'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Band Of Brothers 2008

I missed posting on October 25, which is St Crispin's Day, but maybe now is a better time. Here is a little history on the Battle of Agincourt, which was an unexpected victory of the British over the French in Hundred Years War. Although outnumbered by the French, the superior technology of the longbow allowed the English archers to decimate the French mounted forces.

Of course the battle was immortalized by Shakespeare in his play Henry V. (For those of us that were taught about dead white guys in public schools way back when). This is one of my favorite scenes from the play.

King Henry V:
What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmorland. No, my fair cousin:
If we are marked to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will, I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It ernes me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace, I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more.
Rather proclaim it presently 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 called the Feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day and live t'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 Crispin'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 remembered.
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 today 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 abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day. (IV, iii)

I thought this was an appropriate passage for election day next week, for it will be a happy few band of brothers (and sisters) that saves our country from the hands of the modern Socialist Democratic Party. So everyone remember to vote!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Obama Presidency

This is a pretty long post, but I think well worth reading. It is my own scenario of an Obama Presidency

I have been considering how an Obama Presidency might play out after watching the Debates and the scenario I see isn’t pretty.

The Iran-Venezuelan Missile Crisis of 2011
2009 Middle East
· In February 2009, President Obama and SECDEF Wesley Clark announce the US troop withdrawal plan for Iraq-all US troops gone by summer 2010, coincidentally right before the mid-term Congressional elections.
· Watching the televised address, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sends Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Quds forces into Iraq to rebuild the Shia Mahdi Army. Sectarian violence begins to rise through the summer of 2009 as Shia death squads start killing Iraqi Sunnis around Baghdad. Iran also sends arms into Afghanistan.
· Attempting to appear tough on the war on terror, President Obama publicly demands that Pakistan attack Taliban positions in Waziristan and authorizes US troops to attack Taliban strongholds inside Pakistan. During one of these cross border raids, US forces are fired on by Pakistani troops, losing several helicopters and troops. Thinking they are under attack by Taliban units, US forces fire back, killing dozens of Pakistani troops.
· In retaliation, Pakistan closes the primary supply route for NATO forces in Afghanistan. President Obama, under the advice of Secretary of State Richard Holbrook, cuts off foreign aid to Pakistan. By year’s end, the civilian government has fallen and a pro-Taliban military coup had gained power.
· Iran also increases aid to Hezbollah and covertly sends IRGC forces into Lebanon with advanced surface to air missile (SAM) systems provided by Russia.
· By year’s end, the Sunnis have pulled out of the Iraqi government as sectarian violence increases. US troops, cut in half, do not intervene and the Sunnis begin to rearm their militias and forbid the Shia dominated army from entering Anbar Province. The Maliki government, dominated by pro-Iranian Shia politician, does not stop the killings or attempt to disarm the Mahdi army. Moqtada Al-Sadr returns from exile in Iran and openly defies the Iraqi government by assuming “command” of the Mahdi forces. As Iraq sinks into chaos, President Obama resists calls to halt the troop withdrawals, stating “Iraqis must solve their own problems, we can’t afford $10 billion a month when we have pressing economic issues at home.” Intelligence showing direct Iranian involvement in the violence is ignored.
2009 South America
· Venezuela continues its military buildup of Russian weapons and restarts covert aid to FARC guerillas in Colombia. Chavez travels to Iran to coordinate efforts against America and offers training camps to the IRGC in Venezuela.
2010 Middle East
· With supply lines through Pakistan cut off, US casualties begin to increase as the Taliban rebuilds in new safe havens protected by the Pakistani military. Because all supplies must be brought in over a tenuous air route, the cost of the war begins to go up as the Pentagon thinks it might double by year’s end. Left wing groups such as MoveOn.org and ANSWER begin demanding an end to all US military action in the Middle East to meet “pressing domestic social welfare programs” as Afghanistan is becoming a “lost cause and another Iraq.” NATO also begins considering a pull out as Taliban units specifically target NATO units, inflicting dozens of casualties on German, Dutch and Norwegian troops. The Afghan government weakens and local warlords begin dealing directly with the Taliban to protect their drug trade. Large swaths of the country essentially pass to Taliban control.
· By early summer, Iran tests its first nuclear device and announces that it has a “Rocket Corps” able to “rain holy fire” on Israel if Iran is attacked. Israel prepares a full conventional strike on Iranian nuclear facilities but is halted by extreme pressure from the US after a steep rise in oil, threatening the US economy before Congressional elections, where Democrats are trailing due to a severe recession brought on by the Obama tax increases and public perception that the US is losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel responds by stating that nuclear-armed missiles are pointed at Iran and begins preparing nuclear cruise missiles for its submarine force and a covert group of merchants ship armed with Israeli Jericho IRBMs. Iran and Hezbollah begin preparing for another war with Israel, this time planning to force all the Arab states into the conflict.
· In the 2010 elections, Democrats lose 5 Senate and 20 House seats as oil prices continue the recession. President Obama, seeking to salvage his domestic agenda, announces that “10 years in enough” and plans on withdrawing all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011, just in time to kick off his reelection campaign. NATO also announces that all of their forces will be removed in 6 months.
2010 South America
· IRGC forces set up bases in Venezuela and start to coordinate efforts with FARC. Violence increases in Colombia and President Obama and the Democratic Congress continue to deny Colombia a free trade agreement, to “Keep American jobs in America.”
2011 Middle East
· With all US troops gone from Iraq, the Shia dominated army invades Anbar Province, backed by IRGC forces. Thousands of Sunni refugees flee into Jordan and Saudi Arabia as Syria closes its border with Iraq. Iraqi Kurds declare independence and prepare for and attack by the Iraqi Army.
· In Afghanistan, US troops begin to pull out and Taliban forces flood across the border from Pakistan, taking control of most of the country outside Kabul and preparing to take over the government after the US and NATO leave.
· Iran makes a secret pact with Venezuela to place nuclear missiles at several sites controlled by the IRGC. 10 missiles and warheads are placed in the jungle, capable of reaching the southern US and most of South America.
· IRGC and Hezbollah forces move into position along the Israeli border while hundreds of SSMs and IRBMs are prepared in firing positions. Noting the buildup, the Israelis send their submarines and covert missile ships to sea.
· In the summer of 2011, almost five years to the day from the 2006 war, Hezbollah launches dozens of missiles into Israel in a sneak attack. These new missiles are capable of reaching Haifa and Tel Aviv and hundreds of Israeli civilians are killed and wounded. Israel responds with a massive air attack into Lebanon and mobilizes its army. Because Hezbollah has placed its missiles in civilian neighborhoods, many civilian casualties ensue, which Al Jazera endlessly replays to show Israeli “aggression.”
· Undeterred and still smarting from the 2006 war, Israel sends massive ground forces into Lebanon and also bombs installations in Syria it says are used as Hezbollah bases. Syria mobilizes and sends armored units opposite the Golan Heights.
· President Obama calls an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, but Russia vetoes a cease-fire resolution, saying Israel must withdraw from Lebanon and face sanctions as the “aggressor” state. President Obama makes a personal appeal to Iran, which is rebuffed.
· As the Israelis move deeper into Lebanon, Hezbollah appeals to Iran for help as the Israeli Air Force (IAF) continues to pound any locations where missile launchers may be. Iranian funded Hamas launches a surprise SSM attack into Israel from the Gaza Strip, firing missiles into Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) units move into Gaza and the IAF flatten the neighborhoods where the missiles were launched, all dutifully broadcast by Al Jazera. Iranian funded groups begin rioting in the streets of Cairo, Amman, Riyadh and Dubai, demanding that Arabs defend the “oppressed members of the resistance.”
· As the IDF rolls over Gaza and the West Bank and approach the suburbs of Beirut, Iran threatens “holy fire” on Tel Aviv, if Israel does not pull back its forces from all “aggressively invaded lands.” Israel refuses and threatens retaliation if Iran uses nuclear weapons. Iran also says it is “time for the destruction of the Great Satan” and tells the US that 10 nuclear armed missiles are located in Venezuela and will be fired at the US if Israel does not withdrawal.
· Arab governments, shaken by the Iranian saber rattling and the weak US response, which consist of continuous appeals to the UN, EU and Arab League, as well as constant appeals by President Obama for direct negotiations, begin to mobilize their armies and demand Israel withdraw its forces.
· President Obama, under pressure from the Chairman of the JCS, General David Petraeus, orders full mobilization of Reserve and National Guard units but does not allow preemptive strikes on known missile positions in Venezuela, stating “preemption is one of the failed policies of the previous Administration.” Obama continues to make personal appeals to all parties for a cease-fire and direct negotiations. Gen Petraeus moves three Navy warships with advanced Aegis ABM capability into the Gulf of Mexico and near Key West as a defensive measure.
· Four weeks after the fighting began, Hezbollah and Hamas tell Iran they are out of ammunition and nearing defeat. Iran launches 4 nuclear missiles at Tel Aviv and 2 nuclear missiles against the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Battlegroup in the Southern Arabian Gulf. Israeli Arrow and Patriot missiles shoot down all 4 missiles, scattering debris across Syria. Aegis cruisers also shoot down both missiles aimed at the Reagan. IRGC units in Venezuela launch all 4 available missiles at the U.S. The locations are immediately targeted and attacked by cruise missiles from the USS Ohio, an American SSGN lying off the coast of Venezuela and three launchers are destroyed and the fourth damaged. 3 missiles are shot down by the Aegis ships off the US coast, but the fourth missile impacts on Miami, Florida. The primitive warhead yields about 20 kilotons, roughly the same yield as the Hiroshima bomb, but it devastates Miami. 150,000 Americans are dead or dying and another 200,000 are injured and panic sweeps the country and the world as Israel launches 2 missiles at Iran, obliterating Tehran and Qom. A further wave of American cruise missiles strikes Venezuela and Israel threatens to destroy the three largest cities in every Arab country if they do not start demobilizing within 48 hours. The Venezuelan military quickly overthrows Chavez and pleads for a cease-fire with the US
· The mullahs and Ahmadinejad, hiding in an installation in the Zagreb Mountains, mobilize their entire army and militia, sending it through Iraq and into Syria to sweep into Israel from the north. The Arab armies, except for Syria and the Shia dominated Iraq, stop mobilizing and threaten Israel with destruction if more nuclear weapons are used.
· In Afghanistan, the remaining US and NATO troops are nearly overrun by scores of suicide bombers and human wave attacks. The remaining survivors are forced to escape and evade in the hopes of eventual rescue.
· Pakistan now enters the fray, offering to send 20 missiles and nuclear warheads to Saudi Arabia to “defend our Arab brothers” and dispatches these missiles by air and sea. The US urges restraint as oil nears $300/barrel and President Obama is forced to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stave off an economic collapse as National Guard units are rushed to Miami.
· As Al Jazera shows footage of the nuclear devastation of Tehran and Qom, Iranian forces sweep through Iraq and into Syria. The Israelis, already fully engaged in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, informs the US that “all available means” will be used to repel the Iranians. President Obama is seized by indecision as the situation spirals out of control and the magnitude of the disaster in Afghanistan sinks in-of the 50,000 American and NATO troops, 10,000 are dead or missing and 40,000 are cut off, on the run and likely to be lost-10 times the casualties of “George W. Bush’s War” in Iraq. Only the steady hand of General Petraeus keeps the situation under control. Informing the President that no other options are available, the USS Kentucky, an Ohio class SSBN is ordered to target Iranian nuclear, naval and military targets. Although President Obama continues to desire direct diplomacy, even the SECDEF and SECSTATE acknowledge that diplomacy is gone.
· On September 11, 2011 fifty nuclear warheads shower Iran, completely destroying all military targets and killing millions of Iranians. The Israelis also launch missiles not only at the Iranian Armies massing in Syria, but Damascus, Baghdad and Basra. The Iranian Army is wiped out and millions more killed. Israel declares a unilateral cease-fire and demands Pakistan not assemble the missiles in Saudi Arabia or Mecca and Median will be “wiped off the map.” Exhausted and out of ammunition, Hezbollah and Hamas agree to the cease-fire, which Israel says it will honor only if all remaining fighters lay down their arms and surrender. To make the point, the IAF launches one last massive air campaign, prompting a reluctant surrender by the “martyred fighters of Allah.” Under Saudi pressure, Pakistan does not assemble the missiles, but keeps them in country.
· By the end of 2011, the Middle East is ruin, the US economy is in tatters and millions are dead, dying, wounded or refugees. The entire Arab world repudiates peace with Israel and only a major rescue effort saves 20,000 of the 50,000 troops in Afghanistan. Republicans in Congress begin demanding hearings as recovery continues in Miami and even though President Obama's allies in Congress try to control or divert the hearings, details of weakness, vacillation and a misguided faith in personal diplomacy come out. With his approval ratings at 10%, by May 2012, President Obama announces he will not run for a second term. Retiring 6 weeks after the announcement, General David Petraeus beings contemplating his running mate…….

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today in Catholic History

Today, is October 7, the commemoration of one of the greatest naval victories in history, the defeat of the Ottoman Islam Turks by the Christian Holy League at Lepanto. Few Catholics are taught today that the Rosary so dear to many of us had its origins in a military victory.

Here is a little write up from the Faith and Family Magazine Blog
at http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/blog/queen_of_victory/
Queen Of Victory
Posted by Rebecca Teti on October 07, 2008

Today’s feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is vividly explained here.

Michael Novak sets the scene:

The two greatest naval forces ever assembled — 280 ships in the Turkish Armada, some 212 on the Christian side — came into each other’s sight on the brilliant morning of October 7. So confident was the Turkish admiral, Ali Pasha, that he sailed proudly at the center of his own Armada, bringing with him on vessels just to his rear his entire fortune, and even a part of his harem.
Historians tell us that all over Europe a pall fell. Few had hopes that the Christian fleet could avoid the doom that seemed to hang over Italy.

Well, the Pasha didn’t count on Our Lady, and therein lies a tale, which you must follow the link to read.

You history buffs already familiar with the Battle of Lepanto may not know of its surprising connection to the Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe. For reasons you can read about here, her image--having been touched to the miraculous tilma of Juan Diego-- was mounted in Admiral Andrea Doria’s cabin.

During the battle, Andrea Doria was compelled to separate from the center force of Christians. Uluch Ali then broke through the gap and was prepared to destroy Andrea Doria’s fleet. Doria knew he was facing destruction, together with his fleet. His was the ship with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in his cabin, and the battle was thus under her intercession.
At this critical moment a tremendous wind came up and blew the Turkish navy into total disorganization. Their squadrons were thrown into panic and, thus stricken, most of their fleet was captured or destroyed.
The historian may record this only as fate, telling us, at the same time, that it was the last sea battle fought with oar propelled vessels and enormous casualties. About 8,000 Christians were killed and 16,000 wounded. Among the Turkish fleet, about 25,000 were killed, and it is not known how many were wounded. About 15,000 Christians, who had been chained to the oars in the Turkish galleys, were freed. This victory of Lepanto ended the Moslem threat to Christians.
The pope ascribed the victory to the Queen of the Rosary, since he had sponsored the rosary crusade for victory. He evidently did not know of the Miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Pope St. Pius V established the Feast of Our Lady of Victory to celebrate the October 7 victory. His successor, Pope Gregory XIII, changed the title of the feast to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and decreed that the month of October should be dedicated to renewing the praying of the rosary.
Our Lady had told Juan Diego and his uncle, Juan Bernardino, that she was the Immaculate Conception. Her image aboard Doria’s ship, according to devout Christians, was an instrument of Mary’s moral presence as the Warrior Queen and the Mother of the Church, “fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array.”

Isn’t that cool? And all the more reason to renew this year what has become the practice of American Catholics in recent years: to pray to Our Lady for the wisdom of our people as we approach the ballot boxes, and for God’s blessing on our nation and its citizens.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the feast (besides praying the rosary!), culinary legend has it that the croissant and the crescent-shaped almond cookie were developed to celebrate Christian victory over the Turk at Lepanto and later at Vienna.

This day was commemorated in Vienna by creating a new kind of pastry and shaping it in the form of the Turkish half-moon. It was eaten along with coffee which was part of the booty from the Turks.

This may or may not be true, but it would still be delightful, no?

At any rate, all this is why October is the month of the rosary.

Our Lady of Victory, Queen of the Rosary & Patroness of the Americas, Pray for us!

P.S. The photo is from a re-enactment of the battle held last year.
Article URL: http://faithandfamilylive.com/blog/queen_of_victory/

I can only hope that Christianity today will have the courage to stand up for what we believe and fight for our civilization with the same courage our forefathers did.

And of course, here is the Wikipedia entry and picture