Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More on the Goldfarb challenge

I'm going to be short, sweet, and to the point. I e-mailed the article to my uncle last night, and he sent me a simple response with instructions to call him if I didn't understand the reply:

"This is absolute b*ull-sh*t. There is no way such behavior would be tolerated in any base, be it an FOB, or a central base, say in the Green Zone. If any soldier acted like that which is described, they'd find themselves eating a knuckle sandwich, and peeling potatoes for the duration of their tour."

Um, needless to say, I didn't have to ask for a clarification. I trust my uncle. He's a 25-year veteran of the Navy.

But the response to this article has been, shall we say, abrupt?

Greyhawk over at the Mudville Gazette has chimed in with his thoughts on the "Shock Troops" controversy:

Not until the second sentence does his story completely and totally fall apart:

She wore an unrecognizable tan uniform, so I couldn't really tell whether she was a soldier or a civilian contractor.

And that pretty much finishes that. Hint: military people wear military uniforms - the service uniform or the Physical Training uniform, AKA PT gear. and ALWAYS HAVE THEIR WEAPONS.

Contractors wear civilian clothes and are rarely armed. (This has something to do with something called the Geneva Conventions, and also common sense.) Anyhow, this makes readily apparent who is military and who is not. In fact, it is the very reason MILITARY PEOPLE IN IRAQ ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO WEAR THEIR UNIFORMS AND NOTHING BUT THEIR UNIFORMS. Again, this doesn't prove Scott Thomas is a liar, only that if he is who New Republic claims he is, his ignorance exceeds that of any soldier of any rank I've ever met.

And there's more where that came from...go read the
whole thing, as Greyhawk has done as good a job as anyone of putting together all the pieces here.

Michael Yon chimed in with similar sentiments:

I think I can safely say that Michael Yon is the most highly regarded combat reporter the Iraq war has yet produced, and he writes the WWS today in response to the New Republic's "Shock Troops" story:

That story about American soldiers at FOB Falcon sounds like complete garbage. I spent time with them this year, and in fact keep them on the front page of my site. 1-4 CAV is an excellent unit. I emailed the commander, LTC James Crider, about the story. Please put that horrible reporting into context of something accurate. I humbly submit this: Desires of the Human Heart, Part One

Michael Yon
Baqubah, Iraq

I hope we will hear more from him on this subject, and will post an update when we do. In the meantime, go read his piece, and I'd also encourage you to support his highly-reliable reporting with a donation.

More and more military people are jumping on this story, and proclaiming it bogus. This was the update by Mr. Goldfarb done late last night. Judge for yourself:

Just a quick update on some interesting responses we've already gotten, and you can also read a lot of comments and commentary at the other blogs that are all over this story:
The Corner
Ace of Spades
Hot Air
Dean Barnett

From an active duty soldier who asks that his name be withheld:

I was based at Falcon last year for six months with the 101st Airborne. I never saw a woman who fits Thomas's description. That's not conclusive since I haven't been there for almost eight months. But I can say this. The dining facility at Falcon is not large (maybe 200 yards by 50 yards) and the tables are very close together. I cannot remember eating a meal without having an officer or a senior NCO in earshot -- none of whom would tolerate such cruelty for a moment. Moreover, Falcon isn't that large and the faces become familiar quickly. One gets used to and comes to know everyone pretty easily.

I can't definitely refute the mass-grave or dog-chasing stories, but both sound implausible. Again, I can't imagine an officer and several NCOs all letting a junior soldier act in such a manner. Nor can I imagine soldiers driving so cavalierly, not just because of the IED risk, but also the danger of damage to a vehicle. The driver would have to repair the damage, which cuts deeply into their sleep-IM-video game time.

And from WWS pal Stuart Koehl, who's expert on just about every piece of military hardware we've ever had to write about:

From the description of the dog-killing incident, the Bradley driver slowed the vehicle down and tried to do a skid turn. When you turn a tracked vehicle like a Bradley, you do it through differential braking--you slow down the inside track and accelerate the outside track, so the vehicle skids through the turn. Anyone who has ever seen it done will tell you it would be just about impossible (a) to catch a dog like that (dogs have better reflexes than tracked vehicles).

But even assuming that this guy was the world's greatest track driver, I still think the story as presented is pure BS. According to the story, the dog is on the right side of the vehicle, because the driver turns right to run it down.

I am looking now at a 1/32nd scale model of a Bradley, and I can say with some assurance that the driver's hatch is on the left side of the vehicle. Immediately to the driver's right is the engine compartment, the cooling grill of which rises above the level of the driver's hatch, making it impossible to see anything on the right side of the vehicle. Even if the driver was head-out, he still couldn't see anything to his right below the level of the top deck (all armored vehicles have significant blind spots close in, which is why they need dismounts to protect them from RPG guys in foxholes). So, if, as the blog says, the driver "twitched" the Bradley to the right, he must have used extrasensory perception in order to catch the dog. Because there's no way he knew the dog was even there.

In my opinion, the whole thing is a shaggy dog story.

More after the jump.

I find this all highly dubious. To say the least.

A guy mocking the wounded in a chow hall? Let's just leave out the fact this mystery woman may have been a colonel or a senior NCO who would have dropped the bomb on him, for all he knew. "Chuckles" is liable to get his butt kicked all over the chow hall pulling a stunt that. I've never heard of anything like that and can't imagine it happening in public. Gallows humor off in some corner - hey, people can be idiots - but no one's a big enough idiot to do that.

Hunting dogs in a Bradley? Most any squad leader would "re-focus" that guy on his job. And most of our guys like dogs (I used to have to order guys to get rid of dogs they adopted - disease prevention, and it broke my heart). Again, that's the kind of stunt that would get a guy clobbered.
The skull skull-cap? From a little kid? Walking around with it on for a day? Nonsense - sounds like that scene in "Jarhead" with the corpses. And apparently there were no officers or NCOs around for over 24 hours. Right. Most of my junior enlisted boys would have slapped him silly.

I'm not Pollyana, and ugly things happen. But my trial lawyer and my colonel BS detectors are both flashing red. To believe this crap, you have to want it to be true.

If this guy saw improper conduct, he needs to report it up his chain of command. No senior guy is going to look the other way and let his career go down the toilet protecting wounded-abusing, dog-killing kid corpse desecrators.

Either these things didn't happen, or this guy is as much of a slimeball as his pals. I'm betting both are true.

Kurt A. Schlichter
Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry, California Army National Guard
Commanding 1st Squadron, 18th Cavalry and Rear Element, 1st Battalion, 160th Infantry

When I read this last night (after listening to the profanity-laced tirade from Marcie) immediately certain things started flashing red in my head, and most of it's been covered by the military guys that have chimed in. Furthermore, Dean Barnett, who is pinch-hitting for Hugh tonight on the air, attempted to get someone from The New Republic on the air for the show. They didn't bite. they're not standing up to defend this piece, or shed any light on it.

That, folks, just screams bravo-sierra in my book. Hell, even Bill Keller came out to defend the NY Times blowing the NSA TSP. Why won't the New Republic do the same, and confirm that the person writing the report is a soldier, and that he, or they, can prove the allegations. This was a bomb thrown by someone who either isn't a soldier at all (given the mistakes int he details alone, one can assume this), or he is a soldier, and likes to live a "fantasy" life that puts our soldiers in a most dishonorable light. Either way, neither Marcie or myself will buy this story until the New Republic puts up.

Publius II


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