October 17, 2007

Media Laments Lost Opportunities in Iraq

Estes Thompson and Mike Baker of the Associated Press note that America's all volunteer military isn't taking advantage of opportunities the way their predecessors did:

American troops killed their own commanders so often during the Vietnam War that the crime earned its own name - "fragging."

But since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has charged only one soldier with killing his commanding officer, a dramatic turnabout that most experts attribute to the all-volunteer military.


Both Roland and Anderson said today's all-volunteer military, compared with soldiers being forced into duty in Vietnam, is the primary reason why fragging attacks are almost nonexistent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conditions in Iraq are also much less conducive to the crime, Roland said.

"There's not as much isolated operation," Roland said. "One of the things about Vietnam was the extremes of small-unit activity, where a squad or platoon would go out on patrol and it was just them and the jungle. They were out of sight of other Americans.

"In Iraq, you never know when a helicopter might be going over or a newsman comes along," he said.

You can almost feel their pain.

Update: Wretchard looks into what the "experts" cited in this story got wrong.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 17, 2007 04:26 PM

How ignorant! These people do not have a clue.

Posted by: Sara at October 17, 2007 04:43 PM

Actually, some media pinheads have gotten their chubbies on by charging that this volunteer military has shifted "friendly" fire from officers to journalists.

Not that that would be an entirely bad thing, mind you. But ridiculous in the event.


Posted by: Rick at October 17, 2007 05:16 PM

WTF are these idiots talking about? I was in the RVN for almost 2 tours and I never saw an officer fragged.

Posted by: 1sttofight at October 17, 2007 05:53 PM

Some officers that were leading their men to slaughter through they're ignorance were possibly fragged, in their quarters, not on the battle field. The Media as far as I'm concerned should be issued a shirt with a bulls eye on the back and a statement, 'Shoot me, I'm the enemy'. They have earned nothing less.

Posted by: Scrapiron at October 17, 2007 05:57 PM

Like babykilling and nun raping, I imagine fragging was one of those things that happened a lot more in the liberal imaginations than in reality.

Posted by: SGT Jeff (USAR) at October 17, 2007 06:37 PM


After what they have printed about the military, if I were in the media and in Iraq, I do not think I would be putting ideas in the minds of troops who have lost buddies in the field. That whole campaign to smear the troops was not very well thought out.

Posted by: capitano at October 17, 2007 07:16 PM
That whole campaign to smear the troops was not very well thought out.
You assume that lefties are capable of intelligent thought. I've seen no evidence of such, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. One capable of intelligent thought would have checked to see if Glocks were used only by the Iraqi police, to cite but one example. Posted by: C-C-G at October 17, 2007 07:47 PM

It's clear that Winter Soldier Syndrome isn't limited to those that served in the military.

Liberal (adj.) [lib-er-uh / lib-ruhl] 1. a sufferer of grand delusions, usually manifesting on narcissistic personal behavior and nihilistic social outlook or intent, often combined with pathological lying and other deceitful behaviors; 2. one who is exceptionally bad at math and lacks a basic comprehension of probability; 3. an economic parasite.

Posted by: redherkey at October 17, 2007 07:49 PM

Ahh, the good old days...Were they *ever* really that good?

I wonder if there is a term for "killing stupid reporters because they really P!$$ED me off?" I think I'd call it 'Fair and Balanced'.

Posted by: fretless at October 17, 2007 08:09 PM

One wonders if some of the reporters' deaths in Iraq weren't due to the Armed Forces, but because the reporters blithely walked into danger assuming that the terrorists surely wouldn't harm them, members of the media elite.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 17, 2007 08:32 PM

Not that anyone here really cares, but "fragging" was indeed a real and hideous phenomena that claimed hundreds of U.S.-on-U.S. casualties (both dead, maimed, and wounded) during the demoralized final years of the American war in Vietnam (basically 1969-72).

The motives involved had less to do with incompetent leaders being removed by seasoned grunts (though such incidents certainly took place), and more to do with racial tension and stoned draftees vs hardnosed lifers. Most of these incidents took place in the rear, not in combat, where shared danger tended to put the drug and racial BS on the backburner.

Anyway, all this "fragging" stuff has been thoroughly documented over the years (see, for example, the official USMC histories of the role of the Marine Corps in the Vietnam War).

In other words, this subject is not a liberal invention. Sheesh!

Posted by: PITA at October 17, 2007 08:37 PM

"You can almost feel their pain."

Definitely not. They seem to be excreting a large brick, rasp-edged and hard-fired. PITA's doing the same thing, hence its acronym. Soon to be PRB for P**nf*l R*ct*l Bl**d*ng, caused by passing a cheese grater from admitting victory in Iraq.

Tuck's are recommended for soothing relief.

Posted by: G. Loater at October 17, 2007 08:47 PM

Hey, Mr. Loater. Only left a comment because was surprised that others here seem to have the idea that "fraggings" didn't take place in Vietnam, but are an invention of the Left.

Didn't say anything about Iraq. Incidentally, I interpreted the article in question as comparing the professionalism of the all-volunteer military in Iraq with the demoralized draftees of the latter days of the Vietnam War.

So, please, no more comments about excreting bricks and cheese graters and such. Weird.

Posted by: PITA at October 17, 2007 09:27 PM

I was a Navy nurse for 2 tours in Viet Nam from late '69 through April '72. I agree with PITA. Most of the problems were spill-over from the same crap that was going on in the states at the time, especially the racial tensions. We also saw a huge increase in drug use, which caused no end of problems, even without the fraggings.

For those of you too young to remember what it was really like during those years, I suggest that you read up on it, and especially look at the newspapers at the time. The louder the hippies screamed brotherhood and love, the bigger the riots and the hotter our cities burned. We were as close to anarchy in this country as any time in our history. Those in the military were increasingly characterized by an unfriendly press as the enemy. I don't think I was ever angrier than I was when the orders came down that servicemen were no longer allowed to wear their uniforms in public--because of the danger to those who were serving. I come from a military family; that was a bitter pill to swallow.

It took years of dedication for us to rebuild our military into the proud force it is today. Those who want to reinstitute the draft want to wipe those years away and leave us with the mess it was after Viet Nam. Their motivation is just the same as it was back then.

It might help to remember that the military isn't above the problems of the society that produces it.

Posted by: saltydog at October 18, 2007 12:05 AM

Can you substitute bs for the bad word?

Posted by: daleyrocks at October 18, 2007 12:37 AM

"Hundreds", PITA?

Would you care to provide actual evidence of that claim?

Or even factual backup for a claim of "scores"?

Do you know how many junior officers even SERVED in-country in Viet Nam? Or what percentage of them "hundreds" would be?

Apply some Preperation H for that brick of bull that just dropped out of your mouth.

Posted by: DaveP. at October 18, 2007 06:31 AM

Yes, Dave, there were indeed "hundreds" of fraggings during the final demoralized days of the Vietnam War.

Documentation? Okay, let's turn to Chapter 4 of AMERICA IN VIETNAM by Guenter Lewy (a very pro-military book, by the way), which cites these numbers from a Congressional Investigation into U.S. Army fraggings in Vietnam: 126 incidents in 1969 (with 37 deaths), 271 incidents in 1970 (with 34 deaths), and 333 incidents in 1971 (with 12 deaths).

These are only U.S. Army fraggings in Vietnam. The U.S. Marine Corps also had its share (almost all were racial in motivation) in 1969-71, as documented in the official USMC histories of the Vietnam War.

Many rear areas were descending into anarchy in Vietnam in 1969-71. Hey, man, these were bad times for the country and the military. Race hatred, drug abuse, generational and cultural splits, ad naseum. One symptom was fragging. It was real. It was not an invention of the Left.

Posted by: PITA at October 18, 2007 08:03 AM

FTA: "These people knew the war was pretty much lost, that they were going to be sacrificed." If this was the reason for the fragging incidents in Vietnam, then this means that soldiers in Iraq know that we are WINNING and they are NOT going to be sacrificed.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at October 18, 2007 08:40 AM

I served 14 months in Vietnam and my experience was pretty much as PITA described. Fragging was pretty much a threat confined to larger bases. As much as the MSM like to protray the war as one of the mindless slaughter of GI's, boredom was a larger factor in the breakdown of morale. A year on a base with nowhere to go and nothing to do would be about the same as a year in low-security prison. Only a fairly low percentage of the troops were actually in the field engaged in combat at any one time. The lower-ranked draftees and the generally higher-classed officers usually resented having to be with each other, sometimes with open hostility. Combine this depressing mood with drugs and alcohol and the results were as described. Fragging was indeed a fact of life, but it was generally a manifestation of social conflict than the tragic by-product of an evil, unjust war as portrayed by the media.

Posted by: willis at October 18, 2007 12:36 PM