Monday, September 28, 2009

Rules of Engagement Revisited

By: Thomas D. Segel

Date: September 22, 2009


Harlingen, Texas, September 22, 2009: Active duty military personnel, veterans and retirees alike all expressed their outrage and disdain for the reported Rules of Engagement (ROE) that resulted in loss of life to four United States Marines and nine of their Afghan army allies. In a Taliban initiated ambush the insurgents out-gunned the joint military unit and pinned it to indefensible ground. The NATO advised Afghan force was denied artillery support and did not receive close air support for more than one hour after coming under attack. By that time 13 lives had been forfeited because of a politically motivated ROE that always favors the insurgents.

Why was artillery support refused? Why were the helicopter gun ships needed for close air support late? Why did more Americans die? Many feel it is due to the always politically orients Rules of Engagement, a war fighting practice that is only rarely understood by the general public, and is seldom clarified or accepted by members of the military community.

One person voicing such an opinion is retired Marine Corps Major Frank Stolz. This author and authority on weapons of mass destruction points out that the ROE has been a very controversial issue since before World War II. He explains, “The original rules were formulated through the League of Nations (1929 – 1946) and were mainly written and approved by diplomats, lawyers, peace advocates and many others appalled by the slaughter of millions in World War I.” The actions of that war, according to Stolz, “included the use of poison gases and the destruction of entire cities through artillery, naval gunfire bombardments and for the first time ever, aerial bombardment, often times when the cities were still filled with non combatant civilians.”

Those who formed the first “rules” included a few people who had observed the horrors of war, but most were never in or near the front lines. They formed their opinions on the conduct of war from places of safety and comfort.

Though the League of Nations attempted to stem the threat of wars, success was never seen. The first rules they accepted were No shotguns in warfare; No flamethrowers in warfare; No aerial bombing of inhabited cities; Enemy and allied supply ships were to be stopped at sea, the crews and personnel were then allowed to get into lifeboats with sufficient food and water to reach the nearest land, and then their ships would be sunk. Says Stolz, ”these were but a few of the nonsensical rules made up by pinstripe diplomats and lawyers.” As history tells us, all parties engaged in combat followed few of these rules.

The ROE we find practiced today will vary slightly from one combat zone to another. It combines the old League of Nation rules along with newer insufferable conditions demanded by the United Nations and many of the European countries. As Major Stolz points out the ROE was intended for the conduct of warfare by uniformed combatants. It was not created to deal with terrorists, anarchists, insurgents and criminal elements all hiding among the civilian populations. Stolz concludes by observing, “Either through stupidity or a desire by some to see us fail, we have now given terrorists who indiscriminately bomb and harm innocent civilians, the same “rights” afforded uniformed military combatants. That, to me, is akin to allowing serial killers periodic home leaves in order to get their heads straight.”

The retired military community seems to be angered by the ROE now in place and how our government appears to have little regard for the lives of our many troops now in harms way. Says one veteran, “I believe we are wasting lives in Afghanistan. It cannot be won without taking out all extreme Islamic fundamentalists. The Taliban are ruthless. They follow no rules, period! They massacre at will. They are pure evil. How do we win this? There is no way except massive casualties across the board. It is a useless war and one our brave soldiers should not be fighting.”

Marine retiree William Bloomfield write, “Having lived through more than one tour in Vietnam, in spite of the ROEs, it smells to me an awful lot like “de javu” all over again. Politicians who haven’t a clue in charge of those who do. It is egos taking precedence over good judgment and common sense.”

Master Sergeant John Clayton says he is an old Vietnam combat veteran, who fought in that war during 1967 and 68. Clayton says, “There is no substitute for victory and appeasement leads to defeat, as France found out in World War II. Do our enemies have ROE other than to defeat those who oppose them?” He notes they battle the enemy “kill n any way they can and to hell with humanitarian ROE that our government imposes on our military for political and appeasement reasons.”

One soldier now on active duty, (we will call him Bob) writes, “ I am scared every time I’m told to move into a dangerous area. Most of us know we will receive little support when things get hot. Nobody really seems to care about us. If they did, they would make sure we had the weapons and troops needed to protect ourselves and win this thing.”

General Stanley McChrystal seems to have those same feelings. He has requested more support troops and equipment. He has requested thousands more troops and sent the White House a detailed report of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. He says he needs this support at once and if it doesn’t come we could lose the war. The report has been sitting on the President’s desk for almost a month and no action has been taken.

While all the political indecision continues, the ROE remains in force. More soldiers and Marines will be sent into impossible situations and asked to win without the tools of combat needed to complete their tasks. More calls for artillery will be made and denied. More calls for air support will be made and delayed. More Americans will die because of indecision and political cowardness at home.

Liberals are Killing America

Liberals are Killing America
By Alan Caruba

It is not a new observation, but it is one that needs review and repeating every so often. Why do liberals always seem to get on the wrong side of any issue concerning America’s future? Its sovereignty? Its financial security? Its defense?

I think this question is particularly timely given the public discussion of Obamacare that included a huge peaceful protest march on Washington September 12th. The President’s non-stop campaign to get “reform” passed and the heated exchanges in Congress do not represent actual healthcare reform, but are testimony to a liberal obsession with a very bad idea.

You know something is desperately wrong when Democrats will not permit the proposed bill to enjoy a grace period of 72 hours during which both the public and members of Congress can actually read it before a vote is taken.

The irony of the current battle is that the bill will significantly change Medicare, a program advocated by liberals and, like Social Security, established by Democrats in Congress. It will destroy a free market for insurance programs individuals may choose to purchase. Or not.

There is no dispute that both programs, safety nets for Americans, have been helpful. Neither is voluntary There is no doubt that both are insolvent because they are unsustainable. This has been exacerbated by the way Congress has dipped into the funds intended to be set aside for them.

Obamacare will end up killing a lot of the people that Medicare was intended to save from the diseases and accidents that afflict the elderly.

It is not so much a “reform” as an admission of the failure of Congress to properly administer Medicare. Moreover, the “reform” will seize control of one sixth of the nation’s economy and dangerously, insidiously come between physician and patient.

It is a reform that is doomed to failure because there simply are not enough doctors, nurses, and other licensed and certified healthcare providers.

The global warming hoax and the arguments that “saving the environment” justifies a horrid “cap-and-trade” bill under consideration is another example of how liberal zeal for apparently noble “causes” reaps more harm than good. In the process, actual known, proven science has been abandoned.

In many ways, America has historically demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to Nature. The set asides of vast tracks of national forests and natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone attest to this and the national effort to clean our waters and air attest to this.

The problem, one that was anticipated and feared by the Founding Fathers, is the continued expansion of the federal government’s control over all aspects of our lives. The creation and existence of the departments of education and energy have harmed America in countless ways. The Environmental Protection Agency is an assault on science and property rights. All are essentially unconstitutional.

There never was any scientific evidence for “global warming” and yet it has been the all-purpose “go to” justification for restrictions that range from toilets that lack sufficient power to flush and, soon, a prohibition on the incandescent light bulb. Environmental restrictions have done irreparable harm to the nation’s economic growth.

Natural phenomenon from hurricanes to floods to forest fires have been blamed on global warming and this continues even though the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for a decade and what warming occurred after 1850 was a natural cyclical response to a previous little ice age that had begun in the 1300s.

Liberals, however, lack common sense. Environmentalism has transformed from conservation to a wholesale attack on America’s industrial base and, in a larger sense, capitalism. The Left has always attacked capitalism and the free market system that is essentially self-regulating.

This is particularly evident in liberal efforts to render the nation unable to access its own vast energy reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal. Energy is called the “master resource” because, without it, life can be harsh and progress in the form of innovation and invention, slows. Industrialized nations are differentiated from “undeveloped” nations almost entirely on the basis of the availability and widespread use of affordable energy.

Liberals, however, would not just leave vast parts and populations of the world bereft of the energy needed to grow crops, create jobs, and serve the basic needs of their people, but continue to use environmentalism to denigrate everything from driving one’s car to the use of plush toilet paper.

While America has always been “a nation of immigrants”, the process of accepting new citizens has been undermined in recent decades by the ceaseless flow of illegal aliens entering the nation and not merely ignoring the naturalization process, but also taking wrongful advantage of social programs such as welfare, our educational system, and our healthcare system. Liberals, however, continue to campaign for amnesty programs.

The liberal attack on the institution of marriage, on the free expression of religious faith, and other elements necessary to a civil society is yet another example of the way a nation they profess to love is undermined as its core values are systematically destroyed.

And let it be said that in the decades since the 1960s and 70s, men and women who have been elected to Congress and to occupy the White House on the basis of their avowed conservatism, have too often yielded to liberal arguments and programs. Tax and spend is now a bipartisan philosophy.

Liberals now hold majority political power in Congress and the White House, and the nation has been witness to the abandonment of our allies abroad and an appalling level of corruption, wasteful spending on pet projects, of which ACORN is just one example.

Liberals created the programs that led to massive mortgage loan failures; liberal programs enacted to impose “fairness” ignored the inability of everyone to own their own home. Something was desperately wrong when government entitles such as Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac owned over half of all mortgage loans.

The government’s failure to exercise oversight and regulation over all elements of the nation’s financial system, based on existing laws, has resulted in the greatest ponzi scheme of the modern era and the failure of banks and investment houses. The Federal Reserve is neither federal nor a reserve.

Lastly, the grasp for ever more power, the introduction of unelected “czars” in the executive branch, and the possibility that the most liberal president ever elected is seeking the destruction of the nation call for both action and an increased devotion to conservative principles.

Americans are demanding a return to governance based on the limits of the Constitution and the reduction of senseless spending and borrowing. America belongs to “We the People” and We the People must defend it from those who see America only as a nation to be plundered.

Alan Caruba writes a daily post at A business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.

A Return From The Land of Nod?

By: Thomas D. Segel

Date: September 1, 2009


Harlingen, Texas, September 1, 2009: In deference to those on the radical left who may never open the pages of a Bible, the term “Land of Nod” is taken from the Book of Genesis and refers to that locale as a place of sleep. Truly, Americans were in the Land of Nod during the many months of the previous presidential campaign. They had to be sleeping to have allowed such a radical and destructive administration to gain power.

When the army of the far left marched into Washington last January, they were already in friendly territory. A Democrat-Socialist majority in Congress, willingly assisted by the Bush White House, had already poisoned the economic well with massive TARP bailout legislation. It was quickly outdone with a stimulus bill that tacked on another $800 billion-plus in debt.

We all heard about the big financial houses on Wall Street who had their futures assured by the taxpayers. We all read about the AIG bailout that even included enough of our money so the huge corporation could stabilize its foreign investments. We read about the $14.9 billion bailout to Chrysler and the $50.7 billion bailout to General Motors. A few people even heard about the $12.5 billion of bailout funds we handed over the GMAC to keep that segment of the auto lending market afloat. But, we were not too concerned, because we were all off visiting the Land of Nod.

So, now the political elite of Washington is in control of our national financial markets, they will build our automobiles at a design and price the government desires. They will even handle the financing of those cars and trucks through the government controlled GMAC.

Since they were so deep into the business they never wanted to run, it was only logical for them to come up with “Cash of Clunkers”, which might have been a blessing to some taxpayers, but was really another handout to the auto industry.

They next were talking about “Cash for Crappy Appliances” as a bailout. Folks would be able to turn in old refrigerators, washers, dryers, air conditioners and perhaps even electric toothbrushes. They would then get rebates to buy more energy efficient models.

While all of this was taking place the American public quietly continued resting in the Land of Nod. It was so quiet across the country that our caring Congress slapped together a pork laden healthcare bill that promised to help its friends and punish its enemies. It would force every person in America to eventually accept government healthcare. Oh yes, it would also tack on an additional $1.5 trillion dollars to the national debt.

In the space of less than nine months, the Obama Administration and Congress moved us from financial solvency into the status of being the Number One Debtor Nation in the World. There were a few yawns when this happened, but not many stirred from their resting positions.

So, those of the liberal left looked around and pronounced what they accomplished as good. They had already managed to control American education. The teachers unions of the nation were marching in lock step to the socialist drumbeat. But, they needed to cancel those pesky voucher programs just to keep the public school monopoly happy.

If anyone objected to what the political elite was attempting to accomplish, they already had an army of trial lawyers ready to take up their cause. The President also wished to establish his own version of the “Brownshirts”, an expanded Civilian Youth Corps.

The ACLU was so busy attacking everything American its litigators were working around the clock. It was “Change you can count on everywhere. This was particularly true in Congress and the Administration where nobody felt it was necessary to govern according to the Constitution. If there was too much noise about that issue they could always marshal ACORN and to handle the distasteful tasks of keeping the country distracted. But, why really worry? America was still off in the Land of Nod.

So, the far left thought this would be a good time to expand the agenda. The President suggested that it would be a good idea if the military and veterans of this country paid for their own health care. He said they should pay like everyone else because, “Nobody made them sign up in the armed forces. They were all volunteers.”

He also thought it would be a good idea to cut some of the waste out of Medicare by lowering payments to healthcare providers. This was suggested even though the payments are now so low many in the healthcare profession will not accept Medicare patients. In addition, he thought it would save a few bucks if we canceled the Medicare Advantage program.

The Administration talked insurance companies to back its play by promising they would get more business. The same confidence game was played on pharmaceutical companies, promising them a bigger healthcare pie would mean selling more pills. Some joined in support of the healthcare reform con job. An eye or two was opening up in Nod.

As a tool to keep costs lower, Congress made sure “end of life” counseling was included in its health care reform/health care insurance reform bill. With senor citizens now understanding they could be placed on a death list there were a few more stirrings in Nod. When the VA was instructed to provide veterans, particularly the newly wounded warriors, with the same “end of life” or “quality of life” instructions in booklet form, there were further awakenings.

But, the Administration was still not happy with the controls it was attempting to establish over the citizenry. Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd decided to control free speech on radio and television by using a variety of FCC rules including 100% profits taxation to silence unsupportive or uncooperative radio or television stations. The administration also thought it would be a good idea to move cable and satellite television under the FCC umbrella. And of course, we must have an FCC Czar. If that wouldn’t do the job of keeping the public silent, the Obama Administration wanted authority to take over or shut down the Internet in the event of an “emergency”. Eyes were now opening very wide in Nod.

As Americans started to awaken, they also started to talk, and argue, and yell, and rage at what their government was trying to do to them…all in the name of “Change”. They sent Tea Bags to Washington. They held Tea Parties. They wrote letters, sent emails, used the telephone. They stormed into town hall meetings.

But, the political elite did not like this noise and got very upset at the citizenry. Now they were no longer “My Fellow Americans”. They were mobs, crazies, GOP clones, and radical organizers. Some of the political elite tried to bluster their way past these multiple voiced concerns, but the sound of anger was too much for their timid souls. Most of them just hid from their constituency.

It is now very clear governmental hiding and ignoring isn’t going to work. From California and Arizona citizens are preparing to move. From Nevada they are coming. From Virginia and Maryland and Texas and New Mexico the airline tickets have been purchased and the buses have been chartered. Americans from across the country are marching on Washington D.C., September 12, 2009. They will be presenting grievances against wasteful spending, pork laden legislation, bank and auto bailouts, increased taxation, government control of salaries, the firing of corporation CEOs, unprotected borders, inattention to the illegal alien threat, government control of healthcare, unconstitutional czars, the threat of housing terrorists in the USA, the closing of Gitmo, the movement into socialism and a score of other misuses of their governmental offices.

Most of all, these Americans want their country back. They want limited government and they want The Constitution of the United States of America restored to its rightful place as the binding authority for the governance of our nation. Those in the power seats of government should really start paying attention. Joe Six-Pack and Molly Mall-Shopper are no longer asleep in the Land of Nod.