Vail Daily column: I’m not getting over it | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: I’m not getting over it

Claire Noble
Valley Voices

It is one thing for crazy relatives to post alt-right propaganda on Facebook, but another issue altogether when unsupported claims and blatant distortions masquerade as truth in our local paper.

In a recent Valley Voices submission, Butch Mazzuca claimed that the "mission of the United States military is to defend the nation against all enemies and provide combat capabilities anywhere in the world in support of United States' security objectives."

As a former member of the Armed Forces my oath of office required that I pledge to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." The oath of office does not contain any of the malleable "security objectives" Mazzuca references.

Think of the lives and treasure spared if our nation adhered to the stricter criterion of valid threats to our Constitution before putting our sons and daughters in harm's way.

Further, Mazzuca claims, without the benefit of sources, "U.S. military personnel costs accounts (sic) for over half of the Defense Department's budget and are far higher than those of China and Russia."

But the Congressional Budget Office (my source) states instead, "For fiscal year 2013, the Department of Defense (DoD) requested about $150 billion to fund the pay and benefits of current and retired members of the military. That amount is more than one-quarter of DoD's total base budget request." In fact, the largest outlay is for operations.

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He further claims political correctness has degraded our nation's "military fighting efficiency" under the Obama administration. Assuming there has been degradation, two grinding wars did not have anything to do with it? With this assertion Mazzuca provides neither logic nor facts as support.

One is left to wonder what he means by political correctness and how it might relate to military readiness. Perhaps his claim is a dog whistle to the like-minded who oppose, as Mazzuca has in past columns, opening combat roles to women.

General Lori Robinson, who commands U.S. Northern Command and Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt, who commands the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, might take issue with the opinion that their gender hinders their unit's effectiveness.

He then claims, again without sources or specifics, that "many of our most experienced generals and admirals were either asked to step down or opted for early retirement."

Perhaps he is parroting Carly Fiorina who claimed, erroneously, "Petraeus, McChrystal, Mattis, Keane, Flynn … Every one was retired early because they told President Obama things that he didn't want to hear."

To be clear, Petraeus illegally provided classified information to his biographer and mistress; McChrystal arrogantly belittled administration members in a Rolling Stone article, Keane retired when Bush was in office.

Insight into Flynn's firing comes from leaked Colin Powell emails that contend Flynn was fired because of his erratic management style and loose relationship with the facts, which has been on spectacular display since his exit as National Security Advisor.

Finally, Mattis and the Obama administration did disagree on how best to confront Iran which did lead to his retirement. For your information, Politifact rates Fiorina's assertion as "mostly false," which is squarely where Mazzuca's belongs.

Columnist Jonah Goldberg claims Susan Rice lied on five separate news programs in the wake of the Benghazi attacks. However, according to ABC News, Bloomberg and other news outlets, the CIA provided Rice talking points that she neither developed nor edited.

This fact is widely known; why did Goldberg choose to ignore it? Rice was relying on the intelligence provided to her — not unlike Powell, when he appeared before the United Nations Security Council to make the case for intervention in Iraq based on the intelligence that Iraq still maintained weapons of mass destruction.

Did Goldberg call Powell a liar? I could not find evidence that he ever did — and I looked. Comparing Rice's statements on one Sunday with Kellyanne Conway's serial dissembling is absurd. Conway is the originator of the Orwellian phrase, "alternative facts." Hours before Flynn tendered his resignation Conway continued to insist Flynn enjoyed the "full faith of the president." Conway is a credibility vacuum.

Finally, Morton M. Mower is the one misreading the mood of the country. Apparently he is blind to the revolts at town halls, women's marches that draw bigger crowds than the inauguration, executive orders met with widespread protests and judicial rebuke, an administration plagued with ethics violations, and the stench of Russian interference hanging over the whole sad mess.

Mower wants those of us on the left to "get over it." I would hope no one with a moral compass would get over a rampantly corrupt, blatantly unethical and pathetically incompetent administration.

Claire Noble can be found online at http://www.clairenoble.org and Claire Noble Writer on Facebook.

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