Category Archives: Politics

Remember the Powell Doctrine? The Weinberger Doctrine?

Something to consider.

Powell Doctrine

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support

Weinberger Doctrine

  1. The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
  2. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
  3. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
  4. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
  5. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a “reasonable assurance” of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.
  6. The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.

Thoughts on the Syrian Mess

I happen to have a little bit of experience with the intersection of national security and foreign affairs (masters from the Naval War College, worked on the Joint Staff J5 (Politico-Military Affairs) in ’92-93).  One thing I learned was there is no simple answer on anything.  Pres. Clinton discovered this when he took office with his think-tank driven multilateral engagement policies.  Somalia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, North Korea, etc.  [Note: of those listed, only Yugoslavia turned out relatively well.]

What do we see today? There are no longer two generally rational superpowers maneuvering chess pieces & fighting proxy wars for strategic gain. Russia is now focused and quite a bit more belligerent.  China is stronger and playing for the long game.  We have Islamic aggression that we refuse to acknowledge much less confront.  Iran is strengthening and will soon have nuclear weapons.

The U.S.?  Gazing at our navel because we have no clue and no strategy and no plan.

We have a mess. We haven’t learned from Iraq & Afghanistan (which by the way I supported).  We support the toppling of dictators in the name of freedom yet we “hope” that the radicals won’t take over.  Doves are now hawks to save political face, not because they have any convictions.  Hawks are now doves because either they (1) hate the administration or, in my opinion,  (2) see we haven’t a clue about what we are trying to accomplish.  That would require a strategy.

Hope isn’t a strategy.

Pot – Kettle Meet John Kerry

From the Weekly Standard:  “John Kerry, the richest U.S. senator, railed against the “corrupting” power of money in politics in his farewell address today on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Hmm.  One might offer the following comment from Hamlet:

   “The {senator} doth protest* too much, methinks.”

*(Yes.  I know that “protest” had a different meaning to Shakespeare – “solemnly declare” or “vow” – it fits today’s usage.  Lighten up Francis. – from the movie Stripes.)

The Danger of Parsing the Truth

It seems that no one wants to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Instead, we hear precisely crafted statements that one can point back to and claim that the statements were factually correct.  The recent presidential press conference offers a couple of excellent examples.

“I have no evidence at this point, from what I’ve seen, that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security.”

  • “from what I’ve seen” — If you haven’t seen the evidence then you can’t speak to anything regarding it such as whether it was disclosed, what was disclosed, the manner of the disclosure, and whether it had a negative impact.
  • “would have had” – limits this to a possibility of impacting something prior to this particular statement.  The disclosure could therefore have a future impact and still be a correct statement.
  • “negative” – depends on one’s view on what you view as negative.  What I see as a negative might just be viewed as a positive or neutral by someone else.
  • “our national security” – my view of “our national security” is likely different from that of the current administration.  For example, I viewed so-called Arab Spring uprising in Egypt as bad as it might result in the Muslim Brotherhood governing the country.  The President viewed otherwise.  (and how’s that working out?)

Another example is the President’s statement about Ambassador Rice’s “presentation” to the five Sunday talk shows.  He stated,  “she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.”

  • “her best understanding” – First, Amb. Rice is not an intel analyst.  (She is very smart, but she is also a political creature. She also knows how information is crafted as she was one of the area directors on the NSC during the Clinton administration – I had brief interactions with her on crafting the USG position on support for the UN sponsored Transitional Authority in Cambodia. At least during the first Bush & first Clinton terms, talking points and positions are crafted and massaged by interagency folks BEFORE going out to speak.  Of course if it was a political position then DoD and CIA are cut out.)  So was she able to ask specific questions relating to the intelligence?  Or as a political creature did she realize that as someone who was not in the loop of what actually happened (but sent to talk about it anyway) that it would be best not to ask questions? What kind of briefings did she receive and from where did they come?
  • “that had been provided to her” – Obviously this is the key wording.  If she was provided slanted intelligence to fit a particular narrative then she would have been telling the “truth” according to what she knew at that particular time even if it really was what was actually known.

Politicians aren’t the only ones who do this.  We do this when what others might think of us when the truth is spoken plainly.  Take your lumps, apologize, fix it, and move forward.

My Top Ten Reasons To Vote Against President Obama

Rather than sound all thoughtful or such, here are my top 10 reasons:

  1. 100% pro-abortion stance to the extent he refused to vote for a bill requiring medical care to a baby born alive.
  2. Complete lack of foreign policy experience and education (living overseas as a child doesn’t count).
  3. Believes & acts as if he is above the law (numerous executive orders, disregard for Defense of Marriage Act, immigration enforcement). Rather than work with Congress to change them, he simply picks and chooses which ones he likes or dislikes.
  4. Seeks power through fear & divisiveness, particularly race and class
  5. Narcissistic behavior – It’s all about him.
  6. Zero respect for the office of the president – think of Mel Brook’s King Louis – “It’s good to be the King” scenes in History of the World, Part I .  Golf, parties, golf, talk shows, 2 years of campaigning, golf.
  7. Blames others when he is unable to achieve due to his poor policies, leadership, and incompetence.
  8. Untruthful regarding past association with domestic terrorists and radicals.
  9. Zero respect for the United States.  We bow to no one but the Sovereign God.  He represents the nation, not himself.  Granted, we aren’t perfect but name one that has made a greater positive difference to the rest of the world.
  10. Marxist elitist (I’ve reaped the benefits so NOW it’s time for change)

I could go on & elaborate on each, but you can’t refute anything on the list.  If you believe there is anything else he has to offer or can bring to the table that outweighs these negatives then please, be my guest.

Overseas Absentee Ballots

Some states just don’t get it.  According to an Army Times article, some jurisdictions in Michigan, Mississippi, Vermont, and Wisconsin did not make the deadline for mailing absentee ballots overseas ICW the Move Act.  Two of the four are swing states currently listed as up-for-grabs by Real Clear Politics.

If you are looking for your ballot from these states, contact your county clerk’s office or the board of election as appropriate.  Click on the links below to start your search.  If you are military, contact your voting officer, senior enlisted adviser, commanding officer, or legal office.

Don’t be silent if your hard fought rights are being trampled upon by EITHER party.

BTW, Michigan appears to be the least helpful.  You might be able to figure out why.

But isn’t that his job?

Leave it to the NYT to bury an aide’s comment in this article what would have been the lead for anyone else.

But a campaign adviser acknowledged privately that in this election year, campaigning trumped meetings with world leaders. “Look, if he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10,” the aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Marriage Penalty and increased investment income taxes to return Jan 1, 2013

With the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax relief acts, the marriage penalty for many couples will return.  The marriage penalty occurs most often when dual spouses have similar incomes.  According to this Americans for Tax Reform article,  another impact will be that the “standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single individual.” In other words, a married couple’s standard deduction is less than two individuals living together not married.

One would think that the societal benefits of marriage (defined as between one man and one woman) such as child and adult health, happiness, and achievement would outweigh the slight increase in revenue received. [And OBTW, there are numerous studies about those benefits so don’t even go there.]

The investment tax increases will ensure less money is invested in companies.  “Why is that?” those of you who are less savvy in economic behavior might ask.

Simple – money that you might have reinvested in a company through stock/fund purchases has to be withdrawn to pay taxes.  “But the government can spend it and not horde it like the evil rich,” you gleefully reply.  Yes. But not as efficiently as you or the private sector. And there is less money in the banks to be lent to others. If you are altruistic, that also means less money donated to the poor.

Individual Christian v. Societal Responsibilities

The Bin Laden killing provides an example of where one’s personal actions (grounded in christian belief) may conflict with necessary actions of society.  This article in Momentary Magazine by Peter Wehner calls N. T. Wright to task for a flawed understanding of Jesus’ teachings and cites Paul in Romans 13 regarding the role of governments to maintain societal order.

1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. Forthere is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but alsofor the sake of conscience.  (ESV – Bible Gateway)

I’m still trying to get a fuller grasp of the “two kingdoms” concept, but I see this works within it.  We have Christian beliefs and roles which guide our daily living as well as our political leanings, yet we are not here to establish God’s kingdom on earth.  While sin and death have been defeated and Jesus has established the kingdom, it has not been fully realized here on earth.  Turning the other cheek yet not protecting the weak makes no sense.

Osama Bib Laden, Justice, and our Response

Once again Albert Mohler puts things in a different perspective.  Of course killing OBL was the proper action for the US and our president to take.  Mohler agrees:

In his short and historic address, the President justified the military action in terms of an act of war. In reality, the operation was a stunning affirmation of the effectiveness of American military expertise, combined with a remarkable intelligence achievement. Bin Laden was killed even as he was within a highly-guarded, encircled compound with walls and defenders. The act was fully justified by the demands of just war theory, the historic Christian means of moral reasoning that measures the justification for acts of lethal force.

(snip) The death of bin Laden was fully justified as an act of war, but not as an act of justice. The removal of a credible threat to human life — a clear and present danger to human safety — is fully justified, especially after such an individual has demonstrated not only the will but the means to effect murder on a massive scale.

So far so good, but this is the part we ought to think about:

And yet, there are two troubling aspects that linger. The first is the open celebration in the streets. While we should all be glad that this significant threat is now removed, death in itself is never to be celebrated. Such celebration points to the danger of revenge as a powerful human emotion. Revenge has no place among those who honor justice. Retributive justice is sober justice. The reason for this is simple — God is capable of vengeance, which is perfectly true to his own righteousness and perfection — but human beings are not. We tend toward the mismeasure of justice when it comes to settling our own claims. All people of good will should be pleased that bin Laden is no longer a personal threat, and that his death may further weaken terrorist plans and aspirations. But revenge is not a worthy motivation for justice, and celebration in the streets is not a worthy response.

(snip)The second troubling aspect is just part of what it means to live in a world in which true justice is always elusive. Osama bin Laden is dead, but we never had the satisfaction of seeing him arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced. We were robbed of the satisfaction of seeing the evidence against him laid out, and seeing him have to answer the world about his murderous actions and plans. We were robbed of the moral satisfaction that comes by means of a fair and clear verdict, followed by a just and appropriate sentence.

I feel satisfied with OBL’s death but am uncomfortable about the celebrations outside the White House and elsewhere.  They reminded me of the glee too often seen in Islamic countries at the death of innocents following terror attacks.  We should be better than that.  And those of us who are Christians must be.