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U.S. Publicly Reveals the Size of Nuclear Arsenal

by Technical Editor on May 4, 2010

Sources: Jay Solomon, “U.S. Declares Size of Nuclear Arsenal”, Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2010; Mary Beth Sheridan, “Obama administration discloses size of U.S. nuclear arsenal”, Washington Post, May 4, 2010.

During the review conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the United Nations, the Obama administration released the number of nuclear warheads currently in the U.S. arsenal, which until now has been a closely-guarded secret.  Secretary of State Hilary Clinton went so far as to say that releasing these figures would bolster our national security: “We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can about the nuclear program of the United States.

In a misguided attempt to “set an example” for the rest of the world, the Obama administration removed much-needed strategic ambiguity about the nature of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

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Source: “Gates wary of Marines’ amphibious vehicle spending” Reuters, May 3, 2010

On Monday, while speaking about new defense spending, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in effect questioned the need for the Marine Corps when he criticized their planned spending on amphibious landing vehicles. The secretary said that it is neither “necessary or sensible” to utilize amphibious landings in future conflicts, “especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore.”   

Amphibious warfare is the specialty of the Marines, and saying that amphibious fighting in the future will be unnecessary is a major strategic shift for the US Military.  In fact, Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway has gone on the record staying that the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) would be necessary in the case of a conflict that requires traditional warfare.

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DOD Announces Obesity as Major Security Threat

by Researcher on April 30, 2010

Source: “The latest national security threat: obesity”, Washington Post, 30 April 2010

According to the Department of Defense, as of 2005, 9 million young adults in between the ages of 17 and 24 were rejected from military service because they were deemed too overweight to serve. The Department of Defense is concerned that because of the skyrocketing rates of obesity in children, which more often than not carries on into their adult years, the the US military will have difficulty in reaching their recruiting numbers in years to come.

Government officials and First Lady Michelle Obama have called for “fixing” school lunch programs and encouraging more fitness programs in response, however some believe these calls are misguided. Perhaps a more sensible effort would to be to expand Junior ROTC programs in high schools.

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Source: “Justice Department considers suing Arizona to block immigration law“- The Washington Post, 29 April, 2010

Officials in the Obama administration are considering suing Arizona over its new immigration law in order to block the legislation from taking effect. The Arizona law criminalizes illegal immigration by defining it as trespassing and empowers police to question anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” is an illegal immigrant if the individual is stopped for some other legitimate reason. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been fervent critics of the new law.

The Obama Administration contends the law has potential to lead to racial profiling. However, the legislation specifically states that police may not “solely consider race, color or national origin” in questioning people about their immigration status.  One lawyer who contends that the new law is constitutional says, “Arizona passed this law because the federal government abdicated its enforcement responsibilities on immigration.” It seems the Obama Administration would rather protect the civil liberties of illegal aliens than enforce laws drafted by and aimed to protect US citizens.

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Source: Joseph Abrahams, “U.N. Elects Iran to Commission on Women’s Rights”, Fox News, April 29, 2010.

 The United Nations has handed Iran a four-year seat on the Commission on the Status of Women even though the stoning and lashing of women is codified in Iranian law. Recently a senior cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, suggested that women were to blame for earthquakes and was quoted as saying, “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes”.

 It was decided that Iran would be “elected by acclamation,” meaning that no open vote by members was required or requested by member states, including the United States.  In failing to even attempt to prevent such an outcome, the Obama administration demonstrated little regard for womens rights or human rights, particuarly in the Muslim world.

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Sources: Keith Johnson, “Senators Seek Documents on Fort Hood Suspect”, Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2010; Anne Flaherty, “Senate committee subpoenas Fort Hood documents”, Associated Press, April 19, 2010; “Administration Sets Up Potential Clash With Senate Over Fort Hood Documents”, Fox News, April 27, 2010.

 The Obama administration will only release some, not all, of the necessary documents to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with regard to their inquiries into the Fort Hood shooting by Major Nidal Hasan. The committee issued a statement on the matter:

“DOD and DOJ have produced a limited set of documents in response to the subpoenas, which we appreciate.  However, they still refuse to provide access to their agents who reportedly reviewed Major Hasan’s communications with radical extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and to transcripts of prosecution interviews with Hasan’s associates and superiors, which DOD already provided to its internal review. DOD and DOJ’s failure to comply with the subpoenas is an affront to Congress’s Constitutional obligation to conduct independent oversight of the Executive Branch, a right all the more critical in order to ensure that our government operates effectively to counter the threat of terrorism.”  (See Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, “Administration fails to comply with Ft. Hood subpoenas; Senators receive additional but not all documents and none of the witnesses required”, press release, 27 April 2010)

 The Departments of Justice and Defense say that the release of these documents would possibly compromise the prosecution of Major Hasan. Secretary Gates highlighted this position recently when he said, “We have no interest in hiding anything, but what’s most important is that prosecution.”

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Source: “National Security Adviser Apologizes for Joke About Jewish Merchant”, FoxNews, 26 April, 2010

At a recent address for the 25th anniversary of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, National Security Advisor James Jones made a joke about a Jewish Merchant refusing to sell a member of the Taliban some water and instead offering to sell him a tie. He began the address by saying he wanted to “set the stage” by telling a “story that I think is true” from a recent incident in southern Afghanistan before going on to make the joke.

The address was meant to be focused on America’s commitment to a strong relationship with Israel, and a joke like this from a high-ranking member of the security apparatus will have done nothing to help the situation.

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Source: Kennedy, Alex, “Pentagon undersecretary: Iran strike ruled out“, Military Times, 21 April 2010

Michelle Flournoy, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, stated with respect to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons: “[U.S.] Military force is an option of last resort…it’s off the table in the near term.” 

This public declaration removed much needed strategic ambiguity on this issue, leaving Iran to pursue its weapons programs without fear of military consequences.  If the statement is an accurate reflection of policy, then the Obama administration is effectively allowing Iran to “go nuclear”; if the statement is not an accurate reflection of policy, it nonetheless will embolden Iran further to pursue its nuclear weapons program.

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Source: “Foes may target Kagan’s stance on military recruitment at Harvard” The Washington Post, April 18, 2010

After the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Stevens’ retirement, President Obama announced the nomination of former Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan. Kagan, who has no experience on the bench, was at the heart of a major controversy when she attempted to ban the recruitment of Harvard law students by the US Military to become JAG officers. Ultimately, the matter went all the way to the Supreme Court, which sided with the military by holding that the Solomon Amendment, barring federal funds for schools that refused to allow military recruitment on campus, was constitutional.

Kagan’s overly strong language in the matter, calling military hiring practices, “moral injustice of the first order,” is in striking contrast to the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling 8-0 against the law schools. This demonstrated hostility towards the military should be thoroughly considered as the Senate determines whether she is fit to serve on the Court.

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Sources: Sanger, David E. and Thom Shanker, “Gates Says U.S. Lacks a Policy to Thwart Iran, New York Times, 18 April 2010; Mostafavi, Ramin, “Iran to start work on new enrichment plant, Washington Post, 19 April 2010

 In a secret three-page memo issued to the White House, the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, warned that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document. However, White House officials dispute this, claiming that for the past 15 months they have been creating extensive plans to address possible outcomes of Iran’s nuclear program.

 Having only recently signed the START II Treaty and issued the Nuclear Posture Review, this is another signal to Iran that the Obama administration will not and cannot take action against Iranian nuclear facilities. Today, Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, a senior adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, confirmed Iran is going ahead with the construction of a new nuclear site. He is quoted as saying, “The president has confirmed the designated location of a new nuclear site and on his order the building process will begin.

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