Category: Military

Report: Taliban Now Controls More Of Afghanistan Than At Any Time Since 2001

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.

 

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Day 4: From Diamond Head To Pearl Harbor

IMG_8212Day 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”

University of Exeter Apologizes For Use of Inspirational Quote From Erwin Rommel

Exeter_University_Crest_Colour400px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1977-018-13A,_Erwin_Rommel(brighter)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”

Congress Is Again AWOL On War Powers

US_Capitol_Building,_East_side_steps_and_domeBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent Senate hearing (in which I testified) on the proposed new AUMF legislation.  In the last couple days, an open battle erupted between Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., South Carolina) and Sen. Rand Paul (R., Kentucky) after Graham called for the addition of North Korea among the ever changing list of countries.  Paul called him “a danger to the country.”

Here is the column: Continue reading “Congress Is Again AWOL On War Powers”

Controversial Socialist Army Officer Given “Other Than Honorable” Discharge

West Point graduate and Army infantry officer Spenser Rapone has been drummed out of the military after receiving an “other than honorable discharge” from the military.  He caused a stir with a posted photo of his West Point cap with the words “Communism will win” written inside.  He also displayed a Che Guevara T-shirt underneath his uniform jacket.  Rapone is clearly a dedicated socialist, but the action raises the issue of whether being a communist or socialist is disqualifying.  His removal is widely tied to a letter sent by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fl.).  Rapone is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the conference “Socialism 2018” in Chicago this year.

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State Department Spokesperson Cites D-Day As Proof Of Our Long Relationship With Germany

1490px-Into_the_Jaws_of_Death_23-0455M_editThe State Department was eager to brush over miffed feelings connected to the G-7 meeting, particularly with Germany. Perhaps a bit too eager. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was striving to list examples of our close historical relationship and included the D-Day invasion. It is true that that was a key moment in our “relationship” but it was hardly a positive one.

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Turley To Testify On War Powers In Senate Today

Jonathan-Turley-e1416865770538I will be testifying today in the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management.  The hearing is entitled War Powers and the Effects of Unauthorized Military Engagements on Federal Spending” and will address the new proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) proposed by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).  As my testimony below discusses, the new legislation would represent an unprecedented change in the law governing war powers.  The new AUMF amounts to a statutory revision of one of the most defining elements of the United States Constitution. Putting aside the constitutionality of such a change absent a formal amendment, the proposed legislation completes a long history of this body abdicating its core responsibilities over the declaration of war.  Continue reading “Turley To Testify On War Powers In Senate Today”

Haspel Continues (Reluctantly) With Endangered Nomination Despite Opposition Over Her Prior Record Of Torture

440px-Gina_Haspel_official_CIA_portraitCIA nominee Gina Haspel reportedly sought to withdraw her nomination last Friday but was convinced to continue by the White House.  I have previously written extensively on my views the torture program implemented under the Bush Administration and why it was a clear violation of international laws and treaties.  As I wrote recently, CIA nominee Gina Haspel has featured greatly in that torture program.  Nevertheless, various Democrats continues to express a willingness to consider making her the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the meantime, Sarah Sanders has echoed the talking point that Senators will be hypocrites if they do not vote for the first woman to be nominated for this post.  The problem is that she is also the first person nominated with an admitted history of torture, even though she continues to mislabel the programs as “enhanced interrogation.”

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Gina Haspel’s CIA Nomination Is A Women’s Milestone We’d Be Wise To Avoid

440px-Gina_Haspel_official_CIA_portraitBelow is my column in USA Today on the nomination Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the CIA.  While Sen. Rand Paul has declared that he will oppose Haspel over torture, some Democrats (who are being criticized for previously failing to act on torture allegations) are again hedging on whether they will oppose a nominee solely due to her involvement in the torture program.  However, one promising development is an effort by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to have Haspel’s record on torture declassified. There remains some debate over Haspel’s role on notable cases.  Reports still indicate that Haspel oversaw the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the “Cat’s Eye.”  However, it is not clear if she was “Chief of Base” during the torture of Abu Zubaydah.  ProPublica issued a correction Thursday that she was not Chief at the time of the Zubaydah torture.  There is no debate that Haspel ordered the destruction of evidence of the torture program.

Here is the column (which has been edited since its original posting):

 

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President Trump Pardons Former Sailor Who Raised “Clinton Defense”

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Poll: Do You Think We Should Have A Military Parade In Washington?

images-3The United States has long rejected the holding of military parades featuring tanks, missiles and other heavy weapons as a symbol of authoritarian regimes like the Soviet Union, North Korea and other countries.  We commonly have parades with marching military and military bands in Washington.  What we generally have not done is add heavy weaponry — the signature display of so many of the history authoritarian enemies of this country (though, as some have pointed out on this blog, there have been exceptions where tanks or missiles were present in inaugurations).  Trump’s desire for military equipment at the presidential inauguration was reportedly rejected by the Pentagon as running counter to the long traditions of the country.  Now Trump appears to be close to getting such a parade, modeled on the Bastille Day parade. A military official told The Washington Post is quoted as saying“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France.” (The current results show 77 percent against such parades with around 800 polled.  The Army-Navy Times is reported opposition at 89 percent).  Opposition is also coming from Republicans who are calling it “cheesy” and “wasteful.”  The Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden has called it “third world bulls**t.”

Ironically, as many on this blog know, I am a military history buff and love to review both vintage and modern weaponry.  However, I like our tradition in not holding such military parades. Our military has long maintained its apolitical and professional distance in our system. We celebrate and honor our military but do not use heavy weapons as props.  We also avoid the high costs associated with such parades.  However, people of good faith can disagree and I wanted to ask the blog about the consensus (if any) on this issue below.

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Washington Prepares For Final Week With New Sexual Harassment Cases and A Final Tax Vote

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There is a rumor of more members being axed in the coming week over sexual harassment as Washington prepares for the final tax vote.  Ok, it was just an excuse to show this incredible picture from a Leningrad gas mask drill in 1939.

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RES IPSA HITS 33,000,000

Audience_Frontier_FiestaWe have hit another milestone today with over 33,000,000 views. We are also expected to reach 35,000 followers on Twitter.  That hardly makes us competition for the largest sites but it is still an impressive collection of people seeking a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues  of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories).  We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world.

As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Darren Smith, Kimberly Dienes, and Cara Gallagher (particularly Darren who continues help up with periodic technical problems etc).

I particularly want to thank our regular commentators and readers.  We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible.  Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues.  We have had to delete a handful of comments with personal attacks or profanity but the number remains quite low for a blog of this size.  The success of this blog is due to the fact that we offer something more than the all-too-common troll-driven, angry, and insulting commentary of the Internet.  Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments. Continue reading “RES IPSA HITS 33,000,000”

Aim High: Military Pilot Draws Giant Phallus Above Washington State [UPDATED]

DOyF6cMUQAEFaTEIt seems that Naval Aviators are taking a cue from their Air Force counterparts and “aiming high.”  In what may be the greatest example of male exaggeration, a Naval pilot drew a giant phallus in the skies above Okanogan, Washington.  I am ready to represent the pilot and argue that this is really nothing more than a cowboy hat and that the suggestion of anything more is merely an example of sexual repression revealed in an aerial Rorschach test. UPDATE: The pilots have been disciplined but will keep their “wings.”

 

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With Friends Like This: Egypt Sought To Smuggle Over 30,000 RPGs In Violation of North Korean Embargo

Egypt1600px-Flag_of_North_Korea.svgWe recently discussed the controversy over U.S. taxpayers giving billions to Egypt as that country persecutes homosexuals, including its recent ordering of anal examinations of suspected gay men.  Now a new report indicates that the United States suspended aid temporarily when it learned that the Egyptian government was knowingly circumventing international trade bans with North Korea.  While North Korea was threatening the world with nuclear war and specifically targeting the United States, our “ally” was secretly trying to pay North Korea $23 million for over 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades.

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