'87 Sir

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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Think Tanks and Reporters

Interesting article from the Wired Danger Room blog:

I agree with most of the author's premise, and I figure a reporter with good national security chops like Rick Atkinson or Thomas Ricks can be as much of a policy wonk as a retired general. 

I doubt, unlike the author, that there is a big worry, at least for now, of high-powered reporters becoming members of the "group think" for defense.  Ricks, for example, was highly critical of the military in Iraq in his book Fiasco, and although I haven't finished The Gamble yet, I can already sense his skepticism of the military in Iraq and the prospects for long-term success.  

Remember, with few exceptions, retired generals want to work for big fat defense contractors, not think tanks, where I doubt the get the cash Boeing or Lockheed Martin can pay, and ex-politicians want to become lobbyists, but reporters probably can't beat a good gig at a well know think tank-- so generals, politicians and reporters are unlikely to become drinking buddies in the long term.

And of course, I totally agree that most newspapers are going to hell in a handbasket and wouldn't recognize good military and national security reporting if it bit them in the ass....the days of Ernie Pyle, Hanson Baldwin have been replaced with ????? not a darn thing.  Most of the best war reporting these days is done by bloggers like:


BTW, I own Yon's book...it will be part of my Iraq War reading surge for early 2010....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The State of Military History Part II

The most significant long-term trend for military historiography may be the emergence of “national security history"  a phrase coined by Edward Coffman in "The New American Military History," and Benjamin Cooling, in "Toward a More Usable Past: A Modest Plea for a Newer Typology of Military History," both published in the journal Military Affairs, now the Journal of the Society of Military History. The study of warfare can no longer be confined to military matters alone, but will almost always be integrated with political, economic, societal and cultural viewpoints. Although historians will continue to debate the level of influence of these factors on soldiers and strategy, the fact that warfare is too important to be left to the generals is no longer really in dispute. Warfare in the 21st century will involve all aspects of a country and proper military historiography must continue to adapt to remain relevant.

There are many encouraging signs that military history is gaining renewed respect in academic circles as well as increasing its military and public following. As the reality of global terrorism and conflict combine with the need to understand America’s recent military actions, the study of warfare is gaining some traction again at major universities. The result of military historians adapting to new research and historical methods, the new lines of inquiry in cultural, societal, and technical effects on warfare and militaries have broadened the appeal and potential for military historiography in an academic setting. Military history remains a legitimate and practical field within historiography. The recent trends underway assure a bright future of inquiry into this important field of human endeavor—“Historical examples clarify everything and also provide the best kind of proof in the empirical sciences. This is particularly true of the art of war.”

Hopefully this trend will continue....

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Well, not matter how much this current Administration would like to bury its head in the sand, (or stick it somewhere a little more descriptive), Iran is not going away as a problem.  2010 could very well go down in history as the year the U.S. and the international community allowed a rogue state run but ACUTAL religious fanatics and APOCALYPTIC thinkers, as opposed to the frightening Christian, right-wing, gun-totting, Tea Partyers feared by Barry and Rahm, to acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

Going rogue - the militarization of Iran

Although this was, surprisingly, written in the Boston Globe, it still doesn't go far enough.  What will the Israelis do?  What will the international community do if the Israelis try to destroy the Iranian nuclear plants, missile factories and other military sites?  Will Obama and Co. throw them under the bus?  Like they have the pro-democracy protesters?

Iran Kills 5 Protesters in Fierce Clashes in Tehran, Witnesses Say

It's going to be a long, long year as the Dems try to whitewash, bribe, lie, cheat and steal to sell the crapsandwich "healthcare" bill to a pissed off public.  In addition, it is an election year, and no matter what sorta propaganda, Nancy and the gang pass off, she likes being Speaker and doesn't want to lose her position-and cool private jet courtesy of you and me.  So with more and more Dems looking over their shoulder at an electorate likely to toss them out on their fat butts, will Congress take effective action to stop the Iranian thugocracy?  Don't bet on it.  But hey, what's a couple of nuclear armed missiles compared to taxpayer funded abortion and plenty of Medicaid funding for Louisiana and Nebraska?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The State of Military History Part I

Military history today has become far more than tales of swords and muskets.  Although academic historians still view it with some suspicion, the certain realization that conflict and violence continue to play a role in the human condition will keep the need for military historiography alive.  In addition, military history continues to evolve to provide a deeper understanding of the process and meaning of warfare, and continues to be one of the few fields of historiography that can provide tangible benefit to its professional audience—members of the military and their political masters.  There are still many fields of historical inquiry that have only begun to be examined and these will not only provide some level of practical understanding, but create an inquiry into the nature of warfare itself and provide continuing avenues of historical evolution and inquiry.

What is warfare and how is it practiced in the age of global terrorism?  Most of military history consists of great battles between nation-states or their ancient equivalents.  However in this age of terrorism, renewed insurgencies and civil wars numerous non-state and transnational military actors have called into question traditional historical explanations of how warfare is waged.  The Middle East is full of these “non-state” actors such as Hezbollah in Lebanon that defy historical analogy and create a tremendous problem for military historians and strategic thinkers trying to fit them neatly into a construct as either a terrorist group, militia, army or political organization.

The role of technology and warfare will continue to be a controversial topic, but with a new explosion of information and media technology, the cultural and societal questions of warfare must now be examined on a worldwide versus a national stage.  Warfare is no longer the province of merely the combatants, but a world-wide audience of diplomats, commentators, propagandists and others that both observe and influence warfare.  As political violence becomes more decentralized and conducted on a world stage, military historians are still looking at weaponry and military technology and their effects on the battlefield, completely missing that the most potent weapon of the 21st century may be the internet webcam.

Related to both of these questions will be a need to understand warfare in a new political context as wars become not only affairs between or within nation-states, but truly global matters where transnational bodies and organizations begin to influence not only how wars start and are fought, but how wars end.  The role of international politics on the conduct of warfare, as well as the continuing evolution of domestic politics on the preparation and conduct of war has not been studied in the recent context of combat in the 21st century.  The proliferation of technologies, organizations and capabilities previously reserved for nation-states to transnational groups and organizations should also be a topic for military historians to consider.

Final post soon.......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


This sort of bullsh** "lawfare" never ceases to really, reallly, really piss me off.

The incredibly tortured, convoluted logic that allows lefty, terrorist lovers like these Palestinian Solidarity Campaign idiots is amazing.  

HOW about some "War Crimes" indictments against the PALESTINIAN ARAB HAMAS MUSLIM terrorists who deliberately {<-emphasis on that word} shot rockets at Israeli CIVILIANS that unleashed the whoop-ass from the Israelis in December 2008?  Obviously the truth is just as inconvenient to these morons as it is to Al Gore.

I find it amazing that the Israelis are supposed to sit by and let Hamas, Hizbullah and all the other ARAB MUSLIM terrorists provoke them on an almost daily basis, but when the exercise their legitimate right of self defense, they are suddenly war criminals.  I think MS. Sarah Colborn, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign Director of campaigns and operations should spend a little time as a woman in Saudi Arabia, Gaza, or Afghanistan and then we can discuss Palestinian Solidarity......

Is history still relevant today?

The teaching and writing of history will always be important, if not always appreciated, part of the human intellect. Simplistically, history is the collected sum of knowledge of the events and people that have brought us to where we are today. History tries to tell the truth about both events in time and human nature while grappling with an ever-changing body of source material and new interpretations in how history should be considered.

The history profession is at a crossroads today in my opinion. The overspecialization and unfiltered influence of the Annales school and structuralism have caused history to be overly obsessed with what I call “revisionist” history. The desire to tell history from a gender, racial, or ethnic point of view can quickly cross a line from presenting untapped points of view on historical events to proselytizing against “traditional, patriarchic, and Euro-centric” history.

In spite of this tendency, history is more important today than ever as Americans seek to understand not only our own heritage in its proper context, but the history of other civilizations and cultures that have not been well understood. History, particularly economic, political, and military history are especially important as “applied” or “practical” humanities that can be used for informed decision making by business, government, and military leaders.

Unfortunately, I don’t think historians are listened to enough, particularly in the classroom. I suspect that one of the primary reasons is a lack of understanding (or instruction) by students on WHY history is important to them. Rather than a boring collection of dates, places, people, and events, I believe history teachers must be able to explain why events such as the American Revolution, Civil War, Cold War, civil rights movement, and other events are important to people now! I believe one of the best ways to do this is to tie current events to history via a cause and effect or some other analytic method to show students how today’s news becomes tomorrow’s history.

Historians have a vital role to play in educating not only our students, but also our policy makers. Too often, decisions are made without considering what has or hasn’t worked in the past, and although there is no such thing as a perfect historical analogy, there are certainly experiences and lessons from the past that are applicable today. It is the job of historians to bring these lessons forward and place them into the proper context for decision makers today.

More to follow......

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Current Status of Military History

The field of military history seems to have fallen on hard times in the last fifty years. Some academic historians have often commented that military history is to history what military music is to music—a discordant collection of works left to an insulated audience and no longer worthy of consideration in the wider discipline of modern historiography. Although military history remains a popular topic with the general public and continues to retain its utility to the military profession as a teaching tool, this rocky relationship appears to remain within the academic community.

However, beneath this surface malaise, military historiography is actually undergoing a renaissance with both the academic and military communities, as well as remaining very popular with the general public. This new appreciation for military history is driven in part by changes in military historiography during the last 50 years, moving beyond the traditional forms of historical narrative to incorporate other fields of study to examine a broader scope of militaries and warfare.

Military history usually brings to mind narratives of battles and campaigns and perhaps the occasional story of famous generals and leaders. Although these are certainly the most obvious aspects of this discipline of history, what really separates military history is the involvement of combat—a life or death struggle either on the individual, unit or national level. Military history grapples with many of the same issues that historians of all fields have grappled with, including how to integrate individual actions and events with an overarching narrative, cause and effect, and a very important questions for military historians- why were some countries and armies successful at war when others were not?

More to follow.......

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Revisionist History AT ITS WORST

Michelle Malkin has a great blog and I really read with interest this post:

Hollywood & Howard Zinn’s Marxist education project

Howard Zinn, is, in my opinion a bloviating Marxist whinner disguised as a historian.  I flipped through the COMIC BOOK version of his book (yes, I said comic book, I guess that's the only way liberals can read and understand history-comic books)  I find it hard to believe that the History Channel has anything to do with him and I've got to wonder if they have fallen off their rocker associating themselves with this nutball. 

Here's my question for Howie...if the U.S. is so bad, why not move to a Marxist paradise like Cuba or Venezuela?  And hey, I wonder if he has cashed all those royalty checks for his crappy books....just another liberal hypocrite like Michael Moore, Al Gore and all the other "do as I say and not as I do" limousine liberals.  

Friday, December 4, 2009

Which came first?

Okay, I don't usually blog about economics, since, as Clint Eastwood famously said, "A man's got to know his limitations."  Obviously, Obama and the Democrats in Congress don't understand how closed-loop feedback systems work and think they can command the economy to create jobs, thereby saving their "phoney-baloney jobs" as Mel Brooks once described corrupt politicians.

So, here's the first article: Job creation requires certainty, not government action
This article logically makes the case that "Small businesses create most of the jobs in an economy such as ours. But small businesses find it impossible to plan on expanding because they do not know what it will cost them to take on more staff.....This is not exactly a setting in which businessmen, especially small-business men, see a bright future. Uncertainty about some things, certainty about even worse things -- so hunker down, don't hire just yet, wait and see if things turn out as badly as it now seems likely they will."

More deficit spending on some phony jobs creation bill is not the answer.  Making smart decisions on tax policy, employer mandates, and regulation is the way to get jobs moving.

THIS is the more interesting article.  This guy is such a moron it nearly defies explanation, but I will give it a try:

Dems Doing Liberalism Badly

The crux of his argument is that liberalism is good, but Obama is screwing it up.  He clearly thinks that the porkulus bill should have been a "jobs" bill instead of a "stimulus" bill.  "It was Democrats' first big chance in decades to position government to affirmatively promote good, the keystone principle of active state liberalism from Lincoln to both Roosevelts to LBJ. Thereafter, the recovery of liberal thought was invested in the economic recovery act."  

CLUE IN DUFUS, that money wasn't about jobs or stimulus, it was a means to prop up sagging state governments (and unionized government employees), give lots of money to Democratic special interests and "build shovel ready projects" again with lots of union labor.

But his entire argument is flawed...the government does not CREATE jobs or wealth.  It uses TAXES taken from other people to pay its workers, buy its toilet paper and everything else.  This is money NOT available to the private sector.  In addition, all of the ridiculous regulations and policies don't help either....
trying to say liberalism is good, but being messed up by Obama and Pelosi is like saying communism was good, but the Russians were too stupid to make it work....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Surrender by any other name is still surrender

Ralph Peters, one of my favorite Grouchy commentators has an excellent article in the NY Post.

Now Ralph is particularly acerbic, but he makes a good point-Wars are rarely won on a time table and the Taliban get a BIG vote in how things work out.  I think Obama clearly doesn't understand that annoying little tidbit.  I am also worried about how long it will take to get those troops into the country.  I read on another blog a very good point (don't remember the blog) that Afghanistan has lousy infrastructure and no port and rail system like Iraq.  SO it may take 6-9 months to get all the 30,000 troops in country, leaving the military only 6-9 months to make a difference.

Ralph is probably right that Obama is setting up the military to take the fall if his policy fails and he is forced (which he will be) by his lefty base to pull all the troops out of Iraq AND Afghanistan prior to the 2012 election...his choice to begin withdrawal of troops 1 year before the likely 2012 Defeatocrat Convention is no coincidence. 

If I was a real conspiracy nut, I would also say that Obama is setting up Gen. Petraeus to take the fall in order to keep him from becoming a potential political rival....not that he would EVER consider that in his calcuation....no I'm sure Rahmbo and the Axe would ever consider politics above national security....