Why all these Collisions?

I do not subscribe to the WSJ; therefore, I am unable to read the article upon which these gentlemen are commenting. However, from their comments I can surmise that the original author is blaming all sorts of things on the collision(s) the Navy experienced. I received this via an email from a very good friend, a Naval Officer with whom I shared a stateroom for a year aboard the US Chicago in the Vietnam era, and one for who I have the highest degree of respect. We both believe the same; this would never have happened on board the “Mighty Chi.” We ran PIRAZ (Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone — at least that’s what I remember it was called) in the Gulf of Tonkin. I can remember OOD’s sharing horrid tales in the wardroom of the 100’s of sailing junks with no lights all around the ship as we neared our western zone, and the constant maneuvering they had to do to avoid collisions. I believe this small portion of the total comments speak heavily of what may be the “real” and inexpensive solution to this particular problem. My comments are in red. You decide.

Navy Has Many Causes for Its Poor Sailing

These collisions are unacceptable and I would expect both the captain and OOD of the McCain to be court-martialed.


The damaged USS John S. McCain, docked in Singapore, Aug. 22. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Aug. 30, 2017 4:37 p.m. ET

Regarding your editorial “The Navy’s McCain Moment” (Aug. 22) and Seth Cropsey’s “Has the Navy Reached Its Breaking Point?” (op-ed, Aug. 24): I served on a carrier during the Vietnam War and my principal duty was that of a watch officer. I went through countless hours of trading watches, serving first as a junior officer of the deck under instruction, then a junior officer of the deck and finally reached the pinnacle of officer of the deck underway.

We had captain’s standing orders for use when the captain wasn’t on the bridge. One of the most important was when to call him when we had a contact that was CBDR, constant bearing-closing range. That indicated a potential collision. When passing through heavily transited areas, i.e., Gibraltar, which we always did at night, we had the captain, executive officer, navigator and, of course, the officer of the desk (OOD) on the bridge. We posted extra lookouts for boats which didn’t show navigation lights. When in the Mediterranean we were constantly shadowed by Russian trawlers which harassed us. I never heard of any collisions during that period.

I’m struck by the spate of collisions, but even more concerned when I enlarged the photo of the USS McCain, which showed a rusting, ill-kept warship. We had paint crews out every time we entered or anchored in ports. The discipline to keep shipshape was imbued in us, as was the safety of the ship.

The captain bears the ultimate responsibility, and the OOD is in total command of the ship. These collisions are unacceptable, and I would expect both the captain and OOD of the McCain to be court-martialed for dereliction of duty and manslaughter. And I suggest rather than having our fleet standing down, the CNO enact training standards for OOD’s in the Navy. Amen!

David A. Rosow, Lt. j.g. USNR (Ret.)

Palm Beach, Fla.

I was the officer of the deck on the USS Santa Barbara when we sailed through the Singapore Strait in the dead of night. It was tense due to all the traffic. I changed course and speed multiple times, following the rules of the sea to prevent any collision.

I was trained by a very experienced Navy destroyer captain who told us never ever be in a situation where you had to rely on another ship to follow the rules of the sea to avoid a collision. Amen, he was trained by a “Skipper,” who was trained by a “Skipper.”

Bill Person

Bloomfield Village, Mich.

Another Naval collision. More U.S. sailors killed and injured. Yet, all the Journal editors can do is demand more spending. Military sources claim that during the last six years over 200 generals and admirals were ousted by the Obama administration. Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Dees stated the political “mandate for social agendas . . . declines our readiness. We’re spending more time on some of these social engineering projects than on developing and maintaining readiness in our force.” OMG, he has nailed it square on the head. I’ll bet that OOD on watch that night can recite all the rules of dealing with a transgender or gay sailor.

How is it possible that swift, maneuverable U.S. Navy combat ships have twice collided with lumbering cargo ships? Is it possible officers are promoted to command not only on merit, but due to their conformity with a social agenda ahead of military readiness? Could it be possible that families are burying their sailors at the altar of politically imposed social engineering? AMEN again!!

Before throwing money at the problem shouldn’t we seek answers?

Tim Schefter

Loveland, Colo.

Your editors are much too forgiving of those in command of the McCain. The facts are seemingly self-evident that the accident was caused principally by failure of the McCain’s commander and subordinates to maintain adequate “watch” and control of their ship. YEP!


C.A. Erickson

Bonsall, Calif.

He Fights!

A friend and shipmate from my tour on the USS Chicago (CG-11) sent the following to me, and I could not help but to share it with my followers. Mr. Sayet speaks to his leftist friends. His points are very valid and worthy of repeating, but wait, who would I repeat them to; I have no leftist friends!

He Fights

By Evan Sayet

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum.  They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.”  Here’s my answer:

We Right-thinking people have tried dignity.  There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency.  We tried statesmanship.  Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain?  We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney?  And the results were always the same.

This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

I don’t find anything “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper” about Barack Obama’s lying about what went down on the streets of Ferguson in order to ramp up racial hatreds because racial hatreds serve the Democratic Party.  I don’t see anything “dignified” in lying about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and imprisoning an innocent filmmaker to cover your tracks.  I don’t see anything “statesman-like” in weaponizing the IRS to be used to destroy your political opponents and any dissent.  Yes, Obama was “articulate” and “polished” but in no way was he in the least bit “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper.”

The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the ‘60s.   To them, it has been an all-out war where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale.  It has been a war they’ve fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one – the violent take-over of the universities – till today.

The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war.  While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety.

With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end.  Donald Trump is America’s first wartime president in the Culture War.

During wartime, things like “dignity” and “collegiality” simply aren’t the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors.  Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming.  Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today.   Lincoln rightly recognized that, “I cannot spare this man.  He fights.”

General George Patton was a vulgar-talking person.  In peacetime, this might have seen him stripped of rank.  But, had Franklin Roosevelt applied the normal rules of decorum, then Hitler and the Socialists would barely be eight decades into their thousand-year Reich.

Trump is fighting.  And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent (people), I read your book!”  That is just the icing on the cake, but it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics.  That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – a book so essential to the Liberals’ war against America that it is and was the playbook for the entire Obama administration and the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis.   It is a book of such pure evil, that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

Trump’s tweets may seem rash and unconsidered but, in reality, he is doing exactly what Alinsky suggested his followers do.

First, instead of going after “the fake media” – and they are so fake that they have literally gotten every single significant story of the past 60 years not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the truth, from the Tet Offensive to Benghazi, to what really happened on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri – Trump isolated CNN.  He made it personal.  Then, just as Alinsky suggests, he employs ridicule which Alinsky described as “the most powerful weapon of all.”

Everyone gets that it’s not just CNN – in fact, in a world where Al Sharpton and Rachel Maddow, Paul Krugman and Nicholas Kristof are people of influence and whose “reporting” is in no way significantly different than CNN’s – CNN is just a piker.

Most importantly, Trump’s tweets have put CNN in an untenable and unwinnable position.  With Trump’s ability to go around them, they cannot simply stand pat.  They need to respond.  This leaves them with only two choices.  They can either “go high” (as Hillary and Michelle would disingenuously declare and the fake news would disingenuously report as the truth) and begin to honestly and accurately report the news or they can double-down on their usual tactics and hope to defeat Trump with twice their usual hysteria and demagoguery.  The problem for CNN (et al.) with the former is that, if they were to start honestly reporting the news, that would be the end of the Democratic Party they serve.  It is nothing but the incessant use of fake news (read: propaganda) that keeps the Left alive

Imagine, for example, if CNN had honestly and accurately reported then-candidate Barack Obama’s close ties to foreign terrorists (Rashid Khalidi), domestic terrorists (William Ayers), the mafia (Tony Rezko) or the true evils of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright’s, church.

Imagine if they had honestly and accurately conveyed the evils of the Obama administration’s weaponizing of the IRS to be used against their political opponents or his running of guns to the Mexican cartels or the truth about the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the Obama administration’s cover-up.

This makes “going high” a non-starter for CNN.  This leaves them no other option but to ratchet up the fake news, conjuring up the next “nothing burger” and devoting 24 hours a day to hysterical rants about how it’s “worse than Nixon.”

This, obviously, is what CNN has chosen to do.  The problem is that, as they become more and more hysterical, they become more and more obvious.  Each new effort at even faker news than before and faker “outrage” only makes that much more clear to any objective observer that Trump is and always has been right about the fake news media.

And, by causing their hysteria, Trump has forced them into numerous, highly embarrassing and discrediting mistakes.   Thus, in their desperation, they have lowered their standards even further and run with articles so clearly fake that, even with the liberal (lower case “l”) libel laws protecting the media, they’ve had to wholly retract and erase their stories repeatedly.

Their flailing at Trump has even seen them cross the line into criminality, with CNN using their vast corporate fortune to hunt down a private citizen for having made fun of them in an Internet meme.  This threat to “dox” – release of personal information to encourage co-ideologists to visit violence upon him and his family — a political satirist was chilling in that it clearly wasn’t meant just for him.  If it were, there would have been no reason for CNN to have made their “deal” with him public.

Instead, CNN – playing by “Chicago Rules” – was sending a message to any and all: dissent will not be tolerated.

This heavy-handed and hysterical response to a joke on the Internet has backfired on CNN, giving rise to only more righteous ridicule.

So, to my friends on the Left – and the #NeverTrumpers as well — do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be “collegial” and “dignified” and “proper”?  Of course I do.   These aren’t those times.  This is war.  And it’s a war that the Left has been fighting  without opposition for the past 50 years.

So, say anything you want about this president – I get it, he can be vulgar, he can be crude, he can be undignified at times.  I don’t care.  I can’t spare this man.  He fights.

Evan Sayet is the author of The Kinder Garden of Eden: How The Modern Liberal Thinks.  His lecture to the Heritage Foundation on this same topic remains, some ten years later, by far the single most viewed lecture in their history.


“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the
liberties of a nation be secure when we have
removed a conviction that these liberties are
the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country
when I reflect that God is just, that his justice
cannot sleep forever.”
Thomas Jefferson


General Robert E. Lee

As a Marine Infantryman, we studied Lee, we studied his tactics, his leadership, and his mission-type orders he issued to his subordinates. We never studied Grant, there was nothing there worthy of our study. Many have suggested what the outcome would have been if Lee would have had the resources of Grant. All the frantic screaming  and illegal actions by those who would destroy any historical remembrance of him, are merely showing just how ignorant they are about our history. They know nothing of the real General Robert E. Lee.


By Edward C. Smith
Let me begin on a personal note. I am a 56-year-old, third-generation, African American Washingtonian who is a graduate of the D.C. public schools and who happens also to be a great admirer of Robert E. Lee’s.

Today, Lee, who surrendered his troops to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House 134 years ago, is under attack by people — black and white — who have incorrectly characterized him as a traitorous, slaveholding racist. He was recently besieged in Richmond by those opposed to having his portrait displayed prominently in a new park.

My first visit to Lee’s former home, now Arlington National Cemetery, came when I was 12 years old, and it had a profound and lasting effect on me. Since then I have visited the cemetery hundreds of times searching for grave sites and conducting study tours for the Smithsonian Institution and various other groups interested in learning more about Lee and his family as well as many others buried at Arlington.

Lee’s life story is in some ways the story of early America. He was born in 1807 to a loving mother, whom he adored. His relationship with his father, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, (who was George Washington’s chief of staff during the Revolutionary War) was strained at best. Thus, as he matured in years, Lee adopted Washington (who had died in 1799) as a father figure and patterned his life after him. Two of Lee’s ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence, and his wife, Mary Custis, was George Washington’s foster great-granddaughter.

Lee was a top-of-the-class graduate of West Point, a Mexican War hero and superintendent of West Point. I can think of no family for which the Union meant as much as it did for his.

But it is important to remember that the 13 colonies that became 13 states reserved for themselves a tremendous amount of political autonomy. In pre-Civil War America, most citizens’ first loyalty went to their state and the local community in which they lived. Referring to the United States of America in the singular is a purely post-Civil War phenomenon.

All this should help explain why Lee declined command of the Union forces — by Abraham Lincoln — after the firing on Fort Sumter. After much agonizing, he resigned his commission in the Union army and became a Confederate commander, fighting in defense of Virginia, which at the outbreak of the war possessed the largest population of free blacks (more than 60,000) of any Southern state.

Lee never owned a single slave, because he felt that slavery was morally reprehensible. He even opposed secession. (His slaveholding was confined to the period when he managed the estate of his late father-in-law, who had willed eventual freedom for all of his slaves.)

Regarding the institution, it’s useful to remember that slavery was not abolished in the nation’s capital until April 1862, when the country was in the second year of the war. The final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was not written until September 1862, to take effect the following Jan. 1, and it was intended to apply only to those slave states that had left the Union.

Lincoln’s preeminent ally, Frederick Douglass, was deeply disturbed by these limitations but determined that it was necessary to suppress his disappointment and “take what we can get now and go for the rest later.” The “rest” came after the war.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the few civil rights leaders who clearly understood that the era of the 1960s was a distant echo of the 1860s, and thus he read deeply into Civil War literature. He came to admire and respect Lee, and to this day, no member of his family, former associate or fellow activist that I know of has protested the fact that in Virginia Dr. King’s birthday — a federal holiday — is officially celebrated as “Robert E. Lee-Stonewall Jackson-Martin Luther King Day.”

Lee is memorialized with a statue in the U.S. Capitol and in stained glass in the Washington Cathedral.

It is indeed ironic that he has long been embraced by the city he fought against and yet has now encountered some degree of rejection in the city he fought for.

In any event, his most fitting memorial is in Lexington, Va.: a living institution where he spent his final five years. There the much-esteemed general metamorphosed into a teacher, becoming the president of small, debt-ridden Washington College, which now stands as the well-endowed Washington and Lee University.

It was in Lexington that he made a most poignant remark a few months before his death. “Before and during the War Between the States I was a Virginian,” he said. “After the war I became an American.”

I have been teaching college students for 30 years, and learned early in my career that the twin maladies of ignorance and misinformation are not incurable diseases. The antidote for them is simply to make a lifelong commitment to reading widely and deeply. I recommend it for anyone who would make judgment on figures from the past, including Robert E. Lee.

[Dr. Smith is co-director of the Civil War Institute at American University in Washington, D.C.]