Another fun-filled week of balloons and baloney as the Democrats try
to out-pitch the Republican snow-job-a-thon.

Besides wanting to frag the Bush-Cheney parade, Gore and Lieberman
are distancing themselves from President Clinton as if he had fleas.

Smart idea. But this separation shouldn’t just be limited to issues
of character — it must also include how, if elected, Gore and Lieberman
intend to defend America. We-the-people deserve to know their vision
before November, what kind of folks they’ll put in the Pentagon’s top
civilian slots and how they’ll excise the rot.

Rot always starts at the head. And for the past eight years, the
Pentagon’s been headed up by dilettantes, social engineers and
racketeers. These so-called leaders have allowed our forces’ readiness
level — the ability to get there quickly and whack an enemy with a club
before he knows we’re standing behind him — to reach a new post-Cold
War low.

But throwing big bucks at the Pentagon, as both major parties plan to
do, isn’t the answer. How this largesse is wasted — since there’s never
been more money per serving person in our county’s history — is another

Any solution must start with proper leadership.

The way our system works is that this leadership must come from the
civilians who run the Pentagon. But since 1993, no way has Clinton’s
defense team at the secretariat level been selected for their proven
leadership skills. Not one past or present Clinton- appointed Pentagon
head could lead a troop of scouts into a barn during a snowstorm. And
they certainly weren’t picked for their defense expertise — few would
know a Stinger missile from a snack bar. None of Clinton’s three SecDefs
held a leadership position in our armed forces. Only one wore a soldier

Clinton’s selection criteria was simple: an A Team that would push
his agenda to make our military politically correct via max sensitivity
training and a woman in every foxhole. Equality and consideration for
others over fighting skill became the password. Meanwhile, the B Team
remained the same old Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (MICC)
porkers, still into greasing the greedies who play the defense money
game — like major Clinton contributor, defense contractor and friend of
Red China, Loral.

William Cohen would have to be the worst SecDef since Louis Johnson.
He runs the bloated Pentagon as if he were still a U.S. senator — lots
of hot air and too many VIP trips at taxpayer expense. Then there’s his
predecessor, William Perry, who seldom saw a gold-plated, high-tech
system he didn’t want to buy. And once he took care of the players, he
flashed back to his high-paying MICC job like a rocket. Before Perry
there was Les Aspin, a bumbling academic who got canned because he
refused to send tanks to Mogadishu, Somalia — a bad decision that
caused a lot of good men to die.

And remember Professor Sheila Widnall of MIT, the disastrous
secretary of the Air Force? A smart engineer, maybe, but she didn’t have
one leadership bone in her body and became a total puppet of the
generals. Or try Togo West, a slick Washington insider who as secretary
of the Army spent his time arranging burial plots in Arlington National
Cemetery for top contributors — when he wasn’t pushing Clinton’s
kinder, gentler agenda. Or his assistant Sarah Lester, who referred to
our valiant Marines as “extremists” because they’re willing to die for
our country.

This is just a sampling of the harebrains Clinton put in key Pentagon
slots. They and the many house-trained generals and admirals who
wouldn’t stand tall have driven morale so far down that our warriors are
now crawling through it.

An Army sergeant from Fort Stewart, Ga. — who asked to remain
anonymous — sums it up for many: “I’ll be happy when Mr. Clinton and
Mr. Cohen and their ilk are excused from their positions. Perhaps then
our military will be treated with respect and dignity from the people at
the top and given the right missions. For the sake of my fellow
soldiers, I pray that quality, caring leaders who can put our military
back on the right track will soon take over.”

Amen, Sergeant.

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