NORTH KOREA : The Reclusive One

40° North – 127° East

Population: 25 M

GDP: 40 B

Per Capita $1, 800

The Peninsula

The Peninsula

 Built around a cult like admiration for their oligarchical (small powerful group) leader, North Korea is bloated with repression, propaganda and agreeably the most closed off nation on the planet. 

Geography 

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (N. Korea) shares its borders with its southern partner South Korea on the peninsula. This stretch of land is almost surrounded completely by water. Mainly,  three bodies of water encompass the land including, the Korean strait a narrow stretch of water to the sea of Japan which sprouts from the Pacific; its west coast and lastly the Korean Bay on its east coast, which is indented into the land from the sea. (Dictionary of Geography, Moore, W.G. 1949).

The big significance of this peninsula is great because four major superpowers have interests in the region. To include China whose continent size country is always looking to expand, Russia; who has purely commercial interests in oil around the maritime areas. The last two are Japan and U.S. who will come to the aid of the South Korean people should any real action take place. Thus the biggest economies have some sort of interest to deter Korea from being wiped off the maps.

Two countries on one large peninsula, increases the tension between these obviously different nations.  To the south, a vibrant, bustling modern economy with colorful ads and bright lights, and the North with its bleak, secretive dim-lit Stalinist approach to governing its people.

Political Control

The nation is described by political writer, Gene Sharp as an isolated dictatorship”. The official deemed name,  the Workers party; controls all aspects of life that monitor its borders, cyber media and punishes its objectors with extreme brutality, which is eerily reminiscent of Nazi Germany prison camps in the desolate and choked of mountains where no one can be heard. In response to the 2002 George W. Bush’  ‘Axis of Evil‘ proclamation, North Korea has become obsessively anxious. This is due to their isolationist stance, or a solo belief that Western forces will act in a preemptive way or initialize action first in a militant effort to prevent Korea from unleashing all out war with their hidden arsenal, which has been increasing its use since 2009(Congressional Research Service). They believe we will strike them the way we did to Iraq or  in Yemen with drone warfare against Islamic extremists.

Kim Dynasty

The nuclear family centered  and traditionalist Koreans of the North have succeeded in continuing their family sequence of leaders for three generations (1953). The military totalitarian rule has been in place since the establishment of the Communist regime by the Grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong Un ( Kang, Korean Studies Institute, University of Southern California, 2013).

The succession has been successful due to the hermit like preservation of the old life, not ‘selling out’ to become more westernized.  In this attempt to contain all that classical about the old ways comes political oppression, and detainment of political refugees that are not adhering to the central control of the party. Reports are that the most sever prison camps are in the north of the country, where individuals are forced make clothing.

In essence, the confrontation is two-sided, one  is a struggle to maintain a more traditional lifestyle for North Korea; to keep its strong sense of national identity and two to prove that it has the capability of projecting its own force in the peninsula.

The now twenty something commander, Kim Song Un sits on the throne of the newly given position only years after his father Kim Jong Il passed away from a heart attack when he was travelling on a train though the country side (2011). North Korea’s main objective is their ” supreme national goal” of reuniting the peninsula’s Korea’s, which has “technically been in war for 60 years” (Hodge, H Korean Strategy)

The brutality of the slave camps are some of the most evil works to date, where the works of wretched men inflict psycho torture on the weak. Included is starvation, that leads to some of the most horrifying acts survival to harsh to mention in this post.

 

My turn to play...

My turn to play…

 

Security/ Military Threat

Former ambassador Christopher Hill affirmed “missiles that Korea posses cannot reach the continental U.S. yet. ” (MSNBC) This being said, the motivated Koreans are continually testing, tweaking and improving their rockets and are attempting to develop a nuclear payload that could be placed on a rocket. The problem is not so much the conventional idea of all out launching of missiles from Seoul to L.A., but the real threat of Korea making transactions on the black market with other rogue organizations who have no problems of targeting western alliances.

North Korea is a far right, ultra conservative, ultra nationalist country with no motivation to become Westernized like its southern counterpart.  A racially biased cadre of leadership controls their people with ‘brainwashing.” The state has an extreme penal system and is clinging to its Hammer and Sickle ideology, evidence of this is “all TV and radio stations are pre-tuned to government channels.” (http://www.cia.gov)

This area of the world is under constant analysis and the threat of a regional conflict is always present.Evidence of this can be witnessed with the dividing line that is the 38th parallel, which slices the two countries in half and is monitored by both Republic Korean troops and American forces alike. Called the most militarized zone in the world, the tension is said to be palpable with both forces literally staring nose to nose in an area of the world which hasn’t changed since the Cold War.

So, we have stalemate in which if one side is backed into the corner, they may only have a few cards to play. Our options are limited to economic assistance and military deterrence. This will continue to be a major headline in the world of geopolitics until this an evolution of some sort will come.  Three priorities will be the focus 1. The military threat, 2. the social arena and bringing Korea into the global picture with business and finally 3. human rights, if we can maneuver their people to see the light, perhaps other threats will stop.  This needs to happen for all parties to maintain peace.

Situation Report: Jordan

JORDAN: Intelligence Report

 Greenwich Mean Time +2 Hours

31 degrees North 36 Degrees East

Capital: Amman

Major Cities: Irbid, Aqaba, Petra

 

 

Intelligence defined; the product resulting from the collection, evaluation, analysis, integration, and interpretation of all collected information (United States Marine Corps). This is an open source report or 0SINT (open source intelligence), a quick resource for your travels abroad. I have used CIA fact books, geographical books, intelligence publications, radio broadcasts, internet videos, state releases and my personal collection of books to produce the information provided. As with all intelligence, time is always a factor for a ‘renewing’ cycle.  Stay informed, stay vigilant and stay safe.

Jordan also known as The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan sits with a population around 6.5 million (2008, CIA). It is filled with a landscape that has succumbed to its shift in tectonic plates that dissects the region. This Middle Eastern plot is home to a moderate throne, a more westernized way of living, and national security military industrial and naval port (Aqaba) keeps the country safe and running. Although many countries boast about blending traditional roles with the new modernization, Jordan truly has both worlds to offer. With its young educated demographic returning from Western education, bringing the best of art, culture and food back to the hills of Amman.  An epicenter of culture of the new Middle East.

The center of the royalty ruled being Amman, with its rolling twenty one hills and ancient ruins. Jordan is renowned for its geographic landscape that can vary from the Dead Sea elevation to 1,000 meter mountainous formations. The three top physical areas that are of most importance are the West Bank, where the rift valley is, the south eastern barren lands of the Syrian Desert that stretches; “Great boxes of sand take over as the water is scarce in these parts of the world.” (Library of Congress) and The

 

Historic Brief

According to the profile report from the 2006 Library of Congress, “Islam spread through ought the Arabian Peninsula since the seventh century, and with it came the empires of the Arabs, into the deserts swept in the Monotheistic faith.” The Hashemite descendants claim to their lineage all the way to the Islamic Prophet Mohamed. Through a series of family clans, tribes and geographic zones the country is dissected, although most Jordanians are of the left inclined Sunni sect. Bedouin who are composed of a huge majority of Arabs are the main composition of the people, along with one percent of Armenians (Congressional Research Department)

  

Commercial brief

The Congressional Research Service states, “the economy has few natural resources and a small industrial base, which is why the country is heavily dependent on external aid from abroad, tourism, expatriates and service sectors to produce.”

The cultivation of the Kingdom- cucumbers, tomatoes, citrus fruits and fish from the sea port which weigh over one ton annually. (Library of Congress)

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) sits around $5,300 per capita (2010 est.) in a land where state privatization of goods such as phosphate and agriculture fields has been strongly protested. (CIA World Fact Book)

Unrest in Kings Tribal base– “Since 2010 economic frustration has led to public criticisms of the King and Queen Rania, due to high unemployment of youths, regional rampant corruption and limited economic mobility.” (Congress Research Division, Jordan: Background Relations Foreign Policy.com)

A livelihood that does seem to flourish, is that of the military industrial complex/ security establishment.  Is heavily involved in training of the worlds and regions best Special Forces, such as Qataris, Chinese and American elite commando units participate in an event coordinated by the Kings Special Operations Command. The special mock complex boasts a plane, rappel tower and runway. All this is available due to what I call the special protectionism for Jordan.

Protectionism

Jordan being an official ally of the United States is much safer in general than the other Middle East medley, simply because all of the military aid packages it receives from Big Brother (U.S.), it is an incentive for Jordan, which is a key partner in the fight against international terrorism, to act cognizant of their foreign relations, always siding with the West.  Being a pivotal role into maintaining a security presence that is pro-western amongst a nation where the borders with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria and the Holy Lands of Israel and Palestine territories makes Jordan the most crucial in terms of raw security ties and capabilities in the whole Middle Eastern cradle.

Military budgets, a big cooperation with the Pentagon, reported by the State Department. Jordan receives Military aid in form of training and technologies. King Abdullah has a lot to lose, terms like border integrity and capacity building are correlated with national security and outside investments.

 

Topographical Layout

The terrain is dominated by landscape that is world renown, including the ancient labyrinth city of Petra, The Dead Sea (lowest elevation), and the Great Rift Valley, which joins the country with the Gaza’s West Bank.  Mountainous Plateaus and barren sediment rock formations dominate the landscape, from the west portion of the country eventually giving way to the east, with high steppes, and rivers. Its overall system is labeled by the Library of Congress as, “maritime weather category with gorges and valleys.” Its primary water route is accessed through the southern port, the Gulf of Aqaba harbor, and 35 kilometers of shared coastal with Israel in the very southwest of the country. This is a key area in the south of Amman and even further past the ancient Petra, the city carved in a canyon of winding entry ways. An astonishing work of colossal proportions with engraved monuments. Mountains along the western side of the country give way to desert plateaus and a dry and arid desert to the south and east.

 

Governmental Control

The political order in this of the Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, with ultimate power resting in the King, a traditional family ruler who descends from a direct lineage from his father. In classic monarchy form, the Prince is designated from an early age to rule the country. King Abdullah II, the King has been on the throne since 1999, after his father King Hussein sat on the monarchy since the 50’s. Switching from a conservative role, it is Abdullah who is seen as a progressive in Middle Eastern standards is concerned.

Infrastructure

The City of Amman, which is home to 60% of the population is, “a series of overpasses, underpasses, and the taxi drivers are quite honest.” (www.jordanjubilee.com) Be advised, whenever stepping into a cab, that you have someone with you, know exactly where you are going and always carry a map, most likely found in a four or five star hotel.  Are you traveling south, north? How long does it take to get to airport or main souk?

The dominate Trans-Jordanian highway, once made it possible for Saddam Hussein to transport his lucrative oil to Jordan back before the first Bush saw fit to reduce the Baath Party tyranny, later he was disposed of, leaving Jordan dry in the wells.

Intelligence Brief

G2/S2: in military jargon is the tactical intelligence section of a unit which provides reports, advisements, warnings and notifications. In this section I will discuss recent happenings in country.

In 2009, a suicide bomber attacked military outpost Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, killing members of a CIA intelligence team and two security contractors, the attack was reenacted in the 2013 film, Zero Dark Thirty. The attacker was 32-year-old Jordanian doctor named Humam Khalil Muhammad Abu Mulal al-Balawi.

It is extremely important to be aware of your environments. The main streets, the markets, the souks, the main shopping plazas, not everything is what it seems on the surface, so stay vigilant and informed every day; before you travel anywhere, know your destination, province and location relative to Amman, as the capital will be your base if you will.

Security issues always plague the country, not in the true sense, but always in a theoretical sense of what ifs.

  • What if Wahhabism      from the south eastern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spreads its extreme      ideologies to Jordan?
  • Wahhabis      belief preaches the extreme Jihad, which is power by death and blood, the      Jihad, to extinguish all lesser behaved Muslims and even more extreme      non-Muslims. Through the strict rules of abiding by the Mullahs, including      Sharia Law and the maltreatment of women.

Jordan has always been a loner in its region since 1991 when it sided with the Western unilateral force to remove Iraqi’s Baath command. (Global Disorder, Harvey, R.) Its neighbors haven’t enjoyed the same handsome military aid package, which is evident by the Kings Special Operation Command Training Center north of Amman. The Special Operation Command (S.O.C.) hosts several elite military teams for training and competition in honor of King Abdullah and boasts a top level training complex complete with a mock training town and airstrip facility.

The adjacent proxy conflict with Syrian sectarian violence is both an internal and external forces has created thousands of refugees to Jordan’s borders. These people are mostly Palestinian descent and the influx has created tension with official border crossing points. (Human Rights Watch, HRW.ORG) It is now a growing concern that,

“Zones of chaos are increasingly becoming a problem for Israelis and Jordanians.” (Brookings Institute Counterterrorism Report, Bynum)  In a 2008 Council on Foreign Relations press release, it was evident that there is shift from Iraq conflict to the Syrian/Jordanian border, this is what the council might have been advised on.

Hezbollah – party of God” – in Jordan, a number of people reported that some Jordanians linked to the Muslim Brotherhood are receiving training in Hezbollah camps. Though the extent of this seems limited, it speaks to an overall concern in Jordan about increasing Iranian influence.”

 

External Influences

The following excerpt is from the National Public Radio’s Debra Amos on the refugees in Jordan-

“Jordanians told me that they might use financial penalties to encourage the Iraqis who overstayed their welcome to leave, but then undercut this by saying Jordan could not abandon them. This led to a pitch (one I endorse) for the United States to take more refugees and for the international community to give more aid to Jordan to take care of the refugees.”

Through this idea of protectionism, is one of many policies which keep the U.S. in the target of right wing extremist groups like Al-Qaeda.

“Although Jordan itself does not seem prone to radicalization, daily violence and unrest are now common not only in Iraq but also in Gaza and Lebanon. This could easily spread to Syria and the West Bank. This is not a terrorism problem per se (though terrorism, of course, would be part of the challenge), but it reflects broader governance issues that are a problem for much of the Arab world”

 

  • The      Syrian Civil Conflict has created an influx of people, fleeing the war      torn areas, “
  • A half      million in Jordan, cramped in camps, chaos between the state police trying      to manage buses with heaving crowds. Jordanian riot police, families separated,      fleeing camps grim life, Not enough room for everyone is standing
  • “Life      is bad at Zatri , 25,000 in trailers.” zatri is hell, a reverse      exodus,”
  • UN-      10,000 return to Syria each month.
  • People      are anxious to enjoy the struggle, and return to properties.
  • Constant      shelling in Syria.
  • Quotas      for border police, overwhelmed by strain
  • In a      country where resources are already scarce, “sympathy for Syrians is      running out and are now being treated less than second tier citizens.”

Defense Report; Drones, The Pacific and JSOC.

predator_dronecropped-globe3t2.jpg

There is a shift in defense policy as the once bulky armed forces of Iraq now switches and leaves conventional and turns to an evident increase of special force strike teams, task force missions, and a innovative way of unconventional warfare. Through this organization and covert style, several proxy wars have come about in the last few years, conflicts though which two parties engage each other through actors, such as Syria and Mali.

The major Pacific policy, area of operations (AO) is now Asia South Pacific, Seth Jones from the Rand Corp, a thin-tank stated, “Back to the Marines original modus operandi as an amphibious strike force, with our major ally Australia basing 2,500 Marines.” This strategic placing of Marines is more of a deterrent to the rising power China. It ensures that the Pacific will be covered tactically from Japan and Australia and the NAVY’s vast range of its fleet.

 

 

Budget sequestration is a real impact and how the Pentagon, had to make cuts in every department. It will now manipulate or use their manpower and technologies to be heavily relied upon through international cooperation, dominance over water ways and fighting over air space. Lastly, the preemptive domestic factors and battling new threats which are growing. Three major factors have made President Obamas new defense policy a force to be reckoned with, special forces teams via the Joint Special Operations command, a one stop gathering of all elite units and the command that facilitates hand in hand work with CIA. (Defensestudies.org)The Osama Bin Laden targeting was done by members of the Special Air Unit (SOAR) and S.E.A.L.S., the top tiered counter terrorist strike unit with global capability. Made up of 12 man teams who are experts at strike package force, precision target killings and deep reconnaissance, the SEALS teams are masters of chaos.

Two, the seamless and globalized communication infrastructure that allow digital intelligence and up to minute messages with the constellation of space and ground stations operated by the United States and her allies. Organizations can share info, stream live video feed across the world, and give an order with the stoke of a keypad.  The wired world is now converging with battle space, and the Generals are aware of this and take every advantage to win a battle.

Third is the high tech melding of the Central Intelligence Agency with the Defense Department, this tandem for whatever reason has stuck together and has dated way back, “1990’s- the intelligence community failed to warn US command of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.” (Defensestudies.org)

President Obama prefers to run covert operations and high risk than conventional troops, his early decision in July 2010, the President agreed to sign and send 30,000 additional troops as part of a surge to Afghanistan, a war which is now the longest in US history. Mr. Obama in his second term is, “toggling with the covert campaign that can be rife with diplomatic and sovereign legal risks. “ (Defensestudies.org)

Drones; auto-mode and mobile. The ‘predator’ is fit with smart bombs, and has played a significant role in taking out members of the ever present Al-Qaeda, in more than two countries. The Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are contracted to US BOEING aeronautics, Raytheon and General Dynamics Corps. Their sleek outfit with grey armament, missiles, infrared surveillance and real-time analysis is exported to NATO countries to capture or kill foreign fighters. A tactical strike in Yemen is no longer uncommon, targeting extremists within any theatre of operations such as Yemen (Central Command), after surveillance, a pre-emptive strikes follows via drones and clandestine forces. Yemen is home to the fleeing Jihadists returning to the battlefield amongst other North African nations. Yemen is latest covert operation in USCENTCOM- United States Central Command.

These robots are pilotless, with a state of the art designed aerodynamics control with a fire and forget system. Specially trained personnel from the US Air force can directly navigate drones to and from their respective control hubs, while being firmly planted somewhere in the Southwest United States.

Precision guided munitions and rockets can be attached to the underneath hub of a drone, can be programmed and have devastating aftermath when the target is hit and missed. Human rights watch group organization Amnesty International, “denounced the US raid on UBL (Bin Laden) and its drones.”

There is a current , “Rebalancing” of  resources, places like Nigeria, Somalia, North Africa,  and  Australia will be key to maintaining superior set in intelligence and sources. Water, natural gas, and petroleum will be a scarcity like never before.

Sources

http://www.defensestudies.org

http://www.bbc.com

CQ Researcher Online

CHARLIE
1000 MDT

Source Report: Memoirs from the front…

2,006 words

The past Iraq war and current Afghanistan campaign produced some of the highest casualties percentages known to man. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 60% of all troops in the countries reported being attacked or ambushed.  This author once the target of a rocket-propelled grenade also known as an RPG and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Also a towering 86% of troops received incoming fire from mortars and other explosive missiles.  The hip shoot style of the enemy mortars relied on lucky shots. A mortar is launched from a cylinder tube with trajectory angles. Simple grid coordinates would suffice for the urban warfare operator. This is presenting two accounts from the real battlefield; actual missions show the resilience of the men who overcame these odds in the latest combat theatres.

            In 2007 amid the northeastern Diyala province of Iraq, Army Sergeant Roger Chang’s active status landed here with the famed 2nd Infantry Division from Ft. Lewis Washington. Army scout troops designated mechanized are cavalry, meaning they battle an environment with their vehicles (workhorses). They integrate with tactic maneuvering, such as right flanking or assembling into an arrow formation. In laymen terms, they gather in gun trucks to step to the fight. Both army and marines train their own contingencies of land and water operators.

             “2ND to none!” the men shouted the combat brigades motto. Chang’s team operation and tasks ran successful.  During the “pump” or tour, the 24 man squad assisted in capturing one of the largest weapon cache’ or collections. Most noteworthy of their massive 700 lbs of unexploded ordnance the scouts secured. Daily mission routes in and around their area of operations (AO) remained random. Radical Islamite Mullah al Sadr issued an order for Muslims to fight the “crusaders”. A result, local religious violence broke the streets as both sections, Shia and Sunni Muslims, erupted towards the occupying force. One of the men was killed in action (KIA) from a sniper. Roger recalls, “The sniper that shot him, Syrian national. The border was right there.”

            During a dry summer day they traveled northeast. The mission; the reconnaissance troops assigned to link up and escort a military police team. Along the desert vegetation with a couple of wadis (water streams) they began their journey, The current platoon procedure required three vehicles to be moved in a convoy, single staggered style, three armored STRYKERS –a troop carrier equipped with mini cannons and heavy machine guns atop of the vehicle. 

             The Denver native, muscle bulked Roger had been assigned dismounted leader as these body-armored troops trudging amidst their nine-month long tour. This role placed all power in Roger when boots hit the ground. Quick in leading his men in close quarter combat (CQB). His knowledge and down to earth demeanor made him a platoon standout.

Second to none, 16,000 strong.

Suddenly chaos broke free with an explosion from underneath as ground burst open, impacting the elevated wheelbase.  Meanwhile in the interior, all eight men slammed against the walls of the crammed mini tank. When the detonation occurred, Roger sat bashed inside with no room. The optic sighted Colt m4 carbine held by his black assault gloves felt the enormous blast. Each soldier tumbled around with 80+ pounds of bulletproof plates and Kevlar helmets capable of stopping an AK rifle bullet.  A flash came in a gunner sight “hell hole”; the smash broke his right arm, damaged the left leg and disoriented immediate surroundings.

             The medical evacuation air asset soon would be called after the attack, with pivotal radio frequency communications; they sent a “nine line” request for an emergency evacuation. Nine lines’ include amongst other key information, rank, injury, nationality and blood type. The evacuation of a fallen soldier also requires a secure location for a helicopter to land,

A workhorse in the air.

“WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP”, the distinct rotors of the Chinook few hundred yards away. Roger remembers,

 “Next to the IED blast, that was the most deafening sound I ever heard.”

An inbound Boeing helicopter arrives with deafening turbines blowing the sand and loose rocks around.  The elongated black “bird” propped its hydraulic tail down to receive soldiers were then flown to the nearest Joint Command Operating Base- JCOB, a center of commands to execute missions. Here, medical field surgeons have the capability of saving lives. Long-range radios alongside battle tested doctors help someone survive a potentially mortal wound.

            Although U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces have the best weapons and protection, the “dirty” tactic of groups such as Al – Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) have made a major impact. A Special Forces veteran named Kodiak (interviewed on the bus) called the building materials “low grade.”  Kodiak then compared the modern guerilla tools to that of Laos and Cambodia jungle -“pressure plates”. The enemy uses this as monetarily cheap tool.  David v. Goliath maneuvers, allowing damage to coalition forces with planning and surprise attack. Planting old artillery shells from the previous conflicts in the region, and packed them with any explosive.

            Go ahead, and ask a veteran about one- they’ll tell you their legitimate threat. Rather than bulk offense or traditional forces like large groups of infantry troops, guerilla tactics use cell phone signals, pressure plates and old fashion wirework to inflict massive damages.

            In the May 2001 edition of the Journal of rehab and research, Dr. Robert Glasser stated, “This is the first war in which troops are very unlikely to die if they’re alive when a medic arrives.” The advance of medicine technology combined with an air contingent has allowed a larger amount to remain alive, albeit with life changing results.  So this produces a better survival rate yes, but what future do those persons have? Exposure rose with severe loss of limbs to many combat arms troops on the front lines with multiple explosions.  Overexposure can add more stress to an already complicated injury. Roger admitted, “I have dizzy spells, I’ll be walking down the stairs and the room will start to spin one me. It sucks!”

Previously, in year three of the war, a United States Marine Corps (USMC) security team named Praetorian One rolled around AO “Denver”.   The central base, Camp Blue Diamond sat in the populous western city of Ramadi, the tri ethnic provincial capital.  Young to the area, the marines received mixed daily briefs of intelligence. A recurrent report at the time- mortar fire, improvised explosive device (IED) along with snipers inflicted a majority of the deaths/injuries. Networks of terror produced their own individual whose “unique skill” is valuable on an open battlefield with foreign fighters. Improvisation has caused extraordinary damage to troops physically and mentally.

Looking down road, the drivers and vehicle commanders gripped their gear in an intense scenario, turning on to Route Michigan. A gauntlet choked road that led to the cities mayoral/government office. A scarred piece of asphalt sat lined with bullet-ridden homes, barbed wire and few chi’ teashops.  A quarter-mile through guided barricade drivers and gunners were the eyes and protection for a tactical movement convoy. Along the streets, Police checkpoints and marine strongholds’ sat ready.

 One afternoon we zoomed into the compound, now timing our trips, after the last vehicle (ViC) made a right, a whizzing RPG blasted past the secure point- hitting a small building. This sent the ground team flying out, helping the security with the compound. Later a two-man team, spotted an IED further down the market lined strip. The team used an M-19 (automatic grenade launcher). The leathernecks slowly landed the booming shrapnel closer to the target- a wired IED. After a couple more fired thumps, a louder crash boomed. On the front lines you gained an extra knowledge, a different scenario accompanying every blazing day.

The narrow streets increased the tension.

I grabbed a Vietnam born M79 grenade launcher (Thumper) from the right side of my turret compartment. Standing up, loaded single barrel white flare, aimed slightly up at the upcoming intersection of traffic, and squeezed the trigger. To my surprise, landing dead center, immediately, the cars approaching-stopped. No shots fired and all Vic’s accounted for.

            First-hand account of this new war came in 2005. The day after Christmas troop morale improved from all the care packages and mail received.  Adrenaline pumped as the Second Division marines left the barbed wired compound doors. Day after day, trips with Major General James Williams, a beast of a man at 6’6’’- a reconnaissance marine from Pennsylvanian. A Georgetown Hoya, earning a master’s degree in security policy. Ar Ramadi once coined “most dangerous place on Earth” with combat outposts overlooking huge potholes, trash debris combined with finite dirt and dust. Traveling parallel against the city market, the diesel engine roared. I glanced at hundreds of people in the jagged food gallery. The trained drivers whipped the high utility motor vehicle (HMVE) at top speed of a measly 60 MPH. The personal security mission: escort the Assistant division commander to the provincial government center. The final intelligence analysis suggested the “new guys” in town and the General was enemy number one.

 Before turning left into the perimeter, a flash bang! My then 18-year-old life came and went before my eyes.  BOOOM! Jumping, I swerved 180 degrees, quickly turning the turret crank to see if the blast hit any one. Amazingly all men came shooting through the enormous cloud. Inside our chaotic ride, lance corporal David Cho, a west coast radio guru, immediately reported our status to the master sergeant commander, “Praetorian One – Up-Over!”

 

 

 

The gauntlet road- Route Michigan.

 

            Who helps these men you say? I’ll tell you. The Veterans Affairs (VA) is a department under the executive branch, which handles all medical interests of today’s and histories warriors. It is an altogether, utility service to those who have served, and is responsible for many revolving issues to take care of the men and women. 

            The main sectors that are involved in service educational, financial and health issues. For instance in GI bill benefits those who have given a certain amount of time to the government, in exchange for a tuition paid in forms of direct terms. The Community College of Denver (a two-year college) as of 2012, two hundred veterans recorded their benefits to acquire college curriculum. Veterans can also use the Post 9-11 GI Bill for trade schools such as flight training and technical underwater welding.

The dental office is available; x-rays, cleaning and maintenance help a myriad of tales from the local branch. Located in Denver cherry creek on East 8th avenue, it is a dated facility that is to be replaced by the latest high-tech location in further east Aurora. A handful of these people are former Vietnam veterans who have seen the worst that war has to offer.  Brutal head injuries, traumatic experience, all of these dramatic occurrences produce some of the most life altering disabilities.

“There are so many different levels of injuries that alone affect the efficiency of the VA,” Roger states. Time is a big negative of this Uncle Sam institution. A simple form for reporting an injury is six-month average wait.

The hospital wing always filled with clouds of smoke. Puffing away are Vietnam, Korean, Gulf War, Iraqi and Afghanistan vets, gathering around. I say to myself “They’re in formation,”- waiting for “good word.”  This location is for initial reporting and healing action goes down. A list of injuries span as the years past, Iraq- where a surprising number of young men have been designated paraplegic. To Afghanistan – in a terrain with considerable elevation and sharp valleys, where friendly fire rains amongst                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 coalition forces (blue on blue). This begs the question, “When will we leave this war?”

. Also consider the mental issues such as bi-polar syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), veterans still grieving for all the horror.  Each war carries its own devastating casualty some tangibly physical and some deeply emotional. Thankfully, there are the few who serve these front lines.

The Camp Lejeune, North Carolina team received grand recognition, for

Protection duties in the Al Anbar province.

 

Army Scout Sgt Chang, R.  Received campaign awards for performance and a Purple Heart for the wound suffered in battle. Now a civilian, he is considering medical school in Colorado.

Roger with Rep. Coffman at his presentation ceremony. Hooyah.

 

 

 

Response to Harper Magazine’s – “Leveling the playing field”

A response to Harper Magazines Christopher R. Beha’s “Leveling the playing field

   This story keeps the reader’s attention in a way I haven’t seem this semester. Mr. Beha went deep undercover as a student in the University of Phoenix for profit school system.  He is digging around the school to find out how it operates more as a business than an educational institution. The leaders of the classroom aren’t identified as professors but instead are called facilitators.  

He gives the reader a unique look, as he builds an angle as a legitimate student, and the different ways people strive in getting college degrees in different ways and what a college degree means in today’s world. Very in-depth writing and expose, even taking such classes like the schools UNI 101 about student orientation and setting ones goals as a student also SCI: Elements of Health and Wellness about correct body weight and the rewards of physical fitness The interesting fact that caught my attention was the age demographic of the pupils. The author stated most were “in the early twenties to late forties”.

 This profile is an investigative/ how to piece. It succeeds in telling a great story because this writer not only did great research in his evidence but put his self in the actual shoes of this school.

I can learn to use statistic to support statements, for instance the writer presented the readers with the suprising amount of dollars spent on class instruction compared to more traditional four-year universities they “get their majority of their revenue from the federal government through Pell grants, GI Bill disbursements and loans totaling more than 24 billion dollars.”

For pride or profit?

This is sort of a vacuuming of these enormous amounts makes me wonder why there aren’t more college graduates in the workforce…it’s because 1 in every 2 people end of dropping out of there “numbing” four hour classes which take place. 

I learned that no matter the subject, your format as a writer can always freshen up an article. Little facts here and there go along way  with helping the readers understand what the problem is, in this case it is big business invading the pockets of many students who were not cut out for college, or at least this type of learning environment.

5280’s – The Gospel According to Regas Christou

This is a response to author Patrick Doyle’s December 2010 article on local club celeb Regas Christou.

Mr. Christou has battled to keep his clubs alive and well.

Action. How is this piece holding its audience’s interest?

The story featured the man with the biggest mouth in Denver, Regas Christou a local businessman who owns many nightclubs, including Wine bar and the Church.Nver a dull moment when author PATRICK Doyle, followed the entrepreneur around to see what it would be like in the life of a Denver elite, and what comes with it. Bottles weren’t the only item being popped. The ups and downs of this mans life are intense, and that why this article is read smoothly.

Angle.  What is the angle?  How is it developed?

The angle puts you in the passenger seat with this non-stop capitalist who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.  When speaking to the author about the Denver Police Department he said,

“Their job is to serve and protect, not harass and intimidate.”

His brazen and loud personality is surprising to me! With an education that is enough to qualify him as a world player in politics, with a two degrees, master International relations from Long Island University. His business approach has landed him in tough spots and his livley manner has made him a target for police profiling.

anecdote.  How does this profile succeed in taking a “warts and all” approach?  What does this reveal about Doyle’s process?

Unfortunately we all remember when former Bronco defensive player Darrent Williams was killed by a shooting, the scene of the crime, Church Nightclub.  The reason for a court concerned extra security at the clubs, a public safety issue. The story brings us through his appearance in which a serious account’s of faulty procedure led to a death of an up and coming athlete.  Even police Chiefs are reluctant to place an off duty cop in some of these clubs.  His nightclubs attract “gang members”. Again, his Greek outspokenness comes out,” Everything Imp telling you, you can triple check. If you ever catch me lying, call me a fucking asshole.”

 

Former DB had shown great potential.

Audience.  What does this do to tailor itself to a specific audience?

Hip urban professional who would be familiar with all the venues and local celebs and are familiar with what goes around in the city. Here, with a 5280 magazine, their target audience is 100k.  Mr. Regas is covered to the point where he is making moves in the city; the article compared him to a Godfather role.

Form.  What form does this take?  What does this teach you about how to write in that form? Why does it use these annotations?  The format is certainly much different from previous articles, how it placed little photos and dropped tad bits of information about the action-taking place in the story. This gives the article some extra visual appeal besides the actual text.

Regas purchased the church in the early 90's, when the area was still low-income parties.

What can you steal, as a writer, from this?

I will steal the way that Mr. Doyle throughly fact checked all of his work, beyond the normalcy of a normal column, he delves into every facet of this mans life. From his education, his business style and natural demeanour, he really gives us readers  a sense of what it is like to be around this charismatic man.