The Author
The Author

Welcome to my blog.  Your author is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.  My last operations in the Navy were Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in 2003.  I live in the “Inland Empire” of southern California now, and struggle daily against inertia and the small stuff, to research and write a book on the Cold War, and work on small home-business projects.


I enjoy the world of political blogging, and the exchange of ideas with thoughtful posters from all backgrounds.  I hope you will feel at home here, if those words describe you.  I anticipate making entries both short and long (so don’t be alarmed by the long ones).  I am a big fan of civility, and require that guests be as well.

To contact The Optimistic Conservative please email dyerbag@msn.com.

80 thoughts on “About”

  1. This kind of venue is meant for someone like yourself. The internet has to live up to its potential from time to time and you are proof that it can happen. Good luck.

  2. Congratulations on the new effort. I always enjoyed your input and observations at Contentions. I’ll try to keep up with you over here, as well. (I, too, have recently started an on-line effort.) All the best.

  3. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement. I have some kinks to work out on the tech side of this enterprise, and appreciate the patience you will no doubt show with that effort. I hope to provide content that will be worth your time!

  4. Dear J.E. Dyer:
    I encountered you on Gordon Chang’s Contentions blog. I’ve also learned there that you launched this blog lately.
    I’ve always been interested in knowing your down-to-earth and well-informed views about America’s allies and foes.
    I’ve been divided with Gordon over the U.S.-Japanese security treaty. And perhaps you and I, too, have different opnions on this issue. But I believe you are a person that values differences. I opine that exchanging views with one who shares the same opinions with me is a sheer waste of time. (I can’t afford such time because I’m 73.)
    It will be great if you take a peek at my most recent blog entry:
    I’m also the owner of a “cyber museum” which commemorates my late father who was a prominent aeronautic engineer.
    Yu Yamamoto

  5. Dear Yuichi Yamamoto,

    Thank you for the link to your blog. I have actually visited it since seeing a link to it from Gordon Chang’s blog at Contentions. I hope others here will take the time to check it out for some very interesting content.

    I was unable to register as a new user at the post you link to (the site says new registration is disabled). But I do want to comment on your argument about the lion pushing the cub out of the den, as a metaphor for America and Japan.

    I should note first that I had no idea Mr. Aso’s IQ was 80. That seems remarkable.

    I understand why your American interlocutors almost all prefer to maintain the security treaty between us as it is now. It makes us feel more secure! Having been stationed in Japan during my military career (in Yokosuka, very enjoyable), I know that Japan carries much of the costs of basing American forces in her country. She has not been the “money pit” ally some of our European friends have been.

    What I fear, however, is that the demise of our security treaty will not be a matter of American initiative, but of Japan eventually deciding that her alliance with us is no longer the best guarantee of her own security. I would hate to see that day come, because of the implications about America’s choices, and our care of our allies, and respect for their interests.

    Japan, as a great trading nation, needs access to foreign trade on her terms; she needs free access to the world’s waterways — especially the ones in East Asia; and she needs access to fossil fuels, and the liberty to make her own decisions about her future energy needs. There are nations like Russia and China that would hold these needs hostage, if they could, to win concessions from Japan. America’s role, in the last few decades, has been to keep them from being in the position to hold Japan hostage in such a way.

    I believe Japan has the human resources to be fully capable of standing up for her own strategic needs, although I defer to your better knowledge of how long it would take the citizenry of today to “cowboy up,” as we say, to that obligation. The pain in my mind is from the inevitability of this fact: if Japan believes that she NEEDS to pursue that course, it will be because America is losing our effectiveness as a great power. It will be because we are no longer the most useful ally another nation can have.

    I have an axiom by which I analyze international relations, which goes like this: You don’t have allies because you need them — you have allies because they need you. In my view, America’s course must be to remain the kind of nation others need as their ally.

    America also sought Japan as an ally because we need her. I don’t think that has changed. Both geographically and culturally, Japan is a nation we must either have as an ally, or live in perpetual tension with. I would be open to renegotiating our current security treaty, as long as the basic idea was to remain allies, if perhaps on a new footing. I would be gravely alarmed if the US and Japan did not share enough common interests to remain in alliance with each other.

    So that is the basic position from which I view your proposal. I think it would be terrible for America to lose Japan as an ally. But the particular terms of our existing security treaty need not be carved in stone for the rest of time. Both Americans and Japanes are likely to see renegotiation as too much of a headache, I suspect, until some outside event — maybe aggression by Russia or China — makes us reevaluate our situation.

    I hope to engage in more such interesting dialogue, and look forward to better acquaintance with you and your blog.

    Jennifer Dyer

  6. Dear Jennifer Dyer,

    Many thanks for your insightful comment.

    I have nothing against your axiom which says you have allies because they need you. My question here is: “Exactly who are they?” Obviously it’s not taxpayers as far as Japan is concerned. By now we have learned that a handful of bandits have had huge vested interests in our country’s “defensive defense.”

    Here’s mine: “A military that fights may commit unwarranted atrocities at times, but one that does not fight is doomed to corruption.” Not a single drop of Japanese blood has been shed in warfare since the end of the Pacific War and the Japanese take it for granted that this will last forever. This leads you to this question: how Japan’s defense budget (more than $40 billion per year) can be justified? In 2007, it came to the surface that the Defense Ministry had been, and still is, purchasing U.S.-made weapons at prices two to three times higher than what the Pentagon is paying its contractors. At that time, well-informed pundits were saying this was the “tip of the tip” of the huge iceberg.”

    Thus far only a handful of Americans that I know of have come forward to say the U.S. should break away from all or some of its allies. But most of them are, like Rajan Menon, author of “The End of Alliances”, telling fairy tales about a self-reliant Japan. Dr./Sen. Ron Paul would say, “Who cares if Japan wouldn’t survive without us?” (I like this country-first attitude) but there’s no denying that his foreign policy is helplessly naïve. So I am almost alone in saying, “Why doesn’t the U.S. give it a try and shove the cub into the abyss?” I just thought this had to be one of the priorities for the Obama administration if it really wanted to turn the once-in-a-century crisis into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but apparently things are going the other way.

    At any rate, I think the “we pay by cash, you pay by the blood of your young men” sort of attitude is totally impermissible because this will do both of us much more harm than good. Today, the best Japan can do (only after a nationwide heated debate) is to open a free gas station in the Indian Ocean. This way Japan will soon go out of business because now the shift to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers seems to be accelerating. I hear when nuclear-powered, an aircraft carrier needs a refill every 25 years.

    Don’t misunderstand me, however; I have nothing against “ad hoc” and flexible alliances against specifically identified enemies. I’m just saying a permanent arrangement to fight against invisible/imaginary enemies will never work in this changing world.

    I’m neither an optimist, nor a pessimist, but my goal here is to learn a lot from Theoptimisticconservative’s Blog as much as I can. For my part, I will keep TokyoFreePress alive as long as my poor health permits. In the meantime, if you want to sign up with my blog (actually I want you to sign up) please click “Contact Us” button you find on the extreme left column of my site. (My Geek Log is not so user-friendly.)

    I have many more questions to ask of the Optimistic Conservative but I’ll leave it there for now.

    Yu Yamamoto

  7. Congrats on being linked by Mark Steyn at NRO. You could not have been recognized by a more brilliant one that Steyn. Your thoughts on the Rush / Frum situation were exceptional. You are on my blog list. Thanks for your service to the country and good luck with your blogging.

    Tom Fry
    St. Louis, MO

  8. Hey JED – I’m wondering whether your part III on Iran options is the end of the series – it wasn’t clear to me from the text whether that represented fulfillment of your original plan.

    Also, I’d like to recommend that you employ some version of the tag in your posts – under whatever name, allowing users to scan and more easily choose among posts (which display only up to the tag unless clicked on), instead of having to scroll down through the entire length of each piece while checking for comments or looking for an earlier post. Different text editors will offer different options, or you may need to use a plug-in, but it would make navigating the blog much easier.

    More choices under “recent posts” or a full menu of titles would also be helpful.



  9. CKM — I do have one more post envisioned for the Iran series. It started with “The NIE is Dead,” continued with “Deterrence and the Superpower,” and then with “Hit ’em Hard” I, II, and III. The last one is to address “preemption” as a philosophical and political issue.

    I also intend to get that selection of online reference links posted, as promised in a previous comment.

  10. no wonder our country is going to hell if people as ignorant as yourself were the “intelligence” analysts


  11. Pete Madsen — please see my latest post on 27 April. You caught me at a good time, contemplating the post you suggested, so I went ahead and assembled the thoughts for a briefer, less comprehensive post than I was originally thinking of.

  12. For those of us who have chanced upon your analysis of crisis points across the globe in Contentions, it’s great to discover that you’ve got a site of your own. I just read your take on Pakistan.
    I have no connections to offer you, but current affairs magazines/sites ought to tap your expert knowledge, analytical smarts, and lucid style.

  13. Dear JE.

    Well, there you are, Commander! I’m glad we found you (thank you hermit!).

    I am sure that “the others” will join me in wishing you and your blog a great success. As for you, personally, I wish you the best of everything and hope that you will remember to visit us from time to time. You will always be welcomed at my campfire.

    Oh, and let me know if you ever need some help with anyone that doesn’t or won’t appreciate what a terrific and insightful mind you have. I’ll be sure to set them straight if they dare to wonder in here hoping for easy pickings… 🙂

    In the meantime, I will take a step back and let the more…ahhh…civilized and erudite among you play by yourselves. But I will be visiting your blog to enjoy reading what you have to say about the madness that surrounds us; pretty much as I always did, of course.

    Your friend,


  14. Rafa — it’s great to see you here, shipmate! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while, and it’s a lot of effort. Has been occupying a tremendous amount of my available “e-time.” So my apologies for being scarce around Zillas. The Lenten break was the right time to make this start happening — and you can imagine why it seemed so imporant to me, in this of all years.

    But believe me, I’ll be back. Do tell the gang to get their military tails over here. The Zillas Zest can only improve the tone here at The Optimistic Conservative’s lair. I don’t know how much everyone else will care about football (I know that’s why you stick with Zillas), or firearms, ammo, and Wet Dogs. 🙂

  15. I’m glad I found you, Commander!

    Like Mr. Hernandez, I was informed of your new endeavor by hermit. (That hermit really does get around.)

    Best of luck with your blog. You have great wisdom, wit, charm and experience to offer anyone who chooses to drop by.

    I am sure that others from the old neighborhood will come to visit you here. And we will keep a chair reserved for you at the Zillas table.

    Cousin Vinnie

  16. I just don’t get it. How can someone NOT care about guns, ammo and wet dogs? The NFL, on the other hand…that’s for couch potatoes and wannabes…Like Scobie, John and Cousin Vinnie.

    By the way, did you catch Cousin Vinnie calling me MR. Hernandez? Finally some well deserved recognition. 🙂


  17. How Not To Prevent A Holocaust was a brilliantly crafted and poignant piece of literature. The latest article, a farewell to America and Israel, indicates that my optimism is different from yours. I addressed America’s going the way of the Roman Empire in 1969. I compared similarities of events. Today I also know it in my bones. My optimism sees that all the dreams of mankind are closer to their manifestation now that the forces charged with that mission of bring liberty to the Creation are no longer in the running in their present state of moral collapse. And as a result, the messiah, waiting in the wings for marching orders, will soon step forward with this dream of mankind and mankind’s Creator as his agenda.

    Israel’s purpose was to demonstrate how to obtain God’s blessings. Her mission was to create the moral and spiritual context for all human endeavors. Israel’s failure was followed by other religions who falsely claimed her mantle. So it is left for the messiah to do the job.

    The state of our respective religions is such that their practitioners will object to the mission of the very man who is the object of their prayers and hopes! The doctors, lawyers, builders, pharmaceutical firms, food producers and marketers, ‘civil servants’, et al, will not want to do business on a foundation of brotherhood, as our Creator requires. The world will therefore have to be dragged, kicking and screaming to tranform its consciousness to that of our Maker’s so we can begin complying with His agenda.

  18. Welcome, Ron Singer and DocC. For Ron Singer, it appears there was a glitch in the processing of your comment from several weeks ago. My apologies for that, and I appreciate your very thoughtful words. I hope you’ll be back. Any comments you’d like to make will post automatically from now on.

  19. I just found you by way of Rick Richman at Contentions.
    Your posts at Contentions are consistently intelligent and interesting. I’ll be a regular visitor to your site for more of the same.
    Good Luck

  20. Commander,

    What they said above..

    ..from a grateful former SAC warplanner.

    W. H. Phinizy, Former Captain
    Strategic Air Command
    United States Ait Force

  21. Thanks, Vojska PVO (“Air Defense Force”). Spent a lot of years tracking and predicting that Войска ПВО.

    Come back soon.

  22. soocer dad — I tried to email you at the address you’re registered here with, but got two non-Ds from the “postmaster.”

    If you check this, please send to me at old1630@yahoo.com

    I’ll check with Rick Richman and see if he has better emails for Omri or you.

  23. Hi Optimist:
    While surfing the net today, I literally washed ashore on your post of 2/8/2009 on your optimism which was new to me. I thought your opening paragraphs were echoed in Palin’s Hong Kong speech:”We don’t believe that human nature is perfectible; we’re suspicious of government efforts to fix problems because often what it’s trying to fix is human nature, and that is impossible. It is what it is.”
    I realize Palin had professionals review her speech but her emphasis is Palin’s own.Betcha no other U.S. politician would flat out state this in a speech.

  24. Go Navy!

    Loved reading “America at the Crossroads”! I’m a late arriver to the principles of conservative thought as opposed to thinking it was just common sense. I am grateful for your insights.

    Steve Cossey
    Former Navy ETR2 (1972-1978)
    USS Wichita AOR1
    USS Morton DD948

  25. Thanks for the thumbs-up, Steve, and don’t be a stranger. Go Navy indeed! Squids rule.

  26. Also, now that your first comment has been “approved,” any future ones will appear automatically. The approval is a one-time deal.

  27. Thus far only a handful of Americans that I know of have come forward to say the U.S. should break away from all or some of its allies. But most of them are, like Rajan Menon, author of “The End of Alliances”, telling fairy tales about a self-reliant Japan. Dr./Sen. Ron Paul would say, “Who cares if Japan wouldn’t survive without us?” (I like this country-first attitude) but there’s no denying that his foreign policy is helplessly naïve. So I am almost alone in saying, “Why doesn’t the U.S. give it a try and shove the cub into the abyss?” I just thought this had to be one of the priorities for the Obama administration if it really wanted to turn the once-in-a-century crisis into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but apparently things are going the other way.

  28. Auntie Jen,

    Since fuster has been rather adamant in his solicitation of a new “picture” headlining your intro, I default to my personal favorite.

    The Dinner Dress White’s, with the micro-skirt and shear black nylons and plunging neckline that you wore to our Submarine Birthday Ball, salacious minds aside, would certainly satiate his fervor.

    However, I do admit my prejudice.


    PS Did I mention that Biff is a bad influence in my life? 🙂

  29. Dear The Author:
    I too am a IE resident, South Corona to be exact, and I do think your intention to write a book on the Cold War very worthy. A good comprehensive tome that the layman can read and understand in very needed. I do hope yopu know that the CW existed for a good 25 years before we, the USA, knew it existed even then we kinda drug our feet. The much milinged J. Edgar Hoover was well arare of its existance. I wish you luck with this endevour and would be glad to give insight. My Father was a domestic CW Warrior from the 40’s on untill his passing. Nixon’s “The Real War” would be of great insight to you.
    C’ya, RNF Jr.

    1. Welcome, Mr. Fleischman, and thank you for the encouragement. My apologies for the delay in your comment posting. There’s a one-time “approval” required that keeps down the spam. If you feel the urge to join the commenters’ fray on the posts, don’t by shy.

      I agree Nixon’s Real War is an excellent resource. It has several quotes — words of wisdom on perspective about foreign policy — that I go back to over and over.

    2. Dear Raymond, as President Wilson sent more than 10,000 US troops to Russia to fight the Red Army and oppose the Bolshevik takeover of Russia, perhaps we weren’t all that unaware of possible bellicosity to and from the Communists and the not-nearly-enough maligned Hoover was very far from being the singularly aware of anything

  30. Since you have such a good military back ground, mabe you can enlighten me as to how that drone landed on that runway in Iran. Did one of our military personel program its computer to land there or was it remote controlled? Main question, did we just give the drone to them? As for a political canadate, I will vote for Newt (and hope he will do as promised) or Ron Paul.

    1. Welcome, Herman Johnson. This is the write-up I did on the drone at the time:

      State of play on the drone downed in Iran

      I don’t believe we just gave the drone to the Iranians. It probably did an unconventional but relatively “soft” landing after losing its command signal for some reason. I really don’t think the Iranians have the capability to interfere with the drone’s guidance, and in fact, I doubt they even knew it was flying in their airspace until it went down. I suspect the drone was a legitimate loss due to malfunction — not caused by the Iranians — and that the Iranians got to it because someone saw it go down.

      Don’t be shy about commenting around the blog. Good to have you onboard.

      1. I can’t believe it picked up that run way to land on, by its self. I know a man that worked with drones at White Sands, and if it landed on a runway instead of crashing into the ground it had to have been programed, or guided to land there. I am saying that some misguided individual made it land there. There is another question that I can not find an answer for. A wise old friend told me that our Military was pushing to recruit Mulims into our Military. I am not saying all Muslims are radicals, but if they stand by and not do any thing to stop them, then they are as bad as the radicals.

      2. There is one thing I would like to comment on. The demonstration at the Embassy. If the demonstrators showed up carrying RPG’s, and AK-47’s,(which I seen in the video clip) I would instantly know that it wasn’t going to be a peaceful demonstration. Lets make it two, why do they keep saying that the two ex-navy seals were on Anb. Stevens security detail, when they were not. They said what one of them was doing over there (chasing down shoulder fired ground to air missles. but nothing about what the other one was doing there.

  31. I first came across your writings reading articles at RCP, followed you at Hot Air’s Green Room, also think I may have read a few of your writings at Contentions. You seem to be very good–in fact much better than almost anyone–at deconstructing and analyzing issues. Some of your writings are long compared to typical posts on those web sites, but the flame is worth the candle. Hot Air recently lost Tina Korbe, I think elevating you from the Green Room to their main web page would be worthwhile and add value for the readers of Hot Air. Just a thought. Realizing that you and the Hot Air staff would have to both be interested. In any case, keep up the good work.

  32. added esteem to the opticon for the updated picture and cute caption (and for the overdue retirement of the nasal cannula photo)
    hope the niece manages to grow and prosper and stave off retirement for a while.

  33. Hey, J. E. I’ve been here before, but never commented. I’ve very much appreciated your work, and if you’re not at Hot Air anymore, I thought I needed to get in the door here..

  34. One thing I check up on was the Military actively recruiting Muslims. My friend was right, its the Army “09 Lima” Program. It is unknown how many Muslims are in our military. A soldier does not have to reveal religious preference. Even the Major who killed all those soldiers at Ft. Hood was not listed as of Muslim Faith.

    1. what? you mean that the military allows not only non-Christians but citizens who are Muslims to join……and doesn’t even put them in special uniforms with special identifiers???????

      1. I am not sure, but I think they don’t even have to be Citizens to qualify for the “09 Lima Program, they just had to speak good English. They were using them as translators, or interpreters. Then gave them citizenship after their military service.

        1. I don’t think that the program ever met it’s goal of recruiting 250/year, hej….so they prolly didn’t award too many citizenships to Muslims who served in the US military for a year.

        1. Well, phooey. Yeah, the Kutztown receiver just now was wide open in his own parsec of astronomical space. No one around him for light years.

          SRU will need to compose itself at halftime.

        2. Well, they can block FGs and return turnovers for major yards and scores.

          If only SRU’s defense could cover receivers.

          1. Their defense has been the weak link this year. They did not deserve a spot in the playoffs. The PSAC is so competitive you can’t relax week to week. The Rock has gotten the better of Kutztown for most of their meetings. But KTown is in the Eastern Division and The Rock in the West. So they do not meet very often. It looks like IUP will carry the banner for the PSAC into the Div II playoffs this year. Oh well, better luck next year for The Rock.

  35. Found you on twitter read your amazing article on Liberty Unyielding about President Trump saving the republic. Wow. Can’t wait to read more. And actually have a little story I can share on the Cold War.

  36. Well old friend, looks like we TOC it. The loss of the LU blog is a familiar sting… As we ended up folding the GIGO-Soapbox tent all those years ago. Of course the opinions still flow, and strangely the problems and challenges haven’t changed all that much. The degree to which those challenges endanger our future as a nation-state has greatly increased, however. This is always the case with ignored or under treated cancers.

    Wherever this goes, you know that I have your back.. my pen is small and often inconsequential, but I do wield it for a good cause. ‘Sting’ perhaps… in the Tolkien not the Alt Rock bassist sense, mind you.

    I’ll be waiting for your first posts.. electronic ‘Sting’ in hand…

    Peace, Love, and AC/DC! 😉


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