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28 March 2011

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Matthew

What's almost as depressing as the photos is the number of a-holes who attempt to justify this murder.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Wars happen. But, I believe that the volunteer army allows for perpetual war; three fronts right now. Also, the volunteer army is self selecting. No one is forced to join like me. Either the enlistees love war or can’t find another job.

Moreover, I believe there is even a more overriding reason for the change in the Army which is identified by your citing of “Walmart Managers”. The “Greed is Good” corporate philosophy has conquered America. What are a few dead Afghanis or 14 million unemployed workers if your portfolio is growing. It is just a statistic. “Serving your Country” is a dead dream.

The Twisted Genius

I wouldn't mind seeing the construction of gallows on the field of Fort McNair to deal with the "The Kill Team" and their chain of command. I think it was a mistake to introduce the teaching of business management into the officer education system. Honor cannot be sacrificed for career progression. Military leadership is a higher calling, not a lucrative business opportunity.

William R. Cumming

Many welfare queens now masquerading as field grade rank and above.

Brad Ruble

Perfumed princes. This isn't their first war.

joe brand

"They do not remind me of the senior officers of my youth...They seem to be a caste of uniformed Walmart managers and executives."

Why? What caused this change?

Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

Thank you for saying what needed to be said about today's senior leadership.

RP

 Charles I

At first I want to quip its great to kill in a Muslim country, maybe they can buy their way out a la Raymond Davis.

Then I recall notion of honour, albeit a rather bloody one, slowly drawn as I read the service posters and host at SST. How killers for one's country with lawful professional zeal and human relish can be moral examples, a concept I couldn't have entertained even as a bipolarly facile insurance litigator.

Dunno the victims, whom I'm usually bleating about but PL, VV, TTG et al who did, and continue to do your uniforms proud, I feel your aind and your shame, a testament to you, and the Institutions that shaped you.

This is the terrorists
winning.

Let's hope there's more fallout than Wanat, or that CIA decapitation in Afghanistan last year.

Patrick Lang

joe brand

So many things; too much money waiting to be made, too much cynicism, too much business school, maybe just too much grad school at Army expense, too little Humanities. Others here will add to the list. pl

par4

Reminiscent of Sand Creek. I think the 'officers' should be punished more.

Patrick Lang

para4

Those were Colorado militiamen. This is worse. pl

John Adamson

One comment - two Questions:

One thing to consider is that a lot of these soldiers enter law enforcement when they leave the military. Many of the cops I see today are buffed out (steroids?) menacing figures. How many came from this milieu.

Questions:
#1.) I see that one of these soldiers had arrests for leaving the scene of a serious accident and for burning his girlfriend with a cigarette prior to enlistment. Does today's military take anybody who will sign up?
#2.) In your opinion, will all this be effectively "covered up?"
I'd like to think that everyone one in the chain of command who knew, or should have known' about this would be prosecuted or have their career destroyed.
However, as I've gotten older (I'm 63) I've found my views on rule of law, honor, and morals to be quite naive.
Will all this be swept under the rug?

Patrick Lang

John Adamson

#1 The Army went throught a "rough patch' on enlistments a few years ago and let enlistment standards slip. Now, they have abundant supplies of people wanting to enlist and I have the impression that standards have been raised again, but someone with recen knowledge here can correct that if it is wrong.

#2 If this follows the usual recent pattern, these enlisted men will be or have been tried for murder, conspiracy, etc. that is not a cover-up. The officers up to about the grade of colonel will probably have their careers squashed. Above that nothing can be allowed to menace conforming members of "the club." pl

Patrick Lang

MJ

We did not have 90 day wonders in VN. OCS was six months long. WP was 4 years, etc.

You have to expect that new lieutenants learn on the job. That does not excuse basic faults in character of the kind on display here. pl

Patrick Lang

RP

One of the awful things here is that Tunnell, the brigade commander had given evidence of being a borderline nut case and nobody did anything about it in advance of the brigade's deployment. This is reminiscent of that othre character in the 101st in whose bde., three or four men raped and murdered an Iraqi girl. He had been "memorialized" in th movie "Black Hawk Down" as a martinet. Whatever happened to him? pl

PS

The Taliban must be colossal screw-ups or even more unpopular than the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. It boggles the mind that incidents like this haven't triggered a repeat of the British disaster at the Khyber Pass.

walrus

Gentlemen, the behaviour is only going to get worse. The reason is that the behaviour that has infected the commercial and political life of the country has now infected the Officer Corps.

The system is self perpetuating. Only a narcissist will willingly work for another narcissist, and they know how to rise by sucking up. Once you let them into the system they rise to the top, with their young Acolytes following in their footsteps. They drive out good men.

Look no further than Capt. Holly Graf. Look at the Narcissist in Chief who abandoned every single campaign promise and threw his supporters under the bus with a smile within a month of taking office. I have asked repeatedly here and elsewhere if anyone can point me to a subordinate of McChrystal and Petreaus who will state that working for them was an uplifting and ennobling experience to no avail. That tells me what I want to know. I mean, look at the behaviour of the Wall Street Bankers. These folk are everywhere.

The reason they are everywhere is that in our wisdom, we decided some Thirty to Forty years ago to promote and select on "merit" and "merit" alone. The old school tie, the golf club, etc. were discarded, but along with them we discarded the character information long exposure to candidates in such informal settings provided.

Narcissists work hard, are intelligent and do "merit" very, very, well. The fact that the candidate may have a toxic character, be a bully, a womaniser, a liar, and a backstabbing little creep with the morals of a Hyena is not considered in the selection criteria. These guys will even make a show as a "Team Player" if they judge it necessary, but they stop that behaviour the second they are promoted.

I am over Sixty but I still know kids I was at school and University with that I would never, ever, even now, put in charge of other human beings because they just don't have the character to care about anyone but themselves.

Mike C

Col. Lang and the other veterans present-

A few of the ideas I've heard for reforming the officer corps include ending 'up-or-out' and adding peer and even subordinate input on evaluations. Thoughts on that? I can see how it could help with careerism, but might it have made a difference here too?

Highlander

Ah.....the end of empire... it's never pretty...even for all you wailing self righteous home front twits.

Yes,maybe these kids did what they are accused of, and maybe they didn't. I seem to recall something about,"innocent until proven guilty", still being the standard in this country.

Or, is that just for the elitist,perfumed bastards living inside the beltway and on Manhattan?

The same ones, Democrat or Republican, it doesen't really matter,who are systematically looting the remaining wealth of the nation?

If you had any brains the American Kleptocracy is what you would all be raising hell about. Because these bastards are stealing you and your children's futures at a rather astounding pace.And the bottom of the barrel is clearly in sight.

From what,I have have read of the Afghans, they are a brutal bunch,just barely out of the stone ages. I expect, brutality doesn't bother them, nearly as much, as it does you princess, safely tucked away in your versions of the soon to evaporate "American Dream".

Neil Richardson

"This is reminiscent of that other character in the 101st in whose bde., three or four men raped and murdered an Iraqi girl. He had been "memorialized" in the movie "Black Hawk Down" as a martinet. Whatever happened to him? pl "

Dear Col.Lang:

AFAIK Michael D. Steele must be nearing retirement as I don't see his name on BG ACC lists for the last two years. Didn't he receive an administrative reprimand?

William R. Cumming

This situation will be a litmus test IMO of whether reforms can be made in current officer corps from inside the system.

HJFJR

Pat:

I am not sure if COL Michael Steele has retired yet; the last time I ran into him he was in mind numbing staff job at FORSCOM in Atlanta.

I attended a retirement party with him once; he is a cretin. A football player at the University of Georgia he is a typical small town Georgia Redneck.

After being relieved of Command there was noway he was going to make the BGs list; what I don't understand is why the Army did not convene a show cause board on why he should not be thrown out.

Steele, Tunnell, and West three peas in a pod; unfortunately one is now the darling of the neocon press and Tea Party.

walrus

Mj, look up "narcissistic personality disorder." Loo up what it does in a business context. Then read the last few paragraphs of the Rolling Stone report.

One cannot achieve the mission in counter insurgency without engaging with the populace. Clearly this idea is lost on the staff and soldiers of this American unit.

Adam L. Silverman

Walrus: I personally know two officers well who have worked for GEN McChrystal who think exceedingly highly of him, his abilities as a soldier and as a leader. I know over half a dozen who have similar views of GEN Petraues. In both cases these are people I know well, either from my work or work related activities, and who I think very highly of and as such give their views a lot of weight. I know a lot of others who have lso served under and/or worked for both men, but i dont know them as well and therefore dont weight their views as highly. For full disclosure: I've never met either general myself, so have no first hand experience as to how working for them would be, just what these folks I trust tell me.

Neil Richardson

VV:

"Wars happen. But, I believe that the volunteer army allows for perpetual war; three fronts right now. Also, the volunteer army is self selecting. No one is forced to join like me. Either the enlistees love war or can’t find another job. "

First I take issue with your binary description. I've known plenty of young men who had other opportunities (e.g., college or grad school) who chose to serve after 2001. I had already pointed out the problems of recruitment after 2005 (e.g., moral waivers), but that was inevitable given the operational tempo at the time. As a member of the first group of AVF, I reject your description of my generation as well (that includes the hollow years).

Second, what is the function of the Army? A draft force isn't going to end the need for a professional force within the Army unless you don't mind thousands of casualties in the first battle of the next war. There's a reason why in almost every war in the republic's history the first battles were disasters (e.g., Kasserine, TF Smith and even Ia Drang with 2/7 CAV). Well after 1973 the Army realized how lethal a modern battlefield could be, and there was no time for the usual mobilization through draft. Against 8th Guards Army, no NG brigade was going to last more than a few hours along the Fulda Frankfurt axis despite General Abrams' best political intentions in formulating the roundout policy. That's why the Army went to fight with all active component brigades in 1990-91.

Ten or even twenty years is a very long time in international relations. Back in 1890s the British Army was fighting in Transvaal while liberals were proclaiming Kantian peace (the first time). By 1919 Britain had lost an entire generation of men. In the 1920s the great powers agreed to naval arms limitation. By 1942 they were busy filling up Davy Jones' Locker.

A draft force could help this country avoid these "small wars." I really don't know the answer to this question. Theoretically by having policy elites place their loved ones on the table (I am reminded of Madeleine Albright's callous comments to Powell re: potential deployment of US forces in Bosnia), perhaps it would force them to pause and think through a problem. Of course back in 1950 and 1965 I don't recall that having a draft force helped this republic to avoid Korea or Vietnam. However, a competent professional force deters conventional aggression. I would rejoice if the United States were to reduce our overseas commitments and roll back "extended deterrence" guarantees. However, if there's conflict where the Army would have to fight, I'd prefer that we have a trained force and not a bunch of young kids learning on the job while paying tuition with their blood.

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