The Shrinking Military

I don’t pretend to be a defense specialist who knows exactly how many troops, missiles, and weapons systems are necessary to protect the nation. Neither do I know precisely how much fat there is in the military budget. As someone who always seeks to reduce excessive government spending, I remain open to cutting back anywhere, even in the military, if money is being spent unwisely. Yet the new proposed defense budget offered by Defense Secretary Hagel this past week has raised no small amount of concern; therefore, I must be concerned as well.

We are so accustomed to legislating and spending without any regard to constitutional limitations that it may be good to remember that military spending is absolutely constitutional. We have so much money currently being thrown around unconstitutionally by the federal government that we ought to at least pause before slashing indiscriminately the forces that ultimately keep us safe in a hostile world.

Is that world any less hostile today?

Shrink the Military

Yet we are now contemplating massive budget cuts that many say would cripple us militarily should we have to be in more than one place at a time. The new numbers would reduce our active army from 520,000 to 420,000 eventually, a level unseen since the Cold War began at the end of WWII. Is this really wise? The Marine Corps could drop from 192,000 to 175,000. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says those numbers are too low for us to be an effective fighting force. Yet a president who has shown no real interest in balancing a budget is bent on hacking back on this part of it:

New Defense Budget

What else? The pay increase for our troops would be slowed from 40% since 2001 down to 1%, housing budgets will go down, and commissaries will have to raise prices. Is this because our troops are living in too much luxury? Everyone knows that’s not the case. Yet they will bear the brunt of this cutback. I’m sure that will be a great morale booster as we seek to attract more soldiers:

Want to Cut

Does the president think this can be done without anyone raising questions?

Won't Even Notice

America’s status in the world already is suffering. Our influence is waning under this administration. How is this going to help?

Shield Smaller

So, the one clearly constitutional duty of government—protecting its citizens—takes a back seat to everything else the federal government finds more compelling?

Suck in Gut

I hope you will excuse me for questioning our priorities.

On Barrycades & the Fantasy of Obamaworld

Did you see pictures of what happened yesterday? Veterans groups descended on Washington, DC, and picked up and carried the “Barrycades” from the WWII Memorial to the White House. Here’s some photographic evidence:

Barrycades 2

Barrycades at WH

The second photo shows the “Barrycades” being deposited on the lawn in front of the White House. Looks like some people have had enough. This administration’s attitude toward veterans has become one of the lightning rods of this “slimdown.” As I’ve noted in previous posts, there’s no valid reason to close many of these memorials because they are open-air and require more people to police them when shut down than when they are open to the public.

There’s something else that has been shut down for nearly the past five years:

Closed

Then there’s the language that has been used by Obama and his minions against Republicans who have a different view of how the nation should proceed; they’ve been branded terrorists and hostage-takers, for instance. Overblown rhetoric, anyone?

Hostage Takers

Refuse to Negotiate

The president seems more than a little peeved that he isn’t getting his way. He may be running out of options:

Holding Your Breath

Yet despite his policy of making life difficult for everyone and his refusal to negotiate, public opinion polls continue to show more people blaming the Republicans for this impasse:

Won Again

Yes, it makes no sense. But then, quite often public opinion makes no sense, particularly when helped along by Obama’s subservient media. What’s it going to take to pop the bubble on this fantasy called Obamaworld?

Death Benefit Denial: Enough Is Enough

Of all the outrages being committed in the name of government “shutdown” this past week, perhaps the most disturbing have been those directed against the military. By now, we all have pretty well rehearsed the attempt to keep WWII veterans from their memorial. Barring wheelchaired veterans from visiting the memorial wasn’t one of this administration’s best optics. But it’s as if they didn’t really care how it appeared to the public. All they were interested in was inflicting pain:

Nice Shot

A couple days ago, however, an even more horrendous outrage came to the forefront: families of soldiers currently being killed in action were being denied death benefits, again ostensibly due to the shutdown. Apparently, the Department of Defense wasn’t sure about how to proceed, given the cutbacks, so it conferred with officials from the Justice Department. That was a big mistake. Our DOJ, still unbelievably suffering under the reign of Eric Holder, concluded those benefits could not be given to the families.

That didn’t seem to bother Chuck Hagel, our fairly new secretary of defense, who did nothing to challenge the ruling. Hagel, by the way, in his seven months at the helm, had never once gone to Dover Air Force Base to commemorate the return of the remains of our servicemen who died fighting for us. As news of the denial of death benefits began to spread, and as public anger over it spread as well, Hagel finally made his first visit to Dover on Tuesday when the latest dead soldiers arrived. Too little, too late.

Non-Essential

Republicans in the House held hearings and blistered officials from the Defense Department over their action—or lack thereof. The House then passed a bill to ensure the families of those who died would continue to receive what they were promised. What was the response of the Senate and the White House? Harry Reid basically called it a gimmick and Jay Carney, speaking for the president, said there was no need to pass the bill, as if somehow it would all be taken care of magically some other way.

Fortunately, pressure on wiser heads prevailed. The Senate, with an indifferent Reid formally acquiescing, passed the House bill. Obama signed it late yesterday, even though he had said he wouldn’t. Look for him to take credit for it very soon.

Enough is enough. This administration needs to be called to account for a series of failures, missteps, deliberate falsehoods, and policies designed to turn America into a second-rate nation. The ideology of our elected leader is to blame. However, since he was elected, the real blame falls on the electorate.

Protecting Life & Religious Liberty

Let’s set aside “official” scandals today and concentrate on how Republicans are attempting to safeguard life and religious liberty. Of course, the taking of innocent life via abortion and the persecution of those who hold to a Biblical worldview are just as scandalous, but the media would never use the word to describe what’s happening on those fronts.

After the revealed horror of abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s practices, there’s an opening to push for more restrictions on abortion. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee last week successfully advanced a bill to the whole House that would outlaw nearly all abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy. This is designed to terminate the actions of those who terminate life in a late-term abortion. The full name of the bill is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. One of the goals is to show that these children in the womb actually experience pain during the abortion. These representatives are trying to awaken the general public to the humanness of each unborn child.

Awakening the general public is not as difficult as sparking interest in Democrat lawmakers, though. The bill passed on a purely party-line vote—not even one Democrat on the committee supported sending the proposed law to the full House. Prediction: it will pass the House since Republicans are in the majority; it will then die in the Democrat-controlled Senate. If, by some minor miracle, the Senate should pass it, President Obama is on record saying he will veto it. No surprise there. This is the president who spoke to Planned Parenthood and asked God’s blessing on their activities, which include more than 330,000 abortions each year. Neither Planned Parenthood nor President Obama care one bit for the lives of the unborn. Instead, they concentrate their efforts on making sure that any young girl, with no age restrictions, can get a morning-after pill.

Plan B

As for the issue of religious liberty, Republicans in both the House and Senate have put forward amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would protect the rights of conscience for members of the military, allowing them to express their religious faith without discrimination or retaliation. The amendments also call for investigation of reports of religious discrimination and the influence of outside groups in creating Pentagon policy. This is in response to the earlier repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the now total acceptance of homosexuality in the military. Ever since the repeal, Christians in the armed forces have been pressured to be silent or even promote homosexuality, although they believe it to be immoral behavior.

None of this should be necessary; we have something called the First Amendment. It should be a given that soldiers don’t lay aside their Christian faith upon entering the military. But here’s another non-surprise. Once again, as with the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, President Obama has vowed to veto any bill with this amendment, thereby showing he has no genuine regard for religious liberty. It also reveals his basic anti-Christian worldview. He and his party are devoted to promoting immorality, although selectively applied:

Progressive Logic

Our president seeks to impose his worldview on the nation. When he said he wanted to transform America, he meant it. I’ve often commented on the palpable arrogance of President Obama. You can see it in his poses, his facial expressions, and his actions. One gets the impression he considers himself somehow above mere mortals:

Mortals Don't Understand

Although the Republicans’ attempts to protect unborn children and ensure liberty of conscience will not succeed with this man in the White House, it’s important to continue to make the attempts. Each time, it’s an opportunity to bring understanding to the public. With enough understanding, perhaps we can avoid in 2016 the mistakes we made in 2008 and 2012.

 

The Growing Suppression of Christian Faith

Before this week, I had never heard of Mikey Weinstein [does someone really choose to be called Mikey?], but he and his organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, have made headlines. If you haven’t noticed, let me get you up to speed.

The story first appeared on Breitbart.com and, as of last night, had more than 1.2 million Facebook shares. Weinstein, a former Air Force officer, was recently brought to the Pentagon by Obama political appointees as a consultant to help formulate policy on the type of religious expression that should be allowed or disallowed in the Air Force. His organization, though, is a stridently anti-Christian group that seeks to curtail the rights of Christians serving in the military.

Although the word “extremist” can be overused at times, Weinstein seems to fit the category. All we have to do is take him at his own word—or many words. As reported in World magazine, “Weinstein’s objective is to make it standard practice in the military that a service member who proselytizes his or her faith should face court-martial. He told Fox News he’d like to see ‘hundreds of prosecutions to stop this outrage.'” Here are more samples of Weinstein’s rhetoric:

We face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.

Our Pentagon has been turned into a Pentacostalgon, and our DOD has been turned into an imperialistic, fascist contagion of unconstitutional triumphalism by people that want to kill us—or have their version of Jesus kill us if we don’t accept their Biblical world view.

The dominionist Christian will say, “Nothing can constrain me from proselytizing my version of Christianity.” And these people we find have several particular malodorous stenches about them. It’s like walking into a stench in my native state of New Mexico here on a hot August afternoon and having your nostrils assaulted by the stenches of 10,000 rotting swine, it’s so bad. The first stench is viral misogyny. The fact that women should be consigned to selecting food, preparing food, cleaning up after meals, spreading their legs, getting pregnant and raising children. The next [stench] is virulent anti-Semitism. The next is virulent Islamophobia.

We’re fighting al-Qaeda. We’re fighting the Taliban, and we’re turning our own military in[to] the exact same thing.

The dead guy—Jerry Falwell, and I’m sorry but I’m very glad he’s dead. I’m very sorry if anyone is upset about that.

I think that’s enough to give you a taste of where he’s coming from. His organization is misnamed. It should be called the Military Suppression of Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein has called proselytizing—sharing one’s faith with another—“a national security threat” and a form of “spiritual rape.” He seems to relish using sexual language in his attacks on Christianity. He also equates sharing one’s faith with “sedition and treason.”

Let’s keep in mind a couple of things: first, for Christians, it’s a commandment to share the faith because we believe people are lost and we seek to pull them out of the pit of hell; second, the First Amendment, which should be our political guideline, says that we cannot be prohibited from the free exercise of our faith. And on the practical level, what use is a military chaplaincy if chaplains are not allowed to share what they believe? This gets to the root of the issue: Weinstein wants nothing less than the dismantling of the military chaplaincy and the removal of all Christian influence.

The Pentagon, in the aftermath of this revelation and the criticism it has received, issued the following statement: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense. Court-martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases.” That’s supposed to make us feel better? That’s more like an affirmation of what Weinstein wants to accomplish. Of course, this is the same military, now run by Obama appointees, that has affirmed homosexuality. So homosexuality is celebrated and Christian faith is demonized.

I’ve been writing about Obama’s worldview and his anti-Christian stances for the past four-plus years. In one sense, this is nothing new. However, it’s becoming more blatant as time passes. This is a real attack on Christianity in America, and we had better wake up and face the reality. More than once I’ve said that the true Christian faith is now a subculture in our society. We need to recognize that and respond accordingly. We’ve not yet reverted to the persecution era of the Roman Empire, but we need to prepare ourselves for that possibility if our culture and politics don’t change very soon.

The Plight of Military Families: You Can Help

One of the many blessings of Facebook for me is the contact I continue to have with former students. Probably 2/3 of my Facebook friends fit into that category. One of them contacted me yesterday with a request, and I would like to honor it because I consider it worthy of publicizing. As it happens, this young woman is married to another of my former students who is now serving in the military. They have a ten-month-old son. Her husband is currently deployed overseas, a thirteen-month stint. Normally, soldiers on such a deployment get a two-week R&R in the midst of the deployment. The Obama administration has changed this. I’ll let her tell the story:

As you probably know, my husband . . . is deployed for 13 months right now. Obviously a hard year, especially with our baby son. In years past, soldiers were allowed to come home for two weeks’ R&R mid-deployment to see family. This was especially important to soldiers with young children. But this year the mid-deployment R&R program was cut. This was a real hardship on [us] and I think trying to balance the budget on the backs of military families is a travesty. So in true . . . activist fashion, I started a petition to bring back R&R for the military families that are already hurting from 11 years of war [so much PTSD, divorces . . . ]. Now I am trying to get publicity for the petition. I have two talk radio shows that are planning on covering this military R&R issue, one online newspaper is taking it up, and I’m trying to ask all my friends with connections both for suggestions on how to publicize this issue and if they would be willing to spread the information.

She has set up a site where you can add your name to the petition. When you do so—as I have done—it will trigger an e-mail to the White House, to both of your state’s senators, and to your congressman. The site is http://www.petition2congress.com/8229/bring-back-military-rr/

Sadly, we have an administration that, while mouthing platitudes about those who protect the country via military service, does little in the way of helping them. The fiscal cliff that approaches may end up slashing military funding drastically. This is particularly disturbing since having a military force is one of the few things we fund anymore that is constitutional.

The military always seems to get the short stick. Ever since Obama took office, it’s interesting how hard it has become, for instance, for those in the service overseas to vote. Those absentee ballots don’t always arrive on time.

The Obama-Holder Justice Department cries “fraud” when states simply want voters to show a valid photo ID, but all I hear is silence when it comes to soldiers voting. Of course, they know which way that vote will probably go.

It’s time for us to stand up for our military families. I encourage you to help with this petition drive.

The Case Against Barack Obama: Foreign Policy

This is my fourth posting this week laying out the reasons why President Obama does not deserve reelection. I began with an evaluation of his worldview, moved to his character traits, and then showed how those applied to his domestic policies. If you missed those, I urge you to go back and read them. Today’s goal is to illuminate his foreign policy and—surprise—it once again reflects his worldview and character.

Surely you recall the 2008 campaign when hope and change included the tantalizing promise that the election of Obama would make all things right with the world. He would rectify all the ill humor and bad vibes emanating from the rest of the world because of George Bush’s policies. With the incidents surrounding September 11, 2012, this is more of a joke than ever:

During the 2008 campaign, Obama staged a massive rally/speech in Germany. The adoring throngs gathered to see the political messiah who would bring peace and brotherhood to humanity. I’m not exaggerating; that was the expectation of many. The fantasy even found its way into the heady atmosphere of the Nobel committee that preemptively awarded the new president the Nobel Peace Prize simply for the “promise” he brought. He had accomplished nothing, but they were in full-swoon mode. Characteristically for him, he accepted the award, even though it was richly undeserved.

Upon taking office, he sent Secretary of State Clinton to Russia with a prop—a silly “reset” button, signifying the changing of the guard in D.C. The button didn’t work.

When Iranian dissidents rose up against the regime that is rapidly gaining access to nuclear weapons and is boasting it will wipe Israel off the map, what was the Obama administration’s response? Virtual silence. The dissidents were suppressed. When the misnamed Arab Spring burst from the underbelly of radical jihadism, we found the President of the United States as its prime cheerleader. Unsurprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood now seems to be in command of that revolution. Yet we hear no genuine warnings from this administration about the dangers of Muslim radicalism.

Then came our new September 11. Embassies attacked, an ambassador murdered, crowds chanting “Death to America.” The Obama response was to blame it all on a YouTube video of a trailer for a film depicting Mohammed in a bad light. Despite the ever-mounting evidence that this was no spontaneous uprising, and that it was a carefully orchestrated terror attack, administration spokespersons—all the way from press secretary Jay Carney to Susan Rice, our UN ambassador—deny that it had anything to do with American policy. The State Department even refuses to take any more questions on the issue. Americans are nervous, perhaps recalling our history with radical Islam, even prior to 9/11/2001:

But keep in mind, his defenders say, that he successfully carried out the killing of Osama bin Laden, and our drone attacks in Pakistan continue to take down Al Qaeda leaders. True, but I would hope any president would have followed up on the intelligence that located bin Laden, and would have taken the same action. He owes a great debt to President Bush for the policies that ultimately led to tracking down key terrorists. It also needs to be noted that Obama draws a line between Al Qaeda and what he considers legitimate “liberation” groups in the Muslim world. They are no better than Al Qaeda, yet he seems blind to that fact.

And then there’s the whole question of American support for Israel, our only real ally in the Middle East. From the beginning of his presidency, Obama has cold-shouldered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Never has an American president treated an Israeli leader with such disrespect. The latest example is Netanyahu’s request for a meeting with Obama to discuss the latest acts of terrorism and the looming threat of a nuclear Iran. The response? Our president’s schedule is too full; there’s no time for a face-to-face meeting. And just what is filling his schedule? Fundraisers with celebrities. Appearances on the Letterman show and other “soft” media outlets that will never ask him the tough questions. The prime minister of Israel? What does he have to offer?

Another salient fact that has emerged this past week is that President Obama has attended fewer than half of his daily intelligence briefings. That shows a decided lack of intelligence. Further, just when the American military needs to be at peak proficiency, he and his team are cutting back on military preparedness. If there is one duty the federal government most emphatically has, it is to protect its citizens from enemies who are developing the capability to destroy them. I believe he is failing in carrying out that vital responsibility.

The Obama foreign policy is a direct outgrowth of his anti-colonial, anti-Western-civilization worldview. He has far more in common with the radicals who seek to attack us than he does with America’s heritage. That should give any voter pause. Tomorrow, I’ll summarize the week’s posts and offer a challenge to the American electorate as we face perhaps the most pivotal election in our history.