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Concur with all, with one caveat. There are few ports in the world that handle deep water and very large merchants. Strategically, access to those ports are a strategic 'strait' for globalization trade flow, since despite all our technological geegaws we still need to move atoms and not just bits. That's why Smash's other job is so important.
Straits are attractive targets, but so is Sembawang or San Diego, and those have the added negative attraction of news cameras to advertise the destruction. If looking at seaborne attack on globalization nodes, ports might be more attractive to an enemy.
"[W]e probably have some plans in place to deal with any Iranian attempts to close down the Straits of Hormuz."
No need for hedging, you can delete the word "probably" from that statement. We've been actively wargaming this scenario since at least 1979 (and probably even before then).
Many thanks for GreyHawk's invitation. From the beginning, Cap Weinberger and I felt that the milblogs
held the key to overcoming the MSM's naysaying and negativity about our military and, specifically, OIF, and we said so in our book's controversial afterword titled, "Have the Mainstream Media Ignored Our Heroes?"
So I am grateful for the invite.
As GreyHawk, Blackfive, Andi, and others have kindly mentioned, Cap and my book, Home of the Brave : Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror hits bookstores tomorrow, May 16th. My publisher (Forge Books/St. Martin's Press) flew me and the Mrs. to NYC today. No sooner had I flipped on the Blackberry than I had a message from our publicist saying that I needed to deplane and go directly to the Hudson News Bookstore inside the airport to sign books. Publishers love it when they can convince a bookstore to have authors sign copies of the book because a) the bookstore will put a "Signed by the Author" sticker on the cover and move your book to a more prominent display table and b) most importantly, the bookstore can't return the book, thus securing what they call a "hard sale," meaning a sale that will not be returned months later. Cap, never one to back down from taking an opponent head on, would have loved where our book had originally been placed--right alongside the James Risen's State of War.
You couldn't ask for a better contrast of theses.
When we got to baggage claim Sonny, our pleasant well-dressed chauffeur, stood smiling with a placcard that read "Hall." I think my blue jeans, short-sleeve shirt, and tennis shoes sort of threw him off.
We arrived at the 70 Park Place Hotel, the place where our publisher has me for the next four nights. Incredible joint. But best of all, any moment now, four of the heroes we profile in Home of the Brave will be checking in as well. Tomorrow Steve Forbes will be hosting the official book launch party from 6-8PM in the Forbes Building. If your publisher is serious about the marketing effort they will usually supply a few hundred books for the event to be given to guests and signed by the author(s). I thought it would be really cool to have the heroes sign books as well. So I asked Steve Forbes's folks to set up a signing table for the heroes. I know I'll be standing in that line.
After the Forbes launch party the plan is to head over to FOX News for Hannity & Colmes. Whether the President's immigration speech will get us bumped remains to be seen. You just have to roll with the news cycle, so there's no fighting it. Still, Sean kindly blurbbed the cover of the book, so we're hopeful that if we have to reschedule we can rebook soon. If I'm on, I'll likely have one or two heroes with me.
Other confirmed media bookings include: Laura Ingraham's Radio Show, Michael Reagan's Radio Show, FOX & Friends, plugs by Rush Limbaugh, and many more. I'll try to blog a bit before or after these. If there are specific aspects of the NYC book publishing/publicity process you'd like me to address, just ask and I'll do my best to answer them.
Gotta run. Taking the Mrs. out to dinner. Any recommendations?
Smash makes some good points about maritime chokepoints below, and correctly mentions that, despite what you might hear from some quarters, we probably have some plans in place to deal with any Iranian attempts to close down the Straits of Hormuz. Our biggest potential problem if the flag drops comes from the perceived difficulties we might face in dealing with the Iranians, spurred on by alarmist editorials from people who should know better about militarily-useless "superweapons" the Iranians may have developed.
Charlie at Op-For asks, "Would a Palestinian Civil War Benefit…the Palestinians?"
The Canadians are using "noisy" UAVs to pin down the Taliban:
Afghans had learned, when fighting the Russians during the 1980s, to fall flat on the ground when they heard aircraft overhead. From the air, the dirt colored Afghan clothes blended in with the ground, making the prone Afghans invisible. That doesn't work with UAVs, who have a much better view of the ground than passing aircraft or helicopters. UAVs also carry heat sensors. But it gets worse for the prone Taliban. Not only are the bad guys now immobile, but they tend to stay that way for a while, as the Sperwer circles overhead, and the pursuing Canadian troops get closer.
...Wynton Hall might stop by later. He's the co-author (with the late Caspar Weinberger ) of Home of the Brave : Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror. The book hits the shelves tomorrow, I've declared him an honorary milblogger and invited him to share his experiences of the promotional tour. Hopefully he'll have the time and energy.
Blackfive and Mike Yon were on Pundit Review radio last night - listen here.
And Blackfive's on-air "Someone you should Know" segment was a tribute to Soldier's Angels founder Patti Bader. Check it out.
Spreading the word - it's why we're here.
The military has been guarding the southern border for some time, via the Air Force's Tethered Aerostat Radar System; baloon-borne radars whose primary purpose is detection of northbound low flying planes (drug smugglers, dontcha know).
A few years ago I visited several of the sites. They're manned by civilians, but managed by the USAF, so not quite the same as having actual active duty folks patrolling the border. But the guys at the sites assured me - and I have no reason to believe they were joking - that their efforts had been so successful that the smugglers were relying increasingly on foot soldiers to walk their goods over the border. A not-uncommon site (they said by way of warning me) in the area was a lone gunman (AK47, specifically ) strolling northward with a big backpack.
Something for the Guard to prepare for. What will they do when they meet any such well-armed "immigrants"?
I suppose since the White House went to the trouble to send some excerpts of the President's speech I should post them here. See below.
Or read Scott Ott's version.
Maybe we can get a Texas ANG guy to blog from the border.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 15, 2006
ADDRESS TO THE NATION EXCERPTS
As Prepared for Delivery
On the President’s vision for comprehensive immigration reform:
“We are a Nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We are also a Nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals – America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair.”
On Border Security:
“Since I became President, we have increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents. . . .we have apprehended and sent home about six million people entering America illegally.
“Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border."
On the Importance of a Temporary Worker Program to relieve pressure on the border:
“The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border effectively we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across."
On enforcing our laws:
“. . . we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility . . .
“A tamper-proof card would help us enforce the law – and leave employers with no excuse for violating it. And by making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work in our country, we would discourage people from crossing the border illegally in the first place.”
On the President’s opposition to amnesty:
“. . . we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully – and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration."
“. . . we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one Nation out of many peoples. The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language.”
On the tone of the debate:
“We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.”
# # #
(The US Naval Academy) recently created a Center for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies to give context to individual departments' teaching of the politics, economy, language and history of that region. Other centers specializing in Asia, Latin America and Africa may follow.
Faculty members have begun offering anthropology, literature and history courses that focus on certain regions as well. These include teaching about the Crusades from the Arab perspective, or multicultural literature.
Ryan McGeough, a (USNA) sophomore from South Dartmouth, Mass., who wants to be a Marine or Navy SEAL, said learning Arabic has been a challenge but one that will almost certainly be worth it.
"It's one of those things that's going to help me when I get out of here, since I'm sure to be on the ground somewhere speaking Arabic," said McGeough, 21. "Knowing even a little will help me and my troops a lot more."
I studied French back when I was a mid - and I'm still ready to serve, should my country ever need my services in that department.
STRATEGYPAGE has a list of "The Five Most Attractive Targets" for international terrorists. It's a good list, but I don't think it's quite so easy to "shut down" the Strait of Malacca (about 2 miles wide at its narrowest point), even if you did manage to sink a big ship in the middle of the shallow portion of the channel. Likewise, the Strait of Hormuz is vulnerable to mines, submarines, and Iranian missiles -- but the U.S. Navy has some contingency plans for that particular scenario.
By far the most worrisome maritime choke point, in my book, is the Suez Canal. Very easy to shut down, and the effect on the world economy would be devastating. Security for the canal is the responsiblity of the Egyptian military. U.S. Naval vessels pass through it all the time...
Marines don't wear pink, for starters.
There, that's more like it.
Smash is not timid about venturing into enemy camps.
So is heavy metal and thrash-type stuff now officially right wing conservative music? I suppose Ted Nugent won't be surprised.
Unscrupulous recruiters using a band to entice young people to join the military - reminds me of this one episode of the Simpson's where the Navy guy forms a boy band...
Vietnam and the United States have reached an agreement in principle on terms for Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organization, clearing the way for Vietnam to join the group this year.
Condi Rice announces the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Libya.
Some of it looked significant, other parts seem anecdotal. Demands more attention.
Dude, that's embarassing. At least he didn't yak, like Rick "Two Bags" Reilly.
Stephen Hayes serves as correspondent in reporting on the Bush Administration’s war against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), published in the Weekly Standard.
I guess Intel -- or rather news that our Intel operations are under assault from within or without -- will always be what fires me up.
We were woefully unprepared for 9/11, and a Federal Agency arguably most responsible for the fight against our enemies fails us, and favors petty political intrigues over the preservation of National Security. We cannot afford to have intelligence agencies take partisan stands. We cannot afford or excuse incompetence in our intelligence and security services. We have too much at stake.
Supporters of our GWOT need to take this fight and commit whatever is necessary to get it done. Hayden needs to be confirmed.All done!
This guy has found a way to chew gum in a manner that would entertain aviator types. Just ask the dude..
(via b3ta,link not safe for work; actually, not safe for humans)
...bring the noise, it's time to rock ya from the delta to the DMZ...
Welcome to the new headquarters of the MilBlogs Ring. Live, worldwide, 24/7 free speech from those who help make it possible. You'll see some familiar names here, and hopefully some new. (Don't worry, we aren't abandoning the "home blogs" this is just a gathering place for "off duty" conversation.)
Scroll around, make yourselves at home. Bookmark us and stop by anytime, we're never closed.
And if you're a milblogger don't feel left out - we're going to expand, and you're part of the plan.
Lex, something about your post only registered long after I first read it. A quote from the story you linked:
Blasts kill 14 at Baghdad airportSo, was it "at" - or "near"? To a casual reader this might seem like a nitpick, but for us this is more than a semantic issue. There are layers of security that must be breached to achieve "at". I suspect "near" is the reality, but "at" somehow made it's way into the headline.
Fourteen people have died and six were hurt in a double suicide attack near Baghdad airport, on a day of violence that claimed at least 30 lives in Iraq...
I noticed when I was there during the Jan 2005 election and prior that suicide bombers would strike "near" political party headquarters and other hard targets, invariably claiming some number of victims. The reality (that never found it's way into the story) was that security was working - insofar as the intended targets were missed. On one day in particular (if memory serves) there were 5 such attacks that essentially failed. Of course, as a result of those failures, innocent bystanders were killed. (If anyone is compelled to blame anyone other than the bombers, I have more words for you here.)
And the next day headlines reported attacks "on" locations a, b, c, etc, along with total dead (probably including the bombers). Their failed attacks were redeemed somewhat by the effectiveness of those headlines.
But days later, purple fingers.
KENNETH ALLARD on the "uppity military:"
[T]he same sloppy thinking, mindless stereotypes and casual acceptance of second-class citizenship that once marked American race relations all now reign unchallenged whenever the military class appears to be getting a little uppity. Fact is, there is a gap — already miles-wide and growing every day — between the American people and their highly professional military.
This is the battle we're fighting at home today -- it's a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people -- and we can't afford to lose this one.
OpFor translates Iranian concessions generation strategic theory in the format any staff officer understands.
Apparently Ramadi chose their side in the Jerky Wars. Is Smash down with that?
And is jerky the new East Coast / West Coast thing?
Okay Andi - here's a second opinion:
Marine Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski, 20, died May 9, 2005, in a hospital in Fallujah of shrapnel wounds from a mortar shell that exploded near him during combat in Anbar Province.The AP is carrying that story. I think there are plenty of Americans who'd align themselves with Prazynski over Sheehan, although Matthews might not know any himself.
Until then, John Prazynski, 43, a soft-spoken suburban real-estate broker, didn’t consider himself political and never expected to become a public figure, much less a pro-war activist.
On opening day of the baseball season in Cincinnati, he joined President Bush and two wounded soldiers on the field in pregame ceremonies. Prazynski said he wanted to thank Bush for his support “and give him two thumbs up with his positive stance on security, military and veterans’ issues.”
Prazynski has been interviewed repeatedly by news media about the war in the past year, while organizing a series of 5-kilometer runs and motorcycle rides to raise money for scholarships for children of slain soldiers and Marines.
“I do this to keep Taylor’s memory alive,” said Prazynski.
Robert Stokely, for one.
I suppose "Go Out There and Conquer the World" is so passé these days.
Scary stuff. Really scary stuff.
But then again, there's a history there (scroll down).
Mark Steyn: coupla thousand words.
Google: one screenshot.
Can't say who wins on this one.