Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Islam, Middle East, Military, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: 9/11 Observance, President Barack Obama, The Syria Speech
It is 9/11. and the mind goes back twelve years to that terrible day, and to Benghazi on 9/11. The President and Vice President and their wives and the entire White House staff were photographed on the White House Lawn where they observed a moment of silence, and then the president went off to pass out food to the needy — in his continuing push to make 9/11 a “Day of Service.”
I don’t get it. I see no relation between mourning those we lost and doing some volunteer work. But then I’m not much on “moments of silence,” which I guess are to be seen as a one-minute collective observance of sorrow. If we do it collectively it is more meaningful? I’ll just go on mourning all day, the images don’t stop replaying in my head. I guess if you are a collectivist, you think collectively.
It is another day in the War on Terror. Yes, terror is a tactic, not the producer of terror, but that is simply semantics. What do you want to call it — a war on jihadists?
Americans are confused by World War II, when we had clear enemies — Germany, Japan and Italy. They expanded into conquered territory and we had to drive them out. The War was a total effort. Civilians did war work, bought war bonds, raised victory gardens and did without a wealth of things to which we were accustomed. The war lasted a neat four years, the victory was clear and surrender abject and total, followed by occupation.
Now there remains for Americans an expectation that a proper war will have those characteristics. In World War II people were thoroughly weary of war, but they knew that it had to be won and the enemy defeated utterly. There was no talk of “war weariness.” You even heard people during the War in Iraq or in Afghanistan complain that civilians weren’t asked to buy bonds or accept rationing. They weren’t proper wars because the home front just went on with ordinary life, undisturbed.
Richard Cohen, liberal columnist for the Washington Post, asked plaintively “Where’s the moral outrage?”
The civil war in Syria has cost more than 110,000 lives. It has produced a humanitarian calamity — well over 2 million refugees.
Bashar Assad has massacred his own people by conventional means and is accused of using poison gas several times, most recently on Aug. 21, when his military murdered 1,429 people, including more than 400 children. …
I pick on the American left because it is liberal and because that suggests empathy, concern and internationalism.
The American right is now going through one of its periodic bouts of lunacy, reverting to a comfy isolationism-cum-selfishness that has often characterized it. (I should note, though, that back in the late 1930s, Norman Thomas, the six-time socialist presidential candidate, supported the isolationist America First movement.)
My point is that the more military action departs from the example of World War II as it exists in memory, and movies, the more reluctant the people. You need the Draft, War Songs, Bond Drives, and some kind of deprivation for the people so they feel involved. Americans want to support their president, but when offered only an “extraordinarily small” reprimand, the people sense that there is no clear strategy there at all.
Filed under: Entertainment, Foreign Policy, Humor, Military, National Security, Politics, Pop Culture, The United States | Tags: "Organizing for Action", Poking Fun Where It's Needed, The Permanent Campaign
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Humor, Islam, Liberalism, Middle East, Military, National Security, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: President Barack Obama, Syria's Chemical Weapons, Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad
I have been an opponent of President Obama’s policies from the beginning. I didn’t believe he had the necessary experience for the highest office in the land, and he has lived up to that expectation. He does not understand economics, even the most basic economics, and his attachment to Keynesian theory and pump-priming have waged disaster on our economy. He has been sure that just spending more money is the answer to most any problem. It’s not.
His early statement that we were “five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America” sent chills down my back. His view of what is wrong with this country and needs to be transformed is completely at odds with my views. His insistence that the United States is not an exceptional country — or at least no more exceptional than any other — shows an unusual unfamiliarity with our history.
I will excuse quite a bit in most people because we are only imperfect humans, vain, ignorant, self-important, conceited, occasionally clever, jealous, greedy, the list goes on and on. There are no perfect people — even those we love most dearly have flaws which we choose to ignore. We speak and all too often say things we shouldn’t have said. But a president does not have that option.
The United States remains a powerful nation, and the words a president uses have consequences. That’s why presidents have many speechwriters, and senior advisers, and teleprompters too. To keep them from making clumsy international mistakes.
The President is now saying that he was elected to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t recall that. He was elected to be the first black president, and hope and change. We just didn’t know what he meant by change. He even mentioned his laughable Nobel Peace Prize today as some sort of resume enhancement. I do remember his claim that Iraq was a “dumb war” and his apparent belief that the only reason we were in Afghanistan was to “get Osama bin Laden.” Which he (The Seals) did, so now we’re done over there and we should just quit? Well, you don’t just “quit” wars. You win them or you lose them.
Yes, the President clearly opposes war. I don’t know of anyone that wants wars, but nations have interests and through misguided policies and ill-defined statements, and red lines, and bumbling, and dithering — wars have started that nobody wanted.
The Secretary of State also has speechwriters, but he wandered off track to say that we weren’t going to War in Syria, we were just going to do something “unbelievably small,” which prompted John McCain to note that was “unbelievably unhelpful.” Kerry added that Assad could turn over his chemical weapons to an international authority within the next few days ,and then we’d see. So Vladimir Putin immediately jumped on that and demanded that Assad turn over his weapons, then Hillary, forgetting that she no longer is the Secretary, chimed in to urge Assad to turn over the weapons, and blathered something about “holding Assad and the Russians to account.” The usual Hillary talk. President Obama may see an “out” in Putin’s demand. Another flip.
I believe that in international affairs you have to support your country, and keep your policy disagreements with the president at home. President Obama is not making that easy. He’s all over the map, and as usual, it is all about him, not the nation. He has destroyed his credibility with his own party, he never really had any with Republicans, and he is losing what credibility he had internationally. He is sending a message that he is not serious.
The president needs to learn that his words have consequences internationally. His statements are reported internationally. When he dithers, that is reported internationally too. This time it isn’t about you, Mr. President. It is about America. There are consequences. When you find yourself in a hole, the best advice — is to stop digging.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Election 2014, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Islam, Middle East, Military, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: A Moral Imperative, Leading From Behind., Restoring Credibiity
What a mess the whole Syrian situation is. President Obama, in a desperate attempt to appear strong, yet avoid any military entanglements in Syria before the election, made the mistake of threatening Bashar al Assad with a “red line,” warning him of any use of chemical-weapons. That was a statement of sorts that anything short of chemical weapons would be receive no pushback. and Obama was portraying himself as weak and ineffective unless he did something. Assad is now publicly chortling about how weak Obama is.
So now Mr. Obama is relying on his usual strategy of placing responsibility in the lap of Congress. If Republicans don’t go along, he can blame them for America’s failure, and avoid any responsibility himself. Those who do go along can face stronger primary challenges using that vote against them. With Mr. Obama, it is always is about him, and he is above all — a political person.
There are no good answers, or even acceptable answers. Congress is asked to choose between a weak response that does nothing to end Syria’s civil war or depose Assad, or a “no” vote that harms American interests by making it clear that Obama has no support at home.
According to today’s news, apparently the weapons that were to be supplied to the Syrian dissidents have never reached them. There is much confusion about the rebels, and separating the various factions into the good guys and the bad guys. Some suggest that there are no good guys, but that is apparently not the case.
The Institute for the Study of War shows a map of the Divided Syria: (click to enlarge)
The dark grey areas are held by extremist groups like al Qaeda in Iraq, Jabhat al Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate, and are less interested in defeating Assad than they are in holding their Islamic emirate in the north of the country. The light grey areas are a collection of groups known as the Free Syrian Army that are fighting the regime.
John Kerry elaborated what the administration has in mind, but it doesn’t tell us much.
It will not involve any boots on the ground. It will not be open ended. And it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway. The president has been clear: Any action that he might decide to take will be [a] limited and tailored response to ensure that a despot’s brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons is held accountable.
Apparently chemical weapons are easily made, and some of our European friends have been selling them such materials. There are other players too, of course: Iran, Israel, Russia, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Middle East. The idea that the above description of our action would hold Assad “accountable” and deter any future actions on his part seems a bit fatuous.
Obama is not claiming that military action will have an important effect of Syria, but rather that maintaining the international taboo against the use of chemical weapons is a moral imperative. So it is posturing, but without any real teeth. Foreign Policy says the U.S. had intelligence on the chemical strike before it was launched. But we took no action, so its not all that much of a moral imperative.
Joseph Curl, writing in the Washington Times, says it is simply a political calculation:
The first rule for President Obama: It’s all about 2014. The second rule for President Obama: See Rule No. 1.
Make no mistake: The president couldn’t care less about the plight of Syrians, the 1,500 gassed to death — including nearly 500 children. It’s all about 2014. Win the House, reign supreme.
Victor Davis Hanson summarizes the situation with his usual efficiency. “What are the president’s strategic objectives in the present mess? Does he know”
There are four general strategic options — predicated on the political fact that either the Congress will approve the operation or that the Obama administration will ignore it if it doesn’t, and that Obama is not worried about either the present absence of both public support and any militarily credible allies, and that he need not explain our primary objectives that will be made up as we go along.
Dr. Hanson also reminds us of the similar effort to restore credibility when Bill Clinton bombed an aspirin factory after the attacks on the East African embassies.
CORRECTION: Elizabeth O’Bagy who was the official at the Institute for the Study of War on whose work this piece was based has been discharged from the Institute for misrepresenting her academic qualifications. She was also, apparently, an adviser to John Kerry, but she represents the Free Syrian Army in Washington DC, and is not an unbiased source. So I don’t know if the map is correct or if the information is correct.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Military, National Security, Science/Technology, Terrorism | Tags: A Test For Government, Preparedness Alert!, This is Just A Drill!
An electrical grid joint drill simulation is being planned in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Power grid vulnerabilities are finally getting some attention from the government.
We’ve been talking about it for years, but there have been no reports about what is being done, except that the EPA is vigorously attempting to shut down all power-producing coal-fired power plants because the environmental loonies at the Sierra Club don’t like coal. They assume incorrectly that global warming, in which they believe with religious fervor, is caused by CO² produced by coal-fired power plants. They are big on fervor, short on science.
A simulation which will focus on both physical and cyber attacks will take place in November. The disaster drill is being described as a crisis practice unlike anything the real power grid has ever experienced. The GridEX II drill on November 13–14 will focus primarily on how governments will react if the electrical grid fails and, for instance, the food supply chain collapses, and the requirements for everyday necessities.
The problem is that there are so many players. Thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, F.B.I. antiterrorism experts and officials from all sorts of government agencies from the three countries.
Previous exercises have assumed that the grid would be back in order relatively quickly, but that is not necessarily a reasonable assumption. The real goal of the drill is to see how governments would react if the supply chain went down. From the performance of FEMA in Hurricane Sandy, confidence is fairly low. But the point is to educate the government on what their expectation should and shouldn’t be.
The grid is essential for almost everything. Consider your grocer: no lights, no refrigeration, no operating deli, no coffee, no cash registers, but the doors wouldn’t open anyway. The grid is controlled by investor-owned companies or municipal or regional agencies. Ninety-nine percent of military facilities rely on commercial power, including the White House. The utilities have grid operations expertise, the government has the intelligence operation, the standing army, the three-letter agencies.
The expertise involves running 5,800 major power plants and 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, monitored and controlled by a vast mix of devices installed over decades. Some utilities rely on their own antique computer protocols, others rely on Windows-based systems that are common to many industries, but they may be vulnerable to malware. Sometimes utility engineers and law enforcement officials speak different languages.
An effort led by former CIA Director James Woolsey is gearing up to pressure state legislatures to force utilities to protect equipment against an electromagnetic pulse, which cold be a huge expense for utilities.
The utility industry argues that the government has extensive information on threats but keeps it classified. Government officials acknowledge the problem but insist utility executives get security clearances. Congress is debating laws that could impose new standards, but many in the industry doubt that such laws could pass.
That’s how governments bumble along. Will a big simulation light a fire under all the players? Strong leadership from the top can make all the difference, but is anybody really serious about this? It remains to be seen. That’s one reason why conservatives push for smaller more-efficient government.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Islam, Law, Middle East, Military, National Security, The United States | Tags: An Accidental Threat, Drawing "Red Lines", Making Good on Threats
Syria. The U.S. goal is “not to get mocked?” We are going to attack sooner or later, but time is not of the essence, we can do it any time. We’re not going to attack Assad, nor his chemical weapons supplies, and we don’t want to hurt anyone.
A U.S. official said that the initial target lists included fewer than 50 sites, including air bases where Syria’s Russian-made attack helicopters are. The list includes command and control centers as well as a variety of conventional military targets. Perhaps two to three missiles would be aimed at each site.
What the hell is this? Don Rumsfeld remarked that “De-mystifying what you’re going to do to the enemy is — mindless. …There hasn’t been any indication from the administration in respect to what our national interest is.”
Mark Steyn thoughtfully added:
So what do we want in Syria? Obama can’t say, other than for him to look muscular without being mocked, like a camp bodybuilder admiring himself in the gym mirror. …
Meanwhile, the hyperpower is going to war because Obama wandered off prompter and accidentally made a threat. So he has to make good on it, or America will lose its credibility. But he only wants to make good on it in a perfunctory and ineffectual way. So America will lose its credibility, anyway.
Everybody is commenting. Vladimir Putin said he is sure that the attack was the work of rebels trying to provoke international— and especially American — involvement in the Syrian conflict. The government of Bashar al Assad, he said, would have no reason to use chemical weapons at a time when it had gained the upper hand in the fighting.
U.S. Intelligence agencies had indications three days beforehand that the Syrian regime was poised to launch a lethal chemical attack that killed more than a thousand people.
This kind of thing promotes endless speculation, which is of course useless, since you can’t get into another person’s mind, but you speculate anyway. Obama has been quoted some time back saying he didn’t believe anyone should be able to have a gun. I wonder if he has ever been to a war movie, or read any military history? He came of age when it was fashionable among lefties to protest all wars, in mindless ignorance of what they were actually about.
I spent a good part of last Sunday at Seattle’s Museum of Flight touring a B-17, admiring what was at the time, the brand new Navy Corsair, and the astonishingly huge X-15 Blackbird. I have always read military books. I cannot imagine being so unfamiliar with things military that I would confuse corps and corpse. But if you identify something as bad or evil, you’re not apt to pursue information about that subject, and you turn for information to the writers and historians who agree with you. Trouble is, your ignorance usually catches up with you, especially when you’re trying to sound in charge.
No rush. Obama will consult with Congress, though he says, he is perfectly entitled to act on his own. Here’s the actual quote from the Los Angeles Times:
One U.S. official who has been briefed on the options on Syria said he believed the White House would seek a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked” but not so devastating that it would prompt a response from Syrian allies Iran and Russia.
Filed under: Freedom, Islam, Military, National Security, News of the Weird, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Nidal Hasan Convicted, Political Correctness, Silencing Dissent
Major Nidal Hasan the U.S. Army Psychiatrist who opened fire on dozens of soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, has been found guilty of murdering thirteen people and of attempted murder of thirty-two by a panel of senior officers. In the sentencing phase of the trial, the panel has recommended that he be put to death, an unusual punishment for a military tribunal. The entire incident remains classified by the U.S. government as “workplace violence” — a ludicrous euphemism for what was clearly a jihadist attack, and what Major Hasan has admitted that he intended.
Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim, admitted responsibility for the shooting at the start of the trial, saying he had been on the wrong side of a war against Islam and had switched over. During the proceedings, he declined to call any witnesses, testify or give a closing argument. He was prohibited by military law from entering a guilty plea.
At a pretrial hearing, the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled that Hasan could not defend himself by arguing that he carried out the killings to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan. Instead, the defendant chose to make his case to the public through communiques and authorized leaks to newspapers, arguing that he was waging jihad because of the United States’ “illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims” in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now the trial enters an appeals process, which will take several years. Hasan clearly prefers the death sentence, but appeals courts are unlikely to allow him to represent himself.
Those not on trial were those who, out of reluctance to offend or to appear Islamophobic, passed him on through training, ignoring his Jihadist outbursts, close association with Anwar al Awaliki the Muslim Imam who had decamped for Yemen, and statements about Islam. Even after the shooting, a ranking officer in his division remarked that it would be the greatest of tragedies if our diversity is harmed.
There are increasing signs that political correctness has reared its ugly influence in our nation’s military. So far it has killed far more of our soldiers than just the 13 at Fort Hood. The “Blue on Green” attacks in Afghanistan, where our troops are forbidden to carry loaded weapons to show their trust of their Afghan trainees is an inexcusable violation of basic safety — yet such a thing could not happen without orders and policy from above.
The “workplace violence” designation deprives the Fort Hood’s wounded of benefits, and recognition in a shameful way. The Obama administration still insists that Nidal Hasan was not a terrorist — an ongoing and embarrassing lie.
In the meantime, military training has become a strange world where the Founding Fathers have become depicted as extremists and conservative groups are defined as “hate groups.”
Saying “Give me liberty or give me death” qualifies Patrick Henry as an extremist, according to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute training guide which has been obtained by Judicial Watch under a Freedom of Information Act Request. …
Under a section titled “Extremist Ideologies,” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”…
“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place,” the Pentagon guide advises.
This is an emerging, and very troubling pattern.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, Military, National Security, The United States | Tags: Public Dithering, Syria's Chemical Weapons, Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad
I am accustomed to a world in which the Defense Department, and the intelligence agencies keep track of what is going on and have an array of response plans for potential events. We have known for a long time that Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator, has a supply of chemical weapons (WMD) which he acquired from Saddam Hussein. But we don’t know what to do?
A Civil War has been going on in Syria for some time, and it has been escalating steadily, with millions of refugees, In 2009,, Kerry said “I believe very deeply that this is an important moment of change, a moment of potential transformation, not just in the relationship between the United States and Syria but in the relationship of the region.” that “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region.”
In 2010, the Kerrys were great pals of the Assads, and Bashar’s stylish wife Asma was featured on the cover of Vogue. So much for understanding the region.
On Monday, it was a bit different. Kerry said:
The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in Syria itself, and that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering. This is about the large-scale, indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all – a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else. There is a clear reason that the world has banned entirely the use of chemical weapons. There is a reason the international community has set a clear standard and why many countries have taken major steps to eradicate these weapons. There is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons and lock them down where they do exist. There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences. And there is a reason why no matter what you believe about Syria, all peoples and all nations who believe in the cause of our common humanity must stand up to assure that there is accountability for the use of chemical weapons so that it never happens again.
So all officialdom talks about what they will do. The leaks tell Assad that he can relax, we have no intention of destroying the regime, an American military attack could begin as early as Thursday, and will involve three days of missile strikes. Perhaps they should let him know the exact schedule so he can prepare to avoid any damage. The object of the strike seems to be to let the world know that Obama does too mean it when he draws a red line. The whole thing is not about actually doing anything, bur simply about making a political statement.
Political statements can be delivered in political ways. American military personnel should not be put in harm’s way to make a “political statement.”
There are a number of sources who note that it is quite possible that it is the rebels who are using chemical weapons rather than Assad, because he seems to be winning without drastic steps. Lebanese-American scholar Fouad Ajami has pointed out that:
Syria’s main asset, in contrast to Egypt’s preeminence and Saudi wealth, is its capacity for mischief.
Ideally, the regime should be removed, but there is no one to replace it. The rebels are infiltrated with al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. American foreign policy is once again an exhibition of indecision and incompetence. Broadcasting everything you might do not only appears weak, but puts our military at risk. Can we assume that they have no other weapons than chemical ones? No stinger missiles or the equivalent?
Public dithering inspires no confidence from the people, from the nations of the world, or from the enemy. No confidence at all.
Filed under: Freedom, Military, News, Science/Technology, Sports | Tags: A Wonder Material, Incredibly Strong, Thin As A Single Atom
Every time you think that all discoveries have been made, all economic progress is over — comes a wonder material: a substance 200 times stronger than steel yet as thin as a single atom — which has sent “companies and universities racing to understand, patent and profit from the skinnier, more glamorous cousin of ordinary pencil lead.”
The material is graphene, and to demonstrate its potential, Andrea Ferrari recently picked up a sheet of clear plastic, flexed it and then tapped invisible keys, triggering tinkly musical notes.
The keyboard made at Dr. Ferrari’s University of Cambridge lab was printed with a circuit of graphene, which is so pliable that scientists predict it will fulfill dreams of flexible phones and electronic newspapers that can fold into a pocket.
It is the thinnest material known. But it is exceedingly strong, light and flexible. It is exceptional at conducting electricity and heat, and at absorbing and emitting light.
Andre Geim, a Russian-born scientist at the University of Manchester in Britain, and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for isolating graphene. Dr. Geim wanted thin graphite to study its electrical properties. A doctoral student suggested using cellophane tape.”They used the tape to peel off layers of graphite until they got to a layer so thin it was transparent. Not only did it not fall apart, it was strong, flexible and possessed astonishing electrical properties.”
It is still far too expensive for mass markets, it doesn’t lend itself in computer-chip circuitry and scientists are trying to find better ways to turn it into usable form. There are still lots of hurdles, but Graphene is a material like steel or plastic or silicon that can change society.
And the race has begun, as of May, there have been more than 9,000 patent applications for graphene. Companies like Apple, Saab, Lockheed Martin, Samsung, Nokia, BASF SE. The potential uses are as broad as filtering salt from seawater, flexible touch screens, anti-rust coatings, sports equipment like tennis racquets, DNA sequencing devices, and distilling vodka. Everybody is trying to patent everything, so that you have the option of suing your competitors later and stopping them. Labs all over the world are hard at work, as is the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Dr Geim, the Nobel laureate, has said that “Graphene opened up a material world we didn’t even know existed.” Scientists are looking at scores of other two-dimensional materials with unusual properties.
The Wall Street Journal piece is here, it may be behind a paywall. Watch for news stories about this new wonder material as scientists learn more about its possibilities. Think also of the Alaska Gold Rush and the Oklahoma Land Rush, now we have a Patent Rush — this may be the real Twenty-First Century promise.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Liberalism, Military | Tags: America's Disabled Veterans, Martha's Vineyard Vacation, The Way Things Look
Among the many words that smitten journalists have come up with during the Obama administration, one of the most annoying is “optics”, once defined as “the scientific study of light and vision, chiefly of the generation, propagation, and detection of electro-magnetic radiation having wavelengths greater than x-rays and shorter than microwaves” into — the way things look. It somehow seems more delicate to speak of the “optics” of something than to say it looks really bad. And of course American journalists are more delicate than their equivalents in the United Kingdom. Sometimes you must turn to the British papers to find out how things actually look on this side of the pond.
“First dog Bo is airlifted to Obama holiday home” says the Telegraph. “When President Barack Obama goes on holiday to the seaside things can get complicated.”
Rooms have to be found for dozens of Secret Service agents, someone has to carry a selection of presidential basketballs, and of course the family dog needs his own state-of-the-art aircraft.
Arriving in the idyllic coastal retreat of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Mr Obama left behind him in Washington DC high profile debates over the budget, government surveillance and his health care reforms. Instead, he will spend the next eight days playing golf, going to the beach, and buying books from the Bunch of Grapes bookstore….
Bo, the president’s Portuguese Water Dog, arrived separately on one of two MV-22 Ospreys, a hybrid aircraft which takes off like a helicopter but flies like a plane.
Presidents need and deserve vacations, but the Obama’s are remarkably oblivious to the “optics” of things — vacationwise,
President Obama took his case for whining about the sequester to hundreds of disabled veterans on Saturday, saying he protected their benefits from the “reckless” cuts to the federal budget this year, but suggested that next year might be different.
“It’s hurting our military. I made it clear that your veteran’s benefits are exempt from this year’s sequester,” the president said to the applause of hundreds at the Disabled American Veterans’ convention in Orlando, Fla. “But I want to tell you going forward the best way to protect the VA care you have earned is to get rid of this sequester altogether.”
The president but the blame squarely on Congress, which returns in about four weeks to work on a new federal budget and increasing the federal debt limit.
“We’ve got these reckless, across-the-board budget cuts called the sequester that are hitting a lot of folks hard,” Obama said. “Congress needs to come together and agree on a responsible plan that reduces our deficit and keeps our promises to our veterans and keeps our promises to future generations.”
The optics, the optics, the optics! It really looks bad when you warn our disabled veterans that you may cut their benefits, then you jet off to Martha’s Vineyard, with a couple of extra Ospreys for your dog and the basketballs. Jay Carney, press secretary, said “Obviously, when you’re President of the United States, you carry a little baggage when you travel. And that’s true whether it’s on a summit, international meeting, a domestic trip, or for a vacation. I know he’s looking forward very much to some down time with his family.”
The backlog of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs continues. 780,000 claims are pending. About 500,000 are backlogged (over 4 months), they need more funding for prosthetics, and Republicans are hammering the department on the issue of patient safety. Oddly, the president can delay ObamaCare for large employers, and free Congress from the legal requirement that they fully participate in the PPACA insurance plans which they forced on unwilling citizens. When people listen to the administration claims for the desirability of ObamaCare, do they ever stop to compare it to the VA’s TriCare or to the Indian Health Service? The Optics are bad.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Islam, Military, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Major Nidal Hasan, The Fort Hood Massacre, The United States Army
On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood Texas, Major Nidal Hasan jumped on to a desk and shouting “God is great” in Arabic, started shooting with two handguns and extra clips. He killed 13 of his fellow soldiers, and wounded more than 30 others. He was not a combat trained soldier, but a psychologist. How could one man manage such carnage — on a military base? Easy, Fort Hood was a “gun-free zone.”
Hasan is a Major, and a Muslim. He has never denied the killings, but freely admitted it. So the administration has labeled the massacre “workplace violence.” Our military has surrendered to political correctness. They may not be defeated on the battlefield, but their effectiveness as a force will be nibbled away into insignificance as they struggle ever more vigilantly never to offend. The United States Military — our most revered institution.
Major Hasan released a manifesto to Fox News a few days ago. The self-described Soldier of Allah sent several documents in which he explained himself as a jihadist, which he wrote while incarcerated. “American democracy places the sovereignty of man over the sovereignty of All-Mighty God. In American democracy “we the people” decide what is right or wrong, even if it goes against what All-Mighty God commands.”
I, Nidal Malik Hasan, am compelled to renounce any oaths of allegiances that require me to support/defend any man-made constitution (like the Constitution of the United States) over the commandments mandated in Islam (Quran and Sunnah). … I therefore formally renounce my oath of office as well as any other implicit or explicit oaths I have made in the past that associate partners with All-Mighty God [sic]. This includes my oath of U.S. citizenship.
He is annoyed that his act of jihad has not achieved the proper context. He wants to convince us that he is a faithful student of the Quran and is obeying God’s law. The fact that this Muslim jihadist was employed by the U.S. Military to provide psychological counseling to servicemen is so illogical to indicate severe dysfunction within the armed forces. There were plentiful signs that Major Hasan was becoming a close student and disciple of Anwar al Awaliki, since departed by drone in Yemen. Over and over clear indications that all was not well with this officer were overlooked, dismissed, ignored, apparently for fear of being accused of career-damaging Islamophobia — itself a clear indication that political correctness has developed deep roots.
Why has it taken 4 years? What has transpired in such a long period. Hasan grew a beard in obedience to Islamic law and against military rules? He was forced to shave, and the officer who forced him to shave was dismissed from the court. He has been collecting his $278,000 pay since the shooting. Has he been allowed to contribute that to Islamic ‘charities?’ Who knows. His only expression of regret was an acknowledgement that he was among “imperfect Muslims trying to establish the perfect religion.”
“I apologize for any mistakes I made in this endeavor,” said Hasan.
He has asked to be executed, but the military does not allow such a plea. And the military has not executed any prisoner in nearly a century. Execution probably sounds better with the promise of all those virgins than a life as a paraplegic in a wheelchair.
I am far more concerned about what this whole mess says about the state of the United States Army, and about the Obama administration. The “workplace violence” designation is simply embarrassing, deprives those severely injured personnel of the benefits that any other military members injured in the line of duty would receive, which has placed a number of them in dire financial straits. I simply cannot imagine what blame the administration thought to escape from this ploy. It is a disgrace.
ADDENDUM: Investors reports today that the Defense Department is slapping the survivors of the Fort Hood massacre with gag orders. They are telling family members not to talk to the press following testimony in the trial of Nidal Hasan. They are forbidden from discussing, among other things, their denial of benefits as a result of the Obama administration’s designation of the slaughter as a case of “workplace violence.”
The “workplace violence” designation has cost Sgt. Shawn Manning, who was shot six times by Hasan, around $70,000 in benefits. Because the Army decided that their wounds were not “combat related,” a number of benefits have been denied. The designation has even resulted in victims receiving smaller salaries than they would otherwise received.
The Army has said that if Fort Hood was called an act of terror and not “workplace violence,” it would have prejudiced potential jurors and denied Hasan a fair trial. Um— Nidal Hasan has proudly said that he did it, renounced his military oath and rank, and renounced his citizenship. The entire attack could have been avoided if clear warnings were heeded.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Foreign Policy, Military, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Always Unprepared, Cripple the Military, Slash Defense Spending
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has made it quite clear that he no longer views defense as a priority. Seems particularly appropriate when all the U.S. embassies in the Middle East are shut down as a precaution against terrorist attacks. It seems that Obama’s claims about al Qaeda being dead were a little on the optimistic side. Also in the news is the start of the trial of Major Hasan for the massacre at Fort Hood. The Middle East is, in general, aflame. The failure to get a status of forces agreement with Iraq has left that nation troubled, the Arab Spring was a overoptimistic pipe dream, releasing top Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo as a goodwill gesture to the Taliban, does not promise more peace in Afghanistan.
“We are not going to be gamed by having the military programs funded at a much higher level than Head Start program, or the National Institute of Health. We’re not going to do that. We’re through. Head Start has been proven in study after study, including the Obama Administration’s own report, that Head Start had little to no effect on the other socio-emotional health, or parenting outcomes of children participating in the program. It simply doesn’t work, Head Start has cost the taxpayers over $100 billion since its inception in 1994, with no significant results to show for all the money.
Democrats fall in love with their own programs. Doesn’t matter if they work. If they don’t work, they just need more money, because everything works if you just throw enough money at it, doesn’t it?
Military readiness is essential for our national security. The Harry Reids of the world always think that we don’t need to worry about national security — until we do. We were desperately unready for World War II for months after we were fully in it. We had a big “peace dividend”after the war, no more wars until Korea 5 years later, and we were completely unready for that. Americans always think the last war is the last one, but it never is.
And it’s always someone like Harry Reid who is responsible for all the young men who die because we were unprepared. Democrats want more money to spend giving people entitlements instead of the jobs they want and the hope they need. Social Justice— that shining goal for the Left — always remains just out of reach. You can’t make people equal, and I’m not so sure people want to be equal. Spend, spend, spend and first thing you know, there isn’t any more money at all, and there isn’t any security, and it’s too late to realize we needed it all along.