National Security - 'Change You Can Believe In'
In 2008, President Obama campaigned with the slogan "change we can believe in." When it comes to national security, change is exactly what he has been creating ever since he took office. None of those changes are for the better.
The president has finally realized that his economic policies have utterly failed. He cannot successfully campaign on gas prices, unemployment, or the national debt. The only ammunition he has left in his campaign arsenal comes from national security. Yet national security has become a politicized flip-flop extravaganza as well.
The current administration continues to play whack-a-mole using numbers as agitprop for his supposed national security successes. While the killing of highly valued targets sounds appealing to many, not one single key leader of al-Qaeda has been captured by the United States under the current administration's watch. They have all been target-killed. This leads to a very serious problem when it comes to continued intelligence.
Killing Osama bin Laden was an Obama administration victory. The drone strike in Yemen which killed two American citizens, Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan, was also conducted under Obama's watch. Eleven months ago, members of this administration even went as far as saying that al-Qaeda has been crippled. Just a few weeks ago, an undisclosed high-ranking member of the State Department went even farther, saying that the "War on Terror" is over.
Americans were not fooled hearing that the current war is over. Some jokingly hoped we would finally get rid of the controversial TSA and National Defense Authorization Act. Of course, the more serious were merely dreaming. They were dreaming because the threat of terror will never go away. Could this be why, just a few days ago, we learned about another terror threat, a threat I debunked in July of 2011?
Yet President Obama will go on spewing mad national security successes. But did he really succeed in any national security endeavor? We pulled out of Iraq early, and while we rarely hear anything today about Iraq, the place is in complete shambles. It's so bad that many professionals believe that it has become a mini-Iran.
Surge troops have begun the withdrawal out of Afghanistan. The current administration, based on its report titled "Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan," would make us believe that everything in the Islamic Republic is just peachy-keen. Yet, as noted last week, that too is a far cry from reality.
With so many proclaimed national security successes, it's interesting to note how America's best and brightest have actually been treated by the current administration. Our warriors have endured extreme hardships from Justice Department investigations, national defense cuts, and actual persecution.
"President Obama's decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this Administration's ability to be responsible for our nation's security" (former Vice President Dick Cheney).
In 2009, three Navy SEALs were charged for allegedly assaulting a highly valued target in Iraq. All three men were later acquitted. How much unnecessary duress was placed on them and their families?
Our service members and their families have never been under such friendly fire duress. When initial debate about defense budget cuts floated in D.C., my inbox filled. Many family members of our military e-mailed me, deeply concerned about their livelihoods. They were scared, not knowing whether they would be able to continue paying the bills if pay cuts were to manifest. While their pay may not have been truly tarnished, veterans who depend on TRICARE were slapped in the face. You can see the charts of the forecasted increases of TRICARE fees here.
Bill Gertz, who writes for the Washington Free Beacon, estimated the TRICARE benefit reduction. "President Obama's new medical proposal seeks to save $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget and $12.9 billion by 2017, the latter amount adding up to 0.99% of the $1.3 trillion deficit for a single year built into Obama's proposed budget. To accomplish this spending reduction, service members should expect a 30% to 78% increase in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. In five years, service members will expect an increase ranging from 94% to 345%."
So much for love of our national security tacticians.
While America has focused on job growth, the economy, and the national debt, arguably, we have lost focus on the most critical aspect needed for any nation to thrive -- national security. Until recently, very few have actually paid close attention to the subject. Today, it has become another focal point for many reasons. One of those reasons could be because President Obama now realizes that he doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to any of his other policies. Well, he doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to national security or the treatment of our veterans, either.
Kerry Patton, a combat service disabled veteran, is a senior analyst for WIKISTRAT and author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children's book American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook or at www.kerry-patton.com.