Sarah Palin: Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. “Enemy-Centric” Policy

Sarah Palin: Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. “Enemy-Centric” Policy

Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. “Enemy-Centric” Policy
 Yesterday at 2:56pm
Earlier this week, I spoke at the Freedom Fest in Norfolk, Virginia; and, evidently, the media was asked to leave – not by me, that’s for sure. I want my message out, so despite reporters making up a story about “Palin people kicking us out” (uh, the “Palin people” entourage would consist of one person – my 15-year-old daughter, Willow – and I have no doubt she could take on any reporter, but I know for certain she didn’t “kick ‘em out” of the event). Anyway, here are some of the key issues I spoke about.

DEFENSE SPENDING

It takes a lot of resources to maintain the best fighting force in the world – especially at a time when we face financial uncertainty and a mountain of debt that threatens all of our futures.

We have a federal government that is spending trillions, and that has nationalized whole sections of our economy: the auto industry, the insurance industry, health care, student loans, the list goes on – all of it at enormous cost to the tax payer. The cost of Obamacare alone is likely to exceed $2.5 trillion dollars.

As a result of all these trillion dollar spending bills, America’s going bust in a hurry. By 2020 we may reach debt levels of $20 trillion – twice the debt that we have today! It reminds me of that joke I read the other day: “Please don’t tell Obama what comes after a trillion!”

Something has to be done urgently to stop the out of control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine, and no government agency should be immune from budget scrutiny. We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military. If we lose wars, if we lose the ability to deter adversaries, if we lose the ability to provide security for ourselves and for our allies, we risk losing all that makes America great! That is a price we cannot afford to pay.

This may be obvious to you and me, but I am not sure the Obama Administration gets it. There isn’t a single progressive pet cause which they haven’t been willing to throw billions at. But when it comes to defense spending, all of a sudden they start preaching a message of “fiscal restraint.” Our Defense Secretary recently stated the “gusher” of defense spending was over and that it was time for the Department of Defense to tighten its belt. There’s a gusher of spending alright, but it’s not on defense. Did you know the US actually only ranks 25th worldwide on defense spending as a percentage of GDP? We spend three times more on entitlements and debt services than we do on defense.

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with preaching fiscal conservatism. I want the federal government to balance its budget right now! And not the Washington way – which is raising your taxes to pay for their irresponsible spending habits. I want it done the American way: by cutting spending, reducing the size of government, and letting people keep more of their hard-earned cash.

But the Obama administration doesn’t practice what it preaches. This is an administration that won’t produce a budget for fear that we discover how reckless they’ve been as fiscal managers. At the same time, it threatens to veto a defense bill because of an extra jet engine!

This administration may be willing to cut defense spending, but it’s increasing it everywhere else. I think we should do it the other way round: cut spending in other departments – apart from defense. We should not be cutting corners on our national security.

THE U.S. NAVY

Secretary Gates recently spoke about the future of the US Navy. He said we have to “ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines, and $11 billion carriers.” He went on to ask, “Do we really need… more strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?”

Well, my answer is pretty simple: Yes, we can and, yes, we do because we must. Our Navy has global responsibilities. It patrols sea lanes and safeguards the freedoms of our allies – and ourselves. The Navy right now only has 286 ships, and that number may decrease. That will limit our options, extend tours for Navy personnel, lessen our ability to secure our allies and deter our adversaries. The Obama administration seems strangely unconcerned about this prospect.

OBAMA’S FOREIGN POLICY INHERITANCE

When George W. Bush came into office, he inherited a military that had been cut deeply, an al Qaeda that had been unchallenged, and an approach to terrorism that focused on bringing court cases rather than destroying those who sought to destroy us. We saw the result of some of that on 9/11.

When President Obama came into office, he inherited a military that was winning in Iraq. He inherited loyal allies and strong alliances. And thanks to the lamestream media pawing and purring over him, he had the benefit of unparalleled global popularity. What an advantage! So their basic foreign policy outlines should have been clear. Commit to the War on Terror. Commit to winning – not ending, but winning the war in Afghanistan. Commit to the fight against violent Islamic extremism wherever it finds sanctuary. Work with our allies. Be resolute with our adversaries. Promote liberty, not least because it enhances our security. Unfortunately, these basic principles seem to have been discarded by Washington.

THE WAR ON TERROR


His administration has banned the phrase “war on terror,” preferring instead politically correct nonsense like “overseas contingency operations.” His Homeland Security Secretary calls acts of terrorism “man-caused disasters.” His reckless plan to close Guantanamo (because there’s no place to go after it’s closed) faces bipartisan opposition now.

The Attorney General just announced that a decision about where to try terrorists like 9/11 master mind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would not be announced until after the mid-term elections. Is there something he’s afraid to tell us?

The President’s new National Security Strategy does not even use the word “Islamic” when referring to violent extremism. Does he think the ideology of those who seek to kill Americans is irrelevant? How can we seek to defeat an enemy if we don’t acknowledge what motivates them and what their ultimate goals are? President Obama may think he is being politically correct by dropping the term, but it flies in the face of reality. As Senator Joe Lieberman noted, refusing to use the word Islamic when describing the nature of the threat we face is “Orwellian and counterproductive.”

AFGHANISTAN

In Afghanistan, it is true that President Obama approved deploying additional forces to the conflict – most, but not all the troops requested by commanders on the ground. But it took months of indecision to get to that point, and it came at a very high price – a July 2011 date to begin withdrawal.

This date was arbitrary! It bears no relation to conditions on the ground. It sends all the wrong signals to our friends and to our enemies. We know our commanders on the ground are not comfortable with it.

As that great Navy war hero, Senator John McCain recently put it: “The decision to begin withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan arbitrarily in July 2011 seems to be having exactly the effect that many of us predicted it would: It is convincing the key actors inside and outside of Afghanistan that the United States is more interested in leaving than succeeding in this conflict.”

Does the President really believe the Taliban and al Qaeda won’t be empowered by his naming of a starting date for withdrawal? They now believe they can beat him simply by outlasting us. What sort of effect does he think this will have on the morale of our troops – and of our allies?

ALIENATING OUR ALLIES

It’s not the only area where the Obama administration has failed our allies. They escalated a minor zoning issue in Jerusalem into a major dispute with our most important ally in the Middle East, Israel. They treated the Israeli Prime Minister shabbily in Washington. When a Turkish sponsored flotilla threatened to violate a legal Israeli blockade of Hamas-run Gaza, the Obama Administration was silent. When Israeli commandos were assaulted as they sought to prevent unmonitored cargoes from being delivered to Hamas terrorists, the Obama Administration sent signals it might allow a UN investigation into the matter – an investigation that would be sure to condemn our ally Israel and bemoan the plight of Hamas. Loyal NATO allies in central Europe were undermined by the cancellation of a missile defense program with virtually no warning. At the same time, Russia and China are given preferential treatment, while remaining silent on their human rights violations.

CODDLING ADVERSARIES

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration reaches out to some of the world’s worst regimes. They shake hands with dictators like Hugo Chavez, send letters to the Iranian mullahs and envoys to North Korea, ease sanctions on Cuba and talk about doing the same with Burma. That’s when they’re not on one of their worldwide apology tours.

Do we get anything in return for all this bowing and apologizing? No, we don’t. Yes, Russia voted for a weak sanctions resolution on Iran, but it immediately stated it could sell advanced anti-aircraft missile to Iran anyway, and would not end its nuclear cooperation. In response to North Korea’s unprovoked sinking of a South Korean Navy ship, China warned us not to take part in military exercises with our ally.

And while President Obama lets America get pushed around by the likes of Russia and China, our allies are left to wonder about the value of an alliance with the U.S. They have to be wondering if it’s worth it.

AN “ENEMY-CENTRIC” FOREIGN POLICY

It has led one prominent Czech official to call Obama’s foreign policy “enemy-centric.” And this “enemy-centric” approach has real consequences. It not only baffles our allies, it worries them. When coupled with less defense spending, it signals to the world that maybe we can no longer be counted on, and that we have other priorities than being the world leader that keeps the peace and provides security in Europe, in Asia and throughout the world.

Together with this enemy-centric foreign policy, we see a lessening of the long, bipartisan tradition of speaking out for human rights and democracy. The Secretary of State said she would not raise human rights with China because “we pretty much know what they are going to say.” Democracy promotion programs have been cut. Support for the brave Iranians protesting their government was not forthcoming because President Obama would rather try to cut a deal with their oppressors.

When the world’s dictators see the United States unconcerned with human rights and political freedom, they breathe a sigh of relief, because they know they have a free hand to repress their own people.

This goes against the very ideals on which our republic was founded. There is a long bipartisan tradition of speaking out in favor of freedom – from FDR to Ronald Reagan. America loses something very important when its President consigns human rights and freedom to the back burner of its international priorities.

A DIFFERENT VIEW OF AMERICA

We have a President, perhaps for the very first time since the founding of our republic, who doesn’t appear to believe that America is the greatest earthly force for good the world has ever known.

When asked whether he believed in American exceptionalism, President Obama answered, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Amazing. Amazing.

I think this statement speaks volumes about his world view. He sees nothing unique in the American experience? Really? Our founding, and our founding mothers and fathers? Really? And our history over the past two and half centuries?

Really? He sees nothing unique in an America that fought and won two world wars and in victory sought not one inch of territory or one dollar of plunder? He sees nothing unique in an America that, though exhausted by conflict, still laid the foundation for security in Europe and Asia after World War II? He sees nothing unique in an America that prevailed against an evil ideology in the Cold War? Does he just see a country that has to be apologized for around the world, especially to dictators?

President Obama actually seems reluctant to even embrace American power. Earlier this year when he was asked about his faltering Middle East peace process, he said “whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.” Whether we like it or not?! Really? Mr. President, this may come as news to you, but most Americans actually do like it. And so do our allies. They know it was our military might that liberated countless millions from tyranny, slavery, and oppression over the last 234 years. Yes, we do like it. As a dominant superpower, the United States has won wars hot and cold; our military has advanced the cause of freedom and kept authoritarian powers in check.

It is in America’s and the world’s best interests for our country to remain the dominant military superpower, but under President Obama’s leadership that dominance may be slipping away. It’s the result of an agenda that reeks of complacency and defeatism.

(I went on from there to talk about our need to end the negative, defeatist attitudes of those in leadership. I spoke further on American exceptionalism, and Willow and I ended a great evening with some great patriots. Sorry the media chose to report anything other than what actually happened at the event.)

- Sarah Palin

Obama Fires McChrystal – We Can Fire Obama

Obama Fires McChrystal – We Can Fire Obama

June 28th, 2010

Doug Giles, Townhall.com-

Obama and McChrystal

Unless you live on the oil-saturated bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, you’re probably well aware that our President, who happens to have skin thinner than that of an Iberian Ribbed Newt, fired General Stanley McChrystal for committing the unpardonable sin: He told the ugly truth about Obama.

Now, before I get flooded with emails about the impropriety of a general criticizing the commander-in-chief, let me remind you that most of you crying “foul” said squat when active duty General Eric Shinseki and other retired generals did that to W and Rummy when they were in office. Yes, I believe instead of howling “off with their heads!” you reveled in the generals going rogue on George. I believe you hypocritical dorks called the Bush dissenters “patriotic truth tellers.”

So, why did McChrystal publicly say that Obama is dealing with things that are, how shall I say, above his pay grade, to a liberal magazine like Rolling Stone? Hell if I know. I’m not bulimic. I can’t read minds.

One possibility is that this is Stanley’s way of repenting to the nation for voting for this nabob. Or perhaps he was simply upholding his oath to protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic. Who knows?

One thing that’s for certain in the utilization of the Stones mag is that a lot of Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga fans heard from the horse’s mouth that a four-star general, one whom Obama cherry-picked for the war in Afghanistan, one who actually voted for him, now thinks the community organizer has been elevated to a level of incompetence.

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More misdirection from the White House

More misdirection from the White House

Aaron Gee

The headlines this morning are all about General McChrystal and an article in Rolling Stone.  My prediction is that this episode will extend far longer than it should, and will be used as much and as often as possible to separate Obama from his failures in Afghanistan.  It also serves to remove the oil soaked pelicans from the front pages of the major news site this morning.  

This mornings headlines follow this Administration’s pattern of continually moving from “crisis” to “crisis”, real or imagined, in an effort to stay ahead of the perception that our President views his time in office as just an extended golf getaway from teaching in Chicago.

For those of you that think my criticism is unfair, I would remind you that the President didn’t take any interest in the gulf oil crisis until commentators started asking too many  questions on the White House’s role in offering Federal jobs to primary candidates.  Obama suddenly had to take charge of the gulf oil spill.  The problem was that Obama simply seems incapable of taking charge of anything more strenuous than a tongue lashing or an apology. 

To date the US administration has turned down offers from 13 countries to help with the clean up.  The Administration has refused to wave environmental regulations or streamline the process to allow building protective barriers.  The reliance on a bureaucratic apparatus has halted clean up efforts, and forced BP at great expense in time and money to modify clean up ships to not run afoul of the protectionist twenties era legislation known as the ‘Jones Act‘. 

With this kind of action, it’s no wonder that General McChrystal was called to Washington.  Obama can use the distraction for the next few news cycles to keep people’s eyes off from the disaster in the Gulf and a corrupt Congress.  Talking to McChrystal plays to Obama’s one strength, and we will know if Obama’s really on top of his game if he dresses down the General without a teleprompter.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS! Gen. McChrystal called to Washington to explain anti-administration comments

Gen. McChrystal called to Washington to explain anti-administration comments

By Ernesto Londoño and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 22, 2010; 11:57 AM
KABUL — The top U.S. general in Afghanistan has been summoned to Washington to explain a magazine profile that includes highly critical remarks by him and his staff about top Obama administration officials involved in Afghanistan policy. 

The article in this week’s Rolling Stone magazine is certain to increase tension between the White House and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. The profile of McChrystal, titled the “Runaway General,” also raises fresh questions about the judgment and leadership style of the commander appointed by President Obama last year in an effort to turn around a worsening conflict. 

McChrystal and some of his senior advisers are quoted speaking derisively of top administration officials, often in sharply flippant terms. An anonymous McChrystal aide is quoted as calling national security adviser James L. Jones a “clown,” who remains “stuck in 1985.” 

The story also features an exchange in which McChrystal and some of his aides appear to mock Vice President Biden, who opposed McChrystal’s troop surge recommendation last year and instead urged a more focused emphasis on counterterrorism operations. Preparing for a speech he is about to give at a French military academy, McChrystal “wonders aloud” whether he will questioned about the well-publicized differences in opinion between himself and Biden. 

“Are you asking me about Vice President Biden? Who’s that?” McChrystal says with a laugh, trying out the line as a hypothetical response to the anticipated query. 

“Biden?” chimes in an aide who is seated nearby, and who is not named in the article. “Did you say Bite me?” 

The magazine hits newsstands Friday and was posted online at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Washington Post received a copy of the article several hours before that from its author, Michael Hastings, a freelance journalist who has written for The Post in the past. 

The insulting comments by McChrystal and his staff, many of whom were quoted anonymously, surfaced on the eve of the president’s monthly meeting with his top advisers on Afghanistan, which is scheduled to take place Wednesday. 

McChrystal typically joins that meeting by a secure videoconference from Afghanistan, but he was summoned to Washington to participate directly and explain his remarks, a senior administration official said Tuesday morning. The meeting includes Biden and many of the other advisers whom McChrystal or his staff mocked in the article. 

“I extend my sincerest apology for this profile,” McChrystal said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. “It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and it should have never happened.” 

Most of the critical remarks in the article come from aides to the general, rather than McChrystal himself. Many of the quotes are anonymous. The magazine story also includes descriptions of McChrystal’s staff drinking heavily at an Irish pub in Paris, “two officers doing an Irish jig mixed with steps from a traditional Afghan wedding dance,” and advisers singing a slurred, intoxicated songs whose only lyrics seem to be “Afghanistan, Afghanistan.” 

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called McChrystal to express his “deep disappointment” with the comments, Reuters reported Tuesday. 

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, however, issued a statement saying Karzai “strongly supports McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years,” the wire service reported. 

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that “it would be a grave mistake” to allow the controversy over the article to distract attention from the war effort. “Now is not the time for Washington to be sidetracked by chatter,” Kerry said. “Everyone needs to take a deep breath.” 

Kerry said he spoke with McChrystal by telephone Tuesday morning and stressed that U.S. leaders should remain focused on success in Afghanistan and the safety of U.S. troops. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he was “prepared to withhold judgment for the next 24 hours” — until after Obama could meet with the general and made a public statement. 

Lt. Col. Joseph Breasseale, a U.S. military spokesman, said McChrystal called Biden and other senior administration officials Tuesday morning (Monday evening in Washington) in reference to the article. “After these discussions, he decided to travel to the U.S. for a meeting,” Breasseale said in an e-mail. Officials in Washington who were familiar with the situation said the general apologized to Biden during the phone call. 

McChrystal’s civilian press aide, Duncan Boothby, submitted his resignation Tuesday as a result of the article, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was a personnel issue. 

It is not the first time that McChrystal has been dressed down by Obama. Shortly after the general’s assessment of the situation in Afghanistan was made public last year, McChrystal gave a speech in London in which he publicly criticized those who advocated a scaled-back effort in Afghanistan. 

Those comments were widely seen as being directed against Biden, who had promoted an approach in the country focused on targeting terrorists more narrowly. After that speech, an angry Obama summoned McChrystal to a face-to-face meeting on Air Force One in Copenhagen, where Obama had arrived to pitch Chicago’s Olympic bid. 

White House officials declined to comment publicly Tuesday morning, but the latest public relations blunder by McChrystal was viewed as sure to further strain his relationship with a president who puts a premium on message discipline and loyalty. 

The article shows open disdain for U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired three-star general who has sharp policy differences with McChrystal,. Referring to a leaked cable from Eikenberry that expressed concerns about the trustworthiness of Karzai, McChrystal is quoted as having said: “Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.’ ” 

Referring to Richard C. Holbrooke, Obama’s senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one McChrystal aide is quoted as saying: “The Boss says he’s like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous.” 

On one occasion, McChrystal appears to react with exasperation when he receives an e-mail from Holbrooke. “Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,” McChrystal says, according to the article. “I don’t even want to read it.” 

The timing of the piece could hardly be worse. Amid a flurry of bad news in Afghanistan and a jump in NATO casualties, U.S. lawmakers and senior officials from NATO allied countries are asking increasingly sharp questions about the U.S.-led war strategy. McChrystal has struggled to turn the tide on a deteriorating conflict since taking over the Afghanistan effort last year. 

Dutch and Canadian troops are scheduled to pull out within the next 12 months. And the White House has said it will start drawing down U.S. forces next July. (Photos of recent troop activities in Kandahar, Afghanistan

The profile includes criticism that McChrystal is facing from some of his own troops, who have grown frustrated with new rules that force commanders be extraordinarily judicious in using lethal force. 

A few weeks ago, according to the magazine, the general traveled to a small outpost in Kandahar province, in southern Afghanistan, to meet with a unit of soldiers reeling from the loss of a comrade, 23-year-old Cpl. Michael Ingram. 

The corporal was killed in a booby-trapped house that some of the unit’s commanders had unsuccessfully sought permission to blow up. 

One soldier at the outpost showed Hastings, who was traveling with the general, a written directive instructing troops to “patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourself with lethal force.” 

During a tense meeting with Ingram’s platoon, one sergeant tells McChrystal: “Sir, some of the guys here, sir, think we’re losing, sir.” 

McChrystal has championed a counterinsurgency strategy that prioritizes protecting the population as a means to marginalize and ultimately defeat the insurgency. Because new rules sharply restrict the circumstances under which airstrikes and other lethal operations that have resulted in civilian casualties can be conducted, some soldiers say the strategy has left them more exposed. 

June is on track to be the deadliest month for NATO troops in Afghanistan since the war began nearly nine years ago. At least 63 NATO troops have been killed so far this month, including 10 who died Monday in a helicopter crash and a series of attacks. 

In his statement, McChrystal says he has “enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team.” 

“Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity,” the general said. “What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard.”

Defense on a Dime

Defense on a Dime

Posted By B.J. Bethel On June 9, 2010 @ 12:01 am In FrontPage | 2 Comments

Printing money, spending heavily and buying debt may be the prevalent fiscal policy of the current administration (or the past few, to be fair), but it isn’t especially solvent. One need only look at the situation in Greece for evidence. But as American concerns grow over rising debt and deficits, the question becomes: what to tax and what to cut?

For 30 years, the United States has been figuratively drinking Starbucks and Chardonnay on credit. During the Regan years, we spent more than we had and grew the deficit. This made for historic economic growth, as well as victory in the Cold War, but it also spoiled a populace into thinking we could spend as much as we want, have an abundance of social programs on every conceivable level – as well as a first-rate military – without having to worry about public debt. Those days are over. It’s time to cut back, and judging by the reaction of lawmakers recently, the military is in the sights of more of those in Washington.

According to a recent reports, a group of four lawmakers – Ron Paul (R-Texas), Barney Frank (D-Mass), Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — called for deep reductions in defense spending. The call came on the heels of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who two weeks ago called for dramatic cuts in the military budget during a speech at the ever-appropriate Eisenhower Library in Kansas.

Some cuts have already come, the long-awaited F-22 Raptor fighter plane for instance, but more could be on the way. The question then becomes can the U.S. afford two wars, growing domestic obligations and remain a strong deterrent against our enemies?

Reagan’s booming economy drove the Russians to bankruptcy. It wasn’t tanks, but IOUs that the Soviets issued in place of bullets that cleared the way for victory in the Cold War. Twenty years later, the American military is fighting two fronts overseas, maintaining security for a good portion of the globe and doing so with a shrinking manufacturing base and economy to support it. In other words, we’re heading in the same direction that ended in disaster for Russia and the Eastern Bloc 20 years ago.

Security costs a lot, especially when one country is providing so much of it. But Washington is going to measure political costs before security costs. Government employees, bureaucrats, unions – all of whom are in bed with the Democratic Party – have been hostile to the any notion of slowing domestic spending. The slightest mention of the word “cut” sends mobs of angry SEIU protesters to rally at homes and parking garages.

Not that military spending shouldn’t come under scrutiny. Currently, military spending averages about $700 billion a year. To put it another way, it costs the same to protect your rights, life and livelihood as it does to bailout a few banks. But that cost is higher on average then it was during the Gulf War. As in all parts of government, there is never too little fat to trim.

With domestic spending exploding, and every incumbent under increased scrutiny, the politically safe option would be to cut the military, for soldiers don’t generally tear up your front yard, and generals don’t have sit-ins outside your office.

The question then becomes how much do you cut and what do you cut from. There is a troop surge currently underway in Afghanistan. There is a fledgling democracy and a quieting of the insurgency in Iraq. But, even as war Iraq grinds to an end, there is Iran and Pakistan to consider, as well as the deteriorating situation in Yemen. Frank has proposed bringing troops home from overseas bases and he has mentioned Okinawa by name, but is that a reasonable course of action with a hostile (and possibly nuclear-capable) North Korea slamming torpedoes into South Korean ships?

The administration, through Gates, is expected to battle Congress, which will likely fight to keep a new engine program alive for the F-35 fighter, as well as the C-17 cargo plane. This fight will take place in the summer months, between budget hawks and those wanting to keep jobs and programs alive in their districts afloat in the midst of a sagging economy. Whether those programs survive the near-term, the big question remains: how does America fund a world-based military in a rapidly-changing global economic environment?

Maybe it’s time to start sharing the load, but Europe is years away from doing so, even if it was politically willing to. While Greece has gone bankrupt because of early retirements and months of vacations, American’s debt has exploded because of “too-big-to-fail” corporations and financial institutions; guaranteed pensions; out of control entitlement programs and our role as world cop. The democratic socialists in Europe detest our military might, while they simultaneously cling to their compassionate approach to domestic spending. But, it’s far easier to run a nanny-state when the global hegemon is keeping thugs out of your backyard.

Gutting the military now wouldn’t be realistic on several levels, but the day is coming. It’s hard to imagine China continuing to buy our debt if we’re increasingly involved in its sphere, especially with North Korea and other terror-outlets in Southeast Asia. It’s also harder to justify military operations when Medicare is eating away 35-percent of the GDP. Though America is far from being an also-ran on the world scene, there isn’t another post-war economic boom on the horizon, maybe not even a run like the country enjoyed during the 80s and 90s. Harder times will make for harder decisions.

With such days on the horizon, let’s hope our military has the chance to accomplish all it can before the time comes when it will be able to do little more than defend America’s shores.

B.J. Bethel is a journalist living in Ohio. He has worked at various daily newspapers as a sports writer, news reporter and editor.

Mossad chief: Obama’s perceived military “softness” weakens Israel

Mossad chief: Obama’s perceived military “softness” weakens Israel

June 2nd, 2010

DEBKAfile

the head of Israel’s external security service

In a rare public expression of concern, Meir Dagan, head of Israel’s Mossad external security service, warned Tuesday, June 1, that the progressive decline of American strength over the past decade and the perception of the Obama administration as “soft on military options for solving disputes” have cut deep into Israel’s military and diplomatic maneuverability and made it fair game for its enemies. This is reported by debkafile’s intelligence and political sources.

Dagan presented the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee with this evaluation 24 hours after Israeli Navy boarding parties prevented vessels sailing the Mediterranean from achieving their object of breaking the Gaza blockade. As the UN Security Council’s condemned the loss of life in that raid, the Mossad chief said Barack Obama’s first year as president was a period of “devaluation” for “Israeli and American strategic assets.”

Dagan’s uncharacteristic bluntness was a measure of the anxiety gripping Israel’s security leaders over the slump in US-Israel relations.

He timed his cutting observations for the day Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to have held talks in White House with President Obama. Although that meeting was cancelled and Netanyahu cut short his trip to return home and deal with the crisis over the flotilla incident, the Mossad Director decided that what he had to say was important enough to be said and aired without delay.

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Obama to Skip Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery

Obama to Skip Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery

May 26th, 2010

Newsmax

 Obama says forget tradition I am going to Chicago

In a highly unusual move, President Barack Obama is going to skip the traditional Memorial Day event at Arlington National Cemetery to return home to Chicago for the long holiday weekend.

Obama sees it as addressing one of the great broken promises of his administration: his early pledge to return home to Chicago every six weeks or so, according to The Washington Post.

On Monday, Obama will make remarks at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and miss the usual tradition of presidents speaking at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

Instead, Vice President Biden and his wife will appear in Obama’s place, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as holding a breakfast for Gold Star families — families whose loved ones died in military service — at the White House earlier that day.

Read More: also covered at the Washington Post

Courageous Restraint?

Courageous Restraint?

Posted By Alan W. Dowd On May 21, 2010 @ 12:42 am In FrontPage | 5 Comments

Hoping to win more hearts and minds in Afghanistan, the U.S. and its NATO allies are planning a commendation to recognize “courageous restraint” among troops in the field. According to a NATO statement [1], the goal would be to “celebrate the troops who exhibit extraordinary courage and self-control by not using their weapons.”

What an apt metaphor for the Age of Obama. If there is a coherent theme to President Obama’s foreign policy, it seems to be constraining and restraining American power.

Consider the “New START” agreement. From Moscow’s perspective, New START [2] will constrain the U.S. from building and deploying additional missile defenses. New START, according to the Russian interpretation, will “be viable if the United States of America refrains from developing its missile-defense capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively.”

Where would the Russians get that idea, if not from the administration? And if this is so, then it means the administration is unable to recognize that missile defense is, by definition, defensive. In other words, the goal of missile defense is to constrain America’s enemies.

Then there’s the related issue of the Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR [3]), which is all about constraining the United States. Among other things, the NPR pledges that the United States:

Will not conduct nuclear testing, and will seek ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,

will not develop new nuclear warheads, and

will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.

Obama’s NPR also removes the protection afforded by what Defense Secretary Robert Gates [4] calls “calculated ambiguity.” “If a non-nuclear-weapon state is in compliance with the nonproliferation treaty and its obligations,” Gates explains, “the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it.” Instead, such an enemy “would face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response”—even if that enemy “were to use chemical or biological weapons against the United States or its allies or partners.”

“Calculated ambiguity” has kept America’s enemies on notice and off balance for decades—and, not coincidentally, has kept America and American forces safe from nuclear, biological or chemical attack. As Eisenhower counseled at the beginning of the nuclear age, quoting Gen. Stonewall Jackson, “Always surprise, mystify and mislead the enemy.”

Obama clearly doesn’t subscribe to that commonsense view. In fact, he recently took a huge step in the opposite direction by revealing [5] the size of America’s nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, the likes of North Korea and Iran play games with the world—and appear to be under no constraints whatsoever.  For instance, in the past 12 months, North Korea has detonated a nuclear weapon, test-fired long-range missiles and blown a South Korean ship out of the water, killing 46 sailors.

Likewise, Iran has shown no restraint in response to Washington’s restraint. Last summer, as the Iranian people rose up against a sham election and as Ahmadinejad’s henchmen crushed the popular revolt, the President was virtually silent. The sad irony of the President’s restrained reaction to the Twitter Revolution was that it answered his own rhetorical question [6] of a year before, albeit in a manner his supporters would never have imagined. “Will we stand for the human rights of…the blogger in Iran?” he asked during his 2008 rock-concert speech in Berlin. Last summer provided the answer.

And it gets worse. When evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear-fuel plant came to light last autumn, there was no reaction from the White House. In fact, it was French president Nicolas Sarkozy [7] who spoke up: “Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council resolutions…An offer of dialogue was made in 2005, an offer of dialogue was made in 2006, an offer of dialogue was made in 2007, an offer of dialogue was made in 2008, and another one was made in 2009…What did the international community gain from these offers of dialogue? Nothing.”

Perhaps nowhere is the policy of restraint and constraint on better display than in Afghanistan itself. German forces, for instance, refer to a seven-page guidebook [8] before engaging the enemy. Until mid-2009, they were even required to shout warnings to enemy forces—in three languages—before opening fire. The joys of coalition warfare.

The president has told us, over and over, that Afghanistan is a “war of necessity.” It was so important, as the New York Times [9] reported, that the president gave his military commander “extraordinary leeway” and “carte blanche” control to choose “a dream team of subordinates.”

But when Gen. McChrystal asked for the resources necessary to win this war of necessity, the president balked. Then, after a lengthy re-review of his own policy, the president concluded that “it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan,” before promising [10] that “after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.”

Of course, vital national interests don’t have expiration dates, and letting the Taliban know when the U.S. military will end its offensive won’t make victory any easier to achieve. But victory is probably not the goal in this era of constraint and restraint. As the constrainer-in-chief himself [11] puts it, “I’m always worried about using the word ‘victory.’”

That brings us back to NATO’s “courageous restraint” idea.

The notion that there needs to be a commendation for restraint is based on the false and faulty premise that U.S. forces haven’t used restraint to date. In fact, as Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis told Navy Times, “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians.”

Indeed, the U.S. military is so self-restrained that the world doesn’t even notice. Just think about what happens when the U.S. military makes what we civilians, from 7,000 miles away, call a mistake: It court-martials people, changes target sets, scrubs missions, orders bombing pauses, investigates, apologizes and invests in ever-more precise weapons to prevent mistakes.

The fact is, the American military of today is the most lethal force in history, which makes its self-restraint so impressive. U.S. forces could flatten Kandahar, kill anything that moves in Waziristan, erase all the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and all the terror camps in Syria, eliminate the North Korean and Iranian thugocracies, and turn Mosul into glass—all in less than 24 hours. But they don’t do those things. The reason? Thankfully, the means are as important as the ends to Americans and their military.

This is not an argument for shooting first and asking questions later or for countenancing battlefield brutality. Rather, it’s a reminder that U.S. forces in Afghanistan are already holding their fire enough. They already think twice before squeezing the trigger. We shouldn’t expect them to think three times.

The people who know best—those who have served—worry about the unintended consequences of rewarding and thereby encouraging “courageous restraint.” As Clarence Hill, national commander of the American Legion, observes, “Too much restraint will get our own people killed.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis adds, ominously and presciently, “The creation of such an award will only…put more American and noncombatant lives in jeopardy. Let’s not rush to create something that no one wants to present posthumously.”

Alan W. Dowd writes on defense and security issues.

Military Medal for Courageous Restraint ie the Obama Coward award

Military Medal for Courageous Restraint

Posted May 12th, 2010 by USNavySeals

A feature on the Navy Times shares information regarding a proposal that is making the rounds in the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

military medalsAnother medal may eventually be added to the array of medals that service members can earn while in combat – and it is a medal that may be earned for doing nothing. The proposal was reportedly put on the table by British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, commander for the Regional Command South of the ISAF, during a visit by Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hall, the top U.S. enlisted member in Afghanistan.

This award is an effort towards the prevention of civilian casualties; the proposed award will be in commendation for what was termed as “courageous restraint,” where a service member chooses to hold their fire, even if they are at risk, in order to save civilian lives.

Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis shares: “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”

There are concerns, however, that having such an award may cause confusion among service members and embolden further the tactics of enemy combatants, who recognize that U.S. Troops are concerned about civilian casualties and already use them as shields or even turn them into targets, as shared by Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis.

Outrage: Obama Administration Targets Military for Pay Reductions

Outrage: Obama Administration Targets Military for Pay Reductions

May 11th, 2010

Newsmax

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIHz5tevLAw&feature=player_embedded

President Barack Obama — who came to power with the help of government employee unions across the nation and has lavished on them hundreds of billions in stimulus funds to keep them on federal, state and local payrolls with no strings attached — is moving to cut spending on salaries for military personnel.

This weekend The Washington Post headlined story, “Pentagon Asking Congress to Hold Back on Generous Increases in Troop Pay,” disclosed that the Obama administration is “pleading” with Congress to give military personnel a much smaller increase in pay than lawmakers have proposed.

The Pentagon contends that Congress simply has been too generous with troops during the past decade.

In fact, lawmakers have lavished so much money on troops, according to the Post, that service members are now better compensated than workers in the private sector with similar experience and education levels.

For example, the military brass claims that an average sergeant in the Army with four years of service and one dependent would receive $52,589 in annual compensation, according to the paper. This figure includes basic pay, housing, and subsistence allowances, as well as tax benefits.

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