In which President Obama channels King Ethelred the Unready

August 29, 2014
King Ethelred the Unready

King Ethelred the Unready

An archaeologist friend once told me that the nickname for King Ethelred II of England, “the Unready,” loosely translated from the original Old English as “Ethelred the Without a Clue.”

Yesterday President Obama, constitutionally charged with the conduct of our foreign affairs and responsible for dealing with threats our people, admitted in a question dealing with the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) that he, too, was without a clue:

(via Moe Lane)

Here’s Obama’s full statement, provided by CBS journalist Mark Knoller:

QUESTION: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?

OBAMA: You know, I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as commander in chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress, and I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in and we’re — that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are. And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military, as well. We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.

But there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.

In other words,

“In my haste to bug out of Iraq before it was ready to stand on its own, so I could really get down to gutting America’s military capabilities, we never considered the possibility that this group we’ve known about for the last two years could actually become a threat. My administration was totally caught with its pants down and we’ve have no idea whatsoever of what to do. But I’ll blather a lot to make it look like we’re doing something. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for tee-time.”

Mr. President, sir… Dude, we need to have a talk.

To mangle a phrase, “You had two jobs!” The first is to see that the laws passed by Congress are faithfully executed. We already know you don’t like to do that. The other is to see to the United States’ foreign national security interests in your role as commander in chief. We all know you don’t like that one, either. (Believe me, it shows.) You’re rotten at both.

But you’re still the president until January, 2017, and you could at least not make things worse. In other words, sir… (clears throat)…

YOU DON’T TELL THE ENEMY THAT YOU HAVE NO EFFING IDEA WHAT TO DO!!!

Pardon me for yelling.

ISIS is the enemy. They, like their progenitors in al Qaeda, have declared war on us, and they are noting everything you do or say, because they know you could squash them like the bugs they are — if you ever decided to do so. They have to take a possible American reaction into account, and that cognizance of a threat from us might restrain them, if even only a little bit.

Instead, you have just told them they have a free pass because the only thing you can think of is to stand there and, in effect, say “I dunno. What do you want to do?”

You had months and even years to come up with some plan for dealing with a resurgent jihadism in Iraq, and yet you did nothing. We left, Syria fell apart, then Iraq fell apart, and then maniacs carved off the head of an American, and…

You did nothing. You did nothing except issue meaningless statements and declare red lines that were nothing more than mirages, and now you’ve admitted to the world –including our enemies– that you don’t take threats to our interests seriously enough to bother coming up with plans before those threats explode.

Well, sir, you’re president for the next two years and five months, and you had better get your head in the game, because our enemies are coming for ours, figuratively and literally.

At the very least, don’t open your mouth and remove all doubt that you’re “Barack the Unready.”

 


Awesome: persons from ebola-outbreak countries among illegal border crossers

August 4, 2014
Ebola virus

Ebola virus

I’m telling ya, this is how Act One of a bad science fiction movie would run. A report leaked to Breitbart Texas from the Customs and Border Patrol service (CBP) discusses how people from all over the globe are trying to exploit our porous southern border to get into the United States. People from more than 75 different countries have been apprehended. That’s frustrating enough. But what is truly scary is where some of them are coming from:

Among the significant revelations are that individuals from nations currently suffering from the world’s largest Ebola outbreak have been caught attempting to sneak across the porous U.S. border into the interior of the United States. At least 71 individuals from the three nations affected by the current Ebola outbreak have either turned themselves in or been caught attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by U.S. authorities between January 2014 and July 2014.

None of those people it seems were carrying ebola, for we’d surely know by now. But what if someone carrying the virus made it across the Rio Grande and successfully hid themselves in our inner cities, not knowing the danger he or she posed as a “Trojan horse?” By the time this person showed symptoms and was discovered, the virus might already have spread into the larger population. Even if safely contained, the news would spread like wildfire.

Can you say “mass public panic?”

Securing the border is looking better and better all the time.

via Rick Moran

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Three C’s of U.S. Espionage in Germany

July 14, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This is a very interesting discussion of why we might want to conduct intelligence operations inside the territory of our ally.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

New details continue to emerge about the brewing SpyWar between Berlin and Washington, DC, over alleged U.S. espionage directed at the German government. While significant questions remain, it’s becoming clear that Markus R., the thirty-one year-old employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst — BND) who was spying for the CIA, fell well short of James Bond, having been caught by German counterintelligence when trying to sell classified materials to the Russians too. The second espionage suspect, a Defense Ministry official, although under suspicion, remains free, and that case may be misunderstood: time will tell.

What’s not in doubt is that Germany is a full-fledged panic about American spying that has already resulted in the departure of the CIA’s station chief in Berlin and will surely bring extra scrutiny to a lot of U.S. activities in Central Europe. Coming on top of the Snowden Operation, with its…

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Exploring Al-Qa’ida’s Russian Connection

June 11, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Honestly, I had never considered this possibility, given Moscow’s well-known problems with its own jihadists. But, on reading this essay, one has to wonder if there isn’t some sort of “understanding” between Zawahiri and and Russian intelligence. Very interesting speculation, here.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

[Note: This is an unusually controversial piece, even for my blog, for reasons that will quickly become obvious. Linkages between Al-Qa'ida and Russian intelligence have been discussed in hushed tones among spies in many countries, for years, and this matter has been a "hobby file" of mine for some time. Here is a think-piece on it, in the hope of spurring additional discussion and research into this important yet murky matter. This is particularly necessary given rising tensions between Moscow and the West at present. Considering the subject, I have eschewed my usual hyperlinks in favor of proper end-notes.]

There are two histories: The official history, mendacious, which is given to us; and the secret history, where you find the real causes of events, a shameful history.”

– Honoré de Balzac

The history of al-Qa’ida has been extensively documented in many languages. Since the 9/11 attacks on the…

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The Snowden Operation Falls Apart

June 5, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

20 Committee asks a damned fine question: If Snowden really is a “whistleblower,” why doesn’t he produce the letters of complaint to superiors he surely has? If he’s telling the truth, that is.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

Edward Snowden had his Big Interview on NBC this week, and it was something of a pace-setter for poor TV journalism, since Brian Williams (who was previously denounced by Glenn Greenwald for being a servile boot-licker of the surveillance state), decided to soft-ball the questions and not follow up many weird, disingenuous statements by Ed. His almost-year in Russia under FSB care has not promoted clear thinking, while Ed’s body language indicated serious deception to the trained eye. NSA’s IT contractor on permanent vacation in Russia gave his usual platitudes about how he’s really a patriot and “had” to steal all those classified IC and DoD documents. He’s almost thirty-one years old but apparently he had no agency in any of this. We’ve heard it all before.

But The Narrative has begun to fall apart in a manner not even the MSM can avoid noticing (though the failure…

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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)


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)


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