May 2006

Scylla & Charybdis has a fantastic post on the Battle of Midway. He emphasizes the pivotal nature of the engagement:

Had the Japanese achieved their objective of a quick knock-out of the US Pacific Fleet at Midway (following the devastation at Pearl Harbor), the US West Coast would have been substantially defenseless against the Japanese Navy just 6 months into the war. Although the US had authorized a naval shipbuilding program the prior year, the launch of those boats was months away. It is entirely possible – and the subject of much Monday morning quarterbacking by military thinkers – that threatened or actual Japanese naval attacks on the US West Coast would have caused the US to agree to a ceasefire with Japan. It could have also forced the U.S. to divert scarce naval assets away from Europe, thereby allowing Germany to prevail over England and thus win the war.

Why did the US win against overwhelming odds? Intelligence:

But unknown to the Japanese, their military codes had been broken by the US codebreakers just weeks before the Midway attack. With solid warning that the Japanese were amassing their forces for a surprise assault on Midway and any US Naval ships that came to Midway’s defense, the US did not split its fleet, nor hold any ships in reserve. Rather, the U.S. gambled and sent all three American carriers – the entire US carrier fleet in the Pacific – to lay in wait for the Japanese flotilla at Midway. In short, it was a surprise counterattack on a surprise attack.

The lesson for our present war against an implacable foe? Intelligence can win or lose a war. Those who reveal our intelligence secrets should be hung, drawn and quartered. I’d be OK with a firing squad.


Forget the wall. People can climb over them, burrow under them or just drive right through them. What we need is a minefield, a mile-wide minefield. It sounds dreadful. The mind immediately visualizes a poor Mexican peasant desperate to get a landscaping job in Phoenix blown to bloody bits by an exploding mine. One hopes the poor Mexican peasant will visualize the same thing. Then he/she might have second thoughts about trying to enter the US illegally. Heck, he/she might even apply for a permit to work in the US. It would sure beat being blown to bloody bits.

Update: My co-blogger had a better idea, including a minefield, if required.

I caught BBC World News as I headed out for my Tuesday night run. Item one was a report on the Haditha incident. The BBC website says:

The Haditha incident – where US marines are alleged to have killed Iraqi civilians last year – is the subject of growing concern in the United States.
Enough material has now been leaked to the media here to suggest to many Americans that the allegations are very serious and may well be true.

John Murtha, a former marine and Vietnam veteran who is now an anti-war Democratic congressman, said he believed civilians had been murdered in Haditha and senior officers had made an attempt to hide it.

If US forces kill civilians it is a serious matter. If it happened, and that is still an “if” until the investigations are complete, then heads should roll. But it will still be an isolated incident. US forces do not routinely kill innocent civilians.

Item two covered the Memorial Day violence in Iraq. Back to the BBC website again:

At least 46 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in three separate bomb attacks in Iraq.

In the deadliest blast, 25 people were killed and 65 wounded when a car bomb ripped through a busy marketplace north-east of the capital Baghdad.

The enemy in Iraq routinely slaughters innocent civilians. Yet, the BBC doesn’t bother to editorialize on that. The BBC doesn’t mention that the Al Qaeda high command has failed to launch an investigation into the massacre of innocents. The BBC ignores the lack of protests in the Muslim world at the wanton slaughter of Muslim civilians by Muslim terrorists.

The BBC holds the US to a different standard than the Islamic terrorists who declared war on us, just as it holds Israel to a different standard than it does the terrorist organizations trying to complete Hitler’s work.

Of course, the BBC is not alone in its double standard. The NYT must be salivating at the chance to put the the Haditha incident on its front page from now through the 2008 election.

We spent the day celebrating my father-in-law’s 86th birthday. But it was more than that. Because he was the commander of an LCT that went in on D-Day. He risked his life for our freedom.

My late father spent the war fighting alongside the British 8th Army against the Axis in North Africa and Italy. He risked his life for our freedom. His battalion suffered casualities an order of magnitude higher than any American forces have suffered in the present war in Iraq.

Our parents’ generation rightly despises the defeatists, the likes of Murtha, Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, and the rest of the treacherous scum that has taken over the party of Roosevelt, Truman and JFK. They know neither honor nor sacrifice.

According the NYT:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member’s office, government officials said Friday.

Why would congress, Republicans and Democrats, be so upset about the FBI searching the office of a congressman caught taking cash bribes? Perhaps because of the precedent it sets. Some of our esteemed law-makers may have more to hide. MacRanger at MacsMind has long been on Senator Rockefeller’s case as a big-time leaker. MacRanger links to Jack Kelly at Real Clear Politics, who notes:

Investigations into the NSA and “secret prisons” leaks are nearing completion. A senior CIA official has been fired for leaking, and, reportedly, is singing like a canary to avoid prosecution. The FBI knows who’s been talking to journalists, ABC’s Brian Ross said a source told him.

Journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez said on ABC’s “This Week” program Sunday.

If members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been leaking to the press they sure wouldn’t want the FBI going through their offices and interrogating their staff. And it looks like Gonzales has been showing some spine, a rare thing these days.

There is a good post at The Skeptical Optimist that addresses a major problem with immigration policy; not enough quality immigrants:

Today, too many would-be immigrants are kept out by an inept, incompetent process for “legal” immigration. Scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors, inventors, artists, and productive would-be contributors to our economy and society are loath to break our laws, and loath to put up with our incompetent immigration process. So they stay away voluntarily. If we’d fix the ineptness of the current “legal” immigration process, we’d unbottleneck the system. Added bonus: we’d know who they all are, because they’d all have come through legally.

The poor Mexicans who flock here are not equipped to develop new businesses, create software products, cure cancer, design fighter jets or whatever. They can do little more than what they did in Mexico; that is, manual labor. If legalized, they would draw upon government services more than the average tax-payer yet contribute far less in taxes. Worse, they’d still be eligible for social security. That is of no use to America.

Better to plug the gap on the Southern border, encourage the illegals to go home and demand social justice, and start encouraging qualified immigrants from around the world. America should once again position itself as the refuge for Europeans driven out by tyranny and genocide. Now that Islam has planted its demographic timebombs across Europe, that is the fate that awaits Europe.

It’s long been taken for granted that the Spaniards killed millions of Aztecs by introducing Old world diseases to the New World. Mexican epidemiologist Rodolfo Acuña-Soto, a dogged Mexican epidemiologist has found evidence that a native disease was the culprit. Discover.Com has publshed a fascinating article about Acuña-Soto’s research. It begins with a precis of the received wisdom:

When Hernando Cortés and his Spanish army of fewer than a thousand men stormed into Mexico in 1519, the native population numbered about 22 million. By the end of the century, following a series of devastating epidemics, only 2 million people remained. Even compared with the casualties of the Black Death, the mortality rate was extraordinarily high. Mexican epidemiologist Rodolfo Acuña-Soto refers to it as the time of “megadeath.” The toll forever altered the culture of Mesoamerica and branded the Spanish as the worst kind of conquerors, those from foreign lands who kill with their microbes as well as their swords.

But there were wholes in the story. For starters, the Aztecs had a word for Smallpox that pre-dated the Spanish invasion and a different word for the plagues that wiped out so many millions. By researching Axtec records, Spanish archives and climate data preserved in tree rings, Acuña-Soto found the culprit:

Hemorrhagic viruses affect human populations that are already stressed, Acuña-Soto says. “The natives were poor and probably near starvation and living in unsanitary conditions where the rats would congregate. They also worked in the fields, where they’d be exposed to the rat droppings. The Spanish made up the upper classes.”

Cortés and his soldiers defeated, enslaved, and murdered the Aztecs, but now it seems that cocolitzli, a disease brought about by a native virus, is what really finished them off. Today the Aztec kingdom exists only in museums and ruins, but the virus could still be out there. As Mexico enters into yet another period of severe drought, could the killer reemerge?

This is not to excuse the Spanish for what they did, but genocide by disease should be dropped from the rap sheet.

HT Marginal revolution.

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