Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FERGUSON

What else is there to say about Ferguson? There are so many things that are intertwined. To have a "clean" statement is impossible. I have done an informal discussion with these old guys I hang out with two or three times a week. Plus, I am part of an email group with close to a dozen retired military types. All the whites pretty much see it the same: "Unfortunate police action but can't tolerate lawlessness. Rioting, etc puts it in different category. Now, thugs have come in to take advantage."

 Most African Americans deal with the heavy handedness of the police, the brutality. Even the most hardcore would have to admit, "shooting a teenager six times in the head is a bit much." Issues like no jobs, president's fault, too much military style policing. Questioning of heavy handedness. All over the map. 

Regardless of where we stand on Ferguson, we can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, "we have not solved the issue of race in our country." 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

RACE

Are race relations as bad as ever in America. I don't think so. Much is the media. Never forget that the media wants a story, not necessarily the truth. 
 
THE SIXTIES REVISITED. I was on the way to Vietnam when riots erupted  over the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Amazing that few things have changed about race in the country. African Americans accusing  the police of being heavy handed and the police accusing the protestors of being violent. 

I thought the former mayor of Ferguson was close to the truth. On the "News Hour" when asked about racial profiling, he said something like, "When a policeman sees a car with expired tags, he is going to pull it over. The vast majority of the time, the car owner is an African American who can't afford to pay for tags. This is 80% of the time. Is that racial profiling? So, issue is as much economic as race?

These little townships around St Louis have the vast majority as blacks. Yet the elected officials and police are mostly white. What is this?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

IRAQ REVISTED

I opposed the Iraq war from the very beginning as it was built on fraud. George W f..k up, let's face it--Listened to the neocons who still are in denial. 
We finally got out of Iraq luckily through the bungling of Nouri al-Maliki
who has maintained a crazy hold on power. 

We lucked out. Now, a weary nation (at least those who care), are faced with what to do again in Iraq? The president has taken a courageous stance in bombing. We can't turn our backs on defenseless people like the Yazidis. It is not in our nature.  The bombing seems to be working. We have stopped the advance of fanatics who kill indiscriminately anybody who doesn't agree with them. I think I would take a little riskier tacict than just bombing. Forget those like John McCain. What the f..k is wrong with him. He was a POW for God's sake and ought to be bigger than all this criticism he constant levels. He is still a sore loser I think. And Hillary, politics. Give me a break. But, with what I've read, we are dealing with murderous fanatics. Vicious fanatics like ISSI must be confronted. And we should be prepared to facilitate their martyrdom. Air strikes alone will not do it. There is no winning this war on terrorism, they continue to multiply but we can win this battle. We should deploy the 82d Airborne. They are the premier large scale fighting force in the American military. The 82d Airborne trains and lives for this moment. Already, they have prepared a scenario exactly for this moment. They are trained. Their mission means ready to "rock and roll" in 72 hours. In this case, they are sitting on the runway, waiting on the green light. It is time to do it. And, once the mission is completed, "wheels up" on the way home, the Kurt's have the mission.

Friday, August 08, 2014

BOBBING ISSIS

Ordinarily I would oppose a decision to even think of doing anything with Iraq but I think Ryan Crocker is right, “This is about America’s national security,” said Ryan Crocker, who was ambassador to Iraq under Mr. Bush and to Afghanistan under Mr. Obama. “We don’t understand real evil, organized evil, very well. This is evil incarnate." People like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” the ISIS leader, “have been in a fight for a decade. They are messianic in their vision, and they are not going to stop.”

The President has made a courageous decision. Politically,  he can't win.  The fact is, ISIS will kill innocent people indiscriminately and we have "try" to prevent it. God bless us. 


Saturday, August 02, 2014

AFFLUENCE A Tour in the MARINES

A young photographer discovers his family to be a family who wrote the book on "dysfunctionalty." A world of money and very affluent kids who feel privileged is the backdrop. They have incorporated parental values into their own. Talk about a f..ked up scene. 

Dylan, the photographer is himself a self aware pot head. This is really scary for a grandpa with his oldest granddaughter going off to college. 

Parents ought to see this. In a sense though this may be mainly just over the top but don't think so. Dylan's Uncle: Steven Gutenburg, 
plays the part of a Wall Street tycoon who gives new meaning to the world of hypocrisy and the "f" word. I am blown away. 

I didn't even mean to watch this movie but became mesmerized. It is kind of a coming of age movie but more. The financial collapse is the final undoing of the tranquil indulgences. The "material" issues go dark and are vaporized. The movie keeps trying to find a redeeming character.  Dylan comes close but his constant pot smoking doesn't do it for me. 

This is an aside but holds that ever kernel  of truth. The kids in this movie are pretty pathetic. Even if only nominally accurate, they are way too many. A joke among my friends when we see these kids is that they need a tour in the Marines. More truth than fiction. These kids of Affluenza have no direction, trade on the perceived influence of a relative and would've know discipline if it ran over them. Sound like a candidate for the Marines. F..king A. 

Our country was sold a bill of goods by the late Economist Milt Freeman and at that time Mel Laird who was the secretary of Defense. I have no doubt that these are honorable men  who had no earthly idea of the unintended consequences of their ill defined cause would unlease.  Maybe they did. I've actually read that Friedman held the philosophy that the draft was actually incompatible with compulsory service. Laird may have simply been duped. Quite the opposite is true. Is there anything more compatible than a fair and comprehensive draft. I don't think so. 

FIRED. PINK SLIPPED

 The Army “pink slipped ” nearly 1,200 officers involuntarily selected to separate; some while deployed in combat zones.

The 87 deployed captains (O-3), once notified, immediately received “change of mission” orders and will be out of country within 30 days. They were given the choice to either return to home duty station or to a transition location of choice and given 10 months to separate. 

The above is the news item. As my Mom would say, this is scandalous. Let's use the correct term,  of "fired." Tom and I know about being fired. Getting SERBed was the best thing that could have happened to me. I was doing basically nothing. But, for me to say that it was not humiliating or disingenuous to blow it off would be untrue. We all can understand the chief's office when they got a chance to throw my ass out. I had burned bridges everywhere but for a guy like Tom and Bob Campbell, it was absolutely unbelievable. And now to see the sorry way the Army is doing and the Chief's office probably, if they get a chance. I was at Bliss when they had the RIF (reduction on Force). They threw out guys who had given their life's blood, mainly young helicopter pilots who had been to Vietnam over and over. You think the Army cared. Bullshit. It is not personal, it is "bean counters" but they (the RIFed) took it personal. I should have done more then. 

With the SERB, they probably violated a contract that we could stay to 30 but it was changed without our knowing it. In fact, I had been through the drill of "regular army", remember that? A commander I had insisted I go through that whole BS process for RA; that lasted a few years and the whole system was changed. Now, here comes another "firing" and some of it is done while the poor guys are at war. I will be kicking and screaming and raising hell any way I can. At least I want them to use the right term: FIRED. . 


PTSD

I am pretty much with Dave but will have to say, I am somewhat confused about it all, too. I do support a more open stance on it. The government throws away so much money, why not give to those who have been to war and need it. I have never filed a claim on PTSD and wouldn't. Know why? I don't need the money? But, lots do and they realize, although questionable to us, in their minds, not so. I basically think that any of us who have been in combat units have some measure of PTSD. I am sure Dave does. Two tours, how could he no? I blame a lot of things on Vietnam. Jackie says if I didn't have Vietnam, what would I do? I am scared of the dark. Not just not going out in the dark. It frightens me. In Vietnam everything happened at night. During the day, no sweat. But, come the dark, we are talking fire fights mortars, etc. ; you got where you dreaded the dark. So, PTSD. DANG, if I know. 

Guys in Iraq and Afghanistan were filing claims before they left the war. They are social media savvy and don't mess around. We are in a phenom, everybody loves the soldier or the vet. I mean, come on? Even the Democrats and Republicans got together to pass a bill on VA. Now, 10 chaps, this is something to discuss. What is going on.? Will it last? What caused it. Vietnam vets went from being derided, to everybody wants to be one.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

FIRING

Dear Ms Pelosi. "Fired" is a term that the mitary never uses. They love to choose acronyms, RIF (reduction in force) or SERB (selective early retirement board ). But, "fired" is the reality of what the military is about to do. The indiscriminate reductions will be demoralizing to the military. What the Army leadership has already shown is that the decision makers have no earthly idea of what it means: "Firing" young captains who are off at war. As my mom would say, "scandalous." 

I was at Fort Bliss in Texas when we had the RIF (Reduction in Force ) after Vietnam. The military threw out soldiers who had literally given their life's blood, young helicopter pilots, for instance; who had been to Vietnam over and over. It is not personal, with what we call, "bean counters" but they (the RIFed) take it personally. For Vietnam, we used them up and threw them out like yesterday's garbage. 

I am retired military and one of your constituents and see us in a crucial spot. As the Army draws down, my suggestion is to maintain troop levels without "firing" soldiers. Normal attrition will take care of the issue I think. 

One of my big concerns is that Congress will be led down the primrose path by the generals and high ranking civilians. Often, they talk about their concern for soldiers but it comes across  empty. "Nothing is too good for the soldier and that is what they get, nothing." 

Give the Army a mission order: "reduce the Army." They look at the numbers without counting the cost, it affects morale, unit integrity and motivation. 

We probably have too many generals and we need to reduce their ranks. Think about it. We "fire" the heart of the Army, young Captains; and we don't touch the generals. (This is just speculation and to be fair, I am just giving an example). But, when I watch the military in Congressional hearings, I often think to myself, does Congress have a clue of their BS. 

Thank you for this opportunity. I haven't told you anything that you probably
don't already know. This is just feedback from my perspective. I have nothing to gain and have no agenda other than "always for the troops." 

Jerry Autry
Chaplain (COL)
USA, Ret. 


Monday, July 21, 2014

JIM ROCKFORD

Jim Garner, my hero, just died. When I was in the Army, the only way my daughter could stay up late if she was watching The Rockford Files with me. He was my hero. I was Jim Rockford. He lived with his dad in a trailer and had a great car. It was one of those sporty Pontiac's. He loved that car. 

After the military, I can remember writing a piece about him for a now defunct newspaper. I was maxed out upset to see the show end and went through a period of grief. How could Jim leave us? Looking back now, "The Rockford Files" was a much simpler time. His cases were pretty straight forward. Rarely was there gun play. I think he had a girl friend but there was little snuggle time if you get my drift. Rocky, the Dad lived with him but we don't much family drama: no Twitter/Facebook. I still miss Jim Rockford. God bless him on his journey.