Friday Evening Open Thread: SPACE FORCE! Forces Space!

Riveted by the sociological significance of it all…

Per the Hill:

VoteVets, an organization that focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on behalf veterans and their families, said on Twitter that it has submitted a Letter of Intent with Washington, D.C., to hold the race around the National Mall next year.

The announcement came the same day Trump canceled his plans for a military parade in the capital, citing its soaring cost estimates.

“So, unless he kicks out a veterans race, [Trump] will not get his ego parade there, on that day next year, either,” the organization added in the tweet, with the hashtag #NoTrumpParade…

In an email asking for signatures to support their request, the organization also said that it decided to make the race five kilometers long to symbolize “each of [Trump’s] deferments.”…

Their statement arrives on the heels of Trump’s Twitter announcement on Friday morning that he was canceling plans for a military parade over the estimated $92 million cost.

The president said in his tweet that “local politicians” in D.C. were to blame.

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th,” Trump wrote…



The Naval Special Warfare Development Group Moves to Contact: Admiral (ret) William McRaven Calls Out the President

Admiral (ret) William McRaven, former member of SEAL Team 6, the former Commander of Joint Special Operations Command who planned and oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, and the former Commanding Admiral of US Special Operations Command, has publicly responded to the President’s revoking DCI (ret) Brennan’s and threat to revoke the clearances of DNI and Gen (ret) Clapper, former FBI Director Comey, DCI and Gen (ret) Hayden, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, APNSA and AMB (ret) Susan Rice, former FBI staff lawyer Lisa Page, former FBI Director of National Security and Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Peter Strzok, and Bruce Ohr who is still serving in a senior executive position at the DOJ. Admiral McRaven, most recently the Chancellor of the University of Texas system until his retirement last May, dared the President to revoke his clearance too. (emphasis mine)

Dear Mr. President:

Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

Before anyone starts in on “the generals won’t save us” in the comments, what Admiral McRaven has done here is almost unprecedented. The only general officer/flag officer with equivalent rank (4 stars) who has called the President out in these types of clear terms is GEN (ret) McCaffrey, who has done so on cable news (MSNBC) and twitter.

While a number of other general officers and flag officers have spoken out against the President in no uncertain terms, Admiral McRaven’s challenge this morning is especially important. What he, GEN McCaffrey, LTG (ret) Hertling (who went on CNN this evening and, following ADM McRaven’s lead, challenged the President to revoke his clearance as well), MG (ret) Eaton, and a number of other now retired senior leaders – civilian and military – are doing is the very definition of leadership. They are speaking truth to power, standing up for the ideals they both believe in and have spent their lives serving, and showing others that it is not only okay to publicly dissent, but that no one should give in to intimidation. Even intimidation from the current President.

What the President did yesterday in revoking DCI (ret) Brennan’s clearance, and threatening those of the other former senior leaders whose criticism has upset his most fragile of egos, is really only about eligibility for access to classified materials in the short term. Rather, the real issue here is the President’s direct violation of the 1st Amendment to punish a critic. This is the current President of the United States directing the power of the state to punish a critic – DCI (ret) Brennan –  for engaging in political speech, which is protected from governmental retaliation under the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This is as clear a violation of the oath of office as one could ask for.

Open thread!



Late Night Mockery Open Thread: SPACE. FARCE.

I was pleased that, on its national segment Thursday evening, ABC News made it clear that Trump’s new! improved! separate but equal! (yes, he said that) Space Force was (a) impossible without an act of Congress; and (b) intended, for the moment, to sell logo-branded gear to Trump supporters. Can’t stop the Grifter-in-Chief from fleecing his deplorables, but at least we stop pretending it’s anything but a short-term distraction…


WARNING: If you don’t ‘get’ this last one, here is the Urban Dictionary definition you need. For the sake of your nightmares, do *not* google the word itself!



Space Force: Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution Edition

(Because most of our readers don’t speak Japanese*!)

I just want to quickly follow up on BettyC’s earlier post about the Vice President’s speech at the Pentagon today. Other than making some nice powerpoint slides and writing staff estimates that include projected budgetary costs, there is nothing the Department of Defense can actually do to fulfill the President’s request to create a Space Force. Article 8, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

The Congress shall have Power To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The Department of Defense cannot, just as the President cannot, will a new military Service into existence. In order for a Space Force to be created, Congress will have to pass the legislation to make it happen, just as Congress did way back in 1789, after a lot of prodding by President Washington (who is an example of somebody who’s done an excellent job and is being recognized more and more), to formally create the US Army. As such, the Department of Defense is taking this as seriously as all the other good ideas that people pitch to it. They’re being polite and making sure that they appear to be doing everything they are legally allowed to do in response to what they’re being asked to do.

Basically ordering people to show up to the Vice President’s speech and not laugh out loud.

And should a Space Force be required, well my tribe’s got us covered!

Lot of wasted space in those ship designs…

Open thread!

* Original Japanese version for the purists! ETA: From the remake.

Update at 3:51 PM EDT:

Thanks to SSDD in the comments, we’ve got a clip of the original title sequence in Japanese. Also, why is the “Chef de Project” named MILFY?

Finally, on a more historical note, back in 2015 a team financed by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame found the Yamato’s sister ship the IJN Musashi. So, technically, this premise is workable…

 



The Human Geography Trap: War with Iran

Last week The Modern War Institute at the US Military Academy West Point (West Point/The Point) published an article about the need to plan for an occupation of Iran. That article got a lot of buzz, especially so because a lot of the buzz had to do with the title, not with the actual substance of the article. The author, Joe Karle, argued that even though occupying Iran would be a very, very bad idea, given the recent political rhetoric, the President’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, and the possibilities of events occurring that simply override the ability to prevent what would be an unfortunate event – an escalation to military engagement with Iran – that the Department of Defense needs to plan for a post conflict occupation. Even though such an occupation would be a very, very, very bad idea. I initially thought about doing a response to the article here, but instead decided to reach out to the appropriate folks at The Modern War Institute. And look what happened!

Right now the US military does not have personnel with deep specialization in conducting or overseeing the type of occupation that Karle argues is an unfortunate necessity of being prepared for all possibilities. It is also not clear who the United States would seek to empower as a legitimate alternative to the current Iranian government—both the popularly elected facade and the largely opaque theocracy that runs in the background. Or how the United States would go about doing so successfully. Karle is arguing that, no matter how inconceivable it might be, the Department of Defense must begin to plan now for how to not just achieve battlefield success, but also properly manage the post war termination transition in order to secure the peace. And while he is right to argue that having a plan and a strategy is always better than not having either, if the United States’ policy is to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and remove the theocratic Iranian government, then United States policy is asking of strategy that which the strategy cannot provide: an achievable end state.

You can click across for the rest if you like. Including the nifty map I put together.

Open thread!

 



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Welcome to His World


 
Spent most of yesterday dealing with a dental appointment, so I didn’t get the chance to post about the unhinged behavior of the Oval Office Resident during his VFW speech. (In a more normal era, it would’ve dominated the news cycle for days.) He’s begging what should be a loyal crowd to accept a version of recent news that does not comport with reality…


 
And suddenly, some of the faithful are no longer buying the schtick!


Read more



The President’s Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention Live Stream

The President is scheduled to speak to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US National Convention in a few minutes. Here is the live feed. Traditionally the remarks to this convention would be non-partisan, or non-partisanish, as well as a veteran focused policy speech. The President does have a political rally scheduled for tonight, so the question is going to be how much he can stay on the prepared remarks in his address to the VFW. Given the President’s approach to such things, anything is possible.

Open thread!