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Belmont Club

A Diary of Current Events

December 19th, 2013 - 3:11 pm

Time for another news roundup.

Differences with that staunch US ally, Pakistan, may force the US to withdraw its forces at least partly by air. The AP reports: “U.S. officials, frustrated that hundreds of military shipments heading out of Afghanistan have been stopped on the land route through Pakistan because of anti-American protests, face the possibility of flying out equipment at an additional cost of $1 billion.”

U.S. officials said Wednesday they have seen no effort by the Pakistanis to stop the protests, which prompted the U.S. three weeks ago to halt NATO cargo shipments going through the Torkham border crossing and toward the port city of Karachi.

A Pakistani official says the government is looking for a peaceful settlement but notes that citizens have the right to protest as long as they are not violent.

The Marine Corps Times asks a rhetorical question: “Have Afghan forces intentionally surrendered turf in Sangin to the Taliban?”

U.S. and Afghan officials are investigating reports Afghan forces have given the Taliban control of multiple checkpoints in Sangin, where hundreds of Marines were wounded or killed during a difficult, years-long fight to secure one of Afghanistan’s most violent territories.

Reuters asks still another. What will happen to all those Afghans who bet their lives on the success of Western values once the US leaves? The women who went to school, accused their kinsmen of rape, the interpreters, the local NGO workers — what happens to them?

Concern about a future without foreign support is all the more acute now that the United States has threatened to pull out all its troops over a crucial security deal Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign.

Barack Obama’s War of Necessity is lurching to an inglorious conclusion.

But at least he’s got a possible agreement with Iran. But what is the deal? France 24 writes: “French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Thursday that Iran may never be willing to completely give up its nuclear weapon-making capabilities, casting doubt on the chances of a final deal being struck with Tehran over its nuclear programme.”

The Senate Democrats are being strongarmed to go along with exactly what? “A bipartisan group of senators will soon introduce legislation that would level new sanctions against Iran, defying pleas from President Obama for Congress to wait while the administration works toward a comprehensive deal. Lawmakers are circulating legislation to impose additional sanctions that would kick in after the six-month negotiating window to reach a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program runs out, or if Iran fails to hold up its end of the bargain in the interim.”

Allies on both oceans are beginning to get the feeling that the hegemon has left town. DOD Buzz has some details about Japan’s massive new rearmament program.

Japan adopted its first “National Security Strategy” Tuesday aimed at shaking off the restrictions of its pacifist Constitution to confront perceived threats from China by buying a vast arsenal of advanced U.S. weaponry to include MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and F-35 fighters.

The strategy approved by the Cabinet of nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted that “Japan is vigilant against China’s activities in the East and South China Seas to change the status quo based on claims that are inconsistent with international law.”

Under the plan, Japan would spend $240 billion over the next five years on new equipment for the military to include 17 MV-22 Ospreys, 28 F-35 fighters, three unarmed Global Hawk drones and 52 amphibious troop carriers to shore up the offensive capability of its Self-Defense Forces.

Even the EU is beginning to realize they are naked before external threats. Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign affairs and security policy high representative describes the transformation of the EU into a military alliance in the Wall Street Journal.

The meeting of EU leaders in Brussels this week sends a clear signal that defense is now top of the agenda in Europe. Three topics will be at the center of our discussions: first, the priorities for future development of capabilities; second, building a competitive and innovative defense industry; and third, the preparation and availability of our forces.

The new emphasis on defense does not mean that the EU has abandoned its identity as a peace project in favor of more bellicose ambitions. On the contrary: Europe is aware that to remain true to its nature as a peace project, it needs the capabilities to protect and uphold its values in its neighborhood and beyond.

The administration that promised to end the war on terror “where it began”; to usher in a “world without nuclear weapons” and to create a planet where the environment would heal has not notably succeeded. Congress is asking the DOD to review its ability to survive a nuclear war.

Congress is getting set to tell the Pentagon to create a new body to oversee technologies that facilitate U.S. leaders’ communications during nuclear crises.

A provision in the House-Senate compromise on an annual military authorization bill would require the Defense Department to establish a special council with responsibility for “nuclear command, control, and communications,” also known as the NC3 system. …

Under the legislation, Congress would give the nuclear network a senior focus inside the Pentagon. The measure directs that the council be co-chaired by the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics. The body also is to include the undersecretary of Defense for policy; the head of Strategic Command; the director of the National Security Agency; and the Pentagon’s chief information officer.

The renewed concern over the integrity of national command authority was coincidentally preceded a few days ago by Peggy Noonan’s piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Incompetence”. She described the management chaos in the White House.

I’m worried, finally, that lines of traditionally assumed competence are being dropped. The past few weeks I can’t shake from my head this picture: The man with the football—the military aide who carries the U.S. nuclear codes, and who travels with the president—is carrying the wrong code. He’s carrying last month’s code, or the one from December 2012. And there’s a crisis—a series of dots on a radar screen traveling toward the continental U.S.—and the president is alerted. He’s in the holding room at a fundraiser out west. The man with the football is called in and he fumbles around in his briefcase and gets the code but wait, the date on the code is wrong. He scrambles, remembers there’s a file on his phone, but the phone ran out on the plane and he thought he could recharge in the holding room but there’s no electrical outlet. All eyes turn to him. “Wait—wait. No—uh—I don’t think that’s the code we use to launch against incoming from North Korea, I think that one takes out Paris!”

Of course things could never be that bad. Or could they?


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Top Rated Comments   
They had a good, long ride ritually abusing kind Uncle Sam and thoughtlessly depending on his largess for their safety. Gosh, it must have been pretty exciting in those days when massive anti-American demonstrations were going on everywhere in the world every day every week.....think of all the Hot Chicks!

As far as the Afghans go, unfortunately they have a President who think the US can be shaken down for a little bit more dough. They should have listened to the foreign minister of Iraq, who flew to Kabul to tell Karzai that the US could and would call his bluff.

I would rather every single interpreter or NGO worker, every single woman who reported a rape or went to school be shot dead the second we leave than have one more young American die in that festering hell hole.

I've lost every single ounce of sympathy for the rest of the world.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Expedience before honor; appearance before substance. After all, people forget after a while, no?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
What will happen to all those Afghans who bet their lives on the success of Western values once the US leaves? The women who went to school, accused their kinsmen of rape, the interpreters, the local NGO workers — what happens to them?

Please allow me to paraphrase my South Vietnamese friend who escaped a post-war prison camp to come to the US. He loves this country but said that the US Government was probably the worst ally ever. Hard to argue with that assessment when you see the same thing happening over and over again. The minority of people who actually believed in what we were supposedly fighting for are going to pay an awful price, once again.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (45)
All Comments   (45)
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We are in the thrall of a congeries of traitors.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
“The administration that promised to end the war on terror 'where it began'...”

The war didn't start in Afghanistan. It started in Saudi Arabia with the indoctrination of Osama bin Laden and the House of Sa'ud's incubation of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. One could argue that the war started in 1968 with the assassination of Robert Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan, or in 1979 with the Iranian hostage crisis and the 1979 attack on the American embassy in Pakistan. A lack of American response to these and other outrages encouraged Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to think they could attack us with impunity.

Far from ending this war, Obama's behavior is expanding it. Rewarding one's enemies with obsequiousness only invites contempt. Instead, we need to find cost effective ways to defeat our enemies. Sadly, our political establishment hasn't even started to ask the right questions...
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Japan is buying the Osprey, what happens to the popular Japanese press campaign against operation of the Osprey in Japan in US airbases because it is unsafe.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not familiar with the campaign you mention but I know there is a hard core left wing in Japan that wants the US out and will seize on any pretext to advance its agenda. Granted, they might actually represent the political right in Japan, I'm not certain how they define their political divisions.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every story on the English service of Radio Japan had an Osprey danger story for a few months recently.

The idea is to get the airbases off Okinawa.

Radio Japan [http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/radio/program/] is a nice news source otherwise, the day's news without American soap opera narratives.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Semi-OT:

An in-law sent to me this AM an email showing a picture of O's student ID at Columbia, complete with his photo, student ID number, name (Soetero), and classification (''foreign''). Can't vouch, just sayin' ....
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sadly, I suspect that it is the one making the rounds again that has been disproved before. There are numbers and bar codes on the front of the one I am thinking of. While bar codes existed, they were not on Columbia's ID cards at the time he attended. And the bar codes and numbers list to another student, an American.

Mind you, I am in no way vouching for Buraq Hussein's status, except as an enemy of our country. Just that one bit of data has been disproved, if that is the one you have seen.

Subotai Bahadur
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes it does have a bar code and a long one, too. Thanks and I'll let my brother-in-law know right now.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I never thought I'd say or think this but, I don't actually want Congress, the house or Washington DC to survive a nuclear attack.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have long thought that Buraq has angling for a botched exit from Afghanistan that would take many American lives and that would stain the reputation of the American Military. All part of the plan.

Let's hope our exit goes without a hitch. Pity those who believed in America's promises of liberty, for they will be betrayed just like those who believed in America in Vietnam. You can count on those who fought along side America to be punished sooner or later by the American Left.

For a silver lining, however, my farfetched dreams of taking out Iran's, North Korea's and Pakistan's nukes become a little bit more possible.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
D'accord! Oui, je suis d’accord avec vous. regarding a probable plan to deliberately strand a large contingent of U.S. Troops. It would serve SO MANY of his purposes: (1) take a large number of combat-seasoned warriors away from the US domestic situation (2) embarrass the military, at least in the eyes of the dumb-masses, and (3) cut a lot of expenses - military pay, meals, retirement, medical services. Yep, gets him off a bunch of hooks, or so he might think.

Of course, if he does this, it will not escape the attention of a lot of US citizens who care. I think it would be the final crack in the dam.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
The ethically challenged with a huge sense of entitlement whine some more.

http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2013/12/bp_attack_on_emeril_lagasse_wa.html#incart_river

Emeril Lagasse uses BP money to build his reputation for generosity using Other People's Money!

The po' folk complain about finding less than 2000 out of a reputed one million barrels of "missing oil" claimed by NOAA's Bill Lehr near Port Fouchon.

"According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in the past few weeks this one spot has yielded 1.5 million pounds of “oily material” – a designation that includes oil products as well as associated shell, sand and water.

And that’s in addition to 1.79 million pounds already collected from Fourchon, by far the largest share of the 8.9 million pounds recovered from all Louisiana beaches in the past two years.

The heavy ongoing cleanup is emblematic of the problems spill experts say Louisiana can expect due to the rapid erosion of its coastline, especially along the beaches between Grand Isle and Port Fourchon. The rapid shoreline retreat in this area has resulted in a silt-filled backwash in the nearshore shallows. Patches of Deepwater Horizon oil that reached this zone became embedded with sand, shells and mud particles in the water column, creating malleable tar balls, patties and mats, depending on their size.

These are more than mere eyesores. The weathered oil contains toxic hydrocarbon components than can remain a threat to fish, wildlife and human health for 50 years. So even small tar balls must be cleaned up."

http://thelensnola.org/2013/12/18/more-massive-tar-mats-from-bp-oil-spill-discovered-on-louisiana-beaches/

While Kurt Mix waits for his Rule 29 motion to be heard by the judge.

Hey New Orleans, next time a hurricane strikes (and there will be a next time), do it yourself under the leadership of the likes of Ray Nagan and Mary Landrieu.

Atlas is taking the week off to SHRUG!

FREE KURT MIX!
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
The leader of another lawless regime, Barack Obama, has issued another edict substantially changing the ACA. http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/12/20/utter-chaos-white-house-exempts-millions-from-obamacares-insurance-mandate-unaffordable-exchanges/. All of those lousy, sub-standard policies are declared "no longer sub-standard" provided they cover even less than they did before. There are so many individual mandates that there are no mandates. It's now time for him to "pivot" toward Hawaii.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Monkey 2111: "... when this garbage started in the 90s, the replacement for lead was tungsten ..."

Don't know what the military is using as a replacement for lead. (Hopefully, depleted uranium!). For domestic use, some manufacturers have been making bullets with tin. Tin is harder than lead, which causes more wear on the barrel and requires more frequent cleaning. Just what is needed in a fire fight.

Don't worry. We are in the age of "Peak Government". The Crony Class have run up debts they can never repay, and made promises they can never keep. They are history -- they just don't know it yet.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good thing we pivoted out of Iraq into the land locked ditch that is Afghanistan. That is Obama's equivalent of fighting blind with one hand behind our back. Fighting blind because the NSA is too busy spying on Americans and being political king makers to care about the fate of the world. There is still liberty to crush at home.

btw Monkey, tungsten is capable of defeating "bullet-proof" vests.... oops.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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