Patterico's Pontifications

9/7/2008

Sarah Palin as Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 10:53 pm



I have to say, I found the “Commander in Chief of the National Guard” argument to be laughable — just like the “Alaska borders Russia” argument. My thinking was: why not just admit that she has no genuine foreign policy experience — like virtually every other Governor who ever tried to be President or Vice-President.

But this post by Beldar, and the accompanying video (embedded below) have me thinking twice. I’m still not sold on the argument. But go ahead and tell me why this guy is wrong.

Here’s the video:

29 Responses to “Sarah Palin as Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard”

  1. Most of the “Alaska borders Russia” comments (as well as the ANG ones) were comparisons to Barack.

    Anything is greater than zero.

    Al (b624ac)

  2. This video needs wide exposure.

    Godzilla (5ba674)

  3. Barack Obama’s foreign policy experience:
    “All we’s can say is – is ‘merci beaucoup’.”

    Icy Truth (a1fb87)

  4. Governors do have quite a bit of information briefed to them on foreign policy and national security issues due to the need for close coordination between states and DHS.

    WLS (969303)

  5. I agree with Pat that the Alaska borders Russia argument is laughable.

    Being C-in-C of the Alaska National Guard is significant. The link to the video of Alaska NG’s commanding general here did not work for me, but I did access it via Beldar. It is well worth watching. He did not mention the Alaska NG’s role in missile defense. Ironically, our beloved Dog Trainer has written about this and Gov. Palin’s role:

    The Alaska National Guard is unusual in that its jobs include manning part of the U.S. missile defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion works on interceptor missiles designed to shoot down intercontinental missiles.

    Beldar referred to Palin’s interaction with Canadian authorities on the pipeline and with Canadian, Russian, and South Korean authorities on fisheries.

    But we must concede that Obama has had some interaction with Canadian authorities as well. Here is what the ultra liberal magazine The Nation reported:

    CTV, the well-regarded Canadian news network, reported this week that a top Obama adviser contacted the Canadian government to calm fears that the senator was serious about rewriting pro-corporate deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement to benefit workers, farmers and the environment. According to CTV, the Obama adviser told the Canadians that “when Senator Obama talks about opting out of the free trade deal, the Canadian government shouldn’t worry. The operative said it was just campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously.”

    Stu707 (7fb2e7)

  6. This via Blackfive:

    One area of Sarah Palin’s background that may help her is Alaska’s unique role in our national security and homeland defense. Several folks have have mentioned this but Tom W. was specific and his info jibes with the record.

    Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It’s on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

    As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden’s.

    She’s also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security’s counterterrorism plans.

    Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country’s defense. Given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, she may have security clearances we don’t even know about.

    And on the 49th:

    Soldiers of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion defend America from an intercontinental ballistic missile threat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while maintaining competency in all warrior tasks. (Photo by Sgt. Jack W. Carlson III, Unit Reporter, 49th Missile Defense Battalion.)

    U.S. Northern Command brought the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-Based Midcourse Defense) to operational level for the first time in response to the July 2006 North Korean missile crisis. Previously maintained in test mode, the brigade, headquartered at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and its 49th Missile Defense Battalion (Ground-Based Missile Defense) at Fort Greely, Alaska, remained at high alert status for the duration of the crisis.

    Sara (3337ed)

  7. What a load of Horseshit. Can this guy’s nose be any further up her ass??

    It’s so good that the Alaska National guard is on duty protecting this nation from all those Eskimo suicide bombers.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  8. What a load of Horseshit. Can this guy’s nose be any further up her ass??

    — Jealous.

    Icy Truth (a1fb87)

  9. He’s wrong because Palin, in her extremely limited capacity towards the Alaska National Guard does not and cannot make the decision to send men and woman into war to risk their own lives or take the lives of others. She does not make foreign policy. In fact has no jurisdiction over any foreign military policy whatsoever. You would think from watching this asshat talk that Sarah Palin could declare war if she needed to. So she sent Jindal a C-17 to help with Gustav? Meaning what?? That she signed off on sending a piece of equipment to Louisiana??

    This simply gets more and more pathetic and desperate. Just when you think the GOP can’t sink any further than GWB, this nightmarish sociopathic character shows up.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  10. Barack Obama’s foreign policy experience:
    “All we need is Love.”

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  11. Although i agree that Palin has limited experience in foreign policy (big deal), governors are the be all end all of soliders in the nat. guard. For instance, when the guard was deployed to Kent State in Ohio during the ’60s, theres only one person on earth who could authorize those soldiers to carry live ammunition, the governor.

    james conrad (6bb6e6)

  12. I agree. Sarah Palin wouldn’t hesitate to order national guard troops to fire live ammunition at American citizens exercising their constitutional rights. She’s shown that anyone is expendable if they don’t pledge complete and groveling loyalty to her need for power.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  13. Keep it up ObamaBots…the cold reality of realism and the truth will just cause you to lose more crediability. Your ObamaMessiah doesn’t have much crediability to lose.

    Moultrie (0c2c01)

  14. What I find impressive is that she went out of her way to help the troops she was responsible for. The General being interviewed does lay it on a bit thick, though.

    Pigilito (0c9bc2)

  15. Micahael Ledeen notes that we have been ignoring the foreign policy of states for decades.

    Karl (1b4668)

  16. So she sent Jindal a C-17 to help with Gustav? Meaning what?? That she signed off on sending a piece of equipment to Louisiana??

    Isn’t this the sort of thing that Bush was excoriated for allegedly not doing? Trying to have it both ways, Peter?

    So she sent Jindal a C-17 to help with Gustav? Meaning what?? That she signed off on sending a piece of equipment to Louisiana??

    I think your tin hat may be a little bit too tight on your head.

    JVW (6c4300)

  17. Sorry, the second quote should have been this:

    Sarah Palin wouldn’t hesitate to order national guard troops to fire live ammunition at American citizens exercising their constitutional rights.

    Leading to my tin foil hat comment in #16 (9:18 am).

    JVW (6c4300)

  18. Patterico, thanks, as always, for the link. I was passing on the video from where I first saw it, via Rob at The Spyglass, and certainly lots of folks must have seen the original interview on Fox News, but I agree it deserves wider distribution.

    Peter (#9 and other comments): It’s a poor debater, one who doesn’t care about persuasion, who demonizes his subject and so grandly overstates his opponents’ arguments. There is no substitute for the awesome responsibility of being commander in chief of the military forces of the United States. In terms of command responsibility for putting lives at risk, however, officers up and down the chain of military command share that burden. You’re correct that governors don’t put their guardsmen at risk fighting abroad, but they emphatically do have command responsibility which includes putting guardsmen in harm’s way, whether it’s riot control, or hurricane and flood relief, or fighting forest fires.

    McCain has been in combat. He’s had direct command responsibilities in peacetime (which, when you’re training things like carrier landings, is none too safe). And he’s been a senator with oversight responsibility. Obama and Biden have never had any direct responsibility for sending anyone in uniform into harm’s way, not so much as a single guardsman to fight a flood or fire. Biden shares a background of senate oversight responsibility with McCain.

    But Obama has precious little of even that. He has not even bothered to convene his own committee, in which he should have been raising holy hell about the refusal of our NATO allies (except for the UK) to put more of their own troops into harm’s way in Afghanistan. Instead he’d rather blame Bush and McCain.

    Except insofar as their votes count like any citizen’s in the general election, we don’t let our military forces choose their commanders-in-chief. But I’d be interested to see the results of a straw poll asking our regular and guard forces who they’d choose as commander-in-chief if the choices were Sarah Palin and Barack Obama. I’m pretty sure I know how that vote would come out.

    Beldar (8a23eb)

  19. Hey! No fair! Obama has foreign policy experiece, he went to grade school in Indonesia, and recently took a vacation in Hawaii.

    And, as for military experience, he tried to organize residents of government housing projects to march for more benefits, and to get stop signs installed.

    Now, Governor Palin may be CinC of the Alaska National

    Ropelight (49e412)

  20. #19, Continued:

    Governor Palin may be CinC of the Alaska National Guard, and may have visited her troops in the field, but that’s nothing compared to getting welfare cheats and fatass foodstampers to show up for a demonstion on time, especially when it’s cold outside and there’s a good game on TV.

    Now, that’s REAL military experience, besides Obama once considered joining the military, but decided to become President of the Whole Wide World instead.

    Ropelight (49e412)

  21. #18 Beldar

    It’s a poor debater, one who doesn’t care about persuasion, who demonizes his subject

    Point taken.

    and so grandly overstates his opponents’ arguments

    I think my opponents’ arguments gleefully and overstate themselves into what can very safely, and minimally, be called: Hyperbole.

    You’re correct that governors don’t put their guardsmen at risk fighting abroad, but they emphatically do have command responsibility which includes putting guardsmen in harm’s way, whether it’s riot control, or hurricane and flood relief, or fighting forest fires.

    Sending men in to oversee rioting and hurricane’s and flood relief is a far cry from arming them with massively efficient ordinance whose effectiveness is measured in kill ratios numbered in the hundreds and thousands, and that require they put themselves at risk of similar efficient ordinance.

    And now that I look at that it’s an understatement, because to utter the words “nuclear arsenal” and “Sarah Palin” in the same sentence is utterly terrifying. That’s what needs to be, and hopefully will be looked at carefully by voters and the media and the blogs in these 58 days left before such a ridiculous equation needs to be considered, and that’s another impulsive desperate sign of McCain’s lousy judgement.

    I’d rather foreign problems were dealt with a big stick, but through all peaceable means, before people began blowing shit up and barring that option had the good sense to actually go after the people responsible and not embark on a disastrous geopolitical adventure designed by the fools at the AEI.

    But McCAin and Palin offer just that, in spite of the headspinning dementia currently on display. In other words they’re more of the same and the record of that sort of Presidential administration, Foreign and domestic is plain for all to see.

    And no…until Iraq is a viably stable country with a government that has a monopoly on force, the surge hasn’t worked. All there is right now is a civil war taking a time-out, thanks to all the money being fed to the Sunni’s by the U.S. so that Iraq doesn’t become so much of a liability for the RNC nominee (I don’t think W. cares a toss who that it’s McCain, but he has people to answer to at the RNC).


    He has not even bothered to convene his own committee, in which he should have been raising holy hell about the refusal of our NATO allies (except for the UK) to put more of their own troops into harm’s way in Afghanistan. Instead he’d rather blame Bush and McCain.

    So, let’s see: Convene a committee or become POTUS. Which do you think has more power to affect a real and lasting and effective policy shift?

    Obama’s judgment has repeatedly proven itself to be beyond sound, and light years more effective than the Bush/Cheney or the new Bush/Cheney that is McCain/Palin.

    He was right about Iraq, right about the timetable, which Al Maliki supports as being in keeping with their wishes for when the American troops should leave, right about talking to Iran, right about going after AQ in Pakistan. All elements that the Bush administration has had to, with great chagrin, agree too as effective approaches towards those particular areas.

    The ticket that offers a way out of the ruinous boondoggle of the Bush years or the absurd hypothetical of a McCain/Palin administration is Obama and Biden.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  22. #15 Karl

    Micahael Ledeen notes that we have been ignoring the foreign policy of states for decades.

    I have to laugh when I see these AEI Neocon dopes trotted out by the Right as having even a smidgen of credibility left. Ledeen has been wrong so many times and involved in so many unconstitutional schemes against the stated will of the American voting public, that I’m amazed a case for treason hasn’t been brought up against him yet.

    He was involved with the Italian Liaison that gave the Bush admin the spurious memo about yellowcake in Niger going to Iraq which they used to great effect as the “16 words” scaring the bejesus out of this nation into considering an entirely flawed war. Base on lies and embellished intel. A the time Ledeen worked for Doug Feith and basically created the Yellowcake story to create a situation the administration could use to gain traction on the war.

    Really enough with these American Enterprise Institute people. No one believes them anymore and it’s for good reason.

    When is the Right going to finally reclaim its soul and own up to its failures both domestic and foreign? There’s no cleared sign of corruption than an organization that cannot withstand criticism even from, or especially from within its own ranks.

    Or let me guess, “these are extraordinary times” so common sense and AMerican ideals need to be shelved for the time being…and not to worry because America is the exception to the rule that power corrupts and freedom is a very fragile thing that needs to be protected even more vigorously in “extraordinary times?”

    Peter (e70d1c)

  23. “She’s shown that anyone is expendable if they don’t pledge complete and groveling loyalty to her need for power…”

    As usual, Petey’s attempts to bring a reasoned argument quickly degenerates into showing his true hand – next he’ll start screeching those old chestnut parrotisms of “Rethuglicans! Black helicopters! Rovian Jedi mind tricks! Tooth to Power? Wraaack!”

    Dmac (e639cc)

  24. “…when the guard was deployed to Kent State in Ohio during the ’60s, theres only one person on earth who could authorize those soldiers to carry live ammunition, the governor.”
    Comment by james conrad — 9/8/2008 @ 2:12 am

    The above is factually incorrect. As having served in both the US Army and the CA National Guard, it is the decision of the local commanders and law enforcement to arm and issue ammunition. To demand that guardsman carry their rifles, absent ammo, is contradictory to the desired effect of uniformed armed authority. Any governor making such a request should be disobeyed and the commander withdraw his troops from the field.

    When, as an NCO, I had the occasion to draw riot duty at an army post and the question of ammo was raised by a newly hatched 2nd. Lieutenant I refused to lead soldiers armed with what amounted to be “toy guns” (no ammo) into a dangerous situation. The fact that the USS Cole was bombed by terrorists in Yemen because the men standing armed guard during refueling WERE WITHOUT AMMUNITION for their M-14’s proves the wisdom of this policy.

    Gov. Palin will make a fine vice president and a competent CIC, if necessary.

    C. Norris (55d55f)

  25. Peter –

    He’s wrong because Palin, in her extremely limited capacity towards the Alaska National Guard does not and cannot make the decision to send men and woman into war to risk their own lives or take the lives of others.
    — Does lying make your dick grow bigger? or just your nose? From Article 3 of the State of Alaska Constitution:

    § 19. Military Authority

    The governor is commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the State. He may call out these forces to execute the laws, suppress or prevent insurrection or lawless violence, or repel invasion. The governor, as provided by law, shall appoint all general and flag officers of the armed forces of the State, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session. He shall appoint and commission all other officers.

    § 20. Martial Law

    The governor may proclaim martial law when the public safety requires it in case of rebellion or actual or imminent invasion. Martial law shall not continue for longer than twenty days without the approval of a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session.

    — Ya know, you could have looked that up yourself before responding.

    She does not make foreign policy. In fact has no jurisdiction over any foreign military policy whatsoever.
    — What non-federal official does? She is involved in making trade policy between Alaska and the foreign countries, Russia included, with which it does business.

    You would think from watching this asshat talk that Sarah Palin could declare war if she needed to.
    — Read the above.

    So she sent Jindal a C-17 to help with Gustav? Meaning what?? That she signed off on sending a piece of equipment to Louisiana??
    — And that alone is more executive experience than Obama bin Biden have acquired.

    I agree. Sarah Palin wouldn’t hesitate to order national guard troops to fire live ammunition at American citizens exercising their constitutional rights. She’s shown that anyone is expendable if they don’t pledge complete and groveling loyalty to her need for power.
    — Jeez! Bloviate much? Does she drown kittens and kick elderly people too?

    Icy Truth (a7ead4)

  26. You anti-Palin libs are just digging yourselves deeper and deeper. You attack and criticize the woman for her lack of experience without once demonstrating that either of her opponents has even a smidgen of executive experience. I could see if you could show how her experience is not sufficient compared to A or B but this is just too much.

    You do realize she is the Governor of a state? You do realize that the state of Alaska has to work with Russia regarding the international waters governing the fishing industry? You libs can’t possibly be so ignorant and still expect people to take you seriously.

    If this is the best you can do you are in serious trouble in the debates and with the voters.
    It’s only a matter of time until your total weak armor is exposed.

    Good Grief!

    Parker Chandler (656534)

  27. #25 Leaky poof wrote:

    – Ya know, you could have looked that up yourself before responding.

    Why, when last time I checked the only body that could negotiate on international matters was and remains the federal government in the form of the COngress and POTUS. When was the last time the governor of Alaska have squat to do with American geopolitical policy or responsibility for the defense and protection of the American people? Oh that’s right: Never.

    You attack and criticize the woman for her lack of experience without once demonstrating that either of her opponents has even a smidgen of executive experience.

    You know this “executive experience” meme is such a load of crap. It all began with Rudy Guiliani bringing that up during the Republican primaries, the biggest buffoon my fair city has had the displeasure of calling “mayor.”

    That didn’t work out to well for him. Because for all his so called “executive experience” he couldn’t run an effective campaign, let alone be POTUS. So now we’re to believe Sarah Palin is ready to take over the mantle of President if something should happen to a 72 year old with a history of skin cancer? And the only proof or evidence the right has that she’s qualified is that she went to visit the Alaska national guard in Kuwait (nice photo op that I bet) and she lent out a C-17 to Jindal of Louisiana. Now if you guys are saying that signing off on renting/leasing out a piece of equipment to someone qualifies someone to be president, there’s a coupla thousand Avis clerks who fit that bill.

    If anyone is digging themselves deeper it’s the McCain campaign who made a desperate impulsive choice unbefitting of someone running for president but someone who no longer has any control over his own campaign and has left the decisions all to Rove lacky Steve Schmidt. So much for change, but it will be funny and continues to be funny how the lack of proper vetting will continue to bit him on the ass as more and more is made public about this nasty sociopathic creationist preaching hypocrite.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  28. If you want to vote for McCain-Pallin because you believe they have more experience than Obama-Biden, please do. There is some validity to that argument. But the right’s attempts to make mountains out of molehills is truly pathetic.

    Only one comment on this page came from anyone saying they had Guard experience. As someone who spent 10 years in the guard and 26 in the military, some of these claims are drastically overblown. Governor Pallin’s experience in organizing and overseeing the National Guard is important, but not THAT big a job. The Governor must oversee some of the organization and budgeting of the Guard. Mainly of the state’s Guard Bureau and it’s activities. Much of the nuts and bolts, such as what military organizations guard units are attached to and what their missions are with those units when called up or in foreign operations, and how the units train, are decided at the federal level. And most of money spent if federal. Also, most of the units guiding regulations are determined federally. Even many of the regulations written by the states are written to be inline with federal regulations. And when a unit is called up – been there and done that – it’s literally removed from the state’s control. A State and it’s Governor’s still have some minor political influence, but a state’s intentions for it’s called up units are literally put on hold. Technically the Governor can refuse to allow the President to take control, but in practice it’s unthinkable. A Governor’s consent is taken as a given and once a unit is called up it’s under practically complete federal control. Units in permanent callup status are under practically permanent federal control.

    More importantly, it’s unlikely that Governor Pallin recieves much in the way of National Security briefs concerning missile defense or any other matter. I don’t believe any governors do. She probably recieved an occassional briefing on the organization of the units and their mission, much of which is public knowledge (anybody in Alaska, which would include a Russian spy, knows where these units are located). Anyone who thinks she’s deeply in the loop, does not understand security clearances. Anyone who does knows that even people with Top Secret clearances can be excluded from any briefing if they don’t have “the need to know”. “Need to know” is the overwhelming regulation concerning national security matters and keeps dissemination of information to the barest minimum. Since the governor wouldn’t have control of these units if the U.S. got involved in a missile war, she normally wouldn’t be briefed at all unless so ordered by the President. Governor Pallin has no real connection to President Bush so it’s a million to one shot that the President has blanket overidden “need to know” in her case.

    Technically yes, Governor’s and their Homeland Security heads should recieve regular briefings from the Federal DHS, but in reality that really doesn’t happen. There are some federal conferences which talk about general policies, but mostly State DHS offices mainly implement policies disseminated, usually from unclassified notices, on what precautionary measures and organization they should set up in the state. You could call them “stock up on duct tape memos”. The main useful jobs state’s do is organizing and coordinating the state’s civilian emergency reponders – emts, Hazmat units, fire, police, hospitals, etc. – in case of emergency. Again, because of need to know, they would only be given briefs in case of the potential of an imminent terrorist threat in that state. And then only if the feds felt they needed direct state involvement – as opposed to just sending in the FBI to, say, break up a terrorist cell. In fact, many governors have complained that they’re NOT more in the loop.

    And yes, the Governor could call up the troops to repel invasion, but it’s likely those troops would be under federal control before the governor even found out about the invasion.

    I don’t discount Pallin’s experience but let’s not make her into the Chairman of the Joint Cheifs. Notice that the General, who owes his current postion to her, didn’t mention anything about security briefings.

    A word to conservatives: Perhaps the reason that more people don’t come around to your way of thinking – and why you might lose the independent voters in this elections – is not because we’re all commie, gay, bleeding heart, Arab, minions of the devil (even though it’s pretty unfeasable that someone could be a member of all those groups at one time). It’s because many people are concerned about real information – NOT GROUNDLESS RHETORIC – about how you would handle the issues.

    We’d like to hear how these two interesting people would handle real issues. Instead, conservatives flood the intnet and airwaves with this stuff, and comment on it endlessly as if it had the significance of the Sermon on the Mount. Oh, wait! Now I get it. It’s all a joke. Good one! LOL!

    Paul (4539d5)

  29. Paul – Thank you for your contribution. Arguing with those imaginary positions in your head must have been fun. Interesting that you rail against the propogation of groundless rhetoric on a thread that had been dead for over a month, and even now, has less than 30 comments.

    JD (f7900a)


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