Tag Archives: Military

Benghazi and the Persian Gulf Incident

Just a few quick takes here on the Persian Gulf incident this week. Clearly, there’s a lot that’s been made public that doesn’t make any sense. And, truthfully, there’s a lot we don’t know and will never know.

Both boats had navigation problems? At the same time? These are highly sophisticated, capable and well-equipped craft. Traditionally, the Navy teaches navigation skills. But in these days of the PC Navy, maybe not (math is involved and girls aren’t good at math so mathy things have to go — that comment ought to generate some heat!). Tip to the swabbies, keep friendly coast on your right shoulder (starboard side — do they still teach that or is that some how a microaggression?) and you won’t go wrong.

Both boats got lost? These are riverine craft supposedly following the coast from Kuwait to Bahrain. Anyone could navigate these craft — keep the coastline on your right at all times (see above). Do not venture into the open sea. Follow those two instructions and you’ll never be close to Iranian waters, you’ll be in Kuwaiti, Saudi Arabian and Bahraini waters the whole time.

Both boats had engine problems? At the same time? These are highly sophisticated, capable and well-equipped craft. They drifted 50 something miles in a short time? They have anchors, right? If you find you’re drifting, drop anchor and orient the boat into the tide/wind to minimize resistance. Does anyone know if they had paddles onboard? Could they have paddled a short distance and beached the craft on Kuwaiti/Saudi/Bahraini coast? I don’t know the answers to those questions.

Both boats had radio/coms problems? At the same time? These are highly sophisticated, capable and well-equipped craft. It’s been mentioned that the Iranians were somehow jamming communications. A broadband jam of that level, essentially enveloping a whole region and multiple bands should have made the U.S. Navy more than a little curious about what was going on.

Speaking of the U.S. Navy. Why was there no overhead coverage? Communications go down and no one thinks to check on the boats? There’s no E2 or surveillance-recon/early warning/coms aircraft aloft over the area? No helicopters? No drones keeping an eye on the Iranians (especially on the Iranian naval ops at Farsi Island)?

This circles back to the night of Benghazi. We’re spending $600 billion a year on the military and when something goes sideways, it can’t react. Despite having two airbases (Sigonella and Aviano) within combat aircraft range (Aviano definitely has combat aircraft at it), nothing was done at Benghazi. I’m not even including possible naval and ground force (military, covert and contractor) assets in the region.

Ditto here. There are naval vessels in the region. There are air assets currently fighting ISIS in the region.

Of course, you can have all the tools in the world but if the craftsman can’t or won’t use them…

I won’t comment on the quality of the crews beyond noting that they looked a little shabby and inexperienced.

I’m not going to comment beyond the story that the boats were transiting down the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and somehow were scooped up by Iranian forces.

I will offer a theory on the quick release. I suspect that the Revolutionary Guards naval forces grabbed the boats, likely, without the full authorization of Tehran. Once notified of the capture, Tehran told the guards to keep the GPS equipment but cut the sailors and the boats loose because they had a deal cooking and the caper was at a most inopportune time and could foul that deal. Today we learned that we freed some Iranian terrorist types for some U.S. hostages. Those sailors are lucky that deal was happening or they’d have been in a similar situation as the British sailors seized in 2007 while inspecting a merchant smuggler off the Iraqi coast.

The Obama administration is clearly lying about a few things but that’s like noting that the sky is blue. Like the Clintons, the O admin seems to lie even about things that they have no reason to lie about. For many people, especially liberals, lying is a way of life. It’s a way of controlling the situation, the conversation and, ultimately, people.

Last thoughts — it’s foolish to deploy military forces and be unwilling to use them or let them defend themselves. The Iranian naval base on Farsi Island, long a thorn in the sides of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other users of the Persian Gulf, needs to be removed and any subsequent attempts to re-establish it need to be met with extreme force. We have the capabilities of doing that, we just don’t have the leadership.

The American Thinker has a good piece on this (it’s not the only one).

Paging Gen. Charles Napier

Perhaps you’ve heard of the case of U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Martland, the Green Beret who put a beat down on a corrupt Afghan police chief who was fond of little boys and supposedly kept one chained nearby to satisfy the desire when it came upon him.

Martland is being forced out of the army because of this attempt to set things right. There’s some fuzz as to exactly why he’s being pushed out — disobeying orders or simply being mean to “allies.”

Obviously we can’t have soldiers, especially NCOs, taking matters into their own hands. After all, we live in the age of respecting other cultures, no matter how bad some of their cultural peccadilloes are. In fact, for the modern liberal, the crazier, the seedier the custom is, the more radiance one receives for “tolerating” it. Ironically, when it comes to his fellow Americans, a liberal has absolutely no tolerance for cultural differences. Everyone must conform to the liberal’s imperial cultural preferences.

But back to our story…

The question has arisen as to who might have issued orders to American soldiers that they weren’t to harm the Afghan pedophiles. So far the Obama administration has stonewalled on that query. No surprise there.

Is it possible that this ties in with the Obama administration’s insistence on inserting homosexuals and promoting homosexual conduct everywhere? It recently nominated an open homosexual, Eric Fanning, to be the next Secretary of the Army. (We’ve moved from ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to ‘Shout It From the Rooftops’ in a very short time.)

Does the Obama administration not see any evil in this practice? Does it really consider this just some “cultural difference,” no different than liking different foods, dressing in brightly colored outfits and wearing funny hats or living in communal houses?

With that bunch, I would not proffer an answer.

I’m reminded of the response to a “cultural difference” by British Gen. Charles Napier when in the 1840s he confronted the then Indian practice of “suttee” — requiring (usually tossing) an Indian widow onto the funeral pyre of her late husband.

He allegedly said to some practitioners, “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

We’ve some a long way, baby!

Hot Air has some stories here, here, here and here.

We Spend $600 Billion Per Year On…

The United States annually spends in the neighborhood of $600 billion per year on its Department of Defense.

I’m going to toss out a serious question — are we getting our moneysworth?

Defense is one of those jobs that the Constitution has placed in the hands of the federal government, unlike so many other things that it has taken on (and now spends the majority of its budget on).

Yet, I look around and see a lot of troublespots in the world. And not just any ol’ troublespots, but troublespots that get Americans killed. I’m not really seeing our military doing much about that.

Now that’s not necessarily its fault. It follows orders and in the last few years, the fish has clearly rotted from the head. The Obama administration practices the “Lennonization” of politics; John Lennon, that is. “Give peace a chance” makes a great lyric chorused with a bunch of drugged-out hippies but it makes for lousy real-world policy.

In fact, the Obama administration has kicked into fourth gear what the Clinton administration really started (and the Bush administration failed to root-out and even tolerated), the transmogrification of the military into a giant social service organization.

Make no mistake, a large portion of our military can’t fight and won’t fight. Those soldiers and sailors (the Marines have been able to hold their line to some extent) are in the military not to serve America’s interests but for the benefits; to serve their personal interests. Health care, college money, etc. This ain’t your dad’s army.

Any army trotting out, even proud of, pictures of young women wearing ill-fitting helmets and unis, lugging rifles two-thirds as big as they are, is doomed if something big and scary goes “Boo!”

Ever see those pictures of the Hitler Youth during the battle for Berlin? You know it’s over then.

I live a stone’s throw from the Pentagon. I’m not that big yet I tower over almost every uniformed female I come across in the local stores and on the streets. At least half are not in any kind of shape.

I do occasionally come across a male shorter than myself but four out of five times this guy is lean and mean looking. I also figure he knows all sorts of martial arts and could fold me into an accordion in about five seconds. He is intimidating. The women, not so much. Part of an army’s strength is its reputation. Get my drift.

The D.C. Area has a lot of uniformed women. Women make up almost 20% of the military. Figure that’s about 20% of the military that cannot be deployed into a combat zone and expect it to rain death on the enemy. That “rain death on the enemy” thing is the army’s main job.

Or it was.

Not seemingly anymore.

Let’s get down to some specifics. Take ISIS for example. It’s a lightly-armed, poorly-trained, locally-despised, imperialistic low-level threat. The only reason it’s on a U.S. threat map is because it brazenly kidnaps and murders Americans along with destabilizing the Middle East (as if that’s the word for that historical mess).

So what to do? Our president and his advisers, who savaged George Bush, et al, over the “lengthy” Iraq war, have recently called the project to curtail ISIS a multigenerational project.

It’s like someone planning to remove a thorn from their foot over a period of months, while having a fully-trained doctor and medical office at hand. “Maybe it will just rot away,” they hopefully think. It’s foolishness, sheer ignorance. It could get the foot amputated.

We’re spending $600 billion dollars a year on a military that can’t swat a fly. Or I should say, won’t be used to swat a fly (because it’s being used to butter some bread).

The 101st Airborne alone has enough manpower and firepower to handle the job. Ask them, they’d be happy to demonstrate. Instead they sit around.

Partner them with our Special Operations teams, the one segment of the military that is earning its keep, and modern technology (drones, sensors) and eliminating ISIS would be more like shooting fish in a barrel.

Yes, some elements of ISIS have hidden amongst people but lately it is so confident that we’ll do nothing (why is that?), that it is taking up larger formations in open areas. Just the kind of open warfare we specialize in winning.

Desert nights are perfect for drones with infrared sensors to map out concentrations of soldiers that can be annihilated by “stand-off” weapons platforms such as AC-130 gunships.

So what are we doing? A lot of pin-prick bombing runs (mostly really dry runs) and trying to train a handful of misfits in Syria. We could help our only real allies in the area, the Kurds, but for some unstated reason, the Obama administration has taken a dislike to them. I think I can guess why that is…

As we’ve learned in the past, if you thrash one bully, most of the rest run away. You only have to do these things occasionally yet for some reason we don’t do them at all anymore. So the bullies multiply.

Now let’s take a look at another failure — Benghazi. I will focus on one element here, the failure to get any kind of air effort into the air in one night.

An Air Force general was asked why nothing was sent up that night of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans. Specific points to be addressed were why U.S. Air Force aircraft at Aviano, Italy, (near Venice) or the Naval Air Station at Sigonella (on Sicily) were not used. He said that it would have taken 20 hours to get anything from Aviano to Benghazi and that tankers from England would have to be prepped. He also implied that the only thing at Aviano were training aircraft — perhaps the 20 hours would be for converting them into ground attack aircraft?

Let’s do a little fact-checking.

Aviano is the home of the 331st Fighter Wing. It is not a training squadron but an air superiority and ground support group. That means its mission is combat. It flies F-16s. The F-16 is capable of ground attack, even if only using its cannon (though it can be armed with bombs and air-to-ground missiles). The F-16 has a range, with drop tanks, of 2,500 miles. It is roughly 1,000 miles from Aviano to Benghazi, therefore relieving the need of refueling tankers. If you think that would be cutting it close and not allowing any loiter time over Benghazi, Sigonella is only 500 miles away and it handles big aircraft so there’s no worries about support facilities for fighter aircraft returning through Sigonella. The F-16 is capable of Mach 2. At sea level it maintains a top speed of over 900 mph. F-16s deployed from Aviano could have been over Benghazi in an hour and a half. Does no one do scramble drills anymore? What are we spending $600 billion a year on?

The general also argued that they did not want to risk civilian casualties so a ground attack by aircraft was out of the question. Two thoughts on this. When American lives are at stake “civilian casualties” need to start taking a back seat to those considerations. Our enemies already know this weakness of ours and are using it to hamstring us. Plus, the cannon on the F-16 could be used and have kept civilian casualties to a lower number, if any at all.

Two, and most importantly, whether the aircraft could have attacked is not the key. The key is that U.S. aircraft buzzing the city tells the attackers that we know they are there and that help is on the way. Whether it really was or not the attackers wouldn’t know or wouldn’t want to risk.

Imagine you are a burglar breaking into someone’s house. You know you are on the clock, someone might be coming home, an alarm might be tripped. But you see a note telling the maid to take the week off because the owner has gone to Europe for two weeks; and not to activate the alarm because it’s kind of sensitive to the squirrels on the roof. Wouldn’t you hang around awhile or return to steal more knowing that no one is coming back for awhile?

That’s exactly what the Benghazi attackers did that night. They came back later and attacked the CIA Annex, convinced that they had not been detected or that the U.S. was doing nothing in response. I seriously doubt they would have went home and rearmed for an attack on the annex if U.S. aircraft had been buzzing the town, with an implied threat that other forces were on their way.

But they weren’t. And we have a general making excuses why they didn’t even try that night. Of course, he’s just following orders from his clown prince commander in chief.

We spent $600 billion on that.

Then there’s the curious case of the combat team in Croatia that night. It has been acknowledged that 40-man special forces combat team was training in Croatia and was awaiting/expecting/hoping for orders to redeploy to Benghazi. Those orders never came though orders to go back to their base in Germany did arrive. Distance to Benghazi, approximately 1,000 miles. Might as well have been a million miles for our $600 billion per year.

This, of course, does not address why, only a few days after the U.S. Embassy in Cairo had been attacked and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya was going to be out of his protective pocket for a couple of days, there were no evac plans that could be modified or any kind of response to, “Hey, what if some bad guys decide to celebrate the anniversary of 9/11 by attacking a U.S. installation or personnel somewhere in North Africa?”

Beyond that $600 billion I keep harping about, remember, the U.S. taxpayer pays a lot of people six-figure salaries at the upper levels of the U.S. government and this is what they came up with that night — nothing (other than four dead Americans). They didn’t even try to help. And other than Hillary Clinton, who’s angling for a promotion, those incompetent boobs are all still employed by the U.S. government.

U.S. taxpayer=sucker!

Helo Waste

From my home high atop palatial Arlington Ridge, a stone’s throw from the Pentagon, and my office a few miles away in the Edsall Park area of Fairfax County, I daily watch a parade of military helicopters — Blackhawks, Hueys and Chinooks, along with the occasional Osprey, fly by. Some will land at or depart from the Pentagon, others I know not where they go or from whence they came. There are a number of military installations to the south of where I live and work.

They follow I-395 and I-95 at least to Springfield. If these birds are flying to, say, Ft. Belvoir or Quantico, it brings up the question – why don’t the passengers drive to these places if they are coming from the Pentagon? They are only a few miles further south, well within 20 miles of the Pentagon. Yes, it is faster to fly and avoid the traffic but there is a cost involved.

I also think some of this traffic is Congressional and VIP in nature since Ft. Belvoir is the home of the 12th Aviation Battalion, which “provides rotary-wing movement to the DoD and Congress,” according to Wikipedia. Ahem.

The aircraft I speak of aren’t cheap. It can cost several thousand dollars an hour to keep one of them in the air; especially when you factor in the maintenance costs. Helicopters are high maintenance. They have to be overhauled after every few hundred hours in the air.

On a given day I might see half-a-dozen fly by. Not long ago three Ospreys flew by my office. Very impressive, looked like something out of a movie, but the amount of money those birds were consuming isn’t chicken feed. (Though I have to admit that I don’t think the Ospreys are putting down at the Pentagon so it might be a longer trip.)

Do these people really need to get wherever they are going that quickly?

And even if these trips are longer range than I think, in these days of digital communications and videoconferencing technologies, do all of these people shuttling around need to be attending in-person?

We could save some money here. Probably not millions but almost certainly six figures. Or, maybe across the U.S. it would add up to millions of dollars saved. Shouldn’t an expensive luxury like a helicopter flight be reserved for emergencies, high priorities and battlefields?

Liberals cluck that such meager savings aren’t worth the effort. Even a few conservatives such as Ramesh Ponnuru have made the same argument (though he makes it for another reason). But I challenge them to write that six-figure check. It might not be millions but the several thousand dollars I paid in federal taxes last year are likely consumed in a single day of these helo flights. How many taxpayers does it take to keep these air limos flying, 24/7, 365 days a year?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…