Tuesday, November 29, 2005

USS San Antonio (LPD-17) fiasco II: Titanium boogaloo

Calling all yardbirds!!! Help a mid-grade Commander out. We all know that the USS San Antonio has not been the best case for cost effective ship building. I got a lot of nasty emails after my post this summer; but no one can make the program look pretty.

A reader gave me a vector towards something that just let my jaw drop and stay there.

A U.S. Navy warship, as part of the Gator Navy (LCAC and MV-22 notwithstanding) will as part of the ESG get close to shore. Things like mines and shore based artillery, not to mention the Fwench Exocet and RussoSovietChinese anti-ship missiles. There is a higher than average need to fight hurt, especially when you have a belly full of Marines. A need to make rapid repair in a non-permissive environment is in my Top 5.

This class will have a titanium firemain.

The business of welding titanium pipes is but one example of the problems that have beset the San Antonio.

Northrop Grumman's new president, Philip A. Teel, said the welding of such pipes was uncharted territory and that his work force wasn't ready for it. The pipes are being welded correctly today.

I'm not going to go into hiring a yard to do something they don't know how to do and paying them twice to do it. No, I want to talk about the requirements of welding titanium. To quote a knowledgeable person:

The only way you can weld that stuff, is in an oxygen free atmosphere...If you get any oxygen in the weld joint, it will turn to powder. And a 2 1/2 inch ball in a ball valve, runs $23,000! Can you imagine what an entire firemain system would cost, on a ship the size of a WW2 fleet carrier? What the hell ever happened to good old copper-nickel? Hell, make it out of stainless, it would still be immensely cheaper.

I understand the great properties of titanium, and they would be wonderful for the full life of a cruise ship or museum piece. After 30 years, perhaps it is a money saver. But this is a warship. If a mine or 155mm shell smashes up your watermain, how is your HT3 or otherwise trained welder going to repair that titanium hip deep in water, ship at a 15 deg list, under fire?

Work Area

The fabrication of titanium demands attention to cleanliness. It is not uncommon for shops which handle several metals to isolate an area to be used especially for titanium. The area set aside for titanium should be free of air drafts, moisture, dust, grease and other contaminants which might find their way into or onto the metal.
Titanium reacts readily with air, moisture, grease, dirt, refractories, and most other metals to form brittle compounds. Reaction of titanium with gases and fluxes makes common welding processes such as gas welding, shielded metal arc, flux cored arc, and submerged arc welding unsuitable. Likewise, welding titanium to most dissimilar metals is not feasible, because titanium forms brittle compounds with most other metals; however, titanium can be welded to zirconium, tantalum and niobium.
"SUPPO!!!! We need some extra niobium, pronto!"
This area should be kept clean and should be isolated from dirt-producing operations such as grinding, torch cutting and painting. In addition, the welding area should be free of air drafts and humidity should be controlled.
Yep. No humidity, cutting, or painting on Navy ships. Definately no grinding.

I never claimed to be an expert on ship repair, but...this just doesn't make sense to me.

Can anyone explain to me why having a titanium watermain makes sense on a warship? Yes, firemains carry seawater and titanium doesn't degrade - but that isn't the #1 issue for a ship made to go in harm's way. Is it?

The dreaded call from the Detailer.....

Just when you think you have the next year' personal SOE roughed out....

Ever have one of those slow dances with the Detailer? Find some places, well, lacking of liberty but full of the French? Find youself saying, "I'll go to Afghanistan again. Iraq is an option. But really......I'm a candidate for Djibouti?"

Well, Overcome-by-Events and someone else was lower hanging fruit. End of story. Sure, I always go where told, and it would be nice to leave the desk. But, if you are going to get tax free....

NB: If you don't know what Da-booty is and why the Navy is there, click here.

Caption Contest!

President Jacques Chirac with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (Paris)

OK, maybe it is just me, but I love this stuff.

I'll start, "Madame Chancellor,
this was once all German. You like, no? See the trees are still shady enough to march under."

At least they don't haze

NB: If you weren't in a Fraternity, you may not get this.

You know who you are....this is for you.

Monday, November 28, 2005

One hell of a LCDR

I wish the NYT would publish the American counterpart to these British obits.

Check out this guy's career.
Lieutenant-Commander Andy Chalmers, who has died aged 84, was first lieutenant of the submarine Venturer, which sank two German U-boats and prevented the export of heavy water and rocket plans to Japan.

On November 4 1944 Venturer, under command of the highly-decorated Lt Jimmy Launders, left Dundee on Operation Hangman to re-supply clandestine observers reporting shipping movements along the Norwegian coast.

Chalmers was at the periscope when he saw the conning tower of a U-boat surface a few hundred yards away, and called Launders to the control room. In a snap attack lasting six minutes, Chalmers handled the boat while Launders fired four torpedoes to sink U-771. Next day Venturer resumed its mission, entering Andfjord by night in clear windless weather to land its stores by rubber dinghy. Chalmers was awarded the DSC.

On February 9 1945, while submerged west of Bergen, Chalmers was in the control room when he heard faint underwater sounds on the hydrophones, and Launders spotted a periscope at about 5,000 yards range. Chalmers trimmed the boat in silence for three hours while Launders stalked his quarry, calculating the range by the loudness of its noise.

U-864, commanded by Korvettenkaptän Ralf-Reimar Wolfram, was making "suicidal" use of its periscope, which was protruding about four feet above the surface. Venturer fired four torpedoes, and two minutes 12 seconds later there was a loud explosion. This is the only known sinking of one submarine by another when both boats were submerged throughout the engagement.
...0In March 1946, Chalmers became first lieutenant of a British trials crew of the German U-1407, which had been scuttled at Cuxhaven but was raised and renamed Meteorite. He easily passed the "perisher" course in 1948, and during the next eight years commanded Spur, Truculent, Alderney, Sanguine, Trenchant and Alliance.

He was then commander's assistant in the training carrier Indefatigable and first lieutenant of the frigate Veryan Bay in the West Indies. In 1970 he retired from the Navy to work for the Probation Service.

Andy Chalmers, who died on October 13, married, in 1945, Jean Eleanor Hawkins; she survives him with their two sons.
All that, and he retired as a LCDR. Yes, the British taxpayer gets their money's worth out of their officers.

Fair winds and following seas Lieutenant Commander Chalmers.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Greybeards wanted: Back to Brown Water V

More right thinking and the right words from Navy leadership about taking back a traditional and ill-served warfare area – Riverine.
“We’d like to get a riverine graybeard group together,” he said. “This is an extension of something the Navy has always done. Everyone thinks this is something really new. But this is something we’ve been doing off and on for 230 years.”
Unlike the ALLIANCE, this late arrival shouldn’t be as late or as deadly. Bravo Zulu to my boss the CNO and everyone that is turning towards the sound of gunfire.
The Navy will have three deployment-ready riverine squadrons operational by early 2007, and more than 700 sailors will man the new 36-boat brown-water fleet.

The river raiders will be a key element of the Norfolk-based Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, which stood up Oct. 14. The type-command status of the NECC signals a growing demand for naval expeditionary forces and puts it on the level of the service’s air, surface and submarine forces.

Riverine squadrons

By spring, NECC will identify the manning, equipment and training requirements for three riverine squadrons, Bullard said. By spring of 2007, those new units will be ready to deploy. Details on who can join the force and how command structures will be organized are uncertain, Bullard said. He did say lateral transfers from various commands and ratings likely will be required.

Bullard said NECC planners are working with the Marines, who have a Camp Lejeune-based small boat company patrolling the waterways of Iraq, to develop plans, policies and procedures for the Navy force.

The Corps recently disestablished its small boat companies in a move to free up more infantrymen for deployments, only to see that requirement surface again in Iraq. By spring 2007, the Navy plans to take over that mission, Bullard said.

“We’re working with the U.S. Marine Corps very closely for the Navy to revamp this capability and replace their company in Iraq,” Bullard said Nov. 3. “In fact, we’re going to work with them on our initial training, our initial outfitting and we’re going to stay engaged because they become that combat arms force if we have to put them on a boat.”

Current plans call for three squadrons of 12 boats each. The initial riverine force will total 700 sailors. Bullard could not say how boats will be manned or equipped, as the concept of operations remains under development. It is not known if the boats will be skippered by junior officers or chiefs.

The goal, however, will be to re-establish the Navy’s ability to reach upriver from the littoral or coastal environment.

Although no decision has been made, Bullard’s staff has been looking at several existing boats for riverine operations. The candidates include the Mark V, a large, fast special-operations boat currently in use; the Special Operations Craft-Riverine, in use by special boat units; an enhanced Small Unit Riverine Craft, an armored version of the boat used by Marine small boat units; and the Riverine Assault Craft, a heavily armed and armored fast-attack boat.

“And there are other boats out there,” Bullard said. “Until we do the mission functions and tasks to determine what boat we need, we’ll look at that.”

As Bullard noted, Marines will be the Navy’s “combat arms” force because the Navy will not train sailors as infantry to bolster the expeditionary command. That said, any sailor involved in the new command can expect to spend a lot of time at the weapons range and in the weight room.

“We’re looking for physically fit sailors who will be in harm’s way at times,” he said.
For the rest of the Brown Water series, For review of my thoughts on Riverine Warfare, check things out here, here, here, and here. Sometime you tilt against a windmill and it falls. Whodathunk.

If you Sailors are bored with your Aegis radar and have had enough of a dark, air conditioned duty station - or are fed up with your NEC - and are coming up on your detailing window - NOW IS THE TIME TO CALL YOUR DETAILER.

As for you Greybeards with Riverine experience. If so inclined, get in touch with CFFC and see what the CNO has in mind. Just don’t tell them I told you to call. Snicker.

The #1 reason we have a military...

...is to protect our borders from invasion. From Brits to Panchos, if we cannot stop armed incursions - why are we here?
The incident began when Border Patrol agents tried to stop the dump truck on Interstate 10, sheriff's officials said. The truck fled to Mexico in the Neely's Crossing area.

The truck got stuck in the riverbed, and the driver took off running. Agents "started to retrieve the bundles (of marijuana) when the armed subjects appeared," said Agent Ramiro Cordero, a Border Patrol spokesman.

The Border Patrol called Hudspeth County sheriff's deputies and Texas state troopers for backup, both agencies confirmed.

Doyal said the truck driver returned with the armed men, including men who arrived in official-looking vehicles with overhead lights and what appeared to be Mexican soldiers in uniform and with military-style rifles.

The Mexican army is used in anti-narcotics operations. Army officials could not be reached for comment.

The standoff ended when the "soldiers" used a bulldozer to pull the dump truck into Mexico, sheriff's officials said.
CAPT Ed summarized the problem quite well.
Several possibilities exist for explaining this incident, none of which sounds good for the border situation. The most likely explanation is that the Mexicans wore fake military uniforms and the armed band worked for drug smugglers. Second, the Mexican army personnel work for the drug smugglers, and third, the operation was approved by Mexican army commanders as a competing interdiction effort. I can think of no other explanation, especially since the band had a bulldozer handy -- which tends to support the first two hypotheses, as American officials believe smugglers use the dozers to cut trails across the rivers for drug runners.

If the Mexican army sent a patrol into the US to steal the truck from our law-enforcement agencies, that qualifies as an invasion ....

OK, I wasn't selected for Major Command...

Hmmmm, how would this sound in the military.......
Navy MilBlogger Admits He Didn’t Select for Major Command
Nov 24 3:28 PM US/Eastern
Email this story


CDR Phibian Salamander is coming clean on his military record - the Major Command Screen Board that is, admitting that his claim to have been a pick of the Board in 2004 was untrue.

For nearly a year, Salamander, often mentioned as a possible “SUPERSTAR” in his FITREPS, has maintained he was selected for Major Command.

The claim was included in a brief biography released when Salamander was looking for a cushy Shore Duty job. A letter to a college friend in JUL mentioned it when he was about to be named CFC Chairman for the region. And several girlfriends, including some in Virginia Beach, have reported it as fact over months.

But an investigation by a girlfriend’s ex-husband found no record of Phibian being selected for Major Command, at sea or ashore - or any significant billet.

Informed by the girlfriend of her findings, Salamander acknowledged the error in and email.

"After being notified of the situation and after researching the matter ... I came to the conclusion that I was not selected for Major Command." he said.

Salamander’s spokesman Gilbert Grape declined to comment when reached by the AP on Thursday.

Salamander, a right-handed officer who played hooky at University, said he was actively scouted by several major Flag Officers over the last few years.

He insisted his name appeared on "a Select list of some kind" created by the Detailer. He named Community Managers as well, whom he said told him that he "would or could" be Selected. The Community Managers have since retired.

Salamander later developed sea sickness, eliminating any possible of a command at sea.

In the summer of 1997, when he was stationed on an Aircraft Carrier, the words "CO" appear on the back of a chair he had his picture taken in, the Journal reported.

"When I saw that picture I was convinced I was Deep Selected," Salamander said. "And it stayed with me all these years."

Then-cruisebook coordinator Arnold Mycock said the picture was supplied by ship’s company, he didn’t know who.

On a biographical sheet Salamander completed for his Federal Executive Fellowship, he wrote, "Selected for Major Command, 2004." He said he wrote those words because he believed they were true.

"I never tried to embellish this," he said. "I never tried to mask it."

Salamander, with a PRD of JUN 06, is seeking another set of orders.
In all seriousness though, the Richardson news is really bad for the Democrats. He was one of the best folks on their bench, now he is just another poseur. What a shame.

CAPT Ed, as usual, has some solid comments as well.

The NYT mindset: Europe Rulz - Amerika Droolz

Speaking of Cold War dead-wood, the former executive editor of the NYT, Max Frankel, has taken some time off from reality to review another revisionist Tony Judt's blinkered book, "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945."

I. Must. Control. Myself. I remember the NYT, Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, and WaPo, during the Cold War. I remember their Strobe Talbot world view. Until I got hold of NRODT's mid-80s work on the then conveniently forgotten and dismissed Ukrainian famine, I believed it too.

Must. Avoid. Tangent.

Mr. Frankel has done us a great service here. He as let us peak under his scalp to see how those who were wrong about the Soviet Union still don't get America, and don't understand what prevents Europe from regaining its once great power. He as a wonderfully selective memory and a desire for the world to be as he wants it, not how it is. This is all folded in the rarified sub-group of anti-Americans, who want nothing more than to seem so sophisticated to their peers, and approved of it the oh-so-correct circles.

Let's mini-Fisk.
Buck up, Europe. Though lacking a coherent ideology, a genuine political unity and a significant military, you have stumbled upon a way of life that is preferable even to America's.
Who is in decline? Who has the weaker economy? Who has a complete inability to defend themselves? Who hates themselves and their culture so much that they don't want to bring children into the world? Where is the net migration: from America to Europe, or Europe to America?

I am an Atlanticist and Europhile. Europe is a great place (for now-in most places) to visit, and if you can do it - to live for a few years. But to try to say that Europe is a better model for the world than the US is like saying that the New Orleans Saints are the best team in the NFL; just ignore the stats and record - just take my word.

I will be the first to say that the US can learn a lot from many places in Europe (starting with drinking laws, fewer obese children, and waste disposal), but ..... at best we could call it even.
Europe that has learned the value of trying to provide for the common welfare, health and happiness of most of its citizens - a Europe that, with him, sees an America overburdened by military missions and shamed by doctrinal individualism, unfair social policies and often violent tendencies.
This isn't even worth countering.
Educated in Britain and France, Judt has lived in the United States for 16 years, teaching at New York University, directing his own Remarque Institute and looming as America's most prominent scholar of all-Europe affairs. He spoke to an invited audience of scholars and answered the questions of two admiring academic colleagues, Ian Buruma of Bard College and Jan Gross of Princeton University.
Well, that explains a lot. No NRA members there. That is not a formula for a well rounded view or opinion of America. I might as well say that I understand the Europeans because I spent 10 years in Catania and spent my time with expats from the states avoiding the FBI.
... he believes that Americans have misunderstood and greatly exaggerated their country's political and intellectual influence since the 1950s. For one thing, he argues that Europeans experienced the Cold War much less "emotionally" (I suspect he means "hysterically") than Americans, thus drifting toward their own path even before the Soviet collapse. For another, he thinks Europeans rightly understood the demise of communism as a suicidal implosion, and not primarily the fruit of U.S. policy.
Really? Would Israel think it exaggerated? Where would Bosnia be? Kosovo? What would Vaclav Havel say, or Thatcher? Was the anti-cruise missile reaction "unemotional?" The Baader Meinhof Gang? The Red Brigades? The Merkel float?
The most important of his themes is that Europe's welfare states were not constructed for ideological, socialistic reasons, but rather as a "prophylactic" against the disasters that had befallen the Continent throughout the 20th century. This is not widely understood in the United States and perhaps not even in Europe.
Of course, Socialism had nothing to do with it. Of course, only the select few like yourself really understant the true reasons.
The corollary message therefore is that Europe should not lightly dismantle those systems and may better serve the world as a model than the United States or China with their stress on rugged capitalism and military strength.
Of course. That is why France and Germany don't fear the more free-market nations like Estonia and Poland. That low-tax high growth concept cannot compete with stagnation and high unemployment. Oh, and riots.
Judt acknowledged that American society has done a markedly better job of assisting and integrating immigrants. Much of Europe's future, and appeal as a model, now depends on its willingness to spread its welfare tents to the newcomers from the east and south.
And with who's money are you going to buy this love? How long can you tap that well? Has it worked in France? The Netherlands? Denmark?
There is nothing deterministic in Judt's view of how things turned out. They might have been very different if Stalin had not made crucial misjudgments in the late 1940s by rejecting Marshall Plan aid, staging a crude communist coup in Czechoslovakia and encouraging the invasion of South Korea. The Soviet aim of a neutral and disarmed Germany might well have been achieved.
"What if" is a children's game. The only misjudgement was a misjudgement of Stalin's evil that is still being made my myopic people who still cannot come to terms with the evil of Communism. There is no excuse to think all Stalin wanted was a "neutral an disarmed Germany." That is intentional blindness to history. And this guy's work will be used to "educate" people.
But if his scholarship bears any messages, Judt concluded, they are these: Americans need to stop seeing Europe as weak and decadent - even in uncertain form the Continent has progressed far beyond its past and beyond what might have been. Europe, in turn, needs to actively study its inglorious history and not just memorialize its victims in stone; otherwise the tendency to forget and to deny can corrode what has been a brilliant redemption.
I don't know who is worse, the author of the book, or the reviewer. What stupid advice: "America, close your eyes and mind and just think like I do. Europe, gaze at your navel some more and do what doesn't work because it makes me feel good."

BTW, if nothing else, the USA and Canada have a great advantage over Europe (outside a bit of Spanish and French thrown in for flavor) that is always good for an extra .5% of GDP growth: English as a common language. You know what the language of Europe is? It is English. The reason is that, by one vote, the language of economic and political power is spoken by Americans and the Commonwealth - and not Americans and a Continental language. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Explaining Thanksgiving to the French

Quoted in full, from a nice Leftist comic. Art is OK.
Paris Singer was at a garage sale in Bethesda when she came across a yellowed newspaper clipping dated 1952. It was titled "Explaining Thanksgiving to the French." She bought it for $10.

Much to her surprise, when she took it to an expert at the Library of Congress, he told her it was a collector's item, and there were only five of them left in the world. It was valued at $80,000. It now hangs in Singer's living room under glass.

One of our most important holidays is Thanksgiving Day, known in France as le Jour de Merci Donnant.

Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims (Pélerins) who fled from l'Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World (le Nouveau Monde) where they could shoot Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) and eat turkey (dinde) to their hearts' content.

They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Américaine) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai) in 1620. But while the Pélerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pélerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pélerins was when they taught them to grow corn (mais). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pélerins.

In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pélerins' crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more mais was raised by the Pélerins than Pélerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.

Every year on le Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration.

It concerns a brave capitaine named Miles Standish (known in France as Kilomètres Deboutish) and a young, shy lieutenant named Jean Alden. Both of them were in love with a flower of Plymouth called Priscilla Mullens (no translation). The vieux capitaine said to the jeune lieutenant:

"Go to the damsel Priscilla (allez tres vite chez Priscilla), the loveliest maiden of Plymouth (la plus jolie demoiselle de Plymouth). Say that a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of action (un vieux Fanfan la Tulipe), offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier. Not in these words, you know, but this, in short, is my meaning.

"I am a maker of war (je suis un fabricant de la guerre) and not a maker of phrases. You, bred as a scholar (vous, qui êtes pain comme un étudiant), can say it in elegant language, such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers, such as you think best adapted to win the heart of the maiden."

Although Jean was fit to be tied (convenable à être emballi), friendship prevailed over love and he went to his duty. But instead of using elegant language, he blurted out his mission. Priscilla was muted with amazement and sorrow (rendue muette par l'étonnement et las tristesse).

At length she exclaimed, interrupting the ominous silence: "If the great captain of Plymouth is so very eager to wed me, why does he not come himself and take the trouble to woo me?" (Où est-il, le vieux Kilomètres? Pourquoi ne vient-il pas aupres de moi pour tenter sa chance?)

Jean said that Kilomètres Deboutish was very busy and didn't have time for those things. He staggered on, telling what a wonderful husband Kilomètres would make. Finally Priscilla arched her eyebrows and said in a tremulous voice, "Why don't you speak for yourself, Jean?" (Chacun a son gout.)

And so, on the fourth Thursday in November, American families sit down at a large table brimming with tasty dishes, and for the only time during the year eat better than the French do.

No one can deny that le Jour de Merci Donnant is a grande fête and no matter how well fed American families are, they never forget to give thanks to Kilomètres Deboutish, who made this great day possible.

Now step away from the computer and interface with family and friends.

Drumstick to Bookie.

Early AM bleg

I host the few videos I put up at zippyvideos.com (nice free hosting place). I have (thanks to Lileks). I have some mp3 files I would like to post, but I need a place to host it ... for free. Anybody have a hint, I tried to google it, but no joy. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Controlling the Center of Gravity

Make no mistake, the National Will to fight is our most critical Center of Gravity. Our enemy knows it, and they know their best allies are in the Western Left. Max Boot (is that a cool name or what) hits back, hard at those who want nothing else, will accept nothing else, than defeat and demoralization.
WHEN IT COMES to the future of Iraq, there is a deep disconnect between those who have firsthand knowledge of the situation — Iraqis and U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq — and those whose impressions are shaped by doomsday press coverage and the imperatives of domestic politics. ...a survey last month from the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, 47% of Iraqis polled said their country was headed in the right direction, as opposed to 37% who said they thought that it was going in the wrong direction. And 56% thought things would be better in six months. Only 16% thought they would be worse.
The Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations just released a survey of American elites that found that 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively. Even more impressive than the Pew poll is the evidence of how our service members are voting with their feet. Although both the Army and the Marine Corps are having trouble attracting fresh recruits — no surprise, given the state of public opinion regarding Iraq — reenlistment rates continue to exceed expectations. Veterans are expressing their confidence in the war effort by signing up to continue fighting.
Thanks primarily to the increase in oil prices, the Iraqi economy is projected to grow at a whopping 16.8% next year. According to Brookings' Iraq index, there are five times more cars on the streets than in Saddam Hussein's day, five times more telephone subscribers and 32 times more Internet users.

The growth of the independent media — a prerequisite of liberal democracy — is even more inspiring. Before 2003 there was not a single independent media outlet in Iraq. Today, Brookings reports, there are 44 commercial TV stations, 72 radio stations and more than 100 newspapers.
This is not meant to suggest that everything is wonderful in Iraq. The situation remains grim in many respects. But the most disheartening indicator of all is simply the American public's loss of confidence in the war effort. Abu Musab Zarqawi may be losing on the Arab street (his own family has disowned him), but he's winning on Main Street. And, as the Vietnam War showed, defeatism on the home front can become self-fulfilling.
And who is he talking to? Unreconstructed deadwood from the Cold War Left like HDS Greenway from The Boston Globe.
...American troops have become ''a catalyst for violence," and therefore more part of the problem than the solution. ... Victory on the battlefield, of the type President Bush keeps insisting upon, is beyond our grasp. Military commanders on the ground know that they are not defeating the insurgency and that they can only keep it disrupted until, hopefully, Iraqis can manage their own defense. ... Iraq today is ''a black hole," as France's antiterrorism judge, Jean-Louis Brugiere, said, sucking in impressionable youths from all over the Muslim world and radicalizing them. ... But the war in Iraq is not sustainable in this country, any more than the Vietnam War was in Laird's time. The longer we wait the harder the eventual pullout will be and the greater the betrayal of those who grew to depend on us. That's what we learned in Vietnam.
If you have the stomach and head-ache medicine, look over HDS Greenways work over the last 4 years. He has never been provictory. He has just been a vulture, watching and seeing a potential meal at every trip and mistake. He claims to have "recently come from Iraq." I will bet he never ventured beyond 5km from his hotel. Never spent significant time with Soldiers or Marines in the field. If he did, either he lives in a parallel universe, or he is selectively editing.

Submariners take over Vatican security

Well, that is what it sounds like.
"I can't imagine that we would open up the Swiss Guard to women," its current commandant, Colonel Elmar Mader, said in response to a question. He said that barracks in the Vatican were "small and cramped" and he did not want disciplinary difficulties.
"They are young and I don't want to enlist problems," he said. "I'm not saying that women are not qualified to be in security forces, but it is a question of discipline."
Ahem. Well, we know what some the 1120s think, and counter-think.

PS. Make sure and read the whole story for a VERY cool history lesson.

Thar' be Dragoons....

Canadian Dragoons that is....
Maj. Andrew Atherton and 170 of his Royal Canadian Dragoons provide escorts for the truck convoys carrying the makings of the new base along a two-lane highway threatened by roadside booby traps and suicide bombers, as well as the normal hazards of dust, heat and bad drivers.

Atherton's Coyote and LAV III light armoured vehicles, armed with 25-mm cannons and machineguns, provide the security the convoys need for the 10-hour, 450-kilometre trip. He can also call on heavier elements, including air support from other members of the NATO coalition.
"Kandahar is not just a different place in Afghanistan, it's a completely different mission."

Kandahar, he said, is much more like Iraq. There are radical Islamic elements, high levels of poverty and a porous border with Pakistan through which men and arms percolate with ease.

"We're moving from what was, in a sense, a stability and peacemaking operation in Kabul to a very different mission in Kandahar which could include everything from an Iraqi-style insurgency and putting down that insurgency down to elements of diplomacy and aid that need to be rolled out in the region to stabilize it."

There are about 1,000 Canadian personnel in Afghanistan now. They are shutting down the base in Kabul and opening up in Kandahar.
By February, Canada will have about 2,000 soldiers based in Kandahar, including a provincial reconstruction team to help rebuild infrastructure, security elements, a medical detachment and a headquarters.
On what I am starting to see as an undertold story of 2006, NATO and other nations are moving to pretty much take over Afghanistan operations.

Though poorly equipped and underfunded on the whole, the Canadians are leaning in hard and sending their best to Afghanistan. They also plan to increase military spending over the rest of the decade, so keep an eye out for our Northern brothers. They are a good shot, and good friends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bring our Battle Flags home

For you fans of Mel Gibson's, The Patriot - remember "Bloody Tarleton?" Well it seems his family has kept four Revolutionary War American Batle Flags he captured and they are being put up for auction.
Four rare battle flags captured during the American War of Independence by a British officer have been returned after more than two centuries to be auctioned.

The regimental colours seized in 1779 and 1780 by Lt Col Banastre Tarleton, who remains one of the conflict's most controversial figures, have already aroused huge interest among American military historians. They are expected to fetch between £2.3 million and £5.8 million at Sotheby's in New York next year.
The ones captured by Tarleton are in excellent condition and their history is well documented. One is the flag of the 2nd Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons, raised in Connecticut by Col Elisha Sheldon, who were defeated by Tarleton in Westchester County, New York in July 1779. The other three flags were seized the following year in a still controversial battle in the southern United States.

Tarleton crushed a Virginian regiment under Col Abraham Buford at Waxsaws near the border of North and South Carolina. Accounts of what happened next differ. According to the Americans, Tarleton ordered his men to slaughter more than 100 revolutionary soldiers who had already surrendered. But the British officer maintained that his horse was shot after a truce was declared and pinned him to the ground.
These are priceless IMAO. Of all the money our government spends on bridges to nowhere, the NEA, and NEH - these need to be in the Smithsonian. No question. No price limit.

If the US government can't do it, hopefully a Connecticut or Virginia patriot will buy them and make sure they are taken care of. It would be an immeasurable shame if these wind up imperfectly protected in some pogue's living room in Napa.

Here are two of them.

BTW, for you ground warfare folks, this is an outstanding and timeless read on leadership. Heck, most of it applies to any leader - though for an Army or Marine pro, this stuff is good, just replace the "horse and cart" stuff with its modern counterpart. Primary source.

Your canary speaks Dutch

To Europe and the West, face it, your freedom is in danger from a cancer. Ignore the sickness of others at your peril.
Impaled on a knife in van Gogh's chest was a five-page note declaring holy war on The Netherlands and threatening death to other public figures deemed "enemies of Islam".

A year after his murder, The Netherlands is a country transformed. Previously, only the Queen and Prime Minister had police protection, and ministers cycled to their ministries.

Now, many politicians, writers and artists are considered to be in such danger that they have permanent armed guards and are driven around in bomb-proof armoured cars. The Interior Ministry has set up a special unit assessing death threats from Islamic extremists and providing protection squads.

"In a democracy, strong opinion-leaders must be able to say what they want to say. Therefore, the Government will take the responsibility to protect them," a spokesman from the ministry said, refusing to divulge the number of people receiving protection.

In the parliament in The Hague, inside the airport-style security, two besuited bodyguards stand erect outside the office of Geert Wilders, Ali's political rival, checking closely anyone who has permission to enter. "I have been deluged with death threats," said the maverick right-wing MP, who has called for the deportation of Islamic extremists.

Across town, police are investigating the shot fired at the window of Rita Verdonk, the Immigration Minister, who has become a hate figure among Muslim communities for introducing some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe, and insisting that Muslims should integrate.

Amsterdam councillor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Dutch-Moroccan who has said that Moroccans who do not like The Netherlands should leave, is also under permanent protection. "He never gives interviews on that issue," a spokeswoman said.

Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen has tried to build bridges with the Muslim community but, as the country's highest-profile Jew, he also needs 24-hour protection.

At Leiden University law school, professor Afshin Ellian, an Iranian refugee who has called for reform of Islam and even suggested that comedians should make jokes about it, is hustled through the electronically locked doors to his office by two bodyguards.

"In The Netherlands, terrorists want to threaten not only the public ... they also want to kill public figures, such as artists, academics and politicians," he said. "It is not special in terms of Islam -- in Iran, it is normal to kill people who criticise Islam, as in Egypt and Iraq. It is legitimised by Islamic political theology, which says it is all right to kill someone if they are an enemy of Allah. But this is happening in Europe."

Academics and authorities in The Netherlands are trying to understand why, in their country, Islamic extremism has gone down the path of assassination, while in Britain and Spain it has produced bombings.

The rise in the death threats started in 2002 when Pim Fortuyn, a flamboyant, gay, right-wing maverick, called for a halt to Islamic immigration. He complained that police did not take the death threats against him seriously. He was killed not by a Muslim, but by a left-wing activist who said he did it "for the Muslims".

It was the first political killing in The Netherlands for three centuries and was seen as a one-off. But the murder of van Gogh two years later convinced people that the threat of political killing had become permanent.

A study by Frank Bovenkerk of the University of Utrecht confirmed the rise in death threats across the country, and their seriousness.

"They are under real threat -- they would be killed without protection," he said.

"We have a type of provocateur which is unprecedented in The Netherlands. They claim it is about freedom of speech, but it is about freedom of cursing."

Even if the would-be assassins are foiled by the intelligence services and the protection squads, the death threats are already having some success in silencing criticism. "People are very afraid of saying things now," Professor Ellian said.

"There is self-censorship."
To throw in another metaphor, as we say in football, this is time for a gut-check. Europe is already turning into an area of fear...again.

Hat tip LGF.

Chris Matthews jumps the shark

Hatred is blinding who Chris?
"The period between 9/11 and Iraq was not a good time for America. There wasn't a robust discussion of what we were doing," Matthews said.

"If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective."
...and he isn't talking about domestic politics. He needs to get out more. Spend a couple of months with the Marines in Al Anbar, then let's talk.

Monday, November 21, 2005

When Ralphs attack

Man, oh Manischewitz. This weekend it looks like Ralph ran out of Metamucil, someone ran over his dog, stole his truck, and pee-peed on his cornflakes.

Oh, and the Left flank of our formation turned yellow.
How to loose a war.

QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. ...don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.
... Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. ... Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.
Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.
Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. ... America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. ... For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?
Snark! I liked that lil bit.
All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on.
There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.

Surrender is never a winning strategy.
What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 — a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves. ... Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.
If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.
What he said. Ralph, just for that, I will forgive the whole "coward" thingy.

Read the whole thing.

Johnny, you're running out of countries

First he left LA and the US because it was too violent, now he has issues with his heaven of a new country, Fwance.
Hollywood star JOHNNY DEPP is so shocked by the riots raging through France, he's considering abandoning his home in the country.

The FINDING NEVERLAND heart-throb moved to Europe when life in Los Angeles became too violent.
Johnny need to grow up with my Dad.
"Life ain't perfect, and life ain't fair: deal with it."
It would have saved him a lot of moving.

USS Booty Call

OK, the title isn’t fair, but it got your attention. Anyway, Chung Hoon sound too much like a bad 80s band.

From the
Navy Enquirer...errr..Times (registration required).
“The way the chiefs, junior officers and enlisteds were all going out together, drinking together … it was just a big party,” he said. “A couple of chiefs and an E-3, an E-2 going out for a beer together — I’d never seen that before. And it wasn’t like it happened every once in a while. It was a daily occurrence.”

He added, “There’s not a lot to do in Pascagoula, anyway.”
Don’t blame Mississippi – your problem was with your Wardroom and Chief’s Mess in the shipyard.
According to the Navy, at least 13 sailors on the Chung-Hoon, commissioned barely a year ago, have been charged with fraternization, adultery or both over the past 1½ years — activities that began largely while the ship was still being put together in Pascagoula, Miss. … The 13 sailors ranged in rank from E-2 to O-3, Navy officials said. … the two officers, Chappell and Lt. Bernie Ridgeway, were sent to general court-martial, according to William Sink, Chappell’s civilian attorney, and other sources. Yarbrough was punished at a special court-martial and is awaiting a bad-conduct discharge. Five other .. sailors were sent to captain’s mast; the case against one … sailor was dismissed. (of the other’s charged) … one was sent to a summary court-martial, and the remainder to mast.

Lt. Tobias Chappell, is a former supply officer on the Chung-Hoon, now temporarily reassigned to the Defense Distribution Depot Pearl Harbor, where he “picks up trash and moves furniture” for a chief petty officer.
Oooooo, LT. You have a little inflated opinion of yourself – now don’t you. You are getting off easy in my world, here is why.
He secretly married his former supply department’s leading petty officer, Storekeeper 2nd Class (AW) Tonya Yarbrough, last December; she has since been demoted to seaman recruit.

Chappell’s court-martial on three counts of fraternization with three sailors — one of them an affair from five years ago — was scheduled to begin Nov. 14.
Wait, there is more information to follow. The marriage part isn’t what I have a problem with. Keep going.
Chappell, a former enlisted sailor with 22 years of service, …
So much for the youthful ignorance angle. Chappell has more problems than recidivistic glandular self control.
Chappell, with two counts of fraternization within the past year alone, also was charged with two counts of cruelty and maltreatment, obstruction of justice, larceny, making a false official statement and misleading authorities about … (a) petty officer’s affair, the Navy said. … Chappell’s second fraternization charge relates to an alleged affair with an enlisted sailor not assigned to the Chung-Hoon, he said. And the third, he said, stems from a late 1990s affair with another enlisted female sailor.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” Chappell said. “I can see the ‘frat’ charge with Tonya, and even the one a year ago. But five years ago? That’s too long.”

Chappell said he was an ensign when he had his first fraternization affair. …

Chappell said the additional charges he faces are bogus. The larceny relates to keeping two Navy laptop computers at home during the commissioning transition, which Chappell said was allowed. The obstruction of justice, he said, relates to a search of his stateroom, which turned up videotaped evidence of one of the earlier relationships, according to Sink. The cruelty and maltreatment charge, he said, stems from giving a first-class petty officer a poor evaluation and assigning him to barracks duty while showing favoritism to a second petty officer.

According to the official Navy charge sheet, however, Yarbrough was that second petty officer. The Navy says Chappell sent his leading petty officer, Storekeeper 1st Class John T. Crawford, to barracks duty after Crawford gave Yarbrough a presumably unfavorable counseling statement. The Navy also charges that another sailor, Storekeeper 2nd Class David M. Zepeda, was unfairly dropped in ranking board status, adding that Chappell ordered a chief petty officer to switch the promotion recommendations of Yarbrough and Zepeda.
That is the cancer that the Navy tries to prevent. You want to throw a ship into disarray, have imbedded favoritism. Add the exchange of body fluids to the equation, and you have a ship that cannot fight and you have a few hundred lives in danger. It is that simple.

Yarbrough is a piece of work too.
Yarbrough, in addition to pleading guilty Aug. 2 to two counts of fraternization and one count of insubordination, was found guilty of failure to appear for duty. The insubordination charge was for tearing up a counseling statement, according to Chappell. Yarbrough said she was on temporary duty for training when charged with failing to appear. She received six months of confinement (reduced to three in exchange for agreeing to testify against Chappell), reduction to E-1, forfeiture of $750 a month for six months and a bad-conduct discharge. .. Yarbrough, who gave birth to the couple’s daughter Nov. 7, recently spent nearly three months in the Pearl Harbor brig and is awaiting a bad-conduct discharge.
The problems on the USS Chung Hoon are not unique to that warship or its crew. From my read, it is not the fault of their former Commanding Officer either. Just the opposite, I think Skipper Kenneth Williams should be lauded as a leader that stood up to a much too often intentionally overlooked problem. He decided not to put up with it. As a result, it looks like he turned over a ship to his relief that is cutting out a cancer put in it years ago by a culture of PC induced fear.

What fear would that be? Well there are the little PC fears of looking like you on a sexual witch-hunt and a desire not to get into people’s personal lives on line with the old "What goes on deployment, stays on deployment.." that really doesn't apply to "Blue-on-Blue" – yes, there are a lot of touchy-feely going on in the US Navy; and then there is the big, and very real PC fear that I will bring up at the bottom of the post.

I have worked in commands where the Senior Officer intentionally overlooked fraternization in his organization – and blatant adultery between members of his wardroom and/or Chief’s Mess. The Navy has, I think, an acceptable compromise in place when it comes to personal relationships (unavoidable) between shipmates, but the lines of demarcation are direct and clear. The Navy takes this seriously, officially, but unofficially some in leadership look the other way.
The maximum penalty for fraternization, broadly defined as a relationship between senior and junior personnel deemed prejudicial to good order and discipline, is two years confinement, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and dismissal from the service, according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Adultery can bring either a dishonorable or bad-conduct discharge, a year of confinement and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Too often they are ignored by both the perpetrators and their command. Once it is know that an Officer or Chief has gotten away with either fraternization or adultery inside the lifelines of the command, a cancer sets in fast. You cannot take a BM1 to mast from fraternization with a BMSN when everyone in the ship knows you let the OSCS you play golf with get away with nibbling the AW3. You cannot take the married CMDCM to account for sleeping with the single ADC at AIMD when you have let your married LT carry on with the single “two drink minimum” LTJG every port call.

Here are some excerpts from former Commanding Officer Cmdr. Kenneth Williams letter.
The trials and tribulations recent to Chung-Hoon have shaken, but not shattered, my faith in the khaki leadership or the crew in general. Even though we go to great lengths to re-enforce policies and provide clear guidance to the crew … there always seems to be someone that rationalizes the rules do not apply to him/her or that they will never get caught. I will try to re-enforce Navy core values, and especially the ideals of honor and integrity, during every captain’s call and meeting with the wardroom and mess. One’s honor and integrity can only be lost by the member through action, and once it is lost it may never be fully regained.

As background, fraternization and unduly familiar relationships have been a constant and steady topic since establishment of the [pre-commissioning unit], sail around and arrival in Pearl Harbor.

Even with the continued re-enforcement, I still have shipmates who choose to act dishonorably and ignore the rules — occasionally with life- or career-ending results. Thus far in this command tour I have:

• Lost a shipmate due to alcohol and not using his [personal protective equipment] while operating a motorcycle.

• Now have a fraternization case being investigated between and officer and his LPO.

• And also have an unduly familiar relationship/adultery case between a chief petty officer and an E-4.

Both the officer and chief looked me in the eyes and proclaimed their innocence when initially confronted — much like the drug user who refuses to admit his guilt. Honor and integrity are not virtues these individuals possess and I also must wonder about the moral courage of others to point out failures of their peers in the wardroom and chiefs’ mess.
I need to buy this man a round of golf at Sewell’s Point GC.
Personally, my trustful nature and naïveté are slowly being replaced by cynicism and distrust. Although I know this attitude will soon rebound, there is a growing desire to read a future shipmate his/her rights and confiscate computer e-mails to determine if there is any fire with the smoke created when a junior shipmate complains of someone in the chain of command’s behavior. However, I still feel that an officer’s (and chief petty officer’s) word is his/her bond and that the wardroom and chiefs’ mess not only have the duty but also the moral courage to report inappropriate behavior when identified. Therefore I will continue to carefully balance the re-enforcement and restating of policies on fraternization and other good-order and discipline issues while not pushing too far that the command climate is decimated due to a perceived growing mistrust and spurious witch hunts.
Just a side-note, when you read his letter, notice there isn’t anything about warfighting? Notice there is nothing about closing with the enemy and bringing your ship in harm’s way as its nation demands? That is because the CO, XO, and CMDCM are distracted by personnel behavior problems. I am afraid the die is cast on women at sea, so we better find a way to work this or we will find ships blowing up because the balance of its leadership was sitting in on another – “Stop penetrating the naughty-bits of your Shipmate” seminar. Not the Command tour the CDR Williams thought he was going to have. Admiral Burke would be very worried about his Destroyers if he were still with us.

CDR Williams is an exemplary solid officer. I hope he survives the smear campaign against him. You know the “Big PC” I talked about earlier? Well here it is. Like a drowning man that will pull down anything he can grab, Chappell is using a very successful smear tactic; few survive the years it takes to clear your name (though things are much better now than they were in the 90s - mostly due to the heavy amount of "calling wolf").

Have no doubt, especially if you have a certain two-star who will remain nameless in your Chain-of-Command, you are guilty until proven innocent in most cases as the top cover transitions to CYA mode. The good news here is that in this case, from what I have read (with no inside info BTW - so I could be totally wrong), it looks like CDR Williams has the right top-cover and a Chain of Command that will let the facts stand.

Now, for the nasty smear. I’ll let the words speak for themselves.
Accusations of racism also underlie the problem. Eight of the 13 charged are black; the others are white. Two of the black sailors charged say they and others are being treated more harshly than their white counterparts. … The two black sailors leveling the racism charge, a lieutenant and then-second-class petty officer, admit they had an affair before getting married in December. But both say that whites similarly culpable were punished far less severely for essentially the same transgressions and that racism may have played a part. … The black officer, Lt. Tobias Chappell, is a former supply officer on the Chung-Hoon, … Of the eight black sailors charged, the two officers, Chappell and Lt. Bernie Ridgeway, were sent to general court-martial, according …Yarbrough was punished at a special court-martial and is awaiting a bad-conduct discharge. Five other black sailors were sent to captain’s mast; the case against one black sailor was dismissed. … Of the five whites, one was sent to a summary court-martial, and the remainder to mast. According to Sink, all of the whites were retained on active duty. … “I look at this ratio of blacks to whites [being charged] … and naturally, I asked if this was racial, and they said no,” Sink said. “And I don’t believe it.”
UPDATE: Check out Bubblehead's post, he has more links.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A yellow woman doing a white man's job

I don't usually break my blog-sabbath, but I will make an exception today.

Unlike some of my Shipmates, I am a fan of Michelle Malkin. I don't appologize. Similiar to, well, everyone I like, I don't agree with everything she says, but more often than not (by an order of magnitude) she is right on target.

If you don't already know, she is constantly being attacked in the most immature, nasty, and personal way. People don't attack her ideas; that takes too much work. It is easier to attack her personally. Unlike many, she shares and published the worse of it just to show everyone who her enemy is, and makes herself look stronger for it. She, and Captain Ed have had enough. I'll let her speak for herself.

The racist and sexist "yellow woman doing a white man's job" knock is a tiresome old attack from impotent liberals that I've tolerated a long time. It is pathetic that I have to sit here and tell you that my ideas, my politics, and my intellectual capital are mine and mine alone in response to cowardly attacks from misogynistic moonbats with Asian whore fixations. My IQ, free will, skin color, eye shape, productivity, sincerity, and integrity are routinely ridiculed or questioned because I happen to be a minority conservative woman. As a public figure, I am willing to take these insults, but I cannot tolerate the smearing of my loved ones. Because I have always been open and proud about his support for my career, my husband has taken endless, hate-filled abuse from my critics. His Jewish heritage, his decision to be a stay-at-home dad, and even his looks, are the subject of brutal mockery.


If you have a problem with my work and what I stand for, go ahead and take me on. Keep calling me whatever four-letter-word makes you feel better when you can't win your arguments. But leave my family alone.

'Nuff said.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, November 19, 2005

When he is holding a 10 high hand, call his bluff

****The following post is by Mr. Phibian Salamander, not CDR Salamander****

In case you are having trouble getting the details on last night's "Cut and Run" vote, here is the name by name tally.

403 Nay
--3 Yea
--6 Couldn't decide to sh1t or get off the pot.

The three from the pro-Surrender branch of the U.S. House of Reps: McKinny (D-GA), Serrano (D-NY), and Wexler (D-FL).

Those six that need to increase their fiber intake: Capuano (D-MA), Clay (D-MO), Hinchey (D-NY), McDermott (D-WA), Nadler (D-NY), Owens (D-NY).

Check out CAPT Ed's post if you didn't watch the goings on last night. Many outside the "business, may not know it but for those in the field, this means a lot. Thanks House. Sometimes the simple and direct is the best. K.I.S.S.

Sheep, Wolf, or Sheepdog?

Blackfive opens the door to your tent, walks back to your rack and throws half a camelbak in your face. Read it all for the full wake up.
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive
citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy
for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive
sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a
deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog,
a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk
into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk
out unscathed.
- Colonel Dave Grossman on Sheepdogs
Oh, Dr. Rusty Shackleford is back, and he has something to say to some folks in Congress.

Friday, November 18, 2005

U.S. Navy's slow retreat

Here is some good news for the Chinese from their friends in the Senate.
$9.1 billion to permit construction of four new ships, less than half the total of 10 to 12 new vessels the Navy and independent consultants say is needed to sustain today’s fleet. The total includes $336.7 million to accelerate construction of a new aircraft carrier, CVN-78, that will be built at Northrop Grumman’s Newport News shipyard, as well as a new amphibious assault ship and a new destroyer.
If you want to be optimistic, in the long run you can get on average 30 years out of a Navy ship, but as those who work with the 38 year old Kennedy, they cost a lot to maintain. Fairly soon, being that many are going inside 30, we will be at 120 ships.

Where does that lead us to? Let's assume all 120 are deployable battle force ships (that will never happen). I'm an optimist. Right now, we only have 280 battle force ships (remember the 600 ship Navy we almost had in the 1980s? That is LONG gone). Those numbers include aircraft carriers, submarines, and patrol craft. As of today, 148 ships are underway - 98 of those are on deployment, AKA overseas worldwide.

Using finger and toe math, let's compare.

---------------Now-----Frist's Navy
On deployment:--98------42

That is deployed to the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and the Med. Ponder.

The long term trend is clear. Power, especially naval power, abhors a vacuum. We will soon only have a Regional Power Navy on this path. Hope was the LCS would give us some numbers. But hope isn't a plan. 20 years comes fast. If China keeps up its rate, from a regional conflict situation, for the first time in almost 90 years we will have someone close to having a peer power basis on the open sea. Hey, the PLAN doesn't have to match us 1 for 1, all they have to do is make the Taiwan situation seem painful enough to make it not worthwhile. You are not going to bully China in 2025 with the fleet we are building. By the time the rump 2ND, 3RD, 5TH, and 6TH fleets run over to help the 7TH fleet; the truth on the ground will have changed to the point it won't matter. Not with 120 ships.

Remember, we have to cover the world's oceans if we want to be a Global Naval Power. China only has to worry about WESTPAC and the SLOC to its oil. With Central Asia's oil coming online in the next decade, even the SLOC past the Malacca Straits may be a pass if needed. OK, you wargamers, can you defend Taiwan and defend OUR SLOC from Middle East oil with 120 warships ready to sail? What do you do when Japan tells you to go home?

Self fulfilling prophecy sometimes. We take our dominance of the ocean for granted at our own peril. Keep building billion dollar plus "Destroyers" and Gator Freighters with solid titanium pipes. Keep coming up with A-12s, C-130Js and other wonders. You will ask your children to go to sea with almost nothing.

Think you can win with a few highest quality, very expensive weapons against a motivated enemy fighting with a more numerous, though slightly inferior weapons? Talk to Obersturmbannfurher Joachim Peiper. If he was still around, he might have an opinion on that.

McCain hits two home runs

I’ll call it when I see it. I am not one of his best fans, but when he is right – he is right.

Point 1. – Open ended contracts. This was from yesterday’s WSJ, not available online.

“If the contractor can’t tell us what its going to cost, then they shouldn’t be seeking a contract,”

He was referring to the DD(X) and the C-130J as examples. In the same article,
Katherine Schinasi of the GAO, tha watchdog arm of Congress, said the Defense Department already knows many of the steps it needs to take. However, the Pentagon has yet to find the necessary willpower.
“DOD is not employing the knowledge-based approach, discipline is lacking, and business cases are weak. Persistent practices show a decided lack of restraint,” Schinasi said.

Point 2. – That back-stabbing ass-covering display of Senate cowardice. (in the NYPost)

Anyone reading the amendment gets the sense that the Senate's foremost objective is the draw-down of American troops. What it should have said is that America's first goal in Iraq is not to withdraw troops, but to win the war. All other policy decisions we make should support, and be subordinate to, the successful completion of our mission.

Morality, national security and the honor our fallen deserve all compel us to see our mission in Iraq through to victory.

But the amendment suggests a different priority. It signals that withdrawal, not victory, is foremost in Congress' mind, and suggests that we are more interested in exit than victory. …
A date is not an exit strategy. To suggest that it is only encourages our enemies, by indicating that the end to American intervention is near. It alienates our friends, who fear an insurgent victory, and tempts undecideds to join the anti-government ranks.

Because the stakes there are so high — higher even than those in Vietnam — our friends and our enemies need to hear one message: America is committed to success, and we will win this war.
A date is not an exit strategy: it is surrender. Only 19 Senators, including Senator McCain, who voted with him show the maturity and knowledge of history to even deserve to be considered for CINC.

Here is the bad news for America and the Democrats.

First the 13 Republicans. Not a bad bunch on average. (Bunning, Ky.; Burr, N.C.; Chambliss, Ga.; Coburn, Okla.; DeMint, S.C.; Graham, S.C.; Inhofe, Okla.; Isakson, Ga.; Kyl, Ariz.; McCain, Ariz.; Sessions, Ala.; Thune, S.D.; Vitter, La.)

Now the 6 Democrats. Oh, my. (Byrd, W.Va.; Conrad, N.D.; Harkin, Iowa; Kennedy, Mass.; Kerry, Mass.; Leahy, Vt.)

I think all but one of the Dems, Conrad, voted no because they liked this instead.

I should stay out of politics, but this is too important to ignore. I think the Dems should look at their bench of Governors. Warner and Richardson – call your office. Christmas came early for you this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

CAG Paddles - let's make that a 1 wire and call it even

Visit the Commissar for a great reminder of a great Naval Aviator and WWII ace, George Duncan.
George Duncan shot down 13.5 Japanese airplanes while flying with VF-15 off carrier Essex, gaining all his victories in the latter part of 1944....He made a career of the Navy, rising to command VF-51 and Air Group 5 during the Korean War.
But that isn't what hit me like a wall. One part of his history is that he was the survivor of one of the best series of pictures taken of the early jet age in the Navy when he was CO of VF-51 and flying the F9F-2 off the straight-deck Midway. A wonderful advertising for the Navy's favorite builder of aircraft, Grumman. Sniffle. That is one blessed man. Think of his career timeline and what he saw in his time.

See the rest of the pictures here, here, here, and here. He retired at what I assume was Flag Rank of some kind, but the only Google I could find of an Admiral Duncan was this place. I don't think it has anything to do with our hero. They need to change their name.

Let's do TQL all over again

That is it. No more "B-school" offsites for Flag Officers. No more two week seminars so Admirals all of sudden think they discovered management theory. They reminds me, again, of teenagers who think they were the ones who invented sex. Too far, too fast, too sloppy - and not well done.

Bubblehead has a great find, make sure and read it all. "ComSubFor Must Have A "Six Sigma Black Belt on Staff." It is so painful, I will only quote a small part.
CSF’s effects based management structure consists of a USE Flag Panel, and supporting policy and action teams. CSF leverages the USE Flag Panel, as supported by cross-functional teams (CFT), to increase the productivity of delivering warfare capacity to meet operational demand. The USE Flag Panel, by setting strategy and approving and monitoring metrics linked to personal accountability, uses CFTs to provide the integration of enterprise activities to meet USE objectives."
Gobble. Dee. Goop.

Let me put my 22 month at a state university on a real campus MBA to work and translate for ya.
CSF's new structure will have a USE Flag Panel with supporting staff and procedures. The mission of the Flag Panel will be to meet warfighting and training needs of the President and subordinate commanders.
That is it. This is their way of hiding the fact that they just put themselves on report. Either the structure they use now doesn't meet the needs, they are doing this just to look like they are doing something new and better, or they never had a structure in place to meet the needs. In any case, making it hard for the Fleet Sailor to understand what you are doing just makes everyone's BS meter go off.

There is one question I want answered, how much money was spent on a Thomas Group like snake charmer to get this verbiage spewed out - or how much TAD money was spent training some shore duty Staff Weenie (I can say that) so he could spout what his boss heard at an offsite?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

U.S. Used Neurotoxic Munitions In Fallujah

As reported in the Washington Lost. We should all be shocked.
U.S. Used Neurotoxic Munitions In Fallujah

Wednesday, November 16, 2005; A16

The U.S. military confirmed yesterday that it used small arms rounds containing almost pure lead against insurgents during the assault on Fallujah last November, but said it did not use the highly toxic element (Pb) agent against civilians as claimed in an Italian television report.

Lt. Col. Fruitie Reliable, a Pentagon spokesman, said U.S. forces in Fallujah "employed grey lead . . . as an kinetic weapon against enemy combatants," but said that "suggestions that U.S. forces targeted civilians with these weapons are simply wrong."

Defense officials acknowledged that they could not rule out the possibility that the lead-core munitions accidentally hit civilians during the Fallujah offensive, which involved the heaviest U.S. combat since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

U.S. troops who took part in the Fallujah battle recounted in detail their use of grey lead -- most commonly employed to kill people during an assault or to break things -- as an effective weapon for routing out insurgents from "trench lines and spider holes," according to an article written by three of the soldiers and published in the March-April 2005 issue of Infantry Illustrated magazine.

Reliable said munitions containing grey lead are not illegal and are considered conventional, not chemical, weapons. "It isn't like we were forcing their kids to chew on paint chips or anything."

-- Ann Irish Purdue
You can read the WaPo article (registration perhaps) here.