Tag Archives: Robert Gates

On Robert Gates, I told you so

Um, yeah, this was as avoidable as it was predictable…

So former Obama administration Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has written a book in which he has said some unflattering things about President Obama, probably primarily, or even only, to try to sell his new book. (Why be secretary of defense if you can’t get a book deal out of it?)

Reminds me of the old frog and scorpion tale.

I wrote these things about Robert Gates back in the day:

From September 2009:

… [Robert] Gates should go. The American people elected a Democratic president and here is a Repugnican “president’s” secretary of defense held over from the unelected Bush regime’s bogus wars. I think that President Obama retained Gates primarily in order to try to prove that Obama isn’t a pussified commander in chief. Ironically, though, Obama’s retention of Gates proves exactly that Obama is a pussified commander in chief, that he puts what some fucktards think above doing the right thing, which is to dump Bush regime holdover Gates. …

From February 2010:

… Obama never should have kept on Gates, who was defense secretary under George W. Bush. Obama probably did that to look “bipartisan” and/or not “soft on terror” or the like, but it was a mistake. …

From January 2013:

… [Barack Obama] is poised to name Repugnican former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel as U.S. secretary of defense, reinforcing the meme that Democrats are shitty on defense, and doing something that a Repugnican president never would do (i.e., appoint a Democrat to his cabinet, perhaps especially for defense) …

Not that Hagel would represent the first time that Obama sold out those who voted for him where it comes to his selection of the U.S. secretary of defense. Recall that Obama, at the start of Round One, lazily, cowardly and stupidly kept on Robert Gates, who under George W. Bush had replaced war criminal Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense in November 2006. Gates stayed on the job as defense secretary under Obama until he retired on July 1, 2011.

My biggest problem with Hagel is that again, a Republican president of today never would put a Democrat on his cabinet (yes, I use “his” because a female Republican president is pretty much an oxymoron), and DINO Obama has sold out the Democratic Party enough as it is. …

I stand by my assertion that Obama’s having chosen Repugnicans as two of his three secretaries of defense has only given the impression that the members of his own party are clueless on defense, and that this thus obviously has not helped Obama’s party.

It wasn’t “smart” “bipartisanship”* on Obama’s part to keep Gates on as secretary of defense and then, after Democrat Leon Panetta held the seat for less than two years after Gates, to replace Panetta with Hagel. It wasn’t a stroke of brilliance, a la Abraham Lincoln’s “team of rivals.”

It was as brilliant as was the frog who agreed to give the scorpion a ride on his back across the pond.

P.S. The assertions in Gates’ book that have been leaked/reported thus far aren’t all that earth-shattering, which is why I haven’t bothered to expound upon them, but perhaps the most interesting one is Gates’ reported assertion that Barack Obama, while supportive enough of U.S. troops, never was enthusiastic enough about the war in Afghanistan.

What the fuck?

Why should Obama ever have been enthusiastic about the war in Afghanistan — which is not called the “graveyard of empires” for nothing — that the war criminals of the unelected, treasonous Bush regime began (belatedly, after they illegally, immorally, unjustly and unprovokedly invaded Iraq) and that Obama inherited?

*“Bi-” means “two,” and in the term “bipartisanship” it connotes “both ways,” and no Repugnican president has ever selected a Democrat as his secretary of defense. Ever.

However, four Democratic presidents — Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — each appointed a Repugnican as his secretary of defense for at least a portion of his presidency.

This is what “bipartisanship” means in the United States: the Repugnicans give the Democrats not an inch, but the Democrats give the Repugnicans a mile.

And this is yet another factor, but probably the largest factor, that makes it so difficult to have any respect for the Democrats: their utter lack of respect for themselves (and, by extension, their constituents).

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Obama’s Round Two already shaping up to look just like Round One

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Obama (D-IL) shares laugh with Senator Hagel (R-NE) at Amman Citadel in Amman

Reuters photo

Then-U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel yuk it up in Amman, Jordan, in July 2008. Obama is expected to nominate the Repugnican former senator as his secretary of defense any day now, because “bipartisanship,” you see, means that a so-called Democrat does things that no Repugnican Tea Party traitor ever would do in kind.

 Let’s see:

“Democratic” President Barack Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated for his second term, and already he:

  • Threw U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice under the bus when she came under attack from the white supremacists and patriarchs, who rather would see U.S. Sen. John Kerry in the position of U.S. secretary of state, since a white male Democrat is better than any other kind of Democrat
  • Capitulated on the Bush-regime-era tax cuts for the rich, having promised over and over and over again to increase taxes on inviduals earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000, but actually having agreed to increase taxes on individuals earning more than $400,000 and families earning more than $450,000  
  • Is poised to sell us out on Social Security and/or Medicare in the deferred so-called “fiscal cliff” fight over the federal budget (after all, he and his family are set for life)
  • Is poised to name Repugnican former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel as U.S. secretary of defense, reinforcing the meme that Democrats are shitty on defense, and doing something that a Repugnican president never would do (i.e., appoint a Democrat to his cabinet, perhaps especially for defense)

Have I forgotten anything? And again, Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated yet for Round Two.

Your vote for Barack Obama on November 6 was significantly different from what Mittens Romney was offering how?

The most immediate next fight in D.C. apparently will be over Hagel, whose nomination might be announced as early as tomorrow, according to Reuters.

Not that Hagel would represent the first time that Obama sold out those who voted for him where it comes to his selection of the U.S. secretary of defense. Recall that Obama, at the start of Round One, lazily, cowardly and stupidly kept on Robert Gates, who under George W. Bush had replaced war criminal Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense in November 2006. Gates stayed on the job as defense secretary under Obama until he retired on July 1, 2011.

My biggest problem with Hagel is that again, a Republican president of today never would put a Democrat on his cabinet (yes, I use “his” because a female Republican president is pretty much an oxymoron), and DINO Obama has sold out the Democratic Party enough as it is.

Yes, I have a real problem with Hagel having referred to former U.S. Ambassador James Hormel in 1998 as “openly, aggressively gay” — we gay men should keep our sexuality strictly and entirely in the closet, just like straight men always do, you see (since when has equality been an American value?) — but I do like Hagel’s reportedly made comments about the “bloated” defense department budget (our national “defense” budget is bloated beyond belief, and mostly represents only the perpetual looting of the U.S. Treasury by treasonous war profiteers) and the insanely disproportionate amount of power and influence that the “Jewish lobby” (I call them the “Israel-first lobby,” because of course not every Jewish American is an Israel firster) has in D.C.

Admittedly, it is unusual for a Repugnican to attack the sacred cows of the military-industrial-corporate complex and the Israel-first lobby, even though both of those sacred cows are milking us dry. And Hagel, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, also apparently wasn’t enough of a cheerleader for the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War — which also is unusual for a Repugnican.

But are there no qualified Democrats whom Obama could nominate as defense secretary?

What’s Obama’s logic here? That as long as his nominee as defense secretary uses the Republican label, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the U.S. Senate will be OK with it?

“This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel,” Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham– who, along with Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. John McCainosaurus, was instrumental in Obama’s caving in on the nomination of Susan Rice — already has declared of Hagel’s nomination.

Not that the likes of wingnutty closet case and chickenhawk Lindsey Graham would approve of any of Obama’s nominees, but why the fuck can’t Obama at least respect those who voted for him by ceasing to kiss the ass of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, who never return the favor in the fucking slightest?

Oh, well.

As I watch Barack Obama for the next four years continue to sell out those who voted for him — and continue, just like Bill Clinton did, to make the Democratic Party more and more indistinguishable from the Repugnican Party (I lovingly think of the two corporation-loving and individual-hating parties as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party) — at least I won’t feel nearly as punk’d this time as I did during Obama’s first term, because while I stupidly voted for Obama the first time, on November 6 I cast my vote for the Green Party candidate for president.

As George W. Bush once so wisely declared: Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again!

See you around, fools.

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Yet another dream deferred

A little history lesson:

On July 26, 1948, [President Harry Truman, against the threat of a filibuster by racist white Southern U.S. senators] issued an executive order abolishing segregation in the armed forces and ordering full integration of all the services.

Executive Order 9981 stated that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”

The order also established an advisory committee to examine the rules, practices and procedures of the armed services and recommend ways to make desegregation a reality. There was considerable resistance to the executive order from the military, but by the end of the Korean conflict, almost all the military was integrated.

[Source: usnews.com]

Now, I’m no lawyer, although I probably should have become one, but it seems to me that President Barack “Where Are My Balls? Has Anyone Seen My Balls?” Obama could, if he so desired, issue an executive order to stop discrimination against non-heterosexuals in the U.S. armed forces.

I don’t buy the Repugnican “argument” that the homophobes in the U.S. armed forces need “time” to get used to the idea that it’s not OK to discriminate against someone because of his or her sexual orientation.

What the fuck does it say about the character and integrity of those in the armed forces that they need “time” to stop fearing and hating a whole class of people whom they have no rational reason to fear and hate?

This is from The Associated Press today:

Washington – The United States should not rush into a change as large as repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military without making sure the people it affects are on board, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said [today].

Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said an 11-month study into the effects of lifting the ban will examine practical questions such as how the change would affect the numbers of people who decide to remain in the service when their terms expire.

“There is very little objective data on this. It is filled as you know with emotion and strongly held opinions and beliefs,” Mullen said a day after announcing his own opposition to the ban as unfair to gay troops.

“That’s the work we have to do over the course of this year. We need to understand that in terms of what the senior military leadership’s principal concern is, which is the readiness and military effectiveness of the force,” he said.

The study is seen by advocates of a quick repeal as an unnecessary delay, or a political convenience designed to stretch any real action to lift the ban until after congressional elections this fall….

Gates told the House Armed Services Committee … [that] he learned that imposing change from on high does not work….

“Stupid was trying to impose a policy from the top without any regard for the views of the people who were going to be affected or the people who would have to effect the policy change,” Gates said.

Gates has commissioned two reviews, one by the outside consultant Rand Corp. and one to be led by a four-star Army general and the Pentagon’s top lawyer. The reviews will look at attitudes about openly gay service among the armed forces, with particular emphasis on those in combat.

The reviews are supposed to look at the effect that lifting the ban could have on soldiers’ trust and reliance on one another, as well as practical and legal issues, military officials said.

Mullen is the president’s senior military adviser, but he said he does not speak for all the Pentagon top brass. Several of the top uniformed leaders in the military services have deep reservations about repealing the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and Mullen was unable to unite them behind his view before [yesterday], when he became the first sitting chairman of the Joint Chiefs to say the policy should be changed.

The attitudes of troops under fire, the ramifications for recruiting, family benefits and other considerations are likely to get a fuller examination later this month, when leaders of the Army, Marine Corps and other services testify separately on Capitol Hill….

President Barack Obama pledged to work this year to repeal the 17-year-old policy that says gays may serve in the armed forces only if they keep their sexuality private. In the decades before that, the Pentagon expelled gay troops but the policy was not written into law.

Congress enacted the ban in 1993 as a compromise short of fully allowing openly gay military service, as then-President Bill Clinton had said he wanted.

What the fuck?

First off, Obama never should have kept on Gates, who was defense secretary under George W. Bush. Obama probably did that to look “bipartisan” and/or not “soft on terror” or the like, but it was a mistake.

Secondly, they’re going to issue a survey to the members of the U.S. military?

Maybe the survey questions will look something like this:

Do you want your male comrades to try to fuck you up the ass when you drop your soap in the shower?

___ Yes  ___ No

Do you want to have to learn to sleep with one eye open, lest one of your comrades try to get Brokeback with you?

___ Yes  ___ No

I kid, but it does dangerously seem to be the case that the “review” is going to consist of something like a fucking poll.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Equal human and civil rights are not up for a vote. Equal human and civil rights are what our founders called inalienable rights rights that are inherent and rights that cannot be taken away, not rights that we take a vote on.

Further, isn’t the U.S. military supposed to be a top-down organization? Um, you take orders in the military, don’t you?

Before the unelected Bush regime in March 2003 launched its bogus Vietraq War for the war profiteering of Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton and for the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp, they didn’t ask the troops what the troops thought about that, did they? They didn’t conduct a “review.” They gave marching orders.

This 11-month “review” on whether or not to end discrimination against non-heterosexuals in the U.S. military is what you call BULLFUCKINGSHIT.

It’s foot-dragging.

Whether it’s because of the November 2010 elections or whether it’s just to buy the retrogressive homophobes some more time, there’s no excuse for it.

So after 11 months, then what?

We find out that indeed, the majority of troops are homophobic?

What excuse will we be given then?

“Well, we reviewed it, and now just isn’t the time.”

No — now is the time. There is no other time than right fucking now.

Fuck the stupid old white men like John McCainosaurus. He’s half-dead already. He is history. He represents the old dead hand of the past. This is about the future. This is about what is right.

There was resistance among the racists in the U.S. military when President Truman issued his executive order to desegregate the troops. And it was just too damned fucking bad.

Now, we take a desegregated military for granted.

One day, we will take for granted a military that doesn’t discriminate based upon sexual orientation.

Click here to sign on to the Courage Campaign’s letter to Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to include a repeal of the unconstitutional, unAmerican “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the defense budget bill.

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Propaganda begins at home

The controversy du jour is this (from POLITICO):

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting “in the strongest terms” to an Associated Press decision to transmit a photograph showing a mortally wounded 21-year-old Marine in his final moments of life, calling the decision “appalling” and a breach of “common decency.”

The AP reported that the Marine’s father had asked – in an interview and in a follow-up phone call — that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.

The AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it “conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.”

The photo shows Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush Aug. 14 in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to the AP.

Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as secretary of defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed.”

“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”

The four-paragraph letter concluded, “Sincerely,” then had Gates’ signature. 

The photo, first transmitted Thursday morning and repeated Friday morning, carries the warning, “EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT.”

The caption says: “In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 14, 2009, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard is tended to by fellow U.S. Marines after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight against the Taliban in the village of Dahaneh in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Bernard was transported by helicopter to Camp Leatherneck where he later died of his wounds.” …

The AP reported that it “waited until after Bernard’s burial in Madison, Maine, on Aug. 24 to distribute its story and the pictures.” …

The AP photograph — which, ironically, now will be viewed by more people than it otherwise would have been because Bush regime holdover Gates has made it into an issue — actually isn’t all that graphic, not by today’s standards. Here it is:

Associated Press photo

You see some carnage in the image, but you’ve seen much worse in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

But this is the only kind of U.S. military picture that you’re supposed to see, you see:

This undated photo provided Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009 by the US ...

Associated Press photo

That’s a picture of Joshua Bernard before he was sent to fight a questionable war in Afghanistan.

In his anti-free-speech letter to the AP — oh, yes, it is about constitutional rights and constitutional law — Gates described Bernard as a “maimed and stricken child” (emphasis mine).

Um, why are we sending such young people — so young that even the secretary of defense refers to one of them as a “child” — to fight old rich stupid cowardly white men’s wars?

And whose fault is Bernard’s death? Is it the fault of The Associated Press for simply showing an image of his death, or is it the fault of those evil men, who put corporate profits far above human life, who sent him to Afghanistan in the first place?

The Obama administration isn’t proving to be much better on free and open speech and on transparency than was the unelected Bush regime, which prohibited the media even from taking images of closed caskets containing American war dead. First the Obama administration blocked the release of more images of the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors abuses, and now this, Gates’ attempt at censorship in order to keep U.S. military recruitment propaganda intact.

But it’s only propaganda when someone else does it. The White House never engages in the dastardly practice of propaganda, of lying to the American people, even if only by omission, such as by blocking the release of images that aren’t politically helpful.

Again, you’re supposed to see only the before military pictures, the happy military pictures, the “Top Gun”-like pictures, the pictures that are good for U.S. military recruitment, and never the after pictures, because the after pictures aren’t good for the military-industrial complex. Pictures of maimed 21-year-olds aren’t good for military recruitment, you see, and they might just make the American taxpayers revolt against what is being done in their name with their tax dollars. (Yeah, I know, Americans having a revolution funny…)

Why block the image of Bernard’s death? To be able to continue the same insanity that will cause the deaths of even more of our young people.

Sure, every young person who joins the U.S. military knows, intellectually — abstractly — that he or she could get killed. But knowing something abstractly and seeing something with your own two eyes — those are very different things. Gates and his ilk know this.

But they can’t state the truth, which is that images of wartime carnage aren’t good for U.S. military recruitment and make the American people rethink the whole war thing.

So they have to lie, they have to hide behind the families of the young people who are put through the meat grinder that is the U.S. war machine, and they have to hide behind the troops, saying that the release of images that aren’t good for the military industrial complex harms the families of the fallen and even harms the troops.

The unelected Bush regime routinely hid behind the troops — Orwellianly asserted that those who opposed the Vietraq War were against and/or threatened U.S. troops, even though it was the unelected Bush regime, not anti-war activists, who sent our troops to their wholly unnecessary deaths in the sands of Vietraq for the war profiteering of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp — and now here is Gates hiding behind Bernard’s family.

The Associated Press and the rest of the media are guilty only of not showing us enough images of the carnage that is going on in the name of we, the people.

Gates should go. The American people elected a Democratic president and here is a Repugnican “president’s” secretary of defense held over from the unelected Bush regime’s bogus wars. I think that President Obama retained Gates primarily in order to try to prove that Obama isn’t a pussified commander in chief. Ironically, though, Obama’s retention of Gates proves exactly that Obama is a pussified commander in chief, that he puts what some fucktards think above doing the right thing, which is to dump Bush regime holdover Gates.

And the only purpose of prohibiting images of what war really looks like is to be able to continue to dupe our young people, like Joshua Bernard — our children, as even Gates calls them — into dying for the profits of the evil filthy rich white men who send our children to die in their place for their spoils of war, wars which are paid for by us, the American taxpayers, who aren’t even guaranteed adequate health care — or even allowed to see the images of what our tax dollars are paying for.

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Capital crap

Democratic President Barack Obama wants not one, not two, but (at least) three Repugnicans on his cabinet: Repugnican holdover Robert Gates (secretary of defense), Ray LaHood (transportation secretary) and Judd Gregg (secretary of commerce).

Is this politically smart or is this selling out?

Will Obama’s nauseatingly termed “team of rivals” help him to win re-election from the swing voters in 2012 or will it prove to have had no political benefit at all to have included (at least) three Repugs on his cabinet?

I can’t imagine that the finally booted Bush regime would have included Democrats in the Bush cabinet, and I remember that the Repugs, when they were in power (remember that “permanent Republican majority”?), firmly shut out the minority Dems from any power-sharing as much as they could.

Is that what finally sank the Repugs and sent them back into the political wilderness?

Has Obama hit upon a stroke of political genius? Might we see a more-or-less “permanent Democratic majority”?

Time, I suppose, will tell…

Utah Repugnicans would like to take down “Democratic” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid when he seeks his fifth Senate term in in 2010, The Associated Press reports.

Reid has been an incredibly weak “Democratic” “leader” and so I’d be perfectly fine if he were taken out and replaced with a real Democrat, one with gonads.

Unfortunately, the AP notes, Reid’s grip on his position is such that the Utah Repugs probably won’t be able to oust him from power…

I am quite middle class — maybe even lower-middle class — and last month I completed and mailed my federal and state income tax forms (the EZ forms, since I’m not married [and being gay in California I couldn’t get married right now if I wanted to, but that’s another blog post…] and since I make a relative pittance).

Any mistake on my income tax forms would have been an actual mistake, not tax evasion.

So why is it so fucking hard for people who make so much more money than I do — and who thus easily can afford to have their income taxes prepared professionally if they can’t do it themselves — to be honest about their taxes?

Former “Democratic” Senate leader Tom Daschle today withdrew his bid to be President Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary because last month he paid more than $125,000 in back taxes and more than $10,ooo in interest for not having fully paid up for years 2005 through 2007.

Notes The Associated Press:

Daschle’s stunning statement came less than three hours after another Obama nominee also withdrew from consideration, and also over tax problems.

Nancy Killefer, nominated by Obama to be the government’s first chief performance officer, said she didn’t want her bungling of payroll taxes on her household help to be a distraction.

The AP also notes that “Last week, the Senate confirmed Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary despite his tax problems.”

Damn. If I can properly pay my taxes, why can’t these people who make so much more money than I do?

And isn’t it rather treasonous, whether you are an individual or a corporation, to try to get out of paying your fair share of taxes and to allow your fellow Americans to pay for everything that you also enjoy?

Anyway, I lump Tom Daschle in with Harry Reid as having been an incredibly weak “Democratic” “leader.”

Daschle was Senate majority leader and Senate minority leader before he narrowly lost re-election for his Senate seat for South Dakata in 2004. Then Reid — a Mormon — became Senate minority leader and then Senate majority leader after the Democrats took back the Senate in 2006.

It’s long past time that the Senate Democrats be led by a real Democrat from a blue state, for fuck’s sake.

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