My Trip To Bangor

SubBasket and I flew to the Seattle area this week to see an old friend of ours take command of USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) (Gold). It was a really nice ceremony, and it was good being around submariners again -- in real life, that is, and not just over the 'net. Since I'm originally from Nebraska, I picked up quite a bit of stuff from the ship's store at the reception; while there, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow sub-blogger Nereus, who's back up and posting now that he's done with his PCS move to Bangor.

After the reception, we got to tour USS Maine (SSBN 741) over at the Submarine Base. This was especially nice for me since the Maine's current CO did his JO tour with me on USS Topeka. I make fun of boomers quite a bit on this blog, but the fact is that, if you have the space, the Ohio-class boats are the best-designed submarines in the world as far as being able to get repairs done quickly. They're quite impressive machines, and my friends are lucky to have command of such fine ships and crews.

Since my peers have been moving up to command over the last year or so, I've had a chance to think about whether or not I'm happy that I didn't stay in for command. I decided that, for me, moving on to civilian life when I did was the right option. Still, I found myself filled with admiration for the men who stayed in and achieved their goal of command. While I knew this new crop of COs when they were much less experienced, I still feel the same sense of awe in being around them that I did talking to COs when I was much younger. These men truly are among the best the nation has produced, and we're lucky they're willing to spend months away from their families to do the important work of defending our country.

That being said, it still took a direct order from the Maine's CO to stop me from telling his crew about that time in Tasmania that we...

It Can Now Be Told

The Navy finally announced that USS Nimitz (CVN 68) will be the carrier replacing USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) in the Fifth Fleet AOR this spring. Excerpt:
The Nimitz carrier strike group will sail from San Diego for the gulf on Monday, a navy spokesman said. It will replace the Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Strike groups typically include four or five frigates and destroyers and a submarine.
"You are looking at the early part of May that you would have the transition. It would be without any overlap. There is no plan to overlap them at all," Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis said by telephone from naval headquarters in Washington.
Once again, we can expect those moonbats who think we're about to attack Iran to claim that this is the "final piece" to the attack puzzle (although, last fall, the Eisenhower's deployment was supposed to be the final piece). Expect that news of the Eisenhower leaving the AOR the same day the Nimitz arrives to be ignored or painted as a ridiculous "now the Eisenhower can attack from the Mediterranean" theory.

That is not my doing. I merely foretell.

(Bonus geek points to whoever can identify the source of the line above without Googling.)

Update 2326 30 March: And it starts...

Ballmer Dance

You've seen it before, but it's time for a laugh!

Real clip number 1. The "monkey dance."

Real clip number 2. "Developers."

And the Music Video Remix! A little overlong, but kind of catchy.

Hitchens Agrees

Interesting when a hardcore left-winger agrees (Hitchens being the only one I've ever found so far that is at least intellectually honest) with a point I was trying to make here, about differences in men and women (his amusing "point" being that they aren't generally as funny):
Filth. That's what the customers want, as we occasional stand-up performers all know. Filth, and plenty of it. Filth in lavish, heaping quantities. And there's another principle that helps exclude the fair sex. "Men obviously like gross stuff," says Fran Lebowitz. "Why? Because it's childish." Keep your eye on that last word. Women's appetite for talk about that fine product known as Depend is limited. So is their relish for gags about premature ejaculation. ("Premature for whom?" as a friend of mine indignantly demands to know.) But "child" is the key word. For women, reproduction is, if not the only thing, certainly the main thing. Apart from giving them a very different attitude to filth and embarrassment, it also imbues them with the kind of seriousness and solemnity at which men can only goggle. This womanly seriousness was well caught by Rudyard Kipling in his poem "The Female of the Species." After cleverly noticing that with the male "mirth obscene diverts his anger"—which is true of most work on that great masculine equivalent to childbirth, which is warfare—Kipling insists:

But the Woman that God gave him,
every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue,
armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue,
lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be
deadlier than the male.

The word "issue" there, which we so pathetically misuse, is restored to its proper meaning of childbirth. As Kipling continues:

She who faces Death by torture for
each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must
not swerve for fact or jest.

Men are overawed, not to say terrified, by the ability of women to produce babies. (Asked by a lady intellectual to summarize the differences between the sexes, another bishop responded, "Madam, I cannot conceive.") It gives women an unchallengeable authority. And one of the earliest origins of humor that we know about is its role in the mockery of authority. Irony itself has been called "the glory of slaves." So you could argue that when men get together to be funny and do not expect women to be there, or in on the joke, they are really playing truant and implicitly conceding who is really the boss.

That Was Quick

Earlier this week, I wrote:
And if we end up emasculating the male warrior ethos in the name of equality -- forcing men to see women as just as expendable as they are -- that does nobody any good when we then lose to the less sensitive and more aggressive barbarians at the gates, who'll then slap a burqa on everyone, feminists included.
I was actually worried that might undermine my argument by seeming like too much hyperbole.

But then Iran went and paraded their captives, including a female soldier, Faye Turney, in front of cameras, and literally proved my point.

Faye Turney, before:

Faye Turney, after:

Technically, that's a hijab, not a burqa, and neither are to be confused with the naqib. Not that the difference matters, for they all reflect the same impulse of female subjugation and islamic superiority. We will know we have won when we don't have to know what those words mean.

There it is, revealed in living color.

This is what the mullahs want for your mothers, wives, and daughters.

And that's why they must all be utterly destroyed.

I Am John Doe

Surely you've heard of the six "flying imams" who recently did everything they could, including not complying with with airline personnel, to look like they were terrorists to create an incident and get booted off the flight.

So they could then have a protest.

As a reminder of just what they did, be sure to see this well-done and amusing video: the eight rules of flight club.

And, to then not only sue the airline, but also to sue the passengers who reported their outrageous behavior:
[T]he most alarming aspect of the imams' suit is buried in paragraph 21 of their complaint. It describes "John Doe" defendants whose identity the imams' attorneys are still investigating. It reads: "Defendants 'John Does' were passengers ... who contacted U.S. Airways to report the alleged 'suspicious' behavior of Plaintiffs' performing their prayer at the airport terminal."

Paragraph 22 adds: "Plaintiffs will seek leave to amend this Complaint to allege true names, capacities, and circumstances supporting [these defendants'] liability ... at such time as Plaintiffs ascertain the same."

In plain English, the imams plan to sue the "John Does," too.

Who are these unnamed culprits? The complaint describes them as "an older couple who was sitting [near the imams] and purposely turn[ed] around to watch" as they prayed. "The gentleman ('John Doe') in the couple ... picked up his cellular phone and made a phone call while watching the Plaintiffs pray," then "moved to a corner" and "kept talking into his cellular phone."

In retribution for this action, the unnamed couple probably will be dragged into court soon and face the prospect of hiring a lawyer, enduring hostile questioning and paying huge legal bills. The same fate could await other as-yet-unnamed passengers on the US Airways flight who came forward as witnesses.
Which, when you think about it, makes the "imams" and their CAIR backers, in fact, terrorists, and they should all be in Gitmo. They are attempting to assist further hijackings by making you think twice about resisting or speaking up.

Suing the passengers is meant as a message: shut up and die.

This legal tactic of theirs has to be stopped in its tracks, because if confidence in flight is lost, our way of life disappears.

Thankfully, some lawyers are reportedly stepping forward to defend the John Does pro bono.

But make

A first step has been taken in Congress, but it was only to send the issue to committee:
The men prayed loudly before boarding, did not take their assigned seats and formed patterns officials said mirrored the September 11 hijackers, asked for seat-belt extenders not needed, and criticized President Bush and the war in Iraq.

"Earlier this month, the six imams filed suit against the airlines. Shockingly, the imams also filed suit against the passengers who reported the suspicious behavior," the memo said.

"The Republican motion to recommit will ensure that any person that voluntarily reports suspicious activity -- anything that could be a threat to transportation security -- will be granted immunity from civil liability for the disclosure," the memo said.

The amendment is retroactive to activities that took place on or after Nov. 20, 2006 -- the date of the Minneapolis incident, and authorizes courts to award attorneys' fees to defendants with immunity.

"By passing a specific grant of immunity that covers passengers reporting suspicious activity in good faith, we will prevent special-interest lawyers from using 'creative' legal theories to attack the well-meaning passengers who make reports," the memo said.
Tell your reps to support this immunity legislation!

But astonishingly, not everyone in Congress thinks you should be protected from legal intimidation, even when your family's life is at stake:
House Republicans tonight surprised Democrats with a procedural vote to protect public-transportation passengers from being sued if they report suspicious activity -- the first step by lawmakers to protect "John Doe" airline travelers already targeted in such a lawsuit.

After a heated debate and calls for order, the motion to recommit the Democrats' Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 back to committee with instructions to add the protective language passed on a vote of 304-121.

Republicans said the lawsuit filed by six Muslim imams against US Airways and "John Does," passengers who reported suspicious behavior, could have a "chilling effect" on passengers who may fear being sued for acting vigilant.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, opposed the motion over loud objections from colleagues on the House floor, forcing several calls to order from the chair.

"Absolutely they should have the ability to seek redress in a court of law," said Mr. Thompson, who suggested that protecting passengers from a lawsuit would encourage racial profiling.
And of course, protecting people from "racial profiling" (as if islamic terrorists were of a particular race) is more important than your family's life.

Every one of those 121 who voted against consideration of this legislation is a Democrat.

Therefore, in the spirit of I Am Spartacus, the following manifesto I Am John Doe has been prepared. And excerpt:
I am John Doe.

I will never forget the example of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who refused to sit back on 9/11 and let themselves be murdered in the name of Islam without a fight.

I will never forget the passengers and crew members who tackled al Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid on American Airlines Flight 63 before he had a chance to blow up the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.

I will never forget the alertness of actor James Woods, who notified a stewardess that several Arab men sitting in his first-class cabin on an August 2001 flight were behaving strangely. The men turned out to be 9/11 hijackers on a test run.

I will act when homeland security officials ask me to “report suspicious activity.”

I will embrace my local police department’s admonition: “If you see something, say something.”

I am John Doe.
Read it, pledge it, live it.

Because people have seen things:
Remember this manifesto the next time you fly or otherwise face a situation in which Muslims act suspiciously. Remember also that the people in skyscrapers won't have a choice as to whether to fight or not. If you back down or cower because you are afraid of being sued by Muslims, you may be allowing terrorists to take over a plane and attack a building. Your backing down may well leave not only your own children fatherless, but you will leave the people in buildings vulnerable. You will prove Michael Moore correct when he blamed "stupid white people" for failing to overcome the hijackers on 9-11.

In October 2001, Peg Noonan wrote of her regrets at not being more aggressive with individuals that she saw videotaping St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center:

Suddenly to our right, on the sidewalk, we saw two "Mideastern looking men," as we all now say. They were 25 or 30 years old, dressed in jeans and windbreakers, and they were doing something odd. They were standing together silently videotaping the outside of St. Pat's, top to bottom. We watched them, trying to put what we were seeing together. Tourists? It was a funny time of day for tourists to be videotaping a landmark--especially when the tourists looked like the guys who'd just a few days before blown up a landmark.

We watched them. After a minute or so they finished taping St. Pat's and turned toward where we were. We were about 20 feet away from them, and we eyeballed them hard. They stared back at us in what I thought an aggressive manner: a deadeye stare, cold, no nod, no upturned-chin hello.

They stared at us staring at them for a few seconds, and then they began to videotape Rockefeller Center. We continued watching, and I surveyed the street for a policeman or patrol car. I looked over at the men again. They were watching me. The one with the camera puts it down for a moment. We stared, they stared. And then they left. They walked away and disappeared down a side street. . . . .

. . . and I continue to regret not confronting them, questioning them and, if I had to, tackling them and screaming for help. I could have gotten us all arrested. If they had been innocent tourists I would have apologized, begged their forgiveness and offered to buy them a very nice dinner. If they had not been innocent, I would have helped stop some bad guys.

In the past month I have evolved from polite tip-line caller to watchful potential warrior.
I am John Doe!

Love the Planet

Are you loving the planet?

Watch this highly amusing video to find out!

An Absolutely Brilliant LTTE

I genuinely appreciate sarcasm used artfully in political discourse; the thing is, I don't really have the cojones to pull it off all the way -- I almost always end up backing off of the sarcasm and making it obvious to all but the most oblivious observer that I'm "just kidding".

That's why I think the 3rd letter down at this link to The Idaho Statesman is so great. Check out what Cliff Weisgerber of Hidden Springs has to say about global warming:
Those of you who were convinced to acquiesce to Daylight Savings Time by being told that it was necessary for the farmers — the farmers need that extra hour of sunlight during the summer to get their work done — have now been duped into moving the change up to save energy. More sun per day, less furnace per day, less lighting needs per day. Pretty simple, eh?
The problem you are not thinking about here is global warming.
Global warming is nothing other than the planet's response to this additional sunlight each day during the warmer months. Global warming will increase with the recently added weeks of additional sunlight.
Of course, Al Gore likes and supports Daylight Savings Time as he is getting a lot of face time with his campaign for reaction to global warming. He's not about to admit that the human cause in global warming is the government's Daylight Savings Time conspiracy...
[Emphasis mine] Brilliant! Considering the number of equally ridiculous letters from non-sarcastic writers that come into the Statesman, this one makes its point quite well, and the writer never does drop out of character. Cliff Weisgerber of Hidden Springs, I salute you!

(Actually, I did consider the possibility that the letter writer was a complete idiot. However, a quick Google search showed that he'd previously written a letter opposing a local "Family Values" leader, so it was fairly clear that the persona he adopted for this letter was not actually his.)

Brits Release Their Evidence

The British MoD has finally provided evidence that the British Sailors and Marines taken by Iran last week were clearly inside Iraqi waters when they were captured. Excerpts:
"The Iranian government has provided us with two different positions for the incident. The first we received on Saturday and the second on Monday. As this map shows, the first of these points still lies within Iraqi territorial waters. We pointed this out to them on Sunday in diplomatic contacts.
"After we did this, they then provided a second set of coordinates that places the incident in Iranian waters over two nautical miles from the position given by HMS CORNWALL and confirmed by the merchant vessel. The two Iranian positions are just under a nautical mile apart – 1800 yards or so. It is hard to understand a reason for this change of coordinates. We unambiguously contest both the positions provided by the Iranians.
Here's the chart with the actual position of the boarding, as well as the two claimed Iranian positions:

The British government apparently waited this long to provide the information so as not to "embarrass" the Iranian government without giving them a chance to de-escalate first. The only apparent result of this patience from the UK has been for U.S. conspiracy theorists to decide that it took this long for the Brits to forge the evidence.

And have you noticed that we haven't seen the usual "progressive" suspects wondering why these particular prisoners haven't been made available for visits by the Red Cross?

Women and Children First

Do cultural values matter?

A study in contrasts.

Smugglers toss Africa migrants overboard
SAN`A, Yemen - Smugglers taking illegal migrants from Somalia to Yemen forced hundreds of Africans overboard in stormy seas in an effort to make a fast getaway from security forces, officials said Monday. Thirty-one bodies have been found and nearly 90 people remained missing.

Passengers who resisted the smugglers were stabbed or beaten with wooden and steel clubs, then thrown into the water where some were attacked by sharks, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said, citing survivors.
Commenting on the same story, Belmont Club recalls:
This is very reminisicent of an the "boat people" incident which took place off northern Australian waters in the recent past. Human smugglers from Indonesia who were spotted by Australian patrol boats threw their passengers, including children, to force the coastguards to pick up the floundering victims. Of course, the Left insisted it was "Howard's fault" because if he didn't try to bar the smuggling trade there would have been no reason to toss people to Davy Jones' locker.
Throw the useless women and children overboard first, to evade the authorities and continue your criminal enterprise!

But what is the true origin of the term "women and children first", that now seems some kind of Hollywood cliche?

It comes from the HMS Birkenhead disaster of 1852, and what would later be immortalized as the Birkenhead Drill:
HMS Birkenhead, also referred to as HM Troopship Birkenhead, was one of the first iron-hulled ships built for the Royal Navy.
In January 1852, under the command of Captain Robert Salmond, the Birkenhead left Portsmouth conveying troops to the Cape Frontier War (then referred to as the Kaffir War) in South Africa. She picked up more soldiers at Queenstown (now Cobh, Ireland), and was also conveying some officers' wives and families.

In the late afternoon of 25 February 1852, the Birkenhead left Simon's Bay near Cape Town with approximately 643 men, women, and children aboard, under instructions to reach its destination at Algoa Bay as quickly as possible. In order to make the best speed possible, Captain Salmond decided to hug the South African coast, setting a course which was usually no more than three miles from the shore; using her paddle wheels she maintained a steady speed of 8.5 knots.

At 2 a.m. the following morning, the Birkenhead struck an uncharted rock near Danger Point (today near Gansbaai, Western Cape). The impact was so violent that the forward compartment of the lower troopdeck flooded instantly and over 100 soldiers were drowned in their hammocks. The surviving officers and men assembled on deck, where Lt Col Seton of the 74th Foot took charge of all military personnel and stressed the necessity of maintaining order and discipline to his officers. Distress rockets were fired, but there was no assistance available. Sixty men were detailed to man the pumps, while the rest were drawn up to await orders. Poor maintenance and paint on the winches resulted in only a few of the ships' lifeboats being launched; eventually two cutters and a gig were launched, onto which all the women and children were placed and rowed away for safety.
Numbers in various accounts vary, but it seems there were between 20 and 54 women and children, being all of them aboard, loaded onto the lifeboats.

The horses had been forced overboard, in an attempt to lighten the load, and give them a chance to reach shore (which at least one did).

This, however, merely brought a frenzy of sharks to the growing horror.

This account provides a bit more color on what happened next:
CAPTAIN Salmond ordered a young officer, Rowland Richards, to take charge of the cutter. Soon the small craft had pulled away, its passengers gazing back with horror at the tragedy unfolding.

It was about 15 minutes since the Birkenhead had first been holed. The swell was remorseless, grinding the rocks into the ship's hull like a knife into her heart. Suddenly there was a thunderous crack and the bow of the stricken vessel broke away.

Her deck tilted, her stern rose high in the sir and her tall funnel came crashing down, instantly killing most of the men working to free another of the boats. The ship was sinking by the head, but Seton stood on the slanting deck, oblivious to the turbulence around him.

He ordered those men who weren't injured or manning the pumps to muster on the poop deck. Some 200 immediately fell into ranks, regiment by regiment. This was the moment when Captain Salmond gave the order to abandon ship.

Climbing a few feet up into the rigging, he shouted: `Save yourselves. All those who can swim, jump overboard and make for the boats. That is your only hope of salvation.'

It seemed to be a reasonable command. But Seton did not agree. He knew that any rush to reach the boats could be deadly for those aboard them.

Raising his hands above his head, his voice cracking with emotion, he pleaded with his men to remain where they were.

`You will swamp the cutter containing the women and children,' he explained. `I implore you not to do this thing and I ask you all to stand fast.'

His officers took up the cry, urging the men to remain where they were for the sake of the women and children. And that was exactly what they did.
And so there they stood in ranks, obedient to the honor and values of Victorian discipline, so the women and children could be assured of getting safely clear of what would have become a mob of desperate swimmers, as the shark-infested seas closed in.
Some said goodbye to one another or shook hands. One man shouted out: `God bless you all.' Knowing they were doomed, they stood fast until the water had closed above their heads.

One of the few officers to survive, Captain Wright of the 9lst, wrote afterwards: `Every man did as he was directed and there was not a cry or a murmur among them until the vessel made her final plunge.

`All received their orders and had them carried out as if the men were embarking instead of going to the bottom of the sea; there was only one difference, that I never saw any embarkation conducted with so little noise or confusion.'

What made the heroism of these men all the more remarkable was that so many of them were mere youths, barely aware of the requirements of military discipline. Yet they stood to attention as unflinchingly as any officer or NCO, and died with the same grace.
After the ship finally broke apart a few minutes later, a few soldiers eventually made it to shore over the next twelve hours, or were plucked from the flotsam by the schooner Lioness which arrived the next morning.

And though over 400 perished, about 200 survived, including, by all accounts, all of the women and children.

The Birkenhead Drill had been a success.

How different from those who choose to first sacrifice the women and children to the sharks, rather than risk themselves!

It is a different set of values, and one of them is better.

A Catholic social networking site has an essay on the Birkenhead, and its meaning for gender roles.
The Birkenhead disaster presses the matter with rigor and with pathos, because the question about who should become bait for Great White Sharks is defining. St. Paul labored to enlighten the church at Ephesus regarding the roles of men and women in marriage. Without the slightest reserve, he presents men as prophetic of Christ and as a revelation of Christ. He presents women as prophetic of the church and as a revelation of the church. The mystery of gender is the mystery of Christ and the church. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)
God was not bound to create the genders in the manner He did. He did not create male and female simply to complicate our lives or to visit us with consuming passions. His design was prophetic, and we may someday accept that the intent was more revelatory of Christ and the Church than it was a practical means of populating the planet. The great tragedy of humankind has been the persistent assignment of value to the genders – value, rather than the divine ministry of the genders.

It may be that the fall of man produced no greater evil than this assignment of value to the genders. This blindness not only presses continual ruin upon our race, but it disfigures the glory of the mystery of Christ and the church.
It is from this clear testimony that we understand that the leadership responsibilities of men have nothing to do with their value and everything to do with God’s creating man to be a revelation of Christ. The responsive and nurturing responsibilities of women have nothing to do with value, and everything to do with their role as a revelation of the Church.
The men huddled and trembling on the deck of the Birnkenhead were heroes because they gave up their lives as a prophecy and a revelation of Christ. The women who saw and heard the terrible carnage of that long night were not helpless or weak. They suffered enormously. It was infinitely right that they were rescued, and as Mary did, they carried the sorrow in their heart.
Speaking broadly, men and women are different, and that doesn't make one better than another. Men create systems and structures, both concrete and abstract; and men are expendable. Women create and nurture life, and they are to be preciously protected -- which does not mean to be patronized.

Universally, soldiers say they fight and die for their buddies. I'm sure that's true on the surface, but taken at face value that makes the whole process useless if they didn't have to be put in a position to die for their buddies in the first place. That is, if that's really all honor and discipline in warfare is about, the peace people would be right in asking "what if they gave a war and nobody came?" Because on the surface, no sacrifice would then ever be necessary; the purpose for war would be seen as self-referential: we fight only because our buddies are fighting. And apparently otherwise, we wouldn't!

It's deeper than that of course.

The real reason they fight and die for their fellow soldiers is so that their companions, the other members of their "tribe", will ultimately WIN the war, so that their women and children, which represent their immortal future, will be preserved.

This is why the issue of women in combat is so troubling.

Clearly, sometimes it's necessary in extreme situations, and just as clearly, it's not about questions concerning motivation or patriotism or necessarily even ability. On an individual basis, in particular circumstances, women can obviously fight, and can do so very well.

To be clear, I'm talking about society's fundamental approach to appreciating gender differences, and not an excuse to elevate one above the other or to repress any particular individual.

It's not a question of can, but one of should.

Because it strikes a critical blow at the whole fundamental purpose of the disciplined self-sacrifice type of honor in warfare, as exemplified by the Victorian Birkenhead Drill!

Why die for your unit's honor (which is really to die for your women and children), when the women are right there dying with you anyway?

That deconstruction of Western values is probably the whole motivation for the masterminds behind putting women in combat positions, with it masquerading as the noble purpose of equal rights. It makes the whole concept of warfare nothing but sheer nihilism.

And if we end up emasculating the male warrior ethos in the name of equality -- forcing men to see women as just as expendable as they are -- that does nobody any good when we then lose to the less sensitive and more aggressive barbarians at the gates, who'll then slap a burqa on everyone, feminists included.

I am reminded of a bitter argument I had with a female friend in college: she insisted men could be just as good mothers as women could, and the distinction was purely cultural (and a sign of repressive male hegemony). I found that ridiculous. I maintained a man could be just a good parent, but that women made better mothers and men made better fathers because the roles weren't interchangeable.

Now surely, if required, a man can be a mother of sorts to a child. But it's not a question of can, but of should.

I didn't realize it at the time, but the above reasoning would become the basis for my opposition to the notion of seeing gay marriage as identical in meaning and importance to real marriage between a man and a woman.

So just as the heroism of the 300 Spartans was real, so was that of the British Regiments on the Birkenhead.

However, one of the Lessons of the movie 300 is
A society that does not value its warriors will be destroyed by one that does
Despite its oversimplifications, "300" is good history. The three battles of which Thermopylae is the most famous marked one of the greatest turning points in world history. Had the Persians succeeded, democracy would have been strangled in its crib, and the Hellenization of the ancient world never would have occurred. We may never have known Plato, Aristotle or Euclid.

"300" is soaked with the masculine virtues of courage, honor, patriotism and self-sacrifice, and the camaraderie that exists among fighting men who have been through a shared ordeal. These are little valued in Hollywood or contemporary society, and there is a hunger for them. This, I think, is the key to the movie's appeal.

We need to rediscover these virtues. At once the most preposterous and the most dangerous of contemporary beliefs is "nothing was ever settled by violence."

A cursory reading of history makes it clear that virtually every important development in the history of mankind has been, for good or ill, a product of violence.
It is the soldier, not the priest, who protects freedom of religion; the soldier, not the journalist, who protects freedom of speech. History teaches that a society that does not value its warriors will be destroyed by a society that does.
Marxist history tries to teach us to be ashamed of our past.

Instead, we must proudly re-embrace the best of our Anglosphere heritage and revive neo-Victorian values.

"Hey, Shipwreck" Now On YouTube

The best submarine-related viral videos I've ever seen have been made available on YouTube, including the new 8th episode that reveals the reason behind the Forward ET ratings consolidation and answers this vital question: "So, exactly what maintenance did the Quartermasters do?" Here it is:

You can still see (and download) the videos on the series' homepage, but if you prefer the YouTube format, here are the links to the first seven videos:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

On a completely unrelated "blog admin" note, expect posting to be light the next few days -- I'm flying to Seattle to see a buddy take command of a boomer crew on Thursday in Bangor. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up some good submarine stuff to bring home.

Good Old-Fashioned Naval "Show Of Force"

According to a Fifth Fleet press release, we now have both CVNs in the Fifth Fleet AOR operating inside the Persian (Arabian) Gulf; this is the first time I remember we've seen two carriers inside the Gulf since 2003. While the press release doesn't say anything about it, this is clearly in response to the Iranian seizure of 15 British servicepeople last week at the northern end of the Gulf. (Exactly why the Brits allowed themselves to be captured is detailed here; apparently, their ROE is "very much de-escalatory". They might want to rethink that in the future.)

It interests me that we're going for a "show of force" option that tends to minimize our ability to actually conduct any attacks on Iran; this is good news for those of us who don't think war with Iran is the right option at this time. While the Kos Kids might think that this is a precursor to an attack on Iran, in actuality the absolute worst initial conditions for a U.S. attack on Iran would be to have both (or any) carriers inside the Persian Gulf - that's the only place where the Iranian forces could conceivably hurt our capital ships. For that reason, while a "show of force" has some public relations uses, I'm not sure it's the right move at this time from a strictly military standpoint-- the Iranians might actually be intending on starting something. (I don't think they are, but it's hard to read the mullah's minds.) Putting the carriers in a better position to defend themselves (i.e. pulling the Eisenhower out of the Gulf) would have sent a stronger message to the Iranian military -- at the cost of appearing "weak" to those who don't understand the military at a tactical level. On the other hand, this might be the Administration's way of being "de-escalatory" themselves.

Here's Something To Get Your Blood Pressure Up...

Randy Stapilus over at Ridenbaugh Press discussed some of the "splinter group" of protesters at the Portland anti-war demonstrations last weekend who caused the whole enterprise to get some bad press. While he said he had no reason to disbelieve the reports of protesters doing things like burning an effigy of an American soldier, defecating on a flag, and other objectionable things, he said he wanted more "substantiation" of the charges. I was happy to oblige with this video:

[Intel Source: Pajamas Media] For more substantiation, he can also go here to see one of the signs that didn't make it to the MSM coverage of the event.

Hapless = Innocent

Here's another piece by the MSM designed to make the illegal, non-uniformed terrorist combatants at Guantanamo look like sympathetic victims of an unjust system:

Australian suspect faces new Gitmo trial

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - After a nomadic decade that carried him from the Australian outback to the battlefields of Afghanistan, David Hicks ended up locked away at this remote U.S. base in Cuba, accused of training with al-Qaida and fighting for the Taliban.
Note how passive that reporting is. A gentle nomad. Just somehow "ended up" being "accused" and "locked away."
One of his attorneys, Joshua Dratel, dismissed as U.S. "mythology" that the Australian is a terrorist who threatened the United States or its allies.

The U.S. military had originally charged Hicks with attempted murder, aiding the enemy and conspiracy to attack civilians, commit terrorism and destroy property.

But those charges were dropped, suggesting that even the United States no longer considers Hicks to be a significant catch in its global war on terror.
"Even" the evil, paranoid United States? And the conclusion of what that "suggests" is purely in the mind of the reporter.
Military charging documents depict Hicks — a high school dropout who converted to Islam in 1999 after returning from Kosovo, where he fought on behalf of Muslim Albanians seeking independence from Serbia — as somewhat of a hapless holy warrior.
Somewhat? Hapless? It almost sounds like the premise of a stupid sit-com, the Hapless Holy Warrior!

You know, all fun and laughs. Nothing serious like really fighting fo the side of evil:
Armed with grenades and an assault rifle, Hicks spent weeks trying to join the fight in Afghanistan following the 2001 U.S. invasion but apparently failed to win the confidence of his al-Qaida associates, according to the documents.

He finally reached the front lines in Afghanistan two hours before they collapsed. His menial assignments along the way included guarding a tank.
So...he was armed to the teeth with deadly weapons and tried desperately to get into the fight to kill American troops and allies as a non-uniformed terrorist.

So if two hours isn't long enough to become guilty, how much is? What's it take? Can I steal a car for 90 minutes and just claim I'm hapless?
His father, Terry Hicks, has said that his wayward son went to Afghanistan in early 2001 as part of a religious pilgrimage. But the U.S. military alleges he traveled with support from a militant Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, and attended al-Qaida terrorist training camps.
The thoroughly evil Taliban ruled Afghanistan in 2001. What kind of "religious pilgrimage" would one be taking into that heart of darkness?
When the U.S. invaded in late 2001 — to oust al-Qaida and its Taliban hosts following the Sept. 11 attacks — Hicks remained on the margins.
Three weeks later he arrived at the front lines near Konduz, where he briefly fought coalition forces before he was forced to flee. He was later captured by the Northern Alliance and handed over to U.S. forces.
Ah, just on the margins. Even though he did, indeed, fight coalition forces. Perhaps being "forced to flee" makes his guilt wash away?
In the years since, he has become a cause celebre in his native country.
Indeed. Along with the murderer Mumia, the monster Che, and the minihitler Chavez, no doubt, by those who worship such scum as a sign of their noble progressivity.

Belmont Club, of course, provides an analysis of the British prisoners of Iran that is an interesting comparison of the bizarre double standard of interpretation of the Geneva Conventions by the reactionary left-wingers.

Rumors swirl that Iran will charge the British soldiers -- nabbed in Iraqi waters! -- with espionage.
But as Captain Ed points out, you can't charge uniformed men on a patrol boat with espionage.

The Iranians cannot try the men for espionage if they captured the sailors in uniform. Article 46 of the Geneva Convention states this clearly
Captain Ed asks, "The indictment of British sailors in uniform as spies will violate the GC. Can we expect the same level of outrage over this explicit violation as the supposed violations of the US government?"


No of course not. As currently interpreted the Geneva Conventions only apply to individuals bent on destroying America. Individuals who blow up elementary schools, kidnap children, attack churches and mosques, kill invalids in wheelchairs, plan attacks on skyscrapers in New York, behead journalists, detonate car bombs with children to camouflage their crime, or board jetliners with explosive shoes -- all while wearing mufti or even women's clothing -- these are all considered "freedom fighters" of the most principled kind. They and they alone enjoy the protections of the Geneva Convention. As to Americans like Tucker and Menchaca or Israeli Gilad Shalit -- or these fifteen British sailors for that matter, it is a case of "what Geneva Convention?" We don't need no steenkin' Geneva Convention to try these guys as spies. That's the way the Human Rights racket works. Don't go looking for any Geneva Convention in Somalia, Darfur, Basilan or Iran. Try Guantanamo Bay.
Much of what passes for Western progressivism is nothing more than reaction: a kind of mindless attachment to Marxist dogma of the 1960s. And that is why, for example, the Geneva Conventions, which are the subject of this post have become hindrances rather than the helps to civilized warfare.

The original idea of the Geneva Conventions was to provide incentives to conduct civilized or humane warfare, to the extent possible. But today the "progressives" have actually made it a reactionary document by interpreting it to protect those who practice barbarism in war and thereby mindlessly achieving the opposite of its intent.

You see the same mummification afflicting liberals in America. Their Iraq policy makes no sense with the calender reading "2007". But it makes perfect sense if the date is forever stuck at "1969". This ossification is what often sets up revolutions and upheavals and it's possible that the "revolutionaries" will wake up one day to discover they had the roles completely reversed: that it is they who are unconciously defending the walls of their own Bastille.
Where did this sick "Western progressivism" come from?

It's a manifestation of Cultural Marxism.

One founder of which is Antonio Gramsci:
Cultural Marxism is a branch of western Marxism, different from the Marxism-Leninism of the old Soviet Union. It is commonly known as “multiculturalism” or, less formally, Political Correctness. From its beginning, the promoters of cultural Marxism have known they could be more effective if they concealed the Marxist nature of their work, hence the use of terms such as “multiculturalism.”

Cultural Marxism began not in the 1960s but in 1919, immediately after World War I. Marxist theory had predicted that in the event of a big European war, the working class all over Europe would rise up to overthrow capitalism and create communism. But when war came in 1914, that did not happen. When it finally did happen in Russia in 1917, workers in other European countries did not support it. What had gone wrong?

Independently, two Marxist theorists, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, came to the same answer: Western culture and the Christian religion had so blinded the working class to its true, Marxist class interest that Communism was impossible in the West until both could be destroyed. In 1919, Lukacs asked, “Who will save us from Western civilization?”
And, the so-called Frankfurt School think tank:
Fatefully for America, when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the Frankfurt School fled - - and reestablished itself in New York City. There, it shifted its focus from destroying traditional Western culture in Germany to destroying it in the United States. To do so, it invented “Critical Theory.” What is the theory? To criticize every traditional institution, starting with the family, brutally and unremittingly, in order to bring them down. It wrote a series of “studies in prejudice,” which said that anyone who believes in traditional Western culture is prejudiced, a “racist” or “sexist” of “fascist” - - and is also mentally ill.

Most importantly, the Frankfurt School crossed Marx with Freud, taking from psychology the technique of psychological conditioning. Today, when the cultural Marxists want to do something like “normalize” homosexuality, they do not argue the point philosophically. They just beam television show after television show into every American home where the only normal-seeming white male is a homosexual (the Frankfurt School’s key people spent the war years in Hollywood).
I am reminded of the popular 1999 Kevin Spacey movie American Beauty, for example, in which everyone in the suburban affluent American Dream is portrayed as dysfunctional -- except for the openly gay couple. Oh, and as icing on the cake, it is the (closeted!) military man who turns murderous. Of course, the authors contrived it that way. The movie seemed wise at the time but is a total left-wing fantasy.

And, gay marriage, anyone? That's a two-fer!

And the human-carbon theory of Global Warming is right in line with that agenda.

Now, Gramsci and his philosophy is sometimes portrayed almost in a "black helicopter" conspiracy way in which every ill is traced to some secretive cabal that is pulling all the strings. I don't think it's like that at all, though Gramsci and his efforts and those of his like-minded thinkers were very real.

No, it's much worse than just one secret group or personage being behind all this.

If only it were that simple!

Gramsci is just a symptom of a deeper problem and malaise in Western culture; he and the KGB-funded "peace" and "nuclear freeze" movements and the wave of political correctness in the media and academia are all just opportunistic infections in a weakened host. Gramsci's ideas wouldn't have gone anywhere if there weren't already hordes of willing accomplices who could continue to carry the torch without being given a specific directive to do so.

Well before al-Qaeda, these leftists were already acting like cadres of an informally networked movement, without a clear leader, but all operating according to a similar motivation: replace God with Man and reshape the world in their own utopian image.

It is just age-old hubris masquerading as sophistication, fueled by the vanity of our technological achievements.

With the loss of a mature Judeo-Christian faith in our culture, there is no humility.

And when the Calf is worshipped instead, disaster is around the corner.

Belmont's reference to the Bastille above is rather apt, as this movement likely goes back even further than the communists to the French revolution -- so different from the American!

I was reading a book (Worlds Enough & Time) by fiction writer Dan Simmons recently, from early 2001, just prior to 9/11, in which he introduces one of his stories with the following preface:
As I write these words in the early hours and months of the 21st Century, the great, grinding, resentful machinery of academic criticism is being run by the dead hands of a few French midgets with names like Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. France -- a nation that most probably has given us no great writers or great literature in all of the 20th Century -- nonetheless controls the discussion of literature at the beginning of the 21st Century by the simple sophistry of denying the centrality of writers or the reality of characters or of the transcendent power of language and literature itself. As Tom Wolfe put it in a recent essay --
They [Foucault and Derrida and their lycanthropic legions since] began with the hyperdilation of a pronouncement of Nietzsche's to the effect that there can be no absolute truth, merely many 'truths,' which are the tools of various groups, classes, or forces. From this, the deconstructionists proceeded to the doctrine that language is the most insidious tool of all. The philospher's duty was to deconstruct the language, expose its hidden agendas, and help save the victims of the American 'establishment': women, the poor, non-whites, homosexuals, and hardwood trees."
And so, with such restrictions on language and expression and thought, our response to 9/11 has been hamstrung.

As it requires the American Establishment to hammer some poor non-whites.

Never mind those same poor non-whites like to hammer on women and homosexuals; that just proves it was never about those victims all along anyway!

It was always about destroying the American establishment. The celebrated victims were just to whip up the passions of the Useful Idiots, as Stalin called the manipulated footsoldiers of the progressive movement.

Dan Simmons, by the way, seems to definitely be a non-idiotarian from well before 9/11. In another story in that collection, he was to write something set in the year 3001. Wondering what concern of ours in 2001 might possibly still be relevant that far in the future, he at first was flummoxed for a plot. Then, he reveals in the preface,
The answer when it arrived, hit me with the full nausea of certainty.

The one constant thread between today and a thousand years from now will be that someone, somewhere, will be planning to kill the Jews.
Yeah, Dan Simmons gets it.

His award-winning novel Hyperion, told as a sort of futuristic Canterbury Tales, is about artificial intelligence, time travel, and the nature of God. Highly recommended!

Though Simmons himself seems to be firmly agnostic if not a committed skeptic, he finds militant atheism just another form of unreason:
I suspect the main reason that disbelievers end up sounding as shrill and filled-with-certainty as their True Believer foes is because we're in an age that accords so much fawning respect to religious beliefs -- i.e. certainties founded on nothing besides faith and our cultural habit of kowtowing to such certainties...

For me, having someone poke a finger in my chest and demand "Are you an atheist?" is as offensive as the person who leans too close and breathes into your face the question, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?"
Beware the Shrike!

Peyton Manning Public Service Announcement

Check out this "PSA" from Peyton Manning's appearance on SNL last night -- it's quite amusing:

Box O' Truth

Ever wonder about the ability of various handgun, rifle, and shotgun rounds to penetrate various impediments?

Wonder no more, just visit the Box O' Truth!

Gunner lore is scientifically tested out on the range by some enthusiastic shooters in Texas.

For example, are sandbags really effective? Yes.

What about thick, frozen clothing against an M1 Carbine? No, in spite of Korean war rumors!

Drywall might as well be paper, so be careful shooting inside your own house! But brick exterior walls will keep those errant shots contained...

Find out also about metal doors, shooting off locks, helmets, body armor, small handgun rounds, and even the effects of rock salt from a shotgun...

And much more.

Fun and informative!

Jayhawks vs. Bruins -- Bear To Eat Bird?

In an effort not to jinx my beloved Kansas Jayhawks, I'll continue with my trend of picking them to lose all of their NCAA Tournament games. Thus, I think UCLA will beat Kansas later this afternoon when they play in the West Region Final.

The main reason I think they'll win is that the coach and the player who arguably are most famously associated with UCLA, John Wooden and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, are both alive, whereas their counterparts on the KU side -- James Naismith (the inventor of basketball) and Wilt Chamberlain -- are both dead. Alive normally beats dead.

Next week, I'll be picking Kansas to lose both of their games in the Final Four.

Update 1923 24 March: "The Frogurt is also cursed."
Well, there's always next year...

HMS Tireless "Explosion" Details?

Reading the stories in the British press about the tragedy onboard the HMS Tireless in the Arctic this week, I've reached the conclusion that the Brit journalists are at least as sensationalistic as, if not moreso than, their American counterparts. Still, this article in The Herald seems to have some technical explanations for what happened that actually pass the initial "smell test". Excerpts:
Naval sources said yesterday the investigation team's initial findings pointed to a rapid build-up of pressure in the square-shaped Scog canister, which is designed to burn chlorate at high temperatures to produce lifesaving oxygen.
The sailors had set off one of the candles in the boat's forward escape compartment. The canister containing it blew up a few minutes later.
A naval source said: "These things are ignited by striking a primer and burn extremely hotly, giving off enough oxygen through vents in the canister to supply breathable air. A kilo of the chlorate releases enough oxygen to keep a man alive for six or seven hours.
"The chlorate candle is seeded with iron powder to bring the burn temperature to about 600C inside the container. It looks like the vents may have been blocked. It would go off like a grenade in that confined space."
The story mentions earlier that "SCOG" stands for "Self-Contained Oxygen Generator". After this fairly good start, though, it appears that the author of the article didn't quite understand his notes in one case:
The Scog system is used on exercises to produce oxygen when the attack boats are "running silent" to avoid detection by surface warships' sonar. The usual electrical air-conditioning system potentially produces enough noise to give away the submarine's position.
[Emphasis mine] It's a minor quibble with an otherwise good article (unless, of course, the A/C system aboard Trafalgar-class submarines also includes the "electrolyser" that seems to be the Brit equivalent of an Oxygen Generator.)

POD Items

1) NCAA Men's BB Tournament action picks up again today, starting with the Kansas-S. Illinois game at 5:10 MDT. As discussed earlier, I predict that Kansas will lose, because in the matchup of mascots, a "Saluki" (a breed of dog) would defeat a Jayhawk (from the Latin jayhawkus, meaning "bird that wears boots").

2) Duty Section training today will feature a couple of cautionary videos. First, go here to see a short clip on airbag safety, then come back and check out this video on the pitfalls of outdoor recreation (bad word warning if your sound's turned up):

Skater Face Plants Hard

3) An RN submariner has joined the team over at Zero Bubble (which has a new URL). Head on over an welcome SunDodger to the fold.

Update 2034 22 March: Yippee!

Two British Submariners Killed Under Ice

Two submariners on HMS Tireless (S-88) were killed by an "explosion" of an O2 candle while the sub was operating under the Arctic ice during ICEX-2007. From the U.S. Navy press release:

The Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless, participating in the Joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007) in the Arctic Ocean, experienced an explosion of a self contained oxygen generation candle that killed two crew members and injured one.
The explosion occurred at approximately 12:20 a.m. (EDT) March 21.
The injured member of the crew has been transported by an Alaska Air National Guard C-130 to Anchorage for treatment.
“I am deeply saddened at the loss of the crewmembers from the Tireless,” said Vice Adm. Jay Donnelly, Commander, Submarine Force. “Submariners are brothers at sea and we all feel the loss as if it were our own. We stand by to continue to assist in any way we can.”
ICEX-2007 and Royal Navy officials have confirmed that the Tireless is safe and operational and that a full assessment is being conducted.
This article from The Scotsman has more on oxygen (also known as "chlorate") candles as they're used on British subs:

Chlorate candles have been used to create oxygen on submarines since the Second World War, usually as an emergency measure if the vessel's rises to dangerous levels. According to the navy source, one such candle was ignited yesterday on board HMS Tireless, as a part of training...
...An MoD spokesman said the chlorate candles on board HMS Tireless had never failed before and, until then, had a 100 per cent safety record. Even so, their use on other boats had been restricted until safety checks could be carried out, he said.
A former sailor on British nuclear submarines insisted chlorate candles are known by crew to be dangerous. The mariner, who asked not to be named, said: "It's not a candle like you'd think - there's no open flame. It's ignited in a metal canister with a .22 bullet and they burn without any flame.
"Everyone on board will have been trained how to use them. They have definitely been known to explode before - high heat and oxygen is a combustible mix - but I couldn't imagine the force would have killed two men. Something else must have gone wrong.
"The candles line the entire sub and are used in an emergency. Next to each is a pair of asbestos gloves and a bucket of water. If you see the candle is starting to flame or burn, you simply put on the gloves and dump it into the water.
An explosion and/or fire onboard a submarine while it's under ice was always one of those "worst case" disaster scenarios you talked through during advanced damage control training. Luckily, the ice in this case was thin enough to break through, and the crew of the Tireless was able to skillfully make it to the surface.

Staying at PD...

Update 2029 21 March: Midwatch Cowboy has more on the story.

Update 2035 22 March: The lost submariners have been identified as Operator Maintainer Anthony Huntrod, 20, and Leading Operator Mechanic Paul McCann, 32. Sailors, rest your oars.

Behind The Scenes In Groton

The New London Day has an article about the decision to activate the USS San Juan's phone tree when the boat was "out of contact" last week. Excerpts:
The squadron command had activated the phone tree for families of the crew. Master Chief Petty Officer Tommy Vatter, command master chief for Squadron 12, had assembled the staff earlier that morning to review the list of all those on board left by the San Juan before it departed.
“We needed to make sure we had a complete list before we started calling,” Vatter said. “There was a lot of emotion in what we were doing.” Volunteer callers and family members were told a specific message that they wrote down. Then they called their assigned contact families on the list.
“Typically our phone trees are, 'Hey, guess what? The boat is pulling in. Yay!' ” Burianek said.
The Navy wanted to ensure that the families received accurate information from official sources first, rather than rumors or news reports, McBrearty said. “We have to be very careful about what the families are told,” he said. “Part of our job, especially here at the homeport of the submarine, is to make sure the families get the facts. That's our commitment to our families in good news and in bad news.”
But before the first message made it all the way through the phone tree, the crew checked in, around 5:45 a.m. “A lot of the wives were very happy they did not receive that first phone call — very happy,” Burianek said. The Navy called off search-and-rescue efforts after hearing from the crew. The crew confirmed that it did not fire a flare and did not know the San Juan was thought to be in distress.
“At that point, we took a deep breath and put out another phone-tree message,” said Capt. Marc Denno, chief of staff for Squadron 12.
The one problem I've seen with phone tree notifications is the tendency for the message to sometimes get "elaborated on" as it moves down the tree. One time when the phone tree was activated when I was a JO on USS Topeka when we were pulling back into base for a quick repair right after leaving on deployment in 1992, the message morphed from "the boat's pulling back in for a couple of hours, don't bother coming down to the base" to "meet right away at the McDonalds on base for a briefing from the Commodore".

This Story Makes No Sense

The Sub Report posted a link to a story from a Toledo TV station that makes no sense to me at all. Excerpts:
A local Navy seaman was injured in a submarine explosion this weekend. It happened in Germany where twenty-five year old machinist Michael Dayton was stationed...
...Drukemiller says her son was working on a submarine when he went to repair a pump belt. As he was working on the belt a safety valve exploded. Michael was in the direct path of the steam fueled blaze.
Drukemiller says flames ran up Michael's leg, neck and face. He has third degree burns, and is expected to make a full recovery.
The Navy will fly him to a hospital in San Antonio where he will be treated in the burn unit...
Why would a submarine machinist be "stationed" in Germany? Do we have submariners doing exchanges with the German Navy (like we should be doing with the Aussies)? And what the heck is a "steam fueled blaze"?

Disregarding the questions raised by the story, I certainly hope Michael Dayton makes a full recovery.

Bell-ringer 0535 21 March: An anonymous commenter has an explanation that makes a lot more sense:
He was onboard the Tender, AS-39, in Italy. Tender was U/W. He was conducting repairs in the bilge of the Tenders Engine Room. Steam Burns from LP steam relief valve discharge.

Four Years In

Vanderleun has written a crushing essay, that, judging by the comments received, really hit a nerve among those who still refuse to see the big picture and focus on distracting minutiae.

Four Years In
Four years in. An inch of time. Four years in and the foolish and credulous among us yearn to get out. Their feelings require it. The power of their Holy Gospel of "Imagine" compels them. Their overflowing pools of compassion for the enslavers of women, the killers of homosexuals, the beheaders of reporters, and the incinerators of men and women working quietly at their desks, rise and flood their minds until their eyes flow with crocodile tears while their mouths emit slogans made of cardboard. They believe the world is run on wishes and that they will always have three more.

Like savages shambling about some campfire where all there is to eat are a few singed tubers, they paint their faces with the tatterdemalion symbols of a summer long sent down to riot with the worms. They clasp hands and sing songs whose lyrics are ash. "We shall... over... come." Overcome what, overcome who? Overcome their nation? Is that their dream? It is the lifelong dream of those that lead them that much is certain.

Four years in and we see these old rotting rituals trotted out in the streets like some pagan procession of idols and shibboleths, like some furred and feathered fetish shaken against the sky by hunkering witch-doctors, to hold back the dark, to frighten off the evil spirits and graven images that trouble the sleep of the dreamers.
And it just gets better from there.

Speaking of rotting rituals trotted out in the streets like some pagan procession of idols and shibboleths, don't miss the zombietime photoessay of recent demonstrations in San Francisco.

Submit, Kafir!

Here I documented what appears to be a coordinated campaign all over the world of muslim cab drivers to refuse service to the blind, because of their "unclean" guide-dogs, as well as to infidels seen to be carrying alcohol.

The purpose is, step by step, to assert dominance over our culture by obtaining special treatment and recognition.

Now, cashiers at Target in Minneapolis (where they had such trouble with the drivers at the airport), are refusing to service customers with pork products!

Because you are an unclean ("najis") infidel ("kafir") and they are superior!
MINNEAPOLIS - Muslim cashiers at some local Target stores who object to ringing up products that contain pork are being shifted to other positions where they don’t need to, the discount retailer said Saturday.

The Star Tribune reported this past week that some Muslim cashiers at local Targets had declined to scan pork products such as bacon because doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. They would ask other cashiers to ring up such purchases, or sometimes customers would scan those items themselves, the newspaper reported.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. has now offered its local Muslim cashiers who object to handling pork the option of wearing gloves while cashiering, shifting to other positions or transferring to other nearby stores.
This isn't spontaneous, it's part of a plan cooked up by the muslim brotherhood and defended by CAIR.

Some interesting comments followed that article at jihadwatch; many are angry that Target didnt' seem to "stand and fight", for a fight is coming one day, but others see wheels within wheels:
muslim = ubervictim

and perfect

"i-am-not-responsible-for-any-of-my-actions-everything-offends-me" specimen for the idiot-left's "victimhood industry"

the muslim feeds the cultural marxists' psychotic need to defend every form of idiocy - even to suicidal ends - while the left feeds constant affirmation to the muslim of its perpetual-state of self-induced victimhood

Hey Everyone,

I am a lawyer in Minnesota and I can assure you that Target's decision to shift the workers is the only one it could reach. Someone has been advising their Muslim cashiers to make an issue of pork handling just like the local cabbies did about transporting passengers from the airport carrying alcohol. (It's interesting that the cabbies lost a few weeks, perhaps days, before the cashier issue reared its ugly head. To me this is not coincidence and I am convinced that the local Muslim activists in concert with CAIR have chosen this sequence, and have probably already planned their next move.)

If Target had not offered other positions it would have been arguably violating its employees rights under Minnesota's Human Rights Act and left itself legally vulnerable. The Muslim activist strategy has moved from the cabs which they lost, to this one. Their move would have shifted the decision-maker from the Metro Airports Commission to the Muslims choice between the Minnesota Human Rights Department and/or the local Federal Court. My guess is that their choice would have been the MHRD which is softer than the courts on discrimination claims.

Target made a correct decision for itself by deflecting this naked attempt to create a legal precedent in favor of fake Muslim sensibilities. It is also a fortunate decision for the long legal war we are now beginning. We all need to remember that we can choose our battles with them, and not take their bait whenever they choose to hang it in front of us. The cabbie case was stupidly chosen by them; the Target cashier case was less obviously a loser for them, and is not the best legal scenario for us to fight them. Avoiding litigation prevents this battle, which is good for the long war ahead.
I have handled numerous employment discrimination cases over the years. Target made a logical choice that preserves its rights and gives the Muslim troublemakers nothing. Had Target said check pork or leave, they all would have sued and, trust me, the possibility of a bad result was considerably greater than the airport cab case. The law is built on precedents, so a smart litigant only chooses to fight when ending the conflict is untenable, and the outcome of a lawsuit is nearly certain.

This is not a victory for Muslims. In fact, it shows them that they are up against a society and a legal system that is far more complex than their ability to comprehend or manipulate it. The only people disappointed by Target's decision are those who were spoiling for a fight, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

We win evertime the Muslims don't get what they want. Here, they wanted a fight, followed by a lawsuit and bad publicity for those who fought them; they got nothing. They wanted separate rules for Muslims, and instead got themselves excluded from being cashiers in grocery stores.

And, maybe best of all, everytime they fail to make an issue and win, the crediblity of their issue-raising shrinks.

No to islam, of course, has a simpler solution:
The answer is simple.

Boycott muslim owned, operated and staffed stores.

Boycott all goods and services provided by muslims and islamic countries.

Stop funding people who hate us.
That works too.

Good Stuff At Pettifog

Chrys over at Pettifog not only has a handy-dandy reference chart for the candidates (and potential candidates) for the 2008 Presidential election, but also has a post about submarines!

And speaking of the '08 election, I just heard yesterday about an online initiative to "draft" a bipartisan ticket next year. (Like many new things in politics, I heard about it because a celebrity talked about it on TV.) While I personally like the idea of a bipartisan Administration to better prosecute the War of Terror (McCain-Lieberman '08!), I don't think an "on-line virtual convention" will be the way to get anyone elected. If it happens, it'll be because a major party nominee sees he (or she) needs to do it to win, and gets their nominating convention to agree (or, more likely, gets to pick someone on their own after the conventions are over because the original VP candidate has to drop out).

WW2 Memoirs

Received some interesting comments to my post on the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc, including this one that points to a website with the memoirs of an American Ranger named Harold F. Plank who scaled the cliffs!

The commenter also stated:
My grandfather climbed the cliffs on D-Day. We travelled back to Normandy with him a few years ago. Thank you for your clarification. Excellent! My grandfather is in poor health, but still living. I would love to know how many pointe du hoc vets still are living! No one seems to know.

by the way- my grandfather's name is Harold F. Plank. He has a website telling his story.

Internet-Sourced Update On USS San Juan "SUBMISS" Incident

There hasn't been much official put out since the initial reports of last week's incident involving USS San Juan (SSN 751). Unofficially, though, there have been some rumors. Rontini, who normally gets pretty good intel, had this to say about the incident (from an "anonymous" source):
...San Juan was playing Red "opposition force" against the Carrier Battle group, and had launched 4 yellow flares simulating a 4-unit salvo against the carrier - carrier said it saw 3 yellows and a red. San Juan thought the resultant fuss - PDCs et. al. were just Blue's flailing around after being "had" - doesn't sound as if the boat's in trouble with DevRon 12 or SubLant...
Normally, it's easy for us submariners to just go with a "blame the skimmers" mentality, but in this case it looks like everyone might have acted in accordance with procedures and with only the best intentions. Hopefully that will count for something when it comes time for Big Navy to assign "blame".

Small Shepherd

Feeling down?

Sometimes it's useful to just reflect on what we have, and where it came from, and that if we're not careful we can easily lose it.

I'm talking about our affluent civilization and all the godlike benefits that come with it.

Consider the hardship of this blogger Afghan LORD, for example, who is writing from Kabul, Afghanistan.

That is, he blogs when electricity is available. From his profile,
Sohrab Kabuli, aged 23. I born in the land of pains & injustice. Whatever I want for myself, I wish for others. I write from Kabul, what I see and what I hear from.
He writes under a pseudonym because of death threats. Shockingly, apparently some of these threats are traced to a member of the BBC!
Kabuli, who blogs in English as Afghan Lord under a pseudonym in order to protect himself, has received numerous threats posted to his blog from the same IP address which belongs - shockingly - to the BBC. One of them, which Kabuli emailed to Global Voices, asks: “Do you think I do not know you?” Then it continues on to threaten: “There were a number of people like you, who did not remain alive. They were all buried in graves. You have to be taken off from this land so that better human beings could take your place. For, you are dirty.”

The message, posted in the comments section of his blog, was written anonymously and posted from a computer with the IP address, which, according to a WHOIS query, belongs to BBC Internet Services Operations.
If one didn't believe the media (and especially the BBC) was infiltrated by terrorists, this should remove all doubt.

Attempting to enter our magic world of technology which we so take for granted -- and which the terrorists so desire to bring down through sheer friction by undermining the fragile web of trust it rests on -- Kabuli has such heart-breakingly "simple" requests as:
Second, I kindly asking you if anyone knows how to make the Paypal account. Third, how is it possible to get Net MD recorder or any voice recorder I will pay through western union bank, because in Afghanistan these tools are not available.
Because Kabuli dreams of podcasting interviews in English and Farsi. Meanwhile, this is the kind of thing he observes:
This winter, three children with their mothers died from exposure, who were lying down in front of a giant building in which the bottom contained the Cinema Pamir, a place which shows Indian Bollywood films.

Not very far away are UN offices and other international NGOs who drive by in their modern luxury cars every day.
He has a photo on his blog labelled, simply, "small shepehrd [sic] in central part of Afghanistan."

Follow that link, ponder those hands, and give thanks for the benefits bestowed on us by our forebearers.

And recall this comment from Belmont Club:
I think the Third World will provide the strategic surprise. They are not -- they were never -- what the Left thought they were. People happy to live out their lives under a tyranny dancing under the mango trees before retiring in the dusk to their darkened huts to the sound of communal singing. They want cell phones, air travel and dental floss. They wonder what the stars are made of and how the world began. Worst of all for the Left they want freedom. The most monstrous lie in history was the one the Left repeated incessantly. How happy the masses were under Uncle Joe Stalin or the Great Helmsman. Do they know what poverty is? Poverty is watching your little son die because you can't afford a five dollar bottle of medicine. And burying him with all the homemade toys your hands made.

The Allegedly Stupid Should Be Punished

I'm all for assuming people are innocent until being proven guilty, so in this case I'll just provide some information from news reports about some active duty Navy people who've come under a cloud of suspicion recently.

First of all we have the CMC of Naval Base Kitsap, who's in the news because he was arrested for attempting to arrange to have sex with underage children:
Detectives alleged that Command Master Chief Edward E. Scott, 43, had been communicating over the Internet with someone he thought was a woman with 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl, but in reality was an undercover agent.
Over the course of a month, Scott used his computer at work to engage in chats that were sexually explicit and graphic in nature, Bremerton police Sgt. Kevin Crane told The Associated Press.
Eventually, Scott asked to meet the woman and her children and a meeting was arranged for 5 a.m. Friday at a Bremerton hotel, Crane said.
"Scott provided graphic detail of specific sex acts he wanted to perform, and which he wanted the children to perform as well," police said. He was arrested and booked into Kitsap County Jail for investigation of second-degree attempted rape of a child and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
[Emphasis mine] I guess the Naval Base Kitsap webmasters don't work during the weekend, because Master Chief Scott's bio is still up on the base's web page. I guess they also don't do much in the way of monitoring people's web surfing on base computers. Please note that he is not a submariner.

The other person in the news is LCDR John Sharpe, Jr., a PAO on the USS Carl Vinson, has been relieved of his duties following accusations that he has been running anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying websites. He's also a 9/11 "the Jews did it" conspiracy theorist. (Some more on that particular charge can be found here.) While the Southern Poverty Law Center says that he's a "former submariner", and this alleged interview with Sharpe has him saying that he was the USW Officer on the SubGru Eight staff in the late '90s, he's clearly not a submariner any more. (Here's a picture of him, from this page, so you can know to avoid him if you see him walking around the base.)

But what do you bet both of these people got really good scores on their Physical Fitness Assessments? And isn't that really what's important in the Navy today anyway? {/sarcasm}

Manliest. Movie. EVER!!!

Last weekend I saw 300 -- and apparently, from the huge box office, so did you!

And if you didn't, you should!

Because it's the Manliest. Movie. EVER!!!

Costing about $60 million, they hoped for an opening in the mid-30s. As the first midnight shows were selling out (especially at IMAX), forcing 2:30 am shows to be scheduled, the most optimistic forecasts for this feature with no well-known stars were raised to about $50 million.

And it took in $72 million that opening weekend!

Which was more than the next top nine movies combined.

This weekend it brought in another $31 million and stayed at number 1, which is being reported as a relatively steep (though not unexpected) drop -- however its total domestic total is now $128 million which means it actually stayed unusually strong Monday-Thursday adding a whopping additional $25 million between the weekends!


Word of mouth. Audiences can't get enough of this unapologetic ode to honor, courage, sacrifice, and slaughter of eastern invaders for the preservation of Western civilization.

Though "operatic" in its visual approach, the story is historically rather accurate about the Spartan-led defense of Greece 2,500 years ago, without which the Golden Age to which we owe so much would never have happened.

All because of a real man, King Leonidas of Sparta, and his 300 loyal warriors, standing against at least a quarter of a million invaders.

And the Marxists would have us believe the "Great Man" theory of history is silly!

What is even more fascinating is the reaction of the critics, who though grudgingly admitting the movie's craft, seem appalled at the "message" that sometimes, fighting is necessary. They can't believe there is no irony or anti-war theme as subtext!

The best, and lamest, they can come up with, is to sputter, "ah, ok, Bush is Xerxes!"

They are fundamentally uncomfortable with the resurgence of the notion of what it means to be manly. This movie is just too unrepentantly masculine for the sensitive new-age guys who came of age when Alan Alda's MASH character became the sexiest man alive.

The USA Today reviewer calls it "a quasi-mythical tale of valor and sacrifice", except it's the kind of "myth" that, you know, actually happened in real life history.

Movie Mom's review suggests,
That these stories span thousands of years of history should remind us of our failure to honor the memories of those who have died by learning how to prevent the need for such sacrifices.
Huh? Prevent the need? That's a nice sentiment, but how do you do that? The god-king demands you kneel; how do you prevent sacrifices at that point? By trying to find a compromise where you only have to kneel on one knee instead of two? This is stupid "can't we all get along" appeasement twaddle.

From the NY Times review, for example, it is "twice as stupid" as Apocalypto but just as violent, a "bombastic spectacle of honor and betrayal" appealing only to devotees of the homoerotic or of video games. The reviewer is bothered by the lack of PC alterations, so that horrifically, "It may be worth pointing out that unlike their mostly black and brown foes, the Spartans and their fellow Greeks are white." The review descends into even more snarky pettiness from there, concluding it will at best become "an object of camp derision."

The Slate reviewer is aghast at
"a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war", and elaborates that
no one involved—not Miller, not Snyder, not one of the army of screenwriters, art directors, and tech wizards who mounted this empty, gorgeous spectacle—seems to have noticed that we're in the middle of an actual war. With actual Persians (or at least denizens of that vast swath of land once occupied by the Persian empire).
One of the few war movies I've seen in the past two decades that doesn't include at least some nod in the direction of antiwar sentiment, 300 is a mythic ode to righteous bellicosity.
Oh, the horror!

And here's a common "observation":
Here are just a few of the categories that are not-so-vaguely conflated with the "bad" (i.e., Persian) side in the movie: black people. Brown people. Disfigured people. Gay men (not gay in the buff, homoerotic Spartan fashion, but in the effeminate Persian style).
I find it fascinating that so many critics find the buff manly men of Sparta to be "gay."

What an inversion! Just as the word "gay" has been robbed of its original meaning, so too now elite society sees true old-fashioned manliness as only existing anymore as a gay stereotype; "real" men, apparently, are supposed to be what, exactly, these days? Couch potatoes? Sensitive metrosexuals that don't do physical conflict anymore?

Now let me just say, I know all about filmmakers commonly slipping in sly homosexual nods all over the place, but the Spartans were not portrayed that way at all, in spite of their semi-clothed depiction whose interpretation is simply vulgarized by the classless critics. Instead, though not "historically" true (they would have had more armor) it is in the heroic mold of how the ancient greeks themselves would have depicted the event in art. Which is why they were drawn that way in the Graphic Novel on which the movie was based, nearly frame for frame.

Much as I loved 300, I was unimpressed, for example, with Gladiator, and didn't even bother to see Troy or Alexander because I knew they would be too gay!

An amusing blog exchange here observes,
“It’s like all the lily-livered liberal film critics in America put the same nine criticisms in a hat (video game, comic book, homophobic, white skin good/dark skin bad, warmongering, misogynist, too loud, too slow, too serious, Godwin’s Law violation), drew them out in random order, and made that their review.”
Yep! Though I'd add, when not calling it homophobic, they were also calling it homoerotic! They really didn't know what to make of it at all.

Here the movie's "operatic" style is defended by the eminent historian Victor Davis Hanson.

Here are comments from the director. I was pleased that here the director confirms that a scene in which I said to myself, "that looks like a moment from Excalibur!" (another of my favorite movies), was indeed meant as a reference to that movie.

And finally, now that you, the public, have spoken (because critics don't buy movie tickets), this Hollywood scriptwriter has made the following amusing comments about the impact this will have:
Since about, oh, Sept. 12, 2001, every writer, producer, director and suit in Hollywood has known one sure rule: Don't make fun of our so-called "enemies."

Don't stereotype them as bad guys. Don't mock their beliefs. Don't even mention their names. And for heaven's sake, don't make them mad.

Instead, try to understand them. Celebrate their diversity. And realize that - in a world where black is really white, up is really down, an attack is really self-defense and self-defense is really a provocation - we are actually the enemy.

Out went any script that ascribed anything but the purest of motives to Arabs, Iranians and Muslims. Back came everybody's favorite villains: ex- and neo-Nazis (I haven't met any, but I hear they're everywhere) and crazed Christian fundamentalists, lurking out there in flyover country, itching to pull the triggers to establish a theocracy in a country we all know perfectly well was founded by unarmed vegetarian multicultural atheists.

So we make films like "Kingdom of Heaven," in which the Christian ruler of Jerusalem becomes a hero by surrendering the Holy Land to the noble Saladin.

But now "300" has got the whole town buzzing. Graphic novelist Frank Miller, director Zack Snyder and a couple of other writers pulled in $74 million last weekend with a gory retelling of the Spartans' defense at Thermopylae, a handful of brave warriors standing up against the limitless central-Asian hordes - iron men vs. effeminate oriental voluptuaries; patriots against robotic slaves.
The only studies Hollywood ever initiates are when movies like "300" open unexpectedly big and execs have to interrupt their weekends to get 10 scripts just like it on their desks by Monday morning and in production by Friday afternoon.

Still, something strange is going on: When, early in the film, a sneering Persian emissary insults King Leonidas' hot wife, threatens the kingdom and rages about "blasphemy," the king kicks him down a bottomless well. And yet nobody in Sparta asks, "Why do they hate us?" and seeks to find common ground with the Persians on their doorstep. Why not?

So that noise you heard blowing from the west this week was hundreds of writers from Playa del Rey to Santa Barbara, sticking their fingers in the air to see if the wind's suddenly shifted, wondering if we can shelve our metrosexual "Syriana" and "Babel" knockoffs and conjure up some good old-fashioned "men of the West" material.

Because the dirty little secret is, we used to write these movies all the time. Impossible odds. Quixotic causes. Death before surrender. Real all-American stuff, in which our heroes stood up for God and country and defending Princess Leia and getting back home to see their wives and children, with their shields or on them.

And the dirtier little secret is: We loved writing them.
Well get to it!

Not long ago -- up until last weekend, in fact -- it appeared it was simply impossible to tell the stories of the successes in the GWOT because it would necessarily require depicting basically Western men (and women! oh, the humiliation!) blowing away the Noble Brown Man of the Third World.

And there are many fantastic real stories to tell about the GWOT that cry out to be made into movies.

Perhaps they will, now.

Until then, enjoy this satisfying clip.