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Mr. Mark
Bad-tempered, semi-sane, and at war against stupidity
Interests: ice cream, chili, nachos, corn on the cob, bacon, pizza, fries, steak, cornbread, biscuits, mashed potatoes, lasagna, burritos, apple pie, hotdogs, individualism, chicken, gumbo, eggs, capitalism, united states constitution, cheese burgers, turkey dinners, gyros, bratwurst, cordon bleu, country ham, and hefeweizen beer., grits, hominy, fried-okra, cherry pie, peach cobbler
Recent Activity
"John Douglas" is probably a spambot, not a human being. With regard to these two thieves, we can hope that perhaps they will meet someone who might convince them of the wrongness of their refusal to turn over the belongings.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2010 on Fallen Hero's belongings stolen at BlackFive
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I had no respect for him. Whatever he may have earned with his service he spent as a politician. However, I have nothing against his family.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2010 on Rep John Murtha, 1932 - 2010 at BlackFive
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Restrictive ROE are necessary so long as you are trying to conduct counterinsurgency. Yes, the enemy will take advantage of your ROE. The enemy may not be well educated, but they are not stupid. Troops involved in a COIN campaign will take casualties. Civilians will take casualties. When the enemy has chosen the time and place of an attack, then ROE may prevent punitive action against that enemy at that time, but units and individual troops retain the right to self defense. You do not need to observe hostile intent or a hostile act to target the enemy outside of an attack. Intelligence efforts produce targets for combat operations and the enemy can be captured or killed for being the enemy, same as in any "conventional" war. Examples of taking the fight to the enemy include conducting counter-IED ambushes to nail emplacers of IEDs, conducting raids and cordon-and-search operations to get at caches and personnel, and conducting snap vehicle checkpoints to interdict insurgent lines of communication. I think, as a distant observer sitting in a living room, that personality targeting aimed at the technical and operational experts in the second tier of the Oil Spot model is also extremely important. But, more than all of that, the thing to note is: Should we be doing COIN in Afghanistan in the first place? I say no. The reason I say no is that on 9/11, when I watched what unfolded that horrible morning, my thinking was not that we need to resolve the political and economic problems of Central Asia. My thinking was that we need to find the people who put this set of attacks together and we need to bronze their severed heads and hang them inverted from a memorial to the people they murdered. I don't see what success in Afghan COIN buys us. In other words, I'm beyond how to win the COIN fight - I'm looking at what we get as Americans after we win the COIN fight - and the answer I see is, not much. Understand what COIN is. COIN is not a blanket term for small wars. COIN is establishing or re-establishing the effective governance of the state. Al Qaida can operate from Afghanistan and Pakistan regardless of our success or failure in COIN efforts there. Even if they couldn't, they will just scurry somewhere else like roaches when the light comes on. Marc Sageman has an excellent article on the problem with pursuing a COIN strategy in Afghanistan here: http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php?option=com_rokzine&view=article&id=92&Itemid=54 I think we need to be in Afghanistan and I think we need to be Pakistan. However, I think we should concentrate on hunting networks that threaten the U.S. directly, and stop trying to patch up failed states. That said, restrictive ROE are unavoidable. Some elements, like not being able to raid at night, sound absolutely farcial. Others, not so much.
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Not only do I disagree with allowing gays to openly serve in the military, but I disagree with the military being used for social engineering experiments of any sort. Meddling with the system for the sake of satisfying a political constituency shows me that significant elements of our government think that America remains safe because of some sort of special magical powers or something. In other words, they seem to think that bad things can only happen to other countries, not ours. They don't take it seriously that we REALLY need a military to DEFEND the nation. The term "hubris" has been thrown around a lot since a certain book was published a few years ago (a book I disagree with), and I try to avoid faddish terms. However, the desire to go tinkering with the workings of the world's most powerful war machine and the arsenal of the free world reflects a very dangerous hubris indeed.
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Hooah! (I mean, what else is there to say??????)
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My understanding is that the detainees at Guantanamo are not prisoners of war, but rather "enemy combatants". I could write a book about my disagreements with the U.S. government's view of the Law of War. I think it was a mistake to sign and ratify the Geneva Conventions and other such treaties. I utterly reject the notion of "customary law" as I see it as unmanageable and an affront to U.S. sovereignty. I agree with having a Law of War, but think that it should be driven entirely by a unilateral, American determination of what constitutes correct conduct of American troops in war and what does not. We should hold our defeated enemies to the same standard when determining their fates. When it comes down to it, there is only one real requirement in war: Win. You can lose an engagement, lose a battle, even lose a campaign, but you don't lose wars. You must not. Therefore, since wars relate, with various levels of intensity, to national survival, then we should look at the essentials that are left when everything else is evaporated from around them: Given a scenario in which one must choose between national survival and honoring an international agreement, who chooses to honor the agreement? For what? Who cares? Since, in consideration of the argument's essentials, it is not logical to enter into agreements with other nations on the conduct of war, we should cease to do so. But that's me.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2010 on Three Must Read Posts at BlackFive
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Posted Jan 23, 2010 at Mr. Mark's blog
Speaking of good news... Also, whuppin' up on those other guys is some hooah s**t.
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Excuse me while I whip this out: AP predicts a Coakley LOSS!!!!!!!!! Go see this (wait through the ad): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GwjfUFyY6M
I can't comprehend. I try, but I can't. I'm from Earth and stuff like the story on that guy are outside my ability to figure out.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2010 on Poseur Alert- Do you know this wanker? at BlackFive
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[Sound of dolphins and laughing children] V/O: If you are like most people, you love baby dolphins. Martha Coakley: "I am Martha Coakley, and I love baby dolphins." V/O: After all, what kind of demonic, kitten-eating freak doesn't love baby dolphins? [Sound of maniacal laughing and chainsaws] [Chainsaws and laughing fades...children sobbing...dolphins are heard no more] V/O: Remember, every time someone votes for Scott Brown, a baby dolphin dies.
The day that reliable, inexpensive, portable deception-detection becomes widely available is the very first day of the end of the world. I'm not talking about big, ugly, sinister, scary lies like someone who means to kill innocent people would say. I mean the various white lies that act as the motor oil in the engine of life. The day those lies die, is the beginning of the end...
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2010 on Voice stress technology we aren't using at BlackFive
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I think that prying GI Bill payments from the VA steel-jawed beartrap was one of the most bewilderingly difficult things I have ever done in my life. Sorting out a tax problem with the IRS was easier. (Yes, read it again, it says what you think it does.)
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2010 on Dude gives advice on GI Bill etc. at BlackFive
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Suicide by cop...maybe, suicide by Marine????? Can't think of any other reason why somebody would do that...
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2010 on Mugging Marines at BlackFive
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I did not mean to accuse you of anything at all. I regret having given such an unintended impression. I mean exactly what I said, that I need more information to give support. I have recently had the opportunity to spend a lot of time studying Law of War issues and have just finished poring over the Bargewell Report and other materials related to the Haditha incident of 19 November 2005. When I come to BlackFive, which ROCKS, I see a number of posts about these SEALs. Having read some material about the [hyper]enthusiasm of the NCIS investigators in the Haditha incident, I want to know more about this one, but there isn't much to go around. Therefore, I really mean it when I say, "More info? Why should I think that the Navy is up to no good in this particular case?" I'm not trying to shoot down your effort, I'm saying that I need more information on which to base my decision. I did go to your website on the first read, but did not see your links to the charge sheets or fact sheets on the side. All I saw was the black main body text down the center. Sorry. I recommend posting that fact sheet here. I'm still not convinced, but if a Sailor gave self-contradictory testimony, then that should be considered by the prosecution (do they really have a crime to prosecute) and if it goes to trial, then the defense (which has the reputation of being pretty solid) should do well, I would think (as a layman). I can't help but question things. It's who I am. Were I otherwise, I'd be an automaton - like an Obama-ite.
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2010 on Operation Order: Free the SEALs! at BlackFive
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Which part of my post indicates I don't understand? I said: if the evidence presented is sufficient to warrant a court-martial, then what do you expect the military to do? I was in the Army for over 12 years. I know what non-judicial punishment is and I am familiar with UCMJ from the perspective of the average Soldier. I said: Again, if they didn't do it, I've been there, and I pray that the truth comes out. If they did do it, then they really should have gone for the nonjudicial punishment. If the Naval Special Warfare community throws out its professionals for the military equivalent of a misdemeanor, then that is a separate issue from whether professionals should be held to account if they break the rules when they knew better. I am not saying that the rules were broken in this incident, (though the military is), but just that these are separate issues. Personally, as Joe Citizen, I look at someone who made a single, isolated mistake in handling a detainee that did not result in serious injury and I say, "Gonna do it again?" "No." "Hooah. Rock on." With regard to the hearsay thing, it is important to know what hearsay is and is not. If a person says they saw you do something, that is not hearsay. That is eyewitness testimony. If a person says that they heard that someone saw you do something, that is hearsay. My understanding is that there are people who claim to have first-hand knowledge of actions that constitute a crime. Their testimony would not be hearsay. Overall, what I'm saying is that the supporters seeking to rally people to their cause have not adequately addressed the allegations made against these SEALs. I guess that may be because they do not want to jeopardize the defense they plan to present at trial. But the allegations go beyond whether or not this detainee got punched - they include an attempt to illegally influence a witness - a servicemember. This thing now includes the question of integrity. That is probably going to have to be sorted out. In the end, if they are exonerated, what will make up for the months of stress caused by waiting for resolution? Nothing. It stinks. But at the same time, I don't see any John Murthas out there driving this thing forward politically. So far, the supporters' have only the following to show me: - The defendants are SEALs. - The guy who got punched was scum. - A bunch of politicians have attached themselves to our cause. The reports about the government's side of things state: - Somebody tried to cover this up after the fact. - There are servicemembers who are witnesses to a crime. - The alleged punch took place hours after the capture. Before I start writing any letters, I need more from the supporters.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2010 on Operation Order: Free the SEALs! at BlackFive
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The reason we have been targeted by AQ is simple: They beat the Soviets, they identified with being Islamic martyr heroes (in their own view), and they had no interest in going home and taking up peaceful pursuits. They needed somebody else to to be at war with. There was only one kid on the block bigger than the now-defunct Soviet Union: The U.S.A. They are at war with us because violent jihad is not a means to an objective, IT IS THEIR OBJECTIVE. They need a dragon to slay and they have picked us to play that part in their violent fantasy. Notice that the ones that have come at us here CONUS are fairly wealthy. They did not come here because of lack of economic opportunity or because our forces had not distributed enough soccer balls in their villages. They came here because, wacked-out as it may be, it's what they wanted to do with themselves. They are living out a fantasy. It is a murderous fantasy, but there is no reasoning with the hardened, religiously-motivated terrorist. The TSA is a joke. We knew it would be joke before it existed. It always will be a joke, regardless of which set of politicians hold sway in Washington. You cannot fight terrorism effectively by trying to harden targets. It is not possible. The terrorist has the initiative and he will eventually get through. He only has to win once. Passive and reactive security must win every single time and that is just not going to happen. This fight must be won on the offensive. For all the popular talk in the population-centric COIN cult, YES, YOU CAN KILL YOUR WAY OUT OF TERRORISM. Tier I and Tier II targets - capture them or kill them. Some COIN efforts made sense (Iraq is the best example). Others, not so much (Afghanistan). Our forces can hunt AQ and other Islamist goons with or without a stable host nation government. Not only that, but Islamist goons can operate even in places with a stable host nation government - which makes all of this politically-correct, kum-bye-yah (sp?), cross-legged horsesqueeze so damn infuriating. (Yes, I know I have gone way past the stupidity of the TSA, but I am currently experiencing a runaway keyboard...) As COL Gian Gentile and Ralph Peters have pointed out, pop-centric COIN is a tactic, not a strategy. Likewise, homeland security is largely a safety net, a last line of defense. It cannot be our first line of defense. We must fight this junk overseas and fight to win - to vanquish. We don't want to fight it here at home. Fighting this here on our soil will eventually destroy what is left of our Constitution, and that is the biggest threat these loons present. (Also, we might want to do something about that DIY Fun-with-Nukes project over there in Iran...)
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Your website refers to a bloody lip, but other sources refer to an allegation of the detainee being punched in the stomach. Also, your website is ambiguous about when the bloody lip/sore abdomen/whatever occurred. The military is saying it occurred hours after the capture was completed. Also, there are service members among the witnesses. It is significant that charges have been made over attempting to influence a witness. Not addressing these allegations makes me hesitant to support your call for political influence on the military justice system. I have been wrongly accused of a crime as a civilian and I didn't like it very much. I can empathize with the hell of waiting for resolution of the case while your career hangs in the balance. But at the same time, all of the calls I have heard for pressuring the military on this case have been incomplete in their recounting of the specifics of the case. The SEALs involved turned down nonjudicial punishment, which would have been (one would think) fairly light. By going to court-martial, the defendants have raised the stakes. If they didn't do what they are accused of, then hopefully they will be exonerated. However, if the evidence presented is sufficient to warrant a court-martial, then what do you expect the military to do? With regard to the event that lies at the origin of this, (a detainee getting punched), I think a good ten seconds of confinement and loss of $5 pay should of covered it pretty well. However, I'm unconvinced by the arguments made thus far in these Sailors' defense. Again, if they didn't do it, I've been there, and I pray that the truth comes out. If they did do it, then they really should have gone for the nonjudicial punishment.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2010 on Operation Order: Free the SEALs! at BlackFive
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Damn, that stinks. Could be driven by other considerations, though, such as "attack the network" line of effort.
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Combat Engineer would've done a pop-n-drop 1-1/4 block C-4 then marked the breach, then all that other stuff you listed (and that'd be some obscure 3 series manual, by the way...)
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I very much agree that the enemy's misdeeds should be used against them. However, I'm not as confident in the usefulness of American good deeds. I have not been over there, but when I try to imagine myself as an Afghan, I think, "I would side with whoever looks like they're going to win this thing." Good and evil aside, you've got to survive. Our guys eventually leave. Afghans don't. Show strength, and to show strength, degrade enemy networks through the intelligence-operations dynamic and turn the enemy's brutality against them in information operations. The Sendero Luminoso, Maoist nutcase movement in Peru, hurt itself through mind-boggling brutality. Some aspects of the situation in Afghanistan, though obviously not Maoist, appear somewhat similar (from my living room...). Additionally but tangentially, the Peruvian government was able to use local civilian self-defense groups in areas where the SL were conducting operations.
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Dec 31, 2009