Saturday, April 28, 2007

Iraq: The Way Out.

It's time to blow this taco stand.

We've done everything that we can for Iraq. There's a point in a military operation where you have to ask the questions : "What will change if we stay?" and "What will change if we leave?".
If the answer to both questions is "Nothing" then the operation has reached it's null point.

I supported this invasion and I still think that it has been a worthwhile mission on our part. The way I see it we've had all the success that we're going to. Anything more relies on the Iraqi people and they've demonstrated that they're not willing to step up and function as a society. They've regressed into a tribal state and it's like balancing a marble on a two by four to keep any kind of peace in that country. I know Al Qaeda's there, I know that they have tax-collectors and torture shops set up in various towns, but the locals know where they are and they're not telling our forces where they're located. I know Iran is asserting itself, but I think Iran is making a mistake that it will pay for in the future and it will have nothing to do with us.

Hand it over to Special Forces and the Air Force.

If all we need to do is train the Iraqi Army then we need to hand this task over to Special Forces. Army SF guys are the best at this task anyway as it is part of their job as is counter-insurgency. If the only forces left in Iraq are the most qualified to deal with the problems as they are now then it puts the US and Iraq in the best situation. What is need isn't a complete with drawl but a visibly smaller footprint, a draw-down to a smaller force of Special Operators and a Quick Reaction force of Rangers and/or armored Cav should do the trick. Part of the problem now is that it sucks to be an Iraqi right now and every time they see a tank, helicopter or convoy they find an easy target for their anger. It doesn't matter if the anger is justified or not, we're the visible factor and we're foreigners so we're easy targets. If we draw down to a few forces, who are based out in the desert, then our presence will no longer be as obvious and Iraqis will look elsewhere for solutions. Iraqis can be clever when they want to be and our large numbers there allow them to be lazy about their own situation. If they don't see us on the corner any more and they realize that their problems are now THEIR PROBLEM then we will get progress in that country.

Here's the bad news...

We're going to still have forces in the Persian Gulf even after we leave Iraq, just as we have since 1979. Iran is still a problem and the situation that we'll be leaving in Iraq will require attention from time to time (yes, we might even have to go back in at some point). A draw-down frees up manpower for Afghanistan and takes pressure off of the National Guard and reserves.

We've done a lot of good in Iraq. Our forces have much to be proud of and in the end, taking Saddam Hussein out of the picture has made this whole expedition worthwhile. Our soldiers have prevailed in spite of some lousy leadership at the Pentagon and have succeeded in what should have been impossible missions. It's just that aside from the Kurds, there's nobody in Iraq left worth dying for. Turning the situation over to a small, elite force gives the bad guys there fewer targets to hit, and it will allow us to continue the mission in a way that will make that has the most promise for all involved. This plan would allow the President to "Stay the course" and it would also allow the military to take a breather and it gives the Democrats news images of soldiers coming home. Everybody wins.

Wasn't that the idea to begin with?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech, Can the Media Hit A Record Fo Milking A Subject?

The cable news networks were in rare form this week.

They had a tragedy land about 4 hours away from media centers in Washington DC. They had their cookie-cutter templates ready and they had a subject (Hand guns) that they already had an angle and experts whom to call. The only thing more out of control was the shooter (no, I won't mention his name. Fuck him) were the reporters who decended on that poor campus before the bodies were cold. While the tragedy stands alone, the tragedies to follow because of a rabid and frothing news media will be countless.

I could give my usual breakdown of media failings and overkill but out of respect for the fallen I'll wait and see how it developes.


Computer animations recreating where everyone was shot.

Interviews with wounded students.

Lots of "Expert" commentary about security and mental health.

Plenty of crying.

You just watch....or better yet - change the channel

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Keeping Busy

I haven't posted in a while. I think this happens to a lot of normal people who blog.

In my case, there's just been a lot of chaos around the Axxman household. My Mother and brother are ill, and some crazy do-gooder decided to "Help" us by tearing out our floors and putting in new carpet. At least that was the plan, we did get new carpet in the front of the house but not the back. The guys who put in the floor didn't know what they were doing (evidently there are "Floor Guys") so the linoleum people couldn't put down the new floor. The floors WERE in bad shape, there has been serious water damage and since I'm disabled there is no way I can repair them without help. The thing is that I actually have the tools to do this part, I just need someone to coach me through the set up. So, now I get to repair the repairs.

The best part, all of this "Donated" work cost me around $1200. So I'm looking for a second job to pay off my credit card.

So my book writing has gone to shit. When I'm at home I feel like I've got a million things to do and they're all sitting on my shoulders. I'm thinking of taking my laptop out to Fort Ord and sitting under an Oak tree or inside one of the barracks and writing there. I'm at the point where I just want to finish this and go back to school. The only reason that I don't quit all together is because I owe the men of the 7th Infantry Division, they're counting on me. So I will drive on.

I hope I don't come off as depressed because for some reason I'm not. I've lost 30 lbs and things have been much worse. I think I'm just overwhelmed.