Good Company

Good Company
Good Company

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Reading Fun for the New Year: "Mind Your Own Business"

CNN headline: Hoyer compares GOP debt limit tactics to hostage taker threatening to shoot child

When a Congressman from one party compares members of the other party who are in vigorous disagreement with the direction the national government is taking to "hostage takers" it is time to take a look at where this sort of politics takes us (and, yes, Mr. Hoyer is not the first politician to use such language - members of both major parties are guilty of demonizing their political opponents).

A piece on what the politicization of everything means to us at Human Events "The bitter wastes of politicized America":
The rest of us should consider the contemptible behavior of people like Hoyer as we watch the expansion of politics into every area of our lives. The government grows; the private sector diminishes; everything becomes a political act. Soon you will see the phrase “none of your business” become an antique aphorism, as quaint as telling someone to “dial” a telephone number. Everything is everyone’s business now. That’s what Big Government means.
I'm no anarchist, but John Hayward has put his pen exactly on the problem with "nanny-statism" and the old theory, espoused back in my college days that "everything is political" and "the personal is political" (linked to C. Wright Mills and The Sociological Imgaination).

It is time to revisit the social contract. As Clint Eastwood said at the GOP convention:
We -- we own it. It is not you owning it, and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours.
In a society founded on protecting dissenting views, it is remarkably autocratic to suggest that only your view is the proper view and that is the "duty" of citizens to get in line.

Once again I invoke an old piece I read years ago,
Eric Frank Russell's planet of Gand, which introduced me "MYOB" - and you can read about it here:
‘A man has duties. He has no right to refuse those.’

‘No?’ She raised tantalizing eyebrows, delicately curved. ‘Who defines those duties—himself or somebody else?’

‘His superiors most times.’

‘Superiors,’ she scoffed with devastating scorn. ‘No man is superior to another. No man has the slightest right to define another man’s duties. If anyone on Terra exercises such impudent power it is only because idiots permit him to do so. They fear freedom. They prefer to be told. They like to be ordered around. They love their chains and kiss their manacles. What men!’

Do not allow our political class, nor other slavish followers of any would-be autocrat to decide for you where your duties lie. In this time, facing these enemies of republican government, reasoned dissent honors freedom of speech and thought.

Do not be cowed into silence.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gulf of Guinea Pirates: 4 of Ship's Crew Taken by Pirates Off Nigeria

BBC headline with odd quote marks: Pirates raid 'Italian' ship off Nigeria and take crew
Pirates have kidnapped four sailors after attacking their vessel off Nigeria's coast, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has said.

The hostages were foreigners - three of them Italian, AP news agency reports.

Gunmen stormed the vessel off Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta region, before seizing the four and fleeing, the IMB said.

Kidnapping is a lucrative enterprise worth millions of dollars a year in Nigeria, Africa's main oil producer.

Monday, December 24, 2012


From the Gospel of Luke:
2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Somali Pirates: NATO's Recent Updates

NSC | Daily Piracy Update:
A merchant vessel was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Oman (GOO), 2435N 05734E, at 1540 hrs UTC on 15 Dec. All crew were able to take refuge in vessel's citadel. Pirates were not able to penetrate the citadel and did not remain on board. This vessel avoided being hijacked and is now safe. This Pirate Action Group (PAG) is assumed to still be in the area.

On 15 Dec at 0420 hrs UTC, in the GOO (2409N 05904E), a merchant vessel was approached by a white skiff with 5-6 persons on board. The skiff had been launched from a mother dhow. The skiff came within 0.2 nm of the vessel and ladders and weapons were reported. The vessel's armed security team fired warning shots and the skiff moved away. The vessel is now safe. This may have been the same PAG as the recent incident above, as both these incidents occurred in the same area on the same day.

In addition to the incidents above, the NATO Shipping Centre has identified two other areas of concern on our PAG map. One is in the Indian Ocean, far off the Somali Coast. The other is in the northern Arabian Sea just off the central coastal area of Oman. Reports have indicated a possible increase in pirate activity in these two areas. This second area of concern may be related to the two incidents above as they are all in the northern Arabian Sea/GOO.

Despite deterioration in conditions associated with the approaching Northeast monsoon, sea states remain conducive to piracy operations. Merchant vessels are advised to remain vigilant throughout the High Risk Area (HRA) and ensure that Self Protection Measures are in place, as PAGs continue to operate in the area.

Recently, PAGs have also made “soft-approaches” on merchant ships transiting the HRA. A skiff will often approach a vessel to probe the reactivity of an embarked security team (if present). If they elicit no response, the pirates may proceed with an attack, sometimes accompanied by a second skiff. This practice would seem to allow pirates to avoid needless expenditures of ammunition and personal risk without a significant probability of success.

A large number of fishing vessels also operate in the South Red Sea (SRS), the Bab-Al-Mandeb (BAM) and up to 50 nm off the west coast of India. Fishing vessels may approach a merchant ship to maximize fishing opportunities or to safeguard fishing nets. Fishing off India is generally carried out using long lines by mechanized or single-hull boats which typically have outboard motors and carry 4-6 crew members. Masters are requested to ensure that they distinguish between fishing vessels and potential pirates; fishermen may carry small arms.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Space Station Keeps Watch on World's Sea Traffic

Ever wonder what the world's sea traffic would look like from space? If so, here's an interesting piece from NASA and the ESA, "Space Station Keeps Watch on World's Sea Traffic":
As the International Space Station circles Earth, it has been tracking individual ships crossing the seas beneath. An investigation hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA) in its Columbus module has been testing the viability of monitoring global maritime traffic from the station's orbit hundreds of miles (kilometers) above since June 2010.

The ship-detection system being tested is based on the Automatic Identification System, or AIS, the marine equivalent of the air traffic control system.

All international vessels, cargo ships above certain weights and passenger carriers of all sizes must carry "Class A" AIS transponders, broadcasting continually updated data, such as identity, position, course, speed, ship particulars, cargo and voyage information to and from other vessels and shore.
The results of the analyses have been very good. On a good day, approximately 400,000 ship position reports are received from more than 22,000 different ship identification numbers (Maritime Mobile Service Identity, or MMSI). In a summary made in Oct. 2011, the total number of position reports received exceeded 110 million messages from more than 82,000 different MMSI numbers.
The Vessel Identification System, or VIS, could potentially be beneficial to many European entities, particularly in assisting them in law enforcement, fishery control campaigns, maritime border control, maritime safety and security issues, including marine pollution surveys, search and rescue and anti-piracy. Various service entities have already been asking to get access to the VIS data, which is continuously acquired on Columbus.
Here's the image of one day's traffic:
Ship position reports received with the NORAIS Receiver during 24 hours, 29th June 2010. (FFI)
Sea commerce, sea lines of communication, choke points, oh my!

Gulf of Guinea Pirates: Armed Guard Killed Off Nigeria in Gunfight with Pirates

Report of an armed security guard being killed in gunfight with pirates here :
According to reports from the IMB, last week saw an armed security guard killed offshore Nigeria. At 2310 UTC on the 13 Dec, heavily armed pirates in a speed boat chased and fired upon an offshore support vessel in position 04:16.5N 005:19.8E.

IMB report here:
Location detail: Around 25nm SW Offshore, Bayelsa
Type of Attack :Fired Upon
Narrations: 13.12.2012: 2310 UTC: Posn: 04:16.0N - 005:19.8E, Around 25nm SW Offshore, Bayelsa, Nigeria.
Pirates armed with machine guns in a boat chased and fired upon an offshore support vessel underway. Master raised alarm, increased speed, sent distress message and all crew except the Master mustered in the safe room. The on board security team returned fire and after around 20 minutes the firing ceased and the pirates moved away. Due to the exchange of fire one security personal was killed and two sustained injuries.
UPDATE: Just in case you wondering, the IMB shows the following piracy events so far in 2012:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sunday 12-16-12 on Midrats: Episode 154: Offshore Control and Asia/Pacific with TX Hammes

Join us Sunday 12-16-12 at 5 pm (Eastern U.S.) for Episode 154: Offshore Control and Asia/Pacific with TX Hammes
With significant budget cuts already underway and expected for years, how do we adjust through the Pacific Pivot as these cuts take place, yet still remain postured to influence the region in peacetime and defend our national interests in war?

What is the best way to match required capabilities inside an economically sustainable military budget?
While many are familiar with the concept of “Offshore Balancing” – what is “Offshore Control?”

Our guest for the full hour to discuss the concept he raises in his latest article in the United States Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Offshore Control is the Answer, will be Colonel T.X. Hammes, USMC (Ret.)
Col. Hammes served thirty years in the Marine Corps at all levels in the operating forces. He participated in stabilization operations in Somalia and Iraq as well as training insurgents in various places.

Hammes has a Masters in Historical Research and a Doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University, and is currently a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.
He is the author of “The Sling and the Stone: On War in the Twenty-First Century” and “Forgotten Warriors: The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, the Corps Ethos, and the Korean War,” and many articles and opinion pieces. He has lectured at U.S. and International Staff and War Colleges.
Listen live (or download later) here or pick it up from our iTunes page.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Japan's East China Sea Response to China: A new base near the dispute

China and Japan are engaged in a dispute over some islands in the East China Sea (see here and here).

China has sent fleets of fishing vessels and aircraft and ships of its "State Oceanic Administration" to the area.

Japan has a response:

UPDATE: It should be note this plan has been in works for a couple of years, as seen here:
***The government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan has since vowed to beef up defenses for Japan’s “outlying islands,” and it appears close to a decision on the small Yonaguni garrison, a plan that has been under discussion for years.***

China's "patrols" of the disputed area have included warships:
A flotilla of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrolled waters near the Diaoyu Islands on Monday after returning from a training exercise in the west Pacific.

The patrol marked the first time for China to confirm its naval operations in the waters near the Diaoyu Islands on the very day when the Navy warships conducted such patrol.

The flotilla, consisting of the DDG-136 Hangzhou and DDG-139 Ningbo destroyers, as well as the two frigates FFG-525 Ma'anshan and FFG-529 Zhoushan from the Navy's Donghai Fleet, passed through the Miyako Strait and entered the West Pacific for a routine training exercise on Nov. 28.

After finishing a series of training operations, the flotilla sailed through a strait near the Yonaguni and Iriomote Islands and arrived in waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands Monday morning.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

China: Japan Asserts China Violated Japanese Airspace

ABC News reports Japan Accuses China of Intruding Air Space, Scrambles Fighter Jets.
The disputed islands are in the area of the red arrow. See here.

Eight F-15 fighters were dispatched, according to this:
Japan scrambled eight fighter jets on Thursday after a Chinese state-owned plane breached its airspace for the first time, over islands at the center of a dispute between Tokyo and Beijing.

It was the first incursion by a Chinese state aircraft into Japanese airspace anywhere since the country’s military began monitoring in 1958, the defense ministry said.

The move marks a ramping-up of what observers suggest is a Chinese campaign to create a “new normal”—where its forces come and go as they please around islands which Beijing calls the Diaoyus, but Tokyo controls as the Senkakus.

It also comes as ceremonies mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japanese Imperial Army troops embarked on an orgy of violence and killing in the then-Chinese capital.

F-15 jets were mobilized after a Chinese Maritime Surveillance aircraft ventured over the islands just after 11 a.m., Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters.

China asserts the islands over which one of its planes flew is "Chinese" airspace, playing the "It's really our territory card":
"The Diaoyu and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory since ancient times . . ."
The Chinese have posted pictures of their adventure above the islands here:

The Google translation of that page is:
State Oceanic Administration organized the China Marine Surveillance carry out the Diaoyu Islands, sea and air stereo cruise

Beijing time 10 am, the China Marine Surveillance B-3837 aircraft arrived I Diaoyu Islands airspace rendezvous with China ocean surveillance, 50,46,66,137 boat fleet within the territorial waters of the Diaoyu Islands cruise, cruise on the Diaoyu Islands to carry out sea and air stereo. During the China Marine Surveillance formation on the Japanese side activist propaganda solemn statement of the government's position, urged the Japanese side vessel immediately leave China's territorial waters.
Kinda takes the "accuses" part of the ABC headline out of the discussion, since the Chinese have admitted being in and above the islands - the dispute moves to one of those wonderful international law things about whose turf those islands are.
My guess is the "stereo" part refers to the effort being joint between the air and sea units. As reported here, the Chinese already had ships in the territorial waters around the islands:
According to the coast guard's 11th regional headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, the three ships moved into Japanese waters west of Uotsuri, one of the Senkakus, at around 3:20 p.m. Japan Coast Guard ships warned the three vessels to leave. But crew members on the Chinese ships responded by saying the area 12 nautical miles from Diaoyu constitutes Chinese territorial waters.

Meanwhile, a Chinese fishery patrol ship entered the contiguous zone surrounding the Japanese territorial waters at a point northwest of Kubajima, another of the Senkakus, on Wednesday morning.
Nice historical tie-in. Lots of long memories out there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Missouri-Mississippi River Water Woes

A lengthy drought takes it toll on the water levels of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, leading to demands for presidential intervention and scary headlines, like this one from the St. Louis Business Journal, "Low levels on Missouri, Mississippi rivers create water war".

"So what?" some of you east of the Mississippi or on the West Coast may ask. That's because you don't fully appreciate how much this river system is used as a transportation system.

Naturally, conflicting river water usages creates political controversy, as noted by Platts in "US Army Corps rejects request to open dam to raise Mississippi River"
The Army Corps of Engineers has rejected a plea by several US lawmakers to reopen a South Dakota dam to raise the level of the Mississippi River before it falls too low for barge traffic.

In a letter released Friday by Senator Dick Durbin's office, the agency said it cannot legally alter its wintertime plan for managing the Missouri River. The Corps decides each fall how much water to impound on the upper Missouri to meet the needs of communities above the Gavins Point Dam.
. . . the Corps has started to address concerns about Mississippi navigation through other means.

It advertised an expedited contract to remove underwater rock boulders threatening to halt barge traffic near the Illinois towns of Thebes and Grand Tower. . . .

The Corps also plans to dredge about 21 sediment shoals in the middle Mississippi.


Barges carry crude oil, petroleum products, coal, grains and other commodities on the Mississippi year-round.
For all the seeming simplicity of a river-based transport system, it can sure get complex.

Fewer river barges may mean more trucks on the road, causing more pollution and increasing transport costs.

Now, contemplate some of the national security issues that might be involved.

UPDATE: At eight feet of water, some barges will stop. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Top ten low water records for St. Louis from NOAA:
(1) -6.20 ft on 01/16/1940
(2) -5.70 ft on 01/26/1963
(3) -5.60 ft on 01/01/1964
(4) -5.32 ft on 12/26/1989
(5) -5.00 ft on 12/12/1937
(6) -4.60 ft on 12/29/1933
(7) -4.50 ft on 01/16/2003
(8) -3.80 ft on 01/01/1990
(9) -3.53 ft on 12/08/2005
(10) -3.20 ft on 12/18/1988

NOAA water level forecast:
Could make the top ten if this keeps up.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Midrats - Sunday 9 Dec 12, Episode 153: "NATO and the Challenge of Relevance "

Join us this Sunday, 9 December at 5pm Eastern U.S. for
Episode 153: NATO and the Challenge of Relevance :
From the conflicts that came following the break-up of Yugoslavia, a decade in Afghanistan, land and sea-based ballistic missile defense, Libya, and now Patriot missiles deployed to the Turkish-Syrian border, NATO continues to test what kind of alliance it is after the fall of the Soviet Union roughly a quarter-century ago.

Where does the alliance stand, and what direction is it going? Are the roles of the member states changing? Where is the alliance strongest, and where does it need the most improvement?

Our returning guest for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Dr. Daniel Goure, is Vice President with the Lexington Institute.

Dr Goure has held senior positions in both the private sector and the U.S. Government, as a member of the 2001 Department of Defense Transition Team, two years as the director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a senior analyst on national security and defense issues with the Center for Naval Analyses, SAIC, SRS Technologies, R&D Associates, and System Planning Corporation.

Prior to joining the Lexington Institute, Dr. Goure was the Deputy Director, International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He has consulted for the Departments of State, Defense and Energy. He has taught or lectured at the Johns Hopkins University, the Foreign Service Institute, the National War College, the Naval War College, the Air War College, and the Inter-American Defense College. Since 2001, Dr. Goure has been an adjunct professor in graduate programs at Georgetown University, and the National Defense University since 2002.

Dr. Goure holds Masters and Ph.D. degrees in international relations and Russian Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Government and History from Pomona College.
If you can't make the show, listen later on iTunes or at BlogTalkRadio.

Pearl Harbor 71 Years Ago

When an expansionist push came to shove:
When the first Japanese attack wave arrived over Pearl Harbor seven of their primary targets, the U.S. battleships, were moored along "Battleship Row", on the eastern side of Ford Island. Another battleship was in drydock in the nearby Navy Yard. Other moorings which the Japanese believed might include battleships, or the equally important aircraft carriers, were at the Navy Yard's 1010 Dock and along Ford Island's western side.
The raiders had no opportunity to hit American aircraft carriers, all of which were at sea, and did not target fuel storage, most cruisers and destroyers, submarines and most maintenance facilities. However, in just under two hours they had wrecked the U.S. Pacific Fleet's battleship force, ensuring that it would not interfere with Japan's plans for conquest.

Southeast Asia: India, China and Sea Power

Interesting piece at the Foreign Policy website, "India's Ocean" by Dhruva Jaishankar, posing one of those fundamental questions, "What is the role of the Indian Navy as China asserts dominance to India's east?":
For its part, China needs to appreciate that its aggressive pursuit of maritime territory compels India to cooperate more closely with Vietnam and the Philippines. Beijing's issuing of passports this November featuring a map showing the fullest extent of its territorial claims was a remarkably clumsy gesture, provoking simultaneous outrage in India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan. China may have only itself to blame if these states find greater common cause with one another, and with other regional maritime powers.
The map above indicates key Chinese sea lines of communication. You might take note of India's position relative to them.

You also might take a look at the Thomas X. Hammes piece, Offshore Control: A Proposed Strategy for an Unlikely Conflict (pdf), which suggests a "distant blockade" (or "Offshore Control") of China as a possible strategy:
The strategy of Offshore Control works with willing Asia-Pacific nations to ensure that the United States can interdict China’s energy and raw material imports and industrial exports, while protecting our partners.
Col. Hammes's thoughts are also set out in December 2012 U.S. Naval Institute article, "Offshore Control is the Answer":
Offshore control would deny China the use of the sea inside the first island chain, at the same time defend those islands, and dominate the air and sea outside that theater. It envisions a stand-off military campaign focusing on a war of economic strangulation rather than on penetrating Chinese airspace to physically destroy its infrastructure. It seeks to force China to fight in ways that maximize U.S. strengths while minimizing China’s. In essence, OC provides a strategic context for an operational approach that goes beyond Air-Sea Battle to use the U.S. geographical advantage to maximize the effectiveness of a campaign using our air, sea, and land assets.
Oh, and if you were wondering about the value of a strong U.S. Navy - this discussion is right on point. Being able to project power even when it needs to be done without local help - that's a big chunk of the Navy's job description.

Keep in mind that it is the job of the military strategist to work through "unlikely" scenarios just in case. Next time some idiot media hack reports on secret U.S. plans to re-take Midway Island based upon some outlandish event occurrence, it shouldn't really be a shock to you.

UPDATE: There has been some notice of the fact I used an "oil flow" map to illustrate this post. Here is a more recent map that shows vital sea lanes (click on it to enlarge), followed up by a closer view in the China region:

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

South China Sea: China's Activity - Vietnam calls it "sabotage"

With tip of the hat to Walter Russell Mead Chinese Sabotage in the South China Sea, it's off to the Chinese "Bad Neighbor Policy" or, perhaps, the "Chinese Big Ugly Stick Policy."

See Vietnam accuses China of maritime sabotage and this Reuters piece, . From the latter:
Vietnam's condemnation came a day after its state oil and gas company, Petrovietnam, accused Chinese boats of sabotaging an exploration operation by cutting a seismic cable being towed behind a Vietnamese boat.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned the cable cutting as well as some recent Chinese provincial regulations that identified the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands as Chinese, and a map that did the same thing.

"The actions of the Chinese side have seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty over the two archipelagos," the spokesman, Luong Thanh Nghi, said in a statement.
India has also declared itself ready to deploy naval vessels to the South China Sea to protect its oil-exploration interests there, a new source of tension in a disputed area where fears of conflict have been growing steadily.

Indian navy chief, Admiral D.K Joshi, said on Monday that, while India was not a territorial claimant in the South China Sea, it was prepared to act, if necessary, to protect its maritime and economic interests in the region.

"When the requirement is there, for example, in situations where our country's interests are involved, for example ONGC ... we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that," Joshi told a news conference.
CDR Salamander has a post on the potential Indian deployment here.

Something else to keep and eye on.

Caribbean Sea Space Dispute: Colombia and Nicaraga

A dispute between neighbors (see the map) about valuable sea space as set out here:
While the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled on November 19 that Colombia does in fact own the regional islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, it gave the expanse of some 120 square kilometers of oil-rich ocean to Nicaragua. Colombia, which has long fought to keep the area, has rejected the decision and officially left the Bogotá Pact, a 1948 treaty which recognizes ICJ rulings to find peaceful solutions to these types of conflicts.

The country claims that by rebuffing the pact, it does not have to follow the decision. But Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega supports the court and says his navy is now “exercising sovereignty in all territory.”
Nicaraguan fishermen report harassment:
Nicaraguan fishing boat captains on the Caribbean Sea say they are “fishing with fear” among Colombian warships that continue to ply Nicaragua’s recently recovered waters beyond the 82nd meridian. But they insist they are doing their patriotic duty to exert Nicaraguan sovereignty in the area.

“We are doing our part to support the government,” says Carlos Javier Goff, president of the Copescharley fishing company out of Puerto Cabezas. “We feel protected by the government and by the international community and, God willing, this won’t go to extremes…it won’t get beyond words and intimidation.”

Goff, whose fishing company has seven boats currently fishing near the 81st meridian, in waters still protected by Colombia despite the Nov. 19 world court ruling that establishes the waters as Nicaraguan territory, says his crews were harassed all last week by Colombian forces. He says his boat captains report the presence of two Colombian warships, which routinely deployed go-fasts to circle the Nicaraguan fishing boats. One of Colombian patrols allegedly attempted to board one of his Nicaraguan fishing vessels early last week, but the captain wouldn’t let the Colombian mariners aboard.

The harassment was also coming from the air, Goff says. “They were doing daily flyovers of our boats last week in helicopters and planes,” he told The Nicaragua Dispatch in a phone interview this morning.
The International Court of Justice materials relating to this dispute can be found here. Colombia has indicated disagreement with the ruling. Below is the press release the ICJ issued on 19 Nov 12:
ICJ Press Release Disp

A report on a meeting between the presidents of Nicaragua and Colombia "Nobody wants war":
Both presidents explained their respective country’s position on the matter and stressed the need for a solution through channels of diplomacy and dialogue.

“Of course nobody wants a bellicose confrontation. That is the last recourse,” Santos told reporters in Mexico following his sit-down with Ortega. “The way to resolve these types of situations is through dialogue—a sensible dialogue in which the positions are clearly stated and established, like we did in telling President Ortega what Colombia’s position is.”

Though the Colombian warships continue to ply Nicaraguan waters two weeks after the ICJ’s ruling, Santos said his country will look for mechanisms for international diplomacy to resolve the issue and “reestablish the rights that the ruling violated.”

Ortega, for his part, repeated that Nicaragua will continue to respect the ancestral fishing rights of the raizal, the Creole population of the Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia.

“We are giving a message of peace and we are saying with total clarity that we are going to develop mechanisms for communication in all areas mentioned to guarantee the security of everyone, assuring the raizal people of their fishing rights, and also offering guarantees to the fishing industry based on San Andres,” Ortega said.
Something to keep an eye on.

UPDATE: Some thoughts on ramifications Colombia-Nicaragua ICJ Case Tests Region's Crisis Resolution Mechanisms

Circle on map is meant to show general are of dispute. Maps in the ICJ press release show actual areas involved.

Friday, November 30, 2012

This Sunday on Midrats: Episode 152: "Navy Next, Interrupted"

Join us at 5pm (Eastern U.S.) on 2 Dec 12 for Episode 152: "Navy Next, Interrupted" on Midrats
Elections have consequences. There are paths not taken, and paths that remain.

In the last election, national security was very much kept in the background, but once you peeled away a layer or two and looked carefully, there was a lot of "there there" - and a lot of it involved what to do with the direction of the US Navy.

The erstwhile nautical corner of Team Romney had a direction they wanted to take the Navy.

What was that direction? What informed it, and what were the guiding requirements that shaped their concepts?

For the full hour we will have a Midrats regular, Bryan McGrath on to discuss this and more.

Bryan McGrath is a retired Surface Warfare Officer. He commanded USS BULKELEY (DDG 84) from 2004-2006, and finished his career by leading the team that wrote the nation's current maritime strategy.

He retired in 2008 and is currently a Washington DC based defense consultant at Delex Systems. From August 2011 to November 2012, he served on the Mitt Romney for President Defense Policy Working Group.

China: South China Sea Threats and Denials

China is doing one of its usual song and dance routines with respect to its claims to a large chunk of the South China Sea. First, it announces an increase in the authority of its "patrols" in the area as set out in Patrols in Hainan get more clout:
Police in Hainan will be authorized to board and search ships that illegally enter the province's waters in 2013, the latest Chinese effort to protect the South China Sea.

Under a set of regulation revisions the Hainan People's Congress approved on Tuesday, provincial border police are authorized to board or seize foreign ships that illegally enter the province's waters and order them to change course or stop sailing.

The full texts of the regulations, which take effect on Jan 1, will soon be released to the public, said Huang Shunxiang, director of the congress's press office.

Activities such as entering the island province's waters without permission, damaging coastal defense facilities, and engaging in publicity that threatens national security are illegal.

If foreign ships or crew members violate regulations, Hainan police have the right to take over the ships or their communications systems, under the revised regulations. (emphasis added)
Of course, this was followed by other semi-disclaimers, see China values free navigation in S. China Sea for example:
China attaches great importance to the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing on Friday.

Hong made the remarks in response to a question regarding recent reports that border patrol police in south China's island province of Hainan were given the power to embark on and check ships that illegally enter its waters.

China conducts marine management in accordance with international law and national law and safeguards its territorial sovereignty and rights over the South China Sea, the spokesman said.

"Meanwhile, we insist that all relevant disputes with neighboring countries should be resolved through friendly negotiation and consultation," Hong said.

All countries have freedom of navigation in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, he said.

"China highly values free navigation in the South China Sea," Hong said. "At present, there are no problems in this regard."
Or, China seeks no marine hegemony: spokesman:
China's Defense Ministry spokesman on Thursday stressed that the country's move to build itself into a maritime power has nothing to do with seeking hegemony.

China wants to become a maritime power in order to enhance its capacity to exploit marine resources, develop the marine economy, safeguard the country's maritime rights and interests, and ensure a sustainable economic and social development, Geng Yansheng told a regular press conference.

That does not mean that China is aiming at expanding its presence at sea, nor at marine hegemony, Geng said.

Chinese leader Hu Jintao's report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China earlier this month spelt out future efforts to build China into a maritime power.

The spokesman further denied interpretations that this position indicates a more hardline approach by China in its marine sovereignty claims, such as over the Diaoyu Islands.

"China's stance of safeguarding the country's legitimate sovereign rights and interests should not be regarded as a hardline approach," he said.

According to Geng, China will resolutely protect its sovereignty, security and development interests and will never yield to any outside pressure.

Safeguarding the country's marine rights and interests is one of the military's important duties and the army will well perform its duties under the country's deployment, Geng said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman noted, China is always committed to peaceful settlement of international disputes and opposes the wanton use of force or threat to use it.

China's armed forces advocate and follow the concept of a "harmonious ocean," and comply with the UN Charter as well as other international laws and rules, Geng said, adding that the Chinese military is active in taking part in international dialogue and cooperation in marine security and is willing to join other countries in maintaining security at sea.
Right, just remember that deeds speak louder than words.

Oh, yeah, and what the heck is "engaging in publicity that threatens national security?"

Pirates: Counter-Piracy Operations

Multinational counter-piracy operations off the Somali coast are defined by reports like this one from Nov 21, 2012, EU Naval Force and Combined Task Force 151 Work Together to Ensure No Safe Haven for Pirates In Indian Ocean:
The boarding team from ROS Regele Ferdinand brings the apprehended pirates and their skiff back to the Romanian warship (EUNAVFOR photo)
Earlier today, Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand, under command of the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) worked in close co-operation with Turkish warship TCG Gemlik of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) to apprehended nine suspected pirates at sea off the coast of Somalia.

In the early hours of the morning, Swedish EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft located the suspicious skiff at sea 420 nautical miles east of Mogadishu. Counter piracy forces in the area were quickly alerted, and being the two closest warships, both TCG Gemlik and ROS Regele Ferdinand made haste to the area to investigate, as the Luxembourg EU NAVFOR patrol aircraft maintained visual coverage from the air.

Once at the scene, TCG Gemlik sent a boarding team to search the suspect vessel, which had tried, unsuccessfully, to evade capture for over an hour. In an excellent demonstration of co-operation between the 2 counter-piracy forces, ROS Regele Ferdinand then embarked the suspect pirates on to the Romanian frigate for further questioning and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution of the nine suspects.

After gathering intelligence, the skiff was destroyed, thus preventing the suspect pirates from using it to attack ships in the future.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Africa, Nigeria does counter-piracy as set out here:
A ONE-WEEK onslaught against crude oil theft and other illegal activities on sea by the army, navy and air force has led to the arrest of two oil tankers and interrogation of 15 others at the Gulf of Guinea.

The raid tagged ‘Exercise FARAUTA’ was sequel to the mandate by President Goodluck Jonathan when he appointed two new service chiefs, urging the military to get rid of oil thieves from Nigeria’s seaways.

The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, who was on board the Nigerian Navy ship ‘Thunder’, led the operation at sea.

“We interrogated 17 vessels at sea, out of which, we found two culpable. Some would have to explain as per the quantity of the petroleum they have on board, some were in excess of what was approved and one of the other vessels did not have any documentation at all. It is important to note that this exercise would continue. For us to continue to do what we are supposed to do, it is important we get all the support we can get from government. The navy needs to be encouraged. Crude oil thieves and pirates have already seen the signals and they don’t have a choice than to leave our waters,” Ezeoba said.
South China Sea, yellow circle indicates area of attack
The Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 28 Nov 12) (here (pdf) shows mostly robberies at anchorage but there is this:
VIETNAM: Tanker hijacked on 19 November in the vicinity of 07:10 N – 109:09 E, approximately 174.4 nm southeast of Con Son Island. Eleven pirates armed with long knives and pistols hijacked the tanker. The nine crew members were forced overboard into a life raft and rescued shortly after by a Vietnamese fishing trawler. While thought to be enroute toward Vietnam to sell the vessels cargo of marine gas oil illegally in Vietnam waters/ port, all eleven pirates were apprehended by the Vietnam Marine Police Special Task Force and are currently under the custody of the VMP. Prior to apprehension, it was reported that the pirates had changed the IMO number and name of the vessel. (ReCAAP ISC)
UPDATE: ReCAAP update here (pdf):
On 22 Nov 12 at or about 0404 hrs (local time), Zafirah was located at
approximately 35 nm south-east of Vung Tung (09o 50.10’ N, 107o 19.59’ E). The
Vietnam Marine Police despatched two patrol vessels to the location to monitor the
situation. The tanker was reported to have been renamed ‘MD FEAHORSE’ and has a
different IMO number. From the statement made by the master of Zafirah, there were
11 pirates onboard the tanker and they were armed with long knives and pistols. On 22
Nov 12 at or about 1600 hrs (local time), the Vietnam Marine Police Special Task Force
boarded Zafirah and apprehended all 11 pirates who are currently under the custody of
the VMP.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


So this morning, I was reading Roger L. Simon's "‘Mind Your Own Beeswax!’: How Social Conservatives Can Win By Losing" which discusses, among other things, the need for social conservatives to get out of the business of trying to use the tools of government to enforce rules against things they are against, while objecting to "liberals" using the tools of government to enforce things they believe it.

As Mr. Simon writes,
It’s interesting how some of those who most vociferously object to government interference in our economic affairs are most desirous of government interference in our personal ones.

I’m referring of course to social conservatives, who want to legislate our morals and values according to their views.
The examples he uses are abortion and same-sex marriage. His fundamental question is why is either one of these issues a matter for the government to be involved with?

Take marriage. I suspect the reason the American states first got involved in issuing licenses for marriage was to prevent "race mingling" (among other things) as set out here:
By the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, “mulattos,” Japanese, Chinese, Indians, “Mongolians,” “Malays” or Filipinos. Twelve states would not issue a marriage license if one partner was a drunk, an addict or a “mental defect.” Eighteen states set barriers to remarriage after divorce.

In the mid-20th century, governments began to get out of the business of deciding which couples were “fit” to marry. Courts invalidated laws against interracial marriage, struck down other barriers and even extended marriage rights to prisoners.
It was also during the early 20th Century that serious efforts were made to eliminate "defectives" in our society from reproducing in the name of "eugenics." An interesting history of efforts to "perfect" society by sterilizing those deemed "unfit" can be found here:
In 1914, eugenicist Harry Laughlin published a Model Eugenical Sterilization Law that proposed to authorize sterilization of the “socially inadequate” – people “maintained wholly or in part by public expense.” The law included sterilization of the “feebleminded, insane, criminalistic, epileptic, inebriate, diseased, blind, deaf, deformed, and dependent” – including “orphans, ne’er-do-wells, tramps, the homeless and paupers.” Laughlin’s publication was the basis for Virginia’s Eugenical Sterilization Act, passed in 1924, which was first tested in the well-known Buck v. Bell case.
As seen by the nearby map, which came from here,the idea was popular. Why? Well, it was a "progressive" attempt to protect and improve the species, as set out here (pdf):
The term eugenics was originally coined by Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton (1822–1911) in 1883 to mean ‘truly’ or ‘purely’ born (Galton, 1883). It was redefined by Galton’s American disciple Charles B. Davenport
(1866–1944) as ‘the science of the improvement of the human race by better breeding’ (Davenport, 1910). Eugenic theory was based on a belief in the genetic inheritance of a large number of social traits. At that time ‘genetic’ meant largely Mendelian heredity
where very complex traits were thought to be governed by one or two genes.
Between 1910 and 1935 Laughlin wrote up what became knownas the ‘model sterilization law’ that was used, in modified form, by a number of states (Reilly,1991). Through contacts with influential members of local chapters of the American Eugenics Society (AES), Laughlin and other eugenicists lobbied in a number of state legislatures on behalf of compulsory sterilization laws for institutionalized individuals deemed to be ‘genetically inferior’. In virtually all cases, itwas claimed that sterilization of genetic defectives
now would save millions of dollars in the future (Figure 2). By 1935 over 30 states had passed such laws. Well over 21,000 such sterilizations had taken place by 1935 and well over 60,000 by the 1960s (Paul, 1974; see Note). A court challenge to the onstitutionality
of such laws, Buck vs Bell in Virginia, was staged by pro-sterilization forces in 1925. The law was upheld at the state level and by the US Supreme court on appeal in 1927. It was in writing his majority opinion on this case that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes coined the oft-repeated phrase ‘Three generations of imbeciles are enough’ (Lombardo, 1985).
It is beyond the scope of this paper to describe in any detail the character of the progressive movement, but a few of its most central tenets will suggest how closely eugenic thinking managed to fit in with progressive philosophy. On the one hand, progressivism supported the ideology of scientific planning and management, that is, the new complex economics and other social developments could not be left simply to laissez-faire practices.
Get the idea? The law was structured to forbid certain marriages that, in the scientific view of the day, would weaken the species. Further, the state acquired the power to sterilize the "unfit" so that they could not reproduce.

Now, some states are considering financial restitution to some of those who were sterilized. See here:
An effort to compensate survivors of North Carolina's defunct sterilization program with cash payments received a jolt of bipartisanship when Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis vowed to see it through this year.

Thousands of North Carolina residents in the 20th century received surgeries through a state-sponsored eugenics program that left them unable to reproduce. A state panel often authorized sterilizations for people it found mentally feeble, promiscuous or too poor to raise children.

Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue supports $50,000 payments to the living victims. Tillis was one of four sponsors - two Democrats and two Republicans - of a compensation bill for the same amount.

"Every once in a while I feel like you have the chance to make history. Th
is is one of those chances," Tillis said on the House floor this month during debate on the bill. "This is an opportunity to say, 'we're going to put this to rest.'"

While lawmakers agree the program represents an awful chapter in state history, the idea of going further and securing monetary compensation for the victims has been a hard sell this year, especially for Tillis' fellow Republicans.
North Carolina laws enforced from 1929 to 1974 led to more than 7,600 people undergoing sterilizations. Some chose to be sterilized as a form of birth control. Up to 2,000 people who were sterilized may be alive. The state has verified 118 victims who are still living.

Then-Gov. Mike Easley formally apologized for the program in 2002. Compensation supporters say the tax-free money is a concrete way to show the state's regret. No other state with a similar program has agreed to make payments like North Carolina is considering.
Due to budget issues, the payments have yet to be authorized.

So, would you trust the state to now decide whether your genetic make up is so screwed up that you should not be allowed to procreate? Or should the state decide that certain persons are too big a drain on society to be allowed to continue living if they so choose?

I suspect, "death panels" aside, most of us want the state to keep its nose out of this business.

I do not want to step deeply into the abortion issue. I do note that there are some in the history of abortion in this country who saw the issue as being part of the eugenics process - a means of ridding society of the unfit who will become a burden on the taxpayers. Birth control was seen a way of perfecting the human race:
Let us first of all consider merely from the viewpoint of business and "efficiency" the biological or racial problems which confront us. As Americans, we have of late made much of "efficiency" and business organization. Yet would any corporation for one moment conduct its affairs as we conduct the infinitely more important affairs of our civilization? Would any modern stockbreeder permit the deterioration of his livestock as we not only permit but positively encourage the destruction and deterioration of the most precious, the most essential elements in our world community—the mothers and children. With the mothers and children thus cheapened, the next generation of men and women is inevitably below par. The tendency of the human elements, under present conditions, is constantly downward.

Turn to Robert M. Yerkes's "Psychological Examining in the United States Army"(1) in which we are informed that the psychological examination of the drafted men indicated that nearly half—47.3 per cent.—of the population had the mentality of twelve-year-old children or less—in other words that they are morons. Professor Conklin, in his recently published volume "The Direction of Human Evolution"(2) is led, on the findings of Mr. Yerkes's report, to assert: "Assuming that these drafted men are a fair sample of the entire population of approximately 100,000,000, this means that 45,000,000 or nearly one-half the entire population, will never develop mental capacity beyond the stage represented by a normal twelve-year-old child, and that only 13,500,000 will ever show superior intelligence."

Making all due allowances for the errors and discrepancies of the psychological examination, we are nevertheless face to face with a serious and destructive practice. Our "overhead" expense in segregating the delinquent, the defective and the dependent, in prisons, asylums and permanent homes, our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying—I have sufficiently indicated, though in truth I have merely scratched the surface of this international menace—demonstrate our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism. No industrial corporation could maintain its existence upon such a foundation. Yet hardheaded "captains of industry," financiers who pride themselves upon their cool-headed and keen-sighted business ability are dropping millions into rosewater philanthropies and charities that are silly at best and vicious at worst. In our dealings with such elements there is a bland maladministration and misuse of huge sums that should in all righteousness be used for the development and education of the healthy elements of the community.

At the present time, civilized nations are penalizing talent and genius, the bearers of the torch of civilization, to coddle and perpetuate the choking human undergrowth, which, as all authorities tell us, is escaping control and threatens to overrun the whole garden of humanity. Yet men continue to drug themselves with the opiate of optimism, or sink back upon the cushions of Christian resignation, their intellectual powers anaesthetized by cheerful platitudes. Or else, even those, who are fully cognizant of the chaos and conflict, seek an escape in those pretentious but fundamentally fallacious social philosophies which place the blame for contemporary world misery upon anybody or anything except the indomitable but uncontrolled instincts of living organisms. These men fight with shadows and forget the realities of existence. Too many centuries have we sought to hide from the inevitable, which confronts us at every step throughout life.

Let us conceive for the moment at least, a world not burdened by the weight of dependent and delinquent classes, a total population of mature, intelligent, critical and expressive men and women. Instead of the inert, exploitable, mentally passive class which now forms the barren substratum of our civilization, try to imagine a population active, resistant, passing individual and social lives of the most contented and healthy sort. Would such men and women, liberated from our endless, unceasing struggle against mass prejudice and inertia, be deprived in any way of the stimulating zest of life? Would they sink into a slough of complacency and fatuity?

No! Life for them would be enriched, intensified and ennobled in a fashion it is difficult for us in our spiritual and physical squalor even to imagine. There would be a new renaissance of the arts and sciences. Awakened at last to the proximity of the treasures of life lying all about them, the children of that age would be inspired by a spirit of adventure and romance that would indeed produce a terrestrial paradise. [Margaret L. Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization, 1922, Chapter XII]
Well, we all know where carrying that plan of eliminating the "unfit" has led in the past.

In some cultures, the "unfit" who don't follow mainstream thinking are branded as "infidels" and forced to convert or die.

All of which brought me back to a book I read when I was about 13 or 14. Eric Frank Russell's planet of Gand, which introduced me "MYOB" - and you can read about it here:
‘A man has duties. He has no right to refuse those.’

‘No?’ She raised tantalizing eyebrows, delicately curved. ‘Who defines those duties—himself or somebody else?’

‘His superiors most times.’

‘Superiors,’ she scoffed with devastating scorn. ‘No man is superior to another. No man has the slightest right to define another man’s duties. If anyone on Terra exercises such impudent power it is only because idiots permit him to do so. They fear freedom. They prefer to be told. They like to be ordered around. They love their chains and kiss their manacles. What men!’
Amazing what happens when you allow other people to mind your business.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back to Blogging!

Had a nice holiday, regular blogging to resume as soon as I clear the decks of all the other stuff that has accumulated over the last week.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Routine

Light blogging this week.

It's holiday week with family visiting.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

UPDATE: Pretty quiet here now after the hectic pie/turkey/salad/vegetables/stuffing/mashed potatoes/cranberry sauce excitement of yesterday.

I was just thinking of why Thanksgiving is a really good holiday.

We gathered as family and friends, met some new friends, shared many memories, had some laughs and some reflective moments about those no longer with us in person. We had a chance to review successes and the other results. Contemplating good health news and those lingering things that getting older brings.

While the breaking of bread together is important - it's the people that matter most at Thanksgiving. For them and for the blessings of the past year, it is good to take a pause.

Not having to struggle with gifts issues and working together to put the capstone meal together - it's a sweeter holiday for it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Midrats Sunday, Nov 18, 2012- Capt Wayne Hughes in Episode 150: "Policy, Fleet Size, and the Navy Next"

Join us this coming Sunday at 5pm Eastern U.S. as we talk with Capt. Wayne Hughes, USN (Ret)on Midrats, Episode 150: "Policy, Fleet Size, and the Navy Next" on Blog Talk Radio:
"If we cannot have the navy estimates of our policy, then let's have the policy of our navy estimates."---- Lieutenant Ambroise Baudry, French Navy

As our guest this week noted in his book Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice, "These are the watchwords for the twenty-first-century American navy."

As we leave our land wars in Asia and look forward to the future maritime challenges of our nation, what size and kind of Fleet should the US Navy have?

How will budgets impact the size and nature of our Fleet, and how will that impact the ability of the Navy to meet what it will be asked to do?

What are the major schools of thought on what should drive our Fleet design, and what does history have to tell us about where we should head, and what we should be cautious of?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and a lot more will be Wayne Hughes, Captain, USN (Ret), who in addition to being the author of innumerable books and articles, is a Professor, Department of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.

Captain Hughes received an MS in Operations Research from NPS in 1964, and returned in 1979 and continued as a civilian instructor for thirty-two years, including 5 years as Dean of the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, he is a Distinguished Alumnus of NPS.

On active duty he commanded a minesweeper, a destroyer, and directed a large training command. Ashore, he was Deputy Director of the CNO’s Systems Analysis (OP-96), and Aide to Under Secretary of the Navy R. James Woolsey.
Join us live here (and you can listen/download the show from there later, too) or pick the show up on iTunes here.

Things I Would Pay $15 to Watch Online: "The Fiscal Cliff: What Does This Mean for Defense and National Security?"

Dear U.S. Naval Institute:

You have many wonderful programs and forums that are held in Washington, DC, Norfolk, VA, Annapolis, MD and San Diego, CA.

I would like to attend them all. Sadly, though, I do not live in Washington, Norfolk, etc.

In order to attend a forum in DC, for example, I would have to incur travel costs including airfare, hotel, meals, cab fare and/or gas. In addition, it means time off from work or projects.

Even if the admission to the forum is free or at a reduced price I am still looking at substantial out of pocket costs.

So, here's a plea from the hinterlands, next time you plan an event like the 2012 Defense Forum Washington: The Fiscal Cliff: What Does This Mean for Defense and National Security?, please consider offering an option of allowing virtual attendance - I'd be happy to pay for the privilege of being able to watch and listen in on my laptop or desktop computer. Since my admission price to the live event is $15 (being a USNI member), I'd pay that (and perhaps a little more) to save the hundreds of other dollars of having to travel hither and yon.

The quality doesn't have to be particularly high. The main thing is the access for me and others who would love to join in. Virtually.

Virtual attendance may allow younger officers and junior enlisted to join in while remaining at their duty stations.

I know that there are companies that provide technical assistance in such things here in the 21st Century.

I also note that may other organizations put on live video programs including The Heritage Foundation and The Cato Institute.

Please consider this idea.

Thank you.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Worst Post Veterans Day Idea Ever: "John Kerry's Name Being Floated for Defense Secretary"

Why not just issue an invitation to a Vietnam Veteran's March on Washington to oppose this incredibly stupid idea? John Kerry's Name Being Floated for Defense Secretary:
The Washington Post reports that President Obama is "considering" asking Kerry to take the post, currently occupied by Leon Panetta. The 74-year-old Panetta is expected to step down sometime next year, and when combined with Clinton's planned retirement, and the unplanned resignation of David Patreaus at the CIA, the entire national security team will need to be overhauled.
If Mr. Obama had announce this "considering" before the election, we could have saved a lot of trouble. . .

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

Some interesting numbers:
21.5 million The number of military veterans in the United States in 2011
When They Served
7.5 million Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2011.

5.1 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present);

1.8 million in World War II (1941-1945);

2.4 million in the Korean War (1950-1953);

5.4 million in peacetime only.*

51,079 Number of living veterans in 2011 who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period.

Other living veterans in 2011 who served during three wars:

43,942 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.

Living veterans in 2011 who served during two wars and no other period:

876,663 served during both Gulf War eras.
205,205 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
129,972 served during both World War II and the Korean War.
314,000,000 U.S. citizens, 22 million veterans or 7% of the population is composed of veterans.

To all of them, thanks!

*"Peacetime?"  I wonder if that includes the Cold War? Really ought to be given a little credit.