Dawn over the White House? 1

Our reader ‘roger in florida’ has told us that  DebkaFile , the source of the following information, is generally unreliable, but as this is peculiarly interesting we offer it for what it’s worth:

Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta visited Israel two weeks ago to explore Israel’s intentions with regard to a raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities and its alignment with Egypt and Saudi Arabia for this shared objective.

On the one hand, Panetta showed Israeli leaders a new US report which estimates first, that Iran lacks adequate military resources to shield its nuclear sites from attack and, second, would pull its punches in responding to an Israeli strike. On the other, it is feared in Washington that by linking up with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Israel would be free to send its warplanes against Iran through the skies of its two Arab partners, without deferring to the United States.

This report was also presented by defense secretary Robert Gates on May 5-6 to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Cairo and Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh.

None of the three Middle East leaders took the report seriously because –

1. They could not make out if it was meant to encourage or deter an Israeli attack? Surely, the best time to strike would be before Iran acquires adequate defenses for its nuclear sites. Is that what the Obama administration is after?

2. Israel does not believe that Iran would emulate Iraq’s Saddam Hussein who refrained from hitting back after Israel demolished his nuclear reactor in 1981. Iran’s rulers are committed to massive retaliation or else face a degree of popular contempt that would test the regime’s survival.

Panetta and Gates alike returned home convinced that Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf emirates are far more fearful of a nuclear-armed Iran than of clashing with the Obama administration over its policy of engaging Iran.

This understanding prompted a policy review in Washington, which is still going on.

One outward symptom of a possible reversal was the sudden announcement on May 8 that President Obama had decided to again address the Muslim world from Egypt on June 4, ten days after Mubarak visits Washington. On the same day, he also renewed sanctions against Syria, which, after weeks of diplomatic pursuit, he accused of sponsoring terror and seeking weapons of mass destruction.

Washington’s dawning appreciation that the rise of a nuclear-armed, terror-sponsoring Iran is the burning preoccupation of Middle East rulers, leaving the Palestinian issue for another day, will certainly make Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talks in the White House next Monday, May 18, a lot smoother. The clash which otherwise would have been unavoidable may now be averted.

Posted under Commentary, News by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 14, 2009

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Who will defend us? 4

 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has never struck us as an ardent patriot or a conservative, any more than Colin Powell did. (Donald Rumsfeld was both, we thought.) No wonder Obama was happy to keep Gates on as his Defense Secretary. They apparently share an uneasiness with America’s military might and are working together to decrease it.  North Korea’s firing of a long-range missile was not something they wanted to interfere with. ‘I don’t think we have a plan’ to do anything about it, Gates said absurdly. Doesn’t think he has? Doesn’t he know his own mind? 

Contrast this from the Heritage Foundation –

The key assumption running through the Gates/Bush 2008 National Defense Strategy, is that “Although U.S. predominance in conventional warfare is not unchallenged, it is sustainable for the medium-term given current trends.” Really? “Medium-term” means the next 10 to 15 years. Considering America’s aging military equipment, projected shortfalls in fighter aircraft, attack submarines, aircraft carriers and the rate at which China is building a military that seeks to offset American power with high-end asymmetric capabilities, Gates supposition that American conventional power will remain an effective deterrent is questionable at best.

Following this theme, Gates said yesterday [April 6] that America’s “conventional modernization goals should be tied to the actual and prospective capabilities of known future adversaries, not by what might be technological feasible for a potential adversary given unlimited time and resources.” This contention is fundamentally flawed. A defense budget, especially one that attempts such a fundamental strategic shift, cannot afford to be tied to the present and “prospective” threats America faces. The unpredictability of future events combined with the decades-long cycles it takes to buy sophisticated military equipment means that the U.S. must plan for the future with a focus on the core capabilities the nation will need to remain prepared for any type of future military operation.

Should the defense budget Obama submitted to Congress be implemented along with the many ill-advised cuts outlined by Gates, America’s ability to project power throughout the global commons and maintain its military primacy across the spectrum will be doubted by friend and foe alike. A narrowly-focused approach that looks only to the present and what we can hope to predict of the future is a strategy unbecoming of a nation that counts itself as the world’s indispensable nation. This path will ensure America becomes a declining military power. 

With this – 

April 6, 2009, Juneau, Alaska – Responding to the missile test by North Korea, Governor Sarah Palin today reaffirmed Alaska’s commitment to protecting America from rogue nation missile attacks.

“I am deeply concerned with North Korea’s development and testing program which has clear potential of impacting Alaska, a sovereign state of the United States, with a potentially nuclear armed warhead,” Governor Palin said. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we continue to develop and perfect the global missile defense network. Alaska’s strategic location and the system in place here have proven invaluable in defending the nation.”

Governor Palin stressed the importance of Fort Greely and the need for continued funding for the Missile Defense Agency. The governor is firmly against U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ proposed $1.4 billion reduction of the Missile Defense Agency. Greely’s isolated location in Alaska as well as its strategic location in the Pacific allows for maximum security and development of the country’s only ground-based missile defense complex.

“Our early opposition to reduced funding for the Missile Defense Agency is proving to be well-founded during this turbulent time,” Governor Palin said. “I continue to support the development and implementation of a defensive missile shield based in Alaska. We are strategically placed to defend the critical assets of the United States and our allies in the Pacific Theater.”

Governor Palin also requested stimulus funding for the Kodiak Launch Complex. The Kodiak Launch Complex is a commercial rocket launch facility for sub-orbital and orbital space launch vehicles owned and operated by the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation, a public corporation of the State of Alaska.

Plainly, America and the world would be safer if Palin were president and not Obama.

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