Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Fanatics in Action, ISIS Advances in Iraq, Obama Dithers
I just explained about the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) found in Iraq during the Iraq War. Douglas Hanson explained that the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG) did only a cursory search, neglected information directly under their noses and gave a phony report. The Media chose to emphasize that no WMD were found. Where did you think Assad got the chemical weapons he used on the people of Syria?
Today we have the news that “Iraq Crisis: ISIS jihadists have Seized Saddam Hussein’s Chemical Weapons Stockpile,”reported by the Telegraph in Britain and by the Wall Street Journal (paywall). In their advance to encircle Baghdad, ISIS has been stripping the banks in the cities they have taken. Estimates of how much cash they have captured range up to a billion, but it seems to be a lot. Officials don’t believe that the ‘militants’ will be able to create a functional weapon from the material. I imagine you can buy quite a few scientists and engineers with their new-found wealth.
U.S. officials don’t believe the Sunni militants will be able to create a functional chemical weapon from the material. The weapons stockpiled at the Al Muthanna complex are old, contaminated and hard to move, officials said.
Nonetheless, the capture of the chemical-weapon stockpile by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, known as ISIS or ISIL, the militant group that is seizing territory in the country, has grabbed the attention of the U.S.
Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman who has a graduate degree in empty speech, said “We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site by the ISIL. We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials.” John Kerry is “concerned,” Hillary is “concerned.” I’d even bet that Obama is “concerned.”
The Muthanna complex is near Lake Tharthar, roughly 45 miles northwest of Baghdad, an area now firmly in control of the Sunni rebels. ISIS has taken control of most of Anbar province as well as Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Immigration | Tags: Driving Wage Costs Down, The Shortage of STEM Workers, There Is No Shortage
An article in Computerworld details how an IT worker had to train his H-1B replacement. U.S. workers protested their job losses to foreign workers by displaying American flags in their cubicles.
This is the story of an IT worker who was replaced by a worker on an H-1B visa, one of a number of visa holders, mostly from India, who took jobs at this U.S. company. Computerworld is not going to use the worker’s name or identify the companies involved to protect the former employee from retaliation. For purposes of this story, the worker has been given initials — A.B. (They’re not the person’s real initials.)
At A.B.’s company, about 220 IT jobs have been lost to offshore outsourcing over the last year. A.B. is telling the story because, initially, there was little knowledge among fellow employees about H-1B visa holders and how they are used. They didn’t know that offshore outsourcing firms are the largest users of H-1B visas, or exactly how this visa facilitates IT job losses in the U.S.
“I think once we learned about it, we became angrier toward the U.S. government than we were with the people that were over here from India,” A.B. said, “because the government is allowing this.”
Business is pushing for increased numbers of H-1B workers, as is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dissenters to that program protest that they are only trying to drive wage costs down. The pro-increased immigration crowd suggests that American universities are not turning out enough STEM graduates, and they need more H-1B visas to fill their needs.
Governments everywhere are pouring billions into efforts to boost the ranks of STEM workers. President Obama has called for government and industry to train 10,000 new U.S. engineers every year as well as 100,000 additional STEM teachers by 2020. Tech companies like Facebook, IBM and Microsoft are lobbying to boost the number of H-1B visas —temporary immigration permits for skilled workers —from 65,000 per year to as many as 180,000.
Alongside dire projections like these, you will find reports that there are more STEM workers than jobs. Wages for U.S. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated since 2000. STEM workers at every stage of career development, including PhDs still struggle to find jobs as many companies, including Boeing, IBM and Symantec continue to lay off thousands of STEM workers. Every year, U.S. universities grant more STEM degrees than there are available jobs. Two out of 10 STEM graduates were working in non-STEM fields. Ten years after receiving a STEM degree, 58 percent of STEM graduates had left the field according to a 2011 study from Georgetown University. A recent article from Business Insider carries the headline “Google has Started Hiring More People Who Didn’t Go to College.”
The indication is that there is a STEM knowledge shortage, a solid grounding in science, engineering and math, but you don’t necessarily need a STEM degree. What’s needed are people who are literate, can write and speak well, and have a grounding in math and science. Having an oversupply of workers is to the benefit of companies who would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits. A larger pool from which they can pick the best and brightest helps keep wages in check.
The federal government has no expertise in education nor in job-training nor in accurately predicting future needs. This long article clarifies all the gaseous claims.
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Filed under: Politics | Tags: Comparing States to National GDP, Gross Domestic Product 2013, Updated for 2013
Dr. Mark Perry, professor of economics at the University of Michigan, Flint, and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has put our ridiculously large $17 trillion economy into perspective by comparing American state GDP’s to entire countries. The numbers are from 2013, and close but not exact. Scroll down on his original article to see how close they are. That does clarify things a bit.
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The State of Washington with Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing and miles of wheat fields, grape vines and apples compares to the tiny United Arab Emirates. Amazing. Shifts your thinking a little.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iraq, Media Bias, Military, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: Attacking George W. Bush, Leftist Lies About Iraq, Where Did Assad Get CW?
Memory is just so — fallible. Politicians particularly have trouble remembering today what they actually said yesterday or the day before. They have not yet totally absorbed the advances in technology that have preserved their words actually coming directly out of their mouths. So inconvenient!
Hardly a day goes by when there is not some lefty on the radio referring to Bush’s illegal War in Iraq, or claiming Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to get us into Iraq to get Iraq’s oil. Halliburton! One would think that by now they would have noticed that we never got any of Iraq’s oil. The deal was making it the possession of the Iraqi people instead of funneling the income into Saddam’s bank account.
In 2001 and 2002, Democrats were still reeling, as we all were, from the attack on the World Trade Center. Most of us, innocently, had never dreamed of such a devastating attack on our own country. Pearl Harbor was 60 years previously, few were old enough to remember. We invaded Iraq in March of 2003. By April 10, Baghdad had fallen; by September 3, the first post-Saddam government had been established, and by December 13, Saddam Hussein had been captured in his hole.
If you remember, Bill Clinton was complaining because he didn’t have a war to fight to enhance his legacy. The left was beginning to notice that the George W. Bush they hated so, was emerging as decisive, reassuring, in command, and they began to get restive.
The website American Thinker, took on Douglas Hanson as their National Security correspondent. Douglas Hanson was a US Army cavalry reconnaissance officer for 20 years, and a Gulf War I combat veteran. He had a background in radiation biology and physiology, and was an Atomic Demolitions Munitions (ADM) Security Officer, and a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense Officer. As a civilian analyst, he had worked on stability and support operations in Bosnia, and helped develop a multi-service medical treatment manual for nuclear and radiological casualties. He was initially an operations officer in the operations/intelligence cell of the Requirements Coordination Office of the CPA, and was later assigned to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
In the summer of 2003, he was serving as Chief of Staff in the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), an organization formerly called the Ministry of Atomic Energy. They had a small staff of Americans and Iraqis, part of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad. One of their key tasks was to transition some 8000 Iraqi scientists and engineers from military and state enterprises to civilian jobs. That gave Hanson a unique vantage point on the activities of the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG), headed by Dr. David Kay and charged with finding WMD.
Hanson explained that Dr. Kay pronounced there are no large stockpiles of WMD. His searches were haphazard and uncoordinated. In his October 2003 report, the ISG had not even searched 120 of the 130 known ammo storage points, much less any underground sites. Previous intelligence assessments, were developed by intelligence analysts who had been working on Iraq’s WMD and knowledgeable UNSCOM personnel who had conducted UN searches for WMD. When Dr. Kay arrived, he shifted focus from the list of known sites to interrogating scientists, a necessary effort, but a shotgun approach. ISG was swamped by the amount of corroborating data which should have been used to test the validity of scientists’ stories. Stories which could well be incriminating.
Dr. Kay concluded Iraq’s key scientists had ended up working directly for Saddam in development of WMD programs and they had fooled him into believing in non-existent weapons. That always sounded fishy. Hanson’s experience indicated just the opposite. The ISG did not have the resources, security of suspected sites, or the preparation to cope with the task. Charles Duelfer, head of the ISG, testified that “the picture is much more complicated than I anticipated going in.” The ISG was composed of personnel from CIS, State Department, and Defense Intelligence Agency—the same organizations that were getting raked over the coals for bureaucratic bungling of intelligence prior to 9/11.
Many have confused the term WMD as referring only to nukes, but it includes Chemical and Biological weapons as well. Proclamations about ‘stockpiles’ were confusing. One nuclear bomb is not a stockpile, but could wipe out an American city. Stockpiles of biological weapons can be kept in a scientist’s refrigerator at home. The ISG proved that Iraq was in violation of UN resolutions. Iraq was involved in manufacturing the biotoxin Ricin ‘right up to the end.” Saddam’s nuclear program was restarted, and development of BW ‘seed’ agents, such as botulinum, could be used to regenerate stockpiles of BW agents once UN sanctions were lifted.
UNSCOM inspectors understood these factors when they concluded in 1995 that, at the time of Operation Desert Storm in January of 1991, Iraq had largely solved key technical issues. The problem of precursor storage and stabilization for VX, a powerful and persistent nerve agent was solved by Saddam’s scientists. In addition, UNSCOM noted the development of prototypes for binary sarin (non-persistent nerve agent) artillery shells and 122mm rockets. Binary rounds consist of two non-lethal substances that combine upon detonation to form a lethal agent.
Pesticides are the key elements in the chemical agent arena. The general pesticide chemical formula (organophosphate) is the ‘grandfather’ of modern day nerve agents. They are also the precursors of other chemical weapons including Mustard-Lewisite, Phosgene – a choking agent, and Hydrogen Cyanide - a blood agent. As Coalition forces attacked into Iraq, huge warehouses and caches of “commercial and agricultural” chemicals were seized and painstakingly tested by Army and Marine chemical specialists. The ISG quickly refuted the findings of these specialists, and have been silent on the significance of the caches. They simply called them “agricultural commodities.” But why did they secure drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers six feet underground?
I have borrowed Douglas Hanson’s words to describe and abbreviate three of his columns. A report by the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) said Coalition forces had recovered several hundred munitions containing nerve agents. Hanson added:
The left and their allies in the press are apparently too dense to understand the significance of the Coalition previously finding biological agent seed cultures, several hundred tons of purified nuclear material, and tons of chemical weapon (CW) precursors. But this entire controversy has never been about the weapons themselves, the age of the munitions, or the media promoted fantasy of pallets of chemical rounds ready to be loaded into Iraqi artillery pieces.
The left and the media could trumpet the WMD stockpile image to bend and shape public opinion. This is what Obama has used as an excuse and as guidelines for the past 6 years. Does Obama even know that all the claims of “No WMD”and “A War for Oil” were as phony as the war to save the planet from the perils of global warming?
Douglas Hanson’s columns have remained in the archives at American Thinker, just enter his name in the search function there. I linked to three here. Hanson’s was a sturdy voice of sanity on the Left’s attempt to blacken the name and actions of George W. Bush. You always knew they were lying, didn’t you?