So, today he says, ""Earning trust means listening to advice
from military people, including top uniformed leaders."
But before the long weekend began, Obama reaffirmed his long-expressed
intention to abandon Iraq by saying, "I am absolutely committed to ending
the war." I will call
my Joint Chiefs of Staff in and give them a new assignment and that is
to end the war."
So much for listening, but check this out.
The Joint Chiefs are not part of the chain of command. Indeed,
they are specifically by statute not part of the chain of command but
instead serve solely in an advisory capacity to the president.
Surely Obama knows this. Obviously he wouldn’t be seeking the role
of Commander-in-Chief without knowing how the job is done. So what
follows will be familiar to him, but may be enlightening to the media
types who to date have overlooked yet another Obama misstatement.
In 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols act passed congress, and it reorganized
the way the military functions. The Joint Chiefs would have
a representative from each of the services that could advise the
president of their individual service’s insights, but they were
specifically cut out of the command loop so that the
Schwarzkopf-type could run things efficiently.
So what is to become of our poor President Obama, barking out orders to
his Joint Chiefs only to learn that they don’t carry out orders but just
give advice? Will he claim he is powerless to end the war?
Or will he eventually figure out that he has to get Odierno or Gates or
Petraeus on the phone to make his wishes known?
And what are we to think of our Candidate Obama? As he’s been
running for office for 18 months now, shouldn’t he have found some time
to explore the way the president interacts with the military rather than
repeat canned (not to mention erroneous) assumptions he’s probably held
since his community organizing days?
remarks that clearly pointed toward the restoration of the military
draft under an Obama administration, the Democratic candidate said
Thursday night that his job as president would include demanding that
the American people recognize an "obligation" for military service. "If
we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some," Senator Barack
US Missile Shield In Doubt
The construction of a US missile shield in Europe
has been thrown into doubt after Poland said that President-Elect
Barack Obama had failed to commit himself to the project.
Officials in Warsaw said that after a conversation between President
Lech Kaczynski and Obama, they believe that the chances of the
controversial project going ahead now stood at no more than "over 50 per
Radek Sikorski, the foreign minister, also conceded that the worsening
state of the American economy might force the president elect to ditch,
or at least delay the program, in favor of domestic priorities (reparations
Poland and the US committed themselves to the project on paper in August
in the wake of Russia's military intervention in Georgia. A
cornerstone of the of the defense strategy of President George W. Bush
and designed to protect the West from attack by "rogue states" such as
Iran, the shield would see Poland host ten interceptor missiles and the
Czech Republic host the radar component of a system.
Any delay would delight a resurgent Russia, which has described the plan
as an affront to its national security and has threatened to place
missiles near Poland in retaliation.
Denis McDonough, a foreign policy adviser to Obama, said that during the
phone call Obama had reiterated his long-standing position supporting
the deployment of the missile shield but only when the "technology is
proved to be workable."
Of course, the system will never be "workable"
because Obama has promised to end defense spending and development.
Nobody Has Confidence In This Guy
When asked how they feel about President-elect Barack Obama as
commander in chief, six out of 10 active-duty service members say they
are uncertain or pessimistic, according to a Military Times survey.
In follow-up interviews, respondents expressed concerns about
Obama's lack of military service and experience leading men and women in
''Being that the Marine Corps can be sent anywhere in
the world with the snap of his fingers, nobody has confidence in this
guy as commander in chief," said one lance corporal who asked not to be
A Dumb Policy on Nuclear Weapons
Obama announced a new strategic policy with regard to the use of nuclear
weapons. The New York Times reports:
...Obama said Monday that he was revamping
American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions
under which the United States would use nuclear weapons. ... To set
an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new
nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense
For the first time, the United States is
explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear
states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or
chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.
On its face, that is unbelievably stupid. A
country attacks us with biological weapons, and we stay our hand because
they are "in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty"?
That is too dumb even for Barack Obama. The administration hedged
its commitment with qualifications suggesting that if there actually
were a successful biological or chemical attack, it would rethink its
position. The Times puts its finger on what is wrong with the
It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has
deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening
days of the cold war.
That's exactly right. The cardinal rule, when
it comes to nuclear weapons, is keep 'em guessing. We want our
enemies to believe that we may well be crazy enough to vaporize them,
given sufficient provocation; one just can't tell. There is a
reason why that ambiguity has been the American government's policy for
more than 50 years. Obama cheerfully tosses overboard the
strategic consensus of two generations.
Or pretends to, anyway.
Does anyone doubt that the administration would use nukes in a heartbeat
if it considered such measures necessary? I don't. The
problem is that when the time comes to actually use nuclear weapons, it
is too late. The danger here is not that the Obama administration
has really gone pacifist. On the contrary, the significance of
today's announcement appears to be entirely symbolic -- just one more
chance to preen. The problem is that our enemies understand
symbolism and maybe take it too seriously. To them, today's
announcement is another sign that our government has gone soft, and one
more inducement to undertake aggressive action against the United
U.N. Nuclear Control
The Washington Times reports Obama is placing a
key element of our nuclear deterrence strategy in the hands of the
United Nations, an organization with one of the poorest records for
controlling the spread of nuclear weapons.
Keith B. Payne, a
former Pentagon official in charge of nuclear weapons policy, said an
alarming feature of the Nuclear Posture Review, made public Tuesday, is
that the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the foreign
powers that are represented in it will be able to indirectly set U.S.
nuclear weapons policy.
"The new NPR appears to place the UN's
IAEA and its Board of Governors at the heart of determining U.S. nuclear
deterrence strategy options," e-mailed Mr. Payne, who has published
several books on nuclear deterrence.
According to the new
strategy, the U.S. will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons
against nonnuclear members that sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, known as the NPT, and comply with its terms. For strategic
deterrence purposes, in the case of extreme provocation, the U.S. keeps
the right to use or threaten to use nuclear arms against nuclear states
and NPT signatories for failing to abide by its terms.
paramount question is: Who will determine whether a state is
complying with the treaty?
"This question becomes central to
U.S. nuclear deterrence policy," Mr. Payne said in an e-mail to Inside
"A quick check will reveal that NPT compliance is
determined by the IAEA's Board of Governors a board made up of 35
states, including Russia, China, Venezuela, Mongolia and Cuba."
In addition, the standards used to determine compliance or noncompliance
are designed intentionally to be flexible in order to give the board
latitude in its findings. Thus, there is no standard definition of
The result is that the Obama administration's new
strategic nuclear deterrence policy gives a U.N.-based international
organization broad authority in the United States' use of nuclear arms.
Hugh Hewitt says Obama unveiled a radical shift
in American military doctrine last week that ought to be known as "the
Obama Doctrine: the embrace of unilateral, pre-emptive disarmament."
The new policy was announced in a handful of sentences in the just
Posture Review Report" (NPR). The two passages that are
genuinely radical and that mark a significant break with all of
post-World War II history have not received much attention and deserve
underlining and sustained debate, especially in Congress.
first comes at Page xiv:
"The United States will not
develop new nuclear warheads. Life Extension Programs
(LEPs) will use only nuclear components based on previously tested
designs, and will not support new military missions or
provide for new military capabilities." (Emphasis added)
The same position is restated in slightly different form at Page 40
of the NPR, with the unqualified statement that the United States" will
not develop new nuclear warheads, and it will be structured so as not to
require nuclear testing." Thus Obama commits his administration to
a policy of not producing a new nuclear weapon, no matter how strategic
its effect or significant its deterrent value, and no matter what our
enemies are doing.
Nuclear weapons will never again, under the
Obama doctrine, be used for a new military mission no matter how
effective that mission might become via the integration of nuclear
weapons or -- and this should be stressed -- even if the deployment of
the new weapon or mission might lead to less loss of life rather than
more; fewer American casualties rather than more; a quicker end to war
rather than a prolonged and devastating campaign.
This isn't a
military strategy -- it is a military theology, one founded on the
central belief that evolutions in nuclear weapons are always and
everywhere evil. If FDR or Truman had embraced the Obama Doctrine,
there would have been no Manhattan Project and no end to the war in
Japan except for the invasion of the home islands.
Alan W. Dowd writes on defense and security
issues and says America has had presidents who were realists and
idealists and realistic, even cynical, about the world yet idealistic
about America’s mission in the world, but Barack Obama is unique among
this fraternity. For arguably the first time in 220 years, that a
president is idealistic about the world, but cynical about America’s
role in it. Obama’s recent flurry of nuclear diplomacy and
declarations is just the latest example.
administration carried out a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that, among
other things, pledges that the United States:
"...will not conduct nuclear testing, and will
seek ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test Ban Treaty,"
"...will not develop new nuclear warheads,"
"...will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against
non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear
Obama’s NPR also removes the protection afforded by
what Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls "calculated ambiguity."
"If a non-nuclear-weapon state is in compliance with the
nonproliferation treaty and its obligations," Gates explains, "the U.S.
pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it."
Instead, such an enemy "would face the prospect of a devastating
conventional military response" -- even if that enemy "were to use
chemical or biological weapons against the United States or its allies
"Calculated ambiguity" has kept America’s enemies
on notice and off balance for decades -- and, not coincidentally, kept
America and American forces safe from nuclear, biological or chemical
attack. Recall Secretary of State James Baker’s implied threat to
his Iraqi counterpart regarding how the U.S. would respond to Iraq’s use
of chemical or biological weapons. Or consider Eisenhower’s
"One of America’s great tacticians,
Stonewall Jackson, said 'Always surprise, mystify and mislead the
Ike had quite a surprise in store for North Korea’s
patron and protector in China. As historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
wrote years after Ike’s presidency, "Eisenhower began by invoking the
nuclear threat to end the fighting in Korea," letting the Chinese know
that, in Eisenhower’s own words, he "would not be constrained about
crossing the Yalu or using nuclear weapons."
later, we have a president eager to constrain American power -- and
willing to surrender the strategic deterrent advantage of ambiguity --
in hopes that thugs, dictators and outlaws can be reasoned with.
Overwhelmingly, Americans See Obama
Bob Ubruh says that the first scientific survey
shows most Americans believe that a terror attack is more likely because
of Obama's policies.
Some 200 million-plus Americans -- almost
two of three in a
new poll, conducted by
-- believe the United States is more likely to be targeted in an attack
-- either by a hostile military or a terrorist organization -- because
of the policies of Barack Obama.
A majority also disagree with
his newly announced policy against using nuclear weapons against those
nations or groups that would attack the U.S. with biological or chemical
weapons of mass destruction.
Citing the possibility of either a
terrorist attack or a military assault on the U.S. shores, the poll, the
first national assessment to address the issue, asked, "Do you think the
current policies of the Obama administration are making it more or less
likely that the U.S. will suffer such an attack?"
percent responded much more likely and another 13.6 percent what
somewhat more likely. Only about 28 percent said somewhat less
likely or much less likely.
Even a combined 28 percent of
Democrats conceded an attack was somewhat more or much more likely.
Those categories included more than 92 percent of Republicans and more
than 60 percent of Independents.
The poll also revealed that a
plurality strongly disagree with the Obama's promise that rules out
using nuclear weapons against enemies who attack the U.S. with a
biological or chemical weapon.
The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama
administration is likely to reveal a closely guarded secret -- the size
of the U.S. nuclear stockpile -- during a critical meeting starting
Monday at which Washington will try to strengthen the global treaty that
curbs the spread of nuclear weapons, several officials said.
Various factions in the administration have debated for months whether
to declassify the numbers, and they were left out of Obama's recent
Nuclear Posture Review because of objections from intelligence
officials. Now, the administration is seeking a dramatic
announcement that will further enhance its nuclear credentials as it
tries to shore up the fraying nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The numbers could be released as soon as Monday, when Secretary
of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is to address the NPT Review Conference
in New York, officials said. She will speak after Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is likely to repeat his demands for
more global controls over the stockpiles of the nuclear nations.
U.S. officials fear he could hijack the conference with such
demands, diverting attention from his own nuclear program, which is
widely seen as violating the nonproliferation treaty.
Obama Announces U.S. Military Secrets to
reporting that Obama has decided to pre-announce to the world
once-secret American ballistic missile tests and satellite launches.
Obama's goal is to show a friendlier face to other countries and to
coax Russia to do the same.
It's part of a confidence-boosting
initiative launched, so to speak, last fall when Obama suddenly
abandoned the U.S. missile-defense system in Eastern Europe that had
exercised the Russians, though it was aimed at potential future missiles
Obama hoped such a unilateral U.S. forfeiture would
encourage Russia to put pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear weapons
development. So far no good on that.
Of course, the point of
secret tests by any state in an insecure, suspicious world is to deny
advance notice to potential enemies, making it more difficult if not
impossible for them to gain intelligence by monitoring the tests
According to George Jahn of the Associated Press, a
confidential U.S. note sent to 128 other countries two weeks ago said:
The United States ... will provide
pre-launch notification of commercial and National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) space launches as well as the majority
of intercontinental ballistic and submarine-launched ballistic
Obama's Odd Arms-Control Secrecy
says Obama is urging the Senate to ratify the US-Russia Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty -- but it won't release the negotiating record for
"New START" to senators who've asked for it.
Senate's requests raises all sorts of suspicions about the treaty, which
would reduce the US strategic nuclear arsenal by about 30 percent and
cut our missile silos, bombers and submarines by nearly 20 percent.
Is there is something in the blow-by-blow transcript of the talks
with the Russians that the White House doesn't want senators to see?
Some fear the administration did some winking and nodding with the
Kremlin on missile defense that won't show up in the treaty language.
Team Obama says START doesn't limit US missile-defense plans, but the
administration's remarkable weakness so far on missile defense is cause
Obama & Co. have cut budgets of many
missile-defense programs and put the kibosh early in their tenure on the
Bush-era missile-defense system planned for Poland and the Czech
Republic, aimed at Iran's nuclear/missile programs. (It's widely
believed they deep-sixed the Polish-Czech program as a sop to the
Russians in their near-incessant efforts to "reset" relations with the
Then there's the treaty preamble that acknowledges
"the link between strategic offensive and strategic defensive
armaments." This language, experts say, might limit American
missile-defense programs. And, while the administration says the
preamble isn't part of the treaty, Moscow said on the day of the treaty
signing this spring that it will withdraw from the pact if US missile
defense is expanded or improved.
Thus, Washington may face the
choice of defending us from North Korea and Iran or seeing New START
fall apart -- not a choice we should have to make.
if the bargaining sessions included discussions on arms control in
space. The Russians (and Chinese) are seeking to diminish
(actually eliminate) US superiority on the Final Frontier. This is
not only a matter of satellites and counter-satellite weapons, but
missile defense as well -- since space is the best place to base
interceptors to defend against incoming ballistic missiles.
Interested senators also wonder why the verification procedures in New
START are less stringent than the original 1991 START it supersedes.
(Especially since the Russians aren't known for their strict adherence
to arms-control pacts.)
Team Obama claims negotiating records
haven't been provided to the Senate before when other treaties were
brought before the body for ratification. Not true: The
negotiating records for the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile and the 1987
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaties were provided when requested.
In both cases, it was the Reagan White House obliging Democratic
senators, who had questions about the treaties.
Obama says he
plans to pursue additional strategic weapons cuts as he puts the United
States on the "road to zero," over time eliminating our arsenal in hopes
of creating a nuke-free world.
The notion of "no nukes" is
problematic, especially looking at proliferation trends (e.g., North
Korea, Iran and Syria). And tepid Senate support for New START
certainly wouldn't bode well for cuts Obama might seek in the future.
As a result, it only makes sense that the Senate is given access
to the New START negotiating record. Indeed, precedent and good
faith demand it. But even more simply: If there's nothing to hide
in New START, what's the problem?
Obama Plans To Cut Up To 40% Of Nukes
reports a government
reveals that Obama is planning to cut the U.S. nuclear stockpile by up
to 40 percent by 2021.
The Energy Department document provides
details of the reductions that Barack Obama has called for on a path to
eliminating nuclear weapons. The reductions continue a trajectory
of cuts that already has reduced U.S. stockpiles by about 75 percent
In May the administration said that it had 5,113
The new document says the administration would
like to reduce that number to a range of 3,000 to 3,500.
document was presented to Congress in May and posted Tuesday on the
websites of the Federation of American Scientists and the Union of
Obama Is Stripping National Defense
Alan Caruba says there is no single duty that a
president has as Commander-in-Chief that is more important than ensuring
the nation's engines of defense remain at a level that will deter and
defend against any attack upon America or its allies.
that going under the Obama Administration? As this is being
written, the U.S. Air Force and Navy are seeking alternative ways of
powering their aircraft after having been ordered to cut fuel costs by
$20 billion. The Obama solution includes an August test flight of
the C-17 transport aircraft attempt to fly missions on tallow, which is
a nice way of describing animal fat.
The push for biofuels
notwithstanding, the notion approaches absurdity considering the fact
that, beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, there are millions
of untapped barrels of oil to power military aircraft. The
absurdity is compounded by the White House attempt to shut down deep
water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico which has been struck down by the
courts not once, but twice.
My interest in the status of our air
defense was piqued while watching a recent C-SPAN broadcast of some
Senate committee discussing funding of the C-17. I paid scant
attention until one senator said, "We don't have the money."
Suffice to say, that caught my attention.
Of course we have the
money! There are billions unspent in the failed "stimulus" act and
millions more wasted weekly across the spectrum of a government that
funds all manner of idiotic "research" programs of dubious value.
Some $20 million was just spent on signs touting construction projects
funded by the stimulus bill.
As Frank Gaffney, the founder and
president of the Center for Security Policy, recently noted, "Barack
Obama came to office promising to 'fundamentally transform' America."
Gaffney and others are increasingly concerned that Obama is "changing
the United States from 'the world's sole superpower' to a nation that
may require the permission, or at least the help, of others to project
power and defend its interests around the globe."
invites mischief and outright attack more than weakness. Theodore
Roosevelt said, "The pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and
to humanity as is the most brutal wrongdoer." The latter is a good
description these days of Iran.
"The backbone of America's
power-projection capability is its ability to get to a fight 'the
firstest with the mostest,'" wrote Gaffney. Something tells me
that doing it with aircraft fueled by slaughterhouse renderings is a
very bad idea
says Obama’s recent decision to "overhaul" the Bush-era
missile-defense shield for Europe was the most significant, but hardly
the only, indication that the Obama national-security vision is
skeptical of, and very likely actually hostile to, missile defense
altogether. Obama’s missile-defense request for the 2010 fiscal
year is an outright cut of 16 percent -- down from $9.3 billion to $7.8
billion. What’s more, the 2010 budget underfunds, delays, or
outright kills core programs designed to protect our homeland.
It scales back the Airborne Laser program, which could provide an
airborne capability and serve as the nation’s first line of defense
(because it destroys an incoming missile in boost phase). The
budget terminates the Kinetic Energy Interceptor program, which can be
rapidly deployed by air to land bases abroad to counter unexpected
threats. It kills the Multiple Kill Vehicle program, which is
intended to attack incoming missiles in midcourse. It also defers
funding for design and risk reduction for the space-based sensor
constellation, an important part of the warning and detection systems.
Why, at a time of growing threats from unstable regimes that are
testing long-range missiles and at or near nuclear status, would we
spend less money on missile defense? To answer this question, we
recall the early years of the Cold War. Our nation’s response to
the strategic nuclear confrontation with the former USSR was deterrence,
not defense. Indeed, U.S. policy rejected anti-ballistic-missile
defense systems on the theory that the USSR could add enough missiles or
warheads to overwhelm and negate any such system. Instead, we
relied on the theory of mutually assured destruction (MAD), according to
which neither side would ever launch a nuclear strike because both the
U.S. and the USSR knew they would not survive the result.
is good reason to believe America is actually more at risk today than at
any time during the Cold War. In 1972 only nine countries
possessed ballistic missiles; today that number is more than two dozen.
New nuclear actors, such as North Korea and possibly Iran and Syria, may
not be deterrable in the classic sense. Mutually assured
destruction is useless against an enemy that does not value life.
To deal with these emerging threats, we need a layered
missile-defense system of a global, rapidly deployable sea-, land-,
air-, and space-based capability to defend against ballistic missiles.
This system must be capable of defending through the ascent/boost,
midcourse, and terminal phases of flight. It requires robust
command-and-control systems and state-of-the-art network and sensor
We know that America has the technological
expertise and financial resources to protect and defend itself.
The question is whether America will have the strategic vision and the
determination to do everything it can to deploy a layered, robust
The other question is whether the Obama
administration’s hostility to missile defense is an atavistic, reflexive
callback to the Reagan years, when Democrats and liberals tended to
oppose every initiative in the realm of defense -- and none more so than
this one. On March 23, 1983, when Ronald Reagan proposed the
Strategic Defense Initiative to "render nuclear weapons impotent and
obsolete," he was met with a hail of criticism from the Democratic Left,
fearful of provoking the Soviets.
The New York Times mockingly
called Reagan’s initiative "a pipe dream, a projection of fantasy into
policy." To the Democrats, missile defense represented everything
they distrust about defense policy in general. SDI relied on
technology rather than manpower, increased the defense budget, and was
and is designed specifically to provide a unilateral advantage to the
History has demonstrated that this reaction a
quarter century ago was shortsighted and foolish. The Reagan
administration’s insistence on pursuing SDI was the final blow to the
sclerotic Soviet regime. And in the years since Reagan unveiled
it, missile defense has succeeded numerous times and proven its value,
with consistent successes in testing and real-world successes with the
Patriot and Arrow systems. And yet it appears that the mockery of
"Star Wars" has remained more potent for the people in Obama’s orbit
than has the evidence of 25 years of serious work on the only possible
deterrent of the 21st century.
Congress should restore the
proposed cuts and support test and deployment of needed systems.
If it doesn’t, the political argument that Democrats are soft on defense
will once again have real teeth. And it will have teeth because
what Obama has already done and what he proposes to do have made and
will make America unambiguously less safe.
Obama's Defense Cuts Are A Dangerous
says when Obama was a student at solidly Left-wing and anti-military
Columbia and Harvard universities in the 1980s students were not taught
the simple fact that the Western democracies of today only exist because
a lot of people put on uniforms and fought to preserve those
democracies. The only reason that the American, British and other
soldiers succeeded in their fight is because in the period between the
wars a handful of military leaders fought to maintain a core
infrastructure of the defense establishment.
Today, US Defense
Secretary Gates has announced that he wants to close Joint Forces
Command stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Joint Forces Command is
mostly concerned with training and support of multinational and NATO
operations. It supports one of the top schools for the US military
-- the Joint Forces Staff College -- that came out of the major military
education reforms of the 1980s.
Because of the Joint Forces
Command and the Joint Forces Staff College, the US military is far more
capable of combining the efforts of all the services. The command
and school was created out of a direct need to solve major problems in
the US military’s inability to operate effectively. It has done
its job -- and continues to do it.
Cutting such things is not
cutting fat and waste -- this is cutting out the bone, sinew, muscle and
brain of the armed forces.
Robert Gates came into his job in 2006
when the US military was clearly overstressed by the disastrous
Bush/Rumsfeld policies of cutting back the military in time of war.
He authorized some minimal manpower increases for the army, but since
2006 has cut the Navy and Air Force to please Obama.
we are still at war, Gates is proposing major cuts in support staff,
defense agencies and other infrastructure. This is the
Bush/Rumsfeld mentality compounded. Obama ran, and still runs on
the platform that he is NOT George Bush. So why is he following
some of Bush’s worst policies?
There is no military rationale for
major cuts -- this is 100 per cent politically driven cutting.
Obama wants to use the massive deficit he has created as an excuse to
cut the vital infrastructure of US defense. He has endorsed a
stimulus package that is really about bailing out bankrupt states and
preserving state worker union jobs. So it’s not about saving money
-- it’s about cutting defense.
Given the international situation
-- a violent and volatile North Korea, trouble in Afghanistan, an Iran
well on the way to nuclear weapons, the continued threat of Islamic
radicalism -- cutting some of the essential military infrastructure
needed for training and preparedness is irresponsible.
Obama’s One-Man Wrecking Crew
says if possible, Obama has done still more harm to the Democrats
who are on the ballot this year. Liz Cheney of Keep America Safe
was fast on the draw, calling for Obama to explain what he meant about
Americans expect our President to do
everything possible to defend the nation from attack. We
expect him to use every tool at his disposal to find, defeat,
capture and kill terrorists. We expect him to deter attacks by
making clear to our adversaries that an attack on the United States
will carry devastating consequences. Instead, President Obama
is reported to have said, "We can absorb a terrorist attack."
This comment suggests an alarming fatalism on the part of President
Obama and his administration. Once again the President seems
either unwilling or unable to do what it takes to keep this nation
safe. The President owes the American people an explanation.
Soon other Republicans will be denouncing the
comment and challenging their opponents to do the same. It seems
as though there is no end to the damage Obama can wreak on his party.
Moreover, the comments come in the context of the rest of the
eye-popping disclosures in the book, suggesting, at best, an indifferent
commander in chief. The slow-motion reaction to the Christmas Day
bomber and the fetish for criminalizing the war on terror now seem to
have stemmed from a rather lackadaisical stance toward another attack.
If it’s coming anyway, why ruin a Hawaii vacation, no? This hardly
helps Obama’s standing, either at home or internationally.
finally, this revelation may potentially reignite the Ground Zero mosque
controversy. If 9/11 is simply the first of many anticipated
attacks to be "absorbed," that location and the event itself fade into
insignificance. For Obama, maybe the most searing experience in
the last generation is just one of any number of spots where Americans
can and will die.
All in all, it is yet another revealing moment,
in which conservatives whisper to each other in horror, "I never
expected him to be THIS bad," Democrats shudder, and independents
confess they were snowed by a candidate who appeared sober and serious
at the time.
We Can Absorb Another 9/11
says Barack Obama's essentially
European world outlook has no better illustration than his comment to
Bob Woodward during a July, 2010 interview that "we can absorb a
terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but
even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever...we absorbed it and we are
The essence of the differences between the European
and American view of terrorism is the deeply felt, but often unstated
opinion on the Continent that terrorism is normal and that it would be a
mistake to over-react to it. In the United States, terrorism cuts
very, very deeply into our national psyche. But in Europe, its
often just one of those things.
After all, Europe has seen a lot
worse than the relatively naive American public has ever had to witness.
The last serious bloodshed on American soil came in the Civil War.
The Pearl Harbor and 9-11 attacks stand out as landmarks in our history
precisely because we have shed so little American blood with the
boundaries of the United States. Britain lost 50,000 people in the
blitz during World War II. France lost about one-quarter of its
military age men in World War I. Germany saw seven million die in
World War II (not counting the German Jews the Nazis killed). Next
to these horrific casualties, 2400 dead at Pearl Harbor and 3,000 lost
on 9-11 pale by comparison.
Basically, Europeans say to America
"get over it. Grow up. Welcome to reality." But
Americans refuse to accept the idea that random death and massive
violence are inevitable concomitants of the modern world. We
demand that government emphatically reject this as a norm and move
heaven and earth to stop it from happening.
The President of the
United State is supposed to reflect American views and priorities, but
Obama so clearly indicated how the European view shapes his thinking in
the Woodward interview.
The practical consequences of such an
outlook are profoundly disturbing.
Obama told Woodward that
"we'll do everything we can to prevent" another 9/11, but his confidence
that we could "absorb" an attack, clearly implies that he won't.
If preventing an attack on the scale of 9/11 or greater is the absolute
priority it was for George W. Bush, we will indeed do "everything we
can" to stop it. But if it is something we can "absorb" preventing
an attack is but one of a number of competing priorities. The
Obama worldview also demands that we avoid racial profiling, protect the
civil liberties even of non-citizens who are not in the country, and
limit interrogation techniques well short of torture. If a
president has a basic confidence that 9/11 could be "absorbed", these
competing priorities are likely to loom large in his thinking and
attenuate his efforts.
His comments also indicate a total lack of
realization of the escalating nature of terror attacks. In 1993,
we lost a few people when terrorists hit the Trade Center. By
2001, they had refined their techniques and demolished the buildings and
killed 3,000. The next attack is not likely to be "another 9/11."
It is far more probable that it would be a dirty bomb or even a nuclear
device or some other weapon of mass destruction, dwarfing the casualties
of 9/11. These things escalate.
And, unless we realize that
they do, we are not likely to really do all we can to stop it. If
the stakes are the total obliteration of New York City, we will
obviously do more to stop the attack than if they are "merely" another
9/11. And Obama's view that the threat we face is of the order of
magnitude of 9/11 indicates a blindness to the danger we face.
Finally, the Obama comments indicate a cold and inhuman view of the
likelihood of 3,000 new deaths. He says we can "absorb" such
mayhem. Can the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children of
the dead "absorb" the attack as easily? Obama's comments remind
one of the notion of acceptable casualties in warfare. This is
World War I thinking at its worst. Americans do not count on
"absorbing" an attack of this magnitude. We see it as a unique
horror to be avoided at all costs.
But Obama, like Mao
calculating how many Chinese he could afford to lose in a nuclear
exchange, seems to focus on how much we can "absorb" as a nation.
This is chilling stuff indeed.
Obama Needs To Wake Up To World Threats
is reporting that a Republican on the Armed Services Committee said
that the Obama administration "seems to be asleep at the wheel" in its
policies toward terrorism and nuclear proliferation by rogue states.
"I think that this president has subverted critical national
security policy to his need to look 'reasonable' in other less friendly
parts of the world," Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told The Hill.
"This administration does not seem to understand the intent of jihadist
ideology," Franks said, adding that it "could be fatal to a great many
people and to world stability itself if Mr. Obama does not wake up."
Franks introduced the Protect the Homeland from North Korean and
Iranian Ballistic Missiles Act last year, which never was given a
hearing, and the Peace Through Strength Act of 2009 that detailed
sanctions against Iran. That bill sits in committee.
years ago, Franks called from the House floor for Iran to be referred to
the U.N. Security Council.
"My fear is that this administration
has surreptitiously embraced a policy of allowing Iran to gain nuclear
weapons, and I cannot begin to express the naiveté and dangerous
insanity of this policy," he said.
Franks lamented that many
Democrats with whom he'd worked on stronger national security policies
were defeated in midterm elections. "The Gene Taylors of the
world, the Jim Marshalls of the world, these are good Americans even if
they have the disadvantage of being registered as Democrats," he
The Security Council released a report last week that
found North Korea to be in violation of sanctions by deceptively
exporting weapons and missiles and being active in the nuclear
activities of Iran, Syria and Myanmar.
"North Korea and the
leaders in Tehran laugh at this president because of his offensible
belief that he can dissuade them with kind words," Franks said.
Franks charged that if the European missile defense shield hadn't been
frozen by Obama shortly after he took office, it would have been
completed by late next year. "What he has done in the face of that
is to dismantle probably the most important short-term element of
persuasion," he said.
Obama scrapped the missile interceptors
plan for Poland and the Czech Republic, which had soured relations with
Russia, in favor of a "stronger, swifter and smarter" missile defense
plan that would focus on short- and mid-range missiles from Iran instead
of intercontinental nuclear missiles.
"Iran is working
relentlessly to develop nuclear weapons," Franks said. "It's
almost impossible to express the gravity of that concern for all of the
Obama Administration Hiding Massive Saudi
Matthew Mosk is reporting that the Obama
administration has quietly forged ahead with its proposal to sell $60
billion worth of fighter jets and attack helicopters to Saudi Arabia
unhampered by Congress, despite questions raised in legislative
inquiries and in an internal congressional report about the wisdom of
The massive arms deal would be the single largest sale
of weapons to a foreign nation in the history of the U.S., outfitting
Saudi Arabia with a fully modernized, potent new air force.
six-decade-long security relationship with Saudi Arabia is a primary
security pillar in the region," Defense Sec. Robert M. Gates and
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote in a Nov. 16 letter to
congress. "This package continues that tradition."
some critics are questioning the deal, and the stealthy effort by the
Obama administration to avoid a more probing congressional review by
notifying Congress last month, just as members were headed home for the
November elections. Congress had 30 days to raise objections -- a
review period that concludes Saturday. With most members leaving
Washington today, any significant effort to block the deal appears dead
for now, officials said.
"I do not think there will be any
action" to hold up the sale, Rep. Howard Berman, the chairman of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Bloomberg News Thursday.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat, submitted a resolution this
week to try and block the deal, and was among those who objected to the
way the administration approached the required congressional review.
"Hiding this in a recess announcement is a sign of how unpopular it
is," he said. "It's bad policy that now is further tainted by
it is disheartening to read the news that Obama and Majority Leader Reid
are intent on ramming the START Treaty through the lame duck session of
a discredited Congress. Action on the treaty is imminent.
Today at NRO Andrew McCarthy
summarizes the substantive arguments against passage of the treaty.
Consideration of the treaty in this lame duck session of
Congress raises a procedural issue as well. Isn't it fundamentally
illegitimate to ram a treaty through the lame end of a lame duck
session? McCarthy doesn't address that question, but there is
something deeply disturbing about the Democrats' shenanigans on this
point as well.
Why not wait for the Senate to convene next month
in the session including newly elected members? Apparently because
that would complicate passage of the treaty.
and Anna Leutheuser review the record since the passage in 1933 of the
Twentieth Amendment limiting lame duck sessions. Spalding and
Leutheuser write: "The State Department maintains a comprehensive
listing of all agreements and treaties currently in force. While
considerable research would be required to establish definitively that
no treaty has ever been ratified by a lame duck session, it is of note
that current research efforts have yet to find any such treaty."
Spalding and Leutheuser therefore conclude: "The ratification of New
START by a lame duck Senate would not only ignore the message sent by
voters in November, but also break a significant precedent, consistent
with the principle of consent, maintained by Presidents and Congresses
since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933."
what Obama et al. are doing is wrong. It is akin to the procedural
shenanigans in which they engaged to ram ObamaCare through the Senate
after the election of Scott Brown earlier this year. Someone
really ought to call them on it.
Related:Reagan Aide Perle: START Is
Obama Has Always Wanted To Disarm America
So, how does this genius think he's going to convince the the
Pakistanis, the North Koreans, the Iranians, and al-Qaeda to abandon
their nuclear goals?
Obama's START Secrets
The Washington Times
says the Obama administration is frantically trying to deliver a
ratification win on the New START (or START II) nuclear arms treaty.
The harder Democrats push the agreement, the more troubling questions
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "It is
time to move forward on a treaty that will help reverse nuclear
proliferation and make it harder for terrorists to get their hands on a
nuclear weapon." Rebranding START as a counterterrorism tool in
this way is disingenuous. The treaty has nothing to do with
terrorism, and the word doesn't appear anywhere in the text. The
treaty limits strategic nuclear warheads, weapons that terrorists
wouldn't be able to deploy even if they had them.
possible linkage to terrorism would be if the treaty limited the 2,000
to 6,000 Russian tactical battlefield nuclear warheads, which it
doesn't. Likewise, START II will do nothing to address the threat
of nuclear proliferation, which is centered on countries such as North
Korea, Pakistan and Iran, none of which is a party to the agreement or
even mentioned in it.
It's possible that U.S. and Russian
negotiators took up these issues at some point during the process, but
the Obama administration -- in another violation of Obama's promise of
government transparency -- has sealed the negotiation record. Rose
Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for arms control,
verification and compliance, brushed off calls for more openness,
claiming her team already "answered a thousand questions for the
record," which purportedly should be enough. On Dec. 7, she said
letting the Senate see what was discussed "would have a chilling effect
on future negotiations and overall have a deleterious effect on U.S.
diplomacy." Mrs. Gottemoeller's comments defeat her purpose; if
there is something that important in the record, then by all means the
Senate must know what it is. Treaties cannot be decided the same
way House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed through ObamaCare legislation, in
which lawmakers could only find out what was in the bill after they
voted for it.
On the critical linkage to missile defense, Obama
sent a letter to the Senate on Sunday claiming the treaty "places no
limitations on the development or deployment of our missile-defense
programs." Moscow directly contradicted this last spring when the
Kremlin issued a statement that START II "can operate and be viable only
if the United States of America refrains from developing its missile
defense capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively." It's
curious why the White House isn't troubled by such a fundamental
disconnect between prospective treaty partners. But instead of
seeking clarity from Moscow, Obama is focusing on convincing senators
there is no problem. Once the vote is taken, of course, Obama can
do as he pleases.
The gist of the issue is the treaty's preamble
language, which states that the parties recognize "the existence of the
interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic
defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more important
as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic
defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the
strategic offensive arms of the Parties." Treaty supporters assert
this language isn't operable but merely an embellishment.
that's the case, they should have no objection to an amendment striking
the paragraph, or even just the reference to "current" strategic
defensive arms. If Obama is as good as his word on missile
defense, he should have no objection, either. If treaty supporters
do object, senators should stand firm against ratification until all the
troubling secrets of START have been revealed.
Ulsterman says, as predicted, the Russians were
playing an inept and incompetent Obama administration over the
implications inherent within the latest START treaty, intending to leave
America less capable of defending itself against nuclear attack.
Obama, desperate to appear presidential, seemingly at any cost, has
pushed and prodded for quick Congressional approval of the latest START
treaty between the United States and Russia. Surely a much
publicized signing ceremony was sure to follow, attempting to glamorize
a sure and steady Obama as he continues to embark on saving the world
Ah, but what Obama seemingly forgot -- yet again, is
that it is now well known he is neither sure nor steady as a statesman.
Rather, Obama is a man bereft of experience, confidence, or character,
and thus, an easy mark for world leaders with far more cunning and grit
than the hapless Obama.
After the Obama administration gave
itself a collective atta boy for pushing through the START treaty during
the Lame Duck session, the Russian Duma revealed its true dismissiveness
of the U.S. Boy King, adding language into the treaty that would further
consolidate its intent to hamper America’s ability to further develop a
missile defense system. In effect, the Obama START treaty has far
less to do with reducing the numbers of nuclear missiles, as it does
with greatly reducing the United States’ ability to defend itself
against those very missiles. The Obama administration, and the
then-Democrat dominated Congress, are either being fooled by the
Russians into making such a grievous error, or willingly complicit in
lessening their own country’s defenses.
The Obama administration
had assured opponents against START that the treaty did not involve
America’s missile defense capabilities. These same opponents
pointed to the preamble portions of the treaty that appeared to do just
that. Democrats (and some Republicans) rolled their eyes and shook
their heads, and continued to assure us that the preamble language said
no such thing. That START was in fact, simply and effort to reduce
the numbers of nuclear weapons -- the same as previous presidents had
negotiated. The name of Reagan was invoked numerous times by Obama
himself as justification for passage of START. And besides, said
these same supporters of START, even if the treaty preamble did mention
missile defense, that portion of the treaty is not even enforceable,
right? (Such a mindset is about as far removed from Reagan’s
"Trust but verify" approach as can be imagined. The Obama mindset
has been simply "please give me something important to sign so I look
like I know what I’m doing.")
Now the Russian Duma is making
clear that START has EVERYTHING to do with limiting a missile defense
system, and that the specific language in the preamble better damn well
be complied with by the United States. They are going so far as to
threaten to alter the language within the agreement to further clarify
is reporting a situation, developing south of the border, that has
the potential to become Obama's very own missile crisis.
reports that in fulfillment of a commitment made by Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran in
October 2010, Iran is constructing launching pads for Iranian
intermediate-range missiles in Venezuela. The missiles Iran
intends to deploy at the site are believed to be Shahab 3s (1300-1500 km
range), Scud-Bs (285-330 km) and Scud-Cs (300, 500 and 700 km).
Note that Venezuela is about 2000 km from Florida, and according to the
International Institute for Strategic Studies, Iran is making "robust
strides" in its attempts to manufacture longer-range ballistic missiles
"with the apparent aim of being able to deliver nuclear warheads."
Citing "Western security insiders," Die Welt claims that Iran is
building the launching pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, which is on the
coast of Venezuela about 75 miles from Colombia. This would appear
to be the first stage of a larger project to establish a military base
that will eventually be manned by Iranian missile officers and soldiers
of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as well as Venezuelan missile
officers who are to receive intensive training from the Iranians.
When the agreement between Iran and Venezuela was signed last fall,
the Hudson Institute noted the significance of the timing: it coincided
with NATO's Lisbon summit (19-20 November 2010), which set up a missile
defense capability to protect NATO's European territories against
ballistic missile attacks from the East (i.e., Iran). "Iran's
counter-move consists in establishing a strategic base in the South
American continent -- in the United States's soft underbelly," the
The plan is now in motion. Engineers from
Khatam al-Anbia, a construction company owned by the Revolutionary
Guards, visited Paraguaná in February. According to Die Welt, they
were accompanied by Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard's Air
Force. The project is believed to entail commando and control
stations, bunkers, barracks and watch towers, and twenty-meter deep
rocket silos. It's being financed by Iranian petroleum revenues,
and Iran is said to have already paid in cash for the preliminary phase
The missile base, when armed, will constitute a
multi-level threat. Chavez agreed at the 2010 meeting in Teheran
to fire on Iran's Western enemies if Iran is itself attacked, and Iran
agreed to allow Venezuela to use its missiles for "national needs" -- a
phrase that should cause some sleep to be lost in Bogotá and elsewhere
in the region.
The base will also, as the Hudson Institute notes,
represent a means by which Iran and its suppliers can sidestep UN
sanctions. After the latest round of sanctions, "Russia decided
not to sell five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defence systems to Iran,"
the Institute wrote in December 2010. "These weapons, along with a
number of other weapons, were part of a deal, signed in 2007, worth $800
million. Now that these weapons cannot be delivered to Iran,
Russia is looking for new customers; according to the Russian press
agency Novosti, it found one: Venezuela."