Howard Phillips, Chairman of Conservative Caucus, discusses the proper role of our government and our armed forces in this interview with William F. Jasper, Senior Editor for The New American magazine, at LPAC 2011 in Reno.
Item: The New York Times for August 26 reported that Chinese defense officials had “denounced” a Pentagon “report that called China’s military buildup ‘potentially destabilizing.’” The paper cited a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman saying, “The report does not hold water as it severely distorted the facts.” The spokesman added: “China unswervingly adheres to the path of peaceful development, and its national defense policy is defensive in nature.”
Correction: Peace, as it is understood by dedicated communists, is the absence of resistance to communism. Tibetans, among others, have experienced firsthand the nature of the type of “peace” imposed by Communist China and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) — with estimates of those killed in Tibet ranging from 600,000 to twice that number.
As noted by Jean-Louis Margolin in The Black Book on Communism (edited by Stéphane Courtois, et al., Harvard University Press, 1999), the “litany of atrocities” in Tibet “is hair-raising and in many cases unverifiable. But the eyewitness reports concur so precisely that the Dalai Lama’s assessment of this period [in the late 1950s] seems beyond challenge: ‘Tibetans not only were shot, but also were beaten to death, crucified, burned alive, drowned, mutilated, starved, strangled, hanged, boiled alive, buried alive, drawn and quartered, and beheaded.’”
The centuries-old ban on homosexuals in the U.S. military officially ended at 12:01 a.m., September 20, with celebration and jubilation in the “gay” community, and sadness among the millions of Americans who opposed the repeal as destructive to their nation’s defense and security.
“At a San Diego bar, current and former troops danced and counted down to midnight,” reported the Associated Press. “‘You are all heroes,’ Sean Sala, a former Navy operations specialist, said. ‘The days of your faces being blacked out on the news — no more.’”
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, when the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) became official, Air Force Staff Sergeant Jonathan Mills logged in to his Facebook page and posted this message for all to read: “I. Am. Gay. That is all…. as you were.” Mills later told the Times: “When I woke up this morning I felt extremely relieved and very free. Free to be able to live openly without worrying what I say or do will affect my career.”
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is not impressed with the explanations given by Attorney General Eric Holder and other Department of Justice spokesmen about Operation Fast and Furious — the gun-walker scandal in which ATF officials oversaw the transfer of 2,000 weapons across the border to brutal Mexican drug cartels, mainly the Sinaloa group. He is calling for a formal review by someone outside the government:
We’d like to have a true special prosecutor, particular when it’s obvious if Eric Holder didn’t know, it’s because he didn’t want to know or because he wasn’t doing his job…We’d like to know who did know and why they didn’t brief the attorney general.
Holder in May said that he did not know when he first heard about the operation. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed that she did not know about the operation until after some weapons sold by federal officers to Mexican drug cartels were found to have been used to murder Border Patrol agents.
During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama boasted about the alleged successes of U.S. and international military interventions from Libya and Iraq to the Ivory Coast and Afghanistan — even calling on the UN to wage more wars to promote peace if necessary. But according to critics, the results and justifications for the operations Obama cited leave much to be desired.
After noting that American troops would be leaving Iraq by the end of the year and that an “increasingly capable” regime in Afghanistan was beginning to take charge, Obama claimed that “the tide of war is receding.” He promptly followed that statement by discussing other nations where U.S. and UN troops are either currently waging war or recently did so.
Obama then offered a list of more countries that should — in his mind, at least — be next in the crosshairs. Iran and Syria featured prominently among the future targets.
“There is no excuse for inaction,” he declared. “Throughout the region, we will have to respond to the calls for change.” Obama also mentioned — albeit much more mildly — U.S. allies such as Bahrain and Yemen, where the U.S. government has been waging a secret war for years.
Observers might think that the largest, most expensive embassy ever built — the $750 million, heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Baghdad — would be more than sufficient to sustain the diplomatic corps that will remain in Iraq after U.S. troops are withdrawn. In fact, however, that 1.5-square-mile walled complex is, according to the Huffington Post’s Dan Froomkin, “turning out to be too small for the swelling retinue of gunmen, gardeners and other workers the State Department considers necessary to provide security and ‘life support’ for the sizable group of diplomats, military advisers and other executive branch officials who will be taking shelter there once the troops withdraw from the country.”
The last remaining troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by December 31, though the Obama administration has been working hard to ensure that some residual force remains — anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 troops. But while the official military presence is declining, the number of embassy personnel is set to double to 16,000, about half of whom will be security forces. The State Department will have 5,000 security contractors comprising a private army under the command of the Secretary of State.
The results of an annual survey of U.S. troops shows the already-dismal approval rates for President Obama’s performance dropped to just 25 percent among the military respondents. Support for his strategy in Afghanistan plummeted further, and less than one fourth of those surveyed said they approved of American intervention in Libya.
There was one bright spot, however. When asked about plans to withdraw all American soldiers from Iraq by the end of the year, 70 percent of respondents either approved or “strongly” approved.
Only 43 percent said “yes” when asked whether the U.S. should have invaded in the first place. And about 4 in 10 approved of Obama’s handling of the war in Iraq — about the same amount of support as in last year’s survey.
A former U.S. Marine Cpl. who disregarded orders, fighting five times through an enemy ambush in an Afghan valley to help rescue three dozen comrades and recover four fallen American soldiers, received the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military award, in a September 15 White House ceremony. The MarineCorps Times reported that 23-year-old Dakota Meyer was honored “for his actions in the infamous Battle of Ganjgal, a six-hour ambush and firefight that killed some of his best friends on Sept. 8, 2009, in Kunar province, Afghanistan.”
As he placed the Medal over Meyer’s shoulders, President Obama praised the soldier as a “humble young man who repeatedly placed himself in extraordinary danger to save men he regarded as his brothers,” reported the New York Times. Said the President: “Today we pay tribute to an American who placed himself in the thick of the fight — again and again and again.”
Meyer, who is the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, has repeatedly downplayed his heroism, telling the Times in an interview that the honor is “a platform for representation of the guys who are out there fighting every day. My story is one of millions, and the others aren’t often told.”