Tuesday, January 31, 2006

“Draw Mohammad Week” - I'm game

Via de Volksdrant, Brussels Journal has brought to us a great idea; join the brave Dutch artists (who have to stay anon so they can keep their windows and heads) and have "Teken-Mohammed-Week" ... "Draw Mohammed Week" to you and me.
In an article in the Amsterdam newspaper De Volkskrant today Dutch cartoonists admit that they do not depict Muhammad out of fear for violent retaliations. “It is a kind of self-censorship,” Stefan Verwey admits. “I have large windows and would rather keep them intact,” says Peter de Wit, while Joep Bertrams concedes. “It causes a lot of problems. Why throw oil on the fire?”

Other cartoonists, however, who have asked to remain anonimous, think that Western artist should not allow themselves to be intimidated and propose an international “Draw Muhammad Week.”
It has gotten to the point that it isn't about the silly drawings....it is about one of the bedrocks of modern Western Civ; free speech - or the right to be a jerk and not be killed over it.

Hey, I don't know when it is - but I'm game. As a matter of fact, why don't I become proactive about the thing. We should have a blog drawmohammedweek.blogspot.com. Hey, we do!

Products we should all own

The folks over at SilentRunning are hawking some good stuff. Click below for the whole list.

Also, they have an, interesting, picture of a Jewish friend of mine I don't know quite what to say about, but you have to go to SR to see it.

Let me just say, if the folks in Va. Bch could issue a fatwa....

Counterrevolutionaries Unite!

Ralph is pissed....again!!! At least he isn't mad at me this time.

The good Col. gets the cover of the Weekly Standard.
REVOLUTIONS NOTORIOUSLY IMPRISON THEIR MOST committed supporters. Intellectually, influential elements within our military are locked inside the cells of the Revolution in Military Affairs--the doctrinal cult of the past decade that preaches that technological leaps will transcend millennia-old realities of warfare. Our current conflicts have freed the Pentagon from at least some of the nonsensical theories of techno-war, but too many of our military and civilian leaders remain captivated by the notion that machines can replace human beings on the battlefield. Chained to their 20th-century successes, they cannot face the new reality: Wars of flesh, faith, and cities. Meanwhile, our enemies, immediate and potential, appear to grasp the contours of future war far better than we do.
On target.
Even in preparing for "big wars," we refuse to take the enemy into account. Increasingly, our military is designed for breathtaking sprints, yet a war with China--were one forced upon us by events--would be a miserable, long march. For all the rhetoric expended and the innumerable wargames played, the best metaphor for a serious struggle with Beijing--perhaps of Homeric length--comes from that inexhaustible little book, Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, with its pathetic image of a Western gunboat lobbing shells uselessly into a continent.
Oh, I can't help myself. When I read "..pathetic image of a Western gunboat lobbing shells uselessly into a continent." what came to mind. Yep, LCS! Bawaaahahaha!

Plenty to read there if you need a reason to drink. I don't think he is on target with everything, but closer than most.

Hat tip Chap.

RC-135 Bad. EP-3E Good.

Not the plane. The mission. Wonder why the USAF/USA model is so hated by the Navy? It is simple. When you have things to break and people to kill, there is one thing you don't need - reachback. 'Nuff said.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tiffany military follies

Don't take my word for it.
The creaky B-52 bomber, first flown in 1952 when stamps cost 3 cents and George W. Bush was 6 years old, will be the mainstay of the United States' long-range bomber fleet for another decade, the Pentagon has decided.

Today's newer bombers -- sleek, high-tech and terrifyingly expensive -- will be largely sidelined as costly trophies, just as they are now.
The distinctive droop-winged, eight-engined B-52s cost around $61 million each, in inflation-adjusted dollars. The Air Force bought 742,
NB: Today's B-52 has a lot of add-ons. Ok, fine. Double, not triple the price. You still have $183 million a copy.
The B-2 "stealth" bomber, built in the 1990s, cost $1.3 billion each in today's dollars, 22 times as much as the B-52. The Air Force could afford only 20 of them.

The numbers illustrate a serious problem for the U.S. military. Weapons systems like jet fighters and warships cost more and more. And as ever bigger budgets buy less, the forces are shrinking and aging.

The Navy, for example, has faded from 568 warships in the late 1980s to 261 today.

The Air Force has the same problem. It planned to purchase 648 F-22 supersonic stealth fighters for $152.94 million each. But costly delays pushed the price up to $338.8 million per aircraft. Now the Air Force can afford only 181 planes,..
Financial death spiral.
The pressures of rising costs and advancing age of weapons is old news to veteran Pentagon hands.

"I first started clamoring about this in 1973 as a captain in the Air Force," said Chuck Spinney, who retired last year as the Pentagon's chief tactical air power analyst. "God knows I tried to make them see the problem."
Too bad he lost out. Who is fighting his fight now?
The B-52 went from paper concept to flying prototype in a remarkable four years, in part because its developer, the Boeing Military Airplane Company, was left alone by the small bureaucracy of the Air Force, then only a few years old. In contrast, it took 12 years to bring the B-2 bomber into production,

One problem is the high turnover of senior Pentagon officials. "The planning horizon of political appointees is out of whack with development cycles," said Loren Thompson, head of the Lexington Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. "Every four years you get some bright new idea that results in key programs being reshaped, and that adds to the cost."
One final thought.
The Air Force believes the B-52s will fly until the year 2040, when most of the fleet will be 80 years old.

For those who are mad at me...

For picking on the USNA over the last couple of weeks. I offer this as an apology. I am sure you will like it. Enjoy.

Europe's Generals vs. politicians...again

A couple of things have come to the surface as of late, that if they happend in the U.S., it would be all over the papers and TV. First from Germany.
BERLIN: Two top Germany generals were dismissed Friday after allegations of racist abuse by one general's son, favoritism and misuse of official information. Lieutenant General Hans-Heinrich Dieter, deputy chief of the armed forces, and Lieutenant General Jürgen Ruwe, deputy chief of the army, were dismissed from active duty, the Defense Ministry said. Ruwe's son, a student at the military academy in Hamburg, was accused of making racist and far-right comments. He has denied the allegations. Dieter was responsible for overseeing the academy and was accused of passing on details of the investigation to Ruwe, who informed his son.
I cannot find exactly what the did or said....so if anyone knows a link, send it on. Academy stuff is international...

Then in Spain.
A Spanish Army general has been put under house arrest after suggesting that military intervention might be necessary to quell demands for greater autonomy from the northeastern region of Catalonia, the Defense Ministry said.
Recalling the dispute over Catalan autonomy that was a partial cause of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, Lieutenant General José Mena Aguado, 63, said on Friday night that history appeared to be repeating itself as the nation debated Catalonia's recent requests for more self-government, and that the military was ready to act.

"It is our obligation to warn that there could be serious consequences for the armed forces as an institution and for its members if the Statute of Catalonia is approved in its proposed form," he said during a speech to members of the military in Seville.

"The Constitution establishes a series of impassable limits for any statute of autonomy," he said, referring to the type of law that describes the relationship between Spain's regional governments and Madrid. "But if those limits are exceeded, which thankfully is unthinkable at this time, it would be necessary to apply Article 8 of the Constitution."

Article 8 establishes that the armed forces are responsible for defending Spain's "territorial integrity" and "the constitutional order."
Speaking of Spain, how is this for one ballsy junior officer?
An army captain voiced scathing criticism of the Spanish government Wednesday in the second such outburst this month, accusing it of bowing to independence-minded regions and leading the country toward a breakup.

Captain Roberto González Calderón, with an army branch called the Legion, spoke out in a letter published in the newspaper Melilla Hoy. Melilla is a Spanish enclave on the coast of Morocco and the city where the captain is stationed.

In early January, the Defense Ministry fired a top army officer and placed him under house arrest for eight days after he warned of possible military intervention if Parliament approved a blueprint that would give much greater autonomy to the northeast Catalonia region.

Those remarks, by Lieutenant General José Mena Aguado in a high-profile speech Jan. 6 to fellow officers in Seville, triggered memories of a failed coup in 1981, just three years after Spain restored democracy following the death of General Francisco Franco.

After Mena Aguado spoke out, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's government said it had polled other military personnel and concluded that this was an isolated case.

González Calderón said he disagreed vehemently. "Mr. Prime Minister, what your advisers told you is not true, nor are the interpretations that have been made. Of course, there is unease both within and outside the armed forces, as could only be the case. Unease over seeing how our Spain is being dismembered," the letter read.

He said Spain's 25-year-old system of giving more and more self-rule to regions like Catalonia and the Basque region had spawned "a generation of Spaniards that do not recognize Spain as their fatherland."

The captain said that Spain today - from TV stations to everyday people - treated the country's armed forces with disrespect and that in recent years politicians have used deadly military accidents as fodder for attacking one another and scoring points in opinion polls.

Alluding to the punishment meted out against Mena Aguado, the captain said he had considered traveling to Madrid with soldiers under his command to deliver the letter personally to Defense Minister José Bono, but ultimately opted for the newspaper as a forum. Even so, he said he was aware that his public complaints probably doomed any chances of his ever being promoted.

The Defense Ministry and the army both declined to comment. Spanish National Radio quoted ministry sources as saying González Calderón would be disciplined by his superiors.
Warts and all, I'll take our system.

Troops out of Italy, NOW!

If you believe in polls.....
Iraqis and Afghans are among the most optimistic people in the world when it comes to their economic future, a new survey for the BBC suggests.

Italians join people in Zimbabwe and DR Congo as the most downcast about their future, according to the poll of 37,500 people in 32 nations.
In Afghanistan, 70% say their own circumstances are improving, and 57% believe that the country overall is on the way up.

In Iraq, 65% believe their personal life is getting better, and 56% are upbeat about the country's economy.
I blame Bush.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bye, bye to the 9....

How did I miss this?
After two decades of use, the U.S. Department of Defense is getting rid of its Beretta M9 9mm pistol, and going back to the 11.4mm (.45 caliber) weapon. ...SOCOM has been given the task of finding a design that will be suitable as the JCP (Joint Combat Pistol). Various designs are being evaluated, but all must be .45 caliber and have a eight round magazine (at least), and high capacity mags holding up to 15. The new .45 will also have a rail up top for attachments, and be able to take a silencer. Length must be no more than 9.65 inches, and width no more than 1.53 inches.
More good news. Now, about the 5.56mm......

What are you doing at 1300 EST?

I'll tell you what you are doing. You are going to take the rare and special opportunity to listen to Victor Davis Hanson. You don't need to have a radio handy, he is going to be on Northern Alliance Radio Network by clicking here.

Hat tip Powerline.

Friday, January 27, 2006

USNA and a commute distance to DC

An interesting article from SFTT about the politics of LT Black's Courts Martial. Give credit where credit is due. I have had issues with the site before, but he gives a solid review, and a few more nuggets to chew on.

Hat tip Argghhh!!!

Tiananmen.cn vs. Tiananmen.com

Wow. This is so Orwellian I might have to get fitted for my own AFDB.

Want to see what can happen when you surrender your right to information to a Communist beast? Want to see what happens when the truth is a shadow? If you ever read Fatherland, remember how you felt when Xavier March was surrounded by nothing but dirt, plants, and the hint of bricks?

Check out what happens when you do an Google image search for "tiananmen" at google.cn and google.com. Sad.

Hat tip Jonah.

Keeping and eye on the long game: Part XIV

This is the right call.
The Pentagon has directed the Navy to assume a ``greater presence'' in the western Pacific by adding at least one aircraft carrier and five nuclear submarines over the next decade, according to a draft of the Pentagon's review of strategy and forces.

The increase will put half the Navy's aircraft carriers and 60 percent of its submarine fleet in the Pacific and is largely driven by the Pentagon's concern over China's increased military might, according to a congressional defense analyst.
....and we need to build non-billion dollar ships with range (not DDX - not LCS). The Pacific is a huge body of water that will laugh at a ship named after a buzz word.
China announced last March that its military spending in 2005 would grow by 13 percent. That followed increases of 11.6 percent in 2004, 9.6 percent in 2003 and 17.6 percent in 2002.

China's military buildup is ``unprecedented'' and ``is proceeding quite rapidly,'' U.S. Pacific Command commander Admiral William Fallon told Congress at the time. It includes short- and intermediate-range missiles, submarines and Russian- made Su-30 fighters, Fallon said.
Who here misses Barber's Point?
``The fleet will have greater presence in the Pacific Ocean consistent with the global shift of trade and transport,'' says the final draft of the review now circulating on Capitol Hill.

``Accordingly, the Navy plans to adjust its force posture and basing to provide at least six operationally available and sustainable carriers and 60 percent of its submarines in the Pacific to support engagement, presence and deterrence,''
Good news for Bubblehead and his buddies.
As part of the increased presence, the review recommends that the Pentagon in 2012 increase production of the General Dynamics Corp.-Northrop Grumman Corp. Virginia-class attack submarine to two annually from the current rate of one a year.
Faster please.
In a section on emerging military powers, including Russia and India, the report says ``China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States.'' The pace and scope of China's build-up already puts other regional military balances ``at risk,'' the draft says.

``China is likely to continue to make large investments in high-end military capabilities, emphasizing electronic and cyber-warfare, counter-space operations, ballistics and cruise missiles, next-generation torpedoes and advanced submarines,'' it says

These emerging capabilities, the vast distances of an Asian theater and basing challenges the U.S. would face in a potential conflict ``place a premium on forces capable of sustained operations at great distances into denied areas,'' according to the draft.

France's little PR problem

Here is something that you won't see on CBS or the front cover of the Washington Post.
Under somewhat dubious circumstances, France sent troops to its former West African colony in September 2002 after a coup attempt against president Laurent Gbagbo during which rebel forces won control of the northern part of the country, despite the reluctance of the Ivorians to accept them, wanting a neutral force.

This is only the latest episode in the unhappy relations between France and the Ivory Coast. This West African country, having been a French colony since 1893, was formally made independent in 1960, although its economic assets and major businesses have since remained largely under French control. The French own 45 per cent of the land and, curiously, the buildings of the Presidency of the Republic and of the Ivorian National assembly are subject to leases concluded with the French.

Resentment of French "neocolonialism" has been behind much of the political unrest in the country, which took a turn for the worst last November when the Ivorian air force bombarded a French base at Bouaké, killing nine French soldiers, after president Gbagbo had accused the French of siding with the rebel forces in an attempt to depose him.

The French army had already fired without warning on unarmed Gbagboist demonstrators in November 2003, seriously wounding three of them and then, on direct orders from Chirac, France responded in what was seen at the time as a gross over-reaction - by destroying the country's entire air force, sparking riots in Abidjan. Some 70 Ivorians were killed and over 1,000 injured by French troops firing on unarmed crowds. In a move which further infuriated the Ivorians, the French chief of the general staff dismissed claims of a "massacre", only admitting that his troops might have "wounded or killed a few people", while "showing very great calm and complete control of the violence."
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Hat tip EU Referendum.

Capitulation Theology

What is it with the NYT this month? This is the second horse they have dug up and started flogging. The first was the uranium in Africa memo, now just war.

This has to be one of the worst religion based articles written in a self-described serious publication in awhile. It is so 2003. OK, Charles Marsh is a Professor of Religion at U. Va, but this is, to be frank, lame.
IN the past several years, American evangelicals, and I am one of them, have amassed greater political power than at any time in our history. But at what cost to our witness and the integrity of our message?

Recently, I took a few days to reread the war sermons delivered by influential evangelical ministers during the lead up to the Iraq war. That period, from the fall of 2002 through the spring of 2003, is not one I will remember fondly. Many of the most respected voices in American evangelical circles blessed the president's war plans, even when doing so required them to recast Christian doctrine.
Time out Professor. After, with the rest of my family, leaving the Church my family was part of since, well, Scotland left Catholicism, I wandered until my mid-30s when I got dunked and became an Evangelical - for a lack of better definition. Personally, I just like Christian...but that is me and my personal relationship thingy.

Christian doctrine? Is there one? Now, I know my Catholic friends have all sorts of extra goodies, as do good folks from Orthodox to Mormon....but there is no one "Christian doctrine." From one "E" to another, we should stick inside our own lifelines. Not to mention the "damnation or not" differences between the major branches, from a Southern Baptist to a member of New Life Ministries - there is A LOT of open air on about every chapter and verse. One thing we can agree to Brother, is what do you find in The Word? That is what sinks this whole write-up. All opinion, no Word. Lets get back to the parsing.
The war sermons rallied the evangelical congregations behind the invasion of Iraq. An astonishing 87 percent of all white evangelical Christians in the United States supported the president's decision in April 2003. Recent polls indicate that 68 percent of white evangelicals continue to support the war. But what surprised me, looking at these sermons nearly three years later, was how little attention they paid to actual Christian moral doctrine. Some tried to square the American invasion with Christian "just war" theory, but such efforts could never quite reckon with the criterion that force must only be used as a last resort. As a result, many ministers dismissed the theory as no longer relevant.
Especially if, as an "E" would think, "Just War" theory isn't in the New Testament that I can see. Also, perhaps, the 68% know and experience more than you find in the rarified air of Charlottesville.
The single common theme among the war sermons appeared to be this: our president is a real brother in Christ, and because he has discerned that God's will is for our nation to be at war against Iraq, we shall gloriously comply.

Such sentiments are a far cry from those expressed in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974. More than 2,300 evangelical leaders from 150 countries signed that statement, the most significant milestone in the movement's history. Convened by Billy Graham and led by John Stott, the revered Anglican evangelical priest and writer, the signatories affirmed the global character of the church of Jesus Christ and the belief that "the church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology."
You lost me here. After this point, your other quasi-solid ones just faded away. The '70s. Nice point of reference. What else do you want to bring to the front? Liberation Theology? The rise of the Pink Palace? The start of the vast emptying of the mainline Protestant churches? The preeminence of the once powerful Castro loving nightmare of the World Council of Churches?

A little peak into Phibian's background: the Protestant Left and I have a bad history. It started with the Presbyterian Church USA's lurch to the port side in the '70s....and Church became about Central America and the USA as the center of evil in the world......but that's not important right now - except to explain the bee in my bonnet. Let's get back to the babble.
David Brooks correctly noted that if evangelicals elected a pope, it would most likely be Mr. Stott, who is the author of more than 40 books on evangelical theology and Christian devotion. Unlike the Pope John Paul II, who said that invading Iraq would violate Catholic moral teaching and threaten "the fate of humanity," or even Pope Benedict XVI, who has said there were "not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq," Mr. Stott did not speak publicly on the war. But in a recent interview, he shared with me his abiding concerns.
David Brooks doesn't know beans about Evangelicals (IMAO - to be honest, I'm not the world's expert either). You can organize Evangelicals around one religious leader like you can herd cats.
What will it take for evangelicals in the United States to recognize our mistaken loyalty? We have increasingly isolated ourselves from the shared faith of the global Church, and there is no denying that our Faustian bargain for access and power has undermined the credibility of our moral and evangelistic witness in the world. The Hebrew prophets might call us to repentance, but repentance is a tough demand for a people utterly convinced of their righteousness.
Mistaken loyalty? You imply political loyalty. Therefore, who do you recommend? Afraid to name names? Why is that? Shared faith with the "global Church?" What globe are you talking about? Post-Christian Europe's church? The Church of England? My globe has Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, China, Korea, Indonesia to name a few. My conscience is clear. I am not arrogant enough to think that I exist on this Earth to stand by and let evil win. I don't see passivity in the face of evil as a virtue.

As a sidebar Brother Charles, have you talked to any Iraqi Christians? Have you seen the results even the NYT's is reporting on? Have we brought hope someplace where there was once none?

I don't pretend to know all the answers, or believe in my own ideological perfection - I will even grant that you make some solid points. What I don't need to hear is someone making theological mote comments while their own beam is blocking out the light.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gayest. War art. Ever.

Yea, I said it. Listen, I know that the Greeks were, well, Greeks. I know Leonidas was a mench. I know Thermopylae was one of the best point defense holding actions in history. Fine. But why have such a great leader painted by a Frenchman?

Hang this in your wardroom. Better yet - make it
nose art on your A-10. I mean, look at it!

Higher res here.

EP-8A: About damn time

Back to the future.
Boeing is finally showing off one of its more poorly kept secrets. Its planners are polishing the design for an EP-3E-replacement signals intelligence aircraft for the U.S. Navy…The new design, revealed Jan. 24, comes in response to the death of the Army/Navy Aerial Common Sensor contract offered by Lockheed Martin.

Playing off the basic P-8A Multimission Maritime Aircraft (a 737-800 with a longer 737-900 wing), Boeing officials say they will already have a hot production line (ITAR compliant for classified military work), a proven open electronic architecture and common crew workstations that can be adapted to virtually any surveillance task. MMA is to make its first flight in 2009 and have its first operational unit in 2013. Production could then pick up with the sigint aircraft in time to meet the end of the EP-3's flying life.
There was a batch of JOs at VQ-1 in the lat 90s (full disclosure, I know two of them) who made this proposal (even before the 737 was selected for the P-8A), and it was squashed by some up the chain, one of which ironically worked on Boeing’s MMA “sales team.” Big Navy pissed away years and millions on a known “..Lockheed’s project isn’t going to work..” ACS. In the beginning the default plan was to have two versions of the MMA, a straight-stick and an electronic version. The Program people in the Pax River to D.C. axis killed it though and went the ACS way so they could plug “bla, bla, Joint Program, bla, bla) on their FITREP or something.

Anyway, better late than never….if we go the EP-8A route. Read it all for the details. Read this and this for more of the ACS crimes. And no; no one has been fired.

If you subscribe to the WSJOnline, or have a dead tree copy, on page one there is a great bit on Lockheed's implosion on the ACS program.
Lockheed Fumbles Key Project
The Army's cancellation of a Lockheed spy-plane project has set back the company's push to recast itself for the information age and shows how little margin there is for error as the Pentagon comes under budget pressure.
They could have saved themselves a ton of money and effort, not to mention their reputation, if they had listened to Fleet input. To be blunt, they believed their own BS – and it blew up in their face. ALWAYS listen to the senior LT Instructor Pilots, their BS meters are finely tuned.

Victory is defeat: Take III

Take I was: “We have not been attacked again because the terrorists are in Iraq fighting, and are growing each day because we are making them.” That didn’t work for the Left very long and ran out of news cycles, so….

Take II was: “The administration plans to reduce troops in Iraq was our idea, not because the U.S. is winning or Iraq forces are growing, but because, let me remind you, we The Left in this country have forced the administration to. Well, that just made them look silly; so…..

Take III: The U.S. does not see victory on the horizon. Iraqis are not taking charge of their future; the U.S. Army is broken and quitting – not winning

Make no mistake, there is a large political segment that simply will not process a victory. They will either undermine to make a defeat, and if that fails – spin victory into defeat. The Rumplestilskins of the war on Islamic terror.
Look at the title of the piece, "Report: Deployments Nearly Breaking Army." Notice what I notice?
Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.
He wrote that the Army is "in a race against time" to adjust to the demands of war "or risk `breaking' the force in the form of a catastrophic decline" in recruitment and re-enlistment. (you can almost hear the authors breathlessness)
Krepinevich's analysis, while consistent with the conclusions of some outside the Bush administration, is in stark contrast with the public statements of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and senior Army officials.
Krepinevich is executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a nonprofit policy research institute. (BTW, read his stuff (link above on his name) in total. It is much better than you think, and asks hard questions and no-soft-edges comments with solid research. Here is the "Thin Green Line." Read that especially for his NATO comments. That is worth a post all by itself.
Realizing, methinks, that he may have overstreatched his point, the author hedges his bets.
George Joulwan, a retired four-star Army general and former NATO commander, agrees the Army is stretched thin.

"Whether they're broken or not, I think I would say if we don't change the way we're doing business, they're in danger of being fractured and broken, and I would agree with that," Joulwan told CNN last month.
Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the private Brookings Institution, (Strobe Talbot, President) said in a recent interview that "it's a judgment call" whether the risk of breaking the Army is great enough to warrant expanding its size.
And then gives Team Rummy a shot to further back away from the panic start.
Army Secretary Francis Harvey, for example, opened a Pentagon news conference last week by denying the Army was in trouble. "Today's Army is the most capable, best-trained, best-equipped and most experienced force our nation has fielded in well over a decade," he said, adding that recruiting has picked up.

Rumsfeld has argued that the experience of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has made the Army stronger, not weaker.

"The Army is probably as strong and capable as it ever has been in the history of this country,"
BTW, this “story” is getting major play both in the U.S. and overseas (BBC, usual suspects). Given the known point of view of the WaPo, we know that this story is spun and edited in the way to look worst for the U.S. There are good things in the report that deserve review. Just like there are grains of truth in Takes I, II, and III. Though the WaPo is trying to show both sides, look here and here, remember to keep a lookout on the spin and politics of what you read. It isn’t the last word or the gospel. Caveat emptor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

LT Blacks Court Martial: unintended consequences

First of all, everyone needs to review:


I want you to focus on REF A: para 7.e, 8.a.1 (with review of Encl.1, para 4), 8.b-c.2, 9.b, and 10.c; as well as REF B in toto just to drive yourself nuts seeing that, yes, we have quite the EO system in place (you don't really need to read it...I am just being mean).

There, now that I have lost 90% of you; if you are a Navy Enquirer subscriber you can access, if you have not already read on dead tree, the next info dump on the drama, As the Severn Flows. It has some nuggets out there to ponder for those who followed the first and second posts I did on this. Once again, I am not defending LT Bryan Black, only .... well .... interested in the process, lets say.
Lt. Bryan D. Black, a Naval Academy oceanography instructor, faces a court-martial Jan. 31 for making an offensive sexual comment to a female midshipman and using crude terms in mixed company.

Black’s comments were made during an August field trip to Norfolk, Va. Despite later apologizing to the midshipman, per Navy policy — and the midshipman’s acceptance of that apology — Black was charged by academy officials with conduct unbecoming an officer.
While walking past the decommissioned battleship Wisconsin in downtown Norfolk, Va., Black allegedly said among his students, “Battleships are just so freaking awesome, it gives me a hard-on just talking about it.”

That in itself probably might have been brushed off as the crude bluster of a junior officer.

But Black allegedly then turned to a female midshipman second class and made a more personal, pointed comment. “Even [name] would get a hard-on, wouldn’t you ... oh, that’s right, you can’t do that, so I guess it would be tweaking your nipples.”
Oh, he also used the "C" word and the "B" word when describing his ex-wife at a different time (Skippy comment here). Stupid, yes. Worth at the most what the investigating officer recommended, I think. Worth all this? No one touched, threatened, or ignored? Just dirty words? So many better ways of doing this....and getting a better result.
In a statement read by the prosecution at a Jan. 13 pretrial hearing, the midshipman said she was “appalled” at the comment, but that Black said he was sorry the next day. She said she accepted his apology.

Under established Navy procedures, that should have been the end of it. But Black’s oceanography department colleague, Lt. Cmdr. Shelly Whisenhant, pushed the matter up the chain of command. Whisenhant would not comment on the matter.
Oh, I would love to know the pre-kerfuffle interactions between those two officers. Something tells me they didn't exchange Christmas cards.
David Segal, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, specializes in military culture. He says the large-scale public proceedings of a court-martial can backlash.

“One of the costs of overreaction is women who feel offended are reluctant to go forward,” he said.

As for Gittins, he thinks the academy has fallen victim to political correctness at the expense of forging hardened warriors.

“We are creating a ‘let’s pretend’ society,” Gittins said. “They’re going to see a lot worse than this in the war on terrorism shortly after they get their commissions.”
To be fair and balanced.
Lory Manning couldn’t disagree more. A retired Navy captain, Manning served 25 years in the Navy, commanding a signal station on Diego Garcia and serving on the staffs of the chief of naval personnel and chief of naval operations. She directs the Women in the Military Project for the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C.

“In the old days, 20 or 25 years ago, this was the ‘man’s navy,’ and if you didn’t like it, you can get out of the ‘man’s navy,’” she said. “It’s not the ‘man’s navy.’ It’s the citizen’s navy.”
I'll let the links speak for themselves. I've been in the Navy less than 20 years, almost all in a "gender" integrated environment. The good CAPT should get out some more. This whole thing does a disservice to the great women I have served with who have more important things to do than get the vapors over some big talking LT, and wind up chewing up dozens to hundreds of Flag Officer hours over less than she will hear in the first liberty call overseas. Then again, with the blowback from this - the smart officers will gather their male buddies and ditch their female shipmates at the first chance they get on liberty or the weekends. Wait, my male JOs already do that.....those who aren't sleeping with them.

Here are some of the unintended consequences behind the decision to go high order on this low order infraction. (1) Everyone in the fleet will now know that the Sexual Harassment policy and redress of grievances does not work, and you are at the whim of the ears and fear around you. The lowest form of sexual harassment as defined by REF A, even when satisfactorily resolved IAW guidelines at the lowest level, will/can result in a CM. (2) Many of your best and brightest (already, especially for a Warfare Qualified officer USNA duty can be a career killer) will avoid the USNA. Rightfully so. (3) Many of our female Midshipmen will be ill-prepared to function in an international, joint environment. Have the vapors around a Japanese, Saudi, or Polish officer because he said something off-color and you not only make yourself useless, you set back women officers years by your immature behavior. Fact.

Lessons from the Great Gulf War 2007-11

This is a lot more plausible than most Tom Clancy novels.
The first underlying cause of the war was the increase in the region's relative importance as a source of petroleum. On the one hand, the rest of the world's oil reserves were being rapidly exhausted. On the other, the breakneck growth of the Asian economies had caused a huge surge in global demand for energy.

A second precondition of war was
demographic. ... By the late 1990s the fertility rate in the eight Muslim countries to the south and east of the European Union was two and half times higher than the European figure. ... In 1950, there had three times as many people in Britain as in Iran. By 1995, the population of Iran had overtaken that of Britain and was forecast to be 50 per cent higher by 2050.

The third and perhaps most important precondition for war was cultural. Since 1979, not just Iran but the greater part of the Muslim world had been swept by a wave of religious fervour, the very opposite of the process of secularisation that was emptying Europe's churches.
There is the foundation.
So history repeated itself. As in the 1930s, an anti-Semitic demagogue broke his country's treaty obligations and armed for war. Having first tried appeasement, offering the Iranians economic incentives to desist, the West appealed to international agencies - the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council. Thanks to China's veto, however, the UN produced nothing but empty resolutions and ineffectual sanctions, like the exclusion of Iran from the 2006 World Cup finals.

As in the 1930s, too, the West fell back on wishful thinking. Perhaps, some said, Ahmadinejad was only sabre-rattling because his domestic position was so weak. Perhaps his political rivals in the Iranian clergy were on the point of getting rid of him. In that case, the last thing the West should do was to take a tough line; that would only bolster Ahmadinejad by inflaming Iranian popular feeling. So in Washington and in London people crossed their fingers, hoping for the deus ex machina of a home-grown regime change in Teheran.

This gave the Iranians all the time they needed to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium at Natanz. The dream of nuclear non-proliferation, already interrupted by Israel, Pakistan and India, was definitively shattered. Now Teheran had a nuclear missile pointed at Tel-Aviv. And the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu had a missile pointed right back at Teheran.

The optimists argued that the Cuban Missile Crisis would replay itself in the Middle East. Both sides would threaten war - and then both sides would blink. That was Secretary Rice's hope - indeed, her prayer - as she shuttled between the capitals. But it was not to be.

The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to intervene on the side of Teheran.

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.
Something to chew on. Read the whole thing.

Hat tip Jonah.

Protecting Europe from....soup?

First they came for the soup kitchens....
Strasbourg officials have banned the hand-outs and police in Paris have closed soup kitchens in an effort to avert racial tension.

The charities have defended offering what they call traditional cuisine to French and European homeless people.
A leading French anti-racism movement has urged Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to ban pork soup give-aways throughout the country.
Europe is not going to end pretty.

Hat tip DhimmiWatch.

Narcissists and Ignoramuses

When I first read this yesterday, I just shook my head at it as another clueless Leftist at the dying LATimes babbling about something he really knows nothing about. Unlike former LATimes staffer and Communist Robert Scheer, Joel Stein just seemed, well, ignorantly insulting. Really not worth the effort. I dismissed him as a fool, but he has generated, what we call in the business, a shit-storm. After Hugh Hewitt calmly disembowelled him (you can hear it via RadioBlogger) and it made the Early Bird; well I just couldn’t help myself. I will try not to be long winded, just point out the absurd points.
Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.
Oh, how cute.
I want to hang with you in Vegas.
No you don’t. We are mostly Southern, Western, non-gay Republicans. Those of us not at the $2 Blackjack table will be at a low-end strip joint or looking for the nearest rodeo.
It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.
Looks like someone only read what they needed to in order to pass their college history course…..and reads The Nation.
Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren't really for the troops. They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of "Laguna Beach."
How 2003 of you.
The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.
The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying.
No, they are ignoring your morality.
An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.
Cute. Yawn.
I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.
He really hasn’t talked to anyone on active duty, has he?
So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.
Beyond comment.
I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country.
The implication being that those who serve are poor, and did poorly in school. Nice. Not in-line with the facts...but nice. What about the men and women in my Wardroon (and a fair slice of the enlisted) who grew up with money(some of us drove BMWs and Mercedes in High School....), did well in school, many went to Ivy League schools (even Stanford) and have advanced degrees; yet plan to spend their youth serving something beyond their own ego?
But it's really not that easy to say because anyone remotely affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I'm listed in the phone book.
You flatter yourself.
All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need(Well, most need something beyond 5.56mm and 9mm – but that is a different subject for a different day): hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.
In the end, everything is about satisfying your guilt (or not reminding you of men better than (quote feeling bad) yourself) and not interfering with your weekend plans? Yes, you will make a nice Dhimmi.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

DTS vs. Travelocity

OK Navy travel pros, when you get done with your Society Of Government Travel Professionals meeting, reviewing your union gouge, and trying to figure out your acronyms - you may want to riddle me this.

I know a guy who is going on TDY to New Zealand. He wants to take his wife. SATO using DTS quotes the round trip of $4,000. Well, he wants wifey to come along, and using their own research on her ticket they knew that tickets on that flight were about $1900. He told the SATO folks and she said she was glad to find out. It seems that DTS doesn't look for the best price, though the flight info was from Travelocity as clear as day, but DTS doesn't have that same info.

Classic example. Gov'munt contract for something that already exists in industry. Can't outsource because the GS unions wouldn't have that ..... don't be shocked. Just more taxpayer money thrown away. If you think I am babbling, or you want to get upset - click here and here.

You don't want to know my story. Trust me - it is so bad - I really don't want to go over it.

Scott, you have your work cut out for you

There are some Army guys that would just twitch seeing this guy coming out of a recruiter's office. Marines? Well, you know. Reminds me of those 200 lb Civil War reenactors playing cavalry.

Hat tip CowboyBob.

Vince Lombardi warfare

John over at Argghhh!!!! has a nice pictorial review of what some want to wish away, but will always be true. To win wars you must have your men on the ground, keeping control from the end of a gun. Fundamentals people, fundamentals.

Honoring the first to fall in 2006

It is time to give credit where credit is due. I have issues with the focus of the MSM on those killed in combat, mostly because they gibbet the dead for political reasons. Rarely do they focus on the reason they served, what they thought they were there for, or bring honor to their service. It was with the CindySheehanitis created reaction of mine that I visually sucked my teeth when I heard NPR start a story about the first death in Iraq for 2006 - Army Staff Sgt. Chris Van Der Horn. By the time the story was over though; I had to give NPR credit. It was a balanced and let the man and his family mostly speak for themselves. Listen to it. It is worth it.

Putting myself on report

The Washington Post screwed me. Actually, it is still my fault. I should have known better. I forgot that when it comes to many WaPo reporters and editors, it is all about politics and scoring points. I should have gone to the primary source. Thanks to reader Perry, I have.

WaPo=Lucy with football: Phibian=Charlie Brown

If you have not already, read my previous post. Now ignore it. WaPo cut out almost anything from the original work that could put a positive light on the U.S. actions in Iraq, and turned a balanced professional paper into what looks like a smear job.

First things first: Brigadier Aylwin-Foster, I offer my sincere apology. First for my knee-jerk reaction to a first-report by a known unreliable source (WaPo). Secondly, I apologize for the hatchet job I did for your valuable work.

I fully recommend reading and digesting Brigadier Aylwin-Foster's full work, as published in Military Review. As the editor of Military Review states, it is a "...thought provoking assessment.."

'Nuff said; now back to yelling at the WaPo's intentional malicious editing. This is what they left out.
OIF is a joint venture, and dedicated, courageous Americans from all 4 Services and the civil sector risk their lives daily throughout Iraq, but the Army is the pivotal, supported force, and thus the most germane to the issue.
That nukes my Marine comments. Sorry. (wiping egg off face so I can “tuck-in” to my crow breakfast.

Remember this quote from the WaPo hatchet job?
My own experience, serving at the heart of a U.S. dominated command within the Coalition from December 2003 to November 2004, suggests something of an enigma, hence the spur to study the subject further. My overriding impression was of an Army imbued with an unparalleled sense of patriotism, duty, passion, commitment, and determination, with plenty of talent, and in no way lacking in humanity or compassion. Yet it seemed weighed down by bureaucracy, a stiflingly hierarchical outlook, a pre-disposition to offensive operations, and a sense that duty required all issues to be confronted head-on. Many personnel seemed to struggle to understand the nuances of the OIF Phase 4 environment. Moreover, whilst they were almost unfailingly courteous and considerate, at times their cultural insensitivity, almost certainly inadvertent, arguably
amounted to institutional racism.
Well, look what they left out.
To balance that apparent litany of criticisms, the U.S. Army was instrumental in a string of tactical and operational successes through the second half of 2004; so any blanket verdict would be grossly misleading.
Of course, we can’t have balance at the WaPo, can we? Much less this.
Other sources offer similarly divergent evidence. Extreme critics point to Vietnam and predict a long and bloody struggle, leading eventually to a withdrawal with political objectives at best partially secured. However, there is no weight of a priori evidence to support that view yet, and one senses that its proponents almost wish for failure in order to make some other wider political point. A more balanced view came from a senior British officer, in theatre for 6 months in 2004, who judged that the U.S. Army acted like ‘fuel on a smouldering fire’, but that this was ‘as much owing to their presence as their actions’.
He explains his, and others, different perspective. Not better or worse per se; just different.
The most striking feature of the U.S. Army’s approach during this period of OIF Phase 4 is that universally those consulted for this paper who were
not from the U.S. considered that the Army was too ‘kinetic’. This is shorthand for saying U.S. Army personnel were too inclined to consider offensive operations and destruction of the insurgent as the key to a given situation, and conversely failed to understand its downside. Granted, this verdict partly reflects the difference
in perspectives of scale between the U.S. and her Coalition allies, arising from different resourcing levels. For example, during preparatory operations in the November 2004 Fallujah clearance operation, on one night over forty 155mm artillery rounds were fired into a small section of the city. Given the intent to maintain a low profile prior to the launch of the main operation, most armies would consider this bombardment a significant event. Yet it did not feature on the next morning’s update to the 4-Star Force Commander: the local commander considered it to be a minor application of combat power.
Speaking of balance, you can't tell my it wasn't an accident the below missed the cut.
It should be stressed that this does not imply some sort of inherent brutality or lack of humanity: examples are legion of the toughest U.S. soldiers in Iraq exercising deeply moving levels of compassion in the face of civilian suffering, and often under extreme provocation. The issue is more a conceptual one about relative views of the value of lethal force.
Yet it would be simplistic and misleading to suggest that U.S. senior commanders
simply did not understand the importance of popular support. At least 2 evidently did. Major General (MG) David Petraeus, as Commanding General (CG) of the 101st Division and responsible for Northern Iraq in the period after the fall of Saddam, swung his troops routinely between offensive operations and an equally vigorous domestic construction and restoration programme.14 He is widely accredited with maintaining relative peace and normal functionality in Mosul, a city with an ethnic mix easily liable to ignite into civil conflict. Likewise, MG Pete Chiarelli, CG of 1st Cav Div, responsible for the demanding and volatile Baghdad area of operations
in 2004, referred in briefings to his Division’s SWETI ops: Sewage, Water, Electricity, Trash, Information. He considered his role to be as much city chief executive as soldier. Before his Division’s deployment to Iraq he took his senior commanders and staff on a seminar with U.S. industrialists, because he realised from the outset that they would need to understand how to manage a population and restore and rebuild a city at least as much as they would need to know how to kill and capture terrorists.
However, to apply the judgement of cultural insensitivity universally would be similarly misleading. Troops could undoubtedly be damagingly heavy-handed, as they could in any army, but there were many reported instances of U.S. Army courtesy and empathy with the local population. As an illustration of the contrasts, one senior Iraqi official who worked closely with the Coalition had his house twice subjected to routine search by U.S. Army personnel.15 On one occasion the troops displayed exemplary awareness of cultural sensitivities, such as appropriate treatment of women in the household. On the other, the aggressive behaviour of troops from a battalion newly arrived in theatre led to his formal complaint, with consequent apology from a U.S. General Officer.
Here is some of his good constructive criticism. You can find this in the Navy as well.
Commanders and staff at all levels were strikingly conscious of their duty, but rarely if ever questioned authority, and were reluctant to deviate from precise instructions. Staunch loyalty upward and conformity to one’s superior were noticeable traits. Each commander had his own style, but if there was a common trend it was for micro-management, with many hours devoted to daily briefings and updates. Planning tended to be staff driven and focused on process rather than end effect. The net effect was highly centralised decision-making, which worked when serving a commander with a gift for retaining detail and concurrently managing a plethora of issues, but all too readily developed undue inertia. Moreover, it tended to discourage lower level initiative and adaptability, even when commanders consciously encouraged both.
Near the end he offers his perspective of some Army trends...again, good for everyone to think about.
On balance the available evidence indicates these U.S. Army trends:
• Exceptional commitment, sense of duty, and unquestioning loyalty to the wider cause, the mismission,
the force and superior officers.
• Insufficient adaptability to the requirements of Phase 4 caused by:
•• Process rather than effects orientated command
and control regimes.
•• A hierarchically conscious command ethos, which encouraged centralisation, and conversely discouraged low level initiative or innovation even when senior commanders stressed the need for them.
•• Commander over-optimism, which could sometimes compound the disinclination to adapt plans, since it raised undue confidence in higher headquarters that existing plans were on track.
• A shortage of manpower from which to draw troops into theatre, leading to very varied levels of expertise, which tended to compound the issues noted above.
Looks like we have some more reading to do.
In his seminal book Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, LTC John Nagl contrasts the development of organisational culture in the British and U.S. Armies, in order to determine why the former succeeded in Malaya but the latter failed in Vietnam.24 The book pre-dates OIF by a year. Nonetheless the parallels with the evidence arising from OIF Phase 4 are too marked to ignore, a feature which evidently did not escape the notice of the COS of the Army, General Peter J. Schoomaker, who in 2005 ordered copies for every 4-Star General Officer currently serving, and provided a Foreword to the second edition.25 Nagl notes that ‘The American Army’s role from its very origins was the eradication of threats to national survival’, in contrast to the British Army’s history as ‘an instrument of limited war, designed to achieve limited goals at limited cost’. And, ‘As a consequence, its historical focus was almost unfailingly and exclusively to be a conventional war-fighting organisation’.
Bingo, that explains the focus. Also, towards the end he discusses problems that go back to the Clinton era WRT officer problems, but I'm not going to quote it here. Interesting perspective. Parallels what I saw on the Navy side....he also DOES mention Marines.
Improve skills and tactical repertoire for IW across the wider force—broaden the knowledge base outside Special Operations Forces and Marines. In short, much seemingly apposite work is in progress.
And a final goodbye kiss, that the WaPo didn't put in either. Not on the agenda, don't you know.
However, to conclude, as some do, that the Army is simply incompetent or inflexible, is simplistic and quite erroneous. If anything the Army has been a victim of its own successful development as the ultimate warfighting machine. Always seeing itself as an instrument of national survival, over time the Army has developed a marked and uncompromising focus on conventional warfighting, leaving it ill-prepared for the unconventional operations that characterise OIF Phase 4.
I know I used up a lot of space on this one, but I am mad at myself - I forgot about The Scorpion and the Frog. Using a flawed reference I didn't investigate (to be honest, I dimly thought the WaPo version was 90% not 10%) I smeared a good officer who wrote an honest paper of value. The WaPo owes someone an apology, and it isn't me. Even their title "Get Past the Warrior Ethos" is bogus. Pure spin. Once again, my bust. Good paper. Read it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Truth is stranger than ScrappleFace

When I saw this on The Corner, I thought it was a joke as well. But it isn't. Senator Kerry is "blogging" over at moonbat central: The Daily Kos.

And to think he was almost President. Read it. It is still 2004 for the Senator. Sad in a way.

Half-baked spotted dick

NB: UPDATE - The below is the result of my knee-jerk reaction to a malicious editing job from the WaPo. I will leave the post below as I wrote it in order to remind me not to trust them again. Please click here for my Mea Culpa.
Like a helping of spotted dick, it is usually best to take a deep breath and open your mind before reading something from a guy with the name Nigel Aylwin-Foster. Brigadier Aylwin-Foster to you and me.
There is no other Army in the world that could even have attempted such a venture. It is, rather, an attempt to understand the apparently paradoxical currents of strength and weakness witnessed at close hand over the course of a year. Ultimately, the intent is to be helpful to an institution I greatly respect.

My own experience, serving at the heart of a U.S. dominated command within the coalition from December 2003 to November 2004, suggests something of an enigma, hence the spur to study the subject further. My overriding impression was of an Army imbued with an unparalleled sense of patriotism, duty, passion, commitment and determination, with plenty of talent, and in no way lacking in humanity or compassion. Yet it seemed weighed down by bureaucracy, a stiflingly hierarchical outlook, a pre-disposition to offensive operations and a sense that duty required all issues to be confronted head-on. Many personnel seemed to struggle to understand the nuances of the OIF Phase 4 [stabilization] environment. Moreover, whilst they were almost unfailingly courteous and considerate, at times their cultural insensitivity, almost certainly inadvertent, arguably amounted to institutional racism.
That is a great example of a dressing up an insult in a lace of prais. Having served with Brits, let me translate for you. He is saying,
"You are nice, loyal chaps; like a simple serf - but you are simply too hidebound and bigoted to be of a proper quality."
This reminds me a lot of the arguments that the British Army and the U.S. Army had during WWII. Some good points, but served with a large dose of patiarchal condensation.

He makes a good point about bureaucracy, a VERY brave statement coming from someone from the UK. Perhaps he did this on purpose, but he hurts his argument some more when he starts to talk about Fallujah.
This sense of moral righteousness combined with an emotivity that was rarely far from the surface, and in extremis manifested as deep indignation or outrage that could serve to distort collective military judgment. The most striking example during this period occurred in April 2004 when insurgents captured and mutilated four U.S. contractors in Fallujah. In classic insurgency doctrine, this act was almost certainly a come-on, designed to invoke a disproportionate response, thereby further polarizing the situation and driving a wedge between the domestic population and the coalition forces. It succeeded.
It would be nice if he understood that the problem with, (1) Wanting to smash, and (2) then stopping before it was done was not the idea of the U.S. Marines in charge of Fallujah. That was all Army and civilians (see No True Glory for the details). Small point and all, but he makes a huge error by not discussing the Marines and how they have a VERY different way of fighting and execution in Iraq than the U.S. Army.
The U.S. Army's laudable and emphatic "can-do" approach to operations paradoxically encouraged another trait, which has been described elsewhere as damaging optimism. Self-belief and resilient optimism are recognized necessities for successful command, and all professional forces strive for a strong can-do ethos. However, it is unhelpful if it discourages junior commanders from reporting unwelcome news up the chain of command. The U.S. Army during this period of OIF exemplified both sides of this coin.
Perhaps true (I know Navy, worked directly with Marines (know them), know the USAF some, but only know Army through what the Marines say - go figure) - but again he misses a chance to tell a balanced story. Let's go back to Fallujah. The Marines there had no problem (LT GEN Mattis) telling CENTCOM and the CPA their opinions - they were ignored and their opinions NOT passed to the civilian and military leadership in D.C. That WAS Army.

He is better here.
Armies reflect the culture of the civil society from which they are drawn. According to [retired Army Col. Don] Snider [a West Point senior lecturer], the Army is characterized, like U.S. domestic society, by an aspiration to achieve quick results. This in turn engenders a command and planning climate that promotes those solutions that appear to favor quick results. In conventional warfighting situations this is likely to be advantageous, but in other operations it often tends to prolong the situation, ironically, as the quick solution turns out to be the wrong one. In COIN terms the most obvious example is the predilection for wide-ranging kinetic options (sweep, search and destroy) in preference to the longer term hearts and minds work and intelligence led operations.
But he is, in my opinion, off center here.
The Army's "Warrior Ethos" is also illuminating in this respect. It was introduced in 2001. At its core is the Soldier's Creed. Note that it enjoins the soldier to have just the one type of interaction with his enemy -- "to engage and destroy him": not defeat , which could permit a number of other politically attuned options, but destroy . It is very decidedly a war-fighting creed, which has no doubt served well to promote the much sought conventional warfighting ethos, but cannot be helping soldiers to understand that on many occasions in unconventional situations they have to be soldiers, not warriors.

As important, the Army needs to learn to see itself as others do, particularly its actual or potential opponents and their supporters. They are the ones who need to be persuaded to succumb, because the alternative approach is to kill or capture them all, and that hardly seems practicable, even for the most powerful Army in the world.
This is making the rounds of Flag Officers right now. It is nice to hear the advice of friends and see what you might learn. A mistake would be to take everything he is saying. There are some significant holes inside the nice-juicy bits. Again, lumping in the Marines with the Army is just, well, daft.

Hat tip reader JK.

Naomi Wolf finds Jesus

Naomi Wolf, one of America’s foremost feminist thinkers, has found a spiritual awakening in God after experiencing a “mystical encounter” with Jesus.

Wolf, best known as the author of the Beauty Myth, a groundbreaking 1991 polemic against the cosmetics industry that radicalised a generation of young women, revealed the cause of a hitherto unexplained mid-life crisis that set her on a “spiritual path”.
Congrats Naomi, and good luck. Ignore those who are smug, think you had a stroke, or generally give you grief. I didn't accept the invite until I was 35; am still walking, and still trying to figure it all out.
Wolf admitted that, during a therapy session to treat writer’s block, she encountered what she described as a holographic image of Jesus.

“I actually had this vision of Jesus, and I’m sure it was Jesus,” said Wolf. “But it wasn’t this crazy theological thing; it was just this figure who was the most perfected human being that there could be – full of light and full of love.”

More bizarrely, she experienced this as a teenage boy. “I was a 13-year-old boy sitting next to him and feeling feelings I’d never felt in my lifetime,” said Wolf. “[Feelings] of a boy being with an older male who he really loves and admires and loves to be in the presence of. It was probably the most profound experience of my life. I haven’t talked about it publicly.”

Wolf emphasised that her spiritual renewal strengthened her commitment to feminism as her life mission. “I believe that each of us is here to help repair the world,” she said. “My particular mission seems to be about helping women remember what’s sacred about them or what’s sacred about femininity .”
Jesus comes to us in the way that is best for us, at the right time, in a way we will understand - when we are ready to walk through the door that has always been opened. He came to me through a big Texas Pastor and a 5 yr old girl.

Well, that is my take. We all have a mission, and a spiritual gift or two. Naomi, if that is yours, run with it. Mine is different, but that is ok. Others will say you are wrong, but remember; they are just as imperfect as you are...and I am.
She also expressed apprehension that her faith would be hijacked by religious groups. “I don’t want to be co-opted as the poster child for any religion or any agenda,” said Wolf, who was brought up in a liberal Jewish household. “There are a lot of people out there just waiting for some little Jewish feminist to cross over. I don’t claim to get where this being fits into the scheme of things but I absolutely believe in divine providence now, absolutely believe God totally cares about every single one of us intimately.”
Join the party Naomi. I don't hang my tag by any one group either - don't like the concept. It is right for some, just not me. Sure, I joke about being a little to the left of snake handlers, and freely call myself an Evangelical - simply because that is the best way to describe me. Read the primary source, and use your gifted mind as much as you can.

PS: Don't worry about being perfect. You have good days, and back sliding days. It is the direction that matters.....IMAO.

Hat tip The Corner.