01 July 2013

TOURIST IN CHIEF

Well, I see the President is off on another taxpayer funded family vacation, this time to Africa.  And that's a good thing.  I mean, how else do you rest up for your upcoming family vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

Now, I know many folks--some of whom I love and respect-- will criticize me, saying "What about all the time Bush spent in Texas?" and "Reagan was always going to California."  Good questions, I suppose, but at least they were going home.  He goes, or sends his extended family, to Asia and Europe and, now, Africa, none of which are in, well, you know, the United States.  (I'll give him this.  Chicago isn't California or Texas, and given the chance, I'd go to Texas, or northern California or Missouri or Montana, too.   But he's from Kansas, fer cryin' out loud, and that is as good as any of the other 49 States--except when KU plays MU, of course.)

Others--some of whom I love and respect-- will howl "This isn't a family vacation!  He's representing our country on an important diplomatic trip!"

Maybe, but look at the photos of the Pres, his wife, her Mom, one of the girls and his niece visiting a port in Senegal from which slaves were shipped to Europe, Africa, the Middle east, and North, Central, and South America two to five centuries ago.  Looks like a typical family vacation pic to me, complete with bored teenagers who wish to heaven they were back home in their rooms, doors closed to parents, surrounded by their music, iPhones, iPads, and so forth.

He was urged by his base--and, to his credit as an educated man, resisted--to apologize for slavery in America on this trip.  Ya see, he would have also had to admit that slaves were kidnapped by black men and then sold to other black men who then sold them to black and white traders to start that trade.  That would have required Senegal to have to apologize for the slave trade, a real breach of manners by a tourist.  In the elite liberal mind, political correctness trumps historical correctness every time.

Diplomatic trip?  Yeah, boy, we sure have  serious problems with Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa.  I mean, where else can a President spend billions of taxpayer dollars (to fund electric power development)?  Probably in coal-fired plants....

Well, he could de-fund and close a whole lot of VA veterans health clinics.  As my (typically rebellious) 14 year old told me night before last, "Those guys [vets] were all volunteers.  If they got hurt in the Army, they volunteered for it and should pay for their own healthcare.  People on welfare didn't volunteer to live in slums and deal crack!"

The Pres apparently agrees because the only effect he can ever mention when cutting government spending is discussed is cutting defense spending and spending on veterans.  Maybe someone should mention the Department of Education, crowded with bureaucrats who are loyal dues paying union members and Who. Do. Not. Educate. A. Single. Child.  All at the unbelievably low price of $70 billion per year!    But I digress.

Look, Mr. President, if you want to take the wife and kids and mother-in-law and a niece or nephew or two on a foreign vacation, have at it.  But, please, Sir, not on my dime...




14 May 2013

OF THE HYPOCRISY OF LIBERALS




Twenty six people were killed by a madman at the Sandy Hook School.  The media was all over the story.  The response from liberals:  Ignore the Constitution which explicitly states that the right to keep and bear arms is a right of the people.  Instead, ban all firearms.  Keep a list of every gun bought and sold, even gifts from parent to child, and do everything possible to disarm law-abiding citizens, all in the name of protecting innocent lives.  After all, if everyone is allowed to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, deaths will follow.  Criminals don’t kill people, guns kill people.  Legislate guns out of existence (except those in the hands of the government).  Laws making gun crimes punishable by stiff jail terms won’t do, the Liberals cried.  We have to stop people from getting their hands on guns.

Kermit Gosnell, MD, a physician in West Philadelphia murdered 3 innocent babies, whose only offense was to survive botched late term abortions.  In the United States, over a million innocent babies are killed by abortionists each year.  Until Fox News raised the question of why the trial was not being covered, the media was silent and the screens dark.  Abortion rights groups also contend the problems at Gosnell’s clinic reflected a lack of enforcement, not a lack of regulation.  A few deaths are a small price to pay to protect the "constitutional right" to abortion on demand.
  
“There were regulations on the books over there,” Eric Ferrero, vice president for communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said recently. “Pennsylvania officials should have enforced those regulations better. But when you’re talking about someone who’s a criminal, you’re talking about someone who’s going to break laws.”

In other words, don’t outlaw abortions.  Just go after the folks who do their killing in a sloppy way.  And by the way, the "constitutional right" to abortion is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. Can you spell “double standard.”

“NEVER MIND THAT PRESIDENT BEHIND THE CURTAIN”




“The [squad leader, platoon commander, Company Commander, Battalion Commander, Regimental Commander, Commanding General] is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do.”  FMFM6-1, et seq.  This sentence is identical in the Fleet Marine Force Manual series on the role of the units which make up a Marine Division.  That is why command is so exciting and professionally rewarding.  With the absolute authority of command comes the absolute responsibility for the commander’s decisions and leadership.  Unless, apparently, you are the President and Commander-in-Chief.

The Obama White House is famous for insisting that anything good that happens on his watch be credited to him alone.  Good news may not be announced by the departments and agencies; it must come from the President.  

 “What about bad news,” you say?  That’s another story. The last seven days have not been fun for the President and the Nation.

First, last fall, it was impossible to escape hearing the President’s campaign claim that he was responsible for getting Osama bin Laden and getting rid of Moammar Ghaddafi and protecting American soil from terrorist attacks.  That’s fine—he was President when it happened and he is responsible for everything that happens on his watch.  

 Then came Benghazi. The airwaves were full of claims that the attack came out of nowhere, with no advance warning, and all due to some fifth rate con man (I apologize to other fifth rate con men, but I had to pick a number) who made a “movie” that displeased Muslim fanatics.  The attack was so sudden that nothing could have been done to save our people.  And it simply wasn’t an attack by terrorists.

Now we learn that bad news was covered up.  Why?  In the midst of a heated campaign, State (“the leadership in my buildings”) needed to cover, so as not to embarrass the President.  One of Secretary Clinton’s hatchet women insisted that the CIA not give a true accounting of the background of the attack, including the fact that the warning signs were there that real live, honest-to-god terrorists were planning to do us harm on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Washington did nothing before the attack to beef up security.  Then, during the attack, our guys were hung out to dry.

Next, we learned that the IRS, the outfit that will be a lead agency in implementing Obamacare (which is a tax) of which the President is so proud, intentionally targeted conservative political action groups, delaying their applications for tax-free status and actually demanding to see their membership lists.  You know this is bad when top-level Democrats are appalled.  They have donor lists, too.  But the President says, “if” it happened, he will look into it.  Not his fault.  The White House had no clue it was happening (except the White House Counsel’s office, we now learn).

Finally, we learn that the Department of Justice executed an unprecedented collection of information about two-month’s-worth of telephone records of the Associated Press and many of its employees.   Why?  To discover sources who leaked information that the White House did not want leaked.  (As opposed to information that the White House wanted to leak, an old and bi-partisan practice in Washington.)  Seems the current administration has an equal lack of respect for both the first and the second amendments. 

So, where does this lead us?  I suggest that this administration is just what it wanted to be.  It took a liberal agenda, shoved it down the people’s throats, used the press to cover its tracks, and then ran from its record when things went bad.  The people don’t want health care to be nationalized if it costs them their current insurance and raises premiums substantially?  Use the press to deny that information.  Lie about it, and use the IRS to go after groups that are trying to get at and get out the truth.

Want to gut the national defense in order to fund bread and circuses (through redistribution of the wealth)?  Tell everyone that the war is over, and when the enemy doesn’t get that message, cover up that inconvenient truth.

When the press does anything other than parrot your line, get them and their sources.  (Disclaimer: In the past, I have wished that we could go after a “hate America first” press that often actually went out of its way to hurt our national defense.  I still do, but embarrassing the President is not such a case.)

The question, then, is this.  Will the American people let him once more get away with this kind of manipulation that damages our Constitution, or will they finally stand up and say “Enough!” 

16 April 2013

THE BOSTON BOMB



As were many Americans last night, I was watching televised reports from Boston.  I was struck by how American television journalism has slumped.  The story—as is often the case in situations such as this—was what we do not know.  Kipling’s “six men,” as a team, were noticeably absent, but that did not seem to stop CNN (the network I watched with a friend).  I suspect all the others were covering the story with similar superficiality.

Oh, “What … and When and Where…” were there, reporting over and over and over.  Two bombs exploded as was evidenced by the same footage repeated every thirty seconds or so.  The race clock never changed, nor did the location.  The bloody pavement, shown in graphic closeness, titillated and repulsed.  Over and over and over.  The runner who was blown off his feet hit the pavement.  Over and over and over.  The journalistic “thrill” of the next big story, with blow-dried and well-coiffed reporters breathlessly repeating what we already knew, was evident.

But Mr. K’s other three “honest serving men,” those whose spirit is the real essence of journalism, were mugged on the way to the story and replaced with the Rumor family triplets: Sloth, Speculation, and Fabrication. 

I suppose that is understandable.  It takes time for Why and How and Who to do their work.  But instead of journalistic honesty (“We just don’t know Why this cowardly attack occurred—and may never know.”  How a coordinated attack like this was planned and executed will only be revealed after the pains-taking work of investigators is completed over the next several days and weeks.  This isn’t CSI, where lab results show up in minutes and the crime is solved in an hour.   Let’s let them do their jobs and we’ll report back when we know something.”  “We don’t know Who did this.  And before we increase fear and distrust, we’ll wait for facts about investigative leads.”), we were put on the lookout for a “black man in a black, hooded sweatshirt.”  Whew.  We should have him in custody before the 11 o’clock news.  There cannot be many men in Boston matching that description!  

We were treated to speculation that the 26 miles of the marathon and the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting were somehow related (despite the fact that there were 27 victims in Newtown and the race is called a marathon because of the geography of ancient Greece).  And even after the Boston police chief stated that no one was in custody, report after report spoke of the middle-eastern man in the hospital who was being interrogated as a “person of interest.” 
 
Mr. K must have set a new rpm record in his final resting place.

Oh, Walter and Chet and David and especially Mr. Murrow.  How we miss you.

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories

29 March 2013

SOME OF OUR POLITICIANS NEED TO TAKE A CIVICS COURSE

Back in the dark ages (the Kennedy administration) I was required by State law to pass to State-mandated examinations in order to graduate from high school. One was an hour-long exam on the United States constitution and the other was on the Illinois constitution. We took the exams as part of our required civics course. The idea was to give us a basic understanding of our rights and responsibilities as citizens. We learned the principles of jus soli and jus sanguinis, which seem to me to put the birthers weird complaints in the trash can. We learned about "the Great Compromise," checks and balances, and how a bill becomes a law.

 Lately, I have come to doubt whether our politicians have ever taken such a simple course. In light of the arguments before the Supreme Court regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, the inane comments of such folks as Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton, and President Obama are startling in the deception they are attempting to foist on the American people.

 A little background is required. Back during the Clinton presidency, a bill was introduced in Congress. It provided that for the purposes of defining federal rights and privileges of citizens with respect to, e.g., taxation and benefits which were either granted solely to married people or which were different for married and unmarried people, marriage was defined as being between "one man and one woman." The bill was passed by a majority of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Assuming, as I do, that the members of Congress takes their oaths of office seriously, I presume that after debate, a majority of each house thought that the bill was constitutional. It was then forwarded to the President. President Clinton had two constitutional options: sign or veto. If he thought the bill was unconstitutional, he had a duty to veto the bill and return it to Congress, noting his objection. If he thought it was constitutional (as he did, according to statements he made as late as this week), he could sign the bill into law. He signed. 

One of the duties of the President as Chief Executive is to enforce or cause to be enforced the laws of the United States. Nowhere in the Constitution is he permitted, once a bill is signed into law, to refuse to enforce it. That defeats the purpose of checks and balances. (I will leave aside the issue of "signing statements" for another day.) If he, during his presidency, or a future President, comes to the conclusion that a law is unconstitutional, he may ask Congress to amend or repeal the law, but he cannot do so unilaterally. Unless you are Barack Obama.

DOMA is currently an in-force law of the United States. It has not been repealed. Neither President Obama nor any other serving President has ever asked Congress to repeal that law. Instead, he unilaterally decided that he would order his Attorney General to refuse to defend a duly enacted federal law in the Courts of the United States as it was his duty to do.

Bill Clinton says he now thinks the bill was unconstitutional, but who cares? He is not the President, and former Presidents do not get a vote. (President Truman thought former Presidents ought to have the privilege of the floor in the Senate--but not the vote. I tend to agree. I might go so far as to allow them, instead, the right to act as at-large members of the House of Representatives, i.e., giving them both voice and vote in the "peoples' house.")

Nancy Pelosi, in an another inane attempt to appear to be relevant, says that because the Senate and the President think the law is unconstitutional, that should carry some weight with the Court. "I'll bet she wouldn't have taken the position that the House is irrelevant when she was Speaker! So, I suggest that these people need to go back to high school. It surely didn't take the first time.

06 February 2013

SOME 'SPLAININ' TO DO


Can someone please explain to me why the President (and most Democrats) refuse to do anything about cutting spending unless they get new or increased taxes? And why do they insist on increasing the debt ceiling—which will allow them to borrow and spend more and get us even further into debt? If they are planning to get new money, either from new taxes or new borrowing, being politicians, they will spend it. Being liberals, they will give it away to people who don’t pay taxes, but who have the vote. We overspent ourselves into this massive and unsustainable debt. We cannot get out of debt by overspending some more.

16 December 2012

THE TRAGEDY IN CONNECTICUT

When I was in seventh grade, I used to ride to and from school with my Mom. The hospital where she was working was only a couple of blocks from school and I could avoid the overcrowded bus. She had a Desoto sedan and we would listen to the radio and talk.

On Monday, 1 December 1958, as we pulled into our driveway, we heard the dreaded words, “We interrupt this program for a special news bulletin.” There followed the announcement of the Our Lady of the Angels fire in Chicago. Three nuns and 92 children died in the fire, most from smoke inhalation.

 Mom put her head on the steering wheel and sobbed. “Oh, their poor Mothers. And just before Christmas.”

I’ve been back in that old Desoto all weekend. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School would have been no less tragic in any other season, but Christmas is a season of birth, and joy, and expectation. It hit all the harder because the expectation those sweet little children had as they entered school that morning was stolen. And for the survivors, Christmas will never be the same.

It appears that a very troubled young man stole some guns from his mother, killed her, and then began his own particular excursion into hell. Why he did it, we will never know, nor does it matter.

What does matter is keeping the children and their teachers in the spotlight, not the shooter. The teachers, particularly, deserve our thanks and respect. To paraphrase the final sentence of a posthumous medal citation, “Their conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the teaching profession and reflected great credit upon themselves, their school, and the entire school district. They gallantly gave their lives for the children entrusted to them.”

20 November 2012

HAVE THEY NO SHAME?

Throughout the run-up to the general election, all we heard from the useful idiots of the Democratic Party was condemnation of the “obstructionist” Republicans. The Republicans in the House drew lines in the sand and just wouldn’t give in to the clearly morally superior Democrats. How dare they stand on principle? People who don’t group think with the liberal elites are not allowed principles. Their principles get in the way of what the liberal establishment knows is best for the poor stupid American people. No, the only correct and moral behavior is to compromise.

Until now, that is. Within a matter of days, the three top useful idiots in the capitol sang a different tune. First, Whinin’ Nancy, shocked that the American people would have the temerity to keep the House in Republican hands, moaned to the press. According to Whinin’ Nancy, she simply will not tolerate any compromise on increasing taxes.

She will “reject” any agreement the President negotiates to prevent the catastrophic “fiscal cliff” if it does not soak the “rich,” which she defines as couples making in excess of $250,000. No, by God. Better that the entire economy really kamikaze than to allow those pikers, who already pay nearly 40% of all revenue from the personal income tax, to keep more of their money. They need to pay their “fair share” so that Congress has more money to spend.

If she is really serious about a fair share, then let's just have a flat tax that starts at dollar one for every person in the Nation. That will be about as popular as a goat at a wedding amongst most of WN's national constituency.

Now, in my household, if I have X dollars and want to spend X+ 20%, I have a problem. See, if I go out and take that extra 20% from my neighbor, that selfish cad, I’ll end up in jail. Apparently I am supposed to live within my means.

But what if I want to spend my money (and my neighbor’s) on really neat stuff? According to WN, I ought to have the right to penalize my short-sighted neighbor. I mean, c’mon. What’s the fun in being a Congressperson if I can’t spend more and more of the people’s money for the noblest of all purposes, i.e., getting re-elected.

 About the only good news here is that WN is irrelevant—she has no say because as the Pres is so fond of saying, “Elections have consequences.”

 Ah, but let us bid a fond farewell to the happy minority denizens of the people’s house and sail a few yards north to the Senate. Who do we meet? Look, it is Dirty Dick Durbin. He has something to say.  He is aghast that perhaps—just perhaps—there might be a deal in the works to raise the threshold from $250K to a cool million.

"Absolutely not," cries DDD. "It's a reasonable number. I'm not sure what we're proving with (the millionaire tax)."

Well, for one thing, Triple D, along with WN and Lyin’ Harry Reid, are proving that they are ready to destroy the economy in exchange for a tax rate that would produce enough extra revenue to fund the federal government for, wait for it, here it comes, eight days!

And remember, py yumpin yiminy, Triple D and his cohorts simply will not cut spending by eight days’ worth of income. Nope. If they do that, Rich Trumpka will send in his bully boys to start knee capping people.

Never mind that by getting rid of the Department of Education (a misnomer if ever there was one) we could save a hundred billion bucks right now. Get rid of a department that does not educate a single child. Let the States perform their traditional role as the providers of education fitted to the needs of localities rather than a one size fits all scheme thought up and imposed by all of those bureaucrats who shuffle paper while consuming tens of billions of dollars that could really be used to educate our children.

Nope. Better to draw a line in the sand. If we don’t penalize those pikers for being hard-working successes, more Americans might begin to think it is a good idea for them to keep some of their money, too. Oh, the agony!

But wait, folks, there’s more. Now entering the spotlight is that champion of the people, that foe of the obstructionist filibuster, put your hands together and give a big welcome to Lyin’ Harry Reid.

Now LH isn’t going to stoop to such mundane things as trying to save the economy. That’s what he has Triple D for. Nope, LH is going to stonewall any attempt to find out the truth behind the, purely coincidental, I am sure, cover up of the facts about the attack on American soil in Benghazi. (For those of you who didn’t have Civics in high school because we needed a quota course on great left-handed female field hockey players, embassies are considered to be the sovereign soil of the country whose embassy occupies that soil.)

From David Petraeus, we learned that someone altered the CIA’s talking points issued right after the attack to make sure the attack was not characterized as, well, an attack, much less a terrorist attack.

But according to LH , that’s not gonna happen, no matter how many Senators, including not a few in his own caucus, want it to be investigated. Nope, a select committee would need a floor vote to be created, and Reid said he wouldn’t permit it. He won’t let such a request come to the floor. No need to organize a filibuster of a number of Senators. One guy can make sure the White House never has to explain how politics took precedence over a mere four American citizens’ lives. Now, if they had been driving a terrorist to a planning meeting, that would have been a different story, but luckily, they were just loyal, patriotic citizens. Whew!

“The elections are over,” Reid wrote. “It is time to put an end to the partisan politicization of national security and begin working together to strengthen our efforts to dismantle and destroy the terrorist networks that threaten us.” Too bad he didn’t feel that way before November 6.

Have they no shame?

10 November 2012

MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY 2012

At posts and stations around the world, today marks the 237th birthday of the finest fighting force the world has ever known, the United States Marine Corps.  A central part of the ceremony is the publication of General Lejeune's 1921 Order marking the birthday, followed by a message from the Commandant:

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history. 

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world’s history. During 90 of the 167 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation’s foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres, and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security. In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term “Marine” has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as “Soldiers of the Sea” since the founding of the Corps.

 John Lejeune Lieutenant General U.S. Marine Corps

R 152053Z OCT 12 UNCLASSIFIED/ ALMAR 039/12 MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS // SUBJ/UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY MESSAGE 2012// GENTEXT/REMARKS/

1. AS WE PAUSE TO CELEBRATE THE 237TH BIRTHDAY OF OUR CORPS, WE REFLECT ON THE RICH LEGACY OF SERVICE HANDED DOWN TO US, WE RECOMMIT OURSELVES TO THE TASKS AT HAND, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TOWARD A BRIGHT FUTURE IN SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY.

 2. MARINES EXIST TO FIGHT AND WIN OUR NATION'S BATTLES. WE ARE MOST PROUD OF OUR WELL-EARNED REPUTATION FOR ANSWERING THE CLARION CALL FIRST. THIS WAS NEVER MORE EVIDENT THAN AT THE EPIC BATTLE OF GUADALCANAL 70 YEARS AGO. PICKED TO LEAD THE FIRST ALLIED COUNTER-OFFENSIVE OF THE PACIFIC WAR BECAUSE THEY WERE THE "MOST READY," MARINES LANDED ON 7 AUGUST 1942 IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS. THEY PERSEVERED THROUGH MONTHS OF UNREMITTING DEPRIVATION AND BITTER COMBAT. BY THE TIME THE VETERANS OF THE BLUE DIAMOND, THE CACTUS AIR FORCE, OUR LEGENDARY MARINE RAIDERS, AND INITIAL ELEMENTS OF THE FOLLOW-ME DIVISION GATHERED TOGETHER TO RAISE A CANTEEN AND TOAST THE BIRTHDAY OF THEIR BELOVED CORPS SOME THREE MONTHS LATER, THE BATTLE WAS NO LONGER AN ISSUE. THE SITUATION WAS WELL IN HAND...VICTORY WAS ASSURED.

3. WE CARRY THAT SAME LEGACY OF RESOLUTE COMMITMENT AND VALOR TODAY. OVER THE PAST YEAR, MARINES HAVE STOOD FIRM IN THE TOUGHEST OF CIRCUMSTANCES AND ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS. WE'VE TAKEN THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY IN HELMAND AND TO THE HORN OF AFRICA. WE'VE MANNED THE RAMPARTS OF BELEAGUERED EMBASSIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, FOUGHT ALONGSIDE OUR ALLIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, WHILE BEHIND THE SCENES, AFLOAT AND ASHORE, OTHER MARINES DID THE PAINSTAKING HARD WORK REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN OUR HIGH LEVELS OF READINESS AND EFFICIENCY.

 4. AS WE LOOK TOWARD THE FUTURE, WE KNOW THAT OUR SENTIMENTAL PLACE IN THE HEARTS OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS AND CRITICAL ROLE IN THE DEFENSE OF OUR WAY OF LIFE ARE ASSURED. AMERICA HAS ALWAYS WANTED A MARINE CORPS...IT'S ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. NOW, MORE THAN EVER, AMERICA NEEDS ITS MARINES AS WE CONFRONT A DANGEROUS AND UNPREDICTABLE WORLD. FACED WITH DIFFICULT DAYS AHEAD, WE WILL CONTINUE TO DRAW STRENGTH FROM OUR RICH HERITAGE AND THE SHARED VALUES OF THE MARINES TO OUR LEFT AND TO OUR RIGHT. WE KNOW WHO WE ARE...WE KNOW WHAT WE STAND FOR. AS EVER WE WILL STRIVE TO BE FOUND WORTHY OF THE LEGENDARY TRUST OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS.

5. I SALUTE THE ENDURING FAITHFULNESS OF THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE, OF THOSE WHO WEAR OUR CLOTH TODAY, AND OF THE FAMILIES WHO STAND SO RESOLUTELY AT OUR SIDES. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINES...AND SEMPER FIDELIS.

 JAMES F. AMOS, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS.//

23 October 2012

OF SHOES AND SHIPS AND SEALING WAX….AND HORSES AND BAYONETS

From the third debate:
ROMNEY: Our Navy is old — excuse me, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now at under 285. We're headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That's unacceptable to me.
I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947. We've changed for the first time since FDR — since FDR we had the — we've always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we're changing to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the President of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American people.
And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making — is making our future less certain and less secure.
OBAMA: Bob, I just need to comment on this.
First of all, the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.
The budget that we are talking about is not reducing our military spending. It is maintaining it.
But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
OBAMA: And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting slips (sic). It's what are our capabilities. And so when I sit down with the Secretary of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home.
I suggest that it is the President who does not know how the military works. He says of the Secretary of the Navy (a political appointee of his) and the Joint Chiefs “we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home.”

Note that he did not say that the Secretary and the Chiefs agree with downsizing our Navy to 200 ships. And some of the Chiefs might have: the Air Force would love to get more money for airplanes, air bases and their club system at the Navy’s expense and the Army needs tanks to replace those that have had hard use in the past 8 years. The Marine Corps, on the other hand, does not want a cut in ships because the Navy will drop amphibious shipping first.

(And can someone explain to me why the only place to find money for veterans is in the defense budget or tax increases?  How about we cut the money for the free loaders first, eh?  Start with the Department of Education--tens of thousands of bureaucrats who educate not one child.)

The President does not realize that if we have only 200 ships, that means that about 60 are actually deployed at any given time. Sixty more, having just returned from lengthy deployments, are being repaired (ships constantly at sea take a horrible beating), replenished, modernized, receiving replacement crews, and preparing for workup. Another 60 are in workup to replace the 60 deployed, shaking down and getting the real at sea training that no simulator can truly replicate. The remaining 20 are in the yard for major repair or modernization, being prepared for decommissioning, or are otherwise not immediately available.

Sixty ships to cover three fifths of the earth’s surface. Sixty ships to do something that only ships can do: force projection. I can guarantee you that the Air Force cannot deploy a constant meaningful force off the coast of a hostile nation for 90 days, 24/7. Unless the Army has learned to walk on water, it has no real force projection capability. Sixty ships?

 A carrier battle group requires 6 to 8 ships, and we have a minimum of three at sea at any one time. Let’s say that that is 22 of the 60. We have a number of submarines—attack boats, boomers, and special operations boats—at sea at any one time. The exact number is, obviously, classified, but let’s say 20. We are now at 42. Each battle group requires logistics support—oilers and fleet replenishment ships. That is a minimum of 9. That leaves 9 ships for intelligence support, amphibious shipping, and training.

That is simply not enough. And Governor Romney pointed out that the Emperor was wearing no clothes.

The President’s snappy, snippy, snotty comeback, the one everyone is having so much fun with, was
You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
That points to the President’s shallow other-worldly thinking about defense.

Yeah, we have aircraft carriers and the Air Force, too. But history reveals that air power, no matter how loud and how often the airedales shout it, has never won a war. Made victory possible? Sure. Done it bravely? No doubt. But win it? Nevah hatchee, GI.

 Submarines are great. They deter with the nuclear missles, they support with cruise missles, they sink shipping, if required. (Think ANS Belgrano and the South Korean coastal gunboat, for modern examples.) But win the war? Nope.

A war is won in just one way. Some steely-eyed 18 year old grunt, with rifle in hand and bayonet fixed, has to stand on the objective and say “Give up, asshole?” Until then, the issue is in doubt.

A couple of final thoughts.

Somebody is sure to point to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples of how “air power alone” won a war. Somebody is either ill-educated or a charlatan. Air power had reduced the 70 largest cities in Japan to ashes using dumb bombs and incendiaries in the Spring of 1945, killing 5 to 10 times as many people as the two a-bombs did, and the Japanese fought on. If the Jap military had been able to convince the emperor to fight on after Nagasaki, we were out of a-bombs and the invasion of Japan would have still been needed. And we still needed to occupy Japan with the good old American GI.

Horses. Yeah, we are not big on horse cavalry right now, although we did send in some of the first troops to enter Afghanistan on horseback. And maybe, if Obama really does what his cronies want, slash our armed forces, we ought to get more horses. A survivor of Bataan reported that horses were more useful than tanks. “When the food ran out, we ate the horses. Tanks are tougher to cook.”

Bayonets. Until one has seen cold steel in the hands of a trained killer, it is hard to imagine the effect a little knife on the end of a rifle can have. Most people have never been shot. They know intellectually that being shot is bad, but it is unreal to them. Most people have been cut at one time or another. They know what a knife or bayonet can do and it makes them hesitate. Hesitation, in combat, gets you dead.

And if the ammo supply runs short (and ammo is not high on the minds of Congressmen and Senators—not enough cash to spread around to the district), a bayonet changes a modern rifle from a plastic club into a lethal weapon of a different sort.

 Finally, the sound of hundreds of bayonets being locked into place, echoing in the night, is chilling. I’ve heard it. On “that night,” our Skipper ordered “Fix bayonets.” Our Marines did, to the ultimate regret of not a few NVA.

 So the President got it all wrong, but only those who have been there realize it.