Tag Archives: SEALs

Eric Greitens: latest casualty in ‘family values’ war

Don’t sit down, Gov. Eric Greitens. I’m going to talk about you for a moment.

This fellow is a Republican governor from Missouri. He’s been in office for only about a year. He also is making quite a name for himself.

He ran for office as a “family values” candidate. He once proclaimed his love for his wife and children and the happiness he feels at being a married man and father.

The former Navy SEAL — who was a Democrat until he switched parties in 2015 — was even discussed as a possible presidential candidate in 2020 or 2024.

Then came this: He fooled around with a woman other than his wife before he was elected governor. What’s even more troubling is that he allegedly threatened her if she blabbed about it.

The woman, who was married at the time, is now divorced from her husband. Greitens remains married to his wife. He admits to the affair, but denies threatening the woman with whom he took the tumble.

Family values …

Wow. What are we to make of political candidates who make such a big show of their marriage? How are we supposed to react when they get caught in the big lie? I take this kind of thing quite badly. It doesn’t go down well. Why? Because of the show politicians such as Greitens make when they actually boast about their marital fidelity on the campaign stump — as if someone keeping a vow he makes before God is worth a boast.

This clown reminds me of so many politicians who’ve proclaimed their love for the spouse only to be revealed to be philanderers.

Does the name John Edwards ring a bell? Edwards was the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee who campaigned across the land declaring his devotion to his late wife, Elizabeth — while he was messing around with a woman who later gave birth to a baby, courtesy of that relationship with Edwards.

This kind of revelation sickens me in the extreme. Gov. Greitens makes me sick, too, given that he made such a phony show of his marital devotion.

Politicians who lie about their faithfulness then deserve all the scorn they receive.

Now … you may sit down, Gov. Greitens. And may you disappear from the national political scene.

Where’s the battle plan, Mr. President?

“I know more about ISIS than the generals. Believe me.”

— Donald Trump, while campaigning for president in 2016

This is one of my favorite moments from the 2016 presidential campaign. Donald J. Trump sought to persuade his (now-shrinking) legions of fans that he was the man with the plan to fight the bad guys.

He won the election. Trump took command of our armed forces. The fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and other terror groups goes on.

Now, though, the president of the United States is angry. Those generals who have been engaged in this fight against terrorists haven’t defeated them yet. Our vaunted military hasn’t yet killed every single terrorist and brought those villainous organizations to their knees.

Trump’s reliance on “the generals” is a ruse, isn’t it? Doesn’t the commander in chief know more about how to fight ISIS and, I presume, other terrorists than they do? Were that the case, then where in the world is the presidential battle plan? Why doesn’t he reveal to the Pentagon brass how they should implement his strategy?

Reports have bubbled out of the White House that the president is dissatisfied with the progress of the Afghan War, which the United States has been fighting since 2001 in response to the 9/11 terror attack in the United States.

The president ought to consider settling down just a bit.

He has a fine man leading the Defense Department, retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis. The new White House chief of staff is another retired Marine general, John Kelly. Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, is an active duty Army lieutenant general. He has two four-stars and a three-star general as critical parts of his national security team. They’re all brilliant military men.

They also are fighting a profoundly unconventional enemy. These terror groups took the fight to us on 9/11 and we have responded with precision, professionalism and cold calculation. Our nation’s counter-terrorism team tracked down Osama bin Laden and a SEAL/CIA team took him out, killed him dead.

Donald Trump clearly doesn’t “know more about ISIS” than the military professionals who provide him with advice and military counsel.

And, no, Mr. President, the United States is not “losing” the Afghan War. Everyone in America knew this would be a long slog when we went to war in Afghanistan.

If only the president simply would pay attention.

Barack Obama will deserve a high presidential ranking

This is it, dear reader. The hand-off from one president to another is upon us. With that, I believe it is time to assess the performance of the guy who’s leaving office and perhaps try to compare what I believe he accomplished to what was projected of him when he took office.

Bear in mind, bias is implicit in everything anyone says … particularly when it regards political matters. I have my bias, you have yours. Some of our bias might mesh. Much of it might not.

How has Barack Obama done as the 44th president of the United States of America? I’ll give him a B-plus, which is a pretty damn good grade, given what he faced eight years ago.

Let’s start with the economy. We were shedding three-quarters of a million jobs each month when the president was sworn in. What did he do? He got his then-Democratic Party majority in both congressional chambers to enact a sweeping stimulus package. It pumped a lot of money into the economy. It helped bail out major industries, such as the folks who make motor vehicles. Banks were failing. The failures tapered off and then ceased.

Was this a bipartisan effort? Hardly. Republicans declared their intention to block everything he tried. The economy would collapse even faster, they said. The stock market, which had cratered, would implode. What happened? The Dow Jones Industrial Average has tripled since then.

Job losses? They disappeared, too. In the eight years of the Obama presidency, the nation has added 11 million or so non-farm-payroll jobs. Unemployment that peaked at 10 percent shortly after Obama took office, now stands at 4.7 percent.

Has the recovery been even? Has it been felt across the spectrum? Not entirely. It is that unevenness that sparked the populist movement led in large part by none other than the master of decadence Donald J. Trump, who parlayed people’s fear into a winning presidential campaign strategy.

All in all? We’re in far better shape today than we were when Barack Obama took office.

National security anyone?

OK, let’s try these facts.

A SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011; we haven’t been victimized by a terrorist attack in the past eight years; we have killed thousands of terrorists around the world as our global war has continued; Obama and his diplomatic team negotiated a deal to prevent Iran from developing an nuclear weapon.

Yes, North Korea continues to pose threats. The president erred in saying he would act militarily if Syria crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons and then failed to act on his threat. We did a poor job of managing the Arab Spring that erupted in Libya and eliminated Moammar Gadhafi.

Immigration reform remains in the distance. Barack Obama has been all-time champion of deportation of illegal immigrants, despite complaints from his foes that he is soft on that issue. And, of course, I believe he is correct to suggest that building a wall is contrary to “who we are as Americans.”

In an area related to national security, I would like to point out that we’ve all but eliminated our dependence on fossil produced in the Middle East. I don’t want to overstate the president’s role here, as much of that is due to private industry initiative. Federal tax breaks, though, have made alternative energy production more feasible, which has reduced our dependence on fossil fuels.

Domestic issues?

Obama’s foes said he would launch raids on Americans’ homes, seeking to take away our guns. It hasn’t happened. There was never any realistic threat that it would.

The president did a 180 on gay marriage and the U.S. Supreme Court — citing the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

And, oh yes, the Affordable Care Act has provided health insurance to 20 million citizens who couldn’t afford it otherwise. The ACA is in jeopardy as GOP members of Congress want to repeal it. They don’t have a replacement bill lined up. Obama has said he’d support any improvement to the ACA that would come forth. Is it perfect? No. The president admitted this past weekend that he and his team fluffed the launch of healthcare.gov, which was a huge error.

Barack Obama didn’t bridge the racial divide that splits Americans. The first African-American president perhaps misjudged the national mood; maybe he was too hopeful.

However, that this brilliant man was elected president in the first place in 2008 with substantial majorities in both the popular and Electoral College votes — and then re-elected — tells me that we’ve come a long way from the time when even his candidacy would have been considered unthinkable.

I’m proud to have been in his corner for the past eight years. I haven’t agreed with every single decision he has made … just the vast majority of them. He has made me proud, too, at the way he has conducted himself and the way his family has adjusted to living in that bubble known as the White House.

Millions of Americans will wish him well as he and his beautiful family depart on Friday.

As for the future, well … we cannot predict it with any more certainty than many Americans did when Barack Obama took the stage. Let’s just hope for the best.

Say it again, Trump: ISIS is ‘winning’ … seriously?

adnani

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani is dead — reportedly.

Who is this guy, Adnani? Oh, he’s the No. 2 man in the Islamic State hierarchy. He’s one of the founders of ISIS. He’s believed to be the mastermind behind the recent terrorist attack in Paris.

Adnani apparently bought it in Aleppo, Syria, according to ISIS’s media arm.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/world/middleeast/al-adnani-islamic-state-isis-syria.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

This is a big deal, man. A real big deal, in fact.

It’s not clear yet how Adnani was killed. Was it an air strike by a manned jet fighter with an American or allied pilot at the stick? Was it by a drone strike?

Does this mean the end of the Islamic State? No.

However, it suggests — presuming Adnani’s death can be confirmed — that ISIS is in serious trouble.

Why mention this today? Well, we keep hearing from Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, that ISIS is “winning,” that U.S. forces can’t defeat this Islamic terrorist organization because the commander in chief, Barack Obama, refuses to link the terror organization to the religion it purports to represent.

Let’s review for a brief moment.

Osama bin Laden is dead; drone strikes have taken out al-Qaeda and ISIS leaders throughout the Middle East; our special operations forces — Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force commandos and CIA operatives — are on the hunt constantly for the terrorist monsters.

We’re killing bad guys almost daily.

When we take out leaders of the Islamic State brain trust — such as Abu Muhammad al-Adnani — that’s a really big deal.

The fight will go on. Can we declare victory yet? Of course not. It is my sense, though, that we’re a lot closer to that moment than we were on 9/11.

Another terrorist leader reduced to powder

drone

Well, here we go again.

Another terrorist leader has been turned into dust. A U.S. drone strike hit Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour just inside the Pakistan border with Afghanistan.

Boom! He’s gone.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/afghan-leaders-see-taliban-leaders-death-as-hopeful-sign/ar-BBtk1Or?ocid=spartandhp

Intelligence and military leaders in the Pentagon and at CIA call Mansour’s death the most important since the SEALs took out Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

What does it mean in the grand scheme?

It means the Taliban — the cabal that the White House continues to say is not a terrorist organization — needs to find a new leader.

Mansour had been called one of the major obstacles to trying to persuade the Taliban to join in negotiations to achieve something akin to peace in Afghanistan.

“Peace is what we want. Mansour was a threat to that effort,” Secretary of State John Kerry said. “He also was directly opposed to peace negotiations and to the reconciliation process. It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together.”

The strike illustrates once again that intelligence-gathering remains critical to the hunting down of these terrorist monsters.

Now … let’s go after the rest of them.

 

Open carry on campus? Please . . . no!

campus carry

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, today made it clear that he opposes the notion of allowing anyone to carry weapons on college campuses in Texas.

More to the point, as I heard his talk today to the Rotary Club of Amarillo, he said that allowing guns into college classrooms is a particularly bad idea.

He noted a key foe of the idea of allowing such activity. That would be the chancellor of the University of Texas System. You’ve heard of him, perhaps. Former Navy Admiral William McRaven once led the nation’s special forces command. He is a Navy SEAL who, according to Seliger, “knows more about guns than just about anyone.”

McRaven thinks allowing guns on campus is a bad idea.

Seliger then presented a fascinating scenario to buttress the point about how bad an idea it is to let someone carry a gun openly into a university classroom.

Suppose a professor gives a student a bad grade, he said. Suppose, then, that the grade enrages the student so much that he wants to harm the professor.

I think you get the point.

I’m not going to oppose openly the idea of allowing Texans to carry guns in plain sight. The concealed carry law, enacted in 1995, hasn’t produced gunfights at traffic intersections, as some of us — yours truly included — had feared would happen.

But there ought to be some places where we ought to restrict the open display of these weapons.

Houses of worship are among those places.

So are college classrooms.

And none of that endangers the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

Time for a strategy change against ISIL, Mr. President

Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Michael Vickers knows a lot about terrorists and how to fight them.

He’s written an essay for Politico that lays out an interesting argument directed straight at President Barack Obama.

The thrust of his message? Change your strategy in this fight against the Islamic State and the Levant, Mr. President.

It’s interesting to me what Vickers doesn’t say. He doesn’t insist that we send in thousands of ground troops to resume our war in the region. Instead he says it’s time to focus our immense air power on Syria, where he said ISIL’s strength has gone global. The Iraq-based enemy, Vickers asserts, is more of a “local” threat. The Syrian element is much more dangerous and invasive, he writes.

Vickers worked as a Special Operations and CIA officer. He helped draft strategies for fighting the Red Army when it invaded Afghanistan in 1980. He also assisted in planning the SEAL/CIA mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

The man’s got anti-terrorism chops.

Perhaps the most provocative and dramatic element of his strategy is this: “Airstrikes are not enough, however. We must leverage the moderate Syrian opposition—and they do exist in the tens of thousands—to dislodge ISIL and Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, from their territory. As we did in Afghanistan, we must support the moderate opposition with overwhelming air power, substantially increase the flow of arms to the moderate opposition, and place special operations and intelligence advisers with them. With American assistance, a much smaller insurgent force defeated the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. With our many Sunni partners, we can do the same in Syria.”

According to Vickers, we need to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the moderate Syrians who are fighting Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State.

President Obama’s strategy, according to critics in both parties at home, has become too timid. Yes, we’re scoring victories here and there. We’ve managed to wipe out known terror leaders and high-profile assassins, such as Mohammad Emwazi, aka Jihadi John.

But we’ve got some help standing by, ready to assist in this aerial campaign. Russia has gotten damn angry over the bombing of that jetliner that killed 224 people; France has unleashed its significant air power in response to the recent attack in Paris.

As Vickers has said, the time has come to ratchet up the attacks not only in Syria but also in states where ISIL is known to be operating.

Listen to this man, Mr. President.

 

What did the PM know about bin Laden?

Pakistani media personnel and local residents gather outside the hideout of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following his death by US Special Forces in a ground operation in Abbottabad on May 3, 2011. The bullet-riddled Pakistani villa that hid Osama bin Laden from the world was put under police control, as media sought to glimpse the debris left by the US raid that killed him. Bin Laden's hideout had been kept under tight army control after the dramatic raid by US special forces late May 1, 2011 in the affluent suburbs of Abbottabad, a garrison city 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Islamabad.  AFP PHOTO/ AAMIR QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Oh, how I wish I could be a fly on one of the White House walls when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif comes for a visit with President Obama.

I would love to hear a conversation that goes something like this:

President Obama: Welcome, Mr. Prime Minister. But let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we? I know you weren’t in office on May 2, 2011 when our SEALs took out Osama bin Laden. But I have to ask, didn’t you get a full national security briefing from your predecessor when you took over?

Nawaz Sharif: Well, yes, Mr. President. Of course.

Obama: What did he tell you about bin Laden’s presence in Afghanistan, where our men killed him while he was hiding in plain sight in Abbottabad? Surely he knew bin Laden was there, right?

Sharif: I don’t know what you’re talking about …

Obama: Oh, stop right there. Everyone with half a brain in this country believes your government knew that bin Laden was in that large compound just a stone’s throw from that military academy. How could your intelligence folks have missed detecting his presence?

Sharif: We don’t snoop and spy on everyone and everything in our country.

Obama: Knock it off. This guy was the most wanted terrorist on the planet. The entire civilized world — and that include Pakistan — wanted him killed or captured. You operate a sophisticated intelligence network there.

Sharif: It can’t detect every person’s move.

Obama: But surely it can detect the movements of a man who stood 6 feet 5 inches tall and whose face has been plastered on TV screens around the world for a decade, ever since the 9/11 attacks.

Sharif: If you think our government knew of bin Laden’s presence, is that why you launched the raid in secret, without ever telling us you were invading our airspace?

Obama: Airspace … shmairspace, Nawaz. The bad guys invaded our airspace on 9/11 — and killed 3,000 innocent victims. Bin Laden took credit for doing that damage. Do I really care about airspace concerns? No. I wanted him dead and by God, we were intent on making sure we killed him.

Sharif: Well, back to your initial question. I wasn’t told anything about bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan. Even if I was told, I cannot disclose  national security secrets, not even to you.

***

Will this conversation occur when the Pakistani prime minister visits the White House on Oct. 22? Oh, probably not. Then again, not every conversation occurs when there’s media present.

I’m going to hope that Barack Obama presses his guest for some answers to the burning question: What did the Pakistanis know about Osama bin Laden and when did  they know it?

Pakistani PM to visit White House

 

Bastrop County preps for ‘invasion’?

Here’s an interesting take on the upcoming military exercise planned by U.S. Special Forces, including Green Berets and SEALs, in Bastrop County, Texas.

It comes from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who served in the Clinton administration Cabinet.

***

As the U.S. military prepares to launch one of the largest training exercises in history later this month in Texas, many of the residents of Bastrop County suspect a secret Obama plot to spy on them, confiscate their guns and ultimately establish martial law. They aren’t “nuts and wackos. They are concerned citizens, and they are patriots,” Albert Ellison, chairman of the Bastrop Republican Party tells the Washington Post. Bastrop’s former mayor, Terry Orr, says the fear “stems a fair amount from the fact that we have a black president,” who people believe is primarily concerned with the welfare of “illegal aliens” and blacks. “People think the government is just not on the side of the white guy.” The current Bastrop mayor, Kenneth Kesselus, says the distrust is due in part to a sense that “things aren’t as good as they used to be,” especially economically. “The middle class is getting squeezed and they’ve got to take it out on somebody, and Obama is a great target.”

An economic recovery that only enriches the top breeds bigotry and invites scapegoating. It has happened before in history.

What do you think?

***

Here’s what I think. I think Reich’s comment about nature of the current recovery breeding “bigotry” and “scapegoating” is right on target. I also believe that’s just part of what’s fueling this mistrust of the military. I think some of it involves visceral loathing of the commander in chief by those who’ve bought into the myriad conspiracy theories surrounding his election, re-election and his service as president of the United States.

The crackpot Internet baloney that went viral around the world about the so-called Jade Helm 15 exercise being part of some plot by President Obama to declare martial law is a symptom of what’s become of the flow of rumors that get passed around as “information.”

Those who read this stuff, buy into it and then pass it along to gullible friends and acquaintances are contributing to the poisoning of what used to be considered reasonable political discourse.

And look at the comments of the former Bastrop mayor who suggests some of it stems from the president’s racial heritage. Is he right? You be the judge.

Bin Laden's death foiled huge plot against U.S.

What’s this? You mean Osama bin Laden was planning another spectacular terror attack on the United States before those SEALs blew him away in May 2011?

That might be the least surprising news to come out of the declassification and release of information from documents seized from the scene of bin Laden’s death.

It’s welcome news to know the order to kill bin Laden saved potentially more American lives.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/bin-laden-bent-on-spectacular-us-attack-until-the-end-files/ar-BBk06oq

According to AFP: “Documents that were declassified on Wednesday shed new light on the mindset of Al-Qaeda’s founder, his debates over tactics, his anxiety over Western spying and his fixation with the group’s media image. ‘The focus should be on killing and fighting the American people and their representatives,’ the late Al-Qaeda figurehead wrote.”

So, he wanted to keep taking the fight to the United States.

What his followers should understand — but likely won’t ever get — is that attacks such as what occurred on 9/11 only steel Americans’ resolve. Yes, our nation was wounded seriously by the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But it took a mere nanosecond in time for us to collect our emotions and set about the task of taking the fight straight to the terrorists who fired the first shots.

This might be a war without end. Most folks now understand that as well. Will we ever be able to kill or capture every terrorist in the world who seeks to do us harm? It’s highly unlikely.

Bin Laden and his minions only awakened us.