Tag Archives: Afghanistan

About the Conduct of Our Soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan

I am submitting this in response to the comments about the Marines who were video taped pissing on dead Taliban members. This is a post I first wrote on the original Patriot Action Network site on October 19, 2010 at 3:40 a.m. It was originally addressed to some who criticized me and others for advocating working through the political system to solve our political problems. They were calling me and others names because we were, and are, working hard to prevent a war here in America. Although written for a different subject matter then, it is very appropriate in the context of the story of our Marines pissing on dead Taliban.

This is addressed to anyone who feels they have a right to criticize our military people fighting the battles day in and day out, and especially directed to the lame politicians and bureaucrats in Washington D. C.

I am writing this in response to Gerald, Gary, Jaymes, and others of like mind. You posted comments that denigrate the attitudes of me and Dave Ruhoff about our ideas of using peaceful means to take our country back from the leftists who now run our government. I don’t know any of you and never saw your names before this discussion. I have some thoughts for you in regards to your comments about “sunshine patriots” and “collaborators”. If anyone has a weak stomach do not read this. It is not vulgar but is rather graphic to make a point I think is very important to those who think violence is the answer to our woes. If you have ever been in combat you should be ashamed of yourselves. If not, you shouldn’t be spouting the way you did. I went to bed but could not sleep and hope that expressing my thoughts will clear my head and allow me to sleep, and at the same time, give some of you something to reflect upon.

Before thinking ill of us, go enlist in the Army or Marine Corp. Volunteer for combat as an infantry soldier. Spend a couple of years in the mountains of Afghanistan. Spend every day with the threat of death at your elbow. Take that 100 pound rucksack and carry it until your shoulders ache from the load. Walk until you hips, legs, ankles, and feet cry out in pain. Go until you think you can’t walk any more and then keep on going. Go experience the freezing cold, the snow, the rain, the mud. Volunteer to be the point man. Walk along terrain that is so slippery you can barely sand up. And while you are doing this, be on constant alert for snipers, booby traps, or the ambush waiting around the next bend, past the next tree, or past the next boulder. Watch a 180 degree arc side to side and from ground level to the tops of trees, rocks, ridges, etc. for the ambush that could come at any second without warning, just the sudden burst from a grenade, mortar, RPG, or machine gun. Watch east step you take because the rock you kick might have a live grenade under it, or a trip wire, waiting for some poor unsuspecting grunt to kick it and have his legs blown off, or worse.

Lay there at night among the rocks, too tired and scared to sleep, every noise you hear being the chance of an enemy sneaking up to slit your throat. Experience the ambush, bullets tearing the ground around you. See the guy next to you get hit and feel his blood splatter all over you. Feel the relief, and the guilt, when your first thought is “I am okay, thank God it wasn’t me” as he lays there bleeding to death because you can’t quite firing long enough to help him as you are outnumbered 50-1.

Experience the fear of hand to hand combat, you with your knife and the enemy with his. Feel the pain as his knife slashes at your body. Feel your knife plunge into his sternum or stomach and the sensation as it stops when the hilt hits and his blood begins to run along your hand. Or hear the hissing of an enemy hand grenade a split second before it explodes, hurling hot metal into your body and the concussion knocking you to the ground. Feel the pain and fear as you lay there, semi-conscious and unable to defend yourself as enemy soldiers run past you, hoping they don’t stick you with a bayonet or pump a few rounds into you for good measure.

Or feel the sensation of being shot, the hot flash of pain and the feeling of being hit by a baseball bat swung by a Major League slugger. Live like this day in and day out for a year or two. Then come talk to me about “sunshine patriots”. Then come talk to me about “collaborators”. Then come talk to me about “weak willed people only willing to write letters or vote”.

Before judging people like Dave and me, walk a mile in my shoes and see if you can come up with a better plan. See if you can understand why pounding the pavement to get out the vote and writing letters to elected officials to get your point across and accomplish your goals is acceptable. My apologies to those who find this disturbing. My goal here is to; hopefully, give those who are looking for a war something to think about. How about we try it my way? America is worth it to me.

God Bless America.

Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma
January 20, 2012

Pakistan to Shoot Down U.S. Drones- Tensions Escalate

A crucial tool in the U.S war on terror in Afghanistan, U.S.drones provide critical intelligence and precision airstrike capabilities that have proven to be effective in searching out and killing Taliban insurgents and assorted Al- Qaeda operatives operating near the Afghan-Pakistan border region. Now the Pakistani military says it will shoot down any U.S aircraft invading their airspace, severely limiting the U.S. coalition forces efforts to control the region.

“Any object entering into our airspace, including US drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,” a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News. Islamabad has closed the border crossings in Pakistan that the Western military alliance uses to transfer fuel and other supplies for the US-led forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan also called on the United States to vacate the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan province. Pakistani forces took control of the base on Saturday after most of the US military personnel left. While U.S. military commanders have downplayed the significance of these developments, even of the most casual of observers can see that Pakistan has now become increasingly hostile to the U.S. simply by taking these actions at face value. This hostility actually became evident when U.S Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan right near the Pakistani Military Intelligence headquarters, which has also been downplayed by the U.S State department. This has become a very volatile situation that has been completely mishandled by the Obama administration and the State dept. due to the lack of any rebuke when it became evident that the Pakistani government had been harboring the world’s most wanted terrorist for years. Now Pakistan has not only closed down critical supply routes on the Afghan-Pakistan border, they are refusing to allow the U.S. to use drones to enable maximum control of the area. Meanwhile our State dept. and the Obama administration continue to directly fund the very same Pakistani military that are threatening to shoot down any U.S aircraft that gets near the border region.

On Friday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned the US and NATO that any future cross-border attack would be met with a “detrimental response”.

Update: Now the Taliban just announced they are in “peace talks” with the Pakastani government.

2012 just can’t get here fast enough!

Pakistani Forces May Have Been Killed After Attacking U.S. Troops

The killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by U.S. airstrikes may have been a defensive action.

The facts have been slow to come out in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers on Saturday, but new reports are surfacing that detail a different course of events than has been reported over the weekend.

A senior Pakistani defense official acknowledged that Pakistani troops fired first, sending a flare, followed by mortar and machine-gun fire, toward what he said was “suspicious activity” in the brush-covered area below their high-altitude outpost barely 500 yards from the border.

According to Afghan security officials, their commandos were engaged with U.S. Special Operations troops in a nighttime raid against suspected Taliban insurgents when they came under cross-border fire and called in an airstrike.[1]

While the U.S. has not yet responded to demands for an apology, the administration has expressed condolences for the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers.

Supporting the stance that perhaps U.S. troops were attacked over the border by Pakistani forces, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the United States General Martin Dempsey refused to apologize.

Gen. Dempsey says that while they Pakistanis “have reason to be furious that they have 24 soldiers dead and that what killed them was the ordinance of a partner,” as far as the U.S. having anything to apologize for: “absolutely not”.

Pakistan has now shut it’s borders to U.S. supply traffic which could affect almost half of all supplies flowing into the Afghanistan

Dealing With the Occupations

I’ve heard a few libertarians who get a little bit defensive of how the Occupy Wall Street movement is treated, and for a while I wondered why that was. Every conservative I know has been very critical for obvious and good reasons. As a conservative libertarian, I usually reserve judgment, but as usual I fall somewhere in the middle of both ideologies. I’m personally disgusted by the overwhelming majority of the people at the “occupations”, their behavior, their political ideologies and solutions. The question I ponder is, “Is there a silver lining to the Occupy Wall Street movement? And what good can come from it?”

Before the Marxist elements became more obvious and widespread at the Occupy Wall Street movement, much of their disdain appeared to be aimed TARP and to a lesser extent, the Federal Reserve. Those are two areas of agreement conservatives have in common with them. This also means I have more in common with Occupy Wall Street radicals than I do with mainstream Democrats like Harry Reid and company. Occupy Wall Street seems to oppose the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I too think its way past time for them to end. Democrats have only paid lip service in their supposed opposition to the wars, which is why they didn’t end them when they had total control from January 2009 to January 2011. To be clear, there’s many more areas we disagree on, like their desire to “eat the rich”, forgive all debt, and enact a $20.00 minimum wage. Those are all insanely awful ideas, and while I think most Democrats agree that those are bad ideas, they probably all sympathize with the proposals to varying degrees and would like to move in those policy directions. But even if Occupy Wall Street opposes bailouts because they don’t believe there should be a private sector, if they oppose the Federal Reserve because they’d rather use the barter system instead of using currency, and if they oppose the wars because that they believe that money could be better spent on running petting zoos; their reasoning doesn’t really matter to me. The important thing is that we’d both vote against bailouts, against the Federal Reserve, and to end the current wars.

I was reading a 2011 Heritage Foundation guide that ranked all members of the House and Senate in terms of their conservatism. In the Senate, most Democrats had anywhere from 5%-0%, but Bernie Sanders, the admitted socialist from Vermont had a 14% rating, the highest by far of anyone on the left! That is shocking to most, but not to me. Bernie Sanders is without a doubt an absolute crazy leftist. But, Bernie Sanders introduced the “Audit the Fed” Bill in 2009 that was co-sponsored by ultra conservative senator Jim Demint. Someone who is also like Bernie Sanders in that regard is Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich is another far leftist, but he actually voted against Cap N Trade (because it didn’t go far enough), wants to impeach Obama over his violation of the War Powers Act and assassination of an American citizen (be it a very bad one), and opposes the Patriot Act. Regardless of Kucinich’s reasons, I’m totally with him on those agendas. Policy wise and to a lesser extent, principle-wise, there may be more common ground between the far left and the right.

Establishment Democrats are the absolute worst. Joe Lieberman is many republicans’ favorite democrat. I admire that he has principles, which is unusual for politicians in general, but that’s as far as my admiration goes. Lieberman has a neoconservative foreign policy and is a socialist domestically. What that means is that he is as bad as Barack Obama in terms of spending, if not worse. Speaking of terrible things, Democrats usually say and do whatever they need to, to get re-elected. I’m sure some Democrats are unaware of the harmful effects of their policies and have benevolence in mind. But most are interested in buying votes from every group they can possibly get a hold of. Democrats usually run against things, namely republicans. They will oppose republicans virtually on every policy, not because they necessarily disagree, but as a political tactic. This is beyond obvious when Democrats are in power and their foreign policy is seen by the American people. The only difference between Bush and Obama on foreign policy is that Obama wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders and that he likes to travel to countries and apologize for things America did 50-75 years ago.

Occupy Wall Street could be dangerous in the future. As winter weather comes in for the long haul, it seems the movement would face 2 options, it either dies out or revs up by becoming violent and [even more] lawless. Obviously we should hope that its the former. The latter would bring about the chaos and destruction that we see taking place in crumbling nations like Greece. Most rational people probably look at Occupy Wall Street as disgusting and view it negatively. I don’t see how the Democrats channel the movement into electoral success (by attracting new voters, they have the Occupy Wall Street vote pretty well in hand). The truly sad part of it is that it had some limited potential.

Instead of just voting a straight democrat ticket, a democrat tea party would’ve brought about positive changes for the country. Voting out all the crony capitalist Democrats as well as the ones supporting destructive entities like the Federal Reserve would be fantastic (but painstaking, as that would require replacing most of the ones currently serving). However its likely that the individuals who are currently occupying places are too lazy to bring about such productive change and to do in depth research on the policies that are actually causing the problems they are facing. As Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch pointed out, one of the great aspects of the Tea Party is that they are principled enough to vote for a candidate who they agree with on most policies but who is also a crazy who only dresses in a bunny suit (who obviously has no chance of winning), instead of supporting a worthless establishment republican who could easily win in the general election. Unfortunately, with far left nuts such as Michael Moore, Van Jones, and Cornel West in their ranks and financial support coming from the labor unions, Occupy Wall Street has insured itself as a worthless group of nasty, unemployed, angst filled useful idiots willing to take direction from absolute crazies or the people who promote many of the policies they say they oppose. Instead of a good policy or personnel reform coming from the Occupy Wall Street movement, the only silver lining may be independent voters running even further away from the democrat party.

"Operation Freedom Foam" Heartwarming Story of American Generosity

 

 

What a wonderful, heartwarming story of just how generous Americans truly are. Special thanks go to Lafayette, Indiana’s Dog and Suds restaurant which is famous for it’s Root Beer. It all started when a U.S.Marine, Jordan Fletcher who is stationed in Afghanistan posted on his Facebook page that he had a craving for some Dog and Suds root beer: "Anyway I can pay for a few of those and get them sent out to me in Afghanistan? there are still people who haven’t tried this root beer and its Blasphemy!" People noticed and the results were 54 cases of 20-ounce bottles, some 1296 bottles of Root Beer to share with his buddies in Afghanistan.

 Out thoughts and prayer go out to all our troops overseas, we hope you enjoy your Dog and Suds Root Beer, and may you all come home safe and sound to your families soon.

The original order is set to arrive in Lafayette next Friday, and Fletcher’s family will be among those on hand to get it ready for it’s trip to Afghanistan. Special thanks to Fox59 Local News for bringing this wonderful story to our attention. 

 

Obama Admin. Fails to Secure up to 20k Libyan Portable Missiles

Free missiles in Libya for terrorists

As many as 20,000 shoulder-fired portable heat-seeking missiles are unaccounted for in Libya today, as the Obama Administration is caught flat-footed and left scrambling to do damage control in a very dangerous situation that they have had a big hand in creating. In their zealousness to promote the Arab Spring [supposed] Democracy uprisings in Libya, the Obama administration is shown to be eager to bomb first and deal with dangerous consequences later in this debacle. In the rush to help oust the long-time tyrant and oppressive dictator Moammar Gadhafi, numerous stockpiles of these missiles have been left unguarded and have already in fact, been carted off by who knows what terrorist groups and individuals by simply pulling up and loading them into vehicles. The following ABC News video describes the dangers of not securing these weapons depots, BEFORE removing the Libyan military that was guarding them:</p

These 4 to 5 foot long, portable heat-seeking missiles shown in the above video could now be used against our military aircraft in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the globe, and were basically left free for the taking in Libya. From the ABC News report, we see that this dangerous situation was brought to the Obama Administration’s attention over 6 months ago:

Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya six months ago. He took pictures of pickup truckloads of the missiles being carted off during another trip just a few weeks ago.

These missiles are deadly from distances up to two miles and do not have to actually be aimed, as they zoom in on an aircraft’s engine heat, and it also doesn’t take a lot of training to fire one. Basically put it on your shoulder and point it in the direction of any aircraft, and the missile will track the aircraft, strike it, and then explode.

Mr. Bouckaert was right there in Libya taking pictures of these missiles, and stated: “I myself could have removed several hundred if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want,” said Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director. “Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles.”

Former White House counter-terror adviser Richard Clarke stated, “I think the probability of al Qaeda being able to smuggle some of the stinger-like missiles out of Libya is probably pretty high,”

Recently we have seen The fast and Furious gunrunning scandal in which the DHS, ATF and other government agencies enabled the sale of assault weapons to drug cartels resulting in hundreds of murders on both sides of our Southern border, The Solyndra pay-for-play solar company scam where a good portion of half a billion taxpayer dollars have basically been shuffled into Democratic campaign coffers, and now we have the U.S. government enabling al Qaeda and any other anti-American maniac to acquire up to 20k portable anti-aircraft missiles. Meanwhile the ignorant sheep now known as Obama-supporters following his recent west coast taxpayer-funded campaign trip keep on screaming… Four more years, four more years!   Lovely.

With Friends Like These…

Since the beginning of the War on Terror, the United States has taken on the task of forming hostile nations into allies in the Middle East. The best analogy I can think of to currently describe the way things have gone is likening our nation building efforts to the comic strip “Peanuts”. The nations that we go to war with are much like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, America in this scenario, to kick. We run to kick the football, Lucy moves the football, and we fall on our behind. The difference is that immediately afterward, Charlie Brown knows that he’s been had and vows to never fall for that again, before he inevitably does. Our politicians on the other hand, refuse to reflect on the results of past interventions and many times embrace a “full steam ahead” approach.

I don’t write this as apologetics for Ron Paul, the Cato Institute, the founding fathers, Reason Magazine or any other well known libertarian intellectual cause. Instead, I’m going to use an inherently conservative thought process, the cost-benefit analysis. Liberals hate the cost-benefit analysis because it shows that their government programs to be counter-productive; this is why they often resort to arguing based on emotions and intent. Unfortunately, despite President Bush’s noble intentions, the major engagements of the War on Terror may not pass the cost-benefit test.

We invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to eliminate Al-Qaeda and to topple the country’s acting government, the Taliban. While fighting the enemy, we also helped set up an acting Afghan government. And in 2004 Hamid Karzai was elected president of the country and the US has supported him ever since. However, it has been revealed that Karzai and his family are corrupt and that he perhaps fraudulently won re-election in 2009. The US decided to express its disapproval by sending a troop surge of 30,000 to double down on our efforts of giving him a stable country to govern. Worse yet, its also been learned that Karzai, behind our back, has been in talks with the Taliban and has had diplomatic relations with Iran. But even before Karzai’s corruption became apparent, he still wasn’t exactly our BFF. Karzai frequently threw the US “under the bus” in press conferences and openly supports the farmers there growing Opium poppy despite our requests. Even taking Karzai out of the equation, a cost-benefit analysis must be done (not in this article) on whether or not we should still be fighting in Afghanistan. Former CIA director and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panneta estimated in 2010 that there were no more than 50-100 Al-Qaeda still in the country.

Next we turned to Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator who ended up getting what he deserved, not many Americans on either side of the political aisle would disagree with that. But, as the Iraq war winded down and the US turned into a police force to help stabilize their government, the people at home wondered what the new Iraqi government would look like. While still in its infant stages, details of the new Iraqi government have been disappointing at best. It appears as though Iraq has warmed up to its former hated enemy, Iran. This is particularly bad, because the Iraq-Iran conflict helped to keep Iran in check. This is why in the 1980s we helped supply Iraq with materials to produce chemical/biological weapons; with the idea of them to using the weapons against Iran. Further showing its gratitude towards the US, Iraq recently voted against Saudi Arabia’s proposal to increase oil production at OPEC’s 2011 conference. Seeing nations turn their back on the US after the US had invested large sums of money isn’t particularly unusual, but what makes this different is that the US still has 50,000 soldiers over there. This is a blatant slap in the face.

Worst of all is Libya. If there is something positive to be said of the War in Libya, one could say that its been the least costly of the wars. Despite its comparatively low price tag, Libya could quite possibly have the costliest long term consequences. To clarify, just like Saddam, Muammar Gaddafi is an evil dictator who deserves whatever grisly fate that awaits him. But, the United States went to war for the stated goal of stopping an alleged massacre that never took place, not for “regime change”. Then, in spite of goals which stated otherwise, we stayed until the regime change was complete. Now the question that remains is, “What now? Who are these rebels?”. That answer appears to be an interesting mix of regular citizens who grew tired of their oppressor, radical Islamic insurgents, and long term US ally Al-Qaeda. Wait… no, that’s not right, Al-Qaeda’s goal is to destroy the US and Israel. While the new Libyan constitution hasn’t been written, it was released that Sharia law is anticipated to be the main source of inspiration. If the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity in Egypt is any indication, the so called “Arab Spring” will not have positive long term effects on the US and it’s allies. Rarely do events have 100% negative consequences without a silver lining, and Libya very well could be one of those times. In life there are disappoints and ideas that backfire, but rarely do you spend money and resources to create a nation whose leadership’s stated goal is to destroy you. Before many marriages that end in divorce go bad, there is usually a blissful honeymoon. Likewise the Libyan rebels started off giving the US a deserved gift, by denying their request to extradite Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi.

The Middle East has plenty of hostile countries, some unfriendly indifferent nations, and very few allies. One of those nations considered friendly to the US is Kuwait, particularly after we saved them from Saddam Hussein’s invasion in Desert Storm. Now to Kuwait’s credit, they have repaid us with their support in the UN by voting against us a region-low 67% of the time. More and more on the right, people grow disenfranchised by our foreign involvements. Republican California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said that behind closed doors, most republicans will admit that Iraq was a mistake. This sentiment briefly gave businessman Donald Trump the affection of some republicans when he considered a presidential run. One of Trump’s main platforms was taking trillions of dollars in oil from Iraq to offset our costs there. The fact that the idea garnered some support among republicans shows that at the very least, they’re willing to admit that the Iraq war didn’t yield desired results; so they feel the need to get something out of it. I agree that in retrospect, knowing what we know now, it was a mistake. But you can’t go around taking nation’s oilfields or anything else for that matter, might doesn’t make right. The equivalent I draw from the people who support the US taking oil from these nations we intervene in is this: Let’s say I cut your grass without me asking. You either try to stop me or passively let it happen. When its done I take some household appliances to compensate myself.

A best case scenario in these countries is that we pay billions yearly for their defense, having them become reliant on us, allowing them to become socialist in nature; all while complaining about our presence and influence. This allows them to become what I like to call “International democrats”. They do nothing to warrant the US taxpayer paying for their defense or fighting for them, yet we do it. What would be better is if we charged them at cost or more for us to protect them, but even then, that’s only a solution if you want to use our military men and women as mercenaries instead of only using them to “protect the US Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic”. Better would be forcing these nations to pay for their own defense, taking them off the government payroll.

In the world there are going to be problems that arise on an international level. Friendly dictators and elected officials alike will lose power or get overthrown from time to time. When a US-friendly regime loses power its one thing, when the US pays great costs in lives and money to create a hostile regime is infinitely worse. Woodrow Wilson’s progressive dream is alive and well today with the goal of “making the world safe for democracy”, championed by republicans (McCain, Graham) and democrats (Lieberman). Creating democracies in a region where the people who make up the electorate despise the US would seem to make the policy mutually exclusive with safety at home.

Allen West Talks With CDNews on Debt, the Economy and Foreign Policy

Tuesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to spend twenty minutes with Congressman Allen West (R FL-22) and ask him about the outcome of the debt-limit negotiations, the current state of the economy and U.S. foreign policy. Once the pleasantries were exchanged, we got right to the questions.

Rich: Moody’s cut the U.S. economic outlook for 2011 and people are still struggling to find jobs. What would you like to see done on to fix the economy?

Rep. West: I think One of the things that has to happen is the government has to set the conditions to incentivize long-term, sustainable economic growth in America. When we continue to talk about bigger government and tax hikes, that’s not how we do it. I think when you look at the corporate tax rate in America, which is the second highest in the world, very simply let’s take that tax rate and cut it down to 20-21% and remove all the loopholes, strategies and subsidies and give our corporations and businesses a competitive tax rate. For the individual tax rate, since many businesses operate as sub chapter S corporations, let’s flatten that out to somewhere between 13% and 16% and only have two deductions: the child tax credit and the mortgage interest deduction.

For clarification, I repeated what I’d heard and got even more insight into how the Congressman would kick start the economy. He mentioned that not only would he be in favor of the lower corporate tax rate, but would favor making it retroactive to January 1st of 2011. As Rep. West put it, it would allow companies to recalculate their liabilities and realize additional assets that could allow them to invest, expand and hire.

Rep. West also mentioned the repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley, the set of financial regulations intended to prevent market losses like those experienced due to the Enron scandal. Unfortunately, Sarbanes-Oxley is expensive to implement and lacks any real or perceived benefits. It has done little more than to burden American companies with complex regulations that make it difficult to compete in the global economy.

Stressing that the “Keynesian model just doesn’t work” Congressman West mentioned that instead of more “pie-in-the-sky gimmicks” like stimulus spending, we should be looking at real plans like the new legislation he has in the House Ways and Means Committee – H.R. 1663 is titled  “The Small Business Encouragement Act” which, according to the Republican Study Committee, would:

The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow small businesses who hire an unemployed American, a work opportunity tax credit, saving employers up to $12,000 a year per hire in some areas of the country. To qualify, small businesses must have gross receipts in the preceding taxable year not exceeding $20 million, or they must employ less than 100 full time employees. The tax credit will double for employers hiring unemployed Americans in counties with an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average, which is currently just above 9 percent.

In the RSC blog post Rep. West was quoted as saying, “The Small Business Encouragement Act is a simple, effective solution to putting people back to work by encouraging the very backbone of our economy, the small businesses.”

Rich: In addition to the economy, what other issues would you like to see the House take up after the current recess?

Rep. West: I wish we had our tails back up there in Washington, D.C. right now. We have 12 appropriations bills that we have to pass through the House and get over to the Senate. We’ve only done 6 in the House so far and I think that the Senate has only taken up one of those.

We shouldn’t be waiting around for this joint committee of Congress to get going on finding spending cuts. We should get back up there and immediately implement the $300 Billion in cuts to duplicative and redundant government programs that the GAO (Government Accounting Office) report identified earlier this year.

I think we should be very concerned that China has rolled out it’s first aircraft carrier and the United Nations (U.N.) have a unilateral vote on Palestinian statehood in September.

The Congressman also expressed that while it was fantastic to get to speak with and meet his constituents, the prevailing feeling he was getting was that voters would rather Congress was in session getting these things done.

Rich: The news yesterday mentioned a “trial balloon”-style rumor that Obama may seek to solve our jobs dilemma by creating more government – The Department of Jobs. How do you feel about that approach?

Rep. West: That’s one of the most insidious things I’ve ever heard. Look, we have some government agencies that I don’t know why they exist. Why do we have a department of labor if we need a department of jobs? Why do we have a Department of Energy, that was originally created to make us energy independent and we still don’t have a diversified energy resource portfolio in the United States of America. When I hear the President speak, all I hear is a big government, liberal, progressive, socialist that does not understand that his policies that he has tried to implement over just less than three years has brought us incredible debt and increased our trillion dollar plus deficits over the last few years.

Even the liberal-leaning Huffington Post has an article that agrees with the Congressman on the silly nature of the President’s rumored idea. HuffPo’s Ken Blackwell points out not only the redundancy that Obama’s Dept. of Jobs would have with the Labor Department, but also the Commerce Department:

Then, of course, we have the U.S. Commerce Department. The Mission Statement of this department makes it sound like it, too, is a Jobs Department.

The U.S. Department of Commerce promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities and our nation’s workers.

We then changed the subject to the recent debt limit negotiations and outcome.

Rich: You voted for the negotiated debt-limit deal, correct?

Rep .West: Yes I did.

Rich: Out of all the plans and frameworks presented – the Ryan plan, Connie Mack’s Penny plan and cut, cap and balance, which was your favorite?

Rep. West: The Cut, Cap and Balance plan was my favorite and that was the one that 70-some-odd percent of the American people were behind. I think it’s reprehensible that Harry Reid, playing politics, tabled it. But the important thing is that you just don’t quit. The worst case situation is that the Democrats, that had no plan, no vision whatsoever, enabled a perceived or manufactured  crisis to occur. Then they turned to the blame game and the next thing you know we have to succumb to their wild and crazy economic schemes.

The final debt agreement was not the 100%. It was probably a 70-75% solution for me. The cuts in spending are not great, but at least we don’t have tax hikes. It’s also the first time ever that we’ve had a debt limit increase along with cuts in spending.

Congressman West was also quick to point out that this sets a precedent. Debt limit increases are not going to come free and easy anymore. He also was not fond of the Joint Committee, but felt it would be something they could work through.

Rich: The negotiated deal also contains, as a trigger provision, significant cuts to defense spending if deficit reductions don’t happen. Considering all that our young men and women in uniform are asked to do, are you concerned about that provision?

Rep. West:  What I found is really horrible is that we have to have this nuclear option hung over our heads as if we can’t do the sensible and the right thing and find the $1.5 trillion in additional cuts over the next ten years. I don’t think anyone wants to be there and say that “I decimated the defense structure of the United States of America on my watch”. You can best be sure that I will do everything possible on my side to make sure that this Joint Commission of Congress performs their duties. I sit on the Armed Services Committee, I have many a friend and also a nephew that is still serving. I am not going to allow them to be sent into a combat zone without the proper levels of readiness.

With the debt-limit situation covered, foreign policy was up as the final topic.

Rich: Considering the three conflicts that the U.S. is currently engaged in – Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, which, if any do you believe we should be fighting?

Rep. West: Libya we should not be fighting at all. On this I have been very vocal. I believe the President is violating statutory law and going against the War Powers Act of 1973. I was one of the first to go into Iraq in 2003 with the Fourth Infantry Division. Now it’s going to be drawn down on the 31st of December of this year. I do have some concerns on the resurgance of Muqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi army which is supported by Iran. I believe that when you look at Afghanistan we got off-focus in being more concerned with nation building and occupation-style warfare instead of focusing on the enemy and his sanctuaries. On the tenth anniversary of 9-11,those attacks emanated out of Afghanistan, I don’t want to just pull tents and run away without having defeated the enemy to some measure of success.

Rich: There was a video put up by The Shark Tank that showed you discounting Representative Ron Paul as a serious candidate based on his foreign policy views, specifically on Iran. How would you like to see the United States deal with Iran?

Rep. West: The last thing I want to see us do is to take the Neville Chamberlain type of perspective and believe that we can compromise, appease and negotiate with Iran. You know, we’ve been in contention with Iran ever since the fall of the Shah, the rise of the Ayatollah and the hostage crisis. I believe there is going to come a time when we will have to take action against the military capability of Iran. Iran is supporting actions against our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan. For anyone to sit and say that they want to be President of the United States of America, understanding that the most important title for the President is Commander-in-Chief, and say that they would not have problem with Iran having a nuclear device because everyone else has it – shows that person does not understand mutually assured destruction theory (M.A.D.). The religious fanatics that are truly in control in Iran – if they get that device, they’re going to use it for the purposes of having an apocalyptic event so that they can conceivably bring back the 12th Imam – the Mahdi.

Rich: Obama has stressed our relationship with one of our closest allies – Israel. There is mounting pressure for the U.N. to grant statehood to Palestine and this administration seems to be doing little to prevent it. What is your stance on the statehood of Palestine?

Rep West: I’m headed over to Israel this Saturday for a week. I think the most important thing is for the President, [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Susan Rice, and Secretary of State Clinton should do is to come out, have a press conference and unequivocally state that they will not support a unilateral creation of a Palestinian state by the United Nations. We need to vote against it in the General Assembly. We definitely need to veto it in the U.N. security council. There should not be any quibbling about where we stand.

Congressman West expounded upon his answer by explaining that he had real concerns about a Palestinian government, Fatah,  that has reconciled with Hamas – a known terrorist group that has in its charter the destruction of Israel. Hamas does  not recognize Israel as a nation and now the U.N. would consider recognizing Palestine as a state. He also mentioned that if Palestine somehow were granted statehood, that the United States would respond by providing, “absolutely no funding to an illegitimate Palestinian State”.

Representative West is running for re-election in 2012 and you can keep up with his work in the House at west.house.gov or at his website: www.allenwestforcongress.com/

Interview Note:
There was much more from the interview, but I’ll be releasing that in separate articles as those questions were from unrelated topics. I thank Representative Allen West and his dedicated team for making this interview possible.

Why, Despite Numerous Red Flags, U.S. Must Continue Relationship With Pakistan

The news out of Pakistan over the last several years has been a roller coaster of strategic victories and suspicious losses. News of high-level Al Qaeda captures are interspersed with reports of last-minute tip-offs before raids. The Pakistani government did help capture such notorious figures as Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (9/11 attacks), Khalid bin Attash (U.S.S. Cole attack), and Abu Faraj al-Libi (Al Qaeda’s #3), but sometimes its difficult to tell which side Pakistan is on.

The U.S. knows that members of the Pakistani government and military have ties to Islamic militant groups, many of which the U.S. State Department considers terrorist organizations. Some of these militant groups (created by the Pakistani government itself) are utilized in guerilla warfare along the Pakistan-India border. The Lashkar-e-Tabai (LeT), for example, claimed responsibility for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks and is widely believed to have been supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The U.S. is also aware that the Tribal Areas of western Pakistan have been used as safe havens for fugitive Taliban fighters and as staging areas for cross-border attacks by Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even remarked during a May 2010 interview that members of the Pakistani government likely know where Osama bin Laden was hiding. Thus it was no surprise when the May 2nd kill/capture mission revealed that Osama bin Laden had been living for five years in a compound near Pakistan’s premier military academy. Underscoring the distrust of the Pakistani government were revelations that the U.S. purposefully kept Pakistani intelligence in the dark during the top-secret operation.

Referring to the successful operation as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty, Pakistan quickly condemned the mission to kill/capture the mass murderer. Echoing this sentiment are poll figures recently released by the Pew Research Center showing 63% of Pakistanis “disapprove of the operation that killed bin Laden,” while 69% of Pakistanis view the U.S. as “more of an enemy than a partner.”

As of FY 2010, the U.S. (more enemy than partner) has appropriated or reimbursed more than $18 billion to Pakistan for security operations and economic aid, with nearly $4.5 billion contributed in 2010 alone. All this begs the question: “With so many red flags, why should the U.S. continue its strategic relationship with Pakistan?”

Logistics

At least 60% of the supplies required by coalition forces in Afghanistan are currently moved through Pakistani terrain or airspace. Although the Northern Distribution Network (agreements to cross the borders of certain Asian countries) was created to handle some of the supplies, many of the agreements do not allow for the transport of troops, weapons and other sensitive items. Through various political pressures these routes are ultimately at the discretion of Russia. An agreement between President Medvedev and President Obama last summer supposedly allows for all manner of cargo to move through the region. However, Radio Free Europe reports that as of July 2, 2011, only two flights have taken place. The only other alternative is an overland route through Iran – a contigency only expected to be used when Hell reaches its freezing point.

Stabilization of Afghanistan

A stable government in Afghanistan will require the assistance and cooperation of Pakistan. In the early stages of an independent democracy in Afghanistan, the government will be especially vulnerable to coups and Taliban sympathizers eager to inflitrate the new government (not to mention chaos from narcoterrorists and cartels). Pakistan will be invaluable in providing tactical support during any sudden Afghani uprising, as we saw when Saudi Arabia sent 1000 troops to support the Kingdom of Bahrain in March of this year.

Efficacy of Counterinsurgency Operations

Without the current contributions to the Pakistani government, future counterinsurgency incursions by the U.S. military may be regarded as an act of war. The U.S. took a lot of heat for its unilateral kill/capture mission of Bin Laden. This week the Pakistani government ordered U.S. personnel out of the Shamsi Airbase. Shamsi airfield serves as a critical staging area for immediate drone strikes in the Tribal Areas. While it appears the demand was a ruse to placate the Pakistani populace, U.S. personnel must maintain its presence inside of Pakistan in order to react quickly on actionable intelligence.

Increased Chinese Influence in Pakistan

Although Pakistan regularly faces nationwide power outages and serious economic issues, its government believes that acquiring submarines and nuclear capabilities from China has been the most prudent use of its resources. Such irresponsible deals have allowed China to gain a major economic foothold in Pakistan – some sources claim $20 billion or more in investments. With increasing Chinese domination will come attitudes against free society and the American way of life.

Suppressing Future Islamic Threats

Finally, as one of the largest Muslim populations in the world, Pakistan is essential in preventing and suppressing future Islamic terrorists. A serious concern is that the domestic militancy in Pakistan will become regional insurgency, and regional insurgency will become global terrorism. In this age, the U.S. must maintain a strategic presence in South Central Asia. Maintaining a working security relationship with Pakistan will go a long way toward preventing the next Islamic attack.

The Public Trust and It’s Violation Thereof

Obamas Kinder Gentler WarExcuse me whilst I lash The One to the mainmast of our noble Ship of State for the appropriate scarring.

Here we have the vision of The False Messiah usurper President who came to power decrying with strident oratorical regularity his Republican predecessor on foreign policy decisions. As candidate Obama he criticized Bush for neglecting Afghanistan in favor of Iraq. An easy hindsight criticism when Bush had gotten himself already involved in a full-out war in Iraq, whether one agrees or disagrees with that initiative. So what does the Oba-maniac do when he assumes power? He tries to take credit for the Bush committed withdrawal of troops from Iraq and triples the number of American troops from 31,000, when Bush left office, to over 100,000 in early 2010.

This is the same guy who demanded that we return our troops home from Iraq.

You can’t have it both ways Barack baby! You can’t loudly and with great regularity besmirch Bush’s effort in Iraq and then enjoin his “nation-building” venture in Afghanistan after you take his place by propping up the same criminal punkass leader Karzai, tripling our troop commitment and continue doing so even after the mission to get Osama bin Laden is completed. Why should good Americans die trying to kill all the Taliban? For this!
Building roads? What are we now…some sort of international aid machine supported by the US taxpayers without their direct consent? The federal government in the person of congress has become so out of touch with the public that it’s shameful. Let those nations that believe in the UN New World Order get them to fund this “nation-building” under the UN aegis. That would be some comic relief anyway.

Congressional appropriations committees need to read “The Cost of Reaction: The Long-Term Costs of Short-Term Cures” by Andrew Sweet and Natalie Ondiak.

I’m a veteran and sick of seeing American Presidents who seek to establish another democracy in some backwards, third world cesspool that time has forgotten as their historical legacy and do it on the backs and lives of good, brave Americans. Our responsibility as the so-called leader of the free world is to promote freedom in the form of democracy where the people of a nation have taken the first steps to indicate they are ready to assume that responsibility and where a tyrannical ruler is preventing that.

In Afghanistan we have a medieval society existing in a modern world. It hasn’t changed much in a millenium. The people have no conception of freedom and are not ready to assume responsibility for their own futures. They have no economy aside from poppies and drug manufacturing. Our aide has become their economy and how it is used is not accounted for, yet we continue to pour money into that cesspool of despair. Propping up a thug, because he is perceived as the lesser of two evils is incompetent and mirrors all our past Middle East policy that has us hated there.

For those who voted for this moron I would submit that one reason they did so is to get us out of that cesspool and he is only digging us in deeper. Obama has violated those voter’s trust.

Last November in a Quinnipiac poll, Democrats by a 52% to 33% margin said we shouldn’t be involved in Afghanistan. Independents were 45% to 40% against that involvement. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News Poll 49% disapprove of his handling of Afghanistan.

This defines acting against the public trust. They voted for him to get us out and he’s doing the reverse. WE trust our elected representatives to be good financial stewards of tax revenues we pay and they urinate money about like an incontinent drunkard. Is that acting in the public interest…, in the public trust?

I’ve been in the Republican minority opposing our involvement in that country. I opposed it because it defines nation-building which I despise, and is the foreign policy markerpost for the malcontents to chide us as the ugly American. Efforts like Afghanistan are NOT making the world safe for democracy. It was a nation in name only with no ruling government, only tribal leaders who ruled by force and intimidation. Under our stewardship is has become a parasite dependent totally upon us for it’s economic survival. How stupid are our elected leaders?

$36 Billion: Amount the United States is spending on military action in Afghanistan annually.

$10.4 Billion: Amount of aid the United States pledged for development in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2008. The United States provides a third of all development aid to Afghanistan.

There was no single despotic authority brutalizing the people only tribal warlords who have been the only leadership that sorry excuse for a nation ever knew. WE installed a leader to enable building a national rule and government. WE installed a puppet in exchange for the right to pull his strings, nothing more. That is not our responsibility and is wrong. WE are using getting the Taliban as an excuse.

There is no mission there of true national security interest to us, so we’d best stop waving our patriotic flag insisting that there is.

Rubio visits Afghanistan, Pakistan. Was the trip necessary?

Newly elected Senator Marco Rubio (R -FL), recently went on a trip to the war zone of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. As you can see in the picture, it is a very inhospitable land comprised mostly of rocky mountainous regions seperated by barren desert. While it is nice to see my  Freshman Florida Senator jumping in and getting to “work” up in DC, I have to call in question the viability of these expensive trips, especially by our members of Congress. When they are flying around the world to other countries, they are not here in our Senate taking care of real business.

I was curious as to just what they accomplished, or hoped to accomplish, on this taxpayer funded trip when I saw this headline in The Miami Herald, accessed on 1/18/2011. * The article initially starts out with the announcement of his first overseas trip as a U S Senator, then goes on to give us some insight on just what they witnessed while over there :

“Finishing his first overseas trip as a U.S. senator, Marco Rubio on Monday warned the Obama administration against setting an “artificial timeline” for the United States to leave Afghanistan.”

“Everywhere we went, from the markets to the streets, to Afghan authorities . . . what we heard repeatedly is that it’s important that it’s clearly understood that the U.S. is committed to seeing this through,” Rubio told reporters in a conference call from Kabul. “Otherwise, there’s a sense that the Taliban, even al Qaeda, is just waiting for us to leave so they can move back in.”

I make the observation here, that this is the same old song and dance we have heard from other politicians for what,  5, 6, or 7, years ? So far I see zero substantial results from this trip that would justify this expense. I can see future self-grandeurizing politicians standing on the Senate floor bragging about ,  “When I was in Afghanistan,I saw this and that.”  To which I always end up asking myself, ” Just what are our U S Senators doing flying around the world for in the first place? ”  We have a State Department, a Department of Defense, the CIA, thousands of soldiers, and Military Commanders there on the ground, all writing reports on what is happening in Afghanistan.  Do we really need to have 535 politicians flying over there too ? Maybe the newly empowered, tyrannical, unelected government minions over at the EPA should look into this type of pollution, instead of clamping down on wood stoves and the like?  Do the people actually know this is going on and how much it costs the taxpayer?  The Miami Herald goes on to list just who all went on this trip:

“Rubio — who returns to Florida on Tuesday — toured U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, and fellow Republican freshmen from Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Rubio had lunch with troops from Florida stationed in Kabul and had dinner Sunday night with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The group also met with Gen. David Petraeus and toured Kabul Military Training Center, which is training Afghans for its National Army.”

A total of six politicians flying around the world, including four new freshmen Senators. That is very expensive people. Am I asking too much to think these freshmen Senators would better serve the people by digging in and getting to work learning the ropes in the Senate? Senate Minority Leader McConnell should be ashamed of himself for these kind of nonsensical expenditures, especially at a critical time when there are major issues we need to address here at home. I,m also disapointed in my Senator Rubio in agreeing to go on this trip. What part of cutting Government waste do these “representatives” not understand?  Ground all politicians, make them stay here and take care of the business they were elected to do!

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/18/2020832/rubio-visits-afghanistan-pakistan.html#ixzz1CQNQYbtE

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/18/2020832/rubio-visits-afghanistan-pakistan.html#ixzz1CQHgBaMs

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/18/2020832/rubio-visits-afghanistan-pakistan.html

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