'87 Sir

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Today is my Birthday

Today is my birthday, so here is my wish list:

1. I wish that Congress and the entire U.S. government would have to live with the effects of their decisions. I mean seriously, a PAY RAISE !$^#. After the most do nothing, failed Congress in recent memory, with a lower approval rating than even the constantly trumpeted approval rating of W?

First of all, every member of Congress and the Obambi family should be forced to send their children to DC Public Schools. Then let's wait and see how many microseconds it takes to get real education reform done, including a voucher program for failed inner city schools.

Second, instead of their own separately funded pension plan, every member of Congress should get a 401K with matching contributions and Social Security, just like the rest of us. Let's see how their tax policies change and how quickly they decide that maybe offering an option to privatize your Social Security account isn't so evil after all.

2. I wish that the U.S. and the entire Christian West should say to the Islamic world that we will begin treating their religion with the same respect that they treat Christianity. Therefore, until Christians are allowed to worship freely, build churches and preach the Gospel throughout the Middle East, there will be no more mosques, imams or "cultural centers" built in the U.S. or our allies. After all, why shouldn't there be a new Bishop of Antioch or Alexandria? They were of course, pillars of the Early Church, a fact often forgotten in the ignorance of the lamestream media. It is absolutely insane that the Saudis are able to fund mosques to spread their questionable brand of Wahhabbi extremist Islam, but there is no Catholic Church in Saudi Arabia. The cowardly West should stand up for our culture and faith and demand equal rights...after all isn't that the left's favorite phrase?

After all, there are few groups better at the victimization concept than Muslims in America...if I hear one more time about prejudice against Muslims because someone questions the tennants of suicide bombings in the Koran or questions the veracity of the Prophet, maybe those whiners should see what real religious prosecution is and see how Christians in Iraq live.

3. Finally, I actually agree with the Obambi and his statement about Pakistan and I wish he follows through with his threat of hot pursuit of terrorists into Pakistan. If they can't or won't control what goes on in their country, then maybe it's time for India and the United States to do so. I know Pakistan is a nuclear power and all that, but if they all want to meet Allah, then we should afford them the opportunity. There is virtually no chance of victory in Afghanistan, no matter how many troops we surge into that #$%hole of a place until the border "ratlines" are shut down by any means needed. And of course, we need to secure our supply lines as well. So, either Pakistan can step up and join the 21st century, or we should finish sending them back to the 8th century where they seem to want to go anyway.

4. Finally, I wish for blueberry cheesecake and Beef Wellington, which is likely the only wish on this list that I will actually get!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Et Tu Israel?

The current Israeli air campaign against Hamas appears eerily reminiscent of their failed 2006 campaign against Hezbollah. One would hope that the Israels would understand the Arab mindset best of all, after fighting five wars and a constant insurgency for the last 60 years.

Although western air power is a wonderful thing and can do a lot of urban renewal, how can you really tell in the slums of Gaza city?

More importantly, as long as one Hamas fighter or leader is left standing when world opinion finally makes Israel stop the attacks, Hamas will claim victory by enduring the Israeli airstrikes and still claiming to be alive- i.e. as long as they aren't annihilated, they win.

Therefore, the answer is obvious, although not a pleasant one to face. Israeli ground forces must go into the Gaza strip and kill or capture every member of Hamas they find until they sue for a return of the cease fire. It will be ugly, the Israelis may take a lot of casualties, Al Jazera and the American left will scream "War Crimes" and "Israeli Genocide". But who cares? They will scream that anyway. The only way to bring back some semblance of the cease fire is bullets and tank shells. Sadly enough, you can't defeat an insurgency with airpower, no matter how much the pilots will tell you otherwise. The lessons of 2006 appear to have been filed away again and Israel will not be safer. The Iranians are already up to their usual tricks, and how long will it be before their lackeys in Lebanon, Hezbollah, open up a second front on Israel? Can Israel stand up to Hezbollah's arsenal which will likely dwarf whatever rockets and mortars Hamas has? What will Israel do when faced with two potential ground wars? Or, in the nightmare scenario, what happens when, unfortunately, this process repeats itself after the Iranians get the bomb?

Looks like Obambi's new National Security team will have their work cut out for them.....I hope they are ready.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Remembering the Bulge

No, I am not talking about Oprah's weight gain.

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the the German 1944 Ardennes Offensive, popularly known as the Battle of the Bulge. This was the biggest battle for the U.S. Army in World War II and involved over 31 divisions and 500,000 troops. Although the battle is probably unknown to over 98.9% of Americans today, unlike Brittany's comeback story or who A-Rod is sleeping with on vacation, this battle is significant for many reasons and offers a number of lessons for today's military:
* The Germans were able to achieve complete operational surprise, despite the success of the Allies "Ultra" codebreaking effort. Almost 600,000 Germans troops and 2,000 tanks were successfully gathered and concealed despite almost total Allied superiority in SIGINT and aerial reconnaissance. Clearly, intelligence is never perfect and should never be taken for granted.
* The ability of the Germans to assemble this force after the debacle of the Normandy and Russian 1944 summer campaigns is an amazing testimony to the prowess of the Wehrmacht. Too bad German soldiers today are fat and unfit to fight. Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian must be rolling over in the their graves.
* The courage and ingenuity of the American soldier were never so brightly shown. Although the stand of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne is one of the most well known stories, there were many instances of brave stands by American troops to hold off German attacks and eventually blunt the offensive. It may seem incredible today, but almost 80,000 American troops became casualties by the end of the campaign in January 1945. Can you imagine casualties of a similar magnitude today? Certainly no congressman demanded of FDR that he pull out our troops and negotiate a peace with Hitler to avoid more casualties and destruction. War is tough, things don't always go your way and unfortunately soldiers die in battle.

So let's remember those brave soldiers that turned back Hitler's last throw and hastened the end of the war. Their worthy successors are keeping us safe from a different kind of totalitarianism, Islamofacism.

A couple of excellent books on the battle

This is the story of the men who made the stand at Bastogne possible.

This is probably the best account of the battle. MacDonald actually fought in the battle and uses a number of post-Ultra declassification sources not available in the earlier official Army account of the battle.

Friday, December 12, 2008

If it walks like a duck...

The recent news (or not news but just reported) out of Illinois should not surprise student of American political history. From the 1960 election, when Mayor Dailey I threw the election to JFK to the latest scandal involving Gov. Buy-a-vowel-ovitch, Illinois has clearly been taking over from Louisiana as the most corrupt state in the Union. Is it any wonder that Obambi just bought the Presidency for $650M (way more than Buy-a-vowel-ovitch could get for a Senate seat). I mean seriously, does anyone think that something fishy isn't going on when Obambi rakes in the dough from disposable credit cards? Did anyone at MSNBCABCCBSNBC think to check George Soros's recycling bin on trash day? But, hey, as Obambi likes to brag, that's just the "Chicago Way." Does anyone doubt a black-bag group isn't in the work? After all, everyone thinks Nixon was a vindictive crook, but LBJ could teach him a lesson or two on dealing with political enemies. And of course, speaking of get even at all costs Democrats, has there ever been a better political hatchet job than the Clintons (well likely Hillary since she thinks with the big head).
Alas, I doubt the lamestream media (I picked that up from Monica Crowley :) will dig up anything that even remotely ties Obambi to this mess. Now, if this happened in Arizona after a McCain victory, we would hear about it 24/7 all the way to inauguration and likely hear about Palin's wardrobe some more too.
What's even better is that the media, no matter how hard they try and how much the desperately want to-- CAN'T BLAME THIS ONE ON BUSH. That must really hurt. But, not to worry, they will bury deep, deep, deep, any possible connection to Obambi and this story will be quickly shuffled off to page A34 of the New York Times (if they can afford a page A34), particularly if Buy-a-vowel-ovitch is forced to resign and someone else appoints Obambi's successor.
It will be instructive to watch how this plays out. Don't look for any Woodward and Bernstein to emerge since journalism is mostly dead, especially when it comes to investigating uberliberal Democrats, especially minority uberliberal Democrats....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Humanities on Campus- The Current State of Affairs

I wrote the following email to Victor Davis Hanson, one of my favorite historians, bloggers and columnists in response to this article on the current state of the humanities on college campuses.

I read your article with great interest and not a little regret about how spot on target is your assessment of the situation. I was very fortunate to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and major in history. Although we had a diverse faculty with our own "Closet Communist" and "Closet Nazi" as we called our Russian and German history professors, I did not have to endure any of the gender, ethnic, sexual, and other 'isms' that seem to have taken over many liberal arts programs on college campuses.

I did receive the unvarnished truth about American history, although it was balanced by the genuine patriotism and appreciation of America I felt my instructors had, and was fortunate to learn about military history from some really outstanding professors like Craig Symonds, who was also my advisor, and Col. John Ripley, who was head of the English and History department my 1st class year.

Fortunately, my son is attending Franciscan University in Stubenville, Ohio, so I feel he will be pretty safe from the P.C. police as well as he studies Thucydides and Homer in his Great Books Honors program.

My point is I feel you are less than enthusiastic about distance learning schools such as American Military University and how they operate. I am taking my 5th class in their Military Studies program and I have been extremely satisfied with the program. I searched for military history programs in Virginia and found none, the closest similar program was George Washington, which I could not afford, or George Mason, which seemed a little wishy-washy for my taste. Unfortunately, there are virtually no traditional brick and mortar Masters or Doctoral programs left that specialize in military history outside of a few mid-western universities, so I feel AMU has been an excellent alternative. When, and if, AMU gets a Doctoral program going in Military History, I plan on being one of their first students. I realize that distance learning is not for everyone and does take a great deal of independence and self-discipline, but there are few alternatives if you want to study Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, and Jomini.

The Humanities and Classics are thriving via distance learning, and although it does not have the traditional give-and-take of a lecture environment, it is the only alternative I see to gender, racial and other anti-American, anti-white male, anti-military offerings in "traditional" universities for Masters and Doctoral programs in History.

Thanks for your efforts to bring the issues to light. I hope one day that military history will regain its place on traditional university campuses.

Grouchy Historian (not my real name, but my attitude most of the time!)
USNA '87

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pirates Ahoy

I have been reading with a lot of fascination for the last couple of week all of the teeth gnashing and wailing about pirates off the coast of Somalia and how the West is "powerless" to do anything about it. This almost makes me want to puke. I really wonder sometimes if the Christian West wants to or even deserves to survive the 21st century. There is, of course a very simple solution to this problem, although it is messy, not very politically correct, or, oh my gosh might kill pirates and break things. To wit:
  1. Take the various naval forces in the region, give them the cover of some UN Security Council Mandate (which would, of course put the Russians and the Chinese on the post, an added bonus) or not. At this point, the power of the U.S. Navy oughta do it, if the rest of the world wants to come along, that's fine too.
  2. Since there is some legal issue with chasing pirates within a countries so-called territorials waters (links and references below); establish a naval blockade beyond the 12 mile limit of Somalia. Any Somalia vessel of any size not identified and checked in with the naval force will be sunk beyond 12 miles.
  3. Give the pirates, government, whoever is supposed to be in charge there 7 days to release all the ships and crews or the urban renewal will begin.
  4. Send a carrier battle group and flatten a town or two where pirates are known to be, concentrating on docks, piers, wharves and palaces owned by pirate lords, kings, head thugs or whatever.
  5. Repeat as needed.
Now I know there is a lot of hand wringing about the failed state of Somalia, etc and killing innocent civilians or whatever. to which I politely answer TOUGH NOOGIES (I can't print what I really feels since my wife may read this:) how about all of those innocent merchant crewman?

Somalia is going to become another Iraq or Afghanistan, mark my words, but since Billy Bob Clinton screwed it up in 1994, when we should have leveled Mogadishu (it probably would have been tough to tell the difference, I'm sure) and Obamabi is not likely to make war on African Muslim terrorists, it will become the next sewer pit of Al Queda bases. Put together pirates and terrorists and you have a sure recipe for disaster at one of THE MOST important maritime choke points in the world.

And as always, there is historical precedence for this. The Barbary Wars, America's first major overseas war against Islamic terrorists (anyone seeing a theme here) were waged to stop pirate attacks on American commerce, only now its worldwide commerce.

So civilization, as it were, can let the thugs run rampant because we are so wrapped up in our "laws" and "civilization" and watch maritime commerce become expensive and potentially impact a global economic recovery or we can go after these vermin and give them what they deserve by tradition.

We shall see, but I would bet on the pirates winning.....

1) Wikipedia on Piracy
2) White Paper on Piracy from Chatham House, a UK think tank
3) Maritime Terrorism Center