NCOs are GOD!

This is my first official self-written post on Old War Dogs and I have to explain something: I am not an Old War Dog.

I am old, yes. Not ancient at 57, but no longer a young pup, by any means.

I am a dog, yes, according to my wife and friends, at times.

But as for the war part, well, all you have to do is check out my profile and you will see that the only piece of fruit salad up there is the National Defense Service Medal, or what we used to call the “I was alive in ’65” medal. I often joke to people that I am the ultimate Vietnam draft dodger: I sat out the war at West Point and when I graduated, Vietnam was winding down and I never got tapped to go.

It was therefore an honor (and I shouldn’t be surprised at the welcoming attitude of my brothers in arms, but I always am) to be invited to become an Old War Dog. I see that I am not the only former officer on the blog list, but I was first turned on to Old War Dogs by the great Russ Vaughn, as well as through the kindness of Bill Faith, two old NCOs. I note that most of the Old War Dogs are former NCOs, so I thought that as my first act of duty, I needed to expound on one of life’s trueisms: NCOs are GOD!

I don’t mean to be blasphemous in that assertion. I am sure that the Good Lord will be honored that I attribute some of his omnipotence to NCOs. They are good company.

As I note in my bio, I grew up in the Army, where I was taught such common courtesies as answering the phone in our quarters with, “Briscoe residence, Shane speaking.” I was also taught, through observation of my Father and his interactions and just watching what went on on Army Posts around the world, that NCOs rule! I learned that lesson anew when, as a freshly minted Second Lieutenant just out of West Point, I was introduced to my first Platoon Sergeant, Heywood E. Smith, at Ft. Carson, Colorado, in the fall of 1971.

“You’re in luck,” I was told by the outgoing Platoon Leader. “You have the best Platoon Sergeant in the United States Army.”

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Shortcut to Victory in War on Terror

Here’s a little quiz:  Which countries, in order of importance, need to change if we are to win the War on Terror?  Here is my list, in descending order:

  1. Iran–The number one terrorist regime in the world, bent on getting nuclear weapons, with proxy armies int he form of Hezbollah and Hamas, led by one of the criminals who engineered the U.S. hostage crisi, an unrepentant anti-Jewish, anti-American Nazi.
  2. Saudi Arabia–They are not our friends.  Saudi is the ideological capital of Islamofascism.  Even the Saudi Ambassador to the United States supports bigoted, hateful, anti-Western Saudi textbooks, which are the bibles of extremism in the Muslim world.  The Royal Family needs to be deposed and replaced with a benevolent dictator, for starters, like the Shah of Iran, and then with democracy.  Wahhabism (the most rabidly radical Islamic sect) needs to be wiped off the face of the planet.
  3. North Korea–Nukes or not, eventually, we will have to take them down.  But North Korea can wait.  For now, we have to take care of the more immediate problems (1 and 2, above).  If we are able to do this, there is a good possibility–not great, but good–that North Korea will see the handwriting on the wall and pull a Khadaffi.
  4. Syria–That fascist state will collapse of its own weight once Iran falls.  Or, we and the Israelis can take them out; their choice.  Assad and his military leaders need to change or die.

There is a host of other countries to deal with, one way or another:  Pakistan; Somalia; Palestine (not really a country, and it, too, will collapse once its sponsors are eliminated).  But the Big Four, the nexus of the Axis of Evil are the main ones.  (And if you don’t believe it; note that Iranians were present to witness North Korea’s provocative missile tests.)  If we change the Big Four, the War on Terror is shortened from decades to only a few years of mopping up.

In overreaching, the Iranians and their proxy armies have presented us with a golden opportunity.  We need to join the Israelis and take the war all the way to Tehran.  We won’t have another chance like this again.

Re: “NCOs are GOD!”

For much of my six years active duty I had the good fortune because of my usually serving in the command element of various units as a radio operator/driver or a battalion/brigade staff chemical warfare NCO, to work closely with several of the Army’s finest senior NCOs: the first sergeants and sergeant majors.

As Shane says, they run the Army; the officers command but those tough old (relatively speaking: most are in their late thirties to late forties but seem like Methuselahs to their troops) birds who make it to the top of the enlisted ranks are the ones who keep it organized and running with a good ol’ boy network that extends around the world and defies belief.

As a rising young NCO, I was so impressed by these men and the unquestioned authority with which they make this huge military machine hum along that I turned down the opportunity to go to OCS, deciding that if I made the Army my career, I would much prefer to be a command sergeant major than a mid-level officer. However, the extension of the G.I. Bill to cover us Vietnam vets decided my fate instead.

I left the Army to finish college and because of the military stand-down following Vietnam, decided to remain in civilian life. However, I have spent more than thirty years marketing medical products to the military, calling on military installations all over the world. One lesson I have never forgotten and which I still occasionally put to good use is that when confronted with a difficult situation, seek out the senior NCO, preferably a sergeant major, or a Navy master chief, or Air Force chief master sergeant, and a solution will be found. Quickly.

So thanks, Shane, for the tribute to Sergeant Heywood Smith and all the NCOs who make our military what it is. Without question, our celebrated military leaders are the officers who lead our forces. But it is the NCOs who ensure they have forces to lead.

Some truths endure forever.

One Good Lesson We Can Learn from the French

The French are easy to make fun of, especially these days when they can’t even work up the courage to defend Paras from marauding Muslim teenagers, much less a Nazi blitzkrieg.

Like many Americans since the French betrayed us over the War in Iraq, I won’t visit their miserable little country and I no longer buy French products. No wine, no cheese, no… well, they really don’t have much to offer besides those two items, which is another sign of French irrelevance.

But there is one thing the French do deserve credit for, and we ought to emulate them in this regard: shaving the heads of collaborators.

After World War II, the French went about collecting all the women (I’m not sure about the men, but knowing the French, they probably were too afraid to tackle a man–even a fellow Frenchman–so they concentrated on the girls instead) who slept with or otherwise collaborated with their German occupiers (wait a minute… didn’t all French women sleep with the Nazis?). The French vigilante squads probably roughed up the collaborators a bit. Then they shaved their heads as a mark of shame.

One of these days, we are going to get serious about the War on Terror. One of these days, we are going to start kicking ass and taking names, fighting with a ruthlessness that only comes from the gut when you realize that your entire civilization and way of life–as well as your life itself and your mortal remains–are at risk. I fear that such a day will come, but sadly, only after another 9/11 occurs. We just didn’t seem to get it the first time, but the day a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon goes off in a U.S. city and thousands, or tens of thousands, or even millions of our fellow citizens are murdered, we’ll surely get the message that it is time to take the gloves off. Then woe betide the terrorists and their allies.

I don’t want to see another 9/11 happen. But then, that is what separates me from the Democrats, the Bush-haters and, oh, yes, the French. I would rather go for it now, kill all the terrorists and their supporters and sympathizers today, torture captured terrorists into revealing everything there is to know about their operations before dispatching them to their just reward, where 71 virgins who all look like Helen Thomas are eagerly awaiting their arrival. But I am afraid there will be another 9/11.

After the gloves do come off and we realize we are in a fight to the death with one of the most vile, evil adversaries we have ever faced, public opinion should have shifted enough so that we might be ready to deal with our own collaborators, French style.

It will be time to start shaving heads, only Americans will do the men as well as the women. First, we can start with the Dixie Chicks, then Linda Ronstadt, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Howard Dean, Cindy Sheehan, Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, John Kerry, Jimmy Carter, editors of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and other so-called mainstream media personalities… and the list goes on. I would spare Helen Thomas, only because I don’t think the world just couldn’t take her any uglier. As for Michael Moore, I’d give the special treatment, shaving his head even… at neck level, Muslim style.

Many of these American-hating fifth columnists have already seen their livelihoods dry up and their reputations turn sour as people react to their treasonous ways. Good. That’s a start. But when the real day of reckoning comes, there needs to be a badge of shame for all the world to see, and shaved heads really fit the bill.

The day is coming. Until then, my fellow patriots, keep your clippers handy.

What are we waiting for, Armageddon?

Okay boys and girls I’m getting sick and tired of playing MR. NICE GUY!!!!!!!! From now on I’m going to carry a big stick and be ready to use it. Every single adult who has the capability to read this post had better start cranking up your Patriotic backgrounds and and bring them up to speed. If we just sit and allow this drivel to continue unchecked then what we get is what we deserve, (Complete Annihilation) Make no mistake about it, Mexico wants to run us off the continent, “Al Qaeda” wants to kill us all and the” United Nations” wants to take all our weapons from us. Sounds like to me that we need to readjust some people’s ideology. I’m all for live and let live, but it’s about wore out it’s welcome (as far as I’m concerned) in my back yard. I would like to hear somebody put forth a logical format to start a way to break up this concerted effort to destroy our country and our way of life. We have allowed ourselves to become too complacent we must all take a more active part in what our representatives do and to make sure that the will of the people is followed and not compromised.

My problem is that without a lot of support and organization by all the people we will never change any aspect of what is tearing our country apart. Someone please explain to me why we can’t just close our Southern border. Why is it that illegals can stand in our streets and protest and we don’t just put them in trucks and put them back across the border and let their people feed them. I’m getting real sick and tired of the pussyfooting our government is doing in not trying to handle this affair. I fought, I’ve paid my taxes and yet we’re the Minority? That is absolute crap. It’s time we all stood up and were counted and stop all this Bullshit . Being Politically Correct is going to destroy everything I’ve fought for and defended in this country. How do we as a country of free Americans stop this travesty? I would like some answers and this is as good a place to find out as I know. SO SPEAK UP!!!!! Why do we have to take a back seat to any minority group of people in these OUR UNITED STATES!!!! Why did 14% of the people decide that it was their wishes to have God and the Pledge of Allegiance removed from our schools? I say “Apathy” on the part of “We the People”. It’s time to get it in gear and turn that around . Who out there disagrees with me!!! Speak up or forever be a subject!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay your turn!!!

Gene Harrison: Mr. President, it’s time to go to War!

By email from “Gene Harrison”, who as the post indicates, is on travel. If this is any indication of the type of thing we can expect I can’t wait for him to get home and start posting more often. Any dumb sonuvabitch that uses the term “chickenhawk” in our comments will be summarily banned; that was your only warning. Read the bio, folks.

Mr. President, it’s time to go to War!

First of all War is not the resolution of conflict by threat or use of deadly force; that is police work. War is not the final stage of diplomacy. That is diplomacy. War is not establishing defenses against attack—there are no defenses that cannot be breached. Stronger defenses simply change the cost to the enemy of the breach.

War is a national response to a threat of death or destruction to the people or structure (in every sense) of a nation. The purpose of war is to eradicate and so completely destroy the enemy that the threat to the nation disappears. The destruction of an enemy by war includes destroying every asset of the enemy, political, social, religious, economic, psychological, biological, and human. You may choose not to destroy a hospital, but only because it uses the enemies resources that could otherwise be directed toward you.

Not only must you kill the enemy, you must render it incapable of recovery in any form that had led to the threat or deed that brought war on. The devastation the enemy faces must force complete compliance by the entire enemy polis; civil and military, to our demands that lead to total surrender.

I can’t count the number of Churches we shelled into oblivion in Germany. They were terrific artillery observation posts. I can hardly remember whether we killed 150,000 or 200,000 civilians in Dresden, and that was the work of the Greatest Generation. Nagasaki and Hiroshima demonstrated that in the face of overwhelming destruction, an Empire could be brought to heel.

We aimed to destroy every avenue of communication that fostered resistance by the civil population. My battalion alone would have silenced al Jazeera on the first day of an attack. No news reporter who had not been screened and whose reports had not been reviewed by censor were transmitted, either to our homeland or to the enemy. As one of my culture heroes, Winston Churchill said, “we will make them bleed and burn.” I wore that patch. My regimental motto was “Death before Defeat.”

I note, here in England where I visit my daughter and my five grandchildren, that none of the children have learned in their schools of the Battle of Britain. They find it hard to believe that children like them living in London, where sent away to the North to escape dying by the Blitz, the buzz bombs and V2s of 1940-41, so that a remnant of a great nation would remain. They thrill to hear me speak with praise and reverence of young British airmen, flying their Spitfire “kites,” against Messerschmitts and Heinkels.

That is War, Mr. President, and if you don’t think we are in one, you need to replace your advisors, and shape up your military. A good first step would be to return the name of the department responsible for war from the “Defense” Department back to its original title: The War Department.

Go get ‘em!

Keep Your Powder Dry

Prior to the rise of the Shia in Iraq, Hezbollah — as a radical Shiite Islamist organization — was Iran’s main asset in the Arab world. In fact, it likely will continue to be used by Tehran as a
key tool for furthering Iranian geopolitical interests in the region, until such time as Shiite power has been consolidated in Baghdad and Iran’s interests there secured.

In its earliest days, Hezbollah was a classic militant organization — the creation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the elite unit of the Iranian military. It was founded as a way to
export the ideals of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini’s Islamic revolution to the Shiite community of Lebanon, and served as a model for follow-on organizations (some even using the same name) in other Arab states. It did not take long, however, for Hezbollah to emerge in Lebanon as a guerrilla movement, whose fighters were trained in conventional military tactics.

In the mid-1980s, Iran’s premier intelligence agency, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), assumed the task of managing Tehran’s militant assets — not just in the Middle East but in other parts of the world as well. This allowed the Iranians, through a special unit within MOIS, to strike at Israeli interests in places as diverse as Latin America and Southeast Asia.

The relationship between MOIS and Hezbollah remains a subject worthy of study in light of the current situation in Lebanon. Of course, Iran has been Hezbollah’s chief source of funding and weapons over the years, and the Iranians continue to supply extensive training in weapons, tactics, communications, surveillance and other methods to the militant wing of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The relationship is sufficiently close that the Hezbollah branch in Iran proper recently declared it would unleash militant
attacks against Israelis and Americans around the world if given the order by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Tehran insists that Hezbollah is not an arm of official policy.)

We have previously discussed the possibility that Hezbollah might be moved to seize hostages or engage in other militant acts, given the pressure the Israelis now are bringing to bear. There is some
question, of course, as to whether Iran might be involved in future militant operations — and if so, what assets it might use and the modalities that would apply.

An Organizational Model

There is a division of labor of sorts in the way that Iran manages its foreign assets: The IRGC (which is led by a professional military officer with strong ideological credentials as an Islamist) oversees the Lebanese Hezbollah, while MOIS (which almost always is headed by a cleric) manages militant operatives and groups in other parts of the Muslim world — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, India. Moreover, MOIS also maintains contacts among the Shiite immigrant populations in non-Muslim countries, including those in the West.

It also is important to note that radical Shiite Islamist ideology is only one factor that shapes Tehran’s decisions. Ethnicity and nationalism also play an important role in Iran’s dealings with Shiite allies of Arab, South Asian and other descent. The Persians claim a rich cultural heritage, which they view as superior to that of the Arabs. This attitude impacts the level of trust and cooperation between the Iranians and other Shiite groups — including Hezbollah — when it comes to sensitive international
operations. It is little wonder, then, that the Lebanese organization’s sphere of operations does not extend much beyond the Levant.

Semper I

Semper I is an old Marine Corps term applied to those selfish careerists who place their own success ahead of their men and the  wellbeing of  the Corps. Congressman John Murtha is a living example of that disgraceful term.

A bugle blows in Arlington,Lilting notes fill still sad air,An eagle’s tears a globe fall on,Trail an anchor with despair, For a man we’d wish had not to die, Brave youth among the best, A Marine, he lived for Semper Fi, And with Semper Fi he’ll rest.

So sadly is the contrast,Between those who talk and fight; Fat Pols for whom their war’s past, But now can’t see the light, Accusing brave young fighting men, Of crimes they can’t defend,Disgraceful fat old congressmen, Who’ve lost the will to win.

Yes there we see the difference,Between those who fight to win, And a congressman with no sense, Who’s committed grievous sin;He’s turned against his Corps, And no one knows quite why,Except he loves himself much more: Classic case of Semper I.

Semper Fi to all Marines everywhere from an old paratrooper who holds Murtha in as much contempt as you do.

Russ Vaughn
327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

[Webmaster’s note 2006.07.18.23:30:  Murtha portrait added, courtesy of Click it to see their post, where they have a larger version.  Now’s a perfect time to visit]

What next?

My astute co-contributors have clearly defined several closely related parts of a larger problem.  Steve’s take is here. And Gene offers a positive solution here.  Others, here and elsewhere,  have offered even more perspective and possible solutions.

But, while the first step in solving a problem is to correctly identify it, I think there are still some pieces missing before we can be certain we have.

A clear Declaration of War would be a first step, but War against what?  One of the flaws in The Global War on Terror has been noted by the liberal/left; terrorism is an act, not a government.

I’m all for a pre-emptive strategy, I support the use of carefully targeted Nukes. North Korea’s launch site(s), Iran’s military and nuclear facilities, and a few more similar targets, but the list is, frankly, short.

And, for the record, I could care less about international reaction.

But even if we followed that path, we’re still left with the billions (externally) and millions (internally) that do not want  the U.S. to survive in any form most of us would recognize.

Those tactics won’t work in London or Dearborn anyway.

One real problem, and one only WE can solve, is that we, collectively, have no identity any more. I’m not certain we ever did! But that point is a bit off topic unless we address the politicians.

As much as I’d like to blame the congresscritters in D.C., they are only a symptom.

So I’m left asking ‘What Next’?

I willing to get off my ass and do something, helping dump Murtha, for example. But there are many more where he came from.

An armed revolt sounds interesting, but it would allow those on the sidelines (Islamists, anti-American illegal immigrants, etc.) to pick up the pieces at their leisure.

I’m armed, with a vote and a gun, give me target. I don’t have enough ammo to ‘spray and pray’ and only one vote.

Bill Faith; My Buddy

The following was forwarded to me from Russ Vaughn. It is difficult to separate, Bill and Russ, as to who did what first to give birth to Old War Dogs.

By Russ Vaughn

Bill Faith was my buddy, a term that has particular meaning for those who have worn a uniform in service to this country. And though I never met him, nor even heard his voice a single time, that’s how I will remember Bill, as my buddy, someone who served alongside me through victory and defeat, through thick and thin, but who always could be counted on to stand up and be counted when it counted most.

I must first apologize to Bill’s family and all of you out there for being tardy in posting my thoughts on Bill’s passing. Two months ago my wife and I were abruptly thrust into the role of primary caregivers for her almost ninety-year-old parents, a responsibility which has kept both of us away from our computers and me from my blogging efforts. It was only through an email from The Gray Dog, Mike Connelly, that I learned belatedly of Bill’s death.

I don’t even remember precisely when Bill and I became acquainted, just that it was sometime after John Kerry became the Democrat frontrunner in 2004 and this old Vietnam vet, like millions of my brothers, swore to do everything in my power to prevent that traitor from ever becoming commander in chief. Scott Swett, at Wintersoldier blog, first began posting my anti-Kerry rants, which were then picked up by the Freepers and spread to other like-minded sites. Shortly thereafter I received an email from Bill, telling me he would like to post my pieces at his Small Town Veteran blog. As soon as I visited the site, I knew I had found an ally, one who quickly became a long-distance friend and a valued editor of my sometimes rough expositions.

When Kerry was defeated in November 2004, Bill and I, like all our Vietnam veteran brothers who had fought to keep Kerry out of the presidency, were exhilarated and felt that at last we had been exonerated. In sharing that victory, we became buddies, and the bond became even stronger in the summer of 2006 when Bill became webmaster of our new blog, Old War Dogs, which may have been my brainstorm but was Bill’s baby from the outset. He built the pen and the doghouse from scratch and fed and watered that pup every day. And like most proud papas, he could get quickly cantankerous if he felt like someone was mistreating his dog, including me.

Bill kept OWD up and running all through this last election fiasco even though, like me, he was never more than lukewarm to the idea of John McCain as our candidate. But, good soldier that he was, Bill fought the good fight right up until the bitter end. And as bitter as it was for the rest of us, his email telling me that he was going to back away from daily blogging at OWD, made me aware that my buddy was battle weary and in need of some respite. I regret not then realizing just how badly needed it was.

Michelle Malkin’s farewell post to Bill includes my poem, The Sheepdogs, and I thank her for that because there was never a more dedicated Sheepdog than Bill Faith. He loved his flock, both the immediate, his family, especially his new grandbaby, and that much larger flock, his countrymen.

Bill, I’m gonna miss you, Buddy.

Russ Vaughn