And you have your own blog…
And you have your own blog…
Still going strong after all these years.
…and the military procurement blues…
I really like the light support ship that the Navy is calling the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), but I don’t really think it qualifies as a “combat ship” no matter how its used.
It’s a support ship, a delivery truck, and a technology testbed all rolled into a pair of really cool looking, lightly armed, and hellishly expensive packages with zero armor. No offense intended to the highly talented, trained, and motivated hybrid crews of those first two LCS, but if they are in harms way, then somebody screwed up badly.
As pretty and fast as the new LCS ships are, they cannot out run a torpedo and a single resolute shore defense gun crew with a well dug in WW2 howitzer could make short work of an LCS caught in range.
I’m no expert on Naval affairs, tactics, or strategy, by a long shot, but…(you had to know that was coming)…to my mind this is what a Littoral Combat Ship is supposed to look like.
The Roberts class of monitors of the Royal Navy consisted of two heavily-gunned vessels built during the Second World War. They were the Roberts, completed in 1941, and Abercrombie, completed in 1943.
Features of the class, apart from two 15″ guns in a twin mounting (taken from two First World War era Marshall class monitors), were shallow draught for operating inshore, broad beam to give stability (and also resistance to torpedoes and mines) and a high observation platform to observe fall of shot.
Taking the word “combat” to its extreme I realize but that’s just me, I’m a big fan of massive overkill in combat operations, so you get it over with quickly and you don’t have to go back and do it a second time.
Quite frankly, under the current administration, I don’t believe any of these projects (LCS, DDG-1000, F-22, F-35, Ford CVN, or Virginia SSBN) are going to survive the next two years budget cuts. The price to be paid for cancelling most of these long lead production items (not including the LCS) won’t be seen right away, but it will be seen. In the case of the F-22, F-35, and Ford projects I believe the price could be nothing less then a catastrophic loss of air superiority over one or multiple battlefields or a CVN battle group within a decade.
There is a world class discussion covering the subjects of the LCS and the future of US Navy ship building in general going on over at Information Dissemination. If you have any interest at all in those subjects I highly recommend you bounce over there for a good read. I left some popcorn on Ray’s coffee table, help yourselves.
“We’re not playing for a tie. I just want to make sure everybody understands this.”
-George W Bush
Canada – World record sniper kill at 2,430 meters.
MacMillan TAC-50 package.
The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.
From the Telegraph. By David Blair in Cairo.
Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, who goes by the nom de guerre Dr Fadl, helped bin Laden create al-Qaeda and then led an Islamist insurgency in Egypt in the 1990s.
But in a book written from inside an Egyptian prison, he has launched a frontal attack on al-Qaeda’s ideology and the personal failings of bin Laden and particularly his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Twenty years ago, Dr Fadl became al-Qaeda’s intellectual figurehead with a crucial book setting out the rationale for global jihad against the West.
Today, however, he believes the murder of innocent people is both contrary to Islam and a strategic error. “Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers,” writes Dr Fadl.
The terrorist attacks on September 11 were both immoral and counterproductive, he writes. “Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours?” asks Dr Fadl. “That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11.”
He is equally unsparing about Muslims who move to the West and then take up terrorism. “If they gave you permission to enter their homes and live with them, and if they gave you security for yourself and your money, and if they gave you the opportunity to work or study, or they granted you political asylum,” writes Dr Fadl, then it is “not honourable” to “betray them, through killing and destruction”.
In particular, Dr Fadl focuses his attack on Zawahiri, a key figure in al-Qaeda’s core leadership and a fellow Egyptian whom he has known for 40 years. Zawahiri is a “liar” who was paid by Sudan’s intelligence service to organise terrorist attacks in Egypt in the 1990s, he writes.
The criticisms have emerged from Dr Fadl’s cell in Tora prison in southern Cairo, where a sand-coloured perimeter wall is lined with watchtowers, each holding a sentry wielding a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Torture inside Egyptian jails is “widespread and systematic”, according to Amnesty International.
Zawahiri has alleged that his former comrade was tortured into recanting. But the al-Qaeda leader still felt the need to compose a detailed, 200-page rebuttal of his antagonist.
The fact that Zawahiri went to this trouble could prove the credibility of Dr Fadl and the fact that his criticisms have stung their target. The central question is whether this attack on al-Qaeda’s ideology will sway a wider audience in the Muslim world.
Fouad Allam, who spent 26 years in the State Security Directorate, Egypt’s equivalent of MI5, said that Dr Fadl’s assault on al-Qaeda’s core leaders had been “very effective, both in prison and outside”.
He added: “Within these secret organisations, leadership is very important. So when someone attacks the leadership from inside, especially personal attacks and character assassinations, this is very bad for them.”
A western diplomat in Cairo agreed with this assessment, saying: “It has upset Zawahiri personally. You don’t write 200 pages about something that doesn’t bother you, especially if you’re under some pressure, which I imagine Zawahiri is at the moment.”
Dr Fadl was a central figure from the very outset of bin Laden’s campaign. He was part of the tight circle which founded al-Qaeda in 1988 in the closing stages of the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. By then, Dr Fadl was already the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, an extremist movement which fought the Cairo regime until its defeat in the 1990s.
Dr Fadl fled to Yemen, where he was arrested after September 11 and transferred to Egypt, where he is serving a life sentence. “He has the credibility of someone who has really gone through the whole system,” said the diplomat. “Nobody’s questioning the fact that he was the mentor of Zawahiri and the ideologue of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.”
Terrorist movements across the world have a history of alienating their popular support by waging campaigns of indiscriminate murder. This process of disintegration often begins with a senior leader publicly denouncing his old colleagues. Dr Fadl’s missives may show that al-Qaeda has entered this vital stage.
I wonder how much this will effect recruiting amongst the faithful.
Ya gotta love the bling RPG.
Additional backround on Dr. Fadl can be found here.
All above pics by Angus McKie and originally published in Heavy Metal magazine.