Tuesday, April 30, 2013

For the kids of our Fallen: Gate to Gate Run, ODA 7125's run for the SOWF, in Honor of Fallen SF Medic, SGT Timothy Padgett

On this last day of the officially designated Month of the Military Child, a reminder of an important event which supports the kids of our Fallen of the Special Ops:

via War On Terror News:

Gate to Gate Run In Honor of SGT Timothy Padgett, SF Medic

Of all the MOS's (jobs) in the military, the one I hold in greatest respect is probably an 18D, Special Forces Medic.  Those that graduate the SF Medic's course are capable of amazing feats of life saving trauma treatment.  As (more than) one person has described the role of the SF Medic:

"They can kill you and then save your life."

They don't wear the medic red cross, because theirs is a combat mission, with the job of keeping everybody alive and healthy.  On the range, you probably wouldn't know the difference between the 18D and his teammates, and ODA's (Operational Detachment Alpha) are the epitome of a team.  The things they can do aren't a matter of just physical brawn. It's intelligence, common sense, hard work, constant practice, dedication beyond perfection, but above and beyond all is teamwork.

So, it does not surprise me to find that team 7125, formerly known as 725, has adopted SGT Padgett's family as their own, or that they are going the extra 4.4 miles in Honor of him, and in support of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

I have rarely mentioned SOWF, but it is one of the most efficient Non-Profits in the Pro-Troop arena.  It specializes in ensuring that the children of fallen Special Operations Troops get a college education.  Funds donated to it make it to that cause at a percentage unprecedented in the Non-Profit world.  In short, they are good stewards of financial donations.

Though the team is currently deployed to Afghanistan, they are training and have a goal of being 1st and raising $10,000, in the 4.4 mile run at Eglin AFB in May.  They're running treadmills at a pace of 5:50 minute miles, which is frankly unreal to me, for an individual, much less a team.  And they plan to cut that time down before the race, and when they aren't in the middle of place where people are shooting at them.

In fact, it wasn't the team itself that contacted me about this, but the brother of a team member, because their duties still come first, defending America, in a far off land that has taken a Brother from them.

If you can find $5 or $500 to donate to a worthy cause, in the Honor of a Fallen Warrior, as supported by some of Our Nation's best, please donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-memory-our-fallen-hero-and-teammate

GO now and watch the video WOTN has up, and please if you can, donate a few dollars.  Check out the FaceBook page, too.

As I always say:  The children ALSO serve, and these kids have sacrificed so much.  Support them, please.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Boston Bombing: FBI looking for "person of interest"

From Homeland Security News Wire:

Boston bombing:

  FBI looking for a “person of interest” who may have helped the Tsanaev brothers

 29 April 2013

Lawmakers with knowledge of the investigation into the Boston marathon bombing said over the weekend that law enforcement agencies are looking for a “person of interest” who may have been involved with the Tsarnaev brothers in preparing the attack. The lawmakers highlighted the fact that law enforcement agencies are not convinced that the brothers acted alone, without any help of one or two more people.

  • Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News on Sunday that the FBI is investigating “persons of interest” who is still in the United States. “There are persons of interest in the United States…. We’re looking at phone calls before and after the bombing, this type of investigation.”
  • House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) said on the same new show: , “There are still persons of interest in the United States that the FBI would like to have conversations with…. [But] the big unknown” in understanding the origins of the attack were the six months Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent in Russia. “I think [Russian authorities] have information that would be incredibly helpful that they haven’t provided yet.”
  • House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on Fox News Sunday that he had discussed the involvement of “trainers” with the FBI. “I think given the level of sophistication of this device, the fact that the pressure cooker is a signature device that goes back to Pakistan, Afghanistan, leads me to believe … that there was a trainer and the question is where is that trainer or trainers,” he said. “Are they overseas in the Chechen region or are they in the United States?” he asked. “In my conversations with the FBI, that’s the big question. They’ve casted a wide net both overseas and in the United States to find out where this person is. But I think the experts all agree that there is someone who did train these two individuals.”
  • Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he believed the Russians “know more than they’re telling us.” He pointed out that the Russian authorities recorded a conversation between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother (see this New York Times report, and this Daily Mail story), and said he wanted to know why: ‘We don’t know that. We haven’t received that information from the Russians,” he said. “We don’t yet know how exactly the brothers became radicalized, he said, though he said there probably is no link to a major terrorist group. “It does look like a lot of radicalization was self-radicalization online, but we don’t know the full answers yet,” he said.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exercise Tiger Remembered

I learned of a tragedy today from WW2 that I had never heard of before.  Read on:

In the early hours of 28 April 1944, a convoy of eight American landing ship tanks (LSTs) were carrying out a D-Day dress rehearsal off the South Devon coast when they were ambushed by German E-boats.

Two of the LSTs were sunk in the attack off Slapton Sands, killing 749 US servicemen - a higher death toll than at the initial D-Day landings which were to take place on Utah Beach, Normandy, two months later.

In fact, the operation - called Exercise Tiger - proved to be the most costly Allied training incident, in terms of lives lost, in the whole of World War Two.


Today, off that same coast, a memorial service was held:

Exercise Tiger tragedy remembered in service at Slapton

A service has been held to remember hundreds of US servicemen who died off the coast of Devon during a World War II training exercise.

The event marks the anniversary of Exercise Tiger at Slapton Sands on 28 April 1944.
A total of 749 servicemen died when convoys training for the D-Day landings were attacked by German torpedo boats.

Two of the surviving veterans, now in their eighties, flew over from the United States to attend....

Rehearsals for the D-Day landings took place off Devon in 1944

More on this day's events, which is a MUST READ, here.

In 2009, BBC Devon compiled a feature article on this little-known event in WW2;  little-known because it was kept secret until many decades later.

A few first-person accounts are included in the feature article:

"I remember it as if it were yesterday..."

Paul Gerolstein was on board LST 515 and is one of three Exercise Tiger veterans who travelled to Torcross to attend the annual memorial service and ceremony on Sunday 26 April 2009.

Paul Gerolstein and Nathan Resnick

Archive photos: Paul Gerolstein and Nathan Resnick

"I remember it as if it were yesterday," said Paul, who was gunners mate in the US Navy. "Our captain, John Doyle, decided to stay on station and pick up survivors. 'We came here to fight the Germans and we will stay here and fight,' he ordered
"I don't remember the exact number of troops our ship picked out of the water, but I believe it was around 170.

"The medical personnel were ordered, under threat of Court Martial, not to ask anybody about what happened. It was imperative that the Germans did not know what we were doing."

Paul went on to take part in the D-Day landing at Utah Beach.

He was joined by two other veterans, Frank Derby (LST 496) and Nathan Resnick (LST 511), and relatives of men lost in the tragedy....

As always, the voices of our Heroes deserve to be heard, remembered and honoured.  GO now, and read more voices, watch the video,  learn the history of a tragedy that proved to be the most costly Allied training incident, in terms of lives lost, in the whole of World War Two. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


From MoD:

23 April 2013

Parliament welcomes 4th Mechanized Brigade home from Afghanistan

Men and women of 4th Mechanized Brigade have marched through London to the Houses of Parliament to mark their return from Afghanistan.

 Troops from 4th Mechanized Brigade march through London on the way to a reception at the Houses of Parliament [Picture: Corporal Mike O'Neill, Crown copyright]

More than 120 military personnel from the brigade were led by its commander, Brigadier Bob Bruce, in the parade, which attracted crowds of spectators yesterday afternoon, 22 April.

With the Band of the Scots Guards providing the music, the marching contingent of the parade included soldiers from the Royal Dragoon Guards, the Queen’s Royal Lancers, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles and 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, alongside Royal Marines from 40 Commando.

Personnel from 21 Engineer Regiment, 3 Medical Regiment, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, amongst others, also joined in the proceedings.

The troops paraded from Wellington Barracks, along Birdcage Walk, into Parliament Square, and arrived at the Palace of Westminster at 3:30pm, where they were met by parliamentarians...

Much more  here


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Video: President George W Bush speech at dedication of The George W. Bush Presidential Center

For the record.

Check out the official site.

I believe that freedom is a gift from God and the hope of every human heart. Freedom inspired our founders and preserved our union through civil war and secured the promise of civil rights. Freedom sustains dissonance bound by chains. Believers huddled in underground churches. And voters who risked their lives to cast their ballots. Freedom unleashed creativity, rewards innovation and replaces poverty with prosperity. And ultimately freedom lights the path to peace. Freedom brings responsibility...


Franklin Roosevelt once described the dedication of a library as an act of faith. I dedicate this library with an unshakeable faith in the future of our country. It's the honor of a lifetime to lead a country as brave and as noble as the United States. Whatever challenges come before us, I will always believe our nation's best day lie ahead. God bless.

ANZAC Day: Lest We forget


On Anzac Day, we remember not only the original Anzacs who died on 25 April 1915, but every one of our service men and women who have served and died in all wars, conflicts, peacekeeping, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance missions
Anzac Day is a time to reflect on the contribution made by all of our past and present service men and women who have displayed great courage, discipline and self-sacrifice in choosing a life of service to their country.
More than 3,000 ADF members are currently deployed on operations, continuing the Anzac spirit whilst serving Australia’s national interests at home and in many countries around the world.
Our service men and women are doing an exceptional job contributing to the international coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan, contributing to various UN missions, and assisting and enhancing security and stability in our region, including border protection duties in Australia’s maritime domain.
The Anzac spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of all Australians as we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who have contributed so much in shaping the identity of this proud nation.
Anzac Day is also a time to acknowledge the vital role of all those who have served on the home front, providing support and boosting the morale of their deployed loved ones....
Go read more on the official government page here.

What is ANZAC Day?

ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

What does ANZAC stand for?

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.

Why is this day special to Australians?

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war....

Much more here, here, and here:

'Anzac spirit etched national identity'

April 25, 2010 - 11:54AM
Australia's identity has been shaped by the sacrifices made by the Anzacs, says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Mr Rudd was addressing the national Anzac Day service in Canberra where thousands of people have gathered in front of the Australian War Memorial.
"It shapes deeply our nation's memory, it shapes deeply how we see the world, 100 years later it shapes still what we do in the world," he said.
Mr Rudd said each generation of Australians had a duty to pass the Anzac torch of values onto the next generation.
Those values were courage, sacrifice, compassion, mateship, and a deeper humanity - exemplified by the post-war relationship between Turkey and Australia.
"These are good values, important values, values for a nation, yet values still of a broader and richer canvas that a narrow nationalism that simply lauds one people over another," he said.
"We have become by tradition a nation that does not resile from a fight when fight we must."
Trooper Mark Donaldson, the most recent Victoria Cross recipient, believes the Anzac tradition continues to burn bright.
"To be honest, I think it is growing and growing in strength," Trooper Donaldson, the first Australian VC recipient in almost 40 years, told reporters after Sydney's dawn service.
"I don't think it has lost meaning at all...."

Read the rest of this here. And yes, Australia is in Afghanistan. Currently there are approximately 1,550 ADF in the coalition in Afghanistan. For more details, go here.

Map of Australia

Support to the Global War on Terror

Australia supports the need for action by the international community to combat terrorism. In conjunction with our regional partners, allies and other countries, Australia is playing a leading role in the Asia-Pacific region and, making a significant contribution to the global fight against terrorism.(Here)


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Hero

Sgt. Anund C. Roark
Sgt. Anund C. Roark 20 years old from Vallejo, California Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division February 17, 1948 - May 16, 1968 U.S. Army 
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Sergeant Anund Charles Roark, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 16 May 1968. 
Sergeant Roark was the point squad leader of a small force which had the mission of rescuing 11 men in a hilltop observation post under heavy attack by a company-size force, approximately 1,000 meters from the battalion perimeter. As lead elements of the relief force reached the besieged observation post, intense automatic weapons fire from enemy occupied bunkers halted their movement.
 Without hesitation, Sergeant Roark maneuvered his squad, repeatedly exposing himself to withering enemy fire to hurl grenades and direct the fire of his squad to gain fire superiority and cover the withdrawal of the outpost and evacuation of its casualties. Frustrated in their effort to overrun the position, the enemy swept the hilltop with small arms and volleys of grenades. Seeing a grenade land in the midst of his men, Sergeant Roark, with complete disregard for his safety, hurled himself upon the grenade, absorbing its blast with his body.
 Sergeant Roark's magnificent leadership and dauntless courage saved the lives of many of his comrades and were the inspiration for the successful relief of the outpost. His actions which culminated in the supreme sacrifice of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit on himself and the United States Army.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Terrorism: Fear and Anger in Boston

Terrorism has once again exploded on the streets of America, and the usual suspects of 'expert consultants' have been rushing in front of media cameras to pontificate - noisily and ignorantly - about the who/what/why; this even as the Massachusetts National Guard, and First Responders,  do what they do so well: provide care to the injured, the terrorised.

The POTUS may have been reluctant to call what happened an 'act of terrorism,'  but those who have already seen the evil face of terrorism up close and personal showed no such reticence calling the cowardly attack what it is:  TERRORISM.

In amongst the overwhelming noise of 24/7 msm absurd feeding of the fear and anger felt by America - participants and non-participants alike -  some dispassionate, logical voices could be heard dissecting the reality of what happened.

As usual, War On Terror News shares insights that the ignoramuses in the msm could never hope to understand:


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Hero

Senior Airman Austin Stoker
Senior Airman Austin Stoker U.S. Air Force 
Senior Airman Austin Stoker replenishes a .50-caliber machine gun after a training mission in Afghanistan in March.
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force taken by Tech. Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr. These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Video: Obama 'skips' Iron Lady's funeral? GOOD!

It seems some people have their knickers in a knot because POTUS (nor any of the current MIC administration) will be at Baroness Thatcher's funeral.

For the record, I am thrilled that none of the current mob will be attending, because maybe this means the focus can stay where it should:  on Margaret Thatcher....

I have no inside sources, of course, but I suspect that Margaret Thatcher herself is laughing at the indignation over the *snub* supposedly dealt by the absence of Obama and his usual overly ostentatious entourage.  Me?  I am delighted he is staying home.  To me, it is appropriate that the US be represented by two from the Reagan era, secretaries of state James Baker and George Shultz.

Daily Mail has more here. 

IN the meantime, from what has been announced as part of music that Mrs Thatcher chose for her funeral, one of my all-time favourites

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayers for Boston

"The flag still stands for freedom, and they can't take that away..."

Just the Facts: Explosions at Boston Marathon

Video: GITMO hunger strikers - Let them eat...or NOT!

Out of GITMO comes word that there are 'clashes' between guards and detainees, as over 40 of them continue to stage a hunger strike.

From the BBC:

Clashes at Guantanamo over hunger strike prisoners 

  Prisoners and guards have clashed at Guantanamo Bay as authorities moved inmates, many of whom are on hunger strike, out of communal cellblocks.

The move came after detainees covered surveillance cameras and windows, a US Army spokesman said.

He said some prisoners used "improvised weapons" and in response "four less-than-lethal rounds" were fired.

The Pentagon says 43 prisoners are on hunger strike, but lawyers for the detainees say the number is higher.

Almost a dozen are being force-fed, according to military officials.

There were no "serious injuries to guards or detainees" in Saturday's clashes, according to Capt Robert Durand of the US military's Southern Command.

"I know for sure that one detainee was hit but the injuries were minor, just some bruises," another spokesman, Col Greg Julian, told the Associated Press.

Lawyers for some of the detainees condemned the camp authorities' actions....

The BBC has more here  - of course - on how *frustrated* the guests at GITMO are with the deplorable conditions (*cough cough*) and miserable lives these men lead in the Hilton of prisons.

Diane Fairben, mother of 9/11 EMT-P Keith Fairben, who lost his life that day:

These guards at GITMO are subjected daily to the most disgusting things thrown at them, and more. I am glad to read none of them were hurt, and no detainees either. The conditions they have are far better than US prisons. This country has made sure of that, and that they get US constitutional rights. Kind of wacky, considering none are US citizens.
 Steven Crowder went to GITMO and released a video of the terrible conditions:
Take a look at the reality that IS GITMO:  
Pretty damn torturous, huh? And for those who would still insist that the terrorists suffer all manner of deprivations and inhumane conditions in GITMO, Crowder has this:  
 Hunger strike as political theatre? If I had my way, these 'hunger strikers' would join Bobby Sands, but that's just me! Yeah, let them eat - or NOT!
 Over at This Ain't Hell, the sad, whining of on e of the "dear, innocent" residents of GITMO is highlighted.  GO read.  It is to weep about the inhumanity.(well, no, not really.) 


[Related,  from the DOD] 

Guantanamo Commander Orders Single-cell Living For Detainees

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2013 – The commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo ordered the transition of detainees from communal to single-cell living at Camp VI at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to ensure the health and security of those detainees, according to a task force news release issued yesterday.

The commander, Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith Jr., ordered the change early yesterday morning. This action was taken in response to efforts by detainees to limit the guard force's ability to observe the detainees by covering surveillance cameras, windows, and glass partitions, according to the release, which noted that round-the-clock monitoring is necessary to ensure security, order, and safety.

In order to reestablish proper observation, the guards entered the Camp VI communal living spaces to transition detainees into single cells, remove obstructions to cameras, windows and partitions, and medical personnel conducted individual assessments of each detainee, the release said.

The ongoing detainee hunger strike necessitated these medical assessments, the release said. Some detainees resisted with improvised weapons, and in response, four less-than-lethal rounds were fired. There were no serious injuries to guards or detainees.

The mission of Joint Task Force Guantanamo is to provide for the safe, legal, and humane care and custody of detainees. All detainees will continue to be treated in a safe, humane manner, according to the release.


Justin Trudeau elected leader of Liberal Party of Canada

Justin Trudeau, his wife, Sophie Grégoire, son Xavier and daughter Ella-Grace celebrate after he was elected new leader of the Liberal Party with 80 per cent support in Ottawa on Sunday
((Christinne Muschi/Reuters))

The political landscape in Canada changed again yesterday as the Trudeau campaign machine saw the eldest son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau garner 80% of the eligible votes to become leader of what is currently called the 'third party' on Canada's federal stage..

From CBC:

Newly elected Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will face his first test when he appears in question period on Monday, after MPs return to Ottawa following a two-week stretch in their ridings.

All eyes will be on how well the young Trudeau, the eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, performs against Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is expected to be in the House.

In an interview airing Sunday with CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge, Trudeau said his first question to Harper would be about some of “the many concerns” that have come up during the course of the five-month leadership race.

Trudeau’s first face-off with Harper came in March when the Quebec MP replaced interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae during question period.

Harper found himself tongue-tied when he referred to Trudeau as a “minister” rather the member from Papineau.

Trudeau conceded to Mansbridge that he was nervous because it was his first question to the prime minister, but quickly added that Harper's nervousness was “a source of some speculation and amusement.”...

Justin Trudeau's acceptance speech, and more, here.

AsTrudeau Part Deux  enters the next phase on the road to 24 Sussex Drive (Prime Minister of Canada,) politics in Canada once again got interesting.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Libyan weapons going to jihadis in Gaza and Syria

The UN passed a 'historic' bill banning the exporting conventional weapons in violation of arms embargoes, or weapons that would be used for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or terrorism.  

From the BBC:

The UN General Assembly has adopted a historic treaty to control the trade in conventional arms, voting it through by a huge majority. 

Member-states voted by 154 votes to three, with 23 abstentions, to control a trade worth $70bn (£46bn) annually.

The treaty went to a vote after Syria, Iran and North Korea blocked its adoption by consensus.
Russia and China, some of the world's biggest exporters, were among those who abstained from the vote in New York.

The treaty prohibits states from exporting conventional weapons in violation of arms embargoes, or weapons that would be used for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or terrorism.
It also requires states to prevent conventional weapons reaching the black market.

Washington welcomed the move, with Secretary of State John Kerry describing the treaty as "strong, effective, and implementable". ...

More here.

 Meanwhile, in the real world, comes this from Jihad Watch:

Where did those arms come from?

"U.S.-approved arms for Libyan rebels went to jihadis" -- Jihad Watch, December 5, 2012
"UN Warns Libyan Weapons Spreading to Gaza, Syria," by Chana Ya'ar for Israel National News, April 10 (thanks to Voice of the Copts):

A United Nations panel says weaponry from Libya is spreading across North Africa to Gaza and Syria “at an alarming rate.” 

The five-expert committee said in a 94-page report sent Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council that illegal transfers of arms from Libya to armed groups and terrorists have been proven. 

The arms trafficking violations involved more than 12 countries and included light and heavy ordnance, such as portable air defense systems, mines, explosive materials, ammunition and small arms.

The panel made 28 visits to 15 nations in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Ten of those visits were within Libya alone, The Washington Post reported.

“Libya has over the past two years become a significant and attractive source of weaponry in the region,” since the fall of 41-year Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011," the report said. “The lack of an effective security system remains one of the primary obstacles to securing military materiel and controlling the borders.”...

Much more, here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Hero

Capt. Lyle L. Gordon
Sgt. Darryl Greenwood U.S. Marines 
Colonel William Bowers, commanding officer of 6th Marine Corps District, awards the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal to Sgt. Darryl Greenwood, a recruiter from Recruiting Sub Station Germantown, Recruitng Station Nashville, Tenn., after the graduation of Fox Company aboard Parris Island, S.C., April 5, 2013.
 Greenwood received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal as an impact award for his outstanding achievement and performance as a recruiter over the past year and for recruiting one of the four honor graduates of Fox Company, Lance Corporal Daniel Horvath. Greenwood's outstanding performance as a recruiter has directly impacted the quality of recruits being shipped to Parris Island each year, helping mold the future our Corps and meeting our Nation’s national security needs.
Photo By: Cpl Gabrielle Bustos These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Royal Marines In AFG: First in, Last out

From MoD:

Royal Marines leave Afghanistan for last time 

9 April 2013

The end of 40 Commando’s (40 Cdo’s) tour marks the end of more than a decade of Royal Marines deployments in the country.

At Main Operating Base (MOB) Price, troops from 40 Cdo symbolically lowered the Royal Navy’s white ensign - that has flown above their base in the Nahr-e Saraj district for the past 6 months - the last time the flag will fly in Helmand province.

First in, last out

40 Cdo is the final Royal Marine unit to serve in Afghanistan after successive deployments which have seen the Green Berets serve in areas such as Sangin, Nahr-e Saraj and Musa Qal’ah.

40 Cdo was also the very first British unit to deploy to the country in 2001, securing Bagram airfield and going on to patrol the streets of Kabul. The equivalent to over 14,000 Royal Marines have deployed on operations in Afghanistan since then. 

The 7,200-strong Royal Marines Corps has deployed its own units to Afghanistan 12 times, with many Marines also deploying attached to other units with various brigades over the past 12 years....

More - with pictures - here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

RIP Margaret Thatcher: Milk Snatcher with Iron Balls

Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of England a few years after I left 'England, MY England,' (D H Lawrence reference for those unaware,) but over the years I have followed her career with interest and watched her undeniable impact on the British way of life.

When I first heard this morning of her death from a stroke, the first thing that came to mind was her unflinching response to IRA Bobby Sands'  hunger strike, and her unswerving decision to reclaim the Falkland Islands after the Argentinians decided to occupy those British territories.  (An interesting video on the Empire striking back, here.)

In the hours following the announcement that yes, she has actually died, I have been listening to the global responses to her death. I don't know that there is ever a good time to die - for any of us - but I have to think that Margaret Thatcher would not be pleased with the state of the world today.  It occurs to me that the current POTUS should probably be relieved that he has not had to face the indomitable Iron Lady during his own term(s) in office.  Margaret Thatcher's principles and philosophy were diametrically opposed to every decision, in any arena,  which he and his 'most transparent ever' government have forced on the American people - often behind closed doors.

Margaret Thatcher:
"I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the Government’s job to cope with it. “I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.” “I’m homeless, the Government must house me.” They’re casting their problems on society. And you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbors. People have got their entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There is no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.

Margaret Thatcher, was Britain's longest serving (1979-1990) Prime Minister in the 20th century.  The only female British leader, she took on the old boys club, and showed the world that she was more than capable of standing her ground.  That she hated bullies was obvious in everything she did.  Her determination to reshape Britain's economic polices, and future, brought her into direct conflict with the trade unions of the day.  Arthur Scargill and the miners union was one of her fiercest domestic battles. For an interesting synopsis, look here.

Another classic example of her tough stance on bullies was her leadership on the Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980 when she unleashed the might of the SAS on British soil  (From Wiki) :

Iranian embassy siege

Thatcher's determination to face down political violence was first demonstrated during the 1980 siege of the Iranian embassy in Princes Gate, London, when for the first time in 70 years the armed forces were authorised to use lethal force on the British mainland. 26 hostages were held by six gunmen for six days in May, until the siege came to a dramatic end with a successful raid by SAS commandos. Later that day, 'Thatcher went to congratulate the SAS men involved and sat among them watching a re-run of the attack'.[12] The breaking of the siege by the SAS was later celebrated by the public as one of television's greatest moments.[13]

The appearance of decisiveness—christened the 'resolute approach' by the prime minister herself—became Thatcher's trademark, and a source of her popularity.[14] In the words of one historian: 'The mood reflected Mrs Thatcher's Iron Lady stance, her proclaimed intention of laying the "Suez Syndrome" to rest and again projecting Britain as a great power. Celebration of the SAS was a key component in the popular militarism of the 1980s, fuelled by the continuing "war" against international terrorism and by the Falklands conflict and Gulf War. The storming of the Iranian Embassy had shown that Britain could meet terror with counter-terror: Mrs Thatcher's black-clad "terminators" would protect us.'[15]

Commenting on the SAS's action, social services secretary Norman Fowler agreed: 'Mrs. Thatcher attracted public support because she seemed to be taking action which the public overwhelmingly thought was right but never thought any government would have the nerve to carry out.’[16]

One of the first signs that Margaret Thatcher meant to be anything BUT politics/business as usual came when she was Education Secretary, prior to her Prime Minister-ship. 

From the Beeb:

Margaret Thatcher's decision to end free school milk for the over-sevens earned her the nickname "Thatcher, Thatcher Milk Snatcher". 
The economic outlook was bleak when Edward Heath was returned to power in 1970 and the Tories had to take some drastic measures to meet election pledges on tax. 

The most infamous cut of all was the decision to end free school milk....

She has argued that ending free milk for all but nursery and primary children would free more money to spend on other areas of education, like new buildings. 

At present free milk for primary school children costs £14m a year - twice as much as is being spent on school books.

In a full year the saving on milk provision will be about £9m. 

Mrs Thatcher told MPs the Chief Medical Officer had been consulted on the plans and he had advised that it was not possible to predict whether the withdrawal of free milk would harm children's diets and overall health. ...

Read the rest of this overview here

The impact of Thatcher's steadfast implementation of her philosophies - vision - has been much debated over the years, and many books have been written.  So today, everybody and their dog (except Bratdog, of course!) have rushed to comment:
John Boehner of the US says:

  'Margaret Thatcher, a grocer’s daughter, stared down elites, union bosses, and communists to win three consecutive elections, establish conservative principles in Western Europe, and bring down the Iron Curtain. There was no secret to her values – hard work and personal responsibility – and no nonsense at all in her leadership

George W Bush on Thatcher's death:

“Laura and I are saddened by the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity. Prime Minister Thatcher is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. Laura and I join the people of Great Britain in remembering the life and leadership of this strong woman and friend.”
 Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Baroness Thatcher. There was no more potent force in the defense of freedom than this remarkable woman. Her unshakable belief in the universal appeal of liberty helped to steer the free world through treacherous times until communism was defeated and Europe emerged whole, free and a peace.

I was honored to know her and to be inspired by her. Baroness Thatcher will be missed but generations will draw strength from the memory of her passion for freedom.”

Sarah Palin:

We’re deeply saddened at the loss of Margaret Thatcher. While the Iron Lady is sadly gone, her iron will, her unfailing trust in what is right and just, and her lessons to all of us will live on forever. She was a trailblazer like no other. We lost an icon, but her legacy, as solid as iron, will live on in perpetuity.

Margaret Thatcher will continue to have her admirers and her detractors.  A friend of mine quoted an obvious detractor this morning:

Quite apart from the stunning ignorance this comment displays, it is probably just as well for Brazile that Margaret Thatcher is not able to reply right now, but I think if she was, this (again quoted by another social media friend) would be more than appropriate:

“I owe nothing to women’s lib,” “The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.”

To really make the point, and one of my personal faves from the Iron Lady?

Fact is, Thatcher was, and will remain, a divisive figure.  Love her or hate her, nobody paying any attention could remain indifferent.  I did not agree with all her policies, although I totally supported her stance on the European Common Market - the precursor to the EU of today.  To my mind, her views and commentary then have all been proven to be valid, as we watch David Cameron still wrestling in a milquetoast manner with Britain's future role (or not) in the EU.

Again from the Beeb  archives:

"I want my money back!" At the European Union summit in Dublin, 1980

"We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels." 1988

"No! No! No!" House of Commons 20 October 1990, the climax of an anti-European outburst that moved Geoffrey Howe to quit as deputy prime minister and deliver the resignation speech calling for her to be challenged for her job

 There are many, many links out there today rehashing/revisiting the legacy of Margaret Thatcher.  One of my favourites is an interview that she did with the CBC on a visit to Canada. THIS is the quintessential Thatcher in my opinion (and yes, I must confess I enjoyed the classy way that Thatcher keeps the interviewer in her place. Reminds me of another person I know who always enjoys keeping the msm journalists in their place - but I digress.lol)

(CBC archives)

Margaret Thatcher's political career ultimately ended as the result of a mutiny within the old boys club of her own party.  She survived an IRA bomb attack on a Brighton hotel in 1984,but was unable to quell dissension within her own ranks.

Margaret Thatcher leaves 10 Downing Street in London for the last time as British prime minister on November 27, 1990.(c) AFP

 To the end of her political tenure,  she remained classy and dignified.  From Margaret Thatcher Foundation:

Ladies and Gentlemen,
[voice breaking a little on ‘Gentlemen’]
We're leaving Downing Street for the last time after eleven-and-a-half wonderful years, and we're very happy that we leave the United Kingdom in a very, very much better state than when we came here eleven and a half years ago.

It's been a tremendous privilege to serve this country as Prime Minister—wonderfully happy years—and I'm immensely grateful to the staff who supported me so well, and may I also say a word of thanks to all the people who sent so many letters, still arriving, and for all the flowers.

Now it's time for a new chapter to open and I wish John Major all the luck in the world. He'll be splendidly served and he has the makings of a great Prime Minister, which I'm sure he'll be in very short time.

Thank you very much. Goodbye.


Whether you love her or hate her, nobody could ever doubt her love of country, her passion for principle, her willingness to put her convictions ahead of personal popularity and,  last but not least, her iron balls.  We will not see her like again.

Thank YOU very much, Baroness Thatcher.  Rest In Peace.