American Elephants


They can proudly claim the title of United States Marines. by The Elephant's Child

Michael Ledeen posts a stirring account of Marines fighting in Afghanistan, at the Corner.

Marine Makes Insurgents Pay the Price November 18, 2008 Marine Corps News
by Cpl. James M. Mercure

FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.

The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.

Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines’ deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.

“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”



Take a moment to remember. by The Elephant's Child
November 25, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but Ukrainians are remembering Holodomor, the horrific famine in 1932-1933 when the policies of Stalin led to the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians at the rate of twenty-five thousand peasants per day.  Can you conceive of that number?

The great historian of the Soviet Terror, Robert Conquest, has noted that this genocide had two terrible effects: over the next decade or so, more than ten million peasants died.  At the same time, the Communists who oversaw the mass murder were brutalized into becoming bureaucrats for whom terror was an acceptable, normal method of carrying out “the revolution”.  Chilling!

Michael Ledeen invites us to remember, and to put the blame where it belongs.



Memo to President-elect Barack Obama: by The Elephant's Child

This is delicious.  The federal government, over the past 16 years, has invested billions of dollars in building a fleet of 112,000 alternative-fuel vehicles to serve as a model for the country’s benighted citizens.

It seemed like a good idea, but bureaucratic brilliance has a way of going haywire.  The expensive effort to put more workers into vehicles powered by ethanol and other alternate fuels ran into the minor problem that there were not fuel stations in place to support them. Oops!

“I call it the ‘Field of Dreams” plan.  If you buy them they will come,” said U.S. Postal Service vehicle operations manager Wayne Corey.  “It hasn’t happened.”

Under a mandate from Congress, federal agencies have gradually enlarged their fleets of alternative-fuel vehicles, most of them “flex-fuel,” capable of running on either gasoline or ethanol-base E85 fuel. Many of the vehicles were sent to locations that were hundreds of miles from a flex-fuel station.  Because of this awkward detail, more than 92 percent of the fuel used in the government’s alternative fuel fleet is simply ordinary gasoline.  A 2005 law requires agencies to seek waivers when a vehicle is more than five miles or 15 minutes from an ethanol pump. More paperwork as well.

The newest versions of flex-fuel vehicles often come only with larger engines than the ones that they replaced in the fleet.  So the program has often increased gasoline consumption and emission rates.

Not to mention the little side issues like the climbing cost of food because we are putting food crops in our gas tanks. Or, of course, the hunger strikes in developing countries.  We can look forward to the rules that Congress develops to save the automobile industry.




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