Tarheeltalker

Two Generals and the President

Now that the White House has traded Gen Stanley McChrystal for Gen David Petraeus ( formerly known by liberal Democrats as Betray us, compliments of Moveon.org ) what does it all mean?  Oh and other assorted and sundry Democrats  named Reid and Clinton chimed in with their unflattering comments  as well.

First of all, Obama had to fire McChrystal. I believed that even before I heard it from Glenn Beck or my informal survey of several retired military friends. It brings to mind, just a little, mind you, of Truman  firing McArthur. But no Obama has not risen to Truman’s level with the firing even though Wolf Blitzer says that now he is the commander-in-chief. No, Wolf, he held that title from day one of his inauguration. now if you mean he finally acted like the commander-in-chief, you would be much more accurate.

There are many interesting things about this action, some of which will not materialize until some  time  has passed. Just a few. Petraeus actually is replacing a guy who reported to him in his role as CentCom Commander. So, does that not leave us  a general short?  Petraeus cannot do justice to the job in Afghanistan and run CentCom  at the same time. ( Imagine moving from Tampa to Kandahar?) So, one would think that someone needs to be promoted, right?

Ok, next up, why in the world did a four star general even agree to an interview with Rolling Stone magazine? You have to figure that nothing good will come from it and possibly something very, very bad. And so it did. That would be like, oh I don’t know, say  a Rush Limbaugh interviewing with them only worse. So, an obviously smart and capable military man does this for what reason? At some point, when things have settled down, I hope that he is forthcoming with his reasons.

Finally, was it just 2-3 years ago when Senators Obama and Biden at different times and in different public settings blasted Gen Petraeus for his lack of competency in Iraq?  Indeed it was, Obama at a Senate hearing in which he gave the general no time to respond and Biden in an interview with Tim Russert.

If you are Obama, would it not be a nightmarish scenario to have McChrystal make the  rounds of the talk shows or maybe even write a book? Can you say, bete noir? After all, McArthur had his triumphant parade in New York City.

Advertisements

June 25, 2010 Posted by | military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Other Nuclear Summit

The President hosted a nuclear summit last week in Washington last week. Not to be outdone, another country on the other side of the world, hosted one just a couple of days ago. This event was spearheaded by that noted peace- loving country of Iran. Can you imagine  having something called  a nuclear disarmament conference in Tehran? It would almost be  amusing if it were not true.

And to make things even more interesting, 3 Arab leaders expressed their support for Iranian  nuclear rights. Now that’s a new one  on me, the concept of nuclear rights. The Syrian  Foreign Minister, Walid Muallem, is quoted as saying that ” We support Iran’s pursuit of peaceful  nuclear technology.”

Now, just for  a minute think why Iran wants or needs nuclear technoogy. Do they intend to use it to generate electricity? When you are sitting on as much oil as they are, why on earth would you do that?  Wonder what other purpose they might have in mind for  their nuclear knowledge? Weaponry, surely  not, must be missing something here, I guess.

Well   let us hear from 2 other Arab leaders who were at the summit and no Israel wasn’t at this  meeting other. First we hear from Lebanon’s Foreign Minister, Ali al-Shami who said that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and they are certainly not violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Our thirdArab spokesman’s comment should  really get our attention. This is true partly to what he said and partly due  to where he is from. He is Iraqi, yes Iraqi, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Our Iraqi friend said that “we reject any threat against Iran and insist on Iran’s right( there   is that word, right, again) to use peaceful nuclear energy.” Reckon he cleared those comments with  Obama?

The other thing on which these three agreed may very well the biggest news from the conference. They  all agreed that Israel must dismantle its nuclear  weapons and allow its nuclear facilities to undergo  IAEA inspection. You might say that Israel  has no intention of dismantling anything based on an Arab nuclear summit. And you would be correct. What if these  guys are just stalking horses, so to speak, for someone else and the comment are just the ground work for  stronger demands  by more prominent nations?

Joel Rosenberg described just such an event in his 2005 work of fiction, The Ezekiel Option. In that book, it was, guess who, Russia, who made a dramatic call for Israel’s nuclear disarmament at a U  N session. In the book it was quite well received by virtually everyone. Just wondering.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | International politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biden on Iraq

Some quite interesting comments today from vice-president Joe Biden. First, a bit of history using Biden’s own words. This from September 9, 2007 in response to  a positive assessment of the Iraq situation by Gen David Petraeous. Any security or tactical gains that have been made have no bearing  on a stable  government existing in Iraq. Prior to that date, Biden had even opposed the troop surge that Bush announced. Biden said that the surge would actually make things worse and not better. Besides, he said, no one thought the surge would work except Petraeus. In fact, Biden went on to say  that even 100,00 more troops would not help. This mirrors what his fellow senator Barack Obama said.

We cannot impose a military solution in Iraq and no military expert that I have spoken to thinks it is possible. That was in January, 2007. By February, 2009 Obama had changed his tune and was applauding the military gains and the reduction in violence.

Ok, now to Biden on Larry King. Last night he strongly suggested that some 90,000 troops would be coming home by the end of the summer and that Iraq would be one of the greatest achievements of the Obama administration. .

Today, an intrepid reporter questioned Press Secretary Gibbs about that statement. What made the question even cooler is that he  included the qualifiers that Obama opposed the surge and that Biden wanted to divide the country into 3 sectarian units. Unbelievable response from Gibbs. I don’t know how  he said this with a straight face. Gibbs first said that the achievement would  be  getting the troops home. The reporter countered with the comment that said agreement to carry out this was  signed before Obama took  office. Gibbs responds with this quote that is freaking unbelievable. ” The vice-president been deeply involved  in fixing the political process there so that elections can be held and our troops can, uhhh, come home as scheduled, uh, this  summer.” So, now we learn that Biden fixed Iraq. What an amazing guy. That is what has been doing when he travels to Iraq.

What may be the scariest thing  of all is if Obama and Biden,et al actually believe this stuff. And maybe Iraq will be” their” greatest achievement, except it won’t even be their achievement. Truly amazing. As a fellow blogger likes to say, ” good freakin grief!”

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Foreign Policy | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Has the 2012 Campaign Already Begun?

The President was in Elyria, Oh yesterday and doubtless they were thrilled and I guess that’s ok. But, as Rush hinted, are we seeing  the beginning of his re-election campaign? Seems like his first campaign just ended. Truth of the matter, I am not so sure that he has ever stopped  functioning  in campaign mode.Anyway, take a look at some of the things he said.

” I will not stop fighting for you. I will take my lumps…. I’m not going to stop fighting until we have jobs for everybody.” Now, that last sentence is  a mouthful. Based on the net job gain in his 1st year(hint, there wasn’t one)he  will be  fighting for a long, long time.

In his  speech he made a number of statements that it’s not about him. Sorry, Mr President, I will have to disagree with you there, unless you plan to change your approach.His Ohio speech was laden with first person singular pronouns with a few plural pronouns tossed in for effect.

Now, that the keep on  fighting phrase and mix with a little faux populism as in the same thing swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry and frustrated over events of the last eight years, not the last two years. Little backhanded Bush-bashing there. Correct me if I am mistaken, but the party that won the Massachusetts election was not the party that had held that senate seat for the last 50 years. Not quite sure how that translates into an  eight year anger cycle. Just for the record, we have just begun year 3 of the Democrats hold over Congress. Or, you could call it the Pelosi-Reid cabal.

So, the campaign begins. Where is Joe, safely tucked away in Iraq.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Who’s Fighting Whose Wars?

Seems that a former senior CIA agent, Michael Scheuer, thinks we have some misplaced allegiances in the Middle East. Mr Scheuer was on  a C-Span call-in show  last Monday which degenerated into  an anti-Semitic gab fest.

Scheuer, with a number of callers agreed, thinks Israel is of no strategic importance to the United States. He also said that  American soldiers are dying in Iraq for the sake of Israel. He had this telling quote, ” Their association with us is a negative for the United States. Now that’s a fact. What you want about that fact is entirely different.” One more tidbit from Mr Scheuer. We should somehow “persuade”  Islamic terrorists who threaten us to” focus their anger” on Israel (as if they already do not)  and oppressive Middle Eastern regimes.

Wonder who he thinks is our most staunch ally in the Middle East, as well as the only thing country even close to having a freely elected government. Uh, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. None seem to ring a bell. As for the part about our troops dying for Israel, may we return briefly to Desert  Storm in 1991. If memory serves, we fought that war to liberate Kuwait and by extension keep Hussein away from Saudi Arabia. Israel suffered the indignity of repeated scud missile attacks without provocation. I also seem to remember our asking them to hold off on retaliation ( defend  themselves) which they did. Not sure of Mr Scheuer’s thoughts on that matter.

Add the above to this next Obama administration maneuver. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is heading over to do some tough talking to the Israelis( must have been reading from the playbook of the Palestinian from Plains) about restarting peace negotiations. He threatened a freeze in U S aid to Israel if  satisfactory progress is not made. No wonder that polls indicate  a large majority of Israelis are nervous about the state of relations with us.

Wonder if the letters Mitchell is bringing with him bring instructions about the division of Jerusalem as well as the two-state solution. Methinks Israel is right to be ill at ease. For greater discussion of  the issues and insight as to why we should have a strong relationship with Israel, visit   Joel Rosenberg’s blog .It  gives one  a good perspective on Israel in particular as well as the Middle East as a whole.

Shalom!

January 9, 2010 Posted by | International politics, Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Much Ado About Yemen

The little country of Yemen is very newsworthy these days; more so than in a while. The map shows the country’s position and an interesting one it is. One can see it shares a border with Saudi Arabia and how it juxtaposes with Iran, Iraq Egypt,etc. And of course there is that little thing about the Christmas Day bomb attempt by a young Nigerian who was allegedly trained and funded by al-Qaeda from Yemen, whew! 

But the Yemeni news continues. Seems that the terror guys have posed threats credible  enough to get both the United States and Britain to close their embassies in Yemen. This on one hand, while on the other we offer financial aid and training for Yemeni police and military. Full power of the United States at work and will spare no effort. So said the President, in words to that effect, and no more diplomatic presence. If we’re scoring ladies  and gentlemen, we will give this round to Osama and friends ( Yemen is an ancestral homeland for the bin ladens) are we not? 

I heard a retired general on Fox this morning, can’t remember his name, who called Yemen a “petri dish” for terrorism. Now, biology was never  a strong  subject for me but I believe that has something to do with an environment where things are grown. If that is the case, this impoverished country with a near non-existent economy will loom increasingly large on our radar. 

Yemen,et al

January 3, 2010 Posted by | International politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The System Worked ?

So said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in commenting on a failed terrorist attempt to take down Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam  to Detroit. No,wait a minute. Yesterday, she said that it failed miserably. So, which is it? Did it fail or not ? If one measures that by the new security measures and  the additional U S marshals assigned to aircraft, I’m going with failure.There are lots of  ways to look at this event that could have , but thankfully, did not have tragic consequences. The alleged bomber, who

is in custody, is Nigeria, although funded from Yemen  and claims that there are more like himself on the way. Comforting thought, is  it not? Yemen  itself does seem to be developing into fertile ground for Al-Qaeda. Although it is located at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula, it isn’t  that far from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,etc.We sorta know about them and terrorists,do we not?

The President issued  a statement today from Hawaii, 3 days after the near bombing, if you are counting. What he said sounded good. We’re gonna get ’em, not just words but”every element of our national power.” No matter where they are, he added.

Imagine, if you will, thoses words coming from Bush, war mongerer, etc. And, if he had waited 3 days before speaking on the issue. Wonder if there will  be any criticism of the President  in that regard?

We have been providing support, both overt and covert to Yemeni  forces and that support is slated to increase even more next year. Senator Lieberman, who has been there recently thinks that Yemen could be the next battleground, not that it hasn’t  been before. In October, 2000, the USS Cole was victimized by a suicide bombing.And, there is even a 9/11 connection.

So, let us hope that the President backs up his rhetoric in an appropriate fashion.

December 28, 2009 Posted by | International politics, military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Forgotten Holiday

Wanted to get this out a little ahead of time. My far and away #1 candidate for the most forgotten holiday is Thanksgiving. Overwhelmed by the growth in Halloween preparation and paraphernalia on the one hand and the holiday shopping season on the other, the humble day of thanks has no chance. Perhaps it even should get a new name. Oh, how about Holiday Shopping Eve. Since the Friday afterwards is known as Black Friday and people must shop or else, it makes perfect sense. Rest up on Thursday, forget the big meal and hit the mall and Wal-Mart  ASAP.

In my family, I am sometimes indicted as one who “hates” holidays, modern-day Scrooge, if you will. But Thanksgiving, now that is one that I like. Can’t really eat as I once could, but that’s not  a problem. The food is just a backdrop, I think for the reconnecting with family that we wish were more commonplace.

I remember with great fondness songs like, “Come, Ye Thankful People Come and  “Over the river and through the wood”. If my memory does not totally fail me, we even sang some of those in elementary school. Not so sure that would happen today.

I know, I know all of the stories about the 1st Thanksgiving are not 100% accurate but there are elements from  that day that remain with us. The day itself has only been a federal holiday since 1941 and who knew what was going to happen in just a couple of weeks. obviously, there are stong religious  underpinnings but the day is much more secular now than religious. Wonder how long it has been since families actually started eating out  on Thanksgiving, have even done  that myself. Perhaps the pressure to create a culinary masterpiece has just become  too great. Here’s  a thought, it doesn’t have to be  a biiiggg deal meal to be a time for thanks. I will admit that Snoopy’s thanksgiving meal left  a bit to be desired though.

I understand that the First Family does not give Christmas gifts to their children and that’s ok. Hope they celebrate Thanksgiving though. And, if you need a little extra something for which to give  thanks, try this link, militaryfamiliespray. That could include those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ft Hood and… you get the picture.

November 17, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Holidays | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eleventh Hour, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Month

November 11,1918 marked the end of the war to end all wars or WWI. Alas, as we know all too well, that was not to be. Truth be told, it had no chance to achieve that goal. Wars have continued and continue; in all sizes and for a multitude of reasons. The day we call Veterans Day remembers those who served, those who returned,those who didn’t and honors those who serve now. We know all too well about those in Iraq and Afghanistan but also South Korea, on ships around the world, in numerous other countries and on bases here at home like Ft Benning and particularly Ft Hood.

The day originated as Armistice Day on November 11,1919,  the first anniversary of WWI’s conclusion, at the urging of Pres Woodrow Wilson. It did not become a national holiday, however,until 1938. The name changed to Veterans Day until 1954 when President Eisenhower signed legislation to honor those who had served in any  and all wars. Appropriately so, since he was the Supreme Allied Commander in WWII.

We have  around 24 million living veterans, about 10% of whom are women and  slightly over 10% are African-American. Some the more interesting  facts I discovered was that about  40% of of our living vets are over 65 but only 10% of  our living vets are from WWII. That is  a number that is rapidly declining. Numbers also indicate that about 1/3 of  veterans live in  just 5 states; California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. I know numbers can be mind numbing but just  a couple more. The number of living veterans   comprises roughly 1/2 of  the veterans that served in wartime since Revolutionary  War  days .

So, today, we salute them all (the approximately 1.5 million on active duty) those who have served and remain  and in particular those who are gone.

November 11, 2009 Posted by | Holidays, military | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wondering Why?

We are just 4 days removed from the massacre at Ft Hood. Major Hasan has begun to talk but what he is saying and to whom is unclear. There seems to be  a gazillon people weighing in. There are those who call Hasan a lone wolf shooter, totally disconnected from other influences. There are many, including the President and Homeland Security Director Napolitano who want to forestall a rush to judgment and/or an anti-Muslim backlash. I suppose we could include Chris Matthews in that group as well as The Nation and even a retired general( Casey).

Others are raising issues about why warning signs were missed or overlooked ( hint”political correctness”) that allowed the major to stay in the army. Others speculate that he was angry about the war or terror as well as his pending deployment to Iraq.

Then we have a number of cases, even in the Ft Hood area, of Muslims applauding what he did. Sort of tough to support that no outside influence theory is it not? At this point, there is not  a lot that we know for certain. Major Hasan is American born- fact, was inexplicably sent to Ft Hood from Walter Reed in Washington-fact. And the worst fact is that 13 people are dead.

I read a statement on another  blog today, WeaselZippers , that with great poignancy maybe says it best.”The death of these heroes was avoidable….I’m sorry that your Country let you down( again) .

November 9, 2009 Posted by | Media, military | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments