a Someone should care, maybe not you....: June 2010 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

24 June 2010


So, Gen Stanly McChrystal is out. Fired. Well, not really fired. He resigned. Personally I’d wager that he walked into that meeting yesterday with the President, saluted the man and handed him an envelope with his resignation inside. This act was never in doubt. I heard a lot of blathering on the radio, NPR, about whether McChrystal would be fired, if the President could fire him, if the President should fire him, etc etc. The simple fact really is that the only way the President would have to fire him would be if he basically rebelled against all military tradition of the US. When an officer screws up like that resignations come out fast. On rare occasions they are of accepted, but this was too public and too personal.
I confess that I am shocked that the General and his senior staff, who live and breathe OPSEC, would let it all fall apart like this. Opinions like these are acceptable (and fairly common) but only on the inside. NO one outside the circle should be invited to hear them. I rather suspect there was some agreement of “off the record” that the Rolling Stone reported blew off to make a better story. He wouldn’t be the first. But even if there was, these guys screwed up. And all of them will pay the piper. The one who set up the interview has already thrown himself on his sword, I suspect the remainder of that senior staff will in the future quietly resign, or be transferred out to command some training base or dept somewhere where they will waste all of their experience. I will be seriously surprised if any of them make the next promotion cycle. There is a possibility that they may, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Army is not famous for second chances.

As an aside I hope that reported enjoyed this because I seriously doubt he will EVER sit down and chat with a senior officer in anything but the most formal of sessions.

P.S. I have read some peoples speculation that he did this deliberately to make his opinions of the President clear and get out before things went south in Afghanistan. I do not believe this. If he were going to do that he would probably have called a press conference and done it on the up and up. But all things are possible. IF he did use this drunk party talk as a way to express his opinions and bail, my respect for the man is gone. That would be pathetic.

16 June 2010

Third World Politics

Third world elections all have a certain similarity when an unexpected candidate wins. (or seems like he might win) There are immediately accusations of fraud backed up by accusations of nefarious plots by outsiders. These nefarious outsiders usually are accused of providing money to the unexpected winner, of manipulating the vote, of suborning the correct order of things. The unexpected winner is denounced as unsuitable to serve, or as ineligible to run. He is often threatened by the political establishment. Calls are made for his arrest, every possible flaw; real or imagined are attributed to him. Public demands are made that the election be annulled due to its obvious irregularity. Examples of this abound, both Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced similar events recently, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Thailand, Sri Lanka, there are too many to cite.
And it just happened again. Just to the east of me in South Carolina. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so stupidly sad. Now SC has always been a step off politically. They do things there with regularity that puts the Chicago organization to shame. But this past election I really thought the Republicans had the stupidity award locked up. I mean how often do you get advisors and consultants to one candidate declaring that they themselves had personally had affairs with other candidates? Let alone get elected state officials refer to candidates of their own party with racial slurs? It was sheer political slapstick at its finest.

But the Democrats had a surprise waiting. Namely Alvin Greene, an unemployed veteran who filed as a candidate but didn’t buy a single ad, had no staff, just a name on the ballot, (and according to him an active walk around and introduce himself door to door effort). So what did Alvin do? He won. Lord the conniptions are being thrown all over SC. And everything I describe in that first paragraph has already happened. A senior Democratic congressman says he can smell elephant dung all over Mr. Greene’s win. The loser has already declared that:
A. Mr. Greene illegally entered the race because if he was unemployed he couldn’t have come up with the 10K it costs to file.
B. The Republicans put him up to it to protect Jim deMint.
C. The Republicans hacked into the voting machines so that when his name was pushed Mr. Greene got the vote.
D. That Mr. Greene is a criminal and should be disqualified. (Mr. Greene was arrested on an obscenity charge but has not been indicted, let alone convicted.)
E. That Mr. Greene should be arrested because when he was arrested before he was represented by a Public Defender and if he had 10K to enter the race for the Senate he obviously could afford a lawyer. (10K won’t go far in lawyer hiring)
F. That Mr. Greene should be disqualified because he won’t admit where he got the money to enter the race. (Greene says he had it saved from his time in Iraq. I came home with more than that in the bank; I just used mine on a down payment on a house instead of a run at the Senate.)

Wow. At least he hasn’t accused him of miscegenation, being a raghead, or a non-Christian. (the Republicans can keep those tricks)

I don’t suppose it ever crossed these peoples minds that perhaps, just perhaps, the voters of South Carolina sort of en masse decided to cast a protest vote against factory produced, vetted, prepped, coached, coddled, on point, in line smarmy politics as usual candidates? No, en masse is the wrong way to describe it; they each decided to do it individually. Each of them convinced that their one vote wouldn’t matter, that this one time they just wouldn’t vote for the least bad politician, they would just vote for the non politician. And it seems like LOTS of people felt the same way.

Now the big question is, what is going to happen?

Personally, I think the Dems should back off and let him go for it. He has enough of a presence now that people will vote for him. Perhaps just as a protest but still, it is a vote and he is a Democrat. And let’s face it Jim DeMint, once you get outside the right wing Republican fanatics is damaged goods. Roll the dice and go for it guys.

If I lived in SC I’d be printing my own Vote Greene sign and posting it in my yard.

07 June 2010

What to do.....

I have really let this blog go lately. And frankly I have considered just folding up camp and quitting. (Hell, I’ve pretty much done that by default anyway) I am just having a hard time finding anything that makes me want to write. It doesn’t help that I really don’t have anything real to add to the story in Afghanistan anymore. It has been so long since I was there that my experiences while interesting perhaps are not terribly relevant to the current situation. So anything I had to say would jut be me throwing an opinion around about what someone else wrote. There are millions of bad blogs out there doing that. Some of them get thousands of readers and people make money off them but those folks usually are pushing a political agenda and I’m not. In fact that is my second problem. Domestic politics disgusts me right now. On pretty much every front I have nothing but loathing for the agenda driven hacks in Washington. Democrats and Republicans alike are more interested in their talking points than they are in getting anything done. The extremists in both parties are driving the bus right now. Any politician who tries to cooperate with a member of the other party is promptly voted out of office in favor of someone who is more ideologically pure. Of course vast hordes of Americans say the same thing, so why does it keep happening? Because most of those vast hordes won’t get off their asses and actually vote. They may go out in the general election but by then the damage is done, they are left with two really lousy choices. I have friends who say they have never voted because it doesn’t matter and the politicians are all they same and don’t represent them. Well, the politicians represent the people who A. Give them money. And B. Vote for them. If you sit back and say “I’m not voting. It doesn’t matter.” Well all I can say is STFU with your complaining about government. You have the government you deserve.

The only really bright point I have seen in politics lately came, much to my surprise, in the Georgia state legislature. They actually got smart and rescinded “Zero Tolerance” policies in the school system. Our legislature finally realized that arresting kids for having a pocket knife or an aspirin at school really wasn’t a good idea.