Monday, June 25, 2007

Property of Jolene

Jolene must be one special gal, at least to this fella :

Thursday, June 21, 2007

86% Disapproval of Congress


Just 14% of Americans have confidence in Congress. An All-Time Low. The last time Congress was near this unpopular was 1991-1994, where the approval rating was just below 20%.

The Republicans, with their Contract with America, picked up 55 seats in the 1994 election.

Causal connection?

Monday, June 11, 2007

IslamoFascist Kill Ratio

A couple years ago, when the Afghanistan war was beginning, I was speaking with an anti-war leftie colleague. He was citing all kinds of irrelvant non-data as to why the U.S. should not be engaging in the Afghan war. (You can imagine his opinion when the Iraq War came along.)

I disagree with this guy 95% of the time. He is central-casting West Los Angeles liberal aka socialist who lives in a Beverly Hills mansion.

In the half dozen years that I've known this fellow, through all the discussions, I've only witnessed him flip his lid, once. That was when I mentionned "kill ratios." Matter-of-factly, more or less citing the "terrible arithmetic of war," I indicated that for every U.S. casualty, in Iraq there would be not be a matching terrorist casualty, but rather perhaps 25 to 100 terrorist casualties. (My guess is that it was 200 or even 300 to 1, during the invasion and fall of Baghdad.)

Leftie socialists come unglued on the "kill ratio" point.

So to that end -- get the lefties foaming at the mouth -- here is an informative website with some Iraqi kill ratio information. You may like it, you may hate it, but ... it is the terrible arithmetic of war.

From the initial days where the ratio was likely in the 100's-to-1, it is now much closer. Regretably, the terrorists' use of IED's has definitely closed the otherwise 20-t0-30 fold differential in kill ratio.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Preacher Speaks of War and the Like

"There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war."

-- Reinhold Niebuhr

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Good Man, RIP

Representative Wiley Mayne (R-IA) has died.

Loyal, but not blind.

3 dozen years after the fact, he remains a cairn as to how to conduct oneself. He stood by his constitutional mandate and voted against articles of impeachment against Nixon. Shortly thereafter, when new evidence came in, he announced that he would vote for impeachment, Nixon resigned.

"He would have been a 30-year congressman if it wouldn't have been for Watergate," said U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "He was a great man, a great politician."

Loyal, but not blind. The world needed, and needs, people of character like Wiley.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007


15 Minutes Changed the World: The Battle of Midway, June 4-6, 1942

The first week of June is crammed full of historic military anniversaries. We commemorate the Allied D-Day assault against the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. The Israeli-Arab 6-Day War began on June 5, 1967. Israeli jet pilots destroyed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor on June 7, 1981. The Marshall Plan was introduced as a Cold War defense, on June 5, 1947.

Yet a US Navy battle this same week, just 6 months after Pearl Harbor and a full 2 years before D-Day, goes largely unnoticed, lost down the memory hole; yet it certainly represents "the greatest naval victory in history” and perhaps the pivotal event in world military history since the Battle of Little Round Top at Gettysburg in July 1863.

It is the Battle of Midway, which, like Gettysburg, occurred over a three-day period, June 4-6, 1942.

The Background.

The Japanese WWII strategy was to destroy the U.S. Navy quickly, parallel with the successful tactics of the German infantry blitzkriegs in Europe. The December 1941 surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed or damaged 8 American battleships - then the core of US Naval groups.

Pearl Harbor was the first attack. The Battle of Midway, just 6 months later, was to be Japan’s coup de grace against the US.

New warfare paradigms had shattered the Old Guard military structure that had existed more-or-less since medieval times. Germany coupled a new military strategy – the Blitzkrieg -- with an advanced new weapon – the Panzer tank brigade. The result was that German armies over-ran countries in mere days or weeks.

Similarly, Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was an equally revolutionary development, a precursor to intercontinental missiles. Japan had built a dozen aircraft carriers, and with them the Zero fighter, vastly superior to any fighter plane in the world. This combination, along with highly-trained pilots, resulted in Japan having mobile military airfields which could roam the oceans and attack unannounced from a hundred miles beyond the horizon. In an age before advanced radar, these carriers could launch the equivalent of one-sided, un-announced intercontinental missile attacks.

At the outset of WWII, the Japanese Navy was vastly more powerful than the US Navy. The US had only 6 aircraft carriers worldwide, of various classes, compared to Japan's 10 carriers (with 3 more emerging from Imperial shipyards in the ensuing weeks). In addition, Japan's naval fighter plane, the Zero fighter, was in a class of its own, and it was flown by a large, well-trained pilot corps.

Even more stunning, after the devastation of the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese superiority in battleships was 11-to-0.

In short, Japan had an overwhelmingly strong navy – so strong as to be practically invincible.

The Japanese Plan - Surprise Attack.

The Japanese Midway strategy was two-fold: To take over the U.S.-controlled island of Midway, which would deny the U.S. the ability to stage any operations in the Western Pacific; and, to destroy the remaining US Pacific Fleet. Without the US Navy to defend the West Coast, or to stop Japan’s empire building in the far east, Japan intended Midway to be the decisive, take-out blow against the US.

A small Japanese carrier group first launched an attack on Alaska, intended to draw the U.S. Fleet out of Pearl. Then, a second and much larger Japanese carrier group would attack Midway Island. A third Japanese group was stationed a few hundred miles back in reserve, to be brought forward to overwhelm and annihilate what remained of the U.S. Fleet after the Pearl Harbor. The three huge Japanese armadas would crush the divided U.S. Navy as it split one group towards Alaska and the other towards Midway.

Off the western horizon of Midway, out of sight of the US Midway scout planes, Japan had amassed an overwhelming carrier and battleship attack force, laying in wait to surprise and destroy the US forces. The combined Japanese Alaskan and Midway forces, including those in support role, involved 200 ships, including 8 carriers, 11 battleships, 22 cruisers, 65 destroyers, 21 submarines and approximately 700 aircraft.

The US Naval, devastated by two decades of military decommission and the attack at Pearl Harbor 6 months earlier, were a fraction of the Japanese armada.

Had the Japanese achieved their objective of a quick knock-out of the US Pacific Fleet at Midway, the US West Coast would have been defenseless against the Japanese Navy just 6 months after Pearl Harbor. A crash shipbuilding program in the US was months and years away from producing battleships or carriers. It is entirely possible – and the subject of much Monday morning quarterbacking by military thinkers – that threatened or actual Japanese naval attacks on the US West Coast in 1942 would have caused the US to agree to a ceasefire with Japan. It could have also forced the U.S. to divert its Navy away from Europe, thereby allowing Germany and its U-Boats to prevail over England and prolong, and even win, the war. (See Epilogue, below.)

"Midway was far more than a decisive naval victory. It was far more than the turning of the tide in the Pacific war. In a strategic sense, Midway represents one of the turning points of world history -- and in that role it remains under-appreciated."

----James R. Schlesinger, former US Secretary of Defense

The Surprise US Counter-Attack.

But unknown to the Japanese, their military codes had been broken by the US codebreakers just weeks before the Midway attack. With solid warning that the Japanese were amassing their forces for a surprise assault on Midway and any US Naval ships that came to Midway’s defense, the US did not split its fleet, nor hold any ships in reserve. Rather, the U.S. gambled and sent all three American carriers - the entire US carrier fleet in the Pacific - to lay in wait for the Japanese flotilla at Midway. In short, it was a surprise counterattack on a surprise attack.

The Battle.

As the Japanese launched their attack on Midway Island, they had no idea that the US carrier forces lay off the horizon a couple hundred miles to the east. On June 4, 1942, four Japanese aircraft carriers launched a strike with over 100 combat planes against the Naval Air Base at Midway. The US Midway base and its airplanes were damaged, but not completely destroyed.

As the Japanese attacked Midway Island, squadrons of US torpedo planes from the USS Hornet, the USS Enterprise and the USS Yorktown, launched their surprise counter-attacks on the Japanese carrier fleet.

The US torpedo bombers came in "low and slow" over the water to drop their torpedoes. One by one, they were blown from the sky by the superior Japanese Zero fighters. Not a single US torpedo bomber scored a hit on the 4 Japanese carriers.

Almost every US pilot and crew was killed, including by Japanese patrols that pulled American fliers out of the water and executed them. Only 2 of 42 torpedo bomber squadrons survived.

But the men of those 40 doomed squadrons from the Hornet, Enterprise and Yorktown had not died in vain. The Japanese Zero fighter cover normally would have flown high above the Japanese carriers, forming a protective bubble. But in order to repel the torpedo bombers on their “low and slow” approach, many of the Zeros had been brought down to low altitude, all while the Japanese flotilla scrambled in evasive maneuvering.

The Japanese mistakenly believed that the doomed torpedo bombers from the Hornet, Enterprise and Yorktown had been launched from Midway Island. In response, the Japanese Admiral Nagumo decided to strike Midway again, and returning Japanese fighters were re-armed with bombs for the attack on Midway’s airfields.

But as the Japanese were re-arming their fighters, they received a delayed report from one of their scouting planes, warning of a sighting of a US carrier. Nagumo reversed himself, and ordered that his fighter planes be re-armed with torpedoes. Thus, the decks of the Japanese carriers – painted yellow, with a red sun signifying the Japanese imperial war regime - were strewn with bombs, torpedoes, fuel tanks and fuel lines.

Japan Wins the War …For 15 Minutes

A few moments after 10:00 a.m., June 4th, 1942, the Japanese Admiral Nagumo and his staff believed that they had just annihilated all of the U.S. air cover for Midway, and in addition, their massive armada including 4 aircraft carriers with vastly superior planes and pilots was ready to attack the just-sighted U.S. carrier. Admiral Nagumo believed that Japan was one launch away from annihilating the United States Navy. The War of the Pacific was about end in glorious victory for the Empire of the Rising Sun.

Yet, at this critical moment, the so-called "lost squadrons" of US planes from the USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown arrived at high altitude over the Japanese carrier group. Lt. Cmdr. Wade McCluskey’s USS Enterprise dive bomber group of 32 planes had failed earlier to locate the Japanese fleet, and rather than turn his fighters back to his carrier, he changed course to search out the Japanese ships. They were located by trailing a Japanese destroyer trying to catch up to its flotilla. As McClusky arrived, Commander Maxwell Leslie also arrived in formation high above the Japanese, with a 17-plane squandron of Yorktown dive bombers.

McCluskey’s and Maxwell's dive bombers came upon an extraordinary situation: Four sitting duck Japanese carriers, without their protective shield of Zero fighter planes, with scores if not hundreds of Japanese planes sitting on the carrier decks, strewn with ordnance, fuel and crew:

“If they’d looked up they coulda seen us, but they were too busy trying to destroy the torpedo planes that had gotten there first.”
----Wilbur Roberts, U.S. Dive Bomber

The Japanese carrier decks were painted yellow, with the empire’s huge “Rising Sun” red circle painted on the bow of each carrier. This was a further gift to the U.S. dive bombers --a red targeting ball on a yellow deck, set against a dark gray ocean:

“Here are the arrogant Japanese with their bright yellow decks with a meatball up on the bow.”
-----Lt. Richard Best, U.S. Dive Bomber

At 10:22 a.m., June 4, 1942, the U.S. dive bombers - armed with bombs, not torpedoes - attacked the Japanese carrier fleet from high altitude in classic dive-bomber style. The Japanese had only a few minutes to savor what they thought had been a victory over the United States; it all evaporated within 5 minutes, courtesy of the dive bombers.

There were 4 Japanese carriers at Midway. The U.S. dive bombers immediately scored hits on 2 of those carriers (the Akagi and the Kaga) by precision dropping the bombs onto the carriers' loaded decks. There was no Japanese fighter cover in place at higher altitude to repel the attacks. A couple of bombs from US dive bombers, aided by the re-fueling tanks, torpedoes and bombs stacked on the decks of the Japanese carriers, turned into an inferno. Akagi and Kaga were destroyed. Shortly thereafter, a dive bomber squadron from the USS Yorktown attacked and destroyed the third Japanese aircraft carrier, the Soryu. Notably, these Yorktown dive bombers attacked with only a dozen working bombs.

Later, a small squadron of dive bombers from the USS Enterprise attacked and burnt the fourth and last Japanese carrier, the Hiryu, but not before Hiryu was able to launch an attack that disabled the USS Yorktown.

All four Japanese carriers at Midway – the Akagi, the Kaga, the Soryu and the Hiryu, burned and sank to the bottom of the Pacific.

The ailing USS Yorktown was later sunk by a Japanese submarine while limping back to Pearl Harbor. Minor skirmishes between the retreating US and Japanese naval groups continued through June 6th.

The Result.

When various other skirmishes ended by June 6, Japan had lost 4 carriers, 332 aircraft, and hundreds of its best pilots and crew. The US had lost only one carrier, 144 planes and scores of pilots.

Japan had 9 aircraft carriers when Midway began. One day later, it had only 5.

The U.S. had only 3 carriers going into the Midway battle. After Midway, it effectively still had 3 carriers, as the USS Saratoga came out of dry-dock and replaced the sunken USS Yorktown.

Japan had planned to seize Midway, and emerge from the battle with a 9-0 carrier advantage, giving the mobile airfields and its Zero fighters free reign of the Pacific (including over Pearl Harbor and even the US West Coast). Instead, Midway remained in U.S. hands, and the overwhelming Japanese carrier dominance was reduced to a basic parity (5-3).

The Battle of Midway was nothing short of a rout of the vastly superior Japanese Navy.

With the US war shipyards already producing at full capacity, Japan had lost at Midway its one chance to defeat the US via an early take-out. Instead, it was a matter of time before the massive US industrial war machine would overwhelm the imperial militarized Japanese.

High Water Mark of the Japanese War Empire

10:15 a.m., June 4, 1942, turned out to be the height of the fascist Imperial Japanese Empire. Unscathed and convinced of victory over the US after destroying almost every U.S. torpedo bomber in the initial engagements of June 4th, Japan's war effectively became a lost cause by 10:30 a.m.

The US Navy - outnumbered in carriers, ships, technology, planes and pilots - had achieved the greatest naval victory in modern history.

The near total destruction of the first wave of U.S. pilots and crew on board the “low and slow” torpedo bombers was not in vain; it alone made possible the exact conditions that allowed 50 U.S. dive bombers to send the Japanese armada to the bottom of the ocean minutes later.

Epilogue and the Big Picture

Modern historians have trouble coming to grips with the nature of the fascist, racist Japanese Imperial armed forces. Japan’s immediate goals leading up to Pearl Harbor were regional domination. But what lay behind that, is never questioned: Historians ignore why the high echelons of the Japanese warlord establishment craved regional dominance. Instead, they focus on “rational” explanations, such as raw material procurement. As such, Western historians simply miss the point: The Japanese military was hell-bent on destroying any and all peoples on the earth who were not Japanese. (Anyone confused, should start with a quick tutorial of Japan’s genocide of 300,000 Nanking civilians in just one month.)

What if the Japan has wiped out the US Navy at Midway?

In 1942, Germany was about to topple Russia, England was on life support, fearing an invasion once Germany had finished off Russia. For a few brief minutes on June 4, Japan believed that it was about to send the remaining US Navy Pacific carrier fleet to the bottom of the ocean, leaving the West Coast (and the entire Pacific) completely open to the overwhelmingly powerful Japanese Navy.

- Might the US have abandoned its “Europe First” policy? Americans were still wary of European wars, and fear of Japan was high following Pearl Harbor.

- Might the US have diverted materiel to the Pacific, thereby curtailing critical supplies to Stalin and Churchill? Might Russia and/or England have thereafter fallen?

- Might Japan have begun directly attacking the US, to sue for surrender from a position of dominance? Doolittle’s Tokyo raids occurred 2 months prior to Midway… .

- MacArthur surrendered in the Philippines in 1942; with a Japanese Midway victory, might other vast American armies and navies suffered the same fate?

- Might Japan have then attacked Russia, as part of its Axis duties, thereby forcing Stalin to pull forces off of the battle with Germany, to defend far-off Siberia?

- Etc.

It is not enough to assert that Japan’s goals were regional domination, and that Japan would have been content to leave the US alone once Japan dominated Eastern Asia and the Pacific. Modern generations talk around the point, because it does not fit well with our modern world. But the Japanese mindset in WWII was conquest – and worse.


So during this early June, remember the Battle of Midway, its codebreakers, and the dozens of torpedo-bombers, dive-bombers and other crews of the U.S. Navy who changed the course of history

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