Republicans are adept, as we know, at taking a piece of existing conventional wisdom, finding one (usually totally irrelevant) fact that seems to reinforce it, and spreading that talking point far and wide. Take defense. The piece of c.w. is that Republicans are pro-military and Democrats anti. Then they find a technically true but meaningless fact, like the assertion often made by Romney and Gingrich on the campaign trail that our Navy is at its smallest size since 18-something and of course this is all Obama's fault because, naturally, he hates the Navy. The part they leave out, of course, is that the reduced fleet size and slower "build rate" are part of the Navy's own strategic plan.
Which brings us to the Law of the Sea Treaty, currently being held up in the Senate by a few Republicans. The United States is not yet party to this convention, but groundwork to join had been laid by leaders from both parties over a number of years. George W. Bush supported joining. Far richer than that, though, is the fact that the then governor of Alaska in 2007 said: "I want to put my administration on record in support of the convention as the predicate for asserting sovereign rights that will be of benefit to Alaska and the nation." But that before she flowered, shall we say, into the creature she is today.
Now, of course, because Obama supports joining, the treaty is an assault on American sovereignty. Heather Hurlburt, a leading expert on military matters, writes that joining the convention "is supported by all the current Pentagon brass, six former Secretaries of Defense and Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, five former commandants of the Coast Guard, eight former Chiefs of Naval Operations." I guess they're all communists or at least Trilateralists.
The Hurlburt article I link to above is well-worth reading as she lays out five areas in which today's conservatism is actively thwarting Pentagon planning and goals, from the aforementioned treaty to the jailing of terror suspects to the question of war with Iran and other matters. One of those is alternative energy, on which the story gets even weirder.
The Pentagon is the biggest user of fossil fuels in the world. Hurlburt refers to one estimate that every gallon of gas used in Afghanistan needs seven gallons to get it there. Reasonably, the Pentagon would like to reduce its bill. It has a green initiative. Uh-oh! Green? You know that's trouble!
Here, read David Roberts of Grist, who explains how Republicans in Congress are trying to pass laws that would prevent the Pentagon from using less-expensive fuels, but force it to use more expensive fuels (coal-to-liquid technology). He concludes:
So, let’s pause and review. The Republican position on military fuel choices is as follows: Congressional restrictions are an “unacceptable precedent” when they prohibit dirtier fuels, but necessary when they prohibit cleaner fuels. Also, it is unacceptable for the military to pay more for cleaner fuels, but necessary for it to pay more for dirtier fuel.
Part of this is their debt to Big Dirty Energy, but most of it is just ideology. It's just a party gone mad with opposition and hatred. Which isn't exactly news, but bears repeating and repeating in all its guises and forms.
As President Obama urged Congress to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay Thursday, a heckler interrupted him.
How the military tried to get more control over drone targeting decisions—and lost. By Daniel Klaidman.