Category Archives: War

Today’s Worry From Yesterday’s View

We’ve just passed the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with all the usual alarms and horror stories from the many survivors of those events of war.   At least this year I saw one article about one of the few surviving American POW’s who witnessed the Nagasaki bombing from miles away and what his perspective was.  The article did correctly p0int out that the Japs had already issued orders to kill all remaining POW’s once the Allies launched the expected invasion of the Homeland Islands.   The POW’s naturally were unaware of their impending death sentence and most had already reached the near end of their endurance due to the extreme cruelty and brutality of their captors.   They were thrilled to learn within days that the Japs had surrendered and that they had a chance to live.  They literally were given a ladder up at last from the depths of Hell.

I was very small at that time and don’t have a specific memory of the bombings or the end of the war.  I don’t recall my dad or any of the other men coming home in a big parade.   I do remember that dad was there and we moved to a new duplex from the old one and then a new baby brother.   The War and its aftermath was the dominate event and topic of conversation for years.  By the time I started school I knew we had used a really big bomb and that made the Japs surrender.  I recall the adults when I listened to them really didn’t understand exactly how the bomb worked.   It was an “atomic” bomb I knew from hearing them and that an atom was a really tiny thing you couldn’t even see.

It was a wonder to me that anything so small could make such a big bang.  How did those miniscule bits mix around to make such a large whomp?  As a small boy playing soldier I could understand rifles, cannons, hand grenades and regular bombs but the physics of the atomic bomb were beyond me.    You could get a feel for the destruction regular bombs and artillery could do because the newsreels in the ’40’s after the War were often about the occupation of Germany, Austria and Japan and they would always show the unimaginable destruction of whole cities.  Frankly, the newsreels of Hiroshima and Nagasaki didn’t look any different than the cities like Berlin, Munich or Dresden.

When mom and dad had relatives or friends over to visit I was always watching for when the men would gather separate from the women folk and would immeditate ly stop whatever I was doing and slip in there and sit quietly somewhere so I could hear them talk.  Sooner or later they always began swapping stories about the War.  Virtually all of them were in the War.  I guess the had some acquaintances that didn’t serve but I don’t remember a single one.  They were in all services, Army, Navy, Air Corps and Marines.  I wish I had those conversations on tape today.   What a treasure trove that would be.   All except one (with a minor wound) were still in the services in August of 1945.  Without exception they expected to be soon shipped to Japan.   Never heard one word of regret or sorrow for using the atomic bomb from one of them.  They believed the Japs deserved it, earned it with their barbaric behavior and none of them were eager to face the prospects of death after four years of war.   My dad could have been on one of those Navy ships off the coast of Japan facing the 5000 kamikaze planes (yes, 5000) that the Japs still had to deploy and planned to deploy against our invasion.  I am sure glad my dad didn’t have to do that.

“These proceedings are closed” General MacArthur after the last signatures on the Japanese surrender documents.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Iran Deal –False Choices

The guy in the white house claims that we either accept his horrendous proposal and complete surrender to Iran or we face the prospect of immediate all out war with the mad mullahs.  The assertion is that this deal is good because it…..well exactly what do we get out of it?   He asserts that Iran will not be developing any nukes for at least 1o years but history with Iran and other terror organizations around the world clearly indicate that such an assertion is childish at best and out right treasonous at worst.  He puts out nation and our important allies in harms way only to fulfill some delusional and narcissistic impulse to be remembered as a great diplomat.   After all he won the Noble Peace prize his first month in office, could we expect anything less.

The comparisons to Neville Chamberlain are astounding.   He also assured the world that old Hitler had been brought to heel and proudly waved the copy of the agreement from Munich and claimed we had “peace in our time’.   Well, guess it depended on how long you defined “time”.  It turned out to be a little over one year.  He is all about himself and that legacy.  He’ll have a legacy alright and it will live in infamy.

What would have been so bad about leaving everything exactly where they were and letting Iran suffer the consequences of the sanctions?   They are going to do what they want to do toward building a nuke either way.  Could any thoughtful and thinking person doubt otherwise?   They lie and do it often and brazenly.  They will only ramp up their mischief in the entire Middle East with the extra funding of billions they will get immediately from this deal.   A few billion here and there to Al Queada, Nusra, in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon can cause untold grief, death and misery to millions and advance their ideology at the same time.  They have no incentive to refrain from that course of action.

We have many military options besides putting 200,000 soldiers on the ground in an invasion of Iran which is the clear false choice presented by the current white house occupant.  Unfortunately many who do not know history and get their news from TMZ will buy into that sophistry.  The are many degrees of military action that could be taken and be very effective.  How about using our Navy and air power to destroy the Iranian navy. That would be doable and as wars go pretty low risk but a painful blow to our adversary.   Further we could impose a complete blockade on Iran in addition to sanctions and cripple what economy they have which in turn would greatly diminish their capacity to spread terror with money and arms and even troops throughout the Middle East.  If that wasn’t enough we could also take down their air force entirely.   Yes, it would cost some money but how much will be spending anyway under the Iran Deal?  We would have to spend mony to fight the terrorists the export and those they supply.   And also yes it would have casualties.   All wars do sadly but would we be safer with a defanged Iran?

Lastly, many would argue tha Iran would retaliate.  So, they already are as fast as they can throughout the Middle East and North Africa.   With a blockade, sanctions and no navy or air force it would be that much harder for them to export terrorism rather than the free hand they have under the Administration’s plan.   For those who would argue that Russia or China would take action against us if we pursued that course of action, please think that scenario through.  They would huff and puff but why would they really care that much in the end.   Russia would see stronger oil prices and the diminishment of a competitor and China would have one less rival in that region of the world.  Neither of them would attack the U. S. on behalf of Iran.  How could we be worse off than  the road we are heading down right now?   Iran is evil just as Stalin was evil.  You never go wrong fighting evil and always do when accommodating it.   The Call to prayer might be the sweetest sound Barack ever heard but we need to heed the righteous call to arms for our Western way of life.

“There is a time for war and a time for peace”  Proverbs.  oldranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ISIS Strategy for Victory By The West

Saddle up and let’s go for a ride through the headlines and old times.  Still the cheapest ride in town.

Many rightfully bemoan the lack of a comprehensive strategy to defeat the ISIS scourge.    It doesn’t need to be that complicated from a grand/political view.  The Commander in Chief (Lords knows we could use one) would issue orders to our military and such allies that will join with us to seek and destroy ISIS and all is cohorts and supporters.  Defeat being defined as utter destruction of organized fighting capabilities of the enemy.  Eisenhower’s orders when invading Europe in 1944 were that straightforward.  In 1945 when Germany surrendered he simply advised the Combined Chiefs of Staff that the “mission of the Allied Expeditionary  Forces  was completed on May 8, 1945 at 02:40 hours”.

The bigger issue among the effete left is collateral damage and winning hearts and minds.  As Twain said history doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.  The Nazis and Japs were pure evil and deserved to be destroyed root and branch which we accomplished and the world became a better place for it.  We can’t eliminate every evil heart in the world but we can stop any organized mayhem and slaughter.  Sure there will still be bad guys down the road but they would fall legitimately into the category of criminal activity rather than and organized assault on western civilization.  Only the naive or ideologically bent would deny that this is a war to preserve our Western culture.  Because the foes certainly are clear that that is their aim.

Don’t be sucked into the false argument that this would be a racially motivated war against those with dark skins.  Several have made that argument before and try to give the impression that Allies were harsher against the Japs than we were the European Nazis.  That is simply incorrect.   Check the actual facts for yourself.  We killed many more German, Italian, Hungarian and other assorted European Nazis than we did Jap soldiers.  That is a fact.  Many argue that we only used the A Bomb on the Japs and never would have on the Nazis.  Again check that facts. We bombed the stuffing out of Germany and killed many more German civilians than we ever did in Japan even including the two A Bomb drops.

To be successful we need to not be squeamish about collateral damage.  It will happen if you want to wage a military campaign that will succeed.  War is nasty and messy business.  It is not laser brain surgery.  It is digging a big hole with pick and shovel.  We killed with our bombing during the War tens of thousands of French, Czech, Danes, Dutch and Belgians and assorted others from North Africa to Berlin.   As our troops advanced from the west into Germany we would destroy with artillery any village or town that put up any resistance.  Those where there was no resistance were allowed to stand.   No one stopped the fight for victory because of concern over collateral damage.  This is not to say that many involved in the bombing and artillery salvos weren’t depressed or disturbed about the cost in human life and suffering but that was the price for victory.   We should have an announced and public policy that any town, village or neighborhood that shelters or condones any ISIS or affiliate will face destruction.  They outnumber that bad guys  by huge amounts (or so the moderate Muslims always tell us) and don’t have to harbor them.

Any occupying army must have cooperation or at least fearful acquiescence from the local population.  Yes, I admit the locals might be fearful but they need to have some courage too if they truly believe these are evil guys doing the Devil’s work.  Going along to get along with ISIS is the same as supporting it.  By refusing to resist at all the locals are in fact harboring the people who behead and burn those they perceive as infidels.  The locals need to fear us more than the fear the Islamic radicals if that is what it takes.

The Allied military should move how, when and where the military commanders direct to complete their mission.  Their mission is to destroy a fighting force, not to engage in any nation building project.  The Allied countries should also not embark on any Marshall Plan as some have suggested.  Let the Arab world and Mid East determine their own future and build it themselves with their own resources.   We should likewise make is fundamentally clear that we will come back and do it all over again any time a similar threat arises.  If the Muslims can behave like a civilized society they can peacefully participate fully in the community of man and practice their religion as they see fit.  This is a war about evil actions not the religious thoughts of anyone.  Like all wars of great enduring significance this is one of ideas and taking the higher moral ground as difficult and abhorrent as that may be.   We don’t always get to choose the era in which we dwell.

“The moral forces are amongst the most important subjects in war.  …”There is only one decisive victory; the last “.  olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Alrighty, let’s take a tour around the world and see what’s going on in all those corners of the globe….

We can start close to home in South Texas where we are being inundated with thousands of illegal aliens walking across the border with impunity and no apparent opposition.  The underground and smoke signal network of communication has been in existence since time immemorial.  Those kids, and more to the point, their parents, are aware of the vaguely disguised “invitation” of our guy in the White House that any and all Hispanics are welcome as future Democratic voters if they just cross the border.  Doesn’t it strike anyone else as a bit suspicious that all these so-called refugees claim that they are subject to intimidation and threats from gangs and drug cartels.  We’re expecting 90,000 this year alone.  How many gang members do they have in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras?   I personally don’t see refugees in those media photos but moochers.

Rule number one for any nation since the beginning of time is to have a border.  Each nation has the right and duty to  its citizens to defend its border.  Every nation must have the right to control and regulate the flow of foreigners and commerce across it borders.   That is the foundational definition of  being a nation.

Africa.  Well, the French after almost two years still have troops chasing radical Moslems around Mali.   Nigeria couldn’t be more of a mess Boko Haram roaming around killing and kidnapping more or less at will.  The Congo is beset with turmoil from radicals attacking and killing when the notion strikes them.   Libya and Egypt are both teetering on the brink or sinking into totalitarian status due to the conflict with radical Moslems.   Even a “stable” and democratic Kenya is subject to routine slaughter and attack from Moslems and radicals.   Somalia?  enough said.

Our friends in Europe are clearly rethinking their liberal policies regarding immigration and the influx of Moslems from North Africa and the northern and western marches of the Mid East.  France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and even Sweden are seeing growing and more vocal opposition to open borders and increasing immigration of Moslems.

Sentiment against central governments is growing much stronger across the European landscape whether the central government be domestic or the European  Parliament in Brussels.  Catalonia is voting on separation from Spain.  The Belgians are taking a fresh look at their centuries old joinder of the French, Flemish and Germanic portions of their nation with many calling for independence.  Surely you are aware the Scotland will vote in a few months on independence from the United Kingdom and predictions are for a very close vote.  Northern Italy is stirring even harder and more volubly for cutting loose the southern portions of Italy and letting them make their own way.  The Balkans remain on edge after nearly two decades of alleged peace between their Christian areas and the Moslem portions of that area.  The Ukraine?  Well it is getting plenty of press these days.

Who knows how Iraq will evolve over the next few weeks and months.   The radicals look to have at a minimum a permanent nation-state to consolidate power and use as a base to slowly but surely spread their barbarism in that immediate area of the world and even worse to then plan long term strikes against the West at times and places of their choosing with impunity.  It is very apparent that the US and all Western nations will not intervene in a way that would force them out of the areas they now occupy.  The Shia Iraqis don’t have the will to make a  war against them in those northern reaches and drive them out.  Even if Iran sent troops and everything they had available it wouldn’t work.  Look at the map and consider the demographics as you look.  The geography and Islamic peoples of those regions don’t favor driving out those fiends.  Iran can’t afford the  cost in treasure and military resources and personnel it would take to remove those Islamists even with the help of what exist of the Iraqi army.  That huge swath of earth looks likely to descend into a new dark age for some time to come.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are more or less the same problem sitting across two borders.  The Taliban will take over in reality or behind the scenes in running Afghanistan as soon as we are gone.  Who is going to stop them?  Serious question.  Pakistan can probably and likely will bumble along more or less as it has for decades.  Always on the edge of self-destruction but strong enough to thwart an outright collapse.

In the Far East China is on the march and Japan is slowly but inevitably renewing its martial aspirations.  Sitting between them is the powder keg the two Koreas.   China is readying its aircraft carrier and will use it to intimidate its neighbors and even strike the weaker ones when they feel they can without repercussions.  It is in our long-term strategic interest to back Japan in this growing and volatile mix.   It would be a disaster for China to be allowed free rein in such portions of the Asian area as they wish.  The Philippines just reached yet another in the endless series of truces with the Moslems on its island chain.  It won’t last either.  Lordy how many of those have there been since the SpanishAmerican War?

Saudi Arabia is allegedly an ally and how many of the 9/11 attackers came from there?  We should only trust when we can verify.  Be vigilant and hope some day those peoples will move beyond the 9th century in their outlook on the world and be able to tolerate other views. They are entitled to their own religion and culture and we have no problem with that but they should not be permitted to impose a Caliphate across any section of the modern world with the repression and of differing views.

Be brave,,,,fear never wins the battle and always leads to retreat.   olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The dog days of August are upon us and the mind looks for cooling thoughts anywhere it can find them.

Today is the 68th anniversary of the Nagasaki bomb drop on the Japs.   The leaders of that day were hoping to maximize the damage to them to force a surrender before we had to launch the invasion of Japan proper with projected loss of American lives exceeding 250,000 to finish the job.  The nation was war-weary and ready for it to end but still determined to defeat Japan.  What is forgotten is that at the same time (within two days) of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A bomb attacks we had other major attacks on Japan by our air forces and the navy.  The navy struck a coastal region with fuel storage tanks and power stations on the east coast.  The navy ships were literally just off shore and shelled the facilities and the navy planes struck with fury.  That was a huge raid and did tremendous damage.  About the same time we launched one of the biggest air raids of the whole war.  More than 800 B-29’s roared over the industrial area of Iksukea and devastated the entire manufacturing area.  If you have ever seen a B-29 you know how big they really are.  Larger than a 737 for example.  Imagine looking up in the sky and seeing wave after wave of them coming your way and hearing the thunder of those thousands of engines.   You’ve never even heard of these raids.  That is a lesson in history and how headlines are so fluid.  If not for the A bombs these raids would have been the lead headline in every major newspaper across the country.   Because of the A bombs they were moved to the back pages.   Those raids heavily influenced the final decision of the Japs to surrender because they realized that regardless of the A bombs they were defenseless to stop the coming American assault.   To know real history you must know more than the headline stories.

Some left over dishes don’t do well when they are warmed up for that second serving a couple of days later.  One exception to that truth though in our humble opinion is spaghetti, if well made, when warmed up down the road.  As good as the first serving.

Sure glad our outreach to the Muslim world is working so well.  You recall that even the NASA leader under the guy in the White House said that was his top priority.  Have you looked at any of those photos from Cairo in the last few days with the depictions of our guy in the White House?  Look them up and reach your own conclusion.

When it comes to the Muslim world we need a Kissinger to lead our foreign policy.  He definitely knew how to employ realpolitk and understood its necessity.  Yes, as awful as it is to contemplate, sometimes it is better to do business with an Assad in Syria rather than that Al Queada and Muslim Brotherhood coalition fighting against him.  Hey, folks we were all chummy and kissy kissy with Joe Stalin during WWII!  He made Attila the Hun look like a Franciscan monk by comparison.  Often a tough world presents tough choices and we need to make them and quit the speech making and political correct approach to foreign policy.  Do what is best for America.  In the long haul that will be what is best for the world.  We still represent the best hope for a good example for the world.   But that example is changing for the worst with each passing day of this current gang in the White House.

Did you know that copper is an antibacterial agent?  In smaller concentrations it will not kill the bacteria but will prevent its growth or spread.  High enough and it can kill bacteria.  Wonder why they don’t use copper for all the trays etc in hospitals and clinics.  Cost I suppose.  Even if more expensive up front it would last more or less forever unlike all that plastic we see in hospitals.  Just wondering if anyone has ever taken a hard look at that.

Don’t know about you but frankly I didn’t notice any difference in Christie’s appearance after his well-advertised weight reduction surgery.  He needs either a redo or a refund.   I don’t think he makes a very good ad for that type of surgery.   He still looks terribly overweight.

By now you have heard that if you have a camera built into your laptop that hackers (government or otherwise) can take over that camera and record you in your own home or office.  That is in addition to the ability to listen into your conversations through  your cell or computer or even the tv and now your fancy new car with all that electronic and computer gadgetry.   Getting really hard to get off the grid these days.

Getting off the grid was a motivating factor behind much of our western expansion from the earliest days of our new nation.   Thousands and then millions of folks for various personal reasons decided to go west to escape bad marriages, creditors or bad politicians or politics.  If you went from Pa. to Mo. in 1835 you could be whoever you wanted to be in Mo.  When you left your hometown, home church and community you were indeed off the grid.  Same thing with those early Mountain Men. Many just wanted to be away from the constraints as they saw it of civilization.   Today it is really hard to have a truly private life.  Good, bad, up to each of us to have our own opinion but the sad thing is that we don’t have a choice anymore to opt out for the quiet life.  Not many Walden ponds left.

“The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”  Proverbs 3/35. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Internet Intelligence?

Of course the title of this entry might immediately invoke thoughts that the phrase itself is oxymoronic.  Is there in fact intelligent life on the Internet?  What with the inane information on Facebook and Tweeter one could make the case that the Internet is nothing but a salvage yard of useless ideas.  But one can only hope that it also provides a useful tool for the betterment of Mankind.   Today there is a countless plethora of data flowing across the Internet that runs our economies, industries and even our personal financial affairs not to mention our personal personal affairs.   The news outlets of all stripe have been filled the last few weeks with stories about breaches of security on Banks, governments, militaries, and even the Internet providers themselves.   The hacking exposure threatens identity theft and our national security and vital infrastructure such as utilities, airlines, banks and government agencies of all kinds.    We are being spied on in the Internet and spying is all about gathering Intelligence by crooks or enemies to cause of loss or harm.  Such spying and threats to our economy is not new.  We’ve had an “Internet” for millennia and societies have worried about its breach of security from the beginning of time.

The modern version of the Internet moves with the speed of light and carries more data but it is in theory and actuality no more than an updated adaptation to the collection and use of information that Man has employed since recorded time.   Since Biblical times Man has wanted to spy on foreign lands and societies to advance their hopes of conquest or trade relations.  The very oceans and seas are a vast “Internet” of flowing information as are all the ancient trades routes across the continents of the Northern Hemisphere.  Before the Jews began their advance into the promised land they sent forth spies to check things out, to steal information about the possible opponents and to report on the economic promise of the foreign lands.  History is replete with such missions from China to Western Europe.  Travelers from far lands were prized because of the intelligence they could bring back with their exploits and even the ordinary events of the day were newsworthy to those running the economies.   This all started as soon as we moved out of the caves into settled communities and cities.   People reached out and brought back information–intelligence.  It was slower than today but there was a pretty constant stream of information to digest and access to that information was a treasure to governments and traders and even the man on the street because it affected the availability and price of goods and luxury items.

In Roman days the Mediterranean Sea was one large Internet connection.  Ships plied those waves constantly and with those ships flowed information about new crops, mineral supplies, wars, preparation for wars, building of fleets for invasions, plagues and the overthrow of governments.  The first ship from Alexandria to Ostia (port for Rome) that brought news of the grain crops along the Nile for that season had a real advantage for those buying and selling the crops and the Roman government itself wanted this information.  Of course, just as today on the Internet you had to use judgement to discern the truth of the reports; false information made its way across the seas then just as it does through the Cloud today.   There was closely guarded “trade secrets” held by many in the world of commerce and the governments.  The shoals, reefs, bays of all locations around the world were vital for commerce and wars, in addition to the actual news brought to land.  More than once a foreign fleet was foiled in an attempt to conquer a particular land because they ran aground due to lack of accurate knowledge about local conditions.  The Greeks at Syracuse, the Spanish Armada, the Persians at port of Athens are only a few such examples.

In times past maps were closely guarded by those employing them.  They were a huge advantage for both trade and war and the mapmakers were often hired directly by the King or the most powerful of the commercial traders and the mapmakers were in a dangerous business if suspicion fell on them for letting the maps fall into the “wrong” hands.   Foreigners coming to a local port were almost always required to utilize local pilots to guide the ships through the last few miles to avoid the reefs, shoals and headlands and dock safely at port.  That practice continues to this day mostly for different reasons.  Ships going through the Panama Canal for example are steered through there by the captains but by local pilots familiar with the lay of the land as it were.   And it protects local jobs and inc0me.  When explorers figured out a new route for trade they didn’t come home and announce all the details to the world, they said I can show you how to make money using my knowledge of a new route.  They were reluctant to reveal the information to their sponsors just as Columbus was with Isabella and Ferdinand.

Mankind has always had a flow of valuable and vital information that could cause harm if revealed to a party no intended to be the recipient.  It just moved slower but was a steady drumbeat of data.   The Carthaginians long prior to Alexander the Great had a trade route through the Straits of Gibraltar to Cornwall in England for the tin which they brought back for bronze production.  It was valuable information and they kept it secret as long as they could.  They sure didn’t reveal the details of the route to their historical ancestors the Phoenicians.  By Alexander age a Greek from Marseilles found the same route on an epic voyage of discovery and the world suddenly had two sources of tin but by then the Iron Age had arrived.

The technology has changed rather dramatically but the flow of data across and around the world is nothing new at all and the desire to hold such information close the vest of the recipient is nothing new.  As has been said, knowledge is power.  Thus the counter force of spying or hacking we call it today.

“The first destroyer of the liberties of a people is he who first gave them bounties and largesses.”  Plutarch, Greek historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Benghazi Blemish On American Heritage And Tradition

The events in Benghazi last month were not only a tragedy for our country and the families of those killed; it was a humiliation to the dignity and respect of our nation.   It is a sad and disturbing example of the world-view and attitude of the current administration regarding the standing of the US vis-a-vis the Muslim world.

First and foremost it is dangerous and disheartening to note the failure of BO and cohorts not to immediately come to the defense of our right of free speech.  There is no problem with stating they regret that some in the world may find items published, produced or written in the US via any medium offensive but the right of free expression is inviolate in our nation.  It is in the first of our Bill of Rights for good reason.  Rather than bowing and scrapping to those perhaps offended they should have been vigorously been defending the right to speak and take positions on any matter.    Rather than talking about offending a “great religion” the administration should have been talking about a great right being threatened by violence.

It is painfully obvious except to the die-hard Democrats that the narrative of the spontaneous protest against the little known youtube video was put out to support their publicly stated position that bin Laden was dead and that Al Qaeda was on the wane.     This myth and lie they viewed as helping their crippled foreign policy story of success and acceptance in the Muslim world.   It is quite apparent now that a planned attack was under way against our consulate and that this engagement lasted for a number of hours.    One can only imagine the horror, fear and hopeless feelings of those trapped in that consulate during those hours.   As bad as the lie about the spontaneous protest (which was repeated as late as BO’s appearance at the UN over 10 days later) is the lack of any effort to mount some rescue effort.

Panetta and other in the administration have said that there simply wasn’t enough time to attempt any rescue effort and that there wasn’t enough intelligence to justify sending the military into harm’s way in Benghazi that night.   One can appreciate the theory that there were lots of messages coming into the State Dept and the White House and that such cable or email traffic can be confusing.  Got that.  But, but, but….every organization has priorities.   Yes, probably hundreds or even thousands of communiques reach State from all over the world every day but only a fool would believe that there are certain embassies and locales that have a much higher priority than others.  Messages from Benghazi would have a higher priority than one from Japan for example where things are calm.  Libya, Syria, Iraq etc. would be looked at before others.  If they aren’t then it is gross incompetence.  There is another factor in those first messages from Benghazi that are telling.

The first critical email from the consulate used the word “attack”, the phrase “under attack”.  It didn’t say protest or demonstration.  Now how many messages from our embassies and consulates around the world would use that word or phrase on any given day or month or even year?   Talk about a red flag or a screaming SOS.  This is especially true when those folks sitting safe and comfortable in Washington knew that there was no military protection for our consulate there.   It was unusual enough that we know Panetta et al were meeting at the White House by 5 pm shortly after the first message.   Yet they made the decision not to send any aid.

One can understand that the military likes to have all the intelligence it can acquire before mounting a mission–the number of the enemy, location and types of weaponry they have.  They like to practice and train for the specific mission.  Again, all understood and makes sense when circumstances permit.  But there are a few problems with the argument they couldn’t do anything because of that lack in this case.  One of the oldest adages in military lore is that you always “march to the sound of the guns”.  It means just what you would think.  When in the field with an enemy and you hear the gun fire you go there immediately.  That is where the fight is and guess what–that is your job!   The military is in the risk business.   Yes, some missions are going to be very difficult, almost suicidal but that is your duty and job description.  Remember those dive bombers at the Battle of Midway.  They knew they really had little chance against the Jap fleet when first spotted but they attacked anyway and none made it back.  But their attack opened the way for the later formations to sink 4 Jap carriers.

I know any mission sent to Benghazi might not have resulted in a successful rescue.  But success in saving those guys was not the only purpose of such a mission.  We could have done something.  Maybe we couldn’t have gotten special forces there in time.  Maybe planes from Sicily would not have been able to identify enemy targets when they got there.  Our planes could have gotten into the air.  Ask anyone military guy and they will tell you there is always a “ready team” at those air bases that can be activated very quickly, minutes not hours time.  We should have tried.  Even before we knew all the details they should have been sent to Benghazi.  If it turned out that things were not bad they could have been called back.  Maybe they would not have been able to see targets.   They could have at least flown low over the consulate.  Maybe strafed the area around it.  At least they could have dropped flares.   We’ll never know now if such action could have helped.  Maybe those jets flying right over would have scared off some of the bad guys, maybe not.  You can rest assured it would have made those men inside feel better even if only briefly to know they were not alone, they had not be abandoned or forgotten.  Ask any old vet who was a prisoner of war of the Japs or Germans during WWII  how they felt when they saw American planes overhead even though they knew it didn’t mean they were rescued yet.

The point is dammit–we should have tried.  That is what we do.   Americans don’t just keel over or bow to adversaries or at least we didn’t used to do that.   The Demo left probably don’t even remember the words but our national anthem ends with “the home of the brave”.  Not the timid, the pusillanimous.   Shouldn’t we expect bravery and honesty from the White House rather than political calculation and lies?   This treachery against American values and tradition should not be forgiven or forgotten.   If you agree pass this message along.

“If all that Americans want is security they can go to prison.   They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and roof over their heads.  But if an American want to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.”  Dwight Eisenhower.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

They may or may not be worth the price but at least we don’t hide the bad fruit in the second layer of the fruit bin…..

Listened to a NPR report just a couple of days ago about the declining ice cap in the Arctic.   It was about some new computer model that revealed allegedly how much the ice cap has retreated over the last couple of decades.  It showed a big orange band around the top of the world that used to be ice but now is open water.  I haven’t been there personally and don’t know how much the ice has retreated but guess is has from the international shipping news.  However, it is interesting that within that alleged band on open sea is where Shell is trying to drill some new wells.  They have been delayed and Transportation Secretary La Hood has fussed at them for the delay.  They need some more equipment not yet completed, but, but, but,,,what is more interesting is that in spite of reports from afar; they can’t get to the location anyway right now because of the sea ice!   Hmmm, just wondering.   Do you believe the people there looking with their own eyes or the computer image thousands of miles away?

Will we ever know the truth about Lance Armstrong?   A sad and depressing denouement to what could have been a sterling record of achievement that will be no more.

For the first 100 plus years of our nation the people never heard or saw their Presidential candidates.  Travel was just too difficult and communications restricted.   They knew only what they read in the local papers and pamphlets that would be distributed by each party.  Sure there were also  lots of purple prose and negative comments in those papers and tracts dependent upon the political bent of the writer but at least voters did have to focus on the issues and the ideas that were presented.  They weren’t popularity contests anywhere near the extent they are today.  Now of course we have communication outlets out the wazoo.  We know more than we want or probably even should know about the candidates that run for office.  The advent of the TV debates beginning in 1960 accelerated this process.  Now, far more than is healthy we have beauty contest and celebrity shows for President.  Too many of our fellow citizens vote for the most likeable and entertaining or charismatic candidate regardless of the actual content of their agenda.  Sound bites are not a solid basis for policy.   We need serious people doing serious work in public office, not the theoretical winner of an American Idol contest.

Addendum to the last comment–Bill Clinton.  He will be a featured speaker for the Democrats at their convention.   They believe the ladies love him.  Well, he certainly loves the ladies as we all know.  Here is a guy who should have at the top of his resume that he was an impeached President for lying under oath (which wasn’t even denied, but indeed admitted) and a disbarred lawyer.  Lawyers aren’t loved generally speaking and Lord knows a disbarred lawyer must rank at the bottom of the barrel of  public approval.  Yet, there he is in all his glory pontificating.   Heck, why not have Charles Manson speak about the criminal justice system and the inadequacies of the penal system.   What is sad is that you can bet a buck that amazingly a significant percentage of the people would approve of that.

Another lesson straight from the back pages of the news wires for all those Kumbaya types believing everyone will love everyone if only they knew more about each other.  The recent disputes and tensions on the Asian waters over a number of islands claimed by Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines.   Some of that rhetoric has been very strong and the animosities revealed anew that have existed for centuries.  You note that there still is no peace in the former Yugoslavia in spite of the alleged great accomplishment of the Dayton Accords.  We still have peace keepers there and fighting will no doubt emerge again as soon as they leave unless another dictator subdues the entire region.  Some times you need to recognize the enmity between cultures and people and work for a doable and sustainable truce that endures rather than a forced “integration” of peoples.   We made it work for 70 years with the Soviets.

Another instance of being careful with announcements of new orders by a company for the products is Boeing’s recent hit from Qantas.  They just cancelled 35 of those new 787’s.  That is a big-ticket item.  Next watch for the Indonesians to cancel some orders.  If you gave it some thought when those news releases were first issued you should have questioned how those airlines could possibly use that many new aircraft.  I mean why would that Indonesian outfit need 235 of those planes?   Were they planning some strategic air force?  I know it is a growing economy but…..jeez don’t people ever think anymore.

What exactly does Mayor Bloomberg do for fun?  He is your worst nightmare for a governess, if you were of that social strata; also he would have been such a downer for a mom. You never would have been allowed dessert, no sodas in the fridge, no salt for your french fries, oops, I mean if you snuck them in late at night, doubt if you would have been allowed a dog after all they have fleas and some even bite and makes messes that contain germs, little boys sure wouldn’t have been allowed a BB gun to shoot in the back yard.  Wow, what a fun guy.  I guess you could go to museums, day after day, and eat freshly peeled pieces of vegetables just what every kid would love.

Keep watching the numbers carefully over the next couple of years.  It looks increasingly likely that the “bailout” of AIG was completely unnecessary.  They are paying back everything and some parts of the enterprise have already returned a profit.  Don’t know that Greenberg guy from a tree stump but when all is said and done he may  be right that the Feds went berserk and took the company away from him without just cause.  Don’t know the outcome yet but interesting to watch the outcome.  He also has a pretty good argument that AIG under the Federal control didn’t perform as well as it could have under private ownership and he is probably right about that.  I mean you trust Tim Geithner more than him?

“I think we can do business with the Chancellor”   Neville Chamberlain referring the Hitler.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Ron Paul And Iran

I have watched several of the Republican debates in the last couple of months and have listened to Ron Paul talk about how it is understandable that Iran would hate us because we went in there and overthrew their democratically elected government in 1954.   That overstates the actual facts but we did in fact work covertly to install another government in 1954.  The effort had begun in 1953.  Unfortunately his statement without any background completely mis-characterizes the actions of the US at that time and the necessity or lack thereof  for that action.  It is always a mistake to have people take matters out of a context and use them to create a false impression of history.  As any experienced journalist knows all too well you can write a story that true facts in it but still give the slanted impression you want with the use of language and the omission of other facts equally true.

In 1953 we were at the height of the Cold War and indeed it was a war.  It continued on for another three plus decades.  Stalin didn’t die until 1953 and the usual mystery surrounding the power brokers in the Kremlin prevailed.   The Soviets had just developed their H-Bomb at that time.  The Iron Curtain was firmly in place across all of Eastern Europe.   The Rosenbergs had just given away our secret regarding the bombs to the Commies.  Alger Hiss had been exposed for what he was as a secret agent for the Soviets.   Even that dolt and drunk McCarthy had his run at exposing the Commies in our government.  Just because he was a boor, brute and crude didn’t make him wrong about his basic allegations.  There were in fact Commies in the State Department and other governmental agencies just not as many as he alleged.  But the ones there were bad enough. 

Poland, Hungary, Austria and Berlin and other areas of Eastern Europe were under the oppressive thumb of the Kremlin and the trials and the Gulag were in full flower.  The Commies never hesitated to achieve their goals at the blunt end of a gun.  Oh, don’t forget that little exercise in Korea.  It had just ended.  The Soviets had helped along with their then brothers in cause, the Chicoms.   Soviets advisors were all over Korea along with their MIG aircraft to shoot down our planes.

The Commies were on the march everywhere throughout the world during this period and stated their overt intention to dominate the world with their policies and their actual rule.  All our Presidents and leaders for decades believed it was the right and proper course to oppose this Communist assault.  Truman in Greece and the Truman Doctrine.  Eisenhower with our European troops in place, Kennedy at Cuba and Viet Nam, Johnson in Viet Nam and all of Asia are only some of the examples.

In the early ’50’s Iran was still primitive.  The notion of them having a “democratic” election during that era is laughable.  The Communists were pushing hard in that area just as they were in Tibet and India for greater control, influence and outright dominion.  Remember every country that had a communist party in place did in fact follow exactly the dictates from Moscow or Beijing as the case may be.  Iran was ripe for the picking at this time for Moscow and they were pushing for it.

I have heard Paul people say we went there with our covert operations to gain oil.  Again their historical facts are phony.   In the early 1950’s the US was still energy independent.  We didn’t need their damn oil.  We were just beginning our Gulf Coast offshore development and had onshore supplies plus Mexico and Venezuela.   Iran didn’t have that much in proven reserves at that time in any event.  We could have bought oil cheap if we wanted it or needed it from that area from Saudi Arabia.  We didn’t take our covert action in Iran to get oil but to counter a move by a real enemy–the Communists. 

Lastly, it way overstates the case to say our covert actions in fact caused the change in government.  People always think that covert action of a political nature is more effective at the moment than it really is.  Heck, if covert action only would work to change governments we wouldn’t have had to endure the Communists in Russia for so many decades.  Lord, knows we tried hard enough to change that regime covertly and otherwise.  When all is said and done the people of Iran wanted that change or it wouldn’t have happened.  All they had to do was stand up and say no and it would not have occurred.   Those in the intelligence community have debated how effective our effort was there after the event.  Many believe it was not very influential other than to put a guy forward for the Iranians to accept or reject.  They accepted him.

This isn’t a commentary about Paul’s candidacy as such but only about his allegations.  He paints a picture that the US just woke up one fine morning and decided to go over throw another government and did so for oil.   That picture is completely wrong.  All are invited to do your own research on this topic you don’t have to accept my word for anything. 

“We will bury you.” Nikita Khrushev.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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The Story Behind the Photo

Nostalgia often gets a bum rap.  There is nothing particularly wrong with looking back at our history with a tint of those rose colored glasses.  Sometimes the rose color isn’t even there we merely cherish the specific memory of another time and place that had brought us great happiness or contentment or maybe a sense of accomplishment.  Even the worse of us will usually have a moment or two where we got it right even if it was more accident than design.  As they say it is the results that count.  If were are really fortunate we have someone in our family clan that got it right most of the time not just occasionally and they laid down the marker for their progeny to follow.  Following the marker can be frustrating for that progeny that strays or doesn’t quite stay the true course.

That photo is almost 70 years old now.  It was clearly made with one of the good quality Brownie Kodaks of the day.  Professionally done but not something the neighborhood doctor would have gotten.  This was from the bargain basement at Sears more than likely.  Over the decades it has faded a bit from the sunlight.  It now has a sepia quality to it.  It is a formal photo of the family like was favored at that time.   Somehow they pulled it off by looking relaxed and even enjoying themselves.  It is not so stiff and stilted as many of that genre.  Even the toddler looks content and happy as though he was getting a brand new toy.

She is twenty and dressed in one of her snappiest dresses.  One of only a few other than the routine house dresses as they were called then.   Her round face is framed with her hair; her smile dazzles.  She has done her hair.  Not at a salon, that would have been way out of reach financially but she has it worked and it is full and vibrant.  Her smile tells it all though.  It is not forced.  It is not a camera smile.  She is happy at this moment.    She is with him and her son is there, life couldn’t be better than this.  As always there was not advance notice of his arrival other than a call on the road as he hitch hiked from New Orleans.   The letters were steady in dating but their delievry was sporadic and delayed by weeks or even longer on occasion.  

He is in his dress whites.  It is spring of ’44.  He has been in the Mediterranean, North Atlantic and the Gulf since the winter of ’42.  This is only his second trip home.   For the photo he wore the whites because they were the nicest things he had to wear.  At home was just jeans and work shirts and skivvy shirts.  He didn’t like wearing the uniform, he wore it enough, but she wanted them all to look their best for the photo.   He is smiling because he is with her, near her.  The Navy has even given hima new tooth so he can smile without being shy about it.  It is not a dream this time, he can feel the warmth of her next to him.  He feels incredibily lucky and happy to be right there but uncertain how he fits into the picture.   He has been aboard ship about 12 out of the last 18 months.  That little guy was only a few weeks old when he left for boot camp on Lake Michigan.  He wants to make her happy but he wants to get this photo done so they can have time together before he has to leave again in less than two days.  That hard and lean look did reflect the steel of his character and strength of his determination for the to finish this war and then the life to follow.   His later success came as no surprise to those that knew him then.

The little guy is about 18 months old and dressed ina play jumper outfit.  It might even be borrowed.  She only had the pay he sent home and the little she had earned at the Ford plant.  Even with combat pay and promotions he still was only getting about $78 a month at this time.   With the rationing and difficulty getting baby shoes someone had gone to a lot of trouble and expense  to have him looking his best.  He is not crying or looking off at the moon but seems to sense the happiness in the air and serenity of the moment.  He is smiling and looking straight up and out, making his momma proud.  The suit is pin-stripped with a built in belt around the middle.  Hair is combed and you would have thought he was a Rockefeller.

It was only one brief moment in time.  But it did happen and it was real.  Regardless of future dangers of the war and struggles with finances at home, they had this moment.  Then with the blessing of God and their devotion to decency and hard work they had many more such moments for another 42 years. 

That photo hangs on my hallway wall now.  Mom doesn’t appreciate it like I do.  She says it reminds her too much of the War and the bad times of it.  Dad has crossed the bridge to discuss it all with the Lord.   It doesn’t bother me in the least to say I can get lost in my own reverie when I pass it even if only for a few seconds.  But those seconds always lift me.

Honor thy father and thy mother.  

www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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