One of These Kids Is Not Like The Others
Picture courtesy of Army Images. If you search for "101st" it should be the first image to come up.
Soldiers from the 101st Infantry Division (Air Assault) going over a wall in Samaria.
Click here for the full size version.
Now, notice the soldier in the foreground. What first caught my eye was the optic on his rifle-which I still can't ID. I thought it might be an IOR Valdada, but it's missing the rear turret for adjusting the magnification. Anyone help me out here?
Then I started looking more closely at his rifle, since I notice it had a SOPMOD stock. Next to catch my eye was the rail system-obviously different when compared to the M4 carried by the soldier going over the wall-and the lack of a fixed front sight, also a feature of the M4. Finally, I noticed the chalked writing on the magwell, and then over his firing hand-and by the markings, I'd guess his weapon has an ambidextrous selector lever.
What really cemented it for me is the fact that he's wearing non-standard body armor/MOLLE gear, and he doesn't have the Rakkasan patch on his helmet (visible poking out from under the goggle straps on the other two soldiers). Homeboy's an 'operator' of some sort, either going along for the ride to keep his skills sharp, or they're hitting a high priority/payoff target.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over
OK, SCOTUS' ruling in the Hamdan case really confuses the fuck out of me. And not just because those twinks write in code that you can't understand without a law degree, access to a law library, and a Cap'n Crunch decoder ring-though that factors into it. Hey guys, the Framers wrote the Constitution in plain language, undertandable by pretty much anyone with a decent command of the English language. For all our sakes, please, try to follow that example.
Um, so what they seem to be saying is that the AQAM (Al Qaeda & Affiliated Movements) guys we've got locked up down at Gitmo are entitled to protections of Art. 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The nice thing about this is, as the Armorer notes, this means that SCOTUS has acknowledged that they are POWs, and we can detain them for the duration, which pretty much means we can keep them at Club Gitmo until they die of old age, since this war-which they declared, not us, remember-isn't likely to end anytime soon.
BUT...not all of these fuckers meet the qualifications of a POW outlined in Art 4. of the same treaty (see link above). I'll give benefit of the doubt to any Afghanis who were members of the Taliban's military forces, or foreigners who can produce verifiable enlistment papers for same, under Art 4.A.(3):
Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.Thing is, most of the AQAM folks don't meet that definition, either. OK, let us venture into Art. 4.A.(2):
OK, for argument's sake, I'll again give these guys the benefit of the doubt on (a) and (c), although (c) in very, very iffy. They don't meet (b), and as they prove pretty much every day, they damn sure don't meet (d).
(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Which brings us to the question, which I think is what SCOTUS was trying to answer, which is who, makes the determination as to whether these hirabahs do or do not meet the above criteria, and according to what procedures. Art. 5 is vague on this, providing only
Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.Giving no definition that I could find of what constitutes a "competent tribunal." Which means it is up to the "detaining power" to determine what one is. And, if I'm reading the decision correctly, SCOTUS is saying that what's being done at the moment is not in accordance with whatever instructions Congress may have issued on the subject.
Which means, again if I'm reading it correctly, Congress can rewrite the law. And if they want to define a competent tribunal as being composed of three random people selected out of the New York City phonebook, they can do that, and that they can prescribe whatever rules of evidence they want.
So, Congresscritters, get your lazy, campaign contribution-grubbing asses back to work and fix the problem.
Oh, and just for fun, I'll include this from FM 27-10, Law of Land Warfare:
Which means, basically, that if these fuckers are found by a competent tribunal to not qualify as lawful combatants under the Geneva Convention, that they continue to exist on this earth only by the mercy of said tribunal, and by their percieved usefulness to our further conduct of the war.
80. Individuals Not of Armed Forces Who Engage in Hostilities
Persons, such as guerrillas and partisans, who take up arms and commit hostile acts without having complied with the conditions prescribed by the laws of war for recognition as belligerents (see GPW, art. 4; par. 61 herein), are, when captured by the injured party, not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war and may be tried and sentenced to execution or imprisonment.
82. Penalties for the Foregoing
Persons in the foregoing categories who have attempted, committed, or conspired to commit hostile or belligerent acts are subject to the extreme penalty of death because of the danger inherent in their conduct. Lesser penalties may, however, be imposed.
From the Dept of Duh
Wars Force Army Equipment Costs to Triple
OK, I know the government keeps trying to go on acting like it's not true, but it should be obvious: wars cost money. Even when you're trying to do it on the cheap, which is largely what Uncle Sam has been doing. In a war, military equipment, which in peacetime spends most of the time sitting in motorpools and arms rooms, gets used every day, in conditions that are challenging to say the least. That means is wears out a lot quicker, and when it does it needs to be replaced.
As far as giving the equipment to the Iraqis, I'd venture a guess that the return on investment will be great, especially with the armored Humvees. Things which allow their soldiers to survive on the battlefield mean that those troops become experienced, and more deadly, instead of simply dead. And if you're worried about the cost, ask yourself how much the Russians owe use for Lend-Lease materiel that they never returned or paid for. Maybe we should insist on payment, with interest, in oil and natural gas.
You know, I'd much rather decrease the service life of vehicles than the service life of our soldiers. And as I noted above, the fact that these vehicles are being driven every day, rather than spending 80% of their time sitting in the motorpool, is also a factor in wearing them out faster.
One of the growing costs is the replacement of Humvees, which are wearing out more quickly because of the added armor they are carrying to protect soldiers from roadside bombs. The added weight is causing them to wear out faster, decreasing the life of the vehicles.
I detect and undercurrent of hypocrisy in this report, since the MSM has always been in the front rank to bray loudly about the Administration sending the troops into battle without proper equipment, and now backhandedly complaining about the cost of keeping our troops equipped.