Saturday, July 30, 2005

Riverine forces in action!!


Having bad flashbacks to my Midshipman days, I just received and email from a Marine Gunnery Sergeant (AKA Gunny or GySgt) in Iraq who took me to task for my poor research in my FEB post, and he is right on target. I should have mentioned the great work being done by the Army and Marines more in my second post, but was too blinded at my anger at my own service for letting others do our job. I can't stand it when some have to unnecessarily pick up the slack of others.

Anyway, here is a quick summary of what GySgt and his Marines are doing to bring the fight to the enemy "From the Sea," or from the lakes and rivers at least. I love his intro...put in a way only a Marine can state it...
My friend, I am about to introduce you to the premier riverine force in the U.S. military today.

Small craft company of the Unted States Marine Corps has been heavily involved in patrolling the Euphrates River since March of 2004. We own the entire river from Iskandariyah to Haditha. And if (removed to provide Gunny with topcover) would have the backbone and foresight to employ us properly we would own every waterway in Iraq. I arrived in country on (second half of) 2005 and we were involved with our first counter insurgent activity on (two months later) when we responded to mortar attacks and conducted counter IDF patrols.

We have been heavily engaged in multiple fire fights, recovered hundreds of caches along the rivers, conducted medevacs during operation al Fajr in Fallujah. Were the primary focus of effort for 3rd LAR during that operation and have significantly impacted the insurgency along the Euphrates.

To be frank we kicked the shit out of them at every turn.

We run with 40 foot small unit riverine craft tricked out with MK-19s, M2 .50 cal, and M240G machine guns (here are some good safety tips). Several of our craft are also mounted with the GAU-17 mini-gun that has been a major weapon in our capability. I am enclosing a short video of small craft company.

This video was taken at night during our relief in place on the lake at Haditha, Iraq.
Who says Marines can't write?

OK, there is a tease here. I don't have the ability to host video right now, (I do now, see update)but there are some screen caps from the video here, here, and here. If you want a copy of the video, email me and I will send it your way. Nice audio and soundtrack.
To my fellow Sailors; what do you want to do? Cool your heels during an 18 month IRDC in excess of your command's BA for your rate, or do this? Hey all you new Chief Selects (congrats folks), can you think of a better way to hone your leadership skills as a Chief? Here or CFFC? Leading Riverine crews, or being one of a dozen Chiefs kicking back on shore duty in Hawaii?

Admirals, I respectfully submit that the best leaders are rounded out in combat, not Newport. Not OPNAV. Not the Pentagon; plenty of time for that later. Send your front runners to those places post-CDR Command for the officers, and as E8s for the enlisted.

We need out best officers and front running Petty Officers and Chiefs on the front line, living leadership they will never get in one of those silly leadership seminars you make everyone go to. They have their place, but not in place of what we get paid for - to go in harm's way.

As for me, I'm proud of our Marines, and I need to see a therapist. To this day, being corrected by a GySgt makes my hairline (what's left of it) sweat, my back straighten, and my chin move its way towards my neck.
UPDATE: Thanks to Turkeyhead at Scott's N&C, I know have a way to let you get the video. Click here to download it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The anti-war Left is and ugly thing to see...

Seriously, it is a very ugly thing to see.

Just a slight warning, this may not be safe for work; especially if you just ate or have a weak tummy.

Often times, you can judge your position by those on the other side. As nasty as this is; it does tell me that I am OK here. You may not be after you click
HERE.

Hat tip
LGF.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Over where?

Yep, I saw it. Last night I forced myself, against my better judgement, to watch the new FX show "Over There."

I'm not an Army guy so I won't comment on the ground details, but this show just didn't make it. Can't we find some non-Boomers to make a series? They just took out the "Vietnam in the desert" template and marched forward with spotty writing and wasted talent.

I won't go blow-for-blow, but let me give you one example of the Vietnam movie of the '70s. In the first few minutes they show one of the three black characters smoking a joint, in daylight, in the open, in front of the "Motor Pool."

Yawn. Here we go again. Credibility gone from point one. I knew it was going to be a long 30 minutes from there.

The characters were a little cliche. The "bitter but professional NCO that has to keep new troops alive," the "clueless country boy with dreams," the "angry black man," the "brooding intellectual," the "dangerous to his troops more than the enemy junior officer," and to add to the mix, the "psycho chick," and the "sweet, nice mommy-with-a-gun." The Company Commander (Capt.) character seemed written well, and the NCO character is close, but almost a bit too cliche. The NCO can be written right soon if they try. I did enjoy how they made the "Arabic news" reporter out to be a jackass. And the actor that played the more senior officer (Lt.Col. ?) that told him off at the end ("..he didn't surrender-he attacked and caused the death of a dozen of his men....) did a very good job I thought. That actor watched a few news interviews with real battalion commanders. Now that I think about it in hindsight, that was probably the most realistic performance of the night.

They need some new advisors with military experience. The scene where they hit a mine is 180 deg out of phase with what I have seen following bloody causalities. People are not wandering around in a mental manic. Just the opposite. Oh, they took out the one character who's development had potential; the unlikely-natural-leader. Hey, it is a cliche, but we have all seen it. The pack-minus junior enlisted who, when combat ops start just rises to the top and becomes essential to success. Well, they offed this guy.

Yawn. I don't think I will be buying the CD box-set. A lost opportunity.
UPDATE: More links and a great comment thread over at The Castle Argghhh!!!!. I even got some facetime; cool. More goodies at Blackfive.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Changing names....using up ink...

John at Argghhh!! dug up a little tidbit that is about as pleasant as a Camel Spider in your jockstrap.
In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the country's top military officer have spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism" rather than "the global war on terror," which had been the catchphrase of choice.
I'm sorry, I can't stand numb-nut changing of names as PR stunts. It's an old game, but that doesn't make it a good game. The PC Police are better at it than we are (your are not a "garbage man" you are a "sanitation engineer,") and all that results is more syllables using up more hot air and ink.

This war started out with
Operation INFINITE JUSTICE (OIJ); well that just lasted a couple of days because of the PC police. I even had luck in late 2001 getting into one brief a recommended name for the then new operations off Somalia, Horn of Africa Reconnaissance (HOAR) flights. Sigh. Just one brief. No one lets us have ANY fun.

Now we have moved from what I didn't like but was learning to live with, Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), to Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism (GSAVE). Menolikie.

G-SAVE sounds like some lame Gansta-rapper. In the finest traditions of the PC service it adds more syllables (GSAVE-13 vs GWOT=8), and worse of all it reads like crap on FITREPS, awards citations, and takes longer to type out. Time to give everyone an extra Admin weenie. More a'typing to do.

If we are going to add length and syllables to our titles, let's do it right. Forget GWOT or GSAVE, I want it to be GETEM (Global Extermination of Terrorist Extremist Mohammedans).

Just make sure and run it through the
HRO.

Guess what I had to buy today

Sometimes, you have to take care of things yourself. GSA blows.

T'aint she purty?


BTW, if you want to help out some junior personnel with little disposable income to have the right tools "in-country," click here.

New CNO Speaks out ... and unsheathes his sword

Because he is the CNO, I quote in full. He speaks for himself just fine....but you know me, I can't help but interrupt now and then.






R 231853Z JUL 05
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N00//
TO NAVADMIN
UNCLAS //N05060//
NAVADMIN 177/05
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N00/JUL//
SUBJ/ALL AHEAD FULL//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. I AM DEEPLY HONORED AND HUMBLED TO BEGIN MY TOUR OF DUTY AS YOUR CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS. AS I DO, I ASK YOU TO JOIN MY WIFE, DEBORAH, AND ME IN EXPRESSING OUR GRATITUDE TO ADMIRAL AND MRS. VERN CLARK FOR THEIR FIVE EXTRAORDINARY YEARS AT THE HELM OF THE GREATEST NAVY IN THE WORLD. THESE TWO PATRIOTS HAVE HAD A PROFOUND IMPACT ON OUR NAVY FAMILY DURING ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL TIMES IN THIS NATIONS HISTORY. THEIR SELFLESS SERVICE AND DEDICATION MADE POSSIBLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS WE COULD NOT EVEN HAVE IMAGINED JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AGO. WE ARE TRULY, DEEPLY, IN THEIR DEBT AND WISH THEM ALL THE BEST AS THEY BEGIN A NEW CHAPTER IN THEIR REMARKABLE LIVES.
2. THANKS TO ADMIRAL CLARKS BOLD VISION AND INNOVATIVE REFORMS, OUR NAVY PLIES THE OCEAN TODAY MORE AGILE AND MORE CAPABLE THAN IHAVE EVER SEEN IT. (Skippy, please comment here) HE HAS POSITIONED US WELL TO CONTINUE PROVIDING THIS NATION AND OUR ALLIES DOMINANT
NAVAL POWER WHEREVER AND WHENEVER IT IS REQUIRED. FROM THIS POSITION OF STRENGTH, WE CAN NOW -- AND WE MUST -- PUSH OPEN NEW BOUNDARIES AND EXPLOIT NEW OPPORTUNITIES. TO DELAY IS TO LOSE THE MOMENTUM AND THE ADVANTAGE HE GAVE US. MY FIRST ORDER IS "ALL AHEAD FULL."
3. I SEE THREE PRINCIPAL CHALLENGES FACING US IN THE YEARS AHEAD. FIRST IS THE NEED TO SUSTAIN THE CURRENT READINESS WE WORKED SO HARD TO ACHIEVE. IT IS NOT FREE, AND IT IS NOT A GIVEN. I AM COMMITTED TO KEEPING IT SHARP. SECOND IS THE NEED TO BUILD A FLEET FOR THEFUTURE, ONE OF THE PROPER SIZE AND MIX OF CAPABILITIES TO DETER OR DEFEAT THE ENEMIES WE MAY FACE TOMORROW. IT WILL BE DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE WE HAVE TODAY. WE MUST ENSURE IT IS EVEN STRONGER, THE RIGHT NAVY FOR ITS TIME. AND THIRD, NO LESS IMPORTANT THAN THE PRECEDING TWO, IS THE NEED TO TRANSFORM OUR PERSONNEL SYSTEM. OUR NAVY CAN NEVER BE BETTER THAN ITS SAILORS, BUT I CAN DELIVER FOR THOSE SAILORS AN ACCESSION, ASSIGNMENT, DISTRIBUTION, AND EDUCATION SYSTEM EVERY BIT AS MODERN AND SOPHISTICATED AS THEY ARE. WE NEED A FLEXIBLE AND RESPONSIVE HUMAN CAPITAL STRATEGY, SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO COMPETE FOR THE INTELLECTUAL TALENT WE WILL NEED IN THE FUTURE.
4. THESE THREE CHALLENGES NOW COMPRISE MY MAJOR STRATEGIC PRIORITIES. I INTEND TO USE SEA POWER 21 AND ALL ITS SUPPORTING TENETS AS A FRAMEWORK TO ATTACK EACH ONE AND TO SERVE AS THE BLUEPRINT FOR OUR CONTINUING TRANSFORMATION. IN THE COMING WEEKS I WILL ISSUE ADDITIONAL, SPECIFIC GUIDANCE, BUT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT PRINCIPLES WILL SHAPE THE DECISIONS I MAKE AS YOUR CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.
A. WARFIGHTING. THE NAVY IS FIRST AND FOREMOST A FIGHTING, SEA-GOING SERVICE (I would have recommended that as the top priority,but that is just me)-- ALWAYS HAS BEEN. THE WEAPONS AND TECHNOLOGY CHANGE. THE SHIPS, AIRCRAFT, AND SUBMARINES CERTAINLY IMPROVE OVER TIME, BUT THE JOB REMAINS THE SAME: TO TAKE THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY SO THAT HE CANNOT TAKE IT TO US. IT IS WHAT WE ARE PAID TO DO. WE HAVE WORKED LONG AND HARD OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS TO PURSUE EFFICIENCIES THAT ALLOW US TO SUSTAIN THIS EFFORT, BUT I WILL NOT FORGET -- AND I URGE YOU NOT TO FORGET -- THE PROMISE WE MADE "TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC."(Hey, I voted.)
B. JOINTNESS. DEFENDING FREEDOM TODAY REQUIRES A REAL COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING THE COMBATANT COMMANDERS AND OUR FELLOW SERVICES, AGENCIES, ALLIES, AND PARTNERS. IT REQUIRES TEAMWORK. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOOK ANY FURTHER THAN OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM AND OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM TO SEE THE TRUTH IN THAT STATEMENT. AS I WRITE THIS THERE ARE MORE THAN 3,800 SAILORS ON THE GROUND IN AFGHANISTAN, KUWAIT, AND IRAQ FIGHTING ALONGSIDE AMERICAN SOLDIERS, AIRMEN, AND MARINES, NOT TO MENTION THE THOUSANDS MORE DEPLOYED ABOARD SHIPS AROUND THE GLOBE(..and that still is not being properlyreflected in selecion boards). THEY ARE DOING MAGNIFICENT WORK, HELPING MILLIONS OF OTHERS LIVE FREE. THE NAVY BRINGS TO THE FIGHT UNIQUE MARITIME CAPABILITIES, BUT AS THEIR WORK CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES, THOSE CAPABILITIES ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE CONTRIBUTION THEY MAKE TO THE TEAM EFFORT. I WILL BE ACTIVELY SEEKING WAYS TO IMPROVE THOSE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE JOINT FORCE.
C. NAVAL CHARACTER. I WAS STRUCK BY THE STORY OF HOSPITAL CORPSMAN THIRD CLASS BRIAN ALANIZ OF SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, WHO IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE IRAQ WAR LOST PART OF A LEG TRYING TO RESCUE A WOUNDED MARINE FROM A MINEFIELD. WHEN ASKED LATER ON THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW IF HE CONSIDERED HIMSELF A HERO, ALANIZ RESPONDED SIMPLY, HUMBLY, "I WAS ONLY DOING MY JOB." THAT IS NAVAL CHARACTER -- NAVY-MARINE CORPS TEAMWORK AT ITS FINEST -- AND I CONSIDER IT A NATIONAL TREASURE. I WILL WORK CLOSELY WITH THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS TO ENSURE OUR TEAM STAYS STRONG AND RELEVANT FAR INTO THE FUTURE AND THAT WE LIVE UP TO THE CHARACTER AND DEVOTION BRIAN ALANIZ DISPLAYED FOR "HIS MARINES."
D. PEOPLE. YOU, THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY, SAILORS ALL -- ACTIVE, RESERVE, AND CIVILIAN -- ARE ITS LIFEBLOOD. YOU ARE THE WORLDS BEST, AND I AM COMMITTED TO YOUR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. THERE WILL BE FEW, IF ANY, DECISIONS I MAKE WHERE I DO NOT ASK MY COMMANDERS FIRST ABOUT THE IMPACT THOSE DECISIONS HAVE ON YOU. THE SAME HOLDS TRUE FOR FAMILIES. I BELIEVE OUR FAMILIES ARE EVERY BIT A FACTOR IN OUR READINESS AS OUR TECHNOLOGY AND OUR TRAINING. THEIR LOVE AND SUPPORT MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO DO WHAT WE DO EACH AND EVERY DAY. DEBORAH AND I ARE DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR OUR FAMILIES AND OUR LARGER NAVY FAMILY THAT SHARES A RICH TRADITION OF SEA SERVICE.
E. LEADERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY. I FUNDAMENTALLY BELIEVE THAT WITHIN EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US LIES THE CAPACITY TO LEAD. NO MATTER WHERE WE STAND IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, WE ALL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO DEVELOP OUR LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL AND THAT OF THE SAILORS IN OUR CHARGE. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT A TENET OF GOOD LEADERSHIP IS HOLDING ONESELF ACCOUNTABLE TO HIGH STANDARDS
(see below). THE QUALITY OF OUR WORK AND OUR PERSONAL CONDUCT SAY MORE ABOUT WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE STAND FOR THAN ANY ONE OF OUR HUNDREDS OF SHIPS OR THOUSANDS OF AIRPLANES. WHEREVER WE GO, WHATEVER WE DO, WE REPRESENT THE IDEALS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE NATION WE SERVE. ARLEIGH BURKE SAID IT BEST: "WE NEED MEN AND WOMEN WHO BY THEIR PERSONAL INTEGRITY, SENSE OF MORAL PURPOSE, AND ACCEPTANCE OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR HARD WORK WILL EXEMPLIFY THE BEST IN THE LEADERSHIP TRADITIONS.
3. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPECT MUCH FROM US. THEY EXPECT US TO COMMAND THE SEAS AND TO STAY THE MOST POWERFUL NAVY IN THE WORLD. THEY EXPECT US TO DEFEND THEIR FREEDOM, TAKING THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY -- WHOEVER AND WHEREVER THAT ENEMY IS. THEY EXPECT US TO BE FLEXIBLE AND TO OPERATE JOINTLY WITH OTHER SERVICES AND ALLIES ACROSS THE SPECTRUM OF CONFLICT. THEY EXPECT US TO CHALLENGE THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO A LIFE OF CONSEQUENCE, WITH SERVICE THAT MATTERS AND LEADERSHIP THAT INSPIRES. THEY EXPECT US TO BE DREAMERS AND INNOVATORS, BUILDING FOR THEM A FLEET THAT WILL ENSURE THE SECURITY OF THEIR GRANDCHILDREN AND GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN. THEY EXPECT US TO ACT AS GOOD STEWARDS OF BOTH THEIR MONEY AND THEENVIRONMENT. MOREOVER, THEY EXPECT US TO COMPORT OURSELVES ALWAYSWITH HONOR, TO LIVE UP TO THE LEGACY LEFT US BY NAVY HEROES PAST ANDPRESENT.
4. I BELIEVE WE ARE MEETING THESE HIGH EXPECTATIONS EVERY DAY, BUT WE WILL NOT REST. WE HAVE BOTH THE GREAT PRIVILEGE AND GREAT RESPONSIBILITY OF SERVING OUR NATION AT A CRITICAL TIME, CONFRONTING THE MOST DEMANDING SECURITY CHALLENGES IN HISTORY(hyperbole, I would remove). OUR ABILITY TO OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES WILL AFFECT NOT
ONLY AMERICAS FREEDOM, BUT ALSO THE FREEDOM OF MILLIONS OF OTHER MEN AND WOMEN THE WORLD OVER. OUR ENEMIES WILL NOT REST, AND NEITHER CAN WE. WE MUST MOVE OUT SWIFTLY, DELIBERATELY, BOLDLY.
5. AS I TAKE THE HELM FROM ADMIRAL CLARK, I DO SO WITH THE FULL UNDERSTANDING THAT SUCH BOLDNESS CANNOT SUCCEED WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT. I NEED YOUR IDEAS. I WANT YOUR IDEAS. WHEN I VISIT YOU, TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK. THIS IS YOUR NAVY. I WILL LISTEN. I WILL LEARN. AND I WILL LEAD. BUT I WILL NEED YOUR HELP TO DO ALL THREE. IT IS TIME TO REMOVE THE STOPS AND OPEN THE THROTTLE.
6. RELEASED BY ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.//
BT
NNNN


(Yep, I saw the screw up too. On his first message to the Fleet, the paragraph numbering is dorked-up. Somewhere there is a Flag Sec/N1-type stepping off a C-130 wondering, "Why didn't I chop a hard copy......"




The CNO barely finished his post Change of Command cake when we saw the first head on a pike out front of The Navy Yard on Monday morning.Vice Admiral Joseph A. Sestak, Jr., Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Warfare Requirements and Programs (N6/N7) is looking for a new UIC. The Navy Times has the details, here's the executive summary.

Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) Vice Adm. Joseph Sestak was “administratively reassigned” July 25 by new Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen, according to Rear Adm. T. McCreary, chief of naval information.
“Rear Adm. Mark Edwards, currently serving as director of the Surface Warfare Division, will serve as the acting DCNO until such time as a relief can be identified, nominated and confirmed,” McCreary said.

A source within the Navy Department said there were no allegations of misconduct on the part of Sestak. Rather, he said, the move is being made because of poor command climate.
That translates as "No one wanted to work for the guy, those who did had lousy retention, etc, etc."

Message to Navy leaders: lead, don't browbeat. I have not worked for VADM Sestak, but I know his reputation. I would not work for him if I had the choice. I have a thick skin and like to work. 'Nuff said.

Standby.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Culture quote of the day

“Civilizations die from suicide, not murder,”
- Arnold Toynbee


Tony Blair, George W. Bush: call your office.

Can someone sell me a very large Communist Vietnam flag

'cause I'm a-gonna need it. Look-e what Miss Susanne found.

Sheeee'sss baaaackkk!
Actress and activist Jane Fonda says she intends to take a cross-country bus tour to call for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq.

"I can't go into any detail except to say that it's going to be pretty exciting," she said.
Exciting? Oh, I think so. This is just too precious to ignore. In today's world, we cannot but help ourselves but to counter protest. Protest Warrior; you on top of this?

It looks like she plans to start in MAR06. Just in time to remind the voters in '06. Very nice. She just has no clue. This will be fun to watch. I think she is going to have some company. Time for the Vietnam Vets and the GWOT Vets to have a few beers together and, ahem, talk.......what number should we give this OPLAN?

Puh-lezz travel to Red States.....puh-lezz come to Norfolk, San Diego, Jacksonville, Fayet-nam, Ft. Hood, Pensacola......puh-lezz.
Like Mad Dog Vinnie offers, you might want to buy one of these here.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Marine's grave desecrated in PA

....and his family's spit upon by a hateful troll of a human that showed up uninvited to his funeral. That is about as close as I can get to describing what was done last week in PA.


Rhonda Goodrich of Indiana, Pa., said yesterday that a funeral was held Tuesday .. for her brother-in-law, Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, 32. ... (who) "died bravely and courageously in Iraq on July 10, serving his country."

In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people "who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives."

Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll."

She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.

"Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign."

Goodrich said she is positive that Knoll was not invited to the funeral, which was jammed with Marines in dress uniform and police officers, because the fallen Marine had been a policeman in McKeesport and Indiana County.

What really upset the family, Goodrich said, is that Knoll said, 'I want you to know our government is against this war,' " Goodrich said.

Catherine Baker Knoll is the Lt. Gov. for the state of Pennsylvania.



Knoll should be fired and gibbeted immediately. The Gov. of PA should be dragged out of his hole and respond to the people of PA NOW. Silence is approval, coward. Knoll represents the excretable ooze of the American Left. Give her a speaking position at the next DNC fundraiser. That vein on my forehead is throbbing so hard I can't think straight. I don't care if she is a womyn, and I pray for calm, but sometimes someone deserves to be hit. Money changers at the Temple; grave robbing politicians - sometimes face-to-face accountability is called for. Why, oh why, is this scupper trout still in office?

Beyond the personal, there are professional/political issues here as well. So.....is the State of Pennsylvania in a state of rebellion against the Republic? Didn't we solve the issue of States having their own foreign policy a while ago? Gov'nah; get out in front of this NOW!!!! The people of PA deserve better.

My head hurts, and my heart for Staff Sergeant Goodrich's family. No one should have to put up with that.


To the "Wall of Shame" with you Knoll, you deserve no title but scorn.

Here is a better American. Yea, I said it. Sue me.



Hat tip
JPod ...again.


UPDATE: The PA Gov. has made a lame response; "I'm sorry" maybe, perhaps. I'll let the PA voters work this.






CFR: I have your credibility stuffed in my socks

If the self-appointed, self-perpetuating, self-licking elite want to know why so many hold them in contempt, they should look at their hypocritical actions.

Sandy Berger should be in some jail somewhere praying for a better roommate, at least in some cabin in the woods trying to get the tar-and-feathers out of his hair. Instead, he is co-chairing a "Task Force" for the Council on Foreign Relations.

On Wednesday, the following event will take place.
IMPROVING U.S. POST-CONFLICT CAPABILITIES
REPORT OF AN INDEPENDENT BIPARTISAN TASK FORCE

SAMUEL R. BERGER
Task Force Co-Chair
Chairman, Stonebridge International LLC
Former National Security Advisor

BRENT SCOWCROFT
Task Force Co-Chair
President, The Scowcroft Group
Former National Security Advisor
Any self-respecting professional should get up and walk out of the room the minute Sandy steps up to the podium to speak or sits down at a front table.

That guy isn't qualified to be my
Command Security Manager. Shame on the CFR. Maybe the AFDB people aren't completely loony in their ideas......no, still loony...but still...

Shame.

Hat tip The Corner.

Why I love the Navy and love my Sailors...

.....not that way, of course. If you have been on Shore Duty as a Staff Weenie too long (more than 6 months for either in my book), you often forget the little big things that make being in the Navy, well, being in the Navy.

There are some things that are part of that "it is hard to explain" response to the question people ask, "Why have you been in the Navy so long...."

Enough of my blather, get ye to Lubber Line's entry at
Hundreds of Fathoms about the curious attractiveness of the XO's door and other proofs of the existence of a Higher Being.

Everyone should go TAD to Norfolk...

....so they can tell BRAC that they are STONED, SMOKING DOPE, HIGH, working on the flight deck, whatever phrase you want.

They want to
add a few thousand more cars to 564, Terminal Blvd, 64-264, and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel every day?

Did they make the drive at 0630-0730 or 1530-1800?

Harumph. Time for a high fiber breakfast.


DISCLAIMER: It is not a well hidden fact that I am not a fan of cramming the balance of your fleet in a few easily attacked ports. On a quasi-unrelated issue; I am one of the few, the scorned, that are fans of the '80s
Strategic Homeporting concept. It has nothing to do with traffic per se. But if the bean counters didn't win over the warfighters, we would still have Charleston. If you haven't been to Charleston in the last 15 years...you should go. You will want the base reopened yesterday. If you want to quickly cut the U.S. Fleet down a notch or two, then the Norfolk-San Diego concept is just dandy. Easy access, easy target. Now, about Cecil Field..

Friday, July 22, 2005

HEY! It's my 1 year anniversary

I just realized that I started this 1 year ago. Cool. This is good therapy.

Thanks to all my steady readers and frequent commentators.

I know I am going to miss a few, I'm in a hurry to get to a plane, but I wanted to take a moment to put out a "thanks" specifically to a few folks - for those I missed, you know who you are, thanks to you as well.

The first person to link to me at
The Old Whigs Brain Dump and the first person to "buy" me on BlogShares, Kathryn. The folks that inspired me to start this, The Commissar, Dr. Rusty Shackleford, John at Argghhh!!!, and of course everyone at The Corner. One of my first regular readers, Anne, and always close by and very kind; me dear Bookie Bookworm. Va at Ninme. My fellow Sailors that keep me honest and on my toes, Eagle1, Bubblehead, 74 at The Bowramp, Scott who even lets me bug him via IM and is very quick with thought, and of course everyone's favorite liberty partner Skippy.

From Byron Audler to WillyShake, Vigilis, Airdale, The Outlaw Michael Cosyns, and others who along with the folks above kick me back to centerline and add depth and perspective to my posts through their frequent comments, thanks to you as well. Without your comments, this would be little more than me ranting to myself.

To Greyhawk at
Mudville Gazette, LGF, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Slate, and The Army Times and other uberbloggers that now and then found something of value in my posts, I am humbled and thankful.

Speaking of humbled, to see what I look like on training wheels,
here are my posts from my first month. Have a good weekend all; see you for the Sunday Funnies.

Cheers,
Phibian

Evil meme strikes again!!

…and this time from Skippy-san. Shocked, it does not have anything to do with women or Rob Pongi like antics.

Actually, this is quite a cerebral meme. Very civilized. Funny thing, last month I remembered a night where I walked around the town I went to college in. Sober. All night. My last semester, thinking about where I was going and what was going to happen; thinking to myself, “I hope this works out right.” I was lucky; I had lots of options post-undergrad. I took the path not recommended by many peers, and not one that was a family tradition. Last month, I talked back to myself back then. I think on average, the 22yr old Phibian would not be disappointed. Good question from Skippy though; about the concept of talking back. Here is the guiding paragraph of this, to be honest, quite deep, meme.

List 3-5 things that you would put in a "Back to the Future" type letter from you now, to your younger self you, say 20-21 year old you about to graduate college or any other similar pursuit. There are only two caveats here: 1) you cannot direct your younger self to do anything or violate the principle of free will in decision making and 2) you should not try to reveal specific events in the future since, in theory, if any of your advice is accepted it will already screw up the time line and the events won't happen at all. This should, however to allow you to give your younger self some advice, and in the process force some introspection into your own existence. It can be as shallow or as revealing as you like, and feel comfortable with.
  • Economic:Subscribe to Investors Business Daily NOW and know the CANSLIM method. Ignore some of the static, value based analysis of your Keynesian Econ professors. Start saving via direct deposit 10% of your gross income minimum. While you are single, 20%. Subscribe to Money magazine for 2 years until you are comfortable with CANSLIM, then go with the system and drop Money and stay with IBD. It is all you need. Oh, and tell Mom that she should sell her business by age 62 and let someone else worry about it. Talk them into buying some long-term care insurance.


  • Personal:Grow up and get over the ego fluffing from your female “friends.” You are wasting their time and yours. Trust your instincts on what you need to do. Don’t second-guess yourself to death. Sometimes in life, you do find the grand prize behind the first door you open. Speaking of doors, quit over-intellectualizing your faith. Find a solid Bible study group where you are comfortable and go. Get a New American Standard study Bible and come armed. Argue, discuss, but keep an open mind. You will know what to do from there. Pick up the tennis racket again now that your vision is fixed. Take a couple of lessons and surprise you Dad next time you’re home and go play tennis.


  • Professional: Up to this point in your life, you have skated by on your luck with the genetic lottery. You can do fine without trying, but you are wasting your God given gift. Work as hard as your friends and you will lap them. Good enough isn’t. There is no substitute for excellence. In the real world, pack+ will get you nowhere. You’ll figure this out by 25, I’m giving you a head start. Get off your spoiled tail and get moving. The gravy train will stop sooner than you think. You have been blessed with a superior education. Quit abusing the privilege. As for the Navy, you are on the right path, trust your instincts.
  • Now, the big question is; would Phibian hear this? At 21-22, yes. Before 21, doubt it. Hey, I’ll be honest; I have been blessed and lucky. I don’t think I would change much of anything. I am a big believer in “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.”
    Good, bad, ugly…I’ll take all that life has sent my way so far. It is what makes me, well, me. Mostly good. The bad and the ugly is just life in an imperfect world.

    Mmmm, who to bug? The introspective types (who I think like memes) would be
    Anne, Ninme, and for old-fart-isms – Mr. Salty at The Bowramp. Don't blame me. Skippy started it.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Need a wake-up?

    Just open up two browsers, one for this pic and one for this pic. Now, click between the two until the binary reaction forces you to get up and make a cup of coffee to clear your head.

    You're welcome.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Give a nod to the "Good Germans"

    For those who missed it, today is the 61st Anniversary of the best attempt, albeit late, by the German military to take out Hitler before he took Germany down with him.

    That should serve as an example that even with the most hated ememy, there are
    good men in their ranks that are professionals just like you; they were just born to the wrong mother.

    It doesn't mean you should stop trying to bomb them into little bits, just that when the fighting is over; the fighting is over.

    BTW,
    John has a nice write-up as well.

    The grievances of nihilism

    I need to read my favorite Trotskyite every day, not weekly. Great immediate response to the London bombings from Christopher Hitchens.
    SOMEWHERE around London at about a quarter to nine yesterday morning, there must have been people turning on their TV and radio sets with a look of wolfish expectation.

    I hope and believe that they were disappointed in what they got. There just wasn't quite enough giggle-value for the psychopath.

    It must have been infernal underneath King's Cross, but above ground no panic, no screaming, no wailing and beating the air, no yells for vengeance.
    ...unlike what you would have seen in any Arab country if the same thing had happened where an Arab capitial was bombed by Christian terrorists. Just think about what the scene would look like in that scenario.
    When we use the weak and vague word "terrorism" we imply indiscriminate cruelty directed at civilians.

    "Sadism" or "fascism" or "nihilism" would do just as nicely: all the venom that lurks just on the sub-human level of the human species.
    ...
    People are afraid of plane crashes and of heights: in that sense 9/11 was the perfect strike on the collective unconscious. People are likewise afraid of fire and of crowded or subterranean conditions: the mind of the fascist is naturally attuned to exploit such dreads.
    That is one reason I like to use the term "Islamofascism." It simply fits.
    Random and "senseless" though such violence may appear, we also all know it expresses a deadly ideology; indeed that in some ways it is that ideology.

    The preachers of this faith have taken care to warn us that they love death more than we love life. Their wager is that this makes them unstoppable. Well, we shall have to see. They certainly cannot prove their point unless we assist them in doing so.

    My American friends have been impressed by the composure of the Londoners they have seen on the screen: I bet London Transport runs again rather sooner than US airlines resumed flying after 9/11.
    He is right. They had the Blitz and the IRA in their history. We don't have anything like that in living memory here. Some in the left feel a need for us to "understand the root causes" et cetera. Christopher has a word about that.
    We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

    The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

    FOR a few moments yesterday, Londoners received a taste of what life is like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose Muslim faith does not protect them from slaughter at the hands of those who think they are not Muslim enough, or are the wrong Muslim.

    It is a big mistake to believe this is an assault on "our" values or "our" way of life. It is, rather, an assault on all civilisation.
    In his nice English-English spelling, he is right on target. This is the war of cultures, the war of ideas. The war of progress over a retrograde force pushing back.
    They demand the impossible - the cessation of all life in favour of prostration before a totalitarian vision. Plainly, we cannot surrender. There is no one with whom to negotiate, let alone capitulate.

    We shall track down those responsible. States that shelter them will know no peace. Communities that shelter them do not take forever to discover their mistake. And their sordid love of death is as nothing compared to our love of London, which we will defend as always, and which will survive this with ease.
    Yea, what he said.

    (BTW, this was written the day after the London bombings.)

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    A global religion’s death dance

    On some issues I do not see eye to eye with Thomas Friedman, but you have to give him credit, he gets the global war we are in. (BTW, who besides me is tired of the phrase “Global War on Terrorism?” (GWOT) if you are, raise your mouse. I am. It isn’t accurate. It is a war against a rabid form of Islam. Not the entire religion, but a virulent, growing, and expansive one. One that Charles Martel, and Don Juan of Austria, Prince Lazar, or Constantine X Paleologus, would recognize.)

    Friedman is on our team. He isn’t 100% happy on how the war is being fought, but that is fair. A different idea and aggressive discussion on “how” is good and healthy, as long as you get the “why,” and he has the “why.”

    Folding in the London bombings and the trial of
    Muhammad Bouveri, he manages to boil down the “root causes” in one article about as good as I have ever seen it.
    There are a lot of angry (groups) of people in the world. But the only ones who seem to feel entitled and motivated to kill themselves and totally innocent people, including other Muslims, … are young Sunni radicals. What is going on?

    Neither we or the Muslim world can run away from this question any longer.
    Bingo! Run away. That is the description I have been looking for. The American left; running away. The human rights industry; running away. The TSA; running away. The European Union and the British Left; running away. We do not have the luxury to wish the world as we want it to be. We must accept it as it is.

    Will London have to happen in New York? LA? Boston? Atlanta? When will we start to learn from Israel how to do it right?

    We have to know our enemy. It isn’t poverty. It isn’t even Nationalism. It is a religion that is incompatible with the modern world. You know one of the most dangerous persons you can be around is one that is about to drown. Any lifeguard will tell you that if you don’t do it right, a drowning person will take you with them as they thrash around trying to use anything to keep their head above water. It isn’t rational, it doesn’t even work. It is just the mad thrashing of the survival instinct. We are seeing it with Islam. In a time of mass communication and globalization, in the world marketplace, the core of Islam just cannot reconcile itself to the reality of the 21st Century.
    …The Financial Times put it, often (Muslim immigrants) find themselves “cut off from their country, language and culture of origin” without being assimilated …
    Assimilation is the key. Do we have riots of Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics here in the US? No. Did we have Americans of English extraction rise up in the War of 1812? No. Did Americans of German extraction have a guerrilla movement here in WWII? Italians? No and no (OK some Americans that moved back to Germany became spies, but that is retail compared to what we have here). Reason #438 that all this multi-culti crap is crap. From (insert genetic sub-group here) History Month, to bilingual education, to gov’munt bureaucrats trying to classify mixed-race children into one of their little blocks; multi-culti non-assimilation is just a ticking time bomb. It is counter productive and self destructive. It has NEVER worked, and never will.
    Islam has a long tradition of tolerating other religions, but only on the basis of the supremacy of Islam, not equality with Islam. .. Muslims are raised with the view that Islam is God 3.0, Christianity is God 2.0, Judaism is God 1.0, and Hinduism is God 0.0.
    Additionally, they have a 12th Century attitude about criticism. It was once said (by one of my heros I think) that once a Muslim director makes the Islamic version of “The Life of Brian” in Mecca and he is not killed, then we will know if Islam can exist in the modern age in the West. I’m not holding by breath.

    Using some common sense PSY101, he makes a very acute observation about motivation.
    …they are on one hand tempted by secular Western society, and ashamed of being tempted. … (Islam’s) decision to ban the reform and reinterpretation of Islam since the 12th Century has choked the spirit of innovation out of Muslim lands, and left the Islamic world less powerful, less economically developed, less technically advanced than God 2.0, 1.0, and 0.0.

    …while having been taught their faith is supreme, other civilizations seem to be doing much better.
    Envy, pride, and a lack of self reflection. Bad in kids, ugly in adults, deadly in a culture.
    This is not about the poverty of money. This is about the poverty of dignity and the rage it can trigger.
    This should be part of the in-chop brief for everyone heading to the sandbox.
    The secret of (how a secular, Western Muslim can quickly become a suicide bomber against those he grew up with) is in this conversion – and is the crisis in Islam. The people and ideas that brought about that sudden conversion … if not stopped by other Muslims – will end up converting every Muslim into a suspect and one of the world’s great religions into a cult of death.
    Mr. Friedman nailed it. One thing I would add; there are great Americans that are Muslim. They need to work to rescue their religion. I am a 21st Century Christian, not a 12th Century Christian. Muslims need to find a 21st Century Islam, or they will be swamped by history. We are at the tipping point perhaps. Perhaps it is already too late, but this is going to get tougher, and is going to last longer. Islam's internal battle is lashing out.

    As for my European friends: the Islamists are starting to see that America is a more difficult and more distant target. Sure, we are going to get hit again, but I think they are starting to see that their traditional enemy, Europe, is an easier and weaker target. That is where the battle of the busses is going.

    The war is coming to their front, again. Cowboy up.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Back to Brown Water

    In some ways, this makes me think of what would have happened to someone who waited until 1946 to come out and say, “Hey, this Aircraft Carrier concept seems to be of importance, let's invest some more money in it.” ….but that is being a bit too snarky.

    In a parting shot, the outgoing CNO put out a memo on 06 JUL outlining where he sees the Navy needs to go to “expand the Navy’s capabilities to prosecute” the war. (NB: look at the timing. OUTGOING CNO. Read, lame-duck, little advocacy until the 1-2-3 star underlings get a reading on what the NEW CNO thinks.)

    I am treading on VERY thin ice here, but very respectfully and fully understanding the politics of the Puzzle Palace – WHERE THE HELL WAS THIS MEMO A FEW YEARS AGO!!!!

    I’ll take what I can get, but this is just not the way we should do business. That being said, there is some good, some bad, and some ugly to be looked - all that I support 100%. The major areas are covered, and more professional opinion provided, in the
    The Navy Enquirer…err….Times.

  • Riverine Forces: We’re getting back in business. More details below.

  • Navy Expeditionary Battalion: Ummmm. Sounds like Naval Infantry, which sounds like Marines; but from what I have gathered, that isn’t what is going on here. I have a friend that was at the briefing at CFFC about this. Nice PowerPoint brief with lots of hand written notes and wire-diagrams about the staff structure. My question: “OK, but what exactly will you do?” Answer, “I’m not sure, but we think we know what the staff structure will look like.” Mmmmm. Bad beginning. You don't build a staff then ask, "OK what are we going to do?" Someone knows what they want the NEB to do, they just need TO TELL SOMEONE. Sigh. Initial look is another excuse for a Flag Staff that puts together a bunch of other already existing organizations under one roof. I’m not sure what value it adds. I’ve asked a few people involved with it at the CDR/CAPT level, they can’t answer it either. Not a good sign. More to follow, but I don’t like the smell.

  • Civil Affairs attached to SeaBees: You mean we don’t already? You’re late.

  • Active/Reserve Integration (ARI) for two Helo Combat Support Special Squadrons: ARI; ARI for all my friends; as long as it is ARI and not a Full Time Support (what TARs call themselves now days) full employment act.

  • Data mining team for the National Maritime Intelligence Center and a center to exploit intelligence from maritime interdictions operations (MIO): Eagle 1 should be all over this, but I will add…..”You mean we don’t already have that?" A world full of pirates, LNG tankers, and terrorists owned merchant fleets that you can fit all sorts of weapons on…..and we don’t have a data mining team? You’re late. Oh well, we have a Navy Diversity Directorate, but we don’t have a data mining team and MIO exploitation team.

  • A sidebar states that Navy endstrength “should not grow.” Well, no kidding. OPNAV already has us going down to 318,000 or so by FY11. Why? It is hard to justify endstrength WHEN YOU ARE FOUR YEARS LATE IN TURNING-TO IN THE NEW THREATS FACING OUR NATION.

    There. I feel better. Of all the above, as
    mentioned before and taunted by John, I would recommend that we lean first and foremost on the expansion of the Riverine plan. Core Competency. That is the most Navy like, and where we already have thousands of Sailors ready to go. We know how to train Coxswains. We have a cadre of Small Boat Specialists. We have plenty of underemployed Gunners Mates. We have plenty of overmanned rates that need gainful employment. And we have plenty of outstanding Surface Warfare Junior Officers who are itching to get in the fight as best as they can.

    Go up to any EP LTJG and ask him, “Do you want to transfer to USS Neverdock, or do you want to lead Riverine forces in Iraq? Get out of the way, because that officer will knock you down trying to get to the phone to call the detailer. As a sidebar, I can think of fewer opportunities to build the leaders of tomorrow more than to put our best LTJGs and LTs leading sailors up the Tigris and Euphrates. Beats the hell out of being 1st LT and OOD on a WestPAC. A great tour, but nothing like directing shore support of ground forces engaged in combat with the enemy. They should give them Joint Credit as well. They would come out of that tour knowing more about Army OPS and USAF coordination than all the JPME in the world could give them.

    Luck for me, I have a reader who knows more about where we stand right now on Riverine forces than about anyone, and he has the gouge. As a snapshot,
    Naval Special Warfare owns all the Navy's Combat Craft; MK V, NSW RHIB, SOC-R, PBL, etc. They are primarily a mobility asset for NSW. Insert and extract SEALs. The last time Special Boats did much 'presence' duty was Gulf War 1. Since then the craft have migrated almost exclusively to SEAL mobility role.

    Almost all the money comes from MFP 11 (SOCOM).

    The PCs that started out as a NSW craft under SOCOM were not the right craft for NSW/SpecOps and have migrated to the Fleet/USCG, and NSW does not currently have a requirement to fulfill LOC control in the Riverine environment.
    Now, if the new CNO takes on what the old CNO stated in his memo, this is going to change. The shame in this all is that until very recently, we had a nascent, but viable Riverine force on life support.
    The Navy Reserve did at one time have an entire command dedicated to Riverine Craft and operations; Special Boat Unit 11. It had PBRs, MATCs, Monitors
    (YEA BABY, Monitors…)
    , etc. It was decommissioned in 1997. Most of its assets were transferred to SBU 22, now SBT 22 (Special Boat Team 22), and to a Reserve Detachment in Sacramento (SBT-Riverine Operations and Training).
    The new structure will have one active and two reserve components. Personally, I would like to see double that, with most all the items C-17 transportable.

    That’s OK. We have a start.

    JULY 12, 2005
    MEMO for Distribution
    From Director, Navy Staff
    Subj; IMPLEMENTATION OF CNO GUIDANCE ON GWOT CAPABILITIES
    1. BLAH BLAH
    2. TAKE FOR ACTION (normal navy language).....
    a. Establish a Riverine Force in Active and Reserve Components. By 24 August 2005, OPNAV N6/N7 will, IAW blah blah blah...provide a plan to establish an AC Riverine Squadron in FY05/06 and 2 RC Riverine Squadrons on 07/08
    To my source, thanks for the tip. It warms the soul to see that things are moving in the right direction.

    Again, this isn’t a rice bowl issue. This is about pulling your load in a war. Riverine OPS is low hanging fruit for the Navy. This memo should have come out three years ago, but I’ll take it now. We need a Riverine presence as long as we have troops on the ground. More importantly, we need them available from day 1 of the next conflict. Almost every country has at least one river. It’s a no-brainer.

    One last thing, there are some special things about Riverine OPS that make it a very unique speciality, one that the USGC isn't set up for. He makes a great reason why we should always have a cadre of Riverine experts around so we don't learn those hard lessons won in earlier conflicts.
    Riverine operations are worlds away from most Navy ops. ... you can not imagine the mind warp required in just navigating, assessing danger close and mission planning. GPS/ Dead Rec navigation doesn't work. Charts? For Iraq/Iran/Kissmyassistan? Not too trustworthy. Situational/Battlespace Awareness? On a narrow river with high banks? Urban environment? Low/no light? Getting kinda sporty.

    USCG Harbor Defense / Port Security has virtually no knowledge in Riverine Ops, nor would I want to use them. There primary mission is Force Protection, a different mission than offensive, combat ops. Different mind set, different tactics, different C3I.
    A growth industry. I'm feeling a bit of envy....

    Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    Keeping an Eye on the long game: Part XIII


    Nice SKS. Much purty'r than mine. We should go to the range sometime, Comrade.

    Anyway, back to The Long Game.
    There are a lot of things out there about the CHICOMS latest threats. The dragon continues to stretch. Lets start with this wonderful article from the Financial Times.
    “If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Zhu Chenghu, a major general in the People's Liberation Army, said at an official briefing.
    Well General, that will get you the "subtle opinion" award for the day. Mmmm. What other goodies are here?
    ...China's definition of its territory included warships and aircraft
    OK, my little Chinese version of Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson; what you are saying here is, "You sink my Lulu and I will nuke San Diego?" And you are still in uniform? In a senior position? Taking your medication?
    Gen Zhu's comments come as the Pentagon prepares to brief Congress next Monday on its annual report on the Chinese military, which is expected to take a harder line than previous years. They are also likely to fuel the mounting anti-China sentiment on Capitol Hill.
    Nice timing.

    This is taking place in a larger context. China is not building up its military without reason. Unless India or Vietnam do something stupid (they won't) the only thing China wants land-wise is Taiwan. We are really the only thing that stands in their way. They also want to be treated with respect and control the choke points to their oil; but besides the desire for Taiwan, their is their wounded pride in wanting to be treated as a military equal with the US. A bluewater Navy will help do that, in addition to making the resupply and defence of Taiwan a tougher nut to crack.

    Their buildup has been covered in a variety of ways in other "Long Game" posts. Besides the policy twisting narcotic of Nationalism, people wonder, "Why would China want to do this?" One of the head honchos at
    STRATFOR has a VERY interesting idea; cover for economic problems.
    China is not doing nearly as well economically as it appears. True, its exports are surging, but that doesn't mean the exports are profitable. Bad debts in China total an astounding $600 billion, according to Standard and Poor's — and I'd put the number higher. The Chinese economic miracle, which has been nothing to sneeze at, is running out of steam, as the rest of Asia did before it.

    This poses a tremendous political challenge to the Chinese government. The Communist Party's claim to authority no longer rests on the ideological claims of Mao Tse-tung and Karl Marx; it rests on the fact that the Communist government of China delivered prosperity. It didn't deliver it throughout China's geographic expanse and it didn't deliver it equally, but it did deliver it more quickly and broadly than imaginable. Success in China, as in politics everywhere, is the root of popularity.
    Nationalism as a cover for economic problems is nothing new. Unlike the author though, I don't think war with China, in the medium term (5-10 yrs), is unlikely. Not expected, but I won't be shocked if it takes place. Well, it will only take place if we honor our pledge to the Taiwanese. If we have a weak-sister President that China can intimidate, then all bets are off. Taiwan can be taken without US intervention. After 08/08/08, China can take Taiwan and after a year or two of international complaints, the dragon can burp and get on with business as usual. All the US will do is loose allies worldwide and China will be emboldened, and more dangerous. East Siberia will be next. If they "misunderestimate" the US leader though....
    If China no longer can call on the revolutionary zeal of the workers and peasants, how does it maintain its popularity and legitimacy? The one thing that remains — and is a very powerful force indeed — is Chinese patriotism and nationalism. If the Communists can't rally the masses to Marx, they can rally them to China.
    ...
    Over the past few weeks, observers have noted an odd hardening of China's foreign policy and a harsher edge to its tone. I would argue that China is in economic difficulty and a Chinese government in economic trouble is also in deep political trouble. Therefore, acting like a superpower is an antidote to economic problems, and legally committing itself to protect China's sovereignty makes a certain kind of sense.
    The Chinese government knows its economic condition better than anyone. It is preparing the ground for a shift in its international behavior based on worsening economic conditions. This doesn't mean war, but it does mean a lot more discussion of war — and another headache for the United States at a time when Washington doesn't need any more foreign policy headaches.
    Nationalistic saber-rattling only makes war more likely, not less

    Here is the executive summary: this Chinese General job is to play "Bad Commie General," to kick the bushes and see what happens. Either that or he is seriously insane.

    I hope the Chinese leadership isn't making the mistake others have made about the well hidden underside to the American character. Potential adversaries always think Americans are weaker than we are. Japan thought we were a pushover in '41 because if you looked at our pre-Pearl Harbor politics, we were. It is in our blood though, to be as violent as possible when threatened. Just look at our history.

    If his scenario tool place,
    “We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”

    I don't think he understands that no city west of Xian will be safe either. If one, 10, 100 American cities were nuked; no American President or his political party would do nothing less than ensure the obliteration from the face of the earth the country that did that. We are better at it than the Chinese when it comes to nukes. The only concern of the remaining 150 million Americans will be that we do not destroy the remaining Pandas as we move forward to killing as many of the remaining 500 million or so Chinese left after our initial attack.

    Actually, under the first wave there would probably be fewer Chinese left and more Americans around. Lets make it 200 million Americans and 350 million Chinese left over. They are more concentrated; we have more nukes, better nukes, and a better military. Any American politician who did not have a non-stop nuking to the borders of Mongolia, India and Kyrgyzstan until China agreed to an unconditional surrender would be impeached or there would be "extra-Constitutional Action" in the US.....and then more nuking. Americans are a very nice people, but we get a solid blood-lust when provoked, and a war of national survival will push that instinct to the limits. People forget that most of our bloodlines came from European revolutionaries (loosing side, I will grant you), border skirmishers from the British Isles, slaves that survived the passage, rebels, kids called today ADD, criminals, adventurers, and religious zealots.

    We are not stable when given weapons and a good reason to fight. Ask the Japanese, Sioux, and Saddam's kids. The best thing that China could expect from this conflict is retaining 1/3 of their prior population and their country broken up into Manchuria, Canton, East Turkistan, Tibet, and for good measure we will give some land back to our Mongolian friends, let the non-nuked Hong Kong become a Singapore, a bit to the now-united Korea, let Vietnam, Pakistan and India get their bits back, and Japan will have all oil rights outside 2NM from China's shores for 99 years. As for the US. We will take our remaining 150-200 million folks and get busy cleaning up our country while letting what is left of China's rump states descend into Warlordism for another 500 years. Will we be a superpower like we were? No, not even close. As a matter of fact, for generations we would be simply a regional power most likely. Too much rebuilding to work on. World will be on its own to deal with the expanding Islamic power and population. Will we be be a poor, sick, radioactive basket case? For a couple of decades, sure. India will rise and the major European powers will come on par with us. But, we will have won the war, and give us 100 years and we'll be back in form.

    Oh, Taiwan? We'll let Japan have that too, being that odds are General Looney will probably nuke it to a moonscape. Anyway, Japan has as much of a right to it as China.

    Phibian odds of a nuclear exchange with China? Methinks the odds are better that China will break into civil war .....but thats a post for another day.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    How do you say "Oh shit!" in Arabic

    ...because I think I hear it at the very end of this video captured by Iraqi insurgents.

    Via
    Army Times we have the story of the shooting, survival, and honor of Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer. You see, what he did was after everything was over with, he treated the man who shot him earlier. He is a medic.
    During a routine patrol in Baghdad June 2, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away. The incident was filmed by the insurgents. ... was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he popped right back up, took cover and located the enemy’s position.

    After tracking down the now-wounded sniper with a team from B Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, Tschiderer secured the terrorist with a pair of handcuffs and gave medical aid to the terrorist who’d tried to kill him just minutes before.
    You can hear on the video "Allah u-akbar" being repeated over and over after the shot by the "sniper" and his buddies. You can hear a tightening of their voice as they realize, "Ummmm. He just got up. He has a gun. He has friends. Maybe we should put down the camera."

    Much mumbling happens right prior to the video ending.


    BTW, if you want to see REAL professionalism. REAL training. REAL American military quality in action. Watch this video in action. This is not Hollywierd. This is a real person that was shot and saved by his vest. Watch how he reacts. Would you react the same way? Do you carry extra shorts with you socks in a pocket of your DCUs?

    Just asking. Bravo Zulu Private. Promote that man.

    Hat tip
    Drudge.

    USS San Antonio (LPD-17) fiasco: no excuses


    This is a devastating report the The Virginia Pilot.

    It is not a new story. Lead ships of every class have challenges. What is telling about this is that LPD-17 is the first of the "new" wave of ships coming online that are supposed to "transform" the Navy. Untold thousands of PowerPoint manhours, Proceedings articles written, speeches given to Sailors, and testimony given to Congress about how this brave new LPD-17, DD(X), and LCS Navy was all new. All fresh. All modern. All efficient. All manpower saving. All force multiplier. All in line to give retiring senior officers jobs at .... ... wait. I didn't write that.


    We are planning to spend huge chunks of taxpayer money on a fleet that is supposed to support our national goals. Cost per unit is critical as it will tell you how many ships you can buy; how many shipyards you can keep going to be there when - not if - the next major global conflict happens. And all of a suddent you have to flesh a 1st Fleet, a 4th Fleet, an 8th Fleet.....

    Past is often prologue. What happens to LPD-17 should show us what is going to happen to DD(X) and LCS (BTW, LCS is a stupid thing to name a ship. Beltway bullshit. Call it a frigate or a corvette.)

    All the PowerPoint briefs, FITREP bullets, and Miss Mary Sunshine briefs don't mean balls once the ship leaves the pier. Let's see what happened, and have a little tough love talk.

    Two years late and more than $400 million over its original budget, (the Navy's newest) amphibious ship .... is plagued by bad wiring, inadequate ventilation, corrosion and an array of other problems that reflect “poor construction and craftsmanship standards,” according to Navy inspectors.
    Looks like the Shoes learned a few things from the MV-22 program, and here is why I say "No Excuses." We have already plowed and extra $400 million EXTRA into this ship on top of what was budgeted. This thing should smell like Lilly-of-the-Valley during sea trials. Every Sailors rack should have a built in DVD. Affectionate 19 yr old tri-athlete Swedish masseuses named Helga should be manning the rails. This ship shouldn't act like a Nigerian Navy cast-off.
    The San Antonio, ... “is an incomplete ship,” the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey said.
    Not a good FITREP bullet.
    “Safety deficiencies exist throughout,” the inspectors reported in a July 8 memo sent to the Navy’s top admiral ...

    San Antonio is the first of 12 such ships the Navy has ordered to represent the future of amphibious warfare.

    Inspectors found ladders that were improperly constructed or missing handrails, unventilated spaces housing toxic chemicals, a crash-prone engineering control system, and more than four dozen systems that must be re tested after the Navy takes charge of the ship.
    Sounds like the folks that Personal Property hired to move my stuff last PCS also worked on the LPD-17. Here is a question at your next "Ask the Admiral" meet and greet; how many of these problems are going to be thrown on the back of Skippers and Sailors to fix, a la USS Kennedy, and then blame them when they can't get blood out of a turnip?
    Among the major problems cited by inspectors:

    - “San Antonio will be plagued by electrical (and) electronic cable plant installation deficiencies throughout its entire service life if currently-planned corrective actions are not complete.”

    - Poor wire installation and cable-pulling practices have led to a “snarled, over-packed, poorly-assembled and virtually uncorrectable electrical (and) electronic cable plant.”

    - “Watertight integrity is compromised throughout the ship by numerous multi-cable transits that may never achieve watertightness.”
    This is a brand new, state of the art ship. New design technology, etc..... Are you seeing where I am going here? All the technology in the world is no good if you lack experienced and talented engineers and craftsmen to execute a design plan; and uniformed, accountable leaders that are making sure it happens and not just focus on "I'll let my relief handle that." Let's smell some more.
    The eight-page memo reads like a failing report card, summarizing more than 15,000 deficiencies uncovered in sea trials conducted by shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in late June and during an in-port inspection by Navy officials that ended July 5.

    The inspectors said the Navy should accept the ship only if Northrop Grumman corrects a series of specific problems or the chief of naval operations decides to waive those shortcomings.
    I respectfully request that it not be the later.
    In the meantime, the report adds, the San Antonio “is not ready for the ship’s force to be moved aboard.”

    On some new ships, the crew takes up residence a year or more before delivery, so sailors have time to learn about ship systems and arrange their work and berthing spaces.

    However, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) [in a early WordPerfect, or was it WordStar, spell checker, it would recommend you spell NAVSEA NAUSEA], which is overseeing the program, said Tuesday that San Antonio’s crew could move onto the ship next month.
    I want to play against NAVSEA's football team. Mmmmm. The playbook; "Up the middle, up the middle, up the middle, PUNT."
    The ship is being built at Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.

    The company on Tuesday deferred questions about the inspectors’ report to Navy officials, but issued a statement that it is “proud of the skills and determination our workforce has demonstrated in completing this first-of-class ship.”
    Great. The Navy's version of "Outcome Based Education" and "Social Promotion."
    The statement added that new technologies being installed on the ship “have brought programmatic and budgetary challenges”
    BAWAAHHAHAH!! Read, "It doesn't work regardless of how much money we throw at it, and nothing is working like the builders said it would."
    and linked problems in the ship’s wiring to design changes made after the start of construction.

    Meanwhile, NAVSEA officials said Tuesday they expect to receive authorization later this month to accept delivery of the ship. Problems not fixed by then will be addressed in a post-delivery maintenance period.
    Skipper's heads on pikes and Sailors backs. That is what that means.
    “Throughout the build process quality issues were identified, solutions determined and scheduled for accomplishment,” a NAVSEA statement said.
    Balloon juice.
    The critical report on the San Antonio comes against a backdrop of congressional complaints about the Navy’s shipbuilding program, which is marked by rapidly increasing costs and producing too few ships to sustain the fleet at current levels.

    The House of Representatives voted in May to slap a $1.7 billion cost cap on each ship in the Navy’s DDX destroyer program; the service says the first ship in the series could cost more than $3 billion but that DDX is the proving ground for a new electric propulsion plant that will be applied in other ships and ultimately could power high-energy laser weapons.
    $1.7-3 billion is not a destroyer. It's something, but a destroyer isn't one. That is what you get when you put all your eggs in a pipedream PowerPoint basket. We did not go from the battleships of the Great White Fleet to the USS Iowa overnight with no other ships built in between; but that is what we are trying to do here. Arrogance gets you killed in battle, and your fleet destroyed in the budget cycle.
    At 684 feet and nearly 25,000 tons, the San Antonio is the first ship designed to accommodate the Marines’ new tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft, a new amphibious assault vehicle, the AAAV; and the landing craft air cushion, or LCAC .

    The ship – also known by its hull number of LPD-17 – is to carry a crew of 360, along with about 700 Marines.

    While its keel was laid in December 2000 and delivery was scheduled for September 2003, funding delays and cost overruns have pushed the price tag from just over $800 million to around $1.3 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    The Navy said Tuesday the final cost of the ship, including expenses related to the design and to solving problems identified in the latest inspection, could reach $1.85 billion. The ship’s original price tag was about $830 million, although that figure did not include design costs.

    The sea service expects to build 12 of the LPD-17 ships and plans to use them to replace four classes of transport ships now in the fleet. The new ships will be relatively lightly armed but were to be designed to evade detection by enemy radar.
    I want everyone to scroll up to the top of the page and look at that ship. Do you honestly think with this and next generation IR/EO/imaging radar and satellite ocean surveillance technology you are going to be able to hide this ship and the Expeditionary Strike Group is will be with? With a deck of MV-22 and assorted helos? Maybe older, simple radars. Me no thinky you buying all that much....especially when you don't have the fundamentals down right....like waterproofing and ventilation. But that's just me.
    Inspectors said cost cuts have forced elimination of some features intended to reduce the ship’s radar cross-section, however. And the ship now has a series of suspected radar “hot spots,” which could make it easier to locate, the report said.
    Duh. "We didn't put those in the initial design because they didn't look cool on the mock-up and we thought technology would "take care of that problem."
    Still, early in the report the inspectors said the San Antonio “is a highly capable platform with great potential for future useful service to the fleet.”
    Ummmm, that DOES NOT read well on a FITREP.
    And they added that it is not unusual, especially in the first ship of a class, to see shipbuilders facing significant challenges .

    But they also pointed out that of the 943 spaces in the ship, only 25 are accepted by the Navy and 286 are either not inspected or incomplete. The rest are in various stages of inspection.Nice. Room to grow then.Inspectors also faulted Northrop Grumman for not providing enough training for the crew. Builders of the Ticonderoga cruiser class and the Arleigh Burke destroyer class of ships each provided at least 25 crew training courses at the shipyard.

    Only six familiarization courses have been provided for San Antonio crew members, the report said.
    Off to a great start I see. Here is what I would like to see briefed. Take all the officers CDR and above that have been involved in the LPD-17 and show me what their promotion track has been compared to those who were taking back to back sea duty. Just curious. Will anyone be fired? Will anyone be held accountable, or will the Navy go back to the taxpayer with our Dixie Cup asking for more cash like a bad kid who spent all his money on crack and now wants Mom and Dad to pay his tuition bill, promising "I'll try real hard to do better this time?"

    How often in the last 5 years has a three or four-star made a trip to M-eye-crooked letter-crooked letter-eye-crooked letter-crooked letter-eye-humpback-humpback-eye without warning with only his Aide in tow, put on a set of coveralls, pop on a hard hat, put his maglite in his teeth and gone to get the ground truth? Watched the guys welding and pulling cable? Put on some civilian cloths and get a couple of beers on a Friday night at at bar the workmen hang out in? If you are a Shoe and do not know a good weld when you see one; do not know what a good cable pull should look like, don't understand ventilation systems, but you are on your third DC tour; use your AP on something else but ships. Can't we do better? Shouldn't we expect better? Just a question.



    In the end, this will be a fine ship, but we are not doing things smarter, quicker, faster, better. We own Congress and the taxpayers better. As a professional group; shame on us.

    (all this was written assuming that CBS had nothing to do with the memo that this article was written about)