Tag Archives: Senate Armed Services Committee

Is this the year the U.S. gets hit?


Well before the sun set on Sept. 11, 2001, defense analysts and terror experts were almost unanimous in their assessment of our nation’s future.

If was not a matter of “if” we would be hit again, but “when.”

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, that he believes this is the year it will happen.

The Islamic State, he said, is going to continue to hit Europe and well might plan a coordinated attack on our shores.

When will it occur? The general didn’t say. He cannot know.

In reality, though, he didn’t provide a serious scoop on what’s been understood since the terror attacks of 9/11.

That attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was so daring, so audacious, so brilliantly executed that it prompted President Bush and his national security team to create an entirely new Cabinet agency assigned to protect us. The Department of Homeland Security has been on the job ever since.

Now, the question always has been: Will this country be able to protect itself forever against the next terror attack? There can be zero guarantee against another attack that could rival the horror that al-Qaida brought to our shores on the beautiful Tuesday morning in New York and Washington.

But then again, had we been fully alert to the dangers that always have lurked, perhaps we shouldn’t have been so totally shocked at what transpired that day.

The Bush administration — once it gathered itself after the horror of that day — managed to keep us safe for the remainder of its time in office. The Obama administration has kept up the fight and has continued to keep the terrorists at bay.

But Gen. Stewart’s prediction of another terror attack — this time by the Islamic State — shouldn’t be seen as a big-time news flash.

Al-Qaida managed to get our guard up. Our task always has been to ensure we stay on the highest alert possible.

The enemy, though, is as cunning as they come. Many of us will not be surprised when they strike again.


Cruz the Hawk a no-show at Armed Services

You hear about this occasionally.

U.S. senators or House members take office and immediately become what’s known as “show horses,” not workhorses. A young Illinois Democratic senator, Barack Obama, demonstrated little interest in the nuts and bolts of legislating before launching his bid for the presidency. Flash back to the mid-1960s, and another young Democratic senator from New York, the late Robert Kennedy, showed equally little interest in these matters — unlike his kid brother, Ted, who became one of the Senate’s legislative giants.

So, what gives with Ted Cruz, the Republican from Texas, who’s also running for president?

He’s a serious hawk on defense, but he’s rung up the worst attendance record by far on the Senate Armed Services Committee.


While the young senator has been MIA at the panel’s hearings, many of his colleagues are settling in to do the people’s business. Several of them have perfect attendance. Others have been called away on other official business; Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., missed a key hearing because he was part of a U.S. delegation sent to Saudi Arabia to honor the late Saudi King Abdullah.

Back to the man I like to refer to as the Cruz Missile.

Sure, he’s running for president. These campaigns gobble up a lot of lawmakers’ time. However, just as it matters for all the individuals who’ve run for president before, it matters now for Sen. Cruz.

Is he going to do what he’s getting paid to do, which is study, debate and vote on key issues affecting his country and the state he represents? Or is he going to remain absent from his day job while pursuing another office down the street from the one he already occupies?


Second thoughts on 'scum' comment

We’re all entitled to having second thoughts, aren’t we?

I put a tweet out there a few days ago in response to Sen. John McCain’s angry comment at protesters who were holding up signs while several former secretaries of state were testifying before McCain’s Senate Armed Services Committee.

He called them “low-life scum.” I said they were entitled to protest.


Well, McCain’s anger was justified in one important sense.

One of the former diplomats they were accosting in the hearing room was 91-year-old Henry Kissinger, who served Presidents Nixon and Ford and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the Vietnam War. Also testifying with Kissinger were Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.

Yes, the demonstrators had a right to protest. They should have demonstrated at least a bit of decorum and kept their distance from Kissinger, Rice and Albright. Kissinger in particular was actually threatened physically by the demonstrators, who were carrying signs that declared Kissinger to be a “war criminal.”

McCain made no apologies for his outburst. In retrospect, I wouldn’t have apologized, either.

“Of course, I was outraged, and I’m still outraged. It’s one thing to stand up and protest. It’s another to physically threaten an individual,” Chairman McCain said.

You were right to be angry, Mr. Chairman.