Captain Dye's Blog
These are all the Blogs posted in June, 2010.
Wednesday, 2
Fire Mission!
Given the frenetic pace of what passes for my life these days, I've been away from this forum for too long. It's not that steady work and other profitable distractions aren't good things. They are, but like all inveterate story-tellers I wake up some mornings convinced this earth will spin right off its 23-degree tilted axis if I don't pound out a few personal observations and launch them into the blogosphere. This is one of those mornings.
So, with the battery laid and the base piece locked onto an aiming stake, I will commence Harassing and Interdiction fire on a number of dispersed targets. Or, for those who can't grasp the simile, I'm about to hold forth with my opinions on some unrelated topics. Either way, stand by.
The first worldwide airing of HBO's miniseries "The Pacific" concluded on 23 May and the reaction we've been getting is nothing short of phenomenal. There's been a flood of congratulatory emails, letters, tweets, texts, faxes and phone calls over the past ten weeks and that's extremely gratifying. For those of us here at Warriors that worked on the series that kind of response is as good as an Oscar or a slew of Emmy's. It reassures us that we are accomplishing at least one facet of our avowed mission: Shining long-overdue light on the service and sacrifice of American military people throughout history.
Of course, there's also been the occasional whine or bitch - usually from Marines - about something in the series that didn't match personal experiences or pre-conceived notions. The critics range from people who believe World War II era Marines never got laid outside of wedlock (or if they did it shouldn't be included in a TV miniseries) to nit-pickers who insist despite photographic evidence to the contrary that all Marines have worn high-and-tight haircuts since 1775. None of those opinions hold water and we're not overly think-skinned about it especially when surviving veterans who were there, did get laid and wore their hair longer than regulation tell us we got it right.
Anyway, "The Pacific" will be available soon on DVD including all ten episodes and some really cool background video. I'm betting there will a bunch of those boxed sets under Christmas trees this year. As it was with "Band of Brothers" so it is with "The Pacific." We've created something that will live long, prosper and provide a perpetual salute to those humble World War II veterans that are falling out of our ranks at the rate of a thousand a day.
Shift fire onto the United States Army which recently announced it is eliminating bayonet drills from basic training. Apparently some progressive thinker in the Training and Doctrine Command decided all that scary, aggressive business where recruits bury a rifle-mounted blade into a dummy screaming "kill, kill, kill" at the top of their heaving lungs is misleading. And that nonsense where recruits square off with padded pugil-sticks substituting for blade and rifle butt is a waste of valuable training time. Well, excuse me for being an old moldy piece of dinosaur poop here, but I beg to differ.
Granted most issue bayonets get more use as tools than weapons on modern battlefields but there's a martial, aggressive spirit that comes with bayonet training that we can't afford to ignore. I know from personal experience that modern bayonets are mainly considered handy, strong and durable spare knives by the men and women who carry them attached to their combat gear. Bayonets are used for all sorts of chores on a battlefield but sticking them into an enemy usually isn't one of them.
On the other hand, my personal experience also tells me - and photographic evidence from more contemporary fights in places like Fallujah, Iraq reassures me - the bayonet has a very useful place as a weapon in close-quarters combat. And that's particularly true when grunts get into cities, towns and villages where bumping into a bad guy happens so quickly and so closely that neither opponent can fire effectively. It's at moments like those when the guy with a bayonet fixed and ready with the training and attitude to use it survives. The other guy, the one with no bayonet on his folding-stock AK, dies in place. I'll go with that outcome please, even if it does cost us a little training time out of eight weeks at Ft. Benning. Our Army needs to check with a few line-company infantry veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and re-think this one.
There's still a few shots left in the locker so let me expend all remaining on the pencil-neck spin-artists who wrote the recently released National Security Strategy (NSS) for the Obama Administration. As an old soldier, I've got a dog in the national security hunt, so I actually took the time to read this over-blown, vague and verbose screed. If you're planning on doing likewise, be sure to have a dictionary and a plentiful supply of your favorite adult beverage close at hand. You'll need both.
For some reason that defies both the law of logic and the rule of plain speech in trying to communicate ideas, the Commander-in-Chief has decreed there's a direct connection between his domestic policies and our national defense. Apparently our military strength is important but it's also somehow related to such imperatives as "affordable health care" and "redeveloping our infrastructure." Beats me how that works, but we're told in the NSS that America needs "a broad conception of what constitutes our national security," and somehow that new definition will coincide with the administration's domestic social agenda. And here I was all along thinking that domestic problems and national defense were apples and oranges. Silly me.
And here's what silly me thinks about that after having read the nonsense in the NSS. Somebody somewhere in the administration ought to be ashamed of using a statement of our national security posture and plans in an attempt to elicit support for controversial domestic programs. Can anyone in Washington hear the clue-phone ringing? If we screw up national defense policy there won't be any social programs - good, bad or indifferent - because there won't be any society left in America. There are just too many enemies and anti-American elements out there for us to screw around mixing military matches with social dynamite.
Maybe it's just another example of politicians using our military establishment as lab-rats for social experiments - and Lord knows there's plenty of that going on right now - but enough is enough. We need to take a clear, lucid and un-muddled look at national defense. We owe it to the men and women in uniform who are charged with that responsibility and we owe it to the citizens they are sworn to defend and protect. Leave the political tub-thumping for later.
Rounds complete. End of mission.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 4:05 PM / Category:General News
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