29 March 2007

Not according to Hoyle or the Hague

The Iranian captors of our ally's 15 sailors and marines don't seem to care about abiding by any international norms. If they want to be perceived as a serious nation, even regional power, they need to grow up a bit.

I haven't gone article by article through this, but I found that they haven't understood Art 71:
Immediately upon capture, or not more than one week after arrival at a camp, even if it is a transit camp...every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family...informing his relatives of his capture, address and state of health.
And I wouldn't hold my breath about compliance with Art 34:
Prisoners of war shall enjoy complete latitude in the exercise of their religious duties, including attendance at the service of their faith, on condition that they comply with the disciplinary routine prescribed by the military authorities.

Adequate premises shall be provided where religious services may be held.

26 March 2007

Thomas P. M. Barnett

Recently started his book, Blueprint for Action. Also, am listening to his interviews with Hugh Hewitt. Then a quick search at Youtube:

The Onion Video Content

World Tuberculosis Day

Don't know how I missed this one last weekend.

LIKE every dog, every disease now seems to have its day. World Tuberculosis Day is on Saturday March 24th. On the same day in 1882 Robert Koch, a German bacteriologist, presented his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to a meeting in Berlin. That announcement helped to establish the germ theory of disease—the idea that contagious illnesses are caused by specific micro-organisms.

Interesting fact:

According to figures released earlier this week by the World Health Organisation, 1.6m died of the disease in 2005, compared with about 3m for AIDS and 1m for malaria. But it receives only a fraction of the research budget devoted to AIDS. America's National Institutes of Health, for example, spends 20 times as much on AIDS as on TB.

23 March 2007

Johnnies vs. Mids (not croquet related)

This article describes a very interesting meeting of minds (undergraduate minds).

The Naval Academy, with 4,200 midshipmen, is famous for its leadership training, where students must apply philosophy and ethics to military situations.

St. John's, a college of only 525 students, is internationally acclaimed for its Great Books curriculum, in which all students spend four years reading the great Western thinkers.

Observers sometimes call the two schools "Athens and Sparta," for the philosophical bent of St. John's, and the warrior culture of the Naval Academy.

The two schools have been having an exchange to discuss philosophy of military action twice a year since 2003. I like the way that Johnnies are being shown that application of ideas is important, too.

"It was similar to our seminars, but it was different in that they (midshipmen) apply the philosophy to current events," said St. John's freshman Caity Swanson, of Clarksville, Tenn. "At St. John's, we just focus on what the readings say."

"We are taught to make decisions. When the mids talk, we all make statements; when the Johnnies talk, they all ask questions," Midshipman Moore said.

Well, Midshipmen Moore, asking questions is often a good way to learn, too.

21 March 2007

Two British submariners dead in accident

My heartfelt sorrow for the families and loved ones left behind.

The US Navy says that apparently an oxygen generator candle blew up?
The Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless, participating in the Joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007) in the Arctic Ocean, experienced an explosion of a self contained oxygen generation candle that killed two crew members and injured one.

A third was injured and flown to Alaska for treatment. The British say he'll be fine. The submarine was up at APLIS (Applied Physics Lab Ice Station) with USS ALEXANDRIA, conducting an ICEX. According to the sub report VADM Donnelly (COMSUBFOR commander) was just up there.

I don't remember any accidents that involved oxygen candle explosions on US subs. However, google shows that Mir had a problem. The British report doesn't say outright that it was a candle,
but the piece of air-purification machinery thought to have failed was fitted as part of an update in 2001.

I find it unlikely that the British waited 16 years after the ship was delivered to install O2 candle furnaces. More likely the offending item is an upgraded Electrolytic Oxygen Generator. Submariners have a nickname for it: the bomb.

Thomas L. Friedman piece in NYT

I can't stand the fact that NYT doesn't open its op-ed page to readers on the web. You must pay. However, via the Early Bird I bring you the best line in his piece on the "Pelosi-Petraeus-Bush troika"

When you’re sitting on a volcano, it is never easy to tell exactly what is happening underneath — or what will happen if you move.

This is legitimate secrecy

The US Navy is claiming "state secrets" to avoid unreasonable disclosure of information on a lawsuit regarding sonar alleged harm to marine mammals.

The Navy action is the latest in a string of Pentagon moves to derail the group's lawsuit. The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups say sonar used in routine training and testing violates environmental laws.

No, the Navy action is in response to a ridiculous motion for information:

on the latitude, longitude, time and date, duration, and name of the exercise for every non-combat use of military sonar by the U.S. Navy anywhere in the world, according to the court filing.

This is an extraordinarily bad idea. Where, when and with whom we use sonar is a state secret. This could potentially harm our warfare development, engagement with allies and potential allies and would produce a map of US Navy activity that would be an intelligence windfall for any potential adversary. Talk about blown OPSEC. Why don't they alter the motion to reflect areas where they have evidence of harm to marine mammals. Oh, that's not what this is really about, is it?

19 March 2007

New USNA supe, submariner and diversity advocate

Rear Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler to move from COMSUBGRU 8 to USNA. Described as an advocate for diversity for how he handled some sexual assault problems when he was head of recruiting.

"He created an environment where everybody felt respected," she said. "He made them know that every woman in the Navy is someone's mother, sister or daughter, and he stood up in training and openly talked about the things that were on people's mind, things that people didn't want to talk about."

Sounds like the right kind of diversity leader. A good change of pace from the recent admininistration in Annapolis.

CDR Salamander, comments?

I think I found some volunteers for the next IA

For naval flight officers, who act as navigators or serve other back-seat missions on aircraft, the average time between when they arrive in Pensacola and when they begin flight school was 199 days last year. So far this year, that average wait has been reduced to 164 days, Navy officials said.

NAVAIR has saved a lot of money by eliminating the queues in between segments of aviaition training - reducing retraining time. However, you should be able to find something profitable for them to do. I heard somewhere that there's a war going on.

Coroner, get back in your box

A British soldier who died four years ago after an American pilot opened fire on his convoy in Iraq was killed unlawfully, a coroner ruled Friday.

“I find there was no lawful authority to fire on the convoy,” said Andrew Walker, the assistant deputy coroner of Oxfordshire. He called the attack on the soldier, 25-year-old Lance Cpl. Matthew Hull, an “assault” and added, “There was no lawful reason for it, and in that respect it was criminal.”

What a load of crap. YANAL, certainly not a JAG, therefore, shut up.