|Yes! Watch the posts over a period of time and
see if you don't agree that his posts are almost identical in
writing style to the books. However, note that one particularly
despicable human by the name of "Adam Yoshida" attempted to post
a fake Tom Clancy message claiming the new book would be called
"Upon the Field of Battle". That was most assuredly not Mr.
Tom Clancy sometimes reads these newsgroups and will respond
to some questions and will sometimes post to clarify some points
in the various discussions. His participation is at his
discretion and is obviously limited by his various other
activities. His postings have been informative, interesting,
polite and fun. The readers of these newsgroups value and enjoy
his participation and appreciate whatever time he can give.
Following pages are selected quotations from the
alt.books.tom-clancy newsgroup. I chose the posts that Mr.
Clancy made which were opinion and explanatory in orientation.
He has posted many more messages but they were not all overly
significant. Many of these are very similar to editorial pieces
or are history lessons, in essence. He had posted 685 times to
the newsgroups through November 7, 2004.
Subject: Re: How does TC plan his books?
Date: 1994-09-05 15:26:33 PST
English teachers in high school tell students that every word in
a book or poem is there for a specific reason. When I started
writing I realized they were right. I don't do random things.
Even when I do not consciously know it, everything has a reason.
If you think that is surprising to you, you guys ought to see it
from my side.
Subject: Re: Playboy interview of Clancy
Date: 1994-09-07 05:11:22 PST
That Playboy interview was conducted more professionally than
any interview I have ever had. However odd that may sound, the
interviewer and his staff were wonderfully thorough. I was in no
way embarrassed by being in Playboy (I mean, Jimmy Carter was
there, too, right?), and a careful reading of the text will show
that I predicted (this was done in 1987) that Mikhail
Sergeyevich Gorbachev was for-real. Re-read it and see for
1. You put a lot of yourself in your characters, and it is
safe to assume that Jack has a lot of me in him.
2. I disagree strongly with this one. My villains are tough
SOBs. In Red Storn Rising General Alekseyev is a sufficiently
good pro that a Russian flag officer (who got the book during
START negotiations in 1986) said he was an ideal Russian general
(I am very popular in the Russian military; go figure). In
Patriot Games the FBI acknowledges that the Irish terrorists are
the worl'd best (the Bureau really does say that). The Soviet
antagonists in Cardinal are very clever KGB guys (ask our
counter-intelligence people and they will tell you that KGB is
the class of the world); and Colonel Bondarenko at the "Bright
Star" complex fends off a savage guerilla attack. In CPD, Felix
Cortez is my best-ever villain--I had a lot of fun with that
guy; my personal Iago. In Sum the baddies were smart and
dedicated. In Without Remorse they were for the most part
criminals; who are, after all, criminals. Smart people who want
to steal go to law school, as Mario Puzo tells us. And in the
new one, the bad guys are also pretty smart. But Ryan is
smarter. Of course.
3. Well, Jack went to Boston College, a pretty good school.
Clark never attended college at all. Ding is metriculating at
George Mason. Jonesy probably returned to CalTech for his PhD.
U. Texas shows up. I regret not having used Slippery Rock in
Pennsylvania. Maybe I'll change that, since two of my FBI
friends graduated from the rock.
I hope that clarifies a few things.
Subject: Ryan and Knighthood
Date: 1994-09-08 00:58:30 PST
The U.S. Constitution prohibits nobel orders. But the Brits love
to give them out. It is an institutional way for their culture
to recognize and reward outstanding public service. This
probably would not work in our culture, but the idea is not
entirely without merit. Other countries have similar procedures,
by the way. The British ones are merely those most familiar to
Generals Dwight David Eisenhower, Omat Bradley, George
Patton, and probably others were installed in the Most Noble
Order of the Bath. (Exactly what this meant originally--handing
the King his rubber ducky?—I do not know, but it seems to be one
of the oldest and most honorable orders.) Ike later became
president. Other recent recipients of this order were Cap
Weinberger and Ronald Reagan. A problem?
Actually not. For cosmetic purposes, the awards made to
Americans are technically considered honorary, and this is made
clear in "Patriot Games." The appellation "Sir John" is only
made by friends in private or by enemies who stress the irony of
it. For American purposes, it has no legal standing.
Subject: Women Main Characters
Date: 1994-09-08 02:53:19 PST
I will never do a female main character. Why? It think it would
be an impertinence. I am not, have never been, and am unlikely
ever to become a woman. I have been married long enough to know
that it is difficult for men and women to understand one
another, one class being from Mars, and the other from Venus; or
whatever other explanation one might pick. Perhaps God, in His
wisdom, merely has a great sense of humor.
But male and female writers tend to portray the other sex not
necessarily as real but as *perceived*, which is not quite the
same thing. The reason we get away with that is that it's clear
that we all write from a gender-specific perspective. To branch
out, as it were, is a trap I do not wish to fall into. I doubt
that I could do it well, and as Marko Aleksandrovich Ramius says
in "Hunt," "It is a wise man who knows his limitations."
On the other hand, I try to depict my female characters
fairly. Cathy Ryan, it turns out, is accidentally based on a
real doc at Hopkins, the daughter of a world-famous surgeon, and
herself the world authority in her area of specialty. (This is
quite a joke at Johns Hopkins, it turns out--and was quite a
joke on me when I met her!) A brilliant clinical physician, and
a dazzling research scientist. Also better-looking than Anne
Archer. Guys, everything said in this paragraph is true. Fiction
simply cannot keep up with reality.
I get hammered for having bad-guy female characters (not
many, but I pay for every one). I cite the words of Godfrey
Cambridge, a black comedian and actor from the 1960s: "We won't
be equal on the screen until a black actor can play a villain."
(Which he did in an "I, Spy" episode.) Liz Elliot was a nasty
person, but she was handled by another lady--in a way that no
man would dare to do.
Subject: Re: Navy downsizing per TC
Date: 1994-09-08 20:26:01 PST
As myself a devotee of J. S. Bach rather than Elvis, and of "I,
Claudius" rather than "Dallas," permit me to observe that
cultural imperialism is at best a misnomer, and at worst yet
another case of thet favorite activity of the American political
left--self-hatred. If American "art" spreads aboard (my books
sell rather well over there, by the way) it is because people
free choose to support it, not because nasty imperialist
American impose it on others.
I visited England for the first time immediately after the
Libyan bombing mission. I asked virtually everyone I met for an
opinion, and the replies were uniformly as follows: "Do it right
the next time. If you're going to bomb the bahstahd [the Brits
give that word such dignity!], finish the job." Which struck me
as entirely sensible, and which is why the French did not allow
us to overfly their country." Brits DO complain about the
seemingly absurd barriers we place at out borders, but the truth
of the matter is that any American who's reentered our country
can testify that the federal agencies involved treat everyone
poorly. I was astounded how easy it was to enter U.K. at
By the way, if people dislike our government so much, why do
so many line up to become citizens.
Humorous note, the Chief Yeoman Warder of H. M. Tower of
London used to be a guy named Denis Harding. The uniforms they
wear are marked E II R (meaning Elizabeth II, Queen). When
President Ronald Reagan was at the Tower in 1983 or so, and
Denis was taking him around, President Ron asked what it meant.
Denis' reply: "Elect Reagan Twice!"
Subject: Re: Clancy is unrealisitic.
Date: 1994-09-10 08:10:07 PST
about weapons and reliability. Clancy replied as follows:
I've dealt with a lot of this. In Red Storm Rising I
down-rated everything between 50% and 75% from contractor specs.
During Desert Storm weapons in nearly every case exceeded those
same specifications, and it go to the point that the
anti-defense media took to using single failures of systems
(e.g., a smart bomb that missed a power station by 50 meters) as
a negative example. On the other side of that coin, a General
friend who was a corps commander over there lost a total of 49
troops in combat operations and over drinks wonders quietly what
he did wrong. This speaks well for my friend.
The plain truth is that American combat systems performed
astoundingly well in Desert Storm (note, a very different
physical environment from the Central Europe mission for which
they were designed--tanks HATE sand, for example; most machines
do; Patriot was NOT designed to shoot misiles down). My books
actually down-rate expected weapons performance; this is most
easily found in air-to-air missile hits. Check the numbers.
Subject: Re: Titan II Explosion (was:Continuing Threat from
Date: 1994-09-10 08:25:10 PST
on Nuclear warheads and safety. Clancy replies as follows:
Most US weapons have gadgets called PALs (permissable action
links). These are HIGHLY sophisticated little beasts that are
part of the arming sequence, and are also anti-tamper devices.
How good are they? Well, in the 1970s we **GAVE** PALs to the
Russians because we wanted to be certain that their weapons were
as safe as ours. How do they work? That's is closely guarded
informaton. A chap in the system once observed that anyone who
attempts to dismantel a US warhead without official permission
had better be very smart and very lucky. I have personal
knowledge that a professional magician of some note has a "Q"
clearance, which is for nuclear material. He didn't tell me why
he had it, but then I figured it out. He's part of the B-team
that checks on the effectiveness of such systems.
Giving PAL technology to the Sovs back in the 1970s was one
of the most intelligent things our country has ever done. I
guess somebody had a bad day.
One more tidbit. Sometime in the late 1960s a routine
maintenance check showed that "organic material" (probably
chemical explosives) in a SLBM warhead had deteriorated, and
that as a result an entire class of warheads was unreliable--i.e.,
would not detonate. For some time more than half our missile-sub
fleet was carrying duds, a problem that required literally years
to fix. The parameters of the problem are interesting: do you
recall all your boats, pop the covers, pull the buses, and strip
all the RVs? Nah, then the Russians would take note and find
out. Or do you let the boats sail as though nothing were amiss?
We opted for Plan B.
Subject: Re: DoH Problems?
Date: 1994-09-13 07:37:14 PST
Responding to Mike Person's critique.
What you say has validity. While it is not unknown for
operations to be run directly out of the White House, in this
case it was just a matter of clarity and de-complexity. You have
to keep your characters down to a managable number. No novel can
portray the complexity of real events with total fidelity. We'd
cut down every pine tree in the country, and then the Sierra
Club would put a contract out on all writers.
Subject: Treatment of Friendly Nations
Date: 1994-09-14 02:01:24 PST
On the debate about using UK air bases to bomb Libya.
Very simple principle: You treat allies like allies, not like
vassals. It's a difference between how we treated our friends as
opposed to how the USSR treated its. It worked out better for
Subject: Re: Detail Mistakes
Date: 1994-09-19 02:47:13 PST
Responding to comments of carrier speed.
USS Enterprise was our first nuclear-powered flattop. Since
up until that point carriers generally had eight (8) boilers, it
was decided to give her eight (8) pressurised light-water
reactors. The ship's total horsepower is classified--I figure
350-400,000 SHP is a fairly good number--but the following comes
from a former ChEng (chief engineer) on another carrier:
One Enterprise skipper decided to see how fast the ship would
go. (NOTE: Big-E since trials had had the reputation of a ship
that routinely outruns her escorts; that got her killed in one
PacFlt exercise I know about—the simulated enemy ship was an old
destroyer with torpedos aboard.) When they reached 41% total
theoretical power, a safety casing was blown off of one of the
HP turbines! Enterprise is, therefore, probably the most grossly
over-powered ship ever built. The nuclear cruisers made to
escort her are also capable of 40+ knots, depending on the
propellers bolted onto the tailshafts. Propellers can be
optimized for speed or for noise-reduction. The former are
The tactical advantage of speed is more than just outrunning
a torpedo (which is important; the geometry of hitting a
fast-moving ship with a fish is rather like what you get firing
a missile at an aircraft, which is rather baroque stuff). By
moving rapidly you can evade satellites (which move on
predictable flight-paths; something the Navy regularly
practices) and also force prowling submarine to move very
rapidly to reach a launch point for missiles or torpedos. If you
make a sub move quickly, you force him to become unstealthy--do
remember that SOSUS has the oceans of the world wired like a
pinball machine. Most discussion on the effectiveness of subs as
carrier-killers blithely assumes that they will be in the right
place and get off a launch. Examination of WW2 operations (e.g.
"The Hunt for the Wounded Bear," efforts to intercept the
Japanese carrier Shokaku which was returning home after battle
damage in the Coral Sea) shows that the hard part is getting
close enough for a shot. Despite excellent signals intelligence,
upwards of six (6) subs failed to get a shot off, though all
spotted the carrier. The principle still holds. Submarines are
stealthy when they go slowly. When they go to max speed, they
become noisy. A fast-moving carrier battlegroup would,
therefore, force submarines to maneuver for intercepts; the
noise generated would probably be detected by SOSUS, allowing
prosecution by land- and sea-based ASW aircraft.
The "operational art" of carrier operations is a lot more
complex than people realize. The carrier is still queen of the
sea, and likely to remain so. Submarines are her deadliest
enemy, but the tactical balance is a lot closer than some
commentators would have you believe.
Subject: Re: Flash unit in Debt of Honor
Date: 1994-10-04 05:50:33 PST
Clancy replies as follows:
The light is real. I've used it. The gadget has a very well
machine reflector and at a range on one mile throws a beam about
44 feet across. It's powerful as hell and has to be UV shielded
to prevent permanent harm to the victim. his light might well be
the ideal home-defense weapon since it incapacitates without
doing lethal damage.
The inventors told me that it incapacitates, and I called
Johns Hopkins Medical School to find out why this would be so. I
talked to the head of the Wilmer Ophthomological Institute, who
handed me off to a neuro-opthomologist (I didn't know there was
such a sub-specialty), who confirmed that a light of that power
would have the effect of overloading the trigeminal (sp?) nerve,
just as I wrote it.
I wasn't kidding, guys.
Subject: Re: "Final Countdown"
Date: 1994-10-25 06:37:04 PST
The first semi-conductor was the germanium rectifier,
1920, and used in radios for over a generation before its
importance was fully realized. The guy who invented the
transistor remarked later that it amazed him that the rectifier
principle wasn't picked up sooner.
Also on the issue of technology transfer transfer from NIMITZ
(WHY did I EVER start this line of "reasoning"?), consider first
of all that the ship will have a comprehensive medical library
(fantastic implications for the 1940 world), and a fairly decent
general-use library in which will be all manner of information.
Finally, the one thing you guys have NOT considered (rather
amazingly, given the character of this rather bright group) is
in the 6,000-man crew. How many of those people will have all
manner of useful knowledge that can be transferred at once to
any one of hundreds of fields?
A final comment. Don't ever assume that people today are
smarter than people of another time simply because they know
more. Intelligence is the ability to process and act upon
information. Given access to the information we have today, a
1940s physician, engineer, research scientist would take off in
a matter of weeks. As Einstein put it, we see so far today
because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Given a
data-ladder, those giants of old would have done quite well,
Subject: Re: Third World War
Date: 1994-10-25 07:01:55 PST
ClANCY RESPONDS TO THE HACKETT REFERENCES:
"The Third World War" was in some ways the inspiration for
"Red Storm Rising," mainly because Sir John handled the naval
aspects of the war poorly. Larry Bond and I thought we could do
better, and so we gave it a whack.
This is not to be taken as a knock on Sir John Hackett. He's
a truly extraordinary gent. A soldier of great distinction. Left
the British Army over a question of integrity and principle to
become Professor of the Classics at London University (I have to
say it--only a Brit could do that!). Wrote a couple of very
interesting and thoughtful books that had a hell of an influence
on NATO policy. I've never met the guy. My friend Harry Coyle
has, and reports that he's everything one could expect and more.
I'd love to hoist a beer with this guy.
Subject: Re: DoH - Loose Ends?
Date: 1994-10-25 07:02:31 PST
The "Patriot Games" MS [manuscript] was completed on
I did some work on PG earlier. Similar work was done on
"Without Remorse" back to 1971, and "The Sum of All Fears" back
around 1978. My books have been published in order of their
Subject: Re: Battleship Protection, Additional
Date: 1994-10-25 07:13:42 PST
Bismarck vs Hood, Clancy responds:
The precise cause of HMS Hood's demise remains open to
debate. One theory that makes sense in context is that the ship
actually died as a secondary result of fire. An early hit
started a fire in what was called a UP (unrotating projectiles)
mount. These were anti-aircraft rockets--an idea that didn't
work. The fire was supposed to have communicated downward to the
UP magazine or through another opening into a main- or
secondary-battery magazine. This is plausible since the Royal
Navy has a history of poor damage-control prodecures and
training; also since such events are decidedly not uncommon in
naval history. The poor performance of Bismarck's shells against
Prince of Wales is well documented. Hood, moreover, was a 1918
(or so) design with poor protection against plunging fire, and,
by the way, primitive fire-isolation protection.
In fairness to the RN, the USN learned this lesson the hard
war as well. USS Lexington and Wasp were lost mainly to fire (as
opposed to battle damage per se) both at times when the loss of
a carrier was not something our Navy could afford; as a result
of which the USN has been truly fanatical about damage-control
and fire-fighting ever since, viz., the survival of the
FFG-7-class frigates STARK and ROBERTS in the Persian Gulf; both
ships took damage which ought to have been fatal; ROBERTS had
her keel snapped. This is one more area in with the United
States Navy is the world leader.
Subject: Re: Violence and Clancy's books
Date: 1994-10-25 07:35:41 PST
Clancy responds to posts on violence:
For those who wonder if art promoted violence, I suggest a
review of the fairy tales and songs we all heard from our
parents as tykes.
Rock-a-Bye Baby. Abused and neglected child sustains a fatal
fall from his treetop sleping quarters, small body further
crushed by falling cradle. Parents successfully prosecuted for
Hansel and Gretel murder ugly female recluse in a
particularly grisly manner--possibly Hitler's inspiration for
his vile deeds?
Little Red Riding Hood--more false anti-wolf propaganda,
probably sponsored by cattle and sheep lobbies.
Blaming the arts for the violence in our society is about as
sensible as blaming doctors for cancer.
Subject: Re: Patriot Games; factual error re PSF
Date: 1994-10-25 07:52:43 PST
Clancy speaks on the Provisional Wing of the Irish Republican
The PIRA always has been a Marxist organization. To call it
Catholic is something which I take as a serious insult. The same
feelings are shared by the Catholic Church in Ireland. Moreover,
the PIRA is cordially detested by the government of the Republic
of Ireland. Why? Because the PIRA's historic stance is that it
also has the right and duty to overthrow that government as
This has changed somewhat over the years.
The PIRA and its "Protestant" counterpart, the UVF, have
mutated into what are essentially organized-crime networks. They
raise money by the old protection racket and by shadow-sponsored
drinking clubs. Interestingly, the PIRA and UVF members have
trained side-by-side at the same terrorist camps in the Bekaa
Valley of Lebanon, where they get along just fine. They also get
along fine in prison. On the streets of Ulster it's a somewhat
different story, but that, as Puzo says, is "just business." The
PIRA and UVF have for years shared intelligence information on
police operations. This, people, is hard information from highly
I admit this sounds quite bizarre, but that's reality for
The PIRA is composed of roughly 500 members. 50 of those are
shooters. The rest are spear-carriers of one sort or another.
They're superbly organized along cellular lines (a system
invented by the old Bolsheviks) and are highly motivated. The
FBI calls the PIRA the best terrorists in the world. The
FBI--which, remember, is still a largely Irish-Catholic enclave
within the US Government--utterly detests the PIRA, and has been
almost totally successful in crushing its operations over here.
This is not to say anything nice about British rule in
Ireland. Clearly the Brits ought to leave, and should have done
so a long time ago--a view shared universally in the British
military, by the way. But there's a rule of life which we often
overlook. Just because one guy is a bad guy doesn't necessarily
mean that the other guy is a good guy. The Iran-Iraq war is a
good example of that.
It may be that peace is breaking out. God knows it's taken
long enough. The reason: It's an indirect result of the end of
the Cold War. The USSR is gone and no longer supplies arms to
Syria, Libya, etc. for political influence. (It's for cash now,
and that, too, is just business.) Those countries are becoming
increasingly isolated and as a consequence have started closing
out support for terrorist groups (viz, Syria sold Carlos Ilych
Ramirez out as a friendly gesture to France and the US). Ronald
Reagan strokes again. Historians are going to have a lot of fun,
50 years from now, hammering people who trash the best (well,
most effective) President of our time.
Subject: Re: 9mm -vs- .45 ACP
Date: 1994-10-29 07:25:09 PST
European countries went to small-caliber, high-velocity
rounds in the late 19th Century mainly for colonial wars in
which small numbers of professional soldiers fought large
numbers of poorly armed "savages" (people who wanted to be left
alone in their own countries, that is). The newer
smokeless-power weapons (Lee Medford .303 as a case in point)
could engage targets up to 1,100 meters away (check the
gradations on the sights of such weapons), something a .450
Martini-Henry was singularly unable to do. Humanitarian
considerations were not a factor.
The Federal Hydra-Shok ammunition penetrates well due to an
empirical pecularity of the bullet design which was not
considered by the designer--a design accident--which makes the
bullet form-stable in a human target (i.e., it doesn't tumble).
You want a full penetration and exit because the victim bleeds
faster that way. This, in any case, is the conclusion drawn by a
three-year FBI study in bullet effectiveness.
Subject: Re: general ?
Date: 1994-11-06 18:47:34 PST
Clancy responds on the relationship between "Clear and Present
Danger" and "Without Remorse."
WR was the first book on which I did serious work, back in
1971. Like several other such projects, it went to the back
burner, but never went away.
(I need to add that my books have been published in order of
their COMPLETION, but not necessarily their INCEPTION.)
I *knew* I'd be doing WR someday, and as something of a
personal conceit (in the archaic meaning of the term) I nearly
had Kelly/Clark and Oreza bump heads in CPD--but not quite. CPD
therefore both sets WR up in a manner of speaking, and
anticipates something that happens in "Debt of Honor."
You see, in fiction the author wurfelt ja, to borrow a phrase
Subject: Re: Another Debt of Honor Question
Date: 1994-11-13 06:50:13 PST
Clancy responds on White House security:
Total safety is possible only in the grave. Consider the
1. The President hops into Marine Corps One for a weekend at
Camp David. A terrorist is on the roof of a buiding 4 blocks
away with Stinger (it may be old, but it's still the best
man-portable SAM in the world) or the Swedish one that's
laser-guided (an awkward weapon, but very difficult to spoof).
In that case, the President has a problem.
2. Terrorists hit a National Guard armory, steal a mortar,
mate it to the British "Merlin" guided round, then wait for an
arrival ceremony on the south lawn. You laser-designate from any
of numerous perches, and again, the President is toast. This
one's easy to do.
3. You buy a P-51 fighter aircraft on the open market (they
go about $300,000 now, I understand), equip it with six M-2 .50
machineguns, wait for the Pres to lift off from (or enter final
approach to) Andrews in his VC-25A (B-747), and hose him at low
speed. The President is a red smear in Prince George's County,
Maryland. The hard part here is to stage the intercept by
loitering at low altitude; hard, but a long way from impossible.
The 747 is ultimately faster, but can't accelerate all that
well, and its defensive systems are not designed to deal with
4. The well known scenario: airplane kamikazes into the White
House. Virtually impossible to stop. Surface-to-air missiles
have MINIMUM engagement ranges, because the missile when in
boost phase is not tracking the target, and has to settle down
on course first. The inbound aircraft would have a great chance
of entering the "dead" bubble before being positively identified
as an intruder.
Sorry, guys, but that's just how things are.
Subject: Re: Jack Ryan History
Date: 1994-11-15 06:42:32 PST
Clancy delivers the FINAL and DEFINITIVE word on John Patrick
1. Son of a police lieutenant, and graduate of Loyola High
School, Towson, MD, Jack attended Boston College, graduating
with a B.S. (or B.A., I never decided) in Economics (strong
minor in History) and a commision as a Second Lieutenant in the
United States Marine Corps (via NROTC), and while waiting for
the Corps to assign him somewhere, passed the CPA exam.
2. After finishing the Basic Officers' Course at Quantico,
VA, he deployed to a line unit as a platoon commander. Soon
thereafter as part of the Atlantic Fleet Fleet Marine Force (FMF),
he was gravely injured in a helicopter crash on the island of
Crete. The Navy surgeons at Bethesda Naval Medical Center did an
incomplete job of fixing his back.
3. This occasioned a lengthy recovery process (he was nearly
addicted to narcotics as a result) after which, complete with a
permanent disability, he left the USMC, pasing his
stock-broker's exam and taking a position with the Baltimore
office of Merrill-Lynch.
4. Jack did so well there (also investing his own money and
making about $6M) that a senior VP of the firm, Joe Muller, came
to Baltimore to have dinner with Jack, with the objective of
inviting Jack to the NYC headquarters. Also present was Joe's
daughter, Caroline Muller, then a senior medical student at the
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Jack and Caroline
(nickname Cathy) immediately fell in love. Along the way, while
having dinner with his fiance, Jack had his back blow up. Cathy
took him directly to Hopkins, where the Professor of
Neurosurgery fixed his back in relatively short order. Jack
subsequently went nuts persuading the government to terminate
his disability checks.
5. Having made all the money he wanted, Jack left the firm,
enrolling at Georgetown University for his doctorate courses in
history. Jack did a brief stint at the (then) Georgetown
University Center for Strategic and International Studies, then
accepted a teaching position at the U.S. Naval Academy,
6. Father Tim Riley, S.J., dropped Jack's name on a CIA
contact, resulting in a brief consulting job at Langley, where
he wrote a white paper called "Agents and Agencies," and also
invented the Canary Trap, both of which came to the attention of
Admiral James Greer, DDI/CIA.
7. The rest is history.
Subject: Re: Clark in Without Remorse
Date: 1994-11-19 06:25:03 PST
Clancy responds on the issue of Clark's physical dimensions:
If you read "No Name on the Bullet," the biography of Audie
Murphy, the author cites a case in which Murphy, driving along a
freeway, saw three thugs terrorizing a woman. He stopped the car
and walked over, armed with a riding crop. All three thugs were
considerably larger than Murphy, and armed with weapons of their
own. Sixty minutes later, all three were in a local hospital, in
one case for a lengthy stay. It ain't the size of the dog in the
fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog.
In more tactical terms, it's a question of experience and
determination. Few people are able to deal with a direct attack.
The average fight (and for that matter the TV or movie fight) is
characterized by a lot of talk and posturing. A professional in
this line of work--which is to say a SEAL or other
snake-eater--will not give his adversary any prep time at all, a
huge tactical advantage. (Viz. Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump taking
on one of Jenny's enemies.) Clark does not give his targets any
chance to respond.
He doesn't have to be Schwartznegger.
Subject: Re: To TC: Pres. Morally Right to Kill Terrorists
Date: 1995-01-12 06:19:27 PST
Clancy on violence.
The taking of life is something to be avoided if at all
possible. Life is a precious commodity, after all, a fact I've
had reinforced in my own mind by touring pediatric-oncology
Hypothetical: someone is trying to harm your family, and the
police, for whatever reason, do not respond--what do you do?
Well, the rules of this society, so far as I know, do not
require de facto suicide; more than once a jury as told a person
who has killed, "Go forth and sin no more." That is the
simplicity and elegance of the jury system.
Ordinary people rule on both the facts and the law, rather
than "professionals" who don't want the unwashed playing in
their playground. The real reason democracy works, guys, is that
the regular guy is pretty smart and sensible.
Subject: Re: Violence and International Relations
Date: 1995-01-12 06:31:39 PST
Clancy on the victor of the War of 1812.
Clausewitz says that wars are fought for one of two reasons:
to overthrow one's enemy, or to make the enemy accede to one's
will. By that measure, we won the War of 1812.
1. Britain recognized the United States as a no-foolin'
2. They stopped kidnapping American seamen.
3. The RN and USN established a respectful relationship that
continues to this day.
4. UK became the silent partner in the Monroe Doctrine.
Looks pretty clear to me.
Subject: Re: RSR WWIII
Date: 1995-02-04 06:38:08 PST
Clancy remarks on WW3 and the nuclear issue.
The French had what some call a "drop-dead line." That means
a line somewhere in Germany which, if the Russian crossed it,
would trigger a French nuclear strike. Maybe the river Rhein,
maybe a meter east of the French border. That fact is widely
known--just the location was sensitive. That is also why the
French were committed to NATO.
The Russians for their part anticipated the offensive use of
nukes. We have SEEN their warplans for heading west, and
interviewed the guys who drew them up. Moreover, NATO strategy
was NOT to sit passively on the west side of the border and play
passive defense. NATO plans involved a counter-strike from
Southern Germany towards Berlin. A casual look at the correlaton
of forces (a Russian term, and a useful one) leads one to
believe that such a plan might actually have worked.
Subject: Re: Creeping Heinleinism
Date: 1995-02-04 06:50:26 PST
Clancy remarks on "Without Remorse."
That was the novel I wanted to write that year, and I'm
with how it came out. I make an effort when I write to avoid
of previous work, giving every novel a new twist and focus. WR
was an exploration of a human mind and character, and an
illustration of how individuals really do affect history. The
book was dark, and deliberately so--that was a dark time for our
country. It was also a commentary on the abuse of women, and how
men respond to is. ("Men" do not abuse women. Lesser creatures
might, but they are not men.) But mainly I wanted to explore
John Kelly's character, an honorable man who takes action in
accordance with his own code. He's a very interesting character
to play with.
Anyway, for those who were disappointed with the novel--sorry
about that. I do not want to be trapped into doing the same
formula (I HATE that word!). The book was supposed to be a
departure. And I think it came out pretty well.
p.s. Mike Crichton invented the techno-thriller with "The
Subject: Re: TC...whats up with OP-C
Date: 1995-02-17 05:12:08 PST
Clancy on the origin of Op Center.
This is public information. Steve Pieczenik MD and I were at
my home waiting for a friend to appear for a business meeting
when I started talking about a moribund TV project I'd worked on
mainly as a joke. Steve, it turned out, had a similar project
behind him, and it turned out that his project and mine both had
an element which the other lacked. So, we blended the ideas into
what was actually his title "Op Center," and approached Brandon
Tartikoff to work with us on it.
The result will air in late February.
Subject: Re: Tommy, I knew him when
Giwer, clever as always, provokes a final reply.
1. I will let other answer the question about my responses to
posts in the group.
2. The first draft of "The Hunt for Red October" was
completed on the evening of Sunday, February 27, 1983, and
delivered to the Naval Institute the next day. There were
additional drafts (the only time I've done more than one draft
of anything) which had to be completely re-done, since the first
draft was done with an IBM Selectric typewriter (stone tablets!)
while all others were done on an Apple //e (64K RAM - WOW!).
Publication happened in October, 1984. Why did it take that
long? The Naval Institute Press is small and timid - or was
then. I have no idea what it's like now.
3. The dispute between myself and the Naval Institute Press
took place in 1987-8, settling in October of the latter year.
The terms of the settlement disallow me from discussing the
matter in public, which, I think, is too bad. I'd love to do so.
(The Institute has since terminated two senior employees, Thomas
Epley and James Sutton, for cause.) The reader is free, however,
to examine hardcover copies of the book prior to then and since,
and to check out the copyright notice in both, since copyright
is under law a matter of public record.
4. 1,200 clients made my business large enough to earn a very
decent living. I did both commercial and personal insurance. I
was a fire and casualty agent (homeowners, auto, etc.). I did
very little life insurance. In fact I had more life coverage on
horses (called "Livestock Mortality Insurance") than on people
because I found life insurance morbid ("Hey, you're going to
die! You'd better buy this!") I was particularly good at "wet"
marine - boat yards, etc.
5. The name of the business was something I never changed.
Insurance agencies tend to retain their original names in
perpetuity. Besides, within a year of publishing I had a
$3,000,000 three-book contract (Red Storm Rising, Patriot Games,
and The Cardinal of the Kremlin) which actually grew into four
books (Clear and Present Danger) as a result of the USNIP
dispute. In other words, I didn't need the insurance business
any longer. My license has long since lapsed. The insurance
agency is still there.
6. Pen name. Curiously, Giwer is not the first to claim that
my name is nom de plume. Sorry, pal, but I was born Thomas Leo
Clancy, Jr. My father, Thomas L., Sr., died last March, and as a
result I find comments on my name to be distasteful.
7. People I met. Looking up the technical data for THFRO was
a piece of cake. My main numerical data source was the original
version of the war game "Harpoon." Larry Bond is a good friend,
and godfather to my son. I also had the insurance coverage for a
lot of nucs who work the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Reactor Plant
for Baltimore Gas & Electric Company. Sailors tell sea stories
(which is what Giwer is doing, of course; except that his is
ficticious) (old Navy joke: What is the difference between a sea
story and a fairy tale? Answer: A fairy tale begins, "Once upon
a time ..." while a sea story begins, "No sh*t, I was really
there...") Since Red October access to people has become far
easier, but my technical research is done almost exclusively in
printed media of one sort or another.
8. The final comment, the one with quotes around it,
something about a ceramic disk. I have no idea what he's talking
about. Probably he doesn't either.
9. The only other Tom Clancy I know of (outside my family,
that is) was the singer/actor (Clancy Brothers, Tom Clancy, Liam
Clancy, and Paddy Clancy, plus Tommy Makem) who died back in the
Mr. Giwer, if it makes you feel bigger to claim credit for
some of the things I've done, well, that bespeaks a problem with
you. Be a pal, and knock it off.
Subject: Re: Libel (was Re: Tommy, I knew him when)
I currently drive a Power Mac 8100/100AV, and use Word 6.0.1.
I was there in D.C. when the first Mac was unveiled. I bought
a "Fat Mac " (512k RAM - WOW!) later that year, upgraded it
later to Mac Plus, then upgraded in 1989 to IIx, then to Quadra
950, and most recently to the 8100.
Never ask what sort if computer a guy drives. If he's a Mac
user, he'll tell you. If he's not, why embarrass him?
Subject: Re: Debt of Honor question (was: Re: Horsepower and
Jane's Fighting Ships)
Clancy on repairing carriers:
Yes, in fact you have to cut gweat big holey-thingees through
five or more decks, lift out all the broken parts, lower the new
ones in, and weld the gweat big holey-thingees back shut. I
don't know if a C-5B can carry the turbines and reduction gears,
but, of course, they'd have to be removed from the donar ships,
in a procedure involving torching even more gweat big....
Guys, a little more respect for the difficulties of
engineering. These engine components are in the very bottom of
the ship. Shafts can be loaded in from aft (I asked; no jokes on
what it looks like, okay?), but the turbines, casings, and
reduction gears would be a monster job.
Subject: Re: PBS Gulf Special, Gen Franks,& AC
Clancy remarks on his friend, General Fred Franks:
I need to start by saying that Fred is a pal. A former
baseball player (the Yankees tried to recruit him out of West
Point), who lost a leg in Vietnam, I ambushed him at my ballpark
by having him do batting practice, complete with Orioles
uniform, and for an elderly one-legged gent, he still has a
stroke. The batting coach later came up and said, "Hey, you've
done this before, haven't you?" Fred is also very, very bright,
very thoughtful, and as thoroughly professional as anyone you
could wish to meet.
Fred Franks and 7 Corps:
First of all, he destroyed everything he touched. Nothing the
Iraqis had survived contact with him. He went through them like
a harvesting machine in a Kansas wheatfield.
Second, he was maneuvering a huge force, 1st Armored
Division, 2nd Armored Division, 1st Infantry Division (Mech.)
(which was an armored division in all but name), 1st Cavalry
Division, 1st U.K. Armored Division, 2nd Armored Cavalry
Regiment (corps screening force), plus corps assets which
included three artillery brigades (i.e., an artillery divison),
and the logistical units. This totalled to something like 50,000
motor vehicles ranging from M1A1 tanks to HMMWVs moving in time
and space in a planned and orderly way. The sheer administrative
complexity of the task merely of maneuvering such a force gives
pause. Amateur strategists simply do not grasp the difficulty of
moving such units, much less keeping them supplied.
Third, his part of the operation was moved up in time without
Fourth, as "slowly" as he was supposedly going, 7 Corps twice
outran its supply train and had to stop to refuel (i.e., it was
going far faster than planned). In other words, it was not
possible for 7 Corps to advance any more rapidly than it did,
because a tank out of gas (actually #4 diesel) can't be pushed.
Fifth, by maintaining pace and tempo, Fred husbanded the
energy of his troopers. Human factors like this are so
fundamental that everyone ignores them. People are not machines.
They need to sleep and eat occasionally in order to function. As
a result of this, when decisive contact was made, 7 Corps was a
solid line of steel, operated by alert soldiers, not a
spread-out mob of exhausted men and women.
Sixth, the failure completely to annihilate the Republican
Guards happened because Washington terminated operations about
twelve hours too soon (this is not my judgment, but rather what
several senior commanders told me). That decision was political,
not military. But strategy, remember, is a political exercise.
Correct or not, it was beyond the purview of the field
Finally, Schwarzkopf was not always fully aware of
battlefield developments due to problems of communications (yes,
even today that happens), and his perceived need to remain back
in Saudi as theater commander. (This is not a critique. He had a
lot on his plate.)
On the basis of my conversations with a number of senior
commanders, and a friend or two elsewhere, I do not think it
likely that any general could have performed as well as General
Franks. One step farther: Were my son to be exposed to combat,
I'd want Fred somewhere in his chain of command. Fred is not a
screamer, is not given to histrionics, and is probably a little
uncomfortable in front of TV cameras. He's also a consummate
professional soldier who lost a leg at the rank of major, who
stayed on to collect four stars, and who accomplished every
mission set before him. I think (I know) that most officers who
studied this campaign would concur in this assessment.
Subject: Re: Debt of Honor question
Clancy on reconsats and ships:
The funny thing about this is that satellites don't spot the
ships. They spot the wakes made by the ships. The same is true
of observers in aircraft. I once proposed to a DesRon commander
that when a satellite was expected overhead, just gow DIW (dead
in the water) to evade detection. He agreed that it would work,
but added that no ship commander would willing go DIW in a
Satellites, however, can be spoofed. In the early-to-mid
1980s a CVBG deployed from Norfolk to the Med and evaded contact
by a Soviet satellite so successfully that the Russians launched
a new bird, thinking that the one in orbit was malfunctioning.
Similarly, on more than one occasion during NATO exercises a
CVBG appeared in the Norwegian Sea by surprise.
The ocean is a big place. There are lots (thousands!) of ships
at sea all the time, and only 15 of them can possibly be USN
Subject: Re: DOH and Clinton's Address (SPOILER)
Clancy on the issue of Traumatic Succession:
As you might imagine, back in the bad old days, when there
was a country called the USSR, one nightmare scenario was a nuke
contemporaneous in space-time with a Joint Session. A
depressed-trajectory launch from a Soviet boomer was one option
(i.e. a ballistic launch from a submerged missile submarine in
which the missile takes a low-angle flight path, and would,
therefore, burn practically all the way in, reducing warning
time to 120 seconds or less; effectively zero-time since the
people in the loop have to discern what's happening and
communicate it up the line, at every stage of which people would
blink and say, "ARE YOU SURE?" Human factors are human factors;
people are not machines), though I've always thought a truck was
a more reliable delivery vehicle.
In either case, the idea was that a decapitating strike would
prevent America from retaliating, creating a circumstance in
which a nuclear war COULD be won, and rather quickly at that.
As early as the 1960s SecDef McNamara said that there was a
way to prevent this from happening, that America could respond
to every possible contingency. Later leaks posed the likelihood
that somewhere there was somebody who, under extraordinary
circumstances, had the command authority to launch a retaliatory
strike. Probably a very senior NIO (National Intelligence
Officer; this is a selected group of experienced people one of
whom is always in the Presidential party to give advice in the
event of something unexpected) in a secure location who would
have communicated with CINCSAC, thus complying with the two-man
rule. This makes sense, is simple and logical in context, and
would doubtless have been communicated to the Soviets. (I mean,
in the 1970s we GAVE our existing PAL technology to the
Russians, because we wanted their warheads to be as safe as
ours. The nuclear side of the business was generally handled in
an intelligent way by both sides.)
Having a cabinet member absent from such occasions is a
longstanding policy. In that contingency, the NIO has
effectively the same authority in any case. I mean, is the
SecAgriculture going to nay-say a career spook (and CINCSAC)
during a national-security emergency? Probably not.
On the issue of the 747 crunching into the Capitol Building,
well, I came up with this idea in 1968. I didn't write it until
much later for several reasons. In May or so of 1988 I gave a
speech at Andrews AFB, and afterwards had drinks with a USAF
two-star whose job was continental air defense. I laid the
concept out to him (in its original form, the event was to take
place at a change-of-administration/inaugural event because
there is a brief period of time in which the chain of command
literally does not exist in a constitutional sense). The
general's eyes got a little wide as I walked through the
scenario. Finished, I observed that there was probably a
contingency plan for this possibility, and that, of course, he
couldn't tell me about it. Then came the surprise. "Mr. Clancy,"
the general replied, "you're correct. If there were such a plan,
I could not discuss it with you. But since there is *not* such a
plan, I can tell you that to the best of my knowledge nobody has
ever considered this. But, I promise you that Monday morning [it
was a Saturday night] my staff will be taking a look at it." At
that point I figured that I was free to write the scenario out
I have subsequently learned that there is still no
contingency plan for this eventuality. (The rules of
classification are curious. They can't tell you what they do,
but they can in almost every circumstance tell you things they
don't do. "No, we don't do that" can tell one a lot, and since
people in uniform are pathologically honest, they usually lie
The proximity of three major airports withing flight-seconds
of downtown Washington conspire to make the task devilishly hard
under the best possible circumstances, but while the Republic of
Korea maintains a constant CAP of four (4) F-16 fighter aircraft
over Seoul, no such patrol exists over D.C. at any time, this
despite the fact that the D.C. Air National Guard is a fighter
On the other hand, one can take paranoia a little too far.
Subject: Re: Without Remorse??
Clancy on the publication of THFRO:
1. I finished the MS on Sunday, February 27, 1983.
2. The next day I was in the Annapolis area for business
(insurance) and dropped it off with Marty Callaghan, who then
was an editor with USNI Proceedings.
3. Marty gave it to Deborah Guberti, the Acquisitions and
Rights Editor, now remarried, a mom, and a budding literary
agent. Lovely, bright, charming lady she is.
4. There followed four (4) weeks of hell. Waiting for an
editor to pass judgment on your work is not very easy.
5. Well, Debbie read it and liked it, though she didn't tell
me just how enthusiastic she was for my work. I'd done the
original MS on a typewriter (stone tablets), and on 4/12/83 got
myself an Apple //e, and started transcribing the whole MS to
computer form (10 of the old 141k floppies, back when they
really flopped). This is the only time I've done a rewrite.
Mainly it's boring. There were no substantive changes, though
the quote from Shelley's "Ozimandius" was added along the way,
and I rather liked that.
6. Come September, Debbie got others to read the evolving MS.
USNIP had never done a novel. I happened to walk in the door at
the right time. Another writer (a guy who does non-fiction) had
a submission in, and told me that he was going to be their first
novel. Oops. In November of 83, they signed me up for the
princely advance of $5,000 (I talked them up from $3k), and by
the following March we were in edition. My line-editor was
Connie Buchanan, a willowy wisp of a gal who graduated Princeton
and then was a Marshall Scholar to Oxford. It was also *her*
first novel, and looking back, I think the book was better
before editing than after, but Connie remains a friend.
7. The publication cycle was unusually long because USNIP was
very conservative about the whole process. They nearly let the
book die. On 12/1/84 the Director of marketing, Jim Sutton, told
me that it would soon be time to tally sales and do remainders.
By that time we'd rung up 20,000 hard-cover sales, which for a
first novel isn't half bad.
8. Lightning struck after Christmas when President Reagan got
the book under his tree, read it, and talked it up around the
White House. Contemporaneously, the book sneaked onto the PW
list, and I got to do GMA with David Hartman.
In short, I was pretty (make that astoundingly) lucky despite
all the amateurish behavior by my publisher.
Subject: Re: What are Patriot missiles for?
Clancy on Patriots and Scuds:
This is more than anything else an exercise in illogic.
The Scud is not a militarily useful weapon of war unless is
delivered an unconventional warhead (i.e., nuclear, biological,
or chemical) because it isn't accurate enough to hit a bridge,
factory, or a specific point target of any sort.
On the other hand, as the Germans discovered in 1917-18 with
their Paris Gun, dropping a few random rounds without warning
into a populated area does cause temporary panic. The civilians
ultimately get over it, if they have raid warning to find their
safety holes (e.g., Britain, Germany, and Vietnam) in which to
ride things out, and also to realize that you have a better
chance of dying in an auto accident. That takes a few days or
For Iraq, lofting their Scuds was an exercise in psychology
and politics. In striking Israel, Hussein hoped to force Israel
into taking action. As a practical matter, however, what
would/could the IAF have done over and above risking mid-air
collision with US and Allied aircraft? We were already pounding
Iraqi targets, and the relative few F-16s the Israelis might
have surged into Iraq would in all likelihood dropped bombs on
targets already destroyed, PLUS risking interception by Allied
CAP who would have read their IFF transponders as "unknown." In
combat an unknown is an enemy. Fox One on the bandit. Oops!
Would Israel have really waded in? I suspect that while their
politicians might have ordered a strike, the professionals of
the IAF would have found either a reason not to, or would have
fragged missions calculated for home-town newspapers rather than
for real military effect.
But, okay, Israel demands a juicy target or two, then what?
More than one Saudi official said, "Fine, Hussein is trying to
KILL MY SUBJECTS. Let Israel kill all the Iraqis they want." I
think it would have relegated itself to a minor sideshow, a
little face-saving, and it fades out.
What actually happened? We deployed Patriot to Israel.
Probably they did a little good, but remember that the mission
was not unlike what happens when you intercept an aircraft
carrying bombs. You can kill the aircraft for fair, but the
BOMBS still fall SOMEWHERE. We probably got a few skin-skin
warhead kills, but breaking up the missile (law of gravity,
guys) still means that the parts fall somewhere, and since the
missile didn't have useful accuracy, the net military effect is
about zero. Back to square one. That's the best the Scud could
ON THE OTHER HAND, the Israelis could show their citizens
that they were fighting back and hitting Scuds, and therefore
had a face-saving reason for NOT interfering with the Allied air
Patriot is a SAM re-configured (the software anyway) to
intercept missiles. Had the Scuds been better missiles (i.e. not
breaking up at apogee, and accidentally presenting multiple
targets), probably Patriot would have done better. What we in
fact learned was that a SAM can hit missiles with better code,
that these systems are smarter than the designers originally
thought. But the argument over whether or not Patriot was an
effective Scud-killer misses the point. This entire adventure
was about politics, not technology, and the result was entirely
acceptable all around.
War more than anything else is an exercise in psychology, not
Subject: Re: .22 LR
Clancy returns to one of his favorite subjects, guns:
A 400-yard .22LR shot is about as likely as my getting a
hole-in-one on a long Par-4.
A high-quality .22 rifle is usable certainly to about 100
yards, maybe to 150 or so. Beyond that, forget it. The bullet is
only about 40 grains, and isn't going all that fast. The light
weight and poor shape do not make for very good aerodynamics,
and the relatively low velocity means you have to plot a
rainbow. Remember, the flight path of a bullet is a degenerating
perabola, and at increasing ranges your range computation has to
be more and more exact, else the round will fall short.
However, Sako, the Finnish arms company, makes subsonic 7.62
NATO cartridges - I've shot them. These can only be for the
purpose of sniper use, and for easy suppression. In fact, the
rifle I shot them through was a fully suppressed M14. She was a
real sweetie. I was hitting my target out to about 150 yards,
and the sound of the impact was louder than the sound of the
shot. Of course, the "can" (suppressor) was about the size of my
Police sniper rifles (using the FBI Hostage Rescue Team as a
model) are optimized for 200 yards or so. As a practical matter,
that's as far as you want to be in a hostage situation. This may
surprise the reader, as a trained sniper with a properly set-up
rifle can hit a dime at that range (not me; a half-dollar in my
case, on a good day), but again human factors crop up. If the
bad guy has a shield (i.e., hostage) things get rather tense,
and it isn't quite the same as shooting at paper targets. A
police sniper tries to produce instant incapacitation (death),
else you lose a hostage, and even a perfect shot into the
brain-stem does not *always* produce this. A military sniper
will settle for a hit of any sort - if the target dies the next
day, fine. These are two very different tactical environments.
The .22 is good at close range. For "close" read <10 yards,
and that distance is generous. The *only* reliable kill with any
firearm is into the brain, and the head isn't all that large a
target. Get close enough and a knitting needle is quite lethal,
but the farther away you are, the more power your weapon must
have, and the harder it is to suppress the noise. Conversely,
the closer you get to your target, the harder it is to avoid
counter-detection, and the difficulty increases non-linearly.
So, I had Kelly using a .22 (the bang-stick was just for fun),
and engaging his targets at <5 yards after careful approach
But a .22 at 400 yards? Maybe a .22/250 Remington varmint
cartridge, but that's a high-powered round with a muzzle blast
three feet long. Even the famous Remington .222, an almost
magical cartridge for accuracy out to 200 yards stops performing
much past 250.
Subject: Re: F-117N (?)
Clancy on the navalized F-117:
I got briefed ion on this a few years ago. Lockheed proposed
this aircraft about two years ago. It's the basic -117 design
with some modifications and improvements - a new wing, for
example, and air-to-air capability also, if memory serves.
The Navy should fall on its institutional sword for opting
out of the Black Jet project in the early 1980s. They had that
chance, but since the Shaba had not been "invented here," they
instead went after what became the (dead) A-12. If we have
-117Ns on the carriers, then "the boats" would be gold-plated
assets, as they would give the President the ability to put
bombs on target 30 minutes after lifting the phone. The A-12 was
designed as a SIOP platform, evidently because the Navy wanted
to play Nukes 'R Us with SAC. They ended up with a mini-B-2
whose flight characteristics even in simulator were not
acceptable for carrier operations.
The United States Navy has an institutional genius for
screwing up. Maybe that comes from being the world's #1 navy. I
suppose the same thing happened to the Royal Navy around the
turn of the century, at which time it lost the technological
lead to the German and American navies, never to regain it. But
there is no excuse at all for the failure of the Navy's
leadership to demand of itself the same excellence it demands of
its petty officers and lieutenants. The disease is called
complacency, and it is most often found in people who prefer
management to leadership, and who therefore school their
officers in conservatism rather than risk-taking. CDR Holloway
Frost, one of the Navy's brightest lights in the inter-war
period, wrote that of all the failings a uniformed officer can
commit, the worst is the unwillingness to accept risk.
We have today the world's largest and most powerful navy,
whose newest aircraft, the F/A-18, design dates back to the
early 1970s (around the time the current crop of pilots was
being born), which screwed up the IOWA investigation (as a
result of which we retired the battleships, very useful
platforms, especially to impress 3rd World despots), which
*lied* about the VINCENNES incident, and whose command
leadership cravenly ran away from the Tailhook Fiasco and left
junior officers holding the bag. If there's any part of the
military which desperately needs shaking up, it's the Navy.
Once upon a time I published an essay in the Washington Post
pointing out that the Royal Navy has a better system for
educating its officers, especially its submarine officers. It
came out on Christmas Day, on which I happened to be ill with
the flu, and missed most of Christmas because of it. The next
day (I was slightly ambulatory by then), I got a call from,
Admiral Bruce DeMars, OP-02 then, and later Director of Naval
Reactors (the "Rickover Chair" in the Corporate Navy). The
Admiral was explosively displeased with my essay.
"We have *nothing* to learn from any other navy," he told me,
after saying the Brits didn't know crap about driving submarines
or running their (nuclear) plants.
"Admiral," I replied, trying to be reasonable, "even if
that's true, it's a stupid thing to say or think, and you know
"You've done your country a disservice," he went on.
"So what are you going to do," I fired back, finally angry
myself, "take my dolphins back?"
I haven't heard from him since. I have not been aboard an
American nuclear submarine since, either.
It's good to be the best, and we are. It's bad to think too
much about being the best, but I regret to say that we do a lot
of that. The first major adverse result of that fact is what's
become of Navy carrier aviation, for the first time in my
memory, a second-class air force, technologically behind the
USAF, and unlikely to catch up - which is to say, I see nothing
in the pipeline to make that happen.
Subject: Re: 8 questions about HfRO
Clancy on all this folderol ober "Red October"
Once upon a time I read that someone asked George Bernard
Shaw about his view on having his works taught in school. Shaw
was not the least bit pleased, saying that he would never
countenance having students forced to read his work; that he
preferred for people to read them voluntarily.
I think Mr. Shaw was right. Wow, do I *ever* think Mr. Shaw
was right. I hate the thought of people treating my books as I
(I will shame-facedly admit) treated the rubbish I was forced to
read in college.
TEACHERS OF THE WORLD: PLEASE, *PLEASE*, DO NOT REQUIRE THAT
YOUR STUDENTS READ MY BOOKS.
Subject: Re: War !!! Sweden vs. Finland
Clancy on Finland vs. Sweden.
It's amazing that they can speak at all. Finnish, I was
surprised to learn from a Jesuit friend at Georgetown
University, is an "Indo-Altaic" language whose closest
linguistic neighbor is Hungarian, and whose next-closest
neighbor is Mongolian.
(How did that happen? You got me, guys)
By the same token, the Finns have got to be the gutsiest
people in the world.
Sorry I goofed on the vodka, guys. I don't drink the stuff
Subject: Re: Skunkworks?
Clancy on "Skunkworks"
This book is truly excellent, and I will add that I am the
proud owner of a (very rare) Skunkworks ballcap. Only insiders
know what the hat denotes because it is, of course, stealthy.
I also have a nice photo of the Black Jet autographed by Ben
Rich: "This is Lockheed's Fribee from Dreamland." A cool guy,
and, along with Kelly Johnson, one of the truly great engineers
of this century.
Subject: Re: Question to Mr Clancy regarding THE CARDINAL OF
Clancy remarks on tracking USN boomers:
This is more a question of definition than anything else. The
Soviet navy often parked SSNs off boomer bases with the
objective of tracking them on the way out. It was impossible to
prevent this (freedom of the seas and all that), and similarly
impossible in restricted waters to prevent the lurking Soviet
sub from detecting the outbound boomer.
Okay, technically, then, USN boomers were not infrequently
detected in this way, outbound from Holy Loch, Charleston, etc.
What did we do about it?
It became semi-standard practice for an SSN to head out with
the boomer. The job of the SSN was to "sanitize" the area. This
could merely mean looking around to see if an unfriendly SSN
were about. It could also mean interposing herself between the
Russian and the boomer, even to the point of "shouldering off"
(a gentle way of saying - "ramming") the Soviet sub.
Typically, the American boomer would then sprint off at
relatively high speed, making noise but forcing Ivan to do the
same, and in the process losing sonar performance due to flow
noise. The boomer would then go ultra-quiet, often floating on a
thermocline layer (tricky to do, but possible) while Ivan went
charging around blind, eventually to lose interest in the
It is believed that no USN boomer was ever tracked in her
patrol area. The Royal Navy says the same thing. This opinion
comes from the fact that tapes of the sonars were invariably
examined after the end of the cruise.
In the case of the USN, even the fleet-operations people didn't
know where the boomers were. Assigned patrol areas were about
twice the size of the state of South Carolina - and the areas
also moved around over time – and the boomers only had to stay
in the areas assigned, creeping along at 5 knots. It's also
worth mentioning that the SSBN probably had the best torpedo
departments in the submarine force, since shooting was their
method of self-defense, and practicing to shoot was one of their
few recreational activities.
Every SSN skipper I know uses the same term for the Ohio
class SSBN. They call them "black holes." There are jokes about
it: If you find a piece of ocean with no background noise,
that's the Ohio; Ohios don't radiate noise, they suck it in from
the rest of the ocean; etc. I've yet to meet a SSN driver,
American or British who even believes that tracking an Ohio is
possible, absent an incompetent skipper or crew on the boomer.
Is it possible that a really good Russian skipper got lucky?
Maybe. Maybe unusual environmental conditions could allow this
to happen. ASW is a very complex game, and I do not claim to
know all the twists and turns. But such a happening would be
singularly unusual. The SSBN force is as secure as anything we
Subject: Re: Submarines
Clancy rfemarks on the new-flight Akula.
Why, oh Lord, why is it that whenever the Russians come up
with something halfway new, we go into a collective panic. The
MiG-25 was the world's most formidable interceptor (but required
the entire state of Wyoming to reverse direction, by which time
it was out of fuel). The T-80 main battle tank was equal to the
M1, etc., etc.
I have had hands-on Soviet tanks, APCs, artillery pieces
(they're pretty good at that), fighter aircraft, and
top-of-the-line warships. The quality of construction in every
case is not to be believed, like the difference between a
Cadillac and a Jugo. I have yet to see a single Soviet product
which has anything like the manufacturing quality of ANY
counterpart American product.
Akula is about level with a 637, when traveling at 5 knots.
At high speed, like for transiting, it's a very different
Beyond that, the quietest submarine hardware is USELESS
without a well drilled crew, and the Russian navy has never had
the quality of troops that the USN and RN have.
On the other hand, if the Navy screams loudly enough, maybe
Congress will waste more money on Seawolf.
Subject: Re: Gun in Broken Arrow
Clancy deposes briefly on Hollywood and weapons:
Once upon a time the son of a famous director, working with
his dad on (never mind which high-budget boffo action flick),
called me for some weapons advice.
He wanted to know what military weapon it was that exploded
in one (1) direction only. He thought it would be cool and
exciting for such a weapon to be on a Lazy Susan on a table
between Good Guy and Bad Guy, and turned back and forth,
determining whom would be killed.
I spent about ten minutes explaining Newton's Third Law:
"Yes, but..." "Yes, but..." Yes, but..." until he finally got it
through his head that explosions are radial events.
From Hollywood we know that when struck with a bullet, people
FLY anywhere from five to ten feet, and frequently fall
instantly and silently (and conveniently) dead from a hit
delivered from the hip, in the dark, from a Walther PPK (in
.32ACP) at a range of 20 yards, when in fact .32ACP is best
suited to small rodents, few pistols can be properly aimed in
the dark at anything beyond 10 yards (yes, tritium sights do
help), and the human body is a hearty organism that tries very
hard not to die under any and all circumstances (and we've
already covered Newton).
The scary part of this is that real people sitting in a jury
box at a criminal trial are affected by this rubbish.
Think about THAT, people.
Subject: Re: Cellulose encased bomb
Clancy remarks on the Hush-A-Bomb:
I made that one up.
I learned later that stealty bombs were looked at, but the
problem was combining stealth and ballistic stability. The
problem was never solved, and the project was cancelled.
In fact, the Hush-A-Bomb was a very elaborate technical joke
aimed at people in the Stealth community. The weapon would
certainly have worked as employed IN CPD, but would have little
Subject: Re: That Movie (was Re: NEST Teams)
Clancy on "Special Bulletin"
This was one of the shows which appeared in the 1980s as the
culmination of the American anti-military, anti-nuke, and
especially anti-Reagan movement. "The Day After," "Countdown to
Looking Glass," and "Amerika" were others. Shows (and books,
like "War Day," almost ad infinitum) like this were left-wing in
political orientation, though some were reasonably well done,
and besides, we do have a 1st Amendment, don't we? (Oops, that
offended my linguistic critic, didn't it?) I got a little tired
of them myself. I mean, why is it that America was always the
threat to world peace?
They were also, in the main, laughable from a technical point
of view, though often dramatically presentable, much like the
recent movie, "Crimson Tide." (A dog urinating on a missile tube
in a USN nuke? Navy ships are so clean as to make hospitals look
sloppy. The captain's cabin so far away from the attack center?
Try the very next compartment forward. An Akula locating and
firing upon an Ohio? I've yet to meet a 688 skipper who even
claims to have a chance to track an Ohio. Even my Brit SSN
friends say it's impossible, and they *love* to tell you how
brilliant they are. [In fairness, some are brilliant.])
Of course, as a Reagan supporter, I can now look back on all
this with a wry smile. The real threat to the world was always
the USSR and its stringers, now, happily, defunct. If nothing
else, Ronald Reagan liberated the world from those dreadful
low-budget post-nuclear-war movies, for which he might well be
considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In any case, SOP for dealing with a terrorist nuke, if all
else fails, is to put one or more shaped charges on it and light
them off. The blast front of these things is upwards of 10,000
m/s, and it is hoped that the speed will defeat any anti-tamper
Subject: Re: State Names
Clancy remarks on English English:
I've always liked the way they say BAHstard. They give the
Subject: Re: Taiwan please go real time
Clancy observes again:
1. I'd be interested to see if the PRC has fighter aircraft
able to jump the strait and conduct operations over Taiwan for
an extended period of time. East-Bloc aircraft, remember, are
notorious for their "short legs." There's also the problem for
them of possible defection. Again the German-British
confrontation in 1940-41 presents itself as a model. I'd bet my
money on the ROC AF. Interior lines, better aircraft, and very
2. The PRC has nuclear weapons. Theoretically, I suppose,
those weapons could be used. But for the PRC to do that would
make their nation a global pariah. The economic consequences are
incalculable. And who is to say that the ROC does not have
nuclear weapons, too? That's one possibility I would not
overlook. We all know that South Africa developed nukes. Israel
did. Both of those countries are technologically behind the ROC.
Perhaps, even, the ROC collaborated with the other two...?
3. The PRC builds a navy in a "crash program." Well, let's
see. America, between 1941 and 1944, accomplished this feat,
aided by the British. But both America and Britain had large
existing navies to use as a foundation for the crews, and in
both cases the entire national economies of both nations were
fully geared up for war, a colossally expensive redirection of
national priorities. The un-likelihood of this eventuality, I
think, may be gauged by the fact that the People's Liberation
Army is its own little industrial empire (as Himmler's SS was),
making everything from main-battle tanks to teddy bears.
This whole affair is a political exercise, not a military
one. The ROC wins the game by ignoring the blustering
mainlanders. It's yet another demonstration of how poorly
despotic rulers understand the citizens of a liberally ruled
Subject: PRC-ROC Faceoff, Endgame
It looks as though this is going to settle out. The PRC, it is
today, is ending the Shoot-Ex, and though other variations of
the exercise will continue for a while, the potential for a
missile's getting lost and hurting someone is over.
On the whole, this has been a showcase of how sea-power is
exercised, and President Clinton, ably advised, it would seem,
by CINCPAC, has performed well. He did particularly well in
keeping it off the front page. Relations with major powers are
best handled quietly.
Now we can ask what this was all about.
Was the PRC trying to affect the elections process in the
If so, the experiment was heavy-handed to say the least.
Citizens in democratic countries, when threatened in this way
generally tell the threat-maker to have carnal knowledge of
himself. It is plausible that the gerontocracy running the PRC
really thought that the ROC citizenry could be cowed. Those
Politburo members (there still is a Politburo to write about,
thank God) could well be seen as prisoners of their own
ideology, and therefore subject to making errors which to others
appear incomprehensibly dumb. There are none so blind as those
who *will* not see.
On the other hand, as I've remarked earlier, this move was
not exactly calculated to make the folks in Hong Kong feel good
about their immediate future. Hong Kong will be a jewel for the
PRC, the sort of thing which, if they have the good sense to
leave it alone, will generate immense hard-currency assets for a
country which needs those assets. On the other hand, Communists
are not the slickest people in the world when it comes to
economic savvy, and they are also control-freaks. They are, in
short, people highly skilled at ruining a sunny day.
Possibilities: 1, they never thought about the reaction in Hong
Kong (unlikely); 2, they didn't care about the reaction in Hong
Kong (possible); 3, they wanted to let Hong Kong know that they
could play rough (also possible, bue even more stupid than ).
In "Red Storm Rising" I have one character tell another,
"There ain't no rule that says the world has to make sense." If
world leaders were all that smart, there would be no wars.
Was the entire exercise aimed at something else?
In 1982 Argentina seized the Falklands Islands essentially as
a diversion from that nation's economic problems, Bread &
Circuses, 20th Century style. Focusing on an external enemy is
historically justified as a means of reducing internal turmoil.
Are there internal problems which we don't know about? No
communist government is ever truly stable.
Is Chairman Deng dead, and might this have been a play to
establish the new political order in China? Our government
doesn't seem to know if he's alive or not. Nor are we clear on
successors, though the most likely candidate is reportedly 82, a
senior PLA general, and not overly entranced with the west. News
Was this some sort of precursor move in the Spratly Islands?
These rocks, sitting off the coast of Vietnam, appear to sit
atop a huge quantity of oil, a find on the order of Iraq's
reserves, and something worth fighting for. China, Vietnam, the
Philippines, and Brunei all claim a piece. The rocks are just
that - rocks - and far enough from any shore as to become an
interesting question in international law. China, which is a
good ways away from the Spratlys, has tried to exert a serious
Or did somebody just throw a temper-tantrum?
The next indicator, I've been told, is at the Olympics. If
the ROC president decides to come to Atlanta with his team, the
PRC will tell us that giving him entry into our country will be
viewed in Beijing as an unfriendly act. My own view on that are
simple. We should tell the PRC to have carnal knowledge of
itself. I think it sets a bad precedent for another country to
tell the United States of America whom she may or may not admit,
especially if that country is running a trade surplus with us
AND selling arms to people who ought not to have them. The PRC
seems to think it's important enough to thumb its nose at at. I
never have liked that.
Wild-card indicator. There are quiet reports of cannibalism
in North Korea. Two years ago the PRK cut rations to its army
(communist armies are never all that well fed, and for a country
like that one, you'd think it the last thing they'd want to do),
and it would seem that the situation has not improved.
Would be nice if East Asia were more stable, wouldn't it?
Subject: Re: The Ultimate Suppressor
Clancy remarks on the original "supergun."
Surprisingly little has been written about this gadget. It
gets minor mention in "The Dam Busters," a book about the
special RAF squadron that initially busted dams, and later
dropped a very large (~10,000kg) bomb appropriately called
"Earthquake" from modified Lancaster four-engine bombers (also
~6,000kg bombs called "Tallboys," a barage of which ruined the
entire day of the German battleship TIRPITZ).
One such mission was to use the Earthquakes to take out
subterranean enplacements which the book referred to as the V-3.
It hardly gets two pages of coverage in the book, but it was
enough to get my attention back in the 1960s.
In college I read an article in Analog written by Willy Ley
who identified this weapon as the "Tausenfusse" (German for
"millipede"), a multi-chamber cannon. The design was ingenious.
The idea was to make a really high-velocity weapon from
inexpensive materials. The designers achieved this by starting
the shell (20cm or so, as I recall) with a relatively weak
initial charge, but enough to get it going. As the shell
progressed up the barrel, secondary chambers would be ignited
electrically by the passage of the shell's copper driving band
across contacts built into the barrel.
The gun was configured roughly like this:
BREECH __\__\__\__\__\__\__ MUZZLE
with each \ symbol indicating a secondary chamber,
mirror-imaged on both sides, of course. The few photographs I've
seen of the contraption look as though some of the parts were
fairly ordinary plumbing hardware, which seems hard to believe;
I'll leave the requisite calculations to the engineers who look
at this post.
The Brits were tipped to this by some good intel, and took
the threat very seriously. The Earthquake bomb was designed to
penetrate >100 feet of ground before fusing, and the raid
destroyed the three (I think) weapons enplacements, along with
the construction crews.
When things started heating up vis-a-vis Iraq, particularly
when the Brit foundry had those "pipe" segments seized, I
coincidentally had lunch with the Israeli defense attache, and
when the subject turned to the recent events I speculated what
it was all about, sketching the "Millipede" on a napkin. My
Israeli friend (he appears in cameo almost by name and quite
accurately in physical description in "The Sum of All Fears")
was somewhat surprised that I knew of this, enough so that he
confirmed to me that, sure enough, the Iraqi super-gun project
was along similar but somewhat more advanced lines. Gerald Bull
(I forget how to spell the guy's name) was a brilliant
ballistician. The one he was building for Hussein would probably
have worked. So, who killed him? The Israelis, for threatening
their country as a mercenary? Or the Iraqis, after stiffing him
on some checks?
Subject: Re: Question: Anti Torpedo Weapons
I've been reading this anti-torpedo commentary for a couple
of weeks. The tactical situation is two-sided, interactive, and
A smart skipper with a smart fish will do his utmost to
prevent the target from knowing that there's a "torpedo in the
water!" which is the term of art for the event. (A friendly
[outbound] torpedo is called a "unit," by the way.) As with an
infantryman, the best target is one with his back to you.
Unfair? Who ever said war had rules?
(Or as the Gunny Irvin remarks in "Without Remorse," "Fair
means all my Marines come home alive. Fuck the others, begging
your pardon, [Admiral]."
At the original war-rules conference early in this century,
Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, the USN representative, is said to
have remarked that the rules worried a whole lot about the sort
of bullet you should shoot at a grunt, but didn't think very
much about sailors trapped inside a sinking ship. He was
offended by that.)
So, what you do for starters is, launch your weapon from the
other side of the layer. The attenuates the chance that either
the launch-transient or the running "unit" will be detected at
all. The torpedo, a Mark 48 ADCAP, for example, will run at
relatively slow speed (NOTE: I have been told by equally
qualified experts that the -48 is both very loud and very quiet,
and, no, I never have figured what to make of that, though the
propulsor [not a propeller] is designed to minimize noise; on
the other hand, the OTTO-fuel piston engine kicks out a LOT of
power, and must therefore make some noise) for a very long way
before switching into high-speed mode for the final closure. The
weapon is also wire-guided, and, with the ADCAP, programmable.
So, you will probably try to get a firing position which will
allow you to dogleg the approach, thus not revealing the actual
launch vector in addition to playing with the thermocline layer.
The torpedo is a small, high-speed target, both of which
factors make an interception difficult. The -48's top speed
differs with depth (Why, you ask? Well, a controlling factor is
the ability of the OTTO-fueled engine to dump exhaust over the
side; the greater the depth, the higher the water pressure, and
thus the harder to dump exhaust; the ADCAP reportedly approaches
70 knots [!!!] in shallow water, but is far slower deep down),
but so will the radiated noise, and so that is probably a wash.
It's a fairly heavy object, but a submarine can't out-run or
out-turn it. The ADCAP is also a "brilliant" weapon with a huge
imaging sonar on the front end, a major advance over the earlier
-48s; so much so that it's tactically useful (if somewhat
expensive) to shoot out a -48 and use it as a remote sensor. In
other words, this is a killer robot.
Spoofing it is hard. It's been trained to discriminate
between decoys and real targets, and, oh, by the way, if the
wire is still attached, the submarine can steer the weapon after
a fire-controlman reviews the "take" from the ADCAP's own sonar
and plays head-games of his own. Getting the picture, are we?
(Oh, yeah, the ORIGINAL Mark 48's sonar was so sensitive that
there's a photo of one trying to engage a helicopter. On an
early test shot, a helo was tracking the test fish. The fish got
a sniff of something overhead, circled like an orca at Sea
World, and shot out of the water at the helo. ["The heck with
the mackerel, I'm going for the whole schmeer," in the words of
Gary Larson.] This got the full attention of the helo driver,
and resulted in a "roof" being programmed into the system so
that it could not be lured into what is called the "surface
capture [field]." There's a similar bottom-capture lockout. The
ADCAP is sufficiently brilliant as to figure these out by
itself, and was developed because of the problem of Soviet
missile submarines which ice-picked themselves against the
bottom of ice flows, which was a very difficult
target-engagement scenario for some years.)
Okay, how does one defeat a Mark 48-class weapon? Answer, it
isn't very easy. In "Sum" I hypothesized rough seas which to a
torpedo look like multiple ship hulls because of the repeating
and moving water-air interface. In "Debt" I noted that the -48
could not easily engage a stationary target because the early
versions took these for decoys. Again, the ADCAP fixed that.
On the other hand, the sonar freqs used by homing torpedoes
are discrete. The laws of physics can't be easily bent. The
ultrasonic freqs are well identified. The Nixie torpedo decoy is
a transponder. When it hears a torpedo sonar, it repeats them,
somewhat amplified, to draw the fish in.
Does the Nixie work? Well, it's reported that an American
Mark 46 ASW torp dropped on a supposed submarine contact a
little too close to HMS INVINCIBLE was decoyed by a Nixie and
blew the decoy up, which is probably a lot better than what
happened to the helo crew when they got home. The new versions
do the same, plus generating a pulsing magnetic field which is
supposed to fuse the weapon away from the target. You see, a lot
of modern fish have magnetic triggers, in the hope that they
will explode right under a ship and break her back. The reason?
That's the one place where ANY ship can be killed by a single
warhead. If there's a way to protect ships against this hazard,
marine architects haven't revealed it.
So, what results is a very complex AI battle. The homing
freqs the fish has to use cannot be changed, and the fish is
looking for a large object made of ferrous metals. It matters
not that the ship is degaused, because now the torpedo itself
generates its own magnetic field and fuses when that field is
disturbed. So, you try to spoof that, too, by showing it what it
wants to see. Pretty clever stuff, really. I wonder who's ahead?
Subject: Re: Advice on Clive Cussler?
Clancy's Advice on Clive Cussler:
Hey, guys, *I* read this gent. I love his audacity and the
pure fun of his work. He's a very competent scribe, and a hell
of a good guy in real life. "Raise the Titanic" was one of my
inspirations for THFRO (I mean, an American novelist who said
GOOD and even, dare I say it, ACCURATE things about our armed
forces; Cussler did it first), and Clive was gracious enough to
give me a blurb when I needed one.
Cussler's one of the Good Guys in my book, and, as I said,
*I* read his stuff.
Subject: Re: ATTN: Everybody: I have a report to do!!
Clancy gives biographical information.
Born April 12, 1947, Baltimore, MD (Franklin Square Hospital,
to be exact; or that's what mom says).
Not dead yet.
Subject: Re: Canada and Cuba (was Re: PRC v. Taiwan)
Clancy says to Americans unhappy with Canada:
Did any country ever have a better neighbor than America has
with Canada? If so, I haven't noticed.
Friends can disagree over issues without losing mutual
respect. At least they're supposed to.
Speaking for myself, I cannot fault Clinton for telling some
Canadian companies that they can choose between trading with
America and trading with Cuba, but they cannot trade with both.
Why? Because Cuba recently murdered some American citizens as
a deliberate and entirely unrepended act of state policy. The
taking of life is a firebreak of sorts, a line which, when
crossed, demands remedial action. Were this not the case, then
why have nation-states at all? Canadians, people who share
nearly every societal value we have, will probably understand
that America cannot forego a response to this act.
But for Americans who have been trashing Canada, let us also
remember that when the Iranians seized the U.S. Embassy in
Tehran, the only Americans who got out early were those who
sought and got refuge in the Canadian Embassy, and that this
happened because the government in Ottawa was willing to take a
fairly major chance for friends in need.
Enough acrimony on this one. Canada is a pal, and a damned
good one. We have a disagreement here, but it's not terribly
important in the great scheme of things, and it ought not to be
very hard to resolve as friends.
Subject: Re: PRC v. Taiwan
Clancy returns to the Civil War:
For the North to have objected to slavery on economic ground,
there would have had to be an economic advantage to slavery. But
there was not. Slaves are inefficient employees in terms of
productivity. And why should they be productive? They manifestly
were not rewarded for their labor. There is ample contemporary
evidence to show that the South was economically indolent, in
fact, a feudal society in all but name. (This also explains
European sympathy for the South, which had more in common with
Victorian Britain than the US as a whole did.) Slavery, as
Washington observed, is ultimately more harmful to the owner
than the slave.
The North was economically far more healthy than the South,
which is why the North had the overwhelming materiel advantage.
It was more attractive to immigrants in terms of economic
opportunity, which is why the North had more people to send off
Did Northerners regard black slaves as their equals? Probably
not. But they did fight a war to free them. Sorry if they
weren't perfect, Mr. Hanks, but that's life.
As for Lincoln's acts during the war. He had a WAR to win, a
civil war at that, and it's never a pretty business.
Subject: Re: Unmask a Fake!
I know the Navy has warrant officers. The Bosun on USS WISCONSIN
(BB-64) when I was aboard was a warrant. It is, further, a
mistake to say that a Navy Chief is simply a higher grade of
enlisted man. That is technically correct, but in fact when you
become a chief the uniform changes, you move to a different
mess, and your status jumps enormously. The Chief is the
spiritual heart of the Navy. This is something the USN does very
well indeed, and from which our other services might learn,
though it is, really, an accidental carryover from the days of
sail, when what we now call chiefs were in fact warrant
officers-specialists, i.e. bosun, sailmaker, carpenter, sailing
Subject: Re: Exocet v Type 42 in the Falklands
Clancy remarks tersely on the shoot-down of H-60s by F-15s:
When I learned to shoot as a member of Troop 624 of the Boy
Scouts of America, the one of first things the instructor said
(after "every gun is loaded until you prove otherwise!") was,
"Never point a gun at anything unless you know what it is and
you are willing to kill it." The Eagle pilots failed to identify
their targets positively. Under other conditions (e.g., during
combat operations, and with additional extenuating
circumstances) the shots might have been forgiven, but not, I
think, in short-of-war operations.
Very often in life the best thing to do is nothing. (That is,
wait and see.) It's often harder and more demanding to do
nothing, but there you are.
Subject: Re: Why didn't they use B-1's against Iceland?
Clancy replies to this question:
Because at the time, strange though this may sound, the B-1B
Lancer heavy bomber was not certified as safe to drop
conventional bombs. I got around to asking about this and
learned that you actgually have to check to see if the bombs
deploy properly instead of banging into one another, which can
be bad for the bomber.
The same guy told me that they had a similar problem with the
-117 which Ben Rich fixed, rather cleverly and inexpensively.
The fix was a vertical steel panel, transverse to the axis of
the aircraft, with base-ball-size holes punched in it. The ins
and outs of dirty-hands engineering are fascinating to behold.
Subject: Clancy and the Media
I was ginning up a reply to Mr. Watkins observation on something
I am reputed to have said when I was disconnected, losing Mr.
Watkins' comments and my reply.
This is something that need clarification.
The quote in question comes from a lengthy article not in
Parade Magazine, but in the Washington Post's Sunday magazine.
The interview and article were done by a reporter named Carlson
At the time, life was fairly busy here. I'd just finished
writing "Without Remorse," and more seriously, a member of my
immediate family had undergone cancer surgery on April 16, 1993,
and had just started chemotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Hospital
Oncology Center. I had a few other things on my mind.
I'd been warned ahead of time that Carlson was a reporter
with a penchant for giant-slaying, but it is my custom to give
everyone a fair shot. He showed up and was flattering as hell.
One way to get on a writer's good side is to quote his own work
back to him. This he did with great skill. We talked about a lot
of things. He asked why I was a little tense. I explained that
the family member in question was at Hopkins right then, and we
went on. He seemed quite sympathetic.
The quote, which is accurate, technically speaking, was in
the following context. American economic policy is largely
determined by members of Congress. For the majority of Congress
members, their salaries of about $125,000 are the most they have
ever made, and in terms of the national economy, that level of
income is not demonstrative of great expertise. In metaphor,
it's like having a pre-med student do bypass surgery. In any
case, the comment is fair in a factual sense and was not meant
to be perjorative.
Alas, the presentation of the quotation somewhat left out the
qualifiers. It was immediately picked up by Newsweek magazine,
and then used by journalist Mark Shields as his "outrage of the
week" on CNN's Saturday commentary show. It felt rather as
though I'd been hit by a truck running a red light.
Now, considering the fact that my dad was a mailman, I think
it unlikely that I would say such a thing as presented either
drunk or sober.
I know a few people at the Post. One of them, a rather senior
journalist and assistant managing editor, twice apologized to me
for the piece, and to the Post's credit, they took the signal
step of graciously allowing letters both for and against me to
appear in *two* subsequent issues of their Sunday magazine.
(This was due, they said, to the volume of letters the article
had generated.) I rather suspect my readers have a better feel
for my character.
The error, of course, was mine. I was at that time and under
those circumstances rather an easy mark for the reporter, but I
have too many friends both at the Post and in that profession to
judge them all by one aberration. The media is not perfect, but,
then, neither am I.
Subject: Re: DOH (Spoiler) Japanese torpedo's, evasion of.
Clancy on ASW torpedoes.
The American Mark 46 and -50 ASW fish are programmed to avoid
the surface and thus avoid being spoofed by "surface capture."
This precludes them from going within a fixed distance of the
surface. Call it 30 feet.
This default is programmable, and can be de-programmed. At
that point the "fish" merely looks for a sonar target, something
that reflects the waves generated by its ultrasonic sonar
transmitter, Sonar waves reflect off the water-air interface
(well, okay, there is hull steel in the middle) or any ship. Any
surface ship will look pretty much the same as a submarine to
the sonar system, and are subject to attack. It ir reported that
an American Mark 46 erroneously dropped by a British ASW helo on
what was probably a spurious submarine contact off the Falklands
in 1982 was spoofed and detonated by HMS Invincible's Nixie
decoy. If true, the "fish" was close enough to the surface and
to the CVL to be a threat.
Subject: Re: Jack Ryan Actors
Clancy on actors.
I will not get into a discussion of the relative merits of
Ford and Baldwin. They are different people with somewhat
What I will say about Alec Baldwin, however, is that I really
admire his professional dedication. We talk every so often, and
Alec truly wants to be the best actor he can become. He's
utterly dedicated to his business, and he has an intensity about
it that commands respect. He's also a hell of a nice guy.
Subject: Re: DOH Questions
Clancy on ship propellers.
I asked about this.
Screws are not interchangable between classes because of
differences in hull form and powerplant. Moreover, not all four
screws on a carrier are the same. Outboard and inboard screws
can have different configuration. This was true on the
Iowa-class battlewagons as can be seen in photographs and as
commented on by Dulin and Garske in their book, "Battleships."
The only carrier I ever saw in drydock was John Stennis, but
I do not know of the screws attached then were service screws or
others used for
engineering tests in the graving dock.
Generally speaking, the screws are made in Philadelphia, I
think. They are big (for carriers, huge), time-consuming and
costly to manufacture, and although the manufacturing process is
formulaic, there is also an
empirical aspect to it according to people I've talked to. It's
a tricky business. The wrong screw (I experienced this once on
QE2, sailing on her in 1987 just after her major overhaul at the
Blohm & Voss Yard) can make a ship vibrate like a cocktail
shaker, which is both noisy and damaging to onboard systems. (In
the case of QE2 the "Grimm Wheels" (a sort of free-rotating
auxiliary screw aft of the real ones) were torched off in the
King George V dock while we boarded for the return home, which
helped somewhat with the awful vibration aft. And she's only a
50,000-ton displacement ship (her registered tonnage is computed
differently from the method used on warships, and is volumetric
rather than actual displacement weight). Carriers are nearly
This isn't very helpful, is it? Short version, it's a tricky
business because there is an art or empirical end to this.
Subject: Re: SAS & Gibralter Action
Clancy remarks on criticism:
For the record, I welcome it. How else does one learn what
one has done wrong. I hate making mistakes (who doesn't?), but
I've long since had to concede my fallibility, and criticism
helps me to avoid repeating mistakes.
A writer must develop a somewhat-thick skin. My first-ever
review was by a guy named Burgess, I think, in Navy Times of all
things. He was not terribly kind, commenting among other things
that my dialog was on a par with service VD training films. On
the other hand, the worthy Mr. Burgess now works for a paper in
Sacramento, I've heard, and I--well, I'm doing okay.
In my position you deal with honest criticism (a lot of
critics are scrupulously honest, and whether they like me or
not, I respect them for it), but since I am now considered
"critic-proof" (I'm not sure if that's true or not; I know I
cannot survive turning out a bad book, because my fans pay real
money for books, whereas critics get them for free), some feel
free to attack me for no particular reason aside from increasing
their own self-perceived stature. That's unfair in a purely
metaphysical sense, but the real world is not subject to
Writing is a miserably hard way to earn a living. For one
thing, it's lonely. You don't have any exterior help while doing
a book. Next, since you are so close to it (the book is resident
in your mind 24 hours per day), it's virtually impossible to be
objective about it, or to know if it's any good or not. Yes,
Virginia, even Tom Clancy has such doubts. All writers do, and
we all need to hear from our editors that, yes, Virginia, it's
not too bad. I suppose we use up all of our capacious
self-confidence in doing the damned things, and then we need
help in evaluating them. Good criticism (you can always tell the
good from the bad) is yet another objective input, and the idea
is that you learn something from it.
Subject: Re: 747 crash
Clancy on "Chicago":
The DC-10 died because it stalled out. When the portside
engine separated it cut the hydraulic lines controlling the
leading-edge slats. That caused the slats to retract, resulting
in a sudden asymmetric loss of lift.
In fact, the flight crew was well aware of the engine loss
(rather hard to miss). With the loss of power they did the
natural thing--tried to gain altitude. That stalled out the
wing, causing the aircraft to roll left and crunch. Had they
tried to gain speed and climb "flat" they would have survived,
as later demonstrated on simulator, but MD changed the slats to
prevent that problem from happening again.
Emmet and Catherine Ryan died, in fact, on a 737 (United
flight) that crunched in a snowstorm at Midway in 1972 or so.
Subject: Re: Pentagon question...
When the Pentagon was built, there really were but two (2)
military services, the Army and the Navy. The Marine Corps,
remember, is a subordinate part of the Navy. The Air Force was
then the Army Air Corps (later to become the Army Air Force with
de facto independence before the de jure sort). And the Coast
Guard was then part of the Department of the Treasury (now part
of the Department of Transportation).
I speculate that the five-sided configuration actually
results from the fact that were it a hexagon with six (6) sides,
one of those monster alien ships, like those in "Independence
Day," might think it a bolt, produce a large wrench, and screw
it into the ground.
Subject: Re: Meteor struck TWA Flt. 800!
NUDETS and the South Atlantic.
As a matter of policy, America will not declare a "rogue"
nuclear detonation without a rediological sample. I presume this
all refers to the well known (and well hushed) nuclear
detonation off South Africa. It was *probably* a joint venture
of Israel and South Africa (nice to know if the things really go
"boom" when you want), but it was definitely a nuclear
detonation. There is a characteristic double-flash from a
nuclear explosion which I explain in "Sum." But in that case we
were unable to get an airborne sample, and did not declare it a
nuke shot. (Were we creatively incompetent in getting the RC-135
there because of the Israeli connection?)
There followed an amusing discussion of high-altitude
"super-lightning" as a cover for the actual event. This
phenomenon is real, but it wasn't the first time the Vela
satellite saw it by a long shot.
Subject: Re: Bombing in Atlanta
Why call this Atlanta event a "terrorist incident?
First, it was a crude device.
Second, the caller was evidently just a regular jerk.
This dolt was a criminal. That's all. Just a criminal. Was
there any political content to the crime? I think not on first
He's just a criminal, a common, everyday jerk (statistically
it is likely that he's got a rap-sheet or has seen the inside of
a mental-health institution). Find him. Try him. Fry him.
But don't *elevate* him, okay? How much less of a problem
would we have if the media had the brains to deny these bastards
the publicity they crave? I do not propose censorship, which is
unconstitutional in any case, but the press *does* choose what
they print and how they print it. A little thought on their part
would go a long way.
Subject: Re: Terrorists and Freedo
Clancy on Low-Intensity Conflict.
In the immortal words of General P. X. Kelley, Commandant of
States Marine Corps:
"If they're shooting at me, it's a HIGH-intelsity conflict."
Something worth keeping in mind.
Subject: Re: Is Tom Clancy a Freemason?
Clancy on Freemasonry:
No, I do not belong. The Catholic Church may still prohibit
it for us fish-eaters, and I'm not much of a joiner anyway. On
the other hand the Masons and the Shriners support hospitals for
crippled and burned kids, among their other charitable works,
and I'm not going to knock them.
Subject: Re: Progression of Presidents
Clancy deposes on Ryan politics:
I assiduously avoided politics in the book - or at least I
tried to do so.
Except for the tax code, of course, but if you pay attention,
here is what I said:
1. Congress ought top pass laws which the average guy can
understand. (Is *that* political?)
2. A flat tax is more fair than the current structure
a. People have to pay accountants and lawyers to explain it
to them, which costs the average guy money. Why? Because the law
is designed to befuddle people.
b. The apparent "progressivity" of the current tax system is
a lie. Why? Because fat cats have their lobbyists write numerous
exceptions into the law, vitiating its apparent purpose and
c. Ryan tells TRADER that the new system has to be
revenue-neutral. (Is *this* political?)
Ryan pushes for greater government efficiency. (Is *that*
political?) He says the Constitution is color-blind. See the
works of Rev. M. L. King, Mr. Justice J. M. Harlan, and others.
Ryan is against the idea of a governing class. All of these
statements are a-political and in perfect consonance with the
Subject: Re: Thank you Mr. Clancy
Clancy on Religion in general and Islam in particular.
Religion is the modality we all use to talk to God. This is
the most personal of activities, and to treat it disrespectfully
is the act of a barbarian. Therefore, I try to treat all
religions and their faithful adherents with proper respect.
Islam is *not* a religion of maniacs. All one must do it to
read the Koran to grasp this. But as Christianity can be warped
out of all recognition by some people (e.g., the Ku Klux Klan in
America, the PIRA and UVF in Northern Ireland), so Islam can be
twisted (actually, used for political purposes) by some of its
less careful members. Press coverage of Islam doesn't help, but
the press of late doesn't seem to treat *any* religion with much
Subject: Re: macintrash
Clancy on tanks.
This thread seems to have drifted. I've driven and shot the
M1, the M1AI, and the M1A2. Driving one. Well, there you are,
lying on your back, in a rather comfortable position (a little
too comfortable; the drivers have been known to fall asleep at
the t-bar). You steer with the aforementioned t-bar, rather like
that in a toddler's plastic scooter, motorcycle-type
throttle--twist the wrist and the bugger goes. You hear the
turbine taking a big suck of air. Acceleration is early VW
Beetle, but the beast gather momentum in a way you can feel. The
suspension is torsion-bar. The ride is much like being on a
sailboat. You feel as though you're floating—rather like an
air-cushion vehicle must feel, in fact. At speed (the governor
holds you to about 43mph; pull it off and the monster tops out
over 70mph, but God help anybody near you if you throw a track)
cornering is interesting. On the test track at Aberdeen you can
feel it drifting out. The M1 has the Brakes from Hell. Just blow
on them and the beast stops as though it just ran into a granite
Aside, worst driving experience I ever had was in the M1A2
down at Fort Hood 3 years ago. They made me back up. The driver
can't see aft. I had this horrid vision of a little kid back
there on a trike and kept asking the TC if it was clear. Can't
explain it except to say that not seeing where the 62-ton beast
was going just plain panicked me.
Shooting one. You can train a blind monkey to hit targets. I
call it the "I wish you were dead" fire-control system. You see
the target, make a wish, and he's dead. Rotate the yoke left and
right for traverse, back for up, forward for down. Traverse is
pretty rapid. Tumb the laser buttons to activate the
fire-control system. A little box appears when the computer
shares your wish, then index fingers squeeze the triggers.
There is no noise to speak of--the noise is outside--but
rather a pressure wave you more sense than feel. The sights are
blanked out for a second or so by the muzzle flash. You somehow
see (albeit without seeing) the breech surge back (keep the
elbow out of the way). On the big-gun versions you hear the
CLANG of the baseplate being ejected. The sights clear about the
time the projectile zips through the dot.
You feel safe in there, but quarters are tight. A tank makes
a submarine feel positively roomy. Great human engineering in
the M1. Snug but comfortable.
Subject: Re: USS THE SULLIVANS
Clancy on USS Sullivans.
The five brothers were all aboard USS Juneau, an Altanta-class
anti-aircraft cruiser (CLAA--really a very big destroyer, 8x
5"/38 twin-mounts). The cruiser took a torpedo (probably a 24"
Long Lance from a DD) hit during the night battle of 12-13
Limping away the next day she took another from a submarine.
The second hit tore the ship apart. The senior officer present
was the CO of USS Helena (a Brooklyn-class CL). He signalled to
a circling B-17 to relay the proper rescue instructions, but
felt that his duty was to get his (badly shot up) ships out of
harm's way. For some reason the B-17 did not relay the proper
messages, and the rescue never happened. The CO of Helena was
court-martialed and relieved (perhaps unjustly--he had a lot on
his plate at the time) for his failure to ensure that a rescue
operation got underway. It is not known if any of the brothers
died in the water waiting for the rescue that never came.
Sister ship USS Altanta was also lost, along with four
destroyers. Cruisers San Francisco and Portland were badly
mauled. The IJN lost the battlewagon Hiei, and a destroyer or
two. Nasty knife-fight of a surface engagement.
Subject: Re: TC's writing routine...
Clancy on his work routine.
I wake up around 0700 to the dulcet tones of NPR's Morning
Edition, stagger downstairs, get in my car (usually the Olds
Bravada) for the 0.5-mile drive to the gate. There I get my
three (3) newspapers (Washington Post, Washington Times,
Baltimore Sun), and drive back. I switch on the radio to get
more of Morning Edition while I drink my breakfast (2% milk +
Carnation Instant Breakfast) and read the papers. I'm usually
finished by about 7:50, after which I stagger back upstairs,
flip on the PowerMac and get to work, which usually lasts until
Subject: Re: TWA-800 Hit By Navy Missile
Clancy and the TWA-800 SAM hypothesis.
People, let's put this to bed right now.
I will address only one (1) issue.
How does a surface-to-air missile (SAM) kill airplanes.
All such missiles in the US inventory (and probably all
roughly the same kill mechanism.
The warhead looks rather like the accordian-type baby gate we
all use to keep Junior from wandering into the kitchen or
falling down the steps. Imagine one twisted so that it makes a
The missile has a proximity fuse, triggered by radar or laser
so that the missile will explode a programmed distance from the
target, probably determined by closure rate - farther away for a
head-on target than an overtake target.
When fusing takes place, the warhead structure first expands
mechanically, then explodes. It acts like an enormous shotgun
shell. Why is this so? Aircraft are delicate mechanical
contrivances, and relatively easy to cripple or kill. You knock
a few pieces off and airflow will help rip more loose. The
warhead fills the air with a circular fragment pattern, mangling
the target. (I actually describe this in Red Storm Rising, the
chapter called "The Frisbees of Dreamland.")
Necessarily such an event would leave a distinctive visual
signature on the wreckage. Since a good deal of the aircraft has
been recovered, the aluminum pieces would look like highway
signs in deer country - lots of holes.
That's the physics side, okay?
Are we to assume that hundreds of American citizens would be
able, much less willing, to cover up explicit physical evidence?
I cannot express my contempt for the sort of swine who feel
free deliberately to lie to the families of 200+ victims for the
purpose of personal amusement.
To the man who originated this, stand up and be counted.
Drive to your local TV station and present your evidence like a
man - or crawl back under your slimy rock to be with the rest of
Subject: Clancy's Politics
Clancy deposes on the political content of Executive Orders as
I tried to eliminate politics entirely, but I did that in the
knowledge that the absence of politics is a political statement.
My superscription here is to read the book carefully. I
actually did *think* about this stuff.
On taxes: Regardless on one's view of government (big
government and high taxes or small government and low taxes),
tax laws (hell, *all* laws) should be drafted in a way that both
has internal logic and is readily comprehensible to the average
citizen. Otherwise, for starters, the citizen has to hire some
third party (e.g., H&R Block) to explain what the law means, and
that is a form of double-taxation, isn't it? Moreover, we have
the problem that the complexity of the laws allows people to
lobby Congress (i.e., spend money to get their way) to effect
exceptions to the law which the citizens can't understand and
rarely even notice. If this isn't corruption in the conceptual
sense, then what is? I say that is just plain wrong, and I defy
anyone to say that this stance is political.
Government efficiency ("running it like a business"). Is this
political? If so, then it's a political statement for the
citizens to demand that GM make its cars efficiently. Not so. We
want our money's worth from everything we buy. The government is
hugely inefficient, and that means that too much of our money is
taken away for no good reason. I say that's not a good thing,
but I also propose that this is not a political statement.
The courts and judges. All senior members of the government
swear allegiance to the Constitution. An oath is a solemn
promise, invoking the name of God as witness, to do something in
accordance with a given set of rules. Now, the Constitution
*says* that the legislative branch passes the laws, the
executive branch enforces the laws, while the judiciary
interprets and explains the laws. For judges to write new laws
by fiat is definitely contrary to the intent of the drafters.
Why did they think this way? The federal judiciary is appointed
for life, so that they would be above politics, and the danger
here is that, given the power to make law, they could become
philosopher kings--which would, by the way, invalidate the idea
of democracy and the accountability of the elected members of
the government to the citizens. I note here, therefore, that my
statement that the Constitution is clear on this point is also
Ryan's "political" statements throughout the book are a cry
for returning to the fundamentals, really to recognize the rules
*within which* we have our political debates, and that's all.
Sure, I have a whole set of political beliefs, but more
important than that, we've lost the sense of rules, and we have
to get back to it if we are to have any sort of debate which
Subject: Clancy and the T-72
Clancy reports as follows:
Thursday I had to go to Aberdeen Proving Grounds on book
business, and while there, by the gracious permission of the
folks at that post, I drove a Russian (via DDR - East Germany)
T-72 main-battle tank. Herewith my evaluation:
To call this beast a dog is an insult to Pluto. I'd heard
many times, but not really believed, that no one taller than
5'5" could fit in a Soviet tank. Guess what, guys? It's no joke.
With the driver's seat all the way down my head AND shoulders
were at or over the hatch rim. Leg room was essentially nil.
Seven speeds forward. I never made it past #4. Standard
shift. Clutch was easy to engage and throttle response was
actually pretty decent. Brakes must have been left off, however.
I jammed the pedal all the way down and was rewarded with a
gradual diminution of speed more from the soft ground than the
Steering is by two handles or levers, pull left, steer left,
etc. It took me a lap to get the hang of it, and the tank was
hard to line up on a straight path. I'd call the steering
coarse. The thing is driveable, and in another few minutes I
probably would have become more comfortable maneuvering it. I
did manage one steady turn (i.e., following the path) with
minimal corrections. The officers and NCOs there said I did
fairly well for a beginner.
Human engineering--NONE. The driver's compartment makes a
coffin look roomy (I'm tall but not especially bulky) and safe.
Dials poorly arranged. I didn't even think about folding myself
into it and slapping the hatch down for fear of being trapped
inside for life. Getting in and out was unusually awkward. Not a
place for a guy who pumps iron. My shoulders just about jammed
in the hatch, and my name isn't Arnold. General impression of
the driver's space, confining in the extreme, poor visibility
even by tank standards, rather unpleasant to learn that fuel
storage was on both sides of the driver. The impression of the
Then I got into the gunner's chair. I never even figured out
where you feet are supposed to go, even if you're a munchkin.
Even less human engineering, if that's possible. Lots of angly
metal things to reach out and rip your skin open. About the same
shoulder room, but in this case there's this gun next to you,
and you really want to keep out of the way of that puppy. The
auto-loader, even unpowered and still, looks dangerous, as if
designed to reach out and grab you. This could be fixed by the
simple expedient of of slide-up metal shield (the M1 series has
this), which would weigh 3 pounds and cost $5.00. The Sovs never
bothered. Again, the armor protection was decidedly NOT
impressive, and I remembered reports on 120mm sabot rounds going
in the front of the -72 and coming out the back. They were not
exaggerations. The ammo storage really is integral with the aft
fuel tank, just 18" from the gunner's back, and in plain view..
No separation of combustibles from the crew as in the the M1.
They all go together when they go. Survivability of the crew was
not a design consideration.
I'd once thought the M1 was confining. The crew in the Abrams
has certainly double, more likely triple the interior space.
Enough that the crew can change places without exiting the
vehicle. Not possible on the T-72.
Fire-control system, simple, clunky, easy to use, and very
easy to miss with. Night-vision systems ala 1966. *Not*
impressive. I was unable to power-up the turret and evaluate the
controls' functionality, but I wasn't about to let somebody turn
on the auto-loader while I was inside. It simply looked
dangerous and carnivorous.
General finish of the vehicle was very poor. Manufacturing
generally crude. Surprisingly, a few minutes later I was looking
at Soviet artillery pieces, and they were of a much higher
Overall comment: The T-72 is a deathtrap. The low silhouette
may help one dodge a round or two, but a hit will have
catastrophic effects. The turret is essentially a rotating bomb.
The fire-control system looks to me to be short-range-capable
only, but by that time you're already dead. Driving
characteristics were adequate. I suppose it's nice for a parade
in Red Square.
p.s. The T-80 is an evolutionary development of this
worthless piece of junk. The Russians briefly tried to mimic the
M1's turbine-based powerplant, but reverted to diesel when the
system failed to work properly.
Subject: Re: Ship Designators (esp. submarines)
Submarines and "boat."
Submarines were originally called "boats" because the first
of them were transported by being hoisted aboard larger ships
for transport to distant bases. Since they were carried to
places, that made them boats and not ships.
The name stuck, even though by World War II a Navy fleet-boat
displaced close to 1,900 tons.
"Pig boat" comes from the fact that the original submarines
didn't have periscopes and aimed their weapons by porpoising up
and down in the water to expose their conning towers (stubby
little structures back then), mimicking the porpoise, also
called the "sea pig" since time immemorial.
Subject: Re: Where does he get it.
Clancy on classified information.
I have said this repeatedly, and I will say it again.
I have *never* seen classified information. I once asked to
see a classified document, but all I wanted to see was the
formatting of the cover (multi-colored border tape, etc.), so
that I could describe them accurately.
I have gone on public record repeatedly that if somebody
tries to give me such information, I would report him to the
And, sure enough, I did that once. Why? Because it's against
Subject: Re: The Mountain Men (EO SPOILER)
Clancy and the PC Bear. Again.
Why do I have lots of minorities in my books? Because the
military historically has been a very progressive institution,
and highly solicitous to minorities. A recent study, moreover,
showed that black soldiers are 20% less likely to separate from
the service for reasons of misconduct than white soldiers. The
Army, which studies itself incessantly, believes that it "skims
off" the top 20% of black society - largely kids who want to get
the college benefits.
So, the reason I do this is that it's true, and the black,
Hispanic, and other minorities I see in uniform are good kids.
And the military takes good care of them, because the military
is for the most part a meritocracy. That's a proud tradition
that goes back beyond the Civil War.
The U. S. Navy in the Civil War, for example, made no
least in the paperwork) between black and white sailors, as a
which nobody knows how many blacks were in the Navy, whereas
soldiers were in separate regiments, and therefore more easily
Subject: Re: EO Comments & a Stupid Question [SPOILER!]
Clancy on "Gary Owen" as follows:
"Gary Owen" is a song (well, a ditty) that became the
semi-official marching song of the 7th U.S. Cavalry under
Custer, and stuck after George's misadventure in Montana.
The 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was composed of
three (3) brigades, but current Army practice is that the
battalions retail their regimental designations. Hence in the
AirCav units were designated 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry
Regiment, etc., even though the regiments didn't properly exist
as administrative entities.
"Gary Owen" was also the greeting given with a salute ("Gary
Owen, sir!") by troopers of any 7th Cavalry battalion. Unit
esprit, and all that.
So when one trucker said "Gary Owen, bro!" to the other
trucker, he was announcing that they were both members of the
same team from the old days.
Subject: Re: Submarines max speed?
Clancy on the "Caterpillar Drive"
People in the *BOOK* "The Hunt for Red October" it is clearly
stated that the drive system is electro-mechanical, and *NOT*
MHD. MHD is a system that's been a round for a long time, and
which works on models, but which, for some reason or other,
doesn't scale up very well, and has never worked on a
Subject: Re: Hunt for Red October
Clancy on submarine maneuvers - the leaping-salmon effect.
Yes, this is done--obviously, or there wouldn't be film of
it--but not very often. It's a good way, for example, to find
out what items aboard the ship have not been stored properly,
which cabinets have defective latches, and whether the cook is
fast enough to save the soup pot. You do an emergency blow, go
full-rise on the fairwater planes and goose the engines. What
gives the submarine vertical velocity is the power plant rather
than the ballast conditions. Having the ship break the water so
dramatically isn't all that bad--but crashing back can be
exciting, they tell me.
More sedate versions of this stuff are called "angles and
dangles." You practice them to make sure the crew knows what to
do when they're necessary. It takes a little getting used to, or
so they tell me.
Subject: Re: US Tanks
Depleted uranium is pyrophoric, which is to say that like
flint, it creates sparks and thus helps to ignite things--like
the inside of a T-72, creating the now-famous "Jack-in-the-Box"
Subject: Re: Land Rover
Clancy on the Rover.
Great car, somewhat pricy. I got to borrow one once, and I
was invited some years ago to drive the Divide. Rover sent four
or so cars to track down the Great Divide, from Canada to
Mexico. Following the Rovers, however, was a HMMWV carrying
spare parts. True story.
They're both great cars. The Rover is superb for civilian
use, but the HMMWV is unsurpassed for more robust applications.
Subject: Re: EO Disappointment
Clancy on the tank engagements in EO:
All I can say is that it's realistic, which is why I wrote it
I gave the Guard formations the easiest overall mission. They
were the blocking force. The two regular formations were the
maneuver force. The American brigades (an ACR really is a heavy
brigade) all had the IVIS link and good battlefield
intelligence--an immense force-multiplier.
Finally, their materiel superiority was entirely realistic.
SImply put, the T-72 cannot hurt an M1A2 under most
circumstances, even as close as 400 meters, as was proven in the
Perrsian Gulf War. The Abrams, on the other hand, can kill one
out to 4,000 meters and has a P-sub-H of about 90%.
In the air, during the entire Iran-Iraq War there was not a
single air-to-air kill. People in that region simply do not
close for the kill as we are trained to do. It's a cultural
thing, according to some people who've discussed it with me.
Finally, I previewed the chapters to an experienced tank
officer, and after publication discussed it some more. All
agreed with my presentation.
The real challenge in writing that stuff was making it
exciting. But I wrote it that way because it was realistic.
Subject: Re: Executive Order questions
Clancy on the press:
People, try to imagine what America would be like *without* a
free press to tell us when the government messes up?
The press is an imperfect instrument run by imperfect people,
but the press is also a more important guarantor of our
liberties than the people we have in uniform. Why? Because our
liberties are more likely to be threatened by domestic forces
than by foreign ones.
As one who has been occasionally maligned and attacked by the
media, I have not lost sight of how important that institution
is. Even Karl Marx said that the press was necessary to keep the
government in line. That was something Lenin decided to dispense
Subject: Re: Executive Orders for Ronald Reagan
>>does anyone know, why TC has written EO for Ronald Reagan? And
>>does he mean? Sorry for this maybe stupid question.
>My guess is the Mr Clancy believes that President Reagan is and
>fine man and a good President.
Guys, when all is said and done, who was it, do you suppose,
who brought down the Soviet Union?
Subject: Re: The "Frisbee" in Red Storm Rising
F/Y/I, F-114 and higher numbers are the designations for foreign
(read Soviet) aircraft tested at the Nevada ranges. There are
several such aircraft out there, though exactly how many I do
not know. I've had hands on a MiG-15, -17. -19, and-21 at the
4315th Aggressor Squadron (a/k/a "The Petting Zoo"), part of the
48th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis AFB, outside Las Vegas. The
officer in command at time would not allow me to see the other
part of the large, windowless building, where they have MiG-23,
27, and other more modern Soviet designs.
All aircraft have designators. Why? Because pilots have to
log something in their flight books when they fly. In the early
1980s a senior fighter pilot got flipped out by his son, who was
interning as an Air Force base going over flight logs. So, he
picked his dad's, and asked him why he had about 100 hours in
F-11(something) aircraft which were not on the books. The very
existance of the aircraft was highly sensitive, but the flight
logs of the pilots, through an oversight, were not. Oops.
The Air Force assigned the F-117 number to the stealth
fighter out of pique more than anything else. Evidently F-19 was
supposed to have been the identifier, but since the F-117 ID had
leaked somehow or other in a manner not dissimilar to what I
just wrote, they just said the hell with it and went with -117.
This information comes from a very senior Black Jet (that's
what the drivers call it) driver, now retired.
Subject: Re: Drug Legalization: The Lesser of Two Evils
Drugs are unlikely to be legalized in America, except for
medicinal applications, like the legalization of marijuana for
cancer and AIDS patients.
It's simple. In every poll I've ever seen, >85% of Amertican
citizens are opposed to the legalization of narcotics. In a
democracy, that sort of number means, NO.
Am I going too fast here for anyone?
Subject: Re: Should Clancy do Sci-Fi?
Our resident midshipman writes:
That's an easy question. By far I would choose the Battle of
Midway as the US greatest moment. The IJN outnumbered,
outgunned, and outskilled the US Navy before that battle.
Well, Mr. Schoeneman, that's not strictly the case. The only
Japanese force that was decisively engaged was the Kido Butai,
or mobile (i.e. carrier) fleet, comprising four (4) carriers (Akagi
[flag], Kara, Soryu, and Hiryu). There were plenty of other
ships at sea, but they never really made it into the combact
Facing them were the three pretty sisters, Yorktown,
Enterprise, and Hornet, PLUS the mixed air detachment on Midway,
which was the equivalent of another air group, plus.
So, in terms of aircraft, the forces and numbers were level.
The Japanese did have a qualitative advantage in their air
crews, and much has been made of it. Yes, the Japanese air crews
had roughly double the stick-time of their American
counterparts, and their aircraft were marginally superior in
terms of raw performance numbers. On the other hand, their
aircraft were inferior in terms of damage-absorbtion, and the
IJN used fairly dumb tactics.
We had superb strategic intelligence, and largely blew it
operationally when the two (2) American carrier groups failed
utterly to coordinate their strikes, and when the reconnaisance
assets on Midway, having found the Japanese carriers withing
five minutes, five miles, and five degrees of bearing predicted
by CDR Edwin Layton, Nimitz' brilliant J-2 (theater intelligence
officer), then lost interest in telling people where the hell
they were! That resulted in further confusion.
Torpedo squadrons 8 and 6 were virtually annihilated because
fighters overhead never got the order to come down and run
interference (which would have favored the Navy F4F-4 Wildcats;
the A6M Zero wasn't all that great on the deck), not
b3ecausemthe aircraft were so worthless (the TBD Douglas
Devastator had performed quite well, thank you, at the Battle of
the Coral Sea only a month before).
In short, much of what we know about the Battle of Midway
isn't really so. We were not decisively outnumbered, and the
operational performance of the USN was not entirely without
blemish. Spruance's supposedly brilliant maneuver would not have
mattered--though, as a fan of Ray Spruance, I will say that he
made the right call--because the Japanese would never have
gotten in gun-range. They turned back. Spruance was in no
position to continue the battle anyway due to aircraft losses.
Spruance did everything right, and became J-3 (theater
operations officer) for Nimitz before taking over the fleet in
1943. A gifted, quiet, thoughtful commander.
On the other hand, the senior commander there was Frank Jack
Fletcher, whose flagship, Yorktown, did the most important work
in the engagement--before being clobbered by the first Hiryu
strike, at which point Fletcher transferred to a cruiser and let
Spruance run things (logical; Spruance had better
communications). But Ernie King didn't like Fletcher and wrecked
his career, for whatever reason I have never understood.
Fletcher engaged in 3 combat actions (Coral Sea, Midway, and
Eastern Solomons), and in the process exchanged 2 of his
carriers (Lexington and Yorktown) for 6 of the enemy (Shoho
[toss in major damage to Shokaku and rape of Zuikaku's air
group, which kept that CarDiv out of Midway--how easily people
forget how important that was!], the 4 at midway, and another
CVL at Eastern Solomons). Not as bad record, that.
Subject: Re: Big Event
Clancy on General Ralston's embarrassing revelation:
Okay, now I want to see which members of Congress step up to
the plate to criticize a person's sexual experiences. Of course,
there are quite a few members whose collection of experiences
are, shall we say, rather
Subject: Re: Tom's Life??
Does anybody know Tom Clancy's birthdate???
names of 4 kids???
Official status of he and his wife, Wanda?
The name of Tom's highschool?
The name of his college?
His major there?
Where Tom was born?
Any other facts about Tom...
I was born on April 12, 1947 at Franklin Square Hospital,
The names of my kids. No, even celebrities are allowed to
have a private life, and my kids are not public figures.
My wife and me? See above.
High school and college: Loyola High School, Towson, MD,
class of 1965. Loyola College, Baltimore, MD, class of 1969.
English Literature. I wasn't smart enough to do physics.
Subject: Re: IOWA-CLASS Battleships
All Longyear asks
>Actually, an IOWA has about 1/4 the radar cross secrtion (RCS)
But, Tom, is that still enough for an Exocet missle to
acquire a lock? How about the harpoon; would that lock and track
the IOWA class ships?
My first time aboard USS IOWA (BB-61) in 1986 (one of the
great days of my life; I went from the tank-tops to Spot-1), the
captain was Larry Seaquist, a kick-ass sailorman. The subject of
the Exocet came up.
If we get a hit from an Exocet, Larry said, we "pipe
sweepers." I.e., "Now hear this, sweepers man your brooms," and
brush the desks clean of the annoying fragments. It's
inconceivable that an Exocet-type missile could do anything
beyond cosmetic damage to an IOWA-class BB. Those missiles are
designed to hurt soft targets only, like destroyers and
merchantmen, which have no armor protection at all. The IOWA, on
the other hand, is designed to survive and fight through
incoming 16" rounds with a mass of 2,750 pounds and an impact
velocity of >2,000feet per second. The IOWA protection system
would force the missile to come through three layers of steel
BEFORE it gets to the (angled) 12" armor belt.
For a SSM, the outer hull steel will cause the weapon to
fuse, and the resulting explosion would probably not do anything
more that scorch the paint on the belt, though it would make an
unsightly hole in the shell plating. Also, the missile would be
drawn to the biggest part of the RCS, meaning the armored
citadel itself. Larry told me that someone had done a
calculation of Exocet against the thickest armor aboard, that on
the conning tower, whose armor is about 17" (the exact length of
my forearm on the doors; I checked it). Five (5) such missiles,
arriving less than five (5) seconds apart at exactly the same
spot*might* burn a hole through, the officer decided. Except
that such precision is not to be expected.
No, boys and girls, a battlewagon is a very hard kill, being
designed to take a licking and keep on ticking.
Smart bombs might be a problem, but the four (4) CIWS systems
could engage and destroy them in flight. The greatest
vulnerability, of course, would be to submarine torpedoes,
especially the sort to designed to explode under the keel. The
laws of physics deny any sort of passive protection against such
a thing, but the Navy uses a new version of the Nixie torpedo
decoy which, in addition to being a transponder for ultrasonic
torpedo sonars also produces a powerful pulsing magnetic field
to make the inbound weapons detonate at a safe distance. It's
supposed to be pretty effective.
The only thing in the class of a BB in the hard-kill
categopry is a carrier. American carriers have protection
systems that have evolved directly from the IOWA-class armor
systems. Inspection of photos of the carriers while under
construction makes this pretty clear. In addition to that, the
enclosed volume of the ships is their greatest protection. The
explosive force of a warhead reduces according to the
inverse-square law, and large ships simply have more space for
that to happen.
Fore further information, read "Battleship," by Dulin and
Garske, Volume 1 covers US battlewagons of the third generation,
with all the details on how they were protected and the design
philosophy which generated them.
Subject: Re: Counterterrorism
Mike Yared wrote:
Did the Isrealis actually helped the British and the Germans?
The founder of GSG-9 used to "liaise" between the Sayaret Matkal
SAS. The British got the mind of an elephant dating back to the
1950s with the King David Hotel bombing. Beside, the Arabists at
the Foreign Office hated Israel.
Jason Atkinson <Jatkins6@ANTISPAMix.netcom.com> wrote in
> No. The Mogadishu operation, being the rescue of a hyjacked
> (sp?) airliner, was a GSG-9 operation with two SAS men
> technical assistance. The Israelis may or may not have
> covert intel and advice, but I don't believe they had any part
> actual assualt.
In fact, here's a bit of trivia for you. When the Israelis
went into Uganda, with their commandos was a German, in fact, a
former Hitler Youth, then attached to GSG-9 who had been
training with them. They liked the guy a lot and took him along
for that mission. Class move for the Israelis.
Subject: Re: US and the UN?
In fact the Chernobyl reactor is loaded with literally tons
of PLUTONIUM. It was a weapons reactor that turned out power as
a sidelight, like most Soviet-designed tea-kettles. The only
American reactor anything like Chernobyl is located in Hanford,
Washington, where it's used to make plutonium for the
physics-packages of American nuclear devices.
Subject: Re: Request to Russian Posters (was Re: The PRC a
Yet one BMP killed M1 with HEAT, which is roughly equal to
Yevgeniy, I don't know where you get your information, but
No M1-family tank was lost in the Persian Gulf War to enemy
action. None. Not one. Including one hit by a T-72 at a range of
400 meters, whose crew was annoyed, and dispatched the offending
-72 through twelve feet of sand berm.
Subject: Re: Caroline/Catherine
I usually just lurk here and read the various posts without
commenting on them, but all this tripe about my dispensing with
editors has me sufficiently angry that I've reactivated my "Tom
Clancy" AOL ID and come here to say a few things.
First on the "Caroline/Cathy" line of rubbish, have you guys
ever heard of the phenomenon called the "NICKNAME"? This is a
(usually) given (or "Christian") name different from the
person's officially certified name, generally used by friends or
family members. So it is with Caroline Muller Ryan, M.D.,
F.A.C.S. Somewhere in antiquity people (maybe her mom?) started
calling her Cathy, and it stuck. There is no mistake made here
by me or anyone else. I've always called her Cathy in my own
mind, and always known that her real name was Caroline. I have
never apologized here or anywhere else for that fact.
Second, on editing. My editor at Putnam is a guy named Neil
Nyren. He is a superb editor and a friend. He trusts me. I trust
him. We've worked together since 1985 or so. Now, whatever
mistakes creep into my books are obviously mine. I am not the
world's best typist, and proof-reading your own material is a
very iffy business, as the mind tends to see what's supposed to
be there rather than what really is there—a fact made worse
still, for some reason, on a computer screen rather than the
printed page. Thus all the errors originate with me. Neil
catches most of them, but since he, too, is a mere human, and he
can't quite always read my mind, some errors remain. (and
occasionally, the typesetting process creates new errors, which
happened with "Patriot Games," much to my [and Putnam's]
Neil edits me lightly, mainly because I turn in a fairly
clean product (computers help with this), but he frequently
makes changes which we occasionally argue about. The way that
usually plays out is that if I object too emphatically, I win,
and if he defends his case too emphatically, he wins. That's the
way it's supposed to be. The editor is the guy who gives you an
objective read of your material, something an author, regardless
of how good he/she is or believes him/herself to be, simply
Some members of this interest group make pontifical
pronouncements despite the fact (well, perhaps because of the
fact) that they have not Clue #1 what they're talking about.
Guys NOBODY publishes without having an editor. Robert
Heinlein claimed to have such power, but I think his allegation
was mainly ego talking on his part, because I sell a lot more
books than he ever did, and neither the option or the
inclination to exercise such power has ever come my way.
Yes, there are goofs in my books. But many of those to which
people in the NG referred were intentional misstatements,
usually present in DIALOG, which, lest you forget, is the
CHARACTER talking, not the narrator, and different rules apply
to such content, okay?
Subject: Re: Replaced Bullets in EO
Aref Raman's SiG-Sauer wasn't loaded with BLANKS. It was loaded,
probably with 147-grain Winchester or Federal subsonic
hollowpoints. That';s the standard law-enforcement load for the
9mm, developed by/for the FBI after the April, 1986 shooting in
which two FBI agents were killed by two bad guys named Platt and
Maddox in Miami, Florida. It's the most effective load for the
9mm. Winchester makes it, and so does Federal, the brand I
prefer to use, though in a larger diameter.
Pat O'Day (based on a real guy named Pat, by the way) removed
the projectiles, dumped out the power and replaced the bullets
in the cartridge cases and loaded the substitute magazines so
that the pistol would feel as if it were still loaded with live
rounds. There is a slight weight difference, since the
propellent does have mass, but the difference is quite small and
would be difficult to detect without a precision scale.
A primer can probably unseat a bullet from the case, but
would not have the energy to eject it from the barrel. Guys, I
do know my firearms. I've shot just about everything from a .22
to an 8" field gun. This includes the 7mm Rem Mag bolt-action
and the .50 Barrett sniper rifles used in Rainbow Six. With the
former I was 4x4 on a 1,000-yard range, shooting one day with
the Secret Service Counter-Sniper team (I was 10x10 for the day,
and yeah, you bet I framed the scorecard!), and those people are
the best riflemen the world has ever seen. A 4.25" ten-shot
group at 1,000 yards (the target is posted at the Secret Service
Academy at Beltsville, MD) simply isn't human.
On the danger of blanks, by the way, the "plug" is usually no
more than a paint chip with a tiny mass, but as a few actors
have found out, the expanding gas from the blank can be lethal
as hell, expanding as it does at several thousand feet per
second, I should think. The concussion wave must be pretty
awful, about like a Jim Palmer fastball, and people have died
from that sort of thing. (Oh a .45ACP has the same kinetic
energy as a good fastball, but it's concentrated on a far
smaller cross-sectional area. So, it can't knock you down [no
bullet can, as a matter of fact, the cinima evidence to the
contrary notwithstanding], but it will smart a mite.)
On, and on the notional MP-10 10mm sub-machinegun. It's real.
The FBI went to H&K claiming that the 9mm was too wimpy for
serious law-enforcement use. H&K huffed and puffed about it, but
then, since the FBI is probably a good customer for them,
modified three (I think) MP-5's for the new cartridge, which was
developed for (and partially by) the FBI back in the 1980's. (In
fact, a friend of mine recently retired from the FBI—the real
Pat O'Day, as a matter of fact, and yeah, he really can shoot
like that. Pat helped invent the cartridge. And on his shooting
as reported in Executive Orders: I've seen him do it—double-tap
a head-plate, that is. A damned sight better than I shoot, and I
am pretty good, Clancy claims modestly.) So, the weapon is quite
real, and at last report the FBI was interested in buying some.
That data is, however, almost two years old, and I haven't
checked up on it lately. The ballistic performance of the 10mm
is pretty impressive. It essentially replicates the .45 but with
a smaller case, which allows one to carry one or two more in the
Mirable dictu, H&K tested the new weapon themselves and were
reportedly impressed with the ballistic performance of the 10mm
S&W. Surprising that the Germans were so open-minded, but I
guess we all have the capacity for learning. The H&K SMG is a
marvelous little weapon. The only way to improve the sighting
system would be to go to a laser, but HRT-type shooters don'ty
use them for the obvious reason. Too many shooters, too many
dots to know who is who. A pity.
Crimson Trace Corporation makes a DANDY laser sighting system
I guess that's enough harassment for now. I'm cranking away
on #11. Out in August, if I make deadline.
Subject: Clancy (the real one) Speaks on Something Else
There's been a lot of pontification here about Rainbow Six.
Guys, that is the book I decided to write two years ago. It
was not imposed on me by any outside influence, including my
lingering (but finally finished!) divorce. Nor did that
proceeding have anything at all to do with the fact that I chose
not to do a Ryan book in 1998. I only write the books I want to
write, and I thought R6 had some possibilities. I guess I was
right. It sold splendidly. I don't think I've lost my fastball
People, copyright laws, which are authorized by the
Constitution itself, guarantee the rights of the
creator/inventor/author, and to the best of my knowledge nothing
can violate this absent an explicitly (exceedingly so, as a
matter of fact) worded binding contract. For those doubters,
look up the Sam Spade case in which Dashiel Hammet signed a very
explicit contract which was then tossed by a United States Court
So, those of you who speculated on all that divorce crap,
leave the fiction to me, or do something original, and maybe
I'll help you get it published. (I love helping new writers to
get started. If you read the blurbs on the original hardback of
Red October, a lot of good guys helped me, and I pass that
along. It's an absolute union rule for writers. It's a very
friendly union. We all get along just fine, and it's very nice
to see that your heroes really deserve your adulation when you
stumble into them for a drink and dinner.)
For myself, the current project is "The Bear and the Dragon,"
with all the usual suspects, and a few new ones. Some of you
have speculated correctly on something minor——my
congratulations. You'll see it in Chapter 1 or 2 of the current
effort. We'll see how this character works out in his new job.
Last hint. Even my editor doesn't know this yet.
Oh, yeah, I do have an editor, and he doesn't find me
long-winded. For those of you with short attention spans, I
understand the Potter books on the witchcraft school are pretty
good (I mean that; I never trash other writers), and for the
more erudite among you, John Lukacs (can't remember the
spelling) has a history boom out called "Five Days in London"
that is absolutely brilliant. This guy captures a scene as few
historians can. I love the work of John Keegan, too. Marvelous
chap to have a beer with, and a dazzling analyst, plus having a
captivating writing style. He is, I think, the best military
historian in the world.
How come you guys never talk about Keegan? Don't you read
history? Yeah, I'm pretty good, but Keegan is one of the guys
*I* look up to. So is John Varley. So are Larry Niven and Jerry
Pournelle (good guys, both). So is Joe Haldeman. Steve King is a
hell of a good guy (thank God he wasn't killed by that
incompetent driver!). Jean Auel has a unique gift for capturing
a completely different time. In fact, there's a bunch of good
writers out there, and you are allowed to talk about them even
in this saloon.
Subject: Treaty Cruisers
Somebody's been wondering why I called a whole family of WW2
cruisers "one torpedo ships."
It's because they could only survive a single hit, as
demonstrated in numerous engagements. The "Treaty:" cruisers
built in the 1920's and -30's were characterized by British
historian Richard Hough as "eggshells armed with hammers," and
that pretty much explains it. The ships lacked the volume to
absorbmore damage than one fish could inflict. Their size was
about what a DD-963 "Spruance" class destroyer has today, but
without the wonderful stability that the 963's have. (I sailed
on Spruance once. Great ship.)
Subject: Clancy Speaks Again, Briefly
To the kid doing a paper on me, well, there's lots of stuff out
there. The hard part is discriminating between factual reporting
and journalistic fiction. (Last year at the National Press Club
I said out loud and in public [C-SPAN was there] that the
difference between me and a lot of reporters is that I do good
fiction. Some were polite enough to chuckle.) If you have
trouble, consult the librarian. You might as well learn how to
find things without their being handed to you. Serves you better
in the long run.
You might also (along with other members of this NG) learn
correct grammar (sorry to the innocent), but my wife and I
visited a city school in Baltimore, and English class to be
precise, and on telling the kids to ask their teacher who Samuel
Johnson was, I saw a totally blank look on her face. An English
teacher who doesn't know who Dr. Johnson is? It was, need I say,
a public school. but shocking even so. So, for those of you who
don't know proper grammar (as opposed to typos, which anyone can
commit, especially me), you may be innocent. You didn't choose
your teachers. Neither did I, but mom and dad insisted on
Catholic schools, where they teach you and/or break all your
fingers one at a time.
How did I find out all that arcane stuff in Red October and
the other books?
People, I am actually fairly smart. Why has this not occurred
to anyone? The information is all out there, if you go looking
for it, and the classified stuff just comes from analyzing the
unclassified stuff and connecting the dots (that is, if "A" is
true and "C" is true, there must be an intermediary "B" which is
also true; if "B" is classified, so what? It still sits between
"A" and "C," doesn't it?). In short, THINK! You can solve a lot
of problems that way, especially if you learn also from your
mistakes, avoid jumping to conclusions, and asking yourself one
question: "Does this make sense?" before you jump too far. I
call that the Idiot Test.
My talent. Do I have talent? It honestly doesn't seem so from
the inside. From here it's brutally hard spadework to do a
novel, but I suppose I have developed some skills through all
the repetition. The writers I admire, like Freddy Forsyth, are
those who use language with elegance, an ability I lack, at
least in my own eyes, but maybe I'm being overly self-critical.
I'd like to think I have the occasional decent turn of phrase.
("Practice." "It's only murder when innocent people die.")
I'm plugging away at #11, "The Bear and the Dragon." Even my
editor (yes, I do have one) hasn't seen any pages yet except for
the prologue, something I need to correct after I get home from
I'd much rather go back to Italy. Wife and I went there in
August, and it was just swell. The people there treat everyone
like a family member. The food is divine (the most average
restaurant in Italy is as good as the best such eatery in
Baltimore). The wine is breathtaking (Lacryma Christi del
Vesuvio, wow, what a superb white wine!). And the shopping, as
my wife demonstrated, is quite stunning. (She bought Italy.
Packing it up was a sonuvagun.) But in a week or so I have to
fly to London for the annual dinner of the Yeomen of Her
Palace and Fortress, The Tower of London. You see, I *am* a
Beefeater. Six years ago the lads appointed me a "Supernumerary"
Yeoman, kind of an honorary guy there. (I honestly don't know
why they chose to adopt me, but it is a signal honor to
associate with such a body of men.) I have ID designating me as
such, and that allows me to have a beer in the Yeomen Warders
Club, in the Tower walls, down-river side by the Salt Tower I
think. The Club, which opens every nigth at 20:00 hrs is, in my
opinion, the best place in all the world to have a beer. You
could scarcely ask for better company. The Beefeaters ("the
lads") are all retired command sergeants-major, and a CSM isn't
average chap. As fine a body of men as anyone could wish to
find. All great storytellers, and every one of them an
academic-class, if self-taught historian. Short version, I don't
go to London without stopping at the Tower for a pint or two at
the Club, and also to see the Ceremony of the Keys. That is
perhaps the oldest continuously operated ceremony in the world,
as it happens every night at 21:40, and has done since the reign
of Henry II. It's described in Patriot Games, but the real thing
is far better than my poor words. (In other words, being there
with a pint or two of Tennant's in you does make a difference.)
But vacation or not, I have a [deleted] book to write. My
publisher is funny that way. They give me an advance and
actually expect me to write a book in return. The rat-finks!
After that I can play some more golf and be a free man again.
There's another Ryan behind this one, and that book will be a
radical departure from the usual ones. I'm looking forward to
the challenge of it, though executing may be a little tough. The
working title is...
Subject: Re: Would Mr. Clancy speak out publically against
Okay, here I am, back briefly to say a few things.
I find all forms of racism disgusting and beneath contempt.
I find bigotry against Jews particularly so, because of the
implicit ingratitude. Jews have given America a lot more than
they have taken. My publisher is Jewish. My editor is Jewish. My
agent is Jewish. A ton of my friends are Jewish.
Look at it this way: Jonas Salk. What else is there to say?
How many lives did that doc save? And he never even got the
Nobel prize, which amazes me, a stunning oversight when you
consider that along the way he invented the science of virology.
If he were the only Jew to have done serious work in this
century, he'd be enough. But there are plenty more like him.
Once upon a time I was in a cab in New York. the driver was
literate and a speaker of English, which was remarkable. He was
Jewish, and somehow the topic of the Holocaust came up. He was
afraid that it could happen in America. I was stunned to hear
this. (Hey, guys, my dad and my uncles wore uniforms to put an
end to that, and they did so successfully.)
If you are ever worried, I told him, call the cops. They will
protect you as they are sworn to do.
But what if the cops don't come? he asked.
Then call the FBI. They're Irish-Catholics like me, and
they'll damned will protect you, I told him.
But what if they don't come? he persisted.
Angry now (I have total trust in the FBI as an institution
because I have so many friends there), I fished in my wallet and
handed him my business card.
Well, fella, I said, if they don't come, you call me, and
I'll sit on your [deleted] front stoop with one of my [deleted]
assault rifles, and if those bastards come to get you they'll
have to come through me first.
I meant it then, and I mean it now.
Anti-Semitism? Not in my country. Not while I live.
Subject: Clancy Speaks
Date: 2000-09-01 15:08:19 PST
As you all know, I *do* read the messages here on a daily basis.
I actually enjoy it, because every so often one of your guys
says something important, and even occasionally something
For example, somebody recently suggested that some conspiracy
screwball would certainly arise in the Ryan Universe and claim
that Ryan, a former evil creature of the CIA, had personally
arranged for the destruction of the Congress so that he and the
Evil Forces could take over overtly——
I HAVE IT!
The next Ryan book will be entitled THE BLACK HELICOPTERS.
(You know, I ought to have thought of this. I could due a
Kidding aside, that WAS an intelligent comment. The same
dolts who think that no Kennedy dies by the work of one hand
(even, in John-John's case, his own). What the hell, it's a
little industry, and it does put food on someone's table. But I
hope they choke on it. Must be my catholic education, guys, but
I think that lying to make money is dishonorable. (Yeah, I know,
it more complex than that.)
Once I was at the home of an FBI friend, now retired (the
"real" Dan Murray, in fact; a *superb* pistol shot among other
things). James Earl Ray happened to appear on the TV to claim
again that he didn't kill Dr. King. My friend looked up from his
drink and somewhat angrily reported, "Oh, yeah? Then how'd your
[deleted] prints get on the [deleted] rifle!"
That is the real problem with conspiracies. It makes one
assume that a lot of people on whom our society absolutely
depends (e.g., the FBI) are not the honorable, thorough
professionals we trust them to be. But if they're not honest
there, then where else are they dishonest, and why haven't we
noticed? (Does unilateral dishonor strike anyone as likely?)
(Hell, if you want to set up a conspiracy to kill people, whom
would you recruit? PHYSICIANS! Interninsts and surgeons to do
the killing, and pathologists to cover it up. It would never
fail, would it? Who has more power in our society than doctors?
And, of course, the other problem with conspiracy theory is
that it assumes that people keep quiet about doing evil (but
very neat) stuff. Sure, Wilbur. If people could keep quiet about
breaking the law , the prisons would be EMPTY.
Anyway, to those who do not like my novels, please, save
yourselves the money and the Maalox, and DO NOT BUY THEM. I
realize this would deprive you of the chance to pontificate,
displaying your knowledge of the art of writing, which is surely
superior to my own, but, on the other hand, here is your chance
to draft a novel of your own. Try it. It isn't all THAT hard.
After all, *I* do it. How hard can it be?
I'd really like to turn out a book that makes everyone happy,
but intellectually I know this isn't possible. There are people
out there who *want* to be angry, and if trashing me makes them
feel better, then I guess it means that some puppy or housecat
won't be set afire tonight and that is a good thing.
For those who say my work is unrealistic, last week I read a
news clipping that told the story of an unauthorized PRC
pregnancy. The attempt at late abortion was made, but,
remarkably, it failed, and the kid survived. So, what happened?
Even worse than in B&D, the newborn was carried out to a rice
paddy and drowned. I hope those bastards like it in hell. And
today, the PRC is slamming catholics. Well, okay, guys, do your
worst. The Roman Empire tried that, too. Guess who won?
Commie bastards are commie bastards, and I find it curious
that the American media extends them such solicitude. Would the
same be true of a reborn Hitler? I wonder. After all, Poland was
never ours to lose, and the intelligentia of 1940 America simply
refused to accept the information on what Hitler was doing to
European Jews. Not that they were anti-semetic, of course. But
now we've rebounded too far the other way. But that's just my
opinion, and Matt Lauer points out that I am too conservative.
It's my education (catholic, including eight years of Jesuits)
that tells me that principles are things we apply evenhandedly
to everybody, lest they be mistaken for mere ideology or
expediency. I suppose that's a conservative value, too. Pity.
Principles are not supposed to be overly political, are they?
Anyway, B&D is done, and on sale, and the sales are pretty
good, so Putnam tells me. The book tour was exhausting (signed
>2,000 books at Quantico Marine Base; and people say Marines
can't read?) And I wish some of you guys had taken the chance to
say hello, but maybe you couldn't make the events. It's done,
and I am taking some time off before I even think about the next
one, though I do know what it is, and B&D actually set it up.
(Don't even try to guess, guys.)
So, to my loyal fans, thank you. To those who are not, READ
SOMEBODY ELSE. About thirty THOUSAND novels are published every
year in America. Find a guy you like and help make him/her rich.
Even J. K. Rowling, what a super gal! She's making kids read,
and someday they will buy grown-up material, and what is good
for one in this business is truly good for all.
Subject: Clancy Speaks on the Election
Date: 2000-11-26 09:49:23 PST
Guys, several of you have asked for me to pontificate on the
recent presidential election, and so, I suppose I will.
Before that, allow me also to comment also on the recent
interest in Susannah York. A lovely lady in her day. Alas, that
day didn't last long because the Nordic sort of good looks
crinkle up like autumn leaves. What a shame. But, yeah, she has
always been my mental image for Cathy (Dr. Caroline Muller)
Ryan, MD, FACS. When you write for a living, you pretty much
have to have a image of your character. I picked her.
Specifically, I retain the image of how she looked in a movie
with Warren Beatty called (I think) Kaleidoscope, about a guy
who marked cards printed for casino use and proceeded to cheat
the houses, not a smart thing to do because their security is
right up there with how the USAF guards nuclear weapons, but
Hollywood likes far-fetched ideas. In any case, in that movie
Ms. York was a dish. I wish her well.
Now, the election. One of the things I like to say as
regularly as the opportunity presents itself is that your
hardest task as a writer of fiction is to stay ahead of reality.
The election of 2000 is such an case.
I like to think that I am rather a daring author in the
subject matter I examine, but, guys, there is no way would I
have had the imagination or the guts to predict something like
this. Too insane, and far too political to suggest that a losing
candidate would hang on by hiring on the best mercenaries in the
world (that is, American lawyers, especially of the academic
variety). (The old joke about why medical schools have stopped
using rats as experimental animals and gone to lawyers. Why?
Well, medical students occasionally developed a fondness for the
rats; not a problem with lawyers. Also, one failing of rats as
experimental animals is that there are some things that rats
simply will not do; again, not a problem with lawyers...)
No way would I have had the guts and/or arrogance to suggest
that the Democrats would issue a memorandum to their attorneys
outlining the means to disenfranchise people in uniform from
exercising the right to vote which they defend with their lives
around the world. "Clancy suggests people with whom he had
political disagreements are that low? What an ideological
extremist he is!"
(But, then, the Democrats have, shall we say, less love for
the military than most Americans do. That's why some of them
[service people, not professional democrat politicians] are now
on food stamps, and readiness rates, as my friends in the
service tell me, are frighteningly low. I know, Mr. Gore says
otherwise, and what do those peons in muddy boots know about
I mean, people, were I do write such stuff, then what would
some of you have called me? Fascist? Mad? Certainly over the top
in terms of ideology and demonization of my political
adversaries. And you know, you'd be right. When I draw up
antagonists, I at least try to give them a little depth and a
few sympathic characteristics. The behavior we see today is
Hitlerian in its objectives, and——well, I suppose that comment
might be a little overboard.
Let us agree that we are seeing a general lack of
sportsmanship, and an unwillingness to let the chips (that is,
chads) fall where they may (or may not).
No, I could not make this up any more than I could make up
what President Clinton did in the Oval Office and the adjacent
sitting room. Even writers of fiction have limits. The
difference between fiction and reality, indeed, is that fiction
has to make sense. Most readers would not accept in fiction the
random behavior we see in day-to-day reality. Like those KKK
types in Texas who dragged a black man to his death in a murder
of astounding depravity, then to have their act followed by a
comment that Gov. Bush's lack of enthusiasm for a hate-crimes
law showed his insensitivity to the crime, when, in fact, the
subjects (two of the three, that is) had been sentenced to DEATH
(and, I think deservedly so). The jury in this case decided that
it was a crime of sufficient malice to merit an unusually stern
response. I mean, you cannot punish a criminal worse than taking
his life, can you? Yes, you can, you can pass a hate-crimes law
that implicitly makes A's rights more important than B's
(doesn't that violate Equal Protection?), instead of leaving
that judgment to the members of the jury.
As a writer of "realistic" fiction I could not make up
Political Correctness, because I'd be castigated for it. I could
not make up media bias for fear of being torched in every review
for the rest of my professional life. And so, as a writer of
fiction, I am forever doomed to being behind the power curve. I
guess that, like everyone else, I have my limitations.
Subject: Re: Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan
Date: 2002-01-16 15:33:38 PST
Some bonehead named LUCAS says:
I can't believe anyone could possibly accept Ben Affleck as
Jack Ryan. Ryan is supposed to be a man who has been around the
block governmentally and politically with a family that are in
their teens at the very least. Ben Affleck is a smart-mouthed
kid who couldn't possibly win respect. think this miscasting
could ruin the movie for many fans of previous Tom Clancy
I reply as follows:
Bonehead, Ben Affleck has earned *MY* respect. I will say
this one last time:
Ben Affleck is a smart and talented young actor. We've met,
talked extensively, had dinner together, and I came away from
the exchange impressed with this kid.
We still communicate regularly via e-mail and phone. Okay,
he's still under 30. That's a cross we've all had to bear, and I
wish I could bear it again myself. (Do I ever!)
I am delighted to have him as the new Jack Ryan. Ben shows
the one sure attribute of intelligence: he listens. (He also
wants to learn, another good sign.) I can work with bright
people. It's the dumb ones I cannot abide. (Why, then, do I
bother reading this interest group, you ask. Damned if I know.)
I have not as yet seen the movie version of "Sum." But people
I know who have seen it reacted positively to it, and they say
that Ben did fine. For the moment that will have to do. (If I do
get an early preview, I'll probably be sworn to silence anyway.
So, don't expect any word from me.)
In any case, Ben did not have to come to see me in order to
get this role, but he insisted on doing so. Why? He's got class
and he shows respect for people, two qualities sadly rare in
In short. Tom Clancy is happy to have Ben Affleck on the
If Lucas isn't, well, who ever said he was on the damned
Subject: Clancy in Uniform
Date: 2002-07-14 09:07:26 PST
Aside from two years in college ROTC, no, I have never been in
I was rejected for service in 1967 due to poor eyesight
(>-8.0 diopters) in both eyes. This degenerated further to -10+
or so until I had the recently developed LASIK procedure at
Johns Hopkins about a year and a half ago. I have to wear
reading glasses now (not unusual for one over 50 years old), but
now I can see, for the first time since First Grade at St.
Actually I’d intended to continue ROTC and serve a few years,
thinking it would have been good for me. I still think that, but
the Department of Defense, in its wisdom, declined my service,
twice. I wanted to be a tanker. To fight sitting down and have a
4” gun available sounded to me like a civilized way to risk my
You guys all surely know the public version of how my life
developed. You are free to believe or disbelieve as you choose.
Subject: Re: TC in Time Magazine
Date: 2002-07-27 12:16:55 PST
When I responded in writing to some of the bubble-headed
comments on my TIME piece, I left something out. A thought
Consider, you intellectuals, the following:
Turn the clock back to 1918-19, the Hall of Mirrors at the
Palace of Versailles (never could spell that; don't bother
correcting me; I know it's wrong): do you or do you not depose
Kaiser Wilhelm II? Of course they did, since Kaiser Bill had
been (and mainly still is) regarded as "the most dangerous man
in Europe" and the architect of World War One. (Whether or not
this is true is best left to historians, but a new British one
named Niall Ferguson demonstrates in his book, "The Pity of
War," that the most militaristic nation in Europe in that period
was France, not Germany, which, by the way, surprised me, too.)
So, Wilhelm was retired to chop trees in the Netherlands, and
eventually Hitler took over Germany.
Had Wilhelm been left in place, the Holocaust would never
Think about it. When a king gets his nice new gold hat, it
happens in a church, and the officiating priest/minister reminds
the new monarch that he/she rules at God's sufferance. (My
comments here are intended to apply to the European tradition.
In the Far East things were different because of their different
religious and philosophical outlook on reality, on which I've
commented in my books.) Kings typically take that rather
seriously. The chief of government may own the government, but
the King owns the PEOPLE, and he is responsible to God for their
safety, and Hitler would never have had the balls to cross the
Kaiser, would he? (Please, let's not have anyone say anything as
stupid as to suggest that he would have done so.) And Kaiser
Bill would not have violated his coronation oath.
Think I'm wrong? When Germany overran Belgium, the King
stayed, unlike the Dutch Queen who bugged out to England to set
up a government in exile. The Belgian King was hammered for this
at the time. But, again, consider: the Dutch Jews were sent off
to the camps, but the Belgian Jews largely survived, because
Hitler didn't want the political heat of countering the only
possible source of political unity in Belgium, conquered or not.
The same thing happened in Denmark. Okay, all you nit-pickers
out there, the Belgian and Danish Jews were not entirely
unscathed, but they fared a lot better than the Dutch ones. (The
Netherlands, interestingly, had both the highest collaboration
rate [their own SS division, in fact] and the most effective
resistance movement, a bizarre dichotomy of ever there was one.)
This is the Law of Unintended Consequences gone mad. But
Kaiser Bill had a lot of Jewish friends, like Albert Balin, who
ran the German steamship line HAPAG in vigorous competition with
the Brits, and a King cannot be seen to be dishonorable to his
own people, plus the duty he has to God to safeguard his people.
One can say that God's revealed word isn't any better that
"secular humanism" (Marxism with a kind and gentle title—yeah,
it's humane all right—ask Pol Pot who may even now be on the
main rotisserie in hell) except for one thing: What higher
authority does secular humanism acknowledge? Answer: NONE.
There's just the changeable will of the people (or the current
aesthetic of the government, and for comment on this, real
William Shier's "The Rise and Fall of the Third
Reich"—aesthetics can be dangerous), and in defense against this
we wrote the Constitution of the United States, because
aesthetics can change. But God's rules (and important
principles, which are mainly ideas taken from Holy Scripture
anyway—the Constitution was written by men for whom the inside
of a church was not terra incognita) mainly do not.
After all, the Catholic Church used to burn people at the
stake to make sure.
I add the last to remind you guys that the Inquisition is
almost entirely a canard, propaganda drafted by the Brits during
time of war with Spain. Everything the Inquisition did was
written down, and the records still exist, and scholars are now
going through them and mainly finding that bureaucrats then are
the same as bureaucrats now (the Catholic Church has the world's
oldest bureaucracy—at least in the Western world), risk-averse
functionaries who did as little work as possible and collected
their checks at the end of the week.
The really nasty work happened in Germany, where some towns
were entirely depopulated of women on the pretext of witchcraft.
Must have been a lot of angry husbands back then, or maybe the
divorce laws were overly strict, but in either case I bet the
menfolk had trouble finding new girls to date.
It was also a major form of public entertainment in Scotland.
In fact, it's been said that one year in Scotland accounted for
most religious cookouts that the entire Inquisition in Spain,
which technically lasted into the 19th Century, when if finally
died of collective boredom.
Oh, one thing I hate: Saying, "Oh, yeah! Well, what about
THIS and what about THAT?" is not an accepted form of argument
except on CNN and in third grade. If you want to debate a point,
please post a coherent collection of facts and an intellectual
conclusion at the end, not the sort of thing one hears from
James Carvelle (is he not the very face of Lucifer?) and Robert
Novak (the right-wing version). I've stopped watching their
garbage on CNN, and wish for a return of Pat Buchanan (at least
he has a sense of humor—I'll never trust a man who lacks that)
and Tom Braden (who may be a leftist, but is, at least, a
End of rant. But, people, plesase think over my argument
instead of just reacting to it, okay?
Subject: Re: Did Tom Clancy invent (or name) the "Crazy
Date: 2002-11-27 08:10:54 PST
Yes, I am alive, and no, I did not invent "Crazy Ivan." It
is/was real, ad the crew of USS Augusta once found out. Funny
story how I confirmed that, way back when.
Dumb question for the group: What does HTML mean. People keep
sending messages to me saying they're in that format, but I have
not a clue what it is. (I may be the king of high-tech (no,
really Mike Crichton is; good guy, Mike, fine scribe, and an
honorable gentleman), but I do not know it all.
Happy Turkey and Football Day, troops.
Oh, I'm at the "playing with" stage of a new one. Maybe next
summer, if I get on my tochus on track.
Subject: Re: Captain Ned Beach
Date: 2002-12-02 10:31:37 PST
It is with deep sorrow that I take note of the death of Captain
Edward Latimer Beach, Jr., USNA Class of 1939.
I first met Ned in 1983. I saw him to discuss the publication
of RED OCTOBER. He proved to be a gifted and valued friend.
What a magnificent gentleman he was, warrior and writer. His
best feat of writing, I think, is THE WRECK OF THE MEMPHIS,
about what happened to his father, then CO of USS MEMPHIS, in
Santo Domingo harbor, in 1915, when a tsunami came into port
unexpectedly, and was then court-martialed for losing his ship.
(Tsunamis were not yet understood, and the court martial thought
it had to be heavy weather, for which he'd not readied his
chip.) He took a five-minute event and stretched it out into an
exciting book-length read. (The crew of MEMPHIS reportedly
introduced baseball to the Dominican Republic's citizens, which
has shown a long-term profit for America as well.)
So, Ned, Sr., lost his ship, his wife (to natural causes),
and his career, all in a brief span of weeks. But then he met
the young (late teens) daughter of a French diplomat in Haiti,
and married the girl. In a year, Ned popped out to carry on his
father's name and distinction in the naval service. The
Secretary of the Navy (Josephus Daniels, I think) overturned the
result of the court-martial, restored Ned Senior's career, and
he ended up commanding a battlewagon, USS NEW YORK, at Scapa
Flow. What a turnaround that was.
More recently, Ned made me an honorary member of the crew of
USS TIRANTE, the submarine on which he won the Navy Cross, and
where his skipper, George Streete won the Medal of Honor. That
was some cruise.
A thoroughly magnificent gentleman, courageous when the
circumstances called for it, and a good friend at all other
times. Bright, thoughtful, talented, the poet laureate of our
country's Navy, and a killer of men. One could do worse with a
lifetime. People like Ned don't come along that often. And more
is the pity. I'll miss him.
Date: 2003-02-22 12:54:46 PST
Guys, I'm posting this early, as it may be of some interest to
27 February will mark the 20th anniversary of my completion
of the first draft of my first novel, "The Hunt for Red
October." It was a Sunday evening, I think, about 6:00 PM, and I
was hammering away on an old but serviceable IBM Selectric
typewriter. The last line had come to me a few days earlier
(along with the quote from Shelley) about sleeping on an
airplane. I'd not yet flown anywhere—that came in May or so,
1985, when Putnam flew me to New Orleans for a sales conference.
You could smoke on airplanes back then. Ah, civilization.
The next day, February 28, 1983, I had to drive to Annapolis
on a business call, and on the way back from that I dropped the
manuscript off at the Naval Institute, then located in Preble
Hall at the Naval Academy, handing it over to Marty Callaghan.
Marty gave it to the acquisitions-and-rights editor Debbie
Guberti (lovely, nice gal, since remarried and now a mother) who
read it over a two weeks or so, and responded with some small
degree of enthusiasm.
I'm going to be in London on the 27th, recovering from the
annual Yeomen Warders Dinner at Her Majesty's Royal Palace and
Fortress, the Tower of London. One of the great honors of my
life, you see, is my membership in the Body or Yeomen Warders.
So, I am an honorary Beefeater (the origin of that term is
unknown, even by the Yeomen themselves, by the way), the only
American ever so honored. These guys are all (there are 41 of
them) retired Regimental Sergeants Major, hard-core professional
soldiers of the finest type. So, the United States Senate is not
the world's most exclusive men's club. I belong to the real one,
and it ain't bad. They have their own pub in the Tower walls,
the Yeomen Warders Club, which, I my humble opinion, is the best
place in all the world to have a beer. Every time when I walk up
the lane to the Club, with stone walls to my left and right,
past Traitor's Gate, it's like coming home, and I will, again,
see the Ceremony of the keys, about which I wrote briefly in
"Patriot Games," and about which I will write again and in
rather more detail in a future book.
Flying used to scare the hell out of me—a thunderstorm coming
out of Kansas City in 1985 didn't help; a lovely sight it was,
looking DOWN at lightning, but the roller-coaster ride was
decidedly unpleasant—but I've gotten over that. Now mainly I
charter. That way I only take my shoes off to go to sleep—that
really is demeaning, as I learned last year in Vienna. And a "G"
rides better than most airliners. Helps if you cruise at 43,000
Anyway, I am being long-winded again. I thought that this
anniversary might be of interest to my loyal (???) readership
and fans. Twenty years. Damn. I was still in my 30's then. A
mere child. Now perhaps I am an old fart, but the house is 15
times bigger, and with a better view.
Subject: Re: PRO-WAR take note!
Date: 2003-04-04 08:54:41 PST
fabrice thinks: SH and Bin Laden look like the most dangerous
threat to the US, but they may not be, and they are definitely
not the only one... Think of it...
Oh, I can see it now, Jacques Chirac sends his mistress to
America to clobber people on 5th Avenue with her Louis Vitton
purse. Sure. That’ll teach us.
The trouble with the European Union (well, one of many) is
that it seems to be a governmental system ruled by cowards who
want above all to make courage illegal. Bureaucrats have the
desire but lack the temperament to rule people. Sooner or later
the people will rise up and drag them kicking and screaming to a
What strikes me as odd is that the Germans signed on. For
that matter, the French army has a good reputation in the
professional community. It’s historical problem is its
Subject: Re: X98, Texas Monthly and *The Cover-up Church*
Date: 2003-04-07 14:04:32 PST
The cover-up of the Waco Holocaust continues.
Yes, the FBI, for example, has not released its audio tapes
of that Koresh pervert having sexual relations with children.
They got that by liberally spiking the building. The FBI
guys—all husbands and fathers, of course—were going nuts over
that. This does not excuse their imperfect plan for taking then
place down, but let us not confuse the good guys and the bad
guys, shall we? When a guy says he’s God, keep him at a long
Subject: Re: Clancy's books as college texts?
Date: 2003-04-07 14:13:38 PST
Robert Williams: Anything widely read by the "common man" is
considered mere fodder now for Joe Six-Pack kicked back in his
single-wide mobile home. Sad, but true.
It’s a mistake for me to post on this, but I am compelled to
remind you literary types that Bill Shakespeare wrote not for
the nobility, but for the peons in the pit. It has not hurt his
reputation, though. Oliver Goldsmith in “The Vicar of Wakefield”
liberally trashed Shakespeare. I remember reading that book in
college, leaning back, lighting a cigarette and asking myself,
“Who the hell is Oliver Goldsmith?”
There was once a critic who clobbered “Moby Dick,” explaining
in great detail why it would not be remembered. The critic is
only remembered for blowing the call.
Short version, if critics knew literature as well as they
claim to, they’d not be critiquing it. The money is a lot better
doing what I do. Trust me.
I do not take my words for Holy Writ. A simple reason: my
work is NOT Holy Writ. I am in the entertainment business. So is
Danielle Steel. Her readers like her. My readers like me. I
wonder if there is an overlap?
In any case, entertaining people is an honorable way to make
a buck, and it pays the bills. Exactly how popular it will be
after my death is not a matter of immediate concern. The only
judgement I face after death will come from a Higher Authority
that the New York Times book section.
Subject: Re: RSR questions: What likely happened that Clancy
Date: 2003-05-02 13:50:01 PST
Mr. Wiser, that was in 1986, and the USSR no longer exists. But
I will entertain your trivia request.
1. The Soviet Med Fleet deployed out of Northern Fleet, not
the Black Sea Fleet. They probably bugged out for home, lest the
world get a little too lonely. Even the French Fleet might have
dealt successfully with them, assuming the French honored their
NATO commitment in the event of war with the Warsaw Pact. A
naval war in the Med with today’s weapons would be exciting and
brief, with the odds rather heavily on 6th Fleet.
2. When you go to Disney World, do you concentrate on the
Main Street Plaza and the pretty horses, or head off to Space
Mountain? The idea here is MISSION CONCEPT. If you are in a war,
you concentrate on the things you must do, and temporarily
forget about the things you might like to do in the abstract. We
might bluster and demonstrate at the Russian Pacific Coast just
to try to distract their forces from Europe, but not to invade
ourselves. The mission concept for CINCPAC is to distract the
enemy as much as possible from his main effort while supporting
our main effort. I hope I’m not going to fast here.
3. A lot less far that they expected to go. While researching
RSR, I came to the conclusion that any Soviet General who
expected to see the Rhein either was a drug addict, or expected
to be catured and motored across it in the back of a Bundeswehr
truck. The Red Army was not that good, nor was it composed of
competent robots, a belief held only by the Soviet general staff
and western intelligence officers.
III Corps is at Fort Hood, Texas. I do not recall its being
in Germany lately. I chose 11th Cav because i like their
regimental crest, and when I was in college they were based at
Fort Meade, MD.
General comment: mountains and tanks, like whiskey and
driving, make a poor mix. I think we could have stopped the USSR
with conventional weapons. I think the Russians knew that. Would
have been bad for Germany, though.
4. Not all that far. Neither was the Soviet Army composed of
mountain goats, and that is rough country to go walking in.
Human factors, guys. Why do so many people overlook them?
The conquest of Norway was not their strategic objective, was
it? Fighting there, therefore, only distracted them from their
main effort, the neutralization of Europe SO THAT they could
glom up the Persian Gulf. The Soviet military trained its people
pretty well on mission-focus
5. They headed south to Antarctica, and were devoured by
ambushing emperor and Adele penguins. It was an ugly sight, but
CIA finally justified their animal-training project of 30 years’
standing. (Think I’m kidding?) Greenpeace, of course, remains
pissed to this day.
6. Think this one through, pal, You are in a shooting war
with a nuclear power. It cannot get much worse in terms of
numbers of increments but the last one is a son of a bitch. I
would expect the nuke troops to be sitting on razor blades,
which is bad for the hemorrhoids. During the Cuban Missile
Crisis SAC had B-52’s sitting SIOP at Friendship Airport (BWI
today), south of Baltimore. (As I recall there were 3 B-52D’s
there, probably loaded with four or so
megaton+ -range gravity bombs each. As a sophomore in high
school, I thought that was pretty cool.)
TC, shaking his head at a forgotten world, best left in the
grave. Thanks Ronnie.
Subject: Re: brand and product placement in TC's books...
Date: 2003-05-19 14:07:26 PST
People, please allow me to educate a few of you on this issue.
Writing a novel is about 10% plot and 90% filler. A few years
ago somebody in the NG said that Ian Fleming was better as a
travel writer than as a novelist per se. That comment struck me
as quite accurate at the time, and it still does. I read Fleming
back when I was in Loyola High School. Thriller novels are now
respectable literature, probably thanks for Freddy Forsyth—hell
of a good guy, by the way—who converted male thrillers from
comic books sans pictures to real, honest-to-God novels.
It’s called verisimilitude, as somebody else said. The idea
is to make your story as real as possible, and you do that by
telling the reader what the characters see, and by making those
things something the reader CAN see in his mind. That’s why I
work pretty hard on getting my places right, often by going
there and looking around, getting the look and the smell of a
site—like the concert hall in Budapest, and the Astoria hotel,
for example, in which I eyeballed the room which I had the
British army sergeant torch. I regard this as important, even
though most readers seem to think it’s all made-up. For me it’s
a point of honor to get the job done right.
I say “Coca Cola” because people really do drink the stuff
(just the diet version for me, now). I can also tip my hat to
things I really like. Needless to say, I am not compensated for
this, though in the case of Clear and Present Danger, I got a
free rifle, and from Executive Orders, a case of excellent wine.
I like the rifles that company makes, and I love Chateau Ste.
Michelle‘s reserve Chardonnay. Both gifts were unsolicited.
(Funny that you get a lot more freebies when you’re rich than
when you are poor.)
Subject: Re: NRA?
Date: 2003-07-06 09:35:09 PST
You know, back in 1991, on a tourist boat in New York Harbor, I
discussed the 2nd Amendment with Alan Derschowitz. He surprised
me by saying, (paraphrasing) “Well, it is the SECOND Amendment,
and evidently the drafters thought it more important than eight
other elements in the Bill of Rights.” He left me with the
impression that while he disapproves of your/my right to own
firearms, it is clear that the Constitution explicitly
recognizes (as opposed to grants to us—this is an important
distinction) our right to do so. I regard Derschowitz as a
mercenary, but from our conversation I think he can be called an
honorable one. He’s also pretty smart.
It is noteworthy that in the 1973 presidential election,
there was a referendum in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts
to deny the right of the citizens to own handguns. The
referendum was heavily supported by the democrats and others on
the left (The Harvard faculty, for example), but the voters
defeated it 72-28 or so. This from the state that sends Edward
Moore Kennedy to the senate every six (6) years. One supposes
that the individual voter thinks that owning a firearm is a good
right to have.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.
Subject: Re: A past vessel transported to today (Was: Went
Winchester/The Final Countdown)
Date: 2003-07-06 09:41:07 PST
You know, you’re all talking about surface ships.
Consider a 688-, 637-, or for that matter a 571-class SSN.
They wouldn’t even need the Mark-48 or Mark-37 fish to do the
killing. It would just be a matter of using ULTRA intercepts to
stake out the place a Japanese ship of value would be, detect
it, chase after it (even Nautilus, SSN-571 could outrun any
surface combatant back then), and dispatch it while the escorts
first went nuts, and second fell on their swords.
Carriers are nice and sexy, but in the WW2 environment, it
was the submarines who did the killing.
Date: 2003-07-29 10:46:19 PST
Hit the wrong key. I am an author, not a legal secretary, which
is why I, like most writers, have an editor to whom I do
actually listen. He listens to me, too, and sometimes the
disagreements can get heated.
I do not have a staff. I have a secretary whose difficult job
it is to keep me organized. This Mary does very well Indeed,
which is why I pay her generously. She earns it. I do not know
if she reads my books or not, however.
There is so much garbage posted here, mainly, speculation on
how I work. Almost all of it is wrong, but I rarely comment on
it because it’s very clear to me that those speculators do not
do what I do for a living, and know sod-all about being a
professional writer. That’s fair enough. I don’t know much about
being an engineer or a physician, for example, though when I
need such knowledge, I can all on friends who do that sort of
(In WITHOUT REMORSE I found an error in a standard medical
textbook. I essentially quoted the book on something and got fan
mail from an MD who said YOU BLEW IT, and when I replied, he
said, Damn, there’s an error in “Principles of Internal
Medicine” ; I have to get that fixed. I felt pretty good about
that, actually, though there are only about 10 cases of
barotraumas annually in the USA.)
You guys also speculate on how I think, and that is rarely
close to how I actually think. Like the stuff on the Minnesota
Vikings, which is five years in the past, and not worth
Back in March I had to speak at Yale, and I’d planned to tell
the children there that their teachers don’t know crap about
writing books, and that they should disregard everything they
are told in class—simple reason. If college instructors knew how
to write successful, novels, they’d be doing it because the
money is better than what teachers make, even at Ivy League
schools. Instead they inflict their theoretical/political views
on others without even speaking with them. (My friend Sir John
Keegan often says that history is “the application of ideology
to the past,” and that is, actually contemptable. Keegan can get
away with saying that, since he’s the best military historian
currently alive. Hell of a good guy.) The Yale talk was mainly
about the upcoming 2nd Iraq War, and my ideas rather surprised
the boys and girls. And they were good kids, not self-inflated
snots I’d mistakenly (stupidly) expected.
You know, I understand that you people do not share my
political vision completely. Fine. It’s a free country, and i
know the quote from Voltaire, too. But belittling my views is
just as offensive as saying that I do so. I do not. I take an
effort to treat my characters and their views fairly. Just as I
always treat religion with respect. To do otherwise is contrary
to American principles, and THOSE principles are things I
respect. That proved a stretch in my outbound novel, but I did
make the effort.
On abortion. I am a catholic. I think my church is right on
that. I disagree with Rome on birth-control, and I think priests
should be allowed to marry. If nothing else, they’d be more
competent on marriage-counseling. But I think the church is
right on abortion. If you don’t like that, well, the current law
allows you to kill all the babies you wish, but don’t come to me
for a blessing.
(There are some hard calls in this area. What if the kid is
positive for Huntington’s Disease, for example. You could put an
end to that dreadful ailment in a single generation. Hard call,
and I am prepared to address such a case with the utmost
compassion. But abortion is really used as birth-control for the
lazy in the overwhelming majority of cases, and I think that is
contemptible. Look at it this way: what physician is proud to be
an abortionist? But the anti-abortion crowd uses poor tactics.
Just demonstrate peacefully outside their homes. No violence.
Not even shouting. Just embarrass the bastards. The money they
make isn’t that good. But committing murder to protest murder
demonstrates a disproportionate sort of thinking that makes
little sense to me, and is clearly counterproductive. If you
want to change society, you must plant your flag on the high
ground. It worked for Dr. King.)
Okay, some of you people disagree. You are free to, and the
glory of America is that the system allows you to advocate your
views as vociferously as you wish. Mr. Justice Holmes put it
this way: “Freedom of speech is not to protect speech with which
you agree, but to protect speach you hate.” Not a bad way to
look at the issue. Just don’t kill anybody over an issue of
Gun control means hitting the target. This issue has become a
real hot one in America. The Political Left even uses its
biggest gun—lawyers—to address this issue. I own guns. I enjoy
shooting guns. I have my own shooting range. Cops come to use
it. I was trained to shoot by a friend in the FBI—The real Pat
O’Day in my books—down at Quantico in 1986. It worked. I am a
fair shot now. It’s easier than golf, like most things in life.
I live out in the sticks, and if anyone tries to hit my house at
Oh-Dark Thirty, I will find it necessary to protect my own life
and property before the local cops come. To do that, I have
firearms. The Baltimore City Police advised me to get a carry
permit when i became part owner of the Orioles. I almost never
carry—they’re heavy damned thing to tote around, and fans don’t
scare me (except some of you people, of course), though the new
book, my wife thinks, might earn me some enemies.
Fundamentally, I think the Political Left hates guns because
it makes it harder to control the population. That is
*precisely* why the Second Amendment exists, to enable the
citizen to protect himself against tyranny from the one
organization before which the citizen is tactically
powerless—the government. I even had a talk once with Alan
Derschowitz on this issue, and he said (exact quote): “Well, it
IS the Second Amendment, and it comes before a lot of others
because the drafters thought it important.” Not to give the
governors of the several states private armies and air forces to
use to clobber the next state over. So Madison, Jefferson and a
lot of others thought we should have the right to own firearms
for personal protection. You cannot argue against that
logically. But who ever said the Left was logical?
But let’s be practical. The more heavily armed the state, the
less crime you have. (E.g., Vermont, where anyone can carry a
pistol whenever he wishes—hardly any crime.) Everyone where I
live has at least a shotgun (we have copperheads, and a shotgun,
as I proved one night in 1979, is a sovereign cure for
copperheads), and burglars know that, and so they burgle in
Washington, D.C., not in my area, because in Washington you
don’t have to worry about facing a guy with a loaded gun at
Oh-Dark-Thirty. The Political Left keeps putting obstacles in
front of buying guns—the waiting period (no problem with me on
that) and in Maryland, a dumb video you have to watch, but
during which you are not allowed to ask a question! What the
hell, over? (The projectionist is not authorized to answer any
questions you might have, safety-related or not. Government in
action.) In West Virginia they do instant checks of your
criminal background, which is technically easy, and convenient
for the purchaser. But we can’t have it easy to buy a firearm.
The deer might live longer that way. (In West Virginia,
Anyway, that’s Clancy on Gun Control. No, I don’t want to own
a machinegun, as Senator Charles Schumer asked me on AMTRAK
once. (What a bonehead.) They’re fun, but they waste ammo. (I
know a guy who owns a bunch of Thompsons, which he purchased
from the Delaware State Police when they discarded them, and
we’ve exercised them in my range. Fun, but not practical.) If
you can’t do it with one aimed shot, you need to practise.
There’s a company that makes laser-equipped pistol grips. If the
sight of a red dot on his chest doesn’t make a criminal think
twice, he probably needs to die. My friend Pat calls this
“culling the herd.”
Anyway, that covers the “end” of the Ryan Universe, and my
controversial opinions, on which the majority of American
citizens happens to agree with me, not the Bonehead Left. The
Left thinks people show intelligence only by agreeing with them,
and is dubious of the First Amendment in addition to the Second.
I have never been enamoured of these people. I rather think
James Madison would have agreed with me on most of these issues,
and thus I think I am in good company. I am in favor of freedom,
but not freedom to take life for the purpose of personal
convenience. Convicted killers, fine. Rapists, no. Though it
would be aesthetically pleasing, it would have the practical
effect of encouraging rapists to kill their victims, since
they’d have nothing to lose by doing so, and while you can
recover from being raped, you cannot recover from being
murdered. We have crime in America not because we have too many
guns or too many black people or too much of anything I am aware
of. We have crime because we tolerate it too much. If you
clobbered the crook the first time, he’d learn. Criminals are
rational creatures. They don’t mug cops. They mug little old
ladies with their social-security money. Why? It’s safer.
Criminals are rational. They can learn. They would learn from
doing hard time after Offense #1, and fewer would undertake
Offense #2. We have too much crime because we tolerate crime. We
have poor schools because we tolerate poor schools. (It’s trying
to be a state monopoly. What the hell could be worse than that?)
The Political Left has not had a good idea in 60+ years, but
they enjoy the exercise of power because they are tactically
adept. My party needs to learn from that.
Alexis de Tocqueville said something like, “Democracy will
flourish in America until the government learns how to bribe the
people with their own money.” Damn, that guy must have been a
witch. But democracy is a self-correcting mechanism. The average
guy will learn and fix it in due course. After all, they elected
Reagan twice, didn’t they?
Subject: Re: Finally finished TTotT, pt. 1
Date: 2003-08-24 11:48:23 PST
My last Cold War novel was The Cardinal of the Kremlin. (Did I
ever tall you how hard I fought for that title?) (Oh, and it's
my least favorite novel. I wired the plot too tightly. In
retrospect it needed two more charters of farbling. But it did
do well commercially.)
The Cold War, even in the midst of it, was not a good horse
to ride. I figured when researching Red Storm Rising that the
USSR was a paper tiger—flash paper at that. They were never a
really viable opponent at the strategic level, except for the
nukes—and, oh, by the way, if the Kremlin ever pushed the
button, how many of the birds would actually have flown? I've
had hands-on Soviet hardware, and it is not impressive. A former
CNO once said that the Soviet fleet was made of thirty-foot
ships. They looked pretty good until you got within 30 feet, and
then you started noticing that the pieces didn't fit together.
Gerry Carroll (died 1993, God rest his brave soul, would have
made it big in the novel business has his heart not quite after
whipping my ass at golf; it still hurts) once observed that had
he been the maintenance officer of a Soviet aircraft squadron,
he'd have been embarrassed to give those aircraft to the
drivers. Did I ever post my report to the CNO from my
walk-around on two top-of-the-line Soviet warships? A most
interesting experience that was. In 1997 I got to drive a T-72
tank. A designed-for-the-purpose death trap for the crew. But
easy to drive. I'll give them that. (If you're a midget.) Our
guys do not, however, call it the Jack-in-the-Box for nothing.
You guys attach too much grand strategy to how I work. It's
really a more haphazard process. Last year I was talking with my
pal Mike Ovitz and I have a lighbulb moment for a book idea. How
could the government really kill people? I mean, what can the
government do well? They butchered the attempts on Castro, after
Okay, the thought process took about a minute:
1. The agency would have to completely off the books (the
budget process), hence my working title, "Off the Books." Sadly
my editor won that battle. I regret caving now. My title was
better. This one is a little to unsubtle. But I can't do
subtlety worth a damn. One of my failings.
2. The agency must therefore be self-funding. Now, a
profit-driven agency required some serious thinking. It will
perforce be efficient. Therefore small. It has to get its
intelligence "take" from the real government, hence the
location. (I've had that general idea for 30 years, by the way.)
And I'd wager that NSA really does track the things I have
crossloaded to The Campus. So, that's the money part.
3. Next, the management of the agency must be above reproach.
Patriots without any personal agendas. This is the biggest
reality stretch of all, but you guys haven't tumbled to that
4. The blank pardons. For that I went to the "real" Pat
Martin. Former FBI guy, then a lawyer in the DOJ. Pat really
should be a judge. He's maybe the smartest lawyer I know—and a
man of godlike integrity—and Pat says such blank pardons would
be technically (and what is law except for technicalities?)
legal, though political plutonium (nay, lithium deuteride) to
say the least.
With those preconditions, The Campus can do a lot of things.
So, The Campus sits on solid but fictitious land. You know,
people, I really do think about this stuff.
The killer pen. Succinylcholine is real, used routinely in
major surgery to stabilize the patient (and place him under the
doc's total control). I learned about it from a very senior
fellow at Johns Hopkins. The pen is a notional modification of
the insulin pen used by diabetics. The drug acts exactly the way
I say it does, and the results are PRECISELY what I say they
are. I ran Sali's death past the same doc and got a passing
grade from him. The doc told me it would be "a miserable death."
That's almost a stock phrase in the medical community for
something about as bad as things can get. Like Kelly and the
recompression chamber. (But I think we can agree that Billy had
to coming.) 5 Milligram dosage is almost uniformly lethal, so
says the doc. So, I went to 7 milligrams. Succinylcholine is not
an expensive compound to manufacture. So, it works, and it will
not feel nice to receive.
But for one thing. Don't go out and get Succinylcholine and
stick the guy who stole your parking place in the ass with it
unless you can hit a major blood vessel. Succinylcholine only
works IV, not IM. You don't think I'm going to give public
classes or perfect murder, do you?
(I had that problem with Without Remorse, when I had three
 FBI pals coaching me on perfect murders. Some of the stuff
they gave me was too good to use. Some of it was stuff *I* never
Debt of Honor had nothing to do with public distaste for the
Noble Sons of Nippon. They do not like us—at all. They HATE us,
in fact. Must be lingering anger over Hiroshima or some such
nonsense. (The Japanese do not have moral standing to object to
the B-29 campaign. The killed more Chinese than Hitler killed
Jews—but they deny it happened! If the Germans tried that, who
would nuke them first? But nobody noticed or cares to this date.
Their history books are, shall we say, heavily redacted.) The
Japanese also make the KKK look positively tolerant. I thought
it would be an interesting story, and I started laying the
groundwork for it in 1991 in The Sum of All Fears. Actually I
thought the way I built up the crisis was some of my best work.
I love a good incident chain. It's Ike choreographing a ballet.
One of the things I do well. Pity I can't do subtlety worth a
damn. I either overdo it or underdo it.
Oh, they *still* hate us. If my notional Trade Reform Act
were ever passed, we could hurt their economy in a way that
would make Hiroshima look like an urban renewal project. But I
don't think we ever will. No American president has the guts.
Good or bad? That's one for the voters. The real chuckle is that
the car factories that build here are more efficient and
productive than their own. So much for the super-Jap worker. If
they were so smart, how come we won the war? Like Kung Fu. I'll
take my Smith & Wesson Model 25 6-inch against any karate guy in
the world, and laugh as I take my wife out for sushi afterwards.
(I don't like sushi either. I prefer my food dead before it gets
to the table. But Lux Mea Mundi likes sushi. But married couples
without disagreements are called dead.) But they still make good
cameras, though I will never dirty my hands on a Japanese car.
Terrorism. Looks as though it will be with us for a while.
Press reports say that Islamic terrorists are flocking to Iraq
to get Americans. This may not be bad news. Do we prefer that
they clobber shopping malls over here or go head-to-head with
highly trained and armed American soldiers in a foreign country?
(Am I going too fast for anyone here?) We'll lose some kids, but
they will lose a lot more. People, I've been in the field with
our kids. I do not want them after my little white ass.
Therefore, they're doing us a favor going to meet the Marines
and their chocolate-chip-clad comrades, and may peace be upon
them. And our kids probably don't mind very much. Killing bad
people is, after all, what they train to do.
Meanwhile, we have Israel to sort out, but that will not be a
fun job. Each side is laboring hard to out-dumb the other. So
far the Arabs are ahead.
The Arabs who hate Israel are terminally dumb. To destroy
Israel is easy:
All they have to do is make peace and then wait ten years for
Israel to self-destruct politically. Which would happen.
Similarly, Israel could settle things down by bringing the
Palestinians into the economy and make them rich. Rich people,
you see, do not throw rocks. Too hard on the china.
But both sides are acting like three-year-olds in the
sandbox, with a millisecond attention span, and no thought for
the milk and cookies they are missing. It's all actually rather
sad, but it's hard to reason with people who think God Himself
is on their side.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Success
Date: 2003-09-04 09:17:10 PST
I don't know all the facts quite yet, so my opinion is not fully
informed, but from what I can tell, Mr. Clancy is easily upset
and dislikes everyone on this group and in most of the news
media. It's probably because they love to pry into his life so
much, but it might be because he's an angry guy.
Angry? About what?
I do so love the way people insert words into my mouth and
thoughts into me mind. It's annoying in a lower-case sense, but
hardly a big deal.
The biggest problem with being a "public person," is that
it's rather like being a game animal who would like to depend on
hunting laws for some measure of protection, only to find that
the hunters determine both the dates of the hunting season, and
all the rules. Like a buffalo in the American West in the 1860s.
People who have never met me think they understand me. Well,
maybe you can infer some things from my books, but most of those
who make the inferences don't even recognize my jokes—though in
fairness to them my sense of humor is eccentric and personal. I
do not trumpet those meritorious acts I commit because tooting
one's own horn is too self-serving, and those who choose not to
like me are free to do so. About the only thing I've written
about my personal life is an essay called "Turn Back," which was
intended to encourage others to look after sick kids.
I have enough friends like Ben Affleck to know that you can
never win an argument with the National Enquirer and the other
trash you find in supermarket checkout lines. Such publications
exist to mislead people and to encourage those who like to think
evil thoughts, who are not yet an endangered species. They must
employ expert lawyers, but they have Sullivan v. New York Times
to fall back on. One of the many things I admire about Britain
is their teeth-equipped set of libel laws. But our news media
has a Supreme-Court issued hunting license, and we game critters
have to be careful in everything we do. I've made a few
mistakes, and paid for them. From that I have learned one
lesson: Mister Reporter is not your friend.
But really my ideas are in my books, and while some may
dislike them, our country allows freedom of thought, even to
idiots, and the reason for this is that sometimes the "idiot" is
right and I am wrong, and in a society like ours you have a
moral obligation to read things with which you know you're going
to disagree, because the brightest among us are occasionally
The media doesn't pry into my life too much, thank God,
because I maintain a low public profile. I try to treat everyone
with respect, and I rarely pass up a chance to be decent to
people. Catholic schooling, I suppose. It usually works, but you
still need to watch the things you say and do in public.
Your only real defense is the common sense of the average
guy, but democracy works because the average guy is both
intelligent and decent.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Bear and Dragon Pondering
Date: 2003-09-23 10:40:10 PST
A friend of mine who reads Russian like a native used to
subscribe to KRASNAYA ZVESDA.
The Soviet Army was more fearful of SADARM than they were of
tactical nukes (DEF: a tactical nuclear weapon is a weapon that
explodes over Germany? And what is the mean distance between two
German towns? 5 kilotons) (I saw how true this is on a
helicopter flight from Rheinmain to Ramstein) because it was one
SCARY tactical weapons system. And the USAF, I learned when
researching B&D has gone well beyond SADARM. The USAF is very
good (frighteningly so) at mating weapons and computer chips.
People keep ignoring the fact that nuclear weapons are
political instruments which would never be released to tactical
commanders until such time as a war has gone completely
insensate, and by definition both sides had already lost. Would
a NATO ground war ever have gone nuke? Probably not, The Red
Army was never as good as we feared. They demonstrated that in
But, you know, I took a lot of heat with RSR from left-wing
critics who were angry at me for not taking the war nuclear and
ending the world.
What the hell, over? That stuff amazed me. But in my research
I decided that we could stop the Russians with conventional
arms. Their hardware turned out to be far worse than I ever
dared imagine. (I’ve driven a T-72, for example. It’s a
deathtrap for its own crew, though it does drive fairly nicely.)
Simple and reliable, the American left said. My ass. Simple and
clunky. The tank’s fire-control system was 1945-class, and the
autoloader looks designed to rip the gunner’s arm off and ram it
in the breech. Never in my life have I seen such horrible
equipment. We would have slaughtered them like sheep, absent
monumentally stupid NATO commanders. But it would have been hard
on Germany. Russian artillery isn’t all that advanced, but it
can still launch shells, and historically that’s the best part
of their military.
The Red Army’s problems are detailed in Viktor Suvorov’s
“Inside the Soviet Army.” 1985 or so. They looked pretty tough
in terms of equipment and organization, but they were Pop
Warner-league in training the troops. They didn’t even train
their troops in their own operational doctrine, and they didn’t
have sergeants as we understand the term. I came away thinking
that the Soviet Army was designed to fail. But in 1991 we used
Soviet operational doctrine because it was better than ours.
Intellectually their officers were pretty bright, but their army
was a rolling disaster. In RSR I was charitable to them, despite
those boneheaded critics. I used to likjen the Soviet Army to a
Mercedes with flat tires. Great design, good engine, but it
ain’t going anywhere without trained troopers.
Viktor Suvorov—not his real name—lives in UK. Cool little guy
and pretty smart. He’s working on a book claiming that Hitler
cold-cocked Stalin in 1941, striking east 6-8 weeks before
Stalin was going to punch west. Sound unlikely? Sasha—I call him
Sasha—handed me a piece of evidence that is impossible to
discount. His books are worth reading. One story in particular
about how the GRU stole an American nuclear artillery shell—that
story is so good that I don’t care if it’s true or not. Surely
someone here has read it.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: TC; About Success
Date: 2003-09-24 07:26:19 PST
judging from the interest for your books in general, in this
newsgroup and from reading many of your books I would say you
are a very successful writer;
One question for you; in your signature it says "Success will
ruin your life." May I ask why?
For God's sake, guys, it's a JOKE which I concocted at a book
signing. When 500 people are lined up, some holding ten
books--it can really be hard work, you see. And so I joled
"Success will ruin your life." At these signings, people
p.s. Does QC in your case mean Queen’s Counselor? If so, your
a lawyer. Perhaps that explains your missing the joke.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Clancy for President?
Date: 2003-09-26 09:26:55 PST
He's a writer. A late middle-aged regular dude. Having his photo
taken in a flight suit doth not a deadly warrior of him make.
True, and I have never claimed otherwise. I think I might
have been a pretty good operations officer, but I cannot say
that I have the right stuff to be a commander. Nor an I ever
likely to learn what the stress of combat is like.
My friends who do wear or have worn our nation's uniform have
made me a member of the family. Somewhat to my embarrassment.
I've never heard hostile gun fire, nor do I want to, but should
it ever happens, I hope that I don't screw up too much.
Don't confuse movie heroes with the real sort. I've had the
good fortune to meet seven (7) holders of the Medal of Honor.
None of them look like John Wayne, who played football for USC—but
Audie Murphy, remember, looked like a street waif, and he is
known to have killed three hundred enemy soldiers all by
himself. I guess it's what inside that counts.
The intellectual element of combat is almost always ignored
by the visual media. These guys are smart. The dumb one do not
survive very long. I try in all my books to portray what these
people think when they do crazy things. In talking with them
there is always the frustration of getting them to admit that
what they were doing is/was dangerous and not the natural result
of training, and then just the doing of what they were paid to
do. ("I was just doing my goddamned job, Tommy!" Gerry Carroll
used to tell me. Damn, that pissed me off! He went in under
heavy fire to rescue a squad of Deltas, successfully, after
their Black Hawk got splashed, and he was driving an SH-3 flying
Winnebago, painted bright kill-me white.)
I just had to a baseball game a Navy SEAL who was just
awarded the Navy Cross for action on Afgahnistan. His next job,
he said, is training other SEALs. What is more heroic, he asked
me on the way out, doing crazy stuff once, or training forty
others to survive in combat? The intellectual content of that
simple question is something that requires contemplation. Think
about it, and the quality of this soon-to-be Navy Chief
So, yeah, they are better men than I will ever be, and I do
not lose sight of that.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Tom Clancy scares me
Date: 2003-10-04 12:50:06 PST
The latter is interesting...I never would have thought of layer
cake as single-stage, but I can see how one could argue that
since there's no coupling as in Teller-Ulam. The Soviet Tsar
Bombe (58 MT) appears to have been a system of 10 MT or so layer
Actually the 58-magaton weapon was 100-megaton device without
the U-238 outer jacket, which effectively doubles the net yield
through a fast-fission reaction from the sizable neutron flux.
As tested, the weapon (which did not fit into a Tu-95 Bear
bomb bay—remarkable in itself, as the Bear was a large aircraft)
was so powerful that the heat flash melted parts of the Bear,
despite the parachute attached to the design to aid the Bear's
escape. As a result the Red Air Force said to the designers,
"No, thanks, we don't want it."
The aircraft was flown by a flight crew composed entirely of
general officers—they felt they had a moral obligation to
deliver the weapon themselves, instead of leaving it to a
captain and some lieutenants, which says something about the
leadership of the Red Air Force at the time, I think.
Possibly the only time a Russian turned down a weapon because
it was too big.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: TC and the Show
Date: 2003-10-23 09:43:04 PST
Thank you, Mr. Healey.
Since becoming part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles I've
developed quite a liking for baseball, at which sport I failed
to excel as a child, much to my dad's disappointment. Mike
Flanagan, our new GM, and a super gent, has taught me much of
the complex nuances of the game.
Baseball has suffered much from the money factor, but in
fairness, when you look at how owners treated players in the old
days, it's nobody's fault but the owners. Just as one example,
the year after Frank Robinson won the National League Triple
Crown, the Reds graciously bumped his salary from $15,000 to
$15,500. What Frank (who is, by the way, a fine gentleman, and
the best ballplayer I ever saw myself—yes, I know, fistfights
develop from a discussion of the best player ever) would earn
today causes people like me to cringe with fear. Today the
players are mostly mercenaries. But they also have families to
feed, and each of them is only one slip away from forced
retirement and a large cut in earnings. In the disputes over
salary caps and such, the owners argue for socialism, while the
player/workers prefer free-market capitalism. What is wrong with
As a lifelong Baltimore resident, dislike for the Yankees is
part of my genes. But I married a New Yorker who retains loyalty
to the team of her youth, and Derek Jeter is by any standard a
brilliant shortstop. I always liked Paul O'Neill—the kind of
ballplayer I grew up with: did his job well, went home to his
family, and came back the next day to work—and Wade Boggs. The
owner of the Yamkees and I, however, do not exchange Christmas
The Orioles have had a few bad years. This, I think, will
soon change. We'll see next April.
But in all honesty, I think the Boston fans are just about
the best in baseball. So many years of horrid luck. (Dad took me
to a game as a child, and I saw Ted Williams park one in the
right-field bleachers. Dad stood up, and said, "That's what we
came to see," and drove me home. Fred Franks has his own Ted
Williams stories—a fine American, fighter pilot and baseball
legend.) The Boston fans deserve better. To put an end to the
Curse of the Bambino, Boston *MUST* erect a new stadium. The
ownership could surely use the increased revenue from 20,000
more occupied seats. (Ben Affleck persuaded me to root for the
Sox, so long as we're not playing them.) Great fans of the most
admirable patience and loyalty. They richly deserve a change in
their luck. And besides, they hate the Yankees even more than
The hallmark of baseball is sportsmanship. This has eroded
recently, but I hope we don't lose it. The very soul of baseball
is generous sportsmanship, and that's the reason the sport
remains integral with the American soul.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Speedbird no more
Date: 2003-10-25 11:34:33 PST
I rode the Concorde three times. Round trip on my first time to
London in 1986, and coming back from London in 1997.
Narrow seats but plenty of leg room. TINY heads. Pretty
decent food—at $5,000 a plate, more expensive than going to
support Bill and Hillary (yetch). The windows get hot, and the
pilot tells you halfway across that the aircraft is now 11"
longer than when it took off. (The Comet died of metal fatigue ,
I reminded myself. I was not a happy flier back them, but today
chartering is much more amenable, and I only take my shoes off
when I want to.) Interior amenities are 1950's class, but too
easy to forget that it's an old airframe. Cabin crew was first
In 1997, I flew two of my kids on it. To them it was just
another airplane. Kids.
On the whole, QE2 is still the best way to hop the Atlantic,
but if you're in a hurry, Concorde was not a bad way to go. The
first time I tried it, somebody had told me beforehand that
Concorde didn't give you jet lag. That was decidedly untrue. At
lunch my first Monday in a foreign land, a friend said to me,
"Tom, do you have any idea how dreadful you look?" What a pal.
But I probably did look like something the cat left on the rug.
Damn, what a pretty bird she still is. Shame about the tires.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: slight error??
Date: 2003-10-27 09:39:31 PST
Ryan is referring to the CH-46 accident over Crete in which his
back was injured severely. Back when he was 2LT J. P. Ryan,
USMC. Please do not confuse Paramount's movies with my books.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: TV movie hack piece on the Reagans?
Date: 2003-10-31 10:54:03 PST
You suppose the left hates Reagan for destroying the Soviet
Union? After all, they loved communism so much, and people on
the left are not really big on forgiveness.
I spit on them all. Ronald Wilson Reagan—”The man who won the
war”—is the man who made me wealthy, and those few times I met
him (and Nancy, a gracious dinner companion) he treated me with
the utmost courtesy.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: The Kyle Haydock Chair
Date: 2003-11-01 10:56:50 PST
Probably I shouldn't talk about this, but maybe some of you guys
will get it.
Wednesday Night at Johns Hopkins we dedicated the Kyle
Haydock Professorship in Pediatric Oncology at The Johns Hopkins
Hospital, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
(Yeah, I paid for it. Hurray for me.) The first man to sit in
the chair will be a doc named Don Small. He’s pretty smart. I
learned that when I first met him about ten years ago. Also
present were Kyle’s mom and dad, his sister (not so little
anymore), General Fred Franks, and a few others who’d stood up
for my little buddy back in 1991. It was partly a somber event,
partly an uplifting one. It’s still hard for me to think about
Kyle, though I do every day. Right by my keyboard is something
he made at the crafts shop at Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer
Center in New York. It’s kinda precious to me.
I talked to Don at the ceremony and asked if Kyle would have
a better chance at survival today than he had when he first went
to Sloan in 1990. The answer was, no. Ewings Sarcoma remains a
really bad thing to get, though Don and his crew are playing
with some interesting new ideas—I call it a backwards smart
bomb, something to draw the attention of the cancer-attacking
drugs inward to the cancer cells. Chemotherapy, Don told me, has
gone about as far as it can go. It kills cancer just fine, but
it also kills the rest of the body in the process. So, they’re
looking for agents that target discretely on the malignant
cells. Don, and Curt, and Marty at Hopkins, and a lot of other
guys are applying a lot of brain-sweat to the problem. They are
brilliant biological scientists and hard-working physicians.
They do not lightly contemplate the death of a child, and it’s a
measure of their manhood that they do this job every day. Don’s
a baseball fan, and I’ll have him to a few games next season.
It’s hard to find people more admirable than this. Down where
I live we have a general surgeon. His name is Shelly. Jewish
guy, an excellent surgeon and a hell of a fine gent, he lives
out in the boonies because he likes to hunt and fish. He’s on
his second wife now. His first wife was pregnant with her third
(I think) child when she started having headaches. Tylenol
didn’t work, and she started getting tests. The news was pretty
bad. She had an aggressively malignant brain tumor. That’s
almost a death sentence even today (a pal at Hopkins has his
team working on a new mode of attack, but while the initial
results are pretty good, the dragon isn’t dead yet). So, they
told her she could get some chemotherapy, but she’d have to have
an abortion first, because the chemo would kill the fetus
anyway. She said, No, I won’t kill my baby. So, she rode it out
until the kid was ready for delivery. The baby was delivered by
caesarian section, just fine, and then she had the chemo. She
checked out about a year later. But the baby’s in kindergarten
now. You know, courage just doesn’t get any bigger than that.
And sometimes you wonder if maybe God had Himself a bad day. I
know, bad theology.
Anyway, while I’ve met a lot of people with pretty ribbons on
their uniforms, or maybe other things hanging on the wall of the
“I love me” room at home, but admirable as they surely are, they
risked their lives for a few hours at most. These docs fight
against Death for a living, every damned day. Tough job. They’re
the ones who push back the frontiers of human knowledge. They
are the real heroes in our world, and it‘s an honor for me to
know them, and maybe support them once in a while.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Recent Al Qaeda attacks in Europe; Opinions?
Date: 2003-11-24 09:28:55 PST
Why does anyone think that this terrorist war has so much to do
Bin Laden wants to be the new Mohammed, which would give him
control of a formless nation of 1.5 BILLION citizens, and the
power that would come with it. His objective is political, not
religious. He wants to be the biggest kahuna around. A lot of
people think that way. Some are politicians. The rest are
madmen. The two groupings overlap
Wherever the Prophet Mohammed is now, he is probably
displeased that the religion he founded on sound and admirable
principles is being perverted, not unlike Christianity by the
crazies in Northern Ireland. in Catholicism we call this
Religion rarely causes war. Rather, it defines the respective
teams in wars which are always about economics, one of the few
facts that Karl Marx got right. Anyone on the NG who gets
numerous porn spams on the 'Net will understand that people will
do damned near anything for money. Even very uncomfortable
The average Muslim wants the same things that the average
Christian or Buddhist wants: a nice house, an steady job, and a
better life for his kids—this is what the polling date in Iraq
shows rather explicitly. Our newsies do not report this, of
If there is anything America has demonstrated to the world it
is that all people are pretty much the same. We have every
culture in the world represented here. Bring them here and the
first generation works at menial entry-level jobs and tries to
get its kids educated. The kids become doctors and lawyers, and
their kids run for Congress. Along the way we also get some
decent baseball players. During World War I the Army, which is a
very progressive institution, tested its draftees and proved
that Blacks were smarter than Jews. (This may be why people
declare that the SAT and other mass tests are biased, by the
way. Blacks spoke English Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe
did not.) Now, today I doubt that anybody would be so bold as to
suggest that any group is smarter than Jews. What makes people
succeed are strong families and respect for education. The Jews
had and still have these advantages. I hope I'm not going too
fast for anyone here,
Religion is what we all choose as our way of talking to God.
To succeed a religion MUST elevate the spirit and give us hope
for the future. Islam does this well for over a billion people.
It is not a religion made for and by psychopaths. It's a way to
talk to God, not Lucifer.
Recognition of this fact—the practical utility of religion—is
a foundation stone of the United States of America. The First
Amendment of the Constitution is supposed to protect freedom of
religion, though there are some today who try to transform it
into freedom FROM religion, which is a stand worthy only of
contempt. In "The Sum of All Fears" I tried to propose that if
we recognize religions by the good things they uphold, we could
defuse much of the perversions which come about from people who
in fact if not in form spit upon the faiths they claim to
represent and promote.
The smartest thing we Americans can do today is to embrace
Islam and its values. To do so would go a long way toward
isolating the Islamic "guerillas" from the peasant sea in which
they must swim to survive. But when does the government do
Appeal to a man's best instincts, and you will see those
instincts. Treat him as a sociopath will help to transform him
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Saddam Hussein Captured!
Date: 2003-12-14 22:25:21 PST
He sure is a scuzzy-looking bastard, isn't he?
Surprising also, isn't it, how, unlike his kids, he opted to
sit it out instead of shooting it out? (Actually not, of course.
He was all show and no go. Par for this particular course.)
On reflection, better that he should be tried by an Islamic
court, and, if found guilty, given an Islamic haircut. Always
good to show respect for religion, after all. Say halftime on
Monday Night Football.
I can hear it now:
"Nice edge on that scimitar, isn't it, Al?"
"That's right, Curt."
Where is Alex Karras wheh we really need him?
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: They sound like that is a bad thing...
Date: 2003-12-17 10:20:58 PST
Others, like the utterly silly Italian cardinal who said, "I
felt pity to see this man [Saddam] destroyed, (the military)
looking at his teeth as if he were a cow. They could have spared
us these pictures," (see this link:
Priests are in the business of forgiveness.
But His Eminence was incorrect. The doc was probably checking
Saddam's mouth for a fake tooth in which might be secreted a
cyanide capsule such as Heinrich Himmler used to punch his own
His death mask, remarkably enough, is to be found in the
"Black Museum" (now renamed the "Crime Museum," in homage to
political correctness) in the headquarters building of the
Metropolitan Police in London. I saw it there and asked what it
was. Upon learning its identity, I bent down and whispered, "I
hope you like it in hell, m___________." With apologies to the
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Red Rabbit Character Listing
Date: 2004-01-05 09:25:58 PST
Anyone Have the Red Rabbit Character Listing?
Well, here's the one I used.
ALEXANDROV, Mikhail Yevgeniyevich, Politburo candidate
ANDROPOV, Yuriy Vladimirovich, Chairman, Committee for State
Security (wife, unknown to the West is Tatiana) born June 1914,
ambassador to Hungary during Hungarian Revolution
BEAVERTON, Edward, Ryan’s morning pickup-cab.
BARNES, Michael Bruce., Cultural Attaché to US Embassy,
Moscow (Minneapolis native)
BENNETT, VADM Winston ("Chip"), DNSA, Fort Meade, MD
BOSTOCK, Mike, deputy to Bob Ritter, USSR and Eastern Europe
expert. Also a cowboy.
BREZHNEV, Leonid Il’ych General Secretary of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union. (GLOBAL CORRECT FROM BRESHNEV TO
BREZHNEV throughout document.)
BRODIE, George, field spook, SIS Rome ("You’ve done it, Sir
BUBOVOY, Colonel Ilya Fedorovich, KGB rezident, Sofia,
BUDAI, Captain Laszlo, Border Guards officer
BURNS, Hospital Corpsman 2/c Michael, USN, fixed Jack’s back
BYRD, Professor Albert, MD, FRCS, Cathy’s boss at St.
CANDERTON, Albert (Bert) former RSM, Royal Green Jackets,
security at SIS.
CHARLESTON, Sir Basil, Director General of SIS—"C"
CORSO, Dominic, field spook, US Embassy Moscow, covered as
COX, Tommy, diplomatic courier, former USA chopper driver
DALTON, Brig. Gen. George, Defense Attaché, Moscow.
D’AMICI, Colonel (Michael) CO, USMC Embassy Regiment
DOBRIK, Major Nikolay Konstantinovich, night watch officer in
DRAKE, Gunnery Sergeant Thomas (Tom), NCOIC US Embassy
ERICSSON, Peter "Spike," US Ambassador to Hungary
FIELDING, Ronald (Ron), overt/false C-O-S, Moscow
FOKIN, Colonel Anatoliy Gregorovich, Political specialist,
Line PR, First Department, First Chief Directorate.
FOLEY, Edward, Chief of Station Moscow, CIA
FOLEY, Edward Jr., Eddie, age 4
FOLEY, Mary Patricia (Mary Pat), wife of Ed, CIA field
FULLER, Ernest, US Ambassador, Moscow, ex-USS Boise,
GATEWOOD, Grant ("Pete") young CIA field spook
GLENKO, Iosef Konstantinovich, elevator operator, KGB
informer, Zaitzev’s building.
GODERENKO, Ruslan Borissovich, KGB rezident, Rome
[GROMEKO] Andrey Andreyevich. Foreign Minister
GREER, VADM DDI, CIA, Langley
HARDING, Simon, SIS Russian Expert, Oxford Ph.D. Russian Lit
HAYDOCK, Penelope, (Penny) wife of Nigel, In and out stringer
HAYDOCK, Nigel Bruce, Brit Spook, covered as commercial
HUDSON, Andrew (Andy), SIS COS, Budapest
IVANOV, Stefan Yevgeniyevich, Zaitzev’s senior at KGB
Signals, drone & asshole
KENNY, Sir John, UK Ambassador to Hungary
KEREKES, Sergeant Mihály, Border Guard
KING, Mick, SIS spook dispatched to Rome. Ex-cop.
KINGSHOT, Alan, senior field spook, SIS
KOVACS, Istvan, smuggler
KURITSYN, Pavel Yevgeniyevich, 2nd Chief Directorate
LUCAS, Vic, SIS C-O-S, Belgrade
MATTHEWS, Paul, Moscow correspondent of the London Times.
MAYFAIR, Peter (Max), AUSA, Boston
MORTON, Chris, SIS Spook, Budapest
MURRAY, Daniel E., Legal Attaché, US Embassy, London
NARMONOV, Andrey Il’ych, "Gorby in waiting" Full or Candidate
NOLAN, Patrick, Chief Superintendent, Special Branch, London
NOLFI, Richard (Rick) CIA C-O-S, Rome (wife Anne)
OPERATION [NAME?] NUMBER 15-8-82-666
PRINCE, Anthony, New York Times correspondent in Moscow
RITTER, Robert (Bob) DDO, CIA (Wife Constance—Connie)
ROMANOV, Gregoriy Vasil’yevich, chief of Leningrad Party
ROZSA, Jozsef, classical conductor
ROZHDESTVENSKIY, Aleksey Nikolayevich, KGB Colonel, aide to
Andropov — — Rozhdestvenskiy
RUSSELL, Michael (Mike) chief of embassy comms, Moscow,
ex-Army ASA. (Black.)
RYAN, (Lady) Caroline (Cathy) Muller, MD, FACS, Ophthalmic
surgeon, Johns Hopkins. Hammersmith/Moorefield’s hospitals,
RYAN (Sir) John Patrick (KCVO) (Jack), Intelligence Analyst,
CIA, seconded to SIS, Century House, London
RYAN John Patrick, Jr., age 4 months, little Jack
RYAN, Olivia (Sally), age 4 years 8 months
SHARP, Thomas (Tom) SIS Station Chief, Rome, (wife Annie)
SHEVCHENKO, Arkady Nikolay’ch, famous defector.
SILVESTRI, Randy, C-O-S London.
SMALL Robert (Bob) ex-sergeant Scots Guards, security, UK
SOMERSET, cover name for Zaitzev
SPARROW, John, Brit spook dispatched to Rome
STONES, Ray, Brit field spook dispatched to Rome
STROKOV, Colonel Boris Andreyevich, Bulgarian intelligence
SZELL, James, C-O-S Budapest, BURNED
TATE, Gunnery Sergeant Philip, USMC, Ryan’s old Gunny
TAYLOR, Robert (Bob), CIA field officer, Budapest (wife
pregnant, both offstage)
THOMPSON, Nick and Emma, safehouse operators for SIS, both
TOMACHEVSKIY, Colonel Igor Alekseyevich, KGB rezident, Warsaw
TRENT, Tom, SIS Spook, Budapest
TRUELOVE, Rod, ex-Sergeant Royal Engineers, security, UK
TYLER, John, FBI ASAC Boston
VAN DER BEEK, Margaret, Nanny/governess to Little Jack and
WATTS, Leonard, senior field spook, Station London
WEATHERS, Charles, MD, chief of Medicine, Harvard Medical
WHITE Countess Antonia (Toni), wife to Lord John, violinist
WHITE Lord John, Earl of Weston, Vice Admiral, RN (has a
WILLIAMS, Owen, dead by fire, York, England.
WREN, SIS source in Warsaw
ZAITZEV, Irina Bogdanovna, wife: MRS. RABBIT
ZAITZEV, Svetlana Olegovna, daughter (age 3) THE BUNNY (ZAICHIK)
ZAITZEV, Oleg Ivanovich, Captain/Major, KGB, 8th Directorate:
For your information, most of the Brit names are those of
some of my fellow Yeomen Warders at H. M. Tower of London. Just
in case some yahoo said they were not authentic names.
Also, this list is not completely authentic, as the roles
played by some characters change after I scribe this list.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: New Space Initiative
Date: 2004-01-17 11:14:09 PST
You know, we've never had a space program. We've spent a lot of
money, however, to create exhibits at the Smithsonian
Institution, to shock and awe the people who pay the bill every
A "program" would be a series of thought-out experiments
aimed at an understandable goal that actually led somewhere with
the objective of achieving something of inherent worth. Like
building a factory in orbit that could turn out a useful product
that can't be built anywhere else. Or harvesting solar energy
and transmitting down to us flatlanders. But we haven't done
We have launched communications satellites (I get my TV off
some of them) which work and turn a profit. Turning a profit is
the usual way of determining the efficiency of anything.
(Profit: it gives more back than what it cost to put it there.)
But those birds transmit ideas, which have no mass. (Note, the
first cross-country thing we invented in the US of A was the
telegraph, which also transmitted ideas of no mass. That was
Western Union, and it made a profit for a lot of years.) Then
they build a transcontinental railroad, and that is what opened
the West, not the wagon train, desite the TV series we all
watched in the 1950's. But NASA, a government agency which knows
neither the profit motive nor accountability (nice to print the
money yourself) does not do this. Nor does it take
responsibility for the things it does wrong. Who lost his job—or
his life—for killing astronauts? Or for not taking the Hubble
out of the box before launch to make sure it worked, at the very
facility used by the KH-11 before it goes flying?
And this in a country ruled by lawyers.
That said, going back to the moon is an inherently cool thing
to do, IF WE DO IT RIGHT. Somebody out there, maybe one of you
guys, can come up with useful things to do on the moon that will
show a profit eventually.
If NASA were run like a business, it would doubtless work
better. It couldn't be much worse. The much-maligned venture
capitalists have more brains, guts, and productivity than the
government ever will.
Instead, as my father told me over 40 years ago, everything
the government touches turns to shit. The Space Shuttle is a
killing machine that costs too much money for what it produces.
But what can you expect from NASA, which is that most horrible
of institutions, a government-managed monopoly.
Back in 1989, I sat on a panel in the Old Executive Office
Building to go over NASA's plans for the next 20 years. A lot of
smart people were there. I sat next to Edward Teller, which was
rather like sitting next to God. But as I thought at the time,
nothing would ever come of it. And nothing did. That's a long
story which I will write up on my autobiography someday, if I
ever stretch my ego that far.
Okay, I invested and lost money in a single-stage-to-orbit
spacecraft. It failed for lack of funding, but I did my part—a
million bucks' worth—and I hope others will do theirs. Somebody
will do it someday, and I wish those people the best of luck.
Private enterprise will have to do it.
Until then, NASA will launch its Shuttles, and at least we'll
get good reconsats in orbit. Those are built by Lockheed. And
the Shuttle was specifically designed to launch them. Surprise.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: One more milestone
Date: 2004-04-12 10:05:48 PST
About 58 years ago, my dad, Thomas Leo Clancy, Sr. got off the
train from Norfolk in Baltimore, probably caught a cab home to
Rose Street (St. Elizabeth’s parish) and said, “Honey I’m home.”
Nine months later at Franklin Square Hospital, I popped out,
So, today I turned 57, one more milestone on the road to
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Another one bites the dust...
Date: 2004-04-18 10:00:22 PST
Another Hamas leader was Hellfired today. Abdul Aziz Rantisi was
killed along with two of his bodyguards when two missiles hit
his vehicle in Gaza.
Does seem like overkill, doesn’t it?
Why don’t they have one army sergeant use a proper sniper
rifle to do the job. Cuts down on collateral damage and makes
less of a mess in the street.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: _Kerry 'Unfit To Be Commander-In-Chief,' Say
Former Military Colleagues_
Date: 2004-05-05 09:09:50 PST
On Page 6 of today’s Washington Post was a small article about
Kerry saying that one of the wounds for which he got the Order
of the Purple Heart was self-inflicted.
Not surprisingly, whatever reporter who penned the article
did not understand how damning such a statement is. I hope for
the senator’s sake that this allegation is not true, since this
is a major felony in the panoply of military violations.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Embarrassed Arabs
Date: 2004-05-07 08:09:23 PST
Humiliating helpless people is not the least bit admirable, and
those guilty of this violation will be dealt with, probably with
a degree of harshness for embarrassing their country.
But the hysteria in the news media is a little
disproportionate. The Arab culture places a higher value on
body-modesty than, say, “Hustler” magazine, but what it comes
down to is that some Arab prisoners were embarrassed, and
gratuitously so. To do that is contemptible, but it is not a
major felony under American criminal- or even common-law.
This humiliation falls short, however, of being murdered, as
several American civilian contractors were recently (remember?)
then to have their bodies abused in ways that can only be called
The selectivity of outrage over this tawdry incident shows a
“blame America first” mind-set that is not morally defensible. I
personally have little love for the SecDef, but demanding his
resignation for the action of some reserve enlisted personnel
is, to put it mildly, absurd, and clearly motivated more by
political motives than by any objections based on common
morality, which is not to be found in abundance in the United
States Congress in any case. The same people who are calling for
Rumsfeld’s head said that Clinton ought not to be impeached over
a trivial sexual impropriety.
Politics pollutes everything it touches.
The soldiers who misbehaved will be court-martialed, and
probably dishonorably discharged, with loss of rank and
priviliges. Maybe even some brig time. That sort of slap on the
wrist leaves broken bones, which is more than what those Iraqis
Everyone take a deep breath and think things through, okay?
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: A TC disaster novel?
Date: 2004-05-19 08:13:33 PST
A while back I went into D.C. to meet Senator Frist from
He’s a cardio-vascular surgeon by profession. I told him I’d
call him “doc” instead of “Senator.” It’s a more honorable
title, I explained.
He’s a good guy. Damned smart and well grounded.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: New Book Next Week
Date: 2004-05-19 08:19:33 PST
Next week we publish a new book: “Battle Ready,” by myself and
General Tony Zinni, USMC (ret.).
I am proud to be associated with this book. Tony did most of
the work, of course.
Tony, the son of an Italian immigrant (and a World War One
veteran) from Philadelphia, is a most impressive gentleman. When
he cuts himself shaving, he bleeds green. This man is all
Marine. He’s damned smart, and what he says is worth listening
to. I am pleased and delighted to call him my friend. Hell of a
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: John Clark / Tom Selleck
Date: 2004-06-07 10:56:31 PST
I designed the character of John Kelly/Clark for Tom Selleck,
and I did so quite delberately. The key characteristic is that
both are at their most dangerous when they appear totally
I know Tom Selleck. He was kind enough to be a groomsman at
my wedding in 1999. He is a princely gentleman, and, unusually
for an actor, intelligent (actors are not an intellectual class,
with some exceptions, like Richard Dreyfuss, and Ben Affleck)
and just a good guy to have around. I’d love to cast him as
Clark in Rainbow Six. I know he’d be good at it, since all the
dialog is written for his voice, and, unusually for actors, he
knows how to hold a firearm in his hand without making it appear
coated with toxic plastic. What can I say? Tom’s a pal. Also a
better golfer than I am, but who isn’t?
Oh, women go nuts around him, but as I said, he’s a
gentleman, and he handles it better than I ever could.
But I can’t cast my own movies. They don’t let me. Hell, I
have yet to see a treatment, much less a script.
Another choice for Without Remorse would be Tom Hanks, for
whom I have considerable respect, though I have not met him. I
could settle for Ben Affleck, too, but nobody’s asking me for my
I have been quoted as saying that selling a book to Hollywood
is rather like turning your daughter over to a pimp. I will not
confirm the accuracy of that quote.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: The Iron Lady Turns In Another Brilliant Performance
Date: 2004-06-12 09:19:55 PST
Why is it that so many people can only feel big by taking the
effort to make others look small? Perhaps this is a human
characteristic, but it is not all that admirable. One of the
many things I loved about President Reagan was that he was quick
to forgive, quick to laugh, and very slow to attack others. I’m
still trying to learn those traits myself. But Jack and I are
working on it.
Lady Thatcher delivered a fine speech on her friend‘s death.
Why must some low-lifes attack every detail of it?
Well, as has often been said, the critic reveals more of
himself than of that he wishes to criticize. And the poor dumb
bastards never learn.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: _Belgian Justice_
Date: 2004-07-01 09:45:47 PST
Along the same line, Joel Steinberg got out of prison yesterday.
He is famous for killing a toddler and using her body to mop the
floor before going to a cocaine party. He is (well, was) a
member of the New York bar.
Lest anyone think he got off lightly, be advisxed that an AOL
acquaintance was a NYC prosecutor. He told me some years ago
that Steinberg had reconstructive surgery done on his anus,
presumably as a result of the attention of his his friends in
the prison he attended. Hurts even to think about, doesn’t it?
Maybe there is justice, even among career criminals, but in
my ethical universe, he should long since have seen the front
door of hell. My proposed rule: Touch a child, die.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: _Go Ahead, Call Us Cowboys_
Date: 2004-07-22 08:48:42 PST
The American Revolutionary War was effectively over at that
point, although the Peace did not come until two years later.
The French fought on the right side in that Battle of Yorktown
-- pity they have such poor judgement in these matters today.
Why is it that nobody remembers the decisive battle in this
It was the Battle of the Virginia Capes, in which the French
navy defeated the Royal Navy—was it the only major fleet
engagement in which they were victorious over the Brits?—and cut
off Cornwallis’s lifeline, allowing Washington to isolate and
destroy his army. Admiral Coumte de Grasse was later honored
with the naming of a Spruance-class DD in his memory.
Politically, the French then killed off their king, whose
objective was less to help us than to embarrass the Brits at
home. Eventually Napoleon happened, and tried to become emperor
(a step up from a mere king) but failed to make it at Waterloo.
To this day, the French fawn over every king except their
own. Those, they execute.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Mr. Clancy, what do you think of the creation of
a National Intelligence Director?
Date: 2004-08-05 09:43:21 PST
Mr. Clancy, given that you write about intelligence agencies so
much in your novels, I was wondering what your two cents are
with regard to the today announced creation of a National
In Washington, they spend a lot of time finding out whose
fault something is. Why? So they can bring a law suit against
him/her? It would be a hell of a suit, but unless it’s Bill
Gates, nobody can pay this one off.
Instead, why not decide to find out what is/was wrong, and
then how to fix it? (That might even work.)
Except that Congress and the Jimmy Carter Administration
gutted CIA’s Clandestine Service about 28 years ago, and never
bothered to fiix it. Why? Because spying on people is BAD.
“Good“ people don’t do such things, right? But then “good
“people can bitch to high heaven when the people they‘ve
crippled fail to win the race. Members of Congtress are far
better at finding fault in others than in taking responsibility
themselves for the things they screw up. They fundamentally
think in terms of aesthetic rather than in terms of objectives.
But aesthetics don’t keep people alive in time of danger. And
objectives unmet are things for which somebody must take
responsibility, from which they recoil like Dracula from a
This new comedy about an Intelligence Czar. What are they
going to do, find the senior surviving member of the Romanov
family? Why not tell the DCI what they want done, fund him for
the mission and turn him loose?
How will adding another level of supervision to a system
which they doomed to failure create success? And now, all they
are talking about if whether or not the new czar will have
budget authority over the underlying mess? What the hell, over?
A checkbook isn’t a gun. Nor is it a brain.
Intelligence is a world of nuance, an analog world, not a
digital one. To survive in a world of rats, it helps to have a
pointy nose and whiskers. You have to speak their language
(literally and figuratively), think as they think, and sometimes
to do as they do. Rather like when FBI Agent Joe Pistone
infiltrated the Mafia under the name Donnie Brasco. (He was so
successful that he almost became a “made” man, which cause a
collective panic at FBI Headquarters, and ended that highly
productive operation.) It can work, if you have the brains and
the determination to get it done. If you have not those things,
why even show up?
Intelligence is ALWAYS a country’s first line of defense
(especially in the case at hand) and I’ve been writing about it
for twenty years, but our worthy members of Congress don’t read
much fiction. As Will Rogers said, “When they pass a law, it’s a
joke, and when they tell a joke, it’s a law.” He said that
seventy years ago. Things really do never change, but that’s a
problem for which I cannot offer a solution. It’s OUR job as
citizens to elect good people. So, people, try to find some.
Good luck. I rarely like the people I vote for, but I detest
them less than those I vote against. It’s as much my fault as
everyone else’s. I’ve been asked to run more than once.
But who wants to hang out with such people?
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: (non-cross-posted) Why do so many people refer
to Clinton as
Date: 2004-08-06 09:13:28 PST
Andrew Johnson was an angry, sour man who was his own worst
enemy. That said, I believe that his impeachment was an act of
naked political partisanship that is a stain on our political
Well, Mr. Satterfield, it takes rather a lot to stain our
political history, including the mark on the famous blue dress.
Andrew Johnson was not interested in the treatment of liberated
slaves, and probably would not have minded putting them back on
sale. The Radical Republicans back then were rather passionate,
but their objectives were not contemptible. In the Johnson case,
they were mistaken as a matter of law, and legislators are not
supposed to be that dumb.
But they were members of Congress. One must make allowances.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: David M. Silver, President Heinlein Society,
Flaunts His Naval Ignorance Again
Date: 2004-08-12 10:04:37 PST
Actually, the USN/USMC "way of telling time" is based on little
bells that ring (which is really the only real reason they have
Marines on ships, to ring the little bell):
Actually, the bosun’s mate of the watch rings the bell,
The mission of Marines aboard ships is to guard the nuclear
weapons (all gone now), and to keep the sailors from getting
rowdy and attacking the officers. Not to mention looking good
for the womenfolk in whatever port they visit.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Michael Moore Lied!
Date: 2004-08-17 14:52:21 PST
As a general observation on this topic, he doesn’t know how to
dress; he doesn’t know how to shave; I hope he knows how to
Clearly he knows his way around a knife and fork.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Recent terror alert - Bush blows under cover
source in Pakistan
Date: 2004-08-17 14:59:21 PST
Apparently, Admiral Nelson got seasick. I guess that makes his
whole British naval hero guy schtick a lie, doesn't it?
A majority of the Apollo astronauts tossed their cookies on
the way to the moon. Motion sickness gets everybody sooner or
later. Oh, the astronauts lied about succumbing. Fighter-pilot
machismo, you see. Nelson was unable to conceal his affliction.
Too many folks around, you see.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: _Germany To Bear Brunt Of U.S. Troop Withdrawal_
Date: 2004-08-17 15:05:21 PST
In August, 1990, the USAF flew me to Germany to give some
speeches. Crossing the Atlantic on a C-5B is marginally faster
then QE2, but the food isn’t as good. Already in 1990 the
Germans were talking about getting all the land back that the
American NATO forces occupied. So, this is not much of a
Korea is, but there could well be things I don’t know.
Kim Jun IL is crazy, but not stupid. His army marches pretty,
but it lacks a main battle tank that can do more than scratch
the paint on an Abrams. We call such formations targets.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Gotham City Police Prepare To Blast Malefactors
Date: 2004-08-23 09:20:28 PST
As I mentioned earlier, the phenomenon of false nerve response
is well-known medically, such as in phantom pain from amputated
They learned how to beat that some years ago. If you use a
novocaine-type medication then the pain pathways are never
formed—interestingly, they can form even under general
anesthesia—and such phantom pain never happens. In retrospect it
seems pretty obvious, but it was a discovery made quite
Learned that from an oncologist at Hopkins about 11 years
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Does TC give speeches?
Date: 2004-09-09 09:15:55 PST
I’m mainly out of the speaking buisness. I have a new novel to
write, and God has blessed me with a new baby, whose presence
commands me to remain at home for a while.
Also, since I am not a politician, I am not all that fond of
the sound of my own voice.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: more of peace in the worl. Please use translator
Date: 2004-09-10 09:05:41 PST
One of the things about the U.K. that befuddles me is that,
although the Brits and the French do not get along all that
well, so many upcale Brit restaurants have their menus printed
Now Brit food is, I think, falsely maligned by the
glitterati—I’ve never had a bad meal in London, and I‘ve had
some spectacularly good ones (the beef at the Savoy Grill is
wonderful!)—but why it should taste better in French I do not
understand. French food is based on Italian—Napoleon’s personal
cook was Italian—and Italian food needs no endorsement from me.
Neither does their wine, and their gracious hospitality stands
alone in all the world that I’ve traveled.
The Brits are our best friends and our most faithful allies.
My favorite place in all the world is the Yeomen Warders’ Club
at Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London
(the correct nomenclature, by the way) of which I am an honorary
member. Good beer and good company.
I have no personal quarrel with the French. In fact, I’ve
never been to France, but I do not speak their lyrical language.
(My books look rather elegant in French, and I sell a lot of
books there.) That is my failing, of course, but in high school,
I was compelled to learn German. (I like German food, too.) But
the Germans have a few blots on their copybook. In any case, I
love London. A pity they and the French do not get along, but
they’ve had their differences over the centuries, and they have
yet to resolve them.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Are we going to have a rigged election?
Date: 2004-09-10 09:07:42 PST
Can we all agree that politics has no place in any court of law?
the Roman axion is “Dura Lex Sed Lex.”
This “rigged election“ crap looks like pre-game worrying by
the democrats, who picked a lackluster candidate and are setting
themselves up for a defeat. Well, that’s why it’s called
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: A Bridge Too Far.
30 Corps should have pushed harder. Those Brit paras under
LTC Frost fought like lions in heat. A Most courageous combat
If the division had been dropped closer to the objective, and
been able to camp out on that ground, even Winston Churchill
could not have dislodged them. The operation was a lash-up. I've
discussed it with Fred Franks at length. It was a good
operational concept that failed due to some bad luck, and
Montgomery's failure to credit intel that disagreed with his
planning, which was usually his strong point. Fred thinks Monty
was a very good planner, but had the tendency to ignore things
he didn't like, like bad intel. The biggest failure was General
Horrocks, CG of 30 Corps. Otherwise a fine officer, he dropped
here. Damned shame.
But those Brit paras have nothing to feel bad about. Chesty
Puller's 1st Marines could not have performed better. But it
takes more than one battalion of supermen to stop two SS Panzer
Divisions, even those refitting after a bad summer in Normandy.
MARKET-GARDEN could have saved a lot of lives, but don't forget,
the Germans were in the game, too, and they also were good
soldiers, even in the service of a madman.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: SpaceShip One/Roton team connection?
Date: 2004-10-09 10:04:53 PST
I know Burt Rutan. Hell of a guy, and a brilliant engineer.
I personally invested a million dollars in the Roton project.
Lost it all, of course, but I do not regret it. It ought to have
worked. Burt built the Roton testbed. He got the funding he
needed. Gary Hudson did not. Win some, lose some. I wish Burt
the best of luck. Somebody has to put NASA out of business. It
will save the lives of astronauts, and maybe get space activity
on a profitable basis.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: The Canadian Submarine Disaster
Date: 2004-10-15 08:44:30 PST
The story I got on the U-class SSK the Canadians lost is this:
She was running on the surface in bumpy sea conditions with
hatches upen. A LOT of water came down the sail and played hell
with the electrical system, causing all manner of bad things to
happen, including shorting out the main busbars. The U-class is
reportedly a good boat, "quiet as a bloody mouse" a friend told
me (this friend knows his submarines, an SSN skipper who went on
to bigger and better things, including a knighthood), but after
building them the RN realized it had no use for them. (Range
limitations, you see.) and so they sold one to the Canadians. I
suggested Norway (very well respected by the RN submarine
service, which is a very proud outfit) but the U's are too big
for the fjords, he said.
The Royal Canadian Navy is a good outfit, and their submarine
service had some very good crews, but it's been downsized (by
the Ottawa politicians, who hate their armed forces) to the
point that they're hurting for experienced crews. The cause of
the error was running on the surface, in bumpy seas, with some
hatches open. Not the boat's fault. The poor guy who lost his
life was probably a good young officer who got killed trying to
save his troops. That's what they paid him for. Left two kids
behind., one a newborn. Bad news for them.
Rest in peace, sailor.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: R.I.P. Lt(N) Chris Saunders
Date: 2004-10-19 09:03:29 PST
The problem with women in combat operations was discovered by
the Israelis in their war of independence.
1. A local problem. They found that Arabs would not surrender
to units with women in them, and had to be annihilated, which is
time-consuming and expensive.
2. Probably a general problem. Although women handle the
stress of combat as well as men (no surprise), they found that
when women go down, the men in the unit go nuts, and risk
themselves unnecessarily to get the wounded women to safety. Men
are programmed to regard female lives as inordinately valuable
(after all, only women can bear children) and worthy of
conservation. Call it gallantry, or perhaps the Israelis were
In any case, the Israelis no longer put women in infantry
formations, or (as far as I know) any units exposed to
close-combat situations. It's not that the women cannot do it,
just that it renders the units less effective.
On the other hand, Israeli women serve their time in uniform,
and when they carry their Uzis on the street, it probably cuts
down on purse-snatchings.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Will Democratic Lawyers Make Voter Fraud Easier?
Date: 2004-10-23 11:01:33 PST
In four years we haven't been able to remake the voting-machine
technology to which my mother took me at age 5, in 1952? I can
vividly remember being held in my mom's arms and flipping the
levers she told me to flip. That's how I learned how important
elections are. The lesson stuck. I haven't missed one since I
We can't replicate 1952 voting machines?????
What the Hell, over?
Well, asking Congress to do something to eliminate voter
fraud and general corruption is akin to ordering a whale to fly,
How about we all petition Congress to pass a new statute that
make vote-tampering a major felony? Messing with elections,
whoever does it, is the moral equivalent of treason, and ought
to be treated as such. I don't care who does it. I do not have
crooks for friends.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Election night question
Date: 2004-11-02 13:19:03 PST
In the State of Maryland, by law liquor stores are closed on
If there is any day in a year when a decent man needs a drink
this is it.
THE ONLY Election night question has got to be;
"ARE WE THERE YET -- ARE WE THERE YET -- ARE WE THERE YET
And at last the answer can be YES.
Now I know why nations used to have kings. The monarch may be
an ass, but at least you don't spend a year picking him.
Success will ruin your life.
Subject: Re: Interesting tidbit from Nevada
Date: 2004-11-05 07:46:46 PST
Along these lines:
I have long been an advocate of the NEGATIVE VOTE. Instead of
having to vote for someone you dislike less than the other
klutz, why not be able to subtract a vote from the one you
Imagine the psychological effect on an ego-driven candidate
who ends up with a negative vote count.
It will never happen, of course, but it's worth a chuckle.
Subject: Moral Values
Date: 2004-11-05 07:50:47 PST
Watching the news yesterday, I was struck by a major news show
which asked the question:
"What does 'moral values' mean?"
Is there anywhere else in the civilized world in which the
news media does not understand a concept which is intuitively
obvious to the people who drive trucks and wash cars?
I mean, what the hell, over?
Success will ruin your life.