Archive for US Military

Stolen Valor

I really hate it when presidential candidates lie so brazenly about their military records, don’t you?

Hillary Clinton once claimed that she tried to join the Marines in 1975, shortly before marrying her draft-dodging boyfriend, future president Bill Clinton. Or did Hillary Diane Rodham attempt to join the Army, as Clinton suggested in 2008? Or did she indeed try to sign up for the Marine Corps as part of an experiment to see how receptive the military was to female volunteers, as her friends have suggested?

In June 1994, the then-first lady spoke at a luncheon for female military veterans where she told a story about her attempt to sign up for the Marines in 1975.

“You’re too old, you can’t see and you’re a woman,” Clinton recalled a young military recruiter telling her. “Maybe the dogs would take you,” he added, referring to the Army. [You sure that’s what he meant? Ed.]

“It was not a very encouraging conversation,” Clinton added. “I decided maybe I’ll look for another way to serve my country.”

So, after Wellesley College (’69) and Yale Law (’73), after working on the House impeachment committee in 1974, and around the time she accepted Bill’s proposal of marriage and joined him in Arkansas, she tried to become a jarhead? Ironic that she never waded the “shores of Tripoli”, but instead crashed and burned in Benghazi.

But it’s not just in Bosnia where Hillary’s war stories wax poetic:

But many were skeptical of the claim at the time. And in more recent years — in April 2008, to be exact — Bill Clinton said that his wife had attempted to sign up for the Army, not the Marines.

“I remember when we were young, right out of law school, she went down and tried to join the Army and they said ‘Your eyes are so bad, nobody will take you,’” Clinton said at a campaign event, according to Jake Tapper, then a reporter with ABC News.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called Clinton’s claims into question at the time. She asserted that Clinton’s story “did not seem to fit in with the First Lady’s own persona” and that her claimed fervor for the military did not match her political work for anti-war Democrats or her then-boyfriend Bill’s recent dodging of the Vietnam War draft.

“Rodham was an up-and-coming legal star involved with an up-and-coming political star,” wrote Dowd, a longtime critic of the Clintons. “She had made a celebrated appearance in Life magazine as an anti-establishment commencement speaker at Wellesley College, where, as president of the student government, she had organized teach-ins on her opposition to the Vietnam War.”

Clinton had also recently moved to Arkansas in order to be with her future husband, she told friends. The couple was married on Oct. 11, 1975.

“So, if she was talking to a Marine recruiter in 1975 before the marriage, was she briefly considering joining the few, the proud and the brave of the corps as an alternative to life with Mr. Clinton, who was already being widely touted as a sure thing for Arkansas Attorney General?” Dowd asked.

I always thought failed romances led to enlistment in the French Foreign Legion, not the Leathernecks.

But who is she kidding?

“Is it possible she was testing?” Blair asked. “I don’t remember if she was seriously exploring a career, or was moved by curiosity, or patriotism or feminism. I wish I had kept notes.”

Ann Henry, another friend of Clinton’s and a business professor at the University of Arkansas in 1994, told The Post that she vaguely remembered Clinton mentioning the military in 1975.

Conducting a test of the military’s response to a female applicant “would have been consistent with what was going on with us at the time,” Henry told The Post.

A career anti-military leftist, whose senior thesis was on Saul Alinsky, a little long in the tooth and with bad eyes, could still volunteer for the Marines. But I doubt it.

As for that other “liar”, Dr. Benjamin Carson:

The door to the ROTC room opened and I heard the sharp commands of cadet colonel Ben Carson. For ROTC cadets, Colonel Carson would be a mixture of discipline and education. As a black officer in a predominately black school, these cadets he commanded were a distinct minority in a school where the Black Panther Party followers were dominant and antagonistic.

For me, on that morning as a young ROTC cadet, I saw this tall slender ROTC Commandant of Cadets who reminded us of a better way, a more honorable way, to conduct ourselves.

Carson’s firm but calm demeanor then was similar to his announcement for president now. He was not loud or bellicose, like the words and angry pronouncements spilling out from the Black Panther Party leaders in the school and in the neighborhood.

That day and in the days that followed, he discussed an honor and duty that each of the cadets had to embrace for themselves to help themselves and the nation. At this first formal cadet formation, Cadet Colonel Carson laid out a litany of expectations and goals that he insisted were not his goals, but were to be our goals, if we were to ever leave high school and go further and higher in life.

While his words nourished this young cadet, I still thought of my father who was lying in a hospital bed and wondered how could words that were intended to nourish and train and create a pathway toward freedom from the neighborhood streets could truly be anything more than simply words. What Carson trained us to understand and even embrace was the notion that words do have power based upon constructive action.

Even as the black ROTC cadets were called “Uncle Toms” and at times much worse, the power of Carson’s words and his instructions and those of the other officers under his command moved about their training roles with the guidance he imparted. He was a leader who was teaching how to take command by first taking responsibility. When he made corrective suggestions to officers, sergeants and privates alike, it was done to improve and enhance the cadet.

As I wrote yesterday, this episode in Carson’s life only burnishes his reputation. I had thought he was just a smart kid who overcame any barriers of money, class, and race to become one of the most respected surgeons in the country. I never knew that he had proven experience of leadership, and had impressed a completely different realm of professionals—the US military—before excelling in medicine.

Only in the cesspool of American media could Carson’s exemplary talents—he could have been a general or the Surgeon General (or president)—be soiled by suspicion and innuendo. And Hillary’s soldier-hating past and her lies get a good leaving-alone.


Dr. Carson Performs Surgery Without Anesthetic

Ben Carson can take care of himself.

But when it’s time to kick the media in the groin, I offer my services gratis.

This is suppposed to be Carson’s downfall?


He was an ace ROTC recruit who passed up the military in favor of medicine, where he made history—and we’re arguing over whether he had dinner on a Tuesday or a Wednesday? That he was highly regarded is not in dispute; that he was recruited, ditto; everyone found him to be a remarkable young man. His accomplishments by that age would dwarf those of Barack Obama—if Obama had accomplished anything. And we’re playing gotcha over the meaning of “scholarship”?

It’s not a “high-tech lynching”, in Clarence Thomas’s felicitous phrase; it’s a back alley knee-capping. It’s a dirty, low, sloppy hit piece.

Rush was on fire (as you would expect):

“Here is the full statement Watts provided to [The Daily Caller]: ‘Dr Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit. In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer. He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors.” He’s never maintained that he sought admission and never maintained that he attended.

“‘The Politico story is an outright Lie,'” it says here. “Dr. Carson as the leading ROTC student in Detroit was told by his Commanders that he could get an Appointment to the Academy. He never said he was admitted or even applied. The campaign never ‘admitted to anything. This is what we have come to expect from Politico.’ Politico reporter Kyle Cheney, who has the byline on the Carson story, did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment,” from The Daily Caller.

Forget the Politico spin, focus on this: “Dr Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit…. Dr. Carson as the leading ROTC student in Detroit was told by his Commanders that he could get an Appointment to the Academy.” Of course he could have waltzed into West Point. He was the best candidate in his class! THE BEST!!! What are we arguing about?!?!

Carson has already won this battle. The only people we dislike more than politicians are media hacks. Carson couldn’t have ordered up a better campaign boost. I hadn’t even bothered to read up on this episode in his life story, but I’m more impressed than ever. Thanks, Politico!

If some people thought he was a passive, a little soft, he’s dispelled that notion in half a day. Jeb Bush would take notes if he had one ball or half a brain.

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But They Support the Troops!

Democrats love the military: they make excellent political pawns!

Senate Democrats launched a third consecutive filibuster of the bipartisan defense appropriations bill yesterday, once again blocking consideration of legislation that would fund the United States military and pay members of our armed forces. Yes, it’s okay to be thoroughly perplexed by this development. Remember, the ostensible reason that Democrats have engaged in this obstruction over recent months — which also entailed filibustering the Veterans Affairs appropriations bill — was to exploit the troops and veterans as leverage to force Republicans to agree to higher federal spending on unrelated matters. It was a cynical play, but thanks in part to President Obama’s hyper-partisan veto, it worked. Leadership in both houses huddled together and hammered out a noxious budget deal that raised spending caps on both defense and domestic discretionary spending, relying on gimmicks to “pay for” the increased outlays. In other words, Democrats got what they wanted. And yet, here they are filibustering the defense bill again, after the passage and signing of the budget compromise. Why? I spoke to several Senate Republican aides last evening who were mystified by Democrats’ knee-jerk intransigence. The idea, it seems, is that Harry Reid is paranoid that Republicans will pass the defense bill at heightened spending levels first, then renege on the contours of the new budget agreement by passing other spending measures at lower-than-agreed-to levels as a continuing resolution. Senate Republicans have no intention whatsoever of doing this, I’m told (GOP leaders called this “delusional” and a “conspiracy theory”), but that’s the excuse Democrats have conjured to justify their latest obstructionist gambit.

If you were able to get through that, good for you. But let’s jump to the effect:

Their latest filibuster takes this legislative nihilism to a new level, managing to draw the ire of Sen. Lamar Alexander, a mild-mannered, cooperation-minded Republican from Tennessee.

What [Senate Democrats] propose to do is block our moving to the appropriations bill for the defense of this country for the third time – for the third time. And there is no justification to do that. You are going to set in motion an irreversible trend of partisanship in the Senate – and I am going to lead it…[Budgeting and appropriating money] is our job. And they blocked it twice. And they’re getting ready to block it again with a vote today. I’m saying, ‘don’t go there.’ All of these Democratic provisions don’t have to be in…any of the [spending] bills because we have the majority, and you don’t. So if you’re going to play that kind of game, we can play it too. I’m not one who usually does, but I am able to play. I’m able to play, or I wouldn’t have gotten here.

Is there a politician more noxious than Harry Reid? I’ll answer that: no. I thought his slander of Mitt Romney in the well of the Senate as a tax-dodger—something he admitted he made up (“He didn’t win, did he?”)—was the lowest. Followed closely by his absurd claim that he went blind in one eye after an exercise accident. But this blows away anything else.

When will Harry Reid blow away?


What’s the Matter Obama, You Couldn’t Find a Preschool to Bomb?

A hospital, a warehouse, and a “mansion” (of sorts): that beats Bill Clinton’s targeting of an aspirin plant!

A deadly U.S. airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital last month has triggered an international outcry and investigations by the Pentagon and NATO. But it was not the only U.S. aerial assault to cause significant damage in this northern city.

Hours earlier, U.S. warplanes zeroed in on a warehouse and a mansion in two densely populated residential areas, according to witnesses and local officials. No one was killed in those attacks, but the targets were pulverized and the walls and windows of nearby homes were shattered.

No one was killed in “two densely populated residential areas” when “the targets were pulverized and the walls and windows of nearby homes were shattered”? Go on, pull the other one.

And how did we manage this trifecta of tribulation, but with the invaluable aid of our friends, the Afghanis:

All three U.S. strikes — on the warehouse, the mansion and the hospital — were requested by Afghan commanders, who say they asked for help because their forces were under attack by Taliban fighters. But residents said that while their neighborhoods had been conflict zones earlier, there were no militants at any of the locations at the time of the attacks.

The clinic bombardment, on Oct. 3, killed 30 medical staff and patients, in one of the deadliest civilian casualty incidents of the Afghan conflict.

Together, the three attacks raise questions about the quality and reliability of the intelligence Afghan security forces are providing to their American partners, as well as U.S. decisions to act on that intelligence. The target of every Afghan request for air support has to be independently verified by American military advisers before it is approved, according to U.S. rules of engagement.

Fourteen years after the U.S. intervention toppled the Taliban regime, intelligence gathering and coordination between U.S. and Afghan forces remain a major challenge. Faulty information and communication have been behind numerous civilian casualty incidents, as well as “friendly fire” attacks. Now, investigators are examining how an American AC-130 gunship could bomb a hospital for more than an hour.

I cannot tell a lie (this time): I burst out in laughter at that last line. You tell us when you get to the bottom of that, my army of Sherlocks. Pounding a hospital for over an hour—you wanna see what a AC-130 gunship looks like?

A treatable condition, I understand. But I imagine the hospital patients and staff excreted enough bricks to rebuild that “mansion” (of sorts) pulverized by the initial strikes.

I want to bomb the Taliban more than anyone, but there ought to be consequences when you miss. A Nobel Peace Prize can’t serve as a get-out-of-jail-free card forever, can it?


It’s Putin’s World, We Just Live in It

That’s hardly an original observation, but what does it mean?

The nation we used to call “Haiti with nukes” still is, though Haiti has better weather. It’s still a mess: paranoid; with an aging, sick population; restive Muslims on one flank, resentful eastern Europeans on the other; overreliance on one asset, selling cheaply, now and for the foreseeable future. Just because you’re paranoid…

But the 98-pound weakling is still the baddest-ass guy on the beach if the other guy can’t be bothered to interrupt the prime tanning hours.

US-led coalition forces had not carried out any air strikes in Syria for three days as of Monday, a lull that contrasts with the continued intensity of Russia’s bombing campaign.

According to Pentagon data, the last coalition strike was a drone attack on October 22 that targeted an Islamic State vehicle and a “mortar tube.”

Russia, on the other hand, continues to maintain an intense tempo as it nears the end of its first month of bombing in Syria.

The Russian defense ministry said Monday it had hit 94 targets in just the past 24 hours.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying Russia has bombed 94 crucial targets. For all I know, they bombed 93 palm trees and a camel. For all I know, they never flew a sortie, but merely announced they did, 94 times.

Whereas we:

“Air strikes ebb and flow… We look at intelligence to find out where we have actionable targets, where we have targets that we can hit without causing civilian damage.

“We simply haven’t had any (recently)… but that doesn’t mean we are not on the lookout for more – and there will be more.”

How can the sackless Jeb Bush be a Pentagon spokesman while running for president? The man has hidden talents.

According to Pentagon figures, the coalition launched 359 air strikes in July. The number dropped to 206 in August and 115 in September.

Continuing the downward trend, there have been 91 strikes so far this month.

“As we continuously seek legitimate targets, it takes time,” said Commander Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

“The strikes we take are not just randomly against targets; they are part of an organized campaign.”

And that’s the problem.


Vladimir Putin has been asked to help the Afghan government in its fight against Taliban insurgents.

In a clear signal of the worsening security situation in the war-torn country, President Ashraf Ghani has appealed for help from the Kremlin.

He asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country’s stuggling military, according to officials.

Russian officials have said they are ‘willing to help’.

Hey, Barack Obama! The 1980s called—they said lay off the ganja. They also asked how such a narcissistic underachiever who slouched into Occidental College ever—ever!—got to be a US Senator, let alone president.

A US official told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Russia is seizing the opporunity.’

They got that one right.

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This Man’s Army

Russia Man:

Wednesday, the New York Times ran a story about how American military analysts have been stunned by the precision and planning of the Russian operation in Syria. “What continues to impress me is their ability to move a lot of stuff real far, real fast,” the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe said, since it means that Putin’s military is fully capable of large-scale expeditionary power projection—something we used to think was solely an American specialty.

The Russians have also seamlessly carried out more bombing runs in a single day than the hapless American-led coalition conducts against ISIS in a month.

They’ve launched a new design of cruise missile against anti-Assad rebels that may match, or even surpass, American technology; and have overall displayed a professionalism and readiness that shocks observers who remember the sad old post-Cold War Russian military, or even the one that launched the invasion of Georgia seven years ago.

Obama Man:

The initial findings of an investigation into a U.S. airstrike against a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan have concluded that the U.S. government was aware the site was a hospital, two U.S. officials told CNN Friday. But that information did not get passed to the correct military personnel, they said.

The officials declined to be identified because the investigation remains ongoing, and both emphasized the initial information could still change as the investigation proceeds. But Doctors Without Borders (MSF), who ran the hospital, “did everything right in informing us,” one of the officials said. The location of the hospital “was in the military database” of restricted sites such as hospitals, mosques and schools that U.S. pilots are not allowed to strike even if insurgents are present.

In spite of my daily outrage, I have always thought America could survive—just, barely—Obama’s incompetence and outright hatred of Pax America. Now, though I will die before ISIS comes to dominate small town councils and state legislatures across the fruited plain, my children, Little Mohammed and Aisha, will have to learn the Koran if they want to keep their heads. FUBAR will do that.


Is Syria on Netflix?

The plot twists, the hanging endings, how do the writers do it?

Rebels with the Free Syrian Army repelled an offensive mounted Wednesday by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in central Syria, destroying 10 government tanks — despite coming under repeated Russian air assault, their leaders claim.

But they say front-line militias fending off a Syrian government ground offensive in the countryside near Hama need more U.S. assistance and are critical of what they claim is a reversal in American policy to establish a safe haven in the northern part of the war-torn country.

Free Syrian Army leaders say they thought they had an agreement on a buffer zone weeks ago and are mystified U.S. officials are now saying publicly that an American-enforced no-fly zone is a no-go.

Tu’mah expressed frustration — as well as confusion — over the Obama administration’s position on establishing a buffer zone in northern Syria — one that would be secure from Syrian airstrikes. He claims U.S. officials told them during the summer that a buffer zone would be established — part of a deal with the Turks for the use of the NATO airbase at Incirlik in southern Turkey by U.S.-led coalition warplanes to strike Islamic State extremists.

“It is very strange indeed …suddenly the Americans said there was no agreement at all,” he told VOA.

We live in very strange times, Tu’mah. (If an imposter shoud try to pass himself off as this guy, would people say “It’s not a Tu’mah”?)

American warplanes have been told to stay well away from Russian jets:

Since Russia began its military operation in Syria last month, U.S. pilots have been ordered to change their flight paths if a Russian plane is within 20 nautical miles.

Even the US Navy is making itself scarce:

As Russian warships rain down cruise missiles as part of its military strike in Syria, there’s now a glaring absence in the region: For the first time since 2007, the U.S. Navy has no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Here’s their excuse:

Military officials said Thursday that they’ve pulled the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is home to about 5,000 service members and 65 combat planes, so that it can undergo maintenance. The ship officially exited the gulf around 11 p.m. ET. The temporary measure is also the result of mandatory budget cuts.

Obama has turned tail and sailed, and he’s trying to blame Republicans? I haven’t seen an American run this fast since Bob Hayes won gold at the Tokyo Olympics. And which lie is the correct lie, that the ship all of a sudden needs maintenance, or that they can’t afford to keep it afloat? I guess they’ll have to scuttle it, right? Create an artificial reef (since all the natural ones are dying from global warming)?

Not to give away the season finale, but everybody knows that Russia is doing the chinless ophthalmologist’s bidding: eliminate all opposition except ISIS, then say to Obama, “Now, whaddya gonna do?”

Iraq already has its hand up asking for Russia’s help, and Iran is already taking delivery of Russia’s S-300 missiles.

This is what the new Russian sphere of influence looks like:

Russia is a paper bear, an origami bruin. Held together by scotch tape and bailing wire, funded only by oil revenue (today, half of its recent high), fielding an army of those few men who are not blinded by vodka or bed-ridden by TB or HIV, it is not built for the long haul.

And maybe that’s Obama’s strategy. Back off and wait for the barroom bully to pass out in his own sick. Except for those people who get hurt in the meantime, it just might work.

PS: Remember, we were once for Assad before we were against him:

And if you think I posted that picture solely to ogle Mrs. Chinless’ divine neck and shoulders, you know me too well. You don’t have to be Joe Biden to want to paw that flesh.


IED Rather Be in Philadelphia

Re my meditations on good and evil below…

This is evil “reverse engineered” into good:

By early 2007, some US intelligence estimates held that as many as 150 Iranian operatives were in Iraq. Many were member of the Quds Force, the covert arm of Iran’s Shi’ite theocracy. Their mission was to coordinate the violent campaign being waged against US forces by Iraq’s Shi’ite militias.

“It was 100 percent, ‘Are you willing to kill Americans and are you willing to coordinate attacks?’” said an officer who studied the Quds Force’s approach closely. “‘If the answer is “yes,” here’s arms, here’s money.’”

The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) set up a new task force, named Task Force 17.

Its mandate was simple: go after “anything that Iran is doing to aid in the destabilization of Iraq,” said a Task Force 17 officer.

[F]or a small number of Shi’ite targets, JSOC found a way around the political restrictions by killing its enemies without leaving any US fingerprints.

The command did this using a device called the “Xbox.”

Developed jointly by Delta Force and SEAL Team 6, the Xbox was a bomb designed to look and behave exactly like one made by Iraqi insurgents, using materials typically found in locally made improvised explosive devices.

Its genesis was the training that Delta and Team 6 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel went through to learn how to disarm the homemade bombs. After capturing some intact on the Afghan and Iraqi battlefields, the EOD troops set about taking them apart.

It wasn’t long before they realized they could build them as well. “So they’re reverse engineering the whole thing,” said a senior special mission unit officer. A collective light went on in some corners of JSOC when leaders realized the possibilities inherent in this capability.

At first, the officer said, JSOC’s bomb makers used components typically found in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater: “Chinese circuits and Pakistani parts . . . and explosives from old Soviet munitions, et cetera.”

That’s right: Americans were building the same IEDs, using the same parts, that the enemy were using to kill Americans.

With one key difference:

But the Xbox was different from regular IEDs in several ways, in order to reduce risks to operators and civilians. First, unlike many IEDs, such as those detonated by vehicles running over pressure plates, it had to be command detonated, meaning an operator somewhere was watching the target and then pressing a button. Another design requirement was that the Xbox device had to be extremely stable, to avoid the sort of premature explosions that often kill terrorists.

JSOC wanted to use the device to kill individuals, rather than crowds. “You’re just going to get the one guy in the car, you’re not looking to blow up 40 people in a marketplace,” said the senior special mission unit officer. “You’ve got authority for military force against one by-name guy. You’ve got to get positive ID and positive detonation in a place where you’re not going to get collateral damage. [For instance,] smoke the guy while driving his HiLux pickup in an area that there’s no US or coalition presence.”

JSOC used reconnaissance operators, who are typically some of Delta’s most experienced, because getting the device into position, by placing it in the target’s vehicle, for example, was “a lot of work,” he said. It usually involved surveillance of the target for days on end, understanding his pattern of life — his daily routines — so that the operators could predict when they would be able to gain access to his vehicle unobserved.

When that time window opened, “then, like out of the movies, you’re picking the locks and going over walls and alleyways, very shortly placing that stuff in there,” he said.

But although the Xbox began with personnel recreating devices from the Afghan theater, it was not used there, where Team 6 was the lead special mission unit. “We co-developed it with Delta, but it was only being used in Iraq,” said a senior Team 6 source, who questioned the morality of using the device: “[It’s] a great tool, but as many of us have said — hey, we’re no different than the enemy if we’re just blowing people up with booby traps.”

Well, they got that wrong. The enemy uses bullets, don’t they? Does that make you are “no different” because you use bullets too? A “booby trap” set for one targeted enemy leader, detonated when no one else will be harmed, bears no resemblance to the indiscriminate carnage, on civilian or soldier, purposely committed by the enemy. It is evil reverse-engineered into good.

Today, for an untold number of times in my adult life, I am proud of my country.


Commander in Chief

Issuing orders like the leader of the fr…leader of the world:

Russian officials have demanded that American warplanes exit Syrian airspace immediately, a senior U.S. official told Fox News early Wendesday.

The official told Fox News that Russian diplomats sent an official demarche ordering U.S. planes out of Syria, adding that Russian fighter jets were now flying over Syrian territory. U.S. military sources told Fox News that U.S. planes would not comply with the Russian demand.

“There is nothing to indicate that we are changing operations over Syria,” a senior defense official said.

“We have had every indication in recent weeks that (the Russians) were going to do something given the build-up,” another defense official added.

The move by Moscow marks a major escalation in ongoing tensions between the two countries over military action in the war-torn country and comes moments after Russian lawmakers formally approved a request from the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, to authorize the use of troops in Syria.

In news of other repudiations of US force:

A promised counterattack by Afghan forces aimed at retaking the strategic city of Kunduz from Taliban militants collapsed early Wednesday as hundreds of soldiers and civilians reportedly fled to the city’s airport, where they were surrounded by insurgent forces.

The New York Times reported that the assault on Kunduz, a city of 300,000 in northern Afghanistan, may have been just the first part of a broader offensive by the Taliban. The paper reported that several military checkpoints and government buildings in Takhar Province, east of Kunduz, had also come under attack by militants.

The Associated Press reported that Taliban fighters began fanning out across Kunduz itself Tuesday, closing roads, throwing up checkpoints and torching government buildings as fearful residents huddled indoors. Afghan forces attempting to retake the city were stalled by roadblocks and ambushes, unable to move closer than about a mile toward their target.

Meanwhile, U.S. warplanes carried out two airstrikes on Taliban positions, and a NATO officer told the AP that more airstrikes were unlikely as “all the Taliban are inside the city and so are all the people.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media on the issue.

I pity the Taliban. Imagine how they’ll feel when they wake up to realize they’re on “the wrong side of history”? They’re an emotional lot—I can see suicides in their future.

There are plenty in their past:


Old Soldiers Never Die

Unless they’re in the “care” of the VA:

Hundreds of thousands of veterans listed in the Department of Veterans Affairs enrollment system died before their applications for care were processed, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The VA’s inspector general found that out of about 800,000 records stalled in the agency’s system for managing health care enrollment, there were more than 307,000 records that belonged to veterans who had died months or years in the past.

In a response to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs’ request to investigate a whistleblower’s allegations of mismanagement at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center, the inspector general also found VA staffers incorrectly marked unprocessed applications and may have deleted 10,000 or more records in the last five years.

In one case, a veteran who applied for VA care in 1998 was placed in “pending” status for 14 years. Another veteran who passed away in 1988 was found to have an unprocessed record lingering in 2014, the investigation found.

The scandal predates Obama, but this is his position on the outrage:

The President and the VA are committed to ensuring that veterans have access to the timely, quality health care that they have earned and deserve.


As the President has made clear, those responsible for manipulating or falsifying records at the VA must be held accountable. The VA established an independent accountability review board to review employee actions and hold individuals accountable where there is misconduct.

Protections for Whistleblowers

The VA has reconfirmed and strengthened its commitment to protections for whistleblowers and the new leadership has been clear that retaliation against, or intimidation of, whistleblowers will not be tolerated.

New Commitment to Transparency

For the first time ever, the VA is providing the public with regular, updated information on the quality and timeliness of VA care. This is more information that any private hospital in the United States currently provides.

Ensuring Veterans Benefits

Improving quality and reducing the length of time it takes to process disability claims is integral to the Administration’s mission of providing benefits the care and benefits they have earned and deserve in a timely, accurate, and compassionate manner.

Legislation is the last refuge of scoundrels. Obama didn’t need a new law to take care of veterans; he’s not even doing it with a new law. The law just gave him cover.

The report released Wednesday reveals a web of complications with the VA’s management of health care enrollment data, including a lack of procedures to oversee records, software glitches within the records system and inconsistency in identifying veterans who have died.

The inspector general found the VA’s office responsible for enrollment “has not effectively managed its business processes to ensure the consistent creation and maintenance of essential data.”

Additionally, the investigation states the Veterans Health Administration “has not adequately established procedures to identify individuals who have died, including those with pending health care enrollment records.”

“Affordable health care for all”—except our soldiers. Heckuva job, Hussein-ie!

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General Disgust

To rabbis and Holocaust survivors, add generals:

An ad hoc group of retired US military officers is urging Congress to reject the Iran nuclear agreement.

According to The Washington Post, almost 200 former commanders signed a letter saying that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action undermines American interests and threatens national security.

The missive is a response to a letter sent last week by a few dozen generals and admirals who expressed support for the agreement.

“The agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies,” the latest letter reads.

One of the letter’s signatories, Thomas McInerney, is a retired air force lieutenant general who was vice commander of US Air Forces in Europe.

McInerney told The Washington Post that he considers the agreement “the most dangerous nuclear accord in US history.”

“What I don’t like about this is, the number one leading radical Islamic group in the world is the Iranians,” he said. “They are purveyors of radical Islam throughout the region and throughout the world. And we are going to enable them to get nuclear weapons. Why would we do that?”

Why indeed?

One of BTL’s discovered truths is that there are some problems that can be solved only by not letting them happen in the first place. Ruinous debt in Greece, illegal immigration here, these are just a couple of intractable problems that could have been prevented, but seem impossible to solve. The ayatollahs’ A-bomb is surely another. We had it in our power to prevent it. Instead, we’re merely managing it in an orderly fashion. We’re not only trusting a regime that daily calls for our death and Israel’s destruction, we’re in business with them.

“Why would we do that?”


The 1980s Called, They Want Their World Back

Just the other day, Aggie reminded us of Obama’s patronizing retort to Mitt Romney during the 2012 debates: “the 1980s called, they want their foreign policy back.”

Good one, sir. But can we get our 1980s president back too?

Just another nail in the coffin of Barack Obama’s naive worldview. Yesterday his Secretary of the Air Force stated that “the biggest threat on my mind [is] the activities of Russia.”

Obama’s JV worldview has been so completely dismantled that it is tiring to recount the ways in which he has misunderstood and ineptly responded to real threats (not, say, global warming). Yet it is indeed noteworthy that one of his top officials in 2015 has so effectively dismissed the Obama of 2012.

Ironically, should the U.S. send F-22s to Europe in response to Russia’s ongoing aggression, the planes will be fulfilling the role originally envisioned for them back in the 1980s, when the Cold War was in its final phases and Washington looked to ensure air dominance in any conflict with Moscow. Yet given the possibility that the planes might be needed in Asia to prevent China from gaining air superiority over contested islands in the East and South China Seas, or in Iran, should a nuclear crisis ensue, the paltry 150 or so combat-capable Raptors will be hard pressed to fulfill all the demands Washington may make on them. But, of course, it was Barack Obama who canceled the program back in 2009, when he was resetting relations with Russia and embracing China as a strategic partner. Sometimes all the parts of a worldview do fit together, unfortunately.

And when that worldview is held by the most powerful man in the world, it’s a serious problem. We have a soiled brat trying to do a man’s job.


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