Stories by Sean Linnane

Sean Linnane is the pseudonym of a US Army (retired) Special Forces Combat Diver NCO, still serving in other capacities.

Multiculturalism in Action

September 18th, 2009 at 11:59 am 6 Comments

Overheard while waiting in line at the U.S. Post Office, Podunkville . . . deep in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey:


Sweet Little Old Lady: “I’d like to buy some stamps, and I don’t want those ones with the Simpsons on them. I don’t like the Simpsons.”


Post Office Lady: “Here’s this one, it’s nice.”


Sweet Little Old Lady: “What is it?”


Post Office Lady: “A Jewish Holiday.”


Sweet Little Old Lady: “Oh that’s nice! My Jewish friends will like that!”


The stamp:


eid_stamp

What a Difference a Year Makes

September 1st, 2009 at 12:18 pm Comments Off

President Obama

President Obama


A year ago, this man was telling us the surge wouldn’t work, that Iraq was unwinnable, it was distracting us from Afghanistan, which was the right war.


Folding the Flag

Folding the Flag


Now, they’re folding the colors in Iraq, stacking arms, packing up and going home. Mission accomplished.

Meanwhile . . . now Mister Hope-&-Change is saying Afghanistan isn’t winnable . . .


U.S. Soldiers in Combat in Afghanistan

U.S. Soldiers in Combat in Afghanistan


That isn’t how you win wars Mr. President . . . you win wars by KICKING ASS ! ! !


General Patton

General Patton


Any war is winnable… just at the point when either side thinks they’re losing, is when they’re on the verge of winning. Just ask the Vietnamese…

A Worthy Cause

August 31st, 2009 at 11:15 am 1 Comment

I don’t know if you are aware of Michael Yon.


Michael Yon

Michael Yon


He’s fearless… provides a candid, soldier’s-eye view… from the very unique perspective of being there with them for weeks and months at a time… delving deep into the human component.
-General David H. Petraeus
Commanding General
Multi-National Force, Iraq

Michael Yon is ex-SF, and he brings honor to the Regiment with his heroic work covering the wars going on out there, reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004. Read his creds here:

No other reporter has spent as much time with combat troops in these two wars. Michael’s dispatches from the frontlines have earned him the reputation as the premier independent combat journalist of his generation. His work has been featured on “Good Morning America,” The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, ABC, FOX, as well as hundreds of other major media outlets all around the world.

Michael Yon is the 2008 Weblog Awards Winner for Best Military Blog.

As early as February 2005, Michael described the violence in Iraq as a civil war. In 2006, he said we were losing in Afghanistan. In 2007, he was the first reporter to claim the success of “the Surge” in Iraq. When he first voiced these opinions, they were extremely controversial. Now they are conventional wisdom.

Now Michael needs your help. He obviously does what he does for little or no pay:

I cannot operate in the war without your support. If support does not substantially increase, I will be forced to abandon war reporting in September. There has seldom been much interest in the Afghanistan war. True interest has been starkly reflected in the support for this mission. Each journey into Afghanistan, since 2006, has bled out resources from my operations. Reporting from Afghanistan is not sustainable at this rate.

In his blog there is a fascinating story about helicopters in the war zone, specifically the static that lights up in the rotors (I’ve often observed this phenomena myself). Yon has coined it the Kopp-Etchells Effect, in memory of two KIA corporals; one American & one British.



Kopp-Etchells Effect

Kopp-Etchells Effect


Today is pay day – every G.I. out there is a millionaire. Go to Michael’s site and crack the code on the PayPal thing. I am going to lead by example on this thing and scratch out a check for $25; if every one of my regular readers contributes the same, this will equal six months pay for Michael.


Originally posted at STORMBRINGER.

Marine War Dog Hero Dies

August 30th, 2009 at 9:40 am 5 Comments

A Marine Corps military working dog recently passed away; please review this touching tribute to a true canine hero:



MWD Flapoor was one of our great military working dogs who was on the front lines with our Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His handler, store Marine LCpl Brown, healing made this tribute video so we can all remember one of our beloved K9 heroes.

MWD Flapoor did two tours in Iraq. During his first tour, in 2005-2006, MWD Flapoor and his handler at the time, Cpl Poelart, were providing security at an Iraqi police recruitment center in Ar Ramadi when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the building. The bomb killed dozens of Iraqis wanting to become police and wounded dozens more.

The bomb set a precedent in that the first military working dog handler, Sgt Adam Cann, was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. MWD Flapoor and his handler were both wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. Cpl Poelart was eventually honorably discharged while MWD Flapoor recovered from his wounds and went back for a second successful tour in Iraq. Thank you for making this tribute LCpl Brown so we can all remember this amazing dog for his sacrifice and service to our country.


Originally posted at Stormbringer.

Gaddafi’s Son: Bomber’s Release No Surprise to U.S. & U.K.

August 28th, 2009 at 10:45 am Comments Off

Some telling comments from Gaddafi’s son today in the Glasgow Herald. He anticipates deals between Libya and London; and he declares that Megrahi is “an innocent man”. Gaddafi himself states that the United States knew well in advance about Megrahi’s release. This further backstops the indicators I covered earlier on my own blog that:

(a) Megrahi’s release was no surprise to London and the United States

(b) some kind of economic arrangement was agreed upon, and

(c) Libya was NOT responsible for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing; possibly Iran and/or Syria were.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, that’s for sure.


Originally posted at STORMBRINGER.

Universal Coverage: Stand Around & Wait

August 27th, 2009 at 8:07 am 14 Comments

Tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance. Extending coverage to them has been a core goal of health reform proposals since the 1960s. President Richard Nixon offered a universal health plan in his first administration, recipe but since then Republicans have hesitated to commit the nation to so costly an undertaking. Is it time to rethink? Should Republicans accept universal coverage as a goal?  We posed this question to NewMajority’s contributors.


Those of you who follow my blog know that I rarely discuss politics. This is because I try following the advice of the old Irish prayer:

God, mind grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, seek courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Or, as Bogey said to Ingrid Bergman in the farewell scene of Casablanca: “ . . . it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world . . . ”

Having said all that, Frum Forum asked me to comment on a political issue that I do know something about – government healthcare – OK here’s the deal:

America already has government healthcare, of course. We have Medicare for the old folks, and Medicaid for the people who can’t help themselves. We have the SCHIP program, and all sorts of government programs for Indians on reservations, the folks who live in the Marianas Islands, and then of course there’s prison medicine. Ask those folks how they like their government healthcare.

The program I’m personally familiar with is Tricare, which is the healthcare program military dependants are covered by. I pay $460 a year for Tricare coverage, which is pretty good as far as health insurance goes, but believe me, you get what you pay for.

How it works is like this: when you’re active duty, you don’t pay for healthcare. You get sick, you show up at the TMC – Troop Medical Center – and whatever you’ve got they take care of. Or try to. The old saying about Army medicine goes: “Foot powder below the waist, aspirin above.”

Tricare is for dependants; i.e. the spouses and children, and the retirees (like me). When you’re on active duty, it’s practically free: $40 a month, you don’t even notice it coming out of your LES (Leave & Earnings Statement).

Healthcare used to be free to vets for life, but Bill Clinton changed that when the WWII generation started requiring more and more care for their needs. I remember the outrage when the government started charging the vets for healthcare; that was the same crowd that was trying to ram Hillarycare down our throats.

Go to Clark Clinic on Fort Bragg on any given day and see how government medicine works. The place is always packed full of G.I. wives & children. A lot of them are there for things that normally you’d take care of on your own, at home.

Item: if healthcare is free, everybody becomes a hypochondriac.

In fact, there are so many dependants laying siege to the place, they make it inconvenient and slow, just to discourage people from going there.

Item: the government throws up hurdles between you and the doctor, so they don’t have to dish out.

It gets even better when you’re a retiree, or if you live away from a major military installation. In that case, Tricare looks like this:

There is a schedule of benefits that Tricare will pay for, and the price they will pay to providers. That price is generally 30% less than what that provider normally charges, so doctors do not like to take Tricare patients. But every area and region has a Tricare provider – somebody the government has their hooks into – their paying his tuition or whatever – and he has to take you.

Item: doctors do not like government healthcare.

When you show up, your Tricare provider is not happy to see you. He is taking a 30% cut in pay every second you are there, so all he wants to do is throw whatever pills at you it takes to get you out of there so he can get back to the paying customers.

I would tell you the nightmarish story my family went through with the birth of my first child, but it’s intensely personal. The results were a tragic disaster, they are permanent, my wife is permanently scarred and my daughter’s health has been affected for life. Take my word for it; the military’s mission is not to take care of your wife and family. Regardless of what they tell you otherwise.

What I will tell you about is this weird rash I’ve had since 1997, something that appeared after traipsing around the toxic battlefields of the former Yugoslavia. They are unable to cure it. At one point they had me scheduled to report to surgery, six weeks out, of course. When I showed up at surgery, the doc asked “What are you doing here?” I showed him my rash. He said, “What do you want us to do about it here at surgery?”

I went back to my TMC and asked the bureaucrat in charge why she had scheduled me to go there. I was on active duty at the time and I was a busy guy. Her answer? “Oh, I thought they could cut it off.”

“What, are you practicing medicine now?” I felt like picking up the paperweight off her desk and throwing it at her.

Item: government bureaucrats will instinctively behave in a manner that is counter to any kind of logic or common sense. When this phenomenon intersects with your health, look out.


To read other contributions to this symposium, click here.

Russia Has “No Intention” to Return Stolen U.S. Humvees

August 20th, 2009 at 10:18 am 5 Comments

According to a recent AP story from Moscow:

A top Russian general says Russia has no intention of returning U.S. Humvees that Russian soldiers seized during the brief war with Georgia a year ago.

Deputy chief of the General Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn says Russia considers the four Humvees to be war trophies and thus has no obligation to give them back.

Nogovitsyn told reporters Wednesday that Russia considered the subject closed.

The U.S. vehicles were seized in western Georgia. They had been used in joint military exercises in which U.S. trainers were preparing Georgian troops for deployment in Iraq.

This is par for the course for the Russians:  During the Cold War, Russia stole military technology – and everything else – from us like it was going out of style, then they’d make low-end Socialist copies. The Lada is a Fiat rip-off and the Ural motorcycle is a WWII-era BMW.

Nowadays, the Russian mafia steals whatever they want from the U.S. and others — cars, trucks and even motorcycles. They load them all in shipping containers and ship them to Russia via St. Petersburg and Finland where the Politburo gives them new titles: voila, legal property. I’ve seen cars from the U.S. that still have American dealership stickers on them, tooling down the roads of Eastern Europe.

As so often happens with Russian technology, we will soon see this latest advancement of their military weaponry – a Russian Tactical Vehicle identical to the Humvee – appear in the next big May Day parade and other any photo-ops they can conjure up.


Originally posted at STORMBRINGER.

Reading Bill Clinton’s Face

August 5th, 2009 at 4:25 pm 6 Comments

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two American journalists sentenced to 12 years hard labor in North Korea, are on their way back to the United States, thanks to the efforts of President Bill Clinton.


lee-ling


Do not fall for North Korean attempts to exploit this; Bill Clinton did a good thing, this is a time for joy & celebration. Two American citizens being held against their will have been liberated. 4+ months in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is no vacation – the DPRK is NOT a fun place to be, even in a “guesthouse” in Pyongyang.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling were arrested for “grave”, though unspecified, crimes on the North Korea-China border earlier this year. It is widely thought that they deliberately crossed the border.


clinton-in-north-korea


The former President meets Yang Hyong Sop, Vice-President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly – whatever you gotta say, whatever it takes – as long as there’s no strings attached – to get your people back.


clinton-and-kim


North Korea’s official news agency reported that Mr Clinton and Mr Kim engaged in “sincere and exhaustive discussions” on a range of issues.

Yeah, WHATEVER. Notice how Bill Clinton negates the North Korean propaganda photo-op event by showing NO EMOTION. Mister Charisma is NOT SMILING; he is stiff as a board, lifeless – this is not by accident, he has been coached. His body language says: “None of this counts, nothing of what you see or hear means anything. My heart is not in this. There is no meaning to my words. I am just going through the motions. There is no recognition of the people with whom I am speaking (the North Koreans). I give you nothing, and you give me my people.”


south-korean-protest


South Koreans have been demanding the release of the two women. Here they burn a defaced North Korean flag during a rally – where can I get a spray can that squirts out flames like that?

We NEVER lost hope & faith… Welcome Home Laura Ling & Euna Lee!



Originally posted at Stormbringer.

The War Doesn’t End When the Troops Return Home

August 4th, 2009 at 10:33 am 10 Comments

We’re talking about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder… and it can be DEADLY.

Fortunately, Army Reserve Staff Sergeant George Nickel survived his obvious episode of PTSD.

On February 8th, 2007, Staff Sergeant Nickel was the lone survivor from the explosion of one of the largest IEDs ever placed, outside of Karma, Iraq. The blast penetrated the armored hull and the 12 ton bomb-resistant vehicle was blown more than 10 feet in the air. Nearly every bone on the right side of his body was broken, and shrapnel from the blast tore his flesh; it was a miracle Nickel lived at all. Less than a foot away from him, the turret gunner was blown out of his hatch, dead before he hit the ground. The vehicle commander was even closer to George, and he was also killed right away. The driver lived long enough to be medevac’ed by chopper to the field hospital in Fallujah, but he died of his wounds en route.

The war doesn’t end for a vet when he comes home; it’s worse if you come back in pieces. Nickel was sent from Iraq to the Army Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. His destination in the States was Walter Reed – a grim place on a good day; George Nickel was lucky enough to arrive at the height of the neglect scandal.

Due to his condition, and the situation back home, George couldn’t be sent home for rehabilitation therapy. Back in Idaho he was an hour from the nearest VA rehab facility, and his house in the woods was not handicap accessible. So the Army warehoused him in an old hotel near Walter Reed. The conditions in these places are deplorable. George Nickel finally arrived home to Boise on July 4th, 2008.

What happened this week: George Nickel lost his dog. For whatever reason he took along a handgun, his AR-15 rifle and was wearing a tactical vest with as many as 90 rounds of ammunition when he went to look for it. Police say Nickel shot his way into two apartments before they arrived, clearing rooms CQB-style as he searched for his pup.

He developed situational awareness fast, apparently; Nickel surrendered to police without returning a shot as four officers fired some 12 rounds in a confrontation in the stairwell of Nickel’s apartment. No one was struck by any of the gunfire, thank God.

Charges:
George Nickel Jr., 38, is being held in the Ada County Jail on a $500,000 bond for four felony charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, unlawful discharge of a gun into an inhabited building, and use of a gun in the commission of a felony.

I’m not a lawyer or a politician, and I don’t know what can be done or said on SSG Nickel’s behalf, but I’ve seen amazing results from the internet’s ability to blast out info in all directions. Maybe somebody out there is in a better position than I am to do or say something on SSG Nickel’s behalf: a preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for August 13th in front of 4th District Magistrate Kevin Swain.

Here’s more on what happened, and the hell that SGT Nickel went through downrange.


Originally posted at Stormbringer.

You Are Not Forgotten

July 22nd, 2009 at 8:59 am 6 Comments

UPDATE 21 JUL 09: The captured American soldier depicted in this Taliban video has since been identified – Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. He is going through Hell, of course. While Bowe’s family and friends go through their personal sort of living Hell, the following stories of Americans held captive overseas have faded from the front pages.

By now most of you have seen the Taliban propaganda video of an unnamed American soldier, missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan June 30 and later confirmed captured. The soldier’s identity has not yet been confirmed by the Deptartment of Defense, pending notification of the soldier’s family. U.S. defense officials confirmed that the man in the video is the captured soldier.

Rest assured the United States is on a full-court press to recover our soldier. Think of him as you enjoy your Sunday morning round of golf, or fishing. Remember him in your prayers at church, or temple.

Our prayers are with him.

MEANWHILE . . .

Two American journalists are still being held by North Korea.

laura_euna

Laura Ling and Euna Lee work for Al Gore’s California-based Current TV media group.

The two Americans were detained near the North Korean border with China and were sentenced last month to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally and for “hostile acts.” North Korean officials may have been angered at the journalists for trying to produce a program critical of North Korea.

laura_euna_demonstration

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, you are not forgotten.

North Korea may spare the US journalists from hard labor, but the two women still face awful conditions. Even if they have not yet been sent to a labor camp, they are no doubt being subjected to early morning wake up calls, daily interrogation / “re-education” sessions (that go on for unbelievable lengths of time, well into the night), minimal food of poor nutritional value, and having every facet of their daily lives controlled. The worst could possibly be the stress and anxiety accompanying the fear of the unknown.

News is difficult to get out of the world’s most isolated and repressed society. Their exact whereabouts remain unknown; the latest I was able to glean from open-source is that North Korea has delayed sending the two American journalists to a prison labor camp.

North Korean labor camps are notorious: the horrific conditions rival that of the Third Reich, or the torture factories of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Possibly hundreds of thousands of North Koreans face starvation, filth, disease, hard labor, exposure to the elements, daily “re-education” torture sessions, summary executions and anonymous graves.

Click here to learn how you can help Laura Ling and Euna Lee.


Originally posted at Stormbringer.