October 4, 2012Notes from the Pentagon
Rumsfeld hits Obama
“Across Middle Eastern and Islamic capitals, we are seeing our American embassies and consulates overrun and burned, walls breached and windows smashed,” Mr. Rumsfeld said Tuesday night during the keynote speech before about 600 people at the 30th anniversary banquet of The Washington Times.
The killing of U.S. diplomats and security personnel and the burning of American flags and their replacement in some cases with the al Qaeda flag is the Islamic world’s response to Mr. Obama’s policies of apologizing and criticizing the United States, he said.
“This is the response to the president’s so-called ‘new era of civility and understanding,’” Mr. Rumsfeld said.
“Instead of taking a firm stance against those who attack our embassies and our diplomats, this administration reserves its harshest words of condemnation for a provocateur video maker.”
Senior Obama administration officials, instead of defending constitutional free-speech rights, “dignified [the anti-Muslim video] as the pretext to rage and riot.”
Radical Islamists used similar pretexts to kill in the past, and it is not what motivates them to slaughter innocents, he said.
“These are weak, convenient justifications that are all too willingly accepted,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “Yet our nation's current leaders seem more interested in making excuses for our enemies than in defending the ideals on which America was founded.”
The problem, he said, is not America but the intolerant, backward ideology of radical Islamists that is at odds with ideals of freedom and equality.
“When President Obama went to Cairo in 2009, did he fail to realize that this radical ideology existed? Or did he simply choose to ignore it?” he asked, noting there are still “violent men planning to come out from their corners and attack the innocent.”
American citizens have a right to ask the administration if “apologizing for America and denying that we should take a leading role in global affairs led others to love us or to even like us,” he said.
The opposite has occurred, he said, noting that the United States tossed aside the Hosni Mubarak government in Egypt in supporting the “rule of the streets.” As a result, the Muslim Brotherhood is in control without the backing of the Egyptian people because the Islamists were the most organized opposition group.
The president’s policies sent a clear signal that the United States is weak and in decline, and the perception of U.S. weakness is dangerous, Mr. Rumsfeld said, repeating his oft-stated maxim: “Weakness is provocative. It is an invitation.”
“This is an administration in which the lawyers, academics and the wordsmiths who populate their ranks characterize acts of terrorism as ‘man-caused disasters,’ and the Fort Hood killings as ‘workplace violence.’
“They use phrases like ‘leading from behind’ or ‘transnational governance’ and ‘pooling’ our nation’s sovereignty with other countries. They seem to believe America’s policies should be based on an international consensus of the nations that dominate the U.N. General Assembly instead of on our Constitution and the decisions of our elected representatives.”
Equally worrying were Mr. Obama’s private comments, overheard in March, to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev promising “more flexibility” in missile defense talks that Russia is using to seek limits on U.S. defenses.
“Think about that,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “It’s breathtaking!
“Here is an American president who claims he is standing strong for vital American interests, but behind closed doors is promising the president of Russia that, if he wins, he’s ready to concede to Putin by abandoning a missile defense system that has [as] its purpose defending our people and our friends and allies,” he added, referring to the current Russian president.
The comment shows the president’s lack of respect for the intelligence of Americans and “screams the question as to what else might he be planning to do after he is no longer accountable to American people,” Mr. Rumsfeld said.
In the spirit of the current presidential election campaign, the former defense chief called on the American people to reverse America’s downward spiral by changing the current leadership.
Web leaks stealth jet design
A Chinese military-enthusiast website last month revealed design details of what is being called the J-31 stealth jet.
The disclosures were made by anonymous Chinese officials in what appears to be a new Beijing policy of officially sanctioned leaks.
The posting on the fourth-generation J-31 “Hawk,” which is being built by the Shenyang Aircraft Design and Research Institute and Shenyang Aircraft Corp., is a medium-sized jet that likely will be used on Chinese aircraft carriers in the future, as well as an aerial combat fighter.
The jet uses a radar-evading coating and composite parts, along with a cockpit designed to prevent potentially detectable electronic emanations, for its avionics. Photos of the bulging midsection reveal a large fuel tank, indicating the Chinese plan to use the jets for power-projection and longer-distance strikes.a For carrier operations, the jet has a landing-gear housing that will require few changes for carrier landings.
The jet also is being built with large stabilizers and high-speed flight stability for aircraft carrier takeoffs.
According to the website bbs.tiexue.net and its Air Force Forum, the J-31 has copied the placement of the bomb bay used on the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — a clear indication that the Chinese successfully stole key elements of the F-35 through cyberespionage against a European defense company involved in the F-35 program. The new jet will be powered by Russian-made RD-33 engines for flight tests before those engines are swapped for Chinese-made engines in the future.
The J-31 was expected to have been flight-tested last month, according to the postings.
China also is building a J-20 that the military enthusiasts say will be different and an “air superiority” stealth jet, as opposed to the J-31 multirole aircraft.
The J-31 originally was designated the XJ-19 and later the J-21. Its export version will be called the F-60.
Iranian hacking update
According to officials familiar with intelligence reporting, Iran is using Hezbollah as a proxy in its covert cyberwar against the banks, which was uncovered last month.
The computer attacks included cyberstrikes against Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc.
There also are signs that the Iranians attempted to breach networks related to the New York Stock Exchange, although it is unclear if the attack was successful.
The Treasury Department, in a statement designating Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security as a supporter of terrorism, disclosed in February that the Iranian spy agency “has participated in multiple joint projects with Hizballah in computer hacking.” It gave no other details.
But U.S. officials said Hezbollah was involved in the recent hacking against American financial institutions.
“The Iranians are using Hezbollah as a cutout,” one official said, referring to efforts by Tehran to mask its role as a state-sponsored cyberattacker.
As disclosed in this space last week, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff intelligence directorate recently described the Iranian cyberattacks as part of a covert war on the West, when combined with Iran’s support for international terrorism.
“Iran’s cyberaggression should be viewed as a component, alongside efforts like support for terrorism, to the larger covert war Tehran is waging against the West,” the directorate stated.