BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Greatest Story Ever

People....

Mock Iraqi Villages in Mojave Prepare Troops for Battle

Get ready:
In a 1,000-square-mile region on the edge of Death Valley, Arab-Americans, many of them from the Iraqi expatriate community in San Diego, populate a group of mock villages resembling their counterparts in Iraq.

American soldiers at forward operating bases nearby face insurgent uprisings, suicide bombings and even staged beheadings in underground tunnels.
Your tax dollars at work...way out there past the "World's Largest Thermometer" in Baker, CA.
Recently, the soldiers here, like their counterparts in Iraq, have been confronted with Sunni-Shiite riots. At one village, a secret guerrilla revolt is in the works.

With actors and stuntmen on loan from Hollywood, American generals have recast the training ground at Fort Irwin so effectively as a simulation of conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 20 months that some soldiers have left with battle fatigue and others have had their orders for deployment to the war zones canceled.

In at least one case, a soldier's career was ended for unnecessarily "killing" civilians.
"But, sir, they were just extras from Barstow!"
The troops who come here are at the heart of a vast shift in American war-fighting strategy, a multiBILLION-dollar effort to remodel the Army on the fly.

Here, the Army is relearning how to fight, shifting from its historic emphasis on big army-to-army battles to the more subtle tactics of defeating a guerrilla insurgency.
Enter...Apollo Creed.
It is a marriage of military technology and Hollywood fakery; some 350 Arabic-speaking Iraqi-Americans and plainclothes Nevada National Guardsman live here almost year-round to offer American trainees what one officer described as "a vortex of chaos."

The insurgents even get acting lessons, coached by Carl Weathers, best known for his portrayal of the boxer Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" films.
What? Carl's Predator co-star, Jesse "the Body" Ventura, wasn't available?

"Ain't no time to bleed!"
The most prolific killer of American trainees, for instance, is Mansour Hakim, the Iraqi pseudonym for Staff Sgt. Timothy Wilson, 42, a probation officer from Sparks, Nev. In Medina Jabal, Sergeant Wilson, in an Arab dishdasha robe and checkered kaffiyeh headdress, plays the part of a village hot dog salesman who sells his provisions from a stand called "Kamel Dogs Cafe."

To the amazement of American trainers, Sergeant Wilson has found that nearly every American unit entering the training course falls for his tricks — usually leading to catastrophic results. He figures he has "killed" hundreds of American servicemen in his time here.

The trap works like this: When the American soldiers first enter Medina Jabal, they usually head straight for the Kamel Dogs stand for a snack. Chatting up the soldiers, "Mr. Hakim" asks if the Americans might let him sell his hot dogs inside the nearby American camp, called Forward Operating Base Denver, to make some extra money for his family.

The soldiers inevitably agree, and before long, Mr. Hakim is ferrying huge loads of hot dogs and charcoal briquettes onto the American base.
You know the rest: It ends with an explosion.

Please read the whole piece.

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Someone in the Haloscan felt like I was taking issue with the military for this program. I'm not: I think it's kinda cool, and see its intense value for troops who have to head to Iraq.

Having said that...

At a BILLION DOLLARS A DAY and counting...

Opening up another cheap labor farm in the Middle East - I mean - gaining control of the world's resources - I mean - "bringing democracy to the region" - is getting really freakin' expensive.

More later...

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