We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, March 1. 2007
Maggie's Farm is blocked - censored - in China. No wonder when I check the Sitemeter world map of visits to Maggie's, China is a big dark blotch, same as Africa.
I hate to think of all of those people being deprived of our handy-dandy farming advice.
Maybe they don't like our Farmalls and our International Harvesters.
Who does this for them? Google?
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After the success of the "Great Leap Forward," they don't need farming advice.
O/T Lt. General David Petraeus......the newest wonderkind to take over operations in Iraq. Bully for him.
Last week I posted and article twice written by a retired Army Colonel and Fox analyst. The topic was our inability to fight. The fact that our generals are all diplomat/achedemics instead of men with the warrior ethos. It's as if the top echelon of our military service has had it's heuvos cut off and have become an adjunct of the pusillanemous State Department.
So I took a look at a picture of thenewly minted LtGen Petraeus to see what he looked like...naturally I saw what I was looking for. The rainbow of ribbons and badges adorning his uniform from shoulder to just above the waist.
A quick net search gave me his decorations.
He has ONE, that's ONE decoration for any type of "valor". He possesses the Bronze Star with "V" which is suppose to denote some type of combat valor. My calls to his command for an explanation of where he earned it and why have gone unanswered.
The remainder of this rainbow of ribbons is composed of high sounding decorations for scholarly work, or working late at the Pentagon or going to a certain class. Most General officers will possess these because they fill out the uniform and look great to the uninformed.
"Why darl'in lookie at all them thar medals (really many jst ribbons) this guy must eat nails"
Well not quite. He's just well educated with what appears to be practically NO actual combat experience. Now don't get me wrong, I don't know the man,have nothing against him but the Colonel who wrote the article on our top generals not knowing how to fight is spot on the money.
Here's the article written by the Colonel:
Wikipedia mentions that he led his division through the battles of Karbala, Hilla, and Najaf (where he came under fire during an ambush by Iraqi paramilitary forces). If this is where he earned the bronze satr with "V" it was a gift for most general led now from a computerized command post miles away from the action, directing troops with GPS devices.
Go ahead and read the list of decorations. Click on them for an explanation and you tell me how much "combat" this guy has seen.
I'll tell ya one thing..he ain't no Josh.lawrence Chamberlain,Patton,chesty Puller or any other real fight'n man..he's a perfumed prince sadly surrounded by others withthe same credentials.
Perfumed or not, let's see how he does. He doesn't have much time, but Bush clearly didn't want a Patton.
The problem is we don't have any Patton's. They're now all in the same mold. Highly educated with no combat experience.
Lot's of folks can go to the driving range and strike a golfball 250-300 yards. Take them to the first tee on a real course and it's a 75 yard drive that first turfed 20 yards from the tee as it spins off to the right.
I have been a Bush defender since he was elected and began to take action after 9-11. But sometimes a mans strenght can become a fatal weakness and I am afraid this is the case with the President. I am beginning to believe that his determination turned sclerotic and robbed him of the ability to see that we can't do all things at once. That his vision of victory encorporated too much civility and not enough lethality. Once the inititive in battle is lost it is very hard to regain. He lost the initiative in battle right after taking Baghdad by switching to a "hearts and minds" strategy in a country with two distinct adversarial sects. That stifled his ability to lead his party, which lost both Houses of Congress. Now he is negotiating with terrorist groups and putatively arming one terrorist faction, Hizbollah.
The fog is getting very thick.
It appears for all the world that Patraeus got the job because he wrote the best term paper. In fact that has been his big selling point.
Maybe we have no Patton generals, but we have a lot of professional and very tough warriors over there - and more coming. I have confidence in our soldiers. Just give them the job. Give them a few more weeks before getting impatient. We may be seeing some good things happening.
I think you are are both right. Patraeus going from brigadier to general in 8 years indicates he was on the insider's fast track. That is sometimes not a good thing, is sometimes indicative of 'go along to get along', it is a very exclusive club. Though I heartily agree with your overall point Habu, for the time span he's served Patraeus did not have many opportunities for combat. And once he did he was too high in the structure. And that's the thing BD, "just give them the job" is what needs to be done. This war, as well as another I can think of, has been entirely too micro-managed.
Yes Habu, I share your concern re GW, its like his heart is getting in the way of his determination. He is in a tough spot and needs to lead decisively.
You and BD both make great points..#1 I'm probably way too impatient #2 It's not Lt Gen Patraeus' fault he didn't get any combat experience.
Not knowing who is around with that experience(an admission of my rash statement that we have none) is troubling. Let's look ..Haiti..no real chances for anyone ..Kosovo area..well we've been there for quite a while but again how many fights, even of the squad/platoon type have there been. Desert Storm was 95% air and 100hours of rolling armour..no real experience there either.
Perhaps like they did with Schoomaker bring back some Vietnam guys, especially the guys who fought in Hue City..
I guess we are bereft of combat experienced generals.
Well I remember when I joined the Corps my Colonel father said, "Look son you now have rank but you don't know crap, so listen to you NCO's who've been around, and listen good" Maybe each General should have a Captain or Major or LtCol whispering in his ear....I just know we gotta win this thing.
Well Habu as a twice promoted E-4 NCO I would say your Dad gave you some good advice :-)
Those Vietnam experienced guys, especially from the Hue City dust-up, are few and far between I suspect. Now it seems as if we will have some experienced vets up for general in 5-7 years as the O-5's-6's appear to be up on the line re certain actions in Iraq. Those are the ones who should be whispering in Patraeus's ear. It would be interesting to know who he invites to his meetings/briefings. Or conversely, if Patraeus stays out in the field, stays in touch with the fighters and then makes it so they can do what they need to do...different story, could be. You sure are right about gotta win though...hell in a hand-basket if we don't.
Insider view of Petraeus- yeah, a fast-tracker but still a good guy who would listen to his NCOs. An aside- he's phenomenally disciplined and keeps in great shape. Husband sent a marathon runner type to hash out some Army issues with Gen. P a few months ago, and the two squared off with running and prowess stunts in the gym. The younger knew to finally back off, but the General was very gracious. Critical, of course, was that he was completely on top of the issues raised and was willing to make decisions. Good decisions, as I hear it.
Let's give him a chance. What strikes me about this war is that it really is the first to experience the daily, even hourly, assessment and critiques of an interested audience through mass communication and especially the Internet. Can any war withstand such withering scrutiny of an anti-American agenda-driven mass media and then an empowered egalitarian commentariat needing something important to say every day? I'm convinced that WWII, the "good war", would have been a dismal, horrifying defeat for us under such circumstances.
yeah folks...looking at it again I think I was just too antsy. As I said I've got nothing against him I just want ANYONE in charge to win this darn thing, which I think we can...
ok, so how do I define victory? hmmmm. I'll take a settled down Baghdad with a solid core of nicely trained Iraqi police and soldiers who can keep the peace while our guys are in some new bases in the desert...just in case we're needed.
I keep reminding myself that we have more deaths here (of course we're much larger) in some pretty esoteric catagories than the Iraqi's are taking....
Thanks for getting me though my thinking process.
Too bad for the Chinese who are forced to live without Maggies Farm.
You'd think that with the Three Gorges Dam creating lots of waterfront property they's want to see the occasional beautiful boats we show, much less that sexy Farmall ... maybe torque and power isn't consonant with Fung dung or fung say-hey. It's that old oriental inscrutibility.
Think if we showed kites instead of boats we could break through ...but aren't there like 8,000 Chinese characters?
Thanks for the input 'interested.' I have no need to say something important everyday, it is just that this is one of the very few ways I have too stay involved. That is encouraging news you bring, especially the 'making decisions' aspect. A plus that they are good. No /s intended. I will give him every chance in the world, no hesitation from here. He has an exceedingly tough job, let's just hope he can make significant progress before the dem's cut his legs out from under him. As Habu says, "I just want ANYONE in charge to win this darn thing."
Habu - Did you ever read "The Sand Pebbles?" Your last post reminded me of it, for some odd reason. I just now was reading the reviews at Amazon. Completely different take than mine, at the age 15 or so when I read it. This may sound bigoted, but I do not mean it to be so. The one thing I got from that book was, that you don't have to know how to do something, you have to know why. The engineer's on the boat were having the locals do their work, they had trained them as to the basics, but, when the extraordinary occurred the locals were lost. They knew numbers on gages, knew where everything was supposed to be, but did not know why, nor how to control the various mechanisms. Can't explain myself for crap, but I see something similar in China nowadays. I do believe China may be our next big war. The leaders there have bitten off a chunk of the capitalists system thinking they can ignore the 'freedom' part of the equation. They think they can just set the steam and ignore the oil bearing pressure.
China may still be totalitarian, restrictive, censoring and a little hostile, but there's redemption through feel-good, lucrative Green, as some in the West tell the East. For example, if it ignores my blogging heresy, China woud be wise to invest in and avail itself of the carbon sequestration credits my backyard organic Victory Garden provides.
Hu, please have your people contact me at republicancapitalisthegemonmasqueradingasprogressivesouthernhippieplantlady.com to purchase redemption through my humus. (You, too, Al, I mean "Oscar".)
Though certain advantages may be gained by ambiguity, their utility lessens with use.
China I believe will have to come to grips with the extreme poverty that I read is still the rule inland. It seems the coastal big port cities are going nuts with all the goodies but that it's not making it to the hinterlands.
I just searched china + riots and got this:
December 11, 2005
Richard Fernandez (The Belmont Club) writes about recent riots in China. French riots were in the news in the last months, but how do 74,000 riots in China go so completely under the wire? And, post-Iraq, if China uses WMD against rioters (besides just automatic weapons and live ammunition), how should the world react?
That's alot of unrest no matter how ya slice it.
War with them could be in our future. They may channel that aggression inot anti-West feelings.
We do know they intend to build a blue water navy 600-800 ships.
...or maybe the bird flu will kill half of them.
I just know I'd love to see someting with a tag onit that said "Made in Iowa by Americans"
Will do . My people usually work the third Thursday of the third month of the business qtr. Lite housekeeping and then we all drop by Blockbuster to count the "dropped in the slot" returns.
I tried your site but it came up "Not NASCAR approved"...is there a backway in?
You are getting soft Habu. Propaganda can overcome poverty. Witness USSR.
The thing is, is how many loyal can they enlist into the PLA.
If only they had the second amendment. There would be revolution.
They won't stop at Taiwan, next would be Vietnam. I know, singing like an old domino here. But point out my mistakes. Please.
No mistakes at all Luther. I was kinda playing around cause I know the Chinese will do what they have to do to become the dominant power they're headed to be.
I think you're right on the money. Taiwan,Vietnam and then for the revenge in their souls for the Rape of Nanking...Japan.
And I'm sure their propaganda machine will have the loyalty factor racheted up pretty high against the West when the decide to move.
I hope we have a darn good missile shield in place by then, which I think we will.
Your assessment is definitely inline with mine. i kinda hope it takes 'em another score years though.
Yeah, you're pegged Habu. I left out Japan, because I think it will come to a head before then. Not saying Japan will not be involved. Just that the conflagration will be beyond stopping by then. The only hitch in their get-a-long is a rearmed Japan. Which appears to be on the way. And they forget our good neighbor, the Aussie's. They are still a long way from kicking our a**. And f***im if they try, the socialist/commie bastard's. Apologies for the regression. It is late at night where I'm at... :-)
Re China here is an interesting read.
Through your link to "Classical Values", scroll down the main page for a Mar 1 entry. Though I have that blog in my favorites as well, just don't visit there often. The AJacksonian web-ring can also be interesting.
Just had a fine email exchange with the Jacksonian. Quite a fellow, it would appear.
That's good. I like his writing, style and substance. A post maybe?
Postscript re "I have no need to say something important everyday..."
Upthread I wasn’t referring to you or Habu specifically as being part of the commentariat and hope you didn’t take my comment that way. We are ALL part of the talking heads and clacking keyboards set, including me, and that’s just how it is today. What I was saying earlier was really just an aside observation that really short news cycles and instant communication appears (to me, so maybe not) to have made a difference in the way we’re fighting. That civilian and even military leadership seem reluctant to do the hard and dirty that produces a certain level of collateral damage and/or a temporary mess because it invariably will animate a hostile press, administration critics and our country’s political foes. Things have to go well and appear to succeed almost instantly far too much in this war. Iraq has become like a daily televised boxing match with rival promoters and announcers and every move and feint discussed.
What to do about it? Certainly the answer is not for us to not be interested in each and everything we hear about the war goings-on. Telling ourselves to be patient helps and recognizing that we aren’t privy to all of the mil and diplomatic considerations behind the scenes is smart, but there are probably times when informed citizens and pundits help the cause by pushing for us to go harder or to change direction, whatever.
Two things: I think the military is going to study more intently than ever over the next some years how to throw a war under media/Internet glare, and that Republican Presidents here on out will know that they shouldn’t start wars unless they’re guaranteed to be merciful and swift. And perfectly executed. Good luck to us.
Thanks for responding and clarifying. I did halfway take it that way. It is sometimes difficult too tell what's snark and what's not in this virtual world. So again, thanks. OTOH I knew you couldn't be talking about me, because I never say anything important :-)
As for your comment re 'instant communication' I think you make an excellent point.
I started this earlier in the day and had hoped to make a more cogent response to your thoughts, with which I agree. But alas, it is now evening and a Friday at that. The brandy is fine, life is divine and seriousness is out the window. Please come back and comment more often.
Have to run finish the garden, so just a quick comment to say that everybody knows your commentary on the military, history, politics and all the rest is seriously listened to wherever you post. People like me learn from the experiences and insights you and certain others, especially those who’ve served, offer up to cyberspace. You have an appreciative audience even if you can’t see us nodding our heads. (And that would be ‘in agreement’ and not as in ‘nodding off’! It’s so easy to get the wrong impression with just typed words, isn’t it?)
Glad you had a perfect evening.