Sunday, October 29, 2006

CNN Sniper Video

I recently received the following email from the father of a 3/3 Marine that we had served with in Salerno last year. This young Marine along with the entire 3/3 battalion left Afghanistan and after a short break were deployed to Iraq. After 7 months in the An Bar province, they were relieved by the 2/3 Marines and have recently redeployed to their home station in Hawaii.

Recently CNN showed an insurgent video of the sniper killing of an American
soldier in Iraq. The decision by CNN to air the film on national
television was beyond bad judgement. Our anger turned to outrage when we
found out the victim was 2nd Lt. Joshua Booth from 2nd Battalion, 3rd
Marines. Not only are his pregnant wife, child, and parents forced to come
to terms with the death of this twenty-three year old Marine, but they now know
his final moments and violent death has been gratuitously aired for the world to
witness. Bobbye and I know the video could easily have been of Daniel or
any number of Marines we have come to know, since the killing took place in
Haditha, Iraq.

I found CNN's explanation proved to be bland and devoid of
substance. There are any number of guesses as to why CNN chose to air the
insurgent video; however, in my judgement, none are of overriding value. I
am further distressed the video has not been discussed and editorialized to any
degree in the mainstream press. I cannot imagine the WWII press airing
footage sent to them by Nazi Germany or the Imperial Japanese Army depicting the
killing of American soldiers in Europe or Marines on Iwo Jima. I've always
believed the media's support for the troops never went much beyond ratings and
their financial bottom line. 2nd Lieutenant Booth's killing, now aired on
a world stage, reinforces my opinion.

I would ask everyone to consider making a conscious decision to boycott CNN in protest and avail yourselves of another national news source. Further, I would ask you to forward this email to friends and relatives for their consideration.

I have watched this bit of "journalism" when it was aired on CNN International last week and I have to say that it was disturbing at best. Of course it was preceded with all the warnings as to the graphic nature of what was about to be aired and a brief description of the decision process used in producing it. I found both to be lacking. The warnings took on the enticing nature of promotion and the justification was a weak attempt towards public service alluding to the emerging threat of a "new" shift in insurgent tactics in utilizing snipers.

I certainly share this father's outrage but I find CNN's motivations to be a bit different. Maybe it was a function of watching this piece on the international channel rather than with the domestic newscasters but I found the pandering to an anti-U.S. policy sentiment to be blatant and the timing of its release during the run-up to the mid-term elections less than coincidental.

I have to wonder if no other major news outlet aired these video pieces because they didn't have them or because they didn't find them news worthy. If they didn't have them, it leads to the question of how CNN came to possess these insurgent created items and why they would choose CNN to give them to. If everyone had them but only CNN showed them, it baffles me why many will continue to chastise Fox News for a pro-administration bias but proudly hail the credibility of what is fast becoming an American based Al-Jazeera.

My heart and utmost gratitude go out to the Booth family. To the 2/3; Semper Fi and come home safe. Those who truly care know all the good things that you are doing.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I thought of calling this post "Farewell to the Trinity" but I realized I already have a post by that name when 3/3 Marines left Salerno in June last year.

This is not about that Trinity, or even the Holy trinity, but of the other Trinity, Captains Burt, Giera, and Parrish who were 3 of my staff officers throughout the Afghanistan deployment. The other major component of the staff was Captain Mahoney who was the S-3 or simply the "3". SInce Tucker has already left Germany and is currently making his way through the Career Course in Ft. Lee, VA; this is not about the "3" but the "Three"

Two of the "Three" are making their way out of Germany in search of new adventures and I can't help feeling that we have reached the end of an era. Captain Burt will join Tucker at the Career Course before going to better things, maybe in the Army, maybe not. Captain Giera is leaving the Army in favor of a law enforcement job in North Carolina but with one foot inthe Army through the Reserves, we probably haven't heard the last of her either.

What follows is something I threw together for their farewell luncheon the other day:

Unsure of what I’d hear when I stepped through the door
Of my new BC’s office on this eve of war.

Said Langowski to the XO here is your team.
Please don’t worry, they’re not as surly as they seem.

A Captain as a 3 was not meant to be
for he was now a Major And can be of more use in counting containers

A Lieutenant as a 3? How will we get on?
Ah, no worries Ferris Beuhler is made of Teflon.

But this ode is not of that 3 but of those 3
It makes a more interesting story you see.

Your 1 is a star, he said, she smiles all the time,
And assumes all the taskings without whimper or whine.

She’s my number 2 Lieutenant, who could ask for more?
In fact she’s so good, she’s also your 4

Your 2 has potential, for excellence she’ll strive
Given the time she may even learn how to drive.

I fret for the rear so PBUSE must stay
Lest MAJ Roose give all my property away

So downrange for property who else could it be,
Only the third member of the Lieutenant Trinity.

She need only learn PBUSE and the property book ways
She has plenty of time, an entire 3 days.

So off they fly with a mighty whoosh
To transform the land of the Hindu-Kush

Salerno’s not nearly as bad as it seems,
There’s always the bazaar and espresso at the Green Bean

Then the rockets explode with a thunderous roar
So we grab our gear and head for the door

We must have our people we lack only three
Damn those Lieutenants, where the hell could they be?

“We were on a mission of great importance it seems
Swirling green tea with our friend Noor Amin.”

3 months in Salerno and their mission is done
So it’s off to Bagram in search of more fun.

Much of that year now is now lost in a haze
Wondering how those 3 passed their days

The PBO says sir my 1 block you must erase
Though I have not failed my mission, I’ve signed for half the base.

My judgment has been questioned and my career now doomed
For my poor choice in clothing for my Halloween costume.

The S2 says these MP’s are incompetent you see,
Armed only with my knives, I’ll find the detainees

And the 1 keeps smiling irregardless of what’s said
And boldly wades in where Angel fears to tread.

After only a year the Trinity is done
We must go back home for BAF has no more fun.

We came and we worked and have been all we could be
Suffering under TJ, and Dad, and of course STG.

So back to Germany the Triplets fly
Where they meet their friends and all hug and cry

While all good things must end, and these things must be,
Though two are now leaving they are forever the Trinity.

Best of Luck to Kristin and Trish, they will be stars in whatever they decide to do.
It's Official

So we've known for a while that I was going to get promoted, but it's always a long, painful, drawn-out process. First you get selected, then you get a sequence number. Then every month the Army announces what sequence numbers will be promoted. Then you have to actually do the promotion ceremony.

First it was announced that there would be no promotions until October 1st, the beginning of the new fiscal year. Then in September, it was announced that there would be no promotions in October since the list hadn't been confirmed by senate.

Then suddenly on Monday, it was announced that senate had confirmed the promotions as of last Friday and that I was effectively a Lieutenant Colonel as of the 30th of September. Then we had to wait on orders which finally came this morning, then you have to round everyone up and do the actual ceeremony.

At last, all is complete. at 3:00 P.M. this afternoon, Pam ripped the gold oak leaf off my uniform puncehd me in the chest pinning the black leaf on.

Lietenant Colonel at last.