Intent Not Needed…. All That Is Needed Is “Negligence” or “Extreme Carelessness”

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(d) Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Emphasis mine.

The language is plain. The FBI did not have to prove intent. Hillary’s “carelessness” was enough for prosecution. There are too many Americans that have unintentionally removed, distributed, etc. sensitive information that have been fined and/or jailed. The Democrats remain above the law.

Winning and Losing Wars

Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won. – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Got into a little bit of a Twitter scrape with Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom). I’m afraid he took exception to a comment I made. The start of it was Nichols condemning Trump for his “we’ve lost our wars” comment. I put in that as a matter of fact, we haven’t won a war since World War Two.

I know, I know; I probably took that too far. I must repeat to myself again and again: never get into a Twitter argument as it is impossible to have an argument when you’re limited to 140 characters. And it can get a bit sticky if you say anything which can be construed as other than critical of Trump. Trump = bad. I dig that – and am in favor of that sentiment. I feel bad that I apparently angered Mr. Nichols as I hold him in high regard for his knowledge. But, still, a busted clock is right twice a day. To be fair to those who took exception to my comment, Grenada, Panama, the First Gulf War and Kosovo were victories. And the Iraq campaign until 2009 was also a victory. But Grenada, Panama and Kosovo are not the same scale of actions as, say, a Spanish-American War – even though that war was quite short and the loss of life was mercifully low. The First Gulf War was, in my view, an unfinished war – we did eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait (a worthwhile activity), but as long as Saddam was in power in Baghdad, a resumption of the war either in Kuwait or elsewhere was always in prospect. We could have compelled a complete surrender by Saddam, and we didn’t – we didn’t impose our political will on his regime in a permanent manner. As for the Iraq campaign – well, it was won, but then it was lost…it doesn’t matter that it was Obama who lost what Bush had won, it was still the United States losing.

Continue reading

War Clouds

Did you know that when Hitler launched his invasion of Poland in 1939 he never had a chance at victory? Not even the slightest – the whole deck was stacked against him…and by bringing Russia and then the United States in against him, he just made it worse. But even before Russia and the United States joined in, Britain had enough economic and military power to ensure that victory was impossible, no matter how long the war went on. Britain, alone, might not ever have got to Berlin but Britain, alone, was sufficient to stymie Hitler…and eventually new combinations against Hitler were bound to happen. And when Hitler launched his war, he immediately ranged against himself Poland, France and Britain – which together had a far larger population and industrial capacity. It was suicidal.

So, why did he do it? Because he felt he had to. All along he had been telling his generals that a general war wouldn’t happen until about 1944 – which is about how long it would have taken Germany, working flat out, to build a military instrument which had even an outside chance of matching the nations he’d fight. The trouble was that his armament program had finally spurred everyone else to re-arm and while these programs were still just in the starting stages in 1939, they were rapidly increasing and would swiftly outpace whatever Germany could produce. In addition, the military build up of Germany had rendered Germany, in early 1939, functionally bankrupt. The bankers were already telling him he had to ease up on re-armament and curb his ambitions as Germany needed a period of financial retrenchment or economic catastrophe would ensue.

In the end, Hitler struck because he couldn’t keep up the financial end unless he could steal resources from others and because his build up had given him a slight qualitative edge – and, most importantly, he had come to view all his opponents with contempt. Striking in 1939 and hoping for a quick victory (or, that Britain and France would, in the end, refuse to fight) was the plan. It didn’t work out that way, of course – but he still started the war.

Now, fast forward to 2016 and what do we have in Russia? A general contempt for the Western leaders who have pathetically weak military forces at their immediate disposal…and Russia is also in great financial difficulty and can’t keep things going much longer. Just as in 1939, some nations in Europe are also starting to re-arm (most notably Poland and the Baltic States), but their plans for re-armament envision 2020 as the year they’ll be ready. There’s a four year gap when they are not ready.

This is the sort of situation with which wars are made. And it doesn’t have to be Russia – it can also be China, which has a similar level of contempt for opponents, a similarly over-strained economy and a gap between now and when re-armament among their opponents will be complete. Whether or not either nation will decide to strike while the iron is hot remains to be seen, but what this does illustrate is the need to keep a massive military force in being at all times.

For the most part, the nations of the West are spending 2% or less of their GDP on defense. The United States is a bit higher, but still we have a much smaller military force than we had 10 years ago – not only smaller, but less ready as money for maintenance and procurement has been reduced. We’ve been basking in the long peace (in spite of regular military actions, there has been no major war involving a Western power since Vietnam) and have let things slide – forgetting that when you need an army, you need it right away…not some years down the road. And, in fact, not having an army ready to hand just encourages aggressors to think that they can get away with a quick victory. And if they do strike, your unpreparedness will allow an enemy to score some spectacular victories which will then have a very high cost in blood and treasure to reduce…blood and treasure which would not have been spent if a bit of foresight had been used.

People don’t really like to think of defense – war is a horrible thing and people tend to banish it from their thoughts. But as worn out as the old saw is, it is none the less true: if you wish to have peace, prepare for war. We have not prepared for war, and so it is all the more likely that we’ll get one, and get one soon.

Clueless Progressives

An interesting article in the New York Times:

…From a militarist empire whose armies tore across Asia in the first half of the 20th century, Japan, seared by the most horrific consequence of war, embraced democracy and nonbelligerence seemingly overnight. It has not sent a soldier into combat since 1945, a record of pacifism that exceeds even that of its onetime ally Germany.

Yet as President Obama travels to Hiroshima on Friday, bringing renewed attention to the city and its legacy, many worry that the ideals Hiroshima has represented for so long are fading in Japan. The deep aversion to military entanglements is being challenged as never before by an ambitious conservative movement led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe…

The article is essentially a long lament over the end of pacifism in Japan. Of course, anyone who bothered to read Bergamini’s Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy knew this was coming, eventually – but it is coming sooner than I expected. What is missing from the article – and Progressive understanding – is that America’s withdrawal from world dominance is forcing Japan’s hand.

You can be pacifist – and devote only a tiny portion of your national wealth to defense matters – when you have an overwhelmingly powerful ally absolutely committed to your defense at the drop of a hat. If that is lacking, then your only recourse is that tired, worn-out (but absolutely true, nonetheless) maxim of “peace through strength”. If Japan wants to merely defend itself, it must build a military force powerful enough to give China and Russia (and North Korea) pause. This isn’t about Japan suddenly desiring to have a second go at creating the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, but just holding on to what Japan has…and that means, primarily, making sure the sea lanes by which Japan lives are kept open. Since 1945, it has been the US Navy which has guaranteed this – now, with the US Navy getting smaller and Obama showing the world that any attack will be met with a cowardly back down on the part of the United States, Japan has to look after it’s own interests.

And it isn’t just Japan building up. South Korea is also making a blue water Navy. Australia, Singapore, Philippines are all making significant investments in naval power – especially the power to move ground combat forces by sea (ie, fleets designed with thwarting Chinese aggression) and submarines which can vigorously attack a superior surface fleet. Japan has already built a semi-aircraft carrier – probably as a test-bed as they get ready to build fleet carriers in the future.

Outside of Western Europe, which is still sunk in apathy about national defense, the world is arming as it hasn’t since before World War Two. Everyone wants arguments ready to hand – and the reason everyone is doing this is because the United States has signaled an unwillingness to defend allies (and, indeed, at times has demonstrated what amounts to a desire that our allies be harmed). This is a formula for a World War – and not ages from now, but within the next ten years. Only a rapid reassertion of American power – coupled with a military buildup not seen since the start of the Reagan Administration – can we nip this in the bud. China won’t care about Japan’s build up…always viewing it as insufficient to meet China’s power (just as Russia doesn’t care about Poland’s build up…Poland, alone and no matter how well-armed, just can’t withstand Russia)

And our problem is our Clueless Progressives – who still think that peace can be brought about by incantation. By merely saying words. It doesn’t work like that because there are people in the world who want to fight – or, more accurately, want to grab what they can, convinced that there will be little or no fighting to get it. It is precisely this attitude which brought on both World Wars…not old rancor or irrational fears…people in charge of nations just wanted to steal things from other nations. China and Russia – and Iran – want to steal things which don’t belong to them. If they think they can do it with little or no loss, they’ll do it – only by convincing them that national suicide is the result of attacking will they be deterred. We’ll see what the next President does – build strength and prevent war, or keep on with Obama’s policies and make war certain.

Clash of the Titans

So this Iran-Saudi Arabia thing could get interesting if not outright dangerous. This tribal battle has two deadly Muslim components; Arab/Persian and Sunni/Shia, and both countries have the power to either devastate and/or rearrange the entire Middle East. While Saudi Arabia is not the most ideal ally, they are still an ally and they believe we have completely abandoned them. Iran has already broken the “unsigned” agreement, which Obama is so proud of and apparently unwilling to enforce. Obama drew a red line in Syria that he was unwilling to enforce. Obama allowed Putin to take Crimea and invade Ukraine. And Obama is allowing the Chinese to choke off trade routes. Saudi Arabia is not the only ally to think that we have abandoned them, and they have good reason. A.B. Stoddard said it well when she stated that all the world powers know that this is Obama’s last year and they consider it to be open season. I think she’s right and that’s frightening. I think we could see some bad players making a lot of bad moves over the next year. Question is; does that bolster Trump even more? And how does Hillary handle it? More gun control? Your thoughts.

The Gun Debate – Open Thread

Obama and Progressives are calling for “sensible gun laws” as if that is the problem. They continue to demonize the NRA as if that is the problem. They continue to conflate radical Islamists with the isolated deranged American criminal, as if that is a moral equivalency. And they dare not speak one word of condemnation toward inner city gang violence, nor judge those who perpetrate those crimes for fear of constituency backlash. In summary, Obama and Progressives are not at all addressing the actual problem, which is typical, hence the absolute mess we find ourselves in. In short, we have to stop listening to Progressives.

The problems we face in this country and in this world are due to the absence of well armed, law abiding, decent people, not the presence of them. On the world stage, the problem is that the Radical Islamic Jihadists are better armed, more focused, and more brutal than those who want a peaceful existence. The Kurds need more weapons, the peaceful Sunni’s and Shiite’s need more weapons, and countries like Jordan and the UAE need more forceful support. We need more weapons to confront and defeat the Islamists, not less. And we need to be more brutal. This is not a war where you take prisoners. This is a war where you kill as many of them as you possibly can until they realize that they can not win. You want to close Gitmo? Fine. Put a bullet in the head of the remaining prisoners and burn the place to the ground. Case closed.

Domestically, we need more weapons in the hands of law abiding Americans so that they can protect themselves from the deranged gun man, or from the increasing threat of radicalized Muslims. And we need to clean out the cesspools of our inner cities and give those people hope of a better future. Make sure that children have a stable home with two parents, make sure they have school choice and a good education, make sure they have clean and decent housing, make sure they are not living in a drug and gang infested neighborhood, and make sure they have the opportunity for a good paying job and the opportunity to lift themselves up. And these are conservative ideals, not progressive ideals, and that is why Governorships and State Legislatures have increasingly gone conservative in the last 8 years, and that is why the White House will be conservative in January 2017.

The Real World is Still Out There

A quote from Gary Kasparov in Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped, via Ace:

Unfortunately, Putin, like other modern autocrats, had, and still has, an advantage the Soviet leadership could never have dreamed of: deep economic and political engagement with the free world. Decades of trade have created tremendous wealth that dictatorships like Russia and China have used to build sophisticated authoritarian infrastructures inside the country and to apply pressure in foreign policy. The naive idea was that the free world would use economic and social ties to gradually liberalize authoritarian states. in practice, the authoritarian states have abused this access and economic interdependency to spread their corruption and fuel repression at home.

There is a myth out there which asserts that capitalism and free trade will lead to greater global interdependence, more political liberty and less chance of war. I don’t quite know where this idea comes from and I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone can believe it. There was no more free trade in the world than in late July of 1914, when the whole world crashed into war. The British Empire was the guardian of free trade back then, much as we are today. The economies of France, Russia, Germany and Britain were deeply intertwined. Wealth was accumulating. Germany, especially, was the beneficiary of this. And what did they do with their increasing wealth? Built up the most massive military force in the world and then unleashed it as soon as they thought the time was right (they calculated that with Britain nearly in civil war over Home Rule for Ireland and Russia suffering a renewed wave of pre-revolutionary activity, they could get a smashing victory in just a few weeks). Today it is even worse because with modern propaganda techniques, the Russians and Chinese have an easy way to twist our own domestic political processes in a way which helps them – they can lie to us, as it were, through our own media; lull us to sleep, get us worked up over anything other than what is important (and, of course, the Islamists and their fellow travelers also do this).

This is not an argument against capitalism or free trade – it is just a cautionary tale: don’t trust such things to solve the world’s problems. Right now, Russia and China (and especially China) are using the global economy to build up their military power. Russia is already striking – using their old, old method of eating the artichoke one leaf at a time. Will China strike? I can’t see why they wouldn’t. When China’s government figures the time is right, they’ll strike (and we can actually call their activities in the South China Sea as a preliminary moves).

Let no one ever sell you on the notion that there is a panacea for what ails humanity. We are a Fallen species. We will make the most astounding mistakes. Russia is already making them – by attacking us and the EU, they are alienating the very forces they’ll need if China ever turns its hungry eyes on Siberia. China is also being monumentally stupid because no conceivable action of theirs will secure them the precious talisman of control of the seas – and without massive imports, China’s economy grinds to a halt (though making a grab at Siberia would relieve some of these economic pressures on China).

Of course, it doesn’t help the situation at all that we’re being dumber than anyone. Under Obama, we’re signalling to the whole world that we won’t fight. That we are not only a sleeping giant, but a cowardly giant, as well. A bit of vigorous response now and over the next five years and we can at least give massive doubts to Russia, China and the other bad actors in the world that we’re serious (this would mostly involve massive increases in our Navy and Air Force). At long as Obama is in office, we won’t do this – we can only hope the next President will.