President Donald Trump took a highly extraordinary — and in my view a highly inappropriate — step on Wednesday in ordering the Navy to rescind the achievement medals awarded to military prosecutors in the case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was accused of murder and other crimes in his killing of a teenage ISIS fighter who was his prisoner in 2017 in Iraq. It is hard not to view the President’s intervention as retaliation against prosecutors who took an unpopular case and carried out their duties despite being publicly ridiculed by the Commander in Chief. The move undermines the professionalism and independence of the military justice system.Continue reading “Trump Rescinds Medals For Prosecutors In Gallagher Case”
Below is my column in Los Angeles Times on the growing number of people pledging to “storm Area 51.” What they could find is far more unnerving than alien parts in jars.
Here is my column:Continue reading “The Truth Is Out There: The Secrets Of Area 51 Have A More Earthly And Lethal Story”
We have previously discussed how the controversial EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has dismissed the notion of national boundaries and called nationalists “stupid.” Various countries are faced with parties seeking to exit from the European Union as the EU exercised more and more control over every aspect of life in various countries. Rather than look for a figure to allay such concerns, the EU is moving toward a leader who has called for a United States of Europe with a single military. Ursula von der Leyen is Angela Merkel’s defense minister and was proposed by EU leaders to take over in October as the new leader in Brussels. Continue reading “EU Moves To Select Leader Who Has Called For A “United States Of Europe””
Washington is on edge this morning after congressional leaders were briefed on a strike on Iran and the military deployed assets for the pre-dawn attack only to have President Donald Trump rescind the order. Democrats briefed on the attack urged Trump to deescalate and he appears to have heeded such calls, not only from congressional leaders but some in his own Administration. Frankly, the decision to pull back is reassuring for many who felt like there was an orchestrated effort to push the U.S. into a war with Iran — a war reportedly encouraged by allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia.Continue reading “Trump Reportedly Orders Strike On Iran But Then Rescinds Order”
The U.S. military spent $20 million on parkas that were supposed to counter night vision googles and allow our Air Force personnel to move undetected in combat. Instead, the parkas were counterfeited Chinese products that lacked any night vision capabilities — exposing any troops to detection by the enemy. The persons responsible for this potentially lethal fraud were not just our friends in China but Ramin Kohanbash, 49, and other associates, operating a Brooklyn, New York, clothing and goods wholesaler. They are now criminally charged. If proven, the depravity of this crime is truly overwhelming. Kohanbash allegedly conspired with the Chinese to get rich at the possible cost of the sons and daughters of other Americans who are serving in war zones.Continue reading “U.S. Military Buys Defective Chinese -Made Parkas That Would Help Enemy See Troops”
I wrote recently about the demand from the White House that the military move the USS McCain from Yokosuka Naval base during Donald Trump’s visit to Japan. It was a disgraceful insult to McCain, our military, and the country. My hope was that the White House would do that right thing and fire the staffers responsible for treating an active U.S. warship as a petty prop. Instead, Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that it wasn’t “unreasonable” for the demand to be made. In doing so, Mulvaney confirmed that the White House cares little for the principles of separating our military from politics or pettiness. Thus what might have been denounced as a terrible mistake is now embraced by the Trump White House as a reasonable use of our military to protect the President’s sensibilities. It not only makes Trump look like a unhinged egotist but also his Administration as cringing sycophants. It also contradicts the position of the Acting Secretary of Defense. That is quite an accomplishment even for a White House known for self-inflicted wounds.Continue reading “The Mark of [Mc]Cain: Mulvaney Declares That Ordering The Removal Of The USS McCain Was “Not Unreasonable””
The White House reportedly told the Defense Department that it needed to send away the the USS John McCain so that it was not around when President Donald Trump visited Japan. Named after Trump’s Republican critic, the ship had to be “out of sight” by the time Trump arrived for a visit to the Yokosuka base. Trump has denied knowing about the order, but did not say that he would find out who issued the order and fire them. The idea of White House staff dictating the movement of warships is extremely serious and the Navy should have refused. These warships have missions and are not props. Moreover, the people serving on these ships are not some collective pariah due to petty politics.Continue reading “Trump Staff Demanded Removal Of Warship Bearing John McCain’s Name Before Japan Visit”
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
With the litany of political investigations abound in Washington, DC, another of lesser consequence–and admittedly equal in relevance–involved errant U.S. Navy Aviators who drew a ginormous sky-borne phallus using contrails.
Surely, most everyone in Okanogan County probably found a good laugh, but someone just had to complain to a Spokane news medium and the controversy unfolded.
I am greatly relieved that our national security was assured as a result of this investigation. Yet, unfortunately, the additional laughs garnered probably did not live up to the budget spent on their revelation.Continue reading “Navy Completes Investigation of “Sky Penis” Artists”
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
If there was ever a “nation” in the ordinary meaning comprising the Islamic State it is unquestionably moribund. The area reportedly controlled by the terrorist organization remains for the time down to one square kilometer, according to some reports less than six hundred meters square in Baghuz.
What actually has so far saved the jihadists from annihilation was that they interspersed themselves among civilian human-shields while Kurdish forces and allies exercise pause to protect the innocent. Thus remains the glory of the Caliphate, hiding among women and children to save itself.Continue reading “Kurds: Islamic State Defeat To Be Announced “In A Few Days” But Is ISIS Truly Vanquished?”
President Donald Trump attacked his own intelligence chiefs today after they contradicted his statements about the status of threats posed by Iran, North Korea and other countries. Trump called the intelligence chiefs “wrong” and “passive and naive.” He also said that these seasoned intelligence officials might need to go back to school. It is worth noting that the testimony of these officials were not only quite measured but widely shared by experts in the field.More
In his signature fashion, President Donald Trump on Wednesday embraced the criticism of the Democrats and said that his wall is “medieval” but works. Last night, the public saw both the President and the Democrats announce that they will not yield an inch as the country continues what will soon become the longest government shutdown in history. Lingering in the background is the threat of a presidential declaration of emergency — followed by a unilateral order to start to build the wall with unobligated funds. If so, the White House needs to guarantee that it will not repeat the grossly negligent performance of its first travel ban roll out. Trump reportedly stormed out of a meeting with Democrats in the afternoon.Continue reading “Trump Goes “Medieval”: Both Sides Deepen Divide Over Wall”
This week I published a column on how the Democratic Party seems to have jettisoned many of its defining values to simply become the anti-Trump party. The best example of that transformation is the automatic opposition to Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and other countries. At the same time, liberal media outlets like CNN and MSNBC have been airing continual experts denouncing the “hasty” withdrawal. Now veteran NBC award-winning journalist William Arkin has resigned in protest of what he says is the unrelenting support of the network for endless wars. He notes that the anti-Trump agenda at the network has overwhelmed what used to be critical coverage of “the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness.” Now the reflective anti-Trump response at the network has overwhelmed all such considerations, according to Arkin. While Arkin calls Trump “an ignorant and incompetent impostor,” he cites the transformation of NBC into an opposition network as the main reason for his departure.Continue reading ““The Machine of Perpetual War Acceptance”: Veteran NBC Journalist Resigns In Protest Over One-Sided Coverage”
After thousands of fatalities to U.S. personnel and allies and hundreds of billions of dollars, the Taliban now controls more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001 . . . that the momentum seems to favor the Taliban. The government controls only 55 percent of the country. One can only wonder at the problems in this country that could have been addressed by hundreds of billions of dollars but the thousands lost and wounded are no abstraction.
Day Four of our trip to Hawaii started early with a trip to the Diamond Head crater. This was my second hike up the crater, but the first such venture for the family. We then had a great lunch at Duke’s restaurant in Waikiki and journeyed on to Pearl Harbor. We finished the day with an evening dip back on the North Shore. It felt wonderfully decadent. Continue reading “Day 4: From Diamond Head To Pearl Harbor”
The University of Exeter has had the embarrassing task for apologizing for its distribution of an inspiration quote to students that “One cannot permit unique opportunities to slip by for the sake of trifles.” The problem is that the quote is from General Erwin Rommel. What should be the most alarming aspect of this story is not the use of the Rommel quote but that the university personnel did not know who the “Desert Fox” was. Continue reading “University of Exeter Apologizes For Use of Inspirational Quote From Erwin Rommel”