Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category
In what he calls a “new phase” of the fight against the Islamic State, President Barack Obama now plans to send up to 1,500 troops to Anbar province. The president claimed they will not be directly involved in combat.
Following Islamic State gains in Anbar province against an ineffective Iraqi military, the Pentagon confirmed that an advance party of 50 U.S. troops landed in al Assad air base, which lies about 100 miles west of Baghdad and, during the U.S. occupation, was the second-largest U.S. air base in Iraq. The forces are preparing for additional advisers to assist Iraqi security forces in the fight against ISIS.
Obama told troops in MacDill Air Force Base that “The American forces do not and will not have a combat mission.” However, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said if the Iraqi military needs American forces on the battlefield, he could make that recommendation to the president.
Obama said that U.S. ground forces will provide close air support once Iraqi forces are able to go on the offensive. A White House spokesman said that American advisors could be forward deployed on a “case-by-case basis” if needed, but “would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy.”
According to the Pentagon, hundreds of U.S. military advisors have been in Iraq since June, assisting Iraqi forces that are fighting ISIS.
Read the rest at DayOnTheDay.com
In: Articles, National Security · Tagged with: Iraq, Islamic State, Operation Ineherent Resolv, US military
Today’s Democrat Party views the United States military as nothing more than a political tool to further their agenda. And after Benghazi we see that our troops and intelligence operators are expendable if Democrats think sacrificing them is in their best political interests.
But don’t take it from me; just look at what they do.
Instead of preserving the world’s most effective combat force, the Democrat Party views the U.S. military as a massive source of funding (defense budget cuts), an opportunity to shore up political support through social engineering (allowing openly gay service members), and a means to further their liberal internationalist agenda (so-called “Responsibility to Protect” operations like Libya).
They know that the military community tends to vote strongly Republican, which partly explains their open contempt of the men and women that serve in the Armed Forces – whether falsely labeling them cold-blooded murderers (Rep. John Murtha), comparing them to Nazis, KGB, and the Khmer Rouge (Sen. Dick Durbin), joking about their intelligence (Sec. John Kerry)… the examples of the Democrat Party’s distaste for the military could easily fill an entire article.
But throughout American history, our troops knew at least if they were wounded, in danger of being overrun, or even killed, our military will do everything in its power to get rescue or recover you.
No one gets left behind. At least that’s how it used to be.
That is, until Benghazi, which has become one of the most dishonorable events in American history. When our consulate was attacked and overran, President Obama left Americans to die. Any rescue attempt was cut off – not by our enemies, but by the Obama administration.
Even worse than the tragic and preventable deaths of four Americans, Washington’s reaction over the last eight months shows the utter disregard the Democrat Party and media have for not only the fallen, but for all of our troops and operators.
I am not saying that each and every Democrat politician wanted those men to die. But can you name any Democrat politician that has said we need to get to the bottom of Benghazi? Has any Democrat even so much as distanced themself from their party’s callous disregard for the fallen? Washington can say they support the troops all day, it’s time they show us how they support our troops.
Since day one, the Democrat Party – primarily the Obama administration – and their media allies have sought to make the story go away. Since that didn’t work, they have resorted to distracting the American people and redirecting the focus by claiming Republicans are only making this an issue for political gain.
Just imagine if your son or daughter was killed in the attack and politicians reacted by saying that anyone trying to find out answers was only using the tragedy for political leverage. That really says something about our nation when the majority party can shamelessly stoop so low – and get away with it.
In: Articles, Military, National Security, Politics · Tagged with: Benghazi, media corruption, Obama administration, US military
Supporters of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) would have us believe that the treaty makes the world a safer place. For 30 years, media, political, and even military elite have all called for ratification of UNCLOS.
But why should the U.S. ratify a treaty that, considering Chinese ongoing territorial aggression against its neighbors, we can see is useless when it comes to maintaining “peace, justice and progress for all peoples of the world,” as the charter states?
Chinese naval vessels recently violated UN law by using their fire control radar to target a Japanese naval destroyer and military helicopters operating near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in February.
The rocky, uninhabited islands belonged to the Japanese until after World War II, when the United States assumed temporary control. The islands returned to Japanese administration in 1972, but the Chinese didn’t voice their claim to the islands until a potentially significant oil field was discovered in the region later that decade.
For months, Chinese and Filipino vessels have maintained a delicate standoff over the Scarborough Shoals (Huangyan Island to China). Although 500 miles from the nearest Chinese port, Chinese fishing vessels flaunt the law by harvesting their catch within the UNCLOS-established exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, just 124 miles from their coast.
In 1947, the Chinese government claimed virtually all of the South China Sea in what has become known as the “Nine-Dash Line.” China, a member nation of UNCLOS, refuses to explain the details on how they reached their far-fetching boundary.
A U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks states that a senior Chinese government maritime law expert admittedly did not know of any historical basis behind the “Nine-Dash Line.”
In: Articles, Geopolitics · Tagged with: China, Law of the Sea Treaty
100 years ago, the United States ratified an amendment to the Constitution that changed the way America chose its senators. The amendment’s supporters said that senators directly elected by the people would not only be more democratic, but also less corrupt and less susceptible to special interest influence.
Instead of reducing corruption, however, changing the method of Senate selection provided entirely new avenues of political exploitation by fundamentally transforming our federal government. Most importantly, the amendment destroyed the federalist structure that the Founding Fathers installed to protect state sovereignty.
Today, members of the Georgia state House of Representatives seek to restore state representation to the federal government by reviving the Founders’ original intent. The goal of House Bill 273 is “to protect the sovereignty of the states from the federal government and to give each individual state government representation in the federal legislative branch of government” by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.
Of course, this resolution would not necessitate any action or response from the federal government should it pass, but it could spark a national debate on the concept of federalism, unconstitutional government, and the Founders’ original intent.
Why was the Seventeenth Amendment ratified?
As the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution, they understood that free and independent states, fresh from a long and costly war with England, would not approve of a charter that required them to totally surrender their sovereignty to a new federal government. To balance the legitimate concerns of the states with the need to preserve the union and form a national government for mutual protection and prosperity, the Founders chose a federalist system of divided powers between the states and the proposed federal government.
In: Articles · Tagged with: 17th Amendment, Constitution, federalism
In today’s polarized society, politicians are increasingly using the term “extremist” to label their opponents. But what is an extremist? Merriam-Webster defines the word as “the quality or state of being extreme,” being the “farthest possible point from the center.”
Now those definitions by themselves are largely subjective; my view of the center and how far something is from it may be entirely different than yours.
But let’s consider an example: you are well within your constitutional rights to peaceably oppose partial-birth abortions. Likewise, someone who peaceably opposes the banning of such abortions would be within their rights. One could argue that this free exchange of ideas, for or against abortion, would be the “center.” Since neither group imposes upon the rights of the other, this is how our civilized society properly functions. Each citizen is entitled to his or her opinion and we empower government to express the will of the majority, provided the majority itself doesn’t interfere with the rights of the minority.
Extremists, those at the furthest possible point from the center, would be people willing to break laws and violate the rights of others in order to enact their goals. Someone willing to blow up a clinic that performs partial-birth abortions would be a perfect example of an extremist, as there is no further point from “the center” than taking the life of another in defense of your cause.
In: Articles, Politics · Tagged with: Democrats, propaganda
When we hear the term “anarchy,” it brings to mind a society with no laws or structure. In the hands of good people, anarchy can represent absolute freedom. One could argue that Americans would be far more prosperous if we were free of the heavy taxes and regulations that hamper our economy today.
But in the hands of the bad, anarchy represents chaos. There is no rule of law to deter criminals; no police force to protect the people or their property; no military to repel foreign invaders.
But that is only if we consider the citizens of a state. Expand the focus and consider anarchy of government.
Merriam-Webster defines anarchy as the “absence or denial of any authority or established order.” Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We the people are in fact the rightful government of the United States, and those we have elected are mere public servants chosen to handle the affairs of the state according to our will and within the constraints of our Constitution.
Considering the history of our federal government in recent years – particularly the behavior of this Congress and administration – we can see an escalating trend of disregard for the established order of our Constitution and an increasing denial of the people’s authority over government.
No different than a robot in a science fiction movie that becomes “self-aware” and wrecks havoc on it’s former human masters, our government has also become self-aware: realizing, seemingly, that it is no longer the servant of the people, but the master. No longer bound by the Constitution, but all-powerful.
In: Articles, Politics · Tagged with: Constitution, gun control, liberty, tyranny
The simple story of my walk with God
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
But those who know me best, know that it is less a finding of Jesus as much as it is an absolute surrendering to His Love and Will.
Almighty God (the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has been tugging at me since I was about eight-years-old. Perhaps earlier.
I say this because I’ve always known God was there. As a boy, I could even see Him in my mind’s eye (always seeing Him during the Sermon on the Mount). Always sensing His presence in the sunshine and in the rain. As I saw Him in my boy’s mind (and even in my teenage, young adult, and – to a degree – middle-aged mind), He was always there high above the church steeples, stretched out enormously across the sky; calling me to do something in the furtherance of His kingdom, always leading me along a path to somewhere, though I never really knew – or thought about – where that path might ultimately lead. Nor was I willing to jump right in and commit to that quest on that path.
Let’s look at that path for a moment.
The path, as I visualize it today, is more of a dirt-road cutting through very deep woods or wilderness.
In my earliest boyhood recollections I remember walking along this path with Jesus.
I was always just behind Him or – at times – alongside Him. But never as fully committed to where the path was leading as He was (is).
At some point, probably from the very beginning of my life, I began to venture off the path into the woods on either side of the path. There I would explore the things of the woods. There was so much temptation in the woods (the wilderness).
I would never get too deep into the wilderness, though, that I would not be able to run back to the path and find Jesus.
As I’ve said, that venturing off the path and into the wilderness began as a boy. Today, as a 53-year-old man, I realize I have spent most of my life up to this point in the wilderness.
LET’S LOOK AT THE TIME I’VE SPENT IN THE WILDERNESS.
Throughout my time in the wilderness, I’ve always been able to shout back toward the path, “Jesus, are you still there?”
And He has always quietly – but in a voice loud enough that I could hear Him – say, “Yes, Tom, I’m still here.”
So being temporarily comforted, I would stay in the wilderness and play. If I got caught in a thicket or stepped in a hole, I would just work my way out and keep on playing.
There were (and are) so many temptations and false adventures in the wilderness. And there, on the fringes of the wilderness, always lurking was a dark shape, like a wolf, moving parallel to me.
As long as I was enjoying the fun of the wilderness, this wolf just sort of stayed on a parallel track with me, just beyond the trees and tall grasses.
This wolf never really bothered me.
He didn’t need to because he had me where he wanted me: In the woods.
Though he has always whispered lies.
The wolf has always said to me things like; “There is always tomorrow,” and “You can stay here a long time and enjoy all the fun,” and “being in the woods will make you strong,” and “the path is not as fun as the woods, so just wait and go to the path when you are too old to play in the woods. After all, all the fun people and beautiful women and sources of power and pleasure and possessions are here in the woods.”
The wolf’s lies were endless.
So I would struggle with the whispers I was hearing, and again, shout back toward the path, “Jesus, are you still there?”
And Jesus would again say, “Tom, I’m still here, and I’m never going to leave you.”
Sometimes, at various periods in my life in the wilderness, Jesus would say from the path, “Tom, You’ve been over there long enough now. Come to Me. You are always getting stuck in those thickets, and I don’t want you to get hurt.”
And Jesus would say this at the most unexpected times.
Sometimes He would say this when I was working my way out of a thicket.
Sometimes it was when I really wanted something and couldn’t seem to get it.
Sometimes it was when I was hurting.
Sometimes it was when I was happy.
At times it was like that night I was by myself guarding a nuclear weapons space aboard ship, and – as the hours ticked by and I stood there alone counting the bolts in the bulkhead – Jesus began to press on my heart to come to Him, calling me from the path.
“Tom, I love you,” Jesus said. “Just come to Me. Trust Me fully, and I will take care of you and give you the desires of your heart.”
I said, “Yes, Jesus, I want to, and I will, sort of. But with conditions, because I’m still young and strong, and I have my whole life in front of me. So I’ll be a good person and I will pray and read my Bible, but I have to play a little more. The woods are fun, and I know they are going to get a lot more fun, and I don’t want to miss out. Besides, what will my family and friends think of me if I reject the world and totally surrender to you? I don’t want people thinking I’m weird.”
Jesus didn’t push the issue, because He had given me the ability to choose. But I did sense that He stopped there on the path and looked at me with that look that a disappointed dad gives a son, and I felt ashamed.
Meanwhile, the wolf said, “Don’t listen to that. You’re a good person. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
THEN THERE WAS A STRANGE AND TERRIFYING ENCOUNTER WITH THE WOLF.
Remember, Jesus gave me the choice. But the wolf did (does) not.
At times, I would say to myself, “OK, I’ve had enough of the woods, maybe I should just trust Jesus. I want to go to the path.”
So I would start toward the path, and I could see Jesus standing there smiling at me like a proud father in the distance waiting patiently on me. And there was this inexplicable love exuding from Him.
All of a sudden, the wolf would burst out from some tall weeds, roaring and knocking me down and tearing me apart. And so I would limp away bloody and broken and utterly terrified.
At the same time, I was crying to Jesus to save me, And He was softly and reassuringly telling me to keep coming toward Him.
But I was injured and afraid and too busy trying to fix my situation. And I didn’t have enough faith or trust that Jesus could save me because I was too deep in the wilderness.
You see the path where Jesus was standing was about a thousand yards away. And the wolf was either right on top of me and ripping me to shreds, or about 30 feet away, growling and ready to attack me again if I made another attempt toward the path.
So I resigned myself to a lukewarm, distant relationship with Jesus, knowing that He was there and that He loved me, but that was about it.
This terrible cycle has repeated itself time-and-again throughout my life.
That is until my race toward the path this time, last year
Yes, just like all the other times, as soon as I started toward the path, the wolf attacked; and it was horrible (every aspect of my troubled life began to meltdown even faster).
But this time I kept going.
As I drew closer to the path (closer than I had ever been since I first ventured off of it as a boy), there was Jesus, standing there, smiling, and holding His arms wide to receive me and saying, “Tom, keep coming. I’m right here, and the wolf will not be able to hurt when you finally get to Me.”
Anyway, I am still in the wilderness, I am running and crashing through the brush, stumbling, but staying on my feet, always running, desperately trying to get through the woods and to the path.
Yes, I am wounded and the wolf is on my heels in pursuit (he only attacks when I attempt to escape the wilderness). But the closer I get to the path, the greater the power of Heaven I am feeling. The wolf is still pursuing – and with greater resolve than ever before – but he is winded and losing ground.
Jesus is getting closer. His power is becoming more manifest in my life. And I will never turn back. I will never stop running.
– Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at http://uswriter.com.
In: Articles · Tagged with: W. Thomas Smith Jr.
All of the books I have reviewed lately have been infantry or special operations, so I really didn’t think Viper Pilot, an autobiography of a modern-day Air Force fighter pilot would offer much in the way of excitement.
I was mistaken.
In an age of low-tech, low-intensity conflicts, dogfights have become all but a distant memory. But while threats facing today’s aviators have evolved, they most certainly have not disappeared. U.S. fighter pilots, the world’s best at air-to-air combat, have shifted their role towards close air support for ground units. And with all those planes in the sky, somebody has to take on the death-defying job of knocking out enemy surface-to-air missile sites.
That job goes to the “Wild Weasels.”
The basic objective of a wild weasel mission is for a team of F-16 pilots to fly over enemy air defense sites, forcing the enemy to fire deadly missiles at the pilots. Once pilots detect the launch – assuming the missile doesn’t kill the pilot – they use teamwork to counterattack and destroy the launchers and radar stations, making the skies safe for other aircrews in the theater. This process was repeated countless times over Iraq – both during the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
If you think that fighter pilots are all glory and no guts, soaring 30,000 feet over the mud and blood of combat, then you haven’t met Lt. Col. Dan “Two Dogs” Hampton. The now-retired wild weasel pilot and author of Viper Pilot has flown over 150 combat missions in just about every combat operation since Vietnam, earning four Distinguished Flying Crosses for Valor and the Purple Heart.
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
In our ongoing LEADERSHIP 101 series, we’ve addressed the warrior (competitive) nature inherent in any true leader who has mastered the art, as well as the importance of the soul (an embracing of our spiritual nature). Remember the five mountains – Body, mind, intuition, emotion, and spirit?
There is also the sacrificial nature of the warrior leader – the willingness to give of oneself to the point of even the most extreme sacrifice – that we find when we combine the warrior’s competitive nature with the development of his spirit. It’s an interesting combination because the competitive leader wants to win. He wants to win to both achieve the goal set before him and to set the example as a leader. Yet if the leader is spiritually advanced, he is also purely SELFLESS. He has a deep desire to put others first, not necessarily desiring to achieve the goal for the goal’s sake, but for something much more altruistic.
What we find in such a leader is one who still desires to win on a personal level, but his motivations for wanting to win are also wrapped up in the responsibility he has to – and feels for – his men.
We’ll get into this in greater detail over the next few pieces in our series. But I’d first like to provide an anecdotal illustration of the idea that a truly competitive leader – desiring to achieve a goal for the goal’s sake – has an equally powerful need to set the example by achieving that goal. He (or she) is also bound by the transcendental laws of leadership to never quit on his (or her) quest to achieving a goal. And there are things of the spirit he (or she) may draw on so as to never quit in any quest of a goal.
This anecdote – minor as it may seem (and minor it is in the scheme of life) – is what we will refer to as the Awendaw Hump. (more…)
In: Articles · Tagged with: Leadership 101, W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Although a fan of counterinsurgency (COIN) in certain cases, I have publicly opposed the population-centric model of COIN utilized in Afghanistan for several years. But I am safe at home and feel that we should defer to those whose lives depend on how effective our warfighting doctrine is. I came across a wonderfully written letter by a former infantry commander, who is also an officially trained military historian, to the Secretary of the Army detailing why we are failing in Afghanistan.
I understand many folks in the military still support COIN in Afghanistan, but I doubt I am the only one that thinks something is wrong when the world’s most advanced military is 11 years into a war with an illiterate enemy that has no armor, navy, or air force.
An excerpt from my latest piece at The US Report:
Where did we go wrong? [Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV] said it’s mainly because our senior leaders, who have less combat maneuver experience now than perhaps at any time in U.S. military history, are “unwilling to conduct operations that reflect sound military art and science.”
Years ago, we abandoned our counterterrorism efforts in favor of counterinsurgency (COIN), a nebulous, and primarily political strategy aimed at protecting populations and addressing grievances. Killing the enemy and breaking their will to fight becomes secondary, and success hinges on an incredibly corrupt Afghan government.
Tunnell says that COIN “consists of musings from amateurs, contractors, plagiarized journal articles, etc.” and has contributed to “needless American casualties”:
COIN has become such a restrictive dogma that it cannot be questioned; any professional discussion about its strengths and weaknesses is discouraged. It has reached such a crisis that those who employ other Army doctrinal concepts do so at their own professional peril because they will be subject to censure for not adhering to COIN. This has created a dysfunctional and toxic leadership environment throughout our Army which has resulted in poor organization, unrealistic training, and indecisive battlefield performance.
Our military exists to protect American citizens, not Afghans. And if the Afghan people have grievances, that is their business – not ours. Our business should be to kill the terrorists that seek to kill Americans and then come home. The moment we quit doing that was the moment we abandoned our own best interests:
Our potential for greater coalition casualties does not have to be inevitable, but due to our flawed approach to operations we wind up enabling our enemy. The population-centric approach which places the population as the center of gravity is applied to the point of absurdity. The enemy is entrenching himself among the civilian population as we cede to him territory and lines of communication. […]
A gross lack of concern for subordinates manifests in guidance that “zero” civilian casualties are acceptable and coalition soldiers may have to be killed rather than defend themselves against a potential threat and risk being wrong and possibly resulting in injury or death of civilians…
The Battle of Ganjgal, in which Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor, exemplifies Col. Tunnell’s point that COIN and restrictive rules of engagement result in needless American casualties: (more…)