“The Big War” … (Not WW2)

I’m not sure I see the 1914 parallel, but there’s something to it: ISTANBUL — The Middle East crisis that peaked one year ago Wednesday when the Islamic State captured Mosul may result in the breakup of Iraq and an indefinite continuation of a war in Syria that’s already out of control, analysts say. Yet still worse things could happen. Indeed. “I am extremely pessimistic” about the future of Iraq, said Toby Dodge, a leading scholar on Iraq who teaches at the London School of Economics. He said he doubted that Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, “a very decent man, […]

No Shit Sherlock

Blinding Flash of the Freaking Obvious by Donald Rumsfeld. “I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories,” Rumsfeld told the Times. “The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words.” Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-rumsfeld-admits-that-expecting-a-democracy-in-iraq-was-unrealistic-2015-6#ixzz3cZ8t1nAE

Rusty Warhorses in Iraq Are Resurrected

Well, who can blame them? In a military scrapyard in the southern Iraqi desert, abandoned army equipment sat for years waiting to be melted down to steel bars. Now, thanks to new conflict and a resourceful old mechanic, some of the rusty warhorses have won a reprieve. Last June’s stunning offensive by Islamic State militants who control much of northern and western Iraq left the army in disarray and much of its U.S.-supplied equipment was taken over by the advancing radical Sunni Muslim fighters. Baghdad’s Shi’ite-led government appealed for reinforcements from across the world to help it fight back. But […]

Onward Christian Soldiers

Westerners, some of whom are Christian, are in Iraq fighting ISIS. Usually, even a little old lady bringing her lime jello with carrots inside is something that gives atheists a case of the screaming scours, but given the realities of the world, Christians are once again taking up arms to defend others of their faith. Is this a case of mere Christianity, or is there something more going on that that may be in alignment with the rapid return to the faith in Europe and the trend of Americans to leave historically liberal churches for more conservative ones?  

A Man worth Following

Yesterday Senator James Webb announced an exploratory bid for the presidency.  I honestly never thought of him as a Candidate for the job.  The reality is that the bench on the Democratic side is extraordinarily slim.  The Republicans have a few guys I’d take a look at.  Many of you might recall him as the combat boot wearing candidate who ran for the Virginia Senate seat.  Although it was in solidarity of his son who was deployed at the time.  Webb, a Marine, is a Combat Veteran of Vietnam who was award for conspicuous gallantry on numerous occasions, an accomplished […]

Veterans as Journalists, or how to find an answer

An article over at DefenseOne paints journalist-vets as the heroes of the effort to expose a military cover-up over the use of WMD in Iraq. Perhaps it takes veterans to cover the news since our newsies are curiously incurious. What they uncovered was astonishing: U.S. and Iraqi forces had secretly recovered about 5,000 chemical weapons during the eight-year war, with the first report documenting 17 American and seven Iraqi soldiers injured by mustard and nerve agents—including the only documented battlefield exposures to a nerve agent in U.S. military history. The Pentagon, later prompted by the story,revealed the number wounded as higher than […]

The WMDs in Iraq

Op-For stalwart George W. wrote in suggesting this for a post, a major story that’s been overshadowed by the Ebola fiasco– “Report: U.S. kept secret its chemical weapons finds in Iraq.” What say we? Does anyone have first knowledge or experience?

The Burden of War

Falleth not upon the Soldier, or Marine, or Sailor, or Airman.  But on the people who sent him to that beach without water.  Here‘s an interesting article by Sebastian Junger who has spent much of his journalistic career embedded among Soldiers to tell their story. The Soldier. . .is a tool.  When you hammer a nail as you build a bed frame, what take responsibility for it?  The hammer?  I would say no.  It must be the person hammering the nail.  To that effect, the Soldier is a tool, he should not bear the majority of the pain or blame […]

Big Red One HQ Headed to Iraq

Not sure I understand this one, but then again I could be missing something. If there are no ground formations to be commanded and controlled, why a division HQ? Or is is just a convenient sourcing solution for an ad-hoc commend element? If the latter, is an infantry division HQ the right choice?

The Long War

When I was studying in France back in 2009 one of the many unique opportunities I had was to attend the Collogue Guerre Irreguliere/Irregular Warfare Conference at Camp Coetquidan.  And one of the things a British General said was that NATO knew Afghanistan would be a 20 year war.  That it would take an entire generation to fight and rebuild that country. The reason I bring this up, one of our categories here on OPFOR is The Long War.  I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that my generation’s war never ended.  That this irregular enemy, the non-state actor, would continue to […]