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Army Report: GIs Outgunned in Afghanistan
Politics Daily ^ | 04/2/10 | David Wood

Posted on 04/03/2010 1:03:04 PM PDT by neverdem

American troops are often outgunned by Afghan insurgents because they lack the precision weapons, deadly rounds, and training needed to kill the enemy in the long-distance firefights common in Afghanistan's rugged terrain, according to an internal Army study.

Unlike in Iraq, where most shooting took place at relatively short range in urban neighborhoods, U.S. troops in Afghanistan are more often attacked from high ground with light machine guns and mortars from well beyond 300 meters (327 yards, or just over three football field lengths). The average range for a small-arms firefight in Afghanistan is about 500 meters, according to the study.

Unless U.S. troops under attack call in artillery or air strikes and risk civilian casualties, the only way they can fight back is with long-distance precision shooting -- a capability currently in short supply among infantry units, according to a study done at the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., by Maj. Thomas P. Ehrhart.

According to Ehrhart's paper, Army infantrymen do not regularly train and practice shooting at distances of more than 300 meters. The round fired from their M4 carbines and M16 rifles, the 5.56mm bullet, don't carry enough velocity at long distances to kill.

While the Army has moved recently to equip each infantry company of about 200 soldiers with nine designated marksmen to overcome this problem, they don't often carry weapons with sufficient killing power at distance, and there aren't enough of them, Ehrhart reports.

Army spokesmen had no immediate comment on Ehrhart's paper, which was released by SAMS last month and given wider circulation by defensetech.org and the Kit Up! blog on military.com.

Most infantrymen in Afghanistan carry the M4 carbine, a version of the standard M16 rifle, but with a shorter barrel. It was designed to allow soldiers to operate from cramped armored vehicles and in the city neighborhoods of Iraq. But the shorter barrel robs the weapon of the ability to shoot accurately at long distances, because the bullet doesn't acquire as much stabilizing spin when it is fired as it does in a longer barrel.

Soldiers commonly are taught in training to use "suppressive fire,'' in effect returning enemy attacks with sprays of gunfire, which are often ineffective in Afghanistan.

One reason is the ineffectiveness of the most commonly used round, designated the M855. Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, was once accidentally shot in the chest with an M855 round from a light machine gun; rather than being killed, he walked out of the hospital several days later.

Ehrhart recalls seeing a soldier shot with a M855 round from a distance of 75 meters in training. Twenty minutes later he was "walking around smoking a cigarette.''

Such incidents may be flukes, but they do illustrate that the rounds can lack killing power. Most infantrymen are equipped to fire the M855 round from their M4 carbine, M16 rifle, or the SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), a light machine gun. When a firefight erupts in Afghanistan, they are unable to fire back accurately at more than 200 or 300 meters, leaving it to soldiers with heavier weapons -- the M240 machine gun, 60-mm mortars or snipers equipped with M14 rifles.

"These [heavier] weapons represent 19 percent of the company's firepower,'' Ehrhart wrote, meaning that "81 percent of the company has little effect on the fight.

"This is unacceptable.''

One quick fix, he suggested, is to equip the designated marksmen within each company with a powerful weapon that can kill at long distances, the M110 sniper weapon, which is effective out to 800 meters.

These rifles are expensive -- about $8,000 apiece. But you could outfit every infantry squad in the Army with two M110 rifles for the price of one U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor supersonic stealthy fighter, Ehrhart noted.

Ironically, American doughboys in World War I were better trained and equipped for Afghanistan-style firefights than today's GIs.

"The U.S. infantry weapon has devolved from the World War I rifle capable of conducting lethal fire out to 1,200 yards, to the current weapon that can hit a target out to 300 meters but probably will not kill it,'' Ehrhart wrote.

The School of Advanced Military Studies, where Ehrhart was a student last year, trains the Army's brightest young officers for senior leadership. His unclassified paper, written last year, does not reflect official Army positions. But the paper has rocketed around in military circles and has been read avidly in some units preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

But even before his report began circulating widely, some Army units were acting on the hard-learned lessons from Afghanistan, where the Army has been fighting for almost nine years.

Several weeks ago I watched an infantry battalion of the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team working on live fire maneuvers in central Wyoming.

One key focus, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Maddi, was to hone soldiers' skills in high-angle and long-distance shooting -- precisely the skills not widely required in regular Army training, according to Ehrhart.

Where normal Army marksmanship training is often conducted on level ground against pop-up targets, Maddi and the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Chris Ramsey, had their men shooting up towering ridgelines and down steep inclines, and at distances out to 600 meters.

The battalion's troops, wearing their full battle kit, also were firing live rounds while running, and while running with heavy packs, up and down the steep Wyoming ridges.

"We're here to replicate the environment of Afghanistan," said Ramsey, who brought his battalion to Wyoming from its home base at Fort Polk, La. "We don't get this kind of terrain at home."

Ramsey told me he had not read Ehrhart's paper before his battalion deployed to Wyoming for a month's training in early February. Polishing those skills was "intuitive," he said. But he said the paper now has been read across the battalion.

At a meeting with reporters this week, Army Secretary John McHugh was asked whether he was familiar with the Ehrhart report. McHugh said he was not, but after hearing a brief description, he said he would track down the paper and read it.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; banglist; bhodod; ehrhart; ehrhartreport; guns; oef; oefsurge
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Only this long to figure out that the 5.56 mm M4 carbine & M16 rifle aint cutting it? You can take some satisfaction that the 7.62x39 mm rounds used in the AKs that jihadis carry are not full power rounds either, unlike the NATO 7.62x52 mm rounds fired in the M14 rifle and the M240 Medium Machine Gun. Does anyone have idea about how many M14s are still in the U.S. inventory?

M240 Medium Machine Gun




1 posted on 04/03/2010 1:03:05 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

awgeez


2 posted on 04/03/2010 1:04:41 PM PDT by Perdogg (Nancy Pelosi did more damage to America on 03/21 than Al Qaeda did on 09/11)
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To: neverdem

The only M-14s still in the Army inventory are probably those in museums and with units like the Old Guard which uses them for ceremonial purposes. Most of the M-14s were probably destroyed after they were fully replaced by the M-16. Most likely new production line would need to be created to begin manufacturing them again..


3 posted on 04/03/2010 1:12:02 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: neverdem

I’m trying to imagine the accuracy of an AK-47 at 500+ meters...do the bad guys ever hit anything?

FWIW, I suspect the ranges also depend on what part of Afghanistan you are in, but 500+ meters is a LONNGGG way for an Afghan to try shooting.


4 posted on 04/03/2010 1:12:24 PM PDT by Mr Rogers
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To: neverdem

Send some more M-1A’s over. Heavier to carry, but good out to longer ranges.


5 posted on 04/03/2010 1:12:56 PM PDT by oneolcop (Lead, Follow or Get the Hell Out of the Way!)
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To: neverdem

But I’d rather be hit with the 7.62x39 than the 5.56 pea-shooter. Are there any Western bloc assault rifles (i.e. not machine guns) that fire the 7.26x52, besides the M14?

I remember one of the Delta operatives in Black Hawk Down in Somalia preferred the M14. We never learned the lesson from Mogadishu that 5.56 is not an acceptable round for military purposes.


6 posted on 04/03/2010 1:13:09 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo (Mitt Romney: He's from Harvard, and he's here to help.)
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To: neverdem

Oops, meant I’d rather be hit with the 5.56 than the 7.26x39.


7 posted on 04/03/2010 1:13:42 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo (Mitt Romney: He's from Harvard, and he's here to help.)
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To: neverdem

Naturally, seeing as how our defense budget is dwarfed by that of the insurgents.


8 posted on 04/03/2010 1:15:02 PM PDT by Wolfie
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To: neverdem
If our guys need M110s, then give them to them. $8,000 /weapon? Chickenfeed compared to Ø's spending.


9 posted on 04/03/2010 1:15:34 PM PDT by 50cal Smokepole (Effective gun control involves effective recoil management)
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To: GreyFriar

Actually, Springfield Arms still makes semi-auto versions, the M-1A. I just bought one for my son. And there are still M-14’s in inventory in some obscure warehouse somewhere, I’m sure.


10 posted on 04/03/2010 1:16:13 PM PDT by oneolcop (Lead, Follow or Get the Hell Out of the Way!)
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To: neverdem

It’s Bushs’ fault!!!!!!!!!!


11 posted on 04/03/2010 1:16:46 PM PDT by Paul46360
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To: neverdem

M16/M4 in those valleys are useless.

McNamara still killing American troops as he roasts in hell.


12 posted on 04/03/2010 1:19:00 PM PDT by Frantzie (McCain=Obama's friend. McCain called AMERICANS against amnesty - "racists")
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To: neverdem
It'd be reasonable to expect it to take 3 or 4 years before we realize that the enemy is hitting us before we're hitting them, but 8+ years does seem a bit excessive.

13 posted on 04/03/2010 1:19:21 PM PDT by Riodacat (Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.)
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To: 50cal Smokepole

Better yet if the m110’s are built here. We can stimulate the economy and the enemy at the same time.


14 posted on 04/03/2010 1:21:01 PM PDT by Riodacat (Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.)
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To: Perdogg
$8000 for a sniper rifle? Hell, I could take any off the shelf Remington 700 tactical and put a Leupold on in and be out the door for 2 grand and shoot the wings off a bumblebee at 500 yards.
15 posted on 04/03/2010 1:21:32 PM PDT by bitterohiogunclinger (America held hostage - day 393)
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To: Paul46360
Damn Mouse Guns, get a call into Ronnie Barrett Fast/
16 posted on 04/03/2010 1:22:54 PM PDT by BooBoo1000 (Vote for Pedro)
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To: Thane_Banquo

The HK-417 is 7.62mm but the Bundeswehr doesn’t use it, they use the 5.56mm


17 posted on 04/03/2010 1:23:15 PM PDT by Perdogg (Nancy Pelosi did more damage to America on 03/21 than Al Qaeda did on 09/11)
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To: Thane_Banquo

You’d rather be hit with a 7.62? Me, I’d rather be shooting a 7.62 than a 5.56 at you, providing you were the enemy. Especially since the famous tumbling M-16 round isn’t made any more, or I don’t think it is.


18 posted on 04/03/2010 1:24:31 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Thane_Banquo

The Israelis use the 5.56mm the Chinese use the 5.6mm and the Russians use the 5.45mm


19 posted on 04/03/2010 1:24:40 PM PDT by Perdogg (Nancy Pelosi did more damage to America on 03/21 than Al Qaeda did on 09/11)
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To: neverdem
There is plenty of M-1A's.

I have one and they are the same as the M-14 to the point that my M-1A came from Springfield with a military M-14 tear down manual.

20 posted on 04/03/2010 1:26:16 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: GreyFriar

yes it is. the SS109 is the current one in US military. It is fired with the 1:9 twist barrel.


21 posted on 04/03/2010 1:26:29 PM PDT by Perdogg (Nancy Pelosi did more damage to America on 03/21 than Al Qaeda did on 09/11)
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To: 50cal Smokepole

Why not go to DSA Arms and get the FAL-FN clones for $1700.

O wants our troops ground up in Afghan and Iraq for his bosses. He wants our best and bravest over there not back here.

http://www.dsarms.com/SA58-Original-Series/products/35/


22 posted on 04/03/2010 1:26:38 PM PDT by Frantzie (McCain=Obama's friend. McCain called AMERICANS against amnesty - "racists")
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To: GreyFriar

M14 production tooling was sold in 1967 to the Republic of China (Taiwan), who in 1968 began producing their Type 57 Rifle. The State Arsenal of the Republic of China produced over 1 million of these rifles from 1969 to the present under model numbers of M305 and M14S.

like china would sell ‘em back to us...


23 posted on 04/03/2010 1:28:02 PM PDT by stylin19a (Never buy a putter until you first get a chance to throw it)
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To: neverdem
The real problem, most likely, is that our men can't shoot until they get 400 clearances. By that time the rats have scurried away!
24 posted on 04/03/2010 1:28:08 PM PDT by parthian shot (America.... Founded on God and the Constitution ! We desperately need both.)
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To: BooBoo1000
Damn Mouse Guns, get a call into Ronnie Barrett Fast/

LOL!

Problem is they do have to be toted through some pretty tough terrain over there.

25 posted on 04/03/2010 1:28:20 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: oneolcop

7 MM is tops! let’s get some sporterized mausers...

http://accurateshooter.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/30-caliber-vs-7mm-for-long-range-litz-offers-analysis/


26 posted on 04/03/2010 1:30:03 PM PDT by databoss
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To: neverdem
Here we go again....

The Army is doubling the number of 7.62mm weapons in the infantry squad, increasing soldiers’ long-range killing power in the wide-open expanses of Afghanistan.

27 posted on 04/03/2010 1:30:46 PM PDT by smokingfrog (Free Men will always be armed with the Truth.)
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To: All

I think the bigger issue are the rules of engagement that don’t allow artilery and air strikes to be called in. You shoot at us with a mortar or light arms fire, we rain down artilery fire or call in the warthogs.


28 posted on 04/03/2010 1:32:36 PM PDT by gunnut
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To: GreyFriar

I got it backwards when I wrote it. Momentary dyslexia. :-P


29 posted on 04/03/2010 1:32:54 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo (Mitt Romney: He's from Harvard, and he's here to help.)
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To: Mr Rogers
The AK isn't a terribly accurate weapon at any range from what I hear from soldiers coming back. Afghani marksmanship is still more of the "spray and pray" variety, unless you get a sniper team engaging you.

500+ meters is excessive range for their weapons, and hitting anything at that range is more a matter of luck, our soldiers are trained in deliberate fire (single aimed shots) and are more effective. Also current doctrine having snipers being a battalion asset leaves platoons shorted when having to engage at long distance, including some long guns at the platoon level is probably the right call for Afghanistan, and we'll probably start doing that once the lessons are fully digested, if it isn't already being done.

Saying WW1 soldiers were better equipped to handle Afghanistan is also something I disagree with. Sure they had long rifles (what else were you going to arm them with at that time?) but they didn't have our comms/training/air support/mobility/etc...

30 posted on 04/03/2010 1:33:39 PM PDT by world weary
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To: neverdem

They just need longer barreled m16s with scope. The 556 nato round is just fine. Little more accuracy, little more velocity...that’s all that’s needed.

I’ve been saying for years they need to ditch brass cases and upgrade to high strength aluminum alloy cases and then boost up chamber pressures.

Then upgrade the recoil system with an oil filled system for really smooth shooting. Better compensators on the end of the muzzle would help too.

Bigger bullets is the wrong way to go, imo. More speed is the best solution.

BTW, 556 shoots further than 762. This article is not entirely honest.


31 posted on 04/03/2010 1:34:14 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: Thane_Banquo

762x39 is way easier to stop with a vest than 556nato. 556nato is just fine. it’s the dam short carbine rifles that suck.


32 posted on 04/03/2010 1:35:49 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: gunnut

We’ll go broke fighting wars like that. a bullet is way cheaper than a plane carrying a missile.


33 posted on 04/03/2010 1:37:25 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: Frantzie

I like this choice. in 308?


34 posted on 04/03/2010 1:38:13 PM PDT by winodog (We've got more people voting for a living than we do working for a living.")
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To: neverdem
Knowing Obama, he's supplied the troops with weapons according to his desire not to allow them to protect themselves. His ROEs reflect the same mindset.


35 posted on 04/03/2010 1:38:46 PM PDT by 444Flyer (Obama's long war against America is in progress.)
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To: GreyFriar

It’s still made. It only tumbles when shot from longer barreled rifles. No tumbling when shot from a m4 carbine.


36 posted on 04/03/2010 1:39:09 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: neverdem

Drop a BIG BOMB and quit using small arms.

This war should have been over a long time ago.

Just drop a bomb and let God sort it out.

Does anyone else wonder if 0bama doesn’t get some kind of perverse pleasure from the deaths of our Military? Maybe it’s just me.


37 posted on 04/03/2010 1:41:06 PM PDT by HighlyOpinionated (SPEAK UP REPUBLICANS, WE CAN'T HEAR YOU YET! IMPEACH OBAMA!)
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To: Mr Rogers

Its not the Ak’s so much as the 7.62 round on a belt fed machine gun mounted on a tripod up high... lots of punch from a distance

accuracy by volume


38 posted on 04/03/2010 1:43:52 PM PDT by 1st I.D Vet
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To: stylin19a

Taiwan, you mean?


39 posted on 04/03/2010 1:44:10 PM PDT by James C. Bennett
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To: neverdem
Unlike in Iraq, where most shooting took place at relatively short range in urban neighborhoods, U.S. troops in Afghanistan are more often attacked from high ground with light machine guns and mortars from well beyond 300 meters...

Is it any wonder why GWB opted for a change of venue in the War on Terror?

40 posted on 04/03/2010 1:44:33 PM PDT by infidel29 (baracKARL obaMARX)
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To: neverdem

.223 varmit round vs .308 mankiller. Not much of a contest.


41 posted on 04/03/2010 1:45:35 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: GreyFriar

This is very old info, about 20 years, but I taught with a guy who’d served two hitches as an Lt in 2nd Rangers. He’d regale me with stories about where he’d been and what he’d done. I asked him once about the M14. He loved the weapon and told me that they were being reserved for future use where their positive attributes, long range and that Garand action that fires in peanut butter, would be useful. He specifically mentioned desert and mountain environments. That was 20+ yrs ago so who knows now.


42 posted on 04/03/2010 1:46:12 PM PDT by xkaydet65 (Never compromise with evil! Even in the face of Armageddon!! Rorshach)
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To: neverdem
.308 there is NO substitute...
43 posted on 04/03/2010 1:47:21 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: bitterohiogunclinger
Hell, I could take any off the shelf Remington 700 tactical and put a Leupold on in and be out the door for 2 grand and shoot the wings off a bumblebee at 500 yards.

I dropped a mule buck at 250 yards on the buttes of western North Dakota last fall. The tool at hand was a Ruger M77 Hawkeye chambered in .270 (basically a necked down .30-06 round) and Leopold glass. The first round passed under the deer, the second one trashed both lungs and smashed a rib while blowing a hole out the other side.

I'd call the combination cheap and lethal to 300+ yards.

44 posted on 04/03/2010 1:48:48 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: smokingfrog

Thanks for the link!


45 posted on 04/03/2010 1:49:02 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
If this is true, it took EIGHT years to figure it out? I've never heard guys like Duncan Hunter complaining about it. One would think that they would have done so if this was such a critical problem.

In any case, it points out the classic US Military problem of emphasizing bells and whistles at the expense of basic equipment.

46 posted on 04/03/2010 1:50:00 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The Democrats were the Slave Party then; they are the Slave Party now.)
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To: Mr Rogers
I’m trying to imagine the accuracy of an AK-47 at 500+ meters...do the bad guys ever hit anything?

I've got an SKS, whhich shoots the same 7.62X39 mm round as an AK, and as far as accuracy goes, it's good for about 100-150 yards. After that, the bullet loses energy fast and drops like a rock.

47 posted on 04/03/2010 1:53:11 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: GreyFriar

I read during the Klinton Admin that he gave 54,000 M-14s to the Balkans. Just what we need to face.


48 posted on 04/03/2010 1:57:23 PM PDT by mcshot (The nightmare is playing out. America is being conned by ignorance & fraud.)
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To: neverdem

Didn’t Clinton destroy 100,000 M14s or some huge amount?


49 posted on 04/03/2010 1:57:24 PM PDT by moovova (More coffee please...make it a double.)
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To: bitterohiogunclinger
$8000 for a sniper rifle? Hell, I could take any off the shelf Remington 700 tactical and put a Leupold on in and be out the door for 2 grand and shoot the wings off a bumblebee at 500 yards.

That's exactly what Carlos Hathcock (RIP) did in Vietnam.

50 posted on 04/03/2010 1:57:34 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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