Tag: Military

VA Fires Phoenix Hospital Director

 

About five scandals ago, the Veterans Administration hospital in Phoenix was accused of allowing dozens of patients to die while awaiting medical care. Following this shocking revelation, several other VA hospitals around the nation were found to have falsified treatment data and waiting lists. As care for our sick heroes was deferred and denied, VA administrators gained large bonuses and sterling performance evaluations.

Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix facility and career VA employee, was placed on administrative leave earlier six months ago. Today, finally, some slight justice was served —Helman was fired.

Lower Your Expectations — and Your Defenses

 

The Pentagon is in the midst of reducing our armed forces to levels not seen since 1940. Thirty thousand active duty Army troops are to be eliminated in the next two years. The Obama Administration has since announced that they want 1,500 illegal aliens inducted into service. This is madness.

Just this year, since the beginning of the southern border crisis, at least 40,000 detained illegals have been released and vanished into the wider population. No one knows who they are, what their intentions are, or even their health status.

Coming Out

 

It’s still summer, but autumn felt close this past weekend. Daughter #2 has returned from camp. We were hosting a family barbecue as a sendoff for daughter #1, who will be spending the year in Israel before entering college. The crispness of fall has yet to set in, but the heat and humidity of summer were gone.

At the barbecue, we talked about my daughter’s classmates, and their plans. About half are going to Israel next year, the rest straight to college. What happened to the boy who applied to West Point? He discovered he had a disqualifying health problem. My parents expressed relief. Ilana, their friends’ daughter, was injured in Iraq, and years later she is still fighting to get proper care from the VA.

A Return to Coercion

 

With Iraq collapsing, Russia attacking, and China rising, the Obama administration is only now taking the first steps toward forceful action. It will have at its disposal a broad spectrum of options, thanks to new military technologies such as cyber-weapons, unmanned drones, precision munitions, and robotics. But it has yet to free itself from outmoded ways of thinking of war.

In an article just posted, co-written with Jeremy Rabkin of George Mason University, I argue that the United States should use these new weapons in the way it has used economic sanctions and blockades (as means to coerce other nations to pressure their leaders to change policies, rather than consider them kinetic weapons like artillery or armor.

Sword, Juno, Utah, Omaha, Gold

 

D-DayEach June 6th, those words leap to the front of one’s consciousness. They were the code names of the five most important beaches in the history of the United States — and the free world. (Ok. The men who landed on Iwo, Tarawa, Guam, Saipan and dozens of others in the Pacific might argue that point).

Seventy years ago, the largest armada ever assembled crossed the Channel from England headed for Normandy. It was called “Operation Overlord” and it almost didn’t take place.

A few days before it was to begin, the word “Overlord” appeared in a crossword puzzle in the London papers. Intelligence assumed it was a signal to the Germans about the upcoming invasion. To this day, it has never been explained–except to call it an untimely coincidence.

Obama’s Casual Contempt for the Military

 

Sitting in the boardroom, a dozen social workers, salesmen and developers were waiting for the Health IT CEO to kick off the meeting. As we rocked in our chairs, my boss — an MSW-cum-Chief Sales Officer — complained about his “black sheep” cousin who was shaming the family name.

“The rest of us went to college but he’s stuck in the Army,” he said.

On Sgt. Bergdahl and Unrequited Allegiance

 

You know at the very instant Susan Rice appears on television that, A) something has gone horribly wrong, and B) you are about to be served a whopper that not even Burger King would touch. 

“We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our Republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who were taken in battle,” said the National Security Advisor, whose mind was blissfully unclouded by a sacred duty ignored when it came to Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in the heat of battle.  

Member Post

 

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (quoting Shakespeare): “What a piece of work is man, in form and movement how express and admirable. In action how like an angel.” Sergeant Buster Kilrain: Well, if he’s an angel, all right then. But he damn well must be a killer angel.   – Gettysburg (1993) Preview Open

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Cue Up The Band

 

shutterstock_106322621Peggy Noonan writes today in the Wall Street Journal that the US needs a military that acts swiftly and doesn’t brag. I agree with that first point — especially with the suggestion that we should have cut to the chase and sent in the troops to rescue the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. The military would have been delighted to execute such an assignment, a good thing would have been accomplished, and we would have demonstrated that America hasn’t completely forgotten how to flex its muscles. Nigeria’s not going to declare war on us. And is the international community likely to get on their high horse over the rescue of innocent girls? And so what if they do?

I wasn’t as convinced, however, by her assertion that great militaries shouldn’t brag. I understand the principle behind it: don’t showboat and let the guns do the talking. But I suspect the truth is that pomp and ceremony have always been a component of military might — and probably for good reason. Triumphalism is actually pretty effective at producing the “shock and awe” factor that great militaries like to inspire in civilian populations, both at home and abroad. I myself tend to react reflexively against propaganda, so the flag-waving jingoism often misses with me, but there’s no denying that plenty of people like it and it tends to make an impression. Compared to missiles and tanks, flags and musicians are cheap and safe. If there’s a chance of forestalling a war with a parade … throw the parade.

On a less utilitarian level, I’m inclined to think that the bragging may actually be a healthy and natural part of military prowess. Of course, I say that as someone who has never had any justification whatsoever to engage in that kind of self-aggrandizement. But I’m guided here mainly by reflection on how soldiers and military pomp were regarded historically. There seems to have been widespread agreement among the ancients that soldiers fought for honor and, insofar as they did their jobs valiantly,  deserved it in a way that few other members of society did. Sedentary brainiacs (read: people like me or Peggy Noonan) find it easy to wrinkle our noses and piously suggest that war is no laughing matter. The people who are throwing the parades, however, know this far better than we.

Member Post

 

The Call of Duty video game series has tens of millions of registered users. So you can bet that this promotion video for the next sequel is going to get plenty of attention. What does it get right? What does it get wrong? Where should debates about mercenary employment go from here? Preview Open

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Member Post

 

Larry Thornberry at American Spectator makes quite a case for how the current administration threatens our long term national security in a piece titled Uncle Sam Wants You–Sort Of. Having served and faced the life changing question of reenlistment I concur fully with his assessment that Obama and company are “an administration that has an […]

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Why Won’t Europe Defend Itself? — Peter Robinson

 

Back when the United States had no qualms about maintaining an enormous defense establishment, I could see why the Europeans wanted to let us do all the nasty work, maintaining only nominal defenses themselves. But now?  President Obama has devoted the last five years to reducing our commitments abroad, shrinking our armed forces, and making us, withal, much less reliable allies than we used to be.

The European response? To make their defense budgets even smaller.