The Bankrupt Empire
Dec 26, 2009 - Pregnant Soldiers
This issue arose recently when a General in Iraq threatened to punish women who got pregnant. This means women must be sent home and replaced by another solider. Since many are unmarried, this may result in discharge if she is unable to find someone to help care for her child.
This is a problem throughout the military as pregnant women are non-deployable and are allowed 60-days maternity leave in addition to their normal 30-days of annual leave. This makes the U.S. military and ideal place for mothers who want a large family. If they get pregnant once a year, they never deploy, get three months off with pay, and are on light duty the rest of the time, which exempts them from physical training, weight limits, and tiresome labor. This is an awkward problem to address, but one small step would cut maternity leave to 30-days and require them to use their 30-days personal leave too.
Dec 25, 2009 - The Word of God
Most educated and self-proclaimed devout Christians are ignorant about the origins of the Holy Bible, yet insist on quoting the "word of God." The Old Testament is a collection of ancient Jewish stories recorded in Hebrew, while stories in the New Testament were passed along verbally in the Aramaic language until translated and recorded into Greek over 20 years after the death of Jesus. All these diverse and often conflicting stories were then translated into Latin hundreds of years later. Anyone fluent in more than one language knows that translations allow for much reinterpreting and editing, especially under the direction of political leaders.
Today's Bible is the product of the Catholic Church, which compiled an official Bible at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Catholic bishops edited these stories for clarity and conformity, while rejecting entire "books" of gospel. This Bible was later translated by King James' court into Middle English in 1611. Nevertheless many of today's Christians quote and debate the exact English words in today's Bible as the literal "word of God," whereas it is really a collection of edited stories that form the basis of Western cultural values. Most Protestants don't even realize that their Christian ancestors were Catholics, and these were descendents of a Jewish spin-off group. Finally, keep in mind that the Romans executed Jesus because he was considered a terrorist/extremist/revolutionary.
Okay, I'm off the soapbox now. Merry Christmas!
Dec 18, 2009 - Ban Mad Dogs
I am tired of reading a news story every month about a child killed or mauled by either Pit Bulls or Rottwielers. These breeds of "domesticated" dogs were bred for fighting and are well known as dangerous to all, which is why certain people want them. Americans are not allowed to keep lions, tigers, or wolves as pets because they are considered wild and dangerous. However, pet fighting dogs are worse, evidenced by frequent police reports. German Shepherds are also high on the dog bite list, but they are far more numerous. Doberman Pinschers look mean, but are not vicious.
I wish the USA would follow the lead of the UK and ban dangerous dog breeds. This could be phased in, and yes, mixed breeds pose a complexity that animal control officers must solve. However, 99% of Americans would cheer this idea if political leaders demonstrate leadership. Ironically, today's dog owners would benefit since their family members are often attacked, while they may suffer the legal consequences of owning a dangerous animal.
Dec 15, 2009 - Lost Battles of the Vietnam War - Part IV
The Battle of Ngok Tavak - On May 10, 1968 a NVA battalion attacked an old French fort manned by a 150 Chinese mercenaries led by eight American Special Force troopers and three Australian advisors, plus 33 Marine artillerymen with two 105mm howitzers. American helicopters flew in 45 more Marine artillerymen and evacuated casualties during the day long battle. The fort was overrun and everyone fled, with some literally clinging to the skids of a helicopter. At least 32 Americans were killed and several helicopters shot down. A book about this lost battle was published, and a short account is here.
2/4 Battle near Con Thien - In 1967, "Operation Kingfisher" was launched to destroy NVA forces based just south of the DMZ. On Sept. 21st, the 2nd battalion, 4th Marines began a "search and destroy" mission and quickly encountered the entrenched 90th NVA regiment. The Marines lacked tank support because recent rains limited road mobility, while the dense vegetation and close proximity of the enemy restricted air and artillery support.
After a day long battle, the Marines had suffered at least 16 dead and 118 wounded while trying to break out of the enemy's kill zone. The battalion commander decided to withdraw at dusk, although flee may be a better term since 15 dead Marines were left behind. Details are sketchy, but Marine casualties were probably much higher since the battalion didn't return to collect its dead until three weeks later. Veterans of the battle have begun to gather the truth, and state the Marines suffered at least 34 KIA that day.
The Battle of Lang Vei - In 1968, the NVA surprised everyone by using light tanks on the battlefield. This allowed an NVA regiment to overrun the well-defended U.S. Special Forces camp at Lang Vei, despite heavy American artillery and air support. Most of the 500 defending Montagnards were killed. Losses among the 24 U.S. defenders were 7 killed in action, 3 POWs, and 11 wounded.
Attack on Cu Chi - In February 1969, enemy commandos attacked the large U.S. Army airfield at Cu Chi. They destroyed nine large CH-47 helicopters, heavily damaged three more, and caused minor damage to two others. (photos are here) 14 Americans were killed and 29 wounded during the three-hour battle.
Dec 12, 2009 - Fake Unemployment Stats
Earlier this year, I wrote about the 20% unemployment rate in the USA. A great example of this deception is found in the official jobs stats from November. Citizens are increasingly upset by job losses, so they were told good news that the unemployment rate fell from 10.2% to 10.0%. However, 11,000 fewer Americans were employed in November, so how can more jobs be lost yet the unemployment rate improve? The corporate media ignored that puzzle, but if you dig deeper into the figures you see that some 100,000 jobless Americans were not counted in November. The federal government decided they had "dropped out" of the workforce and really didn't want to work.
Dec 8, 2009 - Lee Harvey Oswald
One of the little known oddities of the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy is Oswald's strange life, as partly described here:
"...in October 1959 he became the first Marine to defect to the Soviet Union. In Moscow, he delivered a letter stating: "I affirm that my allegiance is to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." Not only did he publicly renounce his American citizenship, but he told the U.S. consul that he intended to turn over to the Soviet Union military secrets that he had acquired while serving in the Marines [he was a radar operator], adding that he had data of "special interest" to the Russians. Since he indeed had exposure to military secrets such as the U-2 spy plane, his defection had serious espionage implications. Oswald thus had not only compromised the secret data he had come in contact with in the Marines, but put himself firmly in the hands of another country. He was now completely dependent on Russia for financial support, legal status and protection.
Before disappearing into the Soviet hinterland for a year, Oswald spelled out his operational creed in a long letter to his brother. From Moscow, he wrote presciently of his willingness to commit murder for a political cause: "I want you to understand what I say now, I do not say lightly, or unknowingly, since I've been in the military .... In the event of war I would kill any American who put a uniform on in defense of the American Government --", and then ominously added for emphasis, "Any American." His willingness to act as an assassin was now known to anyone who read this letter, which included not only his Russian hosts but American intelligence, since his letter was intercepted by the CIA and microfilmed.
Oswald returned from the Soviet Union in June 1962, joined by his Russian wife Marina, and settled in Dallas."
The author continues with his story, but wait one minute! Oswald deserted from the Marines, defected to the Soviets, and openly bragged that he gave them top secret information, which some suspect helped the Soviets shoot down the U-2 with Gary Francis Powers. Then Oswald simply "returns home" and is not arrested and imprisoned for decades! Oh, he wants a visa to bring his Russian wife too! No problem, you Marine Corps deserter and traitor!
Dec 4, 2009 - Obama the Referee
It is now clear that President Obama is not a leader. He lacks the confidence and conviction to battle special interests for the national good. He has the Generals and their Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex supported by their corporate media spokesmen (disguised as newsmen) wanting to boost troop levels by some 80,000 troops to keep the military budget soaring ever higher.
On the other hand, he has the American people, real experts, and common sense telling him this is a horrible idea. Obama chose a compromise. Worst of all, he follows the footsteps of Bush by using deceit, as this press release demonstrates. My corrections are in red.
of the Press Secretary
SHEET: The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan
OUR MISSION: The President’s speech reaffirms the March 2009 core goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al Qaeda and to prevent their return to either Afghanistan or Pakistan. [Their Return? This is poor English or awkward deception.]
This region is the heart of the global violent extremism pursued by al Qaeda, and the region from which we were attacked on 9/11. [That is outright false. It was planned by a Kuwaiti while in the Philippines, and executed by Saudis after training in Germany and the USA.] New attacks are being planned there now, a fact borne out by a recent plot, uncovered and disrupted by American authorities. [What specific plot? Is this just another terrorist "conspiracy" with no physical evidence promoted by bored FBI agents who go for years without an arrest while seeking to justify their budget?] This will prevent the Taliban from turning Afghanistan back into a safe haven from which international terrorists can strike at us or our allies. This would pose a direct threat to the American homeland, and that is a threat that we cannot tolerate. [The illiterate goat herders in Afghanistan pose no direct or indirect threat to the American homeland, unlike the drug lords in Mexico.] Al Qaeda remains in Pakistan where they continue to plot attacks against us and where they and their extremist allies pose a threat to the Pakistani state. Our goal in Pakistan will be to ensure that al Qaeda is defeated and Pakistan remains stable. [Then why do you continue using drones for awkward assassination attempts against insignificant alleged terrorists in Pakistan, which is a violation of international law and a prime reason that most Pakis hate the USA?]
REVIEW PROCESS: The review was a deliberate and disciplined three-stage process to check alignment of goals, methods for attaining those goals, and finally resources required. Over ten weeks, the President chaired nine meetings with his national security team, and consulted key allies and partners, including the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The President focused on asking the hard questions, took the time to carefully consider all of the options, and united a variety of competing views in his cabinet before agreeing to send any additional Americans to war. [It seems there were no middle-class American taxpayers at those meetings, who are more concerned about health care, jobs, and wasteful government spending overseas.]
a result of the review, we have focused our mission and developed a common
understanding regarding our regional approach and the need for international
support. We will deploy forces into Afghanistan rapidly and will take
advantage of these additional resources to create the conditions to begin to
draw down combat forces in the summer of 2011, while maintaining a partnership
with Afghanistan and Pakistan to protect our enduring interests in that region. [Hurry
in, then hurry out. What a plan!]
[Hurry in, then hurry out. What a plan!]
meetings were focused on how best to ensure the al Qaeda threat is eliminated
from the region and that regional stability is restored. We looked closely
at the alignment of our efforts and the balance between civilian and military
resources, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the efforts of the U.S. and the
number of issues were explored in depth: national interests, core
objectives and goals, counterterrorism priorities, safe havens for terrorist
groups in Pakistan, the health of the global U.S. military force, risks and
costs associated with troop deployments, global deployment requirements,
international cooperation and commitments for both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and
Afghan capacity in all areas to include Afghan security forces, central and
sub-national governance and corruption (including the narcotics trade), and
development and economic issues.
HAS CHANGED SINCE March:
the President announced our renewed commitment in March, a number of key
developments led the Administration to review its approach in Afghanistan and
Pakistan: new attention was focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan, new U.S.
leadership was established in Afghanistan, Pakistan increased its efforts to
combat extremists, and the situation in Afghanistan has become more grave.
United States assigned new civilian and military leadership in Afghanistan, with
the appointments of Ambassador Karl Eikenberry as U.S. Ambassador to
Afghanistan, and General Stanley McChrystal as the new Commander of ISAF
military forces in Afghanistan. Upon arrival in Afghanistan, both
Ambassador Eikenberry and General McChrystal recognized that after eight years
of underresourcing, the situation was worse than expected. Together,
Ambassador Eikenberry and General McChyrstal published a new Civilian-Military
Campaign Plan to integrate U.S. efforts across the country.
Afghanistan’s difficult, extended election process and evident signs of the absence of rule of law made clear the limits of the central government in Kabul. [Yes, fair elections are "difficult" when the American appointed President rigs the elections.]
in Pakistan, the Pakistanis showed new resolve in defeating militants who had
taken control of the Swat Valley, just 60 miles from Islamabad. Pakistani
political leaders—including opposition party leaders—came together to
support the Pakistani military operations. This fall, the Pakistanis
expanded their fight against extremists into the Mehsud tribal areas of South
Waziristan along the border with Afghanistan.
THE WAY FORWARD: The President has decided to deploy an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. These troops will deploy on an accelerated timeline to reinforce the 68,000 Americans and 39,000 non-U.S. ISAF troops already there, so that we can target the insurgency, break its momentum, and better secure population centers. These forces will increase our capacity to train effective Afghan Security Forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans get into the fight. And by pursuing these partnerships, we can transition to Afghan responsibility, and begin to reduce our combat troops in the summer of 2011. In short, these resources will allow us to make the final push that is necessary to train Afghans so that we can transfer responsibility. [We already sent 30,000 additional troops since a year ago with these same goals, and it had no impact, other than increasing costs and violence.]
We will maintain this increased force level for the next 18 months. During this time, we will regularly measure our progress. And beginning in July 2011, we will transfer lead security responsibility to Afghans and start to transition our combat forces out of Afghanistan. As Afghans take on responsibility for their security, we will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s Security Forces, and maintain a partnership on behalf of their security so that they can sustain this effort. Afghans are tired of war and long for peace, justice, and economic security. We intend to help them achieve these goals and end this war and the threat of reoccupation by the foreign fighters associated with al Qaeda.
We will not be in this effort alone. We will continue to be joined in the fight by the Afghans, and the aggressive partnering effort envisioned by General McChrystal will get more Afghans into the fight for their country’s future. There will also be additional resources from NATO. These allies have already made significant commitments of their own in Afghanistan, and we will be discussing additional alliance contributions – in troops, trainers, and resources – in the days and weeks ahead. This is not simply a test of the alliance’s credibility – what is at stake is even more fundamental. It is the security of London and Madrid; of Paris and Berlin; of Prague, New York, and our broader collective security. [The founders of NATO would be appalled to see their anti-Soviet alliance transformed into a provider of Hessians for an Empire.]
will work with our partners, the United Nations, and the Afghan people to
strengthen our civilian effort, so that Afghanistan’s government can step in
as we establish better security. President Karzai’s inauguration speech
sent the right message about moving in a new direction, including his commitment
to reintegration and reconciliation, improving relations with Afghanistan’s
regional partners, and steadily increasing the security responsibilities of
Afghan security forces. But we must see action and progress. We will
be clear about our expectations, and we will encourage and reinforce Afghan
Ministries, Governors, and local leaders who deliver for the people and combat
corruption. We will not reinforce those who are not accountable and not
acting in the service of the Afghan people and the state. ["We
will not reinforce..." What the hell does that mean?] And we will also
focus our assistance in areas – such as agriculture – that can make an
immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people.
A continuing significant increase in civilian experts will accompany a sizable
infusion of additional civilian assistance. They will partner with Afghans
over the long term to enhance the capacity of national and sub-national
government institutions and to help rehabilitate Afghanistan’s key economic
sectors so that Afghans can defeat the insurgents who promise only more
is critical to undermine extremists’ appeal in the short term and for
sustainable economic development in the long term. ["Extremists"
is a not a real word, just spin to demonize people.] Our top reconstruction
priority is implementing a civilian-military agriculture redevelopment strategy
to restore Afghanistan’s once vibrant agriculture sector. This will help
sap the insurgency of fighters and of income from poppy cultivation.
An emphasis of our governance efforts will be on developing more responsive, visible, and accountable institutions at the provincial, district, and local level, where everyday Afghans encounter their government. We will also encourage and support the Afghan Government’s reinvigorated plans to fight corruption, with concrete measures of progress toward greater accountability. [Since we installed our puppet Afghan president in 2001, things have got worse despite our best efforts. There is no reason to think things will change for the better.]
A key element of our political strategy will be supporting Afghan-led efforts to reintegrate Taliban who renounce al Qaeda, lay down their arms, and engage in the political process. [Asking an Afghan to lay down their arms is like asking an American to give up television.]
PARTNER IN PAKISTAN:
Our partnership with Pakistan is inextricably linked to our efforts in
Afghanistan. To secure our country, we need a strategy that works on both
sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The costs of inaction are far
The United States is committed to strengthening Pakistan’s capacity to target those groups that pose the greatest threat to both of our countries. A safe haven for those high-level terrorists whose location is known, and whose intentions are clear, cannot be tolerated. For Pakistan, we continue to encourage civilian and military leadership to sustain their fight against extremists and to eliminate terrorists’ safe havens in their country. [What about the terrorist safe havens in Yemen, Somalia, Lebanon, and the Sudan? Why do we have zero troops in those nations?]
are now focused on working with Pakistan’s democratic institutions, deepening
the ties among our governments and people for our common interests and concerns.
We are committed to a strategic relationship with Pakistan for the long term.
We have affirmed this commitment to Pakistan by providing $1.5 billion each
year over the next five years to support Pakistan’s development and democracy,
and have led a global effort to rally additional pledges of support. This
sizable, long-term commitment of assistance addresses the following objectives:
Pakistan address immediate energy, water, and related economic crises, thereby
deepening our partnership with the Pakistani people and decreasing the appeal of
Supporting broader economic reforms that are necessary to put Pakistan on a path
towards sustainable job creation and economic growth, which is necessary for
long-term Pakistani stability and progress; and
Helping Pakistan build on its success against militants to eliminate extremist
sanctuaries that threaten Pakistan, Afghanistan, the wider region, and people
around the world.
U.S. assistance will help Pakistan build a foundation for long-term development,
and will also strengthen ties between the American and Pakistani people by
demonstrating that the United States is committed to addressing problems that
most affect the everyday lives of Pakistanis as we work together to defeat the
extremists who threaten Pakistan as they also threaten the United States.
[In short, we will borrow billions of dollars from China
and send it to Pakistan to indirectly bribe their leaders to remain on our side
in the endless "war" against a phantom enemy.]
[In short, we will borrow billions of dollars from China and send it to Pakistan to indirectly bribe their leaders to remain on our side in the endless "war" against a phantom enemy.]
William S. Lind
recently explained Obama's decision, why American public opinion no longer
matters, and why the corporate media is not critical: "America
is now a one-party state. The one party is the Establishment party, which
is also the war party. Unless you are willing to cheer permanent war for
permanent peace, you cannot be a member of the Establishment."
Nov 26, 2009 - Lost Battles of the Vietnam War - Part III
Wow! There were far more lost battles than I realized:
The Battle for LZ Albany - The 1st battalion of the 7th Cavalry, an airmoble infantry unit, barely survived its now famous 1965 battle in the Ia Drang valley. After helping save its 1st battalion, the exhausted 2nd battalion headed for LZ Albany for an aerial extraction. It was in a long column in open terrain when it ran into an entrenched NVA battalion, which shot it to pieces during a bloody battle that claimed the lives of 155 Americans with 124 wounded.
Aug. 23, 1967 Air Battle - While America had two Ace fighter pilots (i.e. more than five aerial kills), the North Vietnamese had 16, including Nguyen Van Coc (right), the top Ace of the war with nine kills. On Aug. 23, 1967, Coc and several North Vietnamese MIG fighters intercepted a group of 40 American aircraft on a bombing mission. They shot down three American F-4D fighters and one F-105D fighter-bomber without losing a single MIG. Eight American aviators were killed or captured.
The Battle for Hill 861 - In 1967, Bravo Company, 1st battalion, 9th Marines went to search for caves on Hill 861. After a skirmish, the company attacked up the hill without knowing that it had encountered a large enemy force. Most of Bravo company was wiped out and the survivors were pinned down until rescued by Kilo company that night. The Marines bombarded the hill for three days, and it was eventually secured by another battalion, but the April 24th battle was clearly a loss.
Ambush at Hoc Mon - In 1968, 92 American soldiers of C Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division began a search-and-destroy mission near Saigon. They were looking for a Viet Cong force of undetermined size that had been firing rockets into their Tan Son Nhut Air Base. As they rushed along a road without flank security to catch up with their battalion, they ran into an ambush. Within eight minutes, 49 American soldiers were dead or dying, and 29 were wounded.
The Battle of Koh Tang - This is known as the last battle of the Vietnam war. In 1975, Khmer Rouge patrol boats seized the American container ship, USS Mayaquez, which was the last American ship to leave Saigon. Surveillance by Navy aircraft indicated that the ship anchored at Koh Tang island. The Marine Corps hastily assembled a battalion-size rescue force.
Most helicopters were shot up while landing Marines on the island and were disabled or crashed. The Marines faced stiff enemy resistance and were pinned down. It was then discovered that the Mayaquez crew had already been freed on a small boat, so the landing force was recalled. A total of 18 GIs were killed and 41 wounded in the rescue attempt, while 23 airmen perished in a helicopter accident during the preparation stage.
Many veterans may be upset by these accounts because the U.S. military won nearly all the other battles. However, these accounts destroy the myth that no battles were lost. Some may claim these were too small to be counted as battles, yet the U.S. military and historians note most of these as battles. Others may claim these were small battles, but these were some of the larger battles during the Vietnam war. I often link Wikipedia because it provides concise accounts. One can search the net for more information if they doubt what they read there. The point is that myths of invincibility may cause future miscalculations, and more lost battles.
Nov. 22, 2009 - Lost Battles of the Vietnam War - Part II
Last year, I posted this comment in my blog:
One theme presented by supporters of the American empire is that the U.S. military is invincible, and that it can never lose unless stabbed in the back by impatient politicians. They claim the U.S. military never lost a battle during the entire Vietnam war. This was disputed by America's most decorated officer of that war, Col. David Hackworth, in his great book "About Face." The U.S. military had every advantage over the Vietnamese, yet mistakes were made and battles lost:
The Battle of Kham Duc - this large Special Forces camp was abandoned as it was overrun, despite reinforcement by an American rifle company. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kham_Duc
The Battle of the Slopes - a company of American paratroopers was attacked by a large force and fled, leaving behind wounded. It suffered 76 KIA with two platoons wiped out. http://www.charliesnow.com/Default.htm
The Battle of Dai Do - A Marine Corps infantry battalion was mauled and forced to retreat during a disorganized attempt to dislodge a large North Vietnamese force near the DMZ. Accounts of this action are hidden within reports of operations in region of Dong Ha. http://www.amtrac.org/1atbn/Battles/BattleForDongHa.asp
I have come across six more lost battles:
Attack on Da Nang Airbase - NVA sappers infiltrated this huge airbase on July 1, 1965. They destroyed three large C-130 transport aircraft, three F-102 fighters, and damaged three more F-102s. The sappers escaped leaving behind one dead.
Battle of Ong Thanh - After minor enemy contact the previous day, a battalion commander led some 150 American soldiers single file into the bush to destroy the enemy. They ran into a Vietcong regiment with some 1400 men. Alpha company was wiped out in 20 minutes, and by sundown some 59 American soldiers lay dead with 75 wounded. An excellent documentary is on-line where survivors describe the onslaught.
Battle of Two July - 1st battalion, 9th Marines was sent up a road to find the NVA, and found them. Information is vague, but the two lead companies were quickly decimated, which is one reason 1/9 became known as the "walking dead." Bravo Company was overrun and Alpha Company pulled back, leaving a combined 53 known dead, 190 wounded, and 34 missing.
Battle for Hill 875 - aka the Siege of Dak To - The 2nd battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade was ordered to secure Hill 875. Over 300 soldiers advanced up the hill with artillery and air support. They encountered stiff resistance and suffered heavy causalities, but were shocked when the NVA counterattacked. The battalion formed a tight defensive perimeter and was surrounded while chaos ensued after a Marine Corps jet dropped a 500 lbs bomb on their position. The brigade's 4th battalion arrived the following day and broke the siege, then advanced to secure the hill after the NVA withdrew. Of the 570 US troops involved in the attack on the hill, 340 became casualties.
Battle for Firebase Mary Ann - Some 50 NVA sappers attacked at night, then slipped away. The U.S. Army suffered 33 killed and 83 wounded among the 231 soldiers at the base. It was the most deadly attack on a U.S. firebase during the Vietnam War. The brigade commander, Col. William S. Hathaway, was relieved of duty and the firebase closed.
Day 3 of Operation Linebacker II - Of the 99 huge B-52 bombers in this Dec. 20, 1972 bombing raid on targets around Hanoi, eight were lost to enemy fire resulting in 36 airmen killed or captured, with only two crews rescued. The Strategic Air Command (SAC) blamed the tactics utilized (flight paths, altitudes, formations, timing, etc.), which had not varied from raids the two previous days. Air Force historian Earl Tilford noted: "Years of dropping bombs on undefended jungle and the routines of planning for nuclear war had fostered a mind-set within the SAC command that nearly led to disaster."
Ignoring these losses does great disservice to all those brave men who fought and died in these battles, as well as those now dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for a lost cause.
Nov 20, 2009 - The Hidden Credit Card Sales Tax
A good example of how corrupt our federal government has become is the price-gouging American banks impose on business. In Europe and most of the world, merchants pay a fee of less than 1% of the transaction costs for credit cards. Governments set rates to ensure banks earn a healthy profit, without using their near monopoly to exploit businesses.
In the USA, the "free market" sets rates, so merchants pay over 3% per transaction, or around four times more! Consumers don't notice since the merchant pays, yet the cost is passed along and is equivalent to a 2% sales tax on all Americans. This is extremely profitable for banks, so profitable that some banks offer cards that give users 1% cash back on all purchases (like my Chase Visa). This is an outrage that Congress does not address and the corporate media does not report.
Nov 15, 2009 - The Death Penalty for Major Hasan?
Proof has emerged this past decade that dozens of innocent Americans have been executed for crimes they did not commit, so there is a big movement to eliminate the death penalty. I agree innocent Americans have been executed. I agree the death penalty is not a deterrent. I agree legal proceedings make it expensive.
However, it does bring comfort to victims and their families. The solution is to change the standard for the death penalty from "reasonable doubt" to "without any doubt." Today, many are sentenced to death based on questionable evidence, like hair samples, retracted "confessions", or a single eyewitness. This leads to the execution of innocents after lengthy court battles. However, there are cases in which there is no doubt the person is guilty because there is clear videotape of the person committing the crime or he was captured at the scene. Such cases don't warrant a lengthy and expensive appeals process because there is no doubt.
The Fort Hood killer, Major Hasan, is an excellent example. There is no doubt that he is the killer, so a death penalty is warranted. On another note, most of the corporate media is so terrified of civil lawsuits that they refer to Hasan as the "alleged" killer.
Nov 11, 2009 - Veterans Day for Vets
Here is G2mil's more popular article in its history: Veterans Day Holiday only for Vets It notes this holiday is disliked by veterans because most must work that day, while nearly all those rewarded with a paid holiday are not vets.
Nov 3, 2009 - Corrupted Congress
For those who suspect there is rampant corruption in Washington DC, the proof is provided by two whistleblowers, former FBI agent John M. Cole and former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. The corporate media has ignored them, but some web news organizations have posted interviews: FBI Whistleblower Names Names. They provide hard evidence of blackmail schemes and cash bribes, and claim the problem is so widespread that nothing is done since half the U.S. Congress is involved. This also allows Washington bureaucrats and lobbyists to achieve their aims since Congressmen fear exposure should they oppose anything.
Oct 28, 2009 - An Ugly American Visits Japan
Defense Secretary Bob Gates recently visited Japan to scold Japanese leaders. Their new nationalistic government has demanded the U.S. military close some of its Cold War bases in Japan. Given that Japan is a sovereign, democratic nation and close a ally, one might assume that Gates would agree. He did not, but assumed the arrogant imperialist role and told the Japanese no. This conflict is ridiculous because both nations would benefit, as explained here: Close Outdated U.S. Military Bases in Japan.
Oct 22, 2009 - Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Think
President Obama's desire to allow homosexuals to serve "openly" is far more complex than most realize. Will lovers be allowed to kiss and hold hands while in uniform? Will state approved same-sex marriages be recognized for housing and benefits? Will cross-dressers be allowed to choose their uniforms? Will transsexuals be allowed to dress as they want and use women's restrooms? Since women are allowed to wear make-up, earrings, and long hair, will feminine men be allowed that "right"?
I'm still not convinced that allowing women in combat is a good idea. The after-action report on the USS Cole bombing said that damage control efforts were hampered because most of the female crew sat down and cried while many men abandoned their post to check on the welfare of their girlfriend.
Oct 14, 2009 - 24 Days in Jail for Murder
G2mil likes to comment on media control in the USA. A recent example is the hours of news time devoted to the conviction and 23-month prison sentence given to NFL quarterback Michael Vick for running a dog fighting ring. However, there was very, very little coverage of a far greater outrage involving an NFL player.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth was recently suspended for the 2009 NFL season. Stallworth had stayed out drinking all night with friends, then drove home with a blood/alcohol level 50% above the drunk level. He was speeding when he hit and killed a construction worker crossing a street at 7:15am. This is normally considered manslaughter, but many prosecutors now charge drunk driving killers with second degree murder, with the logic it wasn't an accident that the driver was drunk. Sentences of 5 to 15 years in prison are common.
Stallworth was sentenced to a month in jail and released after just 24 days! Where is the national outrage? Even that ESPN article linked ignored the outrage and focused on when Stallworth would play again. Where is the media that supposedly loves sensational stories involving sports celebrities? Why are stories like this one ignored, but stories like Vick and his dogfighting deserve hours and hours of coverage?
Oct 12, 2009 - MRAP Report
Pentagon Generals opposed the idea of large armored trucks called "MRAP" for convoy security. As the toll from IEDs mounted (aka land mines and off-route mines) grew, they relented to Congressional pressure and hundreds were quickly purchased and deployed. Overall, they are working out well -- Wikipedia has an excellent overview. They are IED resistant, yet several have been destroyed. However, several massive M1A2 Abrams heavy tanks have also been destroyed by IEDs, like the one pictured.
The Generals opposed them because they are difficult to operate off-road because of their wheels. In addition, they have a high center of gravity so are prone to tip over, while the gunner in the turret is knocked around on rough roads. They never adopted my simple solution: Kevlar Overcoats
Oct 4, 2009 - EDF Jets
Model airplane technology has made a great leap in recent years with Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) Jets, as described in detail at this website. Take a look and you'll be surprised at the variety of realistic modern jet fighter models that can fly over 100mph. It would require just minor mods to add a tiny remote camera to make these UAVs, or perhaps strap on an RPG-type warhead and make them kamikazes. They can also confuse enemy AAA gunners and fighter pilots. Unfortunately, they are too inexpensive to interest the Pentagon.
Sept 27, 2009 - OKC Bombing Cover-up
Americans are instructed by their corporate media to never challenge official government stories. We know that governments never conspire to hide things from the public, and any citizen who suggests otherwise is a crazed "conspiracy theorist." Anyone in the media or public office who suggests that investigations be launched into a possible conspiracy is fired or hounded out of office, as Van Jones recently learned.
A favorite conspiracy theory involves the oddities surrounding the 1995 explosion that destroyed half the federal building in Oklahoma City (OKC) and killed 168 people. (pictured) There was an AP story today that was posted by Yahoo, yet ignored by most of the major media. OKC bombing tapes appear edited.
The FBI finally released these videotapes after years of dodging FOIA requests. The four tapes from four different security cameras go blank a few minutes before the explosion, yet begin recording just after the blast, as though the key portion was erased. We are told it was just a coincidence that this happened on four different cameras from different systems, and the FBI had refused to release these meaningless tapes for years because..?
I don't have my own theory, but I am certain that a 5000 lbs ammonium nitrate fertilizer truck bomb parked on the street in front of the building could not have caused half of a large, modern, steel reinforced concrete building to collapse. I was a military engineer trained in explosives. Ammonium nitrate is a very low explosive with less than half the power of TNT - a medium explosive. It is cheap and useful when slow explosions are needed to heave up loose objects, like dirt, when building a canal or road. If exploded inside a building, it may create enough force to push the building upward and break some main supports.
However, that truck bomb was several feet outside the building, so nearly all the explosive force disappeared into the open air as a shock wave. You need to cut the legs out from a building or bridge to make it fall down, which involves placing high explosives next to key supports.
A great comparison is the damage done in a near identical 1996 attack on the U.S. Air Force Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia. (pictured) A large truck bomb exploded near the building causing a huge blast wave that knocked out the side of the building. That structure was smaller than the OKC federal building, and appears to be the cheaper and weaker cinderblock style used in low-story buildings, rather than the stronger steel and concrete design used in larger buildings like the OKC federal building. Twenty people were killed, mostly from flying glass, as the outer walls and windows blew in, but none of the major internal supports were damaged.
I haven't studied the OKC bombing closely, but there was much hidden from the public, something the FBI has admitted in recent years. Now we have the Watergate-style gap in ALL the tapes, which is posted on the Internet. What are they hiding? A somewhat innocent theory is that a federal law enforcement agency had improperly stored a large stash of seized explosives in the building, which detonated from the shock of the explosion outside.
Sep 21, 2009 - The Invisible Afghan Army
Here is a great article about this situation: Meet the Afghan Army
Sep 18, 2009 - Close Lakenheath
Regular readers may have noticed that I'm compiling a list of overseas bases that should be closed. Here is another: Vacate RAF Lakenheath - the Russians aren't coming
Sep 17, 2009 - Obama Finally Shows Leadership
President Obama has failed to confront the military-industrial-congressional complex. Some point to his cancellation of the F-22, however, he simply shifted the money saved to the F-35 program that is also built by Lockmart. That changed today, as Obama cancelled Bush administration plans for a missile base in Poland and a radar base in the Czech republic.
There are six reasons this cancellation is a good idea: 1) Iran is not building nuclear weapons, which was just reaffirmed by American intelligence agencies; 2) Iran has no reason to ever fire missiles at Europe; 3) a bankrupt USA cannot afford yet another big project; 4) the Europeans can build their own; 5) it angered the Russians, whose help we need in Afghanistan, if only for rail and airspace access; 6) the system doesn't work. I explained all this a few months ago: The Generals Have No Clothes
Now the crazies on TV will appear to tell everyone that Obama is soft and has weakened America. Of course he did this by canceling an unneeded "socialist" project so that money can be spent on real national defense.
Sep 13, 2009 - A Fletcher LCS
The U.S. Navy has been on a confused quest to build a frigate, which they call the Littoral Combat System. (LCS). They are the size of World War II destroyers, cost a half-billion dollars each, yet their armament is just one 57mm autocannon, four .50 (1-inch) machine guns, and a SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher.
I have found a better design, the American Fletcher Class destroyer from World War II. It is the same size as the LCS, and can make 37 knots vs. the LCS at 45 knots. Its armament consists of:
Five 5-inch (127mm)/38 Mk12 DP guns
This requires a much bigger crew, but Somali pirates or terrorist boat bombers wouldn't stand a chance. All those AA guns could probably shoot down incoming anti-ship missiles too. If a Fletcher surprised one of our new $1 billion destroyers by steaming around an island and opening fire at close range, a modern DDG-51 packed with big missiles would explode after a hail or gunfire just seconds after General Quarters was announced.
I don't seriously propose building more Fletcher Class destroyers, but it shows how little firepower these LCS designs have. Here is what I wrote a few years ago: LCS.
Sep 10, 2009 - Corrupted Congress
I have written in the past about apparent blackmail and bribery in the U.S. Congress. The recent IRS battle with Swiss UBS about secret American accounts is revealing. UBS wants to be an international bank with activities in the USA, but still retain secrecy. That is not permitted, so UBS agreed to hand over the names of some 56,000 American account holders. I wondered how many congressmen, generals, judges, bankers, CEOs and other prominent Americans would make the list of tax evaders. Now that list has been trimmed down to 4000. Why?
Hard evidence of congressional corruption appeared last week, but it was ignored by the corporate press. Luckily, the Huffington Post shared it. FBI Whistleblower: Hastert, Burton, Blunt, Other Members of Congress 'Bribed, Blackmailed'
Sep 8, 2009 - Tunnel Launch is Best
As some of you know, one of my interests is space launch. This was the result of contact with experts while editor of G2mil magazine. We are still stuck with the old, dangerous, and expensive method of launching things into space, using vertically launched disposable rockets. The solution is "assisted launch" to provide a boost upon launch, as explained here: Skyramp After several years, I've finally added an updated section with a nifty graphic: Tunnel Launch is Best
Sep 4, 2009 - Incompetent Officers
I continue to be amazed by the incompetence among U.S. military officers in Afghanistan. After much talk about restricting air strikes to avoid civilian casualties, they drop two bombs and kill 70, mostly innocents. They say two fuel trucks were hijacked by the Taliban, but got stuck in a riverbed. A local German base worried these trucks may be used for an attack, so requested air support.
This is the "official" story, which is always spun to look good. Nevertheless, no NATO troops had been killed or were under attack. If the trucks got free, the German troops could easily see fuel trucks approaching at a distant, and open fire to stop them. Second, American fighter-bombers have high-tech night vision equipment, so they knew the trucks were not moving and that hundreds of people had gathered around them. At the very most, one aircraft could have made a strafing run to ensure the trucks were disabled. However, it was more fun to blow them up. Millions of Afghans are furious at yet another war crime, which will go unpunished. Hundreds of friends and relatives of the victims will now join the Taliban to expel the foreign killers.
Sep 1, 2009 - The 9-11 and Afghanistan Ruse
Retired Navy officer Jeff Huber recently provided this sober comment:
"The very notion that the 9/11 attacks sprang from Afghanistan is specious. "Mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was operating in the Philippines when he first presented the attack plan to bin Laden in 1996. The six hijackers who controlled the airplanes received their flight training in the U.S., and the "muscle hijackers" came from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates."
None were from Iraq or Afghanistan, and none had traveled to those nations for training. People agree that places like the Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Syria are places where terrorists may organize attacks on America. We don't have troops in those places and nothing has happened, so why must we commit billions of dollars and hundreds of American lives each year to occupy Afghanistan? One suspects that if Afghanistan didn't exist, our troops would be in one of those other nations because the Pentagon needs to justify its budget.
Aug 26, 2009 - Close Gitmo
America's oldest overseas base no longer has a purpose, so President Obama should: Close Gitmo, the Entire Base.
Aug 24, 2009 - Baffled by Hydropower
Two years ago I wrote an article: Hydroelectric Power is Renewable Energy in response to a continual stream of news about the need to reduce global warming and reduce energy imports. No one in the media or political class took notice, even as they continue to report about drinking water shortages, an energy crisis, flooding, and the need to reduce global warming. As Congress recently spent a trillion dollars to create jobs and stimulate the economy, I was shocked that not one new dam was funded.
One can surf through the Dept. of Energy's website and find articles about America's growing wind power that will soon produce 1% of the nation's energy, but hydropower produces 10%! There is a section that describes in detail some 1000 hydropower sites in the USA that could produce 1% of the nation's energy needs simply by upgrading their turbines or installing turbines. Many dams were built a hundred years ago only for flood control, so the river water just flows over spillways. A penstock (i.e. tunnel) could be cut into the base of these dams and a turbine installed to produce cheap, renewable energy, but no one has bothered.
Meanwhile, floods cause billions of dollars in damage each year, which experts say can be prevented if dams were built. Farmers lose billions of dollars in crops each year when fresh water reservoirs are depleted by drought. This also results in watering restrictions so consumers must stop watering lawns, causing untold losses of plants and grasses. The total lack of interest in building new dams is so baffling that I suspect corruption is involved. The coal and natural gas producers quietly oppose clean, cheap hydropower by funding naive "environmental" groups. Another factor is that hundreds of municipal water companies have been privatized the past two decades, and water shortages allow higher water prices. Hopefully, citizens will fight this nonsense and demand the building of new dams.
Aug 22, 2009 - Warplanes set record in Afghanistan
So much for General McChrystal's new strategy of restraining the airpower nuts from bombing a nation in order to save it. They just set a record of 94 CAS sorties in one day, including B-1s! Meanwhile, Marines are wandering around the south like blind men looking for harm to get in the way of.
Aug 18, 2009 - The Lockerbie Cover-up
As Scotland releases one of the world's worst "terrorist" news will be mostly censored in the USA. I wrote about this two years ago, and now it is obvious that the destruction of PanAm Flight 103 that killed 270 people in 1988 was a massive cover-up. This is why only one of the two accused Libyan "terrorists" was convicted, and the other will be set free soon to avoid his appellant hearing. This is a great story; Iran duped the DEA to plant the bomb on PanAm 103. Here is the real story in two of my articles from 2007.
The Lockerbie Cover-up - Part I - Iran Strikes Back
It will be interesting to see how the corporate American media covers this story. How do they explain the release of this evil "terrorist" without suggesting he is innocent and the whole thing was a ruse? I suspect they will just ignore the story.
Aug 14, 2009 - Wonderful Socialized American Medicine
Some readers may have noticed that I no longer have articles appearing at Sanders Research. That investment fund had to trim overhead, so I got shaved. They are a great team, so perhaps they will rebound. Meanwhile, I have non-military insights to share with readers, and feel frustrated when important debates like health care are raging. Here is my experience with the VA; America's largest socialized health care organization: Wonderful Socialized American Medicine.
Note that most of the anger directed toward the VA by others concerns denied disability claims. It is common for veterans to develop health problems as they age. Many try to link problems with their distant military service to collect a disability check. One reason the VA is backlogged with claims was the passage of "concurrent recipient" a few years ago, which allows people to collect both a military retirement check and a veteran's disability check. As a result, 25% of retiring military personnel now apply for a disability check from the VA.
Aug 10, 2009 - Finding Ospreys
Aug 8, 2009 - Outdated Overseas Bases
Obama must take action before the Pentagon further alienates a close ally, as described in my new article: Close Outdated U.S. Military Bases in Japan.
Aug 6, 2009 - Tank Guards
While pondering Abrams tank employment in urban areas, it occurred to me that two infantrymen can ride in the rear bustle rack to provide flank and rear security. This is a major problem since the crew cannot react quickly enough whenever someone appears on a flank and aims an RPG. The crew is often too busy looking forward to notice them anyway. These rockets never kill a tank, yet dozens have been lost as a fire erupted after an engine hit engulfed the tank.
During the initial invasion of Iraq, some tanks were lost as swarms of Iraqis appeared alongside roads and rushed columns of tanks. There have also been cases where Iraqis snuck up behind a tank and shot crewmen in their hatches. In theory, dismounted infantrymen protect tanks, but in rapid mobile operations this is impractical.
A very simple mod would add two fold-down seats, like those in movie theaters, in the turret's rear bustle rack so two infantrymen can sit outwards back to back. They'll need seat belts for rapid movements. These would not be crewmen, but whenever an Abrams enters urban or confined terrain, it makes sense to put a couple grunts up there who otherwise ride as cargo inside a Bradley APC. This is especially important in urban areas where the enemy can suddenly appear in upper floor windows. This allows the crew to focus forward knowing that someone is watching their back, and they would enjoy the seats too whenever the tank is idle..
Aug 4, 2009 - Madness in Norway
A decade ago, I wrote about the madness of the Marines keeping a brigade's worth of equipment in Norway to help defend against a Soviet invasion. A DoD insider e-mailed me a couple years later saying they were renewing the program, and everyone evaded his questions about its purpose. He thought insiders were making millions of dollars, so that kept the program going. Now I see an article about its solid future Relations with Norway at Crossroads It claims it costs only a few million a year, but the bigger costs involve shipping all that equipment to Florida every three years where it is moved by rail to Albany, Georgia for inspection and replacement, and then shipped back to Norway.
Since the Corps already maintains three brigades worth of equipment aboard ships around the world (in Italy, Guam, and Diego Garcia) it doesn't need this outdated Cold war program. Current equipment shortages could be easily filled by the equipment now in Norway, while the Corps saves millions of dollars a year. As the Marine Corps 2nd MEB deployed to Afghanistan last month, its General complained that they had to borrow equipment from the Norwegian stash. Unfortunately, no Congressmen suggested that he take all of it and close the absurd program. Another option is to build storage facilities at an American port for rapid embarkation, or position the equipment near a potential trouble spot. An ally in the Middle East may agree to build build a massive storage facility for this gear.
Aug 2, 2009 - Professor Gates BS
I agree with Gore Vidal that the arrest of Harvard Professor Gates had nothing to do with racism. The professor was tired from his trip and arrogant. However, the police in the United States nowadays demand respect and submission from all citizens. Insulting a policeman is grounds for arrest, even at your own home.
Aug 1, 2009 - The Economic Depression
As more proof of how the corporate media conspires to fool the working class, note that no one uses the word "depression" to describe the current economic slump. When GDP shrank in the 4th quarter of 2008, the media openly discussed the possibility that the nation would enter an economic depression, which they all said economists agreed was two consecutive quarters of economic decline. When it became evident that GDP would decline in the 1st quarter of 2009, the media clammed up and the word "depression" was never used. Now we learn the 2nd quarter of 2009 was a 1% annual rate of decline in GDP, making it three consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, yet still no mention of "depression."
I wish the Republican party would offer alternative ideas rather than just bashing Obama. They attack him saying the massive stimulus package did not halt the economic decline. That is true, but everyone knows that it slowed the decline. The issues are if it was properly spent and so large to cause inflation to soar and the dollar to fall.
July 30, 2009 - Unintended Consequences of the Drug War
I recently read an interesting explanation for the explosion in drug use in Mexico this past decade. One strategy in the "war on drugs" is to closely monitor financial transactions to find drug related business activity. This made it difficult for the drug cartels to pay their middle men -- drug transporters like truck drivers and pilots, and to bribe the police.
Their solution was to pay with drugs, so these drug workers had to find a market to sell their share of drugs for cash. These drugs were pushed in new markets, like Mexican communities, and eventually developed a steady demand from addicts. I can't verify this, but it certainly makes sense.
July 28, 2009 - Weaken the Military Dynasties
My new article: Ban Officer Inbreeding - at the military academies
July 24, 2009 - Anonymous Militiaman?
One reason people read blogs is to help see through corporate propaganda. A great example is Fox News, which is owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who openly states he fully supports whatever Israel does. His mother is Jewish and he spends much time in Israel. Not surprisingly, Fox News shares this attitude, and has joined Israel's effort to demonize Iran.
At one time, new organizations required two good sources of information before they would publish a story. When I saw this story at Fox, "Report: Iranian Militias Marry, Rape Virgin Prisoners Before Executions", I read it just to see how they confirmed this wild report. Not surprising it came from Israel's leading newspaper, where another Iran hater, CNNs Wolf Blitzer worked for 17 years, and it quoted an anonymous militiaman. Given that the Israeli government is openly demonizing Iran, what kind of American "newsman" would even consider publishing such unverifiable garbage? Even if the report is true, it is probably misconduct by a few local militiamen.
The anti-Iran campaign by the corporate media is amazing. They spend hours attacking Iran's rigged elections, although there is no solid proof. They never mention that no other Muslim nation in the region has elections. They never allow opponents to have rallies or make speeches. Protests do not occur in the autocratic nations that are our "close allies" because the police arrest anyone who even speaks about having political meeting, much less a protest. Iran is not a model for democracy, but it is years ahead of other Muslim nations in the region.
Moreover, why so much demonic coverage? Are elections and human rights in Iran a top issue to the American people? What about the last Presidential election in Mexico where a socialist candidate may have won. It was probably rigged and almost led to a civil war, but that was not news in the USA.
July 22, 2009 - Friendly Bombs
The Navy Safety Center provides stats on major Navy and Marine Corps accidents. I was looking through their archives and came across this entry:25 May 07 (HMM-264) AV-8B dropped bomb on aircraft destroying an AH-1W and damaging UH-1N
In other words, a Marine Corps "Harrier" attack aircraft dropped a bomb that destroyed a Marine Corps "Cobra" attack helicopter and damaged a Huey helicopter. More details on this incident would be interesting.
July 17, 2009 - Obama Lied About Iraq
America's corporate media is ignoring the biggest story of the year -- Obama will not pull U.S. troops out of Iraq! People forget that the only reason Obama is President today is because he was the only leading candidate to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Hillary Clinton refused to make that promise, so many of her supporters shifted to Obama. That gave him the votes he needed to defeat Clinton.
Election polling showed that a majority of the American people wanted U.S. troops out of Iraq, (not just a majority of Democrats) and that was a key issue. Once in office, Obama extended his timetable from his promised 16-months to 19-months. He then spoke of keeping 50,000 American "trainers" in Iraq, which the Army later explained will be organized just like its combat brigades.
American troops have withdrawn from the central part of Iraqi cities, but remain in the suburbs. This was planned a year ago by the Bush administration. Meanwhile, those withdrawn troops are not coming home, but a new round of expensive base construction is underway to house these troops elsewhere. The Army recently announced that troop levels in Iraq will remain unchanged until next year, so when Obama celebrates one-year in office next January, U.S. troop strength in Iraq will have remained unchanged!
Defense Secretary Gates recently announced that he approved an expansion of the U.S. Army by 22,000 troops to reduce the deployment strain. That will take years to accomplish, so if most U.S. troops will leave Iraq next year, what does he have in mind? While Obama remains popular, he may become a one-term President as he loses anti-war supporters next year, especially if he "gets tough" on Iran, whatever that means. The Republican party is no threat, unless it can shed its hatred theme and back a rational candidate, like Chuck Hagel. However, Obama's biggest threat may to come from within the Democratic party itself. Recall that LBJ decided not to run while mired in the Vietnam war since it looked like he would be defeated in the Democratic primary.
July 12, 2009 - Checkerboard Squads
I've been throwing stones at American Generals for employing "parade" tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is where large units march through the countryside in futile effort to find insurgents. They only find snipers and IEDs. Officers prefer this because it is safe and allows them to lead large units in "combat". My book The Spectrum of Future Warfare has a chapter on insurgencies and describes the four effective COIN tactics. Here is one:
"Checkerboard squads" was developed by US Army Colonel David Hackworth after watching the Army fail for two years in Vietnam, which he describes in his outstanding book "About Face." American GIs rarely found Viet Cong camps and the enemy were experts at hit and run ambushes. The average soldier didn't have the fitness, training, or motivation to operate in small teams for long-range patrols. Therefore, Hackworth attached a 7.62mm machine gun to each squad and deployed these 14-man squads about 1000 meters apart in a huge checkerboard formation. The soldiers were not enthusiastic about the idea at first because they feared encountering a large enemy formation. However, Hackworth knew that insurgents only massed in large units for a carefully planned attack, and never made frontal "Banzai" charges; they ambushed and ran. In the worst case, the squad had plenty of firepower to hold off a large unit for five minutes until several squads arrived to reinforce.
These squads were much quieter and covered large areas as they coordinated movement by radio. In cases of confusion, every squad marched to the sound of guns. A hidden enemy was much more likely to open fire on a squad, not knowing other squads were nearby. If any leading squad made contact, the squads on each flank would move forward to envelop while the rearward squads advanced to support. Sometimes the middle squads made contact and the forward squads moved to encircle. The tactic was very successful, and Hackworth eagerly shared his discovery, only to find little interest among officers rotating through for their six months of command time. Coordination seemed tricky, no one had heard of such a tactic, and career officers did not want to take risks with new ideas. Organizing company and battalion parades though the countryside was easier, safer, and allowed officers to orchestrate the action directly without relying on NCOs.
July 6, 2009 - Wrong COIN
This picture shows how not to fight insurgents in Afghanistan. Marine Generals had great fun with their offensive in southern Afghanistan. 4000 Marines road marched in hot weather for miles and found almost nothing. While grunts labored under a huge load, Generals watched computer screens at air conditioned command centers showing the "attack" and helicoptered around the "battlefield."
Lots of press, lots of talk, but no results except for angry locals, wasted money, and demoralized Marines.
July 1, 2009 - V-22 Criminal Investigation Must Begin
My latest on the V-22 scandal, 40 MV-22s are Missing!, presents hard evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Congress has funded 40 more V-22s than the Marine Corps says it has. Where are they?
June 26, 2009 - The V-22 Scandal Explodes
In May, Marine Generals refused to provide Congress with an inventory list of V-22s, which Congress sought to dispel allegations from G2mil that dozens of damaged V-22s are hidden in hangars. In his prepared testimony, the head of Marine Aviation, LtGen George Trautman stated that: "We have accepted delivery of 91 Ospreys, a quarter of our program objective of 360 aircraft." The requested status list was not provided. After threats of subpoena, his staff said they had 105, when they must have known that simple check of budget documents would reveal they should have around 145. That just happened, as the Congressional Research Service released a report that says Congress has funded 156 V-22s for the Marines from FY1987 through FY2009.
Since Bell stated that V-22 production is on schedule, the last of these 156 should be delivered by Oct. 1, 2009. Therefore, the Marines should have had around 145 V-22s on June 3, 2009, the date they reported that only 105 had been delivered. Since these cost around $100 million each, it seems the Generals misplaced $4 billion worth of new aircraft. Maybe I can find some missing V-22s on E-bay! Looks like we'll see a lot of dancing Generals this year.
Congressmen Jack Murtha said he is going to the Marine airbase at New River soon to find out what's happening. He's a former Marine who says the military always lies about problems. However, he is a politician and big spender, so I suspect this is a common ruse. Major contractors have one of their Congressmen act angry and promise to find out what's really happening, only discover some minor problems, and assert there is nothing really wrong.
June 20, 2009 - ROTC problems
My new ramblings on old problems: Improving ROTC.
June 18, 2009 - North Korea is no Threat
I have a new article at the FFF: America's Favorite Demon about the need to pull U.S. troops out of South Korea.
June 16, 2009 - Foreign Languages and Academy Grads
There are many valid complaints about the ultra high-cost of the U.S. military academies. It seems politically impossible to close them, but they could be tweaked to produce more worldly officers. Each cadet (or midshipman) should be required to minor in a foreign language, and during the summer after their junior year they must take a paid trip to a nation that speaks their language. So long as taxpayers are footing the bill, the Pentagon should force cadets to learn a foreign language.
As one who spent years attempting to master Spanish, after four courses of German in college, I realize that graduates would not be fluent. However, they would have the basic skills to communicate, and learn that foreigners who struggle to speak English are not stupid. Most could become fluent if their first overseas duty assignment was based on their language skill when practical. Imagine the surprise of the Japanese when most officers assigned to bases in Japan speak passable Japanese, Chinese, or Indonesian.
The academy staffs must prod most cadets to study a broad range of languages, lest 70% choose Spanish for practical reasons, while 20% choose French to boost their ego. A good mix would be: 20% Arabic, 20% Spanish, 15% Chinese (common Mandarin), 10% French (spoken in half of Africa), 10% Pashto (spoken in most of Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan), 5% Russian, 5% German, 5% Japanese, 5% Korean, and 5% Indonesian (spoken in the world's 4th largest nation and is similar to Malaysian). The academies may lack the staff resources to teach other languages, but they may find a way to allow interested students to learn by using computers.
June 12, 2009 - Chinese Hummers
You may have read that a Chinese company has bought GMs unprofitable Hummer division. GM quickly assured everyone that this sale did not include the factory that produces Hummers for the US military. Taxpayers spent over a billion dollars to help GM design the Hummer as a rugged light truck. They wouldn't want that design technology to fall into the hands of China, who would make copies, possibly for their own military.
What GM never mentions is that it sold China a license to produce Hummers many years ago, which included everything they needed to make copies. There was no restriction on use, so China now has thousands of Hummers in its military, including weaponized variants. (right)
This explains why the Pentagon has been unwilling to permit the sale of F-22s to Japan. It does not want to buy F-22s, but all the technology so that it can build its own. That suits profit seeking defense contractors, since they can make billions of dollars by simply transferring designs via computers that were paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
June 1, 2009 - Congress Pursues V-22 Scandal
Congress is finally investigating the Pentagon's biggest scandal: V-22s Lies Exposed They want to know why four dozen fairly new V-22s were secretly scrapped, and why half the remaining are broke down.
May 25, 2009 - Four Year Combat Tours?
I like the idea of longer tours in Afghanistan for officers in higher headquarters. Unit rotations are good, but not above the battalion level. I'd keep the same brigade, division, and higher HQs for the duration, and rotate battalions for 13 months, to include one month of leave halfway.
I'd make these HQ tours four years, rather than the traditional one-year tour. They would do six-months "in country" then two months leave, then six and two, again and again. Assigned officers would earn 90 days leave a year, rather than 30, to make this possible. I'd guarantee one-hour a week video chat with families, which can be done on any internet connection, along with daily e-mails.
This would greatly expand the level of experience and command stability. Longer tours would make a standard three-month stateside prep course practical in the areas of language, culture, history, and geography. You would not have so many screw-ups as new officers learn the same old lessons. Headquarters personnel would take a longer-term view of problems, since they will be there.
This will upset the career system, which wants to allow every career officer a tour in combat zone. However, since that four-year tour will total three years away from home, many officers will not be interested. Keep in mind that millions of GIs did four-year overseas tours during World War II, with no family e-mail, teleconferences, or trips home.
May 21, 2009 - Marine General Takes the 5th
So much for that hearing. It has been rescheduled two weeks later because the requested information on V-22 performance has not been provided by the Marine Corps. They claim DoD is holding it up. Here is more http://springboarder.blogspot.com/2009/05/mv-22-catches-hostile-firefrom-congress.html
May 19, 2009 - V-22 Congressional Hearing
Congress will finally hold hearings on May 21, 2009 on the never ending problems with the V-22 Osprey program to give Marine Corps Generals a chance to respond to a recent GAO report that is critical of the V-22. I can think of a hundred questions to ask, but here are the easy ones.
Suggested Questions for Congressmen:
General, I looked at the FY2010 budget request and it shows you want 30 more V-22s at a unit cost of $78 million each. In comparison, the Navy wants 18 MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters at a unit cost of $28 million each. This proven helicopter can lift nearly as much as the V-22 even though its half its size. The Army request for CH-47F helicopters has a unit of price of just $26 million each. That helicopter is much smaller than the V-22 but has greater range and can lift twice as much. The Army's C-27J aircraft is the same size as the V-22 and uses the same two engines, yet it costs just $38 million each, and can carry twice as much three times farther.
So why does the V-22 cost roughly three times more than other aircraft that have superior performance. The V-22 even costs more than a C-40, which is the military version of the Boeing 737 jet aircraft. Why?
General, Congress has funded 150 MV-22 production aircraft for the Marines through FY2009, so around 140 have been delivered as of today. I understand that the first 10 were MV-22A development aircraft that have been retired, but the Marine Corps claims to have only 84 MV-22Bs in service. Our staff requested a detailed accounting of these 56 or so missing V-22s, but we have yet to receive a reply. Can you comment on this, and explain reports of the "hangar of shame" were dozens of damaged V-22s are secretly stored?
General, can you confirm that none of these V-22s are in Iraq or Afghanistan today, and there are no plans to deploy any in the coming weeks?
General, federal law requires a JAG investigation whenever an aircraft sustains over $1 million in damage, what is called a "Class A mishap." I have been told these investigations were never conducted after several V-22 Class A mishaps. I understand that some General decided that if the aircraft was stricken from the record, no repair estimates were required so therefore a JAG investigation is not required. Can you comment on this?
General, the V-22 had a contract guaranteed empty weight of 33,140 lbs. That was surpassed years ago. Can you tell us the empty weight for the latest V-22s (the Block Cs) now coming off the production line, and explain why waivers were granted for this guaranteed empty weight?
General, the Marines are now adding a medium machine gun to the belly of V-22s to offer defensive protection. I have been told this will add 800 lbs of empty weight, will require the removal of four troop seats, and will not allow V-22s to carry external loads. I understand the system can be removed, but given its weight, this is not a simple task. Moreover, the gun must be retracted before landing. Can you comment on this?
General, is there any reason why the Marines can't just join in the Navy buy of MH-60S helicopters or buy more Marine UH-1Y helicopters starting in FY 2010? These aircraft are much cheaper, more agile, less complex, and more suitable for shipboard operations.
General, why haven't the Marines shown an interest in a navalized version of the Army's new CH-47F helicopter that is in production at one-third the cost of a V-22, yet has greater range and twice the payload? I'm told Boeing produced a navalized version just a few years back, called the CH-47E, so the Marines could just join in this Army buy.
May 15, 2009 - Myfax.com
I rarely digress from the topic of this blog, but sometimes a backward organization requires me to Fax a document since they don't accept e-mail attachments. This requires me to drive down to a local office supply store and fax a page or two. There are companies that charge $10 or more each month to forward e-mailed documents to a fax machine, but I don't need it that much. I did some research and found that Myfax.com will forward up to two pages a day to fax machines. Their system is simple to use and you don't need to "sign up" or anything, but you must provide an e-mail address to confirm the fax was sent, so they send you an advertisement each month.
April 23, 2009 - V-22s Broke Down
Over 140 V-22s have now been delivered to the Marine Corps, so they now outnumber the CH-46Es still in service. The 10 used as airplanes operating from airbases in Iraq are now worn out and have been withdrawn. They dispatched a Navy ship (LHD) from Norfolk to retrieve them, since they couldn't fly home. Ten V-22s were supposed to deploy aboard ship last November with the 26th MEU(SOC), but pre-deployment exercises prompted the Corps to cancel that idea at the last moment. Ten V-22s did deploy aboard ship with the 22nd MEU this month. There is no news on how they are performing, but note that the 22nd MEU is not a MEU(SOC) since it failed to demonstrate that it was (Special Operations Capable) during pre-deployment training. It was only the second MEU to fail such certification since the SOC concept began two decades ago.
Despite all the sales pitches earlier this year about how Marines and V-22 will dominate the battlefield in Afghanistan, it was learned last month that none will deploy with the 8000-man 2nd MEB. This means there are only 10 of 140 V-22s deployed overseas, whereas half the remaining CH-46s remain committed to units in Iraq, Afghanistan, Okinawa, and aboard ships. They throw out the "new" aircraft excuse for this, but the V-22 first flew in 1989 and went into production in 1999.
April 21, 2009 - The Border Cartels Challenge Obama
My latest at Sanders, "The Border Cartels Challenge Obama" describes how the President can instantly hurt the drug cartels at no cost.
April 14, 2009 - The Airborne Laser Swindle
The Airborne Laser scam may come to an end. It is eight years behind schedule and $4 billion over budget. Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said: “The ABL program has significant affordability and technology problems, and the program’s proposed operational role is highly questionable.”
Moreover, it doesn't work, and key people in the program have know that it will not work for years. An article appeared in G2mil in 2001 that explains the Airborne Laser Swindle.
April 12, 2009 - Tenured Program Managers
Fixing America's broken military acquisition system is a huge challenge. An simple change that would improve the process is to create tenured program managers. This key slot is currently filled by ambitious, career-focused officers who serve just two years. As a result, they seek to please everyone and hide problems rather than address them. Program managers know little about their program when they arrive and are easily misled by contractors. They are also intimidated by retired Generals working for contractors since these Generals have close contacts with active duty Generals that sit on promotion boards.
Troubled programs like the F-22 and V-22 have seen over a dozen program managers punch their career ticket with two years heading those programs. There are several ways to change this. Appointing career DoD civilians as program managers is one option. The Generals will dislike this idea, yet legislation should exclude military program managers for consideration for promotion. Accepting an assignment as a program manager would become a career ender. This would keep ambitious career officers away, and allow program managers to serve many years until they retire.
There will be no shortage of candidates because a program manager is a prestigious and interesting assignment. In addition, many senior officers tire of the career rat race and moving their families every few years. Many Colonels would be happy to serve their last eight or so years in the same job. Of course the contractors and Generals will not like the idea of tenured program managers, however, they can't prevent the President or Congress from implementing this common sense reform.
April 8, 2009 - Defense Acquisitions
The latest GAO report on major programs is posted at: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09326sp.pdf
Mar 24, 2009 - The Courage to Withdraw from Iraq
My latest at Sanders "The Courage to Withdraw from Iraq" describes the current situation in Iraq and why fighting among militias will erupt as American troops withdraw. Will President Obama demonstrate the courage to withdraw under fire from a lost cause?
Mar 20, 2009 - The Calamity of Urban Warfare
I opened up a chapter in my book for free: The Spectrum of Future Warfare
Chapter 14 - The Calamity of Urban Warfare
Mar 14, 2009 - Army Relaxes "Up or Out"
Perhaps someone high in the U.S. Army read my list of ten defense initiatives that can be quickly implemented. I wrote the policy of forcing senior enlisted to retire in their 40s was wasteful. According to this recent article:
"Under the new so-called "Up-or-Out" policy, a staff sergeant can serve an additional year in grade up to the Soldier's 23rd year in uniform, while a sergeant first class or staff sergeant promotable can remain in grade an additional two years up to the troop's 26th year in service." A master sergeant or promotable sergeant first class now gets three extra years up to the Soldier's 29th year in service, while most E-9s and promotable master sergeants may now remain in their rank for up to their 32nd year in service. Some exceptions exist that would allow certain E-9s to serve up to 35 years."
Mar 1, 2009 - V-22 Alternatives
The arrival of the Obama administration provides Marine Corps Generals with the excuse they need to save face and dump the failed V-22 Osprey program "because of budget cuts." This is critical because the V-22 has demonstrated less than half the range and payload promised, while readiness rates are worse than the Corps' decades old helicopters.
G2mil's latest on the V-22 scandal is now available V-22 Alternatives. Dozens of new V-22s are retired and stored after varied failures, like a Dec. 2007 engine fire that ignited a V-22's composite nacelle and wing. (pictured) It was not cost effective to repair since the fuselage and wing are cast as one lightweight plastic piece, so it remains hidden in storage.
The V-22's "official" total program costs fell in 2005. To evade required reporting of major cost overruns to Congress, the V-22 program was rebaselined in 2005, along with its sister Cold war legacy project, the F-22. This according to the Sept. 2008 SAR posted on the Internet.
The "baseline" is the year a program began. When some ultra-expensive programs face cancellation due to massive cost overruns, they are "rebaselined" and all previous research, development, testing, and evaluation costs are quietly wiped clean from the total program cost ledger. This is justified by claiming that so many changes occurred that it spawned a new program. This corruption evades Congressional oversight so in the case of the V-22, the expenditure of billions of dollars over two decades disappeared and total program costs per unit plummeted.
Feb 17, 2009 - Will Obama Sacrifice?
My latest at Sanders "Will Obama Sacrifice Too?" uncovers the ultra expensive military support for the President, such as two Air Force One's, the Camp David military base, and the ridiculous Presidential helicopter program.
Feb 10, 2009 - White House weighs moving labs under Pentagon
My Sanders article "How Obama Can Outfox the Pentagon" was forwarded to a top official at OMB. I guess they thought it interesting as they quickly issued a memo to study the idea, as noted in this news article. It notes:
"The relevant page of the memo, obtained by the Monitor Wednesday, calls for the defense and energy departments to “assess the costs and benefits of transferring budget and management of NNSA or its components to DoD and elsewhere, as appropriate, beginning in FY 2011.”
It seems the nuclear weapons bureaucracy dominates the Dept. of Energy and its budget priorities. If shifted to the Dept. of Defense, they become little fish in a big pond and face scrutiny and possible cuts.
My latest at Sanders is about how Woodrow Wilson was a worse President than Bush: "George W. Bush will become a Great President."
Feb 8, 2009 - CBO Defense Budget Cuts
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report explaining why the Pentagon's budget plans are unrealistic, and makes recommendations to trim some programs. Here they are along with my quick notes in blue. If there is no note, it means I'm neutral or haven't studied that issue.
CBO’s Projection of Resources for an Evolutionary Alternative for Defense Compared with CBO’s Projection of the Implications of the 2009 FYDP
Department of the Navy
Reduce planned purchases of joint strike fighters; increase purchases of armed unmanned aerial vehicles. Agree, but buy new FA-18Fs and OV-6Bs instead.
Develop new unmanned reconnaissance vehicles; cancel multimission maritime aircraft and broad area maritime surveillance programs. Strongly disagree, long-range aircraft are the future of naval warfare.
Reduce Marine Corps end strength. Agree. The wars are winding down and the nation is going bankrupt, so don't waste billions expanding the force. The Corps can keep combat units if it trims fat.
Reduce planned purchases of joint strike fighters; increase purchases of armed unmanned aerial vehicles. Agree, but fighter UAVs, not ground attack UAVs.
Reduce planned purchases of joint strike fighters. Agree. Cancel the program and buy more FA-18Fs. Note the F is the two-seat version. Recent tests of the AESA radar by several countries concluded that two-seat aircraft are best for modern warfare because a pilot hasn't the time to fully employ the radar's sophisticated surveillance and jamming capabilities.
Reduce planned purchases of multi-mission maritime aircraft. Strongly disagree. This is the future of naval warfare. The Navy should buy more 737 cargo aircraft and modify them to launch dozens of cruise missiles.
Continue to buy DDG-51 destroyers; delay the new CG(X) cruiser by 10 years. Agree, but mount 8-inch guns on them.
Build only two DDG-1000 destroyers. Agree, then cancel this failed program.
Do not build the DDG(X) destroyer. Agree, but build DE corvettes with tenders.
Continue to develop and purchase the new littoral combat ship, but procure just one version, instead of two. Do not "develop" an LCS, just buy a version of the Swedish Visby or American built Saar 5. Or, if they want to develop something even more valuable, build DE corvettes.
Cancel the future maritime prepositioning ship and rely on the current prepositioning fleet. Agree, assuming these ships are not too old for overhauls. If so, just buy proven Navy cargo ships so as not to waste years and billions of dollars to develop and test a new class of ships.
Reduce the number of aircraft carriers in the fleet from 11 to 10 by deferring refueling overhauls of existing carriers. Agree, and the carrier to cut is the one based in Japan. It is the most expensive to support. Most Japanese don't want it there, and sailors don't like that expensive duty station. Bring those dollars home. The USA has several airbases in Japan. That carrier in port is a sitting duck for long-range ballistic missiles from Asia.
Retain existing command ships rather than purchase new ships. Disagree. Those three ships are really old, and the Admirals just use them as personal yachts anyway. Retire those, and consider building two command ships based on the LHD and assign one to European Command and the other to the Pacific Command to serve as joint command ships that can directly support operations ashore. Man them jointly, and don't let Navy "fleet" admirals commandeer them for personal use. As for the third command ship kept in the Persian Gulf, the USA has dozens of bases there so that ship serves no purpose and only offers an easy target should hostilities erupt with Iran or Pakistan..
Cut the number of strategic submarines from 14 to 10. Agree, but depending on the new talks with the Russians, it might be best to eliminate all the USAF land-based silos instead.
Scale back purchases of the short take-off/vertical landing version of the joint strike fighter (JSF) to the number needed to replace the Marines’ existing fleet of AV-8B Harriers. Agree in part. Cancel the ultra-expensive Marine JSF version "F-35B" and buy FA-18Fs and OV-6Bs for the Marines.
Increase the number of FA-18E/Fs purchased, maintaining the Navy’s overall current capacity to deliver 2,000-pound bombs. Agree, the new ones have the same radar as the JSF and are just a capable, yet one-third their price. Cancel the F-35C (the carrier JSF version for the Navy) and stick with cheaper, proven FA-18E/Fs.
Department of the Army
Upgrade existing combat vehicles; restructure Future Combat Systems to pursue "spin-outs" only. Agree, but cancel all the FCS and establish a 30-year program to build a new medium-weight series with a common chassis to gradually replace the M-113s, M-2 Bradley's, and LAV-III Strykers. Bofors has a good model, and so do the Germans.
Continue to buy HMMWVs; cancel the joint light tactical vehicle program. Strongly agree. The HMMWV is a great light truck, but got a bad rep when it was employed as a combat platform.
Cancel joint heavy lift aircraft program. Strongly agree. The FCS monster has grown from 20 tons to 30 tons, so the JHL cannot lift it, assuming both are built. The Army's new CH-47F can lift much more than older models. If the Army wants even more lift, it can start buying CH-53Ks in a few years after the Marines finish test and development. The 53K should be able to lift twice as much as the CH-47F.
Upgrade existing Kiowa warrior attack helicopters; cancel the armed reconnaissance helicopter. Disagree. The Kiowa is ancient and the Army needs new scout helos. It shouldn't cost that much to buy new ones based on a proven design. Somehow it screwed up the last attempt, probably because it chose a Bell Helicopter.
Cancel the Joint Tactical Radio System.
Rely on unmanned aerial vehicles fielded as part of the Future Combat Systems program; cancel the armed reconnaissance helicopter. Strongly disagree. UAVs are overrated. Buy OV-6Bs and Robinson helicopters as aerial scouts.
Discontinue upgrades to existing combat vehicles. It depends on the upgrade.
Rely on Future Combat Systems; forgo replacing M113 series infantry carrier vehicles. Strongly disagree, for reasons mentioned above.
Reduce combat brigades. They mean reduce planned expansions. Agree, the wars are ending and they are unaffordable, unless the Army trims fat to provide the resources for them.
Department of the Air Force
Upgrade the remainder of the aerial tankers in the service’s existing aerial tanker fleet and forgo the purchase of new tankers. That's possible, but those aircraft are very old and upgrades will be expensive. The Boeing 767 tanker is already proven in foreign service, so its probably best for Congress to waive competition regulations to end the crazy idea of providing jobs for Europeans and just buy 767s.
Reduce by about half the planned purchase of the JSF, which, because of that aircraft’s larger payload, would nonetheless result in a tactical aircraft fleet with the same capacity to deliver 2,000-pound bombs as the service’s current fleet. I suspect the larger payload is just a sales pitch.
Delay by five years the development of a new bomber. Agree, but make that 10 years.
Plan for the next long-range strike aircraft to be an unmanned, large payload, long range supersonic/hypersonic aircraft; restructure the current bomber replacement program. Disagree. Ignore sales pitches for ultra expensive toys. Buy B-747s and equip them to carry 100 cruise missile internally or to drop 100 gravity bombs from high-altitude.
Continue to buy existing communications satellites; cancel the Transformational Satellite Communications program.
Continue to build existing infrared detection satellites cancel the Third Generation Infrared Satellite System
Reduce other programs, including intelligence activities
DoD-wide and Cross-Service
Focus missile defense programs on supporting existing ground-based missile defense system; defer work on future deployments. This is vague, but yes, slash missile defense, it doesn't work.
Reduce advisory and assistance services by 20 percent.
Plan for pay increases through 2015 to match the employment cost index minus 0.5 percentage point; expand special pay and bonuses to partially compensate. Disagree in part. Pay raises have pushed military and federal civilian pay far ahead of private sector pay because the ECI is higher than the wage index. Freeze all federal pay (including military pay) for two years to reduce the deficit. Expand combat pay and reduce reenlistment bonuses that are not valid. In some cases airmen and sailors are denied reenlistments because of overages while those who are selected receive a bonus..
Increase enrollment fees and copayments for defense medical care. Disagree. Bad for morale.
Here are a few CBO missed:
Cancel the Presidential Helicopter program - It will now cost $500 million for each European VH-71; just buy more $30 million VH-60s.
Cancel the V-22 - Buy more CH-53Ks that are the same size, yet cost half as much, have greater range, are much safer, and can carry five times more payload. Also buy more UH-1Ys to balance out the need for smaller helicopters. The ACE for a MEU could deploy with 8 CH-53Ks and 10 UH-1Ys to provide twice more lift than the planned ACE of 8 V-22s, 4 CH-53Ks, and 3 UH-1Ys. Readiness would also double since only two platforms need shipboard support and helicopters are far less complex.
Close Outdated Overseas Bases - Set up an OBRAC to review and close these sacred relics.
Feb 6, 2009 - Naval Commandos
Here is another sample from my book: Naval Commandos
Jan 27, 2009 - How Obama Can Outfox the Pentagon
My latest at Sanders, "How Obama Can Outfox the Pentagon" suggests freezing the DoD budget while cutting military spending hidden in other departments.
Jan 20, 2009 - Racism in the USA
The election of Barak Obama showed how racism persists in the USA. Obama is half-white, so why is he called a "black president"? This is because American society never accepted people with any "black blood" as white. No one uses the proper mixed race term of "mestizo" like they do in Brazil, South Africa, and many other nations. If someone has any African blood, they are black, and not considered equal by most white Americans. Most will deny this, but will disapprove of any family member who marries someone "black" even if that person is mostly white. Exceptions are tolerated for nice, wealthy black men, like actor Will Smith.
Jan 14, 2009 - SpringBored's Springboard
Bloggers shouldn't recommend other blogs as it hurts readership. But then I don't care since I don't get paid for this. Here is an excellent military blog, mostly about Navy issues: SpringBored's Springboard
2008 Blog - The End of the Empire
2000-2008 - Monthly Editorials