June 01, 2004
Idiocy—It's not just for leftists anymore

Earlier this week, we had a prime example of idiocy from the left end of the political spectrum, in the form of Reggie Rivers. (Go here for a nice summation of Mr. Rivers; this is also a nice summation. Both are chock full of links to irritated milbloggers who had something to say.)

Now, it's another week, and another idiot speaks. However, this time it's from conservative Robert Novak, whose continuing opposition to the Iraq war appears to be seeping into his coverage of events elsewhere. This column slurs the 25th Infantry Division, currently in Afghanistan. Says Novak:

Those arms are not what they seem. The basic U.S. strength in Afghanistan is 17,000 troops of ''straight-legged'' infantry -- conventional forces ill-prepared to handle irregulars. The new unit assigned to Afghanistan is the 25th Infantry Division, which has been stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and has not seen combat since the Vietnam War.

That's offensive to anyone in the military, but especially to Sgt. Hook. You see, the sargeant is in Afghanistan, since he is attached to the 25th Infantry Division. He takes strong exception to what Novak has to say about his unit, and also with Novak's characterizations of the people leading it. Go read what Hook has to say about all this, and remember that idiots come in all political guises.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers. Also, for some reason, comments were off for this post. I have rectified that error.

posted on June 01, 2004 01:32 PM


Robert Novak is another useful idiot. Perhaps I meant useless idiot. He can't seem to get it through his head that we are fighting a war for our way of life.

posted by EddieP on June 3, 2004 12:05 PM

We're fighting a war for our way of life? Why, then, are we fighting it so incompetently? Why have we let most of Afghanistan slip back into Taliban control? Why did we send so few troops to Iraq that we've had to surrender Fallujah back to the Baathists? Why can't we stop nuclear materials from being smuggling out of Iraq? Why aren't we spending the money to guard U.S. ports, nuclear facilities, trains, etc? Why we are cutting taxes on the wealthy by trillions of dollars while not fully funding border control, hospital emergency responses, etc?

A war for our way of life, huh? If you really believe that, you'll vote that clown Bush out of office in November.

posted by Michael on June 3, 2004 02:03 PM

Our freedom, security and way of life have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with Iraq.

Let's start from the beginning for the intellectually impaired:

9/11 = Osama bin Laden & al Qaeda

Iraq = Saddam Huessin

No connection, never was before Bush's war. And for christ sakes, stop with the "Iraq is the center of the war on terrorism"

posted by Richard Allen on June 3, 2004 02:21 PM

Don't you all let me interrupt if you want to start yet another thread rehashing the usual debating points about the war on terror and whether Iraq is properly a part of it. However...

Granted that Novak's line about how the 25th Infantry "hasn't seen combat since Vietnam" was ill chosen, for several reasons. Is he on to something with his criticism of the unit's readiness for operations in Afghanistan?

Sgt. Hook thinks not, pointing to the training he and his comrades have received. OK, what about equipment? Civil affairs support (e.g. translators)? Leadership?

I'm asking because the fact of the matter is that the Army is really getting stretched pretty thin with protracted twin deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and smaller deployments in the Balkans and Haiti, in addition to normal peacetime operations. As one commentator (I think it was Cordesman) wrote recently, the Army is a force designed to run sprints and now required to run a marathon. Most of the units deployed into combat zones thus far seem to have been pretty well prepared, for combat anyway. There have been a few, though, that haven't been well prepared or led. I'm not prepared at this time to just assume readiness, and like other readers would welcome some comments from anyone who actually knows something about this.

posted by Zathras on June 3, 2004 02:52 PM

Having served in two of these four divisions I will mention, I feel like I should set the record straight for anyone who may not know one military unit to the next. But from now on if you hear one of these units mentioned on television or in print, hopefully you will remember what some random internet poster had to say regarding them.

In no particular order:

82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell Kentucky

25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York

These four Army Divisions in this humble poster's opinion, are the largest rapidly deployable combat ready units in the modern world. They train year round and cycle through different levels of readyness in case the need for them to mobilize presents itself. For some columnist to suggest that one of these units isn't ready simply because they haven't been called upon recently is pure insanity. There aren't more highly trained, highly motivated troops anywhere on earth.


posted by Michael Breslin on June 3, 2004 09:52 PM

A previous comment has this piece of wisdom:

9/11 = Osama bin Laden & al Qaeda

Iraq = Saddam Huessin

This is a fairly feeble assesment especially by one who claims to be teaching the "intelectually impaired".

9/11 was not about one person.
It was about a region being out of control. They have failed to control themselves and thus it has become nessesary for others to go into the region and control them.

The war against terror is not about capturing one person. It about pacifying a whole region that forments the idea that it is acceptable to crash pasenger planes into offices.

I was born in Nairobi where those F*&^* bombed the U.S embassy killing almost 300 people.

In my view, the whole F*&&^ region needs to be brought to heel like the dogs that they are.

Any region on Earth that fosters murderous activity on a global scale needs to get a bone-crushing smackdown.

posted by bleedingbrain on June 4, 2004 10:00 AM



Because everthing on a battle field cannot be done in a neat and orderly military fashion.

Because war is an ongoing series of disasters engineered by one side or the other to cause trouble for the opposition.

Because there has never been a war in which a given side did every thing right. Winning is not about making no mistakes. It is about correcting errors before they destroy a unit.

The #1 test of your pessimism ought to be: what happened to the Sadr Army? Why?

#2 Do the people of Fallujah wish to be ruled by the insurgent militia or the new Iraqi government? Why?

#3 Is misbehavior of American troops being investigated and punished? How about the insurgents? Do they punish the misbehavior of their troops?

posted by M. Simon on June 4, 2004 02:41 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?

Back to Horologium