Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Clintonian 2-minutes


How can it get shorter

When I read this,
Shortly after winning a majority last year, Democrats triumphantly declared that they would put Congress back to work, promising an “end to the two-day workweek.” And indeed, the House has clocked more time in Washington this year than in any other session since 1995, when Republicans, newly in control, sought to make a similar point.

But 10 months into the session, with their legislative agenda often in gridlock with the Bush administration and a big election year looming, the Democrats are now planning a lighter schedule when the 110th Congress begins its second year in mid-January.
I thought of the video Marine6 mentioned.

A Sestak sandwitch!

Stuck right between Stan Greenberg and Barbabra Streisand - Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), RADM USN, Retired. PA-7 must be busing with pride with the 76th most influential US liberal.


As political strategist and pollster for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, he played a key role in the election of the last Democratic president. Has also advised Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela, Gerhard Schroeder and Ehud Barack. Holds a PhD from Harvard and spent a decade teaching at Yale.

Currently advising Senator Chris Dodd, a rank outsider. Once Dodd drops out, expect Greenberg to return to the Clinton fold. Biggest compliment came from Republican rival Frank Luntz: “Stan Greenberg scares the hell out of me. He doesn't just have a finger on the people's pulse; he's got an IV injected into it. He's the best."


Retired naval vice-admiral who last year became the most senior former military officer to be elected to Congress. Defeated veteran Republican Curt Weldon in a Pennsylvania seat few believed a novice Democrat could win. Strong anti-war stance and naval background make him a potential Pentagon chief or deputy chief in a Democratic administration.

A hard task master, he does not suffer fools readily – traits that won him promotion through the ranks in the US Navy but might make life difficult for him and others on Capitol Hill.

Actress and singer

A veteran Hollywood advocate for liberal causes, expect her to be a frequent guest in a Democratic White House. A major Democratic contributor and fundraiser, she has railed against gun rights, global warming and the Iraq war. Performed at Lyndon Johnson’s inauguration is 1965 as well as Bill Clinton’s 28 years later.

Is so dedicated to seeing a Democratic president elected in 2008 she has contributed cash to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

Actually, he rose up the ranks and then retired down one due to his "traits." Just to be accurate.

Hat tip MTH.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Combined action against pirates

Victory! At sea, you take the allies you can find. Take this. North Koreans and the US Navy fighting pirates together. Yea, give the entire ship JPME1 credit. From CUSNC's crackerjack PIO shop - in whole.
The crew of a North Korean cargo vessel, Dai Hong Dan, regained control of their vessel Tuesday, after fighting with the pirates who had taken over their ship sometime Monday. The crew was able to control the steering and engineering spaces of the ship, while the pirates had seized the bridge. The ship is approximately 60 nm northeast of Mogadishu.

Three corpsmen from USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), an Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer operating as part of the maritime coalition, along with a boarding team, provided medical assistance and other support as needed to the crew of the Korean vessel. Three seriously injured crew members have been transferred to Williams for treatment. Initial reports from the crew are that five pirates were captured and two are dead. The pirates remain aboard the Dai Hong Dan.

The Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters, based in Bahrain, received a call from the International Maritime Bureau, located in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Tuesday morning, providing the current status of the Dai Hong Dan. At that time, Williams was about 50 nm from the vessel and sent a helicopter to investigate the situation. Williams arrived in the vicinity of the Korean ship midday local time and contacted the pirates via bridge-to-bridge radio, ordering them to give up their weapons.

At that point, the Korean crew confronted the pirates and regained control of the ship, and then began communicating with Williams, requesting medical assistance. The crew said the pirates had been in control of the bridge, but the crew had retained control of the steering and engineering spaces.
BZ. NORKs. Go figure.

Can we earmark "George One?"

Of the millions Congress earmarks in the DOD budget that does nothing and the fleets of 40-year old aircraft we spend money to just make shadows on the ramp - can't we fund with the change under the couch to make good on a promise made to all of us? What is that promise? If we die in the service to our nation, if possible our mortal remains will be returned to our family. From a forgotten part of the immediate Post-WWII era, I want to introduce you to three crewmen from "George One," a PBM-5 Mariner: Ensign Maxwell A. Lopez, Newport, RI; Frederick Warren Williams, Aviation Machinist’s Mate First Class, Huntington, TN and Wendell K. Hendersin, Aviation Radioman First Class, Sparta, WI. Here is part of their story.
By the time crew members were readying George One for the second flight, the waves were thrashing, yanking the airplane against the lines that tethered it to the assisting boats and roughly jostling the guys inside. Robbins and Caldwell managed to attach four jet-assisted takeoff bottles to the seaplane, but the mooring lines were literally shredding the craft’s aluminum skin. LeBlanc, another World War II veteran with thousands of hours in PBMs, was unperturbed by the conditions. The Pine Island laid a fuel slick to calm the waters and George One cast off and started its run. After what seemed like five miles, the longest run Robbins had ever experienced, LeBlanc fired the JATO bottles and George

One took wing—into a blinding snowstorm.

Robbins says he wasn’t worried, though. He had once received a commendation for a nine-hour flight through fog and clouds in Greenland, and he felt confident in his skills as a radar operator. As Captain Caldwell strapped into the seat in the forward gun turret—now just an observer’s seat—Robbins checked his radarscope. Icebergs below registered strong returns.

As they approached the coast, Robbins reported to the flight deck: “Mountain range 20 miles ahead and scattered icebergs.” The radar return was clear and strong; the terrain matched the charts. But the weather ahead wasn’t clearing. LeBlanc and copilot William Kearns decided to abort the flight and began a long, slow 180-degree turn.

Robbins, standing between the pilots on the airplane’s flight deck, felt a slight bump. He heard LeBlanc and Kearns pour on full power.

And then, nothing. He felt like he was floating. He felt a shaking. His shoulder. He looked up; he was kneeling in snow 20 yards from the cockpit, and the flight engineer, Bill Warr, was standing over him. “We’re all screwed up, Robbie,” Warr said. “I think we’re the only ones alive.”
We know where those Shipmates are buried too.
While the 6 survivors of the crash were able to make it to the coast for pick up by a sea plane, those three men killed in the crash were left behind, their bodies buried in what was meant to be a temporary grave were buried beneath a specific and well-marked area under the starboard leading-edge of the large PBM-5 wing by their fellow crewmen. Weather precluded the Navy from recovering their bodies at the tail end of Operation Highjump. Its always been the wish of these fellow crewmen, the Navy rescuers and the families to have their loved ones returned to US soil.
In current times, the Navy, wanting to recover the remains of these heroic men, teamed National Science Foundation/Polar Operations (NSF), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Central Identification Lab, Hawaii (CILHI), the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), the National Air and Space Administration (NASA,) the U.S. Navy Casualty Office and other agencies to convene several high-level meetings to determine the logistics and feasibility of the George One crew recovery. The USGS, in conjunction with NASA, commissioned a Chilean P-3 Orion Sub Hunter at a cost of $68,000 to ‘ping’ the site with a highly specialized aerial-borne Ground Penetration Radar (GPR) to pinpoint the George One location and approximate depth of the debris field. The Chilean P-3 located the debris fields approximately 30 to 50 meters below the surface and pinpointed its position to within a .5 by .5 kilometer box.

In 2005 the US Navy halted any further recovery actions lacking known sufficient technology to safely melt down to and recover the remains of the three crewmen.
Well, remember the P-38 we recovered from Greenland a few years back? The same team is ready to go.
Before I even finished the Air & Space articles I had one of those "Aha!" moments. "We've done that! We've done that 5 times! What are they talking about?" I thought.

In 1989, 1990 and 1992 I was lucky enough to be chosen as the photographer of record for the Greenland Expedition Society (GES). After years of research and development, the principals of GES created multiple 268-foot deep shafts and a large cavern at twice the depth of the George One debris field. Our team then maintained that cavern for over 2 months while we disassembled and brought from that cavern to the surface, a WWII P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft. Now known as ‘Glacier Girl’ that airplane flies with 80% original parts.

It's amazing that all that glacier penetration equipment was developed and never had another use - until now!

As a member of the Greenland Expedition Society I immediately stepped forward to offer the experience and equipment used to recover Glacier Girl to US Navy so that they could bring closure for the wonderful families and great people like Robbie Robbins, George Fabik, Gary Pierson, Garey Jones, the Lopez, Hendersin and Williams families and so many others that have kept this mission alive through sheer love and determination. I've reunited members of the ol' Greenland Expedition Society gang and have the glacier penetrating equipment ready to be built in an effort to get the Navy to reconsider a mission to recover these men for their family and for their nation. The Greenland crew is on board, the equipment ready to be built, the Ground Penetrating Radar crew including 3 geophysicists are all on board. JPAC, NSF Polar Operations, USGS, the US Navy Casualty Office are all very cooperative and even seem to be rooting for us. We're all but ready to go.
What is stopping things?
The last remaining part of the equation is to get the Navy back on board to approve and fund the recovery. A full proposal with options and budgets has already been forwarded to the powers that be @ the Pentagon.
Read all at Lou Sapienza's blog (don't be fooled by the lack of update - he is still standing by from what I have been told). There is also a George One recover team page here, and some media coverage here and here.

Our Shipmates have been waiting for us for a long time in a lonely place. Let's take them home. It is the right thing to do.

Rugby or football?

You decide.

Hat tip Rich.

Sarkozy is a mench

Because he has managed to do something most of us just fantasize about: dismiss Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes like the hack she is. BTW, if 60-minutes ever spent time with the French they would know that Sarkozy was just being, well, French with is aide. Note the roll of the eyes. And they claim Bush is clueless about the rest of the world. Notice the cheap shot 60 minutes makes by playing the pre-interview shots. Would they ever do something like that to Hillary?

Also, notice the difference between this video and the one CBS is putting out - they edited out the offer of a handshake and the attempt by Sarkozy to give Stahl a chance to ask a real question. But now, she feels that the most important thing the American people need to hear about the President of France is his soon-to-be ex-wife.
BZ President Sarkozy, we think 60 Minutes is garbage too. Don't feel bad, they lie all the time to those they interview. I am just sorry they treated the President of France like he was a Alabama County Commissioner. BZ.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rotorhead, preflight the Black Helicopter

We have a mission.
The right wing is sowing the seeds for Dolchstoßlegende even while claiming victory or progress or positive trends or however we are euphemizing it today, and there appears to be a significant portion of the Officer Corps who are willing to go along with it. The arrogance of Boylan is not only a symptom of this problem, it is one of the intended outcomes.
We will pick up Cole after we bag that Resistance leader Greenwald - and his little dog too.
...the U.S. military, like everything else, is becoming rapidly politicized, fully incorporated into and following the model of the Republican right-wing noise machine. ... the Army's behavior in the Beauchamp case is exactly what one would expect from an increasingly politicized, Republican-controlled division of the right-wing noise machine.
...examine the fact that the behavior of our "apolitical military" in Iraq is becoming indistinguishable from every other arm of the Bush/Cheney right-wing noise machine. The overt politicization of our military in Iraq -- working closely and in secret only with Drudge, The Weekly Standard and right-wing blogs
Many people, including myself, have documented in detail the palpably increased politicization of the military's war claims this year, ever since the "surge" began under Gen. Petraeus and former White House aide Gen. Bergner took over its communications arm. In this space, I have written about the incomparably propagandistic one-hour exclusive "interview" which Petraeus gave to Fox News' Brit Hume when he was in Washington to tes
The linchpin of a republic under civilian rule -- as well as faith in the armed services by a cross-section of Americans -- is an apolitical military. Like all other branches of the government intended to be apolitical, this linchpin is eroding under this administration,...the U.S. military, which has an obligation to conduct itself apolitically and professionally, appears in many cases to be doing exactly the opposite.
Yes, they are a threat to our Coup d'État through their clever email IP tracking skulldudgery! Greenwald and Cole must be stopped before they get hold of our secret meetings!

Rotorhead, throw in some extra fuel - we will need to get help from our "friends" in New Mexico - and their "tools."

Hat tip The Commissar and Bluto.

You don't need CFC this year to give

It's Valour IT time Shipmate. Dig around for some spare change if you could. If you aren't familiar with Valour IT, Soldier's Angles will brief you in, but here is the Executive Summary,

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, helps provide voice-controlled and adaptive laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field. The experience of MAJ Charles “Chuck” Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered serious hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important these laptops can be to a wounded service member's recovery.




Ashdown: Afghanistan is lost

Well, this doesn't help Force Generation within NATO too much.
The former United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered his dire prediction after being proposed as a new "super envoy" role in Afghanistan.

Lord Ashdown said: "We have lost, I think, and success is now unlikely."

The assessment will be considered extreme by some diplomats but timely by those pressing for more resources for Nato operations.

Lord Ashdown added: "I believe losing in Afghanistan is worse than losing in Iraq. It will mean that Pakistan will fall and it will have serious implications internally for the security of our own countries and will instigate a wider Shiite [Shia], Sunni regional war on a grand scale.

"Some people refer to the First and Second World Wars as European civil wars and I think a similar regional civil war could be initiated by this [failure] to match this magnitude."
Lord Ashdown (AKA Paddy Pantsdown for you old Bosnia hands) is not to be dismissed. One sharp cookie. Thing is - NATO may kill itself over AFG - but the US and UK aren't going anywhere.

A circle in Skippy's he11

I see him tied to a chair, unable to move or speak but with perfect hearing.
During their first plebe summer in 1976, 55 of the 81 female students on campus met for 45 minutes in a room in Mitscher Hall and complained about being harassed, catcalls they termed "emotional rape" and men who routinely walked around naked in front of them in the dorm. The women considered the meeting a resounding success, and many remembered walking away with improved resolve.

The next day, Commandant James Winnefeld called the organizer of the event into his office, as recounted in the 2006 book Sea Change at Annapolis, and said the event could be deemed a "mutiny" and that she could be thrown out for "conspiracy."

The women never met together again after what they now call the "Plebe Summer Mutiny." But they look back on the event with a little irony more than 31 years later, as they and other female graduates of the nation's service academies gather today in Arlington, Va., for an annual symposium that has become a cathartic event since it was first held in 2003.
There is this feeling of sisterhood, and when you have this opportunity to meet women who went to the other academies, it's surprisingly wonderful to get to know them, and find out about them."

Tomorrow, 28 current female Mids will attend the three-day event, where they will listen to a panel about women in combat and at war, as well as memorialize those female graduates who have died in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

They will also get career coaching and advice from those in AcademyWomen which now has 1,300 members, including graduates from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine academies. In recent years, it has expanded to include the entire female officer corps.
"In school, we have female officers, but they have so many jobs and they're so busy in their daily life, it's hard to have time to get issues out or voice concerns about things that are unique to females,"
Another reason we should all pray for the souls of our friends. Oh, and when do the men get their 'lil group? Diversity and fairness and life/work balance and all.

Hillary Uncensored

See it on
GoogleVideo and Youtube, and on the web. Ouch.

Hat tip LBG.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

IAVA's Adam Kokesh PWNED

Never bring a pocketknife to a gunfight, son - and you need some new friends.

You need to watch to the end to get the best part - one guess who he is supporting for President.

Hat tip HotAir.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cry, cry for my beloved country.

Should I laugh, cry, or just yell. I have been yelling about the State Dept. and its lack of desire to join in this war since late '03, smarter people longer than that. WWII was fought and won in the time that State decided to get out and push. Pathetic.

You almost need to Snopes or Onion check this it seems so other worldly in its insanity.
In the largest call-up of U.S. diplomats since the Vietnam War, the State Department is planning to order some of its personnel to serve at the American Embassy in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers.

Those designated "prime candidates" _ from 200 to 300 diplomats _ will be notified Monday that they have been selected for one-year postings to fill the 40 to 50 vacancies expected next year.

They will have 10 days to accept or reject the position. If not enough say yes, some will be ordered to go to Iraq and face dismissal if they refuse, Harry Thomas, director general of the Foreign Service, said Friday.
The U.S. military has quietly but repeatedly complained that its forces and other Defense Department personnel have been pressed into service in jobs that should have been filled by State Department personnel.

In particular, Defense Department employees and service members were forced to fill spots on provincial reconstruction teams for months because the State Department could not get personnel there.

Military officials have complained that other federal agencies _ including State, Commerce and Agriculture _ aren't moving quickly enough to fill critical needs in Iraq. Those agencies, they argue, have the expertise to help Iraqi business people and farmers get back to their jobs and improve the economy.
Colin Powell: guilty. Condi Rice: suspended bust for having pre-Mast conversion.

Hat tip Greyhawk.

Best Fleet money can buy?

Yes, it is chump change in the large scheme of things - but it does give you a sniff of the Potomac that everyone should bask in now and then to fully appreciate its nature.
Tucked away on Seattle's Portage Bay, a sleek, 85-foot speedboat sat idle for years — save for an annual jaunt to maintain its engine.

The Navy paid $4.5 million to build the boat. But months before the hull ever touched water, the Navy gave the boat to the University of Washington. The school never found a use for it, either.

Why would the Navy waste taxpayer dollars on a boat that nobody wanted?

Blame it on Sen. Patty Murray and Congressmen Norm Dicks and Brian Baird. All three exercised their political muscle to slip language into a 2002 spending bill to force the Navy to buy the boat from Edmonds shipbuilder Guardian Marine International.

Year after year, the Washington lawmakers did favors for the tiny company, inserting four "earmarks" into different bills to force the Navy and Coast Guard to buy boats they didn't ask for — $17.65 million in all. None of the boats was used as Congress intended.

The congressional trio say they were helping Guardian Marine because it had a great product. But each has also received generous campaign donations from the company's three executives, its sole employees: $14,277 to Baird, $15,000 to Murray, and $16,750 to Dicks.

Company founder Richard Martinson had developed a "fast patrol boat," a hybrid of a speedboat and a ship, 85 feet long and capable of up to 40 knots, like crossing a sports car with a recreational vehicle.

The plan was to sell the $4 million patrol boat to foreign governments, but Martinson, a former Coast Guard commander, said sales floundered.

Martinson's fortunes brightened not long after he made his first recorded contribution to a congressional campaign in June 1998. He gave $500 to the re-election fund of Dicks, whom he knew when they lived a few doors apart at UW's Terry Hall in the 1960s.

In fall 1999, Dicks and Baird added a line in the defense bill to have the Navy buy Guardian Marine's $4 million boat.

Dicks urged the Navy to assign the boat to the Navy SEALs or other high-speed missions. But the boat was never deployed on any combat missions. It is now in Carderock, Md., "being used to evaluate new and emergent maritime technology," a Navy spokesman said.

Guardian Marine gained another powerful advocate in 2001 in Sen. Murray, who had just become chair of an appropriations subcommittee.
Murray added a $4.65 million earmark to the 2002 defense bill and left the Coast Guard no choice about which boat it would buy, specifying in the bill that it had to be "a currently-developed 85-foot fast patrol craft that is manufactured in the United States."
Guardian Marine gained political muscle. From 2001 to 2002, executives of the two companies would give more than $22,000 in campaign funds to members of their local delegations, including $3,000 to Murray.

But even as the third Guardian Marine boat was being assembled, the Navy decided it didn't want it and transferred it to the UW's Applied Physics Laboratory.

UW researchers concluded it would take $750,000 to make it usable. The university tried to get the Navy to take it back. For years, the boat was docked outside the school.

To maintain the boat, staff ran it at full speed once a year. "We're sort of trapped in doing the routine things that need to be done," Russell McDuff, director of the School of Oceanography, said earlier this year.

The Navy recently assigned the boat to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle.

Although none of the three Guardian Marine boats were used as Congress intended, Murray, Dicks and Baird inserted a $4.5 million earmark for a fourth boat in the 2004 defense bill. This time, they said the speedboat was needed to retrieve torpedoes at the Navy base in Keyport, Kitsap County.

The Navy did buy a fourth Guardian Marine speedboat but assigned it to a base in California for evaluation.

In the past four years, executives of Guardian Marine and Oregon Iron Works have given nearly $125,000 in contributions to Congress members.

I am only picking out Navy/USMC items from the article, so read it all. It isn't all harmless.
Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., directed the Marines to buy $2 million of combat T-shirts from an Oregon company. But they couldn't be used in battle in Iraq due to a subsequent ban on polyester garments that could melt under fire and badly burn the troops.
In June 2005, Rep. Wu of Oregon arrived in Iraq and handed out free T-shirts to Marines. He was promoting the wares of InSport, a Portland-area company that makes fast-drying polyester shirts.

Earlier that year, Wu and other Northwest lawmakers got a $2 million earmark in the defense bill to sell T-shirts to the Marines. Wu said the shirts would be far more comfortable than the cotton ones the Marines wore under body armor.

But there was a big problem with these T-shirts, a problem encountered in the deserts of Iraq and in 1982 during the Falklands invasion.

Polyester clothing melts in intense heat, adhering to the skin. "This essentially creates a second skin and can lead to horrific, disfiguring burns," said Capt. Lynn E. Welling, the 1st Marine Logistics Group head surgeon, who conducted research in Iraq in early 2006.

Months after Wu's visit, a Marine wearing a polyester T-shirt was riding in an armored vehicle in Iraq when a bomb hidden on the road exploded. Even though the Marine wore a protective vest, the shirt melted in the explosion, contributing to severe burns over 70 percent of his body. Doctors had to extract the shirt's remains from the Marine's torso.

In April 2006, the Marines banned polyester T-shirts for use in combat or anywhere outside the protected "Green Zone" bases.

But in July, because of Wu's earmark, the Marines announced the purchase of 87,000 of the banned polyester T-shirts, along with 11,000 T-shirts with fire-resistant sleeves. None was allowed in battle, the Marines said.

David Costello, a lobbyist for InSport, said that when InSport and Wu sought the earmark, the company thought the troops' body armor would prevent the shirts from melting. Once the Marines banned these kinds of shirts, they were instead used for training.

Wu's spokeswoman said the Marines were happy to have funds for the shirts, citing a thank-you letter from the Secretary of the Navy that came a month before the ban.

Even after the ban, Wu inserted another $1 million earmark in the next defense bill to make the Marines buy the InSport shirts again, noting that the company was working to develop a heat-resistant shirt for combat use.

The Marines instead used that money to buy flame-resistant fleece garments from InSport.

Executives of InSport and its owner, Vital Apparel, donated $6,100 to Wu's campaign in a single day at the end of the earmark "season."

The day after the bill passed on Sept. 29, 2006, one executive gave another $750 to Wu. Two others followed with identical donations within three weeks.

But by then, the Marine Corps had done months of testing to find the best fire-resistant T-shirts. It selected two shirts, one made by Potomac Field Gear, the other by Danskin, according to the Marines.

InSport's T-shirt — even its new fire-resistant version — still can't be used in combat, said 1st Lt. Geraldine Carey of the Marine Corps Systems Command.
An outstanding story by the Seattle Times. Just outstanding. More digging by David Heath and Hal Bernton please. The taxpayer and the Navy thanks you. BTW, make sure and click through via the above pic on the original article and read who got what by whom. Rep. Murtha (D-PA) is doing quite well for those who feed his war criminals so well ....

BTW, though Wu's party affiliation is mentioned in the article (D) - the others are not. Just FYI, here they are; Baird (D-WA), Dicks (D-WA), Murray (D-WA). Interesting.

I was reading in New Zealand about...

Ian Smith. (NB: 48hr liberty to the first person to get the musical reference).

Do we really have to go over the nightmare that is Zimbabwe? The decade+
hypocrisy? The character of its "leader?"

And at last; we can talk about the seed of this fetid fruit. Jimmy Carter.

In the end, those who attacked Rhodesia didn't really care about the majority Black Africans - they just cared about the appearances surrounding the majority Black Africans. If they really cared, they would to this day be protesting Mugabe - instead we have silence. Why I hold them in contempt.

Style trumps substance again. At least, I hope, South Africa has learned from the example.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Soaking in the disconnect

When this is all reviewed 20 years from now, people will ask, "Why didn't Yon ever get a Pulitzer."
All describe the bizarro-world contrast between what most Americans seem to think is happening in Iraq versus what is really happening in Iraq. Knowing this disconnect exists and experiencing it directly are two separate matters. It’s like the difference between holding the remote control during the telecast of a volcanic eruption on some distant island (and then flipping the channel), versus running for survival from a wretch of molten lava that just engulfed your car.

I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States, Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.
Well worth the read - head over to Michael Yon's site - and throw a quarter or so in the tip jar.

Cole mastermind freed

Another victory for LAWFARE.
Yemen has set free one of the Al Qaeda masterminds of the bombing that killed 17 American sailors aboard the destroyer Cole in 2000, a senior security official said Thursday.

Jamal Mohammed Ahmad Ali Badawi, who is wanted by the FBI, was convicted in 2004 of plotting, preparing and helping carry out the Cole bombing in the Yemeni port of Aden. He received a death sentence that was commuted to 15 years in prison.

He and 22 others, mostly Al Qaeda fighters, escaped from prison last year. But Badawi was granted his freedom after turning himself in 15 days ago and pledging loyalty to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Witnesses said Badawi was receiving well-wishers at his home in Aden.

Badawi had escaped prison once before, in April 2003, with nine other suspects of the Cole attack, but was rearrested.

Al Qaeda had an active presence in Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden. The group was blamed for the Cole bombing and the attack on a French oil tanker that killed one person two years later. Since a suicide attack in July that killed eight Spanish tourists at a Yemeni temple, Saleh has said that his government has reached a truce with the terrorist network.
Lesson Identified, I hope. Some people just need a good killing. I hope he fears the Reaper - this Reaper - remember?

Fullbore Friday

Being that the NYT finally got around to it - so shall I. Lieutenant Mike Murphy, United States Navy, CMOH.
In June 2005, Lt. Michael P. Murphy and three fellow members of the Navy Seals were on a mission in the mountains of Afghanistan when they were pinned down by a swarm of enemy fighters. Trapped in a steep ravine, they were unable to get a radio signal to call for help.

With the Americans suffering injuries, ammunition running low and roughly 100 Taliban fighters closing in, Lieutenant Murphy made a bold but fateful decision: He left the sheltering mountain rocks into an open area where he hoped to get a radio frequency.

He managed to make contact with Bagram Air Base, calling in his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force, even as he came under direct fire, according to a declassified Navy account of the battle.

He also was shot several times and died.

Today, President Bush will award Lieutenant Murphy, a team leader from Patchogue, the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. Mr. Bush will present it to Lieutenant Murphy’s father and mother, Daniel and Maureen, in a ceremony scheduled to take place in the East Room.

Mr. Murphy said his son’s action in battle was typical of the sort of selflessness he displayed even as a child, recalling an episode when he got into a scrap with three bullies in middle school who tried to shove a disabled student in a locker.

“He just jumped in,” Mr. Murphy said, noting that it was the kind of action that led him and his former wife to refer to their oldest son as “the Protector” when he was a boy. “That was Michael’s way.”

Lieutenant Murphy, who was 29 and engaged, is the first member of the military to receive the medal for service in the war in Afghanistan. The war in Iraq has produced two Medal of Honor recipients, most recently in January when Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, a recruit from upstate New York, received the award posthumously.

Early in his life, Lieutenant Murphy appeared to possess the qualities that would make him the kind of candidate sought by the Seals, an elite Navy unit known for daring, physical toughness and mental acuity.

He was a member of the National Honor Society in Patchogue-Medford High School, a lifeguard and a solid athlete. He attended Pennsylvania State University, where he played hockey and graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, in political science and psychology.

His options after graduating in 1998 were wide open, and he was accepted into several law schools. He chose to join the military and train to become a Navy commando. He attended the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., and then completed the Seals’ harsh training program and became a member of the Seals in April 2002.

It was a significant achievement for Lieutenant Murphy, who was not quite 6 feet tall, slight compared with the physically imposing members of the Seals. Each year, 50 to 200 sailors graduate from the training program. The dropout rate is 74 percent, according to the Navy.

His final mission was on June 28, 2005, when he led a four-man Seal unit searching for a Taliban leader behind enemy lines. The Americans were spotted about 24 hours after being dropped in a mountainous stretch of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, according to the Navy. A firefight erupted. The Americans, vastly outnumbered, took cover in the steep slopes as the batted raged for more than two hours.

But then, according to Hospital Corpsman Marcus Luttrell, the unit’s only survivor that day, Lieutenant Murphy made his way toward the exposed ridge between the mountains, making him an easy target. “I was cursing at him from where I was,” he recalled in an interview. “I was saying, ‘What are you doing?’ Then I realized that he was making a call. But then he started getting hit. He finished the call, picked up his rifle and started fighting again. But he was overrun.”

The call placed by Lieutenant Murphy led American commanders to dispatch a small rescue force that included an MH-47 Chinook helicopter with eight Seals members and eight Army special operations soldiers. But a rocket-propelled grenade struck the slow-moving helicopter as it approached, killing all 16 men aboard. Lieutenant Murphy and two others in his unit were killed in the firefight. Corpsman Luttrell escaped, and took refuge in a village until he was rescued several days later.

Corpsman Luttrell and the other two men who were killed, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, all received the Navy Cross.

Mr. Bush approved Lieutenant Murphy’s nomination for the medal on Oct. 11, more than two years after his commanders recommended him for an award to recognize his actions in battle.

Since the medal was created during the Civil War, it has been bestowed on more than 3,400 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Lieutenant Murphy is the first member of the Navy to receive the medal since the Vietnam War, a Navy spokesman said.

In an interview, Daniel Murphy said that he was not surprised to learn about his son’s actions. “What Maureen and I always worried about was that he would put himself in danger to help someone else, which turned out to be true,” he said.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Pentagon & US Govt pet anti-Semite

Call it "anti-Zionist" if you want - but in this context you and I both know they are the same.

You just can't help but following the bouncing ball on these things. First I find this nugget at The Corner,
—— Original message ——
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 20:02:29 -0400
From: "Muqtedar Khan"
Subject: Re: Understanding Anti-Americanism Panel
To: [Names redacted]

Laura, I have to speak at the Pentagon tomorrow. My
workshop is from 12-4. I hope to catch the 5 pm
Acela from DC and will be back in town by 7 pm. I
will come directly, but may be late. I am also not
sure how I feel about being on the same panel with
an Israeli soldier who was stationed in West Bank.
Some people see IDF as an occupying force in the
West Bank. I am not sure that I will be comfortable
occupying the same space with him. It is not fair to
spring this surprise on me at the last moment.
Ok, let's process. Muqtedar does not what to share O2 with someone who served in the IDF. The Pentagon takes Muqtedar's advice. Well, who is Muqtedar?

He works for the Leftist Brookings Institute. No shocker there. He hails from Academia via Univ. of Delaware's PolySci shop, no shocker there.

He has his own website where he has a funny pic of Speaker Pelosi and a "Democracy Restored" article. I guess he is not a Republican; not that there is anything wrong with that.

He provides us a great service in another article, where we have this nice little quote,
Do we want to use American freedoms to learn about Islam and practice it in an intimidation free environment, or use it to spread the disease of religious intolerance? Will Muslim presence in America strengthen it or subvert it?

American Muslims have the opportunity to demonstrate that not only is Islam a religion for all times and all places but is not a threat or trial for others. We can prove that Muslims can live in harmony with non-Muslims and that the thesis of the clash of civilizations is bogus.
Ahhhhh, the sweet smell of hypocrisy. What is wrong with living in harmony with Asaf, Muqtedar?

Well dear reader, Asaf is a Jew - and he served in the IDF. You will read
here that he that Asaf has no guilt about, well, anything much less being a Jew.(if one can say such a word without someone getting the vapors.

To the Muqtedars of the world - that is all the excuse you need. A Jew who defends his nation. I wonder what Rep. Emanual (D-IL) would have to say ... anyway....

Read the quote from Muqtedar again, then read what happened.
Yesterday, the University of Delaware asked Asaf Romirowsky to step down from an academic panel at the University of Delaware because another panelist, University of Delaware political scientist Muqtedar Khan, didn't want to share the podium with anyone who served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Romirowsky, who holds joint American/Israeli citizenship and lives in Philadelphia, had been invited to join Khan, his colleague in political science, Stuart Kaufman, a staff member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, and a graduate student to discuss anti-Americanism in the Middle East. The program was organized by the College Republicans, the College Democrats, and the Students of Western Civilization Club. The Leadership Institute provided the funds for the panel, which met on the University of Delaware campus on Wednesday evening. The students offered Romirowsky the opportunity to come to campus next week and speak alone, with no other panel members who might object to his presence.
Nice. Anti-Semitism and PC spinelessness folded in together in a nice moral-equivalent stew.

How does the US Gov'munt get in the act of absorbing this man's thoughts? Well, from Muqtedar's site, another article,
On December 4, 2006, the national leadership of American Muslims met with key senior U.S. government officials to discuss the state of Islamophobia in America and US Muslim relations. The conference was organized by the Bridging the Divide Initiative of Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. It was co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists.
The morning keynote address was delivered by Alina Romanowski, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Professional and Cultural Affairs. ... Alina Romanowski reiterated the vision and objectives that Ambassador Karen Hughes seeks to advance at the State Department on public diplomacy. ... Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, argued that Islamophobia was a new word but not a new phenomenon. He presented data to indicate that hate crimes against Muslims had risen by 29% in the last one year and in the ten years since 1995 that his organization [CAIR] had collected data on Islamophobic episodes, it has shown nothing but steady increase. He concluded that being critical of Islam and Muslims is not Islamophobia, but to ridicule the faith and the faithful, certainly is.

Louay Safi, the Executive Director of the ISNA leadership Development Center, insisted that Islamophobia deepens the divide between the US and the Islamic World. He argued that increasingly Islam is being presented as a violent and intolerant religion and this message is spreading from the margins to the mainstream. A report entitled “Blaming Islam” authored by Dr. Safi and published by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding was released at the event.

Imam Mahdi Bray, the executive Director of MAS Freedom Foundation expressed concern that in spite of the fact that most Muslims cherish American values, they are portrayed as seditious. He lamented the ignorance of Islam that underpins Islamophobia and suggested that occasionally some measures of the government, when in its overzealous endeavor to prosecute the war on terror it overplays its hand and undercuts Muslim civil rights, may also be contributing to the growing instances of Islamophobia. ... The afternoon Keynote address was delivered by Dan Sutherland, the Officer for Civil Rights at the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Sutherland started by observing that there is “a lot of heat but very little light” on the subject of Islamophobia. He addressed the issue of Islamophobia and the rising hate crimes and anti-Muslim discourse in America head-on. He argued, based on fifty years of statistical data, that America has progressively become less and less racist.

Sutherland then spoke at length about the stunning achievements of American Muslims in every sphere of American life asserting that the degree to which American Muslims are integrated and successful belies any claims of systematic Islamophobia in America. He did however concede that there have been several incidences of Islamophobic episodes, but he also claimed that there were many which were resolved in the favor of Muslims and discussed a few cases where the government has interfered effectively on the behalf of Muslims.

The government’s case was very clear; yes there are disturbingly large numbers of incidences that suggest that prejudice is at work, however the overall picture indicates that things are not as bad as some Muslim leaders were claiming them to be.

The final panel of the day included, Ahmed Younis, the National Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists and Muqtedar Khan of Brookings Institution. This panel sought to balance the debate by arguing that while there are disturbing indications of the growth of anti-Muslim prejudice in America, there are several surveys which speak to this reality, American Muslims must be careful how they talk about Islamophobia.

The panelists also argued that American Muslims must work with the government to not only challenge the anti-Islamic discourse that is spreading in the US but also work to correct some of the misunderstandings that the government itself maybe harboring about Islam and American Muslims.
Egads! CAIR? Do we need to say more? As for the rest, heck - Gates of Vienna covered this 6+ months ago. Let the Baron tell you. Now I know why so much of the thinking coming out of The Pentagon is so muddy-headed.

I am all for talking to all sorts of people. I am for engaging with the American Muslim community, but these guys? Terrorist sympathizers, anti-Semites, retrograde Islamists? We can do better - as taxpayers we should expect better - the the Americans that go to a Mosque and not a Church are better than those people.

I. Love. These. Sailors.

I am not kidding. Especially on the "Big E."

These guys are the life blood, or the digestive tract if you will - of the Navy. Like BMs, Sailor's Sailors.

Oh, the comment about he chem-wipes. Yep.

Enough to toss LOST

I think you can take Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) as a reliable source. There are good reasons to stiff-arm the LOST treaty - but for a short, quick reason, this will do.
LOST only identifies four circumstances under which ships may be stopped on the high seas. Those are human trafficking, drug trafficking, piracy, and illegal broadcasting.
So ship all the illegal weapons, WMD, CBRN goodies you want. Sign the treaty and let Syria get everything it wants by ship for any reason? Harumph. Shame on the Navy for supporting this.

It has been the undead since '82; we should keep it this way. International LAWFARE on the High Seas? No thank you. Michelle has more.

Back in formation ...

So, I have made it back to the world of 1s and 0s. Thanks to all who kept The Maritime Strategy comments going strong - I don't think we are quite done there either. I have some thoughts that need to season some more; but as you may guess, I am going to be exceptionally busy over the next day or so trying to get hold of all the real world stuff that is clogg'n my Outlook Inbox, my stack of Blue Folders and that blinking red light on my phone. Ungh.

What came to mind as I bounced around my day back? Funny, nothing Navy specific; but in case you are wondering:

- Poland: she proves that she has a more functioning democracy than the USA - they actually made you prove you are who you say and are a citizen to vote. Makes for good citizenship as you actually know you are voting on a level field. Grandmother may not like it - but unlike the USA, voter fraud is more difficult. Good luck to the new Polish gov'munt.

- France: there are a few things that President Sarkozy and Skippy could talk over a beer over- well near-beer for Sarko's part. How classless. Notice all the "I" and "me" in there. Sigh, I am so lucky with Mrs. Salamander.

- Switzerland: she reminded us that no nation is required to commit national suicide. Call people all the nasty names you want, but in the end they will vote to stop their unique nation from becoming another poly-glot of globalgaggle. We are to support diversity, right? In a world where language aside; public transport in Paris looks the same as NYC or London - why not let the Swiss say, "No thanks." Too late really, but I guess the thought is interesting.

- Louisiana: another quaint foreign country that seems to at last found some smarts. Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) was just elected Governor. One of the bright lights of the Gen X Generation of politicians, it is a smart move by those nice people with the funny accents that just can't seem to buy a decent government. Best of luck to both; and watch Jindal. Watch him close; in a good way.

- Nothing is worth doing this: remember the bit I wrote earlier this month about DoD acquisition ethical problems (a common theme)? Well, one of the players, the number two USAF procurement officer Charles D. Riechers, just killed himself in this garage with greenhouse gases. A sad, selfish act. I feel sorry for his family and friends for his loss - and wish he stayed with the living. A smart man, he had much to offer innocent or guilty - but all he leaves is shame.

- Rugby. South Africa won. Great news for what can and should be a great country if they can just make it through envy, hate, revenge, and racism that Zimbabwe has set as the benchmark. I am optimistic.

- 70%: that is the reduction over the last quarter in Iraq. You have to fight your way through discussions of Bin Laden and the Czechs shifting their limited number of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan - but it is there.

- Finally, it is Islamo-fascism Awareness Week. Pass it on.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Maritime Strategy Monday: the new one

Hey Shipmates, like you may have gathered on Friday, I am on another "limited availability" period, as the taxpayers have decided to send me off on one of those things that prevent regular Internet access. I also have not had the time I wished to edit, revise, and extend my initial emotional response to the new Maritime Strategy.

Yes, I said emotional - because this is a critical time for our Navy. We have pi55ed away the better part of a decade chasing ghosts. Ghosts that have produced poltergeists in the creatures of LCS, DDG-1000, LCS-17 and a few smaller unaffordable programs that looked great on the PPT and from the silver-tonged salesmen called contractors - and hey, let's admit; by LPD-19 they got the LPD-17 program off running well - but at a price that we simply will not have a Fleet of significant size to do what needs to be done. The Tiffany Navy is not going to get us to anywhere near 313.

Let me get back on course here. There are a few entering arguments we need to understand on what we are reading. This is not something you will be able to take real action on. By its nature, it is broad and open as its target audience is not the professional Naval officer. That is clear. It is sad, but we have produced the best of "Business Best Practices;" we have produced a marketing document. This is aimed at the general public, politicians, and ourselves.

It also reads what it is - a product of a committee. In that, it has good and rough spots. I'll leave it up to you to round out the below. Again, apologies for not having a better product. And speaking of which - I won't be back until Thursday this week - you stay on your best behavior. Mr. T's Haircut - keep everyone in line; and Sid, use the "Cluebat of History" where needed.

Like I said
last week - time to chew on the new Maritime Strategy.

What we have here are four very different documents rolled into one. First, though not words per se, we have the pictures and layout. Pictures mean things. They are important. On the serious side of the pictures, we have to ask what the pictures tell the reader the message the Navy wants you to take away. How the Navy sees itself, what the Navy wants you to think it feels is important, and what its priorities are. Going through the pictures, lets see what we have:
- A helo doing SSC, going by an Amphib and others doing helo things and a few small pics of Amphibs doing Amphib things.
- Suez Canal transit (2).
- Marines and Corpsmen doing their job in town.
- 3 CV/CVN (one allied) in close formation with 5 assorted escorts, a Burke and a Tico in formation.
- A boarding party member.
- A USCG Cutter, helo, and icebreaker along with a few smaller pictures of USCG doing USGC stuff.
- CVN in formation with a hospital ship.
- An Amphib in formation with a USCG ship and an experimental catamaran.
- SEALS in daytime wading ashore.
- CAG photo fly by.
- Various humanitarian assistance photos.
- A C-130.
- CVN being escorted by a surfaced sub.

BTW, what is it with the perfect underway weather and calm seas? I want that deployment. While some of these pictures are action shots, the balance are just PIO standard issue shots. Is that the best we could do? Why are there more USCG than USMC when last time I measured, of the three the USMC is doing most of the "work" now days. Shouldn't the balance be action shots of everyday performance of the mission in support of the war?

Now, on a lighter note - you know this had to be done - I see one positive thing about the pictures; it looks like the Diversity Bullies didn't get their cut on the pics. I only notice such things, because I am trained and ordered to. Unlike most official Navy publications, adds or staged pictures that can get silly sometimes, we don't have the reality-disconnect we sometimes see in the Potempkin Diversity Villages we put out there with the oh-so-PC mix of sexes, skin tone, and hair styles. This time all we see are Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen that we see everyday. So, that is a nice change.

Secondly, the Introduction is just plain bad. Unfocused, indirect, and difficult to get your arms around. A bit intellectually insulting.

The third part is the best of the bunch, but boy does it take time to get to. It is the third part that people should read. The Maritime Strategic Concept through and including "Improve Integration and Interoperability" subsection are the heart, brain, and vision of this flawed document. Sure, it misses a few items, but on balance I can live with that. This section is the money maker.

The fourth section, that I define from "Enhance Awareness" and one gets weak and moves towards flaccid lameness. It gets bogged down in unclear language, historical ignorance and quasi New Ageism that simply is not worthy of the Navy, the Maritime Strategy, and the intellectual rigor one would expect. Like the "sales flier" and the Introduction - this last section just buries the good stuff in between.

So, lets start in - from the top,
Never before have the maritime forces of the United States—the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—come together to create a unified maritime strategy.
Ungh. Better refill your coffee. If this is the start, this is going to be a very long post. Mrs. Salamander will not be pleased.

Something I learned in 8th Grade, it is never good to start out on a self-congratulatory note. Just poor sport.

The next three posts do tell us the three directions we are going.
This strategy stresses an approach that integrates seapower with other elements of national power, as well as those of our friends and allies. It describes how seapower will be applied around the world to protect our way of life, as we join with other like-minded nations to protect and sustain the global, inter-connected system through which we prosper. Our commitment to protecting the homeland and winning our Nation’s wars is matched by a corresponding commitment to preventing war.
Ok. We can get that. Then we move to being a bit too fancy.
Our citizens were involved in development of this strategy through a series of public forums known as the “Conversations with the Country.” Three themes dominated these discussions: our people want us to remain strong; they want us to protect them and our homeland, and they want us to work with partners around the world to prevent war. These themes, coupled with rigorous academic research, analysis and debate, led to a comprehensive strategy designed to meet the expectations and needs of the American people.
I have never liked focus grouped concepts when it comes to Strategy. It turns off the professionals; almost as much as FITREP English.
A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower binds our services more closely together than they have ever been before to advance the prosperity and security of our Nation. The demands of an uncertain world and the enduring interests of the American people require nothing less.
Excessive hyperbole. I would suggest WWII and in many cases Vietnam vets (heck, those in the NAG, Kuwait etc as well) might disagree. That being said, the idea is strong and correct. The binge of hyperbole is unfortunate. Take away the "..then they have every been before.." and we might have something.

Speaking of historical perspective,
The security, prosperity, and vital interests of the United States are increasingly coupled to those of other nations. Our Nation’s interests are best served by fostering a peaceful global system comprised of interdependent networks of trade, finance, information, law, people and governance.

We prosper because of this system of exchange among nations, yet recognize it is vulnerable to a range of disruptions that can produce cascading and harmful effects far from their sources. Major power war, regional conflict, terrorism, lawlessness and natural disasters—all have the potential to threaten U.S. national security and world prosperity.

The oceans connect the nations of the world, even those countries that are landlocked. Because the maritime domain—the world’s oceans, seas, bays, estuaries, islands, coastal areas, littorals, and the airspace above them—supports 90% of the world’s trade, it carries the lifeblood of a global system that links every country on earth. Covering three-quarters of the planet, the oceans make neighbors of people around the world. They enable us to help friends in need and to confront and defeat aggression far from our shores.

Today, the United States and its partners find themselves competing for global influence in an era in which they are unlikely to be fully at war or fully at peace. Our challenge is to apply seapower in a manner that protects U.S. vital interests even as it promotes greater collective security, stability, and trust. While defending our homeland and defeating adversaries in war remain the indisputable ends of seapower, it must be applied more broadly if it is to serve the national interest.
Couldn't that have been written in 1807 as well. Nice and all, but still - it could use specificity and updating.
We believe that preventing wars is as important as winning wars.
"Believe" belongs with "hope" "think" and "guess;" in Church or in your girlfriends ear late at night - not in a Strategic document.

When it comes to giving directions though, the next bit is actually fairly good.
There is a tension, however, between the requirements for continued peacetime engagement and maintaining proficiency in the critical skills necessary to fighting and winning in combat. Maritime forces must contribute to winning wars decisively while enhancing our ability to prevent war, win the long struggle against terrorist networks, positively influence events, and ease the impact of disasters.
Perhaps I am getting a bit too excited.
Additionally, maritime forces will be employed to build confidence and trust among nations through collective security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests in an open, multi-polar world. To do so will require an unprecedented level of integration among our maritime forces and enhanced cooperation with the other instruments of national power, as well as the capabilities of our international partners. Seapower will be a unifying force for building a better tomorrow.
More hyperbole. I am sorry, this smacks of more FITREP English and rah-rahism that, frankly, dilutes the seriousness of any work. And it isn't unprecedented if you know your history.

BTW, the italics at the end are in the original. This is a cotton-candy marketing phrase. It means nothing, adds nothing, directs nothing, and is not actionable. It detracts from what should be a serious work.

"Challenges of a New Era" starts good enough - an improvement from the previous, but is just a general scene setter. You see the "feral cities" concept come up, but nothing really interesting comes up until the final paragraph of that section.
These conditions combine to create an uncertain future and cause us to think anew about how we view seapower. No one nation has the resources required to provide safety and security throughout the entire maritime domain. Increasingly, governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the private sector will form partnerships of common interest to counter these emerging threats.
Hmmm. So, governments will form partnerships with NGO/IO/private sector. Agree. However, how exactly are they in the Maritime Domain? What are you going to partner with them on related to our national interest in the Maritime Domain?

The next sections, what I call Part 3 is where the meat is. You should read it all again. It has to have a different author than the beginning and end. Totally different outlook and tone.
This strategy reaffirms the use of seapower to influence actions and activities at sea and ashore. The expeditionary character and versatility of maritime forces provide the U.S. the asymmetric advantage of enlarging or contracting its military footprint in areas where access is denied or limited. Permanent or prolonged basing of our military forces overseas often has unintended economic, social or political repercussions. The sea is a vast maneuver space, where the presence of maritime forces can be adjusted as conditions dictate to enable flexible approaches to escalation, de-escalation and deterrence of conflicts.

The speed, flexibility, agility and scalability of maritime forces provide joint or combined force commanders a range of options for responding to crises. Additionally, integrated maritime operations, either within formal alliance structures (such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) or more informal arrangements (such as the Global Maritime Partnership initiative), send powerful messages to would-be aggressors that we will act with others to ensure collective security and prosperity.
Boom! This is where we should have started. This is the right tone. This is the right language. This is the rinse/repeat part.
United States seapower will be globally postured to secure our homeland and citizens from direct attack and to advance our interests around the world. As our security and prosperity are inextricably linked with those of others, U.S. maritime forces will be deployed to protect and sustain the peaceful global system comprised of interdependent networks of trade, finance, information, law, people and governance.
Clear words. Action words.
We will employ the global reach, persistent presence, and operational flexibility inherent in U.S. seapower to accomplish six key tasks, or strategic imperatives.
Here we go. Something to go on the white-board. 6-6-3. We have Six Tasks, Six Capabilities, and Three Priorities.

Six Tasks:
1. Limit regional conflict with forward deployed, decisive maritime power.
2. Deter major power war. (NB: they are talking about China here, though unsaid).
3. Win our Nation's wars.
4. Contribute to homeland defense in depth.
5. Foster and sustain cooperative relationships with more international partners.
6. Prevent or contain local disruptions before they impact the global system.

We can do those things. There are some good pull quotes here as well.
Critical to this notion is the maintenance of a powerful fleet—ships, aircraft, Marine forces, and shore-based fleet activities—capable of selectively controlling the seas, projecting power ashore, and protecting friendly forces and civilian populations from attack.
This should have been on page 1 not page 7.
...cooperation in enforcing the rule of law in the maritime domain. ... the Global Maritime Partnerships initiative seeks a cooperative approach to maritime security, promoting the rule of law by countering piracy, terrorism, weapons proliferation, drug trafficking, and other illicit activities. ... transnational threats—terrorists and extremists; proliferators of weapons of mass destruction; pirates; traffickers in persons, drugs, and conventional weapons; and other criminals—will be constrained.
Hey, they're talking about pirates! Eagle1 should be nodding in approval.

The Maritime Strategic Concept section is what we need to be talking about, but it is a shame you have to wade through so much garbage to get to it. Sure there are a few things missing, but if it didn't have to compete with the cotton-candy there would be room to "revise and extend." BZ to the leader who made this section work.

The next section, "Implementing the Strategy" starts strong as we go through our Six Capabilities,
1. Forward Presence.
2. Deterrence.
3. Sea Control.
4. Power Projection.
5. Maritime Security.
6. Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response.
Forward presence also allows us to combat terrorism as far from our shores as possible. Where and when applicable, forward deployed maritime forces will isolate, capture, or destroy terrorists, their infrastructure, resources and sanctuaries, preferably in conjunction with coalition partners.
The Aegis mafia finally gets their shot.
Maritime ballistic missile defense will enhance deterrence by providing an umbrella of protection to forward-deployed forces and friends and allies, while contributing to the larger architecture planned for defense of the United States.
But that is OK, they are correct.

You are given a warning that things are going to go south soon with this little jewel right in the middle of the good stuff.
As a declaratory strategy, this document challenges the sea services to evolve an expanded range of integrated capabilities to achieve enduring national strategic objectives.
Worthless. A warfighter did not write this. Unclear, cotton-candy, candy-ass verbiage. This belongs in the first six pages with the rest of the sales catalog fluff.

Luckily, we are soon saved by a critical reminder - critical reminder because we keep forgetting it.
We will maintain a robust strategic sealift capability to rapidly concentrate and sustain forces, and to enable joint and/or combined campaigns. This capability relies on the maintenance of a strong U.S. commercial maritime transportation industry and its critical intermodal assets.
So critical.

Speaking of relearning things. A blast for the past is mentioned as we move towards our Three Priorities.
1. Improve Integration and Interoperability.
2. Enhance Awareness.
3. Prepare our People.

In the First Priority, it mentions,
Marines will continue to be employed as air-ground task forces operating from amphibious ships to conduct a variety of missions, such as power projection, but they will also be employed as detachments aboard a wider variety of ships and cutters for maritime security missions.
Does that mean we are getting our MARDETs back that they took away in the 90s?

Then we have a new acronym to learn,
To be effective, there must be a significantly increased commitment to advance maritime domain awareness (MDA)
Ungh. That is another warning. Things are starting to fall apart from here.

I simply do not like this paragraph at all.
Adversaries are unlikely to attempt conventional force-on-force conflict and, to the extent that maritime forces could be openly challenged, their plans will almost certainly rely on asymmetric attack and surprise, achieved through stealth, deception, or ambiguity. Our ISR capabilities must include innovative ways to penetrate the designs of adversaries, and discern their capabilities and vulnerabilities while supporting the full range of military operations. We must remove the possibility of an adversary gaining the initiative over forward-deployed forces and ensure we provide decision makers with the information they need to deter aggression and consider escalatory measures in advance of such gambits.
In this line of work when you say, "Adversaries are unlikely..." you are just inviting them to do just that. From Hopkins raid in 1776, to Pearl Harbor in 1941, to the Twin Towers in 2001 - history shows us that only a fool would say that.

This had to be put in by an Intel Weenie. We can never "remove" as said, and Iraq should have reminded us all, again, that ISR can not "penetrate the designs of adversaries." Alchemy is not chemistry.

It just keeps going down hill.
We are creating a dispersed force under decentralized authority in a world of rapid information exchange. Maritime forces will normally operate in a less concentrated manner than they do today,
My Aunt Fannie! Speak clearly, we have a smaller Fleet covering the same ocean. More like "uncreate" than "creating." Anyway, LT Arleigh Burke 70+ years ago was much more dispersed and decentralized in his operations. You can hardly get underway without a Commodore and RADM, with their helpful Staffs, all in your business to the point you are waiting for someone to call about your Corpsman's condom inventory. Technology is growing the 3,000NM screw driver, not shrinking it.
...junior leaders will be entrusted with a higher level of responsibility and authority for carrying out important aspects of strategically important missions
Ashore in Iraq and AFG, sure. But at sea? No. We have so few chances for LT Command now it is just sad. Give us more LT and LCDR Commands, and then we will have something.
Significantly, this strategy requires new ways of thinking—about both empowering individual commanders and understanding the net effects of dispersed operations. Such operations require a broadly shared responsibility among: the on-scene commander responsible for ensuring actions are in accordance with the commander’s intent; the higher commander responsible for providing intent and guidance to subordinates; the parent service of dispersed forces responsible for ensuring that units are trained, equipped, and culturally prepared for the missions they will undertake; and, finally, the regional commanders responsible for determining appropriate force levels and readiness postures.
This is not new. This is old stuff. If I walked over to Sun Tsu, Ghengis Khan, Napoleon, or Clausewitz, and said that, they would ask me where the he11 I had been and if I suffered a head injury. Then the Great Khan would have me executed for dishonoring his Army with such a statement. Operational Planning 101.

Finally, we get to the Conclusion.
The strategy focuses on opportunities—not threats; on optimism—not fear; and on confidence—not doubt.
Who is the writer trying to convince, the reader or himself? This is just a horrible Oprahesque sentence. i am at a loss for words on how silly that sounds in the context of this work. Dr. Phil might approve, but I don't. It isn't needed, and in fact it reads as if it is compensatory. Just part of a weak conclusion - it moves on.
The diverse elements of the greater maritime community must be inspired and supported as they invest to secure peace and prosperity across the maritime domain.
What? "Diverse elements?" "Greater maritime community?" Egads!

What a lost opportunity this was. There is a great core to this document, but it is lost in a sandwich of FOD. Perhaps if we ignore it, it will go away. Maybe just cut -n-past the chewy center. Yep, that is it. A lot of good people put a lot of effort into this, and we should recognize that. I am left with the feeling though that there were too many cooks in the broth. I will thank them though, New Age philosophical musings aside, for not cluttering up the language for the most part. Not the usual Bu11sh1t Bingo words. That is nice.

Let's finish off with a few side observations. Just off the top of my head, what are some of the bold faced USN/USMC mission do you not read? Nothing about Riverine. ASCM isn't anywhere - going or coming. Protecting a HVU is nowhere. You know me, I have a thing for words, so I picked a few to look for, just to see what play they got. The quasi-Fascist sounding "Homeland" got 12. "Climate Change" got 2. "Terror(ist)(s)" at 8. The very fuzzy "non-state actors/antagonists, trans-national actors/threats" managed a healthy 6. "Globalization" managed 2. China, mines, Iran, all got zero (though some clear hints are there). On the positive side, "transformation" got zip-zero-nada as well.

So Shipmates - that is my quick skim. I know I missed a few nuggets; over to you.
UPDATE: Don't forget to check out the very good work being done over at SteeljawScribe and InformationDissenmination.