Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel resigned this morning:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will resign on Monday after just under two years on the job. According to a report by Helene Cooper at The New York Times, President Obama has decided to replace Hagel after coming to the conclusion over the last several weeks that the current Defense chief was not the right person to lead the fight against ISIS.
According to the article, there was an ongoing fight between Hagel and some of President Obama’s staff:
Others reportedly questioned his overall leadership of the department, saying he “struggled to inspire confidence” and “had problems articulating his thoughts, or administration policy, in an effective manner.” Sources close to Hagel, however, blame those articulation problems on the White House’s heavy-handed message control. They also told Bloomberg News that the relationship with the White House had soured so much that Hagel no longer spoke in meetings because “White House aides with less experience in military affairs than the wounded Vietnam War veteran often ignored what he said.”
Imagine that. This administration took a dim view of senior administration officials speaking without reciting the administration’s talking points. Who could’ve seen that?
That’s what happens when the administration doesn’t trust its senior officials. That’s what happens when the top figure in the administration, President Obama, is a paranoid, narcissistic control freak. That being said, Hagel was a terrible defense secretary. His first day of testimony at his confirmation hearings were the worst performance I’ve ever seen in a confirmation hearing. Here’s what got Hagel in trouble at his confirmation hearing:
It was the troop surge in Iraq that became a flashpoint between McCain and Hagel during Thursday’s hearing. McCain repeatedly tried to get Hagel to answer whether he was “right or wrong” when he once called the troop surge a “dangerous foreign policy blunder.”
“I’m not going to give you a yes or no; I think it’s far more complicated than that…I’ll defer that judgment to history,” Hagel said, adding that he was referring to both the overall Iraq war, as well as the surge, in that comment
McCain fired back: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you’re on the wrong side of it.”
Hagel shouldn’t have been confirmed. It’s only fair that his time at the Pentagon is brief.
Sen. Klobuchar’s op-ed in the St. Cloud Times would be easier to take seriously if she wasn’t MIA on other issues surrounding the military.
With grateful hearts, Minnesotans this month gathered on Veterans Day to honor the brave Americans who have served in uniform to protect our freedom. This day should be about more than just saluting our veterans. It also serves as an opportunity to renew our commitment to serve those who have served us.
After all, that is our responsibility, to do right by those who have stood tall on the front lines so that we can live free. This is especially true for soldiers returning from battle permanently injured and suffering life-altering disabilities.
It’s a bit hollow sounding, not because wounded vets don’t deserve the medical treatment, but because Sen. Klobuchar didn’t speak out when the military started sending out pink slips to officers still fighting in Afghanistan:
In a stunning display of callousness, the Defense Department has announced that thousands of soldiers, many serving as commanding officers in Afghanistan, will be notified in the coming weeks that their service to the country is no longer needed. Last week, more than 1,100 Army captains, the men and women who know best how to fight this enemy because they have experienced multiple deployments, were told they’ll be retired from the Army.
The overall news is not unexpected. The Army has ended its major operations in Iraq and is winding down in Afghanistan. Budget cuts are projected to shrink the Army from its current 520,000 troops to 440,000, the smallest size since before World War II. What is astonishing is that the Defense Department thought it would be appropriate to notify deployed soldiers, men and women risking their lives daily in combat zones, that they’ll be laid off after their current deployment.
Why was St. Amy of Hennepin County silent about this? Shouldn’t the Obama administration treat the men and women still risking their lives on the battlefield deserve better treatment than this?
As one Army wife posted on MilitaryFamily.org, “On some level I knew the drawdowns were inevitable, but I guess I never expected to be simultaneously worried about a deployment to Afghanistan and a pink slip because my husband’s service is no longer needed.”
The thing is that these troops are needed more than ever:
The nation should worry about the increased national-security risk of separating such a large pool of combat-experienced leaders. The separated soldiers are those who carry the deepest knowledge base of counterinsurgency operations. A senior Defense Department official warned: “If the force is smaller, there’s less margin for error. Let’s face it — things are pretty uncertain out there.”
Then again, that’s never worried Sen. Klobuchar. Since her first campaign in 2006, Sen. Klobuchar consistently talked about “ending the war responsibly.” Winning wasn’t important to her.
That’s why her op-ed rings hollow. This isn’t just about health care for wounded vets. It’s about giving them the resources they need to accomplish their mission. That mission is to defeat and destroy the terrorists before they attack again.
I’m hoping that Dan Severson will defeat Steve Simon next Tuesday and become Minnesota’s next Secretary of State. To help in that effort, Dan’s running this ad:
Here’s the transcript from the ad:
NICOLE PELZER: I’m Nicole Pelzer and I support Dan Severson for Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, his job would be to oversee elections, work with businesses and administer the Safe At Home program. As a Navy commander and Top Gun fighter pilot and former state legislator, Dan has the leadership, integrity and discipline to succeed in all that he does. He isn’t just a great candidate. I’m also proud to call him my dad.
DAN SEVERSON: I’m Dan Severson and I would be honored to have your vote on November 4th.
I’ve known Dan for almost a decade. I can verify that he’s a leader and man of integrity. This isn’t just about personal character, though Dan’s got that in abundance. It’s also that Dan’s a man of ideas. It’s also that his opponent is Mark Ritchie in a more expensive suit.
Dan’ proposing a pair of initiatives if he’s elected. The first initiative would make it easier for Minnesotans serving overseas in the military to vote. Ken Martin’s biggest criticism at the time was that Dan hadn’t introduced that legislation when he was a legislator. (Of course, the technology that’s used wasn’t reliable then as it is now but why let important points like that get in the way of a DFL hissy fit, right?)
The other initiative that Dan’s proposed is something that’s called Express Lane Voting. People that are already registered and who have a valid photo ID would be able to hop in the voting equivalent of an express lane at a grocery story. People using EDR, aka Election Day Registration, would use the other lane. Dan’s opponent already is throwing a hissy fit over that:
To me, and all I have to go on are his words, it’s a way to marginalize and ostracize and exclude people who don’t have the type of ID that he and others like him think they should have. I think this is a warmed over version of the Voter ID proposal that Minnesotans have rejected.
Minnesotans don’t need a politically correct Metrocrat from the perpetually offended wing of the DFL. They need a man with a lengthy leadership history. They need a man of integrity.
Minnesotans need Dan Severson as their next Secretary of State.
Under DFL domination, the percentage of active military personnel serving overseas has dropped from 15% to a pathetic 5%. Despite the DFL’s claims that their policies increase voter turnout, America’s patriots don’t seem to benefit from the DFL’s policies.
Less than 3 weeks from now, Minnesotans have the opportunity to rectify that by electing Dan Severson. Severson has a plan to make it easier for military personnel serving overseas to vote:
Dan Severson says delays in mailing ballots and lack of awareness has brought military voter participation to as low as 5%. Severson proposes creating a secure online voting network for soldiers. A similar system has been used in Arizona.
Steve Simon, Severson’s opponent for Secretary of State, has a less efficient plan:
Simon says military members benefit from the new, no-excuse absentee voting law he shepherded through the Legislature last session. He says Severson’s online voting proposal is worth exploring.
Simon isn’t accurate. No-excuse voting isn’t that big of a benefit because it still takes tons of time to get ballots from war zones back to Minnesota. The online system that Severson is proposing eliminates the mailing of ballots. Ballots wouldn’t have to be mailed to our service personnel. Our service personnel wouldn’t have to worry that the military’s post office would get the ballots back before the deadline, either.
Fill out the ballot. Hit enter.
That’s about as simple a procedure as you’ll find.
Steve Simon didn’t insist on making voting easier for our military, which indicates it isn’t a priority for him. That’s unacceptable. Severson’s commitment to service personnel guarantees that military turnout would be taken seriously. Our heroes deserve nothing less.
As long as we don’t hire the people who designed MNsure or HealthCare.gov, we should be fine.
True to his 1970s-style anti-war activist days, Rick Nolan is still a pacifist:
In a statement issued to KBJR, Rep. Rick Nolan said U.S. intervention in “thousands-year-old Middle East war” has cost the U.S. trillions in blood and treasury.
“The arms we supply to any one of these groups inevitably end up being used against us, because we have no friends in this conflict,” Rep. Nolan said. “Our involvement is bankrupting us and making us a target for retaliation, and it’s time to put an end to it. These monies are needed for deficit reduction and rebuilding America.”
That’s frightening. ISIL is definitely a threat to the United States. Similarly, there’s no question that Stewart Mills’ assessment is right:
“He (Rep. Nolan) is advocating for us not to have involvement in Iraq or in Syria,” Mills said in an interview in late September. “But the consequences of us not having involvement in there is that we create a vacuum. And that vacuum is filled up with bad people doing bad things and eventually that will wash up on our shores, probably sooner rather than later.”
That isn’t just Mills’ opinion. It’s an opinion he shares with Leon Panetta, President Obama’s former Defense Secretary:
By not pressing the Iraqi government to leave more U.S. troops in the country, he “created a vacuum in terms of the ability of that country to better protect itself, and it’s out of that vacuum that ISIS began to breed,” Panetta told USA Today, referring to the group also known as the Islamic State.
Being a pacifist in the 1970s helps inform Rick Nolan’s views on national security. We’re living in a totally different world, especially after 9/11. If Rick Nolan doesn’t want to fight terrorists before they reach America’s shores, then he isn’t qualified to be in Congress.
Nolan’s type of thinking is what helped create the conditions for 9/11 and for ISIL to take over much of Iraq and Syria. We can’t afford not to pay attention to ISIL. In fact, we can’t afford not to do everything we can to utterly demolish ISIL and other terrorist groups.
Whether Nolan will admit it, the truth is that ISIL and al-Qa’ida are at war with us. The only question left is whether we’ll wage war with them. If Stewart Mills is elected to Congress, he’ll vote to fight terrorists. If Nolan is re-elected, God forbid, he’ll vote for taking a pre-9/11 position.
Bruce Braley just made a major mistake during his debate with Joni Ernst:
Braley tried to be tough on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), saying he voted to authorize the airstrikes Obama ordered in Iraq and Syria.
The authorization to go to war is one of the toughest votes a congressman will ever cast. That’s why neither party whips the vote. Each congressman and each senator is left to make up their own minds. It’s a solemn event to the point that there’s very little in the way of conversations during the vote.
It’s difficult to think Braley didn’t notice that this wasn’t a vote to authorize military strikes. Politifact rated Braley’s statement during his debate with Joni Ernst as false:
On Sept. 17, less than two weeks before the debate, the House took two votes relevant to this question. The first was whether to attach an amendment, one related to the situation in the Middle East, to a broad spending bill. The House voted, 273-156, to attach the amendment to the bill.
The second was on passage of the bill itself, including the amendment. The bill passed, 319-108. In both cases, Braley voted in favor, along with a bipartisan majority. However, in the debate, Braley misstated what he was voting on.
Here’s the relevant text from the amendment that passed along with the rest of the spending bill:
“The Secretary of Defense is authorized, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals. … Nothing in this section shall be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.”
Perhaps Braley thought he had to embellish because Ernst is a war veteran. Perhaps, it’s because he thought that’s what people wanted to hear. Undoubtedly, it’s because he isn’t an honest person. Frankly, I think it’s at least partially because he isn’t that bright. Did he think candidates didn’t verify their opponents’ statements?
Braley’s put his foot in his mouth too many times to win. He isn’t a top tier candidate. That’s why he’s trailing in the RCP average of polls. In 2 polls, they were tied. In 2 other polls, including the latest Des Moines Register poll, Ernst had a 6-point lead. The PPP poll, which is definitely a Democrat-leaning poll, showed Ernst with a 2-point lead. If things don’t change quickly for Braley, he’ll definitely have an uphill fight heading into the stretch drive.
This article talks about Mark Udall’s latest campaign ads. Either Udall has found the special elixir to fix his failing campaign or he’s just desperate. Here’s one of Udall’s ads:
Here’s the intro into the ad:
“There’s a reason women and families are front and center in this campaign,” Udall says in the ad, in which he attempts to pivot to other issues of importance to women.
There’s a reason why “women and families are front and center” in Sen. Udall’s campaign but it isn’t the what he says it is:
“It’s not just about respecting every woman’s fundamental rights and freedoms. It’s that everyone deserves a fair shot at success…with affordable student loans, equal pay for women in the workforce and equal treatment when it comes to what men and women pay for their health care.”
Talk about a focus group-tested line. That’s the first time I’ve heard that people were worried that men and women weren’t getting “equal treatment” for what they “pay for their health care.” That’s what you call contrived.
The truth is that Sen. Udall doesn’t want to talk about how dysfunctional HealthCare.gov is or how expensive health insurance premiums are or how much premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are going up each year. Sen. Udall certainly doesn’t want to talk about how networks have gotten restricted.
I can’t imagine Sen. Udall wants to talk about the economy either, especially considering how a major manufacturing company left the state after Gov. Hickenlooper signed Colorado’s gun grab laws.
I can’t imagine Udall’s other ad playing that well in Colorado:
Here’s the transcript:
NARRATOR: A barbaric terrorist threat met by a respected national leader on national security, Colorado’s own Mark Udall. Intelligence Committee member, chair of the subcommittee on strategic forces. Determined to defeat ISIS with full support for airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. No wonder military leaders call him a champion of an effective, common sense approach to fighting terrorism. Mark Udall, Colorado’s senator.
Colorado has tons of retired Air Force personnel. It’s also home to the Air Force Academy. They know that you can’t defeat ISIS with just air power. This is what it sounds like when a dovish senator panders for military votes.
I don’t know if Sen. Udall is a “respected leader on national security” but I’m certain that he isn’t serious about defeating ISIS or he isn’t telling Coloradans that ISIS can’t be defeated without ground troops before the election.
That’s what it sounds like when you’re caught betwixt and between.
This article presents this year’s vulnerable Democrats as hawkish:
Democrat Kay Hagan didn’t mince words about the Iraq War during her 2008 Senate campaign against Republican Elizabeth Dole. “We need to get out of Iraq in a responsible way,” Hagan declared in May of that year. “We need to elect leaders who don’t invade countries without planning and stay there without an end.”
Hagan is striking a different chord these days. Locked in a tough reelection battle, the first-term senator boasts that she’s more strongly supportive of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants than her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, and says she’s been pressing the Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels since early last year.
“This is the time for us to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to confront the challenges that are facing our nation,” she said this month.
What’s interesting (noteworthy?) is that the terrorists haven’t changed their belief that the infidels must be killed or put into servitude. I’m confident that these doves haven’t changed their opinion of war, either. I’m certain that they’re acting hawkish now…to an extent.
Al Franken still doesn’t want boots on the ground, though he wants ISIL defeated. That’s what a focus grouped response sounds like. That isn’t a substantive answer. It’s a political answer aimed at getting him through this election. Without angry men with rifles, ground can’t be take and terrorists can’t be defeated.
We don’t need idiots in the Senate fulfilling faux advise and consent responsibilities. That’s what the Democrats are providing and it’s disgraceful. I’m betting that Sen. Hagan couldn’t have explained the definition of getting out of Iraq “in a responsible way” meant then. I’m positive that Sen. Franken can’t explain how to decapitate ISIL without putting boots on the ground. Sen. Franken is a policy lightweight and a political rubberstamp.
The only thing more frightening than getting lectured about national security by President Obama is the thought that Al Franken and Kay Hagan are giving President Obama advice on how to decapitate ISIL.
Brit Hume’s commentary of the Obama administration’s dismissing of ISIL’s threat ridicules the administration and their apologists:
Here’s the transcript of Brit Hume’s commentary:
BRIT HUME: An American Muslim convert with a Facebook page that could have been written by Osama bin Laden himself chops off the head of a former coworker. Workplace violence, says the FBI. American warplanes bomb a previously little known terror group called Khorasan. The raid is carried out under the president’s legal authority to attack on his own when there is an imminent threat. And who is this suddenly imminently threatening Khorasan? It turns out to be an al Qaeda cell populated by people who belong to what the administration likes to call core al Qaeda. You remember core al Qaeda? That’s a group Mr. Obama has claimed was decimated.
The president says America underestimated the threat from ISIS, formerly known as al Qaeda in Iraq. And who did the underestimating? Why it was National Intelligence Director Jim Clapper and his colleagues. Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes Clapper has acknowledged as much. Today, though, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest, as you heard, says the president was not trying to blame Clapper. How did we ever get that idea?
What is happening here is simple. President Obama badly misjudged the strength and resilience of America’s terrorist enemies and has adopted a foreign and military policy that has allowed them to regroup and resurge. Now we can see the chickens coming home to roost. The administration would like us to think we are seeing something else.
Here’s the transcript of his brief back-and-forth with Bret Baier:
BAIER: What do you make of this intelligence failure that the President talked about on 60 Minutes?
HUME: Well, let’s assume that there was a monstrous intelligence failure and all of the intelligence agencies failed, although they didn’t, to warn the President about ISIS. By February of this year, ISIS had captured Ramadi and Fallujah…
BAIER: Two big cities in Iraq…
HUME: Two big cities in Iraq that had formerly been the focus of our activities in the past, especially Fallujah. So you think it might’ve dawned on someone in the White House, especially the President, that, gee, this little terrorist group is turning out to be much more of an army than we’ve ever seen before, doing things that usually only armies can do, that is, capturing and holding territory, maybe we ought to worry about them.
It isn’t that the intelligence community got it wrong. It’s that the things they told President Obama didn’t fit into President Obama’s script that “core al-Qa’ida” had been decimated and that the war on terror was coming to an end. Apparently, ISIL didn’t get the script. Apparently, they’re interested in establishing a nation of terrorists that’s funded with revenues from black market oil and equipped with American military equipment.
If President Obama had taken terrorism seriously, he wouldn’t have pulled all US troops from Iraq. He would’ve kept enough boots on the ground to a) prevent ISIL from re-taking Fallujah and b) gather intelligence on terrorists.
This wasn’t the intelligence community’s failure. ISIL is the product of President Obama’s willful ideological blindness. His fierce opposition to war and his insistence that the world was working out just as he’d predicted led to this predictable failure.
The latest Des Moines Register (DMR) poll isn’t the type of news Bruce Braley and Harry Reid were looking for:
The ground under Bruce Braley has shifted. The Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is 6 points behind his GOP rival, Joni Ernst, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll of likely voters. Ernst leads 44 percent to 38 percent in a race that has for months been considered deadlocked. She leads nearly 4-1 with rural voters, and is up double digits with independents.
“Very interesting, and good news not just for Ernst but also for the GOP’s chances of taking the U.S. Senate,” said national political prognosticator Larry Sabato of “Sabato’s Crystal Ball.”
That’s the type of news that’ll give Joni Ernst an extra lift in her step. The horserace number isn’t the only part of the poll that should worry Braley’s campaign. Here’s another poll result that should frighten Braley:
And he’s suffering badly with rural voters. Only 15 percent support him compared with 58 percent for Ernst.
Losing farmers in Iowa by a 4:1 margin is the fastest path to defeat. That isn’t Braley’s only obstacle to overcome:
“I think he has an attitude about the voters and life in general which was indicated by what he said about Chuck Grassley,” said Democrat Dianna Fuhrmeister, a poll respondent who grows garden vegetables for a living in rural Iowa City. “He thinks he knows better than us.”
That’s why Ernst wins rural voters by a 4:1 margin. If there’s anything that’ll get a rural voter’s dander up, it’s being talked down to by a city slicker.
Fuhrmeister, who is registered as a Democrat but considers herself an independent, said her mind is made up to vote for Ernst, a state senator and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard. “She’s the veteran. She seems to have common sense,” she said.
Ernst’s lead isn’t insurmountable…if Braley finishes strong. I’m not holding my breath on that happening. Politico isn’t waiting for that to happen, either:
Braley’s remark, made at a private fundraiser in Texas last winter, seemingly disparaged Iowa’s popular 33-year senator for being a farmer, not a lawyer. Braley apologized to Grassley after the caught-on-tape remark was released in March. But that gaffe and others prompted the national political news outlet Politico last week to slot Braley’s campaign as No. 1 on its list of “the worst campaigns of 2014.”
Ernst has run a smart campaign that’s getting notice by the brightest lights in the conservative movement:
The Machine Shed restaurant, where the waitresses wear bib overalls and suggest a cinnamon roll the size of a loaf of bread as a breakfast appetizer, sells a root beer called Dang!, bandages made to look like bacon strips, and signs that proclaim, “I love you more than bacon.” For Joni Ernst, however, the apposite sign reads, “No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.”
She, nourished by a cinnamon roll, is preparing for a bus tour taking her Senate candidacy to all of Iowa’s 99 counties, and she seems to love campaigning even more than bacon, not that any proper Iowa farm girl, her description of herself, would publicly rank bacon second to anything.
As more Iowans tune into the Ernst-Braley race, the more they’ll gravitate towards Ernst, partially because of her farm girl image, partially because she’s a military vet and mostly because she isn’t Bruce Braley.
The DMR poll is the most respected poll in Iowa. If Joni Ernst finishes strong, she’ll replace Tom Harkin in the U.S. Senate.