Monday, April 29, 2013

Hawaii VW Wisdom for Air Cooled Engines

This is very cool and very true......I would like to visit this place next time I get out to Maui

Sunday, April 28, 2013

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.”

Is it possible that the people in our Government are this bloody stupid??

Guess so.  Sad, as Pogo got it right when he said, " We have met the enemy, and he is us."

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Off-the-books cash delivered directly to President Karzai’s office shows payments on a vast scale.
All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader. 
“We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.” 
The C.I.A., which declined to comment for this article, has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing. 
Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan. 
“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.” 
The United States was not alone in delivering cash to the president. Mr. Karzai acknowledged a few years ago that Iran regularly gave bags of cash to one of his top aides.
At the time, in 2010, American officials jumped on the payments as evidence of an aggressive Iranian campaign to buy influence and poison Afghanistan’s relations with the United States. What they did not say was that the C.I.A. was also plying the presidential palace with cash — and unlike the Iranians, it still is. 
American and Afghan officials familiar with the payments said the agency’s main goal in providing the cash has been to maintain access to Mr. Karzai and his inner circle and to guarantee the agency’s influence at the presidential palace, which wields tremendous power in Afghanistan’s highly centralized government. The officials spoke about the money only on the condition of anonymity. 
It is not clear that the United States is getting what it pays for. Mr. Karzai’s willingness to defy the United States — and the Iranians, for that matter — on an array of issues seems to have only grown as the cash has piled up. Instead of securing his good graces, the payments may well illustrate the opposite: Mr. Karzai is seemingly unable to be bought. 
Over Iran’s objections, he signed a strategic partnership deal with the United States last year, directly leading the Iranians to halt their payments, two senior Afghan officials said. Now, Mr. Karzai is seeking control over the Afghan militias raised by the C.I.A. to target operatives of Al Qaeda and insurgent commanders, potentially upending a critical part of the Obama administration’s plans for fighting militants as conventional military forces pull back this year. 
But the C.I.A. has continued to pay, believing it needs Mr. Karzai’s ear to run its clandestine war against Al Qaeda and its allies, according to American and Afghan officials. 
Like the Iranian cash, much of the C.I.A.’s money goes to paying off warlords and politicians, many of whom have ties to the drug trade and, in some cases, the Taliban. The result, American and Afghan officials said, is that the agency has greased the wheels of the same patronage networks that American diplomats and law enforcement agents have struggled unsuccessfully to dismantle, leaving the government in the grips of what are basically organized crime syndicates. 
The cash does not appear to be subject to the oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid to the country or even the C.I.A.’s formal assistance programs, like financing Afghan intelligence agencies. And while there is no evidence that Mr. Karzai has personally taken any of the money — Afghan officials say the cash is handled by his National Security Council — the payments do in some cases work directly at odds with the aims of other parts of the American government in Afghanistan, even if they do not appear to violate American law.
Handing out cash has been standard procedure for the C.I.A. in Afghanistan since the start of the war. During the 2001 invasion, agency cash bought the services of numerous warlords, including Muhammad Qasim Fahim, the current first vice president.
“We paid them to overthrow the Taliban,” the American official said. 
The C.I.A. then kept paying the Afghans to keep fighting. For instance, Mr. Karzai’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was paid by the C.I.A. to run the Kandahar Strike Force, a militia used by the agency to combat militants, until his assassination in 2011
A number of senior officials on the Afghan National Security Council are also individually on the agency’s payroll, Afghan officials said. 
While intelligence agencies often pay foreign officials to provide information, dropping off bags of cash at a foreign leader’s office to curry favor is a more unusual arrangement.
Afghan officials said the practice grew out of the unique circumstances in Afghanistan, where the United States built the government that Mr. Karzai runs. To accomplish that task, it had to bring to heel many of the warlords the C.I.A. had paid during and after the 2001 invasion. 
By late 2002, Mr. Karzai and his aides were pressing for the payments to be routed through the president’s office, allowing him to buy the warlords’ loyalty, a former adviser to Mr. Karzai said. 
Then, in December 2002, Iranians showed up at the palace in a sport utility vehicle packed with cash, the former adviser said. 
The C.I.A. began dropping off cash at the palace the following month, and the sums grew from there, Afghan officials said. 
Payments ordinarily range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, the officials said, though none could provide exact figures. The money is used to cover a slew of off-the-books expenses, like paying off lawmakers or underwriting delicate diplomatic trips or informal negotiations. 
Much of it also still goes to keeping old warlords in line. One is Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek whose militia served as a C.I.A. proxy force in 2001. He receives nearly $100,000 a month from the palace, two Afghan officials said. Other officials said the amount was significantly lower. 
Mr. Dostum, who declined requests for comment, had previously said he was given $80,000 a month to serve as Mr. Karzai’s emissary in northern Afghanistan. “I asked for a year up front in cash so that I could build my dream house,” he was quoted as saying in a 2009 interview with Time magazine. 
Some of the cash also probably ends up in the pockets of the Karzai aides who handle it, Afghan and Western officials said, though they would not identify any by name.
That is not a significant concern for the C.I.A., said American officials familiar with the agency’s operations. “They’ll work with criminals if they think they have to,” one American former official said. 
Interestingly, the cash from Tehran appears to have been handled with greater transparency than the dollars from the C.I.A., Afghan officials said. The Iranian payments were routed through Mr. Karzai’s chief of staff. Some of the money was deposited in an account in the president’s name at a state-run bank, and some was kept at the palace. The sum delivered would then be announced at the next cabinet meeting. The Iranians gave $3 million to well over $10 million a year, Afghan officials said. 
When word of the Iranian cash leaked out in October 2010, Mr. Karzai told reporters that he was grateful for it. He then added: “The United States is doing the same thing. They are providing cash to some of our offices.” 
At the time, Mr. Karzai’s aides said he was referring to the billions in formal aid the United States gives. But the former adviser said in a recent interview that the president was in fact referring to the C.I.A.’s bags of cash. 
No one mentions the agency’s money at cabinet meetings. It is handled by a small clique at the National Security Council, including its administrative chief, Mohammed Zia Salehi, Afghan officials said. 
Mr. Salehi, though, is better known for being arrested in 2010 in connection with a sprawling, American-led investigation that tied together Afghan cash smuggling, Taliban finances and the opium trade. Mr. Karzai had him released within hours, and the C.I.A. then helped persuade the Obama administration to back off its anticorruption push, American officials said. 
After his release, Mr. Salehi jokingly came up with a motto that succinctly summed up America’s conflicting priorities. He was, he began telling colleagues, “an enemy of the F.B.I., and a hero to the C.I.A.”
Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting from Washington.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Evolution of Batman

Batman nails it....

"People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy, and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood; I can be ignored, I can be destroyed. But as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible. I can be everlasting. "

Bruce Wayne / Batman Begins

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hailstones reek havoc in Kandahar

Tuesday was a weird day here in Kandahar.  That is quite a statement as this place has some pretty messed up things happening daily but yesterday was a new one.

We got hit by a thunderstorm/hail that lasted about 30 minutes, pelting everything with hailstones as large as golfballs.  It destroyed cars, windsheilds, tables and just about everything that was outside.

The Hail punched holes in our picnic tables that were outside.
The sad news was that three local Afghan Citizens were killed by the hailstones, getting hit in the head hard enough to take their lives.
Of all the ways to get killed in this country, ( and there are many), no one ever wrote on a death certificate, " Killed by Hailstone " until today.
This place never ceases to amaze me as it is crazy here in Kandahar.  Time to go home in about 27 days.....sounds like a plan.  Get outta here and go home.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston and Benghazi - We deserve answers from our government

I have a unique point of view when it comes to the terror attacks that have occurred over the last dozen years.

I lost a high school friend on 09/11/01.  He was on the 104th Fl of Tower Two at World Trade. I was on duty with the US Navy serving on an exercise in Egypt when it all went down.  I was unable to come home for over a month. It was a terrible time and we were unable to help our people at home.

I lost a shipmate of mine when he was killed on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 12th 2000.  He was a shipmate of mine from the USS Constitution when we were on the Under Sail Operation in July 1997 in Boston.  I was home this time and unable to help those on the USS Cole which is what any Sailor would want to do.

Now, the attack was in my home city of Boston, killing 4 people (including the MIT Police officer gunned down by the terrorists) and injuring almost 200 others.  Once again, I found myself overseas, this time in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I was only able to follow the story, send out messages via twitter and pray they got the Bastards.  Prayers answered.

In the last 7 months, we also suffered the loss of 4 of our people in Benghazi, Libya including 2 US Navy SEALS who are my Navy Brothers. Once again, I was in Kandahar when this happened and unable to do anything to help. The way this terrorism incident was handled was so poorly done, it defies logic.  The way the President and Hillary Clinton acted was shameful and without honor.  We were lied to about what happened, plain and simple.

I take all of this very seriously and find the response from the White House on both attacks to be highly unsatisfactory.  The White House is an impediment to finding the truth and stonewall more than the Nixon White House, which is no small feat.

We, the American people, need answers on what happened in Boston and Benghazi.  What is most unsettling is we have the most inexperienced President in the history of our nation and his administration has done nothing but pump a pile of BS out to the people he serves.  I don't expect every last piece of info but we need more reliable info than we are being given.

They hit my city and my people.  The terrorists have done this before and now done it again.  At the same time, a BS artist and his half-arsed administration told the world they have this covered and that the terrorists are done.

What is "done" is the confidence that the American people have in those in Washington DC as they have proven to be as incompetent as they come.  They are worse than incompetent as they continue to brag about how well they are doing when they are failing miserably.

The people of Boston and our local Police are the ones who got it done in Boston.  Seven months after Benghazi, we have no answers and no one has been held responsible. 
I would say under any measure of things, BOSTON gets it done while the Obama Administration, not at all.  The people of Boston got it done as they stepped up to help our local law enforcement.  The FBI and ATF was in support but the credit goes to the local law enforcement.

Some people smarter than me write about what to do with the captured terrorist in the WSJ.  I leave it to you.  I feel we deserve much better response and answers than a bunch of BS artists slapping themselves on the back in Washington telling us to trust them when they have proven to be totally untrustworthy.

We need answers on Boston and Benghazi.  Period. Now.

Enemy Combatants in Boston

Was there a FISA order issued for Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

Wall Street Journal - 04/22/13
A row has broken out over whether the Obama Administration is violating the legal due process of Boston terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by not reading him his Miranda rights before questioning. The more relevant question for the safety of the U.S. homeland is why the Administration has declined to designate him as a terrorist enemy combatant.

With Dzhokhar wounded and in custody and his brother Tamerlan dead, the focus is shifting to how the brothers became radicalized and whether they had links to foreign or domestic terror networks. It's becoming clearer by the day that elder brother Tamerlan had become increasingly religious and that his motive last week was Islamic jihad against America.
U.S. officials say he spent months overseas in 2012, including time in Chechnya. Media reports say the FBI questioned him after a warning from a foreign intelligence service (presumably Russia's). Yet the FBI appears not to have kept an eye on him, though media reports now say that within a month of returning from Russia he was posting jihadist videos on websites.

The FBI has some explaining to do, and more than merely claiming that it can't track everyone who pops up on a foreign intelligence list. One question is whether anyone in government requested that the federal FISA court issue a warrant so Tamerlan could have his Web postings or phone calls surveilled electronically. This doesn't mean G-men in a car following him 24-7. It means putting him into a National Security Agency program so that pro-jihad postings would be noticed.

FBI officials were clearly major sources for the Associated Press stories in 2011 that attacked the New York Police Department for its antiterror surveillance program, in part for reasons of bureaucratic competition. But in the Boston case, we only wish the NYPD had been in charge. Instead the FBI interviewed Tamerlan, then apparently lost interest or focus even as he was showing signs of radicalization, so the homegrown jihadist was able to engineer the most successful terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Which brings us to interrogating 19-year-old Dzhokhar if he recovers from his wounds. The flap over reading his Miranda rights is a largely irrelevant distraction. Under a 1984 Supreme Court decision (New York v. Quarles), police can invoke a "public-safety exception" to Miranda for a short period of time. Attorney General Eric Holder has embraced this exception as a way to show that the criminal-justice system can handle terrorists as well as the law-of-war paradigm favored by the Bush Administration.

But this is mainly for political show. The only real issue in letting Dzhokhar lawyer-up under Miranda is whether evidence gathered during interrogation can be used in court. There's already plenty of video and other evidence linking him to the bombings.

The important security issue isn't convicting Dzhokhar but finding out what he knows that might prevent a future attack or break up a terror network. This is where naming him an enemy combatant would be useful. Such a designation allows for extensive, long-term interrogation without a lawyer. Especially because President Obama has barred enhanced-interrogation techniques, such long-term psychological pressure can be crucial to learning if the brothers worked with anyone else, if they received terrorist training, and more.

This is why Senators Kelly Ayotte, John McCain and Lindsey Graham are urging the Administration to label Dkhokhar an enemy combatant. The Supreme Court has ruled that even American citizens—Dkhokhar is one—can be held indefinitely as enemy combatants. If he cooperates, the combatant designation can be revoked and he can always be transferred to the criminal-justice system for prosecution.

The Boston bombing also ought to chasten Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and other libertarians who keep insisting that the U.S. homeland is not part of the terror battlefield.

"It's different overseas than it will be here. It's different in the battlefield than it will be here," Mr. Paul told Fox News earlier this year. "Which gets precisely to the argument I have with some other Republicans who say, well, 'the battlefield is everywhere, there is no limitation.' President Obama says this. Some members of my party say the battle has no geographic limitations and the laws of war apply. It's important to know that the law of war that they're talking about means no due process."
Boylston Street sure looked like a battlefield on Monday, and so did Watertown on Thursday night. The artificial distinction is Mr. Paul's focus on geography. The vital distinction for public safety is between common criminals, who deserve due process protections, and enemy combatants at war with the U.S., wherever they are.

As for due process, the greatest danger to liberty would be to allow more such attacks that would inspire an even greater public backlash against Muslims or free speech or worse. The anti-antiterror types on the left and GOP Senators who agree that the U.S. isn't part of the battlefield are making the U.S. more vulnerable.

Americans erupted in understandable relief and gratitude on Friday with the rapid capture of the terrorist brothers. But we shouldn't forget that their attack succeeded, with horrific consequences for the dead, the wounded and their loved ones. The main goal now is to prevent the next attack.

Correction: The FBI says it interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011. An earlier version of this story cited erroneous media reports saying he was interviewed in 2012.
A version of this article appeared April 22, 2013, on page A14 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Enemy Combatants in Boston

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Big Papi lets it fly at Fenway Park after a tough week

Some difficult pics from Boston this week especially seeing what went down.  It ended as it should with our Police and Citizens working together to rid our city of terrorists. It is always great to see pics from Fenway Park when I am away from home as Fenway is the heart of Boston
And Big Papi puts out a few words which summarized how many in Boston felt –
All right, Boston,” Ortiz said. “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston.
We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job they did this past week.
This is our (expletive) city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
Roger that, Big Papi

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Strong / Patriots One and All

What a week for all those who live and call Boston their home.  If you are from Massachusetts, Boston is the epicenter of all that represents us as people who identify ourselves as Bostonians.

The local and federal law enforcement showed the world how a manhunt is conducted and along with the help of many citizens, identified these cowardly bastards.  These citizens and police are Patriots, one and all.

The manhunt that the world witnessed was unprecedented in the history of our country. These idiots hit us hard but they saw that they messed with the wrong city.  The swift force of justice hunted them down.

I was in the DFAC this morning while the news of the capture of the 2nd suspect played out on the TV.  A member of the local cooks was standing next to me and I proudly pointed at the TV and told him, " That's my home - These people are my tribe ! "  - As all things here are focused on tribal affiliation, I wanted to make sure he knew how proud I was of my people.

On NCIS LA, there is an episode where they were dealing with a criminal who takes out two of the NCIS staff in horrific fashion.  Agent Callen ( played by Chris ODonnell) has a heated discussion with the Deputy Director Granger as they are going to let the bad guy walk for political purposes

Callen says to Granger  "He killed our people! OUR PEOPLE !"

I and many others have experienced that same emotion this week.  I woke up Tuesday morning here in Kandahar to the news of the bombing as it happened while we were sleeping ( 8 1/2 hrs time difference).  I cried and wanted to do something but I am here in Kandahar.  I went through the same emotions when I was in Egypt on 09/11.  It is a terrible feeling of being away, being separated from all you love and desperately wanting to be there to help.  There is no way to really describe the emotions as it is an empty feeling but one of resolve to help in any way you can.

Friday was our day off and like many others, I followed the events live via SAT TV.  It was my way of coping with not being able to be there.  It went on all day and I had to go to bed to be up the next day.  Saturday morning I woke up and watched the final part of the drama play itself out.  But this is far from over as we need to know the who, what, when , where and the WHY behind all of this.

I am BOSTON Proud and always have been.  It is where my family has called home since 1635.  14 generations of my family have lived in Massachusetts and my Mom's parents both came here straight from the Old Sod of Ireland.

They hit us hard but we showed the world we are BOSTON STRONG Always & forever.

To the terrorists, you failed.  You took from us 4 gentle souls but you will not bend our will to be a beacon of Freedom.  Boston is the best city in America with the best people. 
Watch the Marathon in 2014 and you will see that this tragedy will become triumph as we will not allow the cowardly bastards such as these to take away our freedom. 

The 2014 Boston Marathon will be a important sign to the world that you don't mess with Boston. Ever.

Friday, April 19, 2013


An awesome picture from Afghanistan -  Thanks to these Soldiers for their service and their solidarity with the people of Boston

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Leadership Learning - How to be effective in a TOC (tactical operations center )

Here is some Leadership Learning for you.  I wanted to post it as I am a student of Leadership and all that it requires.  This is based on military situations but there are many aspects of this that are universal to business and the military.

Those who think they are "natural leaders" are usually BS artists.  There are good leaders and there are poor leaders..... The difference is that those who lead properly never have to tell anyone about it as their actions speak for themselves.

 It's a mix of maxims regarding organizational analysis, knowledge management, and working in a tactical operations center ("TOC").

1. Continually ask: "Who else needs to know what I know?" 
2. Continually ask: "Who else knows what I need to know?"
3. Never speak with complete authority regarding that which you lack direct knowledge, observation, and/or suppressive fires.
4. Never pull rank over a radio net.
5. Let the boss decide how he/she wants to learn.
6. Let the boss decide how he/she wants to communicate.
7. "I am responsible for everything my commander's organization knows and fails to know, learns and fails to learn."
8. Know when to wake up the Old Man. Also, know how to wake him up without getting punched, shot, or fired.
9. The three most important things in the TOC are: Track the battle. Track the battle. Track the battle.
10. Digital trumps analog, until you run out of batteries.
11. Always have ready at least two methods of communication to any point or person on the map.
12. Rank has its privileges. It also has its limitations.
13. Let Joe surprise you.
14. Don't let Joe surprise you.
15. The first report is always wrong. Except when it isn't.
16. The problem is always at the distant end. Except when it isn't.
17. Exercise digital/tactical patience. Communications works at the speed of light. People do not.
18. Your trigger finger is your safety. Keep it away from the CAPS LOCK, reply-all, and flash-override buttons.
19. The warfighter is your customer, and the customer is always right.
20. Bullets don't kill people. Logistics kills people.
21. Knowing how it works is more powerful than knowing how it's supposed to work.
22. Cite sources on demand. State opinions when asked.
23. Work by, with, and through others. It's all about empowerment.
24. Do not seek the spotlight, Ranger. Let the spotlight find you. Then, make sure to share it with others.
25. Both the Bible and The Art of War make this point: It's never a mistake to put oneself in someone else's boots.
26. Humor is a combat multiplier. Except when it isn't

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thank you Chicago Tribune

And NYC and all those around our world who have stood with Boston - Thank You. 

Boston will be what it has always been, a beacon of Freedom to all.

These cowards have messed with the wrong city.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayers for all in Boston

Boston.  My city and where I call home has joined the list of cities that are a victim of terrorism.
I woke up early this morning in Kandahar to the news that my home city had been bombed by unknown terrorists. No one knows who did this but they will be found and brought to justice.

The words of Sir Winston Churchill come to mind and they are how I feel at this moment.

" We ask no favours of the enemy. We seek from them no compunction. On the contrary, if tonight our people were asked to cast their vote whether a convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of cities, the overwhelming majority would cry, "No, we will mete out to them the measure, and more than the measure, that they have meted out to us." The people with one voice would say: "You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal. It was you who began the indiscriminate bombing. We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst - and we will do our best."

On Patriots Day, remembering those who took up arms for our freedom by Bob Reed

Well said sir.  I agree and thanks for your words. In Massachusetts, we celebrate PATRIOTS DAY to remember the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

On Patriots Day, remembering those who took up arms for our freedom

The Lowell Sun

The Redcoats, British soldiers, stood in a swampy meadow in Cambridge for several hours on that chilly night of April 18, 1775, before they got the order to march.
They walked 40 miles that night and the next day, to Lexington, and on to Concord, back to Lexington and finally back to Boston. At Lexington, they faced quickly assembled Colonial troops on the Village Green, and there the long and costly struggle for the personal freedoms and government by the governed that we all enjoy began. The Colonial militia, about 80 of them under the command of Capt. John Parker, had no intention of slowing the Redcoats' march to Concord. But as the 700 British regulars met them at dawn, in the confusion, a shot was fired -- by whom history is unable to determine -- and a skirmish ensued in which eight Colonials died.

Before that brief engagement, Capt. Parker gave his famous command, held high among the great patriotic utterances in our national history: "Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."  And it did begin. The Redcoats marched on to Concord, in search of gunpowder and arms that had been stored there by the Colonials. But through intelligence leaked from British army headquarters, the Concord militia knew about the impending attack and had hidden the armaments. And there, "by the rude bridge that arched the flood," as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote many years later, more militia -- minutemen -- engaged the British regulars.

The battle went on after 500 or so Colonials saw smoke rising from the vicinity of Concord center, and thought (erroneously) that the Redcoats had set the village afire. They were enraged. The regulars faced them at the bridge, and the long and bloody fight for independence had begun. The British withdrew, after finding no cache of arms, but the Colonials harassed and attacked them as they marched back to Boston.

As the day progressed, militiamen and their commanders from towns throughout the area poured into Lexington and joined the forces already there. Contrary to common belief, the minutemen did not just scurry ahead of the retreating British column and snipe at it from behind walls and undergrowth. Rather, the Colonials were led by experienced officers who deployed their troops at strategic points along the retreat route and were able to inflict substantial losses on the regulars, thereby slowing and hindering the long and exhausting withdrawal and making it much more difficult than it would have been otherwise.

Paul Revere, earlier that same evening, had made his historic ride from Charlestown through Menotomy (Arlington) to Lexington to warn the elders in the villages that the British regulars were coming, and word was spread through a carefully worked-out communications system to the surrounding towns, so there was no surprise in the regulars' assault.  But the regulars, the mighty British army, suffered a major defeat by a group of Colonial militias.

The nation, more specifically, eastern Massachusetts, remembers the 19th of April, known as Patriots Day. There are exercises on Lexington Green and by the North Bridge in Concord to celebrate the courage and resolve the colonists showed, and the sacrifice they showed in standing up to a government that oppressed them and tormented them and demeaned them. Revere's ride is ridden again each year, now along paved streets through teeming cities and towns.

For many years, the battles in the two towns were remembered on April 19, the anniversary of their occurrence. Now the observance is on the third Monday of April. The events at Lexington and Concord were the first in the Revolution. Next came the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17. There the British regulars defeated the Colonials, but at such a cost that it amounted to a victory for the revolutionaries.

The Declaration of Independence would not be written for more than a year, but the mistreatment of the colonists by the British crown had led them to desperation. Actions like this embody the patriotism and resolve of our early forebears. And they lead one to wonder how Americans of today would react to conditions similar to those of the colonists.

Would we grab our guns (if we were allowed to have them) and rush to confront an invading army? Would we be willing to risk death to defend a noble concept? Americans remain in the debt of these staunch and brave forebears. We owe all we have to them and to others who fill our national history with feats of courage and patriotism. America remains the beacon of freedom for the world. Today we cheer and thank those who took the first gallant steps to win it for us.

Bob Reed, 92, is a former editorial writer for The Sun.

Email comments to

Read more:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

MIL SLANG - FUBAR, SNAFU and all those other MIL Terms we use

Like any Veteran, I use quite a bit of Military terms in my daily discussions with others.  I have been the butt of jokes because I usually answer questions in the affirmative with a " Roger That ".

It really got me in trouble once when I was talking with Mrs. Middleboro Jones at bedtime one evening as we were falling off to sleep.... she leaned over and told me she loved me and I absentmindly answered "Roger that..." which caused her to say " WHAT did you say???"

I was jolted out of my half-sleep with a "what's wrong??" and she stated " I just said " I love you" and you answered " Roger that???"  Her tone let me know I was in a whole lot of trouble unless i chose my next words carefully.  Luckily, I had just come off a three week field exercise and when I made my lame excuse of being over tired, etc., she let me off the hook.

I wanted to share some of my favorite MIL Slang as it is a major part of our language and you'll be surprised how many of these you actually hear in non-military discussions as it has creeped into our everyday lexicon.

A word of warning - This list is definitely NSFW ( Not Safe For Work) as we veterans, especially Sailors & Marines have a penchant for swearing.....after all " Swearing like a Sailor" is part of our traditions.


Ali Baba
(UK, US and Iraq) During the Iraq war, name for insurgents, local thieves and looters.

Alpha Mike Foxtrot
(Infantry) "Adios Mother Fucker" abbreviated using the phonetic alphabet. When used in garrison it is a friendly farewell. When used in combat situations it generally means that the person on the other end of the barrel is being wished a not-so-kind farewell.

Anchor Clanker
(USMC) Reference to US Navy sailors (pejorative).
(USN) Any Chief Petty Officer, whose insignia is an anchor.

bag nasty
(US) The name given to the fast food options in chow halls, ie; hot dogs and hamburgers. Also common reference for MRE's. In the Air Force, commonly a reference to pre-packed Flight Lunches intended for aircrew or personnel whose duties do not allow them to go to the chow hall to eat their meals.

BFE or Bum Fuck Egypt
(US) An isolated deployment, or any other extremely isolated or distant location; pejorative. Used mostly about the disgust at the distance or remoteness, but also implies that there could be little worthwhile in such an isolated place. The variants "Big Fucking Empty", "BFN" or "Bum Fuck Nowhere" are used in the same sense.

Big Chicken Dinner
(US) Bad Conduct Discharge, the less severe of the two types of punitive discharge that may be awarded by court martial (the more severe being a dishonorable discharge).

"Big Dick Contest"
(US) An argument that amounts to who's done or experienced more in terms of training or combat.

"Bend over, here it comes again." Used when wearily contemplating idiotic or malicious decisions by higher-ups.

Bravo Zulu
(Worldwide Navies) Means 'Well Done'. Comes from the Allied Naval Signal Book, conveyed by flag hoist or voice radio.

A disastrous situation that results from the cumulative errors of several people or groups. In semi-polite company this is referred to as a Charlie Foxtrot (from the NATO phonetic alphabet) . Also used as a slang term to describe the area effect nature of artillery or cluster bombs.

(US, Canada) Does It Look Like I Give A Fuck?! Usually a reply in Boot Camp when given a lame excuse for not being able to perform a duty or follow an order.
(Aus) Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck? Similar as above

fashion show
(USN) A punishment where the service member, over a period of several hours, dresses in each of his uniforms (work, dress, summer dress and summer work) to be inspected. Designed to prevent the punished from going on liberty for most of a day.

"Fuck It, Drive On". i.e. What to do following a Charlie Foxtrot.

(US) "Fuck it, got my orders". "Finally I got my orders" Exclamation by one who is scheduled to leave a duty post.

(US) Fairly new term used to describe soldiers who do not go outside their Forward Operations Base (FOB) in Iraq, or a soldier stationed in Iraq who has not seen combat. Derived from J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit, a creature that didn't like to leave the safety of their homes or "The Shire."

(US Navy) "Fuck the Navy" - common graffiti, also spelled out as a spoken epithet. Usually used in a simple game of "hide & seek" - FTN can usually be found in obscure places (like inside machinery) and the discovery of which usually pisses-off higher-ranking people and 'dig-it's.

(US) Abbreviation for "Fucked up beyond all recognition (or repair)." Sometimes "FUBER" for "economical repair". See "SNAFU", below.

(USMCR & USNR) "Fuck you Buddy, I'm just a reservist".

goat rope/ing
A useless, futile, or foolish activity. A waste of time directed by higher authority.

goat locker
(US Navy, US Coast Guard) Room or lounge reserved for Chief Petty Officers (E-7 and above). Those who are E-6 and below would do well to steer clear unless expressly permitted inside. Also used to refer to the Chief Petty Officers assigned to one command.

(USN) The outside tarmac, asphalted area or courtyard normally adjacent to a barracks which is used to perform musters, drilling, and sometimes "cycling" of recruits in boot camp.

(US) Originally, a derogatory term for Army or Marine infantrymen (referencing the sounds made by men carrying heavy gear). This term has become more acceptable over time, and today, most, if not all, infantrymen are proud to be "grunts," as opposed to other MOSes in the military. Also known as "Ground Pounders." Although "grunt" is not an acronym, common acronyms include: "Ground Replacement Unit, Not Trained" or "Ground Replacement, Usually Not Trained."
(Canada) Government Reject Unfit for Naval Training, usually refers to infanteer/combat arms.

(US) Pronounced "GIT-foe". Acronym of "get the fuck out", nonspecific utilization in training/combat.

Guardian Angel
(US) A soldier or Marine placed in a high position in urban warfare to provide overwatch and cover to friendly units moving below.

(US, UK & Canada) Hi tech/Non-issued kit or equipment bought by the soldier. " His gear is all Gucci'd up"

(US) A general term used to describe Middle Easterners during the first Gulf War and subsequently during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (usually describing a friendly Iraqi/Afghan). Same as Habib--refers to people native to the Middle Eastern countries, India, and Egypt. Somewhat pejorative or dismissive. Considered by some as a racist remark, and has thus fallen under scrutiny. Also used to refer to local markets where servicemen can acquire cheap goods, possibly of dubious authenticity. Originates from an Arabic term of honor for a Muslim who has completed the Hajj to Mecca. Possibly from the Indian character Hadji in the 60s adventure cartoon "The Adventures of Jonny Quest"

(US Army/Canadian Army Infantry) A spirited cry, which can mean nearly anything positive. Exact origins are unknown. Paratroopers claim it as originating from the involuntary grunting sound one makes on contact with the ground during a parachute landing. Others claim that it is an acronym for "Heard, Understood and Acknowledged." Used normally in group instruction as acknowledgement of understanding rather than in one on one situations with an officer where "Yes Sir, understood sir" is still preferred. Pronounced "Who-Ah" in one short syllable by Rangers. In the Regiment ( 75th RGR ) , depending on its placement in the sentence or its inflection and tone, Hooah can an affirmative, a negative, a Verb, and or curse word. Its usage in the Canadian Army is somewhat debated, however, "seen" is used as the prefered affirmative. See also, HUA.

jacked up
(US) Screwed up, ruined, in trouble. "Jackness" is the quality of being in a jacked-up state; can also refer to a hapless individual: "Get over here, Jackness."
(Canada) - Used as a verb - to "jack someone up" refers to the process of remotivating an individual with often humourous content.

Man jammies
(US, Canada) Nickname for the traditional knee length button shirt worn by Afghanistani males.

Marine Proof
(US) - An overly simple task or way of doing things. Stems from the stereotype that Marines are slow-witted or unable to handle complex operations. Slightly perjorative.

"Operation Golden Flow"
The joy of visiting the health and wellness center to provide a urine sample for drug screen. Also known as " The Whiz Quiz"

(US) On the Move, from the phonetic alphabet.

O silly hundred hours
(UK) Very early in the morning.

O Dark Thirty
(US Military) Very early in the morning

O Dark Stupid
(Can) Very early in the morning.

(US Navy, Marines) The deck above you while aboard a ship; used ashore to refer to the ceiling of a room, as well.

Powerpoint Commando
A briefer notorious for producing overly complex briefs in Powerpoint that are too long and use too many effects, such as animations and sounds.

Rat Fuck
(US) Term used for the action of going through a MRE box before chow time selecting the best meal for oneself. Also used to describe taking prefered items out of MRE's. Could also be used to describe a random mess.

Screw the pooch
(US Military and civilian) To badly err or mess up.

screwed, blued and tattooed
(US Navy) Used to describe common liberty activities in some ports. Getting "Screwed, blued and tattooed" can imply a fun liberty, one where someone got in trouble for various reasons, or one where the sailors simply saw everything there was to see in a given port.

(US Navy) A sailor who does not keep his body clean. (US Army) A very important member of a unit, a soldier who can obtain any materials and/or equipment, usually by other than normal channels.

(US Navy) Rumor or gossip, deriving from the nautical term for the cask used to serve water (or, later, a water fountain). See scuttlebutt.

(USN/USMC) Issue green canvas or cordura bag used to transport personal effects.

seabag drag
(USN/USMC) Routine of travel referring to the waiting period often encountered when transferring flights or waiting assignment to flight manifest.

Sea lawyer
(US Navy, Coast Guard, RN) A sailor, probably too smart for his own good, who thinks he knows all of the regulations and quotes them to get out of either work or trouble. Other US and UK military equivalent is "Barrack Room Lawyer" (UK), and "Barracks Lawyer" or, more crudely, "Shithouse Lawyer" (US).

Sierra Hotel
1. Shit's Hot- Refers to actions that are particularly awesome or high-speed. Used as a compliment when someone is doing well.
2. The NATO phonetic alphabet abbreviation for Shit Hot. It is considered high praise and is the pilot's favorite and all-purpose expression of approval. For example, "That Sierra Hotel pilot just shot down six MiGs and an ICBM!" This is the "polite" military way to say that something is very impressive, and has come into use outside the military.

Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform
Shut The Fuck Up (military phonetic alphabet).

(US) Acronym for "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up"; dating probably before World War II, Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "an expression conveying the common soldier's laconic acceptance of the disorder of war and the ineptitude of his superiors" [5]. It began to enter the everyday American lexicon shortly after the war. It also spawned other acronyms denoting increasing states of "fucked up":
FUMTU: Fucked Up More Than Usual
TARFU: Things Are Really Fucked Up
FUBB: Fucked Up Beyond Belief
FUBAR: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition (or Repair)
JANFU: Joint Army-Navy Fuck-Up

snake eater
(US Army) Special Forces

soup sandwich
(US) Insult often used in Basic Combat Training, referring to an action, uniform or task done inefficiently or improperly. Example: "Your uniform is all messed up, looking more screwed up than a soup sandwich."

(US) A US Navy sailor. Often used with derogatory intent. Inspired naming of the cartoon character Squiddly Diddly, a squid in a sailor suit. Squidward has also been used in recent years, lifted from the name of a character from the Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoon.

suck, the
(US) The field, bad conditions, rotten duty, used to describe the military as a whole. One might say "embrace the suck" to tell someone to stop complaining and accept the situation.

Trigger puller
(US) A soldier or Marine who is regularly involved in actual combat. I wouldn't want to be out in the shit without the trigger pullers with us.

Turtle fuck(ing) (US Marines) Striking a Marine on his helmet with another helmet. The clunking of the two kevlar helmets sounds like two empty shells hitting. Sometimes done deliberately among friends, but often as a joke to an unsuspecting trooper.

Twentynine Stumps
(US Marines) Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. Often simply referred to as "the Stumps."

Friday, April 12, 2013

The "Layabout Day" and a visit to KAF

Took a ride over to KAF today.  It is our one day a week off, or as we call it, the "Layabout Day".  It is the one day a week when you can just hang out and not focus on anything.

Got to see a  little more of the base than usual as the exit we normally use ECP 5 (Entry Control Point) was closed for road work.  We wound up having to drive to the far end of the base to exit at ECP 4 instead.  We drove along the road which takes you in front of the civilian terminal which is pictured below.

KAF was dusty and busy as usual....Not much different going on but the place is noticeably less crowded.  That is one sign that the "rush to the exits" is proceeding here in Afghanistan. Picked up the mail and stopped off at the PX for a few things.
The rest of the day was dedicated to making the most of my Layabout Day and enjoying a day where we can recharge the batteries for the next week which begins tomorrow.