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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"The Great Raid" coming to the big screen...

Call me an optimist, but I don’t think Hollywood can screw this one up. After nearly a three year delay since shooting, Miramax is set to release “The Great Raid” in early December.
Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order fame) will star as Colonel Henry “Hank” Mucci. If you know the story of the Colonel and his band of Raiders, then you have had the same thoughts as I.
Regardless of the number times Hollywood gets it wrong or wanders off into their own ideological pile of excrement, they can’t screw this one up. In short, there is no way for Hollywood to dip the facts with sentimentalism, anti-war messages, or downright Anti-Americanism. The story, on its own, requires no “poetic license” in an effort to spruce up the chronicle. It stands on its own, because the actual facts are incredible.

The screenplay of “The Great Raid” comes out of the pages of William B. Brue’s novel, “The Great Raid on Cabanatuan: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor.” The word from insiders is that the screenplay is a nearly a carbon copy of Brue’s historical reference. There was no need to beef up the story with stereotypical heroic embellishments. The simple fact of the matter is that the real story is more amazing that anything a room full of guild writers could come up with.

Colonel Henry Mucci took a discouraged artillery unit and turned them into the incredible 6th Ranger Battalion of WWII. He did it all in five months. The 6th Rangers took the lead in McArthur’s return to the Philippines three full days prior to the invasion of Leyte. Their spearhead of the retaking of Dinagat, Homonhon, and Suluan was only their opening curtain call. In the process they destroyed all Japanese defenses and captured more than 1,000 Japanese.
Their accomplishments are highlighted by a daring raid 30 miles behind Japanese lines in January of 1945. Colonel Mucci planned, led, and executed a mission to liberate the survivors of the Bataan Death March held at Cabanatuan, Luzon. They removed the prisoners, safely, through 20 miles of Japanese held territory carrying many of them on their backs. Mucci’s Rangers lost only two men in the entire mission.
The Japaneses weren't as fortunate. The entire prison guard structure was taken out like clockwork, as were over 1,000 reserve troops.

It’s an incredible story that is well researched in Brue’s novel. Considering the emphasis on the raid being motivated by the Japanese military’s propensity to execute American prisoners when forced to retreat, it’s clear in this true event who the good guys and bad guys are. The men of the 6th Ranger Battalion were, at the time, the best of the best. And, considering the absolute, no doubt about it, success of those men, it will be difficult for Miramax to hang their “make love not war” label on the chronicles of heroes.

So, no…I don’t think Hollywood can screw this one up.


Addendum:
There’s a Memorial Plaque down at Fort Benning honoring the men and leaders of the 6th Rangers. It reads:

“In Honor of the Men of the 6th Ranger Battalion who liberated the 512 Prisoners of War at Cabanatuan, Philippine Islands, 30 January 1945. This list courtesy of John Cook (POW) who honored the 6th Rangers & Alamo Scouts at the dedication of a Memorial Plaque located at Fort Benning, GA 1999.”

Led by:
LTC Henry A. Mucci, Ranger Hall of Fame 1998
CPT James C. Fisher
CPT Robert W. Prince, Ranger Hall of Fame 1999
1LT John F Murphy
1LT William J O'Connell
1LT Melville R Schmidt
1LT Clifford K Smith
1SG Robert G Anderson
1SG Charles H Bosard
1SG Ned H Hedrick
TSGT Melvin H Gilbert
TSGT Daniel H Watson
TSGT Ralph C Franks
SSG Floyd L Anderson
SSG Lyle C Bishop
SSG Charles W Brown
SSG William R Butler
SSG Thomas H Frick
SSG Clifford B Gudmunsen
SSG Clifton R Harris
SSG David M Hey
SSG James V Millican
SSG Norton S Most
SSG Richard A Moore
SSG Cleatus C Norton
SSG Preston N Jensen
SSG Mike Koren Tec 5 Bernard L Haynes
Tec 5 Edward L Biggs
Tec 5 Patrick H Marquis
Tec 5 Francis R Schilli
Tec 5 William A Lawyer
Tec 5 Robert W White
Tec 5 Dalton H Garrett
Tec 5 Alymer C Jinkins
Pfc Vernon N Abbott
Pfc Donald A Adams
Pfc Warren M Bell
Pfc John D Blannett
Pfc James W Conley
Pfc William F Crumpton
Pfc Carlton O Dietzel
Pfc Virgil S Dixon
Pfc Waverty R Duke
Pfc Eugene H Dykes
Pfc Edwin G Enstrom
Pfc Howard R Fortenberry
Pfc Mariano Garde
Pfc William H Garrison
Pfc Thomas A Grace, Jr
Pfc Paul J Grimm Pfc Merrie K Purtell
Pfc George H Randall
Pfc James M Reynolds
Pfc John B Richardson
Pfc Alvie D Robbins
Pfc Edgar L Rubie
Pfc Roy D Sebeck
Pfc Melvin P Shearer
Pfc Charles Q Snyder
Pfc Conrad J Solf
Pfc Buford K Spicer
Pfc Frank R St John
Pfc Robert C Straube
Pfc Peter P Superak
Pfc Charles S Swain
Pfc Russell J Swank
Pfc Ronald R Thomas
Pfc Gerhard J Tiede
Pfc Alexander E Truskowski
Pfc Jasper T Westmoreland
Pfc Ray E Williams
Pfc Joseph O Youngblood
SSG Lester L Malone
SSG John W Nelson
SSG Theodore Richardson
SSG August T Stern Jr
SSG Manton P Stewart
SSG James O White
SGT Claude R Howell
SGT Harry C Killough
SGT Milo C Mortensen
SGT Albert F Outwater, Jr
SGT Vance R Shears
SGT James M Tucker
SGT Leo M Wentland
SGT Arthur T Williams
Tec 4 Homer E Britzius
Tec 4 Robert L Camp
Cpl Martin T Estesen
Cpl Waymon E Finley
Cpl James B Herribk
Cpl Marvin W Kinder
Cpl John G Palomares
Cpl Roy F Sweezy
Cpl Robert L Ramsey Pfc Howard J Guillory
Pfc Dale F Harris
Pfc Norman F Higgins
Pfc Clarence W Heezen
Pfc Andrew J Herman
Pfc Frank C Huboda
Pfc F J Hughes
Pfc Edward N Knowles
Pfc Eugene J Kocsis
Pfc Edward Littleton
Pfc Joseph Lombardo
Pfc Alfred A Martin
Pfc Billy McElroy
Pfc Alfred J McGinnis
Pfc Ralph C Melendez
Pfc Leroy B Myerhoff
Pfc John V Pearson
Pfc Joseph M Pospishil
Pfc William H Proudfit
Pfc Edward Paluck
Pfc Jack A Peters
Pfc Roy B Peters
Pfc Alva A Polzine
Pfc Leland A Provencher




Additional Members of the Liberation
547th US Air Force Pilots
The Night Fighter, P-61 of the US Air Force to distract the Japanese Guards so the Scouts and the Rangers could get into positions around Camp, for the Raids.

Photographers of Combat Photo Unit F, 852nd Signal Service Battalion
1LT John W Luebddeke, OIC
Tec 4 Frank J Goetzheimer
Pfc Robert C Lautman
Pfc Wilbur B Goen

Capt Kenneth R Schneber
LT Bonnie B Rucks


6th US Army Alamo Scouts: "The Alamo Scouts preceded the Raid as to the surrounding of the camp and the approximate number of Japanese personnel in and around the camp"

Pfc Alfred Alphonso
Pfc Sabas Asis
Pfc Thomas Siason
1LT Thomas Rounsaville
1LT William Nellist
1LT John E Dove Pfc Rufo Vaquilar
Pfc Gilbert Cox
Pfc Francis Laquier Pfc Wilber Wismer
Pfc Andy Smith
SGT Harold Hard
SGT Galen Kittleson
Pfc Franklin Fox

Philippine Guerillas - There were approximately 284 Philippine Guerillas whom helped with the Raid on Cabanatuan, without their help who knows what may have happened, that night, Liberating 512 Prisoners of War after 34 months in prison.

Major Robert Lapham
Capt Juan Padota, Leader
Capt Eduardo Joson, Leader

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Monday, May 09, 2005

And now for the Simple-minded non-spook point-of-view…

Government Executive Magazine has an interesting piece up today in the Daily Briefing. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has hit the ground running and is shaking up the hierarchy of reporting within the CIA. In short, the Station Chiefs abroad may have a wake up call coming.

The intelligence agencies (all of them) have been harmfully politicized. Senior officials (some of which have departed, not voluntarily, thanks to Porter Goss) had treated their senior level intelligence positions as a forum of ideology. George Tenet comes to mind in this regard. Just before he was shown the door….and he was shown the door. He decided to release a report on Iraq prepared by the National Intelligence Council. It was stated that the report reflected input from a number of different intelligence agencies inclusive of the CIA. According to the report, there would be civil war throughout Iraq by 2005. I would remind everyone that this release was timed just at the dawn of the 2004 Election Campaigns.

It was a parting shot by a Washington bureaucrat hold-over from the Clinton Administration. The only reason he remained in his role was to provide the illusion that the CIA was operating on all cylinders. It was not. It still isn't. And, unless an effort is made to make individual Station Managers responsible for the humint, technological intel, and analysis coming out of their respective ground level operations there would be little to no accountability.

More to the point, Negroponte wants (has ordered) direct communication from the street to his office. No whitewashing to protect hind ends inside the beltway is a good start in this simpleton's opinion. Who do you want telling you what's going on in downtown Jakarta? The Station Chief "glaring out his window on Bekasi Raya or some middle management hack in a Langley cubicle hoping the latest humint doesn't contradict a previous report. In simple words….it is what it is. Playing "pass it down the line" was a nice exercise at camp. It doesn't wash in today's intelligence community.

Here's another thought.

A consistent, accurate, and results oriented operation falls on the shoulders of the station manager. The safety net of spreading blame throughout a tied down bureaucracy (all the way back to Washington) is no longer an option. This appears to be an attempt to place accountability on the Station Chief. As a result, the CIA Station Chief will be more apt to cooperate with other agencies less something should be missed. Provided this same approach is applied to the other intelligence (and law enforcement) agencies under Negroponte's domain, we should expect a similar attitude.

A final thought…

Since the early to mid-90's certain high level congressmen (read: Senator Robert Torricelli- D) has lobbied to disallow the intelligence community from forging contact relationships with "shady" characters. As a result, a significant void was created in the field. No longer were the "feelers" out there scraping up something of potential significance. In other words, the exact type people you want out shaking the trees were no longer available as a tool in the intelligence network. The US had lost it's "Huggy Bear." However, added pressure on Station Chiefs to produce valued and timely intelligence in whatever form will easily outweigh the perception of having "clean hands." The policy, known by its critics as the "Torricelli principle," requires that a top CIA official -- not a field officer -- approve the hiring of such informants.

Now I'm just a simpleton…a babe in the proverbial woods…an amateur mind you. But, I don't want mid-level bureaucrats inside the beltway attending to the hiring practices of CIA representatives working in Hamâh, Syria. I'd like to see the guy whose marbles are on the chopping block deciding on the roster that is most effective and efficient.

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What a Collective of Superficial, Patronizing Hogwash


Responding to the 2003 Jayson Blair "color by numbers" reporting fiasco where he simply made things up as he went along, the New York Times formed an internal committee to study the matter. It was their intention to present recommendations on how to increase reader confidence.

Here's most of what they came up with:

--making reporters and editors more accessible through e-mail
--reducing errors
--increasing coverage of middle America
--increasing coverage of religion



Here's some of what's missing:

--Removal of OpEd approach to hard news items

--Removal of By Lines that attempt to shape opinion in hard news items by inaccurately reflecting the story

--Standing Paul Krugman on his head and giving him an enema while carefully warning neighbors to seek high ground.

--Understanding that a majority of their potential readership (majority of the Country) does not subscribe to their general ideology or Newspaper.

--Understanding that labeling a faction "Middle America" confirms that their staff is NOT within that over simplified generalization. Readers would be much less wary of a media outlet that just refers to this country as "America."

--Understanding that coverage of a topic or an ideology does not translate to trust, honesty and integrity. Only a non-biased reflection of facts can do that.

--Over simplification of their failings can rarely assist in correcting those errors if the errors are never defined

--Ceasing the spiking of news stories that don't reflect the publication's understood political ideology.

--Ceasing the burying of news stories that don't reflect the publication's understood political ideology.

--Ceasing the commonality of regurgitating Democratic Talking points, and assisting in the strategic efforts of that party (read: Tom Delay)

--Using cheap ink that comes off on my damn hands worse than the toner of a busted photocopy machine (personal issue)

--Ceasing the practice of including editorials that have no defined author.

--Hiring personal assistant for Maureen Dowd to make sure she takes her medication regularly

--Applying all of the above items to their international sister (International Herald Tribune) so as to cease efforts in molding foreign opinion counter to the United States.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Guess Again...



As this post will, no doubt, imply...I'm back.

The cover to the left is from The Economist (March 2004). The implication is that leadership supporting the Iraq efforts would suffer repercussions of their electorate, lose their respective elections, and be sent on their way(s).

The Economist was wrong...times three (3).

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