President Obama has issued orders to allow the United States military to strike Lybian integrated air-defense systems while the French launched their own air-strikes earlier in the day. The Pentagon is briefing the media now. We will update here at TheLobbyist accordingly… stay tuned…
The Pentagon says that the point of the strikes with both older Tomahawk Cruise missiles and the newer-generation Tomahawks which have the ability to “loiter” in a given area while commanders decide on a target via internal cameras, was to create an atmosphere to establish a no-fly zone over the city of Benghazi to support of the Lybian rebels under assault from Qhaddafi’s forces.
The American Tomahawks were launched after the French launched their air-strikes against Qhaddafi’s forces earlier Saturday morning. The United States does NOT have troops on the ground guiding missiles, and the US does NOT have planes in the air enforcing a no-fly zone at this time.
Reperesentative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced via Twitter:
@jasoninthehouseJason Chaffetz I disagree with the use of US force in Libya.
@jaketapper Jake Tapper 112 Tomahawks launched from mix of US subs and surface ships + 1 UK sub. Over 20 Libyan air defense targets.
I was in the gym this evening, watching a bit of news about the Iranian president’s speech earlier today, and what should come up on the station I was watching? That America has admitted to the size of its nuclear stockpile.
I was rather torn with my initial reaction- the national security hawk in me was upset at this potentially (though not likely) harmful release of information. However, the libertarian side of my brain was glad that the American people would have just that much more knowledge about what the government has for weaponry.
Unfortunately, I then got a shock: apparently, it was done to pressure Iran regarding its own nuclear ambitions. According to the Associated Press:
The United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and “several thousand” more retired warheads awaiting the junkpile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly.
The Obama administration disclosed the size of its atomic stockpile going back to 1962 as part of a campaign to get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming, and to improve its bargaining position against the prospect of a nuclear Iran.
I understand the basic idea- show a willingness to be reasonable, and perhaps other countries will back us. However, given that the United Nations just gave Iran a position on its Commission on the Status of Women, I would say this shows the very severe lack of seriousness on the part of the U.N. leadership regarding the rights of women; holding Iran accountable for anything; and for the future prospects of stopping Iran’s nuclear program. It appears the Obama administration doesn’t understand this, and thus how useless its own gestures of outreach are.
I was able to interview Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) today for about ten minutes, thanks to Ericka Andersen of the House Republican Conference. Below is our exchange (paraphrased and based upon notes I took during the interview):
DS: Debt is out biggest issue. My father believes that we will never get out of the debt hole Presidents Bush and Obama are putting us in. How would you work to get this country out of this debt and deficit load?
RB: I don’t mean to over-simplify the solution, but federalism should be applied. We need to redefine what the role of the federal government is. We have good programs, but who runs them? The federal government. It’s too big to run so many programs well.
We should have the states run many programs, and give them the tax revenue that would otherwise be given to the federal government.
Creativity, efficiency and justice can only be done at the state and local levels- the federal government is just too big. We need to get the federal government out of peripheral areas. Foreign policy and national defense should be handled at the federal level, though.
DS: What would be your strategy to federalize these programs?
RB: Empower states to fight Congress. Back in 1988, Bruce Babbitt proposed empowering the states to oppose Congressional acts. The basic proposal was that if 2/3 of the states opposed a Congressional act, it sunsets in a year. National defense and foreign policy would be exempt.
DS: The Pentagon budget is as full of waste, fraud and abuse as any program, including Medicare. I know it’s hard for a Republican to commit to streamlining the Pentagon budget, but would you do so?
RB: No. I would not. That’s partially because the Pentagon has already started a lean program in Depot Force, and is asking people on the front line of building what our military needs how we can make things cheaper, with less of a footprint and with fewer people.
Huffington Post had an article yesterday?following up on?a Washington Times article?in which the Commandant of the Marines, General James Conway, “has emerged in internal Pentagon deliberations as the most outspoken opponent of permitting gay men and women to serve openly in the U.S. military, according to a former senior Pentagon official.”
Whatever one may think of DADT, the Huffington Post article is very misleading- it makes Conway appear to?be acting?insubordinate with absolutely no evidence to back the insinuation up. One sentence stands out: “To the extent that [law professor] Mazur is correct, then it may be important for the White House to take Conway out to the woodshed.” So let me?get this straight: a general is giving his professional opinion to his Commander-in-Chief in private. This is the same Commander-in-Chief who is discussing?Don’t Ask Don’t Tell internally with this general and other senior military personnel.?Taking these two facts Huffington Post leaps?off the proverbial cliff by assuming the general is out?of line based on information from?one unnamed former senior official? Give me a break.
General Conway, as a senior military official, will probably follow his Commander-in-Chief’s decisions. This is what senior military people generally?do, following the chain-of-command,?unless they resign. Very few challenge in the open, which is insubordination and something that is very much a career-breaker, and generally deservedly so. Giving one’s professional opinion in closed-doors sessions about an issue one is an expert about is certainly not insubordination, and Huffington Post should be professional enough to understand the difference, as should their “law professor” source.