Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Truth & Reality Part One

My friend Joan sent me another email. I wrote about her once before, a post called "Painful Truths and Comfortable Lies" (posted May 9th, if you're at all interested in reading it. It was one of my better efforts).

She sent it to my work email, which is having some problems. So I'm not able to repost the actual email. Luckily, this sort of glurge appears all over the place, so here is a version which appears courtesy of Truth or Fiction. For the sake of brevity, I'm going to cut out a lot of the litany of attacks. You can read the whole thing at the website if you're truly interested.

America WAKE UP!

That's what we think we heard on the 11th of September 2001 and maybe it was, but I think it should have been "Get Out of Bed!" In fact, I think the alarm clock has been buzzing since 1979 and we have continued to hit the snooze button and roll over for a few more minutes of peaceful sleep since then.

It was a cool fall day in November 1979 in a country going through a religious and political upheaval when a group of Iranian students attacked and seized the American Embassy in Tehran. This seizure was an outright attack on American soil; it was an attack that held the world's most powerful country hostage and paralyzed a Presidency. The attack on this sovereign US embassy set the stage for the events to follow for the next
23 years.

America was still reeling from the aftermath of the Viet Nam experience and had a serious threat from the Soviet Union when then, President Carter, had to do something. He chose to conduct a clandestine raid in the desert. The ill-fated mission ended in ruin, but stood as a symbol of America's inability to deal with terrorism. America's military had been decimated and downsized / right sized since the end of the Viet Nam war. A poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized military was called on to execute a complex mission that was doomed from the start.

Shortly after the Tehran experience, Americans began to be kidnapped and killed throughout the Middle East. America could do little to protect her citizens living and working abroad. The attacks against US soil continued.


The terrorists are getting braver and smarter as they see that America does not respond decisively. They move to coordinate their attacks in a simultaneous attack on two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. These attacks were planned with precision, they kill 224. America responds with cruise missile attacks and goes back to sleep.

The USS Cole was docked in the port of Aden, Yemen for refueling on 12 October 2000, when a small craft pulled along side the ship and exploded killing 17 US Navy Sailors. Attacking a US War Ship is an act of war, but we sent the FBI to investigate the crime and went back to sleep.

And of course you know the events of 11 September 2001. Most Americans think this was the first attack against US soil or in America. How wrong they are. America has been under a constant attack since 1979 and we chose to hit the snooze alarm and roll over and go back to sleep.

In the news lately we have seen lots of finger pointing from every high official in government over what they knew and what they didn't know. But if you've read the papers and paid a little attention I think you can see exactly what they knew. You don't have to be in the FBI or CIA or on the National Security Council to see the pattern that has been developing since 1979. The President is right on when he says we are engaged in a war. I think we have been in a war for the past 23 years and it will continue until we as a people decide enough is enough.

America has to "Get out of Bed" and act decisively now. America has changed forever. We have to be ready to pay the price and make the sacrifice to ensure our way of life continues. We cannot afford to hit the Snooze Button again and roll over and go back to sleep. We have to make the terrorists know that in the words of Admiral Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor "that all they have done is to awaken a sleeping giant."

The email I received went on to exhort the reader to support the troops and the President, and to pass this along. I chose to not do that. Instead, I did some research, and then I responded to Joan. I'll get to that in a minute.

First, I wanted to see if this was in fact the opinion of a high-ranking member of the military.

I didn't find this information right away. It took some digging. The email said it was from "Naval Captain Ouimette" who was Commanding Officer at Pensacola Naval Air Station. That's an important job. Pensacola is the premier Naval Installation. It's where the Blue Angels live. The CO of the NAS is an important man. When I went to the NAS Pensacola website, I discovered that CO is a Captain Peter Frano.


So I dug a bit further. I did a search for Ouimette at Navy.Mil, but all I found was a press release. From Meridian Mississippi. Capt. Ouimette had gone from CO of NAS Pensacola, to Commodore of Training Air Wing One, in a very short time.*

Wow. Not the CO of the most important Naval Air Station, but instead the principal of the flight school.

Except the Commodore of NAS Meridian is Captain Curt Goldacker. So where's Captain Ouimette?


From Truth and Rumor: According to the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, Captain Dan Ouimette made this speech on a couple of occasions, one is 2002 and again in 2003.
At the time, he was the Executive Officer there.
According to the NASP, the speech was not meant to be a political statement but was circulated quite a bit during the Presidential elections.
Captain Ouimette has retired from the Navy and has not given anyone permission to reprint his speech.


Not the CO, but the XO. An important position, nonetheless. So he went from XO in at Pensacola in 2003, to Commodore of the Training Wing in 2004, to retired in July 2005. There could be a lot of reasons for this sudden shift, but to me it appears that Captain Dan was politely promoted out of the Navy. I wonder why?

As for what I wrote to Joan: I told her that I didn't agree with most, if not all of the conclusions drawn here. But, for the sake of argument, let's say he's right. I then asked her these three questions:
  1. Why has the United States been attacked?
  2. Are our actions the best way to respond?
  3. If so, how will we know when we've won?
I told her I have my own answers to these questions. I'll send them to her soon. What about you? I'd love to read your opinions.

I hope my email's fixed tomorrow.


*Rank factoid: There is no rank of Commodore in the modern Navy; only the title. Once upon a time, it was the equivalent rank to a Brigadier General; but now that position is filled by the Rear Admiral Lower Half. (Insert scatalogical/anal joke here. )


Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

1/It is the world's empire, therefore it is the world's number one target for dissenting voices.
2/The best way to respond would be a war of true force, of true imperial action rather than a uncertain and unsure version.
3/When there values are the same as yours.

7:46 AM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:08 AM, November 13, 2005  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

"A poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized military was called on to execute a complex mission that was doomed from the start."

I take exception to this remark. Operation Eagle Claw, the Iranian hostage rescue operation that ended in disaster at Desert One inside Iran, was the very first Joint Special Operations Mission. In 1980 there was no JSOC or USSOCOM, but the men who attempted this mission were the best trained the Military had and are as good if not better than any in today's armed forces. I'm sure no one reading this can grasp how complicated that mission was. Most of these guy guys were Viet Nam combat veterans. I know several of them. I was trained by veterans of that mission. Suffice to say these men were well trained, very well equipped. The reasons the mission failed was weather, uncordinated communication, and lack of inter-service SOPs.

To say that the military in 1980 was poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized may be true, but to apply that as the reason this mission failed and then to hold the mission up as evidence of America's weakness is disingenuous and dishonors those men and the 8 men left dead in Iran. Thankfully, the hearing that came after this unfortunate accident led to the formation of Special Operations Command, a place near and dear to my heart.

I am ging to answer the 3 questions on my blog later today.

3:09 AM, November 13, 2005  

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