May 8, 2014
We've all heard it
"The US Military is Larger than the Militaries of the Rest of the World Combined"
Or some such similar thing.
The first question to as is, how is this determination made> Is it a measure of dollars versus their currencies by the day's conversion rate? Is it someone adding up aircraft, ships, and tanks? Both of these measures have serious issues, but even without regard to that the the situation is far more complicated than your factoid would imply. Here are a few reasons why that is so:
- Our military must cover the entire world (this no matter who is president, Republican or Democrat). Therefore we must be spread out, diluting our forces. More, as we shrink our numbers, our ability to concentrate is limited. Example: As we must leave one carrier in each theater, the ability to concentrate carriers when we only have 10 is less than when we had 15.
September 23, 2013
Senator Ted Cruz and his followers are seriously in danger of heading into Ron Paul territory. Paul and his followers would always insist that he, and seemingly only he, stood firm for principle all of the time. Everyone else was not only a squishy, but bad and terrible people. That and Paul and many of his followers are at least just a little bit nutty.
The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a blight on the land and must be repealed. It's a terrible law for all sorts of reasons that I will not get into here. I want to get rid of it plan and simple.
That said, we have to be smart about how we go about it. Sen Cruz seems to think that if we precipitate a government shutdown President Obama will agree to defund his signature program.
This is as nutty of an idea as the come. Cruz and his followers need to think smarter and not use a blunt-force approach that is doomed to failure. This is not how to govern.
I am fully aware of surveys that show that people will not blame Republicans a whole lot more than Democrats for a government shutdown (36 - 39%, both; 17%) but that doesn't change the equation. If I was Obama, or advising him, I would not defund the biggest achievement (in his eyes) of his administration. It just makes no sense.
On Con Jobs and Fighting
By Jonah Goldberg
September 23, 2013 10:27 AM
Since I set off quite a brouhaha by using the phrase "con job" on Special Report last Friday night, I'd like to throw a few thoughts into the ring now that I've had all weekend to think about it (and argue about it on twitter and in email). First of all, friends (and a few foes) have convinced me I should have found a better term. Con job too strongly implies accusations of bad or even sinister motives. I don't think that's true of Lee and Cruz and I know it's not of their supporters. So for that I apologize.
That said, and with all due respect to Ted Cruz, I find it strange that so many of his biggest supporters won't even allow for the possibility that he may have political interests here that do not begin and end with defunding ObamaCare and which may be skewing his judgment. Don't get me wrong, I am sure that Ted Cruz wants to see ObamaCare go (I am also sure that's true of a great many of the people he's unfairly labeled members of "the surrender caucus" simply because they question the soundness of his strategy). But Ted Cruz also wants to run for president some day - perhaps some day very soon. He wants to cultivate a national political profile and maybe a national database of donors who've signed the petition he plugs incessantly. Maybe those factors play into why he insists that everyone must rally to him and his leadership?
September 16, 2013
No one exposes contradictions and hypocrisy like Victor Davis Hanson
Syria in a Nutshell
By Victor Davis Hanson
September 13, 2013
We are contemplating going to war in Syria to help the opposition a lot and to hurt Assad some, or to help the opposition some and hurt Assad a lot, or to hurt Assad some and help the opposition some, or to force Assad to stop or to leave, or to stop but stay, or to stop and leave; or to restore the word of the president, or the word of the United States, or the word of the international community by bombing, or by threatening to bomb but not bombing, or by neither threatening to bomb nor bombing; or to warn the Russians to stay out, or to welcome the Russians to come in, or to warn the Russians to stay out and welcome the Russians to come in. Message? We are planning to do all kinds of things by not doing anything.
Making Sense of Syria
Wall Street Journal
September 10, 2013
This is what I think we're seeing:
The president has backed away from a military strike in Syria. But he can't acknowledge this or act as if it is true. He is acting and talking as if he's coolly, analytically, even warily contemplating the Russian proposal and the Syrian response. The proposal, he must know, is absurd. Bashar Assad isn't going to give up all his hidden weapons in wartime, in the middle of a conflict so bitter and severe that his forces this morning reportedly bombed parts of Damascus, the city in which he lives. In such conditions his weapons could not be fully accounted for, packed up, transported or relinquished, even if he wanted to. But it will take time--weeks, months--for the absurdity to become obvious. And it is time the president wants. Because with time, with a series of statements, negotiations, ultimatums, promises and proposals, the Syria crisis can pass. It can dissipate into the air, like gas.
The president will keep the possibility of force on the table, but really he's lunging for a lifeline he was lucky to be thrown.
Just a partial list, of course, but still pretty damning
Thinking Through Our Syrian Options
The list of mistakes by Mr. Obama includes, but is by no means limited to, declaring two years ago that Assad must go (and doing nothing to achieve that end); declaring one year ago that if Syria used chemical weapons it would be crossing a "red line" that would constitute a "game changer" (Assad crossed the "red line," for months nothing happened, and whatever Obama does, he's made it clear it will not constitute a "game changer"); signaling to our enemies, in advance, the details of our expected operation-thereby making a strike, if it occurs, the most telegraphed and reluctant military action in American history; doing a miserable job building a coalition to support a military strike (Obama's "coalition of the willing" might include all of two nations); doing a miserable job building support among the American people (they are decidedly unenthusiastic about a military intervention in Syria); and signaling he was going to bypass congressional authorization for military use of force before reversing course and declaring on Saturday that he would seek authorization-but only after Congress returns from its summer recess (thereby sending the message to Congress, the American public, and the world that there's no real urgency to a strike, despite the secretary of state saying that what Syria has done is "morally obscene"). This is Keystone Cops material.
August 9, 2013
Thank you, Mr President, for helping to lose Iraq. Thank you for your precipitous and premature pullout of troops and abandonment of that nation, which we fought so hard and so long to stabilize. Thank you for putting your kook anti-war base first and allegiance to our allies second. And thank you for all of your lies regarding al Qaeda, about how that organization is supposedly decimated, on the run, on the path to defeat, etc. At least those lies seem to have caught up with you.
Al Qaeda drives Iraq toward chaos; U.S. withdrawal left door open to sectarian battle for power
The Washington Times
By Ashish Kumar Sen
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Security inside Iraq is unraveling at an alarming pace, and al Qaeda terrorists there aren't just pulling the thread; they're setting it on fire.
More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in bombings and shootings last month, making July the deadliest month since violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims peaked from 2006 to 2008, the United Nations says.
On Thursday, gunmen stormed a policeman's home in Tikrit and killed him, his wife and their three children. When neighbors later approached the house, a nearby car bomb exploded and killed eight people -- a noted al Qaeda tactic, though the terrorist group has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
In the past week alone, more than 85 Iraqis have been gunned down or blown up.
"We are certainly seeing a rise of al Qaeda in Iraq," said Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
May 11, 2013
Mark Steyn at his finest, commenting on the horrible mess the Obama Administration made of the Benghazi disaster
The Benghazi Lie
A failure of character of this magnitude corrodes the integrity of the state
May 10, 2013 5:00 PM
By Mark Steyn
Shortly before last November's election I took part in a Fox News documentary on Benghazi, whose other participants included the former governor of New Hampshire John Sununu. Making chit-chat while the camera crew were setting up, Governor Sununu said to me that in his view Benghazi mattered because it was "a question of character." That's correct. On a question of foreign policy or counterterrorism strategy, men of good faith can make the wrong decisions. But a failure of character corrodes the integrity of the state.
That's why career diplomat Gregory Hicks's testimony was so damning -- not so much for the new facts as for what those facts revealed about the leaders of this republic. In this space in January, I noted that Hillary Clinton had denied ever seeing Ambassador Stevens's warnings about deteriorating security in Libya on the grounds that "1.43 million cables come to my office" -- and she can't be expected to see all of them, or any. Once Ambassador Stevens was in his flag-draped coffin listening to her eulogy for him at Andrews Air Force Base, he was her bestest friend in the world -- it was all "Chris this" and "Chris that," as if they'd known each other since third grade. But up till that point he was just one of 1.43 million close personal friends of Hillary trying in vain to get her ear.
April 28, 2013
And speak to Planned Parenthood he did. Much more comfortable in promoting abortion and attacking the pro-life movement than being nice to George H.W or George W. Bush, he found his stride the other night. From Sister Toldjah's blog:
"As long as we've got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a president who's going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way," said Obama. "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you."
The United Nations has finished work on what is called the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and after President Obama signs it it will go before the U.S. Senate for ratification. Treaties must be approved by two thirds of senators, and 46 have already signaled that they will vote yes.
It sounds like such a good treaty, so why are groups like the National Rifle Association (of which I am a life member) so opposed to it? Obama has said he wouldn't be supporting the ATT if he thought it violated the Second Amendment, but frankly his view of the amendment is warped, so that doesn't count for much. And in a non-binding vote last month, the senate did reject the ATT, 53-46 (as cited above), but surely Obama will twist some arms and my guess is the treaty will get another vote.
Obama is no doubt regretting his remarks that use of WMD by Basir Assad would constitute some sort of "red line"
The Thin Red Line
by Richard Fernandez
April 24, 2013
Chemical weapons -- the 'red line' which President Obama said he would so resolutely oppose -- have emerged in Syria. Blood tests have confirmed the exposure of patients in hospitals to these weapons. Readers will recall that President Obama issued a stern warning against their use. Now they've been used. The problem is now how ignore them. The National Journal's article is headlined: "Obama Is Looking for Reasons to Delay Response to Syria's Chemical Weapons Use."
It would seem to add up to certain U.S. military action: On Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed the findings of a White House letter to congressional leaders that said the United States now believes "the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin." That finding appears to be a direct violation of the "red line" for action that President Obama set last year and which he reaffirmed last month, when on a trip to Israel he declared that "the use of chemical weapons is a game changer."
In truth, the same game is still going on, and the administration appears to be equivocating over a response while all the "facts" are established. "We want to continue to investigate above and beyond those intelligence estimates," a senior administration official told reporters Thursday afternoon, in order to gain "a definitive judgment for whether a red line has been crossed."
The probable truth is that Obama was never prepared to take any large scale action against Syria for any reason any more than he is prepared to stop the Iranian nuclear bomb. Damascus has now called his bluff so the challenge is to find some way to run while seeming to keep the field.