A report from the Defence Select Committee of Parliament strongly suggested the importance of extending recruitment efforts in Great Britain in order to bring members of min ority groups into the armed forces. The committee noted: “We are deeply concerned that the armed forces are operating at or above levels of concurrent operations they are resourced and structured to deliver for seven out of the last eight years.” In other words, the British miltary is being asked to accomplish tasks that strain their resources and morale among members of the military is decreasing under the strain.
The British government has concluded that when it ventures into tasks that far exceed the capacity of those coming from majority groups within society, the solution is to reach out to minorities and have them fill the gap. The goal has been to have an 8% recruitment level from minorities in Great Britain but only 5.8% are from this group and the Air Force only has 1.6% from minority groups. Perhaps, the solution is to not get involved in military operations in the first place.
The United States and China have finally agreed to establish a hotline between their respective defense ministries in order to afford instant communication in case of an emergency. The creation of this hotline has long been needed given the potential for serious consequences in case of misinformation being the source of military action. There is already increasing concern within the American military over the rapid expansion of Chinese military forces. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has consistently indicated that he does not fear any growth of Chinese military forces, but, there is always the possibility an erratic officer might think differently.
Ahmed Rashid, writing from Pakistan told Der Spiegel there were rumors circulating concerning who was behind the bombings at Benazir Bhutto’s return which left at least 120 dead. Although, she was told by the nation’s security there was a risk of violence if she had an open parade, Bhutto insisted on showing herself to adoring crowds. “She had to show the whole country that she had many supporters and followers,” says Rashid. She was also sending a message to President Musharraf that she had greater popularity among the masses of Pakistanis. Rashid says it is unclear who was behind the bombings, but “there is speculation that the attack was not carried out by Islamists, but by certain groups within the regime who don’t want Bhutto in the country.” Although over 20,000 soldiers were sent to protect the parade, many of them came from the provinces where there is intense dislike of Bhutto.
The bombings undoubtedly will impact the election process. Many people will avoid attending political events fearing their lives might be endangered. This means less open political discussion in Pakistan. An outside observer might raise a simple question: who benefits by lack of political discussion? President Musharraf is not the most popular person to many Pakistanis and he most probably benefits by reducing opportunities for open and frank discussion.
In an interview with the Army Times, Senator John McCain said, if elected president, he would expand the size of the Army and Marine Corps. “One of the major failures of the Rumsfeld era is that we didn’t expand the Army and Marine Corps.” He appeared to attribute problem in ending violence in Iraq due to lack of sufficient troops on the ground. The senator discussed strains imposed on members of the military and their families by shortened deployment after serving in Iraq. McCain believes increasing the size of our military “is something we should have done long ago. We are going to be in Afghanistan a long time, and I don’t know what other conflict might break out.” During the interview, McCain at one point indicated his belief troops could have longer deployment time in America, but also said, “i would do whatever is necessary to succeed,” even if it required shorter deployment time at home.
Senator McCain’s comments reflect his duality of feeling. On one hand, he blames the “Rumsfeld era” for military problems, but, on the other hand, refuses to cast blame on George Bush who supposedly was in charge of our government and supported Rumsfeld’s actions. McCain has certainly been an advocate of more troops in Iraq, but his failure to focus on political issues, indicates he still believes Iraq is a military rather than a political problem. There is little evidence, Senator McCain has a grasp of Middle East complexities other than thinking sending more troops will solve all problems. One is left wondering after reading his interview what are the “other conflicts” he anticipates will emerge that require sending American forces.
Posted in Don Rumsfeld, George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged deployment, Iraq, McCain, Military, Rumsfeld
Senator John McCain of Arizona unleashed a blasting critique of President Bush’s failure at leadership in the aftermath of 9/11. The senator said: “I believe that the big mistake that our leadership of our nation made after 9/11 is we told people to go shopping and we told them to take a trip.” McCain said Bush should have called upon the American people to join the military and take an active role in fighting terrorism in the world. He is confident thousands would have responded to a call to act in a patriotic manner. McCain was also critical of Hillary Clinton for voting to attack Iraq and now changing her mind.
It is ironic that McCain is now saying the American people after 9/11 should have been asked to sacrifice for their country. Senator McCain voted for the Bush tax cuts that benefited wealthy people in this nation and it is difficult to recall a single bill introduced by the senator from Arizona which required sacrifice on the part of Americans. He loyally voted for war in Iraq, he loyally supported every Bush action, and now McCain is claiming mistakes were made in leadership. It took McCain four years to change his mind about Bush’s leadership capacities, but now he is upset that Senator Hillary Clinton changed her mind about the war in Iraq. Senator McCain, if you can change your mind, so can everyone else.
Posted in Conservatives, Democrats, George Bush, Iraq War, Military, Politics, United States, War
Tagged 9/11, Bush, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, McCain, Military
Turkish Cheif of Staff General Yasar Buyukant told members of the War Academies Command that the armed forces are guardians of secularism in Turkey and will defend it against any attempt to make changes leading to Islamization of the nation. Prime Minister Erdogan assured the military his government is committed to those principles. “The government and Parliament are safeguards of the secular and democratic republic.”
Prime Minister Erdogan most probably is sincere in his desire to maintain secularism in Turkey, but he does not help to achieve those goals by having a new constitution drafted behind closed doors without any consultation by members of parties opposing his Justice and Development Party. His party only obtained 47% of the popular vote and it would be helpful if it reached out to secular political parties to obtain their assistance in drafting a new constitution. His words say one thing, but his behavior says something else.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Military, Politics, Turkey, World News
Tagged Buyukant, Constitution, Erdogan, Military, PKK, secularism, Turkey