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 16, 2013
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.
April 17, 2013
In the midst of a plethora of bad news, something good has happened in Washington; gun control has been defeated! In a vote of 54-46, the Manchin-Toomey background check failed to get the required 60 votes in the Senate.
What's amazing is how far the liberals have fallen on this issue; after the Sandy Hook shooting last September, the anti-gun nuts came out full force, promising to reinstate the Clinton-era "assault weapon" ban, if not enact much tougher legislation. While they have succeeded in a few states, they failed miserably nationally. And the states where they succeeded are liberal strongholds anyway, so that doesn't really count for much.
After Sandy Hook, the liberals thought they had their golden opportunity. They thought they had it in the bag. And the way they came out so strong makes me think they had it planned all along; that for years they've had this all planned, and were just waiting for the next shooting to enact their plan. Nothing formal, of course, and I'm not imagining some grand conspiracy. But at their cocktail parties they strategized; "ok, after the next mass shooting we all come out full force with gun bans and surely in the heat of the moment we can get something passed!"
April 9, 2013
A giant has passed from this world to the next. Margaret Thatcher, 1925 - 1913, died yesterday. Famously the daughter of a grocer, she was elected to Parliament in 1959, and became Prime Minister in 1979, serving in that capacity until 1992.
After Winston Churchill she was the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th Century, and probably the greatest Briton. Without Churchill we would not have won World War II, and without Thatcher it is hard to see how we would have won the Cold War, or at least win it when we did.
And despite what some nay-sayers and revisionists may say, along with Ronald Reagan, John Paul II, and others such as Helmut Kohl, she did win the Cold War. If Pope John Paul II was the ultimate moral leader against the travesty that was Soviet Communism, leaders like Thatcher, Reagan, and Kohl held firm in the political realm and did what had to be done.
In the face of fierce opposition insisted that the planned deployment of nuclear tipped Pershing II theater ballistic missiles and Ground Launched Cruise Missiles go ahead as scheduled. And in the face of equally determined opposition, from some in the West, no less, they insisted on the "zero-zero" option which ultimately prevailed, instead of the softer "halfway" approach favored by most media pundits and the Western left.
When the fascists of Argentina challenged her by seizing the Falklands, she responded firmly by sending a task force south which took back the islands. She was not one to be pushed around by communists, fascists, or by labor goons in her own country.
Speaking of which, it is hard to remember just how desperate Britain's situation was when she took over in 1979. The economy was truly going to pot, and many British labor unions were led by some of the most extreme, and violent, people imaginable. The coal miner unions, led by one Arthur Scargill, were the worst. But as in the foreign arena, Thatcher held firm in the face of much opposition and in the end her country is the better for it.
It is sad that later prime ministers, such as Tony Blair, have undone much of her economic legacy. While Blair did well in the foreign arena, his policies at home are sending that country back to the 1979s. We face a similar problem in the US, but that is the subject for another post.
For now, click to go below the link and enjoy some outtakes of Thatcher at her best in the House of Commons: