians and Hezbollah plan and execute today.  In 1956, 1967 and 1973, the various Arab factions have pursued outright war against Israel by closing the straits and bottlenecking the Red Sea, by bombarding the country with artillery and build ups on the borders of Israel and by outright attacking as Sadat did in the ’73 October War.

Yet, through it all, Israel has survived.  They’ve had the assistance of the US at times.  Their enemies have also had assistance.  The Soviets paid for most of the militaries of Egypt and Syria.  The Army that attacked Israel in 1973 was “mentored” by Soviet “advisers.”  Soviet pilots were shot down in combat action in the ’73 war.

These are things that the opponents of Israel will deny or claim inconsequential.

Israel has always existed in one form or another.  Most of the land that comprises Israel was owned by Jews in 1948.  This land was purchased from the Arabs who owned the land.  Most of the business in Israel in 1948 was Jewish owned.  The Arabs who lived in the area in 1948, moved there because of developments created by the Jewish immigrants to the area.

I have been to Israel.  What is striking about the region is that Israel is much like a mini-European country in a vast wasteland.  Exit Israel and enter Egypt or Jordan or Syria.  You enter a time warp.  As if traveling back to the Ottoman Empire.  If Israel were to fail as a nation, this is the same fate that awaits the land.  It will corrupt and fall into disuse and neglect.  This is why the Arabs want it?  The people of Israel took a barren wasteland and made it into a paradise.  The Arabs simply let the wasteland stand as it is.

I do not support the creation of a Palestinian State.  Never do I think this should happen.  A Palestinian State would be nothing more than another Islamic Despotism wherein the people are kept illiterate and a few corrupt leaders in the mold of Yassar Arafat will enrich themselves at the expense of  the masses.  The Arabs of Palestine would do better to make their own treaty.  Expel the thugs of the PLA, Hamas and FATAH and make their own treaty with Israel.  Create a non-religious state and live side by side with Israel in peace.  Either as an autonomous region or a City-State along the lines of the Vatican.  Live in peace with their neighbors and let religion be no issue at all.

Israel is the only beacon of light in the darkest region of the Planet.  In almost every country that claims Islam as it’s dominant religion, the people are merely slaves to the whims of despotism and tyranny.

Israel should be supported by all democracies and all liberal peoples.  The PLA and the other groups that keep this war going should be international pariahs.  Iran, Saudi Arabia and any other country who supports these groups should be ignored.

But, of course, oil makes that impossible.  America, China, Europe and India will kiss the feet of the Arab oil men of the Middle East and ignore the real injustice of the region.  And the despots of the Arab Nations will forever use Israel as the scapegoat for their corruption to avert the eyes of their illiterate masses away from the real enemies that are the leaders of their own nations.

French Arrogance

I do not know if these are actual events.  That said, the sentiment is dead on…

_____________________________________________

 

Then there was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?”

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electric power to shore facilities;
they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck.  We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?”

 —————————————–

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S.  English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting way in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, “whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.”

He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?” 

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied “Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.”

 ——————————————-

A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane.  At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. “You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked sarcastically. 

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.” 

The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”

“Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!”

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained. “Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in ‘44 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find any damn Frenchmen to show it to.”

Enough Ground — Colin Powell

just goes to show that nothing changes, he's loonier than the last guy

 

During an address to the World Economic Forum, Secretary of State Colin Powell was asked a somewhat long and involved question by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, which ended with the following interrogative:

And would you not agree, as a very significant political figure in the United States, Colin, that America, at the present time, is in danger of relying too much upon the hard power and not enough upon building the trust from which the soft values, which of course all of our family life that actually at the bottom, when the bottom line is reached, is what makes human life valuable?

Secretary Powell delivered a lengthy response to the former Archbishop’s question, in the midst of which came the eloquent line quoted in the example above:

 The United States believes strongly in what you call soft power, the value of democracy, the value of the free economic system, the value of making sure that each citizen is free and free to pursue their own God-given ambitions and to use the talents that they were given by God. And that is what we say to the rest of the world. That is why we participated in establishing a community of democracy within the Western Hemisphere. It’s why we participate in all of these great international organizations. There is nothing in American experience or in American political life or in our culture that suggests we want to use hard power. But what we have found over the decades is that unless you do have hard power — and here I think you’re referring to military power — then sometimes you are faced with situations that you can’t deal with.

I mean, it was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the war was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan.

So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world.

(Applause.)

We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/powell.asp