‘The White Donkey’: Iraq War veteran’s graphic novel a powerful read

White Donkey

For  years this blog has tried to make the case that a comic book can be much more than “just” a comic book. For years this blog has tried to make the case that the industry would benefit if it employed, say, men like Terminal Lance creator Maximilian Uriarte. His New York Times bestseller, “The White Donkey,” should officially put that debate to rest.

“The White Donkey” is the story about Abe, a young man who left his small Oregon town in search of … something. He wasn’t quiet sure what he was looking for, but he thought he might find it in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman. Abe, his best buddy Jesus Garcia, and the rest of their battalion are eventually deployed to Iraq. There is not much more I can say without spoiling the book other than to note its honesty rivals National Book Award Winner Redeployment,” by Phil Klay.

White Donkey Garcia

Every so often a critic comes to this blog and says something along the lines of, “You write about popular culture because you wanted to make it in Hollywood and never did.”

Yes, I did go to USC upon exiting the Army as a mechanized infantryman, but nothing could be further from the truth regarding professional regrets. In fact, a better personal attack would be that I exited the military prior to 9/11, didn’t have the courage to re-enlist after the Twin Towers fell, and that it still haunts me to this day.

There actually is some truth to that — I carried a ton of guilt with me for years after 9/11, which was exacerbated after a friend of mine, Hector Leija, had his head blown off in Iraq by a sniper. I disclose these details because readers need to know that everything that happens to “Abe” prior to his deployment is eerily close to what I experienced as a peace time soldier (i.e., it’s authentic). The characters, situations, and confrontations Abe navigates in many ways mirror my own.

I see myself in Abe (except the atheist part), and cannot help but wonder what I would be like had I stayed in military.

White Donkey leave

If you’re looking for a book with intelligence and emotional weight, then check out “The White Donkey.” If you’re looking for a book that can help civilians better understand returning war veterans, PTSD, and the other burdens they might be carrying, then Uriarte’s work is a must-read. One can only hope that he continues telling tales for many years to come.

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Christopher Marquez, war hero, attacked in D.C. — Obama silent

Chris-Marquez

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is famous for the quote “Some animals are more equal than others.” Someone should write an update called American Farm that includes the line “Some hate crimes are more equal than others” after the Washington, D.C., attack of war hero Christopher Marquez.

Most media outlets have not covered the Feb. 12 attack of Marquez, who served eight years on active duty between 2003 and 2011. In short, the Bronze Star recipient sat down to eat in a McDonald’s in the nation’s capital and was accosted by a group of teens demanding to know if he thought “black lives matter.”

Like most sane people, he tried to ignore them and just eat his burger. He was promptly ambushed and robbed upon exiting the restaurant.

“I believe this was a hate crime and I was targeted because of my skin color,” Marquez told the Daily Caller Feb. 15. “Too many of these types of attacks have been happening against white people by members of the black community and the majority of the mainstream media refuses to report on it.”

Marquez-Marine-attack-suspects
Suspects arrested in connection with Christopher Marquez’s assault and robbery will not be charged with a hate crime, despite harassing him with racial questions prior to their attack. (Photo: D.C. Metropolitan Police Department)

There are two very interesting facts about Marquez’s case:

  1. Cops finally arrested and charge two individuals in connection with the incident, but they will not be charged with a hate crime — even though they were explicitly harassing him about race and calling him “racist” before the attack.
  2. President Obama, who always seems eager to weigh in on race-related crimes, somehow can’t find his voice when it comes to Black Lives Matter supporters who beat a Marine veteran unconscious and stole $400, a VA medical card, and three credit cards from his back pocket just miles from the White House. What did his assailants spend the stolen cash on, you ask? Answer: liquor, a Five Guys burgers, and products from Walmart.

Regular readers of this blog may remember the case of Allen Haywood, who was attacked by a similar group of kids on the DC Metro Green Line in 2011. They may also remember my own tale on the Green Line from September 17, 2011.

I wrote then:

As I came home late from work on the D.C. Metro Green line, an inebriated older man approached me. I stood towards the back of the Metro minding my own business. The stranger crept up beside me, but just enough to my rear to obscure his actions. There was almost no one else on the train. I angled slightly towards him and he whispered in my ear,  “Why don’t you sit down? Don’t you like black people?” I ignored him. He raised his voice: “Why don’t you sit down? Don’t you like black people?” Again, I ignored him. Since the third time around is a charm I finally answered, “I’ve been sitting all day.”

He didn’t believe me.

The man continued to ask me the question, and when I ignored him some more (all the while paying close attention to his position and body language) he turned his question into a statement. Then, he squared up, stated that I didn’t like black people and pushed his palm into my shoulder, which I immediately swiped down with a force that surprised him. He approached again, reaching out his hand to push my shoulder and I swiped it hard enough to make him stutter-step backwards.

On his third attempt to escalate the situation he came at me from the side and bumped me. I responded by shoving him to the other side of the Metro car with enough force so that, should I have chosen to pounce, the backward momentum with which he was stumbling would have put him at a distinct disadvantage.

At this time the Metro stopped, the man gave me a few hard glares and left the train car.

This is an ongoing problem in Washington, D.C., whether the mainstream media wants to admit it or not.

I used to take the Green Line home from work on a regular basis, and groups of kids would act like psychopaths — almost daring someone to speak up. They would also look for women who possessed zero situational awareness and then steal their cell phones right before the Metro doors closed at any given stop.

In my case I was just singled out by a drunk man who, like the teenagers, has convinced himself that any white person who doesn’t greet him with giant smiles after a long day of work is somehow racist and worthy of a physical confrontation.

Incidents like this regularly get swept under the rug, yet the media cannot get enough of the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida; the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; or the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland.

Meanwhile, a Marine veteran who literally helped inspire the iconic war memorial “No Man Left Behind” at Camp Pendleton, California, is ambushed — on American soil — and there is deafening silence.

No-Man-Left-Behind

For those who do not remember, Marquez was in Fallujah’s “Hell House” in 2004 when he helped aide Marine Sgt. Maj. Brad Kasal with lance corporal Dane Shaffer. The image of the three men, which went viral, was sculpted into the memorial by Vietnam veteran John Phelps in November 2015.

No-Man-Left-Behind-Memorial

The moral of the story here is that no group naturally has a monopoly on hate, but for whatever reason American media outlets are obsessed with filling certain subsets of the population with it.

Christopher Marquez, who now attends American University, will be fine in the long-run. Your friendly neighborhood blogger, who also attended American University, has fared rather well since 2011.

My guess is that the drunken man on the Green Line and the McDonald’s attackers — all filled with racial animosity towards guys like us — will have a slew of needlessly rough days ahead. Perhaps they should have enlisted in the Army like me or the Marines like Mr. Marquez.

At a minimum, minorities in Washington, D.C., would be wise to stop listening to race activists, whose careers are dependent upon keeping as many people as possible in a perpetual state of anger and confusion.

Captain America exists — and his real name is William Kyle Carpenter

Marine.Medal.of.Honor

Remember the scene in the first Captain America — the one where Cap throws himself on what he thinks is a real grenade to protect his fellow soldiers?

It's incredibly honorable to sacrifce oneself for the protection of others. There are few better ways to die. The fact that Marvel's Captain America depicts such a scene is a good sign for American moviegoers.

Yeah. Well, that guy really exists.

Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter, who was severely wounded during a 2010 grenade attack, is set to become the third Medal of Honor recipient from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The medically retired Marine Corps veteran will be commended for shielding Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio from a live grenade in Afghanistan on Nov. 21, 2010, the Army Times reported.

“We knew the area we were moving into was one of the rougher areas. … The grenade hit … and our Marines do what they do best — they took care of us and they kept us alive,” he told the Army Times.

Cpl. Carpenter, 24, suffered the loss of his right eye, a blown-out eardrum, a “pretty much blown off” lower jaw and various other broken bones. Damage to the soldier’s frontal lobe also left him unable to speak until just recently. …

“I’m still here and kicking and I have all my limbs, so you’ll never hear me complain,” he said.

If you get a chance, read up on his full story. It’s amazing.

“I just wanted to give a little shout out to all the people that not necessarily doubted, but who didn’t think 15 months ago that I’d be running 10K marathons and doing more pull-ups than I at one point thought I could do. I guess this is a message and a constant reminder for me and everybody out there that thinks they have obstacles to accomplish and overcome.”

The guy was in many respects blown to bits, he couldn’t talk for an extended amount of time because of injuries sustained to his brain, and yet he finds the drive and determination to get back into the kind of shape it takes to run marathons and knock out pull-ups.

Imagine what the world would look like if everyone had William Kyle Carpenter’s attitude. I feel confident saying that it would be a much better place.

Fallujah falls to al Qaeda: Did American soldiers die in vain?

Fallujah. To anyone who closely followed the Iraq War, the name speaks volumes. No matter where you stand on U.S. foreign policy in a post 9/11 world, Fallujah holds all the stories you will ever need to make your case and defend the position. Now that the city has fallen into the hands of al Qaeda, the story becomes much sadder than it ever needed to be.

The Washington Post reports:

BEIRUT — A rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago.

The capture of Fallujah came amid an explosion of violence across the western desert province of Anbar in which local tribes, Iraqi security forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have been fighting one another for days in a confusingly chaotic three-way war.

Elsewhere in the province, local tribal militias claimed they were gaining ground against the al-Qaeda militants who surged into urban areas from their desert strongholds this week after clashes erupted between local residents and the Iraqi security forces.

In Fallujah, where Marines fought the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war in 2004, the militants appeared to have the upper hand, underscoring the extent to which the Iraqi security forces have struggled to sustain the gains made by U.S. troops before they withdrew in December 2011.

The upheaval also affirmed the soaring capabilities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the rebranded version of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization that was formed a decade ago to confront U.S. troops and expanded into Syria last year while escalating its activities in Iraq. Roughly a third of the 4,486 U.S. troops killed in Iraq died in Anbar trying to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq, nearly 100 of them in the November 2004 battle for control of Fallujah, the site of America’s bloodiest confrontation since the Vietnam War.

Events Friday suggested the fight may have been in vain.

“At the moment, there is no presence of the Iraqi state in Fallujah,” said a local journalist who asked not to be named because he fears for his safety. “The police and the army have abandoned the city, al-Qaeda has taken down all the Iraqi flags and burned them, and it has raised its own flag on all the buildings.”

Did U.S. Marines die in vain? It’s an excellent question. The tale is far from over.

In 2011, President Obama failed to secure a Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government and, in many ways, attempted to wish away his responsibilities regarding the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Likewise, he disengaged from the world stage as Syria spun out of control. The result: tens-of-thousands of Syrian refugees (including foreign fighters linked with al Qaeda) have flooded into Iraq, overloading a government that could barely control its security situation to begin with. George W. Bush — for all his faults — stuck with “the surge” strategy despite enormous political pressure to raise the white flag of surrender. That opened the door for the al-Anbar Awakening and, when he left office, it appeared as though the U.S. had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Whether politicians agreed or disagreed with the Iraq War, it is their solemn obligation to ensure that the soldiers who willingly sacrificed themselves for the cause did not do so in vain. If there are no true statesmen left in the U.S. Congress, then Americans should admit it and become like people around the world who are just happy if someone can find them on a map.

Before any hasty decisions are made, it is best to revisit Fallujah:

Fallujah is sometimes called “the city of mosques”; and insurgents made heavy use of them as command posts, arms depots, and defensive positions. Inside the Saad Abi Bin Waqas Mosque in central Fallujah, Marines found small arms, artillery shells, and parts of missile systems. Marines and soldiers engaged insurgents emplaced in mosques, but always with great caution and often using Iraqi troops to finish off assaults. It took Company B, 1/8, fighting on foot, 16 hours of house-to-house combat to capture the Muhammadia Mosque, during which time they were attacked with everything from rocket-propelled grenades to suicide bombers.

The people who are in charge of Fallujah now use mosques as armories, staging areas for attacks, and as bunkers when necessary. They plot and plan from inside sacred walls, in part because Western politicians tend to let them do so with impunity. To ignore that this is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria across the Middle East and in Northern Africa is to invite disaster yet again on American shores.

In the Middle East, our adversaries think and act in terms of centuries. In the United States, the vast majority of politicians cannot think beyond the next election cycle.

In large swathes of the Middle East, words like ‘honor’ — to the family, to the tribe, and to the nation — are taken seriously. In large swathes of the United States, ‘honor’ is now an antiquated notion, and patriots are portrayed as backwoods hicks by the purveyors of popular culture.

In the Middle East, guys who spend years solely focused on memorizing the Koran are in a waiting game with a nation of ADD-suffering narcissists who think they’re geniuses because they’ve accumulated enough hours consuming science fiction masterworks that they can dazzle audiences with Star Wars improvisational skills. These days, Americans are only serious about being unserious — and it will come back to haunt us tenfold.

Fallujah is important because it highlights yet another momentous challenge before free nations, while exposing America’s intellectually underprepared and ill-equipped political class.

Fallujah is important because it demonstrates that while America’s entertainment-obsessed culture pretends as if it can exist within viral video YouTube bubbles, Xbox fantasy worlds and the studios of late night comics who never found a good man or a higher ideal that they couldn’t tear down, the reality is something starkly different.

At one time, vast oceans could be used to make a compelling case that an isolationist America was a safer America. As technology advances, collisions between cultures will speed up. What happens in the Middle East and Northern Africa matters here, and Americans who think that every four years is a good time for a debate on foreign policy are sorely mistaken. When top officials in Washington can make the case that obscure anti-Islam YouTube videos are the cause of terror attacks on U.S. consulates (whether you believe them or not), it’s a clear indicator that the paradigm has changed.

Did U.S. Marines die in vain in Fallujah? The answer is up to us. Political leaders and an informed public have a responsibility to make sure that the vision soldiers sacrificed their lives for — a safer world for future Americans — becomes a reality.

Marines: Give us more time to camouflage lower standards for women

Marine pullup woman

In January of 2013, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey wrote: “The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously join me in proposing that we move forward with the full intent to integrate women into occupational fields to the maximum extent possible. […] To implement these initiatives successfully and without sacrificing our war-fighting capability or the trust of the American people, we need time to get it right.”

At the time I wrote that women are ready for combat roles — and M60s are able to magically fly. The point was that unless the standards were lowered, there was no way that more than a tiny fraction of women would ever be able to meet the physical standards expected of an infantry soldier.

The Associated Press now reports:

WASHINGTON — More than half of female Marines in boot camp can’t do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year, prompting the Marine Corps to delay the requirement, part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs. …

Although no new timetable has been set on the delayed physical requirement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to “continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed,” Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman, said Thursday.

Starting with the new year, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. The requirement was tested in 2013 on female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., but only 45 percent of women met the minimum, Krebs said.

Translation: “We need more time to lower the standards in a way that would allow us to spin it as an ‘opportunity to succeed.’ We need data that will allow us to camouflage a set of lower standards for women that public eyes will look at approvingly.”

Three pull-ups is pathetic. If you are a infantryman and you can only do three pull-ups, you should hang your head in shame. That is the kind of weakness that will require your battle buddies to pick up slack — in situations where they already have their hands full. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Here is what I wrote January 23, 2013:

Anyone who has had to carry a SINCGAR (i.e., a heavy-ass radio) on his back during a 25 mile road march, or the M249 SAW — or both simultaneously because the guy in front of him was sucking wind hard core — knows that unless the physical standards are lowered, this is virtually impossible and a horrible idea. Anyone who has had to carry his 250 pound buddy knows that physical standards will have to be lowered to make this happen. Anyone who has had to lug an M60 for any length of time knows that social engineering is going to kill good soldiers. Hence, the time needed to “get it right.” Correction: to get it wrong.

How do you get women to “qualify” for an infantryman’s job? You change the requirements for the gender that generally lacks the combination of upper body strength and stamina to hold the job in the first place. You can’t fool biology, but that never stopped masterminds from playing their little sociological experiments before, has it?

I stand by that. In the end, Company Commanders and First Sergeants will do what they’re told. They will train their soldiers to the best of their ability. But that doesn’t change the fact that lowering standards will needlessly put soldiers’ lives at risk.

Related: Pentagon: Women ready for combat roles — and M60s to magically fly

Boot Campaign: Texas group does our troops — and the nation — proud

Pushups for Charity
Years ago I read Marcus Luttrell’s book ‘Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10,’ and was blown away. It captured the complexities of war in ways I had rarely seen on the nightly news. Luttrell’s tale brought tears to my eyes and left a lasting impression in my mind. Apparently, it did the same for five women from Texas, who went out and started Boot Campaign, a non-profit dedicated to helping war fighters and their families when they return home.

This past weekend in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., I had the pleasure of taking part in the final event of the year for Pushups for Charity, which worked in conjunction with Boot Campaign to help raise funds for our returning war fighters and their families. Men, women and children of all ages and fitness levels came out to do as many pushups as possible within 90 seconds, with the goal of hitting 10,000 before the end of the day. There was a lot of people who needed a shower when all was said and done, but the goal was ultimately accomplished.

The thing that most struck me about Pushups for Charity was the sense of community the event instilled in participants from the get-go. All of the Team Leaders were upbeat men and women who made complete strangers feel as if they were longtime friends. It was hot and humid with no wind and no shade — but no one cared because everyone was having fun. Organizers, participants and the audience that cheered and clapped with each round all seemed to concentrate on a shared bond — love of the military. There was no amount of sunburn or sore muscles that could take away from the joy of moment.

After I got home on Sunday night, I was looking at a picture of myself with Team Leaders Mark Little and Chris Nesbitt and wondering why I seem most at ease (no pun intended) around soldiers. I laugh more. I smile more. I’m more “me” in those moments than in any other social situation.

I think a clue to the peace that company brings me can be found in the bio for CPT Mark Little (U.S. Army Ret.), which reads:

Mark enlisted in the Army in 2002. Mark spent 4 years as a Combat Engineer learning and performing the craft of a demolitions expert.

Mark was deployed to Iraq as a Platoon Leader for the 3rd Infantry Division. He spent 99 days in Iraq, conducted over 150 Combat Patrols, and received 3 direct IED blasts, resulting in 2 Purple Hearts and the loss of both of his legs.

Mark is the Captain of the USA Warriors Hockey Team, which provides recreational hockey therapy to wounded Service-members, he actively Crossfits, and is excited to help the Boot Campaign with their critical mission of supporting our Nation’s Heros as they return from combat.

Mark is a Hero Team Leader because every fiber of his being is dedicated to serving his fellow Military Service-Members and refuses to let injuries get in the way of completing any mission he undertakes.

Selfless Service. Check. Courage. Check. Perseverance. Check. The list of qualities that I respect, admire and seek to cultivate in myself are so often found in individuals like CPT Little that it is in their presence where I feel most comfortable.

Pushups Charity FB

There is something extremely awe-inspiring about men and women who can have both of their legs taken from them and, upon healing, get out of bed and essentially say to the world, “You took my legs and knocked me down? Okay. I’ll just build myself some new legs and stand right back up again. And on top of that, I’m going to be just as hard-core awesome as I ever was.”

That is the character of winners. These are the individuals we should look to for inspiration. Their stories are the ones that should not be forgotten.

The next time a political party comes knocking on your door, I suggest laughing them off and turning to an organization with a track record of actually keeping its promises. Boot Campaign is one, but there are many, many others. And if you can’t give money, you can always take 90 seconds out of your day during the next Pushups for Charity event to knock a few out. It won’t cost you a dime, and you’ll meet some incredible people in the process.

Best,

Doug

'The Rock' is batting 1000 for awesomeness. He's relaunching movies, he's got a great new show with 'The Hero,' and now it turns out he's connected with the Boot Campaign.
‘The Rock’ is batting 1000 for awesomeness. He’s relaunching movies, he’s got a great new show with ‘The Hero,’ and now it turns out he’s connected with the Boot Campaign.

Obama treats Marine like ‘body man’ Reggie Love or Fonzworth Bentley: What’s it mean?

Not too long ago I was visiting Arlington Cemetery with an old Army buddy of mine. While we were in Section 60 looking for a few specific fallen warriors of Operation Enduring Freedom, we saw a group of Marines — the Honor Guard — performing their duties. What followed was a short conversation about what it takes to become a member in each branch of service. Long story short, the Marine Honor Guard is no joke. You have to be one “squared away” soldier. That’s not to say that the Army’s Honor Guard doesn’t have “squared away” soldiers but, let’s just say the “cut of the jib” of the Marines is a tad sharper. (Yes, it pains me to say that.)

With that said, I was astonished a few weeks ago when President Obama met in the White House Rose Garden with the Turkish prime minister, only to use a pair of Marines like they were his former body man Reggie Love, or perhaps “Diddy’s” Fonzworth Bentley. I had never seen a Marine with an umbrella, and while I was in a mechanized infantry unit I can’t recall anyone — ever — using an umbrella. I’m assuming that part of it has to do with the fact that your hands need to be free to salute at a moment’s notice, and the other is that guys who sleep under the stars for weeks on end, in any weather, don’t really notice when it’s drizzling out.

Pictures can say so many things, and it seems like a president needs to have a sixth sense when it comes to the message he’s sending at any given moment. I can not for the life of me think that Ronald “no helmets” Reagan would ever call on a Marine to hold an umbrella for him.

There’s a story about President Regan’s meeting with Gorbachev at the Geneva Summit in 1985. On a bitter cold day, Reagan walked out looking strong and sharp in just his suit and tie, while Gorbachev (who was actually a bit younger) came out in a hat, scarf and winter coat. Apparently, the media noticed and it sparked conversations about the different trajectories of the two nations. Given that Reagan was an actor, it seems that his keen sense of the camera paid off. If there is a picture of Reagan awkwardly balancing a Marine’s elbow to position an umbrella, please send it my way.

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Obama Marine

Foz umbrella

Pope in the rain without umbrella

The face on the Marine holding President Obama’s umbrella is priceless, but one must admit that he still looks damn sharp. Yes, Marines would look sharp holding a salami over their head for no apparent reason, but the guy still deserves a pat on the back and a firm handshake for rolling with it.

I want a president who can give a press conference outside in the elements while exuding a “screw it, we’re doing this” vibe at all times, no matter what the weather is.

And the weird thing is, we know Obama can do it. He has.

Obama rain

Even as a hard core conservative, I have to admit that Obama on the campaign trail soaked to the core is pretty cool. In the case of the Rose Garden press conference, if Obama was concerned about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, fine — but don’t get a Marine to hold an umbrella. There had to be a few interns or low level staffers who could have held an umbrella for a few minutes. Marines carry rifles. They do not carry umbrellas.

I’m sure the president won’t make that mistake again, but at this point it doesn’t matter. He’ll still have eight years in office when it’s all said and done, and if Republicans don’t get their act together they’ll be the ones out in the rain. Again.

Rubio/Paul? Paul/Rubio? Cruz/Rubio? Rubio/Cruz? A man can dream, can’t he?

A view from the infantry

Your truly along the Serbian/Macedonia border in the late 90's (sadly working under a United Nation's mandate).
Yours truly along the Serbian/Macedonia border in the late 90’s (sadly working under a United Nations mandate). Guess who got to haul the SINCGAR on patrol?

In 1997 I enlisted in the U.S. Army straight out of high school and spent three years as a mechanized infantryman.

After Basic Training in Fort Benning, Ga., I was sent to Schweinfurt, Germany, to join my unit, Charlie Co., 1/18th Infantry Battalion. I was part of First Infantry Division, known by most civilians as “The Big Red One.”

My time in service does not include the kind of deployments faced by the men and women who serve in a post 9/11 world, but I am confident that I can speak knowledgeably on the culture of combat units.

And I am confident Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s announcement that the front lines will now be an option for women is, for all intents and purposes, a policy shift that will get good soldiers killed.

While most commentary since the shift was revealed Wednesday has focused on the physical rigors demanded in combat roles, little has been mentioned about the sexual element that first sergeants and company commanders will now be forced to deal with.

Read the rest over at The Washington Times

Editor’s note: I’m trying to knock out “Damn Few” by the former Head of Basic and Advanced SEAL Training so I can give you guys a worthy review. In the mean time, hopefully this piece I did for TWT will serve as an adequate addendum to yesterday’s post on women in combat units.

At long last, Michael Moore openly admits he hates the troops

Michael Moore wants you to know he's going to stop saying he "supports the troops" — because he doesn't. It's not really news; most of us knew he never did. (Image: AP)
Michael Moore wants you to know he’s going to stop saying he “supports the troops” — because he doesn’t. It’s not really news; most of us knew he never did. (Image: AP)

In the last remaining hours of 2012, the New York Times enlisted a liberal scholar to finally admit the truth — guys like him want to do away with the Constitution. In the past I’ve tried to say that liberal activists loath the constraints the Constitution places upon their utopian goals, and their defenders have insisted that no, that isn’t the case, and that it’s all just a figment of my radical conservative imagination. Louis Seidman’s willingness to publicly admit his disdain for the document makes my job much easier. I can’t thank him enough.

Likewise, for years I’ve talked about liberal activists who hate our military. Regular readers know that my own conversion to the conservative side of the fence started with leftist professors who said: “Only redneck Republican hicks who are happy to get a free pair of boots join the military.” These likely-tenured academics also gave extra credit to go see Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine,” which dovetails nicely into the filmmaker’s New Year’s confession: He doesn’t support the troops.

Numbers four and five on his “to do” list for 2013 are as follows:

4. Stop saying, “I support the troops.” I don’t. I used to. I understand why so many enlisted after 9/11. Sadly, many of them were then trapped and sent off to invade Iraq. I felt for all of them. I understood those who joined because of a lousy economy. But at some point all individuals must answer for their actions, and now that we know our military leaders do things that have nothing to do with defending our lives, why would anyone sign up for this rogue organization?

5. Apologize for No. 4. I have enormous respect for anyone who would offer to sacrifice their life to defend my right to live. Is there any greater gift one can give another? It’s not the troops’ fault they’re sent to invade other countries for dubious reasons and outright lies. It’s OUR responsibility to prevent this, to elect representatives who believe in peace, and to only put our troops in harm’s way when it’s absolutely necessary. My uncle was killed in World War II. Today would have been his 90th birthday. My dad still misses him. Our family has served this country in the military since the Revolutionary War. None of them watch Fox News.

See what Moore does there? He realizes that he can’t directly come out and say that he hates the troops, so he has to add some mealy-mouthed addendum about his uncle’s military service during World War II.

What Michael Moore says at first is that the servicemen who enlisted well into the Iraq War and up to today knew what the mission was and enlisted anyway because on many levels they believed in the mission. But Michael Moore doesn’t believe in the mission. This puts Moore in the position where he desperately wants to make such soldiers “answer for their actions,” (i.e., invading countries “for dubious reasons” or supporting “outright lies”), but he can’t because he doesn’t want to be known as the guy who would have spit all over returning Vietnam Vets decades ago while screaming “baby killer!” So what does he do? He surreptitiously telegraphs that he absolutely despises guys like Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle and Mark Owen (I won’t use Owen’s real name here), before redirecting attention to a safe target — the civilian leaders who ultimately determine where the U.S. military’s might will be used around the globe.

Michael Moore infamously called al Qaeda in Iraq and former Baathist regime thugs “freedom fighters.” Since many of his supporters adhere to the “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” mentality, it was hard to nail them down and get them to admit that their idol was rooting for dead American soldiers. But with Moore’s 2013 resolution, the wiggle room for sane adults nears zero.

Thank you for finally admitting to the world in 2013 what some of us veterans always knew, Mr. Moore. It’s refreshing to run across a little honesty from you for a change.

Related: Michael Moore: Let’s stand in front of the Obamacare ‘locomotive’ and see what happens