Category Archives: Military

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‘Here I Am’ — Alan Huffman’s Gripping Portrait Of Photojournalist Tim Hetherington

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Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer
By Alan Huffman
Publisher: Grove Press (978-0-8021-2090-8) • $25.00
Published: March 2013

Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer is a gripping portrait of British-American photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who died while covering the 2011 Libyan uprising.

Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) was one of the world’s most distinguished and dedicated photojournalists. He was also an educator in the most profound sense of the word. His life was cut short when he died in a mortar blast while covering the Libyan Civil War. Tim Hetherington was more than dedicated in his pursuit of truth. As painful as it was to hear of his tragic death in revolutionary Libya, looking back, it should have come as no surprise. He was drawn to the important stories as they broke. If something worth knowing was happening in the world, Tim was there, recording the details for history.

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(Above: the last communication, a tweet, that any of us would receive from Tim Hetherington)

Tim was also co-director (along with Sebastian Junger) of the Academy Award nominated documentary, Restrepo. The “stars” of Restrepo were The Men of Battle Company 2nd of the 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Combat Team. They were fathers, sons, brothers, friends… they were the brave warriors who signed up to do what needed to be done at the time. They shared more insights into the war experience than any Hollywood movie could ever hope to. The film was not a reenactment, nor was it a fiction “based on a true story.” Like so much of Tim’s photojournalism, the product was the essence of the event itself. It is impossible to view Restrepo without feeling a connection to the guys in the company or without having a deeper understanding of the multiple experiences of war itself.

In Here I Am, journalist Alan Huffman shares Hetherington’s life story. He uses Hetherington’s experiences to bring the world an update on what it means to be a war reporter post 9/11. Huffman presents the duality of war journalism when working, as Tim did. For every risk, there is a reward, for every challenge there is a satisfaction, and sometimes for every lucky break, there is an unlucky moment. Huffman immerses us in the details of Hetherington’s reality while in the conflict zones with interviews with friends and colleagues that add a personal element to his portrait of Hetherington. For those of us who may have only known Hetherington from Restrepo, the book brings greater appreciation of his work. Huffman curates Hetherington’s photographic achievements, from his prize-winning photographs of Liberian children, to his iconic portraits of sleeping U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

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It is human nature to ask why we are here. Not for Tim Hetherington. As the title of the book states, he was there, plain and simple. Well, maybe not that simply — he was wherever he was with definite purpose. For him, it seemed it was not the questions asked that were important; it was compassion and sharing the story that were imperative. As long as we were walking around (or going to war), scratching our heads and wondering things (like why we were there), Tim was going to see to it that at least we would have the correct information to enable us to come up with the correct answers. Here I Am is a fitting tribute to the life’s work of a man who constantly risked his life to give voice to people devastated by war. The book brings you along on the journeys that Hetherington took. It stirs your imagination, even if you’d somehow convinced yourself that you already understood war. Reading Here I Am will remind you that war heroes come in many forms. They are not always necessarily created with ammunition in their hands; a provocative and lethal shot of another kind can sometimes be fired with a Canon as easily as a cannon.

Tim Hetherington did not appear on the scene, get his shot, then return to safer shores. He was committed to telling the stories of those affected by war. He dug in and he gained the trust of those he met wherever he traveled. Here I Am is an opportunity to meet Tim through his lifelong compassion and his creativity. It is a book over too soon. And like Tim, it stays with you.

To purchase this book on Amazon, click here.

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Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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Benghazi Betrayal May be a Cover-Up of American Weapons in Hands of Terrorists

In a scandal looking more and more like Fast and Furious, information is coming out revealing what may be the real reason why the Obama administration refused to provide military support to save Americans in Benghazi. Obama was terrified the public would find out that American weapons had been given to Libyan terrorists, who then used them against Americans in the attack.

Glenn Beck reported that Glen Doherty, the former Navy Seal who was killed alongside Ambassador Christopher Stevens, told ABC News that he was looking for weapons in Libya. Middle East expert Barry Rubin has said U.S. intelligence confirms that Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi to negotiate for the return of an American weapons’ system. Beck suspects that due to the lack of military security around Stevens, he was a CIA operative sent to bring back the wayward weapons, not just a diplomat. The terrorists may have even attacked the embassy in order to seize the American weapons stored there from the rebel-arming program.

There is ample evidence backing this up. In March 2011, Obama signed a secret presidential finding authorizingcovert help for the rebels in Libya. Although it did not appear to provide weapons, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested that a U.N. resolution embargoing arms shipments to Libya only applies to weapons going to the Libyan government. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Obama tellingly declined to say whether he would arm the Libyan insurgents.

Political analysts are calling Benghazigate a worse presidential scandal than Watergate, because four Americans lost their lives. The cover-up is so vast it seems like there are new astonishing details breaking every day. Yet until the salacious sex scandal with General Petraeus came out, the scandal and cover-up was not receiving anywhere near the attention that Watergate did.

The sudden resignation of respected General David Petraeus a week before he was scheduled to testify to Congress about Benghazigate is the most bizarre aspect of the scandal. Conservatives were flabbergasted when Petraeus defended the administration shortly after the attack, repeating what U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had said on television about a video being responsible for the attack. Some suspect that Petraeus provided the defense as a last-ditch effort to save his job. It did not work, since he was forced to resign shortly afterwards over an extramarital affair with his biographer. This was strange, since President Clinton survived an extramarital affair that took place within the White House.

Petraeus allowed his biographer access to his personal email, which is being described as a breach of security. However, White House Counter-terrorism adviser John Brennanreportedly knew about the affair in the summer of 2011. If there was a compromise of U.S. security serious enough to force Petraeus’s resignation, then the White House let that breach of security last for over a year until Petraeus resigned a week ago.

After Petraeus was forced out over the affair, he switched his story, and on Friday told Congress that classified intelligence had been provided to the White House showing that the attack came from terrorists. It is now known that the American consulate in Benghazi alerted the White House several hours prior to the attack that they feared one was eminent. Petraeus testified that the White House withheld that information from the public, ostensibly to avoid tipping off terrorist groups.

Over two months later, the Obama administration still has not revealed who instructed U.N. Ambassador Rice to make appearances on five shows after the attack declaring that it was a “spontaneous demonstration” in response to a video. The surveillance video from the attack has not been released, even though three top U.S. Senators have written letters demanding that it be declassified. There has been no explanation why General Petraeus was not forced to resign until a week before he was scheduled to testify about Benghazi. By then, his extramarital affair had ended.

The cover-up is extremely hypocritical coming from the Democrats. The left was outraged over President Reagan secretly providing U.S. arms to the Contras in Nicaragua. The Iran-Contra hearings resulted in Reagan dismissing Oliver North from his position at the National Security Council. In contrast, there has been no fall guy losing their job over Benghazigate, even though four Americans are dead. Instead, the opposite is occurring; guys like Petraeus are ousted in order to continue to protect the cover-up. The Obama administration will stop at nothing to protect those complicit in the cover-up. As a popular graphic now making the rounds on the Internet declares, “If Obama would have defended our Ambassador like he did Susan Rice, four Americans would still be alive.”

Rachel Alexander

Rachel was named the 2009 Right Online activist of the year and is a political commentator and co-editor of IntellectualConservative.com.  She practices bankruptcy law in Phoenix, Arizona at AlexanderBankruptcyLawFirm.com.

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Bob Woodruff Foundation Charity Event: A Night of Patriotism and Celebs in DC

More than 700 guests attended the fourth annual Bob Woodruff Foundation charity event “Stand Up for Heroes” on June 16. For the first time, the event was held right here in our nation’s capitol.

Comedian Jon Stewart and Grammy-Award winning band Train performed live from the Reagan Building, honoring America’s injured military members and their families.

The true celebrities of the night were the courageous service members themselves, many of whom bear physical reminders of the sacrifice endured while serving our country. Adorned with purple hearts on their chests and beaming spouses on their arms, countless war veterans were in attendance. Despite the charity’s serious nature, “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart helped lighten the mood by reminding veterans why they should be thankful. “Even in their darkest times, remember, at least they don’t have blurry pictures of their genitals spread around the Internet,” Stewart joked, referring to the recent Weinergate scandal.

The star-studded event included Washington’s most powerful and influential leaders, from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen.  Prominent media members ranged from PBS’s Judy Woodruff, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, to Time Magazine’s Fareed Zakaria . Bob Woodruff himself hosted the event, along with his wife Lee.

The couple is a living testament of the difficulties in re-adjusting to normal life post-war injury.  Woodruff’s 2006 brain damage, caused by a bomb explosion while reporting for ABC News in Iraq, posed tremendous challenges for their family.  Despite physical and mental limitations, Woodruff made a remarkable recovery, evident as he and his wife of twenty-three years confidently stood before Thursday night’s packed audience.  “We witnessed the care our wounded were getting through the ICU, amazed by the dedication surrounding our troops, but this devotion can only go so far as the allotted resources allow. This is the need, this is the guiding force behind us starting this foundation, which is the reason why all of you are here, thank you so much,” Woodruff said.

It is this vital support for wounded war veterans and their families that simultaneously drives and unites the foundation’s members. Just ask Jon Stewart, who made sure to personally meet and take pictures with each service member individually at the event’s conclusion.  Throngs of admirers and media swarmed the comedian, asking for pictures and interviews. “Yes, sure, just let me go meet this Marine over here first,” Stewart replied.

Tasha Giuda

University of Miami undergraduate from NH, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies. Tasha is a singer, sorority girl, and UM Women's Club Soccer player who also works on UMTV (Univ. of Miami Television).

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Obama Bombs Bombing Libya

Obama has bungled hawkish military action in Libya so badly that even Republicans now appear to be opposing military engagement. While many people have doubts about intervening in the “Arab spring” uprisings sweeping the Middle East, there are a couple of despotic tyrants that most Americans agree must be removed. Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi is one of them. It would not have been difficult for Obama to have obtained the support of Congress to take military action complying with the War Powers resolution of 1973, because Republicans usually vote hawkish on military action and the Democrat-controlled Senate would likely support him as a Democrat president, but instead he chose to go it alone and inform Congress afterwards.

Now, Republicans worried about the way Obama is handling the intervention have aligned with far left Democrats to challenge Obama on continued U.S. military engagement in Libya. Both the House and the Senate passed resolutions this month demanding that Obama provide Congress with the rationale behind the intervention. On Monday, the House voted to prohibit funding for U.S. military operations in Libya. House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement expressing concern that Obama had not defined what the U.S. role in Libya would be.

There is a legitimate fear by Republicans that the left-leaning Obama, whose record in politics has generally been averse to military action, is over his head when it comes to initiating armed combat. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, expressed this concern, “I am feeling sick to my stomach that we are into something where the president does not know what he is doing.” Bolton is troubled that Obama’s mission does not specifically focus on removing Qaddafi.

Without consulting Congress, Obama launched a missile assault on Libya on March 19. He informed Congress afterwards on March 21. He demanded that Qaddafi step down or face military action from the U.S. and its allies, but failed to provide a deadline or describe what kind of military action. Obama also unilaterally sought support from the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.

Under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, Obama is required to obtain Congressional approval of military action within 60 days of the initiation of force. Obama said he would seek approval, but never did. The 60-day deadline passed on May 20. Obama has defended his decision not to seek Congressional approval by saying he has turned over leadership of the strike to NATO. However, the U.S. is the largest contributor to operation United Protector. It is conducting 70 percent of the reconnaissance missions, over 75% of refueling flights and has fired 228 missiles as of mid-May.

Obama is not the first Democrat President in recent years to botch the instigation of hawkish military action. Bill Clinton also faced considerable opposition to bombing the Serbs in the Kosovo War, although for more substantive reasons. The Serbs were not the only aggressors; the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was also committing atrocious acts of violence. Clinton failed to get the Republican-controlled Congress to approve of the military action, although Republicans in Congress eventually tacitly approved it by approving funding. The NATO-led bombing lasted 18 days longer than the 60-day deadline of the War Powers Resolution.

Democrats have harshly attacked Republican presidents like George H.W. Bush in the past for not seeking Congressional approval for military junctures. Democrats accused President Bush of not obtaining Congressional approval for certain military operations in Iraq and military action after the 911 terrorist attacks. It is somewhat hypocritical for the Democrats to now be doing exactly what they have railed against Republicans for doing in the past.

The irony can be most seen in a nonbinding “sense of the Senate” resolution Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced which stated, “The president does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” The language came from a statement Obama made, answering a question about bombing Iran when running for president in 2007.

Compounding the problem is that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 has never been accepted by presidents as binding. It was passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress in 1973, overriding President Nixon’s veto, in order to prevent future long term military engagements like the Vietnam War and World War II. Some view it as a Congressional usurpation of the executive branch’s powers. Until the Supreme Court rules on its constitutionality, these kind of separation of powers confrontations over military action will continue.

A majority of Americans still want the U.S. and our allies to force Qaddafi from power in Libya, according to a Fox News poll released last week. Our allies want us to take a lead role. The leaders of four dozen countries and international organizations met at the Libyan Conference in March and agreed that Qaddafi must be removed. Qaddafi has a long history of fueling international terrorist groups, including groups operating within the U.S. like the Al-Rakr gang in Chicago which plotted to bomb government buildings and bring down American planes. Qaddafi was recently proven to be behind the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed down on Lockerbie, Scotland during a flight between London and New York.

However, a majority of Americans now also oppose generic military action in Libya, no doubt due to concerns over the purpose of Obama’s mission and his lack of Congressional support. The last thing people want is getting embroiled in another expensive war that goes on and on without results, racking up casualties of U.S. soldiers. We already have that under Obama, it is called Afghanistan.

It remains to be seen whether Obama can salvage support for the legitimate mission of removing Qaddafi from power. It may be too late, but he knew what he was doing. It makes no sense for Obama to have bungled the initiation of force unless he was purposely trying to sabotage it to make the Republicans look bad. When Qaddafi is eventually forced out of power, Obama will claim credit and remind everyone that Republicans opposed him. He is trying to repeat what President G.W. Bush did with Saddam Hussein, which ensured Bush’s reelection. Republicans better not let him get away with it or they can forget about beating Obama in 2012.

 

Rachel Alexander

Rachel was named the 2009 Right Online activist of the year and is a political commentator and co-editor of IntellectualConservative.com.  She practices bankruptcy law in Phoenix, Arizona at AlexanderBankruptcyLawFirm.com.

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I Celebrate

“We love death. The US loves life. That is the big difference between us.”- Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Thank God.

It is currently nearly 3am and I have been working on covering the story since it broke over seven hours ago. I will be working on it for most of the coming day as well, including a three hour broadcast.

There has already been a pot of coffee consumed, and I just got back from a 24-hour taco shop run.

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Many times, if I am pulling awful hours, it is because a disaster has happened. The wildfires of 2007, or the earthquake in Japan a few months back. Tonight though, I am happy to be pulling an all-nighter, celebrating a death.

I have seen and heard a few people say we shouldn’t celebrate a man’s death. That it is awful and morbid. That perhaps it is not the Christian thing to do.

I am celebrating his death. Get over it.

I was just shy of my 18th birthday when the attacks happened. I was one week into my senior year, what should have been a really exciting time. Instead, I sat there, watching everything change, and my adulthood take a whole new course.

I watched that second plane hit. I watched those towers fall. I watched everything change.

Since, I have seen the world I grew up in disappear.

I live in San Diego, a military town, and I have watched countless friends leave without knowing if they would make it back. I have covered story after story of men and women my age that have died fighting for this country because of what Bin Laden orchestrated that day.

Yes, I celebrate his death.

I watch the footage of those planes hit, and I feel like I am back in high school, watching it for the first time. I can’t help but cry, every time.

If you are wondering if it is ok if we celebrate his death, would you feel sad if you were around for Hitler’s death? Bin Laden sought to annihilate our way of life, our very existence. He sought nothing but death and destruction for the world in a perverse religious shroud.

I celebrate his death, because he has caused too much mourning in this world.

I celebrate his death, because unlike him, I value life. I celebrate his death, because I believe that there is good and evil in this world, and he was evil to the very core.

I have no illusions that this is somehow the end of this decade long battle, but I do wish to take a moment and cheer for the good guys’ victory.

If you are feeling a little bad about all this celebration, I challenge you to examine the world around you compared to ten years ago. I dare you to think about how much your life has changed, and perhaps how different it would be. If nothing else, go through the names of all those who have died at the actions of Bin Laden.

Then celebrate.

Anna Good

Anna Good is a talk radio producer and personality who is currently producing the Mike Slater Show on 760 KFMB in San Diego. She has produced for other known hosts including the nationally-syndicated Roger Hedgecock Show and has also been seen on ABC World News.

 

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Navy SEALS Terminate Bin Laden

Late Sunday night rumors started to circulate that President Obama would be making a nationally televised address. The rumors quickly became that Obama was going to announce that the US had in fact killed Osama Bin Laden and was in possession of the mass murder’s body.

Rumors then turned to confirmation of Bin Laden’s death. Initial reports said that a US bomb had killed him in Pakistan. Then we learned that in fact US Navy Seals had staged an assault on a compound where Bin Laden had been living since 2006 and that he and one of his adult sons had been shot and killed.

As a family member of a victim of the 9/11 attacks I couldn’t be more pleased. The death of Bin Laden is a long time coming and will let the victims rest a little easier and the families sleep a little more soundly.

But any suggestion that this victory is anything more than a feel good moment and a moral victory is just false. This is not a strategic or tactical victory in the overall war with Al Qaeda, the jihadists and the Sharia compliant Islamists that mean to impose their global caliphate upon all of us that they consider nothing more than infidels.

This is one fantastic victory, carried out with precision and bravery by our CIA and US Navy Seals. But the war continues and it is a war that was declared on us by the Islamists.

As the sun rises we find the world on a higher state of alert, concerned that Bin Laden’s followers- his network-will attempt to retaliate for his death.

The fact is they were coming for us eventually. I’d rather have them coming after us angry, pissed off and distracted. A distracted Jihadist is a sloppy Jihadist and easier for us to stop.

The United States Navy SEALS terminated Osama Bin Laden, with extreme prejudice. They displayed true “gun control” by putting rounds accurately through the skull of a mass murderer. Do I call that victory or an end to the war? No, I call it a good start!

Mideast Egypt Riots

Obama Administration Posturing All Over the Place on Egyptian Standoff

The Obama administration’s reaction to the massive demonstrations and government crackdown in Egypt has been inconsistent, awkwardly changing from day to day. Instead of supporting the protesters and their pleas for democracy and reform, the administration staked out a position last week supporting the existing hard-line regime. Five days later, the administration completely reversed itself. This kind of leadership makes the U.S. appear weak and vacillating, and is all too characteristic of liberal Democrats who lack strong principles when it comes to freedom and democracy. Continue reading

Rachel Alexander

Rachel was named the 2009 Right Online activist of the year and is a political commentator and co-editor of IntellectualConservative.com.  She practices bankruptcy law in Phoenix, Arizona at AlexanderBankruptcyLawFirm.com.

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Joe Nichols’ Latest Video Honors Returning Veterans

The video for Joe Nichols’ latest song, “The Shape I’m In” debuted this week on CMT. The video honors military personnel who have been injured in service and their daily struggles to improve their own lives.

To read more about the video (and the heroes that appear in it), click here.

Greg Victor

Greg Victor (Parcbench Culture Editor) covers the worlds of tennis and country music for Parcbench. Based in New York City and frequently on the road.

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START Should Be Stopped-Not Rushed

President Obama has made one of the major fixtures of his foreign policy the reduction of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of both Russia and the United States. To that end on April 8th, 2010 he and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty- a.k.a. the New START treaty- that would reduce the number of nuclear warheads deployed by the U.S. from approximately 2,200 to 1,550.

A number of Republican senators, most notably Arizona Senators John Kyl and John McCain, have said that they have significant concerns about the New START treaty as it is currently constituted. They have also said that they will not vote for it in the lame duck session, as has Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The concerns of these, and other, senators revolve manly around the treaty’s weakness on the verification front and what they say are provisions that would limit the ability of the United States to modernize our remaining warheads and develop and deploy missile defense systems in the future.

Also expressing their opposition to ratification of the treaty due to it’s flaws are defense, intelligence and military experts.

-From Jim Kouri’s Examiner.com article:
“According to Frank Gaffney, head of Center for Security Policy, the new S.T.A.R.T. is bad for America because:
• It forces the U.S. to reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons, and makes our existing nuclear arsenal unreliable

• It gravely reduces the ability of the U.S. to defend itself by banning the use of missiles to shoot down incoming missiles

• It compromises our sovereignty by creating a Bilateral Consultative Commission—which could open the U.S. up to more restrictions without Senate approval

• It requires sharing missile defense secrets with Russia—who could then use that intelligence against us, or share it with rogue nations

• It abandons President Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify” monitoring deal with Russia, undermining our ability to know what kind of missiles they are developing and testing

• It forces the U.S. to eliminate as many as 150 delivery vehicles, even though they may be used for transporting conventional weapons, so it harms other military actions—and it allows Russia to ADD more than 130!

• It does nothing to address the danger of nuclear terrorism, ignoring the threats we face from Iran and North Korea”

The fact that we will be reducing our ability to pursue missile defense is especially worrisome considering the threats we face go far beyond an unlikely attack from Russia itself. It’s far more likely that a future missile attack on the United States would come from a rogue nation like Iran, North Korea or Venezuela- or a terrorist group (like Hezbollah) acting as a proxy.

As Major General Paul E. Vallely, U.S. Army (retired) points out: “Moscow markets a cruise missile launched from a freight container – Russia’s Club-K Freight Container cruise missile. This relatively cheap, extra-smart, easy-to-use Club-K Container Missile System, which Moscow has put on the open market (Iran will be first acquirer), allows cruise missiles or Shehabs concealed in freight containers to be launched from a pre-positioned or moving land or sea platform container ship. I have warned of this spear and threat for years now with no response from the powers-to-be. It is virtually undetectable by radar until activated. No wonder, Iran and Venezuela were keenly interested when the Club-K was put on the market at the Defense Services Asia exhibition in Malaysia for $15 million”.

Obama’s new treaty, which Democrats in the Senate like John Kerry and Harry Reid seem bent on passing quickly- even hastily, does nothing to address these concerns. However the treaty may actually weaken our ability to defend ourselves from these emerging threats by putting restrictions on missile defense and requiring us to share missile defense secrets with the very nation that is marketing a cheap and already difficult to detect missile system to rogue nations that are not easily deterred in the first place.

The New START treaty seems to be not just shortsighted, but also a huge step back to a time when our defense policy was based on the idea of a Soviet Union that could be deterred by the idea of mutually assured destruction.

Brigadier General Jim Cash, U.S. Air Force (retired) had this to say about the treaty: “It should not be ratified in this runaway lame-duck Congress, where it is common to pass a bill so we can see what is in it. I have no problem with reducing our nuclear weapons arsenal, as these weapons are expensive to maintain, and we have more than required for adequate deterrence. I have a major problem with doing anything that restricts future upgrading [of] that arsenal, or creating a defense system that will render the ICBM obsolete. That is exactly what Russia wants, as they cannot afford to develop such a system”.

Lt. General Thomas McInerney, U.S. Air Force (retired) added: “… I believe they should not ratify it until [the] Russians acknowledge that the preamble does not stop US Missile Defense efforts plus the Senate should have the minutes of the meetings available to them. Time is not critical now to ratify”.

One must question why President Obama is once again rushing to ram an important and sensitive item through the United States Senate during a lame duck session of Congress. Unlike the DREAM Act, this treaty is likely to gain bipartisan support and ratification once the legitimate concerns of lawmakers are addressed. This is not the kind of thing that should be done in a hasty fashion by a Senate that has one eye on the door before Christmas.

Article II, section 2, of the Constitution states that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.” This power and responsibility should not be taken lightly. Nor should the members of the Senate allow themselves to be pushed to vote on a flawed treaty, as potentially dangerous as this one, without first having all of their questions and concerns addressed.

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Was Contrail Off West Coast China Displaying Naval Power?

You may recall that on November 8th of this year a KCBS/KCAL news helicopter captured video of a contrail off the coast of California. That video was played nationally on Fox News Channel and there was much speculation as to what the source of the contrail was.

The response from the Defense Department and NORAD was that what we saw was simply from a commercial jet and that there was no threat to the United States. But the FAA reports that there were no aircraft flying in the area at that time, on that evening and the neither the DOD or NORAD has identified the jet in question.

Several “experts”, including noted physicist Michio Kaku have made the rounds of the networks to explain how it was a jet and convince the public that any resemblance to a missile contrail was simply an optical illusion.

However, retired U.S. Air Force officers Lt. General Thomas McInerney and Brig. General Jim Cash say that without question the contrail seen just a few miles off the West Coast of the United States was a missile, likely launched from a Chinese missile submarine.

General Cash, who was assigned to NORAD, as a Command Director initially and later as the assistant Director of Operations for NORAD, knows how the system works. He says that in his “opinion there is absolutely no doubt that what was captured on video off the coast of California was a missile launch, was clearly observed by NORAD, assessed by a four-star General in minutes, and passed to the President immediately. That is the way the system works, and heads fall if there is a failure. This is one of the most important tenets of National Defense and its sole purpose of protecting the American people. Even the smallest failure in this system gets intense scrutiny at the highest level”.

General McInerney, who served as an Air Force Assistant Vice-Chief of Staff and has 35 years experience as a fighter pilot, was interviewed by Sean Hannity about the incident where he stated, “That is a missile – it’s launched from a submarine, and you can see it go through a correction course, and then it gives a very smooth trajectory meaning that the guidance system has now kicked in, it’s going at about a 45 degrees away from you that’s why you’re not seeing a lot of vertical velocity… I’ve watched that film 10 times, I’ve watched 15 other Trident films, SM 3… Standard missile threes, and T Lam launches…. I am absolutely certain that that is not an aircraft.” The plume, which is very clear in the video, would seem to indicate a single rocket motor and not a multi-engine commercial airliner or other jet.

If Generals Cash and McInerney, who between them have more than 60 years of experience in the United States Air Force, are correct then President Obama ordered that this event be covered up. It would also seem that the media has decided to play along, as we have not heard or seen anything more about this story since the first couple of days after the footage aired.

Considering the lack of response by the Obama Administration over the past 2 years to missile launches by Iran and North Korea, it is not surprising that the Chinese would have no fear of reprisal if they wanted to demonstrate their military capabilities to the world. It is hardly a secret that China has been patiently building a modern “blue water” navy. It was fairly well known that they possessed attack subs on par with the Russian Akula Class. It appears that U.S. military and civilian intelligence were less well informed about Chinese missile submarines.

What the American people witnessed on November 8th was very likely a warning and a message from the Chinese government- a literal shot across our bow. It was notice that, just as the United States Navy can put carrier battle groups and submarines in the waters that China considers it’s sphere of influence, they too can project naval power within range of our coastline.

Moreover, this incident was a message to the United States and our allies that, contrary to what we may have been led to believe, we are not the last superpower. You can be sure that South Korea and Taiwan got the message, as did President Obama and the U.S. Navy. This may explain why the recent joint naval exercises between the U.S. and South Korean navies in the South China Sea were moved further south, so as to avoid provoking the Chinese- not the North Koreans.