Category Archives: Politics

Only Nixon Could Go To China

Posted By lex, on February 29th, 2012

Leon Panetta is a Democrat who served in the White House budget office. In Congress he chaired the House Budget Committee. And he led the intelligence and military operations that led to DevGru popping Osama bin Laden.

In short, he is the perfect man for these lean times:

“No budget can be balanced on the back of defense spending alone,” said Mr. Panetta, “For that matter, no budget can be balanced on the back of discretionary spending alone.”

Discretionary spending refers to that portion of federal expenditure that is set each year by Congress, as opposed to the automatic mandatory spending every year on entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare.

“Real deficit reduction only happens when everything is on the table – discretionary [spending], mandatory spending, and revenues,” Mr. Panetta said.

The planned spending reductions in the administration’s new defense budget would result in a “smaller, leaner” force, he said.

“But at the same time it should be agile, it should be flexible, it should be ready, and it should be technologically advanced,” he added.

Nonetheless, Mr. Panetta acknowledged, “I can’t reduce the [defense] budget by half-a-trillion dollars and, frankly, not increase risks” to national security.

Preach it, brother.

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Second Order Effects

Posted By lex, on January 7th, 2012

Even those who have not traditionally been counted among DoD’s allies are waking up to the idea that budget cuts, and the consequent drying up of defense-driven research and development innovation could have transformational effects – in the wrong direction:

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Lady MacBeth

Posted by lex, on January 7th, 2012

You know, I believe I’ve seen this play before.

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promis’d. Yet do I fear thy nature,
It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way.

– Macbeth Act 1, scene 5, 15–18

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Acts of Conflation

By lex, on December 5th, 2011

In NRO’s The CornerAndy McCarthy punches holes in the notion that Operation Fast and Furious – also known more colloquially as the Gunwalker Fiasco – was somehow inherited from President Obama’s predecessor:

The key to their strategy is conflating two very different programs: Operation Fast & Furious and a Bush era ATF initiative known as “Operation Wide Receiver.” In the questions from Judiciary Committee Democrats (principally, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer — there may have been others but, again, I didn’t see the entire hearing), it emerged that Wide Receiver began in 2006, when Alberto Gonzales was the Bush administration attorney general. Senator Schumer took pains to describe Wide Receiver as involving the “tracing” of firearms that crossed into Mexico. As we shall see, Wide Receiver’s notion of tracing was night-and-day different from the tracing involved in the reckless gun-walking approach employed by Fast & Furious. Obviously, however, Democrats hope that if they get enough help from their friends in the media, the public will miss the distinction.

Mission Accomplished, courtesy of the New York Times:

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Defense to Perjury

Posted By lex, on October 4th, 2011

If House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa gets their way – the latter uncowed by rather ridiculous mainstream media smears – US Attorney General Eric Holder will soon find out whether the codicil “probably” is sufficient to defend himself on the charge of lying to Congress:

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Shut Up, They Explained

Posted by lex, on October 5th, 2011

Almost alone among mainstream media outlets, CBS News reporter Sharyl Atkisson has been digging away at the Gunwalker Scandal. In an interview yesterday with Laura Ingraham, she told how she that White House and Justice Department spokespeople have been “screaming at her” in response to her questions about what the Attorney General knew, when. They told her that, “the Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, the New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.”

And now, CBS seems to agree:**

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Odd Statement

Posted By lex, on March 8th, 2011

In this otherwise mundane article about the usual foreign policy tug of war within the Capital Beltway – Libya, this time – we find an interesting insight into President Obama’s grasp of history:

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Bad Idea

Posted By lex, on March 8th, 2011

Former George W. Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley has what might be the worst idea I’ve seen in a long time. And I’ve seen a lot of bad ideas *:

Stephen Hadley, national security adviser to Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, said Washington should look at the potential for funneling arms to Gadhafi’s opponents.

“Obviously, if there is a way to get weapons into the hands of the rebels, if we can get anti-aircraft systems so that they can enforce a no-fly zone over their own territory, that would be helpful,” Hadley told CNN.

I can’t imagine he’s talking AAA pieces, not in the kind of density required to make a difference over all of eastern Libya. Nor do I suspect he’s talking Patriot batteries – far too much training time involved.. That pretty much leave man-portable air defense systems like the Stinger.

We gave a grunch of these to the mujaheddin in Afghanistan back when the Soviets were playing the Great Game. I’m a little surprised that they ever forgave us, it went that badly for the Hinds and Hips. Slaughter of the innocents ain’t in it, and there must have been much weeping on the home front.

After the Russians went home, we spent $55 million trying to get them back again. We never did get every one, and it was four or five years until commercial airliners could breathe a sigh of relief – by then the shelf life of the system had expired.

Last thing we need to do is arm god-knows-who in Libya with MANPADS.

Some jobs you just don’t outsource.

03-01-21 Original URL gone; replacement found – Ed.

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Indecisive

Posted by lex, on February 8, 2011

The US government was caught flat-footed by the street rebellions in Cairo and Alexandria, with dissonant messages coming from various quarters. In time, we settled on a policy of encouraging a rapid exit for Hosni Mubarak and real democratic reform for the repressed peoples of the world’s most populous Arab country.

That didn’t work either:

The Obama administration has reconciled itself to gradual political reform in Egypt, an approach that reflects its goal of maintaining stability in the Middle East but is at odds with demands of the protest movement in Cairo that President Hosni Mubarak relinquish power immediately.

A week after the Obama administration demanded a swift transition to a post-Mubarak era, it has dampened the sense of urgency and aligned itself with power-brokers such as new Vice President Omar Suleiman, who are urging a more stable, if much slower, move to real democracy.

But U.S. officials privately acknowledged that there is no guarantee that Suleiman, a former intelligence chief closely aligned with the military, is committed to substantial reforms.

Indecisive, foolish and impotent. Not a good combination of characteristics to display in that part of the world.

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Disenfranchisement

Posted by lex, on August 4, 2010

John Donovan explores the rationale behind effectively denying deployed troops the opportunity to participate in our democracy:

According to the Washington Times, it would appear that the Justice Department is ready, willing and able to assist the States in kicking that can down (enforcing federal law requiring states to mail early ballots for deployed troops) the road this election cycle, rather than reminding them that it’s the law of the land.  Not helping, whether with carrots or sticks, the states comply with the law and ensure that deployed personnel will have a voice in the upcoming election cycle, but rather coaching them through the waiver process so they don’t *have* to comply with the law of the land.  I mean, gosh, it’s not like deployed personnel have a life or death interest in the issue or not, right?

But just who *will* Justice fall over itself to ensure they can get a chance to vote?  If for no other reason perhaps than to ensure that the Senate can be a re-employment agency for retired Saturday Night Live comic hacks?

Felons!  Right, felons.  People who have demonstrated a strong committment to civil society and have a respect for the law.

Well, at least Justice understands their constituency.

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