Filed under: Afghanistan, China, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Iran, Iraq, Media Bias, Middle East, Military, National Security, Politics, Russia, Syria, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: national security, Radical Islam, The Las Vegas Debate
I mostly listened to the debate last night on the radio. My CNN connection kept going haywire, so I only saw a small bit on CNN. Apparently that makes a difference. Whatever their political viewpoint, viewers could not help but be impressed with the quality of the Republican field. The discussion was serious, well-informed and lengthy. The candidates were well informed on national security, and on how to deal with ISIS, Syria, Russia, Iran and domestic terrorism with real differences of opinion, which is as it should be.
Several pundits declared Donald Trump the debate winner, but I thought it was clear that he was just not prepared to go beyond his usual bombast. He did manage to tell the audience innumerable times that he was leading the polls, he had the highest approval, he was winning. He just doesn’t understand the very complicated situation, and has no strategy at all. “I have 41% in the polls” is a brag, not a qualification.
Lindsey Graham was terrific in the earlier debate. He had just been to Iraq again, and spoke to the situation on the ground informed by the troops on the ground.
Carly Fiorina is clearly one of the best informed, and gives the most responsive and responsible answers to questions — yet has not really managed to break through to the top, where she belongs. Her tenure at HP was impressive. She handled some really difficult circumstances with courage, put the company on a path to success, and frankly has a better record of experience than most of the other candidates. I have wondered if , since Republicans are uniformly unimpressed with the “first woman to” idea, and invested in merit and qualifications just can’t get past the fact that candidates for President of the United States have always been men.
Chris Christie excels at tough-talking campaigning. He can be very assertive and very believable. John Kasich corrected from his angry, grumpy appearance at the last debate. Jeb Bush was better, but not breakthrough better.
I am far from picking a candidate, and in spite of the media’s insistence on making this all a horse race and proclaiming winners and losers, most Americans are just getting acquainted with the candidates. I was really enthusiastic at the beginning with so many governors who had real accomplishments in the running — but Scott Walker, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal have all dropped out. I am not enthusiastic about one-term senators. Been there, done that. And it didn’t work out well.
Filed under: Afghanistan, Africa, Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Al Qaeda Network, Growing and Expanding, national security
Documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan directly contradict what we have been told by the Obama Administration. There was one story designed to influence the 2012 election with a view of bin Laden as dead, his network decimated and terror in the world receding due to the efforts of Barack Obama.
The nation was riveted when the early-morning mission of May 2, 2011 was revealed, sending a small team of military and intelligence professionals into the mysterious compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan that held the al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The assignment was to capture or kill bin Laden and gather as much intelligence as possible about bin Laden and his terrorist network. Bin Laden was killed with a shot to the head, and the Sensitive Site Exploitation efficiently went to work:
It was quite a haul: 10 hard drives, nearly 100 thumb drives and a dozen cellphones. There were DVDs, audio and video tapes, data cards, reams of handwritten materials, newspapers and magazines. At a Pentagon briefing days after the raid, a senior military intelligence official described it as “the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.”
An interagency team led by the CIA did a hasty scrub on a small portion of the documents and produced more than 400 reports based on the information in the documents. They had the al Qaeda playbook. What happened next was stunning. Nothing. Analysis stopped, Documents were untouched.
In spring 2012, a year after the raid that killed bin Laden and six months before the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration launched a concerted campaign to persuade the American people that the long war with al Qaeda was ending. In a speech commemorating the anniversary of the raid, John Brennan , Mr. Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and later his CIA director, predicted the imminent demise of al Qaeda. The next day, on May 1, 2012, Mr. Obama made a bold claim: “The goal that I set—to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild—is now within our reach.”
The White House provided 17 handpicked documents to the Combatting Terror Center at the West Point military academy, where a team of analysts reached the conclusion the Obama administration wanted. Bin Laden, they found, had been isolated and relatively powerless, a sad and lonely man sitting atop a crumbling terror network.
The trouble with that story was that it simply was not true. It was Obama’s preferred scenario, and the one he wanted to deal with, not the one that was a true threat that he might have to actually do something about. Do read the whole thing. It’s an excellent column by Steve Hayes and Tom Joscelyn on the status of al Qaeda. It is behind a subscription paywall at the Wall Street Journal or can be accessed at Google here.
One of the pillars of Obama’s campaign for reelection was that he had essentially decimated al Qaeda, the terror network was on the path to complete defeat. He described them as ‘decimated’ or ‘on the path to defeat’ something like 32 times. To date, the public has seen only two dozen of the 1.5 million documents captured in Abbottabad.
The fight over the documents continues, for the contents are directly relevant to today’s challenges from the Iran nuclear deal to the rise of al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the rise of Boko Haram, and the trustworthiness of senior Pakistani officials.
Here General Jack Keane, former vice chief of staff of the Army, said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, that President Barack Obama’s “policies have failed” and allowed al Qaeda to “grow fourfold in the last five years.” A video is available at the link.
Keane said, “As you can see on the map, al Qaeda and its affiliates exceeds Iran and is beginning to dominate multiple countries. In fact, al-Qaeda has grown fourfold in the last five years. Third, the Islamic State of Iraq, ISIS, is an outgrowth from al-Qaeda in Iraq which was defeated in Iraq by 2009. After U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq in 2011, ISIS emerged as a terrorist organization in Iraq, moved into Syria in 2012.”
“Is it possible to look at that map in front of you and claim that the United States policy and strategy is working? Or that al-Qaeda is on the run? It is unmistakable that our policies have failed,” he added.
Daniel Greenfield writes of “Our Crucial Choice of the War on Terror.” He says “There are two models for fighting terrorism. We can see the terrorists as an external invading force that has to be destroyed or as an internal element in our society to be managed.”
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Intelligence, Law, Military, National Security, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: American Intelligence, national security, The U.S. Constitution.
This beautifully made and powerful video from the SpecialOps and Intelligence (ret.) community is important to let people know the extent to which this administration has betrayed America’s national intelligence, endangered lives, and destroyed relations, just for pure personal political gain. Selling out America and Americans. If enough people watch this, the election is over.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Election 2012, Latin America, Politics | Tags: Border Wars, Illegal Immigration, national security
The argument about legal and illegal immigration is usually heated and extremely confused. A very large percentage of Americans simply want immigration laws that are obeyed and enforced, and they don’t want drug suppliers or terrorists from Latin America entering the country illegally. We want people here on temporary visas to go home when their time is up. That doesn’t seem either too complicated or in any way unfair.
We prize the text on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” in recognition of the fact that America is a nation of immigrants, and a lot of tired, poor immigrants have contributed greatly to our country. On the other hand, we want to welcome those who come with big brains and big bank accounts who want the freedom to create wonders. We are troubled when foreign students come to our universities to get advanced degrees in engineering and physics and then we send them home, even if they want to stay. And those who overstay their visas need to go home.
Any child born in the United States is a citizen, yet we have “tourists”who come here specifically to give birth to an American citizen. We are troubled by the idea that all of a citizen’s relatives may get a spot in line before others. The whole immigration thing is impossibly complicated, and enormously political.
Then add in cries of racism, prejudice and ethnic profiling directed at those who want legal limitations on immigration. Many feel empathy for illegal immigrants who have avoided questions about their legal status, settled here and paid taxes, and think they should be offered amnesty. Others see no end to the amnesty because there is a constant influx of illegal immigrants who settle and establish themselves. There are somewhere between 9 million and 11 million illegals here.
Democrats usually favor amnesty and even open borders because they believe that Hispanic immigrants are reliable Democrat voters, and obtaining power is always on the mind of a Democrat politician. Memos from the Department of Homeland Security’s highest ranks show that the Obama administration has tried to form a strategy to achieve amnesty for the illegal population without input from Congress.
The course decided upon seems to be “prosecutorial discretion” in an ICE memo of June 2011, that prevents the enforcement of immigration law, and is effectively worker authorization for much of the current illegal population. Federal lawyers are escalating their crackdown on tough immigration laws, and challenge state laws in court. The Justice Department has sued Arizona and Alabama, and gone after Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In January, the administration proposed new hardship rules to make it easier for illegals to apply for legal status if they have a spouse or parent already living here. The Washington Post says “Immigrant-rights groups call the move a “tremendous victory.” Others, who obeyed the rules and came to the country legally are deeply offended.
There are 20.7 million acres of federal land along the U.S.–Mexico border. There are also over 1,000 miles of federal land along the U.S.–Canada border. The number of illegals detained at the border has fallen in recent years— the promise of jobs is down, but there is an increase in violent criminals, drug smugglers and human traffickers. Reports of Iran-sponsored activity in Mexico are increasing.
You’ve got the Coronado National Forest, the Sonoran Desert National Monument, The Organ Pipe National Monument and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which is directly adjacent to the border. Oversight of one sort or another is provided by the U.S. Forest Service (Dept. of Agriculture) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) — all Department of Interior Agencies. Then you have the Department of Homeland Security, which supervises customs, immigration and naturalization, transportation security, and — the U.S Border Patrol.
The previous paragraph exposes the problems. Who is in charge of what? Add to that the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Earthjustice, World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Biological Diversity. There are also ranchers who own private land and lease public lands along the border. There’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
For environmental groups, activities that assist in securing the border may do damage to healthy ecosystems. In other words, ecosystems trump security and American safety. DHS has given university researchers a grant of $771,000 to track jaguar wanderings. Since 1996, there have been confirmed sightings of five jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico. Whether these endangered animals are native to Arizona or only visiting from Mexico is unknown. This is a portion of the $6.8 million grant to Interior for environmental projects—to compensate for environmental damage done by illegals and border protection activities including the border fence.
H.R. 1505: The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act was introduced last April by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) to protect federal lands from being despoiled and to secure the borders. It would “prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action which would impede border security.” In other words, it gives the Border Patrol instead of federal land managers operational control over U.S. borders on public lands. It gives DHS authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the border, and authorization to waive any environmental policies that impede border security.
Turf battle. Enraged Greenies. A serious problem in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, for all the agencies, and for local law enforcement. Obama has directed that only those convicted of serious crimes will be deported. He pushed for the DREAM Act again in the SOTU speech. He has pressured staff to speed up and approve immigrant visa applications, even when fraud is suspected. He has cut back on Border Patrol personnel, and now there’s a new Illegal Alien Czar to make nice with illegals, Latino organizations, the “stakeholder community,” and to fail to remove those who might be potential voters. Andrew Lorenz-Strait is the nation’s first “public advocate” for the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Agency. Obama wants the Latino vote. And he intends to devise any way he can to get around Congress and do what he pleases.
The drug wars in Mexico are spilling over into Arizona. A woman shopping on a downtown street in El Paso a few days ago, was shot by bullets flying across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Bullets have struck a local high school, City Hall and the University of Texas at El Paso. El Paso is generally safe, but Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the hemisphere.
Representative Bishop and his committee seem to have drawn up a sensible bill that tries to address the most urgent problems. The current situation is untenable, and the administration attempt to use it as a way to buy votes is shameful. When we do not control the border, that is just the beginning of the problems that result.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Military, National Security, Russia, The United States | Tags: Economic Freedom, national security, We Are Less Safe
The Heritage Foundation has just released the 18th annual Index of Economic Freedom, released with The Wall Street Journal.
Economic freedom — the ability of individuals to control the fruits of their labor and pursue their dreams — is central to prosperity around the world. Heritage and The Wall Street Journal measure economic freedom by studying its pillars: the rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency, and open markets. Things like property rights, freedom from corruption, government spending, free trade, labor policies, and one’s ability to invest in and create businesses all factor in to a country’s economic freedom.
In 2011 economic freedom declined worldwide as many governments attempted to spend their way our of recession, which has never worked. Rapid expansion of government appears to be responsible . Government spending not only failed to halt the economic crisis, but may well be prolonging the trouble. The U.S. economic freedom score has dropped from 81.2 in 2007 to 76.3 in 2012, on a scale of 1-100.
And we are not only less free, but we are less safe as well. The administration has, for three years, followed what they claim to be a strategy of ‘retrenchment.‘ We have withdrawn from Iraq, set a deadline for Afghanistan, called off further expansion of NATO, signed arms-control treaties and now decimated the Pentagon budget.
What they have presented as a strategic vision is seen by the rest of the world as plain old weakness. Osama bin Laden was not the source of all danger in the world, and eliminating him doesn’t mean that “the tide of war is receding.” Our allies have reason to question the strength of our commitments.
Our financial difficulties are not a function of spending on the military, for the cost of being perceived as weak and indecisive can be astronomical. Americans have long believed that the last war was the last one, and that peace is the natural state of the world. Politicians, eager to have more money to spend, believe in peace dividends — money they are entitled to spend now that war is a thing of the past.
The U.S. is the only country in the world without a substantial nuclear modernization program. After Russia signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which unilaterally reduced U.S. forces, Moscow announced the largest nuclear modernization program since the end of the Cold War. America, meanwhile, continues on a path of unilateral disarmament now under the guise of budget constraints.
Section 1227 of the 2012 defense authorization bill prohibits spending any funds that would be used to give Russian officials access to sensitive missile-defense technology as part of a cooperation agreement without first reporting to Congress identifying the specific secrets, how they’d be used and what steps will be taken to protect data from compromise. Obama is required to certify that any technology shared will not be passed on to countries such as China, North Korea or Iran, and that Russia will not use transferred secrets to develop countermeasures and that the Russians are reciprocating in sharing.
President Obama issued a signing statement, something he had previously opposed. He said in the statement that:
he would treat these legal restrictions as “non-binding” and that “my administration will also interpret and implement section 1244 (sic) in a manner that does not interfere with the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs and avoids the undue disclosure of sensitive diplomatic communications.
He already betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic who were to host ground-based interceptors (Poland) and missile-tracking radar (Czech Republic). Moscow objected so Obama obediently pulled the plug. Obama claimed we had a better approach that called for using three versions of the Navy’s Standard SM-3 interceptor missile that forms the backbone of its Aegis missile-defense system. The fourth phase is a missile scheduled for 2020, still on the drawing board, that would intercept hostile missiles in the “early intercept” phase. The Russians want the SM-3 secrets and Obama appears to be willing to share.
In spite of Obama’s wishful thinking and desire for nuclear disarmament, Russia continues to rearm. Russia just announced the deployment of the new RSM-56 Bluava submarine launched ballistic missile. The administration’s engagement with Russia has been well-represented with Hillary Clinton’s “reset” button. More to the point were Ronald Reagan’s words: “Trust, but Verify.”
Filed under: Economy, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Military, National Security, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: national security, New Defense Strategy, Obama Slashes Militaqry
Oh Gawd, it’s “peace dividend” time again! Obama made a rare trip to the Pentagon, flanked by his four service chiefs and his Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and saying that:
The United States of America is the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known. And in no small measure, that’s because we’ve built the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history — and as Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to keep it that way.
Uh huh, and then he proceeded with a lot of how wonderful our military is, and all the historic investments we’ve made in the military, the usual lovely baritone meaningless words, at which point he bragged on his administration:
And thanks to their extraordinary service, we’ve ended our war in Iraq. We’ve decimated al Qaeda’s leadership. We’ve delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, and we’ve put that terrorist network on the path to defeat. We’ve made important progress in Afghanistan, and we’ve begun to transition so Afghans can assume more responsibility for their own security. We joined allies and partners to protect the Libyan people as they ended the regime of Muammar Qaddafi.
And having congratulated himself, he said “Now we’re turning the page on a decade of war:” His words paint a pretty picture of how our splendid military has done a wonderful job and now we need to slash defense, gut the military, eliminate weapons. The White House settled on $450 billion in cuts in the military budget last year with Congress through 2021, on top of $350 billion in weapons programs killed earlier. Defense spending will fall by 1% next year, and another $500 billion in possible cuts starting next January unless Congress steps in first.
It was left to Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta to deal with “the savings we have been mandated to achieve.” Panetta said in an earlier statement that the ordered cuts would lead to a “hollow” military. The Navy will shrink from today’s 300 vessels to 238 and would lose two carrier battle groups. Strategic bombers will fall from 153 to 101. Air Force fighters would drop by more than half from 3,602 aircraft to 1,512 planes. And apparently our nuclear arsenal will be cut as well.
The military is a huge bureaucracy and of course there are savings that can be made. This is not about that, but about politics. The budget is out of control, and the president refuses to rein in entitlements, the really big problem. He won’t rein in either the energy department or the EPA, not cut back on his subsidies for his clean energy fantasy. He still wants to do infrastructure. Every effort to cut back on spending is met with fierce resistance from the White House, but the Left does not like the military, and does not really grasp the need for one.
Obama has apologized to the world for American power and success, and succeeded only in convincing the world that America is a hollow giant with a weak indecisive leader. The entire Mediterranean is a tinder keg, taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood. Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon, yet with an increasingly restive population. Syria is aflame and Assad continues slaughtering his people. China is developing a carrier force, and growing its military apace. Obama is surrendering to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and his pullout of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq may well destroy all our accomplishments there. Iran is threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, and working hard in South America and Mexico to create trouble.
We have a long history of “Peace Dividends,” always disastrous and leaving more young lives destroyed. A weak country invites aggression.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Liberalism, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: national security, Peace In Our Time, Progressive Platitudes
President Obama’s goal is to show a friendlier face to other countries, and to coax Russia into doing the same. This is intended to be a confidence-building initiative begun last fall when Obama abandoned the U.S. missile-defense system being installed in Eastern Europe that had so upset the Russians.
Even though the system was designed to protect against future missiles from Iran, Obama mistakenly hoped that such a unilateral U.S. forfeiture would encourage Russia to put pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear weapons development.
That didn’t work, and the new START Treaty allows Russia to sell missiles to Iran at will. So to indulge further in such confidence-building, a confidential U.S. note was sent to 128 other countries two weeks ago, according to George Jahn of A.P.
The United States … will provide pre-launch notification of commercial and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space launches as well as the majority of intercontinental ballistic and submarine-launched ballistic missile launches.
There is something here that I am not quite grasping. This is a “confidential” note from the President to 128 of his closest friends, designed to build confidence because we will tell you whenever we are going to have a secret launch of our secret weapons? And this builds “confidence” in what?
If we so readily blab our own military secrets, then others are going to tell us their secrets? This sounds like grade school — “You tell me your secret and I’ll tell you mine.”
The 129 countries are members of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. Four of the world’s nuclear-armed nations belong to the convention —The U.S., Russia, France and Britain. I was really worried about France and Britain’s missiles. Russia has not often told the truth in living memory. And China, North Korea, Pakistan and India and Iran do not belong, and do not provide notice. So as N. Korea and S. Korea are close to war, this effort has helped…?
I have long believed in a tiny, infectious worm that enters the ear canal. When it reaches the brain, it expels a thick, cloud-like substance that gradually surrounds the brain, making thought slow and ineffective. It seems to be especially attracted to urban liberals, and is often contracted in crowded classrooms of Ivy-League colleges and universities.