Stuff that really just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy (sarcasm)…


  1. Pentagon Says Iraq Effort Limits Ability to Fight Other Conflicts
  2. Ex-GOP officials criticize US security
  3. Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules
  4. US Called Unprepared for Nuclear Terrorism

Now I don’t expect everything in any administration to go 100% perfect, but a number of these problems are problems the Bush administration could have avoided, problems they allowed to fester, or problems they made worse.

Ex-GOP officials criticize U.S. security

Safeguards enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks may have damaged long-term national security goals by making it harder for foreign visitors to enter the United States, two former high-ranking Reagan administration officials say.

In separate interviews with The Associated Press, the officials – former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci and former FBI and CIA chief William H. Webster – agreed Monday that some security measures remain necessary. But they pointed to a drop in visa applications and widespread stories about long immigration delays as risks to future diplomatic, scientific and economic ties with other nations.

“We’ve erected bureaucratic obstacles, created delays and engendered frustrations – particularly right after 9/11,” said Carlucci, who headed the Pentagon from 1987 to 1989 and is now chairman of the Carlyle Group, an international investment firm. “The message was, ‘Don’t try to go to the United States. We don’t want you.'”


The State and Homeland Security departments have reduced the time it takes foreign students and scholars to clear a visa review – from an average of 67 days to less than two weeks, according to recent government reports. But Jacobs acknowledged that business travelers in some counties where consulate offices are understaffed, like China and India, still face delays in getting an interview to apply for a visa.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated last year that visa problems have cost the U.S. economy $30 billion in lost revenues and other indirect costs. Carlucci said the delays have promoted international business colleagues to schedule meetings in locations like London to avoid the visa hassle.

He also criticized customs agents with the Homeland Security Department for what he called rude treatment of foreigners who are subjected to lengthy questioning at U.S. entry points. Last year, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner imposed a “professionalism initiative” within the Homeland Security agency in an effort to curb complaints by quickly and courteously processing foreign visitors.

I was a young kid for Reagan’s presidency, so I don’t remember much… but there’s no question that Reagan at least surrounded himself wih some people were at least reality-based some of the time.  

U.S. Called Unprepared For Nuclear Terrorism: Experts Critical of Evacuation Plans
I like this lede, and I do think that more reporters should write that what Kerry warned about were true, considering so many in the media just parroted GOP spin in a lame attempt to be fair.

When asked during the campaign debates to name the gravest danger facing the United States, President Bush and challenger Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) gave the same answer: a nuclear device in the hands of terrorists.

But more than 3 1/2 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. government has failed to adequately prepare first responders and the public for a nuclear strike, according to emergency preparedness and nuclear experts and federal reports.


Security experts consider a terrorist nuclear strike highly unlikely because of the difficulty in obtaining fissionable material and constructing a bomb. But it is a conceivable scenario, especially in light of the lax security at many former Soviet nuclear facilities and the knowledge of atomic scientists in such places as Pakistan.

Two closely held government reports obtained by The Washington Post — one by the White House’s Homeland Security Council, the other by the Energy Department — describe in chilling detail the effects of a nuclear detonation, using the scenario of a strike on Washington. They make clear the need for split-second execution by top officials of the Department of Homeland Security if downwind communities dozens of miles away are to be saved — a level of performance that some experts say is well beyond officials’ ability now.


Members of the public who seek information from Homeland Security’s Web site,, may not be getting the best advice, experts said.

The article is long, but WaPo has a graphic that’s scary.

Caption for A Hypothetical Blast

In the unlikely event of a terrorist nuclear blast, most casualties would be caused by radiation, especially the radioactive cloud carried by winds into surrounding areas. This map adapted from a White House Homeland Security Council report – which depicts an attack on Washington – shows a hypothetical radiation plume from a 10-kiloton weapon. The plume’s direction is based on prevailing winds. Other wind conditions would provide different results. The statistics are based on a scenario in which little evacuation was possible.

Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules

Two hundred miles away, in northern Ohio, another recruiter said the incident hardly surprised him. He has been bending or breaking enlistment rules for months, he said, hiding police records and medical histories of potential recruits. His commanders have encouraged such deception, he said, because they know there is no other way to meet the Army’s stiff recruitment quotas.

“The problem is that no one wants to join,” the recruiter said. “We have to play fast and loose with the rules just to get by.”


Interviews with more than two dozen recruiters in 10 states hint at the extent of their concern, if not the exact scope of the transgressions. Several spoke of concealing mental-health histories and police records. They described falsified documents, wallet-size cheat sheets slipped to applicants before the military’s aptitude test and commanding officers who look the other way. And they voiced doubts about the quality of some troops destined for the front lines.


Recruiters and some senior Army officials, however, said that for every impropriety that is found, at least two more are never discovered. And the Army’s figures show that it is not punishing serious offenses as it once did. In 2002, roughly 5 of every 10 recruiters who were found to have committed improprieties intentionally or through gross negligence were relieved of duty; last year, that number slipped to 3 in 10.

I wouldn’t want to join with this C-i-C in charge.  Luckily, the 101st fighting keyboarders might want to sign up, since they’re soooo supportive of Bush and the Iraq war.

Seriously though, concealing mental-health histories and cheat sheets for aptitude tests?  Sending in less than competent troops could hurt the whole unit, right?  We’ve got some awesome military bloggers who can answer.

Pentagon Says Iraq Effort Limits Ability to Fight Other Conflicts

The officer, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed Congress in a classified report that major combat operations elsewhere in the world, should they be necessary, would probably be more protracted and produce higher American and foreign civilian casualties because of the commitment of Pentagon resources in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The report this year acknowledges that the nation’s armed forces are operating under a higher level of risk than cited in the report last year, said Pentagon and military officials who have read both documents.

Despite the limitations, General Myers was unwavering in his assessment that American forces would win any major combat operation. The armed forces, he concluded, are “fully capable” of meeting all Washington’s military objectives.

The general’s report appears to provide a slightly different assessment than President Bush offered at a news conference last week when he said the number of American troops in Iraq would not limit Washington military options elsewhere.

Mr. Bush said he had asked General Myers, “Do you feel that we’ve limited our capacity to deal with other problems because of our troop levels in Iraq?”

“And the answer is no, he didn’t feel a bit limited,” Mr. Bush said. “It feels like we got plenty of capacity.”


The annual “Chairman’s Risk Assessment,” which is required by Congress, warned that additional major combat operations “may result in significantly extended campaign timelines, and achieving campaign objectives may result in higher casualties and collateral damage.”

The classified assessment is a formal acknowledgment by General Myers, who serves as the senior military adviser to both President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, of a series of strains: those placed on military personnel by large and lengthy overseas deployments; those placed on weapons and vehicles by wear and tear; and those placed on war planners trying to counter potential adversaries even though forces previously committed to such places as South Korea are now engaged elsewhere.

Even so, the assessment notes steps already under way to mitigate this risk, and concludes that at the broadest global and strategic levels, the risk “is significant, but trending lower.”

This was one of the top practical/pragmatic reasons for being against the Iraq war.  Overextending the military is dangerous for not only the troops (morale) but for national security.

While I’m skeptical, I do hope Myers’ confidence is a reflection of reality and not what the Bush admin and others may want to believe…and I hope that they the steps to mitigate the risk will work.  

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