Thursday, April 30, 2015

Plan? ... the Islamic State had a Plan?

If anyone here has been part of a planning group designing a warplan ... even for a moment ... I think you can empathize with one of the Islamic State's staff weenies.

They have to build C2 diagrams too.

Via DerSpiegel;

Sigh. Like we outlined last night - avoidable.

As a last note, say what you want about our time in Iraq, there were never scenes like this of people escaping from American forces.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Endgame: Slate Goes Salamander on Iraq

Yes, Slate.

Emma Sky at Slate to be specific. Glad to see, however late, that more people are getting word.
“Was it inevitable that Iraq would disintegrate?” I asked Rafi. No, it was not, he assured me. Iraq had been moving in a positive direction after the surge. This downward trajectory began in 2010 when the United States had not upheld the right of Iraqiya to have first chance at trying to form the government after it won the elections. “We might not have succeeded,” he admitted, “but the process itself would have been important in building trust in Iraq's young institutions.”

Bad decisions taken by Americans in 2010 destroyed the country, he believed. Since then, Obama had regularly cited ending the war in Iraq as one of his greatest foreign policy successes. On Nov. 1, 2013, with Maliki by his side in the White House, Obama stated: “We honor the lives that were lost, both American and Iraqi, to bring about a functioning democracy in a country that previously had been ruled by a vicious dictator. And we appreciate Prime Minister Maliki’s commitment to honoring that sacrifice by ensuring a strong, prosperous, inclusive and democratic Iraq.” He appeared to be paying scant attention to Maliki’s growing authoritarianism and the deteriorating situation in the country.
The Iraq war—and the way in which the United States departed—tilted the regional balance of power in Iran’s favor. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other states in the region all sought to project their influence by supporting sectarian actors in different countries—with devastating consequences.
Nothing that happened in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was preordained. There were different potential futures for the country.

The Iraq war and its outcome affected few Americans. There is little willingness to reflect on or take responsibility for what happened there. Politicians try to use the situation in Iraq for political advantage, without much consideration of actual Iraqis; Democrats blame Republicans for invading Iraq in the first place and Republicans blame Democrats for not leaving troops there.

But what happened in Iraq matters terribly to Iraqis who hoped so much for a better future—and to those of us who served there year after year. If we refuse to honestly examine what took place there, we will miss the opportunity to better understand when and how to respond to the world’s instability.
I remember how close it was in 2007 to keep it all together, but we did.

I remember when we called it in 2008 too.

I just got through reading most of my posts from 2006-9 on IRQ - you can too by clicking here if you so wish.

Reading them, and then the Slate article I realize that, in a fashion - that team in 2007 did get what they want. From the time ...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Character of our Midshipmen

I tell people any chance I get; there is nothing wrong with the younger generation. They are fine - and we are fine. Just give them a chance, however small, and they will show you.

In a moment, you have the data point you need. Not scripted. Not trained. Just a core nature revealed.

Via our friends at the Capital G.
Families and Naval Academy midshipmen had come for dinner before Saturday's Orioles game. Protests over the death of Freddie Gray began peacefully that day, but ended with confrontation. By Monday, the day of Gray's funeral, protests escalated with violence. At least seven officers were injured Monday afternoon and the Orioles game was postponed.

Some midshipmen didn't know about the ongoing protests when they arrived Saturday in Baltimore.

"I didn't realize it would be so close to Camden Yards," said Midshipman Madisen Grinnell, 18, of Sacramento, Calif., on Monday.

She and nine other midshipmen found themselves caught in the protests.

These midshipmen directed families to the back of the Subway. Then they lined up, in front of families, as protesters passed outside, some throwing rocks. Women and children gathered farthest from the windows, except for Grinnell, the only female there from the Naval Academy.

"You're in the military and a midshipmen — you should be in the front," she insisted.
On Monday, academy officials received an email from a grateful father in the Subway shop.

"The plebes were the last to seek safety and only did so after they made sure all others were safely away from the windows," wrote Robert Oshinsky of Montgomery County. "My wife and children were scared but I believe a little less so as a result of the actions."

Oshinsky huddled over his family in the back of the restaurant.

"This might have been two minutes, but it felt like an eternity," he said. "(Midshipmen) helped make a very scary situation less scary."

The midshipmen left the baseball game early and returned without incident to the Naval Academy.

"I don't think it occurred to any of us that we were doing anything special," Sabelstrom said.
BZ lady and gentlemen. You did well, doing good. BZ.

From left, Erik Sabelstrom, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Brad Kadlubowski, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Madisen Grinnell, 18, of Sacramento, Calif.; and Harrison Yost, 19, of Auburn, Ala. were among about 10 midshipmen caught in a protest Saturday in Baltimore. The midshipmen directed families to the back of a Subway sandwich shop when protesters began throwing chairs through the windows.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Love, Betrayal, Condescension and Poseurism-by-Proxy; Thank you for Your Service

Now and then in the various circles of acquaintances and friends my  personalities find themselves in, someone puts something out that resonates with me.  

Without further commentary on my part, I want to start the week with it - and I'll let you hash it out in comments.  

I publish it here, as otherwise besides just a handful of people, no one lease will read it.

If you want to know what the initiating event was, click here.

Via a great guy with one of the better nom d'plume out there, Andy Wahl. If you get it, you get it.

Standard Kristen warning below - a few tough but necessary words by Andy. 

You do not have to agree, but you do have to listen. What Andy outlines is what a lot of those who serve/d feel. Some just some of the time, some all of the time.

Over to you Andy.

I'm struggling to understand why Iraq is strategically irrelevant. Unless you were just being glib, of course.

I understand the emotional response to Dempsey's words, but it's more than just the words.

A few years ago, thousands of men were told to go and secure that province, those cities; because they were important. Men gave their lives because those places were important. Now, suddenly, they are unimportant. Now, their sacrifices are cheapened.

The value put on life is entirely emotional. There is no monetary value. There is no amount that can buy back the dead. Try as we might, there is no universal standard price on human life. There isn't even a national standard price. It is entirely emotional. The value of the sacrifice is also entirely emotional, and in this case open to much interpretation.

When we raise our hands and take the oath, we place trust in our leadership and our nation not to sell our lives and health cheaply. We ask that our lives not be risked for frivolous reasons, nor to satisfy the ambitions of one man or a small group of them, but only for the good of our nation. We also trust that our nation will not abandon us in the middle of that fight or piddle away what we fought for after the fact. War is political, and that will always be the case. It always has been. We, the veterans of this war, share some things with our brethren from Vietnam.

We fought in a war with no discernible outcome. If one were forced to label what we see, it would have to be called a failure because the job was half done. We won in Iraq before we lost. We fought to win, but the gains we made were abandoned for one man's vision of a superpower-less world. All gave some, sure, but some gave a hell of a lot more. Yet, after the blood has dried and the wounds are scarred-over, what was earned? What was saved? What was gained or lost? We are right to ask, "Why?"

I don't know about the rest of you, but I wonder. Perhaps some can see it merely as a temporary job in a longer career, but I can't. People died because of what I did. Real human beings who no longer live and breathe. This wasn't some drunk driving accident; it was for a purpose ... and now, it wasn't.

"I support the troops, but not the war," is an equivocation that led to the asinine withdrawal and squandering of the gains ... and therefore the lives and health of those who were hit.

This supposed ambivalence wasn't support at all. It was a socially correct door, left ajar so that those sacrifices could be made to mean nothing in the end... for convenience sake.

This country can retroactively reduce the value of your effort, your pain and even your life to zero without batting an eye. Our own countrymen do it, and they do it selfishly. They want safety, security, but they are unwilling to pay for it. Certainly not with their blood, sweat and tears; not even with their wallets.

A few of them do seem to enjoy donning accoutrements and mocking us, though. They like to pretend they paid the bill.

What we fought for, what we lost of ourselves or to ourselves to whatever extent, means more. It should, anyway. If it's not important, why do so many struggle with the meaning? This is a question that Vietnam veterans struggle with, and now so do we.

It didn't have to be this way. We have been sold out. I think perhaps this is ever the American way going forward; to "support the troops but not the war," until the political tide turns as it always does. Then, the troop's lives can be rendered moot after the fact.

I love this country, but I don't trust it. I don't trust the people. I don't trust the mass of this mall-going, Kardashian-watching, small-minded, consumer-driven, superfood-eating nitwit nation to keep a thought in its collective head for more than a couple of weeks.

This country will waste your time and your life and walk away from it like it never happened.

After that, they will seek to change the deal on what you earned, like your retirement, so that they can give free shit to those who won't do a thing for even themselves, much less anyone else. Tossing loaves into the crowd at the colosseum so they won't be hungry and bitching when you feed Christians to the lions ... or Bruce Jenner's testicles to the Kardashians or whatever mindless bullshit Americans are on about this week. Nevermind what we said to entice you, we've got other priorities. We got what we want from you, now we will welch on you ... because we can.

Because 1% ain't much of a voting block. Oh, and because fuck you.

They don't deserve what we did. Mindless, self-absorbed, superficial fucks. Remember; these idiots elected the bastard who pissed away what we fought for. Twice. We are sheepdogs for fat, retarded sheep ... and a smattering of retarded screaming goats.

They talk about the gulf between the "military class" and the rest of the citizenry. They blather about how to solve the conundrum. Bleh. I'll give them a clue; stop wasting our lives with your equivocating. You were all behind it when it started. Have the endurance to not drop the ball in front of your TV's. Have the endurance not to buy into Code Pink's bullshit. Have the courage to support the troops through it all, and never tell yourself that withdrawing IS supporting the troops. We know when you turn on us and sell our lives cheaply after the fact, and we disdain you for it. Fucking sheeple. I hate them.

GEN Dempsey has the job of explaining what is going on and why our response is what it is. Unenviable. Difficult. Saddening, I would think, unless he is heartless. He, of all people, should understand the impact of those words on those who sustained losses that can only be valued emotionally. At this point, he is a willing participant in the slamming of the door in the face of the few who went and the even fewer who have lasting, crushing pain as a result.

This war, and this administration, have made me distrust generals as much as I distrust our own memetic, soundbite society. Dempsey is just another one. No one should be surprised.

This wasn't the war to satisfy their boyhood dreams of martial glory, and so they couldn't be bothered to deal with the asymmetry. No, instead they preferred to argue over whether COIN doctrine was sound or counter-guerrilla doctrine was really needed instead. They did neither well enough to prove or disprove any of it, other than to confirm to the world... and our enemies... that we can't deal with asymmetry.

Apparently, it's exculpatory to disbelieve in the efficacy of any doctrine. So while you're fucking it up like a Stryker brigade in the Arghandab, your personal doctrinal proclivities are absolutely what need to be indulged. You are, after all, like the love child of Clauswitz and Sun Tzu. Oh, and it turns out that failure IS an option, and apparently it's quite legitimate.

The generals knuckled under to turn the military into a social petri dish in the middle of a shooting war, stressing an already stressed military to the breaking point. They turned the fight into a fight with ourselves for political and social correctness, just as they threw a war and garrison broke out.

We spend more time getting briefed on how to welcome gays than in learning to deal with asymmetric warfare and counterinsurgency. Rather than adapt to a type of warfare that we aren't good at, but are faced with and will continue to be, we are forced to adapt to gender-norming the combat arms. Because THAT can't wait until the shooting is really over with, which it isn't.

And we thought reflective belts were stupid.

Our society wonders why troops commit suicide. They put us under a dispassionate lens and examine us as if we were odd varieties of potentially dangerous insects. Myriad examinations of our suicides, relationships, domestic abuses and drug/alcohol dependencies litter the news and the web even as they tinker with our very construct. They don't even bother to correlate or compare these events and transgressions to the rest of society; because we are by our nature not part of the whole. They busy themselves with defining us as a class, even as they approve of reengineering the framework that provides any stability.

They separate us out, sell us out, then they wonder how to bridge the divide.

No, they don't deserve what was paid on their behalf. They are spineless will-o'-the-wisps who have the directional stability of a pebble in a blender and the solid character of a marshmallow in a kiln. The only fucks they have to give are reserved for Honey Fucking Boo Boo or whatever is #trending at the moment. Fuck these sheeple.

There. Now they have a fuck to give. They'll probably spend it on a #kardashian. Idiots.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Manpower, Modernization, and Motivation - an Hour with VADM Moran, Chief of Naval Personnel

For the Sailor, nothing is more immediate, more "now" and of more impact to their personal and professional lives than their next set of orders.

For our Navy, nothing defines present operational performance, the development of future leaders, and ensuring success at war for the next few decades than personnel policy.

Our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be the Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral Bill Moran, USN.

We will discuss the drive to man the Fleet to appropriate levels now, while looking at ways to modernize the personnel system to provide greater choice, flexibility and transparency for our Sailors and the commands they serve.

We will also look at the ongoing discussion about how to best keep with one hand a firm hand on what has worked, while with a free hand, reach for those things that will ensure that today's officers and enlisted personnel have a Navy that not only is meeting its needs, but takes in to consideration the individual goals and priorities of its personnel.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fullbore Friday

So, how was your command tour? Think you accomplished a lot?

Benchmarks? Yes, we have benchmarks.
Made a commander on November 1, he was the commanding officer of USS Laffey during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The ship was struck by an 8-inch shell, which did not explode. 
Laffey broke up an attack by German E-boats on June 12 and bombarded Cherbourg on June 25. Becton was awarded a second Silver Star for his actions in June. 
Transferred back to the Pacific Theater, he received his third Silver Star for his handling of Laffey in support of the landing of the 77th Division at Ormoc Bay, Leyte, the Philippines, on December 7, 1944. 
His fourth was for entering the "restricted waters of Lingayen Gulf during the initial bombardment and assault at Luzon" in January 1945. In February, Laffey escorted aircraft carriers in airstrikes against Tokyo.

On April 16, 1945, Laffey came under attack from 22 or 30 Japanese kamikaze and bomber aircraft while on radar picket duty off Okinawa. 
In a battle lasting 79 minutes, the ship was struck by five, six or eight kamikazes and two bombs, but Becton refused to abandon his ship. For his "unremitting tenacity of purpose, courageous leadership and heroic devotion to duty under fire", he was awarded the Navy Cross. 
The ship had to be towed to Seattle.
Rear Admiral Frederick Becton, USN - mensch.

Will someone please tell me why we do not have a DDG-51 named after this man? 

OK, if not the man - then can we at least have another LAFFEY, the book Becton wrote a loving tribute to in The Ship That Would Not Die?

You would think, after the above, that she would have never steamed under her own power again. Well, you'd be wrong. She was decommissioned in '47, but was brought back for the Korean War.

The lady could not stay out of trouble;
Although frequently subjected to hostile fire in Wonsan Harbor while embarked in his flagship, the U.S.S. LAFFEY, Captain Whiteside conducted a series of daring counterbattery duels with the enemy and was greatly instrumental in the success achieved by his ship.
She continued to serve until 1975.

Next time you see her when driving around Charleston, give her a nod.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Diversity Thursday

Heather Wilhelm over at RCP took a look at all the special snowflakes, professionally offended, garden variety moonbat feminists, and standard SJW that seem to infest our college campuses and has seen - what is right there if you choose to look - the results of a the long march through the institutions by the narcissistic, self-loathing left.

What has happened to once great centers of Western intellectual development - the fruit of the right's surrender of vast sections of the popular culture - festers in mocking tribute to a worn out political genre; squandering the work of generations. 

Heather has just had enough;
If you’ve ever been to a junior high slumber party, you might recognize the following scenario: In the midst of high jinks and general good times, suddenly one girl will drift off to a corner. Her feelings, somehow, have been hurt. Slowly, a few sympathizers, clear suckers for drama, make their way into her corner. They rub her back, ask why she’s crying, and, even if the answer is absurd, spend the rest of the evening casting baleful looks at the rest of the girls, who are oblivious, living large, sucking down Mountain Dew, and gleefully watching movies their parents would never allow them to watch. (In my case, this was almost always “Dirty Dancing.”)

Cowardice might not be fun, but for some, self-pity — cowardice's common companion — certainly is. This is especially true if someone else is egging you on. Sadly, huge swaths of today’s college campuses, supposedly pinnacles of higher learning, have morphed into a giant preteen slumber party with an alarming population of sulking corner girls.

“Civilization,” “The Lessons of History” declares as it closes, “is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.” With the goal of saving civilization, college students, here’s a tip: Lighten up. Watch the movie. Don’t get “offended” every five minutes. And don’t waste your evening rubbing some silly girl’s back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Program management needs its own measure of time

What is one of the more simple ship designs you can think of? Important, warfighting ship - but simple to design and build?

I think a LCU should be on anyone's short list.

Via Megan Eckstein at USNINews;
The Navy is doing preliminary design work on its Landing Craft Utility (LCU) replacement now to begin construction within about three years, in time to support one-for-one replacement on the surface connectors in 2022.

The LCUs were first built in 1959, and the 32 craft still in service average more than 43 years old – well over the 25 years of service life they were built for, Capt. Chris Mercer, amphibious warfare program manager at Naval Sea Systems Command, said at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2015 Exposition last week.
OK kiddies, let's get out the whiteboard.

It is 2015. 2022 is seven years from now.

I think "years" does not really tell the best story about how long it takes to get even the most simple ship to displace water after the "go" is given.

Perhaps we need a new measurement - one that provides context. We need one defined in American terms, natch, and I have an idea.

I've used it before; the time from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the signing ceremony on the Mighty Mo.

That is 07DEC41 to 02SEP45. 3-years, 8-months, 26 days. Including the end date, that is 1,366 days. We shall now make that a measure of time. It will be called a WorldWar.

So - back to ...
The LCUs serve as the “workhorse” of the surface connector fleet – they go slower but could originally carry 125 tons of cargo, two tanks, 10 light armored vehicles or more than 400 troops. Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs), on the other hand, can exceed 40 knots but only haul 60 tons.

Mercer, who will carry out the Surface Connector X Replacement (SC(X)R) acquisition program based on Walsh’s requirements, said an analysis of alternatives was conducted last year, with the Navy and Marine Corps deciding on “a modified repeat of the LCU – rugged, reliable, designed for ease of maintenance and repair, fuel-efficient, with a high payload, able to do independent operations and really no impact to the infrastructure of the [Assault Craft Units].”

The Navy is currently in the preliminary design review, Mercer said, with Walsh adding the SC(X)Rs – also called LCU 1700s – would come off the production line in time for one-for-one replacements starting in 2022. Production of the LCAC replacements, the Ship-to-Shore Connectors (SSCs), is two years ahead and is also a modified repeat.

“We are replacing them both in-kind while leveraging today’s technology to make these new craft more efficient, easier to operate and maintain,” Walsh said.
For the sake of argument, let's make the start date 21APR15, end date 31DEC22. That is 2,812 days.

We know work is already going ... but we are going to be nice and use 21APR15 as the start date.

That tells us that it is going to take us - in spite of all our technology, communications, automation, etc ... 2.05-WorldWars to have a LCU ready to displace water.

Are we happy with this? Are we satisfied? Is this successful? What does this say about the system we have created to serve the fleet and her nation?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crossdressing a few hundred million dollars of social justice

How does one address this wonderful example of the power of satire - and the power of pushing back against absurdist policies that the powerful force in to those under their thumb?

Well, our good friend Chap gave me an idea I am more than happy to steal.

More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.

Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as "I rarely count on good things happening to me." Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.
the internal data obtained by USA TODAY shows most soldiers today trending in the wrong direction. Two-thirds were borderline or worse for an area called "catastrophic thinking," where poor scores mean the soldier has trouble adapting to change or dwells on the worst possible things happening.
-- About 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn't trust their immediate supervisor
In the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, cadets were required to wear high heels and march to “raise awareness of sexual assault against women.”
Is there a connection? There sure is. You make the larger connection for yourself ... but I want to dive in to the specifics of this pebble in the shoe.

There are so many ways to address it from here, it is difficult to know where to go.
- Regardless of what the ROTC leadership says, this was not voluntary any more than my wife saying, "I don't think I can even think about cooking dinner after a day like today," is a neutral statement about the odds of a full dinner for the family from the capable kitchen of Mrs. Salamander. Chinese takeout it is.
- There is something very wrong at the ROTC unit at ASU. Just look at their own pics; the fetish for the sloppy ACU everywhere (just look at their website) and the golf shirt by staff puts forth a less than professional image in general. The non-uniform wearing of the ACU during the off shoot of "Slut Walks" needs no further commentary from here.
- This does nothing to address the very real issue of s3xual assault, this is just rolling in the hot-house cause-of-the-moment faux-outrage pushed by agenda driven radicals in the only place they can get away with it; government college campuses and places where opposing viewpoints, and often facts, can be suppressed by intellectual fascist cadres.

The way the broader world knows about this is a reminder how the traditional media continues to fail. 

Bravo Zulu to the folks over at AWTFM - they did some top level work bringing fresh air and light to something that can't stand either ... and gave a voice to those whose voices are choked by toxic command climates. They don't mind being called names by bringing out uncomfortable absurdities of the reactionary college leftists and what looks like their Army supporters.

One of the sure ways that the SJW Cultural Marxists know they have been caught out in the open ... they try to cover their tracks. In the 24-hrs after their standard threats and bluff - the guilty parties have resorted to opaque statements and deleting their digital footprints.

Finally, let me quote Chap about a sinister 2nd order effect of forcing Cadets in to what is a humiliating communalist degradation - "voluntary" or not. Reminds the historically literate of;
... the signs on the Chinese they had to parade around during the height of the Cultural Revolution.
You have to, as always, look to the Direction and Guidance coming from leadership.

At ASU, Major MAJ Michelle Bravo, USA. What happened in your command? The folks at AWTFM have a solid track record on things like this - was this really you?
"I saw a comment posted by someone who made a false statement regarding Arizona State University Army ROTC. I am the Professor of Military Science for that program. We are having a "Walk a mile in her shoe" event tomorrow in support of the Chief of Staff of the Army guidance to support efforts to stand against sexual violence. This event is not mandatory and we are not wearing our uniforms. There is no retribution for someone choosing not to participate.

I would like to know the name of the individual that posted that information. They truly are misinformed and are clearly not representing our program or the Army in the way that a future officer should."
Not mandatory? When my commander defines something as a "mission" - I don't give it a pass. As a NROTC guy, I was focused on doing what was needed to get my commission and to stay out of trouble. The Commander has a priority? Well, it is my priority. Maj. Bravo knows this dynamic. If she does not, she is not in the right job.  

Uniform requirements? They seem rather clear.

Back to the actions of the guilty.

If it is such a great event ... who do you have to go to googlecache to find it now? All over the place ... googlecache is the only place to find it.

I was willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until everything started getting deleted.

I know that I am in the minority opinion that there is a horribly slack attitude towards looking sloppy in uniform in public - but that problem comes from the top. Just spend time in the DC Metro looking at all the combat uniforms, wrinkled, faded with only a shoddy civilian backpack over the shoulders hiding that slop from the public.

Here is another data point.

One would think that a 1-2 day a week ROTC uniform requirement could at least put on a professional veneer ... but again, I know I am the minority. Sloppy cross-dressing? Well ... the pics speak for themselves.

Major General Combs ... this is going on all over your command. I guess you're cool with it then?

A nation at war. At war with a brutal enemy who will be trying to get at our throats for decades to come. One of the only things we have going for us in the enemy's eyes is the fear they have of our military. 

In a world where face - especially for men - is critical ... and this is what we are doing to ourselves in front of everyone? And for what besides our own self-preening?

The senior Army officer, General Dempsey and General Odierno ... you're OK with this? Really?

UPDATE: Drudge is linking to a Doug Ernst WashTimes article on it ... so ... yea; lots of air and light;
“Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want. So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow,”

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: 

A spokesman for U.S. Army Cadet Command, Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, said ROTC units across the country were directed to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month events on their campuses “to help stamp out sexual assault on the campuses where they have a presence.” But Maj. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, the cadets’ commanding general, did not direct how the units would do so, and had other events as options, Haverstick said.

“After receiving some comments about uniforms, we are currently reviewing how local universities implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” Haverstick said in an e-mail.

About 15 of the 120 cadets at Temple University wore uniforms for the event, said Army Lt. Col. Gregory Nardi, the professor of military science there. It was an optional event, and most of those involved wore their uniforms, he said. Temple cadets will adhere to any guidance that senior commanders have for the event in the future, he added.

UPDATE: The Navy has beaten Army ... again. 

Here be dragons.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Moral and Intellectual Heft Gives Us a Nudge

In the little corners of my humble little library ... or in one of the various stacks hither-n-yon about the room, you can find some of the books by those who helped shape the mind of the teenage Sal.

Perhaps it was the annoying habit of old-line Southern families that have a draw to what seem at the time as romantic lost causes, or just the example of intellectual bravery in the face of tyranny - maybe both - but as a budding young man I was drawn to what were in the Cold War, Titans in resistance the tide of history - with time seen as a false tide, but fierce it was at the time.

Vaclav Havel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Natan Sharansky are three of the top-shelf authors of the time.

To this day, I still do not understand how the people of the Left were such apologists for the evils of Communism (and some still are) with such powerful witnesses out there - but such are the mysteries of men.

These men, still living and dead - deserve a hearing when they speak.

At the end of last week, Natan Sharansky had a bit in the NYT that I recommend for your Monday ponderings, When did America forget that it’s America?;
Why the dramatic shift? One could suggest a simple answer: Today there is something the United States wants badly from Iran, leaving Washington and its allies with little bargaining power to demand additional concessions. Yet in fact Iran has at least as many reasons to hope for a deal. For Tehran, the lifting of sanctions could spell the difference between bankruptcy and becoming a regional economic superpower, and in slowing down its arms race it could avoid a military attack.

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides’ respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

But in today’s postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

We have yet to see the full consequences of this moral diffidence, but one thing is clear: The loss of America’s self-assured global leadership threatens not only the United States and Israel but also the people of Iran and a growing number of others living under Tehran’s increasingly emboldened rule. Although the hour is growing late, there is still time to change course — before the effects grow more catastrophic still.
Elections have consequences.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

21st Century Ellis - Edited by B.A. Friedman - on Midrats

The next book from USNI's 21st Century Foundations series is 21st Century Ellis, edited by Capt. B.A. Friedman, USMC.

This book covers the work of Lt. Col. "Pete" Ellis, USMC who in 1921 predicted the coming war with Japan.

Included in this collection are some o f his articles on counterinsurgency and conventional war based on his experiences in WWI and the Philippines.

Capt. Friedman will be with us for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and more.

Capt. B.A. Friedman is a field artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps currently stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. He is pursuing a master's degree in national security and strategic studies through the Naval War College.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, if you didn't follow the link above, you can find all in the 21st Century Foundations series here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fullbore Friday

So, you think you have a challenging life at your young age? You think you are a bit put upon? You think you are being asked too much of?

You think your sacrifice too much, eh? Well ... take a moment.

I don't think my friend Jim would mind if I overquote;
He was born in Hungary in 1929, and at age 15 was sent to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. His first day there an SS captain told the assembled, "None of you will get out of here alive." Ted turned to the man next to him and said, "Nice fellow." Ted survived the next 14 brutal months of captivity, but most of his family perished. His father died in Buchenwald. His ten-year-old sister Elonja was sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz, and his mother Rosa, who was slated for forced labor, chose instead to face death with her daughter. Mauthausen was liberated by the U.S. 11th Armored Division on May 5, 1945. With nothing left for him in Hungary Ted emigrated to the United States. He promised himself that he would show his appreciation to the country that gave him his freedom, and saved his life.

Ted joined the Army in February 1950, and five months later landed in Korea with the 3rd battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, one of the first American units sent to help repel North Korean invasion forces. Ted was soon involved in the fighting withdrawal to the Pusan perimeter. In one engagement near Chirye, Ted's company was redeploying from one hill to another, and he volunteered to stay behind to keep the enemy guessing until the movement was completed. As Corporal Leonard Hamm relates, "the North Koreans, thinking the hill was still occupied by a whole company, made an all out offensive with all their available troops. PFC Tibor Rubin had stocked each foxhole with grenades, and during the attack the following morning made his way running from foxhole to foxhole, lobbing, one after the other, grenades down upon the enemy, he became almost hysterical in his actions but he held the hill."

For this and other actions, Ted's immediate superiors recommended him for the Medal of Honor. However, before the paperwork could be processed these officers were killed, and a sergeant who might have sent the papers up refused to do so because Ted was Jewish. "Not on my watch," he said. After the Inchon invasion, the 8th Cavalry Regiment moved north towards the Chinese border, and was at the forward edge of the U.N. offensive when the Chinese Red Army entered the conflict. Ted's battalion was destroyed at the Battle of Unsan in early November 1950, while fighting a delaying action against Chinese forces swarming south from the Yalu. Hundreds of Americans were captured, among them Ted, who had manned a machine gun to hold off the enemy as the rest of the unit attempted to withdraw.

Ted found himself in the Pukchin POW camp, also known as "Death Valley," and later at Pyoktong, along with hundreds of Americans, Turks, and others. The camps were at first run by the North Koreans, then by the Chinese, whom Ted said treated them slightly better. Nevertheless, life was nightmarish for the prisoners. They were cold and hungry, and disease was rampant. "Healthy men became like babies, helpless," Ted said. "Everything was stink, death, it was terrible, terrible." Thirty to forty a day were dying. "It was hardest on the Americans who were not used to this," Ted said. "But I had a heck of a basic training from the Germans."

Ted used all the experience he had gained as a Holocaust survivor in helping keep himself and other prisoners alive. "I did it because I was an American," Ted told me, "and because it was a mitzvah. Regardless of color or nationality, they were my brothers." Food was vital for survival, so he began to steal rations from the enemy, who had little enough themselves. Fellow POW Sergeant Carl McClendon stated, "every day, when it got dark, and we went to sleep, Rubin was on his way, crawling on his stomach, jumping over fences, breaking in supply houses, while the guns were looking down on him. He tied the bottom of his fatigue pants and filled up anything he could get ahold of. He crawled back and distributed the food that he had stolen and risked his life."

Ted also did what he could to treat the sick and injured. But many were beyond saving, and diseases such as dysentery could strike anyone. "No one knew when they would die," Ted noted, "It was all random." When prisoners passed away, Ted would bury them, and recite the Kaddish. "I buried my friends, my comrades, American soldiers," Ted said, "and asked the Good Lord to let them rest in peace."

When the Chinese learned that Ted was originally from Hungary they offered to let him return to his home country, which at the time was a Soviet satellite. They promised him a job, good clothes, all the food he could want. But Ted refused to be a pawn for Chinese propaganda and turned them down. "I stood by my oath," he said. Ted stayed in the camp until the end of the war when he was released. The Army credits him with saving over 40 lives during his two and a half years of imprisonment.

When Ted returned to the United States, he finally received his U.S. citizenship. "I was the happiest man in the world," he said. He left the Army and worked at his brother Emery's store. Ted married, and he and his wife Yvonne had two children. By this time there was no talk of medals; the country was moving on, and anyway many men in Ted's original unit thought he was dead. He created a wonder at a 1980 Korean War veterans' reunion simply by showing up.

Ted's case was brought to the Army's attention in 1985, but he was ineligible to receive the award until statutory language was amended in 1996. His is one of many cases being reviewed under section 552 of the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires the military to "review the records of certain Jewish American and Hispanic American war veterans to determine if any of these veterans should be awarded the Medal of Honor." Most such awards will unfortunately be posthumous. But on September 23, President Bush will give Corporal Ted Rubin long overdue recognition for his many acts of valor in the Korean conflict. Ted will receive, in his own words, "the highest honor of the best country in the world." How does he feel about it? "It still hasn't sunk in," he said. "I'm just a country boy. It's a dream come true."
Much more required reading over at BadAssOfTheWeek.

Attention to citation:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Diversity Thursday

Yes, this is one of these DivThu that just write itself. Well, to the point - Ashley Rae Goldberg over at TheDailyCaller wrote it.

This is nothing new to regulars of DivThu - we have been covering this snakepit of grievance, spite, and sectarianism otherwise known as the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).

Someone has to employ the otherwise unemployable, you know the ones, the ones with the degrees or speciality that only have job security if they work towards keeping everyone in their little sectarian groups, not united. Kept apart, not brought together. You know the drill.

To the tune of tens of millions of dollars, we participate in this socio-political Cultural-Marxism, to our great collective shame.

I really cannot believe that SECDEF Carter is willing to let this stand in his name;
According to a Defense Department-approved “sexism course,” the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence all contribute to modern sexism.

Those three cherished texts all count as “historical influences that allow sexism to continue,” according to a presentation prepared by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, whose mission is to give a “world-class human relations education.”
It exists all through our organization - the powder-post beetles in our oak frame. It exists because they bully and slander anyone who opposes them. Behold the fruit of fear - fruit that continues to overplay its hand.

Read it all.

As usual, these retrograde hate-pimps cannot survive fresh air and light ... which is why once this went public, it was taken down.

I cannot tell you how glorious that is to see ... another datapoint that we - those who believe in a truly color-blind meritocracy where individuals rise or fall based on merit - are slowly winning over the retrograde forces of division.

This Shipmate does not have an enviable job;
“The content of the lesson is provided to generate academic discussion concerning how these historical documents have been included in discussions about the topic of sexism,” Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman, told The Daily Caller.

But following TheDC’s request for comment, the sexism course — as well as two other courses listed on DEOMI’s website, entitled “Prejudice & Discrimination” and “Racism” — were taken offline.

“This course is currently offline and under revision,” a notice says under all three courses.

But following TheDC’s request for comment, the sexism course — as well as two other courses listed on DEOMI’s website, entitled “Prejudice & Discrimination” and “Racism” — were taken offline.

“This course is currently offline and under revision,” a notice says under all three courses.
Keep up the pressure. Expose every occasion you run in to. Take pictures, take handouts, save the archive.

Get it published. 

Let the broader public know what is being done in their name. Make uniformed and civilian leaders defend or decommission this slander.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Two Top-Tier for Freedom

So, you have a smart kid - a real smart kid - and he has a good shot at the Ivy League ... but. Ah yes, the "but." 

We are all aware of the problems of the group-think, cultural masochism that exists in much of the Ivy League ... and do you really want to send that kid to a place full of hate for the civilization that gave it the position it has?

Well, two options are there for you. Nice.
At campuses across the country, traditional ideals of freedom of expression and the right to dissent have been deeply compromised or even abandoned as college and university faculties and administrators have capitulated to demands for language and even thought policing. Academic freedom, once understood to be vitally necessary to the truth-seeking mission of institutions of higher learning, has been pushed to the back of the bus in an age of “trigger warnings,” “micro-aggressions,” mandatory sensitivity training, and grievance politics. It was therefore refreshing to see the University of Chicago, one of the academic world's most eminent and highly respected institutions, issue a report ringingly reaffirming the most robust conception of academic freedom.

At Chicago and Princeton, at least, academic freedom lives!
This is a very serious issue. Here is what they had to say, and yes, it is amazing one has to say it.
‘Education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.' . . . Because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of the University, the University of Chicago fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the University community ‘to discuss any problem that presents itself.' Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.

The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. The University may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University. In addition, the University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the University. But these are narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression, and it is vitally important that these exceptions never be used in a manner that is inconsistent with the University’s commitment to a completely free and open discussion of ideas. In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose.

Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission. As a corollary to the University’s commitment to protect and promote free expression, members of the University community must also act in conformity with the principle of free expression. Although members of the University community are free to criticize and contest the views expressed on campus, and to criticize and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on campus, they may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end, the University has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.
Along the same lines, I highly recommend that you listen to Michael Bloomberg's commencement address at Harvard.

Yes, Salamander wants you to listen to Bloomberg. Life isn't binary ... open your mind and find those places you can find agreement with well meaning people.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Well, this is good use of the Army's money and manpower

In case you didn't know, Amanda's claim to fame is that he is the first openly transgender woman U.S. Presidential appointee. I guess that gives him the right to work on his self esteem on company time.

Way to fight those stereotypes!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Why conversion therapy hurts all of us:
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:14:58 -0600
Amanda Simpson, U.S. Army 
The White House 

Across the country, there are doctors working to convince people to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. It's known as "conversion therapy," but it could also be called brainwashing, or reprogramming.

The White House, Washington
Across the country, there are doctors working to convince people to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. It's known as "conversion therapy," but it could also be called brainwashing, or reprogramming.
Loving and compassionate parents and ministers who are trying to do the right thing are doing just the opposite. They are influenced by bad science, not grounded in fact. This so-called "conversion therapy" is harmful.
A couple of days ago, the White House came out in support of efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy. And as a transgender woman, this is especially personal to me.
No one should be forced to be someone they're not. Everyone should be valued for their authentic, true self -- who they are -- regardless of the gender with which they identify, or who they love.
I recently talked with a few other people in the Administration about why conversion therapy is so dangerous, and why it was so important for the White House to take a strong stance against the practice.
Watch as we talk about the need to ban                              conversion therapy.
This isn't just a transgender issue or an LGBT issue -- it’s an American issue. Our nation was founded on the ideals of equality and acceptance for everyone, and forcing an individual to be someone they aren't goes directly against what this country stands for.
If we're going to grow as a society, we must move beyond the way things are, to the way things should be.
That's why I'm glad our Administration is standing up and making it clear that conversion therapy is unacceptable. Our society should allow every child and every person the freedom to be whoever they aspire to be.
And we've already seen the tragic effects of this therapy. Countless people have taken their own lives because they feel they can't fit into the standards that society demands. Others, although they haven't lost their lives, have been forced to live unfulfilled lives and to repress their feelings in the process -- feelings that come out in other ways that we can't always anticipate.
We can be better than this. We are better than this. We owe it to ourselves, and to all of the children growing up in this country, to work toward a society where everyone is accepted and treated equally.
Thank you,
Amanda Simpson
Executive Director
U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives
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Please do not reply to this email. 
Contact the White House
The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111