We Don’t Need a PNAC Member Reminding Us that War Tours Strain US Military Readiness

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main_splash_400Is This a Right Wing Joke?

by Major Robert L. Hanafin, USAF-Retired

"While officials are preparing to reduce troop levels in Iraq, they are increasing their forces in Afghanistan – giving troops little break from their battlefield tours. The Pentagon [and Congress] has repeatedly stressed efforts to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps, but that growth is only now starting to have an impact." Daniel Goure, Project for the New American Century: Study Member and Vice President of the Lexington Institute, Virginia

Reporting as if it were NEW NEWS, a scoop if I may, AP reporter Lolita C. Baldor wrote an article last month telling readers that War tours strain US military readiness [LINK]. Let us see a show of hands, how many readers have known for what at least since at least 2003 that the deployment tempo to both Iraq and Afghanistan has placed a strain upon military readiness? How many articles have been written claiming that National Guard equipment is either left in Iraq or not worth bringing back home? Heck, even those in the military who passionately disagree with withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan KNOW that the never ending tours to Iraq and soon an increase in ops tempo in Afghanistan has spread our military thin and harmed unit readiness. 

     

     Ms. Baldor notes that, "Strained by repeated war tours, and persistent terrorist threats, there is a significant risk the U.S. military may not be able to respond quickly and fully to a new crises, a classified Pentagon assessment has concluded."

     What persistent terrorist threats, she needs to be more specific, detailed, and of course accurate in her reporting. There is a significant risk? Come on now, either our Armed Forces (excuse me ground forces) is or is not able to respond quickly and fully to new crises around the world. This is a basic question that deserves more than a "what if" scenario.


      If this is based on a classified Pentagon assessment, then Ms. Baldor has committed espionage, the DOD lacks the authority to go after her, or her newspaper, however, the Justice Department, FBI or related domestic law enforcement can and should subpoena her before a grand jury to explain where she got the classified documents and who in the Pentagon is committing espionage. That said, I’m all for the public being made aware (ala the Pentagon Papers) that our military has vulnerabilities, but I do not endorse stealing state secrets in order to do so. For any reporter to put in their report that they are using classified national security data to make a point is not only illegal it’s DUMB.

      To my fellow veterans, military families, Guard and active duty troops out there who see nothing WRONG in exposing military secrets that show weaknesses in our military readiness capabilities; it is not the intent to inform the public of what the Pentagon is hiding that bothers me, I strongly feel the public should know if our military leadership has vulnerabilities or is lying to us within reason.

     However, exposing corruption with a Pentagon propaganda program (AmericaSupportYou.mil) using public release documents from the DOD/IG itself, with no classified caveats on it, especially when the press doesn’t see this Pentagon corruption as sexy as stealing military secrets shows a vast chasm in ethical use of sources. There’s also a DIFFERENCE in using Pentagon public release data and Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret military readiness plans make a point.

      I can get pretty radical about criticizing our government, especially the Pentagon, but I’ve never gone out of my way to use classified documents even if I could get ahold of then today or was somehow given them whatever the intent. But, I’ve spent a career in military intelligence, so I know what espionage is. I know what is right, wrong, and where to draw the line or given the amount of Top Secret-SCI data I was exposed to and used, I would not be in Leavenworth if I had leaked ANY of it to the media.

      Point: if you or I did what Ms. Baldor did with someone within the Pentagon WE would be facing many years in Leavenworth military prison.

war_funding_400

Regardless, here it is. Mind you based on its classified nature, the Pentagon is placed in a position of confirming or denying AP’s report about our military weaknesses is true or misinformation, and if the AP and whoever leaked the classified data should be prosecuted and by whom?

Though, I personally would not break the law to use classified military sources fact remains that being classified is what makes her report so darn believable.

Bobby Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired


      In her report she does note that this is OLD NEWS, "This is the third year that the risk level has been set at "significant" – despite improved security conditions in Iraq and plans to cut U.S. troop levels there. Senior military officials spoke about the report on condition of anonymity because it is a classified document.

      This certainly needs the attention of Secretary Bob Gates, DOD/IG or related Pentagon Security Services for what its worth, to determine who exactly these senior military officials are, and the Justice Department given a domestic media outlet is involved in receiving and using military secrets.

      Question beyond the obvious security violations and espionage involved, is WHY did senior Pentagon officials decides to speak out (excuse me TAKE A LEAK) NOW?

      Timing is everything in espionage. That question is more important that WHO leaked military secrets. It is the detail of classified information leaked that amazes me, and should any current or forner intelligence officer or NCO, "The risk assessment, drawn up by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, paints a broad picture of the security threats and hot spots around the world and the U.S. military’s ability to deal with them. Mullen has delivered it to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The assessment is prepared every year and routinely delivered to Congress with the budget," Ms. Baldor wrote.

      The next time that Secretary Gates gives a press conference that is attended by an Associated Press reporter(s), Mr. Gates or someone on his staff must be able to turn the cannons and ask AP reporters where they are getting Pentagon classified military information and remind AP that their reporters can be prosecuted by the Justice Department for collaboration in a security violation. At the minimum, AP reporters should not be allowed access to the Pentagon if they are going to collaborate in espionage.

     That said, before this goes before Congress, WE THE PEOPLE should make an issue and debate with our Congressional Reps on behalf of Our Troops, that (1) how come the Pentagon is unable to secure military secrets?, (2) Congress needs to determine who at senior leadership in the Pentagon is providing military secrets to the media and WHY? Frankly, I commend AP and anyone who exposes corruption, wrongdoing, or tax payer waste at the Pentagon or that DOD has something to hide from the public, (the downside of the War on Terror ala coffins coming back in the dead of night so to speak) but releasing classified data to the press in my eyes is no different from selling or giving away military secrets to Israel, Russia, China, or Al Queda.

IF THERE IS A RISK LEVEL, WHAT IS THE PENTGON DOING ABOUT IT?

      Ms. Baldor notes that, "Because the threat is rated as significant, (SECDEF) Gates will send an accompanying report to Congress outlining what the military is doing to address the risks.That report has not yet been finished. This year’s assessment finds many of the same global security issues as previous yearsranging from terrorist organizations and unstable governments to the potential for high-tech cyber attacks. It also reflects the Pentagon’s struggle to maintain a military that can respond to threats from other countries while honing newer counterinsurgency techniques to battle more unconventional dangers, such as suicide bombers and lethal roadside bombs."

Who was her source and what relationship did he have with the Pentagon?

      Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a ultra right-wing military policy research group in Arlington, Va., said the assessment would take into account the strains on the force, the wear and tear on aircraft and other military equipment, and a whole host of global flashpoints.

      "This is a chairman (ADM. Mullins) who looks around the world and sees – right now, today – immediate, near-term problems like North Korea, the larger questions of Pakistan and its future, Iran and what is going on there, Russia and Georgia, Venezuela, which has a close relationship with Russia and is buying arms all over the place, and Cuba," Goure said.

      Folks this reads like a PNAC formula for WWIII. You find a nation on that has not been targetted by the most radical elements of the far right-wing or now Obama administration?

      North Korea has been a threat to South Korea, and Japan not the U.S. since when? When Major Hanafin was born over 50 something years ago. That goes for Cuba too. Russia and Georgia have been part of the Soviet Union since WWII, however Venezuela and Pakistan have recently been placed on PNAC’s ever growing axis of evil to sell the Global War on Whatever.

      What PNAC tends to forget and the American people better take to heart during an economic meltdown about to last the next decade or so is that WE had to move ground troops out of South Korea in order to maintain even the never ending deployments to Iraq. We had to divert precious few troops from Afghanistan where the real war was to also provide fresh meat of Iraq. We have shaken our fist at Cuba and the world by placing a concentration camp on Cuba’s doorstep instead of in our own back yard – the ultimate SIN. Now, the Obama administraton is shacking our fist at Pakistan while planning to send more troops to Afghanistan. Exactly who in the PNAC is the Obama administration listening to?

      My personal feelings are that just like slavery was a sin, the lord punished the United States with how many years of brother killing brother. That sin was clensed in our own blood. How much of our own blood will it take to clense the stench of a concentration camp? How will God punish US for the SIN of GITMO? Some of us may be feeling a part of the pain right now in our pocket books. That will worsen as we continue to silently buy into PNAC and bloated Defense budgets.

      Frankly, Ms. Bador should have spent more time in exposing or giving the background on exactly who Mr. Goure is and what if anything he had to do with leading defense secrets? Readers WE are being set up psychologically to buy off on increased defense spending using this vain attempt at exposing something most intelligent people inside the Pentagon and out already know. Spys within the Pentagon don’t need to leak state secrets to tell the American people something we already know.

      What I find most disturbing is just how dumb to these war mongers building a case for increased defense spending really THINK the American public is? Don’t answer that!

      Do a Google search on Mr. Daniel Goure’s biography, that’s ok I’ll do it for our readers. He is the Vice President of an ultra right-wing, think tank- the Lexington institute. A few (very few) libertarian views of the Lexington Institute have some appeal for me, however I’m leery about the further right-wing, world conquest views of leaders in this right-wing think tank who migrated from the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution [link].

pnac_400     Mr. Goure and PNAC has played an intimate role in promoting economic and political concepts and attitudes that have brought about the economic collapse that has politicians and the media focusing on THE ECONOMY today. He has also been a driving member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) or the late 20th century racist and arrogant Manifest Destiny attitudes of angry white men that prides themselves on the genocide of Native Americans and desires to project such an arrogant extermination plan upon the rest of the world using American military might to its fullest and forfeiting diplomacy as a tool of the weak minded liberal in us all.

pnaccriminals2_400The PNAC is a worse threat to our domestic security as evident by this Pentagon espionage leak than the Nazis ever were to Germany as they attempted to convince the German people of a New German Century that led to Germany’s defeat in WWII and the suicide or execution of members of that PNAC for war crimes.

      The scary part is that there just may be enough members infesting Obama’s Pentagon to make WWIII a reality in our lifetime God Forbid they have their way, and punish them for trying to destroy America.

      Yet either the AP reporter doesn’t know this, or omits the reason why she is really quoting Mr. Goure a true believer in PNAC. What exactly is Ms. Bador’s agenda for collecting and reporting classified military secrets

IS NOT journalism it is espionage and it is highly illegal.

More to the point, what is Mr. Goure’s agenda?
WHO IS MR. DANIEL GOURE THAT WARRENTS THE AP QUOTING HIM AND ONLY HIM?

      Let’s get a little insight about her source that Ms. Baldor failed to tell AP readers and listeners. She fails to mention that Mr. Goure has spent a career using the revolving door of the Defense Industry, Pentagon, and federal government. Could it be that given his defense industry credentials and access to the Pentagon and classified information that Ms. Baldor actually got this classified report from Mr. Goure? This is only my humble assumption but something serious for the Pentagon and Justice Department to look into. Why?

      Simply put how many more state secrets are going to be leaked to select members of the media by senior official (or former Defense officials) with an aggressive international war agenda?

      If Mr. Goure still has any direct or indirect relationship with the Pentagon should he not be investigated and if found guilty prosecuted for espionage?

      Mr. Goure is Vice-President of a right-wing think tank (Lexington Institute) who’s leadership migrated from an industry-funded organization, the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution that advocated lower taxes and less federal government regulation. It is the less government regulation that caught my eye. Those around him in leadership positions also worked on education ‘reform,’ and given the shape of our national education programs nothing to brag about, and lobbied against teachers unions, against immigration policy, against environmental issues and against projects on China, Cuba, Africa and Switzerland.

      I’m surprised that Africa and Switzerland have not been added to the PNAC growing list of international evils, but give them time younger men, and I highlight WHITE MEN, will unfortuantely replace the dying breed most hopefully with less time left on earth than me. Less time to do more damage.

      These people defended the interests of the tobacco industry and worked on the International Monetary Fund. More recently it has made a name for itself defending the interests of proprietary software companies (MicroSoft) and criticizing open-source computer software. They strongly believe in control of the internet (that is really scary). Mr. Goure comes from the leadership of a stable of conservative think tanks with their commentary regularly posted on ultra conservative  websites of the Cato Institute, Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Science and Environmental Policy Project and so on.

      Though not a leader at the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, Mr. Goure must be known for the company he keeps, and this is something Ms. Baldor of AP should have known BEFORE selecting Mr. Goure to quote on national defense policy. Why exactly did she quote Mr. Goure and only him? What, if anything, did he have to do with this LEAK of state secrets? AND how long has she collaborated with him on getting this LEAK?

      Only Ms. Baldor and a Grand Jury could answer the many questions raised by this news report other than how thin our ground forces are stretched. Who doesn’t already know that???

      In fact, this is ironic given that Mr. Goure has spent most of his Defense Industry career working those expensive projects that have nothing to do with our ground forces. One need only take a closer look, Ms. Baldor, at his biography from the Lexington Institute.

      Dr. Goure has held senior positions in both the private [defense] sector and the U.S. Government Defense sector. He was a member of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld PNAC 2001 Department of Defense Transition Team. Dr. Goure spent two years in the U.S. Government as the director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness, a study member of the Project for the New American Century in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He also served as a senior analyst on national security and defense issues with the Center for Naval Analyses, Science Applications International Corporation, a scientific consulting firm with a handful of government contracts for nuclear power and nuclear weapons effects study programs…, (translation how many innocent civilians can WE kill with little collateral damage to US) Defense Contractors SRS Technologies, R&D Associates and System Planning Corporation.

      "Prior to joining the Lexington Institute, Dr. Goure was the Deputy Director, International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. At CSIS, Dr. Goure was responsible for analyses of: U.S. national security policy, the future of conflict and warfare, the information revolution, counter-proliferation (meaning only WE can have Nukes in order to control the world), and defense industrial management. He directed analyses of emerging security issues with a special emphasis on U.S. military capabilities in the next century. But, where does he and PNAC stand on the draft? (only kidding, they’d get it implemented IF they serously could get away with it).

      Frankly, Mr. Goure’s biography brags about his work and views at the Project for the New American Century. Put as politely as possible everything that anyone can think of NEGATIVE about how we got into Iraq in the first place, everything wrong with the Bush administration can be found in Mr. Goure and what he stands for.

      To listen to this man, and his kind of White Dude, is to not only fail to learn from our mistakes that gave Barrack Obama,our first black President, the white house in the first place; WE deserve what we get the next time around just for being DUMB. The Lord only knows how much punichment we will deserve. PNAC is a man-made plan not a religious or spiritual one. If anything, it would be plans of a false prophet or the anti-Christ to bring about Armegeddon.

      Dr. Goure also has done extensive consulting and teaching. From 1990 to 1991 he led a study for the U.S. Institute of Peace, when PNAC members and such say Peace it is in no way near the moderate to left of center views of Dennis Kucinich that we need a Department of Peace. Mr. Goure’s views on peace are B-52s with the logo or slogan Peace is Our Profession painted on the fuselage as they bomb Afghani and Pakistani families further back into the stone age. Their views of peace are through nuclear deterrence, aggression, and offensive conventional wars something that is quite antiquated in the Global War on Terror except should terrorist groups acquire suffient nukes to seriously pose a threat to us. Dr. Goure has consulted for the Departments of State, Defense and Energy primarily during Republican administrations.

      He has taught or lectured at the Johns Hopkins University, the Foreign Service Institute, the National War College, the Naval War College, the Air War College, and the Inter-American Defense College.

      Note that most of his defense industry career has been spent on projection of Air and Naval power having little to do with our ground forces. That said, what makes him such an expert on future needs of our ground forces that warrants any AP reporter quoting him alone without getting a balanced source or view? What is the real relationship between Ms. Baldor and Mr. Goure? Most important what is the relationship of Mr. Goure leaking classified defense information (espionage) to Ms. Baldor at AP?

WHAT ABOUT OBAMA ADMIN PLANS TO RELOCATE TROOPS FROM IRAQ TO AFGHANISTAN

      Ms. Baldor notes that, "While officials are preparing to reduce troop levels in Iraq, they are increasing their forces in Afghanistan – giving troops little break from their battlefield tours. (Yes, Ms. Baldor there is a continuation of Bush military exploitation at the Pentagon, and yes that’s Obama’s fault for keeping the ignorant and arrogant Bush policies)

      The Pentagon (Democratic Party and Congress in general) has repeatedly stressed efforts to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps, but that growth is only now starting to have an impact." There are 146,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 38,000 in Afghanistan – 19,000 in the NATO-led force and 19,000 fighting insurgents and training Afghan forces.

      One senior military official said [to whom was it Dr. Goure? or Ms. Boldar?] that while there have been security gains in Iraq, military units leaving there have been sapped by repeated war tours that have also battered their equipment and vehicles. It will take time to restore the force and repair or replace the equipment. In other cases, equipment has been left in Iraq for use by the steadily growing Iraqi security forces. (Again, this is OLD NEWS and the remaints of a failed Bush defense policy inherited and embrace by Obama).

     Two years ago (2007), then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace raised the risk level from moderate to significant, pointing to an overall decline in military readiness that he said would take several years to correct. A year later (2008), Mullen maintained that risk level, saying that strains on the military, persistent terrorist activity and other threats had prevented the Pentagon from improving its ability to respond to any new crises. Last year, Gates listed increased intelligence gathering  (what irony given the Pentagon’s inability to keep a secret as evident by leaks to AP) as a key need to address military shortfalls. Since then, the Pentagon has steadily increased its inventory of unmanned aircraft, boosting the number of 24-hour unmanned air patrols over the Iraq and Afghanistan battlefront from 24 to 33." (Though they admittedly save lives of our troops at what cost to U.S. taxpayers. How many millions does one unmanned aircraft cost much less 9 more?)

      Ms. Baldor of AP kind of leaves us hanging with her closing statement that, "the Pentagon has steadily increased its inventory of unmanned aircraft, boosting the number of 24-hour unmanned air patrols over the Iraq and Afghanistan battlefront from 24 to 33." What impact if any does the addition of only 9 more unmanned aircraft mean to our military readiness and can she answer that without spying on US? What is she really trying to tell us that we need to rely more on Air Force unmanned aircraft than our ground forces?

      If so, then there must be a tradeoff. For whatever it costs to launch one unmanned aircraft that must be as many less manned aircraft and pilots that are no longer needed. Economic times are hard and everyone at least needs to sacrifice for the economy if not the Global War on Terror.
Simple answer to that is just unlike fixed wing and helicopter support and attack units, unmanned aircraft doesn’t require the indepth training a chopper of fighter pilot needs and at much more COST SAVINGS. Even Defense Secretary Gates said words to the effect that unmanned aircraft can be flown by joystick by any Soldier or Marine who can launch a Patriot or shoulder launched missile just before he fired the Air Force Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force for among other misdeeds failing to provide unmanned air support to our ground troops. They were canned because their Air Force was not pulling its weight in the GWOT where it really matters on the ground.

      She does however leave the Pentagon IG and DOD investigators thinking about increased gathering of intelligence and espionage to get the news out. Does that include investigating the increasing gathering of classified intelligence from the Pentagon by AP and Defense Industry leaders for their personal or political agendas? What is the relationship between AP and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)? Did Ms. Baldor of AP really know who Dr. Goure was, did she vest him (do a rudimentary background check) before quoting him or is his background with PNAC or did she know who he was and what he really represented. Was it PNAC’s views the only the reason that she ONLY used him as a source that she was willing to name?

Lastly, and most damning to America’s Security and Well Being, the PNAC is still around, so exactly how much influence does PNAC have over AP, Obama’s Pentagon where the infestaton still exists? What would encourage any reporter to use a PNAC researcher and spokesman as her sole source on how spread thin our ground forces are when he is not qualified to do so? Not that he needs qualifications to tell most NASCAR dads and Hockey moms something we already know.

      What credentials did Ms. Baldor and the Editorial Board at AP find in Dr. Goure’s resume or bio (given his background is heavy into nuclear, aerospace, and naval power projection concerns) to make him an expert on the Army?

      I give credit that he may knows a little bit about the Marines but AP could have found more reliable sources for both Army and Marine ground force vulnerabilities than this PNAC member despite the fact that AP is telling us all something we already either know or don’t really care about.

Robert L. Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired

War tours strain US military readiness
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090220/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/military_risk

 

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Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.