Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hate of the military mixed with a lack of clue – the Left never changes

Really, one of the few things like Vietnam right now is the behavior of the Left in this country. Not satisfied with their own self-hate, they have to smear their childish tantrums of cluelessness over their country and those better than themselves.

It is a funny mix of loathing and an attempt to sound so much better than everyone else. Some may argue the anger/spit is aimed at gov'munt or policy.....but if you have been on the receiving end of it; you know it is aimed at you as well.

The best place to see the distilled Left is at our university classes. What is going on there WRT returning vets should be no surprise to the better part of the Boomer generation.

Take your blood pressure medicine and
read all of Wynton C. Hall & Peter Schweizer’s article in NRO. A must read.

Some samples;

For those on the frontline in the war on terror, the antiwar hostility of liberal professors and campus activists will assuredly prove unsettling.

Just ask Marine sergeant Marco Martinez, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a full-time psychology major at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif.

“A woman on campus had apparently learned I might be a Marine. When I told her I was, she said, ‘You’re a disgusting human being, and I hope you rot in hell!’ ”

Indeed, Martinez, who will be the first male in his family to receive a college diploma, says he is receiving more of an education than he bargained for: “There are a lot of people who don’t appreciate military service in college,” Martinez said. “If someone asks me about it, and I think that they’re not too liberal, I might tell them I was in Iraq. But I don’t tell them the full extent of it or anything about the Navy Cross.”

The Navy Cross — as in second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The full article reviews how he earned the Navy Cross.

Indeed, as one campus newspaper reported, the rift between young veteran college students and their civilian classmates has left those who have served feeling isolated from campus life, “shunned” because of their service.

Just ask Armand McCormick, 23, a student at the University of Northern Iowa.

While walking to class one day, McCormick stopped to listen to a speaker during an antiwar student rally. When he challenged the protestor’s arguments, the “peace” activist sneered, “The Iraqis don’t want us there. If you think the war is okay, then why don’t you go and serve!”

There was an obvious problem with the protestor’s retort: He had no clue who he was talking to — -Silver Star recipient Marine corporal Armand McCormick.

“I’ve had a few conversations about [the War on Terror] in the liberal classrooms I go to everyday,” said McCormick. “A lot of the time I just look at them and tell them that they don’t have any clue what they’re talking about, because all they do is listen to liberal news. I always tell them, ‘If you don’t experience something, how in the hell can you say what will happen?’ ”

As Corporal McCormick rightly points out, his classmates’ reliance upon the elite mainstream media all but ensures that they are unfamiliar with the jaw-dropping acts of heroism he performed on March 25, 2003, in Ad Diwuniyah, Iraq.

Corporal McCormick was with Captain Chontosh.

As is often the case, if you want to know if you are on the correct side of an issue, look who is on the other side. I feel just fine, thank you.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Real courage, real sacrifice, Real Hero

Especially in the popular press, “hero” is a word thrown around way too much. Often is applied to those who make no real sacrifice or effort, or those who parade around Our Fallen like some gibbeted prop in an obscene political street theater.

It is a shame, there are real heroes out there. Most of the time they don’t wear a uniform. The vast majority of times, they aren’t Americans. Now and then, they are Germans from the mid-1900s. Hey, whodathunk; they might even be Christian.

Bravo Zulu to
Doug Tsuruoka in IBD for writing an outstanding article on the German Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We need to read more about the likes of Pastor Bonhoeffer, and less of the intellectual cotton candy we are fed by the MSM.

I believe you need to be a subscriber to read
it, but below are some of the details from his article.
Bonhoeffer came from a famous family of German physicians, physicists and pianists.

Staunch secularists who preferred waltzes to stained glass, most of his relatives frowned when Bonhoeffer said at 14 that he wanted to be a Lutheran pastor and theologian.
He had a regular habit of calling it like he saw it; even his church. As was his habit with the things he loved, either his church or his country, he would not walk away, but fight to fix it from within. He was often alone. Fear makes cowards of most, but not this man.
They said the church was a silly and irrelevant choice for a young man of his talent.

"If the church is really what you say it is," Bonhoeffer replied, "then I shall have to reform it."
He called for a spiritually liberating "church without walls." He also wrote extensively about ways for Christians to be disciples rather than cosmetic followers of Christ.
He was one of a handful of Protestant leaders in Germany who openly fought Adolf Hitler. He was a founder of the anti-Nazi Confessing Church, which rejected Hitler's leadership in church affairs.
That has always been a contention of mine. A lot of the reason for the rapid loss of faith in Western Europe was the loss of stature of many churches that did not stand up to Hitler. Just a theory.
Few church leaders at that time saw the Nazis for what they were. Germany was recovering from the chaos and Communist agitation of the 1920s. Many in the country's dominant Lutheran Church welcomed what they saw as Hitler's strong, conservative leadership.

Bonhoeffer, however, looked for cause behind effect, and saw darker meanings in the Nazi purpose. When Hitler's followers talked of removing the Old Testament from the Bible because of its "Jewish taint" and discussed limiting baptism to "Aryans," Bonhoeffer was one of the first to thunder from the pulpit about the threat to Christianity.
Not easy to do pre-1945, remember that.
"I'm a Christian first and foremost, a German second. And I can only hope to God that the two will never oppose each other," he said at the time.

To sound the alarm, Bonhoeffer turned to the strongest tool he had - his sermons. He attacked Hitler in a series of articulate and well-aimed homilies.
The Nazis banned Bonhoeffer from preaching in various parts of Germany. Undaunted, he went underground, carrying the message of his anti-Nazi Confessing Church by traveling secretly from one village to the next.
Still, the Nazis were on his trail, so Bonhoeffer finally fled to the U.S. in June 1939. He took a lecturer's post at Union Theological Seminary in New York, but soon had second thoughts about exile.

"I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America. . I shall have no right to take part in the restoration of Christian life in Germany after the war unless I share the trials of this time with my people," he wrote in a letter to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

Bonhoeffer returned to Germany in July 1939 knowing it was a one-way mission.
Though violence went against his values, Bonhoeffer was equally repelled by what he saw as the "pious pacifism" of church leaders who refused to fight Hitler.

To him it was not pacifism, but cowardice in the face of a dictator who wanted to destroy basic Christian tenets. After agonizing reflection, he decided that Germany's only hope was the removal of Hitler by any means necessary.

Back in Germany, Bonhoeffer kept a low profile. He concentrated his energies on a bigger purpose, throwing himself into secret efforts to help Jews and others escape to Switzerland. He also joined a plot against Hitler organized by German military officers. It was this group that made a failed bid to blow up Hitler in July 1944.

Bonhoeffer knew great risk brings great reward. When his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnany, a fellow anti-Hitler conspirator, suggested Bonhoeffer sign up as a German military intelligence agent to throw the Nazis off his scent, he agreed.

As a figurative agent of grace, Bonhoeffer used his job as a cover. When he was supposed to be spying on the Allies, he actually used the clandestine conversations to spread word about Nazi death camps and the anti-Hitler resistance.

The Gestapo eventually uncovered Bonhoeffer's activities and took him away in 1943. He was imprisoned, first in Buchenwald, and later in the Flossenburg concentration camp in Germany.

Even in peril, Bonhoeffer refused to stop sounding his warning. Throughout his imprisonment, Bonhoeffer continued to write passionately about his beliefs.

He was hanged on personal orders from Hitler a few weeks before Germany surrendered in April 1945.

His last words were a message to his friend, Anglican Bishop George Bell. "This is the end, but for me the beginning of life," he said.

Bonhoeffer was 39 years old.
Next time someone talks about themselves or others as "heros", you may want to look to Pastor Bonhoeffer as a benchmark.

Harumph. I don't know about you, but I am just a day-laborer in a small Mid-western town living off of handouts.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Help out some shipmates in Seattle

As covered by John and Michelle; after coming back from deployment, two soldiers were terribly beaten in downtown Seattle. After a few weeks, the Seattle police are asking for help; let't turn to and engage.

I don’t care if they are soldiers, if they are in the hospital, they are shipmates to me.

You can watch some video of the attack, if you want,

The full story
here. Those who have been to some of the worse place in the world have seen this behavior before, from perps and witnesses. This shouldn't be going on in the USA.

BTW, access is getting better. I should be online a bit more next week.
Hat tip Barb.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

“Don't dishonor me, don't walk on my grave,”

That is the word from David Colip to Ms. Sheehan. David who went to high school with Casey Sheehan and is now in the Marines.
In Vacaville, Toni Colip, 50, said … her son, David opposes Sheehan's activities and has asked her to support his military service even if he is injured or killed.
I’m not in a place where I can find out, but I wonder how much time the caravan she is a part of is getting with the MSM. Mmmmm.
A caravan proclaiming support for U.S. troops began a tour through California on Monday, stopping in the hometown of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war mother who gained national prominence during a vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch.
Conservative activists and military families embarked on the tour they call "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" They planned rallies in several California cities before heading to Crawford, Texas.
This whole thing is so pathetic. Seen from afar, it is such obvious political theater from the Left and the MSM with Ms. Sheehan; but after awhile, you have to respond to it.
I don’t like this gibbeting of Our Fallen; but using good manners only goes so far.

Hat tip Drudge.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Just a low pass – tastes like Jawa

No, I have not earned my SGLI, but my computer access is still very limited. Just enough time today to put out the Sunday Funnies and point your way to a solid post by Dr. Rusty Shakleford.

The “Right” – “Left” divide is always interesting to pick at, especially when it comes to the Post-911 Conflict (new phrase I am trying out. GWOT and GSAVE give me hives).

When it comes to military service, what are the percentages for the UberBoggers? As always, read the
whole thing., but here is the Executive Summary.

Of the 11 bloggers who responded from the Left, 2 of them--or 18.2%--had been in the military.

If you just look at the top 12 bloggers from the Right, none of them had served in the U.S. military.

However, of the top 21 bloggers who responded from the Right, 6 of them--or 28.6%--had been in the military.

The further down the TTLB Ecosystem rankings you go among bloggers on the Right, the more likely they will have been to have served in the military. The further up the TTLB Ecosystem Traffic Rankings you go among bloggers on the Left, the more likely they will have been to have served in the military.

So, among the top bloggers on both the Left and Right, only a minority have ever served in the military. Are bloggers on the Left draft-dodging haters of the military? There's no evidence to suggest that. Are bloggers on the Right warmongering chickenhawks eager to send others to war but not face that risk themselves? There is certainly no evidence to suggest that either.

Good comments from John as well.

Posting will be spotty for a couple of weeks, but I hope not to have more than a 48 hour hold. Posts will be short.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


In the finest traditions of the Naval Service; once again I find myself heading out away from ready computer access. I’ll be back, I hope, by weeks end; though in fits and starts for awhile after that until I find reliable computer access.

In the meantime, spend a bit over at Michael Yon’s blog. First hand, first person reporting on what is going on in Iraq. He has been one of my regular reads for awhile.

Informative, detailed, serious. Required reading.
As the ramp on our Stryker began to close, I inserted earplugs, pulled a fire-retardant hood over my head, put on my helmet and buckled the chin strap, then pulled the ballistic goggles over my eyes.

Flash burns from bombs are deadly. I've seen it many times: anything exposed is fried in an instant. Skin and flesh just peel off. The super-hot flashes also melt contact lenses to eyeballs before people can blink. Years ago, when I was a jumpmaster, I remember sticking my face outside the aircraft to check surroundings, and my eyelids slapped and flopped in the torrent. That was only about hurricane force winds. The blast in an explosion opens the eyelids, fusing the melted contacts to the eyeballs. Smart soldiers don't wear contacts in combat, but others often do.
Remember, he isn't a soldier; a reporter/author.
I'm wearing fire-retardant pants and a long-sleeved shirt, over which I wear a fire-retardant jumpsuit. I take a long drink of cold water, and pull the hood back up over my mouth and nose, then pull the black, fire-retardant gloves over my hands. The outside temperature is roughly 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sitting to my left is Major David Brown, MD, the Battalion surgeon. I hope Major Brown doesn't get severely injured or killed; we'll definitely need him again. Plus, I like him; he's probably the only soldier who hasn't laughed at all the fire-gear I wear. We both know that the law of averages catches people at the worst times, and survival favors the protected.

A couple minutes later, we leave the base and begin the drive downtown, passing spots where so many car bombs and IEDs have exploded. Within a few blocks, we are 15 seconds from rolling over a large bomb buried under the road.

15 Seconds...

At least two terrorists are watching our approach, pretending to talk to a taxi driver. One holds a Motorola radio transmitter in his pants pocket.

14 Seconds...

13 Seconds...

The bombs are buried under the road ahead of us, on a route to the police station.

12 Seconds...

11 Seconds...

We are in a big Stryker. Usually the IEDs just make the ears ring--I wear earplugs--or maybe knock an air-guard or two unconscious, filling the cabin with so much fine dust that it looks like smoke. I've often wondered if this fine dust sometimes ignites when the armor ruptures, adding to the flashover that burns so many soldiers inside.

10 Seconds...

9 Seconds...

Sometimes IEDs blow through the Stryker, launching it into the air, and critically or fatally injuring the people inside. Odd body parts will often be left unscathed, such as a severed hand in a black glove on the road. About 43 Americans have died here during the past ten days.

8 Seconds...

7 Seconds...

The men are cautiously watching us, still talking among themselves. The transmitter is armed. A push of the button might make the final dispatch.

6 Seconds...

A terrorist is preparing to push the button, but the timing's got to be just right . . . not yet . . . not yet . . . we are almost there. . . .

5 Seconds...

One of the terrorists does a double take at the lead Stryker, blowing his cover. The call instantly goes out to "Block left! Lock 'em down! Two pax!"
You know the cliche about hours of bordom followed my minutes of terror....
When we turn toward them, one man spooks and bolts. I'm watching on the screen [RWS] inside, as SSG Munch, our machine gunner, tracks this man who runs like an antelope. I follow along on the RWS, and think, Why is he running? How is he running that fast?

He's running so fast that it's freaky to watch. The only other person I've seen run that fast was a track star during practice at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Now, watching the machine gun track him was like a video game. Except this video had real men, real bullets, and when your team hits a bomb, you really die. If Munch fires his real .50 caliber machine gun, the guy who is running like the Bionic Man will atomize into a bloody mist, and the wall behind him will be knocked down. Munch doesn't shoot.

The Bionic Terrorist runs into a neighborhood. We take a couple of sharp turns chasing him, driving over a few curbs. Of course, I am thinking, this guy is leading us into a massive ambush.

LT Keneally and his two Strykers are just behind us. The Commander radios Keneally to grab the stripe-shirted guy that was left standing in the traffic circle when the Bionic Terrorist bolted. I looked behind me and said over my shoulder to Dr. Brown: "I bet this is an ambush."

As we follow him into the neighborhood, he turns around mid-stride to see our Stryker with weapons pointing at him, and he caves to the ground. The ramp drops and we all run out. The man is just a cowering heap on the sidewalk. Chris Espindola flex-cuffs him. Meanwhile, I'm wondering what this is really all about, and waiting for the ambush to start. SSG Contrares is scanning rooftops, ready for action.

The Bionic Terrorist seems mentally disturbed. He's poxied with panic, his face contorted by abject terror. Clearly, he is deranged, possibly explaining his prodigious running ability. The enemy is known to use and discard mentally-challenged persons. The poor guy probably doesn't even know what language we speak.

LT Keneally's voice calls over the radio that when they caught the stripe-shirted man they found an IED radio transmitter in his pocket. Before the message is completed, we've started running, leaving our Stryker behind with a few soldiers to watch over the not-so-bionic terrorist. We cover the few hundred yards to the Yarmuk traffic circle, reaching the spot where the two men were standing when the commotion started.

One of the Charlie Company soldiers looked at me and asked, "Isn’t all that shit hot?" "Not really," I said. They all laugh at me for dressing like a fireman. But each layer squeezes ten more seconds between searing heat and my skin.
That's a long quote. Go visit for the rest.

Blather at you good folks later. Time to give the taxpayer their money's worth.


Sunday Funnies

Align Center

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005

Ward Churchill takes over as head of NORAD

That vein in my forehead is throbbing again. NORAD, no link required; if you don’t know what it is, you should go here.

I’m back for a short period prior to a long down time, so let me be simple with this.

This PC BS has got to stop. It is reaching the point of reading like something from The Onion.
The U.S.-Canadian military commands responsible for protecting North America from terrorists have changed the names of key readiness exercises to more politically correct words that do not offend American Indians.

U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs have struck the word "warrior" from one major exercise and replaced it with "phantom," according to a July internal message from command headquarters.
WARRIOR is not a Siberian-American specific term. BRAVE is not a Siberian-American specific term.
"We did change them because of the references to Native Americans," Sgt. Tomassi said. "And the initiative wasn't U.S. or Canadian. It was just NORAD. We are sensitive to such issues. We don't have a professional sports team like the Washington Redskins. But we still are sensitive to the same sorts of issues that those organizations are. When Admiral Keating arrived, the staff was already in progress, saying this was an initiative we wanted to take on, and Admiral Keating embraced it."

Sgt. Tomassi said the word "warrior" often connotes an American Indian, so it was struck.
The crap your people are feeding your PAO pogue just stinks. What a shitty decision, sir. Send an officer out to do this stuff. You don’t pay Master Sgt. John Tomassi enough to spout this stuff without a sarcastic tone or a snicker.

As someone with a bit of Siberian-American in his genetic woodpile; I am offended by your ability to be offended.
(NORAD’s) largest exercise to practice those tactics is the twice-yearly Amalgam Warrior, which is scheduled for next April and is now Amalgam Phantom. … And an exercise dubbed "Amalgam Fabric Brave" is now "Amalgam Fabric Dart."
“Fabric Dart?” Oh, that gets my fighting spirit (can I use spirit? Could someone think I am talking about “The Great Spirit?”) up. Dart. Fabric-frigg’n-dart!!!!!!!! Does anyone out there in NORAD’s chain of command EVER fly an airplane? Do they have any concept of “Fabric Dart”, "Butt Dart” or “Lawn Dart” in our military tradition?

This just sucks so hard, and in so many ways is makes me wonder if there is any hope for the present war or any other war.

What a pile of paternalistic, insulting, pathetic PC shit-on-a-shingle.

When that PC Commissars Committee came by with their fetid little project, someone with an eagle or stars on their uniform and a pair of unshaven balls (not-that-there-is-anything-wrong-with-that) should have asked them how much time they wasted on it, and why they think we should not honor the courage and fighting spirit of the Pre-Columbian inhabitants on this land? What should we do now, remove Tecumseh from the USNA? I didn’t think so. I think. Who knows. We have lost our rudder, shuttered our gun-ports, and put away the grog.

What about the CNO’s ”Sea Warrior” concept? Who is going to fill out the counseling chit on him? Oh, I know – Change it to “Sea Dart,” wait, we have that. Ummmm, “Sea Sponge.” Ehhh, “Sea Sailor,” no, redundant. Ahhhh, mmmmm, “Sea Foam?” There, that is precious and kind enough for all.

Oh, the new head of NORAD (no implication that he is like Ward Chruchill - just an attention getting title - please no threatening emails) is a Navy Guy. A VA/VFA guy. There are no more nations to go to. I guess I need to get used to this in time for my grandchildren.

That’s it. Only Marine Generals allowed at NORAD; and make it LT GEN Mattis.

Hat tip John, back and coming from the top rope.
UPDATE: Thanks for the wide knowledge base of my readers...and confirmed by Mother Salamander (see comments for details) we now know that there is a real (no kidding) thing as a "Fabric Dart." Yep, it's official: OPERATION "Fabric Dart" = OPERATION "Boob Holder."

You can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Doonesbury: The slime and the smear of a bitter generation

Since I left my childish Leftist beliefs behind (there were a few here and there), my ability to abide Doonesbury has become less and less.

Most of you know my attitude problem with the Baby Boomers and their narcissism. Doonesbury is a perfect example of that. All the clichés, politics, thoughts, perspectives, myths and priorities of the large Leftist wedge of that spoiled, selfish generation can be found in that strip.

The last straw of many last straws has been the treatment of B.D. and his return from Iraq. Take all the tired, debunked, post-Vietnam smears of veterans, and it has been rolled up into one stinking ball slathered over B.D.

Shame isn't enough. Time to shun.

BTW, I'll be "off-line" for a couple of days. Cheers all.

Have to leave on a positive note. Love the dog, and find the vest add-ons very interesting. Reminds me of those "AK" vests you see bad guys wear.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Shawn M. Gallagher , a dog handler attached to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and Youry, a Belgian Malinois, stand guard in Ramadi.
(Cpl. Tom Sloan / U.S. Marine Corps)

Staff Weenie backup weapon

Upset that 4 years into the war and they still don’t let you come to NH95 with your M9?

Work for a NATO run staff and cannot understand their weapons phobia?

Bother you that you and your buds are working hard in the tent and know that you are one mortar shot away from loosing the only people around with guns to defend you?

Look wistfully at your Sharpshooter ribbon in full knowledge that you have no way to protect yourself for the Jihadi that you just know wants to attack your post in Mayport?

Well, there is a way around this lack of foresight and neutered warrior spirit of your superiors….prepare anyway and have your backup weapon ready. Don’t let the enemy delete your PowerPoint slides! Don’t let him take the last of your square yellow-stickies! Don’t let him steal the quarter can at the coffee mess!

Thanks to our Cyrillic writing friends, we have the ultimate Staff Weenie sidearm. If SERVMART is properly stocked, you and your fellow Weenies will be able to hold off any stealer of copier paper. Laser targeting and silent action to make the he-men at Blackwater proud.

Here she is, but go here to get the full directions!!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Are you reading Greg Gutfeld?

I don't care if it is found on The Huffington Post, you have to read Greg. Here is a short sample.
4. My friends laugh out loud when they read Deepak Chopra's posts. But I find the posts deeply spiritual. Is that normal?
It is normal if you're a rich, well-educated but confused individual who finds organized religion too difficult to fit into her schedule and far too demeaning to her ego-driven intellect. While real faith requires sacrifice and a willingness to look outside yourself, "spirituality" alone is internal, ego-based and easy to do. Spirituality without religion is like pretending you won the game without playing. Instead of contemplating God, you contemplate your navel. "And it's an endless, ever-expanding navel," Deepak might say.

[FLASH HUFFPO CORRECTION! In his recent post, Deepak wrote, "Death can be viewed as a total illusion because you are dead already." The Huffpo would like to point out that we are not dead already, even if Bill Maher appears to be.]

I don't know about you, but reading the Huffington Post can be mentally and physically exhausting. I thought it was just me, but after talking to many other people - including assorted medical experts - I have found that even just a moderate exposure to the Huffpo can make you sick!

Scientists maintain we have two timekeeping centers in our brains. Research shows that after reading the blog, these "time centers" no longer match up - and your body's natural (circadian) rhythms are no longer in sync. In medical circles, this is called Huff Lag. And it occurs after reading particularly cumbersome entries in which their conclusions in no way validate the time and effort it took to actually read the posts.

"When you arrive at the end, you are disoriented, groggy and confused," says one expert. "Huff Lag is exactly like jet lag, except you haven't gone anywhere to get it."

“With an irresistible mix of moral relativism and false consciousness, THE HUFFPO GUIDE TO GOOD AND EVIL helps me handle any debate involving terrorism - or any subject dealing with evil!” - Greg Gutfeld, 40, writer, pet owner and part-time Pilates instructor. “Passing judgment is so expensive! This seminar teaches me how to make everything relative - so I don't have to defend my country - or my relatives!”

So far, I've learned so much from Deepak Chopra! Like, when faced with one act of terror, simply equate it to an act of non-terror!

“Why is killing a person in uniform more acceptable than a person in civilian clothing? Who makes the rules about "civilized vs. uncivilized" killing? Can we begin to question these rules?”

Thanks to Deepak, we can pose such questions! But we can't answer them, because there are no answers! As Chopra explains - no one is right, and no one is wrong!

"This is the bias that of course 'we' are good and mostly right while 'they' are bad and mostly wrong. It's on that basis that unacceptable slaughter continues on all sides."

BTW, he is the editor of Maxim UK.

Make sure and read "authors bio" at the end of posts.

First Battle of Savo Island

The worst defeat of the United States Navy.

The Battle of Savo Island
. A battle that shouldn’t have really happened, but it did. By any measure, the Japanese should have been quickly and decisively defeater, but they weren’t. American and allied navies were driven away at a critical point in the Guadalcanal campaign by a much smaller force, and through their defeat gave name to a body of water soon to be known as Ironbottom Sound.

This was a huge intelligence failure on both sides (I blame Bush, Rumsfeld, and the Neocons), but the lessons here are stark, important, and relavent today; training, initiative, clear command, aggressiveness, and weapons that work will win the day….plus plain old dumb luck. Lady luck was with the IJN this day. Lets take out the MOBOARD.

  • IJN: 5 Heavy Cruisers (CA), 2 Light Cruisers (CL), 1 Destroyer (DD)
  • USN-RAN: 6 CA, 2 CL, 8 DD

  • Prelude: IJN COMEIGHTFLT VADM Mikawa out of Rabul had at his disposal CA Chokai at 13,000 tones with 10 203mm guns and 24 torpedo tubes (we covered the joy of the “Long Lance” torpedo before). Additionally he had RADM Aritomo’s CRUDIVSIX’s six CA; Aoba, Kinugasa, Furutaka, Kako. Also in the area was RADM Matsuyama CRUDIVONEEIGHT’s CL Tenryu and Yubari with the one DD in his two DESDIVs that was available, the DD Yunagi. In reaction to the American landing in the Solomon Islands, they made their run down “The Slot.”

    Waiting for them were parts of VADM Fletcher, RADM Crutchley (RN attached to the RAN) and RADM Turner’s forces. Overall they had a force of 3 Carriers (CV) with 140 planes, 1 Battleship (BB), 14 Cruisers (CA/L), 31 DD, 5 Oilers, and 19 Transports conducting a not-very-efficient landing. Arrayed around Savo Island’s approaches though, they had 6 CA, 2 CL, and 8 DD.

    TF64 RADM Scott had the Eastern approaches with CL USS San Juan, CL HMAS Hobart, DD USS Monssen, DD USS Buchanan.

    Western approaches were covered by DD Blue and Ralph Talbot.

    Northern approaches under TG62.3 under CAPT Riefkohl with CA USS Vincennes, Astoria, and Quincy. Also DD USS Wilson and Helm.

    Southern approaches under TG62.2 RADM Crutchley, RN had CA HMAS Australia, Canberra, and USS Chicago with DD USS Patterson and Bagley.

    That’s the chessboard.

    Not everything is at is seemed. Numbers don’t mean everything. The Japanese were coming south with a complete Cruiser division that had extensive training together, with a focus on fighting at night, and were rightly confident with their ample supply of the “Long Lance.” At 1430 on 07 AUG VADM Mikawa got underway with a goal to be at Savo Island on 0001 on 09 AUG. Intel (got to love the N2 folks) told him there was no danger to him from the US carriers (worked out that way, but if the US was on his toes, the Admiral would have had 140 carrier planes to worry about).

    Speaking of the N2 folks, on the US side the reconnaissance plan had about everything in The Solomons covered…except….”The Slot.” Admiral Turner actually say this glaring mistake and directed that gap be filled, but due to the Byzantine chain-of-command from the Task Force-SOWESPACCOM-COMAIRSOPAC, it never took place. The afternoon of the 8th, a RAAF Hudson sighted the Japanese surface group, but by the report found its way to the Allied forces, it was reported as “3 Cruisers, 2 gunboats, and 2 seaplane tenders." This was quickly dismissed as not threat.

    Here is another lesson; don’t take all intel reports, especially single first ones, at face value. Also, the Allied forces staff evaluated what the Japanese “would do” with their force, not what they “could do.”

    Not seeing a threat, Admiral Turner called a meeting to go over plans as the landing at Guadalcanal was not (shock) going as planned. To make the meeting, RADM Crutchley left his TG with the CO of USS Chicago. The main force was without a Flag.

    Thus the evening of 08 AUG, The Ignorant met the Ill-briefed.

    Two days of Condition ONE watches had the Allied ships exhausted. The afternoon of 08 AUG (I think) they shifted to Condition TWO, so the “A Team” could send their exhausted tails to the rack after two days of coffee driven watches.

    0047: Mikawa saw Savo Island. With his ships at 22KTS, he slipped pass Blue at 10,000 yards unseen.
    0130: Increased speed to 30KTS. Northern and Southern groups sited.
    0131: First “Long Lance” fired.

    The rest was a slaughter.
    …the eerie silence over the sound was broken by the rolling thunder of Chokai's first eight-inch volley, aimed at Canberra.
    On the latter, the sudden shock of gunfire from the north brought the bridge watch into action and Captain Getting to the bridge, but her engagement that night would be swift and violent. Turning northeast to unmask her aft batteries, Canberra was hit some twenty plus times in a matter of five minutes, lost power for her armament and pumps, and was rendered unable to fight with not a single main gun round fired. A single torpedo, fired by the destroyer Bagley, had also hit Canberra.

    Never even returned fire. Even hit by friendly fire.

    Now, I want everyone here to put yourself in the shoes of the unnamed XO of the USS Chicago. Odds are you are somewhere either on the bridge, walking around the ship. Though you have had little sleep in the last 2 days, you have to have your best watch teams resting now that you are in Condition TWO and do whatever you can as your CO is the TG Commander while the Limey Admiral is away getting facetime…
    On Chicago, hints at the presence of enemy ships had been seen earlier but not triggered a response. Captain Bode, in tactical command, was in his cabin, and hurried up. Even as aircraft flares blossomed over the Southern Group, and Canberra started her turn, few on Chicago figured out the facts. Chicago did not get to fire her 203mm guns either, when she began a series of maneuvers undertaken to evade torpedoes. Alas, confusion reigned on her bridge. Captain Bode, who had come up from his cabin, reports came in of torpedoes approaching from starboard. Bode turned his vessel towards that direction, leading his to comb the Japanese torpedo spread. However, moments later, the bridge lookouts spotted torpedoes to port, from on the unengaged side, possibly from the same spread of Bagley that had hit Canberra. Bode swung his ship around again, trying to comb the new thread, but by doing so, exposed the entire length of his ship to the Japanese torpedoes. One slammed in Chicago, crippling her. Slowly, she swung westward (via a southerly heading), out of the battle. Captain Bode, immersed in the plight of his ship, and fighting the damages incurred, ignored his role as task group commander and failed to issue orders to his ships or to inform his superiors of what had happened. Chicago shortly rendered fire support to the destroyer Patterson, which was dueling with Japanese light cruisers Yubari and Tenryu. From Patterson, the only contact report had been made by the Southern Group, issued by Commander Frank Walker via radio at 0146.
    ….or be a Gunner's Mate on the Patterson….
    Mikawa could allow himself a moment of pleasure when at 0150 the searchlights of three Japanese cruisers snapped on to light the U.S. line up. A moment later, the first salvo left Chokai's gun tubes, and soon the entire Japanese line was firing, with torpedoes added for good measure.
    On the U.S. ships, disbelief was the common reaction to the sudden illumination. Captains Riefkohl and Greenman (of Astoria) were certain they faced the Southern Group, accidently assuming their Allies to be the enemy. Soon, however, shells erased all hope that a peaceful conclusion could be found with a radio call or flag hoisting (although Riefkohl tried the latter with curious success lasting several minutes). Riefkohl ordered battle stations and twenty knots, the latter being made impossible by untimely interference from a torpedo from Chokai.
    Neither of the three heavy cruisers put up much of a fight, though two salvoes from Quincy slammed into Chokai, destroying a gun turret.
    … not later than 0220 that all three U.S. cruisers were reduced to swimming wrecks. There remained little to do for Mikawa, who kept to a new northwest course he had established during the brief engagement with the Northern Force. There, U.S. picket destroyer Ralph Talbot blundered into the Japanese path and was given an unhealthly large dose of fire. Burning and lisiting, only a rain squall at the right time saved the little ship from becoming another victim of Mikawa's. The Admiral, after consulting his staff,decided at shortly before three in the morning to cancel any further attacks and retire at top speed to Rabaul.
    The Allied navies stood around in shock.
    Vincennes had slipped under at 0300 already … Thirty minutes past midday, Astoria accompanied Vincennes and Quincy, having already sunk at 0238, down to the ground of Ironbottom Sound.

    I can’t do much better than the author's conclusion.
    There is, however, much more blame to spread around than could possibly be laid upon the commanders on the spot. The Allied operations plan was poor. Although the distribution of the forces could not be helped, the fact that there were only two flag officers with the three screening groups necessarily led to command problems. Captain Bode of Chicago can not be considered ill-suited for a task group command, but to control damage control efforts on his ship, designated a new course and general approach to the action for his vessel, worrying about torpedoes and the like, in addition to trying to control the rest of his force proved too much. The dogged skill of the Japanese torpedo men and gunners and the coolness of the Japanese approach added to the completeness of the victory by ascertaining that the initial blows would come out of the dark and be deadly at the same time. The engagement with the Southern Force had been decided in five minutes, and not much more time was needed to deal with the Northern Force, which had a slight advantage of strength, position and alertness over its southern counterpart. This combination of near flawless execution of a well-exercised operation by the Japanese, and the problematic layout of command and control arrangements on the Allied side led to the defeat of Savo; the worst naval defeat ever suffered by the U.S. Navy.

    The Butcher's Bill?

  • IJN:2 cruisers damaged, 58 dead, 70 wounded
  • USN/RAN: 4 cruisers sunk, 1 cruiser damaged, 2 destroyers damaged, 1,270 killed, 709 wounded
  • The lessons learned that day were not lost though. Our final victory in the Pacific tells that story. The important thing now is that in our everyday work, staffing, planning, and underway time – are we listening to those things written in blood? Are we earning it?

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Trip Report: New York City

    Back in the cold months I took the family to the heart and brain of America: New York City.

    Oh, I know. There is a lot for a right of center person to sneer about when it comes to NYC, but I have to admit, even for a Southerner, I love the city. Even if you do not (you can only have a viable opinion if you have been there – if you judge NYC by its major newspaper (yes, it is stark raving Left, but that and ice cream sandwiches are my dark pleasure), its politicians, its schools, its institutions and colleges, and its judges; you do not have the right image of NYC), you have to admit that from politics, culture, economics, and history, NYC is critical to all of it. That is why it is important that we repair, nurture, build, support, and most of all – enjoy NYC.

    My first images of NYC are from the nadir of NYC, the mid-1970s. Taxi Driver is a good visual of the era perhaps. There were a lot of movies, even Sid & Nancy, that catch some of the city, but you really had to be there to understand what a mis-governed, neglected, and abused city it was. I won’t go into it here, but if you read right book, you will see how as the home of the New, Old and Wooly Left, the cancer and filth that comes from distilled Liberalism was in full bloom in NYC at that time.

    Ah what a difference a election makes. The difference the right leader at the right time with the right philosophy makes.

    I started my return to NYC in the late 1990s and every time I go there I love it more and more. I don’t care if you are a sport-o, you need to go. I don’t care if you are an opera geek, you need to go. I don’t care if you are a theater queer, you need to go. I don’t care if all you love to do is drink and all you want to do is play Mr. AlternativeLifestyle, you need to go.

    Now that my youngest is old enough to be “travel ready” and can keep up with the Salamander way of travel, Mrs. Salamander and I decided to take the wee-ones with us to Gotham. What a blast.

    Lodging: We stayed at the Double Tree in Times Square. Two room suite, great service, impeccable location, and fair price. When it’s time for the wee-ones to go to bed, Mom and Dad have the other room for themselves. The only way to do it. There is a subway stop right next to the hotel, literally next to the hotel.

    Museums: I love museums. I rarely care what the subject is, if you ask, “Want to go to the museum?” I am looking for my wallet and keys. NYC is second only to D.C. when it comes to museums.

    We only had a few days, so we hit the highlights. Anyone with a young child, especially a girl, knows or should know who Olivia the Pig is. If not, you should be reported to Child Protective Services. As big financial supporters of OTP, we had to start at the Met. There is required viewing. For those who know, know the meaning of this picture.

    Needless to say, seeing this in the flesh was a big deal for the wee Salamander. Of note, and much happiness to me, the “modern art” section of the Met was the least popular part with the crowd. The Impressionists were the most popular, and for good reason. My high school art appreciation teacher would be very proud. Monet, Manet, Degas, Matisse; all the big fellas were there. To look at them up close, then to back off slowly lets you see why they are the masterpieces they are. It isn’t hyperbole. When you see it, you understand. It was a challenge for the kids, but for the older one, we had a “light bulb” moment with the Impressionists painters. Cool. While you are at it, you have to eat at the restaurant there. It is truly outstanding. A very high quality restaurant for a museum. Good, quick, quality food with something for everyone. Don’t skip it.

    Next, we headed to the Museum of Natural History. The Roosevelt Quotes are just outstanding to read in whole. The museum is about what you would expect. The Animal exhibits were very good, and is has a solid, very non-modern internal structure and construction that made it a pleasure to walk around.

    Toys-r-Us: Whodathunk Times Square would have a toy store that didn’t have “adult” in the title? This has a Ferris Wheel inside and a T-rex that scared my youngest out of her Care-Bears shoes…..but is was late when we were there. Must go.

    Battery Park: This was the only place in this trip where we ran into part of the NYC that I remembered from the 1970s. “Vendors,” scam artists, and mildly threatening free-range loonies known in polite circles as “homeless” adorned the entrance to the ferry going to the Statue of Liberty. At the park, there is a dramatic monument made up of parts found at the World Trade Center site. I’m not a great fan of “modern sculpture,” but this works. It is a much needed reminder. From another era, there is a monument to the sacrifice of merchant seamen from WWII that came from many countries and operated out of NYC. There are also great views of the Statue of Liberty, and this is a superb place to watch the sunset.

    Ice skating at Rockefeller Center: This is required, absolutely. A must do….if you do it right. There are times as a father that you want to keep forever, to never forget. This was, for my oldest daughter and me, one of those times. If I could bottle this father/daughter moment and could put a value on it, I would be the richest man on earth. A military background comes into play here for a successful trip. Show up 15 minutes early to opening; you’re first in line. Show up on time and you’re in single digits in line. Real busy 1 hour after opening, though. The memory of a lifetime came about because on this clear, cool, bright morning, for awhile my daughter and I were two of six people on new ice on this picture-postcard day at Rockefeller Center. A few side-bars here: when we made our first lap, we noticed some of the workers searching the shrubbery and area surrounding the gold statue, Prometheus. They were a friendly bunch, so me and the elder wee asked what they were looking for. It seems that the night before, right at closing time, the unluckiest guy in the world proposed right in front of the statue. The soon to be Mrs. Darkcloud just went all, well, all girly about it, got hyper, stated screaming and flapping her arms all over the place; just making a scene when, you guessed it, the ring (the soon to be Mr. Darkcloud was said to have mumbled later that it cost him 2 white-color months NYC salary-you do the math) slipped out of her hand, flew through the air, bounced off the statue, and then everyone lost site of it. Even expecting the best out of New Yorkers, I don’t think that someone is going to turn it in to the lost-&-found.

    World Trade Center Site: While Mrs. Salamander and the junior wee went back to Doubletree to rack out, the elder wee and I took off on another dynamic duo adventure. This time to the WTC site. Let’s be blunt. This is a disgrace.

    The “leadership” of NYC have failed themselves, the people of NYC, the Nation, and all those worldwide that are out there fighting the Forces of Darkness (I like that term. I am still in my “not liking the GWOT naming habit” funk). In the time it took for us to crush Hitler and bring Imperial Japan to its knees, we still have an open wound in NYC.

    Donald Trump is right. Make it higher and build it yesterday. Anything else is a form of cowardice and defeat…and don’t get me starting on their “museum.” Don’t have time for the pain. ‘Nuff said. BTW the most sublime thing at the site is the cross. Wow.

    Empire State Building at night:
    A trip to ”Windows on the World” used to b a a required pilgrimage just for the view, but is no longer an option. Thanks to the 19, Congress, the old INS, and Norm that is no longer an option. If you are blessed with a clear night though, you owe it to yourself to make a trip to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. The elder wee and I did something that just would not have been done when I was a kid. At 2130 we left our hotel, got on the subway uptown to the ESB. It wasn’t crowded and before we knew it we were at the top. It was so windy that half the deck was closed off, but that didn’t matter. The view. Crystal clean night. You could see everything to the horizon. It was so clear it was surreal. The elder wee got a big kick out of the strung wind more than anything. On the way down, we received a special treat, a cable broke on the elevator. No kidding. A abrupt drop. Doors opening between floors with an automatic opening on the wrong floor. We could hear the cable landing on top of the elevator-the whole 9 yards. You would have been proud of the 8 or so folks on the elevator. No panic. No screaming. Just some very wide eyes and graveyard humor. The Elder Wee simply said, “Cool.” That’s my girl. Then at 2300 or so, we got back on the subway and returned to Times Square and the Doubletree. No way 25 years ago you could walk down Times Square at 2300 with a child and not scar them for life. That I think says a lot. Good stuff.

    Executive Summary: You owe yourself and your kids a trip to NYC. Go early, go often.

    One last note, they have cleaned up Times Square a lot, but one night I was walking down to a bodega to get some stuff for breakfast when what nasty site was looking down on me. To this day, I get shivers.

    Saturday, August 06, 2005

    Apology not required

    In the orgy of commentary about the 60th anniversary of the nuking, I am going to go counter and just say,
    "It was right. It was just. It brought a nasty war to an end earlier than anyone thought. Today Japan is a strong democratic country like one no one would have immagined 60 years ago. That is what the Americans and Japanese bought with their collective blook. The Japanese are a good, strong people, ask anyone who has lived there or worked with them. As in Iraq, more often than not, they are our friends. Glad they are on our side. Anyone that thinks otherwise has an agenda, is historically ignorant, or is just wrong."

    As for the "unmitigated horror of the atomic attack," don't forget about this nightmare. The past is the past. Learn from it, but don't be a slave to it.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    MilBloggers on a Wire(d)

    Nice overview and a very nice, balanced article about MilBloggers from John Hockenberry in Wired.

    Alas, I did not make the cut....but he sure hit the brain trust of the UberMilBloggers. A nice read, and you may want to bookmark it if someone asks you, "What is a MilBlogger?"
    ..... an oddball online Greek chorus narrating the conflict in Iraq. ... loosely organized activists, angry contrarians, jolly testosterone fuckups, self-appointed pundits, and would-be poets who call themselves milbloggers, as in military bloggers. Whether posting from inside Iraq on active duty, from noncombat bases around the world, or even from their neighborhoods back home after being discharged - where they can still follow events closely and deliver their often blunt opinions - milbloggers offer an unprecedented real-time real-life window on war and the people who wage it.
    Giggle. I like the descriptive roundup. Mmmmm, which one are you? JFT or SAP?

    Hat tip

    Why we fight

    If we do not win, you can forget your Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Forget your MTV, your VH1, your BET. Don't even think about a Soft Cell reunion tour (sorry Andrew), and you will be left listening to your old records dhimmi.

    All day, all night on TV; we will have to listen to this.

    I think that is Scott in the green. Something about the new Army dress uniform stress test.

    Hat tip The Corner. And yes, I know they are Sikh, but don't spoil my fun.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Bookworm's got your six

    I've only checked it once this year, but Bookworm is all over it.

    Chavez is not to be ignored or taken lightly. Give her a read.

    Summer Dream Vacation

    Do you ever reach that point in deployment when you just want to talk to family and friends to get away a little bit from your day-to-day deployment stress? All you can think of is to get away from what you see every day?

    Ever notice that some people on the other end just don't get it? They just have to say the most stupid things, things that you would think they would know better than to say to someone on deployment ..... something like,
    "Glad you called. I just found out that I am going to be able to get away for a couple of weeks for my dream vacation this summer. Oh, I wish you could come with us, it is going to be GREAT!!!! Palm trees, sand, sun, and a tasty cold beverage.....I'll drop you an email when we get back with all the details!!! Oops, got to go. Be careful, we're thinking of you!!"
    Yep, great timing. Palm trees. Sand. Sun. Cold drinks. Who needs vacation for that?

    "The French are pathetic losers..."

    Hey, that isn't me talking, Maurice Lévy President of one of the world's biggest advertising agencies Publicis, whose company owns Saatchi and Saatchi and has offices in 100 countries across six continents. He is not a neocon.

    One of the great things about 2005, is that slowly Europe is coming around to see the nightmare of their own creation. Especially after the London bombings and events before, more and more is coming out of Europe saying in effect, "What in the hell were we thinking? What have we done?" Behold the below from The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.
    France had failed to get the 2012 Olympics because the world now saw it as a nation of perdants - "losers".

    For good measure, he described the 35-hour week as "absurd" and the wails of complaint that followed Paris's loss of the Games to London as "pathetic".

    "What I wrote was hard, but true. France is not in a crisis, it's worse than that. A crisis is usually sudden and short, while we are in an endemic situation," he said. "I've just had enough and wanted to say what I felt."

    In the article, Mr Lévy said the French had only themselves to blame for losing the Olympics, and that the country needed a wake-up call. "We have narrowed and stunted ourselves and we paint ourselves as losers, and no one wants to be among the losers. It's time we opened our eyes wide, took an icy shower and looked reality in the face: we are in decline, going down a slippery slope.

    "The Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry has reminded us of our [public] debt and the fact that we are living beyond our means. We knew the figures, yet no government for the last 20 years has wanted to draw a conclusion from them. The figures that attest to our decline are known to all."

    He said that unemployment, at more than 10 per cent, was a "cancer that gnawed at our society", complaining that companies had lost their competitiveness and that job creation had broken down.
    And he hits the core to the problem.
    "In the global economy we give the impression of being a Gaulois village, but unlike those in Astérix, it doesn't make us laugh and it will raise even less of a smile among our children and grandchildren in 20 years' time," he said.
    "Later, when it was necessary, alas, to make redundancies (fire people during economic slowdown), the compensation was set at 90 per cent, therefore allowing those made redundant to earn yet more without working. Why in that case, make any effort to find a job? In doing this, trying to avoid any difficulties for them, we have turned the French into children.

    "The final straw has to be the absurd decision to introduce the 35-hour working week when we were told repeatedly that we could work less and earn more. How on earth in this context can we expect the same French people to accept necessary reforms?"
    Senator Kerry, call your office.

    Now let's shift our flag across the Calais to Londinistan.
    They (Muslim terrorists) despise us for our decadence, and I feel more and more forced to accept the painful truth that they have a point. I don’t want to exaggerate; there are many things about Britain that are still great. People have shown courage and compassion in response to the bombings, and a restraint that is truly heroic. And the police have discovered and arrested the failed suicide bombers with an efficiency that is anything but decadent.

    All the same, it can hardly be denied that with all our celebrated freedom, and all our wealth, we have somehow created a society that is characterised by growing disorder, uncertainty and loss. For a long time now Britain — or rather many of its institutions and traditions — has been suffering from a loss of nerve and a loss of will which amounts to a national moral funk.
    I can't find the reference, but I remember reading where Pope Benedict XVI stated that Europe has lost interest in its own culture.
    And there is a connection between all that and the miserable failure of Britain’s schools; illiteracy here is beyond belief, disruptive behaviour is normal, exams and degrees have been debased and ministers have just had to concede that social mobility — once the pride of British society — has declined in the past 30 years and has actually fallen since Labour came to power. The education secretary has come up with the contemptible sort of gimmick that passes for a political initiative these days; she has promised (at a cost of £27m) to give every baby a book bag, containing volumes like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to encourage parents to read with their children.

    What’s gone wrong in education is a template for what’s gone wrong in other institutions. Hospitals, for instance, are badly run, filthy and in financial trouble, despite all the reforms and all the cash that have been directed at them. Last week, for instance, it emerged that though the NHS desperately needs more doctors, hundreds of junior doctors will find themselves without an NHS job when their contracts end this week; there are not enough jobs for them. The British Medical Association blames this astonishing situation on poor NHS planning.
    Oh, and they are both gov'munt socialist projects. Senator Clinton, call your office.
    There’s a thread running though all this and what has been happening to the army. Whatever the rights and wrongs of human rights legislation it is quite clearly horribly wrong to demoralise officers and other ranks with threats of legal action (other than their own courts martial) at a time when they are facing extreme danger in extreme heat in the service of their country. It is not just wrong. It is decadent.

    For if we lack the will to defend ourselves, or rather to defend those who are there to defend us, we are simply rolling over and showing to the world’s scavengers and beasts of prey the soft underbelly of decadence.
    ...and then he nails one of my favorite targets, Baby Boomers and their steaming gift to the world.
    It takes a long time to react fully to a disaster. After the first shock comes a kind of disbelief. So it has been with the two terrorist attacks in London. It is only slowly that people have begun to recover and come to terms with their feelings and it is only slowly that they begin to reflect on the wider implications. Our perspective and our focus need to be sharpened by time.

    One of the things that strikes me more, not less, forcibly as time has passed is the contempt that Muslim extremists feel for us. They despise us for our decadence, and I feel more and more forced to accept the painful truth that they have a point. I don’t want to exaggerate; there are many things about Britain that are still great. People have shown courage and compassion in response to the bombings, and a restraint that is truly heroic. And the police have discovered and arrested the failed suicide bombers with an efficiency that is anything but decadent.

    All the same, it can hardly be denied that with all our celebrated freedom, and all our wealth, we have somehow created a society that is characterised by growing disorder, uncertainty and loss. For a long time now Britain — or rather many of its institutions and traditions — has been suffering from a loss of nerve and a loss of will which amounts to a national moral funk.

    The results are everywhere, in each day’s news. There is a connection between working-class lager louts looking for a fight and rich kids vomiting and copulating drunkenly in public, both here and on holiday abroad. Standards in public life have fallen very low, whether it’s the prime minister’s wife or a slaggy Hooray Henrietta on a Cornish beach or simply Big Brother.

    And there is a connection between all that and the miserable failure of Britain’s schools; illiteracy here is beyond belief, disruptive behaviour is normal, exams and degrees have been debased and ministers have just had to concede that social mobility — once the pride of British society — has declined in the past 30 years and has actually fallen since Labour came to power. The education secretary has come up with the contemptible sort of gimmick that passes for a political initiative these days; she has promised (at a cost of £27m) to give every baby a book bag, containing volumes like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to encourage parents to read with their children.

    What’s gone wrong in education is a template for what’s gone wrong in other institutions. Hospitals, for instance, are badly run, filthy and in financial trouble, despite all the reforms and all the cash that have been directed at them. Last week, for instance, it emerged that though the NHS desperately needs more doctors, hundreds of junior doctors will find themselves without an NHS job when their contracts end this week; there are not enough jobs for them. The British Medical Association blames this astonishing situation on poor NHS planning.

    The immigration system is characterised by incompetence that is the same in kind but perhaps even more astonishing in degree; the truth has finally emerged after years of government and evasion. And there can be very little doubt that the failures of the immigration system have created serious and unnecessary social problems here, including a comfortable environment for terrorists.

    There’s a thread running though all this and what has been happening to the army. Whatever the rights and wrongs of human rights legislation it is quite clearly horribly wrong to demoralise officers and other ranks with threats of legal action (other than their own courts martial) at a time when they are facing extreme danger in extreme heat in the service of their country. It is not just wrong. It is decadent.

    For if we lack the will to defend ourselves, or rather to defend those who are there to defend us, we are simply rolling over and showing to the world’s scavengers and beasts of prey the soft underbelly of decadence.

    It has been decadent to let extremist imams preach hatred and violence on the pavements here. These people could perfectly well have been sent to prison under existing legislation concerning incitements to violence or to racial hatred. But somehow the authorities lacked the will or the conviction to do it.

    What connects all these things is an unwillingness, which has developed since the Sixties, to stand up for things that matter. I think it began with an unwillingness to reproach our own children. Some of my parents’ generation were very lax with their children; people began to speak of the permissive society. And since then parents (including me) have seemed ever less able, or willing, to control and discipline their children. The very word discipline sounds almost prehistoric and possibly abusive.

    Yet without proper discipline from parents, children can never develop self-discipline. And it is on self-discipline and self-restraint that a civilised society rests. With a loss of self-discipline goes a loss of standards of behaviour, a loss of efficiency and a loss of a sense of what matters. There is a very painful tension between instinct and society; that is the tragic discontent of civilisation, repression its painful price. The right balance is hard to find, and harder to maintain. But we can see today in Britain and in the West generally what happens when that balance fails.

    I don’t suggest that this loss of conviction affects everyone. Yet it has to be said that almost nobody has really done much to resist what has been done to our institutions and our manners. There has been a long march through the institutions of a nameless and shapeless ideology, misleadingly called political correctness. It is far more important and powerful than that name suggests and it is largely responsible for the long decay of the institutions and has contributed a lot, indirectly, to the decadence I'm talking about.

    Multiculturalism, for instance, has been deeply demoralising to all kinds of people in all kinds of ways, undermining their values, undermining a sense of common purpose, above all undermining the confidence of the host country. Even leading multiculturalists now, belatedly, agree on that.
    But there is, as always; hope.
    Despite all this, I do, now for the first time, feel a faint glimmer of optimism. One of the responses to the bombings might be a new awareness of what matters most, and how best to defend it. If that means a new sense of purpose and a new sense of conviction, then perhaps some good will have come out of this evil.
    The question is if it will hold. We had a coming together after the 9/11 attacks until some decided to attack the war for political gain. They lost, but the scars remain. We will see. The debate is good. The war is real. The costs are great. It is critical to remember that the right and just do not always win in war.