Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
Glenn Reynolds’ latest USA Today column is delightful reading, starting with the opening paragraphs:
There are two Americas, all right. There’s one that works, where new and creative things happen, where mistakes are corrected, and where excellence is rewarded. Then there’s Washington, where everything is pretty much the opposite. That has been particularly evident over the past week or so. One America can launch rockets. The other America can’t even launch a website.
In Washington, it’s been stalemate, impasse, and theater the kind of place where a government shutdown leads park rangers to complain, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” Well, yes. The politics don’t work, the websites don’t work, even for the people who manage to log on, and the government shutdown informs us that most of government is “non-essential.” Instead of correcting mistakes or rewarding excellence, it’s mostly finger-pointing, blame-shifting, and excuse-making.
Simply put, DC is where incompetence and cruelty (see shutting down the World War II Memorial) aren’t criticized. The heartland is where wealth and jobs are created without a sneering politician criticizing companies for making too much money.
President Obama has taken political nastiness and incompetence to unprecedented levels. His economic policies are a total disaster because they’re contrary to the rules of time-tested rules of capitalism. Three part-time jobs are created for every full-time job that’s created. Still, the administration insists that we’re on the right path.
Americans know better.
Russia laughs at us. Syria blows us off. Al-Qa’ida in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt attack our embassies and consulates with little fear of reprisal.
In short, we’re the global joke.
Politicians don’t care about that; like two-year-olds in an ice cream parlor, all they want is more. But the rest of us should think long and hard about how many resources we should allow politicians to control, given their track record lately. Because Washington is clearly a world that doesn’t work.
Ronald Reagan spoke to this way back in the 1980s. Here’s what he said:
Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
Lois Lerner violated TEA Party activists’ First Amendment rights. Instead of getting prosecuted, she got a cushy retirement pension. Hillary Clinton ignored Christopher Stevens’ repeated requests for more security forces. As a result, 4 American patriots needlessly died. Now she’s gearing up for another run at the White House.
Where’s the Democrats’ outrage over these disgusting incidents? Lois Lerner didn’t hesitate in using the full force of the US government on people simply wanting to exercise their First Amendment rights. Hillary was nowhere to be found prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2012. Christopher Stevens repeatedly told the State Department hierarchy that terrorists were pouring into Benghazi and that the compound wasn’t safe. Please beef up security, he urged.
Instead of listening to him, Hillary chose to proceed as if Benghazi was as safe as downtown St. Cloud on a Wednesday afternoon. During the 2008 campaign, Hillary ran an ad questioning Barack Obama’s qualifications if a call came in from overseas at 3 am. Clearly, 4 years into his administration, he wasn’t prepared to deal with a crisis. Apparently, Hillary wasn’t prepared for that type of crisis either.
Technorati: President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lois Lerner, International Crisis, IRS, First Amendment, Government Shutdown, Christopher Stevens, Benghazi, Libya, Terrorist Attack, Accountability, Democrats
This morning, it was announced that the US and Russia had reached an agreement on eliminating Syria’s WMD stockpile. According to this post, Syria’s WMD stockpile must be eliminated by the middle of 2014:
GENEVA — The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.
An immediate test of the viability of the accord will come within a week when the Syrian government is to provide a “comprehensive listing” of its chemical stockpile.
Anyone that thinks Russia will operate in good faith to eliminate Syria’s WMDs is delusional or simply lying to the American people. The chances that the Russians will live up to their agreement are about the same as President Obama living up to enforcing every provision in the PPACA or meeting its implementation deadlines.
It’s getting tiresome watching this administration getting treated like prison bitches by other nations. Kerry’s flippant remark in London opened the door for the Russians. The minute he said that, Putin and Lavrov jumped at the opportunity to use Kerry’s statement to keep Assad in power.
At the time Libya offered to get rid of its WMDs, they weren’t at war. It’s taken 8 years to get Libya’s WMD stockpiles under control. They’re still finding stockpiles of it.
By comparison, Syria is in the midst of a bloody civil war. Further, they’re doing everything to shift their WMDs to new locations. Finally, they’re insisting that the US take military strikes off the table before letting the weapon inspectors into their country.
The odds that Syria’s WMDs will be gone by July, 2014 are about as high as me getting hit with lightning while holding 2 winning lottery tickets. It’s a fiction, just like the community of nations, the Easter Bunny and unicorns are fiction.
UPDATE: Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham aren’t conservatives’ favorite senators but they’re right this time:
“Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein’s playbook,” the Republican senators said in a statement. “It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
That’s been conservatives’ opinion since Secretary Kerry stumbled into this terrible deal last Monday.
If this article is right, President Obama is staring at an historic defeat in the House of Representatives:
If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big.
That’s the private assessment of House Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides who are closely involved in the process.
If the Senate passes a use-of-force resolution next week, which is no sure thing, the current dynamics suggest that the House would defeat it. That would represent a dramatic failure for Obama, and once again prove that his sway over Congress is extraordinarily limited. The loss would have serious reverberations throughout the next three months, when Obama faces off against Congress in a series of high-stakes fiscal battles.
That’s the least terrible information in the article. This is a political nightmare for President Obama:
But Democrats privately say that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) can only round up between 115 and 130 “yes” votes.
That comes out to President Obama getting 150-175 votes for a limited missile strike on Syria. What’s more is that it would fail because a solid bipartisan group of congressmen and women voted against the resolution.
That’s a political nightmare for this administration.
First, it would virtually confer lame duck status on President Obama before the 2014 midterm elections. Second, it would deny President Obama the credibility he’d need to blame the defeat on recalcitrant Republicans. He’ll still accuse Republicans of obstructionism but it won’t convince anyone who isn’t already in the tank for President Obama.
One person who’s apparently still suffering from Kissing Obama’s Ass-itis is a NYTimes blogger named Timothy Egan. This post is a portrait in either Mr. Egan’s gullibility or his dishonesty. Here’s how he’s attempting to shift blame away from President Obama:
Blame Bush? Of course, President Obama has to lead; it’s his superpower now, his armies to move, his stage. But the prior president gave every world leader, every member of Congress a reason to keep the dogs of war on a leash. The isolationists in the Republican Party are a direct result of the Bush foreign policy. A war-weary public that can turn an eye from children being gassed or express doubt that it happened is another poisoned fruit of the Bush years. And for the nearly 200 members of both houses of Congress who voted on the Iraq war in 2002 and are still in office and facing a vote this month, Bush shadows them like Scrooge’s ghost.
What this idiot is arguing, feebly arguing I would add, is that Congress would vote overwhelmingly to authorize an unserious missile strike in Syria if President Bush hadn’t soured us on war by invading Iraq. That’s BS.
If the Syria authorization vote were held today, it would lose badly because President Obama isn’t proposing doing anything serious about Syria’s dictator. Had President Obama acted 2 years ago, there would’ve been support in Congress. Thanks to President Obama’s dithering and his pacifistic nature, al-Qa’ida gained a foothold in Syria. Because of that X-factor, there aren’t any good options in Syria.
This difficult decision is brought on by President Obama’s unwillingness to lead, not President Bush’s wars.
In a stunning statement this morning, President Obama insisted that the Benghazi investigation is much ado about nothing:
“And suddenly three days ago this gets spun up as if there’s something new to the story,” Obama said in response to a question about Benghazi. “There’s no there there.”
The president continued, “Keep in mind, by the way, these so-called talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice, five, six days after the event occurred, pretty much matched the assessments that I was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing.”
There’s plenty that’s new here. Prior to Wednesday, I didn’t know that Hillary Clinton talked with Gregory Hicks while the Benghazi attacks were happening. Prior to Hicks’ testimony, I didn’t know that Hicks told Hillary that there was an attack going on.
In addition to new information from the testimony, there’s also tons of new questions to get answers to. First, who eliminated the FEST option? Next, why was the FEST option eliminated? Third, who gave the orders to Lt. Col. Gibson to not rescue Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods? Fourth, why was this order given? Fifth, why did the State Department’s objections to the CIA’s report take precedence over the truth? After all, the CIA got it right the first time. Sixth, why did Beth Jones send out an email calling the Benghazi attack a terrorist attack? Seventh, why was the truth the final casualty of the terrorists’ attack?
As for President Obama saying that the “talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice” “pretty much the assessments” he was receiving during his PDBs, that’s BS. It’s insulting. The CIA’s initial report talked about a terrorist attack, with members of Ansar al-Shariah participating in the attack. The CIA’s initial report also talked multiple warnings from the CIA of mounting terrorist threats to foreign interests in Benghazi. That was deleted from the State Department’s talking points. Make no mistake, either, about the talking points. What started as a CIA intelligence report was eventually turned into a State Department CYA talking points memo.
This morning, I wrote that Wednesday’s hearing on Benghazi will be explosive. This article assures us that President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice will be feeling the heat. Here’s some information that’s certain to increase the heat on the administration:
The account from Gregory Hicks is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized. Hicks gave private testimony to congressional investigators last month in advance of his upcoming appearance at a congressional hearing Wednesday.
According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
The Obama administration has insisted that there weren’t military assets that could’ve reached Benghazi. Gregory Hicks’ testimony contradicts the administration’s spin. Hicks’ testimony also demolishes the credibility of the ARB’s report on Benghazi. That report didn’t point the finger at anyone. Instead, it spoke of the systemic failures that happened that day.
If Hicks’ testimony is that Lt. Col. Gibson was prevented from putting together a rescue operation, then someone had to have given that order. We know that because a special operator told Fox News’ Adam Housley that special operators were prepared to respond quickly.
It’s impossible to predict with any certainty whether other networks will start covering this scandal. What’s totally predictable, though, is that Hicks’ testimony will put a big hit on the Obama administration’s credibility on Benghazi. It will also hurt the ARB’s report, which cited “systemic failures” for the poor response for Benghazi.
This wasn’t a systemic failure. This was about Hillary Clinton failing to do her job. It’s about Leon Panetta failing in his responsibility to have troops prepared for the anniversary of 9/11. It’s about President Obama ignoring the needs of the diplomats in Benghazi.
In short, it was a human failure.
Bill Kristol’s article misses the point of Rand Paul’s filibuster. First, here’s part of what Kristol wrote about Paul’s filibuster:
On the other hand, Paul’s political genius strikes us as very much of the short-term variety. Will it ultimately serve him well to be the spokesman for the Code Pink faction of the Republican party? How much staying power is there in a political stance that requires waxing semihysterical about the imminent threat of Obama-ordered drone strikes against Americans sitting in cafés? And as for the other Republican senators who rushed to the floor to cheer Paul on, won’t they soon be entertaining second thoughts? Is patting Rand Paul on the back for his fearmongering a plausible path to the presidency for Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz? Is embracing kookiness a winning strategy for the Republican party? We doubt it.
This totally misreads what Rand Paul did. Sen. Paul’s filibuster was about defending the Constitution, nothing more, nothing less. Had Eric Holder said that presidents don’t have the constitutional authority to use a drone-fired missile on a US citizen on US soil, the filibuster never would’ve happened. If Mr. Kristol thinks that that qualifies Sen. Paul for the “Code Pink faction of the Republican Party”, he’d better quickly rethink that opinion.
The rest of Kristol’s paragraph is based on his misreading of Sen. Paul’s filibuster. Actually, it isn’t implausible to think that playing to the TEA Party “faction of the Republican Party” is a smart tactic for winning in 2016. That’s what Sen. Paul’s filibuster was about. Finally, there’s someone willing to stand up for the Constitution. Finally, there’s a Republican who’s willing to cut spending.
The past 2 weeks have been horrific weeks for President Obama. He tried intimidating the Republicans into another tax increase. He tried peddling the notion that reducing the size of the increase by $44,000,000,000 would cause poor children to starve, airplanes to drop from the sky and meat inspections to end until further notice.
And that’s before he cancelled White House tours that he said were the result of sequestration’s draconian cuts. Sen. Coburn and Sen. Lee have done a masterful job of highlighting the billions of dollars of wasteful spending in this year’s budget. While they were challenging President Obama on sequestration, Sen. Paul was challenging the Obama administration on the commander-in-chief’s authorities granted by the US Constitution.
As a result of these senators’ challenges, President Obama looks weaker than he did a month ago. His job approval ratine shows it, having dropped from 55% to 46%.
As for Sens. Cruz, Lee, Rubio, Toomey, Paul and Johnson, I’d argue that they’re part of the ‘picking smart fights faction of the GOP’. That’s the wing of the GOP that I’ll enthusiastically associate with.
Tags: Drone Strikes, President Obama, Eric Holder, Code Pink, Democrats, US Constitution, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey, Sequester This, Not That, TEA Party, GOP, Election 2016
In less than a week, the federal government will start cutting defense spending across the board rather than setting intelligent priorities.
Sequestration is the Obama administration’s faux solution to the Obama administration’s reckless spending. Cutting the Pentagon’s budget is a major part of sequestration. Senate Democrats have helped paint the administration into this corner.
On top of the $500 billion Defense Department that’s already been cut, sequestration would cut another $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget. The F-35 program offers the perfect illustration of the foolishness of sequestration. Under sequestration, the Defense Department budget would be automatically cut across the board by 10% every year for 10 years. That’s on top of the $487 billion that’s already been cut from the Defense Department budget.
If the full sequestration were to take effect, “we’re going to have to look completely at the [F-35] programme,” US Air Force chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh told the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 12. “It’s going to be impossible to modernize.” Under sequestration, it’s likely that our young pilots will fly fighters older than they are while our potential enemies continued to build their 5th generation capabilities.
The bottom line is simple. Sequestration will hurt the military. If sequestration is implemented, the US Air Force will be more vulnerable than it should be.
Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar have been invisible in this fight. Similarly, the US Senate has been completely absent in the budget debate. Real people are about to get hurt by these indiscriminate cuts. True American patriots will needlessly be put in harms way if these are fully implemented.
Cutting the F-35 program would cost Minnesota high paying jobs at a time when creating high paying jobs should be Sen. Franken’s and Sen. Klobuchar’s highest priority. Minnesota suppliers would be directly affected. Suppliers aren’t the only Minnesota companies that would be affected, either.
It’s important that people remember that these cuts come on top of other cuts to the military. Those cuts affect both jobs and the military’s ability to protect our nation.
It’s time for Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar to fight for Minnesota jobs. It’s time for Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar to demand the Senate do its job and put together budget cuts that don’t kill Minnesota jobs or weaken military readiness. It’s time that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar actually made decisions based on doing what’s right for America.
Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison haven’t been accused recently of being national security hawks. After reading this statement, I’m pretty certain they’ll never be considered serious about national security:
Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the “Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act,” which would create a high level Special Envoy to Iran. The act pushes diplomacy as a vital route to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy to pursue direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the Government of Iran in order to prevent war, and support human rights.
“The darkening clouds surrounding Iran’s nuclear program are troubling. We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. To do that, we must lift the ‘no contact policy and begin negotiations,” Congresswoman Lee said.
The bill calls for eliminating the State Department’s ‘no contact’ policy that prevents State Department officers and employees from making any direct contact with Iranian counterparts. The bill outlines measures to pursue opportunities to build mutual trust and to foster sustained negotiations in good faith with Iran.
Original cosponsors include Representatives Earl Blumenauer, John Conyers, John Dingell, Keith Ellison, Rush Holt, Hank Johnson, James McGovern, Jim Moran, Betty McCollum, and Bobby Rush.
That’s quite a list of doves. Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against going to war with Afghanistan after 9/11. (It takes divine intervention to get to the left of Dennis Kucinich on national security.)
Hank Johnson is famous for saying that he thought Guam would capsize if troops then stationed in Iraq were redeployed to Guam:
Rather than focus on the goofy people that signed onto this legislation as co-sponsors, though, it’s important to notice that the policy that’s being espoused sends a terrible signal of weakness to the terrorists. What’s more is this policy is most likely to embolden terrorists. If the terrorists think that they can threaten the West, why wouldn’t they think that they can get away with much more than threats?
Follow this link for more on this topic.
According to Secretary Panetta’s testimony, President Obama didn’t bother to provide leadership while 4 American patriots died in Benghazi:
The Weekly Standard’s article shows how little President Obama cared about those American patriots:
Panetta said, though he did meet with Obama at a 5 o’clock prescheduled gathering, the president left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under siege, “up to us.”
In fact, Panetta says that the night of 9/11, he did not communicate with a single person at the White House. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Obama did not call or communicate in anyway with the defense secretary that night. There were no calls about what was going on in Benghazi. He never called to check-in.
President Obama is a pathetic imitation of a real commander-in-chief. When he greeted the flag-draped coffins, he pretended to care. When the firefight was happening, he was too busy finalizing things for his Las Vegas fundraiser to care about those diplomats.
While President Obama deserves tons of criticism for not providing leadership, Secretary Panetta and Secretary Clinton deserve tons of criticism for not having lifted a finger to save Christopher Stevens. Panetta didn’t beef up the military presence in the region. Clinton didn’t respond to Christopher Stevens’ repeated requests to beef up the consulate’s security.
The only thing more disgusting than Clinton’s and Panetta’s indifference to the Benghazi crisis is that President Obama didn’t check with Panetta or Clinton for updates.
This truth is inescapable: Obama, Clinton and Panetta were there for the photo ops but they weren’t there to prevent the horrific deaths of 4 American patriots.
The most explosive, hotly-contested part of yesterday’s Benghazi cover-up hearing came when Hillary lost it. When Sen. Ron Johnson questioned her on why the State Department didn’t investigate what happened in Benghazi, Hillary asked why it mattered. Today, Sen. Johnson’s op-ed in USA Today explains why this collossal failure shouldn’t have happened. This part cuts to the heart of why it matters:
When I questioned her about the misinformation disseminated for days by the administration, most notably by Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice on Sunday news programs five days after the attack, she asked, “What difference does it make?”
If you don’t expeditiously debrief the people who witnessed the attack, how can you understand who initiated it, what weapons they used and who may have been involved? How do you initiate a proper response if you don’t know what transpired? How do you move properly to protect other American assets and people in the region? How do you know what failures occurred, so that you can immediately correct them, if you have not debriefed the very victims of those failures? And lastly, how do you tell the truth to the American people if you don’t know the facts?
Our diplomatic forces in Benghazi were denied the security they repeatedly requested for many months before Sept. 11, 2012. Secretary Clinton stated that she was not told of those desperate requests in the most dangerous region in the world. As a result, our people in Benghazi were ill-prepared to repel or avoid that attack, and four Americans were murdered. For many days after the event, the American people were also misinformed as to the nature and perpetrators of that attack.
Hillary’s faux outrage about being questioned about her failure wasn’t convincing. She helped cover up the murder of 4 American patriots who deserved better from the nation they loved.
Yesterday’s hearings weren’t about learning lessons so we don’t repeat them. It should’ve been about exposing this administration’s lies about what happened in Benghazi. It should’ve been about highlighting for the American people the fact that this administration was more worried about maintaining their political viability than about doing the right thing.
Sen. Johnson’s crossexamination of Hillary went a long ways towards that goal. Sen. Johnson’s op-ed takes it a few steps further.
Thank God for patriots like Sen. Johnson.