Category Archives: Politics

Losing Turkey

Posted by lex, on June 26, 2010

Commentary‘s Micheal Rubin charts the regression of Kemal Attaturk’s secularist vision back to an older cultural imperative:

While Turkish liberals, businessmen, and Western diplomats took solace in Erdogan’s outreach to Europe, his motivation was cynical. His ideological constituents had no interest in Europe, and Erdogan himself is intolerant of European liberalism and secularism. He criticized the European Court of Human Rights for failing to consult Islamic scholars when it upheld a ban on headscarves in public schools—a ban that dates back to Ataturk’s original reforms.

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Raising Hell

Posted by lex, on September 22, 2009

When I was a junior officer, and one or another policy that we’d perceived as idiotic came down the pipe, we used to dream of some theoretical flag officer that would throw his stars on the table in protest. The Stan Arthur case comes to mind, a damned fine warfighter tossed overboard for political purposes. Feelings were running high in the early 90s, and it was the opinion of many of us that CNO Jeremy Boorda ought to have stood up to the witch hunt, and placed his own career on the line. I think he might have felt that way too before he took his own life. For other reasons, ostensibly.

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Parapets

Posted by lex, on September 21, 2009

We’ve spent so much time talking about buying General Motors, hurling billions at the banking industry and trillions at the economy while trying to determine how to pay for free health care that no one has asked how all of this is to be paid for. With the completion of the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review the time is rip for the Obama administration to scrutinize the DoD portfolio for savings. On account of all that wasteful national defense spending. The tenor of this article by RADM Terry Kraft leads me to believe that the aircraft carrier program may once again have its head in the noose.

The admiral makes all the customary points about the inherent flexibility and power of tactical naval aviation, as well as attempting to rebut the latest “survivability” argument in light of China’s promised DF-21 maritime area denial weapon:

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Estimates

Posted by lex, on September 18, 2009

In 2001, intelligence estimates said that Iran was five years away from being able to assemble the components for a nuclear weapons program. The 2003 National Intelligence Estimate doubled that figure to ten years, “early next decade” at the soonest, more probably not until 2015.

In the summer of 2003, national media outlets took heart at the news that the intelligence community was re-assessing the products it had developed asserting the presence of WMD in Iraq – an important, but by no means exclusive rationale for going to war there. There were murmurings here and abroad that, rather than cautiously balanced assessments with footnoted caveats intended to inform policy makers, the intel had been “sexed up *” at the direction of politicians – a crucial distinction.

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How it Looks from the Other Side

Posted by lex, on December 13, 2008

Media Matters for America: After an 8 year holiday on unfairly criticizing national level politicians, the media are back to their old games.

But this week brought signs that much of the media is set to resume the absurd and shameful behavior that defined the 1990s — guilt by association, circular analysis whereby they ask baseless questions about non-scandals, then claim they have to report on the “scandal” because the White House is “besieged by questions,” grotesque leaps of logic, downplaying exculpatory information, and too many other failings to list.

If that happens — if the media continue to behave as they did in covering Whitewater — they will damage the country. It’s really that simple. We cannot afford to be distracted from serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.

Unfortunately for the hystericals at Media Matters, the MSM are well rested after having spent the last 8 years resting on the bench, taking no notice whatsoever of the Plame Affair (at least after it came to land in the lap of a politician outside Bush’s inner circle), pornographically dwelling on the barbarisms of pointy-headed twits at Abu Ghraib (and inferring that 4AM dog trots of humiliated POWs were authorized at the highest levels of American policy), shrieking from atop the kitchen chair at the excesses of the Patriot Act (which President-elect Obama seems content to continue pretty much as it always has done), Guantanamo (about which, no one knows quite what to do), the whole “16 words” thing (much ado about nothing, as it turns out),  and the firing of politically appointed at-will employees (for whatever reason or no reason at all, that being what “at will” means).

Not to mention actively sabotaging the efforts of the national command authority in a time of war.

So, investigating the Clinton’s various and sundry sordid acts during peacetime was “absurd and shameful behavior” but undermining the actions of a command-in-chief in time of actual war was, well: Unremarkable. Because taking an militantly adversarial stance against a Republican administration is honest and admirable, while shining a flashlight on the potential corruptions of a Democratic administration is “overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation.”

Because political ideology and party trumps country.

We always knew that some people felt this way. It’s just surprising to see them come out and say it.

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Because that turned out so well

Posted by lex, on September 1, 2008

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has laid down five principles for his country’s future foreign relations:

  1. The recognition (*cough*) of international law.
  2. A rejection of a unipolar world order.
  3. Friendly relations with the rest of the world, subject to certain conditions.
  4. The intention to protect its citizens where ever they are found (Sudetenland, anyone?)
  5. A recognition of Russia’s “privileged” interests in the near abroad and elsewhere.

As the BBC analysis points out, all of this would have been quite familiar to 19th Century diplomats. Who never dreamt, in their fussier moments, about the bloodbaths they were teeing up for the early 20th Century.

The first time as a tragedy, the second as a farce.

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Vive: Le difference

Posted by lex, on September 1, 2008

Compare and contrast:

Bristol Palin, one of Alaska Gov. Palin’s five children with her husband Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby…

(Sarah and Todd Palin): We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.

(Barack Obama): “Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” he said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby…

Life’s all about choices, yah?

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Politics, Politics and Culture

Fishing unironically

Posted by lex, on August 31, 2008

I almost had the heart to drag all of you through the trail of tears that is the Chosen One’s people feverishly attempting to persuade themselves what a horrible person this Palin woman is, and how terrible it is for the country that John McCain cynically chose a faux female to be his running “mate”, going out of his way to spoil their diversity party and everything. Almost.

My tentative title was to have been, “What if it was Todd?”, wherein I’d hoped to point out the blatant hypocrisy – not to mention misogyny – of those who claim to support a woman’s right to choose (so long as she chooses within their predescribed constraints) and who purport have in their hearts the betterment of womyn (so long as they hew to all the correct orthodoxies and don’t get off the reservation, and all).

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Unconvincing

Posted by lex on August 26, 2008

I don’t know anything about the “American Issues Project.” I know nearly nothing about Texas billionaire Harold Simmons. I really don’t know as much as I would like to about Barack Obama, first term senator from Illinois and Democratic Party nominee for president.

I do know rather too much about former Weather Underground domestic terrorist Bill Ayers to feel entirely comfortable about the fact that Obama launched his political career at Ayer’s house. Even as I try to remain cautiously agnostic on the issues of the circles they both moved in and the boards they both served on – I’m not long on the notion of guilt by association and the Chicago political gene pool is pretty small.

Nevertheless, when Simmons sponsors an attack add on the Ayers issue through the AIP, what I’d like to hear from the Obama camp and its proxies is a pointed refutation of the facts.

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These our masters

Posted by lex, on August 19, 2008

There are times when even the sea service must bow to those who have been such Strong Military Supporters over the years, even going so far as to purchase a ship the service doesn’t want, whose defense they can’t guarantee, at a price of $2.6 billion – twice as much as the preferred competitor.

This is one of those times:

The (decision to reverse course and buy a third DDG-1000) comes after considerable pressure by lawmakers, including Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, concerned about the impact on General Dynamics, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, who was worried about the effect on Massachusetts-based Raytheon Co, which is building the combat system for the new ships.

Kennedy and a group of other lawmakers from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, had urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to reconsider the Navy’s plans to buy only two new DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyers, instead of the seven planned.

They threatened to block future shipbuilding funds for all surface warships unless military officials could better justify the move to truncate the DDG-1000 program after years of touting its benefits.

With an offer like that, how could we say no?

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