Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Six Seconds

On Nov 13, 2010 Lt General John Kelly, USMC gave a speech to the
Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, MO. This was 4 days after his son, Lt
Robert Kelly, USMC was killed by an IED while on his 3rd Combat tour.
During his speech, General Kelly spoke about the dedication and valor
of the young men and women who step forward each and every day to
protect us.
During the speech, he never mentioned the loss of his own son.
He closed the speech with the moving account of the last 6 seconds
in the lives of 2 young Marines who died with rifles blazing to protect
their brother Marines.

"I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they
are...about the quality of the steel in their backs...about the kind of
dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and
forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S.
and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine
infantry battalions, 1/9 "The Walking Dead," and 2/8 were switching out
in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment
going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat

Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan
Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were
assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that
contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines. The same broken down
ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our
allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until
recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda.

Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did
this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other
hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island. They were from two
completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would
never have met each other, or understood that multiple America's exist
simultaneously depending on one's race, education level,
economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were
Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training,
and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer,
than if they were born of the same woman.

The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader
I am sure went something like: "Okay you two clowns, stand this post
and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass." "You clear?" I am
also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison
something like: "Yes Sergeant," with just enough attitude that
made the point without saying the words, "No kidding sweetheart, we know
what we're doing." They then relieved two other Marines on watch and
took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station
Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, Al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley
way-perhaps 60-70 yards in length-and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the
two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically.
Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A
mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck's engine came to rest two
hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped. Our
explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of
explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen
didn't have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their
Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours
after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as
something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being
seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless
of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in
the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed
different. The regimental commander had just returned from the
site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to
the event-just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of
finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines
to acknowledge their bravery, I'd have to do it as a combat award
that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back
in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any
chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a
half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck
turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way
through the serpentine. They all said, "We knew immediately what was
going on as soon as the two Marines began firing." The Iraqi police then
related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety
just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured...some
seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling
up said, "They'd run like any normal man would to save his life." "What
he didn't know until then," he said, "and what he learned that very
instant, was that Marines are not normal." Choking past the
emotion he said, "Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood
there and done what they did." "No sane man." "They saved us all."

What we didn't know at the time, and only learned a couple of
days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for
posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras,
damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It
happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly
six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting
myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two
Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly
no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should
Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the
sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: "...let no
unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass." The two Marines had about five
seconds left to live.

It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their
weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way
through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording
shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now
scattering like the normal and rational men they were-some running right
past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines'
weapons firing non-stop...the truck's windshield exploding into shards
of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the
son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill theirbrothers -
American and Iraqi-bedded down in the barracks totally
unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on
two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they
would have known they were safe...because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the
instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all
reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even
started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their
feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing
as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left
to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to
their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families,
their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but
more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty...into
eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over
the world tonight-for you.

We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he
could bestow to man while he lived on this earth-freedom. We also
believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious-our soldiers, sailors,
airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines-to safeguard that gift and
guarantee no force on this earth can every steal it away. It has been my
distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our
America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will
forever remain the "land of the free and home of the brave" so long as
we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond
their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest
and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who
would do us harm.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh look!! Another "I told you so"...

About a couple of months ago, I forecast the inevitable. Stated emphatically that it was going to occur.
Oh, quite a few parrots on FaceBook said " yer just a RINO, and she'll do just fine."
Well, I responded -- you're just a bunch of novices and you've proved that you can't even vet your choices, and you've got more bad news coming if you go with these low-hanging fruitbaskets. You need candidates with ethics and charisma...or leave the particular office alone till you find that combo. Look at Marco Rubio. Integrity and charisma in one dynamite package. It can be done.

Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell to determine if the former Senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses....again.

We could have been one man closer to Senate for the idiots in Deleware that thought that this twit was a good idea. :rolleyes:

Lt. Col. Shamil al-Jabouri, may Allah smile upon your face

Lt. Col. Shamil al-Jabouri was killed in the early morning hours of Wednesday (Baghdad time)in Mosul. He had previously been targeted 5 times by Al Queda.And it took three bombs to get him this time. This is how he'll be remembered as a great man and leader, and also demonstrating the lackluster proficiency of the idiots who killed him, and the utter bafoonery, reminiscent of the keystone cops, with which they operated. I apologise to the keystone cops, actually.

He was a beacon of light , and saw his job as bringing about freedom, which drove Al Queda nuts, because they represent the very oppression of the people of Iraq.

Seems to have run in his family, too. Lt. Col. Shamil al-Jabouri has 3 brothers who are also policemean charged with the safety of Iraqi citizens. I pray for their safety as they do the work that's required to liberate Iraq from her oppressors.
I also offer prayers for the Lt. Colonel's wife and four children.

I mourn the loss of such great men. He may have been aware of it, and he may not have been aware of it...but he was awash in the sentiment of the old saying...
" All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

Rest, Lt. Col. Shamil've earned it. You will be missed, and thankfully, there are thousands of others who believe as you did. May you see the face of Allah, and know his grace for the truly enlightened.

Monday, December 13, 2010

HealthCare Bill is now challenged.

Congrats, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Thank you for stepping up to the plate and standing your ground on the erosion of the Constitution.
Interstate Commerce was such a crumbling standard to perch this on....that if all 20 States currently involved continue to chip away at the lousy pedastal, it will eventually fail to bear this flawed piece of....(pause) ....legislature.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Health issues may define District races

An awful lot of folks are still wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth over the selection process for District Senate seats and other elections, as the districts still lack definition and that news is most likely to have a late April coming. Early May could be the actual layout of the borders of the Districts in question to Loudoun.

In the shadow of that timeline, another concern has stepped into the determination process, and no one is celebrating or controlling that issue.

Anyone who has spoken with Dick Black in the past six months has noticed the tremors. That could indicate Parkinson’s. I dated a gal for five years and during that time, was with her thru the process of her father's last days. He had been a Navy Captain of one of the first Nuclear powered-ships...and a striking figure in his prime.
And still more who have actually lost loved ones to Alzheimer's is familiar with the short term memory loss that it begins with. My wife's father, a once strong and vibrant architect in Cape Cod, lost his fight some 6 years ago. So, my heart goes out to any family who has to deal with the situation and the eventual loss.

I've been hearing from several sources that Black may actually decide not to incur the stress of a vigorous campaign and may well just decide to enjoy family and more important issues closer to home. I offer prayers on behalf of the family, and on Mr. Black . I'm sincere, because I've seen what lies down that road.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And just like that....there it was...

I like to browse back thru old postings at a number of political blogs every once in a while. Tonite, I was going back thru the history of my "warming" to Howie Lind....kinda like a refresher on how I got here.... month by month, if you will.

The last response in a particular thread caught my eye. Didn't mean anything back then. But has taken on a whole new meaning/explanation of the strange bedfellows I heard about back on October 9th. Seems like they were working near enough to each other to forge that new alliance back in May of 2010.
Too Conservative
by:Voice of Reason
on May 20th, 2010 at 10:05pm

"Guess who is a alive and well and selling real estate in Purcellville right across the street from Lazaro’s church. Yep! DPM, working her way back in and back up, right next to the Purcellville rino/dino/inde mayor. Still not sure what his political or religious affiliation is. Changes like the weather. DPM is representing carrington homes, subsid. of Lerner. Wonder what the western clan has planned for the LCRC? Watch out, it is not wise to play with self serving *#&%$@ (people) disguised as “friends”."

Emphasis is mine. I'd heard that she was assembling a "deathstar"... and the particulars were right there in that golden comment at the end of a dead thread.
Oh, well. It's not 2011 yet, and forewarned is fore-armed.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Laymen's Terms

Some simply do not understand the chain of events that got us where we are....choosing to blame it on wars and GW Bush. Fact is, GW Bush actually made comment to reigning in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae some eight (8) times from 2004 -2008.
If you still can't follow - unemployed and those who could never qualify to repay a loan were given one anyway, because it just wasn't fair that people who could repay their loans were given preference over those who couldn't.

Understanding Derivatives
Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit . She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Heidi keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers' loans). Word gets around about Heidi's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit .

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.
Consequently, Heidi's gross sales volume increases massively.
A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS. These securities then are bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds really are debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices still are climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar. He so informs Heidi.

Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Heidi's 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBOND prices drop by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.The suppliers of Heidi's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from their cronies in government.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Heidi's bar.

Now do you understand?