Category ►►► Missile Muscle
May 3, 2012
A Crisis Obama Might Let Go to Waste
Finally, at long last, President Barack H. Obama has a chance to show off that big stick he totes.
See, the tragedy is that he has not yet had any real opportunity to prove that he could be a real, honest to goodies wartime president, like his idol, Franklin Roosevelt. Oh, sure, there are those two petty, vainglorious wars he inherited from his predecessor, may the flies eat out his eyes; but those wars were plodding, dreary affairs that simply had no dash, no shining White-House moment, no sex appeal at all.
They don't count. No future historian is going to point to Afghanistan or Iraq circa 2009-2013 and gush about how courageous Big Stick was in winding down those wars with neither victory nor even closure. That's just straight out of the Democratic playbook; Obama doesn't get any brownie points for doing what everybody expected him to do: snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Similarly, it's hard for even Mr. O. himself to get all het up about more drone attacks; heck, the very word "drone" sounds like your boring neighbor who just goes on and on about his pets, and how delicious they are in hollandaise sauce.
Of course the president did make a tremendous impact on the deadly military emergency in Mexico; but, well, for various reasons he can't really use that to burnish his national-security credentials.
But today, Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov, the highest ranking soldier in the
Soviet in the Russian Republic, has given Barack Obama manna from Moskow: Makarov has issued a serious and credible threat to launch a preemptive strike on our ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in East Europe, unless we agree to negotiate it into the dustbin of history:
Russia’s most senior military officer said Thursday that Moscow would preemptively strike and destroy U.S.-led NATO missile defense sites in Eastern Europe if talks with Washington about the developing system continue to stall.
"A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens," Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.
Should Obama save our commitment to BMD? Admittedly, the current system was initiated by that same vile predecessor, may he find scorpions in his breakfast cereal; but Big Stick already took care of that problem: He changed the previous system from the more powerful, effective, and versatile Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle atop our existing Ground Based Interceptor -- the system envisioned by the warmonger -- to the old Standard Missile 3 (SM-3), the same, off-the-shelf missile used by the Navy for shipboard BMD, emplaced in "Central Europe" by 2015. So you can see that the new system is totally different from the worthless piece of junk developed by the hateful hating hate-monger who ran the previous tyrannical regime.
Thus, President Stick has a golden opportunity to go toe to toe with the Russkies and tell them to just "bring it on" -- if, that is, they want to precipitate a shooting war between Russia and NATO. Show 'em who's boss! Grab that big stick, Mr. President, and throw it over your shoulder like a Continental soldier!
All Obama need do -- it's so easy! -- is instruct "Ellen Tauscher, the U.S. special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense," who "insisted the talks about NATO plans for a missile defense system using ground-based interceptor missiles stationed in Poland, Romania and Turkey were not stalemated," to stand firm, arms akimbo, look her counterpart in the eye (stepstool may be required), and say, "Yo' bubbie!"
If more elaboration is needed, she can add, "Just try an attack on American military forces, vodka breath, and after our Aegis ships shoot down your impotent missiles, we'll expand the BMD system to Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, South Korea, Japan, and not to forget Nome, Alaska. Stick that in your babushka and smoke it!"
Dear gentle readers, this is it: This is the chance for which the president has been waiting lo these many years. Let this be Barack "Big Stick" Obama's three a.m. phone call.
Is he going to knuckle under? Or worse, is he going to let the phone just ring and ring and ring? Heck no! My money's on
the Stig the Stick to flex those Popeye muscles and give that dadburned Bluto Putin what for. Our man in la Casa Blanca certainly won't let this crisis go to waste; surely he'll swing for the fences at the low-hanging fruit.
Who's with me on this? Who's with me on this? It's time Obama draws his foot in the sand. If he stands up to the Russian bear on this point, if he tells them that we will consider any attack on our bases in Poland or anywhere else "casus belli," a justification for full-blown war against Russia, then nobody can call him a wimp, a mushmouth, an unprepared, dimwitted, poorly educated, godless, Castro-loving, commie prevert affirmative-action president ever again. So there.
All he need do is shut off the teleprompter, square up, and take a full-throated stand for America... and that will be Barack Hussein Obama's finest hour. (What's the over-under?)
June 1, 2010
The Shape of Stings to Come
AP just can't bring itself to refer to either Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization. It's an open question, mustn't prejudge!
The strongest that the Associated Press can muster is to refer to Hamas "militants" and "fighters" from PIJ. And of course, the "news" agency uncritically repeats claims by Islamist Moslem nations and traditional Israel-haters in France that the Israelis violated "international law" with their "massacre" of innocents in the flotilla of "peace activists":
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [of Turkey], an outspoken critic of Israel, told lawmakers Tuesday that the Israeli raid was an attack "on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace."
"This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse," he said, demanding that Israel immediately halt its "inhumane" blockade of Gaza.
Turkey demanded that the U.S. condemn the raid. The White House has reacted cautiously, calling for disclosure of all the facts.
Timidly would be the better word.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn the unspecified "use of force" and violent "acts;" the United States has veto authority within the Security Council, but the Barack H. Obama administration refused to exercise that right, instead pushing only for a wishy-washy, "on the one hand, on the other hand" statement that found guilt without deciding which side was guilty, or in what proportions:
“The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza,” the statement said, adding that the 15-member body “in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the loss” of lives.
The wording seemed designed to dilute demands for condemnation exclusively of Israel, which argues that its soldiers acted in self-defense in response to violent resistance to their interception of the vessels from passengers on board.
Unwilling to let the crisis go to waste, the Security Council also demanded -- with American acquiescence, probably passive -- that Israel essentially lift the blockade and allow the "sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza":
“The Security Council requests the immediate release of the ships as well as the civilians held by Israel,” the United Nations statement said, calling for “a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.”
It also said the situation in Gaza, under blockade by Israel, was “not sustainable” and called for a “sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza, as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.”
On the broader Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, the Security Council renewed calls for a two-state solution and voiced concern that the raid on the flotilla took place while United States-sponsored so-called “proximity talks” were under way.
Presumably, the Israelis should allow any number of ships to pass directly to Gaza "unimpeded" for however long it takes for our "proximity talks" to bring about the desired "two-state solution." That is, so long as the Palestinians remain intransigent, Israel should not be allowed to defend itself; as soon as the Palestinians come to their senses and stop trying to exterminate all Jews, then Israel will be allowed to enforce its (then-unnecessary) blockade.
It's a position that makes perfect sense in the Era of Obamunism!
Two significant events occurred today: First, Egypt unexpectedly decided to lift its own land blockade of the border crossings between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, at least for a few days, allowing virtually unfettered movement of men and materials back and forth; there is no indication the Egyptian security officials are even making sure Iranian missiles are kept out of Gaza. They claim this is for humanitarian purposes, but I think it clear it's really designed to punish Israel.
Second, the peace activists of the religion of peace sent out another boat to try to run the blockade. Their plan should be clear by now:
- Three or four more "unarmed" vessels full of peaceniks (recreationally chanting "kill the Jews") will assail the blockade.
- Each attempt will provoke more "violence," other "massacres," more "raids." (And since when does enforcing a publicly announced blockade constitute a raid?)
- Every such use of "disproportionate force" will ratchet up world demand for an end to the blockade.
- Eventually (this part is mere wishful thinking on the part of Hamas and its sponsor, Iran -- I hope!) Israel will be forced by mounting world fury to withdraw its sea-based defense.
- Once that happens -- the next humanitarian aid ship to Gaza will transport thousands of advanced Scud missiles, the same type that Iran and Syria have been openly shipping to Hezbollah in recent months.
- Then all of Israel, including every major Israeli city, will fall within range of Hezbollah or Hamas missile attacks.
The U.N. should be pleased if Israel no longer commands disproportionate force but is matched by exterminationist terrorist organizations -- pardon me, I meant "militant" groups of "fighters." The endless series of complaints against Israel will have achieved their ultimate aim; when the inevitable, Iran-led, fourth holy war begins, no country will dare stand up for the Jews... lest Iran decide to seal off the Strait of Hormuz, blockading much of the world's oil.
Say -- perhaps StratFor's traditional conclusion that "doom is nigh" will turn out to be accurate after all!
Thank goodness we have such a strong Commander in Chief, such a great admirer of Israel; otherwise, we might have to worry that America may no longer exercise its veto authority in the UNSC to protect the Jewish state -- and might even join the world-wide movement to force Israel into a suicide-pact "peace treaty" with next-door neighbors who want nothing more than the obliteration of world Jewry and will not even take the most basic step of renouncing terrorism and jihad against Israel. We might pressure our beleagured, erstwhile ally into the existential error of "a treaty at any cost."
But I'm sure we can rely upon the strength of character and excellent primal instincts of President Barack Hussein Obama II to rescue us from such a fate. He saved us from health care, didn't he?
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
May 21, 2010
Russia Yanks the Football Away
Examples of President Barack H. Obama's brilliant, inspired foreign policy just keep a-comin'...
A draft U.N. resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran, including limits on global arms transfers, will not block the controversial transfer of Russian S-300 missiles to the Iranian military, according to U.S. and Russian officials.
The Obama administration had opposed the S-300 sale because the system is highly effective against aircraft and some missiles. The CIA has said the S-300 missiles, which have been contracted by Tehran but not delivered, will be used to defend Iranian nuclear facilities.
Whoops! Somehow, the Obamacle seems not to have forseen that the
Soviet Union Russian Republic would once again pull the football away just as Barack "Charlie Brown" Obama tries to kick it. But what clever trick, what devious ploy, what occult conspiracy did they employ to flummox our genius president this time?
A key provision in the resolution made public this week states that all U.N. member states will agree to block sales or transfers of weapons. It lists tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, warships and "missiles or missile systems as defined for the purpose of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms."
A close reading of the missile section of the register defines those included in the ban as missiles and launchers for guided rockets, and ballistic and cruise missiles, and missile-equipped remotely piloted vehicles. However, the register states that the missile system category "does not include ground-to-air missiles," such as anti-aircraft missiles and anti-missile interceptors like the S-300.
Whew, that was sneaky; can't blame Team Obamarama for missing that one! Who on Earth would think of actually reading the U.N. Register that defined exactly which weapons were prohibited by the new sanctions regime?
In any event, the Russians assured B.O. that they would continue to "show 'vigilance and restraint' on arms sales;" so what's to worry? I'm sure they won't send the S-300s to their client state/proxy in the Middle East: That would give the Russia-Iran Axis an unfair advantage over all the other oil-producing nations in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
But there's another point that seems a touch worrisome. Mull on this:
Yevgeni Khorishko, a Russian Embassy spokesman, said his government is aware that the draft resolution does not ban sales of air-defense systems. "The S-300s is not prohibited," he said. "It is not on the list of prohibited items."
Mr. Khorishko said that for unspecific "technical reasons" the S-300 contract will not be implemented at this time.
"At this time." Let's put a few facts on the table and see if anyone salutes them:
- Obama and the Russians just negotiated the New! Improved! Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, cleverly titled New START.
- One of Russia's major demands was that we scrap the Europe-based anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system. George W. Bush initiated the program to emplace a radar installation in the Czech Republic and ten interceptors in Poland, in order to stymie Iran, should it get a nuclear-missile arsenal after all.
- After threats from Russia, Obama canceled that version last September, replacing it with a similar though imaginary land-and-sea program. (I don't believe he has gotten as far as picking fictitious sites for the imaginary radar or interceptors yet.)
- Buoyed by their previous success, the Russians wanted us to kill the new program, too; but B.O. refused to cancel it outright. Russia is very, very unhappy about the prospect of an ABM system to protect us and what few allies we have left from Iranian nuclear threats.
- Along come the Iran sanctions... and for some odd reason, Obama agrees to a regime that does not prohibit Russia from selling one of its most advanced ABM systems to Iran, a system that would make it virtually impossible to take out said Iranian nuclear arsenal.
- But the Russkies don't deliver it right away; instead, they say that "technical reasons" are holding things up. "At this time," that is; for the future, who can tell?
- So we haven't deployed our ABM system in Europe yet... and the Russians haven't yet deployed theirs in Iran.
Is it just barely possible that Russia might, you know, offer a "deal?" And that Obama might accept the swap -- we kill ours if they kill theirs -- and then crow to the American people this November that he got the Russians to "back down" on arming Iran with an ABM system?
Wait a minute... who yanked away that football anyway... President Dmitry Medvedev, or President Barack Obama? I don't know, but I sure feel like we're the ones lying flat on our backs.
April 22, 2010
The Coming Conflagration: the Inevitable Ground War Against Iran
The mullocracy of Iran has made brutally clear that they will not be satisfied with anything less than a full-scale, intercontinental war against the West, which means (certainly to them) against the United States of America. And in the process of sending this message, they have humiliated and cuckolded our weak and frankly delusional president, Barack H. Obama: His policy of "engagement" -- which appears to comprise begging and pleading with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be his Facebook friend -- lies in ruins; in the process, he has made America the laughingstock of the ummah.
Yes, for all his faults, I certainly miss the muscular foreign policy of George W. Bush.
This is what I'm talking about:
Iran is increasing its paramilitary Qods force operatives in Venezuela while covertly continuing supplies of weapons and explosives to Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Pentagon's first report to Congress on Tehran's military.
The report on Iranian military power provides new details on the group known formally as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Islamist shock troops deployed around the world to advance Iranian interests. The unit is aligned with terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, North Africa and Latin America, and the report warns that U.S. forces are likely to battle the Iranian paramilitaries in the future.
The Qods force "maintains operational capabilities around the world," the report says, adding that "it is well established in the Middle East and North Africa and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela."
So in response to all of the Obamacle's "diplomacy" towards Iran; in response to all the apologies he has made them about America the bully, the unilateral concessions to Russia on sanctions, the heavy-handed pressure on Israel to capitulate to the Palestinians; in response to every Eid and Ramadan greeting Obama has extended to "the Iranian people;" and in particular, in response to the clear policy statement that we will not attack Iran for any reason, and that we shall sit idly by and let them get their nukes... Iran's response to this appeasement is to send even more special forces to our own backyard.
Thank you, Mr. Hope N. Change.
The benefit to Venezuela President-for-Life Oogo Chavez of an infusion of highly trained, brutal, and very combat experienced "shock troops" is obvious: Chavez rules by terror, but the Venezuelan military is frankly pathetic. In particular, Venezuela's next-door neighbor, America-friendly Colombia, has a significantly better trained and better funded military -- according to the CIA World Factbook, Colombia spends about $13.6 billion annually on its military, three times the $4.2 billion spent by Venezuela; and while Colombia President Álvaro Uribe Vélez has his own internal problems fighting the Marxist insurgency -- Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) -- I suspect that Oogo Chavez must deploy a lot more of his military just to maintain his barbarous rule.
Chavez needs military aid, which the Iranian pact supplies him; but what does Ahmadinejad get? Venezuela is not a Moslem country, nor will it ever be. It's nowhere near Iran, and there is no ideological connection between them, other than hatred of America. And while Venezuela has a lot of oil, so does Iran and hardly needs any crude from Oogo.
That one shared trait then must logically be the answer: The only reason for Iran to send Qods-Force troops to Venezuela is to threaten or attack the United States:
The report gives no details on the activities of the Iranians in Venezuela and Latin America. Iranian-backed terrorists have conducted few attacks in the region. However, U.S. intelligence officials say Qods operatives are developing networks of terrorists in the region who could be called to attack the United States in the event of a conflict over Iran's nuclear program.
Qods force support for extremists includes providing arms, funding and paramilitary training and is not constrained by Islamist ideology. "Many of the groups it supports do not share, and sometimes openly oppose, Iranian revolutionary principles, but Iran supports them because they share common interests or enemies," the report says.
George W. Bush, I believe, once said (if I may paraphrase) that the difference between the Vietnam war and the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis is that unlike in Vietnam, if we retreat from the jihadis, they will follow us home and continue the war on American soil. In 2001, al-Qaeda proved it.
It's pretty clear this is exactly the situation we see in Latin America: Under President B.O., we have (in Iran's view) fled the battleground. As Lee Smith discusses extensively in his book on Arab culture, the Strong Horse, the reaction this provokes in the Moslem world is not one of sympathy for the vanquished but rather the bloodthirsty desire to follow and utterly destroy the beaten foe. "Mercy" only has meaning within the ummah as a (possible) response to "submission."
Even though Persian Iran is not Arab, its Moslem culture and history of empire cause it to react just the same: Ahmadinejad unquestionably believes that Iran is the "strong horse," America the weak horse. In his world, once the Iranian people realize how the power has changed with the passing of the Bush administration, they will quickly regroup behind the new strong horse. Thus, when we retreat and submit to Iranian demands and insults, not only does Obama encourage Iran to project yet greater force into the Western hemisphere, buddying up to our greatest enemy in Latin America; but the One We Have Been Regretting Already also manages to strengthen the hand of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad within Iran itself. Obama executes a perfect double-play -- against America.
The latest aggression in Venezuela hardly occurs in a vacuum. Iran has repeatedly attacked American forces, both indirectly and directly, for decades, going all the way back to the hostage crisis of 1979. Attacks continue to the present day:
In response to military intelligence that Iranian troops had infiltrated southern Iraq, President Bush responded forcefully; from 2006 to 2008, we captured a number of Qods Force officers and other personnel.
In July of last year, President Obama ordered five of the most senior Qods Force detainees released from custody and handed over to the Iraqis to be returned to Iran. The president never really explained what he hoped to accomplish by such blatant appeasement. It was not reciprocated by the mullahs.
- We fought a long and ultimately successful campaign against Iran's biggest puppet within Iraq, Muqtada Sadr, driving him to exile in Iran; there he remains, so far as I know -- hunkered down in the holy city of Qom (217th holiest city in all of Islam!)
- Iran also gave powerful explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) to Shiite insurgents in Iraq, along with Qods Force trainers and commando leaders; EFPs are powerful enough even to rip apart our Abrams main battle tanks.
Iran has also been supplying Afghan insurgents with high-powered and technologically sophisticated weaponry with which to fight not only the democratic Afghan government (democratic by the standards of the "non-integrating gap") but also the American military forces prosecuting the Afghanistan counterinsurgency (COIN) under the command of Gen. Stanley McChrystal:
Qods forces in Afghanistan are working through nongovernmental organizations and political opposition groups, the report says. Tehran also is backing insurgent leaders Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ismail Khan.
"Arms caches have been recently uncovered [in Afghanistan] with large amounts of Iranian-manufactured weapons, to include 107 millimeter rockets, which we assess IRGC-QF delivered to Afghan militants," the report says, noting that recent manufacture dates on the weapons suggest the support is "ongoing."
"Tehran's support to the Taliban is inconsistent with their historic enmity, but fits with Iran's strategy of backing many groups to ensure that it will have a positive relationship with the eventual leaders," the report says.
Most recently, Iran transferred Scud missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon; that branch of Hezbollah is nominally controlled by Syria, operating under the direction of Iran. The Scuds have a range of 435 miles and are quite accurate, in contrast to the rockets Hezbollah has been shooting at Israeli cities recently, which have a maximum range of 60 miles (and very little accuracy at even half that distance). This brings nearly all of Israel within Hezbollah's range, including Tel Aviv, Israel's second-largest city with a population of nearly 400,000... and the natural target, as the capital and most populous city, Jerusalem, is also holy to Moslems (the 355th holiest city in all of Islam!)
It was this same Lebanese branch of Hezbollah that directly slaughtered 241 American Marines, sailors, and soldiers (along with 58 French paratroopers) in the Beirut barracks bombing of 1983. Qods Forces also likely had a hand in the terrorist attack on Americans at the Khobar Towers in 1996, killing 19 American servicemen.
Bluntly put, Iran is already at war with America, Israel, and the West, and has been since 1979. In response to Obama's policy of Neville-Chamberlain like capitulation, it has only gotten more aggressive, belligerent, and intractable. And just like the last evil empire we defeated, Iran has boldly moved its military forces into our hemisphere to threaten or even outright attack the United States homeland, secure in the knowledge that even if they did, the only response likely from the Obama administration would be a public tongue-lashing -- followed by a furious fusillade of indictments.
Only two possible endings exist to this buildup of Qods Force in Venezuela and around the world: Either we ultimately go to all-out war against Iran and defeat it, overthrow Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the mullahs, and and "drain the swamp" by democratizing Persia (same caveat about "democracy")... or else Iran goes to all-out war first and defeats us. If we respond by retreating in panic and confusion, then we cede the entire Middle East to what will become an Iranian Caliphate... a crescent stretching from the pyramids of Egypt to the minarets of Istanbul, across the Hindu Kush to Islamabad, encompassing the aptly named Persian Gulf, and with colonies and outposts speckled across Africa, India, and Latin America.
I know which option our current Capitulator in Chief will choose; through Secretary of Defense (and neutered Republican) Robert Gates, Obama has already signalled his intentions: He intends to do nothing:
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently played down the growing Iranian influence in the Chavez government. Asked about Iran's ties to Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, Mr. Gates said, "I think it makes for interesting public relations on the part of the Iranians, the Venezuelans."
"I certainly don't see Venezuela at this point as a military challenge or threat," Mr. Gates said during a visit to the region.
Well, neither do the rest of us, Mr. G.! Neither is Syria, to pick another small ally of the enemy.
Iran itself, however, is a different question, one that Gates should not have begged with a snark: Iran has "the largest missile force in the Middle East" (the Moslem Middle East, one presumes the Washington Times means) and borders the Persian Gulf and the Straight of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil passes -- including most of the Middle-East oil we buy to fill the gap left by our truculent refusal to responsibly develop our own oil, natural gas, and coal fields. Iran has already overtly threatened, if attacked, to sink a tanker or two in the Straight to shut down all the Western economies, possibly for years. (I wonder: If Iran carried out its horrific threat, then could we drill in ANWR and the Gulf of Mexico?)
Oh yes, and I almost forgot; there's also that pesky "nuclear warhead atop a Shahab-3 missile" problem. That might complicate a war with Iran two or three years from now.
Fortunately, I don't think Iran will be ready to launch such a cataclysmic attack before 2013, so we still have a chance to make the only sane decision and launch a pre-emptive war. (By "pre-emptive," I mean like our other putatively pre-emptive war in Iraq, in which we finally responded to the latest casus belli after twenty years of provocation.)
The Herman Option is more difficult now; evidently, somebody on the Guardian Council staff reads Big Lizards, and Iran has been building more gasoline refineries and trying to strengthen its existing facilities against attack. But the option is still available -- at a somewhat greater human cost than if George W. Bush had acted before leaving office, as he promised he would. I suggest that now is the time to take it; that door may no longer be open for the next president.
Instead, Obama's legacy will be to force us to use a much longer, more expensive, and tremendously bloodier invasion of Persia proper, fighting against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the IRG Qods Force, and Hezbollah in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Call that the "no-option Obama mandate."
That is, if we have any money left after four years of Obamunism.
February 10, 2010
Putin Orders Obama Not to Defend America
Why do I have the awful premonition that Barack H. Obama is about to bow deeply from the waist again?
U.S. missile-defense plans are a threat to Russian national security and have slowed down progress on a new arms-control treaty with Washington, Russia's top military officer said Tuesday.
Gen. Nikolai Makarov said that a revised U.S. plan to place missiles in Europe undermines Russia's national defense, rejecting Obama administration promises that the plan is not directed at his country.
"We view it very negatively, because it could weaken our missile forces," Gen. Makarov, the chief of the Russian military's General Staff, said in televised remarks.
Translation: The Russkies agree with Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush that ballistic missile defense (BMD) works; and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is terrified that if we implement it, Russia will no longer have the ability to destroy America. From Vlad the Impeller's point of view, that's a very, very bad thing.
So the big question is -- is it also a very, very bad thing from the Obamacle's point of view?
Gen. Makarov's comments are the strongest yet on the revamped U.S. missile effort and signal potential new obstacles to an agreement on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [START], which expired Dec. 5.
I'd much prefer to rely upon American BMD than Russian BS in a new START. How about you? How about the president?
But I'm getting nervous, recalling how quick and servile Obama was in cancelling the Bush BMD plan. All that Putin, a "former" KGB agent, needed to do was hint that the missile-defense plans were an "obstacle" to a new arms reduction treaty, and our American president hopped to obey. Obama didn't even gain any concessions or promises; his appeasement was unilateral.
Experts have said the new plan is less threatening to Russia because it would not initially involve interceptors capable of shooting down Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles....
Russian officials at first reacted calmly to U.S. plans to deploy Patriot missile systems in Poland, but have grown increasingly critical in recent weeks.
Romania last week approved a proposal to place anti-ballistic missile interceptors in the country as part of the revamped American missile shield.
Asked Tuesday about the plans in Romania and Poland, Gen. Makarov called the U.S. missile-defense plans a threat.
"The development of missile defense is aimed against the Russian Federation," he said.
Another translation: In this instance (and every instance from the Russian Federation), the term "Russian Federation" shall be understood to mean "reconstituted and reconquered Soviet Empire." When Gen.
Zod Makarov says missile defense threatens the Russian Federation, he means BMD threatens Russia's plan to reoccupy Poland, Romania, the Baltic States, and Eastern Germany.
Makarov, a sock puppet for Putin, demands that the BMD program be part of the START talks:
"The treaty on strategic offensive weapons we are currently working on must take into account the link between defensive and offensive strategic weapons," Gen. Makarov said. "This link is very close; they are absolutely interdependent. It would be wrong not to take the missile defense into account."
When Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, issued an identical ultimatum to Ronald Reagan in 1986 at the U.S.-Soviet summit in Reykjavík, Iceland, Reagan called Gorbachev's bluff: He refused to sign a treaty that threw the Strategic Defense Initiative under the Gorby bus. I can't remember the exact quotation, but Reagan said something to the effect that America must never be afraid to walk away from a bad deal.
Is Barack Obama prepared to walk away from an equally bad deal with Vladimir Putin? I worry that he is so desperate for a treaty that he'll accept any treaty, even a bad one, rather than finish his term empty handed.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
September 20, 2009
Obama Proves Unable to Walk and Chew Missiles at the Same Time
National Security Advisor (and former Marine Corps General) Jim Jones has just offered the weirdest explanation to date for cancelling the long-range ballistic-missile defense system in Eastern Europe -- while simultaneously betraying our allies, Poland and the Czech Republic:
White House National Security Adviser James L. Jones says President Obama's decision to abandon a long-range missile defense site in Eastern Europe was driven by U.S. intelligence concerns that Iran is further along than previously thought in developing medium-range missiles that could strike Western Europe and the Middle East with nuclear warheads.
"We think they are heading toward weaponiz[ing] these missiles, which obviously we want to dissuade them from doing," the retired four-star Marine general told The Washington Times, explaining why U.S. officials dramatically shifted from years of focus on guarding against longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)....
In a wide-ranging interview Friday afternoon in his West Wing office, Gen. Jones said the government's top national security leaders met about 50 times since March before unanimously agreeing to scrap a 2006 Bush administration plan to put 10 long-range, ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a related radar tracking site in the Czech Republic. They are to be replaced by ship-based radar and interceptors better able to protect Europe from shorter-range missiles, he said.
Note that "the government's top national security leaders" actually means Barack H. Obama's top national-security appointees, so it's hardly of cosmic significance that they were in unanimous agreement. But I digress...
The key driver, he said, was intelligence showing that Iran is stressing development of medium- and intermediate- range missiles that could reach the Middle East or Western Europe and is focusing less on ICBMs with ranges greater than 3,500 miles that might one day reach the United States.
"We concluded, the intelligence community concluded and recommended that the previous threat estimates about Iran's capabilities, vis-a-vis an ICBM, were not as imminent as we thought, which is to say the capability is further out," Gen. Jones said.
"The intermediate-range capability of Iranian technology is higher than we thought, which puts Europe at risk and many of our friends in the Gulf at risk," he said.
By painting the decision as an "either-or," Gen. Jones thus confesses that the Obama administration cannot pursue two BMD programs at the same time; I wonder if he felt acute embarassment making such an admission?
But the most astonishing aspect of this conundrum is that the Navy Aegis BMD system, which is what he says they plan to use instead of the land-based system, has been operational and widely deployed for years! It's so common now that we're even selling and installing such systems on the ships of our allies.
All it takes to deploy it is to station the appropriate cruisers and destroyers in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. Why on earth should this preclude us pursuing defense against long-range missiles as well? It's like saying we must kill development of the Joint Strike Fighter because intelligence reveals that the most imminent enemy air threat can be countered by deploying our existing F/A-18 Hornets... and by golly, we can't do both.
Worse, as the Washington Times notes, we have not had notable success estimating how advanced are the missile designs of our enemies:
The report [by the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center] said Iran could have an ICBM by 2015.
However, two administration officials said the new intelligence is outlined in a May 2009 National Intelligence Estimate that concluded that Iran would not have a long-range missile before 2020.
U.S. estimates of missile threats have been of mixed reliability. In 1998, an intelligence assessment gauged that no nation outside the established nuclear powers would have a long-range missile by 2015. Shortly after the assessment, in August 1998, North Korea test-fired its first intercontinental-range Taepodong missiles....
Efforts by Iran to develop longer-range missiles would be detected, [Gen. Jones] said. "There's not much the Iranians can do in terms of developing an ICBM that we won't know about," he said. "It just requires testing, and you can tell when they get into that envelope."
So the new policy, which the National Security Advisor evidently agrees with, is that we should cease developing a defense against Iranian (and Russian) ICBMs and instead deploy Aegis BMD ships -- which we can of course deploy whenever we want, whether or not we build the interceptor site -- because Iran won't have long-range missiles until 2020... unless they have them sooner. And we'll "detect" the fact that Iran has developed long-range missiles when they test them!
(What if they don't develop ICBMS... but buy them instead from Russia, China, or North Korea? Gen. Jones doesn't even hint at how that would affect our defensive policy.)
Um... is there perhaps a more plausible explanation? I'm intrigued by this throw-away from Gen. Jones:
Less-capable radar will be deployed some place in the Caucasus region to replace the planned high-powered radar in the Czech Republic, which was troubled by a "public opinion problem," Gen. Jones said.
"Public opinion problem?" I've strained my brain, and I cannot recall any wave of public sentiment against building a purely defensive radar site to allow us to intercept long-range missiles (with or without nuclear warheads) being fired at us by Iran. Or by Russia. Well -- no wave of American public sentiment, I mean, or even mass protests in Europe; I can well imagine public opinion (likely manufactured) running strong in Iran and Russia against the program.
The surreality continues. The Times reports a "subsequent phase" of missile defense, in which we deploy land-based versions of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) in Poland, then future versions of the SM-3 that can hit long-range missiles, "over the next ten years":
The new plan means that defenses against Iranian missiles can be in place throughout Europe six or seven years sooner than under the abandoned European plan, Gen. Jones said.
But again, we can do this whether or not we build the long-range radar site in Poland and the Czech Republic; the policies are independent of one another (unless... see below). We're just talking about deploying missiles we already have and continuing the SM-3 developments that are already under way.
This entire explanation is one long, bizarre non-sequitur... unless the Obamacle has other plans in mind that would preclude our being able to deploy the old system and develop the new system at the same time. Does the Jones explanation mean that Obama plans a wholesale slashing of military funding, so that we really will have to choose between what soon will be two mutually exclusive policies -- deploying and developing? Is that the broad hint that Gen. James Jones is giving us?
There is no longer any question (Gen. Jones admits it) that one major purpose of this policy change is to appease the Russian bear, in the hopes that he will feel so grateful and magnanimous that he reciprocates by leaning on Iran to quit developing a nuclear bomb. But since we have already given Russia everything it wants, we must rely upon its centuries-long history of good will towards all, especially Eastern Europe.
And in fact, there is another weak link in this chain of Obamic "diplomacy": Who's to say Iran would scrap plans to become a nuclear power even if Russia commands them to? What is Vladimir Putin going to do -- invade Iran? Bomb them? Aid and abet Israel?
More gravely, Obama appears to have politicized the intelligence to get the diplomatic overture he wants:
- The missile report from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center said Iran could deploy a long-range missile by 2015; that's five years before we estimate we could deploy advanced SM-3s to intercept them.
- According to Eric Edelman, the undersecretary of defense for policy in the Bush administration who ran the Bush BMD program, Barack Obama promised that we would continue the long-range, ground-based interceptor plan "unless the [intelligence] assessment changed."
- Lo! A new National Intelligence Estimate sprang forth in May of this year, like Athena from Zeus' brow. It was presumably shepherded by Obama's CIA Director Leon Panetta -- who has no intelligence experience whatsoever but is a long-time liberal Democratic House member... along with the presumed connivance of Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano -- who has no intelligence or military experience whatsoever but is a former liberal Democratic governor and Anita Hill's attorney during l'affaire Clarence Thomas. (Of course, she popularized the new phrase "man-caused disaster" to take the place of "terrorism," so she must know something.)
- The new NIE changed the intelligence assessment to suggest that Iran cannot develop long-range missiles until 2020... exactly the right time frame for us to have those new, improved SM-3s in place. What a stroke of luck!
It seems impossible not to draw the obvious conclusion of intel-tampering, unless one really, really works at it.
Oh, and this little tidbit is simply delicious:
Politically, the abandonment of the Europe site also set the stage for progress in reaching a new strategic arms agreement with Russia. Moscow vehemently opposed the European missile site as posing a threat to its strategic missile capability and had made canceling the program a precondition for arms talks.
So much for the One's plan to hold summit meetings "without preconditions." I reckon he must have meant only that we would not impose any preconditions ourselves; not that we wouldn't kow-tow to preconditions imposed by other countries!
This series of unfortunate events brings the Obamic national-security policy into sharp focus: Our new defense "posture" will evidently be the foetal position.
Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues gallery...
June 28, 2009
Mother, May I?
Yesterday, we learned that President Barack H. Obama will not "forcibly inspect" the North Korean ship that we suspect is carrying nuclear technology to Burma, which some people call Myanmar:
An American destroyer has been shadowing the North Korean freighter sailing off China's coast, possibly on its way to Myanmar.
Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy met with South Korean officials in Seoul on Friday as the U.S. sought international support for aggressively enforcing a U.N. sanctions resolution aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its second nuclear test last month. The North Korean-flagged ship, Kang Nam 1, is the first to be tracked under the U.N. resolution.
Naturally, North Korea calls the allegation that they are trying to build a nuclear arsenal a slanderous lie. In completely unrelated news, they have threatened to launch a nuclear strike against the United States if we attempt to board the ship without the permission of North Korea's hereditary king, Kim Jong-Il:
North Korea has in response escalated threats of war, with a slew of harsh rhetoric including warnings that it would unleash a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation" and "wipe out the [U.S.] aggressors" in the event of a conflict.
Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy explains why we can only inspect the ship if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, suspected of smuggling nuclear materials, gives us permission to board the ship and search for smuggled nuclear materials:
"The U.N. resolution lays out a regime that has a very clear set of steps," Ms. Flournoy said, according to the Yonhap news agency. "I want to be very clear. ... This is not a resolution that sponsors, that authorizes use of force for interdiction." [Well that's certainly useful!]
Ms. Flournoy said the U.S. still has "incentives and disincentives that will get North Korea to change course."
Aha. That certainly closes that case. Barring using any of our vastly superior military muscle, we can still, she notes, use "incentives," such as bribery, and "disincentives": very strong language, followed by very strong language; and if necessary, downright caustic and scornful language -- with perhaps a finger-wag, if the Secretary of State gets involved (her spouse can explain to her the ins and outs of one-digit diplomacy).
Rough language -- fierce -- imperious! I often find that the Obama administration reminds me of one of my favorite poets:
Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.
I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!
So now we know that we can only interdict Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty scoffers -- the DPRK is not actually a signatory, so technically it cannot be a "violator" -- if they graciously allow us to do. Thus I think I more clearly understand the Obamic stance on the upcoming missile launch by North Korea against Hawaii: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is absolutely correct that we can shoot that missile down... but we only may blow it out of the sky if we first ask permission of King Jong-Il.
April 12, 2009
Time to Fish or Get Off the Pot
While President Barack H. Obama tries to make up his mind how to respond to the Somalian pirates (the larger group, not just the ones who were holding Captain Richard Phillips hostage), he's not wasting any time... he's simultaneously dithering about how to respond to a Somalian Islamist "extremist" group, al-Shabab, that is allied with al-Qaeda. Neither dilemma appears close to resolution; in fact, the paralysis and refusal to use swift retaliatory force reminds me more and more of the 444 days of national humilitation in Jimmy Carter's first term in office.
His second term -- under his standby, Barack Obama -- seems no more decisive on the foreign-policy front than the first term, back in the late 1970s. This stands in bizarre contrast to Obama's firm resolve in his domestic agenda to remake America as a socialist country.
But why not launch a massive attack on the pirates in their lair, to punish them for having attacked an American vessel in the first place? We note with some interest that the entire "community" of Somalis in that modern-day Tortuga (the eighteenth-century pirate island) appears to be on the side of the pirates:
Talks to free [Capt. Phillips] began Thursday with the captain of the USS Bainbridge talking to the pirates under instruction from FBI hostage negotiators on board the U.S. destroyer. The pirates had threatened to kill Phillips if attacked....
Before Phillips was freed, a pirate who said he was associated with the gang that held Phillips, Ahmed Mohamed Nur, told The Associated Press that the pirates had reported that "helicopters continue to fly over their heads in the daylight and in the night they are under the focus of a spotlight from a warship."
He spoke by satellite phone from Harardhere, a port and pirate stronghold where a fisherman said helicopters flew over the town Sunday morning and a warship was looming on the horizon. The fisherman, Abdi Sheikh Muse, said that could be an indication the lifeboat may be near to shore.
The district commissioner of the central Mudug region said talks went on all day Saturday, with clan elders from his area talking by satellite telephone and through a translator with Americans, but collapsed late Saturday night.
"The negotiations between the elders and American officials have broken down. The reason is American officials wanted to arrest the pirates in Puntland and elders refused the arrest of the pirates," said the commissioner, Abdi Aziz Aw Yusuf. He said he organized initial contacts between the elders and the Americans.
Two other Somalis, one involved in the negotiations and another in contact with the pirates, also said the talks collapsed because of the U.S. insistence that the pirates be arrested and brought to justice.
Fine; then the "clan elders" of "the central Mudug region," which contains that "port and pirate stronghold" of Harardhere, are clearly not with us... they are with the pirates. So what is to stop us from launching a series of devastating retaliatory strikes against these strongholds? Nothing, evidently, but Barack Obama's infamous inability to make a decision. (This disability applies even to ongoing wars; in Iraq and Afghanistan, he simply decided not to decide, accepting the Bush doctrine in both theaters by default.)
In fact, Obama is so indecisive that he's not even sure he's ready to commit to criminal charges yet:
U.S. officials said a pirate who had been involved in negotiations to free Phillips but who was not on the lifeboat during the rescue was in military custody. FBI spokesman John Miller said that would change as the situation became "more of a criminal issue than a military issue."
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said prosecutors were looking at "evidence and other issues" to determine whether to bring a case in the United States. The pirate could face a life sentence if convicted, officials said.
Well, that will certainly put the fear of the Judeo-Christian God into Long John Somali!
But back to the problem of al-Shabab. It appears that Obama is not only unwilling to attack pirates, he's also unsure whether we should attack militant Islamist terrorists in Somalia; from the Washington Post article:
Al-Shabab, whose fighters have battled Ethiopian occupiers and the tenuous Somali government, poses a dilemma for the administration, according to several senior national security officials who outlined the debate only on the condition of anonymity.
The organization's rapid expansion, ties between its leaders and al-Qaeda, and the presence of Americans and Europeans in its camps have raised the question of whether a preemptive strike is warranted. Yet the group's objectives have thus far been domestic, and officials say that U.S. intelligence has no evidence it is planning attacks outside Somalia.
An attack against al-Shabab camps in southern Somalia would mark the administration's first military strike outside the Iraq and Afghanistan-Pakistan war zones. The White House discussions highlight the challenges facing the Obama team as it attempts to distance itself from the Bush administration, which conducted at least five military strikes in Somalia. The new administration is still defining its rationale for undertaking sensitive operations in countries where the United States is not at war.
Yes, that's a toughie that would stump even a leader as decisive as Carter, let alone our current President Hamlet; it's especially tough when the president acts as if there never was any discussion in the previous administration about the rationale for launching strikes against terrorists -- and when the most important criterion of the brand new Obamaic rationale is whether such an attack would make the current administration look too much like the Bush administration.
In the meantime, a decision must be made, and the clock is ticking: Do we attack a terrorist group allied with al-Qaeda, which runs terrorist training camps full of domestic and foreign Moloch worshippers (including Europeans and Americans, who could presumably fly under the radar into the United States), which is trying to violently overthrow the current Somali government that we helped install (by supporting the Ethiopian invasion that overthrew the previous, al-Qaeda-friendly government), because we have "no evidence it is planning attacks outside Somalia?"
Of course, neither did the Taliban; they isolated themselves, completely fixating upon Afghanistan and Pakistan. But they also leased their country to the demonic Ayman Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, offering them safe haven from which they could launch the September 11th attacks, and aiding and abetting them in other, more tangible ways. Somalia looks ready to do exactly the same... for exactly the same group. And say what you will, bin Laden is not an isolationist.
I suppose the alternative course under consideration is to make it "more of a criminal issue" and "determine whether to bring a case in the United States." We might even file an indictment with the International Criminal Court at the Hague... though we'd probably have to agree to give them jurisdiction over American citizens as well.
(No matter -- the ICC's first action against Americans would doubtless be to put George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Douglas Feith, John Yoo, Mark Steyn, Rush Limbaugh, and a cast of thousands on trial for crimes against humanity, such as advocating war against terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, spying on al-Qaeda without a world search warrant, and lowering taxes on the rich. What's not to like?)
What is the argument against striking at al-Shabab? Primarily that other countries in the world might object:
Some in the Defense Department have been frustrated by what they see as a failure to act. Many other national security officials say an ill-considered strike would have negative diplomatic and political consequences far beyond the Horn of Africa. Other options under consideration are increased financial pressure and diplomatic activity, including stepped-up efforts to resolve the larger political turmoil in Somalia.
That is, all those heads of government who praised Obama to the heavens at the G-20 might instead accuse him of being just like George Bush, and the president's self image would be shattered. Not that those same leaders respected him enough to acquiesce to any of the three major policies he wanted them to implement -- stronger sanctions against Iran and North Korea, stimulus spending, or enlarging the NATO commitment to Afghanistan; but at least they said really nice things about Obama personally.
The most recent discussion of the issue took place early this week, just before the unrelated seizure of a U.S. commercial ship in the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates who [were] holding the American captain of the vessel hostage for ransom.
But are these two questions -- what to do about al-Shabab and what to do about the Somalian pirates -- truly "unrelated," as the Post declares? And even if they are discrete today, how long will they remain so? It stands to reason that terrorists, who oppose the new government of Somalia for being insufficiently Islamist, and pirates, who oppose it for cracking down on piracy, may very well make common cause against their shared enemy.
Barack Obama already fumbled his first test on foreign policy -- the debacle in London at the meeting of the G-20. He appears to have flunked on every measure except cordiality (the leaders all liked him as a person, so long as he kow-towed to China, Russia, the Arab countries, and Europe). I suggest that how we respond to the two Somalian threats represents Obama's first big military-policy test: If he cannot even muster up a military response to pirates and terrorists in the Horn of Africa, then how will he ever respond to the subtler but far deadlier perils of Iran's centrifuges, North Korea's missiles, the Palestinians' pratfalls, Red China's increasing economic dominance, and a resurgent "Soviet Union?"
The answer, I fear, will be even grimmer, and the damage even longer lasting, than his response to the economic crisis.
April 5, 2009
North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan - Japan, U.S. Just Watch
Quoth the Associated Press:
North Korea fired a rocket over Japan on Sunday, defying Washington, Tokyo and other world leaders who suspect the launch was cover for a test of its long-range missile technology. President Barack Obama warned the move would further isolate the communist nation.
Liftoff took place at 11:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) from the coastal Musudan-ri launch pad in northeastern North Korea, the South Korean and U.S. governments said. The multistage rocket hurtled toward the Pacific, reaching Japanese airspace within seven minutes, but no debris appeared to hit its territory, officials in Tokyo said.
Japanese missile-defense batteries, which could easily have shot down the missile, did not fire. Prime Minister Taro "the Potato" Aso (a.k.a., "Single Digit") just sat and watched it fly over his country (yet again).
American Aegis and BMD (ballistic missile defense) ships were in the region; they too could have splashed the missile with near certainty -- they too just observed as it flew overhead. Almost certainly, orders came from the Commander in Chief to make no move to intercept, no matter where the missile was aimed... to just let it pass overhead and hope it didn't hit anything.
But I don't want to leave you with the impression that we did nothing; heavens no! The Coalition of the Whining did plenty, bub:
- Chief Japanese Cabinet spokesman Takeo Kawamura announced that he was "highly concerned by this matter."
- Japan demanded an emergency meeting of the U.N. to discuss the provocation.
- President Barack H. Obama urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to "abide fully by the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council" and not to be so "provocative."
- Red China, North Korea's primary patron, "urged all sides to maintain calm and exercise restraint."
- And U.N. Secretary General Nanki-Poo "regretted North Korea's move."
But at least Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has laid down the law to North Korea. Well, not Hillary as such; she was too busy. But she sent a trusted subordinate to make the point that we will not tolerate being threatened in this way:
State Department spokesman Fred Lash called the launch a clear violation of Resolution 1718, adopted five days after North Korea carried out a nuclear weapons test in 2006. The U.S. will "take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it cannot threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity," he said late Saturday in Washington.
It comforts me to know that the security of the United States against the existential threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea is in such stalwart, courageous, and decisive hands.
June 8, 2008
Jimmy Obama, Meet Barack Carter
Thanks to long-time caller, first-time listener KarmiCommunist -- wait, I think I mean long-time reader and commenter -- we have a thought-provoking window into the heart of Barack H. Obama. Who would have guessed that he turns out to loath the military and dismiss the necessity of defense?
On Friday, the Investor's Business Daily published an editorial that recalled this pledge that Obama made, way back before the Iowa caucus propelled him into the front ranks of the Democratic nomination army... and began the long, slow, humiliating collapse of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Before reading further, please watch this video; it's about a minute and a half long:
Here is how the IBD responds:
The Obamatons of the mainstream media have failed to report one of the most chilling campaign promises thus far uttered by the presumptive Democrat nominee for president.
He made it before the Iowa caucus to a left-wing pacifist group that seeks to reallocate defense dollars to welfare programs. The lobbying group, Caucus for Priorities, was so impressed by Obama's anti-military offering that it steered its 10,000 devotees his way.
In a 132-word videotaped pledge (still viewable on YouTube [but maybe not for long! -- the Mgt.]), Obama agreed to hollow out the U.S. military by slashing both conventional and nuclear weapons.
The scope of his planned defense cuts, combined with his angry tone, is breathtaking. He sounds as if the military is the enemy, not the bad guys it's fighting.
In the speech, Obama pledged to...
- Slash "tens of billions of dollars" of "wasteful" defense spending;
- Eliminate "investments in unproven [!] missile defense systems;"
Set a "goal" of "a world without nuclear weapons." He promises to first cease all development of nuclear weapons in this country, and then to go to Russia, hat in hand, to beg them to follow suit (presumably without preconditions). A strong bargaining position, Mr. O!
Will he also then go to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-Il, Hu Jintao -- or even our nuclear-armed allies? Or does this unilateral disarmament apply only to the United States?
- He also wants a "global ban" on fissile materials. I wonder what President Obama will accept as evidence of such destruction... the Supreme Leader of Iran's absolute oral assurance?
I actually know somebody who works on ballistic missile defense (BMD); and I can tell you, without revealing any classified information, that missile defense is not only proven, it has already been implemented on many Navy cruisers and destroyers, and even on ships in the navies of our allies, such as Japan. Does President Obama plan to order all those ships to drydock to have their BMD and Aegis systems ripped out with a clawhammer?
Channeling Jimmy Carter's vice president, Obama made a solemn promise to the Caucus for Priorities -- which the Communist magazine the Nation awarded the title, "Most Valuable Progressive Activist Group of 2007," according to the Caucus' website. Obama swore, "I will not weaponize space." I guess by "space," he means he will remove all those weapons we have in Earth orbit.
Is Obama using cocaine again? There are no orbital weapons. We have done hardly any work outside the laboratory -- decades ago -- on orbital weapons.
I can only conclude that Barack H. Obama is so clueless, he thinks that our current BMD programs include orbital nukes. It's a sobering thought that the man who is only a vote away from becoming the Commander in Chief could display such an astonishing ignorance about basic defense policies that are not even classified.
Our Aegis systems (to defend against short-range missiles) and BMD systems (to defend against longer-range missiles, including ballistic missiles) comprise completely conventional missiles, not nuclear: SM-2 (Standard Missile) for Aegis, SM-3 for BMD. They're fired from ships floating (we hope) on the sea, not from Imperial Star Destoyers in deep space, as Obama evidently fantasizes.
If they "weaponize" anything, it's the ocean... on which, I am reliably informed, there may already have been some weapons, even before we deployed Aegis.
I hate to judge before all the facts are in, but it appears the Democrats have nominated Chance the gardener to be president.
Barack "Chance" Obama ends his spiel saying that his sole priority will be "protecting the American people." Unless, of course, such protection requires a weapons system to which he has taken a dislike (that would be all of them, it appears).
The IBD editorial ends its own, more considered offering with this chilling reminder:
Like the Ben & Jerry's crowd that supports him, Obama believes "real" national security is "humanitarian foreign aid" -- essentially using our troops as international meals-on-wheels in Africa.
We've been down that road before, too, in Somalia and elsewhere. Thanks, but we don't need a third Clinton, or a second Carter, term.
Or even a first Walter Mondale term.
February 21, 2008
Score... Direct Hit
The specially designed (I don't know what they mean by that) SM-3 struck the ailing satellite perfectly last night, destroying it.
In particular, the dreaded hydrazine tank appears to have been obliterated: Evidently, the missile hit the tank dead-on, exploding it in a visible flare.
At 5:26 pm Hawaii time, the USS Lake Erie fired the missile; the satellite ceased to exist at 5:29.
Several unfriendly countries (notably China) have remarked that besides preventing a dangerous situation if the hydrazine tank had, as seemed likely, survived its plummet to earth and burst open on impact... we have also managed to test an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) on the sly. (Of course, the Chinese shot down one of their own satellites on January 11th, 2007... but that's totally different.)
Nobody, however, has remarked upon the fact that, as this satellite was in orbit, traveling at (obviously) an orbital velocity of approximately 7,600 m/sec (17,000 mph), it's a nice simulation of an incoming ballistic missile in coast phase -- that is, after the rocket burn has ended and prior to the warhead(s) reentering the atmosphere.
In an earlier post, we quoted from the New York Times, which salivated over the possibility that the humiliating miss that the Left expected from this warmongering mission might finally drive a stake through the heart of ballistic missile defense (BMD):
Should it succeed, the accomplishment would embolden those who champion even more spending on top of the $57.8 billion appropriated by Congress for missile defenses since the Bush administration’s first budget in the 2002 fiscal year.
It might even revive a dormant effort to focus the military on antisatellite operations, as well. Failure, on the other hand, would be cited as hard and fresh evidence for those who point to the futility of space-warfare programs.
We mocked the illogic of this conjunction; even had we failed, why would that cast doubt on the efficacy of missile defense? We have no choice: Since our enemies will shoot missiles at us, we must be able to knock those missiles down.
But logic aside, we did not fail. We succeeded. In fact, we succeeded spectacularly.
So by the "logic" of the Left, I reckon we can say without fear of contradiction...
February 17, 2008
Step On a Crack, Defund Ballistic Missile Defense
Children often make up games where two utterly unrelated things are joined together in a faux causal relationship: "Step on a crack and break your mother's back." (In this case, it's not a double command: First step on a crack, then when you've finished, go break your mother's back; the conjunctive "and" actually functions as an "if... then" formulation: If you step on a crack, then you will break your mother's back.)
So it's not surprising that the superannuated lost boys of the Democratic Party do the same thing; no matter what their chronological age, they still have the heart -- and the logical faculty -- of a whiny, prepubescent child (New York Times article requires free registration):
The order by President Bush for the Navy to launch an antimissile interceptor [from an Aegis BMD equipped ship] to destroy a disabled satellite before it falls from orbit carries opportunity, but also potential embarrassment, for the administration and advocates of its missile defense program....
Should it succeed, the accomplishment would embolden those who champion even more spending on top of the $57.8 billion appropriated by Congress for missile defenses since the Bush administration’s first budget in the 2002 fiscal year.
It might even revive a dormant effort to focus the military on antisatellite operations, as well. Failure, on the other hand, would be cited as hard and fresh evidence for those who point to the futility of space-warfare programs.
Perhaps someone more learned in the labyrinths of logic can explain to me why failing to hit the satellite (if that happens) means that ballistic missile defense -- no, all "space-warfare programs" of whatever type -- are futile. I confess, the logical leap eludes me.
At worst, if the shoot-down doesn't work, it means that the current system, in its current state of advanced beta testing, requires a bit more tweaking before ready for deployment. But a failure could also mean nothing, if it's just a fluke failure of a standard system.
Note, we're not even talking about the entire Aegis system... just the Ballistic Missile Defense part. The Aegis system comprises two main components:
- Detecting, identifying, tracking, and intercepting short- to medium-range missiles whose ballistic track does not leave what is usually considered "the atmosphere"*; this program dates from the late 1960s;
- And doing the same to defend against long-range missiles that really do leave the atmosphere. This component is called Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), and it dates from the late 1990s (as "Aegis LEAP," for Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile).
There is no specific name for the former system; it was just called the Aegis system, and the newer research is nowadays generically referred to as Aegis BMD, rather than Aegis LEAP. The original Aegis system (non-BMD) has been deployed since the late 1970s; today, according to Wikipedia, there are over 100 Aegis-equipped destroyers and cruisers that have already deployed... in six different navies: Australia, Japan, Norway, Spain, South Korea, and of course the United States (since we invented it).
Aegis BMD is newer; we're just starting to deploy such ships now, the first in 2004, and only in the United States Navy, so far as I know -- though other navies sometimes participate in Aegis BMD tests. It grew out of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, but it's now a Navy program. One major difference between the two is that the BMD version uses SM-3s (Standard Missile 3), which is a long-range missile, while the older (non-BMD) systems generally used medium-range SM-2s (though you can use an SM-3 in a non-BMD intercept, if you want). Also, BMD uses much more sensitive and robust tracking stations circling the globe; it's a quantum leap over the old version.
Naturally, since the failing satellite we intend to destroy is in orbit at the edge of the detectable atmosphere, we're going to use the BMD version of the Aegis to shoot it down. The technology is pretty well tested out, and the odds are very good that it will do just what it's supposed to do. But the argument of "opponents" of missile defense (a.k.a., supporters of America being attacked), that a miss means the entire field of ballistic missile defense must be scrapped as useless, is so facile and infantile, I wonder that the Times had the chutzpah to put its name to it.
Here is the newspaper's reasoning:
Often compared to hitting a bullet with a bullet, the shooting down of ballistic missiles with an interceptor rocket is difficult, as an adversary’s warheads would be launched unexpectedly on relatively short arcs [hence all those tracking stations, Poindexter] -- and most likely more than one at a time. [Most likely? Says who? That depends on who's shooting, doesn't it? A terrorist might have only one to shoot.]
So it should be easier for the Standard Missile 3, a Navy weapon launched from an Aegis cruiser in the northern Pacific, to find and strike a satellite almost the size of a school bus making orbits almost as regular as bus routes around the globe, 16 times a day.
Sure, "should be." But suppose this one particular SM-3 -- which is off-the-shelf technology -- has a rocket malfunction and fails to rise high enough to hit the target. Why would that kind of failure indicate that all "space-warfare programs" are acts of "futility?" Try as I might, I cannot find any logical connection. It's like saying if a rifle jams, that demonstrates the futility of firearms-warfare programs.
But really, this article has little to do with shooting down a satellite with an Aegis BMD system from a naval ship in the northern Pacific Ocean... and everything to do with the liberal establishment's running hysteria with the very idea of active defense, as opposed to "defense" by paper treaty. The real point the Times wants to make is that we cannot rely upon self-defense measures, technology, the military, or American innovation to save ourselves; our only safety lies in getting signatures on little pieces of pressed wood-pulp. It's the decades-old Luddite exaltation of arms control over national defense:
The United States is perhaps the nation most dependent on satellites, both for commerce and for military communications, reconnaissance and targeting. And, to be sure, the Bush administration was harshly critical when the Chinese launched an antisatellite missile last year, the first time any nation had blasted an object in space in the 22 years since the United States last conducted such a test.
At the same time, however, the United States has resisted suggestions that a new arms-control regime be negotiated to govern space weapons, and has asserted its sovereign right to defend its own access to space and to deny it to others in future wars. [Sovereign rights! How barbaric]...
Efforts to ban space weapons, like the treaty proposed by China and Russia, are generally favored by arms-control analysts, even though they view the latest such initiative [from Russia and China] as deeply flawed.
(It would be churlish of me, alas, to cite the "deeply flawed" nature of the current proposal from our enemies as "hard and fresh evidence" for those who point to the futility of arms-control programs.)
There are several hard and fast realities that cannot be wished away by all the aging hippies suffering from Peter-Pan syndrome in all the New-Left think-tanks in America:
- We have enemies who possess long-range ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads that can reach the United States; these enemies may decide at some point that they can take any retaliatory hit and survive... especially if we have destroyed our own retaliatory arsenal -- or just as bad, allowed it to deteriorate to the point where we cannot rely upon it.
- We have even more enemies who possess medium-ranger ballistic missiles and WMD technology which can rain chemical or biological warheads on any country in Europe, hoping America will be unwilling to get involved in such an exchange (say, if we have Barack Obama as president).
- And we have many, many enemies who aren't even nations themselves... but who are just dying (literally!) to get their mittens on WMD warheads for the medium-range missiles they have already secretly bought from Iran, who got them from North Korea, who got them from China or Russia. They have the will, if not yet the means, to launch horrific WMD missile attacks on Western countries... without there being any responsible adult to hold accountable under any treaty ever signed by anyone.
On a nutshell, we cannot entrust national security to a handful of pages with signatures on them. If one of our adversaries chooses to abrogate a treaty (very likely, with the likes of Putin, Kim Jung Il, and Ahmadinejad) -- or if the actor who attacks us isn't even the head of any state but just a hirabi with deep pockets and a good Rolodex -- we can't jolly well wave the paper and say, "You can't attack us... we have an agreement!" Once the missiles start flying, there's no one left to cry to.
No matter how many failures, how many successes; no matter what the cost or how long it may take; we must press on defending our country from every threat we can see or even imagine. Closing our eyes, refusing to defend ourselves is never an option... whether because we decide it's too hard or too expensive, or because we let treaty fetishists make fools of us.
Treaties are valuable; I have nothing against them -- though they should be verifiable and fall with equal gravity on all parties. But the proper order is to protect ourselves first, then sign a treaty later... after the enemy realizes he cannot harm us. That's the only thing that will keep him honest: The utter certainty that the treaty is the best he will ever get, and attacking us would be infinitely worse for him.
The only trustworthy foreign potentate is one who has nothing to gain and everything to lose by betraying America. Good fences make good diplomats.
October 8, 2006
So Did They Or Didn't They?
So North Korea claims that it has actually set off a nuclear explosion.
Was it really a nuke? Or was it a huge mass of conventional explosives designed to simulate a nuclear explosion?
(On the bright side, as Friend Lee points out, Mark Foley is off the front pages. Somebody recently noted that the top story in every newspaper and news broadcast on September 10th, 2001, was -- Gary Condit!)
U.S. and South Korean officials could not immediately confirm the North Korean report but the U.S. Geological Survey said it recorded a seismic event with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2 in northeastern North Korea that coincided with the country's announced nuclear test.
The Colorado-based agency said it was unable to tell whether the event was the result of an atomic explosion or a natural earthquake.
We'll have to determine that pretty darned quickly. I think it should be possible to do so: in order to get a big enough explosion to create "a seismic event with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2," you'd need one heck of a lot of explosive material. All of that material has volume... which means you cannot pack it all into the same tiny space that a nuclear bomb occupies.
I imagine that the explosion, viewed microsecond by microsecond, would take a long time (relatively long) in the case of conventional explosives: first the core detonates, then the layer immediately surrounding the core, then the next layer, and so forth. I would expect such a chain-reaction explosion to be seen as sort of a rolling eruption.
But a nuclear explosion should be nearly instantaneous, since the entire bomb is smaller than a truck. I suspect the seismic signature of the two would be quite distinct. So we should know in a matter of hours whether Pyongyang really did explode a nuke, or whether they're trying to scam the world.
But how should we respond in each case?
If we determine it really is a nuclear bomb
We would know the following:
- The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK) has nuclear-bomb technology;
- The DPRK has long-range missiles;
- The DPRK, speaking through Kim Jong-Il's "unofficial spokesman," Kim Myong Chol, has said that the purpose of their nuclear weapons is to turn American cities into "towering infernos."
So what should we do? Certainly we cannot give in to nuclear extortion: the same "rambling editorial" that Captain Ed links to in his post suggests that America will flee the Orient as soon as the DPRK threatens to nuke our bases. Obviously we will not, cannot do that.
But we also can't just sit there, waiting on the will of a madman whether tens of thousands of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines will be obliterated. We can hope that our ballistic-missile defense (BMD) works; but I don't know if relying totally on defense is good strategy.
(And while we're on the subject, thank God and Ronald Reagan the Democrats were unsuccessful in killing off strategic and theater missile defense!)
So if we are directly threatened by the DPRK with nuclear attack if we don't instantly "redeploy" our troops (to Iowa?), I think our only realistic option is to launch an immediate strike on North Korea -- albeit a conventional one. Unlike Iran, the North Korean population is not incipiently pro-American, so we needn't worry about offending them by a coordinated strike.
Even if we choose the second option, sitting tight behind our BMD shield wall until and unless the DPRK makes good its threat -- then if they really do try it, our only possible response would be a full-scale attack. However, if it's clear that the strike actually sent against our troops (and, one hopes, thwarted by our defense) really was nuclear, then the nuclear gloves are off.
We must demonstrate to the world that if we're attacked with nuclear weapons, we will respond with nuclear weapons. Else, our entire atomic arsenal is no more a threat than a pistol in Michael Dukakis's hand.
There are several "admittedly regrettable, yet nevertheless distinguishable" scenarios arising out of our determination that the explosion today really was a nuke. Our job is to choose the one that best serves America's national-security needs.
If we determine it really is not a nuclear bomb
This would leave us in a very peculiar position. If the world believes it was a nuke, and we're the only ones saying it wasn't, will everyone think we're just in a state of denial?
And suppose we're able to convince everyone that we're right: what kind of a maniac would fake a nuclear explosion, knowing what reaction that might provoke from the real nuclear powers? I've said for a long time that Kim Jong-Il is mentally ill... but this would convince the entire world.
What happens next? What sanctions can one put upon a nation led by a crazy man? It's the Ahmadinejad problem, in spades and doubled.
The correct response in such a case might also be a major conventional strike. Winston Churchill (or someone else, like Georges Clemenceau or Robert Benchley) once said something along the lines that, if you're not willing to attack your enemy when he's weak, what makes you think you'll be willing to attack him when he's strong? (Ten points to the first person who can supply the actual quotation.)
And the winner is... Navyvet, who supplied the following, which I've slightly corrected (the sentence begins with the word "still") and attributed:
Ten points to the Navy!
If the DPRK simultaneously demonstrates vast insanity and extreme weakness by trying to fake having nuclear weapons, I think it's time to squash the bug.
They also serve...
For the moment, there is nothing to do but wait for word from American scientists whether that really was a nuclear weapon or not. After that point -- well, enough to say I'm glad I'm not in the White House, Pentagon, the CIA or State Department, in Seoul, in Tokyo, or for that matter, in Beijing. A lot of folks are going to be getting very little sleep for quite a few days.
June 21, 2006
To Bag Or Not to Bag
And the Democratic People's Republic of Korea already appears to be getting cold feet and sweaty palms:
North Korea wants talks with the United States over its planned missile test, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday, a sign Pyongyang might be ready to step back from the mounting crisis.
But Washington ruled out any special talks over the issue which it, along with South Korea and Japan, says poses a grave danger to a region already deeply worried by North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
Rule Number One of negotiations: when your opponent wants a meeting more than you, that's the time to demand concessions. Fortunately, we have a businessman in the White House... rather than a career politician who believes that when your opponent is anxious for a meeting, you should surrender to him.
I think it pretty clear that Pyongyang is more worried about a successful intercept by our BMD system than are the Democrats and some American military analysts, such as perennial Fox News commentator Gen. Thomas McInerney (who only gives us a 60% chance of hitting the Taepodong missile).
So far as I know, McInerney has not had any particular connection with BMD in many years, though I think he had some command responsibility over it at one point in his military career. I'm not sure how qualified he is to make such precise estimates, or what his basis is for doing so; I'd rather see a somewhat more current source -- except of course that would require leaking, which I don't want to see!
[Correction: McInerney said 60% chance with one shot, near certainty if we fire two antimissiles; but I still want to know what his basis is for saying either of these.]
One of the reasons I hope they do try to splash the Taepodong is to gainsay the chorus of screams already emanating from the penumbra of LiberalLand. From the AP story above:
Although shooting down a North Korean missile is a possibility, the Pentagon also must consider factors that would argue against such a response, including the risk of shooting and missing and of escalating tensions further with the communist nation....
Robert Einhorn, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a U.S. shootdown of a North Korean missile on a test flight or a space launch would draw "very strong international reaction" against the United States. He saw only a small chance that the U.S. would attempt a shootdown....
At the time of the 1998 launch, the United States had no means of shooting down a long-range missile in flight. Since then, the Pentagon has developed a rudimentary system that it says is capable of defending against a limited number of missiles in an emergency - with a North Korean attack particularly in mind....
David Wright, a senior scientist at the private Union of Concerned Scientists, said he strongly doubts that the Bush administration could back up its claims of having the capability to shoot down a North Korean missile.
"I consider it to be rhetorical posturing," Wright said. "It currently has no demonstrated capability."
The last time the Pentagon registered a successful test in intercepting a mock warhead in flight was in October 2002. Since then, there have been three unsuccessful attempted intercepts, most recently in February 2005.
The temptation to buck this finger-wagging, "it'll end in tears" whining is nearly irresistable.
The reality is that if the NoKos believe there is a good chance we'll shoot the missile down, they won't fire; they have far more to lose by a hit than we have by a miss. Curiously, there is a strange congruence of interest between the North Koreans and the American Democrats: both would love to prove that the much-vaunted BMD system is just "rhetorical posturing" by the military; but both are too frightened by the possibility that it isn't a fraud even to try.
Hence, the hellish chorus demanding we do nothing.
June 20, 2006
What Goes Up Must Come Down... But How?
So here is the syllogism; you supply the conclusion:
- North Korea insists that it has "the right" to launch a test of its new ICBM, the Taepodong-2.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has no intention of abiding by any treaties it may have signed against the proliferation of missile technology; and they are known to be working hard on a nuclear warhead (with a lot of help from the mad Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan) and may indeed already have a few. Now they say they have a right to missiles that can carry those warheads thousands of miles:
North Korea declared Tuesday it has a right to carry out long-range missile tests, despite international calls for the communist state to refrain from launching a rocket believed capable of reaching the United States.
The bristling statement from North Korea to Japanese reporters in Pyongyang came as France and the U.N. secretary-general raised the alarm over what are believed to be the reclusive nation's preparations for a test of the Taepodong-2, with a range of up to 9,300 miles.
In a totally unrelated move, the United States has decided to make a minor change in our defense posture:
- The United States has just activated our ground-based ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, in addition to the sea-based Aegis BMD system.
We have tested the Aegis extensively, and it has been considered fully operational for a long time now... despite not having been used yet in actual combat, so far as I know:
Two Navy Aegis warships are patrolling near North Korea as part of the global missile defense and would be among the first sensors that would trigger the use of interceptors, the officials said yesterday.
The U.S. missile defense system includes 11 long-range interceptor missiles, including nine deployed at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The system was switched from test to operational mode within the past two weeks, the officials said.
All right, so they launch; but where do they launch? What direction, and over what countries?
- The DPRK is not likely to launch an ICBM -- even as a test -- west across China or north across China and Russia; that leaves only east over Japan (which they have done before) or south over Taiwan and the Philippines, all three strong and vital American allies.
So put the three together, and what conclusion do we draw about our course of action? You guessed it:
One senior Bush administration official told The Washington Times that an option being considered would be to shoot down the Taepodong missile with responding interceptors....
White House spokesman Tony Snow declined to comment when asked if shooting down a launched missile was being considered as an option.
I suspect the only real question here is how likely we are to succeed: attempting to shoot down the Taepodong-2 and missing would be much worse than not trying in the first place; but trying and succeeding might reap huge dividends, as the generals behind North Korean leader Kim Jong Il probably think our BMD system is "all chopstick and no rice" (much like the DPRK food supply).
Proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that we really have it and it actually works might shock them out of their nutty idea that they can threaten us with nuclear missiles and back into at least a working definition of sanity.
But it's a gamble; let's not kid ourselves. Our tests so far have been controlled, in that we've been shooting at American missiles launched by American troops as part of a controlled engineering experiment -- as we should be; that's the correct way to develop a new weapons system. But making the shift to knocking down an actual enemy missile is a whole 'nother layer of complexity.
I believe it will work, so we should do it; still, none of us has access to all the classified data the president does.
But jeepers, would I love to see the collective gasp of a billion people if the NoKos were to launch -- and we were to swat their Taepodong out of the sky like it was a slow-moving fly. It would make my decade!
Sometimes the best thing to do in a "no-win" situation is to give the box a vigorous shake and see how the pieces realign themselves.
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