Archive for the ‘Military Affairs’ Category

Veterans Administration Proposes to Strip Veterans of Gun Rights

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Helping Veterans?

It was inevitable.  When I posted my concerns about how the government could use claims by veterans of PTSD and other combat-related issues, I have long suspected the Obama administration would act to curtail the Second Amendment rights of veterans on the basis of such claims.  A story being reported by Jim Hoft via the Gateway Pundit reveals that the VA is already mailing out letters that are threatening some veterans with precisely that sanction.  The story originates with Red Flag, in a post written by constitutional attorney Michael Connelly.  At present, this seems to be aimed at people who the VA considers incompetent to handle their own affairs, because they’ve asked for help with their benefits.  While I’d like to know more about the specifics of these classifications, and how that determination has been made, let it suffice for the moment to consider that the Veterans Administration’s policy in this matter is an extension of an overall move by the Obama administration to strip veterans of the right to keep and bear arms.

I have warned veterans in previous posts about how they would be targeted, and it has been suspected by wary veterans for some time that the VA first approved claims for PTSD as the future means by which to strip rights from veterans, but few took notice. We already know that the Department of Homeland Security headed by Janet Napolitano considers veterans a threat, and viewed through the lens of leftist revolutionaries, it’s perfectly understandable.  Veterans are a generally patriotic group who had sworn an oath to the US Constitution, so that their loyalties ought generally to be in favor of our republican form of government.  They will be viewed necessarily as potential counter-revolutionaries if the left succeeds in pushing their “fundamental transformation” to its completion.  Skilled in arms, and generally understanding at least rudimentary guerrilla tactics, US Military veterans comprise a significant potential danger to leftist designs.

In 2010, the Veterans Administration began approving claims for PTSD more easily than in previous years.  This was not accidental.  By making claims of PTSD easier, the VA created a new open door for borderline claims that enable more veterans to find an easier path to compensation.  That is the enticement, and it worked because more veterans than ever have used the new rules to file such claims and derive compensation.  The problem is that the PTSD classification carries with it the immediate potential of such judgments as are being made about veterans’ basic competence.  On that basis, to consider a veteran incompetent to handle his or her own affairs, and thus strip them of the right to keep and bear arms is but a short step.  As previously stated on this site, I would never discourage any veteran from seeking help actually needed, but I would caution all those who would consider making a claim for PTSD to think long and hard about what they may be giving up.

Consider the ease with which the VA will make this argument: Persons suffering with PTSD can be volatile and sometimes unstable or violent.  Sometimes, they are suicidal.  In any of these cases, one would not ordinarily entertain the notion of permitting such persons to own firearms, irrespective of their service records.  Making the leap to declaring these persons “incompetent” on the basis of their inability to pursue the VA processes (to the extent they ask for help) is an easy method by which to get veterans classified in this way.  A determination of incompetence is the death knell of one’s Second Amendment rights.  Veterans pursuing claims of PTSD (or anything else) with the VA should think long and hard about the consequences because while we certainly do not want veterans to go without the assistance they need, it would be awful to awake and find that the VA is painting with an overly broad brush and subjecting most veterans to this kind of classification.

Consider the cases involving veterans with the PTSD classification who have committed acts of violence even after returning to civilian life.  How difficult will it be to sell to the public that their veterans are dangerous time-bombs waiting to explode?  Nobody in the Obama administration will think even twice about characterizing veterans in this way, which is why Napolitano did not issue an apology for classifying veterans as potential terrorists until after extended heavy criticism.  Finding a way to control veterans’ right to keep and bear arms has long been an object of the radical left.  As evidenced by the sort of letters now being received by numerous veterans, calling into question their competence to lead their own lives, including their right to possess firearms, it must be understood that the left wants to disarm as many veterans as possible.

More, initially, they will use test cases to see how far they can press the matter, and I expect that the first round of recipients of such letters represent the testing of this procedure.  They will begin with veterans who have more obvious cases and who may be incompetent in some respect, with a few more questionable cases thrown in to test the limits.  They will make the initial cases based on the public danger aspects, and once they succeed in making the procedure appear perfectly rational and sensible, they will begin processing wider and wider groups of veterans in the same manner.  The first run through this procedure will be mostly actual cases of concern, because the early object of this will be to legitimize and normalize the process.  Once it has become perfectly normal to strip a handful of veterans with real problems of their rights, the process will be widened to include more and more veterans, until a soldier who once stubbed his toe on a parade field will be subject to this classification.

To my brothers and sisters who have served, I urge caution.  To those currently serving, I want you to beware of what seem to be easier paths to compensation.  If you need help, get it.  If you can live without it, avoid it. Know that contrary to what you have been told, the Veterans Administration is not necessarily your friend.  As an arm of government, the administration of which is now dominated by leftists, the VA is an adjunct of their policy preferences, and those preferences include particularly the disarming of America, especially its veterans.  There is no organization on Earth better positioned to accomplish that goal with less muss and fuss than the VA, and as is evidenced by the case brought before us by Jim Hoft and Michael Connelly, they intend to use it to maximum effect.

Service in the Military is about…Service

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Good of the Service?

One of the most frustrating things revealed about American culture these days could be seen in the wake of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s move to include women in front-line combat.  Media outlets immediately sought out comments particularly from women, and particularly from veterans and current service members. The responses portrayed were almost uniformly positive, but most of the responses I saw or heard in media were entirely vapid.  In local media, one younger man was asked his opinion, and his response was approximately that it’s “a good thing that women will be treated equally.”  Two things about this exercise are particular despicable to me, and I don’t know which is worse:  The degree to which the media helps drive public opinion, or the simple fact that public opinion is so easily driven. To me, it’s obvious that far too many of our citizens no longer think before speaking, because that sort of assessment misses the entire point of military service, and the purpose of the military altogether.  Simply put, service in the military isn’t at all about you.

To those who may be somewhat confused, let me preface the discussion with a few simple facts.  The purpose of the military is to be the war-fighting appendage of the nation, and its role ought to be nothing more or less than to obtain victory in the missions into which the chain-of-command thrusts the services, with the goal of victory at minimal cost.  Victory first, cost minimization second.  Everything else the military does is pointless if it doesn’t accomplish these things, in this order.  We could have a much larger military spending our entire GDP in support of it, but that would defeat the purpose of defending the country, since nobody would have the funds for any other purpose.  Let us admit then that we wish to spend roughly that which it takes in blood and treasure, but no more, in defending the country and carrying out the war-fighting missions of our nation.

Naturally, a military unable to defend the country, or to obtain victory, is pointless in most respects.  If the military force we fund is unable to protect the nation, one must ask: Why fund it at all?  Do we like parades so well that we will support them with hundreds of billions of dollars, in perpetuity, with no hope that the force we’ve built can defend the nation and win its wars?  This would be preposterous, both from an economic and a moral standpoint.  Let us then admit that the first mission of the military, and the most critical end for which it is formed is to fight our battles, win our wars, and to do so while spending as little in blood and treasure as we’re reasonably able.

Having said this, let us examine the notions advanced by the vast bulk of those approving publicly the notion of women in combat as a matter of fairness and equality to women.  Let it be noted at the outset that the purpose of the military is not fairness, and not some contrived notion of radical egalitarianism, but the defense of the nation, and any policy imposed on the force must meet the singular test posed by the premise that the purpose of the military is to win our wars, and to defend our country while exacting the lowest reasonable cost in lives and money.

If a policy is implemented that doesn’t serve that end, or improve that goal, we must ask why our leaders would undertake it.  I would like for one military logistical analyst or one combat veteran to explain how either of the two goals explained above are augmented by including women in front-line combat.  There may be a good deal of emotionally-charged political grandstanding, but the factual answer is that combat effectiveness of units will be degraded by the mass-inclusion of women in combat roles.  You may not like reading these words, but they are no less true for your opposition.

Women do not meet the same rigorous physical standards as men.  Don’t take it from me, but instead take it directly from the Army’s Physical Fitness Test scoring system.  For the purpose of this discussion, I have built a table with data from the scoring tables available elsewhere. This table is a condensed representation of the difference in standards between male and female soldiers, aged 17-21, as currently in use by the United States Army. The Army uses three events to rate the fitness of soldiers, being the push-up, the sit-up, and the two-mile run, performed in that order by official scorekeepers. The first two events are time-limited to two minutes each. I have placed the top and bottom passing scores possible for each sex, in each event. Please direct your attention to this table:

Push-ups
Sit-ups
2-Mile Run
Repetitions
Points
Repetitions
Points
Time
Points
Male Maximum
71
100
78
100
13:00
100
Male Minimum
42
60
53
60
15:54
60
Female Maximum
42
100
78
100
15:36
100
Female Minimum
19
60
53
60
18:54
60

The entire APFT(Army Physical Fitness Test) is based on a minimum passing score of 180, and a maximum of 300 points. In the Army, this has a bearing on promotions particular from E-4 to E-5 and from E-5 to E-6. I would like readers to observe particularly the vast performance disparity in both Push-ups and the 2-Mile run. Notice that the Maximum Score for women is obtained in Push-ups at the minimum passing score for men, and that the Maximum Score in the 2-Mile Run for women is just eighteen seconds faster than the slowest time acceptable for men.

One can argue over how much these differences would matter in support units(although they could, and probably do,) but on the battlefield, and in combat units, this is an unmitigated disaster. What’s worse, the actual difference in the Push-Up event is much greater than these scores reveal, because the average woman is shorter and lighter, both qualities placing the individual at mechanical advantage in the event. A 5’10″ male weighting 170 lbs. will on average find it easier to obtain a high score in the push-up event than a 6’2″ male,perhaps slightly more muscular, but weighing 190 lbs. Due to physiological differences between men and women, these vastly differing standards describe a significant disparity in capacity. We can wonder about how much that might matter in a rear area driving a truck, but in a forward area, heaving 100-lbs 155mm artillery projectiles around, it is bound to be quite inhibiting. Climbing in and out of the foxhole, pulling oneself up over walls and barriers, or having to carry a wounded comrade would quickly expose the difference.

What one cannot seriously argue is that the average woman serving will always obtain the top scores, or that the average man serving will only obtain the bottom.  This disparity describes a vast variance in capability that can be lethal on the battlefield.  It is not to say that there is no variance among men, but it is to say that the difference between the average man in the force and the average woman in the force is certain to be substantial.  Since the military can only make rules that ultimately describe the average, perhaps rewarding those substantially above the mean, while ejecting those well below it, we must deal with the average, but not the exceptions.

The question then becomes:  What does a military combat unit gain and/or lose by including women in direct combat roles?  The simple truth is that in terms of the mission, and the likely costs of achieving it, this is an equation that spells potential or even probable disaster.  The notion being advanced by those who advocate the idea is that the rewards achieved are social and/or individual.  It is said by some that women add something intangible to the force by virtue of their presence, that justifies the additional losses in blood and treasure that their presence will on average impose.  That may seem like a nifty argument unless it’s your blood or your treasure being unnecessarily expended, in which case it’s not such a good idea after all, and all the mystical-sounding social “wisdom” loses its ephemeral sheen.

The other argument is purely individual, and it is made in terms of notions of equality of opportunity.  Let me explain this in simplest terms so that the brutally thoughtless might grasp it:  The Armed Services do not exist to hand out opportunities for self-actualization, career advancement, personal gratification, or anything else of the sort.  One might obtain some or all of those things through military service, but at the very least, this is and ought remain a tertiary concern for the chain of command.  Again, chief concerns must be mission accomplishment and minimal cost, and in that pursuit, the services ought to retain every tool of discrimination at their disposal.

Some will misunderstand my usage of “discrimination” as meaning wanton, arbitrary rejection of some people for irrational cause(s.)  This is not the meaning I intend, instead applying the usage that describes making a rational choice for rational purposes in the manner one shops for automobiles or smart-phones.  In this sense, we all discriminate daily, many times over, and to good effect because it generally results in improved products or services since we will tend to opt for those most likely to satisfy our purposes.

Constructing a fighting force is no different, in fact, but  just as Samsung can’t sue you for discrimination because you opted for Apple’s “iPhone” instead of the former’s “Galaxy,” the military is usually immune from lawsuits by merely stating their decisions in the context of the best interests of the service involved.  What so many people don’t seem to understand is that military service is not an ordinary workplace, to which one can apply at will, and resign at whim.  In the civilian sector, one has every remedy under the sun available if there is irrational discrimination, but under the martial authority that is the military, and as an institution for the nation’s defense, such concepts are foreign and irrelevant.

It highlights the misunderstanding of what military service is, and isn’t.  Too many people in our culture are now possessed of an entitlement mindset, a notion that they too readily apply to the most farcical situation.  There is no entitlement to be an infantry soldier.  You can sign up for the infantry if you like, and if the Army will let you, but if after completing your initial training, the DoD decides that for the moment, they need more cooks, you’d better prepare to learn the ins and outs of a DFAC(Dining Facility – formerly known as the Mess-hall) because irrespective of the MOS(Military Occupational Specialty) for which you enlisted, you serve the needs of the Army first – not your own.

How many very good and able persons have wanted to be pilots in the military only to be told that since their vision requires corrective lenses to be at least 20/20, they are ineligible for that role?  Will the Americans With Disabilities Act now be taken to apply to military service?  There are people advocating such notions already, but what mustn’t be lost in all of this is the reason the military is given extraordinary power to discriminate on the basis of factors that would not be legally acceptable or morally proper in the civilian population:  The function of the military is to keep the rest of us safe.

This is why I am so thoroughly disgusted by the coverage of this change in policy given by the media.  It ignores the fact that this is a politically-based decision that merits no consideration whatever in a professional military.  A professional military would study, objectively – without subservience to politicians’ whims, the impact of replacing approximately half of its combat forces with the average female enlistee.  It would not consider the exceptional few who would describe the upper tail of the bell-curve on physical performance, but instead the median performer.  Under that scrutiny, this entire notion would be abolished in one minute, because it does not serve the interests of the mission, or the minimization of the mission’s costs in blood and treasure.  Our forces must accomplish their missions with as many as possible able to come home alive and in one piece, and that should be the enduring criteria of every person charged with command over troops in combat, from Lieutenant to Commander-in-Chief.

What we must not do is to permit the armed services of the United States to be degraded further in its capabilities for the sake of contrived notions of equality that have no relevance on the battlefield.  We don’t seek equality on the battlefield with our enemies, but instead seek every advantage, as they do.  That’s the nature of war, where a single moment in a single battle can change the fortunes of nations, so that every advantage is precious.  How many advantages do we wish to yield to our present and future enemies in pursuit of a nonsensical notion of equality?  After all, the only real equality that exists on a battlefield is the one obtained in death.

Sadly, if we adopt policies that place more service-members in disadvantageous positions in combat, we will see more equality of the fatal sort too, but that must be the inevitable result when policies are not based on the realities of war, but instead on the basis of the wishes of some impractical, egg-headed “constitutional scholar” in the ivory tower at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the legion of nit-wits he has convinced to believe that military service is about them.  There’s a reason it’s widely considered a “sacrifice.”  Notions of equality that interfere with or hamper the military’s mission are among the things one voluntarily surrenders.

Editor’s Note: You should not be surprised that this story broke just in time for the Wednesday evening news cycle, because the whole purpose for which this story was pushed to the media at that time was clearly to remove Hillary Clinton’s wretched  testimony in the Senate from the position as top story. This is naturally an important issue, but it is news only in the respect that it’s been pushed to the surface as a way to change the subject.  Period.  Now we’ll argue over this instead of the disgusting dishonesty of Hillary Clinton on behalf of the Obama administration.

Obama to Stand Down On Military Pay and Benefits

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Forgetting Them Again

My son-in-law is getting set for deployment to Afghanistan. His departure is imminent, and while I am proud of the young man’s continuing service to this country, this being his second deployment, I am startled by the manner in which the current administration treats all our soldiers.  The truth is that the Obama administration doesn’t even like the military, and except for instances in which they can be used as a campaign prop, they haven’t any regard for the men and women who volunteer to serve this nation.  One Obama-friendly group has come out with its proposal for trimming military pay and benefits, and it’s shocking to realize how little regard they have for our service-members based on what they’re advocating.  The Center for American Progress, a completely maniacal left-wing cohort of Obama’s, largely funded by George Soros, has actually suggested that our government should cut the pay and benefits of soldiers dramatically.  It’s disgusting.  It’s despicable.  It’s another example of how the left doesn’t understand or appreciate our military men and women, but if Obama is re-elected, it’s probably the blueprint for what will happen.  It’s time to consider the disastrous consequences of another presidential stand-down.

They’ve actually proposed cutting military retirement, and they’ve also proposed changing the rules for when one can begin drawing a military retirement.  Rather than commencing retirement benefits upon retirement, the madcaps at the Center for American Progress are pushing the notion that benefits shouldn’t commence until 60.  I want those of you who haven’t served in the military to think about this very carefully.  If a young man or woman serves twenty years in the military, on average, it’s not like working in the civilian world for two decades.  The abuses of one’s body, the toll it takes on one’s family, and the miserable conditions under which two decades of life are conducted is something for which there are no direct analogs in the civilian world.  One person I know, a police officer, who works hard and is dedicated to public safety, likened his profession to the military, and I stopped and corrected him.  There is a vast difference, and it comes down to this: Our service-members live under martial authority.  It’s not like being a cop, much as I respect so many in that profession.

Let’s be blunt about it: If you are a police officer, and you arrive at a scene, and your Sergeant or Lieutenant tells you to carry out some ludicrous order that puts you in danger, you can refuse.  The worst thing that can happen to you is that you will be fired.  In garrison, or on the battlefield, a soldier really has no such discretion, because failing to follow orders can get you dead.  You see, in the military, there really isn’t room for such discretion, and those who volunteer to serve have set aside the ordinary right to refuse all of us in the civilian world enjoy, in favor of the mission set forth by their commanders, but since they do not get to pick the term of their enlistments according to who is in command at the time, either nationally or locally, they simply must comply.

To get capable, smart, qualified people to do the jobs we ask our service-members to do in peacetime at their miserable rate of pay is hard enough, but multiplied and magnified by the rigors of war-fighting, and a simple existence under martial authority, we need to offer an enticement.  That’s why we offer at least somewhat enticing retirement benefits, but this is also why the left, despite all their previous anti-draft protesting, is very much pro-conscription:  They wish to be able to force people to serve in these conditions.  Imposing the pay and benefits cuts that CAP proposes would assure that the United States would either impose a draft to fulfill its defense needs, or simply cease to defend the nation.  Either is acceptable to leftists, but in truth, they’d like to have both.

Remember, if a young person 17-21 volunteers for military service, assuming they carry out a twenty year career, that means they will return to the civilian world in their late thirties or early forties, and despite the propaganda to the contrary, most will be effectively starting over.  You see, very few specialties in the military actually translate directly to civilian uses.  Working on artillery pieces doesn’t really translate to working on Fords.  Some of the underlying skill-sets may, but the truth is that it’s not a simple transition in most cases.  There aren’t really many positions for infantrymen in the civilian world.  Therefore, you have a group of people transitioning into a civilian workforce who may well have delayed their higher education, and otherwise set aside those developments in order to protect us.  Then, having completed two decades, they exit the military into a civilian workforce where they may be at significant disadvantage.  There is discrimination against veterans in many cases, and they step into this world precisely in what ought to have been their peak earning years.   The Center for American Progress thinks we should delay their retirement benefits until they’re sixty.  The truth is, we should pay them upon retirement because it’s the ethical thing to do in helping them catch up, and in order to thank them for their honorable service.

I’m not going to touch the part about active military pay, lest I launch into a stream of profanities over CAP’s proposals, but I think it’s time we understand, all of us, that when we ask young men and women to serve, we’re asking that they do so in our stead.  How much is that worth?  As my son-in-law prepares to fly to a distant and God-forsaken land, to help a people who may not want it, and to defend them against their own, knowing that most deaths in that country are the result of our alleged allies turning on our people, I can’t help but reflect on my own military service, and all the things I saw.  I wonder if the day will ever come when the American people will universally understand what it is we ask of these young people, and whether there will ever be a time when the left is willing to pay the costs of maintaining the defenses of the liberties they so blissfully enjoy in brutally indifferent ignorance.  If Barack Obama is re-elected, the undue suffering of our men and women in uniform will increase dramatically.  As I prepare to see my son-in-law depart on another deployment, we must take care of affairs here at home.  We must prevent this.

Americans Died, Obama Lied

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Would I Lie to You? Next Question...

On Tuesday evening, Greta Van Susteren reported the astonishing but predictable news: The Obama administration knew within hours or even minutes who had perpetrated the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, ultimately killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.  The cover story about an anti-Islamic video was merely a scapegoat of convenience that had absolutely nothing to do with the attack on our consulate, but the sickening fact is that President Obama’s administration, including the State Department, and high level national security officials were well aware of the truth even as they continued to try to sell its cover story to the American people.  The reason is simple:  The Benghazi attack was the first successful strike on American soil by organized radical Islamic supremacists since September 11th, 2001, on its 11th anniversary.  Fourteen days after this attack, Barack Obama was still telling the American people it was about a video, desperately hoping to disconnect the events from the obvious failures in his leadership and foreign policy.  Barack Obama has deceived the American people.  For seven hours, in full possession of the facts, as the attack raged and Americans were slaughtered, this President and his administration did nothing except to concoct a cover story.

Perhaps the most galling meme put forward by the Obama administration in the wake of this dismal failure was the attempt to accuse Mitt Romney of politicizing the event.  The facts speak for themselves: The Obama administration commenced the politicization of this attack by lying to the American people on the basis of politically motivated calculations about the impact the truth would have on the upcoming election.  Barack Obama and his administration clearly have no shame, but while they have sought to hide the truth, on Tuesday evening, emails were disclosed that should put an end to the obfuscation.  From FoxNews:

The emails obtained by Fox News were sent by the State Department to a variety of national security platforms, whose addresses have been redacted, including the White House Situation Room, the Pentagon, the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence.

Fox News was told that an estimated 300 to 400 national security figures received these emails in real time almost as the raid was playing out and concluding. People who received these emails work directly under the nation’s top national security, military and diplomatic officials, Fox News was told.

That Candy Crowley would give Obama cover on the cover-up during the second Presidential debate is bad enough, but to now discover that the whole administration was quite well aware of the source of the attack means that we not only have a President willing to lie to the American people, but that he has surrounded himself with a cadre of bureaucratic henchmen who share his contempt for Americans.  The Obama administration may be amateurish with respect to its handling of foreign policy, but they are first-rate professionals when it comes to lying to the nation.  The mainstream media continues to cover and hide the lengths to which this administration has gone in its disinformation campaign against the American people.

Joe Wilson was right when he yelled at Obama during a State of the Union address: “You lie!” Worse, however, President Obama isn’t a man who once told a lie and got away with it: He is a reprobate.  He is a liar by trade, and nothing he says may be trusted.  Cataloging the lies of his debate appearance on Monday night would take many pages, but suffice it to say that even some in the mainstream media are having a difficult time covering his tracks.

What readers need to know about Barack Obama is this: There is no lie he won’t tell, and no American whose life and memory he will not sacrifice to his political desires.  This President yammers about the politicization of a tragedy as a pre-emptive strike against the shocking truth that political calculations were and remain the motive for the cover-up of the events in Libya.  Obama hopes the American people will be fooled again, and that when he says he has “kept us safe,” they will forget the deadly attack on our consulate, and the Fort Hood shooting, among other acts of terrorism he refuses to acknowledge as such.  That’s all this really is, and all it’s intended to do.  His entire administration is convicted of a lie, and he’s betting the American people will be too.

Terrorism?  What terrorism?

 

Obama Sabotages Israelis: Can They Remain Our Ally?

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Iranian Nuclear Sites

The most thoroughly disturbing story to appear last week was the information suggesting that the Obama administration is actively undermining Israel in its preparations to strike Iran, and disclosing its plans to the press in order to prevent them from being carried out.  This story appeared in YNet News on Thursday, and it offers details about what’s at stake, but more, the treachery of the Obama administration in seeking to undermine our ally Israel in its preparations to make strikes against nuclear facilities in Iran.  Apart from the fact that this is a serious leak that should result in firings, the problem is that this may be official US policy behind the scenes. My question is this:  If these leaks didn’t have the official sanction of the President, what is he doing to identify the leakers?

The information leaked suggests that Israel has formed some sort of alliance with Iran’s neighbor to the North, Azerbaijan.  The basic idea contained in the leaks is that Israel would launch strikes from airbases in that country, flying across the Caspian Sea in low-level sorties designed to fly under radar coverage.  The serious problem lies in the fact that all of this information has done serious damage to Israel, and even to the United States, as the article details in this summary of the damage inflicted:

  • Iran now has a decent picture of what Israel’s and America’s intelligence communities know about Tehran’s nuclear program and defense establishment, including its aerial defenses.
  • The Iranians now know about the indications that would be perceived by Washington and Jerusalem as a “nuclear breakthrough”. Hence, Iran can do a better job of concealment.
  • The reports make it more difficult to utilize certain operational options. These options, even if not considered thus far, could have been used by the US in the future, should Iran not thwart them via diplomatic and military means.

As you can well imagine, these leaks have created a serious problem for Israel, and it effectively takes this range of strike options off the table.  With the Obama administration undertaking such a program of intentional leaks, it’s hard to imagine relations could grow much cooler between the US and Israel.  One of the problems I foresee in this instance is wondering what happens when Israel, that increasingly views Iran as a potential existential threat to its people, comes to see us as taking on the role of effectively aiding that threat.

These are dangerous times, and the United States has a president who seems intent upon making them more volatile.  By making such information known to the press, it is likely to act to prevent an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, but the problem is that Iran may be making serious strides in the development of nuclear weapons.  So armed, they would pose a serious threat to the existence of Israel, particularly since they have a leader who has promised repeatedly to immolate Israel and her people.

If this administration is serious, what it will do is investigate the leaks and bring the sources to justice because these are classified documents and assessments, and any who have access to such material ought to be limited strictly, thus making it easier to discern who is doing all the leaking.  Failing even to attempt to identify the sources of the leaks is as good as an endorsement of them, and what that suggests about this administration is too terrible to contemplate.

The original story broke in Foreign Policy Magazine, and former Ambassador John Bolton was among those who responded with severe criticism of the Obama administration.  One unnamed intelligence officer quoted in the article said:

“We’re watching what Iran does closely,” one of the U.S. sources, an intelligence officer engaged in assessing the ramifications of a prospective Israeli attack confirmed. “But we’re now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we’re not happy about it.”

To have American officials of any description making such remarks to the press is abominable, but to see that the Obama administration is doing nothing about it gives the appearance of official sanction. This makes one wonder what the Obama administration’s actual policy is toward Israel.  Whatever you may choose to call it, it doesn’t seem to fit the term “ally.”

 

Marine To Be Given Boot Over Obama Remarks on Facebook

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Do Servicemembers Have Free Speech?

I know most people who read this story will want to side with the Marine, and I would like to do so as well, but there’s a reason I would urge you to reconsider, and it’s important that for those of you who have no military service experience to understand why his conduct, much as it is heartening in many respects, is intolerable for the chain of command.  Part of the problem is that the full and specific text of his remarks haven’t been disclosed, but when Marine Sgt. Gary Stein, a 26-yo, 9-year Marine made his remarks, he did so in a public way that poses a problem to military discipline.  I don’t like Barack Obama’s policies either, and I would hope that no Airman, Marine, Sailor or Soldier would ever follow an unlawful order, but to post remarks on what constitutes an unlawful order, in the context of the sitting chain of command, is a serious problem for the military.

Sgt. Stein is in trouble, and he says he’s surprised it’s a big deal, or that they’re seriously considering kicking him out of the Marine Corps, (note to Barack Obama: That’s pronounced like “core,” not like “corpse,”) but as a Non-Commissioned Officer of the United States Marines, he must know such things are not to be tolerated, and for very good reasons.  Were he a discharged veteran, there would be no problem.  He runs a Facebook page I have seen, but I wince because I know what will befall him.

I hate this sort of case, because I’m placed in the position of the “bad guy,” telling people some important truths they may not wish to hear.  The fact that this young Sergeant made these remarks about a politician who I find to be detestable shouldn’t deter me from recognizing why it’s important that no service-member say such things, certainly not publicly, and why a non-commissioned officer must never say them so that his subordinates may hear or read of them.  I realize that tempers flare, and that our service-members are entitled to their own political views, as they should be, but they are in the military to protect our freedom of speech, but not there to practice it.  When every service-member enlists, or is commissioned, they swear an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States, and to obey the orders of the President and those who the President appoints over them.  The presumption is always that these will be lawful orders.

The military must function with a chain of command that conveys both martial authority and delegates responsibilities.  When a service-member rises to become a non-commissioned officer, there are two things of note that occur:  The newly minted NCO is now entrusted with additional authority, and a higher standard of conduct is applied to all his or her actions, on duty or off.  This is because in function, to carry out a mission, the NCO will need the authority to issue orders, but with that authority comes a greater universe of responsibilities that extends to a higher standard of service and allegiance to the chain of command, and to the mission.  This is the professional standard expected of Non-Commissioned Officers, and it is a demanding one.

It must be this way because in combat, or in a war-time mission, the NCOs are the element of leadership that becomes most important in the organizational structure.  There are too few officers for them to be in every place at once, and NCOs are the professional core of the enlisted ranks upon which all military operations ultimately depend.  If you have poor NCOs, it won’t matter if you have great officers, and great junior enlisted personnel, because the force will suffer a vacuum of leadership that will ordinarily be crippling.  It is for this reason that the services spend billions of dollars each year developing its enlisted leaders.  The idea of a professional NCO has been an important core of the American fighting force throughout the nation’s history, and when a Sergeant makes comments that seem to disparage the chain of command, it is a highly unprofessional bit of conduct.

Now, as to the substance of what this particular Sergeant said, it’s not altogether clear how bad his transgressions may have been. There is little reported on the substance of his remarks, but rather some generalizations.  Here’s what is reported:

“Sgt. Gary Stein, a nine-year veteran, put comments on a Facebook page called the Armed Forces Tea Party page that said he would not follow unlawful orders from President Obama such as ordering the killing of Americans or taking guns away from Americans. He also criticized comments made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about Syria.”

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits uniformed personnel from making comments critical of their chain of command, including the commander-in-chief, or engaging in political activity in a context that suggests that are acting as military members.”

Stop. This is enough to land him in trouble.  By specifying specific individuals in and policies of the chain of command, Sgt. Stein would have violated his obligations as an enlisted service member and particularly his station as a Non-Commissioned Officer.  Unfortunately, they don’t offer any direct quotes for analysis, but if this reflects the actual nature of his remarks, they have a case, and he’s in trouble for good cause. The story continues:

“An investigation into Stein’s comments was ordered March 8 by the commanding officer of the weapons and field training battalion at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. On Wednesday, the Marine Corps announced that rather than file charges against Stein, the matter is being handled “through administrative action.”

“Stein, who hoped to reenlist, told the Associated Press that he plans to fight the Marine Corps’ intention to dismiss him.”

“I’m completely shocked that this is happening,” he told the AP. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only stated what our oath states: That I will defend the Constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders. If that’s a crime, what is America coming to?”

I’m sorry to be placed in the position of disagreeing with Sgt. Klein, but if he indeed criticized Panetta by name or position, and the specific policy as it applies to Syria(or anything else,) he has indeed violated the trust with which the military had privileged him.  An NCO simply cannot go about disparaging the chain of command.  No soldier should, but when it comes to NCOs, they are expected to exhibit a higher standard of professionalism, and this isn’t it.  The remark about Obama and unlawful orders might not have been so bad, in isolation, because in that sense, he is stating a general premise about not obeying unlawful orders, although calling out this specific president conveys a certain lack of support for this particular chain of command that is unseemly for an NCO.  They are and must be held to a higher standard, and again, Sgt Klein here fails to maintain that standard.

Understand that my appraisal here is that of a man who was a Sergeant at roughly the same age that this young man is now, and I note with some sadness that when I was an up-and-coming NCO, I had a pretty solid chain of command, so I wouldn’t have suffered from such doubts.  With that in mind, however, I cannot fail to mention that he should not have said these things, and certainly not broadcast publicly on the Internet.  I’d urge all soldiers to hold their tongues on political matters, precisely because this is harmful to the United States, whether you agree with this President’s policies or not.  I realize that none would carry out unlawful orders if they were issued, but the presumption of a soldier, particularly a mid-career Marine NCO, must be that the orders he will be issued will be lawful.  To spout about non-existent, highly speculative future unlawful orders in the context of a particular president is not prudent, and exhibits a lack of professional judgment, even if I agree with is political views.

In combat, or even in training, the military relies heavily on its non-commissioned officers to carry out the mission, and it cannot tolerate, not even in minor ways, what constitutes the threat of mutinous conduct, or rabble-rousing in its ranks.  I know.  He said “unlawful orders.”  Fine.  The problem is that under certain circumstances, the President may order the killing of Americans or the seizure of guns. Those are limited circumstances indeed, but the discretion to determine which instances constitute an unlawful order lies not with a Marine Sergeant make conjecture about some unknown future order.  There are only very limited circumstances where such discretion is left to the individual service-member.  Sgt. Klein knew or ought to have known better than to let his public pronouncements go this far. Whether the punishment fits the crime is a matter of judgment on the part of local commanders, and the problem we have in assessing it is that we don’t have the full facts, or even the full text of Sgt. Klein’s remarks.  Let us hope that military authorities are not over-reacting here.  Chances are that they are not.

I realize there are those of you who will take issue with me over this, and that’s fine, but the problem is that I also understand how important the integrity of the corps of military Non-Commissioned Officers is to the safety of our nation.  Our military must not be undermined, neither from without or from within, and the conduct of Sgt. Klein threatens to do so, whether he sees that or not.  While I agree with his general assessments, to the degree they have been presented, that doesn’t mean I endorse the fact that he pronounced them publicly.  My advice to service-members who have similar views is very simple, and I know that most of them will understand me as I explain it:

For the term of your service, keep your mouth closed in public, and on the Internet still your fingers in saying or writing things publicly that would tend to place you in such a situation.  In other words,  while you are right to practice politics via your vote, as long as you are in the services, you need to be as apolitical as you are able, although in your talks with family, friends, and others in closed circumstances, you might still enjoy some of your limited freedom of speech, but you must do so with caution and an abundance of reverence for the oath you swore, that did not specify the party or politics of the Commander-in-Chief.  In other words, brothers and sisters, you must not permit your expressions to compromise your ability to lead, or shake the confidence of those who serve under you, in the chain of command.  Please remember this, and serve out your time in honor, and with respect for your oaths.  For those of you who are entrusted with positions of leadership, please remember that yours is an important role, and to undercut it with loose talk about the politics of the chain of command is to undermine yourselves.

I know the vast majority of our servicemen and women know and practice all of this, and it’s unnecessary to say it to most of you, but for those who are frustrated most with what you see coming out of Washington, I ask you to keep your cool.  This presidency and this particular chain of command is not permanent, so if you’ll wait around a while, it will change.  Whether you like that or not is your affair, but how you give voice to it is a matter of military discipline.  We need good and patriotic Airmen, Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers, and you had better believe that if things ever do go to hell in this country, we will have special need of you then.  Keep the faith, and stay strong, but do not put your careers at risk for temporary expressions of your frustrations.  We need you to stay strong, and I will do what I am able to support you.

To my friends in the Marine Corps, “Semper Fidelis.”

To those of you who are non-veteran civilians, I would remind you that you have a special responsibility too.  These young men and women in whose hands we place the security of our nation need your support too, and part of that is knowing not to ask or urge them to make statements of this sort publicly.  If they make them to you privately, that’s one thing, but do not expose them to legal liability on this basis.  Instead, as family members and friends, go be their voice.  They’re serving your security interests, and the least you can do is to try to represent their interests and support them.  Veterans, you will know precisely what I mean, and because you do know, having served, and because you now have your freedom of speech restored, you have a special responsibility because only you can express to those who do not know, what it is that soldiers must give up to serve their country.  It isn’t always measured in blood and lives, but more commonly the right to speak out publicly.  Let we veterans resolve particularly to be their voice so that our active-duty brethren feel no need to expose themselves to trouble, and so that our non-veteran neighbors can know the special meaning we hold the trust to which they have entrusted our fighting forces.

 

Marines Disarmed for Panetta Visit: Why?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Panetta Addresses Troops

On Wednesday, the story came out that Marines in Afghanistan had been disarmed for the visit of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.  Many were puzzled or disgusted over this, for the implications about which it speaks volumes.  If the Secretary of Defense is that worried about our own troops, perhaps he should not be serving in that post.  Of course, I have a feeling I understand the real reason for this policy, and it may not be about our troops, or at least not all of them.  Could it be that Secretary Panetta doesn’t want to be scored as another victim of military “workplace violence,” should another Muslim soldier angry about recent events try to act out his or her anger? I offer this only half in jest, because the behavior of leadership in this case is perplexing. I don’t understand why the Marines were treated in this way, and it can hardly inspire confidence in our service-members if they are led to doubt whether they have the full trust of the chain of command.

As we know, the Obama administration has done its best to sweep Army Major Nidal Hasan’s act under the carpet by labeling it as “workplace violence” rather than as an act of terrorism, despite all of the evidence demonstrating the link between Hasan and militant Muslim extremists.  I was astonished to learn about the details of Panetta’s visit, and that our own Marines were disarmed allegedly because our Afghan allies who were in attendance were likewise disarmed.  As an Army veteran myself, I could see why the security details of dignitaries might have some concern, particularly in the aftermath of the incident last weekend with the soldier who went on a shooting rampage, killing sixteen Afghan civilians, but I also know that was an aberration and says nothing about the entire force.

Still, I find it incredible that the Secretary of Defense would take this view of his own military.  I wonder if he was worried about another act of “workplace violence.”  After all, isn’t that what the Obama administration calls it?  When a lone attacker plowed through a fence and into a ditch at the airbase where Panetta was about to arrive, I would have classified it as an act of terrorism, but with Panetta being part of the military hierarchy, wouldn’t this merely be classified by the Obama administration as another act of “workplace violence?”

I wonder if the Obama administration knows how much contempt it has wrought by that classification.  This sort of thing has ramifications not only for soldiers in the field, but the whole force structure’s confidence in the chain of command.  Perhaps that is part of the trouble here:  Being near a large military base, I’ve heard an unusual number of grumbles about the chain of command and its general temperament with respect to the military.   That’s never a healthy proposition for the military, and I know the lower end of the chain of command struggles to tamp down that sort of thing.  Still, I’m certain the Obama administration is conscious of the growing displeasure from some wider body of the military.  The budget cuts, the ridiculous rules of engagement, and all the over-tasking our service-members now endure are adding to the strain.

I wonder if this was the idea of Panetta, or his own staff, or whether it was the product of an abundance of caution on the part of local commanders.  Either way, it signifies a break-down in the long-established and traditional notion of trust between civilian leadership and the uniformed services, and I find it atrocious on all counts.  I remember being visited in the field as a young soldier by dignitaries including the Secretary of the Army, John Marsh, under Ronald Reagan, and we didn’t put our weapons away.  Of course, that was a different environment, or under different global conditions, but it was also a far different chain of command that viewed its fighting men and women with reverence.  Unless they had real and specific concerns, this will only serve to have widened the gulf in confidence between civilian leadership and our military, and that is never a happy development for the United States, or its Armed Services.

 

 

Panetta Testimony Prompts Resolution Threatening Impeachment

Monday, March 12th, 2012

A Bridge Too Far?

The Obama administration is signaling that it will overstep its bounds again, this time with respect to Syria.  Many in Congress were upset by President Obama’s use of military force against Libya without Congressional approval.  This issue again raises questions about when this nation goes to war, what constitutes the actual making of war, and what is an effective limitation on executive authority in this respect.  More pressing than this, however, may be an underlying notion put forward by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on consultation with our allies and the international community before even talking to Congress.  A resolution is being offered that threatens an impeachment should President Obama step outside the bounds of his authority and fail to consult with Congress in order to gain their approval before engaging American forces.

Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr.(R-N.C.,) has introduced a resolution stating that should the president use offensive military force without prior authorization by an act of Congress, “it is the sense of Congress” that any such actions would constitute “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor.” Of course, introducing such a resolution and actually passing it, and then subsequently acting upon it are very different things.  According to WND, former Congressman Tom Tancredo believes the bill was offered as a response to the following statement by Leon Panetta, now serving as Secretary of State:

“Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would … come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress – I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”

This was Panetta’s response to Senator Jeff Session(R-Al,) during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  There has long been a significant division between presidents and congresses on the use of military force, but this is an escalation of sorts, because what it admits is that the Obama administration is willing to seek permission from international bodies like the United Nations, but not willing to seek approval from Congress.  That’s an absurd reversal of precedent in many respect, because the Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution provides that it shall be Congress that has the authority to declare war.

Here’s video of the exchange:

Of course, what Presidents have long asserted is that not all military actions constitute a war by traditional definition, and that various military incursions do not require approval of Congress.  For instance, the operational security of some strikes might be compromised if the President had to go to Congress for each relatively small action.  There is a certain truth to this, but at the same time, Congress has addressed this with the  War Powers Act, that virtually every President has ignored ever since it was passed.  There are vigorous debates over the constitutionality of that act, but what remains certain is that when it comes to declaring war, Congress is the proper authority.  Instead, the argument revolves around what constitutes a war requiring that declaration from Congress.

Congress has itself added to the confusion, by passing resolutions that “authorize the use of force” in various contexts, but they have not issued an “resolution of war” since 1941.  If Congress is going to assert its authority, it has a long line of precedents it established by its own intransigence or malingering in the last seventy or so years since it last summoned the will to declare war.  This has been part of the case that previous presidents have made with respect to Congressional objections in the last four or five decades.

On the other hand, if the Congress actually passes Congressman Jones’ resolution, this might signal the willingness of Congress to take a more fundamentally active role in the foreign and military affairs of the nation. While all presidents would prefer a Congress to act as rubber-stamps for their foreign and military affairs agenda, the fact is that President Obama has been governing wildly outside the norm as commander-in-chief, and his intransigence to long-standing American foreign policy interests is a sore spot in many quarters.  His willingness to abandon allies, or support former enemies is a troubling development, and this may be leading Congress to finally re-examine its largely inactive role in that part of the policy arena. Here is the complete wording of the resolution:

Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.

Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.

Readers should bear in mind that any such resolution, to carry any force, would need to be approved by the  House and the Senate, but that would require the resolution being brought up for a vote.  That would effectively require Speaker John Boehner(R-OH) to be in favor of it, or at least willing to put it up for a vote, and I suspect this may not be the case.  Boehner has long avoided controversial maneuvers simply because he wants to avoid the possible political fall-out, meaning in too many cases, he has been unwilling to do that which is right in favor of that which he can do in relative political safety. More importantly, it would have to come to a vote in the Senate, and there’s virtually no chance of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(D-NV) would ever permit that.  This strangely means that Boehner might be willing to bring it up for a vote, since he knows it would go nowhere in the Senate.  That would merely continue the trend of Congress doing nothing to sustain its own power in foreign and military affairs, and that’s what readers should expect.

 

Making Mess of Mess-Halls

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Approval of the Queen?

You can’t call them “Mess Halls” any longer, but the term may be making a comeback, since the Army has taken to restructuring its dining facilities so as to make them healthier. Here we have a bunch of do-gooders inflicting their ideas about nutrition on the Armed Forces. Living nearby Fort Hood, I’ve had an opportunity to ask a few soldiers about their view of all this, and it isn’t generally pleasant. Gone are the days of basic training mess-halls in which the object was to get in, consume all you could in as short a time as possible, and get out before some Drill Sergeant decided a soldier was taking too long. No, now they have “dining facilities” and the food is label with color-coded warnings as to its nutritional value. According to CNS News, the same people who didn’t like our color-coded Terror Alert system are now inflicting it on soldiers’ meals.

Of course, you might have guessed by now that Michelle Obama has been involved, and true to form, the First Lady is happy to project her own notions about nutrition on others.  In this case, dietitian Lt. Colonel Sonya Cable is pushing a different “green initiative,” as it is her job to see to it that the old mess-halls become richer in vegetables, and poorer in fried foods.  This is the sort of nonsense we now have in the military, as the truth is that trainees in Army Basic Training should be consuming calories at a rate that makes vegetables a poor choice for the new recruits.  They need to pack in all the calories in a meal they can get, except for the relative handful that should be viewing basic training as an opportunity to burn off excess.

Cable’s thinking is to come up with a color system to label foods that pushes healthy food, with a system of labels.  Red is for the fried foods, and sweets, amber is for the middle-of-the-road dishes, and green is for the things that are viewed as the best alternatives, but even with this system, there’s some realization that this may not be entirely feasible:

“I had some folks say to me, ‘Well, why on earth did you even include the red ones to begin with?’  Two reasons – one, we’ve got soldiers who have racehorse metabolisms that they needed every calorie I could get into them.  And by taking off the ‘red’ we just found that we couldn’t get enough calories in them.”

No kidding.  Welcome to the real Army, Colonel.  Of course, reading some of her other thoughts, it became clear to me that this is one Army officer who probably doesn’t understand much about soldiering from the perspective of the recruits going through Basic Training at Fort Jackson or elsewhere.  Trainees don’t sit on their duffs for eight hours, do physical training once or twice per week, and then go home to sit on their backsides for the evening.  Why this didn’t dawn on Lt. Col. Cable is another matter, but then you realize she’s in tune with Washington-speak, when she reflects on her previous visit to Ft. Jackson:

“My eyes got opened very quickly that it really is a community,” she said, about her visit to Fort Jackson, S.C. seven years ago to observe its dining facilities.  “We talk about a village that raises a child.  Well a community develops a brand new soldier, too. And that’s what we found there.”

Now the liberal planners are designing nutrition programs for the Army.  Perfect!  That explains a great deal, because they’re more interested in fads popular with DC social circles than in what actually works.  Cable took the First Lady on a guided tour of a dining facility at Ft. Jackson in January, and she reports that this program that started with basic training sites has now spread to other training facilities.  In short order, this will spread throughout the services, and one more part of Obama’s fundamental transformation will have been completed.  The liberal mindset must tinker with everything, and that Michelle Obama is even distantly involved should encourage us to pause on the subject in reflection about the direction of our military, and its purpose.

Iran Prepares for War

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I have been told that Iran is led by “rational actors,” but I see little evidence of it.  In order to acquire their own nuclear arsenal, they are making plans to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, and to carry out attacks on US air bases in the region in order to hold off the Americans who they are expecting will at some point attack them.  Meanwhile, they still seem to intend to strike Israel, and wipe them out, so it’s difficult to see them as rational. One could make the argument that they’re merely prepa for a US or Israeli strike, but the continued promise to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth is the most troubling thing of all.  If they do obtain nuclear weapons, Iran’s leaders may well be just irrational enough to use them.

According to the WND article, the Iranians are preparing to make attacks on US air assets.  Such a strike would be more likely than most Americans think to disrupt our ability to respond to threats in the region:

The Guards’ publication Mashregh, in a warning to America, revealed a detailed plan to attack U.S. bases in the region, including, in Kuwait, two air bases, Ali Al Salem and Ahmed Al Jaber, and the U.S. military camps of Buehring, Spearhead, Patriot and Arifjan. Also targeted are U.S. air bases in Afghanistan, the super U.S. base Al Adid in Qatar, its other super base at Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates and Thumrait Air Base in Oman.

Such an attack could certainly cause chaos, or worse, but it would almost certainly send the US scrambling, and it might open a window of opportunity for the Iranians to make good on their promise to close off the Straits of Hormuz, at least for a while.  That might be enough to hamper our logistical chain, making it difficult to carry on war-fighting operations.  At the same time, the Iranians have armed a number of small, fast boats with explosive warheads that would be delivered by ramming in suicide attacks:

The Guards have also armed hundreds of speed boats with high explosives for suicide attacks against U.S. Navy assets and the shipping traffic in the Gulf. Sources within the Guards also reveal that the Guards have been training pilots for suicide attacks against U.S. assets in the Gulf by using smaller planes loaded with explosives.

Rational?  I wouldn’t have considered the Japanese all that rational in 1944-45 as their young pilots rammed aircraft into our warships in Kamikaze attacks, yet this is the same sort of mindset we now face.  We’re in particularly bad shape, because just as this threat is rising, our military is undergoing vast cuts, and we have poor national leadership across the board.  Barack Obama has shown no willingness to take on the Iranians, but we know he’s capable of making apologies.  This president is so unwilling to defend America against its enemies that there really is no precedent in American history.  If Iran’s leadership decides it’s willing to wage a war in order to protect its nuclear weapons program, they may win.  If you think the Ayatollahs are irrational, what must we conclude about the man Rush Limbaugh has called “Imam Obama,” who now leads our country into a blind alley?  How rational is Obama?  For our country, the prospects are too frightening to consider.

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What If Christians in America Reacted Like Muslims in Afghanistan?

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

One Thing Leads To Another

I can’t help but notice that the President and his friends in the leftist establishment press are offering a dangerous precedent for anybody who wants to notice it.  As Barack Obama apologizes to the Taliban, Afghans, and Muslims everywhere for the inadvertent burning of a few copies of the Qur’an, the reaction is even more strident and increasingly violent.  The more violent they become, the more Obama and his friends in the press grovel, to the extent that he’s now got the entire military chain of command making apologies and running around in panic that they have offended Islam.  Watching all of this, I had a sudden thought:  What would happen if American Christians reacted to the contraception mandate in precisely the same way?  Would Obama grovel before them too, or like his bowing all over the Middle East, is that reserved solely for the Muslim world?  To watch this president in action is to observe a slow-motion train-wreck, if you believe he’s incompetent, but I no longer hold that view.  No president could act so recklessly.  If Christians reacted in a more vociferous manner, would President Obama apologize and grovel for them too, or would he crack down on his own countrymen, as I suspect?

This display couldn’t be more disgusting, and yet, given the way Christians and others of faith(excepting Muslims) are treated by the current administration, maybe that’s the answer:  Americans of faith are simply too docile, and too willing to “turn the other cheek.”  Of course, as Americans of faith have long since discovered, when it comes to the Obama administration, and the mainstream media, turning the other cheek has begun to give the appearance of somebody watching a tennis match.  Christians particularly have taken a beating from this administration, and Obama’s willing accomplices in the media carry out shameless attacks on people of faith under the general auspices of “reporting the news.”

I realize Christians are not very likely to “go Taliban” as the Afghans have been doing this week, but the reaction of the Obama administration may offer a bit of a clue.  I’m not advocating violence, of course, but maybe it’s time to put together a “million Christian march” or some such thing to remind the administration Who is in charge.  Apparently, the administration is quite fearful of the mess now ongoing in Afghanistan, and at the rate things are going, I can see us evacuating via helicopter off the roof of our embassy there.  Not satisfied to turn the fight into Vietnam out in the field, the liberals are accomplishing the seemingly impossible: We’re going to wind up with video out of Afghanistan very much like we saw as the United States evacuated from Saigon, leaving people desperate to escape clamoring to be lifted out too. Leftists everywhere will celebrate.

Of course, the way this country is being led into the ground, Christians may not have to do much.  If the Occupiers have their way, they’ll create a similar scene at the White House, and Barack Obama will fly out in Marine One, leaving the likes of Biden and Carney to fend for themselves among the restless natives.  This is the state of our rudderless nation as Barack Obama takes one victory after the other and converts them into complete disasters.  His apologies have done nothing but to encourage the mobs of angry Afghans, and it’s a disturbing picture when you realize they are merely acting out on the basis of that which they believe.  Call it irrational if you want, and yes, they’re barbaric murderers who have killed Americans in their blood-lust, but consider this:  Barack Obama is begging their forgiveness for a “wrong” that has been shown to be an accidental insult, and not the act of malice.

What are we then to make of a president who acts with malice toward the people of faith in his own country? He insults Catholics, demeans Christians, and tells them their faith must be subservient to his government, while the government he leads and administers bows in surrender and supplication before the rioters in Afghanistan.  How is an American Christian or Jew to take this, realizing that he does the same at home, since we cannot say “Islamic Terrorism” with respect to Major Nidal Hasan, but instead call it “workplace violence?”  Is it not stunning to see an American president who evinces respect for foreign savages who practice a religion he does respect, while he ignores the consciences of Americans who practice a religion he apparently holds in contempt?

This is abominable, sickening behavior, not only by the murderous thugs in Afghanistan, but also by the irresponsible administration in Washington DC.  Where a decent President would have ignored the incident in his official capacity, knowing that to acknowledge it would give it more gravity and not less, and in a situation in which a responsible president would have loosed the dogs of war in their own defense, Barack Obama not only has harmed us, and especially the troops under his command, but he has ignored the chance to deliver a lesson to the Afghans who now rise up in open rebellion against us over a mistake.

Any decent respect for our country and its position in this world would have led him to treat this entire incident differently, but he has no respect, neither for the country nor for the office he occupies.  Just once, I would like to see him react in a similar fashion when Americans of faith were rightly offended, rather than working to offend them more thoroughly in the next instance.  Until Barack Obama leaves that office, our nation will suffer one disaster after the next, and all of his making, and as I wrote this past week, I no longer believe the line that it’s all due to incompetence.  He’s intentionally paying respect to those who have none for us, and he’s one of them in spirit, if not in open worship.  While he reaches out to offended Muslims the world over, he turns his backside to us, and the moon you’re being shown isn’t the crescent common to Islam.

 

Is Iran a “Rational Actor?”

Friday, February 24th, 2012

"Rational Actor?"

When you see that even scientists have become so irrational, you know you’re not dealing with an ordinary regime, or rational actors who can be counted upon to follow norms of behavior as we perceive them to be in the West.  The Israeli National News is reporting that the Iranian nuclear scientist who was assassinated in Tehran in January was very  much concerned with and focused on the annihilation of Israel, according to his widow.  Whether she was prompted into this statement by the Ahmedinejad government, or whether she volunteered the information on her own, this speaks to the plainly irrational desires of that regime. There are those who suggest that there’s no proof Iran is an irrational actor, but I think that flies in the face of more than thirty years of evidence to the contrary.

Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and they continue to back operations by Hezbollah along with others throughout the Middle East.  More, their current dictator and his theocratic overseers are so-called “Twelvers” who believe in the 12th Imam and a theology that specifies the end of their “oppression.”  These are people who have beliefs more irrational than the worst cultists you’ve ever known in the West, and yet there are those who think we can somehow negotiate in good faith with them.  Worst of all, their leader, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, professes a devout belief in this theology, and says that the oppressors are the “Great Satan” (the US) and the “Lesser Satan” (Israel.)

For those who suggest we can deal with such thinking, I’d remind them that nobody took Hitler and his occult beliefs and practices seriously outside of Germany until it was much too late.  I wonder if these same critics would contend that Hitler had been a “rational actor.”   The Iranian dictator is a maniac, and to pretend he’s less dangerous than he is would be to subject this country to unnecessary risks and a threat of serious harm.  This guy is no more rational than David Koresh, but Koresh had a few rifles, and for that Janet Reno laid siege to his Mt. Carmel compound.  This mad-man is seeking nuclear weapons, and has already tried to carry out political assassinations in the US.  By what standard can anybody conclude he is rational?

Fox in the Henhouse: Obama’s Undermining of US Defenses Escalates

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

"I...Am So In Love With You..."

Barack Obama’s defense policies appear to be the most foolish, irresponsible, and negligent in modern American history.  This president is cutting our defenses to the bone, and he knows it.  Not satisfied with wreaking havoc with our conventional forces, he’s now examining the elimination of our strategic nuclear arsenal to as few as three hundred warheads.  That’s fewer than China, and many fewer than Russia.  If the United States gives up this deterrence to attack, we are effectively naked to such designs as other nations may have on our country.  Three hundred nuclear warheads?  While it sounds like tremendous destructive capacity, and it is, it does not offer the sort of strategic deterrent that our current nuclear arsenal comprises, and against a nuclear giant like Russia, it’s wholly insufficient to prohibit them from nuclear blackmail or outright nuclear attack if the relationship with them sours further.  This policy proposal is a national suicide pact, and Barack Obama knows it.  Let it be stated forthrightly: He is destroying the United States.

We are already at our lowest levels in decades, and the problem is that while most of us think of nuclear weapons and warfare in a global apocalyptic vision, the facts are much different.  A nuclear warhead in the range of one megaton is a terribly destructive device, but it is enough to wipe out one large city.  Across the vastness of the Russia, or China, it is a small impact.  More, since priority targets are generally opposing nuclear weapons sites, it is impossible to cover all targets even at our current level if it came to that.  I am not here making light of nuclear weaponry, except to say that such diminished levels as three hundred warheads means we would then have a force insufficient to deter a nuclear-armed Iran, if they can be deterred at all.  From the article linked above:

John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador and undersecretary of state for international security during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview that the administration’s plan to cut nuclear force to as low as 300 “alone is sufficient to vote against Obama in November.”

“Congress should urgently adopt a resolution rejecting the idea that any of these levels is consistent with American national security,” Bolton said. “Let’s just see who is prepared to support Obama.”

This is only the start. Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney went even further:

“No sane military leader would condone 300 to 400 warheads for an effective nuclear deterrent strategy,” McInerney told the Washington Free Beacon.

“Going down to 1000 to 1,100 is risky enough and frankly in today’s world, very risky. The purpose of our nuclear force structure is to deter any adversary from even thinking that they could minimize our attack options. Such thinking is very dangerous and will only encourage our adversaries to make bold decisions.”

This is an intentional attack on our strategic defense infrastructure, and President Obama must be held accountable even for suggesting it.  I am much beyond the polite discussions of policy in bureaucratic terminology here.  These cuts are a disaster that may ultimately cost millions upon millions of Americans their lives, never mind the future of the Republic itself, as a viable political body.  The fox is in the hen-house, and many Americans still see him as an off-kilter hen.  Let us not pretend that Barack Obama is here exercising the best interests of the United States, or the oath of his office to defend and protect the constitution.  Recent actions by this president demonstrate he has no love of our constitutional system, and this is an egregious abandonment of his duties as commander in chief. Also from the article:

Kenneth deGraffenreid, a former Reagan administration National Security Council official, said in an interview that the plans for sharp nuclear cuts are “part of the administration’s purposeful decline of American military power.”(emphasis added)

Some people wonder why I become frustrated as they watch their football games, or their reality TV shows, but otherwise check out on the whole question of our nation’s affairs.  Ladies and gentlemen, this cannot be permitted, and John Boehner had better get off of his whining duff, and step up to the plate.  Mitch McConnell had better be all over the TV, and he’d better stop using weasel-words, if he remembers how to speak plainly any longer, because our nation is under attack from within.  It’s time we stop mincing words to disguise this fact from our people and from ourselves.  President Obama is no friend to this country, never mind its allies, and this strategic proposal for what is essentially unilateral nuclear disarmament makes of our nation a sitting duck.  This is not simple incompetence.  This is not mistaken thinking.  This is not a case of good intentions leading to unintended consequences.  This is a monstrous betrayal of the American people by a leftist ideologue who hates the country he is sworn to lead, defend, and protect.

Hillary Inconsistency: Need Syrian Consent for Troops – Why Different From Libya?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Different Thug, Different Policy?

I must admit that I don’t quite understand this one yet, because while we entered the fray in Libya on the basis of the Samantha Power argument of a “Responsibility to Protect,” the idea that nations had a duty to protect a people from a tyrannical regime, this same theory doesn’t apparently apply in Syria.  Instead, after a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Hillary Clinton said in a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Ahment Davutoglu that there would be no troops sent to Syria without the consent of the Syrian government.  Why is one brutal thug’s regime exempt, while the other was not?  While leftist protesters marched under the banner of “no blood for oil” in successive wars initiated by Republican presidents, there’s no similar outrage now that it has become patently obvious that this is the only justification for the differential in policy: Syria has no oil. Libya has plenty.  It’s either that, or something more nefarious.

This is another example of the apparent contradictions in Obama’s foreign policy.  When the people of Iran were rising up, Obama said nothing, and did nothing.  In Syria, we’re getting some words from the State Department, but nothing of substance, and it seems there’s no intention on the part of this administration to have a consistent policy.  We surely didn’t wait for Gaddafi’s consent before bombing in Libya.  We were trying to bomb him!  Meanwhile, Assad is every bit as monstrous as Gaddafi, and perhaps worse, yet there we are wearing kid gloves.  This doesn’t make any sense at all unless one begins to account for the differences between the two countries, or leaders.

Is there some reason the Obama administration favors Syria’s Assad?  If one applies the principles of the idea called “Responsibility to Protect(R2P,) one must wonder as thousands of civilians in Syria have been murdered in the streets over the last few months.  If Gaddafi was a rabid dog who needed to be removed for the safety of his country’s people, why not Assad?  Why is he exempt from a similar fate?

Don’t misunderstand: I am not advocating an attack by NATO on Syria, but I find it curious that the same people who less than one year ago could not wait to pound Gaddafi into submission before he was slaughtered at the hands of a mob(as he deserved) are now reluctant about treating Bashar al-Assad in similar fashion.  This discontinuity in policy means something, just as the reluctance to criticize Ahmedinejad in Iran meant something, but it’s not yet clear what the meaning is.  Cynical folk would point to the Libyan oil, but even if that is a factor, I don’t think it’s the only one.  Something else must account for this differential in policy.  Could it be that Assad has something else Obama wants?  Could it be related to the proximity of Syria to Israel?

Time will tell, but when one sees such distinct and different actions by lefties in similar circumstances, one knows there’s something more to the story.  Leftists are simply too stuck in their ideological ruts to act this way without ulterior motives.

Dereliction or Treason?

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

What's He Doing?

Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to offer you a number of facts to consider and then I’m going to ask you to consider them as a complete set.  At present, our military is falling into a disgraceful condition under the maladministration of Barack Obama. In fact, the condition of the country at large is one of unsustainable weakness, but every day, Obama undertakes more bad ideas that hamper or harm our nation.  Most assign this to a reckless incompetence, and while I can understand the desire to not think the worse of a US President for his intentions, I am questioning them now as far too many things seem to be aligning disturbing synchronicity.  It seems as though something is wrong with this President, and it may be far worse than misguided intentions. His actions as President have severely undermined our defenses, and may make us essentially naked to aggressors. When one observes such a trend, it must be called to the attention of his fellows, because if this is intentional, then the only name for this is not “dereliction” but instead “treason.”

We are now slashing the defense budget to make room in the Federal budget for entitlements, including Obamacare’s implementation, and all those other programs previously in existence.  We are now grounding our Air Force’s fighters at a phenomenal rate.  We are nearly 20% weaker in this vital area than we had been a short decade ago, and cancellations of projects like the F-35 guarantee this will only become worse.

We have handicapped our naval capacity by insisting they use a certain percentage of bio-fuels in their combat aircraft at an outrageous expense to tax-payers, and an as-yet unknown cost to the defense of the nation.  We are nearing the point where we will effectively scrap two entire aircraft carrier battle groups, further limiting our ability to respond to threats around the globe, or protect our own air-space here at home.

We have given most of our critical missile defense secrets to the Russians, allegedly to ease their worries about them, but in truth, what we’ve done is to give them to a potential adversary that has contractual relationships with Iran and other nations with which conflicts may be inevitable.  At the same time, Iran continues to threaten us and our allies with missiles against which these systems were designed to act.

Iran now flagrantly sails its fleets not merely through the Suez Canal, but also threatens to shut down shipping through the Straits of Hormuz, and between these two passages, nearly 50% of the world’s oil supply is transported.  We do not challenge them there, except to waggle our finger, but it’s worse because their ships now sail openly along the edge of our territorial waters in an intentionally provocative way.

Petroleum and its distillates are soaring in price, even though President Obama has killed off the Keystone XL pipeline that would have brought fuel to our energy-starved nation within a short time.  Our current oil production is dipping, but more than this, the taps at the Strategic Petroleum Reserves remain open, as Obama uses this to hold down the price of oil only slightly.

The Iranians are developing nuclear weapons and they already have mid-range missiles on which to deliver them, but more than this, they are developing long range rocketry that will reach to the North American continent.  Iran continues to fund terrorists who attack us globally, and yet, when there was an uprising in Iran, Obama did not back it until well after it had been quelled, but he did so only half-heartedly.

Soros is raising an army of rabble that you know as the Occupiers.  What these will be are the useful idiots to be led into slaughter when the time comes, and Obama needs an excuse to clamp down. At the same time, Obama’s department of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement(ICE) is being directed to permit illegals to go without arrest whenever possible.

Our financial system has been directly tied to the banking systems of the failing Euro currency, and it’s no secret that if they collapse, as seems likely, we will almost surely accompany them over the precipice and into the abyss.  Your purchasing power is being eroded away, and soon you will begin to see a more distinctly inflationary trend that they will not be able to mostly hide from you as has been true over the last few months.  Instead, we’re going like gang-busters to worsen our troubles.  The government rigs the unemployment statistics, and we’re told “things are improving.”

None of these things are likely to have been unknown to you,  because as readers of this site, you’ve seen most of them covered here.  You might look at any of these in isolation, and conclude that they are the results of colossal incompetence or even dereliction, but as yet, you may not have noticed the common thread running through them.  You might be satisfied with that notion, but for the fact that you know nothing exists in a vacuum, and that you cannot separate the out from the whole if you’re to understand them in context.

What all of these things have in common is that each of them substantially harms America’s economic and physical security.  Each and every one of these things also have in common is the fact that they are directed by a single authority, and the person who wields it is none other than Barack Obama.

Barack Obama maintains two separate cabinets, one consisting of his official cabinet secretaries, and the other composed of his shadowy system of czars and advisers.  The latter group wins every argument, and it shows in the decisions this president takes.

If not dereliction, could this really be treason?  If we didn’t suspect otherwise, I’d think he was getting us ready for a take-down on all fronts.  What’s worse is that his chief opponent in November is likely to be the candidate of his preference.  Still, one can hardly miss the fact that what all of these things leave in play is the fact that we are being set up, and it is we Americans who stand to lose everything.  His sympathies for Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are telling relations, and the fact that his favorite pen-pal is the radical, Islamist President of Turkey, and what you realize that there’s almost no hope.

Is Barack Obama intentionally leading us to the banquet of the enemies at which we are to be the main course?  Consider what might happen if an electromagnetic pulse(EMP)  bomb was detonated by Iran over US territory:  You will not see television again, perhaps for a generation. Your vehicles will not function.  Every electronic device, and indeed the whole electrical grid may be down for years.  You will have no oil with which even to do battle to reopen the Straits of Hormuz or the Suez Canal, because we have been bleeding our Strategic Petroleum Reserves into the ground at their behest.  No oil?  No Navy or Air Force, meaning no response from us.  At that point, fuel-less, and with nothing in which to place it  if we had it, the country would almost immediately grind to a stop.

Spend a little time to think about everything Barack Obama is doing, and ask yourself if these are the actions of an honest man concerned with his country but inept in application, or instead the mere organizing of a man who is committed to its destruction.  The worst-case scenarios are too awful to imagine, but that we must stop him is also clear.  If it isn’t treason, it sure looks like it, and if the net effect is the same, it won’t make a difference either way.  Does it matter?  In this context, is negligence distinguishable from treason?  I don’t think so, but we must begin to assess the threats against our country, and if we should survive through election 2012, we must unseat this president, though I do not know now how we can beat him.

A Note About The Marine Incident

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

A Forgotten Border

Much has been made of this incident on which I reported Friday, and it reminds me of something else I witnessed many years ago.  I was serving in the Army in Germany, and the year was 1985.  I hadn’t been in my unit there very long when an opportunity arose to see a bit of the German countryside.  Of course, the area I was able to look at on this trip wasn’t something most people younger than 35-40 really remember or understand, and it wasn’t a pleasure trip.  Periodically, the battalion would charter a bus and take all the new people who’d arrived over the last ninety days on a tour of the border between West Germany and Czechoslovakia.  It was a part of the unit’s effort to show us the ground we would likely defend, and the nature of the enemy we would face if a war broke out between the Soviet Union and NATO.  On that fateful trip, our tour triggered an “international incident” due to the behavior of one of my fellow soldiers.

At various points along the path, the bus would stop, and we would unload and be told about the things at which we were looking.  One of those stops took us right up to the border, onto a road that runs parallel and on the west edge of what had been the frontier between East and West.  We could see the fences, and the razor-wire were hung with dew on the cold, damp, dreary morning.  In easy earshot, never mind rifle shot, of a guard tower, we unloaded and looked around.  We were under strict instructions to do no pointing or make any gestures of any kind, because they could be taken as a sign of hostility, and could lead at the very least to a serious incident, since the guard towers had not only machine-gun emplacements, but also cameras with which to document our tour.  One of the geniuses in my unit thought it would be a great idea to walk off by himself and drop trow facing East, and take a whiz facing directly at the tower.

The public affairs officer who had us on the tour saw this and fairly tackled the guy.  It was too late, as we could hear the rapid shutter snaps as a pictures were taken.  It was nearly a three hour ride by bus back to our installation, and nobody said a word.  As we pulled up at the Headquarters building, our Battalion Commander and our Sergeant Major(the battalion’s highest ranking enlisted man) were waiting on the sidewalk.   The incident had been reported already up the chain on the Eastern Bloc side, traveled through diplomatic channels, and down through our chain of command, beating the bus back to our post by more than two hours.  The Sergeant Major stuck his head in the door of the bus as fast as it opened, and pointed at the offending soldier and said simply his name and “You’re with me, NOW!”  He and the Lt. Colonel disappeared through a crowd of suits I hadn’t noticed before, but our comrade in arms was effectively gone.  This incident began the end of his short Army career.  Even in 1985, the Department of Defense didn’t take lightly the notion of giving the “adversary” a propaganda victory.

The reason I recount this to you is because on Friday, after Congressman Allen West’s statement made mention that the Marines in the current incident should receive Field Grade Article non-judicial punishment, and there was murmuring from some quarters that nothing should happen to them at all.  I wanted you to know that such a punishment was precisely the first step in disciplining a soldier back in 1985 when our unit’s urination incident occurred.  While it’s easy for you and I to say that yes, “Hooah, piss on those corpses,”  more is at stake in this situation than four Marines’ momentary indiscretion.  At present, our government is negotiating with the Taliban, and whether you or I, but particularly those Marines like it or not, they are servants of this nation’s foreign policy, no matter how much any of us think that policy is mistaken. Soldiers don’t make foreign policy, but must serve the chain of command in implementing it.

My fellow veterans will know precisely what I mean, because they understand that once you put on that uniform, you are not a sovereign individual for the length of your service.  This is one of the reasons I chastise police officers who occasionally like to think of themselves in terms of a military organization.  As I point out to them, if they’re in the midst of a stand-off, they can surrender their badge and walk away, and other than the difficulty they might have in ever working in that field again, they face no real consequences.  If a soldier tries that on the battlefield, he may well be shot.  It’s for this reason, this matter of unit discipline that these soldiers must be prosecuted and punished in some form by the chain of command.  I don’t like it in this case, and I wish it weren’t so, but that’s the truth of the matter, and I owe it to tell you so, much as any person among their chain of command might feel sympathy for their position, but must nevertheless contend with the issue at hand.

It’s for this reason that I understand Allen West’s statement all too well.  It’s the mark of a solid leader that he understands what must happen in this case, despite the fact that he may well not like it. These four Marines are in for a hard time over this incident, and you had better prepare to read of their eventual punishment.

On the other hand, I suspect the Obama administration may seek to make an unduly harsh example of these four, and I hope that isn’t the case.  Since the State Department has been negotiating quietly with the Taliban for some time, I expect this will now become a new sore spot.  While I believe that we shouldn’t be negotiating with these people, it is nevertheless current US foreign policy, otherwise known as “elections have consequences.”  I just hope for the sake of these Marines that they’re not dealt with in a severe fashion in order to appease the Taliban.  That’s the biggest worry they now face, and I hope this will serve as a reminder to service-members everywhere that you are an instrument of US foreign policy, so it’s best not to do these things, and it’s certainly not a good idea to record it, much as I suspect I’d have felt and perhaps acted in much the same way had I been among them.

Note: For those of you who are too young to really remember the Cold War, or in fact, for anybody who wishes to refresh their memory, I’d encourage you to check out this site, from which the image above was gathered, as the gentleman who runs the site seems to have served there contemporaneously with me, and you can learn a good deal about what it was really like.

Hooah: Allen West Responds to Marine Urination Incident: War is Hell

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Allen West (R-FL)

The Weekly Standard is reporting on a statement via email from Congressman Allen West(R-FL) on the incident involving Marines who urinated on three Taliban Corpses.  West is known particularly for his own service, having retired from the Army  as a Lt. Colonel.  His statement reflects the view of a military realist, who understands the real nature of war, and the things that sometimes happen on the battlefield.  I think the hand-wringers would do well to listen to West on this one, as his statement comports well with my own statement on the matter.   I wish all of our veterans in government were willing to be this blunt:

“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”

I have but one thing to say to this: “Hooah!

Hand-Wringers Whine About Marines Urinating on Corpses of Taliban Fighters

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Who's "Deplorable?"

There are those who simply cannot avoid rushing in front of a camera, expressing their outrage at the behavior of the Marines in this video that surfaced, showing graphic footage of four Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the corpses of three dead Taliban fighters.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the incident “deplorable” and “inappropriate,” but I think the administration’s outrage is inappropriate.  These Marines, when captured, are subjected to far worse at the hands of the Taliban fighters, and frankly, it’s time to stop being a bunch of whiners about this. War is Hell, and while we shouldn’t encourage this, it is a natural result of the stresses of combat, but some of us clearly need to harden up.

Was it dignified?  No.  But to entertain the complaints of people like Afghan President Hamid Karzai as though his chief concerns about the inhumane nature of this act is in any way relevant is a sham.   The Department of Defense is investigating, and it is now being reported that the Marines have been identified as part of an ongoing Marine Corps investigation. You can view the video below, but as the still frame indicates, it is graphic:

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.1010216&w=425&h=350&fv=allowfullscreen%3D]

I cannot believe Senator John McCain came before cameras today to condemn this.  As those of you who follow this blog will know, I’m not given to fits of profanity and I don’t generally resort to such things, but to the senior Senator from Arizona, Campaign Suspender and Self-Saboteur of 2008,  RINO-endorser, and perpetual Republican thorn in the side, let me say this: STFU!  And Senator, if you don’t know what this means, ask your delightful daughter who regaled the MSNBC studio with an odd statement about an “emoticon of privacy.”  I’m sure she can tell you.  As an unrelated sidebar, for those who don’t understand, watch Mehgan McCain’s brilliance.  Apparently, like father, like daughter in this case:

Meanwhile, I have only one remaining question: How is Obama going to handle this?  When he issues a statement, will he say that the Marine “Corpse” is investigating?

If you want to know why we’re losing in Afghanistan, you need only consider that we’re more interested in prosecuting Marines who used poor judgment in directing their streams of urine than we are in prosecuting our war.  If this is to be considered some sort of “atrocity,” then I think we all need to consider who’s really taking the piss, and at whose expense.

2012: Anti-Climax or Armageddon?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

2012 Looms

Let’s dispense with Mayan calendars from the outset. Neither do I have any interest in misinterpreted antiquities made into modern hoaxes, nor do my readers have any interest in debunking them.  If you came expecting that, please move back over to the MUFON website and carry on in peace, or “Live Long and Prosper,” or wait to be beamed up, or whatever it is you do.  The coming year promises a great number of possibilities, but an accumulating body of evidence suggests that many of them are decidedly bad, at least to the greatest numbers of the American people.  We face many challenges in the coming year, but they need not be apocalyptic. Rather than engage in a load of useless, fear-mongering hyperbole that will be all too common over the next week or so, let’s take a look at the real threats that we face, and conduct an honest assessment of our ability to mitigate them, both from the standpoint of individuals, and also as a nation.

Of course, the possibilities are endless, even discounting Mayan Calendars and the lot, but I think we can group these easily into three major categories, since there’s no real way to predict natural disasters despite the insistence of some who should have by now departed for MUFON. Let us consider our worst threats what they almost always really are: “Man-caused disasters” of one form or another, and that they fall into three major categories we I will list as economic, military and political.  Carl Von Clausewitz would have argued that the latter pair are merely different forms of the same thing, but in this context, I’d like to confine them to their separate definitions.

Let us begin with the category most likely to bear rotten fruit:  The economy is in a horrible condition, and despite the trickery of an administration using rigged numbers to make a case for re-election, it’s clear that we’re in serious trouble.  Perhaps worse is the fact that in Europe and around the globe, the problem of sovereign debt is now choking off economic growth.  The European Union teeters on the verge of collapse, and yet they continue the dishonest and immoral policy of putting good money after bad.  Worse for we Americans, our own Federal Government and Federal Reserve have joined in the delaying tactic.  All they really hope to accomplish at this point is to stall the inevitable long enough to cross the finish line in November.  The question now becomes: Can they?

While the banking and financial  segments remain in global turmoil, the larger domestic issue of immediate importance is the dramatic and persistently horrendous unemployment numbers.  The most reliably consistent numbers from perhaps the most thorough analysis tell us that total unemployment now stands around 23%, despite the rosy picture created by the U3 numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That is a dangerous number, because it implies certain sociological results that will tend toward violent crime and general civil unrest.  Worse, despite the fact that the U3 number will probably continue downward with even greater seasonal adjustments now being implemented as the administration continues to tinker with the numbers, there’s another problem to consider:  The US is far from the only country seeing this sort of problem, as France is now reporting unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression.

All of  this paints a frightening economic portrait, but it pales when measured next to the potentially devastating effects of a collapse of the US Dollar.  Nobody alive in the United States really has any sense of what hyperinflation looks like, but here’s a primer on the subject.  The problem is that such a collapse is now increasingly likely, since our own currency has been so thoroughly intermingled with the Euro.  It’s likely that if the Euro goes, our dollar will soon after follow, and we now find that the US Treasury has permitted large institutions with large positions in European derivatives to seek shelter under the umbrella of the FDIC.  This effectively puts US taxpayers on the hook if these things fail, and you can bet that if the Euro falls as it now seems is inevitable, we’re in for a rude awakening.

The military situation is becoming increasingly grim in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.   Having pulled out of Iraq less than one week ago, we are already seeing an increase in violence in that country.  Obama may have managed to pull us out of Iraq, but history may well record he had done nothing but to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Whether you favored the Iraq war, and the occupation that has persisted for most of a decade, it goes without saying that it is the height of foolishness to have spent so much in blood and treasure only to walk away when victory was close at hand.  It might have taken years more to stabilize Iraq completely, but it is doubtful that it will be able to stave off Iranian intervention.

Iran is now flexing its muscles in the Persian Gulf, and is threatening to close off shipping.  That would become an instant crisis, and might well start a round of hyperinflation as fuel prices would likely soar to levels scarcely imagined.  War in any form in the Middle East threatens our security, and threatens to cripple our economy, so that a foreign policy of the sort we’re now witnessing threatens to undermine the future of the United States.

Israel continues to be isolated, and it’s unlikely they’ll see any substantial relief while Barack Obama persists in office. More, leftist elements continue to work to undermine Israel by working in concert with a number of radical Islamic groups.  Israel must now concern itself with an increasingly antagonistic Egypt, and this suggests a scenario in which Israel may have little alternative to at some point make a vigorous defense either by preemptive strikes, particularly against Iran, but also perhaps against other states that continue to have designs on their nation.  This remains true for the so-called “Palestineans,” as well, and there are numerous scenarios by which this could rapidly escalate into full scale war.  Any such war is apt to have profound repercussions here at home, but also globally.

The next area of concern is the political realm.  We have a President that is quite happy ruling in a manner contrary to the will of the people, and he’s content to watch things collapse as he does so.  Worst, his overarching policy is one of bailing out the Europeans to no avail, and in supporting our historical adversaries around the globe.  Still, even with all of this agitating against his re-election, he is thought to have good prospects if only because the sheer number of dollars he has raised and will continue to raise will present a serious obstacle to any opponent.

Speaking of his opponents, all that have materialized thus far have serious problems that will likely make them less than thoroughly effective by way of opposition.  Romney will be obliterated on his flip-flops, and it will be shown that he is more like Obama than Obama himself.  Meanwhile, the strategy Obama is broadcasting is to run against Congress, specifically the House of Representatives now controlled by the Republicans, and they’re bending over backward at every opportunity to make deals with him and Harry Reid over in the Senate.  What neither Boehner nor any of the other establishment Republicans understand is that each time they make deals with Obama, they’re cutting their own throats.  Of course, RINOs like Senator Dick Lugar, (R-IN,) insist otherwise as he now prepares to face a primary challenge of his own.

Add to this the uncertainty about the future of Occupy Wall Street, and what role they’re apt to play in the coming elections, and what you have is a recipe for disaster, particularly if any of the economic or military possibilities discussed herein come to fruition.  I wonder when it comes down to it, and an angry mob packs the mall in Washington DC, whether Barack Obama will stand by the principle underlying his earlier declaration that “Mubarak must go.”   After all, what will happen when the American people are demanding he must go?  My bet is that such would be viewed differently, somehow.

The inevitable question I receive after such a posting is: “What can I do about it?”  The simple answer is “I don’t know.”  The more complete answer is “I can tell you what I am doing,” and leave you to judge for yourself.  You must prepare a few things, and those must include supplies of necessities such as food and medicine.  You must be ready to live without fuel.  You must be prepared to barter when necessary. You must absolutely be prepared to defend yourself, your home, and your family.  You must prepare your family to defend themselves in your absence.  Again, most of these things are measures prudent people should prepare for in all seasons, because one never knows what will happen, from natural disaster to war to almost any possibility. Maybe it’s the soldier in me, but I believe in preparedness, and whatever happens, I will always bet on those who prepare over those who don’t.  It’s really that simple.

On the political front, I will say this much: Americans must become engaged like never before, and here I am speaking specifically to Tea Party patriots, constitutional conservatives, and anybody else who wants to see the nation put back on a course that will promote prosperity.  We must demand that our elected representatives, our Senators, our state and local officials, and yes, our candidates for the nomination all set forth specific objectives for slashing expenditures, reforming government, and holding their feet to the fire.  We must be discerning and vigilant, and not be tempted to fall for what appear to be quick and easy solutions to problems that will not be resolved by half-measures.   Unless and until we the people make enough noise, politicians will pander but make no substantive change, because much like our President, they are in a perpetual delay tactic, every trying to stave off your discovery of how poorly they have done as stewards of your government.

On the bright side, we might just make it through, but if so, it will only be because we had done all we were able, and the sooner people recognize that this will take their direct involvement, the more likely we are to avoid disaster.  Part of what I learned as a young man in the Army is that to prepare is also to repair, because you will inevitably discover things in your preparations that will help you make the scenarios for which you prepare less likely.

It’s much like Y2K at the end of 1999, for which governments and businesses spent untold billions to prepare for a disaster that never substantially materialized.  Many talking heads have assumed that it didn’t occur because it could never occur, but this is dishonest.  The truth is that our preparations largely prevented catastrophe, but history records no catastrophe, so it’s hard to demonstrate.  All those preparations were not “for nothing,” because in truth what they did was prevent the disaster.  That’s the best reason to prepare. It always has been. As we lurch toward a new year full of frightening possibilities, it’s also a year of substantial hope.

 

ROTC to Permit Wearing of Hijab

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Already In Afghanistan

Our Department of Defense has lost its mind under the leadership of Barack Obama and his Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.  They are systematically wrecking the United States military, and there’s really only one possible reason for that.  Now, due to the complaint of a 14yo Muslim student who wanted to be able to wear her Hijab while parading in uniform, the Defense Department is modifying its policies to permit the wearing of the religious headgear.  This is an absurd finding by the DoD, and it threatens the entire purpose of the concept of “uniforms.” Of course, the truth is that the DOD has been encouraging this in Afghanistan, making our female soldiers cover up in accordance with Islamic tradition.

For now, this applies only to the Junior Reserve Officers Training Course(JROTC) cadets, but it’s clear where this is headed.  It will not be long before we see US service members permitted to wear the hijab also, and this will be the beginning of the end of the United States military as an effective fighting force.

The whole point of a military uniform is to standardize the clothing of service members. The reason for the standardization is not only for utilitarian purposes,  but also for the same reason players on a sports team wear the same uniform: Simple recognition. What do you suppose would cause greater confusion for soldiers on a battlefield in, for instance, Afghanistan, than to permit some to wear the hijab?  The other function of a uniform is to have a single standard to which the wearers can repair.  Think of it as a dress code taken to the ultimate extreme, by which individuality is forbidden except where it serves a purely military purpose, such as insignia of rank.

With such an allowance made for JROTC cadets, it is only a matter of time before this moves into ROTC, the service academies, and ultimately, our war-fighting forces.  There can be no way to preserve military discipline and permit this social engineering to continue.  In logic, one cancels out the other, so that if this is to be permitted, there will be no way to effectively preserve military discipline over the long run.

When I served in uniform, it was said that the uniform changes the wearer into one more part of the whole, but by permitting the wearing of the hijab, what is effectively accomplished is to destroy the whole. I strongly condemn this action on the part of the DoD, and I will write my representative about it.  This nonsensical approach to military uniform regulations must be stopped.  When you sign up, you agree to be bound by regulations, and whether you’re a commissioned officer, an enlistee, or a cadet, that’s simply part of the deal.  After all, you’re not there to serve your own purposes and agenda, and you’re not there for your own comfort or the spread of your own ideas.

The Obama administration has long been favorable to the destruction of the US military as a fighting organization able to carry out its duties in defense of this nation.  This ruling by the DoD merely extends the question: “Why?” I now believe the answer is simple enough to understand: Reduce the US military to a social experiment until none will enlist or apply at its academies, and make of us a neutered nation, unable to defend itself and its interests around the globe.

In my view, that’s precisely what Obama wants, and nothing else will do.