Archive for the ‘military’ Category

Exploring Bermuda’s Forts

OspreyBermuda is also called the “Gibraltar of the West”. It could have once been called a Mid-Atlantic Mackinac Island, but that is one of the many changes not for the best.

it’s also another post.

Anyway, if this is your idea of a fun thing to do (it is mine). I suggest buying a copy of Osprey’s Defenses of Bermuda 1612–1995 in the Fortress series (#112), ISBN: 978-1472825964.

OK, the Bermuda Tourist authority and Historic commissions don’t have their shit together when it comes down to good guides for this. On the other hand, this is an excellent guide which will prevent you from trying to find Forts Albert and Victoria: even though they are on the tourist map. It doesn’t tell you that Fort St. Catherine (the one on the front cover) has been wrecked by development.IMG_7472

You can get what looks like a pristine beach without the future St. Regis residential hotel by using a telephoto. On the other hand, the development of St. Catherine’s Beach caused a shit storm for quite a few reasons (first off, it was a public beach).

Well, they can’t ruin the view looking out to sea. Or maybe they can…

Likewise, Forts Albert and Victoria were trashed by development, but good luck finding that information anywhere besides the Osprey book. I was able to put together the pieces to learn that Fort Scaur was the one I wanted to explore when I was a kid.


This picture was taken through the fence using the zoom

One major problem with exploring the forts is that Bermuda isn’t really good at preserving its history, as my previous points have shown. The Dockyard is now a tourist trap. They development folk also neglect it was home to Casemate’s prison, which is a whole separate topic.

And probably one most Bermudians don’t want to discuss.

Fort George has a really great view, but it is the Bermuda maritime Operations Centre. You can go there, but not much history or much to see besides the view.

Also, not all these forts are accessible when they still exist. The ones on the islands in St. Davids are on private proerty, which hasn’t really stopped anybody from visiting them.  It also takes some coordination trying to visit the Forts (e.g., you need to make an appointment to see the Martello Towers, which aren’t really restored).

Forts Victoria and Albert became inaccessible to general public after the demolition of Club Med Hotel in 2008, which was located in the same area.  Fort Victoria, which was once one of the finest forts is Bermuda, had been badly damaged from the demolition. Not that having a hotel built around it didn’t do enough damage. A new hotel complex is planned to be built on their site, although the UNESCO world heritage designation of St. George may result in the Forts being somewhat restored.

I’m not holding my breath given the development of St. Catherine’s Beach.

At this point, the Osprey book is the best guidebook around. For that matter: it’s probably the only guidebook around on the topic. Britain’s Island Fortresses: Defence of the Empire 1796-1956 sounds interesting, but it deals with the Fortresses worldwide. The Bermuda Maritime Museum also publishes Bermuda Forts 1612-1957 (ISBN: 978-0921560111), which is the authority on this subject, but a little large for carrying around with you.

On the other hand, this book is very comprehensive and thorough. Like visiting Bermuda, Osprey books were a staple of my youth. Unlike Bermuda, Osprey has only gotten better. This is pretty much the type of information you’ll get on the Island.

Bermuda now has cars. Way too many of the things for a small island.

Buy your copy before you leave since it will cost you (at least) twice the price if you get it in Bermuda. There are a couple of book stores in Hamilton that might have this title (Browns).

Well, you are on an Island in the Atlantic…

See Also:

The Kobayashi Maru Test and Military Honour

Someone just told me about the Kobayashi Maru Test from the Star Trek Series. Since I am not a trekkie, I may as well rip off the Wikipedia article’s description of the test:

The Kobayashi Maru is a test in the fictional universe of Star Trek. It is a Starfleet training exercise designed to test the character of cadets in the command track at Starfleet Academy. The Kobayashi Maru test was first depicted in the opening scene of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and also appears in the 2009 film Star Trek. The test’s name is occasionally used among Star Trek fans or those familiar with the series to describe a no-win scenario.

Rescuing the civilian vessel Kobayashi Maru is the notional primary goal in a simulated battle with the Klingons. The ship is disabled and the approaching cadet crew must decide whether or not to attempt rescue of the Kobayashi Maru crew – potentially endangering their own ship and lives – or leave the Kobayashi Maru to certain destruction. The difficult decision to assist the Kobayashi Maru revolves around the issue of the disabled ship’s location being in the Klingon Neutral Zone, as entering the zone would be in violation of the Organian Peace Treaty.

While I am not a trekkie, I am a former military officer, which takes me to the next part of the story about test:

This man will kick the arse of anyone who cheated at a Military Academy.

James T. Kirk took the test three times while at Starfleet Academy. Prior to his third attempt, Kirk surreptitiously reprogrammed the simulator so that it was possible to rescue the freighter. This fact finally comes out in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as Kirk, Saavik and others appear marooned, near death. Saavik’s response is, “Then you never faced that situation. Faced death.” Kirk replies, “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.” Despite having cheated, Kirk had been awarded a commendation for “original thinking.”

Now, I know this is the movies, which is why the coming rant may seem odd.

In reality, Kirk would have been tossed out of the Academy on his arse for having cheated. If he did end up on a starship, he would more likely be a messmate with Lister and Rimmer on the Red Dwarf. This comes from Ethics and the Military:

He has integrity if his interest in the good of the Service is at all times greater than his personal pride, and when he holds himself to the same line of duty when unobserved as he would follow if all of his superiors were present.

Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall, The Armed Forces Officer, 1950

The concepts of honor and integrity are reflected in the statement of core values of the armed services and provide the underpinnings of the military way of life. The occasional perception of misconduct among military personnel challenges the notion that the military holds itself to high ethical standards. In an effort to respond to media criticism and with an eye toward implementing a continuing process of self-examination, military writers, theorists, and professionals discuss ways in which the military can ensure that personnel adhere to high standards of accountability. Those standards are exemplified in behavior in everyday life as well as under the stress of combat. They are reflected in the military mind-set –the ways in which personnel not only relate to one another, but, also, in the manner in which they contribute to the decision making process, exercise leadership roles, and interpret significant and timely world events. Concerns range from an examination of honor codes at the service academies to consideration of more cosmic matters such as nuclear deterrence, the use of biological and chemical warfare, the development of just war doctrine, and the ethics of intervention. The Gulf War and recent peacekeeping initiatives did much to stimulate debate and discussion on a host of issues relating to ethical dilemmas and the ethical climate of the armed forces.

In other words, the military sets high standards for ethics. The US Military Academies have Honour Codes and I am going to take from the USMA’s code the example of cheating:

CHEATING: A violation of cheating would occur if a Cadet fraudulently acted out of self-interest or assisted another to do so with the intent to gain or to give an unfair advantage. Cheating includes such acts as plagiarism (presenting someone else’s ideas, words, data, or work as one’s own without documentation), misrepresentation (failing to document the assistance of another in the preparation, revision, or proofreading of an assignment), and using unauthorized notes.

Three rules of thumb from the USMA’s Honour Code are:

1. Does this action attempt to deceive anyone or allow anyone to be deceived?
2. Does this action gain or allow gain of a privilege or advantage to which I or someone else would not otherwise be entitled?
3. Would I be unsatisfied by the outcome if I were on the receiving end of this action?

I think that Kirk’s actions fit quite well into rule (2).

So, rather than being a top Star Fleet commander who was awarded a commendation for “original thinking”, Kirk would have been disgraced by his actions in the real world. Even if the Academy tolerated his actions, I have serious doubts that the other cadets and officers would have.

But, it’s just a movie.

Who the Fuck is stopping James A. D’Cruz from joining the National Guard?

I want to say that I fully support James A. D’Cruz’s Second Amendment rights, I understand he is an 18 year old male who was in JROTC and he should be able to directly enlist in the Texas National Guard, which is the Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia, if he is healthy enough to pass a military physical. The Second Amendment says either:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Another version is found in the copies distributed to the states, and then ratified by them, which had this capitalization and punctuation:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Nowhere do I see anything that states he can own a firearm outside of the well regulated militia, that is one which has been organised under the militia clauses of the Constitution, which are found in Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16:

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Which takes us back to my question: Who the Fuck is stopping James A. D’Cruz from joining the National Guard?

Now, I do have to admit he is the perfect test case for the rule that one needs to serve in the US Army prior to being eligible for National Guard service, which is a violation of his Second Amendment right to be a part of an Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia. On the other hand, D’Cruz doesn’t want to be a part of the military–he wants guns for some personal purpose as Josh Horwitz and others have pointed out.

D’Cruz WANTS to go into combat, which is why he should be allowed to join the militia. Although, since the militia is primarily a defence force, shouldn’t he want to be a part of the US Army? Of course, the Army isn’t covered by the Second Amendment–it’s the militia, which reading the primary sources and Anglo-American history shows to be true: Standing Armies are what tyrants set up when they want to destroy the militia. D’Cruz wants to assert his Second Amendment right, but that right is to bear arms as a member of an Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia. So, he can join the US Army, but that has no bearing on the Second Amendment. So, D’Cruz NEEDS to join the Texas National Guard if he wants to exercise his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

By the way, if an armed band is not organised pursuant to Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16, it’s not a constitutional Militia.

As General Wesley Clark said: “I have got 20 some odd guns in the house. I like to hunt. I have grown up with guns all my life, but people who like assault weapons should join the United States Army, we have them.”

D’Cruz can join the National Guard if he wants to be around weapons. Let some drill sergeant kick his arse into shape. I support his right wholeheartedly if that is what he wants to do.

Otherwise, he can go fuck himself. The Second Amendment doesn’t apply to non-Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia purposes.

Still, he can join the Army, which is what he SHOULD be doing. Shut up, Asshole, and just do it rather than run off at the mouth. Go to your recruiting office and ENLIST!

Militia Training Day

These are both of the paintings I mentioned in my The Second Amendment in Art! post. The first is:

Militia Training by James G. Clonney (1812 – 1867). This is the painting found at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Charles Henry Granger’s Muster Day is in the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

Charles Henry Granger’s Muster Day

British Army recruiting material misleading youths.

A week ago there was an article in The Independent and a few other British Papers about how the British Army glamourises war in its recruiting materials. The article states that “The advertising campaigns used by the Ministry of Defence “glamorise warfare, omit vital information and fail to point out the risks and responsibilities associated with a forces career”, says the study.” That’s sort of amusing to me since I remember ads that were pretty realistic as to what I would end up doing once I became commissioned. Although, I do have to admit that this clip from the Beatles’ movie help was an influence as well.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched TV or gone to the movies that the military aids in production, especially if it can be shown in a good light. I wonder how much help the TV program “Soldier, Soldier” had. And I know that the British Army helped in the recent remake (?) of Red Cap with Tamzin Outhwaite. Ms. Outhwaite actually received training at The British Army’s Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre in Chilwell, Nottingham.

On the other hand, the military is supposed to be targeting children as young as seven. I would like to point out as well that the UK is the only EU state to recruit people aged 16. Well, I guess that’s fair since 16 year olds can have sex and legally drink in the UK. I mean you can serve in the military and vote in the States, but can’t drink. How fair is that?

Needless to say, I am kind of amused by this news, especially the quote from one Article that the hardest thing one recruit had to do was “learn how to ride a horse”. Must have been joining the horse guards (or a cavalry unit). In case you didn’t know there are two segments of the British Army that requires and additional 6 months of training before a recruit is selected: the paras and the guards. Seriously, the guards have to learn how to polish all that metalwork and the other ceremonial trappings.

Oh, well, I always said the military was like the Boy Scouts except they give you guns. Actually that statement really is not too far off since Baden-Powell designed scouting to indoctrinate young men into the military life style.

So, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that the military is glamourised. Especially now that the Iraq war is as unpopular as it is and it is hard for any military to find people crazy enough to want to be soldiers.

Posted 14/01/2008 by lacithedog in military, military recruiting, peace, war