Defense Sec'y Gates' exit U-turn: warns of downgraded US military under Obama budget cuts

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Frank Gaffney at Breitbar's Big Peace, has been following Robert Gates' last days as Obama's Sec'y of Defense. The round of speeches by Gates in the past days has many – including Gaffney – scratching their heads, as he solemnly warns against the ““hollowing out” of the military” in what can only be construed as johnnie come lately criticism for Obama's plan to cut the defense budget by an additional $400 billion by 2023.

This would be the same Sec'y of Defense who had his spokesman say he backed the plan just a month ago, but that the specifics of the slashing would fall to his successor. Or was that just lip service by a dutiful appointee, and former AF officer who recognizes respect for the chain of command? Because it seems Gates was somewhat miffed at Obama's announcement of the cuts, and by the fact he only found out about the CiC's decision to do so 24 hours before Obama took to the podium.

The positive WH spin on the cuts is that the budget is higher than Bush's “average” annual defense spending (without including actual prosecution of the wars), and erroneously suggests that since Gates had already cut $400 bil in waste, that Obama was quite sure he could do it again. It matters not that this POTUS turns a blind eye to the simmering pot that is the Middle East, that he daily forces our military to do more with less – and with technology that is decades old – or that three active war theatres are taking it's toll on existing inventory.

The Obama FY 2012 budget submission reduced the total increase only slightly – by $162 billion over the four years from 2017 to 2020, according to the careful research of the Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA). That left an annual average base military spending level of $564 billion – 23 percent higher than Bush’s annual average and 40 percent above the level of the 1990s.

Central to last week’s chapter in the larger game was Obama’s assertion that Gates had already saved $400 billion in his administration. “Over the last two years,” he said, “Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again.”

The $400 billion figure is based primarily on the $330 billion Gates claimed he had saved by stopping, reducing or otherwise changing plans for 31 weapons programs. But contrary to the impression left by Obama, that figure does not reflect any cut in projected DOD spending. All of it was used to increase spending on operations and investment in the military budget.

Apparently, in suggesting that Gates could “do that again”, Obama was taking for granted he had the support of his outgoing Defense Sec'y. But the resignation date is turning out to be a liberating moment for Gates because, instead, he's singing like the canary who finally found his voice. And the birdsong is that the Obama cuts lie outside the realm of reconciling today's military realities and a healthy national defense capability… and requires the US agrees to downgrade their military dominance voluntarily.

This means the Obama administration and Congress must now decide how much military power the U.S. should give up, how that fits U.S. goals for maintaining global influence, and how to pay for it, Gates said.

“A smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things.”

~~~

“The tough choices ahead are really about the kind of role the American people — accustomed to unquestioned military dominance for the past two decades — want their country to play in the world,” Gates said.

“They need to understand what it could mean for a smaller pool of troops and their families if America is forced into a protracted land war again — yes, the kind no defense secretary should recommend anytime soon, but one we may not be able to avoid.”

That Gates may have been caught unaware of the CiCs intent on stripping US military capabilities might be most evident by the AFA's notes about two Gates' speeches in March.. just a month before Obama's surprise axe fell on the Pentagon budget. At that time, the budget was on track for modernizing our military branches' arms and air force. Chief of Staff, General Schwartz estimated a replacement rate of 200 aircraft per year to make modest reductions in the average age of the aircraft fleet, and at that time, the budget was well with range, projecting 227 purchases instead of the original 114….

…. at least for a short time, that is.

As Gaffney points out in his Big Peace article, Gates can hardly play the victim here, despite his newly found voice.

But, welcome as his alarm is, the course is one Mr. Gates has largely charted himself.

~~~

Mr. Gates’ warnings about the Obama agenda are indeed welcome. One can only wish he had done less to enable it to date, and pray that he does not make matters worse still before leaving office four weeks from now.

What Gaffney refers to is Gates own record on the military budget under this administration. This is the same Defense Sec'y who cancelled the Army's Future Combat Systems program and the Air Force's Next-Generation Bomber and replaced them with a shaved down bomber program, and set the Army to work on a new Ground Combat Vehicle instead…the latter of which has experienced more delays, stops and redesigns than it has shown in progress.

F-22 Raptor flies over Fort Monroe

Michael Goldfarb's latest for the Weekly Standard Magazine also weighs in on the politics of defense spending, and Gates' own contributions to gutting the military, including slashing the Navy down to it's smallest size since WWI, cutting Army and Marine personnel by 47,000, and cutting further production of the F-22 Raptor stealth air to air fighter [pictured to the right], and attempted to rescue the more expensive, lagging in production and troubled budget problems of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter instead.

[Mata Musing: for a comparison of performance and cost between the F-22 and F-35, see the Air Force Association's presentation.]

This same Gates also cancelled the Marines Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program because it has become too expensive.

On the flip side, this is the very same Gates who witnessed, first hand, the risks of gutting military defense as Reagan's Deputy Director of Intelligence, and then Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. He knows all too well the effort and cash it takes to rebuild a military.

In fact, the Defense Secretary spoke in glowing terms of Reagan as both CiC and POTUS in a Nov 2009 speech at the Library of Congress.

Gates called Reagan “the ultimate Cold Warrior.” The new president’s first job was to restore America’s military strength. “A broad U.S. defense build-up began early in the Reagan administration, with more advanced planes, ships, submarines, combat vehicles and nuclear weapons added to America’s arsenal,” Gates said during his speech.

And Reagan wasn’t afraid to use this new American power. Libya challenged American naval might in the Mediterranean Sea with the “Line of Death” at the Gulf of Sidra. In 1981, Reagan sent two aircraft carriers across the line, and Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi sent two fighters to challenge the American ships. \

“Big mistake,” Gates said. Under Ronald Reagan’s new, aggressive rules of engagement, two F-14 Tomcats splashed the two Libyan fighters.”

~~~

But Reagan was not simply an ideologue. “President Reagan also had the insight, the sense of historical moment, to know when it was time to sheathe the sword, soften the tone and re-engage – even with our most implacable enemy,” Gates said.

~~~

“He made it clear that we did not value the ICBMs, tanks, or warships in and of themselves. They were negotiable,” the secretary said. “No, the West’s differences with the East – the democracies’ dispute with communism – was, he said, ‘not about weapons, but about liberty.

~~~

Still there are lessons to be learned, and first among them is the appeal of freedom – political, economic and spiritual. “And the idea that free men and women of different cultures and countries can, for all the squabbling inherent in democracy, come together to get the big things right, and make the tough decisions to deter aggression and preserve their liberty,” Gates said.

Each generation must make this choice, he said. “It is a sad reality that in our time and in the future … there will be those who seek through violence and crimes to dominate and intimidate others,” Gates said. “We saw this on (/11, and we see it today in Afghanistan, where more perseverance, more sacrifice and more patience is required to prevent the terrorists who attacked us from doing so again.

“We see it anywhere nations, movements or strongmen are tempted to believe the United States does not have the will or the means to stand by our friends, to meet our commitments and to defend our way of life,” he continued.

President Reagan knew this inherently, Gates said. “Ronald Reagan was a great president who acted and planned, but most importantly, who dreamed and believed,” the secretary said. “And he truly accomplished great things.”

This does not sound like a man, dedicated to slashing military capabilities when our nation is involved in three theatres overseas and may, if Chuck Devore's predictions of a coming war against Israel in just a couple of months come to fruition, be needed to stand at Israel's side against the so called “democracy” results of Arab spring.

Considering Gates' accommodations for defense program slashes, expensive delays in ramping up new production of future weaponry, listening to his talking points on exiting the Obama cabinet makes you want to ask… will the real Robert Gates please stand up?

There's two points I need to lay out straight here in my beliefs about spending and our debt/deficits. There is federal spending I support, and nothing is more important than the Constutitonal mandate than to provide for the common defense and maintain a military to protect our borders. If the choice is between military defense – only about 20-25% of the budget – and the liberal penchant for entitlement programs, well… buh bye entitlements. The second is that only a fool would believe we could cure our debt and spending problem by squeezing the Pentagon, and downgrading our military superiority.

That said, spending is a problem and there is certainly room for debate in deciding wise spending when modernizing our defense, which includes what programs, weaponry and vehicle are better suited for 21st Century combat arenas. Whether Gates, with his minimal military service, is best equipped to make those decisions, I don't know. Panetta, with only two years of Army under his belt and a lifetime of political servitude is even less qualified to make those choices, IMHO. But it was just months after the above speech, extolling Reagan, that Gates taunted Congress and the House Appropriations Committee in a July 2009 Chicago speech for rejecting his suggested budget cuts, saying:

“If the Department of Defense can’t figure out a way to defend the United States on half a trillion dollars a year, then our problems are much bigger than anything that can be cured by buying a few more ships and planes.”

Apparently, even a Democrat majority House recognized the political leanings of the CiC in office, and the danger of his choices of “saving the economy” at the expense of the nation's safety.

For whatever Gates' reasons for being Obama's willing lackey, prior to joining other bodies under the bus after the recent Obama surprise defense cut announcement, one cannot ignore the message he gives in parting. And in doing so, we have to consider what the Defense Department considers the nation's greatest threat.

Both Donald Rumsfeld and Gates have focused on reviving and revamping an aging US arsenal of weapons, air and naval force, and vehicles for the newest style of combat and post 9/11 threats. Gates has been tasked with either continuing, or discontinuing programs begat under his predecessor.

As an April 2006 Popular Mechanics article about advanced military weaponry points out, the Pentagon has been divided into two camps about just who our “foes” are. Under Bush and Rumsfeld, more emphasis was placed on the Quadrennial Defense Review, what was called “the Long War” against the global Islamic jihad movement threat. In this plan, Afghanistan and Iraq are potentially only the first two theatres. If one considers Obama's unofficial, and possibly illegal, engagement in Libya, the third has already been added.

The much-maligned Donald Rumsfeld may appear to fall into the “Long War” camp. He, like Gates, spent his six years of Defense Department service believing our military should be restructured for 21st Century warfare, as can best can be exemplified with his on the money comment, “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Considering the negative press that ensued, perhaps Rummy should have said, “we go to war with the Army that Bill Clinton and the GOP Congress left us after the 90s Camelot years of fantasy”. But I digress…

Rummy not only poured money into the now off the radar missile defense program that originated under Reagan, he also focused on a ground force that had to be better equipped for the new battle theatres we faced.

Rumsfeld became a champion of the idea that the American military had to change itself–from an array of heavy, plodding forces to a reconfigurable collection of lighter, quicker, better-networked units. Every vehicle, every commander, every drone and every grunt would eventually be connected to a wireless Internet for combat, under the doctrine known alternatively as “revolution in military affairs” or “force transformation.” By sharing so much information, U.S. forces would be able to make decisions lightning-fast, outmaneuvering and outwitting any foe. Missions that used to take countless thousands of soldiers could be accomplished with a few wired-up troops, the theory went.,

But Rumsfeld wasn't willing to abandon the growing threat of the second foe that was of more import to the other Pentagon camp – China growing military power.

Those that are purists to the Chinese threat in the Pentagon consider Iraq, Afghanistan and the global Islamic jihad movement not only a waste of time, but a “distraction”. To counter the Chinese, the US military needs superior fighter planes, like the F-22 and F-35 above, to combat the new Chinese stealth fighter, the J-20.

Gates appears to be following the “both are foes” path of Rumsfeld, and not the “either/or”path that the Pentagon purists would prefer. His attempts to advance the US stealth fighters, combined with the ground vehicle contracts… even if unsuccessful… indicate he finds both of strategic value to a well-rounded US military in today's rocky world.

Just one year ago, he was hinting that Chinese anti-ship technology may render our carriers useless. This made him backtrack on cuts that affected advancements in our naval forces.

Tho the official Pentagon view under Gates considers an increasingly capable Chinese military as an advantage in guarding sea lanes and controlling piracy – a task that lands primarily in US hands – Gates was greeted in Bejing this past January with not only Chinese dignitaries, but a demonstration of the J-20. [Pictured left]

“When we talk about a threat, it’s a combination of capabilities and intentions,” said Abraham M. Denmark, a former China country director in Mr. Gates’s office. “The capabilities are becoming more and more clearly defined, and they’re more and more clearly targeted at limiting American abilities to project military power into the western Pacific.”

“What’s unclear to us is the intent,” he added. “China’s military modernization is certainly their right. What others question is how that military power is going to be used.”

Mr. Denmark, who now directs the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said China’s recent strong-arm reaction to territorial disputes with Japan and Southeast Asian neighbors had given both the Pentagon and China’s neighbors cause for concern.

Within days of his first exposure to the J-20 Chinese stealth fighter, Gates was also warning that North Korea's threat was increasing, stating they were within five years of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

One thing is for certain. Gates is out, and July ushers in Leon Panetta, who is likely to be another of Obama's dutiful puppets, happily swinging the axe. So while we may be confused as to Gates' vacillating performance under this administration, we would be extremely foolhardy to ignore his final words of warning.

“More perhaps than any other Secretary of Defense, I have been a strong advocate of soft power—of the critical importance of diplomacy and development as fundamental components of our foreign policy and national security,” Mr. Gates said at Notre Dame. “But make no mistake, the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is hard power—the size, strength and global reach of the United States military.”

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Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.

27 Responses to “Defense Sec'y Gates' exit U-turn: warns of downgraded US military under Obama budget cuts”

  1. 1

    Blake

    I can agree with Gate’s and Rumsfeld’s assertions that we must become a nimble force, but I also think unfortunately, we have, in our growth spurt, left ourselves naked to cyber hijacking, since so much of our military has to rely on computer ops now- the comms, drones, and missile guideance- all are exposed in some way or another.

  2. 2

    Randy

    I remember when Carter was president, we painted the buildings at FT Benning, but we didn’t have the maintenance funds to keep the building mechanical systems working. May be we can park plywood planes on our runways. Might be difficult to keep plywood aircraft carriers afloat, though!

  3. 3

    Gregory_Dittman

    The defense department should be more vocal in the true needs of the U.S. military rather than fictious threats and the hanging on of obsolete and expensive equipment.

    The B-52 is kept in order to provide the U.S. a third part in a triad (land, sea air) nuclear launch capability. The problem now is that all countries where nuclear stikes would be most likely also have the capability of destroying the B-52s. In order for a B-52 to attack, the defense systems of the enemy have to be destroyed and that can’t happen in 15 minutes to half a hour which is how long a nuclear war would last.

    Speaking of nuclear war, most missiles and bombs would not be used. The stored missiles on land are in sections and would not be moved quickly to the launch pad. If a missile doesn’t work in its silo, by the time the crew is able to do anything constructive, the war would be over and the crew would be dead.

    The U.S. navy wants to increase the number of ships even though the number of threats is shrinking. Iran, North Korea don’t have much of a navy and China would need several decades to match the current U.S. fleet, let alone an increased fleet. Right now the U.S. navy has 286 ships, but wants 313. During the cold war, the U.S. had a fleet of as much as 568. As the threats are decreasing, the number of planned ships is increasing.

    The U.S. military is also scared of the threat of Russia and China making stealth fighters. First of all, they just say they are stealth fighters. There is no proof that they are stealth fighters against western radar systems. Also Russia and China plan to make fewer fighters than the U.S. has F-22s. By the time they will have their aircraft the U.S. will have the F-35 which is said to be a stealth fighter.

    The U.S. military has a problem with CAS. CAS is expensive and the U.S. military has found it over used. When I mean over used, the aircraft are called, but the threat is gone by the time the aircraft come. Between 2004 and 2007, the airforce alone flew 81,000 CAS missions in Iraq and Afghanistan for a total of 220,000 CAS missions overall suring that time. 22,000 munitions were dropped. That’s just a poor use of CAS where even if one bomb or missile was launched for an effective sortie, it would mean that 90 percent of the calls led to no attacks taking place. The cost on one CAS mission for a F-16 without attacking is enough money to buy a house. CAS is great when troops are pinned down, but not so great when jets are called everytime a squad leader hears a gunshot. Ways to cut costs for CAS including turboprop fighters instead of jets, drones, cheaper weapon systems (DAGR rockets instead of Hellfires against infantry) and smart artillary systems.

  4. 4

    Liberal1 (objectivity)

    In this long diatribe on the defense issue–prompted by the insane ramblings of Frank Gaffney–the point seems to boil down to: “If the choice is between military defense – only about 20-25% of the budget – and the liberal penchant for entitlement programs, well… buh bye entitlements. The second is that only a fool would believe we could cure our debt and spending problem by squeezing the Pentagon, and downgrading our military superiority.”

    Did it ever occur to you that we could do both, and still reduce the deficit? This type of black and white thinking is the kind in which Mr. Gaffney regales. It is quite simply as old fashioned and outdated as yesterday’s news. These attitudes are surely the greatest threat to our society.

  5. 5

    MataHarley

    premium_subscriber

    liberal1 not-so-objective: Did it ever occur to you that we could do both, and still reduce the deficit? This type of black and white thinking is the kind in which Mr. Gaffney regales. It is quite simply as old fashioned and outdated as yesterday’s news. These attitudes are surely the greatest threat to our society.

    Did it every occur to you to read any of the other 19 links in that post, instead of focusing on Gaffney? Did it also occur to you that not only has the Pentagon done cuts, but that this admin increases our war into unnecessary areas overseas and still expects the military to perform with even more cuts?

    They are already doing more with less, and with outdated technology.

    There is the federal mandates via the Constitution, of which a military is one. Then there are the unConstitutional tasks that the Dem Congress and past Dem POTUS have decided to expand into… i.e. the entitlements and New Deal mentality. It is these that is breaking the bank, not the military.

    Your party doesn’t wish to address the unConstitutional entitlement programs because it’s politically inconvenient, and a creature of their own political birth. At the same time, they disdain the genuine tasks of the US by gutting a US military… for the second time… at a time in the world where we cannot afford not to maintain our military superiority.

    Your attitude is unquestioanably the greatest internal threat to our society.

  6. 6

    ilovebeeswarzone

    THIS IS NOT A TIME to cut ,while the military are fighting a WAR IN AFGHANISTAN,
    WITHOUT ANY ADEQUATE WEAPONS.
    SHAME ON THEM TO DO THAT ALL they have to do is dismantle the welfare ring of illegals scams and send them packing back to each country they came from, and close the borders with an army of militarys in the COUNTRY. THEY THEN CONCENTRATE on expulsing the ennemies of AMERICA OUT TO THEIR OWN COUNTRYS,
    WHILE THEY ARE DOING THAT , GET THE BOING COMPANY TO create and built a longrange detector and destructer of the burried bombs in the warzone, along with longrange detector and destructer of ennemies
    in a massive hunt, for arriving at the end of the war, from a winning optic, and get the militarys back home where they deserve to be after so many missions required of them,
    then keep them in sight for knowing who get in and who get out on 2012 election,
    we can rely on their views because they are worthy.

  7. 7

    J V Hoffman

    I got some news for some of you people! If you think we are coming to a position of world peace and a lesser need for a strong military!!! That makes about as much sense as thinking you can become a millionaire by digging in Cow Sh_t for peanuts!
    With the reckless political agendas of this administration, we have virtually alienated every long term allied nation we have every had and have spent much more money than you are referring here to build relations with countries who are support and perpetrators of terrorism. I strongly suggest that you all sign up for the State Department press releases on the State Department site. You will comprehend that the Agenda with the United Nations is more important to this administration than you or our military.
    Obamination and Jihadist Hillary are giving away much more than you can imagine. One of the reasons our military is so inefficient is because we have lost so many of our real military officers and staff. The military looks more like a politically correct transferred college sorority today. Yes without question there many things that need to be changed but subtracting from our budget for the military is not the answer! The United States is under an imminent threat of terrorism from within our borders and we are headed that way full speed! I have in reality fought terrorist from my car and from my door step! I am here to tell you we are headed that way and that is why the president will not allow action against terrorist cells without the approval of his office! Obamination wants us to reach that point and he does not want a military who can respond to the threat of internal terrorism so he can can in his cronies from the UN!!!! The United States is the next major terrorist target!!!! We are not equipped and we are not ready, and the last thing we need to do is cut the military budget, however we do need to revise and reroute the way out military spends money, and what weapons are deemed proper because the technology of war and the methodology has changed very greatly over the past two decades. If we had two cents worth of common sense we would have a military attachment outside of every major city and they would be specifically trained in anti-terrorism tactics and weapons, and do what we can to recruit more professional soldiers instead of a majority of drop-outs who can barely read at a 5th grade level!
    By the way Mataharley good article!!!

  8. 8

    MataHarley

    premium_subscriber

    Thank you for reading and commenting @J V Hoffman, as well as the kind words.

    I’m somewhat chagrined that the Facebook post gets all the attention when, out of the two posts I did that day, this one was far more important to our nation’s future and security. But then, we are dealing with a strange mentality these days for news, and for what people like to latch on as “issues”.

    I suspect that come fall, and the unilaterial declaration of a Palestinian state, plus the revealing of the real and ugly results of a so called “democratic Arab Spring” happens, the nation may wake up to the reality that gutting our military and ignoring the needed upgrades of our arsenal and vehicle technology is a dumber than dirt decision.

    Save for a few hard core lib/progs, I think most of the nation has no desire to lose our superpower military status in the world. Only the short sighted can believe that the pennies saved on this defense budget cut won’t result in considerably greater economic loss for the nation long term.

  9. 9

    Randy

    @MataHarley: In 2003, My unit went into Iraq with 28 9mm rounds each for officers and 60 5.56mm rounds each for the enlisted.. We had no plates in our bullestic vests. Only one of 6 vehicles had a radio. During our training up for deployment, officers fired 40 9mm rounds and Enlisted fired 80 5.56 rounds. We did fire extra rounds with the gas mask and night fire, but that was just for familiarization. As a civil affairs unit, we traveled with 2 officers and two enlisted when we went out to visit villages. Hopefully, one of the 2 vehicles we took was the one with the radio. This was a direct result of the Clinton “peace” dividend. We were very lucky that all of us returned alive. Unfortunately, folks like Liberal1 never see this.

    Our Civil Affairs unit actually raided an Iraqi warehouse and liberated several bullistic plates. We gave most of them to the 3rd ACR who didn’t have plates either. They were in daily shoot outs. Maybe if one of these soldiers were the son of Liberal1, the comments here would be different. Maybe we should bring back the draft so more of the population will understand what is necessary to defend our country and way of life.

  10. 10

    ilovebeeswarzone

    the warzone as it is actualy fought, is desperatly in need of reconnaissance planes armed with weapon to innibite a large space of threatening fighters on foot, they are needed to go in front of ground forces, to check on digger and burryers of clusterd bombs carryed by the whole family under their multi levels of materials hiding them and the clusterd, that is why those reconnaissance planes should also be equipt with long remote range metal detectors that IF THEY ARE NOT BEEN ALREADY BUILT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE, MANY YESTERDAYS AGO

  11. 11

    J V Hoffman

    @Randy: Randy my friend that is so insane I do not have words for what you have written! Hell! when I get in my car here I have 90 rds of 9mm and at least 150 rds for my AK! The amount of ammo you are talking about if you get into a real firefight is only enough to halfway exit safely and it would only be insanity to engage! When I was in Colombia in 1981-2 and in Peru 1982-83 I felt under equipped with 300rds. of 7.62 for my G3 and 90 rds. for my 9mm. How in the Hell can anybody who has a heart to pump blood through his veins even begin to say or think we can cut the military budget? For combat you need to be able to shoot instinctively! Anybody who thinks firing a 120 rds of pistol and rifle ammo will get the job done is simply insane! That person like this Admiral like Mataharley was writing about need to be committed to a mental hospital instead of a military leadership position!

  12. 12

    Randy

    @J V Hoffman: We had a choice, do the mission or refuse and face judicial punishment. We never hesitated, but bitched quite a lot! We eventually policed up Iraqi 9mm ammo and the enlisted got some 5.56mm ammo from the active duty units.

  13. 13

    ilovebeeswarzone

    THEY HAVE THE NERVE TO CALL THE 4OO BILLIONS IN WASTE,
    WHAT IS IT AGAIN WASTE, WHEN THEY ARE STILL FIGHTING A WAR,
    how much waste did the GOVERNMENT SPENT SO FAR? ON HIS OWN FANTASY FAVORITES

  14. 15

    Ditto

    Has anyone considered that perhaps Obama is purposely trying to move this nation into a similar military and economic situation as Russia was when the Soviet Union collapsed?; Huge numbers of the population out of work, and dependent on entitlements. Prices on the rise with wages stagnate or dropping. A stretched thin and underfunded military. Remember how the news of the day was that American capitalism triumphed over Russian Communism? Look at the people in Obama’s past who he hobnobbed and surrounded himself with? Read the writings of Alinski and his fellow radicals, and think about it. They clearly and plainly describe their methods and plans for America.

    IMO Obama and his far-left radical crew means to humiliate and humble America. To ‘put us in our place.’ And the Democrats, Rinos and status quo Republicans are helping the administration, knowingly or not.

  15. 16

    J V Hoffman

    @Ditto: This is exactly his plan! And yes the Republicans make about as much sense as trying to run a Marathon with a 52 gal. barrel strapped to your back! If anybody has a china-mans chance in Hell of doing anything it will be by not being scared of losing votes and facing the American public with the truth…..Our Political system is our biggest enemy and we are supporting our enemies more than our allies! ….and with that message begin to clean and spray for cock roaches (liberals/communist) and the exterminate the rats (Republican in bed with the liberals) as well as cut the supplies off to all of the parasites (welfare recipients and unnecessary organizations). Major Reform!!!!

  16. 17

    Randy

    @J V Hoffman: JV, the issue here is that our leaders suffer from a disease that reduces the size of their testicals. Even the female leaders lack the courage needed to make the necessary changes. I saw general officers in Iraq afraid to make the right decisions because they would lose consideration for another star. Look at the politicians who are afraid to do the right things for the country because they may not get re-elected.

    A senior officer who was an advisor to the CORPs Commander made a comment about General Petraeus. “Prior to being assigned to CJTF-7, I reported to GEN McKernan. I observed his and his staff’s (JD Thurman and Weber) dismay with MG Petraeus’s unconventional decision making and success.” This was in 2003 when General Petraeus was the commander of the 101st Division. General Petraeus had the courage of his convections and was successful within a system that rewards only those who do not rock the boat!

  17. 18

    Blake

    @Randy: It’s fear of the civilian lawyers and lawsuits about the “protocols” of war, which is both oxymoronic AND a blatant hypocritical statement- WAR IS- and there will be collateral damage, and people will die, some of them not deservedly- but that is the way it is.
    Unfortunately, liberals and lawyers do not go to war, just analyze it AFTER the facts.

  18. 19

    Blake

    @Mike Moore: No, it is right for Gates to leave, when he has done as much flip-flopping as he has, it is time to retire.
    I would like to see a real commander in Gate’s position, but leadership comes FROM THE TOP, NOT FROM BEHIND, so there’s not much we can expect from Barrie- and lawyers screwing up the protocols for the mission is the height of insanity. War IS- and people WILL be hurt, unfortunately not all deserving of the hurt, but that IS the nature of war.
    You really should read “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell.

  19. 20

    Wordsmith

    editor

    @MataHarley #5:

    They are already doing more with less, and with outdated technology.

    Looks like our not-so-secret presence in Yemen is also on the up with not only drone attacks but fighter jets. And complications:

    Officials in Washington said that the American and Saudi spy services had been receiving more information — from electronic eavesdropping and informants — about the possible locations of militants. But, they added, the outbreak of the wider conflict in Yemen created a new risk: that one faction might feed information to the Americans that could trigger air strikes against a rival group.

    A senior Pentagon official, speaking only on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that using force against militants in Yemen was further complicated by the fact that Qaeda operatives have mingled with other rebels and antigovernment militants, making it harder for the United States to attack without the appearance of picking sides.

    The American campaign in Yemen is led by the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, and is closely coordinated with the Central Intelligence Agency. Teams of American military and intelligence operatives have a command post in Sana, the Yemeni capital, to track intelligence about militants in Yemen and plot future strikes.

    Concerned that support for the campaign could wane if the government of Yemen’s authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, were to fall, the United States ambassador in Yemen has met recently with leaders of the opposition, partly to make the case for continuing American operations. Officials in Washington said that opposition leaders have told the ambassador, Gerald M. Feierstein, that operations against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula should continue regardless of who wins the power struggle in Sana.

    The extent of America’s war in Yemen has been among the Obama administration’s most closely guarded secrets, as officials worried that news of unilateral American operations could undermine Mr. Saleh’s tenuous grip on power. Mr. Saleh authorized American missions in Yemen in 2009, but placed limits on their scope and has said publicly that all military operations had been conducted by his own troops.

    ~~~

    Mr. Boucek and others warned of a backlash from the American airstrikes, which over the past two years have killed civilians and Yemeni government officials. The benefits of killing one or two Qaeda-linked militants, he said, could be entirely eroded if airstrikes kill civilians and lead dozens of others to jihad.

    Edmund J. Hull, ambassador to Yemen from 2001 to 2004 and the author of “High-Value Target: Countering Al Qaeda in Yemen,” called airstrikes a “necessary tool” but said that the United States had to “avoid collateral casualties or we will turn the tribes against us.”

    Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen is believed by the C.I.A. to pose the greatest immediate threat to the United States, more so than even Qaeda’s senior leadership believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

    And Gates’ exit speech:

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates rebuked some of America’s staunchest allies on Friday, saying the United States has a “dwindling appetite” to serve as the heavyweight partner in the military order that has underpinned the U.S. relationship with Europe since the end of World War II.

    In an unusually stinging speech, made on his valedictory visit to Europe before he retires at the end of the month, Gates condemned European defense cuts and said the United States is tired of engaging in combat missions for those who “don’t want to share the risks and the costs.”

    “The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress, and in the American body politic writ large, to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources . . . to be serious and capable partners in their own defense,” he said in an address to a think tank in Brussels.

    The speech comes as the United States prepares to begin withdrawing some of its forces from Afghanistan this summer and as it and other NATO powers engage in an air campaign against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. In both cases, Gates said, budget cuts and sheer reluctance among European partners to fight have made the missions significantly more difficult and shifted the burden onto the United States.

    In Libya, Gates said, “the mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country, yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference.”

    Gates and other U.S. officials have criticized Europe in the past, saying it is failing to hold up its end of the bargain. But his harsh language Friday in the speech to the Security and Defense Agenda think tank — delivered after a NATO defense ministers’ summit in which NATO and American top brass tried but largely failed to secure additional resources for the Libyan campaign — was a sign of just how tenuous the military relationships have become.

    “Future U.S. political leaders, those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me, may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost,” he said.

    Gates said he has “worried openly” in the past “about NATO turning into a two-tiered alliance between members who specialize in ‘soft’ humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks and those conducting the ‘hard’ combat missions — between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership . . . but don’t want to share the risks and the costs.”

    “This is no longer a hypothetical worry,” Gates said. “We are there today. And it is unacceptable.”

  20. 21

    J V Hoffman

    @Wordsmith: So true!!! It seems the American public is suffering from a form CRS or CSS syndromes… you know….Can’t remember sh_t and Can’t see sh_t! I guess that is a by product of buying into ADD disorders for children… $10 and a good oak plank will cure both! Our Government is supporting Terrorist, and it won’t change until we change out all of Washington DC!
    By the way, Nato and the United Nations have always allowed for terrorism to exist! Especially the UN and that is why the ” mission ” of UN is more important to this Administration than the condition of the economy!

  21. 22

    Blake

    Now Yemen- It is my belief that Barrie wants to stretchour resources so thin that we cannot sustain the stretch- you know, “The center cannot hold…”- We have no business being in either Libya or Yemen.
    And while it might not be the most popular vision here, we should be pulling out of Afghanistan also, because they are just too ignorant to hold a central government. They remind me of some small towns I have lived in where “It was good enough for my great Granddad, my Granddad, and my Dad, so it’ll be good enough for me.” It’s a tribal thing- they have never known different, and may never care to know anything different, and if that is the mind set, we ARE doomed to failure.
    At least in Iraq, the people were used to a government of a sort.

  22. 24

    J V Hoffman

    @Blake: Blake it is sickening! We have dumped more than 2 billion dollars in NATO in the last several months and have sent more than 90 million dollars in aid as well to Libya alone. While we have more than 200,000 Americans flooded out of their homes and nobody is doing anything realistic for them! Besides we left the Shiites in power in Iraq! How brilliant our government is they have always been our friends have they not?

  23. 25

    ilovebeeswarzone

    WHAT IS THE BUSYNESS OF NATO IN LYBIA?
    DO THEY WANT TO KILL GADAFI, BECAUSE THEY OWE BILLION TO HIM
    AND DON’T WANT TO PAY, OR DON’T WANT GADAFI TO REVEAL SOME SECRETS
    THEY WOULD NOT WANT TO BECOME PUBLIC.
    OR do they want to kill GADAFI, TO GET THE FRIENDS OF OBAMA WHICH ARE FRIENDS OF ALQUAYDA
    TO TAKE POWER WITH THE BROTHERS WITH A HOOD

  24. 26

    ilovebeeswarzone

    GATES SAID: THE MIGHTHYEST MILITARY ALLIANCE
    IN HISTORY, IS ONLY ELEVEN WEEKS INTO AN OPERATION
    against a POORLY ARMED REGIME, a sparsley populated COUNTRY,
    YET MANY ALLIES ARE BEGINNING TO RUNN SHORT OF AMUNITIONS
    REQUIRING THE US ONCE MORE TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE.
    now, if the mightest army alliance in history took 11 weeks and used all their ammo
    for a poorly armed regime in a sparsly COUNTRY,
    SOMETHING IS WRONG THERE , AND ELEVEN MORE WEEKS MR GATES, WONT DO BETTER,
    TO ACHIEVE THE GOAL WHICH IS WRONG TO BEGIN WITH, THAT IS TO DESTROY ANSD KILL GADAFI.
    WHO IS TRYING TO KILL HIS ENNEMIES, AS A LEADER OF A COUNTRY WHO WONT GIVE IN TO HIS ENNEMIES, TRYING TO TAKE OVER WHICH YOU WANT TO HELP,
    YES, SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG IN THERE
    SURELY YOU DON’T WANT COMMIT MURDER ON A LEADER OF HIS OWN COUNTRY, TO HELP
    HIS ENNEMIES, TAKE OVER, THE POORLY ARMED REGIME IN A SPARSLY POPULATE COUNTRY,
    LIKE THEY DID IN THE EGYPT ALLIES OF AMERICA, AND BARHAIN YEMEN OTHER,
    WHICH WILL BECOME ALL AMERICAN HATERS IN POWER TO PREPARE THE TAKE OVER OF ISRAEL AND AMERICA BACKED BY THE UN, IRAN THE ARABS , WHO OWN 1/3 OF THE UN COUNTRYS