Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

How To Spot Satire

Via a post over at Rob's site, I found a really ridiculous right-wing blog by someone styling themself as "Shelley the Republican". I'm somewhat of a connoisseur of satire blogs (like BlameBush!), and it looked right away to me like this was a very well done satire of extreme conservative thought. Here's some of my evidence:

1) The first entry says the author, supposedly a 28-year-old housewife from Iowa City, "support(s) the Project for a new American century 100%". PNAC is a big-time liberal bugaboo, but you almost never see conservatives talking about how they "support PNAC".

2) The atrocious spelling throughout. It's not as bad as Howie's satire blog, but it still isn't pretty.

3) The author is supposedly Shelly Goodman from Iowa City, but the masthead links to a My GOP site of Shelly Goodman from Little Rock.

4) Her profile lists one of the supposedly fundamentalist Christian's favorite movies as "Jesus Christ Superstar". Enough said.

5) This completely over-the-top "guest post" comes from a blogger whose own site is a Dobsonite fan-fiction blog -- clearly an absurdity. Still, it's impressive to have "guest bloggers" with their own blogs, no matter how infrequently updated. However, the author gives away the game when you notice that the guest blogger can post their own posts, under their own name, when the blog isn't listed as one of their blogs on their profile.

6) Last but not least, she sells her merchandise through the same outlet as Liberal Larry does... not exactly a smoking gun, I realize, but still highly suspicious.

The amazing thing is, unless they're clearing out the comments, very few of the commenters I read over there has picked up on the satire aspect of the blog. Of course, most of them seem to be Europeans, who seem somewhat satire impaired (except for the Brits, of course).

Update 2158 01 May: It turns out they moderate comments; I left a comment congratulating them on an excellent satire, and it never made it into the comment section.

New Official Nuclear Training Websites

Navy Nuclear Power training is entering the 21st Century! Well, maybe not, but both of the nuke training commands in Charleston finally have websites. Here's the one for Nuke School, and here's the one for NPTU Charleston. Neither one has much in the way of any actual information yet, but at least they're there...

Update 0103 30 April: And, because I was looking around for logos of my old commands to put on my sidebar, I found that my last command, Submarine Learning Center Detachment San Diego, has a new web address; I found it via the new Submarine Learning Center site.

Beached Dolphins? Blame The Navy!

There's another case of a mass dolphin beaching on the coast of Zanzibar this week, and the MSM immediately decides that Navy sonar (and in particular submarine sonar) is to blame. From the last-linked article, provocatively titled "Submarine Sonar Suspected in Mystery Death of 400 Dolphins":

"It was not immediately clear what killed the 400 dolphins, whose carcasses were strewn along a four-kilometre stretch of Nungwi, said Narriman Jidawi, a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine Science in Zanzibar...
"...In the United States, experts were investigating the possibility that sonar from US submarines could have been responsible for a similar incident in Marathon, Florida, where 68 deep-water dolphins stranded themselves in March last year...
"...A US Navy taskforce patrols the East Africa coast as part of counter-terrorism operations."

It's interesting that they call it a U.S. Navy task force, since it includes Dutch and French ships, along with those of other allies; it's all part of CTF 150, which is currently commanded by a Pakistani Vice Admiral (who recently relieved a Dutch Commodore).

I said earlier that surveillance of the areas of heavy piracy off the Somali coast would be a good job for a submarine, but I'd be surprised if we actually have a boat there. As I mentioned, we do have a allied Naval Task Force further north along the African Coast. Whatever they're doing there, it's unlikely that they'd be using a lot of sonar, and any submarine that might be there almost assuredly wouldn't be going active. Still, rather than worry about facts like this, it's much easier for the press to just try to blame the Americans for something bad, since apparently we're responsible for every bad thing that happens in the world.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Navy Chaplain Crosses The Line

Back in December, I wrote about a Navy Chaplain who was complaining that the politically correct Chaplain Corps was putting too many restrictions on his freedom of religious exercise. I explained why I thought LT Gordon Klingenschmitt was wrong, and opined that his "hunger strike" at the White House was tacky, but said that "I guess as long as he's not in uniform, he's probably not breaking the letter of any laws..."

It looks like now that he's crossed the line, and is apparently being brought up on charges for appearing at a press conference in front of the White House late last month, in uniform, to "call attention to what they said are restrictions on military chaplains who pray in Jesus’s name".

"Klingenschmitt said he received a letter Friday from Capt. Lloyd Pyle, commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Station, summoning him to a captain’s mast, an administrative hearing that could result in a reprimand. He said he has not decided whether to accept the summons or to insist on his right to a court-martial.
"Pyle’s letter said the chaplain violated Navy regulations by “wrongfully wearing his uniform while attending and participating in a news conference in support of personal views on political and religious issues.”

Fair enough. Since he's not attached to a ship, he has the right to waive Captain's Mast and request trial by court martial. In the next paragraph, though, Klingenschmitt completely jumps the shark:

"Klingenschmitt called the charge “an attack against my religion” and “a reprisal in violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act.”

I suppose the Whistleblower Protection Act provides protection for self-important jerks as well as anyone else, but since he seems to have made his complaints to the press, rather than a Congressman or other designated person, I'm not sure he'll get very far with this line of defense. Especially since there are no restrictions on praying in Jesus' name at designated Christian worship services; it's only when it is reasonable to expect that there would be personnel of other faiths present that it's considered "bad form" to do so.

Don't get me wrong; with very few exceptions, military Chaplains are wonderful officers who perform a great service. This guy is one of the exceptions.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Movie Review: United 93

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." -- John 15:13

I just got back from seeing United 93 tonight, and I'll answer the question that I'm sure is on most of your minds right away -- yes, I did cry. I cried like a pussy. I cried from a mixture of sadness, rage, and pride -- all these emotions and more. I cried because so many had to unfairly face death, and I cried because they faced it so bravely, fighting to survive. And I wasn't alone...

The theater was about 15% full here in Meridian, Idaho, for the early evening show. The movie itself started out slowly -- it was showing that the day began as just another day. People doing what they always do when they're getting ready to fly. Then the tension started to build; without revealing too much, the film did a really good job of accurately portraying the "fog of war". The action shifts between the airplane and the control centers on the ground, showing everyone trying to act on what little information they had. Rumors would be repeated as facts, vital information would be lost -- just like it happens in the real world.

Obviously, there's no way to know exactly what happened in the last minutes of the doomed, heroic flight. The writers had the evidence of calls made from the planes, and the reports of what the cockpit voice recorder said from family member who had heard it. Submariners, I think, have a better idea than most of the importance of assigning a believable narrative to the last moments of our heroes -- lost submarines almost never have survivors to tell the tale. It helps us to come to grips with the loss of someone you admire if you can imagine the bravery with which the met their fate. This, I think, is what United 93 does for us.

I was fascinated by the way the director showed both the passengers and hijackers praying -- asking for help from the same God for completely different outcomes. I found myself strangely satisfied when the passengers took retribution on the terrorists they caught outside the cockpit; I've always imagined the feeling of fear and hopelessness in the jihadi's hearts when they realized that they wouldn't reach their goal, that the Americans wouldn't sit back and take it. It was something completely foreign to their experience, people fighting back. Even now, in Iraq, we read reports all the time of men shot, execution-style, with their hands tied behind their backs. This has been going on for two years -- why do they let someone tie their hands when they know they're going to be killed? The Arab mindset leads them to put up with it for two years; Americans learned to fight back in two hours. That's the difference between us, and the reason we will ultimately prevail.

When the movie ended, some in the crowd applauded, and then we filed out of the theater -- in total silence. We all had a lot to think about...

Update 2314 29 April: Anna also saw the movie...

Bell-ringer 2233 01 May: Kevin from The Amboy Times has a compilation of reviews from the blogosphere.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Staffer's Hard Sayings Log

Excerpts from this quote log have been popping up all over the blogosphere, but I haven't seen the whole thing (at least the whole thing as of when I retired in late 2004) posted. A little background -- this "virtual green book" was kept by a Navy pilot at EUCOM J-5, who was working with all the staff pukes in D.C. and Tampa (CENTCOM, where I was) during the run-up to the Iraq War and the aftermath; it mostly has to do with the thoughts and frustrations of staff officers involved in putting together a Coalition in the brave new One Superpower world. Some of them you've heard before, others you won't understand at all unless you've been a staff puke. One of them is even my very own invention. Sit back and enjoy (unless you don't like naughty words, in which case you should skip it) -- this post is a long one...


"Deny everything…Admit nothing…Demand proof…Counter-accuse…”

“Dude…what’s your name again?”
MAJ (CFLCC) to EUCOM GO/FO about 15 minutes (and 15 vodka shots) after being introduced in a bar in Warsaw

“Poland is the land of living Barbie Dolls…”
MAJ (JS) on the relative proportions of Polish women

“They’re not real women…they’re FemBots…”
CDR (TRANSCOM) on the beauty of Polish women

“This is the most unholy Lithuanian goat fuck I've ever heard of...”
“It's like a bunch of field grade monkeys trying to fuck a football...”
“It's as wrong as two schoolboys fucking in a church on Sunday...”
“It was a frank discussion. We had a pretty good motherfucker calling contest going on…”
LTC (DAO) on any number of staff-related events

“When will I just give up and accept the fact that I'm just not funny?”

“When they said it that your input was used in the update last night, they meant it was wadded up and placed under a short leg on the table to keep it from wobbling.”

“I’m having a wetting down on 4 April 1630-1634, during our lunch break. Then, it’s back on our heads.”

“Never in the history of the US Armed Forces have so many done so much for so few…”
MAJ (Task Force Warrior) on the “success” of the Free Iraqi Forces (FIF) Training Program, where 1100 Army troops trained 77 Iraqi exiles at the cost of, well, way too much…

“OSD will continue to drive this cart into the ground long after the wheels have been sold on E-bay.”
MAJ (JS) on the progress of FIF

“Don't you know you can never leave this program? It becomes a part of you. You can run, but it will drag you back in. It’s like getting raped in prison: the best thing to do is just relax and enjoy it.”
MAJ (JS) on the joys of staff work during FIF

“I don’t want to waste anyone’s time here…”
COL (JS) before one of the countless video conferences linking hundreds of staffers from every possible command to discuss the status of FIF

“So Chuck, what do you do here at EUCOM?”
Lt Col to the 4-star DCDR at a Command Christmas Party

“If you take his brain, double it in size, and shove it up a gnat’s butt, it’d be like a BB in a boxcar.”
Lt Col (EUCOM) on a fellow staff officer’s mental capabilities

“My idea of the perfect child is a 17 ½ year old Swedish Nanny.”
Single LTC (EUCOM) on the merits of the traditional family structure

"You’ve got a better chance of playing pick up sticks with your butt cheeks than you do of making the CoS buy off on that idea!"
Maj (EUCOM) to an eager, but misguided, CDR

"One of the secrets to maintaining my positive attitude in this job is this: I complete no tasker before its time…”

"I can’t believe you guys are drinking already.”
“Dude, it’s 1130.”
“Oh, OK. Give me a beer…”
Exchange between two CDRs (CENTCOM and TRANSCOM)

"Oh my God, she’s beating the crap outta that guy. Man, I dig that…”
CDR (TRANSCOM) while viewing a street massage in Europe

"You know, when I was your age, we would never drink in front of the Boss.”
“But, sir, I thought that you hired me for my comm skills. How am I supposed to be able to talk to the Boss if I’m sober when he’s crocked?”
Exchange between LCDR (EUCOM) and his supervisor

"Deny everything…Admit nothing…Demand proof…Counter-accuse…”
CDR (CENTCOM) detailing our credo

"It is nothing for US soldiers to be in the desert for a year without a woman. It is different for us, though, because we are Latin…”
LTC (LATAM country) on one of the differences between Latin American soldiers and their US counterparts

“I guess the next thing they'll ask for is 300 US citizens with Hungarian last names to send to Iraq…”
MAJ (JS) on the often-frustrating process of building the Iraqi coalition for Phase IV

“Pipe down. You don't want anyone to hear you say that or they will come in here and pick you as the perfect dickhead to do this knucklehead task…”
Lt Col to a LTC (EUCOM) who commented that he had done nothing for his country today

“If we wait until the last minute to do it, it'll only take a minute.”

“I just got back from four days off with the family. Anything going on in the world?”
CDR (CENTCOM) after a rare long weekend during OEF and OIF

“Working with Hungary is like watching a bad comedy set on auto repeat…”

“I have to stay here and fill out this form…it's my future”
“You have no future, sir. What you need to do is get home to your wife and new baby, or you won't have a wife to go home to.”
“No. My wife will stick with me come hell or high water. I’ve got the last good one.”
“Um, how many times have you been married again?”
Exchange between Maj and LTC (CENTCOM)

“Between us girls, would it help to clarify the issue if you knew that Hungary is land-locked?”
CDR to MAJ (EUCOM) on why a deployment from Hungary is likely to proceed by air vice sea

“When you get right up to the line that you're not supposed to cross, the only person in front of you will be me!”
CDR (CENTCOM) on his view of the value of being politically correct in today’s military

“There’s nothing wrong with crossing that line a little bit, it’s jumping over it buck naked that will probably get you in trouble…”
Lt Col (EUCOM) responding to the above

“How come my wife just bought a new car and I’m making all the payments??”

“I may be slow, but I do poor work…”

“Everyone knows the words to that damn song are “Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another roller in the night.” The questions really are, “What’s a deuce? How do you rev it? and Why the hell is it rolling in the night??”

“The Army is gonna have a hard time trying to figure out which unit is heading to Iraq. They’re just plain outta action figures…”

“It’s only gay if you’re in port…”
LCDR (EUCOM) on life aboard the Boat

“Dude, you’re a frickin’ actor…”
LT (SOCOM) after meeting with actor Steven Segal, who had been telling SEALs how hard he works to put together the right team for his “missions”

“That’s what they say in Korea…”
GS-14 (STATE) trying to recover after incorrectly using a proverb. A variant of this hard saying can be used any time a staffer botches quote or fact (i.e., “The early bird catches a worm with two hands in its bush. Um, that’s what they say in Korea…”), a joke (i.e., “You guys just don’t get it. That joke is hilarious in Korea,”), or a misspeak during a PowerPoint presentation (i.e., “Yes sir, the slide does appear to indicate that we gave $2.8 billion to support artificial sheep insemination programs last year. That information came directly from a trusted source in Korea.”)

“Great! What we really need are some more 0-5s around here…”
MAJ (EUCOM) on the release of the list of 0-5 promotables

“The only reason that anything ever gets done is because there are pockets of competence in every command. The key is to find them…and then exploit the hell out of ‘em.”

“Revolving Jacuzzi with Swedish bikini team waitresses; a padded crud room and billiard table; a walk-in cigar humidor and a stack of Benjamins to light them; our own jet to whisk us away when needed; a putting green in the hallway; drive-in, underground parking with a brew-thru window; a wooden pizza oven; and a fleet of golf carts to drive around base to do errands. If there is any money left over, some pens and pencils.”
LtCol (EUCOM) submitting a wishlist for allocation of excess, end of year funds

“Here are the 5 rules of life:
1. If you get dumped, don't worry. Women are like streetcars; a new one comes along every ten minutes…
2. Never get married. It's cheaper to buy a house every ten years and give it to some woman you hate...
3. Never date a chick with big hands, it makes your willie looks small…
4. Never buy something that floats, flies or f---s. Rent it; it's cheaper…
5. Stick it to ‘The Man’ whenever you can!”
CAPT (unidentified CVW)

“Don’t ever be the first…don’t ever be the last…and don’t ever volunteer to do anything….”
CDR (EUCOM) relating an ancient Navy truism

“‘Few things exemplify the chaos (of Liberia) more than the sight of doped-up, AK-47-wielding kids roaming the streets decked out in fright wigs and tattered wedding gowns. Indeed, some of the more fully accessorized soldiers in the militia even tote dainty purses and don feather boas.’ Are you sure they’re not describing an Army wetting down here??”

“In many ways, pizza is like air: you can never exhale all the air from your lungs and you can never NOT eat another piece of pizza…”
Lt Col (EUCOM) on how he was able to eat 32 pieces of pizza in one sitting

“Hey, somebody should really do that…”
CDR (CENTCOM) on the CENTCOM tasking process

“Anybody know what the burst radius for an 0-4 is around here?”
Maj (CENTCOM) midway through working a tasker

“Our days are spent trying to get some poor, unsuspecting third world country to pony up to spending a year in a sweltering desert, full of pissed off Arabs who would rather shave the back of their legs with a cheese grater than submit to foreign occupation by a country for whom they have nothing but contempt.”
LTC (JS) on the joys of coalition building

“Are you sure they aren’t writing about us? Hell, at least we should jump on that wholesale desertion thing…”
Maj (CENTCOM) on the following report from a newspaper:
“(The Iraqi military was crippled by)…a multitude of erratic orders and strategic miscalculations, while its fighting units barely communicated with one another and were paralyzed from a lack of direction...these woes were compounded by incompetence, poor preparation, craven leadership and (the) wholesale desertions of thousands of soldiers…”

“That concept was probably developed by the Department of Redundancies Department.”
Maj (MARFOREUR) on one of the many “good ideas” put forward at a joint planning conference

“Cynicism is the smoke that rises from the ashes of burned out dreams.”
Maj (CENTCOM) on the daily thrashings delivered to AOs at his Command

“WE are the reason that Rumsfeld hates us…”
LTC (EUCOM) doing some standard, Army self-flagellation

“Never let yourself become too closely associated with disaster…”
“South of the Alps and East of the Adriatic, paranoia is considered mental equilibrium…”
“The chance of success in these talks is the same as the number of “R’s” in “fat chance…””

“It's as obvious as dog bollocks on an ironing board.”
British LTC (OMC-A). Unsure of the actual meaning, but the image is interesting and Brits seem to get a kick out of it.

“His knowledge on that topic is only power point deep...”

“We have no position on that issue. In fact, your position IS our position. Could you tell us what our position is?”
CDR (TRANSCOM) at a policy SVTC

“Ya know, in this Command, if the world were supposed to end tomorrow, it would still happen behind schedule.”
CWO4 (ret) (EUCOM)

“Even if Al-Qaeda nuked this place, the Chief of Staff would approve a 4-star visitor the very next day!”

“Never pet a burning dog.”
LTC (Tennessee National Guard)

“Remember: kill something every day, no matter how small and insignificant it may be…it helps maintain proficiency.”

“It’s basically announcing to the world that I’ve completely given up.”
LT (USN F-14 squadron) on his initial feelings behind the wheel of his brand new minivan

“Strive for the bare minimum. Remember, there’s no competition at the bottom of the barrel.”

"A good staff officer can read upside down and knows how to flirt with secretaries."
"A staff action is like getting an out of state check, countersigned by a fraud on a phony ID: some of the time it clears, but most of the time, you're screwed."
Lt Col (USAF)

"There are times in your life when you'll have to eat crow. Actually, you don't have to eat it—just hold it in your mouth long enough until nobody's watching, and then spit it out."
Lt Col (USAF) on the realities of a staff work

"Well, out of all the officers on this staff, he is certainly one of them..."
Maj (MARFOREUR) on a fellow staffer

“I need intelligence, not information.”

"Now is the time for us to get out of the stovepipes of multilevel thinking and become monoethical!"
"This situation is going soft brown on us real quick…"
"It's time for someone to jerk a knot is his ass!"
"We have to get a handle on the internecine interactions that go on here…"
"Well, first we need to skinny down on this thing to find out what is really going on, then I want to skinny down the skinny some more...."
GO (EUCOM) using GO/FO-speak

"Legal Advice: Fast, Cheap, Accurate. Pick two."
On the door of a Judge Advocate’s office

“Ah, the joys of Paris: a unique chance to swill warm wine and be mesmerized by the dank ambrosia of unkempt armpits...”

“Assmosis: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up rather than working hard.”
“Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a suspense was missed or a mission failed, and determining who was responsible.”
“Ohnosecond: The minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a big mistake (e.g., hit 'reply all')”
Maj (EUCOM), excerpted from a collection of definitions

“Always watch whose toes you step on because they may be connected to the butt that you will eventually have to kiss…”

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it…”

“‘Status quo,’ as you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in…’”
Attributed to former President Ronald Reagan

“We are now past the good idea cutoff point…”
MAJ (JS) on the fact that somebody always tries to “fine tune” a COA with more “good ideas”

“Who are you talking to? ...Hang up the phone!”
Lt Col mentoring MAJ (EUCOM) on how to stay in his own lane…

“That dude actually invented the SSOL!”
CDR (EUCOM) on the Stupid Staff Officer’s Look (a.k.a. the Ensign’s/2LT’s salute…)

“I have to avoid those German spas where everyone hangs out naked. I mean, I get enough emails from people who think I need to enlarge my penis.”

“The hardest thing about having a third child is switching from 1-on-1 to a zone defense.”

“Nobody ever said you had to be smart to make 0-6.”

“That was a typo. Instead of “pot of money,” it should have read “pot money.” It refers to money spent by OSD after smoking a joint. We have a similar fund we can tap into for financing many of our own ideas. In fact, that's how we got the name ‘Joint Staff.’”
LTC (JS) in an email describing the amount of money available for use on a given project

Top Ten Perks of Being Stationed in Iraq:
10. Access to Saddam’s extensive collection of Barbara Streisand CDs
9. I’m the only Jonathon Atwood in the Baghdad phonebook.
8. You play cards with those Iraqi government decks…we use the actual guys.
7. We get to test out the Army’s new bulletproof camel.
6. You don’t need Dr. Phil to lose weight here…you just sweat your ass off.
5. When the CO isn’t looking, you can tiptoe around the presidential palace and play
dictator for awhile.
4. It’s fun to pick up the phone and say, “No, Uday and Qusay are not available right
now because they’re dead.”
3. Goodbye standard-issue army tent; hello billion-dollar palace.
2. CBS comedies are actually funny in Kurdish.
1. The farther away from the state of California, the better.
Letterman (CBS)

“I haven't complied with a damn thing and nothing bad has happened to me yet.”
“Whatever happened to good old-fashioned military leadership? Just task the first two people you see.”
“The first question I ask myself when tasked to do something that's not obviously and overwhelmingly in my own best interest is, ‘Exactly what happens if I don't do it?’"
“Accuracy and attention to detail take a certain amount of time.”
“No need to tip our hand as to how responsive we can be.”
CDR (EUCOM) in a passdown to his replacement

“I seem to be rapidly approaching the apex of my mediocre career.”

“I think that my next set of orders will take me to Iraq. My career’s going so badly that I’m considered a ‘dead-ender.’”
Lt Col (EUCOM)

“Contact is a high school graduate with computer ability and unspecified heroin processing skills.”
“Don’t make me have to break off my foot in your ass, Jackie Chan-style.”
“This place is in dynamic equilibrium: it sucks as much as it blows.”
“This is probably gonna be another ‘jump through our ass-ex.’”
“You couldn’t count your balls twice and come up with the same number.”
“Friday is a ‘reduced battle rhythm’ day.”
LTC (Combined Forces Command), heard around Afghanistan

“I just realized that this War on Terror might take a little longer than we thought, so I am developing a new system of hanging charts on walls to solve our problem and win the war."
LTC (EUCOM) after a review of long range Counter Terrorism (CT) plans

“We use the BOGSAT (Bunch of Guys Sitting Around Talking) approach. That’s actually the PC cousin of BOGSATAS (Bunch of Guys Sitting Around Talking About Shit).”
LCDR (EUCOM) on his branch’s modus operandi

“There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.”
“Some people dream of success, while other people live to crush those dreams.”
“Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.”
“None of us is as dumb as all of us.”
“It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn’t take any to just sit there with a stupid look on your face.”
Excerpted from a brief (EUCOM)

“Things are looking up for us here. In fact, Papua-New Guinea is thinking of offering two platoons: one of Infantry (headhunters) and one of engineers (hut builders). They want to eat any Iraqis they kill. We’ve got no issues with that, but State is being anal about it.”
LTC (JS) on OIF coalition-building

"It’s not a lot of work unless you have to do it."

"I’m gonna have to leave work early today and probably stay home tomorrow. I’m fighting off a cold and I want to beat it before I start my leave in two days."

“This is my PowerPoint. There are many like it, but mine is XP.
My PowerPoint is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life.
My PowerPoint without me is useless. Without my PowerPoint, I am useless.
I must format my slides true.
I must brief them better than the others who are trying to outbrief me.
I must brief the impact on the CDR before he asks it of me. I will.
My PowerPoint and I know that what counts is not the number of slides, the colors of the highlights, nor the format of the bullets. We know that it is the new information that counts. We will brief only new information.
My PowerPoint is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as my brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its fonts, its accessories, its formats, and its colors. I will keep my PowerPoint slides current and ready to brief. We will become part of each other. We will...
Before God, I swear this creed.
My PowerPoint and I are defenders of our country.
We are the masters of our subject. We are the saviors of my career.
So be it, until victory is ours and there is no enemy but peace.
Ranger’s Creed, updated

“Creating smoking holes gives our lives meaning and enhances our manliness.”
LTC (EUCOM) at a CT conference

“Interagency is a process, not a noun.”
Anonymous (EUCOM)

“Eventually, we have to ‘make nice’ with the French, although, since I’m new in my job, I have every expectation that I’ll be contradicted.”
DOS rep at a Counter Terrorism Conference

"Everyone should have an equal chance, but not everyone is equal."
"Kissing his ass may not do anything for you, but it will sure make him feel better."
"I am so far down the food chain that I've got plankton bites on my butt."
"If you ain't got an audit trail, you're looking at butt time in the crowbar motel."
"He is educated beyond his intelligence."
"If it's an ass worth kissing, be sure to leave a hickey."
"You can't scrub a black dog white."
"He's over at the gym looking at the spandex exhibit."
"Every time she leaned over, I thought I was going to get fragged by denim shrapnel."
"You can get drunk enough to do most anything, but you have to realize going in that there are some things that, once you sober up and realize what you have done, will lead you to either grab a 12-gauge or stay drunk for the rest of your life."
"Once you accept that a dog is a dog, you can't get upset when it barks."
“Women are going get mad at you about something, so it might as well be for something you enjoy."
Lt Col (USSOCOM), excerpts

“That guy just won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

"Let's just call Lessons Learned what they really are: institutionalized scab picking."
"I can describe what it feels like being a Staff Officer in two words: distilled pain."

“Alcohol is the Bermuda Triangle of my moral compass.”

"When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all."

"Arguing with a Marine is like wrestling with a pig: everybody gets dirty and only the pig enjoys it."

"Never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to sheer stupidity."

“I always get a little nervous when I hear a Lieutenant say, ‘Based on my experience,’ a Captain say, ‘Hey, watch this,’ or a General say, ‘I was just wondering…’”
"As a Colonel, I get to philosophize. As AOs, you get to do the dirty work"

"Yeah, I’ve been married a few times. I like to think of myself as a shit magnet."

"We exist solely to light as many fires as we can around the AOR and then have the Army and the Air Force think they are surrounded.”
"Working in this command is like living in an interrogation center: eventually, it will break even the best of us. It is just a matter of time…”

"They also serve, who sit and surf the NIPR."

"I hear so much about Ft. Bragg. Where is it?"
“It's in the western part of southeastern North Carolina.”

"Never trust anyone wearing a loop.”
“I’ve become the master of nodding my head and acting like I give a shit, and then instantly forgetting what the hell a person was saying the moment they walk away.”
Flag-level Executive Assistant

"Mark my words, this internet thing is gonna catch on someday."

"You’re not a loser. You’re just not my kind of winner..."
GS-14 (OSD)

"He who strives for the minimum rarely attains it."
GS-12 (DOS)

"I’m tired of waiting on somebody who I know is just going to ignore me once they arrive.”
Lt Col (EUCOM), while waiting to start a brief for a visiting VIP

"If I’d had more time, I’da written a shorter brief…"
Derived from the writings of Mark Twain

"Vision without funding is hallucination.”

"I work at EUCOM. I know bullshit when I see it.”
LTC (EUCOM) in a game of office poker

"If I want to flick a booger off my finger, I need to keep my finger out of my nose."

"That guy is as queer as a football bat."
“His remarks are a lot like premature ejaculation: two strokes and it’s out…"

"That drink was so damn good it knocked her panties off..."
Contractor (EUCOM)

"You only know as much as you don't know."

"During my first six months in the Army, I actually thought my name was ‘Goddammit.’"

"That man confirms the theory that they remove your tongue when you make 0-4, remove your brain when you make 0-5, and then give you back your tongue when you make 0-6…"
Lt Col (EUCOM)

"I’m just livin’ the dream…"
EUCOM staffer response to the question, “How’s it going?” or, “What are you doing?”

"I’m just ranting…I have nothing useful to say."

"Why would an enemy want to bomb this place and end all the confusion?"

"How soon before we can give this guy a medal, a good OER, and send him on his way?"
GS-12 (EUCOM) referring to his boss

"Other than the fact that there’s no beer, an early curfew and women that wear face coverings for a reason, Kabul is really a wonderful place to visit.”

"I’m outta here; gotta go move the body.”
LTC (EUCOM), in an attempt to convince his colleagues that he was going to the gym. Seen immediately afterwards behind the wheel of his car, exiting the base…

"It was seen, visually.”
LTC (EUCOM) during a Reconnaissance briefing

"To hell with that. My morale will continue until the beatings improve.”
LT (NAVEUR) responding to the classic, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

"The best part about having kids this age is bath time. I just toss ‘em both in the tub and let ‘em go at it for, say, 15 minutes. It works like the spin cycle on your washing machine"
CDR (EUCOM) on his 2-year old twins

"Let me tell you about the benefits of being on a staff…"
"This should be a short conversation."
LtCol to Lt Col (EUCOM)

"This is like trying to give birth to a flaming porcupine.”
GO (CENTCOM) on the inception of the Afghan National Army

"I wish there were two of me. I’d get twice the work done and the chicks would love it.”
Lt Col (EUCOM)

"If you want to take down a country, gimme a call. We’ll get it done.”
GO/FO (EUCOM) to a gathering of US Ambassadors

"Hello gentlemen. Are we in today or are you just ignoring my request?"
GS-15 (DSCA) in an email to EUCOM staffers

"After seeing the way this place works, I bet that Mickey Mouse wears a EUCOM watch.”

"CENTCOM rules for TDY:
1. Never whistle while packing. It pisses off the wife off big time.
2. Never bring home anything you are not willing to share with the wife.
3. What goes on TDY, stays on TDY.”

"That’s a BEM answer: very fast, completely correct and totally useless...”
LTC (JS) describing BEM (Brevet Ecole Militaire), graduates of the Belgian Staff College

"Whenever I’m in a crisis I ask myself, ‘What would Tony Danza do?’”
David Letterman

“Your Key Issues are so 2003…”
CPT (CJTF-180) in January 2004

"USCENTCOM commanders announced today that they intend to maintain their presence in Qatar "until the sun runs out of hydrogen," thus committing the US to the longest duration deployment in human history. When asked how they planned to maintain the presence in Qatar for a projected length of 4 to 5 billion years, planners said "we're working on a plan for that. We don't have one yet, but not having a plan or an intelligent reason to do something has never been much of an impediment for us in the past; we don't foresee it being a big show stopper for us in the future either."

Among the options that were being discussed was an innovative program to "interbreed" the deployed personnel. "We are going to actively encourage the military members in Qatar to intermarry and raise children that will replace them in the future. Sure, it may be a little hard on some of our female service members, since there currently are about 8 men for every woman over there, but we expect that to be OBE as the sex ratios will even out in a generation or two. In any case the key to the plan is to make these assignments not only permanent, but inheritable and hereditary. For example, if you currently work the JOC weather desk, so will your children, and their children, and their children, ad infinitum. We like to think of it as job security."
CPT (CJTF-180)

"That’s FUBIJAR.”
COL (CENTCOM), Fucked Up, But I’m Just a Reservist…

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m the only one that matters in here.”

"He has delusions of adequacy."
Oscar Wilde

“I heard there was an earthquake in Djibouti last night. So did they shake their ‘Djibouti’?”

“The Dhow is sunk!
“Is that something I should get excited about?”
“You should be. You’ve been working the issue for three days...”
“Oh, I thought you were talking about the DOW.”

"No matter how hard this Command beats me down, I am still able to get it up."

"I keep myself confused on purpose, just in case I am captured and fall into enemy hands!"

"Cheese-dickery abounds at this Command."

"Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year?"
LTC (EUCOM) preparing his Office Evaluation Report support form

"He is a modest little person, with much to be modest about."
Winston Churchill

"...or the alternate explanation is that I'm just a wussy boy."
Col (EUCOM) using words that you just gotta love…

"This is all happening because we had the sympathetic detonation of a stress grenade."
Maj (EUCOM) after an insignificant issue became a theater focus because somebody used the "Reply all" function

"I’d be happy to classify this document for you. Could you tell me its classification?"
GS11 (EUCOM) in an email from the Foreign Disclosure office

"I finally figured out that when a Turkish officer tells you, "It's no problem," he means, for him."

“Sorry I’m late. I was busy dressing the Assistant Secretary.”
LTC (EUCOM) after providing clothes to a VIP whose own wardrobe was still in his lost luggage

“The only three things you want to hear from a good wingman are: ‘Two;’ ‘Lead, you’re on fire;’ and ‘I’ll take the fat one…’”

"Nothing is too good for you guys…and that’s exactly what you’re gonna get…”
LTC (EUCOM) describing the way Army policy is formulated

“Hell, no! I only get involved in social functions when there’s a keg of beer, loose women, and a trampoline. You know the party’s getting started when there are drunk women are on the trampoline.”
LTC (EUCOM) when asked whether he had attended an official VIP gathering in DC

"The only thing that sucks worse than being me is being you…”

"Why should I worry? Nobody here outranks me by that much.”
MAJ (SOCEUR) briefing a group of 0-6s

"All they do is chain smoke and scratch their asses…"
GO (EUCOM) on the productivity of the EU military staff

"I have to know what I don’t know..."
Col (CENTCOM) during a shift changeover briefing

"No. Now I’m simply confused at a higher level..."
Foreign GO/FO when asked if he had any questions following a transformation brief at JFCOM

"I’m planning on taking the weekend off…notionally..."
LT (EUCOM) midway through a huge, simulated command exercise

“‘Leaning forward’ is really just the first phase of ‘falling on your face.’"

"I've heard of ‘buzzwords’ before but I have never experienced a ‘buzz sentence’ or a ‘buzz paragraph’ until today."
Maj (EUCOM) after listening to a JFCOM trainer/mentor

"We've got to start collaborating between the collaboration systems."
"Our plan for the Olympics is to take all the ops and put it in the special room we have developed for ops."

"I’m not in the Navy. I just fly.”

“Did you here that they’re canning Bob Edwards on NPR?”
“Why? Did they catch him standing up for the National Anthem or something??”

"Not to be uncooperative, but we're just being uncooperative.”
CDR (EUCOM) in an email response to a request for information

"You gotta either dazzle them with brilliance or baffle them with bullshit.”
Capt (EUCOM)

"If I come home early, my wife thinks I'm after something. If I get home late, she thinks I've already had it..."

"We're from the nuke shop, sir. We're the crazy aunt in the closet that nobody likes to talk about ..."
Lt Col to GO/FO (EUCOM) in briefings

"We should have arranged for a bunch of dummies to sit around the table in there and nod their heads in agreement. You know, now that I think about it, there were plenty of dummies sitting around the table anyway!"

"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with so little, that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."
Anonymous, but classic…

“This is a great place to perv out. I mean, I can perv out all I want and nobody seems to notice…”
GS-15 (OSD) during an enjoyable TDY

"The 'L' in CENTCOM stands for leadership..."
“At this Command, we have written in large, black letters: DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on the back of our security badges.”

“I've been fucked more times in this job than I would have if I were locked up in a Turkish prison...hell yes I want the assignment!”
Lt Col (EUCOM) after being asked if he would like to rotate back to a stateside assignment

German salesgirl (in perfect English): May I help you, sir?
CPT: Yes you may. Do you speak English?
Salesgirl: Why yes I do. What part of “May I help you, sir?” did you not understand?
Exchange heard in Germany, but common throughout the world…

“He cloaked himself in an impenetrable veneer of terminology.”
Lt Col (JFCOM) describing the Jiffiecom alpha male

“Transformation has long been the buzzword for those that are dispossessed, dispirited and disillusioned…”
Chaplain (EUCOM), allegedly talking about the Disciples…

“Eating is a process, not an event…”
Col (JS) while putting on an eating clinic at an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet

"There are more disconnects on this issue than CENTCOM has staff officers."

“Everyone should have some misbehavior in their past. I mean, if you don’t know what sin is, how do you know what you’re giving up?”

“I think we should replace the fluoride in our drinking water with Prozac and Viagra. Trust me, I trained as a pharmacist; everyone would be happier…”

“I like to think of it as a US-Belarusian bi-lat.”
MAJ (CENTCOM) after visiting an adult, “folk-dancing” venue

“Is that a Navy or a Marine admiral?”

“I thought she was a hottie until she raised her arm. It looked like somebody had put Buckwheat in a headlock down there…”
GS-15 (OSD) on an experience with European women

“Please don’t laugh. This is my job.”
Maj (EUCOM) from Protocol, explaining in great detail the approved procedures for dropping off VIPs

“That guy’s about as effective as a tail gunner on the space shuttle.”

"I guess this is the wrong power cord for the computer, huh?"
LtCol (EUCOM) after the smoke cleared from plugging his 110V computer into a 220V outlet

"OK, this is too stupid for words."

Dopeler effect: the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you fast
Sarchasm: the gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it
Inoculatte: to take coffee intravenously when necessary
Ignoranus: a person who is both stupid and a jackass
LTC (TRADOC), excerpted from a collection of definitions

“We are condemned men who are chained and will row in place until we rot.”
LtCol (CENTCOM) on life at his Command

“The only reason that guy’s lips are moving is because somebody has their hand so far up his ass…”

“I’ll be right back. I have to go pound my nuts flat…”
Lt Col (EUCOM) after being assigned a difficult tasker

“Right now we’re pretty much the ham in a bad ham sandwich…”

“Let’s face it: Africa sucks…”
DOS representative (Bureau of African Affairs) at a conference on Africa

"So, what do you wanna do?"…"I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?"…"I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?,” etc.
COL (DIA) describing the way OUSD(S) develops and implements their strategies

“You know what they say about great minds, right? Well, I know what they say. Well, actually I don't. Actually, I don't know that anybody has ever said anything about a great mind around me. So, what do they say about great minds? Or is that great mimes? Huh? Is it time for my medication yet...?”
Maj (EUCOM) in an email

"He stood there like a pig looking at a wristwatch."
MAJ (USAREUR) on another staffer’s response to being assigned a tasker

"This is the Watch Officer at NMCC. Can you go secure?"
"Roger sir, initiating…OK, I have you Top Secret."
"Roger, have you same. OK, can you tell me if Bahrain is Zulu+2 or Zulu+3?"
COL (NMCC) and LCDR (NAVCENT) during the invasion of Afghanistan

“All we’re doing over there is serving up self-licking ice cream cones.”
BTCS (USN SOF) discussing Iraqi operations

"Well, at least the ODC Chief is smarter than the BAO."
"Yeah, but that’s like saying that Boo Boo is smarter than Yogi…”
Lt Col to LtCol (EUCOM)

The Two Rules of Success:
1. Don’t tell everything you know

"Blocking punches with your face does not constitute boxing."
Lt Col (EUCOM)
"These Navy guys have an affinity for being on top of each other…you know, hot racking?...oops, I didn't know you were still there!”
Maj (USAFE) talking to friend while forgetting to hang up the phone with a Navy rep

“Remember, this is Germany. Failure to recycle properly is a Federal Offense…or at least a word with a whole bunch of letters.”

"It's amazing that I don't have to open my mouth and the information still comes out."
"It's part of being on a staff. . .happens all the time with GOs."
Maj to Maj (USAFE) after somebody else answered a question meant for him without being asked

"I'd go with the Navy guy. They know the ins and outs of showers."
Maj (EUCOM) after overhearing two USAF AOs and a Navy AO discussing the qualities of various shower stalls

"Sometimes I feel like the whole world is out to get me…and then I realize that some of the smaller countries are probably neutral.”

"Life's a bitch that keeps on having puppies..."

"When it comes to getting ahead in today's Air Force, it's not ass-kissing that makes the difference…it’s the tongue action that really separates the men from the boys."
Lt Col (EUCOM)

"Frag O’s...killing the planet, one tree at a time…"
Maj (11 MEU)

"I agree that aviators earn every cent of their flight pay. It’s their base pay that I have a problem with…"

"That guy’s been putting a lotta weight since he checked in here. I heard he’s taking a Human Girth Hormone supplement…"

1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of shit.
2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
3. How about never? Is never good for you?
4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.
6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
7. I'm out of my mind, but please feel free to leave a message.
8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a damn word you're saying.
10. Ahhh... I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again.
11. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.
12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
13. I have plenty of talent and vision; I just don't give a damn.
14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks?!?
20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of karma to burn off.
22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
23. And your crybaby, whiny-assed opinion would be?
24. Do I look like a people person?
25. This isn't an office. It's hell with fluorescent lighting.
26. I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.
27. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
28. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
29. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
30. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
31. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
32. Too many freaks…not enough circuses.
33. Chaos, panic, and work here is done.
34. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted a salary.
35. Oh I get it... like humor... but different.
Provided by LTC (EUCOM)

"Okay guys, there is WAY too much discussion about punctuation here today…PERIOD."
COL to Lt Col (EUCOM)

“I don’t know how much clearer I can be…(click)”
GS-15 (NATO) to Lt Col (EUCOM) in answer to a question about a tasker

“My brain is so fried that I’m operating on stem alone...”
Lt Col (EUCOM)

"There's no value added in these comments."
"We're staff officers. We don't add value. We add text."
LCDR response to Lt Col (EUCOM) after review of a draft message

“From the Russian point of view, the US being in Georgia is like the teenage boy who shows up to take your daughter out on a date. No matter what he says, you know what he’s got on his mind…”

“This is the only place where they order you to clear all the classified papers out of your work trailer and then have security guards standing by outside to check for a courier card…”
LTC (CENTCOM) discussing CENTCOM’s hurricane-preparedness measures

“Wisdom is the comb that life gives you after all your hair has fallen out…”
Lt Col (EUCOM)

“Indecision is the key to flexibility.”

“Please don’t go all J5 on me and talk about 'maybe, sort of, and perhaps…’”
CAPT to LTC (EUCOM) on how to write an OPORD

“Here’s a Happy Snap to burn into your brain.”
Lt Col to COL (EUCOM) on how to present info at a shift changeover brief

“This is one of the worst cables that I have ever read. It is beyond confusing. I mean, if I have no idea what we are talking about, how do we expect foreigners to understand it? But thanks for sending it to me.”
GS-15 (OSD)

“Yeah, I think that’s the answer I’m looking for.”
Lt Col (TRANSCOM) proving that he’s truly a staff officer

“The more senior I get, the more junior I feel.”
CDR (EUCOM) at his promotion

“If you will try to be more specific, I will try to be more helpful…”
GS-15 (OSD)

“The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it never tried to contact us.”
CDR (EUCOM) quoting Calvin and Hobbes

“Your briefing should be like a skirt: long enough to cover the important parts; short enough to be interesting…”
“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.”
“SHAPE: Superb Holiday At Public Expense.”
“Military intelligence is to intelligence what military music is to music.”
CAPT (Polish Navy)

“The Pentagon is the headquarters for all the military services supplemented by liaisons from the Air Force and the Coast Guard.”
GS-15 (OSD)

Diesel Sub Sets Record

I have to admit I'm impressed with the news that the German Type 212A sub, U 32, made a two week transit from Germany to Rota, Spain, without snorkeling. While a nuclear boat could have made the trip in two or three days without breaking a sweat, it's stilll a phenomenal demonstation of the advances in AIP technology that a boat can stay moving for two weeks without having to run the diesel generator.

While this might make some think that the U.S. should invest in AIP boats, the Navy's PEO for Submarines, RADM William Hilarides, just put out a very concise explanation of why diesel boats might be good for some countries, but not the U.S. Excerpts:

“A diesel submarine sitting on the bottom is relatively quiet thing, but it has to get there, and it has to be relatively supportive there,” he said.
"Hilarides and Polmar also had some disconnect on the cost of non-nuclear submarines.
"The admiral said that diesel subs would cost $1 billion for the hull and for installing modern U.S. equipment on the vessel. While nuclear submarines are projected to cost $2.4 billion, Hilarides suggested that savings for diesel subs would be inadequate.
“So it would be two-for-one . . . if you were to buy a submarine like that,” he said. “And it has nowhere near the stealth, endurance, deployability and on-station time that we need for our submarines.”

RADM Hilardes has been busy; he also recently discussed efforts to reduce costs in the Virginia Class program.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Deputy Undersecretary Of B.S.

An article in The American Spectator by Jed Babbin, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, seems to be implying that we would want to develop supercavitating torpedos, like the Russian Shkval. I'm not sure what a "Deputy Undersecretary" does, except maybe boss around the Assistant Deputy Undersecretary, but hopefully he wasn't in charge of procurement.

I understand that he's trying to get people to recognize that we have to spend more money on upgrading our fleet and its weapons, which is a laudable goal, but this isn't the way to go about it. I've written about these super-fast torpedoes before (especially the "new" Iranian one) and the fact is that they're militarily useless. [Note: If you're an Iranian Revolutionary Guard procurement officer reading this, we're really scared of your rocket torpedo, and really hope you don't go and blow your entire weapons budget buying them -- that would frighten us.]

Here's what Babbin says about the Shkval:
"Water is about 1,000 times denser than air, and an object moving through it has to work that much harder to move the same distance at the same speed. Submarines, on a good day, can hit perhaps forty miles per hour. Standard Russian torpedoes can do as much as sixty, and can catch everything we have. Our torpedoes are slower, simply because we haven’t chosen to spend the money to develop something faster, far less something like a supercavitating weapon. But the Russians now have the advantage of a torpedo that can travel almost five times faster than ours. It’s the world’s first supercavitating weapon. It will take us years to catch up..."

Why would we want to "catch up"? Beyond a certain speed, a faster torpedo just means it's more likely to miss its target -- unless you're counting on a contact weapon, which is what a non-nuclear version of the Shkval would have to be. As I'll discuss, that's not a big issue for submarines. He goes on:

"The Russians have taken supercavitation out of the lab and put it to sea in the rocket-powered torpedo they call "Shkval" (squall). It’s huge -- about 27 feet long -- and has a range of over four miles. The Shkval reportedly can reach speeds of more than 250 miles an hour. It goes so fast that it doesn’t need its warhead to destroy most targets. The equation is now much simpler for any new fast Russian sub fitted to launch the Shkval. If an American sub shoots a torpedo at you, you fire a Shkval right back at him. And then you can outmaneuver -- or even outrun -- the relatively slow American torpedo. If you can get within range of an American aircraft carrier, you can be sure of a kill, because there’s no way the big ship is going to dodge so fast a torpedo, and it has no other defense. We won’t have subs protecting other ships with our own supercavitating torpedoes for the simple reason that we don’t have any."

Unadulterated bullshit. Actually, he never actually claims that the Shkval could hit an opposing submarine, although he implies it. The Shkval seems to be unguided -- it goes (approximately) down one bearing. How hard is it to hit a submarine with an unguided weapon? Let's do a little math:

At one mile, one degree of bearing is equal to about 35 yards; at 4 miles, the supposed range of the Shkval, it's 140 yards. An attack submarine is about 120 yards long, so let's say, for simplicity, that it's one degree in length. Note that this is only if the sub is broad to the target; if it's facing the target, it's much narrower. OK, that's not too bad; you just have to predict where the submarine will be the time it takes the torpedo to traverse the distance from your sub to the target. At 250 knots, it'll go 4 nm in about a minute. But, a submarine going even 10 knots will cover it's own length in about 20 seconds; it makes it harder, but still doable. Here's the tough part: depth. A 33' diameter submarine at four miles is about 1/4 of a degree tall; you've got to have the depth pretty much exact, which is very hard to do (remember, this is probably a contact weapon.) All in all, the odds of a Shkval hitting an alerted submarine are fairly close to zero. Next, we come to the weirdest part of the article:

"In August 2000 the Kursk -- a new Russian nuclear submarine -- sank after two explosions on board. Underwater cameras showed that the Kursk was missing most of its bow. In all probability, the Kursk was sunk testing the Shkval. The first explosion was most likely an accidental ignition of the Shkval’s rocket motor. The second one could have been the rocket bursting the torpedo tube and the hull, or detonation of the warhead, either one powerful enough to blow the bow off the Kursk

Kursk missing most of her bow? The bow was removed by divers as part of the salvage operation. While most experts think it was the hydrogen peroxide-fuelled torpedoes that exploded to kill the Kursk, I suppose it's possible that it was a failed Shkval launch. Still, in an article that seems to be trying to get the U.S. to build a similar weapon, "destroys launch platform" normally isn't one of the attributes you're looking for in a new weapons system.

So, while I applaud Babbin's goal of trying to get people to invest more money in naval technology, I urge him to use more actual facts next time.

Pictures Of An Old Soviet Submarine Base

A series of recent pictures of what used to be the Black Sea Fleet Sub Base on the Crimean Penisula in Balaklava, Ukraine, has been showing up on a lot of defense-related websites and blogs. Via Subtopia, the pictures apparently came originally from this Russian LiveJournal site, and was picked up by DefenseTech from Fun Mansion. Here's what seems to be a sign for the base:

The pictures at Fun Mansion really look like the base was straight out of a James Bond movie...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In-Depth Analysis Of Submarine News

I started this blog with the intention of providing in-depth analysis of any submarine news that happened to make its way into the public domain. And that's still my goal -- if I could figure out a way to start posting about serious topics before 0050 on nights where I have to work in the morning (this "retirement" thing isn't quite as restful as I'd planned). So, if I didn't have to go to bed, I might be providing an analysis of some articles (here and here) that discuss why the ASDS program was cancelled, or maybe even a discussion of an article in The New London Day (registration req'd) about future submarine force levels. (They're supposed to drop to about 40 in the 2018-2019 time frame, and then start climbing again to above 50 by 2026, assuming Congress agrees to start buying 2 subs a year very soon, which will happen right after monkeys start flying out of my butt.) This unreadable graph from The Day tells the whole story:

Anyway, I can provide analysis of this report from the Kitsap Sun's Military Life blog about how the Seawolf and Connecticut are supposedly going to be based in Bremerton instead of Bangor when they move to the West Coast next year. My analysis: as soon as they figure out what a pain it is getting the Sailors to the Training Facility at the Sub Base, they'll look for a way to move the boats over to Bangor.

Update 0715 25 April: If I had time, I would also rip apart this article by a guy, who claims to have been a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, that sings the praises of the militarily-useless Shkval supercavitating torpedos. I found about 5 errors just on a quick once-through, and I'm sure there are more. I'll try to get back to it tonight.

Monday, April 24, 2006

No Hypocrisy At All...

As many of you have noticed, the blogosphere is split into quite a few smaller groups, and you don't see much interaction (other than name-calling) across the "borders". Here in Idaho, I've tried to "reach across" to the more progressive side by linking to them and leaving comments in their blogs, and I've had some thought-provoking exchanges as a result.

Some blogs, though, aren't as good about encouraging this type of interaction. 43rd State Blues, which seems to be one of the more popular progressive blogs in the state (although you can't really tell, since their SiteMeter isn't public) seems to have a policy of not allowing non-liberals to comment. That's their right -- it's their blog. I really don't have a problem with it, until they start complaining about the commenting policies of other blogs; then it seems hypocritical.

Such was the case when my favorite 43SB contributor, "BinkyBoy" (who said I had "tiny squirrel balls" for not physically attacking Fred Phelps at the Carrie French funeral, even though that would have played right into asshat Phelps' hands) mentioned in a post about Adam's Blog that: " might notice that little Adam only accepts registered commenters because of "spam". Isn't that what all of the martyred right-wing sites claim?"

I thought that this was hypocritical, so I looked for ways to engage BinkyBoy in some good-natured discussion of the issue. (Adam also pointed out that it seemed hypocritical at the time, and said so again today.) BinkyBoy added a comment to his post today defending 43SB's policy, thusly:
"Because our site has a distinct policy stated in a very prominant "leftish" position on the page, my stance has been misunderstood in multiple instances. We make no excuse on this site, we are not trying to filter "spam", we have stated our policy unequivically and if you don't like it, tough."

As Adam points out, BinkyBoy seems to be saying: "Yeah, I accused you of making it hard to comment, but it turns out that it's even harder to comment on my site, but since we aren't trying to filter "spam", but instead minimize debate, that's OK."

And BinkyBoy wonders why people aren't buying into his political philosophies...

Anyway, I'm pretty sure the reason BinkyBoy updated his post was because of a comment I left over at Sara's place where he had just commented, and I figured I could get ahold of him that way. I asked if he thought that 43SB's commenting policy made his previous post seem hypocritical. He responded (spelling as found):
"The blog owner has decided that people such as yourself arn't welcome and I have decided not to question his policies at this time.
"As for kicking me off the blog, they have also determined that your juvenile and pathetic attempt to "call me out" isn't worthy of consideration."

I was really confused about his reference to "kicking me off the blog"; nowhere in my comment at Sara's had I mentioned anything that could be construed as an attempt to get him kicked off of 43SB. Then it hit me -- he was another one who didn't get that my SPUD-LIB initiative was supposed to be humorous! I guess if you're sitting around stewing about how Bus-hitler is going to personally listen to your phone calls then you really don't have any room for humor in your life. Anyway, BinkyBoy, I didn't want you kicked off 43SB, even though it would have been funny. (I did call on them to "denounce" BinkyBoy as the price of joining my ultimately successful SPUD-LIB crusade, but didn't intend for "denounce" to mean "kick out".)

Anyway, BinkyBoy, you're welcome to comment here at TSSBP -- we could use the laughs...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I Should Totally Be Famous

Most people have probably seen excerpts from the "Staff Officer Hard Sayings Log" that's been passing around the various mil-blogger sites (most recently over at Rontini's BBS). I had one contribution that I'd developed all by myself (and a couple others that I had heard and sent in to the EUCOM CDR who compiled the list) that I'd come up with to describe my personal philosophy of life: "When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all". I noticed it was included in the post over at Rontini's, so I decided to see how widespread the quote had become. When I googled it with quotes, it came up with 514 hits! Most of them were reposts of the quote log, but some others were from people who had adopted it as their taglines. I've never come up with a famous saying before, so now I wonder what I have to do to top myself (other than calling Frank J's anti-Instapundit alliance the "Alliance of Flea Blogs", which really hasn't caught on).

I totally should have trademarked it...

Former USS Cole CO Promotion Controversy

The Sacramento Bee has an in-depth article on the former CO of USS Cole, CDR Kirk Lippold, and the Senate's failure to approve his promotion to O-6 following the terrorist bombing of his ship in Yemen in October 2000. The article says that, despite the attack on him command, CDR Lippold was still approved for promotion in 2002, but when the list reached the Senate (after being approved by the Executive branch, including President Bush), his name was removed from the list approved by the Senate. (Here's an example of the approval process timeline.) The article says that Senator Warner of Virginia has been identified as the Senator who put the hold on the nomination.

That's all well and good -- the Senate has the responsibility to give their advice and consent on all officer promotions, and while I don't like the concept of Senators being able to put a private hold on nominations (I'd prefer they have to do it publicly) it's something that's always been done. Here's my problem with the article; check out this sentence:

"But now some are questioning whether the White House and Congress, in denying Lippold's Pentagon-approved promotion to the rank of captain, have nailed the right man."

The article goes on to say how other higher-ups have been promoted since the attack on the Cole. So how is the White House denying Lippold's promotion? President Bush signed off on it, or it wouldn't have been sent to the Senate. Is the writer suggesting that President Bush find some way to bypass the requirement to have the Senate approve officer promotions? I know that journalists like to blame the Administration for every bad thing that happens in the world, but this goes a little overboard. The article does try to put the blame on President Bush thusly:

"For 5 1/2 years, the Washington military and political establishment has not known quite what to do with Kirk Lippold.
"Early on, things looked bleak. For starters, he was confronting a Navy tradition of punishing any ship commander who hazards his vessel.
"Promotion is based upon a successful command tour," retired Adm. Harold Gehman, who investigated the role of Lippold's chain of command in the Cole attack, said in an interview. "They don't need any other reason than that not to promote you."
"Beyond that, an internal Navy report raised questions about Lippold's adherence to security procedures and the ship's training regimen.
"But Lippold's chain of command, up to the Joint Chiefs chairman and the secretary of defense, overruled the Navy report, finding that he could not have prevented the suicide bombing.
"The Pentagon shipped Lippold's recommendation for promotion to the White House in 2002. The president added his concurrence and sent it to the Senate for ratification. Publicly, no one wants to talk about what happened next.
"Sen. Warner, the Armed Services Committee chairman, has a special interest in the Cole attack: He was secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974, and the ship's home port at Norfolk Naval Station is in Virginia, the state he represents.
"Warner, though, denies that he blocked Lippold's promotion. "They can go ahead and bring that nomination up, and I've indicated to them I will fairly treat it," Warner said in an interview at the Capitol.
"But sources say Warner excised Lippold's name from the list of Navy promotions that the committee approved for Senate confirmation. All told, Warner has discussed Lippold's status during at least four personal meetings with senior Pentagon officials, according to the military sources, who refused to be identified out of fear of retribution from Warner or his aides.
"He threatened to open full hearings on the Cole attack and even summon relatives of the 17 dead sailors.
"Two years later, the Pentagon tried to resurrect Lippold's promotion. The Joint Chiefs of Staff met and reaffirmed the recommendation, in a remarkable person-by-person vote. The No. 2 man at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, made a personal pitch to Bush to intervene on Lippold's behalf. No action was taken. The Pentagon is unlikely to try again."

So, I suppose one could accuse President Bush of not picking a fight he probably wouldn't win with a friendly Senator on behalf of a controversial CDR. I'm sure that had he done that, we'd have seen articles about how Bush was trying to make the Senate irrelevant.

What I Believe...

Via one of my favorite progressive Idaho bloggers, I found my way to a post at "Operation Yellow Elephant", a snarky blog that seems to be claiming that you aren't allowed to support the war unless you or a close family member is or was in the military. I suppose they also believe you aren't allowed to support law enforcement unless you're a cop, but they never actually say that.

Anyway, the writer of that blog says that he's interested in my thoughts on the war. Since I don't feel like re-typing what I've already written, here's a bunch of links to posts I've written that kind of explain my position on why we're fighting and why it's the right thing to do:

Why We Fight
"The Enemy's Gate Is Down"
"You Make Me Wanna La-La"
Oh! The Humanity!
My God! We Dropped Bombs On People Who Were Shooting At Us!
Good Essays On Iraq
Are We Winning The War?
"The Cost Of Freedom"
Questioning One's Patriotism
We Didn't Invade Iraq To Pick Cherries
"Phased Withdrawal"... A New Plan?
Check Out This Comment
The Bush Corollary
Bush Uses "Packed Web Site" Strategy

I really don't expect anyone to read them all; they're here as much for my benefit if I want to find them later as for anything else. Just the thoughts of one recently retired submarine officer on the greatest question facing our society today...

Update 1953 23 April: The Operation Yellow Elephant guy gave me my own post! Head on over and join in the fun. It turns out that it's basically just a snarky website that says that young people shouldn't be allowed to support the war unless they're going to join the military. Ask them if they also believe that anyone who is concerned about the plight of the homeless should be required to take a homeless person into their own home and see how they respond...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

MilBlogger Conference 2006

LaShawn Barber is live-blogging at MilBloggers Conference 2006, going on today in D.C. Looks like some interesting discussions are going on, and rumor has it that there may be some drinking later...

Stifling John Kerry's Dissent

Sen. John Kerry is planning on giving a speech in Boston today about how the Administration "stifles dissent" by accusing opponents of the war of being "unpatriotic". Excerpts from the article about the planned speech:

"The spirit of intolerance for dissent has risen steadily, and the habit of labeling dissenters as unpatriotic has become the common currency of the politicians currently running our country," Kerry, D-Mass., said in remarks prepared for delivery Saturday at Boston's Faneuil Hall.
"We have even heard accusations that this dissent gives aid and comfort to the enemy," said the senator, who was the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and is a potential 2008 contender for the post. "That is cheap and shameful."

The title of the article is "Kerry Accuses Bush of Stifling Dissent", which I find somewhat of a reach, in that I've never seen any quote from President Bush accusing his opponents of being "unpatriotic". Even if he did, or his supporters used language like this, how is this "stifling dissent"? Why would people let someone else's words stop them from speaking, unless it was because it made them realize the truth? Isn't Kerry, in trying to say that Republicans shouldn't be able to accuse people of being unpatriotic, attempting to "stifle" their speech in the same way?

I've discussed the concept of "stifling dissent" before; disagreeing with someone is not doing that, it's exercising your own rights to free speech. Disagreeing with them, and presenting evidence that what they're saying is wrong, is also not stifling their dissent. For example, I can take one of Kerry's statements in the article -- "A majority of our casualties in Vietnam occurred after Richard Nixon had given up on victory. That must not happen in Iraq." -- and point out that it seems he's implying that the majority of the casualties had happened after Richard Nixon became President, and he could do something about it. Actually, the median death in Vietnam (I'm assuming that's what Kerry meant by "casualty", although he might have been using the more accurate definition of the word, which includes combat injuries) happened in 1968; Nixon didn't become President until January 1969. Maybe the median death happened after private citizen Nixon decided that the war was unwinnable. By Sen. Kerry's logic, I guess future Senators will be able to blame Sen. Kerry for any Iraq casualties that occurred after he decided the war was unwinnable.

Let's look at another statement he plans to make, where he says it is "cheap and shameful" to accuse those of opposing the war of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Isn't using phrases like "cheap and shameful" the equivalent of using phrases like "unpatriotic" in trying to stifle someone's expression? I've discussed before how, realistically, the only way our enemy can win the war is if we lose our will to fight it. Therefore, anyone who seeks to get us to stop fighting is helping the enemy meet their objectives. That's fine, as long as the people doing this recognize what they are doing -- they've decided that the damage being done to our country by continuing with the war is worse than what would happen if we "declared peace" and came home. As long as they're honest about that, I have no problem with them; I disagree with them, but support their right to their opinion. Those who claim that agitating for an American pullout is not indirectly supporting our enemy's goals, though -- I have no use for their intellectual dishonesty.

Friday, April 21, 2006

What A Great Spokesman...

Remember when various moonbat types were so excited that Charlie Sheen had questioned the "official" story of 9/11? I wonder if any of them will be posting about the latest Charlie Sheen news to hit the air...

Moonbattery Disguised As News

It looks like a regular news story. It comes from Yahoo, which seems to be a reputable site. It's only when you get into the meat of the article that you notice something's wrong...

The title, "Former Military Air Traffic Controller Claims Comet Collision with Earth on May 25, 2006", look pretty scary -- the kind of headline that makes you want to learn more. Here's what you find out when you read the "article" [emphasis in excerpt mine]:

"Comet Schwassman-Wachmann follows a five-year orbit that crosses the solar system's ecliptic plane. It has followed its five year orbit intact for centuries; but, in 1995, mysteriously fragmented. According to Julien, this is the same year that a crop circle appeared showing the inner solar system with the Earth missing from its orbit. He argues the "Missing Earth" crop circle was a message from higher intelligences warning humanity of the consequences of its destructive nuclear policies. He links this crop circle to May 25, 2006, and identifies the comet Schwassmann-Wachman as the subject of higher intelligence communications...
"...Julien argues that the kinetic energy of even a 'car sized' fragment will impact the Earth with devastating effect. He concludes the May 25 event is tied in to the Bush administration's policy of preemptive use of nuclear weapons against Iran and the effect of nuclear weapons on the realms of higher intelligences..."

OK, so the guy's clearly a nutcase. (The article linked has links to his website; he's so nutty that not even the DUmmies believe him -- well, most of them don't.) The thing is, if someone follows a link to the article on Yahoo, they might not notice that it's under the "press releases" section, and has a small "advertisement" label. I understand web sites need ad revenue, but at some point it seems that they'd want to at least consider whether the ad in question could hurt their reputation.

If you're interested, here's the real story on the comet from NASA.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Russian Earthquake Not Close To Petr' Sub Base

It looks like the magnitude 7.7 earthquake that hit the Kamchatka peninsula was a long way from the Russian naval base near Petropavlovsk. The epicenter was reported as being 125 miles northeast of Il'pyrskiy, which is about 3/4 of the way up the penisula of which Petr' is at the bottom. Luckily, this is probably about as uninhabited an area as you could hope to find in Eurasia, outside of the Himalayas.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On This Day In...

April 19, 1983: Our embassy in Beirut was digging out after a car bombing that killed 63, including 17 Americans. I didn't hear about it right away, because I was on my way to boot camp in Great Lakes. I arrived about 7pm on the bus from O'Hare, and the standard boot camp "shock and awe" (at least it was standard back then) started immediately. "They just bombed our embassy. We're going to war!" one of the inprocessing Company Commanders yelled. I was a little bit scared...

April 19, 1993: I'd just finished taking the written portion of the PNEO exam (which they then administered at Naval Reactors HQ in Crystal City), and was walking around with my best friend from high school, who lived in Virginia. On a TV, we saw that the Branch Davidian compound in Waco had caught fire. I thought it was too bad, but didn't see that it would really be that much of a deal in the big scheme of things. I had the oral portion of the Engineer's Exam to worry about.

April 19, 1995...

USS Columbus Hazing -- More News

I've been getting a lot of good comments, including from a former Columbus Sailor and a commenter who says he's the father of the Senior Chief who's been charged (his comments are here and here), in my previous post on the USS Columbus (SSN 762) hazing story. This post is basically just to move the topic nearer the top of my blog.

The Navy Times came out with a story today that pretty much has the same information as the previous reporting in the Kitsap Sun; this story, in a more "national" publication, should mean that the bigger newspapers, unfortunately, will be picking the story up. (I say "unfortunately" because there's really no way the Sub Force can come out of this looking very good. We knew it would happen, though.)

I'll add updates to this post as they come out the next few days. Staying at PD...

Update 0003 26 April: The Columbus hazing story is on the cover of Navy Times, and in an article in the Kitsap Sun (annoying registration required), the father of the Senior Chief charged with failing to report the hazing wants to know why the senior leadership of the submarine hasn't been publicly disciplined.