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November 06, 2006

H&I* Fires 6 NOV 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite.

You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...


I am well aware that most of us that crosses the portcullis (yes – they are shiny Ry) at Castle Argghhh, do not need any reminder; but to follow-up on S4UBO’s post this morning you may wanna vote Democrat if you do not mind THIS or THAT happy prospects.

Oh, and since Christmas is fast approaching, it’s nice to cuddle-up to some CHARLIE BROWN cheer. “The Moon Deity is Great” - BOQ


SangerM on why you should vote tomorrow.

Orson Scott Card, author (Ender's Game) and Democrat - on why you shouldn't vote Democrat tomorrow... -the Armorer


Senator Kerry - there's stupid, and then there's Army Stupid... H/t, Point Five (the originator) and Blue Star Chronicles (who sent me the link)!! -the Armorer


One of the more satisfying moments of Saddam's trial (besides the verdict, of course).

The co-editor of American Prospect sets the stage for illegitimacy:

[U]nless there are levels of theft and fraud that would truly mean the end of American democracy, a Democratic House seems as close to a sure thing as we ever get in American politics three days before an election.
Of course, if it's not a sure thing after all, we'll all know what really happened. Hint: it wasn't that people actually voted for Republicans.

- FbL


*A term of art from the artillery. Harassment and Interdiction Fires.

Back in the day, when you could just kill people and break things without a note from a lawyer, they were pre-planned, but to the enemy, random, fires at known gathering points, road junctions, Main Supply Routes, assembly areas, etc - to keep the bad guy nervous that the world around him might start exploding at any minute.

Not really relevant to today's operating environment, right? But, it *is*

The UAVs we fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for targets of opportunity are a form of H&I fires, if you really want to parse it finely. We just have better sensors and fire control now.

I call the post that because it's random things posted by me and people I've given posting privileges to. It's also an open trackback, so if (Don Surber uses it this way a lot) someone has a post they're proud of, but it really isn't either Castle kind of stuff, or topical to a particular post, I've basically given blanket permission to use that post for that purpose. Another term of art that might be appropriate is "Free Fire Zone".

Denizens | Permalink | Comments (18) | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Army Stupid
» Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated links with: Army Stupid
» The Steeljaw Scribe links with: Vote -- But Don't Forget Valour-IT
Comments on H&I* Fires 6 NOV 2006
FbL briefed on November 6, 2006 11:23 AM

I love the video! Something that members of our military have in spades--and that Kerry never will have--is the ability to make fun of themselves, to not take themselves so seriously.

And the contrast between the two just makes Kerry and his remarks look even more weak and pitiful.

OD briefed on November 6, 2006 01:13 PM

[I moved this comment up here because while Owen has valid points, it just wasn't what I wanted to be on that post in case Paul's family googles for his name. This is the post Owen is referring to. -the Armorer]

That's a whole lot of ugly news. It seems a lot of guys lately have fallen just days before they were due to rotate home. Just as the families are starting to believe they're going to make it. It's cruel. The thought of LTC Finken's daughters learning the news at school is awfully hard.

I hear there's going to be a big expansion in the MiTT program. New MiTTs will be attached at company and maybe even platoon level, not just battalions, apparently. It's a wise move military, but those guys are going to be very exposed.

The poor 101st seems to be a victim of its own success. They did so well under Petraeus, somehow keeping a lid on Mosul and earning a reputation for building good relations with Sunni Iraqis.

Now they always seem to get hardship postings in the most recalcitrant areas, and to be paired with the dodgiest Iraqi security forces.

I recently saw a brilliant short film that followed Tennessee reservists from the 101st around Tikrit and Hawijah. It rapidly became clear that the Iraqi Army unit they were paired with was essentially trying to kill them.

One US platoon leader is in the middle of a firefight when he hears, on the radio, his Iraqi colleague telling his men not to shoot at the insurgents. In fact the 101sters eventually end up arresting the whole unit.

When IEDs start targeting MiTT-team colonels, you have to wonder about the enemy's intelligence and where they're getting it.

Something the film doesn't mention - as if the local people weren't dangerous enough, Hawijah is also the sand-fly capital of Asia. Two-thirds of troops there get sand-fly fever, and some of these cases turn into incurable and potentially fatal leishmaniasis a year later.

Today's Screaming Eagles seem as tough as ever, but it's hard to say "nuts" to a sand-fly or an insurgent who never shows his face.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 6, 2006 01:16 PM

It seems a lot of guys lately have fallen just days before they were due to rotate home.

Or at least those are the ones that attract the attention, because of that fact.

As for the rest, well, sometimes, Owen, you sound like Axis Sally or Tokyo Rose...


KCSteve briefed on November 6, 2006 01:57 PM

I keep having to wonder how the Democrats can be so certain that they can only lose if the Republicans cheat. The only way I would be that certain is if I were cheating myself...

FbL briefed on November 6, 2006 02:14 PM

Owen (OD) writes in the memorial post below:

Hopefully LTC Finken's family can take some little comfort from the knowledge that there's probably a few families in Baghdad who still have their daddies because of his work in protecting them from ISF death squads.
I started reading that with the kind thought that he was making up for his previous political comment on that post by graciously comforting the grieving family.

Then I got to the last four words...

Twist the knife a little, Owen? Be sure to remind them that their loved one died in a "worthless and totally mismanaged war," huh? That always helps the bereaved feel better.

I honestly thought that OD's comment was going to be a gracious condolence and was deeply disappointed to see where it ended up. If I've misunderstood, please show me where/how because Owen is smart, articulate, and snarky and so I don't see how I could view his words in that situation in any other light.

OD briefed on November 6, 2006 05:51 PM

Look, FbL, there are US troops patrolling Baghdad who protect Baghdadis from Mahdi Army and criminal type death squads. But LTC Finken led a MiTT team. Their biggest contribution is to work against death squad and militia activity within the ISF. There's hardly a soldier in Baghdad who would disagree with that assessment. Fighting militia activity in the ISF is dangerous work, even for Iraqis.

I will do my best to be respectful of all US troops, but you go too far in suggesting I now have to sugarcoat the Iraqi security forces.

Tony Snow says the same thing, that it's wrong to disparage them. Are we not allowed to mention the 8th Police Brigade, recently stood down, with its officers arrested for complicity in death squads?

Or the fact the US troops routinely search police buildings and even the Interior Ministry itself looking for kidnap victims?

We can't mention the Facilities Protection Service, Iraq's largest uniformed armed force, split between dozens of ministerial private armies and freelance kidnap gangs, all equipped with police uniforms, guns, squad cars and state salaries?

Nor the police passing-out ceremonies where they all chant their favourite Badr Brigade marching songs?

Is it beyond the pale to point out, that when Baghdad goes under curfew and only the ISF roam the streets, the following morning's tally of tortured bodies is typically as high as an average day?

If you really think the ISF are all good guys, click on the film I linked to, and you will see with your own eyes ISF deliberately trying to kill 101st Airborne soldiers.

When I mention ISF death squads, it's in no way a sign of disrespect to LTC Finken. The existence of this problem is what makes the MiTT teams' work so valuable in saving lives.

What I am doing is refusing to lie about historical fact. You shouldn't get into the habit of glossing over death squads, even if you think they happen to be on your side. It's a slippery slope.

Boquisucio briefed on November 6, 2006 07:17 PM

Well stated, SangerM. As for another in this post's commentary I wish to rejoinder as follows: Smoother vitriol has been hizzed, not; by viperine tongued sophists as thine, OD.

Shame on you to employ the memory of our befallen, to prop up academe postulations such as yours.

No one picks on The Fuzz - No One. :{

BOQ - The Castle's Backwater 'Rican.

ry briefed on November 6, 2006 08:00 PM

Man, I didn't know it was possible to more tactless than me.
Wrong time. Wrong place. Wrong nerves to tread on.

Moving on. Given what OD points to(the infilitration of the Iraqi forces by people not loyal to the Iraqi gov't) I wonder why people keep trying to say that the old army should've been kept around(seeing as how that was a conscript army, officered by people whose political loyalty was paramount instead of ability, and utterly un-vetted).

Luckily we have men like colonels Finken and Kruger brave enough to try and make the world un-f'd up. No war is ever worth the lives spent on them, not even WW2, but still they must be fought and won lest the Light should go out. I'm thankful for men like Finken and Kruger, and I imagine the Lord is going to have some hard questions for us all about their deaths and how we conducted ourselves in the aftermath thereof.

FbL briefed on November 6, 2006 08:21 PM

OD, I don't dispute anything you said in your reply to me. Rather, I dispute the appropriateness of the time, manner and place in which you first brought up the subject (the post below).

FbL briefed on November 6, 2006 08:44 PM

Upon further thought, I'll not dispute the facts of your post, OD, but I will dispute the spin.

OD briefed on November 6, 2006 08:58 PM

Frankly I think you're all paranoid. What political point did I try to score? Let's recount my communistic troop-bashing. Let's see, I said LTC Finken's unit gets tough jobs because it's done well in the past. I said that some 101st men had to put up with sandflies as well as insurgents. I said that he was particularly exposed as a MiTT leader trying to straighten out Iraqi security forces. I also said more men would be similarly exposed in the coming months, but that increasing the number of MiTTs was nevertheless probably the right decision. That was my only mention of policy. I also said he was at least well-placed to make an impact and that hopefully his family might draw comfort from knowing that he probably saved lives. I don't remember telling anyone to vote for Nancy Pelosi.

You know, it often seems like you have a taboo against saying anything much about Iraq the actual place.

SangerM briefed on November 6, 2006 10:07 PM

Ry, you're not tactless. Really. Trust me.

OD, you wrote: Frankly I think you're all paranoid.

OD, frankly, everyone has been trying to tell you nicely that you are acting like an insensitive jerkwad blowhard. Lighten up some. We all have opinions, really, but few of us seem to be as convinced as you do that everybody else is an idiot (and most of us aren't nearly as angry-seeming). Of course, _my_ meds are working...

Look, I was very interested in what all you wrote about the Pentagon (I don't agree with most of it, but I was intrigued), but to be blunt, I think your timing on this issue just sucks. And I think you're insensitive, too.

And I am not the solipsist who started all of this... :-)


ry briefed on November 6, 2006 10:28 PM

Owen. Dude, it's to soon for 'That's a whole lot of ugly news. It seems a lot of guys lately have fallen just days before they were due to rotate home. Just as the families are starting to believe they're going to make it. It's cruel. The thought of LTC Finken's daughters learning the news at school is awfully hard.' Okay? Do you or don't you get that?
Maybe you didn't imply anything intentionaly, but given your past history is it so hard to believe that we saw it differently? Seeing it thru our screens, how often your words just drip with a loathing for the Iraq war, is it beyond reason to see some animus along the lines of'if it weren't for Bush and his damned war their dad's wouldn't be dead; and how low is it for BushCo to make these kids learn about it at school to boot!'? I'm usually someone who cuts you a bit of slack, but this time I'm with Fuzzie. That really came off as crass(even if you didn't mean it that way---which is something I got the Hairy Eyeball for recently, so it isn't just you Owen. People are fairly liberal in hauling out the yellow card around here.)

It's the eve of an election on this side of The Pond. Silly Season. People are hyper sensitive to that kind of thing right now. That colours things too as emotions are running hot.

Also: Dude, don't bring people's family into things. That's just wrong. None of us have the right to bring Finken or Kruger's family into this--we don't know them, they aren't our friends(maybe John knows them, but the rest of us surely do not), and so doing so really does seem like a pull on heart strings. You probably meant it in a 'man, what a chitty way to...' way instead of trying to guilt trip. That's not the way it came off though. Nothing to do with paranoia. Everything to do with 'Only Nixon can go to China'. Who you are and what you've done colours what you do and how it's recieved. You've been consistently negative about the Iraq war and that clouds what you said here and what people will tolerate from you. Maybe that isn't fair, but that's how it is.

It's just a thread that's meant to be a tribute shouldn't be laden with things that can be construed as anything but. Even *I* know that, and I'm the lowest form of life there is(gollum). Wrong time to write something like you did, given the ambiguity, considering how recent it is. Writing something like that, a potential back handed compliment, in a tribute post is the wrong place for implied 'Iraq was WRONG' messages---even unintentional ones. Wrong nerves because all of us feel some amount of guilt---some more than others, much more than others(looks worriedly off in the distance, listening for bear sounds)---and playing on that is bad. that's why guilt trip has a negative connotation.

Yeah, you still got a seat next to me at the bar, OD. Here, take a brillo pad, a rag, and some rubbing compound. Help me shine up The Portcullis. It's what amounts to Pennance around here for unintended screw ups(which explains why I'm always polishing.).

Rivrdog briefed on November 7, 2006 12:38 AM

I'm a little intimidated, criticizing the castle terminology of someone who LIVES in Castle Argghhh!, but you CROSS the drawbridge over the moat and pass UNDER the portcullis (vertical gate) in the gate-tower on your way into the castle proper.


John of Argghhh! briefed on November 7, 2006 06:40 AM

Yes, Rivrdog, indeed. And get scanned before you pass under the murder-holes in the tower, too.

Trip the sensors, and you get smothered in chok'lit, which draws the Scrup'ls, who lick you vigorously until someone comes to rescue you.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 7, 2006 06:41 AM

Consequently, some of the Denizennes deact the alarm and then deliberately carry in contraband...

ry briefed on November 7, 2006 05:51 PM

Damn. He figured out how I keep getting comic books into the Castle. Now what does he do with them when he finds where I stashed them is what I want to know.

Cricket briefed on November 8, 2006 08:53 AM

Lines the Castle Kitties litterboxes. The scrupl's are housebroken but like going outside to patrol.