Do what you have to do


View 761 Friday, February 08, 2013

I have been working fairly steadily and making progress on Lucifer’s Anvil, so I was late noticing that today the KUSC (Local Good Music station) pledge drive started. Like KUSC this place operates on the Public Radio model: it’s free, but it’s supported by subscribers, and if we don’t get enough subscribers it will go away.  I am pleased to say that we get enough subscribers, but of course they have to be renewed, which means that sometimes I have to bug the readers about subscribing and renewals. I don’t do that except during the times when KUSC does pledge drives. It’s that time again. It’s time to Pay For This Place.

My interview with Leo Laporte last Wednesday

Triangulation interview. 

[Note that for the first six minutes or so of the show, there is a typo in the on-screen caption which lists your Web site URL.]



Roland Dobbins



The Los Angeles Police Department remains on tactical alert, as it would during a riot, meaning that all available officers are available at all times. The City remains in a state of siege, largely because the Christopher Dorner Manifesto – an 11 page document written by the former Naval Reserve Office and former LAPD Police Officer – in essence declares war not only on LAPD but on all law enforcement officers, and the relatives of at least some LAPD officers. He has already killed the daughter of a former LAPD captain and her fiancé, and killed and wounded other police officers not part of LAPD. He’s certainly armed and dangerous. He has also generated some sympathy among ‘the people’ but it is hard to tell how much from the news media, which alternates between exploitation and hysteria.

The manifesto itself was withdrawn from where it was posted on the Internet by a local LA radio station, but of course there have to be copies available. I didn’t look very hard. The Christian Science Monitor has this.

Meanwhile I am due to go to Boston beginning at 0 dark thirty Wednesday morning, while the biggest snowstorm in history is hitting the New England area. I am still planning on going on the theory that the storm will be over before Tuesday, but we’ll see. The airports may all be closed. They may not be. Interesting times.


This morning Rush Limbaugh was castigating President Obama for not being in the command scene during the last of the Benghazi crisis. According to Limbaugh, the President told the Secretary of Defense “Do what you have to do,” and vanished from scene.

If this is true, I would say it is to the President’s credit, and reminiscent of President Reagan who, told of the opportunity to capture a known terrorist by taking him from an EgyptAir 737 now in flight. The risks and benefits were explained. The President ordered the military to do it. When asked if he wanted to be kept up to date on the operation, he said, “Sure. Let me know when you’ve got him.” This in contrast to President Carter, who was on the phone to Colonel Beckwith at all phases of the doomed attempt to rescue the American embassy personnel held captive in Tehran. As von Moltke the elder put it after his success against the Austrians at Sadowa, his was probably the last battle in which a general did not have a telegraph wire from supreme command up his bum. That was prophetic of Carter but not always. Reagan told his people to do the job and got out of the way.

This sounds like what President Obama did. If we seek enlightenment on why so little was done after that, we have to ask the Secretary of Defense and the duty officers in command – why the President’s blank check wasn’t passed along to the theater commander. “Do what you have to do” sounds like the kind of orders that put heart in a soldier. Why didn’t Panetta call the theater commander and simply say, “The consulate is under attack. Use whatever resources you have to get the American personnel and consulate employees out of the consulate and safe house. The President says do what you have to do. I’ll get out of your way now.”

We can ask why nothing was done, but it’s hard to say the President didn’t give the right order.


It’s lunch time, and it’s snowing in Boston.


Mr. Pournelle,

Just in case no one else points this out, Dorner’s manifesto document is not 11 pages long. It is actually 22 pages, and the "media" have been conducting significant editing on the document.

If you have the 11 page version, you’re not getting the full story; presumably it will get no media play that Mr. Dorner is rabidly in favor of the Democrat party…


It’s pledge drive time. This place operates on the public radio model. It’s free to everyone but it’s supported by subscriptions. If you haven’t subscribed this would be a good time to do it, and if you haven’t renewed your subscription in a year, this would be a time to do that. You have been reminded. Subscribe or renew now.





Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.