'87 Sir

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

America- Losing the Armored Spear

This Particular Article on the Small Wars Journal Blog ignited quite the fire storm:

The Death of the Armor Corps by Colonel Gian P. Gentile

Now the debate over the role of COIN in the aftermath of Iraq and what kind of threat the U.S. Army should be getting ready for is nothing new.

Clearly the U.S. military has been concentrating on winning counter-insurgencies and not fighting large-scale combined arms combat.  This is clearly not a good thing, as the Israel's learned the hard way.

Back to Basics: A Study of the Second Lebanon War and Operation CAST LEAD

But this is a subject that is not going to be solved overnight.  Rebalancing the U.S. military after the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are over will take a long time, a lot of money, and a great deal of thought.

I have posted a number of blogs on the resurgance of Russia and their newfound appreciation of armored warfare and tanks.

Russian Military on the Rebound?

Another viewpoint on the Russian military

Are Tanks Obsolete?

I believe the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are going to need to get back to basics and relearn how to fight well-armed opponents.  Clearly, the days of "nation-building" and "regime change" are over, baring some catastrophic incident like 9/11 again.  

This debate between COIN and Combined Arms is gonna drag on for a while.

Stay Tuned


Lots more discussion at

Wings over Iraq


Great Satan's Girlfriend (the most unusual national security/military website I have ever seen -:)



Monday, April 26, 2010

Why do we study the classical theorists? Of what use are such concepts as Clausewitz’s “trinity”?

An excellent question....this is the first question we discussed in my new class:

MILS521  - Strategy, Tactics, & the Operational Art

Clausewitz’ trinity is an excellent example of this principle.The balance and interaction of the state, military and population is probably more important today than it was in the mid-1800s.Clausewitz’ understanding of the intertwining of diplomacy, politics and military force were not only prophetic, but also insightful.

In particular, Clausewitz understood that war often went in unanticipated directions, be it ‘friction’ or ‘chaos’ or unrestrained emotion leading to irrational thinking because people wage war, and people react to violence in unpredictable ways.  Policy makers over the last 50 years have too often initiated warfare, or even limited military action without thinking through all of the downstream effects that military action can create.

Because warfare in the days of Thucydides, Clausewitz and Sun Tzu was literally a matter of life or death for a country or dynasty, rulers had a much better appreciation of the risks of going to war.A ruler had to know what they wanted to accomplish by force of arms, and most importantly, how much blood and treasure they were will to expend to achieve those goals.
Current leaders would do well to understand Clausewitz’ trinity and realize that if this balance is not maintained, the use of military force to achieve diplomatic purposes will not be as successful.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another hit piece from the New York Slimes

 Another typical hit piece from the New York Slimes hiding beneath the thin veneer of "historians"  oyyy, stand by for heaving puking.

Tea Party Supporters Doing Fine, but Angry Nonetheless

What I find particularly nauseating is the very snide and well hidden pokes at the Tea Party members as racists and angry white people who hate poor black people and "diversity", whatever the hell that means...how diverse are college faculties these days..hmnmm?
The Tea Party supporters recycle their language from the conservative movements of the early 1960s in response to the Kennedy presidency, the resistance to busing, gay rights and the Carter administration in the mid 1970s, and the opposition to the Clinton health care plan in the early 1990s.
Hmmm, sort of a twofer there, Tea Party folks hate blacks and gays!
The poll reveals a deep conviction among Tea Party supporters that the country is being run by people who do not share their values, for the benefit of people who are not like them.
Well, this is true, Tea Party goers for the most part have jobs and pay taxes, unlike 50% of the American public-Hey, I wonder how many of that demographic voted for Obama?- You know the guy handing out the free "Obama money" to all his Democratic union fat cat supporters.
They are significantly more likely than Republicans or the general public to say that too much attention has been made of the problems facing black people, and that the policies of the Obama administration favor blacks over whites and the poor over the rich or the middle class.
This is my favorite quote.  Clearly all those rich white people, you know the ones with jobs that pay taxes, clearly hate the poor and by implication of this article blacks, since according to liberals they are all poor and downtrodden.

Well, people with jobs that are managing a household are not stupid...you can only tax WORKING people so much before there is no more blood in that turnip to pay for ridiculous social programs that we just plain can't afford.  NOW Obama and his buddies don't care because their retirement and healthcare is alllll paid for...but what about the rest of us?  There is NOT GOING TO BE any Social Security for my son...maybe not even for me...what's going to happen to this country then?  Unlike the idiots at the New York Slimes...Tea Partyers DO comprehend what TRILLIONS in debt means, inflation, taxation and devaluation.  Not to mention a poor, less free country for their children. It isn't rocket science, except to the liberal elite in Manhattan.

I Googled the historian quoted in this article...hmmmm, no bias here....

Eric S. "Rick" Perlstein (born 1969) is an American historian and journalist. He graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in History in 1992. He is a former writer for The Village Voice and The New Republic and the author of numerous articles in other publications.

The Village Voice and the New Republic...hmmm don't remember those as peer reviewed journals...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Outstanding Lecture

I read this over the weekend while enjoying a gorgeous Saturday.  I had a small booklet with David McCullough's 2003 Jefferson Lecture on the Humanities.  Well worth the read...McCullough is one of the best historians of this generation.  I really loved McCullough's 1776 and I think he really captured the sentiment of that tumultuous year when the American Revolution nearly ended.  I have not read his John Adams but the HBO series was really, really good.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from his lecture:
 There should be no hesitation ever about giving anyone a book to enjoy, at any age. There should be no hesitation about teaching future teachers with books they will enjoy. No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read.
Certainly true for how I learned history...from my local librarian.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Well, the Pulitzer Prizes are out, and, as expected they were primarily awarded to dinosaur media reporting inane stories.

I mean seriously, where was the hard hitting investigative journalism of the ACORN scandal which two twenty-somethings broke?  Or how about the backroom bribes and dealing to get Obamacare passed?  How about the American victory in Iraq?

NOT...oh well, I do enjoy reading the prizes for history, those at least show some sanity.

History: Awarded to "Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World," by Liaquat Ahamed (The Penguin Press), a compelling account of how four powerful bankers played crucial roles in triggering the Great Depression and ultimately transforming the United States into the world's financial leader. Finalists: "Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City," by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Co.), an evocative, heavily researched examination of an industrial giant's grandiose scheme to create a model rubber plantation deep in the Amazon forest, and "Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815," by Gordon S. Wood (Oxford University Press), a lucid exploration of a turbulent era when a profoundly changing America, despite the sin of slavery, came to see itself as a beacon to the world, demonstrating human capacity for self-government.
I have Empire of Liberty, and from the first couple of chapters I have read, it is pretty good.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Year, Another Civil War History Kerfuffle

Bob's Big Oy!

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell completely reverses himself on the issue of slavery. 

Very interesting article about the current kerfuffle in Virginia about "Confederate Heritage Month"

 Now the mere mention of the Civil War, slavery, Confederates and white Southerners sends some people into tizzy.

But should it?  A question I love to ask-- what should we teach our children about the Civil War?  Was it about slavery?  States Rights?  Economics?  

My personal opinion was that it was indeed about slavery--but not the evil, we hate black people slavery so often touted by some.  For better or worse, to understand the thinking of white, slave holding Southerners, slavery was a matter of economics and a way of life.  They did not enslave people merely for fun, but for profit.  Does that shock anyone?  The entire Southern economy was built on plantation and slave labor.  If you really try and understand the thinking and political philosophy of Southerners at the time, it isn't too hard to see why the would be terrified of a President who THEY BELIEVED was trying to economically and socially ruin them.  

Correctly or incorrectly, that's what they were thinking...we can't conceive of a time when slavery was, in fact, protected by the Constitution and had a SUPER-DUPER precedent for being protected in EVERY single political Compromise enacted in previous sectional crises.  Does this make it right?  Not to a 21st century American, 150 YEARS LATER.

 Oh, and by the way, most Northerners were just as racist as their Southern counterparts...they may not have wanted slavery, but they sure didn't want freedmen living next door to them either.

Not pretty, and certainly unacceptable in the 21st century, but that's how things were in the 1860s.  Unfortunately, we are so blinded by racial politics and political correctness that we don't study the causes of the Civil War in the context of the times, in my opinion.

 Civil War history is one of my favorite topics and for a military historian, it's a source of boundless study.  Does that mean we should ignore slavery?  Certainly not...does that mean that EVERYTHING we study about the Civil War has to revolve around slavery?  I don't think that's true either.  

One of may favorite Mort Kunstler paintings

If we don't study the causes of the Civil War, secession, the role of slavery, and the perils encountered in Reconstruction, how will we understand our history? Sadly, I think racists on both sides use the Civil War for their own purposes and don't try to really do their history.  Unfortunately, I doubt our public schools or universities are helping.

By the way, modern Americans are pretty smug in our sophisticated self-righteousness when we judge our backward, evil ancestors.  I wonder what our descendants will think about us in 150 years, if we survive that long.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Outstanding Article

This bio-article by Mark Bowden on General David Petraeus is outstanding.

The Professor of War

 I actually heard Gen Petraeus speak at a seminar last year and I have to say he was very impressive.  Here's one of my favorite quotes: 

From his command at CentCom, Petraeus may not hold the highest rank, but he is without a doubt the most influential military officer in America. His conquest of the U.S. Army is complete. He has a deep and devoted following in the ranks—his “counter-insurgency nation.” His doctrines now shape the way we fight, and because his position allows him to select and promote the institution’s next generation of colonels and generals, his values and ideas are shaping the army’s future.

Thank goodness for this, because, it spite of the drivel spewing from this Administration, we still have many, many enemies out there and we are going to need another generation of combat-hardened officers and soldiers to survive...don't kid yourself that Obama can wish the Iranian, Chinese, Russian, or Venezuelan problems away because of his charm and diplomacy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Okay, I have had enough of these booger-eatin' morons.  I nearly puked reading Frank Rich's moronic tome 
and various other idiotic pronouncements from left-wing talking heads (or talking out their a**, same thing) that anyone opposing Obamacare is a racist, sexist, ignorant red neck.  So, in a calm rational tone, I will take this moronic poltroon to task.
The Republican crackup (Published in the Washington Post, what a surprise)

By Matt Miller
Tuesday, March 31, 2020;

Has anyone else noticed that seemingly well-adjusted Republicans have been driven insane by the passage of Obamacare? [Unlike the calm rational left-wingers that went bat-sh** crazy about EVERYTHING that George W. Bush said, ate, did, read, etc]You can catch them muttering under their breath, whimpering on editorial pages and howling to the moon that this Democratic victory is the death knell for much that we cherish in American life. When I first saw a Republican friend jump out the window in this fashion, I assumed it was an isolated incident, or even politically motivated play-acting. Now that I've seen countless others follow suit, however, it's a phenomenon that merits deeper psychological inquiry.
As a matter of objective reality, after all, this Republican derangement seems an absurd overreaction. How could taking Mitt Romney's health-care plan national be seen by any balanced person as the beginning of the end? Still, everyone knows that too many big, stressful changes at once -- such as getting divorced, changing jobs and moving homes -- can push even sturdy people over the edge. Three sudden emotional shocks likewise explain the Republican crackup.
Shock 1: Losing big. For starters, Republicans simply have not lost on an issue this big in decades. Media coverage features so many breathless political ups and downs that it's easy to assume each party tastes victory and defeat in equal measure. But as a matter of ideology, these overheated fights take place between the 45-yard lines on a field that conservatives shrewdly tilted to their advantage several decades ago. That President Obama could move the debate to the 40-yard line  [On the contrary, the Dems lied, cheated, threatened and bribed their way to pass this bill with NO Republican support] and win is something the modern GOP has never experienced. Republicans mauled President Clinton when he tried to do the same; after 1994, Clinton's "wins" were trumped-up and tiny. Republicans have so successfully framed the debate for so long that they don't know what it feels like to be thoroughly beaten. Who wouldn't feel disoriented and angry?
Shock 2: The quest for security. The next blow is the dawning awareness that the quest for economic security in a global era is reshaping politics. The instant premise of Republican analysis -- that the public will never tolerate Obamacare's repeal once it is implemented -- concedes the point that health reform will bring a measure of security that families crave. The Republican psyche is having so much trouble digesting this reality, though, that the party is resorting to the kind of condescending arguments for which they normally damn liberals. Who's got more contempt for the average American? Liberals who say everyday Kansans vote Republican because they're too dumb to grasp their own economic self-interest? Or conservatives who now say voters are too dimwitted to see that Obamacare will devour their freedom?
Deep down, Republicans know they haven't developed serious policy responses to the economic anxieties of the middle class. [This is my favorite idiotic statement-how about lower taxes, less government eating at the trough, free market health care reform, not taking over car companies, banks, etc. along with new "environmental' regulations]This (rightly) scares them.
Shock 3: The death of the tax issue. The final shock is the cruelest of all: the demise of the tax issue that's defined the Republican brand since Ronald Reagan. There's been no shortage of conservative carping since the health-care vote that we're now doomed to have a value-added tax to fund the runaway welfare state. Well, earth to GOP: Taxes have always been destined to go up as baby boomers retire and we double the number of people on Social Security and Medicare in the years ahead -- and the scale of that retiree commitment is far greater than the tab for Obamacare. [NOPE, I think THIS is my favorite moronic statement- NO SH** Sherlock...we can't pay for the big government programs we have now without taxing ourselves into oblivion and he thinks it's good to add $1T more in taxes to pay for universal health care {and it's comin', make no mistake about that}]Trying to blame health reform for the higher taxes in our future is another species of the denial that has left GOP tax talk almost comically detached from reality. But this is just the GOP acting out its fears. When a party discovers that core aspects of its political identity no longer offer meaningful answers to the nation's problems, the torment is acute. Yet what else can we say of the GOP now that "rugged individualism" won't suffice to save American workers from competition from China and India, and when taxes are sure to rise, no matter how many Republicans we elect?
The signposts in the Republican universe have been abruptly altered. So don't let yourself become desensitized to the sight of conservatives stumbling, lost in the night, the way you avert your eyes when passing poor homeless souls on the sidewalk. Suffering is subjective. There are people on the street who really think they are Jesus. There are Republicans in our midst who really think Obama's version of Romneycare equals socialism. There but for the grace of God -- and maybe a little less sloppy thinking -- go we. [Oh, and just to finish off this idiot, is he even aware of what Romneycare did to Massachusetts? Even their own politicians are scrambling to save it..so Romney is no hero on this matter, but what makes these idiots think Obama can run it any better than Romney?]

Matt Miller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress  <---[OH, that explains everything, he's an Obamabot paid for by George Soros]
Okay, I feel so much better know...these people really, really piss me off...and I mean in a big way.  These people have no idea what's going to hit them.  When unemployment remains high, the real estate market continues to slide, AND all of the new taxes get piled on top, the voters are gonna be furious.  THEN when the Bush tax cuts expire, just in time for the 2012 Presidential elections, look for a voter revolt that has never been seen. 

In sort of an ironic way, morons like this guy may finally succeed in getting the American people to consider what many past Republican Presidents have not been able to back to the days of the great Ronald Reagan-HOW do we pay for all of these entitlements with our massive $10T debt (mostly imposed by Obama), huge numbers of retirees coming into the system and the potential to add millions of (il)legal aliens...this may be the greatest unintended consequence of the liberal progressive Democrats obsession with passing universal health care (which this is, a wolf in sheep's clothing)...the American People are gonna wake up and figure out we are going the way of Zimbabwe or Weimar Germany unless HARD, DIFFICULT choices are made..which will not be popular, will be painful, but, in the end, must be made.
Just not be this Congress or this Administration.