A while back we were agog at the priorities of outgoing Secretary of the Army John McHugh. Since he’s just an Indian in that tribe, we assume some of that nonsense came from higher. We searched in vain for any listing of the Secretary of Defense’s priorities. Unlike McHugh, who boldly admitted his priorities were related only to “social justice” and not to preparing the national defense, SecDef Ashton Carter has not put anything down in writing. He did, however, give a speech shortly after his appointment, from which his priorities may be derived
Mr. Obama would be in need of “the best military support” as he makes tough decisions in the coming months.
It’s all about personal service to the Cult of Personality. We suppose that Carter has discovered now what everybody else in and out of DC has known for a while: the President is not interested in military advice, not from professionals, let alone from another zero-point-zero-zero-miles-under-rucksack politician. Like other famous personality-cult godheads in history, the President knows he’s a better general than his generals. The German acronym for it is Gröfaz.
The new defense chief made the comments during an all-hands-on-deck meeting in the basement of the Pentagon two days after he was sworn into office. Mr. Carter is Mr. Obama’s fourth defense secretary and the second Pentagon chief to be tasked with destroying and defeating a violent extremist group known as the Islamic State.
Funny… that does not seem to have been something Carter prioritized, or even pays any attention to.
“It’s a rough world out there,” he said. “There’s a lot going on.”
One is reminded of Homer Simpson’s dictum: “Life is a bunch of stuff that just happens.” Emphasis in the next line is ours.
Mr. Carter briefly mentioned the barbaric acts taking place in the Middle East and “historical throwbacks in Europe” as his prime concerns.
Historical throwbacks? Does he mean the mohammedan invasion? Probably not. More likely, he’s referring to fear of a native European backlash. That’s his “historical throwback.” Or maybe he means Vladimir Vladimirovich’s saber rattling? That has been met on the US side solely with determination to raise the white flag higher. How’s that working out so far?
But as miserable as all that may seem, there are “tremendous, bright opportunities” on the horizon for the military and nation, Mr. Carter said.“We are not only the finest fighting force in the world, but I think we’re the brightest beacon of hope in the world,” he said. “If you want evidence of that, take a look at all the friends. … Our antagonists have none or few, and that’s a reflection of the fact that our values and our conduct and our leadership are followed.”
You mean, “friends” like the Iraqis and Afghans, our coin-op BFFs who have already, at least in the case of Iraq, discovered that the USA talks a good game but the Russians and Iranians come to play ball?
That force needs to be protected from financial woes and resource challenges tied to a congressional budget plan known as sequestration, Mr. Carter said. In order to achieve that goal, the Pentagon will have to “convincingly make the case” to the American public for the need to spend more on the military, he said. Sequestration must not be a threat to the Defense Department, Mr. Carter said.“That is unsafe. It’s dangerous. It’s wasteful and it’s unwise,” he said. “You’ll see me doing everything I can, everything a secretary of defense can do to try to bring our country together and get us out of the wilderness of sequester. We don’t belong there. That’s not what our people deserve. That’s not what this institution deserves.”
OK, so that’s his priority, that’s his hill to die on. To fight against Congressionally-imposed budget cuts so that he can implement executive-preferred budget cuts instead.
At least he seems aware that (1) there are wars on that our guys are in, unlike McHugh, and (2) there is trouble on the high seas that we might get into, unlike Mabus. But for somebody that wants to be Secretary of Defense, that’s not exactly high-functioning. It’s more like a partial brain stem function. Most of his own Administration would write him off as a veg and euthanize him, on this basis, if he weren’t useful to them.
For what, we’re not entirely sure.