Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

June 30, 2014

“The Best War Fought, Is The One That Is Never Fought.”

The above quote is attributed to Sun-Tzu, essentially his “Rule #1”.

There is a phenomenal amount of wisdom in those 10 words, it’s kind of a shame that the “smartest species on earth” appears to lack much, if any wisdom. The taking of a life is never a pleasant thing except to sociopaths or psychopaths. Let’s make sure we understand something here, very knowledgeable people in various disciplines have looked at the problems of war and bloodshed and while innumerable “answers” are to be found, we still have the basic situation that Sun-Tzu tried so hard to avoid, war.

Sun-Tzu was a brilliant Chinese general who could see things through a prism like view as opposed to black/white. The times called for some dramatic measures, Sun-Tzu met them all and apparently never lost a  battle, nor a discussion if the latter were an option. Diplomacy should always take center stage and be the primary resource. Except in the most extreme of cases should we turn to armed conflict, which segues into “Rule #2”, “Know your enemy”.

Before we commit, we need to have intelligence and what mental or physical barriers are in already in place, what the culture is or the capabilities of any supposed enemies. War should never be taken lightly, if necessary we need to have the big picture, we can only get that perspective through knowledge and intelligence. We would have never wound up in the Middle East if we had looked into a situation that had been around for over a thousand years with little change; we went in like bullies, we’re being treated like bullies, should we expect more?

In the relatively recent past, (1940’s), we had little comprehension of Japanese culture, but we knew they relied upon us for raw materials for production. In our blind ignorance we thought the Japanese were a nation comprised of people who lived in wooden and paper house and looked down upon them because their Emperor was a “god”. Little did we realize what sacrifices would be made to protect the “god” image. We were not on tune with Japanese society.

In the more  recent past, (1960’s), we failed to understand that since WWII and the extraction of the Japanese from Indo-China that Ho Chi Mihn was an avid ally of the US and thought our Constitution was a work of wonder. What he asked the Truman administration for was a sovereign nation, free from French domination, Truman ignored this, as did Eisenhower and Johnson. After the French were beaten at Dien Bien Phu, Johnson came up with the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident to keep the Vietnamese a divided nation.

OK, all of this is history, but the point of the matter is that none of these wars needed to be fought, no lives lost, no defoliation for generations , no pain, no hard feelings; and since so many things are tied together, we may have been able to find ways to get along with each other, either locally or worldwide. The wars need never have been fought.

The Great War was begun with 2 shots that killed Archduke Ferdinand and dis wife Sophie, on June 28 1914; yes 100 years ago. From then on we have been in a constant state of turmoil, skirmish after skirmish, war after war. Of course, wars have been around as long as there have been groups of people that had something another wanted. However, The Great War was something new, massive amounts of material and man hours could now be used to kill on a scale never before seen, we had industrialized war; the rivers of blood would now overflow as never before.

Weapons were brought forth that killed at great distances and the civilian populations, wanting nothing to do with war, would now become a greater part of the carnage than ever before. Noncombatant deaths rose dramatically and the ruthlessness of all sides would be shown to the world. After the Great War, the world was divided into many parts, most having nothing to do with another creating post war animosity that lasted for a generation, just enough time to rebuild armies and navies for Round 2, The Second World War. For the record, in 1928, the United States refused to be a signatory, along with Japan  to end all war, almost immediately, that treaty was broken. Not with Pearl Harbor, but with tribal fighting and countries trying to rid themselves of being part of an empire.

The Communist, or “Red scare” had been around for quite some time. Trade Unions, Textile Unions and many other Unions and organized labor were constantly attacked for trumped up charges, basically because they were against war and empire building. Hundreds died as spies, thugs and hired guns, as well as police departments, National Guard units and the regular Army were called out to “force ” people to work for pennies. Most Americans were against going into the The Great War, but corporations and the wealthy saw great profit in outfitting the warring nations. American corporations placed their bets on both sides, making huge amounts of cash and cutting worker pay. The wealthiest Americans were more than happy to lend cash for arms at exorbitant rates, paying for the deaths of people they would never know or care about. Is there a greater evil than to make money from behind a desk while millions spill their blood in senseless charges or be buried in trenches hit by artillery, what were the last thoughts of those who died buried alive, while men in glorious rooms counted their gold? Henry Ford sued the US govt for detroying his plants in Germany, and won! He and others thought Hitler and Mussolini “were on to something” and great sums of money was funneled to Germany to prepare for WWII

Unions were at the forefront of the Peace movement trying to keep us out of the Great War. Americans were sick of war, the Civil War took 600,000 American lives, entire family lines were wiped out, and when Booth shot Lincoln, he doomed the South to 12 years of extreme misery. As  the aftermath of every calamity of such scale, people despise war and killing; we still had more during the Indian Wars. The end of the Great War though brought about a chance to end all war, but the money rolled in. American banksters and corporations bankrolled Hitler as well as the British, leaving France pretty much on it’s own, just to fill the coffers of those who have built their lives on greed and avarice. Have any of these men ever worn a uniform, faced the fire of a fellow human being hell bent on killing them?

Understanding is the key to wisdom. Realizing that some people wish to live in their own spheres is essential to understanding and realizing that “our” way may not be the “best ” way, empire building always fails, no empire has ever lasted, none ever will, they are built on sand and doomed from the first stone that is laid.

We can change all of this though, we can bring about a peaceful, just world where people get along. It takes planning, discipline and a capability to maintain a keen eye on the goal. It sounds pretty easy, but the forces against us have the power to divide us, make us question why we would want to change. In the past, the powers of the time used spies, thugs, scabs, law enforcement, agents provocateur and even the military in certain situations. I have a particular dislike that the same army I was in would fire upon American citizens, it is one of the most reprehensible things our military could do. This has happened before, on several occasions where coal miners were striking and National Guard units were called and machine gunned the  workers. Then there is the infamous “MacArthur Moment” when Herbert Hoover called out the military to clear out the “Hoovervilles” that popped up during the Bonus Marchers in DC. MacArthur was told not to cross the Anacosta River, but he did, with infantry,cavalry and tanks. It takes discipline to face forces such as these, and maintain the group as a whole, but it can be done. Kent State. Let’s not forget a single Chinese man standing in front of tanks at Tianamen Square, we need that kind of strength of character.

What we lack in firepower, (for the record I am against violent revolution), we make up in integrity. The knowledge that we are right in our views is an overlooked aspect that brings great strength during desperate times. It is that integrity that the powers cannot fight directly, they have to undermine it and it our duty as citizens too maintain that integrity. One way to maintain our integrity is to use our Rights within the Constitution, in particular the First Amendment that guarantees our Right to peaceably assemble for  redress our governmental  grievances and through our collective voices we can do this. History has shown us that time is on our side so we must persevere regardless of threats or intimidation.

We need fight no one, we are looking for the “best” way of ensuring we are heard and changes made that benefit everyone, so this should be a “war” based on ideology, truth to power and exposing those who have failed us in the past and in the present. Agitate, motivate, anticipate.

When I put up my right hand to swear allegiance, a portion was to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” That oath is still apart of my life, it doesn’t expire, I have come to realize that domestic enemies under many different guises are a far greater threat than foreign enemies. I’ll stand my ground, and hope you will as well.

Peace,

Bob

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June 28, 2014

So I went down, to the demonstrations, (6-28) Warning, graphic pics.

iraq8

Slate/Daniel Politi

View image on Twitter

Jenan Moussa

View image on Twitter

Zaid Benjamin 

(apologies to the Rolling Stones for hijacking that line)

Park St Station: we had most of the usual crowd, but we did get some people to stop and listen for a while, planting the seeds of Peace one person at a time. We did have a heckler w/the usual, “they’ll be here” propaganda. He was engaged by a member, but I got that into a disengagement. I’m of the opinion that no one ever changed someone’s mind by arguing with them, discussion works at times but arguments just blow things further out of proportion. Besides, we get far more accolades than hecklers, which shows me people are waking up.

At 2 PM, there was supposed to be something at the Statehouse, a glance up there showed me that whatever it was was either cancelled or just didn’t exist.

So……a group of us trotted off to City Hall Plaza, where we waited by the T entrance for 45 minutes w/o anyone showing up. Lo and behold, the Iraqi anti-ISIS was on the other side of the plaza, appropriately I thought, across from the Holocaust Memorial. Perhaps I’m a little too in tune with irony, but while people chanted I thought that the numbers etched into the glass at the Memorial each was a human being; we should have more memorials, one for the Native Americans that were slaughtered, one for the Cambodians slaughtered under Pol Pot. One for the Vietnamese we slaughtered, one for the Iraqi’s we’ve killed, the Afghans, Palestinians who can’t get food and medicine and are dying a horribly slow death. The list could go on, but the point is, human beings have done such damage to other human beings, I’m actually amazed any of us still survive.

At the back edge of City Hall, we found the anti-ISIS demonstration, albeit a little late. I unfurled the VFP flag and there were many smiles from the Iraqi’s. They had brought children, some in strollers, and I thought that children, women and men, still in Iraq were being killed by some radical cowards known as ISIS, (or ISIL if you prefer). Some of the more graphic pictures were reminiscent of the Holocaust and My Lai, people in ditches being shot to death, (there’s that irony again). Men, women and children being murdered while some sick SOB took pictures or filmed the horrific event. The executioners were all in black, to include ski masks, (cowards once again), sickly using their power to bring death to innocent people who merely thought differently than them.

Iraq is a sovereign nation, (I think), at this point. It has the right to defend itself against attack, but if the Army is going to fold at the first shot, what good is it?

Thousands threw off their uniforms and fled, this against a few hundred ISIS members. I have been in firefights where we were out numbered, but good tactical decisions and an eye for the weak spot made a surefire loss into a win. If the Iraqi Army had stood it’s ground with it’s thousands of soldiers in a good defensive position, ISIS would have paid dearly for their invasion, in fact, they may well have been wiped out. But the Army that was trained by the US, (under Bremer), turned tail and ran. Near as I can figure, that is not a good tactic to be written up in any Field Manual. By some sources, the Iraqi defense forces at the border outnumbered ISIS 10/1, perhaps more. In most attacks on fortified defensive positions you want at least 5/1; ISIS should have been taken out as a force almost immediately, that can’t happen though if the defenders panic and resort to essentially a rout w/o even taking a few pot shots at the invaders.

With VFP flag waving in the breeze, I was not about to talk about expanding war, but I made VFP presence known and many in the community recognized the symbol, some even recognized me personally. As rallies go, this one was pushing violence just a tad, nothing radical like murdering all ISIS members, just expelling them from Iraq. To do that though, people are going to die,

I would find myself in a bad position advocating death and war, even though I believe that Iraq has the right to defend itself. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite; but the T-shirt and flag were out there, reminding people that we look for peaceful solutions to ugly problems.

So that was my day, interestingly, things went off on time and people got to where they wanted to be w/o 17 other things going on that garners 2 or 3 people each. Communication works when done well.

My best to all, wishing you long and prosperous lives free from war and hatred,

Bob

June 27, 2014

The Only Weapon “They” Have Is Fear

      

 

I put they in quotation marks because we are facing several elements that can bring harm to us and others. “They” consist of oligarchies, pseudo-democracies, fantastically wealthy corporations and banks that rule the financial world without a care while people starve. “They” also consist of arms makers and marketeers that, without any conscience at all toss the articles of death and destruction into the hands of people and groups that use those weapons against innocent people that fall into the category, “they don’t think like we do.”

These acts, which can easily be overcome with some thoughtful planning and a strategy based on how the various groups act, produce fear, which in turn is a weapon used against the rest of the world. Fear is the most potent weapon out there, and while it can’t be “sold”, it can most assuredly be “bought”. Fear has brought us great damage concerning our Bill of Rights, the very basis of our Freedom. Police Departments take “facial recognition” pictures at will, when 99.99% of the people on file would never do any harm to anyone, we have come to accept this as the “norm”. High tech cameras have cropped up all over the country, particularly in urban areas under the notion of  “crime prevention”, what crimes have they prevented? By the time the police show up, if they show up at all, the act has already been committed and the individual(s) have long left the area. After the cameras started going up, we were showered with a whole plethora of acronyms, start with NSA and work your way down, that have little if anything to do with protecting American or other lives and everything to do with creating a state of near constant fear from “enemies” that can do us little, if any harm.

If we are attacked, (except by overt military force), we should approach it as a crime as we did with the first World Trade Center bombing during the Clinton administration and the Oklahoma City  bombing. Good police work and a lot of luck played out it’s hand we dealt with situations in a sane way. Bottom line, if we use resources specifically designed to solve crimes, we actually solve crimes. Invading countries that had nothing to do with horrid acts of terror does nothing but create a situation where the locals dig in their heels and either fight it out or wait it out. We saw this during WWII; the “Blitz” of London created a population that was steeled in their desire to win at all costs. The “Blitz was terrorism, just as was the bombing of Berlin, Tokyo, Dresden and thousands of other targets during of that time. Millions died needlessly, many more were crippled for life both physically and mentally during the raids designed to instill fear in populations, while arms makers made record profits. These profiteers never had to go into battle, never had to be on guard duty during a moonless night trying desperately to remember passwords and responses, while in the freezing forests during 1944. They slept well as the cash built up in their accounts, never having to sacrifice a thing, while young men died, alone in fields far from home.

After WWII, we went through the “McCarthy Era”, where “Communists and Socialists” were behind every tree and rock just waiting to take over the country. McCarthy did his best to instill fear in every American that didn’t realize he was flat out crazy, and there were a lot of people who most assuredly did not comprehend either Communism or Socialism, in fact, most people don’t comprehend Capitalism, which is extremely damaging to workers but great for the ultra-wealthy. It was all about fear, holding up blank papers declaring, “I have here a list of known Communists,” (the # always changed), and the fear would be reignited. Innocent people became targets of FBI investigations because of nothing more than McCarthy’s tactics of instilling fear into the population. McCarthy was delusional, perhaps because of the amount of alcohol he consumed, (quite a bit by all accounts), or the psychological profile of a man about to lose his seat in the Senate drove him to drastic measures ruining thousands of lives. Then came the dramatic climax to McCarthy by a man small in stature but cast a huge shadow. McCarthy was attacking a lawyer named Fisher who had been in the National Lawyers Guild, when Joseph Welch made the following statement in the heat of the moment, ““Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer’s Guild… Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Across the nation Welch became a hero, and fear lost it’s stranglehold across the nation.

Reagan and Little Boots bush put the pallor of fear once again across the nation. It is unfounded, Reagan ran out on Beirut after the bombing of the Marine Barracks, Little Boots began two incredibly stupid wars against people who had done nothing against us. Iraqi’s and Afghans had nothing to do with 9-11; there were no WMD’s, bin-Laden was forgotten about until Obama ordered him to be taken down. We just bagged, and are bringing to the US for trial a high ranking “terrorist”; the courts will decide his fate.

We have instilled fear upon the nations of the Middle East, it is quite simply time to set up the logistics to extricate ourselves, leaving nothing behind that can be used by hostiles, (many of which we created). Let us remove the fear we have placed not only upon ourselves, but others as well. We can start by helping these and other nations build desalinization plants and offer them grain to grow crops to feed their people through irrigation from the desalinization plants. It’s easy and cheap, and with a little luck and some serious diplomacy, perhaps we can learn to get  along without the killing and maiming, the dehumanization of war.

I wish you all healthy and prosperous fear free lives.

Bob

June 26, 2014

An afternoon w/Chris Hedges at UMASS

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

Chris Hedges is one of the last true to life journalists out there, and his work has been lauded for quite some time. A lot of the discussion had to do with the original Gulf War in which we “liberated” Kuwait. The reporting was somewhat bittersweet as he described what happened from what he could see and hear with own senses and talking to lower enlisted ranks. A little note here for those who have never been in the military, but the higher you go in the ranks, the more crap is going to be spoon-fed to you, no Commander wants to look like an idiot, even though the majority of them are, precisely that, idiots. As a Medical Plt Sgt, I made a special point of avoiding officers as much as possible and went straight to the line troops, the privates and junior NCO’s. These are the people on the line and it was my job to ensure that they were getting proper medical and psychological care in the field. My two most valuable possessions were my ears, you find that a lot of problems are overcome if one just listens, a soldier will figure it out if he/she has a chance to let their feelings heard.

But, Back to Mr. Hedges. He did an excellent job describing his various journeys over the years as a war correspondent. At one point, he left the NYT’s because he would not “upgrade” a piece he had written, his dedication to the truth in war is an example everyone should follow. Since Vietnam the media has changed dramatically, hiding as much as it can behind what is essentially BS about what is going on in war zones. It is the responsibility of every soldier to adhere to the UCMJ and Law of Land Warfare; but there are many stories, and Mr. Hedges viewed atrocities on both sides. There is always a psychopath in a unit, go in, guns blazing, killing everything, but normally good soldiers do not report such acts up the chain of command; and far too often, a Captain will not tell the Bn Commander of the trouble for fear of his/her actual career. The question arises and can be answered quite quickly, which is more important, a career based on lies and murder or ensuring the integrity of a unit is maintained by dealing with the perpetrators? I’ll take the second option without reservation.

War is an ugly, nasty business that can be described as hell on earth. For those of you who have been in combat, you know the outcome. We almost always take the objective but at a cost of American and “enemy” lives, (you can add in “collateral damage” as well since far more civilians and non-combatants perish or are maimed than soldiers.) Mr. Hedges did a wonderful job explaining the horrors of the wars he’s covered. In Gulf War 1, he was embedded with the 1st Bn 1st Marines. He left on his own to see Kuwait City while the Iraqi’s were heading out by the thousands, (and he was in a jeep in a USMC uniform), and no one took notice of him. He described the charred bodies on “the Road of Death” blackened and frozen in place where they burned to death trying to get out of vehicles. The Iraqi’s were in “panic retreat” and we just wiped them out, which is outside of the Law of Land Warfare. Cutting them off and capturing them would have been the correct procedure. Retreating troops can still be targeted, but a full rout is something completely different. It is, in my opinion, murder, just as simple as that.

Many who have never served thought what we have done was, “just fine” in the Middle East. Little do they know how many enemies we created when we should have been working on a humanitarian level. Ensuring that desalinization plants came into play, seeds to grow crops and food and medical care until the first crops and medical teams could have been formed in country, (this paragraph consists of my own thoughts).

Mr. Hedges did a wonderful job describing the horrors of war, although he agreed with me that some words to describe some of the horrors simply don’t exist. It was an eye opening experience and I suggest that if you get a chance to hear Mr. Hedges, or read his books, please do. He’s a friend to VFP and takes a message of Peace with him passing it out as he moves through his spheres of influence.

Peace,

Bob

 

June 21, 2014

In Boston we had: “Globe Talks: Healing the invisible wounds of war”

Sponsored the Boston Globe the Forum was well attended at The JFK Library on Thursday, (6-19), evening. Bostonians , concerned with veteran health concerns, particularly PTSD, TBI, MST, homelessness, and suicide, were in for an informative session that discussed free care for Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who “fall through the cracks” while waiting for VA care and other care available. I would be remiss if I did not mention that this program is sponsored by the Boston Red Sox and called Home Base after the team won the World Series and visited DC with the trophy to meet with the president and were scheduled for a half hour visit to Walter Reed Medical Center to visit with wounded vets. That half hour turned into a five hour stay as the players and management met with convalescing vets. The Red Sox were looking for a charitable cause to sponsor and began Home Base.

The premise is that many veterans from the recent wars were waiting too long in too many cases for care due to a VA backlog for care. Working with Mass Gen Hospital a coalition was built that offered returning vets services free of charge. This is a holistic approach, involving family members, significant others and others of concern.

The following explains a little more of the detail:

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 19th, 2014

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Columbia Point, Boston

What can our community do to help heal the invisible wounds of war among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families?  Less than 1% of Americans have served in these wars. One in three veterans return home with post traumatic stress, depression or traumatic brain injury.  Other invisible wounds include substance abuse, family relationship challenges, stress. The gap in understanding between civilian and military gets wider every day.  As our veterans return from these long wars, what can we do to promote understanding, support, and health among the men and women who have served and their families who have sacrificed for our country.

Panel of veterans and doctors from the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.

Moderated by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen, himself a military family member

Panelists:

Rebecca Weintraub Brendel, MD, JD

Home Base Clinical Director.  What are the signature “invisible wounds” of war and how do they affect our veterans.  Recognizing  the signs of Post Traumatic Stress and how evidence-based treatment helps veterans recover.  Understanding more about the increase in suicide among active duty military.

Paula Rauch, MD

Home Base Family Program Director. When one family member serves, the entire family serves.  Military families have experienced enormous relationship stresses during the past 12 years of war as men and women have deployed to war zones repeatedly. How can pediatricians, primary care providers and schools support and build resilience among 13,000 military-connected children in MA?

Tommy Furlong

Home Base Associate Director of Outreach.  A U.S. Marines Corps Veteran who served in Afghanistan, Furlong offers insight on why young men and women choose to serve in the military, how these wars are different, what coming home feels like, and how to address the stigma associated with getting help for invisible wounds of war.

Brigadier General (ret) Jack Hammond

Home Base Executive Director.  After commanding  troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, General Hammond provides perspective on the gap between the less than 1% of Americans who serve in the military and the 9% of Americans who do not. How do veteran-serving organizations like Home Base keep the public engaged after the wars are over, and what are the obstacles to more private sector health  care for the invisible wounds of war, when only 50% of veterans seek care through the VA.

About Home Base: The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program is one of the only private sector clinics in the nation completely devoted to healing the invisible wounds of war in returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and military families. It is the first program of its kind in the nation, engaged in clinical care, community education and research to heal the invisible wounds of war.

Since the fall of 2009, when the Home Base Program began, 1000 veterans and military families have received clinical care and support , and the program has trained 11,000 clinicians nationwide to recognize and address the invisible wounds of war in their practices. For more, visit www.homebaseprogram.org

Several members of  the audience got the opportunity to ask questions and yours truly, in VFP Smedley T-shirt, (for which I received about 20 positive comments). My comment/question was about getting more people in the area involved in this program, thanking the good people of Boston who showed up and the panel, I asked how we could ensure people knew of this program because I see this as a combination of community, state and national problem and we owe our vets the best we can offer. However, if vets don’t know about Home Base, how can they possibly get treatment from the program?

I offered contact and support from Smedley/Sammie VFP and will contact the network of Peace groups we work with so the word gets out there is free medical care available for Iraq/Afghan vets through this program. I truly believe this program is well worth the effort, even if saves just one life from a senseless suicide, it has worked!

 It takes a strong individual to realize there may be a problem and seek help. The strength shown in the war theaters continues on when we realize that it is not a weakness to seek help, it is a perfectly sensible response to a situation that has arisen.

I ask readers of this blog to let the veterans you know of this program, we’re all in this together and need to get the word out for those who need help and don’t know where to go or what is available.

Thank you,

Peace,

Bob

June 11, 2014

“Friendly Fire”, no service member ever wants to hear those words.

The loss of five Americans and a Pakistani to “Friendly Fire” is a tragedy in itself, the bigger questions are, “How and Why did this happen?”

I heard on the radio today that a B-1 bomber was used on the raid to break the firefight. A lot of things have changed since I was in the Army, but using as AF FAC, (Forward Air Controller), seems a bit much to me for such a small patrol. In most cases, smaller units depend on mortars, artillery and rotary wing aircraft for these types of operations. To me, calling in 4.2 in mortar rounds in rapid succession in a bracketing attack would have been much faster, more accurate and could have set up a “ring of fire” for the extraction of friendlies. Dropping a round every 6-10 seconds from 8 4.2’s would have been devastating for the attacking forces. Artillery takes a little more time and an error factor increases , but the real problem I have is where were the rotary aircraft such as Apaches, Blackhawks, etc that can pinpoint attacks eye to ground?

Generally, when one calls in higher firepower, you move behind the Red Line, the spot that protects your people from short or errant rounds, if you’re surrounded, you bring people in for protection of each other, passing of ammo and make orders easier to understand and a host of other reasons; making the enemy come to you has great advantage in most situations.

Let me bring you up to speed here, the B-1 is a strategic bomber originally designed to replace the B-52, it is a sweep-wing, sub/supersonic aircraft that hold either nuclear or conventional bombs. Obviously, no nuke was used here, but why call in such massive firepower, when other means were available? Here are some images of what was used and what could have been used to extricate the soldiers being pressed.

  

The first is a B-1, the second, an Apache, the 3rd, the A-10 Warthog.

I have no idea how many bombs were dropped by the B-1, but it really does appear to be overkill, and there is no visual contact with the target(s).

In just a few minutes, (which can seem like years during a firefight), any one could have been called in for help. Encircling the enemy with mortar fire can be devastating, specifically as you bring your line of fire in closed. A mortar round can be dropped in just seconds, and you can get a lot of out there very quickly.

A lot of things could have happened that brought about this tragedy, maps misread, bad coordinates, bad info put into the fire control computers, the list can go on.

As an old NCO, I learned the basics and beyond of finding out where you are and where you should be, on maps that could give you a 16 digit grid, putting you within 25 meters. Technology is fine, until it fails; at that point you had better know your way around a map, the terrain, the possibility of hostiles and they’re weapons at their disposal. The most high tech item I used were night vision goggles, I found binoculars better, (wider view).

I don’t know who ordered a B-1 strike, but they should be pushing a broom in the motor pool at this point. (I’d love to see a bird colonel with a broom in his paws!)

The easiest way for this to never happen again, is to end the war; end all war. In the mean time, I suggest we get some competent people out there, because no one should bury one of their own because of  “friendly fire”. End war, end killing and maiming…and the next “victory” parade that trots down 5th Ave, should be led by victims on litters, then wheelchairs, then prosthetic devices and finally flags and the “usual” parade…perhaps people will then comprehend the cost of war.

Peace,

Bob

June 10, 2014

My take on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl…

No one, except Bergdahl himself knows what the experiences are he has had. After 5 years of being  a POW, abused and other assorted situations, (none of which we know anything about), leads to speculation, the wilder the better.

I know the following, SGT Bergdahl was a POW for five years, much of that time under threat of death or other means of degradation. How he became a POW is a mystery, but walking outside the wire is always hazardous, even for a squad or a platoon, much less an individual who appears to have come and gone as he pleased: (a serious breech of military protocol to anyone who has ever served).

Who let him out of the wire?, Where were the guards?  Who Was Sgt of the Guard at the time? Who was the NCOIC of the unit? Then we get into officer country; Who wad the OIC?, Why wasn’t he/she immediately informed, (particularly if this was a more than single occasion?)

The  “Why,Who, What, When and How’s” need to be answered in a truthful and distinct way. The military is well prepared for this under the UCMJ and Law of Land Warfare. We, especially those of us who served in one of our uniforms should not be second guessing and making ludicrous remarks about a situation we know nothing about. The media has us jumping at every drumbeat, and the “usual suspects” are there to condemn or condone depending on their own points of view, (without facts to back them up.)

There will be an “exhaustive” investigation, we might actually learn something from it; but I’m holding my cards close to my chest before I put down any bets. Five years is a long time for being a POW, one might think McCain would know that. Let’s give this kid some breathing room, a chance to meet back up with his family and the some time he has earned.

Peace

Bob

June 2, 2014

The Tragedy of the Shinseki Resignation

I cannot convey how depressed I am that Secretary Shinseki has resigned. He was not only a phenomenal general, who honestly cared for his troops, he was also a man that kept veterans close to his heart. This low spoken man moved the VA from a dinosaur into a dynamo. While I worked at the VA, Secretary Shinseki was placed in almost impossible situations. Thousands of veterans were returning from the Middle East with horrible wounds,legs and arms traumatically amputated; PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Military Sexual Trauma and a host of other problems, not the least, burying the dead.

Shinseki went to work immediately during the scandal that evolved. He fired the people responsible, ensured that a system would be in place to take care of our vets, was moving toward answers to problems that needed to be addressed. Who can take his place? Where can we find a man or woman as capable as Shinseki?.

When Shinseki took over the VA, it was the same as when Max Cleland took the post so many years ago. Few people realize that Cleland, called a “coward” by the Right Wing, had received a Silver Star for saving men in a firefight during Tet, treating them and having them evacuated, about a month before his tragic accident with the grenade. Now, these same sharks call for Shinseki’s head, and that includes spineless Democrats as well.

Now they have it, and the reprehensible individuals in congress will find some slug to pick up where Shinseki did such a fine job. Be it known, the Republicans have shaved cash from the VA for years, “send ’em to war, forget ’em when they come home.” Boehner and his band of thugs need a reality check, toss the slew of them out, everyone who  voted to slash VA funds should be tossed into the street.

General Shinseki, this veteran respects you and stands by you; I salute you sir for you dedication to all veterans and service members. Few have achieved what you have.

Bob Funke

Veterans For Peace

Executive Board Member

Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Bde

Boston MA

 

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