Archive for US Military

He Had a Dream—and He Had a .300 Win Mag

I can’t think of a better way to honor Dr. King than to attend a movie about justice, USA style—and I don’t mean Selma:

Clint Eastwood’s R-rated Iraq War drama “American Sniper” opened in January like a superhero movie in July, taking in a record $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. four-day weekend.

“It’s become a cultural phenomenon,” said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “The movie reached an audience that’s very hard to tap into. In both red and blue states, small and large cities, tiny towns — everywhere we went — it broke records.”

Going into the weekend, optimistic predictions for “American Sniper” were closer to $50 million, which still would have been an enormous success, particularly considering how little appetite audiences have had for movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This was maybe the most underestimated film of all time, considering that it did about twice what estimates predicted,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office firm Rentrak. “This just doesn’t happen.”

It’s not movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for which audiences have little appetite. It’s bad, anti-US movies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from which people stay away in droves:

The science is now settled: Anti-American films are costly box office bombs at a rate of nothing less than 100%. On the flip-side, pro-American films make money. Many are outright blockblusters. Moreover, almost every the anti-American film produced over the last decade has also been an artistic failure, while many pro-American films have garnered positive reviews.

Let me boil this down for the leftwing-impaired: Lies make for lousy art and can’t be sold to the public.

And here’s another lie Hollywood was spreading a few years back — the lie that in an international film market, Americanism doesn’t sell. Below is the science; an apples-to-apples domestic box office comparison of narrative films (not documentaries) with major stars produced over the last decade about the War On Terror.

Read the lists. It’s hysterical how many forgettable movies (not least because they’re forgotten) Hollywood has turned out with the message war is bad, US wars are worse, Bush’s wars are the worst. For every American Sniper and Lone Survivor (each well over $100 million), there were dozens of Syrianas and Munichs (perhaps the most despicable film I’ve never seen) that lose their shirts.

I wish Dr. King had lived, but, as I say, I can’t think of a better way to honor the memory of one American hero than by confounding those racists in Hollywood with box office boffo for a Clint Eastwood movie about another American hero.

PS: And the Left can’t stand it!

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Reporting for Duty

Via Jay Norlinger at NRO:

A former US Army Staff Sergeant who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan is heading to Israel as a volunteer for the IDF.

Brian Mast served his country for twelve years before the catastrophic injury cut his career short. Now a full-time student at Harvard University, Mast said his decision to travel to Israel was partly triggered by the anti-Israel demonstrations he witnessed on campus.

“This past summer I was there studying,” Mast told website Western Journalism. “At the same time, I saw the anti-Israeli protest in the face of the attempted indiscriminate bombardment of Israel. It was then that I decided I needed to find a way to go help however I can and however Israel would have me.”

More:

Mast believes his past experiences will be of benefit to the IDF. “I know what it is to be shot at, to be blown up – literally, to have my brothers die in my arms,” he declared. “I also know the peace my family enjoys each day within our own borders; and that same peace is what I wish on Israel.

Mast, who grew up in a Christian home in South Florida, said that his parents had impressed upon him the importance of the US alliance with Israel. He remains intensely committed, he added, to promoting “liberty and freedom from tyrannical regimes.”

If so, Sergeant, we could use you back at home. When you’re done over there, that is. ;)

PS: Nice to see Harvard is good for something!

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Reunion Video

That’s it, I’m a wreck:

Of course, I’d lose it over a reunion with a goldfish.

Or a dog:

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You Can’t Make Chicken Salad Out of “Chicken[bleep]”

But you can make a pretty good arms deal:

Israel had been struggling to sell the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system abroad, but the Israel Defense website revealed on Sunday that a major purchaser has been found: the United States.

Apparently the US Army will acquire one Iron Dome battery, and based on tests it will conduct on the system decide whether or not to purchase more units of the Israeli defense system that reportedly boasted a 90% hit rate in Operation Protective Edge.

Having seen the system proven in war, the US now apparently is considering deploying it to defend military establishments and US soldiers around the world, as its short-range missile defense capability is not in great demand in America.

Recently cooperation was agreed upon between the Israeli defense company Rafael which developed Iron Dome and the American company Raytheon, by which they will develop Iron Dome together on American soil.

Israel says call me any names you like, just call me. And have your credit card ready.

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The Wartime President

Other than FDR going for his fourth term, I can’t think of a single president who won the office in the middle of a war. Which is to say wartime presidents are made by events, not by choice.

We joked the other day that Obama’s legendary self-confidence might stretch all the way to the military. But that’s the thing with Obama, he’s the biggest joke of all.

I’m a better general than my generals:

Top military leaders in the Pentagon and in the field are growing increasingly frustrated by the tight constraints the White House has placed on the plans to fight ISIS and train a new Syrian rebel army.

As the American-led battle against ISIS stretches into its fourth month, the generals and Pentagon officials leading the air campaign and preparing to train Syrian rebels are working under strict White House orders to keep the war contained within policy limits. The National Security Council has given precise instructions on which rebels can be engaged, who can be trained, and what exactly those fighters will do when they return to Syria. Most of the rebels to be trained by the U.S. will never be sent to fight against ISIS.

Making matters worse, military officers and civilian Pentagon leaders tell The Daily Beast, is the ISIS war’s decision-making process, run by National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It’s been manic and obsessed with the tiniest of details. Officials talk of sudden and frequent meetings of the National Security Council and the so-called Principals Committee of top defense, intelligence, and foreign policy officials (an NSC and three PCs in one week this month); a barrage of questions from the NSC to the agencies that create mountains of paperwork for overworked staffers; and NSC insistence on deciding minor issues even at the operational level.

“We are getting a lot of micromanagement from the White House. Basic decisions that should take hours are taking days sometimes,” one senior defense official told The Daily Beast.

War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.
William Tecumseh Sherman

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
George S. Patton

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
Winston Churchill

If you like your army, you can keep your army. Period.
Barack H. Ohama

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BTL’s Art of War

It’s sophisticated, but see if you can hop aboard the train of thought:

Military and White House officials said Friday that the fierce fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani has created an opportunity to take out large numbers of Islamic State fighters pouring into the battle.

Though the fighting has raised concerns that the vital town could still fall to the Islamic State, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, claimed Friday that there’s an upside for the U.S. and its allies.

“The enemy has made a decision to make Kobani his main effort,” Austin said, claiming “manpower” is streaming into the area.

“Now, my goal is to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIL. And if [the enemy] continues to present us with major targets … then clearly, we’ll service those targets, and we’ve done so very, very effectively here of late,” Austin said.

Maybe it’s not the first thing you think of when you list the reasons you’re proud to be an American, but our ability to vaporize people we deem (correctly or not) to be our enemies is second to none. So, when we find such people in adequate numbers, it’s time to let ‘em fly and hit ‘em high.

Where’s my diploma from The Citadel, you ask? Who died and made me general? Fine, don’t take my word for it. Just recall the many posts from past years in which US forces squared off with Taliban goatherds and the casualty results were 100-0, 150-1, and suchlike. Again, maybe not our best trait, but we can kill with the best of them; when offered the opportunity, we should seize it.

There’s only one flaw in how Obama intends to go about it. Kobani is worth saving from ISIS because there are Kurdish “boots on the ground” (or sandals, flip-flops, rags) to take the ground (sand) that ISIS forces leave when they either explode or retreat. That does not appear to be the case in, say, Baghdad.

So, by all means, kill while the killing’s good in Kobani. (As if I need to encourage Obama to kill indiscriminately from the skies—he’s got a Death Ray, and he’s not afraid to use it!) But Kobani will be small consolation when the former seat of the caliphate returns to something that calls itself the Islamic State. It did no good to slaughter Afghan Islamists by the hundreds if we didn’t intend to hold the territory (by ourselves or through proxies); it’s doubtful the results will be any better in Syria or Iraq.

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Say, How’s That War on the (Non-Islamic) Islamic State Going?

So glad you asked:

On Wednesday, a reporter asked Pentagon press secretary John Kirby what seemed like a simple query: “What would you say about Senator McCain’s assessment that the Islamic State is winning, and the U.S.-led coalition is not?” What followed, however, was a case study in how not to handle a loaded question.

“Well, I’m not gonna, um,” the rear admiral began haltingly. “I would just tell you that — uh — we believe — that — let me put it this way. It’s going to be a long fight. It’s going to be difficult. There’s going to be setbacks. There’s going to be wins and there’s going to be losses. We’re mindful of the complicated nature of this.”

Kirby went on equivocating for another two minutes, claiming he’s “not going to qualify who’s winning and who’s losing today,” that “you can’t judge a strategy based on a day, or a week, or even several weeks,” that “we’ve only been doing air strikes since August 8,” and that the Islamic State is “not getting a win everywhere.”

“So it’s a mixed picture, Phil,” he admitted. “I don’t mean to ramble, but it’s a mixed picture.”

Not exactly “we will fight them on the beaches” material, but that was the Greatest Generation. Ours is somewhat lesser.

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OUT: Boots on the Ground, IN: Choppers in the Sand

Oh [bleep]:

The U.S. military is flying Apache helicopters against Islamic State rebels in Iraq for the first time, exposing U.S. troops to greater risk from ground fire as they help Iraqi forces battle the Islamist group that has overrun parts of the country.

U.S. troops flew helicopters against Islamic State fighters on Sunday and again on Monday as they struck at mortar teams and other units near Fallujah, said a spokesman for Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East.

“This was the first time rotary wing aircraft were used in coordination with and in support of ISF (Iraqi Security Force) operations,” Army Major Curtis Kellogg said in an email. “The Iraqi government asked for support with this capability near Fallujah to push back (Islamic State).”

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the helicopters that were used were Apache attack helicopters.

Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security think tank, said the military’s decision to use Apaches “demonstrates that they’ve only achieved limited results with the air strikes from fighters and bombers and drones.”

Christopher Harmer, a former Navy aviator who is an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War think tank, said it was a significant escalation in the level of risk being taken by U.S. troops assisting the Iraqi military.

“Fixed-wing aircraft flying at 30,000 feet (9,000 meters) are completely immune from the type of weapons that Islamic State fighters have, but a helicopter is not,” Harmer said.

“When you’re flying a helicopter 150 feet (50 meters) above the ground, that helicopter can be shot with a rocket-propelled grenade or a heavy machine gun … so, yes, it is much more dangerous,” he added.

Obama channeling his inner Jimmy Carter.

Or his inner Bill Clinton:

What will we call the movie of this disaster, Black Chickenhawk Down? Obama swore that he wouldn’t put boots on the ground against ISIS. Chopper pilots will be issued Nike sneakers before every mission.

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Killing More GIs Than ISIS

To be fair, ISIS doesn’t run hospitals:

WASHINGTON — In a contentious hearing before Congress, a senior official from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ watchdog agency acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday that delays in care had contributed to the deaths of patients at the department’s medical center in Phoenix.

The disclosure by an official from the department’s inspector general’s office, coming after more than two hours of tough, sometimes confrontational exchanges with members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, was a significant development in what has become a heated dispute over the quality of care at the Phoenix hospital, where revelations of secret waiting lists and other schemes to disguise long delays in care turned into a national scandal.

[U]nder questioning by Representative David Jolly, Republican of Florida, Dr. John D. Daigh, the assistant inspector general for health care inspections, conceded that medical-care delays in Phoenix had contributed to some patient deaths.

“Would you be willing to say that wait lists contributed to deaths of veterans?” Mr. Jolly asked.

“No problem with that,” Dr. Daigh replied. “The issue is cause.”

Dr. Daigh did not say how many times he believed medical-care delays had contributed to deaths in Phoenix. In addition to the six veterans who died after experiencing clinically significant delays, the inspector general’s office revealed Wednesday that 293 veterans had died out of 3,409 cases it reviewed in Phoenix.

“We can play with semantics all we want,” Mr. Jolly said, “but right here at the table it was acknowledged by the I.G.’s office that the wait lists contributed to the deaths of veterans.”

Ain’t no ISIS terrorist ever killed an American veteran.

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Read His Lips

Let him be clear:

Speaking at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, after visiting U.S. Central Command, Obama told troops: “I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”

-ish:

But shortly afterward, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified that Dempsey was talking about the possible need to put U.S. troops already in Iraq into “forward-deployed positions with Iraqi troops.”

Earnest said that step has not yet been necessary, but if Dempsey asks to “forward deploy” American advisers, “the president said he would consider it on a case-by-case basis.”

He said, in that scenario, U.S. troops “would be providing tactical advice to Iraqi security forces” or be in position to call in airstrikes.

“They would not have a combat role. They would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy,” Earnest stressed.

Uh-huh. And if the enemy engages them? What then?

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing Sept. 16 about the U.S. policy to combat the Islamic State featuring testimony from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey. Here is Dempsey’s statement.

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President.”

Barack Obama thinks he’s a better general than his generals.

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Don’t Mention the War! [UPDATED] [TWICE!]

Just so everybody understands: we aim to “destroy” ISIS, not go to war with it.

Got it?

“What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation,” Kerry said on Thursday. “It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

In a separate interview with CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan, Kerry said “war is the wrong terminology” to describe U.S. operations against ISIS.

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity,” Kerry said.

We can all agree that that is patently absurd, right? No need for further discussion? Good.

If I had to guess, such equivocation is in line with Obama’s left-foot-in-left-foot-out strategy:

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”

In a nationally-televised speech on Wednesday evening, President Obama repeatedly emphasized that U.S. forces will not have a combat role in Iraq. “We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” the president said. He specifically underscored that “this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and will resemble U.S. counterterrorism campaigns in Yemen and Somalia.

Austin’s predecessor, Marine Gen. James Mattis, told the Washington Post that the president’s decision may place the mission at risk. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis told the paper. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”

You may understand war, General, but you’re a but you’re a buck private at politics. You can’t wrap yourself in the Not Bush Cloak for six years, and then slough it off to reveal yourself as the drawling Texan himself. Soldiers and American people be damned, he’d rather lose as Obama than win as Bush.

PS: Oh wait. There’s an even more obvious (and absurd) reason John Kerry won’t call it a war. They’d have to get Congress’s permisssion. Which is also what Bush did. Can’t have that.

UPDATE: To war! To war! Fredonia’s going to war!

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday during his daily press briefing that the battle against ISIS now mirrors the ongoing War on Terror closely enough to use the ‘W’ word.

‘The fact is ISIL has indicated that they’re ready to go to war against the world,’ Earnest said, ‘and this president – as is expected of American presidents – is stepping up to lead an international coalition to confront that threat and to deny ISIL a safe haven. And ultimately this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL.’

‘So I think what you could conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates all around the globe.’

Of course you know, this means war.

UPPERDATE

Or does it?

BLITZER: It sounds like a war to me. Is it fair to call it a war?

[SUSAN] RICE: Well, Wolf, I don’t know whether you want to call it a war or a sustained counterterrorism campaign or — I think, frankly, this is a counterterrorism operation that will take time. It will be sustained. We will not have American combat forces on the ground fighting, as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is what I think the American people think of when they think of a war.

So I think this is very different from that.

Be as Earnest as you like, Josh, you wouldn’t know war if it bit you in the ass. I just hope this isn’t literally the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Sraight.

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Run Him Up the Flag Pole and See Who Salutes

Boy, President Obama really knocked ‘em dead at the Legionnaires meeting yesterday!

Just ask him:

Remarks by the President to the American Legion National Convention
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
August 26, 2014
Charlotte Convention Center
Charlotte, North Carolina

12:07 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Please, everybody, have a seat. Hello, Legionnaires!

AUDIENCE: Hello!

They love him. They really love him.

Don’t they?

A Virginia legionnaire who served in the U.S. Marine Corps told MailOnline that ‘a small group of Obama’s admirers – and there are some here – sat near the front and tried to generate applause for him about 10 times.’

‘They didn’t get much pickup,’ the retired lieutenant colonel said of the ‘instigators’ gathered at the Charlotte, North Carolina event, but ‘they were persistent. You could tell when the applause was genuine and when it wasn’t. It was obvious to everyone here.’

Most of the veterans sat on their hands, leaving awkward silences where White House speechwriters expected ovations.

‘Some of these guys – well, most of them – remember that Obama sent Biden to speak to us last year in Houston, and blew us off entirely during his 2012 campaign.’

That year, the president sent a 3-minute video message instead of coming to Indianapolis. Mitt Romney, his Republican rival, flew 1,000 miles to speak in person.

The veteran asked MailOnline to conceal his identity. ‘I don’t need that kind of trouble,’ he said. ‘I work for a government contractor.’

But the crickets gave him two antennae up!


“Hello!”

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