Inauguration Week; or Something

So we are apparently going to try something new – the House has decided to impeach a former president. It’s almost certainly unconstitutional, and probably since there is no there penalty, imposes an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder, because it only penalty is imposing a restriction on a supposed action in the future, even if the Senate, in its folly, did convict which is almost unimaginable, idiots like Romney and Sasse notwithstanding. In short, it’s Pelosi’s supposed revenge against Trump, but it reminds me of that old cartoon gun that shoots the person firing it. Why?

Because the real loser in the affair is none other than Joe Biden. Half the populace already considers him an illegitimate president, who gained the office by fraud. It no longer matters whether that is true or not. He also follows a president who did more to restore respect and well being to more Americans than any other, and he does so with a program that promises to return to the abysmal Obama record, or maybe worse. His greatest day in the presidency will no doubt be inauguration day or would have been. This is what Nancy Pelosi stole from him. The (very) liberal Chicago Tribune says this.

[…] But rushing to impeach a president who has only seven days remaining in his term is itself an affront to our democracy. Impeachment is meant to be a last resort means of expelling a president, not a political weapon. There has not been a serious probe of what happened that terrible day, how the rioting was organized and by whom. Timelines and social media accounts show that the breaching of the Capitol took place even as Trump was still speaking to the large crowd of followers, and that the organizers may have plotted out the event in advance, mainly on Twitter and Facebook.

Democrats have no patience for a sober assessment of what went wrong; they want to humiliate a president who provoked and embarrassed them for four years, and who has accomplished much despite their incessant resistance.

Had they voted to censure Trump, they might have brought Republicans on board. As it is, only 10 Republicans in the House voted to impeach; 197 sided with the president. Democrats risk creating a martyr who will continue to have significant influence and who will bedevil them for the foreseeable future.

That’s true, they’ve thrown away whatever goodwill the right might have shown him as was done with Obama, he enters office as an enemy and he will leave the same way.

And something else, Toni Williams over at Victory Girls has been looking at something else about this inauguration, specifically the security. She also reminds us that

The Inauguration of Joe Biden has been scaled down, mostly due to Covid-19 fears, not to mention the fact that he can’t draw flies. The House and Senate and guests will be there and probably quite of few of the permanent class of D.C. will attend. That’s about it.

She also links to The Intrepid Reporter who did the digging and says it’s up to 30,000 National Guard troops. Wow, but he tells us who, and I’m going to steal his list.

The entire Washington, DC national guard (Camp Guards when I was at Gitmo in 06)
56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team (Pennsylvania Bloody Buckets… lots of combat tours… ‘heavy armor’ if you consider Stryker trucks to be ‘heavy’)
Troop B of the 102nd Cavalry Regiment (negative info on them… wiki sez they’re a No-Go at any real deployments.)

1-114th Infantry Regiment (Joisey Guard, No-Go no deployments)
508th Military Police Company (Another No-Go Joisey Unit)
229th Military Police Company (Kuwait Defense 1990, doubt if any of them are still there… a No-Go Virginia unit)
153rd Military Police Company (Delaware NG, A single tour in 07-08 in Iraq)
102nd Military Police Battalion (NY NG…a No-Go unit w/zero deployments)
104th Military Police Battalion (NY Guard, No-Go NY no deployments)
229th Brigade Engineer Battalion (Virginia Guard, lots of deployments, in a non-combat role)
160th Engineer Company (Delaware Guard, construction, couldn’t find intel on deployments… thin k these are the guys doing the fencing/blockades)
261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade (Command and Control unit, one tour at my old base Victory in Iraq in 08-09)
198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (Delaware NG, VSAT and comms unit…one company in South Carolina which DID deploy once in 13-14 to Kandahar)
1049th Transportation Company (Aviation trans… couple here’n there… ass and trash)
262nd Component Repair Company (you break it, they fix it, No-Go on deployments… to me, this means they expect to need to repair shit right then and there as opposed to waiting til they get home)
108th Wing (Refueling and Air-Recon Unit, multiple deployments)
177th Fighter Wing. (Air to Air F-16 Air defense… what the fuck do they need them for?)
105th Airlift Wing (Air Trans)
174th Attack Wing (Drones… lots and lots of drones… Predators, intel-gatherers… BAD juju)
166th Security Forces Squadron. (Security for the planes, lots of deployments)
That’s 20,000  plus troops, not counting DC and federal cops. It’s also more troops than we have had in Afghanistan in a long time, maybe ever.
But the real kicker here even beyond the number is that these guys are almost all newbies, very few have seen the elephant if any. Newbies always screw up, you know that, I know that and the military is no different in that.
What happens when soldiers screw up? Yeah, people die.
Can you say Kent State, I knew that you could.
If you’re in the east, Keep your ass down your head up, and check six. And stay the hell away from DC this week!

Gods of Flight and the People Rule

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

I want to start today by thanking my coauthors here, especially Audre and Jessica, as most of you know, for years I wrote every word on this blog. You know and I know that the quality of my writing eventually began to suffer, and once we moved into this phase of the election, I was very pleased to drop back to two posts a week, My quality hasn’t completely returned but I’m feeling much better, and since the election has moved into a portion where nothing I can say has any bearing whatsoever on the outcome, I’ve said very little, but like most of you, the last four years have convinced me that Donald Trump is one of our greatest presidents, at least equal to Reagan and perhaps the equal of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Coolidge. There is still a chance so Hold the Line and Keep the Faith.


You also know that I love the Air Force, and this week we lost one of the greatest of the greatest generation in Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, double ace over the skies of Germany, fought in Korea and Vietnam, and in Tom Wolfe’s words. “the most righteous of all the possessors of the right stuff.”  This is the man who first broke the sound barrier in the Bell X1.

There is an excellent remembrance of him at The American Spectator which I think you should read. This video is featured there.

Still an American hero at age 97, and one that managed to die in his bed. Rest in peace, sir.


But there are still American heroes out there, and the spirit that made us Americans in the first place is still out there. More and more, our countrymen are revolting at the arbitrary impositions that that or so-called elect are trying to inflict on us due to the Wuhan Flu. Rick Moran at PJ Media tells us about them.

A diner in Michigan is open for business despite being told to close. A barbershop here, a crafts store there, churches, synagogues, temples — what makes this COVID revolt different is that the businesses that are defying lockdown orders are being swarmed by customers — many coming from miles away — just to support the defiance. It’s the most demonstrative political statement being made today and authorities who would try to enforce their edicts are playing with fire.

Spectator USA:

The short notice taped to the door is addressed ‘to all government officials’. It gives them a warning: ‘You are in violation of your oath of office by trespassing unlawfully on the property of this business establishment and committing an act of terrorism under Section 802 of the Patriot Act.’ Taped up next to it, a longer warning in black and set-off red type, with Title 18 from the United States Code copied out underneath.

The notice appeared on the door of the D&R Daily Grind Café in Portage, Mich., and the owner, Dave Morris, is being rewarded for challenging the government with land-office business. Morris’s story was on a local TV station and the customers have made a point of standing with him in his defiance. […]

In some ways, it shows how freedom threatens those in authority. Since power depends on the consent of the governed, when the people withhold their consent, there’s precious little those in power can do. They can frighten them into obeying — shooting them down in the streets or arresting them and making them “disappear.” Dictators have found those tactics work very well.

But in America, if you start shooting people, they’re likely to start shooting back. That’s “American exceptionalism.”

So the governors, mayors, and other wannabe dictators post their edicts, tell people to obey, and they don’t. Now what? You depend on the army of social media squawkers to “tsk-tsk” and wag their fingers at the rebels. “Shame on you. Are you trying to kill your neighbor?” That may work with some people. It probably worked on a few citizens in 1776. Otherwise, not so much.

Those people became Canadians in 1783.

And that is the ultimate state of the Union, the people remain sovereign and will enforce that. We were the first rebels and we remain rebels still. And that is why when the BBC interviewed a Dutch woman a few years ago about when her town was liberated during the war, she told the interviewer that she knew they were Americans because “they walked like free men”.

Most of you know our national colors are never dipped to any earthly king or potentate, and only one flag is ever flown above them. and that is the church pennant on a naval vessel during church parade. There is only one sovereign above the American people.

May it always be so.

Friday Roundup

Mark Twain

If you look at our menus above, you will find a new entry, called fiction. We all enjoyed each other’s Halloween stories so much that we decided to make it a permanent feature. Knowing us, it will probably end up being mostly seasonal, but it doesn’t have to be. We’re open to any sort of fiction that can be expressed in a reasonably short essay, experience says about 800 words, but it’s flexible.

So get those creative juices flowing!

It’s open to anyone, contributors already know how, anybody else that wants to write for it, send your draft to one of us, and we’ll go from there.

There’s no pressure (except what you put on yourself) this is supposed to be fun, although I personally like it when it carries some sort of moral message.


Wednesday, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th Month, President Trump honored America’s veteran’s at the Tomb of the Unknowns, in the rain. If you haven’t seen the full service, it is rather awesome. By the way, Joe Biden called the lid around noon from his basement.

St. Francis of Assisi said:

Preach the Gospel, use words if necessary.


You may have noticed that Real Clear Politics has revoked their call of the election for Vice President Biden. As they did so they subtracted 20 Electoral votes (presumably Pennsylvania’s) from his total.


How Fox News outfoxed itself, a post mortem

From Jay Whig at American Greatness:

[N]ew, but not improved, Fox News has chosen to present its election coverage with a strong pro-Joe Biden bias, calling Arizona early (it is still in question eight days after Election Day), predicting Democrats would pick up five seats in the House of Representatives (Republicans appear to have picked up as many as a dozen), calling the election prematurely (Biden is not the “president-elect”), and suppressing news on election fraud and related litigation (it’s real and ongoing). This is the story of the rise and fall of Fox News, and the rise of Newsmax and One America News.

Once upon a time in America there were three news networks. A function of FCC control of airwaves, three major networks ABC, CBS, and NBC were licensed to broadcast VHF television.

Incoming signals were free. The sale of advertisements paid for the broadcasting. The Nielsen rating/share—a measure of eyeballs—drove the value of advertising time. This oligopoly structure disciplined the media.

Each network competed for a three-way news hour rating/share. When it came to broadcast news, ABC, CBS, and NBC each targeted a broad audience. News had to appear trustworthy to many people, and bias had to be carefully structured to preserve a strong trust signal to a large number of people. “And that’s the way it is,” became left-biased Walter Cronkite’s signature signoff from CBS News. […]

Fox News—with programming led by Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, and Sean Hannity—remained through the 2020 campaign the only large venue for diverse, if biased, information. That ended on Election Night. The James and Lachlan Murdoch power structure inside Fox News made a decision to deploy a heavy pro-Biden bias as results were coming in. In theory, Fox News was to ape the old model of trust. In practice, Fox News shattered all trust at a critical moment.

By constricting the diversity of fact filters through the shut down of right-leaning coverage of the election, Fox News compelled right-leaning audiences to disregard all information that all media was delivering.

Completely FUBAR.

Our nation is on the brink. The market is now ripe for the growth of new conservative news media, such as Newsmax and OAN. Ramping up production values and original reporting with an explicit right-leaning bias would make for a better public understanding, and will make Newsmax and OAN a lot of money.

He’s spot on, read the whole thing at the link above.

I Can’t Spare This Man, He Fights

19th Indiana Infantry national colors.

Said President Lincoln of General Grant after Shiloh. When reports of Grant drinking blew up in Washington. Grant did have a drinking problem, when he was bored and when his wife Julia wasn’t with him. You remember his early career, he took Fort Donelson telling his best friend in the army, now commanding the Confederates, That I will only agree to immediate and unconditional surrender, I propose to move immediately on your works. So said Ulysses Simpson Grant, and the plays on the letters were irresistible. Thus are careers made, but his boss, General Halleck stole most of the credit, using it to become the commanding General of the army. One of the reasons that Grant was the first US Lieutenant General since Washington.

At Shiloh Church he was bored and he got surprised. He lost a lot of men on that first day. But on the second day, he drove the Southrons from the field with heavy casualties, clearing the way for the siege of Vicksburg which would sever the Trans-Mississippi West from the Old Southwest and closing the Mississippi to the Confederates forever.

And then he came east and co-located with the Army of the Potomac to ensure that it did its job of holding the Confederates, by the nose, while Sherman (in Patton’s apt phrase) kicked them in the ass. Thus ended America’s hardest war, the one against ourselves.

R. S. McCain, Has heard people talking about a second civil war, as I have, and he recalls The Bloody Cornfield where, as he says, 8000 men were killed or wounded in about three hours. It’s amazing that anybody survived, but his Great Grandfather did. On the other side of that Cornfield was the 19th Indiana Infantry, of the Iron Brigade of the West, those of you who read me on Discus discussions may know that my avatar there is the standard of the 19th Indiana, they’ve been my hero unit since reading about them as a child.

If there was ever a rock and a hard place, the Bloody Cornfield was it. And how well has America reunited? To the point that Southrons like Stacy and Yankees like me are now on the same side. Anybody really think Antifa wants any part of the Cornfield. Me either, but I don’t, and Stacy doesn’t either. But we also know that like Company D’s Lieutenant David S. Holloway who went back and retrieved the 19th’s colors under fire, there are things worth living for and those things are the ones worth dying for, and the honor of America is one of them.

As the 19th’s Lieutenant Colonel Bachman told his troops,

“Boys, the command is no longer forward, but now it is follow me!”

And that is what we must do, we must follow and support President Trump, at least until the very last bugle calls retreat, which we know it will never do. We won a lot in the last 4 years, because we and our president fought instead of folding like a bunch of GOP weenies, and they’re already starting to.  I’m a Nebraskan and I’ll tell you this, next time around I’ll vote for Nancy Pelosi before I vote for Ben Sasse, better an open opponent than a traitor in the ranks. I’ve had enough of the GOPe, the cocktail party republicans whatever you want to call them. I’ve had a bellyful and it smells like the offal from a Nebraska packing house. They are no longer my representatives, and I’ll do my best to see them retire broke and dishonored.

There is plenty of evidence of flagrant and open fraud out there, the complicit media including Faux News certainly isn’t going to report it, but the word is available, and getting more so. Keep the faith and keep your powder (and ink) dry.


On a personal note, my long time co-blogger here and on her All along the Watchtower is celebrating her birthday today, if’s the first time in years that I have been able to say to her “Happy Birthday, Dearest friend, and many  happy returns.” I don’t remember for sure, but I think it is also Chalcedon451’s birthday, who is also a contributor here, so if you see him around, wish him a Happy Birthday.

St. Crispan/Crispians Day

Yesterday was St Crispins Day again, and that makes it a day to talk of the bravery of English and American armed forces, not that there is ever a bad day for that. St. Crispin’s Day is a pretty good encapsulation of our military histories though, always brave, sometimes badly led, and more often than not, victorious. I was going to write something else this year but don’t have anything especially earthshaking to add.

From Wikipedia: “Saint Crispin’s Day falls on 25 October and is the feast day of the Christian Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twins who were martyred c. 286.” That’s where the day gets its name. What it’s famous for is the battles of the English-speaking peoples that have been fought on it.

The first we will look at took place during the “Hundred Years War”. Henry V of England with a small army was on his way to Calais, getting chased all over northern France by Constable Charles d’Albret of France. The French King (Charles VI) was mentally incapacitated. Henry was heavily outnumbered and decided to arouse his exhausted army before the battle by giving a speech.

The English won the battle with ridiculously low casualties while wreaking havoc on the French forces. The reason for this was the English (and Welsh) longbowmen, making this the first battle since Roman times when infantry was anything but a rabble for the knights to ride down.

Battle number two for the day wasn’t so kind to the British.

This one was a cavalry charge against Russian Artillery. It was commanded by Lord Raglan (Yes, the sleeves are named for him). The orders he issued were vague and Lord Cardigan (Yes, he designed the sweater) executed the worst possible interpretation of them. The charge was carried out by the British light cavalry brigade which consisted of the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers, and the 8th and 11th Hussars, whose bravery we have never forgotten. It was too well immortalized.

Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

It should be added that Great Britain didn’t do a great job of taking care of their veterans (neither did the U.S.) in those days.  Rudyard Kipling had this to say:

The Last of the Light Brigade

There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, “Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites.”

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and “Beggin’ your pardon,” he said,
“You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead.
An’ it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin’ the mouth of hell;
For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an’ we thought we’d call an’ tell.

“No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write
A sort of ‘to be continued’ and ‘see next page’ o’ the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell ’em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now.”

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the scorn of scorn.”
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

They sent a cheque to the felon that sprang from an Irish bog;
They healed the spavined cab-horse; they housed the homeless dog;
And they sent (you may call me a liar), when felon and beast were paid,
A cheque, for enough to live on, to the last of the Light Brigade.

O thirty million English that babble of England’s might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children’s children are lisping to “honour the charge they made – ”
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

OK, that’s two, only one more to go, 90 years later, to the day, halfway around the world

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

This time it’s the US Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Japanese realized that losing the Philippine Islands meant losing the war put everything they had left into this battle. Here a chart that shows the relative strengths.

Navy Large carriers Small Carriers Aircraft Embarked Battleships Cruisers Destroyers
United States 8 24  1712 12  24 141 
Japan 1 117 9  20 34

from: http://www.angelfire.com/fm/odyssey/LEYTE_GULF_Summary_of_the_Battle_.htm

From the chart, you can see how amazingly the USN had recovered from Pearl Harbor and the early battles of the war. You should also note that if the ship is not engaged in the battle it doesn’t count for much, so here we go.

The Japanese had a complicated plan depending on close timing between forces coming from various ports and operating under what we call EMCOM now. Essentially radio silence; meaning they couldn’t coordinate their attacks.

The Japanese carriers which had essentially no planes or pilots were used as a decoy force to try to pull Halsey’s 3d fleet away to the north. This worked, although it took them a long time to attract the American’s attention. When they were finally spotted Halsey went charging off after them until he was almost in gunshot and then turned around to help 7th fleet (which we are coming to). This also ended up being too late, so America’s premier naval force mostly sailed around burning oil and accomplishing not much of anything.

The Japanese Centre Force was first spotted in the Palawan Passage by the submarines Darter and Dace. Darter sank the Heavy Cruiser Atago which was Admiral Kurita’s flagship and Dace sank the Takao and severely damaged the Maya, which was forced to withdraw.

Halsey’s force made 259 sorties against the Centre Force eventually sinking the battleship Musashi with her 18.1 inch guns. They also did damage to some other ships. But Kurita made for the San Bernadino Strait at night with 4 battleships and 6 heavy and 3 light cruisers all fully operational.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Southern force including two elderly battleships under Admirals Nishimura and Shima were spotted on the morning of the 24th and Admiral Kincaid who realized they would attempt to attack the landing through the Surigao Strait was preparing to meet them. Kincaid’s 7th fleet had plenty of power for this.

The Battle of Surigao Strait

Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf had 6 old battleships (5 of which had been sunk at Pearl Harbor), 4 Heavy and 4 Light Cruisers, 26 destroyers, and 39 PT Boats. He deployed his lighter ship along the side of the strait and formed his battle line. PT 131 made first contact and for 3 and a half hours the squadron attacked the Japanese force without a hit but, providing contact reports to the force. As Nishimura’s forces entered the strait the American destroyers attacked; hitting both battleships, the Yamishira was able to continue but, Fuso blew up and sank. Admiral Shima with the 2d Striking Force was much discouraged when he came upon the burning halves and other wreckage of the destroyer attack and decided to withdraw. So as Admiral Nishimura emerged from the strait to engage Oldendorf’s battle line, he had 1 Battleship, 1 Cruiser, and 1 Destroyer. Oldendorf crossed his “T”. Parenthetically this is what Lord Nelson risked with his battle plan at Trafalgar that we talked about a few days ago. The American Battleline started firing as they got range information (some had radar rangefinders and some didn’t) at about 30,000 yards. The Battleship was sunk, the Cruiser wrecked and somehow the Destroyer escaped. This was the last surface gun action in history.

The battle off Samar

USS Hoel (DD-533)

7th fleet had 18 escort carriers divided into three task units. They were equipped for fighting submarines and providing air cover to the landing, not for a full-on naval battle. These are usually referred to by their radio call signs Taffy 1, Taffy 2, and the most northerly, Taffy 3 under Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague. It was a routine morning until at 0647 Ensign Jensen from the Kadashan Bay sighted (and attacked) a force that he accurately reported as 4 Battleships and 8 Cruisers. The surprise was complete. A few minutes later heavy shells began falling around the carriers.

Admiral Sprague was in trouble. He was being chased by heavily armed warships which were considerably faster than his escort carriers and were already in range. He also had very few weapons that could hurt them. He started chasing shell splashes, making smoke, running away, and yelling for help, from 3d fleet, 7th fleet, a merciful God, or somewhere. At 0716 he also ordered his three destroyers, the Hoel, the Herrmann, and the Johnston, to counterattack the Japanese which they did with incredible bravery. At 0750 the Destroyer escorts also attacked. Remember these are anti-submarine ships with 5 in and 3 inch guns going on the attack against Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. Not terribly different from charging the Russian guns 90 years before. They attacked with torpedoes and guns and managed to disrupt the Japanese formation enough to give Sprague a chance to get away. All the available aircraft also attacked even though they weren’t carrying the proper (if any) ordnance for this work, they strafed and buzzed and annoyed the Japanese though.

By 0945 the Johnston, the Hoel, and destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts had been sunk. and the escort carrier Gambier Bay was hit repeatedly by 8 inch shells and sank at 0907.

But Kurita had lost control of his formation (and was probably worrying about when 3d fleet would turn up) and broke off the action at 0911.

While Taffy 3 was doing all this, Taffy 1 was subjected to the first organized use of that new weapon: the Kamikaze, Taffy three would be so attacked in the afternoon.

And so we have St Crispin’s Day, a day of mostly victorious battle for the English-speaking peoples. The English win one with a “Band of Brothers”; the British lose one heroically and gloriously, and the Americans win one part easily, live through a terrible nightmare, while the American varsity is off hunting empty carriers.

England Expects …

It was two hundred and fifteen years ago today that  Admiral Lord Nelson defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets off Trafalgar. This is one of those victories that in the modern age we seem to think was pre-ordained. It wasn’t. I’m told that it is barely celebrated in England, that’s very silly. This is a victory that did as much to make the world we live in as Salamis, Lepanto, or the Armada.  That’s sad. I can only attribute that to too many of our people coming to believe that our influence on the world has been an evil one. That is not only wrong, and perhaps evil in itself, but diametrically opposed to the truth.

Sir Walter Raleigh, in A Discourse of the Invention of Ships, Anchors, Compass, &c., said this:

For whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.

This was also quoted by Fleet Admiral Nimitz, on his retirement. It was true for the Elizabethans, it was true in Nelson’s time, it is true now, it will always be true. But the Anglo-Saxon powers have always been more interested in trade than pure control of the world and its people. Alfred Thayer McMahon, in The Influence of Sea Power upon History, says this with regard to the British fleet:  “Those distant, storm-tossed ships, never seen by the Grande Armee, were all that stood between it and world domination.” And that is so. Our francophile president, Thomas Jefferson wrote that if Napoleon took possession of Louisiana and attempted to move an army there, “on that day we shall have to marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation”. Nor was he kidding, control of New Orleans would have (and had under the Spanish) stifled the growth of not only the Old Southwest, but also the Old Northwest, it was simply something that America could not allow, and survive.

Nor did it end there. We haven’t forgotten that during our Civil War, the French attempted to impose a Hapsburg emperor on Mexico, or that it was only thwarted in 1865, when fifty thousand battle-hardened Union troops assembled in Texas, leading to the French Foreign Legion’s most famous defeat. But we also recognize that one of the reasons that we developed as we did is that the Royal Navy was the guarantor of the Monroe Doctrine. That allowed the new world to develop at its own speed and in its own way.

We should also mention that the end of chattel slavery in the west was primarily done by the Royal Navy, which encouraged industriousness amongst its people by paying prize money for captured slavers, and the return of their cargos. Slavery ended with the deaths of a half-million white Americans, but they and the Royal Navy were both following the precepts first proposed around the time of the Revolution–in East Anglia.

Nor do I think there is any question that India, is far better off today than it was in the days before the Raj. Gandhi himself once said that his nonviolent tactics would not have worked against a less moral people than the British, and in fact, Dr. Martin Luther King said the same thing about the civil rights struggle here.

And so we come to the twentieth century, to 1941 specifically. Off Newfoundland, two convoys of warships met. One carried the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill on HMS Prince of Wales. the other carried the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, on the USS Augusta. This is the time when the guard of the English speaking peoples changed from England to America. Fittingly it happened during Church Parade on the Prince of Wales. Churchill said this about it:

The prime minister reported that no one who attended would forget “that sunlit morning on the crowded quarterdeck—the symbol of the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes draped side by side on the pulpit,” and “the close-packed ranks of British and American sailors, completely intermingled, sharing the same books and joining fervently in the prayers and hymns familiar to both.” Churchill had chosen the hymns—“For Those In Peril On the Sea;” “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” He said later, “Every word seemed to stir the heart. It was a great hour to live. Nearly half of those who sang were soon to die.” HMSPrince of Wales was sunk by Japanese aircraft off Malaya on December 10, 1941.

Here was mapped the grand strategy that would allow the cousins, for that, is what we were, and are, to free the world from the menace of Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan. But here’s the point: On that day in 1941, only seventy-nine years ago, if you were free to speak your mind, you spoke English as your native language. All the rest of the world owes their very freedom to those distant storm-tossed ships, that won one of the world’s greatest victories, for England, and for the world.

And so, for two hundred and fourteen years now, the Royal Navy has drunk one toast in silence, and all free peoples should join them.

I give you, Gentlemen (and Ladies):

“The immortal memory,

of Nelson and those who fell with him”

 

It’s true now, as it has always been, We sleep safe in our beds because of rough men (and now women) who are prepared to do violence on our behalf.

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