Real men and the Martini

Why is a Martini a man’s drink? It’s not because it’s sophisticated, it’s not because James Bond likes his shaken and not stirred. It is also not because too many places wish to charge and arm and a leg for one. The Martini is a man’s drink because it’s simple and straight forward. No fancy umbrella’s, no pretty colors (common BS drink of the week martini’s don’t count as martini’s at all) just a simple straight Gin or Vodka with maybe a little vermouth and a bit dirty. It’s strong enough to make women wince and pretty boys pass for a sweetened wine cooler.Whether drinking from a chilled Martini glass or a plastic cup (yes, I’ve had both) it’s a drink of men who can converse about world events (knowledgably or not) or football scores.

Now it’s not that a good Weise Beer isn’t a man’s drink, it’s just an alternative.

If you cant get a good Martini a solid Scotch will do.

BTW don’t worry about price, snobs and dumb-asses look for the most expensive. Good is in your personal taste and a real man has no problem drinking an inexpensive liquor if it taste good.

Just some thoughts late at night…….

Victory?

I was re-reading Kenneth Timmerman’s “Preachers of hate” and found this paragraph.

“Peace is made not between friends, but between enemies. Rare are the examples in the history of the world when peace has come through treaty alone, imposed by outside powers, or agreed upon by mutual accord. War without a victor and a vanquished is still war. As the twelve years of hostilities that followed the first Gulf War in 1991 show. The type of lasting peace America has known with Germany and Japan since the need of World War II, and arguably with Russia since the end of the cold war, comes when one side wins so decisively that it can dictate the terms of the peace and treat the vanquished with generosity. Yet every time Israel has defeated Arab armies on the battlefield, Europe and America have rushed in to guarantee that the Arabs will rise to fight again. It is time to reconsider such policies.”

It’s hard to say it clearer than that.

Language training and translators

One issue I’ve seen brought up time and again inside the military and out is the problem of language qualified personnel. It became quickly apparent that we didn’t have many who could speak fluent Arabic, Pashto, Dari or many other Middle Eastern languages. In Special Forces the mantra is that we all have at least two languages. But that’s not entirely true. Yes, we all are assigned a language during the Special Forces Qualification Course but the passing grade has been so low that you’re barely functional in that language when the course is complete.

It’s not for lack of students trying or teachers not teaching. You simply can’t learn a foreign language overnight. Traditionally the course at Ft. Bragg has been 4 – 6 months of language training and it’s a good start. DLI (Defense Language Institute) courses usually run a year or more. We call that the real language course.

At the end of the DLI course you’re pretty capable of translating and working in another language while all other courses I’ve seen are only a start.

The SF language training if fine as long as you continue the training later on (each group runs a command language program) and spend some time in the native environment to hear the language in its natural form. Over many years you may reach a level you can communicate effectively.

The Army has added the “Rosette Stone” online at the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) web site but it’s only online. You can’t download it so you must have an internet connection. This helps but is not the complete answer.

If you’re lucky enough to get stationed in the country of your target language you have a real advantage and will learn much faster.

Now mix that with the fact that you never completely know what area you’re going to be fighting in. How do you decide how many Arabic courses to run, how many Indonesian courses or Korean. It’s a constant battle.

So when you hear politician or Military leaders say they will or we need to train up more language speakers for any particular event, take it with a grain of salt. It really can’t be done quickly and generally doesn’t happen at all. In the mean time we will continue to rely on many local translators to get the job done.

What is important is that those translators close to the top levels of planning and operations need to be completely vetted and preferable US or NATO Citizens.