The Syrian Conundrum Part III: Crossing the red line…Again

To say the least, the Tomahawk strike on Syria has caused a great amount of chatter throughout the world, but most of it is misplaced and some is outright outlandish. I thought I’d weigh in, not in a partisan way, with an agenda, but simply to clear the air a bit. So here, in no order of precedence, are the primary questions being asked:

Some fast facts on NATO

Lately, there’s been some discussion about NATO and its member nations not paying their fair share, leaving the American public believing that the United States is getting screwed making up the shortfall. It’s not that clear cut. With the transition between Commander’s in Chief, I thought I’d clear the air a little bit, and describe exactly what the cost is with NATO since both the outgoing commander in chief and the incoming seem to use the numbers to drive up interest. Bottom line up front: We don’t spend a single dime more because of a NATO member nations’ shortfalls.

A Simple Primer on “NoFlyNoBuy”: It’s Complicated

The NRA and the right are getting shellacked for apparently religiously protecting gun rights to the point that they’d rather allow terrorists to buy weapons than give one damn inch at anything smacking of gun control. It seems simple enough: If you’re on a no-fly list, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. I mean, really, if the government thinks you’re so dangerous they won’t allow you to even enter an aircraft AFTER going through TSA security, why in the world would the NRA defend your right to own a gun? Unfortunately, just like banning “assault rifles” is not a simple as it seems, the issue is a little more complicated.

Waterboarding – or “The Way I Can Show How Big My Balls Are on TV”

I purposely don’t get into political debates on this forum, but I’ve grown a little weary of the current debate surrounding waterboarding and torture, as if the entire discussion was a referendum on who’s going to be “tougher” on terrorism. Today, the director of the CIA said he’d never allow his men to waterboard. From that came a bunch of talking heads opining about his comments – none of whom have ever heard a shot fired in anger, and all of whom seem to believe that being savage is, in some way, helpful to our national goals.

Donald Trump, Gun Control, and the Lunacy of Fear

In my hometown, a stone’s throw from my house, Donald Trump – on an aircraft carrier that actually helped destroy the tyranny of fascism – doubled down on his statement that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United States.

A Simple Primer on Assault Weapons Part II: Some Inconvenient Truths

The San Bernardino terrorist attacks have spawned an editorial on page one from the vaunted New York Times, its first time doing so in nearly a century. What would cause the Gray Lady to be so incensed? Surely it has something to do with the Islamic State, or maybe our vulnerability to other terrorist actions and our ability to combat it. Surely they would use such an unprecedented event for this menace that we can barely comprehend.

What’s in a name?

It’s the political silly season – or at least the start of it – and candidates are grasping at anything to use as a weapon to garner support. Into this cauldron is thrown the religion of Islam and the terrorists of the Islamic State, with the terminology providing the fault line.

The Quiet Professional, and Why It Matters Part II: The Journalists Edition

A few months ago I wrote a blog on how disclosing military secrets is harmful to national security, focusing on the military members who have chosen to talk. A new book has been released, and while I don’t agree with anyone who decided to play Deep Throat, in this blog I’d like to take a look at this journalist’s lack of responsibility.

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Missing the Forest for the Trees.

I’ve had a few days to listen to all of the talking heads and various “experts” discuss the pros and cons of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and most of the arguments have focused on specific details of the agreement. There’s a lot of hyperbole over inspection timelines, centrifuges, hostages currently held, sanctions relief, etc, but in my mind the whole discussion misses the broader picture.

I AM Jade Helm

I grew up in East Texas, running around the woods, camping, hunting and generally getting into trouble. I haven’t been home in a while due to twenty-plus years in the military and now living in South Carolina, but I still have family there. From what they’re telling me, something has clearly changed from my childhood days. Jade Helm, a USASOC Realistic Military Training event, is coming to certain Texas locales, and the population is losing its mind over “sinister” implications. FEMA concentration camps, UN gun-grabbers, and anything else that can be extrapolated, has been. Why? I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out why this exercise has generated such controversy, as it’s truly confusing. How can a state that breaks its arm trying to congratulate veterans, that declared a Chris Kyle day, assume that those same service members they’ve been cheering in the Dallas Airport are now out to enslave the entire state? Truthfully, that’s what really burns me. The men who planned the exercise, and the men who will execute the exercise, are me. Texas, the land I grew up in, is basically saying I – and the men I served with – are willingly planning to round them up and put them into concentration camps. Why? How has the Internet been able to leverage such unfounded paranoia? When did we go from supporting the troops to denigrating them as oppressors?