Thursday, October 26, 2006
Every once in a while we get an email. Well, actually, we get a lot and we try to answer most. Yesterday, we got one from US Central Command… with a request.
Subject: U.S. Central Command
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 06:45:42 -0400
From: "Erickson, Christopher J. SPC USA" [Redacted by TGB]
To: The Galloping Beaver [Redacted by TGB]
My name is SPC Chris Erickson with U.S. Central Command Public Affairs. I came across your blog, The Galloping Beaver, yesterday and noticed your interest on Iraq .
I’m sure you’ve come across it in the past, but if you haven’t, I’d like to invite you to check out our web site, www.centcom.mil. It’s one more resource for information and you’re free to use any of it (video, audio, photos and articles) in conversations on your blog.
Also, if you like, you can be added to our mailing list. We send out news stories and press releases about US and coalition forces operations, humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. This information is also available via RSS on our site.
I appreciate your time today and I do look forward to hearing back from you.
Spc. Chris Erickson
Electronic Media Engagement Team
U.S. Central Command Public Affairs
[Redacted by TGB]
Subscribe to the CENTCOM Newsletter
Dear Specialist Erickson, (Note the nice warm comma instead of a cold austere colon)
Greetings to you too! How are things at MacDill Air Force Base? Hopefully the take-off and landing frequency of the Hurricane Hunter squadron on the base didn’t disrupt your summer in Tampa, Florida.
You just found us yesterday? What the hell have you been doing? Jeez, the US Senate, the Pentagon, CSIS, the FBI, the Canadian House of Commons, the UK Ministry of Defence and US Naval Ocean Systems Command found us months ago. Not to mention the likelihood that the US National Security Agency, British GCHQ, the Canadian Communications Security Establishment and the Australian SIO are reading each post that doesn’t contain a reference to Brittany Spears or Madonna within seconds of them being published.
Perhaps your skills on Teh Google are not as sharp as they could be. Your Commander In Chief might be able to provide some guidance in this regard.
I was aware of the current initiative on your part to recruit bloggers. I learned about it here. I must say, I was somewhat surprised that you limited your invitation to information on Iraq. I would have expected you would have offered us a wide scope to include the entire Global War On Terra™. Don’t misunderstand. Being singled out for particular attention on Iraq was heartening, although I think you may have missed the point. My country has troops in Afghanistan. You know – Task Force Aegis. Although, I understand why you may have focused on Iraq. I do post on that particular little piece of nastiness, but then, I’ve been to Iraq. The highways were just awful when I last visited. Has it changed much?
Your invitation did fill me with something. No, no, not pride. Something else. It was more akin to the feeling one gets in a Force 10 Atlantic storm at sea in a frigate. If you need clarification on that, go looking in your own command for the senior Canadian officer.
I was curious about what your mailing list might contain and then I remembered that one of the more manly members of the blogosphere had actually posted some of your material.
In reading your press release number 06-07-02P dated 26 July 2006 I noticed that you highlight a story about a Coalition patrol coming under attack and then killing a number of extremists, in the Garmser District of Helmand Province. Oddly, other sources report that the battle took place in Paktika Province. Personally, I believe you.
Your press releases seem to have missed a few details: That on 23 July, two Canadian soldiers were killed by a suicide car bomber; that a US soldier died of wounds on 24 July after being hit in a fire fight at Pesch; that on the day of your report a US soldier died by his own hand at Sharona (his brother had been killed in Iraq 16 months earlier); and, that on the day of your report two Netherlands soldiers were killed when the helicopter in which they were passengers crashed.
I know you’re very busy and probably missed those after-action reports. If it will help, I would be more than happy to provide amplifying details upon receipt of a formal request countersigned by your superior officer. If your superior officer makes the request directly, he'll need a note from, oh, say, his Mother.
This has just given me an inspiration: One which might greatly assist the Commander Central Command.
If you recall, both NATO and CentCom were shocked, shocked, I say, at the sudden insurgency that appeared in Afghanistan just as ISAF was taking command on the ground. That speaks to, shall we say, less than stellar intelligence.
The truth is, we at The Galloping Beaver predicted the Afghan insurgency with a great deal of accuracy. Posts were published, before the latest rise of the Afghan insurgency, detailing what was going to happen… here and here. Now that's intelligence analysis. Notice the distinct lack of sugar-coating on those reports. You might want to get your J2 to check in with us daily to see what other good stuff we pick up. And, just to clear up something, Cheryl's analysis was spot on and she hasn't spent one day in the service. Just think, Top Gun - callsign "Charlie".
While I appreciate your offer, Specialist, I think it might be more appropriate if you read us to gather in an accurate picture. Relying on CentCom is something akin to the Five O'clock Follies back when the earth was a little flatter and the insurgents wore black pajamas.
Since my retirement from the service after a rather full career, I haven't been one to stand on formality. However, considering I greatly exceed the rank of everyone on your team I think an exception is in order. Feel free to address me as "Sir" in all future correspondence.
The Galloping Beaver
P.S. I realize, Specialist Erickson, that most of the above is facetious. That's the price of an unsolicited email. I do, however, commend you for at least putting on the uniform of your country and serving, in whatever capacity, and performing a duty assigned. Regardless of my view of the state of affairs in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, I respect you for your willingness to serve. Perhaps you should go here and convince others to follow your example thus easing the pressure on you and your comrades.