May 2015


I went for an echocardiogram recently. It’s the kind on thing where a mom looks up to see her unborn baby in the womb, only the target was my heart.

It was wet, with lots of conductive paste across my torso. And it was done in the dark. The machine was designed for that, it looked like airplane console lights, I imagined.

And there was sound: ker-wish…ker-wish, ker-wish, ker-wish, ker-wish, her-wish. It was a funny sort of sound that had been assigned to it. The technician checked the heart and the heart rate, moving back and forth from image of the heart to amplitude, those up-and-down lines showing beats-per-minute.

We have so many emotion-charged words and phrases for the heart. The heart is fond, it is constant, it stops in our throat, the heart knows, be still, my beating heart. If it were left to language, the heart would be all over the place. It would stop, but it doesn’t.

Ker-wish, ker-wish, ker-wish, ker-wish, ker-wish…

The machine gave it a kind a kind of fiery light, clearly showing the four chambers of the heart. And it moved around quite a bit. If I took a deep breath, the image disappeared.

I began to form a different idea of my heart, one of rock-solid constancy. It was a slave, this heart of mine. It was like a man with a shovel endlessly shoveling coal into a furnace. It was never too hot. It had reserves way beyond what I imagined my limit to be. It never got tired; it never slept, even for a moment. No naps! Always pumping blood through my system.

This coal-shoveler had the musculature of a man suited to his task. He had a flat stomach and sinewy muscles. He wore a skullcap, for some reason, and had rather large hands. He paid no attention to me. To do so, he would have had to pause. And that was one thing it could not do.

My job was to go through the world, inventing all sorts of paradigms and models, traveling through time, and lighting on far galaxies. Going where no man has gone before. His job was to shovel coal, matching me stride for stride, when he speeded us, I speeded up. When I relaxed, he relaxes but kept working. Without so much as a by-your-leave, a glance my way.

Hudson Owen All Rights Reserved

I smell war in the Pacific and I smell was in the Atlantic. That’s World War, if you’re counting.

In the Far East, the Chinese are itching to fight. They have been building submarines and now outnumber the US. The Los Angeles class of submarines number 39 boats, the last of which was build in 1996, 19 years, than half the life cycle of each boat. The Navy will try and keep these boats as long as possible, maybe for another ten yours. If they can do that, they may save us. But then they will face a massive “Die off” of these boat.

We will replace 39 boats with 20 new Virginia class submarines, or less than half that class. The new boats will be 2.5 times more expensive are building them at the rate of two a year. So, how do the Chinese surpass us? Answer: they build non-nuclear Song  Class subs. Both the Russians and Chinese build both non-nuclear boats.

These quiet subs are the enemy of the carrier battle groups. They can get inside of the protective screen of destroyers and cruisers and fire away. There is no telling what as enraged congress will do to avenge these losses of super expensive carriers. They will clamor for war.

The Chinese are building us the Spratleys—a tiny island chain in the Pacific. Nonetheless, once they are build up, the Chinese can point to them and say, “Hey, you attacked our base!” They are willing to fight over crumbs.

And then there is Putin, pushing, pushing, pushing in Ukraine.

The Mediterranean is a hot bed of unrest. Of course, you can say, if this is peace, give me war. From Libya all the way to the Persion Gulf, the world is in flames, basically over that same thing, Sunni vs. Shia.   Learn that one thing and you will understand volumes. The Iranians want the loosening of sanctions on the very day they have a deal with the West. A deal that may be scrutinized by the West and rejected. That may be a tipping point. If they cannot achieve peace through negotiation, then they may show their teeth and all bets are off.

I have outlined a way to fight the Iranians in my essay The Naval Battle: What The Navy Needs to Get Right. Pull our ships out of the Persian Gulf, place then at the end of the Gulf, in the Gulf of Oman, and set up a blockade. That would be an act of war. Nonetheless, the threat of the destruction of their oil and gas industry, which is on the surface, will be the choice they will have to make: without it they will not remain a civilized state. And we can destroy them at our leisure. We have had a long time to prepare for their kind of war.

Hudson Owen All Rights Reserved