Thursday, August 31, 2006

EuroCluelessness cont.

You have to read foreign media to understand the disconnect. They really do not understand America.
Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans and killed hundreds of people, has made US citizens far more aware of the environment. Green has become fashionable even among conservative politicians and the religious right.

Four words illustrate where debate about climate change is headed in the United States: "What would Jesus drive?"
...
Most observers attribute this to last year's disastrous hurricane season which brought death and destruction to New Orleans and the eastern coast of the US with the storms "Katrina" and "Rita." The west of the US meanwhile battled drought and a dramatic increase in forest fires.
Who are they talking to? Have they actually been to the SE USA? Do they know anything about hurricanes and their history in the SE USA? Oh, wait. I see the problem. Look who they are talking to.
Al Gore, former vice president and failed Democratic presidential candidate, has also made an impressive comeback with his climate change film "An Inconvenient Truth" which has astounded critics by vaulting into the top ten of the US movie charts.

Gore has vigorously denied that his film is a bid for a second Democratic nomination for the presidency. But a number of Democrats and liberal media are presenting him as a contender. "The film does make a powerful case that Mr. Gore is the sort of person who ought to be running the country," wrote New York Times commentator Paul Krugman.
No wonder most in Europe have such a limited understanding of the US. Expect better from Der Spiegel.

Vogons have taken over the Iranian press

More evidence that The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy is critical literature.

It appears that the Vogons have influences in Iran.
The news conference veered off into an unruly question-and-answer session, with reporters praising the president, questioning him and some jumping from their seats demanding that their questions be taken. The president politely admonished one reporter, saying he needed to behave better.

One reporter said he had no question but wanted to recite poetry.
Sounds like they don't have quite the hard-hitting press pool like we do.
A reporter for a small newspaper called The Path of the People stood to ask a question and said: “I was hoping when you arrived I would share my pain with you.

Now I have no pain in my heart, only happiness.
I would have rather heard the poem. Kind of reminds me of the days of the White House Press Corps during the Clinton Administration.

We'll take your drugs, then save your life

Doing what Frigates do best - presence and performance.
US Navy frigate USS Boone intercepted a drug-smuggling speedboat Aug. 24 while enroute from Algeria to Spain during a patrol of the Mediterranean Sea south of the Spanish coastline.

According to U.S. Navy 6th Fleet officials, the crew abandoned its cargo—five packages of marijuana weighing 90 kilograms--when the USS Boone was sighted and entered Algerian territorial water. The Boone’s crew confiscated the marijuana.

Here is the funny part.
A few hours later, near the same location, the USS Boone encountered two small rubber boats in apparent distress, officials said. The ship approached the boats and found 26 people on board. A Spanish Coast Guard vessel intervened to assist and rescued all 26 passengers, taking them ashore.
Doh! Life is always funnier than fiction.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ralph plays Churchill with crayons

Ralph Peters puts to pen the frustration anyone who looks at the Middle East thinks; can't we just call a do-over and redraw the borders? He hints at what it would take - bloodshed unheard of in over half a century. Give it a read then look at what a post nuclear war Middle East would look like if someone with the power and balls could make it happen.
One last thing; Ralph, you did a major wimp-out on the West Bank issue. Booooo.

Star Trek ruined: forever

If you are of a certain age, you grew up watching Star Trek and you were just old enough to be at the top edge of young enough to like Nine Inch Nails. Well, they have come together in a way that is disturbing in so many ways. Star Trek TOS will never be the same, and I feel guilty for spreading this around.

It is a little soft-porny for about 3 seconds and a bit homoerotic - so if you don't like either, it isn't my fault you saw it. It is on YouTube, so it isn't that bad.



Hat tip I Like Your Style.

Iraq starts to take OPCON

It has started. The true path home. The true path to redeployment. The true path to victory. To go with the slide from earlier today,
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense, through its joint headquarters in Baghdad, will assume operational control of the Iraqi army, as well as the country’s air force and navy, in early September, Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said at a news briefing.

“This is a significant step in the Iraqi path to self-reliance and security,” Caldwell said. “What this means is that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense is prepared to begin assuming direct operational control over Iraq’s armed forces.”
And it is being done smart. One bite at a time.
The transition of control of Iraq’s armed forces to the Iraqi government should take several months, Caldwell said.

The 10 Iraqi army divisions eventually will come under the direct operational control of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, commander in chief of Iraq’s armed forces, Caldwell said.

“The majority of Iraqi (army) divisions will remain under coalition forces initially,” Caldwell explained, “and then be gradually transitioned into the Iraqi ground forces command.”

NOT a member of Hezbollah

No, not in any way is this a member of Hezbollah.

A Lebanese woman walks past the rubble in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006, that was heavily attacked by Israeli bombardment during the 34-day long Hezbollah-Israel war. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Tawil)
They kind of remind me of our friends here, here and here; and what war photography would be like if Skippy was in charge.

Hat tip LGF.

Iraq - the road to victory in a slide

As everyone point-counterpoints the play by play - thinking about every wrinkle in the bark; it helps to back up and take a gander at the forest in front of you.

This has always been about Iraq taking control of their own affairs. An UNCLAS slide from a CENTCOM slide tells a large bit of the story. It speaks for itself.



High res
here.

(and yes, Schulenmutter, it is OK to put UNCLAS slides from a CLASSIFIED Brief on the WEB, especially when it is a pictorial description of written material supplied to the press and is not FOUO).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hey, I'm Polish!

What WWII army are you?

You scored as Poland. Your tenacity will form a concept in the history of your nation and you're also ready to continue fighting even if your country is occupied by the enemy. Other nations that are included in this category are Greece, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Poland


88%

France, Free French and the Resistance


81%

British and the Commonwealth


75%

United States


69%

Italy


63%

Finland


50%

Soviet Union


38%

Germany


31%

Japan


31%

In which World War 2 army you should have fought?
created with QuizFarm.com


The Free French?!?

Hat tip John of Argghhh!! at MilBlogs.

So, you think you're a good Sailor?

This guy is an uber-mench.
Robin Knox-Johnston gained a place in history with the first, solo, non-stop circumnavigation. At 67, after the death of his adored wife, he's setting sail again.
...
In 1969, he made nautical history by sailing his storm-battered wooden ketch, Suhaili, into Falmouth after 312 days at sea - the only man out of nine taking part to finish the round the world race.
...
Knox-Johnston has sailed three and a half times round the world, covered 500,000 nautical miles, piloted a little boat by the sun and the stars and survived the kind of solitude that drove other men crazy.
...
"Once you're over retirement age," he grumbles, "they tell you your brain has turned to porridge, that you'll have a heart attack climbing the stairs and you've forgotten everything you ever knew. That just isn't true. Experience is undervalued because we've got this youth fetish. The terrible waste of experience appals me. You can only gain experience by doing things and the sea is a very hands-on affair."
And you don't get it from a simulator, BTW.
When he was not battling waves of up to 80ft in the Southern Ocean, fighting off sharks or repairing his sails, his time alone in Suhaili gave him pause to "think things over", not least his failed marriage. He read more than 50 novels, manuals and diaries, including Crime and Punishment, Wuthering Heights, Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle and Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy. He kept a diary that later became an inspiring book, A World of my Own.

When the weather was calm, he would put a rope round his waist and jump overboard for a swim - something most sailors are terrified to do. In warm weather, he would sail naked - "It's nice to get the sun on those bits that don't normally get it" - a habit he regretted when he inadvertently sat on his pressure cooker while making lunch.

Once, he sewed his moustache to the spinnaker while repairing it. The only way of tearing himself free was to jerk his head backwards. "It hurt like hell... but at least the symmetry of my moustache was not badly upset. I gave it a trim with my surgical scissors."
..
"One of the advantages I have is experience. Fear is usually of the unknown and the more you have been at sea, the less unknown there is. Most experienced seamen would say that makes them more cautious, not less. We know we're not invincible. People talk about beating the sea. Forget it. You can never beat the sea. You survive it."
And yet, as I read the August issue of Proceedings, there is CAPT Landerman's article (not available online) titled "Where Have All the Shiphandlers Gone?" that starts,
Few U.S. Navy officers today are capable mariners. The continued neglect of shiphandling skills means that the future Navy ships such as the USS Bulkeley (DDG-84), seen here leaving Naval Station Norfolk, may have to be driven by qualified civilians.
When this article comes online I will post it. The meat of it is that the Officers of the U.S. Navy actually have so little time at sea, on the bridge, that we don't even meet the standards of the skipper of a Panamanian bulk carrier. To make up for it, we are trying simulators, but we aren't using realistic ones.
Whereas the aviator goes through rigorous training, demonstarates that he can fly, earns his wings, and then accumulates many hours of flight time before he is considered a capable pilot, the surface warfare officer does minimal preparation, converts prompting into orders without understanding why, earns his SWO badge, and then may not drive again.
..but he has JPME Phase I complete well before the command screen board...
..at Newport, SWOS has terminated the contracted simulator services, opting instead to use home-made arcade-type games that do not meet standards established by the International Maritime Organization. The most powerful navy in the world uses third-rate shiphandling simulators at its surface-warfare school and has notified the Pacific and Atlantic Fleet shiphandling training facilities that their contracts will be terminated.
But at least we spend millions on our own twisted little Ethnologists.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Marines with too much time at sea

He is right about the tax free.....

Where BDS leads you: wanting another 9/11

Ace catches the left showing its a55, here is a bit - read it all for the rest;
What if another terror attack just before this fall's elections could save many thousand-times the lives lost?

If you knew us getting hit again would launch a chain of transformative, cascading events that would enable a better nation where millions who would have died will live longer, would such a calculus have any moral validity?

Any at all?
Yep, he wants the death of thousands for his own, personal, domestic political reasons. Russell Shaw; a55hat - I would put you on the Wall of Shame, but you are such a pimple on the butt of opinion, you are not of high enough stature. We will just leave you in the A55hat bin.

What we are fighting for

One by one, the marines took the stage for one of the most coveted photo opportunities of the war. Tanea sat on a knee of an eager marine while Laurie rested on the other. Hands on their miniskirted hips, Amber and Renee posed at each side. Dani stood behind and held the marine’s rifle as the camera snapped the photo. Some of the young marines who lined up for the memento were so mesmerized by the experience that they had to be reminded not to leave their weapons behind.
This is how you make allies that want to fight to make their nation more like America....
On the group’s third tour of Iraq, there were no complaints from the boisterous crowd of male marines at the dam or the solitary soldier in the audience from Azerbaijan, who mistook the Oklahoma-born Tanea for a Russian. A small group of Iraqi Army officers who are being trained by the marines were so enthusiastic they all but rushed the stage and filled their digital cameras with this sampling of American culture.
...and without another jab at my friends in Eastern Airlines BlueBut at Haditha Dam, the marines have the Purrfect Angelz, as the dancers are known. Their tours, which organizers say are paid for by the military, have occasionally stirred some controversy. During the group’s 2005 visit to Baghdad, a female Air Force officer complained that the dancers’ wardrobes and routines encouraged insensitive attitudes toward women in the military.

Killjoy buzzkill. I feel sorry for that womyn's husband - if she has one.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Funnies

Freedom for Fox crew

Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig have been freed. Strange stuff in the background that Fox doesn't talk about; al-Reuters hints at it, but you need to go to Al-Jazeera to get the full story.
Centanni said: "I changed my name to Khaled. I have embraced Islam and say the word Allah."

Wiig called on leaders of the West to stop "hiding behind the 'I don't negotiate with terrorists' myth".

A separate statement from the captors said: "They chose Islam and that is a gift that God gives those whom he chooses."

Centanni later told CNN by telephone from Gaza City that they felt that they had to convert to Islam.

"I have the highest respect for Islam, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns and we didn't know what the hell was going on," he said.
Give time for everything to flesh out for STEVE.

Nice note though: that is what they want. Death or conversion.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hitchens - Nuff said

A man worth knowing

Have trouble knowing your Adams apart? Let David McCullough tell you a few things you missed at "Social Studies."
He once said that if anything were written on his tombstone, it should be that he was the man who got the Dutch to provide the loans to win the war.

Friday, August 25, 2006

They're having 2: I want 12

Do the math.
In a bid to boost its military arsenal against a perceived threat from archfoe Iran, Israel has signed a contract with Germany to buy two submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons, a newspaper report said Wednesday.

Under the contract signed in July, the two Dolphin-class submarines, called U212s, will be assembled in Germany and fitted with a propulsion system allowing them to remain underwater for far longer than submarines already in use by the Israel navy, the Jerusalem Post said.

The state-of-the-art submarines, manufactured by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, will be bought by Israel for 1.27 billion dollars, a third of which will be financed by the German government, the English-language daily said.

The U212s are designed for a crew of 35, have a range of 4,500 kilometers (2,810 miles) and can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads, the paper quoted the Jane's Defense Weekly as saying.
The 212 is varsity football. It's stats are better than that.
* Displacement: 1450 tons surfaced, 1830 tons submerged
* Length: 56 m
* Beam: 7 m
* Draft: 6 m
* Propulsion:
--o 1 MTU 16V 396 diesel-engine, 3.12 MW
--o 9 HDW/Siemens PEM fuel cells, 30-40 kW each (U31)
--o 2 HDW/Siemens PEM fuel cells 120 kW (U32, U33, U34)
--o 1 Siemens Permasyn electric motor, driving single seven-bladed skew-back propeller
* Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h) submerged, 12 knots surfaced
* Depth: over 250m (official), greater than 400 m (estimated)
* Range:
--o 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h) surfaced,
* Endurance: 3 weeks without snorkeling, 12 weeks overall
* Armament:
--o 6 x 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes with 12 torpedoes
--o 24 external naval mines (optional)
* Countermeasures:
--o Torpedo defence system Tau, 4 launchers, 40 jammers/decoys
* Sensors:
--o STN Atlas DBQS40 sonar suite:
----+ TAS-3 passive low-frequency towed array sonar (deployed from sail)
----+ FAS-3 passive Low-, and med-frequency hull-mounted flank array sonar
----+ MOA 3070 mine detection sonar
--o Periscopes:
----+ Carl Zeiss SERO 14, with FLIR and optical rangefinder
----+ Carl Zeiss SERO 15, with laser range-finder
--o Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I band navigation radar
--o EADS FL 1800U ESM suite
* Complement: 27
I'll do the math for you. That is $635 million a copy (a Virginia class will run you $2 billion a copy). Only 20% more than a mission capable LCS. With economy of scale, a 12 unit run would keep a ship yard busy for 6 years at a lower per-unit cost, and you don't have to hire Swedes to show you how to do business. Contract build in the U.S. Good enough for a side-arm, good enough for this. Homeport 6 in Japan and 6 somewhere in the Med. Split Croatia would be a nice spot.

And yes, I know I have kicked a nest. Good.

Fullbore Friday

One of the workhorses of WWII; USS South Dakota (BB-57).





Tough news for Fox news fans

Check out JawaReport about the AQ angle for Steve Centanni & Olaf Wiig. It isn't easy to read - but it is the world we live in.
The Global Islamic Media Front today released a copy of the Steve Centanni & Olaf Wiig hostage video in an internet posting. Along with the video, the al Qaeda propoganda production and distribution outlet also released photos of persnonal IDs found on the hostages,
...
The fact that it was the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) that released these artifacts is very bad news. The group is an al Qaeda mouthpiece that generally distributes high-production value propaganda pieces.

The fact that the GIMF was not involved in the initial production of the video is a sign that the "Holy Jihad Brigades" is exactly as I feared: part of al Qaeda 3.0. ...if they have made a connection with GIMF then it is likely that they see Abu Musab al Zarqawi as a source for inspiration. Zarqawi is infamous for popularizing the beheading murders of his hostage victims.

If this is the case--and these are words you may never hear repeated at The Jawa Report---then God help the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in finding them before it is too late.
Agree.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thomas Sowell sings a bad song by Kansas

When one of the greatest minds in America speaks, listen close.
It is hard to think of a time when a nation-- and a whole civilization -- has drifted more futilely toward a bigger catastrophe than that looming over the United States and Western civilization today.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran and North Korea mean it is only a matter of time before there are nuclear weapons in the hands of international terrorist organizations. North Korea needs money. Iran has brazenly stated its aim as the destruction of Israel, and both its actions and its rhetoric suggest aims that extend even beyond a second Holocaust.

Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

This is not just another in the long history of military threats. The Soviet Union, despite its massive nuclear arsenal, could be deterred by our own nuclear arsenal. But suicide bombers cannot be deterred. Fanatics filled with hate cannot be either deterred or bought off, whether Hezbollah, Hamas or the government of Iran.
...
Even ruthless conquerors of the past, from Genghis Khan to Hitler, wanted some tangible gains for themselves or their nations -- land, wealth, dominion. What Middle East fanatics want is the destruction and humiliation of the West.

Their treatment of hostages, some of them humanitarians serving the people of the Middle East, shows the terrorists want to inflict the maximum pain and psychic anguish on victims before killing them. Once these fanatics have nuclear weapons, those victims can include you, your children and your children's children.
...
The terrorists need not start by wiping our cities off the map. Chances are they would first want to force us to humiliate ourselves in whatever ways their sadistic imaginations could conceive, out of fear of their nuclear weapons.

After we, or our children and grandchildren, find ourselves living at the mercy of people with no mercy, what will future generations think of us, that we let this happen because we wanted to placate "world opinion" by not acting "unilaterally"?

We are fast approaching the point of no return.
That is why I made the comment about being on the top of the hill.

The War's challenges: military shares some blame

Bill Arkin asks some tough questions. Had to read it twice, but it is worth the effort to see where he is going here. Again, like the attacks on SECDEF, you could do this for WWII as well - but it is worth the read.

Those who throw rocks at the civilain DoD leadership maybe should save a rock or two. Maybe.

But (you know this is coming), why anyone expects the military to be able to see perfectly into the future and predict every little swerve history throws our way is beyond me. Heal thyself.

The War's challenges: military shares some blame

Bill Arkin asks some tough questions. Had to read it twice, but it is worth the effort to see where he is going here. Again, like the attacks on SECDEF, you could do this for WWII as well - but it is worth the read.

Those who throw rocks at the civilain DoD leadership maybe should save a rock or two. Maybe.

But (you know this is coming), why anyone expects the military to be able to see perfectly into the future and predict every little swerve history throws our way is beyond me. Heal thyself.

When you name your kid Jihad...

What do you expect?
The second main suspect in a failed plot to bomb two German trains was arrested Thursday in his native Lebanon after surrendering to police, German federal prosecutors said.

One of Jihad Hamad's relatives said his parents agreed to hand him over to Lebanese security services after learning the 20-year-old was wanted by police. The other main suspect, a 21-year-old Lebanese student identified as Youssef Mohamad el Hajdib, was arrested in Germany on Saturday.
Give me a break. I want to fly with that guy.

And now for something totally depressing

Demographics are destiny. I've hit on this before, I will hit it again. Weep for the beloved Europe.
“Replacement” fertility rate—i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller—is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you’ll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada’s fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That’s to say, Spain’s population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy’s population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgaria’s by 36 percent, Estonia’s by 52 percent.

In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 percent to 15 percent. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20 percent. . . .
The once mighty German birth bed is too busy doing something else to care;
While there were 830,000 deaths last year, only 686,000 babies came into the world, half as many as in the early 1960s. That means the death rate increased 1.5 percent from 2004 and 2005, while the birth rate fell 2.8 percent over the same period.

According to the statistics agency, the trend that began in the early 90s shows no sign of stopping: fewer children are being born in Germany; and because of improved medical care, people are living longer. The society is getting greyer.

Germany's overall 2004 birth rate of 1.37 (according to numbers by the EU's statistics office Eurostat), puts it near the bottom of the western European pack, although some southern and eastern European countries are lower. That number is far below the replacement level of 2.1 percent needed to keep a country's population stable without large-scale immigration.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

German bomb plot; the truth

The German train bombs that didn't go off and resulted in the arrest of some Lebanese in Germany? Who is really behind it? Of course, the Jooosssss!
Abdulwahab also thinks such attacks are sheer madness. "It only harms people like us who live here," he says. But even he -- whose views are quite moderate and who even had a Jewish girlfriend once -- can't help claiming you'll never get the whole truth from the Western media because "their reporting is just too pro-Jewish." Many such anti-Semitic remarks -- and worse -- can be heard around Hamburg's central station.

Or on television. Just a few days ago, a 17-year-old Kurd from Bonn espoused the following theory on SPIEGEL TV: "What happened first," he said, talking about the recent conflict in Lebanon, "was that the Jews raped a child, or something like that." Later he claimed to have learned from a credible source that Jews once systematically shot six-year-olds in a kindergarten. "They let the teacher live so she would become mentally ill," the young man said.
...and Protestant Crusaders, I guess (who knew!).
"It's all a Protestant crusade," the man explains. "All of northern Germany is Protestant, isn't it? And so is President Bush." Then the man launches into a melange of confusing arguments and historical facts. The bubonic plague, Martin Luther and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl all make a cameo. It's all connected somehow, the man is sure of it.

The young Saudi Arabian's views may make little sense from a Western point of view, but you can meet him and talk to him at a street corner in the middle of Hamburg, right by the central station. Foreigners from all over the world live in this neighborhood, called St. Georg, and a large number of them are Muslim. Several mosques have been built in the neighborhood. Many nearby stores carry no alcohol -- but they do have electronic memory aides for Koran students on offer.
These are the "New Europeans." Like I said back 18 months ago, show your kids Europe; while it is still here.

Real leadership. Iraqi leadership.

Yes there is good news from Iraq. As always, look to the leaders.
BAGHDAD — The Humvee has barely rolled to a stop, and Iraqi army Col. Talib Abdul Razzaq is already out of the vehicle.

He moves like a politician, stopping on the sidewalk to playfully cuff a young boy on the head and joke with a man selling shoes. He quizzes several people about violence and militias in the neighborhood. Most say the streets have been quiet.

"I'm trying to make people believe in the Iraqi army," Razzaq says at the next stop, where a sidewalk vendor gives him a complimentary sandwich from his cart. "They will feel more safe." Razzaq hands the sandwich to an aide and keeps moving.

Twice a day, Razzaq patrols the troubled neighborhoods in his battalion's sector of Baghdad. He's checking on his troops, who have set up checkpoints in the area. And he's listening to what merchants, local leaders and ordinary people have to say about security in their neighborhoods.

"I am an officer, but my job is like a tribal leader," says Razzaq, who in this polarized society refuses to say whether he is a Shiite Muslim or a Sunni.
More please. Many more.

...and the first Iraqi division (8th Iraqi Army Division) just got their "safe to solo" papers.
The first full Iraqi Army division will soon be operating without the mentoring of U.S. advisors, a U.S. Army official who oversees Iraqi security forces’ training said Monday in Baghdad.

Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard discussed the formation of the Iraqi National Police and security concerns throughout Iraq in a briefing to reporters.

Pittard, commander of the Iraqi Assistance Group, said that after Sept. 3, the 8th Iraqi Army Division will be operating independently.
...
“The Iraqis fight and fight well,” he said. “It’s not the same as it was at all two years ago.”

Pittard credits two factors with these improvements.

“A lot has to do with the hard work of the military transition teams. A lot has to do with the faith they have in the Iraqi government,” he said.

Though large strides have been made, there are still many more to go before U.S. forces can leave.

The general said the overall situation must stabilize, the government of Iraq must be comfortable with its forces, and Baghdad security must improve.
...and the view on the ground? This is the Baghdad part of the Baghdad and Borders. Commissar should like it.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense reports that the crime rate in Doura has been reduced by 80%. In the Rashid district, Sunni and Shiite political leaders, tribal leaders and imams met and signed an agreement forswearing violence. The tribal leaders went a step further by renouncing protection for tribal members who engage in sectarian violence.

Although it is too early to determine whether these success stories will be replicated throughout the city, this initial progress should give Iraqis, as well as Americans, hope about the future. Contrary to those who portray Iraq as hopelessly mired in ancient ethnic and sectarian feuds, Iraqis themselves want to put the divisions of the
past behind them. The Battle of Baghdad will determine the future of Iraq, which will itself go a long way to determining the future of the world's most vital region. Although much difficult work still remains to be done, it is imperative that we give the Iraqis the time and material support necessary to see this plan through, and to win the Battle of Baghdad.

Mormon and Southern Baptist Confederation face Islamic Army

From this article, perhaps that could be a 2150 headline....
Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020--and all for no other reason than babies.
OK you WingNuts, get to work! Baptists, after the pot luck at Fellowship Hall, of course.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Islamic Republic of Belgium

People sneered when we said it would come to this. Though it sounds like something out of some looney pulp-fiction SCI-FI novel; it is fact.
But then the Socialists began taking note of Belgium's Muslim community, some 500,000 strong. In Brussels, notes Joël Rubinfeld of the Atlantis Institute think tank, half of the Socialist Party's 26-member slate in the city's 75-seat parliament is Muslim. In the commune of Molenbeek, longstanding Socialist mayor Philippe Moureaux has made Halal meals standard in all schools; police officers are also barred from eating or drinking on the streets during Ramadan. The Socialist Party was also, improbably, the leading opponent of a bill that would have criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide. This, too, is a product of burgeoning Muslim-Socialist alliance, as is the party's routine denunciations of Israel.
Socialists.

All is not lost though, but in the funk, read it all to see who is now the supporters and anti-fascism (Islamofascism, natch) and strong supporters of Israel.

Oh, and here is another fact to run by the EU types when they comment about American crime.
Amid a pervasive and growing sense of lawlessness -- Belgium's per capita murder rate, at 9.1 per 100,000 is nearly twice that of the U.S. -- the murder became the occasion of much national soul-searching. When Jean-Marie Dedecker, a senator from the ruling Liberal Party, opined in an op-ed that "policemen look the other way in order to avoid being accused of racism," he was rebuked by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt for "inciting hostilities."
BTW, if you are not stopping by OMC's place and Brussels Journal at least once a week, you are stealing from your brain. The best way to keep up with the rear-area actions of the Global War we are in.

While you are at it, read the Brussels Journal now to see what they are trying to do to Paul.

Hat tip The Corner.

Iran attacks ...... Romania?

Where do you place this?
Iran attacked and seized control of a Romanian oil rig working in its Persian Gulf waters this morning one week after the Iranian government accused the European drilling company of ``hijacking'' another rig.

An Iranian naval vessel fired on the rig owned by Romania's Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) in the Salman field and took control of its radio room at about 7:00 a.m. local time, Lulu Tabanesku, Grup's representative in the United Arab Emirates said in a phone interview from Dubai today.

``The Iranians fired at the rig's crane with machine guns,'' Tabanesku said. ``They are in control now and we can't contact the rig.'' The Romanian company has 26 workers on the platform, he said.
1 -- Act of war.
2 -- Act of piracy.
3 -- Police action.
4 -- Everyone wants to ignore it. Kind of like the Sudetenland.

Using some little info I can get, here is where the Salman Field is located.



With the midline approach, looks like Iranian waters...but...

Eagle1, give it a shot. Looks domestic to me, with wiggle room to make trouble.

Like an old boss like to say, "Get me the d@mn JAG..."

That isn't a Frigate, that my friend is a Pocket Cruiser

First the pitch;
F125 is the project name for the Type 125 class of frigates, currently in development for the German Navy by ARGE F125, a joint-venture of Thyssen-Krupp and Lürssen.
...
Major design goals are reduced radar, infrared and acoustic signatures (stealth technology), something that was introduced to the German Navy with the Sachsen class frigate and was further developed with the Braunschweig class corvette, the first ship nearing completion.

Other important requirements are long maintenance periods: It should be able to deploy F125 class frigates for up to two years away from homeports with an average sea operation time of more than 5000 hours per year (that's nearly 60%). For this reason, a combined diesel-electric and gas arrangement has been chosen for the machinery. This allows the replacement of large and powerful diesel engines for propulsion and sets of smaller diesel generators for electric power generation with a pool of med-sized diesel generators, reducing the number of different engines.

To enhance survivability of the frigates, important systems are laid out in the two island principle, i.e. present at least twice at different places within the ship. This is also visible in the superstructures, which are split in two larger pyramidal deck houses. The arials of the phased array radar will be distributed over the two pyramids. This does not only ensure, the ships remains operational in case of larger damage because of accidents or enemy action, it also allows F125 frigates to keep station if needed when something breaks down and no replacement is available.
Check out what she is packing.
# Armament:

* 8 anti-ship missiles, either RGM-84 Harpoon or RBS 15 Mk3
* 1 navalized MLRS, 12 rockets with reloads
* 2 RAM surface-to-air missile launcher/CIWS, 21 cells each
* 1 155 mm gun, based on the turret of the PzH 2000. This has been tested previously in the MONARC project.
* 2 27 mm MLG 27 autocannon
* 5 12.7 mm heavy machine guns
* Water cannons

# Other equipement:

* 2 search lights
* Submarine ROVs
* 4 11 m dinghies, over 40kts fast
* Space for two 6.1 m container

# Hangar facility: 2 MH-90 helicopters
# Complement: 160 (including 50 KSK/commando)
Look again at the gun. Look familiar?

Check out the picture here. Now, look at her measurements:
Length: 139m
Beam: 18 m
Draft: 5 m
Now our Arleigh Burke's:
Length: 155 m (Flight IIA)
Beam: 18 m
Draft: 9.3 m
Shorter shallower draft. Focus of the design is redundancy (fight hurt), firepower, multi-mission diversity and a evolutionary process founded on proven affordability. Limited AAW, but look at what you get out of it.

The Germans once again have met the challenge and are building a ship pound-for-pound more impressive than most. I look forward to seeing her at sea trials and the per unit costs. Also would be interesting to see what per-unit costs would be if you built 40 units? What if you put in a 10 meter plug an put in an aft gun? What would be the cost/trade-offs to do that? MRLS reloads internal or external?


Pocket Cruiser.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Russell Simmons, Juan Williams, Alvin Poussaint, and me

Perhaps in my POLMIL funk, I should spend more time on the home front. Three men and I just found common ground on something we all care about. From a few sites today, read what Mr. Simmons, Williams and Poussaint are saying.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons will be the host of a campaign fundraiser Thursday for Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's run for U.S. Senate.

The fundraiser for Mr. Steele, a Republican who would be the state's first black U.S. senator if elected, will be held at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore.

Also scheduled to participate in the event are Cathy Hughes, founder and chairman of Radio One, a black-run broadcasting company specializing in urban markets, and hip-hop pioneer DJ Kid Capri.

Tickets to the reception are $35. VIP reception tickets are $500. An estimate of how much the event will raise was not available.

Ms. Hughes and Mr. Simmons, the man behind the Def Jam Recordings music label and the platinum-plated careers of acts including the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and Run-DMC, embody Mr. Steele's message of economic opportunity, campaign spokesman Doug Heye said.

"These are both people who not only built extremely successful companies but companies that are actively involved in their communities," Mr. Heye said. "It goes to what Mr. Steele talks about in building legacy wealth."

Mr. Simmons, who often has used his music empire to advance liberal political activism, has backed the Republican administration in Maryland.

He applauded Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, in February 2005 for winning over black voters with urban initiatives, especially criminal-justice reforms, and raising the Republican Party's profile among blacks nationwide.

Where is the civil rights groundswell on behalf of stronger marriages that will allow more children to grow up in two-parent families and have a better chance of staying out of poverty? Where are the marches demanding good schools for those children -- and the strong cultural reinforcement for high academic achievement (instead of the charge that minority students who get good grades are "acting white")? Where are the exhortations for children to reject the self-defeating stereotypes that reduce black people to violent, oversexed "gangstas," minstrel show comedians and mindless athletes?
Black children were twice as likely to be expelled from preschool programs as white or Latino children, and five times as likely to be expelled as Asian-American children, the study found.

"Now, what's going on there?" Dr. Poussaint, a black man, asked the mostly black crowd at "Paths to Success: A Forum on Young African-American Men."

"Is racial profiling starting at age 3 or 4?" he asked. "Or is there something going on before preschool that relates to the family and the community that already is making some of these young black males unable to adapt, unable to fit, in a preschool level?"
Honest, open discussion and the joy of fresh air and open minds. This is the path to progress. I glad they are saying it. I can't; at work at least.

Domestic quote of the day

I think some nukes will like this from The Corner.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Governor Mitt Romney's great-grandfather had multiple wives and two great-great grandfathers had 10 wives each. The article allows that Romney "is a confirmed monogamist of nearly four decades and polygamy has been absent from his family going back two generations." While some might note the upside of generously sharing those handsome Romney genes in the past, current history is noteworthy. Should Mitt Romney join a 2008 race that included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and George Allen, the only guy in the GOP field with only one wife would be the Mormon.
I do so love this century.

The Strategic Funk

Here it is. It isn't my best post, or best written. Off the top of the head from two different sessions over three days. Like I mentioned in my other post inspired by Skippy (and it doesn't involve babes or beer), I am in a funk, a Strategic Funk. Going from Political, to Strategic, to Operational, to Tactical - this is a summer of challenge. The worst is Political (and I am not talking domestic politics, the POL part of POLMIL), but my funk is at the Strategic.

Here is why. We all knew almost five years ago, well most of us knew - and some have forgotten that they once knew it themselves - that this was going to be a long generational war. One we can't ignore or walk away from. One that our advanced, pampered, and civilized petty culture will not protect us from. No more than it protected Rome. There was always the hope that we caught the enemy at their culmination, and that we could roll things back to where we could get back to worrying about school uniforms, blue dresses and thousands of points of light; but hope is not a strategy.

There have always been three critical strong points in the first phase of this war; to move forward they have to hold these solidly.
- (1) Israel deterrent in being.
- (2) Afghanistan's progress.
- (3) Iraq's progress.

If one is lost - all three are; so we would have to fall back to the already weakened Eastern redoubt of Europe. You don't want to know what I think of that.

I will not soak you in my funk, but put you on to some of the things floating around in the swamp and let you chew on it. If you follow all the links, you will figure it out.

Anyway, Israel. A lot of my speculated "Top 5" I put out is being validated. Yipee. When Israel shows weakness, her enemies will advance until they are again brought to their knees. Caroline has it right. If I was a single man, I would ask her out for a few drinks at a Russian bar and bring a pack of smokes. I don't smoke.

Afghanistan. In a phrase - it isn't about us. Sure, we can kill a lot of Taliban, but there is an almost endless supply in Pakistan. Kill 71, 213 are ready to take their place. No, this is all about Pashtuns, Poppy, Pakistan, and the persistence in this haunted land of an unsated blood lust unchanged for thousands of years. The solution is for the Western Forces to hold the line, without making it worse, until an Afghan face takes over. Years, not months away. If Pakistan falls, even more years away. At the most critical juncture NATO is taking hold with an unsure grasp. Dutch elections are this fall. Canadian within 18 months, perhaps sooner. The UK has a PM who is worried about the knives in his own cabinet - and the growing Islamists threat within. Italy is following Spain. The rest are keeping an eye on the exit. All is not lost, but this is the time for varsity football in the South and East; can we cannot deal with weak sisters. Each sign of weakness, the enemy gets bolder. Remember, they know that in the end, we will be gone, they will still be there.

Iraq. All this talk about partition needs to be stowed. In a perfect world, in perfect peace, we could talk a Czechoslovakia=Czech Republic+Slovakia ~ Iraq=Kurdistan+Anbar+Basra. This is not that world. This is not that culture. Blame Churchill if you wish. It really doesn't matter. Talk of withdrawal or re-deployment needs to be stowed as well - unless you want to give our children a world much worse than the one we would try to hide from. In the end, like AF, we have to hold the line until a "flawed but functioning" local face takes over.

This guy is close, but in the end - there is no choice but victory. At the Tactical, and the Operational level we have nothing but victory. Our Strategic level is under threat. Our Political is the weakest - mostly self inflicted by those more interested in short term politics than national and cultural survival. Ben Stein is about right on this.

I'm not the only one in a funk. Commie and Rick are in similar moods. I would caution Commie on taking Fiasco and Cobra II as the whole story - one could write similar books about every war - heck, FDR favored Vichy France over the Free French for quite awhile...but I digress.

Rick offered two options - the only ones from the start. His instinct is the same as mine - win. Do what you have to do to win. There is no other option. No one should read what they want into this post, as many did at Rick's place with his - don't even think about it.

And no, I am not channeling Marvin. Watch Syria, the Dutch elections and the Fallujah.
Like Rick said, this subject is far too great for one little blog post…or a series for that matter. Also, like him, I agree that this is a very binary answer. Victory or go home.

You know my point of view, I'll be with the last group at the top of the hill– rock in one hand, sword in the other. It won’t end like that unless we loose our support at home.

On Iraq, while Fiasco and Cobra II are interesting, in a fashion, they don't point towards victory in the way people are reading them. With all due respect to The Commissar, of which I have much, picking at the historical review belly button finding “I knew it’s” and “I told you so’s” is not where we should be putting our focus.

I understand and think that the questions Commie are asking are good and healthy though, because of the reasons he is asking them. He is a solutions guy. A passionate guy. His motivations are sound. I don't have to agree with him 100%, but he deserves to be seriously listened to. Others though, I have no use for.

The negative results of defeat-and-retreat or redeployment-and-surrender are just too great to accept from my point of view. Unlike Vietnam, we cannot just walk away from this and watch from afar as the abstract, unseen millions die or head into exile and expect it not to come home to inflict damage an order of magnitude more than we would think. This problem, the followers of this death cult, will follow us wherever we go if they are not destroyed. They have been, are and will continue to try to strike at the West. We would be mortgaging our children’s future and our dotage for whatever short-term relief we think we might gain.


Definitions of victory can change in the course of a conflict. On of my favorite WWII jokes:
In 1943 two friends in Suffolk, England are walking back from the pub when they see a wedding party in full swing on the other side of the road. The older gentleman points towards the party with his walking stick and states with grim determination,
"That is what we are fighting for!"
His rather dim friend asked happily,
"Ohhhh. Are those Poles?"
From the British and French perspective (they were brought into the war when Hitler invaded Poland), did they loose WWII? No. If we walk out of Iraq with a flawed but functioning democracy of sorts 5 years longer than we thought, will we have lost?

The focus should and always needs to be; how do we remove state sponsors of terror that can be directed our way? If there is criticism, that is where it should go. Taking out Saddam was the right call, but things are not perfect. Some fronts are cracking. Somalia is going the wrong way. From neutral/bad to bad for an example.

Afghanistan is staggering but holding. Iraq is staggering but holding. Israel is staggering but holding. When something so important to your Strategic well being is staggering – do you walk away and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy, or if you think you can win do you commit to win?


War is a dark room. If you have forgotten that, and hold our government at fault for not having perfect foresight – then shame on you. No one will ever accuses me of toting the party line at any level – but there reaches the point in battle when you stop bitching at the boss that you warned him that your his left flank was weak as he committed his reserve to the right: you pick up you gun and fight the best you can.

If you can’t then follow the Elector of Bavaria and Marsin's
lead at Blenheim. I'll see you at Chop-Chop Square; I am sure they will kill you last.

I'm going to bring up a nice bottle of
Periquita for tonight. I'm need it.

Special purpose Navy Jack

Guest blogg'n over at Commie's Place, J.D. points the way to the Evolution (I guess that is the name) blog that tells a story that folds in all sorts of buzz-kills.

We have busy-bodies, nosey neighbors, and "he protesteth too much" homophobes. Read it all, but as the gay-pimps from both sides of the equation come like botflies, the folks over at Evolution offer this.



I like that. A lot. You don't have to agree with anyone about anything, but you can agree that some people can't help but make a pain of themselves - for no good reason. Why can't we just leave each other alone?

Anyway, in many uses, perhaps the Navy could use this. Anti-terror and anti-piracy patrols. Coast Guard could use it for drug and immigration patrols. All sorts of uses. What do you think we could use this modified Navy Jack for?

I'm in a funk

....a "Strategic Funk." The details of which I will flesh out in a later post. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. I hide things and keep my "dark days" mostly to myself. Like I said before, I don't want to be medicated. I thrive off my anger and darkness - prayer and perspective gets me through just fine. Skippy got me to come out of my shell the other day, and here is what I posted over at this place. Read into it what you may. Those in the company know of what I speak.
Skippy,
I share the funk, but am trying to laugh myself out of it. Got back from a series of briefs last week. A couple I just showed up at uninvited for my own SA.

I won't mention anything about the briefs, but on an unrelated subject, let me read a few things to you from Hopkirk's The Great Game, pp. 397:

"On July 22, 1880, at a special durbar to the north of Kabul, the 40 year old Abdur Rahman was publicly proclaimed Emir, making a ceremonial entry into his capital a little later. He was to prove a tough and capable ruler, and a reliable neighbour to the British, though certainly no lackey.

His own position, however, was still far from secure. He only controlled the Kabul region and parts of the north. Much of the rest of Afghanistan was still in turmoil, for his accession to the throne had not gone unchallenged. Moreover, he dared not show himself to be friendly with the British, who had put him on the throne, lest, like Shah Shujah, he be accused of being their puppet and of being kept in power by the force of their bayonets. 'I was unable to show my friendship publicly,' he wrote years later, 'because my people were ignorant and fanatical. If I showed any inclination towards the English, my people would call my and infidel for joining hands with infidels.' His trump card, however, was the fact that the British were going, and he did not hesitate to make it appear to his people as though this was all his doing. In fact, it was with considerable relief that the British handed over control of Kabul to Abdur Rahman. For two things had happened which precipitated the need for a speedy departure.

One was a change of government at home. The Tories had been heavily defeated, largely because of their handling of the Afghan crisis, and Gladstone's Liberals were once again in power after six years in opposition."
Well, where did that lead? pp 415.
"Once again, the Russians (the enemy at that time) were gambling on Gladstone's Liberals not going beyond their customary remonstrances on finding themselves confronted by a fait accompli."
...pp 419
"Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet is notoriously given to making concessions, and Russia, well aware of this, is resorting to every artifice to squeeze it."
...pp 432
"..depending on one's point of view, Gladston'e government had displayed 'consummate statecraft, lamentable vacillation, or abject surrender' as one commentator put it. Many of the British electorate evidently judged it to be the later, ... As a result, in August 1886, the Tories swept back into office...."
Yea, I'm funkish as well. I think you have inspired Monday's first post.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lineal Looney

Sometimes there are things that fall in your lap in the blogg'n world.

Checking StatCounter, I find that I have a reader from Annapolis - my heart is a'flutter knowing that someone from Boat School is so bored on a Saturday that they had to take a break to visit. What pray tell, was the area of interest? See if you can figure it out.




Higher res here.

Get that? Yep, the pressing issue at the United States Naval Academy is "What is my lineal number." So many funny angles to this one, the top being that if you want to know your lineal number, google sends you to me.

Hey Shipmate, let me help you out with a little GMT. Using IE, go to the Naval Register here and follow the drop-down menu. Simple as getting sent to Courts Martial for saying "hard-on" and "nips."

Parking must be rough at the beginning of the school year.

Updating the GTMO cookbook

This is a start. Halal sha'mal. Dem's good eating, and Mr. Cook rulz.

Let it blow you to freedom

Make no mistake, this is as critical as DDG-1000, FCS, or the F-22A. One area where we are doing better, but are WAY behind the Europeans.
U.S. wind energy installations now exceed 10,000 megawatts (MW) in generating capacity, and produce enough electricity on a typical day to power the equivalent of over 2.5 million homes, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced today. A megawatt of wind power generates enough to serve 250 to 300 average homes.
...
* Today’s 10,000 MW of wind power saves about 0.6 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/day), or about 3.5% of the natural gas used nationwide to generate electricity.

* Domestic, inexhaustible energy source: America’s wind resource potential is vast--theoretically more than twice enough to meet current U.S. electricity supply. President Bush said earlier this year that wind could meet 20% of the country’s electricity supply (the share that nuclear power provides today).

All Americans should vacation in Northern Europe sometime. Germany, Denmark, Netherlands. They have windmills all over the place. You get used to it real fast, and soon you realize that every spinning tower up there means less money going to the 8th Century loving Theocrats in Iran and Saudi Arabia where that money is folded back into AQ, Taliban and their ilk. Even worse, that money is used to destroy the modern Islmanic traditions from Indonesia to Britain that were not a threat to anyone.

Think of the economy of scale if the US would take the step in the correct direction WRT wind power. The opportunities are vast. So, like the nay-sayers put out there "It would only supply 7-10% is true. So, 10% more from wind, another 10% from nuclear, 10% from E85/biomas/solar/etc.... and before you know it...bingo... look what happens to the need to import oil. I didn't even start about coal.....

Start off Teddy's vacation villa in Nantucket, then the Eastern Shore, then the mid-west where the real wind power source is.

Would you pay another $30 a month to know that you are not putting money in the hands of those who want to kill you? I am.

Hat tip Jawa.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fullbore Friday

USS Juneau (CL-119). OK, 5"/38 gun may not be "Fullbore" but when you have 12 of them.....



She is a classic example that when war initially breaks out, the Navy, its ships and Sailors go in harms way as they are, where they are, and do what needs to be done. At the outbreak of the Korean War, she was classified as "CLAA" as in Anti-Aircraft. Note:
When the Korean War broke out on 25 June, Juneau was one of the few ships immediately available to Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, Commander of Naval Forces, Far East. She patrolled south of the 38th parallel to prevent enemy landings, conducted the first shore bombardments 29 June at Bokuko Ko, destroyed enemy shore installations, engaged in the first naval action 2 July when she sank three enemy torpedo boats near Chumonchin Chan, and supported raiding parties along the coast. On 18 July Juneau's force, which included British units, laid down a deadly barrage on enemy troop concentrations near Yongdok which slowed down the North Korean advance southward.

The Negative Benchmark speaks: LTGEN Gard

Almost two years after his entry into the rare list of my Wall of Shame, retired LTGEN Robert Gard has crawled out of his fever-swamp at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation to provide a great service about Iran: as a "Negative Benchmark" you can rest easy that if you are on the opposite side of an argument with him - you are on the right side of the issue.
Seeking to counter the White House's depiction of its Middle East policies as crucial to the prevention of terrorist attacks at home, 21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter tomorrow arguing that the administration's "hard line" has actually undermined U.S. security.
...
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard, one of the letter's signers and a former military assistant to Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara in the 1960s, said the group was particularly concerned about administration policies toward Iran, believing them to be a possible prelude to a military attack on suspected nuclear sites in that country.

Gard said the signatories — who included retired Marine Corps Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, head of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994, and Morton H. Halperin, a senior State Department and National Security Council official during the Clinton administration — did not believe that Iran had the wherewithal to build a nuclear weapon in the immediate future and would push the administration to open negotiations with Tehran on the issue.
...
He noted that the Bush administration's unabashedly pro-Israel stance during the recent conflict with Hezbollah was an indication that the White House may accede to such assessments.

"This administration is clearly so beholden to Israel that it raises the concern we might go along" with a military strike, Gard said.

Organizers of the letter said the White House's recent efforts to belittle Democrats for seeking a timetable for withdrawing troops in Iraq may lead the signers to include criticism of the administration's Iraq policy.
Oh, with that braintrust, I bet they are wetting themselves thinking about your letter. I am.

Just like he is bass-ackwards on BMD, now it is disturbing the sanity about Iran ... with the usual subjects.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

At least you know it isn't packed with 155mm shells

The 5-sided money pit

So, think we can build and fight "The Long War" from a train wreck?
These O & M and Military Personnel trends will likely be in place even as the newest generation of weapons systems – such as the Joint Strike Fighter, the Future Combat System, and the DDG-1000 (formerly DD(X)) destroyer – reaches full production at the end of this decade. CBO estimates that DOD’s current plans would require annual appropriations over the 2012-2024 period that are 18-34 percent more in real terms than the amount appropriated in 2006. Given the relative inflexibility of O & M and personnel costs, it would seem the main option for living within DOD’s top-line is in controlling the cost of weaponry, especially those programs that the Pentagon has said it does not need. But there are some apparent disincentives for eliminating programs. For example, if the military services receive fewer new weapons systems to replace their wornout systems, it would have the effect of increasing the aging of the U.S. weapons inventory. In addition, all weapons-system contracts contain a termination liability clause to indemnify the contractor should the government prematurely end the contract for reasons other than default by the contractor. The termination liability payment is often larger than the amount the government would have had to pay in the budget year had it chosen to continue production. In using a myopic outlook that considers only the “next” year, it appears to cost less to continue paying for an unneeded system than to end production altogether.

When these factors are added to the ramifications of weapon system politics – every project has local employment implications – it becomes clear that controlling the long-term costs of the Pentagon’s arsenal are very nearly as complex as restraining the cost of government entitlements like Social Security and Medicare. Controlling such costs will require expertise in military requirements, knowledge of contracting and industrial base considerations, and an informed perspective on the federal government’s long-term fiscal problems.
All from a link inside a Phibian like article in Slate.
The list now contains 87 programs projected to cost $1.61 trillion. In other words, the estimated cost of the Pentagon's big-ticket items has gone up by $30 billion in just the past six months.

And the cost is likely to grow higher still. Of that $1.61 trillion, $909 billion—or 56 percent—has yet to be spent. In other words, a lot of these weapons programs are still in their early stages.

Here's another way to look at the picture. Of those 87 weapons programs, 11 have already exceeded their cost estimates by 30 percent to 50 percent—and 25 have done so by more than 50 percent. This latter group includes some of the most expensive programs—the F-22 Stealth fighter plane, the Army's Future Combat System, and the V-22 vertical-lift aircraft.
Mmmmm. Anyone fired? In jail? Given a bad FITREP even?

Hat Tip LBG.

When Marxists own the Ivory Tower

Well, they act like one. Only correct thoughts allowed.

Being that New Hampshire is like Siberia, at least weather wise - he was already there - so Dartmouth Marxists don't have anywhere to send folks why they stray from the Party's message.

Don't feed the dragon

Ahhhh, the 1990's. No this isn't a Clinton bash, this it all Poppy.
The "Saber-II" program started in 1990 with US assistance. The Northrop Grumman and CAC worked until 1992, the US cancelled this project. However, China managed to continue the project.
So what do we get?
The first flight of FC-1/JF-17 Thunder took place in August 2003. Five prototypes are ready by now which are undergoing testing. Pakistan will receive 10 of JF-17 Thunder aircrafts after June, 2006 for training purpose. The serial production will start in January, 2007 in Chengdu Aircraft Company.
...
The JF-17 Thunder possesses a third generation airframe. Mid-mounted wings and position of intakes are pretty similar to F/A-18 and helps in reducing signature. Wings are situated quite after the canopy which gives the JF-17 higher instantaneous turn rate and climb rate. Although, its overall maneuverability is 70% that of the F-16 Falcon but its high climb rate makes the aircraft able to challenge early fourth generation fighters. ...

FC-1 / JF-17 Thunder Technical Specifications



Crew 1
Length 14 Meters / 45.9318 Feet
Wingspan 9 Meters / 29.5276 Feet
Payload 3,800 kg / 8,377.57 lb
Max. Speed Mach 1.8
Max. Range 3,000 km / 1864.11 Miles
TWR 0.95
Armament One GSh-23 mm canon; fire-rate of 840 rounds/minute
Engine 1 * RD-93; generates 11,000 pounds dry and 18,300 pounds with afterburning.
Ceiling 16,500 Meters / 54,133.9 Feet
+G Limit 8.5
Unit Cost 15 Million USD

Interesting concept. Looks like a F-16 blended with a F-20. That is probably the performance envelope as well. Look at the per-unit costs. For the price of an F-22 (~$360mil per unit cost) you can buy 24 JF-17 (double the cost if you want to fold in full cost, that is 12 JF-17). You know, the ME-262 was a "transformational" and great fighter, but faced with 10-20 P-51 or P-47 - all it could do is run away. Just think about it a little.