Sunday, December 31, 2006

The books of 2006

Like I said last year;
I love books. Just wanna get naked and roll in them.
In LIFO (last in first out) format, here are the books I read through in 2006.

Iraq Study Group Report: A freebee (click the hypertext to get a free PDF). You get what you pay for. I kind of stand by my statement here, but this is a document just not worth the hype. I think I may give a better summary later, but it is a mixed bag. If you took out the Israel fetishism and "talk to the animals" crap, there are some fine recommendations there. A lot of them though are either already being done, or OBE. In the end, it is what you think a bunch of retired diplomats, party functionaries and lawyers would produce. Not impressed.

The Management of Savagery: Another freebee, and required reading. This is a translation of a strategic planning document from a very well educated and sharp AQ leader/thinker. If you want to understand why they are doing what they do, and how their 10-20-50-100 year timeframe is hard to fight inside the Western 24-hr news cycle - read this cover to cover.

Fiasco by Thomas E. Ricks: Ungh. Had to read it. It is a nice rearward looking Zinni-centric overview of what a Monday AM QB would say about the Iraq War. Funny that some read the book, title and all, as some objective text. Please people, be smarter than that. I recommend it, but read it for what it is. Ricks uses throughout the book many things he scolds the Bush Admin. about: selective reporting, sources with questionable motives, and intentional whitewashing of other important issues. Hatchet job. Shame, in the book are some very important points, and valuable perspectives and questions. It is under a shadow of agenda. Shame. The book could have been so much more if Ricks didn't feel the need to score points with "friends."

The Vietnam Primer by David H. Hackworth, Samuel L. Marshall: Though I had issues with Hack in his later years, this is a great read (again) to look back at Vietnam and the fact that this time today isn't the only one where mid-grade leaders have had to remind the military that they needed to get back to fundementals, and that in the end, sound tactics work - if they are remembered.

The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli: Yes, another repeat read. I recommend it highly for anyone - especially if you have not read it before. Machiavelli has a lot to say for all of us, even if you only have to deal with your family.

The Last 7 Months of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer: This is a different take on the Anne Frank story. This interviews those who were in the camps with her, or in hiding with her and knew her the last 7 months she was alive. Highly recommended.

Matthew: Can you believe I have only read one book of the Gospel this year? 2007 must be a better year for me. One verse a week at Sunday School is not enough. Shame on me.

Prime Obsession by John Derbyshire: I am a huge fan of Derb, but I could not finish the book. I just am not that great enough with math to hold the line on the story of the Prime Number Theory, etc. I read 2/3. I read Matthew next. You figure it out. If you are a math dude, get the book. Otherwise, just listen to Derb's podcast.

No True Glory by Bing West: Want to know about the Battle of Fallujah? Want to respect LTG Mattis even more? Read this book. Highly recommended.

Islam by Karen Armstrong: Ungh. The ~30 pages of the book are fine. The rest is garbage. A full review is here.
Thought Ninme is lazy, there is a list worth youur time at PalmTreePundit's place. Anne rulz.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The next First Family

Can I be snarky? Paweezzeee? Ok, here we go.

You can tell a lot about people by the Christmas cards they send out. Especially those who have the picture of their brood on the front. Some do better than others. Some spend more than other. Some probably should have taken more pictures.

Being that I will most likely retire during the next Administration - the Fates will make sure that things will be all nightmare-like when I put away the un-I-form and try to get a real job. Therefore; I will walk into a, ahem, Democrat Presidential Administration.

Let's look at the front runners, via their 2006 Christmas cards, shall we?

(sung to the sound of "The Simpsons")

The Edwards

First of all, how can you expect to control the world's most powerful nation when you can't even control what your oldest child wears for the picture? Hon, I only say this because from one Southerner to another I care for you like you were a Cousin - Sis'tuh, you don't have the thighs to carry a mini-skirt. I mean, seriously; I can almost see the tender-vittles - not that I was trying to look or anything - but they are just stressing to try to grab the camera.

Now, Mama, we should have our picture taken with our eyes open. John has made a lot of money blaming OB-GYN for everything but toe-jam and saying that he knows what a child is thinking while in the womb - surely he can afford a few more minutes of the photographer's time to snap a few more pictures.

The two younger kids look about right. The middle child is fed-up with the younger - and the youngest (and only boy) is having a ball making the middle child fed-up. Nice, normal family on balance though.

The patriarch himself just looks bored, worn, and tired. Must be all the shoveling.

(said with the same inflection Forest Gump says "Al-a-bama")

The Obamas

Looks like Senator Obama still has "issues" with his ears. He has his head tilted to the right to minimize the starboard one, and his daughter is holding down the port one with her nogg'n. Mama seems to be self-conscience about her teeth - so the cartoonists can tease the family about Mom's teeth and Dad's ears and the rest of us can watch them implode.

The kids look standard issue and cute as a button. Like his campaign, the photo emphasized black-and-white, so get used to it. Quality work, but being that it is by uber-photographer Annie Liebovitz; he paid for it. At least they look presidential.

(grab your hair, wallet, guns, and health-care policy and with a Munch like face scream....)

The Clintons

What is there to say? Bill looks drunk and leering at the booty of some woman off camera. Chelsea is well medicated, and Senator Clinton really wants to be somewhere else - and really wants to make sure her maiden name is there somewhere.

BTW, what is it with the tropical theme inside, and the snow outside? The Feng Shui is all off. Oh, wait, I know. They want you to know that they have so much money they can take off for tropical vacations at Christmas. Now I get it. The Nuevo-Rich are so cute.

That's it. Obama has it. No experience, goofy Leftist - but he has it. Image will give you 50.1% of the mushy middle at a minimum. Ask Bob Dole.

Hat tip John J. Miller at The Corner - and TheDailyKos (yes, them).

The Carter Years explained

This video kind of shows why we should all try to avoid all things having to do with the Carter Administration.

Hat tip TheDawnPatrol.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Think of those he killed

Fullbore Friday

Remember: nothing is routine. No watch is standard. Combat will not wait for you to be ready. Place yourself on watch on the HMS Glowworm. You still are not happy going on liberty with "Glowworm" on your cover, but your nation is at war - and you suck it up. You have been detached from the main formation to look for a man overboard that in this water you know must be dead by now. After longer than you should, you give up the search and turn to return to your Task Force. You just received your second cup of tea for this watch....
...the Glowworm sighted a destroyer who when challenged, identified itself as Swedish. It was in fact the German von Röder class destroyer, Bernd Von Arnim, which very quickly opened fire, to which Glowworm responded. Unfortunately another German destroyer, the Paul Jakobi soon appeared. However, the Von Arnim was packed with invasion troops and soon both it and the Paul Jakobi turned and fled into a rainsquall. Lt Cdr Roope gave chase despite guessing that they were trying lead him onto their main force in an attempt to discover there whereabouts and inform the Admiralty.
Hiding in the showers, eh? Well, good Skipper, you head in as well - not to let Jerry get away from a proper battle. Then...
As the Glowworm emerged from the squall she came face-to-face with 14,000 ton the German Heavy Cruiser, Admiral Von Hipper armed with eight 8 inch and twelve 4 inch guns. The Glowworm laid smoke and conducted torpedo attacks from the cover of the smoke scrren but failed to hit the Hipper. Glowworm had sustained substantial damage by this time and Lt Cdr Roope gave the order 'Stand by to ram'. The Hipper, realising what was happening tried to turn and ram the Glowworm but was too slow. The Gllowworm tore into the starboard side of the Hipper amidships and tore 100 feet of armour plating away, damaged her starboard torpedo tubes and punctured two fresh water tanks. After ramming the Hipper, Glowworm drew clear, but received another close range salvo from the Hipper to which the single gun, commanded by Petty Officer Walter Scott responded. Glowworm by this time had sustained massive damaged and started to sink and Lt Cdr Roope gave the order to abandon ship. He went down to open the sea cocks himself and the ship started to sink, forcing men into the freezing water or onto her bow.
In the very Navy way the Germans fought at sea in WWII,
The Captain of the Hipper, Helmuth Heye, gallantly stayed for over an hour picking up survivors. He positioned Hipper so that the tidal currents would carry the survivors too them. All the personnel on deck helped with hauling survivors aboard but many were too exhausted to make the final effort of climbing up the ropes and ladders and slipped away, including Lt Cdr Roope who helped many of his men to get life jackets on and to get to ladders. Out of a crew of 149, only 31 survived, the only officerbeing Lt Robert Ramsey. The prisoners were treated well by the Germans who congratulated them on a good fight, and Captain Heye told the men that their Captain was a brave man.
You want class? Need 'professionalism' defined? I present to you two men, LCDR Roope and CAPT Heye (later VADM).
Later, Heye sent a message through the International Red Cross recommending Lt Cdr Roope for the Victoria Cross, the only time in British history that a VC has been recommended by the enemy. The survivors spent the rest of the war as PoWs and afterwards, Lt Ramsey was able to return home and tell the whole story. The story was published on the 10th July 1945, in the Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette for Friday, 6th July 1945. As a result, Lt Cdr Roope was awarded the Victoria Cross, Lt Ramsey the Distinguished Service Order and three other ratings received the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ethiopia continues to clean up Clinton's mess

Yea; that post title will excite the usual subjects.

Anyway, Bill Roggio has some good posts about the goings on in Hell's Horn.
Several American military and intelligence sources have informed us that the Ethiopians are not taking 'foreign' prisoners on the battlefield - al-Qaeda fighters are being summarily executed. Some advantages the Ethiopians possess over the United States is a willingness to use all means necessary to eliminate the ICU and al-Qaeda, and a willingness to ignore international condemnation for its actions.

The Ethiopians have signaled they may quickly withdrawal from Somalia and leave the TFG to deal with the aftermath. The Ethiopians should first ensure the ICU leadership has been decapitated and its forces in the field have been fully defeated, and the TFG can handle the security and follow on operations needed to stabilize Somalia. A precipitous withdrawal will only mean a future Ethiopian expedition to destroy the next iteration of the Islamic Courts.
Where has the ICU gone?
"Unconfirmed reports say that the ICU hardliners and its fighters have gone to Ras-kamboni, a small island in southern Somalia, the Islamist’s former base," notes SomaliNet.
What should we do from here.
If the Transitional Federal Government and the Ethiopians want to prevent the re-emergence of the Islamic Courts and an insurgency, they must pursue the Islamic Courts leaders and al-Qaeda and 'foreign fighter' operatives relentlessly. The geographic location of Somalia gives some hope of sealing the borders. Puntland, which is hostile to the Islamic Courts, lies to the north, Ethiopia to the west, Kenya to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east. Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa must mobilize all naval assets to prevent the exodus of Islamic Courts and al-Qaeda leaders from the region.
Where is a MEB when you need one?

China's President: build a powerful navy

Watch the Long Game - it is setting up right on schedule.
"We should strive to build a powerful navy that adapts to the needs of our military's historical mission in this new century and at this new stage," he said in comments splashed on the front pages of the party mouthpiece People's Daily and the People's Liberation Army Daily. "We should make sound preparations for military struggles and ensure that the forces can effectively carry out missions at any time," said Hu, pictured in green military garb for the occasion.

China's naval expansion includes a growing submarine fleet and new ships with "blue water" capability, fuelling fears in the United States that its military could alter the balance of power in Asia with consequences for Taiwan.

China has said it would attack if the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own formally declares independence.

Analysts say China sees a stronger navy as a way to secure energy supplies and seaborne trade routes to help ease security fears over supplies of resources and oil it needs to feed its booming economy.

Mogadishu falls

Well, that was quick.
Triumphant Somali government forces and their Ethiopian allies marched into Mogadishu on Thursday after Islamist rivals abandoned the war-scarred city they held for six months.

The flight of the Islamists was a dramatic turn-around in the volatile Horn of Africa nation after they took Mogadishu in June and spread across the south imposing sharia rule.

Terrified of yet more violence in a city that has become a byword for chaos, some Mogadishu residents greeted the arriving government troops, while others hid.

"People are cheering as they wave flowers to the troops," said resident Abdikadar Abdulle, adding scores of government military vehicles had passed the Somalia National University west of the city center
This a very good sign. I am sure there is plenty of fighting and dying to do, in that part of the world it never really stops, but it is better to have the Islamists on the run than moving forward.
"We have been defeated. I have removed my uniform. Most of my comrades have also changed into civilian clothes," one former SICC fighter told Reuters in the frantic port city.

The top news, photos, and videos of 2006. Full Coverage

"Most of our leaders have fled. I am no longer an Islamic Courts' soldier."
Good news. I'll take it.

Makes me proud to be an American

You have to love a country that can produce satire like this. Well, that is my take. Your's may differ.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Actions speak volumns

The background at Ben, HotTalk and Michelle's place:

There is a festival of snark over at BLACKFIVE you must see.

Me? I am just filled with pride.

21 guns: Four Flourishes: Eight Sideboys

Time to play Taps.

Render Honors: President Ford passed away. A good man who served his nation at a very difficult time. He was a good President as well - given the environment he had to work in.

He was also a Shipmate who served on the USS Monterey (CVL-26). A full report of his service here.

Boatswain; pipe President Ford "Over the Side."

If you live near a Navy base, expect some gunfire.
On the day after notification, one gun every half hour from 0800 until sunset, fired by all saluting ships not under way in U.S. ports, the senior saluting ship not under way in a foreign port, and all stations with saluting batteries. On the day of the funeral, 21 minute guns fired at noon.
H/T Bubblehead for some ideas.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On the 13th day of Christmas......

About right. Should be a good start to the new year.
An Iraqi appeals court today upheld a death sentence for Saddam Hussein in a decision that clears the way for his execution within 30 days, Iraqi officials said.

Ballsy Dutch girls

Wow. I had my oldest girl, close to their age, read this. That is what she said, "Wow." We should all hope we had daughters who could do this.
Sara and Ammar, two children who fled to the Dutch embassy in Damascus after their father abducted them, have returned to the Netherlands. This comes after months of diplomatic negotiation between the Netherlands and Syria. On hearing the news that they would be coming back, the childrens' mother, Janneke Schoonhoven, rejoiced: "This is going to be a very special Christmas that we will never forget."
Ammar (13) and Sara (11) were taken to Syria by their father some two and a half years ago. Their parents were already divorced, and the children were then living with their Dutch mother. After spending two years with their father in Syria, they fled to the Dutch embassy in Damascus, sparking a long period of intensive diplomatic negotiations to bring them back to the Netherlands.

The affair was legally complicated because the father refused to cooperate, arguing that the children should be allowed to stay with him. An additional difficulty was posed by the enormous difference between the legal systems of the Netherlands and Syria. Under Dutch law, custody of the children had been awarded to the mother after the divorce, but under Syrian family law - which is based on Islamic Sharia law - the father retains authority over any offspring. This means that, were Sara and Ammar to have left the embassy building, there father could have immediately claimed them.
Welcome back to the Free World. Welcome back from Sharia. What a great Christmas present.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas in Belgium

I hope one and all have a blessed Christmas. This will be short. First of all, I wish I was in Belgium for Christmas. Outside Lüttich (yes, I like the German spelling) and Brussels - it is a very beautiful and American friendly country. Lots of friendly, happy cows - and the people aren't too bad either. 1944 was a bit different. I recommend a nice short read from Joseph Morrison Skelly and Rich Lowry today to remember that no matter where you are for this Christmas - others have made it so that you most likely are warm, dry, well-fed, and free.

Jason is on the same kick.

Ethiopia joins the war

One heck of a way to get ready for Christmas. That ancient Christian nation of Ethiopia is going to war where the West dares not to treat - Islamists Somalia.
Ethiopia sent fighter jets into Somalia and bombed several towns Sunday in a dramatic attack on Somalia's powerful Islamic movement, and Ethiopia's prime minister said his country had been "forced to enter a war."

It was the first time Ethiopia acknowledged its troops were fighting in support of Somalia's U.N.-backed interim government even though witnesses had been reporting their presence for weeks in an escalating battle that threatens to engulf the Horn of Africa region.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi went on television to announce that his country was at war with the Islamic movement that wants to rule neighboring Somalia by the Quran.

"Our defense force has been forced to enter a war to defend (against) the attacks from extremists and anti-Ethiopian forces and to protect the sovereignty of the land," Meles said a few hours after his military attacked the Islamic militia with fighter jets and artillery.

No reliable casualty reports were immediately available.

Ethiopia, a largely Christian nation, supports Somalia's interim government, which has been losing ground to the Council of Islamic Courts for months.
This has the potential to widen into a regional war.
Eritrea, a bitter rival of Ethiopia, is backing the Islamic militia, and experts fear the conflict could draw in the volatile Horn of Africa region, which lies close to the Saudi Arabian peninsula and has seen a rise in Islamic extremism. A recent U.N. report said 10 nations have been illegally supplying arms and equipment to both sides in Somalia.

People living along Somalia's coast have reported seeing hundreds of foreign Muslims entering the country in answer to calls from the Islamic militia to fight a holy war against Ethiopia.
There is some more detail from the Australian press here.
Sunday saw the first use of airstrikes and Ethiopia's first public admission of its military involvement in Somalia, where the government is surrounded by fighters of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) backed by mortars and machineguns.

Earlier, Ethiopian Information Minister Berhan Hailu said the operation targeted several fronts including Dinsoor, Bandiradley and Baladwayne and the town of Buur Hakaba - close to the administration's encircled south-central base Baidoa.

Somalia's ambassador to Ethiopia Abdikarin Farah said government forces had killed 500 Islamist troops, most of them Eritreans, in two days of heavy fighting, but there was no independent confirmation of the death toll.

The Islamists say they have killed hundreds of pro-government troops, but aid agencies put the total number of dead at dozens.
I will say this about the Somali women: I wish we could get the American version outside Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Princton and Stanford.
Further north in Mogadishu, women and children gathered in a market to badger men walking along the streets to join the war.

"They told me to wear their clothes if I will not go to war," said Abdi Rashid. "They said I'm not a man, because all men are on the frontline, so I should wear women's clothes."
Yep. They know war. Somalia and Ethiopia have been at each other's throat before. Good report here. If you need a primer on the Ethiopian Air Force, this and this are good starts. Make sure and read the last couple of weeks or so over at EagleSpeak for more background on what is going on over at the HOA.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

So, Dems - like your political friends?

It is one thing to talk about the Left-Islamist Union (more in Europe than here) - but it is another to hear oneside talk about it. Funny, like two hyenas fighting over a carcass.
Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists.

In a portion of the tape from al Qaeda No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, made available only today, Zawahri says he has two messages for American Democrats.

"The first is that you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.
He knows his crowd.
Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help.

"And if you don't refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate," he said.
Sounds like he has been reading the Iraq Survey Group report as well. Truman would be so happy. CAPT Ed and Powerline have some good stuff as well.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fullbore Friday

They never sported anything more than 2 5"38s, struggled to make 18kts, but between them sported 37 battle stars. No question, Fullbore.

Above, the USS Kaskasia (AO-27) during WWII. Check out the Sailors on deck. That is earning your seapay.

Via at tip from Sid, some great stories about her an her unsung sisters; USS Cimarron (AO-22) and USS Neosho (AO-23). You owe it to yourself to at least visit the NEOSHO site. A great story.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sending a woman to do a man's job

Driving cars, giving directions, being astronauts. I give you Suni Willians, USN. Always remember what the Navy teaches you Shipmate: no excuses - take responsiblity - move on.


While I am being non-PC (the above is some Navy-2-Navy towel snapping grief; if you can take a joke get a life) - let's look at how the PC police have taken over NASA.

Quick, before they change things, go over to their web page here. It is funny, they always tell us they want Navy/Gov'mnt/NASA etc to "look like America." Well, according to NASAs Astronauts, America has nothing but women and black men. And no, it isn't by accident. I have received my marching orders before on official picture selection. This stuff is done on purpose by small people with small ideas driven by fear and bad, destructive ideology.

Aw, heck. I'll do a screen cap for you on the right. If it wasn't so partonizing and obvious it would be pathetic. Stop picking the scab.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Poseur's Appeal for Peace

Drudge offers this link that based on an article from The Nation will take you to "The Appeal for Redress from the War." The first link is kind of funny from the military perspective being that some of the entries are obviously poseurs. At the Appeal site, it states that it,
Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.

The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.

As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.

If you agree with this message, click here.

The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.

Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members click here.

Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.

Click here to send the Appeal to your elected representatives.
Well, want to see how accurate their "appeal" is? Click here to see what you have to do to 'appeal." They quote over 1,000. I would take that number with a shot-cup full of rock-salt.

Yep, any shmuck out there can fill it out and claim they are in the military. Anyone who takes this seriously is a fool. Sure a few would be ligit, but I would love to see the whole list bounced off ligit service members.


Some are ligit though. One of the people quoted is,
Navy Lieut. Cmdr. Mark Dearden of San Diego, for example, enlisted in 1997 and is still pondering the possibility of a lifetime career. "So this was a very difficult decision for me to come to. I don't take this decision lightly," he says. But after two "tough" deployments in Iraq, Dearden says signing the Appeal was not only the right thing to do but also gave him personal "closure."

"I'm expressing a right of people in the military to contact their elected representatives, and I have done nothing illegal or disrespectful," Dearden adds.
As you can see here, he is who he says he is. I guess he is a freshly minted LCDR as all I see is LT. Yes, The Nation is lazy in that officers don't "enlist," and LCDR Dearden is a Navy Doctor. That would have been nice information. I don't know why he is so breathless about "illegal or disrespectful." People write their Congressman all the time. Ask any N1. Yawn.

Before you get too excited - this is a classic case of what Greyhawk calls Astroturfing. Click here to get all the information you will ever need to know about Hutto who started it all and his crew. I'll give you a taste.
Jonathan Hutto graduated from Howard University with a degree in political science and a résumé of social activism.

He worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International after college. He whipped up grass-roots protests against police departments and college administrators.

One day in 2003, broke and seeking direction, Hutto enlisted in the Navy.
Greyhawks post has more juicy stuff. MUST READ!! Yea, I know; he is Navy.

James Baker goes to Iran

Well, from the maker of Airplane!, there is this take on the Iraq Study Group.

Norway's rape crisis

I read this first at The Brussels Journal then LGF - but this is a problem your standard-issue voter in Brussels, Paris, and Oslo talks about in private - but they are so scared of having the PC police call them a fascist they dare not say out loud.
Two out of three charged with rape in Norway's capital are immigrants with a non-western background according to a police study. The number of rape cases is also rising steadily.The study is the first where the crime statistics have been analyzed according to ethnic origin. Of the 111 charged with rape in Oslo last year, 72 were of non-western ethnic origin, 25 are classified as Norwegian or western and 14 are listed as unknown.

Rape charges in the capital are spiraling upwards, 40 percent higher from 1999 to 2000 and up 13 percent so far this year.

Nine out of ten cases do not make it to prosecution, most of them because police do not believe the evidence is sufficient to reach a conviction.

Police Inspector Gunnar Larsen of Oslo's Vice, Robbery and Violent crime division says the statistics are surprising - the rising number of rape cases and the link to ethnic background are both clear trends. But Larsen does not want to speculate on the reasons behind the worrying developments.

While 65 percent of those charged with rape are classed as coming from a non-western background, this segment makes up only 14.3 percent of Oslo's population. Norwegian women were the victims in 80 percent of the cases, with 20 percent being women of foreign background.

Larsen said that since this was the initial study examining ethnic make-up there were no existing figures to put the numbers into context.

"Meanwhile, it is our general experience that this is an increasing tendency. We note this by the number of time we need to use interpreters in the course of an investigation," Larsen said.
What is it with those stats? And the police is too afraid to call a spade a spade - one that everyone knows? Not a mature and stable situation. Where are the marches? Where is the public outcry?

There is hope, perhaps. From what I hear and watching the voting changes in Denmark and even Sweden, the head-in-the-sand attitude is slowly changing. They need to go faster though. A culture whose men will not come to the defense of their wives, sisters, and daughters is a culture that will not last.

New dollar coin: stillborn

I had great hopes for the new dollar coin. The last two failed because they were neither larger and or much thicker than the quarter. Being that we all know that - do you think we would try again to get it right?
The presidential dollar coin will be similar in size and color to the Sacagawea, but will bear no inscription on the obverse or face side. "In God We Trust", "E Pluribus Unum", the issue year and the mint mark will appear on the edge.
It has to have George on front. This is good - but being that the Baby Boomer "everyone gets a trophy" people run everything, they are going to have ALL the dead Presidents on it.
The new dollars are set to feature the past Presidents of the United States in order from George Washington to Richard M. Nixon. Instead of a textured or ridged edge, the smooth rim will now hold such features as the mintmark, the date of striking, and the mottos "“In God We Trust"” and "E Pluribus Unum."” The design change is intended to allow space for larger portraits of the Presidents on the obverse side, and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse.

For the first time the coin will say "$1"” instead of "“One Dollar."”

The criteria for the presidents is that they must have been dead two years to be featured, so the current list will end at Richard M. Nixon. Grover Cleveland will actually be featured on two different coins because he held office in two non-consecutive terms.
Don't these people travel? Give a feel to the 1 or 2 Euro coin (i.e. thicker by look and feel than a quarter). The Norwegian 5-Kroner. Heck, the old 10 Franc. Something better and this could work.
"As long as we have the paper currency out there, dollar coins will never be successful," Gillis said. "We're going to have to discard the $1 bill or mass produce so many of these coins so they'll be out there at retailers."
Well, some places are getting rid of the $1 bill. I am not along, this guy is mad as well. What a lost opportunity. We can do better. Even the Turkish Lira coins make sense. But, I don't think these fools are focused on the real reason we have a currency.
The Mint is hoping the continually changing faces will entice consumers to break their traditional reluctance to use dollar coins.

"We think Americans are going to want to collect the series, and that will drive the coins through the economy," said U.S. Mint Director Edmund Moy.
Yes, that is what they think of the American public.

Well, that is how we delt with "The German Problem."

In some ways, the majority opinion of the American public prior to our entry into WWI, and then from post-Versailles to 06 DEC 41 towards the always flinty Europeans was "let them fight it out and kill each other. We'll trade with the last man standing."

Some, like Diana West are thinking the same about the Shi'ite - Sunni conflict. First she dismisses, with good reason, her Option 1,
The first option is military, but it carries a seemingly insurmountable cultural override. The fact is, the United States has an arsenal that could obliterate any jihad threat in the region once and for all, whether that threat is bands of IED-exploding "insurgents" in Ramadi, the deadly so-called Mahdi Army in Sadr City, or genocidal maniacs in Tehran. In other words, it's a disgrace for military brass to talk about the 21st-century struggle with Islam as necessarily being a 50- to 100-year war. Ridiculous. It could be over in two weeks if we cared enough to blast our way off the list of endangered civilizations.

As a culture, however, the West is paralyzed by the specter of civilian casualties, massive or not, that accompanies modern (not high-tech) warfare, and fights accordingly. It may well have been massive civilian casualties in Germany (40,000 dead in Hamburg after one cataclysmic night of "fire-bombing" in 1943, for example) and Japan that helped end World War II in an Allied victory. But this is a price I doubt any Western power would pay for victory today.

So, the military solution — which isn't the same as boosting ROE-cuffed troop levels in Baghdad — is out, unless or until our desperation level rises to some unsupportably manic level. The great paradox of the "war on terror," of course, is that as our capacity and desire to protect civilians in warfare grows, our enemy's capacity and desire to kill civilians as a means of warfare grows also. Our fathers saved us from having to say, "Sieg Heil," but what's next — "Allahu akbar"?
That would take another 911+ to politically made this a go. But then she offers Option 2.
There's another Middle Eastern strategy to deter expansionist Islam: Get out of the way. Get out of the way of Sunnis and Shi'ites killing each other. As a sectarian conflict more than 1,000 years old, this is not only one fight we didn't start, but it's one we can't end. And why should we? If Iran, the jihad-supporting leader of the Shi'ite world, is being "strangled" by Saudi Arabia, the jihad-supporting leader of the Sunni world, isn't that good for the Sunni-and-Shiite-terrorized West?

With the two main sects of Islam preoccupied with an internecine battle of epic proportions, the non-Muslim world gets some breathing room. And we sure could use it — to plan for the next round.
Interesting concept, but being that between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, the oil the entire world needs it there. Not a good idea. With the economic blow back making the 1930s look like the 1990s, what would come out the other end is probably something we would wish we never had.

Back to the drawing board Diana.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Reploy where? For what peace?

Last week Bill Gertz interviewed USAF BG Schissler who is thinking along the same lines I have, since, well, the USS COLE bombing.
"We're in a generational war. You can try and fight the enemy where they are and where they're attacking you, or prevent them and defend your own homeland," said Gen. Schissler, deputy director for the war on terrorism within the strategic plans office of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

"But that's not enough to stop it. We've got to break the chain, and that's ... the ideology. We really need to show the errors in Islamist extremist thinking."

Gen. Schissler said he is concerned that Washington politics is weakening the will of the nation.
"I don't care about the politics. I care about people understanding the facts of what's our enemy is thinking about, what's our strategy to defeat them, and for [Americans] to understand that it will take a long fight, mostly because our enemy is committed to the long fight," he said. "They're absolutely committed to the 50-, 100-year plan."

"One of my concerns is how to maintain the American will, the public will over that duration," he said.
This war and this enemy isn't going anywhere. In 50 years, there is a better than 50% chance if Europe doesn't change both its immigration and birth rate habits - and we retreat - that large parts of Europe will no longer be reliable parts of the West. Watch Rotterdam, Brussels, Malmo and parts of the UK and France to go first. The more they expand, the more aggressive they will become. And unless we get to energy independence - they will always have us by the short hairs. You can elect nothing but Clintons, Obamas, Feingolds, and Sanders for the next 50 years and it won't make a difference. Retreat, and the battle will come to you.

My daughters know to expect wars. Do yours? Do your sons? Do you? They are prepared. How is your house?

You cannot negotiate with it. You cannot reason with it. You can only destroy it. BG Schissler gets it.


Israel in NATO?

Some bad ideas just keep coming back. Every few months you see this trial baloon go up. This time it is recycled in the WashTimes.
Growing instability across the Middle East has prompted foreign policy think tanks to brainstorm ways to stabilize that region. One idea circulating in Washington last week called for admitting Israel into NATO.

At least one analyst thinks NATO membership could provide security to Israel, help settle the Israel-Palestinian border and make the alliance a stabilizing force in the region.
Why recycled?
Ralf Fuecks is the president of the Berlin-based Heinrich Boll Foundation, an independent organization affiliated with the German Green Party. He suggested at a conference Wednesday that Israel be offered membership in NATO on the condition that it resume negotiations for a two-state solution with the Palestinians and agree to a nuclear-free zone linked to security guarantees for Israel.
Ole Ralf is a one trick pony. He floated this in the summer in a couple of places. Even on video.

No reason to spend too much time on this. First of all, when you look at the complete joke the Alliance is making in Afghanistan where only some countries will do any fighting - Israel has no reason to believe that nations like France, Spain, or Belgium will put their few young men on the line to same the Jooooosssss. They will not let themselves wait for an Article 5 action or something less as the debate club lets them go the way of the Africans of Sudan's Darfur. Does anyone think Greek soldiers are going to die for Israel? France is going to stand up Syria or Egypt? Italian frigates going to shell Alexandria?

Secondly, do you think that the poorly-hidden anti-Semetic/anti-Zionist Europeans or Turkey want Israel to join their club? No, not in my experience. I have had very normal, non-anti-semites from The Netherlands, Germany, and France who have said such things as, "America should just give Israel part of their Southwest, move them all there and let the Arabs have Palestine." or "The problem is that you have such a powerful pro-Israel lobby in the US. We just don't have that problem in out political system, so we have a more honest view of the issue."

They just don't get it. Nor do they catch the irony of the lack of a pro-Israel lobby in Europe.

Executive summary: deadend idea.

MCPON Campa - getting better and better

The new Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy hasn't adopted the entire "Salamander Agenda," but he is getting real close. What more than praise and support can you give a MCPON in the post-Scott era who says,
In another change, he’s scrapped what had been called the CNO/MCPON leadership panel and established instead the MCPON’s Leadership Mess.

“That panel and the way it was, no longer exists,” he said. “
As a command master chief, I have no idea how to run a panel, but I do know how to run a mess, and that’s what it will be from here on out.”
He also is going to get rid of that silly "CNO Designated CMC" thingy.
The Navy will phase out the title of Chief of Naval Operations-designated command master chief, according to Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (FMF/SW) Joe Campa.

Now, those master chiefs will revert back to the title of command master chief. The decision is part of Campa’s attempt to re-energize the Navy’s collective chiefs’ mess.

“This is just the beginning,” Campa said. “There will be more changes coming after the first of the year.”

The changes will be made official by the end of January, when the revision to the command master chief OpNav instruction is released. A cutoff date will be set for all CNO-designated command master chiefs to revert their titles to CMC. This means they will again use the rating designation of CmdCM.

The title, Campa said, was established in the early 1990s to identify command master chiefs who work for flag officers who report directly to the chief of naval operations or have unique regional responsibilities.
Thank goodness. The best Chiefs I have ever known just wanted to be know as "Chief," as there could be nothing greater or more honored thing they could be called. Same as calling a Senior Chief "Senior," or a Master Chief, CMDCM or otherwise, "Master Chief."

I look forward to seeing the rest. If he came out and said, "Screw TFU. E6 and below will wear grey shirts and we will adopt the Army's new combat uniform instead of the Navy's unique uniform. Oh, and if the nukes want poopy suits, fine with me." .... all would be perfect in the world.

VADM Rempt - petard; some assembly req'd

In the Sunday WaPo, the USNA Sup., VADM Rempt, is just torn apart. I do feel sorry for the man, as this nightmare is in many respects of his own creation. The road to his h311 is paved with nice, pink, NOW endorsed bricks. Well beyond him, however, it is the collateral damage that bothers me, the damage to the crediblity to the USNA as an institution, and the newly minted Ensigns and 2LT male and female coming out of it. You should read it all, but let's look at the meaty parts.

I think we have a view of the problem. As reported, what was one of the highest priorities for his selection?
In the eye of the storm is Rempt, who came to the academy with a reputation as a leader in advancing the role of women in the military.
If you go to the end of this video, is that what he had in mind? And where has that gotten us?
"The Owens case, I think, stands at the heart of what many and most alumni hold dear: honor and integrity," said Pete Savage, a 1963 graduate involved in the campaign.

On Friday, the academy said Rempt has removed himself from any further consideration of Owens's legal case. Typically, he would have to affirm convictions for lesser offenses, which in this case are conduct unbecoming an officer and violating a military protective order.

In a written statement, an academy spokesman said Rempt had "voluntarily relinquished his role" after Owens's defense team raised the allegations, which the statement called "untrue," about "an appearance of a lack of neutrality."

But the statement did not say whether Rempt will remove himself from the administrative decision on Owens's future in the Navy, a move that Owens's attorney, Reid H. Weingarten, is pursuing.

The alumni argue that Rempt's overzealousness in prosecuting high-profile sexual assault cases is part of his effort to advance an agenda designed to appease Congress and women's groups demanding a crackdown on sexual assault and harassment at military academies.
Oh, and something ugly that I called at the start of this has come to the front. This acid is being thrown in the Navy's face. Earned, or in this case, not.
They say that in unjustly targeting a prominent black midshipman who was a leader not only on the gridiron but also in church, Rempt has unintentionally set back another social cause: the advancement of African Americans in the Navy.
Without the race card it is nasty.
A jury of five naval officers dismissed the rape charge, and although it convicted Owens on the two lesser charges, decided not to dismiss Owens from the Navy or reprimand him.

Without a rape conviction, supporters say, Owens was guilty of breaking academy rules and should have been allowed to continue his military career after facing -- at worst -- discipline for what, in light of the jury's decision, could only be inferred as consensual sex in a dorm room.

"He should be treated as a midshipman who committed an error of bad judgment for two minutes," Weingarten said. "Juxtapose the Navy's treatment of Lamar with the treatment of the women in this case, all of who were serial violators of academy rules."

The accuser and other witnesses in the case, who admitted to underage drinking, were given immunity in exchange for their testimony.

Before the case went to trial, Rempt was faulted by a Navy judge for e-mails sent to the school community that the judge said insinuated Owens's guilt in the alleged rape.

After the conviction, word spread among alumni that the superintendent was not willing to let the case go. Peter Optekar, a former Navy football player, recounted a conversation he and three other alumni had with Rempt at an Idaho barbecue last summer.

"Admiral, now that Lamar is found not guilty of rape, are you going to graduate him, commission him and let him get on to his life?" Optekar recalled asking.

"I don't think so," Rempt responded, and he threw his hands up in the air, Optekar recounted in an interview and in a letter to Rempt. He said Rempt then told of the emotional trauma suffered by the female midshipman and other details of the case.

"What that told me was that he was so emotionally tied into this thing that he was not fair and impartial," Optekar said. "We were stunned."
There is a lot more out there than just MIDN Ownes. There is also this jewel.
Critics say Rempt's changes also have generated unwanted publicity for his zealous handling of high-profile cases. This week, a former Navy football player accused of drugging and raping two female midshipmen is back in court after key evidence was called into question.

William M. Ferris, an attorney for former linebacker Kenny Ray Morrison, 24, said prosecutors informed him that follow-up tests showed no traces of the date rape drug GHB in either of the victims' hair. Calling the case "a travesty," Ferris said the Navy has persisted in pressing "charges that apparently cannot be supported by the evidence."
Here is another. Is this leadership and knowing your Midshipmen?
About 2 percent of midshipmen given random breath tests this school year were found to have been drinking alcohol, according to academy officials. Meanwhile, surveys showed approval ratings were steadily improving from female, as well as male, midshipmen on such issues as whether the academy provides "a positive environment for women."
As usual, larger problems are often reflected in the minor details.
The case has also exposed a fault line of opposition from alumni who believe academy standards have been lowered under Rempt's watch. They point not only to high-profile cases involving drinking and sexual indiscretions but also to a general lack of decorum displayed on a much-viewed Internet video of midshipmen marching through the streets of Annapolis on the way to a recent Navy football game, appearing -- in the words of one alumnus who commented online -- like "undisciplined louts in uniform."
I think they are talking about this video. Or this grabasstic display (what is it with MD anti-semites and the fact that only the band and the 4/C MIDN even were close to looking professional?). However, I think much a much better view would be this contrast between the Army and Navy in the same venue. Not that the MIDN are not trained to do better, they are. Details.

I think this USNA Alumni hits the right note.
Curt Hartman, a 1987 alumnus, said that although he had not formed an opinion about the case, he did not think it was fair for Owens to be "stuck with Admiral Rempt wallowing in indecision."

"My problem with Rempt is he's not making a decision, and he's setting a poor example for midshipmen. I think there's a systemic problem with Rempt . . . being so preoccupied with placating this special interest group or that special interest group."
Let's not even talk about the Kafkaesque experience of LT Black. If you want to read some "out of the box" thinking on USNA and Nifong overlap, read some of the posts here. Hmmmm.

VodkaPundit returns!

If you were a regular reader and fan of VodkaPundit, you must have been wondering as I had what happened to Steve. His post were getting fewer and then stopped. I was afraid he was going to go the way of TheDutchReport (BTW, I still don't know what happened there).

Anyway, head on over to his place and let him tell his story. If you are so inclined, throw a prayer in for him and his family - and welcome him back on the road to health.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday music stop

Lloyd Cole has a new CD out. You can skip track 1, but the rest works for a fan - though to be honest he does a lot of recycling - but who doesn't. He has it streaming at the link. I recommend Rolodex Incident.
As the title suggests, Lloyd Cole's new full length delivers 11 songs that delicately mix sadness with a revitalized happiness. A cult fave for 20 years, Lloyd Cole's lyrical gifts are always on full display, with the New York Times observing on a recent Cole live set, "playing songs by Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen among his own, he tactfully demonstrated that his work could stand alongside theirs..." Lloyd cole fans both new and old will agree that 'Antidepressant' serves as a proud addition to his discography.

Cole's previous album, 2003's acclaimed 'Music In A Foreign Language' was the result of the singer honing an acoustic set around the world, written over the course of 5 years and revealing Cole as a consummate folk guitarist and a sharp observer of the onset of mid-life. Cole's seminal group The Commotions reunited, briefly, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of 'Rattlesnakes', and then it was back to Cole's New England hideaway to start work on a new album.

"I sat down and realized that all the musical ideas I had were considerably jauntier than I wished they were - it kind of annoyed me," laughs Cole. "But you can't decide how creativity hits you and a lot of the ideas were, ironically, the kind of songs that maybe a band like The Commotions would have done."

Working largely alone - Cole plays drums, guitar and keyboards on Antidepressant - he planned to follow Tom Waits' modus operandi, setting aside four months to write and record the album. "My four months ending up being 18! It was exciting and draining at the same time, but half way through I knew I had the sound that I wanted, an amalgam of electronic and acoustic sounds," he says, adding, "looking back, perhaps I bit off more than I could chew on my was difficult being producer and musician. I certainly won't do that again!"

Despite the arduous recording process, 'Antidepressant' contains some of Cole's best work to date. The gorgeous, string-driven 'NYC Sunshine' evoking streets full of "junkies and millionaires", the gentle acoustic thrum of 'How Wrong Can You Be?', the stock market palare of 'The Young Idealists' and the lyrically poignant 'Woman In A Bar', " longer driven to distraction, not even by Scarlett Johansson."
Former Commotion, Neil Clark, provides slide guitar along with contributions from Kevin O'Rourke, Hurcules' Peter Baldwin, Jill Sobule, Dave Derby and the string arrangements of King Radio's Dave Trenholm.

The album's title is another double-edged sword, as Lloyd explains. "Well an antidepressant is a pill that makes you feel better, but the existence of an antidepressant signifies the existence of depression."

Cole sums up the themes of this new record by observing, "the songs I'm writing these days tend to be about mid-life," he concludes. "I've always felt the music that I do works in the same way as blues or country music, in that you generally sing about things not going that well. It helps people get over things like that in their lives and somehow find enjoyment or closure on some issues. I get that listening to Tindersticks or Tom Waits and I know that's the area of music that I'm in. It's unlikely that I'll be writing for the Ronettes anytime soon."

Having played South Africa for the first time recently - where Cole survived being bitten on his strumming arm by a lion ("well it only needs to hold a pick") - Lloyd will be touring the US to promote "Antidepressant" in November and December.
He is aging gracefully, his voice and style is holding up well, and he looks like he could be my slightly older brother, with an extra 20 pounds. Or PalmPilot's brother. (sorry Anne, couldn't help myself)

As a side-bar; I think I have found Chap's new girlfriend. More of her here and here.

Horseshoes and hand grenades

First of all, thanks for all the support during the Weblog Awards voting - especially EagleSpeak, BLACKFIVE, NeptunusLex, Ninme, Argghhh!!!, TheRandomYak, Martin Andrade, and others I may have missed who linked/endorsed CDR Salamander. Just as important are those who put up with my "vote-for-me" reminders and took the time to vote as often as they did. In the end, we came in 3rd with 21.49 % (751). Second place was TheDebateLink with 22.93 % (801), and coming out "on top" where she prefers to be, is my newest girl-in-every-port, Miss Al-a-bama BlueGal. Though we don't agree on much besides her hotness, she does a good job on her site. Both #1 and #2 are Left-of-center blogs with a general topic spread. When I consider that (with a push by EagleSpeak's and Martin Andrade's voters, thanks guys) in the Flappy Bird grouping I came represent the Right side of the equation, that is quite humbling considering the quality blogs in the group - and the fact that I try to keep this at least 50% Navy/military related that narrow-casts a bit - though I know that I drift off more than some of my most loyal readers like.

So, in summary - again - THANKS ALL!!! Considering that the Right doesn't get into the group-play/group-vote thingy as well as the Left - I think everything went very well.

As a side-bar, this PodCast from Martin Andrade Blogs just nails the Iraq Surrender Report (10% I don't agree with - but 90% is solid). This guy is good. Go to his spot and pay him for a visit. I just added him to my blogroll.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Your mother wears combat boots...

..and she is packing heat.
Spc. Craig A. Wayman promoted his mother, CWO4 Wendy A. Wayman to her current rank, then she turned around and promoted her son to specialist. Wendy serves with the Multi-National Corps-Iraq; Craig is assigned to Troop C, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, also in Iraq.
What a great story. You know he catches grief for his mom...but in a good way. Oh, wouldn't this be a nice story for CNN.....

Last chance to vote!

The 2006 Weblog Awards

Hat tip Andi at MilBlogs.

Sen. Obama; about your ears....

Man, oh Manishevitz - the '08 race is going to be fun to watch. From Rush (I know, but he is just reporting it)
Obama up in New Hampshire being treated like a god making a speech. Now, apparently before he made the speech, Maureen Dowd had written something about his big ears. Obama, after the speech, made a beeline for Maureen Dowd who was in the audience to tell her that he didn't appreciate her writing about his big ears. Now, there's a lot of noise here and it's very muddy. I'll translate it for you, but here's how it sounded.

OBAMA (off mic): You talked about my ears, and I just want to put you on notice: I'm very sensitive about -- What I told them was, ''I was teased relentlessly when I was a kid about my big ears.'"

Welcome to varsity football Senator. Get a thicker skin, and don't give away your "tender bits." If you think MoDo's ear comment and the return of your own little Rezko whispering campaign is bad - you haven't seen anything yet. Sen. Clinton's SPECOPS and irregular warfare teams haven't even started to go at you.

Last chance to vote! A very gracious Shipmate Eagle1 as offered his support even - we need a big push today, as we are third.

Hat tip Drudge.

The 2006 Weblog Awards

Fullbore Friday

USS New York (CA-2). Also ACR-2 for some of you. Why her? Well, she is one of the ships I can say I have see the "professional work" of. She participated in shelling of El Morro Castle at San Juan, Puerto Rico on 12 May 1898 during the Spanish American War and participated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba. In taking the tour of El Morro Castle, they point out all the places where the ships hit the castle. Pretty neat stuff.

Speaking of New York, did you know they have a no kidding, official
Naval Militia? More neat stuff.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Ah, yes...I can hear her now.
Noting that the United States sent several Phalanx anti missile systems to Iraq last year, to protect the Green Zone from rocket and mortar attack, Canada is considering taking Phalanx systems from some of its warships, and shipping them to Afghanistan, to protect the Canadian base at Kandahar. The Canadian Phalanx systems will need some new software, which the Americans are apparently willing to provide.

Another pitch for voting! Still a goofy schedule that only gives me about 20 minutes of computer time a day, so sorry for the light posting. How about a sympathy vote! Click the banner and vote every day through the 15th!

"Just needs more salt"

Of course, because you are already close to perfect when you have Chicken Fried Bacon.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Riverine procurement - Alpha Foxtrot Uniform

Coming up on three years since we invaded a nation with one of the world's major Riverine systems, two years since I asked the question, and over a year since the CNO said, "Go," our Riverine forces are still not in the fight. Sure, they are scheduled and equipped, as covered here and other places - but things have just seems too slow, and disjointed.
The first of three riverine squadrons is scheduled to deploy to Iraq sometime early in 2007.

The deployment will mark the first time since Vietnam’s swift-boat era that the Navy has patrolled inland waterways. In Iraq, until now, that mission has been performed largely by Marines, but the leathernecks are needed more urgently for ground combat.

Each squadron, when it stands up, will consist of about 220 officers, petty officers and enlisted sailors and 12 boats. Their mission will include making ports more secure and cutting the lines of communications for terrorists, pirates and drug smugglers.

For the time being, they are being trained by Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., because the Navy command currently doesn’t have either a suitable training center or the right kinds of boats.

In September, 60 sailors from Riverine Squadron One, preparing for deployment, completed a seven-week coxswain course, learning the basics of maneuvering small, armed boats on narrow waterways.

Five-man crews, consisting of a captain, coxswain, an aft and bow gunners with .50 caliber machines guns and two mid-ship gunners with 7.62 mm machine guns, learn to operate their craft at speeds exceeding 35 knots.

Sailors train on two types of boats. The small unit riverine craft is 38-feet long, and can carry up to 16 combat-loaded troops. The riverine assault craft is 34 feet, 11 inches in length and can carry up to 15 passengers. Both have a range of about 250 nautical miles. They can fit into a C-130 transport aircraft for rapid deployment.

This explains part of the problem. Congress is not helping - neither is the Potomac Flotilla.
Critics on Capitol Hill are worried about the speed with which all of this is happening. The House Armed Services Committee, in its report on the 2007 defense authorization bill earlier this year, said it “remains concerned with the maturity of the operational concept” of the unit “and has reservations about the rapid pace of its development.”

The committee urged the Navy to develop its operational requirements for the command more fully. It also encouraged the service to investigate options for advanced composite hulls for the specialized missions that the unit will be required to perform.

Such hulls, the committee said, could provide the Navy with the technology for critical capabilities in speed, weight, draft, stability, wake and g-force reduction. The committee recommended a $10 million increase in funding to develop and build a prototype advanced composite riverine craft.

Retired Capt. Pete Frothingham, director of warfare requirements, programs and plans, conceded the Navy could have done a better job in explaining what these units would do and why they are needed. “One of the pitfalls in standing up a command very quickly was that we didn’t get out early on and explain it as clearly as we should,” he said. “That’s now understood. We’ve been doing a lot of show-and-tell.”

As for an advanced composite riverine craft, the Navy is investigating that possibility, Frothingham said. One candidate that the service is eyeing closely is called Stiletto. It is a high-speed, carbon fiber-reinforced craft that the command is testing.

Made by M Ship Co. of San Diego, Calif., Stiletto is an 88-by-44 foot rectangular box, with one panel of windows and few protruding antennas, which makes it hard to detect. It can travel at speeds up to 55 knots with a range of 500 nautical miles. Its hull design increases stability and maneuverability in shallow waters, according to company officials.

At present, however, the Navy has made no commitment to Stiletto, Frothingham emphasized. “There are a lot of other craft out there,” he said. “We’re looking at a number of them.”

Advanced composites offer great potential, he added. “They aren’t cheap, but big screen TVs weren’t either when they first came out. Eventually, prices came down. Maybe that will happen with advanced composites, too.”

Complete insanity. Composite hulls that cannot be field repaired. Huge Stiletto type hulls that cannot go up most main rivers, much less tributaries. We do not need hyper expensive hulls made out of exotic materials that cannot be repaired by a GM3 in three house with gear the boat has with it. We do not need boats for "specialized missions." We need Riverine warfare craft.

Riverine warfare is the Navy version of clearing a city block by block. Little has changed in the last century outside of COTS equipment and other incremental changes in the tools we use. This isn't rocket science. This shouldn't take this long. This is a Navy and national disgrace. Period. Don't even try to spin this. Look at what the Army and Marines have done in the last half decade. WE need to fix this. This is OUR problem. Faster, better. We are better than this.

The peacetime, bureaucratic priorities of this are stunningly 180deg out of phase, and would be funny if they weren't so non-focused on the warfighting requirments.
Meanwhile, the Navy continues to institutionalize the command. This summer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen approved the expeditionary specialist qualification program and a new pin for graduates of the program to wear with their uniforms.

To qualify, sailors must complete a set of training including marksmanship, weapons maintenance, land navigation, field communications and expertise in setting up expeditionary camps.

The program and pin are part of an effort to establish a career path within the field of expeditionary warfare, similar to that with the submarine and naval aviation communities, and thus encourage recruitment, promotion and retention of sailors, Frothingham said.
Is this it? We have built a monster of a staff and tail in area code 757 to "support" Riverine Warfare - and this is it? This was a chance to demonstrate "Transformation." It does demonstrate a transformation; but not what we want.
Another pitch for voting! Also, I have a goofy schedule (note the post time) through Friday, so if posting seems spotty - it because I'm earning my gov'munt paycheck. Click the banner and vote every day through the 15th!

The 2006 Weblog Awards