Archive for June, 2010
I Am the Flag.
I am the flag of the United States of America.
My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America’s halls of justice.
I fly majestically over institutions of learning.
I stand guard with power in the world.
Look up and see me.
I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident.
I am arrogant.
I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners,
My head is a little higher,
My colors a little truer.
I bow to no one!
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped – I am saluted.
I am loved – I am revered.
I am respected – and I am feared.
I have fought in every battle of every war for more then 200 years. I was flown at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appomattox.
I was there at San Juan Hill, the trenches of France,
in the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy.
Guam, Okinawa, Korea and KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam know me.
I’m presently in the mountains of Afganistan and the hot and dusty deserts of Iraq and wherever freedom is needed.
I led my troops, I was dirty, battleworn and tired,
But my soldiers cheered me and I was proud.
I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt for I am invincible.
I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and trampled in the streets of my country.
And when it’s done by those Whom I’ve served in battle – it hurts.
But I shall overcome – for I am strong.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stood watch over the uncharted frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon.
I have borne silent witness to all of America’s finest hours.
But my finest hours are yet to come.
When I am torn into strips and used as bandages for my wounded comrades on the battlefield,
When I am flown at half-mast to honor my soldier,
Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent at the grave of their fallen son or daughter,
I am proud.
Yesterday on Navy Milblog Radio, Midrats, we had an USNIBlogg’r fest for the full hour focused on Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD). EagleOne and my guest for the full hour was SteelJawScribe known to most here, and also over at his homeblog and NavalHistory blog. If you missed it, no problem – you can download it from the archive or get the podcast on iTunes.
We covered the VAW community’s path forward, what the E-2D brings to the table, ISR, C4I survivability, and some of the finer details of the IAMD challenge. Good stuff …. and you can’t beat the price. Grab another cup of coffee and give it a listen.
Apparently, neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia will countenance Vice-President Biden’s advice of 2008 to “get used to” the idea of a nuclear Iran.
Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.
In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.
To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.
The article goes on to say:
Aharaon Zeevi Farkash, who headed military intelligence until 2006 and has been involved in war games simulating a strike on Iran, said: “I know that Saudi Arabia is even more afraid than Israel of an Iranian nuclear capacity.”…
Israeli intelligence experts say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are at least as worried as themselves and the West about an Iranian nuclear arsenal.
With the latest bombastic disregard for yet more UN sanctions, Ahmedinejad is keeping Iran on a military collision course with Israel and regional powers over its nuclear program, which nobody believes has peaceful purposes alone. As of this time, President Obama has committed to only diplomatic efforts to halt Iranian enrichment.
As those diplomatic efforts seem destined to fail rather spectacularly again and Iran’s nuclear program expands in both capacity and sophistication, the United States should take counsel of those nations in the region for which a nuclear Iran represents a serious threat to their very existence. Perhaps it is the US that needs to “get used to” the idea that regional powers that possibly include Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel intend to intervene by force of arms to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And the US should plan accordingly to back the play of those nations who are willing to step up.
After the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara, accusations and rumors flew fast and thick. Highly edited videos released by the IDF and activist supporters did little to inform what actually happened that night. Now, a one hour long, high definition, and unedited video has been released (also available here). The footage was taken by Cultures of Resistance director Lara Lee.
I am not a surface warfare expert
and I have not watched the video all the way through yet, so I will refrain from making uneducated comments. There is plenty of room for USNI readers to do that in the comments section. To get what I suspect will be a vibrant discussion started, here are the time codes for some moments of interest:
10:00 Al Jazeera reporter summarizes what has happened to the flotilla up until that time. Namely, that the Mavi Marmara was being tracked by the IDF and that the organizers changed the flotilla’s course to avoid a nighttime confrontation.
16:00 On being asked will happen when the IDF comes, a man off-camera says that the IDF soldiers will be thrown off the ship. Pressed further by the interviewer, he mentions that there is a group of people “not like us, [they don't] come from an easy life… they are always ready for these things” and that they are ready to fight.
36:00 IDF small boat attack is repelled. Despite earlier reports to the contrary soldiers did not fire live rounds, they are indisputably firing paintball guns (shown in the screen capture below, I have adjusted the contrast and brightness to get a clear picture).
36:17 Something (firearm, flaregun, firework) appears to be fired from the Mavi Marmara towards the IDF small boat. A screen capture is provided below. It looks like fireworks to me, but I encourage you to watch it and decide for yourself.
39:00 That infamous red “blood” on the ladder is shown, used as proof the IDF fired live rounds before boarding. However, when asked a passenger says that they are from IDF paintballs and not blood (his comments are suspiciously absent from an earlier edited video made from the same footage by Lara Lee).
40:00 IDF Fast-roping from helicopter onto top deck.
42:00 Slingshots shot at helicopter, screen capture is below.
43:00 Gunshots can be heard from off-camera. Wounded man shown carried down staircase into what appears to be the medical area. Passenger mentions that two wounded IDF soldiers had been carried down just before.
50:00 Activists armed with pipes and other weapons make a stand at what looks like the top of the staircase shown before. IDF gunshots can be heard close by (maybe at one activist near the top of the stairs).
52:00 Activists on the staircase shows a helmet, presumably from a wounded IDF soldier.
53:00 Wounded activists, with what appears to be gun wounds, are shown.
55:40 Captain (I am assuming) makes an announcement of the PA system.
58:00 IDF small boat team appears to board. Captain makes an appeal in English for the passengers to stop fighting and go back to their cabins, warning that the IDF is using live ammunition.
60:00 Mavi Marmara is no longer moving. Announcement from female voice makes appeal to the IDF.
During the Second World War, the United States Government funded a series of films, directed by Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) and narrated by Walter Huston.
The films were intended to show the US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine, as well as the American public, the evil nature of the enemy with which we engaged in that epic struggle. Looking back at those films is educational, as nothing in them was conjured. All of it, every bit, was truth. It was propaganda, a word we assiduously avoid today. Because we lack the perspective that Strategic Messaging is indeed propaganda. And the most effective propaganda is truth.
Perhaps it is time to revisit our ideas on the subject. We can start here.
At a time when we are hesitant to label our greatest terrorist threat Radical Islamic Jihadism, despite the fact that those engaged in that terrorism are radical, Islamic, and waging Jihad, we need to be reminded of the true nature of our enemy.
This is their vision of how we should live (From the AP):
Suspected Taliban militants publicly hanged a 7-year-old boy for spying in the militant stronghold of Helmand province, an Afghan official told the Associated Press.The child was placed on trial by the Islamic extremist group and later found guilty of working for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government, the local official said.
Karzai on Thursday condemned the alleged act, calling it a “crime against humanity”.
Read it again. A 7-year old boy. Hanged after a trial for spying.
For those who think coexistence with these bloodthirsty creatures is possible through some sort of accommodation, or that such evil does not need to be destroyed, and destroyed by force of arms, let them see a 7-year old child on any street in America, and envision them hanging at the end of a rope.
The destruction of tyranny is as noble a goal in 2010 as it was in 1943.
Marines may not believe they have a bone in the fight to save the ex-USS Olympia (C-6). But they do–the vessel’s experience in the closing days of World War I helped push the Navy to think harder about expeditionary logistics:
In May 1918, two months after Russia withdrew from the war, 55 Americans from the cruiser Olympia (CA-15) joined British forces in occupying Murmansk and Archangel to guard stockpiles of arms and ammunition shipped there for the czarist army. For most of their time in northern Russia, Olympia crewmen lived on reduced rations of “two little slices of bread, . . . one spoon of stew, and one cup of coffee” per day. Despite the almost monthly arrival of supply ships, soldiers of the North Russian Expeditionary Force who reinforced men of the Olympia resorted at times to stealing food from British troops, who were far better supplied-perhaps because Britain had a long history of expeditionary warfare and thus developed the infrastructure needed to sustain it.
The experience of the Olympia’s Marines, coupled with the equally rough time the Brooklyn (CA-3) Marine detachment had in Vladivostok, helped put expeditionary logistics on the Navy’s radar screen.
At a time when the DOD is contemplating a major shift in the Marine Corps’ expeditionary capabilities, it might be wise to start remembering the teething pains America’s Marines endured back in the days when the nation didn’t appreciate the nuances of expeditionary warfare.
(Quote is taken from James C. Bradford’s Feb 2006 Naval History article, “The missing link: Expeditionary logistics.)
Last week, 600 activists aboard six ships attempted to run Israel’s blockade of Gaza. IDF commandos stormed the ships 68 miles off the coast of Israel, killing almost of dozen activists in a botched raid. In the aftermath of the raid, both Turkey and Iran Revolutionary Guard (IRC) have proposed sending armed escorts to protect a future flotilla to Gaza. However, few believe either Turkey or the IRC will follow through on their rhetoric and run the Gaza blockade.
However, now it looks like another faction in Iran might try. Today, the head of the Iranian Red Cross (not to be confused with the ICRC), Abdolrauf Adibzadeh, announced on Press TV that Iran is sending two ships with humanitarian supplies and a “Navy hospital ship” to Gaza at the end of this week. I do not know of any Iranian hospital ships, but that is likely besides the point. If true, this sets Iran and Israel to face off in the largest naval confrontation in recent years.
This piece from Reuters this morning:
TEHRAN – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards are ready to provide a military escort to cargo ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday.”Iran’s Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities,” Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative inside the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.
Any intervention by the Iranian military would be considered highly provocative by Israel which accuses Iran of supplying weapons to Hamas, the Islamist movement which rules Gaza.
Should Teheran be foolhardy enough to follow through on this threat, it would seem to be for little purpose other than provoking Israel into a hostile exchange at sea. Assisting in the breaking of a blockade would widely be considered an act of war, a fact that Iran is likely aware of.
Does the Iranian regime sense an opportunity with what seems the turning of opinion in Washington and internationally away from Israel following the ill-starred boarding of a “humanitarian aid” vessel last week?
Is Ahmedinejad looking to cement his role as the Middle East’s most aggressive (and influential) anti-Zionist?
What will other nations in the region do? Will they be forced to back Iran’s play or face ostracism from their Muslim neighbors?
What is the United States prepared and/or willing to do to prevent such an exchange, or in the event, act decisively without undue escalation?
We will have two returning guests to Midrats to discuss; Bryan McGrath and Claude Berube.
To discuss “The Navy Under Siege—SECDEF and Naval Preponderance” and “Sea Blindness” will be Bryan McGrath, CDR USN (Ret.) the Founding Director of Delex Consulting, Studies and Analysis (CSA), a division of Delex Systems, Incorporated, headquartered in Vienna, Virginia.
Claude Berube, LCDR USNR will follow up with a broad discussion of NGOs at sea. Though the recent incident off Gaza brought the issue to the front – his recent article in the Small Wars Journal outlines that there is a lot more out there involving aggressive civilian entities from NGOs to advocacy groups using the maritime domain to pursue their larger goals.
Claude is a Visiting Fellow for Maritime Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He has taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, and worked on Capitol Hill, at the Office of Naval Intelligence, and for a defense firm.
Join us live if you can and pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room during the show where you can offer your own questions and observations to our guests. If you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed – you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio – or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.
See you this afternoon at 1700 EST.
Radioman 3rd Class Harry Ferrier discusses his role in the Battle of Midway, Torpedo Squadron 8 as the turning point in his life
Remembering the Battle of Midway is a four-part series spanning from the Doolittle Raid, to the significance of the Battle of Coral Sea and ending with the Battle of Midway. In each segment of this four-part series, you will hear from the historical and pivotal participants from this time period, such as Gen. James Doolittle and other memorable figures, and present-day historians who will examine the significance of these three events in naval, army and air force history. From U.S. Naval Institute Oral History Program.
Listen Here or below: