GI Jennifer Part II – Careful What You Wish For

After my first GI Jennifer blog about opening combat arms positions to women I received numerous emails and comments from all sides of the spectrum.  One thread that kept reoccurring was that if a woman could meet the standard, she should be allowed to enter the combat MOS, whatever that may be.  For elite units, this argument is fine, as they are all volunteer organizations, but for the average combat arms position, such as Infantry, Field Artillery, or Armor, the more I thought about it, the more unfair I realized the argument is.  Believe it or not, it’s setting up gender discrimination the opposite way – against males.

GI Jennifer

When the Department of Defense announced that it would be opening combat roles to women, I immediately began receiving questions regarding my opinion on this issue.  I strove mightily to be noncommittal, and begged off for the most part because I really didn’t want to poke the sore.  Then, a couple of days ago, 2LT Sage Santegelo wrote an OpEd in the Washington post decrying the “double standard” she endured, which made her fail the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course, and so I decided to blog.  Against my wife’s better judgment, because no matter what I type I’m going to aggravate someone, here’s what I think.

In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man…

Living in Charleston, South Carolina can be a little funny at times.  Today was supposed to be “Snowmageddon”, with a light dusting of the fluffy stuff and the commensurate shutting down of any and all services.  My kids left school early, and we all waited.  By nine pm it hadn’t hit and I had to take the dog for a walk.

No Al Qaida in Benghazi? Someone’s drinking the Kool-aid…

The New York Times presented a lengthy report on the Benghazi attack in its Sunday edition (12/29), and one of its central tenants was that the attackers had no connection to al Qaeda.  Specifically, there was “no evidence that al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.”  I was flabbergasted.  No evidence?  And not “any role”?  Seriously?  Pretty strong, quantifiable words.  I could live with “not a preponderance of evidence leading to the conclusion that al Qaeda senior leadership directed the attack.” Or, “little evidence to support that the attack was committed by al Qaeda members from outside of Libya.”  But NO evidence?  And NO role from al Qaeda?  At all?  I wondered how that could be, since even a cursory study of Benghazi would turn up a Library of Congress report written one month before the attack.  The title?  Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile. 

All Snowden wants for Christmas is Amnesty. He’s asking Santa for the Wrong Thing.

Last Sunday on Sixty Minutes, the lead NSA investigator — tasked with determining how much damage Edward Snowden has done to national security — floated the idea of giving him amnesty to entice him to return to the U.S. and bring back everything he stole.  The head of the NSA, General Alexander, was not of the same mind. He compared Snowden to a hostage taker that kills ten people then asks for amnesty if he’ll release the rest.  I agree with Alexander, but not for the reasons he stated.  Snowden doesn’t need amnesty.  What he needs is a set of press credentials.

The Libyan Conundrum Part V: The Enemy Has a Vote

Well, it looks like this administration is finally realizing that just proclaiming victory doesn’t make it so.  Before we went into Libya, I blogged that it would devolve into a mess without a heavy stability and support operation (SASO) on our part, and that the administration was rightfully hesitant to conduct a no-fly zone due to these realities.  The administration then ignored my prescient blog and went ahead with “leading from behind”, with President Obama proclaiming No Boots on the Ground in Libya.  We applied our air power, Ghaddafi fell, and we stuck to our guns.  No boots on the ground.  No helping to restore a functioning government.  No follow-through on the vacuum we’d created.  We just sat back and watched the country fall into chaos, ultimately resulting in the Benghazi debacle. 

What’s up with the Benghazi Four?

Immediately after the raids in Somalia and Libya, lawmakers began throwing barbs about Benghazi, saying, “If we could capture al-Ruqai in Tripoli, why can’t we get the guys that killed our ambassador in Benghazi?”  Initially, I said nothing because I actually thought we were going to get them.  That the Tripoli hit was just the first one in Libya, and Ambassador Stevens’ killers were about to have their head on a spike.

The Syrian Conundrum Part II: From Russia With Love

What a clown-fest.  I’ve wanted to update my latest Syria blog, but one bizarre thing after another kept occurring.  First, Secretary of State Kerry gave an impassioned speech on why we should immediately strike Assad, and, as I said in my last blog, I agreed with him (yes, that’s past tense).  Instead of using his legal powers as president to strike, as Kerry implied would happen, President Obama backed up and asked congress for permission.  Secretary Kerry, in an odd choice of words, scared the pants off of Assad by saying the strike would be “unbelievably small” and wouldn’t be targeted at Assad or designed to alter the balance of power.  President Obama immediately followed that up with the statement “We don’t do pinpricks” – leaving me to believe that a pinprick is NOT unbelievably small.  Finally, someone asked Secretary Kerry what it would take for the US to not strike Syria.  He said that Assad must turn over all of his chemical weapons to an international force – then said that would never happen.  Immediately, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, stepped up and said that’s a great idea.  Syria followed suit by saying they would do it.  Kerry slapped his forehead in aggravation.

The Syrian Conundrum

Syria is all over the news lately, and much like Libya before it, I haven’t heard a lot of talk focused on the correct issues.  Most of the discussion centers around attaining UN or congressional approval, what the U.S. will strike, proof Assad is a crazy man, or the timing.  Then, in the middle of this week, the UK decided they weren’t going to play.  The administration’s response to this news provided the first solid words of sanity after more than two years of misguided foreign policy adventures.  National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, “President Obama’s decision making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States.”

Remember the Messenger When Reading the Message

Intrepid warrior of transparency, Glenn Greenwald, leaked another classified NSA program, and as he has with just about all of his reporting, he expands a single tidbit of information into some global leviathan.  In this case, Xkeyscore can apparently see EVERYTHING anyone does on the Internet anywhere on the globe, in real time.  Yes, the NSA is worse than a corrupt intelligence organization.  It’s replaced God.