Rebuilding the might of the USA 6

President Trump has explained that he had to sign the outrageous “omnibus” bill because he urgently needs the funds for rebuilding the US military.

Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:

After eight long years of Barack Obama decimating the military, President Trump is proudly beginning the process of rebuilding the nation’s armed forces and defense  capabilities.

Decimating? Destroying one in ten of whatever? Much as we appreciate the article we are quoting, it was not a “decimation” of the military; it was letting the equipment of national defense, the weapons of war, decay. The very fabric of America’s ships and planes was allowed to rot.

Obama manifestly hated the US military. (Not “the military” in general – he had a soft spot for Iranian missiles and potential nuclear bombs.)

As the president signed the omnibus spending bill Friday that avoided another partial government shutdown and funded the government through the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, Defense Secretary James Mattis, hailed the measure as “the largest military budget in history, reversing many years of decline and unpredictable funding.”

At the White House Trump explained why such a spending boost was necessary as he reflected on the serious damage that the previous president did to national security and military preparedness.

For the last eight years, deep defense cuts have undermined our national security, hollowed out  — if you look at what’s taken out, they’ve hollowed our readiness as a military unit, and put America at really grave risk. My highest duty is to keep America safe. Nothing more important. The omnibus bill reverses this dangerous defense trend. As crazy as it’s been, as difficult as it’s been, as much opposition to the military as we’ve had from the Democrats –  and it has been tremendous –  I try to explain to them, you know, the military is for Republicans and Democrats and everybody else. It’s for everybody. But we have tremendous opposition to creating, really, what will be by far the strongest military that we’ve ever had.

Trump said at the press conference that he was signing the massive pork-laden spending bill that contains “a lot of things that I’m unhappy about” because of “national security.”

But I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. Some people don’t even know what is in it. $1.3 trillion — it’s the second largest ever.

The bill contains an impressive $700 billion in military expenditures, about $3 billion of which will go to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Trump rattled off a list of other line items, $1.8 billion for 24 FA-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft fighter jets, $1.7 billion for 10 P-8, $1.1 billion for 56 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, $1.1 billion to upgrade 85 Abrams tanks, and $705 million “for the cooperative programs that we’re working with Israel and others on various missile defense systems.”

“We’re spending a lot of money on missile defense,” Trump added. “We have a lot of offense that’s been recently installed. We’re spending tremendous money on missile defense.”

Ramping up spending after Obama’s assaults on the military is critical, defense analysts say.

Obama did lasting damage to the military, according to Thomas C. Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute who after Obama left office inventoried the damage the 44th president did.

Obama attempted to end U.S. involvement in the Middle East by unilaterally pulling out of Iraq, carrying out a fake surge in Afghanistan, and ignoring the Syrian civil war, Donnelly writes. Obama let Russia annex Crimea, and China artificially create islands in the South China Sea.

Obama told outgoing then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 to pass the message on to Vladimir Putin to ease up on the missile defense issue until after that year’s approaching election when Obama would “have more flexibility”. 

There’s collusion for anyone who is really looking for it and not just inventing it in order to depose the president.

Obama also limited any future president’s ability to use the military overseas by curtailing its resources.

Comparing the five-year defense plan Obama left Trump with, with the plan Obama was left with at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, the Department of Defense “has lost more than $250 billion in purchasing power”.

In his first year in office, Obama ordered then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates to slice off $300 billion from Pentagon programs, “which had the effect of eliminating several of the major weapons-acquisitions projects that had survived Donald Rumsfeld’s attempt to ‘transform’ the force by ‘skipping a generation of weapons systems’.”

Gates halted the production of the F-22, limiting it to 187 planes instead of the 750 the Air Force originally wanted and scuttled another $80 billion in spending, which Obama transferred to non-defense programs, Donnelly writes.

“Non-defense programs” such as “outreach to Muslims”, wasn’t it?

In 2011 Obama chopped another $400 billion from the DoD budget without even telling Gates in advance, which led to the so-called sequestration or Budget Control Act (BCA) that capped defense spending for years but left entitlement spending intact. The move led to long-term spending on Pentagon programs by almost $1 trillion from fiscal 2009 to 2023, he writes.

President Obama slashed Army and Marines personnel and gutted the ships and airplanes of the Navy and Air Force. The reduced force is not as well prepared as its predecessors.

“During the Cold War, the units of the Army and Air Force were always about 90 percent ready in terms of personnel, equipment, and training,” but nowadays readiness is down to about 60 percent or less, [Donnelly] writes.

This also means that the military’s ability to do anything more challenging than routine operations, such as keeping sea lanes open, is severely limited. It is no coincidence that in his 2012 “defense guidance,” Obama lowered the standard by which we determine the optimal size of our forces. Since the years prior to World War II, and as befits a global power, we have maintained the capacity to conduct two large-scale campaigns at once. Obama lowered the bar to just one war at a time.

Obama’s cockamamie social engineering schemes devastated the military’s morale, something his successor aims to turn around.

Trump’s presser came after his announcement Thursday that U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (active) would soon be replaced by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as national security advisor. Bolton’s appointment is an unalloyed good that will benefit U.S. national security.

McMaster replaced Mike Flynn, also a lieutenant general in the Army (retired) in February 2017 after just 24 days in the post, the briefest such tenure on record. McMaster was a disaster at the National Security Council where he spent his time protecting Obama holdovers and purging competent professionals attuned to the threat that Islamofascism, including the brutal totalitarian theocracy in Iran, poses to the United States.

With Bolton at Trump’s side and ramped up defense spending, America may well be on its way to having its greatness restored.

Yes, and may it be so.

Commanders forced to follow from in front 1

Questions: Why is the Middle East in flames? Why are rivers of people flooding from the Third World into Europe? Why are millions hungering in squalid refugee camps? Why are jihadis torturing, beheading, burning, burying, drowning men and women and children and making taunting videos of themselves doing it for all the world to see? Why are thousands of women enslaved? Why are young boys being sent to their deaths in suicide vests? Why has Russia annexed a part of the Ukraine? Why has the tyrannical Iranian regime been able to free itself from sanctions and develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to the West? Why has China been able to extend it power with militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea?

Answer: Because Americans elected a know-nothing doctrinaire greenhorn to be its president and the leader of the free world.

Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:

Multiple Secretaries of Defense are complaining about micromanagement from the White House and in particular, the National Security Council. Which means [Susan] Rice.

“It was the operational micromanagement that drove me nuts, of White House and National Security Council staffers calling senior commanders out in the field and asking them questions, of second-guessing commanders,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Bret Baier in a new Fox News special called Rising Threats, Shrinking Military.

Gates’ successor, Leon Panetta, took office in July 2011 and told Baier he had similar concerns with the Obama administration, despite being a long-time Democrat who served as a California congressman for many years and as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff.

Panetta complained that the president’s national security council staff had gotten so large and overbearing in recent years, creating massive inefficiency with creating foreign and defense policy.

Chuck Hagel, who replaced Panetta in February 2013, agreed that the size and role of the White House staff during the Obama presidency made it difficult to accomplish tasks and be productive.

“There were always too many meetings and always too many people in the room and too many people talking,” Hagel described. “Especially young, smart 35-year-old PhDs love to talk because that’s the way you let everybody know how smart you are. So there were a lot of reasons those meetings descended into … nonsense and the hard time we had making a decision.”

Hagel focused especially on the inexperience of the president himself and his staff, describing how Obama is “one of the youngest presidents we’ve ever had, one of the most inexperienced presidents we’ve ever had. He has a staff around him that’s very inexperienced. I don’t think there’s one veteran on his senior staff at the White House. I don’t believe there’s one business person. I don’t believe there’s one person who’s ever run anything. Other than Vice President Biden, none of them have ever been elected to anything.”

Hagel added that he is not sure if Obama or his staff ever understood “the tremendous responsibility the United States has … to lead”. 

Gates said he is concerned the president is suspicious of the military. He also said Obama was told by White House personnel during the debate over the war in Afghanistan that the Pentagon was trying to “box him in”, “trap him”,  and “bully him”,  which Gates said was never true.

“But there were clearly a number of people at the White House who believed that,” Gates said.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice imposed a gag order on military leaders over the disputed South China Sea in the weeks running up to the last week’s high-level nuclear summit, according to two defense officials who asked for anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. China’s president, Xi Jinping, attended the summit, held in Washington, and met privately with President Obama. …

The NSC dictum has had a “chilling effect” within the Pentagon that discouraged leaders from talking publicly about the South China Sea at all, even beyond the presidential summit, according to a second defense official familiar with operational planning.

So tensions are heating up. Rice is showing overt hostility to the military. And that’s the attitude emanating from the White House.

Obama has gone through multiple SODs and had bad relations with every single one of them. Including the current one [Ashton Carter] who was targeted by hit pieces from the WH, and whose authority over Gitmo Obama tried to ask Congress to usurp so he could free more terrorists faster. The facts are just impossible to ignore.

Obama made no secret of his contempt for America’s military. For America’s might. For America.

It was so well known that Scandinavians who shared his opinions gave him a Peace Prize when he’d only just begun to warm the desk chair in the Oval Office.

Now the world desperately needs an American leader who will make America great again. 

Benghazi: the decision to let him be killed 1

The terrible story of the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi is even worse in the light of this article from American Thinker, by Jonathon Moseley:

Elite U.S. troops were completely capable of saving Ambassador Chris Stevens during the Benghazi Consulate attacks on September 11, 2012. Elements of the highly specialized Combatant Commanders In-Extremis (CIF) units are always on alert, on forward deployment, ready to respond. Their job description is to hit the ground in 3 to 5 hours. CIF elements are ready to engage in active combat anywhere in their region, 3 to 5 hours after the call.

Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense at the time, either misled the U.S. Congress or was incompetent. Panetta testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 7, 2013 that the U.S. military could not have responded in less than 9 to 12 hours.

Obama’s first secretary of defense, Robert Gates, told CBS’s Face the Nation on May 12, 2013 that “[w]e don’t have a ready force standing by” in that region.

But we absolutely do “have a ready force standing by” to reach any trouble spot in a few hours. Insider reports previously revealed that CIF elements were training in Croatia and could have been in Benghazi in three and a half hours.

Although rotating out of the United States, some CIF elements are always forward-deployed within each military command region, always on stand-by. Their training includes expertise within each local region. Some of each region’s unit is always ready. They don’t need to pack. Being ready to go — immediately — is their job description. It’s the reason they exist. 

The U.S. military has developed a range of capabilities, from CIF teams to the Navy SEALs, to Rangers, to Green Berets. …  Commanders in Extremis units are so highly trained and expert that even elite Green Berets wash out of the highly demanding CIF training in large numbers.

Standard military doctrine is to activate all such resources immediately, even if they are ultimately not used. Military’s plans require getting such teams in the air and on the way, not waiting to see if they will be needed.

So Panetta’s and Gates’s statements to the public violate standard military protocol. Leon Panetta telegraphed to our enemies an image of incompetence of U.S. forces. Panetta’s testimony was an insult to the U.S. military. Elite forces go through constant, grueling training to be able to do what Panetta and Gates say they cannot do. One of the purposes of “special operators” is deterrence. Panetta and Gates undermined that deterrence.

The U.S. military perfected capabilities after the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, the 2008 U.S. Embassy bombing in Yemen, and similar events. Gates emphasized the need for planning; Commanders in Extremis forces plan constantly for all contingencies.

CIF units answer directly to the general for each regional command to eliminate delay. Therefore, if AFRICOM – the U.S. military’s regional command for matters involving Africa – had actually wanted to rescue Ambassador Stevens – and the classified secrets in the Consulate – the AFRICOM general would have communicated directly with the CIF team on forward deployment in the region.

Panetta testified that the U.S. military could not react because they didn’t know the situation on the ground in Benghazi. In fact, two unmanned drones were overhead, sending real-time video, including infrared and night-vision cameras, back to the national command authority. Everyone but Panetta seems to know how dumb Panetta’s statement was.

Panetta testified that we should not send in aircraft without knowing what is happening on the ground. Au contraire. You send in the correct aircraft to find out what is going on. It’s called reconnaissance. The U.S. Air Force has been conducting reconnaissance since World War I (then as part of the U.S. Army). Unless maybe our leaders don’t want to know.

In fact, it is reported that CIF elements assigned to AFRICOM were already mobilizing and preparing to respond in Southern Europe. But they were ordered to stand down. It is believed they were mobilizing at a U.S./NATO air base in Sigonella, Italy, near Naples.

Sigonella air base is only 475 miles from Benghazi. Fighter jets from Sigonella could have been above Benghazi in 20 minutes from takeoff at the F-16’s maximum speed of 1,500 miles per hour. Transports and gunships could have reached the Consulate in 90 minutes from take-off.

F-16s can carry fuel for a flight of 2,000 nautical miles. So the 475-mile flight from Sigonella would have left enough fuel for an hour of operations over the Consulate in Benghazi plus a flight to Andravida Air Base in Greece, only 405 miles away, to land and refuel. Greece is a NATO partner. Later waves could have refueled first in Andravida, 405 miles away.

Meanwhile, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and its battle group were within range to assist the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette was relieved of command and flown back to the States on undisclosed allegations of inappropriate judgment, as reported in the military’s Stripes magazine. It is widely believed within the U.S. military that Admiral Gaouette was mobilizing a response to come to the aid of Ambassador Stevens but was ordered to stand down. The allegation of “inappropriate judgment” was that Admiral Gaoutte insisted on mounting a rescue, leading to sharp words being exchanged.

Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, immediately tasked his embassy defense attaché with calling for help from the U.S. military. According to Hicks’s testimony on May 8, AFRICOM told the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli that the U.S. airbase in Aviano, Italy could have F-16s over Benghazi in 2-3 hours but that there were no aerial tankers in the area to refuel the F-16s.

That excuse rings false. Throughout Europe, U.S.-compatible standard refueling tankers are always available. That’s why they exist. NATO exists so that all NATO countries will come to the aid of any of their fellows when attacked.

Furthermore, why Aviano? Sigonella was roughly half the distance. Sigonella’s F-16s could have reached Benghazi in 20 minutes from wheels up, conducted action above the Consulate, and returned to Italy or Greece with fuel to spare. Remember: a “spotter” from the Benghazi CIA annex was on the roof of the Consulate, “laser designating” the attackers’ mortar team and reporting by radio.

Gates also commented that U.S. F-16s could not have simply buzzed the Benghazi Consulate to scare away the attackers because of the risk of anti-aircraft missiles. Hogwash. For months the year before the U.S. Air Force and NATO jets had strafed and bombed the Libyan military and decimated its anti-aircraft weaponry. And since when are members of the U.S. military afraid to come to the defense of civilians because someone might hurt them?

Even liberal columnist Maureen Dowd commented: “The defense secretary at the time, Leon Panetta, insisted, ‘We quickly responded.’ But they responded that they would not respond.” Dowd sums it up: “All the factions wove their own mythologies at the expense of our deepest national mythology: that if there is anything, no matter how unlikely or difficult, that we can do to try to save the lives of Americans who have volunteered for dangerous assignments, we must do it.”

The only conclusion one can come to is that the high – highest? – command did not want to save Ambassador Stevens.

A decision was made to let him be killed.

By whom? Why? We have not yet heard a convincing – or even plausible – explanation.

 

[Put “Ambassador Chris Stevens” into our search slot and you’ll find pages of articles about what happened to him and the search for explanation.]

Sinking the US navy 2

Iran is intent on gaining control of the vital shipping lanes that run through the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz and beyond. To achieve this, it will need to drive out the American fleets. It has been rehearsing the conflict.

In Phases Two and Three of Iran’s biggest sea exercise ever (May 6-7) …  its Navy and Revolutionary Guards acted out a scenario for driving US naval forces out of the Persian Gulf after defeating them – as well as responding to potential retaliatory American WMD strikes. …

The eight-day war game, dubbed “The Last Prophet” or “Judgment Day,” spans a 250,000-kilometer area from the strategic Hormuz Strait to the Gulf of Aden, with the accent for the first time on the Indian Ocean.

Iran has mobilized the best part of its naval, air, commando and elite forces for a drill whose codenames signal its goals: Simulating Iran’s perception of its final battle with America and its ending with US forces beaten and put to flight from the regions covered by the exercise. Thereupon, a victorious Islamic Republic of Iran is seen as assuming the role of regional superpower.

Iranian officials told observers from neighboring countries that Persian Gulf security can be achieved without a “foreign military presence” in the strategic waters. The Iranian Navy, they said, had demonstrated its fitness for sole responsibility over the security of the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s crude is channeled to market.

The war game’s spokesman, Rear Admiral Qasem Rostamabadi, disclosed: “Passing ships were successfully checked by destroyers, frigates, special operations teams and naval commandos in line with the goal of establishing security and peace in transit routes bound for the Hormuz Strait and the Persian Gulf.”

This disclosure meant Iran had already begun grabbing control of the oil routes from the American and emirates’ fleets.

The Iranian naval officer went on to describe the second phase of the exercise as “involving the detection and subsequent destruction of marine and submarine targets as well as conducting rescue drills for chemical, biological and nuclear strikes.” …

Iran’s entire fighter-bomber fleet flew the full extent of its flight range as far as the Arabian Sea and northern Indian Ocean, appearing for the first time over the Somali coast. Iran thus flexed its aerial muscles in pursuit of a far-reaching ambition to displace American naval strength – not only in a broad perimeter around its shores but as far afield as the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea approaches.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., Robert Gates, who is almost as silly and useless a Secretary of Defense as Janet Napolitano is a Secretary of Homeland Security, has a plan to reduce American naval power. The  enemy at sea that he (laughingly) recognizes are merely “teen-age pirates” – by which he presumably means Somalian terrorists harassing ships off the Horn of Africa.

Investor’s Business Daily, more concerned with the growing Iranian and Chinese naval power and reach, reports and comments:

Our defense secretary proposes doing what no other foreign adversary has done: sink the U.S. Navy. We don’t need those billion-dollar destroyers, he says. …

We find the recent remarks of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the Navy League at the Sea-Air-Space expo … disturbing. He seems to think naval supremacy is a luxury we can’t afford and that, like every other aspect of our military, an already shrunken U.S. Navy needs to downsize.

“As we learned last year, you don’t necessarily need a billion-dollar guided missile destroyer to chase down and deal with a bunch of teenage pirates wielding AK-47s and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades),” Gates quipped.

We are not laughing.

Pubescent pirates aren’t the only threat we face. Last month, a Chinese naval task force from the East Sea Fleet — including the imposing Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers, frigates and submarines — passed through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa, a move that sent shock waves through Japan.

The exercise took place just days after warships from the North Sea Fleet returned from what China’s army-navy called “confrontation exercises” in the South China Sea.

Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?” Gates asked. The answer is yes. Our national interests are global, in every ocean. Some will be in port, and others will be meeting commitments from the Persian Gulf to the Taiwan Strait.

It’s well to consider the “new challenges,” as Gates put it, in the form of anti-ship missiles in the hands of the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah or the threat posed by Iran’s arsenal of missiles, mines and speed boats near the Strait of Hormuz. But new challenges don’t make the old ones go away. We must be prepared to meet them all.

“At the end of the day, we have to ask whether this nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 billion to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines and $11 billion carriers,” Gates said.

The question is whether we can afford not to. Defense, unlike health care, is a constitutional imperative. …

Clear and present danger 0

Jennifer Rubin writes that Obama’s nuclear summit is not serious, since he will not address the truly serious nuclear threat – Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

The nuclear summit is underway in Washington, D.C. An air of unreality pervades because the greatest nuclear threat of our time goes unaddressed. At times, the degree to which Obama evades the Iranian issue is jaw-dropping. This report explains:

“The central focus of this nuclear summit is the fact that the single biggest threat to U.S. security — both short term, medium term and long term — would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama said Sunday afternoon. “If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating. And we know that organizations like al-Qaeda are in the process of trying to secure a nuclear weapon — a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using.”

Actually, the single greatest threat — and the most likely means for a terrorist organization to possibly obtain a nuclear weapon — is the mullahs’ nuclear program. About that, the president offers the moral power of example (i.e., our own disarmament) and watered-down sanctions.

She is right, of course.

But this report indicates that material to make “dirty” bombs is already in the hands of terrorists:

Five people suffering serious burns were hospitalized in West New Delhi this week from contact with radioactive material in a Delhi scrap market identified as Cobalt-60 which may be used for making a dirty bomb. Indian police cordoned off the 200 market stores and sealed nearby establishments up to a one-kilometer radius. Scrap dealer Deepak Jain and his helpers lost consciousness when they cut a piece of scrap metal. A white fluid oozed out causing the burns, Jain’s hair fell out and within minutes his skin turned black. His workers suffered and nausea.

All five are battling for their lives in hospital, setting off a security scare in the Indian capital, with prime minister Manmohan Singh briefed on the incident before leaving for Washington to attend the nuclear security summit which opened Monday, April 12.

Nuclear scientists from the Baba Atomic Research Center and Narora Atomic Power Plant identified the material and are working around the clock to investigate its source. …

Cobalt-60 is used in radiotherapy for treating cancer and welding steel. A US report last year recommended monitoring this material along with Caesium-137, Strontium-90 and Plutonium to effectively counter nuclear terrorism. Unlike a nuclear bomb, a dirty bomb does not involve nuclear fission and can be used like a conventional weapon.

India has been warning that Pakistan’s nuclear facilities are in danger of falling into the hands of the Taliban:

The day before the conference, the Indian prime minister met Obama and tackled him about Pakistan’s inaction against Muslim terrorists and exhorted him to jointly combat terror emanating from Pakistan as the most dangerous source of potential nuclear terror… Indian leaders as well as their military and intelligence advisers have repeatedly warned Washington that al Qaeda and Taliban were moving in on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities through their deep penetration of Pakistan’s intelligence service and may soon be in position to take over. …

As the “posture” Obama is taking with regard to nuclear deterrence is apparently proving more frightening than reassuring to Americans, what does the  State Department and the Pentagon have to say to dispel those fears?

Jennifer Rubin continues:

Neither Obama’s credibility nor America’s deterrent capability was enhanced by either the START treaty or the Nuclear Posture Review. So [Secretary of State} Hillary Clinton and [Defense Secretary] Robert Gates took to the airwaves Sunday to assure us that the Obami really weren’t doing great damage to our national security. Hillary seemed to fudge on the “no nuclear response to a NPT signatory’s attack” when she tried to bluster her way through her interview on Face the Nation:

SCHIEFFER: Are non-nuclear weapons so good now, Madam Secretary, that we don’t have to rely on nuclear weapons anymore?

CLINTON: We rely on both, Bob. And I think that’s the point that Secretary Gates is making. We’ve maintained a strong, robust nuclear deterrent as set forth in the nuclear posture review. But we have also in this administration moved toward a global strike capability to enhance our conventional response.

And we have an enormous amount of firepower conventionally. And it is also clear that this is putting everybody on notice. We don’t want more countries to go down the path that North Korea and Iran are. And some countries might have gotten the wrong idea if they looked at those two over the last years. And so we want to be very clear. We will not use nuclear weapons in retaliation if you do not have nuclear weapons and are in compliance with the NPT.

But we leave ourselves a lot of room for contingencies. If we can prove that a biological attack originated in a country that attacked us, then all bets are off, if these countries have gone to that extent. So we want to deal with the nuclear threat first and foremost, because that’s the one that we face right today.

All bets are off? Well, the nuclear option is, if we believe the Nuclear Posture Review. But maybe it doesn’t say what we mean. Or maybe it’s getting increasingly hard to figure out whether we are serious about deterring rogue states or not. Indeed, the administration is increasingly flighty and obtuse, making it hard to parse the often inconsistent rhetoric. Iran’s nuclear bomb would be unacceptable, but maybe we can’t do anything about it. The greatest threat is a terrorist organization with a nuclear bomb, but we’re increasingly lackadaisical about denying one to the most active state sponsor of Islamic terrorists. We aren’t going to retaliate against an NPT signatory after a devastating chemical or biological attack, but who knows.

If there is any rhyme or reason to this, it no doubt eludes both friends and foes. It does, however, convince many that this president doesn’t really appreciate how to project American strength and keep our adversaries at bay. The summit, therefore, promises not only to be irrelevant but also counterproductive to our national-security interests.

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth 0

European leaders are feeling how sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless US president.

According to this Washington Times report, Europe is rapidly losing its enthusiasm for Obama.

To Europe’s dismay, Mr. Obama can’t find the time to attend this year’s annual U.S.-European Union Summit – something Mr. Bush always managed to do. Mr. Obama’s decision to skip the summit offended Europeans, who saw it as a deliberate snub of the European Union – their favorite project to centralize government and internationalize the governance of human affairs great and small. Given Mr. Obama’s embrace of such ideas domestically, Europeans were understandably puzzled that he would not rush to link arms with them in the summit.

Further souring relations was Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates’s blast at much of Europe for dithering on defense. At last month’s meeting of NATO officials, Mr. Gates said the “pacification of Europe” (meaning Europe’s turning away from war and defense spending as necessary policies to keep the peace) was making it difficult for the allies to “operate and fight together.”

“The demilitarization of Europe,” he argued, “where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it, has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st.”

Europe (with the exception of Britain) has contributed little to its own defense ever since the end of World War II. It has depended heavily on the US to “keep the peace”. (The funds that European states might have needed to spend on defending themselves have been lavished on welfare.) This is perhaps the first time strong objection to that state of affairs has come from an American administration:

Mr. Gates is absolutely right … The in-your-face nature of his words is striking. No Bush administration official … ever publicly criticized Europe’s lack of military spending and support for NATO so bluntly. … Now we have a secretary of defense arguing that European fecklessness threatens world peace.

Yet it’s surely ironic that Obama’s Secretary of Defense should be saying this, since Obama himself favors disarmament, has taken active steps to weaken America’s military superiority, and has expressed an ideological ambition to rid America of its nuclear arsenal.

European interests are plainly of little concern to Obama, and his foreign policies are increasingly rousing Europe’s irritation, most recently Britain’s, the staunch ally of America in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars:

It is one thing to start a quarrel with France or even the EU, but Mr. Obama has managed even to offend the British. Many commentators in the UK now accuse Mr. Obama of harboring anti-British sentiments. The State Department’s recent announcement that we would remain neutral in the Falklands Islands dispute between the UK and Argentina has only fueled that perception. …

In general, Europe’s unwarranted expectations of Obama have been disappointed, its adoration scorned, its proffered gifts of wisdom spurned:

With regard to the Obama presidency, illusions are shattering across Europe. There, as here, the left’s exaggerated hatred of Mr. Bush was matched only by their naive embrace of Mr. Obama. They now increasingly realize that although Mr. Obama may admire Europe’s domestic polices on health care and energy, he has little practical use for the European Union’s pretensions to world influence and leadership.

But he does seem willing to give them precisely what they’ve requested for years: A diminished U.S. role in the world. Mr. Obama is pulling back on the projection of American power. Leaving the Europeans to their own devices (and ignoring their summits) is merely part of that program.

Their confusion is understandable. They expected that waning American power would mean less criticism from Washington and more European influence over U.S. policy. It didn’t work out that way….

Europe may never get over its disdain for Mr. Bush. But they may someday come to realize that things were not as bad under Mr. Bush as they thought. At least he showed up to their meetings.

Fort Hood: a Muslim objects to the Pentagon’s PC report 0

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is a former lieutenant commander in the United States Navy where he served as a medical officer. He is the President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit charitable organization ‘dedicated to preserving the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state’.

Here he makes a sensible – ie non-politically correct – comment on the Fort Hood massacre, and the Pentagon’s report of it:

“On November 5, 2009, the United States Army was viciously attacked from within by an ideologue bent on pursuing an agenda of Islamist extremism. This ideologue fell under the separatist influence of political Islam while serving as an officer. It is incumbent upon our force to begin to understand this theo-political ideology that threatens our soldiers internally and externally.”

These critical lines are completely missing from the Pentagon’s 84-page report reviewing the massacre of 13 U.S. soldiers and contractors at Fort Hood. Yet this is only one of many omissions that the Pentagon should pursue from this incident.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on Nov. 5 because his adherence to extreme Islamism overrode his allegiance to his country and his sworn oath to protect it against all enemies. … Hasan’s defense is not the job of the Pentagon. The Pentagon has a duty to honestly assess the root of the attack and to ensure that the military is adequately protecting our forces from the threat from within and without.

As a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, I know the culture of the U.S. military. While I served my 11 years pre-9/11, the culture of political correctness was pervasive. This travesty of a report is front and center evidence of that paralyzing culture.

As a Naval physician and former chief resident at Bethesda Naval Hospital, I can also speak to the inadequacies in the counterterrorism, counter-radicalism and insurgency training of commanders like those being held to blame for Hasan’s promotion and movement up the chain of command… His commanders were seriously concerned about his actions and the role his faith played in his everyday interactions with patients. Had they brought those concerns to his review process, they would have been vilified as Islamaphobes. Even had Hasan’s superiors appropriately identified his behaviors, a military discharge is light years down the path of administrative counseling and punishment he would have received. Which begs the question, would a demoted Hasan have been any less of a threat?

As a Muslim, I am most fearful that our entrenched mindset of victimization and political correctness is precluding a vitally necessary open discussion of faith-based issues both inside and outside of the military. The current military and governmental culture precluded Hasan’s superiors from questioning anything relating to his faith.

At a Jan. 15, 2010, press conference Secretary Robert Gates himself confirmed this state of affairs: “Current policies on prohibited activities provide neither the authority nor the tools for commanders and supervisors to intervene when DOD personnel {are} at risk of personal radicalization.”

Yet the secretary has recommended Secretary of the Army John McHugh “take appropriate action” with regards to the report’s recommendations for “personnel responsible for supervising Major Hasan.” Those recommendations include career-ending reprimands for several of his superiors.

How can we hold these soldiers responsible for not preventing Hasan’s actions if we aren’t giving them the environment and the tools they need to confront Islamist radicalization? The military cannot allow the mantra of victimization of Muslims to dominate how it handles force protection. Islamist radicalization is real and it cannot be confronted unless we are honest about the threat it represents. Hasan is not the first soldier to be radicalized and he won’t be the last if we do not address the real issues.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is a colonel in the U.S. Army and does quite a bit of force training. He had an interaction with one of the active-duty military imams, which concerned him, but because of political correctness he had nowhere to go with those concerns. … . He asked an active duty imam what he would say to a soldier who came to him asking if it was against “our faith” to fight against Muslims. … The Imam replied that he would refer the soldier to the Islamic Society of North America who is the outsourced certifying agency of Muslim Chaplains in the U.S. military. Unfortunately, ISNA is also a political Islamist organization that has been overly critical of the United States wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

ISNA glorified Imam Zaid Shakir’s response to the Fort Hood massacre as an example for their entire membership. As an American Muslim, I was frankly offended by his first paragraph demonstrating his and thus ISNA’s disdain for our military [which was]:

“There is no legitimate reason for their deaths, just as I firmly believe there is no legitimate reason for the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians who have perished as a result of those two conflicts. Even though I disagree with the continued prosecution of those wars, and even though I believe that the US war machine is the single greatest threat to world peace, I must commend the top military brass at Fort Hood, and President Obama for encouraging restraint and for refusing to attribute the crime allegedly perpetrated by Major Nidal Malik Hasan to Islam.”

This is the organization that an active-duty imam uses for guidance? …

It is insane that they would utilize ISNA when they are part and parcel of the problem. ISNA’s roots are in the global project of the Muslim Brotherhood. They were listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the successful Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial of 2008…

So far, so good. We do, however, have a difference of opinion with Dr Jasser when he writes:

As to the answer the imam should have given. He should have told the Colonel that he would counsel the Muslim military member that not only does his oath to this country and the military take precedence over any other oath, but the concept of the ummah (as Islamic nation) is dead and no longer relevant or competing for his allegiance from a spiritual perspective. There have been many wars fought between Muslims and this war is not a war against Muslims or Islam, but rather one to free the Iraqi and Afghani populations from their despots. If our active duty Muslim imams cannot confer such advice upon our Muslim soldiers they are a significant liability to our force protection. …

We see the war, whether it is fought in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else, including the US itself, as Islam’s religiously motivated jihad against non-Muslims. If a Muslim such as Nidal Malik Hasan sees it as that, he must surely feel his allegiance to the US and its army is in competition with his allegiance to the ummah.

We agree with Dr Jasser’s recommendations:

The Pentagon’s review should be revised to look at the broader picture of Hasan’s path to radicalization through political Islam. They should analyze the warning signs that were visible and determine how the military could have better protected its soldiers. They should look at the threat that political Islam and its forms of radicalization have upon American Muslims and contractors that we employ abroad, like the informant who killed seven CIA officers last December.

The protection of our forces requires a better understanding of the enemy we face. An honest assessment of the Fort Hood massacre would not limit the scope of the review. It would also not allow the scapegoating of soldiers instead of fighting the root theo-political problems. Hasan’s victims deserve a full revision of how the United States military handles Islamist radicalization within its ranks. …

If not that, what? 0

Truth is, they don’t know what the hell they’re fighting for.

The following extract is from a Washington Post report on the grinding process by which Obama eventually arrived at a decision on how to proceed in Afghanistan:

In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. … “Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population.”

“Is that really what you think your mission is?” one of those in the Situation Room asked.

On the face of it, it was impossiblethe Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a significant part of the population. “We don’t need to do that,” Gates said, according to a participant. “That’s an open-ended, forever commitment.”

But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, and it was enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan — the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.

“I wouldn’t say there was quite a ‘whoa’ moment,” a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. “It was just sort of a recognition that, ‘Duh, that’s what, in effect, the commander understands he’s been told to do’.”

Read it all if you have the stamina.

Posted under Afghanistan, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 11, 2009

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North Korea Missile Threat Update 1

Robert Gates has said that the USA is well prepared to protect itself from a North Korean missile.

His comments came in response to a report that North Korea was considering launching a missile towards Hawaii.

“We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile to the west in the direction of Hawaii,” Mr Gates said.

The US has approved the deployment of missiles and radar to “provide support” in the event of an attack, he added.

Posted under United States by on Thursday, June 18, 2009

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Namegate(s) 2

While making a national security speech, the President  pointed to Robert Gates, secretary of defense, and called him ‘William Gates’. 

Two days earlier, Robert Gates was introduced at a Pentagon ceremony as ‘Ronald Gates’. 

No matter. Robert Gates is to US defense what Dmitry Medvedev is to the Russian presidency – a shop-window mannequin.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 21, 2009

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