Cause and Effect

Some could label this post as, “An example of unintended consequences.” I chose the one above because it’s shorter and I really don’t believe the ‘Effect’ is unintended. What am I talking about? Baltimore…and by extension, all the large, liberal controlled cities.

There is a story out today about Baltimore. One headline laments the rising murder rate in Baltimore after the riots. The other headline for the same story reports the reluctness of the police to enter the riot areas.

Alarming Surge In Murders And Shootings In Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — City crime spike. A dramatic increase in violence in Baltimore. Dozens of shooting and murders in the last few weeks following the riots last month.

Christie Ileto reports some are concerned police are hesitant to crack down after six officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

“People have said its because morale is down, or it’s because the officers were charged. We don’t know that,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

While city leaders are working to curb the rash of bloodshed.

A Baltimore police officer who chose to remain anonymous says the Freddie Gray case impacted policing.

“If you want them to be proactive in patrolling and trying to catch people, I could see them not being interested in doing that,” the officer said.

William Scipio heads Sandtown’s Resident Action Committee–an area once at the heart of April’s unrest.

Ileto: “When was the last time you’ve personally seen an officer in Sandtown?”

Scipio: “Since the riots.”

Is anyone really surprised? Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has tied the hands of the police. The residents know they can prevent arrest and charges by filing a complaint. Why should the street cops risk jobs and their lives when they know the city administration will not back them and will, instead, file criminal charges against them doing their jobs?

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake should not be surprised. Cause. Effect.

***

Have you heard the term, “Wookie suiter.” The term started as a joke a number of years ago. It was intended to ridicule some self-serving, fringe “patriots” who saw conspiracies at every term.

It was a joke a decade ago. It isn’t today. Now, there are so-called conservative websites whose sole purpose is to promote conspiracy theories—and a growing number of people are buying their claims hook-line-and-sinker.

The current conspiracy du jour is the Army’s Jade Helm training exercise. Every year the Army conducts training in various states among the citizenry. The Army has done so for decades, at least since the 1970s.

On occasion, the Army has asked veterans and military retirees to help with the training; in some cases acting as the OpFor, or the Opposing Force. I remember one occasion when I was a member of Air Force MARS, some MARS members were asked to use their amateur radio HF mobile stations to simulate insurgent radio stations.

Idiots, like Alex Jones and his InfoWars website, has been stoking the coals since the Army announced Jade Helm. I see photos claiming to find Army vehicles hidden in the woods along with train-loads of trucks, MRAPs and Humvees on railroad sidings. Strangely, most of these photos are a decade or more old, some since the build-up for the first Gulf War. But, the conspiracy websites aren’t interested in the truth. It’s all about web hits and revenue from advertisers created by those web hits.

The conspiracy theorists overlook one thing. Jade Helm doesn’t start until August 15. the Army doesn’t have the resources to hide all those vehicles now. Their budget has been cut. Leaving the vehicles exposed for a couple of months is a guarantee they won’t start come August.

Another item these conspiracy theorists overlook is their belief the Army would obey orders to start rounding up American citizens without cause. Even today, with the politicized Army command structure, few officers would obey such orders.

Obama, Distrust, and the Armed Forces

By Russ Vaughn, May 19, 2015

I recently wrote a piece here about the Jade Helm military operations scheduled to be conducted across large areas of the U.S. this summer. A few irresponsible conservative web sites are using these routine military training activities to frighten citizens in the selected areas into believing the federal government is planning an armed takeover of their locales. I warned in that previous article that neither the training operations nor the alarmed citizenry are anything new; the U.S. Army has conducted such training for decades and there has always been some civil protest. I made jumps into civilian areas and ran ops back in the 1960’s. But this time, through the wide reach of the Internet, the fear factor among the citizenry has been driven through the roof.

I’m a conservative, registered Republican who has been a contributor of conservative themed articles here at American Thinker for a decade. I’m also a ground combat veteran of Vietnam who spent much of his post-college career marketing to the military, a job that took me to Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine installations all across the country and overseas. I have shared many meals and happy hours with enlisted personnel and officers, during which many frank, forthright discussions were held regarding politics and the political leadership of the times.

Not once in almost five decades of my association with the military have I heard any serving member or veteran agree that he would take up arms against fellow Americans to impose the political will of a sitting president. Conversely, I’ve heard many times that an order to do so would be considered unlawful and refusable. When the Jade Helm article was cross-posted at my favorite soldiers’ blog, This Ain’t Hell, I was gratified to see that the majority of comments there, almost all from still-serving service members or veterans, validated that belief.

That was in stark contrast to the reaction here at American Thinker. Comments here were almost universally negative with my denial that the operation was a federal takeover of Texas and Utah by Obama being heavily ridiculed. Even readers who normally post supportive comments on my writings, sometimes even thanking me for stating their views, called me a naïve fool and a dupe of the Obama administration. It was a bit of a downer until those military comments began coming in later at the soldier’s blog, reaffirming my faith in my fellow warriors. Clearly, distrust of Obama is very strong on both sites; the difference being the troops trust our troops. 

One of the evidentiary cudgels that was used on me here at AT was the militarization of local and state level police departments in recent years and how those forces, using military weapons would join with the military forces of Jade Helm to suppress, oppress, even imprison dissenters in Texas and Utah. I found that ironic in that I have written articles here in the past critical of this heavy arming of civilian law enforcement. On that topic, the primarily civilian readership here at AT and the military followers of TAH were in agreement that this practice needs to be curtailed. It was only some law enforcement officers at both sites who accused me of ignorance or treachery and even among that cohort, some LEO’s agreed with my premise.

Today the Obama administration, in a move no doubt attributable to the increasing level of conflict between law enforcement and the black community, announced it will cease supplying certain surplus military weaponry, such as tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and grenade launchers among numerous other items including, for suspect reasons, bayonets. Some surplus weaponry already distributed may be recalled and future use of military weaponry may be restricted by federal guidelines. Of course, the administration is hiding behind the skirts of a federal commission that recommended these changes in federal policy after a lengthy study that was initiated after the Ferguson incident.

The column continues on the American Thinker website. It thoroughly debunks the conspiracy theorists. But there will always be that segment who would rather believe in myths than realities. I call them the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade.

George McGovern—then and now

I haven’t heard much about this on the broadcast and print news…George McGovern died. Many of the younger folk won’t know who he was. He was the socialist…democrat candidate for President in 1972 running against Nixon. Nixon was up for his second term after beating Hubert Humphrey in 1968.

He was beaten by Nixon in a landslide. The democrats blamed the fiasco over VP candidate Senator Thomas Eagleton (D-MO). The real reason was not Eagleton’s issues, but the fact that McGovern wanted to appease the Russians and the North Vietnamese. His plan would be an effective disassembly of our military—cutting it in half in the case of the Navy and Air Force. The plan would be a withdrawal of the US forces opposing the Soviet Union, Communist China and the other dictatorships in eastern Europe and around the world.

I remember seeing a chart in Time magazine with the comparative size of our military compared to the Soviets before and after McGovern. It’s my belief that chart destroyed McGovern’s chances for the Presidency.

The before chart was bad. The US Army was 1/4th the size of the Soviet army, The long-range US Air Force bombers was on par with the Soviets. But it was our Navy—a true three ocean Navy that outclassed the Soviets. Except for submarines. There, we had a clear advantage in nuclear subs. The Soviets had many more diesel-electric subs that we did. In fact, at that time, most US diesel-subs were being decommissioned.

The after McGovern chart was horrible. The ground forces situation was worse. The US bomber force was cut in half as well as our land-based ICBMs. The Navy was reduced to nine fleets, if I remember correctly, and the Navy ballistic subs were cut as well. All this at a time the Soviets were pushing all around the world.

McGovern lost handily as he deserved.

Now that you’ve had a history lesson, compare McGovern’s plan with Obama’s. Our armed forces are in disarray and demoralized. The Navy is smaller than our Navy before WW I. We no longer have a long range bomber force. Most of our remaining long-range bombers—the B-52s and B-1bs have been converted to carry conventional bombs. Only a few remain in their original nuclear configuration. Few, if any, are on ramp alert.

And what is happening on the other side of the world? China is preparing to seize the oil and gas rich South China Sea, a territory also claimed by Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippine Islands. Putin just completed an exercise of their nuclear forces and is deploying a new-generation of mobile ICBMs. We, on the other hand, decommissioned our last ICBM upgrade, the Peace-Keeper ICBM, as part of the S.T.A.R.T. treaty. Putin is ignoring the treaty when it suits him.

There are reports that Putin is placing MRBM missile in Cuba as Khrushchev attempted to do 50 years ago. He’s also rebuilding Russian bases around the world.

The world is not a safe place. As our ability to extend a military presence around the world declines, those who oppose us will fill in the gaps left by our withdrawal. The result will endanger us all.

After the debate last night, focus groups said Obama had a better handle in foreign policy than Romney. We are truly in danger if half the country really believes that.

Friday Morning at the Pentagon

I came across this story from William the Coroner’s blog. It needs to be spread far and wide. Michael Yon writes of a little known ceremony held in the Pentagon to honor Army wounded.

Published: 27 November 2009

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I’m turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here’s Lt. Col. Bateman’s account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.

“It is 110 yards from the “E” ring to the “A” ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army’ hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. “10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

“A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

“Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden … yet.

“Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier’s chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

“Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

“11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt… Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway – 20, 25, 30…. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along…. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

“There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son’s behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

“Did you know that?

The media haven’t yet told the story.”

V/R TK
TOM KUNK
COL, GS
Division Chief for ODO
HQDA, G3/5/7

A fitting tribute to those who have paid a price to defend our nation.

Friday Morning at the Pentagon

I came across this story from William the Coroner’s blog. It needs to be spread far and wide. Michael Yon writes of a little known ceremony held in the Pentagon to honor Army wounded.

Published: 27 November 2009

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I’m turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here’s Lt. Col. Bateman’s account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.

“It is 110 yards from the “E” ring to the “A” ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army’ hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. “10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

“A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

“Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden … yet.

“Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier’s chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

“Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

“11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt… Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway – 20, 25, 30…. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along…. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

“There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son’s behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

“Did you know that?

The media haven’t yet told the story.”

V/R TK
TOM KUNK
COL, GS
Division Chief for ODO
HQDA, G3/5/7

A fitting tribute to those who have paid a price to defend our nation.