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Sadly, the famous story of Fidel Castro getting a tryout of offer from either the Washington Senators or (then) NY Giants, despite detailed articles in Harper's Magazine and other sources, is just a good story. Though this is a fun baseball card: http://www.infinitecardset.blogspot.com/search/label/Fidel%20Castro
That said, I understand Che' had a good short game and could putt with some accuracy...
1 day, 5 hours ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
I read Swiss and thought Swede... this Alzheimer's thing is nasty.
2 weeks ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
The issue may be a moot point, as the opportunity to engage diplomatically and in a limited military fashion has now perhaps past. The proxy forces that have joined the conflict on both sides are far beyond any US diplomatic engagement, and militarily the situation is now so muddled that intervention would simply place us in the middle. Or place weapons in the hands of groups that we would usually cross the street to avoid.
The president's 'policy,' such that it is, has utterly failed. His speeches and proclamations have landed without impact, leaving his rhetoric empty and unsupported by any concrete initiatives. The justifications used for intervention in Libya - primarily related to saving innocent lives - apparently have no legitimacy in the Syrian conflict.
Speaking at the National Defense University in March, 2011, the president declared, “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are... Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.” Or not.
And yet the Syrian conflict has shown a much greater potential to kill innocents, and additionally to destabilize the entire region. And this region has been defined as vital to the interests of the United States since the Carter administration. Iran and Hezbollah - clearly defined enemies of the United States - are directly involved in this war. The conflict is on the verge of spreading to Lebanon, Jordan, and to Turkey, a NATO ally.
The president's options have dwindled from slim, perhaps a limited no-fly zone and a refugee safe zone as we successfully did in Operation Provide Comfort, to none. If we had engaged, and built a base of goodwill by doing exactly what the president described in 2011, perhaps now we would have some leverage. But we did not, we do not. Begging the Russians to be reasonable is not actually a policy. We 'led from behind,' and were left behind. Mr. Irrelevant. Failure.
2 weeks, 1 day ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
The multiple re-edits of the original post, to include deletion of the author's name and of the ridiculous charge that Rangers units do not "develop leadership...," does serious disservice to this forum's credibility.
Mr. Ricks, you perhaps need to address your thought process and standards related to these alterations.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
NCIS? Wow, is Abby doing the forensics?
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
@majrod I certainly understand that... and worked closely with 2/75 at Fort Lewis. Again, to say that Rangers are not about leadership is just plain strange.
To state that Ranger units are "not about leadership and development" is a bizarre and wildly inaccurate assertion. Ranger school was the single best leadership training event I ever endured.
That said, the time has come when a non-combat arms officer of either gender could and should command at a service academies.
On a personal note - as a young officer I took an assignment on a division staff, my first time out of 'the trenches.' The biggest challenge I faced was learning to interact with female soldiers. In retrospect there were moments when I was unknowingly (or just stupidly) inappropriate. Eventually I figured it out, but it was not easy. A few years later commanding a logistics company I had a female first sergeant, at the time the only one serving in the 9th Infantry Division! She was the best ass-kicker I ever saw and we were a great team. The foolishness and mistakes of youth usually provide the experiences for understanding. But it does not happen overnight.
@Jackrabbit Neither remorse nor jubilation is required. However there is little doubt they have learned both a lesson and a standard. The institutional failure represented by their stupid email requires an institution-wide solution, not a few heads on pikes along the Palisades Parkway.
3 weeks ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
The proper treatment and respect for female service members, to say nothing of blatant sexual harassment, is a serious issue with which DoD is still floundering. But in this specific case it seems like some people want to swat a fly with a Claymore. It is wrong to wield a bigger hammer simply to make a point - particularly against junior members who are products of a culture that has not yet evolved.
It does sound like West Point dealt directly and formally with the issue. The "Maoist" indoctrination event may not have necessarily had a direct effect on the individuals concerned (other than time and trouble). But the no doubt very direct counseling by senior officers along with the disbandment of the team sends a loud and clear message to both those individual cadets and the institution at large - to say nothing of the direct message imparted by the Commander-in-Chief at the Naval Academy and the SecDef at West Point.
What more does anyone want from this specific instance? These cadets/second lieutenants will never forget this lesson, even if they were allowed to graduate on time. Trying make a wider statement with harsher punishment - the Eddie Slovik model - is unfair, and potentially unjust... particularly when the crime was an ill-thought email, rather than a camera in a female locker room, the rape of a recruit, or a parking lot assault. Those direct events deserve the harshest punishment under UCMJ. Not this.
LTC Fivecoat makes this assertion early in the article, but without citing a source:" The Army’s decision to allow underperforming division commanders to complete their deployment, rather than firing them midtour, minimized disruptions to divisions fighting complex insurgencies at the “graduate level of war.”
This point is central to his overall thesis. However, without specific reference to a Department of the Army of Chief of Staff policy or decision his argument has no basis in fact. The difference in promotion rates that he cites, in such a small sample size, could simply be a random anomaly or attributed to a couple of commanders deciding to cash in private sector opportunities following a lifetime of hard service.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
Nixon was a paranoid and petty man, altogether the worst president in history. And yet his administration's record on issues from social welfare to foreign policy is in many ways outstanding. Obama is not the low person that Nixon was, but his accomplishments are few and his failures growing. Above all, his emphasis on politics over governance has led him down many empty paths. Nothing is ever his/his administration's fault. He got elected blaming the other guy. His signature achievement was produced with simple parliamentary tricks. Noble ideas perhaps, but clearly bad legislation. It is going to be a long 3.5 years.
1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
Perhaps I don't live in the real world (anymore), but shouldn't the alarm 'an embassy is being overrun!' cause emergency operations centers to kick into overdrive, aircraft to warm up, and operators to start loading magazines? Then the response, whether a pre-planned special op or an ad-hoc team of truck drivers and cooks from Aviano, catapults itself into the fray, by C-130 or Cessna.
Of course there are real-world realities: the response may be late, it may not work, they may get killed. But those are not the relevant problems. The most important outcome of that response - everyone knows that we moved mountains to defend ourselves. If I recall, it was that sense in the aftermath of Somalia and Kenya/Tanzania, that the US will not forcefully respond, will not defend itself, that helped to embolden Al Qaeda in the first damned place. Over 200 years ago Thomas Jefferson understood that simple reality. And eventually the Barbary pirates - in Tripoli - came to understand this new American nation would not pay the ransom, would not leave their people to rot. Same S#%!, different day.
So... I guess the 2008 riddle of who is "best ready to answer the midnight call" has been answered... Neither of them, and it doesn't matter since the call is never made.
1 month, 1 week ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
@JPWREL One of the reasons I own one ;-)
Lord Randolph Churchill was famously furious when his son did poorly at Sandhurst. He had arranged an appointment to one of the better Guards infantry regiments, but would now have to pay the extra cost of the mounts and polo ponies a cavalry officer was expected to have.
Let us also recall that Churchill, attached to the 21st Lancers at Omdurman, participated in what was apparently the last cavalry charge in British army history. A few year previously he had injured his shoulder and had difficulty wielding a saber on horseback. Approaching the enemy mass, Churchill sheathed his sword and drew the 7.63mm Mauser M96 'Broomhandle" his mother had purchased for him. Those 10 rounds may well have saved his life, as much of the squadron was wounded or killed when the enemy force hidden by a depression turned out to be much larger than expected.
@JPWREL @Hauptfeldwebel @shadowcloud88061
@shadowcloud88061 Tom - That is a fairly major error that needs quick correction.
@Tyrtaios Well... we either have a leadership role in the world, or we don't. Having spent time in some nasty corners of the globe, I have no thirst to send younger men and women to do the same. But would we not rather have a role and some voice in this rapidly disintegrating mess, or simply react to the consequences.
As for the neighboring countries you mention, they have many different reasons for their current courses of action or non-action, overt or covert. In Tom Friedman's flat world your border question has only notional relevance. Chemical weapons, as the Germans learned in WWI, go all over the damned place. And no country outside the US (with NATO support) has the capability to enforce a no fly zone.
Sadly, our opportunity to influence events, if it ever existed, has perhaps passed.
Sadly the window for the US to influence events, if it ever existed, has probably closed. A Turkish border region humanitarian assistance mission, backed by a no-fly zone (modeled on Provide Comfort) might have both saved lives and put US forces in the region with a positive mission. That opening may have provided the opportunity to develop relationships with rebel groups in the early stages of the conflict. If the decision came to provide weapons, we might then have had a clue about who to arm. Lots of 'ifs,' of course.
Now we have only bad choices, none of which seem to provide the opportunity to really influence events. 80,000+ are dead and the region is creeping towards implosion, with not just Syria's integrity at serious risk, but Lebanon and Jordan threatened. And we have no influence.
We are not leading from behind, we have been left behind.
@RVN SF VET True... but from the article the unattended sectors were outside of the Marine's AO. They would have had to conduct a fairly insulting occupation of another countries sector in order to provide the security everyone seems to say was required. I'm not saying there was not a monumental screw up, but there was no simple solution short of confronting an ally. Not easy.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | The Best Defense