October 23, 2012
Ships, Horses, Bayonets...and a Clueless Commander in Chief
Update: "Horses/bayonets" quip fact checked and found wanting. http://www.memeorandum.com/121023/p62#a121023p62
What leapt out at me during last night's debate was how stunningly dishonest, uninformed, and disengaged a Commander in Chief we have. Two comments in particular cast the President's disastrous disinterest into bold relief. The first was on sequestration: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...pinion_LEADTop
... the biggest gaffe—or deliberate evasion—of the evening was made by Mr. Obama when he denied paternity for the sequester defense cuts now set for 2013 and said they "will not happen." Mr. Obama's aides rushed out after the debate to say he meant to say the cuts "should not happen."
But the truth is that Mr. Obama has been using the fear of huge defense cuts as a political strategy to force Republicans to accept a tax increase. As Bob Woodward describes in his recent book, Mr. Obama and the White House helped to devise the defense sequester strategy—no matter the actual risk to defense
"No matter the actual risk": if that phrase doesn't neatly encapsulate Obama's decision making process as commander in chief, I don't know what does. He acts as though there were no connection between his decisions and events on the ground. Sequestration is unpopular, therefore he simply declares that "it won't happen", leaving his aides scrambling to reframe their boss's bizarrely contrafactual assertions:
White House already backpedaling on sequestration...
But in the real world, the truth matters and the truth is that sequestration cuts would drastically affect not only future procurement but current readiness and op tempo, risking both the lives of our armed forces and their ability to protect American interests abroad: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=69678
"Last month I visited the Central Command region had the opportunity to visit both of our aircraft carriers, our minesweepers, our patrol craft, and other ships in the region. I talked to over 10,000 of our forward deployed Sailors," said Ferguson. "At every forum, Sailors - from the most junior to our operational commanders - expressed concern regarding what sequestration will mean to our Navy and their service. The uncertainty of our fiscal future is increasingly on the minds of our force."
...[Vice Chief of Naval Operations] Ferguson pointed out that sequestration implementation would potentially impact mission accomplishment for the Navy. "With existing forces, we are already seeing longer deployments. Carriers are operating at about 8 months, ballistic missile defense ships (operating at) 9 months, with very rapid turnaround to go back on deployment. We would not be able to sustain that going forward under sequestration. You would see less presence forward, and you would see less ability to surge,"
To the long list of things our Commander in Chief apparently does not know about the military he commands, add the fact that (contrary to his sneering jibes) bayonets are still an integral part of every Marine's basic training. British troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan still use the bayonet to good effect: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a..._military.html
A Commander in Chief should know that
Just last month a British soldier was honored for a bayonet charge on the Taliban that he led in 2011. This charge was reminiscent of another British bayonet charge in Basra, Iraq, in 2004. In 2011, Col. Muammar Gaddafi was also reportedly killed by a bayonet stab to the rear.”
. But this is a man who thinks wars can be fought by unmanned aerial drones like the ones that watched impotently from the sky as over 30 Americans were attacked in Benghazi: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-33816_16...-libya-attack/
CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.
... The Pentagon says it did move a team of special operators from central Europe to the large Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Italy, but gave no other details. Sigonella is just an hour's flight from Libya. Other nearby bases include Aviano and Souda Bay. Military sources tell CBS News that resources at the three bases include fighter jets and Specter AC-130 gunships, which the sources say can be extremely effective in flying in and buzzing a crowd to disperse it.
Rick Nelson, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Navy pilot who worked in counter-terrorism, says such missions can be very risky. "A lot can go well, right, as we saw with the bin Laden raid. It was a very successful event," he says. "But also, when there are high risk activities like this. a lot can go wrong, as we saw with the Iranian hostage rescue decades ago."
Add to the controversy the fact that the last two Americans didn't die until more than six hours into the attack, and the question of U.S. military help becomes very important.
It's entirely possible that the military could not have arrived in time to save Ambassador Stevens or the three other Americans who lost their lives in the Benghazi attack. But they could have secured our consulate and driven home the message that the United States will not passively sit and watch as our Ambassador is murdered and our consulate and sensitive documents looted.
What kind of message is sent when the President of the United States responds serious questions about military readiness with ignorant and dismissive quips about ships being as antiquated as horses and bayonets? http://www.memeorandum.com/121023/p11#a121023p11
What kind of message is sent when the press are not only able to gain access to our consulate, but retrieve sensitive documents left lying around but the President of the United States can't manage to get his investigators into the country?
What kind of message is sent by a President whose first instinct was to blame a movie no one has actually seen for the Benghazi attack - who, years after the disastrous attack on our troops at Fort Hood, is still hesitant to label it a terrorist attack? http://www.blackfive.net/main/2012/10/mil-links-1.html
It is hard to believe this is still in dispute:
Nearly three years after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, many of those affected are urging the U.S. government to declare it a terrorist attack, saying wounded soldiers and victims' relatives otherwise won't receive the same benefits as those in a combat zone
This was ruled a "workplace dispute". Really? A guy running through an area yelling "Allu Akbar" who we find out was radicalized by a Muslim Imam who preached jihad against the US?
Sounds like the administration's description of the Benghazi incident. "Spontaneous protests that got out of hand". Yeah, Ft. Hood was as much an "act of terrorism" as was Benghazi (as it is now recognized).
This is a president who likes to think of his leadership style as cooly cerebral and dispassionate. Like an unmanned predator drone, he hovers over world events from a safe distance, taking it all in.
And doing absolutely nothing.
He might - if he bothered to attend his Intellegence Briefings
A Commander in Chief should know that...