Tag Archives: National Security

Thinking practically about the gospel with an illustration from a war movie

The city of Mogadishu, in Somalia, Africa
The city of Mogadishu, in Somalia, Africa

I decided to re-post one of my favorite posts for Memorial Day.

First, let’s get an overview that helps us understand the context and goals of the mission we are going to discuss.

The scene is set in Somalia, Africa, in 1992. There a civil war between two warlords: Ali Mahdi and Mohammed Farah Aidid. The war has destroyed agricultural operations, and the people are starving. The United Nations are trying to help, but Aidid hijacks the food from UN aircraft so that he can use the food to gain control of the people. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are dying of starvation. The UN requests American military forces to secure the air-dropped supplies so they can be distributed to the starving people.

In December 1992, President George H.W. Bush answers the call, sending 25,000 troops to Somalia to protect the food from the Somali warlords. However, in 1993, Bill Clinton is elected. He orders that the number of U.S. troops be reduced to 12,000. Following an attack by Aidid on Pakistani peace-keepers, the U.N. issues a resolution to capture those responsible. The U.S. armed forces have the arms and training to battle evil, so they get the call to capture Aidid and his lieutenants.

In late August 1993, Task Force Ranger is deployed to Mogadishu to capture Aidid and his lieutenants at the Olympic Hotel. The U.S. force consists of 440 troops from the Army Rangers and Army Delta Force special forces, commanded by General William Garrison. Garrison requested light armored units (Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicles) that would offer more protection than the unarmored HMMWV Humvees. Garrison was denied the light armor by the Clinton administration. Garrison requested heavier air support (AC-130 Spectre gunships) that would offer better fire support than the UH-60 Blackhawk miniguns. Garrison was denied the air support by the Clinton administration. The Clinton administration did not want the American forces to appear too heavily armed for the peace-keeping role.

The actual mission turned out to be much harder than it needed to be, because of the resources denied by the Clinton administration. Although the Aidid lieutenants were captured, Aidid himself escaped. Eighty-four American soldiers were wounded. Eighteen American soldiers were killed, and their bodies were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. This was shown over and over by the media, and it undermined American resolve to help the Somali people. As a result, Clinton had the excuse he needed to retreat the American military.

(Source: Nova Online)

Two heroes lost their lives

Today, I want to talk about two of the men who lost their lives in Operation Gothic Serpent. They are Master Sergeant Gary I. Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randall D. Shughart – a Delta Force sniper team.

Here is a clip from the movie Blackhawk Down, which shows what happened to them:

The pilot of the downed Blackhawk was protected by the two men who volunteered to go in after him. They requested that they be inserted at the crash site, even though they knew that reinforcements were likely not going to be there in time to save them. They made the request to go and help the pilot three times before being allowed to go in. Their first two requests were denied by their commanding officer, because the odds against their survival were so overwhelming. The rescued pilot was later released by his captors, and the two heroes were awarded the Medal of Honor for their brave actions.

A Congressional Medal of Honor
A Congressional Medal of Honor

Here is a description of the requirements to be awarded a Medal of Honor:

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that may be awarded by the United States government. It is presented by the President of the United States, in the name of Congress, and is conferred only upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty:

  • While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;
  • While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

You can read the official details of their actions.

The point of this post

It is important for Christians to be familiar with real-world examples of people giving their lives in order to save the lives of others. When we see real-world examples of self-sacrifice, it helps us to understand what Jesus really achieved for us, and what he must have felt making that hard choice to volunteer to go in and rescue us. In general, my philosophy when it comes to the Bible is to make every effort to connect what the Bible says to the real world. We must not push Christianity into some far-off world of piety and feelings. We must make connections to real evidence and real life, so that what the Bible says becomes practical, and so that we have a deep friendship with and sympathy for God revealed in Jesus Christ. In real life, being willing to give your life to save someone else is hard. Understanding how that really happens will help us to value what Jesus has done for us.

Bible verses

I saw this verse on the ground outside the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC, where I went for my summer vacation in 2015. (Thanks to my friend Curby who hosted me)

Isaiah 6:8:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Here is the picture I took (yes, that is my running shoe):

“Here am I, send me” Isaiah 6:8

When confronted with an opportunity to imitate Christ in his self-sacrifice, we should think less about ourselves and our own desires, and take the opportunity to serve others effectively. We do not do what makes us happy, and we do not pursue fun and thrills. We do what heals, we do what helps others. We do not push away our responsibility to imitate Christ by caring for those in danger. Christianity is not just about “not doing bad things”. It’s the good things you do because of your relationship with Jesus that show your real allegiance, and give you the experience of being a Christian in deed.

And here is another good verse:

John 15:13:

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

If you get a chance to watch the movie Blackhawk Down, then do so. I highly recommend it. You can also read the book that the movie is based on.

I love the Medal of Honor books by Edward F. Murphy. He writes about all the people who have been awarded the Medal of honor in different wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

If you check my reading list, you’ll find that I usually read two military books for every one book on another subject.

Why wasn’t Hillary Clinton indicted for her private e-mail server?

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Andy McCarthy writes about it at National Review. McCarthy is a former assistant U.S. attorney, and that he led the 1995 prosecution of the World Trade Center bombers, as well as prosecuting other prominent terrorism cases. So, he’s familiar with the law, and familiar with national security. The National Review is one of the most prestigious conservative publications.

Excerpt:

From the first, these columns have argued that the whitewash of the Hillary Clinton–emails caper was President Barack Obama’s call — not the FBI’s, and not the Justice Department’s. […]The decision was inevitable. Obama, using a pseudonymous email account, had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account.

These emails must have involved some classified information, given the nature of consultations between presidents and secretaries of state, the broad outlines of Obama’s own executive order defining classified intelligence (see EO 13526, section 1.4), and the fact that the Obama administration adamantly refused to disclose the Clinton–Obama emails. If classified information was mishandled, it was necessarily mishandled on both ends of these email exchanges.

If Clinton had been charged, Obama’s culpable involvement would have been patent. In any prosecution of Clinton, the Clinton–Obama emails would have been in the spotlight. For the prosecution, they would be more proof of willful (or, if you prefer, grossly negligent) mishandling of intelligence. More significantly, for Clinton’s defense, they would show that Obama was complicit in Clinton’s conduct yet faced no criminal charges.

That is why such an indictment of Hillary Clinton was never going to happen.

He explains how we know that Obama knew about the Clinton private, unsecure, bathroom closet e-mail server:

As his counselors grappled with how to address his own involvement in Clinton’s misconduct, Obama deceptively told CBS News in a March 7 interview that he had found out about Clinton’s use of personal email to conduct State Department business “the same time everybody else learned it through news reports.” Perhaps he was confident that, because he had used an alias in communicating with Clinton, his emails to and from her — estimated to number around 20 — would remain undiscovered.

His and Clinton’s advisers were not so confident. Right after the interview aired, Clinton campaign secretary Josh Scherwin emailed Jennifer Palmieri and other senior campaign staffers, stating: “Jen you probably have more on this but it looks like POTUS just said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it on the news.”

Scherwin’s alert was forwarded to Mills. Shortly afterwards, an agitated Mills emailed Podesta: “We need to clean this up — he has emails from her — they do not say state.gov.” (That is, Obama had emails from Clinton, which he had to know were from a private account since her address did not end in “@state.gov” as State Department emails do.)

They needed to “clean this up”.

Just to reiterate, there is only one reason why someone has a private e-mail server, and that is to escape the record-keeping requirements of their employer. If all your e-mails are stored on your private, unsecure, bathroom closet server, then you can just delete them when you want, and your employer will never know about them. And then if you’ve been pedaling the foreign policy of the United States for donations to your “foundation”, then no one will ever find out.

This could not be allowed to be linked back to Obama, and so it was not allowed to be linked back to Obama.

McCarthy explains:

In April 2016, in another nationally televised interview, Obama made clear that he did not want Clinton to be indicted. His rationale was a legally frivolous straw man: Clinton had not intended to harm national security. This was not an element of the felony offenses she had committed; nor was it in dispute. No matter: Obama’s analysis was the stated view of the chief executive. If, as was sure to happen, his subordinates in the executive law-enforcement agencies conformed their decisions to his stated view, there would be no prosecution.

Within a few weeks, even though the investigation was ostensibly still underway and over a dozen key witnesses — including Clinton herself — had not yet been interviewed, the FBI began drafting Comey’s remarks that would close the investigation. There would be no prosecution.

On June 27, Lynch met with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, on an out-of-the-way Arizona tarmac, where their security details arranged for both their planes to be parked.

Over the next few days, the FBI took pains to strike any reference to Obama’s emails with Mrs. Clinton from the statement in which Comey would effectively end the “matter” with no prosecution.

And remember, we have a second FBI scandal being investigated, now. We’re trying to figure out whether the FBI used the Trump-Russia dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign, in order to get FISA court warrants to conduct surveillance on Trump and Trump associates. Just a little extra help for their favored presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Again, if true – we’re still investigating.

I used to think that the worst thing the Obama administration did was the IRS persecution of conservative groups ahead of Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. And now there’s this new scandal.  Now we’re finding out little by little what the Obama administration really did, but we’ll probably never know the whole truth.

Huma Abedin sent State Department passwords to her unsecure Yahoo e-mail account

Huma Abedin (left), Harvery Weinstein (center), Hillary Clinton (right)
Huma Abedin (left), Harvery Weinstein (center), Hillary Clinton (right)

One of the problems with people on the secular left is that they are so fixated on gender and skin color, that they hire, appoint and promote people based on gender and skin color. It doesn’t matter which candidate is competent for the job, it only matters that they appear concerned about “diversity”. Affirmative action is dangerous and damaging in the private sector. For example, Equifax hired a woman who majored in music, and had no background in computer science, to be their head of electronic security.

Excerpt:

Equifax “Chief Security Officer” Susan Mauldin has a bachelor’s degree and a master of fine arts degree in music composition from the University of Georgia. Her LinkedIn professional profile lists no education related to technology or security.

This is the person who was in charge of keeping your personal and financial data safe — and whose apparent failings have put 143 million of us at risk from identity theft and fraud.

Then they were hacked, and 143 million accounts were compromised. But in the public sector, it’s worse. Public sector secrets affect our national security and our foreign policy. When public sector officials are careless, it’s not just that money is lost, it’s that lives are lost.

With that in mind, take a look at the latest news about Hillary Clinton’s most trusted aide.

The Daily Caller reports:

Huma Abedin forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account before every single Yahoo account was hacked, a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of emails released as part of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch shows.

Abedin, the top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, used her insecure personal email provider to conduct sensitive work. This guarantees that an account with high-level correspondence in Clinton’s State Department was impacted by one or more of a series of breaches — at least one of which was perpetrated by a “state-sponsored actor.”

The U.S. later charged Russian intelligence agent Igor Sushchin with hacking 500 million Yahoo email accounts. The initial hack occurred in 2014 and allowed his associates to access accounts into 2015 and 2016 by using forged cookies. Sushchin also worked for the Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, which paid former President Bill Clinton $500,000 for a June 2010 speech in Moscow.

A separate hack in 2013 compromised three billion accounts across multiple Yahoo properties, and the culprit is still unclear. “All Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft,” the company said in a statement.

Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, regularly forwarded work emails to her personal humamabedin@yahoo.com address. “She would use these accounts if her (State) account was down or if she needed to print an email or document. Abedin further explained that it was difficult to print from the DoS system so she routinely forwarded emails to her non-DoS accounts so she could more easily print,” an FBI report says.

Abedin sent passwords for her government laptop to her Yahoo account on Aug. 24, 2009, an email released by the State Department in September 2017 shows.

Long-time Clinton confidante Sid Blumenthal sent Clinton an email in July 2009 with the subject line: “Important. Not for circulation. You only. Sid.” The message began “CONFIDENTIAL… Re: Moscow Summit.” Abedin forwarded the email to her Yahoo address, potentially making it visible to hackers.

If private sector workers forwarded sensitive work e-mails to their unsecured personal e-mail accounts, they would be fired immediately. But, millions and millions of people voted for Hillary Clinton. They did not care about her Clinton Foundation pay-to-play arrangement when she was Secretary of State. They did not care that she had a private, unsecure e-mail server, in order to break government records laws. She was a woman, and it was her turn. Huma Abedin is a non-white woman, so it was really her turn.

We aren’t serious as a nation about hiring the best people. We treat elections like popularity contests. We vote for who we like. We vote in order to feel good about how compassionate we are with other people’s money. We vote to end wars by retreating, as if retreating from a fight is a deterrent to evil nations.

When I talk to people who vote for Democrats, they can’t even tell me what the national debt it, but they are proud and enthusiastic Democrats. They don’t feel any shame about not understanding anything about the world. They feel that their opinion is important, and no study or effort is needed to be informed before voting. This isn’t the right way to elect leaders.

Ted Cruz introduces bill to fund border wall with confiscated drug cartel assets

Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Jeff Sessions
Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Jeff Sessions

Unfortunately, Donald Trump is backing away from his national security wall proposal.

Far-left ABC News gleefully reports:

President Donald Trump stepped back Monday from demanding a down payment for his border wall in must-past spending legislation, potentially removing a major obstacle to a bipartisan deal just days ahead of a government shutdown deadline.

Trump told a gathering of around 20 conservative media reporters Monday evening that he would be willing to return to the wall funding issue in September, according to two people who were in the room. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the get-together, which was not originally intended to be on the record.

The border wall money is fiercely opposed by Democrats, whose votes are needed to pass the government-wide spending legislation that comes due Friday at midnight. The wall is also unpopular with many Republicans, and GOP negotiators on Capitol Hill were uneasy about the clash over the wall potentially sparking a government shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who has a key role providing Democratic votes to pass the legislation, welcomed Trump’s reported shift on the wall.

“It’s good for the country that President Trump is taking the wall off the table in these negotiations,” Schumer said late Monday. “Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said, “The president’s comments this evening are welcome news given the bipartisan opposition to the wall, and the obstacle it has been to the continuing bipartisan negotiations in the appropriations committees.”

Trump promised to make Mexico pay for the border wall, but that was never going to happen.  And at least Democrat leaders Schumer and Pelosi are pleased with his backing down on the border wall.

Team Trump is now trying to say that he would build the wall later this year, or maybe next year.

The Washington Examiner reports:

With the threat of a shutdown looming, press reports said Monday evening that Trump was admitting that funding for the border wall could be passed later this year. Tuesday morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed on Fox News that the deadline might be able to slip even further, into next year.

Into next year.

However, there is some good news from Senator Ted Cruz, who has an idea for where to get the money from for the national security wall right now.

He posted this about his new legislation:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act. The bill would reserve any amounts forfeited to the U.S. Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of “El Chapo” (formally named Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Lorea) and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. Government is currently seeking the criminal forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering.

“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” said Sen. Cruz. “Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities. We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”

I’m disappointed with Trump. He hasn’t gotten a lot done so far, even with a Republican House and Senate. He told everyone that this national security wall was his first priority, but now he’s delaying construction. It’s not going to be easier to get the funding for this after Republicans have already funded the government. I am all for a shutdown of non-essential government services until we get the wall. But then again, I really meant it when I said I was for border security. And I like to win.

Obama commutes sentence of government employee who leaked classified information

Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign
Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign

The non-partisan The Hill reports.

Excerpt:

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of former Army [private] [Bradley] Manning, according to the White House.

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that were later disclosed by WikiLeaks.

[…]Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he doesn’t agree with Obama’s decision to release Manning early.

“I think on the larger issue of criminal justice reform, the president is really undermining our political capital by granting clemency at an unprecedented rate,” Cornyn said. “People say, well why should we change the sentencing rules in criminal justice reform if the president can just do it with a flick of his pen?”

While it’s the president’s right to commute sentences, Cornyn said, it’s not a wise move.

[…]Obama has relied on his 2014 clemency initiative to advance his goal of shortening sentences for non-violent offenders he views as unjust.

The president has mostly doled out commutations and pardons to people convicted of drug crimes who received lengthy mandatory minimum sentences under requirements that have since been scaled back by Congress.

Obama has granted commutations to 1,385 federal inmates as president, more than the total number given by the past 12 presidents combined. He has also pardoned 212 people.

The White House is expected to announce another round of clemency grants on Thursday, officials said.

Bradley Manning is a gay man, and he received sex-reassignment surgery at taxpayer expense thanks to the Obama administration.

Gay rights groups and anti-American legal groups petitioned the far-left President to pardon the convicted traitor, and that’s what Obama did, since he is funded by far-left groups and must dance to their tune.

What do we learn from this?

Well, this story continues a pattern of behavior by Democrats in which they side with criminals, terrorists, and enemies against the interests of America, of America’s allies and the safety of American citizens. It is a pattern.

Ben Shapiro explains in this article for Daily Wire:

Manning wasn’t Obama’s only controversial commutation: he also commuted the sentence of General James E. Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who lied to reporters about leaking information about the Stuxnet virus directed by Israel against the Iranian nuclear program; Obama commuted Oscar Lopez Rivera, an FALN terrorist who was convicted to a 55-year sentence for seditious conspiracy, forced robbery, and firearms charges.

[…]Obama Hates The National Security Community. Manning revealed documents to WikiLeaks that damaged American national security severely. According to the Associated Press, as The Weekly Standard notes, “The government presented [an] uncontested written statement that former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden asked for and received from an associate the Afghanistan battlefield reports that WikiLeaks published. The material was found on digital media seized in the May 2011 raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, [lead prosecutor Maj. Ashden] Fein said. Bin Laden was killed in the raid.” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) rightly stated, “I don’t understand why the president would feel special compassion for someone who endangered the lives of our troops, diplomats, intelligence officers, and allies.” And Obama’s other commutations reveal a deep disdain for our allies and our defense community: FALN is a terrorist organization, and the leak of the Stuxnet virus information only helped Iran.

This is what Obama and his Democrat allies learned in their non-STEM college courses at leftist universities: America is evil, and America’s enemies are good. That’s why Democrats bend over backwards to release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay prison, to give assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels (which are then used to murder law enforcement and border security personnel), to abandon our security personnel in Benghazi, to give billions of dollars to assist Iran to develop nuclear weapons, to embolden aggressive invasions by Russia into Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014), to cut our military spending (e.g. – stop production of F-22 Raptor, mothball our aircraft carriers), and cripple our armed forces with political correctness. And so on.