Category Archives: Iraq

History Meets the Man

Posted by Lex, on September 21, 2008

 

Retired Army general Jack Keane on the surge, and his contributions to it:

Minimal,” “just another set of eyes,” “given more credit than I deserved in all of that.”

Right.

How about this: *

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Fish or Cut Bait

Posted by lex, on July 12th, 2011

When he led the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta largely eschewed public pronouncements outside his speeches to Congress. Now that he’s Secretary of Defense, he has a larger platform from which to speak, and a horde of followers in the Pentagon press corps at his heels.

He may have to learn to stick to his approved talking points: *

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The Power of Imagery

Posted by lex, on March 12th, 2011

 

Hundreds of thousands of US soldiers have served in Iraq. The vast majority have served honorably. A smaller, but still not inconsiderable number with valor. And a very few, a comparatively minuscule number, with dishonor.

In their videography of the war, Hollywood naturally chose to focus chiefly on the last. And now their chickens have come to roost not in Beverly Hills or to power luncheons at the Roosevelt Hotel Lounge, but rather to the Frankfurt Airport in Germany:

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Flying With Spike

Flying With Spike

Hard to believe it has been 27 years since Navy Captain  Michael “Spike” Scott Speicher disappeared with his FA-18 over Iraq. In my reposting of Lex’s posts, a few days ago I reposted his news of finding his remains in 2009.

 

I am sure that had Lex come across this post by Kevin Miller, he would have linked it. But alas, it was just written a few days ago. He tells us the kind of man Spike was.

H/T to spill.

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The Colonel’s Message

Posted by Lex, on August 1, 2009

 

US Army Colonel Timothy Reese penned an internal assessment that somehow broke through the firewall and landed in the New York Times. His thrust: We’ve done all that we can do in Iraq, they’re as ready as they’re going to get with us propping them up and the continued presence of our tactical forces there may actually be throttling the strategic gains we’ve achieved so far.

As the old saying goes, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose. Today the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are good enough to keep the Government of Iraq (GOI) from being overthrown by the actions of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the Baathists, and the Shia violent extremists that might have toppled it a year or two ago. Iraq may well collapse into chaos of other causes, but we have made the ISF strong enough for the internal security mission. Perhaps it is one of those infamous paradoxes of counterinsurgency that while the ISF is not good in any objective sense, it is good enough for Iraq in 2009. Despite this foreboding disclaimer about an unstable future for Iraq, the United States has achieved our objectives in Iraq. Prime Minister (PM) Maliki hailed June 30th as a “great victory,” implying the victory was over the US. Leaving aside his childish chest pounding, he was more right than he knew. We too ought to declare victory and bring our combat forces home. Due to our tendency to look after the tactical details and miss the proverbial forest for the trees, this critically important strategic realization is in danger of being missed.

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Finding Spike

By lex, on August 2, 2009

Finally:

 

The US military has found the remains of the last American still officially missing in action from the Gulf War.

Capt Michael Scott Speicher, an F18 pilot, was shot down over Iraq on the first day of the war in January 1991.

Last month, an Iraqi citizen took US marines, based in Anbar Province, to the crash site. He told them where the remains had been buried in the desert.

Subsequent excavations recovered bones and bone fragments. Capt Speicher was identified through his dental records.

Spike was one of the good guys among a group of good guys. He was flying a SEAD mission on the first night of Operation Desert Storm when an Iraqi MiG-25 leaked past the Eagles and some FA-18 strikers and shot him down. His status got changed from MIA to KIA and then Missing/Captured over the years. We never stopped looking for him, fearing the worst and hoping for the best.

At least his family knows, now. Rest in peace brother.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
.”

 Laurence Binyon

 

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Reflections on the ARVN

Posted by Lex, on June 30, 2009

 

Might be useful as American combat soldiers fall back to rural encampments in Iraq and take on a support and training role.

Might not. Cultures vary.

 

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