Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Bay of Pigs
I read that a couple of days ago was the fiftieth anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. It brought to mine, Rodrigues. He was a Cuban captured in the Bay of Pigs. He was with us at Leavenworth (Command and General Staff College) and quite the character and lived just down from us. I can still see him in my mind’s eye, sitting at our kitchen table and me printing out the key things in my notes. He would pretend he could understand the instructors but didn’t get a word they said. And, depending on me for his notes was even funnier. I got about a fraction of anything. I was uninterested and bored. It is now funny. My wife used to get so mad. She had things to do and there sat Rod and me printing out my notes. Guess you had to be there.

I think he was imprisoned too after the Bay of Pigs. I know he was wounded. I remember the pain—the emotional pain—you could literally feel it when he talked about being abandoned by the US, waiting on the beach for air cover that never came.

Sometimes when I think of the military involvement of our country, to include our present two wars, plus Libya—just don’t know what to say. I doubt we have ever cleanly escaped any of our misadventures, based on one’s perspective.


FROM MY BUDDY, Retired and the absolute best military officer/leader I’ve ever known. His comments, slightly edited and used without permission.

I do remember Rodrigues. And you’re right, he didn’t have a clue often at what was being said. And that is funny that he depended on “you” for passing along information. I do remember that you weren’t terribly impressed with the experience. But, you and he got through the course and that’s what counted. Did you ever hear from him after we left Leavenworth?

I did know that the fiftieth anniversary of the Bay of Pigs passed recently. And my thoughts sort of paralleled yours. We have abandoned our “friends” more than once. Sometimes I wonder why people even expect that we will help them out at all, or if we do help initially why they would expect us to stay the course. On the other hand, we hung in there in Europe during the cold war and we’re still there. We hung in in Korea for sure. And we’re still in Kosovo, we still have UN peacekeepers in the Sinai, or somewhere, and for crying out loud we’re still in Iraq trying against all odds to put that place back together. So, I guess we aren’t totally unreliable. Hard to know what’s the right thing to do in Libya. I still think the President is on the right course. I think in international politics you can afford to lead from the rear sometimes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Listening to the debate about our debt crisis, any idiot would have to say we have to do something. The problem is that the debate is more smoke and mirrors than anything. I don't care what sort of spin is put on it, the Republicans come across as a f..king herd of zealots. And, I don't give a shit about party. I usually am in the Democrat corner as the Republicans are so f..king mean spirited. It is zap medicaid, for instance, no help with heating oil for the poor. The Democrats want to raise taxes on the well off, those who have benefitted from being in this great country only makes sense. The top two percent of the country, the wealthiest ought to be willing to step up to the plate and help out. It is hard to speak rationally without sounding partisan, a word that I dislike almost as much as hearing politicians say, "American people." 35-40 percent of Americans don't give a shit one way or another. They get up in the morning, go to work, come home, watch Fox News, cuss the politicians, wish for America the way it use to be. They're not watching PBS, they're surviving. It doesn't mean, however, that they are less important. Traditionally the Democrats in modern times have looked after these Americans with welfare, some relative means of health care, and more often than not, they are the cultural minorities: uneducated, emigrants, addicts, you name it.

Who is going to look after these people. It sure as f..k ain't going to be the mean spirited Republicans if history is any indicator. I heard a program on NPR the other night about some program in Florida that rescues endangered children from doped up parent addicts. One 15 year old was looking after his two siblings by scrounging food from trash cans. Who is going to rescue these kids if we don't; not the anger, Mitch McConnell. I can tell you where to cut: how about two wars, tax corporations that are making millions and paying no taxes. How about these defense contractor exorbitant overruns or projects that we ought to scrap anyway.


Sometime ago, on the TV show, Sixty Minutes, Julian Assange surely didn't come across as some egomaniac national security threat as he's been portrayed. He came across as a fervent evangelical for transparency (overused concept, how about just honest) in government. And, will have to say this, his interviewer, Steve Croft didn't throw him any softballs either. I'm no Julian Assange trumpeter but I am for telling it like it is. Let's establish blame here. In my way of thinking, it is hard to say. But, the government has to come in for a good hit. Bradley Manning ,the young soldier that did the leaking, supposedly, surely, but give me a break, a lower ranking enlisted soldier with the capacity to have assess to all this classified material. Come on, the government types who are in charge of secrets have got to be better than that. Manning, who knows computers, etc., probably but come on, he's a midget in the system for God's sake. In some ways, anybody who has been associated with the military knows that it is almost the nature of the beast for lower ranking enlisted types to get to hating the Army (Navy, Marines) or at least the decisions they've made. This is all speculation, but you get some kid without much direction but very computer savvy joins the military. Some recruiter has talked him into it, sounds good, gets a bonus. A couple of years down the road, he's looking at four or five more years in the military. He's bored, has a computer job, maybe a less than aware boss in turns of authority. Who knows! He decides to play some games, get back at the military for probably some inexplicable reason. Who knows but for him to even have assess to some of this material is unfathonable to me.

So, now what. The government, military needs to suck it up. We f...ed up. Eric Holder who seems less than the brightest bulb in the lot, needs to quit threatening. Fall on your sword. Remedy the problem so this can't happen again and get a grip on really what is classified. I often wonder what in the hell happens to people. I guess it is a "group think." The government slaps a "classified" label on things that don't need it and they throw around terms like national security when it is bullshit. Any of us who have spent any time around the government or the military get it quickly.

Do I think that the military in particular will learn any lessons. Hell no. Instead of falling on their sword, saying we f...ed up, they be hollering national security, court martialing Manning, overall putting their brains in formaldehyde. Think Pat Tillman, Abu Grabib, all kinds of other "who is watching the store" mentality.

I've talked to lots of my buddies of all different persuasions--to a person, they came away from the Sixty Minutes segment on the Assange interview with a favorable impression of someone who might be basically embracing old time American ideals which we may have ourselves let slip.

So, what's going to happen? Well, it's going on for years. The government probably should negotiate with Assange if there really are some honest to goodness national security issues which I doubt or especially if naming names will put someone's life in jeopardy. Manning. Give him an Article Fifteen, which is a slap on the wrist and discharge him with a general discharge under less than honorable conditions. Will that make any difference. Only that somebody in the military had used good common sense and when Manning writes his book, the military will look better.

This sounds like a big-time putdown of the military in particular. Not so as I see it. The military overall is more fair than most gigantic organizations and are not victims of the whims of money (it is taxpayer money anyway). Unfortunately, as I see it, not enough real thinkers get to the decision making point who can say, we f...ed up and I'm sorry. But, overall, if we could, we'd be better off in the long run if we could learn this lesson. MY OPINION.