Once again the good folks at Fort Hood, Texas, are hurting over another shooting incident on the installation. Let’s keep them in our prayers. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday.
U.S. Army Specialist Ivan Lopez killed three soldiers and wounded 16 others at Fort Hood last week. Then he killed himself.
It’s been reported that Lopez “had argued with the Army about leave benefits, including time off last year to attend his mother’s funeral in his native Puerto Rico. Just before the shooting, there was another argument with a soldier over paperwork for another leave request.”
Taking leave (vacation) that you have earned in the military is extremely important, but like most things in the military, there’s no guarantee that you can take leave when you want to because the mission comes first. The mission always comes first.
There seems to be an on-going problem in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) world these days, and that problem can be described in military terms as failure to pay attention to detail.
It does not appear that a shiny new checklist will correct the problem, either (that’s military humor in case you were wondering).
On Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported, “Twice this year alone, Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to nuclear-tipped missiles have been caught leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post.”
One incident happened at Minot Air Force Base (AFB) in North Dakota; the other happened at Malmstrom AFB in Montana.
Of course commanders and the public affairs personnel at these bases will tell the public and the media that all is safe, secure, and that we civilians shouldn’t worry because everything is under control.
With so many screw-ups recently, that song is starting to grow old. In August, Malmstrom failed a nuclear inspection. In April, Minot failed a nuclear inspection. Something needs to change and to change quickly. Continue reading →
Over the weekend (and continuing today) the coverage of Edward Snowden reminds me of the old PBS show, “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”
He supposedly left Hong Kong for Russia and may be headed to Cuba or Ecuador for asylum.
In case you have not heard about Edward Snowden, he is a former National Security Agency contractor and CIA technician who is wanted by the United States for revealing classified secrets about our government’s surveillance program.
Snowden is also responsible for the newest round of jokes about the United States spying on its citizens…
Some people believe Snowden is a traitor and others believe he is a patriot. I have posted a poll at the end of this column asking that question – so let me hear from you.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on Fox News Sunday yesterday (15 months after his heart transplant) and it was a pretty interesting interview conducted by Chris Wallace. You can read the transcript HERE or watch the interview HERE.
Before he was Vice President, he was the Secretary of Defense when I served in the military. Many people either love him or hate him, but I have always respected his opinion and his leadership. Sadly, Dick Cheney would be a little too moderate for the far-right fringe people who have taken over the Republican Party.
Cheney was asked his opinion about Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old contractor who reportedly released details about National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs. Cheney said, “I think he’s a traitor. I think he has committed crimes in effect by violating agreements given the position he had.”
He also said he was worried that he may have more information to disclose that would harm America. Continue reading →
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns.”
– Col. Nathan R. Jessup (A Few Good Men)
With NBC News releasing the 16-page U.S. Department of Justice (White Paper) memo that “concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be ‘senior operational leaders’ of al-Qaida or ‘an associated force’ — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.,” I think it’s time we all stepped back and started thinking seriously about building that underground bunker because that “buzz” you’re hearing may be a drone monitoring you and not a pesky mosquito.
And many people thought the Bush Administration had taken away our rights with things like the Patriot Act and REAL ID, and with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security that has that pesky agency called the TSA!
In the next few years, we may yearn for the freedoms we enjoyed during the Bush Administration…
It’s complicated. It’s troubling. It’s starting to get really interesting – plus it’s soap opera juicy. I can’t wait for the movie and book.
And we don’t even know all the details yet.
On Friday when it was first disclosed that CIA Director (and retired four-star General) David Petraeus had resigned over an extramarital affair, I thought how dumb could a person be holding a very important position (then I thought about President Clinton). I normally feel sad for the wife and children of the man who has been caught cheating.
I doubt we see the General and Mrs. Petraeus at many holiday parties this season… Continue reading →
Almost two weeks ago I wrote a column I called, “Wouldn’t it be nice?” which was about Iran being well on their way to developing a nuclear weapon and about the Obama Administration having plans to cut the number of nuclear weapons possibly down to 300-400.
I said, “Let’s hope the people representing us in Washington, D.C., take notice.”
They did. Yesterday.
My faithful readers are probably sitting on the edge of their seats wondering what the Montana Congressional delegation did about this issue that is so closely tied to our national security (not to mention that Malmstrom employs about 5000 personnel and has $335 million in yearly total economic impact for Montana).
It would be nice if we all lived in peace and harmony in a place where we could leave our doors unlocked, the keys in our car, and we would never worry about theft or vandalism. When looking at our world, it would also be nice if every country in the world got along with one another and there were no wars or conflicts. It would also be nice to have a safe world – a world where we do not need weapons to annihilate each other. It would even be wonderful if there were no nuclear weapons in the world.
But we don’t live in a place like that. I never have. My children probably won’t either.
Today we are hearing that Iran is well on their way to developing a nuclear weapon. The Associated Press reported, “Iran claimed Wednesday that it has taken two major steps toward mastering the production of nuclear fuel.”
Being one who has long supported the military missions around Great Falls and across Montana, as well as being one who has actually been in the military (that’s how I got here), I was somewhat alarmed after catching THIS STORY in today’s Great Falls Tribune.
Short version: It does not look good for military missions around Great Falls, Montana.
The people interviewed for the story did not present a very rosy picture for the Air Guard and the Active Duty military base. Starting with the headline “MANG’s mission change probable” and a 30% loss of personnel and ending with the missile bases losing another 30-50 missiles, the future does not look very bright at all. Continue reading →
It’s always interesting and sometimes comical to hear what someone, who has no idea whatsoever what it’s like to serve in the military, says about a military operation.
On Wednesday U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was that person. The Huffington Post has the story and video HERE.
Anyone who reads my columns very often understands that I don’t particularly care for those “non-military” folks getting involved in military or veterans issues. In fact, they should just shut up – even if they are a senior member of the United States Senate. Baucus may be high on the seniority list, but he is low on the favorable list of many veterans and military personnel. Continue reading →