Slate's Fred Kaplan looks at the GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas and describes how "most of the nine major candidates proved they knew nothing, a fact that some tried to conceal by making stuff up."
John Ellis Bush and Rand Paul, Kaplan argues, each had something constructive to contribute; not so Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina. He notes
You might think that Carly Fiorina, former denizen of Silicon Valley, would know this topic cold. If so, you would be wrong. She said that digital technology has moved on, and so have the terrorists, but that the “bureaucracy” hasn’t. Intelligence agencies need the private sector to help them intercept new communications, but Obama and Clinton never asked for help.
In truth, the NSA and other intelligence agencies have been quite adept at keeping up with the new technologies. To the extent they haven’t (for instance, with Apple’s new encryption programs, which block even Apple from cracking codes), the Obama administration has reached out to Silicon Valley for assistance on a regular basis—to no avail. It’s unclear why these executives would cooperate with Fiorina.
She didn't stop there, however, for
Fiorina’s plan to win the war: “Bring back the warrior class”—by which she means Gens. David Petraeus, Jack Keane, and Stanley McChrystal, who were all “retired early because they told Obama things he didn’t want to hear.” First, Keane retired during the Bush administration. McChrystal had to go because he insulted NATO allies—with whom he was supposed to be forming a coalition in Afghanistan—in the presence of a Rolling Stone reporter. Petraeus—well, we all know what happened there. Does Fiorina really think there are no other warriors among the U.S. Army’s generals?
What happened there is that the married Petraeus started carrying on with the woman who served as his biographer. Exposed, he submitted his resignation to President Obama and later was found to have given his gal pal some classified information, including names of covert officials. He was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, presumably because his name is not Eric Snowden, but General Petraeus. A real sweetheart and Carly Fiorina's kind of guy.
In his takedown of most of the candidates on the main stage, Kaplan generously did not quote Fiorina blustering
And I will not speak to him personally until we’ve rebuilt the 6th Fleet a little bit right under his nose; rebuilt the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose; and conducted a few military exercises in the Baltic states.
When Fiorina made nearly the identical argument in September, Stars and Stripes responded
... the U.S. 6th Fleet is less a collection of ships than a command structure for operating American warships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Moreover, the fleet is one of the few growing military commands in Europe. It is building land-based missile interceptor sites in Romania and Poland, and in the coming days it will welcome the last of four guided-missile destroyers to arrive for permanent stationing in Rota, Spain.
Although the status of the missile defense program in Poland is unclear, in June The Guardian had reported
Dozens of Nato landing craft churned through the Baltic’s grey waters. Further out at sea, huge warships – the US’s San Antonio, Britain’s Ocean and Poland’s Lublin – filled the horizon. On the beach, DVs – short for distinguished visitors – including the UK defence secretary, Michael Fallon, were watching.
The landing craft, especially the mega hovercraft of the Americans, were monstrous, on a scale that would have awed D-day veterans. Eurofighter Typhoons flew overhead. Marines raced out to disappear into the woods. A reminder that even the most carefully planned operations can go wrong came when a Polish transport vessel sank, ignominiously, about 100ft from shore.
The mock landing at Ustka, Poland, on Wednesday was the climax of a two-week Nato exercise called Baltops. Forty-nine naval vessels from 17 countries and 5,900 personnel were involved in this major show of strength.
Fiorina now refuses to acknowledge she was wrong about Gemeral Keane. On the upside, she went one whole, entire debate without lying (videos below, which are here and here) again about Planned Parenthood. So, progress.