Paper Navy Tiger

Damaged Navy Warship.jpeg

We spend $600 billion on defense and this is what we get?


In the middle of the night our U.S. Navy DESTROYER crashes with a ginormous container ship.


The commercial vessel (yes it’s bigger, but it’s a civilian ship) is lightly damaged, but the U.S. Navy BATTLESHIP (after having undergone a recent $21 million upgrade) has 7 dead, the captain injured, and it can barely make it back to its port except with tugboats for extensive repairs. 


WTF!


How does an battleship with the latest sensors and technology collide with a civilian ship–how did such a foreign vessel even get close to our navy ship let alone collide with it–was someone completely “asleep at the wheel?”


This is no joke!–this is our first line of defense in our ability to project force globally. 


What if this had been a terrorist ship laden to the hilt with high explosives or an Axis of Evil Iranian or North Korean fast attack craft or even a Russian or Chinese attack submarine–surprise!


Doesn’t a battleship need to be ever-vigilant and -ready for battle? 


How can we fight sophisticated 21st century militaries with advanced ship-killer cruise missiles, torpedos, and mines, if we can’t even avoid the essential sinking of one our own fighting ships in peacetime. 


Our brave men and women who take up the uniform to serve this great nation–and this country–DESERVE BETTER!


Does this paper navy ship with a punched hole in it represent a larger forgotten or war-weary military in dire need of modernization and genuine readiness to defend the beautiful and free America? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via The Guardian)

Losing Deadly Control

Skull

So today we hear that there was a horrible mistake in which at least 52 sites (in 18 states here and 3 other countries) were inadvertently sent LIVE anthrax!!!


This after a prior incident in December where ebola had been mishandled and a technician potentially exposed. 


Again last August, they announced that a lab had accidentally cross-contaminated benign bird flu virus with a deadly strain of it. 


And there are at least five other major mishaps just since 2009 including more with anthrax and bird flu as well as with Brucella and botulism–these involved everything from using improper sterilization and handling techniques to inadvertent shipments of deadly live germs. 


Also in July, the CDC discovered six vials of LIVE smallpox in an unused storage room at the NIH.


This is reminiscent of similar gaffes by the military with an inadvertent shipment in 2007 by the Air Force of six nuclear warheads while the crew was unaware that they were even carrying it.


And here we go again (a doozy this time), information was disclosed in 2013 that we nearly nuked ourselves (specifically North Carolina) with 2 hydrogen bombs (260 times more powerful than that exploded on Hiroshima) in 1961. 


Yes, mistakes happen, but for weapons of mass destructions that we are talking about here, there are layers of safeguards that are supposed to be strictly in place. 


After each incident, it seems that some official acknowledges the mistakes made, says sorry, and claims things are going to be cleaned up now. 


But if the same or similar mistakes are made over and over again, then what are we really to believe, especially when millions of lives are at stake?


We have too much faith in the large bureaucratic system called government that despite how well it could be run, very often it isn’t and is prone to large and dangerous errors and miscalculations.


With all due respect for our experts in these areas, we need to spend a lot more time and effort to ensure the safety of our most dangerous stockpiles–be it of nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological origin. 


We can’t afford any more mistakes–or the next one could be more than just a simple (not) embarrassment.


What good is all the preparation to win against our enemies, if we are our own worst enemy or we have meet the enemy and it is us! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Creation and Time Management

Embroidery

This is a photo of a beautiful embroidery.

It is called “Creation” by Leonard Nierman. 

Really liked it!

Also, wanted to share something funny I heard from a colleague about time management (as learned at DoD).

It doesn’t have to do with creation being 6 days and on the 7th day, G-d rested and it was good. 

Rather it had to do with being on time (or not) as follows:

“If you’re on time, you’re late.  If you’re 10 minutes early, you’re on time.”

Wish that was standard fare. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Peace To All Mankind

Peace
I liked this post in downtown Washington, D.C. inscribed with the following:



“May Peace Prevail On Earth.”



It left me wondering, if Earth includes:



1) ISIS advances into large swathes of Syria and Iraq

2) Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan including the one that left 132 children dead in a Peshawar school last week.

3) Boko Haram kidnappings and killings in Nigeria including the hundreds of children taken and given as wives to their captors 

4) Al-Shabaab fighting in Somalia including attacks in the capital, Mogadishu

5) Hamas in Gaza and their barrage of rocket attacks on and terror tunnels into Israel

6) Hezbolah in Lebanon as a proxy for Iran-sponsored terror

7) Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and threats to annihilate Israel off the face of the map.

8) Russia in Ukraine and Georgia and ongoing threats to Eastern Europe/NATO.

9) China’s military build-up, including nukes, submarines, and anti-satellite weapons.

10) North Korea cyber attack on Sony and threatening “the White House, the Pentagon, and the whole U.S. mainland.”



Peace is more than a wish, right now it seems like a dream. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Everything Else Is Anticlimactic

VeteransDay
We went to a Veterans Day Concert yesterday, and it was quite moving.



Before the music–60’s and 70’s (and some dancing)–started, there were a number of heartfelt speeches by distinguished veterans of the Vietnam War.



One lady was a nurse in Saigon working 16 hour days tending to the wounded and dying from the battlefield. She joined the army after 8 of her high school friends from her small hometown were killed in the war. The nurse told us how on the flight to Nam, they were told to look to the person on the immediate right and left of you, becuase one of you will not be coming home.



Another speaker was a special forces Army Ranger who was fighting in North Vietnam on very dangerous covert missions. He led many draftees, who he said had only minimal training, yet fought bravely on missions with bullets flying overhead and mortars and rockets pounding their positions. He described one situation where he knelt down to look at a map with one of his troops, and as they were in that psition half a dozen bullets hit into the tree right above their heads–if they had not been crouched down looking at the map, they would’ve both been dead. 



A third speaker was a veteran who had been been hit by a “million dollar shot” from the enemy–one that didn’t kill or cripple him, but that had him sent him to a hospital for 4-6 weeks and then ultimately home from the war zone. He told of his ongoing activities in the veterans community all these years, and even routinely washing the Veteran’s Wall Memorial in Washington D.C. 



Aside from the bravery and fortitude of all these veterans, what was fascinating was how, as the veterans reflected, EVERYTHING else in their lives was anticlimactic after fighting in the war. The nurse for example read us a poem about the ladies in hell (referring to the nurses caring for the wounded) and how they never talked about the patients in Nam because it was too painful, and when they returned home, they had the classic symptoms of PTSD including the hellish nightmares of being back there. 



Indeed, these veterans went through hell, and it seems that it was the defining moment in (many if not most of) their lives, and they are reliving it in one way or another every moment of every day. 



Frankly, I don’t know how they did it being dropped on the other side of the world with, as the special forces Vet explained, maps that only told you in very general terms wherer you even where, and carrying supplies for at least 3 days at a time of C-rations, water, ammo, and more–and with the enemy all around you (“there were no enemy lines in this war; if you stepped out of your units area, it was almost all ‘unfriendly.'”). One Vet said that if you were a 2nd Lt., like she was, your average lifespan over there was 20 minutes. 



The big question before we go to war and put our troops in harms way is what are we fighting for and is it absolutely necessary. For the troops being sent to the battlezone, everything else is just anticlimactic–they have been to hell. 



(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

The All American Shoe

All American Shoe
Ok, so this is a very cool shoe.



I’m in Ft. Lauderdale, and I came across this shoe.



No straps, no buckles, no bows, no ties, no tassels, no sparkles.



Just this woven American flag–prominent and proud. 



Thought this was pretty cool. 



Maybe there is a time for pretty shoes on the runway, and boots on the ground to defend our nation. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Bigger Smaller Navy

The Bigger Smaller Navy

So our Navy is shrinking for real, but growing on the books.

Steve Cohen writes in the Wall Street Journal how the “U.S. Navy is stretched too thin.”

And we are down to just 283 ships, but for reporting purposes it’s 293–that is–because we now include hospital ships, small coastal patrol vessels (“lightly armed [with machine guns]…and not true oceangoing”), and a high-speed transport in the calculus.

Moreover, “only 35% of the U.S. Navy’s entire fleet is deployed, fewer than 100 ships, including just 3 aircraft carriers.”

According to the Heritage Foundation, gone is the promise of a mighty U.S. with a formidable 600-ship navy, and instead “U.S. naval leaders are struggling to find ways to meet a new requirement of around 300 ships…with “predictions [that] show current funding levels would reduce the fleet to [just] 263 ships.”

Sure, today’s fleet is comprised of ships more capable than predecessors, but our enemies are also not resting on their laurels.

China is now building its 2nd aircraft carrier, and Russia has formally secured Crimea home to it’s Black Sea fleet.

The function for military readiness includes not only capability of each, but numbers available to fight.

There are times that less is more, but less can also be less. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jon Olav)