Let’s say you happen to be an intrepid Warrior of Allah™, and you’ve been thinking of putting your scuba training to good use by blowing up infidel port facilities. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but the U.S. Coast Guard is ready to cut your dogpaddling jihad short. Witness the Underwater Port Security System.
The Weekly Standard just published a bipartisan open letter urging an increase in the Army and Marine Corps. An excerpt:
The United States military is too small for the responsibilities we are asking it to assume. Those responsibilities are real and important. They are not going away. The United States will not and should not become less engaged in the world in the years to come. But our national security, global peace and stability, and the defense and promotion of freedom in the post-9/11 world require a larger military force than we have today. The administration has unfortunately resisted increasing our ground forces to the size needed to meet today’s (and tomorrow’s) missions and challenges.
So we write to ask you and your colleagues in the legislative branch to take the steps necessary to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps. While estimates vary about just how large an increase is required, and Congress will make its own determination as to size and structure, it is our judgment that we should aim for an increase in the active duty Army and Marine Corps, together, of at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years. There is abundant evidence that the demands of the ongoing missions in the greater Middle East, along with our continuing defense and alliance commitments elsewhere in the world, are close to exhausting current U.S. ground forces. For example, just late last month, Lieutenant General James Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, reported that “overuse” in Iraq and Afghanistan could be
leading to a “broken force.” Yet after almost two years in Iraq and almost three years in Afghanistan, it should be evident that our engagement in the greater Middle East is truly, in Condoleezza Rice’s term, a “generational commitment.” The only way to fulfill the military aspect of this commitment is by increasing the size of the force available to our civilian leadership.
The administration has been reluctant to adapt to this new reality. We understand the dangers of continued federal deficits, and the fiscal difficulty of increasing the number of troops. But the defense of the United States is the first priority of the government. This nation can afford a robust defense posture along with a strong fiscal posture. And we can afford both the necessary number of ground troops and what is needed for transformation of the military.
In sum: We can afford the military we need. As a nation, we are spending a smaller percentage of our GDP on the military than at any time during the Cold War. We do not propose returning to a Cold War-size or shape force structure. We do insist that we act responsibly to create the military we need to fight the war on terror and fulfill our other responsibilities around the world.
Makes sense to me. But hey, what do I know? I was in the Coast Guard.
By all rights, we should know Rafael Peralta’s name. The man died a bona fide hero during the Battle of Fallujah. Here’s an excerpt from Rich Lowry’s column on the sergeant:
Sgt. Peralta, 25, was a Mexican American. He joined the Marines the day after he got his green card and earned his citizenship while in uniform. He was fiercely loyal to the ethos of the Corps. While in Kuwait, waiting to go into Iraq, he had his camouflage uniform sent out to be pressed. He constantly looked for opportunities to help his Marine brothers, which is why he ended up where he was on Nov. 15. A week into the battle for Fallujah, the Marines were still doing the deadly work of clearing the city, house by house. As a platoon scout, Peralta didn’t have to go out with the assault team that day. He volunteered to go.
According to Kaemmerer, the Marines entered a house and kicked in the doors of two rooms that proved empty. But there was another closed door to an adjoining room. It was unlocked, and Peralta, in the lead, opened it. He was immediately hit with AK-47 fire in his face and upper torso by three insurgents. He fell out of the way into one of the cleared rooms to give his fellow Marines a clear shot at the enemy. During the firefight, a yellow fragmentation grenade flew out of the room, landing near Peralta and several fellow Marines. The uninjured Marines tried to scatter out of the way, two of them trying to escape the room, but were blocked by a locked door. At that point, barely alive, Peralta grabbed the grenade and cradled it to his body.
His body took most of the blast. One Marine was seriously injured, but the rest sustained only minor shrapnel wounds. Cpl. Brannon Dyer told a reporter from the Army Times, “He saved half my fire team.”
Semper Fi, Sergeant Peralta. You were a good Marine.
When’s the last time you heard of a Major and a First Sergeant standing guard duty at the main gate of a forward base, while a Lieutenant General serves chow to Lance Corporals and Privates who have the night off? It happened in Fallujah on Thanksgiving.
It’s no wonder I’m almost as fond of the Marine Corps as I am of my beloved Coast Guard.
Lt Col Dave Bellon sent another e-mail to his folks from Fallujah, dated November 19th. It relates some of what he saw in the battle there, and includes some photographs.
Immediately following 3/5’s attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley’s and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.
There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.
The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.
I saw this photograph earlier today on USAToday.com …
… and I realized that there’s no way I could imagine how good these guys must have felt to sleep on a mattress with a pillow. Then I read an e-mail sent to Rich Lowry at National Review Online:
I am also a professor at a military-related institution, and my little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle began. He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I’ve yet to see a report in the media of this. Imagine that.
Additionally, he said their spirits are high, but they would certainly appreciate any “care packages” that folks in the States would care to send their way (preferably consisting of non-perishable food items, candy, deodorant, eye-drops, q-tips, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lip balm, hand/feet warmers, black/dark undershirts, underwear & socks, and non-aerosol bug spray).
Amazing. If you want to send stuff to the troops, click here.
I’m thankful for every single one of our troops. Godspeed, folks.
Alas, the quagmire that is Iraq threatens to swallow arrogant America whole. Woe is us. We’re doomed … doomed, I say!
Happy to hear a Western kufr who’s sorry about his government’s foolish adventure in a sovreign country overseas? Rejoice, noble warriors. Now that you’re here, my dear Yahoo and Google searchers from the Middle East and Europe (yes I noticed the spike), let’s look at what’s going on in Iraq.
First, Margaret Hassan. This British interloper claimed to be an aid worker for a charity, and claimed to be a Muslim. But everyone knows she was really a spy for the Mossad, the evil organization responsible for the September 11th attacks, Yasser Arafat’s poisoning, and itchy wool sweaters (damned jooooooos). Margaret Hassan got what was coming to her. Praise be to Allah, here’s the video.
An American correspondent captured footage of a U.S. Marine shooting someone in a mosque, which is now being broadcast all over the Arab media. What possible reason could there be for shooting a motionless man lying on the ground? Here’s the video of the Marine committing unjustified murder, my Middle Eastern friends. Watch it and seethe.
There’s also news that the U.S. Marine Corps has re-opened its investigation into the disappearance of Wassef Ali Hassoun, the Marine of Lebanese descent who disappeared earlier this year and appeared in a hostage video, only to return to his unit unharmed. Why a renewed investigation? Some of his personal effects, including his passport and identification card, turned up in Fallujah. Maybe he’s a mujahideen in secret? We dhimmis-in-waiting can only hope.
Now, as news finally begins to get past the oppressive John Ashcroft and his Crusaders in the Zionist American Government, we see that the poor residents of Fallujah hate their American oppressors. But then, I’m not surprised, since the mujahideen who ruled Fallujah had made such bold steps toward reestablishing the caliphate. Anybody would be upset to lose such enlightened leaders.
It’s now more clear than ever that America should have trusted the United Nations to administer international relations with Iraq. After all, France has been such a wonderful example of multilateral nuance … we could learn so much from them.
Onward Muslim soldiers! Celebrate your impending victory by watching this raw footage of your jihad’s success.
On the video, as the camera moved into the mosque during the Saturday incident, a Marine can be heard shouting obscenities in the background, yelling that one of the men was only pretending to be dead.
The video then showed a Marine raising his rifle toward a prisoner lying on the floor of the mosque. The video shown by NBC and provided to the network pool was blacked out at that point and did not show the bullet hitting the man. But a rifle shot could be heard.
The blacked out portion of the video tape, provided later to Associated Press Television News and other members of the network pool, showed the bullet striking the man in the upper body, possibly the head. His blood splatters on the wall behind him and his body goes limp.
Sites reported a Marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent.
Here’s Sites’ description.
The Marine in question stands accused of violating the rules of engagement, and has been removed from the front pending an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Before we all rush to judgment, let’s calm down a little bit. This is a combat zone we’re talking about, and a very dirty one at that. Keep in mind that our side isn’t the bunch that decapitates hostages, targets civilians, fakes white flags, and lures the opposition in with fake wounded. There could very well be a satisfactory explanation tht mitigates what seems (at first glance) to be a war crime. Give the NCIS time.
Not everything, including this …
… is what it seems.
Winds of Change
Right On Red
Blogs of War
Armies of Liberation
The Shape of Days
Ace of Spades
UPDATE: More on treatment of enemy wounded in Fallujah, courtesy of The Command Post. Also, see cameraman Kevin Sites’ blog.
Winds of Change has the best Battle of Fallujah round-up I’ve seen yet.
L.A. Indymedia has video of two Marine LAVs (not “tanks” as claimed) that showed up at an International ANSWER protest outside the Westwood Federal Building on Tuesday. Watch the video to see how compassionate lefties treat the troops they claim to support.
So was this an episode of repression? Did AshKKKroft send jackbooted thugs to crush dissent wherever it sprouts? Uh, not exactly. The Marines got lost on their way to a Veterans Day parade and celebration.
I talked to one Marine with one of the “Striker” vehicles. He told me they had driven the vehicles up from Camp Pendleton the night before (Tuesday) on the freeway. Getting off the 405 Freeway going north, they would have passed Wilshire and Veteran where ANSWER had called a rally to protest the attack on Fallujah in Iraq.
I asked him if he was “rolling around Westwood” Tuesday night. He said, “Yeah, and we drove past that anti-war demonstration. We was lost. We’re not from L.A. We didn’t know where this place (WLA VA) was. We were trying to find it.”
“Did you drive around the block twice?” I asked.
“Yeah, we did. We stopped to ask them (the protestors) directions, but they weren’t very nice.”
The Command Post brings you a handy comprehensive briefing on The Battle of Fallujah.
Carnivorous Conservative outdoes himself with this original graphic combining an open-source satellite photo with info from news reports. It’s a very informative snapshot of the situation as of 8:30 PM, EST.
And people wonder why I’m a blog junkie?
Hat tip: Chester (who’s liveblogging the battle as I suspected he would).
In the middle of the Battle of Fallujah, the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday. You’ve gotta love those folks. Happy 229th!
Marine Verse to The Navy Hymn
Eternal Father, grant , we pray,
To all Marines, both night and day,
The courage, honor, strength and skill
Their land to serve, Thy law fulfill;
Be Thou the Shield forevermore
From ev’ry peril to the Corps.
Go get ’em, Marines!
Winds of Change has a multi-week roundup on The Battle of Fallujah.