Archive for October, 2012
28 Oct 2012

Hurrican Impact Chart

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28 Oct 2012

General & Admiral Relieved For Defying Washington and Trying to Rescue Former SEALs?

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General Carter F. Ham

There are rumors, which seem to have originated in military circles, floating around that the commander of U.S. Africa Command and the commander of the aircraft carrier strike group USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were both relieved of their commands for defying orders to stand down, and attempting to send US forces to the assistance of the two former Navy SEALs besieged at Benghazi on September 11th.

The Carter Ham story was reported by James S. Robbind at the Washington Times:

Is an American General losing his job for trying to save the Americans besieged in Benghazi? This is the latest potential wrinkle in the growing scandal surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack that left four men dead and President Obama scrambling for a coherent explanation.

On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared unexpectedly at an otherwise unrelated briefing on “Efforts to Enhance the Financial Health of the Force.” News organizations and CSPAN were told beforehand there was no news value to the event and gave it scant coverage. In his brief remarks Mr. Panetta said, “Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.” This came as a surprise to many, since General Ham had only been in the position for a year and a half. The General is a very well regarded officer who made AFRICOM into a true Combatant Command after the ineffective leadership of his predecessor, General William E. “Kip” Ward. Later, word circulated informally that General Ham was scheduled to rotate out in March 2013 anyway, but according to Joint doctrine, “the tour length for combatant commanders and Defense agency directors is three years.” Some assumed that he was leaving for unspecified personal reasons.

However on October 26, “Ambassador” posted the following RUMINT on TigerDroppings (h/t Jim Hoft):

    I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.

    quote:

    “(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”

    The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

    General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

    The story continues that now General Rodiguez would take General Ham’s place as the head of Africom.

This version of events contradicts Mr. Panetta’s October 25 statement that General Ham advised against intervention. But so far there is nothing solid to back it up. Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply said the wrong thing to the wrong people. Perhaps he gave whomever he was talking to up the chain a piece of his mind about leaving Americans to die when there was a chance of saving them. At the very least U.S. forces might have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene. The Obama White House is famously vindictive against perceived disloyalty – the administration would not let Ham get away with scolding them for failing to show the leadership necessary to save American lives. The Army’s ethos is to leave no man behind, but that is not shared by a president accustomed to leading from that location.

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Mike Johnson, at American Thinker, added:

The New York Times ran an article by Elisabeth Bumiller titled “Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi.” The article refers to the night of 11/12 September and includes the following: As a result, Mr. Panetta said, he and two top commanders “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” The commanders are Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command, which oversees American military operations in Africa, including Libya. You probably have seen similar clips on TV. The impression being given by Mr. Panetta is that the three of them agreed upon the course of action.

Not how it works in the military. The junior person present gives his views, the next junior, his, and so on up the line until the senior person, in this case Mr. Panetta, makes the decision. It is not a vote and there is only one person with a veto, the senior person, Mr. Panetta. Of course, he could have had marching orders from higher up in the chain of command. Note also that the NYT piece, written eight days after Mr. Panetta’s announcement, makes no mention of General Ham being replaced as commander of U.S. Africa Command. Is it not relevant?

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SundanceCracker is skeptical.

I doubt, allow me to repeat and emphasize, “doubt“, these reports are accurate. Why? Because Congressman Jason Chaffetz is on record stating that in his visit to Libya he travelled with General Ham. When Chaffetz asked Ham about whether he had a ready reaction force, according to Chaffetz – Ham told him “yes, however, we never got a request to assist in Benghazi”.

So why would there now be reports of Africom Command General Ham being replaced because of his non-compliance? He said he never got the request for help, or call to mobilize? He is not going to lie to the House Intelligence Committee – No motive, Period.

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Ace successfully, I’d say, debunks any connection of events in Benghazi to the relief of Admiral Gaouette

The Stennis Carrier group is in the Persian Gulf area, which is the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. It’s nowhere near Libya, which is in the 6th Fleet AoR

Most importantly, this little tidbit in the [Stars and Stripes] story.

The Stennis group deployed from Bremerton in late August and had entered the Navy 5th Fleet’s area of operations in the Middle East on Oct. 17 after sailing across the Pacific.

I don’t know exactly where Stennis was on SEPTEMBER 11th but it was nowhere near Libya.

Calendars….How do they work?

My prediction: Gaouette’s “judgment” issues have more to do with the port calls in Thailand and Malaysia than nefarious politics.

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Conclusion: Probably both Snopes fodder, though the General Ham story is not yet totally dismissable.


Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette

27 Oct 2012

An American Thermopylae

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Scott published some amazing details of the heroism of the two former Navy SEALs at Benghazi.

Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable

A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix. And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State, “Hillary Clinton”, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people. It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list.”

A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy SEALs. When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.

As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!

26 Oct 2012

The Inevitable Parody

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Hat tip to Theo and extra points for gender normative content.

26 Oct 2012

Beckel: “It’s Over.”

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26 Oct 2012

Even Better Yet

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The Putin Version: “Hottie [Krasotka] Wonders About the First Time”

Everybody today is talking about last night’s major campaign development: the Lena Dunham “Voting for Obama is Like Losing Your Virginity” ad.

You have to hand it to the Obama Campaign for continuing to come up with memes, Big Bird, Binders, Bayonets, Voting for the First Time, that succeed in gaining everybody’s attention, but which fail completely to help the president’s re-election cause.

There seems to be a reflexive process of self-destruction underway in which democrats are determined to convince the electorate that they are trivial-minded, verbally-fluent wiseasses living in their own fantasy world of cleverness and spin, completely out of touch with serious issues like the economy and the debt crisis.

Jim Geraghty forwarded (by email) a couple of the best conservative rejoinders to the Lena Dunham ad:

Dave Weigel: “The Lena Dunham endorsement video will sway those few people unconvinced by the New Yorker’s Obama endorsement.”

“If you’ll excuse me, I have to go bleach my eyes,” apologizes Rusty Weiss at the Mental Recession. “Word of advice libs — if voting for Obama is like having sex . . . you’re doing it wrong!”

And, as the icing on the cake, provides a citation identifying the Lena Dunham ad’s source of inspiration:

So what lunatic came up with this idea? Oh, Foreign Policy magazine is here to help out with that one:

I see the Obama campaign has a new YouTube ad featuring Girls star (and fellow Oberlin alum!) Lena Dunham:

“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy,” she says, referring to casting your first ballot for Obama. (What were you thinking?)

It’s a clever conceit, but feels a bit familiar. Perhaps because the same joke was used in an ad for Vladimir Putin’s presidential campaign earlier this year:

A suggestive ad rallying support for Putin’s presidential campaign shows a young woman seeking a fortune-teller’s advice. “Let’s find out, cutie, who is intended to you by destiny,” the mystic says. The girl replies, “You know. I wish it to be for love — It is my first time.”

25 Oct 2012

All-Time Great Obama Ad

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This is by Lena Dunham, the unattractive, exhibitionistic, and tattooed creator of the HBO-series Girls, the cruelest indictment of the current youth generation imaginable. The Romney Campaign should pay to run this.

Voting for Obama is like losing her virginity. She got screwed each time.

25 Oct 2012

Max Boot Reviews “No Easy Day”

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Joint Special Operations Command Challenge Coin

Max Boot reviews “Mark Owen”‘s No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden.

[A]n extraordinarily high percentage of the most celebrated feats of American arms in the past decade were the work of the U.S. Special Operations Command (socom) [sic, should be “USSOCOM”[ and in particular of its most secretive component, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is home to the Army’s Delta Force, the Navy’s seal Team Six, and other “Tier One” units. So, too, some of the most bitter losses in recent wars have been suffered by these same forces—such as the shoot-down of a Chinook transport helicopter in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, which killed thirty Americans, including seventeen seals. It was the greatest single-day loss of American lives during the entire war.

Since September 11 JSOC has become a finely honed man-hunting machine whose “operators” take down two thousand or more targets every year, with an 84 percent probability that they will get their man (or a close associate) each time—and usually with little resistance, so adept are they at using the element of stealth. (The Chinook disaster occurred because for once the Taliban knew the seals were coming—they were responding to a call for help from Army Rangers engaged in a firefight.) The bin Laden raid, the subject of this best-selling memoir by one of the seal “assaulters,” a forthcoming book by journalist Mark Bowden, and a soon-to-be-released movie, was unusual only in that it occurred in Pakistan and involved the highest of all “high value targets,” but the same tactics, techniques, and procedures have been employed to capture or to kill thousands of other terrorist leaders over the past decade.

This is an impressive achievement, given that socom [sic], despite a decade of rapid growth, still has only 4.3 percent of the active-duty strength of the U.S. armed forces (sixty thousand out of 1.4 million) and spends just 1.7 percent of the entire defense budget ($10.4 billion out of $613 billion—although the figure is higher if one includes the support provided by individual military services to their branch components such as the Army Special Operations Command). The role of Special Operations Forces (SOF) is expected to grow in the future. With the Army and the Marine Corps in the process of downsizing (current plans call for eliminating roughly 100,000 positions over the next few years), and the appetite for major military deployments diminishing after Iraq and Afghanistan, SOF is left, for better or worse, as the instrument of choice for presidents looking to exercise American hard power. “Send in the Marines” used to be the cry a hundred years ago because a Marine deployment was seen as an easy way to use force without a congressional declaration of war or undue international perturbations. SOF is viewed in much the same light today: a way to “do something” without getting mired in a major ground war.

Despite his solecism involving the military alphabet-soup acronym, Boot does a terrific scholarly job of tracing US Special Operations right back to Roger’s Rangers in the French and Indian War. He describes in detail the background of the book and its author, and discusses intelligently the unusual composition, modus operandi, and ethos of SOF teams.

Boot was well-prepared to write this review because he has just finished his own book on unconventional warfare from Antiquity to the present day, currently waiting for release in January.

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Correction: My original illustration was a JSOC NATO ISAF shoulder patch, which I mistook for a cool, new JSOC insignia. Actually, they have shoulder patches of this sort featuring the flags of all the allied nations supplying troops in OD. The one I found was the flag of Portugal in OD. Hat tip to Skookumchuck (of YARGB) who caught it.

24 Oct 2012

Bayonets, Horses, Subs, and Carriers

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Derisive image from HorsesandBayonetstumblr

Obama:

“You mention the Navy, for example… That we have fewer ships than in 1916. … We also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. So the question is not a game of Battleship where we are counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities?”

Donald Sensing points out that he’s completely wrong about the bayonets.

As 1916 opened, the US Army’s total size was about 110,000 troops. The Marine Corps was minuscule since the Marines were still seen then as a raiding or expeditionary force rather than a major land combatant force.

In 1916, the Congress passed the National Defense Act that doubled the Army to 220,000 (rounded slightly). The USMC was marginally affected.

    So a compromise was passed in May 1916, as the war raged on and Berlin was debating whether America was so weak it could be ignored. The army was to double in size to 11,300 officers and 208,000 men, with no reserves, and a National Guard that would be enlarged in five years to 440,000 men.

The US Army today has more than 560,000 troops and the USMC more than 200,000. Obama is wrong. we have hundreds of thousands more bayonets now than in 1916.

Sarcasm and condescension only work if the speaker’s presumption of lofty superior knowledge is borne out by his command of actual facts. You can’t successfully accuse your opponent of being an ignoramus when you don’t know what you’re talking about yourself.

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The President was right on the basic fact that the US military, decades ago, replaced horse cavalry with mechanized infantry, armour, and helicopters, but his statement is inevitably undermined by the generally well-known fact that when US military forces were obliged to operate in Afghanistan, it was found that horse-mounted soldiers were essential.

US Special Operations Forces have consequently resumed training in horse-back riding at Fort Bragg.

So, though the US military hasn’t today got as many horses as it had in 1916, it actually has more horses than it had in 1986.


Special forces troops entered Afghanistan on horseback during the 2001 invasion.

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The President’s choice of submarines and aircraft carriers as a conceptual alternative to Mr. Romney’s larger number of ships than in 1916 (245) is particularly ironic when viewed in the light of the Obama Administration’s drastic plans to reduce both.

The Obama Administration, for example, plans to allow US attack submarines (the contemporary equivalent of the kind of submarines we had in 1916*) to bottom out at 40. In 1916, we had 44. By the end of WWI, we had 80 submarines.

*as opposed to ballistic submarines, used as launch platforms for ballistic missiles.

With respect to aircraft carriers, the Obama Administration’s plans to reduce the current 11 US aircraft carriers down to 9. (Comparisons of carriers with 1916 are not possible, as aircraft carriers did not yet exist.)

It is typical of Barack Obama’s rhetorical opportunism to try to exploit as examples of military strength, capability, and advanced thinking, some of the same portions of the Naval Fleet that he has actually dramatically cut.

24 Oct 2012

Damn! This Photo Is Going to Gain Votes For the Democrat

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Amy Biviano, née Nabors, posed as one of the “Women of the Ivy League” for Playboy in 1995.

SBS-Seattle.com
reports:

Amy Biviano, Democratic candidate for Spokane Valley’s 4th District House of Representatives, has been “outed” for having posed for Playboy magazine’s “Women of the Ivy League” in 1995. She was a student at Yale at the time.

The lucky candidate even attracted coverage by Xbiz Newswire, a porno industry news feed.

Curiously, Ms. Biviano is not locatable in the on-line Yale Alumni Directory under either “Biviano” or “Nabors.”

Nonetheless, there really is a contemporary Yale Herald article on-line which identifies her as a member of the Class of 1997, so I expect the Alumni Directory has just made some kind of mistake.

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Apparently, Ms. Biviano, at the time foresaw the possibility of her Playboy pictures coming to light later in life, and discussed that possibility in the Yale Herald.

Picture this…you are applying for a job for which you know that you’re perfect. It is unthinkable that your experience, your high grades, and your real interest in the company could be disregarded. Yet, as the decision is made, somehow, you are looked over. Why? The answer has nothing to do with your college education and everything to do with your college behavior – you posed for Playboy, and now your job market will be forever limited.

The above scenario is every Yalie’s worst nightmare – being rejected just because of one stupid, rash college prank. You know that you would never make the same mistake twice if you had the chance. Alright, so I did pose for Playboy. Do I feel that one day the above scenario will apply to me? No. You might ask, “Why not?” Do I have career plans that allow for borderline behavior and overlook my indiscretions? Well, originally I did. I had planned to spend my life doing anthropological research on sex; thus, Playboy may have even enhanced my career. But now? Now, among other options, I am considering law, obviously a less-forgiving field.

So why do I still consider posing for Playboy to have been the right move for me? What I have learned this summer in the face of this scandal has taught me more about myself and the others around me than I could ever have learned by sticking to my role as the sweet little girl next door. …

[D]o I believe that my future might be affected by posing for Playboy? Yes, I believe that it will. But, it has made a positive contribution to my life – I gained a sense of self-reliance which I lacked before the posing scandal. Yes, it was fun to have my five minutes of fame both on the Yale campus and on the national scene. It is a nice little boost to the ego to know that some people consider me to be attractive enough to be in Playboy. But of course I know now, and I knew when I first chose to pose, that these benefits will fade, and they will only be remembered by a few people searching through dusty archives. However, posing for Playboy has permanently changed me by making me think a little bit differently about myself – I’m now more of a risk-taker, fear social approval less, and know a bit more about what I’m capable of. I may never do something this controversial again, but it’s nice to know that I could and did.

Amy Nabors, SM ’97, is an anthropology major.

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Despite the alarmed tone of the liberal news coverage, I think the publicity (and the exposed boobs photo) will do nothing but win admiring 4th district male votes for the candidate.

23 Oct 2012

Romney Mailed One In

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The Third Presidential Debate proved a complete yawner, in which Barack Obama snarled and struggled to find opportunities to attack, while Mitt Romney contented himself by competing only in width of smiles, general affability, and presidential demeanor.

It could not have been more obvious that the professionals managing the Romney Campaign were confident that their candidate was winning and possessed strong positive momentum, so Mitt Romney’s debate strategy was simply to show up, and to do as little as possible to disturb outside events unfolding perfectly in his own favor.

Obama sometimes attempted to attack his opponent, and sometimes endeavored to strike triumphant poses of incumbency on his dazzling record of job creation, “saving the auto industry,” and making America safe by personally eliminating Osama bin Ladin.

Romney seemed, by comparison, the real incumbent, happily awaiting his January inauguration, politely going through the motions of indulging his already-defeated opponent in a sham contest involving matters already decided.

Obama occasionally looked mean, and at times seemed both desperate and petty. Romney was the model professional politician, giving away nothing, taking no risks.

Personally, I disliked Romney’s (as Rush would say) strategery intensely. I’d much prefer a candidate whose temperament was keener and less calculating, who could always be counted on to go for it, but we have the candidate we have. Newt Gingrich would have debated Obama into the ground even if he thought he was solidly ahead, but there is something in our national character that inevitably rewards the reserved and calculating schemer who strikes the cautious and conservative note. It’s not for nothing that Romney defeated all those Republican challengers and became the nominee.

He reminds me of Dwight Eisenhower, and like Eisenhower, Mitt Romney appears destined to go all the way. Whatever our reservations, we have to hope devoutly for his success. This country cannot afford another four years of Obama’s destruction of our economy.

The left can enjoy proclaiming that Obama won the third debate. But it was really one of those calculated refusals to engage, resembling Fabius Maximus Cunctator versus Hannibal or Kutuzov versus Napoleon, in which the cunning ultimate victor determinedly declines to permit his opponent to draw him into battle, postponing the final contest to a point which he already knows will be more certainly favorable to himself.

22 Oct 2012

McGovern and the Politics of Group Identity

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James Taranto, in the Wall Street Journal, defines George McGovern’s contribution to American politics.

One might say McGovern reinvented the Democratic Party by putting identity politics at its center–by encouraging members to think of themselves first in terms of sex or age or skin color (or, later, by sexual orientation). E pluribus, multis.

In the 1973 book “Sexual Suicide,” George Gilder speculated that such an approach “would find its reductio ad absurdum in a President who is an exact ethnic and sexual composite of the American demography–some kind of multiracial hermaphrodite from Kansas City.”

When Gilder wrote that, Barack Obama was 12.

Hat tip to Clarice Feldman.

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