Commentary Magazine


Topic: Ann Dunham Obama

Defense Burden Isn’t Getting Lighter

In a great op-ed at Fox News, Mackenzie Eaglen points out the degree to which Barack Obama’s passion for underfunding the Pentagon is at odds with America’s defense obligations. In March of last year, “for the first time, according to the Pentagon’s Transportation Command chief, every combatant commander had a priority one mission requiring the help of the Air Force,” she notes. Even with an administration whose first foreign-policy priority is to curtail intervention abroad, air power was maxed out.

And, in historical terms, it didn’t take much: Leading from behind in Libya, the surge in Afghanistan, support in Japan after the tsunami, and air support for Obama’s trip to South America. We did it all and we did it well but unless you believe in the end of humanitarian disaster and international conflict, America’s defense load is never going to lighten to the point that the Obama budget envisions. Instead, we’ll just be unable to carry it.

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In a great op-ed at Fox News, Mackenzie Eaglen points out the degree to which Barack Obama’s passion for underfunding the Pentagon is at odds with America’s defense obligations. In March of last year, “for the first time, according to the Pentagon’s Transportation Command chief, every combatant commander had a priority one mission requiring the help of the Air Force,” she notes. Even with an administration whose first foreign-policy priority is to curtail intervention abroad, air power was maxed out.

And, in historical terms, it didn’t take much: Leading from behind in Libya, the surge in Afghanistan, support in Japan after the tsunami, and air support for Obama’s trip to South America. We did it all and we did it well but unless you believe in the end of humanitarian disaster and international conflict, America’s defense load is never going to lighten to the point that the Obama budget envisions. Instead, we’ll just be unable to carry it.

The administration’s unprecedented defense cuts mean an unprecedented handicap for the U.S. Air Force, the hardest hit of all the armed services. “Today’s Air Force faces serious challenges: a rapidly shrinking size of its inventory and the slow loss of its cutting-edge capabilities,” Eaglen writes. And Obama’s much-vaunted Asian pivot will be DOA at this rate. “As the Obama administration looks increasingly to the Pacific, it is failing to ensure that it will have enough resources for its new strategy. At a time when the U.S. military desperately needs next-generation technologies to meet the challenges posed by proliferating precision munitions and anti-access and denial capabilities, the administration has repeatedly chosen to delay, reduce, or even kill most of the military’s high-tech modernization programs.”

Forget the sci-fi weapons. Conventional resources are disappearing. In the Vietnam era, we had over 500 B-2 bombers. Today we have 20.

You don’t have to be a warmonger to do math.

We’re entering an age of disorienting global chaos. At the same time the Obama administration is enforcing unprecedented defense cuts.  The volatility in Iran, the Arab world, Russia, and North Korea isn’t going to abate because Americans want it to. And those are just the places we can currently imagine erupting.  The harder challenges are going to come from corners and parties we’ve not been paying attention to. We could be in for a day that makes March 2011 look like a beach vacation. When America can’t rise to it, we’ll find ourselves in a different world.

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Obama Still Lying About Mother’s Health Insurance Problem

Last summer, a brief stir was caused when a book published by New York Times reporter Janny Scott uncovered an uncomfortable fact about President Obama: He had been lying about his mother’s health insurance problems. During the 2008 campaign and throughout the subsequent debate over his signature health care legislation, the president used his mother’s experience as a cancer patient fighting to get coverage to pay for treatment for what her insurer said was a pre-existing condition as an emotional argument to sway skeptics. But as Scott discovered during the course of writing her biography of Anne Dunham, A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother, it turned out that her correspondence showed that “the 1995 dispute concerned a Cigna disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer had apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument.”

At the time the White House chose not to dispute Ms. Scott’s findings. But apparently the Obama campaign thinks the public’s memory is mighty short. As Glenn Kessler writes today in the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column, the president’s much ballyhooed campaign biography film “The Road We’ve Traveled,” narrated by Tom Hanks repeats the same line that Scott debunked. Though the film’s script tries to avoid repeating the president’s false claims from 2008, as Kessler says, any reasonable person would infer from the movie that the president’s mother died because her insurance was denied.

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Last summer, a brief stir was caused when a book published by New York Times reporter Janny Scott uncovered an uncomfortable fact about President Obama: He had been lying about his mother’s health insurance problems. During the 2008 campaign and throughout the subsequent debate over his signature health care legislation, the president used his mother’s experience as a cancer patient fighting to get coverage to pay for treatment for what her insurer said was a pre-existing condition as an emotional argument to sway skeptics. But as Scott discovered during the course of writing her biography of Anne Dunham, A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother, it turned out that her correspondence showed that “the 1995 dispute concerned a Cigna disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer had apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument.”

At the time the White House chose not to dispute Ms. Scott’s findings. But apparently the Obama campaign thinks the public’s memory is mighty short. As Glenn Kessler writes today in the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column, the president’s much ballyhooed campaign biography film “The Road We’ve Traveled,” narrated by Tom Hanks repeats the same line that Scott debunked. Though the film’s script tries to avoid repeating the president’s false claims from 2008, as Kessler says, any reasonable person would infer from the movie that the president’s mother died because her insurance was denied.

As Kessler notes, the filmmakers were aware of the fact that the president had been caught in a lie about his mother’s insurance but were determined to get this story into the film without exactly repeating his mendacious statement:

We think there are few viewers of this film who would watch this sequence and conclude that Dunham was involved in anything but a fight over health-insurance coverage. … The filmmakers must have known they had a problem with this story or else they would have recounted it as Obama had done in the 2008 campaign, using phrases such as “pre-existing conditions,” “health insurance,” and “treatment.”

Instead, they arranged the quotes and images to leave a misleading impression of what really happened.

President Obama’s willingness to falsify the facts about a personal tragedy in order to make a political point speaks volumes about not only his cynicism but also his character. It’s important to remember that this is no misunderstanding but rather a bald-faced lie. Here’s what Obama said during one of his debates with Republican opponent John McCain:

For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.

It is true that Ms. Dunham did have a separate dispute about disability insurance but this had nothing to do with pre-existing conditions. Nor did it affect her fight for her life. And given that her son acted as her attorney, there’s no doubt he was not ignorant of the truth of the matter.

President Obama never apologized for his original lie. He just assumed, rightly it turns out, that even though this whopper was uncovered by the New York Times, neither that paper nor the rest of the liberal mainstream media would pursue the matter further as they almost certainly would (and should have) had his Republican predecessor been found out in a similar matter. Thus encouraged, he has now repeated the falsehood, albeit artfully recast in an attempt to avoid blame.

Having won election and then rammed his ObamaCare bill through Congress in part on the strength of this false argument, he has doubled down on it with the lie now coming from the lips of American’s favorite everyman, actor Tom Hanks as well as in edited clips of interviews with the president and his wife. Kessler gives the performance three out of a possible four Pinocchios on his scale of accuracy. This seems a bit generous but the point is that the story proves that Obama is willing to do and/or say anything, even lying about the death of his mother, in order to gain an advantage. That he thinks repeating the lie will help him get re-elected says a lot about what he thinks of the intelligence of the American people and the integrity of the press that failed to vet him the first time around.

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