God save our Military…
Senate Passes $631B Defense Bill
WASHINGTON — The Senate overwhelmingly approved a sweeping, $631 billion defense bill Tuesday that sends a clear signal to President Barack Obama to move quickly to get U.S. combat troops out of Afghanistan, tightens sanctions on Iran and limits the president’s authority in handling terror suspects.
Ignoring a veto threat, the Senate voted 98-0 for the legislation that authorizes money for weapons, aircraft and ships and provides a 1.7 percent pay raise for military personnel. After a decade of increasing Pentagon budgets, the vote came against the backdrop of significant reductions in projected military spending and the threat of deeper cuts from the looming “fiscal cliff” of automatic spending cuts and tax increases.
The bill provides:
…the Pentagon to report to Congress on the ability of the U.S. military to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.
“If military action has to be taken to prevent sarin gas to be used, Congress has to be involved,” McCain said.
…The administration has threatened to veto the Senate bill, strongly objecting to a provision restricting the president’s authority to transfer terror suspects from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to foreign countries. The provision is in current law.
… the government may not detain a U.S. citizen or legal resident indefinitely without charge or trial even if there is a declaration of war or the authorization to use military force.
…stringent new sanctions on Iran’s energy and shipping sectors in a fresh attempt to hobble the Islamic Republic’s economy and hamper its nuclear ambitions.
…close a major loophole — the ability of Iran to circumvent sanctions and barter oil for precious metals. Turkey has been bartering gold for oil.
So now, the House and Senate have to reconcile their respective defense bills and then Dear Leader will veto it and do what he damn well pleases anyway. He’s determined to bring America to her knees and that doesn’t allow for a strong Military or economy. Plus, there’s that “kill list” thingie…
Well, Webb did one good thing before his term ends:
Stolen Valor Law 2.0 Passes in Senate
A law designed to punish those who boast battlefield medals for heroics they never performed passed the Senate on Monday, marking the second bid by Congress to outlaw lying about war records.
The first so-called Stolen Valor Law was declared unconstitutional in June by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that lying about military service was protected speech.
This time around lawmakers have anchored the law on lying about awards and decorations for “tangible benefit or personal gain,” not strictly lying for the sake of lying. The bill was filed by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a Vietnam combat veteran, shortly after the high court knocked down the original 2006 law.
Hopefully, this will pass with no interference from the courts this time. Freedom of speech, my a$$. This is not what the First Amendment addresses.
But…but…I thought Obama said Al Qaida is decimated…
Pentagon plans for multinational operation in Mali
US military planners have begun to help organize a multinational proxy force to intervene next year in Mali, the famine-stricken, coup-wracked African country that has become a magnet for Islamist extremists, US officials said Wednesday.
The international force would be led on the ground by several thousand Malian and West African troops but would receive extensive support from the Pentagon and the State Department, which would help train, equip and transport the troops, Obama administration officials said.
Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, called northern Mali “the largest territory controlled by Islamic extremists in the world.”
Other U.S. officials said al-Qaida’s North African affiliate, which for years attracted limited global attention, poses an increasing threat. The group has become well-stocked with weapons smuggled out of Libya after the NATO-led war there last year. It finances its operations by smuggling rackets and by kidnapping foreigners for ransom.
Amanda Dory, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for Africa, said the U.S. military has been able to gather intelligence to help shape the international force to fight Islamist extremists in northern Mali.
“There’s plenty of other forms of information and intelligence that are circulating that give us enough insight for planning purposes,” she said in an interview Wednesday after testifying before the subcommittee. “You never have as much information as you want, but it’s been sufficient for planning purposes.”
Well, that’s encouraging, isn’t it? with all the talk about getting our Troops out of Afghanistan as early as possible ~ why not send what units will be left after all the cuts to another Hell Hole. Libya and Egypt have worked out oh, so well…
Gates warns Assad: Don’t ‘underestimate’ Obama
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates cautioned Bashar Assad that President Obama would follow through on threats to punish the Syrian leader if he uses chemical weapons.
“One of the things about President Obama, he is very tough-minded,” said Gates, in an interview aired Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “I think it would be a mistake, particularly on Bashar Assad’s part, to underestimate him.”
Tough-minded? Only against Americans who believe in governing according to the Constitution.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also said using chemical weapons would be a clear “red line” inviting U.S. action.
Oh yeah, those red lines ~ for everyone but Israel.
But then, there’s this:
“When the president of the United States cocks the pistol, he better be ready to fire it,” said Gates.
Sounds more like a warning from Gates, which sort of dispels that “tough-minded” thing. Benghazi, anyone?