Slaughtering Sacred Cows

Yesterday I spoke of my frustration with the almost-a-war in Afganistan. It seems that perhaps the president shares my feelings, according to Brandon J. Weichert, in The American Spectator.

In this case, Trump’s presidency has attempted to challenge the status quo that dominates Washington, D.C. and prevents reasonable policy from being made. […]

And this slaughtering of sacred cows is always, in my experience, necessary to getting an organization running correctly. If anybody ever tells me, “We’ve always done it this way,” that’s all the reason I need to make sure it changes. Comfort implies complacency and other bad things.

During last year’s strategy review for the failing war in Afghanistan, for instance, Trump grew incensed at the advice his generals were giving him about the strategy. Trump is reported to have argued that their advice was akin to the bad advice a highly paid consultant gave to the owners of the elite 21 Club in Manhattan during their disastrous remodel in 1987.

According to Trump, the overpriced consultant’s “lousy advice cost the owner a year of lost business and that talking to the restaurant’s waiters instead might have yielded a better result.” To add insult-to-injury, Trump is reported to have argued that “the tendency is to assume if someone isn’t a three-star general he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and that… talking to lower-ranking workers has gotten him better outcomes in business.”

Boy, is that ever the truth. One will never get the real story from the headquarters weenie, or the guy who makes his money making it take longer. Get out in the field, or down on the factory floor and talk to the people doing the job. Traditionally, I think it was the sergeants in the military, roughly equivalent to foremen in my world, that is where you get the unvarnished truth.

For Trump, who fancies himself as a bit of a turnaround man, the advice of the military leadership in Washington is useless. After all, these leaders have had 20 years to fix the mistakes — and they haven’t.

My friend David Danford recently argued that the military’s optimism about any mission is often why the country finds itself in quagmires, such as Afghanistan. Danford, who teaches at West Point, is correct. His solution is to inspire greater cynicism in American military leaders.

Not too sure about the workability of his solution, but I think he has the problem pegged.

Earlier this month, the outgoing American military commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Army General John Nicholson Jr., advocated for the United States to end its engagement there. After all, General Nicholson (rightly) argues that things will never change in Afghanistan until Afghans stop killing Afghans — which will likely never happen.

General Nicholson is a good man, I think.

Brandon sums up with this:

Fact is, just because the United States hasn’t officially lost in Afghanistan or that Washington has managed to prevent South Korea from being invaded by the North does not mean that America is winning. In 2005, the geopolitical analyst George Friedman wrote that the United States was so powerful that it didn’t need to win wars; it merely needed to ensure that it did not lose them. Such a paradigm is insane — especially for those footing the bill, both in terms of blood and treasure.

For a country with the world’s largest defense budget, having “strategists” say that the best thing the United States can do in war is to neither lose nor win them is exactly why a political outsider with extensive business — but little political — experience won in 2016. Trump’s election was the apotheosis of the decades-long failure of America’s bipartisan fusion party (the so-called “Deep State”).

Of course, in the face of such failure, the bipartisan consensus among America’s political elite is immune to change. When challenged about the efficacy of the Afghan War strategy, Trump is belittled and called “insane” by anonymous government officials. After questioning the desirability of keeping American forces hostage to a nuclear-armed Pyongyang on the Korean peninsula, Trump is derided by shadowy “experts” and accused of coddling dictators. Rather than reassess their strategies, and make hard choices, America’s professional “strategists” are merely doubling-down on a losing hand (clearly, their lack of business acumen means they’re unfamiliar with the “sunk cost fallacy”).

What Trump is doing is slaughtering many sacred cows in Washington, D.C. For this reason alone, the “Deep State” has decided Trump’s presidency must be ended.

Winning is good and losing is bad, sometimes very bad. What is worse is standing around bleeding American blood and money, to no purpose, forever. That is unforgivable. As General Patton once put it:

“Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way.”

No wonder Washington wasn’t too fond of him.

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Anniversaries

Seventeen years ago today the World Trade Center was hit. It was a disaster visited on us on the scale of Pearl Harbor, made worse because its victims were civilians. It was also an intelligence failure, the perpetrators should have been easy to catch, all were what we now call ‘known wolves’. Our government ignored the warnings.

And so began the so-called Global War on Terror.

Other than the Kabuki theater of airport security, and the invasion of American’s rights by our government, there have been two campaigns. One in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Neither has been successful, although Iraq came close before Obama ordered the big bug out.

But it has kept a lot of money flowing from the government to a lot of special interests. Seventeen years is a long time – if we can’t win a war against some 7th-century tribesman (and there are legitimate reasons why that is harder than a modern society) in that time, well, maybe we should just call it a day. We can always blow it up again when they get out of line.

No real shame in that. Alexander the Great couldn’t get it done, neither could the British Empire at its height, or the Soviet Union. It’s a quagmire and a money pit.

But six years ago, we saw the results of feckless leadership, we saw it in Benghazi.  Daniel John Sobieski wrote about it for American Thinker.

The arrogance of the man who lied to the parents of the Benghazi dead in front of their sons’ caskets as they were returned to the country they fought for is mind-boggling.  As he attempted to rewrite many chapters of his failed presidency in a speech at the University of Illinois, he called the accurate and documented reports of the criminal negligence of secretary of state Hillary Clinton and himself during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on our Benghazi compound a mere “conspiracy theory.”

Conspiracy theories don’t produce body bags, sir, but perhaps you don’t remember that night all too well because you spent the time four brave Americans were being killed under your command in Libya readying up for a Las Vegas fundraiser.

Kris Paronto, former Army Ranger and CIA contractor who fought with his colleagues on the roof of the CIA annex in Benghazi, remembers that night and tweeted his response to the then-president’s arrogant and dismissive ridicule of their sacrifice and your incompetence:

Benghazi is a conspiracy @BarackObama ?! How bout we do this,let’s put your cowardly ass on the top of a roof with 6 of your buddies & shoot rpg’s & Ak47’s at you while terrorists lob 81mm mortars killing 2 of your buddies all while waiting for US support that you never sent

Obama and Hillary had plenty of warnings that the security at Benghazi was woefully inadequate, that the compound was swimming in an ocean of terrorist training camps.  They ignored these warnings, and when the attack happened, they did nothing when a rescue mission could have been mounted.  Instead, stand-down orders were given to would-be rescuers, and following the attack, the infamous video lie was concocted and spread over the airwaves, with President Obama repeating it no fewer than six times in a speech before the United Nations.

Hicks, the last man to speak to Ambassador Chris Stevens, has exposed the video lie, documenting how he told Hillary’s State Department what was happening in real time that fateful night and how her State Department ignored warnings from Chris Stevens and others about the gathering terrorist storm and the woeful  lack of security.

Now retired, private citizen Hicks goes farther, telling Fox News Hillary Clinton broke laws while condemning four Americans to death at the hands of terrorists:

Just as the Constitution makes national security the President’s highest priority, U.S. law mandates the secretary of state to develop and implement policies and programs “to provide for the security … of all United States personnel on official duty abroad.”

This includes not only the State Department employees, but also the CIA officers in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.  And the Benghazi record is clear: Secretary Clinton failed to provide adequate security for U.S. government personnel assigned to Benghazi and Tripoli.

The Benghazi Committee’s report graphically illustrates the magnitude of her failure.  It states that during August 2012, the State Department reduced the number of U.S. security personnel assigned to the Embassy in Tripoli from 34 (1.5 security officers per diplomat) to 6 (1 security officer per 4.5 diplomats), despite a rapidly deteriorating security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi.  Thus, according to the Report, “there were no surplus security agents” to travel to Benghazi with Amb. Stevens “without leaving the Embassy in Tripoli at severe risk.”

Keep reading, there’s more at the link.

This is the action of at best, a feckless, but more likely seditious, if not actually treasonous government. This is the history of the so-called deep state, and why it must be rooted out. It is not American government as we have known it. I’m not sure what label to apply to it, but I want nothing like it in America.

It is the major threat to the liberty of America, and Americans.

Get Woke, Go Broke; The Nike Chapter

Well, they’re unlikely to go broke, they’re a bit large for that, but the principle holds.

I’ve done a lot of stupid things, never have I been quite as stupid as to think Colin Kaepernick sacrificed everything, let alone anything but a failing career for his lame protest.

Powerline makes a point.

Nike apparently thinks Kaepernick has sacrificed everything, which tells you something about 21st century corporate America. Kaepernich is a multimillionaire whose “sacrifice” consisted of kneeling during the National Anthem, wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs, and generally denouncing his country. Which has led to a second career as a leftist spokesman. That is not exactly a contender in the annals of Greatest Sacrifice Ever.

Further, Nike’s tag line, “Believe in something,” naturally raises the question: Does it matter what you believe in? Any normal person would say that it does. After all, the worst monsters in human history–Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Nero, Hitler, Amin, bin Laden, Castro–all believed in something. It was just the wrong thing.

Kaepernick isn’t as wrong as Lenin and Stalin, but he is still wrong.

That pretty well covers it. If you believe in the wrong things, perhaps evil things, well you’re not a hero, you’re a bum and perhaps evil. That seems a fair description of Kaepernick, a washed up bum, who believes in the wrong things. That ain’t my description of a hero, but some were mentioned.

YAHOO SPORTS – Shares of Nike Inc fell 3 percent on Tuesday as calls for a boycott of the sportswear giant gained traction on social media following its choice of Colin Kaepernick as a face for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan.

Over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning U.S. eastern time, making it among the top trending topics on Twitter. Some posted images of themselves burning and ripping their Nike shoes and apparel.

And shares were down about 3% yesterday, seems like the market doesn’t agree, but if the NFL were honest, they could have told Nike that.

Then there is this which makes the point better than any of us can.

And yes, Pat Tillman was a far better man than Colin Kaepernick ever was in his dreams. Not to mention that he believed in something bigger than himself, and gave not his career for it, but his life.

Of Mavericks and Apostasy

I can easily remember sitting with moist eyes watching as John McCain came down the airstairs as he returned from the Hanoi Hilton. He was a hero, par excellence. Desperately wounded, and then tortured severely for years, he kept the faith, encouraged his companions, and made us all (including, I suspect, his dad, who was CINCPAC) proud. Not bad for a guy who finished close to the bottom of his class at the Academy with a lot of demerits.

Eventually, he retired and went into politics, and ended up winning the Arizona seat once held by Barry Goldwater. He seemed like a worthy conservative heir. But something happened.

Jed Babbin, writing in The American Spectator thinks it was the Keating Five combined with damage to his brain caused by the torture. It may well be.

McCain reinvented himself in the 1990s as a quasi-liberal, an apostate of conservatism. He was embraced as a “political maverick” by the New York Timesand other liberal newspapers. (They all loved him before and after his two presidential campaigns and in the years between them.)

“Maverick” was a label he reveled in. On many occasions since, it seemed that McCain’s constituency was the New York Times’ editorial board rather than the people of Arizona.

McCain made himself the enemy of “earmarks,” appropriations stuck in bills to benefit specific members of Congress. He tried to pass legislation banning reserved parking for members of Congress at DC airports. And he became the biggest proponent of campaign finance “reform,” having taken the biggest donations from Keating.

None of those are intrinsically bad things, but some were:

McCain’s career as a conservative apostate didn’t end there. He bought into the “counterinsurgency” — i.e., nation-building — strategy that President Bush adopted, insisting that the war in Iraq be fought through to victory. But, like Bush and all the other nation-builders, McCain never defined what victory was or charted a path to achieve it.

As the de facto leader of the Republican Party on defense matters, McCain stuck with the nation-building strategy throughout the Obama years. Because of his stubbornness, the Republicans were unable to admit that nation-building was a ghastly mistake and move on to a better way to fight the terrorist networks and the nations that sponsor them.

All through the Obama years, McCain batted back and forth, sometimes opposing Obama vigorously and at others supporting him. No one could tell you where McCain was, except on immigration.

In 2007 McCain partnered with his pal Ted Kennedy to produce and push his immigration amnesty bill. It was supported by President Bush, but Americans outside the Beltway were outraged.

And those could be recognized easily even in those days, as failed policies. I too bought the neocon BS on Iraq for a while, but by the time Obama became president, it had occurred to me that it was a scam to keep defense spending high. Maybe it could work, but I haven’t seen a case yet, where it did.

And so, I’d have to rate much of Senator McCain’s political career as a failure. sadly, but realism is part of conservatism.

But like us all, he was more than his job.

His daughter Meghan wrote this:

“All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love. . .”

“My father is gone, and I miss him as only an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorrow, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth.”

I hope that somebody will write something half as complimentary about me.

And Sarah Palin, whom he pretty much threw under the bus, during and after the campaign Tweeted this:

And that is true, and it is the best we can do.

If we are to our own self, true, no man should say otherwise, and John McCain was true to himself, and to the oath he took sixty long years ago, to defend the Constitution to the best of his ability. I may, and do, disagree with many things he said and did, but I honor him as a good man. As Cranmer wrote long ago.

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your
servant John. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of
your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your
own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy,
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the
glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

Socialism, The Death of Europe, and Assorted Other Idiots

Bookworm hit, if not a homer, yesterday, a triple, and scored on the error. Here, read it yourself. Go there, there’s lots of other good stuff in it.

The Cold War reminds us that socialism is bad. A new poll came out showing that Democrats adore socialism, which they think is better for people than capitalism. This view, of course, means that they’re looking, not at National Socialism (aka Nazis), or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (aka the Soviet Union), or the completely socialists Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea).

Instead, what it means is that they’re looking at that rosy view of Western Europe from the 1960s through the 1990s. Of course, they’re totally missing the fact that Europe, despite its claim that it was “socialist,” wasn’t socialist at all.

What supported Western Europe’s cradle-to-grave socialism was America. We paid for their military costs and accepted their outrageous tariffs, all to help them to recover from WWII and to prevent them from once again falling into an apocalyptic conflagration. Europe may have art and architecture, but the 20th century proved that it had little in the way of actual civilization.

Anyway, if you know a Leftist stupid enough to think socialism is the answer, this video might (maybe, perhaps, just possibly) help you educate that person (h/t Seraphic Secret):

Emphasis mine.

And that is the plain truth, since World War Two, nobody in Western Europe, save the UK, has made more than a gesture towards their own defense, and since the fall of the Soviet Union, they’ve hardly bothered with that gesture.

Which leaves the question, what could America have accomplished if we hadn’t bothered, what haven’t we attained because we’ve dislocated our economy and our government to provide this welfare to Europe? This is one of the causes of the deep state as well.

Even more, we know well that undeserved aid causes dependency, has this policy perhaps part of the cause of the slow death of Europe that we are witnessing.

Who knows, but it has demonstrably done neither Europeans not Americans any favors. And it needs to end.


In other news: Collusion rears its ugly head. John Hinderaker reports.

First, the Boston Globe organizes a media protest against the Trump administration’s “assault on the press.”

The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a “coordinated response” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.
***
As of Saturday, “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe’s deputy editorial page editor, told CNN.

The American Society of News Editors, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups have helped her spread the word.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority are from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”

Ya know, I’d like to have a free press. One not owned by Donald Trump, one not owned by the Democrat Party or the Left (BIRM), not one owned by the Boston Globe. One that thinks for itself. Yeah, I know, that’s a dream, there may be three people in the media who can think their way out of a wet paper bag.

And then there is this, from the same article:

But how, exactly, are educational institutions to avoid “normalizing” or “legitimizing” success?

Trump’s immediate circle and senior appointees…should not be accorded the degree of respect or deference that their seniority and government positions would normally merit. We do not, after all, have a normal administration that can be served honorably.

This means no honorific titles (fellow, senior fellow), no named lectures, no keynote speeches headlining conferences or events. While individual faculty members and student groups should be free to invite Trump appointees to speak on campus, as a rule such invitations should not be issued by senior university officers. And lectures and presentations should always provide an opportunity for vigorous questioning and debate.

No honorific titles? No named lectures? No keynote speeches? Invitations to speak delivered by underlings? The horror! My friends will attest that I am not normally a profane person, but I join a large majority of Americans in saying, f*** you, a**hole.

I can only add, with a razor wire wrapped pineapple, sideways.

The NATO Scam

Joe Sylvester over at The Federalist has an article yesterday about the welfare state called NATO. It’s rather interesting.

It has been 27 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but American foreign policy has not evolved to fit the new world. We have more military bases in Europe than we did post-World War II. There seems to be no coherent answer as to the necessity of such bases and, worse, no justification of the burgeoning costs.

Who are these bases designed to protect? Which European countries have an actual or even a perceived threat of foreign invasion, and by whom? Why can’t economic powerhouses such as Germany provide for their own defense?

In short, Germany can, but won’t. Agreements among North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations stipulate that if one member is attacked, the others must come to their aid. This agreement acts as a one-way insurance policy for Europe. The United States pays the premiums—the costs of maintaining bases across Europe. If a member nation is attacked, however, the United States, in practice, will end up shouldering a majority of the burden of defense.

That is not an alliance, it is at best a protectorate, at worst a colony. But it’s a misshapen colony, colonies are supposed to exist for the benefit of the mother country, not the mother country exist for the benefit of the colony. What is really amounts to is welfare. The Europeans subsidize their citizens, and all those Muslim ‘asylum seekers’ on the backs of the taxpayers – the American taxpayers. And like all welfare systems, it has bred dependence on the state, in this case, Europe’s dependence on the United States.

[…] This agreement not only forfeits the rights of the United States to decline participation if it is not in American interests, it is not and cannot physically be reciprocal. Germany and a majority of the rest of the member nations cannot aid the United States in times of conflict. Even if they wanted to, they are not capable of aiding in any meaningful way. This is a contractual obligation that these countries are in default of, which should render it unenforceable and void.

In January, the German Parliamentary armed forces commissioner, Hans-Peter Bartels, issued a shocking report that stunned the German parliament, the Bundestag. In it, he wrote that Germany’s military personnel are at an all-time low of a 170,000-man army. To put this in perspective, if this were hand-to-hand conflict, Germany would be evenly matched against the militaries of Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

It takes new German recruits approximately 45 weeks to get uniforms, and many are trained with broom handles instead of guns and passenger vans in place of armored vehicles. Only one-third of their jet-fighters and a staggering five of their 60 transport helicopters were operational. To make matters worse, after a slight increase in spending in 2018, defense spending will again regress to an all-time low in the following year.

In June of last year, news of a German withdrawal from NATO exercises after less than two weeks into a four-week exercise caused international embarrassment. Rules limiting overtime by German military officials highlight their attitudes about meeting their commitments to the European Union to bolster their defense forces to appropriate levels and see to their own well-being. German attitudes on defense can be summed up by saying, “American pays for our defense, so why should we?”

A couple of things about that last link, the Bundeswehr is only allowed to work 41 hours a week, and there is no provision for overtime. Does that sound as imbecilic to you as it does me? Overtime for the army! And a forty-one hour work week maximum. Any of you civilian Americans ever had it that good? Yeah, usually I got overtime unless I owned the joint, in which case my normal week was 60-80 hours, but 48-60 hours was a normal week most of my career. I’d guess our army is higher than that.

Then there is this part…

Germany is the largest economy in Europe by a long-shot, the fifth-largest economy in the world, and the number one exporter of goods around the world. Forty-six percent of the German economy lives on exports, compared to China at 20 percent. Nine percent of German exports are bought directly by U.S. markets. In 2016, the United States had a trade deficit of $65 billion with Germany, which was only America’s third-largest deficit after China and Japan.

We acquiesced to this type of deal, long ago, when we had ~80% of gross world product, shortly after World War II to help Europe recover from the war. The time for that has passed, as has the Soviet Union.

When you think of Russia, think of Italy with a lot of (mostly) old nukes. That’s about the size of its economy. And it is dependent on one product: Oil. And the corrupt German government is its best customer, while we spend our money defending them. Quite the scam isn’t it.

Russia fails at our will, all we have to do is glut the oil market, which is exactly how we destroyed the Soviet Union, we drove them to their grave economically, while outproducing them militarily. Remember when they put their entire missile fleet on the negotiating table to stop SDI? They did, at Keflavik. Think they might be a bit worried about the US Space Force? I don’t know how well planned it is either, but I like being stronger than the rest of the world put together. It’s a feeling Putin will never know.

But the real problem for the US (actually what passes these days for the free world) isn’t Rusia, it is China. And as long as we’re spending all this money in Europe, we are ignoring the real problem to focus on a  minor annoyance.

Time to get our eye on the ball, before we strike out.

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