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Counterinsurgency is Hard

[ 0 ] December 13, 2005 |

Fine post on counter-insurgency from Kingdaddy.

Via AG.

America Meets America

[ 0 ] December 13, 2005 |

Duss has a nice post.

Unclear on the Concept

[ 0 ] December 13, 2005 |

The battle never ends.

Here’s a test. Can you distinguish between these two events?

1. A prominent Congressman shuts down the government because the President makes him use the back door of Air Force One.

2. A prominent Congressman decries the President’s handling of the war in part because that President has failed to communicate even with the hawkish elements in the opposing party.

If you think that these are qualitatively different, congratulations. You’re smarter than Mickey Kaus. I would advise sending an e-mail to Jacob Weisberg and asking for prominent blog space on the homepage of Slate.com. God knows, we can only be the better for it.

Which Historic General Are You

[ 0 ] December 12, 2005 |

Julius Caesar

You scored 46 Wisdom, 69 Tactics, 53 Guts, and 50 Ruthlessness!


My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 6% on Unorthodox
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You scored higher than 45% on Tactics
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You scored higher than 44% on Guts
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You scored higher than 56% on Ruthlessness

Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid.

The Best of LGM

[ 0 ] December 12, 2005 |

Gentle Reader,

If you would take a look below the ads and Donation Box (clickety click!) on our right sidebar, you’ll notice a new feature, Best of LGM. Thus far, I have only collected posts relating to Our War Against Mickey Kaus, Sunday Battleship Blogging, and the Goeben. We hope to add some more topics in the next couple weeks, including Roe vs. Wade, China, Friday Cat Blogging, and others. Enjoy!

Sometimes He Just Defies Description

[ 0 ] December 12, 2005 |

But “wanktastic hackmeister” is a good start:

Guilt-Trip, Incoming! I’m highly skeptical that a movie about gay cowhands, however good, will find a large mainstream audience. I’ll go see it, but I don’t want to go see it. (Why? Sexual orientation really is in the genes. Sorry.) When the film’s national box office fails to live up to its hype and to the record attendance at a few early screenings, prepare to be subjected to a tedious round of guilt-tripping and chin-scratching by Frank Rich and every metropolitan daily entertainment writer who yearns to write about What the Movies Say About America Today. (Wild guess: They say we’re still homophobic!) That will be harder to ignore than the movie. … Maybe if we all go see it, Rich won’t write about it! [He'll write about it-ed Good point.] 9:15 P.M.

Mickey may be right about Brokeback Mountain failing to find a large audience, although it’s really hard to say. It’s the second sentence that really confounds me; how could one’s attitude towards the genetic determinacy of homosexuality possibly affect one’s desire to see Brokeback Mountain, either positively or negatively? Setting aside the fact that discussion about genetics and homosexuality is hardly finished, I’m just very flummoxed as to how your position on that questions affects your inclination to see Brokeback Mountain any more than it affects, say, your preference for mustard over catsup or your desire to see King Kong.

Honestly, I prefer genuine Medveditism to Kaus’ cynical, too clever by half wankery. “Oh, I’ll see it in order to prove that I’m not homophobic, but don’t forget that it really is a plot by liberal Hollywood to demonstrate that we’re all homophobic. By the way, I’m a liberal, so you should take seriously my critiques of all these other dirty liberals.” Will I see Brokeback Mountain? I don’t know, depends on the reviews. I wasn’t really planning on it, but the preview I saw looked pretty solid, and you can do a lot worse than Proulx and McMurtry.

News from the Northern Front

[ 0 ] December 12, 2005 |

Be sure to read Dave Noon’s update on our progress in the War Against Christmas.

Courage.

The Bevilacqua Hit

[ 0 ] December 12, 2005 |

It looks as if the Bevilacqua kid (“Cause that sugarless motherfucker, it’s the last fucking drink you’re ever gonna have.”) has some actual legal problems:

An actor who once played an aspiring mobster on ”The Sopranos” faces murder charges along with another man in the death of an off-duty police officer, authorities said Sunday.

Lillo Brancato Jr., 29, was hospitalized in critical condition with gunshot wounds suffered when the officer shot him after catching two men breaking into a home. Brancato’s friend Steven Armento, 48, was also shot and in critical condition.

Prosecutors were in the process Sunday of charging Armento with first- and second-degree murder and Brancato with second-degree murder in the death Saturday of Officer Daniel Enchautegui, 28, said Steven Reed, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

Ah. Life imitating art…

Maye

[ 0 ] December 11, 2005 |

Let me echo Redbeard and Angelica (among many others) on the Cory Maye case; it seems that this guy is getting railroaded. You don’t have to be a Second Amendment purist to believe that someone who shoots an unannounced intruder in the middle of the night in his own home doesn’t deserve to die.

Yarr…

[ 0 ] December 11, 2005 |

Blarg.

“My Humps” has made me a fatter man. I think it’s fair to attribute 3-4 pounds to the fact that I can’t figure out how to change the radio station in the gym at my apartment complex. If “My Humps” starts playing at the beginning of a workout I can ignore it, but if it starts playing when I’m 23 minutes in on the elliptical, I just can’t muster up the gumption to finish. I think I need an Ipod.

Matt Yglesias: Wrong about “My Humps”, wrong for America.

The Dream of a 313 Ship Navy

[ 0 ] December 11, 2005 |

Interesting report from the New York Times on how the Navy is thinking about its procurement future.

I think that Matthew Yglesias evaluation of the DD(X) as a ship that is “cool but useless” is a little bit unfair. The DD(X) has actual mission capabilities beyond combat at sea. The Advanced Gun System is capable of delivering a lot of ordinance to points deep inland in a very short amount of time. As such, it represents a real increase in current naval capabilities. This doesn’t mean that we should buy it; the DD(X) is very expensive, and it doesn’t look as if the Navy will be able to afford more than a small number (although it’s unclear whether the seven destroyers mentioned in the article are the initial buy or the entire production run). But to call it useless is putting the case a little bit too strongly. I’m inclined to think that the Arleigh Burke destroyers have a long, useful life in front of them, but at some point we will have to come up with a replacement. The DD(X) might not be it, but I like the idea of the Navy procuring ships that keep Joint operations in mind, and that you can actually imagine being engaged in the kinds of conflicts that might happen in the next twenty years.

The LCS is the other new ship that the Navy is working on. Whereas the DD(X) is really expensive ($3 billion a ship), the Littoral Combat Ship is relatively inexpensive (about $200 million). LCS is a roughly frigate sized ship that is designed to operate in shallow waters and fulfill a variety of different missions, from amphibious operation support to anti-piracy. Like the DD(X), the LCS design shows that the Navy is at least beginning to think of its missions in a less Mahanian fashion; that is, directed toward ends other than the destruction of an enemy fleet at sea.

Whether the procurement of either the DD(X) or the LCS in any kind of numbers will happen is in serious question. The Navy has been declining in size for quite a while, and Congress is unlikely to be very receptive to calls for a funding increase. See Brad Plumer for a bit more on this. Personally, I am very doubtful that the Navy will ever get a DD(X), but I think the LCS has a much brighter future, if only because the Navy can sell it as a multi-purpose vehicle.

For a very bad analysis of naval procurement, see Ed Morrissey. His post on this topic is a clinic on inept half-thinking on the issue of naval power. For Ed, one “existential threat” is just as good as another; if we needed a huge Navy to prepare to fight the Soviet Union, then we certainly need one for the War on Terrorism. And if we don’t, then we need one to prepare to fight China. That the procurement proposed by the Navy doesn’t seem particularly geared towards the Chinese threat apparently escaped his notice. His most laughable assertion is this:

In a decade, the Chinese fleet may surpass our Pacific fleet in firepower, a dangerous imbalance not only for us but for our Pacific Rim allies such as Japan and South Korea. That shift in power will signal not just Beijing but other regimes and terrorist bands that the US has lost its primacy on the seas — and that will exponentially expand our problems.

Quite. The first part is true; if China goes on a crash naval buidling spree, and the US Navy loses six aircraft carriers in a mysterious boating accident, then the PLAN might approach equality with the USN in a decade. Of course, the JMSDF would still be larger than the PLAN, but in the mind of Ed things like that don’t matter; despite all actual evidence, Japan will bandwagon with Chinese power rather than balance against it. As for South Korea, it has perhaps escaped Ed’s notice that China doesn’t need a single fishing boat to threaten Seoul. To his credit, I will allow that it’s possible that Al Qaeda pays close attention to the relative naval procurement strategies of the US and China, much in the same way that it’s possible flesh eating zombies could crawl from the sea tomorrow and begin attacking US naval assets around the world. This is what happens when a blogger can’t bring himself to analytically distinguish between naval power and his own masculinity…

Sunday Battleship Blogging: USS Guam

[ 1 ] December 11, 2005 |

USS Guam (CB-2) came about through a curious set of circumstances. Early in World War II, the United States received intelligence suggesting that Japan was building a class of 18000 ton heavy cruisers designed to raid deep into the Eastern Pacific. In order to counter this threat, the United States Navy developed plans for a class of ships in between heavy cruisers (ships of roughly 10-12000 tons, carrying 8″ guns), and battleships (of which the most recent were 35000 tons, carrying 16″ guns). Guam and her sister Alaska ended up with 9 12″ guns, a displacement of 27000 tons, and a speed of 32 knots. Oddly enough, the Japanese were neither building nor planning to build any such ships, although they considered the possibility after learning of Alaska and Guam.

The Navy insisted (and still insists) that Alaska and Guam were not battleships, or even battlecruisers, but instead something called a “large cruiser”. The naming protocal for Large Cruisers was unclear. Cruisers were named after cities, and battleships after states. The battlecruisers planned in the early 1920s were named after famous battles, such as Lexington and Saratoga. It was decided that these not-quite-battleships-but-more-than-cruisers should be named after US territories. The four members of the class never completed were listed as Hawaii, Samoa, Philippines, and Puerto Rico. The USN may have been reluctant to call Guam a battlecruiser because of the high casualty rate among battlecruisers in World War II.

The contention that Alaska and Guam were not battlecruisers is indefensible. Guam was more than twice the size of the heaviest heavy cruiser ever built, and carried an armament superior to the contemporary Scharnhorst class. Moreover, they were designed for specifically the mission that the first battlecruisers were created for, which was the pursuit and destruction of enemy heavy cruisers. In action, Guam fulfilled precisely the same missions as the other battleships in the fleet, which primarily meant fleet air defense. Had Guam encountered Yamato or another modern battleship, her characterization as a “Large Cruiser” wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference.

The US Navy placed Guam and her sister Alaska in reserve shortly after World War II, along with most of the rest of the battleship fleet. A large number of ships were disposed of in the immediate postwar period, leaving only the Big Five (California, Tennessee, Maryland, West Virginia, and Colorado), the two ships of the North Carolina class, the four of the South Dakota class, the four of the Iowa class, and the two Alaskas. The Navy purged itself of all but the Iowas in 1960. I believe that not retaining Alaska and Guam was a mistake. Their armor and armament were superior to any ships afloat other than the Iowas (and the French Jean Bart). They could perform shore bombardment duties nearly as well as the Iowas, and could be operated at a lower cost and with a smaller crew. They might well have proved an option more palatable than retaining Wisconsin and Iowa on the Navy List until the first DD(X) comes into service.

Trivia: What are the only two dreadnought battleships built in the United States to carry wing turrets?

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