Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Gates Unleashed 

A book by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has Washington buzzing today. In Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates blasts the Obama White House as excessively controlling and obsessed with politics. According to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, Gates' book "simmers with disappointment in Obama" and "outright contempt for Vice President Biden." For example:

  • Gates writes that the Obama White House "was by far the most centralized and controlling in national security of any I had seen since Richard Nixon…" Not surprisingly, Gates writes that "Domestic political considerations" became a factor "in virtually every major national security problem we tackled."

    Gates complains about the constant "micromanagement and operational meddling" of Obama staffers, adding that "It became routine under Obama" for White House staff "to call a four-star combatant commander or field commander." Gates was also "offended" by the Obama White House's "determination to take credit for every good thing that happened." 

  • Of the war in Afghanistan, Gates writes that he "witnessed a good deal of wishful thinking" when it came to strategy. Obama was "incensed" by the request from top generals for a major military surge in 2009 and was "skeptical if not outright convinced" that it would fail. When dealing with top military officers, Gates writes that Obama was "deeply suspicious of their actions and recommendations." 
  • Referring to Joe Biden, a supposed foreign policy expert brought in to add gravitas to Obama's limited resume, Gates writes that he "has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." He's right about that. Here's a refresher. Gates also adds that he felt Biden was responsible for "poisoning the well" between the White House and the Pentagon.

Yet for all the salacious details, I confess I'm a bit puzzled by the reaction. Did we really need Robert Gates to tell us that a naive community organizer from Chicago has no idea how to formulate foreign policy? 

I was more taken by his comments about Hillary Clinton and how she, as a sitting United States senator, responded to President Bush's 2007 decision to send reinforcements to our troops in Iraq. Gates writes this: 

  • "Hillary told the president [Obama] that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary.  …The president conceded vaguely that [his] opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying."

More Questions About Benghazi 

According to the Washington Post, U.S. officials believe that Abu Sufian bin Qumu, an ex-GITMO detainee, had some role in the September 11, 2012, attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The Postfurther writes that the State Department is on the verge of labeling a group led by Qumu as a terrorist front.

Why is this relevant? Well, as you might suspect, Qumu was in GITMO for a reason. The Weekly Standard writes that his "biography is rich with al Qaeda links." It also contradicts the recent New York Times report that Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the Benghazi attacks, not to mention the nonsensical "blame the video" line that the Obama Administration initially tried to peddle to the American public.

This is just more evidence of the need for a select congressional committee to sort out this scandal. And a letter this week to Speaker John Boehner from the families of the Benghazi victims is turning up the heat. I promise we will continue to press Capitol Hill for the creation of that select committee. 

Bathroom Law Stalled 

Here's some encouraging news from an unlikely place. California's so-called "bathroom bill" has been put on hold. Last year, radical politicians in Sacramento passed a bill allowing transgendered students to choose which bathroom or locker room they wanted to use. Thus the 14 year-old boy who now "feels" like he really is a girl would be able to use the girls' bathroom. 

A grassroots coalition of outraged parents immediately began collecting signatures to repeal the law. More than 620,000 petitions were submitted to state officials, well more than the 505,000 needed to qualify for the ballot. That should have suspended enforcement of the law. 

However, state officials disputed the petitions from a number of counties and refused to count them. As a result, the media widely reported that the bathroom bill had become law and was in full effect.

Our friends at report today that a judge has ordered California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to accept the disputed petitions, thereby suspending the law's enforcement. If enough signatures are verified, California voters decide whether to restore sanity and privacy to the state's restrooms this November.