Tag Archives: Pentagon

‘Abundance of caution?’ Yes!

The Pentagon says it is employing a policy that stems from an “abundance of caution” over the sightings of these high-altitude objects it is shooting out of the sky.

Good! The more cautious abundance the better!

The Pentagon and President Biden have gotten roasted unfairly over the shooting down of the Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean. Right-wing critics have said the president should have acted sooner than he did, forgetting that the Pentagon was able to disable the PRC balloon before it could collect much valuable intelligence. The military brass and the POTUS are taking no chances now, knocking these UFOs out of the sky damn near daily.

If they enter U.S. airspace — boom! — they take a missile from a fighter jet.

That is totally OK with me, given the dangers posed by assorted spooks and spies lurking out there, working either for foreign governments or by themselves.


What? Pentagon disabled the spy balloon?

How about this: It turns out that the spy balloon caper that has Republicans and MAGA cultists all a-flutter is turning out to be the nothing burger many of us have thought all along.

You see, now we get word that the Pentagon spooks were able to “disable” the Chinese spy balloon as it crossed over U.S. territory before a fighter jet shot the sucker down off the South Carolina coast.

Hmm. Those folks at the Pentagon are good … you know?

The military brass also counseled President Biden to hold off on shooting down the balloon to minimize threats to humans on the ground and damage done by falling debris. So, the president heeded the brass and then acted responsibly.

Oh, but not according to the GOP wingnuts who have all but accused President Biden of being a closet Chinese agent. Their response has been laughable and ridiculous.

I’ll throw in stupid just to make it a trifecta.


Balloons have been flying over U.S. for … how long?

Is there a chance on God’s good Earth that a top military officer’s declaration that the Chinese have been using spy balloons for years will stop the unfounded haranguing of President Biden over this latest matter?

Nope! Not a chance.

Still, it is worth noting what the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command has said about this practice by China.

Politico reports:

The military did not detect previous flights of Chinese spy balloons over the U.S. that took place during the Trump administration, a top general said Monday, due to a “gap” in the Defense Department’s ability to track certain airborne objects.

Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, cited the issue as the reason that at least three spy balloon flights were not briefed to senior Trump officials at the time.

Top general says Trump-era spy balloons flew over the U.S. undetected – POLITICO

Republicans have blasting Joe Biden to smithereens because of the administration’s reportedly late response to the most recent People’s Republic of China space balloon. They have cited President Biden’s seemingly slow response to incompetence. Good grief! The president acted on advice from his top military command to wait until the balloon was over open water before shooting it down.

The action reportedly has angered the PRC. Too bad. Let ’em squawk. As for the GOP critics, once again they are playing politics with an issue of vital national security implications.

I’ll stick with Gen. VanHerck’s assertion that the PRC has done this prior to the Biden administration taking office. We didn’t know about their presence because the military intelligence network couldn’t detect them.

Where’s the GOP indignation on that matter?


MAGA cabal goes nuts over this?

Let’s see … I must be slow on the uptake this morning, because I am trying to wonder what in the world has the MAGA cabal cult so wadded up over the Biden administration’s latest action.

The Pentagon discovered that a reported Chinese spy balloon was floating over North America, from Alaska, through Canada and across the rest of the United States of America. The military brass decided to analyze what they found. They waited until the balloon had left our airspace over land and then shot the sucker down over open water.

The intent in waiting to shoot the balloon down was to eliminate civilian damage or — God forbid — human casualties.

The Chinese said it was a civilian device doing “scientific research.” You don’t believe that, right? Neither do I.

But the Republican MAGA propagandists now say that President Biden dismantled Donald Trump’s anti-China deterrence program to enable the People’s Republic to spy on us at will. That’s BS!

The Pentagon now reports that during the Trump term, the Chinese sent several such balloons over U.S. airspace, but the then-commander in chief took no action against the PRC.

Good grief, man! I am one American patriot who believes the president did the right thing in waiting for the spy craft to be over the Atlantic Ocean before shooting it down with jet-fired missiles.

I am pretty certain that once our debris recovery teams pick up what’s left of the balloon that we’ll learn that the Chinese were up to no good. As for the timing of the shoot-down, it’s another nothing burger being cooked up by the MAGA gang.


No worries, I will ‘never forget’

I went to a ceremony this morning at Princeton City Hall where firefighters, police officers, local veterans and others gathered to recall the event that shaped our nation’s future.

It happened 21 years ago when hijacked jetliners flew into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and into that rural field in Shanksville, Pa.

No. We’ll never forget what we were doing that morning when we got the news about the terror attack on the country. It launched the global war against terrorism, a war we likely will fight for as long as Planet Earth exists.

I am sure the planet will be around long after you and I are gone.

We call it 9/11 these days. Just say “9/11” and everyone knows what you mean.

The good news is that our special forces have managed to take out the masterminds behind that attack. The bad news is that others have skulked out of the slime to replace them.

We must remain vigilant against threats that have existed all along.

And by all means we must “never forget” the unfathomable cost of what happens when we look the other way.


We are changed forever

We know where we were and what we were doing when we got the word 20 years ago today … correct?

On that landmark Tuesday morning I was sitting at my desk at work in Amarillo, Texas. A young man with whom I worked on the editorial page of the Globe-News, came to work, stuck his head in the door and said, “Did you hear the news? A plan flew into the World Trade Center.”

That’s about all Dave Henry knew at the moment. I asked him about the weather. It was sunny and clear in New York, Henry said. My first thought was that a moron had flown the plane into the WTC by mistake.

I turned on the mini-TV I kept in my office. The “Today” show came on and a few minutes later, all hell broke loose as the second plane flew into the other WTC tower. We heard later that morning about the Pentagon and then about the crash in Shanksville, Pa.

Terrorists had hijacked four jetliners intending to do serious harm to this nation. They succeeded perhaps beyond the wildest dreams of the mastermind, Osama bin Laden, who would be delivered justice a decade later by special operations forces sent to kill him by President Obama.

I don’t know what lessons we learned from that horrifying event. I can think of only one constructive lesson, which is that terrorism is a threat that cannot be extinguished. It will lurk in the evil souls of individuals for as long as they exist among us. The lesson will be that we must maintain the highest level of alert. Always and forever.

They paid tribute this morning in our North Texas community to the lives lost and the heroism displayed by firefighters, police officers, first responders and those passengers who fought the terrorists before crashing the plan in Pennsylvania.

They lowered the flag to half-staff at the Princeton Fire Department Station No. 3, the newest such station in our city. The ceremony was brief, but poignant. We learned about a firefighter who died in NYC on 9/11, Anthony Rodriguez, whose sister lives in Princeton and that the fire station we visited this morning was built in his memory.

The ceremony was brief. Our hearts will remain broken for as long as we remember the events of that day and the war that followed for two decades after the attack.

Mostly, though, I choose to salute the brave men and women — such as Anthony Rodriguez — who ran into the flames.


‘Over the horizon’ reach? Is it enough?

Although I stand firmly behind President Biden’s decision to end our military involvement in Afghanistan — despite the horrifying rollout of the evacuation plan — I remain concerned about one aspect of our post-Afghan policy and posture.

It’s that “over the horizon” strategy the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence community plan to employ to protect us from terrorists.

We went to war in Afghanistan 20 years ago to rid the nation of the Taliban hosts who gave al-Qaeda safe haven from which to plan and then launch an attack on 9/11. We rid the government of the Taliban. Now we’re giving it back to them. Wise call? Ultimately, it will save us lives, heartache, misery … not to mention money.

How do we plan to conduct intelligence-gathering in Afghanistan with no physical presence on the ground? President Biden assures us we have assets and know-how and resources to confront terrorists if they emerge to pose threats to us.

Thirteen of our military personnel died in that horrific suicide blast the other day. Joe Biden pledged to make ISIS “pay” for its act of terror. We struck ISIS with a drone strike, killing a couple of terrorist planners. Americans should applaud that effort. However, we still have human beings on the ground there.

In just a couple of days our presence will be gone.

What happens then? I know we have the best intelligence gatherers on Earth. Our director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, is among the best of the best at what she does. I retain faith in her ability and in those at the top of the Pentagon chain of command.

They will have to be on top of their game 24/7 … likely forever, if we’re going to remain safe from terrorists intent on doing bringing harm and misery to our shores.

I just hope they can do so “over the horizon.”


Military to order vaccines

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Imagine you’re serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Your commanding officer or the non-commissioned officer in charge of your unit notices your boots aren’t shined properly. He or she orders you to shine ’em up, make ’em look pretty, shine them so you can see your face reflected back at you.

You do what you’re told, right? It’s a lawful order … which is why they call them “orders.” You are required to follow all lawful orders.

So it is that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has declared that every member of the U.S. armed forces — all 1.4 million men and women — will be required to be vaccinated against the COVD-19 virus and the assorted variants that are making Americans sick. That, too, is a lawful order.

I applaud the defense secretary — a retired four-star Army general — for issuing this order. He knows of which he speaks.

Is this going to mean that every soldier, sailor, Marine, Coast Guardsman, airman or space guardian will follow those orders without challenging them? Oh, probably not. We do live in a weird world that politicizes everything.

If they refuse, then their senior officers and NCOs need to take matters into their own hands and force them to be vaccinated.

Then they should toss the proverbial book at them.

Biden sends wall money back to Pentagon

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald J. Trump got his biggest applause while campaigning for election and re-election that he would make Mexico pay for The Wall he would build along our southern border.

Mexico hasn’t paid a nickel for it, nor will it pay. What did Trump do then? He redirected money meant for the Pentagon toward construction of The Wall.

Trump didn’t win re-election. So now the man who replaced him, President Biden, has sent $14 billion in Wall money back to the agency from where it came.

Biden administration to return Trump’s border wall money to Pentagon accounts (msn.com)

Good call, Mr. President/Mr. Commander in Chief.

The money should have stayed at the Pentagon, where Congress appropriated it in the first place. Trump’s decision to divert Pentagon money to construction of The Wall was an act of political desperation, given that there would be no on Earth that Mexico would — or should — pay for a structure that is being erected by our government.

As Roll Call reported: “To build a wall along the southern border, the previous Administration redirected billions of dollars Congress provided for supporting American troops and their families, and for purchasing military vehicles, aircraft, and ships,” the official said in a statement. “The Biden Administration is committed to upholding the rule of law, and properly equipping American troops and caring for their families.”

Congress’s authority to appropriate money must remain intact. It does now that Joe Biden has taken charge of the executive branch of government.

Transition proves tough

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The transition from the presidency of Donald John Trump to Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has proved tougher than I anticipated.

From a blogger’s standpoint, Trump kept me energized damn near daily with commentary to offer; Biden, meanwhile, is essentially keeping a low center of gravity … which I am certain is a good thing.

I am left, then, to think of what kind of former presidency awaits the 45th White House occupant. How does this guy spend his remaining time on Earth? Will he bask in the reflected glory of having served a single term as president? Or will he continue to live under the ruse of the Big Lie that he keeps telling, the one about alleged electoral thievery by the guy who beat him?

There might come a time when the former presidents gather in one place. It might a funeral for one of them. It might be an event that President Biden decides to host that calls on his predecessors to attend. What might that be? Let’s see, we’ll be commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 later this year. There might be an event at the White House or the Pentagon, or at the World Trade Center in Manhattan that compels the former presidents to show up.

Surely we would see Presidents Bush and Obama there, yes? I mean, 9/11 occurred on Bush’s watch and Obama approved the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. President Clinton is no stranger to comforting a nation grieving over tragedy, which he did after the Oklahoma City bombing. President Carter’s health might not allow him to be there.

What about Donald Trump? Does he get invited to attend such an event?

I am thinking he is going to live out his days as an outcast from this exclusive club of former U.S. commanders in chief. It doesn’t matter one damn bit to me whether he ever rehabilitates himself sufficiently to be welcomed back, or whether he would even feel suited to accept an invitation, were one to be extended.

There might come a day when these thoughts won’t invade my skull. Man, I hope it gets here in a hurry.