Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Been chilling out at home for most of the day. Despite a bit of worry during the first half of the morning footballs games my office fantasy football team managed to jump to a big lead that should hold. Steve Smith is ungodly.

I've got Weird Al on the iTunes right now. Straight Outta Lynwood has the usual assortment of parody brilliance and filler. My favorite track from the past few Weird Al albums have been his polka mixes of the rock/pop/hip-hop top tunes from the year. This one is no different.

I've got a 09L going downtown in the morning. MEPS caused the usual pain and suffering by forgetting to let us know that my applicant required a waiver for flat feet until after the doctor had left for the day. So he should have joined on Friday but he'll join tomorrow, Mission Monday. It's going to be a long one. But it will box the station, and also lower our mission for the month allowing us to overproduce for the next month. I think if all goes right we might box the Reserves for the quarter next month. If that happens nothing will change. Will still be working long hours because there is no such thing as being "ahead".

That's my advice for any new recruiters out there reading this. You will NEVER be ahead. Ever. When you think you are, you're not. You're behind on something, and that something is what will become the new "most important thing to do to produce."

Gmail's spam filter seems to have been fooled again. I'm getting a lot more email about me winning the International European Lottery. All I need to do to collect my $17,000,000 Euros is provide my checking account info and PIN number.

Sweet. The Interceptor will be mine!

Speaking of, I hope the dealership where I'll buy my Interceptor doesn't read this blog. 'Cause if they do then they'll know I'll pay seriously extra money to get the VFR in the classic Interceptor colors. I'd hoped to get one in Honda Red, but that was before I knew they were brining the red, white, and blue back. That single-sided swing arm and dual underseat exhaust makes me feel tingly in places best left untold. And that's before the paint job is taken into account. Suffice to say I likes it.

However what I don't like is when a published story gets very basic military structure wrong. Army Lawyer pointed out a story in Marie Claire where they interviewed Lynndie England, the grinning fool in the Abu Gharib photos. The article is the hard-hitting journalism one comes to expect from Marie Claire, and while it doesn't paint a wholly sympathetic picture of England, it does manage to show her to be painfully naive at best and sluttingly stupid at worst (I don't like that description but it really is the best I could come up with). However the writer makes, in my opinion, a simple mistake that betrays a horrifying lack of knowledge about the background of her subject.
The army put England on its reservist list.
The Army did not put England on its "reservist" list. She enlisted into the Army Reserve.

I've had a couple of reporters read this blog. Let me put this out there for the next one. I'm hoping this will come off as simple. There are "services" and there are "components". A "service" would be the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, etc. Components are the active and the reserve parts of the services. Regular Army, Army Reserve, Regular Navy, Navy Reserve, etc. The Army is made up of the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. The Reserve and the Guard are both reserve components.

England did not get her name put on some waiting list or some sort of military line outside the club. She enlisted into a particular service and component with the obligation inherent in that choice. That she turned into the play thing for one of the long time members of the unit is just another example of the depressing breakdown seen in this case.

When Abu Gharib first broke back in 2003 I was still assigned to the 94th RRC. At the time I talked with the others in the office and I remarked that this event is the sort of thing that will destroy the war effort. That regardless of what actually transpired (at the time the only things known were what the pictures contained) the images make for such a simple and damaging narrative that the only thing people will remember will be the pictures, and the pictures tell a very graphic story. When a member of the US government later wen onto the floor of the Congress and said that Abu Gharib was opened under new management I knew my prediction had been borne true. Somehow the questionable embarassment of detained Iraqis was equated to the tortue and execution of tens of thousands of prisoners, and the war effort was set back.

There is a movie coming out about the story of the picture of the raising of the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Part of the movie focuses on the surviving members of the group that raise the flag on Iwo Jima and their part in the war bond drive. While I'm sure a more educated historian would point out that the bond drive and and the propaganda effort associtated with the picture had a minimal impact on the actual outcome of the war, that one simple picture became an enduring symbol and helped keep the American people supporting what was a very slow and bloody campaign. I'm curious if 50 years from now a movie won't be made about the actions of England, Graner, Karpinski and the rest won't be made into some movie. Who am I kidding, I'm sure there is a script in the works right now.

Maybe if I was someone who hadn't been in the miltary for over a decade, and still had an ounce of sympathy for people who do painfully stupid things, I'd feel bad for her. But I am and I don't. The actions of those MPs have done horrific damage to the work being done in Iraq. They were in the wrong to have done what they did, they were doubly wrong to have recorded it, and triply wrong to have sent out the evidence to the entire world. They deserved their fate, and probably worse.

Anyways... it's late and I've got to get up to take someone downtown in the early morning.


Post a Comment