Friday, May 19, 2006

Twice damned


Defense Tech: Galloway Goes for the Throat


I've been meaning to post about this amazing email exchange between Joe Galloway, who Norman Schwarzkopf called "The finest combat correspondent of our generation -- a soldier's reporter and a soldier's friend" and DOD stooge Lawrence DiRita. It is one of the only places I have seen an Administration apologist engage a critic, and Galloway just wipes the floor with him. You should read the whole thing to get the full flavor, but I was moved by Galloway's final peroration:

i like to think that is what i am doing also, and it is a struggle that grows out of my obligation to and love for america's warriors going back 41 years as of last month.

there are many things we all could wish had happened.

i can wish that your boss had surrounded himself with close advisers who had, once at least, held a dying boy in their arms and watched the life run out of his eyes while they lied to him and told him, over and over, "You are going to be all right. Hang on! Help is coming. Don't quit now..."

Such men in place of those who had never known service or combat or the true cost of war, and who pays that price, and had never sent their children off to do that hard and unending duty.

i could wish for so much.

i could wish that in january of this year i had not stood in a garbage-strewn pit, in deep mud, and watched soldiers tear apart the wreckage of a kiowa warrior shot down just minutes before and tenderly remove the barely alive body of WO Kyle Jackson and the lifeless body of his fellow pilot. they died flying overhead cover for a little three-vehicle Stryker patrol with which i was riding at the time.

i could wish that Jackson's widow Betsy had not found, among the possessions of her late husband, a copy of my book, carefully earmarked at a chapter titled Brave Aviators, which Kyle was reading at the time of his death. That she had not enclosed a photo of her husband, herself and a 3 year old baby girl.

those things i received in the mail yesterday and they brought back the tears that i wept standing there in that pit, feeling the same shards in my heart that i felt the first time i looked into the face of a fallen american soldier 41 years ago on a barren hill in Quang Ngai Province in another time, another war.

someone once asked me if i had learned anything from going to war so many times. my reply: yes, i learned how to cry.

I go on about worthless stooges like Richard Cohen, but there are still some folks working in print who can bring it. I'll be looking for Galloway's byline from now on.

But that isn't what motivated me to post. What brought on DiRita's ire at Galloway and precipitated the exchange was a piece Galloway wrote about (retired) Marine General Paul Van Riper. That article discusses what is perhaps the most amazing nutshell moment yet. Please read the whole thing, but the gist is that when the DOD gamed the Iraq Iran invasion, they put Van Riper in charge of the "Red Forces" -- the proxy enemy. Van Riper did his job too well.
When the figurative smoke cleared it was found that the Red Forces had sunk 16 Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier. Thousands of Marines and sailors were dead.

The referees stopped the game, which is normal when a victory is won so early. Van Riper assumed that the Blue Force would draw new, better plans and the free play war games would resume.

Instead he learned that the war game was now following a script drafted to ensure a Blue Force victory: He was ordered to turn on all his anti-aircraft radar so it could be destroyed and he was told his forces would not be allowed to shoot down any of the aircraft bringing Blue Force troops ashore.

Is there anything that has gone wrong in Iraq, in New Orleans, and in every other mess these malevolent fools have wrought, that is not on display in that one military exercise, and DiRita's response to the article about it?

Update: Just got around to checking my email, and discovered that yesterday reader Randy pointed me to this story, and noticed the similarity between Van Riper's strategy (and outcome) and my Armageddon piece last month. Great minds and all that.

3 Comments:

Anonymous RandyH said...

John-

Thanks for the mention. That you found that on your own at the same time and had the same thoughts of the original article is sort of eery. One little typo n your post though:
"...but the gist is that when the DOD gamed the Iraq invasion..."

Should be Iran.

12:49 PM  
Blogger bluememe said...

Right you are, Randy. Just fixed it.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't know how much longer you'll be able to read Galloway @ Knight Ridder as i think i read where he is retiring ... Pat Lang had something about this at his blog.

3:50 AM  

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