Why We Need To Increase Defense Spending

The Heritage Foundation has posted highlights from the 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength and the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength. I strongly suggest following the links and reading the report summaries, but I can give you the bullet points here:

From 2016:From 2017:

This is the summary of the 2017 Report:

Overall, the 2017 Index concludes that the current U.S. military force is capable of meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict while also attending to various presence and engagement activities—something it is doing now and has done for the past two decades—but that it would be very hard-pressed to do more and certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies. The consistent decline in funding and the consequent shrinking of the force over the past few years have placed it under significant pressure. Essential maintenance continues to be deferred; the availability of fewer units for operational deployments increases the frequency and length of deployments; and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are either delayed or beset by developmental difficulties.

The military services have continued to prioritize readiness for current operations by shifting funding to deployed or soon-to-deploy units at the expense of keeping units that are not deployed in “ready” condition; delaying, reducing, extending, or canceling modernization programs; and sustaining the reduction in size and number of military units. These choices and their resulting condition, driven by the lack of funding dedicated to defense, hazard America’s ability to secure its interests now and erode America’s ability to shape conditions to its advantage by assuring allies and deterring competitors.

As currently postured, the U.S. military is only marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.

If we are to remain free and protect our citizens, I believe that we have to increase our defense spending.

A Valiant Marine Wins His Court Case

In December 2015, I wrote a story about Major Jason Brezler, a Marine reservist being discharged from the Marine Corps.

I quoted a Marine Corps Times article which reported:

A Marine veteran in Congress has called on the country’s top law enforcement agency to investigate a senior Navy official’s decision to force out a Marine officer who tried to warn his comrades in Afghanistan about a suspected Taliban conspirator.

In a Dec. 3 letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said the FBI should look into the case involving Maj. Jason Brezler, a Reserve civil affairs officer who sent classified information from a personal email account in 2012.

Scott Lutterloh, the acting assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, recently upheld the decision that Brezler be honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. But Hunter said Brezler’s case received “inadequate attention by the Department of Defense Inspector General and Navy criminal investigators.”

In his letter, Hunter urged the Pentagon to take steps to launch an FBI investigation of the case, to include the U.S. military’s relationship with Sarwar Jan, a corrupt Afghan police chief and the man at the center of Brezler’s email warning.

Unfortunately, the American military has allowed the actions of sexual predators in Afghanistan to continue, turning a blind eye or accepting it as part of the culture. That was the system Major Brezler was fighting.

The Marine Times updated the story today.

The article reports:

A federal judge has overturned a Marine Corps decision to discharge Marine Maj. Jason Brezler, who was accused of mishandling classified information after he warned Marines in Afghanistan about an Afghan police chief days before a deadly insider attack in August 2012.

A board of inquiry recommended in December 2013 that Brezler be discharged for using his personal email account to send classified information to Marines in Afghanistan about an Afghan police chief accused of sexually assaulting young boys. Brezler was also accused of taking classified documents home from Afghanistan so he could write a book.

But Brezler filed a lawsuit contesting the Marine’s decision, claiming the Corps wrongfully retaliated against him for contacting Capitol Hill about his concerns.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco in New York ruled that the government had not granted Brezler full access to records related to his claim. Brezler was referred to the board of inquiry, which adjudicates claims of officer misconduct, after a story published in Marine Corps Times reported that Brezler asked for help from Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

“For example, if communications prior to the Marine Corps Times article indicate that the Navy did not contemplate a BOI [board of inquiry] , or indicate an affirmative decision not to initiate a BOI, such communications would be highly relevant to Major Brezler’s claim that the BOI was retaliatory,” Bianco wrote in Tuesday’s decision.

Hopefully this is the end of the story. I will stay tuned in case it is not.

A Much-Needed Policy Change

Approximately seven years ago, Major Nidal Hasan killed thirteen people and wounded more than thirty others at Fort Hood, Texas. Because our military was banned from carrying their weapons at government facilities, none of the soldiers at the base were armed. That situation rule has now changed.

On Monday, The Military Times reported:

U.S. military personnel can now request to carry concealed handguns for protection at government facilities, according to new Defense Department directive issued last week in response to a series of deadly shootings over the last seven years.

While service members already were authorized to carry weapons as part of specific job responsibilities, the new policy allows them to apply to carry their privately owned firearms “for personal protection not associated with the performance of official duties,” the directive says.

It also clarifies when military recruiters can be armed, said Army Maj. Jamie Davis, a Defense Department spokesman.

“Commanders have always had that authority to arm recruiters,” Davis told Military Times on Monday. “Some of the wording wasn’t very clear, so they’ve gone through and cleaned it up so it is very clear now that the commanders have that authority to use at their discretion.”

Effective Nov. 18, the directive culminates years of work, Davis said.

There are some procedures that have to be followed in order to legally carry a handgun on Defense Department property:

Those wishing to carry a concealed personal firearm on Defense Department property must apply for permission. They have to be at least 21 years old and meet all federal, state and local laws and host-nation requirements the directive says.

The individual military services will determine requirements for those who will grant conceal-carry requests, the directive says. Those officials must have a minimum rank of lieutenant colonel, commander or the civilian equivalent.

“These authorizations will be for a maximum of 90-calendar-day increments and may be renewed for as long as the threat or circumstance necessitating arming exists,” according to the directive.

This policy change is overdue. Until this policy went into effect, military bases and recruiting stations were soft targets. Now the military personnel at those places will be able to defend themselves if necessary. Terrorists are less likely to attack a target if they know it will be defended.

Why We Need Financial Accountability In Washington

On Monday, The Los Angeles Times posted an article about the Pentagon‘s request that California members of the National Guard pay back their re-enlistment bonuses.

The article reports:

The California National Guard told the state’s members of Congress two years ago that the Pentagon was trying to claw back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers, and even offered a proposal to mitigate the problem, but Congress took no action, according to a senior National Guard official.

The official added that improper bonuses had been paid to National Guard members in every state, raising the possibility that many more soldiers may owe large debts to the Pentagon.

“This is a national issue and affects all states,” Andreas Mueller, the chief of federal policy for the California Guard, wrote in an email to the state’s congressional delegation Monday. Attention had focused on California because it was “the only state that audited” bonus payments at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.

In the email, Mueller reminded members of Congress that the Guard had informed them about the issue two years ago. Whether members of Congress understood the scope of the problem at the time is unclear.

Nothing like punishing the little people for the mistakes of the bureaucracy.

The article goes on to report the following:

Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, the California Guard’s incentive manager, pleaded guilty in 2011 to filing false claims of $15.2 million and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Three officers also pleaded guilty to fraud and were put on probation after paying restitution.

This is a disgrace. Promises were made, and even if those promises were made in error, they still need to be kept. To ask the members of the National Guard, who generally don’t earn much to begin with, to pay back thousands of dollars because the bureaucracy made a mistake is simply wrong. I also wonder why the California Congressional delegation chose to be quiet about the matter for two years.

Remembering Their Purpose

Yesterday CNS News posted an article featuring an interview with General Boykin on the subject of transgender integration in our military.

The article reports:

Commenting on the Defense Department‘s newly released handbook to train the military on how to integrate transgender people into the services, Lt. Gen. (ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin, former chief of U.S. Army Special Operations Command and a top member of Delta Force, said the primary question is how does this transgender social experiment enhance the ability of the U.S. military to fight and win wars?

“Again it comes back to what is the purpose of the military? What’s their mission? It’s to fight and win wars,” said Gen. Boykin in an Oct. 5 interview on Washington Watch with host Tony Perkins.  

“That’s what Douglas McArthur said at West Point in 1962,” said Boykin.  “‘Your mission remains determined, fixed, inviolable.’ It is to win the nation’s wars. Ask yourself how does this enhance the ability to win wars?” 

Aside from making drastic cuts to our military, the Obama Administration has somehow decided that the purpose of the military is to conduct social experiments. That has negatively impacted not only the morale of our troops, but also their readiness and ability to do their job. Our military is there to defend us. It is time to let them do their job without unnecessary distractions.

The article further reports:

Host Tony Perkins, who is president of the Family Research Council, then said, “I mean the Pentagon spokesperson, the spokesperson for the Pentagon says — notice they say spokesperson, not spokesman or woman because you just don’t know — is ‘designed to assist our transgender service members in their gender transitions, help commanders with their duties and responsibilities, and help all service members understand new policies enabling the open service of transgender service members.’”

Gen. Boykin replied, “Again it comes back to what is the purpose of the military? What’s their mission? It’s to fight and win wars. That’s what Douglas McArthur said at West Point in 1962. ‘Your mission remains determined, fixed, inviolable.’ It is to win the nation’s wars. Ask yourself how does this enhance the ability to win wars?” 

Have we forgotten the purpose of our military?

Coming To A City Near You

We all understand that with the exception of giving Americans the right to sue terrorist-sponsoring countries, Congress has not stood up to President Obama. This week America gave up oversight of the Internet, and Congress failed to stop it. The other examples of Congress not representing the people who elected them are endless. That is the reason that what I am about to post concerns me. I believe that during the last three months on his administration, President Obama will take extreme liberties with his office and Congress will not stop him.

Today The Washington Free Beacon is reporting the following:

The Obama administration secretly used taxpayer money to fund an official inspection of several U.S. cities as possible locations to move terrorist inmates held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in violation of federal law, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

The Obama administration ordered the Pentagon to spend U.S. taxpayer funds for a domestic search of “possible Guantanamo detainee relocation” sites, according to documents obtained by the Free BeaconUnited States law bars the administration from spending taxpayer money on its effort to move Gitmo inmates onto American soil.

The disclosure has prompted a congressional inquiry to determine who in the Obama administration ordered the relocation search and how taxpayer funds were authorized for that purpose, according to a formal letter sent by lawmakers to the Defense Department on Monday and obtained by the Free Beacon.

The disclosure of this activity by the Obama administration has renewed concerns on Capitol Hill that the White House will make a last-minute effort to shutter the Gitmo prison and ship the remaining inmates to the United States, despite laws prohibiting the transfers.

I would like to remind you why the terrorist prisoners were held at Guantanamo. Escaping from Guantanamo would be a losing proposition. Even if you managed to get out of the prison enclosure and out the main gate, there would be no guarantee that you would be treated well by the Castro family. Also, Guantanamo is not within the continental United States, and it is questionable what civil rights the detainees have. As soon as you move the terrorist prisoners to the continental United States you immediately open up the possibility of escape and the question of civil rights. You also open up the possibility of a hostage situation in the area of the prison in order to get the prisoners released. I would like to remind you of what happened in Beslan, North Ossetia (a northern area of the Russian federation) in September 2004. Terrorists took over an elementary school and held the school for three days. In the end 330 hostages were killed, including 186 children. The siege ended when Russian security forces stormed the building.

The prisoners at Guantanamo are there because they are non-combatants captured on the battlefield or in raids of terrorist cells. They are terrorists. They are not bound by or protected by the rules of the Geneva Convention. Their past actions demonstrate little concern for civilians in the areas they target. Unfortunately, with the recent influx of unvetted immigrants from the Middle East, the prisoners moved here from Guantanamo would have a lot of friends already in America. The opportunity for mischief and the danger to American citizens would increase dramatically.

The article further reports:

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt informed lawmakers in a letter late last month that he had discovered documentation showing the Obama administration spent more than $25,000 to scout potential relocation sites in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Charleston, South Carolina, and Florence, Colorado.

Schmidt obtained this information from the Pentagon only after threatening to sue the administration for its refusal to produce documentation on the matter.

“While the amount of money is relatively small—a total of$25,909.53, of which $7,687.20 was spent on the site survey for Fort Leavenworth—the admission raises the concern that the Department of Defense violated the law by knowingly expending these funds while federal law enacted by Congress expressly prohibited the agency from doing so,” Schmidt informed lawmakers in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Free Beacon.

The administration’s behavior has raised concerns in Congress that it is secretly planning to relocate detainees to United States cities without informing local officials and residents.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kansas) told the Free Beacon that Americans should not have the most “hardened terrorists” secretly transferred to their towns by the Obama administration.

…Guantanamo Bay inmates who have been released continue to reengage in terrorism. At least two former inmates have participated in terror operations against U.S. forces since January.

The Obama administration continues to pursue an aggressive effort to free as many inmates as possible before leaving office.

Let’s hope Congress has the backbone to stand up to President Obama on this issue.

Coming Soon

This is a recent Press Release from Senator Ted Cruz:

National Security Leaders Oppose Obama’s Oct. 1 Internet Handover

Military and cybersecurity experts send letter to top Pentagon officials urging intervention in irreversible transition

September 27, 2016

202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a broad coalition of 77 national security, cybersecurity, and industry leaders sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford calling on the top military officials to intervene in opposition to President Obama’s radical proposal to relinquish American guardianship of the Internet and give it to foreign corporations and countries, including Russia, China, and Iran. This letter follows a joint statement issued by 10 Republican senators urging Democratic senators to oppose the Obama administration’s proposed Internet handover set to take place on October 1.

“As individuals with extensive, first-hand experience with protecting our national security, we write to urge you to intervene in opposition to an imminent action that would, in our judgment, cause profound and irreversible damage to the United States’ vital interests,” the letter reads. “…Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time. In light of the looming deadline, we feel compelled to urge you to impress upon President Obama that the contract between NTIA and ICANN cannot be safely terminated at this point.” 

The distinguished group of signers includes former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, Jr., former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin (Ret.), former Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Adm. Robert Monroe (Ret.), and former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy, among others. 

Congress must act by September 30 in order to stop this Internet handover, which poses the risk of increased censorship and loss of free speech online, possible legal repercussions, and national security vulnerabilities. 

Read the defense experts’ letter in its entirety here.

This is a critical moment. We have two days to maintain freedom of speech on the Internet. Even if this blog does not go away, all of the alternative news sources that Americans now have to balance the biased mainstream media will be gone within the next year if the internet is turned over. The planned turnover of the Internet represents a serious threat to Americans who want to be able to find honest reporting of current events.

The two current bills I found in Congress relating to this matter were H.Res.853 and S.3034.

 

While We Were Watching The Pope Visit America…

On September 23rd, The Daily Caller posted an article about Abdul Shalabi, a Guantanamo detainee and former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden. Shalabi has been released from Guantanamo and sent to Saudi Arabia.

The article reports:

On December 15, 2001, Pakistani authorities captured Shalabi along with 31 other al-Qaida fighters, who were fleeing from Tora Bora, Osama bin Laden’s mountain complex.

Near the end of December, authorities transferred Shalabi over to U.S. custody, who then was sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where he stayed for 13 years.

At the time, the assessment determined Shalabi was too dangerous to release, but the board changed its mind in June, clearing him for release.

One wonders what caused the board to change its mind. There are now 114 prisoners left at Guantanamo. Fifty-two of those have been cleared for release.

The article further reports:

There are 52 detainees left who have been cleared for release. The rest require further detention. President Barack Obama still wants to close the prison before his term is up, and so the Pentagon has investigated domestic facilities to hold detainees in the long-term if the administration manages to shutter Gitmo.

The war against radical jihad is unlike any other war ever fought. The war is not only against America–it is a war against western civilization. It is a war that will not end until the jihadists realize that they have no hope of winning and are not gaining power. Until then there is no reason to close Guantanamo or to let any of the remaining prisoners leave. The actions of President Obama in regard to Guantanamo will cost American lives–either in the near future or the distant future. In closing Guantanamo and letting its prisoners free, President Obama is neglecting his duty to protect the American people. The President will be in office for another year. Hopefully the damage he has done to the country can be repaired after he leaves office. However, that depends on the votes of the American public.

Those Pesky E-Mails

Fox News posted an article today about emails from Hillary Clinton that have now surfaced that have been withheld from the Congressional Committees investigating Benghazi.

The article reports:

New documents released by a federal court show President Obama called then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the night of the 2012 Benghazi attack — but the contents are being withheld by the State Department

It had previously been disclosed that Clinton and Obama spoke the night of the terror attacks. But the documents offer additional information about the timing of the call — after the initial attack on the U.S. consulate, but before the second wave where mortars hit the nearby CIA annex and killed former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. 

The contents of the call, however, are being withheld, not because the information is classified but because the administration claims they represent internal deliberations about the 2012 terror assault. 

The claim comes as Clinton also faces accusations that she withheld Benghazi-related emails from her private server in the trove of emails handed over to the State Department. 

The article points out that the email in question was discovered as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch.

The article also reports the political agenda involved in characterizing the attack at Benghazi as a result of a video:

Other emails from Judicial Watch lawsuits have, separately, shown Rhodes (Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes) played a central role in preparing former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her Sunday show appearances that weekend where she blamed protests over the Internet video

In that Sept. 14 email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere in the region. 

The email lists the following two goals, among others: 

“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.” 

“To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

Thank God for Judicial Watch. It is unfortunate that most Americans will remain totally unaware of any of this and many who are aware will not care about the integrity of a major Presidential candidate.

Unfortunately, Stonewalling Works

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story about new information about the Benghazi attack in 2012. The new information is the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch asking for documents related to Benghazi. The Judicial Watch FOIA request was submitted years ago, but the Obama Administration had not produced the requested documents. In September of last year, a federal court ordered the State Department and the Defense Department to produce certain documents. The documents are slowly being produced. They are heavily redacted, but Judicial Watch has received them.

Why are we still talking about Benghazi almost three years later–because the Obama Administration has consistently blocked any investigation into the events surrounding the attack.

The article includes some of the documents Judicial Watch has received, and I would strongly suggest following the above link to the article and reading those documents.

Some highlights from the article:

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

…The attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was planned and executed by the Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BOAR). [Ed.: Rahman is the Blind Sheikh.] BCOAR is also responsible for past attacks on the Red Cross in Benghazi and the attack on the British ambassador, they have approximately 120 members.

…Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the (Qaddafi) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

I think there are still some questions that need to be answered.

 

Congress Needs To Rethink Its Priorities

Politico posted an article today about the appointment of Joe Dunford as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The article reports:

The Obama administration is counting on Dunford to take the lead in pushing a series of proposals designed to shrink the pay and benefits of troops as the Pentagon wrestles with the need to rein in its personnel costs.

There was a related article in yesterday’s New Bern Sun Journal.

The article in the Sun Journal explains where some of the cuts will take place. Military personnel who retire after 20 years will receive 40 percent of their basic pay rather than the 50 percent they currently receive. Military personnel who serve for 12 years will also receive a retirement benefit. I don’t know whose idea this was, but they need to rethink it. First of all, does the person who came up with this plan understand the sacrifices a soldier and his family make during that twenty years? Do they understand that a 40-something year old man retiring from the military will begin his business career at the bottom of the ladder competing with much younger men? Why are they taking money away from people who serve twenty years and giving money to people who serve only twelve? There is also an alternative 401k-type retirement plan proposed for new military members. I am fine with that as long as the benefits for those currently serving are not altered. The government signed a contract with our current military that promised certain benefits during their service and afterwards. Congress does not have the right to viod that contract.

Politico reports some of the other changes:

An even more controversial proposal, put forward by an independent commission, would overhaul the military health care system, known as TRICARE, so that dependents and retirees would choose from private insurance options that would be subsidized, rather than have the care provided through a government-run system.

I don’t oppose taking the health care system away from the government–I do oppose increasing the cost to military members, retirees, and their families.

There are better places to cut the federal budget. We have an all volunteer military force that includes many very dedicated people. Cutting their benefits will impact the number and quality of the people who join the military in the future.

Before we cut the benefits we give to those who serve in our military, let’s take a really good look at the perks we provide to Congress.

Breaking Faith With America’s Military

Fox News posted a story today about the treatment of the shooting victims of the Fort Hood terrorism attack. The Obama Administration has acknowledged that the people hurt and killed in the attack were victims of terrorism. The Obama Administration has also awarded Purple Hearts to the victims. However, the Obama Administration has also denied benefits for the injuries suffered in the attack.

The article reports:

The 2015 defense budget — known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA — included language that meant Fort Hood victims were eligible for the Purple Heart honor because the attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group, and not workplace violence, as the Defense Department initially labeled it.

 Manning (Shawn Manning), who was seriously injured in the 2009 attack) submitted new paperwork so the Army would recognize his injuries were sustained in the line of duty. But his appeal was rejected by a physical evaluation board, apparently based on a narrow interpretation of the law.

“Section 571 of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act addresses both the awarding of the Purple Heart to service members killed or wounded in attacks inspired or motivated by foreign terrorist organizations and the Defense of Freedom Medal for those members and civilians killed or wounded during the Fort Hood attack on 5 November 20009,” the April 6 letter states.

“Nowhere in the act, however, does it offer combat benefits for service members permanently disabled in attacks inspired or motivated by foreign terrorist organizations. Although subsequent legislation and guidance may change, currently, the Board has no authority to award V1/V3 (service related) designation to soldiers disabled during the Fort Hood attack. “

Manning said, “it’s a great thing to finally be recognized, to stand up there and say, ‘Hey your sacrifice did mean something.’”

But he said the board’s decision means, on a practical level, his family will lose back pay, and $800 a month in benefits, adding he believes other Fort Hood survivors will face the same treatment. “I think you know it’s a huge let-down. I hope that’s not what the Army had intended to do.”

The people who were injured at Fort Hood were where they were as part of their military service. To deny them the full benefits that are paid to soldiers wounded in combat is a disgrace. Congress needs to correct this situation very quickly. This is another example of the Obama Administration breaking faith with the American military.

 

This Does Nothing To Make The World Safer

President Obama’s dislike for Prime Minister Netanyahu is no secret, but some of the actions taken by the Obama Administration toward Israel are petty and dangerous to the world.

Yesterday IsraelNationalNews reported the following:

In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.

But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel’s nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.

America is supposed to be an ally of Israel. This is not something you do to a friend.

The article concludes:

Aside from nuclear capabilities, the report revealed Israel at the time had “a totally integrated effort in systems development throughout the nation,” with electronic combat all in one “integrated system, not separated systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force.” It even acknowledged that in some cases, Israeli military technology “is more advanced than in the U.S.”

Declassifying the report comes at a sensitive timing as noted above, and given that the process to have it published was started three years ago, that timing is seen as having been the choice of the American government.

US journalist Grant Smith petitioned to have the report published based on the Freedom of Information Act. Initially the Pentagon took its time answering, leading Smith to sue, and a District Court judge to order the Pentagon to respond to the request.

Smith, who heads the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, reportedly said he thinks this is the first time the US government has officially confirmed that Israel is a nuclear power, a status that Israel has long been widely known to have despite being undeclared.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. It is the only place where women have equal rights with men. It is one of the few places where all religions are free to practice their faith. It is the country in the Middle East most closely aligned with America in terms of values and form of government. Israel is an ally America needs, not the other way around. If President Obama continues down the road he is currently on, Israel will form alliances with other Middle Eastern countries and America will be shut out of the region. President Obama is building an alliance with Iran as the other countries in the area are feeling seriously threatened by Iran’s nuclear program. Diplomatically this will be a disaster for America.

An Announcement From Judicial Watch

The following information is taken directly from the Judicial Watch website. It was posted today.

U.S. Africa Command records – heavily blacked out – show military gathered forces to support “anti-terrorist” actions in Benghazi day after attack

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Obama administration finally turned over hundreds of pages of documents about the military response to the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound and other facilities in Benghazi.  The documents, which are heavily blacked out (redacted), confirm that the U.S. Military, through its U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) drafted orders for a military response to the attack, specifically “to protect vital naval and national assets.”  Other documents suggest that the military, hours after the attack, tied the assault to a group supporting “an Islamic state” that wanted to attack U.S. interests in Libya in retaliation for a drone strike on an al-Qaeda leader.

The Pentagon produced a total of 486 pages in response to a federal court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Judicial Watch filed against the U.S. Department of Defense asking for “any and all” records produced by the U.S. Africa Command Operations Center concerning the terrorist attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on September 4, 2014, (Judicial Watch v. Department of Defense (No. 1:14-cv-01508)).  Almost all of the documents had been previously classified as secret, and the Defense Department has redacted a large percentage of the material in order to protect “military plans and operations,” “intelligence” activities, and other exemptions.

Included in the production was a September 13, 2012, draft cable, “US Africa Command Request for Forces,” which sought an “immediate” response from the Joint Chiefs of Staff for “additional forces” for the mission to “provide limited duration military and expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces in support of USAFRICOM commander in order to protect vital naval and national assets.”  The planning document was approved by “VADM [Charles] Joseph Leidig, Deputy CDR, Africa Command.”  The name of the military’s Benghazi operation was Jukebox Lotus.

The Obama administration blacked out the specific mission information in the final deployment orders for Operation Jukebox Lotus.  The orders (EXORD) detail that, ultimately, several components of the military, including Special Operations Forces, were deployed to support limited security and evacuation operations in Libya, including support for “BPT” (Be Prepared To) included, from the U.S. Army in Africa, “BPT support with mortuary affairs.”  The Pentagon has previously released other orders with virtually no redactions, including an operation in Libya in 2004 and an Obama administration operation to attack Muammar Gaddafi’s government forces in Libya in 2011.

Other documents show that, early on September 12, 2012, the day after the attack, top Pentagon leadership received intelligence briefing slides reporting that a June 6, 2012, attack on the Benghazi Special Mission Compound was tied to a group promoting an Islamic state in Libya, “came in response to the 5 June [2012] drone strike on al-Qaida senior leader Abu-Yahya al-libi.”

The documents also confirm that the military used a photo from a Twitter post to try to ascertain the status of Ambassador Stevens.

The Obama administration produced no documents showing communications from the State Department to AFRICOM.

The records do show that U.S. military officials were keenly aware of the terrorist threat in the region. “The DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] terrorism threat level for Libya is significant,” one email message says. “The DOS [Department of State] residential criminal threat level for Libya is high and the non-residential criminal threat level is high. The political violence threat level for Libya is critical.”

Judicial Watch dismissed its lawsuit on February 12, 2015, after it succeeded in finally obtaining these AFRICOM Benghazi documents.  The Vaughn index, which describes why the documents have been withheld, is also publicly available for congressional and other investigations into the scandal.

Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi on the evening of September 11, 2012.  U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were both killed. Just a few hours later, a second terrorist strike targeted a different compound about one mile away. Two CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed and 10 others were injured in the second attack.

“It is extraordinary that we had to wait for over two years and had to force the release of documents that provide the first glimpse into the military response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There is no doubt that the military considered this to be terrorist attack tied to a group allied with al Qaeda. Why does the Obama administration continue to black out history in these military documents?  If there were no embarrassing facts, there would be nothing to hide.  This lack of transparency is an insult to those in the military and other deployed U.S. government personnel whose morale has been decimated by the breach of trust caused by President Obama’s Benghazi lies and failures.”

Advice From A Knowledgeable Source

Townhall.com posted an article today by Hugh Hewitt giving advice to the outgoing Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Hewitts advice is simple:

First, do not cut the expected hike in the military housing allowance or increase the deductible applicable to medical services for military families on active duty. I would hope the GOP learned its lesson last year that your base is deeply committed to the proposition that the active duty and retired-career military should be the last category to receive benefit cuts, not the first in line to get whacked.

…Next, do not vote for a Continuing Resolution that is other than a stop-gap measure. Allowing a lame duck Congress to set spending for the balance of 2015 just after the country voted overwhelmingly to reject the authority of Harry Reid and his allies over that process would itself be a rejection of the people’s vote.

Mr. Hewitt then makes a very prescient prediction:

Look, this president only knows how to do one thing, which is how to make the Congressional GOP look bad –very bad in fact. That is his goal, his entire reason for being for the next 24 months. The president intends to force a shut down next fall, and no matter what you try and do between now and then, he will force that shutdown. The only thing you can do successfully is frame his incipient irresponsibility by quickly passing an updated version of the Ryan Budget –one which removes the sequester from the Department of Defense— and then follow up with the appropriations bills that conform to that budget, communicating every day of the year that you are acting responsibly and the president is refusing to do so.

Be ready. That prediction makes a lot of sense. The President is an expert at convincing the press that he is right when he is wrong. The voters are looking for two things in the new Republican Congress–one is a return to the idea of small, limited government and the second is the developing of a backbone to stand up to a lame-duck President. I am a Republican, and I am waiting for the Republicans to convince me that they are not simply interested in being in control of the bureaucracy, but understand the need to shrink the government and cut spending.

This Is Just Wrong

The Congressional Budget Office website has posted a suggestion for cutting our military spending. As usual, it is a suggestion that does nothing to solve the bureaucracy problem–it just takes money away from people who were actually promised benefits.

Aside from the toll twenty or more years in the military takes on families, it also takes a physical toll on the soldiers. Many of our retiring soldiers also collect disability pay for various injuries suffered in the course of their service. These injuries include war injuries, but they also include more simple (but often painful) injuries acquired in the various physical requirements of service. Under the current program, soldiers with injuries collect disability pay (the amount is based on the severity of the injuries) as well as retirement pay. The Obama Administration is wanting to change that.

The article explains:

Military service members who retire—either following 20 or more years of military service under the longevity-based retirement program or early because of a disability—are eligible for retirement annuities from the Department of Defense (DoD). In addition, veterans with medical conditions or injuries that were incurred or worsened during active-duty military service (excluding those resulting from willful misconduct) are eligible for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Until 2003, military retirees who were eligible for disability compensation could not receive both their full retirement annuity and their disability compensation. Instead, they had to choose between receiving their full retirement annuity from DoD or receiving their disability benefit from VA and forgoing an equal amount of their DoD retirement annuity; that reduction in the retirement annuity is generally referred to as the VA offset. Because the retirement annuity is taxable and disability compensation is not, most retirees chose the second alternative.

As a result of several laws, starting with the National Defense Authorization Act for 2003, two classes of retired military personnel who receive VA disability compensation (including those who retired before the enactment of those laws) can now receive payments that make up for part or all of the VA offset, benefiting from what is often called concurrent receipt. Specifically, retirees whose disabilities arose from combat are eligible for combat-related special compensation (CRSC), and veterans who retire with 20 or more years of military service and who receive a VA disability rating of 50 percent or more are eligible for what is termed concurrent retirement and disability pay (CRDP). CRSC is exempt from federal taxes, but CRDP is not; some veterans would qualify for both types of payments but must choose between the two.

This option would eliminate concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability compensation beginning in 2015: Military retirees currently drawing CRSC or CRDP would no longer receive those payments, nor would future retirees. As a result, the option would reduce federal spending by $108 billion between 2015 and 2023, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

This is not the place to cut government spending. One of the things President Obama has done in office has been to undo the welfare reforms put in place by the Clinton Administration. Going back to those regulations, which actually decreased welfare rolls and put people back to work, would seriously reduce government spending. We need to give money to people who have earned it–not people who have not. When Congress recently did not extend the amount of time people could collect unemployment, unemployment went down. When you reward a behavior, it increases. We need to learn that lesson if we are ever going to cut government spending.

 

More Cuts To Military Benefits

Yesterday Stripes posted an article explaining how the cuts to the military budget will impact commissaries.

The article explains:

The long-feared cuts to military commissaries appear to be real: The Defense Department subsidy would drop from $1.4 billion annually to $400 million under a defense budget proposal the Obama administration plans to deliver to Congress next week, Pentagon officials announced Monday.

The commissary cut will be accomplished not by eliminating any commissary locations, but by reducing the amount of savings over civilian markets that servicemembers enjoy. The cut will be phased in over several years.

A recent study by Defense Commissary Agency, or DeCA, found that using the commissary saves shoppers an average of 30.5 percent annually when compared to other stores off base.

The savings would drop to about 10 percent, defense officials said in a briefing that covered all aspects of the 2015 defense budget, including hardware and military pay.

At that rate, our military would do just as well to shop at the local discount stores. This is a disgrace.

What impact are all the proposed cuts in benefits going to have on the morale of our military and the re-enlistment rate? I really think our government is going in the wrong direction on this. If the current Congress will not put a stop to this, we need to elect a Congress that will.

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The Cost Of Mismanagement

The cuts to the defense budget in sequestration were much larger than they should have been–that was the only way that the Democrats would have even considered sequestration as an alternative to working out a sensible budget. However, the way the cuts have been implemented does not reflect a lot of wisdom on the part of the people making the decisions. Just as in the recent government shutdown, many of the sequester cuts were made in places where it would be most obvious–not in places were it would actually make sense.

On Thursday, Military.com posted an article about one area where the cuts did more harm than good. One place where the Defense Department made cuts was in the air shows put on in various areas of the country. These air shows provide entertainment, but in many cases have a much broader purpose–the provide a chance for Americans to interact with our military.  The air show at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was cancelled the day before it was supposed to take place.

According to the article, the cancellation of that air show cost the base between $600,000 and $700,000.

The article further reports:

Last year’s air show netted $1.6 million in profit, which goes back into Marine Corps Community Services programs on base, including family readiness programs, the youth and teen center, and fitness programs, officials said.
 
The Miramar air show was originally scheduled for Oct. 4-6, but sequestration cuts grounded many military planes and helicopters. The base asked the Pentagon for a waiver to allow them to fly military aircraft at the show, and when it was denied, officials decided the show would go on anyway.
 
The sequestration version of the air show was to be two days long and feature civilian flying demonstrations and acrobatics, along with military aircraft parked on the tarmac.

And while the show is typically paid for with sponsorship money, appropriated and nonappropriated funds, no appropriated-fund monies were to be used for this year’s event, said Lt. Chad Hill, a Miramar spokesman.

Among other things, the military air shows give Americans a chance to see what their military is doing and to meet many of the members of the military. Aside from raising money to support military families, the shows are a good way to remind the public that there are many brave young men and women serving our country in the military.
Unfortunately, when the government was shut down, the show had to be cancelled again.

The article reports:

Then the government shut down. Base officials continued moving forward with the show, but were told the morning before it was to begin that all nonessential activities — including outreach events like the air show — were not authorized under a shutdown.
 
Many of the acts were already on base preparing when Farnham held another press conference.
 
The Pentagon’s restrictions were “more than I had the authority to overcome,” he said. “The timing probably couldn’t be worse … but it is what it is.”

The fact that the government was shut down was unfortunate, but the fact that the shutdown was managed by a group of petulant leaders who chose to punish the American people for the shutdown was truly despicable. It is a shame that we have such petty people running our country.

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Where Are The Reasonable People?

Fox News reported today that because of the government shutdown the Pentagon will not be paying death benefits to families of fallen soldiers.

The article reports:

“Unfortunately, as a result of the shutdown, we do not have the legal authority to make death gratuity payments at this time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman. “However, we are keeping a close eye on those survivors who have lost loved ones serving in the Department of Defense.”

The good news is that the House of Representatives is planning to vote Wednesday on a bill to restore funding for these payments.

The article further reports:

Adding further insult, the families will have to pay for their own travel to Dover. That’s a bill the Pentagon also says it can’t pay because of the partial shutdown.

…After the ceremony at Dover on Wednesday, the families will fly to their home states to conduct private funerals. That’s also an expense the Pentagon says it can no longer pay due to the stalemate.

All of this brings to mind a quote from an article posted on Sunday at rightwinggranny.com:

On Friday, we reported that a Park Ranger admitted being ordered to make life as inconvenient as possible in order to punish Americans during the shutdown.

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” an angry Park Ranger told the Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”

This is a government attack on the American people. It needs to be stopped, and the people responsible need to be voted out of office.

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The Government Shutdown Won’t Work For The Democrats Unless They Can Make It Hurt

A website called College Football Talk is reporting today that all sports games at the service academies will be cancelled because of the government shutdown.

The article reports:

In a press release sent out a short time ago, Navy announced that the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate competitions at the nation’s service academies due to the government shutdown.  At the very least, the Air Force-Navy game as well as Army’s game at Boston College are in danger of being canceled.

This is simply petty. The House has passed a number of bills to fund various parts of the government. The Senate has refused to bring these bills to the floor. The Democrats are hoping for a political victory by causing visible pain. If they are successful, we have only ourselves to blame when they do it again.

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There’s Leaking And Then There’s Leaking

Recently Fox News reporter James Rosen had his privacy seriously invaded by the Obama Administration because he leaked some information on North Korea (see rightwinggranny.com). Well, evidently the Obama Administration takes some leaks more seriously than others.

Yesterday McClatchy News reported that the Obama Administration has revealed plans for a secret Israeli military base.

The article reports:

The Obama administration had promised to build Israel a state-of-the-art facility to house a new ballistic-missile defense system, the Arrow 3. As with all Defense Department projects, detailed specifications were made public so that contractors could bid on the $25 million project. The specifications included more than 1,000 pages of details on the facility, ranging from the heating and cooling systems to the thickness of the walls.

“If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide. This type of information is closely guarded and its release can jeopardize the entire facility,” said an Israeli military official who commented on the publication of the proposal but declined to be named because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the facility. He declined to say whether plans for the facility have been altered as a result of the disclosure.

“This is more than worrying, it is shocking,” he said.

I understand the need for basic information during the bidding process, but this is ridiculous. The Obama Administration previously leaked information about the Stuxnet Virus that slowed down Iran’s nuclear program (see rightwinggranny.com). That information was also considered classified by Israel.

There seems to be a double standard in the Obama Administration on leaking classified information.

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Something Is Very Wrong Here

NBC Connecticut is reporting today that three recipients of the Medal of Honor will present the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s highest civilian award, the Citizen Honors Medal posthumously to the six educators that were killed trying to protect their students in Newtown. Connecticut on December 14th. I think that is wonderful–they are being awarded this medal because they were killed trying to protect their students.

However, there is another group of shooting victims that is being denied the honor they have earned. The Department of Defense is refusing to award the Purple Heart to those soldiers killed on the attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

On April 2, Military.com reported:

A position paper, delivered by the Pentagon to congressional staff members Friday, says giving the award, for injuries sustained in combat, to those injured at Fort Hood could “irrevocably alter the fundamental character of this time-honored decoration.”

If you are attacked at your base and people are killed, isn’t that combat? Admittedly it is unplanned combat, but isn’t a lot of combat unplanned?

The article at Military.com further reports:

Thirteen people were killed and 32 injured in the November 2009 shootings on the base. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged shooter, awaits a military trial on premeditated murder and attempted murder charges.

Fort Hood was a terrorist act–it was not ‘workplace violence.’ Maj. Hasan yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he fired. We are at war–this was an attack by the enemy. We need to acknowledge that and make sure that all the victims of that attack receive the honor and benefits they are entitled to. Meanwhile, we do not hesitate to honor civilians in equally awful situations. Both groups should receive medals in a timely fashion.

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Who Is Teaching Our Children and What They Are Teaching Them ?

I have spoken before on this website about Reza Kahlili. The Daily Caller describes him as follows:

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).

His website, A Time To Betray posted an article today about Abbas Maleki, the Iranian regime’s former deputy foreign minister and adviser to the Supreme Leader. Mr. Maleki is set to begin his academic career in America at Harvard and MIT.

The website includes a video:

It’s time to think about what our ‘best and brightest’ are learning in college.

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