Tag Archives: Pentagon

Defense boss’s privacy need backfires badly

Lloyd Austin seems to have lost sight of an important fact of a grownup’s life … which is that everyone must answer to someone else.

Therefore, for the U.S. defense secretary to keep his whereabouts hidden from those to whom he reports was a serious mistake. There needs to be some action taken to prevent this kind of keep-away from ever recurring.

Austin was hospitalized for four days before the brass at the White House knew about it. He had gone into the hospital for a routine surgical procedure. He didn’t tell the fellow who hired him, President Biden, nor anyone on the president’s staff.

One of his deputies stood in for him while he was “away,” which in itself is no big deal; Cabinet officials have done more of that since the COVID pandemic ravaged the nation.

It is troubling, though, that the individual who runs the Pentagon, the nation’s military establishment, would treat his absence from public view in such a cavalier fashion. The weirdness of this episode is illustrated by the fact that Austin is a retired Army four-star general who no doubt never would tolerate such secrecy from his subordinates in the military.

Politico reports: White House and Pentagon aides insist that Austin’s job is not in jeopardy — at least not yet. But they are sticking to that line despite seeming to lack full information about what’s actually been going on at the Pentagon. The precise nature of Austin’s surgery, medical complications and even his current condition remain unclear or addressed only in vague terms. Senior Defense Department and White House officials still don’t know the details of the procedure.

What the hell? The White House still doesn’t know the “details of the procedure”? Hey, Secretary Austin isn’t some chump mid-level bureaucrat. He is sixth in line to the presidency. He runs an agency that spends about $800 billion a year to keep us safe from our enemies.

The White House needs to know at all times the defense secretary’s status. For that matter, I want — and I deserve — to know what is occurring when it involves the defense boss.

Must he be fired over this? Probably not … but damn, he needs to shed this misbegotten need for privacy.


Tuberville: Sen. Dumbass

Tommy Tuberville has distinguished himself in a most unflattering fashion, by establishing his place as the dumbest member of the United States Senate.

The Alabama Republican has finally — finally! — begun drawing the ire of his GOP colleagues over his insane, foolish and patently stupid campaign to use the military as a forum to express his strong views against abortion.

Because Senate rules allow it, Tuberville has single-handedly blocked the promotions of hundreds of senior military officers. They include the installation of the Marine Corps commandant as well as other general-grade and field-grade officers throughout the military.

Now we are hearing from a handful of GOP senators who say that “enough is enough.”

Tuberville dislikes the military’s willingness to provide abortion counseling for military personnel who might want to terminate a pregnancy. That’s a non-starter for Tuberville, who is so adamantly opposed to abortion that he is willing to compromise our nation’s military preparedness just to make a political point.

Sen. Dumbass must end this foolishness. The Senate needs to revoke the rule that empowers this stupid behavior and imperils the readiness of the greatest military powerhouse in world history.

I accept his opposition to abortion. But to hold the military high command hostage to his opposition is (a) stupid politics, (b) dangerous to our national security and (c) makes zero sense … given all the other political options that Dumbass can exercise if he wants to end abortion.

‘The Mayor’ has fallen farthest

It was striking to me as I watched the nation commemorate the 22nd year since the 9/11 attacks that one man was missing from all the ceremonies we saw.

At Ground Zero. At the Pentagon. At the field in Shanksville, Pa. Dignitaries noted the tragedy that befell the nation. They saluted the first responders. The spoke to the unity that brought Americans of all political stripes together.

Who was missing from all of this? The man we once hailed as “America’s Mayor,” Rudolph Giuliani has become persona non grata.

The more I think about it, the more I am left to conclude that no political figure has fallen farther and more dramatically than Giuliani in the 22 years since he burst on the American political scene simply by being a man of strength and dignity trying to rally New York City from the wreckage brought by the terrorists.

He would become Time’s Person of the Year in 2001 … and with great reason. He stood like a colossus over rubble where the Twin Towers once stood. Americans looked to him to provide strength that would feed the rest of us.

America’s Mayor delivered … in spades.

Now, though, he has become a ridiculous caricature of himself. He stands with a former POTUS who lost the 2020 election and proclaims that he actually won it. Giuliani has been indicted by federal and state grand juries. He is in danger of losing his law license.

Do I pity him? Do I lament his fall from the nation’s grace? Not for a second. The man made his choice willingly and I’ll presume with a clear head.

Given all the chaos that he engenders these days it would be the depth of folly for him to appear publicly to take part in events designed to remember the horrendous event that handed him the opportunity to stand tall.

America’s Mayor has become America’s Joke.

Time doesn’t heal this pain

They say that “time heals” damn near all emotional pain. I’m not sure about that.

We are commemorating the 9/11 attack on our nation today. Twenty-two years ago, Islamic terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center’s towers, into the Pentagon and then — after fighting with the passengers aboard a fourth jetliner — crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa.

All the times I have watched the horrendous video of that day, witnessing all the carnage, the panic and chaos and I still well up when I gaze on what happened that day.

Indeed, it seems to worsen with time, not the reverse.

The event has spurred me to thank firefighters and police officers when I see them going about their usual day. I have done the same to ambulance drivers, EMTs and paramedics. They all represent a segment of our society that rushed toward the danger when it exploded in front of us on 9/11.

We’ll never forget that horrendous day … and may it always bring back the pain we felt in the moment.

Sen. Tuberville: No. 1 dumbass

Congress has been populated over its more than two centuries of existence by many dumbasses and … yes, I will stipulate that they come from both sides of the partisan aisle.

However, the No. 1 dumbass in the Senate happens to be a Republican, a former major college football coach and an idiot who is spitting in the faces of the men and women who deserve nothing but respect from the people who serve in our government.

Sen. Dumbass is Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, whose one-man blockage campaign has held up the promotions of dozens of senior officers and denied the Marine Corps of being led by a commandant for the first time in the Corps’ history.

Why is that? Because Sen. Dumbass says the military allows women who serve to obtain abortions, in addition to any of the other reproductive health care issues that need attention.

Dumbass’s campaign has put the nation’s military preparedness in jeopardy. He is denying the military its full complement of general-grade officers because this foolish effort to deny those who serve the opportunity to obtain legally provided health care.

What the hell is happening to us? Imagine for just a moment what the Republican outcry would be if a Democrat was employing a one-senator rule to block appointments in the military because of a policy disagreement. Senate rules empower one senator with the authority to act as Sen. Dumbass has done.

The very idea that a Republican senator is laying waste to the military high command is enough to send many of us into a frenzy.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is set to retire next month. Will Sen. Dumbass block Gen. Milley’s successor from ascending to the Joint Chiefs chair? What in the world must this be doing to morale among the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast Guardsman and women we ask to defend us?

Sen. Dumbass needs to stand down and let our armed forces do their jobs.

How does this guy get elected?

I happen to know four people fairly well who live in the great state of Alabama.

I worked with two of them; two others I met along the way. They all are friends and I believe with all my heart that they do not subscribe to the views expressed by one of their U.S. senators.

Still, I have to wonder how in the world does a dim bulb such as Tommy Tuberville, a Republican, get elected to what used to be known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Tuberville is angry with the Pentagon over its alleged acceptance of abortion; members of the military are able to acquire abortion-related medical services. So, what does Tuberville do? He blocks the appointment of the next commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, denying that service its first commandant in more than century.

Acting out of political petulance in fact puts the nation’s security at some risk. Tuberville also has held up the appointments of several other officers on the same grounds.

Didn’t the GOP once stand as the party of a strong national defense? That it would let nothing get in the way of providing the most powerful military the world has known?

Not any longer. It now stands as the party that puts partisanship and politics above national security.

Tuberville is a disgrace to his office and to the entire U.S. Senate.


‘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.