Tag Archive for: Afghanistan

Israel’s “Long War”

Tom Jocelyn, the American counter terrorism expert and Senior Fellow at the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies is the editor of The Long War Journal. It is a chronicle of the global Islamic jihad in the 21st Century, now in its 13th year. The global jihad was sparked by what the US State Department has taken to calling “core Al Qaeda”, most dramatically with 9/11. Subsequently it has metatisized driven by the Salafist doctrine seeking to replicate the great barbarism of the first jihad that burst out of the Arabian peninsula 14 Centuries ago. In many instances it has been a long war against indigenous populations, both Muslim and not. In the later case, it has witnessed the self-declared Caliphate of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, confronting non-Muslims with the choice to convert, be subjugated, leave or be killed. It is sacralized barbarity emboldened with arms and advanced military technology abandoned by fleeing armies. It is financed by extortion and billions in booty, money seized in conquered territories and oil resources.

Mideast Israel Palestinians

Israeli Merkava tank leaving Gaza staging area August 5, 2014. Source: The Guardian.

Virtually alone and surrounded by these Jihadist forces is the Jewish nation of Israel. Israel has conducted a long war of its own over the 21 years since the conclusion of the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Authority. An agreement orchestrated by former President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin and the late Yassir Arafat, first President of the Palestinian Authority. Arafat went on to ignite the Second Intifada in September 2000 using the excuse that the late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon had made an unauthorized visit to the Temple Mount. That intifada saw thousands of Israeli causalities, both dead and wounded,  that morphed into a seemingly unending series of military Operations. It began with Operation Defensive Shield following the bloody Park Hotel Passover suicide bombing in March 2002 that killed many Holocaust survivors. It culminated in the siege of Arafat in the Mukata in 2004 in Ramallah. A brief hiatus following the demise of Arafat saw Israel build a security barrier in the disputed territories that virtually brought to a close the Second Intifada. The late PM Sharon left Likud to found a new coalition party, Kadima, on the strength of a letter in 2004 with former President Bush giving Israel permission to defend itself with US assurances.

That led Sharon in 2005 to order the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza of 9000 settlers and 10,000 IDF personnel under the misguided pretext that it would make Israel more secure. The Bush Administration was preoccupied in the Long War in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It sought to foist the myopic view that the Islamist world could be transformed into budding western style democracies. This despite the rise of anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood elements in Gaza, Egypt and other adjacent Muslim countries. They had been kept in check by autocracies supplied with both US and Russian military assistance and aid. Thus, the Bush Administration thought it had a willing peace partner in Arafat’s successor, the long serving PA President, Mahmoud Abbas. The Bush Administration prevailed upon Israel to relinquish its control over the strategic Philadelphi corridor along the Egyptian Gaza frontier installing Fatah bureaucrats. 2006 saw the one vote, one time election in Gaza of a Hamas dominated Palestinian Legislative Council. That  lead to the June 2007 ejection and literal defenestration of Fatah from Gaza, leaving Hamas virtually in control. Israel was forced to engage in a series of air assaults that resulted in assassinations of Hamas leaders, co-founder Sheik Yassin and Dr. Rantisi. Hamas took over the Rafah border with Egypt through which arms, rockets and missiles were infiltrated along with huge infusions of cash from foreign Muslim charities and backers, Iran and Qatar.

In 2006 Israel was embroiled in the Second Lebanon War with Iran proxy Hezbollah supplied by the former with thousands of rockets. That conflict was triggered by a kidnapping of two IDF soldiers followed by massive  Hezbollah artillery rocket barrages. The 34 day War with Hezbollah saw more than 4,000 rockets rain on Israel setting a pattern that was copied by Hamas in Gaza in 2009, 2012 and 2014. In that first clash with Hezbollah saw Israel’s population in the north sweltered in crude shelters or displaced to the central Mediterranean shore. It also sparked the development of technical countermeasures to protect the both Israel’s population and IDF defense. Those developments included the now recognized Iron Dome system of batteries equipped with Tamir anti-rocket missiles, and the less well known, Trophy system, used effectively in the most recent 2014 Operation protecting armored vehicles against anti-tank rockets and missiles. Just prior to the Second Lebanon War, a cross border raid by Hamas operatives kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, holding him hostage until released in an October 2011 exchange for 1,027 Palestinian terrorist prisoners held by Israel.

In June 2009, President Obama made a dramatic speech at Cairo University extending outreach, many believed that emboldened Islamist elements in the Muslim ummah. In December,2011 the self-immolation of a fruit vendor in Tunisia sparked the so-called Arab Spring that erupted in North Africa and the Middle East. Autocracies in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were overturned. The latter witnessed the ousting of strongman Mubarak with rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that saw the election of one if its prominent leaders, Mohammed Morsi as its President in June 2012. Morsi was backed by a National Assembly  composed of dominate Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties. They sought to impose Sharia law on women, secular elements and the country’s ancient minority Coptic Christian community. Virtually, a year later, Morsi and thousands of Muslim Brotherhood leaders were ousted, jailed and killed during a coup by his Defense Minister Gen.Abdel- Fattah El-Sisi. He was engaged in a counter terrorism campaign against Hamas linked Salafist terror groups in the Sinai.

The overthrow of the Libyan strongman Qadaffi, with aid from the US and NATO, spawned chaos with warring tribal and jihadist militias. That culminating in the Benghazi attack that killed the US Ambassador and three other Americans, a communications aide, and two CIA-contractors on 9/11/2012.

Meanwhile, Israel was concerned about security on its southern border with Egypt in the Sinai. Following cross border attacks near the Red Sea resort of Eilat it constructed a 200 mile security barrier seeking to prevent intrusion, only to be left exposed to rocket attacks. On Israel’s north eastern Golan frontier a raging civil war in Syria, now well into its third year, saw the Assad regime forces ranging across the Golan frontier fighting opposition rebel groups. These included al Qaeda affiliates the Al Nusrah front and the extremist Salafist spinoff, the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.

The latest IDF Operation Protective Edge that began on July 8th with barrages from Gaza from both homemade and Iranian supplied long range rockets covered fourth fifths of Israel. It was triggered by a botched kidnapping by Hamas operatives and that resulted in the murder of three Jewish yeshiva students, whose remains were discovered on June 30th. The Palestinian Authority in late April had announced a unity government with Hamas that scuppered any chances of a possible final stage agreement sought by US Secretary of State Kerry. Hamas is a foreign terrorist group so designated by the US, Canada and the EU. Its 1988 Charter, had sought not only the destruction of Israel but the killing of Jews globally. Israeli PM Netanyahu and his coalition cabinet had no choice but to call up what ultimately would be a massed IDF force of 80,000 elite brigades and reservists to conduct the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge. That culminated in the launch of ground operations in Gaza that ended with the seventh truce on August 5th that is holding for the moment. That truce occurred ironically on the Jewish Fast Day of Tish B’Av commemorating historic catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people over the millennia.

Jocelyn’s FDD Long War Journal had this entry:

Israel

Israel accepted a Gaza ceasefire plan that will start with a preliminary 72-hour truce beginning tomorrow morning. Israeli officials will work out further details of the ceasefire over the next few days in Egypt. As of Aug. 1, at least 2,909 rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza and 66 Israelis had been killed. In the first fatal attack in Jerusalem in three years, a Palestinian construction worker drove an earthmover into a bus, flipping it over and killing one Israeli and wounding five more. PM Netanyahu’s spokesman said Israel’s military campaign to destroy the Gaza tunnels is coming to a close, but that the overall operation will not cease until Israel experiences an extended period of quiet and security.

Jonathan Spyer, of the GLORIA Centre in Herzliya, published an assessment of Israel’s Long War in a PJ Media article, “Netanyahu’s Long War Doctrine.”  In it he paid tribute to Netanyahu’s cautious, but resolute position, overwhelmingly supported by Israelis, to bring to a conclusion the Hamas genocidal threat to the Jewish nation. A threat backed and financed by Qatar, a wealthy gas-rich emirate, a supporter of Muslim Brotherhood and extremist Salafist al Qaeda spinoffs. Qatar and the terrorist Salafist groups it funded and gave sanctuary to, including Hamas leaders, are viewed by Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as a dire threat to their regimes. That created a coalition of interest with Israel tacitly condoning the latter’s war against Hamas. The Administration in Washington and the UN were desperate to end hostilities seeking to engage MB supporting regimes in Turkey and Qatar to convince Hamas to stand down. Newly elected Egyptian President El-Sisi, who had ousted MB President Morsi and closed Gazan smuggling tunnels, had endeavored to broker several cease fires during the 28 day Operation Protective Edge. It became evident that Hamas had been seriously degraded, nearly three dozen terror tunnels neutralized, sustaining an estimated $5 billion in destruction of buildings and infrastructure in the 25 mile square area of Gaza. All while the world media falsely portrayed Israel as perpetrating mounting civilian casualties most graphically at UNWRA- run schools and refuge centers where over 180,000 Gaza residents had sought shelter. These schools were reported to have held rocket caches, that enabled Hamas rocketeers to launch barrages some of which misfired resulting  in civilian casualties. This barbaric strategy was confirmed in a captured combat manual of Hamas uncovered by the IDF in Gaza City.

As to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s conduct of Operation Protective Edge Spyer observed:

Netanyahu, in stark contrast to his image in Europe and to a lesser extent in North America, is deeply cautious when it comes to the use of military force.

Indeed, the record shows that Israel elected to begin a ground campaign on July 18th only when it became clear from its actions and its statements that Hamas was not interested in a return to the status quo.

Netanyahu’s caution derives, rather, from his perception that what Israel calls “wars” or “operations” are really only episodes in a long war in which the country is engaged against those who seek its destruction. In the present phase, these forces are gathered largely under the banner of radical Islam.

Spyer concludes his assessment of Netanyahu:

Netanyahu’s vision is a chilly one, though it is not ultimately pessimistic. It aims to provide firm, durable walls for the house that the Jews of Israel have constructed. Within those walls the energies of Israeli Jews will ensure success — provided that the walls can be kept secure, thus believes the Israeli prime minister. It is from the point of view of this broader strategic picture that the current actions of Israel need to be understood. Operation Protective Edge — like Cast Lead and Orchard and Lebanon 2006 and the others — is intended as a single action in a long and unfinished war.

The Tish B’Av truce concluding Operation Protective Edge saw IDF forces leave Gaza, remaining ready if the truce is broken to return, if recalled. The current truce may still hold, but, will not last, unless and until Gaza is demilitarized and its leadership dispatched.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review.

President Obama killing our soldiers softly with his Rules of Engagement

In the 7 years, from 2001 to 2008, US Military Personnel engaged in combat in Afghanistan operated under the “standard” Rules Of Engagement (ROE) that the military always operated under; during those 7 years, 630 US Military Personnel were Killed In Action (KIA).  In 2009, Obama imposed new and “dangerous” ROE on US Military Personnel operating in combat in Afghanistan, over the next 5 years, from 2009 thru 2013, 2,292 personnel were KIA.  The increase in KIAs for Combat personnel who had previously operated under the “standard” ROE, jumped from 90/year during the first 7 years, to 458/year over the next 5 years employing Obama’s new and “dangerous” ROE—–an increase in 458% in KIAs.

According to CNS News.com, 19,080 US Military Personnel have been casualties in Afghanistan since 2001; CNS News.com further reported that 73% of all casualties in Afghanistan occurred from 2009 thru 2013, the time frame when Obama’s new and “dangerous” ROE were forced upon US military personnel engaged in combat.  The increase in casualties for US Combat personnel who were operating under the new and “dangerous” ROE jumped from 5,151 during the first 7 years, to 13,928 over the next 5 years (many of those casualties were maimed for life), the annual casualty rate has gone from 736/year when they were operating under the “standard” ROE to 2785/year when they had to employ Obama’s new and “dangerous” ROE—an increase of 378%/year for Combat personnel Wounded In Action.

Apologists for the Obama administration might say there were more casualties because of an increase in tempo of operations; the tempo of operations might have increased somewhat, but the tempo operations did not increase by 378%.

The below listed article will put a face on the above listed statistics on Killed In Action numbers, and number of casualties, as a result the new and “dangerous” Rules Of Engagement imposed upon military personnel engaged in combat by the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mullen. General Mullen never saw ground combat, but followed in lock step with how the occupant in the Oval Office wanted the Rules Of Engagement changed, and he didn’t carefully evaluate how those devastating changes would dramatically increase the casualties of combat personnel going into “Harm’s Way” daily, or how the new and “dangerous” would degrade the Combat Effectiveness of the finest tip of the spear military units in the world.

Two well-known losses of combat personnel are examples of how the imposition of the new and “dangerous” ROE forced on combat personnel increased the dangerous environment on the battlefield.  The first example was depicted in the movie “Lone Survivor” where the fear of being charged by civilians in the Pentagon with war crimes, if they silenced a hostile Afghani, resulted in compromising an entire operation and resulted in the death of 3 SEALs.  The second event, Extortion 17, occurred because the request for suppression fire at a landing zone, that used to be normally approved to allow a helicopter to land in a hot zone, was denied by senior commanders because of the new and “dangerous” ROE.  That lack of support resulted in the loss of 48 military personnel flying on Extortion 17 (those killed included 16 members of SEAL Team SIX, 20 Spec Ops Warriors, 5 helo crew members, and 7 Afghani military allies); Extortion 17 was the largest loss of life of US military personnel in one day in the 13 year history of combat operations in Afghanistan.  There have been thousands of incidents over the last 5 years that resulted in casualties that could have been avoided, if the “standard” ROE were being employed.

The occupant of the Oval Office has let it be known that he welcomes debate, but won’t tolerate dissent; the past 5 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan has taught the combatant commanders not to complain about the ROE (because they knew of the unusually high number of commanders that had been relieved in the midst of their tours).  Sound judgment was not exhibited by Mullen when he imposed the new and “dangerous” Rules Of Engagement on the US military by Obama—he should have had the courage to resign to demonstrate his opposition to Rules of Engagement that would result in killing so many of the Republic’s finest warriors.  Each year since 2008 when the new and “dangerous” Rules of Engagement took effect, 2049 more military personnel per year have been Wounded In Action each year for 5 years (a total of 10,245 more personnel have been wounded and/or maimed for life) which is an increase of 378%.  Each year since 2008 when the new and “dangerous” Rules Of Engagement took effect, 368 more military personnel have been Killed In Action each year for 5 years (a total of 1840 more personnel have been killed) which is an increase of 458%.  The unacceptable number of casualties continues to increase, while the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hasn’t made a concerted effort to change the dangerous Rules Of Engagement that US Military personnel, engaged in combat, are required to operate under.

US SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN ARE NOW FORCED TO FIGHT A TWO-FRONTED WAR

Written by Billy & Karen Vaughn on Friday, 14 February 2014.

OUR BEST AND BRIGHTEST COME HOME IN BODY BAGS AS POLITICIANS AND LAWYERS DINE OVER WHITE LINEN TABLECLOTHS; WRITING, MODIFYING, AND RE-MODIFYING THESE LETHAL RULES…RULES THAT FAVOR THE ENEMY RATHER THAN THE AMERICAN SOLDIER.

US soldiers in Afghanistan are now forced to fight a two-fronted war. Before each deployment, these soldiers understand fully that day after day they will do battle against relentless terrorists with shifting loyalties and unspeakable hatred. But what none of them could have foreseen was the killing field that would open from their rear…the Continental United States.

Our government’s incessant tightening of already restrictive ROE (Rules of Engagement), compounded by the failed COIN (Counterinsurgency) strategy—also known as “winning hearts and minds,” has made an otherwise primitive enemy formidable.

Our best and brightest come home in body bags as politicians and lawyers dine over white linen tablecloths; writing, modifying, and re-modifying these lethal rules…rules that favor the enemy rather than the American soldier. Rules so absurd they’re difficult to believe until you hear the same stories over and again from those returning from battle.

In a delicate discussion with an Army Ranger who recently left the military, we heard the following: “I had to get out. I have a family who needs me. I didn’t join to be sacrificed. I joined to fight.” This decision came shortly after he lost a close friend to the ROE. He went on to explain: the Taliban had attempted an ambush on his friend’s squad, but quickly realized they were in a battle they couldn’t win and began retreating. While chasing them, the US soldiers were ordered not to engage due to the slight chance the Taliban had laid down their arms as they ran through some type of shack. While arguing with leadership at the JOC (Joint Operations Center) his friend was shot and killed.

A Navy SEAL who left his job only a few years shy of full retirement said the following: “I got out because I couldn’t take it anymore. We tried to explain how much reckless danger we were being exposed to and they told us we were being illogical.”

This type of response has created a growing compromise of confidence between our war fighters and senior military leadership. His argument wasn’t illogical at all.

A gut-wrenching pattern began forming in early 2009…a pattern completely ignored by Congress, the White House, and apparently the DOD.

In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan (October, 2001 – December, 2008) we lost 630 US soldiers. In early 2009, this administration authorized the implementation of the COIN strategy. Over the next five years, the US death toll skyrocket to 2,292.

Seventy-three percent of all US deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009.

In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan, 2,638 US soldiers were wounded in action. In the next forty-five months (2009 – 2012) an additional 15,036 suffered the same fate.

Liars figure, but figures don’t lie.

While concern over being killed due to these policies weighs heavy on the minds of those we’ve spoken with, the deepest pit-in-the-stomach comes from fear of prosecution should they violate these absurd and ever-changing ROE. The last thing a war fighter should ever be forced to experience is unnecessary fear.

Fear creates hesitation. Hesitation creates flag-draped caskets. Flag-draped caskets create fatherless children, widowed wives, and childless parents. Our heroes deserve the right to fight with swift hands, clear minds, and confident hearts.

However, today’s war fighters have the grave misfortune of serving leaders who elevate the virtues of inaction over action. The message? If you dare use your training or your gut instinct, if you have the fortitude to fight for your life, or the desire to kill the enemy, there is a good chance you will be punished.

The physiological capacities of a true patriot cannot tolerate the vile stench of injustice, especially when perpetrated against those who defend us. Its wretched aroma permeates the core and demands a response.

We’re counting on you, the American patriot, for that response. We must defend our defenders. Please, spread the news and demand change.

Where is Obama’s outrage over Afghan “war on women?”

As we wind down operations in Afghanistan the question is, “did we make any difference?” Sure, Osama bin Laden is dead — then again so is Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay, but al-Qaida is in control of western Iraq’s al-Anbar province. During my time in Iraq and Afghanistan, I remember the most difficult thing for many of us to stomach was the treatment of women.

The most rewarding sight for me during my two-and-a-half years in Afghanistan was watching little girls in their uniforms walking off to school. Nothing infuriated me more than reading reports about a Taliban attack against a girls’ school — funny thing, you never heard about that in any liberal media reports. How many front pages were dedicated to Abu Gharaib by the New York Times? And these liberals want us to take them seriously when they start droning on about a damn “war on women?” I have seen it with my own eyes, and it is repulsive.

So as we prepare to depart Afghanistan, and President Obama is more concerned with campaign promises and politics, I must ask, what will happen to the women of Afghanistan?

According to a report in The Guardian, a new Afghan law will allow men to attack their wives, children and sisters without fear of judicial punishment, undoing years of slow progress in tackling violence in a country blighted by so-called “honor” killings, forced marriage and vicious domestic abuse.

This is in a nation already considering the return of stoning as a punishment for adultery. Perhaps Sandra Fluke and Nancy Pelosi should visit Afghanistan to understand what a real struggle for women’s rights is — nah, that would require courage. It is an Afghan war on women.

According to The Guardian, The small but significant change to Afghanistan’s criminal prosecution code bans relatives of an accused person from testifying against them. Most violence against women in Afghanistan is within the family, so the law – passed by parliament but awaiting the signature of the president, Hamid Karzai – will effectively silence victims as well as most potential witnesses to their suffering.

The traditions of Muhammad established the level of judicial subservience facing women in Islamic countries, where they can be summarily divorced after their husband repeats “I divorce you” three times, and they have no rights in defense.

Furthermore, it takes three men to offer defense for one woman, as her voice alone means nothing. Barbaric? Absolutely, but hardly mentioned in our news.

As the Guardian reports, under the new law, prosecutors could never come to court with cases like that of Sahar Gul, a child bride whose in-laws chained her in a basement and starved, burned and whipped her when she refused to work as a prostitute for them. Women like 31-year-old Sitara, whose nose and lips were sliced off by her husband at the end of last year, could never take the stand against their attackers.

Countries that spent billions trying to improve justice and human rights are now focused largely on security, and are retreating from Afghan politics. Heather Barr, Afghanistan researcher with Human Rights Watch, said: “Opponents of women’s rights have been emboldened in the last year. They can see an opportunity right now to begin reversing women’s rights – no need to wait for 2015.”

What will become of the female Members of the Afghanistan parliament? Those who are serving in the Army and police corps who will now not even be protected from their own husbands? What does it say about our values? So what, we killed Osama bin Laden, but we find ourselves afraid to take on a 7th century ideology that degrades women in the 21st century — shame on us.

President Obama, you and your party like to give lip service to women’s rights. Let’s see what you have to say about this issue after you and the First Lady sit with your daughters in that nice taxpayer-funded movie theater in the White House and watch “Honor Diaries.” I’ve watched it with my wife and daughters. It’s horrific. After you view it Sir, join me in the real war on women. I’ll be waiting for your phone call — quite sure you can get my number from the NSA.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. The featured image is courtesy of Davric.

Obama poised to essentially surrender Afghanistan

I think it might have been George Santayana who quipped, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to hear this quote over and over again.”

And so here we are as the International Forces Commander in Afghanistan, Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. meets with President Obama to propose his plan for a residual force in Afghanistan after 2014. Interestingly enough, General Dunford was joined by US Central Command Commanding General, US Army General Lloyd Austin. General Austin was the Commander of forces in Iraq who proposed his plan for a residual force in that combat theater of operations – and we see how that ended up.

As reported in the LA Times, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan will argue for keeping about 10,000 troops in the country after this year, “a subject that has exposed a fissure between some of President Obama’s top advisors and the Pentagon.” Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. is recommending U.S. troops stay to help train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations against Taliban insurgents and al-Qaida-linked militants.

Coming on the heels of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ revelations in “Duty” regarding the distrust between the Obama administration and senior generals, the final decision will be interesting.

Lest we forget, when General McChrystal was the commander on the ground in Afghanistan, his requests for a troop “surge” operation were arbitrarily decreased by President Obama — and Obama summarily announced when the surge operation would end during his speech at the US Military Academy at West Point.

In order to placate Obama – and allow him to save face, General Dunford says the 10,000 should pull out by 2017, when Obama leaves office, according to two officials, confirming a Wall Street Journal report.

But, not to be outdone, that astute purveyor of military strategy, Vice President Joe Biden reportedly says:

The insurgency has been contained after 13 years of war and that Afghan security forces are strong enough to preserve security in urban and other key areas. He also says a stable Afghanistan is no longer critical to halting terrorist attacks against the United States, one official said.”

Biden and others in the Obama administration believe 1000 to 2000 troops would be sufficient, but anyone with common sense realizes those numbers would not be capable of any training or counter-terrorism mission and certainly hard-pressed for self-defense.

According to the LA Times report:

General Dunford recommended keeping only a few hundred U.S. troops if Obama rejects his plan for 10,000, officials said. Their mission would be to run an office in the U.S. Embassy that would manage military aid programs, the officials said, but not conduct training or operations.

If General Dunford’s plan is adopted, about one-sixth of the force — around 1,800 to 2,000 special operations troops — would be reserved for counter-terrorism operations. The rest would support, train and advise Afghan commanders, however they would be barred in most cases from participating in combat except for self-defense.

Most of the troops would work out of Bagram air base, north of Kabul, and at Kandahar air base in the south. A small contingent would be based around Kabul to help train Afghan forces at the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC).

The real question is whether or not President Obama will engage with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, or his successor to solidify a security agreement. Or will it be a rerun of President Obama and Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, where no effort was exerted and al-Qaida is right back in western Anbar Province.

Once again, President Obama’s political, campaign promises and personal agenda may be more important than vital American strategic interests. He didn’t “end the war” in Iraq, he just ran away.

I have no idea what the purpose was behind supporting combat operations in Libya, but I do know al-Qaida in the Maghreb, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other “JV” Islamic terrorist groups have free reign and are influencing events there.

President Obama drew a “red line” in Syria and then said it wasn’t his red line. The bottom line is Obama proclaimed the US would “pivot away” from the Middle East thereby allowing Islamic totalitarianism and jihadists to fill the vacuum.

There is no possible way to negotiate with the Taliban unless you support Islamic fundamentalism, which is contrary to every principle and value for which America stands – at least as far as I know.

President Obama needs to study up on Carl von Clausewitz and realize that war is about the imposition of your will upon another. Warfare is fought to achieve annihilation, assimilation, or attrition of your enemy. And in case that’s too complicated for Obama to understand, there are only two ways to end a war: win or lose.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. Photo courtesy of US Army.

Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII — “A Hero’s Welcome: Full Story”

Watch our documentary about the Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII “A Hero’s Welcome” commercial. #Salute

On January 8, 2014, Budweiser and the town of Winter Park gave Lt. Chuck Nadd a hero’s welcome. This is the true behind-the-scenes story of the surprise homecoming that became a Super Bowl commercial. It’s also a thank you to all of our veterans and active duty troops. We #Salute you.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/wuSjsLA9Jdo[/youtube]

Music: Coming Home Pt. II by Skylar Grey © 2013. Buy it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/com…

Rep. Rooney (FL-16) Goes After Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Two Members of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressmen Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA), sent a letter to General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff questioning why Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Matthew Dooley was given a negative Officer Evaluation Report (OER) on the grounds his instruction of a course on Radical Islam was offensive to Muslims and Islam.

Their letter dated October 10, 2012 states in part:

“It appears that LTC Dooley led this course well within the scope of NDU’s professorial guidelines, as NDU’s own Faculty Handbook states: “Academic Freedom at National Defense University is defined as freedom to pursue and express ideas, opinions, and issues germane to the University’s stated mission, free of limitations, restraints, or coercion by the University or external environment.”

It is our understanding that LTC Dooley did not violate any established University practices, policies or DoD regulations to merit a negative OER.”

The Congressmen’s letter concerns actions taken by General Dempsey earlier in the year when he publicly excoriated Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley at a May 10, 2012 news conference claiming the course LTC Dooley was teaching at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) was offensive to Muslims. General Dempsey caused LTC Dooley to be fired as an instructor, ordered his course, Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism, to be discontinued and that all material considered offensive to Islam be scrubbed from military professional education within JFSC and elsewhere within his command. General Dempsey further ordered that LTC Dooley be given a negative Officer Evaluation Report—the death knell for a military career.

Click here to read entire letter.

Rep. Rooney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. Prior to that time, he served four years in the United States Army Staff Judge Advocate (SJA). During his years in SJA he served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney at Fort Hood, TX prosecuting all civilian crimes on post. In 2002, Tom was selected to teach Constitutional and Criminal Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Prior to his election as a congressman from California, Duncan Hunter Jr. served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He served three combat tours overseas: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

The Congressmen’s letter asks “[W]hy the DoD was compelled to further discipline LTC Dooley by jeopardizing his reputation and his future in the service.”

LTC Matt Dooley

LTC Matt Dooley attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant, Armor Branch in May 1994. His assignments included deployment to Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq for a total of six operational and combat tours over the course of his career. He served as a Tank Platoon Leader, Tank Company Commander, Headquarters Company Commander, Aide-de-Camp (to three General Officers), and Instructor at the Joint Combined Warfare School. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College as well as the Joint Forces Staff College.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann, Arbor, Michigan, represents LTC Dooley.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center observed, “The purpose of the Army is to fight and win wars. So what happened to LTC Dooley is more than a personal miscarriage of justice. When instructors are prohibited from teaching military officers about the true threat posed by Islamic Radicalism, it is a threat to our national security. Our warfighting potential is thus being crippled by the political correctness and appeasement of radical Muslims currently in vogue at the upper echelons of the Pentagon.”

A review of LTC Dooley’s OERs going back several years, including his OER as an instructor with JFSC, paint a picture of an outstanding officer with unlimited potential:

“LTC Matt Dooley’s performance is outstanding and he is clearly the best of our new instructors assigned to the JFSC faculty over the last six months. . . . A must select for battalion command. . . . LTC Dooley possesses unlimited potential to serve in positions of much higher authority.”

“MAJ Dooley is unquestionably among the most dedicated and hard working officers I have ever known.… Unsurpassed potential for future promotion and service.”

“Our soldiers deserve his leadership.”

“This officer possesses unlimited potential for future assignments. He must be promoted ahead of his peers and selected for Battalion/Squadron Command at first opportunity.”

“Superb performance.”

“Matt is a consummate professional with unlimited potential;”

LTC Dooley’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Star, Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Stars, both the Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Parachutist Badge, the Air-Assault Badge, and two Army Superior Unit Awards.