obiwanLike most military members, I was delighted to hear that James Mattis and Mike Rogers were being considered for key positions in the Trump administration. What you’ll hear the next few days is that Mattis is a blood-and-guts Marine and Rogers is an outgoing spook. The media misses the bigger reasons why Trump would want these men on his team.

First, Trump’s biggest concern is ISIS. Mattis and Rogers have been fighting Islamic terrorism the entire time they’ve worn stars on their shoulders. Both were effective too: Mattis won hard fought victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Rogers retooled the Signals Intelligence system to root out extremist networks.

mattisWords of wisdom to follow

Both men are incredibly smart. Mattis is incredibly well read about history, and in his words “there is nothing new under the sun.” He’s often thought of as a modern day Sulla, or if you want a Star Wars reference, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Rogers has been in cyber and signals intelligence his entire career, and from working with him personally, he can follow any technical discussion thrown at him.

uncryingIt’s probably true…

Neither man hesitates to shake things up, including firing people. Sadly, our military has grown accustomed to never firing officers unless they drive drunk or surf porn at work. Mattis fired a colonel in Iraq that wasn’t pushing his men hard enough to take Baghdad. Rogers shook up the National Security Agency by redesigning it in the NSA-21 initiative, including identifying poor performing structures and personnel.

Trump can’t go wrong with either of these men. If he gives them the tools to run their respective organizations, including expanded powers to fire people, he’ll be well on his way to winning America’s wars again.


This post solely represents the views of the author and does not represent official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, National Security Agency, or any other portion of the US Government. It’s also slightly biased because I worked for Admiral Rogers before, and he’s awesome.


If you want more memes of Admiral Rogers as a total cyber badass, try checking out my website.

640px-vfw_post_2408_ypsilanti_2I’ve driven by this place before. Image from Wikipedia.

So I’m a veteran.  I’ve even participated in a foreign war…well, a conflict really, since declaring war went out of style in the 1940s.  I’m relatively young, with a young family, and fairly active in my community, despite moving every few years.  While I’m not that good looking, I’ve got enough going to make me a good poster boy for the VFW.

But I’m not a member.  It’s not just me, VFW posts around the US are hurting for new members.  As a Rallypoint member, I’ve seen my share of “You should join the VFW!” posts.  Unfortunately, my personal experiences, as well as my dad’s (a Cold War veteran), find the VFW has too many problems:

frontchoke

  • Female Veterans. VFWs still struggle to understand that yes, women in fact serve in the military as more than just nurses and yeomen (sorry, yeo-persons).  I’ve served with a number of wonderful female officers and enlisted Sailors, and to have them encounter resistance to entry is appalling.

youdohere

  • Action?  Besides having a hall to rent out and parades to walk in, most VFWs aren’t exactly places of action.  Young vets tend to be healthier and want to be out and about.  While most people enjoy throwing back a beer and sharing sea stories once in a while, that can’t be your main draw anymore.

emailthanksgiving

  • Updating with the times.  The VFW was slow to jump on the revolution in social media.  The sad part is that while it is now online, it’ll likely be too slow to adapt to whatever comes next.  If you want an organization that quickly adapts to it’s younger members, check out the NRA, which keeps it’s core mission while tailoring messages for women, minorities and police forces.

The really sad part of this is that if you look into the VFW’s history, this isn’t a surprise.  The VFW struggled to recruit members after the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and only did so when their existing membership began passing away in large numbers.  If they didn’t learn then, I can’t say I hold out a lot of hope for them learning now.


This post is the opinion of the author and doesn’t reflect the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars. All images used were labeled for reuse on the internet.


If you’d like to read about how I’d change the VFW to be better, check out my blog.

A woman in the Kurdish military recently shot and killed a senior commander of the self-proclaimed Islamic State who once kept her as a sex slave.

After more than 50 people at a Kurdish wedding died in an attack by Islamic terrorists, Turkey finally decided this week to launch a serious assault against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The incidents underline the importance of the Kurds as a key ally in any successful attempt to rid the world of the radical Islamists.

When I arrived in the Middle East nearly 40 years ago, the Armenians and the Kurds were among the most downtrodden ethnic groups in the region. The Armenians have their own country now; the Kurds don’t but should.

In one of the most brutal results of map drawing before and after World War I, more than 30 million Kurds were split among four countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Keep in mind, most Kurds, who are mainly Sunni, consider themselves Kurds, not Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians or Turks. An independent state would be one of the largest in the Middle East–bigger than Syrian and almost as big as Iraq.

The Kurds have faced adversity many times, including the horrific 1988 chemical attack by Saddam Hussein’s government that left thousands dead in the worst incident of its kind in history.

The Kurds have supported the United States on many occasions, including the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War—much of the time later being forsaken by the Americans.

The Kurdish forces are called the pesh merga, which translated means “one who faces death.” This army has driven out Islamists from a variety of their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. government has thrown billions of dollars at a variety of ineffective Middle Eastern armies, but it has only been recently that the Kurds have received money for small arms shipments.

The United States should fund the pesh merga to a much greater extent because it is the only effective fighting force against the Islamic State.

Perhaps it’s time for the U.S. government to consider an independent Kurdish state in at least parts of Iraq and Syria, where it could continue its support of America.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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A note from DaTechGugy:
I hope you enjoyed Christopher Harper’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Christopher Harper’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar [on the right] because of it, don’t forget to mention Chris’ post is the reason you did so. In case you missed his other pieces, here they are:

Budding reporters and politics
Give terrorists what they deserve: anonymity
The ‘BS’ factor
A Godless Olympics




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Patton: [referring to Rommel’s book, ‘Infantry Attacks’ or ‘Infanterie greift an’] Rommel… you magnificent bastard, *I read your book*!

Patton 1970

Believe me, I saw and heard this myself:

RS McCain Massachusetts Democrats for Brown Jan 18th 2010

If you are a regular reader of The Other McCain you know that Stacy McCain has been given lately to long essays critiquing feminism and one of his primary antagonists is FemFreq namely Anita Sarkeesian who was instrumental is having hi banned from Twitter for the ultimate crime of critiquing her & quoting feminists in context.

This weekend he wrote another essay titled The Queering of Feminism and the Silencing of Heterosexual Masculinity

When I say that Feminism Is a Totalitarian Movement to Destroy Civilization as We Know It, some readers may suppose that this is merely hyperbole, just as some readers may suppose that the sources I quote are “extreme” examples of an obscure “fringe” feminism. Yet anyone who cares to investigate further will discover that, however “radical” this anti-male/anti-heterosexual ideology may have been in an earlier era, it has now become so mainstream within academic feminism that no other perspective on human sexual behavior is ever expressed by the faculty in university departments of Women’s Studies.

and he produces the actual word of the actual “giants” of feminism to back it up

It was Mary Daly who celebrated the feminist movement as “the Second Coming of female presence not only as Antichrist but also as Antichurch,” as a “rising woman-consciousness” to destroy the “Christocentric cosmos.” Mary Daly was an influential professor, so if she declared feminism to be the Antichrist, who am I to disagree?

The Radical Theology of Feminism produces such demon-possessed creatures as a mentally disabled Scorpio occultist lesbian, and the same satanic philosophy also produces despicable liars like Anita Sarkeesian.

An honest enemy is less to be feared than a false friend, which is why I can at least respect Professor Sheila Jeffreys, who has never attempted to conceal her all-encompassing hatred of men, whereas dishonest feminists like Anita Sarkeesian pretend that they are victims of harassment, misunderstood and misrepresented by “misogynists.”

These are all excellent points and advance his argument in a powerful way but the question becomes Why is he able to make such powerful and effective argument that draw the wrath and fear of Twitter Safety council and Anitia Sarkeesan.  The answer is contained the piece also explains why he is such an effective reporter (emphasis mine):

OK, do you suppose the average guy who spends a lot of time playing videogames is going to write a persuasive essay rebutting Sarkeesian? It’s absurd to expect such a thing. You don’t learn to write persuasive essays by logging endless hours playing League of Legends. Well, do we expect these gamers to do what I’ve done, spend upwards of $1,500 acquiring dozens of books of feminist theory and history, then spend hundreds of hours reading these books in order to develop an informed critical analysis of feminist ideology and rhetoric? Of course not.

There is some value to being able to react to an action or a quip, and to produce an effective one liner on twitter and in a culture that moves so quickly and has the attention span of a mayfly one might make an impression if said quip managed to go viral

But that can’t compare to actual knowledge acquired at the expense of personal wealth that has to be earned and expending time which can not be reacquired once spent.

It was he who actually traveled to Kentucky to investigage the Bill Sparkman case while the left was crying “Send the body to Glenn Beck” from afar, It was he who spent a week on the ground following both Scott Brown and Martha Coakley at a time when the rest of the nation didn’t see an upset coming.  It was he who in 2010 while the media was still in denial visited districts in New York and Pennsylvania covering future members of congress that the MSM had written off and it was he who in all of those cases was justified

That’s why he has been a target in the past for people like Rauhauser and Kimberlin and it’s also way people like the Twitter Safety council and Anitia Sarkeesan and their feminist allies are willing to continue to take the hit from his banning, because the is nothing more dangerous to the feminist meme than a person who is actually informed of it with 80K followers who might influence others.

And that’s why I spend so much time linking and quoting him and why you should spend your time reading him and listening to the five most important words in the English Language

hit the freakin tip jar!

 

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I think we both do good work. If you agree I urge you to hit DaTipJar.




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All the press right now everywhere is focused on the presidential race but in 100 years the event that is going to be considered most significant in the history of the world from 2016 is this one:

Pope Francis and the leader of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church will hold talks in Cuba next week, the first meeting ever between a pope and a Russian patriarch and an encounter that some experts believe may help soothe conflicts in the Middle East.

It isn’t clear what the agenda will be for the meeting between Francis and Patriarch Kirill I, the head of the largest and wealthiest branch of Orthodox Christianity. But experts predict it could be a significant step — if probably symbolic — toward mending a schism that has divided Christianity between East and West for nearly 1,000 years.

At a time when Christians and Christianity are under attack both physically and culturally a show of unity particularly between this pair is huge:

The Patriarchate of Moscow sees itself as one of the few defenders of Christians in the Middle East, and Russia has intervened on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he pointed out. “Just for reasons of self-preservation, the Christians in Syria have mainly placed themselves under the protection of Assad and are discretely supportive of the Assad regime. They do believe the alternative is ISIS or some al Qaeda affiliate that would make their lives short or hellish,” he said.

Pope Francis, he continued, understands that any sort of solution to the problem of persecution of Middle Eastern Christians has a lot to do with ending the fighting in Syria, and that means getting Putin and the Russians committed to ending the fighting in Syria, “to get Putin to consider a political solution to the conflict and recognize that the Vatican and others can serve as honest brokers.”

This is about as unlikely an event as it gets.

Many Russian Orthodox consider Catholics as schismatic and heterodox. They also suspect Eastern Catholics, particularly the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which follows Orthodox rituals and spirituality, as encroaching on what they consider Orthodox territory and hoping to siphon off Orthodox believers.

“The Russian Patriarchate has really carved out a very anti-ecumenical position over the past few decades… as a very strong nationalist Church,” the expert said. “It’s wed itself even closer than other national Churches, like the Bulgarian Orthodox or Romanian Orthodox, to the current regime in its country.

We don’t know what exactly will be said:

The encounter between the two leaders, expected to last roughly two hours, will take place at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration. No details about the content of that agreement were released.

Those who don’t follow religion don’t realize just how big this is. That would not be an accurate description of John Allen:

Journalism tends to wildly overuse the term “historic,” but when it comes to Friday’s announcement that Pope Francis will meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Feb. 12 in Havana, there’s simply no other word for it.

He’ll likely be covering that. I’m jealous

Yet this is taking place

Benediction_at_camp_Bastion
Benediction at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

by baldilocks

A friend asked if Afghanistan was Hindu and/or Buddhist before it was Muslim. Well, ‘yes’ would be a safe answer, but two other faiths which were prevalent in Afghanistan before Islam were Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

From the BBC:

  • Zoroastrians believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) and He created the world.
  • Zoroastrians are not fire-worshippers, as some Westerners wrongly believe. Zoroastrians believe that the elements are pure and that fire represents God’s light or wisdom.
  • Ahura Mazda revealed the truth through the Prophet, Zoroaster.
  • Zoroastrians traditionally pray several times a day.
  • Zoroastrians worship communally in a Fire Temple orAgiary.
  • The Zoroastrian book of Holy Scriptures is called The Avesta.
  • The Avesta can be roughly split into two main sections:
  • The Avesta is the oldest and core part of the scriptures, which contains the Gathas. The Gathas are seventeen hymns thought to be composed by Zoroaster himself.
  • The Younger Avesta – commentaries to the older Avestan written in later years. It also contains myths, stories and details of ritual observances.

Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. And for those wondering how Christianity reached the Indian peninsula…

From Wikipedia:

Legend based on the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and other ancient documents suggests that Saint Thomas preached in Bactria, which is today northern Afghanistan.[14] An early third-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas[15] connects the apostle’s ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south. According to the Acts, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but the Lord appeared to him in a night vision and compelled him to accompany an Indian merchant, Abbanes (or Habban), to his native place in northwest India. There, Thomas found himself in the service of the Indo-Parthian (Southern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India) King, Gondophares. The Apostle’s ministry resulted in many conversions throughout the kingdom, including the king and his brother.[15]

Bardaisan, writing in about 196, speaks of Christians throughout MediaParthia and Bactria[16] and, according to Tertullian (c.160–230), there were already a number of bishoprics within the Persian Empire by 220.[17] By the time of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (AD 226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity.[15]

See also: Nestorian Church, Church of the East, and Assyrian Church of the East. There is some confusion as to which church is which.

All of the Afghani faiths resisted conversion to Islam for centuries after the seventh century rise, with varying degrees of success. (In the 15th century, the Church of the East was eradicated in the area by Muslim Mongols; Buddhists held on until the 19th century.) But, eventually, Islam won the battle. The war, of course, continues.

Looking into these things resembled peeling back a huge onion. Therefore, I’m posting this to give myself preliminary markers to investigate as much as to answer my friend’s question. Feel free to offer corrections and insights.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.baldilocks

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

The bard’s immortal words come to mind when one reads about Gitmo alumnus Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, (a.k.a. Abu Wael Dihab, a.k.a. Jihad Ahmad Diyab, a.k.a. Abu Ammar, a.k.a. Abu Wail al-Suri, a.k.a. Abu Wail al-Falastini, a.k.a. Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Dhiab).

A 2008 Department of Defense JTF-GITMO Detainee Assessment (h/t The Tower) shows him as a high value, high risk detainee with affiliations to al-Qaeda, which he served as a recruiter, and who might provide information on Iranian support to al-Qaeda.

Jihad, who counts document forging among his skills, was a member of the “Syrian Group” of terrorists who escaped to Afghanistan, and was later sentenced to death in absentia in Syria. He apparently used his forgery skills at the service of the Global Jihad Support Network.

In short, Jihad lived up to his name.

Born in 1971 in Lebanon of an Argentinian mother and a Syrian father, Jihad was released from Gitmo last December 7, and sent to Uruguay, where he is provided free housing, board, and living expenses at Uruguayan taxpayers’ expense,

“They will be able to bring their families here if they want,” Uruguay’s defense minister, Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro, told a local news station. “They will be accompanied by people to help them adjust to the language and other things. They will have to find jobs.”

They will be able to “live in peace, sit in the stadium grandstand and become fans of some soccer team,” he added.

Cori Crider, a lawyer at Reprieve, a human-rights group that was representing him, went as far as saying that,

Mr. Dhiab once managed a restaurant in Syria and that he pondered opening a restaurant in Uruguay.

Once in Uruguay, Jidad underwent a makeover: Old Jihad, new improved Jihad (which vaguely reminds me of Christian Bale).

The new improved Jihad headed to Argentina, escorted by Uruguayan journalist Nora Fernández Espino, who’s currently working with the Fundación de Ayuda Humanitaria (IHH) (which owns the Mavi Marmara, one of the Free Gaza flotilla vessels).

No makeover and travel are complete without a press conference, so of course, one was arranged. Jihad declared that he was “ready to fight” for his fellow Gitmo detainees. Orange is the new black, so he wore orange in solidarity to Gitmo detainees.

During his press conference with Leftist media, Jihab claimed he was just a regular guy living with his family until the Americans dragged him out of his home and sent him to Gitmo. While he made these statements, the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas, or DAIA (Delegation of Israelite Argentinian Associations) is worried about the possibility of a new Islamist attack in Argentina, following the theft of a TOW 2 missile and 130 FAL rifles from the armed forces.

Back in Uruguay, Jihad and the other Gitmo alumni released with him are complaining that “we feel we have left one prison to be put into another.” while they turned down multiple job offers and dropped out of Spanish language lessons.

They were issued Uruguayan passports and are free to leave the country.

No word from Ms Crider as to whether that restaurant is still in the works.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s blog.

Note: This is a rant. Proceed accordingly.

Back in my much younger, stupider days, I sent Greenpeace a check for $25 of my hard-earned bucks. That was a couple of decades ago.

Yes, I recycle; yes, I don’t waste water or electricity; yes, I owned a house in a lot that had two dozen trees (which probably more than made up for whatever fumes the house may have generated), and their leaves and branches were mulched. So much for being “green.”

Vandalism is a crime.

Some vandalism is a misdemeanor. Toilet-paper a neighbor’s tree on mischief night, get caught, and you’ll find out what the word means.

Greenpeace, however, has engaged in felonies for the sake of publicity for years.

No, I don’t buy their “sustainability”, “renewability” excuses.

Greenpeace, in these days of moral equivalence, through their ends-justify-our-means methods, are descending to the levels of the Taliban.

To wit:
Back in 2001, the Taliban destroyed two ancient Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, a World Heritage Site. The statues were over 1,500 years old:

Despite world-wide condemnation, the Taliban lined the statues with explosives and blew them up in the spring of 2001 because they considered them idols, and thus un-Islamic.

Fast-forward to this week in Peru, where Greenpeace vandals decided to post some graffiti at the Nazca Lines World Heritage Site,

The Nazca lines are huge figures depicting living creatures, stylised plants and imaginary figures scratched on the surface of the ground between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago. They are believed to have had ritual functions related to astronomy.

Take a look:

The letters are made of some kind of yellow material and were carried there on foot, and held down by rocks,

The damage caused by Greenpeace’s vandalism is inestimable,

The ground around the site is so sensitive and so sacred that Peru has even forbidden presidents and top officials to walk where the Greenpeace activists went. Peru’s Deputy Culture Ministertold the BBC: “You walk there, and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years.” Tourists generally get to see the site from the air, or, on rare occasions, are equipped with special foot gear.

“They are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years,” said the minister. “And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognized of all.”

Mind you, anyone even thinking of going to the Nazca site knows you can’t walk on it. Greenpeace willfully engaged in inflicting irreparable damage. In their breathtaking arrogance to say “the future is renewable”, they can’t see that the past is not.

What did Peru and mankind do to deserve this, in Greenpeace’s eyes?

The message was intended for delegates from 190 countries at the UN climate talks being held in Lima.

Sue Greenpeace out of business in countries where you can actually enforce the judgement; ban their activites as terrorism; identify the perpetrators and put them in jail.

Enough. It’s time for change: put Greenpeace out of business.

UPDATE:
Before Greenpeace:

After Greenpeace:

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

First, a definition:
mercenary
[mur-suh-ner-ee]

adjective
1. working or acting merely for money or other reward; venal.
2. hired to serve in a foreign army, guerrilla organization, etc.
noun, plural mercenaries.
3. a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army.

I have been blogging for years on the current administration’s dereliction of their duty to secure national boundaries at the borders. It comes, however as an unpleasant surprise to find theses stories in today’s Drudge Report:

Say again?

Under the Dreamers Act, as many as 1,500 recruits per year

will have an opportunity to join the military for the first time in decades under a new Department of Defense policy unveiled Thursday.

The new rules will expand an existing program allowing recruiters to target foreign nationals with high-demand skills, mostly rare foreign language expertise or specialized health care training.

Earlier this year, other headlines read, U.S. visa backlog leaves Afghan interpreters in limbo, while

the class of 2014 … will face more difficulty qualifying for the armed services than ever in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force

as the service cuts the active force by 20,000 soldiers in 2015.

On the one hand, as many as 1,500 recruits per year (for starters?) may be illegal aliens because of an executive action; on the other hand, 20,000 experienced soldiers will be laid off because of budget cuts in these times of the rise of SPECTRE.

It makes you wonder what the priorities are, but the rule of law is not one of them.

I had quoted the estimable Mark Steyn in a prior post:

One of the reasons why so many Americans oppose amnesty and a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens is because, even if one buys it in utilitarian terms, to accept that an honorable American identity can be born from an illegal act seems to mock the very essence of citizenship and allegiance.

Compound that feeling with the news about the dreamer recruits.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by baldilocks

It’s a fascinating thing to watch a significant section of the Fundamental Transformation takes place. That section is the United States Armed Force. All the rage—and I do mean rage—right now is the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.  Bergdahl was allegedly being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan. His “release” was reciprocated in that five Taliban leaders, who had been detainees at Guantanamo, were released to the authorities in Qatar. But there’s something about Bowe.

“We were at OP Mest, Paktika Province, Afghanistan. It was a small outpost where B Co 1-501st INF (Airbone) ran operations out of, just an Infantry platoon and ANA counterparts there. The place was an Afghan graveyard. Bergdahl had been acting a little strange, telling people he wanted to “walk the earth” and kept a little journal talking about how he was meant for better things. No one thought anything about it. He was a little “out there”. Next morning he’s gone. We search everywhere, and can’t find him. He left his weapon, his kit, and other sensitive items. He only took some water, a compass and a knife. We find some afghan kids shortly after who saw an american walking north asking about where the taliban are. We get hits on our voice intercepter that Taliban has him, and we were close. We come to realize that the kid deserted his post, snuck out of camp and sought out Taliban… to join them. We were in a defensive position at OP Mest, where your focus is to keep people out. He knew where the blind spots were to slip out and that’s what he did. It was supposed to be a 4-day mission but turned into several months of active searching. Everyone was spun up to find this guy. News outlets all over the country were putting out false information. It was hard to see, especially when we knew the truth about what happened and we lost good men trying to find him. PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl. Fighting Increased. IEDs and enemy ambushes increased. The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable. Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him. His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit. There is also no way to know what he told the Taliban: Our movements, locations, tactics, weak points on vehicles and other things for the enemy to exploit are just a few possibilities. The Government knows full well that he deserted. It looks bad and is a good propaganda piece for the Taliban. They refuse to acknowledge it.

(The interesting content excuses the lack of paragraph breaks.)

Did the administration make another mistake? Consider the following about the military and its veterans:

  • The scrapping of the Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell policy
  • The VA scandal
  • The designation of returning veterans as prospective terrorists
  • The resignation of top generals
  • The firing of top generals on charges that seem…well…made up.

Regardless of one’s opinion on any of these topics, it cannot be denied that the combination of these things have and will Fundamentally Transform the general character of the U.S. military, and subsequently, the nation it defends. As promised. Sleep well.

UPDATE: The mother of 2LT Darryn Andrews:

“It gets really hurtful when I think, this guy was worth my son’s life? My son who was patriotic? Who was a true soldier? Who defended his country with his life?” (…) “That guy was worth that? I don’t think so.”

“I bet you anything there were soldiers killed or wounded capturing those five guys[.]” (…)“So what does that do for their sacrifice? They sacrificed for nothing, because they turned right around and let them go.”2ltDarrynAndrews

baldilocksJuliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!