Sunday, May 31, 2009


Click HERE

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Over the years I developed this; twenty-five years of serving with some of the greatest soldiers ever walked the face of the Earth, refined, filtered and distilled down to three simple Rules. Meditate upon them.

Joe Snuffy can smell a lie a mile off. Once you’ve lied to your men, you are no longer the leader; you’re just the guy standing out in front of the formation.

Show your team you are willing and able to do every job on the team, no matter how low-down, dirty or dangerous.

Find logical, common-sense options out of by-the-book dilemmas; otherwise you will only set yourself up for ridicule and failure.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


“Snake Eaters” is a military slang term for Army Special Force (a.k.a. “Green Berets”), and YES we DO eat snakes. This is part of our survival training, although I have slayed and eaten snake in the field to supplement the rations, and because basically, snake tastes good.

I have encountered snakes (and eaten them) throughout my career. I have eaten cobra in Thailand (and drank the blood mixed with Mekhong whiskey), Eastern Diamondback in Mississippi and copperhead North Carolina. For what it’s worth, I prefer rattlesnake; tastes like chicken.

Back in '99 I did a six-month stint in the Ivory Coast. The base we stayed in – Camp Akuedo – was adjacent to the city dump; the place was overridden with vermin. Vultures, kites and ravens patrolled the skies. I didn’t have a solid bowel movement the whole time I was there, and every day we either killed a cobra, some kind of evil viper, or one of these lobster-sized scorpions that infested our Company area.

Well, we had this Warrant Officer Eric Red (best damn Warrant I ever worked with and one of the bravest men alive). For this deployment he was the Company XO, and he lived in the Company Supply room. The word around camp was he kept a mamba and a mongoose in there with him. Because he visited the Embassy a couple of times a week, Chief Red operated a check cashing service out of the supply room; he’d have us go in and stand in front of this desk he’d made out of MRE cartons, it was just like the old-time pay call.

One day I asked him, “So what’s this about a mongoose and a mamba, Chief?”

“Oh, I kicked the mongoose out. The damn thing moved his family in, and they kept me up all night with their fighting and scurrying about.”

“Uh-huh. So, uh, what about the mamba?”

“I kept the mamba – it keeps the Africans out.”

“But . . . but . . . but . . . it’s a MAMBA, Chief!”

“Yeah, but it’s only a GREEN mamba,” he shrugged.

Whenever I went in there to cash a check I always looked over my shoulder for the mamba.

A reader who does the 3d World Bush Tour quite a bit asked me for info on what to do in the event of a snake bite. This opened a can of worms, to coin a phrase . . .

As far as first aid goes, I refer to Army Field Manuel 21-76 SURVIVAL (which I helped write).

The advice from the SAS Survival Handbook, Vol I – Outdoor Survival by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman (HarperCollins Publishers, London 1996), stresses avoidance:

Snakes have excellent camouflage, only movement gives them away. In snake-infested areas you will pass many every day without ever noticing them.

The chances of being bitten are small and all but the worst cases recover. In Malaysia, more people are killed each year by falling coconuts and in India rat-bites produce many more cases for hospitalization!

A bite from a poisonous snake should always be taken seriously, but there are degrees of severity. When biting in self-defence, many snakes inject only a little venom, occasionally none at all. If the snake is out of condition or has recently bitten something else, its venom may not be fully potent and there may only be a little in its venom sacs. Clothing or shoes may have deflected the full force of the bite. In many poisonous snakes the dose of venom needed to kill a man far exceed the amount that can be injected in one bite.

Funny thing is, I’ve always worried about falling coconuts. Seriously. Never knew they were THAT deadly; I just always had a sort of feeling. Just goes to show . . .


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


. . . if it wasn't so deadly serious:

LA TIMES: Al Qaeda Recruits Back in Europe, But Why?

The incredible adventure story of wannabe Jihadi's and their harrowing journey to BadGuyLandistan . . . the teaser line beneath the headline says it all:

"Four men say their training experience in Pakistan wasn't what they hoped for. Anti-terrorism officials wonder if they're just biding their time, ready to strike in Europe."

Read this remarkable story down to the telling line:

"Anti-terrorism forces have detected at least one American, a convert to Islam, who trained with Al Qaeda in Pakistan during the last year, Western officials say."

The United States has had traitors in every war it's been in. This one is no different.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Most of the world operates on the barter system, thus most people understand the mechanics of negotiation strategy. In America, other than buying a car, the majority of people (especially the upper middle-class) have limited experience in bargaining. As a consequence, much of our foreign policy negotiations seem to have more basis in altruism than realpolitik.

One would think Mr. Obama has never bargained with a rug merchant before, yet in his dealings with House Republicans over the stimulus bill he showed that he knows how to play hardball. With the Iranians, however, its been more like T-ball.

To advance their nuclear program, the Iranians have been playing for time. Mr. Obama opened his presidency by conceding them more. Now he is conceding the principle that Iran’s nuclear program can somehow be tied to Israeli concessions on West Bank settlements.

What we have gained by these opening gambits is less than clear. If you were seeking a successful conclusion to any endeavor, the very last thing you would want to tie it to is an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Since we are on a timeline, it is simply the kiss of death.

I'm beginning to think Mr. Obama is Iran's most skillful negotiator - experienced rug merchants that they are, they just don't have anybody in their corner near as good. And this after Iran's supreme spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected Obama's "hand of friendship" out of hand. If Tony Blair was George Bush's lapdog, then Barack Obama is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's puppy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu shares none of these delusions. He understands quid pro quo, and isn't giving anything away. He is trying to keep the focus on Iran and off the Palestinians, and he is not willing to bargain with the security of the state of Israel as part of any deal with Iran. He knows that making any concessions at this point is only a sign of weakness that will encourage the enemy to stall for more time, break agreements, and circumvent sanctions. If Mr. Obama does not take care, Iran will likely enter the club of nuclear powers as a member with full voting rights. Mr. Obama, by tightening the noose on Israel, you have only encouraged Iran, Hamas, Syria and all the other agents of terror to proceed... nice move... don't forget your umbrella on the way out.

We Americans have such a desire for peace that we are often prepared to offer unconditional concessions in order to gain it. We expect that if, in the spirit of good faith, we make a concession, then, in the same spirit, the opposition will accept our terms. They might even throw in a concession on their part. In the Middle East, these illusions can be very costly. When you visit the nuclear souk, Mr. Obama, you had best come prepared to drive some tough bargains.

Monday, May 25, 2009


The question has been posed - "Is there a military option?"

There is always a military option. The question is not "Is there a military option?" Rather, the question is "Can we afford the price?"

Unfortunately, the primo window of opportunity to have launched an attack would have been BEFORE 9/11 . . .

Click HERE for analysis . . .


When I was young I read about the Trojan war; I studied Homer's writings for clues about such traits of personality or character possessed by the ancient heroes. I studied the Old Testament Book of Judges. Fascinated, I watched the film To Hell And Back; the story of Audie Murphy, Medal of Honor recipient and most decorated soldier of World War II.

I am not a hero but I have served in the company of heroes. More and more it seems nowadays we are living in an era of heroes.

In the latest conflict there have been heroes, as there have been in any and all wars of the past, mostly anonymous. Just recently I learned of a friend's stepfather's funeral at Arlington. A company commander in World War II, he fought with Patton; in a near ambush he was wounded by Germans three times on the same day, then returned to serve with his men on the front lines. For this heroism he received a single Purple Heart medal. He went on to serve his country in other capacities, working out of embassies in Africa and Southeast Asia. I didn't know it at the time, but while I was escorting his daughter to high school dances, this man was a prisoner of the Pathet Lao Communists. If I could have made it to Arlington that day, I would have worn my dress blues to honor this hero.

Three names immediately come to mind:

Captain Chesley N. Sullenberger, the nerves-of-steel pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 who safely his disabled aircraft in the East River and saved his entire compliment of passengers and crew from certain death.

Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk-Alabama, who put himself in harms way, offering himself as hostage to the Somali pirates in exchange for the safety of his crew.

Colonel, US Army (Retired) Rick Rescorla. Born and raised in England, join the British military at age sixteen and fought against Communists in Cyprus and Rhodesia, then came to America, enlisted in the US Army and went to Vietnam with the 7th Cavalry - Custer's old outfit - and fought in the legendary Battle of Ia Drang. On Sept. 11th 2001, Rick Rescorla was vice-president in charge of security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. His office was on the forty-fourth floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. The firm occupied twenty-two floors in the South Tower. After the plane hit his building, the Port Authority told him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

Instead, Rescorla ensured that every one of his firm's employees was safely evacuated, then took some of his security men back INTO the burning building to make a final sweep, to make sure no one was left behind, injured, or lost. Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at his side, but only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated. In this final act of heroism, Rick Rescorla saved the lives of over 2600 employees of Dean Whitter.

Of course, there are the 4900+ men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the subsequent campaigns of the Global War on Terror.

Some 640,000+ gave all in the wars of the 20th Century: 25 Somalia (including 18 in the Battle of Mogadishu); 113 Gulf War I; 24 Operation JUST CAUSE Panama; 240+ Lebanon peacekeeping operations; 19 Operation URGENT FURY Grenada; 13 Operation POWER PACK Dominican Republic; 58,000+ Vietnam; 36,500+ Korea (latest casualty US Army CWO David Hilemon in 1994); 416,800+ World War II; 116,708+ World War I; 4100+ the Philippine War; 2900+ Spanish-American War;

Some 675,000+ Americans who died in the wars preceding: (including 620,000+ KIA or died of wounds and disease in the Civil War; 13,200+ Mexican War; 700+ Texas War of Independence; 17,000+ War of 1812; 24,000+ American Revolution).

The numbers listed above do not include Americans killed in politically-motivated terrorist acts, to include the 18 American servicemen & civilians killed during my time in the Philippines 1988-1989.

They are all heroes. We must honor them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Profiles of Valor: 10th Special Forces Group

On 10 September 2007, a team of three Army Green Berets led by Capt. Matthew A. Chaney, along with nine Iraqi police, began an assault from two helicopters near Samarra, Iraq. The team was targeting Abu Obaeideah, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq in the area. The field designated for landing was covered with water, so the helicopters had to land closer to the insurgents' safe house, where they came under heavy enemy fire.

Practically blinded by dust from the second helicopter, the Iraqis were all but taken out of the fight from the start, so Chaney, Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Lindsay and Staff Sgt. Jarion Halbisengibbs led a charge against the building where the hostile fire was originating. Halbisengibbs threw in a fragmentation grenade, killing two, and the soldiers rushed in. Lindsay was hit in the throat by an AK-47 round, and Chaney took a hit to the pelvis. Then both were thrown from the doorway by a grenade blast. Lindsay, who couldn't raise his rifle, fired at the enemy with his pistol. Chaney couldn't feel his legs, but he kept firing, killing a jihadi.

Halbisengibbs "continued to clear the structure in complete darkness as his night vision goggles and personal radio were all destroyed by enemy gunfire at point blank range," the official narrative read. He was shot in the thumb and knocked down by a grenade blast but continued fighting, killing another terrorist. As he moved back to the courtyard to protect his wounded comrades, Halbisengibbs was shot through the abdomen but managed to kill another jihadi on his way to the ground. He then directed the Iraqi police to finish the fight. Obaeideah was killed, along with 12 other insurgents, six by Halbisengibbs.

All three Green Berets have recovered from their injuries. Chaney and Lindsay were each awarded the Silver Star; Halbisengibbs received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second highest combat medal.


Q: What is the mission of your blog?

A: The intent of Blog Stormbringer is to stimulate thought, to explore history and philosophy with a military approach, and to sometimes launch a bit of humor . . . I especially enjoy the history of Ancient Greece and Rome, and drawing parallels to our modern experience, hence the submissions Caligula’s Horse and View From Within the Phalanx.

I have visited Greece and Rome several times, and other locations throughout these ancient empires and what is known as the "Holy Land". In high school I studied Latin under a very impressionable Italian woman whom to this day I am convinced was a secret admirer of Benito Mussolini.

Q: Did you develop a charter for your blogs, is it just observations, or a journal?

A: In the early stages of the Global War on Terror I used to get involved in heavy email political discussions / arguments; over time this became tiresome and since the ’08 election it is simply redundant. After firing funny jokes and other material his way, Theo Spark over at Last of the Few suggested I get into blogging. There are still some technical hiccups I am working out, and Theo is providing guidance. I might lighten up on politics and concentrate more on history, philosophy and military themes. The crude humor stays; I hope we never get to the point where we cannot laugh, especially at ourselves.

Q: What is the origin of the name Stormbringer?

A: One of my favorite bands is Deep Purple, of course, and one of their great songs is Stormbringer - inspired by the science fiction / fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock. A good friend who is also a reader introduced me to these books a long, long time ago. Whenever I went to the desert I always named my GunVee “Stormbringer” - I’m not really into the swords & fantasy genre, I just like the sound of that name; STORMBRINGER. It's got a ring to it like some kind of heroic Viking saga. That’s my GunVee in the photo across the top of the blog.

Q: Who IS Sean Linnane - the man behind the pseudonym?

I am not a hero, but I have served with heroes . . .

For legitimate reasons involving my current employment, I use the pseudonym Sean Linnane - for the same rationale I studiously AVOID commenting on certain subjects. It is probable that I will reveal my identity at some future point; the situation is dependent on my work. There are some issues I will never discuss, of course; unlike some, I take the non-disclosure statements I signed seriously.

One thing about me is that I am not politically correct. Another thing about myself: I am a practitioner of a mystical desert sect which happens to be the most persecuted religion on Earth; that is, I am a Christian. But I don't discriminate: when I was in Jerusalem, in '86, I visited the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, up on the Temple Mount, on a Friday. There I was, wearing the robes and surrounded by Arabs at prayer, contemplating on how this place was the site of the original Temple, and also served as the first headquarters of the Knights Templar. On Saturday I attended services at the Great Synagogue on King George Street, and on Sunday I went to St. George's, the Anglican Cathedral (which looks like a Crusader fortress, complete with Crusader flag flying over it) in East Jerusalem, because I am an Anglican. Personally, I don't see any contradiction in this; like the Arabs say, "We are People of the Book".

Q: What am I the reader, to take away from reading it?

A: Philosophy is the study of concepts such as existence, justice, knowledge, truth, beauty, mind, and language. The original Greek meaning of the word is "love of wisdom". Individual character development is essential to our society, if we are to prevail over the destructive forces that are not only out there on the far-flung fringes of the Empire, as it were, but also within the gates. Stormbringer is about education, information, and thought-provoking opinion, based on the experiences of my life and the extraordinary people I've encountered along the way.

A theme I wish to explore is Leadership, which I define as Planning, Decision-Making and Risk Management. Immediately after I retired from active duty, I found there was a great thirst in the business world for the kind of management and organizational skills that are formally taught in military leadership schools. Encouraged by a friend who is also a sort of mentor, I wrote a series of articles on the subject and developed Military Leadership Applications for Small Business Owners & Mid-Level Managers, which I’ve already presented at seminars. I presented Murphy’s Laws of Combat last week as introductory background material for my readership, in the Leadership department. There will be more material like this forthcoming.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Let's see, did I leave any out?

TAOISM - "Shit Happens"
HARE KRISHNA - "Shit Happens Rama Rama Ding Ding"
HINDUISM - "This Shit Happened Before"
ISLAM - "If Shit Happens, Take A Hostage"
ZEN - "What Is The Sound of Shit Happening?"
BUDDHISM - "When Shit Happens, Is It Really Shit?"
CONFUCIANISM - "Confucious Say, Shit Happens."
7TH DAY ADVENTIST - "Shit Happens On Saturday"
PROTESTANTISM - "Shit Won't Happen If I Work Harder"
CATHOLICISM - "If Shit Happens I Deserve It"
JEHOVAH's WITNESS - "Knock Knock, Shit Happens"
UNITARIAN - "What Is This Shit?"
MORMON - "Shit Happens Again And Again And Again"
JUDAISM - "Why Does This Shit Always Happen To Me?"
RASTAFARIANISM - "Let's Smoke This Shit!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Look carefully at the B-17 (below) and note how heavily damaged it is - one engine dead, tail, horizontal stabilizer and nose all shot up. It was ready to fall out of the sky. (This is a painting done by an artist from the description of both pilots many years later.) Then realize there is a German ME-109 fighter flying next to it. A family friend - a World War II vet out of England - sent me this story. I think you'll be surprised . . .

. . . continued below

B-17 ‘Ye Old Pub’

Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.

After flying the B-17 over an enemy airfield, a German pilot named Franz Stigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere.

Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.

. . . continued below

BF-109 pilot Franz Stigler, B-17 pilot Charlie Brown

Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to, and slightly over, the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe. When Franz landed he told the CO that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.

More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions.

They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day.

When asked why he didn’t shoot them down, Stigler later said, “I didn’t have the heart to finish those brave men. I flew beside them for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do that. I could not have shot at them. It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute.”

Both men died in 2008.

. . . If anybody has any more detailed information about these aircraft, the date of their mission, target, etcetera, please add comments below.


This guy really DOES have sh*t for brains . . .


For once I'm speechless . . .

Monday, May 18, 2009


The following has been attributed to State Representative Mitchell Kaye from GA. This guy should run for President one day . . . in the meantime STORMBRINGER probably just made some kind of DHS watchlist . . .

Find the original Preamble and Bill of Rights here:

"We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetters. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights."


You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.


You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.


You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.


You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes .


You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.


You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.


You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.


You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful. (AMEN!)


You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.


This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from! (Lastly....)


You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


. . . is the enemy’s main attack (Murphy’s Law of Combat; Rule #14). Murphy's Laws apply equally across the tactical to the strategic level; they work all the way from the lowly grunt in the foxhole right up to generals and Field Marshals leading armies across the plains of Europe and Asia.

While the Nancy Pelosi waterboarding soap opera develops and Obama’s socialization of the economy continues to dominate headlines, our strategic opponents are moving to outflank us on two significant fronts: Russian moves in the Arctic, and Chinese advances in cyberwarfare.

In August of 2007 a Russian a deep sea submersible descended 14,000 feet and dropped a titanium Russian tricolor onto the seabed, formally laying claim to the North Pole:

The prize sought is the Arctic’s vast energy resources; according to some estimates up to a quarter of the world’s untapped energy reserves. Because of the Global Warming phenomena, these resources may now be more accessible than ever before.

The last time a modern nation pulled an eighteenth century-style land grab, the result was the 1982 Falklands War. Moving with creeping incrementalism, in May of 2008 Russia sent a fleet of nuclear-powered ice breakers into the Arctic.

Canada has accused Russia of annexing the Arctic for oil reserves. This past September President Medvedev called on his security chiefs to establish a formal border in the region, claiming a vast section of the Arctic has “strategic importance” for Russia.

Tensions in the Arctic are heightening; hardly a week passes without Russian aircraft flying over the North Pole, simulating strikes on "enemy" bases and shipping. Russia’s demonstrated ability to enforce a physical presence in the hostile Arctic environment has unnerved its international rivals. Canada's Defense Ministry intends to build a special fleet of patrol boats - eight armed ships capable of cutting through the ice - to guard the North West Passage. Canada also plans to open an army training center for cold-weather fighting at Resolute Bay and a deep-water port on the northern tip of Baffin Island, both of which are close to the disputed region.


. . . most Americans are not aware that we are ALREADY engaged in a war with the world’s most populated nation:

As was vividly demonstrated to the world on September 11th, 2001, modern wars do not require the seizing of territory or taking of cities. The early stages of a “cyberwar” are developing between China and the United States. In March, the security firm Solutionary detected 128 cyber intrusions per minute. More recently, China began installing a more secure operating software, known as Kylin, on its tens of millions government and military computer systems.

Kevin G. Coleman, a private security specialist who advises the government on cybersecurity, states that the deployment of Kylin is significant because the system has "hardened" key Chinese servers, making its networks impenetrable to U.S. military and intelligence agencies, thus limiting U.S. offensive cyberwarfare capabilities

Of course, Murphy's Law of Combat Rule # 14 is followed by Rule # 15:
15. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: A) when they are ready, and B) when you are not.

The ball’s in your court, Mr. Obama; you’re the President of the United States – what are you gonna do now, Mister President?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Murphy’s Law of Combat Operations

This post represents the beginning of a series on Leadership. I was first exposed to this brilliant piece of wisdom as a private, when I signed into A Company, 1st/325 Airborne Infantry Regiment (known throughout the 82nd Airborne as the infamous 'AlphaTraz'). There was a copy of these Murphy's Laws over the CQ Desk, decorated with a skull in a maroon beret over crossed M16's. Over the years I've seen a few different versions of this, but the core Laws remain the same - SEAN LINNANE

1. Friendly fire – isn’t.
2. Recoilless rifles – aren’t.
3. Suppressive fire – won’t.
4. You are not Superman.
5. A sucking chest wound is Nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
6. If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.
7. Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo.
8. If at first you don’t succeed, call in an airstrike.
9. If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.
10. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
11. Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.
12. Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
13. If your attack is going really well, you’re walking into an ambush.
14. The enemy diversion you’re ignoring is their main attack.
15. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: A) when they’re ready, B) when you’re not ready.
16. No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.
17. There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
18. Five-second fuzes always burn three seconds.
19. There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.
20. A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
21. The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.
22. The easy way is always mined.
23. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.
24. Don’t look conspicuous; it draws fire. For this reason, it is not at all uncommon for aircraft carriers to be known as bomb magnets.
25. Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.
26. If you are short of everything but enemy, you are in the combat zone.
27. When you have secured the area, make sure to inform the enemy.
28. Incoming fire has the right of way.
29. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
30. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
31. If the enemy is within range, so are you.
32. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
33. Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren’t.
34. Things that must work together, can’t be carried to the field that way.
35. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.
36. Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both.
37. Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.
38. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won’t be able to get out.
39. Tracers work both ways.
40. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.
41. When both sides are convinced they’re about to lose, they’re both right.
42. Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of dangerous amateurs.
43. Military Intelligence is a contradiction of terms.
44. Fortify your front; you’ll get your rear shot up.
45. Weather ain’t neutral.
46. If you can’t remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.
47. Air defense motto: shoot ‘em down; sort ‘em out on the ground.
48. Flies high, it dies; low and slow, it’ll go.
49. The Cavalry doesn’t always come to the rescue.
50. Napalm is an area support weapon.
51. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
52. B-52s are the ultimate close support weapon.
53. Sniper’s motto: reach out and touch someone.
54. Killing for peace is like screwing for virginity.
55. The one item you need is always in short supply.
56. Interchangeable parts aren’t.
57. It’s not the one with your name on it; it’s the one addressed “to whom it may concern” you’ve got to think about.
58. When in doubt, empty your magazine.
59. The side with the simplest uniforms wins.
60. Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.
61. If the Platoon Sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
62. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
63. The most dangerous thing in the world is a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass.
64. Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.
65. Everything always works in your HQ, everything always fails in the Colonel’s HQ.
66. The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.
67. One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.
68. A clean (and dry) set of BDU’s is a magnet for mud and rain.
69. The worse the weather, the more you are required to be out in it.
70. Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss. Whenever you are low on ammo, you can’t hit the broad side of a barn.
71. The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.
72. The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon’s operator.
73. Field experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
74. No matter which way you have to march, it’s always uphill.
75. If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.
76. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism (in boot camp).
77. Airstrikes always overshoot the target, artillery always falls short.
78. When reviewing the radio frequencies that you just wrote down, the most important ones are always illegible.
79. The tough part about being in charge is that the troops don’t know what they want, but they know for certain what they don’t want.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


On Lt Gen McChrystal replacing Gen McKiernan - The situation is comparable to Lincoln’s search of a replacement for McClellan; there are a lot of officers out there who know their stuff on paper but putting it together under field conditions - even in training - is another thing altogether. Leaders who are able to field and lead forces against an enemy willing to stand and fight calls for very unique leadership capabilities. This is something I know about. LTG McChrystal proved himself in this department: as commander of JSOC he got al-Zarqawi's scalp and nailed it to his lodge pole.

During spring of 2007 McChrystal led JSOC, attached forces and other government agencies in a series of highly effective covert operations in Iraq that coincided with the troop surge. McChrystal's forces employed a concept dubbed "collaborative warfare": a range of tools from signal intercepts to human intelligence to find, target, and kill insurgents. It has been suggested that it was this effort, not the well-publicized surge, that was responsible for the drop in violence in 2007–2008

McChrystal got egg on his face in the aftermath of the Pat Tillman Silver Star fiasco. Former professional football player Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004; McChrystal approved a posthumous Silver Star for Tillman. The day after sending the paperwork forward, however, McChrystal apparently sent an urgent memo warning senior government officials not to quote the phrase "in the line of devastating enemy fire," in the citation because it "might cause public embarrassment" if Tillman had in fact been killed by friendly fire, as McChrystal suspected.

McChrystal was recommended for discipline by a subsequent Pentagon investigation but the Army declined to take action against him. I personally have a hard time forgiving him for this. A friend of mine, Brigadier General Gary Jones, took the hit on this when Army Special Operations Command made him one of the scapegoats, after the fact. Jones was retired but they let McChrystal walk. To me the whole thing smacks of officer CYA after-the-fact; why did McChrystal sign the citation if he suspected friendly fire?

As long as I stood in formation and wore jump wings on my chest – 25 years – the Army always told me the worst thing you can do is screw up a military funeral. You can screw up anything else and we’ll cover for you, but a veteran's funeral must be pulled off without a hitch. McChrystal was a key player in the Tillman tragedy of errors - he must be pretty good; they kept him around and now they put him in charge of the main effort of the GWOT, or whatever it is we’re calling it these days.

To me, McChrystal is either a Ulysses S. Grant or he's a George Armstrong Custer. Grant climbed all the way to the top via a list of quantifiable achievements; Custer was a politician and a ticket puncher and we all know how that ended. Let's hope LTG McChrystal is the former not the latter.



“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T. E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

After the events of the past two weeks it is glaringly obvious that Barack Hussein Obama – or whoever is controlling him – is such a man. The Democrats have realized their Liberal dream of a Socialist America.

Much commentary and analysis has been put forth by the worthy and well-qualified. As details of the Stimulus bill leaked, like many right-thinking Americans I became overwhelmed by the disastrous implications. The human spirit can only take so much despair and anxiety; eventually feelings of helplessness set in, and with that a sense of depression. It is so terrible, what they have done to our country . . .

It finally occurred to me that as an individual there is little or nothing that I can do. To paraphrase the great Humphrey Bogart, as the American soldier of fortune Rick in 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 . . . here's looking at you kid . . .”

To me, the world has gone insane; my government has been taken over by a criminal gang of asylum escapees – like the Fascists of Italy and Germany, Russia under the Soviets, or the Cultural Revolution of Maoist China - and things will never, ever be the same again.

Of course this is still America; we are not about to become the Third Reich with overt symbology, jackbooted brownshirt thugs and sicko philosophies. There will not be destructive Communist collectivization campaigns, May Day parades of rolling tank formations, heroic anthems and red stars all over the place.

Instead, the substance and form of American Socialism will have a distinctly American flavor. Government dictated salary constraints for CEOs are a sinister sign of things to come. There will be an insidious, creeping incrementalism of political correctness, endless laws, rules and regulations, constricting tax codes, loyalty oaths, etc.

The unholy religion of secular humanism will be increasingly force-fed to our children via a daily barrage of mind-numbing falsehoods by the liberals who infest every nook and cranny of academia. The destructive, perverted sexual ethos of the left will be infused in the name of “diversity”, “progressiveness”, and public hygiene. As dwindling medical resources become rationed (as a direct result of government-provided universal healthcare) Planned Parenthood resources and abortion clinics will be openly advertised on grade school bulletin boards; such services will be actively encouraged by school nurses and science teachers.

The Second Amendment will be trampled upon, of course; the rights of the law-abiding citizenry to own and carry firearms will soon be infringed to the point where the entire country comes to resemble the liberal bastions of Massachusetts, New York, or California.

To provide the trillions of (non-existent) dollars now guaranteed by law, the Treasury must run its printing presses twenty-four/seven. The direct result will be hyper-inflation. Expect to see gasoline at $12 a gallon. Barack Obama and his cohorts in Congress have effectively taken the helm of the greatest free market economy in the world – an economy three times larger than all the rest of the world put together – and like the captain of the Titanic they are sailing us full steam ahead into the ice field.

The new balance of power in our country is what it is - billions of stimulus pork dollars to ACORN guarantee this, if nothing else. To me, trying to engage on a political level is like standing at the edge of the sea and commanding the tides to stop from rolling in. Unless a miracle occurs and another Reagan emerges, we are well and truly done for a long, long time to come.

In order to preserve my sanity in this new reality, I have chosen not to become a victim. I will not to stand by and watch as the entire train wreck occurs; it will happen with or without me. Instead, I will ignore the idiots in Washington and the disastrous direction their politics take us. I will become like Schindler: while the world around me goes insane I will make business, do what I can to carve out a niche of sanity and perhaps save a handful of individuals along the way.

For I too dream with my eyes open. Fortunes are to be made during times like this and I intend to make mine. While we may or may not experience the conditions of the Great Depression, our country is right on track to European-style Socialism. What we WILL experience is a nightmare economy that will make the 1970s look like days of wine and roses. That having been said, however, I still believe that America is the best place for free enterprise in the whole world.

I say this because we are not in the 1930s. The wealth and resources around us simply did not exist eighty years ago. Even in the 1930s, America went to the poorhouse in an automobile. In the America of the Information Age it is possible for an unemployed individual to start up a corporation via the Internet, and to successfully engage in commerce with what’s left of his or her depleted life savings.

Consider for a moment how incredibly difficult it is to achieve such a thing in any other developed nation. In any other land, the culture of upward progression does not exist. Career paths into the trades or professions are determined by middle school; the average worker does the same job for decades until retirement. Productivity is hobbled because there is little or no incentive to excel. Old World class systems and entrenched bureaucracies impede entrepreneurship; land and resources are severely limited.

Foreign concerns still look to America to expand or start new businesses because we have nearly unlimited space and resources. American workers are the most productive in the world; we possess a mindset that embraces excellence and achievement. Our “Can-Do” spirit, combined with our abundant natural resources, will eventually absorb the destructive effects of the Democrat’s Liberal policies.

This doesn’t mean that climbing out of this mess will be an easy stroll through the park, not by a long shot. What it means is that we still have Hope – we are far from the point of utter despair. We always have Hope. Surrender is not an American word.