Monday, November 30, 2015

The Shameless Left

I join other pro-life leaders in condemning Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The alleged shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, is being arraigned today and we may find out more about him and his motives then.

But everything we know so far indicates that Dear is a deeply disturbed man. He was a recluse. His neighbors avoided him. He had several run-ins with the law, including various charges ranging from domestic abuse to animal cruelty and invasion of privacy.

Nothing indicates that Dear was in any way, shape or form part of or inspired by the pro-life movement. Predictably, that hasn't stopped voices on the left from attempting to exploit this shooting to smear the roughly one half of the country that believes abortion is, at its core, the taking of innocent human life.

Left-wing media outlets even went so far as to check Dear's voter registration status. What does that have to do with anything? It turns out he is a registered independent -- much to the media's disappointment, I'm sure.

For the last seven years, many on the left have engaged in over-the-top, hateful rhetoric toward the police and then claimed that the assassinations of police officers that followed had nothing to do with their remarks. (A common chant at some Black Lives Matter demonstrations is "Pig in a blanket," referring to a dead cop with a sheet over his body.)

This same left-wing crowd tells us that mosques around the world where imams preach that infidels must be killed have nothing to do with jihadists who are killing infidels.

The administration is quick to excuse government-sponsored demonstrations in Tehran where "Death to America, Death to Israel" is chanted by thousands as hyperbole "for domestic consumption," even though Iran has in fact killed hundreds of American soldiers.

And the left has excoriated Americans who believe marriage is between a man and a woman, calling them bigots, haters and the equivalent of the KKK. Yet it rejects any responsibility for the man who shot up the Family Research Council and was stopped only by the bravery of the security guard on duty that day.

The left has no shame.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Charting a new course for the US Navy

The Obama administration made an important statement in recently authorizing the Pentagon to order a warship, the USS Lassen, to transit close to an island constructed by China on a submerged reef in the contested South China Sea. Key US interests served include protection of the global economic system, the security of our allies in the region, and preserving the rules-based international order that has maintained peace in the Asia-Pacific region for decades.

While the US action was undoubtedly delayed in order to avoid affecting the recent summit between Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping, it fell well within the provisions of customary legal mechanisms governing maritime claims.

Aware of this, China has thus far been restrained in its protestations. It has also refused to acknowledge a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that the court has jurisdiction to hear competing maritime claims in the area. US partners and allies are likely, though more privately, pleased to see a more overt, though prudent, challenge to the Chinese claim. As such, the event is a setback for China’s model of “new great power relations” — code language for its desire that the United States cede its influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

It remains to be seen how — and how frequently — the United States continues to reinforce international norms in the area. But because neither nation will benefit from a direct confrontation, both civilian and military diplomacy are already occurring to soothe this necessary friction between the two nations.

In any case, South China Sea tensions have once again raised the profile of the US Navy and its global mission. The USS Constitution, currently in Dry Dock 1 in Charlestown Navy Yard, serves as a constant reminder to Bostonians of the importance of having a powerful navy. Yet, laboring under the shadow of deep uncertainty over future budgets, the Navy is grappling with important and long-lasting decisions over how it will prepare to deter and, if necessary, win future conflicts.
Nowhere is the Navy’s future course more important than in the Western Pacific. While for the last decade the US military has focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, China has been strengthening its own military capabilities. Moreover, it is rapidly developing asymmetric capabilities intended to limit our ability to project power in the Pacific, including advances in countering surface ships, air power, space, and cyberwarfare.

While the US Navy still holds the upper hand, the traditional advantages in size and quality on which it has relied to overmatch China’s relative advantages in distance and initiative are rapidly eroding. As a result, new ways to deter Chinese aggression against our allies and partners — which are available — should be developed.

For any navy on the seven seas, near-term decisions have long-term effects. While the projected US fleet is generally positioned well to support these new concepts, the Navy should keep seven factors in mind now as it balances impending investments in capability, capacity, readiness, and people:
First, it is time to recognize how hazardous it has become to venture “in harm’s way” on the surface of the ocean. Today the “finders” have major advantages over “hiders.” More and more space and volume are being required to defend surface ships against relatively low cost, highly capable antiship systems, which detracts from their other capability. There is still great utility for the Navy’s impressive surface fleet, from smaller littoral combat ships to the larger cruisers the service is attempting to refurbish, as well as aircraft carriers. But all of these ships are more likely in the future to operate outside dangerous waters.

As a result, and second, the Navy will need to invest more in asymmetric weapons, such as smart mines, nonlethal methods of stopping ships, cyberwarfare, highly capable standoff weapons, and a full range of electronic warfare. Moreover, the service must continue increasing its investments in a full range of electronic warfare, which have languished for far too long. Unfortunately, the communities within the Navy that advocate for these systems are not traditionally highly empowered, which means senior leaders will need to provide extra support. The burden of these investments may demand a slightly smaller fleet.

Third, the Navy and Congress should ditch the simplistic benchmark of overall numbers of ships, under which an aircraft carrier counts the same as a frigate. This metric places unhelpful pressure on the Navy to build increased numbers of low-end ships that, while certainly very useful in certain scenarios, will not perform well in a highly contested environment. We need the right combination of vessels, and this requires a far more sophisticated discussion than merely counting ships.
Fourth, due to the political near-impossibility of stationing more of its warships overseas, the Navy will need to make difficult trade-offs between the forward presence intended to deter conflict and the surge capability required to win it. Creative thinking regarding how presence is actually executed could provide additional leverage in this area.

Fifth, the service will need to maintain its longstanding advantage in both offensive and defensive undersea warfare. Advances in a number of technologies will enable greater use of undersea autonomous systems, and it is encouraging to see the Navy investing in this area.

Sixth, the Navy must keep its vital partnership with the US Marine Corps in mind. While a major amphibious landing in a conflict with China seems unlikely, there are ample scenarios that could call for the Marines’ expeditionary prowess.

Seventh, Navy senior leaders, led by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, well understand the many challenges facing the service and the need for innovation. Their greatest obstacles are fiscal pressures imposed by a divided Congress and old-fashioned institutional resistance to change, with the former amplifying the latter.

Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, said of companies in financial crisis, “You spend more time arguing amongst yourselves over a shrinking pie than looking to the future, so you miss the big turn.” While there are promising signs that the Navy is pursuing innovative ideas, it is vital to our nation’s ability to protect its national security interests that the service avoid missing the big turn this time around.

 By James A. Winnefeld

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Left's Lawlessness

There are disturbing reports in a leading Capitol Hill newspaper that the Obama Administration is, once again, looking for ways to circumvent Congress and ignore the courts.

Using his pen and his phone, Obama is hoping to enact a radical climate change agreement through executive regulation, just like he did with the Iranian nuclear deal.

In addition, leaked memos from the Department of Homeland Security indicate that the administration is preparing to ignore court orders that have so far frozen his executive amnesty efforts.

Whether it's ignoring the Defense of Marriage Act, refusing to enforce our immigration laws or marijuana laws, or abuse at the IRS, the left's disrespect for the law seemingly knows no limits. And because the left-wing media gives him a free pass, Obama now feels so emboldened that he is willing to ignore the courts!

Just imagine if a conservative administration refused to enforce laws banning prayer in school, used the IRS to target political enemies and used executive power to shut down abortion facilities. Enterprising journalists would be investigating every agency. There would be outraged editorials every day blasting the administration's abuse of power.

Left-wing politicians all over the country are learning from Obama's example. Members of Congress cannot permit these kinds of executive abuses to go unanswered. The checks and balances of our constitutional republic must be respected.

If they are not, then our elected representatives in Congress are superfluous and the president rules by himself. That is not the vision our Founding Fathers had for America. And that is not the kind of government we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Obama's Jail Break

Over the weekend, 6,000 so-called "non-violent criminals" were released from federal prisons, part of the Obama Administration's efforts to relax sentences for non-violent drug offenders. An additional 8,500 prisoners may be deemed eligible for early release next year. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Administration officials estimate that as many as 46,000 prisoners may have their sentences reduced over the next few years, leading to what one report called "the biggest prisoner release in U.S. history."

Criminal justice reform is all the rage right now. It is a key demand of the Black Lives Matter movement and even some Republicans have jumped on the bandwagon. But it is important to note that we are not talking about adults who were busted smoking marijuana.

According to an analysis by Investor's Business Daily, "Most sold crack cocaine or meth. . . Fewer than 1 in 10 are marijuana offenders." Moreover, 20% of the 6,000 offenders just released were also in jail for illegal firearms possession while committing drug offenses.

President Obama and the left are constantly railing against conservative support for the Second Amendment and demanding that we get guns off the streets. But guns don't kill people by themselves. Criminals use guns to kill people. Obama just released 6,000 thugs who had illegal guns while they were dealing drugs!

And if that wasn't bad enough, consider this from the IBD report: "Internal government documents . . . show that the administration figures as many as 43% may re-offend within five years of release." So we're letting them out early even though we expect nearly half will commit more crimes, injuring more innocent people and ending up back in jail.

From jihadists at Guantanamo to illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities and armed drug pushers, the left always has the same idea -- release them!

Guns and Nukes