Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Fisking" A "Captain"

Over at Democratic Underground, they're very excited about a letter that appeared in the European and Mideast edition of Stars & Stripes yesterday. This letter, allegedly from a Capt. Jeff Pirozzi (no service or unit given, only that he's in Camp Taqaddum, Iraq), is quite a piece of work. Some excerpts:

"Weapons of mass destruction? I’m still looking for them, and if you find any give me a call so we can justify our presence in Iraq. We started the war based on a lie, and we’ll finish it based on a lie. I say this because I am currently serving with a logistics headquarters in the Anbar province, between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. I am not fooled by the constant fabrication of “democracy” and “freedom” touted by our leadership at home and overseas.
"This deception is furthered by our armed forces’ belief that we can just enter ancient Mesopotamia and tell the locals about the benefits of a legislative assembly. While our European ancestors were hanging from trees, these ancient people were writing algebra and solving quadratic equations. Now we feel compelled to strong-arm them into accepting the spoils of capitalism and “laissez-faire” society. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching Britney Spears on MTV and driving to McDonald’s, but do you honestly believe that Sunnis, Shias and Kurds want our Western ideas of entertainment and freedom imposed on them? Think again."

Interesting. Let's have a closer look at his "fact-filled" diatribe, shall we? OK, his description of the "logistics headquarters" he serves at as being between Fallujah and Ramadi agrees with this web page. This also provides us with a clue to his branch of service; Anbar province is a Marine area, and the web page linked above says there's a Marine Logistics Group (the 2d MLG) at Camp Taqaddum. Based on that, and the way he abbreviates "Captain", I would guess he's in the Marines; the Army uses CPT. He could also be in the Air Force, since they abbreviate Captain the same way.

Let's look at the "fact" he presents to demonstrate the superiority of Iraqi culture over Western: "While our European ancestors were hanging from trees, these ancient people were writing algebra and solving quadratic equations." Could be a good point, except that algebra was invented in 820 A.D., several hundred years after the height of Greek and Roman culture -- a little bit past the "hanging from trees" period. Quadratic equations? Sorry, discovered by an Italian (Lodovico Ferrari) about 1545 A.D. Not too good on the research there, "Captain".

It'll be interesting to see what happens as people start to try to figure out who this Captain is, and if he really exists (or if Stars & Stripes got taken for a ride)... There's at least one mil-blogger at Camp Taqaddum; we'll see if they have anything to say.

Staying at PD...

Update 0111 29 Nov: I looked half-heartedly through the ALNAV Marine Captain promotion messages for the last several years, and didn't see his name, so he might not be a Marine; or, as I stated, he might not really exist.

Update 2250 29 Nov: In response to one of the comments, I don't think the writer of this letter, if they really are a military officer in Iraq, should be punished. People in the military have a right to express their opinions (within limits); I just think it's bad form, especially when anyone who's even semi-informed would realize that this could become a big deal politically.

I also realized that I had left some of the stranger statements in the letter un-Fisked. I was surprised that such a progressive person would imply that Americans have "European" ancestors; not very inclusive to a society whose citizens have ancestors from six continents, not just the one he mentions.

Later on, though, he gets to the heart of his argument -- why we're really in Iraq. Any guesses? Here's what he says: "...our ultimate goal in 2003 was the security of Israel and the lucrative oil fields in northern and southern Iraq." Of course! It was the jooooos! And, while he doesn't mention it specifically, we're probably stealing all the oil to give it to the jooooos...

Update 2318 01 Dec: Four other officers (three in Iraq, one in Afghanistan) respond to Capt. Pirozzi. None of them liked his letter too much. Wonder if DU will have much to say about those letters...


Blogger Vigilis said...

Whoever the author is, he is not a careful thinker. In addition to flaws you have detailed, what the heck is the basis for his asking: "do you honestly believe that Sunnis, Shias and Kurds want our Western ideas of entertainment"?

Is he accusing Haliburton of placing MTV kiosks in Iraq? Please post anything of relevance that mil-bloggers uncover.

The claim of "deception" is disruptive to good order and discipline. The letter is a fraud, or the guy is actually looking for a quick discharge. (Marines would not take kindly to shirkers).

I suspect the writer is not what is claimed, at all. Perhaps CAPT Jeff Pirozza is really LCpl Jane Pregnarazza.

11/29/2005 2:39 AM

Blogger WillyShake said...

Niiiiiiiiiiiice. Wow. Good. Damn! Man!

...and any other monosyllabic words of praise I can think of! LOL

11/29/2005 5:20 AM

Blogger Skippy-san said...

So, let me get this straight. A guy writes a letter to Stars and Stripes that disagrees with the party line, so now he should be discharged? Why does it have to be a fake? It could be that he is a real person tired of having to go back to a usless hell hole in the desert, instead of doing more worthwhile things in life.

Its not a crime to have an opinion. All he is required to do is obey, not agree. As for the claim of deception, well last time I checked, he still has a right to vote any way he wants.

I hope the writer comes forth and is proven to be a real person.

11/29/2005 5:30 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

No, I didn't say he should be discharged. I'm just thinking that the logic displayed is so fuzzy, that it didn't sound like it would come from an officer; especially a Marine officer (Air Force, sure). I'm sure lots of military officers have these opinions; it's just we normally don't share them publically while we're on active duty. I know I didn't.

11/29/2005 6:48 AM

Blogger Anna said...

Juidging what Xenophon and Alexander found in their travels through Persia, Mesopotamia needs some new ideas in governance. Nevermind the autocratic despots that currently infest the region.

If Pirozza was going to actually refute the need for Western ideas of government then he should have provided local examples of success but that would mean not Xerxes or Darius but that pesky Greek Alexander. Ooops.

This errant scribe needs to brush up on a concept called logic.

11/29/2005 6:20 PM

Anonymous Byron Audler said...

Skippy, what I read, was an analysis of what this puported Captain wrote. I also see that his existence is questioned. I really hate to be the one to tell you, but there are a lot of people who would like to use the guise of someone serving in Iraq to further their agenda. Damn shame, I know, but it is what it is

11/29/2005 6:49 PM

Blogger Skippy-san said...

Only Stars and Stripes knows for sure by the post mark or IP address....

What bothers me though is the implication that a military person could not think that way. There are plenty who do. Not a majority to be sure, but more than a few......

Why not right back to S&S and say its a fake and see if that lures the guy out of his shell?

11/30/2005 12:31 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I know there are military people who think that way... like everyone else, I've worked with them. They're usually smart enough not to put their thoughts in a letter to Stars & Stripes, though. I didn't mean to imply that they (we) can't think like that; I'm simply trying to imply (and demonstrate) that those who do are easy to mock and belittle -- it's kinda what I do. Not in an "I'm stifling your dissent" kind of way, but in a "come and see the fuzzy logic inherent in the anti-war side's thinking" kind of way. As far as his true identity, I'm sure there are enough people over there who read it, and who know him (if he's really who he says he is) that the blogosphere will find out soon enough if he's for real...

11/30/2005 1:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Capt. Pirozza was Army ROTC perhaps.


The spring 2004 semester was under the command of Mike Skuski and Seth Huffman as the 1SG. This semester was a little different that past Ranger cycles, the meetings were held on Friday night for one hour for the candidates and then 2 hours for the actives. These candidates put in an extremely large amount of time. They were tested on OPORD’s, Patrolling, Land Navigation, a general Ranger Knowledge test over the course of the semester, and a PT test that they had to achieve a 70% in each event. When is was all said and done there was five new Rangers that put on that prestigious OD green cover, George Dusek MSI, Nathan Colston MSI, Jeff Pirozzi MSI, and Renee Oaks MSI (Nurse Corps), and James Waken MSI. All of these candidates displayed the dedication to duty and selfless service throughout their Ranger Company pledge cycle that truly set the standard for the rest of the 42nd OVB.

11/30/2005 6:12 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I don't think so; I saw that, but that kid was still in ROTC in 2004, which means even if he was a senior then, he wouldn't be a Captain now.

11/30/2005 6:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it be possible if he was in Grad school in 2004?

11/30/2005 6:25 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Yes, but if you look at some of the other Google referenences, there was also a high school student in Akron by that name in 2001, which may be the same person mentioned; that would imply he wasn't in grad school by 2004. The fact that it gives the abbreviation "MSI" after his name, though, might mean that he was a Military Science Instructor there during that time, so that could have been him.

11/30/2005 6:33 AM

Blogger Magorn said...

I'll Respond to those letters and save DU the trouble. I notice you put dissenting officers under the microscope , but offer no scrutiny of their critics so let's take the first letter from a 2lt Martinson and examine it for a minute:

the letter is all but calling Pirozzi a coward or at least a REMF, when anyone with even a passing knowledge of the situation on the ground knows there IS no Such thing as a rear area.

Its also massively hypocritical because Camp Taqaddum Where Capt. Pirozzi is serving, is a hell of a lot more exposed and forward than The massive and Plush (by US Army standards Camp Liberty that Lt. Martinson is writing from.

Secondly, notice that the writer is a a 2Lt (the Officer corps equivalent of a buck private) who thinks he has earned the right to lecture a Captain about leadership and military discipline. According to this Lt. Martinson is a brand new officer who only graduated from the "infantry officer basic course" 6 months ago, which means he's likely been "in-country" less than 3 months.

I'd love to check in on him in a year an see what's become of his shiny optimism and comfortable self righteousness.

I'll say the same to you our dear host. You serve comfortably in a relic of an earlier time, secure in the knowledge that no country in the world has a navy left that poses a credible threat to our submarine forces.

There are no IED's and car bombs underwater. Don't be so quick to judge someone who has seen the larceny and imcompetence of our current military leaders up close and personal.

12/02/2005 9:03 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

So let me get this straight... you're saying that, as a submariner, I have no right to question someone's statements because I haven't been subjected to danger?

12/02/2005 5:56 PM

Blogger Subsunk said...

Most Esteemed Bubblehead,

I support your points on this one. However, I have served with some officers of this Captain's type. Invariably they were men who chose to get a commission so the Navy or Marine Corps would pay their way through school. One of my JOs was even a little indignant during a TRE that he had to stand Port and Starboard watches because "we would never do anything so dangerous in wartime". And he was a Boat School (USNA for you non Navy types) grad.

Anyway, I have served with several men who may have felt that way. Every single one was either incompetent as a Officer of the Deck, or detracted from the formality and leadership required on a naval vessel through undue familiarity with his men. They would spend field day cleaning with the troops because "the officers are no better people than the sailors". While this may be true of us as human beings, our position as their leaders requires us to limit the time we spend grabassing with the troops, and calling them by their first names and being called by our first names to the absolute minimums. (This means NEVER on my watch, bucko, if you ever want to lead in my department or my wardroom again.) The only senior officer I found with this attitude was a "yardbird repeater" (a person who spent 3 of 4 tours in a shipyard, building new ships or overhauling them, and consequently had little operational underway time).

They believed the Soviet navy would never harm us and would mutiny if ever faced with war against the US. "None of these war scenarios could ever come to pass because humanity is just too civilized", would be how I would characterize their mantra.

And where are they today? Not in the Navy, son. They never could convince themselves that true work, sweat, and effort were necessary to actually go In Harms' Way and come home safe again. I will say, that the majority of these few officers I ever came across chose boomer life over SSNs, but I did meet one or two in my squadron rider days on SSNs. Never met a single one on my SSNs. They were not suffered gladly and usually left after their first tour. Because the other officers would not put up with their bullshit, and constant sea lawyering. The only senior officer I met turned out to be my Captain in Groton NUCON. He showed up at 9 am daily and left at 1 pm. You may imagine the COB and I ran that ship.

The letter in Stars and Stripes is written, at the minimum, by an immature young man who thinks there is no threat to his education or his paycheck, so why expend true effort to reach a more secure endstate in Iraq? His rebuttal letter writers are men with logical arguments and sound judgment. In short they sound like warriors, and he sounds like a REMF.

And there is such an animal in Iraq. The men call them FOBBITs since they are folks who rarely leave the "safety and comfort" of the Forward Operating Bases, even though the FOBs may not be typical safe and secure havens in Iraq as you might expect in other wars. Those FOBs sometimes got shelled daily and are "comfort zones" only if you compare Dante's Inferno to Shit River in PI. So the Captain may be a man serving his country, but he has allowed himself to remove all doubt about his intelligence and judgment in this pursuit.

Good post, youngster. Press on. Your picture is on the piano.


12/02/2005 9:26 PM

Anonymous Che said...

Interesting points, magorm. You criticise Bubblehead for calling the captain a REMF, then you basically call Bubble the same thing to shut him up.

There are no IEDs under water? Granted, the Cole wasn't a sub, but the raft that blew up beside it might be considered an IED. Rig up some arty shells in the gulf, and you've got IEDs. The fact that Al Qaeda has chosen not to take on the Navy in this conflict, doesn't mean they couldn't change their mind.

A few mines and it could get ugly. And there are no Marines on subs to protect the crew.

12/03/2005 6:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is was all said and done there was five new Rangers that put on that prestigious OD green cover, George Dusek MSI, Nathan Colston MSI, Jeff Pirozzi MSI, and Renee Oaks MSI (Nurse Corps), and James Waken MSI.

That "MSI" is probably indicating they're first-year medical students (borne out by the "Nurse Corps" note after Renee Oaks' name).

11/13/2006 3:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok everyone, let's put this to rest. I am Jeff Pirozzi and I do exist. I wrote the article in the summer of 2005 while serving as an Army officer (Captain) in Al Anbar, but it wasn't published until late November. I still stand by my editorial, and I believe that given recent events, I've been proven correct. We should never have entered this war, and we need to get out. Period. P.S. It's been quite entertaining reading all your blogs. P.S.S. I graduated from ROTC in 1997, never been and never wanted to be a Ranger.

3/07/2007 7:46 PM

Blogger Richard said...

Fellas, This is looking pretty funny to me. I am 1LT Richard W. Martinson. I would like to offer some perspective on this discussion...

The then 2LT Matthew J. Martinson is a distant cousin of mine, who I met at Fort Lewis. I was speaking to him for about 10 minutes before I looked at his nametape and saw my own last name (a first for me). He was a young SFC who was bearing the Ranger tab, Pathfinder, Airborne Jump Master (w/ a combat jump), CIB... the works. Including a Ranger Scroll on his right shoulder.

He'd done his time as an enlisted guy, and picked up an ROTC Instructor slot and taught ROTC cadets. (BTW, just a note; MS-I is an abbreviation for Military Science first year. Basically a freshman cadet in ROTC). A few months later he went to OCS and got his commission. After going to his IOBC, he went to Ft. Stewart with 3ID, and deployed to Camp Liberty, Iraq and fought in Baghdad.

So, don't give into the stereotype that all 2LTs are morons and don't have any experience at all. Before I got pinned 1LT, I had an Armor platoon, and an Infantry Bradley/Rifle platoon. I am going to be pinning on CPT in a couple months here. I graduated from Saint John's University (MN) in 2004. I went to Airborne school and the SF Dive school in Key West before I got my commission. I'm an Infantry Company XO here in Iraq, just north of Baghdad.

I meet more and more 2LTs who have previous enlisted experience, and are very competent. On the other hand, I have also met 2LTs who I wouldn't trust with anything sharper than a bowling ball... But then again, I've met a few senior NCOs I wouldn't trust with watching rocks. There are good ones and bad ones in all ranks and levels of leadership

3/26/2007 2:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to MAGORN:

I am 1LT Martinson (then the 2LT in question). I stand by my comments, and only wrote them because I have experience. Not sure if you have any MAGORN, but you seem like you read an Army manual about what rank means what, and ran with it. The other Martinson, who replied is correct about my former rank...I served 10 years enlisted. However, I do want to correct one mistake, I do not have combat jump, nor a combat scroll (would love to have one), but I do NOW have a CIB. I was enlisted in the Regiment, but never had to opportunity to deploy to combat with them.

CPT Pirozza is entitled to his views as are the rest of us. You are correct that Camp Liberty is plush (disgustingly so in my mind), but that doesn't mean good units or Soldiers don't work from there. I had been in Sadr City, my company was later attached to the 10th MTN on Liberty.

Well, that is about it. Heading over again soon, and still feel the same way I did then, so I don't know if I would call it optimistic, or rather, a man with gumption who believes in something versus nothing.

3/26/2007 9:46 AM


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