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U.S. Army Changed by Iraq, but for Better or Worse?
The Washington Post ^ | July 6, 2004 | Thomas E. Ricks

Posted on 07/06/2004 8:55:05 PM PDT by neverdem

Some Military Experts See Value in Lessons Learned; Others Cite Toll on Personnel, Equipment

Not long ago, a report surfaced on a Friday that a roadside bomb in Iraq had been hidden inside a dead dog. By the following Monday, the general who oversees the Army's training centers recalled, Army trainers back in the United States had copied the trick.

"It's a truly dynamic curriculum" at the training centers, changing as new tactics emerge in the fighting in Iraq, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace said in an interview.

Fifteen months of combat in Iraq are leaving an imprint on the U.S. military. All the services are changing, but the Army especially is undergoing radical change as a result of the unexpectedly difficult occupation, in which it has suffered nearly 6,000 casualties.

The strain on Army troops, families and equipment has been extensively reported and is likely to intensify as some units head back to Iraq for a second tour. "The war in Iraq is wrecking the Army and the Marine Corps," retired Navy Capt. John Byron asserts in the July issue of Proceedings, the professional journal of Navy officers. "Troop rotations are in shambles and the all-volunteer force is starting to crumble as we extend combat tours and struggle to get enough boots on the ground."

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Georgia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: army; iraq; marinecorps

1 posted on 07/06/2004 8:55:06 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Too soon to tell. The changes are still ongoing.


2 posted on 07/06/2004 8:59:41 PM PDT by Consort
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Squantos; ...

From time to time, I’ll post or ping on noteworthy articles about politics and foreign and military affairs. Let me know if you want off my list.

Try BugMeNot.com to avoid reegistering at WaPo.


3 posted on 07/06/2004 9:01:59 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: Consort

Washington Post, Barf alert


4 posted on 07/06/2004 9:02:35 PM PDT by agincourt1415 (Liberals - ignorance in action)
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To: neverdem

Wars tend to cause problems, what else is new?

LA Times is doing its best to match the negativity of its major competition also.


5 posted on 07/06/2004 9:03:06 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (.New Linux SUSE Pro 9.1 user here.)
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To: agincourt1415

Did you read the article?


6 posted on 07/06/2004 9:03:19 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I thought it was an interesting article.


7 posted on 07/06/2004 9:04:38 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: Consort

Seems like we need more grunts. It's nice to have technology but without the boots on the ground, we will only fail.


8 posted on 07/06/2004 9:14:30 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: neverdem; humblegunner; Squantos; TexasCowboy; HoustonCurmudgeon; GlocksRock
There is no question that the Army personnel system is stressed. "I think the Army is in terrible shape," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, who served last year as the Bush administration's first administrator in postwar Iraq. "I think people are worn out, equipment is run down and we've overstressed the reserves. We're drastically short [of] infantry and MPs because the Army is too small."

I sure am glad that we are letting them know that they are winning.

In the Army, the biggest long-term changes may be in how it trains -- if the lessons learned in counterinsurgency stick. After the Vietnam War, noted retired Army Lt. Col. Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., who wrote a book on the Army and Vietnam, "we got out of the counterinsurgency business."

I sure am glad that we are letting them know that we were beaten once and should have known better than to attack terrorism. Also that we don't learn from our own mistakes and should have simply surrendered.

I know that when they show up at my home I will surrender my weapons for their use, my wife for rape, my kids for slavery and me for death.

9 posted on 07/06/2004 9:21:55 PM PDT by Eaker (R.I.P Phudd 28-Jun-04)
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To: neverdem
Looking at the hard copy, not the website of todays Los Angeles (Slimes) we have an article above the Fold on the right hand side:

U. S. Response to Insurgency Called a Failure
Some top Bush officials and military experts say the Pentagon has no coherent strategy. Little change is expected with Iraqi's new sovereignty.

So THERRE!!!!!

Article has a picture (small) with a Terrorist head wrapped in a red cloth manning a machine gun on a tripod stating :
Tough Target... Us forces have not adapted well to the guerrilla warfare practiced by Iraqi insurgents, experts say!!!!

10 posted on 07/06/2004 9:37:45 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (.New Linux SUSE Pro 9.1 user here.)
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To: Eaker

Is the Mom up with this ? You better run that past her Eeeek !.........:o)

Articles such as this have been written in every conflict .......no biggie. Just Liberal losers at work trying their best to heap camel chit on the cheeple !

Stay safe !


11 posted on 07/06/2004 9:40:35 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: Squantos

Since when is the Compost so concerned?


12 posted on 07/06/2004 9:42:32 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: neverdem; Tamsey

here is another example of the media at work....

See my post just above on the LA Slimes.


13 posted on 07/06/2004 9:44:16 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (.New Linux SUSE Pro 9.1 user here.)
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To: Squantos; TheMom
Is the Mom up with this ?

If I attempted to surrender (which I wouldn't) TheMom and TheKids would just roll their eyes and keep shooting!!!

14 posted on 07/06/2004 9:49:50 PM PDT by Eaker (R.I.P Phudd 28-Jun-04)
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To: cyborg

Color me confident but the less the GOP bitches and the more crap the socialist rats whine the more I sense a landslide for GW.....

And now that Liberty is up against a self confessed war criminal , enemy sympathizer and butt ugly boy toy. Along with his ambulance chasing smiley little gator. I just think Nov 4th is gonna be a really bad day for terrorists and a good day for America.

Stay safe !


15 posted on 07/06/2004 10:00:14 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: neverdem
Capt. John Byron, Let me guess a Clinton Administration Military Man, from the same cloth as ZINNI.

This line was enough evidence of leftover Clinton Military Opinion of the situation "Troop rotations are in shambles and the all-volunteer force is starting to crumble as we extend combat tours and struggle to get enough boots on the ground."

Typical Washington Post, putting everything in the WORST POSSIBLE PERSPECTIVE.

16 posted on 07/06/2004 10:11:00 PM PDT by agincourt1415 (Liberals - ignorance in action)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
U. S. Response to Insurgency Called a Failure

Ouch! And lemme guess... all unnamed sources and insinuation :-(

These liberal news rags couldn't be working more effectively against America if they were on al Qaeda's direct payroll.

17 posted on 07/06/2004 10:26:31 PM PDT by Tamzee (Flush the Johns before they flood the White House!)
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To: cyborg
Pravda on the Potomac isn't concerned about the United States Army ...

They're just taking an opportunity to Bash Bush. For that hobby of theirs, any stick will do.

18 posted on 07/06/2004 10:30:52 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Tamsey
This is a NRO article related to this issue...

Hapless Foot Soldiers? The New York Times's unyielding advocacy for America's enemies.

19 posted on 07/06/2004 10:43:19 PM PDT by Tamzee (Flush the Johns before they flood the White House!)
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To: Tamsey
Well the expert they use for the thesis is Andrew Krepinevich of the Center of Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, an expert on counter insurgency warfare.
He says" What gives you a sense of confidence we're going to become a lot more competent at something we haven't shown a great deal of competence at doing for a year".

Some top American officials bristle at the criticism and say the US led coalitions plan has been consistent from the beginning to bring security to Iraq in preparation for an eventual hand-over to Iraqi forces.

"Our strategy is not complicated. It is to train Iraqis as quickly as we possibly can and as efficiently as we possibly can....

20 posted on 07/06/2004 10:44:44 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (.New Linux SUSE Pro 9.1 user here.)
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To: agincourt1415; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Squantos; Eaker
I printed it for the good news, not the negative opinions.

"Iraq is accelerating the pace of change in the military -- the Army particularly," said retired Army Lt. Col. James Jay Carafano, a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation. "It is forcing them to look at a lot of things they had pushed off because they were hard to do."

In the Army, the biggest long-term changes may be in how it trains -- if the lessons learned in counterinsurgency stick.

Historically, the National Training Center, the Army's premier combat training facility, has focused on simulating combat between tank-heavy mechanized forces in open, high-desert terrain. But over the past year, it has added urban areas, hired some Iraqi Americans to work in them and interact with troops, and even put caves up in the hills where those playing opposing guerrilla forces can hide weapons and other supplies.

If Army soldiers treat the "locals" well in the urban areas, they learn more about those weapons caches. If they don't, they find out about the weapons the hard way. New training scenarios also require Army commanders to handle everything from combat operations to refugee relief simultaneously.

The Army also has added 8,000 slots to the normally 25,000 infantrymen it trains annually at Fort Benning, Ga. To handle the surge, and to replace drill sergeants deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to train locals there, it has mobilized about 100 reservists to drill the new soldiers.

Even mechanics and clerks now are given training in combat operations, such as defending a convoy or reacting to an ambush, said Bob Seger, acting deputy chief of staff for operations at the Army's Training and Doctrine Command. "This is introductory training for everybody, not just infantry or cavalry scouts," he said. "From initial entry training of soldiers all the way up to general officers, we are designing new courses and doing everything we can to get people ready to go."

Wallace, who is head of the Army's Combined Arms Center, said the changes in Army training are the most significant since the "training revolution" of the early 1980s, when the service came out of its post-Vietnam funk and based its training on realistic mock combat against a professional opposing force with trained observers.

The greatest long-term effect of the difficult environment in Iraq may be on the generation of younger officers and soldiers who have led platoons and companies there over the past year. "The complexity, unpredictability and ambiguity of postwar Iraq is producing a cohort of innovative, confident and adaptable junior officers," said retired Army Lt. Col. Leonard Wong, an expert in military personnel issues.

Wong has just completed for the Army War College a study for which he interviewed more than 50 lieutenants and captains serving in Iraq. His conclusion: "Our troops aren't just competent; Iraq also is teaching them capacity -- they can handle a lot more. With all the incredibly bad-news stories you hear out of Operation Iraqi Freedom, this is a good-news story -- if we leverage it correcetly."

21 posted on 07/06/2004 11:03:40 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
The biggest institutional change that is likely to come about from our experiences in Iraq will be in the 'support' areas.

We have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that we can decimate anyone who stands up to us. Our weakess is in our support structure and 'non combat' personnel. Non combat arms personnel have not had a Marine Corps like 'everyone's a rifleman' mentality, and because of this, they were often found to be extremely vulnerable to insurgent attacks.

This weakness in the support is not only a military vulnerability, it's a media vulnerability. Much of the good work the military has done had not been publicized, and much falsehoods and half truths have not been effectively combated.

In either case, the threats are not militarily significant so much as they are political factors that indirectly affect military operations. Our experiences in Iraq have shown us where our weaknesses lie, and if nothing else, it has shown us to be more formidable than many thought possible.

22 posted on 07/06/2004 11:08:36 PM PDT by Steel Wolf (Iran almost has nuclear weapons. They will get them unless we stop them.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
"Our strategy is not complicated. It is to train Iraqis as quickly as we possibly can and as efficiently as we possibly can....

And a key point... with as few civilian deaths as possible.

Our guys are constantly put themselves in harm's way rather than shooting at children carrying ammo or carpet bombing Fallujah. If we only cared about saving American lives and were willing to be utterly ruthless, we would be "winning" easily.

23 posted on 07/06/2004 11:09:57 PM PDT by Tamzee (Flush the Johns before they flood the White House!)
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To: Tamsey

It's a big decision , whether the hearts and minds approach or the Nuke them all approach is the way to go.

I'm not up to a late night debate of that magnitude, got to hit the hay.

There are good arguments for each approach.


24 posted on 07/06/2004 11:20:11 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (.New Linux SUSE Pro 9.1 user here.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Goodnight and good dreams of a happier tomorrow when such choices aren't necessary...


25 posted on 07/06/2004 11:24:59 PM PDT by Tamzee (Flush the Johns before they flood the White House!)
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To: neverdem
Had to run outside and check for flying pigs. Obligatory slam at high comand, problems down the line, etc..

But I buy into the overall premise- we will come out of this (well, depending on how long this pace lasts) with the most combat-seasoned/tested nco (which the article didn't mention, but should have) and officer corps we've had since forever.

If we pull iraqi freedom off, and get even a short breather to regroup...Buddha on a pogo stick- we will be bad-ass Mike Foxtrots.

26 posted on 07/07/2004 12:09:05 AM PDT by fourdeuce82d
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To: agincourt1415

According to his USNI byline, Byron retired in 1993, so if anything he's a Reagan-GHW Bush Administration military man. Don't be so quick to dismiss him. If you're going to throw around accusations like that, you really ought to take thirty seconds and use Google first.

Or perhaps everyone who served on active duty from 1992-2000 was guilty by association and should have been purged?


27 posted on 07/07/2004 12:24:32 AM PDT by kms61
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To: fourdeuce82d
But I buy into the overall premise- we will come out of this (well, depending on how long this pace lasts) with the most combat-seasoned/tested nco (which the article didn't mention, but should have) and officer corps we've had since forever.

Excellent point, in addition to our best trainers from the National Training Centers acquiring combat experience, and those reserve drill sergeants from Army Reserve Training Divisions having current experience.

28 posted on 07/07/2004 12:31:17 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

bump and thanks!


29 posted on 07/07/2004 1:19:52 AM PDT by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: neverdem
This article is a good starting point for discussion. The author either has no clue or was not allowed to write an article of sufficient length to expand upon each view put forward in the article. The article raised several issues and views without elaborating any.

Issues and views raised:
"The latest indication of the psychic toll was a recent study by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research that found that about 16 percent of soldiers who have served in Iraq are showing signs of combat trauma."
I can make any situation or observation in the military seem like a crisis. Having trouble sleeping is a sign of combat trauma; gastrointestinal discomfort is a sign of combat trauma. When does 16 percent of the military not show signs of combat trauma?

"And as the Army seeks to adjust to waging a counterinsurgency campaign 7,000 miles away, innovation in how it trains new recruits and structures forces for deployment is now rippling through the service."
This has great potential. The impact of Rumsfeld's decision to put General Schoomaker in the Chief of Staff position is having positive effects that are rippling through the Army. A former Delta operator, he understands the importance of changing the mentality and attitude of the average soldier - instilling a warrior ethos, greater emphasis on being a rifleman first, more hands-on training; these changes have not been made yet, but the groundwork has been laid.

"Other experts worry about the hidden costs of using up equipment in the extreme heat and abrasive dust of Iraq. Helicopters, armored vehicles and Humvees will have shorter service lives than the Army planned."
I am no expert on this subject, but I suspect that this is the area in which we are truly being bit in the rear by the years of neglect in the Klinton administration. We did not have a sufficient bench stock of parts and equipment going into war and our low past demand resulted in us having limited suppliers for such parts and equipment. Now manufacturers are backlogged for much of the items that we need. It took my unit 8 months just to get helmet mounts for our night vision.

"Even mechanics and clerks now are given training in combat operations, such as defending a convoy or reacting to an ambush"
That is the intent. The training and mindset of the soldiers continue to be improved upon. Quotes like this are deceptive in that they take the intended changes and assume that they have been implemented.

"The greatest long-term effect of the difficult environment in Iraq may be on the generation of younger officers and soldiers who have led platoons and companies there over the past year."

"His concern, he said, is that the Army will not know what to do with those agile, intellectually creative officers, and on their return will simply put them back into the lockstep of garrison life, rather than seek to find ways to nurture their newfound skills. One captain who recently returned from a year of combat in Iraq noted that he was returned to "restrictive training limitations of the past era," making it more difficult to convey some of the hard-earned knowledge he brought back."

These are the most accurate and important quotes in the article, in my opinion. The former Army that trained all year for its big show at NTC or JRTC has been replaced by the Army that uses the training centers as a training aid for a real world mission. The mentality of safety first, mission second is slowly eroding - and good riddance. Absurd safety restrictions are largely problems generated by regulations or rules produced by a staff of officers and senior NCOs that were raised in an Army where the only combat experience was from a brief invasion of Panama, a 100-hour war in the mideast where most deaths were from fratracide and non-combat incidents, and a bloodless air campaign in Kosovo. Expectations and unreasonable demands for no casaulties in future wars were reflected in training. Hopefully that trend will now reverse itself.

30 posted on 07/07/2004 2:58:49 AM PDT by Voice in your head ("The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage." - Thucydides)
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To: All

I have a question.

Freepers are blaming the Republicans in the Senate for allowing the military to be underfunded during the Clinton Administration. The Democrats are blaming Bush but he has to work with the resources given to him by the previous Administration. Who is responsible for military readiness? US Senate, Armed Forces Committee or the President's Administration?


31 posted on 07/07/2004 5:52:00 AM PDT by Milligan
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To: kms61; neverdem
Hey, I have my opinion, I don't like the Washington Post, they will do everything they can to make the current Administration look bad.

Post from the Wall Street Journal or the Investor's Business Daily, forget the Washington Post.

32 posted on 07/07/2004 7:41:12 AM PDT by agincourt1415 (Liberals - ignorance in action)
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To: Squantos
Color me confident but the less the GOP bitches and the more crap the socialist rats whine the more I sense a landslide for GW.....

I got the same sense of things.

33 posted on 07/07/2004 7:44:37 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: agincourt1415

The only free article's from the Wall Street Journal are OpEd piece's which must also be excerpted.

From Investor's Business Daily "Breaking News" you have this wealth of information about positive developments in the Army:

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

11:56 AM ET Market Regulation Services - Trade Resumption - Aspen Group Resources Corporation - ASR
11:55 AM ET FTC reopens monopoly case against Unocal
11:55 AM ET World Wresting Entertainment Launches Major Brand Initiative For The UK
11:55 AM ET Auto Rental News Magazine: Auto Rental News Magazine Announces NEW eClassifieds Web Site
11:53 AM ET NEC CORPORATION: NEC ranks first in Fingerprint Vendor Technology Evaluation 2003 sponsored by U.S.Department of Justice
11:53 AM ET Michigan Petroleum Association Opposes State Rep. Fran Amos' Gas Pump Calibration Legislation
11:53 AM ET Bush: I am going to carry the South
11:53 AM ET NEC Makes Projectors More Widely Available to Consumers Through Best Buy Stores
11:53 AM ET Bush: Kerry doesn't share N. Carolina voters' values
11:52 AM ET Michigan Petroleum Association Opposes State Rep. Fran Amos' Gas Pump Calibration Legislation
11:52 AM ET Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. Announces the Filing of a Class Action Suit Against Vicuron Pharmaceuticals
11:52 AM ET NFX Announces Private Placement
11:52 AM ET Boston Firm Wins Olympic Gold by Utilizing Its Global Resources; CIPI Awarded Bid for Official Lanyard by Athens Olympics
11:52 AM ET Doctors Urge Kerry and Edwards to Support National Medical Liability Reform
11:51 AM ET Primedia redeems series J convertible stock
11:50 AM ET NetMotion Wireless Named to Second-Annual AlwaysOn(TM) List of Top 100 Private Companies
11:50 AM ET AppIQ Announces Founding Membership in SNIA India; Company Continues to Demonstrate Commitment to Storage Industry Development
11:49 AM ET Quixtar Supports PayKids Foundation With Additional $25,000 Gift
11:49 AM ET CAPCO Announces Commencement of Offshore Workovers and Drilling Operations
11:49 AM ET SAMSys Announces Its Selection as RFID Reader Provider for METRO Group's Future Store
11:49 AM ET Intraspect Europe: Intraspect Europe re-launches as 'Consider'
11:49 AM ET Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. Announces the Filing of a Class Action Suit Against Merix Corporation and Certain of Its Officers and Directors on Behalf of Investors
11:49 AM ET SAMSys Announces Its Selection as RFID Reader Provider for METRO Group's Future Store
11:49 AM ET Fitch Affirms $20.9MM in Residential Resources, Inc. Bonds -- PA -- 'BBB-'
11:48 AM ET U.S. stocks turn mixed as blue chips drift lower

The point is that if the source of an otherwise interesting article about the Army is what you and many others can only recognize as a liberal rag, and as such make you incensed and unable to appreciate the reason for which it was posted, why not just ignore it instead of getting wrapped around the axle?


34 posted on 07/07/2004 9:21:42 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

Ok, NEXT subject, you have a little time on your hands I see.


35 posted on 07/07/2004 10:04:19 AM PDT by agincourt1415 (Liberals - ignorance in action)
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To: agincourt1415
Ok, NEXT subject, you have a little time on your hands I see.

How about when reading liberal rags you keep abreast of what the enemy is thinking.

36 posted on 07/07/2004 11:31:32 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

Your entitled to your opinion, I have plenty of experience reading the Wash Post.


37 posted on 07/07/2004 11:48:28 AM PDT by agincourt1415 (Liberals - ignorance in action)
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To: agincourt1415
Captain Byron posted an article with a similar title in the journal Proceedings. That is where his quote was lifted from. The article was terrible and it astounds me that a scholarly professional journal such as Proceedings would publish it. There is a good exchange between Captain Byron and a reader on the proceedings website. The full article is here. If you click on the link to "Discuss this commentary in the eForum" then you can read the exchange with the author that I mentioned.
38 posted on 07/08/2004 10:49:20 PM PDT by Voice in your head ("The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage." - Thucydides)
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