This is frustrating

If this doesn’t get you steamed, I don’t know what’s wrong with you:

It was not known whether the action reflected a high-level policy decision at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or confusion in a city where dozens of entities are involved in aid efforts.

I found this via the Instapundit, where a reader adds this tidbit:

The “aid” agencies did the same thing in Afghanistan. Being a logistics specialist, I volunteered to help an American NGO with rebuilding schools, and was on the ground in Kabul in January of ‘02. (I later ended up in charge of UNICEF’s warehouse/distribution operation for all of the new school supplies…leaving me with a complete and total disdain for all things UN-related.)

For the NGO community, to be seen co-operating with the US military was the kiss of death. NGO co-ordination meetings specifically warned against co-operation with the US military, as opposed to UN agencies. The supposed reason was that they wanted a clear line between the “killers” and those that were “there to help”. They would actually COMPLAIN that the military was out doing things like rehabilitating wells and such, whining that these were things that should be left to the aid agencies. The irony of the fact that we were all sitting in a meeting, DISCUSSING it, while the US military had already been out DOING it, was completely lost on them.

Sounds like it’s same-old, same-old. Nothing but tools, the lot of them.

I am ready to punch someone in the face over this. The Obama administration made the decision that USAID would be the lead agency in Operation United Response. Fair enough. But the point of the operation is NOT to make the US government look good. It is to provide succor to the people of Haiti. Who in USAID or in the administration made the call that the Army shouldn’t hand out rations? It isn’t like the Haitians don’t have the memory of the US Army and other services being there. The whole country was occupied in 1994, and the Marines ran the whole country for a decade or so earlier in the century. And the whole point of having the military there is that they are THE logistics experts at getting things into the area and distributing them in an austere environment with little or no functioning infrastructure.

I’m not saying USAID and NGOs don’t have a valuable role to play. But right now, it sure looks like the only role they want to play is that of spoiler, and that is going to cost lives and certainly goodwill.

A couple of Stolen Valor updates.

First, there’s a little more information on General McSoulPatch.

This Ain’t Hell covers it here, here, here, here and here. Like I said, I hate these guys. TSO and the fine folks at TAH go and get these guys. Keep it up.

Second, there’s a different case in the news, brought to our attention by the moral degenerates fine folks at DoublePlusUnDead.  I’m pretty sure TAH brought Rick Strandlof (aka Rick Duncan) to our attention  before. But now his defense is arguing that his fraudulent claims are protected speech. Jenn cautioned in our post Monday that there would likely be a First Amendment challenge to the SVA. I guess she’s smarter than me. I’m a stalwart defender of the First Amendment. Having said that, Strandlof’s attorneys’ and “civil liberty” groups  arguments doesn’t seem to hold water to me:

On Tuesday, the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties group based in Virginia, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Strandlof’s case attacking the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act.

John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said the law is poorly written and should not be used to prosecute people for simply telling lies.

“You have to redraft the law to prove a particularized damage,” he said. “If you run around Denver and yell out, ‘I got the Medal of Honor,’ you are guilty of the statute the way it is written.”

First, I would argue that by fraudulently claiming a decoration didn’t earn, he has diminished the value of the award to individuals who have earned it. Both in the military and in civilian life, there is value in being a decorated servicemember. Secondly, he solicited funds from people, justifying in part the trust people placed in his fiduciary duty by virtue of his decoration. And thirdly, his defense claims he has bi-polar disorder, but have not in any way shown that such a disorder causes him to truly believe he earned such an award, nor that he is unable to distinguish right from wrong in this case, making such an argument superfluous.

I’ve met a ton of people in bars and such who claimed to be some variant of super-soldier or another. For the most part, I just ignore them. If they’re just trying to impress some girl to get her home, that’s a venial sin(but still a sin!) as far as I’m concerned. But to present yourself to the public as a decorated veteran to enhance your standing in the community, solicit funds, or to advance a political or commercial agenda or career, is, and should remain, outside the bounds of protected speech under the First Amendment, and certainly subject to sanctions under criminal law as regards fraud and misrepresentation.

Any big brained law types wanna put me some knowledge?


This week’s hottie was suggested to us by one of our favorite women, Sohos, over at the H2. We first noticed the fantastic Famke Janssen in Goldeneye, which might have been a crappy installment in the Bond oevre, but she was an awesome villainess.  If you didn’t catch her in that, you could hardly have missed her as Dr. Jean Grey in the X-Men series. And she’s had a recurring role on Nip/Tuck.  So give it up for our first Dutch entry on Load HEAT.

ZOMG!!! It’s a CRUSADE!!!

We’ve talked about combat optics for our troops. Turns out that ABC news has managed to find something controversial about them.

Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.

Of course, some nitwits with nothing better to do than criticize Christians brought this to ABC’s attention.  But ABC implies that Trijicon, the maker of the sights, is breaking the law:

U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious “Crusade” in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.

But that’s a conflation of two entirely different spheres of law. The rules specifically prohibiting proselytizing are a part of General Order Number One.  That’s the general order from CentCom that, among other things, prohibits troops from drinking alcohol while in the theater.

But here’s the thing. General Orders do NOT apply to contractor’s in the United States. Any problems that the government has with Trijicon would be covered by the contract under which they supplied sights to the service. Until today, the Army apparently didn’t have any complaints about the sights.

Crappy reporting, ABC.


Check out USS Enterprise (CVN-79): Petition Update

I’ve long had an affinity to the USS Enterprise. The very day I was born, my Dad was on board her, conducting Carrier Qualifications, prior to deploying.

I’ve also been somewhat opposed to naming ships after politicians. So let’s pressure Congress and SecNav to name the next carrier Enterprise, and not Barry Goldwater.  Follow the link.

I want you to take a look at: USS Enterprise (CVN-79): Petition Update

Stolen Valor- Not even slick about it edition

UPDATE: I hate these guys. TSO at This Ain’t Hell eviscerates these guys. Seriously, if you are some loser thinking about claiming honors that aren’t yours? Don’t. TSO will hunt you down like Obama going after your wallet.

The ever wise and wonderful CDR Salamander brings us this dickhead.  Most of the pitiful creatures that claim honors they didn’t earn at least TRY to stay within the bounds of plausibility. How anyone at the victory party for new Houston mayor Annise Parker could believe this… thing… might be an Army officer, much less a general officer, is beyond me.

This person is committing a Federal offense. Under the Stolen Valor act he can be, and should be prosecuted. If you know who he is, contact CDR Salamander at the link above. Let’s help nail this turd, and save the respect so many of our people have for those that earned it.