With strings of recurring roles on shows like Arrow, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The League and a gazillion other shows, sultry looking Janina Gavankar isn’t a household name, but she’s got an unforgettable look.
Category Archives: guns
It can be found in the most unlikely of places. This haul of pure naval gold came from the little book library that I found next to the gift shop aboard USS Midway in my sojourn to San Diego for the West Conference. I saw a sign for “book sale”, which, except for “free ammo”, is most likely to make me stop every time. I was allowed to go into the spaces that had the books for sale, and found this’n. I decided to have a little fun with the docent who was running the sale. When I asked “How much?”, he told me “Ten dollars.” I worked up my most indignant expression, and said “TEN DOLLARS! That’s highway robbery! I won’t pay it!” at the same time I slipped a twenty to his elderly assistant, and gave him a wink. He was a bit flummoxed, but the old fella gave me a smile. I asked that they keep the change as a donation, which they were truly grateful for.
Anyway, inside the large, musty-smelling book that had likely not been opened in decades, there is to be found a veritable treasure of naval history. From the advertisements at the beginning pages from famous firms such as Thornycroft, Hawker-Siddeley, Vickers-Amstrong Ship Repair and Shipbuilding, Bofors, Decca Radars, Edo Sonar, etc, to the line drawings of nearly every class of major combatant in commission in 1964, the book is simply fascinating.
What is first noticeable is that a great percentage of the world’s warships in 1964 still consisted of American and British-built vessels from the Second World War and the years immediately preceding. Former Royal Navy aircraft carriers were the centerpieces of the navies of India, Canada, France, Holland, Australia (star-crossed Melbourne was a Colossus-class CV) and even Argentina and Brazil. US-built ships comprise major units of almost every Western Bloc navy in 1964. The ubiquitous Fletchers, of which nearly one hundred were transferred, served worldwide, and remained the most powerful units of many Western navies into the 1990s. But there were other classes, destroyer escorts, patrol frigates, minesweepers, and an untold number of LSTs, LCTs, LCIs, Liberty and Victory ships, tankers, and auxiliaries of all descriptions, under the flags of their new owners. Half a dozen Brooklyn-class light cruisers went south in the 1950s, to the South American navies of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. (General Belgrano, sunk by a British torpedo in the Falklands War, was ex-USS Phoenix CL-46). A surprising number of the pre-war Benson and Gleaves-class destroyers remained in naval inventories, including that of the United States Navy (35). A large contingent of Balao and Gato-class diesel fleet subs also remained in service around the world, with images showing streamlined conning towers, and almost always sans the deck guns.
Nowhere is there a ship profile of a battleship. By 1964, Britain had scrapped the King George Vs, and beautiful HMS Vanguard. France had decommissioned Jean Bart, and though Richelieu was supposedly not decommissioned until 1967, she is not included. The United States had disposed of the North Carolinas and the South Dakotas some years before, and only the four Iowas remained. They are listed in the front of the US Navy section, but not as commissioned warships, and they are also not featured. Turkey’s ancient Yavuz, the ex-German World War I battlecruiser Goeben, had not yet been scrapped (it would be in 1971), but apparently was awaiting disposal and not in commission.
The 1964-65 edition of Jane’s contains some really interesting pictures and facts. And definitely some oddities.
There is a launching photo for USS America (CV-66), and “artist’s conceptions” of the Brooke and Knox-class frigates, which were then rated as destroyer escorts. In 1964, the largest warship in the Taiwanese Navy (Republic of China) was an ex-Japanese destroyer that had been re-armed with US 5″/38 open single mounts in the late 1950s. The People’s Republic of China also had at least one ex-Japanese destroyer in service, along with the half-sisters to the ill-fated USS Panay, formerly USS Guam and USS Tutulia, which had been captured by the Japanese in 1941 and turned over to China at the end of the war. The PRC also retained at least one river gunboat which had been built at the turn of the century.
Italy’s navy included two wartime-construction (1943) destroyers that had been badly damaged, repaired, and commissioned in the late 1940s. The eye-catching feature of the photos of the San Giorgios is the Mk 38 5″/38 twin mountings of the type mounted on the US Sumners and Gearings.
A couple other oddities that I never would have known but for this book. In the 1950s, West Germany salvaged one Type XXI and two Type XXIII U-boats, sunk in the Baltic in 1945, reconditioned them, and commissioned them. While the Type XXI was an experimentation platform, apparently the two Type XXIII boats (ex-U-2365 and U-2367) became operational boats. The Israeli frigate Haifa had been a British wartime Hunt-class frigate, sold to the Egyptian Navy, and captured by Israeli forces in Haifa in the 1956 war.
The Indian Navy was made up largely of ex-Royal Navy warships, understandably enough. But one in 1964 was particularly significant. The Indian light cruiser Delhi had been HMS Achilles, famous for its role as a unit of Commodore Harwood’s squadron in chasing the German panzerschiff KMS Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate in December, 1939.
There is much more contained in the pages of this old and forgotten edition. This book is an absolute treasure trove of naval history. And was a most unexpected find. I have unleashed my inner geek!
This little tidbit managed to elude the American press. The SAME American press that can tell you nothing about Benghazi, but everything about the George Washington Bridge scandal, nothing about Barack Obama’s college transcripts, but everything about George W. Bush’s military service (even if they have to make it up.)
From Iran’s Fars News Agency, via Drudge, these statements from Brigadier General Hossein Salami of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps:
“Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power (that we want) right from here,” Salami said, addressing a conference in Tehran on Tuesday dubbed ‘the Islamic World’s Role in the Geometry of the World Power’.
“Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400km away for the day when such an incident (confrontation with Israel) takes place,” he added.
Well, given by Islam and Barack Obama. I am sure the General doesn’t MEAN anything by it. It isn’t like he has the ear of the Supreme Leader or anything. And I am certain that Iran is bargaining for uranium enrichment in good faith. The Israelis? They’re just paranoid.
One of the very first things our first aviator Commandant did was to change what had been a century-long tradition of rolling sleeves up on the Marine utility uniform. Summer, winter, Desert or Woodland MARPAT, sleeves would be worn down, IAW the “YEAR ROUND WEAR OF THE MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORM” guidance. The regulation eliminated what had been a distinguishing feature of Marines when wearing utilities, the rolled sleeve. Supposedly, it was to show “solidarity” with deployed Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you are waiting at Camp Pendleton or 29 Palms for your next turn over, I doubt rolling your sleeves down is quite the act of “solidarity”.
The measure was met with universal disapproval, and was the first in a long series of missteps and poor decisions on the part of General Amos. But, it seems, that decision was undone a couple weeks ago. Behold, MARADMIN 078/14
R 260149Z FEB 14
MSGID/GENADMIN,USMTF,2007/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS(UC)/F002//
SUBJ/MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORM POLICY CHANGE//
REF/B/MSGID:DOC/CMC WASHINGTON DC MCUB/31MAR2003//
AMPN/REF A ANNOUNCED YEAR ROUND WEAR OF THE MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORM (MCCUU) WITH SLEEVES DOWN. REF B IS MCO P1020.34G, MARINE CORPS UNIFORM REGULATIONS//
POC/M. BOYT/CIV/UNIT:MCUB/-/TEL:(703) 432-3333/TEL:DSN 378-3333/EMAIL:MARY.BOYT(AT)USMC.MIL//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. THIS MARADMIN ANNOUNCES THE COMMANDANT’S DECISION TO CANCEL REF A AND REVERT TO PREVIOUS POLICY FOR WEAR OF THE MCCUU.
2. EFFECTIVE 09 MARCH 2014, THE DESERT MCCUU WILL BE WORN DURING THE SUMMER UNIFORM PERIOD WITH THE SLEEVES ROLLED UP. AT LOCAL COMMANDERS’ DIRECTION (BN/SQDN), SLEEVES WILL CONTINUE TO BE ROLLED DOWN IN COMBAT AND FIELD ENVIRONMENTS. DURING THE WINTER UNIFORM PERIOD, THE WOODLAND MCCUU WILL CONTINUE TO BE WORN WITH SLEEVES DOWN.
3. REF B WILL BE UPDATED TO REFLECT THIS CHANGE.
4. RELEASE AUTHORIZED BY MAJGEN M. R. REGNER, STAFF DIRECTOR, HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS.//
So, Marines, get thee to the gym or the pull-up bar and get those biceps and triceps HUGE! Everybody knows that peace is gained and maintained by upper body strength!
You have a chance to look bad-ass once again. Make the most of it!
Those wishing to disarm the law-abiding by passing laws infringing on the right to keep and bear arms have been warned. From over at Sipsey Street:
An Open Letter to the Men and Women of the Connecticut State Police: You are NOT the enemy (UNLESS YOU CHOOSE TO BE.)
The following letter was sent via email to members of the Connecticut State Police, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. There are 1,212 email addresses on the list. There were 62 bounce-backs.
15 February 2014
To the men and women of the Connecticut State Police and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection:
My name is Mike Vanderboegh. Few of you will know who I am, or even will have heard of the Three Percent movement that I founded, though we have been denounced on the national stage by that paragon of moral virtue, Bill Clinton. Three Percenters are uncompromising firearm owners who have stated very plainly for years that we will obey no further encroachments on our Second Amendment rights. Some of you, if you read this carelessly, may feel that it is a threat. It is not. Three Percenters also believe that to take the first shot in a conflict over principle is to surrender the moral high ground to the enemy. We condemn so-called collateral damage and terrorism such as that represented by the Oklahoma City Bombing and the Waco massacre. We are very aware that if you seek to defeat evil it is vital not to become the evil you claim to oppose. Thus, though this letter is certainly intended to deal with an uncomfortable subject, it is not a threat to anyone. However, it is important for everyone to understand that while we promise not to take the first shot over principle, we make no such promise if attacked, whether by common criminals or by the designated representatives of a criminal government grown arrogant and tyrannical and acting out an unconstitutional agenda under color of law. If we have any model, it is that of the Founding generation. The threat to public order and safety, unfortunately, comes from the current leaders of your state government who unthinkingly determined to victimize hitherto law-abiding citizens with a tyrannical law. They are the ones who first promised violence on the part of the state if your citizens did not comply with their unconstitutional diktat. Now, having made the threat (and placed the bet that you folks of the Connecticut State Police will meekly and obediently carry it out) they can hardly complain that others take them seriously and try by every means, including this letter, to avoid conflict.
Some of you are already working a major case on me, trying to figure out how I may be arrested for violating Conn. P.A. 13-3, which bears the wildly dishonest title of “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.” (What part of “protecting children” is accomplished by sparking a civil war?) Not only have I personally violated this unconstitutional and tyrannical act by smuggling and by the encouragement of smuggling, defiance and non-compliance on the part of your state’s citizens, but I have further irritated your wannabe tyrant bosses by sending them standard capacity magazines in my “Toys for Totalitarians” program. I further have annoyed them by pointing out — and seeking more evidence of — the existence of Mike Lawlor’s KGB file (as well as his FBI and CIA counter-intelligence files). In short, I have made myself a nuisance to your bosses in just about every way I could think of. However, their discomfiture reminds me of the wisdom of that great American philosopher of the late 20th Century, Frank Zappa, who said, “Do you love it? Do you hate it? There it is, the way you made it.” Whether you will be able to make a case on me that sticks is, of course, problematic for a number of reasons which I will detail to you in the letter below. I have already done so to your bosses and include the links in this email so that you may easily access them.
But even if you are not working on my case you will want to pay attention to this letter, because tyrannical politicians in your state have been writing checks with their mouths that they expect you to cash with your blood. We have moved, thanks to them, into a very dangerous undiscovered country. Connecticut is now in a state of cold civil war, one that can flash to bloody conflict in an instant if someone, anyone, does something stupid. So please pay attention, for Malloy and Co. have put all your asses on the line and are counting on your supine obedience to the enforcement of their unconstitutional diktat.
I apparently first came to your attention with this speech on the steps of your state capitol on 20 April 2013. It was very well received by the audience but virtually ignored by the lapdog press of your state. If I may, I’d like to quote some of the more salient points of it that involve you.
“An unconstitutional law is void.” It has no effect. So says American Jurisprudence, the standard legal text. And that’s been upheld by centuries of American law. An unconstitutional law is VOID. Now that is certainly true. But the tricky part is how do we make that point when the local, state and federal executive and legislative branches as well as the courts are in the hands of the domestic enemies of the Constitution. Everyone who is currently trying to take away your right to arms starts out by saying “I support the 2nd Amendment.” Let me tell you a home truth that we know down in Alabama — Barack Obama supports the 2nd Amendment just about as much as Adolf Hitler appreciated Jewish culture, or Joseph Stalin believed in individual liberty. Believe what politicians do, not what they say. Because the lie is the attendant of every evil. . .
Before this year no one thought that other firearms and related items would ever be banned — but they were, they have been. No one thought that the authorities of your state would pass laws making criminals out of the previously law-abiding — but they did. If they catch you violating their unconstitutional laws, they will — when they please — send armed men to work their will upon you. And people — innocent of any crime save the one these tyrants created — will die resisting them.
You begin to see, perhaps, how you fit into this. YOU are the “armed men” that Malloy and Company will send “to work their will” upon the previously law-abiding. In other words, this law takes men and women who are your natural allies in support of legitimate law enforcement and makes enemies of the state of them, and bully boy political police of you. So you all have a very real stake in what happens next. But let me continue:
The Founders knew how to answer such tyranny. When Captain John Parker — one of the three percent of American colonists who actively took the field against the King during the Revolution — mustered his Minutemen on Lexington Green, it was in a demonstration of ARMED civil disobedience. . . The colonists knew what to do and they did it, regardless of the risk — regardless of all the King’s ministers and the King’s soldiery. They defied the King. They resisted his edicts. They evaded his laws and they smuggled. Lord above, did they smuggle.
Now we find ourselves in a similar situation. The new King Barack and his minions have determined to disarm us. We must determine to resist them. No one wants a new civil war (except, apparently, the anti-constitutional tyrants who passed these laws and the media toadies who cheer them on) but one is staring us in the face. Let me repeat that, a civil war is staring us in the face. To think otherwise is to whistle past the graveyard of our own history. We must, if we wish to avoid armed conflict, get this message across to the collectivists who have declared their appetites for our liberty, our property and our lives — WHEN DEMOCRACY TURNS TO TYRANNY, THE ARMED CITIZEN STILL GETS TO VOTE.
Just like King George, such people will not care, nor modify their behavior, by what you say, no matter how loudly or in what numbers you say it. They will only pay attention to what you DO. So defy them. Resist their laws. Evade them. Smuggle in what they command you not to have. Only by our ACTS will they be impressed. Then, if they mean to have a civil war, they will at least have been informed of the unintended consequences of their tyrannical actions. Again I say — Defy. Resist. Evade. Smuggle. If you wish to stay free and to pass down that freedom to your children’s children you can do no less than to become the lawbreakers that they have unconstitutionally made of you. Accept that fact. Embrace it. And resolve to be the very best, most successful lawbreakers you can be.
Well, I guess at least some of my audience that day took my message to heart. As Connecticut newspapers have finally begun reporting — “Untold Thousands Flout Gun Registration Law” — and national commentators are at last noticing, my advice to defy, resist and evade this intolerable act is well on the way. The smuggling, as modest as it is, I can assure is also happening. This law is not only dangerous it is unenforceable by just about any standard you care to judge it by. Let’s just look at the numbers mentioned in the Courant story.
By the end of 2013, state police had received 47,916 applications for assault weapons certificates, Lt. Paul Vance said. An additional 2,100 that were incomplete could still come in.
That 50,000 figure could be as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents, according to estimates by people in the industry, including the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000.
And that means as of Jan. 1, Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals — perhaps 100,000 people, almost certainly at least 20,000 — who have broken no other laws. By owning unregistered guns defined as assault weapons, all of them are committing Class D felonies.
“I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register,” said Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, the ranking GOP senator on the legislature’s public safety committee. “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”
This blithering idiot of a state senator is, as I warned Mike Lawlor the other day, extrapolating. It is a very dangerous thing, extrapolation, especially when you are trying to predict the actions of an enemy you made yourself whom you barely recognize let alone understand. I told Lawlor:
You, you silly sod, are extrapolating from your own cowardice. Just because you wouldn’t risk death for your principles, doesn’t mean there aren’t folks who most certainly will. And, not to put too fine a point on it, but folks who are willing to die for their principles are most often willing to kill in righteous self-defense of them as well. You may be ignorant of such people and their ways. You may think that they are insane. But surely even you cannot be so clueless that, insane or not from your point-of-view, such people DO exist and in numbers unknown. This is the undiscovered country that you and your tyrannical ilk have blundered into, like clueless kindergarteners gaily (no pun intended) tap-dancing in a well-marked mine field. The Founders marked the mine field. Is it our fault or yours that you have blithely ignored the warnings? If I were a Connecticut state policeman I would be wondering if the orders of a possible KGB mole throwback were worth the terminal inability to collect my pension. Of course, you may be thinking that you can hide behind that “thin blue line.” Bill Clinton’s rules of engagement say otherwise.
The odds are, and it gives me no particular satisfaction to say it, is that someone is going to get killed over your unconstitutional misadventures in Connecticut. And if not Connecticut, then New York, or Maryland, or California or Colorado. And once the civil war you all apparently seek is kicked off, it would not be — it could not be — confined to one state.
This is not a threat, of course. Not the personal, actionable threat that you may claim. It ranks right along with — no, that’s wrong, IT IS EXACTLY LIKE — an ex-con meeting me in the street and pointing to my neighbor’s house saying, “Tonight I am going to break in there, kill that man, rape his wife and daughters and steal everything that he is, has, or may become.” I warn him, “If you try to do that, he will kill you first. He may not look like much, but I know him to be vigilant and perfectly capable of blowing your head off.” That is not a threat from me. It is simply good manners. Consider this letter in the same vein. I am trying to save you from yourself.
For, like that common criminal, you have announced by your unconstitutional law and your public statements in favor of its rigorous enforcement that you have a tyrannical appetite for your neighbors’ liberty, property and lives. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that this policy, if carried to your announced conclusion, will not end well for anybody, but especially for you.
Now let’s examine those numbers in the Courant story. You know the size of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Wikipedia tells us that “CSP currently has approximately 1,248 troopers, and is headquartered in Middletown, Connecticut. It is responsible for protecting the Governor of Connecticut, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, and their families.” There are but 1,212 email addresses listed on the state website to which this email is going, which presumably includes everyone including secretaries, receptionists, file clerks, technicians, etc. Now, how many shooters for raid parties you may find among that one thousand, two hundred and forty eight that Wikipedia cites, or whatever number will be on the payroll when something stupid happens, only you know for sure. I’ll let you do the counting. They are daunting odds in any case, and as you will see, they get more daunting as we go down this road that Malloy and Company have arranged for you. (By the way, don’t forget to subtract those on the Green Zone protective details, for your political masters will certainly see their survival as your mission number one.) So, how many folks would your superiors be interested in seeing you work their will upon? And of these, how many will fight regardless of cost?
Let’s assume that there are 100,000 non-compliant owners of military pattern semi-automatic rifles in your state. I think it is a larger number but 100,000 has a nice round ring to it. Let us then apply the rule of three percent to that number — not to the entire population of your state, not even to the number of firearm owners, but just to that much smaller demonstrated number of resistors. That leaves you with at least 3,000 men and women who will shoot you if you try to enforce this intolerable act upon them. Of course you will have to come prepared to shoot them. That’s a given. They know this. So please understand: THEY. WILL. SHOOT. YOU. (In what they believe is righteous self defense.) Now, if any of them follow Bill Clinton’s rules of engagement and utilize the principles of 4th Generation Warfare, after the first shots are fired by your raid parties, they will not be home when you come to call. These people will be targeting, according to the 4GW that many of them learned while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war makers who sent you. This gets back to that “when democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizenry still gets to vote.” One ballot, or bullet, at a time.
This is all hypothetical, of course, based upon the tyrants’ appetites for these hitherto law-abiding citizens’ liberty, property and lives as well as upon your own willingness to enforce their unconstitutional diktat. And here’s where you can do something about it. The first thing you have to realize is that the people you will be targeting do not view you as the enemy. Indeed, you are NOT their enemy, unless you choose to be one.
Again, an unconstitutional law is null and void. Of course you may if you like cling to the slim fact that a single black-robed bandit has ruled the Intolerable Act as constitutional in Shew vs. Malloy, but that will not matter to those three percent of the resistors — your fellow citizens — whom you target. They no longer expect a fair trial in your state in any case, which leaves them, if they wish to defend their liberty, property and lives, only the recourse of an unfair firefight. So to cite Shew vs. Malloy at the point of a state-issued firearm to such people is, well, betting your life on a very slender reed.
Thus, my kindly advice to you, just as it was to Lawlor, is to not go down that road. You are not the enemy of the people of Connecticut, not yet. The politicians who jammed this law down the peoples’ throats are plainly flummoxed by the resistance it has engendered. In the absence of a definitive U.S. Supreme Court decision do you really want to risk not being able to draw your pension over some politician’s insatiable appetite for power?
There are many ways you can refuse to get caught up in this. Passive resistance, looking the other way, up to and including outright refusal to execute what is a tyrannical law that a higher court may yet find unconstitutional and therefore null and void. Do you really want to have to kill someone enforcing THAT? Just because you were ordered to do so? After Nuremberg, that defense no longer obtains. (You may say, “Well, I’m just a secretary, a clerk, you can’t blame me for anything.” Kindly recall from Nuremberg one other lesson: raid parties cannot break down doors unless someone like you prepares the list in advance. In fact, you have at your keyboard and in your databases more raw, naked power than any kick-in-the-door trooper. And with that power comes moral responsibility. Adolf Eichmann didn’t personally kill anyone. But he darn sure made up the lists and saw to it that trains ran on time. When the first Connecticut citizen (or, God forbid, his family) is killed as a result of your list-making, do you think that because you didn’t pull the trigger that gives you a moral pass?)
So I call on you all, in your own best interest and that of your state, to refuse to enforce this unconstitutional law. There are a number of Three Percenters within the Connecticut state government, especially its law enforcement arms. I know that there have been many discussions around water-coolers and off state premises about the dangers that this puts CT law enforcement officers in and what officers should do if ordered to execute raids on the previously law-abiding.
You have it within your power to refuse to initiate hostilities in an American civil war that would, by its very nature, be ghastly beyond belief and would unleash hatreds and passions that would take generations to get over, if then.
Please, I beg you to understand, you are not the enemy, you are not an occupying force — unless you choose to violate the oath that each of you swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. For their part, the men and women who will be targeted by your raids took an identical oath. Can you think of anything more tragic than brother killing brother over some politician’s tyrannical appetite?
I can’t. The future — yours, mine, our children’s, that of the citizens of Connecticut and indeed of the entire country — is in YOUR hands.
At the very least, by your refusal you can give the courts time to work before proceeding into an unnecessary civil war against your own friends and neighbors on the orders of a self-anointed elite who frankly don’t give a shit about you, your life, your future or that of your family. They wouldn’t pass these laws if they thought that they would have to risk the potential bullet that their actions have put you in the path of. They count on you to take that bullet, in service of their power and their lies. Fool them. Just say no to tyranny. You are not the enemy. Don’t act like one.
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters
PO Box 926
Pinson AL 35126
As the author states, the above is hardly a threat. Unless, of course, those men and women of the CT State Police choose to serve their political masters rather than the Constitution they have sworn to uphold. Law Enforcement officials everywhere, at all levels of government, would do well to read and heed. In many areas, they are dancing dangerously close to a line they cross at their own peril. The Second Amendment is the citizens’ last redress against the tyranny of government.
The Diplomat has the story. The possibility is certainly intriguing. One can assume rather confidently that Japanese naval engineers are somewhat less enamored of “revolutionary”, “transformational”, and “game-changing” as we seem to be here at NAVSEA. Japanese ship designs, particularly in smaller units, have always been excellent. Fast, sturdy, powerful units for their size.
…analysts contend that the trimaran would likely be a lighter variant of the U.S. Navy’s 3,000-tonne littoral combat ship (LCS), a platform designed primarily for missions in shallow coastal waters.
According to reports in Japanese media, the high-speed J-LCS would give the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) the ability to quickly intervene during incursions by Chinese vessels near the Senkaku/Diaoyu islets and other contested areas of the East China Sea. Chinese analysts speculate that the J-LCS could be intended as a counter to the PLA Navy’s (PLAN) Type 056 corvettes and Type 022 fast-attack boats, two types of vessels that could be deployed to the region should relations continue to deteriorate. Furthermore, early reports indicate that the slightly enlarged hull of the 1,000-tonne-plus vessels could accommodate SH-60K anti-submarine helicopters and MCH-101 airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) helicopters.
If Chinese analysts are correct, and I hope they are, it is possible we will see a smaller, better-armed, more lethal, less fragile, and significantly less expensive warship which will be suitable for combat in the littorals. Our lack of “low-end” capability to handle missions ill-suited for AEGIS cruisers and destroyers, such as mixing it up with ASCM-armed frigates and fast-attack craft, is nothing short of alarming. It would be of benefit to the US Navy to scrutinize the results of such a design, which at first blush sounds much closer to the “Streetfighter” concept than either current LCS design, and that of the Cyclone-class Patrol Cutters.
It sure as hell would be an improvement over current designs. Especially if the “joint” US-Japanese LCS actually shipped the weapons systems and capabilities required and didn’t stake success on as-yet undeveloped “modules” whose feasibility has come increasingly into question.
The events of this week in the Ukraine, particularly Russia’s de facto occupation of the Crimea, have highlighted the shambles that is US foreign policy. Aside from revealing the complete impotence of NATO, the situation which has evolved in the last 72 hours has brought to the fore the contrast between the Machiavellian power-broker realism of Putin/Lavrov and the naive and feckless bumbling of Obama and SecState John Kerry.
To the list of foreign policy disasters that include the Cairo speech, the West Point speech, cut and run in Iraq, a stunted “surge” in AFG, the “Arab Spring” debacle, leading “from behind” in Libya, the Benghazi attack and cover-up, supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, being caught bluffing with the “red line” nonsense in Syria, selling out our Israeli allies to make a deal virtually guaranteeing a nuclear Iran, we have the crowning fiasco, and likely the most dangerous in long-term impact for the United States and the world.
Kerry’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today reveals just how misguided and dangerously naive the arrogant amateur buffoons are who are careening our ship of state onto the shoals at flank speed.
This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century, and there’s no way to start with that if Russia persists in this, that the G8 countries are going to reassemble in Sochi. That’s a starter. But there’s much more than that.
Is he kidding? Power politics was centuries old when Machiavelli defined it in his works in the 1530s. Power politics has dominated every century since, including the 20th. In fact, there is virtually no reason to suddenly embrace some notion of “21st Century” statecraft that is any different from that of the previous five centuries, since the emergence of modern nation-states. That Kerry and Obama think otherwise, and think the rest of the world behaves accordingly, is the height of hubris. Treating the world as you wish it to be rather than how it exists is simply bankrupt intellectual foolishness. But there’s more.
And we hope, President Obama hopes that President Putin will turn in the direction that is available to him to work with all of us in a way that creates stability in Ukraine. This does not have to be, and should not be, an East/West struggle.
There is no excuse whatever, other than a willful ignorance of history, to utter such a decidedly stupid and ill-informed comment publicly. The central theme to the existence of European Russia is an eight-century long existential struggle between East and West. The tragicomic foolishness of Hillary Clinton’s “reset button”, so contemptuously ridiculed by Foreign Minister Lavrov, was indicative of just how amateurish and incompetent the Obama Administration’s foreign policy and national security players were, and just how precious little they understood the art of statecraft. Statements like the above reveal how little those players know about the history of the nations and peoples with which that statecraft requires them to interact.
There is worse to come later in the interview with David Gregory. These two positively head-scratching pronouncements can rightfully make one wonder how tenuous this Administration’s grip on reality truly is:
David, the last thing anybody wants is a military option in this kind of a situation. We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.
President Putin is not operating from a place of strength here. Yanukovych was his supported president… President Putin is using force in a completely inappropriate manner that will invite the opprobrium of the world.
Such a bizarre pair of assertions is difficult to explain. The several thousand Russian forces, which include mechanized infantry, attack aviation, and self-propelled artillery certainly seem to point to the notion that Vladimir Putin believed some semblance of a military solution was desired to ensure Russia maintained a friendly buffer between what Putin believes is a hostile West. A buffer that incidentally includes the strategically vital naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and has a population demographic of approximately 60% ethnic Russians.
As for understanding a position of strength, one might also wonder just how Kerry would go about defining strength. There is virtually nothing NATO can do militarily, should they even be willing; the United States, with shrinking defense budgets, is in the midst of gutting its military to pre-World War II levels. The leverage the EU has over Russia is limited, despite Russia’s very significant economic problems. Any “opprobrium”, or threats by the US, France, Canada, and the UK to suspend the G-8 Summit, is positively pittance to the Russians in comparison to the security of their strategically essential western neighbors, regions that have countless times stood between Russia and destruction at the hands of a conquering West. Russia has acted virtually unchallenged, presenting a fait accompli to the West that, despite assertions to the contrary, will not be undone. If ever there was a position of power, Russia holds it right now in the Crimea, and will be asserting it anywhere and everywhere in the “near abroad” that Putin has long promised to secure.
The United States never has had all that much leverage to prevent Russia and a talented autocrat like Putin from leaning on their western border states, despite the fitful attempts by the US to draw some of those states into the Western sphere. The invasions of Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008 proved that beyond a doubt. But what is most disturbing about the current crisis is watching the US Secretary of State and the US President misread, misstep, and attempt to bluster their way through another confrontation with a geopolitical rival that is acting without restraint and without regard for the empty rhetoric from the Obama Administration. The most fundamental lesson of statecraft is that of understanding power. To that end, we have another object lesson in the use of that power. There is no such thing as hard power, soft power, or “smart” power. There is just power. As it has since antiquity, power consists of the capability to enforce one’s will upon an adversary mixed with the willingness to use that capability.
Putin and Lavrov know that lesson well. They are hard-bitten professionals who act as they believe necessary to promote Russian interests and improve economic and physical security. Obama and Kerry are rank amateurs, blinded by an ideology that begets a naive and woefully unrealistic understanding of how the world works. They have been outfoxed and outplayed yet again, seemingly willingly forfeiting US influence and credibility in pursuit of a badly-flawed world view in which influence is based upon hollow threats and ill-conceived public statements. Any doubts regarding that assertion should be erased when one listens to the cognitive dissonance emanating from our Secretary of State as he describes the Crimean crisis in terms which have little to do with reality. It is to weep.
We flew in to Habbaniyah on a C-130 out of Kuwait, and the pilot juked on the way in, just in case. Once on the deck, we were dispatched into an Army-Marine Corps convoy headed to Ramadi. On the way out the gate of the laager, a VBIED detonated next to one of the lead security vehicles, killing two soldiers. It would be an interesting eight months in Iraq. The First Marine Division, led by MajGen James N. Mattis, whose ADC was John Kelly and Chief of Staff Colonel Joe Dunford, was one hell of a team (that included the Army’s excellent 1-16th Infantry).
The 1st Marine Division (not including Army casualties) suffered 118 killed and more than 1,400 wounded in those eight months in places like Fallujah and Ramadi, Haditah, and a lot of other dusty villages and towns nobody could find on a map except the men who fought there. A high price was paid to hold the line in Anbar, to hold elections, and cultivate conditions for the Awakening. For the Marines and soldiers who did so, recent events with AQ flying flags in Anbar’s cities and towns are particularly maddening. It was clear that the “cut and run” philosophy of the White House was an exceedingly poor one, and subsequent events show that the so-called “zero option” is as descriptive of the President’s credibility as force levels in Iraq. And we are set, with the same litany of excuses, to do it again in Afghanistan.
I wondered then what all this would be like, ten years on, should I be fortunate enough to survive. Some things remain very vivid, the sights and smells, and the faces of comrades. Others I am sure I would have to be reminded of. And a few memories, thankfully few, are seared into the memory for the rest of my time on this earth.
It seems that Towson, Maryland police officers verbalized what many in Law Enforcement have shown with their behavior nationwide for the last several years. A man filming police officers at a disturbance is threatened and assaulted by a police officer who declares at one point that the private citizen he is responsible for protecting and serving has no rights. The local CBS affiliate has the story.
It is well past time to view these cases in isolation. I don’t want to hear that. Nor do I want to hear about how the police “fear for their safety”. Or how they were somehow justified in threatening jail or declaring which freedoms are permitted. That, in large dose or small, is tyranny, plain and simple. Trying to explain it away is to stretch plausibility to the breaking point and beyond in order to find excuses for such behavior.
Of course, police officials are always “concerned” and vow to investigate the “possibility” of wrongdoing. The assertions that additional training and possible disciplinary action is a solution is entirely in error. This is not a matter of training but of attitude and sense of unbridled authority and entitlement. Borne of not being accountable. David Rocah of the ACLU is quite right. It is very problematic, and it does reflect a great and growing sense of impunity.
No, the solution to this, eventually and unfortunately, is for police officers like this jackass to face the wrath of an armed populace willing to assert their liberties forcefully. And if he survives the encounter, he should consider himself lucky. Of course, it is no coincidence that the Governor of Maryland has all but disarmed the law-abiding. He, and his police forces, get to decide which of your Constitutional liberties they would like you to have and when. Which, it should be noted, this Administration desires to make the national model.
Tyranny around every corner, indeed.
Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh Burke Chair at CSIS, provides a very cogent summary of the weakness of our Defense Department leadership and its inability or unwillingness to discuss the 2015 DoD budget meaningfully.
At the simplest level of budgetary planning, the Secretary’s budget statements ignore the fact that the Congressional Budget Office projects that the Department’s failure to manage the real-world crises in personnel, modernization, and readiness costs will have as negative an overall budget impact over time as Sequestration will. Ignoring the Department’s long history of undercosting its budget, its cost overruns, and the resulting cuts in forces, modernization, and readiness means one more year of failing to cope with reality. Presenting an unaffordable plan is as bad as failing to budget enough money.
Cordesman gets to the real meat of our failure of strategic (dare I say “national strategic”?) thinking, as well.
He talks about cuts in personnel, equipment, and force strength in case-specific terms, but does not address readiness and does not address any plan or provide any serious details as to what the United States is seeking in in terms of changes in its alliances and partnerships, and its specific goals in force levels, deployments, modernization, personnel, and readiness.
He holds nothing back in his contempt for the process of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), either.
Worse, we are going to leave these issues to be addressed in the future by another mindless waste of time like the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). All the past QDRs have been set so far in the future to be practical or relevant. Each successive QDR has proved to be one more colostomy bag after another of half-digested concepts and vague strategic priorities filled with noise and futility and signifying nothing.
Cordesman saves his best for last, however.
Like all of his recent predecessors, Secretary Hagel has failed dismally to show the U.S. has any real plans for the future and to provide any meaningful sense of direction and real justification for defense spending. The best that can be said of his speech on the FY2015 defense budget is that U.S. strategy and forces will go hollow in a kinder and gentler manner than simply enforcing sequestration.
We do need to avoid cutting our forces, military capabilities, and defense spending to the levels called for in sequestration. But this is no substitute for the total lack of any clear goals for the future, for showing that the Department of Defense has serious plans to shape a viable mix of alliances and partnerships, force levels, deployments, modernization, personnel, and readiness over the coming Future Year Defense Plan.
I don’t always agree with Cordesman’s assertions, but he is just about always a thoughtful if provocative commenter on Defense and National Security issues, and his analysis of SECDEF Hagel’s remarks are spot-on. We are headed for a hollow force, despite its smaller size, as many of us have feared all along. This, despite all the promises and admonitions of this Administration and our Pentagon leadership. Go have a read.
Our friend at Op-For, the urbane and erudite sophisticate LTCOL P (supplying some cogent comments of his own), points us to a superb article in AFJ by Daniel L. Davis outlining the very real possibility that our immense advantages over our foes in the last two-plus decades has left many of our middle and senior leadership untested and overconfident in our warfighting capabilities.
Imagine one of today’s division commanders finding himself at the line of departure against a capable enemy with combined-arms formation. He spent his time as a lieutenant in Bosnia conducting “presence patrols” and other peacekeeping activities. He may have commanded a company in a peacetime, garrison environment. Then he commanded a battalion in the early years of Afghanistan when little of tactical movement took place. He commanded a brigade in the later stages of Iraq, sending units on patrols, night raids, and cordon-and-search operations; and training Iraq policemen or soldiers.
Not once in his career did an enemy formation threaten his flank. He never, even in training, hunkered in a dugout while enemy artillery destroyed one-quarter of his combat vehicles, and emerged to execute a hasty defense against the enemy assault force pouring over the hill.
Spot-on. Such sentiment applies to ALL SERVICES. Even in the midst of some pretty interesting days in Ramadi and Fallujah, I never bought into the idea that was being bandied about so casually that “there is no more complex decision-making paradigm for a combat leader than counterinsurgency operations”. It was utter nonsense. The decisions to be made, as the author points out, above the troops-in-contact level, were seldom risking success or failure either in their urgency or content. We had in Iraq and in AFG the ability to largely intervene with air or ground fires as we desired, to engage and disengage almost at will, against an enemy that could never have the capability of truly seizing tactical initiative. Defeat, from a standpoint of force survival, was never a possibility. To borrow Belloc’s observations of Omdurman, “Whatever happens, we have got, close air support, and they have not”.
Having a brigade of BMP-laden infantry rolling up behind the fires of a Divisional Artillery Group, supported by MI-24s and SU-25s, which stand a very real chance of defeating (and destroying) not just your unit but all the adjacent ones, is infinitely more challenging than even our rather intense fights (April and November 2004) for Fallujah. The speed and tactical acumen of the decision makers will be the difference between holding or breaking, winning and losing, living or dying. The author points out some significant shortcomings in our current training paradigm, and brings us back to some fundamentals of how we train (or used to, at any rate) decision-makers to operate in the fog and uncertainty of combat. Training and exercises, designed to stress and challenge:
At some of the Combat Maneuver Training Centers, Army forces do some good training. Some of the products and suggestions from Army Training and Doctrine Command are good on paper. For example, we often tout the “world class” opposing force that fights against U.S. formations, and features a thinking and free-fighting enemy. But I have seen many of these engagements, both in the field and in simulation, where the many good words are belied by the exercise. For example, in 2008 I took part in a simulation exercise in which the opposing forces were claimed to be representative of real world forces, yet the battalion-level forces were commanded by an inexperienced captain, and the computer constraints limited the enemy’s ability to engage.
Many may remember the famed “Millennium Challenge 2002” held just before Operation Iraqi Freedom. Retired Marine general Paul Van Riper, appointed to serve as opposing force commander, quit because the exercise was rigged. ”We were directed…to move air defenses so that the army and marine units could successfully land,” he said. ”We were simply directed to turn [air defense systems] off or move them… So it was scripted to be whatever the control group wanted it to be.” For the U.S. Army to be successful in battle against competent opponents, changes are necessary.
…Field training exercises can be designed to replicate capable conventional forces that have the ability to inflict defeats on U.S. elements. Such training should require leaders at all levels to face simulated life and death situations, where traditional solutions don’t work, in much more trying environments than is currently the case. They should periodically be stressed to levels well above what we have actually faced in the past several decades. Scenarios, for example, at company and battalion level where a superior enemy force inflicts a mortal blow on some elements, requiring leaders and soldiers to improvise with whatever is at hand, in the presence of hardship and emotional stress.Simulation training for commanders and staffs up to Corps level should combine computer and physical exercises that subject the leaders to situations where the enemy does the unexpected, where key leaders or capabilities are suddenly lost (owing to enemy fire or efforts), yet they still have to function; where they face the unexpected loss of key communications equipment, yet still be forced to continue the operation.
Such exercises should not all be done in nicely compartmentalized training segments with tidy start and end times, and “reset” to prepare for the next sequence. Instead, some exercises should be held where there is a beginning time “in the box” and no pre-set start or end times until the end of a rotation two weeks or more later. In short, the training rotation should replicate the physical and emotional stress of actual combat operations in which there is no “pause” to rest and think about what happened.
I couldn’t agree more. However, in a budget-crunch environment where significant funding is going toward advancing political and social agendas even within DoD, I am not at all sanguine about such training occurring. Worse, rather than having leaders champion the need for it and constantly fight for training dollars, I fear that such a requirement will be dismissed as less than necessary, since we already have “the most professional, the best educated, the most capable force this country has ever sent into battle.” While our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are indeed superb, and honed at the small unit level, our senior leadership is much less so. What’s worse is that leaders who have no experience in battlefield command against a near-peer force have begun to assert that technological innovation makes such training superfluous. That the nature of war has changed, and we are now in an era of “real-time strategy” and “global awareness”. To steal a line from The Departed, there is deception, and there is self-deception.
Anyway, the Armed Forces Journal article is a thought-provoking read.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Those 45 words are at the very root of what some call American “exceptionalism”, the right to speak one’s mind and to hear the truth reported in the press without intimidation or interference from the Government, its agencies, or its officials. While First Amendment rights have never been absolute, government infringement upon those rights has almost never been countenanced as Constitutional by the US Supreme Court, and not too much more frequently by lower courts at any level. Those words are the verbal expression of the beacon held aloft by the Statue of Liberty, and have drawn the oppressed and the freedom-loving the world over to our great land.
Which is what makes this Administration so dangerous to our liberties. Barack Obama, whose philosophy of government embraces the monolithic statism of Iron Curtain Europe mixed with Hugo Chavez-esque populist progressive communism, finds such liberties distinctly inconvenient and dangerous to his ambitions. So, the Obama Administration, while mouthing the platitudes of reverence for our freedoms, has actively gone about shredding those liberties, demonizing political opposition as national enemies. The use of tax collection (the IRS) powers to persecute political opponents. The subpoena of media phone records by the Justice Department without cause. The senior Military Officer on the active list calling to demand a private citizen desist from lawful free expression. All are disturbing but well-stifled examples of the such malfeasance.
In each instance, the President of the United States, when he deigned to address such egregious violations of Constitutional liberties and dangerous government overreach, did what he always does. He lied. He didn’t “spin” or “omit”. He lied. Said publicly things he knew not to be true. As did his minions involved in the incident; Lois Lerner of the IRS (now seeking immunity since she perjured herself), Eric Holder, and General Martin Dempsey, all political sycophants who willingly lied publicly, not once but several times, in relation to the misconduct in which they were involved.
One of the reasons such misdeeds and lack of honesty has received such little attention has been the decidedly muted response by an overwhelmingly liberal news media. They have given the Obama Administration little scrutiny, for its deeds or its words, and have played an active hand in attacking those who dared question the veracity of Obama’s words and actions. But, apparently, that is not good enough for Barack Obama. Now, it seems, he is interjecting government monitors into what is left of America’s “free” press. The American Center for Justice and Law tells the story. Which is interesting in and of itself. For had a Republican Administration official at ANY level even whispered that such a thing was being discussed, the Washington Post and the New York Times would have it as front page news for weeks. Complete with the outrage against the assault on the sanctity of that same free press.
Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.
The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”
The results, predictably, will be a quasi-state-controlled media akin to TASS or state media in China and the DPRK. Of course, there will be those whom, as they do with every dangerous precedent this Administration has set, will say that this is much ado about nothing. They will assert that government “monitors” don’t actually threaten freedom of the press, and that “there is no evidence” that such is intended to intimidate news organizations into crafting only the news this Leftist Administration wants reported, and reporting it in an “authorized” manner. They are increasingly assuming the role of the “useful idiots” of Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. And, not surprisingly, they include major media personalities and executive ownership, men and women seemingly bent on self-immolation in their unswerving support for someone who has little use for a free press and is actively seeking to dispense with it.
The reality is grim. Precedent is a very dangerous thing in government exercise of authority. What we are seeing is the destruction of the free press that Jefferson believed so fervently was necessary for the flourishing of liberty. Other infringement on our free speech will follow, and in fact has already been bandied about. Expect “hate speech” to be targeted for criminalization, which will include certain criticism of politically-favored demographics and government policies. There will already be precedent for dispensing with our liberties under the First Amendment.
When 2016 arrives, just remember that Hillary Clinton’s political philosophy is indistinguishable from that of Barack Obama.
Oh, and both wish to do away with our right to keep and bear arms as our last redress against the tyranny of government. For our own good, of course.
That, when any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it…
Seems that the 2nd Civil Support Team of the Ohio National Guard is participating in an exercise where the perpetrators of a chemical attack are posited to be “Second Amendment supporters”. Media Trackers tells us the story.
Buckeye Firearms Association spokesman Chad Baus told Media Trackers that “it is a scary day indeed when law enforcement are being trained that Second Amendment advocates are the enemy,”
“The revelation of this information is appalling to me, and to all citizens of Ohio who are true conservatives and patriots, who don’t have guns for any other reason than that the Second Amendment gives them that right,” Portage County TEA Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski said in a separate Media Trackers interview.
Not a new paradigm, of course. Law-abiding citizens who are political opponents of the Obama-Holder secular-progressive statist left have been considered enemies all along. Aside from the preposterous scenario, this is yet another of the Federal Government/Law Enforcement/Military leadership’s conditioning the American people to think of gun owners (and advocates of free speech, limited government, and due process) to be violent and unreasonable criminals, comprising threats that need to be dealt with in the harsh totalitarian measures so often favored by those far-left ideologues who despise our liberties so. Of note is that, when similar training involved positing an environmental advocacy group committing an act of terror or violence, the apologies were profuse, and immediate.
Before I get the same hackneyed arguments that “this is just a training exercise”, the same weak reasoning was used to explain away the following:
- The FBI report that white Veterans who believed in God, the Second Amendment, and limited government were a terrorist threat
- The change in language from “Islamic extremists” to “violent extremists” was mere semantics and not for the purpose of labeling political opposition in the same language as America’s enemies
- Increased militarization of police, including having them acquire heavy armored vehicles for use on American streets
- When Barack Obama referred to political opposition when he talked of “punishing our enemies”
- The Joint Staff College posited a training scenario with the enemy being Tea Party activists
There have been myriad other instances where elements of the government have acted against law-abiding citizens as if they were criminals and threats to security, while often ignoring those who are sworn enemies of this country.
“You want to have it as realistic as possible, but you don’t want to single out an issue as emotional as that,” Eliason said.
Of course, the quote above would never be uttered by any official regarding demonizing of gun owners and advocates of our Second Amendment liberties. Everyone knows that gun owners are evil. That is to say, gun owners that didn’t vote for you. Which is almost all of them.
It is telling that the spokesman for the Ohio National Guard was unwilling to talk. Law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise their Constitutional liberties and see themselves portrayed as violent terrorists are due an explanation for such an outrage.
Over at Information Dissemination, Bryan McGrath has a post about the possibility that the Navy will be directed to maintain the current level of CVBGs, which means funding of USS George Washington’s (CVN-73) Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) rather than retirement and disposal of the 22-year old supercarrier. In that post, McGrath posits what should be the well-ingrained mantra of our Navy leadership:
The debates should start with the proposition that the Navy is too small to accomplish its conventional and strategic missions, that what the Navy does for the country is simply more important that what other aspects of the military do (in a time of relative peace among great powers but tension on the horizon), and that we are making grave and irreversible mistakes as our maritime industrial base hangs in the balance. No one argued that the Army had to get bigger and more robust to fight the wars we were in…the Navy needs to make a principled argument that now is ITS time for sunlight and growth, that what IT does is uniquely suited to our security and prosperity, and that cutting it increases what are now manageable, but growing dangers.
It is time to go to the mattresses.
Our Navy leadership has in recent past all but refused to discuss end-strength and high-low mix, with consensus of what our Navy should even look like in order to execute the Cooperative Strategy being conspicuously absent. The current 280-0dd ship Navy is barely able to execute NOW, without anyone to contest us. To cut further and still claim to Congress and the American people that the Navy is capable of carrying out the roles and missions assigned to it in defense of our nation and its interests is at best a fool’s errand, and at worst, the same ilk of blatant politically-driven dishonesty that has become all too common among those in senior uniformed leadership positions.
I am off to the AFCEA/USNI West conference tomorrow, and I will have an opportunity to see how many of the Navy’s senior leaders embrace Bryan McGrath’s wisdom.
I caught this little buggy on I-95 in Maryland, headed north, obviously. (Those are MA State Police plates.) And again, in CT, where I snapped these pictures through my windshield.
The Massachusetts State Police, it seems, have acquired at least one MRAP. This, in a state where a law-abiding citizen is all but forbidden to own a gun, let alone carry one. And, in many towns, if the Police Chief doesn’t feel you “need” one, then there is no “all but”, because you will not be issued a Firearms Identification Card, and denied firearm ownership. But the State Cops? They get armored vehicles made to stop a rocket-propelled grenade and 7.62 SLAP rounds.
“Cadillac” Deval Patrick, the Massachusetts Governor, is super-tight with President Barack Obama. They share skin color, and the same obsession with that skin color. They share a socialist-communist progressive political viewpoint. They also share the philosophy that political opponents are to be treated as enemies. And now Patrick is ensuring his State Police force now has the weapons it needs to suppress the dangerous elements of the Massachusetts electorate who dare challenge the omnipotence of the state.
It is axiomatic that whatever capabilites Law Enforcement entities acquire, they will find a way to use them, even if that use is more than a little ex post facto justification for having such capability. Some Barney Fife somewhere will insist upon it. Hollywood’s portrayal notwithstanding, the number of Massachusetts State Police Officers killed in the line of duty totals just 41 in the century and a half since its founding in 1865. The vast preponderance of these deaths in the line of duty have been accidental, with motorcycle accidents (13) accounting for more than twice the number killed by gunfire (6) in those 150 years. That’s right, just SIX Massachusetts State Police Officers have been killed by gunfire in the line of duty. Only three in the last 31 years.
But they now have MRAPs. At least one. And no, I don’t care in the slightest if DoD GAVE them to the State Police. Operation and maintenance costs aside, there is no need for such vehicles to be in the possession of law enforcement of any kind in MA. Give them to the National Guard, or foreign military sales. Because in the hands of cops, under the rubric of “safety”, they will surely wind up on the streets of the Commonwealth, either in a wildly overblown response to an incident, or as a means of intimidation of the population, who could do little to nothing in response to such a capability.
Cadillac Deval wants to play with MRAPs? I’d take up a collection to ship him and his Personal Security Detail, and that MRAP, to Helmand, or South Sudan, or Northern Nigeria, or Mali, so he can tool around in a place where his new toy is more appropriate. He might even get to see if it can stop an RPG. Or five. Because that MRAP sure as hell doesn’t belong on the streets of cities and towns in Massachusetts.
Bryan McGrath over at Information Dissemination has an absolutely superb piece on the overlay of a peacetime mentality on what might suddenly and shockingly be a wartime Navy.
You see, the heavy influence of the PEACETIME NAVY was at work. We over-analyzed, over-plotted, over-targeted and over-thought every single engagement, driven in no small measure by the fear of hitting “white shipping”, or the clueless merchant who meanders into a hot war zone during the scenario. Never mind that the flight path of the missile avoided the merchant by hundreds of yards. Never mind that its seeker head wasn’t active when it CPA’d the merchant. Never mind that the height of the missile at that part of its flight path would have flown over most of the merchants in the world at that time. Never mind that merchants don’t have AAW radars and missiles.
No, invariably we would hold off on the shot to allow for “adequate” separation, or as some unfortunate watch teams found, take the shot and then suffer the ignominy of some OS Chief who couldn’t sit watch supervisor on your watch team tell you that you had failed to account for white shipping.
Letting the bad guy get in the first punch at sea is as dangerous and foolhardy as doing so on land. And, when you behave as if the battlefield must be antiseptic out of the fear of being blamed for collateral damage, you set yourself up for just such an eventuality. And those who constantly rub their hands in worry and obsess over “lawfare” concerns have the effect of taking a grinding wheel to the sharp edge of our combat forces. They see risk as being blamed, not getting killed. Shame on all of them. You play the way you practice. War is a place where the decision cycle must be as rapid and unencumbered as possible. The difference between winning and losing most often hangs in the balance of faster tempo and seizing the initiative.
Definitely worth the read. McGrath shows again why he is among the most insightful of the voices about maritime strategy and naval policy. Oh, and he does tout Andrew Gordon’s book on Jutland and the Royal Navy, which I am eagerly anticipating plowing into as soon as I am finished this current project. (A re-assessment of Manstein’s Lost Victories, if you must know.)
…and you see how positively intolerant those who define themselves to be “liberal” truly are.
Those “liberals” who wish vile outrage and harm to those they disagree with politically, or to their loved ones. And others, also “liberals”, who actually advocate the punishment, even execution of those whom are skeptical of the pseudo-science of global warming.
Andrew Cuomo, the uber-liberal New York Governor, declared that his state has no place for people who do not think as he does. The Washington Examiner has the story. The newscast video is definitely worth the time. Some of the rebuttal commentary is excellent.
Of course, Cuomo was quick to pull the veil back up, trying to distance himself from his intolerance and hateful rhetoric. Because Cuomo is a hypocrite and a coward, without the spine to stand behind his remarks. And, just as predictably, the American news media has buried the story. (But you can find some reality contestant’s “anti-gay” remarks anywhere.) Nonetheless, Cuomo has stated rather unequivocally that pro-life and pro-Second Amendment Americans, and Americans who believe homosexuality to be wrong, Americans who are law-abiding citizens, are not welcome in the State of New York. Because he disagrees with them.
So the next time a liberal begins to lecture sanctimoniously about tolerance and acceptance, refer him/her to Andrew Cuomo, or Martin Bashir, or Allan Brauer, or Al Gore, or Steve Zwick, or Chuck Schumer, or Janet Napolitano, or…..
And maybe ask them to explain why, for the Left, “tolerance” seems so much like tyranny. Andrew Cuomo believes that only those who hold his opinions are welcome.
Jonah Goldberg calls it “Liberal Fascism”. Perhaps the slogans painted on the buildings in New York may read “Cuomo Ha Sempre Ragione!”
Ahh, “liberals”. The face behind the veil is a familiar one.
UPDATE: Okay fine. Brad posted it already back in June. Watch it again, anyway.
As per SOP, I watched the really good movie that XBRAD posted earlier, and in looking at zenoswarbirdvideos.com, found this one.
My Father was an 18-year old Machinist Apprentice who made both landings shown in the film, Arawe on 15 December 1943, and Cape Gloucester on 26 December. His LCT 172 was a 105 foot craft somewhat larger than an LCM-8. (You see LCT 174 at some point in the video.) Part of his responsibilities was to go in ahead of the assault and mark water depth on the landing beaches, then paddle back out to the LCT and make the landings themselves.
At Arawe, his LCT went to pick up the survivors of the Army cavalry company that attempted to go in by rubber boat (described at 28:30). It was shot full of holes in the process. And LCT 172 was close to destroyer Brownson (DD-518) at Gloucester when she was hit by Japanese aircraft and sunk. (49:50 in the film.)
Anyway, on a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon, grab a cuppa and have a watch. The film is pretty gritty, and hardly paints a romantic picture of the war in the South Pacific.
“If you wanted to make some money in Washington, you would have to toe the line that the Muslim Brotherhood was not a threat.”
Author and Middle East expert Barry Rubin gives an unvarnished appraisal of the Obama Administration’s embracing of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Faustian deal with Iran.
There was a secret debate happening in the Defense Department and the CIA in which some people thought that all Muslims were a problem, some believed that only al-Qa’ida was a problem, and still others thought the Muslim Brotherhood was a problem.The main problem, however, was that all Islamism was a political threat, but it was the second position that eventually won over the Obama administration. Take note of this, since 2009, if you wanted to build your career and win policy debates, only al-Qa’ida was a problem. The Muslim Brotherhood was not a threat; after all, it did not participate in September 11. This view was well known in policy circles, but it was easy to mistake this growing hegemony as temporary.
Some high-ranking defense department officials–for example, one on the secretary of defense’s level–were pressured to fire anti-Muslim Brotherhood people. I know of at least five such incidences.
Al Banna: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”Brotherhood motto: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
In many of the recent mass shooting events, we’ve learned that the perpetrators were mentally unstable, and should not have had legal access to firearms. Immediately after every such shooting, gun control advocates call for more and more restrictions on the sale, possession and use of guns. Pro 2nd Amendment people point out that denying the law abiding citizen his rights guaranteed under the Constitution does nothing to prevent such tragedy, and urge better mental health care. Identifying the mentally unsound, and providing them with health care is seen as a proper way to minimize the risk to society.
In a preternatural example of tone-deafness, an administration under fire for snooping into Americans’ privacy is now proposing to waive federal privacy laws so psychiatrists can report their gun-owning patients to the government.
The Department of Health and Human Service’s “notice of proposed rule-making,” floated by the White House in a Friday media dump, would waive portions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to allow psychiatrists to report their patients to the FBI’s gun-ban blacklist (the NICS system) on the basis of confidential communications.
The 1968 Gun Control Act bans guns for anyone who is “adjudicated as a mental defective or … committed to a mental institution.” Unfortunately, under 2008 NICS Improvement Act, drafted by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and its regulations, that “adjudication” can be made by any “other lawful authority.” This means a diagnosis by a single psychiatrist in connection with a government program.
In the case of nearly 175,000 law-abiding veterans, the “lawful authority” has been a Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, who, generally, will take away a veteran’s guns by unilaterally declaring him incompetent and appointing a guardian over his financial affairs. Certainly, the findings can be appealed, but most veterans don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars to hire lawyers and psychiatrists to do so.
The CGA of ‘68, as noted, says anyone adjudicated as a mental defective. And therein lies the problem. To a layman such as myself, that word implies the involvement of a judge, in a courtroom, wherein the state must prove its contention, and the presumption of soundness rests with the individual.
And yet, somehow, we’ve found ourselves in a situation where now instead, rights of individuals are decided by bureaucrats and physicians (often Veterans Affairs doctors), with the presumption that their sole opinion is determinative. The burden of proof falls upon the individual.
The loss of soldiers and veterans to suicide has been a tragedy. The Army has made strenuous efforts to identify soldiers at risk, and help them to find the tools to cope. Theoretically, this effort extends to the VA.
But VA doctors (and indeed, many private mental health care providers) have an incentive to err on the side of caution. There is no upside for them to not declare a patient competent. Further, should a provider have a bias against guns (something a patient is unlikely to know before securing their services), they may be ideologically motivated to declare a patient unfit.
Most alarmingly, it is hard to not suspect that the current administration sees this regulatory scheme more as a method of gun control than of providing mental health care. What’s more, even the most casual observer of the news will note that the default assumption of the political Left is that any objection to their political goals is prima facie evidence of mental illness. Indeed, the Soviet Union infamously used the “diagnosis” of mental illness to banish political opposition to care facilities, very often conveniently located in Siberia.
The tragedy is, there are veterans who desperately wish to avail themselves of care through the VA, but cannot trust their own government. The very government that handed them an automatic rifle is seen as far too willing to seize their private property, and indeed, their entire financial independence. These guardians of liberty are forced to risk their own lives, to live with the possibility they may choose suicide, or surrender the very liberty for which they fought. Ironically, a civilian with repeated episodes of odd behavior has far more ability to preserve his gun rights than a veteran.
Larry Storch, the veteran actor who portrayed the hapless Corporal Randolph Agarn on the classic (!) TV series F Troop, turns 91 today. Born on January 8th, 1923 in New York, Storch dropped out of school during the Depression to work the comedy clubs to earn money. While he did attend High School, at DeWitt Clinton, he was a schoolmate of Don Adams, of Get Smart fame. (And a World War II Marine wounded on Guadalcanal.)
Like so many actors on the set of F Troop, Storch was a Veteran (along with Forrest Tucker, Joe Brooks, Henry Gibson, Ken Berry, and James Gregory), serving in the US Navy during World War II aboard USS Proteus. One of his shipmates was none other than Tony Curtis.
F Troop only ran for two seasons, 1965-1967, but the cornball schtick and physical comedy made it a favorite. I saw it in syndication beginning in the late 60s, and it always made me laugh. My Dad thought it was “idiotic”, and perhaps it was. But Fort Courage had everything (except sunshine, it seemed, on the sound stage), including a cannon with a wheel that fell off (and invariably shot down the guard tower), a blind lookout (Trooper Vanderbilt, Joe Brooks), a bugler who couldn’t play a note (Dobbs, James Hampton), a well-meaning but inept Captain (Berry), a smoking-hot frontier babe (Wrangler Jane, Melody Patterson), a grizzled Veteran (Duffy, played by old western star Bob Steele), and a scheming Sergeant making cash on the side (Sergeant O’Rourke, Forrest Tucker). (It also had an opening theme that could stick in your head for WEEKS….) The “opponents”, the not-so dangerous Heckawi Indians, were in on the black market business, with comedic caricatures of their own.
Recurring regulars and guest stars included Henry Gibson, Harvey Korman, Edward Everett Horton, Paul Lynde, Lee Meriwether, and a host of others. Some of the classic episodes include the antics of visitors to Fort Courage. (Harvey Korman as Count Ferdinand von Zeppel.) But my favorites were the boys of F Troop. Especially Agarn. He had the absolute coolest hat, and could make the best faces.
Larry Storch was in a number of television comedies and variety shows over his career, and was a talented impersonator. He has film and stage credits that include The Great Race (with shipmate Tony Curtis), and was a frequent guest of Johnny Carson and a semi-regular on Hollywood Squares.
Happy Birthday, Corporal Randolph Agarn of Pissaic, New Jersey. I don’t know why everybody says you’re dumb!
Private 1506 Hughes, Edwin, was born in Wrexham in December of 1830. Before enlisting in Her Majesty’s forces, he worked as a shoemaker. In 1852, at age 21, Hughes enlisted in the 13th Hussars (then the 13th Light Dragoons [quibble]). In the summer of 1854, as the Crimean War escalated, the 13th Light Dragoons, Hughes among them, embarked for Sevastopol in the Black Sea, as a part of the British contingent, assigned to the Light Brigade of the Cavalry Division, under Lord Raglan.
On October 25th, 1854, Hughes and almost seven hundred other British horsemen of the Light Brigade of Cavalry galloped across the valley at Balaclava, “storm’d at with shot and shell”, toward the Russian guns in the famous charge immortalized by Tennyson. Hughes had his horse shot from under him, injuring his leg. He recovered to serve in the Crimea until the end of the war, and with the 13th Hussars, until 1873. Hughes eventually achieved the rank of Troop Sergeant Major, the uniform which he wears in the above (top) photo. After retirement from the 13th Hussars, Hughes enlisted as a Sergeant-Instructor in the Worcestershire Yeomanry, serving until discharged for “old age” in 1886. Hughes was awarded the Crimea Turkish Medal, the Long Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. (The four clasps on the Crimea Turkish Medal read “Sevastopol”, “Inkerman”, “Balaclava”, and “Alma”.)
Even before his retirement, Hughes had become a legend of sorts for his participation in the famous charge. He became known as “Balaclava Ned”, and was often asked to return to his birthplace of Wrexham to talk of his exploits in the “Valley of Death”. Hughes was also a recipient of a number of pensions created for the Light Brigade survivors. Public focus on the plight of the often-penniless veterans of the British Army, the Light Brigade in particular, came from none other than Rudyard Kipling, whose “Last of the Light Brigade” (1890) painted a sorrowful tale of the fate of twenty old soldiers who go to an aging Tennyson for help:
There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
Ned Hughes outlived all of his 672 comrades, nearly 300 of which fell on that October day in the Crimea in 1854. Troop Sergeant Major 1506 Hughes, Edwin died in Blackpool, 14 May 1927, at the age of 96.
Jerry Coleman was one of the best fielding second basemen in major league history. He was a part of the legendary Yankees dynasty of the late 40s and 1950s. He was a major league manager, and a Hall of Fame broadcaster. But he was also something more, much more. The “Colonel” (he retired from the Marine Corps Reserve in 1964 as a Lieutenant Colonel) was a combat pilot in World War II and again in Korea.
Completing the V-5 Program, Coleman flew SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers with VMSB-341 from the Solomons in 1944 and then in the Philippines until July of 1945. He flew 57 missions in all. After the war he resumed his baseball career, and made the Yankees roster in 1948. Called up again for Korea, Coleman transitioned to F4U-4 Corsairs, and flew 63 missions of ground support with the famous “Death Rattlers” of VMF-323. He also served as a forward air controller before returning stateside in 1953.
Coleman retired as a player with the Yankees in 1957. He is the only major leaguer to see combat in two wars, flying a total of 120 missions between World War II and Korea. He was always known as an intelligent, kind, and thoughtful gentleman, a figure truly beloved in New York and his native San Diego. Not something you find very often in the profession of sport.
Jerry Coleman was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and thirteen Air Medals for his wartime service. Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Coleman, USMCR (Ret.) was a true hero. Semper Fidelis, Colonel. Baseball, and our country, is poorer for your loss.
From Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig:
Jerry Coleman was a hero and a role model to myself and countless others in the game of Baseball. He had a memorable, multifaceted career in the National Pastime – as an All-Star during the great Yankees’ dynasty from 1949-1953, a manager and, for more than a half-century, a beloved broadcaster, including as an exemplary ambassador for the San Diego Padres. But above all, Jerry’s decorated service to our country in both World War II and Korea made him an integral part of the Greatest Generation. He was a true friend whose counsel I valued greatly.
Major League Baseball began its support of Welcome Back Veterans to honor the vibrant legacy of heroes like Jerry Coleman. Our entire sport mourns the loss of this fine gentleman, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends, fans of the Padres and the Yankees, and his many admirers in Baseball and beyond.
The USMC has been mulling this around for a while. Here is an article from the Marine Gazette from Vince Goulding in 2009. Note that the CoLT concept includes a platoon of M777 155mm howitzers, and a very robust ISR capability. And lots of comms for calling in supporting fires should it come to that.
The pages are JPEGs, so you can click on them to make them a bit easier to read. I think we will be working with this concept for Expeditionary Warrior coming up in February.