Simmering just under the surface of these United States seems to be a vast sea of hate.
We see it all the time; it's only a matter of days before there is another high body-count gun massacre somewhere in this land. While the current occupant of the White House is blaming Atari or something, at least somebody is paying attention.
He us unfortunately retired, but he's the only one actually saying what we all already know.
Two former U.S. officials who led the global fight against the Islamic State are warning Americans about a new threat to the homeland: homegrown white nationalist terrorism.
Retired Marine Gen. John Allen and Brett McGurk, both of whom served as special presidential envoys for the global coalition taking on ISIS, said in a Washington Post op-ed that the word "terrorism" must be used to describe the new national security threats facing the country from white supremacist groups.
"The terrorist acts may differ from Islamic State attacks in degree, but they are similar in kind: driven by hateful narratives, dehumanization, the rationalization of violence and the glorification of murder, combined with ready access to recruits and weapons of war," they wrote Tuesday.
Their warning follows federal authorities' announcement that they're treating Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas, as a domestic terrorism case. The suspect in the attack, who allegedly posted a racist manifesto before the shooting, could also face hate-crime charges.
Allen, who served for nearly four decades before retiring in 2013, commanded Marines in Iraq and oversaw the NATO-led mission in Afghanization. About a year later, President Barack Obama named him the special presidential envoy for the global coalition against ISIS. While he was in that position for 15 months, the coalition grew to 65 members.
Allen later endorsed Hillary Clinton for president during the 2016 campaign.
McGurk, a former diplomat who has served in key national security positions under Presidents George W. Bush, Obama and Donald Trump, took over for Allen in 2015. He remained in the position until December, when he resigned following Trump's sudden announcement that he wished to withdraw troops from Syria.
The U.S. must take a leadership role in overcoming white nationalist terrorism before it gets worse, Allen and McGurk wrote. Left unchecked, they say it could result in bigger attacks similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people.
"The country now confronts a national security emergency on par with the Islamic State threat," they added, which requires leadership at every government level.
"It demands moral clarity and a call from the Oval Office directing all assets of the federal government to develop a comprehensive, long-term campaign to protect all Americans," the op-ed states. "If the president will not act, then Congress and state and local governments must instead.
"The matter is too urgent to wait for new national leadership -- at stake is nothing less than the protection of the American people and our way of life," it continues.
It's another one of those things - I often wonder if I might need a weapon of some sort myself. I'm starting to think my collection of knives and my big machete are no longer sufficient. But I digress.
Moving on, let's ponder the military budget for a second. I won't report on the Cost of War
today, but of course you can always check the link. Several sources online note that we spend slightly more than 50% of all tax revenue on the military. You'd think we'd have the best of the best for that cost, but we can't even keep training
for some reason. All that money is going someplace.
The Navy will curtail flight hours for several East Coast rotary- and fixed-wing aviation units and cut several air show performances after demands on deployed patrol squadrons led to a budget shortfall of more than $100 million.
Navy H-60 Sea Hawk pilots in helicopter sea combat and maritime strike squadrons will see their flight hours cut by 25% for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, according to a Navy aviation official familiar with the plans. Pilots who fly in planes in maritime patrol or fleet support squadrons will also face a 10% flight hour reduction, the official said.
Officials with Naval Air Forces declined to comment on the plans to deal with the $100 million-plus budgetary lapse, first reported by USNI News, except to say there will be no impact on deployed or deploying units.
"The readiness of naval aviation is higher than it has been in more than a decade and continues to climb," said Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for the command. "We are doing the best we can to manage our resources, sustain readiness recovery, and keep the operating forces lethal and ready to fight."
All deployed units with aircraft carriers or other operational squadrons are fully resourced, Flanders added.
The personnel who will be affected by the cuts will be from non-deployed units at Oceana and Norfolk, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida, the aviation official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Military.com.
Aside from the Blue Angels demonstration team, the Navy will also be curbing most air show and flyover performances for the next few months. The service had already canceled one performance as it assessed the budget fallout.
"Those performances were mostly curtailed for the remainder of the fiscal year," the aviation official said. "Most of them have been canceled as we prioritize the production of student aviators over flight demonstrations."
No, you can't ground the Blue Angels. Always need to have recruiting efforts going now, don't we? But even the Army and Marines seem to be having budgetary problems. You'd expect that our military personnel would always have the best and newest equipment. Of course this is never the case. But how about this - the military has spent the last two years testing a variety of new "Jungle Boots"
, with the goal of replacing the Vietnam-era design. A finalist was chosen, and the services have procured around 70,000 pairs of said boot.
But they don't plan on issuing them to soldiers. The new footwear will be "available for purchase" in the local Post Exchange as an optional piece of equipment. Standard-Issue for all troops today is a "Desert-Style" boot, which is designed for a much different environment.
Remember those Jungle Combat Boot designs the Army was testing in 2017? Army uniform officials said Friday that soldiers can buy versions of the boot prototypes that performed well in testing after the service decided against fielding them to units who could find themselves fighting in the hot, swampy jungles of the Pacific.
The boots will be available at military exchange stores.
The Army began working on the jungle boot effort in late 2016, when service senior leadership directed uniform officials to test out new designs. The goal was to improve on the Vietnam War-style boots that soldiers and Marines wore into the mid-2000s before the services transitioned to the desert-style boot.
The test effort -- which involved about 10,000 boots from five different boot companies -- produced two different design versions that were evaluated by soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division in 2017 and 2018.
Uniform officials said they didn't know the price of the boots being sold by the exchanges. They also could not say with certainty that AAFES is selling jungle boots that meet the specifications the Army provided.
Military.com reached out to AAFES on Friday to ask whether the jungle boots on the shelves meet Army specifications but did not receive an answer by press time.
Army uniform officials could not say why the Army chose not to field the JCB to Pacific-based units.
Long ago, General Patton was once on an exercise in the Southern United States. His tanks ran out of gas, and he refueled them all from a roadside gas station using his own money. (you could look it up.)
Seems to me like we might be headed back in that direction. Hell of a way to run the military.