Monday, August 29, 2005

Word Verification is ON

Because we've received some spam in the comments lately, I've turned on word verification.

Don't get me wrong, we love comments from humans. Spambots, however, must die.

Tell us something we didn't know

The Salt Lake Tribune has discovered that Rocky Anderson is a loudmouthed, obnoxious, insufferable prick of a tyrant who secretly hates Mormons.

Okay, better late than never. Everyone else in Utah already knew that, but apparently it took a womyn with impeccable liberal credentials to make the Trib take notice. It's hard to paint a career leftist like Deeda Seed as a conservative stooge.

So, what will happen now to Mayor Anderson? Absolutely nothing. The upper-crust east-bench University types who make up his base will rally 'round him once again, the spineless moderates at the Utah Democrat Party will studiously ignore these latest allegations, and the feeble Alliance for Unity will remain invisible.

It doesn't seem to be much of an exaggeration to say that Rocky could issue an Extermination Order a la Governor Boggs during the upcoming LDS General Conference and there wouldn't be a peep of protest from these groups; indeed, members of his hard left base would all agree it was about time, the Utah Democrat Party would blame Republican Senator Hatch for provoking him, and the Alliance for Unity would fret that he hadn't sought to "build a consensus" before issuing the statement.

Which explains in part why the Utah Democrat Party will remain the minority party for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Prepare for Long Gas Lines, Hawai'i

One of the Bluest states in America has proved yet again that the Liberals just don't get it. Hawai'i's Public Utilities Commission has just announced that they will be placing price caps on gasoline.

How stupid can these people be? Don't they understand basic economics? The reason gas prices are higher in Hawai'i is because it's more expensive to ship and refine gas there. When you cap the price of gas below what is profitable, then no one will want to ship it to you; they can't make enough money to cover their costs. It's really quite simple, but to pandering liberals with their Marxist delusions, high prices are merely a product of Greedy Oil Companies.

I was a teenager during the late 70's, and I remember the Carter-era Energy Crisis. The "crisis" was not due so much to greedy Arab states but to the blundering neo-socialists of the Carter Administration and their penchant for price controls, heavy regulation, and "windfall profits" taxes. The result was high prices and long lines.

When Ronald Reagan came into office he deregulated the market, and within a few years prices plummeted. As with any commodity, whenever markets are allowed to work, there will be abundance. Whenever they are restricted, there will be shortages.

Enjoy waiting in line for gas, Hawai'i. And be sure to bring a good book to read; "The Wealth of Nations" would be an excellent choice.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blogging hiatus

Just like Cap'n Holly, I too will be taking a bloggin' hiatus. But, unlike my worthless brother, I'm going to be on vacation. I'm going to Utah to see my sainted mother, my "chip-of-the-old-block" son and of course, the Holly family. After having sufficiently worn out my welcome in Utah, I will then escape to a deserted island where I will hopefully live out my Monty Python Castle Anthrax fantasy. (What will my wife say? Who cares? That's why it's a fantasy). So, I probably won't be doing too much postin' in the near future.

So like they say in Bugs Bunny Cartoons, "Bone Vee-ah-gee".

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Protest After-Math

The reality that the protests yesterday didn't draw as many persons as the Utah Democrat Party had hoped is beginning to sink in. Sympathetic members of the Salt Lake City MainStreamMedia tried desperately today to inflate the number of attendees. The trouble is, they sometimes contradicted each other, while writing such transparent propaganda that it would make even the party faithful wince when they read it.

As usual, leading the charge are the Democrat's eager helpers at the Tribune. Yesterday's estimate of "between 1,000 and 2,000" persons has been inflated to "about 2,000" protestors. The story's writer doesn't even attempt to pretend to be unbiased; the first paragraphs are brimfull of wishful thinking:

A confrontation in front of the Salt Palace Convention Center Monday between pro-Bush veterans and war protesters started out with jeers and competing chants, only to end with both groups singing "God Bless America."

The incident, in the conservative bastion of Utah, supported activists' claim that a new and stronger anti-Iraq war movement has begun. This peace movement has made patriotism, flag-waving and support for the troops part of its rhetoric.

Oh, please. The only thing this whole protest fiasco supported was the largely accurate stereotype of the Democrat Party's complete fecklessness on national security issues.

Ever the optimist, Trib columnist Holly Mullen is full of revolutionary fire. Her column today is reminiscent of a Pravda article extolling the socialist virtues of rationing. The title, "Hardy Protestors Bash Bush" begins with a description of the humidity. Yeah, it was humid, but I'm sure that most Warren readers living east of the Mississippi would gladly "endure" an hour of temperatures of 85 degrees with only about 50 percent humidity.

Mullen is just getting warmed up; the to-the-barracades rhetoric flows throughout her column. Dig this paragraph:

It was a noble effort, with roots planted right here in the soil of our own little red state. Perhaps in a lone paragraph of a history text someday, it will be noted that right alongside grieving military mom Cindy Sheehan camping out in Crawford, Texas, the people of Utah did their part in lighting the fire to end the war in Iraq.

Oh, come on. This is the type of drivel I would expect the wife of a prominent Democrat Party official to write, not the analysis of an impartial journalist (Oh wait, she is married to Ted Wilson, isn't she? My bad).

Not surprisingly, Mullen has no grasp of history. In this paragraph

Yet we are mired in a mess that keeps getting compared to Vietnam, but can't possibly end as that war did. The "secret plan" to end the war that Richard Nixon promised in his 1972 re-election campaign consisted of sending helicopters the following year to pluck Americans from the embassy roof in Saigon.

she reveals her stunning ignorance of events that she is old enough to have witnessed herself.

We didn't run from Viet Nam, we signed a peace treaty in early 1973 and withdrew our troops in an orderly manner over several months' time. The South Viet Nam we left was a stable, albeit imperfect, democracy. It wasn't until the Democrat-controlled Congress, taking advantage of President Nixon's resignation, cut off all military aid to the Vietnamese that the Communist North was able to overrun the democratic South. The helicopter Ms. Mullen referred to was evacuating embassy staff in April, 1975, nearly three years after President Nixon's re-election.

I don't mean to be insulting, but this woman is just flat-out dumb. Rich-blonde-high-school-cheerleader dumb. Her continuing presence on the Tribune's staff is either due to sympathy or her considerable political connections.

In an effort to be cool, the Deseret News tries to help out with the numbers but ends up actually undercutting the Tribune. According to their story the protest drew "more than 1,000", but at least the writer attempted to be unbiased and included some contrasting points of view.

However, he was undercut by DesNews columnist Doug Robinson, who apparently did not get the "support the Trib" memo and calls the protest exactly what it was: A bunch of hippie re-treads and their college-age wannabees trying to re-live the '60's. Robinson skeptically estimated the crowd at "1,000... tops" and definitely was not impressed by what he saw.

I agree. I was there, and there is no way that the crowd topped 500. In my last post there is a photo of the main body of the crowd and it is about the size of a high school pep rally. This whole affair was a lame attempt to re-create a bygone era, and it failed miserably.

UPDATE: I think I might have been a bit too hard on poor Ms. Mullen. I keep forgetting that as an elite member of the MainStreamMedia, she has editors who are supposed to check her work for errors. If I had been editing a draft of her column (a virtual impossibility, as the Tribune would never hire a conservative white Mormon male for such a sensitive position) I would have made her correct or omit the paragraph about Viet Nam. The fact that her editors allowed such a gross distortion of history to be printed means they didn't think anything was wrong with what she wrote, either.

In addition, I will continue to point out her marriage to Ted Wilson, the former Democrat Mayor of Salt Lake City, whose daughter, if I remember correctly, is currently an elected official in Salt Lake County. It is an excellent example of the cozy relationship that is shared by the Democrat Party and the MSM.

Indeed, the paragraph I pointed out above neatly illustrates the Left's pet delusions about Viet Nam. Holly repeated the myth that our troops were chased out of Viet Nam with their tails between their legs because that's how every liberal remembers it. Their continuing efforts to repeat the experience of the '60's suggests they like the idea of America losing.

I don't, which is why I will continue to call them on it whenever they bring it up.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Moonbat Photo-Blogging: The Great Salt Lake City Anti-War Protests

Well, it worked out that I was able to go to the protests today. I took my lunch break early and headed for downtown.

I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive about going there. Utah is by far the Reddest state in America, but there are several colonies of Hard-Core Moonbats in the state and SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson is their hero. I didn't think the protests would be too big, but I also didn't think several thousand persons would be out of the question. Since I had a limited amount of time, the last thing I wanted to do was fight my way through big crowds just to get there.

I am happy to say I overestimated the dedication of the Utah Moonbats.

This is a full view of the protest at about 12:10 PM. I would say there were, at the most, only 300 people there, all bunched into the southeast corner of Pioneer Park. This is pretty close to the estimates reported by some MSM outlets, but nowhere near the wild-eyed figure of "1,000 to 2,000" reported by the unofficial mouthpiece of the Utah Democrat Party, The Salt Lake Tribune.

(A caveat: As I was only there for about 20 minutes, it is possible that more persons showed up later)

With such low turnout, one wonders if this indeed was a bona fide anti-war demonstration. Let's go down our checklist of necessary features:

Let's see, desecration of the US flag, check. (Someone needs to tell NBC that they are part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy).

Republicans compared to Nazis, check. (But alas, no papier-mache puppets of President Bush with a Hitler moustache)

US Military simultaneously compared to Nazis AND Terrorists (a very clever two-fer), check and check.

Kindergarten-level slogans, check. (Still no papier-mache puppets)

"Bush Lied, People Died" and "No Blood For Oil" (another two-fer), check.

Ambitious liberal politicians soaking up the free publicity, check. (This is El-ahrairah's favorite Democrat, Hizzoner Rocky Anderson)

I know this is exactly the acronym I think of when I see the word "hubris". (C'mon, where are the frickin' papier-mache puppets?)

This wins the award for the Most Clueless Moonbat Sign. For the uninitiated, Proposition 3 was an amendment to the Utah Constitution that defined marriage as a man and a woman only.

It passed with over 70% voter support last November. For cryin' out loud, you guys lost. Get over it already.

There was also a surprising number of counter-protestors. Next to those upstanding punks with the spiked, dyed hair is a family of low-life, clean-cut Republicans (I'll bet they even got married before they had children, too).

There were even some Protest Warriors near the entrance to the park. I wasn't sure if this was an official PW action or just some free-lancers, but it was kinda funny to watch the Moonbats do double-takes when they read the signs and figured out they were pro-war.

This couple were a real pair of troopers. They took alot of abuse from the Lefties around them, but they seemed to stand up for themselves fairly well. (Still no sign of any papier-mache puppets)

Gee, I would guess this lady doesn't like the President, not to mention has alot of time and money on her hands.

Finally, I had to get back to work. And as I was leaving, there it was...

Yesssss! Papier-Mache puppets! Ladies and Gentlemen, this was indeed a proper Left-Wing Protest, and I for one am glad I went.

On August 22nd in military 1485

On August 22nd in military history….in 1485. The Lancastrian forces under Henry Tudor defeat the Yorkist forces of King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. In the 1450’s, due to reverses on the battle field during the Hundred Years War in France and King Henry VI’s bouts with insanity, a power struggle developed for the English throne. The two pretenders were King Richard III of the House of York, whose symbol was a red rose, and Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster, whose symbol was a white rose, hence the War of the Roses.

Both Houses needed the support of the various lords, dukes, barons and earls of English aristocracy and therein lied the problem. Neither pretender to the throne wanted to completely cut off all contact with any of the others forces since he would need their support afterwards. In fact, the one of King Richard III’s commanders, Lord Stanley, was the stepfather of Henry Tudor. Richard did not trust him, but he needed his support if he was going to succeed.

The battle site is located between Shenton and Dadlington in Leichestershire, England. Richard’s forces arrived first and set themselves up on a hill overlooking some rough ground below where Henry’s forces set up. Since Richard’s forces were well rested, they could have attacked Henry’s forces as they arrived and slaughtered them, but chose not to. When Henry was ready, he used cannon fire and arrows to force Richard down off the hill. At this point, Richard called to Lord Northumberland on his right wing and Lord Stanley on his left wing to join him with fresh forces in battle. Unfortunately for Richard, Lord Northumberland refused and decided to sit and watch the battle. Lord Stanley had promised both Richard and Henry that he would assist them in battle and at that moment, he chose instead to join Henry’s forces. The result was that Richard’s forces were routed and King Richard himself was killed in a suicidal charge against Henry. At Richard’s death, Henry Tudor became King Henry VII, the first king of the Tudor dynasty.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Moonbats are coming! The Moonbats are coming!!

Captain Holly interrupts his blogging hiatus with the important news that in response to President Bush's speech on Monday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Salt Lake City, Mayor Rocky Anderson has called on Moonbats everywhere to converge at noon in Pioneer Park to protest.

Oh, I am sooo there!

Of course, I'll be working that day (as I do every Monday, like most responsible Americans) but I think I can take my lunch break and photoblog the event for the reader(s) of the Warren.

I can see it all now: Free Mumia! t-shirts. Chants of "Bush Lied, People died!". Creaky 60's-era boomers pretending to be cool!

Giant papier-mache puppets of Cheney and Bush!

And, if we're lucky enough, perhaps an apparition by The Holy Grieving Mother, Our Lady of Perpetual Whining, Saint Cindy herself.

Ah, yes, I'll do my darndest to get there. The post will appear late Monday night.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

On August 14th in military 1945

On August 14th in military history….in 1945. The Japanese surrender unconditionally to the Allies and end World War II. As it looked more and more like the Japanese were going to loose World War II, the Japanese civilian leadership started looking for ways to diplomatically stop the war. However, since the Japan was a constitutional monarchy, it could only enter into a peace agreement with the unanimous support of the Japanese cabinet, and it was dominated by the Japanese military, which gave the Japanese military de facto control of Japan. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had already stated on the record that the US would accept nothing less than unconditional surrender and the US, Great Britain and China had just issued the Potsdam Declaration which reiterated the unconditional surrender demand and also the dismantling of the Japanese military-industrial complex. Faced with loosing their control of Japan or dooming Japan to total destruction, the Japanese military chose the later and started preparing for the invasion of the Japanese islands. Their plan was simple, cause as many Allied casualties so that the Allies would 1) be bled white, 2) loose all desire to continue the war and 3) allow Japan to surrender with some conditions, the most important that the Japanese military continue to be in control of the country. If accomplishing this task meant that millions of Japanese would loose their lives and untold destruction fall upon the country, then that was the price to be paid. The important thing was that the Allies would also suffer untold casualties.

Unfortunately, for the Japanese, the US decided to drop the atomic bomb. As I previously posted here and here, the atomic bomb destroyed the Japanese plans for "Gotterdamerung". It removed the possibility of millions of Allied casualties from the equation but left the possibility of millions of Japanese casualties and untold destruction. By dropping the atomic bomb, the US demonstrated that we would and could destroy their country with impunity and without massive casualties.

Another wrinkle in the story was on the 8th of August, Russia declared war on Japan. Being a long-time enemy of Japan, Japan knew that Russia would want to claim back territory that Japan had taken from Russia during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. Now faced with complete and total destruction of the Japanese islands without anything to show in return and the possible loss of territory to the Russians, the Japanese emperor broke the stalemate between the Japanese civilian leadership and the Japanese military and accepted the terms of the Potsdam declaration. The cabinet ratified his desires and on the 14th of August, 1945, they accepted the offer and unconditionally surrendered to the Allies with the caveat that the Emperor would still retain his post as sovereign ruler of Japan. As a side note, the surrender agreement did not affect the Russians and they kept fighting until early September after they had captured the Kuril Islands.

The 14th of August is also the birthday of my sainted father. He served most of the war in the Pacific theatre, so for him, his war didn’t end until August. In 1945, he was a 22 year-old bosun’s mate. He had volunteered for the Navy in September 1942 since he didn’t want to be drafted into the Army. For the last three years, he had participated in numerous actions (his ship, the USS Birmingham had received 9 battle stars) and had seen some of his friends and shipmates killed. His wartime journeys had taken him from the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea to the island of Okinawa in the Pacific Ocean. He had seen much more of the world than anyone had in his family or anyone else that he knew back home in Idaho. When I think back on my life and what I had accomplished by 22 years, it is clear that my father had accomplished much more in his life by the age of 22 that I could ever hope to. Although I had joined the Marine Corps, served a mission for the LDS Church in France and finished two years of college, it pales in comparison to what my father and his generation had done. Thru their sacrifices, they gave us the gift of freedom today. When it comes right down to it, all of our rights given to us by that sacred document, the US Constitution, would mean nothing if we were not free to exercise them, and my father and his generation preserved our freedom so that we could exercise these rights. For this, we should be always grateful that when the country called, my father and his generation stood up to be counted instead of running to Canada or joining organizations like or making movies like Michael Moore. It is easy to see how grateful they are for their freedom as they strive to destroy this country and denigrate President Bush. Remember that the next time one of those "patriots" opens their pie-hole.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

HikeBlogging: Deseret Peak, Wasatch-Cache Nat'l Forest

I hiked to the top of Deseret Peak yesterday. The mountain is located in the Deseret Peak Wilderness Area just west of Grantsville, Utah. It's less than a hour's drive from Salt lake City but it's relatively less crowded than the canyons in Salt Lake County.

The road going up to it is paved until you hit Forest Service land, but it's not very rough. I made it to the trailhead in my car without any problems. Once on the hike, I missed the trail turnoff so I had to bushwhack and follow game trails up to the ridgetop. The last quarter mile was quite steep and rugged and involved some rock-climbing.

There's a glacial cirque at the foot of Deseret Peak. As you can see, there are still some "micro-glaciers" left over, even in August (more evidence of global warming!). About 10,000 years ago, this whole basin was full of ice.

Up on top, there's the remains of an old heliograph station. Great place to sit and have lunch.

It's been a while since I've been that high (11,031 feet above sea level) and I could tell on the way up. The trail is very steep and rugged in spots, and you can feel the change in altitude.

View of the southwest shore of the Great Salt Lake. Salt Lake City is behind the mountain range on the right.

Looking out towards the Great Salt Lake Desert. The gambling oasis of Wendover, Nevada and the Bonneville Salt Flats are out there about 70 miles to the west. The valley in the foreground is Skull Valley, where some members of the Goshute indian tribe want to locate a nuclear waste dump.

Historical Factoid: Wendover used to be an Army Air Corps base in World War II. The Enola Gay trained there for the Hiroshima mission.

I've been really impressed by the accuracy of my pedometer. It's just a cheap $2.00 Wal-Mart special but it's been quite close to the actual distance when I've used it. According to my hiking book, the total distance for the loop trail is 8.4 miles. Since I strayed off the trail and ended up taking a small short cut, this is probably right on.

Next up: To be determined when El-ahrairah gets here later this month.


An update to a previous "On this day in military history"

As most regualr readers to The Warren know, one of my "hobbies" from when I was old enough to remember has always been war history. I especially seeking out and visiting the various battlefields around the world. Some are very well maintained (Gettysburg) and others are less so ("What? There was a battle here?"). Some of the more difficult battlefields to visit are those at sea. I have only been able to visit a few sea battlefields like Pearl Harbor since when ships are sunk, they are hard to find. But, thanks to modern technology, Italian archeologists have found the site of the decisive naval battle of the First Punic War off the west coast of Sicily. I previously posted this about this battle (the Battle of the Aegates Islands) and now, I can at least go visit a museum (when it gets built). I just have to convince my wife that I need to go there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

New NHL Rules

While skimming the NHL news, I stumbled onto this report that described very briefly the new NHL rule changes. In a nutshell, no more red line, two-line passes allowed under certain circumstances (probably during a power-play) and shoot-outs to resolve ties. Um, it looks the NHL has decided that the hard-checking, "clutch and grab" style of hockey played in North America is too boring and they want to move more towards the European (read "Swedish") "skate 'n' score" style. I don't know about the Cap'n, but I kind of like watching the "Gordie Howe/Dale Hunter/Tiger Williams/Broadstreet Bullies style of hockey, but until I see how this plays out, I will reserve my judgement. At least the NHL is trying to address the play of the game to make things more interesting. Now if we could only get soccer to get rid of offsides and football to get rid of holding, off sides, pass interference, etc, etc, etc.........

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On August 9th in military 378 AD and 1945

On August 9th in military history….in 378 AD. A Germanic army consisting of Visigoths and Ostrogoths under the command of Fritigern defeats the Roman army of Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople. In the later half of 4th century, the Huns were pushing west towards Europe into the lands of the Visigoths. They asked Emperor Valens to be allowed into the Roman Empire and to settle along the Danube. In 376 AD, the Visigoths were allowed to cross the Danube and into the Roman Empire. However, Valens forgot to properly inform the local officials, and after being mistreated for a short time, the Visigoths rose in rebellion and started pillaging the country side, joined by the Ostrogoths (Visi = west, Ostro = east).

Two emperors ruled the Roman Empire at this time, Gratian in the west and his uncle, Valens in the East. Valens asked his nephew to send him reinforcements, but due to problems with the Alemanni along the Rhine, Gratian was delayed setting out to help Valens. For some reason, Valens decided that he could wait no longer for Gratian’s forces and he set out with about 40,000 troops to subdue the Goths.

Adrianople (modern Edirne) is located in Thrace in western Turkey. When the Roman forces arrived, they found the Gothic camp (laager) with the wagons circled a la American West and the Gothic cavalry not anywhere to be found. Valens thought that the Gothic cavalry was off on a raid, but in reality, they were not far away grazing. Unfortunately, thinking that he could easily crush the Goths, Valens formed his troops up in normal attack formation and advanced on the laager.

At first, things were going well for the Romans. The Gothic infantry was confined to their defensive positions inside the laager. The Romans had hoped to surround the laager and massacre the Goths inside, but as news of the battle reached the Gothic cavalry, they quickly returned to the laager. That’s when the wheels came off the Roman plan. The heavier Gothic cavalry quickly swept aside the lighter Roman cavalry and then turned on the Roman infantry. The Gothic infantry, seeing the tide of the battle starting to turn, advanced out of the laager against the Roman infantry. The Roman infantry, without any cavalry support and caught in the open, was quickly surrounded by the Gothic cavalry, cut down and killed. Emperor Valens died along with most of his army.

The Battle of Adrianople is considered as the turning point between the rise of cavalry forces and the decline of infantry forces. Along with Cannae (216 BC) and Teutoburger Wald (9 AD), the Battle of Adrianople is one of the worse defeats in history suffered by the Roman army.

On August 9th in military history….in 1945. The United States drops the second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a uranium bomb called "Little Boy" whereas the second dropped on Nagaskai was a plutonium bomb named "Fat Man". See here and here for previous posts on the decision to drop the atomic bomb.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

On August 6th in military 1945

On August 6th in military 1945. The United States drops the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. When I summitted this post last year, we were in the midst of the election cycle and I discussed briefly how "nu-klur" weapons have kept the peace. However, when the bomb was dropped, it was in the context of "total war", where you use everything at your disposal to defeat the enemy and save the lives of your forces. As such, the atomic bomb saved many, many more lives that it killed.

Before the US entry into the "atomic age", plans were being made for the invasion of the Japanese homeland. The overall plan was codenamed Operation Downfall which consisted of two operations, Operation Olympic, the invasion of the southern-most Japanese island of Kyushu in November, 1945 and Operation Coronet, the invasion of the island of Honshu near Tokyo in March 1946. Operation Olympic would have included the largest naval armada history. It would have consisted of 42 aircraft carriers, 24 battleships and over 500 other supporting crusiers, destroyers and destroyer escorts. 14 divisions would have been ladnded (SP "landed") in the intial landings. Operation Coronet would have been the largest amphbous operation in history which would have involved 25 divisions.

Japanese intelligence had pretty good idea of where the invasion of the homeland would come, so starting in the spring of 1945, they started moving other army divisions into Kyushu. The initial Allied invasion plans predicted three army division in Kyushu, but as of August 1945, the Japanese had 14 divisions in place. Since the Japanese navy was sitting at the bottom of hte (SP "the") sea (thanks to the US Navy), the main defense of the Japanese islands would depend on kamakazes. During the Battle of Okinawa, Japanese kamakazes were able to score about one hit per nine planes that attacked. This was due to the long distances that the planes had to fly before attacking the American fleet. For the invasion of Kyushu, they hoped to increase that to one in six since the American fleet would be much closer to the Japanese home islands.

After the US invaded Okinawa in April 1945, the military started to re-think their invasion plan of Japan. The combined Japanese kamakaze attacks and fanatical resistance encountered caused the military to start raising the expected number of casualties for Operation Downfall. There were many different estimates, and some of the worse predicted that for the (GR remove "the") Operation Downfall, there would be between 1.7 and 4 million Allied casualties and between 5 million and 10 million Japanese casualties. These estimates however, were based on faulty intelligence which under-estimated the amounts of Japanese kamakazes and amry (SP "army") divisons (SP "divisions") by a factor of three ("Quagmire!"). Contrast this with the amount of US casualties for World War II (just over one million) and we can see why the military started looking for another way to end the war. Just as an interesting ancedote, for the planned invasion, the US manufactured 500,000 Purple Herats (SP "Hearts"). To this day, including all the wars that we have fought since World War II, we have not exhausted this stockpile.

In the end, when faced with the death and destruction that would have been wrought on the Japanese people and the invading Allied forces, we can see that dropping the atomic bomb was the only course of action. It convinced the Japanese that we were capable of utterly destroying everyone and everything in Japan with a minimal loss of life. The Japanese plan of mutual destruction was rendered null and void and although the loss of life at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were (GR "was") horrible, dropping the atomic bomb was the only humaine thing to do.

For myself, I am extremely grateful that the US dropped the atomic bomb. My Sainted Father would have probably participated in the invasion on board the USS Birmingham. His ship had already been hit by a kamakaze off Okinawa and would probably have been hit (and possibly sunk) again during the planned invasion. The atomic bomb saved my Sainted Father's life along with the lives of countless other Americans, British, Canadian, Australian and Japanese soldiers and sailors. On this, the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, we should ignore (the) whining coming from the "no nukes" and the "we must apologize" crowds and focus on the lives that were saved. In that way, can we be sure that "nu-klur" weapons are never used again.

Editor's Note: The Great El-ahrairah needs to use spell check a bit more and spend more time proofreading his posts. He has been severely reprimanded and sent to his room without supper. We apologize for any misunderstandings that his carelessness caused.

Friday, August 05, 2005

American Pop Culture Rules the World!

Since I live outside the US, I'm not completely inundated by normal American pop trends. This is not a bad thing, but does lead to being totally lost when talking to other Americans about the US and what is and is not currently "popular" with the unwashed masses. Usually, when pop trends in the US hit foreign countries (like Italy), they are already over-exposed in the US and everyone has moved on to the next "big thing". However, every once in a while, something will come along and hit Italy about the same time that it hits the US. The Star Wars phenomenum along with the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are three things that jump to mind.

Last night, I saw yet another example of how American pop culture rules the world. Most people in the US know that the highly-anticipated (in some circles) Dukes of Hazzard movie opens this weekend in the US. Apparently Jessica Simpson decided to do a remake of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walking" for the movie. While I was flipping thru the TV channels last night (channel surfing is not an American quirk), I stumbled onto MTV Italia (I think) and a music video of Jessica doing a cover of Nancy's song with some help from Willy Nelson (isn't he dead yet?). I was surprised that Italians would put this video in rotation since the "Dukes of Hazzard" was a typical, American redneck TV show and the film hasn't opened here yet (if it does at all). At least, that's what I thought until the end of the video, which shows Jessica washing the Dukes of Hazzard car wearing a red bikini. So, just like horn-dog Americans, Italians will watch anything featuring a bimbo in a bikini.

BTW, after seeing this video and hearing other "stuff" on the internet, I'll predict that the movie will do very well at the box office and well enough that there will be a sequel. Why? For the main reason that movies about two "good-ol-boys" driving fast cars and featuring bikinis and other skimpy outfits for female cast members appeals to the "inner redneck" in all Americans. You might be some highly-educated, Wall Street investment banker from New York, but deep down inside, you long to hang out with men named "Cletus" and "Wilbur", make "moonshine" and drive a car named after a Civil War general. A redneck's "Peter Pan" existence.

Re: The Cap'n Blogging Vacation

From his previous post, the Cap'n has decided to go on a blogging vacation, leaving the Great El-ahrairah to hold down the fort. Well, I wish he wouldn't do that. He's the one that's good with editorial anaylsis and stuff like that while I'm good with things like numbers, facts and war stuff. Oh well, I will try to take up the slack in the best way that I can but if the blog sucks, it's not my fault!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

In Memoriam

The flag flies at half-mast at the Holly household in honor of the fallen Marines of 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines.

Semper Fi.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I'm on a blogging vacation

Since I've been too busy to blog lately, I've decided to make my informal blogging hiatus formal. Blogging from Captain Holly will be intermittent for the next several weeks. In my stead, El-ahriarah will take up the slack. This is only fair, since I was the one who kept the Warren going while ol' El was off having fun in Iraq.

I'll pop in from time to time. I'll definitely post my pictures from my upcoming expedition to Deseret Peak, Utah, at the end of next week.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

On August 2nd in military 216 B.C.

On August 2nd in military history….in 216 B.C. Carthaginian forces under Hannibal defeat a numerically superior Roman force at the Battle of Cannae during the Second Punic War. In 218 B.C., Hannibal and his Carthaginian army crossed the Alps close to Briancon in France and descended into northern Italy. He defeated a Roman army at the Battle of Trebbia late that year and then wintered close to Bologna. The next year, he defeated another Roman army at the Battle of Lake Trasimeno. Instead of marching on Rome, he bypassed Rome and headed south to the regions of Apulia and Campania, laying waste to the countryside and trying to provoke an uprising in the peoples subjugated by the Romans.

The Roman Senate war philosophy at the time was to do nothing and hope that Hannibal got bored and went home. In 216 B.C., seeing how this philosophy wasn’t really working, the Roman Senate fielded another army under Consuls L.Aemilius Paullus and C.Terrentius Varro to hunt Hannibal down. At this time, Hannibal and his men were close to the Roman granaries located at Cannae. The battle site is located on the right bank of the Ofanto River, which is close to Canosa di Puglia, about midway between Bari and Foggia on the Adriatic coast. The Roman army consisted from 8 to 16 legions or about 80,000 men strong. Hannibal’s forces consisted of Gauls, Spaniards, Numidians and Carthaginians and numbered around 50,000 men.

Hannibal had been studying Roman military doctrine and had already defeated two Roman armies. Roman military doctrine specified that massed attacks on the enemy should be at the center of their forces to take advantage of the Roman legion’s strengths. Hannibal decided on a plan to take advantage of the Roman military doctrine of "hey, diddle, diddle, straight up the middle". Although there were advantages to massed attacks on the enemy center, this attack left the Roman flanks open, and Hannibal decided to take advantage of this. He had tried this before at the Battle of Trebbia in 218 B.C., and was victorious, but wanted to perfect the tactic. He stationed his troops in a line with his lightly armored troops, the Gauls and Spaniards, in the center with his more heavily armored Carthaginian phalanx troops on their wings and his Numidian cavalry on their wings. The Roman forces were deployed in standard Roman attack formation of troops in rows and columns under the command of Consul Varro (the command rotated between Varro and Paullus on a daily basis).

When the Roman attack came, Hannibal’s lightly armored center gave way to the more heavily armored Roman legions and started pulling back. Although the center did not break, it caused the Carthaginian line to bow in the center as the heavier forces on the wings held their ground. Eventually, as the Roman forces pushed deep into the center of the Carthaginian forces, all the wings had to do was a quick facing movement to attack the Roman flanks. While all these "fun and games" were happening in the Carthaginian center, Hannibal’s cavalry forces had killed or chased the Roman cavalry forces from the battlefield and were free to fall on the Roman rear and faster than you can say "Veni, vidi, vici", the Romans were surrounded and massacred. Of the 80,000 Romans present, about 15,000 escaped death or capture (they were later placed in two special legions in Sicily as punishment). The Carthaginians, who lost about 6,000 men, slaughtered the rest.

The Battle of Cannae, along with other ignoble Roman defeats at Teutoburger Wald and Adrianople, is considered one of the worse defeats in Roman history. But, this is yet another example of "winning the battle but losing the war." Hannibal was not able to capitalize on this victory and defeat Rome. Among the Romans who escaped the slaughter was Scipio Africanus, the general under whose leadership Rome would eventually defeat Carthage at the Battle of Zama, 14 years later in 202 B.C.

For other events in military history on this date, see here.

Monday, August 01, 2005

On August 1st in military 1943 and 1966

On August 1st in military history….in 1943. PT-109, carrying future president John F. Kennedy, is rammed, cut in two and sunk by a Japanese destroyer off Kolombangara Island in the Solomon Islands. Two of Lt. Kennedy’s crew are killed, but he and 10 others survive and are thrown into the water. They make it to a coral island where Kennedy swims back out to try and flag down a passing American ship. He was unsuccessful, so the survivors later swim to a larger island where they meet some natives. The natives take a message carved on a coconut to an American coast watcher and then are later paddled there by the natives where the US Navy picked them up. Lt. Kennedy is awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal for gallantry instead of a court-martial for not paying attention and getting his boat sunk. Hollywood made a movie of this event entitled "PT-109" (Duh!) in case you feel the need for a 60’s-era World War II film. Fast forward to today and imagine the film that would have been made about John Kerry’s "heroic" actions in Vietnam if he had been elected president. Yuck!

On August 1st in military history….in 1966. A former Eagle Scout and ex-Marine, Charles Whitman, climbs the University of Texas bell tower and proceeds to shoot 46 people (killing 16) before being shot to death by an Austin policeman. Like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman said in "Full Metal Jacket", "Yet another example of what a motivated Marine and his rifle can do."