Target Centermass

7/30/2004

Discerning the Kerry Doctrine

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:03 pm

I’ve gone through John Kerry’s acceptance speech, sifting out anything related to defense and the war against terror. In analyzing his own words, I’m hoping to gather an idea of how Kerry hopes to lead our military and our country as president and commander-in-chief.

I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war.
….
I will have a secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders.
….
My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime. The stakes are high. We are a nation at war, a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have ever known before.
….
And in this journey, I am accompanied by an extraordinary band of brothers led by that American hero, a patriot named Max Cleland. Our band of brothers doesn’t march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers. We fought for this nation because we loved it and we came back with the deep belief that every day is extra. We may be a little older now, we may be a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country.

Nothing yet except window dressing, but I included the above portion because it is related. Also, note the backhanded slams on the Bush administration, especially the opening salvo implying that Bush lied about Iraq, which could only serve to undermine our efforts there. Also, regarding the SecDef listening to military leaders, I would suspect that Rumsfeld has listened; he just hasn’t always agreed. The Army wanted the Crusader artillery program kept intact, but Rummy decided it was not needed in the foreseeable future and would provide no advantage in any conflicts currently on the horizon.

Now we get to the heart of Kerry’s defense statements.

Remember the hours after Sept. 11, when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran up the stairs and risked their lives, so that others might live. When rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon (news – web sites). When the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s Capitol. When flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.

I am proud that after Sept. 11 all our people rallied to President Bush’s call for unity to meet the danger. There were no Democrats. There were no Republicans. There were only Americans. How we wish it had stayed that way.

Bush laid out his plans for combating terrorism before Congress. The Dems and Reps were generally in agreement then. His strategy and focus has not changed, and he has held true to one course. If we are divided now, it is because others have sought to venture in another direction.

Now I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities and I do because some issues just aren’t all that simple. Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn’t make it so.

Saying there are not weapons of mass destruction, unfortunately, does not make it so, either. How many more must be found?

Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn’t make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn’t make it so.

How about not proclaiming the mission accomplished but instead saying it continues? Enough of the politics, can we get to ideas? As you said, we are a nation at war.

As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics.

Generally agree here. Much needs to be done to repair our intelligence services. However, Kerry helped weaken them and now, with the implication without evidence that the facts were politically manipulated, he politicized the intelligence community needlessly.

And as President, I will bring back this nation’s time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.

How “time-honored” is this tradition? It seems we were itching for 1812, raced into the Spanish-American, could’ve dodged our duty in Korea and Viet Nam, left Grenada alone, and skipped the Balkans.

I know what kids go through when they are carrying an M-16 in a dangerous place and they can’t tell friend from foe. I know what they go through when they’re out on patrol at night and they don’t know what’s coming around the next bend. I know what it’s like to write letters home telling your family that everything’s all right when you’re not sure that’s true.

As President, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: “I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm’s way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent.”

So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war.

A strategy of waiting for danger to become imminent, of letting trouble fester? Wasn’t that what we did in the 1990s, allowing things such a the USS Cole and 9/11 to develop? Isn’t this in conflict with the conclusions of the 9/11 commission?

And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

And it has to be a fool-proof plan, because the party out of power reserves the right to savage the administration over any setbacks or struggles, right?

I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

Here is the reality: that won’t happen until we have a president who restores America’s respect and leadership – so we don’t have to go it alone in the world.

And we need to rebuild our alliances, so we can get the terrorists before they get us.

I agree that alliances are useful, and we currently have built a coalition that is in the field in both the Afghan and Iraqi theaters of the war on terror. So it comes down to quibbling about who the members of the coalition are. Maybe a strategy should be in reconsidering the value of some of our old “allies” and examining their motivations.

I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.

But what about not waiting for an attack? The war has started, it is decidedly to our advantage to choose the battlefield as we see fit.

I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. And I will build a stronger American military.

We will add 40,000 active duty troops, not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our special forces to conduct anti-terrorist operations. We will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives and win the battle. And we will end the backdoor draft of National Guard and reservists.

To all who serve in our armed forces today, I say, help is on the way.

I agree with more troops. As a former Guardsman, I disagree that using the reserve components is a “backdoor draft” (a term, by the way, actually meant to refer to the application of stop-loss on personnel whose military commitment has expired). For the Guard or Reserve called up, it is certainly a hardship and a danger, but it is also a duty and a possibility to be known about from day one of joining the service.

As President, I will fight a smarter, more effective war on terror. We will deploy every tool in our arsenal: our economic as well as our military might; our principles as well as our firepower.

Words. What would Kerry do differently, unless by every tool he is wanting to utilize nukes? We are already operating through military missions, covert ops, economic pressures and inducements.

In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words. After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals.

We need to make America once again a beacon in the world. We need to be looked up to and not just feared.

We need to lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation to keep the most dangerous weapons in the world out of the most dangerous hands in the world.

We need a strong military and we need to lead strong alliances. And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose and we will win. The future doesn’t belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.

And the front lines of this battle are not just far away they’re right here on our shores, at our airports, and potentially in any town or city. Today, our national security begins with homeland security. The 9/11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9/11 families. As president, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn’t be letting 95 percent of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn’t be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in the United States of America.

Obviously we need to work on our security, especially if we are going to cease to take the battle to the terrorists.

You don’t value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service

Political weapon that is apparently unsupported (thanks to Michelle Malkin).

And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future – so that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

I agree that we can look to alternative sources of energy; we can also look to alternative sources of oil, especially when we know there are untapped reserves here in the U.S.

Okay, that’s it, every bit of Kerry’s acceptance speech related to defense, Iraq and his plans for the future of the war against terror. So, what have we learned about the Kerry Doctrine?

  • The president must go to war honestly, based only on confirmed facts, and only after all means of avoidance have been exhausted.
  • The military should be expanded, both in men and advanced equipment, and the intelligence services should be revamped.
  • Old alliances should be restored. How this is to be done when it seems apparent that France and Germany are trying to position themselves as the guiding strengths of the EU and trying to position the EU as a rival to the U.S. is unsaid. Also unstated is the problem of the growing Muslim populations and their militancy in Old Europe, which would hinder the Europeans’ willingness to be full partners with America in the struggle against Islamic fascism. Heck, also unsaid: any reference to the radical Islamist movement.
  • Definitely fight if attacked, and have the infrastructure ready to put out the fires and police the wreckage.
  • Get our troops out by getting others in the struggle. See above for the complications of guaranteeing the assistance of other nations.
  • Try to wean the whole world off the petroleum bottle.

Well, there you have the Kerry Doctrine. Fight when needed, add troops and first responders, improve intelligence, and try to get others to take our place in the war.

Funny, I’m not getting warm fuzzies about our security future.

7/29/2004

Initial Thoughts on Kerry’s Acceptance Speech

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:26 pm

I didn’t catch any particular moments that will have any lasting positive resonance, and several that could come back and haunt him. It had several implications of things that are untrue, which could leave openings later on in the campaign. I don’t think he reached very effectively for the independent voter. He tried to look strong on defense while still playing to his base; he failed on the former, succeeded at the latter.

More later after I go through the speech, but here’s the initial reviews of others:

From the Associated Press

Kerry Still Needs to Connect With Voters

From Reuters

Kerry Slams Bush on Iraq, Offers Little New

Iraq Calls for Muslim Force; Terrorists Quake

Filed under: — Gunner @ 8:55 pm

Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is urging other Arab nations to send troops to combat the terrorists disrupting the progress in the beleaguered nation.

Allawi made the appeal a day after Saudi officials disclosed that they had initiated an effort to encourage the creation of a Muslim security force to help bring stability to Iraq.

“The leaders of this region must unify and must stand as one group against those gangs, against those terrorists and those criminals who are threatening and causing a great deal of harm to the Arab World and the Islamic world,” Allawi said.

The terrorists responded quickly by playing the Jew card and posting internet threats against such a force

“Our swords will be drawn in the face of anyone who cooperates with the Jews and the Christians,” the group said in its statement. “We will strike with an iron fist all the traitors from the Arab governments who cooperate with the Zionists secretly or openly.”

The statement was issued in the name of the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya — Omar el-Mukhtar Brigade, a little known group whose main title means the Group of Islamic Monotheism. Omar el-Mukhtar is the name of a Libyan nationalist who fought against the Italian occupation who was hanged by the colonial authorities in 1931….

The Internet statement was addressed to the Saudi and Pakistani governments. It said the two states “intend to send Islamic troops to Iraq.”

“We will not keep silent in case any Islamic or Arabic country, especially Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, send troops to Iraq. We also call on Muslim soldiers, in case they are sent to Iraq, not to respond, not to throw themselves in the path of death.”

These tough guys are getting to be quite the good at the criminal side of the business via their kidnapping. They can prolong the suffering of their fellow Arabs, standing against the tide of progress and the hands of time.

However, practically asking Muslim troops to please not make the trip shows their weakness: they can’t fight. They can’t make a stand against the well-trained soldiers of the coalition without getting shredded, and they can’t make a stand against Muslim forces without threatening any support they have in the populaces of Arab nations.

They can only manage atrocities against civilians and assaults on the infrastructure. Oh yeah, they can post threats on the internet.

7/28/2004

Y’all al-Queda?

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:34 pm

We’ll have to see what comes from this story of a possible terrorist infiltration caught here in Texas.

Federal authorities are investigating whether a South African woman they say tried to board a flight near the U.S.-Mexico border with a mutilated passport has ties to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.

Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, 48, was arrested July 19 at the McAllen airport and charged four days later with illegal entry into the United States, falsifying information and falsifying a passport. She was denied bond on Tuesday by a federal magistrate.

A senior federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that investigators were trying to determine whether the woman had ties to terrorist groups. So far nothing has been substantiated, the source said.

Simply put, our borders are not secure, and the Rio Grande is amazingly porous. Even if this is not a terrorist connection, I put big Gunner money that it shows weaknesses in our security that can be, and probably have been, exploited. The days are numbered — are we counting down to another 9/11 or a campaign of small-scale suffer-the-children-of-Israel-type campaign? The Iraqi and Afghani efforts must continue and be supported. Even somewhat stable-democracies in those countries will be enough of a threat to the Islamist movement to drive the bastards towards desperation.

When desperate, what will the Islamist terrorists do? Attack here and falter at home? Attack at home and continue the current course? Turn to the Tet strategy of gambling it all by hitting hard everywhere and counting on the American mainstream media to assist in the cause?

The Cronkite types better not help them in this one. I want to have children and grandchildren, and I want all of them to enjoy the freedoms I enjoy.

Kerry’s Stance(s) on Iraq

Filed under: — Gunner @ 8:51 pm

Tipping the CVC to Every Thing I Know Is Wrong for finding the RNC’s new video on the timeline of Kerry’s positions on the Iraq campaign.

This new video from the RNC is a must view. It completely destroys any possibility that anyone, even the least politically engaged, who sees it can believe John Kerry did not flip-flop over the war on terror, the war in Iraq, and the question of weapons of mass destruction. It shows without a doubt, using a chronological display of videos of John Kerry himself, that he is utterly disingenuous and untrustworthy on these vital issues.

Windows Media | Real Player

The video is too long (about 12 minutes) to get much play on sound-byte TV, but as many people as possible should see it. If you are a blogger please link to it, if you are not send it to a friend. We can’t allow a man who is this casual about these issues to become President.

“They call him Flipper, Flipper….

7/27/2004

A Few Brief Points About Teresa’s Speech

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:19 pm

Per the text of the potential First Lady’s convention speech,

My name is Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Is it? Is it, really? Apparently, it’s still Teresa Heinz, but she’ll pretend and claim otherwise for political expediency.

To me, one of the best faces America has ever projected is the face of a Peace Corps volunteer. That face symbolizes this country: young, curious, brimming with idealism and hope, and a real, honest compassion. Those young people convey an idea of America that is all about heart and creativity, generosity and confidence, a practical, can-do sense and a big, big smile.

For many generations of people around the globe, that is what America has represented. A symbol of hope, a beacon brightly lit by the optimism of its people — people coming from all over the world.

I would counter that, for many generations in Europe, northern Africa, southeast Asia and a great many islands in the Pacific, a better face of America would be a soldier, bravely struggling to bring freedom while generously handing out a chocolate bar.

John believes in a bright future. He believes we can, and we will, invent the technologies, new materials, and conservation methods of the future. He believes that alternative fuels will guarantee that not only will no American boy or girl go to war because of our dependence on foreign oil, but also that our economy will forever become independent of this need.

Translation: no blood for oil.

Also, it seems rather naive to say that reducing America’s need for foreign oil will automatically reduce oil’s importance on the geopolitical stage to the extent that our military can be guaranteed it will never be embroiled in the conflicts of oil-producing states.

John is a fighter. He earned his medals the old-fashioned way, by putting his life on the line for his country.

Did you know Kerry was in Viet Nam?

But he also knows the importance of getting it right. For him, the names of too many friends inscribed in the cold stone of the Vietnam Memorial testify to the awful toll exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness for strength.

Did you know Kerry was in Viet Nam?

No one will defend this nation more vigorously than he will — and he will always be first in the line of fire.

For four months.

Kerry Wants to Extend the 9/11 Commission

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:01 pm

Back in the early 90’s, I lived in Washington, D.C. for a little over a year, including interning for a fall on Capitol Hill. One thing I learned while there was that there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government agency. This was brought back to mind when I read this:

Kerry said the (9/11) commission should issue progress reports every six months, beginning in December. Among the questions they should address, Kerry said, are whether we are doing enough to strengthen homeland security, reorganize intelligence agencies, build global alliances and make America as safe as it can be.

In Boston, Kerry foreign policy adviser Jamie Ruben told reporters that keeping the commission intact would be an effective way to “bird-dog the bureaucracy” on implementing the panel’s recommendations.

So, Kerry wants to bureaucratize the 9/11 Commission and have its bureaucrats oversee the rest of the government’s bureaucrats. Does Kerry anticipate changes in the panel or any checks on the commission, or is he wanting a Supreme Court of Security whose edicts must be enforced?

Ah, but who will guard the guards?

Army National Guard Recruiting Falling Short

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:02 am

Despite the active Army meeting or closing in on recruiting and retention goals, it seems the call-ups and rotations are beginning to take their toll on National Guard recruiting.

The U.S. Army is lagging about 12 percent behind its recruiting goal for the Army National Guard amid the Pentagon’s heavy reliance on such troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said on Monday.

Amid predictions by critics that the difficult duty in Iraq and Afghanistan may harm the all-volunteer U.S. military’s ability to attract and keep troops, Gen. Peter Shoomaker, Army chief of staff, told a Pentagon briefing he was watching the situation closely.

National Guard recruiting was at only 88 percent of its goal, Shoomaker said. “However, we remain cautiously optimistic that we will make our goal,” he added.

But the National Guard was slightly exceeding its target for retention — soldiers opting to remain in the service — while the active-duty Army and part-time Army Reserve both were generally meeting retention and recruitment goals, Shoomaker said.

Maybe the days are drawing near when the answer to my personal debate about re-enlisting will be forced upon me by my often-hyperactive sense of duty. Maybe it’s about time the guy on the left in the picture below (me, from Ft. Hood in May 1993) goes back in the Guard. Adding to the pressure: I recently found out the guy on the far right, a close buddy of mine, has gone back in the Guard.
On an M1 at Hood in May 93

Besides, if I go back in, I’ll finally get the black beret that the tankers should’ve always had.

Note: Yeah, we slipped off post to Wal-Mart and bought some sidewalk chalk. If you can’t read it in the pic, for those three weeks of transition training from the M60-A3 to the M1, we dubbed ourselves the Bonedickers, slang for goof-offs, of a military sort.

7/26/2004

Banned In Boston!

Filed under: — Gunner @ 6:04 pm

Apparently, the USA Today just doesn’t get Ann Coulter.

USA Today: IS THAT LAST SENTENCE SARCASTIC? IF SO, YOU SURE LOST ME.

Pentagon Report Examines China’s Military

Filed under: — Gunner @ 5:03 pm

Is there another arms race around the corner?

The Pentagon has taken a new look at China’s military modernization program. A recent Pentagon report concluded that after decades of relying on Eastern bloc technology, Beijing is striving to achieve a quality of weapons equal to those in the developed world within the next decade.
The Pentagon says it has much to learn about the strategic ambitions and decision-making behind Beijing’s military modernization. One thing is known though. A decade of sustained economic growth in China has helped the Peoples’ Liberation Army to close the weapons technology gap with the United States.

While China is closing the gap, assessment of the report is that the technology gap will not disappear.

The report concludes the Chinese military has directly benefited from what has been a five-fold increase in the country’s economic growth, enabling Beijing to upgrade missiles, aircraft, and submarines, while looking to achieve the same level of technology as the industrialized world within the next five to 10 years.

But the Pentagon’s latest assessment of China’s military capabilities concludes Beijing is likely to fall short of fully meeting that goal. Richard Bitzinger is a researcher at the Defense Department’s Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii.

“The concern is obviously that the Chinese are going to be moving from a military that was largely a 1950s and 1960s technology base to one that is certainly 20-25 years further on down the line,” said Richard Bitzinger.

This is important as, on the ground, China has the obvious numerical advantage. Their problem would be in projecting this power. The areas they are focusing upon (missiles, aircraft, subs) are crucial in their ability to threaten Taiwan and blunt our ability to support the Taiwanese defenses.

Does this leave open the chance for another arms race? Seemingly yes, though there is no guarantee. If it does occur, it could possibly happen while the U.S. is facing strong economic competition from the EU and China and still engaged in the fight against Islamic terror.

Not a pretty picture.

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