The fun never ends at the Watcher of Weasels place

In a sec, I’ll link to the cool blog posts I get to read today as part of my gig on the Watcher’s Council.  However, I also wanted to give you a heads up about a debate the Watcher’s Council hosted on the merits of the President’s decision to repeal DADT during war time.  Since the debaters — Dave Schuler at The Glittering Eye and Tom White of Virginia Right! — are civil and logical, you’ll probably find it very interesting.

And now to this week’s nominations:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

How does the military feel about Libya?

Under George Bush, our troops were told that they were going to Iraq and Afghanistan to protect American interests.  One can, of course, quibble with whether those wars have served American interests (which is not a quibble I want to have at this post).  But the point I want to make is that our young men and women were told that they were putting their lives on the line for their country.  They were protecting and defending.

In Libya, Defense Secretary Gates has stated explicitly that Libya itself has nothing to do with America’s vital interests, although it’s in a region that is important.  As best as I can tell, he hasn’t taken the next step, which is to say that what happens in Libya, though, will necessarily affect America’s interests in that region.

Obama has come out with a mountain of mush which boils down to a claim that the U.N. thinks this is a good idea for protecting some people in Libya, and we want Qaddafi out of there, although we won’t do anything actually to get him out of there, because that’s not our mission, even though we plan on having him leave.  We’ve since learned that significant sectors amongst the people who want Qaddafi out even more than Obama does — i.e., our allies — are Al Qaeda. For people with long memories, we’re fighting Al Qaeda all over the world, with American troops actively under fire in Afghanistan.

With those thoughts in mind about Libya — it’s an internationalist mission with no clear goals, that doesn’t necessarily benefit America, that sees us helping the same people who are trying to kill our guys in Afghanistan, one has to ask whether American troops have a sense of mission here?  Are they feeling the warm glow of altruistic humanitarians who are in the line of fire for people who have little to do with America and her interests (or are even routinely trying to kill Americans?  Do they have any sense that they are fulfilling their mission to protect and defend” if the people they’re protecting and defending are neither Americans nor American allies?  Or are they simply people who are doing their jobs, without a whole lot of mission analysis?

I’m a highly politicized, conservative, anti-Obama, pro-American, middle-aged armchair warrior.  With that bias, I know that I would not be happy to have my life on the line so that Libyan oil can flow to France and Al Qaeda can take over the Libyan government.  But that’s just me.  Do any of you have any sense about the boots on the ground thinking?

Michael Yon takes on Rolling Stone

Years ago, in another life, I dated a man who had worked for Rolling Stone and personally knew Jann Wenner.  (My ex-boyfriend claimed that a well-known Rolling Stone photographer was the one who introduced him to and got him hooked on cocaine.  I have no idea if he was telling the truth or not, but it made for a good story.)

My old boyfriend had cleaned up his act by the time I met him, and was decently reticent about his past, but it was pretty clear from the few stories he told that (a) Rolling Stone personnel, at least at one time, had embraced the drug culture with gusto and (b) that it was a sleazy, counter-culture magazine.  Today, all you need to do to know that it is still a sleazy, counter-culture (read:  anti-American) magazine is to buy a copy at the store — or, better yet, leaf through one and then abandon it without bothering to buy it.  As for the drug issues that were once a part of the magazine’s culture, perhaps the drugs’ legacy lives on and helps explain the shoddy, vicious journalism that routinely emanates from that saggy, flabby, 1960s era hangover.

Don’t believe me about shoddy, vicious journalism?  I understand that.  My old boyfriend’s stories about the magazine’s past are pure hearsay.  But right now, today, Michael Yon has actual percipient witness journalism on his side when it comes to challenging Rolling Stone’s most recent smear piece about our troops in Afghanistan.  Read Yon and your blood will boil.

Huge kudos to Yon, not only for his own journalism, but for his willingness to take on one of the old media’s sacred cows.

There are some things you simply don’t farm out — and national security is one of those things

I am cheap.  Very cheap.  That means that I’m a bargain hunter.  I like used books and cheap clothes.  I prefer to buy American but, if my pocketbook tells me that America isn’t a good deal, I’ll usually follow my pocketbook.  Usually, but not always.  If buying something from another country would put me in danger, I don’t do it.  That’s why I don’t buy canned goods or, indeed, anything that goes in my mouth, from China.  The t-shirts may be shoddy, fading and ripping quickly, but they won’t poison me.  The food just might.  (I’d like to avoid Chinese honey, too, which is chock full of antibiotics, fungicides, and industrial pollutants, but the fact is that most of the major manufacturers that use honey as an ingredient buy cheap Chinese honey.)

Not only will I avoid products that will harm me, I’m also unlikely to pay someone for service if I know that the person’s agenda is hostile to mine.  You don’t have the local thief install your burglar alarm.  I don’t even need active hostility to back off.  I also won’t buy service from someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in doing a good job for me.

None of the above is rocket science.  It’s good old-fashioned common sense — which, of course, is the one thing government lacks.  This current administration, especially, seems to go out of its way to abandon common sense.

I mention all this now because of a news story that the MSM is ignoring, but that should matter to everyone concerned both with American national security and with the American economy.  Here’s the deal:

There may be additional heartening employment news in the same sector [Boeing got an air tanker deal], following a request by the U.S. Air Force to identify suppliers for a new kind of airplane that can perform the light attack and armed reconnaissance (LAAR) missions that are being requested by our military leaders.

The new aircraft’s purpose is to allow our U.S. pilots to more effectively execute the tactics, maneuvers and procedures that are needed for the type of counter insurgency warfare that we are currently seeing in Afghanistan and other conflict zones around the globe. In turn, these American pilots will train their partners and developing nation counterparts to fly these same planes and defend themselves, with a goal of reducing the need for U.S. military presence in the region.

Two companies are vying for the Air Force contract — Hawker Beechcraft, a Kansas-based company, and Embraer, a Brazilian owned and operated company.

The Red State article to which I linked explains that Hawker Beechcraft has a good history and a good product.  I’m sure that’s true.  I’ll even stipulate that Embraer also has a good history and a good product.  My question, though, is why in the world our government, which has never before been constrained by bargain shopping and common  sense, is willingly giving another country the blueprints for and access to one of our military products?

Here’s a perfect anecdote to illustrate my concerns:  Think back to 1976 and the Entebbe rescue mission.  The Israeli military’s raid on Entebbe to rescue hostages is one of the great stories of derring-do, intelligent planning, heroism, and creative thinking.  But it was also made possible by one significant fact:  More than a decade before the hostage-taking, an Israeli company had built the airport.  This meant that Israel had the plans.  As it happened, back in 1976, the fact that a non-Ugandan company had this type of information was the best thing that could have happened, helping the good guys win, and soundly defeating and humiliating the bad guys.

In this case, though, we’re the good guys.  I’d classify the Brazilians as the neutral guys for now, although their decision to follow in our footsteps and elect an anti-capitalist president is worrying.  While I believe and hope that Americans can and will shake off the Obama’s pernicious socialism, it’s not so clear that Brazil will.  If Venezuela is any guide, once socialism is firmly ensconced in a Latin American government, that government is no friend of ours.  Even without that specific scenario, though, the fact is taht one never knows what will happen in another country.  Right now, we’re witnessing events in the Middle East that caught the West entirely flatfooted.  Today’s friend is tomorrow’s enemy.

The whole friend/enemy thing is tolerable if you’re talking about buying t-shirts and canned foods or tables and cars from your frenemy, but it comes much more fraught when you’re talking about national security.  The optimal situation is one in which no country, Brazil included, knows too much about a “new kind of airplane that can perform the light attack and armed reconnaissance missions that” are part of modern American military tactics. Ten years from now, when the world has shifted, we may find ourselves bitterly regretting placing that information in another’s hands.

In addition to the security angle, there’ s also a matter of steering tax dollars, especially during a big recession.  It’s one thing for the marketplace to make decisions about where the money flows.  If I want to send my money to China, well, that’s my choice.  If enough people do that, than China gets rich or American companies figure out how to compete.  The government, though, is not the marketplace.  We’re not talking millions of customers making market-responsive decisions.  Instead, we’re talking about a huge, unwieldy, unresponsive bureaucracy taking millions and millions of dollars that taxpayers are forced to hand over to the government, and then sending it far, far away from the taxpayers.  This makes sense if the American market cannot supply the product — but we know that, in this case, the American market, made up of American taxpayers, is perfectly capable of providing the product.  There is therefore, no economic reason to ship our security over seas.

My congress people are Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Lynn Woolsey.  In other words, contacting them is about as useful as using tweezers to move mountains.  If you’re in a district that boasts slightly responsive congress people, though, let them know your concerns about this deal.  Sending military airplane manufacturing out of the country is bad for national security and bad for the economy.

Harvard reinstates ROTC

Forty-one years too late, but it’s finally happening:

Harvard University is welcoming the Reserve Officer Training Corps program back to campus this week, 41 years after banishing it amid dissent over the Vietnam War.

The Cambridge, Mass., school’s change in policy follows the decision by Congress in December to repeal the military ban on gays serving openly, an official familiar with the arrangement said Thursday.

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on Friday are scheduled to sign an agreement that will recognize the Naval ROTC’s formal presence on campus, according to the official, who wasn’t allowed to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Another jihad attack, this time against the American military *UPDATED*

My condolences to the family and friends of the two airmen killed in Germany.  And my best wishes for a safe and speedy recovery for the two airmen who are seriously wounded.  And a plague and a pox on the media which tries so desperately to hide that this was not a random crazy man, but yet another assault in the Islamists’ ongoing war against the West.

The New York Times has reluctantly included in its report on the shooting a statement hinting that the shooter was a Muslim.  However, it not only buries this fact in the last paragraph, it never states it explicitly, choosing, instead, a tortuously oblique way of reporting that the shooter was dedicating his attack to Islam:

A man whose office is near the site of the shooting, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his business, said witnesses told him that before opening fire the gunman shouted “God is great” in Arabic. Mr. Füllhardt said he could not confirm such reports.

I hate when our troops die, but I especially hate it when they are sitting ducks on the receiving end of a terrorist attacks.  These are men who are trained to fight and are committed to battle, and there is something almost insulting when they are attacked on the home bases or on buses in noncombat nations.  For a warrior to die like a civilian highlights the enemy’s evil, because it always seeks out soft targets.  I know that sounds stupid, ’cause dead is dead.  I guess this goes back to the Jewish thing of saying “never again” to the way in which civilians were meekly herded to their deaths.  It hits me viscerally.

Hat tip:  Jihad Watch

UPDATE:  The shooter’s uncle spells it out:  Devout Muslim.

Keeping our Navy strong

Read this.  Then, if you’re moved to do so, donate to this.