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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #300 on: February 05, 2013, 10:53:34 AM »

The Right Way to Cut Pentagon Spending
The U.S. has an abysmal record of postwar drawdowns that undermine military readiness and modernization..
By MICHÈLE A. FLOURNOY

Whether or not Congress avoids sequestration by March 1, defense spending will likely be cut by at least 10% over the next decade. As 20% of the federal budget and 50% of discretionary spending, it will be part of any longer-term budget deal.

Unfortunately, the United States has an abysmal record of managing postwar drawdowns of defense spending. Almost all have resulted in a "hollow force"—too much force structure with too little investment in people, readiness and modernization.

Why? Because the easiest way to reduce Defense Department spending quickly is to enact across-the-board cuts in military end-strength, operations and maintenance, and procurement—solving the budget problem on the back of the force rather than on the department writ large.

In past drawdowns after World War II, Vietnam and the Cold War, American planners assumed a period of peace. But as the U.S. transitions in Afghanistan, no such calm appears on the horizon. From instability in the Middle East to al Qaeda's resurgence in northern Africa, North Korea's continued provocations and Iran's dogged pursuit of nuclear weapons, the global security environment remains dangerous and volatile.

In this context, the U.S. must take care to preserve the military capabilities it needs to protect America's interests now and in the future. The armed forces must retain the ability and agility to respond rapidly and effectively to a broad range of contingencies. Deep cuts to force structure, readiness and modernization should be the last resort, not the default course of action.

So where should policy makers reduce spending?

• First, eliminate unnecessary overhead in the Pentagon, defense agencies and headquarters staffs. Since 2001, these have grown like weeds. Over the past decade, the number of DOD civilians increased by more than 100,000, to roughly 778,000 in 2010, while the number of contractors also ballooned.

When I served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the mid-1990s, the policy organization had fewer than 600 people. When I returned as undersecretary for policy in 2009, the office had grown to nearly 1,000. While I found efficiencies to reduce my budget by 20%, I did not have the authorities needed to reshape my workforce.

In the private sector, delayering a headquarters typically results in cost savings of 15%-20% and improved organizational effectiveness. Imagine the savings and enhanced performance that could result from delayering the Pentagon. DOD needs Congress to provide additional authorities, such as allowing a reduction in the civilian workforce, to reduce unnecessary costs and reshape its personnel for the 21st century.

• Second, take steps to reduce the costs of military health care without sacrificing quality of care. The current trajectory of the Pentagon's health-care spending is unsustainable. DOD's medical costs have more than doubled since 2001,((Well, DUH!!!  We've had two big wars!!!)  to more than 10% of the defense budget from roughly 6%, and they are growing faster than any other federal health-care program: 10.6% per year, compared with 9% for the Veterans Administration and 8.5% for Medicare. Overall, U.S. health-care costs are rising 6.3% per year.

Tricare—the suite of insurance programs that cover service members, their families and military retirees—now covers nearly 10 million Americans. But DOD is bearing a disproportionate share of this burden. For example, 52% of the working-age military retirees who are eligible for private health insurance instead choose Tricare as their primary payer, shifting the costs from private companies to DOD.

Out-of-pocket expenses for Tricare beneficiaries haven't changed since the program's inception in 1996, but as costs have skyrocketed the government's share has grown to 88% from 73%. The Defense Department's proposals to increase some copays for non-active-duty beneficiaries have been repeatedly rejected by Congress.

Something has to give. The Pentagon needs to manage these health-care programs more aggressively, and Congress needs to provide the authorities and permission to do so. Otherwise, this critical benefit for service members and their families will become unsustainable and will undermine investment in the capabilities the military needs to accomplish its mission.

• Third, cut excess infrastructure. Since the last Base Realignment and Closure Commission in the late 1990s, Congress has prevented the Defense Department from closing bases it no longer needs or consolidating infrastructure to better support evolving missions. This inability to shed or realign facilities hangs like an albatross around the department's neck, consuming billions of dollars that could otherwise go to readiness and modernization. Congress should grant DOD's request for another Base Realignment and Closure Commission round this year.

• Finally, reform acquisition. While the current administration has made some important progress (the "Better Buying Power" initiative to promote greater efficiency and productivity), far more needs to be done. DOD is still operating with procurement timelines unresponsive to need, perverse incentives for program managers, inadequate numbers of trained acquisition professionals, and insufficient dialogue with industry. Affordable systems and reasonable shareholder return need not be at odds.

No doubt restructuring the defense enterprise will be hard, politically and bureaucratically, but failure is not an option. Failure to find substantial savings in these areas could result in some very unpalatable and dangerous trade-offs, from reducing the military's capacity to prevail in more than one theater at a time to cutting its readiness to deter adversaries or respond effectively in crises.

Although the Senate Armed Services Committee missed an opportunity to address these critical issues during defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing last week, the choice is clear: Either the government cuts costs by fundamentally transforming how DOD does business, or the U.S. risks cutting capabilities critical to national defense and global leadership.

Ms. Flournoy, who served as undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009-12, is a senior adviser to the Boston Consulting Group and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #301 on: February 05, 2013, 10:59:16 AM »

second post of morning

Hagel's Hruska Defense Will America's next defense secretary vindicate the cause of the mediocre man?
By BRET STEPHENS
 
Once upon a time, a Republican senator from Nebraska spoke up for the right of mediocrities to occupy eminent positions of public trust.

"Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers," said Sen. Roman Hruska in 1970 as a defense of G. Harrold Carswell, Richard Nixon's ill-fated nominee to the Supreme Court. "They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos."

Right. And at the Pentagon, we can't have all Stimsons, Forrestals and Marshalls. Which is why America needs another senator from Nebraska to vindicate the cause of the mediocre man.

That man is Chuck Hagel.

Until his confirmation hearing last week, Mr. Hagel was touted as a courageous tribune of the hard but necessary truth. His nomination, according to one sycophant, "may prove to be the most consequential foreign-policy appointment of [ Barack Obama's] presidency." He was hailed as a latter-day Dwight Eisenhower, a military hero mindful of the appropriate limits of U.S. power, a real American bold enough to tell the chicken-hawk neocon pretenders where they could stick it.

As for his claim about the Jewish lobby intimidating people, it was no more than a gaffe in the sense of accidentally telling the naked truth. "I am certain," said another prominent Hagel defender, "that the vast majority of U.S. senators and policy makers quietly believe exactly what Hagel believes on Israel." To take offense at the suggestion that a nefarious assortment of Jews plays the Congress like a marionette was to risk accusations of McCarthyism.

After the hearings, what's left of that defense?

Courageous Chuck is done for. He simply folded in the face of questions about his previous positions on Israel, Iran, nuclear Global Zero, Pentagon overspending and so on. If his repentance is sincere, then the ideological iconoclasm that was supposed to be his great recommendation as secretary of defense is no more. If he's insincere, then he's little more than a dissembler trying to advance his career.

Deep-thinking Chuck is no more, either. His befuddlement on Obama administration policy toward Iran—the flubbed remark about containment, the passed note, the re-flub, the coaching from committee Chairman Carl Levin—was almost the least of it. He didn't even seem to grasp the details of the 2011 Budget Control Act that contains the infamous sequester and will be the very thing he'll need to wrestle with immediately if confirmed.

Chuck-in-Charge is also not in the cards. "I won't be in a policy-making position," he said, astonishingly, to a question from West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. To be the secretary of defense, you see, is a bit like being the grand marshal at an Independence Day parade: You wear a sash, you hold a baton, you say a few words, you smile, wave and walk the route.

It says something about the political state of play that Mr. Hagel's defenders are now whispering that he just won't matter all that much. Serious defense policy will be run by the grown-ups in the White House, people like Ben Rhodes, Valerie Jarrett, Denis McDonough and, of course, the president. That's reassuring.

It also says something about the political moment that Republicans seem prepared to let Mr. Hagel through now that they have drawn a bit of blood. Nebraska's Mike Johanns and Mississippi's Thad Cochran have declared their support for Mr. Hagel. John McCain opposes a filibuster on the grounds that the president deserves an up-or-down vote on his nominee. In theory that's right and, in a sense, honorable. But a political party that can't press a political advantage when it has one is a loser. And who wants an opposition that thinks its honor lies in losing honorably?

In the meantime, it will come as a comfort to America's enemies to know what they'll be getting in a second Obama term.

One is a cabinet without a single hawk or even semi-hawk, whereas only a year ago there were three: Leon Panetta, David Petraeus and even Hillary Clinton. Another is a secretary of defense with an unsteady grasp of a department that may, within a month, be facing a historic and blunt reduction in its budgets. A third is a vice president who has just agreed to yet another round of negotiations with Tehran. And finally there's a president whose second inaugural address was entirely devoted to calling America home for the collective tasks he believes lie ahead.

Ask yourself how Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei and Bashar Assad are likely to feel about all of that. Shouldn't America have at least one officer of cabinet rank who scares the daylights out of these people?

If Mr. Hagel had a sense of the seriousness of the office he is now likely to enter, he would withdraw his name from consideration. But the essential characteristic of mediocre people is that they are the last to recognize mediocrity, either in themselves or in others. That our legislators in their wisdom may soon make this man secretary of defense says as much about them as it does about him. Truly, it's a Roman Senate.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #302 on: February 08, 2013, 04:49:14 PM »

http://news.usni.org/2013/02/08/navy-lincoln-refueling-delayed-will-hurt-carrier-readiness
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #303 on: February 10, 2013, 03:24:37 PM »

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/air-force-crashing.htm
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G M
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« Reply #304 on: February 10, 2013, 03:52:52 PM »

Good thing this won't embolden our enemies.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #305 on: February 13, 2013, 11:17:13 AM »

Mr. July, Your Drone Is Ready
The Counterterrorism 2013 Calendar is a grim but quirky reminder of the times we live in..
By BRUCE FEIRSTEIN
WSJ

As Washington continues to be roiled by controversy over America's drone-strike program—more specifically, the legality of targeting U.S. citizens overseas—you may be tempted to ask: "So who's on the kill list? Anybody I know?"

Sure, you could probably ask someone at the CIA to put you on the media distribution list for the next round of classified document leaks.

But the answer may already be available on the interactive Web pages of the official 2013 Counterterrorism Calendar put out by the National Counterterrorism Center. In this compendium of horrifics recording the specific dates when a terrorist event occurred, only six days of the year are left untouched. Each month in the calendar features at least one illustrated profile of someone who is presumably worthy of a drone-launched missile.

The monthly profiles are sort of like the al Qaeda version of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar—only instead of finding out that Kate Upton was born in Michigan and enjoys riding horses, we learn that Abdul Rahman Yasin was born in Indiana, helped to carry out the 1993 World Trade Center attack, and has a $5 million bounty on his head.

As for the on-this-date terror notes, I'll answer the most obvious questions before you ask: Yes, the Sept. 11 entry includes the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi—so that's final: it was a terrorist attack—but, no, the Nov. 5 entry doesn't mention Nidal Hasan's 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood. ("Workplace violence" didn't make the cut.)

Clicking around the website is a grim reminder of the times we live in. But it also evokes a more mordant response: It feels like what you'd get if George Orwell had gone into the Web-design business with Dr. Strangelove.

Among other things, you'll find an illustrated chart of the suggested safe stand-off distances from bomb threats, delineating everything from an outdoor explosion of a run-of-the-mill pipe bomb (70 feet) to a tractor-trailer truck packed with TNT (860 feet).

Then there is the field spotter's guide to terrorist-group logos. I can only imagine a corporate branding meeting, with the art director pitching a new logo to his Mad Men clients: "We're using a darker shade of red this time, with the scimitar leaning forward to better communicate your vision for 2013."

There are sections in the calendar for identifying counterfeit ID cards and money-laundering schemes (which could double as instruction manuals), and even a handy link about what to do if you spot some suspicious activity nearby. (Hint: Don't use your GPS-enabled smartphone to text-message the FBI: "Target drone here.")

The oddest section of all on the site is the "Kids Zone," with links to preschool games and activities (a coloring book featuring "Beaker" the patriotic eagle) but not, alas, something useful, like "Pin the laser target on the terrorist."

Truly, I don't mean to disparage the National Counterterrorism Center. Over the past decade, I've met with some of the smart and dedicated people who work there. I know that we all owe them a debt of gratitude for keeping us safe.

But at the same time, I'm reminded of an interview I did in the summer of 1999 with a B-2 Stealth bomber pilot at Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Mo. Noting the seeming invincibility of the B-2, I asked what he thought would be the Air Force's greatest challenge in the future.

Well before the age of drones, the bomber pilot's answer was prescient. "I worry about antiseptic warfare, when you remove the blood component and can wage war without fear of taking any casualties. I'm concerned that our leaders won't fully understand the consequences of what they're doing, because what seems cheap and clean is anything but."

Our enemies are real. But so are the moral questions and long-term political implications of drone strikes.

You can download the Counterterrorism 2013 Calendar at www.nctc.gov. It lends a whole new meaning to the phrase "Save the date."

Mr. Feirstein is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the screenwriter of three James Bond movies.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #306 on: February 18, 2013, 01:44:31 PM »

Posting here a intriguing piece referenced in the Foreign Affairs thread.

Asking for defense cuts

Defense Department’s dirty deals
By RALPH PETERS
Last Updated: 10:45 PM, February 14, 2013
Posted: 10:38 PM, February 14, 2013

 


Ralph Peters

The looming budget sequestration imposes almost $50 billion in cuts on the Defense budget this year. It’s a terrible idea — and I’m for it.

This hatchet job trims not just fat, but muscle and bone, too. It’s going to be ugly. But as I’ve watched the Defense Department pull shameful stunts and listened to congressional blather attempting to block sequestration, this defense hawk has become one irate taxpayer.

The last straw came earlier this month when our Navy ostentatiously cancelled the deployment of the supercarrier USS Harry S Truman to the Persian Gulf, crying poverty. That’s like Donald Trump claiming he can’t afford a cab.
 


The Navy could have cut back other, less-sensitive deployments or acquisition programs. But the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chose to embarrass the White House and pressure Congress. He should have been fired.

Did the admiral even think of the message he sent to Iran?

Dear admirals and generals: It’s your job to protect our country, not just your budgets.

As for Congress, its members agreed to this sequestration. The terms weren’t secret. Now panicked members act as if they’ve been innocent dupes.

Won’t wash. You voted for it. Now suck up the consequences.

To get a sense of the scare tactics rampant on the Hill, consider “What Sequestration Really Means,” from the House Armed Services Committee. It has all the integrity of a drunken teenager in a backseat with a cheerleader.

The paper makes four bogus claims about what “reductions at this level would mean”:

The smallest ground force since before World War II. We’re going to have that anyway, because our troops’ real friends on the Hill would fit in an aircraft lavatory. Congressmen love photo ops with soldiers, but when it comes budget time they’ll always sacrifice grunts to preserve home-district defense-contractor jobs, no matter how wasteful. Congress is going to slash troops whatever happens.

The smallest Navy since before World War II. It’s also a much more expensive Navy, with ships costing up to $4.5-billion raw from the shipyard. The Navy decided that fewer, more-expensive ships are better, with supercarriers our maritime-strategy centerpiece.

In fact, our Navy is too small. Want a bigger one? Buy cheaper, smaller, faster ships. The next revolutionary shock in naval warfare is going to come when a second-rate power, such as Iran or North Korea, sinks one of our supercarriers.

The smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force. Again, this is a choice. Despite possessing incontestable air dominance over every other air force on earth, the “fighter pilot mafia” within our Air Force keeps pushing for extravagant hi-tech fighters. That means fewer airplanes.

Do some basic math. During the Korean War, our top fighter was the F-86D Sabre. It cost under $400,000 per plane. In 2013 dollars, that’s under $4 million. Our second-newest fighter, the F-22 — so troubled it hasn’t been sent on one combat mission — costs $200 million a copy (with R&D and downstream costs included, $350 million). So: For one F-22, you could buy 50 F-86Ds.

It gets worse: The F-22 requires 60 hours of maintenance for every flight hour; the F-86D needed five or fewer. So those 50 F-86Ds could fly 600 sorties to that single F-22’s one. Is the problem-plagued F-22 really 600 times better than the old Sabre?

And our newest fighter, the equally troubled F-35, has an estimated life-cycle cost of up to $1.5 trillion. Want to guess where to start saving?

Of course, we don’t want our pilots flying 1950s aircraft (Oops: We are still flying the B-52s, which actually work).

 The fat years are over. Our military needs to make hard choices, but refuses. Leaner really could be meaner — if Congress stopped protecting incompetent contractors.

The smallest civilian workforce in the history of the Defense Department. Why is it smaller? Because Congress went in for an orgy of outsourcing that raped the defense budget—while providing inferior services (the waste during the Iraq War was stomach-turning).

The true problem is that Congress has been giving the defense industry an endless supply of blank checks, with no real accountability — while CEOs wrap themselves in the flag on Capitol Hill. Patriots? In our recent wars, not one defense-industry CEO volunteered to be a dollar-a-year man as captains of industry did in World War II.

Sequestration will do serious harm. But our corrupt system has already done far worse. It’s time for a reckoning.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and former enlisted man
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #307 on: February 19, 2013, 03:13:43 PM »

It appears I may have been bamboozled by the deceits of baseline budgeting.  Am I correct to now understand that even with the sequester cuts, that acatual spending will be increasing?
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bigdog
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« Reply #308 on: February 21, 2013, 10:16:33 AM »

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/11/military-cutbacks-drone-programs/1910463/

From the article:

The Pentagon for the first time is considering scaling back the massive buildup of drones it has overseen in the past few years, both to save money and to adapt to changing security threats and an increased focus on Asia as the Afghanistan war winds down.

Air Force leaders are saying the military may already have enough unmanned aircraft systems to wage the wars of the future. And the Pentagon's shift to Asia will require a new mix of drones and other aircraft because countries in that region are better able to detect unmanned versions and shoot them down.
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bigdog
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« Reply #309 on: February 26, 2013, 06:50:39 AM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/25/real_genius?page=0,0

"Nowhere in his work did Clausewitz see conflict as primarily posing a design challenge -- a puzzle to be solved about what kind of force to build."
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 10:09:41 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #310 on: February 26, 2013, 07:08:27 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/02/26/random-man-confirmed-by-senate-to-lead-worlds-greatest-military/

Random man confirmed by Senate to lead world’s greatest military
posted at 6:41 pm on February 26, 2013 by Allahpundit
He’s not random, though. A truly random man wouldn’t have earned the sturdy liberal support that Hagel’s Israel-focused Jew-baiting and left-of-Obama foreign policy brought him. In the end, despite weeks of dirt being dug up, not a single Democrat voted against him at any stage of the process. (That’s not including Reid’s no vote last week, as that was purely procedural.)

Which is not to say he’s a bad guy. It may be, as Chuck Schumer believes, that he’s just … slow. Congrats, America.


The final vote: 58-41, which is a bit closer than the 71-27 margin on cloture earlier today. There are 15 Republicans who think voters are too dumb to realize that the cloture vote is the one that assured Hagel’s confirmation and that, by voting yes on that and no on the meaningless final vote, they can pretend that they “opposed” Hagel. And in fairness, they’re probably right; most voters likely are that dumb. But let’s name those 15 anyway:

Alexander
Ayotte
Blunt
Burr
Chambliss
Coburn
Collins
Corker
Flake
Graham
Hatch
McCain
Murkowski
Sessions
Thune

The usual reason to vote yes on cloture and no on the final vote is out of deference to the president’s right, within limits, to pick the cabinet he wants. You don’t filibuster a guy just because his policy preferences tilt liberal; I wouldn’t even filibuster him for his musings on Israel, as objectionable as they are. If Obama wants a SecDef who thinks that way, that’s what America gets for reelecting him. Where the filibuster comes in is when the nominee simply isn’t qualified to do the job for which he’s been nominated. I can’t believe a single one of those 15, let alone the scores of Democrats who voted for this guy, seriously believes he’s prepared to run the Defense Department. They’re sticking the military with someone who, at best, will be an empty Republican suit while advisors who know what they’re doing, like Michele Flournoy, make the hard decisions. The next time McCain and Graham pound the table about defense cuts or O’s foreign policy, remember that they both voted to send Chuck Hagel on to the final vote. That’s how serious they are.

As for Republicans voting yes, there were four: Cochran, Johanns, Shelby, and … Rand Paul, who voted no twice on cloture. That’s the most bizarre vote array on a nominee I could imagine. You could vote yes on cloture and on confirmation if you thought Hagel was a meritorious nominee. You could vote no on both if you thought he wasn’t qualified. You could vote yes on cloture and no on confirmation if you thought Obama deserved enough deference as president to have his nominee face a final up-or-down vote. You could vote no on cloture and yes on the final vote, as Rand Paul did, if … why? Here’s Paul’s reasoning:

“I voted no because I wanted more information and I think that part of what the Senate does is try to get information about the nominees,” Paul told reporters in the basement of the Capitol after Hagel’s confirmation Tuesday. “I’ve said all along that I give the president some prerogative in choosing his political appointees.”

“There are many things I disagree with Chuck Hagel on, there are many things I disagree with John Kerry on, there are very few things I agree with the president on, but the president gets to choose political appointees,” Paul said.

Asked if he ever got the information he wanted about Hagel, Paul said that he hadn’t.
If “the president gets to choose political appointees” is sufficient reason to vote yes, then (a) we should get rid of the Senate’s advise-and-consent responsibility and (b) at the very least we should not be filibustering nominees, as Rand Paul voted to do twice. Even if he did that purely to squeeze the White House for more information, why would he vote yes on the final vote when they never gave him that information? And if the president’s entitled to his nominee of choice, why would Paul demand more info about Hagel in the first place? Just rubber-stamp him. Vote yes on every vote, no questions asked.

If you want to know the real reason Paul voted yes, read this. He overplayed his hand earlier today by voting no on cloture; he’s trying to walk a line between mainstream conservatives and his dad’s supporters and casting two votes for filibustering Hagel was, at a minimum, one too many for the latter group. So he did to the libertarians what McCain and Graham tried to do to conservatives — he voted the wrong way on the important vote, which was cloture, and then tried to appease them by voting their way on the meaningless final vote whose outcome was assured. Doubt it’ll work for him. He’ll have to make it up to them somehow.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #311 on: February 27, 2013, 02:02:45 AM »

"On the eve of the Second World War, the United States had the 16th largest army in the world, right behind Portugal. ... American soldiers went on maneuvers using trucks with 'tank' painted on their sides, since there were not enough real tanks to go around. American warplanes were not updated to match the latest warplanes of Nazi Germany or imperial Japan. After World War II broke out, American soldiers stationed in the Philippines were fighting for their lives using rifles left over from the Spanish-American war, decades earlier. The hand grenades they threw at the Japanese invaders were so old that they often failed to explode. At the battle of Midway, of 82 Americans who flew into combat in obsolete torpedo planes, only 12 returned alive. In Europe, our best tanks were never as good as the Germans' best tanks, which destroyed several times as many American tanks as the Germans lost in tank battles. Fortunately, the quality of American warplanes eventually caught up with and surpassed the best that the Germans and Japanese had. But a lot of American pilots lost their lives needlessly in outdated planes before that happened. These were among the many prices paid for skimping on military spending in the years leading up to World War II. But, politically, the path of least resistance is to cut military spending in the short run and let the long run take care of itself. In a nuclear age, we may not have time to recover from our short-sighted policies, as we did in World War II." --economist Thomas Sowell
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #312 on: March 02, 2013, 07:40:41 AM »

Trying this one once again:

"It appears I may have been bamboozled by the deceits of baseline budgeting.  Am I correct to now understand that even with the sequester cuts, that actual spending will be increasing?"

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G M
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« Reply #313 on: March 02, 2013, 10:00:36 AM »

Trying this one once again:

"It appears I may have been bamboozled by the deceits of baseline budgeting.  Am I correct to now understand that even with the sequester cuts, that actual spending will be increasing?"


As I understand it, the cut is in the rate of growth.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #314 on: March 02, 2013, 03:14:48 PM »

I have heard that too, yet I have also heard that the sequester cuts are something like 8% and that this number is on top of previous cuts.  Also, what of now former SecDef Panetta and others saying that the cuts over time will have our navy to the size of pre WW1 (or something like that) and other scary things?
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G M
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« Reply #315 on: March 02, 2013, 03:26:28 PM »

I have heard that too, yet I have also heard that the sequester cuts are something like 8% and that this number is on top of previous cuts.  Also, what of now former SecDef Panetta and others saying that the cuts over time will have our navy to the size of pre WW1 (or something like that) and other scary things?

It's part of Buraq's fundamental transformation of America into a 3rd world country with a 3rd world military.
 
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bigdog
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« Reply #316 on: March 02, 2013, 04:28:25 PM »

I have heard that too, yet I have also heard that the sequester cuts are something like 8% and that this number is on top of previous cuts.  Also, what of now former SecDef Panetta and others saying that the cuts over time will have our navy to the size of pre WW1 (or something like that) and other scary things?

It's part of Buraq's fundamental transformation of America into a 3rd world country with a 3rd world military.
 

Let me begin by saying I agree that President Obama deserves much of the blame on the sequester. To lay all of it at his feet, however, is untrue and too forgiving to Congress, and its members of both parties.

"The Congress shall have Power To... provide for the common Defence;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy."
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G M
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« Reply #317 on: March 02, 2013, 04:33:53 PM »

Obama is using the sequester, as I predicted as an opportunity to gut the US military. "I mean, I do think at a certain point you've had enough geopolitical power".

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« Reply #318 on: March 02, 2013, 04:36:30 PM »

Good thing there arn't any looming threats out there.....  rolleyes

http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/02/u-s-navy-readiness-continues-its-decline-amidst-the-pivot-to-asia/

U.S. Navy readiness continues its decline amid the ‘pivot’ to Asia
Mackenzie Eaglen | February 3, 2012, 9:30 am

At the same time as the Obama administration is heralding a strategic “pivot” towards Asia and the growing threat of Chinese military modernization, the U.S. Navy continues to put on a brave face in the middle of a growing readiness crisis. While not new, this alarming trend was highlighted again this week when Navy officials announced that, for the second time in seven months, the USS Essex, a Marine Corps amphibious assault ship, has failed to meet a commitment at sea due to equipment failure or maintenance issues.

The Navy’s No. 2 wasn’t understating the problem when he told Congress last year: “The stress on the force is real. And it has been relentless.”

This is not an isolated occurrence. A high operational tempo over the past decade has put an incredible strain upon all of America’s military. As fewer ships spend less time at home making repairs, regular wear and tear takes a heavy toll. In fact, in 2011, nearly one-quarter of the entire surface fleet failed inspection. The Navy has 22 cruisers in service and every one of them has cracks in the aluminum superstructure. Meanwhile, half of the Navy’s deployable aircraft are not combat ready and engines aboard two F/A-18s have caught fire aboard ships underway.

While the Navy has shrunk by 15 percent since 1998, it has deployed a relatively constant number of ships at sea at any given time. Between two major wars in the Middle East, a third in Libya, anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa, disaster relief in Asia, and maritime deterrence in the Western Pacific, the U.S. military has increasingly been asked to do more with less.

The USS Essex was supposed to take part in Cobra Gold—a joint exercise with Thailand—before it had to back out due to mechanical problems. In many ways, this incident can be seen as a metaphor for the entire shift to Asia. On paper, it sounds like a smart and forward-thinking policy—it even involves allies and burden-sharing. What’s not to love?

But without the proper resources, Cobra Gold, as well as the larger “pivot” and its supposed emphasis on air and naval power, is just a paper tiger.

If the administration is serious about properly resourcing an American military emphasis in the Pacific while not taking our eye off the ball everywhere else, the president must send over a budget that proposes to reverse the decline of the Navy’s size, fleet, and readiness. Anything less should be called out for what it really is: a strategy that says one thing and a budget that does another.

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« Reply #319 on: March 02, 2013, 04:39:02 PM »

http://blog.heritage.org/2013/02/27/obama-states-the-obvious-sequestration-will-harm-u-s-navy/

Obama Suddenly Cares About the Military When It Serves His Interest
Brian Slattery
February 27, 2013 at 11:55 am
(1)

Joe Fudge/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom
President Obama visited Newport News Shipyard yesterday—the largest naval shipbuilding facility in the world—to warn of sequestration’s effects on the U.S. Navy. Yet throughout his first term as Commander in Chief, he did nothing to stop the shrinking fleet.

While the Administration has recently attempted to sound the alarm on the USS Harry S. Truman’s canceled deployment to the Middle East, it was just a few months ago that the President disparaged such fleet concerns during a national debate. When Mitt Romney argued that we are facing the smallest U.S. fleet in nearly a century, Obama retorted:

We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s—it’s what are our capabilities.
In addition to the Truman’s cancellation, it was recently announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln will delay its midlife refueling and maintenance due to budget concerns. This means the carrier fleet will fall below its minimum ship requirement for at least a few years. It also sends a message to both allies and adversaries that U.S. naval presence and commitment is declining.

The President’s nuclear submarine policy is also weaker than he declares. Even without sequestration, the Obama Administration delayed the development of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines’ replacement. These subs serve as the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad for years, but they are old and wearing out. The delay will reduce the Ohio fleet below acceptable levels for 14 years.

Make no mistake: President Obama’s sudden interest in military readiness is too little too late. He has been cheerleading the hollowing out of our military for the past four years, and his renewed interest comes with a dangerous caveat: He wants to raise taxes.

We agree that the sequester is far from perfect, which is why the House of Representatives voted and twice passed cuts to reprogram the sequester to avoid these kinds of cuts to the military. They presented alternatives that would restore America’s commitment to national defense—without raising taxes—and address national debt in a responsible manner. Neither the President nor the U.S. Senate gave these proposals serious consideration.

The Navy and other services are already suffering serious readiness concerns. With the world certainly not safer than a few years ago, the President should not hold the defense budget hostage. The ship has already sailed on $800 billion in cuts to defense while entitlement spending continues to grow. The Administration must work with Congress to make a commitment to national security as well as fiscal responsibility before it is too late.
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bigdog
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« Reply #320 on: March 02, 2013, 05:01:59 PM »

"The Administration must work with Congress to make a commitment to national security as well as fiscal responsibility before it is too late."


I completely agree that the president and Congress must work together. I am glad we agree, GM.
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« Reply #321 on: March 02, 2013, 05:04:21 PM »

Unfortunately, the president isn't interested in military assets unless they are jetting him or Moochelle off to another vacation.
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« Reply #322 on: March 02, 2013, 05:26:20 PM »

Obama is using the sequester, as I predicted as an opportunity to gut the US military. "I mean, I do think at a certain point you've had enough geopolitical power".




Re: Tax Policy

« Reply #424 on: December 03, 2012, 05:34:05 PM »




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Buraq wants the 'pubs to "make" him take us over the cliff. That's his best scenario. Defense gets gutted and taxes go up and republicans get all the blame.
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bigdog
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« Reply #323 on: March 02, 2013, 05:57:06 PM »

Unfortunately, the president isn't interested in military assets unless they are jetting him or Moochelle off to another vacation.

You forget SpecOps.
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G M
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« Reply #324 on: March 02, 2013, 06:08:40 PM »

Unfortunately, the president isn't interested in military assets unless they are jetting him or Moochelle off to another vacation.

You forget SpecOps.

You are referring to Buraq using them as campaign props? Sure.
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bigdog
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« Reply #325 on: March 02, 2013, 07:03:52 PM »

If he isn't interested in military might, he'll be pretty bad at being the dictator you accuse him of being.
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G M
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« Reply #326 on: March 02, 2013, 07:09:57 PM »

If he isn't interested in military might, he'll be pretty bad at being the dictator you accuse him of being.

It doesn't take much of a military to dominate a disarmed and impoverished population, does it?
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bigdog
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« Reply #327 on: March 02, 2013, 07:51:05 PM »

Who's going to take the guns, GM?
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« Reply #328 on: March 02, 2013, 07:57:50 PM »

Who's going to take the guns, GM?

Who is going to, or who is trying to disarm the America people are two different questions, are they not?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #329 on: March 02, 2013, 08:08:45 PM »


a) Yes Rep stupidity (Exhibit A: Boener) has much responsibility in this clusterfcuk, but unlike Baraq/Hagel/Kerry/Pelsoi/Reed the Reps' INTENTION is not to gut our military.  China (and Iran, and Russia, and and and) are getting a very clear message from all this and the weakness it projects bodes poorly for a stable and peaceful world.

b) As for the tangent about the fascistic tendencies within American progressivism, I most certainly include its most fervent desire and current feverish campaign, vigorously abetted by its running dogs that are our Pravdas, to disarm the American people as much as it can.  Of course the process will intend to stop short of triggering an insurrection bigger than it can oppress with overwhelming force-- indeed such may be precisely the intention of some of them angry angry angry 

That said, lets take any further discussion of this particular point over to the gun thread.
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bigdog
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« Reply #330 on: March 02, 2013, 08:15:13 PM »

Who's going to take the guns, GM?

Who is going to, or who is trying to disarm the America people are two different questions, are they not?

I mean it literally. If Obama wants to confiscate, he can't do it himself. If he wants a "third world military" there won't be the power to confiscate.

As for the want, I believe we three are in agreement.
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« Reply #331 on: March 02, 2013, 08:33:39 PM »

If those who seek to disarm we the people try to the point of provoking initial resistance there will be serious temptiation to think the State has more than enough capability to slam it down AND not let the crisis go to waste into scaring the sheeple.

Look at what Sandy Hook has been used to do even though over the last 20 years, the number of guns has gone up 35% and the number of gun crimes has declined 50%.  Imagine how they will use the beginnings of armed resistance!!!  Indeed, this might be the plan of a Manchurian president , , , were we to ever have one , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #332 on: March 02, 2013, 08:35:22 PM »

The PLA was a 3rd world military in 1989. They were pretty darn effective against the protesters in Tiananmen square, were they not? All political power comes from the barrel of a gun, doesn't it?
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bigdog
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« Reply #333 on: March 02, 2013, 08:43:12 PM »

The PLA was a 3rd world military in 1989. They were pretty darn effective against the protesters in Tiananmen square, were they not? All political power comes from the barrel of a gun, doesn't it?

But this was an unarmed protest. I still don't see either GM or Guro explaining the actual, physical, literal taking of the guns.

If GM is correct (that Obama wants a third world military, and assuming of course, he would be able to devolve it to that level in four years), is the "serious temptiation to think the State has more than enough capability to slam it down" still true?

What I am trying to say, is that there is a literal, logical disconnect (as I see it) between the claims of Obama is a dictator, wants to literally take guns AND wants to lead the world's finest military down the path to subpar military.
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G M
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« Reply #334 on: March 02, 2013, 08:55:33 PM »

His methodology is piece by piece while distracting and deluding with his loyal media engaging in mass propaganda operations.

State gun Laws, all which are currently being pushed by the white house work towards disarming the people and marginalizing those who disagree. Not at all an accident
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #335 on: March 02, 2013, 11:02:02 PM »

"What I am trying to say, is that there is a literal, logical disconnect (as I see it) between the claims of Obama is a dictator, wants to literally take guns AND wants to lead the world's finest military down the path to subpar military."

Disagree.   Not having the navy necessary to defend the freedom of the seas in the South China Sea (where, if I am not mistaken, some 40% of the world's trade travels?) or not having the means to prevent the Chinese from taking out our satellite communication network (the neurological system of our military) or not having the means to prevent the Chinese from hacking US infrastructure has very little to do with what happens when universal background becomes what it is meant to become, universal registration, which becomes what it is meant to become-- the government knocking on your door saying "Give us all your guns any more capable than a revolver, a double barrelled shotgun, and a bolt action rifle."
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bigdog
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« Reply #336 on: March 03, 2013, 10:08:54 AM »

Is that the definition of third world military?  huh huh

Do the French, Russians, Israelis, Brits have the ability to "defend the freedom of the seas in the South China Sea" AND "hav[e] the means to prevent the Chinese from hacking [their] infrastructure"? Are they the working definition of Third World?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #337 on: March 03, 2013, 07:54:54 PM »

I confess to be rather surprised at how long this point is being belabored.

My point is that a military is usually evaluated by its ability to deal with external threats, going after its own people requires far less.  Our military could be considerably diminished and still be capable of going after intial resistance to disarmament.
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bigdog
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« Reply #338 on: March 04, 2013, 06:03:42 AM »

Apologies, I didn't think of trying to get strict definitions of what was meant/intended was belaboring.

My point is that it becomes logically impossible for Obama to do everything he is accused of doing or wanting to do.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 06:15:08 AM by bigdog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #339 on: March 04, 2013, 07:16:26 AM »

How so?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #340 on: March 04, 2013, 08:19:47 AM »

Before we close the argument...

a) Suppose we substitute the imprecise term 'third world military' with just a US military unable to address the threats we face.

b) The political movement of unilateral disarmament currently led by Pres. Barack Obama is not a 4 year proposition.  The LBJ programs for poverty, for example, lived on far beyond his Presidency.  The Carter disarmament lasted beyond his years and could have lasted permanently. 

The Obama approach of apologizing and bowing has not had the success that peace through strength and deterrence once had.  The time to oppose all bad policies is early and often.
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bigdog
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« Reply #341 on: March 04, 2013, 11:03:04 AM »

Re-define away, but that hardly makes it a "third world military" which is the original claim.
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G M
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« Reply #342 on: March 04, 2013, 01:54:18 PM »

Re-define away, but that hardly makes it a "third world military" which is the original claim.

I used the PLA in 1989 as an example, which had little ability to project force beyond China's boders, but plenty of ability to use force to maintain party control over the population.
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bigdog
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« Reply #343 on: March 04, 2013, 04:43:22 PM »

So, the PLA in 1989 is the working example of world world army?

And, even though the example, which I asked you about, was the successful crackdown of a peaceful protest that took place in a closed in square?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 04:55:27 PM by bigdog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #344 on: March 04, 2013, 06:47:19 PM »

Apologies, I didn't think of trying to get strict definitions of what was meant/intended was belaboring.

My point is that it becomes logically impossible for Obama to do everything he is accused of doing or wanting to do.



Gutting America's economy-check! (Cloward-Pivenomics)

Disarm the "Bitter-clingers-in progress

Gutting America's Military-Check!

Empowering America's enemies-Check!

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G M
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« Reply #345 on: March 04, 2013, 06:58:31 PM »

So, the PLA in 1989 is the working example of world world army?

And, even though the example, which I asked you about, was the successful crackdown of a peaceful protest that took place in a closed in square?

Yes, in 1989, the PLA, although it was huge was very much a 3rd. world army with little ability to do much with it's forces outside China's borders.

Tianenmen Square is hardly closed in. It's massive in scale.





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bigdog
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« Reply #346 on: March 04, 2013, 08:15:09 PM »

But it is but one location, and the protest wasn't widespread. And it is pretty closed, GM. Massive does not mean it is not closed.

And, the protest was peaceful.
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G M
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« Reply #347 on: March 04, 2013, 08:53:49 PM »

Actually the protests did spread to other cities, though Beijing was the center of it all.

Xinjiang has had both peaceful and non peaceful protests, both tend to get shut down with automatic weapons fired by the PLA and PAP.

Unarmed populations are easily dominated.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #348 on: March 04, 2013, 08:59:04 PM »

Again, lets take this to the gun rights thread please gents.
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bigdog
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« Reply #349 on: March 07, 2013, 01:25:48 PM »

Administration debates stretching 9/11 law to go after new al-Qaeda offshoots
By Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Published: March 6
A new generation of al-Qaeda offshoots is forcing the Obama administration to examine whether the legal basis for its targeted killing program can be extended to militant groups with little or no connection to the organization responsible for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. officials said.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force, a joint resolution passed by Congress three days after the strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has served as the legal foundation for U.S. counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda over the past decade, including ongoing drone campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen that have killed thousands of people.

But U.S. officials said administration lawyers are increasingly concerned that the law is being stretched to its legal breaking point, just as new threats are emerging in countries including Syria, Libya and Mali.

“The farther we get away from 9/11 and what this legislation was initially focused upon,” a senior Obama administration official said, “we can see from both a theoretical but also a practical standpoint that groups that have arisen or morphed become more difficult to fit in.”

The waning relevance of the 2001 law, the official said, is “requiring a whole policy and legal look.” The official, like most others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations.

The authorization law has already been expanded by federal courts beyond its original scope to apply to “associated forces” of al-Qaeda. But officials said legal advisers at the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies are now weighing whether the law can be stretched to cover what one former official called “associates of associates.”

The debate has been driven by the emergence of groups in North Africa and the Middle East that may embrace aspects of al-Qaeda’s agenda but have no meaningful ties to its crumbling leadership base in Pakistan. Among them are the al-Nusra Front in Syria and Ansar al-Sharia, which was linked to the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. They could be exposed to drone strikes and kill-or-capture missions involving U.S. troops.

Officials said they have not ruled out seeking an updated authorization from Congress or relying on the president’s constitutional powers to protect the country. But they said those are unappealing alternatives.

AUMF and the war on terror

The debate comes as the administration seeks to turn counterterrorism policies adopted as emergency measures after the 2001 attacks into more permanent procedures that can sustain the campaign against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as other current and future threats.

The AUMF, as the 2001 measure is known, has been so central to U.S. efforts that counterterrorism officials said deliberations over whom to put on the list for drone strikes routinely start with the question of whether a proposed target is “AUMF-able.”

The outcome of the debate could determine when and how the war on terrorism — at least as defined by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks — comes to a close.

“You can’t end the war if you keep adding people to the enemy who are not actually part of the original enemy,” said a person who participated in the administration’s deliberations on the issue.

Administration officials acknowledged that they could be forced to seek new legal cover if the president decides that strikes are necessary against nascent groups that don’t have direct al-Qaeda links. Some outside legal experts said that step is all but inevitable because the authorization has already been stretched to the limit of its intended scope.

“The AUMF is becoming increasingly obsolete because the groups that are threatening us are harder and harder to tie to the original A.Q. organization,” said Jack Goldsmith, an expert on national security law at Harvard University and a former senior Justice Department official.

He said extending the AUMF to groups more loosely tied to al-Qaeda would be “a major interpretive leap” that could eliminate the need for a link between the targeted organization and core al-Qaeda.

The United States has not launched strikes against any of the new groups, and U.S. officials have not indicated that there is any immediate plan to do so. In Libya, for example, the United States has sought to work with the new government to apprehend suspects in the Benghazi attack.

Still, the administration has taken recent steps — including building a drone base in the African country of Niger — that have moved the United States closer to being able to launch lethal strikes if regional allies are unable to contain emerging threats.

The administration official cited Ansar al-Sharia as an example of the “conundrum” that counterterrorism officials face.

The group has little if any established connection to al-Qaeda’s leadership core in Pakistan. But intercepted communications during and after the attack in Benghazi indicated that some members have ties to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terrorist network’s main associate in North Africa.

“Certainly there are individuals who have an affiliation from a policy, if not legal, perspective,” the official said. “But does that mean the whole group?”

Other groups of concern include the al-Nusra Front, which is backed by al-Qaeda in Iraq and has used suicide bombings to emerge as a potent force in the Syrian civil war, and a splinter group in North Africa that carried out a deadly assault in January on a natural-gas complex in Algeria.

A focus on Sept. 11

The debate centers on a piece of legislation that spans a single page and was drafted in a few days to give President George W. Bush authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against al-Qaeda.

The law placed no geographic limits on that power but did not envision a drawn-out conflict that would eventually encompass groups with no ties to the Sept. 11 strikes. Instead, it authorized the president to take action “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks.”

The authorization makes no mention of “associated forces,” a term that emerged only in subsequent interpretations of the text. But even that elastic phrase has become increasingly difficult to employ.

In a speech last year at Yale University, Jeh Johnson, who served as general counsel at the Defense Department during Obama’s first term, outlined the limits of the AUMF.

“An ‘associated force’ is not any terrorist group in the world that merely embraces the al-Qaeda ideology,” Johnson said. Instead, it has to be both “an organized, armed group that has entered the fight alongside al-Qaeda” and a “co-belligerent with al-Qaeda in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”

U.S. officials said evaluating whether a proposed target is eligible under the AUMF is only one step. Names aren’t added to kill or capture lists, officials said, unless they also meet more elaborate policy criteria set by Obama.

If a proposed a target doesn’t clear the legal hurdle, the senior administration official said, one option is to collect additional intelligence to try to meet the threshhold.

Officials stressed that the stakes of the debate go beyond the drone program. The same authorities are required for capture operations, which have been far less frequent. The AUMF is also the legal basis for the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan, although the agency compiles its own kill list in that operation with little involvement from other agencies.

The uncertainty surrounding the AUMF has already shaped the U.S. response to problems in North Africa and the Middle East. Counterterrorism officials concluded last year that Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a militant leader in Algeria and Mali, could not be targeted under the AUMF, in part because he had had a falling out with al-Qaeda’s leadership and was no longer regarded as part of an associated group.

Belmokhtar was later identified as the orchestrator of the gas-plant attack in Algeria in which dozens of workers, including three Americans, were killed.

Obama’s decision to provide limited assistance to French air attacks against Islamist militants in Mali this year was delayed for weeks, officials said, amid questions over whether doing so would require compliance with the AUMF rules.

Some options beyond the 2001 authorization are problematic for Obama. For instance, he has been reluctant to rely on his constitutional authority to use military force to protect the country, which bypasses Congress and might expose him to criticism for abuse of executive power.

Working with Congress to update the AUMF is another option. The Senate Intelligence Committee has already begun considering ways to accomplish that. But Obama, who has claimed credit for winding down two wars, is seen as reluctant to have the legislative expansion of another be added to his legacy.

“This is an ongoing discussion, which we’ll probably continue to engage on the Hill,” the senior administration official said. “But I don’t know that there’s a giant desire to have ‘Son of AUMF’ now.”
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