Monday, July 25, 2005

The Dogs Of War

Both by nature and because of scheduling problems, I am a confirmed cat-owner, but I love dogs, too. Below, reproduced in full and without further comment from me, is this story , which appeared in the Metro section of the Washington Post:

Tysons Pet Spa Works to Equip the Dogs of War
By Aymar Jean
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 24, 2005; C03

At her Army base in Mosul, Iraq, where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees, Maj. Jennifer Damko contends with burdens of war on a daily basis. But while working to keep her troops alive and well, Damko also nurtures the camp's war dogs, which sniff out bombs and enemies and are often on the precipice of danger.
"Right now, we have 7 dogs and 3 three more are on the way. The room is getting cramped so you can imagine the daily grumblings over the toys, " Damko wrote in an e-mail.
"There is nothing better than forgetting for a moment that I'm in a war zone and just 'hang' with the dogs. Don't get me wrong, the handlers are great soldiers and sailors, but nothing can replace the look in the dog's eyes when you stop playing with him and his toy."
A Tysons Corner dog spa, Happy Tails, is reaching out to officers such as Damko and the war's often overlooked dogs. The spa has been collecting donations for war dogs and their handlers, sending more than 300 pounds of donated items and planning to send about 400 more. They have sent such supplies as dog biscuits and bones, lip balm for handlers and dogs, and magazines for handlers to camps in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, it will hold its first charity dog wash to raise money for more sophisticated war dog equipment, mainly cooling devices and dog goggles -- called "doggles" -- for Iraq's sandstorms.
"These dogs love their jobs, but they didn't have a lot of choice in the matter," said Amy Nichols, chief executive of Happy to be Here Inc., the Happy Tails franchise company.
Happy Tails, having raised about $400, is hoping to raise more than $1,000 today for the equipment. Doggles cost about $15 a pair, Nichols said, while cooling vests for dogs cost upwards of $50. The spa figures that with four bathtubs and volunteer washers and dryers, they can wash about 150 dogs. There is a suggested donation of $10, though a typical wash costs $25 at Happy Tails. The event will take place at the spa, on Tyco Road off Route 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association, estimates that there are more than 100 dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan. These dogs sniff out bombs, find booby traps and detect hidden enemies in war zones, services particularly useful in Iraq, said Aiello, who was a Marine dog handler in Vietnam. The United States, he said, has been using war dogs since World War I.
"If they're a good dog team, and they're doing their job properly, nobody should get hurt," Aiello said. He said his unit suffered no casualties in Vietnam thanks to him and his dog, Stormy.
The War Dogs Association has been collecting items and money since troops went to Afghanistan, collecting and distributing sunscreen -- for dogs and handlers -- toys and even beef jerky. The group has sent 250 care packages.
"It lets them know there are people back in the United States who care about them and wish them a safe return," Aiello said.
His group has collected donations from other dog spas across the country. Classy Clippe Pet Salon in Lancaster, Pa., has given $1,500, all of which went for cooling equipment. Classy Clippe owner Gaye Albright-Rock, 42, said she was motivated because her husband, Brian Rock, is in the Army National Guard.
"The dogs are really suffering from the heat. Apparently, it's 130 degrees over there," Albright-Rock said.
Happy Tails employee Kasey Perry, 19, of Alexandria said she feels particularly moved by this fundraiser. Her husband is based at Fort Myers.
"It hits me closer to the heart I guess, because I know how it is," she said. "And the guys who are over there handling the dogs are away from their families, and the doggies are also away from the places that they're used to."

18 Comments:

At 7/25/2005 11:24 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Fantastic article, AOW!! I hope they raise tons of money. The dogs and their handlers sure deserve it.

 
At 7/25/2005 10:03 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

Wait Peta will try to unionize the dogs . No more working for Kibbles and bits.

 
At 7/26/2005 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Western rules of war necessitate complexity, which can be exploited. No war can be successful if the complexities of the advancing army do not benefit the population being assimilated. To assume that employing the indigenous population in maintaining the complexities is of benefit to all parties is a mistake. Since the complexities do not originate within the culture being dominated and by their very nature cannot sustain that culture and will not remain a part of the culture, they only serve as portals of weakness that can be exploited by the enemy. This is a lesson the US has not learned from Viet Nam.
-Judah Macabeus

 
At 7/26/2005 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Western rules of war necessitate complexity, which can be exploited. No war can be successful if the complexities of the advancing army do not benefit the population being assimilated. To assume that employing the indigenous population in maintaining the complexities is of benefit to all parties is a mistake. Since the complexities do not originate within the culture being dominated and by their very nature cannot sustain that culture and will not remain a part of the culture, they only serve as portals of weakness that can be exploited by the enemy. This is a lesson the US has not learned from Viet Nam.
-Judah Macabeus

 
At 7/26/2005 8:04 AM, Blogger beakerkin said...

The lesson of Vietnam is that the far left is seditious and traitorous by its own nature. Thirty years of repression ,killing fields ,boat people, re education camps and slaughter of indigenous people are the lessons of Vietnam. All brought to you by the courtesy of the seditious left.

 
At 7/26/2005 8:21 AM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

What the HELL are you talking about, anonymous? How does that relate to this story?

 
At 7/26/2005 8:48 AM, Blogger Shah Alexander said...

Be practical, Anonymous. Without US and allies military presence, current Iraq will collapse immediately. In that case, who can manage this country?

Vietnam is Vietnam, and Iraq is Iraq. It is not adequate to apply past lessons so blindly. There are some similarities, and many differences as well. You need to understand this.

 
At 7/26/2005 1:45 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

JM,
I agree with Beak and Shah that the comparison between Iraq and Vietnam is not a point-by-point analogy.

Yes, sometimes the culture and/or the ideology of a particular indigenous group are such that the desires and ideals of the imposing forces are in direct opposition and, therefore, unacceptable to the indigenous group. Such was the case with the Native Americans in the United States and the Communists in Vietnam, and with Islam in Iraq.

You wrote "No war can be successful if the complexities of the advancing army do not benefit the population being assimilated. To assume that employing the indigenous population in maintaining the complexities is of benefit to all parties is a mistake."
It remains to be seen if the divisions within Islam, and therefore within Iraq, can reform sufficiently to assume a nonaggressive stance; certainly, any form of Islamic democracy will not be very like Western democracy--at least, not in the foreseeable future.
I agree with you that, so far, we are presently seeing in Iraq the exploitation of "portals of weakness" to the detriment of the establishment of democracy. However, perhaps--and this is a huge perhaps--Islamic theocracy can be seen by the indigenous population as a disadvantage, both militarily and with regard to international relations. To sustain the nation of Iraq economically on a global scale will require effective marketing of the oil supplies there.
I note some similarity here with the governmental situation in Turkey, which repudiated the idea the caliphate in 1924 (I hope I have that date correct).

Much of what we're discussing here is speculation because we are talking about a culture of which we don't have a full understanding. But I welcome this discussion.

Note: Timothy Birdnow has pointed out that JM's comment here doesn't fit this particular article, "The Dogs of War."
Perhaps you, JM, meant to place this comment to another article on this blog? I notice that you did indeed post this comment to several of my articles. And that's okay with me.

 
At 7/26/2005 1:52 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

PS to my last comment:
Walid Phares just said on MSNBC that we need to identify correctly the ideology of what has been called the war on terror--as Jason has mentioned, call it The War on Radical Islam.

Dr. Phares believes that if that label were to be used, there would be allies in the countries of the Middle East, beginning with Iraq.

 
At 7/26/2005 1:56 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

JM,
I just noticed that you posted different comments to other articles. Sorry for my confusion. Maybe I was out in the sun for too long today?

 
At 7/26/2005 9:50 PM, Anonymous Mustang said...

I think that JM assumes that when an advancing army seeks to dominate the civilian population of the territories conquered, then it is necessary to assimilate those populations as soon as possible. He may be correct in that theoretical assumption, but I think he is incorrect on several points:

1. None of the peoples of Yugoslavia were fully assimilated into communist ideologies, not even at the point of a gun, and not even over a period of 40 years.

2. None of the Russiam peoples or East Germans were fully assimilated by the USSR; dominated yes, assimilated no.

3. Vietnam was a "civil war" with western intervention. At no time did the United States attempt to conquer Vietnam, nor subjugate its people to western ideology. The same is true with South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.

4. The United States has not planned, implemented, or even suggested the domination of the Iraqi people. In no other invasion in the history of the world has a nation other than the USA booted out a repressive regime and then immediately implemented steps to allow the PEOPLE of Iraq to decide their own future. With regard to difficulties in the democratization of Iraq, let me also point out that the democratic progress of the United States took 90 years, followed by a civil war, and an additional 100 years to "work out" the bumps of democracy. If anyone expects either Iraq or Russia to "work out the bumps" sooner, they are smoking funny cigarettes.

Now -- I apologize to everyone for bloviating in my response.

 
At 7/27/2005 5:16 AM, Blogger TJ said...

AOW - excellent find / post!
Mustang - exactly.

/TJ
... NIF
... The Wide Awakes

 
At 7/27/2005 9:06 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TJ,
Thank you for the compliment. I try to live up to my name, within my work-schedule and personal constraints.

 
At 7/27/2005 9:09 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mustang,
You're not bloviating, as far as I'm concerned. Also, you've made a good point about domination. An oligarchy can indeed dominate instead of allow for assimilation.

 
At 7/27/2005 11:50 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

"There is nothing better than forgetting for a moment that I'm in a war zone and just 'hang' with the dogs. "

That would be kind of a cool job.

 
At 7/27/2005 8:18 PM, Blogger TJ said...

I dunno about cool; its even hotter there than it was in DC today (pre storm, that is).

AND we don't have the possibility of being shot.
Well, OK, yes it is possible - but less likely. And not to many mortars, rockets, IEDs here ...
/TJ

 
At 8/01/2005 3:46 AM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Thanks for sharing that article.

I linked to you:

http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com/#112288221464983202

Keep up the good work.

 
At 8/05/2005 4:37 PM, Blogger Toad734 said...

There are 1000s of dogs that get euthanized every day; there are hundreds of troops that have been killed by IEDs and roadside bombs; why can't we put the two together?

 

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