There are still heroes left...

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Karl Heidenreich
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There are still heroes left...

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat May 24, 2008 12:10 am

I found this sad but encouraging note onj todays internet news:

"Soldier killed in Iraq to get Medal of Honor

Ross McGinnis jumped on grenade thrown into Humvee, saved four others

WASHINGTON - The White House announced Friday that a Pennsylvania soldier who jumped on top of a grenade in Iraq and saved the lives of his comrades will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor.

The nation's highest military honor will be given to 19-year-old Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis of Knox, Pa., on June 2.

McGinnis "distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism," said White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto.

McGinnis was perched in the gunner's hatch of a Humvee when a grenade sailed past him and into the truck where four other soldiers sat. He shouted a warning to the others, then jumped on the grenade. The grenade, which was lodged near the vehicle's radio, blew up and killed him.

Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman, said McGinnis easily could have jumped out of the truck and saved himself.

'It saved their lives'
"The instinct is, jump out of the vehicle, but his four buddies were in the vehicle with him ... and he chose to place himself on top of the grenade and absorb the impact, and it saved their lives," Edgecomb said.

McGinnis was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, in Schweinfurt, Germany.

He died on Dec. 4, 2006.

Three others have also been awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for their actions in Iraq. They are Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor and Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham."


While we sleep our democratic and peacefull dreams others fight and die against the islamic barbarism and fanatic Jihad of terrorists...
Heroes indeed, like the 300 Spartans that fought at Thermopilae...
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

lwd
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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby lwd » Sat May 24, 2008 7:01 pm

There was a case recently of a British soldier (or perhaps marine) doing the same thing but he dropped on the grenade with his back and his backpack absorbed enough of the blast that he survived.

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RF
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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby RF » Wed May 28, 2008 8:10 am

Yet another tradegdy in a conflict that has happened and continues to happen because politicians like former US President Bush and former UK Prime Minister Major failed to carry out Operation Desert Storm to its military conclusion and finish the job when they had the opportunity.

The world I think would be a far better place without the party politicians.
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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby lwd » Wed May 28, 2008 1:14 pm

RF wrote:.... failed to carry out Operation Desert Storm to its military conclusion and finish the job when they had the opportunity.

But did they? Have the opertunity that is. Most of the coallition partners did not want to see an attack deep into Iraq. This includes the host nations. Furthermore the UN mandates would not have covered it.
The world I think would be a far better place without the party politicians.

As opposed to what? Dictators? Party politics are a natural outgrowth of democracies especially those with fairly large populations.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby Bgile » Wed May 28, 2008 6:37 pm

Yes, dictators are very efficient at war if you have a Bonaparte, but most of them are simply not very competent.

Democracies have politics. Not terribly efficient at war, but there are other advantages.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu May 29, 2008 1:00 am

RF:

Yet another tradegdy in a conflict that has happened and continues to happen because politicians like former US President Bush and former UK Prime Minister Major failed to carry out Operation Desert Storm to its military conclusion and finish the job when they had the opportunity.


:ok: :ok: :clap: :clap: :clap: :ok: :ok:

You forgot the worst General ever: Colin Powell...
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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RF
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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby RF » Thu May 29, 2008 8:42 am

lwd wrote:
RF wrote:.... failed to carry out Operation Desert Storm to its military conclusion and finish the job when they had the opportunity.

But did they? Have the opertunity that is. Most of the coallition partners did not want to see an attack deep into Iraq. This includes the host nations. Furthermore the UN mandates would not have covered it.
The world I think would be a far better place without the party politicians.

As opposed to what? Dictators? Party politics are a natural outgrowth of democracies especially those with fairly large populations.


Operation Desert Storm did take Coalition Forces deep into Iraq, including western Iraq at the opposite end to Kuwait.

The failure was in not seizing Baghdad long enough to topple the Ba'ath regime, a different atitude to that of 1945.

I have never advocated dictatorship, and dictators are either sourced from the military or are from political parties, the type that doesn't allow other parties.
What I mean't was party political machine politicians, the alternative are civil leaders elected without the need for political machines, as for example in Switzerland.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby lwd » Thu May 29, 2008 2:26 pm

RF wrote: ... Operation Desert Storm did take Coalition Forces deep into Iraq, including western Iraq at the opposite end to Kuwait.

Irrelevant. Most of the players in the coalition didn't want to see us go into Baghdad or topple Saddam's regime and that wasn't covered by the UN sanctions.

The failure was in not seizing Baghdad long enough to topple the Ba'ath regime, a different atitude to that of 1945.

It was a very different war from WWII.

... What I mean't was party political machine politicians, the alternative are civil leaders elected without the need for political machines, as for example in Switzerland.

If Switzerland is without parties it is a truly rare democracy/republic. Now parties do have their down side I'll admit but they are a natural part of or outgrowth of democratic government.

Karl Heidenreich wrote: ...You forgot the worst General ever: Colin Powell...

Such statments make you appear to be totaly ignorant of military history or from a population famous for living under bridges. I guess a warped sense of humor is possible as well but even that bares the taint of said under bridge dwellers.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby RF » Fri May 30, 2008 7:56 am

The fact that the first Gulf War was different to the situation in 1945 is very much the reason why we have the problems of today. Yes, the Coalition partners did not want to finish the job by going into Baghdad, yes there were UN led sanctions. But to me invading Kuwait is no different to invading Poland, the UN is hardly any different or more useful than the League of Nations, and the job in my view should have been finished.
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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby RF » Fri May 30, 2008 8:01 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
You forgot the worst General ever: Colin Powell...


No. The worst general ever was Adolf Hitler. Colin Powell didn't quite leave a legacy of the White House being overun by Iraqi forces.
Close second places go to General Tojo, Idi Amin, Francisco Solano Lopez, Saddam Hussein and von Schlieffen.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby RF » Fri May 30, 2008 8:21 am

lwd wrote:
If Switzerland is without parties it is a truly rare democracy/republic. Now parties do have their down side I'll admit but they are a natural part of or outgrowth of democratic government.


Switzerland has a very informal political system based on its cantons, and most national decisions are made through public referenda. This is a very good system, and has kept Switzerland out of the European Union and the United Nations.

The problem I have with political parties is over whose interests they actually serve. Modern political parties serve their own sectional interests, just as politicians look after their own personal interests first. To me political parties are a denial of true democracy, they provide for elected dictatorships and don't truly represent the people. That is why I prefer the Swiss model of government, and why I support UKIP.
My other objection to political parties (I say this as a voter) is that they seem only to compete to be the most incompetent government ever. Now I always vote in British elections, and over the last 30 years I have never voted for the winning candidate or the winning party. A lot of people in Britain feel like me and don't bother to vote because there is nothing worth voting for and their vote doesn't matter anyway. So we now have the situation where more people don't vote than who voted for the winner. So the government in my view has no true legitimacy, it is there by default.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:10 pm

lwd:

Such statments make you appear to be totaly ignorant of military history or from a population famous for living under bridges. I guess a warped sense of humor is possible as well but even that bares the taint of said under bridge dwellers.


I must admitt lwd´s answer was fair because my statement was, by itself, stupid: I deserve it. But I will try to give some arguments in order to support the affirmation that Powell was not a good general (but not the worst, indeed).

RF:
No. The worst general ever was Adolf Hitler. Colin Powell didn't quite leave a legacy of the White House being overun by Iraqi forces.
Close second places go to General Tojo, Idi Amin, Francisco Solano Lopez, Saddam Hussein and von Schlieffen.


Let´s leave Hitler for the last. Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein were not generals as we westeners define them: both were sect leaders that became dictators with military glory lust but without any education, training or capacity to be such. Both of them got kicked with quite ease.

Solano López was posibly a good representative of the Latin American banana republic´s dictator but his behaivor was not worse than that of Mexico´s Santa Ana, who managed to lose half his country´s territory due to an ambitious, ill coincived and terrible lead military campaing first against Texas and then against the US expedicionary forces invading his mainland. In one expression: bad general.

I´ll not say anything about Tojo now because I´m waiting to be delivered the book "Shattered Sword" which I believe will complete my conception of this guy.

I believe RF´s remarks about von Schlieffen are not fair. At last we must blame von Moltke (the young) for the ill execution of a workable plan. Schlieffen was given a quite difficult task of creating a plan that must deal with imposible odds. And, let´s face it, it could have worked if Moltke´s didn´t lost his nerve and weakened his right flank in order to protect his left one. The whole idea, anyway, couldn´t have worked because neither side had enough forces and resources to outmanouver the other. Schlieffen wasn´t that bad, at the least.

About Hitler I won´t be his advocate (so don´t mis interpret me) but we must face some things. A problem with this guy is that he died before he can speak to western interrogation (even if he lived is difficult to know what would have become of him being a prisioner of the comies and Uncle Joe). In the book about Kursk from Glantz and House there is question opened in which some or total blame for faulty operations must be placed over the shoulders of sacred cows as Guderian or Manstein themselves. If something went wrong then there was Hitler to blame, anyway he was:
1. Evil
2. Political dead
3. Defeated
Who´s the best to carry out the burden of defeat?
In the first campaigns he wasn´t that bad a general: he wiped Poland which wasn´t an easy target; he commited his forces against the low countries and Norway with inferior naval resources and got away with it; and for last he gave the French the kick of their lives. At the Battle of Britain he believed the word of his "expert" in aerial warfare Goering who guaranteed him the Luthwaffe could wipe English air defenses. It was Goering´s advice, not Hitler doing that defeat.
About Barbarossa we see that one mistake was to open it in June and not in May: not Hiter´s doing but his ally, Mussolini´s lousy and chaotic campaing against in the Balcans.
Again: he could have waited a year. Can he? From hindsight we know he could. But back then I would have believed that Stalin was ready to strike also. Anyway we know he was considering the move.
Barbarossa was faulty? Was his blame? I must say that here we saw the first BIG MISTAKE from Hitler. Not in unleashing ther offensive because it could have worked the way the General Staff planed it. But Hitler´s intervention in the seizing of Kiev and all that stuff, delaying the main thrust against Moscow was fatal. Here we have the signs of the good general becoming a bad one. But was Germany defeated in the winter of 41? Not a slightest bit. Germany was able to mount a second offensive in the 42 which lead to Stalingrad. Which, I must admitt was the second greatest mistake of Hitler (maybe THE mistake). After that all his moves became more and more those of a trapped and doomed animal.
Was he worst general in history? Worse than whom?

Some examples of very bad generals that, as Hitler, spoke doom for their causes:

Xerxes: his ill concieved and bad executed plan in Greece led his forces to utter defeat against the numerical inferior allied greeks.
Gaius Terentius Varro: the roman guy who, having incredible superior numerical superiority managed to get kicked by Hannibal
Crassus: well, Crassus is Crassus.
Marc Anthony: history at it´s best.
Charles d'Albret: the French commander at Agincourt.
Napoleon: just see 1812 Russian campaign and Waterloo.
Emmanuel de Grouchy: the guy who condemned Napoleon at Waterloo...
Napoleon III: he didn´t have anything to envy to Hitler as a lousy commander
George Armostrong Custer: Little Big Horn´s main participant.
What about all the "great" commanders in WWI: Alexander Samsonov, Pavel von Rennenkampf, Joffre, Foch, Douglas Haig, French, Falkenhayn, Moltke the Young, (let´s not put Hindenburg nor Ludendorff in this lot because as political faulty as they were we must recognize they were military competent in an era of incompetents), etc. etc.
What about Gamelin or Weigand in WWII? No one was ever kicked as they were, not even Hitler.
What about Robert McNamara and Maxwell Taylor at Vietnam? They managed to get their field commander Westmoreland in a no-winning situation (at last Westmoreland´s never authorized idea of invading North Viet Nam cutting the Ho Chi Ming trail and occupy Hanoi speak good of him).

Bad generals: they outnumber the good ones 10-1. Hitler was one of the worse ones, in quite good company...

I´m running out of time so I will take Powell later...

Best regards
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby Bgile » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:39 pm

My friend, I can't believe you put Bonaparte in that list. The guy was brilliant. Have you studied his campaigns? Invading Russia was a mistake, but he was in good company. Waterloo was fought against two opponents who greatly outnumbered him. His army was a thrown together remnant of what came before, and he was sick. Even then, the battle is still studied by soldiers.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby lwd » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:10 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: RF:
No. The worst general ever was Adolf Hitler.....

Let´s leave Hitler for the last....

I'm not even sure he qualifies as a general so we could just leave him out. Thread might be less controversial that way too.

I´ll not say anything about Tojo now because I´m waiting to be delivered the book "Shattered Sword" which I believe will complete my conception of this guy.

Unfortunatly since he was army he doesn't recieve a whole lot of coverage in Shattered Sword
...Napoleon: just see 1812 Russian campaign and Waterloo...

I'm not sure these are fair test of genralship. The Russian campaign failed becasue he misjudged the Russain and in particular the czar's will. As such it's more of a political failure than a military one. The Russain tactic of denying battle after Borodino and maintaining an army in the field was unexpected and inovative for the time. It does take off some of the luster but enought to put him in the worst catagory. Then there is Waterloo. The basic plan wasn't bat but the combination of failures on the part of his subordinates and his own incapacitation during the battle again point to this not being a "fair" test of his generalship.

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Re: There are still heroes left...

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:44 pm

Bgile:

My friend, I can't believe you put Bonaparte in that list. The guy was brilliant. Have you studied his campaigns? Invading Russia was a mistake, but he was in good company. Waterloo was fought against two opponents who greatly outnumbered him. His army was a thrown together remnant of what came before, and he was sick. Even then, the battle is still studied by soldiers.


First of all, thanks for calling me friend. Second, I believe that Napoleon, as important as he was (even a cannon was named after him and all and Old Bobby Lee spoke with reverence about him) was not that incredible "super genius" that´s commonly assumed. He was brilliant, indeed, not a single doubt about it. But was he a genius as Alexander or Julius Casesar? My personal opinion is not. Neither Alexander nor Caesar commited the mistakes that later Bonaparte did. If I have to compared him with someone then we have Pompei Magnus, who resembles the corsican in some ways.

At 1812 and Waterloo he is the only responsible for catastrophic defeats and incredible casualties. But there is this aura around him that makes a poor favour to truth. I have never been at the Waterloo battlefield but from what I have read it resembles more to a shrine to napoleonic feats more than to the place were Wellington gave a soldiering lesson to the french. And the number of posibles excuses to the Waterloo defeat is incredible, even it is rumored that Bonaparte was suffereing from haemorrhoids that day, that his cavalry fell into a hidden ditch, that the rain made the terrain more absorving to artillery shells making the french barrage less effective, etc. etc. Nobody saids, on the other hand, that Wellington had to deal with the Prince of Orange´s stupid decisions that almost destroyed his right flank and that lost no less than three complete infantry columns, or that the "allied" units had poor cohesion, etc. etc.

No, Bonaparte did his part in his own defeat for what he can be cataloged as both: a great and a bad general.... or if it suits better: a good general that had a couple of bad seasons.

Best regards.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill


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