Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
It isn’t surprising that Donald Trump is an unhinged anti-war liberal with a passion for conspiracy theories. That’s been obvious for months. Saturday night, however, Trump the 9/11 Truther, made his first appearance on a debate stage. As a result of what Mr. Trump said, Medea Benjamin praised Mr. Trump, saying “It felt surreal to hear Donald Trump, the leading Republican contender for President, saying what we at CODEPINK have been shouting to the winds for 14 years now: that Bush and his cronies lied about WMDs, that the Iraq war was catastrophic, and that Bush never ‘kept us safe’ because 9/11 happened on his watch.”
This is a time for choosing for the so-called Republicans who support Trump. These Republicans can’t pretend that they’re patriots. They can’t pretend that they care about protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. They can’t tell us that they support Mr. Trump because they hate political correctness. They can’t even hide behind the fallacy that they support Mr. Trump because “he gets things done.”
The indisputable truth is that the thing bigger than Mr. Trump’s ego is the paranoia that fuels his truther beliefs. Here’s something Mr. Trump said that isn’t getting talked about enough:
TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center — the World — excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.
RUBIO: The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him. (APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And George Bush– by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.
Mr. Trump couldn’t know that President Bush got information from the CIA on bin Laden, much less know whether President Bush refused to act on that intelligence. We know that it’s impossible for Mr. Trump to know this because that’s the type of intelligence that would get an SAP classification. We know that because of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump’s supporters need to ask themselves whether they’re supporting him because they thought he was a patriot who would change this nation’s direction or did they support Mr. Trump because they thought he was a liberal anti-war activist that’s praised by far left organizations like Code Pink? Five minutes into this video, Carl Higbie, a former Navy Seal, insists that ISIS will be gone within 2 years:
HIGBIE: I think we see ISIS gone within 2 years. We put 250,000 boots on the ground. I know people that that’s not a popular comment but we do what’s necessary. We set the threshold. We say ‘if you do this, we’ll do this’. You follow through.
Apparently, Mr. Higbie isn’t well-informed. All he has to do is watch this video to be better informed:
Mr. Higbie can forget about a Trump administration that will put 250,000 boots on the ground to defeat ISIS. Trump has repeatedly said that he’d farm US national security out to Putin. Trump said repeatedly that he wants Putin to take out ISIS. Though you can’t trust anything Mr. Trump says from one day to the next, there’s no question that he’s repeatedly said that he wants Putin to do our dirty work with regards to ISIS.
Anyone that supports a presidential candidate that sounds like an anti-war CODE PINK activist one minute, then says he’d get Vladimir Putin to take out ISIS isn’t thinking straight.
On a night when Sen. Rubio exceeded expectations, Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished with 2.8% of the vote in Iowa, sounded totally unlike his dad and his brother. Gov. Bush sounded like a total sourpuss, saying “Speaking of Rubio and Cruz Monday night, Bush said they don’t have the experience to win. And the two other candidates that are likely to emerge in Iowa are two people that are backbenchers that have never done anything of consequence in their life. They’re gifted beyond belief. They can give a great speech. But I think it’s time for us to recognize that maybe what we need is someone who can lead.”
Bush’s supporting super PACs spent almost $25,000,000 attacking Sen. Rubio in the hopes of building Bush up. Rubio far exceeded expectations, finishing with 23.1% of the vote in Iowa. Meanwhile, the guy who thinks we need “someone who can lead” finished a mere 20.3% behind the guy who Jeb thought should wait his turn. That doesn’t sound like a guy who entered the race saying that he wanted to run a joyous race. That sounds like a bitter man who didn’t see this impending defeat coming.
What’s particularly insulting is Jeb’s suggestion that Sen. Rubio is incapable of leading people. Part of leadership is understanding what’s important to people, then offering a vision that inspires them to achieve their goals. If there’s anyone on the GOP side that can do that, it’s Sen. Rubio. Half the battle of leading is directing people to where they already wanted to go. People want to prosper. Sen. Rubio offers that. People want to feel safe from the advances of ISIS. Sen. Rubio certainly passes the commander-in-chief test.
People have tried crippling Sen. Rubio’s campaign by saying he’s an inexperienced first-term U.S. senator. It’s indisputable that he’s a first-term senator but that isn’t a strike against him. When Barack Obama started running for president, the truth is that he was just 2 years removed from being a state senator in Illinois. He spent the first 2 years playing politics and not taking policy seriously.
That isn’t what Sen. Rubio did. Sen. Rubio took his responsibilities seriously on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees. He learned national security issues until he could recite them backwards or frontwards.
The Bush dynasty should go into hibernation. The American people aren’t interested in dynasties.
This Federalist article raises questions about the legitimacy of Trump’s fundraiser. The Federalist is reporting that the website thrown together is really an extension of the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Specifically, they’re reporting that “100% of the money raised on the site goes directly to Donald Trump’s personal non-profit foundation.”
That’s a major problem for multiple reasons. First, Trump has been saying that “100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs.” Next and most importantly, the Federalist is reporting “Trump’s non-profit donated more money to the Clinton Foundation than it did to veterans causes.”
To be fair with Trump, I don’t think he’d shaft veterans. That being said, I think it’s entirely appropriate to question his statements. If he’s saying that “100% of the proceeds” are going to veterans, then he’d better live up to that promise. Getting 80% of the proceeds isn’t enough after making that promise. That means if there are administrative costs involved in getting veterans’ organizations the money, Trump should eat those costs. Period.
It would be different if he hadn’t made that statement. Then the regular rules of charities would apply. Trump upped the ante by making this statement. Now he’s obligated to fulfill that obligation.
Finally, the fact that he’s given lots of money to the Clinton Foundation is disturbing and telling. I know what he’s saying now. I know that it doesn’t match up with what he said earlier. That trust factor isn’t there like it is with other candidates. That’s the price you pay when you change positions rapidly.
Earlier today, I wrote this article for Examiner.com. The article centered on whether a detectable anti-Trump trend had started in Iowa. Based on what the reporters on the ground were seeing and the comments from likely caucusgoers, the answer is that there’s definitely an anti-Trump trend happening in Iowa.
Whether we’re talking about reporters covering the campaign for newspapers or magazine columnists appearing on TV or whether it’s voters themselves, people aren’t hesitating in saying they don’t like Mr. Trump’s temperament, calling him unreliable or worse. That isn’t the image candidates want to send during their closing arguments. Since Mr. Trump confirmed that he wouldn’t participate in Thursday’s Fox News/Google GOP debate, Mr. Trump has announced that he’s hosting a fundraiser for veterans and wounded warriors in Des Moines while the Fox News/Google debate is happening.
Trump clearly hopes to earn some good will by hosting an event for veterans. That plan might be backfiring. According to that article, one veterans organization is refusing money raised at the Trump rally. Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, or IAVA, tweeted “If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump’s event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.”
The advertising axiom is that there’s no such thing as bad PR. This time, that axiom isn’t playing out like they’d expect. The Trump campaign, specifically Corey Lewandowski, is setting expectations impossibly high:
“When Donald Trump goes to Des Moines and we start raising money for veterans and wounded warriors and we have multiples of millions of dollars raised for these people and the American people tune in because they want to support that and Fox goes back and say they should have had 24 million watching their debate and instead they got 1 million, it’s a disservice to the American people,” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said today on “Good Morning America.”
Lewandowski also claimed this morning on MSNBC that other campaigns have “asked us proactively” to participate in the event and that “it’s very possible” that other candidates could skip the debate as well.
Mr. Lewandowski isn’t too bright. Setting expectations high like he’s just done is political suicide, especially when you consider the fact that Wounded Warrior Project doesn’t have the greatest reputation:
About 40 percent of the organization’s donations in 2014 were spent on its overhead, or about $124 million, according to the charity-rating group Charity Navigator. While that percentage, which includes administrative expenses and marketing costs, is not as much as for some groups, it is far more than for many veterans charities, including the Semper Fi Fund, a wounded-veterans group that spent about 8 percent of donations on overhead. As a result, some philanthropic watchdog groups have criticized the Wounded Warrior Project for spending too heavily on itself.
I suspect that Iowa voters will nod approvingly at supporting veterans and then getting mad that Trump didn’t attend the Fox News/Google debate. It’s inevitable that Trump will whine about how Fox didn’t treat him fairly but that won’t explain a rapid decline if that happens.
One of the things I like about Greg Gutfeld is that he thinks things through. That isn’t to say that he’s a policy wonk. It just means he thinks about things through the lens of a citizen. He doesn’t think like a politician. Best of all, he doesn’t think like a Democratic politician. The monologue he delivered to open Saturday night’s show is an example of him not accepting the left’s conventional wisdom, aka CW.
Gutfeld opened his show saying “Radical Islam is like your constantly drunk and abusive neighbor. They’re always up to something. They soil your lawn. They try to mount your dog. And the threats — it’s like being stalked by a 7th century heckler. It’s time to reverse this abusive relationship. Counter radical Islamism with radical Americanism. Our scary reply to these rejects. First, let’s end the myth of the ISIS warrior. We see evidence of their cruelty but never of their prowess. They hit soft targets –the unarmed and scared –then they film it to soften up their next prey. These are not brave fighters, just bullies with machetes. What if they were truly challenged by the world’s greatest warriors? And before you say that that’s what ISIS wants, realize that that’s just an excuse for inertia and putting off the inevitable. Does that make me a warmonger? Sure. But it also makes me a global survival monger, too. And to be clear, our military is fine with this. It’s their life’s work to eliminate evil. You don’t feel guilty about the postman delivering your mail, then don’t feel bad about a Marine delivering death.”
Here’s the video of Gutfeld’s opening monologue:
After that monologue, the show shifted to the opening panel, which included Terry Schappert, a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces. Schappert said that ISIS aren’t great fighters when pitted against fierce warriors, noting that the only armed forces they face were Iraqi soldiers who’d been abandoned by the Obama administration. Schappert then said that ISIS wouldn’t be much of a fight if they faced “the violence that we’d like to visit upon them.”
Schappert made 3 other important points. The first point he made was that ISIS would eventually return after getting humiliated. The next point he made was that ISIS would return with fewer members each time they returned. Finally, Schappert said that “Gitmo isn’t ISIS’s biggest recruiting tool. Winning is ISIS’s biggest recruiting tool.”
There’s no doubt that ISIS is capable of killing people. They shouldn’t be taken lightly like the Obama administration has taken them. Still, they aren’t the battle-tested supermen that the media has made them out to be. I wrote this article to highlight how overrated some of these Middle Eastern warriors have been.
Just like it’s easier to stay in shape than it is to get into shape, it’s easier to keep terrorists down than it is to put down an insurgency after starting fresh.
If people want to read a good fictional novella, I’d recommend that they read Rand Paul’s op-ed. What Sen. Paul’s op-ed misses in serious policies, it makes up for with sensationalism and old-fashioned BS.
Early in the article, Sen. Paul reveals his goal by talking about Hillary Clinton’s and Marco Rubio’s “liberation foreign policy.” After that, Sen. Paul’s op-ed reads like a letter from an angry child upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s good reason for that. Sen. Paul’s upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s a reason for that. He’s sounding more and more like a not-quite-as-crazy-as-his-dad-noninterventionist.
First, Sen. Paul’s accusations are without merit. He’s basing his statements on a myth. Early in the op-ed, he said “When I forced the Foreign Relations Committee to debate an authorization of military force against ISIS, Senator Rubio and McCain insisted that the new authorization be unlimited temporally or geographically. Basically, they want a war without end against an undefined enemy in an unspecified region of the world.”
I don’t recall Congress putting a time limit on FDR after Pearl Harbor. I don’t recall Congress giving FDR permission to declare war on Japan but not on Germany and Italy. War is, by its chaotic nature, open-ended time-wise. I’d be worried if Sen. Rubio and Sen. McCain agreed to give President Obama an AUMF that had an expiration date. That’s the definition of insanity.
This sounds like a petulant child:
Senator Rubio wrote the President at the time that he saw “no legal reason preventing” him from using his “commander-in-chief” powers to attack ISIS. His letter makes no mention of the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authority.
There’s a reason for that. The AUMF that the House and Senate passed gave the president, then George W. Bush, the authority to go after terrorists “with global reach.” ISIS definitely fits that definition.
As we enter into the season of determining the next Commander in Chief, I hope voters will seek out a leader who will learn from history and not pursue a reckless policy that seeks to liberate the world but in reality traps us under a mountain of debt and beguiles us into perpetual war.
I hope that voters will learn from recent history that the terrorists haven’t quit fighting a war against us. Sen. Paul apparently hasn’t figured it out that we don’t quit fighting a war if the terrorists haven’t quit waging war against the United States. That’s the definition of national suicide.
Sen. Paul isn’t concerned with preventing terrorist attacks. The thing that he’s most worried about is “mountains of debt.” It’s time he figured out how to fight the terrorists while reducing the debt.
When it comes to military insightfulness, it’s difficult to pick whether Donald Trump is more devoid of military expertise or whether President Obama is more certain that he’s right when he’s wrong. I wrote this article to highlight the stunning lack of important information that Mr. Trump has. Mr. Trump’s ego easily outdistances his expertise on ISIS. His bombast easily outdistances his honesty.
When it comes to military expertise, Trump’s “I’ll bomb the shit out of them” falls exceptionally short of reassuring a nation that wants its commander-in-chief to actually know what he’s talking about. When it comes to honesty, Trump’s nonexistent group of military advisers leads to the question of whether he’s capable of putting together a cabinet of topnotch national security experts. ISIS and national appear to be an afterthought for Mr. Trump more than a point of emphasis.
As for President Obama, Peggy Noonan’s WSJ column captured things beautifully when she wrote “No commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces can be wholly irrelevant, but to the extent one can be, Mr. Obama is. He has misjudged ISIS from the beginning—they were not, actually, the junior varsity—to the end. He claimed last week, to George Stephanopoulos, that ISIS has been “contained.” “I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” he said just before Paris blew.”
In President Obama’s world, ISIS is either the JV team or they’re contained. In President Obama’s 2012 world, al-Qa’ida was on the ropes and bin Laden was dead. At least then, bin Laden really was dead. Charles Krauthammer’s column is a literary scalpel to the myth that President Obama is a trusted commander-in-chief:
Obama defended his policy by listing its multifaceted elements. Such as, “I hosted at the United Nations an entire discussion of counterterrorism strategies and curbing the flow of foreign fighters.” An “entire” discussion, mind you. Not a partial one. They tremble in Raqqa. And “We have mobilized 65 countries to go after ISIL.” Yes, and what would we do without Luxembourg?
Mr. Trump and President Obama are thin-skinned narcissists. They think that they know more than what they actually know. President Obama is, by far, the worst president in my lifetime. He’s worse than Jimmy Carter, something I thought impossible until the start of President Obama’s first term.
Mr. Trump thinks he knows things about military strategy but he doesn’t. During his “I’ll bomb the shit out of them” speech in Fort Dodge, IA, he said that he’d blow up the oil pipelines and refineries in northern Iraq. That’s bombast masquerading as military expertise. Northeastern Iraq is controlled by the Kurds. They’ve been US allies since 1991. Why would Trump destroy oil fields, pipelines and refineries run by our allies?
It’s time for voters to replace the fool in the White House with someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. For all of the Trumpians’ talk about him not taking anyone’s guff, there’s scarcely a mention that he knows what he’s talking about.
God help us all.
When President Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that ISIS was contained hours before ISIS’ sophisticated terrorist attacks in Paris, it was done in response to people’s concerns that President Obama’s strategy wasn’t working. What it revealed, however, is how dishonest the administration is.
When Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Rhodes said “What we’ve been able to do is stop that advance and reclaim territory, going on offense with our partners on the ground, most recently retaking the strategic town of Sindjar, which cuts off the supply line between Raqqa, Syria and Mosul in Iraq.”
Let’s be clear about this. While the US military has performed valiantly, this administration has tied their hands with counterproductive restrictive rules of engagement. Further, it’s dishonest to hear Deputy Rhodes distract attention away from the important consideration of whether ISIS terrorists have the capability of conducting sophisticated terrorist attacks anywhere in the world. It’s nice to hear that ISIS is contained geographically. It’s important that we know that ISIS can’t inflict mass casualty terrorist attacks in Paris or Washington, DC.
Finally, the truth is that President Obama hasn’t contained ISIS geographically. ISIS has temporarily chosen not to expand geographically, devoting more of its resources to killing western infidels than on expanding its geographic footprint.
That isn’t a soothing final thought.
Last night, Glenn Beck was on Megyn Kelly’s show. Beck said that Republicans should listen to Bernie Sanders in one respect. Beck paraphrased Sanders as saying “the way that Washington is functioning is immoral.” Later, he revisited that part of Bernie’s riff, saying that Sanders added “and everybody knows it.”
First, it’s important to note that Beck said to “take away everything of what his solutions are because his solutions just don’t work.” What’s important for Republicans to note, however, is the outrage at how Washington is corrupt.
This week, the Justice Department announced that they wouldn’t prosecute Lois Lerner, the corrupt IRS agent who tried to prevent American citizens from exercising their rights to participate in the political process.
Last Friday, Hillary Clinton said that the VA scandal wasn’t as widespread as Republicans would have you believe. Then she said that Republicans were criticizing the VA in their attempt to privatize VA hospitals.
Here’s what Beck said:
These fit perfectly with what Mr. Beck said:
The IRS is immoral and everyone knows it. Lois Lerner wasn’t prosecuted because the Justice Department is immoral and corrupt and everyone knows it. The way that the VA mistreats veterans is immoral and everyone knows it. When Democrats defend Planned Parenthood’s practice of infanticide for profit, it’s immoral and everyone knows it.
Hillary Clinton’s State Department didn’t supply additional security to Libya, which got Ambassador Christopher Stevens murdered by terrorists. That was immoral and everyone knows it. Telling the American people that Christopher Stevens died as a result of an anti-Islam video but telling the Libyan president and the Egyptian prime minister that it was a terrorist attack is immoral and everyone knows it.
Most importantly, Hillary saying that 300,000 veterans died without getting medical treatment is the Republicans fault is highly immoral and everyone knows it.
I won’t pretend that there’s no corruption within the Republican Party. I also won’t pretend that the Democratic Party gives a damn about morality. The Democratic Party is corrupt to the core and everyone knows it.
Hillary Clinton has started using the gender card so often that I wonder if she thinks that the only qualification she needs to be the next president is being a female. The truth is that the biggest thing Mrs. Clinton is missing is a heart. This past weekend, Mrs. Clinton agreed to a softball interview with Rachel Maddow. Let’s just say that Mrs. Clinton managed to piss off an entire group of people. This time, she shot her mouth off about the VA hospital system. According to S.E. Cupp’s article, things got ugly pretty quick.
It started when Ms. Maddow asked about the VA scandal. That’s when Mrs. Clinton said “You know, I don’t understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans and, overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment.” Unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton, she was just getting started. Next, she said “Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from Republicans in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have.”
That’s breathtakingly dishonest. It isn’t surprising that Hillary blamed the VA scandal on Republicans. That’s a reflex with her. What’s disappointing is that she deflected blame away from the corrupt administrators who gave themselves bonuses while veterans died while waiting to get treatment. No amount of money would’ve fixed that. In fact, more money might’ve made the problem worse.
Ms. Cupp then asks a pair of important questions:
When did it become politically permissible to either ignore or accept the systematic negligence of our servicemen and women? And then blame the other political party for pointing it out?
Hillary Clinton doesn’t care about people outside her inner circle of friends. Think about this:
- Will Hillary fight for a single mother’s right to defend her family in the crime-infested neighborhoods of her hometown of Chicago?
- Will Hillary fight for veterans to get timely medical treatments from some of the nastiest medical conditions?
- Will Hillary fight for unemployed construction workers who want to build the Keystone XL Pipeline?
We know the answer to those questions. The answer isn’t no. It’s hell no.
This is a presidential campaign. I know that the candidates will play hardball. That’s fine. Presidential politics is a contact sport. What’s beyond the pale, though, is saying that 300,000 veterans dying without getting treatment is the fault of partisan politics.
That’s as disgusting as Hillary saying that she takes “full responsibility” for Benghazi in one sentence, then insisting that she neither approved or rejected any of Christopher Stevens’ requests for additional security.