Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category

A sea of change

Posted by Greg on May 13, 2009

Amazing what little tidbits nearly get missed, but it appears Obama is serious about a goal of a nuke free world.

Obama’s new budget plan includes a little-noted sea change in U.S. nuclear policy, and a step towards his vision of a denuclearized world. It provides no funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, created to design a new generation of long-lasting nuclear weapons that don’t need to be tested. (The military is worried that a nuclear test moratorium in effect since 1992 might endanger the reliability of an aging US arsenal.) But this spring Obama issued a bold call for a world free of nuclear weapons, and part of that vision entails leading by example. That means halting programs that expand the American nuclear stockpile. For the past two budget years the Democratic Congress has refused to fund the Bush-era program. But Obama’s budget kills the National Nuclear Security Administration program once and for all.

Posted in National Security, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

Speaking of medieval conditions

Posted by Greg on January 19, 2009

The Plague is back, this time attacking terrorists.

At least 40 al-Qaeda fanatics died horribly after being struck down with the disease that devastated Europe in the Middle Ages.

The killer bug, also known as the plague, swept through insurgents training at a forest camp in Algeria, North Africa. It came to light when security forces found a body by a roadside.

The victim was a terrorist in AQLIM (al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb), the largest and most powerful al-Qaeda group outside the Middle East.

It trains Muslim fighters to kill British and US troops.

Now al-Qaeda chiefs fear the plague has been passed to other terror cells — or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Poetic justice?

Hat tip:  TMV

Posted in International, National Security | Leave a Comment »

Keeping us safe from pussys

Posted by Greg on March 26, 2008

This post explains in a nutshell everything wrong with the Bush Administration approach to anti terrorism and monitoring.

Posted in National Security, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

When it’s right to be wrong

Posted by Greg on March 24, 2008

Slate recently asked several high profile bloggers to comment on the fifth anniversary of Bush’s nightmare in Iraq and reflect on what they got wrong at the outset.

One of the better reads comes from Andrew Sullivan, who analyzes four fundamental errors in depth.

I think my favorite has to be by my friend John Cole at Balloon Juice who rather bluntly declares:

I was wrong about EVERY. GOD. DAMNED. THING. It is amazing I could tie my shoes in 2001-2004. If you took all the wrongness I generated, put it together and compacted it and processed it, there would be enough concentrated stupid to fuel three hundred years of Weekly Standard journals.

Ok….tell us how you really feel John.

But a lot of us REALLY underestimated the duplicity of the Bush administration.  Who’d have thunk they’d falsify intelligence.  Who’d have thunk they’d simply disregard international law, the US Constitution, and basic human decency?

Let’s hope we learned our less on well, and that after 2008 the national nightmare can end.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, International, National Security | Leave a Comment »

Stepping in it again

Posted by Greg on March 17, 2008

How do you know when Michele Bachmann is profoundly, embarassingly wrong?  For starters, her lips move…

On Feb. 16, the Protect America Act expired — even though the Senate voted to reauthorize it with a strong, bipartisan vote, and even though the same bipartisan support exists in the House as well.

Why, then, has it expired?

Because the House Democratic leadership has simply refused to allow a vote — knowing it will pass. In fact, 21 House Democrats wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging her to bring the bill to the floor.

While this inaction may score cheap political points with the fringe elements of the Democratic caucus, American families are needlessly imperiled. This is not an exaggeration. This is not hyperbole. This is fact — confirmed by our intelligence community and agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Yeah right.  It expired because Republicans refused to pass a bill that gives telecoms retroactive immunity from illegal wiretapping.  What Michele isn’t telling is that the bill was a new, temporary thing to begin with, and the law Democrats passed allows security interests to move forward.

Minnesota Monitor has a good fisking of her idiocy.  Read it in full.

Posted in Congress, Minnesota, National Security, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Rebellion in Montana

Posted by Greg on January 18, 2008

Good for Montana’s governor:

Montana declared independence Friday from a federal identification rules and called on governors of 17 other states to join him in forcing a showdown with the federal government which says it will not accept the driver’s licenses of rebel states’ citizens starting May 11.

If that showdown comes to pass, residents of non-complying states could not use a driver’s license to enter a federal courthouse or a Social Security Administration building nor could board a plane without undergoing a pat-down search, possibly creating massive backlogs at the nation’s airports and almost certainly leading to a flurry of federal lawsuits.

Posted in Civil Rights, National Security | Leave a Comment »

A thousand words

Posted by Greg on September 12, 2007

A picture that’s worth more than the usual amount of words.

billboard.jpg

Amazingly, it’s an army recruitment poster.

Hat tip with gratitude to Republic of T who observes:

I did laugh at it yesterday, and I would have laughed longer if the hubby hadn’t reminded me that we were sitting in the middle of a military hospital.

But can you blame me? I mean, now they decide they need linguists who speak arabic?

Posted in Bush Adminisration, International, National Security | Leave a Comment »

Iraq

Posted by Greg on March 8, 2007

Great stuff from Obsidian Wings.  Many viewpoints and observations from those on the inside.

Posted in International, National Security, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

The worst non fiction book

Posted by Greg on January 17, 2007

Actually, it probably has enough errors to qualify as fiction.

At the Washington Post, Warren Bass reviews the latest book to issue forth from Dinesh D’Souza’s crayola.

On Sept. 13, 2001, the television evangelist Jerry Falwell offered a stunned, grieving nation a startling diagnosis of al-Qaeda’s motivations. “I really believe,” he said on Pat Robertson’s show, “The 700 Club,” “that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’ ”

At the time, Falwell’s analysis was roundly denounced as hysterical and elicited a pointed disavowal from President Bush. But Dinesh D’Souza, a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, has decided, essentially, that Falwell was on to something. The Enemy at Home calls America’s culture war synonymous with its war on terrorism and flatly blames the country’s left for 9/11. But unlike Falwell and Robertson’s outburst at a moment of crisis, D’Souza’s is offered in a spirit of cool reflection. The result is the worst nonfiction book about terrorism published by a major house since 9/11, but with the country still facing a serious jihadist threat, it’s worth trying to understand D’Souza’s own exercise in finger-pointing.

Posted in National Security, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Word of the Day

Posted by Greg on January 16, 2007

Interesting stuff coming out of Washington.  Stuff, that is, that goes beyond the typical war of words.  Rush Limbaugh had a saying, “Words mean things,” and he’s right.  Words DO matter.  He who wins the choice of words has a distinct advantage in the debate.

That’s what makes this so disturbing:

“Putting in 22,000 more troops is not an escalation?” Hagel asked.

Responded Rice: “I think, Senator, escalation is not just a matter of how many numbers you put in.”

“Would you call it a decrease?” Hagel asked.

“I would call it, Senator, an augmentation that allows the Iraqis to deal with this very serious problem that they have in Baghdad,” Rice said.

Oh really?  Dick Polman finds it Orwellian.

So there it is. At least in Decider circles, surge is out and augmentation is in. This battle over words may seem trivial, but it is not. Language is powerful. Whoever captures the language has the power to frame an issue. Which is why the Bush camp has now unveiled augmentation, a word that sounds more benign than escalation, which still carries the stench of a certain lost war in the jungle.

Sounds benign?  It sounds more like talking about a penis implant and less like discussing failed American policy that has made a disaster of the Middle East and left us far less secure than we were even on September 10, 2001.

It’s raising questions on the right too.  The following from local worthy Bogus Gold:

Word to the White House: Come ON! Give us SOMETHING to work with. You already had me skeptical. I’m sure as hell not carrying your water over this one:

“I think that I don’t see it, and the president doesn’t see it, as an escalation,” Rice told an incredulous Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Hagel responded, “Putting 22,000 new troops, more troops in, is not an escalation?” “I would call it, senator, an augmentation,” Rice said.

Oh puh-lease! Yes it IS an escalation. And not ONLY in troop levels. You’re putting more of the troops into harm’s way. Casualty rates should go up as well. And this isn’t criticism, this is just talking like rational adults about the plan you just freaking announced.

Wow.  2009 can’t come soon enough.

HT: TMV

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, National Security | 1 Comment »

An international disaster of epic proportions

Posted by Greg on January 12, 2007

Just when you think things can’t be worse, you turn on the news and get the daily idiocy from the White House.  For today, that would be the Bush administration’s efforts in the middle east, and Dubya’s desperate, flailing hope to bring Iran into his Iraqi fuster cluck.

Greenwald really needs to be read in full.

Jesus’ General gets it right with his graphic below:

Posted in Bush Adminisration, International, National Security, Terrorism, The Right | 2 Comments »

Less safe and less income

Posted by Greg on December 27, 2006

It’s bad enough that we aren’t really any safer despite the billions of dollars spent and silly policies established in the name of enhanced security, but can the “pain in the posterior” factor in international travel into the US be given a dollar value?

According to Bloomberg, it can, and it’s over $10 billion a year in lost revenue.

For growing numbers of international business travelers, visa and customs regulations are making trips to the U.S. a thing of the past.

Companies say U.S. rules have become so onerous in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that it’s often simpler to meet customers, business partners and employees elsewhere. Exxon Mobil Corp. has resorted to customer meetings in a London branch office; Ingersoll-Rand Co. says it took one of its Indian engineers three 18-hour trips to get his U.S. visa.

Problems created by the entry requirements have become so evident that the man who initially helped enforce them — Tom Ridge, the first U.S. secretary of Homeland Security — is now working with a business group to change them.

“Our challenge now is to continue to meet our security needs while striking a better balance with how we welcome foreign visitors,” Ridge says.

The number of business travelers to the U.S. fell 10 percent in 2005 from the previous year, according to World Travel Market, a London-based trade-show group. The Discover America Partnership — the group Ridge is working with, an organization of business executives working to improve America’s image abroad — says its survey of foreign travelers found that the U.S. entry process was rated the “worst” by a margin of more than two to one.

Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based Travel Industry Association, says the situation “is going to have disastrous implications” for the U.S. economy unless changes are made. The National Foreign Trade Council says the entry rules cost U.S. businesses $31 billion in lost sales and higher expenses between 2002 and 2004. More broadly, U.S. business groups say, foreign travelers choosing other destinations might fuel the growth of rival commercial and financial centers at the expense of the U.S. Europe is a major beneficiary: Foreign business travel rose 8 percent from 2004 to 2005, according to World Travel Market.

Posted in Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, National Security | Leave a Comment »

Corrections, not flip flops

Posted by Greg on December 26, 2006

Good editorial in WaPo by John Kerry:

I say this to President Bush as someone who learned the hard way how embracing the world’s complexity can be twisted into a crude political shorthand. Barbed words can make for great politics. But with U.S. troops in Iraq in the middle of an escalating civil war, this is no time for politics. Refusing to change course for fear of the political fallout is not only dangerous — it is immoral.

I’d rather explain a change of position any day than look a parent in the eye and tell them that their son or daughter had to die so that a broken policy could live.

No one should be looking for vindication in what is happening in Iraq today. The lesson here is not that some of us were right about Iraq or that some of us were wrong. The lesson is simply that we need to change course rapidly rather than perversely use mistakes already made and lives already given as an excuse to make more mistakes and lose even more lives.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, National Security | Leave a Comment »

The unspoken date

Posted by Greg on December 21, 2006

John Cole gets it right, even if Shrubya doesn’t.

Saying we can not set firm dates for withdrawal because the terrorists will just wait us out is pointless, since the terrorists already know how long they have to wait- January 2009.

Posted in Election 2008, National Security | Leave a Comment »

That damn marijuana

Posted by Greg on October 13, 2006

Amazing stories from Afghanistan.

Tim at Balloon Juice  has the details.

Posted in International, National Security | Leave a Comment »