Thursday, November 20, 2008

Victory in Iraq

The war has come and now, it has gone.

Though I give thanks to the thousands of Coalition Servicemen who have fought and died to secure Freedom for the Iraqi People, I would like to recognize four in particular.

Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith of the 3rd Infantry Division, US Army.
Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on April 4, 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60 mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith's extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division 'Rock of the Marne,' and the United States Army.
Corporal Jason Dunham of the 7th Marines.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Master at Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor of SEAL Team Three, US Navy
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006.As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Specialist Ross A. McGinnis of the 1st Infantry Division, US Army
Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an M2 .50-caliber Machine Gunner, 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on December 4, 2006.

That afternoon his platoon was conducting combat control operations in an effort to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. While Private McGinnis was manning the M2 .50-caliber Machine Gun, a fragmentation grenade thrown by an insurgent fell through the gunner's hatch into the vehicle. Reacting quickly, he yelled "grenade," allowing all four members of his crew to prepare for the grenade's blast. Then, rather than leaping from the gunner's hatch to safety, Private McGinnis made the courageous decision to protect his crew. In a selfless act of bravery, in which he was mortally wounded, Private McGinnis covered the live grenade, pinning it between his body and the vehicle and absorbing most of the explosion.

Private McGinnis' gallant action directly saved four men from certain serious injury or death. Private First Class McGinnis' extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
While many in the Coalition and the Iraqi Army and Security Forces have given their all, these four men are heroes among heroes. Men who stand as shining examples of what a Soldier of the United States Armed Forces is supposed to be in times of crisis.

Thank you to you, and all those who died for our freedom. You have helped us to win the war. Now we shall win the Peace. Rest in the shade, you have earned it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pirates of Somalia

Well, it looks like Malacca has a new contender for Home of the Pirates.

In the past few days, a rash of Piracy out of Somalia (rumors of Al-Qaeda support are not substantiated, as none of bin Laden's twelve Cargo Ships have been sighted in Somalia recently) has resulted in multi-hundred dollar loads of oil being seized and the crews ransomed.

God be praised for one thing in this. They are not slaughtering the crews. In Malacca, if a Pirate Crew tries to break in, they usually kill the crewmen and beat and abuse the officers of the ship. It would seem that the Somali Pirates have more Money Smarts then that.

Personally, I think that the US Mediteranean Fleet should be doing Something, as their Indian Ocean brothers are somewhat busy in the Straights of Hormuz right now. And if we capture them? Death Row. Texas style.

And this has been the worst year so far, with 39 vessels seized so far.

Oh, and by the way? Expect this kind of crap to happen in the Persian Gulf if we pull out of Iraq too soon. We are already lookign at a potential Somalia on the ground, and that will inevitablly lead to Piracy in the Gulf.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Russian Aggression in a New World

well people, it would seem that Putin and his fellow KGB are preparing to start another Cold War. I have been warnign people about this for a while now, but no one wanted to listen. And now, Medvedev, the Puppet that Putin put into power until he regains the Presidency in the next election, is moving missiles towards the border with the Ukraine.

NATO, you need to move quickly if you are going to bring Georgia and the Ukraine into the fold, because the forces of the CIS might strike before you can do so. If my gut is right on this, and it is often enough that I pay attention to it, that bomb blast in North Ossetia on thursday the 6th was planned.

Why do I say that? For the same reason that I say that the war in Georgia was planned, back during the Olympics.

If you will recall, the day or so before the conflict flared up into an international crisis, there where mortar attacks from South Ossetia into the rest of Georgia. Odd that this came on the heals of Saakashvili trying to negotiate with the leaders of the South Ossetian Autonomist Groups, but I digress.

The war was started, by the forces of South Ossetia, in their attempts to break away from Georgia. Not long after, in fact, far too soon to get the forces over the Ural Mountains on short notice, Russian ground troops came across the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and began to shoot up the cities.

Among these units was the infamous Vostok Brigade, best known as the Thugs of Chechya, entered South Ossetia, and sacked and pillaged anythign in their way.

To this day, some of the Georgian territory that was occupied by the Russian Bear is still not back under the control of Georgia.

And now, you have Russia doing everythign it can to try and intimidate the American Government.

Russian Blackjack Bombers, and the Cruise Missile Carrier, the Battlecruiser Peter the Great, are both currently stationed in the Gulf.

Now, why is the presence of a single Battlecruiser worrisome? Because of Soviet Tactica that the Kirov Class Battlecruiser was designed for.

Durign World War II, the Japanese discovered the primary weakness of the US Carrier Fleets. Fast moving guided objects determined to crash into a ship can penetrate the Air Defenses of the ships and deal serious damage.

Soviet Naval Vessels where built (and Putin with his dreams of a KGB'ocracy seems to be following the pattern) to be able to unleash massive hoardes of supersonic cruise missiles that would smash into enemy vessels from over the Horizon.

One Kriov, with it's Nuclear Arsenal, can wipe out the American Atlantic Fleet in a matter of moments, and leave our East Coast vulnerable to Russian Boomers.

And now, the boys with the high-foreheads over in Moscow have decided to move it's Iskander missiles to the Polish Border should the US continue to build it's Missile Defense Shield there.

The Iskander missile is a short ranged quasiballistic missile that the Russians launch from TEL (Transporter Erector Launcher) trucks. This grants the system vast amounts of mobility, especially compared to other missile launch systems with similar payloads.

For the record, the Iskander is a non-Nuclear missile. It is designed for conventional wars, and cannot be re-purposed as the system is built in one piece. However, it can still rain havoc upon the people of Poland and the Ukraine should this new Cold War turn Hot.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Iraq: The changing face of America's Wars Part I

Resolution 1441 states simply
That Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of Resolution 687. Iraq's breaches related not only to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), but also the known construction of prohibited types of missiles, the purchase and import of prohibited armaments, and the continuing refusal of Iraq to compensate Kuwait for the widespread looting conducted by its troops in 1991.

Then, you have the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which defines the crime of genocide to be
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The United States signed on to this document on December 11, 1948, and the Senate was treated to a speech in it's favor by Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) every day from 1967 to 1986 (a total of 3,211 speeches in favor of the document) until it was ratified by the Senate in February 11, 1986 (rumor has it that the 11 who voted against where doing so to annoy the Senator for his constant harping on it, but they remain un-confirmed).

Originally it was meant to include Politicide as well, but the USSR and the People's Republic of China (then getting ready to rev up the Cultural Revolution and kill at least 20 million outright and up to 60 million from starvation) where able to use political pressure to keep Political Mass Executions out of the term Genocide, and instead grouped seperately as Politicide, on which there are no international conventions banning yet (I am looking at you China).

In 1986, Saddam Hussein began the Al-Anfal Campaign. This campaign of Genocide, targeted agains tthe Kurdish people of Northern Iraq (Especially in Ninawa, Dahuk, Arbil, At Ta'mim [Kirkuk], and Sulaymaniyah), used nerve gas to kill innocent people.

Accordign to Human Rights Watch,
With only minor variations ... the standard pattern for sorting new arrivals [at Topzawa was as follows]. Men and women were segregated on the spot as soon as the trucks had rolled to a halt in the base's large central courtyard or parade ground. The process was brutal ... A little later, the men were further divided by age, small children were kept with their mothers, and the elderly and infirm were shunted off to separate quarters. Men and teenage boys considered to be of an age to use a weapon were herded together. Roughly speaking, this meant males of between fifteen and fifty, but there was no rigorous check of identity documents, and strict chronological age seems to have been less of a criterion than size and appearance. A strapping twelve-year-old might fail to make the cut; an undersized sixteen-year-old might be told to remain with his female relatives. ... It was then time to process the younger males. They were split into smaller groups. ... Once duly registered, the prisoners were hustled into large rooms, or halls, each filled with the residents of a single area. ... Although the conditions at Topzawa were appalling for everyone, the most grossly overcrowded quarter seem to have been those where the male detainees were held. ... For the men, beatings were routine. (Iraq's Crime of Genocide, pp. 143-45. ISBN 0-300-06427-6)
That was for those captured alive, and taken to the Concentration Camps. Others where subjected to the poisonous concoctions of Ali Hassan "Chemical Ali" al-Majid, in bombings conducted from planes and howitzers.

In 987, he began to use Mustard Gas (US Supplied for use against Iran), as well as the Nerve Agents Sarin, Tabun, and VX. The worst of these attacks was on the City of Halabja in what came to be known as the Nerve Gas Attrocity, in which the city of 70,000 was bombed with conventional and chemical weapons attacks for an immediate death toll of 5,000, with up to 10,000 dead. To this day, persons affected by the attack are still dieing from latent affects of the strike.

The chemical pre-cursors to these weapons where provided by the US, Singapore, India, Germany, the Netherlands, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Though the UAE and Singapore supplied the precursors for all four kidns of weapons, the United States only sold the chemicals needed to make Mustard Gas.

Under the Genocide Convention alone, the United States was provided legal and moral authority to invade the Nation of Iraq.

Days before Colin Powell went to the UN to discuss the US Claims against Iraq, final confirmation on the presence of Mobile Weapons Labs was delivered to him. These labs, later verified by embedded journalists, where confirmed to exist upon the US invasion of Baghdad. These labs presented a violation of Resolution 1441.

Other justifications for the war include
  • Interference with UN Weapons Inspectors, which was required in the Cease Fire in 1991 at the end of the First Gulf War.
  • The attempted assasination of George H. W. Bush by Saddam Hussein
  • The continued assaults on US and Coalition Aircraft enforcing the No Fly Zone over former targets of Saddam Hussein
  • Intelligence that Saddam Hussein had refused to expell members of al-Qaeda who where hiding in Iraq following the Invasion of Afghanistan
  • Confirmation of Saddam Hussein buying suicide bombers for use against the United States of America
  • and the removal of Saddam Hussein to be replaced with a democratic Regime.
And thus, the United States went to war.