President Obama has announced that he intends to shrink the United States Army to the smallest it has been since before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Officials in the White House and the Defense Department say this can be done by fighting future wars with smaller, more flexible, agile and more highly mobile special operations forces. They forget that such forces while they may be perfect for winning a small battle or a special operation, lack the force and staying power necessary to win a war.
Senior White House and Pentagon officials say the President is deadly serious about reducing the size of the nation’s military and cutting military pay and benefits, which is in keeping with President Obama’s disdain for our military forces, some of which was described by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates in his book “Duty.”
These officials believe that the Air Force can overall shrink its numbers of aircraft and support facilities and can eliminate its air-to-ground capability and replace it with remotely piloted aircraft. The Navy for now would be able to keep its reduced numbers of aircraft carriers and submarines along with a reduced surface fleet. The National Guard and the Reserve Forces would also be reduced: however, the Army will be singled d out to take the most severe reductions.
If the security of the nation is not preserved, what good does it do to shrink the size of our armed forces and allocate money to non-security programs? Just because non-defense spending goes down, does not mean that defense spending must go down. The size of the nation’s defense budget should be based on strategic national defense interests, requirements and needs, not on how much money is left over after the non-defense spending programs have been satisfied and allocated by the scribbling’s of some contract accountant who has never been shot at by an enemy.
There are those in the Congress and the Administration who would send our soldiers off to fight in the Middle East and when they return wounded and psychologically crippled, cut their health-care benefits. While fathers and mothers are overseas being shot at by snipers or blown up by Improvised Explosive Devises, their children back in the United States are being forced to exist off of food stamps. Not satisfied with these extreme sacrifices, those same officials want to eliminate the military family commissary grocery store subsidies on which some of those families barely manage to exist.
No priority is more important than that the members of our armed services – those who risk and sacrifice their lives for the future welfare of this country and its citizens – be fairly and properly rewarded and that they be freed from the shackles, penalties and clever congressional budgeting gimmicks of this Administration. Military pay and benefits are not paid to our service members because they are owed, but because they are earned. There is something wrong with a nation which insists on slowing the growth and reducing the pay, benefits and housing allowances of those who have lost arms and legs in the service of their country.
Defense spending should not be determined by the size of entitlement spending or savings. We should first determine the size of the military forces needed to win, and then match that requirement. If we can’t match it, we shouldn’t be involved in that particular military action in the first place.
America shouldn’t increase or limit the number of soldiers, aircraft, submarines and carriers it deploys around the world based on non-military budgetary matters such as entitlement spending. We should deploy the nation’s armed forces into combat based only on national defense needs, requirements and strategy.
Academic military and foreign policy elites believe that in the future there will be no more full scale ground wars. Haven’t we heard all this before? No one can make such predictions with complete confidence. Who knows whether China or Russia will stir up a limited ground war, as could North Korea or Syria, or whether China will strike out by scarfing up several South China Sea islands, or make trouble in the Formosa Strait. What if Iran looses some of its hordes into Saudi Arabia?
This is no prediction, it is simply a reminder that stranger things have happened, and that wise leaders should not shrink their nation’s armed forces in, the midst of this unrest and uncertainty. Is this really the right time for a rash of military personnel reductions, base closings, military pay and compensation shrinkage, military commissary closings, and a decrease in military health compensation?
What kind of insanity is this? In Afghanistan we are counting our chickens before they hatch. We really don’t know how that war will end and neither does anyone else. What nation in the middle of an existing war down-sizes its military forces worldwide?
Is there some kind of a divine deity at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who foretells the future? Our American President, his officials, the Chinese and the Russians may be sleeping well, but the leaders and officials at Riyadh, Jerusalem, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris and London can’t be sleeping well at all.
After WWI we viciously shrunk our armed forces and that led to WWII, after which we again shrunk our forces which led to Korea. Who could have predicted that North Korea would invade South Korea? After Korea we shrunk our forces which led to Viet Nam and the Middle East Wars which no one could have predicted.
Isn’t it time the Congress learned the lesson that the United States of America -- the world’s only Super Power – cannot afford to drastically and arbitrarily down-size its military forces, ever? I say the Congress because The White House, just as it seems determined to work around the Constitution, seems determined to unilaterally disarm the United States.
Is raising the nation’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy a good idea or is it a case of government, in its zeal to accomplish something well intentioned and worthwhile for its citizens, ends up betraying the nation’s interests. We all want safer motor vehicles, cleaner air, and increased fuel economy; and certainly we all seek to build a constructive unity between mankind, wildlife and the environment. But at the same time we must ensure that while working to achieve those worthwhile objectives we don’t unwittingly trap ourselves into an agenda that in the long term turns out to be destructive of our ends.
The letters CAFE stand for Corporate Average Fuel Economy, expressed in miles per gallon (MPG). CAFE numbers are assigned to manufacturers by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Each auto manufacturer’s fleet of production vehicles must meet or exceed those assigned numbers when all of the motor vehicles it manufactures for sale in the United States, in one year, are averaged together. Car and truck fleets are assigned separate CAFE targets.
What are the costs to America’s citizens of these chosen CAFE numbers and their side effects and consequences in so far as we can measure them? What are the impacts of these numbers on employment in the automobile and supporting industries? What are their dollars-and-cents implications? Can CAFE standards be raised substantially without incurring significant problems and costs?
If increasing CAFE numbers makes motor vehicle travel less expensive in terms of the amount of petroleum consumed and out-of-pocket costs, to get those savings would America’s citizens be willing to accept increased congestion and interference with currently successful traffic management strategies, would it result in reduced incentives for carpooling, a shift in mass transit demand and a reduced need for alternative fuels? What values guide these decisions and do we have sufficient scientific data to fully understand the problems they cause and their implications; what are the social and human costs and the total range of possibilities?
We must avoid falling into the trap of looking at the role and range of motor vehicle fuel consumption only in splendid isolation. We must know the extent of and evaluate non-economic impacts, know whether and how consumer purchase and travel options will be affected and what affects we can anticipate them having on motor vehicle traffic patterns? Most importantly, what impact will significantly increase CAFE target numbers have on saving lives on our roads and highways?
You see, raising the CAFE standard is only one idea among many. It is not conclusive in and of itself. Its major goal is moderation of petroleum consumption in the highway sector, with an important corollary being to reduce reliance on foreign oil, from the Middle East in particular. The idea is not just to set a CAFE standard, or in setting one to reach a particular level or to improve the efficiency of motor vehicle engines and transmissions.
It is not wise for the government to set the CAFE standard too high no matter how tempting that may be:
First, large fuel-improving technologies such as reducing a motor vehicle’s weight, front-wheel drive, variable speed automatic transmissions, and aerodynamic styling have already been implemented in most of the U.S. fleet and continuing application will bring only modest, incremental improvements. In the past almost all significant increases in motor vehicle fuel economy reductions, about 800 pounds, were gained by overall weight reduction. Manufacturers reach CAFE target goals through downsizing, not through the exercise of executive power or the discovery of new technology.
Second, drastic increases in CAFE standards are highly impractical if they radically curtail consumer choices. Forcing products on the public against consumer wishes is what Russian President Putting would call “centralized economic planning.”
Third, sharply higher CAFE levels will have a strong adverse impact on the makes and models built by U.S. workers and offered to the public for sale. As a result vehicle sales will fall and manufacturing employment will decay in an economy already hard-hit and in decline. Bill Underriner, Chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association, once estimated that CAFE increases, “Shuts almost seven million people out of the new car market.”
Fourth, greatly increased CAFE targets will compromise safety, as they have in the past. If a tank runs into a jeep head on, the occupants of the jeep lose.
The technical feasibility and possibility of achieving these newly adopted CAFE standards have yet to be demonstrated. To embrace them as national policy without scientific proof that they can be achieved requires a great leap of faith -- or stupidity. That is why now more than ever CAFE discussions cry out for a voice of engineering and scientific reason.
President George H.W. Bush’s Chief of Staff John Sununu once wrote, “There are things the engineering profession brings to the policy-making process. We bring a sense of propriety, a sense of what is valid and not valid … A system is not valid just because it gives you the answer you want … (this) is a luxury that the engineering profession can no longer afford.”
America doesn’t have the luxury of setting an agenda that could achieve a good and highly beneficial result, but in doing so inadvertently destroys human lives or an existing good and highly beneficial activity or way of life. Now is the time for the Obama Administration to show the public that their trust and confidence in this administration has not been misplaced.
Gen. Curry was Administrator of NHTSA (1989 – 1992).
Republican speaker of the House John A. Boehner says concerning the White House, “There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws.” The administration says it wants the Congress to pass comprehensive immigration laws. But to do so the administration must first begin to enforce existing immigration laws, starting with gaining control of the nation’s southern border. Boehner’s conclusion is that no matter what is agreed to by the Congress and no matter what the new comprehensive immigration laws may say, “Mr. Obama can’t be trusted to follow through on them.”
This is because President Obama has loosed a spirit of lawlessness in the land that is in great measure felt throughout not just our nation, but throughout the world. If the President of the United States cannot discipline himself or find it in his power to govern the nation by obeying the rule of law, there is little hope that the rulers of other world nations, especially in the third world, will respect justice and the rule of law.
Since our constitution was adopted, over two hundred years ago, the US has set the world’s standard for nations governing themselves by the rule of law. Writing while the constitution was still in the process of being written and adopted, Revolutionary War Citizen Thomas Paine said, “So deeply rooted were all the governments of the old world, and so effectually had the tyranny and the antiquity of habit established itself over the mind, that no beginning could be made in Asia, Africa, or Europe, to reform the political condition of man,” the President of the US or his political party. “Freedom had been hunted around the globe; reason was considered as rebellion.” Paine fiercely believed that nations should stop just making changes in persons and measures, that the world situation required changes in principles and only the US was founded upon such principles.
Contrary to Citizen Paine’s beliefs, our current President believes that he can arbitrarily suspend an act or law of Congress indefinitely or at any time he so desires. For example, he has modified the Affordable Care Act’s implementation over two dozen times even though by law only the Congress can amend an act of Congress. So when he so lawlessly changes the implementation date, as he has for the umpteenth time, he is placing himself above both the law and the constitution. According to him American law is whatever he says it is, without regard for the other supposedly equal branches of government: the Congress and the Supreme Court. For him, there is no Rubicon to be crossed because he himself is the Rubicon.
But if the President of the US can so freely abuse his power and not be bound by the nation’s constitution, then neither should the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court be bound by the Constitution. In fact, both parties in Congress, especially the President’s party, should be willing to act forcibly against any president who exceeds his constitutional authority as this one so casually does. Furthermore, it is against the law for legislators to willingly and openly cede their constitutional authority to a sitting president. This is not a power grab on the part of the president. Rather, it is a cowardly, illegal, congressional surrender.
President Obama’s lawless rewrite of the Affordable Care Act means that the law is whatever he says it is without regard for the Congress and the Supreme Court. The Act does not give the Administration the authority to change the Act’s date of implementation so when he cavalierly and lawlessly changes the date of implementation as he just did for the umpteenth time, he is placing himself above the law and the Constitution.
Where have all the statesmen gone and why do senior public servants find it so quick and easy to lie, evade responsibility and to blame others for their own failures and short comings? The nation’s goal should not be to light a fire under its public servants, but rather to light a fire within them.
There is a four word sentence whose answer clearly spells out the first step toward resolving our conflicts? “Who is in charge?” Once that is settled, the next steps automatically fall into place.
In May, 2008, 1Lt. Michael Behenna found himself in Afghanistan interrogating a terrorist who had killed two of his soldiers. Suddenly, the terrorist lunged for Lt. Behenna’s pistol. Fortunately Lt. Behenna’s reflexes were faster than the terrorist’s and he was able to fire a bullet into his chest and head, killing him. By any measure it was good shooting.
But Lt. Behenna was charged by the Army with premeditated murder and found guilty of doing what he had been trained to do – kill terrorists. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The seven men who found him guilty are non-infantry officers. That means their combat experience is limited and they haven’t had to stare death in the face where the fastest and most accurate shooter lives.
There is no such thing as being guilty of the premeditated murder of an Islamic terrorist. The deaths of all terrorists merit premeditation. And Lt. Behenna merits a presidential pardon, but that won’t happen. Writing in his memoire, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says that President Obama is distrustful of America’s military officers so he would have no reason to believe that Lt. Behenna acted appropriately.
Similarly, Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a highly decorated combat commander, was reassigned from Afghanistan back to the US to teach a course entitled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” at the US Joint Forces Staff college. The curriculum Lt. Col. Dooley was assigned to teach was approved many years ago, but for some reason did not come to the attention of Muslim special interest groups until Lt. Col. Dooley arrived. Fifty-Seven Muslim organizations signed a letter to the Department of Defense demanding that training materials offensive to them be purged and instructors disciplined.
Eventually the letter was passed to General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This was shortly followed by a Defense Department press release condemning the course material being taught as not “simply objectionable” but “inflammable.” Later on General Dempsey would say that the course’s content was “totally objectionable” and “against our values.” Lt. Col. Dooley was releaved of his teaching assignment and his exemplary career effectively trashed.
Most surprising is that no one is speaking up for Lt. Behenna and Lt. Col. Dooley. It is not easy but Admirals and Generals need to find a way to Satisfy their civilian masters in the Department of Defense while at the same time stand up for and speak up for the troops they lead. This is particularly true today when our Armed Forces are being gutted, hollowed out, and grossly misused.
Each soldier, sailor, airman and marine needs to know, down to last one, that the President and his Secretary of State will not cavalierly send them off to fight and die on some irrelevant foreign battlefield for some abstract political cause that neither the President nor the nation believes in. And once on a foreign battlefield, the military’s rules of engagement should favor saving the lives of America’s Armed Forces, not Al-Qaeda.
Our troops should be free to do whatever is necessary to defend their own lives, to blow away any terrorist who even looks like he is about to fire on our troops or allies. If a mistake is made and an innocent is killed, restitution should be made as best as is possible. But there should be no second guessing of our soldiers’ actions.
Our senior generals and admirals would do well to remember the words of German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoeller who, when speaking of the NAZIs once said, “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out … Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
No nation can survive for long if there is a breach of faith and trust between its President and its Armed Forces. Most disturbing of all is the trend in today’s military to throw under the bus officers that are brave enough to stand up and tell it like it is or to make decisions which they know are right but of which the headquarters staffs might not approve.
All our armed forces are grappling with the question of how to maintain a strong military in the face of a shrinking Pentagon budget. The first lesson the Pentagon, Congress and the President need to learn is that appropriating funds for national defense is not a zero sum budgetary exercise. The size of the nation’s defense budget should be based on national defense requirements, not on how much money is left over after all other non-defense needs, such as entitlements, are satisfied.
First the Administration needs to develop a worldwide national defense policy; only then does it make sense to develop a budget to support that policy. Just because non-defense spending is going down, does not mean that defense spending should also go down. If the security of the nation is not preserved, what good is allocating money to non-security programs such as same sex marriage? Obviously a first rate national defense is more important to the future of our children and grandchildren than optional social programs.
It is foolish to increase or decrease the numbers of troops, aircraft, aircraft carriers and submarines deployed around the world based solely on the extent of entitlement spending. Until the nation’s military readiness and other defense spending requirements are met, non-defense budgetary programs such as Medicare and Social Security should not be satisfied.
It is also more important that our troops -- those who are sacrificing so much for the future welfare of our country -- be fairly rewarded, properly equipped and led, than that they fall victim to clever budgeting gimmicks like Sequestration. No priority should be more critical than immediately freeing our armed forces from the shackles and penalties of a political budgeting process.
Long before the Defense Budget gets to Congress, it is thoroughly massaged by the Pentagon’s civilian masters to reflect the political goals of the Administration. The generals and admirals can champion the cause of their individual services and service men and women only so far. At some point in the process they are told to sit down and shut up. Those who do, get to hold on to their jobs. Those who do not, are eased out of their jobs and summarily retired.
Since the President and Congress have already decided how and how much to arbitrarily slash military pay and benefits, and the Joint Chiefs have already been forced to agree to the reductions, submitting a military budget to the Congress is merely a formality. There is no way to adequately compensate our military troops and their families for the sacrifices the nation has called upon them to make these past ten years. That is why their pay raises and benefits should be generously granted without major reductions.
Our fighting men and women and their families deserve to be generously dealt with. They deserve to be liberated from the devastating effects of Congress’ and the President’s arbitrary and thoughtless Defense Department budget reductions. Not only should military equipment be replaced and restored, but the morale of military families also needs to be restored. Military families have become the victims of Washington’s political power games, and it is not helpful for the senior generals and admirals to go mute instead of defending the needs of their troops and their families.
Finding funds to offset sequestration and to properly equip, pay and reward our military is not as difficult as may at first be imagined. To fairly meet the nation’s national security budget requirements simply takes will power, a determination by the President and the Congress to somewhere find the funds for national defense in the budget.
Under the rein of President Obama most departments and agencies have stockpiled millions of rounds of ammunition, more than could be used to quell a civil war here in the United States, or to fight another Afghanistan War. Those rounds could be recovered and shipped to military bases to be used for training and combat. President Obama’s civilian armies that he has created in addition to our military forces should be disbanded and the money saved turned over to the military.
All funds in all Departments and Agencies discovered to be waste, fraud and abuse could be diverted toward meeting national defense needs. An across the board percentage reduction from the budgets of all Departments and Agencies of government could be allocated to the Defense Department.
Let’s say the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and Agriculture each gave two or three percent of their budgets to the Pentagon, and all other Departments and Agencies gave a fraction of a percent. That should be enough to equip, train and maintain our armed forces. The point is that all Departments and Agencies will cease to exist if our armed forces fail in their mission of national security, of protecting America and keeping it safe.
Therefore, the national defense budget should always be considered separately from non-defense spending.
Since the Shah died some thirty years ago Iran has been an outspoken enemy of the United States, which it calls the “Great Satan.” At the same time, it has spread war, terror, and hatred throughout the Middle-East. Why does Iran hate the U.S. so vehemently? It is because the U.S. is basically a Christian nation and Shia Iran is a Christian-hating nation.
Until now the U.S. has been able to stand firm and not reciprocate Iran’s hatred and evil machinations. Essentially America’s goals have been twofold: to provide for our national defense; and to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and a delivery means with which to threaten other middle-eastern countries and Israel.
The United Nations and all previous U.S. Administrations have successfully worked toward stopping Iran’s development and production of nuclear weapons. Hopefully this time our drive to nuclear neuter Iran will also be successful and Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb will again be stopped, or at least be delayed. Unfortunately, the current U.S. Administration is following a feeble and feckless foreign policy including a roll back of the United Nations’ and prior Administrations’ hard won nuclear weapons program agreements and concessions.
Further complicating the matter are Iran’s past pronouncements concerning Israel, about whom Iran has openly said that all Jews should be killed and the nation of Israel should be swept from the face of the earth. Many foreign policy experts maintain that this is only Iran’s over the top rhetoric. That’s what Neville Chamberlain said about Hitler’s pronouncements concerning the Jews in the 1930s.
The raw facts are that Iran has publicly stated many times over that it will not accept a negotiated agreement if that agreement means that the Jewish people will continue to exist. Iran would consider that to be a national humiliation. Being internationally humiliated may or may not be tolerable for Iran, but the annihilation of all Jews and the obliteration of all things Jewish can never be acceptable to Israel, and should never be acceptable to the international community.
Israel cannot embrace an agreement which leaves it vulnerable to extinction. From the viewpoint of the major mid-east players, Iran has little -- very little -- negotiating room; and Israel has none. In the past the U.S. has been willing to represent Israel’s interests and Israel has been comfortable with the U.S. doing so. But times and things have changed; Israel no longer believes that the U.S. can be trusted to represent its interests because President Obama seems willing, perhaps even anxious, to surrender previously negotiated hard fought gains with Iran and to replace them with ambiguity.
Currently we have a President and Attorney General who, like Third World dictators, defy all their nation’s laws. They do whatever pleases them personally and politically no matter what the U.S. Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitution and the international community says. They are both men of lawlessness who glory and revel in speaking untruths. For example, President Obama has steadfastly lied about Ben Ghazi and Obamacare.
Wittingly or unwittingly, he has joined a long line of dishonest, lawless world leaders. Karzai of Afghanistan defies the U.S. and refuses to sign an accord protecting American Servicemen even though it is to his country’s best interests to sign it; Pakistan refuses to mount an effective campaign to eliminate al-Qaeda terrorists headquartered in Pakistan; North Korea defies the United Nations with its nuclear weapons program; China has started defying the international community by claiming international air space; and here at home knock out hoodlums defy our laws and assault innocent, unsuspecting citizens walking along their neighborhood streets.
Yes, it is an unwarranted stretch to link China to knock out gangs marauding down America’s city streets. But the point is that there is a spirit of lawlessness and defiance loose in the world which if not soon contained will lead to long term chaos and wanton civil ruin.
Some say that if Iran fails to negotiate in good faith China and Russia will be embarrassed and might start cooperating with the west … yes, and Mary Poppins knows how to fly with an umbrella. This line of thinking holds that if Iran is handled carefully and properly it will one day discover that peace is more helpful to it in the long term than sewing discord.
If Iran were ruled by logic and common sense, such a revelation might be possible. However, history teaches us that countries like Iran which are run by Islamic governments are not easily moved by logic, cooperation or common sense.
No matter how hard we wish a thing doesn’t make it true. Fanatical Iran has deliberately chosen to be America’s enemy. According to the Koran, there is only one way for the U.S. to overcome its hatred. All Americans would have to renounce their Christianity and convert to Islam. Still, that is more likely than all Iranians converting to Christianity.
Since the Revolutionary War Virginia has been the titular home of America’s Armed Forces which brings to the state myriad Defense Contractors, their representatives and thousands of defense related jobs. The Pentagon is located in Virginia as is the huge Navy Yard at Norfolk and countless Army and Air Force installations are located throughout the state.
All these installations are manned by military personnel with their families living in Virginia. It can be said that as goes America’s Armed Forces, so goes military spending in Virginia and spending at military and military support facilities all across the nation.
When the nation’s Defense budget is large those working at the bases and military facilities are flush with money, and all the little and big stores and local businesses enjoy the good life. If the Defense budget is cut in Virginia, Defense spending is cut nationwide.
But all of this depends on who is sitting in the White House as Commander-in-Chief. For the last five years the actions of the President and the Democrat Party have been directed toward weakening and shrinking the size of America’s armed forces. In the words of the old folk song, “The times they are a changing.”
The nation went through this before, in the administrations of Presidents Carter and Clinton. The results were the same. Military readiness crashed. The Navy’s ships were unmanned and rotting in port. The Air Force didn’t have enough repair parts to put a full squadron of planes in the air at any one time. The Army and Marines were improperly trained and outfitted and didn’t have enough boots to effectively put them on the ground anywhere. And our friends and allies doubted our reliability.
Isn’t it interesting that at a time when U.S. Military forces are being drastically undermined and dangerously shrunk that non-defense civilian-military forces are being greatly expanded. How is this possible?
The Pentagon doesn’t have enough money to recruit, train and support the nation’s military, but federal departments like the Department of Homeland Security have more than enough money to create, outfit and equip their own civilian armies, from scratch.
Civilian pseudo-armies have sprung up in many of the federal government’s non-military departments and agencies. So we don’t have enough money to keep our military trained and ready for deployment, but we have enough money to create civilian pseudo-armies that do not report to the Congress or the Pentagon.
For what purpose are these civilian armies being created? It can’t be to deploy them overseas to fight alongside our armed forces in wars like the one in Afghanistan. No, these civilian armed forces are meant to fight within the continental limits of the United States.
And who is their enemy? Basically there are three possibilities. First, they can be used to fight terrorists who sneak into our country to kill innocent Americans. Second, they could be used to interdict illegal aliens infiltrating our borders. And third, they could be used to control and harass American citizens at the beck and call of the federal government, much as pseudo-legal SWAT teams now operate across the nation with impunity; but to do this the nation’s military forces must first be neutered, which seems to be the President’s plan.
As best I can determine, the White House has fired more high ranking generals and admirals in the last year than in the past fifty years combined. The cause of their retirement is less than clear. The Pentagon suggests that perhaps they may have been involved in improper relationships, whatever that means, or they have been too openly critical of Administration policy. This is code for their not being “Yes” men.
If they do as told without questioning, even when they know what they are being asked to do is wrong, they will be rewarded with a promotion. If they insist on modifying their instructions and doing what is right, they will get fired.
Clarity of purpose and definition of what is required to do to win, matters. Both Congressional Democrats and Republicans say they want to avoid the deep Defense budget cuts scheduled to take place next year which amount to about $20 billion. Entitlement spending is scheduled to remain close to where it is now.
But war is not a zero sum proposition. Just because entitlement spending goes up, doesn’t mandate that defense spending goes down. This nation shouldn’t increase or limit the number of soldiers, aircraft, aircraft carriers and submarines deployed around the world based on entitlement spending requirements or whether taxes have been increased.
Defense spending should be determined solely by the nation’s national defense needs, not simply to balance arbitrary budget requirements. Each soldier, sailor or airman needs to know, down to the last one, that their President and Congress will not cavalierly send them off to risk their lives or to die on some irrelevant foreign battlefield for some extraneous cause based on a budget.
Now is the time for senior admirals and generals to stand up, speak up for the troops they lead and tell Congress and the President in no uncertain terms that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are not being properly trained, equipped and led in places like Benghazi and Afghanistan, sometimes just because their Politically Correct rules of engagement are wrong.
They should be allowed to take out any foreign soldier who even looks like he’s about to fire on American troops or on our allies. If a mistake is made and an innocent is killed, as best as is possible restitution should be made. But there should be no second guessing of our soldier’s actions.
Our senior generals and admirals would do well to remember the words of German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoeller when speaking of the NAZIs. “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out … Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
For a leader, knowing what is going on where and when in your organization is as natural as drinking a glass of water. A real leader monitors what is going on at all levels during an action. That is, he must know what is being done where, when and why. And if for some reason he doesn’t know, he goes to wherever he must and finds out.
Gathering and evaluating information is one of a leader’s most important jobs. That is why in combat when he arrives, and a battle is in progress, he immediately goes to the sound of the guns. He appreciates all the information he is given and briefings are always helpful, but nothing can replace seeing the fighting and dying first hand, with his own eyes.
Subordinates know the kind of things, the kind of information their leaders need to have to make the right decisions because they have been trained by them. A leader, through his words and actions, signals to his subordinates the kinds of things he needs to know, the information he needs to have.
When an action like Benghazi goes wrong you shouldn’t have to send someone to wake up the Commander-in-Chief to get your orders. He should already be there, in the war room, eagerly waiting and fully prepared to take charge.
The question that wasn’t asked in Libya and no one in the chain of command seemed inclined to ask and get answered in the Mediterranean or back in Washington was simple. “Who is in charge?” Once you figure that out, the questions, answers and actions flow naturally.
About the Obamacare rollout the President says, “No one could be more frustrated than I am and this isn’t smooth.” The American people don’t give a care whether he is frustrated or not. His state of mind is irrelevant. The question is what is he going to do to relieve the American people’s frustration.
If he must personally go to the website headquarters, take charge of the operations and stay there until they are fixed, that is what he should do. That is leadership. Someone can bring him in a cot for sleeping and I’m sure McDonald’s would be happy to feed him for free.
Health and Human Services Secretary , Kathleen Sebelius, Says that the President didn’t know that there was so much trouble with the rollout so he couldn’t be faulted for not getting personally involved in fixing things. That is a lot of rubbish.
Obamacare is important, it is the President’s and the Democrat party’s signature piece of legislation, so why didn’t the President know that it was facing a disaster? Why didn’t Sebelius tell him face to face? What did she have to do that was more important?
Once she knew what a disaster the Obamacare rollout was, she should have driven over to the White House, knocked on the Oval Office door and said, “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” A few tired and groggy astronauts locked up in a space capsule could figure out that they faced disaster, but an entire department of the government back in Washington couldn’t figure out the same thing? Give me a break.
Leadership matters. The American people have been waiting for five years for the President to deliver to them Obamacare. He and his minions have huffed and puffed, and shilly-shallyied and delivered nothing. It is time they called in Amazon.com and let the adults take charge.
Clarity of purpose and definition of what is a winning outcome matters. Both Congressional Democrats and Republicans say they want to avoid, at all costs, the deep Department of Defense spending cuts currently scheduled to begin taking place next year. Both sides say they want to be bipartisan and to strike a fair and acceptable deal.
But wait, aren’t these the same two sides that a week ago said they were working toward striking a deal concerning a government shutdown? Didn’t their efforts end in the Republicans getting nothing and the President and the Democrats getting everything they wanted? Why should the result be different this time?
Just as they did before, Republican leaders have sent word to the White House that they are open to bipartisan negotiations. Naturally the President and the Democrats are open to such negotiations too, so long as it results in the Republicans caving in and the Democrats getting everything they want. This is the customary Democrat definition of bipartisanship.
Next year defense spending is scheduled to be cut by about $20 billion, while entitlement spending is scheduled to remain close to where it is now. Both parties seem to have generally agreed that sufficient money can be made available for defense spending by reducing entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security along with reductions in military spending.
The sticking point is the amount of the reductions and whether taxes will be raised or the budget cut. But the pitting of entitlement spending against spending for military equipment, training and maintenance requirements is absurd.
War is not a zero sum proposition. Just because entitlement spending goes up, doesn’t mandate that defense spending go down. Conversely, just because Defense spending goes up, entitlement spending doesn’t have to go down. Increasing taxes is a separate matter.
Defense spending should not be determined by the size of entitlement spending or savings. Defense spending requirements should be determined by national defense needs. America shouldn’t increase or limit the number of soldiers, aircraft, aircraft carriers and submarines it deploys around the world based on non-military budgetary matters such as entitlement spending. We should deploy the nation’s armed forces for combat based on national defense requirements alone.
First we must determine the size of the military forces required to win, and then match that requirement. If we can’t match it, we shouldn’t be involved in the military action in the first place.
Our soldiers and marines should never be sent off to war with the nation saying, “We know you need more arms and ammunition to protect yourselves and win and get the job done right, and we know that many of you will be killed because of dangerously reduced readiness levels and because we couldn’t afford to equip and support you properly. But that’s all we can manage to pay for.
“You have our best wishes, and we know that you will do the best you can with the equipment you have and will represent our country to the bet of your ability, considering your shortage of equipment and your reduced level of military preparedness and readiness.”
Our armed forces should never be sent into combat like that, without clarity of purpose and a definition of what is a winning and acceptable outcome and whether it can be achieved. They need to know down to the last soldier in the ranks, that their President and country, because of budget constraints, will not send them to risk their lives or die on some irrelevant foreign battlefield.
Enough is enough. Last week 88 year old Shorty Belton of Spokane, Washington, a white American and a veteran of World War II fighting in the Pacific, was beaten to death in the streets of Spokane, for no apparent reason, by two black teenagers, a sort of Trayvon Martin casein reverse.
About this senseless killing there has been almost no outrage expressed by black American leaders like Congressmen John Lewis and Charley Rangel, Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, black churchmen, the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus, Oprah and the President, or the Ritz-Carlton Democrats. Instead they have chosen to assume the role of victims rather than of responsible adults. They are long on speeches but short on positive action, and any helpful insight they might have is short-lived.
Following in line with their actions during the Trayvon Martin travesty they should all be leading huge civil rights demonstrations protesting the murder of Mr. Belton and demanding that black parents, families, communities and churches get and keep their black teenagers under control. And where is the continuous drum beat of outrage from the national news media that is supposed to inform “we the people.” There is none. Instead, these racial hustlers and parasites have, for the most part, gone mute on the public.
If America’s black leadership isn’t going to take charge of and clean up their own mess, white leaders will have to do it for them. You can’t expect white Americans to keep looking the other way while black teenagers beat their fellow white Americans to death. Evidently black leaders seem to think it is alright for black teenagers to profile Shorty Belton and kill him and they need not comment on how wrong it is, but it’s not right for a white policeman to profile someone black and kill them.
The news media and the current White House Administration don’t seem to care how many white Americans are murdered by black teenagers; rather, their actions and speech encourages racial violence and polarization. The American sub- culture has bred derelict families awash in video games and nose and lip rings, sporting dark green, blue and black tattoos, going around jerking, bopping, weaving, rapping and Hip Hopping, with their baggy pants falling off their butts. This isn’t “cool;” it is embarrassingly crude and stupid, and black leaders should loudly say so.
Today America’s young people wallow in moral decay and an absence of influential parenting that can lead to murder born out of boredom. It is easy for American teenagers to become bored. They live with one parent; don’t have to work to pay rent; and the government and tax payers feed them. They need to go where they can find real work, like to the oil fields of the Dakotas. Additionally, if the government wants to help them, it can put together labor pools as FDR did during the Great Depression. Let them clean out the national parks and help maintain badly needed roads and bridges.
But care must be taken that the work and the hiring of workers is kept under control of private companies not the government. It cannot be allowed to degenerate into make work projects where the workers need only show up and then goof around all day doing little or nothing. In addition to providing work there has to be a way to teach moral values and self- reliance, accountability and a work ethic, things their families, churches and schools should have taught them but didn’t. We do not need crime and drug infested cities like Detroit and Chicago involved in the process, cities that celebrate corruption, criminality, and victimization.
Restoring black families and the positive affect they traditionally have had on our communities and cities has to be one of our main efforts. With 72 % of all black babies being born out of wedlock and half of the others aborted, the black American family and the black community have fallen into decay, disrepute, and disrepair. They need a good old fashioned dose of leadership from people who genuinely care about them, their communities and their futures.
The question is can these families and communities ever be reconstituted again, and do we have a sufficient number of black leaders who can and are able to shoulder the vision and burdens of a Martin Luther King, Jr.? Can Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton do it? If the answer is no, and I believe it is, then America’s white leadership will have to get rid of them and select their replacements.
Why don’t I suggest that Black Democrats select the replacements? Because Black Democrats are fine for house work, but not for doing heavy lifting. Name one that has put forward a meaningful call to action with a plan to restore the black family and community. You can’t. And black Republicans don’t count in this discussion because as elections show, more than 90% of the black community is Democrat and Democrat controlled.
One of the accusations made by blacks to discourage young black people who are striving to be successful is, “You are trying to act white.” Since white people own most of the major corporations and industries and run all the state governments in this country, it would seem that for a young black American to be successful, he or she would have to follow the work rules laid down by white Americans. This includes dressing for success and practicing proper speech and conduct. If this is acting white, then so be it; and black leaders should loudly and publicly go on the record saying so.
Enough is enough. 88 year old Shorty Belton, a WW II veteran, was beaten to death on a street in Spokane by two black teenagers. Like it or not, his death came about because of deficient character content and a failure of leadership. It was also caused by a failure of adults to teach teenagers the difference between right and wrong and good and evil and how, why and when one should stand and fight for the right. Isn’t it time for all of us to get involved in building a better America?