Monday, April 30, 2007

Yingling babblefest

First of all, I always giggle when I see his name, because I am reminded of one of my favorite cheap beers. Anyway.

I know I am showing up late to the discussion - but to be honest - I didn't see the shocking nature of his article. I saw Bubblehead mention it on MilBlogs, kind of yawned and moved on. There just didn't seem to be much "there" there. But, after bouncing around the MilBlog world - where tough questions and observations are the norm - I missed this one point: this is a Gannett driven attack.

Ah ha - the MSM being too clever by half. Duh, silly me. It is a reminder though that MilBlogs can say the same thing over and over - but it is hard to get your word heard on the A-team unless you have MSM push, or you can be spun in "the correct manner."

Why did I not feel the need this weekend to come in from working on my garden and playing with the family? Well, here we go:

- The opening is a "job of the General 101" review of what a Go/FO's job is. Nice review, and nothing shocking.
After visualizing the conditions of future combat, the general is responsible for explaining to civilian policymakers the demands of future combat and the risks entailed in failing to meet those demands. Civilian policymakers have neither the expertise nor the inclination to think deeply about strategic probabilities in the distant future. Policymakers, especially elected representatives, face powerful incentives to focus on near-term challenges that are of immediate concern to the public. Generating military capability is the labor of decades. If the general waits until the public and its elected representatives are immediately concerned with national security threats before finding his voice, he has waited too long. The general who speaks too loudly of preparing for war while the nation is at peace places at risk his position and status. However, the general who speaks too softly places at risk the security of his country.
Very nice, very true, and very much in line with what has been going on for thousands of years. Good to review though, as very few study history like they should.

- The next bit is almost paraphrased from bits of Nagl's Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and Ricks' Fiasco.
Despite the experience of their allies and the urging of their president, America's generals failed to prepare their forces for counterinsurgency. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Decker assured his young president, "Any good soldier can handle guerrillas." Despite Kennedy's guidance to the contrary, the Army viewed the conflict in Vietnam in conventional terms. As late as 1964, Gen. Earle Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated flatly that "the essence of the problem in Vietnam is military." While the Army made minor organizational adjustments at the urging of the president, the generals clung to what Andrew Krepinevich has called "the Army concept," a vision of warfare focused on the destruction of the enemy's forces.
That's Nagl.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) estimated in its 1998 war plan that 380,000 troops would be necessary for an invasion of Iraq. Using operations in Bosnia and Kosovo as a model for predicting troop requirements, one Army study estimated a need for 470,000 troops. Alone among America's generals, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki publicly stated that "several hundred thousand soldiers" would be necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. Prior to the war, President Bush promised to give field commanders everything necessary for victory. Privately, many senior general officers both active and retired expressed serious misgivings about the insufficiency of forces for Iraq. These leaders would later express their concerns in tell-all books such as "Fiasco" and "Cobra II." However, when the U.S. went to war in Iraq with less than half the strength required to win, these leaders did not make their objections public.
That's Ricks.

- So, at this point we have a history review and some paraphrasing of two books that everyone should have had a chance to either read or scan a review or two of in the last half decade. And next? Well, he gets to some actual good stuff.He ends up with a tad over the top, but solid ending.
Iraq is America's Valmy. America's generals have been checked by a form of war that they did not prepare for and do not understand. They spent the years following the 1991 Gulf War mastering a system of war without thinking deeply about the ever changing nature of war. They marched into Iraq having assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like the wars of the past. Those few who saw clearly our vulnerability to insurgent tactics said and did little to prepare for these dangers. As at Valmy, this one debacle, however humiliating, will not in itself signal national disaster. The hour is late, but not too late to prepare for the challenges of the Long War. We still have time to select as our generals those who possess the intelligence to visualize future conflicts and the moral courage to advise civilian policymakers on the preparations needed for our security. The power and the responsibility to identify such generals lie with the U.S. Congress. If Congress does not act, our Jena awaits us.
I say over the top because Valmy brought about the fall of absolute monarchy and the rise of the French Republic - is he trying to say that the terrorists are the French (snicker) and we are Prussians in the army of the Duke of Brunswick? ....... and Jena; are we the Prussians again - and who will be Napoleon who will get lucky - the Chinese? Who? Sloppy use of history: B-.

No; we are not even close. 1864, perhaps.

- Now we get to the interesting part - how do we grow the right Generals?

What we have here is a Lt. Col. who is very frustrated with Generals/Flag Officers and how they are selected and raised. Amen brother! This has always been the case in a peacetime military - and we need to adjust and fix the problem.

What we need to look at is how are we doing now in selecting leaders being that we are in a low-grade war. Let's look at the breakdown of who was selected in FY01 and how is selected in FY07. When it comes down to combat commands, education, etc - are we selecting differently now? If not, how do we change that?

What bothered me was his desire to get Congress more involved in the process. He rightly asks for changes and ways to make the system reward better qualities - Congress is the right way to do that - but instead of going the direction of what is needed - fix the Goldwater-Nichols nightmare THEY created - he totally loses me on this;
Finally, Congress must enhance accountability by exercising its little-used authority to confirm the retired rank of general officers. By law, Congress must confirm an officer who retires at three- or four-star rank. In the past this requirement has been pro forma in all but a few cases. A general who presides over a massive human rights scandal or a substantial deterioration in security ought to be retired at a lower rank than one who serves with distinction. A general who fails to provide Congress with an accurate and candid assessment of strategic probabilities ought to suffer the same penalty. As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war. By exercising its powers to confirm the retired ranks of general officers, Congress can restore accountability among senior military leaders.
YIKES!!! We have enough of a problem with some of our Flag Officers who spend more time in DC than in the Fleet - if you encourage that behavior you will have a more political senior military leadership - and that would be much worse than what we have now. A more political GO/FO corps? You do that and you will have a disgrace like we had when all through the 1990s the Joint Chiefs made Happy-talk until 1999 when they all of a sudden cried that they were starved to death. Only General Krulak kept his integrity in that time. More Generals and Admirals afraid of telling the truth to Congress? No thank you. More Krulak, that would be nice.

Yingling gets close to the target - but that is it. I would have posted right away if he asked for something real radical - like getting rid of Goldwater-Nichols.

I ask you this; doesn't this 20+ year old document scream "replace me!"
The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, sponsored by Sen. Barry Goldwater and Rep. Bill Nichols, caused a major defense reorganization, the most significant since the National Security Act of 1947. Operational authority was centralized through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as opposed to the service chiefs. The chairman was designated as the principal military advisor to the president, National Security Council and secretary of defense. The act established the position of vice-chairman and streamlined the operational chain of command from the president to the secretary of defense to the unified commanders.

Since 1986, Goldwater-Nichols has made tremendous changes in the way DOD operates-joint operations are the norm-Arabian Gulf, Zaire, Haiti, and Bosnia. Implementation of the act is an on-going project with Joint Vision 2010 (1996) and Joint Vision 2020 (2000). Both documents emphasize that to be the most effective force we must be fully joint: intellectually, operationally, organizationally, doctrinally, and technically. The joint force, because of its flexibility and responsiveness, will remain the key to operational success in the future.
Yingling outlines some of the problems we have that need to be corrected....just that to get to the meat of this article you have to go through a maze to get there. Was all this backward looking repeat the sugar to get you to take a bite of the strawberry? Was this done, edited, encouraged by Gannett as a way to ride a favorite hobby-horse? It almost seems that way.

Promotion boards in general are an area ripe for reform. Let's stop bitching about the past - but learn from it and take action.

That is why I didn't cover it to start with. I didn't want to bore my readers with stuff they already read about here - and none of his idea seems worth it. If you are going to be subjected to the same thing repeated over and over - you are going to get it from me.

Why spend all this time now? The Gannett connection and all the time this is getting. Just strange for something that has so much fluff and not all that viable meat. It reads nice once - but sleep on it and then read it twice again and tell my how many, "Wow, I could have had a V-8!" moments you had.

If you think my post is all FOD - scroll down MilBlogs to read what Greyhawk, Lex, Chap (1, 2, 3), Grim, DadManly, Bubblehead, SoldierDad, and BLACKFIVE, Skippy, and John of Argghhh!!! all have to say.

Race and boards

I'm bored today and think for the heck of it I will reach out and give the big 3rd rail a hug - race and the Navy.

I had a very interesting exchange of emails with a more junior officer this week who had a very sincere series of questions/comments on "diversity" and our Navy. This guy is one of the sharper tools we have in the Navy, and the core of his question boiled down to why the Navy is so focused on "Diversity" and what impact it has on boards - his questions a byproduct of
some of the chatter you start to hear as a mid-career officer.

I could put our a few thousand words on this, but instead, I decided to cut-n-paste some of an email (with a few changes) I sent out to the compadre and post here.

Ech. It is a touchy subject - but something I do have a little knowledge of. I will keep his name to myself to protect him. Some questions; one just doesn't ask.

This is my experience, yours may differ.

Race is a huge issue on selection boards. Most officers by the 15-yr mark have see "The Brief" that Millington has put out for a long time. A lot depends on the board WRT the degree of the influence. Now and then there are personalities driving an agenda. As with many things, timing is critical. You would not like what is said or happens sometimes - things well beyond the precept.

A very weak link in what is about as fair of a system humans could design. Having a picture makes it less fair. Having a name makes it unfair. Having people trace race when many of us ... ummm ... people in front of the board are of mixed race and in an honest world would be "other", is unfair.

Having Flag Officers push select lists to board members based on race is borderline criminal - but some Flag Officers get away with it.

It has been so for a long time, and the reasons there are different percentages of minorities among officers, especially for Americans of Sub-Saharan Indigenous Extraction (ASIE) are concerned, are both obvious and unfixable in the short to medium term.

A very high percentage of ASIE are educated in low quality public schools in single parent households compared to other ethnic groups. That is a classic race-neutral formula for under-achievement.

Military service, especially among officers, often runs in families. It gets better every year, but fewer ASIE have a father or grandfather that they know who was in the military as an officer. It takes generations to reach that balance, if you ever can.

As a result, those ASIE who do well or come from intact middle-through-upper class households and therefore achieve the same academic standards as other ethnic/social groups are a much smaller percentage of the whole as the other groups. Those few are highly sought after by industry. Industry is willing to pay much more for their services than the military. To expect the Navy, a service that traditionally has the fewest ASIE officers of any, to reach a model in tune with an inaccurate ethnic description of the country is self-delusional.

I will bring up two people in the military I know fairly well just to give you an example. One's father is an ASIE, his mother is of European extraction. He grew up in a very upper-middle class neighborhood going to private schools. His wife is of European extraction and his kids have light brown hair, fair skin, and blue eyes.

I have another whose parents came to the USA from some island in the Caribbean. They were solid middle-class and he went to college on an academic scholarship. He married an ASIE whose father was a doctor. They both are, and have been, embarrassingly marched about as examples of "diversity."

They have less in common with the enlisted ASIE than their working-class Chief of European extraction. It is pathetic and patronizing, for them, me, or the Navy to pretend otherwise.

And don't get me started on the guy who had a Hispanic last name, blond hair/blue eyes upper-class family who was counted as a "Hispanic" minority for scholarship reasons.

Anyway, that is part of the comforting lie we as a Navy tell each other. It is just a lie - no other way to describe it.

Thing is, the new Midshipmen and Seamen of 2007 were mostly born in 1988/89. I think in '89 one can say that everyone has the same starting point - but the people who are setting high policy were all born from '45-'55 - boomers and all they represent and the baggage they carry.
There is only one reason in mid-2007 for the Navy to have a Diversity Directorate - to cast the widest net to get the best people from both traditional and non-traditional sources - the best as defined by race neutral, color blind standards. You may hear echoes of that - but unfortunately that is not what it is about.

No the Diversity Bullies conduct the worst type of divisive campaign, with a 70's-ish melanin fetish that would make any bigot proud. It is a side of the Navy that does not serve the service or its nation. It is such a corrosive anachronism - but who will stand up and speak against it? In uniform? Who wants to have a viable career? Who doesn't want to be destroyed? Few. And they know it.

Why Lex isn't going to retire anytime soon.

I think he wakes up in a cold sweat with this on this mind.

$99 million to say "We're dumb."

Bearing Point is a consulting and accounting firm made up of spare parts spun off of KPMG with large bits that used to be know as Author Andersen Consulting, BTW. Very big in the Beltway.
Bearing Point in Alexandria, VA received a $99 million firm-fixed-price contract for Advisory and Assistance Services for Air Force Smart Operations 21 (AFSO 21), which is based on both Lean and Six Sigma business process improvement tools. AFSO 21 is the centerpiece of the Air Force strategy to understand and optimize the basic processes round which it organizes.
Knowing a few friends that do/had worked in that industry/consulting - I really want to know how many members of that $99 million PowerPoint rangers have ever tried to maintain combat aircraft? Just wondering.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fullbore Friday

There was a fox loose in your hen house - and no one can kill it.

It is the beginning of WWI. When one thinks of WWI, one thinks of Flanders and Jutland - few think of the Indian Ocean. In 1914 though, there was a fox loose in the British Empire's hen house of the Indian Ocean - and she was a terror.
SMS Emden was launched in 1908, and became the Kaiserliche Marine'sTsingtao, in China, and was part of the German East Asia Squadron. On the same day as the Australian Government received notification that the Empire was at war, Von Spee's squadron was ordered to avoid the superior Allied naval forces in the Pacific, and it headed for Germany, by way of Cape Horn. The sole exception was the Emden, under Korvettenkapitänvon (Lt Commander) Karl Müller, which headed towards the Indian Ocean, with the objective of raiding Allied shipping. Müller frequently made use of a fake fourth smokestack, which — when the ship flew the Royal Navy ensign — made it resemble the British cruiser HMS Yarmouth and similar vessels.

The SMS EMDEN was detached from the East Asiatic Squadron for independent operations in the Indian Ocean. By early November Emden, under von Müller, Emden had sunk 30 Allied merchant vessels and warships. It had also shelled and damaged British oil tanks at Madras, in India. A collier named Buresk, was captured with its cargo intact, and was re-crewed with German seamen to accompany the Emden as a supply vessel. Other victims of the Emden included an obsolescent Russian cruiser and a French destroyer off Malaya, at the Battle of Penang, on October 28. By the end of October, no less than 60 Allied warships were looking for the Emden (the little outdated ship that was) .... forcing up insurance premiums, and drawing warships away from other theatres.
Yes, my baby - The Swan of the East - the SMS Emden.

And so began the Battle of the Cocos.
On 9 November 1914 Emden landed a shore party at Direction Island to destroy the cable station. The operators managed to get off a warning signal before the station was closed down.
One last act before surrender. One last act by civilians who knew their place - but were gentlemen at the right time.
We quickly found the telegraph building and the wireless station, took possession of both of them, and so prevented any attempt to send signals. Then I got hold of one of the Englishmen who were swarming about us, and ordered him to summon the director of the station, who soon made his appearance, - a very agreeable and portly gentleman.

"I have orders to destroy the wireless and telegraph station, and I advise you to make no resistance. It will be to your own interest, moreover, to hand over the keys of the several houses at once, as that will relieve me of the necessity of forcing the doors. All firearms in your possession are to be delivered immediately. All Europeans on the island are to assemble in the square in front of the telegraph building."

The director seemed to accept the situation very calmly. He assured me that he had not the least intention of resisting, and then produced a huge bunch of keys from out his pocket, pointed out the houses in which there was electric apparatus of which we had as yet not taken possession, and finished with the remark: "And now, please accept my congratulations."

"Congratulations! Well, what for?" I asked with some surprise.

"The Iron Cross has been conferred on you. We learned of it from the Reuter

We now set to work to tear down the wireless tower.
telegram that has just been sent on."
But that one signal - that one signal.
At about 0620 on 9 November, wireless telegraphy operators in several transports and in the warships heard signals in an unknown code followed by a query from the Cocos Island Wireless Telegraphy Station, 'What is that code'. It was in fact the German cruiser EMDEN ordering her collier BURESK to join her at Point Refuge. Shortly afterwards Cocos signalled 'Strange warship approaching.'

SYDNEY, the nearest warship to the Cocos group, was ordered to proceed at full speed. By 0700 she was 'away doing twenty knots' and at 0915 simultaneously sighted the island and the EMDEN some seven or eight miles distant.
Though SYDNEY didn't know what was going on, EMDEN's crew knew they were outgunned.
The RAN ship was a state-of-the-art Town class light cruiser, commissioned in 1913 and commanded by Captain John Glossop, an RN officer.
Sydney was larger, faster and better armed — (8) 6 inch (152mm) guns — than Emden, which had (10) 104mm (4.1 inch) guns.
She had to act fast.
EMDEN opened fire at a range of some 10,500 yards using the then very high elevation of thirty degrees. Her first salvo was 'ranged along an extended line but every shot fell within two hundred yards of SYDNEY.' The next salvo was on target and for the next ten minutes the Australian cruiser came under heavy fire. Fifteen hits were recorded but fortunately 'only five burst.' Four ratings were killed and several wounded.

SYDNEY's first salvo went 'far over the EMDEN'. The second fell short and the third scored two hits. Meanwhile, EMDEN's captain (Captain Von Muller), aware that his only chance lay in putting SYDNEY out of action quickly, maintained a high rate of fire said to be a salvo every six seconds. It was to no avail. SYDNEY took advantage of her superior speed and fire power and raked the German cruiser. Her shells wrecked the enemy's steering gear, shot away both range finders and smashed the voice pipes providing communications between the conning tower and the guns. Shortly afterwards the forward funnel toppled overboard and then the foremast carrying away the primary fire control station and wrecking the fire-bridge. Despite the damage and the inevitable end, Muller continued the engagement. Half his crew were disabled until 'only the artillery officer and a few unskilled chaps were still firing.' Finally, with his engine room on fire and the third funnel gone, he gave the order 'to the island with every ounce you can get out of the engines.' Shortly after 1100, EMDEN was seen to be fast on the North Keeling Island Reef. She lost 134 men killed in action or died of wounds.
Look at that timeline for both ships. Also know, the SMS Emden had its CO ashore with a landing party of 50 out of a crew of 360. The XO took her into battle with a short crew - with no hesitation or delay - and aggressive.

There is one thing I would like you to do if you have time. Go get a refill of coffee for and read the below - including the full report at the link.

As we read the history of our Navy and others, there can be a tendency to think about ships and aircraft without, really, thinking about what a battle at sea can do to the men in them.

Dr Leonard Darby was the Senior Medical Officer of HMAS Sydney during her engagement with SMS Emden, and we have his notes. I will pull out some of the bits, but you need to read it all - and for you leaders out there - think about your Medical team. Your Corpsman. Your First Aid training for your crew. Are you ready for this?
By this time we had returned to the Emden, which was flying distress signals, and arrangements had now to be made for the transhipping and receipt of about 80 German wounded.
One German surgeon, Dr. Luther, was intact, but he had been unable to do much, and for a short time was a nervous wreck, having, had 24 hours with so many wounded on a battered ship with none of his staff left and very few dressings, lotions and appliances. The state of things on. board the Emden, according to Dr. Ollerhead was truly awful.

Men were lying killed and mutilated in heaps, with large blackened flesh wounds. One man had a horizontal section of the head taken off, exposing mangled brain tissue. The ship was riddled with gaping holes, and it was with difficulty one could walk about the decks, and she was gutted with fire. Some of the men who were brought off to the Sydney presented horrible sights, and by this time the wounds were practically all foul and stinking, and maggots 1/4 inch long, were crawling over them, i.e., only 24 to 30 hours after injury.

Practically nothing had been done to the wounded sailors, ... Some had legs shattered and just hanging; others had shattered forearms ; othes were burnt from head to foot; others had large pieces of flesh torn out of limbs and body. One man was deaf and dumb, several were stone deaf, in addition to other injuries. The worst sight was a poor fellow who had his face literally blown away. His right eye, nose, and most of both cheeks were missing. His mouth and lips were unrecognisable. The tongue, pharynx, and nasal cavity were exposed, part of his lower jaw was left and the soft tissues were severed from the neck under his chin, so that the face really consisted of two curtains of soft tissue hanging loosely front the forehead, with a gap in the centre, like an advanced case of rodent ulcer. In addition, the, wound was stinking and foul with copious discharge. The case was so bad that 1 had no hesitation in giving a large dose of morphia immediately, and after cleaning the wound as well as possible, a large dressing was applied, and he was removed to the fresh air on deck. The odour was appalling and it was some time before the sick bay was clear of it. The patient lingered from four to six hours afterwards in spite of repeated liberal closes of morphia.

Another face injury was almost as bad. Practically the whole right side of the face was completely blown away. His temporal, pterygoid, and maxillary regions were deeply exposed, and temporo-mandibular articulation was entirely removed. One had not time to examine these cases for minute details, but they were very instructive, and showed how hard it is to kill a man with face injury. In addition, the wound was septic and most offensive. I had no hopes for his life when he arrived, but he seemed to struggle on and five days later, on arrival at hospital at Colombo, it seemed likely that he would live. Later news tells us that the patient is doing well and they hope to fit him out with an artificial right half to his face.
Another face injury was rather severe. He had his right cheek turned down as a flap from the level of the upper lip, in addition the mandible was fractured and a piece of skin, fascia, and muscle the size of a large plate was blown out of the middle of the inferior surface of the left thigh. Later, when we were attending this case, it was suggested to me that the limb be removed. but though there was much destruction of tissue and the wound was very foul, I refused to allow this to be done and after events proved the wisdom of this, as the wound cleaned up and the limb was saved.

There were many cases of severe burns, two of which had head injuries in addition, and died on board. One of these was an engineer, who had suffered from pneumonia for six weeks on board the Emden. Altogether four deaths occurred on board us from among the German wounded. Most of the remaining cases had multiple lacerated shell wounds, with smaller or larger pieces of flesh blown away or penetrating tortuous holes, with metal buried in the tissue. Quite often this metal, was found just under the skin on the opposite side of the limb. Most of the wounds were charred. In one case a large amount of gluteal tissue was taken out in the region of the right anterior superior iliac spine, with fracture of the ileum. This man, in addition had a compound fracture of the right arm and numerous other wounds. A man was very lucky if he had less than three separate shell wounds. He was in a very low condition when we landed him, and it is doubtful if he will live.

In cases where large vessels of the leg or arm had been opened, we found tourniquets of pieces of spun yarn, or a handkerchief, or a piece of cloth bound round the limb above the injury. In some cases, I believe the majority, they had been put on by the patients themselves. One man told me he had put one on his arm himself. They were all in severe pain from the constriction, and in all cases where amputation was required, the presence of these tourniquets made it necessary to amputate much higher than one would otherwise have done, but no doubt their lives had been saved by the tourniquets. There was very little evidence of any skilled treatment before they arrived on board.

Naturally the German surgeon had been very much shaken and handicapped. His station in action was the stokehold, which was uninjured. His assistant surgeon was less fortunate, his station being the tiller flat aft, and when they were badly struck, fire broke out above him, whereupon he went up and was blown overboard, slightly wounded. The steering party remained in the tiller flat and were unhurt. After being blown overboard the surgeon managed to get ashore, and during the night he lay helpless and exhausted, dying of thirst, along with a few others who had also got ashore. After much persuasion he got a sailor to bring him some salt water, of which he drank a large quantity, and straightway became raving mad and died.
That, my friend, is war at sea. Most have forgotten. Hybrid-Sailors, "Optimal" manning, software run damage control and all that. And one last note, before they even got to the EMDEN, they had to treat their initial casualties. Why can't we have this in our Navy?
Cease fire sounded at 11.15 a.m. after we had been working two solid hours In confined atmosphere, and a temperature of 105 degrees F. The strain had been tremendous, and S.B.S. Mullins who had done wonderfully well with me, started off to faint but a drink of brandy caved him, and likewise myself.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Validating your community's reputation

Some times you have to be careful what questions you ask people. Even the most vanilla, nothing question can be the straw that broke the camels back. Case in point happened earlier this week.

Ran into one of those "professional acquaintances," the ones you knew from a past tour and just seem to run into now and then. Well, I like to talk, shocker there, and after awhile you start to see the same people here and there who like you are recidivist StaffWennies. I rarely forget a face, so if I run into you on a ship or TAD for just a few days, I will always take the time to check in when I run into you. Sure you are just a professional acquaintance, but people are interesting and I get bored easily. Yap away I go.

So, I ran into one of the better ones the other day, passing each other on the way to different briefings. Didn't get a chance to talk for too long - just enough for a cup of coffee before the next VTC. Usual small talk, family, friends, hobbies, general gossip and catch-up. Then I made a mistake; I asked him, "How was your weekend?"

A little background. This guy is Skippy's most nightmarish officer; a P-3 NFO. He isn't a bitter puss though - so his comments had more effect on me. This guy is a front-runner's front runner from what I have gathered over the few years I have known "of him." He has something in the business you call "Flag Potential" - and I mean that in a good way. He is by nature a very upbeat, but when I asked him about his weekend, his face just fell.

He slowly shook his now drooping head and said (rough paraphrase with artistic license in places for clarity and acronym removal), "We had the VP Reunion last weekend.*"

Shocked by his change of appearance I didn't respond. He continued;
The senior leadership is just lost. Their priorities and party line have no connection to reality. What they are pushing and investing time and effort in has no relation to what the crews are doing onstation, what the Combatant Commanders need, and what our nation wants for the war we are fighting now. Over and over the senior leadership said, "We are a Maritime Force. Tomorrow, no one will care what you do today."

Right now we are fighting a real war with real enemies and real people getting killed; people we should be supporting more. Our crews are doing overhead ISR** but all the senior leadership wants to talk about is Maritime this and that, as if we are doing a dozen on-tops*** on Chinese submarines every day. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, but all they want to do is walk and have everyone hide the gum in their mouth.

They are living a fantasy world and don't want to talk about what is needed now to help us win at war - they are focused on winning the budget battles in 2010 for peace-time issues. They won't even encourage us to talk about the ISR our crews are doing. They tell us to keep quite about it. It is driving me mad.
He sighed in a way that spoke volumes. Then it was time to go.

I think he is about to have a existential crisis; he has reached the point, methinks, where his loyalty to his community is in direct conflict with his loyalty to the Navy, the war, and his Nation. I don't think he has yet stepped over the line, but he is looking at it. Part of me wants to warn him off - he has reaching it a bit early in his career for his own good - but a man has to do things on his own timeline.

Once you do step over, out of the closet - stand-by. It is a great view on the other side, but you are more often than not flying solo. No wingman, no top-cover, and sneaky bandits all around you - but man what a freedom.

They used to call themselves MPA (Maritime Patrol Aviation) now they call themselves MPR (Maritime Patrol & Reconnaissance) and sometimes MPRA - you can figure that out yourself. Why not talk about the "R" in MPR?

Ahhh, the budget? Pointy-nose Aviation 4-star orders from above? Myopia? Habits and memories of youth? Where is the warfighting focus?

This is a community that is less than half the size they were in the early '90s, but still has the same number of O6 "At Sea" commands. While the rest of the military is burning themselves up, they have gone from "6 months deployed, 12 months home" to "6 months deployed, 18 months home" and have fewer shadows per squadron on the ramp than then, as their aircraft are falling apart. But they have kept the same number of CDR commands though....amazing.

Oh, you could go on for at least an hour on that community - and those who have done a Bureau tour could tell stories that would do the Sopranos proud when it comes to how these guys operate. But I won't beat up on them too bad.

They are an expensive, manpower heavy, top-heavy community that for some reason has provoked an existential crisis among one of their best because in the middle of a war, they still cannot get past a peace time budget/DC infighting mentality. And I don't buy their "you can't man the Carriers without the MPR community, you need our numbers" crap either. We don't have 40% of the carriers we had in 1993, and we seem to be manning them just fine. It doesn't take a P-3 guy to do OPS ADMIN.

In the larger Navy, the P-3 bubbas, MPR Community, whatever, have an image problem - I think that is a fair statement. They are not helping themselves any when they hobble one of the things they actually bring to the larger fight - overhead ISR. Don't want an actual war to interfere with agendas or anything, now do we?

That is the same attitude that had the Surface community wait 4-years before it deployed Riverine forces to Iraq - forces that are now considered "High Demand-Low Density." (BTW, that means "we don't have enough because all our money is with the Lockheed Martin PowerPoint Rangers.")

Oh, one last thing. Right after his sigh, I gave him a parting shot that I am very proud of. Tilting my head a bit, I asked, "Hey, isn't VADM Winns your most senior Flag now?"

"F^KC YOU." was about all I heard as he walked away in a funk.

And no, it wasn't PalmPilot - he is too sexy and doesn't have a potty mouth - and drives the bus.

* VP Reunion is the P-3 version of "Tailhook meets the Politburo" yearly geedunk schmooze-fest they hold every year in their Valhalla - DC.
** ISR=Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
*** On-tops is P-3 talk for "Oooooo, a submarine. Let's track it on the surface and then tell everyone it was submerged..."

Keeping and eye on the long game: Part XX

The ASAT chronicles. Looks like someone agrees with 'ole Phibian.
Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon official and specialist on China, stated in recent testimony to a congressional commission that China's military has produced public writings advocating "covert deployment of a sophisticated anti-satellite weapon system to be used against the United States in a surprise manner without warning."

"In my view, even a small-scale anti-satellite attack in a crisis against 50 U.S. satellites — assuming a mix of targeted military reconnaissance, navigation satellites and communication satellites — could have a catastrophic effect not only on U.S. military forces, but on the U.S. civilian economy," Mr. Pillsbury said in recent testimony to the U.S. China Economic Security Review Commission.
Mr. Pillsbury called for the Pentagon to establish a dialogue with Chinese military specialists who have written about the anti-satellite weapons, noting that for the past decade the Chinese have refused to give visiting military or defense specialists access to the ASAT weapons developers.

Mr. Pillsbury said tighter U.S. export controls on China might "impede China's potential acquisition of anti-satellite systems."
Hat tip LBG.

Yep, that's living in Europe

Yes, oh yes. This is about it in a nutshell.
While many of the other Europeans seemed to adjust to life in Draguignan with relatively few complaints, many of the English speaking assistants continued to ask each other the same question: why does nothing here work? The bank, the government, the school system, all seemed to be part of a general conspiracy to make our lives as complicated and difficult as possible, and yet the other assistants working at my school (Italian and Spanish) seemed both better able to cope with, and more able to get results from, the reluctant bureaucracies plaguing our daily lives. Many of the things we got worked up about (having to wait a month for a checking account) didn’t seem to phase them: we obviously had radically different expectations about how things should work.

In the South of France, most establishments, including banks, supermarkets, and doctor’s offices are closed for two or three hours during lunch, don’t open at all on Sunday, and often take off Mondays as well. During public holidays (which are frequent) nothing is open except the hospital and one emergency pharmacy. (The exception to this pattern is the schools, which are open all week, including Saturday morning). For those of us coming from such capitalistic countries as the US, this seems illogical and downright lazy. Practicality and efficiency are not valued in France the same way they are in the United States or the UK; having time to spend with one’s family, or relaxing in a café, seems to be more important than putting in a full day’s work. The French don’t see their lifestyle as lazy or incompetent, however. They see it more as an exchange of efficiency for a more agreeable way of life. One French student explained it thus: if you want to work long hours and make money you can go someplace like England (thanks to EU arrangements). If you want to relax and make less money, you can stay in France.
All I need now is something like that describing Japan.

Hail call Byron!

I have visions of oily rags all over the place and general gear-adrift issues.
A fire erupted early this morning in a first-in-its-class Navy warship nearing completion at Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette.

The blaze broke out just before 5:30 a.m. in a berthing area where workers were using welding and grinding equipment, said Marinette Fire Lt. Bill Becker.

It was extinguished in about an hour. "It was a good size fire," Becker said. "I went through six teams of firefighters putting it out."

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire officials did not immediately release a damage estimate.

The 377-foot ship, named Freedom, is being finished as it floats in the Menominee River.

It is the first-ever littoral combat ship, or LCS. About 80% completed, the combat ship is to be delivered to the Navy next year.
So many jokes, so little time.

Hat tip Ray.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm sorry Skippy

Usually if you say "Philippina in pigtails wearing a Catholic schoolgirl skirt playing cheerleader" Skippy would be occupied for hours.



Small nations that regularly answer the call for others. They still do. If you need a ANZAC day brush-up, go here. Australia has 850 troops in Iraq, and 400 in Afghanistan. New Zealand has 50 in Afghanistan. Both contribute significant troops to other military missions throughout the Pacific and the larger world.

On Halberstam – I non-concur

I have not come to praise Halberstam. Plenty of that here.

Though it is sad when one dies unexpectedly – and you have to feel for those he left behind – when someone dies that does not mean you have to decouple your brain from your heart. If you want to join in the love fest over the death of Halberstam, feel free, but you won’t hear it here.

I have a history of not buying Halberstam’s hype, and I won’t do it now. To me, he represents a group of over-rewarded literary elite who have never been held to account for the significant damage they did to their country, and the blood of millions they have on their hands.

Yes, it is back to Vietnam.

For review, early on in the war, Halberstam had a critical role (remember he was just a writer – a writer who decided to push an agenda – and therefore set a template that we are dealing with to this day), in President Kennedy not taking the sound advice of Lieutenant General Krulak (yes, his father) and instead to buy in the addled and ill-informed opinions of Lodge.
In the late summer of 1963, President John Kennedy dispatched two observers to South Vietnam. Their mission was to provide the president an assessment of the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, the president of the Republic of Vietnam. The first, Major General Victor Krulak, USMC, the special assistant for counterinsurgency for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited some ten locations in all four Corps areas of Vietnam. Based on extensive interviews with U.S. advisers to the South Vietnamese army, Krulak concluded that the war was going well.

The second observer was Joseph Mendenhall of the State Department, who had been recommended to the president by Averell Harriman and Roger Hilsman. Mendenhall, like Harriman and Hilsman a longtime advocate of replacing Diem, visited three South Vietnamese cities where he spoke primarily to opponents of the South Vietnamese president. Unsurprisingly, he concluded in his report that if Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu remained in power, the Diem government was certain to fall to the Viet Cong, or the country would descend into religious civil war.

Both Krulak and Mendenhall briefed Kennedy on September 10. So diametrically opposed were their conclusions that the president quipped, "The two of you did visit the same country, didn't you?"

After reading Mark Moyar's remarkable new book, Triumph Forsaken, readers accustomed to the "orthodox" view of the Vietnam war--entrenched in the academy and the press for decades--will no doubt have the same sort of "Kennedy moment." Could Moyar possibly be writing about the same war that is described (in the orthodox view) as, at best, a strategic error and, at worst, a brutal imperialist war of aggression--in any case, a tragic mistake?

...many American reporters relied on a Vietnamese journalist named Pham Xuan An, a Reuters stringer later revealed to be a Communist agent whose very mission was to influence the American press. As journalists such as Stanley Karnow later admitted, Pham was very good at his job.

Sheehan and Halberstam, in turn, greatly influenced the new U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, against Diem.
If there is a villain in Moyar's account, it is Lodge. Influenced by American journalists, he saw Diem as an intransigent opponent of reform. But it was Lodge who proved to be heavy-handed and closed-minded, vices that led him to support the ouster of Diem as part of a personal vendetta. Moyar describes Lodge's duplicity: He told the president that he was unable stop the anti-Diem coup, but it was Lodge who instigated it in the first place, in defiance of Kennedy's wishes. In that sense, Kennedy was hoist on his own petard: He had sought to neutralize Lodge, a likely 1964 Republican presidential candidate, by sending him to Saigon; but when evidence of Lodge's dupli city became clear, Kennedy did not replace him for fear that Lodge would turn his ouster into a campaign issue.

It is generally accepted, even by orthodox chroniclers, that the coup and the subsequent assassination of Diem and Nhu were mistakes of the greatest magnitude. Ho Chi Minh understood the coup's import immediately: "I can scarcely believe that the Americans could be so stupid," he remarked. The Hanoi Politburo recognized the opportunity that the coup had provided the Communists: "Diem was one of the strongest individuals resisting the people and Communists. Everything that could be done in an attempt to crush the revolution was carried out by Diem. Diem was one of the most competent lackeys of the U.S. imperialists." And indeed, the coup provided the incentive for the Communists to push for a quick victory against the weak South Vietnamese government before the United States intervened.
In spite of this early useful idiot tour for the Communits, Halberstam had it right early on. In early 1965,
The basic alternatives for Vietnam are the same now as they were in 1961: they are no different, no more palatable, no less of a nightmare.

First, there is a great deal of talk about the possibility of a neutral Vietnam. But under present conditions this is out of the question . . . The first step toward a neutral Vietnam would undoubtedly be the withdrawal of all U.S. forces in the country and a cutback in American military aid; this would create a vacuum so that the Communists, the only truly organized force in the South, could subvert the country at their leisure . . . There would simply be no force to resist them, and if Hanoi offered us and the South Vietnamese a neutral solution, it would only mean a way of saving face for the United States.

What about withdrawal? Few Americans who have served in Vietnam can stomach this idea. It means that those who committed themselves fully to the United States will suffer the most under a Communist government, while we lucky few with blue passports retire unharmed; it means a drab, lifeless and controlled society for a people who deserve better. Withdrawal also means that the United States’ prestige will be lowered throughout the world, and it means that the pressure of Communism on the rest of Southeast Asia will intensify. Lastly, withdrawal means that throughout the world the enemies of the West will be encouraged to try insurgencies like the one in Vietnam.
When that no longer became socially popular, he changed his tune.

Just when the war turned our way, the defeat of the Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive, he helped yank defeat from the jaws of victory in the company of defeatists the likes of Walter Cronkite with The Making of a Quagmire.

So, excuse me if I don’t join in the love fest. He spent his final years being praised and loved for malpractice of the greatest degree – and besides by ankle biters like me – was never made to answer for it.

Rest in peace.

Mad at the Democrats, Shipmate?

Do something with your anger.

So, feel upset that your "Blue Dog" Democrat has made a "yellow" stain? Pi55ed at your back-stabbing Republican?

National Guard, Reserve, or about to retire from Active Duty? Well, Lt. Col Ogonowski is leading from the front.
The brother of a pilot whose hijacked airplane was flown into the World Trade Center in 2001 announced Tuesday he is running for Congress.

Air Force Lt. Col. James Ogonowski is the first Republican to announce his intention to run for the seat of Democrat Rep. Martin Meehan, who is leaving Congress to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Ogonowski's brother, John, was one of 92 people killed aboard American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ogonowski, 49, plans to retire from the Air Force next month after a 28-year career. He announced his candidacy at a memorial dedicated to his brother near the house where they grew up in Dracut, in northeast Massachusetts.

Ogonowski describes himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate.

Two other Republicans are considering a run for Meehan's seat: former NFL defensive lineman Fred Smerlas and Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan.

Six Democrats have announced their candidacy, including Niki Tsongas, wife of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas; Lowell City Councilor Eileen M. Donoghue; and state Rep. Barry Finegold.
Meehan is a good start - but there is a lot more to do. How do you hold a elected official and a Party accountable? Simple, you make them run for their job. Way too many get by without opposition - way too many get by without serious opposition.

Don't say, "There isn't hope.." Both Webb and Sestak were considered "long shots." They are now a Senator and a Representative.

Imagine if there was a response in every districts that had a member of the Surrender Caucus. Imagine if they had to defend every seat.

Mad at your Representative or Senator? Run against them. Make them answer for their vote.

Mad at a party? Make them spend money everywhere. Bleed them white - that is what Murtha
and his friends are doing to you.

Hat tip The Tank.

OK Skippy, let's see what Fox Fallon sez

Skippy asks a fair question in the comments last week, so let's look at ADM Fallon's entire testimony in front of the HASC. Here are my quotes of interest.
In my first month as CENTCOM Commander, I have traveled to many countries and met face-to-face with leaders to discuss the situation in the region and to enlist support for our efforts. A number of impressions frame my overall assessment, which is one of guarded optimism.

Our top priority is achieving stability and security in Iraq.
Though sectarian interests are working overtime to try to divide them, large numbers of Iraqi people are indicating they are tired of the violence and willing to cooperate with Iraqi and coalition security forces.
In Afghanistan, I believe that the foundation of security and governance is in place. The vast majority of people are in favor of representative government and prosperity, not Taliban brutality, and they are standing up and fighting for their countryʼs future. Capacity of the Afghan Security Forces, particularly the Afghan National Army (ANA), is growing and the ANA is eager and well led.
The Iranian regime provides material support to violent extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Palestine. It supplies Shiʼa militia groups in Iraq with training, funding, and weapons, including particularly lethal Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). It also continues to provide money and weapons to Hizballah, which threatens the legitimate government of Lebanon.

Iranʼs most destabilizing activity has been the pursuit of nuclear weapons technology in defiance of the international community, International Atomic Energy Agency, and United Nations Security Council. A nuclear-armed Iran would further threaten regional stability, potentially trigger an arms race, and increase the potential for extremists to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
That is pretty clear.
The Syrian government continues to meddle in Lebanon. Its support for Hizballah is destabilizing the country and it stonewalls the investigation into the Rafik Hariri assassination.

Over the past five years, terrorists, suicide bombers, and foreign fighters have traveled through Syria to attack Iraqi and Coalition forces. The government in Damascus has tolerated the presence and operations of Iraqi Sunni insurgents who have fueled the fighting in Baghdad and elsewhere in the country.
Wonder what Speaker Pelosi had to say ....... I thought so.
In Lebanon, the government is confronted by opposition groups and violent protests, but the Lebanese Armed Forces are maintaining a fragile order. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have stood up publicly against assassination and terror, and for their elected government and a peaceful, prosperous future.
In the Horn of Africa, Sudan continues to defy the international community and resist the deployment of an effective United Nations peacekeeping force to Darfur.
The African Union mission to Somalia is unable to provide security beyond its garrisons, resulting in a country vulnerable to the return of al-Qaida and associated movements.
More than 800,000 people of the region serve in their nationʼ security forces, risking their lives to combat terror. They are casting a powerful vote for hope, and ultimately victory, by fighting, and often dying, to ensure their countries do not succumb to extremism and terror.

As we move forward, our initiatives are organized into five focus areas: setting conditions for stability in Iraq; expanding governance and security in Afghanistan; degrading violent extremist networks and operations; strengthening relationships and influencing states to contribute to regional stability; and posturing the force to build and sustain joint and combined war fighting capabilities and readiness.
With the ongoing surge of Iraqi and U.S. security forces and renewed interagency commitment, I believe we can establish greater security in support of the emerging Iraqi political process. The surge of additional military forces into Baghdad in Operation Fardh al-Qanoon (Law and Order) has disrupted extremist elements, at least temporarily reduced ethnic violence, and has been welcomed by the majority of the cityʼs people.
That said, I recognize that we have a limited opportunity in which to capitalize on the potential offered by the surge.
That last bit parallels a post I have in draft that I still don't know I want to post. That bit is the most critical of the whole thing.
There is a general sense of optimism and determination among the Afghan leaders and people. They regularly voice their appreciation for our assistance, and believe things have improved since last year. We must help them succeed.
Sounds solid. The quote from Fox Fallon that Skippy was thinking of, I think, was this;
"The Long War," a phrase coined by former U.S. Central Command chief John Abizaid to convey the time needed to defeat the religious extremism fueling al-Qaida, has been jettisoned by his successor, Adm. William Fallon.

Fallon, who replaced Abizaid as Centcom's top officer March 16, considered the term inconsistent with the goal of reducing the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, according to the command.

Fallon wants the focus to be on curbing the violence in Iraq and shifting responsibility for the country's internal security to the Iraqis.

Referring to the broader battle as a lengthy ideological conflict distracted from the more immediate benchmarks and suggested there was no plan to leave the region, said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt McLaughlin, a command spokesman.

"The change in vernacular is a product of our ongoing effort to use language that describes the conflict for our western audience while understanding the cultural implications of how that language is construed in the Middle East," McLaughlin wrote in an e-mail.

"In this case, the idea that we are going to be involved in a 'Long War,' at the current level of operations, is not likely and unhelpful," McLaughlin said. "We remain committed to our friends and allies in the region and to countering al-Qaida inspired extremism where it manifests itself. But one of our goals is to lessen our presence over time, [and] we didn't feel that the term 'Long War' captured this nuance."
For those who are reading too much into this - don't. What you have is a new boss who doesn't like a catch-all phrase the previous boss used. The new term, I believe, is "Theater Posture" or some-such.

Some times a name change is just that; a name change. As for me, I still like Long War - because that is what it will be. No one will ever use the War of Islamic Fanaticism, or anything accurate like that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sen. Reid call Gen. Petraeus a liar

Just watch and listen. He is playing political word games with the lives of his countryment and his nation's standing in the world. I really am having trouble believing this is where we are - but there you go.

Hard to get the smell out of your head

Ever been around an electrical fire? An industrial fire? A fire at sea?

No imagine that there is no escape, the doors and windows are all locked up. You are the fire department.

Remember the USS Bonfish (SS-582) in 1988? Xformed does.
The next thing I know here comes a fire ball out of the overhead and it blows me and the other guys that were chained together through our EAB’s into the crews mess. I remember thinking that those guys are all dead the fireball rolled right over their backs and didn’t do the damage that it could have. By now though we cant see a thing in the midships compartment. It is completely black. We lost comms a few minutes later and we could feel the flames rushing across the battery well under our feet. The next thing that I remember was someone passing the word to abandon ship.

Democrats defunding another war

Colombia. Yes, I have an interest in Colombia - besides the obvious.

One of the most critical nations in our hemisphere is Colombia. Huge gains have been made to go after the Nacro-Marxists.

President Uribe is one of the best leaders South America has ever had. Sure, there have been problems and speed bumps along the way - the progress that has been made to disconnect from the entrenched Paramilitary Forces as the Colombian government steps up over the last decade has been outstanding. Slow, steady progress is being made against the longest running Communist insurgencies on the planet.

Colombia is a front line state against Hugo Chavez. All trends are going the right way - in a way that is good for America.

Well, we can't have that - can we?
Sen. Patrick Leahy last week put a hold on $55.2 million in military aid to Colombia, citing the increasing number of reports of collaboration between Colombian officials and right-wing paramilitaries. The scandal, widely called "para-politics," has rattled Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's government, hurting the president both in Colombia and in the United States.
The incidents of collaboration with paramilitaries, including the one involving Gen. Montoya, took place in 2002, the year Mr. Uribe was elected. (Several of the legislators at the time were not even Uribe supporters.) And although "para-politics" may taint Mr. Uribe's government, it doesn't change the fact that Colombia is safer, more peaceful and on a better path since 2002. Murders have been on a substantial and fairly steady decline. Mr. Uribe quickly made good on his promises to go after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), guerrillas that at one point had amassed some 20,000 soldiers. By increasing the size of Colombia's security forces, Mr. Uribe was able to weaken FARC, particularly in central Colombia, and was also able to negotiate the deal with the paramilitaries.
Democrats, Mr. Leahy included, have in the past been critical of U.S. aid to Colombia, so it's a little surprising that he now would put a hold on military assistance. This is clearly a mistake. U.S. aid is essential for Colombia to secure the progress that has been made -- progress that represents a small success story in Latin America. Democrats would be wrong to undermine U.S. support now.
Help Colombia help itself and all we will have to do is watch and advise. Let Colombia fall in to anarchy and loss - and there will be a nightmare in the making - more of a nightmare.

How will they wash away the blood?

Reading the last bit of “thought” coming from Sen. Reid (D-NV) and the rest of the Democrats, one thing keeps coming to mind; if they get what they want, how do they plan to wash all the blood off their hands? How will they be able to look at themselves in the mirror?
- At a minimum, there will be hundreds of thousands to millions of civilians killed just to bring more chaos – none of which will be in the long term gain for the US or its allies.
- There will be millions of refugees – at least 100,000 will wind up in the US.
- The Islamists will be given a tremendous victory.
- They will follow us home.
- They will soak Europe in blood.
- They will destroy or co-opt pro-US governments in the area.
- The US will lose its influence in the region and worldwide for at least a decade.
- The US military will on balance feel betrayed and decoupled from the Legislative Branch of its Government – and further feel disconnected from the Democrat Party. That is not good for this nation.

In the face of the loss of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan will follow. There will be a growing mood to decouple from global commitments on a whole. Intended or not, I think that will grow from the Left and right. That is not good for this Nation.

As I said a long time ago there are some who will sacrifice the lives of millions of foreigners and will waste the sacrificed lives of thousands of their countrymen for domestic political gain.
The fact that the Majority Leader of the Senate would threaten to set a 01 OCT 07 deadline for Iraq should tell you all you need to know. Once you do that, you announce your surrender. You accept defeat.
I know the briefs he has received. I know the reports he has read. I know what he knows about the truth on the ground. There are only three possible reasons he is doing what he is doing;
1. He does not read or listen to what the military gives him.
2. He thinks the military is lying to him.
3. He does not give a damn – he only cares about getting more Senate seats.

The short term big question is; have the Democrats overplayed their hand?

The long term big question is; has he looked at the tipping point where a defeat – a defeat that would be tied to the Democrats – would be a negative to the Democrats? Let’s see what comes out of Gen. Petraeus’ brief there this week. Maybe this time they will show up.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The sick, smarmy bias of the AP

In case you didn't know, the latest causalities from Iraq came through the wire.
Nine U.S. soldiers were killed and 20 wounded Monday in a suicide car bombing against a patrol base northeast of the capital in Diyala province, a volatile area that has been the site of fierce fighting, the military said.

The attack came on a day when insurgents struck across Iraq, carrying out seven other bombings that killed at least 48 people.

Of the 20 wounded in the attack on Task Force Lightning in Diyala, 15 soldiers were treated and returned to duty while five others were evacuated to a medical facility for further care, the military said. An Iraqi civilian was also wounded.

Identities were not released pending notification of relatives.
Did you notice what I noticed? Follow the link and look over the full article.

Know this, the pictures that go with stories are carefully picked from a broad and deep selection - and approved by an editor. There are few mistakes. In case you missed it, in addition to unrelated pictures taken by stringers of a Iraqi mourner - there is only one picture of an American in the article - U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker.
This is a larger picture of the one they chose for him to represent the US side of the death of 9 soldiers.

Disgusting smarmy a55hats at the AP. In case they change it later, here is the screen cap. Why do they think no one will notice? Why do they think it is funny? I think I know why - and it makes me sick.

Cross posted at MilBlogs.

Hillary insults Black Americans - again

Why Democrats put up with this I have no idea. How patronizing. How insulting. How Hillary.

All Southerners should be insulted. A Midwesterner who is a NY Senator saves a special voice for the great unwashed masses. That is how she sees us. White, Black, Brown, pick-a-shade, or that wonderful American melange.

This time at Sharpton's gaggle.

The Taliban of Pittsburgh

Yes, Pittsburgh - and they want to kill my girlfriend.
Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali’s appearance.

“She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death,” said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976. ...

Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.

“If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment,” he said. “It’s a very merciful religion if you try to understand it.”
And yes; that is the mainstream of Islamic thought. Read their books.

The joys of multi-culti. Can we send him back?

Hat tip LGF.

What Penn and Teller said.

Well, Penn at least.

No, you can't get sea pay on the float

Iran thinks they won. They are right.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Happy Birthday!

At least we don't have to close our schools today. People need to learn something from a private that was in one of the first US units to make it to Berlin.

"Hitler was part of this incredible idea that you could put Jews in concentration camps and kill them. . . . How do you get even with the man? You have to bring him down with ridicule, because if you stand on a soapbox, you're just as bad as he is, but if you can make people laugh at him, then you're one up on him. It's been one of my life-long jobs - to make the world laugh at Adolph Hilter."
--Mel Brooks

Fullbore Friday

The war is about to begin. You are in command of your Navy's newest ship and are leading the attack on another nation's capital. Decades before others thought they had discovered such concepts as "Shock and Awe" and "Decaptitation Strikes" - you are on the tip of the spear of an attack that will seize the Head of State of the target nation before they even have a chance to resist.

Your opposition? A weak nation with a weak military - a nation you hold in contempt as the arrogance of their self-declared neutrality has lulled them into thinking they were beyond the reach of the most feared warriors the world has ever known.
They are so weak that you are sailing right into their nation's capitol. The only thing they oppose you with are obsolete, static defenses that even your Grandfather would dismiss. It is a great day for Victory.
Will your nation be able to stay out of this war? Which side will try to seize your capital? Will they keep to themselves? Your nation just wants to be left out of everyone else's wars. We have no claim on anyone's land or treasure. We insult no one. We just want to be left alone.

You are old - well past you life expectancy. When you started your service, most ships were just getting steel warships, there were no cars, trains were a rare treat - and the only things that flew flapped their wings.

Your command is over a hundred years old, your weapons are older than the fathers of the raw recruits you have running around your battlements. Your main guns are 50 years old.

This is your Command though - your young sailors make up for their lack of experience by the bravery that comes from bravado and ignorance. That will be good enough.
You have one trick though. One thing the enemy, whoever they are, do not know about. Thing is, your "secret weapon" is 40 years old. You feel old; but heck your secret weapons once belonged to an Empire that no longer exists - but that's OK - your people are known for keeping their equipment in good shape. You are worried. Even though the officer in charge of your secret weapon is out sick, you had a small boat pick up a retired Commander who, 31 years ago, once worked with them. He showed up last night. He will have to do - even though he looks like a museum ship in his old, ill-fitting uniform.

Sigh, you go to war with what you have - not what you wish you had.
You have no orders.

The approaching naval force already had forced their way past the outer forts and had received both warning shots and live rounds. As the vessels continue towards the capital, you make a decision; you consider them enemy warships and will engage them as such. Knowing your job, you turn to your men and state;
"Either we will become heroes or we will be court-martialled. Let's just do our duty for our country."
And so, it starts.
The total German naval attack comprised 1 heavy, 1 armoured and 1 light cruiser, 14 destroyers, 14 torpedo boats and miners and 41 freighters and tankers.

Hitler's planned to take the Norwegians by surprise and forcing them to surrender within hours (like he did in Denmark). But the first surprise he encountered was when the pride of his Navy, the brand new heavy cruiser "Blücher" - that was to spearhead the surprise attack on the nation's capital - at 4 AM, at full speed, no lights.

The heavy cruiser Blücher now moved slowly with darkened lanterns towards the old fortress built in 1847, obviously believing they could just sneak past. Erichsen stood at the main battery with his men to demonstrate that he as the boss was in the front line. As the German ships appeared from the darkness and morning fog, the loomed like giants ahead. A nervous, newly graduated lieutenant fiddled with the range finder and reported, "Distance 3,000 meter". "Nonsense!", Erichsen grumbled and shouted, "Distance 1,200 meter - Gun no. 1, Fire!" He never calculated to get off more than two shots with the museum-aged guns and his untrained men (some of them were the cooks!), so he had to get a hit!

By sheer luck, the first 28-cm shell hit the Blücher's forward gunnery control station, effectively disabling the ship's forward guns. The second main battery round hit the aircraft hangar, destroying the ship's Arado Ar 196 reconnaissance seaplanes and igniting aviation fuel and infantry munitions stored on deck. There was only time for the main battery to fire these two rounds, due to their slow reload time. After losing its fire control system the Blücher was rendered unable to effectively respond to the fortress' bombardment. Blucher's main 20,3 cm guns never opened fire.

While fire was raging aboard the Blücher, the secondary Norwegian coastal batteries pelted her with guns ranging in calibre from the two small 57 millimetre pieces at Husvik, designed to protect the fortress' missing naval mine barrier, to the three 15-cm guns of the Kopås battery on the eastern side of the fjord. The larger guns wrought havoc on board the cruiser while the 57-mm guns were successful in suppressing the fire from her light artillery as the Blücher slowly slid past the fortress. All in all thirteen 15-cm rounds and about thirty 57-mm shells hit the German cruiser as it passed the guns of the fortress' secondary batteries.

After passing the line of fire of the fortress' gun batteries the cruiser was burning and severely damaged, but its captain still had hope of being able to save his ship. At this point, however, the Blücher entered the sights of Kommandørkaptein Anderssen and two of his three torpedo tubes at a range of only 500 meters. The torpedoes the retired officer was aiming at the pride of the Kriegsmarine were 40-year-old Whitehead weapons of Austro-Hungarian manufacture. These torpedoes had been practice-launched well over 200 times before being fired in anger, and no-one was certain if they would function or not. As Kommandørkaptein Anderssen pushed the firing mechanism the weapons showed themselves to work perfectly, first one and then another torpedo raced out of their tube at three meters below the surface towards the ghastly-looking burning warship. The first torpedo hit near the Blücher's forward (Anton) turret, and the second in the engine room, leaving her drifting out of control in the narrow fjord. The third torpedo tube was left loaded in case more ships were to follow close behind Blücher. After firing the two other tubes were reloaded and readied for the next target.

With all engines knocked out by the second torpedo hit, the cruiser anchored near the Askholmene islets to try and fight the ferocious fires raging throughout the vessel. The Blücher's torpedoes were also fired against land to avoid them being brought to explosion by the uncontrolled fires aboard. The crew's struggle would still prove hopeless when the fires reached the midship ammunition hold for the 15-cm guns and a huge gap appeared in the ship's side.

At 06:22 a.m. the Blücher sank bow first into the depths of the Oslofjord, taking hundreds with it below. After the ship had disappeared from the surface large quantities of oil floated up and covered the close to two thousand sailors and soldiers fighting for their lives in the freezing water. This oil rapidly caught fire, killing further hundreds of Germans.

All in all, some 800–1000 Germans died, going down with the ship or burning or freezing to death in the fjord.
That is it. You have done what you could. But there is still work to do.
While the Blücher had been sunk the remaining naval force destined for Oslo had long since turned around and retreated back down the fjord. Not knowing of the torpedo battery, the commander of the Lützow assumed the flagship had hit mines and at 04:40 decided to turn back and land the invasion forces out of range of Oscarsborg.

Before the force made its escape the fortress had managed to damage the Lützow,the 15-cm guns of the Kopås battery scoring three hits and knocking out the ship's forward ("Anton") 28-cm gun turret. After pulling out of range of the fortress guns the Lützow employed her remaining "Bruno" turret to bombard the defenders from a range of 9-10 kilometers down the fjord. The fortress was also subjected to heavy Luftwaffe bombing later on the same day, to which the fortress could only reply with two 40-mm AA guns, but again without Norwegian casualties. One of the anti-aircraft guns became unserviceable after only 22 rounds; the other gun kept up its fire until 1200 hrs, but to little effect. After a break in the attacks the Luftwaffe bombers returned at 1330 hrs and soon strafed the remaining Norwegian AA gun, forcing the crew to seek shelter in the nearby forrest at around 1400 hrs. In all, the fortress was subjected to around nine hours of air attack.
But you know that it is far from over. Your nation is small and weak - there is much more coming.
Although the naval attack on Oslo had been thwarted by the actions of Oscarsborg, the city was seized by forces that was airlifted in to Fornebu Airport. In light of the capture of the capital, and with news of German landings at the village of Son south of Drøbak, Colonel Eriksen decided that further fighting without adequate infantry support was in vain. The fortress was surrendered intact on the morning of April 10.
So old man; what did you and your old equipment buy for all your efforts? How will history judge you?
The effect of halting the German fleet was huge. On board Blücher were troops specially designated to capture the King, the Norwegian government, the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) and the national gold reserve. The delay made it possible for all these to escape from Oslo. If the King and government had been captured, it is most likely that Norway would have capitulated fairly soon to reach a deal with the German similar to that gained by the Danes. Instead, the Storting was able to convene at Elverum and give the government a wide authorization to continue until a Storting could again assemble. In fact, the Norwegian government was able to continue the defense of Norway until it had to go into exile in London.
Never assume the "old" can be dismissed. Do not discount old officers and inexperienced men who are fighting in their home waters. Do not assume away challenges with fairy dust and hopes.

The Norwegians during the Battle of Drøbak sound.