Recruitment drive for Iraqi Army draws thousands

Two Pieces of Iraq News:

Via Central Command, two stories you may not have otherwise encountered. First, this: Recruitment Drive for Iraqi Army Draws Thousands:

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 men arrived by foot, bus, and other vehicles by sun up Feb. 14, at an airfield outside an Iraqi Army base in an effort to join Iraq’s army, officials said.

Of that, approximately 5,000 made it through a screening process that led them onto the base, which is home to several thousand Iraqi Soldiers and a contingent of U.S. service members, officials said. Most will be transferred to other bases in Iraq to supplement existing units.

The process was a result of the largest recruitment effort for the Iraqi Army to date, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Woodley of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.

During the screening process, potential recruits were given a literacy test, physical condition check and questioned about prior military service. Once inside the base, they went through a medical screening and received uniforms, boots and other military-related clothing.

Of those who were turned back, or did not make it through the screening, leaders told them to return for another recruitment drive.
Then, some news about American Combat Engineers from down Tennessee way:
In an effort to make Iraqi roads safer for fellow Soldiers, a U.S Army Reserve company of combat engineers patrol selected roads near Baqubah, searching for "trouble" in a mission called Operation Trailblazer.

Soldiers from Company A, 467th Engineer Battalion, Memphis, Tenn., took over operations from the 141st Engineer Battalion, North Dakota National Guard, at Forward Operating Base Warhorse.

Their mission is focused on searching pre-determined supply routes in the Baqubah area for improvised explosive devices planted by terrorists.

"Our job is to go out and look for trouble in the form of IEDs planted near the sides of roads," said Sgt. 1st Class Dallas Bryan, combat engineer.

With teams of 18 Soldiers or more, the "Trailblazers" set out on convoys of several supporting vehicles and one "Buffalo," scouring the road-side for signs of terrorist activity.

The Buffalo, a ground mine detection system, uses a hydraulic arm to sift through trash piles or probe areas where IEDs are thought to have been hidden.
There's more, in both cases.


Hello everyone.
My name is Daniel and I've volunteered to spearhead the discussion of Tactics.
First, I would like to thank Grim for the invite of facilitating the tactics portion of his military science 101.
Second, I would like to point people in this direction: MCDP 1-3 Tactics as this is the work which will be used.

Finally, I would like to disclose that I am by no means a master tactician, I have a modicum of skill and experience in utilizing small unit tactics; beyond the platoon level I would feel like a fish out of water.

Strategy and tactics are interesting bed-fellows… strategy is your overall plan for the winning of the war… loosely, tactics is the means by which you accomplish your operational plan. The best way to begin is by defining what, exactly, tactics are:

“Tactics is ‘the art and science of winning engagements and battles. It includes the use of firepower and maneuver, the integration of different arms and the immediate exploitation of success to defeat the enemy’” MCDP1-3 pg. 3

The first striking feature is the reference to tactics being an ‘art and science’. This is not solely a modern martial reference to an old 16th century treatise on warfare (reminiscent of the old ‘fechtbuchs’ reference to science), it is a quantifiable truth.

1. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value. 2. A nonscientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts.

1. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. 2. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study. 3. Methodological activity, discipline, or study.

The art is best expressed in the intuitive factors involved in the decision making process and also manifests in the fluidity of utilizing combat power. The science is best expressed in the quantifiable skills such as land navigation, marksmanship, and so forth.

Breaking down the definition further, we see some things that, hopefully, should engage our brains from the Strategy lesson.

1. That is that there is a marked emphasis on ‘engagements and battles’; the distinction being that an engagement is a singular occurrence, whereas a battle may include a series of engagements,

2. The re-emphasis on the ‘fire and maneuver’ doctrine, and

3. The integration of combined arms, which is somewhat unique to the Corps in application.

For those who have neglected their Carl von Clausewitz, Patton, Sun Tzu, etc... let me say that from reading 'MCDP 1-1 Strategy' and the three points above... you should begin to realize that within military science, synthesis is the key. As we saw in Strategy, the synthesis lay in recognizing the needfull 'ends and means' and understanding the strategic environment of ones forces and the state. On the tactical level, that synthesis is the melding of the artistic and scientific concepts and then utilizing them from that point forward.

I invite folks to read the publication, and utilize the comments section to discuss the text. Again, as I said above, I am by no stretch a master tactician... it's my hope that others far wiser and more capable glance through the comments and help out where I fall short.

Finally, I leave you with the words of General Patton:

"There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."

See ya next month,


But is it Ammo?

I have a circle of friends who constantly send me stuff like this.


Mudville Gazette

Hawk's Nest:

Greyhawk is home from Iraq.

Grim's Hall


In case anything I'm posting the last little while seems incoherent, it might be. I could feel a deep cough taking hold of me yesterday, and am now down with the worst flu I can remember. Please be sympathetic readers in the meanwhile; I may need the benefit of the doubt.


Law Blogging:

Southern Appeal today links to this opinion which treats the nature of "substantive due process violations." Since this is my objection to the case against our Marine, as well as the other case mentioned in the comments, I thought I would post the link for those of you who enjoy reading legal documents.

Well, it's enlightening, even if not enjoyable. In this case, the government was found to have acted properly, but the author clarifies the lines around a violation of this type.

Substantive due process
involves the exercise of governmental power without
reasonable justification. Dunn. It is most often described as
an abuse of government power which "shocks the conscience."
Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165 (1952).
Now the military system works differently from the civilian system, and those of you unfamiliar with the way it works will find a thorough explanation in the comments at BlackFive's site. I think that this principle, because it is Constitutional law, applies to the UCMJ as well as to the civilian code. Even if it does not, though, it explains my objection. I find the charges to be shocking and unconscionable.

I have no objection to charging someone in a case like this, so long as the charges filed are restrained to reflect an honest reading of the facts. I object to the attempt to "gun up" charges, which is not the way the system is supposed to work. It seems to me an abuse of the power entrusted by the government. It's not clear from the articles on the topic whether the abuse is the fault of the Art 32 officer, or of the Marine who made the charges originally, or both. It's also true, again, that this principle may not apply to the UCMJ for techincal reasons of which I'm not aware. As a general principle, however, it explains my anger and sense of unfairness.

On another topic, Reason magazine explores the roots of gun control laws in America. This is a particularly fascinating article, as it deals with a remarkable period of American history -- Reconstruction -- when a lot of things were happening that we've largely forgotten. By coincidence, it also deals with a number of "substantive due process violations," when government officials were using their power in shocking ways.

Hat tip for the last: the Geek with a .45.

Marine's lawyer: Corps changed story on charges - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - February 16, 2005

Update on Marine Lieutenant Ilario Pantano:

JHD sends a story from the Washington Times contending that the Corps is conflicted in this case.

My Way News


I've heard ofMulligan's:

The dish, a specialty of Mulligan's, a suburban bar, is a hot dog wrapped by a beef patty that's deep fried, covered with chili, cheese and onions and served on a hoagie bun. Oh yeah, it's also topped with a fried egg and two fistfuls of fries.

'The owner says I'm the only girl who can eat a whole one without flinching,' Cleaveland said proudly.
The name of the article is "Southern Food Frustrates Health Officials." Yeah, I guess.

The Alliance: New Precision Guided Humor Assignment: Cheering Up A Marine

Marine Jokes:

In case you weren't following the submissions to the "Cheering Up A Marine" contest, here are some of the best ones:

1) If you tell the Navy to secure a building, they will turn out the lights and lock the door.

If you tell the Army to secure a building, they will set up a perimeter and forbid entry to those without a pass.

If you tell the Marines to secure a building, they assault with heavy fire, capture the building, fortify it and call for an air strike.

If you tell the Air Force to secure a building, they will negotiate a three year lease with an option to buy...

When WE went to boot camp we didn't HAVE jokes. Or mail!
I hear they have ropes on the rappel tower now....

Yeah, I heard that too.


...and Frontline Fighters:

BlackFive has the story. An officer of Marines is facing capital charges, for doing a thing I can't think I wouldn't have done myself.

The main problem with this story is the effect that the legal wrangling will have on combat - this will cause Marines to either second guess their options/hesitate around suspects or to not get engaged in the area of operations at all. Why would you take a risk if you knew that you might be charged for making a legitimate mistake?

How can the Marine Corps make a case without Criminal Intent? Premeditated murder in a combat zone?

The charges are a scandal. Follow the link. Support our man.


I love the idea of cutting the budget. I'm from the rural South, and yet I have no problem at all with the idea of cutting farming subsidies. Fine and dandy with me: I look forward to a future free of federal subsidy, which means federal control.

But there are debts of honor which the government has no business touching. Shame on them for even considering this.

DefenseLINK News: 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Ends Ops in Iraq

31st Heads "Home"

Via DefenseLINK, I see that the 31st MEU has formally turned over its part of Al-Anbar to RCT 7, 1MARDIV. They are on their way...

...back to Okinawa. The insurgents there are less deadly, but it is within easy range of those NoDong missiles the DPRK promises to use to produce a "sea of fire."

We've become used to seeing Marines and soldiers at the airport, on their way here or there, usually Iraq. Probably most of you have taken time to shake hands, talk to the lads, and congratulate them on work well done, or wish them well in coming days.

But there are others you won't see, because they don't get to come home. They go on to stand another watch, elsewhere, at the corners of the world.



If you haven't already found out yourself, SteynOnline is back! Well, mostly. Still, it's a banner day.