December 30, 2008

Israel must be brave it is now or never – Crush Hamas

… Within minutes of the first Israeli air strike, the Arabs were screaming "massacre" and the media had all but forgotten the serial assaults that provoked it … Michael B. Oren

For quite some time Palestinian TERROR GROUP Hamas has been shelling Israeli cities, more recently, in the week preceding Israel's present military operation, hundreds of rockets have pounded the Southern part of the country, terrorizing its population. Operation Cast Lead, which has been in the planning for months was finally activated last Saturday destroying dozens of military and police targets, camps and crude weapons facilities. Now as the worlds media rallies to the Hamas cause we have arrived at a critical juncture for Israeli political resolve. To finally rid us of the scourge that is, Hamas. With this in mind, the American-Israeli scholar, historian and author Michael B. Oren reflects my feelings in terms of the initial media coverage, but more so, the question of whether Israel will finally end, “its painful chronicle of indecision on Gaza”:

Crush Hamas and brave the Backlash - CNN International's coverage of the weekend's fighting in Gaza concluded with a rush of images: mangled civilians writhing in the rubble, primitive hospitals overflowing with the wounded, fireballs mushrooming between apartment complexes, the funeral of a Palestinian child. Missing from the montage, however, was even a fleeting glimpse of the tens of thousands of Israelis who spent last night and much of last week in bomb shelters; of the house in Netivot, where a man was killed by a Grad missile; or indeed any of the hundreds of rockets, mortar shells, and other projectiles fired by Hamas since the breakdown of the so-called ceasefire. This was CNN at its unprincipled worst, grossly skewering its coverage of a complex event and deceiving its viewers … Nobody seems to know how long Israel's operation will last or the criteria for deeming it successful. No Israeli leader, whether from Kadima, Labor or Likud, has articulated a clear vision for Israel's relationship with the obstreperous Strip.
Either way, Israel will never win the any popularity contest in the West, it may as well “brave the backlash” and go all the way with the current operation, noting too, that in loose terms, Israel is presently fighting our war on terror. We shall wait and see if the more hawkish types within the political apparatus have the final say - step up, Tizipi Livini and Ehud Barak.


Netanyahu is correct, only regime change will bring an end to to threat ...
Our goal should be twofold - stopping the attacks on our cities and eliminating the threat of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip…Stopping the attacks can be done within a short period of time, while eliminating the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza will entail toppling the Hamas rule over the Strip and uprooting the Iranian base there. >> more

December 28, 2008

Obama’s Christmas visit to the Marine Corps is a positive...

Obama got this right but ...

Obama went to Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay on Oahu where he mingled with Marines and sailors. Obama and the troops had a traditional dinner including turkey, roast beef, ham and trimmings. The future Commander in Chief spent an hour at the base, going from table to table shaking as many hands as he could.

Obama settles into military role wrote Reuters; quite frankly I’m not willing to go that far however, it’s my gut feeling that the visit was sincere.

As Hugh Hewitt said here:

a fine gesture of appreciation for the military he will soon be leading ...

Stephan Tawney made an interesting comment about the visit:

Respectful as is expected, but absent the usual clapping and cheering one comes to expect. Sometimes silence can be louder than words.

Obama got this right, he is the next President and Commander in Chief, and this in itself denotes so much. It is our hope that in the context of this undertaking he too understands, just how much …

Related: I'm with Hugh on this one

December 25, 2008

Simply Merry Christmas

Sometimes we get so absorbed by our daily challenges and routines that we fail to understand, let alone appreciate our creators plan for us. This is most true at Christmas. In a rush to get it all done and dusted, meals planned prepared and cooked, presents sourced purchased and wrapped, in addition to the many trappings of modern day life (including those forces that compel us to link our identity to such trappings), it is all too easy to get distracted from the message that Christmas brings.

We are, in spite of everything celebrating the birth of Jesus, son of God. The birth of Jesus was a fulfillment of the prophecies of ages, and foretold, “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” (John 1:9).

Jesus was the one who saw it to establish a faith so powerful and mysterious, a faith based on the magic elixir of love. You see, Christmas is also a season of love, especially that love that we share with family, coming together to eat with those that mean the most, sharing a meal – a very human experience, remembering also, that the Eucharist is at the heart of our faith as Christians – the sacred meal.

Finally, let us not forget those servicemen and women who are defending our values in very dangerous places around the world.

Wishing all my readers and anyone else passing by, a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I intend visiting your blogs to wish same later in the day.

To American Interests readers of other faiths, it is hoped that this post merely serves to deepen your understanding of ours.

December 23, 2008

America’s wars and the next administration

By Jason Corley

Will Obama soon be forced to take ownership of America’s foreign wars just as Nixon did during Vietnam? Will the proposed troop surges in Afghanistan and the strategy to leave a sizable residual force in Iraq be seen as escalation and prolongation of the two wars by an Obama administration?

The long awaited decision on Iraqi troop withdrawal has all but ended. The Bush administration began hammering out SOFA agreements in the past months and the soon-to-be-arriving Obama administration added urgency to the process. The troop reduction will begin sometime in 2009 and is scheduled to be complete by 2010 or 2011. Of course, the unknown variables remain a huge part of the equation for the formula on success. If the security situation remains stable the withdrawal may go smoothly and according the plans hashed out by the U.S. and Iraq governments.

However, if the departure signals to the insurgency, believed to be somewhere between scattered and dormant, that they are back in business then obviously all bets are off and America will find itself in the fight for another round.

To those who expect a full withdrawal will be sorely disappointed. Roughly, a little more than a third of the troops are set to depart. Those are the troops serving in combat, frontline, roles in providing security for Iraq.

There will be an estimated 70,000 to 90,000 troops still remaining in Iraq. Withdrawal used in the language of the SOFA agreement is purposely misleading and leaves a large amount of leeway for both governments to remain flexible.

We may consider this phase two or the Iraqi project. The forces left in place will help provide for training, logistics, and security and to ensure that democracy has the opportunity to take root and blossom. Furthermore, Iraqi has always been a bold longterm project. Their government has ambitions in becoming a prosperous, powerful and free nation. Nuclear ambitions are not out of the question, though, it is doubtful if it would mean anything other than peaceful purposes. These goals take time and it takes security for the infant democracy to grow. Americans can expect a longterm presence in Iraq with tens-of-thousands of troops scattered in various bases around the country.

This will undoubtedly come as a disappointment to some Americans who expected and rather naively believed that U.S. troop presence would vanish 16-months into the new Obama administration. It also may cause a backlash to Obama in Iraq itself. Since violence has been reduced, but likely to continue on some scale, a lot of Iraqis are expecting the presence of the U.S. to be gone soon.

It will be interesting to see what agreements and decisions will be made on Iraq after January 20, 2009.

In the meantime, we can judge for ourselves what the new Obama administration plans to do in Afghanistan. Admiral Mike Mullen announced that the Pentagon could double the existing forces there by 20,000 – 30,000 troops bringing the total up to 60,000. This comes on the heels of the report that showed this year was the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001. Admiral Mullen also stated, the 31,000 troops already in place were plenty combat efficient but more troops were needed to control and pacify the territory that had been cleared of Taliban.

President-elect Obama stated several times throughout this campaign that more focuse was needed in Afghanistan and called for additional troops in the country. It appears that the Pentagon has announced an important piece of Obama’s early foreign policy initiatives and gives a good indication on what America, and the world, can expect from America’s military and goals in the Mid East.

The biggest questions are these: will the additional troops simply come from the ones pulled out of Iraq? Will Obama trade one war for another? And by doing so, does he inherent both wars especially by escalating forces in Afghanistan and leaving a sizable force in Iraq? Does he risk spreading the military too thin by committing to Afghanistan while Iraq is still susceptible to homegrown terror?

President-elect Obama may find himself in the same shoes that Nixon was forced to try on. He inherited an unpopular war on January 20, 1969, that America stumbled into under Kennedy and was woefully mismanaged by Johnson. Nixon withdrew forces, but because of reality it was not quick enough, and the death count was still too high for America to stomach in war that most did not understand. President Nixon called for devastating bombing campaigns along with renewed ground campaigns that sent the enemy finally reeling but was accused of escalation by doing so. Eventually his bold actions led America out of Vietnam but not before he was forced to assume ownership of the same war he campaigned against and was elected to halt.

This post was written by Jason Corley a student of history and politics, believer in American exceptionalism and one with a keen interest in human events and world affairs.

I believe in American exceptionalism not because Americans are inherently exceptional from any other group of peoples, but it is because of the institutions and values that govern our nation that truly are. The only way to confront the inevitable challenges that await us are to draw on our very best and overcome any obstacle or any foe for the betterment of mankind as the countless generations before us have. It is up to the West not to forget the things that have made them the trend setters and leaders of the world. If that should happen, then that is the final step towards declination.
Jason recently launched a new blog, The Western Experience - A Journal on Human Events, Western Culture and American Power. We wish him well ...

December 21, 2008

American Might is not going anywhere ...

... U.S Declinism theories are nothing new. In 1970, Andrew Hacker a political scientist published a book entitled, The end of the American Era where he confidently predicted American decline citing poor fiscal policies, excessive individualism, and imperial overstretch. Sound familiar?

One of our favorite writers on matters geopolitics makes the point that the U.S. is far from a bygone nation in military terms. Robert Kaplan addresses the ongoing debate about America’s hypothetical international decline with a first-rate analysis.

Declinism is in the air. The latest conventional wisdom is that the combination of the disastrous Iraq war, the military and economic rise of Asia, and the steep recession in the West has chastened America, ending its period of dominance in world affairs. It is time for us to be humble.

There is a lot of truth to this, but it goes too far. For decline itself -- as a concept -- is overrated. Britain's Royal Navy went into relative decline beginning in the 1890s, even as Great Britain remained powerful enough to help save the West in two world wars over the next half-century.

The proper analogy may be the Indian Mutiny in 1857 and 1858, after the orientalists and other pragmatists in the British power structure, who wanted to leave traditional India as it was, lost sway to Evangelical and Utilitarian reformers who wanted to more forcefully Christianize India -- to make it in a values sense more like England. The reformers were good people: They helped abolish the slave trade and tried to do the same with the hideous practice of widow-burning. But their attempts to bring the fruits of Western civilization, virtuous as they were, to a far-off corner of the world played a role in a violent revolt against imperial authority.

Yet the debacle did not signal the end of the British Empire, which expanded for nearly another century. Rather, it signaled a transition away from an ad hoc imperium fired occasionally by an ill-disciplined lust to impose its values abroad -- and to a calmer, more pragmatic and soldiering empire built on trade, education and technology.

That is akin to where we are now, post-Iraq: calmer, more pragmatic and with a military -- especially a Navy -- that, while in relative decline, is still far superior to any other on Earth. Near the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Navy had almost 600 ships; it is down to 280. But in aggregate tonnage that is still more than the next 17 navies combined. Our military secures the global commons to the benefit of all nations. Without the U.S. Navy, the seas would be unsafe for merchant shipping, which, in an era of globalization, accounts for 90 percent of world trade. We may not be able to control events on land in the Middle East, but our Navy and Air Force control all entry and exit points to the region. The multinational anti-piracy patrols that have taken shape in the Strait of Malacca and the Gulf of Aden have done so under the aegis of the U.S. Navy. Sure the economic crisis will affect shipbuilding, meaning the decline in the number of our ships will continue, and there will come a point where quantity affects quality. But this will be an exceedingly gradual transition, which we will assuage by leveraging naval allies such as India and Japan …

In sum, we may no longer be at Charles Krauthammer's "Unipolar Moment," but neither have we become Sweden.

Kaplan concludes

Yet American hegemony post-Iraq will be as changed as Britain's was after the Indian Mutiny. It will be a more benign and temperate version of what transpired in recent years. Henceforth, we will shape coalitions rather than act on our own. For that, after all, is theessence of a long and elegant decline: to pass responsibility on to like-minded others as their own capacities rise.

Robert D. Kaplan is a national correspondent for the Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Read the whole piece here

As I have said many times over, American hegemony may be in a period of recalibration but it is far from over. This is especially so in a military gist. Moreover, even if something truly extraordinary came long to challenge it, like times past, America will rise to the challenge and for this, we should be pleased. No, U.S Declinism theories are nothing new. In 1970, Andrew Hacker a political scientist published a book entitled, “The end of the American Era where he confidently predicted American decline citing poor fiscal policies, excessive individualism, and imperial overstretch. Sound familiar?

See also

U.S Declinism Theories – nothing new

America will remain Strong

December 18, 2008

Nuclear Iran: Robert Bolton gets candid

... We are going to have to deal with a nuclear Iran … We have lost this race ...

Robert Bolton is not one to mix his words. The former U.S. representative to the U.N. link and intermittent think tank appointee - including JINSA, AEI, and PNAC - was brutally honest at a AEI event held a couple of Tuesdays ago on the question of Iran going nuclear saying, “We are going to have to deal with a nuclear Iran … We have lost this race”.

In so saying, Bolton -- among the hawkiest of hawks from the now neoconservative-movement-in-exile -- broke ranks with many of his neocon colleagues. Most of them haven't given up on stopping Iran, as evidenced by a raft of new reports from neocon-linked think-tank’s. In addition, they're busily calling for stepped-up sanctions, making bellicose threats, and warning of military action by the United States and Israel. But Bolton is folding his cards.

Too late for sanctions

According to Bolton, the idea that Iran can be deterred from going forward by applying economic sanctions won't work. Had it been tried earlier, he said, it might had an impact. "Sanctions could have dissuaded Iran," he said. "But that time is past." Europe doesn't have the will to impose tough sanctions, he said. He lamented his encounters with the German ambassador to the United Nations, during Bolton's tenure as US ambassador there, and he said that the Germans and other European countries won't take action to cut off their lucrative trade with Tehran.

No chance of military force

Bolton also said that neither the United States nor Israel will attack Iran to stop its nuclear program. "Neither one is willing to use military force," he said. Bolton said that until recently he believed that there was a small chance that Israel, on its own, might attack Iran before January 20, when Barack Obama becomes president. But Israel is mired in political confusion in advance of its coming elections, and there is no political will in Israel to go to war against Iran, he said. Bolton also said that the likelihood of a US attack on Iran under Obama is nil. "Under an Obama administration, that possibility is essentially zero," he said. "After January 20, the chances are zero.

We are therefore left with an unappealing question; can we live with a nuclear Iran? Michael Rubin thinks not:

It may be comforting to Abizaid, Mullen, and the electorate to believe that the United States can deter or contain Tehran's worst ambitions, but absent any preparation to do so, Washington is instead signaling that the Islamic Republic has a green light to claim regional dominance and, at worst, carry out its threats to annihilate Israel. At the same time, absent any effort to lay the groundwork either for containment or deterrence, Washington is signaling to its allies in the region that they are on their own and that the U.S. commitment to protect them is empty. Arab states and Iran's other neighbors may calculate that they have no choice but to make greater accommodation to Tehran's interests. Should Israeli officials believe that the West will stand aside as Iran achieves nuclear capability and that a nuclear Islamic Republic poses an existential threat to the Jewish state, they may conclude that they have no choice but to launch a preemptive military strike--an event that could quickly lead to a regional conflagration from which the United States would have difficulty remaining aloof.

I cannot think of any peaceful instrument that is likely to dissuade Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions aside perhaps from providing only improvements of a secondary or marginal nature. A multipolar nuclear Middle East is hardly in the West’s and above all, in America’s interests. Looking ahead, any efforts to contain a nuclear Iran would pose significant challenges in light of both the Islamic Republics inherent nature, its continuing support for terrorism and present regional political order. Aside from the military question, the U.S. will be severely tested as it attempts to manage the instability and insecurity fashioned by a nuclear Iran. By fashioned we mean actual security threats such as terror and subversion, limited military operations under the protection of an Iranian nuclear umbrella and lord forbid, the actual use of nuclear weapons. As hideous as this sounds, and notwithstanding major developments beforehand, Iran may soon become part of the international engine room for the design of a new regional architecture in the Persian Gulf and Southern Asia. Unquestionably, any hopes that Operation Iraqi Freedom would result in the U.S. building on its military success by establishing new regional security architecture actually capable of generating stability have long passed.

Related: Iran: The penultimate step is now within sight

December 13, 2008

Special Forces deal a blow on Taliban in Afghanistan

We will find you. We will hunt you down. Your time is limited.
Australian Special Operations Commander, Major-General Tim McOwan in a rare briefing, summarising 524 days of combat since the special forces returned to Oruzgan province.

Running contrary to the usual news coming out of Afghanistan; that of for example, a resurgent Taliban, and strikes on military convoys, it was pleasing to finally read some good news in our fight against the common enemy.

AUSTRALIAN Special Forces operating deep inside Taliban heartland in southern Afghanistan have inflicted critical damage to the insurgents senior leadership severely restricting their ability to launch offensive action, the army's head of special operations said today … adding, “Australian forces operating deep inside Afghanistan have inflicted critical damage to the Taliban's leadership”.

In a rare briefing to the media summarising 524 days of combat action since the special forces returned to fight in Oruzgan, Major-General Tim McOwan, pledged no let-up in the brutal counter-insurgency despite the onset of a harsh Afghan winter.

And he had this Christmas Message for the Taliban: “We will find you. We will hunt you down. Your time is limited.”

Elite Special Air Service operatives and Commandos operating in some of the most gruelling conditions ever encountered had killed four senior Taliban leaders, captured seven others including one, Ahmad Shah, in his bed.

Another 180 lower ranking insurgents had been captured and handed over to Afghan authorities, Maj-Gen McOwan said.

“These are all key middle- to high-level Taliban leaders or IED (bomb makers) facilitators operating in or around Oruzgan province.

“These are individuals who are or have been involved in killing innocents and actively trying to kill coalition troops.

“These are successes not just for the SOTG (Special Operations Task Group) but for the hard-working poor civilians of Afghanistan and for the fledgling democracy itself,” he said.

For the first time, Maj-Gen McOwan revealed that in early October special forces killed a high-level Taliban commander, Mullah Korullah Shakir, implicated in bomb manufacturing and attacks on Afghan civilian and coalition troops.

“We know that the loss of these individuals has had a dramatic impact on the resilience of these Taliban networks,” he said.

Major-General Tim McOwan also described the efforts of one very brave soldier.

AN Australian soldier dashed 80 metres across ground raked by Taliban machine-gun fire to rescue a severely wounded Afghan interpreter. In the same clash in Afghanistan's dangerous Oruzgan province, another soldier used his own body to shield a wounded comrade from enemy fire. >> more

Regrettably, NATO backed forces in Afghanistan remain “woefully under-strength” and, as the U.S., who presently has some 31,000 troops in the county, acts to bolster numbers, it becomes only “just” that NATO recommits to the cause. In the interim, and given that US military planners estimate 500,000 troops, including newly trained Afghan National Army soldiers, are needed to secure the country, I expect Australia will soon be asked to put even more boots on the ground in Afghanistan.

Related: Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SAS): Strengthening the Alliance

December 7, 2008

American Interests remembers Pearl Harbor

To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
George Washington

In two short minutes over 2,000 men lost their lives and many more died later as the Japanese attacked Midway, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong. By day’s end, the damage done; 2,335 dead service members, 1,178 wounded, 640 unaccounted for, 48 civilians killed. 188 planes had been destroyed and 18 ships of different sizes had been sunk or damaged, including 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. Said President Roosevelt, "a date which will live in infamy...", Pearl Harbor thrust the United states of America into a contest of epic proportion, galvanizing as it were, American resolve - that celebrated spirit that could only end in victory.

With global expectations mounting for a fresh start in US foreign policy, it is imperative to both remember, and comprehend the attack on Pearl Harbor.


0342 - The minesweeper CONDOR sights a periscope off Honolulu Harbor and notifies the patrol destroyer WARD to investigate.

0458 - The minesweeper CROSSBILL and CONDOR enter Pearl Harbor. The defective submarine net remains open.

0600 - 200 miles south of Oahu the carrier ENTERPRISE launches 18 aircraft to scout ahead, then to land at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Estimated Time Arrival (ETA) 0800.

0610 - 220 miles north of Oahu, Admiral Nagumo orders the launching of the first wave of 183 aircraft off six carriers. Two are lost during takeoff.

0630 - The destroyer WARD is again notified of a submarine sighting, this time by the supply ship ANTARES off the entrance to Pearl Harbor. A PBY (a Navy patrol plane) is dispatched to the scene.

0645 - WARD opens fire on the submarine, hitting the conning tower and dropping depth charges as she closes in. An air attack by the PBY follows.

0653 - WARD'S commander Captain Outerbridge sends a message to the Commandant of the 14th Naval District: "We have attacked, fired upon and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area."

0700 - Flying towards Oahu, Commander Fuchida directs his pilots to home in on local radio station.

0702 - Privates Lockhard and Elliott of Opana Radar Station pick up what appears to be a flight of unidentified aircraft bearing in 132 miles north of Oahu. Discussion follows.

0710 - Elliott phones the information in to Fort Shafter. The only person present at the Information Center is Lt. Tyler, having begun his on-the-job training Dec. 3. The conversation lasts ten minutes.

0715 - Capt. Outerbridge's attack message, delayed in decoding, is delivered to the duty officer, 14th Naval District, and to Admiral Kimmel's duty officer. The Japanese launch the second wave of 168 assault aircraft.

0720 - Lt. Tyler feels certain that the unidentified planes are B-17s scheduled to arrive from the mainland and instructs Opana station to shut down. Privates Elliott and Lockhard, however, continue to plot the incoming flight.

0733 - An important message from Washington from Gen Marshall to Short is received via RCA in Honolulu but the cablegram has no indication of priority. Messenger Tadao Fuchikami proceeds on normal route.

0735 - A reconnaissance plane from the cruiser CHIKUMA reports that the main fleet is in Pearl Harbor.

0739 - Opana Station loses the aircraft on radar 20 miles off the coast of Oahu due to the "dead zone" caused by the surrounding hills.

0740 - The first wave sights the North Shore of Oahu and deployment for the attack begins.

0749 - Commander Fuchida orders the attack: all pilots are to begin the assault on military bases on Oahu.

0753 - Fuchida radios the code to the entire Japanese Navy "TORA! TORA! TORA!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!) Indicating success: maximum strategic surprise... Pearl Harbor caught unaware. The first Japanese assault wave commences.


0755 - 51 Val dive-bombers, 40 Kate torpedo bombers, 50 high level bombers and 43 Zero fighters begin the island-wide attack. Japanese dive-bombers strike airfields Kaneohe, Ford Island, Hickam, Bellows, Wheeler, and Ewa. Aerial torpedo planes begin their run on ships in Pearl Harbor. Along Battleship Row, Battlewagons feel the sting of the newly perfected torpedoes specifically designed for the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor. At 1010 dock violent explosions rock the light cruiser HELENA on her starboard side crippling both her and minelayer OGLALA moored beside her.

On the other side of Battleship Row, Ford Island, the target ship UTAH also feels the sting of the torpedoes, and, like the battleship OKLAHOMA, begins to capsize. The light cruiser RALEIGH, moored ahead of the UTAH, takes measures to prevent capsizing. Commander Logan Ramsey of Ford Island Command Center sends out a message for all radiomen on duty to send out in plain English: "AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR THIS IS NO DRILL!" A second dispatch orders all patrol planes to seek out the enemy. Simultaneously, the call for General Quarters echoes throughout Pearl Harbor. Each ship and their personnel in turn swing into action against the attacking Japanese, one quarter of all guns responding to the enemy.

0800 - B-17's from the mainland reach Oahu after a 14-hour flight, and aircraft from the carrier ENTERPRISE reach Ford Island. Both are caught between enemy and friendly fire.

0802 - Machine guns on the battleship NEVADA open fire on torpedo planes approaching her port beam. Two planes are hit. However, one missile tears a huge hole in the ship's port bow.

0805 - The repair ship VESTAL, moored outboard of battleship ARIZONA, opens fire. Admiral Kimmel arrives at CINCPAC headquarters. The battleship CALIFORNIA receives a second torpedo "portside at frame 110"; prompt action directed by Ensign Edgar M. Fain prevents the ship from capsizing. High-level bombers begin their run on Battleship Row.

0808 - KGMB radio interrupts music calling for: "All Army, Navy, and Marine personnel to report to duty." High-level bombers unleash armor-piercing, delayed-action bombs from an altitude of 10,000 feet, scoring hits on battleships.

0810 - A 1,760 pound air bomb penetrates into the forward magazine of the USS ARIZONA resulting in a tremendous explosion and huge fireball, sinking the battleship within nine minutes. The concussion of the explosion blows men off the repair ship VESTAL... 1,104 men aboard the USS ARIZONA battleship are killed.

0812 - General Short advises the entire Pacific Fleet and Washington, "Hostilities with Japan commenced with air raid on Pearl Harbor."

0815 - KGMB interrupts music with the second call ordering all military personnel to report for duty.

0817 - USS HELM, the first of several destroyers to clear Pearl Harbor, spots a midget submarine struggling to enter the harbor but shots fired miss the target. The sub frees itself from the reef and submerges.

0825 - Using a Browning Automatic Rifle, Lt. Stephen Saltzman and Sgt. Lowell Klatt shoot down an enemy plane making a strafing run on Schofield Barracks.

0826 - The Honolulu Fire Department responds to a call for assistance from Hickam Field. Three firemen are killed and six are wounded.

0830 - The third call goes out for the military via local radio stations.

0835 - The tanker NEOSHO, half-loaded with high-octane aviation fuel, moves clear of Battleship Row and oil tanks on Ford Island. Damage is reported in the city. Police warn civilians to leave the streets and return to their homes.

0839 - The seaplane tender CURTISS sights a midget sub in the harbor and commences fire while the destroyer MONAGHAN heads for the intruder at ramming speed.

0840 - The submarine surfaces after sustaining damage. MONAGHAN hits the sub and drops depth charges as she passes. First explanation over local radio stations: "A sporadic air attack... rising sun sighted on wing tips..."

0850 - Lt. Commander Shimazaki orders the deployment of the second wave over military bases on Oahu.

0854 - Attack run begins: 54 high-level bombers hit Naval air stations, 78 dive bombers hit ships in Pearl, 36 fighters circle over harbor to maintain air control.

0900 - The crew of the Dutch liner JAGERSFONTEIN opens up with her guns, the first Allies to join the fight. Radios throughout the island crack out urgent messages: "Get off roads and stay off, Don't block traffic...Stay at home...This is the real McCoy!"

0930 - Tremendous explosions rock the destroyer SHAW sending debris everywhere. A bomb falls near Hawaii Governor Poindexter's home... The Americans are taken completely by surprise. The first attack wave targets airfields and battleships. The second wave targets other ships and shipyard facilities. The air raid lasts until 9:45 a.m. Eight battleships are damaged, and five are sunk. Three light cruisers, three destroyers and three smaller vessels are lost along with 188 aircraft. The Japanese lose 27 planes and five midget submarines which attempted to penetrate the inner harbor and launch torpedoes. Escaping damage from the attack are the prime targets, the three U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, LEXINGTON, ENTERPRISE and SARATOGA which were not in port. Also escaping damage are the base fuel tanks.

1000 - The first wave arrives back on carriers, 190 miles north of Oahu.

1005 - Governor Poindexter calls local papers announcing a state of emergency for the entire Territory of Hawaii.

1030 - The Mayor's Major Disaster Council meets at city hall. Reports from local hospitals pour in listing civilian casualties.

1100 - Commander Fuchida circles over Pearl Harbor, assesses damage then returns to carrier task force. News of the "sneak attack" is broadcast to the American public via radio bulletins, with many popular Sunday afternoon entertainment programs being interrupted. All schools on Oahu are ordered to close.

1115 - A State of Emergency is announced over the radio by the Governor 1142 - Local stations go off the air as per orders by the Army. General Short confers with the Governor regarding martial law.

1146 - The first report of many false sightings of enemy troops landing on Oahu is received. In Washington, the last part of the Japanese message, stating that diplomatic relations with the U.S. are to be severed, is decoded at approximately 9 a.m. About an hour later another Japanese message is intercepted. It instructs the Japanese embassy to deliver the main message to the Americans at 1 p.m. The Americans realize this time corresponds with early morning in Pearl Harbor, which is several hours behind. The U.S. War Department then sends out an alert but uses commercial telegraph because radio contact with Hawaii is broken. Delay results in the alert arriving at headquarters in Oahu around noon time (Hawaii time) four hours after the attack has already begun.

1210 - U.S. planes fly north in a search for the enemy with negative results.

1230 - Honolulu police raid the Japanese embassy and find them burning documents. A blackout to begin at night is ordered by the Army.

1240 - Governor confers with President Roosevelt regarding martial law; both agree it necessary that the military take over the civilian government.

1300 - Commander Fuchida lands on board the carrier AKAGI. Discussion follows with Admiral Nagumo and staff concerning the feasibility of launching a third wave.

1330 - Signal flags on the carrier AKAGI orders the Japanese task force to withdraw. The territorial director of civil defense orders a blackout every night until further notice.

1458 - Tadao Fuchikami delivers a message from Washington regarding the ultimatum from Japan to be given at 1300 Washington time, which is decoded and given to General Short. "Just what significance the hour set may have we do not know, but be on the alert accordingly."

1625 - Governor Poindexter signs a Proclamation declaring martial law to be put into effect.
The news of the attack on Pearl Harbor with it's catastrophic losses of men and materiel sends a shockwave across the nation and results in a tremendous influx of young volunteers into the U.S. armed forces. The attack also unites the nation behind the president and effectively ends isolationist sentiments in the country.

December 8 - The United States and Britain declare war on Japan with President Roosevelt calling December 7, "a date which will live in infamy..."

December 11 - Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.

December 16 - Both senior commanders at Pearl Harbor; Navy Admiral, Husband E. Kimmel and Army Lt. General, Walter C. Short, are relieved of their commands and reverted to their permanent, two-star ranks. Subsequent investigations will charge the men with dereliction of duty for failing to adopt adequate defense measures prior to the attack.

December 17 - Chester W. Nimitz succeeds Kimmel in command of the Pacific Fleet and General Delos Emmons replaces Short as the new military governor of Hawaii.

See also: Peace Comes Through Strength

Pentagon Cyber Attack

"... By my reckoning, if this reflects what the Chinese can do, one can only wonder at what the U.S. could achieve ..."

Several weeks later, more details and implications are emerging about the worm. What worm you ask? Curious is it not, what makes news and what does not, an interesting observation first made here. While MSM views it as a non- starter, last week the issue was serious enough to warrant a briefing for President Bush and Secretary Gates from Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Admittedly, Fox News touched on the attack late last month when it reported on the Defense departments ban on the use of external hardware devices throughout a vast network of military computers allegedly, after a U.S. Navy staff member lost classified information from a computer after inserting a flash drive infected with the global virus. Later, an unspecified Navy admiral described the virus as a worm that was spreading rapidly within military computer networks. Toward end of month, the LA Times cottoned on, reporting that the cyber attack, which was thought to be of Russian or Chinese origin, was hitting combat zone computers and the U.S. Central Command overseeing Iraq and Afghanistan. By now, officials were finally acknowledging that the attack was both widespread and severe.

The culprit is the Worm:W32/Agent.BTZ virus, a particularly nasty form of malware which has prompted Pentagon officials to confiscate all flash drives and DVD’s to contain its spread. Being a worm it replicates itself, thus if its present in a memory card of a portable device it will infect any computer to which you upload data. Of concern now, is that American soldiers often rely on memory sticks to cart essential data between computers.

Defense Department officials acknowledged that the worldwide ban on external drives was a drastic move. Such drives are used constantly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many officers keep flash drives loaded with critical information on lanyards around their necks … Officials would not describe the exact threat from agent.btz, or say whether it can shut down computers or steal information. Some computer experts have reported that agent.btz can allow an attacker to take control of a computer remotely and to take files and other information from it. >>more
Notwithstanding the seriousness of the attack, we should not get carried away with notions of Russian or Chinese cyber operations capabilities which some say are so sophisticated that the U.S. is powerless to counter or detect, hence ...

Since China’s current cyber operations capability is so advanced, it can engage in forms of cyberwarfare so sophisticated that the United States may be unable to counteract or even detect the efforts,” the commission said.

It said Chinese hacker groups may be operating with government support.

"By some estimates, there are 250 hacker groups in China that are tolerated and may even be encouraged by the government to enter and disrupt computer networks,” the commission said.

It quoted Col. Gary McAlum, chief of staff for the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations, as saying China has recognized the importance of cyber operations as a tool of warfare and “has the intent and capability to conduct cyber operations anywhere in the world at any time.”

"China is aggressively pursuing cyberwarfare capabilities that may provide it with an asymmetric advantage against the United States,” the commission said. “In a conflict situation, this advantage would reduce current U.S. conventional military dominance.”
I'm not convinced that Chinese cyber attacks may reduce, "current U.S. conventional military dominance” during periods of conflict. By my reckoning, if this reflects what the Chinese can do, one can only wonder at what the U.S. could achieve if it engaged an enemy, any enemy, with cyber warfare. If the Chinese were smart, they may want to add carrier pigeons to their communications back up plans.

December 3, 2008

China under Obama: An Interview with Otto Marasco

27 November 2008

E & OE

Subject: China and Obama

LISA MOLINARO: Joining me today is Otto Marasco who is the owner and author of the blog, American Interests and in the short time, we have left, we are asking about China in relation to America under Obama’s Presidency. Otto, on the question of China during the recent Presidential campaigning, we felt that the subject was a non-starter; does it mean that China will figure less in the new administration?

OTTO: Well, I had expected China to be a bigger issue that it was during the campaign especially given the concerns many Americans have over the impact of Globalization, and its impact on their economy, and perhaps this could have evolved into more debate about trade and investment issues in relation to both nations, not to mention China’s arms buildup. As I saw it, there was little of that, certainly hardly as much as I would have thought, however I do believe the odds are overwhelming that there will be essentially continuity in American policy toward China. On that very question, I would recommend that in fact, it does stay the course in terms of overall strategy toward China, but I think it important that Obama also engage with Chinese leaders early in the new administration, having said that I am not suggesting that Obama should personally visit; I don’t see that as a necessity. Now with APEC having just concluded in Peru, I think and would hope, that plans are made by senior U.S. officials to visit China early in Obama’s first term, alternatively the upcoming G20, in 2009 may provide an opportunity.

LISA: Your thoughts on how Asia will receive Obama generally….

OTTO: Well I so think he will be embraced, which underlines the goodwill already in place for Obama but it also means that there are going to be very high expectations because like it or not, there are some big issues to be inherited. For example, Obama is not going to be able to get out of Iraq immediately, unless it’s achieved in an irresponsible manner and I cannot see that happen. Then we have Guantanamo, is he really going to close it, and if so, what is to be done with those that were detained there? Finally, and by way of example, the financial crises is being blamed on America, these are just some of the problems which won’t go away overnight, so given that expectations are high, Obama may be a casualty of such.

LISA: On other nations, turning away from America as their protector in favor of China and should that concern the Americans?

I am assuming you are talking about traditional American allies like us here in Australia, somehow gravitating toward China at America’s expense. Let me say this, nations like Australia will not in fact turn away from America and its protection or security shield anytime soon, if anything because of issues of compatibility in terms of values and way of life, so I don’t see it happening. America is sure to remain engaged in the region and while I also understand what was suggested in discussions prior to interview about somehow the Democrats being the party most interested in Atlantic issues whereas Republicans are conceived as being equally interested in the Pacific, still though, I feel certain that America will remain sufficiently engaged in the region under the Presidency of Obama. On the question of whether it would concern Washington, I feel it’s only logical that it would, but having said that, there is no evidence to suggest that it’s likely to occur.

LISA: We need to leave it there. Otto, thanks for your time today, maybe we can continue this another time.

OTTO: Feel free to ask, always available.


Related Links:

APEC – Asia Pacific economic Cooperation
APEC Peru 2008
G20 Major Economies
China and the US Presidential Election
Hopes and fears about Obama in Asia
Asian American Reaction to the Presidential Election
Obama's South Asia challenges
Obama's Asia focus faces early scrutiny