Positively The Dumbest Thing Any Journalist In The History Of Journalism Ever Said About Anything. Period.

If you listened to some pundits both last night and this morning, you would have thought Tr-mp gave the Gettysburg Address on Monday night. But from its cheesy beginning to its embarrassingly sophomoric delivery to its skimpy content—the most newsworthy item was Tr-mp’s attempt to ramp up disharmony between Pakistan and India, which considering both are nuclear powers was beyond stupid—the speech was godawful. Don’t believe me, just go look at it again. Weirdly, he had to start the speech by attempting to explain to all of us that he isn’t a bigot. Well, he is. And no speech, even one he poorly read off a teleprompter, will change that. His reputation for divisive bigotry can’t be heeled by reading a few paragraphs from a speech delivered in front of the troops.

In any case, the great Steve Benen tweeted this morning:

Missing elements in Tr-mp’s new Afghanistan policy: details, objectives, goals, troop levels, a strategy for success

That was a sober analysis of the over-staged speech, over-staged to make Tr-mp appear to be a respected leader. But that sober judgment by Steve Benen was largely an rucker tweetexception among journalists paid to offer both instant and thoughtful analysis, often not the same thing. And no journalist deserves more scorn (and he’s received plenty) after last night’s speech than The Washington Post’s White House Bureau Chief, Philip Rucker. Immediately after Agent Orange was finished, Rucker, now infamously, tweeted:

Tonight is a new President Tr-mp: Acknowledging a flip-flop and talking about gravity of office, history & substance.

That IQ-less utterance nearly takes your breath away. Whatever gains journalism has made since its often disgraceful performance during the 2016 election were put in jeopardy by that one DC-insider’s tweet. More nonsense followed this morning, led by another Post stalwart, David Ignatius. He was talking on MSNBC about how “somber” and “straightforward” the speech was and how it essentially demonstrated that Tr-mp may, after all, be learning the hard realities of the presidency even “if he doesn’t have a plan to win.” Jesus.

Utter bullshit. Disgraceful. And it is utter bullshit and disgraceful because all of these people know, or should know, that we have a man in the White’s House who essentially has to have generals babysitting him or he just might destroy the world with his stupidity and unfixable ignorance. Think about that. We have to have generals and retired generals protect us from a civilian commander-in-chief.

But I digress.

The White House was given credit by pundits for its months-long “deliberative” process on the Afghanistan war, a war now old enough to drive. But I’m old enough to remember when President Obama was accused of “dithering” when he took his time to actually study the issues involved and make the best decision he thought possible. Does anyone who has been paying attention for the last two years think Tr-mp actually studied the issues for more than five minutes? Huh? Yet he got great credit from Beltway types for actually “listening” to all around him and weighing his options. Yikes.

Much of the initial reaction to this speech was really depressing, is what I’m saying. It’s as if the last two years were figments of our collective imaginations. It’s as if some people forgot that the only thing Tr-mp cares about in Afghanistan or anywhere else is how it will make him look. He listened to his generals on this one because they essentially told him that if he does what he said he’d do during the campaign, the war in Afghanistan would most definitely be lost and Tr-mp would be branded a loser. That’s all it took. We all know that. There were no high-level “intellectual” discussions at Camp David (one silly analysis I heard this morning) involving Tr-mp. It was simply: If you back out, the loss will be blamed on you. And that was enough.

Here is what the speech, as bad as it was, amounted to: In Afghanistan we will have more of the same quasi-nation building (disguised as “training”), except now the generals will be in complete command, troops will be closer to the action, more bombs will fall and more civilians will be killed, and the American people won’t know in advance how many more U.S. soldiers will be deployed, or how long this “new strategy” will last, or what winning will look like when it is over, if it ever is.

Oh, and now we have to worry about increased nuclearized tensions between Pakistan and India. Oh, and the Russians, who are supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, received nary a negative word from Agent Orange. Not one. Nothing. Silence, but no surprise.

That was it. That was what the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman unbelievably called “his best speech as POTUS [sic].” That speech was essentially a pathological liar asking Americans to embrace a trust-me-I’ve-never-lied-to-you policy in Afghanistan. Be my guest and trust him, if that’s what you want to do. But not me.

And now he’s off to Phoenix to resume his role as leader of his personality cult.

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14 Comments

  1. The GOP is bereft of morality. The mainstream Press is bereft of critical thinking. Those still supporting Trump are bereft of brains.
    Besides this blog (and a very others) the most reliable commentator doing anything in-depth is still Keith Olbermann.
    Resist. Remove.

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    • My problem with Olbermann is that he lost his head with his television bosses on MSNBC and, thus, lost the means of amplifying his important voice. I wish he had possessed a little more discipline when he had his slot on television. His voice of outrage is utterly proper at this moment and thoroughly sane, as are the writings of Charlie Pierce. Olbermann, though, has lost most of his audience. And we need to repeatedly hear the shouted truth that Tr-mp is not well, and that a system in which an ill man like him can continue to command respect, is not well either.

      The mainstream press has its good moments and its bad. It is at its worst on nights like last night. I am convinced that, with enough coaching, Charles Manson, when he was 71, could have delivered that speech last night in a similar fashion. And there would be journalists who subsequently focused on the “non-Mansonian tone” of such a speech and its conventional content, as if that outweighed the fact that a lunatic was behind the podium. That’s where I’m coming from.

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      • Agreed. (I forgot about Charlie Pierce). Olbermann’s ego is not his best friend (or maybe it is), but he does his homework. He’s good at parsing the sh-t that floats around these days and he can write. I suppose we should give some broadcast creds to Seth Meyers and John Oliver. Oh — and good old Bill Moyers: one of the all-time greats.

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        • Yes. I especially like the way John Oliver expresses the required outrage at the outrageous. We need that.

          And I would add Stephen Colbert to the list, who has done some good work too (“This administration is like organized crime, except for the organized part”), especially for a guy on a big-time “respectable” mainstream network. 

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  2. Anonymous

     /  August 22, 2017

    What’s not really being reported is the fact that Afghanistan is stitting on at least 1 trillion dollars worth of precious minerals. China as already signed a 30 year contract with Afghanistan to mine those minerals. Maybe those Trump generals reminded him of that, being he is such a great biddness man! That’s the real reason he decided to stay in there! Think about it! But it’s not about the oil! Lol…..remember that line?

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    • Yes, I remember.

      The problem with the metals buried in Afghanistan is that there is no infrastructure in place to harvest them. Such would take a mammoth investment, one which would be problematic for the United States for a least two reasons: Americans would resist the cost, which would be added to the some $4.5 trillion or so we have already spent on the two wars; and the locals would not much appreciate the armed occupiers raiding their buried treasure. 

      Oh, and who can blame the Chinese for taking advantage of the fact that Americans are spending resources to keep the Taliban from power, so they can safely move in an exploit the place? It is so Tr-mpian.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  August 22, 2017

    Duane,

    In your great desire to destroy Trump, you missed an opportunity to critique the actual decision he just made and “sort of” told us what would happen next in AFGHANISTAN. But I agree, another terrible speech.

    I hope to God, we the people, have learned since 9/11 that attempts to “nation build” by America are fraught with failure, time and time again. Yet Trump, just like Bush and Obama has decided to continue that effort, build a nation that can resist “terrorism”. Impossible I say, today, so why try.

    We made terrible mistakes, time and again, in Vietnam and left with helos lifting people off the roof of our embassy while enemy tanks were coming down the streets. FAILURE of American policy and use of military power for sure, abject failure. Must we wait for a bomb to go off around our embassy in Afghanistan to decide it is time to admit failure again?

    Our “generals” have long been told to fight in Afghanistan but they have NEVER been told what victory must look like before they stop fighting, clearly and concisely with no argument over metrics reflecting such “victory”. No one has ever figured out how to tell anyone, particularly the America people the same thing so all can agree when victory happens.

    We now have three Presidents that have failed, miserably, to define victory and then provide the resources clearly needed to achieve same. When victory becomes undefined, how in the hell can any military know how to fight and win, anything. NO general can be that smart without himself becoming a dictator and just “telling us” we won and no one left to argue with him.

    A pox on Trump, again for sure. But how about the more vague National Command Authority (NCA) about which I still rant and rave over Benghazi, small potatoes for sure, today. In my mind at least the NCA cannot be partisan. It must include the best thinkers and strategists that can be found in America.

    You are continuing to disdain a terrible President. I continue to disdain our whole political decision making members. The process to make such decisions are Constitutional for sure but the people advising and making various decisions are just plain terrible today as well, on both sides of the aisle. But you have heard that before and reject such reasoning on my part because you are blinded by partisanship, it seems to me. There is enough blame to go around on Afghan to choke a horse and it has been going on far too long, the longest war in our history because no one can define victory!!

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      I’m glad you chimed in here. Because I suspected you would say something like this:

      Our “generals” have long been told to fight in Afghanistan but they have NEVER been told what victory must look like before they stop fighting, clearly and concisely with no argument over metrics reflecting such “victory”. No one has ever figured out how to tell anyone, particularly the America people the same thing so all can agree when victory happens.

      We now have three Presidents that have failed, miserably, to define victory and then provide the resources clearly needed to achieve same. When victory becomes undefined, how in the hell can any military know how to fight and win, anything. NO general can be that smart without himself becoming a dictator and just “telling us” we won and no one left to argue with him.

      That argument sounded a lot better before Tr-mp. Why? Because during the previous administrations you could plausibly lay some amount of the blame on the civilian leadership and not the military leadership. But not now you can’t. This is 100% what the generals have recommended, Tr-mp being incapable of asking anything more complex than “Why can’t we win?” I just heard a retired general on television say as much, declaring that there is no winning in Afghanistan, only playing not to lose and that’s what our policy going forward is all about.

      Further, I don’t understand your argument about the NCA now. Forget Tr-mp for a moment and focus on James Mattis. Goddammit, Anson, he is a retired Marine Corps general for God’s sake! And he was the commander of the U.S. Central Command, whose area of responsibility is in the region under discussion. He took over the command of fighting the two wars. I will also mention that for a couple of years he was NATO’s top military commander while commanding U.S. Joint Forces Command, which until it was dissolved, was charged with the task of finding ways to trim costs and redirect priorities. Add to all that his service in Iraq, as the commander of the 1st Marine Division. Oh, and he commanded the first American troops to enter Afghanistan—in November of 2001!

      My point here is that when you talk about using non-partisan folks, the “best thinkers and strategists that can be found in America,” you need go no further than Mattis. If he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, we’re fucked. And he and Tr-mp are the only two people in the NCA (excluding deputized alternates). If you are talking about a broader conception of command authority and advice, I would submit that H.R. McMaster cut his command teeth in the region, too. If he doesn’t know what’s going on, we’re fucked again. Oh, John Kelly was a commander in Iraq, too. If these men and others don’t know what the fuck is going on, or, more important, what to do next, then the whole mess in Afghanistan is and always will be unmanageable, no matter what party owns the White’s House or Congress.

      As with most of these things, there are no easy answers, obviously. My problem, outside of anyone taking Tr-mp seriously as a commander-of-anything, is that there seems to be only three options in Afghanistan:

      1. Complete withdraw and all that will inevitably go with it.
      2. What we are doing now, which is using a relatively small force to keep the Taliban from taking complete control by training local forces to fight them. Under Obama, there was supposed to be a timetable that served to put pressure on the locals to get their shit together and not count on us (and NATO) to be there indefinitely. Under Tr-mp, it appears like there is no end in sight, since the idea now is not to announce any time constraints. So, this plan could go on until the war is 116 years old. I call this nation-building lite.
      3. Bring in hundreds of thousands of troops to occupy the country (and likely parts of Pakistan) and own the damn thing forever. This is full-throated nation building.

      Obviously, Americans won’t stand for number 3. No chance of that. And obviously the military establishment opposes number 1, and the military establishment is now effectively in charge, since Tr-mp is an idiot. So, number 1 won’t happen. That leaves option 2, the status quo with some injection of new troops and a change in how decisions are made and by whom. That’s essentially where we’ve been for years, that’s where we are now, and that’s where we will be as far as the eye can see. And what I am saying to you is that that is because people like Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly have no better options. And that ain’t the fault of “terrible” civilians in the government. And that ain’t a “partisan” conclusion on my part.

      Duane

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  4. Here is a (I think) novel thought on getting out of Afghanistan: Define an end-state for “victory” that the Afghani people want. Not what the USA wants, not what any other country wants, but what the Afghani’s want. That way you avoid nation-building on your principles (you’re using their principles) and you just might end the Afghanistan quagmire for the next several decades.

    The main issue with this is determining what the Afghani people want. That means that the Taliban, plus all other Afghani factions, must come together to craft that magical piece of information, “what all Afghanis want”. I’m sure that most military personnel who have spent time there would tell me that this is an impossible task. I think we could convene a group of experts in various fields and from various countries that could bring this off. It would be lots cheaper than maintaining a significant military presence for decades. I grant that it is very difficult, but what have we got now? Bupkis, nada, I think.

    There are several key features of any such plan. One is that ALL elements of the Afghani state must participate, even the ones inimical to the idea of an Afghani state. Another is that the “solution set” must be theirs, no one else’s. The United States is in a position right now to provide the safe place and the discipline for Afghanis to do this, if we choose to take it on.

    I think this is the most effective way to proceed. I am so enthusiastic, I think I will contact the current administration to get the ball rolling……oh, shit! Sorry, I forgot for a moment.

    Liked by 2 people

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    • Interesting idea, Michael.

      Obviously, as you acknowledge, this would be exceedingly difficult. Afghanistan is loosely a “nation” in so many ways and there is so much widespread corruption among people we consider the “good” guys that the effort would involve complex and expensive (payments to tribal elements, etc.) arrangements, which would include getting Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and China and Russia involved, not to mention NATO. 

      The most obvious obstacle to me seems not to be the problem of forging a genuine, enduring national idenity among the various tribes (there is some evidence this problem isn’t as insurmountable as some believe), but in getting the Taliban to agree to anything short of resuming control of the entire country. Fundamentalist theocrats of any religion would be a problem for consolidating a civilization, but the variety willing to use brutality and violence both to conquer and to rule presents a problem times a thousand. Most members of the Taliban are from the largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, which have pretty much dominated (and resisted foreign interference) for centuries. Some estimate their numbers at close to 60% of the 30+ million Afghans. The good news is that although most of the Taliban are Pashtuns, most Pashtuns aren’t supportive of the Taliban and don’t want to live under its rule.

      In any case, nothing along the lines you advanced will happen during the current administration. The fact that Tr-mp is unhinged and untrustworthy, along with cutbacks at the State Department and other factors, guarantee that–just as you suggested at the end. 

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  August 23, 2017

    Michael and Duane,

    Now this set of exchanges is the real reason I keep reading this blog. GREAT exchange of ideas and for once Tr-ump is NOT the primary focus in our comments (but he is in the original blog). It is how in world we in America can set and sustain, with force if needed (recognizing that sometimes force is indeed needed), the true National interests of America and at a second order of business to create and sustain the right strategy to do so. I studied exactly such issues for a year in 85-86 in a very non-partisan manner as well. But I am NO expert for sure. It takes a lifetime of such study and practical experience in the trenches doing so as well.

    Probably the greatest (geopolitical) words of wisdom I have heard spoken since 9/11 was when Bush launched our various responses to that event, particularly his war on “Terrorism”, he said, “This will be a generational war(s)”. He was and remains exactly right and Americans can’t get their arms around it for sure in terms of lives, time, money, you name it, nor should they in some cases as Bush, neo-cons, me, Obama, etc. were wrong in some cases and we continue down that same path with men like Mathis, McMasters and Kelly now in the breach and repeating old mistakes (my view at least), trying to nation build.

    Nation building takes a LONG time, centuries. We struggled for a century and a half to deal with the “Indian problem” and decimated all the tribes in doing so. Should we now take down any statues related to “heros” during the “Indian Wars” but I digress in writing that one! We finally solved the Indian problem with Geronimo as one of the last “warriors” finally “beaten” around the 1890s or so. But now we continue nation building within America dealing with “race issues”, etc. now.

    Can democracy resolve such issues, right here at home? We sure struggle in doing so and occasionally elect someone as bad as Trump (or Hillary Clinton) in that struggle, democratically. Sorry, had to get in that shoot and digress in doing so.

    That is my instinctive response to Michael’s idea about Afghanistan, do what the “Afghanis” want. How in the world can anyone figure out the answer to THAT question? Public opinion goes all over the place all the time. Public opinion will NEVER sustain the “right” way to pursue the RIGHT National interests over a long period of time, particularly when now everyone has a way to state their views online, all the time as well. Just remember, 60% of “Americans” wanted NOTHING to do with Obamacare a year ago and now 60% can’t do without it. Christ almighty as far a “public opinion” goes, in America or anywhere else for that matter.

    Ask the “public”. Which is worse, Global Warming, a return of the Confederacy (KKK) to a position of influence, or Afghanistan. 50% of the “public” might ask “Afghaniswhat???/ They would be the same ones not able to pass a citizenship test for immigrants.

    Make no mistake, I have huge respect for Mathis, McMasters and Kelly, particularly Kelly now as he has “ruined his reputation and honor” trying to serve a man such as Trump, maybe. We need a statue of HIM on the WH lawn today but I am sure some mob will tear it down today as well!

    Obviously my cynicism is showing thru loud and clear in this comment. But that is why I got so upset over Benghazi, a failure of our NCA, collectively. We simply did not know what the hell to do or how to do it, then. Now we are arguing the same, “not THAT way” over Afghanistan and no group of leaders has the respect to do whatever is “right”, our NCA in other words, metaphorically I suppose.

    16 years of trying to nation build in Afghanistan is enough, for this one “public opinioner”. Get our military forces the hell out of there, NOW is my view. Keep civilians, with “Marine guards” to keep a few buildings “safe” and advise Afghanis when they ask for advice now. And yep, spend enough money to fix that which we tore down, maybe. But building a modern “infrastructure in Afghanistan”, we can’t do that nor can the “Afghais” tell us what they really want, besides a few C-5 loads on “new goats”, maybe.

    Cynical again, yes, but you get my point I hope.

    My real point, stated too many times already, is NEITHER “party” has a clue, Afghanistan, HC, immigration,……… and we are so divided now that no one has the full respect of all Americans to do what is needed to never solve, but at least mitigate such global issues in a world filled with enough “information” to make matters only worse as we stalmate our attempts to govern much of anything, today.

    By the way, you two would be fascinated, maybe, to hear recent exchanges between my classmates over Navy collisions and who/what is to blame for such. I have suggested Claire McCaskill be “Investigated” for causing the Navy to over train in one area (“social conduct”) and miss basic seamanship training as a result. Bet you love that one Duane!!! Go ahead, Jim and tell me sailors must be trained in both areas, as well!!!!

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      First, your suggestion about investigating McCaskill is, well, ridiculous. Your premise, that sailors don’t have a clue about “basic seamanship,” sounds like an insult to the military that, if made by a liberal, would be considered unpatriotic. Apparently, folks on the right (including Tr-mp) can say any disparaging thing about the military and that’s okay. But let a liberal criticize “our men in uniform” and all hell breaks loose.

      In any case, like most everyone else (except Tr-mp, who knows more than any general who ever lived), I don’t have the answer to Afghanistan. I do think it is important to acknowledge (as you did) two things that are related:

      1. We are in fact engaged in “nation building.”
      2. It will take a long, long time (but not “centuries,” as you suggested) to build a nation we can safely leave to itself.

      Obviously, you have made up your mind about the matter. Mostly you want to abandon the effort. I may be the only liberal in America who doesn’t agree with that, even though I share the frustration of this long and agonizing war and have vacillated from time to time. There are two prominent reasons why I don’t want to just pick up and go home.

      One, as you noted, we did a lot of damage to that country in pursuit of terrorists. We owe them a sustained effort to help fix that damage. We can’t do that effectively without a presence there. Just how big a presence is not something I can speak to. But I think it is important to keep a force in place to help, as we have been trying to do, train an effective army and police force adequate enough to assure potential outside investors that Afghanistan is a fairly safe place to “do business.”

      Second, by a massive pull-out, we would most certainly see all of the cultural progress (relatively speaking) reversed, as the Taliban and other extremists regained national, regional, and more widespread local power. For instance, in 2001, only around 1 million children attended primary and secondary schools. Today, almost 8 1/2 million kids are in school. That number includes around 3.3 million girls (none attended formal schools in 2001). Progress on this front as been real, but not sufficient:

      The Afghan education sector is confronted with numerous bottlenecks in its efforts to improve education. “Supply side” issues include the government’s inability to provide security, limited human resources, poor infrastructure, and lack of trained teachers and teaching materials. On the demand side, economic factors and cultural barriers limit improvement. It is estimated that more than 10 percent of the schools are closed due to insecurity, warfare, and targeted destruction. More than half of schools are in tents, mosques, and private homes. Despite a lack of infrastructure, classes are held outdoors or in other venues.

      Besides progress in education, another ray of sunshine has to do with Afghanistan’s public health system, which collapsed in 2002. Life expectancy in 2001 was 55 1/2. Today it is almost 61. That ain’t nothing. The under-five mortality rate has shown large improvements. Access to safe drinking water has improved, at least in urban areas, as has access to electricity. There are other good things, but you get the idea.

      Security challenges, corruption, cultural barriers to girls getting an education (there is still a stubborn opposition to women’s rights in other areas, too, despite one-fourth of the parliament being female), a large urban-rural divide, Pakistani and Russian influence, etc., are obviously difficult problems to overcome, not to mention the fact that Americans just don’t want to keep the “war” going. But I think it is worth the effort to at least keep trying to do good, so long as there is a real strategy in place to achieve defined objectives. If not, then that’s a different matter. Right now I see people in power trying to deny the obvious and resisting telling us what our objectives are and the strategy we are pursuing. We have a right to know, as Americans, what is being done in our names and with our blood and treasure.

      Sure, none of this is properly our business normally. We can’t rescue every failing country. I’m not for wholesale nation building led by the U.S. military. But we voluntarily inserted ourselves in Afghanistan 16 years ago. We did a lot of damage (in a mostly justified pursuit of killers), and I would find it disconcerting to just say “to hell with it.” Plus, what would it mean to the families of those who gave their lives to say to them that those lives were given as part of a lost cause? We suffered the national psychological damage of one Vietnam. I don’t think we can’t suffer another without an even more profound cynicism setting in.

      Duane

       

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    • Anson,

      Your jejune comments are akin to the feckless bank robber who disguises himself by wearing a life-life mask of his face, or the clueless murder mystery novelist who unintentionally reveals the villain’s identity before the second chapter, leaving the remaining 200 pages as a desecration to the noble tree.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  August 28, 2017

    Duane,

    I suppose you learned a lesson from Obama’s unconditional withdrawal from Iraq. I don’t recall hearing you say NO to that one, at the time. But I can understand your desire to “do good” in a country that we helped tear apart. But you mentioned the right strategy with the right objectives. I haven’t hear any, yet. All I hear is a continuing military presence but nothing about the end point to be achieved before a relatively small force leaves. But again, I am more musing over Afghanistan that believing THIS (whatever it might be) must be done.

    Now forgive me for using this blog to emphasize a very important point, to me at least, unrelated to Afghanistan. It is the Navy “readiness” to do it primary job, go to sea and serve the national interests by going to sea in whatever conditions might be present. Bottom line, Duane, the Navy is showing clear signs, now, of extreme lack of such readiness. THAT must be investigated to the core and I don’t think the Navy can do it by itself.

    Sure picking on just McCaskill is “ridiculous” but it got you attention on the broader issue. I of course sincerely believe in civilian control of the military, obviously. But when such civilian (political) influence distracts men and women going to sea from the primary job, well something needs to be done about that.

    There are multiple issues affecting the Navy’s ability to do its job. The whole crash course in behaving themselves, on or off duty, has caused great upheaval. CO’s must of necessity now be looking over their shoulders (to avoid relief for cause due to “bad command climate”) to keep their careers afloat. Second has been sequestration. Ships not deployed do not go to sea very much at all now. They are “welded to the pier” because of lack of money to maintain them and go to sea to train, continuously, in the “basics”. You don’t just order a ship to deploy. The workup time needed to be ready to deploy is long and hard, and expensive.

    This additional point is really simple, but it is not happening today as it should. Any CO or XO that has not stood years of “watch”, Officer of the Deck (OOD) in bad weather, heavy shipping traffic and in shallow waters as a Junior Officer and Department head is going to be in trouble the moment they assume such CO/XO duties, particularly surface ships like the ones running into other ships and going aground in WestPac of late. Those accidents are indeed deadly serious (15 dead sailors asleep in their bunks when the compartments flooded) and take front line ships offline at huge tactical risk to those remaining at sea.

    Now consider this point. The Navy immediately relieved a flag officer (Vice Admiral in Command of the 7th fleet) after last accident. In my very strong view they relieved the WRONG Admiral!! Perhaps only Jim will understand my reasons for writing as such.

    7th Fleet is does not have many, if any, permanently assigned ships. He only commands deployed ships. His job is to send ships into “harm’s way” challenging 12 mile limit in South China sea, staying close, very close to NK these days, watching out for Chinese submarines, etc., etc.. Only ships temporarily assigned to that Fleet from homeports in USA are available and those ships MUST be trained and ready in the “basics” to deploy to forward areas.

    The Admirals in USA, Type Commanders and Fleet Commanders (Atlantic and Pacific Fleets) are the ones that should be held accountable for lack of “basic skills” for deployed ships. COM7thFLT does not have the time or staff to inspect deployed ships for basic skills. He instead must focus on advanced, warfighting skills of such ships and the COs of same.

    I could go on and on with this point but will not do so. Something very
    basic is causing such collisions and groundings now and that kind of “root cause” MUST be investigated, all the way to the top, the top including the politicians that have demanded a different “command climate” in the Navy. That is what I call for, publicly.

    Anson

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