Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The USS George Washington(CVN 73) is nearing her new home just south of Tokyo.The Nimitz class aircraft carrier is scheduled to dock in Yokosuka on Thursday.Bringing up to 5600 crew members and 70 aircraft,the nuclear-powered vessel replaces the USS Kitty Hawk(CV),a conventionally-powered ship which will be decommissioned.About 200 protesters are expected to be on hand for the George Washington's arrival,which is welcomed by the Japanese government.The protesters object because the GW will bring more service members to Japan,and they fear a nuclear accident or radiation leak.The USS Houston(SSN 713),an attack submarine,was found to have discharged radioactive water in Japanese waters between July of 2006 and April of 2008.Although the leaks were extremely small,they have agitated some of the Japanese public.The George Washington will be the only forward-based U.S. aircraft carrier.She is part of the Seventh Fleet.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The U.S. Embassy in Yemen was attacked today.A car bomb blew up at the embassy gates,killing 17 people,including Yemeni guards.A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility and threatened more attacks.The group is believed to be a front for al Qaida,as the attack bore the al Qaida hallmark of multiple explosions.The fact that only one American was killed does not make this event less significant,though many in the American media may believe that.The bravery and tragedy of the Yemeni deaths is just as real as if they had been Americans.The Yemeni people should have our full respect.
A World War II Medal of Honor recipient has died in Little Rock,Arkansas.Nathan Green Gordon,92,who served as Lieutenant Governor of the state after the war,received the medal for rescuing downed aviators in the South Pacific.Though under fire,he made three water landings and rescued 15 aviators in rough seas and rain.He flew a large seaplane,the Consolidated PBY Catalina,which was also called a flying boat.Immediately he received the medal in 1944,Mr.Gordon flew a 15- hour patrol.He was Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas from 1947-67,then practiced law in his hometown of Morrilton,Arkansas.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
One of those supporting sending more U.S. Marines to Afghanistan is General James T. Conway,Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.He said that 25,000 Marines in Anbar province,Iraq are probably in excess of the need.Attacks in Anbar are down markedly from two years ago.On the other hand,the general noted,the Taliban are growing bolder in their tactics in Afghanistan,and clearly doing their best to exploit security gaps where they exist.As well,al Qaida is shifting its focus to Pakistan and Afghanistan,having been largely defeated in Iraq.The economy of force,General Conway believes,is not necessarily working in Afghanistan.Without more Marines,militants may retake captured territory and subjugate the Afghan people.We need to maintain the momentum.Accordingly,Marines have been intensifying their mountain warfare training in the U.S. in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.It is the Marine Corps view,the Commandant stated,that if there is a stiffer fight going someplace else in a more expeditionary environment,that's where we need to be.Indeed,President George W. Bush has ordered a battalion of Marines to Afghanistan before the year's end,to replace a battalion-or 3200 Marines-that is coming off its extended deployment in November.
The Institute for Supply Management has released its business activity indexes for August.The manufacturing index came in at 49.9,versus 50 for July.The service sector index read 50.6,versus 49.5 in July.A reading of 50 or more indicates growth;less than 50 shows contraction.
Friday, September 5, 2008
The security of Iraq's Anbar province has been entrusted to Iraqi forces by the U.S. military.Less than two years ago,Anbar was an al Qaida haven,and more than 1,000 U.S. service members died in the fighting there.There are 25,000 U.S. Marines there now,and it is hoped that many of them can be used to bolster security in Afghanistan,now that Anbar has been quieted considerably.Major General John Kelly,commander of the Marines in Anbar,said the drawdown will occur incrementally.He has already sent four CH-53 Sea Stallion and four Cobra helicopters,as well as several detachments of Marines,over to Afghanistan.The Marines continue to work15-20 hours a day in Iraq,as it is still a dangerous place.They are continuing to train Iraqi police and soldiers,and they are a force for stability,General Kelly stated.
The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecasts for world growth.The new forecast for 2008 is 3.9,versus the old forecast of 4.1.The forecast for 2009 is now 3.7,versus the old forecast of 3.9.