Archive for May, 2009

The Solution to North Korean Nukes

Friday, May 29th, 2009

America’s deterrence-record with North Korea has recently elevated from embarrassing to down-right dangerous.  Even though some form of independent Korean state or collection of states have existed nearly continuously for several millennia, we persist in dealing with them as if they were either children or cavemen.  The reality is North Korea’s nepotistic state possesses nuclear weapons and an effective means of delivering them, which possesses a clear and present danger to all their neighbors, except China and Russia.

The details of how the world arrived at this impending conflagration are obsfucated by historic neglect and revisionists efforts, but the major turning points are clearly visible.  The tenacious people of Koryo, Silla, Paeche, and Chosun built societies that equal all that is impressive in the study of the ancient Chinese and Japanese cultures. Many Koreans believe that those people descended from theirs or at least copied theirs to achieve greatness.  While the “what-ifs” of antiquity fascinate some people, it is obvious that during the last century, Korea was gobbled-up, spit out, and then transformed into a nearly “perfect” example of political Yin and Yang.

About a hundred years ago, all of Korea was formally annexed by Japan–a harsh experience that stirs “racial” strife in some people even today.  As bloody World War II (WWII) ended and Japan was pacified, America and most of the Allies rushed to disarm and revert to a consumer-based society–one that improves the standard of living for everyone.  On the other hand, the USSR sought to press onward with the momentum of their military might–seeking to control the entire world if they could–thereby blurring any differences between them and the totalitarian oligarchies the Allies had just fought so hard to eliminate.

In the conflict of political pressure and military maneuvering that followed WW II, the Korea peninsula was split into two nations, with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored communist control.

Communist North Korea was armed, trained, and then encouraged to invade South Korea.  Though initially unprepared, the United States led the UN effort to drive the brutal invaders back to the north.  But a new era had dawned.

Not understanding how important it was to stop before China was provoked into a military response, WW II tactical zeal carried the Allies all the way to the Chinese border.  Politically denied the option of interdicting the massive forces mustered just north of the Yalu River–General MacArthur could do nothing except wait for the inevitable.

Political contextual elements glowed heavily with American decision makers. The United States no longer had a nuclear monopoly, as the USSR has obtained vital secrets via spies and their own efforts–resulting in communist nuclear test/demonstrations.  The USSR had equipped Mao Zedung’s Chinese communists with captured Japanese military gear, as a 600,000-strong force in Manchuria surrendered to Russian forces following Japan’s capitulation after the nuclear bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The exhausted forces of Chiang Kai-shek withered under the assault and barely escaped to Taiwan.  The Chinese decision makers were threatened by any thing that might threaten their reformation of their newly established communist state.  The Chinese viewed North Korea has a security buffer preventing a two-pronged attack on them sometime in the future–a southern thrust from Taiwan and a northern thrust from the Korean Peninsula–it didn’t matter if no one in America was thinking about doing that, the Chinese are notorious long-term planners.  Above all, the President Truman feared that narcissistic Joseph Stalin would employ nuclear weapons if China were invaded–requiring another WWII-style effort from a war-weary world to vanquish communism.

So Chinese forces swarmed across the border.  The fighting that followed produced most of what Americans remember as bad about the Korean War.  After much fighting and loss of life, the peninsula was once again divided via a crease-fire agreement in 1953.  The lesser known background of that agreement is that it was reached only after some combined military and political maneuvering designed to convince China to pressure North Korea into acceptance.

In March of 1953, Stalin died–some believe he was poisoned by members of his cabinet who feared yet another purge was imminent.  Regardless of how he died, the internal chaos in the USSR allowed for a window of political and military factoring by the Allies to bring about a ceasefire agreement.  Since the US had no formal way of communicating with the Chinese government–as it was not recognized as a legitimate state then–the American’s leaked information through political connections in India.  the message was basically that the US would destroy sanctuary bases in Manchuria if the fighting continued.  Initially this was hard to believe, as much collateral damage to civilians would accompany such attacks–and they knew the Americans had grown squeamish about such things.

To demonstrate the opposite, a series of previously unmolested dams were bomb, releasing flood waters, which prevented a year’s rice planting.  The suffering caused by the food shortage would far exceed the trauma of the initial flooding.  Only then were the Chinese convinced–those brutal Americans would probably attack, maybe use nuclear weapons, thus weakening China’s military so much it might result in their collapse–so they influenced North Korea to sign the armistice on July 27, 1953.

Since then a precarious state of “stand-off” exists between the dark oligarchy and what has grown into a thriving republic to its south.  South Korea has a GDP nearly 1.3 trillion dollars–equal to Saudi Arabia’s and Taiwan’s combined–much of which is reinvested into their growing economy.  Many of their quality products are purchased by Americans.  North Korea has a GDP of maybe 40 billion dollars–a little more than Uganda’s–much of which is used to maintain a massive military while their population is mostly fed by international aid.  North Korea is a charter member of the “Axis of Evil” and is a real-life characture of an evil nation.

On 27 May 2009, North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice.  They’ve tested nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in a bravado attempt to intimidate the rest of the world.  The are heavily suspected of nuclear proliferation efforts with other nations in the Axis of Evil–mostly likely seeking additional sources of income for their dying economy.  In the wake of the nuclear tests and missile launch demonstrations, they have announced they will respond with military force if another of its ships are boarded by the US-led program to interdict illicit transport of weapons of mass destruction.

What kind of force do you think they are implying?  It’s obvious.

So what’s the solution?  While past performance is no guarantee of future results …

China has to pressure North Korea to behave.  Thus the key to making North Korea behave it to convince China that they stand to lose more than they will gain if they allow North Korea to continue their shenanigans.

The most threatened nations are South Korea, Japan, and the United States.  The US already has ample military power to counter a nuclear attack when it comes to it.  However, Japan and South Korea are precariously empty–historically relying on the US nuclear umbrella to cover them as needed.

Here’s the solution:

In the light of shrinking US resolve and inventory–Japan and South Korea need indigenous nuclear forces.   They have all the necessary technologies and their GDP’s will comfortably support the programs–the only thing that prevents it from happening is their own national laws and leadership.  International law have recently been proven inept at preventing any nation from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Thus, the US should encourage Japan and South Korea to develop strong nuclear capabilities to stand against the nuclear threats from North Korea.  And even if the US fails to encourage them, those nations need to consider what they need to do for their own survival–and do it anyway.  Of course, once that happens, Taiwan and Australia would need to belly-up to the nuclear club also–unless they wanted to remain optionless in the face of nuclear threats.

How would China like to be facing nuclear-equipped nations on all their borders?

Not at all, I’m sure.

The long-range planning Chinese leadership would be greatly concerned about this–they have a little history with the Japanese and the folks who live in Taiwan.  And that’s the problem with nuclear proliferation:  Once it gets rolling–how do you stop it?

Stop it early.

“Too late for that,” some might say.

Well, my grandpa used to say, “You can’t start where you were, only you are.”  And where we are is a nuclear equipped North Korea trying to intimidate the world as they seek to spread nuclear weapons to other nations, who also seek to do harm to things we consider valuable.

When it comes to allowing rogue nations to develop or maintain nuclear arsenals–nothing is worse than doing nothing.

It just makes sense.

Talking USMC Dog

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

A guy is driving around the back woods of Tennessee and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: ‘Talking Dog for Sale ‘

He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the back yard and sees a nice looking Labrador retri ever sitting there.  ‘You talk?’ he asks.

‘Yep,’ the lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says ‘So, what’s your story?’

The Lab looks up and says, ‘Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young.  I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA and they had me sworn into the toughest branch of the armed services…the United States Marines.  You know one of their nicknames is ‘The Devil Dogs.’

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders; because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.  I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running, but the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger.  So, I decided to settle down.

I retired from the Corps (8 dog years is 56 Corps years) and signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.  I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.  I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just
retired.’

The guy is amazed.  He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

‘Ten dollars,’ the guy says.

‘Ten dollars?  This dog is amazing!  Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?’

‘Because he’s such a liar … He never did any of that.  He was a crewdog in the Air Force!

Turkey Hunting

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

The game warden was driving down the road when he came upon a young boy carrying a wild turkey under his arm. He stopped and asked the boy, ‘Where
did you get that turkey?’

The boy replied, ‘What turkey?’

The game warden said, ‘That turkey you’re carrying under your arm.’

The boy looks down and said, ‘Well, lookee here, a turkey done roosted under my arm!’

The game warden said, ‘Now look, you know turkey season is closed, so whatever you do to that turkey, I’m going to do to you. If you break his leg, I’m gonna reak your leg. If you break his wing, I’ll break your arm. Whatever you do to him, I’ll do to you. So, what are you gonna do with him?’

The little boy said, ‘I guess I’ll just kiss his butt and let him go!’

What is it?

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Riddle of the Day
Arnold Schwarzenegger has a big one.
Michael J. Fox has a small one.
Madonna doesn’t have one.
The Pope has one but doesn’t use it.
Clinton uses his all the time.
Bush is one.
Mickey Mouse has an unusual one.
Liberace never used his on women.
Jerry Seinfeld is very, very proud of his.
We never saw Lucy use Desi’s.
What is it?

BUFF crash

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

http://www.stripes.com/09/feb09/crash_report.pdf

All,

The report on the Buff crash on Guam has been out for a time now. I think everyone has had a chance to read it and mull it over. If you haven’t the above link will get you there.

Our Bob blog has not said much about it and I value your experienced opinions.

After reading the report I was horrified at the description of the crash. I can’t , for the life of me, imagine a B-52 getting that out of control that quickly. I don’t understand and can’t swallow the explanation of a runaway stab trim. scenario unraveling that quickly to hitting the water in a near vertical dive at almost 600 knots. How many times have you participated in simulator rides with runaway trim? How many sims have you given to students over the years with this kind of results? Instinctively I recoil at the idea that a runaway stab could put the nose that far down that quickly. I know that the Buff increases in positive trim as it gets faster – until Mach tuck.– No mach tuck at this altitude possible.

I suppose that what little they could recover of the aircraft didn’t give them much to analyze. It seems to me that an investigation of the auto-pilots roll in this accident would be a better avenue. Putting myself in the situation and knowing the younger crowds flying habits and experience, leads me to suspect an auto pilot induced roll to inverted flight with unsuccessful recovery from the unusual attitude. There wasn’t a single word in the report about unusual attitude recovery.

I know of at least one incident at the 20th BS a few years ago were a young guy allowed the auto pilot to get him near inverted on a bombrun. He came very close to killing himself and his crew and destroying the aircraft. Only a high G recovery that badly damaged the jet saved them.

I have, on many occasions, had the auto pilot attempt to overbank the jet on altitude hold. I never trusted the damn thing for that reason and always monitored the bank closely when using the roll knob. Also as much as I liked the young pilot involved in this accident, I was uncomfortable with the over-the-top explanations they gave in the report to exonerate the crew of responsibility for the crash. Again absolutely no discussion of unusual attitude recovery. Even if you buy the runaway trim story, the next part of that string is recovery. Every scenario involving runaway trim in the EP sim involved recovery from the unusual attitude caused by the trim problem.

Also it is completely obvious that flight over water, on a calm day, with no land around, leads to disorientation. Again not a word in the report about a lack of horizon and its impact on the ‘pilot” trying to recover from an unusual attitude.

I never flew with the pilot, but I do remember discussions about his performance at the 20th BS and his weakness during pattern operations at night – with no horizon- recognizing over banks in turns. The report would have you believe this crew was above reproach in responsibility and that runaway trim is unrecoverable in the B-52 for even experienced pilots.

Don’t’ buy it! What do you think?

Ponch

Ponch BoB 11 May 09

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Well time to stop procrastinating and post on the Bob blog.  Business at the bomber plant (AF plnt 42) is slow this week.  We delivered another jet back to Whiteman last week and we will not get a replacement until Friday.   One humorous story about the last delivery.  After landing, as part of the shutdown, the aircrew opened the bomb doors and out dropped an ink pen that hitched a ride to Whiteman AFB.  Probably a bad scene for any aircraft to have loose ink pens bobbing around inside,  even more so when the contract for Northrop to accomplish depot level maintenance is heavily weighted on customer satisfaction.   A few bad jokes were bantered about like this was a WESP for a new mini JDAM ect ect.  Needless to say there is allot of tight lipped managers and folks in charge out here looking to neuter the pens owner if they could only find him/her.  A collective head slap is coming for all soon…you remember those don’t’ you?

 

 Kind’a reminds me of a Bomb Comp mission way back when that turned out ugly and got uglier.  It all went bad when the weapon in the bay refused to extricate itself at the appropriate time over the Red Flag range.  The crew knew on the way back they had a “hanger” and took the appropriate precautions as well as calling back home with the bad news.  Needless to say there was quite a reception party waiting as they taxied back to the spot.  As the story goes the Radar-nav handed the weapon pin to the MMS dude shortly after engine shutdown.  Were-upon the young MMS troop scurried into the
bombay and purportedly inserted the pin back in it’s place to safe the weapon before opening the doors –per ops normal.  About this time the wing king and the MMS squadron commander drove up –did I mention that allot was ridding on this Bomb Comp in personnel bets and braggadocio by our illustrious wing king? Well as legend has it, the young AC hopped down the ladder to greet the wing king and offer his condolences were upon the doors were open and the MMS squadron commander peered into the bay to spy non other then the weapon – with pin installed.  Needless to say he made a rather loud report of his finding to all on the ramp.  The wing king upon hearing the news – at just about the same time the young AC was reporting and saluting smartly – wear-upon the wing king,, overcome by emotion, proceeded to “SLAP” the young AC across the head knocking his hat off before storming over to see for himself the offending “pin”..  Well it wasn’t long before the Radar –nav was locked in a battle with all around him as they cast fingers of blame on he and his side-kick the nav for failing to pull the pin.  The Radar naturally defended his preflight and post flight actions vehemently.  It got so bad that the ‘King” had the hospital commander out to try and measure the “pins” body temperature to determine if it made the flight in the weapons bay as the MMS SQ CC claimed, or in more comfortable steerage as the Radar-nav swore too.  I don’t remember the outcome of the ordeal as we were taxiing in from our own Bomb-Comp disaster (we were the “other” crew).  We had just returned from the STRC bomb competition run.  As we taxied in,  our tails were tucked about as far as they could get between our legs (more so if I had known head slaps were in order for screwing-up).  We didn’t have to do a bomb-bay check to know what sin we had committed.  We got almost instant feedback from the range as we made a wide slicing post release turn and ended a few miles out of corridor.  Nothing I can think of  is more ugly then hearing over the radio “aircraft we are tracking 2 miles north of corridor…blaa blaa blaa.  So we un-assed our three K selves from the jet and skulked back to the squadron to await our punishment.  That’s when we heard about the head slapping incident.  The next day we were back at work waiting to hear our fate when the whole world changed.  A tanker making a simple TACAN approach on a VFR day crashed in flames on the runway killing the crew.  Needless to say we didn’t get any feedback on our bomb-comp infidelity and we learned the hard way about life’s priorities.  So in retrospect an ink pen bouncing on terraferma probably is not as big a deal as most things in life.  I suppose age gives on a little perspective as well as arthritis.

As for the more personnel news…we finally can afford a house to purchase out here in the land of fruits and nuts.  We got a nice 5 bedroom single story in a fairly nice part of the desert…thus accomplishing two of my short term goals.  I think you remember them from past rants.  I did manage not to pay ½ million dollars for a house and I’m not stuck living in a trailer-park in the desert….at least not yet.  Hope this months BoB finds all of you in good health and happier times.

 

Peace-out

From the Ponch       

11 May 2009 – The Chuck

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I like May. Not only do I celebrate another birthday, meaning I’m officially another year old–though not as old as Elwood or Ponch–but I also get to hear from Ed Miller. We share the same birthday, even though he is such a youngster.

Ed always calls me ever since I called him while he was SOF one birthday. After he was over being weirded-out, he commented it was the first time a colonel had called him to sing the happy birthday song. My froggy rendition of Happy Birthday garnered me the annual update from him–so it was more than worth the effort.

My Dad and step-Mom visited this week, which is great as we live so fare from our extended families. In addition, our oldest daughter drove down to see us–which is about as good as it gets. We miss her ever since she moved away with her career.

There are roads we don’t drive down in Shreveport anymore–unless we want to feel bad. And who would ever want that?

I’m still working with the company–80 hours each two-weeks. It’s nice to pay the bills. I’m writing as I can. And I’m looking forward to the ACFW conference in September.

Hopefully some of you guys will post here this month–I’m pretty sure the rest of us would appreciate an update.  I know I would.

I’ll post at you later.

Mother’s Day …

Sunday, May 10th, 2009


Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May, when we pause for a short while to  acknowledge the most important person in the world–your mother.  What follows is a short account about how it came to be.

Back on May 1, 1864 in the tiny town of Webster, West Virginia, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis gave birth to a little girl she named Anna Jarvis. The family moved to the short distance to Grafton, West Virginia in her childhood.

On May 12, 1907, two years after Anna’s mother died, Anna Jarvis organized a memorial to her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton–passing out 500 white carnations–and then made it her personal quest to establish “Mother’s Day” as a recognized holiday–which it became in 1914. The International Mother’s Day Shrine was established in Grafton to commemorate Anna Jarvis’ accomplishment.

But from there, an interesting plot twist takes over–in the 1920s Anna Jarvis incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, claimed copyright on the second Sunday of May, and was even arrested once for disturbing the peace. She invested her family inheritance campaigning against the holiday–until she died blind and penniless in 1948.

According to Anna Jarvis’ New York Times obituary, she became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. As she said, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother-and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!”

Anna Jarvis never married and had no children. She died in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and is buried next to her mother in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Today, Mother’s Day ranks only behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day in terms of spending–it is credited with nearly $15.8 billion in retail sales:  flowers, restaurant (it is the number one eating-out holiday of the year), jewelry, and heaven help us if we should ever forget–greeting cards.

And Mother’s Day is today–the second Sunday in May.   Thus, unless you’ve already done this, you need to go now and buy a printed card, so you don’t have to write one yourself, and take a box of your favorite candy to your Mom … maybe she’ll give you a glass of milk to wash it down with.

But don’t worry about embittering your twenty-first-century mother. Our Moms already know we’re brats–and love us in spite of it. However, they might be troubled should you let the day pass without at least acknowledging, no matter how superficially, some of the suffering we’ve put them through.

If your Mom’s no longer with you, then acknowledge somebody else’s mother–maybe the mother of your grandchildren, or the mother of your neighbor’s kids, or the mother of your niece or nephews. Just do it.

Happy Mother’s Day.

It Just Makes Sense.