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27 June 2014

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Ryan

robt,

That'an astute observation on your part.

Highlander,

I think you could make a case. It took the other idiots and moral traitors years to do their damage.

Ryan

Highlander,

Boots on the ground. Keane wants to use the 300 SOC troops. That is probably for starters, he was vague on this point.

I wonder how they determined the number "300"? These folks do engage in a lot of symbolism.

Matthew

Fred: I'm not offended we're spying on Maliki; I'm amused that we're offended that he doesn't want us doing it.

turcopolier

Ryan

"the 300?" As in "Stranger passing by, go tell the Spartans that here obedient to their law we lie." Well, we sure as hell aren't Spartans. The best use of this epitaph was in a Burt Lancaster movie about early VN. pl

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

Certainly ‘300’ is an interesting number.

Of course, Thermopylae is the most obvious association.

However, for an Englishman who recalls a long-ago war in the Crimea, there is a poem by Tennyson which comes to mind. His account of the charge of the Light Brigade I always found appalling – a covering up of abysmal incompetence.

But then, there is a lesser known piece of verse, about the charge of the Heavy Brigade, which I loved as a boy:

“The charge of the gallant three hundred, the Heavy Brigade!
Down the hill, down the hill, thousands of Russians,
Thousands of horsemen, drew to the valley – and stay’d;
For Scarlett and Scarlett’s three hundred were riding by
When the points of the Russian lances arose in the sky;
And he call’d, ‘Left wheel into line!’ and they wheel’d and obey’d.
Then he look’d at the host that had halted he knew not why,
And he turn’d half round, and he bade his trumpeter sound
To the charge, and he rode on ahead, as he waved his blade
To the gallant three hundred whose glory will never die –
‘Follow,’ and up the hill, up the hill, up the hill,
Follow’d the Heavy Brigade.”

(See http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/atennyson/bl-aten-chargeheavy.htm .)

But this has a paradoxical result. The foul-mouthed Bullingdon boy, Sikorski, might have thought he could smuggle Ukraine into NATO by the back door. But if he had understood a little more about British culture than you learn from associating with corrupt old Etonians, he might have understood the egregiousness of his error.

It is precisely because the charge of the Heavy Brigade still resonates for some of us, that we what can grasp that the notion that Sevastopol might become a NATO base would be one that any Russian who had any claim to self-respect would never accept.

optimax

Col.

I thought "Go Tell the Spartans" was an excellent movie. I always wonder if the computer generated color coding that was supposed to predict enemy attacks was based in reality.

Ryan

Yes, colonel.

You caught the drift of my meaning.

Some of the tv military analysts have said these troops are going to be deployed in 14 man detachments. That means 14 detachments with six men left over as a command group, I suppose.

I can't help to wonder how they derived this number. It seems too much of a coincidence to me.

I recall seeing that movie years ago. Perhaps I'll see if I can find it to see again.

David,

I enjoyed the poem about the British 300.

turcopolier

optimax

Yes. A fine film. Lancaster plays the much passed over WW2 veteran major to perfection. I had forgotten the color-coded thing. In that war there was a great deal of emphasis on understanding the COIN situation. To that end there were wonky "labs" set up in the states and over there that attempted to systematize the unsystematizable. That is the point of the movie. There were all kind of odd schemes tried on. That is what makes the madcap effort to statiscally analyze Montagnard poop so funny in Farrell's "The major won the Croix de Guerre." At one point in this film the major recounts to his comrades how he became so massively and repeatedly passed over for promotion after a "hot run" in WW2. He says he was a junior aide de camp to POTUS and accompanied the boss to a mess dress sort of party at the French Embassy. At one point in the evening he found himself out in the gazebo where the ambassador's wife decided that her state of mind required her to kneel and reverence his soldierly manhood. While she was so engaged, the major looked up and beheld POTUS and the ambassador standing in the door of the gazebo. The major's comrades asked what he did then. He says, "I did the only thing I could. I saluted." pl

Highlander

Colonel,

You must have had some interactions or close knowledge of John Paul Vann, what was your opinion of the man?

Highlander

I knew a lot of passed over Majors in the Corps. Some were damn fine Marines,and some were early stage alcoholics. I would probably have ended up being passed over and alcoholic if I had hung around.

Lancaster played the role to perfection. He was a damn fine actor. I miss his acting.

Today,Hollywood wouldn't hire him,he would be much too manly for their taste.

turcopolier

Highlander

Amen. I have many known such majors myself, The drinking never seemed to interfere with the soldiering.

Vann? I knew him well in 1968-69. He would have been yet another pathetic failure but he filled the massive hole in his heart with the Vietnamese people. He had miraculously risen from the ranks after a terrible childhood, but his basic lack of education blocked advancement beyond LTC. He retired and devoted his life to the Vietnamese. He said to me once, "You don't love these people do you?" I did not. I was just there to fight. pl

Ryan

Opps. 21 detachments.

Highlander

What of his career in Vietnam after the army. Did he truly serve a purpose and accomplish anything worth while? I gather,he was pretty prominent in places like II Corps right up to his death.

I always resented a MSM turd like Sheehan, for using a dead warrior's memory(conveniently,a warrior who could no longer defend himself)to write a book for fun,and profit. And to liberate American liberals from the guilt,their little Asian war escapade caused them.

alba etie

Highlander
Amen .

turcopolier

highlander

he was always a fighter. He ran II Corps CORDS like it was a combat command. In may of 1968 I was in the process of establishing Detachment A, 3rd Bn, 525th MI Group in Binh Long and Phuoc Long provinces on the border north of Saigon. I needed cover positions for my people. I went to see Vann. He had a lot of empty positions. We agreed that my men would fill is positions; Education adviser, refugee officer, etc. They would do my work at night and his in the daytime. They were so good at it that he tried to hire these college graduate draftees when their army service was up. Vann and I spent a lot of time together making this work. He was a contract civilian by then. we disagreed a lot but he could take my yelling at him and vice versa. He was a hero of the American people and deserved better than he got. It was better that he died before defeat. pl

Highlander

Personally,it makes me feel a little better, that he felt the fates had unfairly been kinder to you.

turcopolier

highlander

He is such an inconsequential jerk that it matters not. pl

Ryan

Interesting observations by you two about Sheehan and John Paul Vann.

I've not only read "A Bright and Shining Lie", I own that damn book. Sheehan notwithstanding, I was able to read between the lines to see that Vann was a fine soldier.

What he did during Tet 72 was impressive.

optimax

Colonel, Highlander

Another good Lancaster movie is "Ulzana's Raid." If you haven't seen it it's worth checking out. He plays a crusty old Calvary scout in the Apache wars.

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