Category Archives: National Defense and Military

The US Needs To Immediately Trash the INF and New START Treaties

Last year, Obama administration recently – and very belatedly – announced it had found Russia in violation of the INF treaty, which prohibits Moscow and Washington from developing, testing, deploying, or otherwise possessing ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Last week, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which would seriously address those blatant Russian violations – something the Obama administration has refused to do.

Russia has been flagrantly violating the treaty since at least 2010, and we conservatives have been warning about this since 2011-2012, when credible reports of such violations first emerged. However, until now, the Obama administration and the pro-arms-control crowd have long been denying this fact – until this violation became too obvious and too easily provable to deny it.

Specifically, Russia has repeatedly flight-tested a new ground-launched cruise missile (R-500) of a range prohibited by the treaty (500 to 5,500 kms) and utilizing Iskander ballistic missile launchers; has flight-tested and deployed Iskander ballistic missiles also within that range envelope (exactly 500 kms, to be specific)[1]; and has flight-tested the Rubezh ICBM at a range of 2,000 kms – again, within the treaty’s envelope. (Some arms control advocates, such as Hans M. Kristensen, STILL deny that Russia has violated the INF Treaty, because, supposedly, the R-500 missile hasn’t been deployed, only tested. This is dead wrong, however.[2])

Now that Russia has effectively made the INF treaty a dead letter and a worthless piece of paper, the administration and its supporters in the pro-unilateral-disarmament community (including the Ploughshares Fund, the Arms Control Association, and other groups) are calling on the US to continue to unilaterally adhere to the treaty and to cut its own arsenal even further – even as Russia continues to build up its own and deploying missiles banned by the INF treaty. They denounce any proposals by strong-defense advocates in and out of Congress to develop America’s own intermediate-range ground-launched missiles.

This article will rebut their claims and thus make an irrefutable case as to why the US should immediately withdraw from the INF and New START treaties.

The Urgency Of The Threat

Firstly, they – spoken for by Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione and ACA’s Thomas Collina – falsely claim the Russian violation is not a grave or immediate threat to American and allied security.

This is dead wrong. Russia’s INF Treaty violation IS an immediate threat to the US AND its allies. These intermediate range missiles allow Russia to target its allies in Europe and Asia (and all US bases there) with very accurate missiles carrying very deadly payloads (nuclear and conventional). With ranges measured in hundreds (Iskander-M/K) and thousands (R-500, Yars-M) of kilometers, these missiles allow Russia to hold all US allies in Europe, and most in Asia, hostage to their nuclear weapons WITHOUT involving Russia’s strategic missile force. This is a very urgent threat.

Russia Will Never Comply With INF – It Faces A Grave Chinese Threat 

Secondly, the advocates of unilateral disarmament falsely claim that there is still time to “resolve this issue” through “patient diplomacy”, and that enough pressure can force Russia to scrap the forbidden missiles and come into compliance with INF. Says Cirincione:

“Concerns are raised privately in hope of resolving them. When that fails, they are made public. When that fails tougher diplomacy is tried. (…) This violation is more than a technical violation, but since it is not an immediate threat to the U.S. or our allies, there is time to use the established arms control mechanism to pressure Russia to halt the cruise missile program, verifiably dismantle any missiles tested in violation of the limits and agree to abide by the treaty’s terms. (…) Congress could back the administration’s efforts and add some clout by confirming into office the man in charge of verifying Russian compliance with arms control treaties. Frank Rose has been patiently waiting more than one year – 384 days – to be confirmed in his post as the assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance. (…) We have cajoled the Russians back into compliance before and – with the right staff in place and a united approach – we can do it again. In the process, we can prevent the Russians from rebuilding the weapons that Ronald Reagan so painstakingly destroyed.”

This is also utterly wrong. There is no way in hell that Russia will come into compliance with the INF treaty and dismantle its intermediate range missiles. Why? For two reasons.

Firstly, Russia has NEVER complied with ANY arms control treaty. On the contrary, it has violated EVERY arms reduction treaty it has ever signed, from the SALT I and II treaties, to the Limited and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to the Chemical Weapons Convention, to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaties.

Secondly, and even more importantly, abiding by the INF treaty is decidedly NOT in Russia’s national interest; on the contrary, it is in its security interest to violate the accord. The reason why is China’s deployment of over 1,200 short-range, and over 120 medium and intermediate range (DF-4, DF-21, DF-25, DF-26C), ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of intermediate range (DH-10, CJ-10) ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM). China has literally hundreds of such weapons, and they can deliver nuclear or conventional warheads to anywhere in Russia – WITHOUT the need to involve China’s intercontinental missiles.

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range-590x362

(Source: Department of Defense, Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, Washington DC, 2008.)

So Russia, like the US, is facing a huge threat from China’s ballistic and cruise missiles – and unlike the US, Russia is facing that missile threat right on its doorstep. Yet, Russia, like the US, is prohibited from fielding any intermediate-range ground-launched missiles to counter China, with which it shares a border and with whom it fought a short border war in 1969.

No wonder, then, that for years Russian leaders have called the treaty unjust and have been grousing about withdrawing from it. As they have said, the treaty prohibits only Russia and the US – but not China or anyone else – from fielding intermediate-range ground-launched missiles.

It is absolutely NOT in Russia’s NOR in America’s interest to continue to adhere to such an unequal treaty that only binds two countries in the world and no one else, while other nuclear powers continue to deploy intermediate range missiles and China continues to amass a large arsenal of these.

The difference between the US and Russia is that Russian leaders will do what is in their country’s interest, while America’s leaders will continue to insist on slavish, unilateral adherence to useless arms control treaties no one else observes.

North Korea Doesn’t Succumb to US Pressure – Neither Will Russia

Moreover, if anyone truly believes Russia can be “pressured” into compliance with the INF treaty, they should look at North Korea. That country has been a world pariah – subject to the world’s harshest international sanctions regime – for decades. It is shunned even by its sole formal ally, the PRC, which is now buddying with South Korea instead. It is the world’s most isolated and most heavily sanctioned country.

Yet, many decades of the world’s harshest sanctions regime have completely FAILED to force North Korea to stop, or even slow down, its nuclear weapons programme. Now North Korea has 20 miniaturized nuclear warheads (which it can mate with missiles) and enough highly-enriched uranium to build another 20 – plus missiles capable of reaching at least Alaska. In fact, North Korea’s regime is immensely proud of the fact that it has successfully defied the entire world’s pressure and developed that arsenal.

Does anyone really think Russia will succumb to American pressure and comply with arms control agreements, when the world’s greatest pariah, North Korea, has not?

So there is absolutely ZERO chance of Russia complying with the INF Treaty. It won’t, because it is not in its national security interest. Nor in America’s, for that matter.

It Is In America’s Vital Interest To Withdraw

Cirincione also falsely claims that:

Pulling out of a treaty that blocks the Russians from deploying weapons that we don’t have and don’t need would be foolish. (…) We have nothing to gain from pulling out of the INF treaty. We already have long-range nuclear weapons trained on hundreds of targets in Russia. We don’t need a few dozen more.”

This is also utterly wrong.

Russia now has more ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear warheads than the US, and plans on adding still more, so the US DOES need to build up its nuclear arsenal – and fast. Moreover, deploying IRBMs (nuclear- or conventional-armed ones) in Europe and Asia would enable the US to hold at least some Russian and Chinese targets at risk without involving America’s intercontinental missile or bomber force – thus freeing up those intercontinental missiles and bombers for being aimed at other targets. More broadly, it would allow the US to counter China’s large deployment of short-, medium-, and intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles in East Asia (including the DF-16, whose range is 1,000 kms, the DF-21, whose range is 1,770 kms, and the DF-26C, which boasts a 3,400 km range).

Withdrawal from the INF Treaty would also allow the US to expand its conventional precision strike options against any targets. Right now, the US relies singularly on conventional-armed, subsonic JASSM-ER and Tomahawk cruise missiles (whose range is just 1,000 and 1,700 kms, respectively) for attacking soft targets and on its tiny fleet of strategic bombers for attacking more distant and hardened targets. But those missiles and bombers are subsonic and thus not good at attacking fleeting or otherwise time-sensitive targets.

Contrary to Cirincione’s false claims, America has nothing to gain by remaining a party to the INF treaty, to which only America adheres, thus essentially disarming itself. But disarming the US unilaterally, so that it will be vulnerable to Russia, is precisely Ploughshares’ and ACA’s goal.

Moreover, the INF treaty is not blocking Russia from anything – even though it formally prohibits Moscow to deploy intermediate range missiles. But the Kremlin is simply not complying with it, and there is no Earthly force which can force it to. Treaties are worth something ONLY if all parties adhere to them; if one or more party violates them, they’re worthless. It’s time to recognize that the INF Treaty is a dead letter.

Fact: the useless INF and New START treaties are not barring Russia from anything.

Beyond INF, Moscow is also violating a host of other arms limitation agreements, including the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Open Skies Treaty, the Missile Technology Control Regime accord, the Budapest Memorandum, and the Vienna Memorandum, and has recently withdrawn from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.

Trash New START, Too

Likewise, it is in America’s best interest to immediately withdraw from the Obama administration’s utterly failed New START treaty and to start building up, not cutting, its strategic nuclear arsenal. It is utterly foolish to adhere to treaties Russia violates; it is even more foolish and downright suicidal to abide by treaties which require only the US – not Russia – to cut its nuclear arsenal.

Unsurprisingly, the pro-unilateral-disarmament crowd opposes this idea. ACA’s Tom Collina falsely claims that:

“Releasing Russia from existing limits on strategic nuclear forces makes no sense, especially at this time of severe tensions between the West and the Kremlin. (…) If the United States were to stop reducing its nuclear forces under the 2010 New START treaty, Russia would likely do the same, and could even build up its forces. (…) Rubio and his colleagues* go too far with a March 25 resolution that would hold Russia accountable for “being in material breach of its obligations” under the treaty by calling for a halt to U.S. implementation of further strategic nuclear reductions, a move that would likely trigger a similar Russian response.”

Collina’s claims are patently false, just like everything else ACA and Ploughshares claim. Russia is NOT reducing ANYTHING – except reducing arms control treaties to dead letters.

Russia is ALREADY building up its nuclear arsenal, and has been for several years – with the Russian nuclear buildup ACCELERATING after New START was ratified. That’s because New START obligates only the US – but not Russia – to cut its strategic nuclear arsenal, and doesn’t even limit Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal at all.

It is RUSSIA that is building up its nuclear arsenal, while the US is disarming itself unilaterally.

Moscow is currently:

  • increasing its total number of deployed strategic warheads;
  • replacing single-warhead Topol and Topol-M missiles with 6-warhead Yars ICBMs;
  • replacing 4-warhead Skiff sub-launched missiles with Bulava and Liner missiles capable of carrying 10-12 warheads;
  • building a new class of guided missile submarines;
  • resuming the production of Tu-160 strategic bombers, capable of carrying 12 nuclear warheads each;
  • in sum, adding greater quantities of warheads and warhead carriers of all types.

As with the INF treaty, the US needs to reconsider whether or not to slavishly and unilaterally adhere to an arms control treaty that leaves it completely disadvantaged vis-a-vis Russia.

Cirincione And Co. Claim to Follow Reagan, Yet Bash His Policies

But Cirincione and Co. don’t just insist on America’s unilateral compliance with INF; they openly claim Ronald Reagan’s deployment of intermediate range missiles was a “failed policy” that should not be revisited:

“If we built new intermediate-range missiles, where would we deploy them? Europe? The last time we tried that, millions of citizens took to the streets of Europe in protest of U.S. and Russian weapons. There is no reason to revisit the failed policies of the past.”

Actually, the REALLY failed policies of the past (and the present) are the arms control policies Ploughshares, the ACA, and the Obama administration advocate: disarming the US unilaterally, and unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties. This is supposed to encourage others to be nice and disarm themselves. In practice, it has never worked. It has always failed spectacularly.

Russia has NEVER complied with ANY arms control treaties it has signed. It has flagrantly violated every one of them. That previous US presidents have allowed Moscow to get away with that is NO justification for letting Russia off the hook today. THAT is one of the failed policies of the past.

By contrast, Reagan’s deployment of US intermediate-range missiles in 1983 – which Cirincione falsely claims was a “failed policy” – actually reestablished nuclear balance between the US and the USSR in Europe, countered Russia’s 1,200 intermediate-range missiles there, and in 1987 forced the Kremlin to come back to the negotiating table and agree to dismantle all of these missiles. Gorbachev wanted to stop the arms race and reduce Soviet military spending to try save the stagnant Soviet economy. But he couldn’t do so unilaterally, so he had to agree to a treaty.

Because you can bring Russians into agreement ONLY when negotiating and acting from a position of STRENGTH, not weakness and appeasement. Unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties nobody else complies with leads to America’s weakness and dramatically REDUCES America’s security. This is precisely what the Obama administration has been doing, and precisely what the arms control crowd advocates.

Cirincione is advocating an alternate version of history where Ronald Reagan was an anti-nuclear peacenik. Urging conservatives not to attack the international arms control regime, he falsely claims:

Before letting loose the wrecking ball, they should check in with one of the principle architects of the regime and one of the toughest and most pro-arms control presidents in U.S. history: Ronald Reagan. (…) This was never President Reagan’s approach.”

Dead wrong again. While Reagan did (wrongly) indulge in arms control bargaining, he never allowed arms reduction policies and accords to cut America’s defenses to inadequate levels or to leave the US at an inferior military position vis-a-vis its adversaries. He never signed any agreements, nor implemented any arms reduction policies, that he feared would leave the US disadvantaged. He rejected calls for a nuclear freeze and for abandoning the SDI and his large-scale nuclear arsenal modernization programme. For Reagan, arms control talks were subordinate to the US military’s needs and to the need to win the Cold War against the USSR – not the other way around.

ReaganPeaceQuote

Most importantly, when Ronald Reagan caught the Soviet Union cheating, he did not hesitate to withdraw the US from useless arms control accords. Such was the case with the SALT-II accord: when Reagan found the USSR in violation of the treaty, in 1986, he withdrew the US from it.

As Reagan himself said: “No violations of a treaty can be considered to be a minor matter, nor can there be confidence in agreements if a country can pick and choose which provisions of an agreement it will comply with.”

Cirincione invokes Reagan’s failure to withdraw the US from the ABM treaty in the face of Soviet violation of it as supposed “proof” Reagan would support his position, rather than urge INF treaty withdrawal.

This is completely wrong. The only reason Reagan didn’t withdraw the US from the ABM treaty was because liberals in the federal government, especially in the State Department, fiercely resisted the idea, and continued to until George W. Bush finally withdraw the US from that useless treaty. A fight against the entrenched liberals in the federal bureaucracy over the ABM treaty was, alas, beyond Reagan’s strength, time, and patience.

Cirincione also falsely accuses the US of violating the INF treaty:

The Russians have their own complaints about us. We have actually built a brand-new intermediate-range missile. But we don’t call it a missile. We call it a target and use it to test our anti-ballistic missile interceptors in the Pacific. The Russians think it violates the treaty; we disagree.”

But this is utterly false. The mock missiles used to test American missile defenses do NOT violate the INF treaty, because that treaty allows for mock missiles to be used as targets. Article VI, paragraph 3, of the treaty clearly states:

3. If a GLBM is of a type developed and tested solely to intercept and counter objects not located on the surface of the earth, it shall not be considered to be a missile to which the limitations of this Treaty apply.

Paragraph 11 of the same article also clearly states:

11. A ballistic missile which is not a missile to be used in a ground-based mode shall not be considered to be a GLBM if it is test-launched at a test site from a fixed land-based launcher which is used solely for test purposes and which is distinguishable from GLBM launchers.

Cirincione also complains that reintroducing American intermediate range missiles in Europe or Asia could spark protests like those of 1983 against American Pershing and cruise missiles. But these protests were financed by the Soviet Union, and in any case, America’s military deployments should be determined solely by America’s and its allies’ security needs, NOT European popular opinion.

****

So, to close, the question before US policymakers is quite simple:

Russia is flagrantly violating the INF treaty (and a host of other arms limitation agreements) by testing and deploying missiles banned by that accord, and has been doing so for years. In so doing, Moscow is gravely threatening America’s and its allies’ security. Should the US continue to UNILATERALLY adhere to treaties Russia is not abiding by and has no intention of abiding by?

This writer says no. The Obama administration, the Democratic Party, and arms control advocacy groups, however, say “yes, the US should continue unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties nobody else abides by.”

*******************

Footnotes:

[1] The INF Treaty prohibits both the US and Russia from producing or deploying any ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles which have a range equal to or exceeding 500 kms but not greater than 5,500 kms. The Iskander (SS-26 Stone) missile’s range is exactly 500 kms, putting it squarely within the INF Treaty’s jurisdiction and thus making it illegal.

[2] Kristensen is dead wrong, because the INF Treaty doesn’t merely prohibit the production, stockpiling, and deployment of ground-launched missiles of such range; it also prohibits maintaining any production, maintenance, storage, or test facilities for them (the treaty calls them “missile support facilities”):

9. The term “missile support facility,” as regards intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, means a missile production facility or a launcher production facility, a missile repair facility or a launcher repair facility, a training facility, a missile storage facility or a launcher storage facility, a test range, or an elimination facility as those terms are defined in the Memorandum of Understanding.

The Elimination Protocol attached to the treaty further stipulates that any test or training missiles and the associated equipment is ALSO subject to elimination:

3. For both Parties, all training missiles, training missile stages, training launch canisters and training launchers shall be subject to elimination.

 

4. For both Parties, all stages of intermediate-range and shorter-range GLBMs shall be subject to elimination.

Article IV of the treaty requires that not only the banned missiles themselves, but also their support facilities and support equipment be completely dismantled and never reconstituted:

Article IV

 

1. Each Party shall eliminate all its intermediate-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, and all support structures and support equipment of the categories listed in the Memorandum of Understanding associated with such missiles and launchers, so that no later than three years after entry into force of this Treaty and thereafter no such missiles, launchers, support structures or support equipment shall be possessed by either Party.

Yet, Russia has tested the prohibited R-500, SS-26, and RS-24 Rubezh missiles on some of its military proving grounds – which makes these test facilities a violation of the treaty – and has produced test examples as well as retained production facilities for intermediate range missiles – all of which is a violation of the above provisions of the treaty.

China Catching Up With, And Overtaking, the US Militarily

chinese pilot

theconsequencesofdefensecutsA graph published by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA-04), demonstrating how the Chinese military (PLA) is overtaking the US armed forces in terms of capabilities.

Back in 2012, I predicted that:

“The PRC will replace the US as the world’s top military and economic power no later than in the next decade, and probably much sooner than that, so relations with China will be much more important than relations with the US.”

The PRC is, of course, the People’s Republic of China.

My prediction is now fully on track to be proven true before long. Economically, China has ALREADY overtaken the US – it’s GDP is already bigger than that of the US, as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), according to both the International Monetary Fund and the CIA World Factbook.

Militarily, China – despite the claims of the legion of China “threat deniers” in the US – has already matched or overtaken the US in terms of military power by most measures of such power, and is now working on closing the remaining few gaps.

In the last few weeks, China has taken several huge steps in that direction.

Firstly, on April 13th, it signed a contract for the purchase of at least six battalions’ worth of S-400 systems with Russia’s Rosoboronoexport company. These systems can detect and shoot down aircraft and missiles at a range of up to 400 kms and at altitudes starting at 25 m (aircraft flying lower than that can be shot down by the ubiquitous Shilka, Tunguska, Tor-M1, and Pantsir-S1 SPAAGs and by other types of AAA, thus belying the claim of A-10 Warthog defenders like Pierre Sprey that the A-10 is still useful for suppression of enemy air defenses).

The S-400 is the best air defense system in the world, hands down, far superior to the woefully MIM-104 Patriot. Beyond the S-400’s far superior range, it also offers a radar that can look at a 360 degree azimuth (i.e. see everything all around it), while the Patriot’s radar only has a 90 degree azimuth; and the S-400 is highly mobile, capable of relocating in minutes, while the MIM-104 is not mobile at all – it’s only transportable, and requires a large ship, a large train, a large truck cavalcado, or a C-17 Globemaster III to transport it.

China’s air space – like Russia’s – is already firmly closed to all nonstealthy aircraft, thanks to China’s large procurement of S-300 and HQ-9 air defense systems. This means that the only Western aircraft with any real chance of safely penetrating Chinese airspace are the F-22 and the B-2, to be joined in the 2020s by the Long Range Strike Bomber.

But China has nonetheless decided to procure an even better, longer-ranged air defense system. Why?

Because the S-300/HQ-9 has a range sufficient to cover “only” half of Taiwan, while the S-400, if deployed opposite Taiwan across the Taiwanese Strait in the Guangdong Province, can cover ALL of Taiwan. This means the entire island will be entirely at China’s mercy when the S-400 is deployed in Guangdong – the Chinese military will be able to shoot down any Taiwanese civilian or military aircraft at will.

And, of course, it reinforces China’s air defenses further against anyone who would wish to bomb that country. As stated below, the country’s airspace is firmly closed to any nonstealthy military aircraft – leaving the US with the F-22, the B-2, and the yet-to-be-produced LRSB as the only viable options for bombing China.

Secondly, China has recently flown a new variant of its Shenyang J-11 fighter – the J-11D. Equipped with powerful, domestically-produced Woshan WS-10A engines and AESA radar, this fighter is far superior to anything flown by the Indian Air Force, the Japanese Self-Defense Air Force, or the Republic of China Air Force, except the IAF’s Mirage 2000 and Japan’s F-15s. It should be noted that no aircraft currently operated by the IAF or the ROCAF has an AESA radar, although the IAF has recently ordered the French Rafale fighter, which DOES have such a radar (the RBE2).

A YouTube video of the J-11D’s first flight published by Chinese aviation enthusiasts.

This flight not only strengthens the Chinese air force, but also demonstrates two crucial capabilities that China has – and which American “China threat deniers” have long denied: a high-performance domestically-built turbofan jet for fighter aircraft and a domestically-produced AESA radar.

Moreover, with that capability, China no longer needs to import advanced fighters or even fighter engines from Russia. Thus, Russia should not hope it can still sell Su-35s or AL-31F or AL-41 engines to the Middle Kingdom.

This also means China can built engines for its J-20 and J-31 stealth 5th generation fighters on its own.

All in all, these two steps constitute yet more proof that China has caught up with the US military in most respects and is now working hard on closing the few gaps that remain – despite the pious, desperate denials of the legion of China threat deniers in the US.

It also constitutes proof that all nonstealthy American aircraft – incl. the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, A-10, EA-6B, EA-18G, B-52, B-1, MQ-1, MQ-9, and others – are now hopelessly obsolete and utterly useless in all but the most benign threat environments – where the only opponents are insurgents incapable of contesting control of the air.

The China threat is real, present, and grave. Wishing it away or denying it only makes America less secure, not more – even if it does lull the American people and American policymakers into a false sense of security.

Last, but certainly not least, China’s emergence as the world’s new top military and economic power is bullet-proof evidence of what a visionary (if not indeed a prophet) and a master geopolitician Charles de Gaulle was. He, as President of France, was the first Western leader to officially recognize the People’s Republic of China in January 1964. At the time he predicted thaat “China could one day become the world’s greatest power again.”

In economic terms, that occurred at the end of 2014, when China’s GDP exceeded that of the US. Militarily, this is on the cusp of happening.

Rebuttal of Doug Bandow’s Blatant Lies About Ronald Reagan

ReaganPeaceQuoteTwo days ago, the leftist The National Interest magazine published a ridiculous screed by leftist libertarian Doug Bandow, titled “Betrayed: Why Reagan Would Be Ashamed of the Neocons.” Therein, Bandow completely falsifies the history of the Reagan years, falsely claiming that the Gipper was a peacenik who opposed peace through strength and standing up against aggressors, imperialists, and other potential threats to US and global security.

Bandow falsely claims that (emphasis mine):

“Alzheimer’s robbed Ronald Reagan of his memory. Now Republican neocons are trying to steal his foreign-policy legacy. A de facto peacenik who was horrified by the prospect of needless war, Reagan likely would have been appalled by the aggressive posturing of most of the Republicans currently seeking the White House. (…) Indeed, he routinely employed what neocons today deride as “appeasement.” (…)

Worse from the standpoint of today’s Republican war lobby was Reagan’s response to the Polish crisis. Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement were a global inspiration but the Polish military, fearing Soviet intervention, imposed martial law in 1981. Again, Reagan’s response was, well, appeasement. (..) Indeed, from Reagan came no military moves, no aggressive threats, no economic sanctions. Reagan did little other than wait for the Evil Empire to further deteriorate from within. Little other than talk, that is.

These are blatant lies.

President Reagan NEVER employed a policy of appeasement or anything even remotely resembling it. On the contrary, the Reagan years were eight years of continous, sustained, and relentless effort to bring the Soviet Union down – which eventually succeeded less than 3 years after he left office.

President Reagan did far more than moral posturing; he used every measure short of actual war to bring the Soviet Union to its knees. Specifically, besides condemning the USSR and Communism as evil, he:

  • Rebuilt the US military after 12 years of disastrous cuts, expanded it, and equipped it with thousands of new, cutting-edge weapons which gave the US military a technological edge over the Soviet military; in particular, F-117 stealth attack jets (which rendered all previous Soviet SAM systems obsolete), AH-64 tank-killer helicopters (which threatened to obliterate the massed Soviet tank armies in Europe), Tomahawk cruise missiles (nuclear- and conventionally-armed), stealthy air-to-ground nuclear-capable cruise missiles, MX Peacekeeper ICBMs (capable of carrying 10 warheads each), B-1 bombers (America’s first bombers since 1962, although these are woefully obsolete by now), Ticonderoga class cruisers, M1 Abrams tanks (which, excluding the British Challengers, are arguably the best tanks in the world), M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and many others. Weapon programs that were initiated during the 1970s were significantly expanded, and many new weapon programs were started.
  • Computerized the US military, which the Soviet Union was not able to do for its own armed forces.
  • Began development of a National Missile Defense System, against which, again, the Soviet Union could not respond.
  • Imposed a slew of harsh sanctions on Moscow after the introduction of martial law in Poland in 1981 and after the Soviets shot down an unarmed Korean airliner in 1983.
  • Introduced American Pershing-II MRBMs and Ground-Launched Cruise Missiles in Europe to counter the Soviet deployment of SS-20 IRBMs, even though the Europeans themselves protested en masse against that and even though many in the US Congress, and even some in his own administration, were opposed to that step.
  • Greatly expanded American aid to anti-Communist movements and US proxies all around the world, including Solidarity in Poland, the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, and anti-Sandinista (anti-Ortega) proxies in Nicaragua.
  • Intervened in Grenada to prevent it from becoming a second Communist outpost on America’s doorstep after Cuba.
  • Convinced Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to greatly increase oil production and thus dramatically reduce the price of oil – which threatened to kill the Soviet economy.
  • Successfully pressured Western European countries into scaling back the Yamal Pipeline project from two lines to one and into delaying it significantly – so much so, in fact, that it wasn’t completed until 1999… 8 years after the Soviet Union’s collapse.
  • Increased and modernized the US nuclear arsenal in response to the Soviet nuclear buildup.

This is a far cry from a policy of “appeasement” that Bandow alleges President Reagan followed. But the Gipper’s tough anti-Soviet policies should be no surprise, given that, as Professor Robert Kaufman reminds us:

“President Reagan’s National Security Decision Directive 75, signed in the summer of 1983, made changing the Soviet regime, which it identified as the root cause of the Soviet Union’s insatiable ambitions, the object of American grand strategy. President Reagan sought to achieve this goal by applying unrelenting and comprehensive political, economic, ideological, and military pressure.”

This was unprecented in US history: a sitting US president had identified a foreign regime as a threat to the peace and security of the whole world, and made changing that regime the highest goal of American foreign policy.

As regards the Polish crisis of 1981 specifically, President Reagan imposed a slew of economic and diplomatic sanctions on the Soviet Union and its puppet regime in Poland and significantly increased American aid to Solidarity in response. Also, Bandow is blatantly lying when he claims that the Polish communist regime of the time “feared Soviet intervention.” No, it did not fear it – it knew that such intervention was NOT forthcoming, because their Soviet puppet masters told them bluntly to their faces (as documents available today demonstrate) that they would NOT send troops to Poland and that Polish communists would have to deal with Solidarity themselves. In addition, both Polish communists and their Soviet puppet masters knew that a second military intervention would’ve been very hard for the Soviet economy – already burdened by the Afghan war – to bear.

Bandow also claims that “Reagan devoted more of his foreign policy time to arms control than to any other subject.” But unlike the “arms control” policy employed by the Obama administration today and advocated by its sycophants at the Federation of American Scientists, the Arms Control Association, the Council for a Livable World, and other pacifist, anti-military organizations, Reagan employed arms reduction policies only when they benefitted the US and only for that purpose – not for the totally unrealistic, fairy tale purposes of “ridding the world of nuclear weapons”, his rhetoric notwithstanding.

President Reagan negotiated and signed, with Mikhail Gorbachev, the first treaty that obligated both the US and the Soviet Union to completely scrap an entire class of nuclear-capable missiles – specifically, medium- and intermediate-range ground-launched missiles (defined as having a range between 500 and 5,500 km).

But this treaty came with a very tough verification protocol attached – something the USSR had stubbornly resisted until Gorbachev agreed to it. And under that treaty, the USSR had to verifiably dismantle almost 1,000 more missiles than the US had to, so the treaty was an American diplomatic victory… achieved, of course, when the USSR was in a position of weakness, with a declining economy burdened by the Afghan war and the 1980s oil price collapse.

Also, the USSR knew it had to comply because President Reagan had earlier shown he would not tolerate cheating on arms limitation treaties. When he caught the USSR cheating on the SALT-II treaty and Moscow refused to comply with it, he withdrew the US from the treaty.

That’s a stark contrast from the Obama administration, which knew of Russia’s violation of the INF treaty as early as 2009-2010, but concealed that information from the public and the Congress in order to goad the Senate into ratifying the (cretinous and treasonous) New START treaty (which has not resulted in Russia scrapping a single nuclear warhead, missile, or bomber). Last year, the Obama administration belatedly acknowledged Russia’s blatant violation of the INF treaty, but to this day, it refuses to do anything except admonish Moscow and “hope Russia returns into compliance.”

Also, Moscow is in violation of many other arms limitation treaties – but the Obama administration is not even willing to acknowledge that fact.

Finally, Bandow falsely claims that:

“Reagan was willing to switch rhetoric and policy when circumstances changed, in this case, the nature of the Soviet regime. (…) Reagan understood that Mikhail Gorbachev was different. A reform Communist, Gorbachev nevertheless humanized the system and kept the military in its barracks. Reagan worked with the Soviet leader, despite heartfelt criticism from his own staffers and fevered denunciations from activists—dissention that Reagan acknowledged in his diary. Gorbachev later wrote that Reagan “was looking for negotiations and cooperation.” Or, in a word, appeasement.”

Again, Bandow’s claims are blatant lies. Again, as Professor Kaufman reminds us (emphasis mine):

“True, Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher recognized sooner than most other hard-liners—or realists such as former President Nixon and his Secretary of State Kissinger—that Gorbachev was a different type of leader. When circumstances changed during Reagan’s second term, he adjusted his policies—but not the premises underlying them. He responded positively to the changes in the Soviet regime during Gorbachev’s tenure. Ultimately, Gorbachev and the Soviet Union agreed to end the Cold War not on their terms, but on Ronald Reagan’s.

 

 

American pressure on the Soviet Union did not abate at any point during the Reagan presidency, despite his view that engaging Gorbachev could facilitate the implosion of the regime. Reagan refused to abandon SDI or the Zero Option calling for the elimination of all intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe; Gorbachev capitulated. American defense spending continued to rise, peaking at $302 billion in 1988 (6.6 percent of GDP). The Reagan Administration continued to aid freedom fighters, draining Soviet resources in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

 

 

Nor did Reagan relent in his assault on the moral legitimacy of the Soviet Regime. In June 1987, over the objection of his so-called more realistic advisers, he called on Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, excoriating it as the symbol of Soviet totalitarianism.”

But don’t take my word, or Professor Kaufman’s, for it, Dear Readers. Here’s what President Reagan himself said about how he brought about America’s triumph in the Cold War:

“Plain talk, strong defenses, vibrant allies, and readiness to use American power when American power was needed helped prompt the reappraisal that the Soviet leaders have taken in their previous policies. Even more, Western resolve demonstrated that the hard line advocated by some within the Soviet Union would be fruitless, just as our economic success has set a shining example.”

Those are President Reagan’s words, not mine.

Doug Bandow’s screed is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to falsify history in order to politically attack Republicans who support an assertive American foreign policy instead of appeasement. Bandow would have us believe that appeasement is what won the Cold War, and that President Reagan practiced it. None of that is true – nor is anything else that Bandow has ever claimed.

Duty to Country Is Deadly Business

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I awoke to the news that 7 Marines and 4 Army soldiers went missing, all presumed dead, after a special operations training mission helicopter crashed not far from where I live; not far from the pristine beach where I took the picture that sits atop my Facebook page. It is a sober reminder that those who volunteer to place themselves in harm’s way; between the evil and the innocent, face dangers even as they train to protect the nation they serve and the innocent they swear to protect.

ABC’s WEAR Channel 3 in Pensacola reports:

“Seven Marines and four soldiers went missing early Wednesday after an Army helicopter crashed during a night training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base in Navarre.

“Defense officials say the military members aboard the aircraft are presumed dead. Heavy fog is having an impact on recovery efforts. Human remains have washed up on shore but the number of remains has not be released at this time. This is still considered a search and rescue mission…Pentagon officials say the heavy fog played a role in the crash.”

In a time when the chattering class demands that we debate the ideological genesis of the deadly threat to our nation – and Western Civilization – emanating from the Middle East, it would well serve our nation’s collective soul to personalize not only the seriousness of the threat, but the guardians of our nation; the rough and ready men and women who step into the coarse void between the way of life afforded us by the American dream and the oppression and cruelty many around the world would love to inflict upon us.

When we have the courage to confront and accept the truth, it is undeniable that there are vicious zealots committing atrocities; crimes against humanity, in the name of Islam. Yet, some among us in the West; some whose ideological addictions force them to see everything through a morally relativistic lens, seek to designate our nation as one of many among equals; our military personnel as simple countermeasures to enemies who have equal claim to ideological and moral legitimacy. But this stunted line of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth and, in fact, serves as a smear against the brave men and women of the US Armed Forces; our sentinels who stand between “the barbarians and the gate.” I know this to be true because my wife and I live among them; we know them and love them like family.

Our enemies, those who willingly join the ranks of Daesh (the Islamic State, al Qaeda, Boko Haram, al Shabab, etc.), execute barbaric acts of tyranny in the name of their religion, committing unspeakable acts of ferocious cruelty in an effort to either convert the un-Islamic or cleanse the earth of those who refuse their dictate, all in an aggressive pursuit of global domination.

The men and women of the United States Armed Forces, in extreme contrast, step into the ugly void of a no-man’s land where the weak and oppressed suffer at the hands of tyrants; a land where the cowardly fear to tread. They inject themselves into situations to free the oppressed, to preserve the liberty of the innocent and to vanquish the tyrannical. And as they do they carry with them the moral clarity that understands “good versus evil”; “right verses wrong”; “duty, honor, country,” lessons gleaned from the righteousness of the American dream, not the ideological clap-trap of theorists hell-bent on believing in the impossibility of global utopia, or the manipulation of political creatures questing for power, influence and fame.

Our military men and women are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. They are neighbors. They go to the store for food, fill-up their cars with gas, help their children with their school work, laugh, and cry, just like those who do not serve. They cut their grass, take out their garbage, pay their taxes and they socialize. They live, laugh and love. But sometimes when they kiss their spouses goodbye; sometimes when they kiss their children good night; sometimes when they promise to be back in a few days, sometimes those kisses have finality and those promises to return are broken, not of their own commission, but because their call to duty, their call to serve, sent them on a path that does not return home.

So it is with the 7 Marines and 4 US Army soldiers who kissed their loved ones goodbye with every intention of returning. So it is with many military families who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

A close friend of mine who teaches at a military special operations school wrote me after I queried him about the training accident. He closed by saying, “This business is a dangerous business.” Indeed it is. It is dangerous and it is necessary. It is necessary for the longevity of liberty and freedom. And it is rightly necessary for all of us to thank and honor them for their sacrifices; honor them like family, because they protect us like we are family.

The Real JV Team Emerges!

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Talk about a “haunting comment.” This will go down as one of President Obama’s all time.

Can you imagine how thick the book of “Obama’s Greatest Faux Paus” will be? Or how many volumes it will be?  Do I need to list them all or do we have them memorized as some of us do the “Pledge of Allegiance”? (Notice I said some.)

Mr. Obama called ISIS a “JV Team” but now he says he didn’t quite say that. Just like he now says he didn’t quite say “you can keep your doctor” and he didn’t quite say “your health care premiums would be less than you cell phone bill.” It sure seems like we keep hearing him wrong and the internet records him wrong a lot too!

To continue, he called ISIS a JV Team because he felt they didn’t lack the brain power, resources, and commitment that it takes to go after the Pro Teams, like the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Syria and God only knows who else he was thinking of.

You see the reason you have a JV Team is because the players are younger, less experienced, and need more time to practice together. You don’t usually want them on the big boys team because they would drag them down.

That “JV Team” that Mr. Obama tagged, aka ISIS, is now in control of a very large part of the Middle East. They are responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of innocent people. They are part of the reason oil prices are falling as they steal oil, load it up in stolen tankers, and sell it on the open market. They are instilling fear in and around Europe and parts of the U.S. These junior league boys are acting like, and accomplishing, senior league goals.

Why? Because they are committed at all costs, even to the point of death. That’s what makes them senior league. They are willing to give it all for the end game, and when they are up against it, they give some more. Their leaders speak out and stand behind their misguided principles and get the resources they need, by any means, to ensure they win.

Enter the “White House JV Team” (WHJV), the “Coyotes” ( I use coyotes because zoologist say they are the most cowardly animal and only attack when the enemy is well outnumbered.) This administration has gained control of one of the most powerful and feared fighting forces on the planet since the Roman army and has effectively turned them in to the most unreliable fighting force on the planet. And it’s no fault of the capable men and women that serve in the military.

This president knows more about more things than everyone of our great thinkers and philosophers before him. Just ask him and he tell you so!

I say this because he puts together military, economic, and social issue committees and takes little to none of the suggested actions from these committees.

He makes every mistake a first year law or medical student makes. Most students feel they have the answers after their first year in school and are willing to tell you what’s wrong with you before you even ask.

He put together a military commission on how to deal with ISIS and the threats in the Middle East. After they returned with their findings, mind you the committee was made up of seasoned military experts, he decided they were wrong and took it in another direction.  Ignoring the experts. A serious JV move.

To the jobs committee, he appointed the head of G.E. to chair it. The guy who took the majority of U.S. jobs overseas. Makes sense? Not so much. And once again implements almost none of the committee suggestions.

He gathered some well-known economists together for another committee, but none from the opposing side of the economic aisle. And when the committee came back with their recommendations, he implemented some but not the majority.

Read the rest at TRS

Senate Democrats Increase Threat to the Nation

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News reporting and the compilation of historical narratives are different than opinion pieces – or at least they should be. They should include all relevant facts and data, and include as many valid and qualified primary sources as possible. Regrettably, that is becoming increasingly rare.

In the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, media promulgated a story of a compliant young man who was shot execution style based on partial, and apparently disreputable, sources. The full story, including reputable eyewitness accounts and supporting evidence, was intentionally withheld perhaps because it didn’t comport with the desired narrative, but it made sensational news.

The fraternity gang-rape story emanating from the University of Virginia, was published by Rolling Stone based on the victim’s account only. The “reporter” made no attempt to contact other primary sources to establish the viability or veracity of the claim. As that story continues to unravel, the egregious faux pas of the reporter, as well as the publication, have been clearly evidenced. But it created a sensational story, even if it was largely fictitious.

635537254221604057-AP-CIA-Torture-ReportNow this week we have the outgoing chairman, Senator Diane Feinstein, of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, releasing a partisan 500-page report on enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency. The report is a summary of a more detailed 6,000-page document that was not released. As with the aforementioned situations, this report intentionally excluded key primary sources, full contextual relevancy, and insubstantial data.

The report was constructed with an obvious bias, cherry-picking references, and both overtly and by inference, made accusations against the CIA that were clearly fallacious. Drafters of the report, Democrat staffers to the committee, allege that the CIA was not honest to the oversight committees or the Bush administration about EIT’s; claim no actionable intelligence was derived thereby; claim there was no internal dissent over the use of EITs; claim EIT’s were more brutal than the oversight committees and administration were led to believe; and that the CIA misrepresented the physical effects of the interrogations.

165cee2a9926f330670f6a706700bf8a_c0-275-4986-3181_s561x327Current CIA Director John Brennan, former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, along with deputy directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland and Stephen Kappes have all written or testified at varied times debunking the charges leveled by the report. Director Hayden went so far this week as to say that the evidence invalidating the reports assertions is found in the very documents the Democrat staffers poured through to cherry-pick their evidence.

I know of no one who has the stomach for, or condones, torture or the methods identified as EITs. But conversely, no one should condone our own government, or a small segment of it, wasting $40 million to pour through a million pages of documentation, to produce a clearly biased and prejudicial report that is as potentially damaging as this is to our security relationships around the globe. Especially since the allegations occurred over seven years ago, and have been since discontinued! What can possibly be gained by such a report?

President George W. Bush ended most of the aspects of the CIA’s EIT program before he left office. This effectively ended the interrogative procedures included in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program, which President Bush authorized after the September 11 attacks.

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said, “We have U.S. personnel, both intelligence officials and military special operators, in harm’s way. Why would we release [this report] now? What did we have to gain? All of this has been debated. All of this has been settled. … Clearly the administration knew it was going to cause trouble as they sent out warnings all across the world.”

cia_torture_report_0Before the report was released, Obama administration officials placed military and law-enforcement personnel on high alert that it might spawn terrorist attacks around the globe and across the country. Since the program has long since ended, it’s unconscionable that Senate Democrats and the White House would intentionally subject the nation to potential terrorist attacks for what can only be considered political purposes.

It’s become political sport to some to denigrate America. And since there was no practical purpose behind the release of the flawed report, we can only surmise that it was done for political purposes to curry the favor of those who play the “revile America” game. There was clearly an agenda behind the release, but it had nothing to do with “protecting and defending” the nation and the Constitution, which oath these public officials have all taken.

There’s also an unsurprisingly duplicitous component to this as well. This administration denounces the EITs previously engaged in, yet has used drone strikes more extensively than ever, to kill terrorists and civilians. Which is more “humane,” to try to extract actionable intelligence from a terrorist, or to just expunge them and their friends and family?

We expect the mainstream media to misrepresent the truth, tarnish reputations fallaciously, and put people at risk, as they do so often. But we expect more of our government, and those who serve in it.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Increasing Number of Youth Ineligible for Military

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P1-BQ573_INELIG_G_20140627175409At a time when dependence upon our military for safeguarding the nation and our freedoms is increasing, it’s disconcerting to learn that an increasing number of young people are ineligible for our armed services. The reasons are manifold, and often overlapping, but most of them boil down to behavioral obstacles. Many more who wish to join the armed services would be allowed if they made better choices. The same kinds of issues often limit opportunities, even outside of the military.

The military’s prime recruiting age is 17-24 years of age, and according to data released by the Pentagon, over 2/3 of young Americans in that demographic would not be eligible for service. By far the greatest reason for ineligibility is obesity, but other reasons for disqualification include physical appearance, physical health, lack of educational preparedness, police records, and drug use. There are over 34 million young people who would qualify by age, but a full 71% of them would be declined if they applied.

Enlistment requirements vary slightly depending on the branch of the military, but the candidates must be between 17-34 years of age; have a high school diploma or GED with some college credits; have no felony convictions; no persistent illegal drug use; no insulin-dependent diabetes; meet height/weight standards for their age group; be a U.S. citizen or foreign national with legal status; have no ADHD medication for the 12 months preceding application; have no ear gauges and no tattoos on the fingers, head, or hands.

3805908_GEvery year approximately 180,000 new recruits, or about .5% of the prime recruitment-age applicants are added to our military branches. If all other requirements are met, they must also pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which provides an assessment of their English, math, and science skills, as well as their cognitive abilities. According to the Pentagon, about a quarter of applicants, who have graduated from high school, or have their GED, can’t pass the Qualification Test. Major General Allen Youngman says, “They aren’t educationally qualified to join the military in any capacity, not just the high-tech jobs.”

Although the military doesn’t release figures on how many applicants are rejected for service, the Defense Department does indicate that only about 1% of prime recruitment-age young people are both “eligible and inclined to have conversation with” any of the branches of the military. Crunching the numbers indicates only about half of those ultimately are admitted.

Would you hire me?

Would you hire me?

Major General Allen Batschelet, who serves as the commanding officer of the Army Recruiting Command, told the Wall Street Journal in June that, “The quality of people willing to serve has been declining rapidly.” Because of this, they have avoided a “zero-defect” mentality, which means they often consider cases individually, which has still allowed them to meet their recruitment objectives in recent years.

There are many, both in the military and out, who see this as a threat to national security. This acknowledgment led to the formation of Mission:Readiness, a nonprofit organization comprised of 450 retired generals and admirals. The group claims that, “Investing early in the upcoming generation is critical to securing our nation’s future. These retired admirals and generals understand that whether young people join the military or not, we must increase investments so that all young people can get the right start and succeed in life – whatever career path they choose. To ensure that we have a strong nation and a secure future, we need to help America’s youth succeed academically, stay physically fit, and abide by the law.”

Retired Major Gen. Allen Youngman, speaking on behalf of “Mission:Readiness, said, “We’re trying to make decision makers see this is a national-security matter—and they need to prioritize it.”

An increasing number of candidates are rejected because of tattoos. Recruiters around the nation are reporting that many recruits don’t advance beyond the initial visit to the recruitment office, since their tattoos are visible and out of compliance with military policy. According to military sources, the objective behind the tattoo guidelines is to maintain a “professional-looking Army.”

Or would you hire me?

Or would you hire me?

Here’s where the broader cultural and societal interests of the nation intersect with the military’s objective. The same conduct that precludes so many from joining the military likewise presents obstacles to employment outside of the military. Aren’t all of these qualifiers important whether one intends to join the military or not? Aren’t all potential employers invested in the idea of having well-educated, physically healthy, and professional-looking personnel? Common sense would lead us to believe that the enlisting qualifications for the military are not all that different for life outside of it.

Young people can choose to drop out of high school or approach their educational opportunities cavalierly. They can choose to not be conscientious about their overall health, or disfigure themselves with piercings and gauges, and paint their bodies with tattoos, if they choose to. But they should realize that their future options are limited by doing so. They certainly limit their opportunities with the military, as well as many future potential employers. We can choose what we do, for the most part, but we’d better think through what the consequences and ramifications are.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

Gun Camera Footage from Syria Airstrikes

Syria airstrike video

The Pentagon released gun camera footage from successful attacks on ISIS and Khorasan targets inside of Syria.

The first is a training barracks/residential area where fighters-in-training would be housed:

 

Here’s the complete video of the released airstrikes. Wade through the President’s political spin and catch several successful strikes by our brave military members.

Airstrikes Begin in Syria

USS Arleigh Burke Fires Tomahawk missiles

Map of airsrtikes in SyriaThe first wave of United States attacks against ISIS and The Khorasan Group in Syria began early Tuesday morning.

The airstrikes hit 14 ISIS and Khorasan targets in Syria including command and control centers, supply caches and training facilities.

Aircraft from five Arab nations reportedly assisted with the strikes, but no European allies were involved.

The air assault began with cruise missiles, bombers, predator/reaper UAVs and fighter aircraft targeting the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria early on Tuesday.

U.S. officials said planes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar were also involved in the mission.

USS Arleigh Burke Fires Tomahawk missiles

USS Arleigh Burke fires cruise missiles on Sep. 23 – Pentagon

U.S. F-18s launched from the aircraft carrier U.S.S George H.W. Bush in the Persian gulf while the destroyer U.S.S. Arleigh Burke launched Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Red Sea.

All U.S. service personnel have been reported safe after this morning’s sorties.

 

 

 

The Pledge of Allegiance is Political?

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Now, I have heard it all! CBS Sports banned a commercial with a little girl reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The ad promoted something very American, “The Rodeo,” around September 11th. The little girl in the commercial was the granddaughter of the owner of the company running the ad. He though it was a really cool idea.

Well, the PC police at CBS Sports had other ideas. At first I thought “here we go again.” It has the words “under God” and we don’t want to offend the 20% of the country who doesn’t believe in God and we certainly don’t want them to feel left out. But that wasn’t the problem. Then I thought they must have been tight on time and a 15-second Pledge would have caused them to have to bump one of those commercials with a hamburger-eating, sauce-dripping, car-washing, bikini-clad woman who uses the top part of her bikini to wipe off the BBQ sauce. Nope. That wasn’t what happened either. OK, then WHAT?

The knuckleheads at CBS Sports decided that it was too political. Yup, the Pledge of Allegiance is too political. They won’t return any news organization’s phone calls. They’re CBS. Why should they?

This is just another example of an ungrateful company not understanding what the Pledge actually means!

For those of you who may need a refresher, the Pledge simply means that as Americans we will stand up for the American way of life, it’s freedoms and it’s opportunities and it’s liberties. Hey CBS! Those are the same ones that you used to build your companies! The American tax laws that you take advantage of and the security you feel, in most cases, going to other countries knowing that, as Americans, your company and employees have the United States of America’s resources to protect you!

Unlike some of those 3rd world nations who dictate what news gets broadcast and when and who you hire and fire and if they decide you’re not so good at it they simply take it away from you, you have freedoms here. Go ahead and try to appeal to that 3rd world country’s supreme court. That’d be a joke!

How would you like it if our military refused to take the Pledge and only fought if and when they felt like it and for whatever cause they felt was worthy? With no allegiance to a country, there’s no real reason to fight or uphold its laws.

CBS Sports you are an embarrassment. You have spit in the face of many that came before us to fight and died protecting what the flag and the Pledge represents.

This madness is happening all around the country. I can count no less than 5 recent stories on City Councils that refused to say the Pledge because “there wasn’t enough time.” And even more stories on school districts that have decided reciting the Pledge “once in a while” is good enough.

And what the heck is political about the Pledge? Does it only apply to Republicans? Or only Democrats? Maybe just the decline-to-state or Libertarian or Green Party? I know the Communist Socialist Democrat Party of America finds it offensive. Who cares! If you don’t like it, shut up and sit down because that’s the freedom afforded you the Pledge and by those who came before you who fought and died for your right to disagree without being taken out back and being beheaded.


Read more at The Real Side

President Obama’s Broad Coalition of One

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B.O.

With great fanfare and a nationwide, prime time presidential address to the American people, President Obama announced the formation of a “broad coalition” that would wage war together to destroy the Islamic State also known as ISIS or ISIL. Although few other details were given about the coalition, a senior administration official said on Wednesday “we are very confident that this will be a broad-based coalition with countries from the Arab world, from Europe, but also other key allies around the globe, like, for instance, Australia, which has joined us in humanitarian airdrops already in Iraq; or Canada, which has already put advisers on the ground.”

From President Obama’s “ISIL isn’t Islamic” speech:

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven. …

This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined some more of the possible participants. He suggested that a “core coalition” would include the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark. The 10 Arab “frenemy” states that committed on Thursday to the fight against ISIS included the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. The new coalition also includes Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. At the time of the publication of this article some 40 nations had supposedly joined this “broad coalition” to defeat ISIS. But does that mean anything other than the provision of some thin cover for a nation still perceived as Christian raining down death and destruction (complete with inevitable civilian casualties) on what are in fact, despite Obama’s protestations, Muslims?

But tough talk is often very cheap. It’s only been a few days and Obama’s “very significant counterterrorism operation” is already a disaster and falling apart before it ever got started.

In less than a day after Obama’s speech, both the UK and Germany (despite their earlier saber-rattling and tough guy talk) announced they have no interest in actually actively participating in any Obama led coalition to go after ISIS’ main bases of power in Syria. France has announced that they will not participate in any land or air actions at all. NATO member Turkey abstained from even pretending to join the anti-ISIS coalition and will not let the US use their airbases to attack ISIS targets in Syria. And now the Saudi’s probably won’t either.

What Obama will get from the Arab League and the others will be some supportive talk, perhaps a trickle of funds and arms to the locals, and that’s about it. When Bush invaded Iraq three other nations provided troops for the invasion and 37 other nations of the “Coalition of the Willing” provided ground troops for occupation and nation building attempts afterwards. In stark contrast to that, Obama’s “Broad Coalition” in the end will basically be a “Coalition of One” with a few local forces thrown into the mix. All led by a Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t want to fight, doesn’t want to be there, and known for walking away from ‘red lines.’ One can already sense this may not go well. Chances are he’ll screw around with this for a couple more years without really accomplishing too much and then hand it over to his successor to deal with. We’ll see and time will tell. I hope he proves me wrong.

What does this quick collapse of his coalition say about Obama’s strategic preparation? Did he even bother to check in with the Brits, French, and the Germans before pledging his “broad coalition of partners.” Apparently not. It would  instead appear that The One simply assumed our European allies would quickly just fall in line with his newly proclaimed war on terror.

And what tactics does the President envision utilizing against The Islamic State? From the Washington Post:
[Campaigns in Somalia and Yemen]  have dragged on for years and involve far smaller and less-well-financed adversaries than the Islamic State. Although Obama promised a “steady, relentless effort” in a nationally televised address Wednesday night, he also said that “it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL,” using a common acronym for the Islamic State.
Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option. Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House. Instead, Obama had decided to send an additional 475 U.S. troops to assist Iraqi and ethnic Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.
Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission.

So, in effect, President Obama has rejected the “Afghan model” that was used to successfully drive the Taliban from power in 100 days. It consisted of front line Special forces  and CIA paramilitaries calling in pinpoint US airstrikes on targets as they moved and worked in tandem with local opposition forces to defeat the enemy. It’s a devastating strategy that’s proven to be extremely effective in the past. What a shame. It’s how we really should wage war from now on.  On top of that, an unnamed U.S. general also told WaPo the other day that defeating ISIS would be much harder than anything we’ve done in Afghanistan or Iraq. Great, just great.

If President Obama quickly waffles, loses interest, and walks away from this tough talking but shallow commitment as well, we can then rename it the “Broad Coalition of None.”

Feeling the Pain of the Falling Man of September 11th

Feeling the Pain of the Falling Man of September 11th

This article was originally published in a number of publications on September 11, 2002. With a slight edit to reflect our current circumstances, I present it to you as a tribute to the souls lost on September 11, 2001.

Everyone remembers the horrifying images of September 11, 2001. Anyone alive and aware on that date will live with those images the rest of their life. The scenes of havoc and panic, destruction and slaughter, demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that even though the United States military is the best trained and well equipped in the world, our country remains vulnerable to the wicked.

When one accepts the fact — and it is a fact — that the free world, not just the United States, is at war with violent Islamists, this story is all the more chilling and disturbing.

The mainstream media in the United States has taken the images of September 11th, 2001 off the television and out of the newspapers, but for the obligatory image on the anniversary itself. They say that the images are too disturbing, that they incite a want for revenge rather than allow for closure. But they are wrong to do this.

The United States should not and cannot simply forgive and forget just because the our current president fallaciously insisted that al Qaeda was on the run and that the Islamic State is “jayvee.” Facts demonstrate that al Qaeda, the Taliban – and now the Islamic State and Boko Haram; violent Islamists, have been planning and preparing to implement their global campaign of terrorism — their declared war against the Western World — since before 1993, well before September 11th. Their central location for training may have been eliminated but they had prepared for that, splintering like roaches to the four corners of the world, preparing, planning and implementing their battle plans made decades before.

Make no mistake, they are a cunning adversary. They understood that the US would come after them. They planned for this event. Now they have metastasized and their threat is even greater than before September 11, 2001.

This war cannot be about “tolerance” or forgiving, or about understanding the “reasons why” someone would want to murder innocents whether it be with an airplane, a car bomb, a suicide vest or a saif. This battle has to be about freedom and the right of innocents to live their lives in liberty, free of fear from an unholy sect of genocidal totalitarians who offer only oppression, dominance and terror as their bounty.

The Progressive left and the complicit mainstream media would have us believe that it is America that is to blame for her audacity in the promotion of freedom and free markets, liberty and the vision of a world free of dictators who torture, murder and slaughter for power. To that extent, Progressives and the agenda-driven media are dangerous and a direct threat to the existence of our country, teetering on the brink of treason and sedition. They will attack these words by saying that I have intimated that they are not patriotic and un-American.

For the record, I hold the belief that anyone who believes the United States brought the attacks of September 11, 2001, onto itself IS unpatriotic and un-American. I believe that they have become toadies for our enemy and should be treated and opposed as such. While they manipulate the true meaning of the First Amendment’s free speech clause, they attempt to indoctrinate and transform our youth and the less than suspecting among us into believing in the doctrine of self-loathing, an oppressive ideology born of the less than great thinkers of Europe almost a century ago.

In its March 15, 2006 edition, The Mirror, a British publication (the American mainstream media too gutless to publish such truth), revealed the identity of a man who had to make the unimaginable decision of whether to burn to death in the raging fires of the World Trade Center on September 11th or escape the pain of hell on earth by leaping from the top of one of the world’s tallest buildings to his certain death.

The article was titled, Revealing the Identity of the Falling Man of 9/11. Jonathan Briley was “The Falling Man of 9/11.”

I would beg each of you to read the article but The Mirror, along with Esquire and a number of publications who once cared about such things, has taken the article down. You can search his name – Jonathan Briley – and look at the pictures and feel Jonathan Briley’s helplessness, his terror, and then try to imagine the split second of excruciating pain that he felt when his body hit the cement below with such force that he, a human being just seconds before, was left a bloodstain on a sidewalk, slaughtered like road kill by barbarian Islamists.

The people of the United States need to rekindle the flame of emotional anguish about the attacks of September 11th, 2001. We need to seethe. We need to employ the ingenuity and intelligence that is fostered in a free society dedicated to liberty, and scream our ire from the top of the world. Then we need to take definitive action.

If we are to wage war on terrorist; on violent Islamists, then let us be the ones who strike terror into the hearts of our enemies. Let us bring terror to those who blow-up innocents, saw the heads off hostages and threaten the world with words of annihilation and nuclear Armageddon. If we are to be in a war we did not choose to begin then in the memory of all who have fallen in the quest to provide freedom and liberty to the world, let us be the ones who act decisively to end it.

We need to embrace the undeniable truth that the free world is at war and cease pandering to those who would wake up one day in the future ruing the fact that we should have acted earlier.

A pre-emptive strike doctrine for the United States? Eradicating the world of the likes of al Qaeda, the Islamic State, Boko Haram and every other Islamist organization that preaches the conquest and servitude of the “dhimmi”? You’re damn right!

My 9-11 Tribute to New York Firefighter Michael D. D’Auria

9-11-01

As the fifth anniversary of 9-11 approached, the blogosphere community united to express its sorrow and participate in the nation’s mourning as only the blogosphere could.

At that time over three thousand bloggers joined the online project 2996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9-11 to give each victim of that day an individual tribute in their honor. Starting as just a vision of one person, the project exploded and resulted in the largest online collaborative effort in blogging history. Each blogger was assigned a random victim to write a tribute for and all were published throughout the web in the days leading up to that particular anniversary.

From the home page of 2996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9-11:

The 2,996 Project

The idea is simple, but powerful: have a special tribute for each victim of 9/11, with each tribute being created by a different blogger. We started 2,996 Project to coordinate the creation of the tributes, and that’s what this site is all about. Here you can sign up to make a tribute yourself, on your blog (we’ll randomly assign a victim to you). You can also browse or search through either the victims that have already been assigned or those that have not — and you can get pointers to more information on all of them.

A message from the guy who started it all…

For each of us something different about 9/11 brought the tragedy into focus. For me it was the sympathy and grief that poured in from overseas.

I remember a story on CNN that showed a Volkswagen Plant in Germany, where each employee brought a candle and placed it in the factory’s entryway. I was staggered at the scenes of foreigners openly weeping. The closing visual of thousands of candles burning on the marble floor left me speechless.

The first tears I shed for 9/11 were as I watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace later that evening. That night the Queen had the Royal Guard play the Star Spangled Banner instead of England‘s Anthem — a huge crowd of expatriates and British wept outside the gates. That tribute — a national leader, even if for just a moment, diminishing their own national identity as a show of sympathy — was one of the bravest and most touching political acts I have witnessed. And I remember wondering, if the situation were reversed, if we would have the courage to do the same….

The variety of people who participated in the project 2296: A Tribute to the Victims of 9-11 was amazing. A wide spectrum of people from this great nation, and throughout the world, were represented. Bloggers from a wide variety of countries were asked to be included in the memorialization of the lives of the fallen and participated with their tributes. Everyone from big name bloggers to eighth graders on Myspace.com signed up and I know of at least one class that did a tribute as a class project. It was one idea that completely crossed political and ideological divides and was embraced by people of all walks of life.

I was the 1911th blogger to join the project and wrote about Michael D. D’Auria, one of the many brave New York firefighters that responded to the twin towers call and subsequently lost his life as the towers collapsed.

As I watched the many hours of 9-11 remembrances, stories, documentaries, and reports today I was drawn back to this project that I had participated in many years ago and felt that it would be appropriate to once again commemorate and reverently remember Michael D’Auria and the many others who fell that day.

I encourage you to pause on September 11th and remember the nearly three thousand souls who were killed in the ‘Pearl Harbor’ of the current War on Terror and Islamic Jihadism. Remember them for their lives, for their families, for the fact they died on American soil, and simply because they were fellow human beings who displayed thousands of individual acts of bravery and courage as they sought to help each other.

Below I give you:

2996: My 9-11 Tribute to Michael D. D’Auria

Many years have now passed since the tragic attacks on September 11th, 2001. On that day the dark hand of terror and war reached out and snatched away nearly three thousand of our fellow countrymen in an orgy of fire and wanton destruction. I distinctly remember sitting on the couch as I prepared to leave for work and watching the amazing images flash across the TV screen. In that moment I knew that the course of our nation had taken a dramatic turn and that our lives would be changed forever.

Today I honor Michael D. D’Auria, age 25.

Michael came from a strong and proud Sicilian family with a deep history of firefighters. He was known to his family and friends as “a sweet and kindhearted man,” “unusually reflective and sensitive,” “very understanding and a true and wonderful person and friend,” and “as a great guy, always funny, always smiling.” He sought to follow the family tradition of serving others and became a firefighter. He had only been a firefighter for about nine weeks when the fateful call went out to Engine 40 – Ladder 35, and sent Michael responding to only his second fire as a fireman.

Michael was also known for his culinary skills. He graduated from the New York Restaurant School, Manhattan, in 1994, and worked in various Brooklyn and Manhattan restaurants before coming to Staten Island in 1999 to work at La Fontana, Oakwood, and Giovanni’s Cafe, Eltingville. His relatives in the department jokingly advised him not to tell anyone he was a chef. But he enjoyed it very much and was so proud of his skill that he would often stay and cook for the next shift at the firehouse. One firefighter said, “When we saw Mike’s name on the board we knew we were going to eat good that night.”

No tribute or memories can compare to a mothers. Below are a few words from Michael’s mother, Nancy Marra, published shortly after 9-11 which I have taken the liberty of republishing here.

Michael D’Auria was a very warm and loving young man who had a purpose in life. It was somewhat of a struggle getting there but he knew what his goal was and he succeeded. His entire life he wanted to be a fireman.

He was sworn into the department on May 2, 2001 after receiving 100 percent on both the written and physical tests. He was so proud to be a part of the FDNY.

Mike was a chef at various restaurants in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. When he graduated from high school, he went to culinary school since he had been too young at that time to take the fire department test.

Michael loved getting tattoos, but they each had a very special meaning to him, e.g. St. Michael the Archangel on his right shoulder. He felt he was his protector. Mike began painting last year. Something he never tried before, but when he did he had such a talent that people were just amazed seeing his paintings.

Most of all, Michael was a caring, giving person. He literally would give the shirt off his back to someone in need. Michael was a hero to many people over the years, now he’s a HERO to all.

As I sit here and write, I cry because my heart aches but I know you are happy now, Michael. You knew life here was only a small part of a very big picture. Michael made a statement to his sister, Christina, several months before September 11: “I know when I die it’s going to be in a big way and it’s going to change the world.” How right you were my son.

Always and forever in our hearts.

Mom

Michael’s only crime was that he was being born in the land of the free and the home of the brave. None of the victims of that day deserved the fate that they received, but they all deserve the honor and tributes that they have received since that day. Their deaths deserve to be remembered always as the ultimate sacrifice for this nation and its people. Their memories serve as the catalyst for this nation to unite in its determination to stand against those who would seek to destroy this nation and all that it stands for.

Today I remember Michael and the sacrifice he made for the rest of us. We join in solidarity with his family and grieve with them as they daily relive his loss and remember his life. Thank you Michael for your dedication to serving your fellow citizens and for giving your life as you sought to help save the lives of others. You may be gone, but you are not forgotten.

-After this tribute was originally published I received a rather moving e-mail from his mother which I don’t believe she would mind me sharing with you.

Dear David,

It was 2am this morning and my daughter Christina came across your site with Michael’s story. I am Michael’s mother Nancy. It’s been almost six years since my son was taken from us and I still need reassurance that people will not forget about Michael and all those innocent people who died that day.

I must say thank you for reminding me that they won’t forget. My way of making sure is to volunteer down at ground zero along with the September 11 families association and the tribute center giving tours. I myself have found how very rewarding it is. I realize a bit more each time I do a tour how tourists from all over the world want to know and how they appreciate hearing from the families themselves.

I have to tell you something which my daughter and I think very ironic. Several months before 9/11 Michael’s friends had decided to open a restaurant. The restaurant was to open in mid-September 2001. Since Michael was helping them he was asked to choose a name. The restaurant was to be called “Sage.” (I blog as “Dave the Sage”).

I have attached an article written in our local newspaper in July of 2002 I thought you might like to read.

Thank you again for honoring my son by telling his story.

– Nancy Cimei

Joe Biden Goes Rogue On ISIS: “We Will Follow Them To The Gates Of Hell”

joe-biden

The official response of the Obama administration to the recent beheading of two Americans in Syria by ISIS has been muddled at best. The often timid and tepid statements by various White House spokesman, the State Department, and even the President himself in response to these specific tragedies and the general threats poised by ISIS have been vague, confusing, contradictory, and sometimes downright silly. (You do know that the members of ISIS are Muslims right? The White House apparently isn’t even sure on that one.)

Though the sharpness of the rhetoric by both Obama and Secretary of State Kerry has increased somewhat in the last day or two, only very limited airstrikes have been carried out over the last few weeks and in a stunning statement Obama admitted that his administration has ‘no strategy yet’ for dealing with the ISIS strongholds and bases of power in Syria. And according to the State Department ISIS isn’t even at war with the US. Tell that to James Foley and Steven Sotloff and the blasted to bits ISIS fighters around the Mosul dam. Very similar statements were made in regards to pre 9-11 Al Qaeda, and the seeming hesitancy to acknowledge the truth of the situation by the current administration is somewhat disturbing.

In stark contrast to the muddling mediocrity oozing from Washington, potential presidential wannabe Vice President Joe Biden took to the road, and took it upon himself, to take a very hard stand against ISIS in regards to their latest outrages against the civilized world.

Biden on Wednesday delivered a fiery response to the killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff, calling ISIS barbarians and letting them know that the U.S. will “follow them to the gates of hell.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X495NDYvvmI

…They somehow think that it’s going to lessen U.S. resolve, frighten us, intimidate us. But, if they think the American people will be intimidated, they don’t know us very well…

…The American people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand…

…When people harm Americans, we don’t retreat. We don’t forget.  We take care of those who are grieving, and when that’s finished, they should know, we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.

With the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination in his hoped for future, this speech may be the first breakout attempt by Joe Biden to distance himself from the many failed policies and numerous disappointments of the Obama administration and appear more in line with public opinion and outrage. Can you imagine Barack Obama saying or acting like this in regards to an enemy other than House Republicans or Fox News? The taint of the Obama era is not something you want sticking with you if you going to run for president, and it will be a burden to either a Clinton or Biden candidacy.

This may be the new face of a new Biden who sounded more like a Bush-era neocon evoking 9-11 and bin Laden than a ranking member of an administration that ran and won a campaign based on abandoning Iraq at our earliest convenience. We are seeing the results of that failed Obama/Biden campaign pledge and policy play out now before our eyes and it appears that ‘Crazy Uncle Joe’ is trying to get ahead of the entire issue by going out, talking tough, and being his own man.  Any way you look at it, he is articulating and peddling something that sounds significantly different from the official vacillating White House line.

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