2016 Documentary, Citizen Soldier, Freshly Relevant with News

 

45th Infantry Patch ThunderbirdCitizen Soldier is an excellent documentary, from soldiers’ perspectives, made freshly relevant by the infuriating revelations that top Department of Defense officials were blatantly violating their oaths of office and actively lying to the civilian elected leadership, President Trump and the Congress, about troops these excrement heaps in suits were keeping in harm’s way. President Eisenhower was entirely right to warn of the deeply corrupting congruence of profit and career in the name of our national security. To understand on whom the Department of Defense are really imposing costs, watch Citizen Soldier.

I finally viewed Citizen Soldier this past Friday with a group of friends who are not veterans. We were all a little skeptical when we popped the DVD in the player, worried that it would be amateurish and not the subject matter that lends itself to being so bad it is good. Everyone gave the movie a thumbs up. We had briefly talked about the forsworn, lawless leadership at the Department of Defense. This movie captured deployment at the height of the Obama Afghanistan surge. The comments after the lights came up were not entirely printable about the top Pentagon leadership then and now.

Citizen Soldier feels like a multiplayer first-person shooter, always from the perspective of one of the soldiers. The view over gun barrels will look very familiar if you ever played or saw a bit of a game being played on a computer screen. This is because the footage comes from small, light video cameras, like GoPro, mounted on the soldiers’ helmets. So, this was an intentional project, from before their deployment, to tell the story of a company company of “citizen soldiers,” the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, known since World War II as the “Thunderbirds.” A thunderbird is on their diamond-shaped unit patch.

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Veterans Day, celebrated each year on November 11th, was first celebrated on this same date in 1919, under the name of Armistice Day. The holiday was named in remembrance of the temporary ceasefire that brought about the unofficial end to World War I when, the year before, the Allied forces entered into an armistice with […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they welcome victories for Republican candidates in the North Carolina and Alaska Senate races. They also applaud former Secretary of State Jim Baker for blasting pollsters for consistently being wrong and almost always in the same partisan direction. And they welcome a hand recount and audit of the presidential race in Georgia.

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My dad was a WWII submarine combat veteran. The Submarine Service had an impressive history during WWII. The United States Navy Submarine Service lost 52 submarines, 374 officers and 3,131 enlisted men during World War II. These personnel losses represented 16% of the officer and 13% of the enlisted operational personnel. This loss rate was the […]

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The Military-Industrial Superhero Complex

 

I am the wife and mom and sister and daughter of military veterans, with a husband who is still active duty. This means I often feel as if I have no political party that stands for me.

Why? Because both sides have been heavily involved in military adventurism for multiple reasons. Start with the Democrats. It was the D party that sent us into World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam. These forays varied in “goodness” of their fights, but the party that often claims to be pro-peace very clearly is not.

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Planes have been roaring over my home all morning (we live not too far from the Avon Park Air Force Range) and there have been a highly unusual number of mid-morning to late night training alerts posted on their Facebook page since mid-July. Any clue what may be happening to cause such an increase in […]

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There are a number of key questions transitioning military professionals ask when we plan our off-ramps to civilian life. The one that gets the most attention on career platforms like LinkedIn is, “What shall I do?” In the real world, however, my military colleagues just as often begin with, “Where do you want to live?” […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy the fun ad for GOP congressional hopefuls in Texas, an ad starring Rep. Dan Crenshaw and includes skydiving and multiple movie references. They also fume over the latest revelations proving the FBI knew the Steele dossier was based on a likely Russian spy and still sought FISA warrants without ever revealing the source to the FISA court. And they get a kick out Democrats suddenly wanting Supreme Court term limits since we may soon have an actual conservative majority.

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“It is interesting to hear certain kinds of people insist that the citizen cannot fight the government. This would have been news to the men of Lexington and Concord, as well as the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The citizen most certainly can fight the government, and usually wins when he tries. Organized national armies are useful […]

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Mission: Transition

 

Soon to be unmasked for the civilian world to see …

Three and a half decades after I first took the oath that has defined my professional life thus far, I am facing a very different kind of mission: military retirement and transition to civilian status. It is hardly my first big project, and a great many fine colleagues have gone before me and testify that, with careful planning and preparation, it may be done quite successfully. Yet the prospect seems strangely daunting. Why?

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer the August jobs report showing nearly 1.4 million new jobs and the unemployment rate dropping well below expectations. They also wade into the anonymous allegations in “The Atlantic” that President Trump uttered disparaging comments about our war dead and wounded veterans. And as Joe Biden starts making public appearances, the cringe-inducing moments come with him. Why does Biden never pay a price for comments that might sink other political figures?

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome NPR’s admission that it failed listeners in its favorable interview of a radical author who thinks property ownership is a form of white supremacy, although they wonder why such a person was ever invited onto NPR in the first place. They also roll their eyes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warns President Trump he would need an army to return safely to New York City. And they try to figure out why Nancy Pelosi decided to launch a conspiracy theory about her flouting of the San Francisco COVID restrictions instead of just letting the story die.

Join Jim and Greg for your Friday martinis! After another week of violence in the streets, Democrats are finally starting to pay attention to the issue after failing to mention it at all at their convention.  Would stronger statements from Biden be credible and would they get the chaos to stop? They also discuss President Trump’s convention speech and why the length and delivery made it less effective. And while certainly not gamers, they get a kick out of the chance to conduct a clandestine operation on orders from President Reagan – which is part of the latest “Call of Duty.”

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I recently had an article published in the US Naval Institute blog.  There are many problems with swollen government bureaucracies, but few present the existential threat to our national defense enterprise as does the Department of Defense’s talent management problem. In short: the American people are the most important asset our nation possesses and the […]

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Exchanging schnitzel (or maybe Swabian Maultaschen) for waffles and tiramasu? For those who want the twelve-second take, the Pentagon’s concept stated today basically says this: Belgium & Italy are big winners. Poland is a winner. Germany–specifically Stuttgart–is the loser. Of course this will take years and involve much diplomacy and political battle. I recommend listening […]

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