Libya – How Long Again?

A lot of Americans wonder how long the US military will be involved in trying to decide the outcome of the civil war in Libya. Sadly, it appears that the Obama Regime cannot or will not answer that question. Indeed, they are not even willing to speculate upon the potential range of dates involved – Days? Weeks? Months? Years?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that nobody has “any idea” how long the United States military could be involved in Libya, though he stressed that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi’s forces have been crippled by U.S.-led airstrikes.

Asked whether he expects the mission to be over by year’s end, Gates said, “I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that.”

Gates discussed the intervention over the course of several interviews Sunday alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While he declined to give any estimates for how long the United States could be involved, the two officials stressed that significant gains have been made and NATO is taking on a much bigger role.

That makes more than a little sense actually. One would have to have decided upon a set of victory conditions before one could even begin to predict how long it will take to achieve them or have it proved that they cannot be achieved. There’s no visible signs that either the Obama Regime or the UN Security Council has defined those victory conditions.

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Asking And Telling

For the first time in the 17 years since President Clinton signed 10 U.S.C. § 654 (Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces), better known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) into law it will be addressed by Congress.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will address the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy Tuesday — the first time in 17 years the topic will be debated before a Senate committee.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen are slated to testify on the law, which bans openly gay Americans from serving in the military.

The hearing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” comes in the wake of Obama’s State of the Union address last week, when he declared his desire to end the policy.

“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do,” Obama said.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin has said repeatedly he “has never supported” the controversial policy, and other senators have expressed their opposition to it as well.

“The military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is an unjust, outdated and harmful rule that violates the civil rights of some of our bravest, most heroic men and women,” said Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a statement. “I’ve been working with my colleagues in Congress and other leaders to overturn this wasteful and destructive policy. I am hopeful that President Obama will make this a top priority.”

Some Republicans, however, question the timing of the administration’s push to lift the ban.

“In the middle of two wars and in the middle of this giant security threat,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “why would we want to get into this debate?”

Personally, despite President Obama’s claim of desire to end this policy, I sincerely doubt that anything will come of it. It’s an election year, one that looks to be particularly grimly fought, and Obama no longer has enough political capital to make up for the hit that any incumbent would take for trying to repeal this law.

This is just a stageplay designed to pander to gays and the farther Left of the country and to give the Dems a chance to again paint the GOP as bigoted and obstructive.

To my mind that is a crying shame because Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed. It is predicated upon unconstitutional ideas and, as such, should have been struck down by the Courts years ago. Sadly, they have to-date failed to do so, though the SCOTUS has not yet deigned to hear any case regarding it.

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Pork Processing Plant

In April, 2009, President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Robert M. Gates, drafted the proposed 2010 Defense Budget. It was definitely both a wartime budget and one that placed an emphasis on projecting and supporting troops in foreign theaters and fighting the asymmetrical wars that the US is currently engaged in prosecuting. Since it took both the changing face of warfare and America’s current financial situation into account, it was both painful to some and highly pragmatic.

Then it was submitted to Congress…

us capitol building
The US Capitol: Largest Pork Processing Plant In America

Senators, in a frankly treasonous orgy of earmarks, diverted $2.6 billion in funds from the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill into various various pet projects. Most of the monies diverted were stolen from the US military’s Operation and Maintenance accounts (O&M).

The O&M accounts are not for projects or new technologies; those are the accounts that pay for for: troop training, repairs, spares & supplies for vehicles, weapons, ammunition, ships and planes, food and fuel – the day-to-day operating expenses that are needed to maintain the operational efficiency and survivability of our servicemen and women.

From the Washington Times:

Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.

Among the 778 such projects, known as earmarks, packed into the bill: $25 million for a new World War II museum at the University of New Orleans and $20 million to launch an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

While earmarks are hardly new in Washington, “in 30 years on Capitol Hill, I never saw Congress mangle the defense budget as badly as this year,” said Winslow Wheeler, a former Senate staffer who worked on defense funding and oversight for both Republicans and Democrats. He is now a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information, an independent research organization.

Shaun Waterman
The Washington Times

Mr. Winslow Wheeler, Senior Fellow at the Center for Defense Information, described the US Senate’s ransacking of Defense Appropriations bill as amounting to “rancid gluttony.”  Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) called the looting, “a disgrace.” I call it what it is truly is – Treason.

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A War Budget?

Secretary of Defense Robert M. GatesAs I have alluded to before – here and here – President Obama, despite his ongoing rhetoric of appeasement, is not a true “Dove.” He, when it comes down to actions as opposed to “nuanced” speeches provided by his teleprompter,  has some strong “Hawkish” tendencies.

The upcoming Pentagon budget as proposed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is strong evidence of that. The proposed 2010 defense budget is actually – despite the complaints of many of my fellow Conservatives – one that  focuses on offensive capabilities as opposed to defensive or deterrent capabilities.

2010 looks like it could be a whole new ball game when it comes to military spending and therefor how the US Military will be used. The focus is shifting from static deterrence and defensive capability to the ability to bring steel to target rapidly and effectively anywhere in the world.

As I told the Congress in January, our struggles to put the defense bureaucracies on a war footing these past few years have revealed underlying flaws in the priorities, cultural preferences, and reward structures of America’s defense establishment – a set of institutions largely arranged to prepare for conflicts against other modern armies, navies, and air forces. Programs to directly support, protect, and care for the man or woman at the front have been developed ad hoc and funded outside the base budget. Put simply, until recently there has not been an institutional home in the Defense Department for today’s warfighter. Our contemporary wartime needs must receive steady long-term funding and a bureaucratic constituency similar to conventional modernization programs. I intend to use the FY10 budget to begin this process.

— Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates
Defense Budget Recommendation Statement, April 6, 2009

At first read, it does sound pretty grim – especially to those people who have always been civilians. Under Gates’ proposal, the US Navy will have its new aircraft carrier program significantly slowed, and its Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer (DDG 1000) effort scuttled. The US Air Force will see the curtailment of production of ihe F-22 Raptor after only 187 planes – slightly less than 50% of what the USAF desired. The Missile Defense Agency’s interceptor portfolio will be reoriented around the threat from rogue states. Finally, the US Army will see its “Future Combat Systems” program gutted.

This is what has my compatriots upset, the destruction or deferral of our military’s progress and future. I don’t really blame them. They don’t – perhaps can’t – understand the changing face of war.

So a number of high-dollar programs are being slowed, deferred, or destroyed. While that’s not good, it is pragmatic, especially since these programs were heavily biased towards defensive capabilities and towards conflicts vs. another military superpower with similar technological capabilities.

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