Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is Torture Right?

Torture is in the news quite a bit lately.

Here is one article written by a Retired Marine ( and another from the NY Times (

Can "water-boarding," or other extreme/ traditional methods of interrogation be effective if used correctly or do they simply elicit stop-the-pain responses?

The real issues here, in my mind anyway, are: 1. Defining torture, 2. Do the ends give you what you are looking for and 3. Does the end justify the means?

At what point does physically or verbally communicating with someone become torture? I can recall numerous professors who "tortured" their students with hour after hour of grueling powerpoint slides. I can also recall Drill Instructors "training" me with hundreds of push-ups and 8-count body-builders. Where is the line?

In both of those cases, I think the end justified the means. I learned the lessons they were trying to teach me and am a better man because of it... but their lessons were intended for a very, very small audience. They were influencing me, a classroom, or a platoon of Marines, at most.

Information gleaned from a solid interrogation is often used to protect thousands if not millions of American lives. That said, effective intelligence impossible to quantify. You never know how many lives were saved because a "9/11" was averted by good intelligence. We don't know what our intelligence has prevented or how much good was done because of "water-boarding" or other traditional methods.

We simply cannot see the ends the means have brought about and therefore cannot tell whether the ends justify the means.

All that said, I am against inhumane treatment of all sorts against all non-combatants; however, I am also all for doing what needs to be done to protect non-combatants as well.

Any thoughts?

Semper Fi,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Anti-Pirate Duty

Colorado Representative, Republican Mike Coffman is pushing to put military members on board all U.S. flagged ships passing through pirate waters.

Marine Commandant, General Conway wants Marines to have more of a maritime presence, like we did at our inception.

It is my opinion that the primary roles of the Marine Corps is to defend ships, conduct amphibious, expeditionary operations, and operate in small teams to defend installations/persons vital to U.S. interests.

If we adhered to these missions, Marines would:
- do just what Representative Coffman is suggesting and man all U.S. ships,
- remain at U.S. Embassies and diplomatic facilities both domestic and abroad,
- pull completely out of Iraq, Afghanistan and all other protracted struggles more suitable for U.S. Army involvement and,
- expand the number of Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU's) that are currently deploying.

We are good at protracted ground combat and know how to engage a land adversary in conventional combat, but that doesn't mean it is or should be our mission. Hammers are good at pounding in screws, but that shouldn't necessarily be their mission.

What do you think?

Semper Fi,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter '09

Well, I sure hope you all had a happy Easter this year. We sure did. If you have seen Colleen's page, you know that the boys and I painted our heads like Easter eggs this year.

We spent lots of time together as a family and doing things together we enjoy. We, I mean the Easter Bunny, hid the kids Easter gifts and they had a blast doing the hunting.

Church was our next activity. Between ushering and work in childrens church, we spent that part of our day serving, which we find more rewarding than just sitting in the service. We get the CD, so we still get fed, but making sure others get fed is just so rewarding.

We went out to eat, so Colleen could have a break from dishes and cooking chores.

Then we came home and just relaxed around the house. Colleen and I napped to the background noise of the TV and the kids cuddled with us in between playing with their Easter stuff.

Before our dinner of popcorn and a movie, we colored 48 hard-boiled eggs... and yes, Colleen cooked them so I would not make a mess.

The Marine Corps saw fit to let me sleep in today and is only requiring me to come in at 1130... how nice of them. Actually, they would be much nicer to me if I were back in my unit. Most units on base don't have to go back to work until Tuesday at 6pm. Since I am at the Academy, I have less time... gotta get those academic hours in.

The kids are on Spring Break and enjoying time with mom.

Have a great week!!!

Semper Fi,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CFT at the Advanced Course

So I got to do my first Combat Fitness Test the other day and what a butt kicker that thing is. It may not look like much, but good-googly-moogly (ya had to be in class for that one...).

It is a lot of running, crawling, buddy-dragging/carrying, ammo-can lifting/carrying and heavy breathing!

This is me doing my best not to drop GySgt Bowling on his head. It is supposed to simulate me carrying his carcass off the battlefield, but my goodnes, "that mug" is heavy... (another one you had to be there for...).

This is the ammo-can lift... ya lift the 35 pound ammo-can as many times as you can, from your shoulders to a full elbow extension for 2 minutes. Somehow that thing gets heavier, the more you lift it.

Good times, and I am so glad they are history!

Semper Fi,

The Advanced Course is Slowing down

Man, the Advanced Course is one crazy time. It is nothing like I had expected and nothing like they said it was going to be. In some ways I am disappointed and in other ways, I have really benefited from the experience.

The PT was more intense than I am used to, so it really helped to get me in better shape. From my perspective, I still have a long way to go, but this certainly helped.

Academically, it has been a disappointment. I haven't really learned much. The tests are more key word recognition, than subject matter mastery, so they are very elemental.

Relationship wise, there is little time to build social networks and since the focus is on academics, we are really discouraged from sharing information.

The time management on the part of the scheduling is lacking, so we are there way too early and spend more time waiting for things to happen than we do engaged in activities.

They are treating us like Gunny's, so that is a plus, but for the most part, this check in the box has been just that. I must say, it was worth coming back from Iraq 2 months early, that is for sure!

Maybe next time....

Semper Fi,