Sep 01 2012

Out of touch

Category: election 2012,military,Obama,politicsharmonicminer @ 6:53 pm

Almost immediately after the SEAL TEAM SIX raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, the Obama narrative has been how courageous the president was in ordering the raid, what firm resolve he showed, blah endless blah. Obama’s tame press supporters have aided and abetted this travesty of the reality of command. Bill Clinton, that stalwartly intrepid former Commander in Chief who couldn’t find the nerve to take the opportunities he had to kill bin Laden in the 1990s, praised Obama’s courage in a recent Obama campaign ad.

Needless to say, families of killed special forces operatives were incensed at the self-absorption of Obama and his minions, and made the following short video in response.President George W. Bush always lionized his troops. He did not talk about the “risks” he was taking as commander as if they compared in any way with the risks to life and limb taken by the troops.  In behaving this way, GWB was reflecting the tradition of American commanders, which is always to shine the light on the risks taken and sacrifices made by the troops, and not on themselves, since George Washington himself.  Can you imagine George Washington printing a pamphlet lionizing himself for having commanded the troops into the battle for Philadelphia, or Yorktown?

Obama can only dream of being so classy…. except that I doubt he dreams of it, because it doesn’t occur to him.

Feb 11 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder’s stonewalling on “Fast and Furious”

I posted this earlier, but it accidentally went to a PAGE instead of a POST. I’m fixing that now.

KUHNER: Obama’s Watergate – Washington Times

A year ago this week, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered. He died protecting his country from brutal Mexican gangsters. Two AK-47 assault rifles were found at his death site. We now know the horrifying truth: Agent Terry was killed by weapons that were part of an illegal Obama administration operation to smuggle arms to the dangerous drug cartels. He was a victim of his own government. This is not only a major scandal; it is a high crime that potentially reaches all the way to the White House, implicating senior officials. It is President Obama’s Watergate.

Operation Fast and Furious was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and overseen by the Justice Department. It started under the leadership of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Fast and Furious enabled straw gun purchases from licensed dealers in Arizona, in which more than 2,000 weapons were smuggled to Mexican drug kingpins. ATF claims it was seeking to track the weapons as part of a larger crackdown on the growing violence in the Southwest. Instead, ATF effectively has armed murderous gangs. About 300 Mexicans have been killed by Fast and Furious weapons. More than 1,400 guns remain lost. Agent Terry likely will not be the last U.S. casualty.

Mr. Holder insists he was unaware of what took place until after media reports of the scandal appeared in early 2011. This is false. Such a vast operation only could have occurred with the full knowledge and consent of senior administration officials. Massive gun-running and smuggling is not carried out by low-level ATF bureaucrats unless there is authorization from the top. There is a systematic cover-up.

Congressional Republicans, however, are beginning to shed light on the scandal. Led by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rep. Darrell Issa of California, a congressional probe is exposing the Justice Department‘s rampant criminality and deliberate stonewalling. Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the department‘s criminal division, helped craft a February letter to Congress that denied ATF had ever walked guns into Mexico. Yet, under pressure from congressional investigators, the department later admitted that Mr. Breuer knew about ATF gun-smuggling as far back as April 2010. In other words, Mr. Breuer has been misleading Congress. He should resign – or be fired.

Instead, Mr. Holder tenaciously insists that Mr. Breuer will keep his job. He needs to keep his friends close and potential witnesses even closer. Another example is former acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson. Internal documents show Mr. Melson directly oversaw Fast and Furious, including monitoring numerous straw purchases of AK-47s. He has admitted to congressional investigators that he, along with high-ranking ATF leaders, reassigned every “manager involved in Fast and Furious” after the scandal surfaced on Capitol Hill and in the press. Mr. Melson said he was ordered by senior Justice officials to be silent regarding the reassignments. Hence, ATF managers who possess intimate and damaging information – especially on the role of the Justice Department – essentially have been promoted to cushy bureaucratic jobs. Their silence has been bought, their complicity swept under the rug. Mr. Melson has been transferred to Justice’s main office, where he serves as a “senior adviser” on forensic science in the department‘s Office of Legal Policy. Rather than being punished, Mr. Melson has been rewarded for his incompetence and criminal negligence.

Mr. Holder and his aides have given misleading, false and contradictory testimony on Capitol Hill. Perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power – these are high crimes and misdemeanors. Mr. Holder should be impeached. Like most liberals, he is playing the victim card, claiming Mr. Issa is a modern-day Joseph McCarthy conducting a judicial witch hunt. Regardless of this petty smear, Mr. Holder must be held responsible and accountable – not only for the botched operation, but for his flagrant attempts to deflect blame from the administration.

Mr. Holder is a shameless careerist and a ruthless Beltway operative. For years, his out-of-control Justice Department has violated the fundamental principle of our democracy, the rule of law. He has refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for blatant voter intimidation that took place in the 2008 election. Career Justice lawyers have confessed publicly that Mr. Holder will not pursue cases in which the perpetrators are black and the victims white. States such as Arizona and Alabama are being sued for simply attempting to enforce federal immigration laws. Mr. Holder also opposes voter identification cards, thereby enabling fraud and vote-stealing at the ballot box. What else can we expect from one who, during the Clinton administration, helped pardon notorious tax cheat Marc Rich and Puerto Rican terrorists?

Mr. Holder clearly knew about Fast and Furious and did nothing to stop it. This is because the administration wanted to use the excuse of increased violence on the border and weapons-smuggling into Mexico to justify tighter gun-control legislation. Mr. Holder is fighting ferociously to prevent important internal Justice documents from falling into the hands of congressional investigators. If the full nature of his involvement is discovered, the Obama presidency will be in peril.

Fast and Furious is even worse than Watergate for one simple reason: No one died because of President Nixon’s political dirty tricks and abuse of government power. But Brian Terry is dead; and there are still 1,500 missing guns threatening still more lives.

What did Mr. Obama know? Massive gun-smuggling by the U.S. government into a foreign country does not happen without the explicit knowledge and approval of leading administration officials. It’s too big, too risky and too costly. Mr. Holder may not be protecting just himself and his cronies. Is he protecting the president?

Aug 24 2011

China’s military buildup

Category: China,military,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 8:53 pm

China on track for modern military by 2020: U.S.

China appears on track to forge a modern military by 2020, a rapid buildup that could be potentially destabilizing to the Asia-Pacific region, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Fueled by its booming economy, China’s military growth in the past decade has exceeded most U.S. forecasts. Its aircraft carrier program, cyber warfare capabilities and anti-satellite missiles have alarmed neighbors and Washington.

Some China watchers, including members of the U.S. Congress, note with apprehension that rising Chinese defense spending coincides with Washington’s plans for defense cuts.

This is nothing new.  Amuzikman has already posted here the gist of an exchange between Obama and Chinese Premier Hu on the occasion of Hu’s visit to the USA.

All chuckles aside, this is really no laughing matter

I think this recent news shows that China is a more serious problem than some want to admit.  Given that it is the Pentagon that produced this report, and it is the Pentagon that has been listening to Thomas P.M. Barnett (perhaps rather more than it should have been), maybe this is a sign that some degree of realistic understanding is developing of the long term nature of Chinese intentions.

The Chinese think LONG TERM, in a way almost no American can quite understand.  

One thing I don’t get about the folks who think China isn’t a big problem is this:  intelligence types talk about both capabilities and intentions.  It used to be we mistrusted Chinese intentions, but didn’t think their capabilities were close enough to ours to be a real danger.  Now that Chinese capabilities are growing fast, analysts like Barnett seem to want us to think less suspiciously of Chinese intentions.  That kind of wishful thinking seems a poor substitute for actual, hard planning about what we’ll do as a nation regarding a China with high capabilities AND bad intentions.

Given that we KNOW who China supports, who China funds, what China wants, and what China’s history is in the last 50 years of working against US and western interests, this notion that all China really wants to do is sell us stuff, and they’re only building a modern military to increase their self-esteem, seems like whistling in the dark to me.

I keep thinking about this.

Aug 13 2010

Marine boot camp graduation in San Diego today

Category: liberty,military,national security,USAharmonicminer @ 4:56 pm

Today I watched the graduation from Marine boot camp of my son’s closest friend, at MCRD in San Diego.  I’ve known the new Marine since he was 11 or so.  He looked really, really thin.  No surprise there, of course.  The nature of boot camp is that the drill instructors see to it that the recruits are always moving, rarely resting, and given little time to overeat.   They learn to eat really, really fast.

What is remarkable about anyone who enlisted after the events of Sept 11, 2001 is that all of these enlistees know that they are probably going to war, and they have chosen to do so voluntarily, out of patriotism and the desire to serve their nation.  There are no draftees in the US military, and the great majority of those now serving enlisted after 9/11.

The Marines of Company A, who graduated today, formed an impressive looking group.  To quote the Secretary of Defense, who spoke to them in person today (probably the closest I’ll ever come to a cabinet member), these Marines are “the tip of the spear.”  They go in first, into the toughest situations, and then they do it again next week.  And in this world, often the week after that.

An officer who spoke mentioned a recent group of over 100 Marines who were due to cycle out of the Corps, having honorably served their terms of duty, whose Company was scheduled next to serve in Okinawa.  At the last moment, when that Company was unexpectedly ordered to Afghanistan, these Marines re-enlisted to stay with their Company in this challenging assignment.  This is not uncommon Marine behavior, I’m told.

These young men who graduated today deserve our thanks, and our admiration.  They deserve any support we can give them.  Without men such as these, down through time, we would not have a nation.

My son’s friend had other options.  He is a bright young man (he tested VERY high on his ASVABs), and could certainly have gone to college.  Academically, he is college material.  In fact, I tried to talk him into taking the ROTC route through college and into a military career.  But he wanted to do it this way, and I can’t fault his decision.

Heartfelt congratulations to Private Justin Howell, USMC.

Jun 15 2010

The USA’s intrinsic values… sometimes caught, but rarely taught anymore


Jun 04 2010

Did it have to turn out like this?

Category: God,government,history,justice,liberty,military,national security,societyharmonicminer @ 8:00 am

The next time you get a chance to take a shot at a future conqueror, take it. No, lefty nitwits, I’m not talking about taking a shot at the next Republican president-elect. I’m talking about people whose overweening ambition makes them think they have the right to conquer the world.  By definition, no US president qualifies, because all have left office, willingly or not, without coercion, and gone home to write their memoirs, if they lived long enough. 

No, I’m talking about a Hitler, or a Stalin, or a Mao, or….  well, you get the idea.  Kaiser Wilhelm, without whom World War I would probably not have occurred as it did, is one such, though that seems not to have been immediately obvious to Annie Oakley…  a dead shot if there ever was one.  Although after WWI started, she seems to have caught on quickly enough about the Kaiser’s character.

THERMOPYLAEHILLBILLY: Annie Oakley and Kaiser Wilhelm II

Where would we be today if Annie Oakley had just a little more to drink in 1889? Kaiser Wilhelm II was the Reich’s new leader and had a box seat to watch Oakley at the Berlin Charlottenburg Race Course. She was appearing with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and had cleaned her Colt 45 the night before. Annie announced that she would shot the ashes off any man or woman’s Havana cigar. Normally her husband Frank Butler come out of the audience and her speech was just for show.

She never expected anyone, including Kaiser Wilhelm II to take her up on her offer and here came the Kaiser out of his box seat. Oakley had made her dare, there stood the Kaiser and she couldn’t back down. So as she measured her distance the Kaiser took out a cigar and started puffing. The German police thought it was a joke until the Kaiser took up his position. The Kaiser told the police to get out of the way.

Annie Oakley, American sharp shooter, raised her pistol, aimed and blew the ashes off Kaiser Wilhelm II cigar. Had she missed the woman from Cincinnati may have prevented the First World War 25 years later. When World War I started Annie wrote the Kaiser asking for a second chance. Silence followed……………

What If Diaries » What if Annie Oakley had shot Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1889?

One chilly November afternoon in 1889, a fur-coated crowd assembled in Berlin’s Charlottenburg Race Course to enjoy a performance of Buffalo Bill’s Wild Wild West Show, which was touring Europe to great popular acclaim. Among the audience was the Reich’s impetuous young ruler, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who had been on the throne for a year. Wilhelm was particularly keen to see the show’s star attraction, Annie Oakley, famed throughout the world for her skills with a Colt. 45.

On that day, as usual, Annie announced to the crowd that she would attempt to shoot the ashes from the cigar of some lady or gentleman in the audience. “Who shall volunteer to hold the cigar?” she asked. In fact, she expected no one from the crowd to volunteer; she simply asked for laughs. Her long-suffering husband, Frank Butler, always stepped forward and offered himself as her human Havana-holder.

This time, however, Annie had no sooner made her announcement then Kaiser Wilhelm himself leaped out of the royal box and strutted into the arena. Annie was stunned and horrified but could not retract her dare without losing face. She paced off her usual distance while Wilhelm extracted a cigar from a gold case and lit it with flourish. Several German policeman, suddenly realizing that this was not one of kaiser’s little jokes, tried to preempt the stunt, but were waved off by His All-Highest Majesty. Sweating profusely under her buckskin, and regretful that she had consumed more than her usual amount of whiskey the night before, Annie raised her Colt, took aim, and blew away Wilhem’s ashes.

Had the sharpshooter from Cincinnati creased the kaiser’s head rather than his cigar, one of Europe,s most ambitious and volatile rulers would have been removed from the scene. Germany might not have pursued its policy of aggressive Weltpolitik that culminated in war twenty-five years later.

Annie herself seemed to realize her mistake later on. After World War I began, she wrote to the kaiser asking for a second shot. He did not respond.

Annie Oakley, the Butterfly Effect, and You

In the late 1800s, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was a dazzling display of horsemanship, gunplay and other cowboy skills. One of its acts involved the sharpshooting of the great Annie Oakley. Dubbed “Little Sure Shot,” Oakley had an amazing routine, she would shoot out lit candles, for example, and the corks of wine bottles.

For her grand finale, she would shoot out the lit end of a cigarette held in a man’s mouth at a certain distance. For this, she would ask for volunteers from the audience. As no one ever volunteered, she had her husband planted among the spectators. He would “volunteer” and they would complete the dangerous trick together.

Well, during one swing through Europe, Oakley was setting up her finale and she asked for volunteers. To her shock, and the surprise of everyone involved with the show, she got a real volunteer.

The proud young Prince (soon to be Kaiser) Wilhelm bravely stepped down from among the spectators, strode into the ring and stuck a lit cigarette in his mouth.

Reportedly out late the night before enjoying the local beer gardens, the unexpected appearance of this famous volunteer unnerved her. But the show must go on.

She took aim and fired… putting out the cigarette, much to Wilhelm’s amusement.

Thus, she also created one of historians’ favorite “what if” moments. What if her bullet went through the future Kaiser’s left ear? Would World War I have happened? Would the lives of 9 million soldiers and 6.6 million civilians have been spared? Would Hitler have risen from the ashes of defeated Germany? All sorts of questions come to mind…

Many historians think that the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, leading to the Soviet Union, would not have occurred without World War I to weaken the Czar (who was made by Lenin and Stalin to seem rather a nice fellow, by comparison).  Nazi Germany is difficult to credit as a likely outcome of a Germany that didn’t fight in WWI, because no great German angst would been present about a non-existent Treaty of Versailles, and no not-quite-imperialistic Kaiser would have tolerated Hitler in the feckless way German proto-democracy did.  In any case, without the agony of the post-war years, Hitler would have been only another anti-Semite, with no way to get traction with the German public at large.

World War II is hard to imagine without World War I.  Germany simply wouldn’t have had the drive to do it, absent the peculiar circumstances of the end of WW I.  At most, Japanese imperialism might have been a problem…  but strong British Empire, not weakened by WWI, would have been in a clear position to oppose Japanese aggression in China and elsewhere, and probably given the Emperor so much to consider that attacking the USA would have been a very low priority.

So imagine a 20th century without two world wars, without a cold war, indeed, without communism, which would have meant no Korean War, no Vietnam War, etc.  Imagine a still-strong British Empire still ruling the waves, shipping around the world the incredible output of American industry.

I know that cultural trends are present in history.  But I’m also pretty sure that without specific deeds by specific people, everything would have been different.

All of which occasionally leaves me wondering, in a much more pedestrian way, what deeds or words of everyday folk can sometimes have an effect that is seemingly far disproportionate to their obvious impact?

May 31 2010

Memorial Day

Category: freedom,friendship,God,liberty,love,military,society,virtueharmonicminer @ 8:30 am
I ran across this at Michelle Malkin’s site.
It is a tribute to a single soldier, but I think it stands for them all.

Mar 27 2010

The whitewash in the media continues, #3

Category: government,media,military,national security,Obama,Russiaharmonicminer @ 8:51 am

Hope springs eternal, I suppose. The major media continues to hope that the public has the memory of gerbil… or maybe a lobster. I suspect, however, that the Democrats may discover that the voting public has the claws of a lobster come this November.   Nevertheless, when you ordain a president based on hope, I suppose no one should be surprised if you evaluate his efforts from the standpoint of hope.  But hope is about all you have, despite your opinion that after Two big wins, a presidency <is> transformed for Obama:

Two big wins for Barack Obama at home and abroad — a historic health care bill and a new arms treaty with Russia — have injected sudden momentum into a presidency that had been looking beleaguered.

Well, yes, the health bill was historic, in the sense of a politically suicidal Congress ramming something through that 70% of the public really didn’t want, with naked bribery that would be illegal if a anyone else did it.

“What a week here,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs wrote on his twitter feed, as Obama concluded a new strategic arms reduction treaty in a call with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday.

What a week indeed.   As far as can be determined at this time, the cuts to which Russia agreed are in the area of strategic weapons only.  That means that battlefield and tactical nukes aren’t affected…  and Russia has a great preponderance of those.  It is those weapons that are a bigger threat to Europe, former Soviet satellites, and the Middle East, since they are all Russia has to counter its relative weakness in conventional weapons, compared to its Cold War heyday (though Putin is building up again, and fast, to try to recover the conventional strength that Yeltsin squandered, from their point of view).  Russia has plainly signaled its intent to use its possession of the main oil pipe into Europe (in the Georgia invasion) to control the Euro-powers.  Russia wants to regain its superpower status.   Putin is not a peace maker, unless it temporarily serves his larger purpose, which is expansion and power.

Biggest concern:  will Russia use this to get the USA to make cuts that matter, while Russia simply decommissions aging technology that may not be working too well anyway?  Second biggest concern:  how much of that aging nuclear technology and fissile material will be safely decommissioned into secure storage, and how much will mysteriously evaporate into the ether, maybe showing up on the black market?

It is risible that Putin and Medvedev would agree to ANYTHING that they didn’t believe strengthened them and weakened the USA in relative terms.  The US media (and, I fear, the US State Department) don’t seem to grasp the distinction between a piece of paper and actual peace.  North Korea has agreed to all kinds of things, and the media have hailed the negotiations that produced the agreements, and then had abrupt memory loss when North Korea reneged, leading to calls in the media for more negotiations.  Review the definition of insanity.  The Soviet Union, we now know (based partly on KGB files opened to the public after the collapse of the old regime), bent most arms agreements we ever made with them, when they could.  Putin regrets the passing of that brutal state, and is doing his best to emulate its power-grasping tendencies.

Putin has been busy rehabilitating Stalin in the minds of the Russian public.  Does anyone actually think that Putin/Medvedev are signing agreements either out of fear of US nuclear preemption (about as likely as the US nuking Mexico), or out of altruism and the desire for international amity (maybe they should get Nobel Prizes)?  If you are one who harbors either belief, I have a nice property with an in-ground swimming pool in Siberia that I’d love to sell you.  The pool isn’t heated….  but with global warming heating up Siberia, all you really have to worry about is rampaging polar bears looking for an ice floe to surf on.

No doubt Obama supporters will claim that the new agreement has strong verification protocols built in.  Maybe.  But Russia is a big, big country.  Obama has been busy cutting our space program, our military and our intelligence agencies.  Exactly what resources will he use to verify that Russia isn’t holding out the same way the Soviets did?  Those agreements had “verification” built in, too.

In six days, two of the biggest projects of Obama’s presidency came to fruition after months of painstaking work, transforming the image of an administration that had swung hard but failed to connect on big agenda items.

He has STILL failed to connect on the government takeover of health-care.  Don’t confuse holding hostages with hitting home-runs.

In any case, the public really hasn’t evinced much concern about Russian nukes lately, though doubtless the media will try to pump this “achievement” up into something deserving of the prematurely awarded Nobel Peace Prize.  I suppose my problem with this is simple:  Obama has not built up any trust in his ability to tell our friends from our enemies.  He is captive of the moral equivalence view that American objectives are no worthier than Russian ones.   At bottom, he does not believe in American exceptionalism, so he cannot defend American interests with a whole heart.  After all, we’re no better than anyone else.

By Friday, Obama could savor the spectacle of the pundits he frequently decries, switching from a “this presidency is over” mantra, to hailing him as a conquering domestic president and a global statesmen.

Yeah, and come next November he could be savoring that lobster we talked about. The claws, that is.  Now, that would be a change worth hoping for.

Sep 28 2009

Russia buying arms from Israel and others?!?

Category: Israel,military,Russiaharmonicminer @ 9:11 am

It seems now that it has become common for Russia To Spend More on Purchasing Arms Abroad.

The Ministry of Defense is looking at the armory and equipment produced by foreign manufacturers. After the war in August 2008, there were many discussions about purchasing Israeli unmanned aircraft systems. The systems were purchased without much buzz. Shooting equipment for some of the Special Forces departments is purchased abroad. Recently it was reported that a Mistral-class helicopter carriers may be purchased in France.

I’m especially interested in the notion of Russia buying arms from Israel.  Just consider what it would mean if Israel became a major supplier for Russia.   Israel is known for making cutting edge weapons systems, both in small arms and more high-tech items.  It would be very interesting if Russia became dependent on Israel for some items it found essential for its own military.  That would be bound to affect the Russian participation in Middle East matters….  and Russia’s recent slightly harder stand towards Iranian nukes may be evidence of that.

It bears watching.

Sep 11 2009

Courage, squared

Category: freedom,militaryharmonicminer @ 9:17 pm

Only a few comments to make.

General Petraeus is a great general, in a dozen different ways.

The injured serviceman, and his family, are incredible examples of why the USA is still free.

But that is no guarantee for our future, if a time comes when such people are no longer to be found among us.

It would be more likely that we would find such people if the media reported more stories like this, instead of the constant anti-military drumbeat that is all too common.  The media has reported on precious few of the heroes of the last 8 years…  to its great shame.

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