It’s amazing what useful military information a nation can learn for the expenditure of a little aviation fuel. Fox News reports:
Russian defense officials Thursday rejected U.S. criticism of two Russian pilots who buzzed an American guided-missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea earlier this week.
A defense official told Fox News that two Russian Su-24 attack aircraft approached the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) at an ‘unsafe’ speed and altitude as a helicopter was taking off from the flight deck. The jets came within 1,000 yards of the destroyer in their initial encounter Monday. The following day, a Russian jet came within just feet of the destroyer.
‘As a safety precaution, flight operations were suspended until the Su-24s departed the area,’ said the U.S. European Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in that area.
Isn’t that nice, neutral language? Other reports have made clear the Russian jets were flying multiple passes—as many as 20—in an attack profile. The helicopter was a Polish aircraft. The Donald Cook has been harassed by Russian aircraft in the recent past as well.
A spokesman for the Russian defense ministry said on Thursday that the pilots of Russian Su-24 jets saw the ship and turned back ‘while using all measures of precaution.’
Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said he was baffled by what he described as the ‘distressed reaction of our American counterparts.
Isn’t that sweet? General Konashenkov could have easily earned a spokesperson’s berth in the Clinton State Department or Mr. Obama’s press shop.
The U.S. European Command statement said Wednesday that officials are using diplomatic channels to address the matter.
I’m sure they are, leading from behind as always with patented “smart diplomacy.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin is symbolically kicking sand in America’s face, but it is far more serious, and potentially deadly, than that. He is using venerable Cold War tactics: pushing and probing to see what he can get away with, and everything he gets away with now inevitably leads to escalation later.
America’s enemies fear our military might, but do not fear Barack Obama or anyone like him. However, many of them are preparing for war with America, which they see as inevitable. How do we know? Witness China’s military buildup, and Iran’s military buildup and it’s actual statements that it is preparing for war with America.
Iran is preparing for an all-out war with the US, said Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari on Tuesday at a gathering of senior IRGC commanders in Tehran.
Jafari said that Iran’s long-term military plan has been shaped by anticipation of a future war with America in which Iran would be the ‘decisive victors’. ‘For years, we have been building power on the presumption of a widespread war with the US and its allies, and have developed all our capacities and capabilities for decisive victories over such enemies,’ he said, Tasnim News reported.
Why did the Captain of the USS Donald Cook apparently do nothing? Oh, he didn’t do nothing, he just didn’t do what any rational commander of a warship should have done. Certainly the Donald Cook had the Russian planes on radar—many times. They may even have locked missile radars on those planes. The Russian pilots would have known precisely which kind of radars were locked on their planes and when, but they also knew those radar warning signals they were receiving meant nothing. There was no way an American warship would ever fire on them no matter what they did. But wait! Secretary of State John Kerry said they could:
We condemn this kind of behavior. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down,’ Kerry told CNN Espanol in Miami Thursday.
In all cases, a military commander has the authority to defend his or her ship, plane or other unit. The commander is expected to use his or her best judgment under the circumstances to determine whether the ship faces an imminent threat.
‘People need to understand that this is serious business and the United States is not going to be intimidated on the high seas,” Kerry added. “We are communicating to the Russians how dangerous this is and our hope is that this will never be repeated.
Because America has a coward and fool as a Commander in Chief. A man that hates America and its people and military, and apologizes for them whenever he has the chance, just as he is now preparing to apologize for stopping the worst tyrannies in WWII and saving millions of lives. He sets the rules of engagement that prevent the commanders of our warships from protecting their vessels and crews. It may be true that commanders have rules of engagement that allow them to protect their ships and crews—that’s naval tradition—at least on paper.
The problem is that every commander in the Navy, in all our armed forces, understands that the National Command Authority is far more concerned with social engineering than preserving the lives of American servicemen. If the Captain of the Donald Cook fired, he could not have expected John Kerry, or any other Administration minion, to have done anything but vigorously nod as Mr. Obama deep sixed his career. Rules of engagement on paper are one thing, being certain of the prevailing political winds is quite another.
The inherent danger of such confrontations is why we have an agreement with Russia that no hopped up fighter jocks will take such provocative actions. Of course, with Russia, it’s a matter of national policy to buzz American warships.
Some have suggested that the Russian warplanes were not carrying weapons. Notice in the photo of one of the SU-24 bombers that accompanies this article that the jet was carrying what appear to be large fuel tanks under its wings. At the speed at which such aircraft fly, being able to tell with certainty whether those missile shaped article were fuel tanks, missiles or bombs—the SU-24 carries all of these types–far enough away to be certain they represented no threat is impossible. At jet speeds, things happen fast, too fast for effective defense unless one is ready and able to employ it. In addition, warplanes carry internal, high-speed cannons that can do enormous damage to a destroyer, even sink one, even if they carry no obviously visible external ordinance. The SU-24 can carry three 23mm cannon pods. Some of the most famous gun camera footage of WWII is that from a Mustang that destroyed a German destroyer with machinegun fire alone. Many bombers also carry weapons in internal bays, weapons not visible to an observer.
When a hostile fighter runs an attack profile on an American warship—and this applies to the warships of any nation—the Captain should try to warn them off via radio. If they do not stop, he should, after confirming it is a hostile warplane, blast them out of the sky before they can damage or sink his ship, before they can wound or kill his crew. This is particularly vital and serious circa 2016, considering the accuracy and power of contemporary weapons. A single hit can sink a destroyer. No competent captain can allow any adversary to get in the first blow.
Unfortunately, we have a CIC who cares nothing for the lives of American sailors, or Americans in general. Remember his comment that America can “absorb” another 9-11-like attack? No doubt some will remark that America is strong enough to absorb attacks, but before they feel too smug, they might pause to ponder if they are willing to expend their spouses, sons, daughter, relatives and friends as absorption fodder for Leftist ideology? How many lives of those they love are they willing sacrifice so Barack Obama can avoid acting as America’s president and bathe in leftist adulation?
Barack Obama’s micromanaged rules of engagement, or commander’s knowledge of unspoken rules of engagement, all but ensure that we will lose ships and the sailors that man them, if not now, certainly when any enemy decides to strike against us. Our ships, conditioned to do nothing but photography when under potential attack, will be sitting ducks, giving our enemies the first attack run, unable to do more than to trigger camera shutters.
If our enemies didn’t know that without any doubt before (they may have surmised it from the intelligence they gathered in hacking Hillary Clinton’s server), they do now. It’s going to cost American lives, not that Barack Obama cares about that either. After all, his legacy as a Nobel Peace Prize winner is at stake.