Good Stuff At IdaBlue's Place
Idaho mil-blogger Alan over at IdaBlue has put up a few pretty good posts recently. He and I represented the Idaho blogosphere at a Flag Day rally on the Capitol steps put on by a group called "Operation Completion". He's already said most of what I was going to say here and here, but in this post he addresses a mini-controversy about the number of attendees at the rally. The organizers are claiming a crowd of about 250, and Alan estimated more like 50, and has quite a few pictures up. I went through the pictures I took, and this one seemed to show the most people:
(You can even see Alan in this picture, taking a picture.) I counted 78 distinct people when I blew the picture up, and there were about 10 people in the organizer's tent to the left of this frame, and a few more to the right. Based on this, I'd say there were about 100 people there. (This was taken about halfway through the rally.)
Alan also discusses Sara's concern (over at F-words) with the "Support The Troops" magnets people have on their cars. Sara seems to think that people displaying the magnets are "unnecessarily polarizing". Alan's much more eloquent in his response than I am -- I was reduced, in Sara's comments, to asking her if she has the same problem with "Visualize Peace" bumper stickers (they actually say "Visualize World Peace", so I didn't even get that right)-- and discusses what "support the troops" really means from the perspective of a soldier who's come home from Iraq.
His most recent post, and the one that I found most interesting, was his response to Ida-blogger Adam's statement that you won't see a left-wing Idaho blogger say that they want to "win" the war. I disagree with Alan's thesis that our current occupation of Iraq isn't part of the "Global War on Terror", and that furthermore you can't really have a war on terror. (I've always considered the "War On Terror" to be shorthand for "War Against Those Who Seek To Re-establish The Caliphate Using Terror As A Tactic", which is really a mouthful.)
I had a really long response typed up that just got eaten when Firefox locked up, so for now I'll just link to this post that links to my previous essays on why I think Iraq is an integral part of the War On Terror. I'll try to put more of my newer thoughts into this post later; for now, I'll only quibble with Alan that he messed up the phases of OIF a little bit -- OIF Phase III included the actual "major combat" portion of the war, vice OIF I as he implied. (The definition of the various phases comes from JP 3-01 as discussed in this 44 page Army War College paper.) Phase IV is the "transition" part, which hopefully we're into now for the Iraq War OPLAN (although we weren't when I left CENTCOM in 2004).
Update 2355 25 June: Actually, I just realized that when Alan referred to "OIF I" through IV he was probably talking about deployment cycles, rather than phases of OPLAN 1003V. I got confused because us staff weenies used regular numbers for deployment cycles, and Roman numerals for OPLAN phases.