Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | August 13, 2014

How To Fight ISIS

US Army's Punitive Expedition in Mexico - The Pershing Expedition

US Army’s Punitive Expedition in Mexico – The Pershing Expedition

The US and NATO could fight ISIS and win.  ISIS is the Muslim group setting up an Islamic Caliphate across their conquered territory in Iraq and Syria.  They are committing horrific crimes against humanity – specifically inflecting atrocities against Christians.   Including beheading children.  The Islamist barbarians behead Christian children.  America and the West should hunt down and kill all of these barbarians.

But, President Barry Soetero, the ruling Democrats and chattering class are terrified about putting the Army – boots on the ground – back in Iraq.  They worry about having a third Iraq War.  Except, the US doesn’t have to have another war, just a very effective campaign.  Conduct a “Punitive Expedition.”

The US could drop in the 82nd Airborne, motor up the Mechanized brigade sitting in Kuwait, and flow in the 6 brigades or so needed to defeat ISIS in detail – even if it is 15,000 barbarians – and provide wide area security across hundreds of miles.

Boots on the ground for a long march deep into Mexico in 1916.

Boots on the ground for a long march deep into Mexico in 1916.

The mission could include turning over all the wounded and surrendering barbarians to local tribes – or putative authorities for a quick trial according to their customs and certain capital punishment.  It keeps the US from having to house or execute the enemy – as long as the justice is certain.

A Punitive Expedition takes months or a couple of years, but it ends.  It isn’t a Occupation  – the mission Rumsfeld and Bush II screwed up from the start in 2003.   It’s what Great Powers do to punish enemies with a purpose.  A SuperPower, like the US, can do it – if there is a Will.

In the late 90s when I was the developer and advisor of the Red Forces for the Army After Next Wargames, all the old soldiers got a briefing on the latest Army Operations Manual – good old FM 100-5.   When then-COL David Fastabend asked for questions, I made the comment that the Army should include Punitive Expeditions as a form of Operational Maneuver.  I wish he had included it.

The ISIS Expedition is within the capabilities of the US global reach.

The ISIS Expedition is within the capabilities of the US global reach.

The US Army learned many lessons during the Pershing Expedition. The Army applied the learning in WW I. Such an expedition against ISIS would provide continuing improvements in US capabilities.

The Army as an institution learns from every experience.  Each conflict creates hard, new lessons.

The Army as an institution learns from every experience. Each conflict creates hard, new lessons.

Moreover, a Punitive Expedition would give a lesson to other barbarians. As President Reagan said, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” The US and NATO should send this message to the all the barbarians. Let none escape. Let the land the Islamist barbarians conquered and stained with their crimes become their graveyard.

Would that we could – do a Punitive Expedition against ISIS.

My family oral history includes my Grandfather Atticus's stories of meeting Pancho Villa on friendly terms - twice.

My family oral history includes my Grandfather Atticus’s stories of meeting Pancho Villa on friendly terms – twice.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | July 6, 2014

Accountability For Our Borders

These millions of huddled masses were LEGAL immigrants.  Processed at the border.  Some were sent back.

These millions of huddled masses were LEGAL immigrants. Processed at the border. Some were sent back.


The Executive Branch under the President of the United States is responsible for keeping the borders of the US secure. Barry Soetero isn’t taking his responsibility seriously. He isn’t doing his Constitutional, legal, ethical and moral duty as President. Accountability for his failures, if not active illegality, goes to the Judiciary and the Legislature – Congress. Accountability for Congress is up to We, The People.

Recently, I read where our Republican Congressman sent a letter fussing at the President. Don’t recall if he used a lot of CAPs, but I think he looked sternly towards the White House when he pecked his note.

Now is the time for all good Americans to call on Congress to use their legal and Constitutional powers and authority – to do their duty. Start the accountability with accountability.

Make the Executive Branch account for every person they have caught and released or caught and done anything whatsoever since 1 January 2014.

Make a list. Publish the list. Put it on the internet. Name names, ages, gender, country of origin, family in US, family back home, and where they are now – etc.

The Republican majority in the House needs to call itself back into session and work as 24/7 as Congress can until the accounting is done.

If the Barry’s boys across the Executive stonewall, go through their walls with every legal and financial power the Congress has. If they need inspiration on what can be done, the GOP could pretend they’re Democrats going after Nixon or Reagan or Bush II.

The bureaucrats keep records. That’s what they do, if nothing else.

The Feds have their facts.  Publish the accountability of this illegal immigrant invasion

The Feds have their facts. Publish the accountability of this illegal immigrant invasion

The People can make the House do their duty – get accountability. They’re up for election in Nov. All of them. Start working the write-in campaign – where they are unopposed – if they fail to do their duty again.

When the accountability of these illegals is published America can do what it does best – make things happen. Call out to the churches to adapt who needs to be adapted. Put those on planes to go home – who should go back.

Find out if the Federal funding isn’t another ACORN scam to provide walking around money to Democrat operatives. Let the churches and synagogues of this Judeo-Christian country act. Let the communities provide compassion instead of the government pulling a Fast and Furious scam.

The Cuba boat lift was about 130k persons. The first Vietnamese evacuation was about 120k. Supposedly, this is about 80k so far. Not quite the stuff of a later little Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, but worth noting what the Feds can do when they wish to use their armed power.

If the issue is refugee children, account for them and let the churches care for them.

If the issue is refugee children, account for them and let the churches care for them.

We must hold Congress accountable to hold the Feds accountable – and start with a full accounting of what has happened. Start right now, Republicans. You are the majority. Do it. Do your duty. Now.

Republicans are too weak to make the President do his duty and close the border, build the fence and enforce the laws on the books. But, they can get an account of what has happened for The People.

Make the Feds report everything they recorded.   Publish it in the public record.

Make the Feds report everything they recorded. Publish it in the public record.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | July 2, 2014

He Would Have Been 95

Today July 1st, 2014, my father, James Albert Bowden, would have been 95 years old. Would have been.

He died at age 60 – February 23rd, 1980. It was his third or fourth heart attack – it happened on their 38th wedding anniversary.

My parents had a romantic, Hollywood-esque, loving and fun marriage

My parents had a romantic, Hollywood-esque, loving and fun marriage

“Would have.”

Two powerful words. They can be pregnant with promise when “would have” carries memories equal to the potential of any “could have”. They can be an accusation of failure – dripping with the poison of permanence. Or, the kick in the face when “would have” simply means “never”

“Would have” means I knew my father in the flesh for 29 years and knew him in memory and spirit for 34 years. All these years later, I love him as much as I did before – probably more. I think about him all the time.

I know my father is alive in Heaven. I saw him in a dream unlike any dream I ever had in my life. It was a vision the night he died.

James Albert Bowden holding James Atticus Bowden in 1950.

James Albert Bowden holding James Atticus Bowden in 1950.

I think he communicated to me because he was so worried how I’d take his loss. I’m grateful he was allowed to do so.

I’ve written about my Daddy before. So, I’ll probably repeat myself.

When I think about my Father’s “would have”, I don’t focus on what didn’t happen, but celebrate all the “was”. I’ll have to do the same for my late wife – for as much “would have been” there is to go in my life remaining.

Daddy and my Nellie

Daddy and my Nellie

My wife, Nellie Katherine, told me many times that when she met my Daddy, she knew she wanted to marry me more than ever. She loved how he treated my Mother. She loved how sweet he was to her. She loved how he loved his family.

It’s ironic that I held my parents’ marriage in such high esteem for how little conflict they had, when after my wife’s death I realized how much our passion and desire for one another was like theirs. That is a “was” to treasure.

I’m not my Father. Like many folks, I’m much like both parents and in a few respects nothing like either. Yet, one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever had in my life – because I know what all it meant – was when Cousin Carolyn said, “There’s a lot of your Daddy in you.”

If that’s true, my children and grandchildren will have plenty of “was” to hold dear through whatever “would have been” they live without me.

And, the thing I really know is true – is how much I look like Daddy these days.

Precious memories - Father and Wife "was" greater than "would have".

Precious memories – Father and Wife “was” greater than “would have”.

Daddy felt like a failure because he didn’t make his own career goals. I cheered him for almost 15 years to disabuse him of that notion. He hated how his heart attacks made him physically weaker than he had been.

His Mother died when he was a toddler. He had hard formative years, but was blessed when an Aunt raised him as her own. He always loved and respected his Father. Then, on his own he was a warm, hugging, kissing, verbal and loving father when many Depression Era and World War II generation dads weren’t.

He had a temper equal to his ‘Black’ Irish heritage. He was as stubborn, tough and brave as any Southerner and Scot-Irish man when he had to be. His blood was half Scottish. He lived duty as a soldier. He held high and dear the responsibilities due an officer. He said his nightly Christian prayers on his knees as a grown man. He was passionate. He loved to laugh. He was all about family, family, family.

Happy 95th Birthday in Heaven, Daddy. I’m proud you’re my Father. I love you.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 25, 2014

Life Is Art

Visited the renovated Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA

Visited the renovated Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA

Last week I saw the traveling National water color paintings at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center and visited the renovated Chrysler Museum. Time well spent, especially at the Chrysler in Norfolk. I’m going to go back there to get even a greater return on the time spent. The Art is worthy of time. Few things in life merit the time spent with Art.

Life is Art.

This double entendre goes beyond the life imitates art and art imitates life equations. Life is Art.

We humans may breath for years, build for centuries, know about the millennia and beyond, believe in the eternal, but we live in the moment. We really live in just a moment. Sometimes very intense seconds.

Our greatest joy was a moment. We feel the joy for much longer, but it was experienced in fleeting time.

Art is experienced, like utter joy and complete disappointment, life and death, and everything in between, in a moment. Art is seen in the twinkling of an eye, or better said in the French – dans un coup d’oeil.

In that instant more than beauty meets the eye. More than skill or craftsmanship stand out. We feel, sense, and react to the power of art.

Art has power. Art moves humans. As ideas motivate the mind, art stirs the soul.

And Art is more than the visual arts. Music, poetry and prose can be art. Some say architecture and clothes are art. I’ll draw the line at food as art – and may be in the minority. Nature is God’s created art.

Romans 1:20. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Yet, people see the natural world around them and don’t perceive a God created such art or they don’t see the art at all.

Art, like all beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

As I went through the Chrysler Museum, I knew in an instant what my late wife would say about almost everything I saw. There were a number of pieces where I wanted to hear the whole of her comments – for or against the art. There were a few pieces where I knew should go either way. I’d have loved to hear her comments.

I knew her likes and dislikes like I knew everything about her. I heard her mood in one syllable of one word. She knew me as well. When I tried to cover my emotions, even over the phone, she found them out immediately.

We knew each other completely and intimately.  I was my beloved’s.  My beloved is mine.  We still are. My wife is gone. Our love isn’t. Love can be far stronger than death.

Yet, love like art and beauty is different for every human. Different kinds of love – eros, philos, agape and family – like art are experienced uniquely by each person.

I’m sorry for people who don’t experience art. I’m even sadder for people who haven’t or won’t experience love. My cup of empathy and sympathy runneth over for folks who lost their love. My joy runs to those who find love again.

More is the pity for those who miss God in Nature’s art. They’re less likely to understand how life becomes art, life is art, because God is life. And, God is love.

Or, say it the other way.

The one, only, true, living God – Father, Son and Holy Ghost – of the Holy Bible is love. Love everlasting. From everlasting to everlasting. Love eternal.

God created all life in love. Life is lived moment to moment as art is experienced in the moment. Life is like art. Life is art – in its power, strength and majesty.

And God made life to be eternal – to go beyond living here. Love is evidence of the eternal. Love transcends death for those who breath. Love continues in an eternal life beyond here – for those saved to be with God.

Love can be more powerful than death.

I look forward to going back to the Chrysler Museum. Lingering in many moments of art. Living the life of the moment and in the life eternal. Connected by love.

I’d like to see a lot more art in my life.   I like being near beauty.  It was good to be out and about – feel alive.

New art, at least new to me, reminded me of something said in Christian lovingkindness at the Republican Convention a few weeks ago. A buddy of mine, who was a young widower with 4 small children, shared his story with me. His devoutly Christian grandmother told him that we struggle to see how to add love in life, but when God adds another in love, like when you have another child, He multiplies. God multiplies love.

Grieving, actually, is teaching me so.

Nellie and I would have talked quite a bit about what we liked in this piece of art.

Nellie and I would have talked quite a bit about what we liked in this piece of art.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 15, 2014

US Army at 239 Years Old

Weak image for great birthday.  Fire the Public Affairs Officer in charge.

Weak image for great birthday. Fire the Public Affairs Officer in charge.

Happy 239th Birthday, US Army!

I have genuine pride and concerns about our Army. My Army. I know I’m just a retired old soldier. Concerns may be dismissed as merely ‘grumpy’ complaining as common to old soldiers as constant complaining is to troops. So, let’s talk pride first.

The weak 239th birthday poster doesn’t show the pride of the Army – and the Nation. Recently, the Army was voted the most important service. The Army won with only about 26% of the vote. Well over 50% of Americans should hold the Army in such respect. Perhaps they would, if the Army was able and willing to communicate what the Army is to the Nation.

The Army created the Nation. No Army, no Nation. Without the Army there would be no America. Period.

The US Army came of age at Yorktown. Only a professional, hard core Army could make the bayonet assault that sealed the fate of the British Army – the best in the world.

The U.S. Army comes into its own near my home - Yorktown, VA

The U.S. Army comes into its own near my home – Yorktown, VA

From 1781 on the U.S. Army defended the Nation it created. Except for the War of the Barbary Pirates and clearing the seas of all pirates, every war was Land Warfare until WW II. Naval campaigns supported the Land campaign (the Naval campaign in the Philippines in the Spanish-American War is probably an exception).

The Pacific War had 3 theaters – 4 if you include China-Burma-India. Two of the 3 theaters were Naval campaigns. The US Navy planned for war with Japan across the Pacific for 20 years. The Navy-Marine Corps team executed splendidly.

When Japan surrendered after the nuclear attacks it was supposed to be a new day for all warfare. It was an additional aspect of war – especially at the Strategic level – but not an end to Land Warfare. Obviously – Occupation, Greece, Korea, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Deterrence with NATO, Grenada, El Salvador, Panama, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom – indicate land operations continued unabated.

Now, the Obama Administration wants to cut the Army back to pre-WW II strength. The Republicans in the House of Representatives are going along like good sheep. The Marines will be ‘cut’ back to over 5 times their pre-WW II strength.

The same Army leadership that is clueless on their birthday poster, is inept at Service, DoD and Congressional politics. The Army, apparently, is incapable of keeping the National Guard and Army Reserve on the same team. It’s frustrating to watch from the cheap seats.

In WWI there was one brigade of Marines serving in one of the 30 Army Divisions in France. In WW II there were 90 Army divisions and 6 Marine divisions. The Marine Corps came into its own politically after WW II.

In Korea and Vietnam there were 10 Army Divisions in the field with 2 Marine Divisions. In Iraq and Afghanistan there were 5 Army brigades for every 1 Marine brigade.

The Army conducts Land Warfare supported by other services. Special Operations support also. Kowtowing to “Jointness” instead of advocating for “jointness” supporting unity of command and effort has consequences coming as cuts to the Army. Yet, the Army is going to take the cuts saluting all the way.

That’s a real concern, because a 500k Army is a Super Power’s Army. A 300k Army is a Regional Power’s Army. A 150k Marine Corps is a second land army if the Army is 300k – which is against the law.

(Dear Marine friends, please don’t get upset. The Marine Corps should be sized to its missions – which means sealift. The Marine Corps has mastered politics so well, there is nothing to fear from my piece).

Meanwhile I have every confidence in the Army understanding itself as a huge organization, knowing troops, training and leadership – (all the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel across Land Warfare) – seeing and preparing for Land Warfare better than anyone in the world. As recently as March 2013, I got to see the Army leaning forward to better prepare for all prompt and sustained land operations – as it’s required to do by law.

I wish the Army leadership could – and would – communicate the Army to the People.

Unfortunately, the Army leadership doesn’t have the moral stature to keep the Army from being gutted. Nothing is more important than keeping the combat experienced soldiers in the force. The combat troops can make all the difference in future fights for another 20 to 30 years. Most likely, in that 30 years there will be another fight. The blooded Army will have fewer casualties as a new generation of combat vets is created.

Finally, one birthday history note. Our Indian Wars went from 1608 to 1890 = 282 years. Our World War Against Islamists may go longer. The US Army that fought the Indians from 1866 to 1890 was a professional force. The soldiers weren’t saints. They weren’t the best and brightest of a very material age. They served well – with distinction. There are lessons to learn from that Army and those fights.

The frontier Army had confidence in its culture. Our Army should too. Islam isn’t Judeo-Christian Western Civilization. Homosexual marriage isn’t marriage. Christian troops and chaplains shouldn’t be suppressed.

I’m concerned the Army leadership doesn’t have such confidence – or the courage of convictions to defend those that do. When things get worse – and they will – along the cultural chasms that divide the Army, as the Nation, I hope I’m proven wrong.

I really hope the West Pointers stand up for the harder right instead of the easier wrong. The Nation will always need its Army. America can’t survive, ultimately, without the Army.

Happy Birthday, United States Army.
untitled

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 12, 2014

Iraq Falling 2014

ISIS on the march.  Iraq falls into Civil War.

ISIS on the march. Iraq falls into Civil War.

This isn’t a surprise for many observers. See what I wrote along the way.

Written in March 2003

The Long Hard Peace
The triumph of Anglo-American arms over Iraq was certain. The triumph of Anglo-American values – namely democracy – is more uncertain. Not impossible – just a long, hard maybe. Our victory was a feat of arms, not ideas. Yet, the peace will be about our Western idea of democracy. Transplanting democracy in tribal, Muslim sand will make it the long hard peace.

American Pro-Consul Jay Garner better have James Madison on his staff. It’ll take more than the genius of the U.S. Constitution to forge the Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians into a nation. Keeping the peace without oppressing the Iraqi people whobknow nothing of government but the rule of strong men, will be challenge enough. When we pull out the Occupying Army it will be a miracle if the rule of law rules.

The Iraqis may yearn for freedom, but they don’t know what democracy means.

Their religion doesn’t allow the basic ideas. Islam doesn’t allow a separation of state and mosque. Good Muslims are supposed to live under the Sharia, not secular laws. Many Shiites are already screaming about a new fundamentalist Islamic Iraq. Which means you can not have the free exchange of ideas – of speech – like religious speech. Democracies are based on the concept of individuals exercising freedoms as inalienable rights. The Iraqis will not stand for free proselytizing Christian speech or secular humanist denying God talk. Even if the Iraqis could, their neighbors won’t put up with religious, speech, press, and assembly freedoms.

The Islamist enemies of Western Civilization, still stuck in the relative barbarism of the 12th Century, will try to kill any Iraqi democracy in its crib. Even if the Islamofascists stay at a mere 10% of the Muslim world, there are plenty enough to spawn more Bin Laden-like leaders and homicide bomber followers. Hunting and killing the Islamists infiltrators will make the peace look like war.

The dictators and kings of all Arab lands have a lot to lose if democracy works in Iraq. These tyrants saw the first object lesson of the American Imperial Republic. They know what to fear. If they pay attention, they can see the weak seams of American military power – seriously there are counters to our strength, the fragility of political will and the paucity of courageous allies. They will prevent political comity to make a hard peace.

The U.S. liberals, the appeasing assembly of 30% of America, will criticize the peace as much as the war. These self-hating Americans, socialists, prideful pagans, deluded useful fools, sissy self-righteous Christians, and self-absorbed cowards conspire as subjects of the U.N. and citizens of the world to screw up every exercise in American sovereignty. They will try to defeat the peace.

Our Allies who are too weak to serve in the Coalition of the Willing, will find the nerve to interfere every aspect of the administration of occupation. They may go so far to un-align with the U.S. and unravel NATO. Europeans and Canadians won’t promote democracy in Iraq when they walk away from it, step by step, worshiping the pagan God – Self – and in fear of their Muslim minorities.

The best America can expect – we can hope and pray for more – is for an Iraq with a federation of separate groups. The new, improved Iraq can have clean elections that balance the powers of strong men from one faction against another. A national compromise, like the ones that provide peace in Lebanon between civil wars, can create a security arrangement. But, it won’t be a democracy.

Some point to the Kurds as a democracy growing up. Yet, it is self-determination for approved ideas and groups of people only. A Kurdish taxi driver was warned about telling his fares about the Jesus he accepted as a convert from Islam to Christianity. This simple man of individual conscience and faith continued to speak freely. He was murdered for his religious free speech earlier this year.

Can LTG (Ret.) Jay Garner fix that in a year or so? I doubt it. Even though I was very impressed with his insights when I briefed him and did Q&A for about 8 hours in ’98. The long hard peace can be a peace maintained to end violence. But, it will take a triumph of new ideas for the peace to prosper a democracy.

Written in 2011

I never understood why President Bush didn’t give a speech BEFORE the invasion about how the US would be in Iraq with an occupying Army for 10 to 30 years. The length of stay would depend on how high the bar would be set for stability and security.

Ten years is the low end for just a modicum of peace.
I had to conclude that Bush didn’t know invasion, occupation, and nation-building meant. Just like Johnson never understood what was happening in Vietnam. Ugh.

The soldiers triumphed tactically. Operationally, the intervention of jihad martyrs provided them the opportunity to die with little effect. Strategically, the invasion sent a signal for effective deterrence – for awhile. The occupation sent a signal on how to stalemate American power with asymmetric tactics. The whole war should have instructed politicians about the nature of war and the size of the Army needed for a single long campaign in Land Warfare, but I doubt it did.

Eclectic reflections 10 years after the start of hostilities for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From March to August 2003, I waited for the President or the Secretary of Defense to give a speech and tell the American People that the U.S. military would be there 10, 20, 30 0r open ended years – depending upon how much change the US wished to impose on Iraq. It would be the practical, military application of the political objectives. The extension of politics – the essence of military operations. But, the speech was never given.

When I realized that the governing adults of the USA hadn’t thought through their war well enough to give the speech, I was more disappointed than I can express here. I had a nagging suspicion that the political leaders lacked the moral and political courage to make their case – and express it in decades of commitment – yet, that is not as bad as knowing how clueless very, very powerful persons could be. Of course, Carter and Clinton should have been prologue and Obama epilogue the Folly of Bush II.

Don’t misunderstand.

The folly wasn’t in the invasion and regime change against Saddam Hussein. It was the lack of understanding the nature of the initial combat phase and the subsequent occupation phases.
A dear friend of mine, classmate, quit talking to me for years at the time, because I was so nonchalant about the coming war in Iraq. I figured it would happen sooner or later. Better to happen on our terms. Except our leadership was so ill-prepared. A key exception being the Army Chief of Staff, GEN James Shinseki. He spoke the truth to power with courage – and understanding.

And, there were many officers in the Army who knew the Occupation would be long and complicated. Unfortunately, they weren’t in charge. I wrote “The Long Hard Peace” http://jatticus.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/the-long-hard-won-peace/

Obviously, I wasn’t in charge or influencing.

SecDef Donald Rumsfeld got to play out his theory on modern warfare. It would support gutting the Army. His theory failed. ( Obama is still going to gut the Army – for different reasons.) Rumsfeld’s decisions made the war last at least 2 years longer – andcost about 1500 American lives. He earned a special place in Hades next to SecDef Robert McNamara.

The Air Force and Air Power cheerleaders got to bomb a lot. They bombed the Iraqi intelligence agencies and destroyed the records on the entire population which would be invaluable during the Occupation.

Disbanding the Iraqi Army – 400,000 men – was an act of monumental stupidity. Ambassador Bremer had a hand in that.
The good news is that a lot of jihadi Islamists from everywhere came to Iraq to kill Americans and were sent to see Allah asap.

The terrible news is how many innocent Iraqis died – especially in their own sectarian fighting. And, that fighting isn’t over.
Democracy, the flower of Western Civilization, didn’t bloom in the Islamist sand. I knew it wouldn’t unless the US did all the things to change the culture that the US lacked the courage to think, let alone say. The US lacked the moral will to do what it did in Occupations after WW II. Those Occupations – even including Japan – had far less to change than Iraq.

The Active Army which had been reduced by over 40% in the 90s after Operation Desert Storm had its troops suck up extended and repeated tours. The Reserves were activated and deployed, but still the burden fell on Joe Bag of Donuts soldier and his family. The Marine Corps conducted sustained land operations as part of the Joint Force.

New technologies in digitization and robotics matured. The modular designed Brigade Combat Team for the future became the building block of Army organizations.

A generation of soldiers were bloodied. The killed and wounded suffered valiantly. All the vets deserve respect.
One campaign in a long, long, long World War Against Islamists took 10 years. It’s called a war, but it was one campaign in the bigger, longer war.

God bless all who served and their families – our Country and its Allies.

Also Written in 2011

In March 2003, in the initial attack for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), I wrote the piece, The Long Hard Peace. It wasn’t hard to predict how hard things were going to be.

I didn’t predict that LTG (RET) Garner would be around for only a couple of months. Too bad. SecDef Rumsfeld proceeded to really screw things up – beyond what he had done in messing with the invasion planning. Until, a few years later, some Army colonels got the Sunni Awakening working for the U.S. And, then GEN (RET) Dave Petraus figured out what was needed to surge up enough force to create some security. Finally, President Obama set the deadline for troops out with the greatest convenience to his re-election campaign.

The troops did what they were told to do. They gained a hard, won peace. They did great. Who knows how long it will last.

2014
Now we are seeing how long the peace lasts.

Changing map.  Doesn't show Kurd controlled areas - not under control of government in Baghdad.

Changing map. Doesn’t show Kurd controlled areas – not under control of government in Baghdad.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 7, 2014

Republican Party of Virginia 2014 Convention

RPV Convention 2014

Poquoson casts all 33 votes for Shak Hill.

My guy lost. Not a surprise. The career politician won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. He has a long 5 month race ahead.

I’ve been involved in party politics since 1992. Elected to party office 1997-2012. Coached and teamed with Tea Party folks since giving one of the speeches on April 15, 2009.

Almost all political events are political theater. Conventions are prime events. Political theater is rarely entertaining to me anymore.

I hold career politicians at a level of respect I believe they earned. Yet, I’m passionate about the purpose of politics – the exercise of power. Power must be used to restore the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law at every level of government. The Constitution and the Rule of Law is still an ascending idea.

Eventually our ideas will win. Tomorrow is a new day. There’s an election every year in Virginia.

I “ain’t” dead yet.

The best part of the convention was seeing political buddies from all the years. The kind words and comments about prayers for my late wife and our family, were gentle balm for my heart. It was great to meet a few new folks – also to put a voice and face to my blogger buddy – Mr. Jefferson himself.

Beautiful drive home across Virginia. The Commonwealth is gorgeous.

The empty seat beside me – was so empty. I make myself do things, like go to the convention. I know I have to do them. But doing, functioning, doesn’t change feeling. My feelings turn to grieving as naturally as I would have turned to her in the seat beside me and asked what she thought about the convention. We always had good laughs after these events – even if things went sour.

Thus endeth the 2014 convention from my perspective.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 6, 2014

D-Day at 70 and D-Day II

Increasingly symbolic for the Nation and the US Army.  There may be a D-Day II

Increasingly symbolic for America and the US Army

On the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy Invasion in WW II, I drove to Roanoke, Virginia for the Republican Convention.  I scooted over to Bedford to the National D-Day Monument.  Missed the crowds, but captured the relaxed afterglow of folks still there.

 

Timing is everything:  70th Anniversary

Timing is everything: 70th Anniversary

I sense a growing recognition of D-Day – June 6th – as a day of remembrance. Part of it is the keen awareness of the end of actuarial tables for all the vets. But, something else is happening.

D-Day is connecting with a deep patriotism within many Americans – and a longing for the pride of winning victory.

D-Day shows what America can do. The United States of America can lead our Allies – and Western Civilization – to conduct the largest amphibious operation in history, and fight across Europe to completely and utterly defeat an evil enemy. Win Victory in Europe.

(Disregard the Red Army winning the larger, longer, more bloody, brutal fight on the Eastern Front – and focus on our role.) America led where it was needed. America emerged a world super power and leader of the Free World.

It was the greatest military campaign in American history. It was a singular achievement under the leadership of the US Army.
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Some of public sentiment in the media is a sloppy sentimentalism. Well-meaning Americans suggest we don’t have the right stuff to do it again. Bovine Scatology.

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The young infantrymen who wear the patch of the 82nd Airborne – and any other division – would make their veteran grandfathers – living and dead – proud. If the leadership stays strong, they will do so for another generation.

American soldiers will be ready for D-Day II, if the Army is.

D-Day II?

Maybe around 2044 or 2066 – or who knows? – when the Muslim population in Europe is too much for a NATO Ally to keep order, they will need the US Army. Or, when a NATO country, like France, is controlled by the Muslims they may attack another ally. Or, if NATO Ally Turkey is ruled by radicals, they could war on other Allies. Another land campaign in Europe.

The Army might have to help restore order after the Iranians nuke some place in Europe.

I don’t think it will be against the Russians – unless they are Muslim. The best way to prevent an error on the Russians part is to park a Army brigade in eastern Allied countries.

The Army needs to think through D-Day II as a possible future. America will need the leadership.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 5, 2014

Ed Gillespie’s Campaign Platform. EG = Egad

Ed Gillespie "fighting" for Virginia

Ed Gillespie “fighting” for Virginia

I wasn’t going to support Fast Eddie to represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate for my own reasons (http://jatticus.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/fast-eddie-gillespie-hustles-virginia/).  Then, today, I get this insulting email about EG = EG.  It’s Ed’s campaign platform. EG = Egad!

Every delegate to the Republican Convention this weekend should read it. Please.

It should make every Conservative shake their head in dismay and disgust or just puke.

It’s like a Bob Dole, John McCain or Mitt Romney platform – just more banal, big government, and weaker than anything they would do. It has 5 points.

1. Replacing Obamacare. “I will vote to replace Obamacare with a real reform plan that puts patients first and provides more affordable options.” Ed won’t repeal Obamacare. He will replace Obama’s big Federal Government socialized medicine scheme with his big Federal Government medicine. Ed supported Romneycare –the model for Obamacare. We need a Senator to get the Feds out of healthcare, not change the labels on the bottles of quack’s poison.

2. Unleashing American Energy. Ed is for more energy. That’s nice. I can’t see the mobs fighting to get to the polls in November because this is such a wedge issue with Mark Warner.

3. Tax and Regulatory Relief. Cut corporate taxes. Good. “Ease the tax burden on individuals and families.” Does that mean a tax cut? How much? Repeal some regulations. Congressional review is for new regulations. How does the Senate do anything about all the existing regulations?

4. Education Reform. “I will work to make it easier for states to establish new charter schools, foster innovation, and ensure that our children are given the tools they need to succeed. Every child deserves a high quality education, which is why I’ll work tirelessly to empower parents to make the educational choices that are in their children’s best interests. Opportunity is enhanced by competition and choice, which is why I support public schools, charter schools, private and parochial schools, magnet schools, and home schooling, and support school choice programs that help ensure that all families have access to meaningful educational options.” Huh? Read those wasted words again.

This is unbelievable. These issues are for the General Assembly in Richmond. Is he clueless or does he think Virginians are stupid? Get Ed a copy of the Virginia Constitution. Education is Virginia’s job, not Washington. Nothing the Federal Government does in DC improves education in the Commonwealth. If this is Ed’s platform, then he needs to run for the General Assembly. Ed should read the U.S. Constitution too – and get the Feds out of education.

5. Cutting Wasteful Spending and Balancing the Budget. We must “rein in reckless federal spending.” Cut the rate of growth? Ed doesn’t say he will actually cut spending. He doesn’t say reform Social Security, Medicare, Welfare and Medicaid.

Not the stuff of Patrick Henry.

Certainly not a threat to Mark Warner.

Nothing about restoring the Constitution or American military and naval power.

Nothing about the Senate’s duty to enforce checks and balances on out of control Judicial and Executive abuse of power.

Nothing specific on cutting taxes or entitlements.

Nothing on enforcing our borders – and preventing amnesty.

Nothing on protecting life and marriage – where they are federal issues.

No big vision. No unifying purpose. No focus.

More big government – under Establishment Republican management. More Federal government doing what Virginia should do.

Not the right stuff to win in November. Seriously, this drivel makes Ed electable in Virginia? Ed’s money machine can’t sell insipid. More money won’t make a dog that “don’t hunt” – hunt.

James Atticus Bowden
Poquoson, Virginia
Former Chairman, 1st District, RPV
Former Member, State Central Committee, RPV
Former Chairman, Poquoson, RPV
Speaker, from the first, April 15, 2009, Tea Party Rally

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | May 29, 2014

Obama’s West Point Speech, 2014

At least the guys walking punishment tours got "Amnesty".

At least the guys walking punishment tours got “Amnesty”.

Barry Soetero’s speech at West Point wasn’t awful. It indicates some learning about military power as a component of national power. The lapses of self-delusion are expected because the President really believes them. Two criticisms stand.
• The President of the United States doesn’t understand the nature of war, the dynamics of war, or the real use of force. He may know about the selected use of tactical drone strikes and Special Operations.
• Consequently, the President doesn’t understand what the U.S. Army means to national security. And what kind of Army the U.S. needs.

Also, he missed the moment to do a bit more celebration for the new lieutenants opportunity to give duty, honor, and country, selfless service in our Army.

Finally, the President’s budget, which guts Army manpower – and the House Republicans’ feckless following – is the most dangerous decrement to national security.

The President said, “The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.” He calls for core interests, when we formerly spoke of vital and national interests.

He gives a reasonable tour d’horizon of the World – minus delusions about Iran and Ukraine. Yet, he defeats it by adding a silly strawman, “but a strategy that involves invading every country that harbors terrorist networks is naive and unsustainable.” Like that was ever a strategy.

The President approaches a defense doctrine with “I believe we have a real stake — abiding self-interest — in making sure our children and our grandchildren grow up in a world where schoolgirls are not kidnapped; where individuals aren’t slaughtered because of tribe or faith or political belief. I believe that a world of greater freedom and tolerance is not only a moral imperative; it also helps keep us safe.” Too bad he can’t name the threat – Islam and the Islamists.

He is spot on with “NATO is the strongest alliance the world has ever known but we’re now working with NATO allies to meet new missions both within Europe, where our eastern allies must be reassured, but also beyond Europe’s borders, where our NATO allies must pull their weight to counterterrorism and respond to failed states and train a network of partners.”

If he wants to reassure our Eastern allies, he would station an Army brigade in Poland, the Baltics, and Romania/Bulgaria. The Russians know we won’t invade with a brigade. And neither will the Russians – ever.

Such deterrence against Great Powers requires an active Army about 500k soldiers strong.

Likewise, he doesn’t understand unconventional warfare when he says “at the end of this year, a new Afghan president will be in office, and America’s combat mission will be over.”  No, only our willingness to fight there will be over.

War is about Will.

The President posits “our actions should meet a simple test: We must not create more enemies than we take off the battlefield.” This is bogus military math, not good military guidance. The calculations are more complicated. You have to know the strategic, operational and tactical fight you are in to attack the enemy’s center of gravity and push him to his culminating point – to defeat him. You have to know what war you are fighting to win it. Frankly, I don’t think President Bush knew either.

Imagining that the “U.N. provides a platform to keep the peace in states torn apart by conflict” borders on willful ignorance. Spending on U.N. peace keepers is a problematic investment, not “a smart investment.” It isn’t “the right way to lead.”

He defines American expectionalism wrongly as, “What makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.”

Our American exceptionalism is about our freedom at home and our sole Superpower status – shouldering imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions.

It’s wrong to say, “Now, tragically, no American security operation can eradicate the threat posed by an extremist group like Boko Haram — the group that kidnapped those girls.” America and its Allies can eliminate Boko Haram to the last man and mullah.

He correctly disputes “America’s willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos.” More precisely, America’s ability to apply force around the world is the ultimate deterrent – and is no safeguard against much chaos. America can provide stability and security with its Allies where we will. You need an adequate Army to do so.

The Obama Doctrine is to draw a line, watch the opponent cross it, draw another line, watch the opponent cross it. Make speeches. Repeat.

Reducing the Army to pre-World War II manpower reduces America from Superpower to Great Power status.

I don’t know why only 25% of the cadets gave the President a standing ovation. But, I’m glad for those that didn’t.

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