Why Germany Refuses to Play a Bigger Role in NATO

June 22, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Hint: It’s not just that Russia has Germany by the gas pipe. After two World Wars and a conscious decision to rebuild Germany to be less threatening, we got what we asked for.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

One of the stranger aspects of the slow-motion crisis over Ukraine caused by Russian provocations and aggression is the uneven response from NATO members. While Alliance states located closer to Russia, which experienced Moscow’s occupation during the Cold War, generally have taken the threat of aggressive Kremlin moves seriously – Poland and Estonia especially – the reaction of some NATO members has been lackluster. In particular, responses in Germany to the Ukraine crisis have been tepid, to use charitable language, and excessive sympathy for Moscow’s actions and attitudes is so commonplace that Germans have a word – Russlandversteher – for it.

Why Germany displays such misplaced sympathy for Russia, despite Kremlin misconduct in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, is a complex issue that is rooted deeply in German history, and cannot be divorced from the broader tendency to anti-Americanism that has become vocal in recent years. That said, Germany’s unwillingness to do…

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D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2014

(Note: This is a re-posting and slight editing of a post I put up every D-Day.)

Seventy years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson reflects on D-Day at 70:

Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British, and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 b.c.

About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterly display of planning and courage. Within a month, almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within eleven months the war with Germany was over.

(…)

D-Day ushered in the end of the Third Reich. It was the most brilliantly conducted invasion in military history, and probably no one but a unique generation of British, Canadians, and Americans could have pulled it off.

Read the rest. While giving the Russians their due, he puts their contribution in perspective.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.

UPDATE: In today’s newsletter, Real Clear Politics quotes the prayer FDR read when announcing the invasion to the nation:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity,” the president said while the outcome of the battle was still in doubt.

“They will need Thy blessings,” FDR continued. “Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph…”

Imagine a president saying something like that nowadays; the Left would have a fit.

But, forget them. Today’s a day to remember genuine heroes and thank Divine Providence we had such men on our side.

UPDATE 06/06/2013: This is a real president commemorating D-Day:

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The VA Health Scandal Is about Government Incompetence, not Inadequate Funding

June 1, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Frightened of what the VA scandal foreshadows for life under Obamacare, the Left has fallen back on their standard policy prescription: More money! (Cries of “racism!” are next on the list, I think…)

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I’ve never been susceptible to the claim that you solve problems with taxpayer money.

Indeed, this amusing poster is a pretty good summary of my views on the effectiveness of government spending.

But what about the horrific stories about veterans dying because of secret waiting lists and bureaucratic skullduggery at the Veterans Administration?

I want to take care of former soldiers who need treatment because of their service, and national defense is one of the few legitimate functions of the federal government. So is this one of the rare cases where a budget needs to increase? That’s certainly the mentality in some quarters on Capitol Hill.

Here are some excerpts from Byron York’s column in the Washington Examiner.

Sanders and his fellow Democrats want to give the VA billions more. …What is striking about Sanders’ bill is not just its price tag but how irrelevant it is to the…

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Pelosi channels Whoopie Goldberg on the #VAscandal: It’s not really a scandal-scandal…

May 29, 2014

Oh, brother.

While her minions race to the microphones to denounce VA Secretary Shinseki before the voters take out their wrath on them, House Minority Leader (1) Nancy Pelosi took the softball question lobbed to her by Vox’s Ezra Klein (2) and explained that, yes, the poor treatment of veterans was scandalous, but she wasn’t sure if it really was a “scandal:”

Gee, Nancy, it sure seems to me that VA administrators and employees manipulating federal records to hide the poor treatment of veterans and win themselves some bonuses amounts to a scandal. Maybe even a criminal matter. What else do you need? Oh, wait. I know.

An (R) after the president’s name.

via The Right Scoop

Footnote:
(1) And a person very much responsible for creating that minority. Thanks, Nancy!
(2) He who thinks the Constitution is too old to understand.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Unofficial Death Panels at the VA Show Where Obamacare Will Lead

May 23, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The amazing thing to me is that, having known about this since taking office and having touted VA as a model for how Obamacare would work, why in Heaven’s name did the Obama administration not fix VA??

Originally posted on International Liberty:

In hopes of warning people about the dangers of Obamacare, I’ve shared horror stories from the United Kingdom about patients languishing on waiting lists and being left to die.

Now, thanks to whistleblowers, we have horror stories from America. The government-run system operated by the Veterans Administration has maintained secret waiting lists that have led to lots of delayed care and numerous deaths.

The Wall Street Journalopines on the scandal.

The real story of the VA scandal is the failure of what liberals have long hailed as the model of government health care. Don’t take our word for it. As recently as November 2011, Paul Krugman praised the VA as a triumph of “socialized medicine,” as he put it… What the egalitarians ignore, however, is that a government system contains its own “perverse incentives,” such as rationing that leads to treatment delays and preventable deaths, which the bureaucracy…

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Congressman offers amendment to end spending any money on U.N. climate programs

May 21, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s not a ban on all federal spending chasing the global warming mirage, but solely by the Department of Defense. Still, this would stop DoD from wasting any of the nearly $600 billion they get on “Green nonsense.” I can get behind an idea like this; shame it will likely die a lonely death in Harry Reid’s Senate.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Being debated today in Congress is The Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 4435). It is the latest proposed National Defense Authorization Act. According to the House Armed Services Committee, the bill “will be the comprehensive legislation to authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.” Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) is introducing an amendment to cut off funds for a whole bunch of climate programs. See the list and amendment below.

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Obama minimum wage edict leads to job losses at military bases

April 29, 2014
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we won the election! Obama!!”

Democrats and their Leftist allies are desperate to find any issue to run on in the coming elections, other than Obamacare. One of their tactics has been to try to gin up class warfare based on raising the minimum wage. They argue that it will help the poor, raise living standards, and, of course, be more “fair.” Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians, on the other hand, contend that increasing the cost of labor will only mean higher prices to the consumer, fewer jobs for the marginally skilled, and be particularly harmful to minorities. This video is a good example of how minimum wage laws kill jobs.

Needless to say, I come down on the side of those opposed to the Democrats’ demands for a minimum wage increase. But honest, intelligent people (1) can reasonably disagree.  To help solve this disagreement, a real-world, real-time example would be nice. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), we have one. As Byron York reports in The Washington Examiner, President Obama’s edict raising the minimum wage for federal contract employees on military bases is leading to the closure of fast-food restaurants on those bases, thus costing jobs:

Obama’s order does not take effect until January 1, 2015. But there are signs it is already having an effect — and it is not what the president and his party said it would be.

In late March, the publication Military Times reported that three McDonald’s fast-food restaurants, plus one other lesser-known food outlet, will soon close at Navy bases, while other national-name chains have “asked to be released from their Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts to operate fast-food restaurants at two other installations.”

Military Times quoted sources saying the closures are related to the coming mandatory wage increases, with one source saying they are “the tip of the iceberg.”

And increasing the minimum wage isn’t the only way Washington is increasing the cost of labor:

The administration is making it very expensive to do business on military bases, and not just because of the minimum wage. Under federal contracting law, some businesses operating on military installations must also pay their workers something called a health and welfare payment, which last year was $2.56 an hour but which the administration has now raised to $3.81 an hour.

In the past, fast-food employers did not have to pay the health and welfare payment, but last fall the Obama Labor Department ruled that they must. So add $3.81 per hour, per employee to the employers’ cost. And then add Obama’s $2.85 an hour increase in the minimum wage. Together, employers are looking at paying $6.66 (2) more per hour, per employee. That’s a back-breaking burden. (Just for good measure, the administration also demanded such employers provide paid holidays and vacation time.)

As I wrote above, the natural business response to this is to either raise prices for the consumer, or cut back on employee hours — or cut jobs altogether. Well, guess what? York reports that military contracts do not allow the businesses to raise their prices above what’s common in the outside community. So, even though Obama is raising wages well above the prevailing standard, employers are forbidden to recoup their costs. What does that leave?

Closing the business altogether.

If there’s no chance for profit, why stay open? When you add up the numbers for all four major services, we’re looking at potentially 10,000 jobs going up in smoke. Not to mention the ripple effect in the outside communities.

Here we have a current, ongoing example of how raising the minimum wage harms people by killing jobs. (3) How then, is the Democratic proposal a good idea?

I’m waiting. smiley well I'm waiting

 

Footnote:
(1) Thus excluding Democratic pols and activists.
(2) How fitting.
(3) Yes, military contract law made the situation worse by forbidding compensatory price increases. So, increasing costs for the consumer –including minimum wage earners!– is a good thing? And what’s to say the Obama administration, if they got their way on the minimum wage, wouldn’t try to extend price controls when the inevitable complaints arose? We are talking dyed-in-the-wool statists, after all. One bad policy, raising the minimum wage, inevitably leads to more bad policy. Just look at the history to-date of Obamacare.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


It’s a shame the UK doesn’t have a death penalty

February 26, 2014
Lee Rigby, victim of jihad

Lee Rigby, victim of jihad

For these two brave knights of Allah blood-crazed jihadis richly deserve it:

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were found guilty on 19th December 2013 of killing 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby, who had served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Adebolajo, 28, was sentenced to a whole life tariff.

Adebowale, 22, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The pair were said to be shouting in the court room earlier, screaming “Allah hu Akbar” before they were removed by guards.

Judge Nigel Sweeney delayed sentencing in order to take account of a Court of Appeal ruling on the principle of jail terms for life.

Justice Sweeney said during the sentencing, “You have both gloried in what you have done.” He also stated that the two “butchered” Lee Rigby: “You, Adebolajo, concentrated on his neck. You, Adebowale, concentrated on his torso. What the two of you did resulted in a bloodbath”.

Adebolajo and Adebowale are Muslim converts who knew exactly what they were doing: waging jihad fi sabil Allah — “war for the sake of Allah” — in accordance with the Qur’an:

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost. 

These murderers took Drummer Rigby from his wife and two-year old child, but will themselves live for decades at the British taxpayer’s expense. Doesn’t seem like justice to me.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Asking for trouble: the Obama-Hagel defense budget

February 25, 2014
U.S. Navy, post-Obama

U.S. Navy, post-Obama

Long ago, the Roman writer Vegetius wrote perhaps the wisest thing anyone has ever written regarding war and peace:

“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

In other words, if your potential foes know you are strong, that you are willing to use force to defend your interests, and that they are not likely to win, then they will not pick a fight with you.

President Obama and his dullard Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, have evidently never read Vegetius:

Stating that a postwar environment was the time to do some shrinking, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a budget proposal Monday that reduces the Army to pre-World War II levels despite “a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.”

“Our force structure and modernization recommendations are rooted in three realities: first, after Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations; second, we must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries; and, third, the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon today.

You can read the details in Bridget Johnson’s article, but, quickly, the Army would be reduced to 450,000 soldiers, the Marine Corps to 182,000, the Navy would be kept at 11 carrier battle groups (unless further cuts are needed), and, among other cuts, the Air Force would eliminate its entire force of A-10 “warthog” ground-support aircraft. I’m sure infantrymen everywhere are thrilled with that one.

Hagel’s opening statement is nonsensical: in one breath he proposes devastating cuts to our military capabilities, while, in the other, he claims (rightly) that the world is growing “more volatile, more unpredictable,” and “more threatening.” When he claims this configuration will allow us to defend ourselves from foes by relying on high tech, he ignores his own assertion that the world is unpredictable. Who knew on September 10th, 2001, in the wake of the Clinton-era defense cuts, that we would find ourselves in a war that required liberating and occupying two nations? While we are leaving Afghanistan and have left Iraq (God help them), we are still at war with a transnational terror group waging holy war against us. What if they should take over another country as a base (Syria? Mali? Iraq, again?)?  Do we then shrug our shoulders and say “No can do?” What if North Korea decides to invade the South, again? Those A-10s will be sorely missed, I guarantee it.

Those are just two among the myriad possible threats we face as dictators grow emboldened by our feckless leadership. When Ronald Reagan launched our military buildup in the 1980s, it wasn’t just to have plenty of ships and tanks on hand, it was to demonstrate a will to resist the world’s tyrants, so that they would make no miscalculation. The Obama-Hagel defense cuts, on the other hand send just the opposite message, one of weakness and a lack of confidence, of opportunity for the enemy because this administration is renouncing our traditional role as guarantor of a liberal world order.

And it’s deliberate. In an essay that now seems truly prescient, Charles Krauthammer made it plain that, for an ideology that sees American power as a problem, not a solution, for the world’s challenges, decline is a choice, one made in sacrifice to the desire to turn the US into a gelded European social democracy:

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There’s much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance–the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities. They rely on the U.S. Navy for open seas and on the U.S. Air Force for airlift. It’s the U.S. Marines who go ashore, not just in battle, but for such global social services as tsunami relief. The United States can do all of this because we spend infinitely more on defense–more than the next nine countries combined.

Those are the conditions today. But they are not static or permanent. They require constant renewal. The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services–massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education–that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.

This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making “hard choices”–forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today’s urgencies and tomorrow’s looming threats.

That was in 2009, and now we’re seeing the inevitable product of that vast expansion of the welfare state. And the world is going to become much more dangerous because of it.

To paraphrase Vegetius, “If you want war, pretend your enemy wants peace.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iran tests U.S. maritime borders

February 8, 2014
"Iranian Navy in action"

“Iranian Navy in action”

Oh, how cute! The Iranian Navy is trying to show the Great Satan (1) that it’s all grown up, now!

A senior Iranian naval commander says his country has sent several warships to the Atlantic Ocean, close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time.

The commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Saturday that the vessels have already begun the journey to the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa.

The “task force” sending us this message consists of a destroyer and a helicopter carrier.

I’m sure U.S. Fleet Forces Command will be sure to be duly impressed, once they’re done laughing and pointing.

Seriously, Iran says this is in response to us for stationing the 5th Fleet in and near the Persian Gulf. Hey, Afshin! Buddy! It’s called “freedom of the seas,” and we take it very seriously. If you weren’t periodically threatening to close a lifeline for much of the world’s oil, we wouldn’t have to stand ready to knock some much-needed sense into you.

Schmucks.

Footnote:
(1) For those without a program, that’s us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Consistency: Obama lied *before* #Benghazi, too

January 15, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

I know it will come to a shock to you –well, at least that portion of you that has been hiding under a rock for the last five years– but the man we chose twice to head our government lied through his teeth about taking steps to ensure our facilities in Libya were protected before September 11th, 2012.

That’s the latest revelation from newly declassified transcripts of House hearings held last spring on the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi massacre, in which four Americans died. FOX’s James Rosen reports:

On Sept. 10, 2012 — the day before Al Qaeda-linked terrorists carried out the bloody assault on the U.S. consulate and a related annex in Benghazi — the White House Press Office issued a press release entitled “Readout of the President’s Meeting with Senior Administration Officials on Our Preparedness and Security Posture on the Eleventh Anniversary of September 11th.”

A set of “Top Secret” documents obtained by Fox News reveals that the nation’s highest-ranking uniformed military officer, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to Congress in executive session last year that the Sept. 10 meeting “was actually a conference call.” Moreover, Dempsey testified, Libya was never even discussed during the call, despite a persistent and increasingly worrisome stream of threat reporting from that country, and from Benghazi in particular.

The Sept. 10 press release stated that the session had covered the “specific measures we are taking” and “steps taken” to protect Americans and U.S. facilities abroad. It also related an order from President Obama for all agencies to “do everything possible to protect the American people, both at home and abroad.”

Yet the declassified documents show that Dempsey testified to the Congress last year that not a single directive had been issued by him or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to adjust American military force posture anywhere in the world as the 9/11 anniversary loomed just hours away.

(Emphases added.)

In other words, this was all showboating to preserve the narrative that al Qaeda was on the run and to protect the President’s reelection campaign. That “order” quoted above is the kind of grandstanding one would expect from a cheap pol — which is what Obama is.The proof is in his administration’s deeds, not its words, and, in the run up to September 11th, 2012, with regard to Benghazi, his administration’s deeds show Barack Obama did nothing.

Except lie to the American people about it.

Just to draw a line under the point that the administration had ample warning that trouble was brewing in Benghazi, but chose to ignore their duty, let me quote another section that relates the testimony of Marine Colonel George Bristol (1):

Still another high-ranking military officer with relevant jurisdiction also told the House Armed Services subcommittee that his own expressions of concern about Libya were effectively ignored in that critical period. Marine Corps Col. George Bristol, commander of AFRICOM’s Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Trans Sahara region, testified before the panel in executive session on July 31 of last year that he warned State Department officials in Tripoli that “if [the terrorists] were going to try something … this would be a day.” Asked by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., if he had seen “any intelligence” that led him to believe “there was an increased threat on 9/11,” Bristol replied, “Yes, sir.”

BRISTOL: “Did they take individual security measures inside of the Libyan embassy [sic]? Sir, that I do not know.”

WITTMAN: “But you did have conversations with folks there [at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli]?”

BRISTOL: “Yes, sir.”

[...]

WITTMAN: “In your professional opinion, based on that, were you somewhat uncomfortable maybe, knowing about the threat, that that was the posture then that was going to be there within that theater?”

BRISTOL: “Sir, I — yes, and that wasn’t the only country that I was worried about that.”

This supports what we already knew, that the administration had ample warning. As I wrote late last November:

The central issue here, however, is the incompetence bordering on malfeasance on the part of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The State Department under Clinton was almost bloody-minded in its refusal to provide adequate security for a post that was effectively in daily contact with the enemy. And President Obama failed utterly in his duties to oversee our interests in a nation where he had overthrown the government and created a client state. Why wasn’t he verifying that Benghazi had sufficient protection? Why didn’t he make sure there was a sufficient force on standby to come to the aid of a station in hostile territory?

Wait. What am I saying? There was fundraising to be done!

And Rosen’s report confirms what the failure to act on these warnings implied: Barack Obama really couldn’t care less about doing his job.

Footnote:
(1) We’ve met the Colonel before. You might want to review the post, since his declassified testimony shows why the DoD acted as if they couldn’t find him — his statement lays Panetta and Obama’s incompetence bare.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Obama knew that night that it was a terrorist strike

January 14, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

And not some lousy video made by a two-bit crook.

Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials — headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama — were informed that the event was a “terrorist attack,” declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president’s Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward.

Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time was head of AFRICOM, the Defense Department combatant command with jurisdiction over Libya, told the House in classified testimony last year that it was him who broke the news about the unfolding situation in Benghazi to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tense briefing — in which it was already known that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens had been targeted and had gone missing — occurred just before the two senior officials departed the Pentagon for their session with the commander in chief.

According to declassified testimony obtained by Fox News, Ham — who was working out of his Pentagon office on the afternoon of Sept. 11 — said he learned about the assault on the consulate compound within 15 minutes of its commencement, at 9:42 p.m. Libya time, through a call he received from the AFRICOM Command Center.

And on the question of whether the attack was t he result of a demonstration caused by a video, General Ham had this to say:

“In your discussions with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta,” [Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA)] asked, “was there any mention of a demonstration or was all discussion about an attack?” Ham initially testified that there was some “peripheral” discussion of this subject, but added “at that initial meeting, we knew that a U.S. facility had been attacked and was under attack, and we knew at that point that we had two individuals, Ambassador Stevens and Mr. [Sean] Smith, unaccounted for.”

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a first-term lawmaker with experience as an Iraq war veteran and Army reserve officer, pressed Ham further on the point, prodding the 29-year Army veteran to admit that “the nature of the conversation” he had with Panetta and Dempsey was that “this was a terrorist attack.”

So. There you go. We on the Right always knew Obama was lying about Benghazi, but apologists on the Left and in the media (but I repeat myself) kept dismissing the allegations as a witch hunt, a fishing expedition, partisan politics, and even, naturally, “racism.”

But now we have the testimony of the general in charge of the combat command responsible for Benghazi that he, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarded this as a terrorist attack — within minutes of the attack beginning! Panetta and Dempsey then went to a previously scheduled meeting with Obama at which, we’re supposed to believe, they didn’t give their boss their considered opinion? They just let him believe the massacre happened because of some video few ever saw? That they let him and his advisers go on for weeks like this, when they knew the truth?

Garbage. It is inconceivable that Obama did not know that night that our consulate had come under terrorist attack. He then lied about it repeatedly to protect his reelection campaign, pushing the lie about a video both to the nation and before the United Nations. He sent his then UN Ambassador to lie about it on no less than five Sunday talk shows. His Secretary of State, whose incompetence left those men to die in Benghazi, lied before Congress, lied to the American people, and lied to the faces of the families of the victims in order to protect her own chances at the presidency. And the video-maker they turned into a scapegoat for their own failings was rousted out of his home on a petty parole violation and tossed into jail, his constitutional rights gut-shot, a move worthy of the best Third World police states. And the whole object of the lying was to fool us, the American people.

No one else.

By all rights, news like this should destroy Obama’s presidency, leading to his resignation in disgrace. It won’t, though. Barring a truly shocking revelation, its time as a scandal has passed. The press will stay focused like a laser on traffic jams in New Jersey. But, when we weigh both this and the serial lies told to sell Obamacare, there is one lesson anyone with a still-functioning brain should draw:

Anyone who takes at face value anything said by Barack Obama or his staff is a fool.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Americans held in Libya, head-meets-desk quote. Update: released?

December 27, 2013

There’s breaking news tonight that four Americans, likely military, are in the custody of the Libyan government, having been taken during a visit to the Roman ruins at Sabratha. As of this writing, no information has been released as to any charges, and the State Department has issued no statement. (Probably wise, until we learn more.)

Reading the NYT article, I did a double-take when I read the following:

Since the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens on Sept. 11, 2012, employees of the American Embassy have operated with extraordinary caution. Rigorous security rules preclude any movements outside the heavily fortified embassy compound without advance planning and an armed guard. The compound is locked at night, and no one is permitted to enter or exit. Counterterrorism has become a central focus of the work there, and the compound brims with well-armed security officers.

Just brilliant. It takes the needless deaths of four US personnel, including an ambassador, at the hands of our sworn enemies for us to finally start providing anything resembling adequate security. Hillary Clinton’s legacy is secure, and I’m sure the souls of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods are ever so relieved.

Meanwhile, I would suggest to the Libyan government that it remember who put them in power in the first place and that, if any of these men are hurt in any way, we have long memories, and Barack Obama won’t always be president.

UPDATE: Per CNN via KCCI, the four have been released. No confirmation yet, nor any word on their condition or why they were held in the first place.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What happens when you see American power as a problem?

October 22, 2013
"You're not welcome."

This is a problem?

Simple: You do whatever you can to make sure it won’t be a problem much longer.

While the president of the United States pitched his crumbling healthcare program like a late-night infomercial barker, the Army’s chief of staff made a shocking admission about national defense.

Gen. Ray Odierno told a Washington conference Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

And, he said, there currently are only two Army brigades rated combat-ready. That’s a total of between 7,000 to 10,000 troops and less than one-third what the combat veteran regards as necessary for proper national security.

“Right now,” Odierno said, “we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That’s it. Two.”

Odierno also revealed that troops shipping out to Afghanistan now are prepared only to train and assist Afghan troops, not to conduct combat operations themselves. But, of course, there’s no guarantee the Americans won’t find themselves in combat while accompanying Afghan soldiers.

All this to obey Obama administration orders to drastically cut the Army and military spending and meet cuts under sequestration. Since the Obama Pentagon began the troop draw-down two years ago under the president’s orders, more than 33,000 active duty soldiers have been cut.

Current plans call for additional reductions of 42,000 soldiers in the next 23 months to a total of 490,000, down from 570,000. Those cuts have been accelerated by two years under Pentagon orders and will involve involuntary separations of thousands.

Read the rest for Andrew’s take on what looks like a purge of the generals. Funny how it’s only the military that’s being held accountable…

There was a time, from FDR through LBJ, when American liberals saw American power as a good thing for the world. No more. Since the takeover of the Democratic Party by the New Left, beginning in the 1960s, progressives and their allies to their Left have seen American power as a source of the world’s problems, not a cure or a preventative. For the new liberal internationalists, decline is a choice.

We’re now seeing the results of that choice, and the world is being made more dangerous because of it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You can’t kill a Gurkha. You can only make him mad, which is a bad idea.

October 5, 2013
Made for hunting Taliban

Made for hunting Taliban

(Image via Wikipedia)

You’d think the Taliban would have learned from their last encounter with Her Majesty’s Nepalese soldiers, but, no, there’s always someone who thinks “this time, it will be different.”

And that, my friends, is the definition of madness:

Acting L/Cpl [Tuljung] Gurung, who serves with the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was on duty at Patrol Base Sparta, in Nahr-e Seraj, at 4am on March 22 when he spotted two Afghans running towards his sangar, or watchtower.

When he challenged them to stop, the insurgents opened fire with an AK47 assault rifle.

One of the rounds struck him on the helmet, knocking him to the ground. Groggily getting to his feet, he saw a grenade bounce into the tower.

Fearing it would explode, the married Gurkha picked it up and hurled it away a split-second before it detonated, the force of the blast throwing him to the floor.

But as the dust and debris settled, Acting L/Cpl Gurung came face-to-face with one of the Taliban who was climbing into the 3 metre high sangar.

Lacking room to aim his rifle, the soldier drew his 18inch kukri and tenaciously took on the insurgent in hand-to-hand combat.

During the fight, the pair plunged to the ground outside the base. In a life-or-death struggle, Acting L/Cpl Gurung continued to lash out with the blade.

He said: ‘He was quite a bit bigger than me. I just hit him in the hand, body, I just started to hit him.

‘I just thought, “I don’t want to die. If I am alive I can save my colleagues”.

‘I thought, “Before he does something I have to do something”. I was like a madman.’

Faced with his ferocity, the Taliban turned and fled. Acting L/Cpl Gurung’s citation said he had displayed the ‘highest levels of gallantry and courage’.

When you look in the dictionary under “badass,” you’ll find a picture of a Gurkha.

For his courage and loyalty, Lance Corporal Gurung was awarded the Military Cross, Britain’s third-highest medal. I’d say his comrades owe him a round or two in the pub, too.

RELATED: The Gurkha who took on 40 train robbers, armed only with his kukri knife.

via Craigé

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: Priests threatened with arrest for ministering to military

October 4, 2013

Jeez, first they threaten to arrest 90-year old WW II  veterans for visiting their own monument, now they’re going after priests who dare to hold services during the shutdown:

In a stunning development, some military priests are facing arrest if they celebrate mass or practice their faith on military bases during the federal government shutdown.

“With the government shutdown, many [government service] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” wrote John Schlageter, the general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, in an op-ed this week. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”

Kansas representative and Army veteran Mike Pompeo (R) is righteously angry:

“The constitutional rights of those who put their lives on the line for this nation do not end with a government slowdown,” Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, a graduate of West Point and an Army veteran, said in a Friday statement. ”It is completely irresponsible for the president to turn his back on every American’s First Amendment rights by furloughing military contract clergy.”

Added Pompeo: “The President’s strategy during the slowdown, just as during the sequestration, is to create as much pain as possible. However, this action crosses a constitutional line of obstructing every U.S. service member’s ability to practice his or her religion.”

I’m not sure I agree with Pompeo’s 1st amendment argument; if there are Catholic churches near the bases, the soldiers can simply be given leave time. Also, while unusual, it is possible to hold a limited service without a priest present. Confession and absolution would be dicier, I imagine, and I’d can’t imagine they’d dare try to arrest a priest there to perform the Anointing of the Sick. But, at a minimum, Catholic personnel are probably feeling a bit picked on. (The article doesn’t say if the same restrictions are being applied to ministers and rabbis.)

But, as with the fiasco over the veterans and access to monuments, you have to ask what is going through the heads of people in the administration who gave this order. The optics are awful enough when the government, in effect, says “Your spiritual well-being is non-essential,” but to say no even to priests who offer to work for free? Really? The Republicans should send Team Unicorn a thank-you card; the campaign commercials on this would be just brutal.

All they need now to complete this is for Harry Reid to issue another one of his caring, empathetic, milk-of-human-kindness statements.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Unreal: Park Service threatens to arrest WWII vets who try to visit their memorial

October 1, 2013
"You're not welcome."

“Unwelcome.”

So, you’ve heard the story today about the group of World War II veterans who had to break through barriers deliberately placed there by the Obama administration as part of its game-playing over the Democrat-forced government shutdown. It’s bad enough that they were deliberately inconveniencing 80-90 year old men who honorably served their country. I thought that was pretty low. And I was right, but I didn’t think they could sink any lower.

Well, they did. A group of veterans scheduled for an Honor Flight next week have been threatened with arrest if they try to visit the memorial that was erected in their honor:

Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio has a trip scheduled to depart from Toledo next Wednesday, October 9.

“We will make the call this Friday to determine if the flight is still a go, or if we will have to re-schedule,” Armstrong explains.

He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest.

Armstrong says, “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.’”

When he asked for her name, he says she did not give it to him and then promptly hung up the phone.

Think about this for a moment: these men and their buddies crossed the Atlantic to fight their way from Morocco to Italy. They stormed the beaches of Normandy, liberated France, and and invaded Germany to grind the Nazis into the dirt. They crossed the Pacific and fought the Japanese island by bloody island and in some of the greatest naval battles of human history, and stood ready to invade Japan, itself. They, along with our British and Russian allies, saved the world. Let me repeat that.

They. Saved. The. World.

They did more good in those three years of war than Barack Obama, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi will ever do — in their lives.

And now they’re threatened with arrest if they dare to roll their wheelchairs onto the grounds of their memorial?

Someone needs some sense slapped into them.

Moe Lane at Red State:

…the WWII Memorial does not have a permanent security presence, which means that there is actually no valid, ethical reason why the Obama administration could presume to shut it down for the public. Not that the administration actually needs one. So they proactively locked down a previously-open national monument, and then presumed to tell the men whose sacrifice it honored that those men were not welcome at that place.

Never forget this moment. This is how Barack Obama acts, when challenged or resisted. He acts ugly, and mean-spirited, and shabby.

In other words, once a punk, always a punk.

“Disgusted” doesn’t half-cover how I feel right now.

via Stephen Hayes

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How low can they go? Obama admin. blocked WWII vets from visiting their own memorial

October 1, 2013
D-day

“First they stormed Normandy, then their own memorial”

Pretty danged low, apparently.

When I first read about a group of WWII veterans having to push past barriers in order to visit the World War II memorial, closed supposedly as part of the Democrat shutdown of the government, I figured it was one of those snafus one hears all too often about when the subject of bureaucracy comes up. Annoying, infuriating, and disrespectful toward our veterans, but still unintentional.

What a naive fool I am.

According to Representative Steven Palazzo (R-MS), whose special projects these Honor Flights have been, he contacted the Park Service, the Interior Department, the Capitol Police, and even the White House to get access for these veterans to a memorial built to honor them.

They all said “no:”

“We got the heads up that they will be barricaded and specifically asked for an exception for these heroes,” Palazzo told TheDC. “We were denied and told, ‘It’s a government shutdown, what do you expect?’ when we contacted the liaison for the White House.”

Palazzo’s office was in touch with the heads of the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior and the Capitol Police. He says all these officials rejected his request to allow the veterans, many of whom are octogenarians and some of whom are in poor health, to attend.

Palazzo, a Gulf War Marine veteran who has participated in all five of the Honor Flights, blames the White House for making it harder on veterans and playing politics. “At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller, “but having talked with the officials I can’t help but think this was politically motivated. Honor Flights, which bring WWII veterans to the nation’s memorials, are planned a year in advance and cost anywhere between $80,000 to $100,000. How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?”

In Chicago on the Potomac, you can get very, very low.

What a disgrace.

via McKay Coppins

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) You really ought to go home

September 27, 2013

An interesting edition of Afterburner. Bill Whittle talks about a recent incident in which an American F-22 suggested that the pilot of an Iranian fighter “ought to go home” and then ties it to two well-known politicians who, themselves, should to do the same:

That Obama canceled the F-22 should surprise no one; cutting military spending regardless of strategic needs is par for the course for someone of his political stripe, someone who believes that American power causes problems in the world. It’s who he is.

But John McCain? It’s sad to say about someone whose service to his country was genuinely admirable, but, as also demonstrated by his uncritical enthusiasm for intervening in Libya and Syria, his reasons for ending the F-22 program show that whatever judgment he may have possessed is gone, and he himself has descended into a vain, old fool.

You really ought to go home, Senator.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The day we almost nuked North Carolina

September 20, 2013

satire nuclear explosion 2

Well, this is reassuring: In 1961, a nuclear-armed B-52 breaks up over Goldsboro, North Carolina, and in the process releases two 4-megaton H-bombs, one of which nearly detonated:

The accident happened when a B-52 bomber got into trouble, having embarked from Seymour Johnson Air Force base in Goldsboro for a routine flight along the East Coast. As it went into a tailspin, the hydrogen bombs it was carrying became separated. One fell into a field near Faro, North Carolina, its parachute draped in the branches of a tree; the other plummeted into a meadow off Big Daddy’s Road.

Jones found that of the four safety mechanisms in the Faro bomb, designed to prevent unintended detonation, three failed to operate properly. When the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device, and it was only that final, highly vulnerable switch that averted calamity. “The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52,” Jones concludes.

I’d say that’s an understatement, wouldn’t you?

According to the writer of the original report on the incident, Parker Jones, there were over 700 “significant incidents” between 1950 and 1968.

Sleep well!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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