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We Got Him!

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I hope.

Fox News is reporting that Osama bin Laden is dead, apparently killed by US bombs a week ago. We have the body (very important). President Obama will be speaking about this shortly.

It appears that this is part of the surge as lead by General Petraeus, copied from Iraq, and championed by President Bush. Both these men deserve some credit.

But so does President Obama for bucking his leftist constituency, staying the course in Afghanistan, and approving the surge there.

Osama now goes straight to hell, where I’m sure he will enjoy his seventy-two raisins. Thanks and kudos to the US military personnel who delivered this evil man to his just desserts.

Update: It looks like he was killed in Pakistan. It may not have been a bomb, but a ground operation. I hope so. I would much rather he saw it coming and knew the end was at hand.

Update II: As of 11:35 EST, President Obama is addressing the nation, and confirming that Osama bin Laden is dead. Hooray!

Update III: The President has confirmed that it was a ground operation, carried out by American forces. Good.

Update IV: Obama is here at his best. He took some credit – as he should – but he also mentioned President Bush positively, our military, our allies, and all those who have helped bring this evil man to justice. The President has affirmed that we will not be attacked with impunity and will be relentless, and I applaud him for it. He has also asked that God bless the USA. Thank you Mr. President.

Update V: An important lesson for those who would declare war on the United States as bin Laden did is that it does not matter that you outlast one of our presidents. Certainly, President Bush would have liked to have this happen on his watch, but he has already issued a statement that he is delighted it has happened. President Obama – who has frankly grown in the national security aspects of his office – has recognized that this is bigger than he is. Mess with the US, and don’t expect that all you need to do is outlast the guy presently in office. In one way, it’s good that this happened under Obama – a president who has apologized for the US, who has been less than jingoistic to put it mildly, and who’s own wife has admitted that she was not proud of her country prior to her husband’s nomination. President Obama has now demonstrated that our enemies cannot count on weakness on our part. Mess with the US, and you mess with the whole country for good and for all. There is no statute of limitations.

Update VI: It appears that the mission went down not last week, but just this weekend. The Navy SEALs carried it out and the self-proclaimed “strong horse” cowered behind one of his wives, using her as a human shield. It also appears that this day was long in the planning, at least back to 2007, a tribute to the military and intelligence professionals who spanned two administrations to bring this man to justice.

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Written by martinipundit

May 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm

USS Ranger CV-61

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World War II marked a transition in naval warfare that very few people foresaw. After all, while there had been changes in naval technology over the preceding centuries, they had largely been confined to three aspects: gunnery, armor, and propulsion.

In the Golden Age of Sail – a period which continues to hold my fascination – cannons and sail held supreme. Later in the nineteenth century warships adopted steam engines, actual armor plate, and guns which while connected to their forebears were magnitudes more powerful.

Students of history know that these big gun ships dominated throughout the nineteenth century and became supreme in the early part of the twentieth culminating in the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet who both clashed at Jutland. No one knew it at the time, but that was essentially the high-water mark of the all big gun ship. More such ships would be built and commissioned for the next couple of decades, and some would be incredible. The HMS Hood – one of the most elegant ships ever built would ultimately be sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, herself a tour de force of naval architecture. (Her design predecessors Scharnhorst and Gneisenau showed stunning beauty.) There were American battleships in this league about which I have previously written.

Yet aircraft carriers are somehow different. Maybe it’s the mystique of Pearl Harbor, but I can’t help but notice the tremendous success of the British whose Swordfish aircraft successfully attacked the Italian fleet at Taranto months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Of course, it must be allowed that the Japanese both knew of and studied the Taranto attack.

That’s the transition. World War II marked the transition of naval supremacy from the all big gun ship to the aircraft carrier. Some debated it at the time, but there is no disputing that in the Pacific, the United States after Pearl Harbor had lost the eight battleships of the Pacific Fleet. The US Navy was left with the carriers to bring the fight to the enemy, and I suspect that the stalwart American sailors were just as surprised as anyone else when those carriers not only proved equal to the task but the masters of it.

That brings me to the postwar aspect of things. It is simply an axiom that combat reaps lessons. Four years of the most intense conflict, in which technology becomes a weapon itself, will yield lessons which the observant may improve their ability to wage war. In a postwar context, the USS Ranger, CV-61 may be the first ship to embody those lessons.

Now, it is true that other ships were built and designed before the Ranger. The USS United States was probably the most significant, though she was never in any danger of completion. The Ranger herself was a member of the Forrestal class, and she followed that ship as well as the Saratoga. USS Independence rounded out the class.

The reason Ranger is important is she was built from the start with the angled deck so critical to modern carrier operations. Invented by the British – very clever people where naval technology is concerned – the angled deck allowed for simultaneous takeoff and landing operations. It also eliminated the danger of a landing aircraft failing and crashing into other planes forward on the deck.

From an American point of view, though many WWII carriers were converted – Essex class and others – it was the Forrestals, led by the Ranger, that incorporated this new and critical innovation.

The Ranger has a more personal meaning for me – my cousin commanded a squadron of A-4 Skyhawks off of her in the Vietnam War. Her service to the country was exemplary, and at this time her fate remains unclear. I hope she becomes a museum ship as I would dearly like to go aboard her. Here she is in her prime:

USS Ranger

A glass raised to the entire class: USS Forrestal CV-59, USS Saratoga CV-60, USS Ranger CV-61, and USS Independence CV-62!

Written by martinipundit

October 5, 2010 at 2:13 am

Posted in Military, Ships

Tagged with ,

General Petraeus Errs

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Let me start by saying I’m a fan of David Petraeus. He’s clearly the most consequential American general since Norman Schwarzkopf and thus in the top commanders of the past thirty years. It goes without saying that I would not second-guess his battlefield acumen – I obviously wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

So, all that being said, I think General Petraeus was wrong to comment on the wacko Florida pastor’s plan to burn the Koran. He has given far too much weight to a buffoon.

I’m no fan of Islam. I was first exposed to it as a teenager when I worked with a black muslim who was a follower of Warith Dean Mohammed. I still have the Koran that co-worker gave me. I also have another one I purchased on my own (Everyman). And yes, I have read the Koran cover to cover. I remain unconvinced and unimpressed.

And yet – burn a book? Is that the right call Reverend Hitler? My personal library is over 3000 volumes and contains the aforementioned two Korans. I would no sooner burn them than I would burn my oldest book published in 1568 (not kidding). Reverend Whoever down there in Florida is obviously a little man and has nothing to contribute to the discussion of religion in the Public Square. He ought to be ignored.

This brings me to my issue with General Petraeus. I understand that in Afghanistan there have been riots over the FL buffoon. However, when a man of General Petraeus’s stature deigns to notice such a buffoon, then the buffoon has won. Yes, the buffoon has the right to burn the Koran under our system, but like the mosque near Ground Zero, which has the right to be built, it shouldn’t. The right and the right thing to do are here identical.

I encourage thinking Christians and Jews to read the Koran as I have done. I’ll bet that the vast majority of those who do so will see it for what it is – bad poetry and worse theology. But even the risk that some may be convinced, can never justify the burning of such a book. For to do so lends it a mystique, nay a majesty, it simply does not deserve. Books – be they the Koran or the Bible or pulp fiction – should stand on their own. To say they must be burned gives them persuasion without the necessity of reading them. And General Petraeus, great man though I believe him to be, should not lower himself to comment on a so-called Christian who would stoop to book-burning.

Update: Michael Zebulon over at American Thinker agrees.

Written by martinipundit

September 8, 2010 at 1:53 am

So That’s What They Mean by Patriotism …

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Liberals or progressives or whatever we’re supposed to call them today always get incensed at the notion that someone, somewhere has ‘questioned their patriotism.’ Never mind that the person they are accusing of this heinous offense has never (as in never) done anything of the sort.

I’ll do it though. I’ll come right out and say it. President Obama is unpatriotic.

I’ll wait for the crowd to calm down (assuming it doesn’t tar and feather me).

Okay. Why do I say this? Because of the despicable notion that members of our military should  be billed for medical care for injuries sustained in the course of carrying out their military service.

The Obama administration is considering making veterans use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat and service-related injuries. The plan would be an about-face on what veterans believe is a long-standing pledge to pay for health care costs that result from their military service.

But in a White House meeting Monday, veterans groups apparently failed to persuade President Obama to take the plan off the table.

I call that unpatriotic. Shame on Obama.

Universal health care for all except our brave fighting men and women? The man is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.

A glass raised to Ned Rice at Breitbart.

Written by martinipundit

March 17, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Another Example

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Every now and then I get a referral to MartiniPundit from Google with the following search terms:

Justin P. Dodge hoax

They find me through this link.

I’ve never seen anything to suggest that this is a hoax, but some people sure seem to want to believe that it is.  Why is that I wonder?

Written by martinipundit

September 2, 2004 at 7:33 pm

The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

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Not quite six decades ago tonight, a US Navy warship, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine in the waning days of World War II.  Germany had already been defeated, and in July, the Allied Forces were preparing for the invasion of mainland Japan. Although everyone knew that Japan had been beaten, no one expected them to surrender less than a month later.  At Iwo Jima in February 1945 the Japanese had fought bravely and tenaciously to the death.  More than 20,000 of them perished defending a tiny sulfurous rock that they considered Japanese native soil against the US Marine Corps. Planners for Operation Downfall expected American casualties in a battle to take the Japanese home islands to be numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and General Douglas MacArthur’s intelligence chief anticipated a million killed or wounded by the fall of 1946.  The invasion was considered necessary to bring about the surrender of Japan, which few believed could be induced to surrender on a blockade alone. Accordingly, in July 1945, President Truman ordered the new atomic bomb to be used against Japan. The first was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and the second on Nagasaki on August 9. The USS Indianapolis carried both bombs to Tinian Island in the Mariannas, from whence the B-29s were launched.

The Indianapolis was what was known as a ‘treaty cruiser.’ After World War I, the victorious powers had agreed to limit their fleets.  Heavy cruisers, like the Indianapolis, could be no more than 10,000 tons displacement for example.  When she was commissioned in 1932, the 9950 ton Indy was one of the most modern cruisers in the world – fast and sporting 9 eight inch guns in three turrets.  She would gain fame when she served as the conveyance for President Roosevelt on numerous occasions, and was involved in many battles during the war. Additional information in her career can be found here.

This is the Indianapolis shortly before she was lost:

On her return from Tinian, the Indianapolis had been ordered to rendezvous with the battleship USS Idaho to engage in gunnery practice.  The radio communications to the Idaho had been garbled, and she did not know to expect the Indianapolis, and so no one seemed to notice when the cruiser failed to show up.

Instead, she had run afoul of a Japanese submarine, I-58, commanded by a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack, who launched a half a dozen torpedoes at her just after midnight.  At least two of the torpedoes hit home, one tearing the bow off the cruiser and the other striking her amidships and causing multiple explosions which knocked out electrical power and split the ship down to her keel.  Less than fifteen minutes later, the Indianapolis had sunk beneath the waves, taking more than 300 of her 1196 man crew with her.  The remaining 900 or so ended up in the oil-choked water with very few life rafts, no food, and only a few in life jackets.  And no one knew they were there.

Many of the wounded did not survive the night, and with the coming dawn came sharks.  Massive numbers of Great White Sharks circled the defenseless sailors and marines who bobbed in the water.  The sharks picked off stragglers, and those unfortunate enough to become detached from the main group.  With no water, many drank the sea water, and began to go mad.  All of them prayed as the sharks swam around the periphery and a few feet below.  No one could know when he might be the next one eaten alive. It was estimated that by the third day, there were only 400 or so left.

On Thursday, a Navy bomber was flying over the area and its commander noticed a large oil slick in the water.  Moving in for a closer look, he spotted the men in the water, and radioed his base in Palau.  But it was three hours before anyone believed it was more than a prank and dispatched a Catalina PBY to investigate.  As the PBY approached, it flew by a destroyer, the USS Cecil Doyle, and Lt. Marks, in command of the PBY, radioed his mission to the tin can whose Captain diverted to the position of the ‘men in the water.’ Meanwhile, Lt. Marks in his PBY arrived at the site where the survivors of the Indianapolis were.  His crew dropped them rafts and supplies, but when Marks saw that they were still being attacked by sharks, he made the decision to land his PBY and pick up as many survivors as possible.  This risky move saved at least 56 sailors and marines who were hauled aboard and even climbed onto the wings of the PBY. Marks repeatedly radioed for help, and the Doyle steamed towards them. Eventually the Doyle and other ships saved 317 sailors and marines – all that remained of the crew of the Indianapolis.

Link to the USS Indianapolis Organization

Written by martinipundit

July 29, 2004 at 3:56 pm

Posted in History, Military, Ships

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A Gesture of Thanks

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We owe our troops more than we know, more than we can repay.  But sometimes, a gesture says a lot about people:

Eight soldiers flying home from Iraq (news – web sites) for two weeks of R&R flew in style instead of coach after first-class passengers offered to swap seats with them.

“The soldiers were very, very happy, and the whole aircraft had a different feeling,” flight attendant Lorrie Gammon told The Dallas Morning News in Thursday’s editions.

The June 29 seat-swap on American Airlines Flight 866 from Atlanta to Chicago started before boarding, when a businessman approached one of the soldiers and traded his seat.

When the swapping was done, “the other two first-class passengers wanted to give up their seats, too, but they couldn’t find any more soldiers,” Gammon said.

I’d already noticed that American Airlines was opening up the Admiral’s Club to returning service men and women, but this is a step above.  One I hope to have the opportunity to emulate.

Written by martinipundit

July 15, 2004 at 11:39 am

Posted in GWOT, Iraq, Military

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