Friday, March 16, 2007

Military vs. Civilian

So, in all the debate over gays in the military, one comment left by our polite commenter kinda jumped out at me, and I'd like to devote a post to my response. The comment was (and I'm paraphrasing here) "It's time for the military to play by the same rules as everybody else."

And I'm going to have to respectfully disagree.

The military is unlike any other job, situation, or lifestyle that you can find, except for perhaps the police and firefighters. Our job is to walk into hell and start pissing on the flames to put them out. And whenever you do that, somebody is going to get burned.

The military is a job where failure to obey an order instantly can result in the death of you or your fellow soldiers. The lives of the soldiers in my squad depend on two things: My competence, and their acceptance of the orders I give. The lives of my platoon mates rely on the Platoon Sergeant's competence, and his acceptance of the orders the platoon leader gives. So on and so forth, up the chain, until you can extrapolate that the lives of everyone in my Brigade rely on the competence of the Brigade Commander, and his acceptance of the orders handed down from Division. And this whole grand scheme can be boiled back down into just a couple issues - the trust that soldiers place in their fellow soldier, and the fellowship between troops. "Brothers in Arms" isn't just a romantic ideal, or the name of a nifty HBO series, it is what the military tries to foster within the ranks, because it is a huge part of what keeps soldiers going when everyone else would have quit long ago. We may have signed up for our country, but we fight for our brother on either side of us.

When I first enlisted, my father began to talk to me about his time in combat, a subject that previously had been off limits. He'd told me plenty of stories about his time in the military, but the lessons from combat were something that he wouldn't share. Right before I raised my right hand, we went on a three-day sailing trip, just the guys. My father, my brother, and myself, on Lake Coeur d'Alene. Fishing, sleeping under the stars, drinking a little scotch, and talking. And one of the things that he tried to relay to me was the importance of fostering that brotherhood within the ranks. He told me of a platoon where the leadership had been wiped out, and a Corporal ended up leading the troops to fulfill their mission. Everything had gone to hell, the Platoon leader and Platoon Sergeant had been taken out, the troops were running around trying to make sense of it, and yet they were still able to do what they needed to do because of two things:

The competence of the troops, and
The brotherhood the troops had with each other.

When things go to hell in a handbasket, the biggest motivation to fight rather than to flee is the fact that your brother is out there, getting shot at, and there is no way in hell that you are going to let him die. You're going to kill the bastards shooting at your brother, and he would do the same for you in a red hot minute.

This spirit, this brotherhood cannot be compromised, or the whole thing begins to fall apart.

But just as important as that brotherhood is the willingness to follow orders, instantly and without question. Not as mindless automaton, but as a thinking individual. It's a fine line, but it has to be accomplished. Let me give you a little example of why.

Little PFC Dave, way back when, was a SAW gunner. Every time he was out with his unit on training, he was given a post. Other gunners were given other posts. And at each post, the gunner fills out a range card. What's a range card? Well, very simply, it's a small sketch of my field of fire. It shows on paper the limits of my field of fire. Obstacles that the enemy could hide behind, or dips and depressions in the ground that are obscured from my sight. It lists the range to different points in my field of fire, so that if I see an enemy by that oak tree over there, I know that he is 200 meters out. And it lays all this information out in a map type form. I fill out my range card, and then I copy it exactly onto a second range card. One card will stay in that fighting position, so that the gunner who relieves me at my post has all that information right in front of him, without having to redo it all from scratch. The next gunner can add any information that he thinks is important, but he cannot take anything off the range card.

The copy of my range card is collected by my squad leader. He takes every range card from his squad and puts them all together in a sector sketch. The different fields of fire, obstacles, everything. This allows him to get an overall view of his squads responsibilities, and allows him to correct any discrepancies that could crop up. He might shift one gunner over to a new spot to better cover an area where the enemy could creep up. He might move another gunner to avoid a big obstacle. He makes his sector sketch, and then copies it. The Platoon Sergeant picks up the copy.

He does the same thing as the squad leader. Compile and review. Make any adjustments that need to be done. He then copies his sketch, which is collected by the 1st Sergeant and sent up to the company. So on and so forth. All the way up to the highest HQ. And by the time it gets to that HQ, it's not some little sector sketch, it's a massive map showing where each unit is, what kind of weapons they have, where their field of fire lays, and who has what responsibilities. The top commander can look at that little symbol that represents me and my rifle, and know what kind of weapon I have, what unit I belong to, who my commander is, and any other information he might need.

Got the big picture? Good.

Now, let's say that the enemy attacks that night. Not in my sector, but somewhere else. Reports come back and say that the defenders need some help, more firepower. The top CO looks at the map, sees the little symbol that is me and my gun, points at it, and says "Get that SAW gunner over there NOW!"

Orders go down. Brigade, Battalion, Company, Platoon, Squad, Team, and I'm hauling ass to the other sector to lay a smackdown on some jihadi splody-dopes. That is, as long as every link in the chain obeys that CO's orders. Should anyone fail to obey those orders instantly, the entire thing falls apart. If my Company Commander says "But, I need him here!", if my platoon sergeant says "Well, maybe in a minute, let's hold off and see...", if my squad leader says "Hell with the Platoon Sergeant, he's an asshole anyways.", if my team leader says "Hell, my squad leader doesn't know what he's doing!" If any of the above happen, then I don't get to where I need to go, the defenders don't have my M249 backing them up, and people start to die.

Let me restate that: If the orders don't get followed, then people die.

Yes, that's a very simplified example, but even in that simplified state you begin to see just how a huge, complex operation boils down to a couple simple things. I as a PFC don't have the whole picture in front of me. I don't have that huge map of the Area of Operations. But I have to do two things - trust that the leadership above me DOES have that view, and obey their orders.

Now, you're probably saying at this point, "Dave, quit your blathering and get to the point!" The point is this: In order for the military to work, you must foster a culture of brotherhood. You must have instant obedience to orders, while at the same time have soldiers able to think for themselves. Yes, that's a bit of an oxymoron, but it has to happen! And you have to have absolute trust in the abilities of your fellow soldiers, faith that your command isn't going to throw away your life on some stupid mission.

And you cannot foster that culture or those qualities in a civilian type environment. It. Just. Doesn't. Work. The military cannot play by the same rules as everyone else. Let me give you a small example from my own past of how the current "rules" forced onto the military are impeding it's combat effectiveness.

I was Military Police for the first five years of my Army career. Anyone who thinks that we just rode around in shiny police cars needs to check their preconceived notions at the door. MP is a combat arms branch, who might occasionally do some law enforcement work. We carry some damn big guns, and we know how to use them. By the time I left Ft. Riley, out of a two-month period I would spend perhaps two weeks doing LEO, while the rest of the time was spent training and in the field.

Now, a combat MP company is divided into platoons, squads and teams. The three-man team consists of a team leader, a driver, and a gunner, all in one humvee. Got that so far?

Each MP team needs to be proficient in team combat drills, and there are quite a few drills you have to know. One of those drills is dismounting the main gun from the humvee's turret and setting it in place on the ground. You have a certain amount of time in which to dismount, set up, and get the gun up and ready. This requires some fast movement and a bit of skill. But it also requires strength. You have the driver setting up the tripod, the gunner dismounting the gun, and the team leader setting security and directing operations. Each person has their job, and they need to perform it flawlessly. There is no time for errors. And to this date, I have only seen ONE MP team with a female on it that was able to perform that drill in the time allowed. Why? Because they cannot perform the physical tasks that are demanded of them. That gun up top is heavy. A full ammo can for a Mk-19 can weigh up to seventy pounds. The gunner has to be able to lift the gun off the turret mount and pass it to the driver. The driver needs to be able to take that gun from the gunner and set it into the tripod mount. If the soldiers cannot do it by themselves, that means that each soldier is now waiting on the other soldier to get the job done.

And females, as a rule, do not have the upper body strength needed to do those jobs on their own. Which means that someone else has to help them, and that takes time. Thirty seconds can be the difference between being set up and putting rounds downrange, or getting overrun by an attacking force.

Another MP drill involves setting up an antenna for communications relay. You have five minutes to get the antenna assembled, erected, and operational. Again, with a three man team, and one of those team members is pulling security. It's a bitch and a half to accomplish, and it takes one hell of a lot of strength. You have one soldier literally throwing the antenna cone up and then rushing to lift the pole while the other soldier is pulling like mad on the guide ropes to get this thing in the air.

And again, I have seen exactly ONE team with a female on it able to get that antenna up in the allotted time. They just don't have the strength needed to do the job.

Now, do you think that I completely trusted the females in my squad to be able to do their jobs fully? No, I did not. And it was through no fault of their own, by the way. I don't expect many females to be able to deadlift a main gun with one hand. BUT THAT IS SOMETIMES WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN. I don't know of ANY female in my current unit who could lift me and carry me out of a firefight if I was incapacitated. BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO DO. So here is an example of the military playing (in part) by the rules of the civilian world, where men and women are integrated together, and it detracts from the combat effectiveness of the unit. It's not a woman's fault that she doesn't have the upper body strength of a man. Men and women are built differently. But at the same time, we need to keep those differences in mind when you're trying to build up a unit for combat. We cannot afford to say "Oh, but the chance of this or that happening is small, so we shouldn't worry about it." That way of thinking leads to dead soldiers. Don't plan just for what you think will happen, plan and train for what CAN happen. Because sure as shit, the moment you least expect it something unexpected will pop up and you'll have to completely change your plan. There's an old saying - No plan survives first contact with the enemy. That saying is an old one because it is true, no matter what branch you're in or what your plan is. There is no perfect plan. The fact that these females needed assistance to accomplish a task that males could do without assistance caused me to lack the trust that these female soldiers could get the job done no matter what. And that trust is an integral part of what makes the military work!

Again, anything that detracts from the combat effectiveness of the unit needs to be removed. THAT is why the military cannot afford to play by the rules that the rest of the country operates under.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hot Dog!

Hell yeah! There are reasons I'm proud to be from Idaho!

BOISE – After much debate, the Idaho Senate has voted 29-6 for legislation requiring people 18 or older to provide proof of legal residence in the country before receiving any kind of state benefit, with some exceptions including for emergency health care.

Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, the bill’s sponsor, said, “It is undeniable that illegal aliens are receiving taxpayer supported benefits in Idaho, and taxpayers should not be saddled with any of those costs, whether it’s $1 million, $1,000 or $1.”

Damn skippy! I don't care who you are - you do not get any of the benifits of citizenship if you're not a citizen, or at least here in this country legally.


Freeloading asshats can now piss off!

Found at RNS.

I've got a post brewing

But it'll be on hold for a bit. Lots of things going on today, including a neighborhood dog attacking my wife.

She's OK. She got a little scratch, but the dog broke the skin with it's bite, so she's at the hospital to get documentation and possibly a tetenus booster. If we had actually been able to bring our guns down here, I have no doubt I would have come home to a pissed-off wife and a dead dog.

As an aside, if anyone wants to see what actual debate looks like, please direct them to the comments in the posts below about homosexuals in the military. There's no spittle flinging, no name calling, just a couple folks with different opinions talking about it.

And by the way, if any trolls try to come in and fling poo around, I'm just going to summarily delete and ban. It's nice to actually have a discussion, rather than a troll hunting session.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Incredible stuff... Mudville Gazette.

Why I Don't Write Books

There's always someone out there who can write my argument better than I can. FOR EXAMPLE, on the topic of gays in the military - I give you Fred.

Here, really, is the objection to having the openly homosexual in the military. Men do not like being eyed by other men in the barracks and showers. Pretending that the issue is discrimination rather than sexual privacy makes harder arguing against homosexuality in the barracks, which is why the pretense is made. The reality is that soldiers don't want a gunny sergeant, who they know is gay as an Easter bonnet, who has the power to make life miserable, leering at them if the towel drops.

If I suggested that male soldiers be permitted to shower with the women, everyone would understand without explanation the objections of the females. If I then suggested that I suffered discrimination because I couldn't shower with the women, people would laugh.

But, for reasons that elude me, the objection to unwanted intimacy is thought frivolous if the sexual predator is of the same sex as the prey. It isn't frivolous.

And yes, I'm sure there are plenty of soldiers out there who have a latrine that's only shared by three other people. But open bay showers still exist in the US Army, folks. They haven't gone away. Open latrines (with stalls for the toilets) are still the norm.

Is there any group of women out there who would like me to shower with them, go to the bathroom with them, live with them, and basically invade every moment of their private lives? No? Why not?

Now, let me ask you another question - how many men would love to shower with the women? Use their latrines with them? Sleep in their tent? Live in their room? How many people would like to have a 21 year old male to shower with, sleep around, and live with their 19 year old daughter?

Now, don't give me the answer to those questions. Instead, think about your reaction when you read them.

Now, answer me this: What is the different between MY sexual reaction to a group of young women, and the sexual reaction of a gay man to a group of young men? Do you begin to see the problems and complications that can and will arise?

Too many people try to phrase this debate around the gay person's personal abilities. That is the wrong view of things. Under no circumstances am I making judgement on someone's personal abilities. What I care about is the UNIT. The TEAM, be it an actual team, a squad, a platoon or a company. And nobody can point out where having open homosexuals in the military do more good than harm. The forum where I got the Fred link also has a commenter who nailed it:

Straight people are always going to be a bit uncomfortable living with gay people. Just as men and women will always be uncomfortable in same sex dormitory style housing. For pretty much the same reasons, even if you were to get rid of all the bias.

It is hard to function on a ‘friend’ level with someone who might see you something as more when you want nothing of the sort, regardless of whether they actually do or not. Fat chick or gay guy it’s the same exact effect.

Let me just say this once, for everyone to hear.


Now, for everyone who wants to operate under the "Well, the should do x, y, or z" principal with regard to how people act, let me just say that I don't only deal with what should happen, I also deal with what can or will happen. It's all well and good to say "Well, people should just behave themselves." Yes, they should, and if it was that easy we wouldn't need cops or a justice system. But despite what people SHOULD do, I have to deal with what people WILL do, because the lives of my squad depend on it.

Procrastination takes a toll

I've been putting off buying a good digital camera for a couple years now, and it hurt this past weekend when I slid on up to the Conowingo Dam in Maryland and happened upon some tremendous river's edge ice formations.

Had to make do with my old Olympus grabshotter. Still got some good ones but a) these macro shots need to be "tack sharp" on focus and mine ain't and b) ice in sunlight requires some solid metering capability and the Olympus ain't cuttin' it.

Oh dear lord....

So like I said yesterday, I don't have a degree. Maybe things like this are part of the reason I really don't relish going onto a college campus.

"I signed up for an English composition course but was dismayed to receive a level of political vitriol that I believe was strictly extracurricular," Cook said her in letter to the school.

The North Idaho College Sentinel reported that Kent Propst, vice president for
Community Relations, said, "At least one of the things she wants is tuition reimbursement for that course." But it wasn't known if Cook was seeking
sanctions against Bryan. Among the allegations: Bryan reported President George W. Bush won the election "because people … can't read," and, regarding the death penalty: "First we line up everyone who can't think and right behind them, anyone who's ever voted Republican."

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that anyone would take it seriously," Bryan, who doesn't deny making the statements, told the newspaper. "They were always said with a smile."

Oh, so advocating murder for anyone who's ever voted Republican is OK if it's "said with a smile"? Dear Lord, I can't believe this woman could ever teach. And this is from NORTH IDAHO COLLEGE! That's the community college in MY HOME TOWN!

This is the level of insanity that grips our academic institutions, folks. What do you think that college "professor" would make of me strolling into her classroom? Not only do I vote Republican quite often, but I'm a brainwashed, baby-killing Bushco-bot who's just waiting to snap and murder little brown children! Do you think for one minute that I would be welcome in that classroom? Hell no!

If this is what passes for "education" today, then count me out. I'm interested in actually learning things, not having to swallow the unhinged rants of a political hack masquerading as a college professor.


She said WHAT?

Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told Democrats Tuesday the "vast,
right-wing conspiracy" is back, using a phrase she once coined to describe partisan criticism.



Yeah, THAT will play wonderfully with the electorate come November 08, won't it? HAAAAA! The woman consistantly proves that she should never be allowed any position higher than dog-catcher!

I'm tellin' ya, this is gonna be good for at least a MONTH of posting once the actual election rolls around!

"Hey Dave, why so serious yesterday?"

Because I felt like it, that's why. But today seems to need something lighter. So, as I mentioned a while back, I recently found out about the Hash House Harriers. I went on my first Hash last Saturday. Much running was ran, much beer was drank, and I sweat like a whore in church. It was approximately a six mile trail, on both roadways, sidewalks, cow pastures, ungodly "kinda-sorta trail" like thingys, and various other paths that could laughingly be called a "trail". Here's me, crossing a small stream:

Yee haw!

I bled a little bit, although not as much as the guy who found a barbed-wire fence with his shins. I was unlucky enough to find some rusty barbed wire with my feet, causing it to whip up and nail me in the back of the knee. Thank god my Tetanus shots are up to date. Still, the beer afterwards helped dull any pain I might have felt at that point. My normal running routes are 3.5 to 4 miles long. By the time I got to mile five on this trail, my legs were pretty much numb. But still, all in all it was a good time, and I'll be going back in two weeks to do it all again.

Oh, and did I mention the beer? I did? Good. There was lots of it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Women in the Military

There are few things that have hurt the feminist movement more the greedy women. I am not talking about money greed. I am talking about how just about every group that wants "equal rights" really wants "special privilidges". They don't want a level playing field, they want a handicap that is guised as "equal". The previous post really reminded me about this. One of the things that really pisses me off is that women have a much easier Physical Test than men do. And, the whole thing about being undeployable if you get pregnant. A lot of women suddenly get pregnant when they get the orders. Wake up and smell the coffee! If you want equal rights then pass the same physical requirements as the guys, and for goodness sake, get a longterm, non-removable birth control. I have no issues with having women put in a Norplant or IUD that would only be removed upon discharge. I do not believe the military should have a maternity uniform. I think if you get pregnant, you should get out. I do not even truly support single parents or dual military families, since I realize that most family care plans are not worth the paper they are written on. This means that single mothers in the military, or dual military families get their orders and someone gets a free pass. It's just not right. It makes respecting women a whole lot harder. This is not just a paycheck this is a life style where the only certainty is UNcertainty!!! And that (sense of adventure?) comes with a specific time commitment that is contractually binding until you are no longer a viable solder!

On issues concerning women I am a lot more hard nosed than my husband, Raging_Dave.
And on that I am very proud:)

Hey, let me just stick my face into this blender!

Here goes. Might be painful.

Something tells me that Gen. Pace said what he said, and he won't apologise for it, no matter how much people yell. I'll save my comments till the end.

In a newspaper interview Monday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace had likened homosexuality to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the military.


"As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," Pace was quoted as saying.

I think I've written about this in the past, but I'm too lazy to go back and look it up. Maybe when I get home. Till then, here's my feelings on the whole thing:

The military exists to fight. Anything that interferes with our ability to fight needs to be removed. I honestly believe that homosexuality does more harm than good to the military. Now, there are probably a bunch of people asking "But Dave, how in the name of Hades does a person's sexuality interfere with their ability to fight?" The simple answer? As an individual, it doesn't.

"But, but, but....." I can hear the breath being drawn in for a good yell in my direction. Hold off for a bit.

As I said, as an individual it doesn't interfere with fighting ability. But despite all the crap advertising from a couple of years ago, there are no meaningful individuals in the Army, other than perhaps a few generals and the CSM of the Army. The smallest unit in the military is a TEAM. We try to separate men from women because to be quite blunt, sexual relationships in a unit degrade that unit's ability to fight. We don't allow men and women to share a barracks room, because unless the two people are in a committed relationship, living with someone of the opposite sex in close quarters interferes with daily life. We discourage relationships within the unit as much as possible. And trust me, right now it's hard enough to keep things simple with just male/female dynamics involved. So you tell me - especially all you women out there - would you want someone of the opposite sex living in a room with you for a couple of years? Not in the same HOUSE, where everyone has their own little private room they can go into to escape. Your room. Your BEDROOM. Think about all the problems that would cause.

Now then, you tell me, where shall we house these newly accepted homosexuals in the Army? If we don't allow men and women to share a barracks or a tent due to the sexual complications and other problems inherent in that, what is the difference with two gay men? Or a gay man and a hetro man sharing the same room? There will be just as many problems and complications between THAT room-sharing couple as there would be with a man and a woman sharing a room.

Again, it degrades the effectiveness of the UNIT. They could be G.I. Joe as an individual for all I care, but if they degrade the UNIT then they need to go.

When I made that case to one person, they told me "Well then, just give them their own rooms!" Really? With what money for extra housing? And what kind of a reception would a Private get if they have their own single room due to their sexuality, while Specialists and Sergeants have to share rooms because they're straight? You think that won't hurt the unit integrity at all?

And I'm not even getting into the problems that a gay soldier would have while dealing with the rest of the Army. News flash: There are still people who have big problems with homosexuality, for whatever reason. Religious. Cultural. Whatever. In civilian America, people's issues with homosexuality can be diminished in some fashion. In many instances if two people disagree on something fundamental, they can avoid each other for the most part. You cannot do that in the military. If (for example) somebody has a problem with me because I have a big nose, they can't go somewhere else and continue to work. They have to stare at my big nose day after day after day.

Anything that degrades the effectiveness of a unit must be removed. It's that simple. It's that harsh. It's that cruel. It's not nice, and I will never tell you that it's nice. But it's still the truth. If my abnormally large proboscis degrades the effectiveness of the unit, then I need to be removed.

By the way, I have a problem with women in the Armed Forces as well. I'm sure that'll generate me some hate mail, but I'll say it anyway. The vast majority of women cannot carry as much as I can. They cannot run as fast as I can. They cannot perform most if not all of the physical tasks inherent in military actions on par with me. And I'm not some super-troop, I'm about average physically. But my average outperforms their superior physicality time and time again. They can be courageous, honorable, disciplined, have integrity, but if I get popped in a firefight they cannot carry me out. Where as I know that I could carry anyone in my unit out of a firefight. I've practiced it. I know I can lift them. And I know that the females cannot lift me. Most of them cannot lift a crew-served weapon into place by themselves. If they get pregnant, they cannot be deployed. It degrades the effectiveness of the unit.

The military rejects people for all kinds of reasons. Too short. Too tall (and yes, that happens. It happened with one guy in Basic Training when I was going through. He was too tall to fit into a humvee, and was discharged). Too fat. Too slow. Too weak. Eyesight not good enough. Joints unable to take the strain of military duties. Illness. When I was at Ft. Riley, one soldier developed Diabetes, and was medically discharged. There is no guarantee of an insulin supply in the desert, and that made the soldier permanently undeployable. Bye bye. Actually, if I remember correctly, they were allowed to ETS and get an honorable discharge, but they were barred from re-enlisting due to their medical condition. The only difference was the type of certificate the soldier got. People get discharged because of bad knees, or bad backs, or bad whatever. One of the guys I was working with down here had a kidney shut down. Just went "That's it, I'm done" and turned itself off and died. That means he cannot be deployed, because the Army isn't going to send someone with only one functioning kidney into combat. He was discharged. It wasn't his fault, and there was nothing he could do, but it degraded the effectivness of the unit.

The point is this: If it degrades the effectiveness of the unit, it needs to be removed, or not allowed to enter the unit to begin with. This isn't corporate America, where a mistake might mean losing money, or hurting someones feelings. In the military, your life depends on your unit's ability to fight. And that doesn't just mean equipment and training, it also means having the right mindset and emotional framework needed to go into combat. This cannot be compromised.

I did not write this post because of any deep-rooted hatred of gays. I did not write it because of any percieved lack of courage or faithfulness on the part of any female. I wrote it because I wanted to impress on people the importance of the combat effectiveness of the unit, and that this effectiveness cannot be ignored, mishandled, or in any other way hurt. I know that someone will come up and tell me about something else stupid the Army has done and still survived. That's fine. I don't agree with everything the Army does, and while I approve of many of the changes the Army has made, I would roll back the clock on many of them as well.

I will now sit back and await the emails and comments labeling me a "woman-hating, faggot-bashing cock-slapper", or whatever else people feel like calling me.


There's a couple of posts up that had me thinking. Kim du Toit on Intellectuals, and Og on not being a "degreed" engineer.

Part of the reason that this is sticking in my head is the fact that I need to get a degree. I don't have one at this time. Not even an Associates. Zip. Zilch. Nada. And if I want to earn any more promotions, I need to prove that I can educate myself.

Kim du Toit's post relates to why modern "Intellectuals" can't stand the military. It's well worth the read. Og's post is a response to some idiot who sneers over a lack of a degree or some such rot. Both of these topics tie in to my mindset right now. Let me start with du Toit's post, in which he writes:

But I think he’s missed the most crucial reason why intellectuals despise and oppose the military so much: while it is possible for soldiers to be intellectuals (Holmes himself being an excellent example), it’s a lot harder for intellectuals to employ the qualities of physical grit, physical self-sacrifice and selflessness that the most ordinary PFC would regard as commonplace—and those things they cannot themselves perform, they would attempt to minimize or destroy in others.

What I think he misses is the fact that many of the Military leadership ARE intellectuals, of a sort. If you want to make Sergeant First Class, you need at least a BA or BS. My Command Sergeant Major needed a Master's Degree in order to get promoted. The days of "Officers are educated, Enlisted are dumb grunts" are long over. There are plenty of instances where a fresh LT comes into a platoon and the Platoon Sergeant has more education than the officer does. Due to the fact that my wife is the Mayor of our Housing Area, I have had the chance to speak with the Garrison Commander on many an occasion. The man is an intellectual, a TRUE intellectual, in that not only does he have a wealth of education and knowledge, he puts it to practical use. He's not some Ivory Tower twit, who learns out of book and has no idea how to relate it to real life. He has studied military history, theology, mathematics, and he puts what he learned to use in day to day life. It's not just possible for soldiers to be intellectuals, many of them ARE, and they are intellectuals in ways that the academicians cannot fathom.

Now, for Og's post:

No, I’m not a “degreed” engineer. I wouldn’t consider myself one, because with rare exception, most engineers I know couldn’t find their ass with a geiger counter.

As for the ‘tradesmen” you see, Jimmy boy, “Hanging around the unemployment office”, if they’re any good they’re working, simple as that. Ever make a kitchen cabinet, Jim? hang a sheet of drywall? wire an electrical outlet? Change a water pump? Lay a hardwood floor? You can’t wipe your ass without the “tradesmen” you scoff at.
This post ties in with my lack of a degree. NOT a lack of education. When I was pulling up my promotion checklist, trying to see if I could even sniff at making rank, I tallied up all the credit hours I have from Army Correspondance Courses, classes, training, and anything else that counts as "education". Now, how many credit hours do you need for an Associates Degree? Most estimates I've seen are anywhere from 70 to 150 credit hours, depending on the field. Not semester hours now, but credit hours. If there's someone out there who would like to correct my numbers, go ahead and leave a comment, but this is what I've seen while digging around.

So, 70-150 credit hours for an Associates. Anyone want to guess how many credit hours I've completed in Army education?

My last tally from Correspondance Courses alone was 241 credit hours. That doesn't count the classes I've taken that don't count as Army Correspondance, such as the Unit Safety Officer Course, Laser Marksmanship Training System, or the Standard Army Maintanence System course. And the correnspondance courses I've taken cover all areas. Math. English. Leadership. History. Presentation. Public Speaking. Tactics. I took one course on Packing and Preservation (since I'm a Quartermaster) that covered every last detail of packing and shipping goods. Down to the type of nail you have to use for certain loads, and when to use bracing vs. blocking, or what level of protection you have to use for certain products. I have taken classes in order to advance my knowledge of my job, and the additional duties that get handed down to me. As an NCO, you have to know what the hell you're doing, because if you're screwing things up the troops will know it, and they will not respect you or follow you. When you get promoted to the level of a Non-Commissioned Officer, you have to go to school. Not just once, but for each higher level as well. The Army doesn't want someone who is uneducated. Two-hundred and forty-one credit hours. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I have six different courses lined up to take once I finish my current assignment, "Training Management and Common Soldier Skills". It's my job to train soldiers and keep them proficient. I am taking the steps I need to be able to do so.

So I don't have a degree. Is there anyone out there who would consider me uneducated? I certainly don't, after looking at the classes I've taken. And while I might not be able to discuss the philisophical differences between Voltaire and Hobbs, I believe I can do something more valuable. I can take what I've learned, and apply it to real world situations. Most modern "intellectuals" would be worse than worthless in the real world, away from their Ivory Towers.

Don't believe me? Look at how many Academic "intellectuals" espouse Communism as their perfect system of government. THAT ought to tell you something about the modern "intellectual" in a nutshell.

Uh oh!

Somebody just called the movie "300" gay. So you can expect to see the howls of outrage just about any time right now. They'll be breaking someone on a rack in 3.... 2..... 1.....

Oh, wait, it's just a liberal who's calling something "gay" so it's OK. Right? What a crock. St. Andrew of the Shrieking Hysterics, who just happens to be gay, called a movie gay. Kinda like the "n" word, right? Certain people can use it, but other people depending on their political background, ethnic heritage, skin pigmentation, or some other heretofor unknown thingy can't use it?

What a load of crap. Hey, you know what? I'm taking control of the word "mick" for all people of Irish background. I no longer want to hear about anyone who "slipped him a mickey". I don't want to hear one word about Mickey Mouse. As the term "mick" was once used to insult people who came to America long before I was born, I reserve the right to be offended at it's use by anyone who isn't of Irish background.

Now, doesn't that sound stupid? Of course it does! When I hear people claim that a certain word is offensive, and then they themselves use that word as an insult? I find that stupid as hell as well.

Feh. There's a reason I stopped reading St. Andrew of the Bleeding Heart a long, long time ago. I can't understand why other people just won't let him fade into obscurity, shrieking and flinging spittle as he goes.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Has Fred Thompson put his hat into the race yet? Because lemme tell ya, right now there's only one "candidate" I'd vote for at this moment - Duncan Hunter. I'd love to see Thompson jump on in. Anything to get away from the RINO's currently being touted as "candidates".

And I put the word "candidate" in quotation marks because WE'RE STILL OVER A YEAR AWAY FROM THE ELECTION! I swear, people are going overboard right now because of Hillary! and The Savior Obama-rama-lama-dama-ding-dong.

Chill, guys. Let Shrillary and Obama-banana-nana-ling-a-ling have their time in the sun. The more the Left speaks, the more ammo we get once the election season REALLY heats up.

Was that a couple of cheap shots at Obama's name? Maybe. But at this point, what else does he have? I mean really, what has he done? What makes him think he's able to be the Commander in Chief? Right now the only thing he's got is a clean slate and his name. Oh, and I heard a few Democrats gush "BUT HE'S SO ARTICULATE!"

Gosh, if being articulate is all that's needed to be President, why haven't they run Rush Limbaugh? I mean, that guy's articulate as all get out, but they're not gushing over HIM at all, are they? Nope, just Obama tha Slamma. Or whatever the hell his name is.

In other wildly important world-shaking news, my WSU Cougars are a #3 seed in the big dance. WOO HOO!

For those who don't know, any team relatively close to my hometown is considered "my team". Thus, for college sports, I root for WSU. For pro sports, I root mostly for the Seattle teams. For hockey, it's the Spokane Chiefs, baby! Someday I'll relate the tale of going to a Chiefs game with my brother, both of us a little tipsy, and sitting three seats back from the glass. All I have to say is this - I don't much like watching hockey on TV. But watching it live? Oh, man oh man, there's nothing else like it. NOTHING!

In other news, I just ran out of caffeine. Watch for the big lines of "hhhhhhhhhhhhhjhjhjhjhjjjjjjjj" followed by a small explosion as I fall asleep with my face on the keyboard, until my drool short-circuit's everything out.

Too damn cool!

Major League Infidel t-shirts! Meheh!

I've said for a while

That the "fringe" Left wasn't the fringe at all, but instead the heart and soul of today's modern Leftists. The so-called "moderate" Democrat has no place in today's Democrat American Communist party, as the Democrat American Communist Party isn't moderate in any fashion.

This only reinforces my point.

Refusing to debate because it's on Fox? That, my friends, is insanity on such a large scale that I scarcely know where to being. The Left has insulated themselves from any different points of view that anything interfering with their self-imposed echo chamber cannot be tolerated. I'm going to add onto Phil's comment here:

The simple fact was that the leftist bloggers, who turned their BDS syndrome knobs to 11 when news of the agreement first broke, know that their candidates could not stand and deliver answers to questions that were not delivered by faithful minions of the left leaning media stooges.

The Democrats American Communist Party knows that the only position they take is the one that will garner them the most power over this country, whether that position be pro-war, anti-war, or on their knees giving a knob-job the Kostards. They don't want to debate right now, because they don't want to be held to their lack of conviction on current issues. As Phil states, they know that they cannot stand up to real questions, so they avoid them.

Just don't forget this in a year. We need to throw this in their faces every chance we get.

UPDATE: BWAAAHAAA HAAAAAAA! (snort, wheeze, gasp, choke)

Memo to Democrats: When Dennis Kucinich has to scold you for lacking
courage, you need a serious search-and-rescue for your party's stones.