Category Archives: history

Maybe She Should Just Burn Them…

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Seems the intolerant intellectual fascism of the American Far-Left remains in full flower.  Erica Payne, the vulgar uber-“liberal” progressive strumpet whose Agenda Project is yet another conduit for mega-wealthy leftists to disparage anyone who deigns to disagree with them, has decided that the way to combat Paul Ryan’s legal free expression is through vandalism.

Erica Payne, founder and president of the left-wing Agenda Project, is encouraging people to deface the cover of Paul Ryan’s new book, which is hitting shelves today.

Not a new paradigm, to be sure.  

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Fahrenheit-451-burning-007

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Erica Payne provides a representative sample of the extreme prejudice and closed-minded intolerance of a bankrupt intellectual philosophy.  Disagreement with the far-left ideology will not only be brutally suppressed, but those who espouse such heresy will be flagged as threats.  This should come as a surprise to nobody, not after the machinations of the IRS and other government entities, including the race-mongering Justice Department, now in the sway of the most malignant administration in the history of our Republic.  

Time was, books would be burned, instead of merely vandalized.  But that probably involves a carbon footprint which will accelerate Global Warming.  (No estimate on the environmental impact of burning the homes of Global Warming skeptics.)  So the Erica Paynes of the world will have to settle for defacing private property in lieu of providing cogent counter-argument.  Which demonstrates just how illiberal those who consider themselves the most “liberal” truly are.   

Perhaps instead of the coarsely vulgar slogan adopted to disparage the Tea Party, Ms. Payne’s Agenda Project could find a more appropriate one.  Sieg Heil comes to mind.  

 

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Filed under Around the web, history, obama, Personal, Politics, Uncategorized

So what are you reading?

I just finished “The Weed Agency” by National Review’s Jim Geraghty. It’s the 30-year story of a fictional agency created by Jimmy Carter and the true attempts over the years to cut spending. Sure, the Democrats are tax-and-spend, but the Republicans are only too willing to blink first in the budget battles. While it’s a little frustrating to read, knowing there’s billions of dollars wasted in the federal gov’t, there’s enough funny bits to keep you turning the pages.

The part that hit home for me was the young go-get-‘em employees bogged down in red tape and “It’s not my idea, so I don’t like it” attitudes, especially the part about setting up a website. My group set up its own website in the 90’s to show off our unique capabilities and try to bring in outside business. This was soon followed by, “You can’t do that, we need all our websites to look the same.” Okay, uniform website coming up. This was followed by, “You can’t do that, it’s not 508 compliant.” Okay, we did that. Next was, “You can’t do that, it’s technical information, and that has to be cleared the same as papers and presentations.” Okay, we filled out the forms and sent them up the management chain. We have to do this every time before we can change the website? Okay. Finally, the spambots and hackers found us, so we said screw this and took it down. Somewhere in there, our secretary went through months of training to learn how to code HTML. She thought web designer skills would be the fast track for a raise. They contracted out the official webpage support.

Next in the reading queue is “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan. I picked this up when I was in Oak Ridge earlier this month.

So what are you reading?

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Filed under history, Humor, Politics

A Lesson in Information Humiliation

Seems the vaunted cyber-warriors at US CYBERCOM were matched up recently against some US military reservists whose civilian jobs centered around IT security.   The outcome, the UK’s Register reports, was decidedly grim for the DoD’s concept of a “cyber” command.

“The active-duty team didn’t even know how they’d been attacked. They were pretty much obliterated,” said one Capitol Hill staffer who attended, Navy Times reports.

Bear in mind that the opposing force to CYBERCOM did not consist of true hackers, but IT security people.  The best of those IT security professionals will readily admit that the bad guys, the black hats and hackers, are way ahead of them in the ability to penetrate networks, exploit operating systems, and do so with very little chance of detection and virtually none of attribution.

DoD and the respective services are quick to point to someone or some group and label them “cyber experts”, when in reality those people may merely have some insights into network operations or limited experience with network security.  In actuality, while those people may know considerably more than the average person, their depth and breadth of knowledge is woefully inadequate for even the very basics of what DoD claims it can do in what it euphemistically calls the “cyber domain”.

Retired Marine General Arnie Punaro, commenting as a member of the Reserve Policy Board, had a salient observation:

“It defies common sense to think that industry, in particular our high-tech industries, are not moving at light speed compared to the way government works.”

While Punaro was commenting about the 80/20 active duty/reserve mix in these “cyber” units, he is also seemingly laboring under some illusions about the ability of the US Military to recruit “cyber warriors”.  The kinds of people who will stay up all night eating pizza and smoking grass, pulling apart this or that operating code just for the fun of it, are largely not the types of people whose sense of patriotic duty will put them on the yellow footprints at Parris Island, or have them running PT with a shaved head at 0600 while drawing meager pay and having to field day the barracks every Thursday.  They are a free-spirited counterculture which often operates on both sides of the line of legality.

And those are just the “script kiddies”, whose motivations are often driven by some sense of social cause and are far less sinister than some.  From those groups come those who are hired by some very bad people, nation-state and non-state actors, who mix the technical knowledge of the kiddies they hire (or develop indigenously) with a considerable knowledge of the targeted network(s) and their importance to critical infrastructure which is central to America’s industrialized and automated society. It is  among that latter mix from which our most serious security threats emerge.

The concept of “information dominance”, so cavalierly and arrogantly thrown about, is a thoroughly bankrupt one.  The whispered assurances that “Fort Meade knows all” when it comes to network security and the ability to conduct what we used to call “offensive cyber” are so much wishful thinking.  The adversaries, the dangerous ones, are way ahead of them.   Read any report written by McAfee or other security firm in the last five years and the tale is always the same.  Network exploits and the hemorrhaging of sensitive information have often been ongoing for YEARS before a breach is even detected.  And, without exception, attribution in any meaningful way has proven impossible.

DoD is way behind the eight-ball in all things “cyber”, including a realistic understanding of the problem set.  Some F-16 pilot does not become a “cyber expert” in a ten-month IT course.  He becomes just dangerous enough to overplay his hand.  The depth of technical knowledge required for such expertise is years and decades in the making.  We would be off to a good start in recognizing such.

I will finish with a football analogy.  When you have just scrimmaged a freshman team and lost 63-0, you have a very long way to go before you are ready to play your conference schedule.

Oh, and you FOGOs who might vehemently disagree with what I wrote above?   You may be doing so on a computer that is jump number 384,262 in a 600,000-machine bot-net that will shortly be bombarding the US State Department with hostile packets, or displaying “Free Julian Assange” on a Pentagon website.

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Filed under Air Force, army, Around the web, China, Defense, history, marines, navy, recruiting, space, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

Where’s Preston Brooks When You Need Him?

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Apparently, Nancy Pelosi forgot that the Dems controlled both houses of Congress for four years, and the White House along with it for two of them.  And when Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino pointed that out in regards to the border crisis, Pelosi actually walked across the aisle to scold him.

A Pelosi staffer told us Nancy accepted Marino’s apology.  But Marino’s people said no such apology was given, and Marino had this to say via “twiddah”:

“Rep. Pelosi called me an ‘insignificant person’ on the Floor of the House. I’ll ponder that for a while driving to Williamsport tonight. Of course I’ll be driving myself, with no staff or security. And I’m just a country lawyer who worked in a bakery until he was 30,” he said in three separate tweets.

Of course, Minority Leader Pelosi seems to be mostly polystyrene these days.  So maybe going all “1856” on her wouldn’t do much.  Also, Brooks was a Democrat like Pelosi, the party of slavery and segregation, Dixiecrats and discrimination.  So maybe Pelosi would be Brooks and Marino would be Sumner.

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Filed under Around the web, girls, history, Humor, Uncategorized, weapons

…The More They Stay The Same.

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Brad’s excellent piece about the weak-minded simps on the far-left being anti-Israel, and openly sympathetic to Hamas, can be corroborated around most any college campus on either coast.  Leftist Progressive “intellectuals” of all ages rail against Israel and the Jews so vehemently that it would make Julius Streicher blush.  They are too dogmatic and stupid to figure out that Hamas would perpetrate on Israeli men, women, and children precisely what ISIS did this week, when it massacred some 1,500 young Iraqi men (filming much of it) in scenes reminiscent of SS Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front.  All Hamas lacks is the means.  Which leftists in this country (which include Mssrs Kerry and Obama) seem ever so willing to give them.  To those who would recoil at such a comparison, I would ask, just what do you think “destruction of the Zionist Jews” means?   Hamas is also supported wholeheartedly with weapons and money (so much the more since sanctions were lifted) by our old friend Iran.  (Whom we are told we should trust not to build a nuclear weapon.  They don’t mean what they say about annihilating Israel, either.)

This willful blindness is, however, not a new paradigm.  Obama’s, and the American media’s, pandering to Muslims and outright sympathy for Hamas and its soulless butchers in Gaza, have a familiar ring to them.  Who else but the incomparable Kipling tells us of such a precedent?

Boh Da Thone was a warrior bold:
His sword and his rifle were bossed with gold,

And the Peacock Banner his henchmen bore
Was stiff with bullion, but stiffer with gore.

He shot at the strong and he slashed at the weak
From the Salween scrub to the Chindwin teak:

He crucified noble, he scarified mean,
He filled old ladies with kerosene:

While over the water the papers cried,
“The patriot fights for his countryside!”

So there you have it.  That said, rather than seeing members of Hamas squashed by a fat railroad employee, I would be ever so happy to see some fuel-air explosive dropped on one of their parades.   Same with ISIS.   Too bad Obama, the media, and the far-left are so sympathetic to the former and indifferent about the latter.   T’ain’t much new under the sun.

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Filed under Around the web, guns, history, Iran, iraq, islam, israel, nuclear weapons, obama, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

Facia Georgius: Guadalcanal From The Marines’ Perspective

Below is a re-posting of a blog piece I wrote for USNI in August of 2011.  A bonus is a spirited exchange between the author of the blog (yours truly) and Jim Hornfischer.   Few elements of the Navy-Marine Corps rivalry engender as much emotion as the Marines’ utter contempt for Frank Jack Fletcher.  In fact, I had a long and enjoyable conversation with a RADM a couple weekends ago about the very incident described below, and he was entirely in agreement with my assessment of Fletcher’s blunder.   As the 72nd anniversary of the beginning of the epic struggle for the Solomons approaches, I suggest Hornfischer’s books highly.  Despite our differences regarding Fletcher, his books are a must-read to a serious historian of the Pacific War.  And he portrays brilliantly how thin the line was between success and failure in the struggle for the Solomons.  

The medal above is the “George Medal”, which was an unofficial award commemorating the early struggles of the Marines on Guadalcanal. The image depicts, legend has it, the sleeve of Frank Jack Fletcher, with his hand dropping a hot potato onto the Marines ashore. The inscription is “Facia Georgius“. “Let George do It”.

Let me state that, in my opinion, James D. Hornfischer is unquestionably one of the finest writers of Naval history in the last half-century. His books, especially Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, are iconic works that tell superbly the tales of the US Navy in the Second World War in the Pacific. However, during a recent episode of MIDRATS, Mr. Hornfischer’s assertions about the US Marines’ history of the Guadalcanal campaign are entirely incorrect. The issue at hand in those assertions is the decision of Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher to depart the Guadalcanal area on the morning of 9 August 1942, after just two days of supporting the amphibious operations ashore.

Fletcher was concerned with the risk to his carriers, Saratoga, Wasp, and Enterprise, by having them tied to support of operations ashore. While understandable, what Fletcher refused to acknowledge was that with amphibious operations, once the landing takes place and forces are ashore, a commander is all in, and must support the forces ashore. The landings by the Marines were the entire reason for having Task Force 61 in the waters of the Solomons. Admiral Turner (commanding the amphibious task force, TF 62) and First Marine Division Commander General A. A. Vandegrift argued the point heatedly in a conference aboard Saratoga, but to no avail.

Chapter 5 of the splendid History of the First Marine Division, “The Old Breed” (Infantry Journal Press, 1949), begins:

The feeling of expendability is difficult to define. It is loneliness, it is a feeling of being abandoned, and it is something more, too: it is as if events over which you have no control have put a ridiculously low price tag on your life.

When word got around Guadalcanal in the second week of August that the Navy had taken off and left the Marines, the feeling of expendability became a factor in the battle.

“I know I had a feeling” says a man who was there, “and I think a lot of others felt the same way, that we’d never get off that damned island alive. Nobody said this out loud at the time. I was afraid to say it for fear it’s come true”.

“But”, says a Captain, “there was an awful lot of talk about Bataan.”

Even the greenest Second Lieutenant in the Division knew enough to understand that an amphibious operation cannot be sustained without Naval support.

The Guadalcanal Campaign, the official historical monograph published by the USMC History Division, is somewhat more matter-of-fact, but still states:

The withdrawal of the supply ships, therefore, was, from a troop standpoint, little short of a catastrophe, but Admiral Turner’s decision was not changed.

And sums up the situation of the Marines ashore this way:

The withdrawal of the transports had left the Marine forces with only a part of their initially scanty supplies ashore. Ammunition supply was adequate, but the situation in the matter of food was serious. Even with the acquisition of a considerable stock of rice and canned food from the captured Japanese area, supplies were so short that it was necessary on 12 August to begin a program of two meals per day. There was a similar shortage of defensive material, barbed wire (of which only 18 spools were landed), and entrenching tools and sand-bags.

The most serious shortage of all, however, from the point of view of the engineers who were charged with the completion of the airfield, was that of specialized equipment necessary for the task. No power shovels had been landed, nor dump trucks.

So, on 9 August 1942, the day Admiral Fletcher departs with his warships of TF 61, and the cargo vessels of Admiral Turner’s Amphibious TF 62, the Marines of the First Marine Division are ashore. But not all of them. Vandegrift’s reserve, the 2nd Marines, is still embarked. Those that are ashore have barely 96 hours of ammunition. They are short of food. The enemy strength and disposition is largely unknown. Their lifeline, the airstrip, is not yet repaired and has no aircraft. They are all but defenseless against the frequent Japanese air strikes.

Vandegrift and his staff had agreed to come ashore with an initial load plan that represented significantly less than their minimum requirement due to constraints on cargo space, with the promise that the Navy would surge supplies to them. Now, most of even that small amount was out of reach of his Marines, headed to sea in Turner’s cargo holds, as the latter was forced to withdraw when Admiral Fletcher’s warships departed.

But for three absolutely miraculous occurrences in the fortunes of war, the Guadalcanal landings might have been a disaster comparable to the loss of the Philippines just a few months before.

The first occurrence is that the Japanese commander, caught off guard, underestimate both the strength of the landing force (believing only a few thousand ashore), and the fighting spirit of the Marines, and did not move decisively to reinforce the small garrison on Guadalcanal with elements of the 17th Army that were available. (A single reinforced battalion of the 28th Regiment, about 1,100 Japanese, was given the mission of re-taking the island.)

The second was the fortuitous capture, with slight damage, of a single bulldozer, which the Marines used to maximum effect to complete a 2,700 foot airstrip on the Lunga plain. Without that stroke of luck, several weeks likely would have passed before any aircraft could have operated out of Henderson Field.

The third near-miracle was the capture of large stores of Japanese canned fish and rice, which becomes a staple of the Marines’ diet in the absence of rations still in the holds of the Navy ships.

Meanwhile, the arduous task of building of bunkers and of obstacles to defend the Marine positions and the all-important airfield, was done by hand in the searing jungle heat. The Marines, short of wire and sandbags, improvised as best as possible. By the time the 2nd Marines arrived (22 August) and additional supplies were landed, the Marines had been engaged in a number of short, sharp fights with the Japanese, the first of dozens and hundreds of bloody slugging matches in the rotting heat of the jungle on Guadalcanal.

The fight for Guadalcanal has been well-documented, and by the time last of the First Marine Division embarked for good from the island, the Division had suffered nearly 700 killed, 1,300 wounded, and more than 8,000 sick with malaria and other jungle diseases. For veterans of that time on Guadalcanal, men who didn’t have our perspective of inevitable victory either on Guadalcanal or in the Solomons, their resentment of (at the time) the US Navy and of Admiral Fletcher (which persists to this day) is entirely warranted.

Fletcher’s departure with his carriers, claiming the need to fuel (“always fueling”, wrote Morrison) was an exceedingly poorly considered move. His decision to do so infuriated Admiral Turner, commanding TF 62, who understood that his ships and their cargo were they keys to survival for the Marines ashore. While Fletcher’s aircraft carriers were precious commodities, his decision to minimize risk to those units had the effect of placing the entire of Operation Watchtower in considerable danger of failure. The lack of supplies and support which the Marines ashore endured in the opening weeks of the fight for Guadalcanal negated Vandegrift’s plans for immediate offensive operations (with an expanded airfield) to clear the island, left them all but defenseless to Japanese air and naval forces, and prolonged what became a protracted and savage fight under unspeakably miserable conditions.

In his efforts to protect his carriers, Fletcher inexcusably risked something even more precious and irreplaceable. The only trained and equipped amphibious force that the United States had in the entire Pacific. The loss of the carriers would have had severe operational implications, but defeat on Guadalcanal, resulting in an evacuation, or worse, capitulation, would have been strategic disaster.

Attempts at “reassessment” of Fletcher’s decision to pull support for the Marines on Guadalcanal, and justifying that decision six decades hence as “prudent”, are exercises in revisionism mixed with ample doses of 20/20 hindsight. The Marines’ bitterness at Fletcher is well-placed. Asserting differently dismisses the situation the Marines faced in mid-August of 1942 vis a vis the enemy as well as their own logistics. The Marines would gain a new respect for the Navy once Fletcher and the overmatched and timid Ghormley are replaced, the latter by the legendary William F. Halsey, who immediately visited Vandegrift and the Marines on Guadalcanal. Halsey’s “battle-mindedness” and promise of the support of the Navy was a refreshing and comforting change from his predecessor, and was immediately reflected in the morale of the Marines ashore.

Mr. Hornfischer’s goal in his exploration of Naval history, to put himself (and his reader) in the shoes of the commander, is extremely admirable. He would be remiss, however, if the sets of shoes he places himself in do not include the muddy boondockers of a First Division Marine on Guadalcanal. Were Mr. Hornfischer able to interview the First Marine Division veterans of Guadalcanal forty years ago, he would have gotten their perspective on those weeks without Navy support, expressed in the most colorful of language. Which needs no revision.

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Interesting comments from the esteemed author, James D. Hornfischer:

I’m delighted to find this colloquy unfolding in this reputable forum between such well-informed service professionals.

As I tried fervently to convey in NEPTUNE’S INFERNO, I’m sympathetic to the plight of the Guadalcanal Marines who were forced to persevere without air cover or full provisions for a period of time that they could not know at the time. Doing their business under these conditions, they were gallant and resourceful as ever. They are entitled not only to their pride, but also their chagrin. The question is whether the study of this history should end there. Is their heat-of-the-moment rage sufficient to serve as the final word on Frank Jack Fletcher and the Navy’s performance in the campaign? This question pretty well answers itself in the asking.

The blogger labels as revisionist any assessment of Fletcher that does not comport with the partisan, Corps-centric assessments formulated during and immediately after the war and abetted by Samuel Eliot Morison (and never rebutted by Fletcher himself).

The Marines’ resentment of Frank Jack Fletcher was well placed in its day. Our burden today is to see it in light of everything else we know about the complex circumstances that attended the campaign. Most of these, of course, were invisible from the beach. In NEPTUNE’S INFERNO I tried to thread that needle without resorting to the kind of interservice partisanship that characterizes many of the Corps-centric accounts of the campaign.

Admiral Nimitz instructed his commanders at all times to operate under the guiding star of “calculated risk,” that is, to weigh the potential benefits of an action against its potential costs and drawbacks. In choosing how long to expose the Pacific’s only three carriers in direct support of the Guadalcanal landings, Admiral Fletcher determined how much risk he was willing to accept in the opening act of Operation Watchtower. He informed his colleagues in advance of the operation and his decision was extensively debated in advance.

Today, it’s all over but the shouting. History bears out the wisdom of his determination. The Marines were left without carrier air support from the carriers’ withdrawal on August 9 until August 20, when the USS Long Island delivered the body of the Cactus Air Force. The consequences of those eleven days of exposure turned out, happily, to be negligible. The Japanese did nothing to seriously threaten the U.S. position on Guadalcanal during that time. The carriers returned in time to fight the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. (His conduct of the battle demonstrated the sincerity of his caution; he ordered one of his three carriers, the Wasp, out of the battle area to refuel.) Fighting with one hand behind his back, so to speak, he used the Enterprise and Saratoga to deflect the Japanese push. He saved his fleet for that moment and the others that followed. One could well speculate that had he left his carriers near Guadalcanal continuously from August 7, they might have been struck, making the close victory of Eastern Solomons impossible and imperiling the Marine position even more seriously.

This, much like Marine partisans’ complaints of “inexcusable risks to the landing force,” is a fruitless exercise in speculation. It’s only proper to damn Fletcher—or say the “risk” he took was “inexcusable”—by assuming an alternate universe of events where his decisions led to disaster. That’s when you ask the question Why and cast the arrows of judgment at the perpetrators.

It seems reasonable to judge the final wisdom of a particular risk by looking at the results that flowed from it. If we do that, there is no compelling basis for labeling Admiral Fletcher anything other than a winner.

As events actually unfolded, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons marked the beginning of the Navy’s sustained commitment to fight in defense of the Marine position on Guadalcanal, risking its most valuable assets the whole way through. By the time it was over, the Navy had fought seven major naval actions in which its KIA outnumbered infantry KIA by a factor of nearly 3 to 1.

It is entirely coherent to sympathize with the authentic anger of the Marines on Cactus, and simultaneously recognize the balance of merit favoring Admiral Fletcher’s controversial decision. The Marines lacked air cover for eleven days, and a large portion of their supplies, and suffered the bracing uncertainty how long those circumstances would attend.

By the time it was over, the three-to-one KIA ratio stood starkly apparent to anyone who was watching, and victory absolves all sins. General Vandegrift remembered the November 13 deaths of Admirals Scott and Callaghan with his famous dispatch “lifting our battered helmets in deepest appreciation.” To wallow in the bile of interservice partisanship, from a tendentious evaluation of a fragment of events, in spite of the actual outcome of history, is little more than a parlor game that negates the final judgment of the 1st MarDiv commander himself regarding the performance of the fleet. Nearly 70 years after events, we can do better than that.

*********************************************

And response from the “blogger”:

The questioning of Admiral Fletcher’s decision to remove the carriers of TF 61 from supporting the Marines ashore at Guadalcanal is far more than “a fruitless exercise in speculation”, or “bile of interservice partisanship”.

To assert that because the Japanese failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity to interdict the US drive into the Solomons and bring about a potentially crippling strategic setback, the decision Fletcher made to withdraw was correct is to assert that “all’s well that ends well”. Such is a singularly dangerous approach to the study of military history, as it goes great lengths toward the already-prevalent tendency to believe that the winners have little to learn from an ultimately successful outcome.

In any amphibious operation, support from the sea is critical to success, irrespective of the service executing the amphibious assault. Nimitz’ concept of “calculated risk” is in no way sufficient to excuse the willful passing of initiative to the enemy in the very place that was the US main effort at the time in the Pacific. Fletcher left Vandegrift without the forces and supplies to execute his plan ashore, in fact with barely enough to defend a thin perimeter against an enemy whose strength and disposition was largely unknown. That the enemy did not seize that initiative is to our eternal good fortune. We have several bloody examples of what happened in amphibious operations when the initial advantage of the initiative is allowed to pass. At Anzio seventeen months later, Army General Lucas dithered in his beachhead while Kesselring acted, reinforcing the threatened area as fast as he could with every available formation at his disposal. The result was a costly slugging match against what was by then an enemy well prepared to meet the breakout. We should be grateful that Hyakutake was no Kesselring.

It remains speculation, as well, whether Fletcher represented truthfully to Ghormley that both General Vandegrift and Admiral Turner had stated that 96 hours was the time required for full unloading of the transports. Both had done so, and had argued vehemently against Fletcher’s decision while aboard Saratoga.

No, this debate is not “partisan service” anything. Initiative is among the most precious commodities on the battlefield, to be surrendered only at dear cost. Fletcher did so, or rather forced Vandegrift ashore to do so, but the Japanese did not take it. He was, as were the Marines ashore, fortunate in the extreme.

As stated above, the Marines by and large came to respect greatly the efforts of the Navy in the waters around Guadalcanal. It has been a subject of intense study on my part, and worthy of the highest of admiration for the bravery and tenacity of the American Sailor. However, the anger of the Marines and their contempt for Fletcher is understandable. The loss of the transports and the Division reserve crippled the commander ashore, and prevented the undertaking of immediate offensive operations that could have cleared the island before Japanese reinforcements arrived in significant numbers. Instead, Guadalcanal became a protracted and bloody fight on the island and in the surrounding waters that ended only with the evacuation of the Japanese survivors in early 1943.

Fletcher’s decision should be recognized for what it was, a major tactical blunder that could have had severe strategic consequences. That he, and his boss, Ghormley, were removed from command, speaks volumes. That is true, seventy years or seven hundred years after the battle.

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Filed under Air Force, army, Around the web, Artillery, Defense, guns, history, infantry, logistics, marines, navy, planes, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

Those Poor Children at the Border!

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Seems there are more than just dear little innocents in those crowded Processing Centers along the US southwestern border.  Townhall has the story.

An internal Border Patrol executive summary obtained by Townhall confirms that at least 16 unaccompanied illegal minors (those under the age of 18, according to U.S. government policy), are members of the brutal El Salvadorian street gang Mara Salvatrucha—or MS-13.  Gang members left graffiti on the walls of the Nogales Border Patrol processing center, which suggested they had ties to the organization.

These are just the ones careless or arrogant enough to reveal their gang affiliations.  How many thousands among the throngs virtually welcomed into America’s communities by our President are also affiliated with such criminal organizations, or worse ones?  What are the chances that terrorist organizations are using these open borders to bring terrorists and materials into the United States?  Hint:  Think “virtual certainty”.

The FBI describes MS-13 activity as “perpetuating violence—from assaults to homicides, using firearms, machetes, or blunt objects—to intimidate rival gangs, law enforcement, and the general public. They often target middle and high school students for recruitment. And they form tenuous alliances…and sometimes vicious rivalries…with other criminal groups, depending on their needs at the time.”

Maybe Obama can set the example, and have Sasha and Malia volunteer to work in these Processing Centers until the problem is resolved.  Oh, they can have no Secret Service or Law Enforcement protection of any kind, because (as we were told in Iraq about putting our safety in the hands of local security) they need to “establish a trust relationship” with the people they are helping.

It was reported earlier that these MS-13 gang members, some of whom have admitted to murder and torture in their home countries, are being held for placement inside the United States.

“But remember, this is a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ They are just kids,” a source working in the Nogales processing center said in frustrated and sarcastic tone. “They are MS-13 gang members. They’ve done everything from torture to murder. They act as teenage ‘enforcers.'”

That will be great, then.  Perhaps Michelle Obama can join them.  After all, she loves working with kids.

Gee, I wonder if the systematic attempts to disarm the law-abiding and defeat voter ID efforts are in any way connected to Obama’s immigration non-policy?   Naaaahh.

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Wings Over Glenview

I’ve discussed NAS Glenview at these pages before. Here’s a 30 minute documentary on the history of Glenview featuring some of the pilots that flew from there. Enjoy:

H/t to Jennifer over at Generations Blog for passing this along to me.

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A Camera Lost for 70 Years Gives a Glimpse Into the Battle of the Bulge.

Cameras are ubiquitous today.  We’ve all grown somewhat accustomed to seeing combat footage from Iraq and Afghanistan, often taken by the soldiers themselves. 70 years ago, that wasn’t quite the case. There were some cameras, but not many, and film was hard to come by.

U.S. Navy Captain Mark Anderson and his historian friend Jean Muller were out with metal detectors, scavenging around Luxembourg, where the most heated firefights of The Battle of the Bulge took place.

While traveling through the hilly forest that once served as a brutal battleground, the pair came across an empty foxhole, and inside of that foxhole they found the personal possessions of an American soldier, left untouched for almost three-quarters of a century.

Among those possessions was a camera with a partially-exposed roll of film still inside.

The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle in the history of the US Army, and much of it was fought with an intensity that would rival any other. The Army would suffer 19,000 Killed in Action, over 47,000 wounded, and 23,000 captured or missing. One soldier, first listed as Missing in Action, was later listed as Killed in Action when his remains were recovered.

And it was Louis J. Archambeau’s camera that CAPT Anderson found.

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The handful of images may be in poor condition, but they clearly show the discomfort and tension of that awful battlefield.

H/T to Jennifer Holik for sharing this on facebook.

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Democratic Voter Fraud (yet again) in Mississippi

Operation ACORN II is under way, and not surprisingly, with the intent of illegally influencing a Republican Primary.  Here’s the story.

At the direction of the Cochran campaign, Reverend Fielder went “door to door, different places, mostly impoverished neighborhoods, to the housing authorities and stuff like that,” telling fellow blacks that McDaniel was a racist and promising them $15 per vote. “They sold me on the fact that he was a racist and that the right thing to do was to keep him out of office,” Fielder says.

Text messages released to Got News and a recorded interview with Reverend Fielder confirmed that Saleem Baird, a staffer with the Cochran campaign and current legislative aide to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Cochran campaign manager, Kirk Sims, were involved in a $15-per-vote cash bribery scheme to target members of the black community.

“They said they needed black votes,” said the Reverend Fielder on the phone. He says Baird told him to “give the fifteen dollars in each envelope to people as they go in and vote. You know, not right outside of the polling place but he would actually recruit people with the $15 dollars and they would go in and vote.” Fielder said he received thousands of dollars in envelopes from Baird and distributed them accordingly. Fielder also says he went to the campaign office on another occasion to pick up $300 in cash and was among a room full of people who were doing the same thing he was.

Yet, according to the “black community”, being required to show a simple ID is racist because you are suppressing the “black vote” with your white hoods and Jim Crow laws.

When you hear those that argue “no proof” of widespread voter fraud by the Democrats, what you are hearing is hogwash.  If you don’t think so, watch the footage of a Democratic election commissioner counting “hanging chads” in Florida in 2000.   These are many of the same people who talk about “no proof” of Saddam’s chemical arsenal, and “no proof” of Obamacare causing health insurance coverage to be canceled.

Early morning H/T to DB

 

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‘Some damn fool thing in the Balkans”

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Today marks the centennial of one of Western society’s most improbably momentous events.  It was on June 28th, 1914 that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Countess Sophie of Hohenberg, were assassinated in the street of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo.  The events of that day, the failed bombing at the bridge, the missed attempt on the road, the wrong turn by the Archduke’s driver, the opportunity for another attempt on the Archduke’s life, are well-known.  The motives of the assassin, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, and his Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia), a group supported by the infamous Black Hand, are well-documented and, to the serious student of Balkan history, quite familiar.

What is nearly impossible to understand, despite the volumes upon volumes of historical analysis and the (now) generally agreed-upon portrayal of events, is HOW the assassination of an Archduke, the heir to a throne whose sitting monarch despised him, and whom he in turn despised, could be the triggering event that led to the greatest blood-letting cataclysm in Western history.   There are superb pieces of research and analysis, among them Christopher Clark’s 2012 masterpiece The Sleepwalkers, and DJ Goodspeed’s The German Wars (1965), that provide detailed explanations of the diplomatic and military decisions that took Europe from a century of relative peace into a devastating conflict more profoundly destructive than the Thirty Years’ War.   Even with that,  a historian can often do little more than shake one’s head incredulously at the sequence of decisions and miscalculations that would pit the great nations against one another for four bloody years.

I offer, in no particular order, some of the factors which led to what can be described as the least necessary of wars.

A notable mediocrity amongst the foreign ministers of the belligerents, to include England’s Edward Grey, who failed to understand that England’s real interests were in a balance of European power, and not in France’s desire to avenge the humiliation of 1871.  There was Count Berthold of Austria-Hungary, whose distinct lack of subtlety in his demands to Serbia inflamed Russia (who held dreams of being the protector of “pan-Serbism” in the Balkans).   Russia’s Sazonov, a duplicitous and dishonest schemer who collaborated with France’s Poincaré to virtually guarantee war with Germany.  France’s revolving door of Foreign Ministers, none effective, that included René Viviani during what became known as the July Crisis.  Wilhelmine Germany’s Gottlieb von Jagow, whose terrible miscalculation of the Austria-Serbia crisis proved so tragic.

Detached and often delusional monarchs, whose laissez-faire approaches to their respective nation’s diplomatic postures during the critical weeks following the assassination allowed the respective foreign ministers mentioned above, along with military chiefs of those countries, to dictate rather than execute their nation’s foreign policies.  Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary only briefly interrupted his vacation after the assassination, and was largely absent from the seat of power in Vienna during most of the July Crisis.  When he did return, he was somewhat shocked at the harsh terms of the ultimatum to Serbia, crafted by his own Foreign Minister and Chief of Staff.  Tsar Nicholas in Russia was absent for crucial meetings between French President Poincaré and his own “war party” of Sazonov and War Minister Sukhomlinov, during which it is presumed Russia agreed to war with Germany should she intervene in the Austria-Serbia crisis.  Even the mercurial and impetuous Kaiser Wilhelm, whose envy of the Royal Navy (and subsequent Naval Race with Britain) and imperial desires were perceived by the British as threats to the Empire, was strangely passive during the playing out of the events of July 1914, limiting himself to making marginal notes in the diplomatic messages until the specter of a wider continental war elicited desperation.   The one exception as head of state is the aforementioned Raymond Poincaré, the French President, whose actively malignant role included agitating for the long-desired war of revanche with Germany, and enlisting the Russians to assist France in that effort.

The international order built so carefully by Bismarck in the later decades of the 19th Century was rendered topsy-turvy, with illogical alliances and unlikely enmities that cooler analysis and more competent diplomacy might have gone great lengths to remedy.   Britain had far more in common with Germany than with her traditional antagonist, France.  Germany had been to war with Austria in 1866, when it wrested away the German states from Vienna (and from the very same Franz Josef) to, eventually, in 1871, Berlin.  Kaiser Wilhelm and Tzar Nicholas, cousins (along with George V) and grandsons of Victoria, had warm personal relations, and many more reasons to cooperate over the breakup of European Turkey than to be in conflict.  England, for her part, had been the traditional guardian of the European balance of power before inexplicably abandoning that role in an informal (but in the end, very binding) alliance with France.

To the events of July 1914, technological development and industrialization would be a determinant of not just tactics and doctrine, but also would be a major factor in the shaping and executing of Grand Strategy for the countries embroiled in the crisis.   The mobilization of an army in the industrial age entailed a great deal of preparation, and once executed, left little to no room for equivocation.  To do so would be to throw the proverbial spanner in the works, causing upheaval, delays, and the real spectre of being unprepared and in the midst of deploying when war came.  Thus, when the decisions in the respective governments for mobilization came, war was all but inevitable.  Interestingly, the last continental power to order mobilization was Imperial Germany.  Wilhelm, with the prospect of war looming, had tried desperately to apply the brakes to the rapidly accelerating events.   That German war plans calling for the rapid defeat of France to avoid a two-front war were what impelled the German Army to violate Belgian neutrality is one of the tragic ironies of all history.  It was the invasion of Belgium which, in the end, made inevitable British intervention against Germany, preventing the very victory over France sought by the Germans, and all but ensuring their slow strangulation at the hands of the Royal Navy which they had so antagonized with the Naval Race in the previous two decades.

Of the battlefields themselves, much has been said.  The warning signs of what modern war would be had been plentiful for anyone who cared to see.  Dating to the American Civil War, the increasingly deadly weapons of the Industrial Age had made their presence felt.  Britain, certainly, had experience against an enemy armed with modern metallic cartridge rifles in South Africa, and had employed modern machine guns against its empire’s foes at places like Omdurman and Cape Colony.   Envisioning what being on the other side of the Maxim Gun would entail should not have been beyond imagination for the British Army’s Officer corps.  Modern breech-loading rapid-fire artillery, with recoil systems which eliminated the need to re-position guns after firing, had been in military inventories for more than two decades.  The battlefield tactics of 1914, a full generation behind those technological developments, were an invitation to the subsequent slaughter that ensued, resulting in the profligate wastage of much of the youth of Europe.   The names of the Somme, Verdun, Gallipoli, Jutland, Ypres, Loos, Caporetto, Tannenberg, Passchendaele, and the Isonzo all evoke images of privation and death without purpose, and rightly or wrongly, of incompetent and criminally obtuse military leadership.

The effect of the unprecedented butchery on the psyche of Western civilization is still being felt.  The old order in much of Europe, political as well as social, collapsed utterly.  The confidence in the enlightened nature of Man, of his scientific mastery, and his cultural education, was shattered forever.  Monarchies in Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany fell, replaced mostly by the anarchy of revolution.  In the wake of that revolution, spurred in great measure by the War to End All Wars, came the Bolsheviks and National Socialists who would ensure that the horrors of 1914-18 would be just a precursor to the bloodiest of centuries.

However implausible it may seem (and all the more implausible with closer analysis), the impetus for the Great War and all that followed occurred one hundred years ago today, when bullets from a sickly and tubercular young assassin’s pistol ended the lives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on a Sarajevo street.  The warnings of Bismarck in the 1878 Congress of Berlin to not allow Europe to devolve into general war over “some damned fool thing in the Balkans” went, in the end, unheeded.

 

 

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Cutaway Thursday: McDonnell Douglas F-4X-VG

The McDonnell Douglas F-4X-VG was a design proposal to improve the carrier landing characteristics of the venerable F-4 Phamtom 2 in US Navy service. This eventually lost out to Grumman’s F-14 Tomcat but like the Tomcat the F-4X-VG has a variable geometry wing. The Navy passed on this proposal due to the VG-X’s apparent inablility to carry the AWG-9/AIM-54 Phoenix weapons system suite.

F-4X-VG

 

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DHS is Our Standing Army? John W. Whitehead Goes All XBRAD at Rutherford Institute

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“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison

Constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead pens a very chilling summation of the growth of the American Police State.

In the 12 years since it was established to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.

With that premise, Whitehead summarizes the most disturbing of the erosion of privacy and liberty as DHS becomes the “national police force” and proceeds to shred the Constitution.  It is worth the read.

I am going to be ordering Whitehead’s book, too.

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VOA At Sea

A few years ago, Craig wrote about the Air Force’s Commando Solo mission using EC-121s and later EC-130Es to broadcast television and radio programs as an ongoing PSYOPS program in various conflict theaters.

Similarly, during the Cold War, the United States used Voice of America to broadcast news and entertainment to people behind the Iron Curtain to counter Soviet propaganda. Most of the transmissions were along the Iron Curtain itself, but as this Stars and Stripes article shows, parts of the southern rim of the Soviet empire were best reached by a shipborne transmitter in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Coast Guard cutter Courier arrived at the island of Rhodes in Greece in 1952 and stayed until 1964, setting a record for longest deployment overseas. Under an initiative code-named Operation Vagabond, the ship served as a floating and mobile radio relay station, using its powerful transmitter to broadcast Voice of America programs into parts of the Soviet Union, communist bloc countries and the Middle East.

http://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.289238.1402930213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_804/image.jpg

First, it’s interesting that the ship was a Coast Guard vessel. Certainly, a Coast Guard vessel would be seen as less provocative than a naval vessel. I’m just surprised it wasn’t a civilian manned ship of the Military Sealift Command.

For 12 years, USCGC Courier shared America’s vision of hope to the peoples trapped in the Communist beast’s belly.

Well done, Coasties.

H/T: This Ain’t Hell.

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President Takes Decisive Action in Iraq

In a stunning reversal of his previous equivocation regarding US involvement in the worsening security situation in Iraq, President Obama stated that the US is prepared to act with strength and decisiveness to help defeat the ISIS radical jihadist forces that have engulfed several major cities and killed many thousands of Iraqis.

MIchelle hashtag iraq

There.  That’ll show ‘em.  Worked like a charm with Boko Haram in Nigeria, too.   They certainly have mended their ways.    Administration officials speculate that the Islamic Extremist fighters that have invaded Iraq have little chance of resisting the pressure of tweets and re-tweets that show support for the Iraqi people, and will be forced to withdraw.  On the outside chance that somehow ISIS can withstand such an onslaught of social media, the President is prepared to conjure his best “I’m not kidding” expression and talk about “consequences”, possibly even “dire consequences”.   No word yet on whether or not Secretary of State Kerry will scold ISIS for “behaving in a 7th Century fashion”.   New White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying, “The President is making the best of a situation left him by the previous Administration, which is responsible for declaring the war over and abandoning Iraq to its fate.  Wait, ….what?  That was us?  You sure?  No more questions!”

Gawd, we are so screwed.

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“Fighting Joe” Dunford is the Next Commandant of the Marine Corps

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Congratulations to General Joseph Dunford, nominated by Secretary of Defense Hagel to be the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Marine Corps Times has the story. 

I have known General Dunford a long time, since he was the MOI at Holy Cross in the late 80s.  I had the distinct honor to serve with then-Colonel Dunford in Al Anbar in 2004, when he was MajGen Mattis’ Chief of Staff.  BGen John Kelly was the ADC, and LtGen James Conway had the MEF (and the MEF SgtMaj was the incomparable Carlton Kent).  What a team!    Joe Dunford also skipped a pay grade.  He was nominated for his second star, and before he pinned on his new rank, picked up his third star!  Nearly unheard of in today’s day and age.

Lord knows, the Marine Corps needs a warrior, and an INFANTRY OFFICER at its helm.   The infantryman is the very soul of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant should be someone who knows him and his comrades intimately.   Besides, the Amos years have not been good.

Congratulations, General Joe Dunford.   Our Marine Corps is in your capable hands.  Right where it should be.   Godspeed.

(I am willing to overlook that he went to BC High.)

H/T to LTCOL P

 

 

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The Las Vegas Shootings

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Yesterday’s tragic shooting of two police officers and an innocent woman in Las Vegas is headline news this morning.    Reports are that a man and a woman opened fire on two police officers while they were eating lunch.  What was also reported was that one of them said “This is the start of a revolution!” before killing the officers.   The news this morning is that they covered the bodies of the slain officers with the Gadsden “Don’t tread on Me” flags now commonly associated with the Tea Party movement.  CNN headlines scream that the couple had “extremist views”, but cite only “law enforcement sources”.

The couple apparently had a “suicide pact”, and the woman reportedly killed the man before turning her weapon on herself.

There are, however, some things to note about the tragedy.  The first is that the news has swept the Bowe Bergdahl fiasco from the headlines, including yet another instance of Susan Rice knowingly lying in front of the TV cameras for America’s consumption.   The second thing to note is that the incident fits so very neatly into the propaganda efforts of this Administration for gun confiscation, for increasing the authority of law enforcement against private citizens, and for the idea that political opposition should be criminalized and demonized so that they may be treated as America’s enemies, to be subsequently crushed using the overwhelming power of government forces.

So, in a way that I would not have been, even during the Clinton Administration, I am deeply uneasy and suspicious of yesterday’s events in Las Vegas.   The Obama Administration has been very close to an outlaw regime, and has condoned or perpetrated criminal activity since Inauguration Day.   The list is long, very long, and I only offer some of the examples here:

  • The patently illegal payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to unbonded shareholders (largely held by union interests) ahead of bonded shareholders in the auto bailouts was a violation of the law.
  • The Fast and Furious debacle, Holder’s gun-running scheme to make the case for gun confiscation, was certainly criminal, and led directly to the death of a USBP agent, and hundreds of Mexican civilians.  Holder’s claims of ignorance of the details of the operation are laughable.
  • The IRS scandal, in which the powers of the Federal Government were employed in the persecution of law-abiding political opposition, has Lois Lerner asking for 5th Amendment protection.
  • The subpoena of phone records by Justice, without warrant or cause, represents additional criminal misconduct on the part of Holder.
  • The deceit and cover-up regarding the Benghazi fiasco, including witness intimidation and contempt for a Congressional hearing, is yet another violation of law for which this Administration is responsible.
  • Even what Obama hoped would be a propaganda coup with the release of Bergdahl was done in knowing violation of the law, a law Obama vows he would break again if convenient.

In each of the above incidents, the Obama Administration has not only withheld the truth and obstructed justice, but has put forth carefully concocted lies to cover its malfeasance and real motives.   Which is why the shooting in Las Vegas yesterday, which contain every last element that the Obama Propaganda Ministry (with the willing complicity of the vast majority of the press) will maximize to push the Obama big-government, anti-gun, statist, thought-crime agenda, seems so incredibly convenient.

What you will see as a result of the Las Vegas tragedy will be accusations from Democrats and Socialist Progressives that the Tea Party is violent after all, representing a danger to the government and to American citizens.  You will see increased calls for gun control, and gun confiscation, and more “national conversations” about eliminating the Second Amendment.  You will also see this incident leveraged to increasingly identify political opposition to the President and the far-left as being dangerous and requiring increased surveillance, censorship, and other restrictions on liberty.  You will also see police use the incident as a justification for even more abuse of authority, increasingly thuggish tactics, less restraint, and more use of force with questionable cause.

The shooting yesterday in Las Vegas may have been exactly as it is being described, with two extremists who split off from an assiduously law-abiding political movement to perpetrate this awful crime.  But with the Obama Administration’s unscrupulous and criminal history, and its ruthless push toward totalitarian authority against a disarmed and supplicant populace, I have reason to be both cynical and skeptical in a way that I never have before.  Pardon me if there seems to be a faint odor of smoke from the Reichstag about all of this.

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After all, it isn’t like Barack Obama is a stranger to a man and woman who cried “Revolution!” and proceeded to murder police officers.  In fact, Obama’s political career started in their living room.

 

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DaveO at Op-For has Questions

They should be everyone’s questions.  The true answers to which may cement the Obama Administration as an outlaw regime that makes Richard Nixon on his worst day look like honesty itself.

Who is America’s negotiator with the Taliban?

Are we also negotiating with AQ?

Are we negotiating with terrorist groups in the Philippines and/or Thailand? What are they getting from the White House?

Why won’t the White House negotiate with Congress? Not enough beards?

Why these particular 5 Taliban? Who read their dossiers and agreed that lesser capable detainees in Gitmo would not suffice?

“Curiosities” indeed.  Perhaps it is time for a “revolt of the Generals”.  Though those in senior positions seem to have been placed there with careful consideration to their political pliability/reliability and their distinct lack of spinal column.  The pattern of military and foreign policy of this Administration, if laid out chronologically and without the spin of the lap-dog MSM co-conspirators, can only be described as an active effort to erode America’s security and military capability.  The time for calling such “miscalculation” and “blunder” has long passed.

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More About the Reconstituted Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee

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XBRAD told us about this the other day.  He openly questioned its purpose, especially in light of the track record of this Administration to act illegally and oversee the persecution of law-abiding political opponents with the apparatus of their own government.

Well, Eric Holder tells us the purpose of this new task force:

But we also must concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice.

Anyone who doesn’t pick up on the verbiage has missed the last five years of Eric Holder’s corrosive and bigoted black activism.  There was, of course, the FBI memorandum telling us that returning white Veterans who believe in God, small government, and the right to keep and bear arms are domestic terrorist suspects.  There is the military’s “education” (extracted from documents at the Southern Poverty Law Center, no less) that conservative groups and Christian organizations are akin to the KKK.   And that military members may be charged under the UCMJ for supporting and belonging to such groups.  The US military has routinely run training scenarios in which the adversary is “right-wing extremist”, which is to say, actual and otherwise law-abiding citizens who are magically attributed a violent character which requires a military response so they may be “crushed”. Then, there is the study a couple of years ago in which “domestic terrorists” were defined as those who “defended the Constitution” and have reverence for individual liberty.

One has only to quickly peruse the various “See Something, Say Something” Public Service Announcements about terrorism to see that virtually every portrayal of a terrorist is a white male.  All of them.  Despite the 1993 WTC bombing, 9/11, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, the Boston Marathon bombing, and dozens of other domestic attacks and murders perpetrated by Muslim Jihadists, the US Government’s portrayal of terrorists is invariably white and male.

So the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee?  Under an Attorney General who has vowed not to pursue cases that reflect badly on “his people”?   In an Administration that has perpetrated use of the IRS, EPA, Justice, and NSA to visit retribution on individuals and groups that differ politically with the far left?  Place your bets.   Gabriel Rottman, First Amendment lawyer for the ACLU, already has.

Given the already lenient standards for when the government can launch an investigation, the announced task force is both unnecessary and an invitation to investigate Americans because of the beliefs they hold, not because of any wrongdoing.

Which is to say, with this Administration especially, conservative heterosexual white males.  And other, law-abiding political opponents.  And one can reasonably assume that this “Executive Committee” will have all the trappings of due process that comes with a closed-door deliberation of “informed high-level government officials” instead of those pesky and inconvenient Constitutional rights under the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments.

Oh, and by the way…

I… do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

H/T to Fran

 

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Women can be Marine Infantry Officers. All You Have to do is Change the Standards.

Feminist advocate Ellen Haring, a Reserve Army Colonel, wrote a piece over at War on the Rocks about how to fix why females cannot pass the US Marine Corps Infantry Officers’ Course.   Not surprisingly, Haring’s assertions ring hollow and partisan to any Marine ground combat Officer, especially one with the Infantry MOS.

…why are the physical standards different for officers and enlisted infantry Marines?…
Officers and enlisted infantrymen perform the same physical tasks in their units and during combat operations.  The discriminator between officer and enlisted has always been education, not physical differences.

What Haring writes is utter nonsense.  The answer, which should be glaringly evident to someone with the rank of Colonel, is that Marine Officers must not just “perform the same physical tasks”, but to LEAD, and lead by physical example.  A great deal of a young Officer’s credibility with his Marines comes from the display of physical courage and personal fitness, which includes strength, stamina, and endurance.  A Marine Infantry Officer must be prepared to lead despite extreme physical fatigue, and retain the ability to make alert and sound decisions.  The lives of his platoon or company depend upon it.  That Haring ignores such a fundamental of leadership in a combat MOS is not surprising, and I don’t think for a minute it is unintentional.

Haring also cites the op-ed by 2nd Lt Santangelo, in which the Lieutenant asserts that expectations, and not physical limitations, are the reasons for failure among the female Officers.  Nowhere does Haring mention the viewpoint of Captain Kate Petronio, whose extensive experience serving beside Marine Infantry units would seem to have a bit more validity than to be ignored.

Haring’s focus is, of course, the Combat Endurance Test, a grueling physical event that has been a part of the Infantry Officers’ Course for decades.  This is where 13 of the 14 female Officers have failed, and it is administered on the first day of training.  (The 14th female was dropped with a stress fracture in the first few days of training.)  Haring calls the Combat Endurance Test an “initiation”, rather than an occupational qualification, and to an extent that is correct.  In order to lead Infantry Marines, an Officer must successfully complete that test.  So, of course, since it is a stumbling block for 93% (at least) of the female Officers, Haring takes aim at that event.  And here is the crux of her argument:

Do initiation rites have a place in our military?  There will be those who argue that they absolutely have a place in developing the esprit de corps that is vital to the Marine Corps and those arguments have merit.  Certainly the Marines have built their reputation on being tough, trained professionals whose motto Semper Fidelis (always faithful) embodies their total dedication to this country and to the Corps. But does an initiation rite that effectively filters out half the American population (all women) do the Marine Corps justice?

It is that last line which says it all.  Haring apparently has issue with how the Marine Corps trains its Infantry Officers, as such training doesn’t do the Corps “justice”.   Huh.  Here I was thinking the Corps had a rather successful training program for what it rightly considers the backbone of the service, the Marine Infantry Officer.  Haring parenthetically mentions that such training “filters out” women, as if that part of her argument is an afterthought.  In reality, her entire effort centers around that very premise.  While she goes on to say that she is not advocating elimination of the Combat Endurance Test, she does advocate advancing female Officers through IOC without passing the test, as she claims male officers have done, and allow females to repeat the test (one assumes, indefinitely), until they pass.  (I question the accuracy of her assertions that males have been given unlimited chances to pass the Combat Endurance Test, and know of several males who have washed from IOC because they could not do so.)

This will have the effect of making passing of the Combat Endurance Test a graduation requirement rather than an entry requirement.  Of course, once a female Officer has had all that time and money invested in her training, the argument will then be to waive passing of the Combat Endurance Test altogether.  Because it would be foolish and wasteful to put a female Officer through all that training and not have her graduate.  Which will be precisely the goal of feminist activists like Haring.  Female Marine Infantry Officers, no matter how unqualified or ill-equipped to be such.  Because, well, the cause is more important.

So, despite her assertions that she does not advocate changing the standards in order to have female Marine Officers become Infantry Officers, she is advocating just that, and she knows it.  Like so many in the “girl power” feminism ranks, she simply lacks the integrity to say so.

h/t to Info Dissem

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“…and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in…

The above excerpt from a statement by Colin Powell, then Secretary of State.

And it is true. The American Battlefield Monuments Commission was established in 1923.

Recognizing the need for a federal agency to be responsible for honoring American armed forces where they have served, and for controlling the construction of military monuments and markers on foreign soil by others, Congress enacted legislation in 1923 establishing ABMC.

In performing its functions, ABMC administers, operates and maintains on foreign soil 25 permanent American burial grounds, and 26 separate memorials, monuments and markers, including three memorials in the United States. Presently there are 124,908 American war dead interred in these cemeteries, of which 30,922 are from World War I, 93,236 are from World War II and 750 are from the Mexican War. Additionally, 6,237 American veterans and others are interred at the Mexico City National Cemetery and the Corozal American Cemetery in Panama. Commemorated individually by name on stone tablets are 94,135 American servicemen and women who were missing in action, or lost or buried at sea in their regions during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The best known cemetery is almost certainly The Normandy American Cemetery, seen by millions in the opening and  closing scenes of Saving Private Ryan.

A view of Normandy American Cemetery from the memorial area.

It is one of 25 overseas burial grounds maintained by the ABMC. There are in addition 26 permanent memorials overseas under the aegis of ABMC. One such memorial is at Cabanatuan, Philippines.

Inscription on the Cabanatuan American Memorial reads: "Site of Japanese Prisoner of War Camp 1942 to 1945. This memorial honors the American servicemen and the civilians who died here..."

I find it interesting that so many families chose to have their loved one rest eternally on the soil of a nation they fought to free. For many, it seems fitting and right. But there are no cemeteries in Korea, nor Vietnam. No Americans will rest eternally in the sands of Iraq, or in the valleys of Afghanistan. I don’t know what to think of that.

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VDH: The Obama Ethical “Vacuum”

Victor David Hansen Wednesday penned (typed?) a great piece for the Washington Times regarding the shameful lack of ethics or accountability anywhere in the Obama Administration.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki cannot get a handle on the recent scandalous treatment of veterans in Veterans Affairs hospitals, where more than 40 sick men were allowed to die without proper follow-up treatment. A cover-up is said to have followed. When the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal broke under the George W. Bush administration, heads rolled. So far, Mr. Shinseki seems immune from similar accountability.

VDH enumerates the long and growing list of major Administration officials who have violated not just standards of ethics, but the law as well.  And the stomach-turning hypocrisy of those same officials when they express their faux-outrage that some Republican dare oppose their socialist secular-progressive agenda.

Susan Rice, former U.N. ambassador and now national security adviser, flat-out deceived the public on five television appearances about the Benghazi catastrophe. She insisted that the deaths of four Americans were the result of a spontaneous riot induced by a reactionary video maker — even though she had access to intelligence fingering al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists as the culprits who planned the attack on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mrs. Rice recently blamed Obama foreign-policy failures on domestic political polarization….

In the midst of the 2007 surge, when Americans were fighting for their lives to stabilize Iraq, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton implied that the commanding general in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, was a veritable liar. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed and declared that the war was already lost. Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama prematurely wrote off the politically inconvenient surge as a failure. Was Mrs. Rice then shocked that “polarization” affected foreign policy?

Hanson takes former SecState and 2016 Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton to task, and Eric Holder, the slithery race-baiting Attorney General, as well.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left office with American foreign policy in shambles. She has been unable to make the argument that a single initiative — resetting with Russia, leading from behind in Libya, drawing red lines on Syria, imposing deadlines on Iran, completing withdrawal from Iraq, pressuring the Israelis, reaching out to radical Islam and Latin American communist dictatorships — had met with success.

Mrs. Clinton infamously dismissed the lingering mysteries surrounding the Benghazi deaths with, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” She also refused, despite numerous entreaties, to place the now-infamous Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram on a State Department terrorist watch list.

Eric Holder Jr. is the first attorney general to have been held in contempt of Congress. Aside from his divisive language (he called America “a nation of cowards” and referred to blacks as “my people”), Mr. Holder always seems to find himself at the center of scandals. He permitted the federal monitoring of Associated Press journalists. He green-lighted the Fast and Furious gunrunning scam. He has failed to bring to account rogue IRS officials. Mr. Holder is the most morally compromised attorney general since Richard Nixon appointee John Mitchell.

Hanson’s piece is a great read.  Grab another cup and have a look.  Eventually, the truth will come out regarding Shinsecki and the VA scandal.  But it won’t come from the White House.  They haven’t told the truth yet.  Not once.  One has to wonder if allergy to the truth is covered under Obamacare.

 

H/T to Fran!

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Cutaway Thursday: Convair B-36J Peacemaker

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Cutaway Thursday: Tyrrell P34

It doesn’t have to be an airplane does it? Nope (Imma hired gun pen here so I’m generously provided with a LOT of rope with which to hang myself latitude).

Probably one of my favorite F1 cars aside from Senna’s legandary and 1988 season dominating McClaren MP4/4 and the technologically revolutionary Williams FW15C.

More on the Tyrrell P34 from Wikipedia:

When unveiled, the cover was peeled away from the back forward and the collective gasps from the world’s press said it all. Along with theBrabham BT46B “Fancar” developed in 1978, the six-wheeled Tyrrell was one of the two most radical entries ever to succeed in Formula One (F1) competition, and has specifically been called the most recognizable design in the history of world motorsports.[1]

It first ran in the Spanish GP in 1976, and proved to be very competitive. Both Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler were able to produce solid results with the car, but while Depailler praised the car continually, Scheckter realised it would only be temporarily competitive. The specialGoodyear tyres were not being developed enough by the end of the season.

The P34’s golden moment came in the Swedish Grand Prix. Scheckter and Depailler finished first and second, and to date Scheckter is the only driver ever to win a race in a six-wheeled car. He left the team at the end of the season, insisting that the six-wheeler was “a piece of junk!”[2]

For 1977, Scheckter was replaced by the Swede Ronnie Peterson, and the P34 was redesigned around cleaner aerodynamics. The P34B was wider and heavier than before, and, although Peterson was able to string some promising results from the P34B, as was Depailler, it was clear the car was not as good as before, mostly due to the tyre manufacturer’s failure to properly develop the small front tyres. The added weight of the front suspension system is also cited as a reason for ending the project. Tyrrell even tried a “wide track” P34B to improve its handling, but this put the front wheels out from behind the nose fairings and reduced the aerodynamic gains from having four small front wheels. Thus, the P34 was abandoned for 1978, and a truly remarkable chapter in F1 history was over.

More recently the P34 has been a popular sight at historic racing events, proving competitive once more. This was made possible when the Avon tyre company agreed to manufacture bespoke 10-inch tyres for Simon Bull, the owner of chassis No. 6. In 1999 and 2000 the resurrected P34 competed at a number of British and European circuits as an entrant in the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix series. Driven by Martin Stretton, the car won the TGP series outright in 2000, the sister car repeating that success in 2008 in the hands of Mauro Pane; this example is today part of a private collection in Italy. Stretton also achieved numerous Pole Positions and class wins at the Grand Prix Historique de Monaco. The P34 has also been seen a number of times at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

So here ya go:

TyrrellP34a

An interesting car with a uniquely chequered history but why the 4 front tyres? Let the website for the car, Project-34, tell you:

Derek set to work on designing a car to replace the successful, but rapidly ageing Tyrrell 007. He calculated that they needed the equivalent of a gain of 50hp on the competition in order to leap frog the other teams, since almost everyone was running the same engine the gain would have to be made elsewhere in the design. After a few weeks of research he presented his concept to Ken Tyrrell in August 1974. A concept that drew on the experience of those years spent working on the four wheel drive, Gas-Turbine cars, for there, on the piece of paper presented to Ken was sketched an F1 car with six wheel’s ! Two regular sized wheels at the rear and four small 10″ wheels at the front. Derek explained the reasoning behind his concept to Ken.

The theory was that exposed tyres cause lift, and the bigger they are, the greater the lift they will produce, standard four wheel F1 cars counter act this effect by the use of more wing at the front, since the six wheel concept would greatly reduce the lift effect generated by the front wheels it would not need to run large amounts of front wing thus it should have a straight line speed advantage.

An interesting car with an interesting history and there’s one for sale and if you have to ask for how much, you can’t afford it.

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