Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Light Blogging for a While

I won't be posting much around here through about the 20th. Finished up my schools in Newport on Friday and am in transit to Japan with the family (with some stops to see family on the way).

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fox Shows Signs of Sanity

Mexican President Vicente Fox had a moment of sanity today.

President Vicente Fox vetoed a controversial bill last night that would have permitted the possession of small quantities of drugs, sending the measure back to Congress after mounting criticism from the United States that his administration was backing away from drug enforcement.

Fox refused to sign the bill in hopes of eliminating “any doubt that in our country the possession and consumption of drugs are and will continue being crimes.”

Although he did not mention the United States in a statement that his office released last night, Fox's careful wording seemed aimed at concerns raised by U.S. officials over the past few days about Mexico's commitment to fight the drug cartels that smuggle billions of dollars of narcotics across the border.

“The Mexican government will have to deepen the fight against drug trafficking,” Fox said. “In no way is it promoting the use of drugs. The objective of the bill is to attack with all the weight of the law the trafficking of narcotics, in particular small-scale trafficking.”
Maybe they're further from becoming the genuine national security threat I thought. But then, there's still that pesky illegal immigration problem.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

10,000th Visitor Requests Permission to Come Aboard

Visitor number 10,000 walked up the brow of The Yankee Sailor at 1506 hours zulu time from in Italy and took a tour.

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by, come back soon and don't forget to tell your friends about the Sailor.

By the way, I showed the eldest Agent of Chaos - HyperBoy, who's now six - the new site and he's given me the best compliment yet: "coooool, guns!"

Open posted in Mudville and Castle Argghhh!

Moussaoui Martyrdom Postponed

A federal jury decided today not to sentence Zacarias Moussaoui to death.

After seven days of deliberation, the nine men and three women rebuffed the government's appeal for death for the only person charged in this country in the four suicide jetliner hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.

Three jurors said Moussaoui had only limited knowledge of the Sept. 11 plot and three described his role in the attacks as minor, if he had any role at all.
If you've been reading for a while, you already know I agree. I have been skeptical of how involved Moussaoui was in the actual plotting, because, though better educated he has never struck me as being much brighter than Richard "the Shoe Bomber" Reid." History may tell, but I'm not going to wait with bated breath for an answer.

So now, we don't have to read his name in the news for the next decade as appeals play out, and he gets to rot in prison and die an ignoble death (preferably from pork products), rather than getting "rewarded" with martyrdom. Welcome to inglorious anonymity, prisoner number TBD.

Smash has different ideas.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Why You Don't Want a Partitioned Iraq

A well-known Senator, who's a long-time member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and guy who pitched himself as a "foreign policy expert" in his short-lived presidential campaign, pitched the de facto partitioning of Iraq Monday.

In an op-ed essay in [May 1st]'s editions of the New York Times, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) wrote that the idea "is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group . . . room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests."
The plan, basically, would create three quasi-autonomous regions, a Kurdish region in the northeast, a Sunni Arab region in central and western Iraq, and a Shi'a Arab region in southern and eastern Iraq.

And, in one fell swoop you would create an oil-rich ally for Iran, a bigger Kurdish problem for staunch U.S. ally Turkey, and a really angry quasi-state of Sunni Arabs living in the resource-poor sands of the west. So, in short, you've poked your friend in the eye, given the Iranians and Syrians just what they want - more friends - and given ethnic and religious militias a better reason to start a no-holds-barred civil war over resources.

The McCaffrey Report on Iraq

There's an important story in the Washington Times today on Gen. Barry McCaffrey's report following a trip to Iraq. The first major point is that the Iraqi Army is coming along, but it will be five to ten more years before they're where they need to be. Mostly equipment deficiencies are credited with the problems (no mention on any cultural issues, but that topic is probably way off limits). The second point is that there are big problems with corruption, infiltration and abuse in the intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but then that's not really news.

There are, however, some key findings that got pushed to the bottom of the Times' story, but are probably more newsworthy:

  • Foreign fighters led by al Qaeda in Iraq chief Abu Musab Zarqawi "have been defeated as a strategic and operational threat to the creation of an Iraqi government."
  • U.S. agency support for the Iraq operation is "grossly inadequate." "The bottom line is that only the CIA and the U.S. Armed Forces are at war." (U.S. officials have told The Washington Times that outdated personnel rules make it difficult to assign civil service workers to Iraq.)
  • The command has improved detainee treatment to the point where "we may be in danger of overreaching." Gen. McCaffrey writes, "Many of the [enemy] detainees accuse U.S. soldiers of abuse under the silliest factual situations knowing it will trigger an automatic investigation."

The Belmont Club's talking it up, too.

The Focus of Russian Submarine Modernization

I've noted the Russian plan to modernize its submarine fleet before, but a Russian Navy commander provided the focus yesterday.

"We are allocating most funds for construction of new submarines," Admiral Vladimir Masorin told a news conference after a meeting with heads of defense industry companies in the Volga region of Tatarstan. "We should be able to replace strategic submarines with new ones in the near future."

He said that the new Bulava ballistic missile had been designed specifically to equip new strategic submarines.

Bulava missiles, a sea-based version of the Topol-M, could be deployed on Borey-class nuclear submarines as early as in 2008, a leading missile designer said earlier.

Last year, Russia conducted two successful test launches of the Bulava. The first in-flight test launch was conducted on September 27, 2005, from the Dmitry Donskoi, a Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine.

On December 21, 2005, another Bulava was launched from the Dmitry Donskoi in the White Sea before traveling thousands of miles to hit a dummy target on the Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was the first time a Bulava had been launched from a submerged position.
A recent article in Foreign Affairs provides a quick sketch of the effects of lack of money and attention to the Russia's ballistic missile submarines (and gives you an idea of what a Russian news agency believes is a "successful" test).

The third leg of Russia's nuclear triad has weakened the most. Since 2000, Russia's SSBNs have conducted approximately two patrols per year, down from 60 in 1990. (By contrast, the U.S. SSBN patrol rate today is about 40 per year.) Most of the time, all nine of Russia's ballistic missile submarines are sitting in port, where they make easy targets. Moreover, submarines require well-trained crews to be effective. Operating a ballistic missile submarine -- and silently coordinating its operations with surface ships and attack submarines to evade an enemy's forces -- is not simple. Without frequent patrols, the skills of Russian submariners, like the submarines themselves, are decaying. Revealingly, a 2004 test (attended by President Vladimir Putin) of several submarine-launched ballistic missiles was a total fiasco: all either failed to launch or veered off course. The fact that there were similar failures in the summer and fall of 2005 completes this unflattering picture of Russia's nuclear forces.
On another note, the Russians may be onto something with their plan for their surface fleet.

Masorin also said Russia would continue building small- and medium size surface ships, rather than "huge missile cruisers."

"We already have them [the cruisers], and we will keep and modernize them," he said. "But we will continue building ships that are under construction, from small gunboats ... to frigates."
Those folks in the Pentagon could use advice like that.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Link from Where?!?

Over the weekend I had a link picked up by the BuzzTracker at RealClearPolitics to my post on Darfur, and I thought it was a fluke. Today, my post on Iran's latest maneuver gets a link from, of all places, The Washington Post! I know it's an automated thing powered by Technorati, but it's a victory nonetheless.

Oh, and I got some nice kudos the other day for my piece on deterring nuclear terrorism, which in a gratuitous fit of self-congratulation I posted at the top left of the page.

I guess all that work buffing up my design and layout, cleaning up my code, updating my tags, and trying to get noticed is paying off...

Still Don't Think the Borders Need Securing?

For those that still don't think there's anything wrong with how easy it is to get in America, read this story from the Sierra Times:

A 37-year-old Saudi psychiatrist made his initial appearance in federal court in Sacramento, California on Friday to face charges that he traveled to Vallejo, California, on Thursday to sexually molest a two-and-a-half-year-old girl after exchanging numerous emails with an undercover agent posing as the toddler's father.

Nabil Al Rowais, who entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa issued in Canada, was arrested Thursday night by agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as with the California Bureau of Investigation at a motel in Vallejo, California.
According to the affidavit filed in the case, an undercover agent posing as the father of a toddler daughter exchanged numerous emails with Al Rowais in which the suspect expressed a desire to travel to California to sexually molest the child. When the suspect, who claims to be a practicing psychiatrist, arrived at the Vallejo motel for the agreed upon meeting yesterday evening, he was taken into custody. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.
Now that's sick. What to do with people like this? Something involving a millstone and the sea comes to mind. After all, he probably came to America to feed his perversions because he knew the Saudis would seperate his head from his body if he did it there.

Khrushchev-nejad Bangs His Shoe

Iran's President Ahmadinejad banged his shoe at the U.N. today and demanded the body take action against the U.S. for not ruling out nuclear strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan obtained by The Associated Press, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif called President Bush's refusal April 18 to rule out a U.S. nuclear strike on Iran and a similar follow-up statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "illegal and insolent threats."
Of course, just three days ago, Khrushchev-nejad said the following about his country's respect for U.N. resolutions:

"Those who want to prevent Iranians from obtaining their right, should know that we do not give a damn about such resolutions," Ahmadinejad told a rally in northwest Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Ah, hypocrisy. On another note, it's uncanny how much it feels like we're on the brink of another Cold War. An ascendent totalitarian state, presumed to be a threat, begins to arm and exert its influence throughout its neighborhood. The free world notes the build-up and the dangerous ideology of the state and resolves to do something. However, the free world is unable to back up its diplomacy and take any substantive action because of other commitments. In the end, the dictators get what they want, and the West is left with only decades of political maneuvering ahead.

There's a powerful cultural component in the Middle East that makes diplomacy exceedingly difficult, particularly when the issue is contentious. David Ignatius recently commented on it, and it's playing a divisive role in the non-negotiations between Iran and the U.S. Iran can't back down, or even discuss backing down, without looking weak. So, we in the West either have to find an option that saves face for the Iranians (and looks like appeasement) or commit to an overextended hot war or another drawn out Cold War of lesser dimensions. We have crossed a line, I fear, and without the West resorting to military force, Iran will get their bomb.

Trackbacked to Wizbang!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Why You Should Read Bernard Lewis

There's a worthwhile tribute to Bernard Lewis by Fouad Ajami in Opinion Journal today that all students of the Middle East and our relationship with that region should read. I've sung Bernard Lewis' praises before in comments here and there, but Dr. Ajami thoroughly and eloquently sums up the value of Lewis' work.

In the normal course of things, America is not a country given to excessive deference to historians and to the claims of history, for the past is truly a foreign country here. But the past quarter century was no normal time, and Mr. Lewis no typical historian. ... He is, through and through, a man of public affairs. He saw the coming of a war, a great civilizational struggle, and was to show no timidity about the facts of this war. "I'll teach you differences," Kent says to Lear. And Mr. Lewis has been teaching us differences. He knew Islam's splendor and its periods of enlightenment; he had celebrated the "dignity and meaning" it gave to "drab impoverished lives." He would not hesitate, then, to look into--and to name--the darkness and the rage that have overcome so many of its adherents in recent times.
Lewis' essay, The Roots of Muslim Rage (1990) can be said to have been the first distant clarion call of impending struggle. Huntington merely became famous for quoting Lewis. Additionally, while many in the policy communities of the West know his value and judgement, even those who Lewis examines - and names as a threat - respect him.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which once translated one of Mr. Lewis's books into Arabic, said that his book was "the work of a candid friend or an honest enemy." Either way, the Brotherhood said, it was the work of "someone who disdains falsification."
And, In classic, understated Lewis style, he may very well have predicted the domestic struggles we're seeing play out today in America and Western Europe:

In one of his many splendid books, "Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery," [Lewis] gave voice to both his fears and to his faith. "It may be that Western culture will indeed go: The lack of conviction of many of those who should be its defenders and the passionate intensity of its accusers may well join to complete its destruction."
If you've read Lewis and have looked around, you probably see clearly why we must all work with renewed committment to ensure that this Sage of Princeton is, this time at least, wrong. And, if you're not reading Lewis already, you should start. Soon.

Trackbacked in Mudville.

The Final Word on Courts-Martial for Retirees

In a previous post I discussed the folly of recalling retired generals to prosecute them under the UCMJ for criticizing the Secretary of Defense. I still stand by my position that it's a bad idea, but I ran across an interesting item that should settle the debate about whether it can be done.

And the answer is, for the Navy at least, been there, done that. From Wikipedia:

Selden G. Hooper (25 December 1904 – 7 February 1976) was the only Admiral of the United States Navy to be convicted by court-martial.

Hooper was the commissioning commanding officer of the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Uhlmann (DD-687).

In U.S. V. Hooper, 26 CMR 417 (CMA, 1958), Hooper was tried by general court-martial for sodomy, conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. Hooper had retired as a Rear Admiral in 1950, and the acts for which he was tried were committed after he had retired. The defence questioned the military court's jurisdiction, but the court explained that "retired personnel are a part of the land or naval forces." The military retiree, then, is not simply a civilian. The court held that the admiral was "a part of the military forces of this country." He was described as "an officer of the Navy of the United States, entitled to wear the uniform and to draw pay as such." He was convicted and sentenced to dismissal and total forfeitures.

Hooper was the only flag officer of the US Navy to be convicted by court-martial, and strictly speaking, the only Navy flag officer to ever be tried by court-martial. In 1995 Everett L. Greene was acquitted of sexual harassment and other related charges; he had been selected for promotion to Rear Admiral but was still a Captain when he was tried.
Q.E.D. To paraphrase the court, so long as you take the King's shilling, you're the King's Man. Now, can we please get back to more important things?

Oh, by the way, I've updated the Milblogger's Rules to reflect the vulnerability of retirees.

The National Security Threat South of the Border

I now fully grasp just how powerful the drug cartels are in Mexico.

Mexicans would be allowed to possess small amounts of cocaine, heroin, even ecstasy for their personal use under a bill approved by lawmakers that some worry could prove to be a lure to young Americans.

The bill now only needs President Vicente Fox's signature to become law and that does not appear to be an obstacle. His office said that decriminalizing drugs will free up police to focus on major dealers.

"This law gives police and prosecutors better legal tools to combat drug crimes that do so much damage to our youth and children," said Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar.
Police would no longer bother with possession of up to 25 milligrams of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana (about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints), or 0.5 grams of cocaine _ the equivalent of about 4 "lines," or half the standard street-sale quantity.

The law lays out allowable quantities for a large array of other drugs, including LSD, MDA, MDMA (ecstasy, about two pills' worth), and amphetamines.
First, we need to build our own little Maginot Line on the U.S.-Mexican border, then we need to start pushing for a little peaceful regime change in our misguided neighbor to the south.

Hat tip, Jawa.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


Surface Warriors have been known to ground a ship now and then, but nothing like this.

I bet that captain didn't get a band at his change-of-command....

Everything You Wanted to Know About Darfur

...and a few things you didn't. There's a big march (okay, it's only 10-15,000 people) scheduled today to try and bring some attention to what's going on in Darfur. If you don't know what's going on there, here's a snapshot:

Rebels from the Darfur region of western Sudan are dissatisfied with a proposed peace settlement, rebel leaders said Friday, as global pressure built for them to strike a deal with the Sudanese government by a Sunday deadline.

Mediators from the African Union have proposed a draft agreement aimed at ending a three-year-old conflict that has left tens of thousands of people dead and forced 2 million to flee to refugee camps in Darfur and neighboring Chad. The draft addresses security, power-sharing and the division of wealth.
If you want to know more, visit Live from the FDNF. He's been following the situation for a long time and has some great info and commentary.

Death to the Float Drop!

For those of you returning visitors browsing with Firefox or Mozilla, you'll notice that I fixed the float drop problem and the page is (finally) rendering correctly.

I shuffled the code around to speed things up a bit for everyone, too.

Please, hold your applause....

Welcome New Readers!

Welcome aboard the Yankee Sailor, all of you who've clicked through from Protein Wisdom, Stop the ACLU and Real Clear Politics. Take your time, have a look around and come back soon.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

The (Original) Star-Spangled Banner

With all the hubub over a Spanish version of the U.S. national anthem (Technorati logged over 1,400 posts on the subject yeserday), I though I'd repost the lyrics here in their entirety. Please, as you read them, note two things: 1) what language you're reading, and 2) all the rather un-PC language about God, conquest and national survival in the parts that don't make it into common usage.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
I don't normally get into the public outcry game, but for this I'll make an exception. How about all bloggers that remember what the national anthem really stands for post these lyrics in their entirety over the next week or so?

Go ahead, you can do it.

Trackbacked to OTB and the Jawa Report.

I Just Have to Laugh

Message number three in recent weeks from the Murderous Mohammedan Moonbats:

The U.S. military has only seen "loss, disaster and misfortune" in Iraq, al-Qaida's No. 2 said, in a video message that a U.S. official deemed part of a propaganda campaign to demonstrate the terror network's relevancy.

The video by Ayman al-Zawahri, posted on an Islamic militant Web forum Saturday, came within the same week as an audiotape by Osama bin Laden and a video by the head of al-Qaida's branch in Iraq - a volley of messages by the group's most prominent figures.

Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian militant believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan, also denounced the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq as "traitors" and called on Muslims to rise up to "confront them."

He said that U.S. and British forces in Iraq had bogged down in Iraq and "have achieved nothing but loss, disaster and misfortune."

Al-Qaida in Iraq "alone has carried out 800 martyrdom operations (suicide attacks) in three years, besides the sacrifices of the other mujahedeen, and this is what has broken the back of American in Iraq," al-Zawahri said.
Let's look at the evidence:
  • The Al-Qaida leadership has been in fear of their lives and hiding in holes for the last four years.
  • Al-Qaida has only managed a handful of major attacks since 9/11.
  • Al-Qaida has executed zero operations in the territory of the United States, their main enemy, since 9/11.
  • Al-Qaida recently fired their top commander in Iraq, al-Zarqawi, for mishandling the Iraq campaign.
  • And, Al-Qaida has recently shifted its strategic focus to Sudan and Israel, effectively ceding the battlefield of Iraq to the Coalition,
And it's our back that's been broken? Talk about failure of analysis! I think it's time for all the "retired" terrorist leaders to call for bin Laden's resignation.

On a more serious note, this upswing in messages could mean one of two things. Either bin Laden and his boys know that they're in trouble with the Arab street and are in the midst of a massive PR campaign to shore up support, or they're busily sending messages and another significant attack is nearing execution. Let's hope it's the former and not the latter.

Trackbacked to Stop the ACLU and The Jawa Report.

You Think We've Got "Big Brother" Problems....

Pubs in Britain scanning customers' fingerprints to control access.

Revellers in a British town are to have their fingerprints scanned when they enter pubs and clubs in a scheme aimed at weeding out drunken troublemakers.

The "In Touch" project is the first of its kind in Britain.

Biometric finger-scanning machines have been installed at six venues in Yeovil, southwest England. Clubbers will be asked to have their right index finger scanned and show picture identification to register on the system.

The data is then stored on a computer network which other pubs and clubs in the scheme can access so that information on louts can be passed on quickly.

"It will identify those who have previously been intent on causing trouble," said Sergeant Jackie Gold, of Avon and Somerset Police.
Now that's scary.