Saturday, July 30, 2005

Officer - Enlisted "Caste" System

Jack Army has a post running now, generated by a comment to another of his posts. It's not only interesting reading, but something to really think about. How do we differentiate between the two main categories, when officers get detailed technical training in some areas, and enlisted receive assignments to duties that officers had/have been doing.... It's a thinker.... I'm sure there's a lot of smart people who have ideas on not only why we have done it this way, which may have some merit to keepingit, but also there may be a better way to forge into the future...

Friday, July 29, 2005

A Blog Search Engine

Found this. IceRocket for searching blogs. It may come in handy...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Video of "Night Trap" - Welcome to Neptunus Lex's World

Found on A "night trap" (arrested landing) aboard a carrier. If you read Neptunus Lex and wonder what he's talking about in some of his posts, here ya go! If you don't read him, you're missing out on some great stories and commentary from an active duty Naval Aviator. Put him on your daily read list. And no, no one edited out all the other pretty lights in the surrounding area. From my limited experience, I believe the opening shot is not more than a few miles out. See how dim the light are? Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the open posts!

Interesting Comedic Thoughts

Is anyone good with lyrics to put to tried and true tunes? I was just thinking maybe someone could put some words the Stones "Satisfaction" for John Kerry, or maybe Hillary RODHAM-clinton that would be titled "Traction." The words for the chorus would be "I can't get no...political traction!" They just keep spinning their wheels and seem to end up going no where fast. A song might get us in the mood, with the right lyrics, of course. Go for it. I am just the idea man here...

Light Blogging, Heavy Schedule

For those who regularly visit, thank you. I apoligize for the lack of posts, but I have a national conference at Church happening through this weekend, so several "writing periods" have been shifted. I have "Life in the 'Fat Ship' Navy - Part III" close, and need to clean up a longer work titled "'Inspectmansship' vs, 'Getting It'." I know many of you with service time behind you can envision the topic already. I found this link to the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq, during a few minutes of looking at other links on search engines, as I backtracked the searches into my blog. It looks like a good place to see how the progress is coming with training the Iraqis to manage their own internal security issues.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Armor Geddon's newest video...

Neil and the boys have produced another video: "Tanker."'s stills, it's composites, it's video, It's an armor unit in the sandbox....We're talking some serious heavy metal and HEAT!!!! Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hollywood Marine is Almost a Real Marine...

A young man out in LA has been blogging about his impending trip to one of those fine Marine boot camps. He checks in with MEPS tomorrow (7/24/05) for his trip to Boot Camp, schedule to begin at 0400, 7/25/2005. Wish him well (quickly) in the comments. Another young man proud to do the hard work for us.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Liberation of Guam - 61 Years Ago Today

In the island hopping campaigns of the Pacific, there was a combined Army and Marine landing on July 21st, 1944. The Army landed at Asan, north of Orote Point, and the Marines landed at Agat, south of Orote Point. They sliced across the island, then went north and south respectively. Here is a link to the celebration of that event today (well, being as how they are on the other side of the International Date Line, they have already celebrated and gone to bed). I spent a few years there, 3 and a half to be exact, but not then. I was there from 1967-1971. Of note was the morning of July 21st, 1969. I, as many other school children had been following the trip of Apollo 11 closely. Neil Armstrong took his famous step onto the moon the 20th of July that year. I hurried out to get the Guam Daily News the following morning, and much to my dismay, I had to turn to page 4 before I found any mention of the moon landing. The articles and pictures on pages 1 through 3 were all about the 25th Liberation Day festivites. The reason I was on Guam then was my father was a civil servant, then with Navy Civil Engineering, and assigned to the court cases to pay the people of Guam for the land the Corps of Engineers and Seabees had bulldozed into roads to support the liberation of the island. He began working on those cases in 1962, and continued working on them throughout the rest of his government service, into the late 80s. He was the land appraiser who had to compute, based on the actual condition of the land in 1945, what the fair compensation was (which then was adjusted for the tiem the payment occured to compensate for appreciation). I understand what eminent domain issues are as a result of hearing the stories. It was an interesting education in my high school years. Guam was also where I was to write on MK 80 series bombs with a yellow grease pencil, before same were loaded up on B-52Ds at Anderson AFB and flown to that area of unpleasentness in SE Asia. Back then, you had to hike for an hour thru jungle to get to Talafofo Falls. I heard first person stories from sailors, marines and coasties about Vietnam. It was an interesting experience. In my research on Cpl Desmond T. Doss regarding his winning of the Medal of Honor on Okinawa a few months earlier, he also was part of the Invasion of Guam. Thanks, Mudville Gazette for Open Posting! and the "mudslides" that follow. Thanks, Eagle1, for fact checking me and catching my error (it's 61 years ago, not 60).....

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Asymetry of the GWoT - Is It Really New to Us?

Over on one of my favorite blog hangouts, Right Thinking Girl, there was a post rhetorically questioning the response to a nuke going off in the US as part of the WoT. Nothing is rhetorical on RTG, and some threads rage for days. If you're in the mood for a good debate, head over to see what's cooking there. I pondered the point for a moment and then posted my first response. a few of the regulars chimed in on the "gimme some of that old Hiroshima GLOW" side of the argument. I don't think a nuke at the shrine would do the right thing. Anyhow, this became the first stage of putting words to something I have been pondering for a few years.
"We are in a world of unknowns. The seemingly tired phrase from Vietnam about "no front lines" was a simplistic anaology back then, but, as recently London has been a victim of it's own "upstanding citizens," we are in uncharted waters. This war, while "insurgencies" may have existed before, they didn't have the access to thermo-nuclear devices from the now defunct Soviet Bloc, which even in their "low yield" capacity can do damage for centuries, let alone anthrax and other "bugs and gas" type stuff, which is nasty, but containable in time and space much easier (from a clinical view, from the victims view, it's horrific). When the Evil Empire was a fixed set of geographic points, this enemy, fighting a battle over the territory of the mind (you must accept their ideology), is unlike any war that has been. Nuking Mecca sure sounds like an immediate gratification, but FTM29 may have a more practical solution... Bottom line: I think we are, as a human race, so uncompletely prepeared for this type of conflict, even our great thinkers, such as Eliot Cohen (who was the Dean at War College when I attended) is at a loss for how to proceed. Not only is he a brilliant thinker, he has just seen his son, an Army Captain, ship out for the Middle East. He is invested in this war at many levels. Here are his most recent thoughts on the entire matter. Profound to the core of his thoughts and worth your time. I'm stumped, but then I'm not even a chem light of intensity compared to the smarts of Professor Cohen. This war is being waged and fought in many dimensions of the human experience, and I fear we have not entered all the battlefields. "Winning the hearts and minds" is another Vietnam concept that needs a lot more investigation, but I believe we must go there. I just got my copy of "Our Own Worst Enemy" by William Lederer yesterday ($0.99 plus shipping!) I'm thinking there's some bits of wisdom in there I need to re-read. H&Ms is not a lame effort, it's a viable strategy, which the Marines began looking into in the Central American campaigns at the opening of the 1900s. They wrote the Small Wars Manual, which discusses how to interact with the local populace in order to show them you're there to help. On the other hand, we were kinda in Central America for the big fruit guys....:( "
I managed to get away from my desk to do some work, and while I did, it came to me that we have "been here" before, and, in fact, are there now. I returned to RTG's comment section and then posted this:
"After thinking about this a little more, we are seeing this same model right now: The War on Drugs. Different "weapons" are being delivered, it used to be a organized crime controlled environment (which had some definable boundaries of the organizations). Then the "cartels" arose, which would be going from the bi-polar power model, to the multi-polar model of powerful entities. So far, so good...manageable in it's understood environment. Next came every Tom, Dick, and Harry, who saw there was big profits to be made hopped in as sort of "independent contractors" in a free form economic model. As a result, the defined "enemy" became one on every street corner. They are the jahadi equivalents. Amsterdam may be a comparison for the middle eastern cities that harbor terrorists, and allow them to freely exercise their thoughts in the open. We have been trying to successfully take this on using the military, law enforcement, border control entities and also public health organizations. So far, we have made headway, but it is an ongoing battle, with no end in sight... I'm gonna have to think on this some more....just as with the terrorists, it went from country based armies, to just anyone who wants to get in on the act, sanctioned or not, by the control "agency" at the top of the chain of command...and our own citizens wage the war...also with ACLU on their side...mmmmm..interesting cross connect....Not only that, but Europe is a fertile environment for the drug trade as well...another connection.
As far back as 1982, my military assignments had me directly interacting with the drug war. I often thought over all those years how the drug trade seemed to have been a illegal business for much of modern history, but there were the entities such as the Mafia, that did "manage" the trade. I'll admit, I haven't taken any dedicated time to study the history of this topic, and my knowledge is essentially exclusively derived from situations where the drug trade interjected itself into the world of military history. I'm striking out here in my limited commentary. Anyhow, "competition" arose and other big players entered the market. After a while, then many "little people," as we are inclined to do after an unagreed to apprenticeship, leave the "company" employ, now empowered with sufficient knowledge to start up our own business in the trade. I firmly believe the big guys in the "management" shop lost control It has become a free-for-all market, so, much as like th GWoT, there sure isn't a central building where the head cheese sits. Which government does Osama work for? I believe our actions that show people that democracy, or at least that modeled into a look alike to our system, and that the Middle East, and other parts of the globe, will come along, merely because we have something special, that they want, also. IN the same vein, then I added this:
"A study of the manner in which Bismark unified Germany has some good lessons on how to make your enemy your friend. He did it from the position of strength. He was known to let von Moltke "show his stuff," but only until the point had been made clear. A particular campaign into Denmark is a good case in point and I don't have access to "On War" right this moment to dig up the one I'm thinking of. To use a large warhead, or, like if you shoot "one" you're really sending 10 (it's a missile design thing) is pretty much an overkill. While there are not moderate Muslims, there are many, as with Christians and Jewish people who claim the religion, but don't spend much time really getting to know the faith. I attribute the lack of "moderate Muslim" response due to those who don't really practice it except for show, then life a pretty regular life otherwise. To nuke a city (and one of our nukes is good enough to do that), would truly risk putting much of the world against us. Unlike the surrender of the Japanese, where their culture held the Emperor as a god, and therefore to get him to come around was to get the Japanese to stop their aggression, the jihadis are still many splinter group with only the hate of all of the modern world connecting them. No central figure to pressure..."
It's a thorny issue. I think I have found a proper corollary to the war without borders in the form of the GWoT, without excess hyperbole. Maybe we can look at the two wars in order to help fight each of them to a successful conclusion. As the ending note, I've always bben a cynic when it comes to believing that Congress would ever let the law enforcement and military get serious about winning the war on drugs, for most of them are lawyers, and I know a great deal of defense money is being made for their professional peers, so we'll just be allowed to play at ending it, but never turned loose to get 'er done. And, there you have it. One man's views. Maybe I'm off the mark, but maybe not.

I Was Just Curious - What if It Wasn't Rove?

Just the idle stream of consciousness tonight: If it turns out the disclosure of the non-undercover CIA office worker Valrie Plame turns out to be a disclosure by a journalist and not the strategic master Karl Rove, will the Democratic Congressmen call for the reporters, and their editorial staff be prosecuted under the law that they wanted Karl ROve tried under? I am not holding my breathe on this one, but suspect they will wake up, read the law, and find out their media friends didn't meet the elements of the law. Just my thoughts.... I think just like the Tom Delay travel debacle, it's going to get all quiet on the HBM side of the equation, really soon.

Life in the "Fat Ship" Navy - Part II

Part I is here.. Part III is here.. Part IV is here.. Part V is here.. A nod from the Captain lets me know, as he points at the stations a few decks below, that he is granting permission to tension the rigs, as he begins speaking to the CO of NIMITZ on a handset. I tell the Conning Officer to pass the word on tensioning to the Bridge watch team. The JOOD lifts the handset to his mouth, holding it jauntily with the ear piece pointing down, he keys the push to talk switch and parrots my direction. Hearing the acknowledgement of the tensioning on the amplified speaker on the bridge wing bulwark, I then turn to the bridge-to-station sound powered phone talker standing near the CO’s chair on the bridge wing. He is a Yeoman 3rd class. I simply say to him: "Permission granted to tension stations 4 and 10." He repeats my words. His job is to just be a mouthpiece and not a thinker. He passes requests and directions verbatim. It’s certainly not because he is unintelligent, for he is an excellent sailor, but in this assignment for UNREP Detail, it is the responsibility of the officers and rig captains to control and manage all that occurs. The YN3 is therefore protected from any responsibility for anything that goes wrong, provided he does not "edit" the communications flowing from three decks below to the command station of the Bridge and back. The Captain greets the CO of NIMITZ, as the two are now able to talk on a sound powered telephone circuit line that is part of the phone and distance line. The phone and distance line is stretched between the ships, with canvas markers spaced every 20 feet. There is a specific color sequence for the distance flags hanging down, as well as each of them having the measurement labeled on them. GRYBWG is the sequence. Green, red, yellow, blue, white and green indicate 0, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 feet respectively, then the pattern of colors repeats. At night, chemlights are rigged for visibility, but in days gone by, single celled flashlights were attached to the markers. On the foc’sle, the phone and distance line is hand tended by line handlers, never being attached to one of the deck edge cleats. They heave in or pay out the line to keep the first green marker over the lifeline. The first discussion the two CO’s have is an important safety briefing. My Captain reads the pre-planned actions in the event that an emergency breakaway needs to be done. "We de-tension the span wires, then you trip the pelican hooks…" is heard. The CV CO acknowledges the reading of the checklist. Then the two get to making sure we are providing everything they need while alongside. Customer service is an inherent skill developed by our ship’s company. Our job is to keep them steaming. Carrying 6 million gallons of Diesel Fuel, Marine (DFM), also designated as F-76 in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) supply system, 2 million gallons of JP-5 jet fuel (F-44 in NATO terms), 600 tons of ordnance, a mountain of spare parts, and equipped with two cargo refrigerators and a cargo chill box, there’s plenty of chow and "FFV" (fresh fruits and vegetables) the fleet relies on us to deliver. The Supply Department is headed by a middle grade "Chop," which is short for "Pork Chop," a routine nickname for any supply officer, but particularly for us, the Supply Officer himself. His assistant is the “Lamb Chop,” and then the guy who handles the disbursing, Ship’s Store, barber shop and laundry is just the "DISBO," short for Disbursing Officer. These three officers keep the internal and external customers loaded out, fed and in clean clothes, and also have the tremendous responsibility of the accountability for millions of dollars of inventory items. The Chop and Lamb Chop are fully involved on the weather decks with the deck crews handling lines and running the winches. Dressed out in their bulky orange kapoks life jackets and hard hats, they wander the decks, checking the pallets for the proper spray painted striping they use to keep the deliveries separated. Consulting their papers on their clipboards, they communicate with each other and the storekeepers with walkie-talkies. I step into the bridge, reach around the bulkhead near the CO’s inside chair, then punch the button in on the 21MC “bitch box” for the Helo Control Tower. "Roll out 06." In the helo tower, one of the HC-6 helo detachment pilots is perched on a high stool in the small glassed in tower. He won’t be flying today. With 6 pilots assigned for the two CH-46D logistics helos, one gets a break, one gets the tower and four of them get to fly from the deck of a moving vessel. (to be continued) Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the open post!

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Judge Who Knows What a Terrorist Is....

Found on Little Green Footballs in the comments section. A judge who gets it way right:
"January 30, 2003 United States vs. Reid. Judge Young: Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you. On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive with the other. That's 80 years. On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines. The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statues. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court , where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice, you are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense Trooper Santigo had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and he said you're no big deal. You're no big deal. What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know. It seems to me you hate the one thing that is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We are about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden, pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice. See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. You know it always will. Custody Mr. Officer. Stand him down."
Amen! Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Posts!

Tony Snow Just Said It....

The "background noise" this morning is Tony Snow....just a few moment moments ago Tony called the "professional" media the: "Has Been Media".... Could it be you heard it here first? :)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Life in the "Fat Ship" Navy - Part I

or: Moving Bullets, Beans and Black Oil - Part I In the style of Neptunus Lex in his Rhythms series of posts, here is an account of a "UNREPs" (Underway Replenishments) from the other side....If you're not familiar with his series of posts, chase his "previous" links back to the beginning of his series and read them all. They protray a very real picture of what happens "out there." Upodate 8/4/2005: Part II is here.. Part III is here.. Part IV is here.. Part V is here.. And, now on with the show... Settled in on base course and speed, the USS MILWAUKEE (AOR-2) steamed at 12 knots on a southerly course in the North AFWTF (Atlantic Fleet Weapons Traing Facility) Operating Area north of Puerto Rico. Flying half way up on the outboard halyards, both port and starboard, are the "R" or "ROMEO" signal flags, signalling the crew is still making preparations to receive vessels alongside while moving. OOD: "XO, the Replenishment at Sea Checklist is Complete. OOD: "Request permission to receive ships alongside port and starboard." XO: "Standby. Captain, the checklist in complete. Request permission to commence UNREP" CO: "Granted!" XO: "OOD, permission granted to commence UNREP. Pass the word." OOD: "Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch: Pass the word 'Standby to receive ships port and starboard, at stations 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11 and 12!'" BMOW: "Aye, aye, Sir!" The BMOW flips on all circuits and sounds "attention" followed by "all hands" on his bos’n pipe, the verbatim announces the order into the General Announcing System (1MC) microphone. The crew all about the ship shift their attention to the detailed evolution that is to follow. Standing half in, half out of the port bridge wing door, I glance aft at the starboard bow of the NIMITZ Class aircraft carrier. They are holding in “Waiting Station” astern of us, offset to our port side. Despite the safe distance, she seems very close. I look to the port bridgewing and see the Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) is standing with his left arm wrapped around the gyro repeater, his head tilted so he can quickly check the Ship’s course, yet not take his glance from ahead of the Ship for more than a few almost immeasurable moments, certainly less than a second. His binoculars hang from his neck, a MC handset in his hand, feet planted firmly. Looking inside the bridge, the Helm Safety Officer is standing diligently behind the Helmsman and Lee Helmsman, a set of sound powered phones on his head, with one ear piece pushed back behind his ear. His right hand clutches the mouthpiece, holding the metal plate away from his chest, the rubber mouthpiece about an inch from his lips, with his index finger poised over the button he will push to talk to Main Control and After Steering, if the need arises in an emergency. I step out fully onto the port wing of the Bridge and look up to the next deck. "Sigs, Close up ROMEO port and starboard!" "Aye, Sir!" comes back, as the petty officer at the flag bag gives a takes the line off the belaying pin for the outer halyard and smartly hand over hands the line until the ROMEO signal flag is raised to the yardarm. "Sigs, stand by the restricted maneuvering signal." "Aye, aye, Sir!" I scan between the UNREP rig posts, looking back to the area of the starboard quarter. The aft superstructure obscures my view of the waiting destroyer, but I know she is also patiently waiting her turn for a "drink." I look at the halyards of the CV, her ROMEO is still "dipped." The BMOW calls that the Aft Lookout reports the destroyer is commencing her approach to starboard. "Pass the word 'The SPRUANCE is Commencing her approach to starboard!'" "Captain, the SPRUANCE is coming along side." "Very Well." I see the CV is raising her ROMEO to her yardarm now. "Captain, the NIMITZ is beginning her approach." "Roger!" “Boats, the NIMITZ is commencing her approach to port!” The announcements of each of these two events is passed and the crew heightens their alertness. The replenishment rig crews, wearing kapok inherently buoyant orange lifejackets, construction style hard hats, stand in a line at parade rest, facing outboard. Their bell bottom trouser legs have all been turned around their ankles and secured in their socks above the top of their “boondockers.” The adjustment straps of the life jackets are similarly secured, keeping the long, loose ends tucked away for safety. The color of the plastic helmets indicate the responsibility of the men at the rigs. Some also wear long sleeved flight deck jerseys under their life jackets to further identify them to our crew, and to the crews that will be facing them from about 160 feet away in just a few minutes. Messenger lines are snaked out on the deck near the crew, neatly “faked” for ease of use. The gunner’s mate in the red jersey holds an M-14 on his hip, a seemingly strange attachment, looking like a beer can with the end cut off is mounted on the barrel. Protruding from this “beer can” like arrangement is a large plastic projectile, the steel rod attached to it hidden in the barrel, and a small piece of orange line connects this contraption with a spool on the deck beside the gunner’s mate. Forklifts run down the center of the rolling deck delivering palletized material to the replenishment stations. "Sir, Aft lookout reports the bow of the SPRUANCE has crossed our stern." "Pass the word: The Ship is now in restricted maneuvering." "Aye, Aye, Sir!" With this word being passed, pre-planned actions change. No longer are we a single entity in a big blue ocean. Our 40,000 tons of steel, fuel, bombs, bullets, chow and spare parts is now caged in. The Engineer and his Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW), know if a casualty to the propulsion plant occurs, they are required to keep us moving, even if it means sacrificing some of the extremely costly machinery, until the Captain and the rest of the ship’s control personnel can get the ship into a condition where the engineers are free to make decisions to save the plant. The radar operators and lookouts become more vigilant for traffic that may normally require the ship to maneuver, but now has the right of way. On hearing this word, the signalman briskly hoists the black "ball – diamond – ball" set of "day shapes" to the yard arm. Regardless, some civilian vessels are poorly manned and don’t pay attention, so an early decision may have to be made to do an emergency breakaway from the replenishment in order to avoid a collision. "The NIMITZ has crossed our stern!" I look to the starboard side and can now see the bow of the SPRUANCE passing Station 7. "Boats: Pass the word on topside: On the SPRUANCE, Welcome alongside USS MILWAUKEE. Standby to receive shot lines fore and aft!" The XO, perched in the starboard bridge wing chair, passes orders to the starboard unrep stations via his bridge to station sound powered telephone talker. He is in control of the routine operation of that side of the ship. The Captain is busy scanning the starboard side to the NIMITZ as she moves forward at about 5 knots relative speed. 40K tons. His eyes are alert for seemingly minor shifts in the bow of the CV as she closes. As the bow of the NIMITZ came abeam our stern, there is a suction action that occurred. In this case, the our stern is more likely to be pulled in the direction of the CV, as they outweigh us by about 10K tons more than we displace. Our helmsman, supervised by two sets of eyes, will compensate for the interaction. The SPRUANCE, on the starboard side, will have her bow pulled towards us. Her helmsman and bridge watch team will adjust accordingly. The whine of the SPRUANCE’s LM-2500 engines slows, as she settles alongside, matching, within feet, the position of her fueling stations to ours. A shot rings out, followed by another as the forward and aft gunner’s mate fire the blanks that then propel the plastic tipped projectile, that trails the shot line. The small orange line arcs up and over to the destroyer, a mere 120 ft away. Station crews on both vessels break ranks and get to work. Line handlers tend the outgoing shot line and then attach it to the messenger. On the SPRUANCE, a group of line handlers heave around in unison, quickly getting the messenger aboard. "Boats, welcome the NIMITZ. They will shoot to us." "On the NIMITZ. Welcome alongside USS MILWAUKEE. We are ready to receive your shot lines fore and aft!" "Sigs, Strike ROMEO port and starboard!" "Aye, aye!" "Sir, Fuel Control Central wants to know how much JP NIMITZ needs." "CIC, Bridge. Get out the RAS message, confirm the amount of JP from NIMITZ and then call Fuel Control." "Roger." More shots ring out, but this time the shot lines fly across our deck and the line handlers scramble to recover them. They find the end, and attach it to the messenger line. At Station 4, a fueling station, the rig captain tells his signalman to give the "heave around" signal to the NIMITZ. The signalman begins circling his green paddle in front of him. The CV crew hauls in the line. I walk between the two sides of the ship, usually through the pilot house. My eyes scan a myriad of places, ones I don’t even have to consciously think about much anymore. My ears are tuned to the sound of the radio and internal circuit. The scan is both to ensure the normal operation of so many things, and primed to react to anything out of the ordinary. A quick conscious glance at the chart. Our UNREP course is pointing us at Puerto Rico, but it is still a ways off just now. Dropping my face to look into the hood over the AN/SPA-4 radar repeater, as my hand grasps for the ever present yellow or white grease pencil tucked in between the bezel of the repeater and the intensity control knobs. Then my hand pushes into the hood through the flap and I place a small dot of grease over the current position of each contact, our formation ships, and the “skunks.” I then connect the new dots with the prior dots for each contact. Most of the formation ships are in the same relative spot. Other unidentified, assumed friendly, contacts are tracking so as to be well clear of us at their "CPAs" (closest point of approach). I then deliberately, but quickly concentrate on the overall picture, focusing on the place right behind the sweep of the AN/SPS-10 surface search radar, looking for new contacts. My ears remain scanning the many audio signals around me. Things are normal. Standing upright from my hunched over position, I look forward, out the windows and ahead of the ship. Our escorts patrol ahead of us. A LAMPS Mk I SH-2F helo skims low over the water on our starboard bow, heading parallel, and opposite to our course, offset about 500 feet. From the starboard wing, I hear the XO’s phone talker, one of the ship’s yeoman, say to the Exec: "Request permission to tension the span wire forward on SPRUANCE." The XO raises his voice against the moderate wind and says: "OOD, tensioning forward!" "Permission granted to tension forward." He says to his talker. Announce, loud enough to be heard in the entire pilot house: "Tensioning forward, starboard side!" The helm safety officer repeats the message verbatim into his sound powered phones, informing both main control and aftersteering of the current conditions. The helmsman focuses closely on his gyro repeater, and notices a slight course change to the right. He compensates with a well practiced hand on the large ship’s wheel. This cycle for the after connected fueling station on SPRUANCE repeats in quick succession. I walk to the port wing, and stand next to the JOOD, looking at the massive ship alongside us, having to look slightly up to the flight deck level. We are almost completely full of the 6 million gallons of F-76 diesel fuel, and 2 millions gallons of JP-5 jet fuel. We are drawing every bit of our designed 40’ of draft. "Sir, request permission to commence pumping to SPRUANCE." "Standby. Captain, we’re ready to pump to SPRUANCE." "Commence pumping to SPRUANCE." "Permission granted to commence pumping to SPRUANCE." Dolphins are riding the bow wave of the NIMITZ. About 180 feet from me, a pod of these mammals are not only keeping pace with the ship, they burst ahead, leaping clear of the water. Sometimes they barrel roll while airborne. Using the hydrodynamics of the water pushed ahead of the bulbous bow of the CV, they don’t appear to be using much energy, unless they are launching themselves into the air. That’s when you see the exaggerated movements of their tails, otherwise, they are just cruising. I look inboard and up. One of the signalmen is doing semaphore without flags to the signal bridge on the NIMITZ. He breaks into a big smile and chuckles. Sometimes, you just didn’t want tot ask what that was about. PRITAC comes to life with the screen commander sending a delayed executive coded message to CONYNGHAM from her screening station to lifeguard station on us, flowed with direction to JOHN KING to prepare to move to waiting station starboard on us. Both ships roger for the messages. SPRUANCE doesn’t need much fuel today, and we are only passing one pallet of 5"/54 caliber BLP projectiles (Blank load and plugged non-explosive rounds, used for practice shoots) to her. She should be alongside only about 30 minutes. The “skunks” are still tracking safely away from us. The sky is clear, the seas low, and the breeze across the decks fresh smelling. So far, just another day at the office. "OOD, the helo tower requests permission to roll out zero – 6." "Captain, CO of NIMITZ is on the line for you." "Request permission to tension Station 4 and 10!" (to be continued) Thanks for the Open Posting at Mudville Gazette.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Von Clausewitz, Centers of Gravity, John Kerry, et al, and Karl Rove

The entire issue of “FIRE KARL ROVE!!!” seemed to evaporate last night. I’ll tell you, if I was a reasonably smart person in the Democratic Party now, I think I’d have to give my party affiliation a serious moment of thought. More on that later. Von Clausewitz brought into the lexicon the concept of “centers of gravity” (hereafter a “COG”). Here’s a comment on his definition found here:
Perhaps most important was the idea of focusing one's military efforts against the enemy's "center of gravity" ("Schwerpunkt"), which has become an important concept in American doctrine. Clausewitz's use of this term is problematic, however. He often used it in very general terms to mean something like "the main thing" or "the key point at issue."
The Democrats are after President Bush. That’s no secret. These past few weeks, they have focused on the COG of Karl Rove. Good move, they have found a “main thing” without a doubt. If they can topple him, I presume the Democrats believe they will see a major degradation of the Republican’s strategic planning. This could work. If you’re going after a COG, realize the “enemy” will know those pressure points and defend them. Plan a viable strategy to accomplish your mission. This brings up a number of points. First off, many middle grade and senior officers of the armed forces are sent to the various war colleges around the nation, as well as abroad to learn about von Clausewitz and his concepts of warfare. It sure would be nice to have some of those people in your pocket when you wage any type of war, be it business or political. The Democrats have long viewed military members as people who are not intelligent enough to come to the table, and therefore, they don’t seem to be able to attract “the best and the brightest” when they have to hang up their uniforms. That seriously limits the understanding of planning and executing a strategic plan. Add to this a tendency to see Democratic types spending more time getting to understand domestic and social programs. That would be another strike in the score card, because of the lack of exposure to those types of situations where strategic “war fighting” would be experienced and therefore understood better. That being said, and back to my earlier comment regarding reviewing your party membership, the Democrats can identify the Republican COGs, but their assaults are virtual banzai attacks. A few months back, while putting Tom Delay in the cross hairs, it appears the Democrats had somehow forgotten to load their weapons with live ammo, and not just paintballs. How embarrassing to stand up and demand someone’s resignation and find out many members of Congress were also not reporting their paid for travel activities per the regulations. Open mouth, insert foot and chew, then repeat. Notice how quiet it got before many Democrats should have been called out to resign? Same thing just happened with Karl Rove. It seems a journalist made the first move, let alone we find out now Valerie Plame made a point to make sure her neighbors knew about her employment long ago, and that she wasn’t any kind of undercover operative at all. With so many lawyers in Congress, how did they miss checking the “charges” against the “elements of the offense?” I learned that one as a collateral duty legal officer aboard a ship. More paint balls fired, lots of angry voices, but…the republican COG is still alive and well. Actually, I think it’s ironic that the defense of the charge was mostly just done by letting the truth that the journalistic organizations, who also show a marked bias against the sitting president caused their own failure. I say again: It’s tough to fight when you pretty well let people who do know how feel like they are incapable of hanging around with you. Sort of like when the Democrats opened their eyes after last September and proclaimed “We have to find out what these ‘values’ are!” Taking out COGs is a large undertaking, yet it’s rewards are dramatic if you succeed. You have to mount an effective campaign, and match your weapons to the target. Also make sure you know your enemy well. Don’t go at it half baked. Associated with this entire issue is one of the extreme hypocrisy of the Democratic party. John Kerry specifically said Karl Rove should go, even if he is found innocent (funny, he wasn’t even charged with any crime). Extend this as though you just got some insight into the strategic thinking of the man who may have become our President. It never works when your main weapon against your enemy is a microphone used liberally at a press conference, to ask you enemy to just dismantle their COG, because you want them to. I’d argue you can demand they destroy the COGs themselves, but only after you have shown them the capabilities of your armed forces. Peace through superior firepower. It’s been proven across history, that negotiations from a position of strength are exceptionally effective. I’d be inclined to believe John Kerry would have considered the power of words to be his most effective weapon, had he made it into the White House. I submit someone with only junior officer service is ill-equipment by the virtues of that alone, to be considered a strategically minded person. Another extension of this issue is the amount of evidence the Democrats were using to ask a man to end a career. Effectively, they said there didn’t even have to be any evidence at all, that he should just resign. Square this with the fervent calls from the Democrats, led by John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid, for the President to beyond a shadow of a doubt, prove explicitly that there were WMDs and that Saddam Hussien had everything to do with terrorists. Hypocrisy in large neon, flashing lights comes to mind. How can lawyers not get one iota of this disconnect? All they are doing is demonstrating outwardly that they have no plans on how to get anything done. If they can’t mount an effective assault to regain the Presidency, I submit they are unable to plan any strategy to defend this nation, let alone taking a stab at leadership in any arena. I suspect some Democratic Party members are thinking, for the Democratic party is losing political seats. If the National Democrats march out on any more campaigns against their last two, all they can hope to win is irrelevance. Thanks, Mudville Gazette!

A Story Within a Story - Heroism Times 2

I'm glad to see Grey Eagle of A Female Soldier back again. I say back, because I was regularly reading the blog of this 35 YO mother who enlisted in the Army because she wanted to do something for her country. I really have to admire a peson that old, an especially someone with plenty of real world considerations to not volunteer, who just puts up their right hand and then makes sure she'll be carrying a serious responsibility along in the midst of the fighting. A few months back, my link quit working to her blog. I was afraid she had decided with the upper level scrutiny that she just packed it in rather than register her "place of business." She's back at the link above. This morning, a picture with the caption "Charlie's Angels" (three female medics assigend to C Company) cuaght my eye. By clicking on each of their names below the picture, you get a one page story about them. All three are good reads. More real world input to who is making us safe and what they do. The one for Sgt. Angela Magnuson had something very impressive in it in the form of the testimony of a dying man. Not his words, but his actions.
"His name was Spc. James Holmes. But to those who knew him, he was affectionately called "Tugboat" because he was a large man who would pull his load and then some."
While Sgt Magnuson tried to bandage his wounds from an IED attack, he was pulling more than his fair share, by helping her help him, despite being mortally wounded. I invite you to take a few minutes and read about one more hero who is no longer here, but sets a fine example for those of us left behind. Thanks to Mudville Gazette Open Posts!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Helping Those Entering the Service

Sorry for the lack of posts, but... The Boss is gone, the swamp is full and alligators are plentiful. Her daughter completed Vet School a few weeks back and is now at her intro to wearing a uniform as a veternarian. It has been rewarding to be able to pass on the gouge about detailers (or as you Army people call them: Career Management Advisors or some PC thing like that...Flesh Peddlers does it for me..), how to see where the "extra" money is hidden in enroute schooling PCS orders, advice on stuff like "you better hit the road and break in those boots, because some sergeant is gonna have a ball yelling at Officers like you soon," who to talk to to get storage authorized for a longer period than routine for free, etc, etc. You get the point... I did hose the new Captain over a little: I showed mom the DoD site with pay scales, complete with BAS/BAQ/VHA lists for her PCS area. I also read the PCS orders and showed mom where another $100/month propay will show up on the LES. Thanks to the Race for the Moon, a small calculator quickly did the math and suddenly, the request for a new laptop wasn't looked upon so kindly, not for someone instantly making O-3 pay with 4 Yrs/0 Months... :) You know, it has been a few conversations like that that have helped smooth out some mis-understandings and complete (not in a bad way) ignorance of the system. I grew up around the military, as the son of a civil servant who likd to travel. Naturally, most places we lived had significant military presense. I was "schooled" from way back, along with becoming a pin cushion at the Sand Point Naval Air Staion clinic at the ripe old age of 7 years old. Rasing my hand and putting on the uniform didn't hold a lot of basic mysteries for me. I now live were there are a very small percentage of military people. The kids don't have too many places to go to get the day to day simple stuff, which has become second nature to vets, even if it was only a 4 year hitch. Take a moment to help out that new kid heading off to boot camp, or OCS, or ROTC, or the Academies. Give them a few groups on the real stuff that makes a difference in getting in the groove quickly. Gouge is generous with it. Thanks to Mudville Gazette Open Posts!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

OPSEC - It's Still Important

Operational Security (OPSEC). Important stuff for the Cold War, and even today. PatriotVoices has a great post on the topic, taking us back to another time (at least for us older ones who had to face the "Evil Empire" while wearing a uniform. I concur with that post and vouch for it's accuracy. The bad guys had incredible intelligence gathering organizations, and even if today's enemy doesn't have those resources, they have the web. It's a great aggregator of info.... While we make our posts, the world reads them. It's quite satisfying to get a good comment. Good doesn't mean as in how wonderful a post was (yep, those are nice), but one that adds to the issue, or corrects an error, or critically debates the info, (debate here meaning what the ancient Greeks would recognize as debate, not just a bunch of personal opinions presented with truth). As the posts propagate out via trackbacks and links sent around by others to friends and associates, more information on the topic can be aggregated. In a dedicated intelligence collecting environment, this becomes powerful. By accident it the same thing can happen. This morning I saw this very example. The topic is the physics and chemistry of state changes of water, but it you read the post and comments, you'll follow my point. I found the post via the Open Post for 7/8/2005 on Mudville Gazette. Ma Deuce Gunner posted a science question Friday 7/8/2005 @ 6:31PM (I assume that's sandbox time). At 8:25 PM, Owen had answered the question, with a correction to the actual naming by John of the phenomena by 4:43 AM 7/9. That is some serious application of knowledge in my view. Think for a moment how a moment of typed pondering of any one of the Milbloggers, regardless of when we served, might have a similar effect? Consider a situation where the comments were not fed back to the author, but to others who could use the description of a tactical concept to their advantage. It's like the breaking of atomic can light up a city, or decimated it. Same principle, different logic behind the application. We know the military is a plodding beaurarcy, and some things don't change. We also know the basics of warfare haven't changed from it's very beginnings, but then many of us have been present when some new tactical or strategic concept came to be. Some us may have been actively involved in the birthing of something that made the organization more militarily effective. Some times, it's the assemblage of several old, well known concepts that make a new tactical break through. Just before WWI, some german scientists came up with a process to create fertilizer. It was expensive and the process shelved. When WWI came along, and the sea lines of communications were restricted and bird guano, rich in nitrates and used in the production of explosives, as well as being used on the farms was cut off, the process was pulled of the shelf, so explosives could be made...The 1 year supply of natural nitrates in 1914 should have limited Germany's ability to fight any longer than that. Application of an old idea killed many of the youth of Europe and the US for four years, thanks to modern living thru chemistry. A few years ago, a couple of math guys speculated the we are all connected to each other by at most, six people, hence the concept of "Six Degrees of Separation." The business world knows of this and I have a friend who has leveraged off this concept, and while he is a civilian, with military like efficiency. Using a network, intentionally, or unintentionally, yields a large amount of information quickly. Throw in the ability to search the web, once you have been "tipped off" for other knowledge on the subject. While I was in the Navy, there seemed to be a constant low level battle waged about what had to go into the "burn bag." Some said all naval messages, regardless of classification, others said only classified ones. Given the massive stack of paper I routinely dealt with in my operations department tours, and having been the communications officer, I thought it far too easy for a classified message (of which many were Confidential, could accidentally end up in a trash can, mixed with the unclassified ones, so I preferred the burn bag for messages. Those who had to store the many red and white striped bags, and those who had to actually take them to the shore based incinerators, disliked that idea. Both sides of the battle had legitimate reasons for their choices. There are things I have great sea stories about, and some of the things have come out in open source, but I still refrain. Summary; It's a double edged sword out here with information on the web. Be mindful of what you post

Technical Break - Really Slick Screen Savers!

Morning surfing trackedthese screen savers down... Netscape had a link to LifeHacker, which is a help site....looks like lots of good stuff there, too.

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Strategic and Tactical Analysis of al-Qaeda

Or: What do the terrorists, the Japanese in WWII, cell phones, CAP actions in Vietnam and recent Army recruiting woes have in common... Point of Pondering #1. As I sat in traffic today, a few things came to mind that may be the reason we are seeing some shifts in the attack patterns of al-Qaeda this past few months. I guess the thinking on the topic began with this post over on Chapomatic's blog. It was a one-liner, which ends with:
"That much effort indicates to me that these guys don’t currently have usable WMD."
That struck me as not necessarily correct under the circumstances, so I left this comment:
"or…alternatively, they still think they may not be ready to be completely exterminated, after being hunted down like rabid dogs. They may see this “level of violence” can still get them a pass from those who keep saying it’s all illegal. I’d bet even the nay sayers, well, maybe half of them, would come around to GWB’s view and measures as acceptable if a dirty bomb, or bio/chem agents are released…which would put the polls at about 75% saying “kill the bums!” Kind of hard to say there isn’t a “mandate” when your polls are that high…the gloves would come off at that point, and I suspect they know they cannot stand a full court press. A real, no kidding WMD, complete with destruction of “Biblical proportions,” would most likely shift the World’s opinions completely against them. (I’m no intel guy, but) The exact opposite of this briefing may not be discounted…. "
These terrible, yet small scale attacks, we have been seeing are noteworthy in that they hits the media like the tsunami last Dec 26th, and get the attention up, yet the outward sentiment of the world still stays latched on the "Bush Lied, People Died" and "Where are the WMDEEEEEEEEESSSSSS???????" themes. As I noted above, I think the use of a WMD, of any degree, would suddenly cause a reaction they know they can't afford. Point of pondering #2: Until the comment today about how the London bombs appeared to have all been triggered by cell phones, I hadn't really stopped to think about the fact that this is a common tactic of the terrorists in Iraq right now. The news reports of the military finding a bomb or IED making lab, usually in a house somewhere, contains cell phones in the listing of materials found. One picture I saw a few months back was a soldier's hand holding a cell phone with the annotation "1 Missed Call" on the phone's LCD. The phone had wires hanging out of it that weren't for better reception. They use this triggering tactic regularly. Why the interest in the cell phones? Well, simple. If you see the masses, or the attendees at the videoed beheadings, there is usually plenty of indication they are willing to die for Allah. We have repeatedly heard, and can find it supported in the Koran, that to die in a declared holy war for Allah will get you admitted to paradise. If that's the case, we know jihad has been declared in about 4 hundred and eleven different ways against "The Crusaders" (which would literally include England, and never did include the United States of America, as were just hadn't found the place yet), so why are they not lining up and saying: "Mohammed, put me in! Come on, put me in, just this time, you know I can do it for the team!" Simple: The use of the cell phones allows them to keep the trained fighters for another day. It's all about resource management, which is mostly what a commander in the field does. It's nice to have a plan, and then gather the logistical support for the execution, but if the bad guys don't follow your plan, you may come up a little short. In this case, I think there are two dynamics at play here. Point of pondering #2A. The first condition is I think the terrorists have seen the opinion tide shifting in their favor. I won't belabor the world media's love affair here, but they, as does anyone, gather strength to endure by seeing they and their cause being praised. The problem is, there aren't enough "resources" (read people willing to blow themselves up to head for paradise), coupled with the fact that the media hasn't caused the US and it's collation countries to capitulate. They have to hang on. It's sort of like the point in many war movies, when the platoon/company is surrounded and the enemy is chomping at the bit to overrun them, and some cigar chomping master sergeant or company commander yells for everyone to conserve ammo and only shoot what you know you can hit. In this case the ammo is a humanized version of the smart bomb (smartness may be debatable, but let's leave that to another post). I think they are running low. Using cell phones improves the possibility of having more seasoned fighters around for the final push. Point of pondering 2B. So, what's up with that? Well, let's take a short trip to the near past, like two months ago. What was the almost daily screeching from the papers and HBM about? Yep, you got it: "Army Not meeting Recruiting Goals." War is a tough business and it's not just some of the youth of America that sometimes balk at the call. Where are the demanding headlines in the world press, demanding to know what the actual numbers targeted (sorry, but we use that word about our recruiting plans) to get signed up and how many actually did. I want to know if their recruiters are treated to an un-video taped beheading if they fail on a monthly goal. I bet there's a massive cover-up on this issue amongst the jihadis... The "recruiting numbers" may be lower (assuming my analysis that they are missing their numbers is correct) based on another reason. In "Our Own Worst Enemy" by William Lederer, the author tells the story of a Marine unit that gets assigned to work security for a Vietnamese village. They model their interaction with the villagers from the guidance of the "Small Wars Manual" the Marines figured out after having served in Central America in the early 1900s. Anyhow, the Marines not only provided protection, they showed the villagers how to farm and grow livestock more effectively, then there is surplus over the families needs, so they form a little co-op and take the surplus to market and then they had extra hard cash to use to then do more and make more. Great story. This links in with this discussion because, as we have also seen in Iraq, over time, the villagers start "ratting out" the VC, telling the Marines when the attacks are coming. The village bonded with their Marine protectors and mentors. The best part of the story is what I think applies here. The Viet Cong locals would slip back into the village at night. Their friends would tell them all the things the Marines had helped them to learn, and how they actually were improving their farms and making some money. The VC had been promising this type of thing for a long time, but it was the young men of the USMC that delivered on the promise. As we see Iraq rebuilding itself, with commerce developing, and people being able to speak and interact freely, I'm sure some of the "recruits" are having second thoughts. When we hear stories of al-Qaeda recruiters killing off family members in order to get people to come and join the jihad, I'd say they are pretty well beat. The VC ended up doing that, and that sort of recruiting has an exceptionally low "1st Term Retention" number associated with about 0% in any one's armed force. Point of pondering #3. Maybe the jihadis took some time to look into the whole suicide bomber deal by reading up on another recent example in world history. I am assuming they did some course work in the "Divine Wind" work of the Japanese in WWII. If they studied this well, they would see a few interesting things, not the least of which was JAPAN LOST! (that's a no cost clue). Another real issue in Japan was that some senior and middle grade officers strongly (well, as strongly as they could) lobbied against the concept, the dissenting side largely being the pilots. Their argument was, if you took enough time to train them to fly (and it was kind of like the 2001 bombers, very little, just enough to get you to the target), then you should use them as a "reusable resource." Using them once was only going to help so long, then the Chop (supply officer) is saying "sorry, no got!" That's what happened to the Japanese Navy. By the Battle Off Samar, the Japanese aircraft carriers had pretty much been relegated to being just large targets for the Navy bombers, as they had no pilots to fly from them. They were the decoy to get Bull Halsey to leave the area, while Admiral Kurita went with his surface battleships, cruisers and destroyers to try and spoil MacArthur's landing at Leyte Gulf. I think the jihadis have come to understand this lesson: Manage your resources conservatively from the Japanese example. Summary: I think the boys are on the ropes, but still have the fight in them. I think they are good students of the technical aspects of killing, with some mastery of phsychology and public relations. I think they are very weak historians, as they someone how seem to be repeating many of the mistakes of the past. Got all that? Clear as mud? Comments? Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Posts! Update 11:50PM EDT: If you'd like a detailed analysis of the London Bombing itself, get your coffee and then click on this link...good stuff from Kung fu Kat...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Compare and Contrast: Malaria and the Iraqi Insurgency

The correlation between the interaction of man with a disease and the US and it’s coalition with the Iraqi “insurgency” have something in common. Laurie Garrett published her lengthy work, “The Coming Plague” in 1994. While the book is not about malaria, that is one case study she presents to show how we made some poor decisions, which allowed the disease to carry on, even today. In the reading of her well researched book, there are many other parallels between man’s interaction with man that tracks remarkably close to how we have interacted with creatures of far fewer cells and complexity over history. When I read the book years ago, her comments on malaria stuck with me, despite it being a relatively minor portion of the discussion. In Chapter 2, she discusses how the 1951 World Health Organization “was so optimistic that it declared that Asian malaria could soon reach a stage through careful local management wherein ‘malaria is no longer a problem of major importance.’ The discovery of DDT and other organochlorines, all of which possessed remarkable capacity to kill mosquitoes and other pests on contact…” The insurgency can be looked at in a similar way, that by the application of effective methods and means, the terrorists could be reduced to being “no longer a problem of major importance.” DDT certainly had it’s downside from a public health standpoint, but it did get us out of the starting blocks in the eradication of malaria and killed many mosquitoes. In 1967, the Surgeon General reported to the President and a gathering of health officials that it was time to close the books on infectious diseases in the US and take on chronic diseases. This then, obviously, would shift the focus away from the eradication of malaria, but it didn’t end the efforts towards that planned move to make it no longer a major problem. Malaria has plagued the US Military, and of other countries before ours, since the Revolutionary times. In 1947, Congress budgeted $47M to take on the problem of malaria in the 48 continental states. Five years later, funding was stopped, as there hadn’t been any cases of malaria found within the US borders. Other countries around the world still had the problem… Come 1956, a malariologist named Paul Russell of Harvard’s School of Public Health began lobbying for a program to eradicate malaria on a worldwide basis. In a report to Congress, Russell had these words to indicate the degree of commitment required:
”This is a unique moment in the history of man’s attack on one of his oldest and most powerful disease enemies. Failure to proceed energetically might postpone malaria eradication completely.”
With minor changes, this sounds much like the speeches of President Bush, but when he speaks of the terrorist threat. The comparisons in this story are quite striking. Enemies that are not alike. Someone with a vision to know what is not good for society. Lobbying to get the support, and there are many more I’m sure you’re picked up on by now. “Having won World War II, Americans were of a mind to ‘fix things up’: it just seemed fitting and proper in those days that American should use their seemingly unique skills and common sense to mend all the ailments of the planet.” Funding from Congress came in 1958, but with stipulations of and end to funding by 1963. Why the time frame? Paul Russell’s report indicated that four years of spraying, followed by four years of sure that three consecutive years of no infections were noted. Like all plans, whether for war fighting, or building, or fighting diseases, the “program manager” makes projections based on generally ideal conditions. In the case of the worldwide eradication of malaria, as with dispensing with the threat of terrorism, the campaign must pretty much proceed in parallel everywhere simultaneously, or you’re likely to have the enemy merely slip away to somewhere safe. This does, however, require a high degree of commitment to the plan, as well as a high expense to keep the attack going everywhere. This, of course is much of the discussion today. As far as ideal planning, the general desire if to get moving as soon as funding flows, but sometimes you have to begin in a piecemeal fashion, which, as with combating malaria and terrorists, can not be very effective. Top that off with a bunch of, for the most part, lawyers who don’t always grasp the technical detail of the plan, and therefore take the Reader’s Digest version and also apply simplistic measures to the plan. In this case, handing out money, then demanding it be done in a few years. As life and much of history dictates, things change. Along comes a bright graduate student, Andy Speilman, who figured out DDT wasn’t the final answer. What he observed was the Anopheles mosquitoes were dying, but some were resistant to DDT, and still reproducing. A wrench in the gearbox of the plan had just been discovered. Speilman met Rachel Carson, a marine biologist at Woods Hole, and she explained that evolution would get in the middle of the eradication plan. By 1963, malaria was certainly beat back tremendously, an example being India going from 1 million cases a year in 1955 to 18 by 1963. Congress, checking their notes, realized it was the terminal date of the plan and therefore, committed no more funding to the project. “As far as Congress was concerned, failure to reach eradication by 1963 simply meant it couldn’t be done, in any time frame. And virtually all spare cash was American; without steady infusions of U.S. dollars, the effort died abruptly” says Garrett. The story continues from there and is fascinating reading, but look at the connections to the current debate about how to handle the GWoT. Once more today, I heard a caller on a talk show bring up the President’s “major hostilities are over” speech on the aircraft carrier. Anyone with any military experience would agree that when artilleymen and tankers are doing foot patrols in the crowded streets of another country, major hostilities are over, otherwise, they’d be rocking the bad guys with the really cool hardware they were trained to use with deadly efficiency. Also, when B-52s no longer fill the skies over the battlefield, it’s a big hint that major operations are concluded. The President was correct. He didn’t say “the war is over and we are victorious.” Had that been the case, it would have been proper to remove a major portion of the deployed military. And, despite that proclamation by the President, as was the case in 1963, the enemy is still around; diminished, but still there. What lessons are to be extracted from a historical account of how the American leadership took on malaria and the GWoT? - It’s difficult to judge the exact end of a major plan, regardless of the discipline involved. - Arbitrary constraints linked to Congressional budget cycles can actually delude you into thinking it’s easy to see the day things will change/end. Oh, if it could just be so simple. On the other hand, the person championing the cause needs to be forthright in indicating the expected “variation” in the timeline. I feel President Bush has been honest about saying this war will be a long and complex one, and he said that early on. - If you really want to make something “no longer a major problem,” don’t make artificial end dates, instead make milestones with evaluation criteria. At those junctures, see what the state of the plan is and modify your responses accordingly. Make sure the checkbook holders understand this clearly, and get the will of the people to line up with that understanding. - A form of tactical evolution has happened on the battlefield. We have most likely gotten to the point where we have killed off the weakest of the terrorists, and not are locked in a war with the ones that are resistant to the military tactics applied to date. - Most times, the weapons you begin the fight with aren't the ones that will win the conflict Congress is a big group of “bean counters.” I have had life experiences with such people, on a smaller scale, and it was always interesting to see “them” grasping the pennies and not seeing the bigger picture. Sometimes spending a few dollars more today will guarantee you spend far less a few months of years from now. If they can’t let go of the funding to get that done, then you’re pretty much locked in to dealing with it longer. Regardless of how rosy an initial plan looks, it’s best to evaluate it realistically along the way. Adapt and survive. Don’t declare victory when that’s not the case. Stay the course when your life depends on it. We have a chance to end the story of the GWoT differently than the one about our war against malaria, which is still with us. Thanks to Mudville Gazette Dawn Patrol Link

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Russian Astrologer Sues NASA Over Deep Impact Mission

Levity break.... What will the moonbats think of next? category. A Russian astrologer sues NASA over Deep Impact Mission. She is concerned about the impact causes problems out in the universe....and she is demanding $300M in damages. I wonder just where she will spend it? The Cafe at the End of the Universe? The Great Galactic Preserve? I dunno, I think she's just going to pocket it. Actually, as an astrologer, she should know exactly what's going to happen as a result. Maybe now she can afford to call one of those psychic hotline 900 numbers and stay on long enough to record the details of the future of the world now.... I'm with Hugh Hewitt's guest today (not sure who it was), who said he's sure the impact nudged the comet into a trajectory where it will fall to earth on top of the Iranian Reactor, which really make our adversaries sit up and take notice as to how good an "aim" we have with something traveling about 23K MPH a whole lot of miles away...what a great OPDEC plan we pulled off, huh? Musta been the fine oriental bamboo used in those rocket scientists' slide rules that made it all so slick...:) And, in case this all didn't at least get a smirk out of you, I just found this Bush Evil Scorecard. I'd say Wage Slave is using too much of the bosses time to read too many newspaper articles, or he(she?) is just plain over the edge, full blown OCD...not to mention never have been introduced to "truth." (Don't leave home without it - Heck, don't do anything without it!)

Monday, July 04, 2005

US Troops Delight in Iraqi Rebel - al-Qeada Fighting

I'm not one to gloat out loud, but this is funny in a strategic way, if you know what I mean... It seems the Iraqi "rebels" and al-Queda guys are duking it out on the Syrian Iraq border, under the watchful eyes of our troops... Hat tip: Little Green Footballs...

A Little Computer Humor ala Abbott and Costello

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their famous sketch, "Who's on first?" might have turned out something like this: COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you? COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer. ABBOTT: Mac? COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou. ABBOTT: Your computer? COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one. ABBOTT: Mac? COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou. ABBOTT: What about Windows? COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here? ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows? COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows? ABBOTT: Wallpaper. COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software. ABBOTT: Software for Windows? COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have? ABBOTT: Office. COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything? ABBOTT: I just did. COSTELLO: You just did what? ABBOTT: Recommend something. COSTELLO: You recommended something? ABBOTT: Yes. COSTELLO: For my office? ABBOTT: Yes. COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office? ABBOTT: Office. COSTELLO: Yes, for my office! ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows. COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need? ABBOTT: Word. COSTELLO: What word? ABBOTT: Word in Office. COSTELLO: The only word in office is office. ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows. COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows? ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W." COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet? ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real One. COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need! ABBOTT: Real One. COSTELLO: If it's a long movie, I also want to watch reels 2, 3 and 4. Can I watch them? ABBOTT: Of course. COSTELLO: Great! With what? ABBOTT: Real One. COSTELLO: OK, I'm at my computer and I want to watch a movie What do I do? ABBOTT: You click the blue "1." COSTELLO: I click the blue one what? ABBOTT: The blue "1." COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue w? ABBOTT: The blue "1" is Real One and the blue "W" is Word. COSTELLO: What word? ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows. COSTELLO: But there are three words in "office for windows!" ABBOTT: No, just one. But it's the most popular Word in the world. COSTELLO: It is? ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren't many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words out there. COSTELLO: And that word is real one? ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn't even part of Office. COSTELLO: STOP! Don't start that again. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with? ABBOTT: Money. COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have? ABBOTT: Money. COSTELLO: I need money to track my money? ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer. COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer? ABBOTT: Money. COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer? ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge. COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much? ABBOTT: One copy. COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money? ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money. COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money? ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT! [A few days later] ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you? COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off? ABBOTT: Click on "START."

My 4th of July Present and How We Can Return the Favor

I slept in this morning, and then lazily took my time getting ready for the day. I fired up "the Beast" and opened Outlook. It's the 4th of July on the email. It's from a young Navy Corpsman. I only know of this man from his words in the comments section of another blog, but I sent him and email last month, thanking him for his service. Today he thanked me for taking the time to do so. His words are telling, and worthy of your consideration, for they convey something we know is going on with the media's move to make the GWoT into something wrong and immoral. We can easily shake it off. We can link to the blog of a real person, with a real vision, with a real heart, in the middle of the sandbox, that gives us hope that all is not lost, that the young men and women, and sometimes not so young of the same types, are doing what others have done before them, so that we may sit in our backyards with our friends and families today. Our troops don't have that luxury. When the stacks of Time, Newsweek, NYT, etc, etc, etc are laying out on a table to read, and they have a precious moment of free tiem, they pick it up, anxious to see what's going on in the "world." They are routinely slapped in the face with headlines that their eyes must cross, that either directly imply, or clearly state that their efforts are either in vein, or bordering on criminal. Here's my proof:
"The majority of the news we get while in country is about anti war protests or one of our fallen brothers family dishonoring his death and renouncing the military and our cause."
What's their source of input to counter this flood of negativism? Your support...your emails, your letters, your care packages. My truth, which I have known, having been on the other end of this issue myself, is reinforced with his words this very day:
"And it's people like you that we think about while fighting in country."
I'm humbled, and I know I'm just one. I presume "like you" tells a story that he received many emails in support of he and his shipmates. I know you're all out there. In summary, it's a good day to take a moment to express your thanks and support to those who are not only in the sandbox, but to any serving member of the Armed Forces, for they all are necessary to keep us in fireworks, BBQ and potato salad today. It's sometimes hard to think how a mechanic under a tank at a repair depot, who may be so competent that he or she will never be allowed to transfer to a combat zone, is part of the GWoT, but they are deserving of our thanks, too. Thank all you can find, or think of. And, don't make it just a holiday thing, every day is a holiday for us, compared to what the troops in theater are putting up with in our name. Maybe, now that I think about it, do make it a holiday routine to thank them.... Here's the post where I reported on then HM3 Pell's (now HM2) journey to the graveside of his brother in's a good day to read it again...lest we forget the cost.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Tale of 9/11 - One Man's Story...

Just read this story, the memory of that day of a Cantor-Fitzgerald employee... Hat tip to Right Thinking Girl

Friday, July 01, 2005

"I'd Still Do It... Here's Why"

A young woman has chosen to take a path to a military career out of high school. Here's her new blog, Politics of a Patriot, which is still new enough that you can catch up on all of her writing very quickly. If you read it all, you'll see her decision was cemented with the death of her cousin, LCpl Jerimiah Kinchen, USMC last year. She put up a site to help get stuff to the men he served with in the 4th Marine Recon. What really caught my eye was her sharing "I'd still do it," and it's posts like this that give me hope for the future of this country and the world. She certainly doesn't fit the media's mold of being part of a culture of entitlement. Check her blog out... Thanks for the open link, Mudville Gazette!!