Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

August 26, 2014

Conflict (Warning graphic pics)

    

 

The recent murder of James Foley has me in a deep conflict, deeper and darker than I care to go, but I can’t keep myself from thinking of much other than revenge for this murder, but against an entire group ISIS/ISIL appears to be the epitome of evil. They murder without mercy, sell women and children off as slaves, they claim a religious basis for this, but I’ll be damned if I can find one from the Muslims and Qur’an Scholars I’ve spoken with who even come close to agreeing with that.

I fully admit that I am as far from religion as a person can get, but I most certainly have a spiritual side that drives me, almost always for the good of the people around me. What would I do, if I could do anything, to alleviate the suffering ISIS/ISIL has brought upon so many? Could I make a passionate argument that what they were doing was in direct conflict with what is the basis of all of the great religions? Could I get them to stop their slaughter long enough to see that they are in direct conflict with their own religion? I am pretty sure I would suffer greatly for my points of view.

It is the impunity with which they have gathered this storm together that bothers me more than anything. In all of the Middle East, not one nation is condemning these people from what they are doing. This is a huge WTF moment! This small band of thieves and liars became a force because honest people within their region did not call them out on their insanity in the beginning.  They get recruits by paying them, something the nations in the region seem incapable of doing for their own citizens.  Flash point after flash point rises from the dust of the desert, some, which were huge news just a week ago, have been relegated to secondary or tertiary status because this rogue element makes for “good copy”.

Is it right for me to wish to bring the same amount of fear they bring to others to them, or perhaps an extra dose of  fear. It is easy to sit here in Boston and safely write about these things, but they bring up the rumblings of my past, the desire to exact vengeance which I have struggled with for 40+ years. To kill a man is a dreadful thing, even when that man acts like a rabid animal. I sincerely doubt this group of black garbed, masked cowards would sit around a campfire singing Cumbayah. There is so much of evil in these people I find it difficult to comprehend; even in my worst days on the battlefield would I act like these people? How can I, as a Veteran For Peace, deal with monstrous acts on a scale that is growing daily?

I can find no empathy for these people, but I have plenty of empathy and sympathy for those who are being summarily abused by these thugs. I try to find some small shred of goodness in everyone, but I cannot find a sliver of goodness in ISIS/ISIL, it is evil personified in an area that is already a keg of dynamite ready to explode. Sleep comes with great difficulty, for while it is night here, it is day there, and the evil moves forward with each dawn. How can I sleep when I know women and children are being sold into slavery, men of all ages are slaughtered in ditches? It is a damned if you do, damned if don’t moment. Christ, I’m damned!

I can think of one way where we could help, starting with Gaza, open up the area for humanitarian aid. Once the people in the region see that we can be as good as our word, we can utilize humanitarian aid to open more areas that need as much, if not more than Gaza. Bring in other nations, not just European nations, but Middle Eastern nations, African and South American nations, Asian nations all coming to the aid of a beleaguered speck of land. We can act globally to end this nightmare and the positives will build upon the positives, nations will realize they can work together for the betterment of mankind.  Food, water, shelter, medicine the four basic elements everyone needs can be brought in. In the longer run, we can build desalinization plants for irrigation and a level of production where people can subsist on their own. We’d need a powerful UN force to guard the lines of communication and distribution, that is possible, even if it is might seem a little rough and tumble from time to time. Each time ISIS/ISIL makes a move, we counter it internationally, giving them the option of cessation of hostilities or face capture and imprisonment for life for crimes against humanity. We could bring families back together, finding out who had “bought” the slaves ISIS/ISIL “sold”, (owning or selling human beings is an international crime).

This is a huge effort and is fraught with possibilities of things going terribly wrong, but could they be worse than what is happening now wherever ISIS/ISIL has left its imprint?

On the other hand, we could just target them and be done with it, but is that justice or retribution? This is where I’m conflicted, I want justice, but retribution sounds so tempting.

Perhaps I’m not damned after all.

Bob

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August 21, 2014

VOTE!

   

 

I think I have heard every excuse there is for not voting, so please spare me the, “my vote doesn’t count”, “I hate to wait in line”, “I have to work late” and a whole host of other pieces of dialog that keeps people from the polls. Most democracies and virtually all dictatorships and theocracies have a far better turn out than we do at the polls, I am often embarrassed that we call ourselves a democratic-republic; 43-48% turnout is pathetic and amounts to a plurality as opposed to a clear-cut winner.

There is no good reason for not casting a ballot, you can show up in person, as I do, you can request an absentee ballot, as I have, it takes so little time from one’s precious day, and yet there are so many things at stake, I would crawl over crushed glass on cobblestones if I had to to cast my ballot. This is not all about who will be in the House or Senate, it goes far beyond that, there are initiatives on the ballot that can, and often will, have far-reaching consequences on the way we live, taxation, cleaner air and water, the list goes on and you can make a difference.

One rule I live by in voting, is that I will not ask anyone to vote as I do, I find that disingenuous at best. That is not to say I won’t explain why I am voting the way I am, but your vote is your vote, I will nothing to discredit it, nor will I take you to task for it. One’s vote is personal and should be left to that individual without any fear of reprisal. I will defend a person’s right to keep their vote secret, just as I will defend a person’s right to speak, even if I disagree with their message, (in the latter though, I expect the individuals speaking to allow me the same right, especially if I disagree.)

There are often local votes that affect specific communities, I urge you to vote in these as well if you are a part of that community. Things often hinge on a few votes as in School Boards and Townships where a little power can go a long way. Some School Boards have “outlawed” evolution and are endeavoring to do away with science all together, I know of two Townships that the vote rested on two ballots, one would have broken even, the second would have kept someone off the Board. 13 & 17% of eligible voters voted in those elections.

Andrew Johnson was acquitted after being impeached during Reconstruction by a single vote. When asked, the Senator who cast the final nay vote was asked why he did so, he answered that he was not going to be the Senator that would plunge the nation into another Civil War. Granted, Andrew Johnson consistently winds up in the lowest five of presidents, but the wisdom of a single vote might well have saved the nation further bloodshed and horror.

So please, vote , realize that your vote does have an impact and realize as well, if things don’t go your way in the election, your vote has ensured your right to complain. Earn that right with your vote, few things irk me more than people who piss and squeal about “how things ought to be”, and when I ask them if they voted they say no. I refuse to listen to them after that, it’s that simple.

Look at the issues, the candidates, what they have done in the past, and if they’ve kept their word, (highly unlikely).

Two Links follow, one on important dates, the other on candidates ballot initiatives:

https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2014-primary-and-election-calendar.pdf

http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/

 

See you at the polls!

Bob

August 15, 2014

Update: Ferguson MO/Mr. Brown

Fortunately, last night the county officers pulled back and the State Patrol took over by order of Governor Nixon, and during the night, there were no arrests or unseemly behaviors on the part of everyone involved. On the news this morning, I saw something I was hoping to see, white individuals getting involved in the call for justice. These are the times when all citizens need to be involved, when the county rolled out armored vehicles and snipers, things were out of control. The Captain speaking for the State Patrol is articulate and well informed, he’s not going to just blurb out some answers that people want to hear, he seems to be explaining the facts as we now know them. More will be coming after more is known.

One of the more unfortunate aspects of  the aftermath is that some looting took place, that appears to be one of the things that happens when some people can’t control themselves and use anything as an excuse to do damage. The vast majority of citizens held themselves in check and they deserve all of the respect we can give them.

It will be some time before we find out all of the facts in this case, however, the number of shots fired alone, particularly after the man is down, show me that the officer at the scene should be fired and brought up on criminal charges. Accounts vary, but several witnesses have come forward and spoken of what they saw. By all accounts, these witnesses are credible and their stories of the event match.

What we need to do now, is de-militarize PD’s. The “fire sale” events by the DOD have to stop. There is no need for a tank in Phoenix, (especially under that nutcase Arpaio), nor is there a need for an M-60A3 in Omaha or any other city in the US. A police department needs to be armed, but do they need to have military grade hardware? I’ve worked with a lot of military weapons, comes with the territory when you spend 13 years in the US Army, (even Medics like me want to try out things that go “bang”, but we used them on firing ranges, not real life scenarios, that would breach the Law of Land Warfare and UCMJ).

May the good people of Ferguson find solace and peace after a tragedy and may the rest of us learn that each life is precious.

Peace,

Bob

August 1, 2014

The Crazy Has Hit New Lows, (Or Highs As Per Your Point Of View)

 

 

The makers and sellers of arms are at it again, just as before 1917 and 1941, manufacturers of weapons are well on their way ensuring people will die through their malfeasance. US based companies sell arms to just about anyone at exorbitant prices, and not one of those corporate officers will have anything to lose in the bargain. Most assuredly, they, their sons and daughters, and those who consider themselves “nobler than thou” will never spill a drop of blood while they enrich themselves at a horrible human cost.

Here’s a simple illustration: We sell arms to Qatar, which in turn gives or sells them to Hamas, same basic thing with the Saudi’s. We sell arms and ammunition to Israel directly, thereby enhancing the threat all the way around, setting the stage for more death and dismemberment, more  non-combatants killed and more orphans are created. This is just a tiny observation of the entire network of arms dealing that brings with it assured death for hundreds of thousands if not millions of human beings now and in the future. This is not a cheap thrill movie out of Hollywood where everybody has a “great time” blowing up the “bad” guys with precision, it is real and incredibly deadly. It is also remarkable for it’s stupidity from all sides.

Hamas tosses essentially a garbage can they call a missile into Israel, Israel tosses several highly accurate missiles, bombs and artillery back to Gaza, where the people have no place to hide, no where to run, the targets are easy for Israel, and the “collateral damage” is considered part of a very odd equation based on retaliation for the “first strike”; has anyone, from either side actually sat down and thought this though?

The only people who are gaining anything are the industrialists, the more war, the better business is, accountants are in their glory while taxpayers and shareholders lose. How does one think the huge “bonuses” officers at companies that supply the machinery of death? That money is directly siphoned off from taxpayers and shareholders in various companies, when that money could easily be used to prevent  war. In our incredible ignorance, we permit the greediest bastards on the earth use us as playthings, mere pawns in their game of death. I find it incredible that few, if any, of us for Peace can be heard above the chanting for war and the din of that war the purveyors so badly need to prevent a bruised ego.

Some may say this is about religion, rest assured, it isn’t. Many times in the past people of different cultures worked side by side to create wondrous accomplishments that were proud reminders of how easy it is to get along when tasks are common and evenly distributed. Often, when a society was threatened, people of very different cultures came together to fend off the threat, today, cultural differences are used as weapons in the battles against morality and justice. When I hear anyone speak of religion I honestly get sickened. Every religion teaches the capacity of love, compassion, empathy and a host of other good things, like forgiveness, justice and helping one’s fellow human beings through tough times. But all I ever see is the dark side, the side that lies and betrays the goodness being taught, demanding the ultimate sacrifice for profit and gain, condemning others for their beliefs and shouting out hate filled diatribes when they should be feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. The “moral” justification for organized murder, what we call war, come from heartless minds of those who thrive on hate and controversy; I think it’s about time the whole world stood up and shouted out, “ENOUGH!” 

So here we are in the world of “Whack-a-Mole”, something pops up, just beat it back into the hole with all the force you need. Pretty pathetic way to live life, perpetually scared, standing around waiting for the next mole to pop up so we can whack it with a hammer. Worse still, we “justify” our deeds with our inaction against those who put the cash and power gained as they create more havoc for an already absurdly violent world.

The cycle of death and destruction must be broken and only people can do that by coming together in the common causes of Peace, Justice and Equality. I’ve had it up to my eyes with war mongering psychopaths. I’m done standing in the shit that sociopathic industrialists and money lenders leave behind. We need a social revolution, peaceful and inspired to break the cycle. Not selling arms to anyone would be a start, although that void would be filled by some other nation with a chip on it’s shoulder. We, as a species, need to come together and put an end to all of this. The road is rough, but visionaries of the past have cut the initial route, what we need to do is smooth it out and ensure it’s upkeep. Most assuredly, I don’t have all of the answers, but I believe when we come together we can find most of them. I would be gratified to leave a peaceful world to my son, stepdaughters and grandkids, it’s not impossible but we’re going to have to learn to live together before we extinguish life on the planet.

Peace to all,

Bob

PS: Don’t forget to perform a random act of kindness today!

July 30, 2014

The Joys of Moving…

 

 

If there is some form of “joy” in moving, it is when everything is finally set and in place, something that has not yet happened with obr.fm our hosting radio station. Gremlins pop up and there always several glitches, but eventually, we get to be where we need to be.

encuentro5, (e5) is our host and where VFP Radio is part of a collective that serves the communities around us in various social scenarios so that we can help to ensure our communities are safer, better educated, cleaner and more cognitive of the services available to people from all walks of life. We don’t have all of the answers, but we have a lot of them and access where to get answers from. On the other side of the coin, we are always looking for groups that support the ideals we support.

Among these are:

Peace

Justice

Equality for all

Health Care

Actions that develop communities

Referrals for veterans to Home Base, (a post 9-11 veterans health program begun by the Boston Red Sox and Mass Gen Hosp)

Honest news locally, nationally and internationally

All things considered, we are a collective that truly cares about our communities and look forward to addressing the problems that affect so many.

The space we have acquired is on the first floor, 9A Hamilton Place, (directly across from the Park Street Church, the Orpheum Theater closes off  the block), half way down and we’re on the right. We have excellent space for meetings, speaking engagements, we’ll be showing films and have Q&A times. We can schedule people and groups in and you can find out more at:

www.encuentro5.org/

http://www.facebook.com/encuentro5

Come down and visit us, work with us and bring new ideas with you!

Veterans For Peace Radio is broadcast live, Monday evenings from 6-8 pm, except the second Monday of the month, where a pre-recorded show to cover for our VFP meetings. Everyone out there is welcome to come in and be on the show, and I have no problem with scheduling something, or going live from  anywhere there is an event. Everyone with a voice is welcome, I have but one rule, we do not advocate violence toward any person or entity; everything else is fair game.

If you want to be a guest just send me an e-mail with VFP Radio in the subject line at: rfunke12@msn.com

Peace,

Bob

July 28, 2014

VFP Radio Makes a Move! obr.fm 6-8 pm Monday, Eastern

 

We will be moving to 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, down by the (Orpheum Theater), 1 door down from where we were. We are acting under the MassGlobalAction coalition with various groups dedicated to Peace, Social Justice and a host of Progressive groups. The Area we have as a studio is in the back left corner and is an excellent spot for a radio station. The new home base has two major rooms, the first being an anteroom we can use for refreshments and a general meeting room. The second room is considerably larger and can be used for almost anything, comfortably fitting 40-50 people for events such as film showings, discussions, poetry readings and the like. It has a refrigerator and a kitchen, complete with a dishwasher. The short range plan is to broadcast from the new e5 tomorrow, (not like last week with Gremlins attacking), Joe and I will be on the air from 6-8 Eastern discussing military, political, social and other events as they arise. The mid-range plan is to add shows from various sources and back off the music a bit to open up a line of communication where people can get reliable, researched news and material. The long range plan is to move forward globally, (we already have some international listeners). I am working on putting certain documentary films together, I have some committed already, I just need dates and times to fill in.It is my idea that having snacks/drinks during these types of things is always a plus, so, as the planning comes up, please let me know your preferences. I will be sending out messages for events to many groups in the hope we come closer together and make new as well as renew friendships and solidarity. I will try to cover as many subjects dealing with our, and other societies as possible. I will need speakers, video help, and above all people that can enjoy the experience of learning something new. obr.fm has several venues and I urge you to click in from time to time, visit our Green Room and blogs, download mp3’s and listen to old shows that have a great deal of wisdom from many of my former, (and future) guests. I encourage everyone/anyone who wants to be on the VFP Radio Hour to email me at: rfunke12@msn.com I only ask you put “VFP Radio Request” in the Subject Line so I don’t overlook your email. Two more things, the rules: There is only one, we do not advocate violence against any individual or entity. #2 is a bit more touchy; events will be free, but there will be a donation bucket for those who feel so inclined. I am not the kind of person who asks for money, I always thought that was a personal matter, however, food, snacks, drinks etc do cost a little and there may be cost involved with some speakers. I will post any “suggested donation” as necessary, but I can’t, or won’t hold anyone to any amount, everyone is welcome and no one will be turned away from “donation” event. It does take a little cash to run obr.fm, there will be a donation access set up in the near future, but there is no obligation. We want to educate, plant the seeds of Peace and enjoy each others company. With some luck, I’ll have a call in # by next Monday do we can interact more intimately. Peace and prosperity…and please listen tomorrow, let’s grow! Bob

July 23, 2014

Palestine/Israel Report from Copley Square 7-22-14

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

So I went down to the library about an hour before the event to take in the sights and observe who was showing up for what. At first there were a dew people showing up with signs, mostly against Israel attacking Gaza. There were Palestinian supporters that showed up first and the crowd steadily grew. Near Boylston, the Israeli supporters began to show up.

Chants and megaphones fired up and before one could say “oh no”, the arguments began with lots of shouting, which continued to get considerably louder as the multiple megaphones, a drum and chants, the Palestinian supporters started the chants, there were approximately 3:1 in comparison with the Israeli supporters.  A chart held up  had a “death rate” for the week, 346 Palestinians as opposed to 2 Israeli’s. The rockets that Hamas has tossed over the border have been completely ineffective, except for the one that landed near Tel Aviv, stopping traffic at Ben Gurion Airport. To me, that was most likely a fluke since thee rest of the missiles landed harmlessly in fields.

The pro-Israeli group got more vociferous and the chatter going back and forth was the usual stuff; there was a cacophony of charges/counter-charges, the same thing we’ve seen so many times before, just a little more vociferous. The BPD set up a bicycle barrier between the two groups which worked rather well, nice to know the BPD can learn non-violent tactics.

The two groups moved on separate streets toward the State House. I took the Green Line back to Park, as my marching/walking days are over.

My initial impression was that there is a great deal of animosity between the groups, which I find unfortunate, particularly by protesting here in the US they do not face the same as do Palestinians and Israeli’s. My thought is to break down all barriers, the fall back of Israel forces at least 4 kilometers; the blockade  must be taken down and humanitarian supplies be issued immediately in Gaza and elsewhere. Hamas needs to dismantle it’s missiles and not fire anything into Israel.

Judging by today’s shout-fest I think we have a way to go; but I can say, I witnessed no violence as the sides squared off.

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

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