Saturday, April 29, 2006

United Flight 93

SWMBO and I just returned from a screening of United Flight 93. An extremely emotional film, but one that everyone should see.
SWMBO wanted to cry. . . El Jefe's own feelings are well summarized by a number of quotations by, or attributed to, U.S. Navy Fleet Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, found on Wikipedia. Substitute term of endearment for our enemies at proper places...

"By the time we're through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell."

"Kill Japs, kill Japs, and keep on killing Japs!"

"There was nothing I could do, except become angrier."

"Investigate and shoot down all snoopers — not vindictively, but in a friendly sort of way." (orders to carrier pilots immediately following Japan's surrender)

For a more rational reaction to the film, see Chester's discussion here.
The film confirms my tendency to be tremendously impatient with people who are against the war, -- in Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever it is necessary to go. We can argue about whether it was necessary to go to Iraq (I happen to think it was, but reasonable people can disagree). Whatever, we can argue who was right on that one later, but for the moment, the fight's the thing. The enemy is there, and our military is killing him, and should receive whatever it needs to do it. Soon enough Mr. Al-Zarqawi will be a hole in the ground, or wrapped in Pigskin.
I get similarly upset with the idiots who bleat about the USA Patriot Act, the NSA communications intercept program, tighter restrictions on immigration, or whatever else is necessary to the police authorities to protect us. Our constitution is flexible enough to accomodate all that is necessary, without offending the liberties of most of us, much.
The only thing that matters is winning, and the only thing to do is kill the bastards in big bleeding batches, which our soldiers are doing, and keep doing it, wherever necessary, for as long as it takes.
UPDATE (9:00 a.m., 1 May). See Moira McDonald’s excellent review of the film in Friday’s Seattle Times, (available online here). Hat tip: Austin Bay Blog.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Where's Chester ?

A great disturbance in the Force. . .
Adventures of Chester, one of El Jefe's favorite blogs, seems to be down. Hopefully Chester is only temporarily MIA. His disappearance would be a victory for the Dark Side.
UPDATE (2:25 central): Chester back up. Kewl.

Wirepullers Continued

More nifty charts showing more connections between Mary McCarthy and other Chattering-Class Cabal members over at Mind in the Qatar.
It's always good to see how our betters are networking and coming together to "help" us. Who cares that they lost the election ? The dear old East Coast, Ivy League, briefcase-now-Birkenstocks-then, fellow-traveller crowd -- the folks who gave us abortion, Vietnam, Vietnam riots, cutting and running from Vietnam, Teddy Kennedy, George McGovern and John Kerry -- always know best, after all.
Lets sing "Kumbaya," then listen to "Imagine" and pass the hat for Mary's legal defense fund.


Today, it is anticipated that the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei, will submit a report to the UN Security Council finding that Iran has failed to meet a Security Council deadline to stop uranium enrichment.
I'll believe in Mr. ElBaradei's work when I see it. The facts are less important than the politics, and this is an extremely political case. I suspect that the IAEA report will indicate a certain amount of truculence on the part of Iran, but stop short of saying that Iran is not cooperating.
The Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, says that there is "unanimity" on Iran among Security Council members. With all due respect to Don Miguel, that's laughable, and he knows it: because Don Miguel also says that ". . .the clear message to the Iranian authorities is one of firmness, we have to continue with the diplomatic path."
"The diplomatic path" is diplo-speak for "hear no evil, see no evil, speak loudly, but do not one damned thing."
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seems not to get it. Secretary Rice tells us: [t]he Security Council is the primary and most important institution for the maintenance of peace and stability and security. . ."
Well, no ma'am, the "primary and most important institution" for those purposes is really the American military, and anybody familiar with the history of the past 60 years knows it. Secretary Rice though, is a diplomat, and must talk this way, which means she utters platitudes by the bushel when talking about the UN. Speaking of platitudes, Secretary Rice says the Security Council ". . . cannot have its word and its will simply ignored by a member state."
Wanna bet ?
Iranian "President" Mahmoud "Mad Jad" Ahmadinejad again takes the UN at its true worth. Secure in the knowledge that Russia and China (and thus, the Eurocrats, the American media and Democratic party) -- won't support doing much of anything; Mad Jad says the Iranian nation "won't give a damn about such useless resolutions."
Remember, anything not approved first by Russia and China is certainly not okay with our nation's moral arbiters: the New York Times editorial page.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Cabal's Connections

Have a look at the nifty chart that majorchaz over at Mind in the Qatar has whipped up. (Go there for a full-sized version). It shows all the connections between the polygraph-flunking Ms. McCarthy and other Leftie luminaries. I found this thanks to Mike's America. Have a look also at Flopping Aces, which put Mike on the trail.
I'm going to blog on this some more, once I've had time to do the homework, but in the meantime, check out this chart, do some reading yourselves, and reflect on who has the interests of the country at heart. Meanwhile, think on Mike's very good question: "Are Democrats loyal to their country and the goals of our twice elected legitimate government, or do they only have loyalties to gaining and wielding power?"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Our Enemies Within (1)

Tied down at work for the moment, but lots I want to blog on as soon as opportunity arises, in particular the recent dismissal by the CIA of Mary McCarthy, who was, apparently, one of the Left's moles inside the administration. Ms. McCarthy may have been a leaker of classified military and intelligence information to the Press, and thus to our armed enemies.
Ms. McCarthy, through a spokesman, has issued a denial of sorts. Both the spokesman and the wording of this denial are interesting, but will have to await later dissection. Even more interesting: she's made a very intriguing choice of attorneys, one Ty Cobb (no, not baseball Cobb), but the Ty Cobb who defended numerous high-profile Clinton administration officials and hangers-on, including John Huang, a member of Mrs. Clinton's staff caught up in Whitewater; and, White House officials involved in "Travelgate." (Hat tip: Wretchard).
No indictment has been filed, but this is some seriously political, seriously heavy, seriously expensive artillery. . . Who is paying the freight on this one ?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Here's a Health Unto Her Majesty

Here's a health unto her Majesty,
With a fa la la la la la la.
Confusion to her enemies,
With a fa la la la la la la.
And he who would not drink her health,
we wish him neither wit nor wealth.
Nor yet a rope to hang himself…

"Here’s a Health Unto Her Majesty" (Jeremy Savile,1650).
Yes, as a commenter noted yesterday, today is the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, of Great Britain. Or, more accurately: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. This is her style in Britain, for a full listing of her titles, see here.
Alas, the British monarch had even more spiffy titles not so long ago, but much has changed in the world, and not all for the better. El Jefe is definitely an anglophile, and somewhat of a monarchist, so, Happy Birthday to the Queen, and long may she and her family reign.

San Jacinto Day

Today is San Jacinto Day. On this day in 1836, Texas forces under General Sam Houston (later President of Texas), routed a Mexican force under President/General Santa Anna, at San Jacinto, near Houston.
Time precludes a longer discussion of this battle, but all Texans may be thankful that Santa Anna was a mediocre general, and had his army dispersed all over south-central Texas, allowing Houston the chance to defeat Santa Anna when he was isolated and unsupported. Even so, the Mexicans had sufficient forces to win their battle had they not been surprised by the Texans while in camp. The fortunate Texan capture of the President/General (disguised in the uniform of a private soldier) shortly after the battle made the engagement among the most decisive fought on this continent.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


El Jefe is busy today, trying to get things at work squared away for a short trip out of town, so this post will, of necessity be brief. Lots of things going on in the world worth comment, but this post mostly looks backward.

Today in history, is the birthday of, among others, French Emperor Napoléon III, born this day in 1808.

On 20 April 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army, rather than lead its forces against his home state, to accept a commission from the State of Virginia, and eventually from the Confederate States of America.

In 1972, on this date, Apollo 16 landed on the Moon. Apollo 16 (Capt. John Young, USN, Commander; Rear Adm. Ken Mattingly, USN, command module pilot; and Brig. Gen. Charles Duke, USAF, Lunar Module Pilot), left Cape Kennedy spaceport on 16 April 1972, and returned to Earth on 27 April. You can view the Apollo 16 command module, Casper, at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, (El Jefe’ s home town).

There is a strange postscript involving the lunar module Orion’s ascent stage, which was abandoned after astronauts Young and Duke returned to Casper. Derelict, and out of control due to a thruster fault, it orbited the Moon for about a year, eventually crashing into it, location unknown.

Today in 1945, US troops captured Leipzig, Germany, only to turn it over to the Russians postwar.

Yesterday El Jefe’s son, the heir, hit a Home Run in a little league game. SWMBO would be upset if I didn’t note that. El Jefe is very proud.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What Hath God Wrought ?

The British Royal Navy has its first Muslim admiral. (Hat tip: John Derbyshire, at National Review Online).

I am sure this is progress, but Vian, Jellicoe, Nelson, Pellew, Howe, Jervis and Anson (to say nothing of Churchill) are all spinning in their graves.

Reading Assignments

All sorts of good things worth a look have popped-up in the press and blogosphere this week.
The always interesting Professor Edward N. Luttwak has a splendid piece in Commentary this month: Three Reasons Not to Bomb Iran – Yet. Dr. Luttwak reminds us (1) that nukes are really hard to build; (2) that the mullahs are much despised and possibly on their last legs and that long term trends are against their regime, and in favor of the rise of a civilized government; and (3) that these mullahs are REALLY crazy and can’t be allowed to have a weapon, but that bombing them hurts the positive trends we want to encourage.
While thinking on Iran, have a look at Amir Taheri’s article “The Frightening Truth of Why Iran Wants a Bomb,” which ran in Sunday’s Daily Telegraph (London) and the same author's similar article in the New York Post yesterday. Mr. Taheri, an Iranian, was, in better days, an executive editor of Kayhan, the largest newspaper in Iran. Mr. Taheri does a good job of explaining what the mullahs are really after, and discussing their plans to stall the world and the US until they have their bomb. These articles are all worthwhile, but if you don't have time to plow though them (the Luttwak article is fourteen pages), a good distillation of Dr. Luttwak's piece and Mr. Taheri's New York Post article can be found over at Col. Austin Bay's blog, here.
On other subjects, Chester, over at Adventures of Chester, weighs-in here on the recent statements by retired military figures on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This is a great piece, and is admirably complemented (and is cited by), Wretchard’s post at Belmont Club, here, and by a post on Col. Bay's blog, here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Delusional Psychotic ?" And The Point is ?

The AP is reporting that Zacarias Moussaoui's lawyers (who most assuredly have a thankless task) are trying to avoid the death penalty by portraying their client as a "delusional psychotic."
Come on, counselors, you're going to have to do a little better than that. "Delusional psychotic" applies to lots of persons of Mr. Moussaoui's persuasion: from Mr. O. BinLaden, still skulking about in caves someplace, chasing goats and lice with his henchman Ayman al-Zawahiri, to their good friend Zarqawi ("Z-Cow") in Iraq.
The 9/11 bombers all fit the bill, along with the Madrid bombers, plus those wacko murder/suicide bombers in Iraq and Israel -- like that sicko who blew himself and nine perfectly innocent civilians up outside a Tel Aviv restaurant Monday. And we can't forget Mahmoud "Mad Jad" Ahmadinejad the "President" of Iraq, and his twisted boss Ayatollah Khamenei, who are both candidates for the carpet-chewing/padded cell set also.
Oh yeah, there's always ol'Saddam, whose troops, with his approval and knowledge, dropped Sarin and Tabun on Kurds, and whose police fed live dissidents into wood-chip machines. Maybe he can cheat the hangman with the "delusional psychotic" defense ? Somehow I bet his laywers are smarter than that.
"Delusional psychotic" seems not so much a legal defense, for a person of Mr. Moussaoui's opinions, as a part of the job description. The lawyers need to show that poor, deluded, America-hating Mr. Moussaoui is a little more than simply wacko...maybe they should try a diversity or multiculturalism argument ?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Trade a Spy for Somebody Else's Terrorist ?

The Jerusalem Post online edition reports today that Mr. Jonathan Pollard, now serving a life term for his 1986 conviction for spying for Israel, would oppose release from US imprisonment in exchange for the Israelis freeing Mr. Marqan Barghouti, a Palestinian terrorist held by Israel.

Mr. Pollard was a civilian US intelligence analyst for the US Navy’s Field Operational Intelligence Office (NFOIO). In 1984, Mr. Pollard contacted a Colonel Sela of the Israeli Air Force, and transferred to Colonel Sela “thousands” of classified files that he – Pollard – decided should have been shared with Israel under agreements to share intelligence. Mr. Pollard’s superiors became suspicious when classified documents unrelated to his work were found in his office, and after FBI investigation, Mr. Pollard was arrested in November of 1985.

How interesting and how irrelevant that Mr. Pollard opposes being released to free Mr. Barghouti. Mr. Barghouti is an Israeli problem, but Mr. Pollard is ours. As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Pollard can rot in prison for the rest of his days.

Mr. Pollard is an American citizen, who abused the trust reposed in him by the Navy to pass information to representatives of a foreign government. Mr. Pollard was no hero, or innocent victim, but a spy who was lucky not to have danced at the end of a rope.

It matters not, to me, that Mr. Pollard worked for a friendly government, the offense, in my opinion is the same. Mind you, I have no moral problems with the Israelis on this point: all governments spy, even on friendly and allied nations. If we don't catch them, shame on us, but not on them: governments engage in espionage as a matter of course. Similarly, Colonel Sela, and the other Israelis involved in obtaining Mr. Pollard’s information owed America no allegiance, and did no more than their duty to their government.

The Israelis can do what they want with Mr. Barghouti, but Mr. Pollard is exactly where he belongs – in jail.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away form the tomb but when they entered they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Whel they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightining stood beside them. In their fright, the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead ? He is not here; he has risen ! . . ."
(Luke 24:1-6)
Happy Easter to everyone.
The Easter message Urbi et Orbi of H.H. Pope Benedict XVI may be found here. The Easter Sermon of H.G the Archbishop of Canterbury may be located here. (Hat tip, Michelle Malkin). Visit Ms. Malkin's site today, she has some other interesting reading for Easter and for Passover.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Iran Again

Okay, I keep thinking I'm done with Iran posting for awhile, but Iran seems to be pumping out new threats by the hour.
Agence France-Presse reports more, to put it mildly, inflammatory rhetoric out of Tehran today. At the “Support for the Palestinian Intifada” conference there today, a smiling Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, commander of the Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Islami (Islamic Revolutionay Guard Corps – IRGC), had this to say to Americans about the possibilty of war with the United States:

You can start a war but it won't be you who finishes it…The Americans know better than anyone that their troops in the region and in Iraq are vulnerable. I would advise them not to commit such a strategic error…I would advise them to first get out of their quagmire in Iraq before getting into an even bigger one…We have American forces in the region under total surveillance. For the past two years, we have been ready for any scenario, whether sanctions or an attack.

Meanwhile, at a Friday prayer sermon, a “senior cleric,” the Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, called the United States, a "decaying power" that doesn’t have the "stamina" to block Iran's ambitions. Besides making me wonder if the Ayatollahs there pray for anything but war when at prayer, it shows that the Iranian leaders definitely pay plenty of attention to our Cindy Sheehans and all our other little Leftie friends of freedom and liberty.

Do the makers of these statements really believe this stuff ? More to the point, do their local listeners ?

Chester on Iran; Mad Jad Promises a Bloodletting

Cruise on over to Adventures of Chester and check out the always-thoughtful Chester's "Iran Extravaganza." Lots of exceptionally well reasoned thought in here, particularly on what the Iranian leadership means when it, as it frequently does, demands "respect" from the United States and the other western powers.
Meanwhile, AP reports that Iran's President, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had the following to say this morning on the subject of Israel's existence :
Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. . . The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.
Mad Jad went on to say that:
The existence of this (Israeli) regime is a permanent threat. . . [to the Middle East]. Its existence has harmed the dignity of Islamic nations.
Comment is quite superfluous, beyond saying that this man is vowing to terminate the existence of a member-state of the United Nations, and kill millions of people. Is anybody listening ?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cool New Blog

The very useful and always interesting Officers Club blog is no more: its bloggers have started the much bigger and better "Op-For" here. Definitely worth a look for well informed military commentary. A link is in the blogroll, also.

Welcome to Iran, Now Drop Dead

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director-General, Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei, arrived in Tehran today for “talks aimed at defusing tensions over Iran's nuclear program” the AP reported this morning.
In non-diplospeak, that means Mr. ElBaradei has arrived in Iran to be berated for the crimes of the west and of American imperialism personally, rather than having to listen to Iran’s bloviations second or third-hand. I hope Mr. ElBaradei took along ample supplies of Pepto Bismol.
The President and all-round Mullah lapdog of Iran, Mr. Mad Jad Ahmadinejad (how do you pronounce that moniker, Mad ?) is clearly ready to give Mr. ElBaradei a warm welcome: “Our answer to those who are angry about Iran achieving the full nuclear fuel cycle is just one phrase. We say: Be angry at us and die of this anger" AP quotes Mad Jad as saying.
Ouch ! I had a date talk to me like that once. For those of us who don’t know Mad-Mullah-Lapdog-speak, Mad Jad is saying “screw you, world.”
No matter how many ways the Mad Mullahs and their crazy stooge say “screw you, world” or “who's gonna make us ?” to Mr. ElBaradei and all the other members of the striped-pants set, the talks will no doubt be characterized by Mr. ElBaradei and all the other chattering class do-nothings as “constructive,” “enlightening” and “a real step forward.”
Anything to avoid creating a pretext to actually do something. After all, we can't have Mad Jad and his scurvy crew winding up victims of American imperialism.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blundering Into Trouble

As is well known by now, Iranian President Mahmoud "Mad Jad" Ahmadinejad has declared that Iran has, for the first time, successfully enriched uranium. Enrichment is one of the more difficult steps in the cycle for preparing fissile material for either a bomb, or to use as fuel for a nuclear reactor.

The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran stop. Today, the Deputy Chief of the Iranian Nuclear Program, Mr. Mohammad Saeedi, showed that he evaluates UN pronouncements at their true worth: he declared that Iran is not stopping, but about to start nuclear enrichment on an industrial scale.
US Secretary of State Rice has pronounced in favor of "strong steps" against Iran. The Russian Foreign Ministry has denounced the Iranian enrichment plans as "wrong" but at the same time indicated Russia's opposition to any military steps against Iran.

All of this follows on military maneuvers the Iranians have bent over backwards to boast about, and show to the public. The New York Post military analyst and commentator, retired US Army Colonel Ralph Peters, asked Sunday whether the Iranians actually want a war.
This is not a rhetorical question, but my judgment, for the moment, is that the answer is no: the Iranians do not want a war; they have simply calculated that they can have their yellowcake and eat it too -- that they can build a nuke, and that nobody can stop them.
The Americans appear to be tied down in Iraq. Militarily, that war is won, and has gone relatively well, but politically it is unpopular, and Bush is sinking domestically. Israel, the joker in the deck, appears paralyzed, trying to grope with Hamas and the demise of Ariel Sharon. The Europeans have their own domestic problems, and besides, the European political class despises Bush, so their foreign ministries are going to do nothing to lessen his difficulties. America's Italian friend, Signor Berlusconi, is being driven from office. President Bush's one heavyweight international ally: Tony Blair of Britain, is in serious trouble.
There is trouble closer to home for America, too. Besides sinking poll numbers, President Bush has to think about the approaching Mexican elections, which may put a very anti-US government in power there -- this is a 40 ton gorilla that nobody is talking about yet. (Recent US concern about immigration issues should be viewed in this light). Also, hurricane season is almost here, it's probably going to be a biggie, and the Americans are about broke.
And the Mullahs have allies. . .the Chinese are bankrolling Iran, and the Russians serving as the Mullahs' general store and armory. On the periphery, Hugo Chavez, who controls an important source of American gasoline, is signaling his willingness to cooperate with anybody in harassing the US -- American trouble with Iran is a win-win for him, trouble in the Persian Gulf means higher oil prices and more money. In North Korea, Dear Leader Kim is watching, and has shown he can be counted on to stir the pot when the US has enough on its plate elsewhere. Syria and the Sadr faction in Iraq are in there kicking, too. Washington would be foolish not to consider the extent to which all the players are collaborating. . .
The omens are auspicious. Why shouldn't Iran build nuclear weapons ? Once the Mullah regime has nukes, overnight it can ramp-up support for Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Assad's regime in Syria, guerrillas in Iraq, you name it. Nobody will be able to do a thing about it either. Shia populations all around the Persian Gulf will become instantly more restive, and all the local governments much more interested in what Tehran has to say, and that much less interested in Washington's blandishments. Prestige considerations from the point of view of enhancing Shia Islam's position in the Muslim world are important, also. Finally, an Iranian nuke will end even talk in America and elsewhere about regime change in Iran. Money for dissidents and other anti-regime elements will dry up: you simply do not threaten dictators who own nukes, no matter how odious they are.
Washington looks boxed in. . . at least from Tehran's perspective.
Except. . .
Saddam read the tea-leaves the same way in 2002. He is now awaiting execution. Saddam thought he could bluff George Bush, that President Bush would be stopped by world opinion; by political calculations, and the unwillingness of the chattering classes to upset applecarts. For better or worse, he learned differently.
The political graveyard, from Ann Richards to Al Gore, to John Kerry, et al, is full of bright, intelligent, interesting politicans -- real movers and shakers -- who all thought George W. Bush was a lightweight not to be taken seriously. If the 43rd President has proved anything, it is that he can do his political sums as well as anybody who ever played the game.
President Bush must know, by now, that the odds are very, very good that his likely successor will have very different opinions from his own. All presidents, to a degree, seek to bind their successors. Given the political landscape, President Bush has a certain incentive to use his power to create political facts: facts which his successors cannot change. President Bush has shown that he has strong convictions, and there is ample evidence that he is serious when he says Iran cannot be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon. I do not believe that President Bush will leave Iran for his successor to deal with.
Look at that political landscape again. As things stand, the Republicans are looking at a real débacle in the November congressional elections. Perhaps this will change, it's a long way to November, but maybe not. If the Democrats capture even one house of Congress this November, the rest of the President's term will consist of nothing more than fighting off moves for his impeachment. The Daily Kos set, which is contributing millions to Democratic coffers, will demand it. If he wants to do something, President Bush has ample incentive to shake-up the table, and sooner, rather than later.
The Iranians do not want a war. They think they've won already. But more than one war has started because the players didn't recognize the edge of the abyss when they stepped across it. The Iranians, at least to me, are staggering right up to it wearing blindfolds.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Apollo 17

The internet encyclopedia Wikipedia has, on its home page today, a splendid photograph of Apollo 17, the last of the Apollo moonships, part of which is reproduced above. Go to Wikipedia and get the whole thing, it's a beautiful photograph and makes an excellent computer wallpaper.
Apollo 17, commanded by Eugene Cernan (Capt., USN), left Cape Kennedy spaceport on 7 December 1972. Harrison Schmitt was the lunar module pilot, and Ron Evans was the command module pilot. The ascent stage of Lunar Module Challenger left the Moon the night of 14/15 December 1972, taking with it the last humans, so far, to visit that place.
Like Apollo 11's Lunar Module, Eagle, before it, Challenger's descent stage has a plaque, with a message from Earth for later visitors. The plaque, bearing the signatures of Cernan, Evans and Schmitt, and that of President Richard Nixon, reads: "Here Man completed his first explorations of the moon. December 1972 AD. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind." Someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, it will return to Earth, no doubt to an honored place in the Smithsonian Institution.
Meanwhile, we are left with pictures, and memories of a time when Americans took the flag to the stars.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Iran and Other Things.

Doctor Zin, over at Regime Change Iran, has an interesting set of links to stories in the press on recent Iranian military maneuvers and developments, including a story from India Defense on a sort of stealth flying boat.
Most military commentators do not seem to rate Iranian aero-naval capabilities too highly, and I would agree, at least as far as the naval dimension goes. The Iranian Army, and the land component of their Revolutionary Guard; together with its rocket artillery and air support/air defense component, though, bears watching. This is not the inept force that fought Saddam's Iraq in the 1980's.
More to say on this and other subjects, but it has been a long day. This evening I had the great pleasure to attend a buffet dinner and appearance by some National Review Online personalities; including Kate O'Beirne, John Derbyshire, Jonah Goldberg, Jay Nordlinger and others. More on this later.
Tom DeLay has resigned from the House of Representatives. What a shame, and dismal news for the Republican Party. There is no leader as capable in the House.

Apocalyptic Futures...

(Selections from the Libraries, Newsblogs and some government documents)

Almanac of World Politics (London, 2037)

US Prospects for the Mid-Thirties:
As the decade reached mid-point, the US was still coping with the consequences of the 2020’s Depression. The 2010's move - (inevitable in the opinions of most economists) - in all western countries to default on the social insurance and entitlement programs created in the 20th Century had less dramatic effects in America that most places, but the side effects were still quite severe. Shantytowns inhabited by a volatile mix of destitute pensioners and unskilled immigrants rose up around the major cities. . .
. . .the huge foreign debt sapped the viability of the economy, contibuting to continued high unemployment, and American military decline. . .

. . . both major parties split over the Depression. The moderate left Labor Democrats narrowly won the election of 2036, Iowa governor William “Billy Bob” Jones prevailing on a platform of debt renegotiation with the Quartet, and more effective but humane prosecution of the war against the Aztlan insurgents. . .

New York Post-Times (Wednesday, 14 January 2037)

Alexandria, Virginia resident Jack Spratt already knew he was having a bad day, when his old 2030 Toyota Ecotemp skidded on the ice and side-swiped the spanking new Chinamot Tradewinds near the I-95 monoway yesterday. The high-end luxury synthefuel Tradewinds SUV is all the rage among the super-rich, retailing for a wallet-busting New$30,000. But local biofood processor Spratt realized a Really Bad Day was beginning for him when five non-descript GenFord sedans following the Tradewinds began disgorging heavily armed Secret Service personnel, complete with body armor and assault needlers.

“Man, I thought the war had come to town.” Spratt said.

Turns out the Tradewinds was being driven by none other than Serge Murphy, US Vice President Fred Brown’s Domestic Partner. Murphy was en route to a photo-op with the Vice President at the local Red Cross shelter near the Arlington shantytown…

Houston CyberChronicle (Tuesday, 13 January 2037)

…General Westland told the Legislature that he was unsure when convoys between Austin and San Antonio would no longer be needed but that the security posts on this route were being handed over to units of the paramilitary Texas State Guard which, the general said, “thanks to cooperation between your state government and the Army advisors, are now at the highest level of efficiency ever.” UED attacks on this route, the general also reported, had “dramatically” fallen off, with only 95 dead in all of 2036. Finally, the general said, airmobile units operating in the security zones near the Mexican border “neutralized” over 500 insurgents over the last month.
Financial Times (Monday, 12 January 2037)

The “Quartet” – the leaders and finance ministers of Australia, China, Japan and India, agreed to some of President Jones’s proposals for re-structuring of America’s staggering foreign debt. The Prime Rate charged to banks fell today to 15.5 percent, a sixteen year low, on the news. However, the Chinese government, backed by India, is believed to have insisted, as a quid pro quo, that US forces halt “hot pursuit” operations into the Mexican People’s Republic after Aztlan Liberation Front forces…President Jones’s reply is unknown, and his press secretary declined to comment. China is apparently willing to “discuss” reduction of its commitment of advisors to the Mexican Popular Army…

Central Intelligence Agency “Estimate of World Financial Trends, First Quarter 2037”

(Secretary of State’s Copy, marginal note, in the Secretary’s handwriting):

“Looks like the Quartet will let us grow a little bit, but then they will put the brakes on.”

International Herald Compu-Tribune (Friday, 16 January 2037)

The Shah opened the session of the Majlis in Tehran yesterday with the usual Speech from the Throne. The Iranian economy is booming, with exports of autos to India and China, but most of the Shah’s speech was consumed by discussions of the poor relations between Iran and the Caliphate; the still-radical Muslim/pan-Arab revolutionary regime in Bin Laden City viewing the Iranians as “apostates”…

Calgary Tribune (Friday, 16 January 2037)

The movers and shakers of the entertainment world gather in Shanghai, tomorrow, for the fifteenth annual Chinese Academy Awards…

The bash was being underwritten by ChinaCyber mogul Hu Yaobong, who just purchased most of the (New York) Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection...

American Bar Times (Friday, 16 January 2037)

The US Supreme Court today upheld a Massachusetts law banning public criticism of homosexual conduct. Writing for a 8-1 majority, Chief Justice Douglas wrote: “It is well settled that the state’s interest in public order and combating hate speech trumps the rights of radical minorities to engage in public incitement.”

Entertainment Cyber Journal (Friday, 16 January 2037)

The Internet Union reached agreement with the FCC on CompuTelVision broadcasts before 8 p.m. Consumer and religious advocates had protested live sex during sitcoms. The IU and FCC agreed that below-the-waist live sex programming would be restricted between 6 and 8 p.m…

US Naval Institute, Proceedings (January 2037)

…This year’s Estimates call for construction of six additional Kirishima class battlecruisers, which are the Imperial Japanese Navy’s reply to the Chinese LuShun class battlecruisers, presently building. Meanwhile, American naval spending continues its decline…

Daily Telegraph (London, Friday 16 January 2037).

The German Bundeschancellor denounced as a “shameful lie” the reports that Federal police used live ammunition to disperse a crowd of Muslim job-seekers in Munich last week. Given the usual tight censorship of press and internet, and the police regimes existing on the continent, independent reporting is difficult, but travelers and unnamed sources report that there was indeed some shooting…The Bundeschancellor spoke from the German Embassy in Warsaw, where he is staying during his meetings with the Russian President over the two countries' new common eastern border, and their alliance against the Caliphate…

Obituary: Countess von Stauffenberg

Nina Gräfn (Countess) Schenk von Stauffenberg died on Sunday near Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany. Countess von Stauffenberg, aged 92, was the widow of Claus Graf (Count) Schenk von Stauffenberg, who attempted, unsuccessfully, to assassinate Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944.

Nina Stauffenberg’s life is of interest, not only because of her marriage, but for the different worlds her life intersected with. Her life spanned the Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the Hitler era, the war years, the Cold War and the arrival of the Internet Age. Elisabeth Magdalena “Nina” Freiin von Lerchenfeld was born, almost literally in another world, on 27 August 1913 in Kovno, then part of a Russia ruled by a Tsar; now called Kaunas, in Lithuania. In the vanished world of kings, princes and aristocrats that was pre-1914 Europe, Nina and her future husband were both top-drawer.
Nina was the daughter of a German general (and the German consul-general), and a Baltic German noblewoman. She met Count von Stauffenberg when she was 16, in boarding school. Like Nina, Claus was an aristocrat – counting the Prussian military hero August Graf von Gneisenau among his ancestors. The couple married in 1933, and by 1940, the marriage had produced 4 children.
Oberst (Colonel) Count von Stauffenberg compiled a distinguished war record, but was severely wounded in 1943, when his staff car was strafed by a low-flying British fighter-bomber. He spent three months in the hospital, losing his left eye, his right hand, and the fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand. While recovering, he became involved with the plot to overthrow the Nazi regime – information he did not share with his wife.
The plot, as is well known, failed. Count von Stauffenberg was shot by firing squad on the evening of 20 July in the courtyard of the German Army headquarters in the Bendlerstrasse, Berlin (today Stauffenbergstrasse). Despite the Count’s attempt to shield his wife by not involving her, Countess von Stauffenberg was arrested and imprisoned, bearing the Count’s last child in a Nazi prison hospital. She wound up in Ravensbruck concentration camp, her children taken away from her by the Nazis. Nina was rescued by allied troops at war’s end.

The family was reunited after the war, and her eldest son, Berthold, is a retired German Army Generalmajor.