What price do you put on a life, does £710- or $1,103- seem appropriate?

There are days when I burst with pride at being English, as well as being British.

Cancel both today for at least 24 hours…

Quick background introduction…

The previous Labour Socialist Government (courtesy of Tony Blair & Gordon Brown) tore the heart out of the United Kingdom, as well as its economy, and left us in serious debt. The fight to regain solvency and dignity began when David Cameron’s Conservative party ousted the Champagne socialists. They got my vote…

tony-b'liar

They [Blair/Brown] also lied to us, the people! ‘Blatantly lied’ over how many immigrants, legal and illegal, had been allowed into the country under their watch. Not the 120 thousand or so that they were forced to admit to; but several hundred thousand, which was discovered through hard nosed investigative journalism. Good old Tony B’liar & Gordon ‘the clown’ Brown even suspended and relaxed immigration controls to allow them through. In doing so they also allowed, war criminals, terrorists, rapists, murderers, thieves, organised crime syndicates, and slave traffickers, a means of access to conduct their business from the United Kingdom. Each taking benefits and free housing along the way!

gordon clownAnd why, you may be asking you’re self? Why did they allow the dregs of Europe to enter and rape and pillage our country and benefits system? Easy answer, it allowed them to plant and sow hundreds of thousands of potential Labour voters into the UK electoral system, which they would reap the benefit from through the following family’s generations. Hooray for Socialism!

Having vented my spleen somewhat, and provided you with a quick heads up, I will continue with the value of a life; but allow me to digress a little further…

Both wars in Iraq cost us dearly, through the loss of life as well as financially. From the first war we did not learn any real lessons from a military point of view. Through constant surveillance on the ‘Soviets’ throughout the cold war, we understood the workings of ‘Soviet tactics’ that are influenced upon any regime that purchases their military hardware (as it happens Soviet tactics do not work against the West’s military stratagem, especially when they are used in defence).

This point was proven in the second Iraq war, by allowing the Iraqi’s to sit and fester within ‘dug in’ defensive positions for a few months. Their Main Battle Tanks were not maintained, the *batteries of the MBT’s as well as light Armoured Fighting Vehicles were drained due to their secondary use of running lighting, fridges, TV’s, and radios. Adding to the problem was the difficulty of operating in desert conditions in front line positions over a long period, *dysentery becomes endemic, especially with an army known for its lack of hygiene standards at base level.

When the war started and the attack began, Iraqi *MBT’s and AFV’s were unable to electrically traverse their turrets toward the line of battle as it advanced towards them; they had to be slowly ‘organ-grinded’ by hand. No batteries no power, which also meant the vehicles could not withdraw; hence the graphic turkey shoots witnessed by all on TV. *Dysentery also destroyed effective manpower as well as morale.

Back to the value of a life (we are almost there)…

Once the battle for Iraq had been won, the real war started. We all know how the downtrodden people of Iraq turned their freedom into martyrdom, Muslim good- against-Christian evil, etc, etc… To turn the tide and to win over the people it required a few good Iraqi men to assist the coalition forces. The same genuine men who believed in true freedom, and the further belief that the liberation of their country would only truly happen when the internal conflict ceased. Step forwards the Iraqi (soon to be professional) Interpreter.

The coalition forces were fortunate in that most Iraqi’s speak decent English as a secondary language. The first POW’s taken from the first firefight surrender (as the first round went down), handed over information that an Intel officer could only dream of. For a packet of cigarettes handed through the barbed wire holding pen, the Iraqi would sell his soul to the devil; they also wanted shot of Saddam Hussein so it was a win, win, situation for all concerned.

As the hostilities continued after the fall of Iraq, there was only one way to gain true Intel, and that was through the services of Interpreters in the pay of the coalition forces. Initially the source was poor, until the wheat was separated from the chaff. Eventually, at the level required, trust and equal respect from both sides emerged, as the interpreters stood side by side through numerous firefights whilst monitoring electrical traffic and transferring the ‘devils tongue’ to a Christian passage. They also brought local knowledge and information from hard line areas that would normally take weeks, if not months, of groundwork and hard patrolling. The death toll and serious injuries amongst Interpreters remains shrouded for obvious reasons; many remain anonymous by name, and still live within Iraq, ready for a call if and when required in the future.

When it was discovered that the same people were receiving death threats, as well as being murdered for assisting the British Armed Forces; David Cameron offered a place of sanctuary here in the UK, and accepted those who chose to leave, they were granted ‘political migrant’ status.

Afghanistan, modern day; we are now at the point required…

The same Prime Minister, David Cameron, now denies the same ‘political Status’ to those Interpreters who have worked with every branch of the British Armed Forces on active duty, as well as those whose skills were sought within the British Foreign office in Kabul. There are those amongst them who have stood shoulder to shoulder with British troops engaged in long firefights; as well as actions unreported due to the restrictions of Special Forces clandestine ops. The same conduct would merit medals of courage and bravery had they been British. Twenty-six have been killed, some whilst attending to the wounded in battle; many have been seriously maimed. More than enough have been murdered for plying their trade.

The Foreign office is now dismissing the same people with a months wage in their pocket (£710-), giving them two hours to pack and then leave their place of work to ‘return from whence they came’, to the strong possibility of a death sentence. Some have served with distinction for over six years; they now live in total fear as their parental homes are literally daubed with the mark of death by extremist groups.

Without being dramatic over the issue, these same people have saved countless lives, as well as expensive military equipment through their interpretational skills and services. In comparison it would cost nothing to allow those who deserve the right to ‘political migrant’ status, to enjoy a quality of life within the United Kingdom. Their services could be better employed over here in the fight against terrorism, which has now spread throughout Europe.

Afghan interpreters launch UK legal bid

 Britain Afghan Interpreters 1

Former British soldiers Patrick Hennessey, left, and Jake Wood, right, and Interpreter “Mohammad”, centre, hold a wreath outside the Foreign Office in London, Friday, May 3, 2013. Campaigners and two former British soldiers gathered to deliver a box with over 70,000 signatures calling on the UK government to grant Afghan interpreters asylum, a wreath was laid in memory of the 26 Afghan interpreters who have already been killed while serving with British forces. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

£710- or $1,103- is the price of a life in Afghanistan according to the Foreign Office.

For those who have served with honour and distinction it is priceless…

Yours Aye.

P.S. In 2008, the fighting tenacity of the British actress Joanna Lumley, supported by the general public, shamed the Labour Government into giving the Gurkha Regiment the rights to British citizenship. It is hoped that ‘Mohammad’s crusade will be supported by the decent people who stepped forward in support of ‘Johnnie Gurkha’; each have unflinchingly assisted our Armed Forces in their time of need.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Faces a Challenge

VFW, Veterans of Foreign WarsThe Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW, strives to do good things for deserving people; particularly veterans, their families, and their communities.  From local grassroots ideas to national influence, we work everyday to make a difference.  It’s our strength as an organization.  And, with each individual membership, we only grow stronger.

Except all is not well in VFW land:

I met with a state commander of the VFW last week while he was in DC for some national business. As we talked, through the conversation some aspects of my military service came up. He asked about my own membership in the VFW and I told him I used to be a member but had declined to renew my membership some time ago. He seemed surprised but asked why, I told him about what I found by a number of the members of the VFW where I had been to be a “chip on the shoulder” syndrome.
Despite having been in real no-kidding combat in Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, I was often told that these were not ‘real wars’ (which in at least two cases they weren’t – not for the U.S.) The propensity of the members to think that in 2001 Afghanistan or 2003 Iraq there were the creature comforts of modern life that is shown on the news is a gross miscalculation.

VFW, Veterans of Foreign WarsWe briefly discussed how I parachuted into Afghanistan and did not see a shower or hot meal for 68 days. My wife didn’t know where I was (other than I was probably in Afghanistan), multiple firefights, direct and indirect fire and calls for fire on targets seemed like a war to my team, regardless of the year that it took place in. I feel much of the feeling was based on how these men were treated when they came home. Their fathers who had fought in WWII were treated very differently by society than they were, but should that justify contempt for those who have fought after them?

Hmm, I still intend on joining when I retire. I imagine the different VFW units vary by area?

Free “I Served” Sticker to Non-Flag Stompers

I served Iraq, Afghanistan, Desert Storm, VietnamNavy Times is offering a free I Served (in) Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, or Desert Storm sticker for all those who have served.

I’ll bet I know of one person who does not want the sticker, the Chapin High School English teacher (South Carolina) who repeatedly stomped on the flag in class to make a point.

Please ignore my pet peeve of folks misspelling or misidentifying Berkeley in the comments. Like Sergeant First Class Brice Harris who calls it UCLA-Berkeley. C’mon SFC, I expect better. Two separate schools, Berkeley and UCLA. Separated by almost 400 miles!

It’s Quite Fun

You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.
–General James Mattis

Joyous Female Ninjas Fight for Afghanistan

Female Afghan National Police (ANP) officers aim their weapons during a drill at a training centre near the German Bundeswehr army camp Marmal in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan December 11, 2012. German police is mentoring the training program for ANP, as part of an ongoing International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission.

Female Afghan National Police (ANP) officers aim their weapons during a drill at a training centre near the German Bundeswehr army camp Marmal in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan December 11, 2012. German police is mentoring the training program for ANP, as part of an ongoing International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission.

Also in the same photo essay is this shot of a female German police instructor, chatting with Afghani police trainees. Some appear to be listening, others not so much:

A German police instructor talks to female ANP officers before a drill at a training center near the German Bundeswehr army camp Marmal in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan on Dec. 11.

A German police instructor talks to female ANP officers before a drill at a training center near the German Bundeswehr army camp Marmal in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan on Dec. 11.

I tip my hat to the lady Afghanis. Good luck to them and their future career. . .

What Is Morning Star Doing in Afghanistan?

Dr. Dilip Joseph works for the Colorado Springs-based Morning Star Development as a volunteer doctor in Afghanistan. His organization has an interesting mission statement:

Morning Star Development brings hope and opportunity to people in need in the developing world using sustainable economic and community development initiatives designed to empower individuals and transform communities.

Morning Star Development is a non-profit community and economic development organization committed to helping the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country and their lives by offering practical hope and resources. We focus on bringing transformational change to the people of Afghanistan through sustainable economic and community development initiatives.

Unfortunately, Dr. Joseph was kidnapped by the Taliban. And in the rescue, a SEAL Team 6 member, SO1 Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., was killed. My question, who okay’ed Morning Star Development working in Afghanistan? Are they accompanied by Soldiers or Marines (or the marginally useful/useless Afghani Police) for protection? Are they operating in areas rich with Taliban? I am all for helping Afghanis, just not at the expense of our Sailors. . .

Fresh Kiwi News

New Zealand Kiwis are a tough and hearty bunch. And they are facing a national challenge defining their role in Afghanistan. All that being said, this sentence appears self-contradictory:

New Zealand pledged Monday to withdraw from Afghanistan as quickly as possible after three of its troops were killed in a roadside bomb attack, but insisted it will not “cut and run” from the conflict.

Leave or stay. But don’t let the enemy push you around. . .

Something Fishy with the Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout after he scored against the Orioles in the third inning Wednesday at Baltimore.

Does anyone find it a little fishy that the new star of the Los Angeles Angels is named Mike Trout? Remember Tim Salmon? Both were outfielders. Both played for the Angels.

Let’s wrangle the Trout first:

It’s easy to forget that Mike Trout, for all his otherworldly talent, was still living with his parents six months ago.

His dad hasn’t forgotten.

Last Monday, when White Sox slugger Paul Konerko went hitless and Trout moved past him to take over the batting lead in the American League, Jeff Trout turned to his son and offered some fatherly advice:

“Now get to bed. You’ve got a game tomorrow,” he told his youngest boy, who was spending a rare off-day at home.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

That’s hardly the only surreal moment Jeff and his wife Deb have experienced since their son made his major league debut last July. The Trouts now get so many random text messages and phone calls — most from people they don’t recognize — they’re thinking of changing their number.

And then there are the friends requesting autographs, family members asking for baseballs, and an endless line of would-be advisors, agents, pitchmen and snake-oil salesmen all angling for a piece of baseball’s newest superstar.

It’s been a little overwhelming for a pair of schoolteachers from small-town New Jersey. ”That is the side that most people never understand,” Jeff Trout says. “It’s hard to explain to people. Is it a downside? It’s a different side.”

Tim Salmon, Los Angeles Angels at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Almost six years ago, Tim Salmon, also an outfielder for the Los Angeles Anglers, retired:

Timothy James “Tim” Salmon (born August 24, 1968 in Long Beach, California) is a former Major League Baseball right fielder and designated hitterwho played his entire career with the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels (appearing with the team under all three of its recent names). Known affectionately among Angels fans as the King Fish, he is considered one of the greatest players in the Angels’ franchise history.

He played his final Major League game on October 1, 2006, against the Oakland Athletics. His name and jersey number were cut into the infield and outfield grass of the playing field at Angel Stadium.

He returned to Angel Stadium as a player in the 2010 All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game where he received a standing ovation before hitting two home runs for the American League and receiving the game’s MVP award.

Tim Salmon, Los Angeles Angels, AKA King Fish

Salmon’s number (15) with the Angels has not been retired yet, but it has not been used by an Angel since his retirement. When Dan Haren was traded to the Angels from the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 25, 2010, he requested number 24 instead of his usual 15 out of respect for Salmon.

As of the end of the 2006 season, Salmon is the Angels’ all-time leader in home runs (299), runs scored (983), walks (965) and slugging percentage (.499). He is second in franchise history with 1016 RBIs, behind Garret Anderson. He remains the franchise’s only player to have won the Rookie of the Year award.

A common rookie complaint is that to get ahead in the Angels, you have swim upstream. 

Flag Folding in Afghanistan