AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

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Quotes from the Gravediggers in Iraq

In this case, I believe the Gravediggers is the name given to a unit of soldiers in our American military. Either officially or just a self-given nickname.

Via Lt G at Kaboom: A Soldier’s War Journal: The Gravediggers’ Cache of Quotes (1)

This is long overdue. Four months into the Suck, and some brilliant (or otherwise) quips have been uttered by me and my men – usually in the hazy, ambiguous hours after midnight and before dawn. Rip-It abuse can only carry a man so far. Here’s the initial collection of bodacious, quotalacious wisecracks; some of them were intended, but as is the case with something so repulsively serious as war, most of them were not.

Here are the two I found the most hilarious, but be sure to go visit his site to read the rest and check out his other posts:

1 – “But Sergeant … I do not mean to brag, but my dick. It will not fit into the hole.” Then PV2 Das Boot, who, after receiving a verbal class on pissing in an empty bottle while on mission from SSG Boondock, still did not grasp the concept of utilizing the air pocket rather than sticking his entire member into the hole. Only after a whiteboard class complete with sketch drawings, and much verbal harassment regarding the size of his dick hole, did PV2 Das Boot successfully urinate in a bottle.

*****

8 – “What the fuck? It’s not like these god damn mother fuckers are the fucking Vietcong and tunneled the fuck out of here. Where the fuck did they fucking go?” SSG Boondock, the night of the (in)famous IED-emplacement. And yes, that was a transmission on the Troop radio.

Found via the most excellent The Thunder Run.

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April 21, 2008 , 4:42PM Posted by | Iraq, Military, Military Blogs, Operation Iraqi Freedom | Comments Off on Quotes from the Gravediggers in Iraq

Reason Number 5,254 Why I Read and Promote Military Blogs

Outstanding, deep pieces such as these two from GRIM (who posts regularly at his site GRIM’s Hall and at Blackfive) and Cassandra at Mudville Gazette’s Milblogs:

GRIM: Chivalry and Women

Two citations today, to inform our recent discussion. The first one is from the invaluable book The Archaelogy of Weapons: Arms and Armor from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry by Ewart Oakeshott. The quote is from pp 186-7.

The inevitable development of what we might call the official knightly attitude towards women began to take hold in the middle of the twelfth century. It was given impetus by the poets of southern France, particularly after Eleanor of Aquitaine (one of the most glamorous women of the Middle Ages, who later married Henry II of England and became the mother of Richard Lion-Heart and John) came from Provence to Paris to become for a while the Queen of Louis VII of France. The mingling of the tongues of “oc” and “oui” in overseas expeditions strengthened it.

[“Oc” and “oui” here refers to two major dialects of Middle French, in which the word for “yes” was pronounced one of two different ways. This was not the only difference, of course, just the one chosen as an easy symbol. In Ivanhoe, Richard the Lionheart offers to sing “a ‘sirvente’ in the language of ‘oc,’ or a ‘lai’ in the language of ‘oui,'” but ends up singing a ballad in the English at the request of the Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst, that is, Friar Tuck. -Grim]

Henceforth the influence of women dominates chivalry, and religion and feudal loyalty take second place. Only war, a glorious and exciting pastime and a stimulating way of winning wealth, kept its high place as a gentleman’s most cherished occupation; but the influence of love as the mainspring of warlike aspiration gave a much lighter rhythm to it, and to literature and life itself. Poets sing now only of their ladies’ perfections, crave their pity and strive to merit their grace. The knight fights as hard as he ever did (he was not to be deprived of his business or his fun) but it is to win his lady’s favors, and the word amoureux comes to mean more than it does today, for it covers the entire range of knightly virtue. The idea has prevailed that:

Hee never were a good werryoure
That cowde not love aryghte

“He who loves not is but half a man” and “pour l’amour des dames devient li vilains courtois.”

The “influence of women” which “dominates” chivalry is not an oppressive influence. It liberated women and gave them a powerful voice in society, without either demeaning men or making them resentful of feminine power. Just the opposite: It is one embraced cheerfully by men of the sort who can tame horses and ride them to war.

Unlike the culture war sparked by the feminists of today, the situation provoked by Eleanor’s court was a genuine improvement of the relationship between men and women — one that, from the distance of the twelfth century, still inspires us, and seems almost to glow across the ages. It may mark the high point of the relations between the sexes in all human history.

GRIM concludes:

You will, I hope, have gathered from what I have said about this Rock “Women,” that it has dangers for the woman as well as for the man. But it has also its very bright side if you only manoeuvre your canoe aright.

The paddle to use for this job is CHIVALRY.

Most of the points which I have suggested as being part of the right path are comprised under chivalry.

The knights of old were bound by their oath to be chivalrous, that is to be protective and helpful to women and children. This means on the part of the man a deep respect and tender sympathy for them, coupled with a manly strength of mind and strength of body with which to stand up for them against scandal, cruelty or ridicule, and even, on occasion, to help them against their own failings.

A man without chivalry is no man.

I would strongly suggest that “sexism” is a false star. Navigating by it leads us into errors and anger with one another that are needless and pointless. What is wanted is equality of opportunity, but not that men and women should be treated as if they were exactly the same: no one wants that, not the most sincere feminist, who at least believes that women have something special to offer. As indeed they have!

Women should always be treated with chivalry, with “deep respect and tender sympathy.” Equality of opportunity aside, women and men are not the same — it is good that a man should understand how they are different, and take pains to make women feel welcome and valued. He should showcase his valor in the way of the knights and poets of old: so that, in him, the entire range of knightly virtue is expressed through love.

Indeed. Amen to that.

Cassandra: A Suspension of Contempt

“Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.”
-Robert E. Lee

I woke this morning knowing I could no longer put this off. For well over a year a feeling has been building inside of me, but until now I could see no useful purpose in naming the thing I see everywhere I look these days.

There is an ancient superstition which whispers that to name a thing gives it power. I think part of the rationalization for this idea lies in the notion that so long as certain things remain partially hidden, never quite seen in their entirety, decent people are still ashamed to acknowledge them in the harsh light of day.

My father was a Navy man. So, too, was my father in law. Both served full careers and retired as Captains. Destroyer men, they were. Both served in Vietnam. My Uncle Mel was a Marine in WWII, my Grandfather served in the Army. I have ancestors who served all the way back to the Civil (both sides) and Revolutionary wars. So although marrying a military man formed no part of my plans as a young girl, when my husband informed me he had signed up for Marine Officer ROTC, what could I do? I had already said, “I do”. I loved my husband, and I love my country. Both deserve my support, and not just when that support is easy and convenient.

A promise is a promise. I was in for the duration, either way.

The ironic thing was that during my formative years I’d watched my mother (with much love and admiration) struggle with yearly moves, sea duty, and the loneliness and worry that come with being a Navy wife. Consequently, I swore I would never marry a Navy man. No worries. It seemed Fate had a far crueler destiny in mind for me. I would go through life handcuffed to a chicken on a beach ball.

My mind drifts back to this often now when I read the media’s heart rending accounts of young Army officers “forced” to leave the service so their brides can attend college [sniff!]. This is -alas! – the only way they and their families can have a “normal” life. I wonder, as I read, what is normal like? Was my life ever normal? Would I trade one precious second of the profoundly un-normal last three decades for that more tranquil existence, for more money, for the dreamy McMansions we keep looking at, the ones with brick all the way around the house instead of just on the front facade? The ones with all the trimmings I can think up – and I can think up a lot, trust me on that one.

I can imagine a lot of tranquility, too. But are these things: college, jobs, material possessions, what make up the good life? Or is it the friends – the connections – we gather along the way that truly matter, even if they tend to make our lives a bit hectic and messy? [ … ]

Be sure to read her entire post as she ponders this question. Very thought-provoking and she takes a shot at some military spouses that should interest some.

This is just a sampling of some of the amazing contributions the military community and military bloggers provide in my everyday life and, of course, in the everyday lives of their other readers and friends/family/coworkers. I can’t express enough how much I have grown as a person and as a man, simply from reading military blogs. We have some amazing people in our United States Armed Forces who are much more than simply names, statistics, MOSs and medals and awards.

I hope you all take the time to check out the links I have provided (or see the MANY links to military blogs I have provided in my MILBLOGS banner above) and also pass them on to others. They come from all backgrounds, all MOSs, all branches of the military and from all different ranks and knowledge bases – from the grunts to the decorated, well-connected high ranking officers – and all different experience levels, current members and veterans of past wars and OIF and OEF. These ladies and gentlemen are truly an invaluable and priceless contribution to our culture and understanding and appreciation of our country, our military and our fellow man.

Please do make it a point to read at least one of their sites daily.

April 19, 2008 , 2:56PM Posted by | Honor, Military, Military Blogs | Comments Off on Reason Number 5,254 Why I Read and Promote Military Blogs

This is War: Memories of Iraq (MOVIE)

Thanks to a commentor at Blackfive, here is the link to the trailer for this movie on MySpace.

And I believe you can purchase the video here at Lucky Forward Films.

Via Deebow at Blackfive: The “Feel Good” Movie of the year…

[ … ] I know a few of these men, having served with them for some years now in the National Guard, both overseas and at home and at the risk of giving away some of my anonymity, they are all from Oregon.

The footage shot from this movie is not something that you are probably going to find in any movie coming out of HollyWeird because it is shot through the cameras and eyes of the men who lived it, at the time they were living it.

Here is some of the write up that came from our Guard Newsletter, The Sentinel:

The special screening of the film documenting their deployment was held during the 2nd Annual Cinema City Film Festival March 9-10, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, Calif. According to the event’s organizer, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, the showing was as much business as it was personal.

“After I watched the movie, I just fell in love with the guys,” she said. “They’re a great group of people and we’re so proud to have them here.”

Some of the celebrities who attended the event included Ed McMahon, Cuba Gooding Sr., singer Debora Gibson, Ed Lauder, “Good Times” star, Ja’Net Du Bois, and Christopher McDonald, who is best known for the character of ‘Shooter McGavin’ in the movie “Happy Gilmore”.

The entire article is here. Additionally, the book The Devil’s Sandbox by John R. Bruning, is the companion reader to this movie and is a chronicle of their actions while deployed there, from the rolling ambush after leaving Navistar to the “Card-board Coffins” to the Battle at the Jemalia Power Station (a “3 hour tour” that turned into an 18 hour plus firefight) and more.

Like I was saying, I know some of these men personally, and I have seen their videos uncut and unedited before we left for Afghanistan, as some of them volunteered (yes leftards, volunteered) and there was this one part, where my buddy Joe was wounded by some Mahdi dude and he…

Well, I won’t spoil it. I hope that video made it into the show….

I would encourage everyone to go and get a copy of the movie and see OIF through the eyes of men who lived it, and not from some stringer or Green Zone Ranger.

Spread the word about this movie. Sounds like a good one. One in which we will see the accounts from our soldiers which the mass media, Hollywood and our government refuse to show us.

April 13, 2008 , 3:07PM Posted by | Iraq, Military, Military Blogs, War Effort in Iraq | Comments Off on This is War: Memories of Iraq (MOVIE)

GEN David Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker & Vets for Freedom in D.C.

First, here is a link to a great series at the military blog The Long War Journal about the political progress in Iraq that is not being reported by the mass media: Inside Iraqi Politics

“Inside Iraqi Politics” is a special series dedicated to examining political progress in Iraq, with a focus on issues that affect the country’s stability and the reconciliation between ethnic and religious sects. The product of more than a dozen interviews with American and Iraqi officials and months of research, the series presents a more comprehensive view of factors that slow progress beyond sectarian interest, including the rapid growth of the government, administrative inexperience, corruption, and the structure of the executive and legislative branches outlined in the Iraqi Constitution.

Part 1: Examining the Iraqi executive branch
The first installment overviews broad political goals and various influences on progress by the executive branch, including the design of the government under the Iraqi Constitution, Iraqi administrative experience, rapid growth, and corruption.

Part 2: A look at executive branch progress
The second installment examines the efforts by Iraq’s executive branch to improve services and achieve reconciliation, including an in-depth profile of the Iraqi Implementation and Follow-Up Committee for National Reconciliation and the Baghdad Services Committee, special bodies appointed by Prime Minister Maliki.

Part 3: Examining the Iraqi legislative branch
The third installment examines the structure and political composition of the Iraqi legislative branch, including a review of sectarian distribution and major political blocs within the Council of Representatives.

Part 4. A look at legislative progress: Reconciliation via wealth distribution
The fourth installment begins examination of legislative progress, specifically the status of key legislation that distributes the country’s wealth, including the 2008 budget and the oil law.

Part 5. A look at legislative progress: Sunnis’ and states’ rights
The fifth installment reviews further pieces of legislation considered important for stability and reconciliation: the Unified Retirement Law, de-Baathification reform, the General Amnesty Law, the referendum on Kirkuk, the Provincial Powers Act and the Provincial Elections Law.

Anti-Idiotarian Blogs covering the Iraq Testimony:


Michelle Malkin: Petraeus on the Hill; Dems can’t control Code Pinkos; Idiot Sen. Levin calls Petraeus “Admiral;” Update: Petraeus recommends 45-day pause on troop reductions in July; Update: Aggressive Levin heckles Petraeus, allows outside heckler to pile on; Update: Sen. Lieberman lashes back at “See no progress” Democrats; Update: Another McCain Shia/Sunni flub?; Update: Petraeus slides added


Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit: Petraeus Reports Great News From Iraq… Dems Stumble


Kevin Mooney at Newsbusters interview with Vets for Freedom’s Pete Hegseth: Vets for Freedom Hope to Impact Media and Political Class


Military Blogs covering the Iraq Testimony:


John Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell, But You Can See it From Here (Lots of pictures and FIVE YouTube video accounts of speeches and interviews): Vets for Freedom Rally for troops


Curt at Flopping Aces: Iraq Testimony On The Hill


Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive: National Heroes Tour- Vets on the Hill


Uncle Jimbo’s YouTube video coverage (8 minutes): National Heroes Tour- Vets on the Hill

Vets for Freedom brought 450+ of it’s Iraq and Afghanistam vets to DC to talk to their Congressional Reps and Senators. They are asking that our troops be allowed to win. John McCain and Lindsey Graham as well as about 10 other Congress people spoke as well as Dave Bellavia and Steve Russell.



Herschel Smith at The Captain’s Journal: Of Swine, Hyenas and Generals: The Petraeus Testimony


Deebow at Blackfive: My Dad Always Told me…

[ … ] For those that were in Civics class and not in Study Hall, you may remember that starting long about 1775, we declared our independence, fought a war, won it, and still had to form a government afterward. The fact that Nancy can pay zero attention to even our own history and can run her neck on and on about how the consecrated, hallowed ground in Iraq is unworthy of our sacrifice in the name of the freedom of others (something I thought the Dems were for) and not be dragged into the street and beaten is beyond me.

OK, minus the history lesson, the reason I am so pissed is because I was able to find Speaker Pelosi’s traitorous remarks without any real effort, but I had to work hard to find any good stories about General Petraeus and his testimony, or any story about Mike Monsoor today. Two men whose stories deserve to be seen and heard by as many Americans as possible.



Dadmanly: Vets on the Hill, Part I


Meanwhile, since they cannot debate the military issues on the facts and merits, the Left does what it always does and uses petty, immature personal attacks. No surprise: Now The Left Complains About The Number Of Medals Worn By Our Military Leaders


And of course anything to do with the military cannot be complete without an appearance from the Commie Pinko hags of CODE PINK.

April 10, 2008 , 11:31AM Posted by | CODE PINK, David Bellavia, General David Petraeus, Iraq, Military, Military Blogs, National Heroes Tour, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Patriotism, Pete Hegseth, The Long War, US Military, Vets for Freedom, War Effort in Iraq | Comments Off on GEN David Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker & Vets for Freedom in D.C.

Operation R.A.M.B.O. – 27 FEB 08

Operation R.A.M.B.O.
[Read A Military Blog Online]

Mrs. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette has done an amazing job with her DAWN PATROLs, as has David M with his Web Reconnaissance at The Thunder Run. I wanted to do something similar, but not steal the titles of their efforts; not ‘steal their thunder’, so to speak. So this is what I came up with for my efforts to link to military blogs that I read, and that I encourage you to read as well.

*****

Mrs. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette: DAWN PATROL – 27 FEB 2008
“Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics – from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you’re a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.”

David M at The Thunder Run: From the Front: 02/27/2008
News and Personal dispatches from the front lines. …

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette: What if, what was, what now, what next…
… To engage in this discussion is to enter into a game of “what if?”. Let’s indulge those who’ve chosen to do so – I’m assuming they’ve thought it through beyond the bumper-sticker/sound bite level and are eager to flesh out their position. So here are a few follow-up questions:

Would you have sent all the troops who went to Iraq into Afghanistan? If not, how many?

Is there any limit to the amount of troops or time you would devote to the hunt for Osama bin Laden? If so, what is that limit? What percentage of troops in Afghanistan would be assigned to other tasks?

Would the al Qaeda recruits (or “foreign fighters”) who went to Iraq since 2003 have gone to Afghanistan instead? The Soviet experience in Afghanistan certainly indicates that’s likely.

Would Saddam Hussein have assisted that effort? If so, how would you respond?

From 1991-2003 tens of thousands of American troops served in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey enforcing U.N. sanctions against Iraq. (Remember the “no fly zones” and the near-daily attacks on Iraq radar sites and anti-aircraft positions?) Would you have left these troops in place? (Hint: they aren’t there any more…) Consider also that Osama bin Laden cited the presence of these troops as the fundamental basis of his jihad against America, culminating in the 9/11 attacks.

There are countless follow-up questions – but that’s enough “what if?” for now. The more important question is “what now?” – and any candidate’s answers to the “what ifs” or complaints about “what was” matter only insofar as they illuminate that persons view of “what next”.

So on to the questions that matter: …

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette: The Free and the Brave (VIDEO)
I sang this thing out loud without musical accompanyment every day while I was in Iraq, …

The Free and the Brave
Greyhawk

Over in America, home of the free
Land of unlimited opportunity
People in the streets protest whatever they can
While over in Iraq and Afghanistan

The brave, far from home, are standing tall
and toeing the line, so they can have it all
Some try to complicate it but it’s simple to me
They’re making noise, we’re making history

Osama’d like to think that we can’t get it done
And some would like to tell you it’s time to cut and run
Me I like to finish something once I’ve begun
And I don’t think I’m the only one

Here making history, hearing the noise
of things that divide and things that destroy
Things you’d never ever want to see on your street
Things you might call the price of defeat

So excuse me if I come home a little annoyed
If while I was making history, you were making noise

We’re making history
They’re making noise
We’re facing the fire
They’re playing with toys
Nobody ever said
That it would be easy
They’re making noise
We’re making history

– Iraq, May, 2007

Curt at Flopping Aces: Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Visit Baghdad Mar2
I’m sure it’s not the way they hoped the news would be reported, but US and Iraqi forces captured one of the leaders of the insurgency who has been using Iranian armor-piercing EFP (explosively formed projectiles) to kill Americans. Looks like he’s a member of Iran’s Special Forces (or at the very least working with them).

On that same day, Iranian diplomats confirmed that their President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is personally coming to Baghdad. …

ChrisG at Flopping Aces: US Military Commanders Bemoan Lack of Concern About Terror Threat
These retired and still active senior officer’s views are pretty much mine also. I will just post the article and let these people’s words speak for themselves.

Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive: One Shot, One Squirrel
Bill Ardolino continues his excellent series on Iraqi politics at the Long War Journal.

Pete Hegseth discusses the waning media coverage in Iraq

Otto discusses an NYT piece on out of control soldiers in Afghanistan here.

Megan Ortagus meets up with a Private Ryan in Kuwait on her way to Iraq.

1LT Fishman sends the weekly good news wrap up after the jump …

February 27, 2008 , 10:31PM Posted by | Afghanistan, Iraq, Military, Military Blogs, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation RAMBO, The Long War, War Effort in Iraq | Comments Off on Operation R.A.M.B.O. – 27 FEB 08