Congratulations to the US Navy! This weeks' effort to hit a defunct spy satellite was a stunning success. Obviously we don’t want a spy satellite to fail, but here is a good example of making “lemonade out of lemons”. The satellite that we hit from an Aegis Navy cruiser unfortunately had failed almost immediately after being launched in 2006. Once it was clearly not working and plummeting back to earth, the military needed to figure out how to deal with it. There were several obvious concerns: it could hit land, putting people and property in jeopardy; it was carrying toxic fuel; and it had sensitive technology on board that might survive impact.
So, our military devised a plan to shoot it with a missile interceptor – highly sophisticated missiles developed in America’s defensive anti-missile system that Ronald Reagan initiated against tremendous opposition from media and political elites. To be clear about the difficulty of this effort, the Associated Press reported that the satellite was traveling in “polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph.” And our military didn’t hit the “bus-sized” object just anywhere – initial observations strongly suggest that the Navy scored a direct hit on the hydrazine fuel tank, which was exactly where they were aiming!
Here’s a personal observation: As I listened to the Pentagon briefing this morning, I could only think that had this happened in 1960, there would have been tremendous applause, or at least appreciation, from the press corps, given the extraordinary technological accomplishment of their country. Yet, many in the room seemed almost depressed that the effort was so successful. That’s not to suggest that the media were hoping someone’s house would get smashed by a stray spy satellite. I suspect their dour attitude likely stemmed from a recognition at some level that Ronald Reagan had once again been proved right.
First he said tax cuts would stimulate the economy, and he was right. Then he said America would defeat the “evil empire” of Soviet communism, and he was right. Reagan went to Berlin and said, “Tear down this wall.” A few years later, the Berlin Wall came down, the Iron Curtain collapsed and the Soviet Union was discarded onto the ash heap of history. Ronald Reagan went over the heads of political and media elites and took his idea of a “Strategic Defense Initiative” directly to the American people. The system that Reagan envisioned, mocked by the Left at the time as “Star Wars,” and President Bush has boldly championed, is quickly becoming a reality.
The world is a very dangerous place where Holocaust-denying extremists are frantically pursuing nuclear weapons. If the United States is ever attacked by a rogue nation with nuclear and ballistic missile technology and successfully defends itself, it will be due to the vision and leadership of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, not liberal defeatists who said it couldn’t be done and who would prefer to negotiate with our enemies as moral equals.
Four SSGNs, No Waiting
The U.S. Navy has completed the conversion of the last of four Ohio class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), to cruise missile submarines (SSGN). Each of these boats now carries 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and provides space (for living, working and training) for 66 commandos (usually SEALs) and their equipment.
The idea of converting ballistic missile subs, that would have to be scrapped to fulfill disarmament agreements, has been bouncing around since the 1990s. After September 11, 2001, the idea got some traction. The navy submariners love this one, because they lost a lot of their reason for being, with the end of the Cold War. The United States had built a powerful nuclear submarine force during the Cold War, but with the rapid disappearance of the Soviet Navy in the 1990s, there was little reason to keep over a hundred U.S. nuclear subs in commission. These boats are expensive, costing over a billion each to build and over a million dollars a week to operate. The four Ohio class SSBN being converted each have at least twenty years of life left in them. The conversions weren't cheap, each one cost over $400 million.
The idea of a sub, armed with 154 highly accurate cruise missiles, and capable of rapidly traveling under water (ignoring weather, or observation) at a speed of over 1,200 kilometers a day, to a far off hot spot, had great appeal in the post-Cold War world. The ability to carry a large force of commandos as well was also appealing. The Ohio SSGNs can also carry a wide variety of electronic sensors and other data collecting gear. Thus in one sub you have your choice of hammer or scalpel. More capable cruise missiles are in the works as well. Whether or not this multi-billion dollar investment will pay off remains to be seen. But it's certainly a bold move, and the navy already knows that Tomahawks and SEALs work.
Like the SSBNs, the SSGNs will have two crews (each with 159 personnel, not including commandoes), which will switch places in the boat every 3-4 months, flying out (if need be) to wherever the boat is for the swap. The SSGNs will apparently spend most of their time on intelligence collecting missions. As such, it may be a while before you hear any details.
Coast to coast the institution of marriage is under assault once again from the radical homosexual rights lobby. In early March the California Supreme Court will hear arguments against the Golden State’s marriage law. In Maryland, pro-homosexual legislators have introduced a bill that would effectively eliminate traditional marriage in favor of domestic partnerships for everyone. A judge in New York recently issued a ruling ordering that state to recognize homosexual “marriages” performed in Canada. And in New Jersey, an attempted civil unions “compromise” has just been rejected by a commission for creating “a second-class status” for homosexuals.
But the real agenda behind the commission was laid bare with this statement: “The commission also heard testimony that the term ‘marriage,’ were it applied to the relationships of same-sex couples, would make a significant difference in providing equality to same-sex couples in New Jersey. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.” First of all, if there is any confusion about civil unions, I would respectfully point out that the general public in much of the country has been crystal clear about the idea of men “marrying” other men. But, as the commission noted, it’s not really about the rights conferred by law through civil unions -- it’s about the term “marriage” and the larger agenda of forcing the public to accept a radical notion about men and women and family that has never been embraced in all of human history. Perhaps it’s not the general public that is confused.