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Archive for the ‘Marine Corp’ Category

This Memorial Day I took a bit of a personal memory lane.  A part of that was recalling other past Memorial Day.  And it got me thinking about one of the most powerful coverage on American service members’ death and their body coming back to their family that I have ever read titled “Final Salute,” a photo essay by Jim Sheeler of the Rocky Mountain News.  It was the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize.  I don’t know when it happened but my old link to the PDF that Rocky Mountain News posted no longer works but I found a way you can still see the photos and read the story here.  If you haven’t seen and read this before, you got to do it.

 

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Another weekend, another weekend leisure reading review.

thomas-jefferson-and-the-tripoli-pirates

Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.  New York, NY: Sentinel, November 3rd 2015. 238 pp.

5 out of 5

I remember as a kid reading old books on Marine Corps history that talked about a conflict I rarely hear people talked about in which the Marines was at the tip of the spear waging a war against Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean and North Africa in the early part of the 1800s.  It sounded so exotic and I was fascinated with how the United States’ Navy and Marines as small as they were back then went about trying to execute their mission despite limited manpower and military capabilities.  It was during a time when the United States was still a new country and the leaders of the US was still trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.  So I am glad that over two decades later I came across this book on the United States response to the Tripoli pirates.

(more…)

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My heart goes out to the loved ones of the four Marines who were killed yesterday during the Chattanooga Shooting.  I imagine Liberals and Democrats would want to take advantage of this unfortunate incident to cry for more gun control such as restriction on more weapons that could be purchased and also more areas that are legally gun free zone.

While I do think most gun-control activists are sincere I think many are mistaken at a fundamental level of understanding human nature.  One wonders if they understand the extent of man’s depravity.  I think “Gun Free Zone” that is not enforced with people who are armed is quite a naive concept; in fact it is dangerous and irresponsible on the part of lawmakers and bureaucrats who come up with such a thing.  The biggest problem I think is that it neglect to account for the reality of human depravity, that those who are wicked and sinful and want to carry out sinful terrorist acts are not going to stop when you merely have a sticker that says “No guns.”

Sadly yesterday’s shooting is a case in point:

CKFCJhqUsAESven

Original picture SOURCE

Having a picture and a sign that says no guns is just as persuasive to a depraved gunman as an “Obama ’08” bumper sticker is for a Republican in 2015.  It’s “irrelevant” to a simple criminal let alone a committed Muslim extremist.  Actually it is relevant for such gunman: it allows them to face lesser resistance to their wicked schemes.

 

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Note: For the next few weeks on Sunday we will feature a review of books outside of theology, philosophy and apologetics.  Each review of a non-Christian book will also have a section titled, “What’s in it for the Christian?” The Generals American Military Command from World War II to TodayPurchase: Amazon

This book is a wonderful study on generalship in the United States Army from World War two to the present with Iraq and Afghanistan.  The author has written in the past about the military before, most notably about the Marine Corps boot camp.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much the author Thomas Ricks has grown in his understanding of the military since his first book on the military in 1997.

The thesis that the author argues for in the book is that the Marshall concept of Generalship worked in World War Two.  To be more specific, the concept is on how the Army manages General, and how under the old Marshall system it was expected that generals would be relieved and fire in order for the system to work and battles to be won.  Under the Marshall system, relief from command wasn’t necessarily the end of one’s military career like how it is understood today; generals were moved to other command since sometimes those who were not effective in combat command but were better leaders in other area of the Army (logistics, training, etc).  The Marshall’s way of managing generals was very effective but since World War two the book argues that the US Army has deviated from this concept.  Today generals are never relieved by the military itself (though there are political removals such as the infamous case of Douglas MacArthur by President Truman).  The book argues that as a result of the neglect of the Marshall system this has led to a crop of many poor generals who negatively affected the outcome of operations, battles and entire wars, not to mention the waste of lives and money.  What’s worst is that there are often no repercussions for generals who failed; in the modern military a private who lost his rifle will face more punishment than a general who lost a war.

Students of military history would love the author’s discussion about how General Eisenhower balanced the various charismatic generals during World War two such as General Patton, British General Montgomery and General Bradley.  The book also surveyed the Generals in the Korean War as the first war that failed to implement the Marshall system and how various Generals blundered but were not relieved.  This would continue on into the Vietnam War where it was even more pronounced with General Westmoreland and other lesser known generals.  The book also surveyed the more recent Iraq War and I agree with the author that the beginning of Iraq the military had some pretty bad generals (personally, General Sanchez comes to mind).  The book even covered the Iraq War right up to the surge (the author focuses on the surge in two other books after this volume) with General David Petraeus and notes how long it took before the right generals were in place leading the war effort was also the same duration that the US military took to win World War two in the Marshall system.

While it was not the main focus of the book, I did appreciate the author’s contrast between the Army’s handling of general officers versus that of the Navy and the Marines.  The Navy holds their officers to higher accountability and how they regularly relieve officers for ships that hit ground and get stuck.  Unfortunately, the author said that the sample size for the Marine Corps was too small, but Ricks does note how the Marine generals led their Division out of Chosin Reservoir as a combat effective unit while an adjacent Army unit with poor leadership ended up being hammered.  Ricks also talked about how during the Iraq War the Marine General Mattis who commanded the first Marine Division relieved a regimental commander of the first Marines for going to slow during the invasion and that this became international news.  However, during world war two such an event was frequent occurrence and not even worthy of being international news since it was assume the goal of victory was more important than allowing commanders to save face.

This is an excellent book for civilians and military like.  I think those in military should read this book, whether officers or enlisted so one can get the bigger picture.  In summary, the book presents a strong case to modify the maxim that “Amateurs study strategies, professionals study logistics;” we may add, “The Army leadership must study management of personnel.”

What’s in it for the Christian: A big theme in the book is accountability.  Christians have stressed the importance of accountability, given our fallen nature.  Accountability is something that is needed even outside of the military—and especially in the ministry, which is concerned with matters of eternity.  The author notes how different officers have different abilities, and just because one might not be able to lead in combat command that does not mean they are not useful for the military elsewhere.  Christians who are familiar with the Bible’s teaching of spiritual gifts—that we all have different gifts though it is different from each person to person.  As a Christian, this book was also insightful concerning human nature and the art of balancing different personalities in a group or a church that one leads—it has challenged me to appreciate how being a team player is a virtue.

UPDATE: If you are interested in more books like this check out our post, .

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Marine Graduation

Went to a Marine graduation the last few days, hence I’ve been slow in posting on here.  Some of you may know that I served in the Marines and I’ve been out for a few years now.

The trip was sentimental but it also made me think tangent to the Christian faith and specifically with discipleship.  Here were some thoughts I found it stirred within me to continue being biblical in discipleship of believers:

1. Don’t compromise the faith and teaching the hard things of the Christian faith.  If our goal is make disciples and teach them all things that Christ want us to teach from His Word, we best not compromise.  Compromise will definitely lower the quality of the disciples we forge within the church.

2. The Goal of discipling Christians ought not be to get rid of suffering in their lives but to explain and make sense of it biblically.  If we don’t teach them to expect suffering, we should probably expect them to suffer seriously in their Christian walk.

3. We must not forget our spiritual roots and also ensure that we past them on to the next generation.  We must show them that each one of us have an obligation to not just subscribe to what we believe but pass it on to the next generation while realizing the world around us would slowly reflect values different than our own.

4. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 in the ESV is an imperative for all of us: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

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220px-Sands_of_Iwo_Jima_poster

I just recently watched this movie for the first time about a year ago.

As a Marine the theme of sacrifice and combat loss made me think about how the human condition of the Marines had some similiarities then with the conditions today.  That’s not to say that everything is the same–obviously the Old Corps faced much more difficulties.  But I appreciated the film capturing the times.

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I am a bit reminiscent about the Marines tonight after reading up about the first living Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor for this century.  You can read more about Sgt. Dakota and his story HERE.

This was from his citation:

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

CORPORAL DAKOTA L. MEYER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

For service as set forth in the following

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner’s position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush. Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer’s daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy’s attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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I’ve read one-liners like:

Even military.com’s newsletter, Military Insider jumped in titleling their video, “Iraqi Cadets Can’t do Jumping Jacks. ” 

Disconcerting as the video as it is, even more disconcerting is the fact that to some, it only verifies their conviction that we’ve lost the war. Though as you will see below there’s a parallel in principle of coordinating exercise and coordinating combat, I find the real humor is if someone actually used this video as premise of their argument (I doubt it but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was at least one- there’s alway one.)

But really the first thing I thought of though when I watched this video was boot camp. I flashbacked to the numerous times DI’s were yelling at us for not doing things in sync during PT. I thought to myself, “Now I know why they got so mad at us,” because we look stupid, and it’s good training.

Although some might think about the zombie-like robot-stupid killing-machine mentality of the military, I really think there’s two benfits to doing jumping jacks in sync.

First point is that coordinated exercises is another oppurtunity to become one.  In combat, being in sync and coordinated is key. If you can’t even do coordinated jumping jacks with ten people, what about a platoon? What about a company? If 10 people can’t do the same thing at the same time, why expect the same 10 to do different things, in a coordinated way, at the same time?

“My argument can only be taken so far though. Obviously a group of construction workers would be coordinated in making a parking lot, but would less coordinated doing surgery. It takes practice. But at the same time, the more a group of people become one, the more quickly the group learns to adapt and overcome different tasks. As my heavy-hat, former SSgt Hernandez said, “The platoon just clicks.” That’s the essence of boot camp. Learning that the key to succeeding and surviving involves everyone- you’re weak people, you’re slow people, you’re strong people, you’re fast people– the point is they’re all you’re people. It’s very much like how the Christian body succeeds and grows:

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Ephesians 4:11-16

Success then is in the unity of the different parts, and in that unity the group will be able to overcome all.

My second point is of course survival. In a school of fish, in a herd of caribou, the one that decides to run in a different direction, or stick out in any way is the one that gets killed. Why make the job of a sniper easier? Don’t stick out by looking different.

Reiteraing what I said earlier, though it’s a useful tool for training, jumping jacks certainly is not a reliable measurement of how the war is going.

Laugh at the video, but don’t laugh too hard. Seriously.

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I am always wary of the media in how they portray stories. I will provide some thought on points the investigation portrays.

The investigative report suggested the banning of Dragon Skin was because some of the procurement officers now work for the companies of the Interceptor vests. Although possible, another equally valid reason (albeit politically incorrect) is the recent 167 million dollar contract. That’s 167 million dollars of tax dollars lost, not including the funds required to purchase the new Dragon Skin armor. Although Congress or the taxpayers might be willing to make such a sacrifice in the military budget -allocating additional dollars to purchase Dragon Skin- the Army would never give up the 167 million dollars of armor without promise for more money replacing them with Dragon Skin.

The idea that the ban took place in March, before the Dragon Skin testing in May also is misleading. In the Marine Corp, a ban was placed on any synthetic shirts outside of camps with the same, “safety of use message.” Especially where body armor is concerned, forcing troops to use the tested Interceptor Vest is better than the allowing untested Dragon Skin. If the Army had any interest in my opinion, I would make such a ban provisional, until Dragon Skin was tested independently of any preconceived answers considering the financial or procurement bias. Desired objectivity might even justify why the Army reportedly didn’t allow the Mechanical Engineer -and Dragon Skin proponent- to the Dragon Skin testing. However, the news special said the Army didn’t give a reason.

I digress. The Army didn’t use such a reason, and according to the Brigadier General Mark Brown’s response to the interview with Lisa Myers, “13 of 48” Dragon Skin tested suffered full penetration in a variety of testing conditions. Thus, they are not claiming it’s because of money, but because of legitimate testing (see Brigadier General’s press release).

I can’t answer if the US Army or Pentagon banned Dragon Skin due to corruption. A more realistic answer is perhaps the Army testing may have purposely produced negative test results (see Pinnacle Armor’s account of testing); the Army testers creating certain testing conditions to produce unfavorable results.

Such questionable testing occurred when the Army tested the AR-15 in Alaska without telling Stoner -with improperly assembled rifles!

Despite this, I’m still on the fence on who to believe, the US Army or Pinnacle Armor? Although I don’t doubt the testing by the media and numerous demonstrations by Pinnacle Armor, I believe Pinnacle Armor and the media have not addressed the accusation of failure at different temperatures (-60, 120, and 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Such a failure makes all the difference, I wouldn’t use the armor in combat knowing the adhesive might fail- regardless of how awesome it is at normal room temperature (however, see ballistic test with Dragon Skin in 170 degrees Fahrenheit). On the other hand, does the Army standards, specify testing armor at multiple temperatures? Or did the Army decide to do so because they wanted to produce instances of Dragon Skin failing like the M16 testing in Alaska? If indeed the Army was not using the test standards as an article from Defense Review states, it discredits many of the soldier’s trustworthiness (see Pinnacle Armor’s response to SOUM for particular instances of vagueness on the verge of lies).

More youtube videos:

PBS Newshour Debate (note the difference between what Col. Maginnis says about the lack of ballistic testing and Defense Review’s findings on ballistic testing)

For more details following this issue see:

Soldiers for the Truth Foundation

Defense Review

History Channel’s Test Lab feature on Dragon Skin

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WARNING: EMOTIONAL CONTENT.

Memorial Day morning…

Lest we forget, with our church retreats, picnics, the beach or sleeping in,

Take a time this morning or evening to remember those who have fallen in during times of war…

Out of all the pictures I’ve seen, I think this has got to be the most riveting for me of all the pictures concerning Iraq…

The picture of a Marine’s casket (a 2nd. Lt. Cathey, who left behind his pregnant wife) as contrast to the plane and the people looking out of the window…the contrast is beautifully captured and is almost surreal.

02.jpg

Enough with my words. THis picture was part of a series that won the pulizter prize…reading the 19 pages, you would know why.  Have tissues nearby, it is very emotional.

SOURCE:(Beware, its 10MB PDF FILE) 

The picture in its context:

The American Airlines 757 couldn’t have landed much farther from the war.  The plane arrived in Reno on a Friday evening, the beginning of the 2005 “Hot August Nights” festival — one of the city’s biggest—filled with flashing lights, fireworks,care free music and plenty of gambling.  When a young Marine in dress uniform had boarded the plane to Reno, the passengers smiled and nodded politely. None knew he had just come from the plane’s cargo hold, after watching his best friend’s casket loaded on board.

At 24 years old, Sgt. Gavin Conley was only seven days younger than the man in the coffin.The two had met as 17-year-olds on another plane — the one to boot camp in California. They had slept in adjoining top bunks,the two youngest recruitsin the barracks.

All Marines call each other brother. Conley and Jim Cathey could have been.They finished each other’s

sentences, had matching infantry tattoo setched on their shoulders, and cracked on each other as if they had grown up together— which, in some ways, they had.

When the airline crew found out about Conley’s mission, they bumped him to first-class.  He had never flown there before.  Neither had Jim Cathey.  On the flight, the woman sitting next to him nodded toward his uniform and asked if he was coming or going. To the war,she meant.

He fell back on the words the military had told him to say: “I’m escorting a fallen Marine home to his family from the situationin Iraq.”

The woman quietly said she was sorry, Conley said.  Then she began to cry.

When the plane landed in Nevada, the pilot asked the passengers to remain seated while Conley disembarked alone.

Then the pilot told them why.

The passengers pressed their faces against the windows.

Outside, a procession walked toward the plane. Passengers in window seats leaned back to give others a better view. One held a child up to watch.

From their seats in the plane, they saw a hearse and a Marine extending a white-gloved hand into a limousine,helping a pregnant woman out of the car.

On the tarmac, Katherine Cathey wrapped her arm around the major’s, steadying herself. Then her eyes locked on the cargohold and the flag-draped casket.

Inside the plane, they couldn’t hear the screams.

marsacrifice.jpg

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The Associated Press has a piece on the Marines and their problems with getting new types of equipment.

Notably, the following excerpt is enlightening:

Of more than 100 requests from deployed Marine units between February 2006 and February 2007, less than 10 percent have been fulfilled, the document says. It blamed the bureaucracy and a “risk-averse” approach by acquisition officials.

Those of us here who write for this blog all have background in the military and we all know what its like in the receiving (or shall I say the unreceived) end of things like this

Marines, I am proud to say, have always been good in making as much as possible with the little it has been given

Still, I hope some internal review and solution could be implemented to address the above concern

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On CNN, an article talks about the public’s response to John and Elizabeth Edwards decisions to continue the 2008 Presidential campaign. Though the article gave a lot of quotes none of them in particular seemed to defend their decision. However, another article did clear up some possible misunderstandings: The cancer though uncurable, “The doctors likened the situation to living diabetes, which can be managed but is a lifelong decision.” Though I can’t say anything about their decision, I can say something about newlyweds.

I thought this scripture gave some insight about what God thinks about newlyweds:

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.”
-Deut 24:5

Several observations:

  1. This verse specfically applies to newlyweds.
  2. Public duty or the army entails:
    1. Frequent traveling
    2. Being away from home and consequently his wife
    3. Possibility of death or public scrutiny
  3. It is good to spend a year with his wife

This scripture englightens the trouble in marriage for both military servicemen and celebrities. Both work long hours, spend hours away from home. The servicemen is in danger of death while the celebrity is under public scrutiny. Unfortunately both experience a high rate of failed marriages and divorce. Does this mean spending a year at home in the first year of marriage will prevent problems or a divorce? No. But if you are willing to do so, it does speak of the importance you hold to marriage.

I think God makes clear a principle here. If you are involved in business, music or movie industry, police or military, if possibile you should make arrangements to spend time that year near your wife. Avoid volunteering for extra duty or work. Take a year off of business trips or music tours if possible. God has made it clear- “he shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.”

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Today on 60 Minutes, Scott Pelley interviewed Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich about the his personal account and explanation of the 24 killed in Haditha, Iraq.

I will not comment on the killings because a court martial will provide the witness accounts, documents, and statements necessary to justify or condemn the Marines’ actions at Haditha back in November 2005. What I would like to comment on the revealed presupposition by Scott Pelley or 60 Minutes.

The questions demonstrated a total lack of understanding, illustrated by the type of questions posed. Though I do not expect a civilian to understand why serviceman are sometimes forced to chose the risk of civilian deaths, Scott Pelley’s line of questioning reveal that 60 Minutes is not really implying the guilt of Wuterich but implying guilt of the rules of engagement in general. In other words, their attacking the entire worldview that justifies warfare.

From first loaded question to last question, Wuterich is asked to justify and explain the tactics and the result of those tactics. Why do I say loaded? Because they demonstrate a presumption implying war is wrong because the way warfare is waged is wrong.

For example, when discussing the justification of Wuterich’s decision to assault the house south of his position:

“This building was right in the line of sight of this explosion here,” Wuterich says.

“You did not see fire coming from the house, correct?” asks Pelley.

“I did not see muzzle flashes coming from the house, correct,” Wuterich replies.

If he didn’t hear rounds coming from the house, how did he identify the house as a threat?

“Because that was the only logical place that the fire could come through seeing the environment there.”

Similarly, leading up to the narrative of the assault of the house, Pelley asks Wuterich to explain the justification of kicking in the door and throwing a grenade in the house:

“Frank, help me understand. You’re in a residence, how do you crack a door open and roll a grenade into a room?” Pelley asks.

“At that point, you can’t hesitate to make a decision. Hesitation equals being killed, either yourself or your men,” he says.

“But when you roll a grenade in a room through the crack in the door, that’s not positive identification, that’s taking a chance on anything that could be behind that door,” Pelley says.

“Well that’s what we do. That’s how our training goes,” he says.

The questions and follow-up questions reveal Pelley has a problem with the way warfare is waged- the tactics. Pelley finds throwing a grenade in the room before clearing the room problematic. Pelly’s question implies Wuterich ought to have look in the room to get “positive identification” of the enemy before throwing a grenade inside.

Pelley later goes on to list the dead, then asks Wuterich to explain the deaths.

In the second house was the Younis family. A 41-year-old man, a 35-year-old woman, a 28-year-old woman, and the children — Noor, 14; Sabah, 9; Zaineb, 3; and Aisha, 2. They were all killed by Wuterich’s men.

How does he explain that?

“We reacted to how we were supposed to react to our training and I did that to the best of my ability. You know the rest of the Marines that were there, they did their job properly as well. Did we know that civilians were in there? No. Did we go in those rooms, you know, it would have been one thing, if we went in those rooms and looked at everyone and shot them. You know, we cleared these houses the way they were supposed to be cleared,” he says.

What I find foolish is the question assuming that Wuterich could even explain the deaths in the first place. The question wasn’t sincere. The question wasn’t asking really to explain how they died, but WHY. Outside a Christian worldview, no one can explain why 2 year-old dies much less why the 3 children, Noor, Zaineb, and Aisha died.

The interview was never meant to give a personal account of what happened. Rather, all the questions reveal a presupposition, not about the Haditha killings at all, but rather of the tactics and the way war ought to be fought.

The loaded questions clearly reveal and were based on the assumption that war and the tatics in war were wrong. Thus, in reality, no explanation by Wuterich, or any military official for that matter, would justify throwing a grenade into a room before entering to 60 Minutes or Scott Pelley’s satisfaction.

Though Pelley might deny such presuppositions, the questions, follow-up questions, and reactions to the answers reveal the assumption that the actions taken by Wuterich are unexplainable, unjustifiable, and immoral to begin with- that’s why these particular questions were asked.

The most clear indication of the their presuppositions is the question posed to Wuterich’s attorneys:

“In an insurgency situation, Marines don’t get a second chance If they aren’t able to fire first, they die,” says Neil Puckett, who, along with Mark Zaid, are Wuterich’s civilian attorneys.

How can they make the argument that these killings are within the law?

“They’re within the law because they were not done without legal justification or excuse,” Puckett says. “They were done in a combat environment, in a tactical situation, in order to protect the lives of the remaining Marines who survived the IED that day. And that makes them lawful.”

Zaid adds: “And these three one Marines knew — their buddies and colleagues who had tried to do similar take downs of houses where they tried, in fact, to knock first and shoot later. And the Marines who tried that were dead.”

What the dialogue above reveals is the arbitrariness and wishful thinking of how warfare ought to be. How do the question posers even assume that there are laws that ought to be followed? Because a bunch of law writers made them? Social convention? When war is fought, people are disagreeing so much, they are willing to kill each other over it! Do people follow laws when they are willing to kill? And if they don’t, what then? And if they do, what is reasonable and unreasonable? According to whom? According to what standard?

Further in the interview, 60 Minutes, asked several more questions regarding the tactics:

“Are there circumstances under which you’d declare an entire house hostile and go in with the intention of just killing everyone inside?”

Donovan Campell, a Reserve Captain interviewed separately, answered:

“You have to have the context of heavy enemy involvement in the area and then I think you have to have a more specific operating context that deals specifically with that house. You know there are several insurgents inside and you need to go in and get them out because they are attacking you.”

(In other words: Yes if one, in the past, you were attacked and you know the enemy are involved in the general area and two, if more specifically you resonably believe insurgents to be inside the house. ) To which Pelley predicatably responded with the question:

“How do you know?”

The end reaffirmed that the interview was really about the tactics and justification of the tactics rather than the killings in Haditha:

“What I did that day, the decisions that I made, I would make those decisions today,” he says.

“What I’m talking about is the tactical decisions. It doesn’t sit well with me that women and children died that day,”

In the end, Scott Pelley asked if Wuterich wanted to apologize, to which Wuterich responded:

“There is nothing that I can possibly say to make up or make well the deaths of those women and children and I am absolutely sorry that that happened that day.”

In closing, when two different worldviews have different starting points for morality and ethics, the argument becomes endless controversey talking about the individual points and scenarios instead of arguing over the presuppositions or fundamental standard of what is right and wrong, of what is true and not true. Thus unfortunately, Wuterich’s original intention to defend against the accusations of being a baby-killer and monster were fruitless because they did not deal with the presuppositions.

As a sidenote, I want to point out I’m not defending Wuterich’s actions. Thus, if the court-martial finds him guilty, it would show that Wuterich and the other Marines were not justified in using the tactics, not that in general, the tactics are not justifiable.

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North and South Korea

BBC News reports that South Korean troops shot about 40 warning shots after soldiers moved about 30 meters into the before returning to their side of the demarcation zone. The article also discusses the announcement by North Korea of a nuclear test, and the recent statement by the United Nations Security Council that, “warned of unspecified action against North Korea if it went ahead with a test explosion.” The webpage also includes a record of events regarding the nuclear crisis.

YouTube

In other news, Google has been reported to be in a “sensitive stage” of discussion to purchase YouTube for 1.6 billion. YouTube was founded by three former employees of Ebay’s Paypal. More background can be found at BBC News.

In related news, YouTube, currently talking with record labels, is planning to offer legitimate music videos, (pirated videos can be found) free of charge.

Corpman testifies against Marine Murders


Corpman walking with legal entourageBBC News reports:

“US Petty Officer Melson J Bacos agreed a plea bargain to avoid murder charges and will testify against seven marines in later hearings.

The medic said the incident in the western Iraqi town of Hamdaniya in April made him “sick to my stomach”.

The case is one of several in which US troops are accused of killing Iraqis.”

Amish Support

Horse carriage on streetThe funerals for four of the girls took place on monday, with the fifth planned for friday. BBC News reports:

Donations have been coming in from around the world to help with medical expenses – Amish do not carry health insurance.

One insurance company has pledged $500,000 (£265,000).
But the Amish have also reached out to the family of Roberts, the 32-year-old milk-tanker driver who killed himself at the end of the shooting spree.

Amish leaders have helped set up a fund for the family at a local bank.

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I Hate Icebreakers

A recruiter in the Marines once placed a bunch of placards in front of me and asked me, “If you could only choose 3 reasons why you wanted to join the Marines, what would they be?” One of the items I choose was brotherhood.

I once made the observation that whenever I’m back with the Marines, it really felt like a reunion. Especially after returning from Iraq, it always felt like a blessing meeting them. “We made it back home alive.” We entrusted each other with our lives whether we liked each or not. It always brought a smile to my face to see on my buddies from Iraq. We grew close.

 This closeness is the type we should have in the Church. And what bothers me so much, is that for the last 2000 years, the brothers and sisters of Christ have loved each other, were glad to see each other, and would lay down their life for each other in a way different from today. Today we have a new invention: Icebreakers.

I hate icebreakers. I detest them with a passion. After having gone through retreats, high school and college group with ice breakers as a non-Christian and Christian I find them utterly pointless. If you really want to have a connection. If you really desire to rejoice upon seeing your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. To cry when they cry, and be burdened with their burdens- then take a lesson from the Marines and from the early church:

Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. You will grow to love the brothers and sisters that you serve with and suffer with, deeply connecting with them. Then and only then, will every chance you see them be like a reunion.

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