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Posted April 5, 2004
She should be doing them then.
The military IS conducting the types of operations they excel in which are large scale combat/logistics operations.
The contractors are of several varieties. Contractors providing security for PRIVATE companies such as Bechtel (construction). The bottom line is effected by the amount of money they invest to protect their people with private security contractors. No one in their right mind is operating in Iraq without security. This is not and should not be the militaries responsibility. These are contracts that the COMPANY creates and honors. Not the government. Some of these contracts are referred to as "supporting coalition efforts" which is sometimes true since everything over there is related to rebuilding in one form or another.
Then there are government contracts such as agency contracts, DoD, State Department, etc. These contracts are much rarer and the personnel selected for these contracts are often of a higher caliber. These are not the guys being referred to as "Cowboys". These are the heavy hitters with big time resumes. Blackwater has many of these types of contracts.
Soldiers are not the most highly qualified to perform many of these operations. Take a former Special Ops soldier with 10 years of military covert ops experience ( a search and destroy-body count type stuff), give him 5 years of on the job police training (a thinking job with empathy for civilians-MUCH RESTRAINT) or other specialized medical (technically proficient), communications (technical proficiency), etc in the private sector (self motivated), more maturity (have you been around many young troops lately? ANNOYING AS HELL) and alot of motivation (good pay) and you have the machine that most of the people assume soldiers are. Regular soldiers often are not that highly qualified. Soldiers are often eager to do their time and move on (attrition). I think what you are seeing is a shift towards an even more dangerous/effective type of paramilitary unit than the average active duty entity. Many of these same people will probably metatastasize
If someone gets into this type of work they have essentially volunteered once again which is something the average soldier did not do. If most civilians were so motivated they would be joining the military and moving themselves into the food chain. Fear of dying is deterring them or political reservations. Fact of the matter is that in any business as your talents increase so does your value to the corporation. Most of these guys are working where they are because they have made it to the top of the food chain. The economics trickle back down into the economy.
Some of your questions border on me disclosing some things that could be considered an OPSEC violation.
in the *freshiezone*
In August-September I am going to combine these two resorts and possible El Colorado area in one long late summer ski trip. Has anyone else had any experience with these areas? Recommendations or any other useful information?
in British Columbia/Canada
Whistler hotels are dog friendly.
Use a wider stance then!
in Climber's Board
Letting snow build up on the bottom of your skins is just good hardman training. Don't be a pussy Tim. Go with it...
Has anyone seen that office max commercial about teamwork? That reminds me of a few climbing experiences I've had...
Does anyone know of any hotels in Whistler that are dog friendly? Not in the cheap range either.
Posted April 2, 2004
See ya there at Pub Club Tuesday. Or maybe I'll be in Bozeman. Yeah Bozeman. Must suck to be broken for spring skiing and late alpine climbs.
Just figured out that I did know the guys in the vehicles. I wasn't placing the name without the face. Jerry Zovko was one tough guy who spoke Arabic fluently.
Gads, don’t lump mine in w/ Doolittle’s statement! I really don’t know who’s cutting your checks. It could be anybody. My point was the same as your own: the desire for murderous revenge is perfectly natural. Whether it’s reasonable is another question. Still, I think you’ve shown us the problem with the “proximity makes for a more objective pov” argument. Afa the “war being about the bling” goes… Dood, I learned that from you.
Like I said I sort of woke up and read a few things and knee jerked. Bad post, bad response. Ski mountaineering cleared my head today.
April 1, 2004; 8:40 a.m. EST
"We grieve today for the loss of our colleagues and we pray for their families. The names of the victims will not be released out of respect for their families.
"The graphic images of the unprovoked attack and subsequent heinous mistreatment of our friends exhibits the extraordinary conditions under which we voluntarily work to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people.
"Coalition forces and civilian contractors and administrators work side by side every day with the Iraqi people to provide essential goods and services like food, water, electricity and vital security to the Iraqi citizens and coalition members. Our tasks are dangerous and while we feel sadness for our fallen colleagues, we also feel pride and satisfaction that we are making a difference for the people of Iraq.
A Memorial Fund has been established to support the victim's families of the March 31, 2004 Fallujah attack. All memorial gifts will be documented and appropriately acknowledged with due regard to the wishes of the donor and the nature of the contribution. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims
Please Mail the contributions to:
PO Box 159
Moyock, NC 27958
Please Make checks Payable to:
Please no cash contributions.
Mid grade gas in Weed, CA was 2.27 a gallon today. I forgot to look at this and put almost 30.00 in my tank before I realized I was being robbed. The same thing happened to me in Amboy, CA a few years ago outside of 29 Palms/Joshua Tree. California is a rip-off!
I have to admit that my initial reaction to the posts I read this morning upon waking up was poor and knee jerk.
Allison's asshole statement typifies everything that I was trying to dissuade people from believing or going into that direction. Don't hate people that have chosen to live hard lives. It is with the utmost respect for the freedoms of this country that they (I) go to these places. Not because they were duped, or wanted college money, or had nowhere else to go. Some kids simply feel the pull of the thing in itself.
When I was a young NCO and new soldiers came to my unit I stressed to them that the reason they were in the military was to fight and if need be kill or be killed. I saw no reason to hide this fact from them. Almost to a man they understood and faced up to the task when the time came. It was this bond that allowed us to continue on sometimes. and share in the very real hardships we had to often face. Sometimes not as intense as combat, but often more routine.
Freezing in the dead of winter in a cold hole, knowing that many of my peers enjoyed the freedoms of College, access to beautiful girls, education, good food, a dry bed. I rarely found however that I envied them much. When I came home it was a nonstop question and answer period of "Where have you been? What did you see? You did what from a helicopter?" etc, etc, etc.
Many of the men and women in the military are certainly ready to come home. Enjoy some of the good things they left behind. Make a new start on their lives. Put this experience behind them. But it will always be a part of them no matter what. It may make some of them scary and icky because they have had to face things that many of us will never have to see or face. Years from now they may wake up terrified of something that can no longer harm them. They have had to face up to demons at the very edge of their fears. I did my time in the military working for peanuts and answering to every G.E.D. with a set of stripes and every bachelors degree with a bar on their hat. I earned my place in many ways. Volunteering and being proactive is one of those ways I felt I could make a difference. I wanted to see firsthand what we were doing and not be spoon fed my psyche thru a TV straw.
Alpine climbing is more terrifying sometimes than any combat, and many of you don't hesitate to throw yourselves in the mix. You are brave men and women for doing this and you are drawn to it the way a moth is drawn to flame. It can burn you up. You go up there because you have to know for yourself. Reading an account or being told firsthand is not the same. There are selfish reasons involved in everything. Climbing is also a selfish activity. I cringe when I hear about some of my friends with children doing hard climbs. I wonder if something is wrong with them. I try to talk some of my friends out of some of the things they are doing in climbing before it gets them. This past year it got one of them. If you climb you have it inside you too. It is a morbid curiousity that causes you to lead out where no crack lies ahead. You already have the mindset. Some are just posturing, like Allison, but I will let that one go now.
I had considered the content of my post after hearing of the death of these 4 men in Fallujah and I decided that I would go ahead and let my gut reactions come out. It is easy to butcher a post and leave it empty and politically correct. Some people voiced concerns that we are going to be allowed to run free and we can do as we please over there. This is simply not the case. I answer to the highest authority in Iraq. I have mentioned on this board before that I am on the close protection detail for L. Paul Bremer the senior US Administrator in Iraq and as such I have to answer to Diplomatic Security Services of the Department of State. What I wanted to convey was that yes, I get angry over there. Yes, I disagree with policy. Yes, I see the downside to Iraq. Yes, I see that Bush has butchered almost every ounce of goodwill we were handed after 9/11, yes I failed to make the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. So what, I am as informed as any of you and now more so because I took my questions into the form of action and went straight to the source. I feel compelled to pass this along or I would be exactly what some of you think I may be. I am not a mercenary and when the time is right I will come home and carve another niche for myself in the regular world. As usual I will have to hold alot of things inside because many like Allison would never understand. Why waste breath? But for those that have an interest and all politics aside, I am simply trying to project some things to you that I see and make me feel the way I do.
Daily it is a question of whether we will be alive to see our loved ones again or climb another mountain ever. I have shared my thoughts about the Iraqi's several times on this board and I think most of the things I have said are positive and upbeat. I understand that most people are just like you and I. They want what we want. Peace, prosperity, a brighter tomorrow. I understand, and that's why I went.
I woke up at 2 in the morning and laid there most of the night sort of sick to my stomach wondering who the 4 guys might be and wondering if I knew them. I have only seen 2 of the names, and I did not know them, but all the same these men were in the same outfit as me. Knowing this, it just makes the sense of vulnerabilty that much more real. My wife worries all the time, my family and friends often wonder if I am dead or alive. This is the reality of these types of jobs. They are demanding professions certainly not made for the everyday person. I do not expect everyone to understand. Most of the guys I work with think it is a complete waste of my time to argue this stuff over the internet with liberals who clearly don't want us there. I disagree. I came back to CC.com to rectify some wrongs and to pass along some enlightenment about the current situations from a unique perspective. A soldiers life is about 1/10th as interesting. I know. I have been on both sides of the fence.
Anyway, I have said way too much probably. I had wanted to come back to CC.com and make a positive difference this time instead of spraying hateful psychology down around the ears of the uninitiated. I do climb almost all the time when I am home, but felt like there was too much information about how, when, why, pictures this, photo op that. I felt like it was destroying my sense of what the mountains and what being in them was about. I stopped commenting on them or writing TR's or posting pics. I am rebuilding another website that should be out next year called http://vaultedsky.org. If anyone is interested I will be posting writings there pertaining to Iraq along with some pictures and many AVI videos I have taken of heliborne raids and various dignitary missions I have been on. To everyone who had something positive to say and stood up for me on this post I appreciate it and I stand by you too. For those that disagree, that is what this country is founded on. The right to disagree. I believe in that too. Don't villianize the men in the arena though. They deserve better than that kind of armchair scrutiny.
I skied from just over 11,000 feet today on Mt. Shasta. I forgot my crampons. The sun was out and it was fairly cold with a strong breeze.
Posted April 1, 2004
Doolittle and Nonanon,
You are about two of the most ignorant sons of bitches I have ever heard. First of all, all laws apply equally to soldiers and contractors as far as use of force. If you think every soldier/Marine over there is all about "measured response" then you are about as unintelligent and uninformed as you come across. There is essentially NO difference in the amount of risk or danger that contractors or soldiers face. Obviously, there is substantial danger to contractors of any type whether they are doing reconstruction or providing close protection. These are not security guards in the form you know them in the US. These are essentially former military and police, with all the same considerations for armament, armor, transportation, rules of engagement as the military are afforded. Civil code applies as well, but since it is a combat site there is a broad level of self preservation in effect. Kill a soldier or Marine and you are getting the same reaction dickneck. They want what everyone wants. Revenge. Technically none of us are mercs as you propose because we are in the service of our own country fullfilling legitimate missions for our own country.
Privatization of close protection was because the military is NOT TRAINED or CAPABLE to perform these functions and the contractors used to perform these missions are of a more mature and experienced level than the average Joe. For example, about 50% of the guys on my team are former SEAL DEV GRP (ST6). So by your logic they were kick ass restrained professionals when they were in uniform, but now after many many years of hard experience they have suddenly became yahoos? Blow me weakling. It's pretty plain and simple that way. Find better people to do a more high profile job.
Wanting revenge is a natural act when you hear that some of your friends have been killed, and MUTILATED. Sorry if that isn't a PC enough emotion for you, but I have to let both of you know. You don't know what you are talking about across the board other than you both seem to be knee jerking liberals. I bet you're the same kind of guy that was all sniffles after watching Black Hawk Down, or maybe you are the type who sits and judges every minute action from your couch?
Mary Lou- Ballard is a long way from anywhere. I suggest you stay there or the real world is going to scare the pants of you and your ignorance. Furthermore, their's a reason you're single girl. You're a butt ugly, simple minded retch, and it's about time you knew it. Now go back to your low rent lifestyle and let me NOT hear from your nasty ass ever again.
OW emailed me and asked me my take on the comment made by J_B and quoted from an article from somewhere.
There are alot of cowboys as we call them in Iraq who are providing security to civilian workers there. Not all of them are bad, but like a team these small PSD's (personal security detachments or details) are only as good as their weakest member. Some of these guys have watched too much TV, and it shows.
Other companies are taking only former SOF (Special Ops) soldiers with at least 10 years of SOF experience or SWAT level police officers. The reputable companies have DoD and Agency (CIA) contracts and all IC's (Independent Contractors) are required to go through rigorous background investigations and screening processes.
The guys that were killed in Fallujah today were probably friends of mine and work for the same company that I do. We have many DoD and CIA contracts and have had many instances of contact, injury, and collateral damage. These are the first casualties for Blackwater, but there is a saying we had..."It's not a matter of IF, but WHEN". When is now....
I am waiting to find out if now if I knew them, but I think I must since we are a small outfit.
We are taking too soft of an approach to Iraq. Arabs respect strength and glorify violence. We are the most powerful soldiers on this planet. I for one plan on bringing some pain to some Iraqi's this time around and I do not care really if they suffer for the rest of eternity. Now it's personal. Unfortunately I am not in Fallujah very often.
Ya know that little bit in Lord of the Rings where Gollum is struggling with his own inner demons and all he keep saying slowly to himself is M-U-R-D-E-R-E-R....well that's how I feel now knowing those fucking dirty Haji's did that to my friends. Someone is going to die for it. That's the reality of that place and this conflict. It is going to get ugly and dirty and then we are going to have to try to come home and pretend like nothing happened to us and walk around places like Ashland and laugh like all the hippies around here.
If you want to win a heart or mind find a Vietnam Veteran tomorrow and tell them sorry for all the shit they had to endure both in Vietnam and after they came home. Tell them you appreciate the sacrifice they made and that you feel your world is somehow a better place for their blind devotion to this country. Don't let that kind of isolation ever happen to another veteran or "mercenary" as we are being called these days. I think about home every day I am over there and I worry about dying every day I am over there. Like you, I just want to climb mountains and ski steep snow and listen to the wind. This is just what many of us feel compelled to do right now.
That's all I have to say for this thread.
Posted March 31, 2004
I would like to help more of them make it to Allah. Oh well, 2 more weeks and I'll be back in that shithole and you'll all be arguing about it and enjoying skiing and climbing while I suck fumes from the Dhura oil refinery and get my brain cooked by 120+ temps.
For those who were wondering how the snow in the Kootenays is these days:
DUDE! You had me all jones out about coming up north for springtime and now you rub the goods in my face? OUCH! Now I have to drive all the way up from Northern California to sit around and wait for it to come back. You owe me a beer man. I'll be there next week. Red, Nelson or otherwise.
I for one am pretty serious. I think we need to remind them once more that they simply cannot mess with us or they will get fucking spanked.
I agree CBS. It's time to get tough and down and dirty over there. We have been too nice so far.
That place is not representative of the whole country by any means. Fallujah has always been a hell hole. BURN IT TO THE FUCKING GROUND.
I'm in Ashland right now Lambone. At the Best Western to be exact. Timpanogos sent me down here on a hit. Guess who's number 1 on the list? Room 783 if you think you got game? Mt Ashland is intense! NOT....
in The Gear Critic
Posted March 27, 2004
After adapting the B2's and the Dynafit Comforts I have only two thumbs up for this combo. The B2's are light, stable, and aggressive turners.
in Alpine Lakes
I think the Forest Service made a great decision by closing those shooting areas. The people who came out there to shoot rarely cleaned up after themselves, often didn't follow basic rules of safety, and jeapordized the safety of other users on the Ironhorse trail and I-90. I have to drive all the way to the Seattle Police range now to train, but I guess I don't really mind.
Leland is a hard worker when it comes trundling rocks. It's an enviable job!