Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Cpl. Clifford Wooldridge

Posted: December 31, 2013 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Badass, Heroes, Marine Corps

His Navy Cross citation (breaks and highlights added):

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Corporal Clifford M. Wooldridge, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Vehicle Commander, Combined Anti-Armor Platoon White, Weapons Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, FIRST Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 18 June 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

When their mounted patrol came under intense enemy fire, Corporal Wooldridge and his squad dismounted and maneuvered on the suspected enemy location. Spotting a group of fifteen enemy fighters preparing an ambush, Corporal Wooldridge led one of his fire teams across open ground to flank the enemy, killing or wounding at least eight and forcing the rest to scatter. As he held security alone to cover his fire team’s withdrawal, he heard voices from behind an adjacent wall. Boldly rushing around the corner, he came face-to-face with two enemy fighters at close range, killing both of them with his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun.

His audacious and fearless actions thwarted the enemy attack on his platoon. By his bold and decisive leadership, undaunted courage under fire, and total dedication to duty, Corporal Wooldridge reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

KILL!

wooldridge

One mind, any weapon… even the enemy’s… as a club.

The Cost Of Defeat

Posted: June 21, 2013 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Government, History, US Military
Tags:

Afghanistan has pretty much now become the sequel to Vietnam.

We won every battle in Vietnam, had the NVA on their heels, utterly destroyed the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive, but it went down in history as a loss due to the political will to fight disappearing.

In Afghanistan, we did the same – victory after victory until politicians started meddling with the war and hamstringing rules of engagement until the political will to fight evaporated.

And now we’re leaving.  We got a little bit of payback and some experience at the cost of lost lives and limbs and blood and years that we can’t get back.

And now we’re leaving behind $7,000,000,000 worth of equipment.

The end of a war brings its own logistical challenges.  Getting the troops home from the theater of war takes plenty of planning, especially in an environment still significantly unsecure, as in Afghanistan (and in Iraq, for that matter), but the question of retrieving heavy equipment is even more complicated.  With the drawdown date set by Barack Obama approaching, the Pentagon has decided to scrap billions of dollars in equipment rather than deal with the logistical and economic consequences of retrieval:

Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014.

The massive disposal effort, which U.S. military officials call unprecedented, has unfolded largely out of sight amid an ongoing debate inside the Pentagon about what to do with the heaps of equipment that won’t be returning home. Military planners have determined that they will not ship back more than $7 billion worth of equipment — about 20 percent of what the U.S. military has in Afghanistan — because it is no longer needed or would be too costly to ship back home.

Not only is it a waste in lives, but now it’s a waste in materiel.

We’ve done this before after WWII, and it was a waste then (though at least we recycled some of it).

destroyed p38s after ww2

Here’s an idea – let private industry bring back that equipment.

Humvees and MTVRs sold on the open market may pay the cost of shipping back to the US, as well as quadcons and empty hescos and the piles and piles of equipment that are still worth something.

Since we ignored MacArthur’s maxim “There is no substitute for victory” and decided that some kind of withdrawal without victory is acceptable, at least we should take the time to bring back our stuff.

Otherwise we may as well just run this photo again:

fall of saigon helicopter

Afghanistan Declared A Gun-Free Zone

Posted: January 22, 2013 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Government, Guns, Humor, Iraq

From The Duffel Blog:

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Following the latest green-on-blue attacks, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has formally announced today that the entire nation of Afghanistan had been declared a gun-free zone.

“After over thirty years of senseless violence, I think it’s time we say no to big guns and the firearms industry that promotes them,” a tearful and visibly-tired Karzai told a crowd of Afghan legislators at the presidential palace in Kabu.

There were concerns that many residents in this nation of firearms enthusiasts, widely described as “the freest people in the world”, would ignore the edict.  This is a country where guns outnumber people 14:1 and actually have more civil rights than them.  Many people proudly sport jalabiyas bearing the slogan “Live free or die”.  Last year a DShK heavy machine gun was elected to parliament.  And the national motto can be roughly translated as ‘A man should purchase a gun instead of a wife, because at least if someone looks at his gun he won’t have to take it out back and crush it with a heavy rock’.

Initially there was some hope that the edict would not affect the 130,000 ISAF/NATO soldiers serving throughout the country because the edict only affects men and women.  Under the Afghan constitution, ISAF soldiers are not considered human.

However ISAF spokesman Major Kimberly Ash said the International Security Assistance Force would also comply with the law and that all future patrols would be limited to bayonets and sharp pointed sticks.

Joking aside, gun control was attempted in Iraq.

Iraqis who complied gave up their arms (save being allowed one actual full-auto AK and 2 magazines per household).  Problem was, the jihadi foreign fighters and their supporters obviously didn’t care, didn’t comply, and the bad guys still had guns.  Meanwhile, the good people who wanted to support the coalition efforts were left with less to defend themselves.  Plus, while the good people might have an AK at their household, they couldn’t carry it with them to go to the town market like they could a handgun.

Still, there are plenty of interesting comparisons to make.

Iraqi AK oleg volk

Via The Jawa Report:

The Taliban and Al Qaeda aren’t losing.  They aren’t quitting.

Lara Logan discusses what’s really going on, and how she researched the story.  She’s one hell of a reporter.  It’s well worth watching.

“This is terrorism.  It’s a completely and utterly different fight from anything we have faced in our history…  Our way of life is under attack – and if you think that’s government propaganda – if you think that’s nonsense – if you think that’s warmongering – you’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight.  In your arrogance, you think you write the script, but you don’t.”

Insurgents Inside the Wire

Posted: March 28, 2012 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Marine Corps, Military, US Military

From the Marine Corps Blog:

Lance Cpl. Harry Lew kept falling asleep on his post in Afghanistan. As punishment, two other lance corporals in his unit made Lew do push-ups, leg lifts and side planks. They poured sand in his face and mouth, kicked him and punched him for several hours. Shortly after this degrading and humiliating experience, Lew shot himself in the head.

While most instances of hazing are not this severe or end with such devastating results, even the act of slapping chevrons into the collarbone after promotion and the punching of a newly-promoted noncommissioned officer’s legs to symbolize the blood stripe can cause emotional, physical and psychological damage to a Marine. Furthermore, these acts are in direct opposition to the values and ethics upheld by the Marine Corps. Renewed effort is being taken to eradicate hazing in the Corps.

“Hazing is a crime that is inconsistent with our core values and organizational purpose of making Marines, winning our nation’s battles and returning quality citizens upon completion of their service,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett in a recent testimony about hazing before the House Armed Service Subcommittee on Military Personnel March 22.

Barrett even went so far as to compare hazing to having insurgents inside the wire.

In the past, hazing was sometimes viewed as a rite of passage, a way to build camaraderie or as punishment for poor behavior. While the most common forms are initiation and congratulatory acts, hazing is any conduct where a Marine, regardless of rank, causes another Marine to suffer or be exposed to any activity that is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful. However, the reality is there is no justified reason for hazing and the Marine Corps is working to ensure hazing ends now.

LCpl Flowers’ little editorial note there is incorrect.  The statement “there is no justified reason for hazing”, as well as the definition given, fails on many levels.

Let’s look at that case of LCpl Lew:

Prosecuting attorney Maj. Hanorah Tyer-Witek told the jury in closing arguments that witnesses saw Orozco ordering Lew to do push-ups after Lew had been digging a foxhole for two hours without eating or drinking anything.

Orozco was annoyed and fed up that Lew had fallen asleep on watch for the fourth time since he arrived at Patrol Base Gowragi, she said.

He placed sandbags on Lew’s legs while Lew did leg lifts, Tyer-Witek said. Sand got into Lew’s mouth when Orozco ripped open the sandbag after Lew stopped lifting.

Yeah, Orozco is a clearly a thug.  Oh, what’s this part again?

Lew had fallen asleep on watch for the fourth time since he arrived at Patrol Base Gowragi

So Lew is derelict in his duties to his fellow Marines?  He’s leaving the wire undefended?  He’s the first line of defense and he’s choosing to take a nap instead?  He’s supposed to be watching them while they sleep and rest, and instead he’s nodding off so that actual insurgents, actual terrorists, can actually get inside the actual wire and kill actual Marines?

There’s a difference between hazing and a correction.  There are still “corrections” made in the military that might be called hazing by people who live in a different environment.  This isn’t the kind of hazing and institutional abuse that plagues former Soviet countries, wherein senior enlisted men abuse and then steal from new conscripts.

This is a Lance Corporal who fell asleep not once, not twice, not three times, but four times in a combat zone, exposing other members of his squad, platoon, company, and everyone else in that patrol base to the actual enemy.  His job was to watch the wire.  Everybody hurts when they’re on watch.  If you start to nod off, you wake somebody else up.  You find your relief and say “hey, I’m going to flat pass the hell out”.  He may be mad, but he’ll be less mad than waking up to getting shot by the enemy.

The general orders for Marines are thus:

1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.

5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.

6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding Officer, Officer of the Day, Officers, and Non-Commissioned Officers of the guard only.

7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.

8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

9. To call the Corporal of the Guard in any case not covered by instructions.

10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.

11. To be especially watchful at night and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Aside from number 7, he can’t do any of these while asleep.  He actually can’t even do number 7, because he’s not actually on duty when he’s asleep and derelict.

Now, to go the official route means a page 11, maybe some counseling forms, and paper that will follow the sleeper his whole career.  It also won’t change anything about his behavior when he’s put on watch.  Or it means he can’t be trusted on watch, which means that someone else has to pick up his slack, which means he’s a burden.  It means a capable, trustworthy Marine is now doing double duty because LCpl Sleepy can’t be trusted.  Or let’s say the Chain of Command really agrees with LCpl Fire Team Leader about LCpl Sleepy and decides to haul him straight off to Ft. Leavenworth.  Well, now the Fire Team is down a Marine.  The only one who wins is the enemy, because there’s one less Marine out there fighting them.

Exposing a Marine to “cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful” acts with the purpose of making a correction means that a Marine might be saved from being kicked out, from poor decisions, or from their own problems that they need to get over in order to watch out for their fellow Marines and make it back home safe.  Everybody gets “hazed” according to that definition throughout boot camp – because it’s a matter of corrections and character building.  The same thing happens afterwards in the fleet.

It is up to Marines in the fleet to make sure that they’re making corrections and using judgement.  Hazing is something else.  Hazing is MRE-heater urine bombs in someone’s gear.  Hazing is intentionally messing with someone just to mess with them.  Corrections are field expedient measures utilizing “cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful” techniques – but not intent – to get the desired result – in this case, get the LCpl to stop falling asleep on watch and endangering everyone – and to make it so someone else doesn’t have to pull double duty to make up for his failures.  Note that every time LCpl Sleepy gets pulled off the line because he can’t be trusted, someone else, a hardworking, diligent Marine, has to make up his slack, and LCpl Hardworker now loses his own sleep and his morale and ability degrade because he’s pulling additional shifts.

The hazing order here also notes something else omitted in the story:

Hazing, as defined in the order, is any conduct whereby a military member or members, regardless of service or rank, without proper authority causes another military member or members to suffer or be exposed to any activity which is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful.

This is where a correction comes into play.  The authority used could even be that of Corporal of Sergeant of the Guard, or even senior Lance Corporal in a squad.  It is used to make a correction.  War is a messy business.  When the Taliban is going to come in and cut your damned head off if the sentry falls asleep, you give him a counseling statement.  That doesn’t convey the gravity of the situation.  You’re not dealing with a hypothetical, you’re dealing with life and death every time LCpl Sleepy decides it’s naptime.  Telling some REMF pogue back stateside that you need more peer-to-peer review and conflict resolution forms really doesn’t correct the situation.

“Once you lose trust, you work out of fear,” Rivera said. “Working out of fear destroys any individuals’ initiative since fear motivates us to do the minimum, so you don’t get in trouble.”

If you lose trust in the sentry who keeps falling asleep but can’t be touched because of regulations, you’re in fear all the time that he’ll fall asleep and you’ll be overrun by enemies who will cut your head off and videotape it.  Doing someone else’s job because they sleep through it motivates everyone to do less than the minimum, since the sleeper who won’t do the minimum doesn’t even get in trouble… well, until the enemy gets there.

“Typically, hazing occurs as acts of initiation or in congratulations,” said Chief Warrant Officer Ralph Rivera a legal administrative officer for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate for Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

“Confused participants seem to think it is a part of our customs and courtesies, (but) those individuals are severely mistaken,” he added. “It’s actually opposite in that when brought to light it sheds a bad picture of our Marine Corps and what we truly are about.”

Hazing destroys Marines’ confidence and trust in their fellow Marines and in unit leadership, undermining unit cohesion and combat readiness, said Amos.

If you’re beating someone up just because they’re the new guy in your unit, MOS, or whatnot, that’s hazing.  Making a sleeper do pushups or dig his own grave with an e-tool is not hazing, it’s correction.  More importantly, it works.

It’s worth noting that there are MOSes that still have actual hazing rituals – and they are part of customs and courtesies, but informally – and they’re voluntary.  The Navy still conducts hazing rituals (for shellbacks and polliwogs and golden shellbacks and things like that), but they’re voluntary.  If you want to go run around the deck of a ship in your underwear and get hit with the fire hose in the Arctic Circle, well, that’s up to you.  If you want to wade through bilge and garbage that should’ve been thrown off the fantail to get your golden merman or whatever the Navy calls it, that’s fine – it’s voluntary.

…they also offend the shit out of some people when they pose with letters they’ve coopted for their MOS.

The USMC scout sniper MOS has for a long, long time adopted the SS mark as theirs.  Of course, some other people made it famous first.  Of course, the Marines don’t care.  It contributes to the bad boy image using a logo that some people will get mad at.  I can’t think of any other units that have ever done that ever.

Even if it’s branded as a “hate symbol“.

Nope, never.  This is a totally new development that hasn’t totally been around for years.  You totally can’t buy the t-shirt.

Never happened before.  No bad boy units have ever copied anything done by other bad units before.

Now, the Schutzstaffel runes and the Confederate flag are obviously two very different things and have different histories, but they share common ground in that they are considered horribly politically incorrect and they offend, but they point to a strong martial heritage of those who’ve ultimately coopted the symbols for themselves.  Obviously Marines with the Confederate flag in the Pacific weren’t claiming islands for the Army of Northern Virginia, and the Marines with the SS flag aren’t blasting terrorists in Iraqistan in the name of der Fuhrer (not the least of which because der Fuhrer was and would be allied with the Islamic terrorists).  They took those symbols and adopted them as a statement of rebellion against the enemy, against challenges put before them, against convention, against threats to them – saying “screw you, we’ll do what we want and we’ll win”.

And it isn’t just because it’s a cool, stylized symbol that they decided to co-opt.  Totally not the case, it’s totally not because the letters are the same and it’s really convenient.

Meanwhile, some people are offended, but that’s also some people’s profession.

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., said the scandals hurt U.S. military missions. His organization sent a letter to the head of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, and Panetta on Thursday calling on them to “condemn this stomach-turning display without equivocation or delay and severely punish all of those responsible.”

“This shameful display of SS ‘lightning bolts’ by U.S. service personnel enrages our regional allies, emboldens the extremist Islamist forces with whom we are contending, and eviscerates good order, morale, and discipline within the U.S. Marine Corps,” said Weinstein, who founded the advocacy group that calls attention to violations by the military in regards to respecting people of all beliefs.

Mikey, guess what?  They don’t care.  They shouldn’t care.  These are Marines in a combat zone.  They are under threat by people who will murder them and butcher them in the street, burn them, drag their bodies through the street and hang their lifeless bodies for the whole town to gather round and cheer.  Y’know what’s stomach churning?  That the people in Afghanistan who these Marines fight stone people to death.

Mikey, if by our regional allies you mean Israelis – if they don’t like it, they’ll say something.  They also know what it’s like to be in a state of conflict.  They probably don’t care – if they do, they’ll voice their opinion themselves.  You don’t need to go being offended on their behalf.  They can take care of themselves.  They also have a sense of perspective and know that one platoon of guys with one flag is not a great Nazi conspiracy that somehow simultaneously fights for freedom around the world.

Islamic forces make up propaganda anyway.  It doesn’t matter what the case is.  They do not care.  They lie.  Who cares what the enemy thinks?  The people of Afghanistan (where this photo was taken) in the region they were at probably knew these guys better than you do, Mikey.

Good order, morale, and discipline comes from a cohesive unit.  A unit that celebrates its own profession, albeit with a tasteless copy of a historically infamous banner, is one that is going to function well anyway.

Considering we’ve just gone over this whole sense of perspective thing just recently with Marines peeing on dead terrorists, it’s kinda sad we have to bring it up again.

Colonel Kurtz had this to say:

We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!

It’s worth noting that in 2003 there were units told to take down US flags in Iraq because they were offensive.  To some people, everything’s offensive.  The constant crying wolf really diminishes any sense of when something is upsetting.  The outrageously outrageous outrage that the blame-America-first crowd and the professionally offended whiners have is something that results in people just no longer caring what they have to say – especially when it comes to something like this, where again there is a world of difference between a symbol with bad associations used by the good guys and actual actions by the bad guys.

All the hand-wringing and whining for diversity and outrageously outrageous outrage and petulant demands for immediate punishment and sending them to the death-camp-of-tolerance teaches the fighting end of the Corps is that the whiners are non-warriors, non-hackers, weak, spineless cowards who attack with paper on the home front, who have no will to win, no understanding of war, no comprehension of the Marines’ lives, and that the whiners desire to make the Corps weaker and weaker in order to force it to succumb to the enemy, who the whiners ultimately empathize with as victims of ‘Murica.  Every time the Commandant and the SgtMaj have to deal with this, the response at the troop level is “oh, this shit again”.  The Commandant being politically forced to storm down to Stone Bay and wherever it is the rest of the scout sniper units are at and yell about offending no one and what is and is not politically acceptable is going to reinforce again that there are elements in the US that are out to get the US military, that everyone is always offended.  The snipers are still expected to put high-velocity projectiles into jihadis, but who are really just misunderstood freedom fighters fighting for their freedom to oppress women, but they’re really just oppressed third-world victims of American imperialism, and diversity must not be a casualty, and all that archetypal politically correct garbage.  SSDD.

A simple letter from a Jewish vet, patiently worded, not outraged, but outlining why he would prefer the scout sniper profession cease the use of the SS runes, would probably go a lot further.  Chastising Marines who face death every day just reminds them that the REMF brass and some citizens back home are wretched coward bastards like Bill Arkin.  By contrast, a solemn old-school vet, who’s been in their shoes, who has been too young to drink but old enough to kill in a foreign land – if he were offended (pretty good chance he would be) – he would be the kind of guy who these Marines would look up to, and whose words would make a world of difference.

Coming from the quarters it comes from, this helps no one, and reinforces this:

Hope they never learn about Teufelhunden.

Update: Welcome Jawas.  Utinni!

Update 2: Follow up post 2, follow up post 3, and follow up post 4.

Via HotAir and the Weekly Standard:

“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”

Via the Jawa Report:

This is purportedly video of Marines urinating on dead Taliban.

From NY Daily News:

The Pentagon identified two of the four Marines shown urinating on dead Taliban terrorists in the explosive Internet video that inflamed U.S. tensions with the Muslim world.

The four Marines — a sniper team with the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina — did not hide their faces in the video, which appeared to be shot by a fifth Marine.

Named the Betio Bastards after the largest island in Tarawa, now famous for something else.

The rest of the NY Daily news story is full of hand-wringing and whimpering.

The desecration of Taliban corpses by wisecracking Marines drew angry condemnation from diplomats and politicians of every stripe Thursday — none more vehement than from those who had served.

As someone who served, it’s stupid that they did it, stupid that they filmed it, and stupid that the snitch Marine put it on online – when he could’ve taken it to his BC, or even straight to the CG.  They would’ve dealt with it.  Instead, he releases it online.  He did what enemy propagandists wish they could manage to pull off.  He’s created a firestorm centered on the Marines, and given a propaganda tool to the murderers in the Taliban.

As the Jawa Report notes here:

Taliban Condemns Marine Pi$$ing Video As Inhumane

…But murdering civilians, stoning women to death, executing missionaries, and hanging children is hunky-dory!

I think when people like Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly condemn our own Troops, accused of minor, distasteful offenses, and at the same time quietly distance themselves from condemning, for fear of offending someone, true atrocities being committed by our enemy, it really borders on treason.

As commenter Storm Saxon at the Jawa Report says:

We should drag the corpses through the street and beat them with sticks like muzzlums do?
We should cut off some limbs and hang them from a bridge like muzzlums do?
We should chop ‘em up a bit?
Hang them in trees?

Handwringing:

“This actually hurts me. This is painful,” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-S.I), a former Marine, said while gripping a copy of The News’ “SHOCKING” front page of the vile act.

“There’s no excuse for this ever happening. They were trained, and they know better, and they disgraced their country,” Grimm told the Daily News Editorial Board.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Navy veteran held prisoner during the Vietnam War, told CBS the rogue Marines may do “great damage” to America’s image around the globe.

Secretary of State Clinton expressed her “total dismay” as she scrambled to ensure fledgling withdrawal negotiations with Afghanistan would stay on track.

So, you’ve got a group of young men tasked to fight on the other side of the globe, away from their family, friends and civilization for months and even years at a time.  These are sometimes 19 year old kids on their second and third deployments.  They’re in a mean, nasty, dark place full of people who want to murder them, behead them, string them up like butchered sheep and put those videos – which the public never sees – on their terrorist recruiting websites.  A few of them act like puerile idiots and people cry about what the Taliban will think?

Maybe if the terrorist attacks of the Taliban and their allies made the front page, we’d have some sense of perspective.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Taliban vowed not to exploit the issue. “The video will not harm our talks,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Unsurprisingly Taliban spokesman Dirka Mohammed al-Jihad had this to say: “You’re retreating.  Cry about how evil you are.  We take the long view of this.  If the Americans will cry and shame themselves for some of their own men’s actions, we will let them self-flagellate and destroy their own will to win.  Americans have no spine.  They are cowardly, stupid, and rely on image so much that they will implode.  We can saw their heads off with rusty knives while they wheeze and pant their dying breaths through severed throats and post it online, and their own media will never show it to their people.  They have useful idiots in their home country that will declare defeat, that will declare their surges have failed, that will run for election claiming victory in defeat, and they will lose the war without us firing another shot or beheading another child.  All we have to do is stand by and let them kill themselves.  Allahu Akbar!”

Colonel Kurtz had this to say:

We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!