This week's back-and-forth over Donald Trump’s implied disrespect of an American Muslim officer killed in Iraq is appalling -- but purely symbolic, emotional and utterly beside the point. That “debate” might be typical for a declining superpower where the only serious question is: Which of our enemies takes us down first? Will we lose a carrier in the Pacific, will Putin call NATO’s bluff in the Baltic states or will Iran’s first test of a nuclear weapon be a low air-burst over Tel Aviv? Unless you are persuaded beyond all reason that America fights only one war at a time, then why not all three?
Ken Allard | All Articles
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Colonel Ken Allard (U.S. Army, Ret.) is a draftee who eventually served on the West Point faculty, as dean of the National War College and as a NATO peacekeeper in Bosnia (which seemed like a huge deal at the time). His most recent book, Warheads: Cable News and the Fog of War, is a memoir of his 10 years as a military analyst with NBC News and MSNBC, where he and Tucker Carlson were conservatives-in-residence.
Although Donald Trump routinely disses her as Pocahontas, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is such a crowd favorite that she is keynoting tonight’s Democratic National Convention. Whatever side you’re on, I can testify to a side of Elizabeth Warren you might not know.
I have voted for Ted Cruz twice – once as Senator and again this spring in the Texas presidential primary. One of the reasons for the latter decision was Donald Trump’s penchant for making stupid, inflammatory comments -- including insulting heroes like Senator John McCain and (even worse) demeaning members of the Cruz family.
What do Nice, Ankara, Brussels and Paris have in common with Orlando and San Bernadino? Well, nothing at all if your name is Barack Obama. Merely coupling the words ‘Islamic’ and ‘terrorism’ is sure to get you a presidential rebuff. Airily dismissing the most chilling contradiction of our times, he is a community organizer whose world views haven’t changed since he entered presidential politics a decade ago – except for his recent conversion to gay rights.
My July Fourth optimism about America’s future lasted less than twelve hours, from colorful fireworks splashed across a South Texas sky to Tuesday morning’s whitewash of Hillary Clinton.
In a surprising turn-around, Washington Redskins owner Daniel “ya don’t hafta be smart to be rich” Snyder shocked the sporting world by announcing today that the Washington Redskins have finally caved in to overwhelming media pressure. Following the current NFL season, the “Skins” will renounce the controversial nickname by which the fabled sports franchise has been known for most of the last 80 years.
Bottom line first: Ever since the Benghazi attack, President Obama and his advisers have lied through their teeth to avoid awakening the slumbering American electorate. They have been assisted throughout by a media establishment intent on supporting the president’s re-election while maintaining its usual charade of objectivity --- the great oxymoron of our time.
I occupy the bottom rung of the political ladder: I’m a block-walker canvassing San Antonio neighborhoods for a single-term Republican congressman. But you can learn a lot block-walking, like the fact that, less than a month before the election, there’s remarkably little passion on either side. The flatness is almost palpable, from casual conversations to the surprising absence of bumper-stickers.
The uproar in Congress includes both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers are making furious calls for FBI investigations and for tightening up the nation’s espionage laws. The reason: a spate of New York Times articles and a new book by its chief Washington correspondent, David Sanger. Last Friday, Sanger revealed a state secret that is arguably more sensitive than any other state secret that has been revealed since the Rosenbergs tipped off Stalin about the American atomic bomb. Sanger’s new book reveals that the Obama White House is conducting a coordinated campaign of industrial sabotage against Iran by means of cyber weapons. Remember the Stuxnet virus or the more sophisticated worm known as Flame? According to Sanger, all were components of an American government plan to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. Or as Pogo famously pointed out: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
The buzz began in the geeky chat-rooms of the computer security community before spreading to the newspaper technology pages: Iranian computers had again been targeted by spy malware. The new worm is a wickedly sophisticated Trojan called Flame, launched well under anyone’s radar. The usual experts think Flame may have been burrowing into Iranian mainframes for over two years, mining treasure troves of data on the regime’s nuclear programs.
Day by day, the Democratic strategy becomes more apparent: Wearied by the post-9/11 decade of war, American voters will favor social spending over national defense in the election of 2012, overwhelmingly choosing butter over guns. According to the America Enterprise Institute’s analysis of the 2012 national security budget, this year defense spending will drop to 2.5% of GNP ($531B) while entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) will exceed $2 trillion.
Here’s a non-partisan question for Mitt Romney, the corporate board of whatever stock you own or, for that matter, those flea-bitten Wall Street occupiers: Why aren’t American CEOs doing more to defend our companies against cyber thievery, from the Chinese and practically everyone else?
Is a Republican national security platform being hammered out for 2012? So far, the GOP candidates have said little that is new or interesting about the great issues of war and peace. Even so, it is inexplicable that the Republican field did little more than offer cautionary footnotes when the president went to the Pentagon last week to announce his new strategy.
Unless the bastards come after me again, this is my last column on a national disgrace.
Nixonesque cover-ups are not normally associated with Senator Carl Levin, the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Generals and admirals, secretaries of this and CEOs of that, address him deferentially as “Mr. Chairman,” befitting a man at the top of Washington’s interlocking directorates of money and power.
Has the killing of Osama bin Laden transformed President Obama from a beleaguered Oval Office occupant into a true commander-in-chief? The chattering classes of morning TV certainly think so. Some even suggest that his prowess as the cool, supremely in-control orchestrator of an American military triumph gives Barack Obama the cache that may get him re-elected in 2012.
Contemplating the end of his Latin American visit and the apparently imminent turnover of operations in Libya, President Obama said: "This is something that we can build into our budget. And we're confident that not only can the goals be achieved, but at the end of the day the American people are going to feel satisfied that lives were saved and people were helped.”
Often compared to President Kennedy, President Obama may well find that Libya has become his Bay of Pigs.
My only meeting with Richard Holbrooke was a grim handshake during the saddest day I ever had in uniform. Our brief encounter took place at Arlington National Cemetery following military funerals for two close friends killed the week before on a treacherous road outside Sarajevo; another, General Wes Clark, had barely escaped the same fate. All three had been part of a diplomatic mission led by Holbrooke during the run-up to the Dayton Accords, which eventually halted the worst killing in Europe since the Second World War. It still seems ironic that a peacekeeping mission required an overland trek by armored personnel carriers into a besieged city through a sector regularly shelled by both sides. When a road-bank suddenly collapsed, their vehicle rolled down the mountainside, killing everyone inside.