The Flywheel

Program for August 25, 2006

Corporate Security in the 21st  Century

Our own Glenn Daggs, owner of OSS International, talks about modern security issues facing corporate & small business, and strategies for promoting a secure workplace.  (If we’re lucky Glenn will tell what was really in the satchels the OSS took off the grounded casino boat, along with the survivors, in Biloxi after Katrina.

 

Meeting of August 18th, 2006

George Egan, our dynamic and forceful new president, opened the meeting today and Stoney led us in the invocation. Glenn Daggs then led us in the pledge. Pam Jones commenting on a recent poll ranking Cal at 21, and Stanford at number 4, and considering that her son attended Stanford, she sided with Josh in the long simmering debate about which school is superior. She proclaimed “Go Stanford!”

Guests (Full house today)

  • Captain Werner Schwartz brought Allan Bear, the owner of Armor Lock in Point Richmond.
  • George Egan also brought Ms. Lee Johnson.

Sunshine Report

David K reports that Dan Tanita although shy a few pounds as a result of his surgery is now in good shape and”has his life back”.  Elof Grandberg on the other had has been dealt a setback.  He has contracted a Staph infection at the hospital. 

Timing is at the heart of all comedy, which is what John Nichol often stumbles into.  After David K announced the name of a past member that I had never heard and his poor health status, John Nichol yelled “He’s already dead!”  Boy did that bring down the house – looks like David K’s information was somewhat dated.  

Recognitions

  • Bob Dabney was recognized for his 14th anniversary.  He took Cheryl out to an A’s game which is her favorite pastime.
  • Bud Martin celebrated his 49th birthday (I don’t believe it – he isn’t a day over 45!)  In grand fashion he went to bed at 8:00PM – party pooper!

Happy & Sad Dollars

  • Dan Tanita donated $100 happy dollars to the club because he was happy to be back at work after two months off recovering from his neck surgery.  He said he was happy “to have his life back”. 
  • Herb Cole donated $5 to acknowledge the efforts of the Rotary organizing group preparing for the Monterey Mexico visit.  They are planning an event for 300 folks in Concord that will cost $50 each. 
  • Rich Alexander was happy that his son was accepted at Marymount College.
  • Ted Abrieu donated some happy dollars because he was able to put his car in his garage which he had just cleaned out with the help of his son in law.
  • Judy Kafka had just visited Maine which she is sure is god’s country and made a contribution just to make sure it was so.

Announcements

  • Hank announced that on 9/14/06 there would be the annual Hotel Mac Masquers Playhouse dinner.  The play is “Diary of a Scoundrel”.  The cost is $50. Add your name to the sign-up sheet or see Hank Covell.

 

The Program

A Bloody Business

Jim Young introduced Jerry Schumacher by quoting Ben Franklin “There is no Good War or Bad Peace”. 

Retired Colonel Jerry Shumacher was by far the most interesting speaker in a long while.  After having written several war stories he was asked by his publisher to write a book, which he did.  The book,“A Bloody Business,” looks at the increasing use of mercenaries, especially in Iraq.

Mercenaries have been used throughout history to sometimes odd effect. When the British hired 30,000 Germans to fight the American colonists they were quite surprised to find the Germans joining forces with the colonists and in turn fighting them. His point was that paid soldiers can be more unpredictable and harder to control than a nations own army fighting for a nationalistic cause.

In the Iraq situation the mercenaries are called civilian contractors and according to the public policy don’t do any actual fighting but they do just about everything else including guard duty protecting convoys where they are heavily armed and are often killed or the converse. He says that the official number of armed forces killed in Iraq is around 2,500 to date — but the actual number including contractors killed in the line of duty is probably 2 to 3 times that amount. 

In Iraq mercenaries provide all food services, provide equipment maintenance services and transportation services. The list of services they perform is almost everything other than actual fighting. He says that when you include contractors the quantity of people in Iraq is almost double the official numbers.

These “civilian contractors” are often better armed and more effective than our actual fighting forces.  This is understandable considering most of them are ex military people with years of experience who are now being paid better to do their old job. 

These armies for hire are in demand because they are effective.  They have played decisive roles in Bosnia, Croatia, and Sierra Leone.

Kellog Brown and Root (KBR) and NPRI are not household names. These companies operate in the shadows of the US Military but are becoming more vital to the mission every day.  As has been demonstrated these armies without nationalistic ties work for the highest bidder which can lead to strange and often unpredictable outcomes.

 

-Submitted by your faithful scribe, Mark Howe