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

August 22, 2014

Soldiers Are Always Lonely, Even In the Company Of Other Soldiers

Behind the facade of the “winner” in a war, (just by surviving you’ve “won”), there are millions of lonely men and women who have seen enough to last 10 lifetimes. We are rapidly losing our WWII and Korean vets, the last American Great War vet Frank Buckles died Feb 27, 2011 at the age of 110. Here was a man that saw the end of WWI, the beginning of every war since.

 

I often wonder who will be the last veteran of WWII will be, and will his/her memories be preserved. Korea, Vietnam, the Middle Eastern fiascoes, we need to point out to the young people of today that war is a horrible thing, the closest a person can get to hell here on earth.

Veterans, regardless of branch of service can speak to other veterans with a knowledge that some things they’ve witness have no words to accurately describe what they saw and did, no dictionary no thesaurus possesses the words necessary for an accurate description of the horrors of war. What is spoon fed to the civilian population is old John Wayne movies where every American is a hero and all perceived enemies are cowards or fools, (or worse yet and old Signal Corps film with Ronald Reagan declaring, ‘don’t let your dick look like this!’ while showing a syphilitic penis). The enemies at the time were just as wily as we were, often more so, and they were as brave, if not braver than many Americans.

We are taught to suppress our emotions and I think that is a terrible disservice to the nation as a whole. Most assuredly, those who are awarded the higher decorations, the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, help to create the hero “myth”. This is not to denigrate what they did, but I know that many men and women rest in military cemeteries who did things that were far and away above the call of duty and they received a stone or bronze plaque without the slightest idea of what they did or how they died.

Those of us who survived, recall the names and faces of the forever young, we know what they did, the sacrifices they made so that others may live. Every night, I recall certain things, one is the first man I shot, the first shot I took at a human being and hit him in the forehead, he was dead before he hit the ground. Another poignant point in my life is when a junior medic stuck his pinky in my carotid artery and spoke to me all the way through that Dustoff flight, “You ain’t gonna die on my watch Sarge!” His voice seemed strangely distant, but his face was just about touching mine. I didn’t die because a young black PFC wasn’t going to let me die. How many more like me are out there? Saved by a fellow soldier, often at the cost of life or limb, simply because we had a duty and dedication to one another?

The words may not be there, but there is a gut feeling for all who have served, we know. That knowledge should not be wasted, we need to have service members speaking out against war, shutting down the chickenhawks wherever they raise their ugly heads and squeal about the “necessity” of war.

Personally, the only “necessities” I needed in the Army was coffee and cigarettes.

Peace,

Bob

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 24, 2014

Irena Sendler (1910-2008)

Irena Sendlerowapawiak

 

Irena rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and placed them with Christian families.

By 1942, when the deadly intentions of the Nazis had become clear, Sendler joined a Polish underground organization, Zegota. She recruited 10 close friends — a group that would eventually grow to 25, all but one of them women — and began rescuing Jewish children. She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second.

Never intending to be a “hero”, she did what she believed as the correct thing to do, very little recognition, although before her death from pneumonia, the Polish Government nominated her for the Peace Prize

Read more at: http://www.holocaustforgotten.com/sendler.htm

 

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 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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