Carter is a former Deputy Secretary of Defense and was reported to have been on the short list to replace former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Declare war. … Play golf. That was the sequence of events yesterday as President Barack Obama announced that he would be taking military action against Syria.
According to Obama:
This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.
While Obama also claims that Syria’s actions are a threat to our national security, he also claims that action isn’t time sensitive. A tad counterintuitive, but he was elected president.
The most disturbing part of this little political drama is Obama’s cavalier attitude towards Congress. He believes that he doesn’t need Congressional approval to take military action against Syria. He and his administration have said so. He may be right – if you believe that the War Powers Act is constitutional. However, can Obama now claim unilateral authority AFTER he admits that taking action is not time sensitive? It seems pretty clear that he now will seek Congressional approval to cover his political backside.
Obama, like almost all politicians, is at least as concerned about appearances as he is about substance (yes, I am feeling particularly charitable today). Therefore, isn’t it better (for appearance’s sake if nothing else) to cancel a round of golf when you are telling the nation that you are putting our nation and our allies at risk?
Obama prefers to putt while the world burns.
The UK Press Association reports that Capt. Harry Windsor, better known to the world as Prince Harry, may have been the target of a Taliban attack against Camp Bastion. Two U.S. Marines were killed in the attack.
Prince Harry may have been the primary target of an attack on the Camp Bastion military compound in Afghanistan, it has been claimed.
A Taliban commander told Sky News that Harry was the main focus of the attack, but other media organisations reported it was in revenge for an anti-Islamic film.
The prince was unharmed, but two US Marines were killed and several more wounded in Friday night’s attack.
Harry, an Army captain, is based at Camp Bastion for his second tour of duty.
US officials said the attack was by heavily-armed insurgents and involved a range of weaponry, including mortars, rockets or rocket-propelled grenades, as well as small arms fire.
Harry was about two kilometres away with other crew members of the Apache attack helicopters, of which he is a co-pilot gunner, when the attack took place, sources said.
There are no indications of any British fatalities or injuries.
A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force coalition (Isaf) in Afghanistan said the attack happened near an airfield on the north-east side of the base, which houses American forces in Camp Leatherneck.
A Ministry of Defence source said: "After saying this attack was mounted in reaction to the video on Islam, it is entirely predictable that the Taliban have changed their tune to say it was aimed at Captain Wales.
"The insurgency who mounted this attack – most of who were killed by Isaf – were nowhere near Captain Wales, who with other UK and Isaf personnel was under lockdown."
CHICAGO – A “veterans group” that supports liberal Democrat congressional candidates is calling for Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) to resign in the wake of the group’s claims that Walsh has “attacked” his opponent’s service. Walsh, elected to Congress in 2010, has criticized his opponent, veteran and Obama political appointee, Tammy Duckworth for refusing to discuss any issue other than her decorated military service.
VoteVets.org, a group that backs liberal political candidates who also are veterans, has called on Walsh to resign, claiming that the freshman representative has attacked Duckworth’s service. Walsh has been careful to criticize Duckworth’s support of Obama administration policies and her refusal to discuss any substantive issue other than her heroic service. Walsh has continued to portray Duckworth as a “hero”, while emphasizing that Duckworth’s politics are outside of the American mainstream.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy’s “Great Green Fleet”, running on biofuels, is about to deploy on its first operational exercise. There’s just one problem – its biofuel will cost taxpayers about seven times more than regular diesel fuel.
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has compared the Obama administration’s program to the government’s failed investment in the Solyndra Corporation.
WASHINGTON – The Constitution states that only Congress has the authority to declare war. The Obama administration believes that it needs “international permission” to deploy troops, but doesn’t need Congressional authority.
MOGADISHU – U.S. military forces, reportedly Navy SEAL’s, staged a helicopter raid and rescued one American and one Danish hostage being held by Somali pirates. Nine pirates were killed in the raid.
WASHINGTON – For the first time since Iran began threats of shutting down the key oil transport waterway, the USS Abraham Lincoln, its battle group, along with a Royal Navy frigate and a French naval vessel, sailed through the Straits of Hormuz Sunday.
Iran has repeatedly warned that it could close the strait — which the US Energy Information Administration calls the "most important chokepoint" for the world’s oil tankers — if increased Western sanctions halt Iranian oil exports.
The situation grew increasingly tense earlier this month when the Islamic republic’s navy warned that it would react if the US tried to redeploy one of its aircraft carriers to the waterway.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the US would not tolerate Iran blocking the strategic route and would respond if Tehran crossed that "red line."
CAMP LEJUENE, NC – The four Marines seen in a video urinating on dead Taliban fighters have been identified. The Marines are all members of a sniper unit within the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. It was also disclosed that 7 members of the Marines’ battalion were killed in action during their last deployment to Afghanistan. While the Marines have been identified, none are currently in custody.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama “reservedly” signed a defense appropriations bill after Congress agreed to some changes which the Obama administration claims will protect the liberties of American citizens and “respect the President’s terrorism-fighting ability”.
WASHINGTON – Many citizens are up in arms (figuratively if not literally) over the recent passage of HR 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act. What would normally be a debate over funding our military forces has made many “strong defense” conservatives come out in opposition of the bill because of a section that would permit the deployment of troops on American soil and has been interpreted to permit the detainment of American citizens by the military ON AMERICAN SOIL, without a guarantee of habeas corpus or trial in an American civilian court.
How often would you see Andy Harris vote with Chris Van Hollen, or Randy Forbes vote with Jim Moran on a defense bill?
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) explained his voted against the bill:
“My vote against the National Defense Authorization Act was a close call,” said Congressman Griffith. “Many good provisions are included in the bill. However, after carefully reviewing the text, the bill arguably expands the original Authorization of the Use of Military Force, which was enacted in the aftermath of 9/11. Of particular concern, this bill, under one interpretation, would permit the U.S. military to detain American citizens on American soil. Attempts to fix the language did not clearly protect U.S. citizens. I do not believe the military should be able to exercise the power of detention at home against U.S. citizens. This should be the jurisdiction of the FBI, state, and local police.”
Retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) voted in favor of the bill:
… “I am very concerned about the protection of our own citizens and our legal residents, and proper safeguards against military action taken inside our country,” said Senator Webb. “There are serious Constitutional issues at play in this matter, and there is a long and uncomfortable history among other countries that have taken this kind of approach. We need to be very clear. We must very narrowly define how the military would be used and–quite frankly–if they should be used at all inside our borders.” …
Here is a list of members from Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia and how they voted:
RAINIER, WA – Two Army OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters crashed on a training mission at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Monday. Four US Army aviators were killed. Two others were injured.
The names of the aviators were not released pending notification of their families by the DOD. It is not clear whether the two craft collided or crashed separately.
TEHRAN – Iranian television shows Iran has somehow captured a USAF RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone. The question remains … HOW?
Iranian officials claim that the drone was shot down by their armed forces. However, television footage shows the craft to be intact and apparently undamaged. U.S. officials have admitted that the drone was lost on a mission last week.
Those same officials state that President Barack Obama decided against an attempt to retrieve the drone, one of the nation’s most sophisticated aircraft, because it could be seen as an act of war.
WASHINGTON – The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is one step closer to being a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate passed an amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) which would give the National Guard a bigger voice in national military planning.
CANBERRA – The United States has reached an agreement to expand its military presence in Australia. The agreement, emphasizing regional concerns of an increasingly assertive China, was announced in a joint press conference with President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Under the terms of the agreement, the United States will station up to 250 Marines in Northern Australia beginning next year.
Obama insisted that any notion that the United States fears China or wants to exclude the growing power from American economic alliances in the Asia-Pacific region is mistaken. But he said the United States will keep sending a clear message that China needs to accept the responsibilities that come with being a world power.
"It’s important for them to play by the rules of the road," Obama said.
Chinese defense spending has increased by over 200% since the 1990’s to over $160 billion.
Obama said the new deployment to Australia was important because it would help partners in Asia feel that "we have the presence that’s necessary to maintain the security architecture in the region."
photo courtesy of the Associated Press
WASHINGTON – With its deadline to act just days away, the Congressional “Supercommittee” hasn’t brought forward its mandated deficit reduction package. Democrats don’t want to cut spending (except for the military) and President Obama wants higher taxes:
“If we’ve got to raise money, it makes sense for us to start by asking the wealthiest among us to pay a little bit more before we start asking seniors, for example, to pay a lot more for their Medicare,” he said.
If the November 23rd deadline is not met, our Armed Forces will see their budgets reduced by $450 billion over the next ten (10) years.
RICHMOND, VA – True to his word, entertainer Justin Timberlake attended Saturday’s Marine Corps Ball in Richmond. Timberlake attended with Cpl. Kelsey De Santis, the young marine who invited Timberlake in a YouTube video.
photo courtesy of the Daily Press
DOVER, DE – The saga of mismanagement and desecration of the remains of fallen American service members at Dover Air Force Base’s mortuary continues. Randall Chase of the Associated Press writes about retaliation against the three employees who blew the whistle on mistreatment of the remains of service members lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.
While the U.S. Air Force claims to have fixed the problems, it should be noted that the Air Force, in its investigation of the matter, claims that the removal of a Marine’s arm because workers couldn’t get a uniform on him didn’t violate any rules. Perhaps the Department of Defense should re-examine the Air Force’s investigation and its rules concerning the handling of deceased service men and women.
WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned that drastic cuts in military spending would invite “aggression from abroad”. Panetta was speaking about mandated cuts which will be triggered by a failure of the so-called “Super Committee” to meet its mandated deficit reduction targets.
"I’ve warned that by cutting in excess of 20 percent in every area, (the trigger) will lead to a hollow force. And let me explain just exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about hollow force. Obviously, that which is hollow retains a shell but lacks a core," he said.
"It’s a ship without sailors. It’s a brigade without bullets. It’s an air wing without enough trained pilots. It’s a paper tiger. An Army of barracks, buildings and bombs without enough trained soldiers able to accomplish the mission. It’s a force that suffers low morale, poor readiness, and is unable to keep up with potential adversaries. In effect, it invites aggression," Panetta said.
photo courtesy of the Associated Press
DOVER, DE – C-5 Galaxy military transports, and crews from Dover Air Force Base’s 9th Military Airlift Squadron, just participated in a global swift response exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to test the abilities of the 40+ year old military airlift platform.
“We wanted to test the AMC system by putting as many C-5s as we could muster up into that system and see how it could handle it,” said Lt. Col. David Herbison, director of operations for the 9th Airlift Squadron. “Normally on any given Sunday, we have around 18 C-5s that are flowing through the air mobility system. We decided in a one-week period we were going to surge the system; we roughly doubled that number.”
The exercise ran from October 17 – 21.