Posts Tagged ‘Presidency’

Going to War With the President We’ve Got

Friday, February 25th, 2022

Shall we go to War with the President we’ve got?

Donald Rumsfeld once [in]famously remarked that “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” This remark was accurate, even though it was widely and wildly criticized by leftists who have no understanding of national defense. The sentiment is easy enough to understand: You do not always get the luxury of preparing endlessly for war. Sometimes, the need to go to war supersedes your ability to abstain from or delay it for more ideal conditions or state of readiness.  Sadly, this is sometimes true of presidents as well. If the United States were to be attacked suddenly by nuclear strikes originating in Russia, for instance, it really wouldn’t matter who the president at the time might be.  That president would be expected to respond with equal or greater ferocity, irrespective of party or politics.  The problem we now face as a country borders on the galactically absurd.  We have in the Oval office a foolish, apparently dementia-addled old man, who is apparently not in good control of his bowel, never mind his mouth or intellectual capacity. He ought to be removed under the 25th amendment, come what may, but the people who’ve been using him as their meat-mask have no intention of seeing that happen.  We are in mortal danger, but under this President, Joe Biden, we cannot risk any unnecessary wars.  It is the height of unconscionable madness to permit it. I realize that sometimes, a country must go to war with the president in charge at the time, but this is not that situation, and I condemn any who would suggest otherwise.  No, we must not now go to war with the president we’ve got.

Ukraine is under attack by a hostile, monstrous actor.  Vladimir Putin is despicable, but he also has the advantage of owning the superior forces over the terrain in question.  It’s not a matter of caring, because any person can look in horror at the Hell Putin now imposes on the people of that stricken nation and understand the misery they now suffer.  It’s a matter of practical reality.  We are in no position to do anything unless our answer is a nuclear first strike against Russia, but that’s an intolerably bad option for all of the obvious reasons.  We have no significant bases nearby from which we could operate the number of air sorties needed to put up any sort of sustained defense of Ukrainian airspace, though it is possible we could park an aircraft carrier battle group in the Black Sea.  That’s an extraordinarily risky proposition when you intend to poke the Russian bear within easy reach of their air assets.  We are poorly positioned, and Putin knows it. He’s been watching and assessing NATO for decades.  He knows our NATO allies have barely maintained their responsibilities in the alliance.  He knows they’ve all been cheating.  He knows they are all incredibly weak, and weakened more by their oppressions of their own populations as part of their COVID responses.  He knows they’ve repressed their own dissidents, and he can legitimately throw the political dagger of “hypocrisy” at them with no trouble.

He also knows that America is now weak, with obviously weak and ineffectual leadership that is more concerned with punishing their own countrymen than in prosecuting a war in a country most of the corrupt US leaders would sooner see destroyed, in part to hide their corruption over decades. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Mitt Romney along with their adult children and many others in the DC cocktail-party circuit would be only too happy if Ukraine’s current leadership came to an obscure and quiet end.  Between 1999-2014, the Clinton foundation carted over $10 million dollars from the oligarchs there.  They’ve used it as their personal piggy-bank for more than two decades, laundering money in and out of that small and easily corrupted country.  Their current president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is apparently an actual reformer, and none of them can tolerate that, particularly Putin, who has used it as the base from which to compromise Western politicians, particularly Americans, none of whose names are Trump.

The only question in Washington DC is how to play it for maximum waggage. (As in wag-the-dog.) None of the people now in charge in DC have any intention of rescuing Zelenskiy.  The truth is that they want him gone for all the same reasons Putin does. He can’t have Zelenskiy or his reformer government burning his purchased assets in Washington. It’s better to make it all just go away, and to bury any evidence or witnesses with it.  Others had suggested that the Russian “Invasion of Ukraine” narrative had been an entirely invented story line to give Biden a moment to talk and act tough to distract from the massive failures of his administration, but as facts on the ground now demonstrate, the threat was always very real.  Maintaining an Army in the field is expensive, and the larger the force, the more expensive and difficult it becomes. When it was clear that Putin had more than one-hundred-thousand troops deployed along the borders of Ukraine, it became clear to me that this was more than idle bluffing.

It could be observed that the pronouncements from both the White House and the State Department seemed almost to goad Putin into attacking.  On the one hand, they made threats that all parties knew were idle, while on the other, they openly admitted their inability and unwillingness to do much to stop it. “You’d better not, or we’ll kick your ass, even though we’re in no position to do so, and really don’t have the resolve to do so,” they effectively blustered and admitted at once.

There’s one other issue I’d like to tackle, and it’s with those who seem to be insisting “we MUST do something.” This element doesn’t seem to like that the vast bulk of the American people seem understandably to have no interest in doing much about the situation in Ukraine.  Polls seem to suggest that something like thirty percent of Democrats and twenty percent of Republicans believe the US should have any significant role in Ukraine.  To this element in our country, I suggest they take a look around and smell the crap they’re shoveling.  One, a radio host I have always liked, pointed out for the second consecutive day that after all, ours is a volunteer military, as if that means something to the argument for going to war, and he’s right, it does: A volunteer military requires the people to follow orders just like a conscripted military, with the difference that what makes that volunteer force viable is their understanding that their chain of command will not make frivolous or futile use of them. It’s one of only a couple of times in my history of listening to Mark Levin that I very nearly turned him off. I know there are dolts who have come to believe, inexplicably, that the killer Putin is some sort of good guy in disguise, but I’m not one of those, and Mr. Levin ought to be more careful before he begins to conflate America First patriots with these.

I don’t know what’s in Mr. Levin’s head when he says a thing like that.  I was a volunteer too, when I was fortunate enough to have a great commander-in-chief in President Ronald Reagan.  Neither was he without flaws.  Eight days before I reported for Basic Training, 241 servicemembers – Marines(220), Sailors(18) and Soldiers(3) – were slaughtered in Beirut.  When I went through boot camp, the mostly Vietnam combat veteran drill instructors all believed we were inevitably going to war.  We believed it too.  They drilled us like it, and they trained us with a vigor and intensity prior classes that year probably hadn’t experienced.  They were tough as nails, maybe more than usual, because they believed we trainees would be called upon to go to Lebanon.  That call never came, but I believe to this day that every one of us who graduated that training cycle were beneficiaries, because they more scrupulously got rid of the duds, pushed us to the physical, emotional, and intellectual limits, making us better soldiers.  The point is that President Ronald Reagan did not send in more Marines, Sailors, or Soldiers.  In point of fact, he pulled them out.  When that was the result, I remember that the sentiment in the military community was not all that happy about it.  Nobody wants to see their fellow servicemembers slaughtered, particularly to no purpose, and definitely without punitive response.  At the time, it didn’t sit well, even though it was potentially our necks on the line had Reagan sent more troops instead of withdrawing them.

In the longer run, however, I came to take a more mature view of what Reagan did, or more properly, didn’t do.  He evaluated the terrain, he looked at who we faced, and what the probability would be that more troops would merely make for more concentrated targets, far from home, to be attacked by small groups or individual suicide bombers where the mission was already murky and hadn’t borne the expected fruit. He looked at our allies in the region, and how he might augment and support the mission, and finally decided there wasn’t an attainable military objective that could be reasonably achieved without unreasonable losses.  In short, President Reagan made an entirely rational choice.  He likely wanted retribution against them as much as any of us. He wrote the hundreds of letters to wives and mothers and fathers and children.  He knew the unambiguous costs. Strangely, I would later intersect with Reagan’s foreign policy again, in April 1986, when a Berlin discotheque was bombed, killing US Servicemembers.  It was a strange turn of events that led my unit to serve briefly as replacements in Berlin in September of that year. Reagan did exact a punishment on the bad guys in this case, being Ghaddafi and his ring of terrorist henchmen, within ten days sending a bombing raid to Tripoli that nearly got the “Colonel.”

My point in all of this is that it’s very easy to look at the situation in Ukraine and desire to be able to put a stop to it. The sickening truth is that when we pretended, starting with President George HW Bush, that there was some “peace dividend” to be obtained from the end of the Cold War, it was foolishness, and an instance of utter stupidity that only anti-military pukes like the Clintons could love.  They exploited it, too.  Rather than realizing that the “peace dividend” from the ending of the Cold War was peace itself, we pretended that we could reduce our defense spending.  Adjusting for inflation, to spend at our Cold War defense-spending peak in 1986, a year in which we spent an astounding $295 billion, in today’s dollars, we should be spending roughly $1.2 trillion.  Instead, in 2019, we were spending roughly $740 billion.  At the turn of the century, after two terms of Clinton, we had fallen to $320 billion when we ought to have been closer to $500 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, and the percentage of GDP expended on our military had fallen from 6.63% in 1986 to 3.11% in 2000.  Even now, we’re only slightly better, at 3.41% of GDP, as of 2019, so that we’re at slightly more than half as much military spending as a percentage of our GDP than we had been in 1986, a time when many, myself included, believe the US Army was at or near its peak in training and morale. (See stats here.)

Europe is far worse. Trump was not only right about European nations’ contributions to NATO, but their underlying defense expenditures are cratering. Since Trump left, they’ve fallen off a cliff, with reports that the German Army couldn’t deploy sufficient forces to repel successfully much of anything.  In short, Europe has left themselves virtually defenseless, with the brief exception of the period of Trump’s presidency, with only new NATO member Poland substantially upholding the promise of expending at least two percent of their national GDP on defense.  The United States has been bearing the burdens of defending Europe for most of a century now, yet we cannot get them to pay to defend themselves, and there is no will under the current administration in Washington DC to hold NATO’s feet to the fire. In 2020, Germany barely attained 1.57% of its GDP in defense spending, and that was after extensive prodding from President Trump. When he took office, the Germans were spending roughly 1.1% on defense.  In short, don’t look to Berlin for help.

This is the realistic assessment of the terrain in Europe: NATO has fallen into severe disrepair, from the end of the Cold War, until Trump came along to prod them beginning in 2017, but has since fallen back into the same rut, with the blame naturally being placed on CoVid19. At this point, the United States should be telling NATO: “That’s it. We’re cutting you off. We’re bringing home our troops unless you get to your spending goals AND make up for all the years of shortfalls within the decade.”

Of course, we’re no more likely to get that from this administration that we are to have a competent president, never mind commander-in-chief. More, this administration is incapable of waging an effective war of any kind, anywhere, at any time. They’ve diverted our military into concerns with all things “woke,” and if you think this is Ronald Reagan’s military of 1986, technology notwithstanding, you need your head examined.  Quickly.  Yes, of course we still have some good war-fighters in our military, but they’re now a pathetic minority within the ranks, and in the officer corps, they’re getting pretty thin as the service academies have been infiltrated by more and more social justice schlock, as modern “education” theories take precedence over what had traditionally worked.  I would like you to watch the first six and one-fourth minutes of this episode of Bannon’s War Room. In those first few minutes, he presents what he calls his “cold open,” and in it are various clips, including three recruiting ads, one for NATO, one for the Russian Army, and one for the US Army.  If you don’t see the problem, again, you need your head examined:


Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been reporting to you the state of our nation, and more generally, or our globe in one way or another for more than a decade at this web address. While my posts have been more infrequent in recent years, it’s not for a lack of concern.  People are foolishly insisting now that “we must do something,” but look at the state of our country.  I ask them: What would you have us do?  We have feckless leaders, corrupt and intransigent to the suffering and travails of the American people.  We have a military that, but for a brief reprieve under Trump, has been diminished and demolished, it’s morale wrecked along with its ethos.  We have a corrupted Justice Department that behaves as the hitmen for the government mafia.  We have an FBI that actively plots to entrap citizens, in shenanigans of that agency’s complete contrivance and invention.  We have a Department of State that openly plots against elected presidents it does not like, and we have an intelligence community that actively seeks to surveil and undermine a president it did not and would not obey.  We have an opposition party that barely musters any sort of fight against any of this, in large measure because they’re not really opposed.  We have public health officials who collude with big pharma to poison the American people and hide the data. We have whole segments of the population committed to destroying the country from within, including local officials, many bought-off by globalist pigs like Soros and Schwab.  You actually expect, in this condition, and in this state of being, that the remarkably few American people who realize what is going on, to volunteer their children into a war on behalf of this? Of this???

Do not tell me that we must go to war with the President we’ve got. I’m heartbroken at what I’ve seen thus far from Ukraine, like any other compassionate, thoughtful human must be.  I know that Putin’s mission is to exterminate Zelenskiy and his entire cabinet. His intention is to expunge them from the face of the globe.  Worse, the scumbags running Washington DC have every reason to help him do so.  There’s too much evidence of their corruption over in that tiny country.  There’s too much evidence of how they were controlled from the Kremlin. They don’t want to save Zelenskiy or Ukraine.  They want to bury Zelenskiy and his cabinet, they’re willing to burn Ukraine to the ground to do it, and they’re helping Putin carry it out.  Meanwhile, the American economy is spiraling into a stagflationary period that will make the Carter years look like a boom.  (It was once a joke that Jimmy Carter was thankful to Obama, and then Biden(but I repeat myself) for knocking him from the top of the “worst president’s ever” list, but nobody’s really laughing any longer. We’re in freefall, and every sensible person knows it.)

In the midst of all of this, those of you who wish to “do something” need to get a grip on your emotions, and understand what we’re really up against now.  We’re fighting for the survival of this country, right here, right now.  That great wealth or influence might offer insulation to some is no excuse for the indifference in the sentiment contained in the idea that Americans are somehow defective if they don’t wish to rush off to war against Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.  We know it’s another nasty set-up, just like all the ones deployed against us here at home.  We know the score.  We know, because every damned “conspiracy theory” (or most of them) of the last two decades have been proven mostly true.  We know Zelenskiy is the good guy.  We know.  Meanwhile, we listen to buffoons like Lindsey Graham, whose military experience consisted of walking papers around a Judge Advocate General’s office, pontificate about the privations we will suffer due to this crisis.  It’s not enough as it is, you see; Goober would have us suffer more.

Now I have to endure a berating monologue from a radio host I have long supported because I’m in no hurry to see my younger, ill-prepared brethren in uniform sent off to do something somewhere? For what purpose? To what end? For the sake of the need to “do something?” No sir.  I will not support going to war with this class of criminals who run our country. I will not support the spilling of so much as one drop of their blood on behalf of these cretins.  They’ve spent decades demolishing the country, and it’s not just the Democrats, though they’re today the mob bosses in charge.  When we had a president who was not part of their mob, they tried, like the gangsters they are, to take him out in any way that they could.  They used their vast criminal enterprise, posing as lawful suits at the bar of corrupt courts, undermining the integrity of our election, all because Trump had to go.

Years ago, I counseled young people to serve a term of enlistment in the military if their life plans were not firm after finishing high school. I told them it was the best thing they could do for themselves, while also serving their country.  It was true in my time, but it hasn’t been for most of a half-generation.  Even in Trump’s time, the military was already thoroughly undermined from the top, ever since Obama purged the Generals now more than a decade ago.

I truly do feel terribly for the Ukrainian people.  I know that like most ordinary people everywhere, they simply want to be left to live their lives, mostly in peace.  I know their current president is a reformer, and if it were possible, I would try to rescue he and his countrymen from the Russians.  The problem is that it is not currently possible.  More, the people running this country don’t actually want it saved.  I am as powerless to change that today, in the here and now, as any other American.  Shall we overthrow this government so that we can retroactively spend the defense dollars we should have spent, and undo all the stupidity and malfeasances of the last three decades? How will that help Zelenskiy?  More, we didn’t raise a credible effort to overthrow this government when it conspired against the President we elected. We didn’t raise a credible effort to overthrow this government when it obviously conspired with various state and local officials and NGOs to steal our presidential election and elections for lower offices.  It’s not merely Joe and Kamala who are illegitimate. Chuck Schumer is illegitimate in his leadership position, because neither Mark Kelly nor Rafael Warnock, among others, actually won their races.  Nancy Pelosi is illegitimate, because there were at least a half-dozen closely contested races that were likely impacted by the same cheating.  Do you really believe John James lost his Senate race in Michigan?  I don’t.

No, Mr. Levin, don’t tell me we should spill blood or treasure, no matter how strongly we might feel about it, for the sake of Ukraine or President Zelenskiy.  Until we spill all the blood and treasure needed to rescue our own fallen nation, don’t dare speak of it to me. You haven’t earned the right.  If you wish to characterize me as America First, as though it were a slur of some kind, so be it. I’ll stand by it. Don’t worry, I won’t burn any of the autographed books that fill half a shelf, in part not only because I hate book-burners and wanton, pointless destruction, but also because, with the way things are rapidly heading, I may need them soon for that purpose to cook my supper. Shall we go to war with the president we’ve got?  Respectfully, that depends on the contextual meaning of “with,” sir.  With him in Ukraine?

Hell no.

 

Editor’s Note: I’ve been a big fan of Mark Levin for a long time, and in the past, I’ve contributed to the Landmark Legal Foundation, of which he served as President for several years.  I don’t mean here to personally attack Mr. Levin, but I fail to understand his point of view on this particular issue. I always feel badly when I find myself at severe disagreement with the Great One, but on this point, I will not demur.  Our country cannot now defend itself, and its leaders prevent its agents and officers from defending even our Southern border.  They file suits at law against states, like my own, who attempt to enforce the laws of the United States, and even when ordered by courts to do so, effectively play a stalling game, and a game of “you can’t make me” with federal judges who dare to rule against them, up to and including the Supreme Court. So long as we have a lawless government, I support only wars of immediate existential circumstances for the United States. I swore an oath to the Constitution of the United States, and it does not expire, no matter who now has claimed the authority to ignore it.

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Thinking About The Presidency

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Too Much Power?

One of the features of the 20th Century and continuing in even more grand form now is the extent to which the office of President of the United States has come to represent the country at large.  Given the development of mass media, it’s not surprising, but in truth, I’m not sure it’s been entirely healthy.  We speak of presidents as “running the country,” but none of these characters, neither the worst nor the best of them, ever really run the country, or at least, that’s not what our founders intended.  The President and the federal establishment are supposed to be as remote in our daily lives as they are from most of us in geographic terms.  The notion of the President “running the country” is illusory in most respects, and a testament to the fictions propagated by government in collusion with media that we perceive things in this way.  We shouldn’t regard our government as such a fundamental part of our daily lives, but over time, people now view the presidency in this light.  It is time that we begin the discussion about returning the government and our elected politicians to their rightful place, but the trouble lies not only with the temperament of our presidents, but also with the character of the presidency.

Our present constitution was established in part to create a stronger federal government than had existed under the Articles of Confederation.  That government was considered insufficiently weak by those who saw flaws in its ability to bind the country together in issues of taxation and expenditure, particularly with respect to a common defense.  This left the presidency, merely an instrument of Congress, in a state of impotence, incapable of responding to changing conditions, or coordinating the new nation’s defense.  This was intolerable, and there were significant problems even collecting revenues.  Provisioning for the Army was unreliable, and there was little of centralized form in the execution of law.  The United States was at this time more like a version of the present day United Nations, or European Union, in the sense that it was strictly a treaty among the separate and sovereign states, with little of their powers delegated to the confederation except as pertaining to warfare and foreign policy.  Some critics today would suggest that it had certain advantages over our existing constitution for precisely these reasons.

The anti-federalists argued that much as our Articles of Confederation had perhaps been unduly weak as a reflex against the tyranny of the British empire, in much the same way, the proposed constitution was likewise unnecessarily and even dangerously powerful as a reaction against the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.  Patrick Henry and George Mason were among the most notable critics, and there can be little doubt that he considered the new constitution to contain too many weaknesses, loopholes they thought, through which despots could arise.  The anti-federalists had three central objections:  There was no “bill of rights”; there would be a centralizing tendency; the government would take on an aristocratic character.  While the new constitution was ultimately amended to quiet critics on the matter of a bill of rights, the other two objections have come into sharper focus as it is clear that the history of the 20th Century is one of the centralizing of power, and the death of the concept of citizen legislators, resulting in a permanent political class that rules seemingly in near perpetuity.  The anti-federalists worried about the presidency created in the new constitution arrogating to itself new and terrible powers not specifically proscribed in Article II.   Some would argue with good cause that they had been correct, since at varying times throughout the course of our country, successive presidents have tended to accumulate more power than their predecessors.

This is the curious problem that now confronts us:  We must elect a President who will exercise the power of that office to slowly, wisely return such excessive power to its proper jurisdiction, either in the Congress, or within the several states, but perhaps most importantly, with the people.  Of course, this will not be done without the will and legislative commitment of Congress, but the truth is that a new President, properly inclined, will be able to change and diminish not only the role of the President, but also of the Federal Government generally.  Our nation has become too focused on and dominated by Washington DC.  This is why our federal budget has exploded out of all previous bounds. This is why we are beset by a regulatory nightmare in our small businesses, in our homes, and in almost every other facet of our lives.  We must begin the process of deconstructing the federal establishment to a degree that permits us to function as a nation again without daily reference to Presidential, Congressional or judicial whimsy.

The office of President of the United States was created to remedy an over-weak central government, but it has been so thoroughly enlarged in its power that we must elect a person with the character and temperament to practice self-restraint in the exercise of powers not explicit in the Constitution.  We need a leader who will slowly, carefully devolve as much power as is prudent back to the states and the people.  Our current economic morass is evidence of the accumulation and centralization of power in the hands of those who run our federal government, and they have become a blight upon our economic future, and indeed, our lives.  One need consider only those EPA regulators who have banned inhalers for Asthma drugs.  Some people will die because they will have been unable to afford the new inhalers, but the regulators are unelected, and frequently unaccountable, and they create new rules by which we are governed without respect to how those rules may harm us.  President sign executive order implementing what are essentially de facto law, with the stroke of a pen.  Somewhere along the course of the last two-hundred years, we have lost contact with the stern warnings the anti-federalists about the arrogation of power and the aggrandizement of the presidency, never mind the general growth of a permanent political class that no longer much cares for the will of the people, or even the constitution to which they’ve sworn to uphold.  These are also questions we must ask the GOP candidates for nomination, because we will soon lose our country if we don’t reduce the reach and scope of the U.S. Federal Government and its powers.  It’s time to tear down this leviathan, before it kills all of us.