Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sweden, departing

The Swedish Navy is leaving San Diego - and with them the best ASW training the US Navy has received to date. Now, we are begging again.
The Swedish Navy submarine Gotland, which has worked with U.S. naval forces off San Diego since June 2005, will soon be returning to Sweden. The U.S. Navy had “leased” the submarine -- the Swedes note that only actual expenses have been charged -- to help train U.S. anti-submarine forces to cope with modern, non-nuclear submarines.
Thanks for the help guys - I hope you tan makes it home.

Don't play poker with Doug

Lieutenant Colonel Doug Chrissman. The man with the best poker face in Iraq. Fact is always better than fiction; especially when it is written by Michael Yon. Something dramatic happened a few seconds after this picture was taken. You sharp eyed warriors will get a hint from the picture.

Read it all.

My kind of leader.

Gay about Queers

Here is something I can upset my readers about; I don't worry about gays in the military. Why? I have served with them from the start. How did I know they were gay? Well.....(stop it)

Let's just say that I spent a fair bit of time in my youth in social and work settings where the heterosexual was well in the minority now and then - therefore I have a fairly good gaydar. that that is out of the closet (see, it is so much fun if you have a sense of humor about it), there is an interesting bit in Der Spiegel about where the Brits are seven years into allowing gays to openly serve. I'm just glad they found a RAF guy.
"I said, 'Right, I've got something to tell you,' " he said. " 'I believe that for us to be able to work closely together and have faith in each other, we have to be honest and open and frank. And it has to be a two-way process, and it starts with me baring my soul. You may have heard some rumors, and yes, I have a long-term partner who is a he, not a she.' "

Far from causing problems, he said, he found that coming out to his troops actually increased the unit's strength and cohesion. He had felt uneasy keeping the secret "that their boss was a poof," as he put it, from people he worked with so closely.
Face it, we have Commanding Officers who are working on wife #3. We have some who are married to their former 3rd Class Yeoman he first hooked up with during Fleet Week when married to wife #1 with whom he had 2 kids with waiting at home. We have Commanding Officers who have 260# wives who snarl at their hubby in front of the Sailors like he is a little boy. We have Commanding Officers who are married, yet their wife is in another time zone and they almost never see each other. We have Commanding Officers who never, and I mean never, have a date with any women. Do not have an interest in any social relationship outside work - male, female, or otherwise. We have Commanding Officers who give me the willies whenever they put on civilian clothes and try to mix with the taxpayers - so this isn't about "family values." The Constitution doesn't have an asterisk next to "equal protection." And though Queer is defined as strange in the dictionary - if being strange was a disqualifier for service then we would have no one to run our nuclear powered ships.

Is the fact that your Skipper skips lightly to work make him any less of a Commanding Officer than any of the above?

I have come to terms with the fact that unquestionably when the next Democrat becomes the chief executive, and 50/50 chance the next Republican - that gays in the military will be allowed to come out of the closet. Send them to my UIC, fine with me.
Once the news is out there, the gay Royal Air Force squadron leader said, the issue gets subsumed by the job at hand and by the relentless immediacy of war.

At one point, his squad was working with a British Army unit. "I wouldn't go into a briefing room and face them and say, 'By the way, I'm gay,' " he said of his British Army counterparts. "Frankly, I don't think they were worried, because we were all focused on doing a very, very hard job."

He recalled something his commander had said, when advising him to come out to his squad:

"The boss said, 'I think you will be surprised that in this day and age it will be a complete anticlimax, because as far as I'm concerned, homosexuals in the military are yesterday's news.' "
The only down side for me though, is I think when the Diversity Bullies get hold of the issue, they will find a way to rub it in everyone's face. Use gays as another way to justify their existence. Acceptance won't be enough. The loud minority of gay service members will want to use their government status to make it a festival of their gayness - but oh well, with a sense of humor and a willingness to ignore it, you can get over it. The Brits have had that problem.
The British military actively recruits gay men and lesbians and punishes any instance of intolerance or bullying. The Royal Navy advertises for recruits in gay magazines and has allowed gay sailors to hold civil partnership ceremonies on board ships and, last summer, to march in full naval uniform at a gay pride rally in London. (British Army and Royal Air Force personnel could march but had to wear civilian clothes.)
Anyway, the gay couple at the Hail & Farewell is coming your way Shipmate, and they will be in the Spouses Club too. As a leader, you need to think about how you are going to deal with it - and get the most out of your gay Sailors who are there to serve their nation. Me? First Command event after they take off the closet door; they sit at my table. No question the jokes, conversation, and drink selection will be fabulous.

Was this Rummy's blog?

The Pentagon stopped updating their "For the Record" page on 16 NOV 06.

Rummy's resignation was ~10 days prior. Mmmmmm......

Seriously, whoever is/was responsible for this needs to either get back from leave or delete the page. World's only superpower cut-n-run from the media. Sigh.

Hat tip CounterColumn.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Acres of diplomacy

'Nuff said.

Petraeus' September preview

Lawrence J. Korb is a reliable source of I&W on where the anti-victory caucus is planning to swerve next. As Cindy Sheehan has learned, they are not anti-war or pro-peace, they are anti-Republican. They will attack anyone, discredit anyone, join with any ally to ensure the the Democrat power structure returns to power. This isn't about freedom, peace, the soldiers, or the security of this nation. This is all about power.

They have 2
COA. COA-1 is to have by September a situation where their undermining efforts at home and their Islamist allies in Iraq have given them what they need to declare defeat. COA-2 is that progress is made in spite of their efforts. In that case they still need a defeat. How will they get one? Simple, make one up. Discredit General Petraeus.

lays it all out; starting with the first paragraph.
Political leaders from both parties now agree that the American people need to know by September whether the latest escalation in Iraq is working. Many lawmakers will formulate their position on the basis of a coming report from Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the multinational force, to the president. Unfortunately, based on behavior in his last command in Iraq and the manner in which he received his current position, Petraeus is not a reliable source for an unbiased assessment.
First, state that he is unreliable - then attack the core of any General Officer, his integrity.
...Lt. Gen. Petraeus published a misleading commentary in the Washington Post....
Because, you see, GEN Petraeus is just a Republican operative. He is fair game.
If Petraeus wrote on his own initiative, he was injecting himself improperly into a political campaign. If he was encouraged or even allowed to do this by his civilian superiors, he was allowing himself to be used for partisan political purposes.
Yes, you need to notice the two "If"s and the "even." It is amazing what those little words will let you make up and make it sound like fact.
If Phibian was the Fairy Godmother, even Skippy could be a Princess for a night and have a romantic evening of dancing and stolen glances with BadBob.
Wow. That is just too fun.

Anyway, back to the Korb. Then you need to state that GEN Petraeus is incapable of telling the truth.
...can we really expect him to be objective about the current situation when the president consistently reminds us that the surge is Petraeus' strategy? In a speech in early May defending the surge, President Bush mentioned Petraeus by name no less than 12 times and stated that the "best messenger for the surge" is David Petraeus.
Asking Petraeus to assess the situation in September might be asking him - if the evidence pointed in that direction - to say that his whole counterinsurgency strategy was wrong.
Then set the stage so that even his provable statements are not worth listening to.
...he would most likely cherry-pick data...
You also need do conduct a little PSYOPS against Gen. Petraeus now, let him know he can't win in Washington even if he can win in Baghdad.
Most likely, Petraeus would say that he needs more time, that not all of the extra troops arrive until June. He already has indicated that he will not have anything definitive by September. In fact, Petraeus and his commanders have said the surge must last until spring 2008. Moreover, the Pentagon has alerted four National Guard brigades and 10 more active brigades for deployment to Iraq, so that the escalation can be maintained through the end of 2008.
Defining preemptive failure? So what does Lawrence offer?
The answer is to have an independent assessment by an outside group, like the Iraq Study Group, but not including members of that group who might also have an ax to grind. The House and Senate each should appoint one member and the administration another. Only then can we be sure that we will get an unbiased assessment, and that this country will come to grips with the real situation in Iraq.
Very nice. Another Study Group. And who will appoint this Study Group? When will they provide their report? Does he really think such a panel would provide a more honest and clear-eyed report on Iraq than the Commander in the Field? Of course he doesn't. This isn't about truth. This is about score settling, politics and power. Imagine someone writing something like this about Pershing in early 1918, or Eisenhower in 1943. Hard to, isn't it? Not unprecedented though, we have seen this kind before. Will the Democrats do what Korb outlines? From the cheap seats, looks like a good bet. Standby DUSTBIN.

Kharmah just ran over Prof. Fearon's thesis

"In fact, there is a civil war in progress in Iraq, one comparable in important respects to other civil wars that have occurred in postcolonial states with weak institutions. Those cases suggest that the Bush administration's political objective in Iraq--creating a stable, peaceful, somewhat democratic regime that can survive the departure of U.S. troops--is unrealistic." Professor James D. Fearon, writing in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs.
There is one problem with Professor Fearon's thesis--the facts on the ground that I am seeing right now and that he has not seen in person or not seen recently.

A major part of Fearon's well reasoned argument is that U.S. support for the Maliki government, "encourages Sunni nationalists to turn to al Qaeda in Iraq for support against Shiite militias and the Iraqi army."

His argument is logical and would be correct if the Sunnis of Anbar cooperated with his argument--but they are not cooperating with the good professor's thesis. In fact, they are doing just the opposite. The Sunnis of Anbar are now siding with the coalition and fighting Al Qaeda.
Always dangerous to argue mid-07 reality with fall '06 facts.

You need to go to outsidethewire and read it all from Anbar.
It is important for people, even Professors, to understand how quickly things can change in Iraq.

Professor Fearon's thesis is well thought out, but the facts have changed on him. It is not his fault, but it shows the speed in which the situation on the ground changes.

Very few people know enough about Iraq to make coherent policy pronouncements.

Most of what people think they know about Iraq is wrong.

When I get home in a few weeks people will ask me, "how's Iraq?"

I will tell them, "I don't know, but I can tell you about the areas that I saw first hand and spent a few weeks living in."

Each area of operation is different. Khalidiyah is only 35 kilometers from Kharma and Kharma is only 33 kilometers from West Rasheed, Baghdad, but they are nothing alike.

Anyone who says they can speak with definitive knowledge about all of Iraq is a fool or a liar or both.

A person with definitive knowledge of Iraq would have to discuss the situation in terms of 4 or more general areas of operation and then break those down even more to Battalion by Battalion areas.

But even if a person was to circulate to every battalion in Iraq, by they time he finished, the situation would have changed at the battalions he visited first.

This is the nature of warfare. But many members of Congress think after a five-day-junket and a few power point presentations they can make sweeping pronouncements that they understand Iraq.

Which makes them fools and possibly liars.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I just like the song.


Hat tip Michelle and Jawa.

Matt: back in Iraq

A good friend to this blog is taking some time off from Columbia and giving people on the East Coast fits - and is now an embed in Iraq.

Matt Sanchez is back in Iraq. Check in on him now and then here, and at least check in on his latest post - Riding the Rhino.

He just arrived in-country, so this is a chance to follow him from the beginning. Godspeed Matt.

What Skippy does in Japan

I can handle anything but the Natto.

I don't think this will make it to our TV anytime soon.

There; that should keep Lex guessing.....

Hitchens tilts against the ultimate authority

As an Evangelical Christian, you would think I would have problems with Hitchens right now - but no. I don't. My thoughts on God is not the same as his, but he is right on the smaller issues in so many ways.

A lot of his invective seems towards "organized" religion and the dogmatic, non-Bible things that go on.
In some ways, I am with him (..I can be quite the pain in Bible Study..), but I don't confuse the imperfection of men who are clergy with my faith.

Watch this all, and if you are a Christian, please watch it. His lost nature does not challenge my faith, it shouldn't yours. His denial of God and his sharp challenges only reinforces my faith. Enjoy the challenge of a great intellect such as his.

Listen though for what he does say about freedom, and what it means to be an American, very well put.

Hat tip Chap.

POSTEX on the first Cyberwar

For those who have missed it, in the aftermath of the Soviet Statue controversy, Estonia found itself under assault.
What followed was what some here describe as the first war in cyberspace, a three-week battle that forced the Estonian authorities to defend their small country from a data flood they say was set off by orders from Russia or ethnic Russian sources in retaliation for the removal of the statue. There are still minor disruptions.

"This may well turn out to be a watershed in terms of widespread awareness of the vulnerability of modern society," said Linton Wells 2nd, the principal U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration at the Pentagon. "It has gotten the attention of a lot of people."

The Estonians note that an Internet address involved in the attacks belonged to an official who works in the administration of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin.

The Russian government has denied any involvement in the attacks, which came close to shutting down the country's digital infrastructure, clogging the Web sites of the president, the prime minister, Parliament and other government agencies, staggering the biggest Estonian bank and overwhelming the sites of several daily newspapers.

"It turned out to be a national security situation," Estonia's defense minister, Jaak Aaviksoo, said during an interview. "It can effectively be compared to when your ports are shut to the sea."

Computer security experts from NATO, the European Union, the United States and Israel have since converged on Tallinn to offer help and to learn what they can about cyberwar in the digital age.
Not quite an Article 5, but NATO did turn to.
For NATO, the attack may lead to a discussion of whether it needs to modify its commitment to collective defense. Aarelaid said NATO's Internet security experts said little but took copious notes during their visit.
Estonia has a small population, picture this multiplied by 275 or so and you have what a similar attack on the US could do.
In the early hours of May 9, traffic spiked to thousands of times the normal flow. May 10 was heavier still, forcing the biggest bank in Estonia to shut down its online service for more than an hour. Even now, the bank, Hansabank, is under assault and continues to block access to 300 suspect Internet addresses. It has held losses to about $1 million.

Finally, on the afternoon of May 10, the attackers' time on the rented servers expired, and the botnet attacks fell off abruptly. All told, Arbor Networks measured dozens of attacks. The 10 largest assaults blasted streams of 90 megabits of data a second at Estonia's networks, lasting up to 10 hours each. That is a data load equivalent to downloading the entire Windows XP operating system every six seconds for 10 hours.
Attacks on small countries should be taken as the warning they are.

Monday, May 28, 2007

DogPile vs. Google on Memorial Day

I don't know what it is about Google, but they seem to take any chance not to honor what the majority of its customers do. Maybe I will just start linking to Dogpile instead of Google.

Screen caps from today.

Hat tip PowerLine.

Memorial Day

There is so much out there to read and think about today if you want; there is little I could add to it right now. What I would recommend to my readers though is to head on over to my Shipmates at MilBlogs and review the last few days of offerings.

Also, though it isn't Memorial Day focused per se, a little something in support of our Canadian allies over at Ace's place is worth your visit - especially if you (yes you Byron) like a good smackdown.

UPDATE: Story behind that brave young man in the picture here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fullbore Friday

A different FbF today with another example that little to nothing that we do now is "new" or "transformational." The central core remains the same. To win you need a Joint effort of land and sea forces working under a common, well understood Strategic and Operational framework - led and executed by well trained, audacious and visionary (and often flawed) leaders. It has been around for thousands of years.

Most have seen 300, and know about Battle of Thermopylae and Leonidas - but how many of you know about a great master of the Joint battlespace Themistocles - and his masterpiece of the Battle of Artemisium?

Often overshadowed by the more famous Salamis, it was won by the same Themistocles, one of those critical men who was at the right place at the right time. Seeing the future threat of the Persians following the Battle of Marathon where he fought - by hook and by crook he saw that he would pursue success in securing the key to the freedom of the Greek city-states, and the weakness of an invading Persian army. Over 2,000 years before a Prussian General started legions of arm-chair strategists - Themistocles knew Center of Gravity.

He knew that a large land army couldn't supply itself without a mastery of the sea. Either on the Tactical, Operational, or Strategic level - the Persians could not succeed if they did not master and control the sea.

The Greeks could not face and be victorious over the Persians by land armies alone. He knew that.

Thing is; he as almost alone. Through a combination of politics, guile, force of personality, and a fib or two, he managed to build a fleet that showed up just in time. Just in time to fight the sea battle that occurred at the same time as the Spartan and Tespian stand at Thermopylae.

While they held on land, he bloodies the Persian's nose at sea. You should read all of Herodotus Book 8 to see the sides of man that never changes, but here is the juicy bits. At what modern historians say was a Greek fleet outnumbered 6 or 8 to 1.
[8.10] When the Persian commanders and crews saw the Greeks thus boldly sailing towards them with their few ships, they thought them possessed with madness, and went out to meet them, expecting (as indeed seemed likely enough) that they would take all their vessels with the greatest ease. The Greek ships were so few, and their own so far outnumbered them, and sailed so much better, that they resolved, seeing their advantage, to encompass their foe on every side. And now such of the Ionians as wished well to the Grecian cause and served in the Persian fleet unwillingly, seeing their countrymen surrounded, were sorely distressed; for they felt sure that not one of them would ever make his escape, so poor an opinion had they of the strength of the Greeks. On the other hand, such as saw with pleasure the attack on Greece, now vied eagerly with each other which should be the first to make prize of an Athenian ship, and thereby to secure himself a rich reward from the king. For through both the hosts none were so much accounted of as the Athenians.

[8.11] The Greeks, at a signal, brought the sterns of their ships together into a small compass, and turned their prows on every side towards the barbarians; after which, at a second signal, although inclosed within a narrow space, and closely pressed upon by the foe, yet they fell bravely to work, and captured thirty ships of the barbarians, at the same time taking prisoner Philaon, the son of Chersis, and brother of Gorgus king of Salamis, a man of much repute in the fleet. The first who made prize of a ship of the enemy was Lycomedes the son of Aeschreas, an Athenian, who was afterwards adjudged the meed of valour. Victory however was still doubtful when night came on, and put a stop to the combat. The Greeks sailed back to Artemisium; and the barbarians returned to Aphetae, much surprised at the result, which was far other than they had looked for. In this battle only one of the Greeks who fought on the side of the king deserted and joined his countrymen. This was Antidorus of Lemnos, whom the Athenians rewarded for his desertion by the present of a piece of land in Salamis.
The layers to this is great in so many ways. You see, you can read from Plutarch himself here. There are weak-willed politicians, jealousy and pettyness among Flag Officers, competing ideas on how to win and why. Unreliable allies, vanity, courage, cowardice and shame. And at the center of it all - a man who know what needed to be done.
Having taken upon himself the command of the Athenian forces, he immediately endeavoured to persuade the citizens to leave the city, and to embark upon their galleys, and meet with the Persians at a great distance from Greece; but many being against this, he led a large force, together with the Lacedaemonians, into Tempe, that in this pass they might maintain the safety of Thessaly, which had not as yet declared for the king; but when they returned without performing anything, and it was known that not only the Thessalians, but all as far as Boeotia, was going over to Xerxes, then the Athenians more willingly hearkened to the advice of Themistocles to fight by sea, and sent him with a fleet to guard the straits of Artemisium.

When the contingents met here, the Greeks would have the Lacedaemonians to command, and Eurybiades to be their admiral; but the Athenians, who surpassed all the rest together in number of vessels, would not submit to come after any other, till Themistocles, perceiving the danger of the contest, yielded his own command to Eurybiades, and got the Athenians to submit, extenuating the loss by persuading them, that if in this war they behaved themselves like men, he would answer for it after that, that the Greeks, of their own will, would submit to their command. And by this moderation of his, it is evident that he was the chief means of the deliverance of Greece, and gained the Athenians the glory of alike surpassing their enemies in valour, and their confederates in wisdom.

As soon as the Persian armada arrived at Aphetae, Eurybiades was astonished to see such a vast number of vessels before him, and being informed that two hundred more were sailing around behind the island of Sciathus, he immediately determined to retire farther into Greece, and to sail back into some part of Peloponnesus, where their land army and their fleet might join, for he looked upon the Persian forces to be altogether unassailable by sea. But the Euboeans, fearing that the Greeks would forsake them, and leave them to the mercy of the enemy, sent Pelagon to confer privately with Themistocles, taking with him a good sum of money, which, as Herodotus reports, he accepted and gave to Eurybiades. In this affair none of his own countrymen opposed him so much as Architeles, captain of the sacred galley, who, having no money to supply his seamen, was eager to go home; but Themistocles so incensed the Athenians against them, that they set upon him and left him not so much as his supper, at which Architeles was much surprised, and took it very ill; but Themistocles immediately sent him in a chest a service of provisions, and at the bottom of it a talent of silver, desiring him to sup tonight, and to-morrow provide for his seamen; if not, he would report it among the Athenians that he had received money from the enemy. So Phanias the Lesbian tells the story.

Though the fights between the Greeks and Persians in the straits of Euboea were not so important as to make any final decision of the war, yet the experience which the Greeks obtained in them was of great advantage; for thus, by actual trial and in real danger, they found out that neither number of ships, nor riches and ornaments, nor boasting shouts, nor barbarous songs of victory, were any way terrible to men that knew how to fight, and were resolved to come hand to hand with their enemies; these things they were to despise, and to come up close and grapple with their foes. This Pindar appears to have seen, and says justly enough of the fight at Artemisium, that-
"There the sons of Athens set The stone that freedom stands on yet."
More modern commentary here, here, here, and here.

Sounds like TACAIR to me

Admit it Lex - not that there is anything wrong with that.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

As the good people come forward

Remember all the gloom and doom that everyone heard of hopeless Anbar and the brutish Sunni that would never join with us? Well, head on over to Instapundit to catch up of reporters Left-right-and center report what is going on.

Like The Corner, this is what gets me the most from and email by Michael Yon.
In addition to basic services being restored, the city of Hit has rebuilt its library. Citizens had stored away the books during the war here. They are preparing to re-stock the library. Glenn, you know that I do not hesitate to deliver bad news. I have no bad news to deliver today. The town of Hit clearly is doing much, much better. "Anbar the impossible" might be possible after all.
There are good, normal people in Iraq. The majority actually. A people who do not really know how to live a normal life in freedom. There is a sapling of freedom there, and it will continue to grow in the right environment and care to the point it can grown and stand on its own. We just need to give it a chance.

If Anbar stays secure through the summer and we can bring Baghdad back from the brink - well - we'll talk about it then.

We should have listened to the Democrats

Hat tip The Good Lt.

Not in my Navy

Another reason not to believe - or take career advice - from the Navy Enquirer.Don't even think about doing this at my PRT....please.

Post Card from Hell

Just one question and one statement - then I will let you bask in this little bit of what we have subjected ourselves to. There are logic and reality holes in here you can drive a truck through, but I just don't have the energy. This is only the last three paragraphs of a long email - which makes me wonder;

Question - between drafting such emails and attending the meetings - how does a certain person at NAVSEA get his primary job done - you know, focus on NAVSEA's core competancy? Must have an outstanding work ethic; I guess.

Statement - RDML (Sel) is actually a CAPT. RDML (Sel) is not on any paychart or ranking structure I have ever seen. There is no O6.5. Nor is there a O4.5, 5.5 etc.

Chief Select I do recognise, because they earn it while they wear it....but that is just me.
-- This week is also a designated "Lean Week" at headquarters. As you know, this is now a monthly event. Some of the key Lean events include: a CLIN 5000 Tools Working Group Rapid Improvement Event, a SEA10 In-Processing event, and two Value Stream Analyses for the Virginia Class submarine program.
-- Right in the middle of Lean Week is Lean Six Sigma Forum on Wednesday the 23rd. This event is perfect if you've heard about Lean Six Sigma, but don't really understand what it is or how it applies to you? It kicks off at 0900 in the building 197 auditorium, and there will be Lean exhibits and displays in the adjacent light court from 1100 to 1330. Thanks to the NAVSEA Workforce Advisory Board for hosting the event. Come see the great things going on at headquarters, our Warfare Centers and Shipyards, and find out how the Navy is moving to make continuous process improvement a way of life.
-- Then on 1 June, I will serve on the SYSCOM Panel at the Navy's Inaugural Lean Six Sigma Symposium at the National Conference Center in Lansdowne, VA. The Navy leadership is committed to Lean and it shows with the slate of leaders who will be attending, including the Honorable Gordon England, Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Donald C. Winter, Secretary of the Navy, and Dr. Delores M. Etter, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition.

Thanks for another week of service to NAVSEA, the Navy and the nation. Have a great week!

RDML (Sel) Jxxx Mxxxxxx
Not in my UIC, thank Neptune!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hypocrisy: thy name is Edwards

From OCT 01.

From yesterday.

Hat tip Allah.

The Revolting Generals: calling them on the carpet

Major Daniel L. Daniels penned an OP/ED at The Washington Times that calls a spade a spade - and hits a home run. Funny how the retired GOFO come out of the woodwork as election season comes around and they want to get on the short list for the next Democrat Administration - but when they are actually called forward to help now - you know - to win; well some have other issues of more importance. Go get 'em Dan.
According to recently published reports, the Bush administration quietly approached several retired four-star generals last March about accepting a newly created position to coordinate military and political/diplomatic activity in Iraq. None accepted. One of those who refused was highly decorated retired Marine Corps Gen. John J. Sheehan, who was quoted in The Washington Post as saying, "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks.' " How unreasonable indeed it was of the president of the United States to ask a retired Marine Corps four-star general -- during a time of war -- to do something hard, particularly at the risk of an upset tummy.
So to sum: Gen. Sheehan is willing to allow the men and women of our armed forces to continue languishing in a lethal environment that he believes to be dysfunctional, but refuses to get involved because it would be hard and might cause him to "develop an ulcer."
Where are the men like former Marine Corps Gen. Clifton B. Cates, who was cited for heroism fighting in the bloodiest battles of World War I, and years later when given one of the toughest missions of World War II -- taking Iwo Jima -- didn't hesitate? Throughout American history when the times were difficult, tough military leaders have always risen to the occasion. When Eisenhower asked who could relieve the beleaguered men of Bastogne in December 1944, George Patton with all his swagger and confidence didn't hesitate to throw himself and his men into the teeth of the German offensive and won the day; when the Germans threatened to capture Paris in World War I, it was John "Black Jack" Pershing who thrust the American Army into the breach and helped save the French capitol; and who could imagine Col. Teddy Roosevelt turning his Rough Riders away from San Juan Hill because, well, there were bad guys up there and it could be hard? Where are men of this caliber today? Are we to understand that not one of the hundreds of living retired three and four star generals are up to the task of answering the president's call in our present war? What does this say about the quality of generalship in America today?
It is time -- well past time -- that we examine the performance of all those who have had leadership roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom. But it's also time for today's Roosevelts, Pershings, Pattons and Cates to step up and be counted; the courage and resolve shown by the privates, sergeants, lieutenants and captains who do the fighting and dying in this war demand it.
Well, at least the good General won't have to take a pay cut.
General John Sheehan is senior vice president and partner at Bechtel Corporation, the largest civil engineering company in the world. He serves as Manager of Operations for the Oil, Gas and Chemicals Global Business Unit.
Ahem. After reading this pompous OP/ED Sheehan wrote for The Washington Post - perhaps it is best he stays at Bechtel. After all, I am sure the stock options are worth quite a bit right now - and who wants to get out and help push where there is so much more to do on the outside pissing in.

Bill Roggio and the Media War

In an interview in the Christian Science Monitor, Bill Roggio of TheFourthRail, gives a solid, but short interview with Dante Chinni about the media poor reporting on Iraq.
In some respects the media coverage in Iraq has improved, such as the recent spate of reporting on the remarkable success in suppressing Al Qaeda and the insurgency in Anbar Province. But as a whole, the coverage in Iraq lacks context, and reporters as a whole display a lack of knowledge of counterinsurgency and the role the media plays in an insurgency's information campaign.

Like it or not, the media is a part of the battlefield. Why do the media refuse to recognize their role as participants – even if passive – in this war?
No shocker to my readers, but Bill's first hand report is an important read. TFR is required reading as well. I don't hit it every day, but at least once a week. He has things you simply won't find elsewhere: like this map of who is where in Baghdad. Note all the Iraqi units....

The Navy Takes Over

Let's see:

EUCOM: Army.
PACOM: Navy.

But wait, there are more top-shelf 4-star jobs.

Chairman JCS: Marines.
Vice Charman: Navy.
STRATCOM: Marines.

And the latest.....
President Bush today nominated Navy Vice Adm. Eric T. Olson to lead U.S. Special Operations Command, replacing Army Gen. Bryan "Doug" Brown, according to a Pentagon release.

Olson would be the first Navy officer to head Socom. The command is responsible for about 48,000 elite troops, such as Army Green Berets, Rangers, Delta Force operatives, Navy SEALs and Air Force rescue teams. Olson is now Socom's deputy commander.
What am I missing? Does it matter? Navy/Marine Corps team gets 7 out of 11. Not sure what it says, if anything - but I do find it funny in a way. After all, everyone of a certain age knows that 7/11 gets you super-rock cups.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A bad month for the Navy

6 CO's since 16 APR.
- USS Arleigh Burke: 22 May - soft grounding.
- USS Helena: 16 May - loss of confidence.
- USS Constitution: 11 May - administrative reasons.
- USS Higgins: 08 May - administrative reasons.
- NRD New York: 21 Apr - loss of confidence.
- VAQ-140: 16 APR - loss of confidence.
Bad luck, common thread? Tough month.

The good Kerry

Bob Kerry.
No matter how incompetent the Bush administration and no matter how poorly they chose their words to describe themselves and their political opponents, Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before. And no matter how much we might want to turn the clock back and either avoid the invasion itself or the blunders that followed, we cannot. The war to overthrow Saddam Hussein is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq.
The key question for Congress is whether or not Iraq has become the primary battleground against the same radical Islamists who declared war on the U.S. in the 1990s and who have carried out a series of terrorist operations including 9/11. The answer is emphatically "yes."

This does not mean that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11; he was not. Nor does it mean that the war to overthrow him was justified--though I believe it was. It only means that a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq would hand Osama bin Laden a substantial psychological victory.
Those who argue that radical Islamic terrorism has arrived in Iraq because of the U.S.-led invasion are right. But they are right because radical Islam opposes democracy in Iraq. If our purpose had been to substitute a dictator who was more cooperative and supportive of the West, these groups wouldn't have lasted a week.

Finally, Jim Webb said something during his campaign for the Senate that should be emblazoned on the desks of all 535 members of Congress: You do not have to occupy a country in order to fight the terrorists who are inside it. Upon that truth I believe it is possible to build what doesn't exist today in Washington: a bipartisan strategy to deal with the long-term threat of terrorism.

The American people will need that consensus regardless of when, and under what circumstances, we withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. We must not allow terrorist sanctuaries to develop any place on earth. Whether these fighters are finding refuge in Syria, Iran, Pakistan or elsewhere, we cannot afford diplomatic or political excuses to prevent us from using military force to eliminate them.
Worth a full read.

Fair, calm, deliberate discussion. The type of non-partisan discussion that is lacking. A shame is; I expect the same goofy, hate filled Leftist Democrats that attacked him in 2000 to do it again.

A little DC to start things off

No translation required....but why do we all use the cheesy music?

MRAP and the Navy

Is there a connection between MRAP and the Navy? Yes, unquestionably in that it should force us to think about who is making decisions, why, and in what context. For background,
The Army is looking to slash as much as $10 billion from its procurement accounts to pay for a larger fleet of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, setting off a round of budget drills that could throw its modernization goals into chaos and trigger a wave of program terminations and delays, according to Defense Department officials.

In a bid to find between $8 billion and $10 billion for a down payment on as many as 15,000 additional MRAP vehicles requested by commanders in Iraq, the Army is considering options for financing a sizable portion of the new armored fleet program within its base budget, according to sources familiar with closely held spending deliberations.
More than any other service, the Army has learned hard lessons in blood and treasure about the fundamentals of warfare - as have the Canadians and others. In spite of that, when reading about the MRAP program, a shocking example of the worst, cancerous peace-time, beltway, calcified thinking came through.
Until now, the quick-moving MRAP program was focused on procuring 7,774 vehicles -- 2,500 of which were for the Army -- largely through supplemental appropriations. Because MRAP is not a program of record and was regarded as a requirement unique to needs in Iraq, it was funded outside the service’s base budget.
"Unique to needs in Iraq?" Shipmate, what kind of wars do you think we are most likely to fight over the next couple of decades? Mmmm. Let's see. Useful in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Gulf War I, East Timor, Panama, we need to do more? The slaughter of our men in Somalia fighting in soft skinned vehicles told us everything we needed to know about the need for armored cars somewhere between a Hummers and a Bradley. Armies all over the world need and use them. Examples back to Vietnam are there. South Africa - and so on. Just because the world doesn't want to fight you the way you want to fight them is no reason to ignore the truth.

People with that train of thought should have been fired about 2004. They listen to contractors from companies they want to work for when they retire, and believe PPT briefs, but won't take the time to read the AARs coming out of theater. The Navy version of these people think a ship the size of a Pocket Battleship can sneak up in the Littorals and not be seen. The ones who threw away our Riverine forces in the 90's and starve them now. They think you don't need redundancy in Damage Control teams. They think Sailors can exist at sea for long periods on nothing but microwave food and be effective. They think a lot of things - not all of which will last the first encounter with the enemy. Buy the MRAP and keep them in inventory. We and the next two generations will need them. Sure, they aren't for everything, but neither is the Hummer. Good give and take discussion here. We have Cougars, Buffaloes, Golans, all sorts of goodies. Nice for EOD, but useful for lost of other things as well. Let's not take all day. Get to work.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Our hostages held by terrorists seen

No, I'm not talking about our soldiers in Iraq.

Did you know that the Communist Terrorists in Colombia are holding three Americans hostage - and have been for years? Almost 4 years?
Relatives of kidnap victims call it "proof of life."

Almost four years have passed since Gene and Lynne Stansell received any confirmation that their son, Keith, a U.S. defense contractor who was taken hostage by left-wing guerrillas in Colombia, was still alive.

Then Wednesday out of the jungle emerged a bare-boned Jhon Frank Pinchao, a Colombian policeman who had spent almost nine years as a prisoner of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

At a press conference Pinchao said he escaped from the same FARC camp where Stansell, 42, and two other American defense contractors, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves, are held.

All were alive and in good spirits, Pinchao said.
Yes, dear, there are still Communists soaked in blood and ignored by the Leftists and their fellow travelers.

Think of all the airtime to Abu Ghraib, and then read about what is happening for a former Presidential Candidate and her running mate. What is the percentage? Simple; Abu Ghraib gets you 3,320 in googlenews - Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes, and Marc Gonsalves will get you 49. 1.5% as important? THAT much less? At this stage of the game? 60 Minutes II did something on them a few years ago, and a indie documentary done - but that is it.

Time did an Abu Ghraib article as recent as 18 MAY.
Former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt is forced to sleep chained by her neck as punishment for having tried to escape from her rebel captors five times, an escaped hostage told family members of the dual French-Colombian citizen.
Betancourt was chained by the neck to other prisoners every night -- and sometimes for 24 hours at a time -- in order to prevent her from escaping, family members present at the meeting told The Associated Press on Friday.

"They're treating her like an animal," said her husband, Juan Carlos Lecompte, adding that he feared her captors would harshen their treatment of the hostages following Pinchao's escape. "The guerrillas lie when they say they're treating women and prisoners humanely."

Pinchao, he said, was kept with Betancourt for almost three years.

Betancourt was kidnapped in 2002 while campaigning for the presidency on a leftist ticket in southern Colombia, a longtime rebel stronghold.

In 2003, the FARC sent a proof-of-life video of Betancourt and her running mate Clara Rojas, who Pinchao said gave birth three years ago in captivity to a child named Emanuel. The father is a guerrilla, Pinchao said.

After suffering a bout of hepatitis a year ago, Pinchao said, Betancourt remains thin but is otherwise in good health and recently was his daily exercise partner.
Senator Leahy. Senator Reid. Hello? Anyone?

Will Hollywood make a movie of this man?
The policeman, Jhon Frank Pinchao, recently escaped from the rebels after more than eight years in captivity. He was abducted in 1998 when FARC rebels raided the southeastern town of Mitu, killing some officers and taking 60 people hostage.

Pinchao says the kidnappers have punished Betancourt for trying to escape. He says he last saw her and the American captives on April 28th.

The former hostage said Thursday in Bogota he fled a rebel camp and spent 17 days walking through the Amazon jungle before a police patrol found him.

Pinchao says the hostages were moved from one camp to another every few months.

The FARC has been holding about 60 political prisoners for several years in the hope of trading them for hundreds of rebels held by the government.
What a story...but it would make Communists in the jungle, I mean Rain Forest, look bad - so maybe not.

Cue video of Obama jogging, playing ball, sump'n

If I was on Senator Obama's (D-IL) team, I would have him put out the tasty-cig and get a picture of him playing any type of sport with some junior high kids or go jogging through someplace in NH - and then push this with this on it in every media email I could find.

It is going to be a long way to NOV 08 Senator Clinton, a long way. Cowboy up!

Hat tip Drudge.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Fullbore Friday

USS Ernest G. Small (DD-838).

Ah, the Gearing Class. This Destroyer served at sea for 54 years with the US and Taiwan navy, but that isn't the best part of her story.

She had one of the most difficult regularly scheduled OOD Underway watches I can think of. Though her entire career is worth review, let's just focus on the Korean War.
From January to May 1950 she cruised in the Mediterranean and around northern Europe. With the outbreak of war in Korea, she was sent to join the 7th Fleet, and on 29 June she transited the Panama Canal en route to action.

She sailed with carrier forces, fired shore bombardments, patrolled off Taiwan, and participated in the landings at Inchon and Wonsan in September and October.

In December she helped evacuate the Tenth Army Corps from Hungnam and Inchon. Following a brief overhaul at San Diego in the first half of 1951, she began her second Korean tour as escort for the carrier Rendova (CVE-114).

She participated in the naval bombardment of Hungnam and was so occupied on 7 October when she struck a mine which seriously damaged her bow, killed 9 and wounded 18. Four days later heavy seas broke the bow off and she was fitted with a stubby replacement which enabled her to reach Long Beach, arriving on 18 December 1951.
But to get that stubby bow (with a very cute bow anchor) she had to get to Japan the hard way, as seen above. My neck hurts just thinking about it.

What I want to know; did they call for a tug when they got to Long Beach?

Though we like to pretend mines aren't there (too hard to think about) they are. They are deadly, they will bite you. They will challenge your Damage Control teams.

In the end, every ship is a mine sweeper.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

McCain is dead to me

I was actually going to write something nice about him again, actually having second thoughts and warming to him. No more.
MCCAIN: We can and must complete this legislation sooner rather than later. We all know that this issue can get caught up in extracurricular politics unless we move forward as quickly as possible.
Senator, that "extracurricular politics" is called the people who elected you to office desiring their Constitutional Right to redress of grievance. But we know you already had issues with that. This is a huge wedge for Giuliani and Romney if they want to take it - in spite of what they supported in the past. McCain is done. Look at his weakness in the graphs from The Ides of May.

As for the immigration bill itself, I am close to Capt. Ed on this - it is probably as good you are going to get with GWB and a Democrat hold on the House and Senate. My major problem with Senator McCain (R-AZ) is his attitude towards the voter as quoted above. I have had enough of that. Kate O'Beirne is right in a large sense, this will push down the Republican base and pro-enforcement Independents and Democrats from supporting the Republicans in '08. And yes, you can put this in the lap of GWB.
I just talked with a veteran conservative activist whose group doesn't engage on the immigration issue but who is glum about the expected reaction of the conservative grassroots to the immigration deal. "We'll all be hurt. They'll just stay home," he predicted. "They'll figure they didn't support Republicans in order to federalize education, create a big, new entitlement program, and grant amnesty to illegals."
I will wait for the vote to see who up in '08 supports this growing bucket of FOD - but right now I am calling a Democrat pick-up of 5 seats in '08 at a minimum. The Republicans already have I think 7 more seats to defend than the Democrats - and they are just digging that hole deeper. In every Republican Senator's playbook "Top 5" should be; when in doubt, if Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) is a co-sponsor of a piece of legislation, oppose it. He gave us the present nightmare, in case you didn't know.

Oh, and if you want to stew in your anger, go over and read Mickey Kaus.

You and what military?

Just who, EU, will do this attack?
A slim majority of Europeans would back attacks on Iran as a last resort to stop it acquiring a nuclear bomb, according to a poll released on Wednesday. Asked to comment on the statement "we must stop countries like Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, even if that means taking military action", 52 percent said they agreed, with 40 percent against.
When the Europeans say "we" more often than not they mean "the US will provide all strategic lift, strategic strike, and we will add a bit here and there and then we will tut-tut their brutal war"

Hard fact is that the Europeans do not have the ability to do anything about Iran from a military point of view without the US - and it is their fault.

CAPT Ramius is burning your PQS book

Colbert, it was great until you got the photo and mixed up the missile thing. A Janes is like a loaded gun, dangerous if you don't know how to use it.

Thanks for the shout out though, and if you need a military advisor, I'm here to help 24/7.

Hat tip H.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

British MoD gets a "F"

Whoever is in charge of Strategic Communications should be fired, put on Gardening Leave, or something.
The head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said his presence in Iraq would expose the 22-year-old Prince as well as the troops serving with him to "a degree of risk that I now deem unacceptable".
Going from not-go, to go with camera crew, to not-go in the space of a week is not worthy of a serious nation.

You just handed the Islamists a great victory. Spin it any way you want, but it reads in the Middle East as cowardice.

John Edwards - eating the dead

Just, simply, beyond disgrace.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is calling on his supporters to turn this year's Memorial Day into a day of antiwar activism, saying that the best way to honor the troops is to demand an end to the Iraq war.

"Each of us has a responsibility as Americans, a duty to our troops and to each other, to do all we can to support the troops and end this war," the former senator from North Carolina said yesterday during a commencement address at New England College in Henniker, N.H.
"This Memorial Day weekend, that means more than just getting in your car, driving to the beach, or a parade, or a picnic and saying the words, 'We support our troops,' " Edwards said.

"We must take responsibility and take action together -- as citizens, as Americans, as patriots. To support the troops. To end the war."
Maybe he should have taken some more history at N.C. State. This is what Memorial Day is.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."
More by Chap, and Eagle1.

Keeping and eye on the long game: Part XXI

The dragon does not sleep, and she lives to be underestimated.
In the last five years, China has brought 20 state-of-the-art, super-quiet, diesel-electric submarines on line, increasing its fleet of modern subs to 55. Now there is speculation the Chinese are developing Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells that allow their subs to stay submerged far longer and eliminate any detectable mechanical noise. This would explain how a Chinese submarine was able to surprise the USS Kitty Hawk battle group last October by popping up in its midst and immediately disappearing without a trace. Apparently, the U.S. Navy can't track China's newest submarines.

U.S. intelligence predicted none of this. Last year, Assistant Defense Secretary Peter Rodman admitted, "We are caught by surprise by the appearance of new systems that suddenly appear fully developed." Former Clinton administration defense expert Kurt Campbell has noted, "You look back on those studies, and it's only been a decade, China has exceeded in every area military modernization that even the far-off estimates of the mid-1990s predicted."

With the Soviet Union's collapse in 1992, America cut its defense budget by more than 10 percent during the Clinton years while China boosted arms spending by 10 percent to 20 percent every year since 1992.
The Central Intelligence Agency calculates Beijing now spends 4.3 percent of its gross domestic product on the military. China's military sectors will get about $430 billion -- in purchasing power parity terms -- this year.
And why would they want to do that?
Humoring threats from dictatorships invariably results in catastrophic miscalculations. And Taiwan is not Beijing's only illicit territorial claim.

Last November, the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi informed a surprised Indian television audience that "the whole of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory." This February, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said "China will not accept any representations by Japan on the premise of territorial claim" over the Senkaku Islands. No Chinese live in Arunachal Pradesh, and Japan has administered the Senkakus for 112 years.

All Asia is watching to see if the U.S. is committed to President Bush's vision of "the global expansion of democracy." If Washington won't stand up for democracy in Taiwan, where would it? And how would Beijing know Washington was serious?

No responsible person wants war in the Taiwan Strait. But the best way to avoid war, to keep our legal commitment to defend Taiwan's democracy and to maintain Asia's stability is to demonstrate steadfast resolve against Beijing's territorial demands.

The United States may no longer be strong enough to defend freedom beyond our shores. The "global expansion of democracy" may not be feasible as we face a Chinese Superpower intent on legitimizing illiberal forces lurking in the shadows of Asia's fragile new democracies. If so, Washington should admit it, so our allies and friends can start making other plans for their security.
Amen. Oh, and a note to my WESTPAC friends - plan on your own security. If I was you - I would.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The ides of May

OK, I am a day late - but I wanted to watch the debate. This is the first month, and there will be changes to the format and players as we go along this WAY too long campaign - but you have to start somewhere.

BTW, I just moved into neutral waters, Romney lost me this week. I might come back, but he is starting to remind me of the worst part of GWB - not quite what you see. The guy that joins the NRA as a Life Member in AUG '06 and then says, "I support the assault weapons ban (sic)" is just not steady for me. Rudy, at least, is what he seems. As for his "abortion" issue - hey, he is honestly struggling with it, as are most people in the country. He is running for President of all the people.

I am now the Italy of the election - I may withdrawal or switch sides at any point, and not apologize. Romney, you are going to have to do much better to get me back. Rudy and (gasp) CAPT McCain - I am open again.

As a side-bar; even you FoxHaters have to admit that Brit and Mike were an order of magnitude better than the Chris and Moonbat show last time. And yes, there is someone that I would have liked to see there.

See you next month. If you are wondering what I am reading for other's opinions after tonight's debate; Capt. Ed, Michelle, and The Corner.

USS Samuel B. Roberts - "engineering difficulties"

A Navy frigate had to be helped into port along the coast of central Argentina on Friday, where the ship remains pending investigation.

Lt. Cmdr. Jon Spiers, a spokesman for Naval Forces South, said the frigate Samuel B. Roberts experienced “engineering difficulties” May 11 while U.S. and foreign ships were wrapping up the annual UNITAS Atlantic exercise off the South American coast. Spiers would not confirm the ship ran aground, but noted tugboats pulled the ship into port at Puerto Belgrano. There were no injuries onboard, he added.

“The incident occurred inside the channel leading to Puerto Belgrano less than a mile from the port. The U.S. Navy is investigating the cause of the incident,” the spokesman said.
Hail call Byron and all my spies. Anyone know more details?

Did and OHP drop another rudder? If nothing else, our Sailors will have good liberty.

Hat tip Springboard.

Keep an eye on Turkey

As everyone waits to see if Paris Hilton is going to raped in prison, there is real news of real importance going on in the world. Watch as the original and most successful secular Muslim tries not to fall in the pit of Islamism. If it does, there will be a huge bloodbath. The Army will rip itself and its nation apart - and the Turks know it. To find good reporting on this though, you have to go to the British and German press.
At least one million Turks have rallied in the city of Izmir to protest against any government plans to undermine Turkish secularism.
Three thousand police were on hand to deal with the huge crowd. Many protesters travelled from other parts of Turkey to fill a 2-kilometer (1.25-mile) oceanfront strip. They carried signs against Erdogan, who has raised tension in recent weeks by nominating his foreign minister, Abdullah Gül -- who likewise has roots in Islamic political parties -- for president. There were protests in Istanbul and Ankara before Gül was rejected by a fractious parliament, which according to the Turkish constitution, is responsible for choosing the country's president. But last Thursday the same parliament passed a bill (more...) to change the constitution and elect future presidents by popular vote.

Erdogan and his party believe Gül would win a popular election. But Turkey's current president, a secularist named Ahmet Necdet Sezer, can still veto the bill.

Gül's candidacy was opposed not just by secularists in the parliament but by the military, which has been known to remove governments it doesn't like. Veiled threats from generals during Gül's presidential bid inflamed national tensions, and protesters in Izmir carried not just anti-Erdogan banners but also paper hats with slogans: "No to Islamic law, no to military coups: a democratic Turkey."
If Turkey falls to Islamism, everything changes. We will be, in effect, blindsided by history.

Once again, if you have ever been to Istanbul or Ankara would not believe how Western they are compared to what you thought. Enjoy it while you can. It would be a huge loss. Now, drive into the countryside and you have a different country. To see what a modern group of Muslims does when they protest, watch the video.

Halberstam: I'm not alone

When I broke Skippy's heart, and with many feeling like he did, I was feeling kind of alone. Now, not so much - I was just on point.

A lot of people are starting to come out of the closet, via PowerLine and New Criterion there are some links to all sorts of like minded people.

On of the best is Hilton Kramer - and he did it in '93.
Halberstam was, of course, one of the Times reporters who achieved fame as a correspondent in Vietnam. (It was for his reporting of the war in 1962-64 that he won his Pulitzer.) Indeed, he was unusual in this regard in achieving not one but two reputations as a writer on the Vietnam War. The first was as a champion of the Kennedy intervention in Vietnam, the brutal and disastrous removal of the Diem regime in Saigon, and the view that the United States had an important stake in opposing Communism in Vietnam. This was still his view in The Making of a Quagmire (1965), his first book on the subject.
I believe that Vietnam is a legitimate part of that [American] global commitment [he wrote]. A strategic country in a key area, it is perhaps one of only five or six nations in the world that is truly vital to U.S. interests.
And then on the question of American withdrawal from Vietnam:
What about withdrawal? Few Americans who have served in Vietnam can stomach this idea. It means that those Vietnamese 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. Just as our commitment in Korea in 1950 has served to discourage overt Communist border crossings ever since, an anti-Communist victory in Vietnam would serve to discourage so-called wars of liberation.
This was exactly
the view of the Vietnam War in the White House in the Kennedy era—the view of “the best and the brightest” that Mr. Halberstam was soon to castigate.

It was his second reputation as a writer on Vietnam, this time as an implacable foe of the American intervention, that launched Mr. Halberstam as a best-selling author. In the voluminous pages of The Best and the Brightest (1972), he was reborn as a ferocious critic of the war and those responsible for conducting it. President Kennedy was now no longer the good guy he had once been, and his associates, who had gone on to serve under President Johnson, were even worse.

Only Bobby Kennedy, “who had been primarily responsible for the counterinsurgency enthusiasm,” as Mr. Halberstam acknowledged, was absolved from the consequences of his role because of what was said to be his “capacity to grow and change and admit error.” Between The Making of a Quagmire and The Best and the Brightest, Mr. Halberstam had taken time out to join the ranks of the Bobby Kennedy hagiographers by writing The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy; he also wrote Ho, an admiring little book about Ho Chi Minh. These smoothed the way for Mr. Halberstam’s own re-emergence as a politically correct anti-war liberal know-it-all in The Best and the Brightest.

It is in the nature of journalism, of course, for its practitioners to be allowed to reinvent themselves as events require, and Mr. Halberstam proved to be a dab hand at negotiating the terrain separating one realm of received opinion from another. It is the one talent that has never failed him.