The Administration Implementation Of The Cloward-Piven Strategy

Herschel Smith · 29 Jun 2014 · 39 Comments

The setup for this has been occurring for quite a while.  The collectivists on the right have helped the leftists gain strength, but the rate and fury of activity that has been consequential in destabilizing the United States has increased almost beyond comprehension. The long term evolution of America to a position where such a strategy might stand a greater chance of success began long ago with the move towards urbanization.  The flight from rural America was helped along with family…… [read more]

Concealed Carry In Illinois

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

The editorial board of The Daily Illini waxes know-it-all on concealed carry of handguns.

Illinois is the only state in the country that does not have a concealed carry law. We think it should stay that way.

Ten mostly rural Illinois counties voted to support a concealed carry provision last Tuesday, pushing the issue to the forefront and adding pressure to the state government to join the rest of the country in allowing concealed handguns to be carried into public spaces. But the arguments behind concealed carry are couched in emotion, ideology and correlative statistics; allowing individuals to carry hidden guns is simply not a defensible solution to crime and violence.

The federal government already allows for citizens to possess and own guns, and that right is enshrined in the Constitution, not to mention on the state level. We have no issue with the right to bear arms. However, we don’t think allowing concealed guns into public places is, or should be, part of this right.

The arguments for concealed carry are compelling at first glance. Essentially, supporters claim that because violent criminals already have concealed weapons, preventing a legal avenue for concealed carry only harms law-abiding citizens or potential victims.

A form of this argument arose this summer after the deadly shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last summer. Shortly after the tragedy, Slate’s David Weigel quoted Greg Brock, a California firearms safety expert, who said: “All you need is one person there with a gun …. If this went down in Texas or Arizona, (James Holmes) would have died quick.”

Similarly, after the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association said during a speech that “the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” LaPierre then claimed that there is an across-the-board reduction in violent crime in jurisdictions with right to carry laws compared to those that do not.

There are a number of issues with this argument. First of all, most individuals when confronted with danger are not likely to take measured and calm action. With the presence of bystanders, the possibility of innocent, civilian death goes up tremendously. But even more strongly, the numbers just don’t back up the claim that a right to carry a concealed weapon reduces violent crime.

Fact-checking website Politifact also took issue LaPierre’s claim of a connection between right-to-carry and lower violent crime and rated his statement as “false” for its contention that data supports an “across-the-board” reduction.

The hard truth is that these arguments are not verifiable. In a 2005 study, The National Academies of Sciences concluded that “with the current evidence it is not possible to determine that there is a causal link between the passage of right-to-carry laws and crime rates.” Even more troubling, after analyzing the data the authors found that even the term “self-defense” is unclear in this context, writing, “We do not know accurately how often armed self-defense occurs or even how to precisely define self-defense.”

In the end, concealed carry is a reality in most of the country, and a recent report from the Government Accountability Office puts the number of individuals with conceal carry licenses at 8 million. But we think this measure will not alleviate the problem of violent crime and that this issue has more to do with an ideological position on the Second Amendment than a legitimate solution to violent crime.

We realize that the argument for right-to-carry concealed weapons makes intuitive sense: If the bad guys already have guns and will use them, why can’t we possess them in kind? But if we don’t truly understand how guns impact violent crime, and if supporters of the measure have only correlations to stand on, then there is little to suggest the utility of such a law.

I’m sorry to bother my readers with such sophomoric writing (the form was very bad and stilted), but I had to quote at length for you to get the full affect of their arguments.

Let’s ignore the silly reference to what Politifact says about anything (their analyses are far from trustworthy and their presuppositions usually obvious).  After charging the second amendment community with the unwarranted use of anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that weapons can save lives, they turn to backyard psychology (how people react under pressure) and associated anecdotal evidence about how weapons don’t make us safer.  Our arguments are merely anecdotal, but it’s okay for them to use whatever they wish, or something like that.

But notice how their axioms turn the argument on its head.  For some reason, we have to demonstrate conclusively that crime rate drops for the community at large (i.e., the greater good is served) before it’s acceptable to have a concealed carry law.  Note the use of the word “utility.”

Let’s turn the argument head up again the way it should be.  The constitution gives us a right to self defense, and doesn’t include merely a right to own a gun.  It includes the right to bear arms, and we have discussed the ubiquitous presence of firearms in colonial America before (including on the person) – that America that gave birth to our nation and its constitution.

I needn’t prove the utility of any right in order to legitimize the proper exercise of that right.  But continuing on with the argument concerning utility, one would suppose that if prohibiting the carrying of handguns decreased crime, those areas of the country that had such a statute would be able to demonstrate the utility of such statutes.  In fact, tell us how gangland Chicago is doing with their gun statutes, editorial board?  Show us the statistics for how gun laws reduce violent crime, and start with your own back yard.

The Navy And Marines Need Adult Supervision

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

Jean sends this along to show why the Navy needs Marine supervision.

Meanwhile, the officials also said that a Russian electronic intelligence-gathering vessel was granted safe harbor in the commercial port of Jacksonville, Fla., within listening range of Kings Bay.

But the Marines have their own problems.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan – As full integration of the Infantry Automatic Rifle into the Marine Corps’ arsenal becomes complete, the M249 Light Machine Gun, formerly the Squad Automatic Weapon, slowly fades into the history of the Corps.

The SAW has seen action since 1984 and has protected Marines since. Replaced by an automatic rifle of similar size and weight of the M16A4 service rifle already issued to rank and file Marines, the familiarity with the new weapon is almost instant.

“The IAR has fewer moving parts than the SAW does making it a lot more ‘grunt friendly,’” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Shaulis, an IAR gunner with 4th Platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7. “It has a direct piston system, so there are fewer jams. It stays cleaner, longer with less carbon build up after it’s been fired. The muscle memory stays the same with it as it would an M16. If an IAR gunner goes down, any Marine could grab the weapon and lay down accurate suppressive fire without thinking twice.”

[ ... ]

“We’re going back to what we had in WWII with the Browning Automatic Rifle,” Henderson said. “Since the 1980s, we gave the infantry squad the light machine gun, and now we’re having another shift in the Marine Corps to get back to what we were doing right the first time.”

I asked Daniel, my former Marine, what he thought about this.

This is sad. The reason we went with the SAW was because the BAR and its associated concept were inadequate.  At times in combat in Iraq, we had all nine SAW gunners firing during engagements, and I’m glad that we did.  We needed the fire power.  In the thousands of rounds I put down range stateside and Iraq, I never had a single problem … never … had … a … single … problem, with my SAW.  I kept it clean.  This change to the IAR is a testimony to laziness.  What do Marines want to do – take someone out on a date?  What else do they have to do when they’re deployed?  What’s the problem with cleaning weapons?  Mine worked because I maintained it right.  All this has done is make the Marines weaker.  It may be that this IAR could be used for select circumstances like room clearing, but the death of the SAW will bring nothing good.

Additionally, in spite of this, the Marines are still hell bent on bringing women into the infantry officer training at Quantico.

The Marine Corps’ effort to evaluate whether more combat jobs should open to women marked another milestone last week when the second of two female volunteers washed out of infantry officer training.

A second lieutenant, she was dropped from the program Friday after failing to complete required training due to unspecified medical reasons, a Marine official told Marine Corps Times. It’s unclear whether she was injured or if she became ill.

[ ... ]

At Quantico, those overseeing the IOC experiment have said that it will involve up to 100 female officers and take at least a year to complete. The Marine official, speaking on condition of anonymity, reaffirmed the Corps’ intent to recruit female volunteers for subsequent iterations of the course.

“This was just the first shot,” the official said.

The Navy is out to lunch, but the Marines have joined them at that lunch.  If they aren’t attempting to force women through training at Quantico, they are worrying over large scale, heavily armored amphibious assault landings on near peer states, something that will never occur again.  Meanwhile, SOCOM continues to use up the money and be the nation’s first responders.  There are no adults left in the room, and the Marines are left without mission, leadership or vision.

David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell And The Value Of Intelligence

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

There are all sorts of questions surrounding how the FBI found out about this affair, why they waited so long to inform the chain of command, and why it was made public when it was.  Those questions will eventually be answered, just like all of the questions surrounding Benghazi.

But focusing on the situation at hand, I am not opposed to making moral judgments.  We – you, I, all of us – make moral decisions and value judgments all day long, every day, on all sorts of things.  But the point of this isn’t to make judgments as to the moral challenges that General Petraeus faces.  Petraeus will have to face God and his own wife, and apparently according to reports, his own wife isn’t very happy.  She shouldn’t be.  She made a promise long ago, and so did her husband.  I do not give him a pass regardless of how difficult his career and life.

I have never been a fan of the General-worship that seems to engage America and American military history.  I didn’t and do not now agree with the doctrines of population-centric counterinsurgency, and I believe that FM 3-24 is filled mostly with fantasies and pipe dreams from neverland fabricated by people using as their basis primarily nineteenth and twentieth century secular psychology.

According to one high level staff officer who interacted with me during the surge, when Petraeus deployed to Iraq he brought a plan, and that plan survived right up until the logistics officers got hold of it, which was immediately, and then it died.  That being said, this same officer told me that to the credit of Petraeus, he adjusted very quickly to something that would work.  I have this for which to thank Generals Odierno and Petraeus.  They left the Marines alone in the Anbar Province in 2007.  They stayed out of their way, didn’t press them to change the way they were doing business, and allowed them to free reign to do what the Marines do best.  That is a lot more than can be said for Generals McChrystal and Rodriguez in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the General’s son served in uniform.  2nd Lt. Stephen Petraeus served in Afghanistan as a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.  General Odierno’s son, Anthony Odierno, lost his left arm in Iraq.  The General wasn’t willing to hold back on committing his own son to the war effort.  Michael Yon is also heaps praises on General Petraeus.  Mr. Petraeus is fortunate to have advocates like Yon.  But it pays to remember why it’s simply unacceptable to have these kind of affairs going on in the chain of command.

Hidden and hurtful things like affairs are an opportunity for extortion and blackmail.  The nation cannot tolerate men in positions of power knowing secrets, intelligence, and sensitive information who also have undisclosed secrets that could be used against them.  For the same reason, heads of corporations have moral turpitude clauses in their contracts.  Information on company holdings, good and bad financial reports, and mergers and acquisitions, can affect stock prices, retirement plans and ultimately jobs.  Separate from moral judgments, certain things are required of certain people. In the words of reader and commenter Jean, if you don’t want to commit to the job, get out of the way and let someone else pick the targets.  Jean says Petraeus should have been reading intelligence reports from Kunar.  Yes, and Helmand too.

As for Paula [Edit: spelling corrected] Broadwell, she is apparently delusional on a number of levels.  She considers Petraeus to be her man, as if they’re married.  But Yon brings to us another tale of silliness as he describes what he knows about Broadwell.  “She believes that women should be Rangers, and infantry officers, and are capable of standing beside men in combat. Ironically, her role in this spectacle serves as a counter to her own argument.”

Broadwell only believes those things because she has never attempted to be an infantry Marine officer or join Special Operations herself.  Looking at her physique, she wouldn’t last a day in either the infantry Marines or Special Operations.  But recall what I said about such people.

If you have some sort of androgynous, genderless vision for the armed forces – if you believe that Navy Corpsmen should be able to treat the field diseases of both men and women and understand what mud and parasites in the various different cracks and crevasses and holes of men and women do, if you believe that men and women are on equal footing pertaining to physical abilities, if you believe that machines like the ridiculous Army future combat systems robotics and the silly machines like the big dog can ever replace mules and the backs of infantry Marines, if you believe that men and women will be able to interact socially as a cohesive fighting unit without the behavior that attends the opposite sexes – I think you’re weird and creepy.  Not that we can’t be friends, but just that you’re weird and creepy, at least to me.  Machines cannot replace strong men, and even the Russians found out in Afghanistan that women had a higher number of lower extremity injuries than men, causing severe under-manning of forces.

I take no delight in the General’s demise.  But I do take particular delight when a person creates the definitive defeater argument for their own views.  That’s what Broadwell has done, and Michael is right to point it out.  She has demonstrated to us yet again that men and women in the field of battle behave like men and women do.  If it can happen to Generals, it can happen to infantry Marines and special operators.  Even with the unfortunate affair that has taken down a General, Paula Broadwell has done us a service in spite of herself.

Gun Rights Victory

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

As for what happened in the national election, I tend to feel rather like Mark Steyn.  There will be much to discuss in the coming days (the price for guns and ammunition will increase, war will come to the Middle East because Israel will not allow Iran to complete a nuclear weapon – with or without the U.S., the Strait of Hormuz will be closed and the cost of gasoline will skyrocket, the national debt will continue to pile up because the hated ”rich” cannot possibly buy our way out of it, the dollar will continue to sink as our Keynesians at the Federal Reserve prop up the world’s economy by printing more money, etc.).  There is a veritable smorgasbord of deadly traps awaiting our naive country.  There will be time to cover all of that.  But on a positive note, there is a significant gun rights victory to celebrate from Louisiana.

Louisiana on Tuesday became the first state to establish the “strict scrutiny” standard regarding gun laws in its constitution.

Amendment No. 2, approved by 75 percent of the voters, requires strict scrutiny of any proposed restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

It requires courts, if asked, to determine whether gun laws demonstrate a compelling governmental interest and are narrowly defined. If not, they are deemed unconstitutional.

Opponents claimed the standard would make it more difficult to regulate guns for the well-being of all.

Greater difficulty in regulating guns is what the majority of voters apparently favor.

The amendment got the most pre-election attention of nine on the ballot.

As I (a non-lawyer) tried to explain:

There is the rational basis test, intermediate scrutiny, and strict scrutiny.  On the rational basis test, it is important whether a governmental action is a reasonable means to an end that may be legitimately pursued by the government.  It may not even matter whether there is an actual interest at stake.  If a court can hypothesize a legitimate interest, then the challenge fails.

Under intermediate scrutiny, it is important whether a law or policy being challenged furthers an important government interest in a way that is substantially related to that interest.  Under strict scrutiny, there must be a compelling governmental interest as a basis for the law, the law must be narrowly tailored to achieved that interest, and if there is a less restrictive means of achieving that interest, the challenge succeeds.

This would be an important amendment.  Many states grant deference to local governments in the application of more restrictive laws.  One such example would be the changes made to my own state of North Carolina early in 2012.  Carry of weapons in state and local parks is now legal (and the Castle doctrine is adopted state-wide), but there are municipalities and cities that have chosen more restrictive regulations for their area.

Louisiana has just become the most gun-friendly state in the country.  And I continue to assert that the best defense against attacks on our gun rights occurs at the state and local level.  Louisiana is now an example for us all to follow, so we can move from celebrating the victory to emulating Louisiana.  And Bobby Jindal, who strongly supported the amendment, is looking mighty good.

Important Second Amendment Case, And Why Elections Matter

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

Cases involving carrying weapons outside the home have been appealed to the Supreme Court in the past.  In part because of the wording of the decision and in part because of the various federal courts denying the right to carry outside the home (even in the wake of Heller and McDonald, see also here), I have claimed and always believed that Heller was a weak decision.  It has always needed clarification regarding the right to bear arms, not just own them.  Scalia equivocated in his verbiage in Heller, and even then there were dissenting Justices on the Supreme Court. 

Now, Alan Gura, of notoriety from the Heller case, is back in the news and may in fact be back before the Supreme Court.

On a roll in recent years, a gun-rights group pressed its advantage in a federal appeals court Wednesday, seeking to extend Second Amendment rights through a challenge to Maryland’s handgun permit laws.

“We’re not challenging the constitutionality of having a licensing system,” Alan Gura, a lawyer for the Second Amendment Foundation, told the three-judge panel in a case involving a Baltimore County man’s permit renewal. Rather, he argued that Maryland unnecessarily restricts the right to carry firearms.

Gura said the issue is a narrow one, but much of the argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit revolved around how to apply recent Supreme Court decisions to the public carrying of firearms, which could have far-reaching implications.

In two other cases Gura won, the high court struck down Illinois and District of Columbia laws that effectively outlawed handgun ownership. But the court did not directly address the right to bear arms for self-defense outside the home.

The Maryland case offers gun-rights advocates a chance to win a broader reading of the Second Amendment, upending the state’s handgun permit process along the way.

Under state law, Marylanders must show “good and substantial reason” to obtain a handgun permit. In March, a federal district judge struck down that requirement, ruling it unconstitutional.

The Maryland attorney general’s office, fearing a spike in gun violence, appealed the decision, and the federal court of appeals allowed the law to stand while the case is resolved.

Gura argued Wednesday that because the Supreme Court has held that bearing arms is a fundamental right, people do not need to give public officials a reason they should be allowed to exercise it. He asked the court to consider the implications of applying that standard to other rights such as speech.

“There’s no way we can apply such a restriction to the right to bear arms,” he said.

Although Mr. Obama stated his real intentions rather clearly during the debates, this wasn’t really necessary.  He told us how he felt about our second amendment rights even before that.  Recall that he nominated Andrew Traver to head the ATF, Traver working hard with the Joyce Foundation to develop recommendations for a new regulatory framework for guns involving among other things federal oversight (National Institutes of Health) of the firearms manufacturing industry.  Obama also nominated Caitlin J. Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who wanted to hold gun manufacturers responsible for crimes commited with their products (a position that even the New York Court of Appeals rejected).

The next President will appoint Supreme Court Justices.  He will also appoint judges to the appeals courts, and although I could easily come up with 101 reasons to vote Mr. Obama out of office, preserving our second amendment rights is as good a place to start as any.

More Benghazi Excuses

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

We’ve discussed the excuses for the failure to respond to the assault on the consulate (or “special mission,” as the Ambassador called it).

  1. The only other assets immediately available were F-16 fighter jets based at Aviano, Italy. These aircraft might have reached Benghazi while the fight at the Annex was still going on, but they would have had difficulty pinpointing hostile mortar positions or distinguishing between friendly and hostile militias in the midst of a confused firefight in a densely populated residential area where there would have been a high likelihood of civilian casualties.
  2. There was no AC-130 within a continent’s range of Benghazi.
  3. “We didn’t have forewarning of this tragic event in Benghazi,” Little said. “The entire U.S. government was starting from a cold start.”
  4. We were preparing for a hostage situation.

We can now add to list of excuses this one.

Sources who have debriefed the team that was at the CIA annex the night of the attack in Benghazi say that the CIA operators from the Global Response Staff, or GRS, were equipped with Mark 48 machine guns and had two types of laser capability. Each weapon had both a “passive” as well as a “visible” laser that could be used against the Libyan attackers.

The presence of laser capability on the roof of the CIA annex confirms what Fox News sources that night in Benghazi originally said, which is that they had laser capability and for 5 hours and 15 minutes were wondering where the usual overhead air support was, especially since, according to this source, they radioed from the annex beginning as early as midnight asking for it.

The presence of lasers raises more questions about why air support was not sent to Benghazi even protectively once it became clear that the fighting had followed the CIA rescue team back to the annex.

U.S. military officials say they “thought the fighting was over” after the team left the consulate and that there was a lull in the fighting.

[ ... ]

A source present the night of the attack says that the GRS team that was defending the annex asked where the air support was at midnight. Former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed 5 hours and 15 minutes later.

Forget for a moment the inherent contradiction in these excuses (see prior articles).  They didn’t have the assets, but even if they did, they were prepared for something else (i.e., a hostage situation), but even so, we were all caught with our pants down, but even with our pants down, we had moved assets to the area, but then, F-16 fighters in Europe were not on alert (I could be wrong about this, but deployed fighter pilots are able to be reached, just like SEALs are within pager distance), and so on.  It’s the leaky bucket problem, and ten of them still leak even when used together.

Thought the fighting was over.”  There you have it.  What reason could there possibly be for concluding anything whatsoever at this point?  How could military and national security professionals concoct such strange, bizarre tales?

Prior:

So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi, Part II?

So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi?

Benghazi Inconsistencies

False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault

So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi, Part II?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 9 months ago

Prior: So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi?

The Pentagon has responded to the question of assets available to respond to the debacle at Benghazi.

Among the units ordered by Panetta on the night of the attack to Sicily,  which is less than 500 miles from Libya,were two special operations teams that were moved to  Sigonella.

As previously reported, one of the units came from a U.S. military base in “Central Europe.” And Little disclosed that Panetta also ordered another team from the United States to head to Sigonella.   Little refused to describe what kind of unit was sent from the U.S., though it was presumably a special operations team trained for hostage rescues.

Little said both the units “did not arrive until after the entire sequence of events was complete. … They were in Sigonella many hours after the attacks.”

The Pentagon spokesman said that it can take hours for troops to be organized and transported to where they might be used.  He added that at the time they were ordered to move, policy makers  ”did not know when the attacks would end.”  Little said that, in theory, a hostage situation in Benghazi could have lasted for days.

“We didn’t have forewarning of this tragic event in Benghazi,” Little said. “The entire U.S. government was starting from a cold start.”

[ ... ]

Little reaffirmed that no other American aircraft were involved over Libya the night of the attack beyond the unarmed surveillance drone that arrived 90 minutes into the attack.  As for reports that an AC-130 gunship could have been dispatched over Libya at the time of the attack,  Little was clear that “there was no AC-130 within a continent’s range of Benghazi” that night.

Yet astute commenter Šťoural (Jan Špaček, Czechoslovakia) gives this summary of assets via e-mail.

1) NAS Sigonella: NAS Sigonella supports a rotational VP squadron, an HC squadron, C-2, C-9, and C-130 detachments, shore-based fleet aircraft, transient NATO aircraft and U.S. Air Force transient aircraft.  Look at Google Earth Photo 17th March 2011-four P3C Orion, 37°24’27.89″N,14°54’49.81″E

CTF-67 is a subordinate command to Commander, U.S. SIXTH Fleet and maintains tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons. When assigned to CTF-67, P-3C Orion aircraft provide the Fleet with essential information in the European and African Areas of Responsibility.  The Mediterranean maritime patrol force for these operations included ten P-3Cs, five of the AIP variant, and 14 crews from Patrol Squadrons 1, 4, 5 and 10 from Naval Air Stations Whidbey Island, Barbers Point, Jacksonville, and Brunswick, respectively.

2) P-3C AIP Orion capabilities, Orion is much better then drone Predator and Reaper.

The P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) Hunting terrorists in the peaks of the Hindu Kush? Spotting for special operations troops in Iraq? Not the stereotypical MPA missions.

Not only has the Navy’s front-line MPA been venturing far inland; it has been an indispensable surveillance platform in the global war on terrorism, a sensor and weapon platform that has impressed operational commanders with its high degree of utility and versatility.

3) CIF,probably C-company, 1st Bn, 10thSFG at least be able to make CASEVAC and NEO-non-combatant evacuation operation from Benghazi Airport.

Example operation CIF

I had also mentioned that Marine Force Recon should have been available at Sigonella.  And all of this brings up an important point.  I think I have made a mistake in framing the question so broadly, i.e., what assets were available to the DoD to assist at Benghazi?  One important but easily overlooked exigency in the DoD rebuttal above is this idea of a hostage situation.  It is mentioned at least twice in the ABC News article.

The Department of Defense rebuttal answers nothing, but adds to the list of problems.  The proper way to frame this discussion is this: What assets existed at Sigonella that night (Delta Force, SEAL Teams, Marine Force Recon, MPs, cooks, administrative staff, etc.)?  This report leads to more questions, such as did the National Security Counsel or Pentagon war game this scenario in such a manner that precluded the consideration of assets available at Sigonella because they weren’t specifically related to the scenario being gamed (e.g., a hostage situation)?  Why weren’t forces of any kind sent to relieve the poor souls in Benghazi?

On to the recent and very important Fox News report from the ground in Benghazi.

As details emerge of serious security issues before the attack on Sept. 11, Fox News is also beginning to hear more frustration from sources both on the ground in Benghazi and in the U.S. Multiple British and American sources insist there were other capabilities in the region and are mystified why none were used. Fox News was told there were not only armed drones that monitor Libyan chemical weapon sites in the area, but also F-18′s, AC-130 aircraft and even helicopters that could have been dispatched in a timely fashion.

British intelligence sources said that unarmed drones routinely flew over Benghazi every night in flight patterns and that armed drones which fly over chemical sites, some a short flight from Benghazi, “were always said to be on call.” American sources confirmed this and questioned “why was a drone armed only with a camera dispatched?”

Another source added, “Why would they put a ragtag team together in Tripoli as first responders? This is not even what they do for a living. We had a first responder air base in Italy almost the same distance away.” Despite the team arriving from Tripoli that night, sources said sufficient American back-up never came.

British sources on the ground in Benghazi said they are extremely frustrated by the attack and are still wondering why they weren’t called for help. “We have more people on the ground here than the Americans and I just don’t know why we didn’t get the call?” one said.

Both American and British sources said, at the very least, the security situation on the ground and the lack of proper response were the result of “complete incompetence.” The covert team that came in from Tripoli was held up at the Benghazi airport for more than three hours by Libyan officials. Sources said the team notified officials in Washington that they were being delayed within 30 minutes of their arrival.

They also point out that these questions “don’t even address the military capabilities of our United Nations ally Turkey, who (has) forces available a similarly short flight away.” Fox News has learned that Turkey had a number of embassy staff in town the night of the attack and that the Turkish consul general met with Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi the night he and the three other Americans were killed.

One source asked, “Were the Turks not warned? What forces were available from our ally Turkey? Especially since they had officials there in Benghazi also and had to be concerned … and where was the U.N. in all of this?”

The Pentagon answers don’t even approach closure on this issue.  Their responses have only raised more questions, and much more work needs to be done on this.

Prior: So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi?

See also: John Jay

Obama: Poverty Causes Gun Crime

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 9 months ago

Mr. Obama on the violence happening just blocks from his own home.

In one of the more dramatic moments of the half-hour special that covered topics on young voter’s minds ranging from the skyrocketing cost of student loans to guaranteeing equality for same-sex, Calloway read a comment from Chicago native Raven, who described her city as a “war zone.”

Calloway asked the president not only how he responds to charges from New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg that both Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are talking about gun violence but not suggesting any action, but also how he would personally respond to this epidemic if re-elected.

“Raven comes from my hometown and Chicago has seen a huge amount of gun violence, especially among young people,” said Obama. “What I’ve said is that we’ve got to have an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach. We have to enforce our gun laws more effectively. We’ve got to keep them out of the hands of criminals. We’ve got to strengthen background checks.”

Obama said his administration has done a lot of those things, but what also needs to be done is work with local law enforcement groups and faith groups and community organizations to ferret out that broader sources of violence in those neighborhoods.

“I live on the South side of Chicago,” said Obama, who maintains a residence in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood, in which tony homes sit just beside some of the city’s most economically challenged areas. “Some of these murders are happening just a few blocks from where I live. I have friends whose family members have been killed.”

Clearly a personal issue for Obama, the president got more solemn when talking about the upswing in violent deaths in the city after decades of decline. “What I know is that gun violence is part of the issue,” he said. “But part of the issue also is kids who feel so little hope and think their prospects for the future are so small that their attitude is, ‘I’m going to end up in jail or dead.’ And they will take all kinds of risks.”

With that level of nihilistic thought, the president said we have to ask if we’re providing those children’s parents with enough support from an early age, and are those kids getting early childhood education so that when they walk into school every day they feel they can succeed? “If they’ve got mental health issues, are they getting the kind of services and counseling that they need early on?” he said.

“Are we making those investments in those young people so that by the time they’re 11, 12, 13, 15 … they can make responsible choices because they feel they’ve got something at stake?”

Ah.  There it is.  Man is a tabula rasa.  Pour enough money, support, education and counseling into him and he’ll turn out okay.  Take the guns away and give them some money.  That’ll fix ‘em.

But I’m just wondering about that trip I took this last weekend to Jocassee Gorges.  We passed all manner of poor, impoverished folk on our way, and homes that would hardly have qualified to be in the inner city of Chicago.  They would have been condemned.  But the people weren’t uninitiated or killing each other.  They all had guns, and it was bear season (with dogs), and in Greenville, Pickens and Oconee county there were more than 800 bear hunters active in the area.  We were carryng guns too.  Here is a picture of Jump Off Rock at Jocassee taken by my son Joshua.

Guns and poverty, but no crime.  Well, enough of my anecdotal observations.  Let’s turn to something more scholarly (via Scotty Starnes).

The recession of 2008-09 has undercut one of the most destructive social theories that came out of the 1960s: the idea that the root cause of crime lies in income inequality and social injustice. As the economy started shedding jobs in 2008, criminologists and pundits predicted that crime would shoot up, since poverty, as the “root causes” theory holds, begets criminals. Instead, the opposite happened. Over seven million lost jobs later, crime has plummeted to its lowest level since the early 1960s. The consequences of this drop for how we think about social order are significant.

The notion that crime is an understandable reaction to poverty and racism took hold in the early 1960s. Sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin argued that juvenile delinquency was essentially a form of social criticism. Poor minority youth come to understand that the American promise of upward mobility is a sham, after a bigoted society denies them the opportunity to advance. These disillusioned teens then turn to crime out of thwarted expectations.

The theories put forward by Cloward, who spent his career at Columbia University, and Ohlin, who served presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, provided an intellectual foundation for many Great Society-era programs. From the Mobilization for Youth on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1963 through the federal Office of Economic Opportunity and a host of welfare, counseling and job initiatives, their ideas were turned into policy.

The 1960s themselves offered a challenge to the poverty-causes-crime thesis. Homicides rose 43%, despite an expanding economy and a surge in government jobs for inner-city residents. The Great Depression also contradicted the idea that need breeds predation, since crime rates dropped during that prolonged crisis. The academy’s commitment to root causes apologetics nevertheless persisted. Andrew Karmen of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice echoed Cloward and Ohlin in 2000 in his book “New York Murder Mystery.” Crime, he wrote, is “a distorted form of social protest.” And as the current recession deepened, liberal media outlets called for more government social programs to fight the coming crime wave. In late 2008, the New York Times urged President Barack Obama to crank up federal spending on after-school programs, social workers, and summer jobs. “The economic crisis,” the paper’s editorialists wrote, “has clearly created the conditions for more crime and more gangs—among hopeless, jobless young men in the inner cities.”

Even then crime patterns were defying expectations. And by the end of 2009, the purported association between economic hardship and crime was in shambles. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, homicide dropped 10% nationwide in the first six months of 2009; violent crime dropped 4.4% and property crime dropped 6.1%. Car thefts are down nearly 19%. The crime plunge is sharpest in many areas that have been hit the hardest by the housing collapse. Unemployment in California is 12.3%, but homicides in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reported recently, dropped 25% over the course of 2009. Car thefts there are down nearly 20%.

In shambles.  Just like Obama’s economy.  And just like the consulate at Benghazi.  And just like our strategy in Afghanistan.  And just like trust and confidence in government honesty after Fast and Furious.

There you have it.  Impoverished or rich, I think I’ll keep my guns.  They have nothing to do with the choice to commit violence.  That’s a moral choice.

Prior: Obama Calls For Renewal Of Assault Weapons Ban


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