Wednesday, March 30, 2011

U.S. launches new missile barrage at Libya

From: Army Times
Stepping up attacks far from the front-line fighting, a U.S. Navy ship fired 22 Tomahawk cruise missiles at weapon storage sites around Tripoli on Tuesday, while President Obama said the effectiveness of the allies’ fight is a factor in deciding whether to arm the rebels.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile, held talks in London with an envoy from the Libyan political opposition group trying to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi.

In Washington, under questioning by Congress, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis said officials had seen “flickers” of possible al-Qaida and Hezbollah involvement with the rebel forces. But Stavridis said there was no evidence of significant numbers within the political opposition group’s leadership.

The Tomahawks targeted storage sites for surface-to-surface missiles near the Libyan capital, while combat aircraft of the U.S. and its partners in an international air campaign struck at ammunition storage depots and other military targets in western Libya. The rebels, though, were reported in full retreat after trying to march on Sirte, a city about halfway between Tripoli and the de facto rebel capital of Benghazi.

In an interview with ABC News, Obama conceded that “it’s conceivable that the process of actually getting Gadhafi to step down is not going to happen overnight ... it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Whether the rebels will receive arms from the allies remains an open question, Obama told NBC News as he made the rounds of the network evening news programs.

“One of the questions that we want to answer is: Do we start getting to a stage where Gadhafi’s forces are sufficiently degraded, where it may not be necessary to arm opposition groups?” Obama said.

All 22 Tomahawks were launched from the guided-missile destroyer Barry, according to a U.S. defense official. It was the highest number of Tomahawks fired in several days, even as the Navy has reduced the number of missile-firing ships and submarines off the coast and as the U.S. has prepared to give NATO full control of the Libya campaign.

The Libyan missiles targeted by the U.S. onslaught could have been used by pro-Gadhafi forces defending Tripoli, should heavy combat spread to the capital, which remains under Gadhafi’s control. The rebels are outmatched in training, equipment and other measures of military might by Gadhafi’s remaining forces, and would be hard-pressed to mount a full-scale battle for Tripoli now.

As for the overall international campaign against Gadhafi, Stavridis said he expected a three-star Canadian general to assume full NATO command of the operation by Thursday. Meanwhile, the Pentagon put the price tag for the war thus far at $550 million.

Clinton told reporters in London that the U.S. is operating with incomplete information about the Libyan opposition. But she said there was no information about specific individuals from terror organizations that are part of the political opposition.

“We’re building an understanding, but at this time obviously it is, as I say, a work in progress,” she said. “We don’t know as much as we would like to know and as much as we expect we will know.”

The Obama administration is not ruling out a political solution in Libya that could include Gadhafi leaving the country, she said, but she acknowledged there is no timeline.

Clinton met with Mahmoud Jibril, a representative of the Libyan political opposition.

“Their commitment to democracy and to a very robust engagement with people from across the spectrum of Libyans is, I think, appropriate,” she said.

A senior administration official said the U.S. will soon send an envoy to Libya to deepen relations with leaders of the rebels. But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, said the meeting wouldn’t constitute formal recognition.

Chris Stevens, who until recently was the deputy chief of mission at the now-shuttered U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, will make that trip.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the opposition leaders Obama officials have met with have expressed views that correspond with U.S. goals.

“We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the opposition and now meeting with opposition leaders,” Carney told reporters. “The folks who were in London, the leaders that Secretary Clinton met [previously] in Paris have made clear what their principles are. And we believe that they are meritorious.”

Carney added: “That doesn’t mean, obviously, that everyone who opposes Moammar Gadhafi in Libya is someone whose ideals we could support.”

The pace of air strikes by the U.S. and its international partners has picked up in recent days. The Pentagon said there were 119 strikes on Monday, up from 107 on Sunday and 88 on Saturday.

Clinton said international leaders have made no decisions about arming the rebels, but they talked at a London conference on Tuesday about providing non-lethal assistance including funds to keep them going. In his speech to the nation on Monday, Obama pledged that $33 billion in Libyan government funds frozen by the U.S. Treasury would at some point be made available to the Libyan people.

Obama said the U.S. was stepping back from the lead military role in Libya, although the extent of future participation remained unclear.

The president continued to take political heat for his approach, with Republicans leading the criticism.

They vowed to press senior administration officials for greater clarity at closed briefings slated for Wednesday. Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen are to brief members of the House and then meet with members of the Senate.

“The president’s remarks were a step in the right direction. They didn’t answer every question, but we’ll continue to pose those to Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters.

Obama received strong backing for his efforts in Libya from his 2008 presidential rival, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“The president’s decision to intervene in Libya deserves strong bipartisan support in Congress” and in the country, McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor.

“We have prevented the worst outcome in Libya, but we have not secured our goal,” he said, stressing that Gadhafi must go.

Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Service Committee, said Obama needs to further refine U.S. purposes.

“I still did not hear a clearly defined goal for how long military operations will last in Libya,” McKeon said. “Utilizing U.S. warriors to protect civilians from a brutal dictator is a noble cause, but asking them to maintain a stalemate while we hold out hope that Gadhafi will voluntarily leave his country raises serious questions about the duration of the mission.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Collapse - Another Documentary

I posted a great documentary yesterday; here's an even better one. Although it's not military-based, it's definately America-based and sends chills down my spine.

IMDB Link:

One review (official review) that I read while watching the trailer to this film described it at "an intellectual horror movie." Having listened to Mike Ruppert speak in the past, this comes as no surprise. From his scathing indictment of Dick Cheney in his talk "The Truth and Lies of 9/11" to the speech he gave in Seattle in January of 2005 (available in two parts on YouTube under the title "Talk by Michael C. Ruppert") the picture he paints for the future of the world has been a stark one for some time now.

However, gloomy is one thing. Being deadly accurate in nearly all predictions is another thing altogether. Ruppert, and his team at From the Wilderness (his newsletter) have been bang on the money when it came to oil prices, housing prices, and of course the collapse of the US housing market, and in other areas as well including drugs, the CIA and 9/11 itself. Ruppert being an ex LAPD narcotics officer who was born into an intelligence family, has had experience in seeing truth where others bury their heads in the sand. When he tried to bring to light evidence that the CIA was dealing drugs within the USA, he was shot at and forced off of LAPD. This was only the beginning of his investigative career, and of the vicious repercussions he suffered because of it. In November of 2004, his book "Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire and the End of the Age of Oil" went largely unnoticed, even though it could serve as a final nail in Dick Cheney's political coffin concerning his culpability for 9/11. Ruppert has said, "This is a book that I, as a detective, would... drop in the lap of a DA and say, 'I want a filing for murder, premeditated, first degree, multiple counts with special circumstances." The best part: he makes no mention of bombs in buildings, or holes in the pentagon, or molten metal, but merely treats the case as another crime to be pieced together and solved. His conclusions are staggering.

And in light of this, to hear what he predicts is yet to come is guaranteed send a chill down your spine, even if you don't believe him. And what does he predict? Nothing short of the collapse of industrialized civilization itself. How could this ever happen? Quite simply, the world runs out of oil. Since everything we do is dependent upon oil... well it's probably best if I let Ruppert speak for himself.

The film plays like one of Ruppert's more impassioned talks, albeit with some cinematography added in to keep the eye amused. We are in an undefined space that looks like a bunker, or an interrogation room. Ruppert sits in a chair, smoking cigarettes (presumably to calm his nerves, or as he's been known to say "I smoke as many cigarettes as I want to, but not nearly as many as the movie would have you believe") and tells us what's on his mind. And by the time you're done seeing "Collapse" it'll be on your mind too... no matter how hard you try not to believe it.

What makes "Collapse" so much more powerful than the angry rants and shenanigans of Michael Moore is that while Moore may be passionate about what he's talking about, it's clear that Ruppert is more than passionate... he's scared to death. What's worse, and also unlike Moore who has received greater publicity than many fiction filmmakers, Ruppert has suffered from a kind of Cassandra syndrome for sometime. His writings and speeches are prophetic and yet, until recently, he has gone mostly unnoticed by the majority of people. Despite this, he's cracked open some of the biggest cases of all time: the CIA dealing drugs, empirical evidence that Dick Cheney was directly responsible for thousands of deaths on 9/11, and most recently, the collapse of the global housing market. It's not difficult to picture a similar but more ancient voice shouting "Don't let the horse through the gates of Troy! It will bring ruin!" only to be met with violence and humiliation.

As is true with so many visionaries, Mike Ruppert is just now beginning to be heard... and like so many useful visions, the realization is coming too late.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why We Fight - Military Documentary

IMDB Link:

Despite obvious comparison with Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, this is not a gonzo bit of egotistic movie making with a big cuddly shambolic star doing stunts. This is a serious piece of research and reporting of the highest standard. Instead of the meaningless Bushite mantra of 'freedom; freedom; freedom' it pinpoints the historical dimension of the Iraq war and the ideological manipulation and monetary and political interests of the military industrial complex that has landed USA into the hand of crypto Fascists who hide the truth from the people who instead are fed 'bread and circuses' by the culture industry. However Jarecki includes key neocons like Richard Perle and great clips of Rumsfeld schmoozing with Saddam Hussein Рour ally against Iran to whom US sold his WMD. Jarecki also includes a fascinating story of a Vietnam vet who backs the war because it was against Al Qaidia but falls apart as he watches Bush shuffle sheepishly away from that. It was been premi̬red at the Sundance film festival where it won the Grand Jury prize for documentary. But I doubt any of the US mass media which colludes with the military industrial complex as part of the 'national security state' will allow it to be shown.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Army Combat Uniform

The Army Combat Uniform (ACU) consists of a jacket and trousers in the universal camouflage pattern (UCP). The ACU is normally worn with a black beret or a patrol cap in UCP, a moisture-wicking T-shirt, and Army combat boots (temperate or hot weather).

The ACU is the culmination of many months of research and development by Soldiers for Soldiers. The ACU enhances Soldier performance by providing a functional, ergonomic uniform that can be tailored based on the mission. The ACU, including component materials, is manufactured in the United States using the same industrial base that produced the Battle Dress Uniform. This ensures the highest quality control and supports the American workforce. The ACU is worn with ancillary items, including hook-backed embroidered U.S. Army tapes, name tapes, and rank and shoulder sleeve insignia. The ACU is machine washable and contains a wrinkle-free treatment, decreasing out-of-pocket expense to Soldiers for expensive cleaning and starching.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The War in Afghanistan

From the Associated Press

The war in Afghanistan has reached a stalemate and the best time to jump-start a political settlement with the Taliban is now, according to a report released Wednesday by a U.S. think tank.

The report, issued by the Century Foundation, said the U.S. and Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Pakistan, must play key roles in any negotiations. Demands that the Taliban sever ties with al-Qaida or that foreign troops exit the nation, for example, should be considered goals, not preconditions of talks, the 126-page report said. The group also proposed that a neutral party, perhaps the United Nations, be named to facilitate the process.

The report was released as President Hamid Karzai, for the second day in a row, called on the Taliban to lay down their weapons. At a high school in Kabul, Karzai pleaded with the Taliban to stop burning schools and reconcile with the government.

“Once again I’m calling to the Taliban: Make friendship with education, and come and make peace,” Karzai said. “Let the Afghan children stand on their feet and then the foreigners will voluntarily leave. They will not come back and we won’t need them. ... If you’re going to burn the schools, it means you are the friend of the foreigners.”

Karzai has had informal contacts with Taliban figures, but no formal peace talks are underway. Publicly, the Taliban say they won’t negotiate as long as foreign forces are in Afghanistan. The Afghan government and the U.S. have said they will reconcile only with members of the Taliban who renounce violence, cut ties with al-Qaida and embrace the Afghan constitution.

“Both sides have set preconditions for talking to their foes that may reflect the concerns of highest priority to them, but which should no longer prevent their talking to each other,” the report said. “Fulfillment of each specific point should be their goals in a political settlement.”

The study was written by a task force set up by the Century Foundation, a nonprofit public policy research institution based in New York and Washington. The task force, led by Lakhdar Brahimi, former U.N. special representative for Afghanistan, and Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador and U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, met with senior policymakers and analysts in a dozen countries.

“Bringing peace to Afghanistan after more than 30 years of war is a daunting task,” the report concludes. “But no side can now be confident of securing a military victory; none in the past 30 years has proved durable. As the country’s contending sides slip into uneasy stalemate, the time to open negotiations to end the war is upon us.”

In London, Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said there were some signs of progress on reconciliation.

“There have been contacts, but I don’t want to overstate them, and I obviously couldn’t say how many there have been in recent months,” Petraeus said in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank.

Petraeus said countries engaged in military combat in Afghanistan must play only a limited role in helping to craft a political solution to the conflict.

“We should absolutely seek reconciliation, [but] it has to be Afghan-led,” Petraeus said. “This can’t be something that NATO countries can do for Afghanistan.”

On Tuesday, Karzai announced the first seven areas of the country where Afghan policemen and soldiers will start taking charge of security from the U.S.-led NATO coalition in July. That coincides with President Obama’s goal of withdrawing some U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July if conditions allow. Karzai wants Afghan forces to be in the lead across the entire nation by the end of 2014.

Lawrence Korb, a member of the task force and a former U.S. assistant secretary of defense, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that withdrawing some U.S. troops in July will give the Taliban a “face-saving” opportunity to engage in talks and it will send a signal that Americans are not “occupiers.”

“I think we have reversed the momentum of the Taliban but it’s important to begin the negotiations now,” he said.

The task force said the U.S. will be a — if not the — most essential party in any peace negotiations with the Taliban.

“The process cannot prosper without full American support and leadership,” the report said.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States was launching a “diplomatic surge to move this conflict toward a political outcome that shatters the alliance between the Taliban and al-Qaida, ends the insurgency, and helps to produce not only a more stable Afghanistan but a more stable region.”

The alternative to a political resolution is a protracted conflict that neither the war-weary Afghans, Americans or Europeans want or can afford, the task force said. The report said any final peace accord would have to include the Taliban’s promise to sever ties with al-Qaida, measures to curb narcotics production and trafficking and a withdrawal of foreign forces.

NATO officials say as many as 900 Taliban foot soldiers have been lured off the battlefield to join the government, but the report said reintegrating Taliban fighters into Afghan society will not be enough to yield peace without an overarching political agreement embraced by all parties.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Soldier to Plead Guilty to Afghan Murders

From the Associated Press

A 22-year-old soldier accused of carrying out a brutal plot to murder Afghan civilians faces a court-martial Wednesday in a case that involves some of the most serious criminal allegations to arise from the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock, of Wasilla, Alaska, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit assault and battery, and one count of illegal drug use in exchange for a maximum sentence of 24 years, said Geoffrey Nathan, one of his lawyers.

His client is one of five soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 5th Stryker Brigade charged in the killings of three unarmed Afghan men in Kandahar province in January, February and May 2010. Morlock is the first of the five men to be court-martialed — which Nathan characterized as an advantage.

“The first up gets the best deal,” he said by phone Tuesday, noting that even under the maximum sentence, Morlock would serve no more than eight years before becoming eligible for parole.

According to a copy of the plea agreement, which was obtained by The Associated Press, Morlock has agreed to testify against his co-defendants. In his plea deal, Morlock said he and others slaughtered the three civilians knowing that they were unarmed and posed no legitimate threat.

He also described taking a lead role in the January incident — lobbing a grenade at the civilian while another soldier shot at him, and then lying about it to his squad leader.

The court-martial comes days after a German news organization, Der Spiegel, published three graphic photos showing Morlock and other soldiers posing with dead Afghans. One image features Morlock grinning as he lifts the head of a corpse by its hair.

Army officials had sought to strictly limit access to the photographs due to their sensitive nature. A spokesman for the magazine declined to say how it had obtained the pictures, citing the need to protect its sources.

Morlock told investigators the murder plot was led by Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, of Billings, Mont., who is also charged in the case; Gibbs maintains the reasons behind the killings were legitimate.

Nathan said Morlock’s mother, hockey coach and pastor are among the witnesses who might testify on his behalf in court. He indicated the defense would argue that a lack of leadership in the unit contributed to the killings.

“He’s really a good kid. This is just a bad war at a bad time in our country’s history,” Nathan said. “There was a lack of supervision, a lack of command control, the environment was terrible. In his mind, he had no choice.”

After the January killing, platoon member Spc. Adam Winfield, of Cape Coral, Fla., sent Facebook messages to his parents saying that his fellow soldiers had murdered a civilian and were planning to kill more. Winfield said his colleagues warned him not to tell anyone.

Winfield’s father alerted a staff sergeant at Lewis-McChord, which is south of Seattle, but no action was taken until May, when a witness in a drug investigation in the unit also reported the deaths.

Winfield is accused of participating in the final murder. He admitted in a videotaped interview that he took part and said he feared the others might kill him if he didn’t.

Also charged in the murders are Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes of Boise, Idaho, and Spc. Michael Wagnon II of Las Vegas.

Seven other soldiers in the platoon are charged with lesser crimes, including assaulting the witness in the drug investigation, drug use, firing on unarmed farmers and stabbing a corpse.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

President Obama's Stand on Libya

From the Armed Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 – U.S. military actions in Libya are being conducted as part of a broad multinational coalition and in direct support of a United Nations mandate designed to set conditions for other coalition partners to play larger roles enforcing the no-fly zone there, President Barack Obama said today.

Obama told reporters in Santiago, Chile, that he directed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen to move forward with military action only after it became clear that his warnings to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had fallen on deaf ears.

“He, despite words to the contrary, was continuing to act aggressively toward civilians,” Obama said. “After consulting with our allies, we decided to move forward.”

The United States played a larger role during the initial phases of the operation only because it had capabilities particularly well-suited to taking out Gadhafi’s air defenses, the president said. “That … shapes the environment in which a no-fly zone can actually be effective,” he explained.

Fast action also helped to stop advances on Benghazi and sent “a clear message to Gadhafi that he needed to start pulling his troops back,” the president said.

More European nations and Arab League members will step forward during the next phase of the operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

“There is going to be a transition taking place in which we are one of the partners among many who are going to ensure that no-fly zone is enforced, and the human protection that needs to be provided continues to be in place,” Obama said.

The manner in which the United States took leadership of the initial thrust and set the stage for other nations to participate “ensures international legitimacy and ensures that … members of the international coalition are bearing the burden of following through on the mission as well,” he said.

Recognizing that the U.S. military is “already very stretched,” Obama welcomed the international cooperation being demonstrated during Operation Odyssey Dawn.

“Whenever possible for us to get international cooperation – not just in terms of words, but also in terms of planes and pilots and resources, that is something we should actively seek and embrace,” he said. “It relieves the burden on our military, and it relieves the burden on U.S. taxpayers to fulfill what is an international mission and not simply a U.S. mission.”

While not specifically mentioning any particular mission, Obama referred to past operations in which the United States acted unilaterally or with limited international support and ended up carrying the bulk of the burden alone.

Obama said he finds it “very easy to square our military actions and our stated policies” concerning Libya.

“Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Gadhafi to his people,” he said, noting that Gadhafi was murdering civilians and threatening to “show no mercy” to those in Benghazi.

“In the face of that, the international community rallied and said, ‘We have to stop any potential atrocities inside Libya’ and provided a broad mandate to accomplish that specific task,” Obama said.

“The core principle that has to be upheld here is that when the entire international community almost unanimously says that there is a potential humanitarian crisis about to take place, that a leader who has lost his legitimacy decides to turn his military on his own people, that we can’t simply stand by with empty words,” he said. “We have to take some sort of action.”

U.S. policy recognizes that “Gadhafi needs to go,” the president said, noting “a wide range of tools in addition to our military efforts to support that policy.”

The United States was quick to impose unilateral sanctions against Libya and to mobilize international sanctions against the Gadhafi regime, he noted. This included freezing assets Gadhafi might use to empower himself, purchase weapons or hire mercenaries to direct against the Libyan people.

“So there are a whole range of policies that we are putting in place that has created one of the most powerful international consensuses around the isolation of Mr. Gadhafi,” Obama said. “And we will continue to pursue those.”

Meanwhile, the United States will continue to provide military support to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973’s humanitarian focus, he said. “We are going to make sure we stick to that mandate,” he added.

The president said he is particularly proud of the way the U.S. military has carried out the initial thrust.

“It is a testament to the men and women in uniform who, when they are given a mission, they execute and do an outstanding job,” he said.


Monday, March 21, 2011

New Army Duffel Bag

From Army Times

The Army Uniform Board has made four changes to your clothing bag that will take effect in fiscal 2013.

Two items were shot down, and three other items are under consideration. Here are a few things you need to know:

Topping the list is a new duffel bag that has four straps and zips from both sides. This “huge improvement” means you don’t have to empty the bag to get something from the bottom, said Maj. Sequana Robinson, the clothing bag’s assistant product manager. The new duffel holds the same amount of gear as the current bag. It is easier to carry and the Velcro name tag eliminates spray painting.

Soldiers also will get a towel that better covers the body. The size will increase from 20x40 inches to 24x48 inches. And your washcloth will now be an 80 percent poly, 20 percent nylon fabric.

Another board decision: Soldiers will no longer get a second flash with the beret. The board surveyed 659 noncommissioned officers and found that 88 percent never used the item.

Cutting the extra flash, which costs 37 cents, will save the Army $1.24 million over five years. That money will be reinvested in the clothing bag, said Lt. Col. Michael Sloane, product manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment.

The new duffel will boost the Army’s cost from $22.20 to $29.61 each.

The new towel costs 30 cents more, but the new washcloth costs 29 cents less, so that’s a wash.

Side pockets for physical training shorts were shot down. Soldiers wanted the pockets to hold ID cards or keys. But the board said the current trunks already accommodate them. And speaking of deep pockets, the change would have cost $4.4 million over five years.

The board also nixed a flap to cover the Army Combat Uniform’s left sleeve pen pocket. An example was demonstrated, and the board saw some worth to the idea, but felt the $5.2 million it would cost over five years could be better invested elsewhere.

The uniform board is looking for lighter, moisture-wicking fabrics for PT gear and a softer, moisture-wicking towel. It also is looking for a better way to close the ACU sleeve — and buttons are under consideration, Sloane said.

Strong consideration also will be given to liners in PT shorts. Soldiers are allowed to wear black bicycle shorts under PT shorts. The board tested 600 soldiers in four locations from August to January. It now must decide whether to provide the bicycle liner, and if so whether it should be a stand-alone product or one attached to PT shorts.

Army Regulation 70-1 identifies 17 positions to make up the uniform board. The board meets every six months. It relies on product demonstrations, open dialogue and informed decisions to rapidly design and distribute better products, Sloane said. All recommendations have to be approved by the Army chief of staff.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


When I think of a leader, I think of a great man who just has that aura of "I'm going to fuck shit up and you're going to do it with me." Some say that leadership exists in the Army but I would have to politely disagree. Leadership is a trait that cannot be taught or drilled in, its something that is natural. Great leaders were just born that way, they just have to discover it, which is usually the hard part. All the "leaders" that I know, save for a couple real ones, are not leaders at all. They sit in the back and bark commands very similarly to a sweet 16 from the disgraceful MTV show. Real leaders of men are the first to act and the first to admit their mistakes. They lead from the front, not the rear.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Salary of a Soldier

In the Army (this is pretty much the same throughout all branches), starting out, you make around $20,000 a year base pay. You are guaranteed raises at every new year mark and every other year in service mark. I have been in for almost 5 years and my salary is roughly $27,000 a year base pay.

This may seem horribly low compared to the civilian sector but the benefits in the Army don’t even come close. First of all, you get to eat at the Chow Hall (Galley is the Navy equivalent) for free unless you have special circumstance, in which case, the Army will pay you $300 extra a month for sustenance. Second, health and dental are 100% covered. I got my wisdom teeth pulled in the Army and it didn’t cost me a cent. Third, the Army pays for your room and board whether that’s an apartment style room in the barracks, or a small house on post or, in some cases (like if you’re married), they’ll pay for you to buy a house or lease an apartment off post. There are quite a few other perks that the civilian sector can’t match (insanely low life insurance, reduced supermarket prices, etc.)

If you’re single in the military and aren’t saving at least $400 a month, either you’re doing something wrong or you’re a complete retard with your money (which is 75% of the military). Being married in the military though, it’s pretty tough to get by without your spouse working as well, especially if you decide to poop out some kids.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Summary of my Las Vegas Trip

I've been to Las Vegas many times but haven't venture far into the gambling world save for a few slot machines. This trip was different. I had $200 extra from being a frugal spender over the past year and made peace with the possibility of losing that money to have a chance at more.

I played a whole lot of roulette with my $200 dollars and I'll tell you my strategy, which I learned from a friend. Stay on the same number the entire time (or two numbers, or three or whatever) and bet that number and the four corner bets around it. This way, you have a 1/4 of a chance that you'll earn at least some cash and when your number finally hits (and it will) you'll earn some real money (depending on how much you put down, you could make $100+ with a $5 bet.) Then what I did, was each time my number hit, I took $50 of the earnings and put it aside, so when I run out of playing chips, I at least have that $50 (or however much more I win).

This strategy worked out pretty well when I started. I was up $175 and feeling pretty good. I should have stopped there but the weekend was long and I was bored, so I threw more money down. My good luck turned sour and, by the end of the weekend, I lost all of my $200. I had a really good time though and got plenty of free dranks.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Las Vegas Trip

I'm currently living the life in Las Vegas right now. I'll be back to posting some funny sh!t from the military on Monday! Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Army Emergency Relief Fund

There’s this fund in the Army that soldier can donate money into that assists other soldiers who are in desperate need of emergency funds. This sound likes a great idea but in practice, it is a complete waste. The only people that dip into these funds are financially irresponsible and can’t balance a budget, let alone know what a budget is, to save their life. They have to have the newest phone, the biggest TV, the most expensive Direct TV plan, and a brand new car but when a family member suddenly passes away (bless their heart), they have absolutely no savings and need money from other soldier (who make jack shit) to get home to be with their family. It’s completely retarded but then again, this is America, and its full of dumbasses.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

German Monks

So, I've told you guys a few stories of our dearly unbeloved platoon sergeant. He's the insane exaggerator/liar. Usually, one his stories will start out believable then all of a sudden, it takes a turn thats puts my colleagues and I into a state of utter bewilderment. Then sometimes, as in the following case, they get even more ridiculous. Well, here is the story of the German Monks. I will just call him and his friend, Fred and Tom, for simplicity's sake.

Fred and Tom hear of an island on the Rhine river that you can take a ferry to and meet some German Monks. (See, this sounds totally believable.) So, on their next weekend they get tickets for the ferry and explore the German Monks' castle. What Fred and Tom didn't know until they found out the hard way was that the ferry they took was the last one of the day and they wouldn't be able to get back to the mainland until morning. (It gets better, much much better.) So they have to spend the night with these German Monks in their castle in the middle of the Rhine river. Well it turns out that these monks, as monks have been known to do, brew their own beer. Fred and Tom get to try the beer and claim that it was the strongest beer known to man. So, Fred and Tom get nice and drunk and listen to the monks tell their stories. And, as it turns out, all of the monks combined know how to speak every languange the world has ever known. That is every language past and present (and probably future).

This is a very good example of how one of his stories starts out honest and sane but then the story hits that certain point where you wonder how this man sleeps at night and how his wife can put up with him.