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August 05, 2010

Interesting Reads

Quote of the day:

"[Manning] would always speak up if he thought that something was wrong without actually thinking of the consequences."

Oh, and he was openly gay. Which is not news, and if you say it ought to be then you're obviously one of those folks who think journalistic bias is a mistaken perception not reflective of the actual news coverage we see every day.


Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.

The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain's 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama's battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that.

McCain clinched the GOP nomination on March 4, three months before Obama won his. From June 4 to Election Day, the tally was Obama, 626 stories, and McCain, 584. Obama was on the front page 176 times, McCain, 144 times; 41 stories featured both.

Our survey results are comparable to figures for the national news media from a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. It found that from June 9, when Clinton dropped out of the race, until Nov. 2, 66 percent of the campaign stories were about Obama compared with 53 percent for McCain; some stories featured both. The project also calculated that in that time, 57 percent of the stories were about the horse race and 13 percent were about issues.

I've been meaning to write more about the "diversity is our top priority" idiocy at the Naval Academy. Phi Beta Cons has been doing a great job on the story:

Lots of money was wasted on the academy’s diversity efforts, which the commandant said was “the number one priority” there. Not finding, educating, and graduating the best possible naval officers, period — no, the key was that they have the right skin color and have ancestors from the right foreign countries.

Now, according to recently leaked memos, the stupidity appears to have spread to the entire Navy:

As revealed in the latest national-security leak — an e-mail from a Navy admiral on “Diversity Accountability” — the whole Navy has adopted this same priority.

The message, from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, directs other key officers to identify by name [on a secret list due to its“sensitive nature” -- a list also likely to be leaked] “the diverse officers with high potential . . . [and] the plan for their career progression.” Roughead indicates he may follow up on “what is being done within to ensure they are considered for key follow on billets within the Navy.”

According to the Times:

In practice, the Navy will be creating a list of privileged “diverse” officers who will enjoy special benefits and career mentoring not available to people of the wrong race, as well as a virtual guarantee of fast-track access to the highest reaches of command . . . [i.e., it] is erecting a wall of segregation between what will amount to two parallel promotion systems: one for the “diverse” and another for the monotone. If this isn’t illegal, it should be . . .

This ought to be required reading for anyone who doesn't see how heavy handed government attempts to force equal outcomes are inherently corrupting. I can't tell you how sad it makes me to see the United States Navy stoop so low.

Remember that oil spill that was the administration's latest "#1 priority"? Apparently it was just trivial, after all.

One more reason not to trust "the experts" to make sweeping changes to the status quo: it turns out scientists still don't understand human behavior all that well:

Jim Manzi, the peripatetic founder of APT, sees education as a growth market, but he also cautions against thinking that randomized testing will ever bring the kind of certainty to social policy that it has to physics or chemistry. In an article published this week in the conservative City Journal, Manzi reminds us that that unlike gravity or atoms, people in one region, or culture, or moment in time, don't predictably behave the same way as humans in other settings. Try as we might, try as we should, we may never achieve a fully scientific understanding of human behavior.

Gee, perhaps that's the reason conservatives favor gradual, organic changes that develop in response to real world conditions to grandiose and untried social experiments based on "science" and the opinions of so-called experts?

Krauthammer nails it on Obama and Iraq:

Obama had one task. [It was] not succeeding in the surge — that already happened. [It was] not announcing a timetable — that was already established. He had one task — getting elections done and having a stable government established. On that he has not succeeded — it’s not all his fault, the majority of the fault lies with the Iraqis themselves – but … as a result, the entire enterprise, with all the blood and the suffering involved, is now in jeopardy.

Remember all that talk about how the military couldn't possibly "win" the war - that we needed to put more time and effort into diplomatic solutions?

Obama appears to have disregarded his own advice. Quelle surprise.

Posted by Cassandra at August 5, 2010 08:15 AM

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Comments

What no foreign enemy can destroy, may be destroyed internally at far less the cost.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 11:18 AM

"The only thing I know about Bradley Manning, based on his chats, is that he believed he was doing the right thing by releasing that information -- the right thing being, in his mind, to demonstrate that the U.S. had done bad things in war," Lamo said.

obviously that's more important than protecting Afghan civilians from being executed and assassinated by the Taliban, once their names and locations are known to the Taliban in the wiki leak documents.

The megalomaniac has always believed that justice is whatever they want it to be. Whatever benefits them, is justice. What happens to anyone else, is not part of their consideration.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 11:22 AM

Btw, Manning got dumped by his boyfriend, so he leaked the documents because he wanted to feel powerful.

That's all.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 11:23 AM

At an Arizona base in 2008 during advance training that would turn Manning into an intelligence analyst, the young soldier was reprimanded, the military said, without elaborating on details. Wired reported that Manning had been caught uploading videos on YouTube in which he talked about classified buildings.

Manning graduated advanced training and was sent to Iraq. He was given top-secret security clearance.

It's rather obvious that gays and women are given "special treatment" from an administration and peace time officer corps that really really wants career advancement, wealth, and influence.

Winning wars and protecting the nation? Well, as Casey once remarked on the Fort Hood shooting. Diversity is more important than whatever lives were lost to enemy action. Because diversity means $$$$

So, is it not yet obvious that rewarding terrorism breeds more terrorism? Rewarding treason breeds more traitors? Rewarding leaks and leakers breeds more security problems?

Of course it. But it doesn't matter. Not to those in power.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 12:39 PM

This ought to be required reading for anyone who doesn't see how heavy handed government attempts to force equal outcomes are inherently corrupting. I can't tell you how sad it makes me to see the United States Navy stoop so low.

It's a self-inflicted wound. Once the Navy broke the tradition of never naming ships after living politicians, it sent a message to Congress that it could be bought. The christening of the SSN Jimmy Carter, aka "The Killer Rabbit," merely confirmed the message.

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2010 02:42 PM

I wonder if the "sensitization" of the USNA began partly as a response to the harassment problems of the early 1990s. I was trying very hard to get into the military at that time and the recruiter was no pleased when I brought up some of the things going on and asked about how they were being dealt with.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at August 5, 2010 03:00 PM

I kind of like Jimmy Carter as a submarine. They are supposed to be quiet and underwater for LOOOONG periods of time.

Carter should definitely be that.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 03:06 PM

I wonder if the "sensitization" of the USNA began partly as a response to the harassment problems of the early 1990s.

We were stationed at the Academy in the early 1990s, oddly enough.

Back in the late 70s I remember being pretty disgusted at the climate and attitude towards women there. Because of this, I always paid particular attention to sex scandals at the Academy and I have to say that it's hard to think of a single one that didn't involve significant misbehavior on the part of the female mid.

Not that this absolves the guys involved, but if both a man and a woman get drunk and are doing things that are against the regs, I tend to see the woman as more of a participant/fellow instigator than as a victim.

In answer to your question though, back in the 1990s there was a lot of squirrelly-ness at the Academy where women were concerned. I remember a visit involving DACOWITS that was particularly amusing, if you have a strong stomach for idiocy (I don't).

Posted by: Cassandra at August 5, 2010 03:14 PM

Re "scientists and human behavior", here's C S Lewis, in the novel That Hideous Strength, describing his protagonist, a sociologist:


"..his education had had the curious effect of making things that he read and wrote more real to him than the things he saw. Statistics about agricultural laboureres were the substance: any real ditcher, ploughman, or farmer's boy, was the shadow...he had a great reluctance, in his work, to ever use such words as "man" or "woman." He preferred to write about "vocational groups," "elements," "classes," and "populations": for, in his own way, he believed as firmly as any mystic in the superior reality of the things that are not seen."

Posted by: david foster at August 5, 2010 05:05 PM

I'm going to stop recommending the U.S. military as a career choice for a while. Maybe as well as throwing out all of the incumbents, we should throw out everyone with stars on their shoulders. Yes, we lose a few good ones, but the cost of the bad ones is too high.

Posted by: htom at August 5, 2010 05:30 PM

A real blue water war would shape the Navy up. Look what Iraq did to the Marines, National Guard, and Army.

Without that, one might still think Casey could lead well in war.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 07:12 PM

Find somebody to invade, Like Cuba and Iran and Russia or something.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 07:12 PM

Speaking of interesting reads...a local lass posted this at her website (link). It says a lot about who are the compassionate and who are the money grubbers IMHO.

http://kathleenmckinley.com/2010/08/03/weddings-and-more-how-two-former-presidents-daughters-are-quite-different.aspx

Posted by: kbob in katy at August 5, 2010 07:14 PM

Good article from KM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 11:02 PM

Kathleen is a regular read. I hope when I return to the suck Internet is better than before. I will miss all this reparteé

Posted by: Kbob in Katy at August 5, 2010 11:33 PM

A real blue water war would shape the Navy up.

The Navy would *love* to fight a blue water war. The Navy is only equipped to fight a blue water war, the Navy has only trained to fight a blue water war, and every new ship it builds is a blue water ship -- it turned the LCS, which was supposed to be a fast, maneuverable, shallow-water-capable, heavily-armed, destroyer-escort-sized vessel into a sorta-fast, pretty maneuverable, deep-water-only, lightly-armed, vessel the size of a WWII cruiser.

It was conceived as a multipurpose ship capable of taking on shore-based anti-ship launching sites and now it can't even sail within range of those sites, because a hit from a Silkworm-sized anti-ship missile will put it on the bottom in less than a minute.

Posted by: BillT at August 6, 2010 07:52 AM

Everything looks good on paper and the force rolls. Until enemy contact.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2010 10:22 AM

The current Navy would hate to fight a blue water war. Most of the sailors might want to test themselves. But the Democrat politicians in uniform, probably are more concerned about diversity. Diversity tends to go up in smoke under war. They find that troublesome.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2010 10:55 AM

When I read some of the last comments concerning a blue water Navy (of which I have 10 years invested in), and the wants and desires of the Sailors assigned to those blue water ships and boats, I am reminded of the early scenes of the movie "In Harm's Way" where Admiral Kimmel is telling Captain Torrey about exercising his option to seek a court martial.

Admiral Kimmel: "I doubt if a court of inquiry will accept that. Captain, you're about to be caught in a vacuum between a peacetime Navy and a wartime Navy. Six months from now, they'll be making admirals out of captains who exhibit some guts. But right now, they're only reacting to the Pearl Harbor disaster, and punishment is order-of-the-day. Of course, you don't have to accept the findings of a court of inquiry. You could ask for general court-martial, get yourself a couple of crack sea lawyers, and make a fight of it."

We are, after 9 years, still in that vacuum because our leadership has not taken the position that will allow leaders to exercise the perogatives of command - to make the call that will save lives and people and lead us on a path to victory, and safety and security for our people, our nation and our way of life.

One crucial thing that "those" people who oversee the actions of the armed forces of the United States fail to understand, to borrow another line from the same movie is : "All battles are fought by scared men who'd rather be someplace else." Until one has experienced the sounds and feel of battle up close and personal, it is all anecdotal. And some of the worst leadership I have ever had or seen came from those "leaders" who anecdotally gained the experience to lead.

Nothing like seeing your PLT leader poop her pants at the sound of incoming to instill confidence. Nothing like having a CO in a combat zone who will not allow a case of 556 to be opened because accountability will be lost, so soldiers are told to go outside the wire with 2 half full mags....(I managed to stop that one real quick.)

PBho is that LT, that CPT, who has had a desk job and heard all the stories; he has surrounded himself with the people from the schoolhouse who "know all the answers" but have never done anything. He is the one who will send the unit down a trail with no recon and be surprised when all hell breaks loose and we all die. But it's our fault because he was not there to save us.

Sorry about getting spun up on this, but life is tough enough. Stupid leadership and stupid rules should not be what gets people killed. But there we are.

Posted by: kbob in katy at August 6, 2010 12:53 PM

Bill T: Thought provoking commentary re: blue water navy. But the big issue for any URL, 11XX officer is getting their deep draft ticket punched, and an LCS just doesn't cut it. The folks who wanted the LCS - I am not sure who they are - know that the littoral are important, but they need someone with practical tactical and operational experience. Someone like a CDR (or senior LCDR at a minimum). But not many career oriented 11XX O4/O5 types would go willingly from Department Head or XO of a DDG/CG (as examples) to CO of an LCS. It would be il bacio della morte for a career.

Maybe the Special Warfare community could establish their own career path and guidance, but then that officer would be hampered in the general flow of the officer community with regards to ship command and operations. What would their aspiration be? Command of a squadron of LCS's? Pretty small and restricted field, like my Army MOS with about 100-125 total active and reserve. I dont think we have ever had more than 200 since the end of Vietnam (and I was in the Navy then.)

Sorry to blather, but these are issues that affect me daily and directly, so they are important to me.

Kbob (CW4, USAR. Notified to go....)

Posted by: kbob in katy at August 6, 2010 01:28 PM

Stupid leadership and stupid rules should not be what gets people killed. But there we are.

The nice thing about Total War, war to the knife, is that bad leaders tend to go up in smokes alongside the people they send to fight.

It tends to even out that way.

The bad thing is that eventually the beans, butter, bullets, and bodies get used up. Then there won't be any left to use up, cause they all be gone. Then things get interesting.

The folks who wanted the LCS - I am not sure who they are - know that the littoral are important

Marine lovers. Maybe sea basing guys too.

Good stories, kbob. Interesting to hear.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2010 02:30 PM

...but they need someone with practical tactical and operational experience. Someone like a CDR (or senior LCDR at a minimum). But not many career oriented 11XX O4/O5 types would go willingly from Department Head or XO of a DDG/CG (as examples) to CO of an LCS. It would be il bacio della morte for a career.

Heh. Every issue of Proceedings back in the '90s had articles from SWOs making your exact point. Then in 2003, the articles stopped -- someone with stars on his gold shoulderboards decided the debate was over.

The LCS was originally sold as a modular ship which was supposed to operate in squadrons of five, with each ship in a different configuration so the squadron could cope with anything they might bump into. And each one was supposed to be skippered by a Lieutenant, with a Commander in charge of the squadron.

Remember the DD-X/DD-21 train wreck? It went from frigate-size to pocket-battleship size in three years, and buying two would have cost as much as buying an Essex-class carrie. Look at the specs -- the LCS is a scaled-down DD-21.

Posted by: BillT at August 6, 2010 07:42 PM

The LCS was originally sold as a modular ship which was supposed to operate in squadrons of five, with each ship in a different configuration so the squadron could cope with anything they might bump into. And each one was supposed to be skippered by a Lieutenant, with a Commander in charge of the squadron.

That design makes sense. It also avoids point failure sources by distributing signature masses around so that the enemy must have more successful attacks and better intelligence in order to cripple vital offensive capabilities.

The issue with keeping all eggs in one basket is that you better not get surprise attacked by suicide boats, torpedoes, submarines, or missiles.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 7, 2010 11:29 AM

Bill T - Right you are re: Proceedings. Funny how that works, isn't it? But now that the investment is made, those "star SWO's" have moved on (for the most part....and just like basing Minesweepers at Ingleside, just like MacNamara's TFX (which we are seeing again in the F-35), just like the entire Bronstein/McCloy/Knox class of DE/FF ships, they will be used for a short time then scrapped.

Back in the 1960's and 70's, we had some nice PG's with CODAG plants that were efficient and effective for their missions; we had PHM's that worked pretty well (and were homeported in Key West)and the list goes on and on.... As the sponson/godfathers' of those programs moved on, the programs died as well. The DE/FF lasted the longest just because of sheer numbers of vessels. It was underpowered, underarmored and undergunned. It was in reality, a sacrifice in a carrier taske force, except that it could not even keep up with a Midway/Forrestal/KittyHawk class carrier (my experience base.)

We pulled in to some outhouse drain of a port, and while we were there, we opened for tours. Big lines, lots of smile...until a USSR ship pulled in and then the line just went to them. In a lot of places, they don't care that your Mk42 5"/54 can shoot N rounds per minute...the Russians had gunbarrels sticking out all over the place. It might have been inop, but it looked good.

That is what our armed forced are on the path to. Where it is more important to change the field uniform and dress uniform that to put that money to effective use to implement stategic and tactical goals.

You many be incompetent, but you look MAH-VEL-OUS dahling.

Now, we have a war to win, despite the leaderships' thought on the matter. I am going over with 24 people. I will return with 24 smiling faces! We will do our part. But we are not looking for MoH winners.....

KP

PS - Y,

The design makes little sense. It has evolved from a ship with a mission to an everyship. It can't go where needed and the cost makes it too expensive to put in harms' way for the benefit. Frankly, I am surprised there is not one of those magnetic catapault shuttles to launch a VMFA F/A-18 or an AF F-16 so it can be joint!

I am not saying to bring back the Battleships (although I love them), but some armament and armor would make the gruntly folks (like me and many Marines) damn happy. Nothing like a 2700 lb projectile inbound at a bad guys soon to be former home of record. It is impressive sitting offshore too!

Posted by: kbob in katy at August 8, 2010 08:05 AM

The Chinese seem to have up land based anti-ship missile batteries that travel supersonic mach 10. Something like 2.2 miles per second. CLose in defenses of a carrier, for the carrier itself is only 10 or 50 miles. Without aegis cruisers or what not protecting the escort LCS, the LCS can go down and a lot of landing forces may be lost. Which would be a high priority for land power based China. Getting rid of a carrier is nice. Getting rid of soldiers would be better, since they know they can't outfight US forces on land with carrier support or lack of air supremacy.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 8, 2010 10:23 AM

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