Category Archives: history

William S. Lind’s Grim Assessment of the US Officer Corps

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From The American Conservative.   Bill Lind, one of the authors of Fourth Generation Warfare, is often a bit of a scratchy contrarian who is firmly convinced of his own infallibility when it comes to military theory.   Lind has never served in uniform, and often his condescending pontification and admonitions of “You’re doing it all wrong!” to US military thinkers causes his views to be dismissed out of hand.  But Lind is very smart, and often had nuggets of insight that deserve our consideration.  Here are a few from his TAC article:

Even junior officers inhabit a world where they hear only endless, hyperbolic praise of “the world’s greatest military ever.” They feed this swill to each other and expect it from everyone else. If they don’t get it, they become angry. Senior officers’ bubbles, created by vast, sycophantic staffs, rival Xerxes’s court. Woe betide the ignorant courtier who tells the god-king something he doesn’t want to hear.

And:

What defines a professional—historically there were only three professions, law, medicine, and theology—is that he has read, studied, and knows the literature of his field. The vast majority of our officers read no serious military history or theory.

While my personal experience has been that Marine Officers tend to read and discuss military history, it could be that I gravitate toward those who do.  I will admit that I am chagrined at the numbers of Officers of all services who have seemingly no interest in doing so.

Lind also identifies what he calls “structural failings”:

The first, and possibly the worst, is an officer corps vastly too large for its organization—now augmented by an ant-army of contractors, most of whom are retired officers. A German Panzer division in World War II had about 21 officers in its headquarters. Our division headquarters are cities. Every briefing—and there are many, the American military loves briefings because they convey the illusion of content without offering any—is attended by rank-upon-rank of horse-holders and flower-strewers, all officers.

Command tours are too short to accomplish anything, usually about 18 months, because behind each commander is a long line of fellow officers eagerly awaiting their lick at the ice-cream cone… Decisions are committee-consensus, lowest common denominator, which Boyd warned is usually the worst of all possible alternatives. Nothing can be changed or reformed because of the vast number of players defending their “rice bowls.” The only measurable product is entropy.

The second and third structural failings are related because both work to undermine moral courage and character, which the Prussian army defined as “eagerness to make decisions and take responsibility.” They are the “up or out” promotion system and “all or nothing” vesting for retirement at 20 years. “Up or out” means an officer must constantly curry favor for promotion because if he is not steadily promoted he must leave the service. “All or nothing” says that if “up or out” pushes him out before he has served 20 years, he leaves with no pension. (Most American officers are married with children.)

It is not difficult to see how these… structural failings in the officer corps morally emasculate our officers and all too often turn them, as they rise in rank and near the magic 20 years, into ass-kissing conformists.

I cannot help but notice the truth that rings from much of what Boyd asserts.  I have made some of those very same assertions myself on more than a few occasions.  Give the article a read.  What does the gang here think?  Is Boyd on target?  If so, how do we fix it?  Can it be fixed?

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

Cutaway Thursday: Boeing 2707

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Last week we did the Boeing Model 733 which evolved in to the Boeing 2707 (the 2 perhaps indicating that it was a mach 2 capable airplane). Anyway, this is a far better cutaway of the similiar aircraft AND it gives an indication of just how complex the actual airplane would have been.

The most recognizable difference between the 733 and the 2707 is the position of the variable geometry wing in relation to the horizontal stabilator. As you can see here, in full sweep, the is flush to the stab making it a delta shape simlar to the F-14 Tomcat. The 733 also features a variable geometry wing but at full sweep the aircraft resembles the B-1 Lancer in planform.

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The Liars’ Club and the IRS Scandal

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Elijah Cummings, D-Md, is a liar.  Quite simply, Cummings made statements last July about the IRS and their targeting of conservative groups that he knew not to be true.  Cummings claimed that somehow evidence was “discovered” that showed that progressive liberal groups had been targeted, as well as conservative groups.  His fib was immediately given wide dissemination by the beholden liberal news media, who trumpeted faithfully yet another chorus of “false scandal” emanating from the White House.   Despite the protestations of the New York Times, Washington Post, et al, none of what they asserted, nor what Cummings said, was true.

Who said so?  Why, IRS agents said so.  In sworn testimony.

IRS agents testified before Congress that the agency’s political targeting did not apply to progressive groups as Democrats and the media have claimed, according to a bombshell new staff report prepared by the House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa.

Remember, the original story from Lois Lerner and the IRS was that the targeting of conservative groups was the result of the actions of just a few people in the Cincinnati Office.  Which was a lie.  Untrue, and known to be untrue when it was uttered.  No more true than Cummings’ tall tales about the IRS targeting liberals, too.  Just to be on the safe side, however, the US Attorney General declared in January that he would not pursue criminal prosecution for anyone in the IRS involved in the scandal, claiming that an “investigation” led by Obama campaign contributor and political supporter Barbara Bosserman “found no criminal wrongdoing”.   Despite the provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 245:

(b) Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with—

(B) participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by the United States;

Barack Obama, when he told America that there wasn’t a “smidgin of corruption” in the IRS scandal, was also knowingly stating a falsehood.  He is a liar of the inveterate type.  The IRS Agents’ testimony under oath today directly contradicts his assertions.  His “angry” act at the scandal was a rather pathetic attempt to sell outrage at the idea of treating his political opponents as national enemies.  It is something he, and his Attorney General, have employed as a tactic since inauguration.  See: Alinsky, Saul, Rules for Radicals.

Elijah Cummings, he of the wildly unprofessional conduct at the House Oversight Panel, shares several things with both Obama and Holder.  He shares skin color, and an obsession with that skin color.  In short, he is, like Holder and Obama, a race-hustler who would be roundly condemned if his skin color was white and he spoke of race as he does.  Cummings, like Obama and Holder, is also a far-left collectivist.  He is also an inveterate fibber.  His whopper that the Democrats and the NAACP “never called the Tea Party racists” was undone by video of that very thing being said.   His conduct on the Oversight Panel on the IRS investigation is similar to what it was during the Benghazi hearings.  He wished to disrupt, obfuscate, grandstand, do ANYTHING to distract from the proceedings in order to keep the Obama Administration from having to answer for the highly questionable and possibly criminal things it has done.   And so, with IRS agents’ testimony in the IRS scandal directly refuting his claims, Cummings joins the IRS Scandal Liars’ Club.  With Holder, and Obama, and Lois Lerner already belonging, at least the club has enough minority members to suit him.

 

 

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General Carl E. Mundy, Jr, 30th Marine Commandant, Dead at 78

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Very sad news that General Carl Mundy, the 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps, passed away on Wednesday in Alexandria, VA.   General Mundy’s career was long and distinguished, beginning with his enlistment in the Marine Reserves in 1953, where he would rise to be a Sergeant Squad Leader.

Commissioned out of Auburn University, General Mundy served two tours in Vietnam, one as OpsO and XO of 3/26, and the other with III Marine Amphibious Force.  Following his service in Southeast Asia, General Mundy commanded the Second Marines, and then 2nd Marine Division, and eventually II MEF at Camp Lejeune, NC.

General Mundy served as the 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps from July 1991 to June 1995.  General Mundy was also a plain-spoken man.  And as such, has always been a hero of mine.  He had the backbone to stand up to the Diversity Tyrants, and to try and do what was best for the Corps rather than his career.  The infamous “60 Minutes” hack job that was as dishonest as the Westmoreland piece and the George W. Bush service record fabrication portrayed Mundy’s remarks as being something other than what they were.  General Mundy had criticized the racial quota approach to recruitment of Marine Officers, rightly pointing out that simply taking in men and women based on skin color, without regard to intelligence and aptitude, did them and the Corps a disservice.  He correctly observed that those accessed with below-average intelligence and aptitude were at a severe disadvantage and did not do as well with marksmanship, land navigation, and other skills.  Mundy apologized for any offense that the edited remarks may have caused, but never backed off from his premise, which infuriated the Diversity advocates.

Later, General Mundy ordered the eventual elimination of recruiting quotas for married Marines, again rightly pointing out that first-term non-rate Marines with wives and children had a much higher proportion of problems because of low pay and long hours, and the effects were deleterious to readiness and morale.  Mundy was ordered to rescind that guidance, but again remained unwilling to revise his views.

I had the privilege to serve with General Mundy’s son Carl E. “Sam” Mundy III, at Parris Island.  He was a superb Officer who rightly admired and emulated his Dad.  Carl E. Mundy III is now a Brigadier General, I believe.    General Mundy’s legacy to the Marine Corps remains with us almost twenty years later.  He was a warrior who believed in the warrior ethos.  And was unwilling to compromise those beliefs for political expediency.

But for other senior Officers in all the services to take a lesson from General Mundy.

Farewell, General.  30th Commandant, departing.  Marines from every age who guard Heaven’s streets will present arms.

 

 

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Filed under history, infantry, marines, Politics, SIR!, Uncategorized, veterans, war

U-T San Diego: Ramadi Remembered

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Ramadi remembered

Iraq battle began 10 years ago on April 6, exacting heavy Marine toll

“The Battle of Ramadi was pivotal for coalition operations in the province,” the 1st Marine Division announced. Marines and soldiers killed an estimated 250 rebels from April 6 to April 10, and “the fighting shattered the insurgent offensive.”

U-T San Diego has the story.

One hell of a price was paid by the Marines and Soldiers in that battle and in the subsequent months. Paul Kennedy’s 2nd Bn 4th Marines, the “Magnificent Bastards” were magnificent once again. 1st Bn 16th Infantry was, too. As was every other unit that contributed to the fight and to holding the line until the Awakening turned the tables a couple years later.  The bravery, skill, and determination daily displayed in Ramadi and in Fallujah that April of 2004 is difficult to put into words.

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It was the honor of a lifetime to serve under LtGen Conway, CG I MEF, and MajGen Mattis, CG 1st MarDiv.  The Division ADC was John Kelly, and the Chief of Staff was Joe Dunford.  The MEF SgtMaj was the incomparable Carlton Kent.  Marines could never ask to be led by better.  And, of course the friendships forged in such a place will last the rest of our days.

O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Semper Fidelis, Marines.

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IPCC Warns on Global Warming, after the Coldest Winter in US in a Century

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Well, we have reached the last day of March in 2014.  Just in time for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to send out another alarmist shill about Global Warming/Climate Change.   Anthropogenic Climate Change, to be exact.  Requiring “action”.   Which is a code-word for “money”.    Otherwise, disaster, death, murder, rape, starvation is sure to ensue.  You get the idea.  Seems like we have heard it all before, dunnit?

Of course, Socialist-Communist American President Barack Obama is solidly behind such “action”.  Especially since that action has the desirable side-effect of destroying our capitalist economy and providing further excuse for even more crushing environmental regulation, exponentially expanding the statist command economy he desires so much.   Vice President Biden, he of the “perfect skin”, is in full agreement.  Which means, it seems, that the inside of his head is not quite as well-kept as the outside.

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We are to believe, of course, that the natural cycle of changes in the Earth’s climate which we have proof occurred hundreds of millions of years before man came to be, is now entirely our fault.  And that the massive and growing number of skeptics in the scientific community remain “just a few deniers”.

Let’s give some local flavor to the debate.   Where I live, March 2014 has had a mean temperature nearly NINE DEGREES below normal.  That is an astounding figure.  In March of 2012, when we had temperatures in the 70s for several days and the global warming alarmists were in full frenzy, the mean temperature was just 7.2 degrees ABOVE normal.   Despite their prognostications of certain doom, March of 2014 is actually significantly colder than March of 2012 was warm.   Such is also not in isolation.  The previous 12 months have been a full 2.0 degrees below their average since 2006.   Talk about “hockey stick” graphs.

Nationally, the US just experienced the coldest six months in more than 100 years.  Since the winter of 1911-12.  If that is true in the US, it is very likely true in Canada and Mexico.  For the last six months, at least one quarter of the globe has been significantly colder than the norm.   Climate scientists have already been caught red-handed manipulating data sets to produce “global warming” outcomes.  As have US agencies.   These aren’t mistakes.  Not errors in calculation.  They are LIES.

Our President, not surprisingly, is using those lies to perpetuate HIS agenda, and the agendas of his political and financial supporters.   For people like Barack Obama, the truth is something to be avoided at all costs.   That should surprise nobody.  After Benghazi, Obamacare, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, “red lines”, etc., he can be called an inveterate liar.

And it shouldn’t surprise us that Obama embraces the Global Warming anti-capitalists.  It isn’t like he doesn’t have a history of hanging out with Weathermen.

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It would seem that the “just a few deniers” have a few things to say.    It makes a good read.

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America Rising: I’m Just Wild About Harry!

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Seems that Harry Reid wants us to believe that he never stated that the legion examples of the horrendous impact of that colossal train-wreck known as Obamacare were simply “lies” made up by Republicans.  Not only did he claim such was “simply untrue”, but Harry made that claim while admonishing a Republican Senate colleague who had called him out for his words.  Reid’s piqued denial came after having said precisely what he was accused of saying (on CSPAN, no less), on the Senate floor barely a month earlier.  (See links in the previous sentence for Reid’s statements.) Ol’ Harry’s shenanigans would otherwise have escaped the dogged investigative talents of the Mainstream Media except for a wonderful little organization called “America Rising PAC”.  Their digging unearthed Senator Reid’s earlier comments, exactly one month prior.

Exactly a month ago today, Harry Reid took to the Senate floor to say that the  ObamaCare horror stories that were being told across the country were lies:

“We heard about the evils of Obamacare, about the lives it’s ruining in Republicans’ stump speeches and in ads paid for by oil magnates, the Koch brothers. But in those tales, turned out to be just that: tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.”

Today, Harry Reid took to the same Senate floor to say that he had never said that any ObamaCare horror stories were lies… to his recollection:

“Mr. President, the junior Senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently talking about the fact that examples that he and other Republicans have given, dealing with ObamaCare, examples that they think are bad, I’ve called lies. Mr. President, that is simply untrue. I have never come to the floor, to my recollection, and I never said a word about any of the examples that Republicans have given regarding ObamaCare and how it’s not very good.” 

So let’s go to the videotape!

The americarisingpac.org posting has gone absolutely viral.  I have it on the best of sources that Karl Rove “tweeted” it, and now the Daily Caller picked it up, as has CNS, Town Hall, Fox, the Weekly Standard, Heritage, the American Thinker, and a number of others.  No word on MSNBC or CNN saying a peep about Harry’s little falsehood.   What a shock.

It is difficult to tell if the far-left crusaders and fellow-travelers that have populated Congress and the Obama Administration, including President Obama himself, have yet to grasp the import of the information age or not.  Or whether they think that things they have said publicly, recorded on audio or video, can simply be made to be forgotten by indignantly asserting after the fact that they were never said.  Or, if they are arrogant enough to believe that their standing among the American public is so esteemed that nobody cares.  Or, perhaps, that the beholden formerly-independent press will dutifully bury such stories and intentionally spin and obfuscate the truth in their “analysis” of whatever unpleasant issue the Administration wants entombed and out of the public eye.  Perhaps it is some combination of all of the above.

Certainly with Benghazi, and the IRS scandal, voter intimidation in Philadelphia, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, the DoJ AP phone subpoena scandal, and myriad other scandals big and small, this Administration and its minions in Congress have lied repeatedly, deliberately misleading the American public with the complicity of the Mainstream Media, who act, nearly universally, as shills for their political patrons.  We know what happens when the line is not toed.  Just ask Sheryl Atkisson, whose probing of the Benghazi debacle made Obama & Co. distinctly uncomfortable, or the aforementioned AP reporters.

So now we have Senator Harry Reid, doubling down on his accusations by lying about his previous statements.  Imagine if this was Boehner or Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz.  This would be fodder for the talk shows for weeks, and the MSM would work hand in glove with the Obama Politburo to destroy the Republican politician in question.   But this is Harry Reid, the leftist Senator from Nevada, Senate Majority (for now) leader, and he thought he could bald-face bullsh*t on the Senate floor, and claim he never said what he is on record as saying.

And he’d have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddlesome kids!

H/T to DB!!!!

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Seeking, and Finding, at Parris Island

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This week, following my last stint ever of reserve duty at Quantico, I decided to make one final trip to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.  I wanted to revisit what was a meaningful place for me one last time before my retirement on 1 June.   The nine-hour drive was smooth enough, but still… nine hours.  I arrived about 1730 in the evening and drove around town for a bit while I still had some light.

The surrounding communities of Beaufort and Port Royal had grown appreciably since I was here last, in May of 1992, when I relinquished command of India Company, Third Recruit Training Battalion.  On that same day, I also graduated my final Recruit Company and executed PCS orders.   Driving around I noticed there are many more restaurants now, and shopping centers, recreational activities… all the things that one would come to expect from a mid-sized and modern community.   There were far more amenities than existed twenty-odd years ago.   It was, as many have experienced visiting old duty stations, a bittersweet walk back in time… seeing places where I once lived, old haunts…. scenes not taken in for more than twenty years.  My objective, however, was not to drive and walk around the community.  I came to see the Recruit Depot at Parris Island, the place where I’d spent so many thousands of hours, in a job that was both challenging and immensely rewarding.  I also wanted to have a look at what changed, what hadn’t, and to do some reflecting on my time there, and my time since.   So… fairly early this morning, I climbed into a set of Charlies and headed aboard.

What awaited me was entirely and thoroughly unexpected.  In fact, it was quite a jolt, one which set me on my heels.  The first place I wanted to see after crossing the causeway was Third Recruit Training Battalion.  It was there that I served as a Series Commander and commanded India Company.  As I approached the Battalion area, I immediately noticed something was amiss.  No recruits anywhere.  No anybody.    I drove past the old barracks, triple-decker squad bays… I passed the Battalion HQ.  NOTHING.  So, I pulled my car in and got out.  To my absolute shock and inexpressible sadness, the entire of the Battalion Area was abandoned… derelict.

The line of squad bays that comprised Kilo and India Companies, 3rd RTBn.  So strange to see them without the bustle of activity.

The line of squad bays that comprised Kilo and India Companies, 3rd RTBn. So strange to see them without the bustle of activity.

The Third Recruit Training Battalion Command Post

The Third Recruit Training Battalion Command Post

Third RTBn Logo on the old grinder.

Third RTBn Logo on the old grinder.

Here was this place that I had thought of countless times — remembered hundreds and thousands of hours on the drill deck, the PT field, and next-door, the Close Combat area.  I expected to see recruits marching, to hear Drill Instructors correcting and yelling, to hear cadence being called and platoons sounding off.  Yet, there was not a soul around.  Just… a thunderous, deafening silence.  Here was a place where so much sweat and so much emotion had been expended by many thousands of recruits since the barracks were built in the 1950s.  Here was a place where the sharp commands of the Drill Instructors echoed off the brickwork, readying Marines for three wars.   Here was a place that was profoundly formative in so many a young life.  And now it was EMPTY.

Building 423, where India Company Office was located (the windows on the left front)

Building 423, where India Company Office was located (the windows on the left front)

The Inside of the former India Company Commander's Office.  No hand sanitizer in my day, though.

The Inside of the former India Company Commander’s Office. No hand sanitizer in my day, though.

I saw my old Series and Company Offices.  The paint was peeling and bits of debris and old equipment lay scattered about.  The “grinder” had grass and weeds growing from the cracked pavement.   The Chow Hall was overgrown, with crumbling steps and windows dislodged.   I ventured around, feeling a deep sadness that here, where I expected to find continuity, I instead encountered a very stark and sad reminder of the passage of time.   I wandered into the abandoned squad bays, ignoring the signs warning me to keep out.  When I stood there, it was if I could still hear the voices of hundreds of Drill Instructors and thousands of recruits, barking commands and sounding off in the rhythm that is unmistakably Marine Boot Camp.  My mind’s eye pictured images I saw a thousand times… of recruits executing the manual of arms in front of their racks, or mountain-climbing on the quarterdeck for some boneheaded infraction.   But they were only in my imagination, my memory.  Outside, the sand “motivation pits” where recruits once did incentive PT in the South Carolina heat, were now overgrown with grass and weeds, edged by rotting logs.

The squad bay.   The black lines closest to the windows were where the legs of the bunk racks were to be carefully aligned.  The lines toward the center were where recruit heels would be.  That was being "on-line" before the internet!

The squad bay. The black lines closest to the windows were where the legs of the bunk-style racks were to be carefully aligned. The lines toward the center were where recruit heels would be. That was being “on-line” before the internet!

Yellow footprints outside the DI hut.  The one closest is where the recruit stood when he was called to report.  The one in front of the hatch was where he stood to knock and report, and the third set was where he stood if he was told to stand by.

Yellow footprints outside the DI hut. The one closest is where the recruit stood when he was called to report. The one in front of the hatch was where he stood to knock and report, and the third set was where he stood if he was told to stand by.

In a place such as this, where so many young lives had so many defining moments, there remains an aura of those raw emotions that is almost palpable.  Those powerful emotions of fear and anger, excitement and resolve, mixed with the rightful pride of accomplishment, seems to float in the damp air still, nearly two years after the last recruit series called these squad bays home.

Around the side of the last squad bays, I met with yet another unpleasant surprise.  The Close Combat area, which had been immediately adjacent to Third Battalion, was also gone.  The pugil stick pits, which I helped build…gone.  Our “thunderdome” area and the shed where the Close Combat Instructors fought thousands of rounds had been replaced by base housing and a fire station.  The Confidence Course was gone also.  An empty field stood in its place.

The wash racks between squad bays.  Recruits would use these wash racks to scrub dirty uniforms and 782 gear, boots, etc.

The wash racks between squad bays. Recruits would use these wash racks to scrub dirty uniforms and 782 gear, boots, etc.

The place in which I stepped into a gopher hole up to my right thigh, resulting in a crushed vertebrae.  One step I regret.

The place on the 3rd RTBn PT field where I stepped into a gopher hole up to my right thigh, resulting in a crushed vertebrae. One step I regret.

As I stood remembering and taking pictures, I had to ask myself… Why such a powerful reaction? Why was I seemingly close to tears?   My emotions were all my own, all personal.  I expected to come back and find the place eminently recognizable, something  which would perhaps make me consider that 22 years was not quite so long ago.   But it is so long ago, especially when the recruits  are just 18 or 19 years old, and some of the Drill Instructors themselves only in their mid-twenties.

I eventually got back in my car and drove around the base some more.  A good deal of the infrastructure was new, including a massive Instructional Training building.  That beat the decrepit and cramped building I had occupied for the purpose (I was the OIC of Close Combat and Academics in between having a Series and Commanding India Company).    No wooden squad bays remained, which is kind of too bad.  The last of them was at the Rifle Range, replaced by brick structures about ten years ago.

The more I drove and walked around, the more I noticed that the tenor of the place had not changed very much at all.  Parris Island is still a place that provides the mental and physical challenges to those who want to be Marines.   The Drill Instructors still have the lean, hard, tired, uncompromising countenance.  The recruits still snap to, pushed by their DIs, until they respond quickly and willingly; until they become basically-trained Marines.   So, with further consideration, I realized that I did indeed find the continuity I was looking for.

The new location of India Company, 3rd RTBn

The new location of India Company, 3rd RTBn

I also eventually found the “new” Third Battalion.  A brand-new row of triple-deck squad bays, grinder, Command Post, wash racks, and a new PT field had been built about 1,500 yards from the old Battalion Area.  They were behind the rows of Spanish Moss-bedecked trees in the area that was once the island’s working farm.  There were new “motivation pits” and the ubiquitous pull-up bars.  I actually had a chance to see the “new” India Company area, and was pleased to meet the Officers and some of the Drill Instructors who are building today’s Marines.  It was a good conversation.  The hours are still incredibly long, the Drill Instructors still thoroughly professional and dedicated, and the pride of playing a part in the making of Marines is still very much in evidence.  Semper Fidelis, Marines!  And thanks for taking the time to talk to an old man who stood where you stand now (more or less) a quarter century ago.

H/T to DB for EDIT

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Carriers, Mobility, Stealth and Initiative

Think Defence today has a post on the difficulty a potential foe faces in finding a carrier at sea. It is (like virtually all content there) well worth reading the whole thing.

Aircraft carriers are difficult to detect.

Perhaps more importantly, they are difficult to identify. Regarding the difficulty of detection, the seas are very big and, in comparison, even the biggest of aircraft carriers are very small. Modern maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) have radars that have ranges of hundreds of nautical miles (nm) but oceans extend for thousands of nautical miles.

Moreover, radar impulses can be detected by electronic support measures (ESM) systems at significantly greater range than the radar can detect the platform (air or surface or even submarine) carrying the ESM. In wartime, an MPA using its radar gives itself away, opening the way to it either being intercepted and shot down before it can locate the carrier, or to the carrier simply altering course and avoiding the MPA.

Of course, MPAs also have ESM, but this works only if the carrier and its task group (Carrier Battle Group: CBG) are emitting electromagnetically.

But if the CBG has adopted strict electromagnetic silence (and it can do so & this is exercised), then there is nothing to detect. So the MPA is reduced to the Mark 1 eyeball as its only useful sensor.

When I think of most post-World War II significant carrier operations, I generally consider their use in Korea, Vietnam, and of course, operations in the Persian Gulf, where they essentially stayed in fixed positions, and acted like additional airfields. The lack of significant enemy ability to interdict our forces at sea allowed us to sacrifice one of the carrier task forces’ greatest assets, mobility, at little risk.

Prior to World War II, it was widely assumed that operating carrier forces within range of enemy land based airpower was a recipe for disaster, and that shore based airpower would quickly sink or damage any carrier force. The first clue that this wasn’t quite so true came December 7, 1941.

Successful, if not highly fruitful, US attacks against Japanese outposts in early 1942 showed that by choosing the time and place to attack, carriers could operate to impede or suppress shore based airpower, and retire out of range before an effective Japanese counterstroke could be brought to bear.

The Fast Carrier Task Force (TF38/TF58) would often operate in wide ranging support of amphibious landings in the Pacific War. While FCTC would of course raid the target of a landing, it would also strike enemy installations far afield, to deny the enemy the ability to reinforce the defense of our objective, and to a degree, to conceal our objective. The ability of the FCTF to move hundreds of miles each day, to attack in unexpected places, meant the Japanese often struggled to counterattack. It was only at times when the fast carriers were tied to an objective that the Japanese were able to mount large scale raids to attack our fleet. The most obvious example of this is the horrible attrition imposed on the fleet while supporting operations at Okinawa.

After the Vietnam War, the Navy looked at what it might be required to do in a World War III scenario versus the Soviet Union. The primary task was to secure the sea lanes to Europe. The primary Soviet threats to the sea lanes were submarines, and long range land based bombers armed with cruise missiles.  We’ll leave the discussion of the submarine threat to another time, but the Navy realized it would be called upon to stop the long range bomber threat, both as a threat to merchant shipping, and to the carrier forces themselves.  Soviet long range aviation had a much longer strike range than the organic airwing of carriers. To charge in and raid the Soviet bomber bases, the carriers would have to be able to avoid detection. And so they spent a fair portion of the coldest days of the Cold War learning to do just that.

The force transits to its objective area in complete electronic silence. Deceptive formations are used dispersed over a broad area to ensure any detection system does not see the classic “bullseye” formation made famous in countless Public Affairs shots and never used in operations. Broad surveillance systems are known so any detection method is countered either by denying sensor information, misleading, or providing expected results consistent with something else. For example, ESM systems rely on active emissions from radars or communication systems. So nothing is radiated. Overhead systems are in known orbits, are predictable, and their sensing capabilities known. So the track is varied, weather is sought out to hide in when vulnerable, blending into sea lanes (while staying out of visual detection range of ships) and such techniques. Deceptive lighting is used at night so that the obvious “blacked out warship” is instead thought to be a merchant or cruise liner. Surface search radar identical to commercial ones are used. Turn count masking is used by the ships. Aircraft maintenance on the CV and other helo equipped ships is limited to prevent transmissions.

In NORPAC 82 using these and other tactics the CV force operated close enough to support each other, but far enough and randomly dispersed to avoid identification by anyone. One night in bad weather a man went overboard when the ship was within 200nm of a Soviet airfield in the Kuril Island chain. Despite launch of helicopters and active search methods by several ships in the successful SAR, including clear voice UHF transmissions, the force is not detected because no Soviet asset was above the radar horizon. No overhead system was cued. The force continued on.

The Chinese have spent the last 20 years developing anti-access/area-denial tactics, techniques, and procedures. And to be sure, any operations against China would be significantly different than operations in the northern reaches of the Atlantic or Pacific.

But to blithely dismiss the ability of a carrier strike group to avoid detection (or at a minimum, to avoid being recognized as a carrier group) is to overlook the long history of carrier groups successfully approaching enemy shores.

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Filed under China, Defense, history, navy

Russians Claim US Drone Captured While Flying Over Crimea

hunter_1

Stop me if you heard the one about anything with an uplink/downlink being vulnerable to MIJI and capture.  From Yahoo news, via Drudge.

“The drone was flying at about 4,000 metres (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground. It was possible to break the link with US operators with complex radio-electronic” technology, said Rostec in a statement.

The drone fell “almost intact into the hands of self-defence forces” added Rostec, which said it had manufactured the equipment used to down the aircraft, but did not specify who was operating it.

“Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria,” Rostec said on its website, which also carried a picture of what it said was the captured drone.

Super.   Perhaps President Obama will take the strong-arm stance he took when Iran did a similar thing.  Ask politely for them to return it.  Yeah, that’ll show ‘em.   One has to wonder when this actually occurred, and if this information was released specifically to discredit Kerry on the day of his meeting with Lavrov in London.   But that would be strategic messaging, which is part of Information Dominance.   And WE have Information Dominance, dammit!

Our foreign policy is being dictated by nincompoops and imbeciles.  We are screwed.

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Filed under Air Force, Around the web, Defense, history, Iran, obama, planes, Politics, Uncategorized

Hidden Treasure

IMG00228-20140313-1813

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!

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Filed under armor, Artillery, China, Defense, guns, history, Iran, israel, logistics, navy, Personal, Splodey, veterans, war

MORE Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”

iran-coup

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.

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Filed under Around the web, Artillery, Defense, guns, history, Iran, islam, israel, nuclear weapons, obama, Politics, Uncategorized, war

Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”

An Iranian graduate student at Georgia Tech has an apartment with a bunch of Molotov Cocktails in it.  He manages to explode one, burning himself, and dies of his burns.   What’s the FBI’s take?  The same FBI that identified white males who are Veterans who believe in God and the Second Amendment as likely terrorists?   From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Creeping Sharia:

“The FBI has relayed that, to date, they have not developed any information or evidence indicating criminal intent in this investigation.”

Some damned fine law enforcement work there, boys.  Didn’t you fellas handle the Benghazi Consulate “crime scene”, too?

Investigators determined that Akhshabi was not a threat to the Georgia Tech community, Connolly said.

Well, not after he burned himself so badly, no.  And especially not after he died.  But before that?  I dunno, Chief.  I think you need to get your money back from that on-line detective course.

Any theories about why an Iranian military-age man would be building bombs in his apartment?   I may be somewhat obtuse, but I would also require an explanation as to how that does not really constitute evidence indicating criminal intent.   Especially when the State of Connecticut is making newly minted felons of legal firearms owners by passing unconstitutional laws against AR-15s and other rifles.

As the folks at Creeping Sharia point out, Iranians with no terror ties show up in the darnedest of places.  

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Filed under history, Iran, islam, Politics, Splodey, stupid, Uncategorized, veterans, war

Hey Marines! Roll ‘Em Up!

iron mike

USMC recruiting

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
UNCLASSIFIED/
MARADMIN 078/14
MSGID/GENADMIN,USMTF,2007/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS(UC)/F002//
SUBJ/MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORM POLICY CHANGE//
REF/A/MARADMIN/181719ZOCT11//
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!

sleeves

You have a chance to look bad-ass once again.  Make the most of it!

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Filed under guns, history, navy, Uncategorized, veterans, war

Easy Company’s Sergeant “Wild Bill” Guarnere dies at 90

Bill Guarnere with Babe Heffron

Bill Guarnere with Babe Heffron

A sad day and a loss to our country.  NBC from Guarnere’s native Philly has the story.

“He was without a doubt one of the bravest and best soldiers in all of Easy Company,” said Easy Company historian Jake Powers. “He was one of the best combat leaders not only in his company but also the division. If there was a fight going on with the 1st Platoon or 3rd Platoon, Bill would miraculously show up and leave 2nd Platoon to go help. He would ‘march to the sound of gunfire.’ He had no reservations and was just a fearless man in combat.”

Guarnere’s time in the war ended when he lost his right leg while trying to help a wounded soldier. For his efforts during the Brecourt Manor Assault on D-Day, he earned the Silver Star. He later received two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

Men like Bill Guarnere are heroes.  He, and his ilk, will be missed.

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Filed under army, Around the web, history, infantry, veterans, war

“When democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizen still gets a vote”

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.

Sincerely,

Mike Vanderboegh

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.

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It is Difficult to Overstate Our Diplomatic Incompetence

Head in Hands

A resurgent Russia, under a ruthless and savvy autocrat, is flexing its muscles in Eastern Europe.  Communist China is threatening our allies and our interests in the Pacific.  That same Russia and China appear headed for closer relations.  Iran, thanks to the feckless naivete of Obama and Kerry, are poised to have nuclear weapons, with which they have vowed to destroy Israel.  North Korea, in league with that very same Iran, continues to act provocatively, with full approval of the PRC, despite public protestations to the contrary.  The “Arab Spring” has unleashed radical Islamists throughout the region.  Russian influence throughout the Middle East has been exponentially enhanced by America’s “leading from behind” fiasco.  We are without a viable grand strategy, and are slicing our Armed Forces to well below the levels at which we can defend our interests and deter our adversaries.

So what is Secretary of State John Kerry’s “critical mission” in his message to his diplomatic corps?

“Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat,” Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department.

Yep.  Climate change.  America’s foreign policy team is being pushed around and laughed at for the pathetically weak milquetoasts they are.  Our credibility in the world is sinking alarmingly.   Our adversaries and rivals are acting with impunity, virtually without fear of repercussion from what remains (for the time being) the most powerful nation on earth.  Our allies are frantically scrambling to fill the security gap where America once stood.  What strategic leverage we might have, abundant sources of fossil fuel energy, is being deliberately suppressed by these same far-left “environmentalists” in the name of “saving the planet”.

An editorial this Friday in the leftist rag that passes for the local paper here in Upper Valley of Vermont tried to make the argument that somehow Republicans were being disingenuous in claiming Obama to be a strong-arm quasi-dictator on the one hand, while accusing him of being pathetically weak on the other.   Of course, the columnist assiduously avoided the fact that Vladimir Putin (and Rouhani in Iran, Assad in Syria, etc.) is immune to intimidation by Eric Holder, or Lois Lerner, or Kathleen Sibelius.  Foreign policy means dealing with people whom cannot be silenced by Obama being able to sic the apparatus of government upon those who defy him.   Alinsky’s “rules for radicals” work for domestic politics, when opponents are not willing to kill and starve and imprison on a massive scale to achieve their goals.   But ideologues like Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, and Barack Obama are way out of their element in dealing with foreign leaders who understand REAL power.  Leaders who call their bluffs regarding “red lines” and “severe consequences”, and such.  Which results in President Obama “prancing around swinging his purse at Moscow”, as SKK so eloquently expressed.  Putin and Lavrov have shown utter contempt for Obama and Kerry, and it is not difficult to understand why.

So in place of actual statesmanship, John Kerry injects tripe about “climate change”.  (Which used to be “global warming”, if you are keeping score, until far-left environmentalists could no longer obscure the fact that the world was not, in fact, getting warmer.  Not to be confused with “global cooling”, which 40 years ago was the “settled science”, until they could no longer obscure the fact that the world was not, in fact, getting cooler.)  It is not at all clear how a diplomat in an embassy or a consulate can quite go about “elevat(ing) the environment in everything we do”, or how that got to be the job of a diplomat in the first place.  Oh, wait.  Because it was one of John Kerry’s “causes”.

“The environment has been one of the central causes of my life.”

Right.  Along with claiming America was “the world’s monster”, advocating for wealth-redistribution statist socialism, collaborating with our nation’s enemies (worthy of a drone strike?), and fomenting anti-American sentiment wherever he went.    Oh, and avoiding taxes due on his yacht (where he spent significant time during the recent Egypt crisis and then lied about it, by the way).   And jet-setting to any of several multimillion-dollar homes.   No word on whether advancing America’s strategic interests appears anywhere in there.

And it ain’t like his boss drove a Prius to his Florida golf vacation.  Which comes just weeks after his Hawaii golf vacation.

The United States will pay a terrible price for the mind-boggling incompetence resident in the people entrusted with our foreign policy.  They, themselves, the Kerrys and Obamas, the Hillarys, they won’t.  But we will.  It is difficult to overstate that incompetence.  Though, between last week’s appearance on Meet the Press, and this inane memo to our diplomats this week, Kerry seems as if he is sure giving it a try.

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Pritzker Military Museum and Library’s Citizen Soldier: The Big Red One on D-Day

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First Infantry Division Badge.

The 1st Infantry Division has a long and storied unit history in the US Army that begins just before the US involvement in World War 1 and continues to this day with periodic deployments to Afghanistan. “The Big Red One,” as it’s perhaps more commonly known is the oldest division in the US Army.

On 13 March 2014 at 6pm, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, in conjunction with the First Division Museum, is hosting a live televised Citizen Soldier event featuring Paul Herbert, Joseph Balkoski, John C. McManus, and Steven Zaloga. These distinguished military historians will be discussing the 1st ID’s service on D-Day.

Here’s a glimpse of what the 1ID’s experienced on D-Day courtesy of Wikipedia:

When that campaign was over, the division returned to England 5 November 1943[11]:622 to prepare for the eventual Normandy invasion.[2]The First Infantry Division and one regimental combat team from the 29th Infantry Division comprised the first wave of troops that assaulted German Army defenses on Omaha Beach on D-Day[2][13] with some of the division’s units suffering 30 percent casualties in the first hour of the assault,[14] and secured Formigny and Caumont in the beachhead by the end of the day.

Learn more about the event and it’s participants here.

The event cost is $10.00 for non-members and free for members. If you’ll be in the area and would like to attend, purchase tickets now, or if you know someone in the Chicagoland area that would be interested in attending, please pass this along. If you attend, please let them know you heard about the event here.

It should be an interesting event and I’ll be in attendance.

The Big Red One on D-Day will be televised live and available for future viewing on the Museum’s website.

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A US-Japan Littoral Combat Ship Design?

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.

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Cutaway Thursday: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

My all time favorite of the “Century Series” fighters, the first flight of the F-104 was this week, on 4 March 1954. Strangely, it had a relatively short career with the USAF but enjoyed far more success with NATO countries.

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You can learn more here at the International F-104 Society’s webpage.

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Disastrously Delusional- Kerry on “Meet the Press”

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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.

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Cutaway Thursday: Hawker Typhoon

Perhaps better known as the Tiffy to our cousins across the pond, this week, 24 February 1940, to be exact, marked the 74th anniversary of her first flight.

hawkertyphoonibbymaxmil hawkertyphoonmkib1944clLearn more about her here.

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Ten Years Ago Today

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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.

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“You Have No Rights!”

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.

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Going Hollow: The Hagel Preview of the FY2015 Defense Budget

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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.

 

 

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