Skip to comments.Just between you and me...
Posted on 02/21/2006 7:45:15 PM PST by pickrell
As the Battle of the Atlantic heated up, in 1944, Captain Daniel Gallery had a conference aboard the USS Guadalcanal, an escort carrier operating with Task Group 22.3 off the coast of Africa. Certain of his officers and seamen had watched a German submarine take a long time to sink, a month earlier, after they had disabled it. Looking at each other- slow smiles...and a plan... spread out. Aboard the Admiral's carrier a few weeks later, the plan got approved. Training and rehearsals began in earnest.
The survivors of the next German submarine to be forced to the surface watched in astonishment as an apparently rehearsed crew of Americans swarmed aboard the stricken vessel, closing the seacocks letting floodwater into the sub, and disabling anything which even looked like a scuttling charge. It took iron nerve in the dark, unknown enemy vessel, presumably about to explode and take its secrets to the bottom with it. After stabilizing the sub, the Guadalcanal took it in tow, and brought it back, complete with it's code books and code machine, into American possession!
Admiral Gallery no doubt expected great, and well deserved accolades for the astonishingly courageous feat his men had brought off. Instead, he nearly got relieved of command.
Now...before we immediately, and instinctively rail against the REMF's (Rarely Exercising Men of Farina), who always seem to be behind such outrages, we need to first...appreciate a few things.
One of the reasons that we had successes against the German U-Boat fleet in the Atlantic, was that we were reading their mail. One of the reasons that we were reading their mail was that we had already obtained in secret, (due to some incredible bravery on the part of our Allies), a complete coding machine, as well as cracking the code earlier. One of the reasons that this remained a secret was that the Germans, (and the Japanese), were unaware that their codes were compromised. And finally, one of the reasons that the Germans and Japanese were unaware that their codes were compromised... was that no one had publically captured an intact U-Boat. Yeah, a disaster was in the offing, all right...
Gallery had acted without orders, and very nearly destroyed the best intelligence secret we had at that time, albeit inadvertently.
Did this mean he was irresponsible or reckless? Certainly not. The initiative of the American Fighting Man has seen us through 230 years of danger to the republic. Neither he nor his men could have known. But did that lessen the danger that suddenly presented itself?
Admiral King, the Commander in Chief of the US fleet, (who had the unfortunate acronym of 'CINCUS',- a very bad joke for a navy chief, until he prudently changed it to 'COMINCH'), must have considered immediately ordering Gallery to sink the damned U-Boat and quarantine his men for the entire duration of the war. He didn't. He had enough faith in the thousands of men in the fleet that they would rather die than break faith on keeping their mouths shut. But it was a different day and time, and the idea that US Senators, Congressmen and dismissed intelligence officials would stand on foreign, as well as American, soil and offer aid to the enemy was mercifully a problem for the distant future.
Not a man whispered a word, though it meant that honors earned at such risk to their lives would only be made public years after the war ended, far past when the media, (and sadly a large part of the public), ceased to much care. It was bitter... but men understood duty and responsibility back then. They made us all proud.
They make us all proud.
Keeping a secret means that you need to continue to be noticed 'searching ineffectively around' for the answer... while being careful and obvious in the view of the enemy, that you still don't know the answer... else you wouldn't still be searching, eh? If it is noticed that you no longer search, the enemy will notice, and if he has even a few grey cells, will begin to wonder why such important information doesn't seem important to you. The key thing is to bumble about being unable to intercept the enemy's communications or pinpoint his most crucial assets.
For those who might need a picture drawn even finer, submarine codes, (like today's cellphone communications), can be changed, and WMD can be again moved.
The only thing worse than an incorrectly managed 'search' would be to publicly disclose that you already have the answer! God bless Admiral Gallery, but he very nearly put the Navy in precisely that position. It wouldn't matter that the men who knew enough to keep their mouths shut, did their duty to the last man. The whisper of one drunken seaman, within earshot of a newspaper with a powerful voice, or a radio commentator with an enormous audience, can do a lot of damage with the very best of intentions, wishing to praise the bravery of men, and rage at the seeming impotence and incompetence of other men.
I would just like to repeat that- a radio commentator with an enormous audience can do a lot of damage with the best of intentions.
Fortunately the best known, and most popular radio commentator of our time, Rush Limbaugh did not rail publically that we should tap the enemy's communications in order to gain intelligence about their next moves. I would assume that- even if he was privy to such information prior to its shameful disclosure to our enemies- he wouldn't have publicly pounded on that, any more than the radio commentators of WW2 would berate our government over the open airwaves to "get off their butts, and crack that German submarine code". Such talk can have profoundly costly consequences.
As it was, we will probably discover that the despicable act was committed, leaked most likely, by an intelligence operative, previously tossed out by Porter Goss, and certain that anything the cashiered twit could expose to the media about this 'George Bush's war', would be protected by his like-minded accomplices in the media.
As it is, Rush's comments today were addressed to the Administration's seeming lack of concern about locating the missing weapons of mass destruction that bits of publicly exposed intelligence are hinting may have been moved to Syria. It would be unfortunate if someone didn't quietly point out to him, that there may be a very good reason why we are just bumbling around, unable to find the WMD. For if we did know exactly where these weapons were ... then the best thing we could do... if we couldn't immediately invade and secure these weapons, given a lack of geopolitical mandate for such an action at this time... would be to quietly continue exactly what we are doing now, i.e. an apparent ineffective, yet plodding search, and the eventual admission of failure to find them.
If our enemies sensed that we had assets in real time watching these weapons, they might in a panic immediately move and disperse the weapons and, most dangerously, the technical information necessary to reproduce them. This could then render it impossible to pass information on to those who could make use of it-[ say, in a completely hypothetical example,- that some of these chemicals were seen to be loaded into trucks, and headed towards the border into Jordan, in an attempt to collapse the Jordanian government in a spectacular chemical attack ].
Appropos of nothing whatsoever, of course, it is fortunate that we were lucky enough that some normally bored Jordanian border guards selected several trucks a few months ago for intense inspection, out of the thousands which cross the border each day. In those trucks, they found some very real chemicals intended to kill a large number of people. It seems that a spectacular terrorist plot was thwarted by sheer luck...
We need for such luck to continue..
Certainly knowledge of the whereabouts of these technical records and the extant weapons would make a powerful political tool to beat back the outrageous charges of our collectivist media. It puts me in mind of how useful the 'Verona' intercepts would have been, (when we had tapped and were monitoring the undersea Soviet naval communications cable back in the seventies and eighties), if it had been exploited in the delinquent hands, for instance, of a self-absorbed former Arkansas governor. Priceless treasurers can be traded for the basest reasons... if the trustee is untrustworthy enough.
What many university types, who have never worn or perhaps even seen a military uniform, fail to expand their minds to realize, is that critical intelligence can prevent far more violence than it may beget. There is just no way to paint that knowledge onto a small protest poster, carried by a even smaller-minded protester.
How painfully, unbearably tempting it must have been to the actual American President, (that "yankee cowboy" so reviled by the Europeans and the American leftists in the 1980's as hallucinating about communists in the US government!), to have the very information to expose the communist enablers in the U.S. once and for all... and yet be required as an adult to put his own considerations aside and endure the slanders of the media in silence, in order to protect the flow of information which itself protected the nation. In such, we see the difference between tall men and small men.
Presidents who are made of such stuff are uncommon. In the last few decades we have seen some of the best- ones who bring a tear of pride to the eyes of even cynical old codgers.
Unfortunately, Presidents may also be the commonest, most self-serving creatures ever elected, and may hand to the communists, and other enemies of freedom, a virtual treasure trove of our precious secrets. Americans need learn finally and permanently that whomever they deliver into the Executive Office may cost them and their children more than they could possibly imagine.
But they need also learn that sometimes, a man with enough sand to quietly endure the most unseemly calumnies of the media, and pay attention only to those matters which will insure the faithful protection of the entire nation, may do the right thing as he sees it.
And he may trust that, like the quiet men of the USS Guadalcanal...
... some things are more important than other things.
And though we are a small and quiet group, here on Freerepublic, perhaps Rush will somehow...re-evaluate public calls to attention, concerning rumors of where Weapons might be...
An enabler of Communists, or a Communist who enables?
I have always thought of "_______ enabler" as referring to the latter- in that the enabler is the more dangerous effector overall (and just happens to be communist in this example).
Well said and true. From your muse to the eyes of patriots in high places...
Pickrell, that's VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING. There's nothing like a history lesson to make it real. Thank you for such an excellent post.
With all due credit to the author of course.
But for those fond of wailing over how fantastically incompetent U.S. intelligence is - remember, we only ever hear about the failures.
I didn't hear those words, so I don't know if it is truly Rush's view. Maybe it is. But Rush has talked about President Bush's ability to use misdirection against the Democrats, who by the way, want to use the issue of "no WMDs" to impeach him. And I think President Bush is fully capable of using it against the enemies of this country too. But I repeat myself.
VERY thought provoking BTTT!
Excellent, the treachry & treason of the rats to exploit the Presidents inability & integrity to not expose our intelligence capabilities to defend himself politically is beneath contempt.
In the past when the security of our country was at stake, politics were put aside ( to an extent), no longer with the scum on the left.
Cool. Capture of the U-505. I knew an older fella in the Upstate who was part of that task force. Most exciting moment of his life, I think, and a great story.
Think "Dubai" and "Ports" here.
To the left this is irrelevant. Yhis is not their country. They don't really have a country since the unpleasantness of 1989-90.
I was wondering when a thread like this would appear.
After all if we have evidence of WMD but no actual WMD the question is where are they and who controls them.
Now it would be nice to think we have them under observation.
If that is the case then there should not even be a hint of this.
If on the other hand we don't have them under observation then gentle hints that we do will.
1) Reassure the public.
2) May flush them out so we can observe where they are.
The fact that we have had gentle hints dropped around by white house and pentagon staffers lead me to believe that the latter is probably true.
Maybe after two many years in the Military and used to SNAFU I may be a little too cynical.
I know exactly what you mean. I nearly didn't post this at all, as I have refrained in quite a few other cases. But then, I have to look myself in the eye and say, "we at Freepertown aren't exactly retired army generals, stuck in front of the network cameras on the eve of the 1991 invasion to free Kuwait, and openly speculating on precisely where the spearheads will attack, and when." One can only hope that those persons don't blunder...
We are safely lost in the grass, immersed in the white noise of network chicks who, in their twenties, with decades of military experience, point out what the Marines are doing wrong. I fear, however, that Rush is in a unique category which gets noticed bigtime.
He would gladly, if I am any judge, participate in an artistically crafted campaign of disinformation if he thought it would misdirect the enemies of our country. But sometimes in the heat of another controversy, such as over our ports, I fear that undue attention may be called to areas that maybe are best left alone.
Fortunately, I am probably wrong, and only a few hundred reads will notice! And they are invariably the most loyal Americans. Americans who deserve to believe that our intelligence professionals come up with great intelligence... which is then compartmented, Gorelicked, and buried as unhelpful politically. Sorry- that was the last administration...
During the Cold war in the mid 80s my country created a new force based on the Home Guard, called the Home Defense Force.
There job if war broke out was to guard certain areas of military and economic importance freeing up regular and reserve troops.
They were all ex reservists.
I think that would be a good idea, I would join straight away.
On the other matter, if we locations under observation, its still a very risky business and do we have all of them.
Still going with my gut feeling that a pooch has been screwed to borrow A American saying.
That's a ferociously good point. And it is one I will cling to. Because the president has surrounded himself with some very competent and talented people. His place in the history books will be earned if they don't let us down.
I agree. I've been there and absolutely loved going through it. Yes, they actually bring you into the sub, to view it from inside! The only un-authentic thing is that there are no "vaporous" cheeses and sausages slung from every available cranny, to get them through the long voyage until the "milch cow" sub re-fueled, and re-supplied them!
The torpedoes still stick in my mind. They are a wee bit bigger than they were in my adolescent imagination! Anyone visiting Chicago should see that... right after they visit the Futures exchanges... and get ripped on cabfare at least once!
Thak you for your very kind comments Pickrell.
Yowza. And I don't use that word lightly.
You are now on my "regular, required reading list."
Thanks for the reply. I've recently tried color coding on my home page, to distinguish essays from satire, humor and comments. I hope you find some of them worthwhile!