American Elephants


Pearl Harbor and the Legacy of Carl Vinson by The Elephant's Child

U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate Third Class Dusty Howell

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Seventy-six years ago, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and suddenly we were full participants in the war that had been raging in Europe and China. Those who were old enough to experience the war are dying off, and soon there will be no one who remembers. From the current state of our colleges and universities, they seem to be turning out students who know nothing about history at all.

Seventy-six years ago on December 7, 1941, carrier planes from  the Imperial Japanese fleet attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in a surprise attack on the home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. It was followed a few days later by an attack on the Philippines.

The surprise attack on the fleet killed 2,402 Americans, sank or submerged 19 ships, including eight battleships damaged or destroyed. Just four days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

Victor Davis Hanson writes today of the contribution of one Democratic Congressman from Georgia, Carl Vinson. Do read the whole thing.

The Japanese fleet had missed the three absent American carriers of the Pacific Fleet. Nonetheless, Japanese admirals were certain that the United States was so crippled after the attack that it would not be able to go on the offensive against the Japanese Pacific empire for years, if at all. Surely the wounded Americans would sue for peace, or at least concentrate on Europe and keep out of the Japanese-held Pacific.

That was a fatal miscalculation.

The Japanese warlords had known little of the tireless efforts of one Democratic congressman from Georgia, Carl Vinson.

For nearly a decade before Pearl Harbor, Vinson had schemed and politicked in brilliant fashion to ensure that America was building a two-ocean navy larger than all the major navies of the world combined.

If you have a history buff on your gift list, get them a copy of Dr. Hanson’s brilliant new book: The Second Word WarsIf you’re feeling generous, add With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge.

The photograph is of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

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“We Came, We Saw, He Died” She Joked. by The Elephant's Child

Hillary. Could not vote for her. She is a compulsive liar, and not a very good one. She keeps getting caught out. But I also knew that Mommar Gadhafi was a brutal dictator, and not a very nice one. But he kept his troublesome country in line. He had had nuclear ambitions, and when he saw Iran’s Saddam Hussein being dragged out of his hidey-hole and what happened to him, he discarded his ambitions thoroughly.

Hillary, as Secretary of State, not only ignored the rumbling of terrorists and revolutionaries in Syria, refused to send help to her ambassador and his aide, and extraction for the former Seals contractors who were attempting to save the embassy people, but decided to promote the end of the Gadhafi reign, apparently unaware of the fact that sometimes we have to support ruling bad guys in the interest of larger causes. Our ambassador died, unnecessarily, as did his aide and the two former Seals. Libya promptly descended into chaos, which continues.

Today USA Today reported:

Black Africans are being sold in open-air slave markets,  and it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault. But you won’t hear much about that from the news media or the foreign-policy pundits, so let me explain.

Footage from Libya, released recently by CNN, showed young men from sub-Saharan Africa being auctioned off as farm workers in slave markets.

And how did we get to this point? As the BBC reported back in May, “Libya has been beset by chaos since NATO-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi in October 2011.”

Under President George W. Bush, in 2003, the  United States negotiated an agreement with Libyan strongman Gadhafi. If Gadhafi would give up his weapons of mass destruction peacefully, we would not try to depose him. The Obama administration wasn’t much on continuing anything done by Bush, and in an operation spearheaded by Hillary Clinton, the United States went ahead and overthrew him. That has an effect on our options with North Korea.

The overthrow turned out to be a debacle. Libya exploded into chaos and civil war, and refugees flooded Europe, destabilizing governments there. But at the time, Clinton thought it was a great triumph — “We came, we saw, he died,” she joked about Gadhafi’s overthrow — and adviser Sidney Blumenthal encouraged her to tout her “successful strategy” as evidence of her fitness for the highest office in the land.

Uh huh.

 



Defense Secretary James Mattis: 95% of ISIS Eradicated Under Trump. by The Elephant's Child

Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced this last week that 95% of ISIS bases and hideouts have been eradicated. Good News indeed. Deciding that you actually do intend to defeat them makes a difference. Obama seemed concerned that he might be blamed for something. ISIS fighters have been surrendering saying they haven’t been paid and haven’t been fed, and little things like that seem to matter.

Good for our coalition. Hope they all got a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, and the gratitude of a nation giving thanks.



The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know how familiar Americans are with the story of their own Navajo Code Talkers who served in the Untied States Marine Corps in the Pacific theater in World War II, but it is a proud and fascinating story. Early in the war in the Pacific, it became clear that the Japanese had broken our military codes. We had used Native American speakers in World War I with some great success, but the Germans were not about to leave themselves vulnerable. They infiltrated reservations across the United States to learn the languages. The Navajo reservation in the Four Corners area of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico is remote, beautiful, but not easily penetrated.  Here is their story.

These are two different treatments of the Code-Talker history. The first is longer, but all in one story. The second comes in three parts. When you have time you might want to watch both.

In July of 2001, President George W. Bush decorated 29 Navajo Code Talkers, They were represented by the four remaining code-talkers. Belated, but welcome recognition. It’s an important story.

We make a lot of mistakes in this country, a lot of trial and error, but eventually we usually manage to get it right. If you have some young people in your family, do share. They need to know a little history too.



North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un May Have Stubbed His Toe by The Elephant's Child

In a very surprising interview, an academic with close ties to the Chinese government has stated that war with North Korea is under consideration. China’s president Xi Jinping has become fed up with the erratic behaviour of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in spite of the historic ties between the two countries.

Chong Sho-Hu, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said that Kim Jong-Un and North Korea were “seeking death.” Speaking to the BBC, the professor suggested that just one more missile test would “push the country off the cliff.”

President Jinping was said to be furious when North Korea tested a missile just as China was preparing to host a pivotal global economic conference. The professor said China is mad and wants to punish North Korea.

China’s leader XI Jinping told the Chinese Communist Party Congress that he would build the biggest army in the world, but wanted to avoid any conflict with U.S. President Donald Trump over North Korea. He told delegates that by 2050 China will become a global leader in terms of international influence and national strength, with the rule of law, innovative companies, a clean environment and a growing middle class. “The Chinese people will enjoy greater happiness and well-being, and the Chinese nation will stand taller and firmer in the world.”

This is a remarkable bit of world news, from one stray professor who is said to be close to the administration in China, so I don’t know just how accurate it may be or not, but it is certainly interesting.

President Kim Jong-Un seems to be the only plump person in the North Korean nation, and a good many of his military hangers-on have uniforms that seem too large for their bodies. Whenever Kim Jong-Un appears, everyone smiles broadly and they clap with their hands right up in front of their faces where their enthusiasm can be readily seen. Kim Jong-Un executed one of his uncles with a military howitzer instead of a firing squad, which may have something to do with the odd style of clapping.

 



General John Kelly: An Emotional Press Conference by The Elephant's Child

If you haven’t watched this today, please watch it now. It’s important. General Kelly takes on the media reaction to a presidential call to a bereaved widow who just lost her husband.

He patiently explains just how the American military treats the loss of one of their own, step by step. General Kelly understands the whole thing deeply, from all sides. He understands enlisting in the military, serving in war, reaching a position where he must send men into harm’s way, and losing some of them to an enemy, and making calls and sorrowing with the bereaved. And he’s been notified of the loss of his own son and received the condolence calls and visits himself.

A Florida congresswoman disgraced herself and her party. Contemptible.



A Little Inspiration for a Chilly October Day by The Elephant's Child
October 11, 2017, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Education, Freedom, Heartwarming, Military, The United States

Admiral William R. Raven, 2014 Commencement address
 University of Texas at Austin.

It’s not Commencement season, but this excerpt from Admiral Raven’s address to University of Texas grads, is a particularly memorable one. And inspirational. Commencement addresses always strive to be memorable, to give new graduates encouragement for their first steps into the real world. New graduates are usually so wound up with finally getting to that point, wearing the caps and gowns, having parents and family in the audience. It’s a pretty big deal in a student’s life. I don’t know about you but I can’t remember who the speaker at my graduation was or what he said.

This one is memorable.




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