Mike Mullen

Opposition Rapidly Growing To Donald Trump As Election Is Five Months Away

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Navy Admiral Mike Mullen

Former Lieutenant General Russel Honore of Joint Task Force Katrina

Conservative Author George Will

Conservative Evangelical Leader Pat Robertson

Conservative Propagandist Ann Coulter

Just six individuals who has remained silent and no longer are doing so.

Donald Trump is rapidly being assaulted politically, and the fact that his Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is now in trouble for speaking up on the horrendous incident where pepper spray and tear gas was used on peaceful demonstrators outside the White House is an indication that Trump is being challenged in a multitude of ways more every day!

A Path Breaking Week For Gay Rights In America!

This week in July 2011 will be remembered as the week of path breaking events for gay rights in America!

After a long period of patience, major progress is being made in the following ways:

1. On Sunday, the first gay marriages will be performed in New York City and around the state of New York, a month after the state legislature enacted this basic human rights issue.

2. The Department of Justice under President Obama is now advocating the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, and hearings have been held to move toward repeal, although it is likely that will lead to resistance by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

3. The Defense Department is today certifying that they back the formal end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, and that they see no problem of gays being openly accepted in the military, and that it will not interfere with the internal cohesion and unity of the armed forces.

4. Additionally, in a very touching manner, comedian Stephen Colbert of the Comedy Channel issued a video in which he talked about children being bullied and called “Queer” in middle school, and how when he was so bullied, although not being gay, a friend reacted in a way that disarmed bullies harrassing his friend. Colbert said, in serious terms, words cannot hurt you if you decide to think of yourself as a person who has value and significance and purpose, and that things will get better if one understands that words should not be allowed to interfere with one’s self esteem, so hang in there, and one’s life will become better with patience. This is a beautiful message that needs to be spread all over America, to prevent bullying from leading to young men and women committing suicide, and was the best possible action Stephen Colbert could possibly have taken to deal with the epidemic of bullying and resultant suicide occurring in America!

So the long road to human rights advancement in a new area of concern has been successful, and the New York legislature, Governor Andrew Cuomo, President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, and comedian Stephen Colbert must be acknowledged and applauded for their courageous efforts in this regard!

Barack Obama And Afghanistan Withdrawal: Promising, But Not Enough!

President Obama gave a 13 minute speech last evening, outlining his strategy in Afghanistan.

Pointing out that Al Qaeda had been weakened with Osama Bin Laden’s death, plus the death of other terrorists by air strikes and drones, Obama announced the withdrawal of 10,000 soldiers by the end of 2011, and another 23,000 by September of 2012.

This would mean the removal of the “surge” troops put in after his speech in December 2009.

This is an important development, but it would leave 68,000 troops in Afghanistan to the target date of sometime in 2014, but Obama did not say that all troops would be removed even then.

The Afghanistan War is costing $10 billion a month at a time when we are in such dire economic straits, and therefore, although he called for a focus on domestic needs and infrastructure and nation building at home, how are we supposed to do this if there is no end to the involvement in Afghanistan?

The military, led by David Petraeus, new head of the CIA; and Mike Mullen, retiring head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Leon Panetta, new head of the Defense Department; and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, wanted a slower approach, as did John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

At the same time, the left is disgusted with the slow pace of the Afghanistan withdrawal, and even some Republicans seem disgusted with the feeling that there is no end to war involvement, and the reality that it is bleeding this nation dry!

So Obama is not pleasing the left or the right, is instead following the advice of Vice President Joe Biden, and is seemingly in the middle on an issue that a majority of Americans feel should not be a priority for the future, particularly with the domestic crises we now face, an imminent threat!

The Rise of Women “Hawks” In American Foreign Policy

With the intervention in the Libyan Civil War, a new trend has emerged: women “hawks”!

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice were the members of the President’s cabinet most involved in convincing President Obama to choose to intervene in Libya, while Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Admiral Mike Mullen, were more cautious.

This comes after National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice under President George W. Bush was also a “hawk” and supported intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The fact that women are now becoming frontline “hawks” is certainly a new concept that will bring about much analysis by scholars and journalists, since the role of women was never as significant before as it has now become in the formulation of American foreign policy!

The Politics Of The Libyan Civil War Intervention

With the US involvement in the Libyan Civil War, along with that of France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Canada, Denmark, and Norway, and with the backing of the Arab League, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the United Nations, and lack of use of their Security Council veto by Russia and China, we are seeing a political split developing in our nation.

We have learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after earlier doubts, was finally convinced by UN Ambassador Susan Rice.

We have also learned that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen had great doubts on the intervention, but of course were loyal team members once the decision was made for involvement.

Also, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, of different political persuasions and the last two losing Presidential candidates in 2008 and 2004 both felt that intervention was essential.

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also have strongly backed the military action, but Republican Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking member ofr the Kerry led Foreign Relations Committee, has expressed great upset at the intervention, and Speaker of the House John Boehner has made it clear that the President needed to consult Congress before taking action, which he basically failed to do, leading to a controversy over the War Powers Act of 1973, which mandates an explanation by the President within 48 hours, and the ability of Congress in theory to demand withdrawal after the military action, IF they can gain a majority vote in both houses of Congress, which has never happened, and is unlikely ever to happen!

The lack of consultation so far has angered Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich so much that he has brought up the concept of impeachment of the President, which certainly is not going to happen, but shows the turmoil developing because of the US now being committed to THREE wars at once, all in Muslim nations!

The danger is that Obama might, by what he has decided to do, to intervene to stop mass murder in Libya, could end up in a protracted war that could cost the nation many billions of dollars at a time when we are in economic crisis and cutting domestic budgets in states and nationally.

Additionally, it could cause Obama to have a Democratic opponent in the Presidential primaries of 2012, who assuredly he could defeat, but the attacks that would occur against him would weaken him, and make him more subjected to the likelihood of defeat in the Presidential Election of 2012 by the Republican nominee for that office!

This has happened three times in the past 35 years, in 1976 to Gerald Ford, in 1980 to Jimmy Carter, and in 1992 to George H W Bush.

It is clear that the Libyan Civil War intervention complicates the economic and political scene in America, and creates potentially new defense, foreign policy, and national security issues for the short run and the long run!

Pentagon Survey Shows No Strong Feeling Against Gays Serving: Time To End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”!

A Pentagon report on the issue of gays serving openly in the military is due out this week, and it is clear that 70 percent have no problem with the concept, much greater than earlier feelings toward Jews and African Americans in the 1940s and women in the 1970s and 1980s!

It is time for the Senate to follow the House of Representatives and end this discriminatory practice which is hurting our ability to fight terrorism and to recruit talented soldiers with specific skills needed in the military!

With Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen supportive of the change, and many others who were against the change in the past coming out for it, it is time for the Republicans to stop their resistance and support the change!

Since the military, by nature, is not a democracy in any case, it should not have been necessary to survey troops, as in the end, military forces follow orders and have to cope with whatever their commanders demand of them!

But now that the survey shows widespread support and tolerance, it is time for immediate action on this matter!

The Last Gasp Of Right Wing Homophobes: Outrageous And Deplorable!

Last night, the House of Representatives adopted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of a military spending bill, just hours after the Armed Services Committee in the Senate agreed to such an outcome by a vote of 16-12, including Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Final action by the Senate is expected within weeks.

With Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, having signed on, the end of this discriminatory policy is within reach, after the final military review due by December of this year!

At a moment when there should be rejoicing, however, Senator John McCain of Arizona is creating barriers after having promised to back the change IF the military apparatus went along with the change. He and others in the Republican party continue to create obstructionism on the issue. It is sad to see McCain give up all his principles and dignity in his struggle to keep his Senate seat in the upcoming Arizona primary in August against former Congressman J. D. Hayworth! 🙁

But in addition to McCain’s delay tactics, right wing homophobes are creating propaganda and myths to try to stall the change in military policy!

Among their tactics are to claim:
1. Homosexual assault will multiply, with soldiers being fondled and having oral sex done on them in their sleep!
2. HIV tainted blood will become a widespread crisis in the military!
3. Adolf Hitler had a gay military, which was more brutal and vicious than a straight army would have been!

These ideas and assertions are totally outrageous and deplorable! We are being told that straight soldiers will be so deeply asleep that they will be attacked without their knowledge! This assumes that gays are so aggressive that they will bother with straight soldiers who have no desire for sexual contact! Also, the facts are that all soldiers are regularly blood tested, and anyone trying to be a soldier who is HIV positive is not allowed to serve! Also, the idea that gays were part of a special group under Adolf Hitler belies the fact that gays were one of the three groups of people specifically labeled and marked for mass execution, along with Jews and gypsies, and were required to wear pink triangles to identify them!

It is time for these despicable assertions by people who claim to be for the “family” and to have “Christian values” to be totally repudiated as simply signs of hate and intolerance!

The Controversy Surrounding General Benjamin Mixon And Gays In The Military

A controversy has erupted in the US military over Army Lieutenant General Benjamin Mixon, who has been advocating opposition to any changes in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy toward gays in the military. He has also stated that if this change in policy goes through, then gay and straight soldiers should not be housed in the same rooms on Marine bases, where soldiers share private rooms.

This has led to harsh criticism by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, with Mullen suggesting that maybe Mixon should resign!

Mixon is a three star general who commands the US Army in the Pacific. This is becoming a major controversy, and the likely result is his resignation, as it is clearly understood that military personnel keep their thoughts to themselves, and are not permitted openly to criticize the policies of the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States.

One thinks back to General Douglas MacArthur, dismissed under President Truman for opposing openly his Korean War policy, and General John Singlaub, who was removed in 1977 by President Carter for his criticism of Carter’s removal of a number of US forces in South Korea.

This controversy will certainly fuel anger from Republicans and conservatives who oppose any change in the gays policy adopted during the administration of Bill Clinton.

But the trend is definitely toward changes in the policy, despite criticism, as both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are moving toward adoption, and Colin Powell and many other military and political leaders have spoken up in favor of the end of discrimination, as almost all European countries, Canada, Australia, and Israel have had no problems in accepting gays in the military on a nondiscriminatory basis over many years. It is time for change!

Movement Forward On Gays In The Military!

The testimony of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff head Mike Mullen before the Senate Armed Services Committee, endorsing moves toward the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, are a wonderful first step toward eventual end of the policy that forces gay service members out of the military, despite their ability to make a major contribution to our national defense.

Also, the statement of former Joint Chiefs of Staff and former General Colin Powell that he now backs what he opposed in 1993 during the Clinton Administration is an important moment in the fight against discrimination in our armed services.

It is clear that many service members did not like integration of African Americans in the military when President Truman ordered it in 1948, and also many do not like that women have served alongside men in recent years. But this is not a question of voting or personal feelings. It is an issue of basic fairness and human rights.

If some service member has a problem with gays, they will simply have to adapt and adjust, or leave the military early. The military services cannot allow discrimination or personal feelings to intervene, when it has been demonstrated that many NATO nations and Israel have long had gay members, and have adjusted and adapted well to it.

As former Senator and presidential nominee Barry Goldwater once said, who cares if someone is gay, as long as he can shoot straight on the battlefield? Good quote, and the successor to Senator Goldwater, Senator John McCain, should rethink his position and stop being critical, and support what so many people high in the military have now accepted: It is time for gays to be able to serve openly in the military alongside their brethren, as much as African Americans and other minorities and women!