April 30, 2006

On The Reading List

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:03 pm

I think I need to get my hands on a book Mark Steyn mentioned:

in Our Crisis: Or Three Months at Patna During the Insurrection of 1857, William Tayler wrote, “With the Soonnees the Wahabees are on terms of tolerable agreement, though differing on certain points, but from the Sheahs, they differ radically, and their hatred, like all religious hatred, is bitter and intolerant. But the most striking characteristic of the Wahabee sect, and that which principally concerns this narrative, is the entire subservience which they yield to the Peer, or spiritual guide.”

Mr. Tayler, a minor civil servant in Bengal, was a genuine “multiculturalist.” That’s to say, although he regarded his own culture as superior, he was engaged enough by the ways of others to study the differences between them. By contrast, contemporary multiculturalism absolves one from knowing anything about other cultures as long as one feels warm and fluffy toward them. After all, if it’s grossly judgmental to say one culture’s better than another, why bother learning about the differences? “Celebrate diversity” with a uniformity of ignorance. Had William Tayler been around when the Islamification of the West got under way and you’d said to him there was a mosque opening down the street, he’d have wanted to know: what kind of mosque? Who’s the imam? What branch of Islam? Old-school imperialists could never get away with the feel-good condescension of PC progressives.

Here’s Tayler again: “The tenets originally professed by the Wahabees have been described as a Mahomedan Puritanism joined to a Bedouin Phylarchy, in which the great chief is both the political and religious leader of the nation.”

Just so.

This might involve a little digging. I’ve found one of Tayler’s books reprinted, but perhaps will need to spend a little more time to find the right book.

Somebody Found The Green Book

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:28 pm

Bubblehead decides he’s had enough of leaks and lets it all hang out with a post of all the Important Sayings in his CENTCOM Green Book.

April 29, 2006

Still On Travel

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:51 pm

It’s taking a while. More when I can.

April 27, 2006

Speaking Of Little…

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:57 pm

Update: BAMmed this post, apparently: several typos and similar indignities fixed.

Those littoral combat ships (how did they come up with that naming convention?) look to be about the size of a small European frigate, give or take. Which is good, since we need something with helo capability. The Swedish Danish Stanflex class has modularity that got people interested; it’s an interesting start to thinking about something small for the Americans. Page five of this PDF document is the first guess as to what the Navy wants; you can compare to the Stanflex.

Two different types of LCS are being built; this means one group of the two types will be orphans (but less so than, say, Seawolf, the ‘noun class’ SSNs.) Looks like the first four, perhaps of the LockMart flavor, will wind up in San Diego. LCS 1‘s keel was laid about a year ago; it looks a little more like a frigate than it does the Titan Sea Fighter prototype.

Okay, let’s look at this for a sec. LT/LCDR command. Mine warfare role, ASW too supposedly, in the same place the USW center is. LT/LCDR command. In San Diego. Almost makes one want to be a shoe!

(Fun Fact: they may have a strange naming scheme but they picked the right sponsor: Birgit Smith, SFC Paul Smith’s widow. Frankly, I woulda liked a USS Paul Smith, myself.)

LCS 2 (how did they come up with that naming convention?) is the General Dynamics design, keel laid January. It’s got a heck of a lot of room on the top to put two birds on it…and since the FFGs are getting rode hard and put up wet due to their air capability, this looks pretty stinkin’ interesting. 417 foot long trimaran, it sez here. That ain’t so little. Being built in Mobile at Austal; Austal’s the Australian company that made the aluminum ferries used there and ohbytheway one of the HSVs is an Austal. Interesting, and nice to see that a smaller shipyard gets at least some play, even if it had to team up with the big boys to do so.

I’m starting to think about these things a bit like the Kidd, or Ayatollah-class, destroyers. We were building them for Iran back in the day and didn’t put anything on them when we broke relations, so we had to deal with that a number of ways. Even stripped to the paint they were useful. Maybe the module thing is sort of like the older ships in that even a minimal hull, in theater doing a job, is better than nothing, and it’s easier to buy a new box of stuff than it is to get a new hull. Maybe someone will decide that a particular group of ships are the best at MIW and the stuff stays there–even if that happens we’ve now got a mine capability that will be able to replace the MHCs. That’s a bare minimum of success, but feasible.

And yes of course I’m only posting this to tweak CDR Salamander.

ASDS, Surprise Surprise, Goes Tullibee

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:15 pm

The Advanced SEAL Delivery System is not to be built after the first one. Imagine my surprise. Yank Sailor says

…if Big Navy went ahead and built five more, it’s not unreasonable to think the unit cost would be almost, if not more than, double the original $80 million per boat sticker price.


Well, if you reject the higher bid done by the submarine builder because the aircraft builder has a lower bid, and then don’t match the right standards until too late, and pack too much New And Improved More Sheets Per Roll crap into the thing, and encounter several different uncool technical challenges, and go too far on the “new toys always cost more than the estimate” scale, then you get a very nice one of a kind boat.

I told ’em (as if anyone would listen to me) to get some Yugos or Dolgoraes. Are they tiny little low capability boats that suck to do an insert from? Well, yeah. Do they work? Of course; just ask the Koreans (both sides), Iranians, ex-commies, et cetera. And they don’t cost a freaking half billion dollars apiece and an ASDS-sized huge, specialized infrastructure, either. Maybe a merchant if you want to drag them everywhere, or a tow cable from a bigger sub.

But they aren’t New and Sexy, apparently. They just work. Sometimes there is a place for something that just works. Sometimes, yeah, you need bestest quietest most capable. On the other hand, sometimes you need to consider that if you gold plate it you won’t be able to pay for it.

Lenin said quantity has a quality all its own. And tell me the quality metric for a very capable ship that isn’t in theater because you don’t have one. I bet it’s measured in lost opportunities.


April 24, 2006

“It Will Not Do To Be An 80% Ally”

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:25 pm

…especially on this ANZAC Day (tomorrow, 25 April). Kemal Ataturk understood the ferocity of the men of Gallipoli. Many of us don’t; I remember having to brush up on it in order to be in Brisbane on the 60th anniversary of the Coral Sea battle, with the honor of reenlisting a sonar tech at the ANZAC memorial there.

It’s a good time to remember. From a comment on this post, I learn that we’ve got some tough allies alongside us, and also about the toughness of Firebolt sailors.

Gday all,

Just want to pass on my well wishes and ask to remember those who have served and continue to serve in the ADF and support agencies this ANZAC Day.

This Is a particularly meaningful day for me as it marks the 2nd anniversary of the terrorist attack on the iraqi oil terminals on 24th April 2004 whilst I was ships company on HMAS Stuart. Unfortunately the Cyclone class patrol boat, USS Firebolt, bore the brunt of the attack with 3 members killed whilst trying to board a dhow. We were tasked to recover the dead and injured whilst maintaining our patrol of the oil fields.

After rescuing the remaining survivors and returning them to Stuart, it was evident that these guys were special. For one they had horrendous injuries however their spirits were unbroken and to the extent that they were jovial. This warmed the crew and steeled them even further. They were, and still are, an inspiration for me.

Thanks for your time and enjoy your Anzac Day.


Rob Forsyth


(then)HMAS Stuart

I should remind folks that the above link leads to support information for that sea battle’s losses.

April 22, 2006

I Just Found My New Diet

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:49 pm

This little diet food almost might do the trick. It doesn’t look quite as bad as the salad I had the other day.

It’s a little skimpy, but after one of Steve Graham’s concoctions you have to go a bit light, you know.

Although Steve’s exercise program is highly recommended. I guess I have to get some timers…

Hog History

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:43 pm

Nice little rant / story from the Hog..

Not At The Milblogger Conference

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:17 pm

…and TAD, not up on comms. Say hi for me, willya?

April 20, 2006

Open Source Intel Request

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:16 pm

I’ve got a post reporting something good about a journalist who disagreed with me. I think it’s a true story, despite single sourcing from an anonymous comment. The fact that I disagreed with the guy about something makes it more incumbent upon me to recognize his courage and heroism.

I put the comment up on the front page. I’ve emailed one of his journalist buddies. I’ve linked to Mudville’s open post. No reaction so far.

This is what little I know from open source about 23 March:

Sgt 1st Class Randy D. McCaulley, 44, Indiana, Pa., died in Habbaniyah, Iraq on March 23, when his dismounted patrol came under enemy small arms fire during combat operations. McCaulley was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Indiana, Pa.

Army Staff Sgt. Brock A. Beery, 30, of White House, Tenn., died in Habbaniyah on March 23, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle and his unit came under attack by small-arms fire. Beery was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 123rd Armor Regiment, Bowling Green, Ky.

If you’ve got unclas, open source info about Habbaniyah 23 March, let’s hear it.

Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart on Types Of Courage

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:02 pm

Just finished Ralph Peters’ latest book (four word review: brilliant but intermittently ridiculous), and started a memoir by the inventor of “grand strategy”.

From The Liddell Hart Memoirs, p. 28:

There was one incident that stuck in my memory as a sidelight to the different kinds of courage. It occurred when walking across the airfield with a pilot who had won decorations for most gallant feats and gone on flying with unbroken nerve after a crash in which he had been badly injured. While we were strolling along, a tractor plane from another squadron landed close to us and in getting out its pilot stepped into the propeller before it had stopped swinging and had his head nearly severed. It was a ghastly sight, although no more than daily experiences in land battle, but I was astonished to see that it completely unnerved my companion. Another illustration of such differences was the case of an officer I knew in 1915 who had been so frightfully nervous in the trenches that he was sent back to the base as a germ-carrier of panic, but then qualified as a pilot in the R.F.C. and showed such courage in tackling Zeppelins that he was recommended for the V.C.

“On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:54 pm

“However, folks can generally discern a horse’s rear area.”

So says Tom McGuire in comments buried in a rather entertaining flap. Turns out a guy from the LA Times who was commenting as himself and also as “this other guy and I agree with him” got caught by Patterico with his undies in the mangle.

Then the aforementioned mangled-undies journalist responds with an emphatic attack on something else. Arguments are slightly familiar for some reason.

I must admit the timing of this flap in light of the most recent couple of weeks is especially delicious…

April 18, 2006

General Talk Roundup

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:24 am

A good roundup of reaction to the “generals speaking out” flap is over at Jack Kelly’s.

Prine Nominated For Silver Star

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:41 am

CAVEAT: Single anonymous source; IP checks out, but this could be a bogus report. I’m assuming true based on the wording and events–his unit took casualties in what sounded like rough circumstances on that date.

— — — —

Journalist and Guardsman Carl Prine, last seen mixing it up in the comments section, gets mentioned by a colonel in the comments section:

Prine UPDATE. Prine was recommended for a Silver Star based on his actions 23MAR06 during a complex attack against leading attacks against 2x houses of POO SAF, actions that led to the detention of 4x MAMs. Whether he ultimately receives the honor, he has been issued a citation from MTT for conspicuous gallantry in combat.

If we had a few more reporters in our ranks, perhaps we would be better off. I am going to continue to follow this man’s career, whether it be military or journalistic, for the rest of my days.

(Sent to Mudville)

April 17, 2006

Got A Spare Three And A Half Million Bucks?

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:22 pm

I would bet the Hilton CEO can, what with his “business measures” and all.

But he won’t buy this, so maybe you might like a spare submarine

April 16, 2006

Whistling In The Hurricane

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:36 pm

I guess what bothers me about articles like this one by Amir Taheri is that it matches what we’re seeing in briefs I’ve linked to previously (courtesy Lex but I can’t get to it on the cell phone). It matches open source.

And the people who will read it are already convinced; the people who need convincing will not read it, or refuse to accept it.

I used to say about mine and antisubmarine warfare that people only got serious about it after the second flaming datum. Put another way, people tend to put up the new stop sign only after the fatal accident.

With nuclear weapons it is not necessarily prudent to listen to someone’s words and public intentions only after a flaming datum.

You have a solution? Is there one with no deaths that works, or merely multiple bad choices where “optimum” means “sucks the least”?

One City, One School District?

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:24 pm

That’s the bumper sticker (without the question mark) I see on school buses at home.

Apparently the latest move has gotten En Revanche thinking rather dramatically:

… in this day and age, I never dreamed anyone would seriously attempt to challenge Brown v. Board of Education.

The Nebraska State Legislature had other ideas... and the representative leading the charge for the re-segregation of the Omaha public schools is an African-American...

The current state of play is a bit different, and involves money and power and assets and the local towns.

Here’s a Sunday World-Herald piece that discusses one aspect of it, linked to remind people that relying on the AP isn’t always the best news about local stories.

Here’s a quick summary as I see it, likely misremembered.

The Nebraska state constitution has a section in it about schools. Omaha city decided that either it hadn’t been enforced and needed to be, or used it as a raw play for tax money from the suburbs and neighboring towns, depending on to whom you talk. At the same time, towns around Omaha are scrambling for all sorts of ways to avoid getting annexed as well as losing their control and tax base.

And there are sideshows, like the written agreement between Bellevue and Papillion for the S.I.D. region between them getting ambushed because one town’s got some aldermen who see Papillion getting richer and wants that tax base, so they’re trying to take the schools…ugly mess, that.

So anyway, there’s lots more to the schools division thing than the thrust of the article. Mainly that if you want to see folk get ugly, mess with their schools or taxes.

I still don’t see the plus of government issue schooling, though. Education’s one of the thornier questions of raising a preschooler, I guess…

April 14, 2006

Why I Love My Comrades

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:10 pm

I am, as mentioned before, on travel and blogging from a cell phone. After landing at my destination I had to take a bus to where we would be staying, and a retired Army couple sat across from me. He was 82nd in the Seventies, a tough place to be, but was the kid from Berkeley who wanted some school and he stayed in till retirement.

82nd means Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (Fayetteville, the town around Bragg, is a very Army town; I remember going there once in my crackerjack uniform on payday–and was I ever a fish out of water! At least in Cherry Point the Marines assumed you were a corpsman and let you be…) In the seventies some jerk put up a huge billboard on his farm recruiting for the Klan. Nothing to be done, apparently. Private property, First Amendment and all that. Not so nice for a young black man from Cali.

And one night a mysterious explosion went off. My new friend says he assumed it was a demolition demonstration–but the next day the sign was gone.

Rumor has it the perpetrators were unhappy with the message, explaining in terms rather poetically appropriate to the sign owner.

Soon afterward the Klan came to march in a mall, on a day off for my new friend’s team. They had a very emphatic discussion with their civilian neighbors from off base until the moderator arrived with a sheriff’s badge and a shotgun. At the same time the crusty Top shows up, and negotiates a quiet dénoument without expending ordnance.

I should note the offended Army guy who started the fight was a white guy. Not that it matters, really; but a comrade is a comrade, not to be harassed. And so the little guy with the short haircut and shined shoes smacked the leader’s hood clean off.

My friend says he still has his “member” badge acquired from that night’s festivities…

Si Je Etait Aperitivien…

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:51 pm

…peut-etre je voudrais faire une podcast un peu comme Radio Aperitivo.

(Podcast. Interesting song mix, bad word alert, messes with your head, uses Rapidshare which can be a pain.)

April 13, 2006

So, Posting Light For A While…

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:51 pm

Got some real world work interfering, will be back after this word from our sponsor: Unpleasant Airlines.

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