Posted by Lex, on July 1, 2010
The US military has, after 9 years of grueling combat, finally found a living soldier * worthy of nomination for the country’s highest award for valor:
The Pentagon has recommended that the White House consider awarding the Medal of Honor to a living soldier for the first time since the Vietnam War, according to U.S. officials.
The soldier, whose nomination must be reviewed by the White House, ran through a wall of enemy fire in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley in fall 2007 in an attempt to push back Taliban fighters who were close to overrunning his squad. U.S. military officials said his actions saved the lives of about half a dozen men…
The nomination comes after several years of complaints from lawmakers, military officers and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the Pentagon had become so cautious that only troops whose bravery resulted in death were being considered for the Medal of Honor. Gates “finds it impossible to believe that there is no one who has performed a valorous act deserving of the Medal of Honor who has lived to tell about it,” said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, who declined to comment on specific nominations…
Obama presented a posthumous Medal of Honor in September to the family of Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti for his heroism in exposing himself to enemy fire to retrieve a wounded comrade. But honoring a living soldier with the nation’s highest award for valor would give the president an opportunity to ease some of the military’s feelings of estrangement from the rest of U.S. society.
Such a ceremony also would allow the president to honor military heroism and virtue, sentiments that Republicans say Obama does not celebrate frequently enough.
It’s Washington of course, so the WaPo has to find a political angle.
Which is a damned shame.
* Link changed 04-11-18 – Ed.
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Posted by lex, on December 22nd, 2011
It’s living up to its reputation, apparently:
The U.S. is poised to concede for the first time that it bears significant responsibility for last month’s American airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani troops, U.S. officials said, an admission that is expected to embarrass the American military but points to a way out of the deepening mistrust between the two countries.
A military investigation has found that U.S. and Afghan commandos incorrectly concluded there were no Pakistani forces in the Afghan border area where the coalition was conducting an operation on Nov. 26, according to U.S. officials familiar with the report. That assessment cleared the way for an airstrike that devastated Pakistani positions.
After the initial strike, the U.S. compounded its mistake by providing inaccurate data to a Pakistani military representative at a border-coordination center, missing an opportunity to stop the fighting, these people said.
Two or three possibilities come to mind, none of them particularly palatable: 1) Hanlon’s Razor, 2) front-line forces so accustomed to think of the Pakistanis as their enemy that due diligence is neglected, or 3) the path of least strategic resistance to getting the Pakistani border re-opened is throwing soldiers under the bus.
I really hope it’s not the latter.
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Posted by lex, on December 23rd, 2011
Yesterday I theorized that the airstrike on a Pakistani border station that killed 26 could have had been the result of three possible circumstances; 1) Hanlon’s Razor, 2) front-line forces so accustomed to think of the Pakistanis as their enemy that due diligence is neglected, or 3) the path of least strategic resistance to getting the Pakistani border re-opened is throwing soldiers under the bus. Grandpa Bluewater astutely noted * that the possibilities were not mutually exclusive.
Posted by lex, on June 17, 2010
Surprisingly, given the kind of economy that usually increases the quality of personnel recruited for military service, the vaunted Warrior Transition Units – developed to help wounded troops return to service or prepare for civilian life – have become something of a dumping ground for non-deployables, according to Noel Koch:
Posted by lex, on December 13th, 2011
So, some goon in Belgium lights up a Christmas celebration with hand grenades and small arms fire, killing at least three people and wounding some 45.
If, like me, your antennae quiver when you hear of such an event, your suspicions are if anything enhanced rather than otherwise when you learn that the attacker’s name was “Nordine Amrani”. Which doesn’t sound terribly Belgique, does it? As best as I can tell from a casual Google search, the surname “Amrani” is of North African provenance. Think Egypt and Morocco, although there are also Israeli references.
Amrani apparently had a long criminal record, to include firearms offenses.
But what followed immediately after the attacker’s naming in the BBC bears scrutiny:
He was named as Nordine Amrani, aged 33. He was known to police for firearms offences. Officials said the attacker acted alone, ruling out terrorism.
Well, the people in the square were certainly terrorized. And since when did an act of terrorism require partnership?
Too soon to say his real motive. Far too soon to start wishing unpleasant ones away.
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By lex, on October 5th, 2009
On 31 January 1968, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army broke a cease fire brokered for the New Year’s holiday, launching massive attacks throughout the south. Initially thrown back on their heels, the South Vietnamese defense forces and their allies rallied, delivering a crushing blow to the Communist forces. As an organized fighting force, the Viet Cong never fully recovered.
It was a massive defeat that became spun into a huge propaganda victory for the Communists. After Walter Cronkite surveyed the battlespace at Hue City and declared victory unachievable, President Johnson is quoted as having said, “That’s it. If I’ve lost Cronkite I’ve lost middle America.” Cronkite was the most trusted face in millions of American households, and public opinion – the strategic center of gravity for any democracy – turned sharply against the war.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Posted by lex, on November 28th, 2011
NATO’s senior civilian in Afghanistan sees the Taliban on the ropes, and predicts that – with continued US investments in training security forces – a potential positive outcome * in that war-blasted land: