Stars and Stripes better watch itself-UPDATED

Bouhammer UPDATE- Within minutes of emailing Mr. Schogol I received an email from his editor clarifying that it was not Mr. Schogol who made that statement, but rather Mr. John Nagl (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/authors/john-nagl/bio/), who is the President of the think-tank, Center for a New American Security. I am not sure if it were a slip of the tongue or what, but the reality is that Washington Post, who originally put up the article from which the Stars and Stripes referenced to write their article has pulled the exact passage about the National Guard from the Washington Post website. The original WaPo article was written by a Ms. Karen DeYoung. So I am not sure if Mr. Nagl truly said it that way, or if the reporter took it out of context, or what happened. What is clear is that after it was printed on the Washington Post site, they also went back and edited it. The Editor from Stars and Stripes has apologized greatly for not catching that quote and allowing that line to also slip through on their website.

I must say that I personally impressed with their (Stars and Stripes) diligence in this matter and quickly trying to resolve it. I am leaving this post up for all to read, however I don’t think anyone needs to or should give the Stars and Stripes any grief. They realized their mistake my reprinting this quote and quickly have done their best to resolve it.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that a while back Scott Kesterson was invited to do a screening of At War at Ft.Bragg. More specifically he was invited to do it for the 4th BDE, 82nd ABN Division. I could not say why as it was not official yet, but this is the reason why. The Brigade is being sent over to become a major part of Task Force Phoenix, which is the part of the Afghanistan mission who is charged with training and mentoring of the Afghan Army and Police.

The request for these soldiers has been outstanding since 2007 when they gave us (I was part of TF PHX at the time) the task of training the police. It has been a void since then and the dual-purpose mission of training the army and police with the originally sized force for just training the army has hamstrung the Task Force ever since.

Well now the Army is sending the mighty 82nd over there. Personally I think that is a mistake because they are not suited for this type of mission. However I will hold that rationale for another posting. For now, the purpose of this blog is to call the Military Newspaper, Stars and Stripes to task.

The following article was emailed to me knowing that I would want to blog about it. I have pasted the article that was sent to me in its entirety down below. The reason I have done this is because I want to highlight the fact that they for one; seriously disrespect the National Guard and most specifically every National Guard member that has served as part of Task Force Phoenix. Second is to note that they apparently have realized what this guy Jeffrey Schogol wrote. If you click the link below you will see that the story has been changed significantly on the website.

The line I have the biggest issue with is the following “Until now, the military has relied heavily on inexperienced National Guardsmen to fill out the teams”. Hey Jeffrey you didn’t quote anyone else saying that so I can only assume that you came up with that witty piece of journalism. Well I invite Mr. Schogol to take his double-latte sipping ass out of his comfortable Washington DC chair, pack up and head over to Afghanistan like Scott Kesterson, Andrew Lubin, Micheal Yon or PJ Tobia have done and still are doing and embed with some of those “Inexperienced National Guardsman” to get a firsthand look at what inexperience looks like for himself. I am shocked that a writer for such a military friendly and essentially backed newspaper would make such a statement. Don’t get me wrong, there were idiots over there from both Active Duty and National Guard that did not have the experience to be there and should have never been mobilized, but they are a very small number compared to the thousands of damn good troops (regardless of Active Duty or National Guard) that spend a year of their life doing good things, leading the fight and directly contributing to the overall good of Afghanistan and security of our country.

I am writing Mr. Schogol an email as soon as I am done with this posting and I invite you to do the same if you feel his level of disrespect needs called out.

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=61638

4,000 4th BCT, 82nd Airborne paratroopers going to Afghanistan to train security forces By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes Mideast edition, Saturday, March 28, 2009 WASHINGTON

President Barack Obama announced Friday that 4,000 paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division will head to Afghanistan this fall to train
Afghan security forces. “For the first time, this will fully resource our effort to train and support the Afghan Army and Police,” Obama said.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, which is currently slated to deploy to Iraq, will likely be sent to Afghanistan instead to
fulfill the training mission, Defense officials said Friday. The deployment will fill the request by Gen. David McKiernan, the top
U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, for a brigade of trainers, a White House official said Thursday. In a sign of the new importance the administration is placing on the mission, the 82nd Airborne troops will be broken into 10-to-14-member advisory teams, a Pentagon official said. Until now, the military has relied heavily on inexperienced National Guardsmen to fill out the teams, though Marines have also filled that role.

“The change couldn’t be more dramatic,” said retired Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, president of the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan defense think tank. “The 82nd Airborne Division is the nation’s shock force.” The need for trainers goes back to March 2007, when commanders first requested 3,400 trainers, mostly for the Afghan police. Initially, Afghan police were trained by private contractors, but the efforts floundered and the Afghan police lagged far behind the Afghan army. The need for trainers went largely unfilled throughout 2007 because most of the U.S. military’s trainers were in Iraq. Since early 2008, a growing number of Marines have been used to train
Afghan security forces. The senior administration official said Thursday that the training mission in Afghanistan had been under-resourced for the past few years, and that the president wants to fix that. Ultimately, the goal is to train an Afghan Army of 134,000 and a police
force of 82,000, he said.

McKiernan had requested a total of four additional brigade combat teams’ worth of troops and an additional combat aviation brigade. So far, the Defense Department has announced the following units will be sent to Afghanistan to meet his request: The 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain
Division; 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade; 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division; and 82nd Airborne Division’s Combat
Aviation Brigade. The increase in forces to Afghanistan comes as the U.S. military moves to draw down in Iraq.

Even before Obama took office, there were clear indications that the U.S. military was shifting its focus from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Most notably, former President Bush signed an agreement with Iraq that calls for all U.S. troops to leave that country by the end of 2011,
regardless of conditions on the ground.

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One Response to Stars and Stripes better watch itself-UPDATED

  1. The DudeNo Gravatar says:

    Bouhammer, I almost threw up as a result of getting so fired up over this article. I intend to email this clown. Yes I called him a clown. I guess its just my inexperience and I’m sorry I’m not sorry. Talk to you soon my fellow inexperienced National Guardsman.