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42 comments to Back in the USSA

  • Dunno man, there is *always* a story to tell. The question is who to tell it. I hope that you can still stay engaged in some way/shape/fashion and continue to either relate the story, tell the story or function as an *analyst* to translate the story. Its this last part that you can successfully do no matter where you are at, so long as you have a data feed to analyze from.

    p.s… I was wondering when the pictures of the poo flood would show up.

  • Joe

    Incredibly sobering post.

  • RJ

    If a shift takes place where a “female” perspective gets replaced with a “male” perspective then your pal Fernandez might be right in his foresight. As to Thomas’ efforts in presenting “PTSD” recall that Freud talked about this during WWI and, at present, you are going to see this “condition” presented to the American people as a weapon used by Obama-Mao and his minions to affect the policy shifts they desire to employ and implement onto an unwilling citizenry here in America.

    Bringing the ground forces to a much smaller level you and your pals might argue is a good move done by idiots, but that is not the direction nor is it the reality these people who hate America seek.

    They want your balls in their hands at all times…

    Victor Hanson knows this game via his relentless study of history.

    Wait till you see your neighbors stand in line to help these evil thinkers try to get what they seek!

    It’s what revolutions are made of and why they occur. Good luck.

    A dirty trick has been played upon our men and women who wore the American military uniform, those who gave all and those who will always carry the injuries.

    Look at those pictures where Obama-Mao places the MOH ribbon on Dakota Meyer’s person…see what his pals have done to this man hero warrior since…PTSD or not!

  • JWest

    1. What you are saying is what I have been ranting about since November of 2002.
    2. That’s when the NSC made the go/no go decision on Iraq. Big secret. At the time. The only folks who knew about it were the principals and every other English speaker with internet access.
    3. Ol’ Saddam didn’t get the word because his sh*t scared advisers were only delivering happy news.
    4. Was somewhat circumspect, because a lot of good friends were majorly invested in the business.
    5. What do you say to a friend whose LCPL son comes home with a severe leg wound?
    6. Or to another who has gone from Colonel’s eagle to a pair of stars because of his stellar performance.
    7. They finally did what all us VN geezers said they would: declared victory, packed their trash and left.
    8. Which is what is going to happen in your former stamping grounds.
    9. Iraq is not Vietnam. Neither is Afghanistan. But close enough.
    10. I’m right. They’re wrong. End of story.
    11. Unnecessary digression.
    12. Your agent is right. You’ve got to keep the juices flowing somehow.
    13. When the Soviets wanted to shut up Solzhenitsyn, they exiled him. He spent most of the rest of his days holed up in New Hampshire and never produced another thing of note.
    14. Afghanistan was your touchstone.
    15. Venting here and interacting with the moronic inhabitants of the blogisphere may not be a totally adequate substitute, but its something.
    16. Less hazardous, too.
    17. Whatever else you do, keep moving.
    18. Wish you all the best.
    V/R JWest

  • RJ

    Right now, early Sunday morning, on CBS with Schieffer, I am watching Sec of Defense Panetta along with Chairman JSC Martin Dempsey:

    “Strategic inflection point…” says Dempsey…

    I’ve never in my years seen this level of a General with only two (2) rows of ribbons.

    Look at these guys working with words and smile, concern and “gravitas” trying to sell the game that Obama-Mao has demanded.

    Kinda gives me the impression they are hoping for Iran or some other country to do “something” that they might use to demonstrate “how great a leader” the wise Obama-Mao truly is!

    Whose son or daughter (straight or gay…that’s what is really important…check the recent Navy girls kissing picture seen ’round the world!), should we offer up to satisfy this desire for some more blood to be thrown on the ground prior to Obama-Mao’s triumphant march to a 2nd term?

    I feel really safe with these smart warriors at the helm, all of them working on my behalf, certainly not theirs…right?

  • J Harlan

    The military/ security establishment must be cut. It is a threat to the long term prosperity and security of the US. It is a danger to the Republic second only to AARP.

    Unfortunately the proposed “cuts” are only decreases in planned increase in spending not actual reductions.

    The defence industry will fight back with more tales of the threat from China to keep the F-35 line open and the military will spin “victory” in Iraq and Afghanistan to preempt troubling questions about the cost effectiveness of the ground forces and competence of its generals.

    A Republican victory in 2012 will ensure efforts to reign in DOD spending are thwarted. A Democratic victory will lead to reduced defence spending but will be coupled with more domestic waste. The outlook for the US is very poor due to the abysmal leadership of both parties.

    • B

      I don’t know how the military/security establishment is any more of a threat to the long term prosperity and security of the US than the judicial establishment, State, academe, the media or the DOL. They’re all part of the same tarball-it’s my experience that those working on the one side of the Potomac tend to view those working on the other as the big government enemy, but their analysis rapidly degrades on their own side of the river.

      Anyway, what long term prosperity? All the non-governmental jobs have been exported. The exceptions are coding, selling burgers to coders and speculating on burger and code derivatives (if that’s non-governmental.) And my coder friends are telling me much of their work is going to India these days.

      As for the Republic, it has been dead since the 1930′s-FDR, our Augustus, killed it and turned its face into a mask a la Buffalo Bill. You know how long the Roman Senate kept dancing on stage after Augustus?

  • B

    “But now change is being forced down from on high and all the PC ass kissing the Pentagon has done since Tail Hook is doing them no more good than is did for BP after the gulf oil spill. Change is coming and no matter how vigorous the rear guard action by the dysfunctional institutions of government or the private sector they are still doomed.”

    There is a great fictional book by Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon, which describes the NKVD arrest, interrogation, confession, reminiscences and execution of a Communist International underground agent in the late 30′s. Koestler, who used to work for the Comintern as an illegal, knew what he was talking about. The reminiscences mostly involve the agent thinking about some of the good people (friends, lovers, proteges) he threw under the bus for The Cause, on orders from higher. Having given everything else to his system, he decides he might as well give what little he has left and confesses to the false charges against him.

    The point is that when you spend decades feeding your friends and subordinates to an alligator, sooner or later you’ll be on the menu. Most go along like sheep, without a peep. In this case it will be easy-everybody will hope that if they cooperate, they will not be the ones getting Das Boot.

  • RJ

    Got up this morning, Monday, decided to go hunt up Dempsey’s bio as Chairman. Viola!

    There’s the official picture and many rows of ribbons…

    Now, why would such a person show up on national television, in uniform, with only two rows of ribbons?

    Symbolism is more important than substance, perhaps? Misdirection, ambush politics at play? Military passive aggressiveness?

    Befuddled I am. Maybe I was wrong in perspective…then again a game is a game, I just am not that sure what he might have been playing for…

  • Cpl USMC

    I would like to see military funding cut, maybe it will stop these ridiculously expensive habits we’ve developed. Like you’ve been saying this emphasis on force protection and flying in food from other countries is out of control. I saw Kandahar in ’09 and was blown away. The transformation of camp leatherneck between two deployments was astounding. Who thinks we need all of this? Chow halls within a stones throw of each other, the boardwalk at KAF, MWRs with big screens, Cpl’s course etc. I was insulted as a Marine and pissed as taxpayer. I’ve always said the nicest facilities in the country should be tents, we’re there to fight, not rake in combat pay and get a ribbon. The REMFs can keep that shit.

    Good riddance to the two party system if it will happen. Just did a finals paper on it and can’t believe it’s how we still do things.

  • Ron Peery

    First thing I learned in theater was “always carry at least two spare sets of glasses when on missions.” Second thing I learned….buy a cheap camera. 12 megapix, with or without zoom, will do just fine, unless you have really deep pockets. How do these things relate? Both cameras and specs get busted or lost during the really exciting stuff, at just the wrong time. Of course, I was not a journalist or blogger, just a military tourist snapping my way to a moderate collection of pix. An acquaintance once asked me “why don’t you have any photos or vids of combat?” My answer was “I was doing something else at the time.”

    If you really miss Afghanistan, just wait a couple more years. If Obama is re-elected and the senate remains liberal heavy, we may become Afghanistan West.

    Welcome home anyway. Your ideas are good, no matter where you are writing from.

  • Devil's Advocate

    Criticizing Bush-era Afghanistan policy, praising Obama; I guess they’re right when they say that a year in a warzone changes people.

    But more to the point: the future of the blog. Babatim, I’ve been reading your site for years, and the single most instructive post you ever wrote delineated the difference between good contractors and bad contractors. You criticized the picture of a Blackwater-esque cowboy (Karzai bodyguard?) for pointing his weapon at a car driver while shouting, and then noted how it’s too bad that guys like that give contractors like you (or the Ghost Team, etc.) a bad name. Moving forward, I’d love for you to spend more time talking about the industry, and helping inform the public about the vital distinctions in this large and diverse industry.

    No one writing today is better equipped to continue expounding on that point. The coming reductions in Army and Marine size will mean a greater reliance on contractors, good and bad. Unfortunately, craziness like the mercenary army Eric Prince is building in the desert gets way more ink than the professionals like you who get the job done competently and efficiently.

    Aside from the great entertainment value, I think FRI could do a great public service by further educating its readers, and the public at large, about the nuances of the field you know so intimately. Anyways, just a thought.

    Thanks for all the great writing, and keep up the good work. Cheers.

    • babatim

      This is another great idea and to be honest I didn’t think of it. When I was working through an idea with Hollywood folks the central point to what I was writing was how I started out in the country wearing the 5.11′s and body armor with a US Embassy hat on my grape but ended up wearing local clothes, no body armor while carrying only a concealed pistol (unless we were running payroll cash – we all carried rifles if when moving money).

      But I’m getting really tired of writing about me (the Hollywood stuff I’ve been slaving over for not one damn cent yet) – even if it is a fictional story. I could get a lot of milage writing about an industry, which, I believe, will grow and grow to the point they replace a majority of Western troops on the ground in conflict zones. Thanks for refocusing me – and look at the last post again; the day I am not in the habit of praising men who achieve high station due solely to the color of their skin. Obama would never have been elected a city dog catcher let alone POTUS were he a caucasian male given his record of accomplishing nothing other than affirmative action based admission into former elite institutions. I think he’s a national disgrace and history will not be kind to him nor his enablers.

  • Russ

    You used to blog about the afghans that you worked with. Now that they are no longer in danger, some more stories about what they are like would be interesting. Maybe some cultural idioms? Cooking recipes (sort of kidding)? Remember that there were many things that you saw and took for granted that others have never seen. You weren’t always ranting about policy when you started…

    Since you’re back at home you could always do some contrast against what you see going on in the US? Go back through your old photos because some of the ones you thought were garbage may turn out to be gems.

    Just keep the blog going because I’ll be pissed if you back out a second time without a book following suite!

    Russ

    • babatim

      Thanks Russ – the idea about blogging about what it is like to come home after being gone so long is exactly what I am going to let Dalton Thomas write about. I have to find a real job and am concentrating on that for the time being. But you’ll notice that Dalton and I have a very similar back story.

  • Scott

    I think that most military with more than 2 rows of ribbons know they are permitted to wear only the top 2 rows.

    • babatim

      I am almost certain that the limiting of ribbons worn by Gen Dempsey to two rows of personal awards stems from the flack that Gen Petraeus took from the main stream media over looking like a Banana Republic General (I am pretty sure that was a term I read) back when he testified before congress. Personally I agree with Gen Dempsey’s call – the unbelievable amount of fruit salad that Generals accrue over a 30 plus year career looks (in my mind) goofy.

      • RJ

        Ok, that somewhat settles the issue of ribbons being worn on television…impressions for others.

        Most vets know that ribbons don’t always represent truth of previous actions, etc. So, when I look at my black beret that is now 45 years old–has a few moth holes, and wonder why that game got changed, I still end up with two Navy girls kissing on shore as the “important shot” for who and for what? Couple this with the ever more increasing stories of recent veterans going nuts on civilians due to PTSD, I see an active agenda of misdirection.

        Muzzles come in many ways…

        It’s just a game, right? Winners and losers abound. Today you think yourself a winner while others might see you as losers.

        Just what are you and why? Lollipops perhaps?

        Again, look at that picture of Obama-Mao and MOH Dakota Meyer: You want to call his award “fruit salad” too?

  • Forgotten man

    Tim,

    If you want to be ahead of the curve for future disasters you might consider the US Mexican boarder. Perhaps peace and unicorns in Egypt.

    I agree with you about the military gatting gutted. The ring knockers and ticket punchers will survive and the guys with a lot of deployments will not. Why you ask? They didn’t punch the tickets on time and everyone knows being in a combat zone is no excuse.

  • J Harlan

    The military gutted? It will still, even if the “cuts” happen, have orders of magnitude more force than what is needed to defend the US.

    It will still have a budget 10% larger than on 9/11. The US and it’s allies will still have about 75% of all defense spending in the world including all of the world’s big carriers.

    If the proposed cuts happen (I expect President Romney to encourage Congress to retract most of the cuts) DOD will continue to be bloated and far bigger than required- which will continue to weaken the US in what really matters- the economy.

    • RJ

      If the “decision makers” happen to be people who loathe our military and what it does, would you expect them to make “cuts” that help bring about “efficiencies” or weakens our capabilities?

      If those who control the direction of decisions love our military and know how important it is to be strong, etc., and if they understand a more efficient system works for all, would their approach be different when seeking change?

      And finally, do you think our present leaders, those who can and do insist on making such changes…love and respect our military and know the importance it truly is?

      I say no, they don’t love our military, they see more evils within it’s operations than good.

      Note how our media is now pushing the “Devil Dogs Urinating” story. And just who do these people work for…these journalists who only seek the facts and truths?

  • TS Alfabet

    First, and most importantly, Baba Tim: SNAP OUT OF IT.

    You are way too important to throw in the blogging towel. Alot of good suggestions here about what you can write about now (other than the Afghan cooking idea; no one want to hear that crap).

    Find the job you need but, for God’s sake, stay in the fight. We need you. No lie.

  • TS Alfabet

    Second, and somewhat less important, bollocks to cutting the military. No good can come of it.

    1. The military, being part of the federal government, is inherently inefficient, wasteful, bass-ackwards, and prone to all the wrong priorities.
    2. That said, the U.S. military is, nonetheless, the best-functioning part of the national government we have. It is, in many cases, the only thing that does, actually work even half the time. Why do you think that the military gets tasked with every disaster-recovery, humanitarian crisis around the globe, rescue mission, engineering project with any urgency etc…? Because, for all its many, many faults, it still gets the job done in far less time and in far better fashion than any, other alternative known to mankind at this point.
    3. Money WILL be wasted by the federal government. There is simply NO WAY around that. Get over it. Yes, fraud/waste/abuse must be rooted out and contracting must be improved blah blah blah, but there is no way this side of Paradise to put as many people in the field, all around the globe with as many types of weapons/units/vehicles et al without substantial waste. The U.S. government is like a huge pipe with lots of spigots and also a bunch of holes: water IS going to leak out all over the place but enough water will still get through. If you start tightening down the spigot called the U.S. military, no “water” will actually be saved, it will just flow to other, less worthy spigots like welfare, “green energy,” public employee unions, TSA harpies, bridges to nowhere etc… AND water will still be leaking out in the same amounts, just through different holes.
    4. The U.S. military in one of the very few legitimate functions that the federal government performs. Rather than STARTING the discussion about budget cuts with the one department that is actually in the U.S. Constitution, how about talking first about real, immediate cuts to the plethora of departments, agencies, programs and funding that are completely outside of any Constitutional mandate. Entitlements are the place to start, not the military.
    5. Cutting the military has been tried repeatedly by the U.S. and it ALWAYS ends in disaster and tragic losses of life. Because of this same, short-sighted thinking on saving bucks by paring down the military, we were caught with our pants down in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq (after the Clinton cuts of the 1990′s). As night follows day you can rest assured that a major violent international event will follow our budget cuts to defense. That’s not scaremongering, it’s just history. Sure, we can try ramping up like we did all those other times, but history may be less forgiving this time around. Do you want to take that chance?
    6. There is no need for radical cuts to the military. Actual military spending as a percentage of GDP has actually held steady and even declined somewhat over the last 10 years. The bankrupting of America has not been due to defense spending but due to the unbelievable explosion of spending in domestic programs. THAT’S where the cutting needs to start first.
    7. Cuts to defense are a stupid idea in a weak economy if it means a reduction in personnel. The last thing we need is to throw thousands of military personnel into the unemployment lines. Particularly when we have an unbelievable surplus number of federal employees. If anyone goes, it should be the bloated staffing of federal agencies.
    8. Cutting the defense budget is not going to change the kind of stupid decisions that were made in Iraq or A-stan. That is the direct responsibility of leadership or the lack thereof. Less money will not change a thing. Our political leadership needs to change and our American culture of pampering everyone and political correctness needs to change.

  • RJ

    Ahh…I’m starting to get a boner over this Marine pissing contest! Now, clearing his head from the smoke, Montel Williams, a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Navy (of which the Corps is an active part if memory serves me correctly) has come out and made a very serious statement: He suggests that we begin drafting again.

    He posits a small percentage of our population has decided to serve.

    Me, I went on reading the rest of the TMZ article and saw that little box with the big question for the readers: Do you want to serve?

    3 to 1 voted “Hell no, we won’t go!” What this means ladies is that the national game is getting ramped up…big time! As our cic Obama-Mao flies via Air Force One for a getaway weekend in Chicago with the former Mayor on board, his Sec of Defense says he is “outraged” over the urinating video and intends to do something about it!

    Bring out that great patriot, Senator Kerry and ask his sorry ass if he will come before all Americans and ask who wants to be the last soldier to die in either of these two theaters!

    The clowns are running the show and there aren’t enough MRAPS ($475,000.00 each) to go around for “force protection” or just getting to the show on time!

    Run that Nick Berg beheading video just one more time so I can compare pissing on a dead guy who was trying to kill one of ours to reach a “sensitive and diverse” decision!

    Fruit salad is on the menu…

    • Steve

      Oh RJ Montel Willaims’ head is fried as evidenced by his spending a lot of time in Sacramento investing and setting up dope stores.(which are now being closed down hehehe)Those that serve do so willingly and as such there will always be people of that cut of cloth just as there is POTUS cut from this rag sent to my attention

      A Coil of Rage
      The character of any man is defined by how he treats his mother as the years pass …. need I say more about this person below, other than there is no character, no integrity but there is a ton of attitude and arrogance that defines his shallow past and hollow future ….. I rest my case..

      I bought and read Obama’s book, Audacity of Hope. It was difficult to read, considering his attitude toward us and everything American. Let me add a phrase he used to describe his attitude toward whites: He harbors a “COIL OF RAGE”. His words not mine.

      THIS IS OUR PRESIDENT — HE’S RUNNING AGAIN, YOU KNOW!
      Is anyone out there awake?
      Everyone of voting age should read these two books by him; don’t buy them, just get them from the library.

      From Dreams From My Father:
      “I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that, by doing so, I was ingratiating myself to whites.”

      From Dreams From My Father :
      “I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.”

      From Dreams From My Father:
      “There was something about her that made me wary, a little too sure of herself, maybe, and white.”

      From Dreams From My Father:
      “It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.”

      From Dreams From My Father:
      “I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa , that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself: the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.”

      And FINALLY ………….. and most scary:

      From Audacity of Hope:
      “I will stand with the Muslims, should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

      We have someone with this mentality running our GREAT nation! Keep your eye on him and don’t blink.
      I don’t care whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, a Conservative, or a liberal, be aware of the attitude and character of this sitting President.

  • J Harlan

    The argument against cuts to defense:

    1) they’ll waste the money on something it might as well be us;
    2) Defense Keynesian: spending lots on defense is good for economy which is why the USSR is still in business
    3) our military is the best (and most expensive) in the world but if we cut proposed increases by 10% we’ll face disaster
    4) defense has the right to a certain % of GDP without regard to the threat
    5) the government wastes money on other things
    6) the government is supposed to do defense so it’s OK to spend like drunken Congressmen

  • RJ

    As our great Washington professional political class of wise leaders begin to ramp up their utter disgust over the pissing video which will go far beyond our torture efforts via Abu Ghraib, I wonder if these people will offer us another video to compare so that all Americans can see how “sensitive and diverse” one set of Americans are, while those others (you people!) are just cruel and mean bastards who should be thrown to the wolves…which brings another question to mind, but we’ll leave that for anther day.

    Release the video where our Navy boys and kissing girls are “washing” the body of Bin Laden prior to his meeting with Davey Jones.

    What’s the difference…that really counts? We could ask Admiral Boorda, only he shot himself some years back over Hack’s question on his fruit salad problem…”V” is for valor and stands next in line with Victory.

    Will our great leaders seek Victory? Do they know Valor when present?

    Or is the game all about “victims” here?

  • J Harlan

    You might wait to find out if the guys being urinated on were even Taliban. Having seen the army kill farmers for the offense of “being out at night” I’m afraid that I no longer believe military claims about body counts.

  • Welcome back home Tim and happy new year. As for suggestions on what to write about, I say keep opining about the industry and the war. Especially if you plan on contracting some more in the future. Not only that, you can also help the public and military to further understand what it is we do out there. Take care. S/F

  • How did I miss this? I’m not sure. Hope to see you soon.

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  • [...] and then I read possibly the most depressing entry on Afghanistan I have ever seen, from Tim Lynch.  Some of it is repeated [...]

  • Would you ask Dalton if he would like to share his story (un-toned down) or smaller parts of it on WarRetreat?
    Like you, I got tired of saying the same thing over and over again. hence, Kitchen Dispatch is mothballed for now. Besides, if I really said what I think about Army Medicine, and to be more specific MEDCOM, I’m sure my husband would be shown the door because of his opinionated wife.

    WarRetreat is a project of Jillian (Marine GF) and me. We help people who have gone through war with stress reduction through movement, breath and yoga. We not only focus on active duty, but veterans, their families, loved ones, and contractors. We call it the war community. We act as a bridge between two different worlds: the military and yoga. WarRetreat believes in straight forward talk, and no yoga babble –though it is always a foil for us to make fun of.

    Anyway, just ask him to contact me. I’d love him to be part of our blog. We are working on a community project right now, that is 100% small business supported and welcomes veterans home by providing stress reduction through trauma sensitive yoga. We hope it will be a model for the rest of the country. It will not use ANY government funds because my experience as someone coming from the private healthcare world is government funding sucks in more ways that I can count.

  • [...] will wind up doing the right thing just this once–for all the wrong reasons, naturally. Tim Lynch explains, starting with this vivid nugget of an opener: I’ve been trying to come up with a post for over a [...]

  • hey Tim, have the lights gone dark????

    Man up! We need 1,000 flowers of thought!

  • j.a.

    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

    I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

    The above was part of Barack Obama’s 2002 speech against the invasion of Iraq. In 2008, he was nominated and elected, in large part, because of that speech.

    The color of his skin, Tim, was perhaps of no more consequence than his choice of coats.

  • Getting way too quiet around here. Makes me nervous…

    MORE
    AMMO
    PLS,
    R

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