There. Now you’re all Christian-type religionated.
May 30, 2006
From the Naval Submarine League email list, redactions mine:
Rear Admiral Eugene Fluckey Update
CAPT M– D– reports he talked with Admiral Fluckey’s wife and daughter and got this update on his status. His fighting spirit resulted in a recovery from his very bad situation. After his stay …, he went back to the Health Center… without a clear diagnosis other than pneumonia. The Medical Director at … then sent him to … Medical Center (was … Hospital) for cat scans and X-Rays. It is now believed that he aspirated food into his lungs which caused pneumonia. The pneumonia is clearing up with antibiotics. He still has some slurred speech and is very weak. He also has some other minor problems.
He is to be returned … tonight assuming no additional problems surface. He will be getting speech therapy and regular diet. They will
watch carefully for more incidents of food aspirated into his lungs. If that happens and pneumonia reappears, that could be very serious. He dodged a bullet. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
May 29, 2006
You see any news of the spectacular, huge, big, not inconsequential protests in Iran that have been going on for at least a week now?
Do you remember the last Iranian revolution swept that country partly because the embassy takeover was covered nonstop in the news?
It’s an information war there, too. How can a people become free when their information is suppressed? It’s a lot harder, like spreading a fire when the oxygen’s being pumped out of the room. Belarus almost made it four months ago, and didn’t, partially because nobody brought the news to the rest of the world. Oh, there are reporters out there; it’s just on page A-14 below the trouser ads.
Note to press types who like to Squeak Truth To Power: If you want to avoid war with Iran, then here’s a chance. Perhaps you’d better get reporting on all these demonstrations and protests. Your actions have consequences. I can’t pretend your actions are morally neutral, objective, not influential. You know it, we know it. You do your job and I do mine; got it. But. One tenth the amount of press that covered the Seattle WTO protests would be nice. It’s even things that should get a rise from a progressive, like unions, doing the protesting. You want to avoid a boot stomping on the face of the proletariat? Without expending nuclear weapons? Here’s your chance!
For crying out loud. It’s like Prague Spring over there!
It’s Memorial Day here in the third largest town in Nebraska, meaning it’s pretty small. Up the street the roads are packed with parked cars near the town’s cemetery, for the Memorial Day service one day after a funeral for Sgt. Calvin Allen, one hell of a man. The flags are out, the largest at half mast.
Today, it’s appropriate, too, to memorialize our fallen in our posts.
Unless, apparently, a cheap political opening can be had. See, this guy named
Fred PhelpsKevin sees fit to comment on a heartfelt memorial to a fallen shipmate who inspired us, and decides that he, Kevin, is more important than the content of the post, or the feelings of the people reading the post, or the reason we have a Memorial Day.
The Most Important Kevin The Commenter has a viewpoint, and there may be pluses and minuses to debating that viewpoint. There may be something useful in what the commenter has to say, and there may not. There may be the usual “all arguments eventually devolve to the same discussion” left-right, too. Perhaps it would be useful to discuss such things.
But not by hijacking Smash’s post about Major Richard Gannon, who died in service to our country.
Memorial Day is for the memorial.
Update: Smash put ’em in the latrine. Good on ya, Smash.
C. Scott Smith has a very good discussion of his grandfather’s actions for Memorial Day.
We do know, thanks to surviving letters from him, that Mack landed with his division at Normandy on D-Day plus 3 and fought across France, through the killing hedgerows of Normandy, and from there into Luxembourg and Belgium where, if Grandmother was to be believed, he died sometime before the Ardennes offensive which was launched by the Germans in their last gasp to fight their way to Antwerp and force a negotiated peace with the Allies. If the Armyâ€™s date is correct, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge before being killed.
But for the absurd randomness of war, Scott’s grandfather and my grandfather could have switched fates easily. That’s the risk a soldier takes.
My grandfather also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, in artillery. This was the only thing he told me about the war; he mentioned it as an aside when I visited their North Carolina home with videotape in hand of the commissioning. They discovered cancer; he had a softball-sized tumor in his head, and went from president of the Golden Rotarians to unable to figure out number with astonishing speed. The man decided, I think, to live long enough to see me commissioned, but was too sick to travel to Pittsburgh. So we watched the video, and he offered me a beer, and casually mentioned fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
That’s all I knew. I would have liked to know more, but also know that some things don’t need to be known, and it’s better sometimes to keep things in a box with a tight lid on them. I know he got a battlefield commission to my current rank. After the war they did a RIF (reduction in force) that turned him, and many of his buddies, into sergeants again; a rather large slice of humble pie for a man who served in both German and Japanese occupations under people who used to work for him when the bullets were flying.
He hung on, and retired to a little town he’d never seen close enough to a base that he could hit the commissary every month or so. Things worked out. Later I saw men and women who would have been at home with my grandfather in a different military profession, with hearing aids from big ‘bangs’ and illness from rough handling in wartime, from carbon tet sprayed into wet knife switches to the stress of living in deadly situations day in and day out–but aware that they were the lucky ones, and they gathered not just to swap sea stories but to remember and mourn the forever-young men who were no longer with them.
May 28, 2006
–Drudge sez Kerry wants to go up against the Swifties in the press. The Swifties got the short end of it in the press–I remember the press conference at the National Press Club, where they were pretty much completely ignored, save C-SPAN. Once they got some Internet play, they got slimed pretty hard–people I meet who hadn’t dug into the story believe the “swift boat is a verb for lying” garbage. I believe the Swifties. Sure is special Kerry anounces this before Memorial Day weekend.
–CNN has a big old story on how Pat Tillman got killed in Afghanistan by fratricide in a pretty desperate situation. The timing is about perfect, for checking the “I talked about the military” block for Memorial Day. It’s a story that should be done, if done with sensitivity; sure is special they picked Memorial Day Weekend for it.
–Lots of sales this weekend. I wonder why we get Monday off work–I guess because the pools open and the big sales start. Can’t be any other reason, could there?
–No sales for me, I think. I have to debate whether or not to get into my service dress blues and appear here tomorrow. I do not wish to be an uninvited guest, but might need to be there. That’s a good man they will be talking about, and a strong family.
May 25, 2006
…this Victor Davis Hanson column on immigration will give you the flavor. The man has sad stories to tell, but handles it with humility and empathy, a difficult thing to do on an emotional topic.
May 23, 2006
Let me throw down the gauntlet on something else that happened on the news today, and see if I get any enraged military-related IT guys try to explain why this is okay.
Let’s see. Today’s report: The VA loses personal data for right about everybody since 1974. Last couple of months: DoD computer system leaks out names and passwords for everybody on the system. The company DoD personnel are forced to get credit accounts for loses an entire backup tape set with said data. And on and on and on, and those are just the ones we know about.
Back when promotion lists passed by Congress and published in the Congressional Record still included full SSNs, a light colonel I know had a spectacular amount of trouble when the results of what the guy did when he stole her identity became apparent. It sure made it hard for her to get some free time, what with trying to recover her family’s credit and keep her house and all.
I don’t know about you, but if I were the bad guy I’d suddenly ruin the credit and empty the bank accounts of a whole lot of people at once, doing everything from sending magazine subscriptions to buying illegal substances over the internet from person to person to you name it. It would be quite an information warfare H&I fire. If I didn’t take the time for that I’d do something like accidentally happened to General Schoomaker anyway by screwing up his pay so badly it would take forever to fix. It’s very hard to keep focused on being a staff weenie or shooting well when someone’s trying to reposess your house, and you have to explain to your wife why the FBI is inquiring about the disgusting illegal pictures that arrived in the mail paid for by your government credit card and delivered to your house.
This is the kind of extra worry that happens when valuable information is not given the protection it deserves, complicated by decisions made by people whose VCRs still flash 12:00 and were captured by the latest buzzword-compatible IT brief.
Where is the Bruce Schneier in DoD? Why are we not able to correct this cascading failure?
Of course he bought that model. It only goes to show.
Ours is red, bought after the car seat and Mini would not work well without extracting kid via the hatchback, and is very practical. Even the box it comes in, which you drive.
May 21, 2006
Chinese food, eh? Maybe a best bitter and a weisse to go with it.
Charlie at OpFor has decided, upon ruminating with some Chinese food, that Clauzewitz was wrong and Sun Tzu was right in terms of the approach most properly to take with regard to Iran. Charlie makes some good points about Iran and strategy but appears to me to make the same mistake others have made in thinking about Clausewitz’ theory of warfare as being only shoot-’em-up warfare. I’m not quibbling with Charlie’s strategic analysis of Iran; I’m taking issue with flatly denying Clausewitz the ability to see past merely launching missiles. Clausewitz understood well that Politik has a place in warfare, and didn’t negate the possibility of methods of warfare that didn’t include the infantry.
The prime debunker of this fallacy is the fellow who invented the term “grand strategy”, whose Memoirs I happen to coincidentally be reading: Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart. Liddell Hart wrote in the March 1925 Empire Review:
The aim of a nation in war is, therefore, to subdue the enemy’s will to resist, with the least possible human and economic loss to itself.
If we realize that this is the true objective, we shall appreciate the fact that the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces is but a means–and not necessarily an inevitable or infallible one–to the attainment of the real objective. It is clearly not, as is so often claimed, the sole, true objective in war. Once we have cleared the air of the fog of catchwords which surround the conduct of war, but grasping that in the human will lies the source and mainspring of all conflict, as of all other activities of life, it becomes transparently clear that our goal in war can only be attained by the subjugation of the opposing will. All acts, such as defeat in the field, propaganda, blockade, diplomacy, or attack on the centres of government and population, are seen to be but means to that end, and, instead of being tied to one fixed means, we are free to weigh the respective merits of each, and to choose whichever is most suitable and most economic, i.e. that which will gain the goal with the minimum disruption of our national life during and after the war. Of what use is decisive victory in battle if we bleed to death because of it?
War is subjugating the will of the enemy. Military force qua force isn’t the only, or even the best, way to do that. It is interesting to me that a guy who didn’t like Clausewitz all that much is defending him in this aspect.
Liddell Hart comments thirty years later about his article:
My essay then dealt with the way that the doctrine of ‘absolute war’ had developed from the teachings of Clausewitz after the Napoleonic Wars, and become established in the military thought of later generations by the success of the Prussian Army in the wars of 1866 and 1870. I pointed out that his disciples ‘as is the way of the followers of any great teacher’, had seized on to his [Clausewitz’] more vivid assertions while disregarding his reservations, and carried them to a fatal extreme in framing a doctrine of ‘unlimited war’ that was really a too narrowly limited concept–of destruction regardless of object and outcome.
I proceeded to summarise a number of cases in history in which the issue of war had been decided by striking at ‘the moral objective’ and paralysing ‘the enemy’s will to resist’ without first destroying the mass of his armed forces…
I think that last sentence there is worth some pause.
You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve taken issue with an OpFor analysis on Iran options. I don’t know if this is a trend or not. Thoughts?
This is the funniest, and most honest, scientific paper I’ve read in a long time. Real science is like that, you know, just for ten years intead of two weeks.
May 19, 2006
Sometimes you just have to play along, I guess.
Guy (whose name is, actually, ‘Guy”) goes into BBC for job interview.
Oh, he gets interviewed all right…
Guidance from a Venezuelan to those guys running around in Che shirts staying at the Hilton at night…
If you’re a tourist who paid $1,300 to see the successes of the Bolivarian Revolution, you probably won’t get my message. You probably think I’m a right wing CIA agent.
Like I said. You have to be Venezuelan.
h/t Publius Pundit
Update: Third broken link this month. This is unsatisfactory. Argh. Fixed.
I didn’t buy the Time$elect firewall, and this is the first time I’ve wanted to see something behind it. But with a description of an article like this guy wrote, it sounds intriguing.
I don’t know if this counts as a timewaster or not.
…and this restaurant ad just might do it. It definitely proves that nothing good ever happens at three in the morning…
h/t Eliza, not safe for, uh, I dunno. It’s just not safe. Or something.
May 18, 2006
I guess my job isn’t popular these days.
I always thought they were sorta brown/grayish myself. Michael Yon talks gators.
This Norm Geras piece in the London Times discusses the reaction to the Euston Manifesto, a call for leftists to agree on certain things.
Every year about this time some people get a chance to make a graduation speech. One of the best last year was one by Steve Jobs, of all people.
So far, this one is the best I’ve seen in a while: Donald Rumsfeld at VMI.