(Exercising my 1st Amendment rights to Freedom of Speech)
NATIONAL DEFENSE & SECURITY
When Americans consider national defense, they automatically, and erroneously, associate the defense and security of the nation as the responsibility of the military. Essentially, the military forces are the singular element of the national defense equation vested with the responsibility to maintain a credible deterrent as a diplomatic and foreign policy tool against potentially belligerent forces and/or nations. Their employment into hostile environments to resolve international disputes results from failure of America’s foreign policy and diplomatic efforts to prevent hostilities.
Since the 1960s, the United States foreign policy has been a series of vacillating non definitive misguided and misdirected blunders. The failures equally attributed to the failures of the presidents of the United States, the United States Department of State and the various national security agencies in failing to identify potential threats and diplomatic ways and means to forestall hostilities. The United States military then is the ultimate foreign policy tool with the responsibility to decisively and effectively counter offensive and aggressive actions against the United States. This responsibility extends to support of our allies in the military’s role to enforce idealistically naive and grossly mismanaged United States foreign policies.
Basically, from review of the past 50-60 years, it appears we have no definitive foreign policy, just a series of knee jerk reactions to real-time international crisis. When diplomacy and foreign aid ‘bribes’ failed to resolve international crisis, our national leaders opted to ignore the significance of the crisis and/or resorted to greater monetary rewards to appease the aggressors and forestall the inevitable confrontations.
The North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons development programs are cases in point. Neither nation has rejected their objective of waging war and destroying the United States, but each willing accept extensions of time and increased “foreign aid” to provide time and finances to extend their nuclear technologies. Unfortunately, the United States continues to extend time frames for negotiations and provide additional funding to those nations for “humanitarian” needs.
The historic mismanagement and obvious shortcomings in the implementation of our foreign policy reflect heavily on the United States ability to effectively cope with the state of the world in the 21st Century. Significantly critical international issues since the 1960s have defied any/all attempts by the United States to provide effective resolutions of those issues. Today we are faced with issues which are an outgrowth of not only the United States but also the international community’s historic inability to effectively assess and counter similar type threats posed by those issues.Specifically:
– the resurgence of President Putin’s apparent effort to reinvent the USSR and renewal of the cold war provocations and tactics ; and
– protracted and seemingly unresolvable unrest , armed conflict and rebellion throughout the Middle East ; and
– China’s expanded role in international affairs and its support of those nations in ideological conflict with the United States; and
– the ISIS/ISIL determination to destroy the United States and establish an Islamic world order; and
– our open unprotected borders which allow economically disadvantaged populations of Mexico and Latin America as well as drug cartel trafficking and unpoliced Islamic jihadists entry into the United States.
Faced with these inherently perilous situations, true to form the United States has no definitively effective strategy to counter the threat to our nation as well as the de-stabilization of the established world order. The lessons learned from the past, and conveniently forgotten, tell the tale of indisputable inability of the United States to credibly and dynamically respond to 21st Century contingencies diplomatically and/or militarily.
The real time 21st Century contingencies encountered have transgressed beyond the realm of effective negotiation and “settled” with basically meaningless sanctions (Russian Ukraine dispute), an ineffective (non existent) coalition of nations (ISIS/ISIL) and indecisive procrastination (illegal immigrants).
Eventually, when negotiations turn to aggression, our military forces will be deployed into harms way to carry out the ultimate level of foreign policy. When deployed, if history of past deployments holds true, our forces will operate under lose-lose strategies assured by totally restrictive rules of engagement with policies formulated, approved, mandated and micro-mismanaged by bureaucratic “wanna be” strategists – as experienced in our involvement in Vietnam.
Faced with the realities of renewed global hostilities and aggressions, it is well to review the history of the United States involvement in global affairs. Starting with out noncommittal stance in 1937 our inalterable heroic dynamics during World War II and our subsequent string of diplomatic, bureaucratic and military blunders and failures which influence our present indecisiveness.
Deja vu (Munich Agreement 1937): April 2014 Russia annexes Crimea to “protect the rights of Russian speaking people in the region” following Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander’s ultimatum to Crimean armed forces to surrender or face a military assault. As reported by Reuter’s March 3, the ultimatum stated “If they do not surrender …. , a real assault will be started against divisions of the armed forces across Crimea.”
The Russian involvement in the Ukraine “situation” was apparently based on ousted president Yanukovych’s letter to Russian President Putin
“describing Ukraine as a country on the brink of civil war plagued by chaos and anarchy. People are being persecuted for language and political reasons,” the letter said. “So in this regard, I would call on the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine.”
NATO nations attempted negotiations and threats of sanctions against Russia if any actions taken against the Crimea. The threat of sanctions did not deter President Putin from annexing the Crimea. Understanding the reluctance of NATO and the indecisiveness of the United States, Russia subversively aided, abetted and augmented (as verified by Satellite Photos) Russian backed rebels to launch a rebellion against the standing government.
Reuter’s article NATO Chief: Russia Attacking Ukraine (09/04/2014 as updated 09/05/2014) countered Russia’s denial of Russian military forces being involved in the Ukraine conflict and further proffered the NATO stand on support of the Ukraine standing government with less than a positive military alliance:
“NATO’s allied leaders gathered for a summit to buttress support for Kiev and bolster defenses against a Russia they now see as hostile for the first time since the cold war”
NATO claimed it would defend every ally and that it supported Ukraine’s sovereignty against Russian aggressions. However, the NATO officials went on to say it has no plans to intervene militarily in Ukraine and that NATO would not send weapons sought by the Ukraine – but individual allies could if they chose to do so.
The lack of unity of effort and a dynamic stand against aggression only serves to encourage the aggressors and expand the arena of aggression. However, NATO does recognize the potential for continued Russian intercession and support of rebellious actions against other neighboring former USSR nations wherein:
(NATO)….” It has focused on beefing up the defenses of former Soviet bloc eastern European countries that joined the alliance in the last 15 years. The Baltic states Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the only parts of the former Soviet Union itself to be admitted to NATO, fear Moscow could meddle in their affairs with the same rationale it applied in Ukraine – protecting Russians.”
In this respect recall then England and France’s failure to commit to the defense Poland if Germany attacked. Also take into consideration President Putin’s lack of concern and disrespect for NATO and United States objections to his aggressive posture. In his speech to a motivational summer camp for youth, Putin displayed his hole card: “Russia is a strong nuclear power and foreigners should understand that its best not to mess with us.”
Although NATO and the United States possess nuclear weapons as a counter balance, the “push point” being Putin’s understanding of history and belief that the United States and NATO nations are indecisive in respect to risking a nuclear war. Ergo NATO’s non response to Prime Minister Yatsenuik plea “only membership of NATO would enable Ukraine to defend itself from external aggression” sets up a win-win scenario for President Putin.
This predictable indecisiveness has the potential to encourage President Putin’s further incursions into neighboring states to reconstitute the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). A matter of significant concern is that President Putin appears to be exercising Russia’s dominance in the Baltic Sea area. As reported in the 19 October 2014 Guardian:
“Sweden is among a series of Nordic and Baltic nations on increased alert over growing tensions with Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crises. In September two Russian Su-24 attack jets reportedly violated Swedish airspace over the Baltic, prompting Sweden’s air force to scramble its own fighters.”
In the same article, Sweden is searching its coastal waters for a “supposedly” distressed Russian submarine; while last week Finland also reported that Russian military forces had twice harassed one of its environmental research ships in international waters.
Add to the Nordic and Baltic nations concern the recent multiple incidents of Russian long range bombers and fighter aircraft testing the United States and Canadian Air Defense Zones and it is readily apparent that President Putin has stepped up a return to the Cold War. Disturbingly, a distinct indicator that Putin has resumed cold war tactics was the 2012 Russian Akula class nuclear powered attack submarine penetrating our defense zone and lingering for weeks undetected in the gulf of Mexico.
The incursions against the United States, Baltic Nations, and continuing strife in the Ukraine are left basically unchallenged and serve as inducement for further potentially aggressive actions globally. This has all the potential to be a 21st Century replay of the 1930’s disastrous consequences of European nations reluctance to vigorously oppose Hitler’s Munich Agreement and September Campaign. Lessons learned from 1937- Procrastination and indecisiveness encourage aggressors – and a lesson apparently conveniently forgotten.
RECALL 1937-1941: The world was complacent, the war to end all wars (WWI) brought peaceful coexistence for “all people”. Nations were struggling to recover from a world wide depression; aggressions against eastern European nations and China were conveniently ignored. The Maginot Line protected France, the English Channel protected the United Kingdom and two oceans protected the Americas from foreign aggression.
Austria was annexed into the Third Reich, The Munich Agreement gave part of Czechoslovakia to Germany without a shot being fired, Poland fell, – China and the Pacific rim nations ravaged by Japan. But British cross channel diplomacy ala Neville Chamberlain assured us of ” Peace in our time” as England and France signed onto the Munich Agreement and became pseudo allies of Germany and Italy – Abrogating the pact between England, France and Czechoslovakia.
* Take note that the German General Chief of Staff (General Ludwig Beck) objected to the Munich Agreement knowing that Hitler would start a war he couldn’t win – Some members of the General Staff and other German anti-Nazi resistance groups planned a coup if Hitler went ahead and invaded Czechoslovakia (Wikopedia German Resistance to Nazism).
According to William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich “Hitler was not bluffing about his intention to invade , Czechoslovakia would have been able to offer significant resistance. Shirer believed that Britain and France had sufficient air defences to avoid serious bombing of London and Paris and would have been able to pursue a rapid and successful war against Germany.”
England and France’s failure to commit to support of Czechoslovakia against Germany’s intent to wage war, gave Hitler an indication that he had a free hand in aggression against his neighbors. That being so, the next item on Hitler’s agenda – September Campaign – the invasion and enslavement of Poland*. England and France declared war against Germany when German armed forces invaded Poland. But the declaration of war was basically an ineffective marginal level of intervention, thereby allowing the German forces to swiftly conquer western Poland – leaving eastern Poland and adjacent states to conquest by the “ally of convenience” – Russia. And so the start of World War II.
*Hitler delayed the planned attack on Poland for 5 days after he learned Britain had signed a new treaty promising military support if attacked. Afraid of imminent attack however, Poland began mobilization but Britain and France persuaded Poland to postpone call up of its military forces in a last ditch effort at negotiations to prevent war. (History websitewww.history.com/this day in history/geans-invade-Poland)
Two years, 3 months and 1 week later Japan attacked the United Sates naval, ground and air forces at Hawaii launching the ill prepared United States into a what could have been an avoidable world war – World War II. Full national military and industrial mobilization, nearly 4 yrs of total unconditional war culminating with the absolute destruction of the Axis powers will and ability to wage further conflict. Millions dead globally, trillions spent to achieve and secure peace and an idyllic dream of global unity fostered by President Truman’s establishment of the United Nations.
Transition 1945-1960: The United States becomes the guardian of the free world – intent on protecting human rights and containing the spread of communism. Communists forces take control of China, Communist North Korea invades the democratic south and Vietnam is in turmoil in its fight for independence from French rule. Geneva Accords of 1954 established two Vietnams – north and south and SEATO was pledged to protect the democratic south from incursions from Ho Chi Minh’s Communist north. Turmoil in the Middle East with a series of conflicts between the Arab nations and Israel as well as an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians..
Within a decade and a half, the world forgot the lessons of World War II and territorial and political disputes ruled the day. Within this era of instability, new metaphoric and less innocuous definitions of war are invented to qualify armed conflict between nations – such as Police Action. During this 15 year period a new class of war emerged which fit into the classic definition of Police Action – Humanitarian War – theoretically armed intervention (a war) to alleviate and/or prevent massive human suffering .
However, coincident to the re-definitions of war, a pervasive liberal philosophy on the conduct of such action emerged in the sense of “Rules of Engagement” and measurements of effectiveness. Rules that restricted use of force unless directly confronted by an aggressive entity – measurements of effectiveness based on body counts. Satisfactory conclusion of humanitarian wars per late 20th and early 21st Century standards was concessions to inadequate motivation or politically advantageous withdrawal from the combat arena – a prescription for a lose-lose scenario.
That definition may suffice on the surface, however, there is a much deeper and treacherous qualifier for condemnation of the “Humanitarian War” philosophy as conducted by the United States. Since the Korean “Police Action” perverse political machinations and subterfuge appear to have hindered the United States military from achieving the publicly and officially specified objectives for engaging in armed intervention against aggression and threats against the vital interests of America and our allies.
– (Korea – Manchester) President Harry S. Truman assured the British Ambassador that he would not use nuclear weapons if the Chinese army crossed the Yalu. Unfortunately, or by design, that message was relayed to the Chinese Communists and China entered the Korean conflict resulting in a 38th Parallel negotiated cease fire. Today the United States and South Korea are continually harassed and challenged by a belligerent nuclear capable North Korea.
– The United States funded, and backed ill planned and poorly implemented Bay of Pigs invasion and failed to overthrow the Castro regime. The premise of “Plausible Deniability” and disassociation from culpability mandated denial of overt US military support of the operation. The subsequent and predictable failed attempt to liberate Cuba fostered a major distrust of the United States by our Latin and South American neighbors and also served as a major embarrassment for that United States within the United Nations.
– The Cuban Missile Crises of 1962, as declared by President Kennedy, was in essence a distortion and deceit. USAF Reconnaissance flights tracked the Russian construction of Cuban based missile sites from December 1961- 11 months before President Kennedy declared the emergency situation as a threat to the United States. Eleven months to confront the Soviet Union on the inadvisability of such an action. Eleven months lead time for the Russians to complete their task without confrontation or opposition. Eleven months for the Russians the finish the launch pads to provide a missile strike capability 90 miles off the coast of the United States.
The Kennedy boast “We were eyeball to eyeball and the other person just blinked” payed poor service to the intensity of the situation and the negotiated compromise that followed. President Kennedy recognized more was involved globally that just the Cuban missiles and through unpublicized negotiations conceded to compromised settlement wherein Russia publicly allowed the president’s boast to stand unchallenged.
The 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident, real or manufactured, cast the United States deeply into the Vietnam war superceding our initial commitment to assure the integrity of South Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Accords and our SEATO commitment.
American military personnel committed to engagement in that hostile environment were hamstrung by the liberal leaders interpretations of what constitutes an Humanitarian War. According to some, a humanitarian war was the mandate in Vietnam during the Kennedy-Johnson administrations wherein McNamara’s Fort Apache strategies focused on protecting the indigenous population rather than destroying the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese will and ability to wage war.
The United States did wage an extensive and costly air war both in support of ground operations and also quasi strategic strikes against North Vietnam. Ground support air power ( Army Aviation, USN and USAF) was reactive to real time identification of targets. Air strikes against the north were proactive and stringently restrictive in nature and strategic significance.
Unfortunately, proposed strategies and efforts of our military personnel were subverted by incompetence or willful mismanagement by the bureaucrats within the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations. In particular, the most significant contributors to the United States loss were SoD Robert McNamara, the United States (and organized foreign) anti war advocates and the United States Congress – aided and abetted by celebrity Americans.
Unreasonable and unrealistic mandated Rules of Engagement both for ground and air operations as well as vacillation on use of strategic options contributed heavily to the eventual North Vietnamese victory . The imposed restrictive Rules of Engagement, while classified and shielded from the American public were common knowledge to the North Vietnamese and helped them develop effective counter strategies.
– North Vietnamese anti-aircraft missile systems could not be bombed until they were known to be operational and within this constraint our B-52 Bombers were denied use of ECM missile defensive systems contributing to the loss of 16 B-52s and damage to 20 others during the December Bombing raids (Line Backer 2).
– Strategic targets including North Vietnam Air Force bases were off limits and so were any MIGs not actively engaged in air combat operations. Similarly the port of Haiphong strikes had to avoid any possibility of collateral damage of vessels delivering goods and weapons systems to the North. Further and of equal or greater significance was the total restriction on destruction or damage to the North Vietnamese Dam complex – destruction of the dam complex would have caused catastrophic flooding to the north as well as curtailing its hydroelectric power source.
– No enemy could be pursued once they crossed the border of Laos or Cambodia. This restriction in itself presented a controversial situation since US reconnaissance and air strikes proved to be effective along the Ho Chi Minh Trail but ground forces were prohibited active pursuit across the border. This prohibition not only provided the North Vietnamese strategically located safe haven operational sites offering ready access into and exit points from Vietnam
North Vietnam was fully aware of these imposed restrictions and thereby was able to base entire counter strategies around the limitations imposed on American ground, sea and air forces. However effective the North Vietnamese counter strategies or restrictive United States Rules of Engagement, our forces were able to repeatedly bring the Communist North to its knees – wherein they sought ways and means to negotiate a settlement, only to have our bureaucratic bunglers turn an assured positive victory into a defeat.
The ultimate treachery, culminating years of treachery- questionable parochial and partisan bureaucratic mandates and restrictions – finally succeeded in handing the North Vietnamese an uncontested victory over the south. In his October 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara opined that “…. the air war against Hanoi was going very well.”. Then, without explanation, on November 7 he sent President Johnson a memo for signature stating that while we might someday reach the “cross-over point,” where we killed more of them than they killed of us, we had better plan on not winning. From that point forward the administration and subsequent administrations, supported by massive public anti war demonstrations, assured that McNamara’s caution about not winning were turned into reality.
In 1971 President Nixon ordered resumption of bombing against North Vietnam and by December ‘72 launched Linebacker 2 to carry out B 52 and fighter aircraft strategic bombing of North Vietnam with a major focus on eliminating Air to Air anti aircraft missile sites. Further orders we given to mine Haiphong port and waterways to restrict flow of arms and munitions from their ports to inland operational areas.
Concurrently, the North Vietnamese were massing military might alone the DMZ and South Vietnam border areas. 7th Air Force and the US Navy carried the escalated fight into North Vietnam until such time as Congress became aware of the “covert” operations, unjustly sacrificed General John Lavelle (7th AF Commander) and ordered cessation of the bombings and clearing of the mines from the Haiphong port area and strategic waterways.
March 30 1972, the North Vietnamese launched a massive 40,000 troop offensive against the south, wherein by Congressional and DoD mandates US forces were restricted from combat operations in support of the South Vietnamese army (ARVN) The ARVN fought valiantly against the North Vietnam armies as attested to by their dynamic struggle and victory over the North at An Loc and Xuan Loc. After two (2) years of ARVN struggle without promised US support of the South Vietnam military operations, the North Vietnamese entered Saigon and united the Geneva Accords separated Vietnam
In retrospect, General Vo Nguyen Giap set the record straight in his interview with a number of news reports including the Duffle Blog in April 2013 :
– Ironically, Giap has been quoted as saying the bombardment of Hanoi begun by President Johnson in 1965 and 1968 and continued by President Nixon in 1972 was working and that had it continued, it would have resulted in an American victory. But the campaigns were hugely unpopular at home, sparking massive demonstrations and pitting generation against generation.
– According to the AP, historian Stanley Karnow interviewed Giap in Hanoi in 1990, quoting him as saying: “We were not strong enough to drive out a half million American troops, but that wasn’t our aim. Our intention was to break the will of the American government to continue the war.”
– “We had actually been looking for a way to end this endless war or ‘quagmire,’ that we had found ourselves stuck in, ever since 1945,” Giap said. “Just when we thought we were done fighting the Japanese we found ourselves fighting the French and then the Americans.”
– “…if America had conducted just one more air strike we would have thrown in thetowel,”Giap admitted. “And thank god they didn’t,”
– When we saw pictures of the American helicopters over their embassy, we just assumed they were bringing in reinforcements and figured the game was up. Even after the South Vietnamese surrendered, we thought it was some kind of trick and fled to the hills for a month until we found out we’d actually overrun the country.”
After 58,000 American and millions of Vietnamese killed, the end game definition as cautioned by Secretary of defense Robert McNamara became a reality. In the halls of Congress, the end game apparently focused on public opinion and economics as opposed to winning the war. An American commitment to enforce the Geneva Accords, the American international image as the protector of democracy and the rights of humanity, and the American military defeat of the North Vietnamese (as defined by General Vo Nguyen Giap) thrown away and rejected by our national leaders. Lessons learned from General Giap on lost victories – rapidly forgotten .
Although our military and political leaders since Vietnam have vowed never again, except for President Regan’s commitment of forces to Granada and the initial phases of the Iraq war, it is apparent that the more things change the more they stay the same.
– The1979 Iranian seizure of the American Embassy and taking diplomatic staff as hostages. Shah Pahlavi, favoring American affiliation and leaning towards democracy, without American political or public backing, was toppled from power and exiled by democracy hating Ayatollah Khomeini. Apparently, as a response to President Carter’s offering asylum to the terminally ill Pahlavi, under the rule of Khomeini, the Irani public stormed the American Embassy in Tehran and kept the embassy staff (52 personnel) hostage for 444 days. President Carter’s impotence in International issues allowed the situation to go unchallenged except for a disastrous aborted rescue effort. International and United States efforts to negotiate hostage release were ineffective and basically ignored. However, the hostages were finally released upon the election of Ronald Reagan as President.
The failure of President Carter to respond further diminished the image of the United States particularly within the Arab world and most probably served as an incentive and a precursor to further aggressive actions within the Middle East to destabilize existing governments.
– By August 1990, Saddam Hussein launched the Iraq military forces against kuwait , captured and annexed that oil rich kingdom in a matter of hours – gaining access to 20% of the worlds oil reserves and greater access to the Persian Gulf. The United Nations’ Security Council denounced the invasion and demanded Iraq immediately withdraw from Kuwait. The United States deployed US military forces under Operation Desert Shield to protect Saudi Arabia and to back up the Security Council’s mandate for Iraq withdrawal from Kuwait – the start of a large 32 nation coalition which formed the Operation Desert Storm force, commanded by General Norman Schwarzkopf, to liberate Kuwait.
A secondary consideration being President George H.W. Bush’s concern with the Iraqi pursuit of nuclear weapons as one justification for taking decisive action against Iraq. In the then-classified National Security Directive 54, signed on January 15, 1991, authorizing the use of force to expel Iraq from Kuwait, he identified Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against allied forces as an action that would lead the U.S. to seek the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.
After six (6) weeks of extremely effective “Shock and Awe” air strikes against the Iraqi infrastructure and troop concentrations, a massive land assault was launched. Within hours the Iraqi army folded and by the 4th day Kuwait being liberated and the majority of the Iraqi armed forces either surrendered, returned to Iraq or had been destroyed. President Bush called for a cease fire, and as stated in the national media, the overwhelming success of Operation Desert Storm was just too embarrassing. The cease fire agreement:
– left Saddam Hussein and his regime in power along with his much vaunted Republican Army;
– No fly zones were established to protect indigenous Iraqis and Turks from Saddam Hussein’s suppression and interdiction;
– maintained United Nations’ ban on oil sales to continue until Iraq disposes of its weapons of mass destruction.
– left Saddam Hussein 10 yrs to continually violate cease fire terms and further oppress his people;
– allowed continuation of building weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear) – although there was controversy over whether Iraq did possess the WMD capability.
Similar to Vietnam, another military operation aimed at eliminating despotic martial regimes and stabilizing global regions, terminated prematurely and leaving the door open for continued repression of the population and jeopardizing world peace in general.
-That peace very distinctly upset by the infamous 11 September 2001 Al Qaeda attack on the United States employing four hijacked airliners and crashing into the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon while the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania when passengers resisted hijacking. Osama bin Laden, the architect of the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy also carried the responsibility for the 9-11.
The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, directed by al-Qaeda, prompted threats of retaliation by U.S. and allied forces, if the Taliban regime in Afghanistan did not turn over Osama Bin Laden for his leading role in the 9-11 attacks. Based on their refusal to turn over Osama Bin Laden without definitive proof of his culpability in the 9-11 attacks, the US and allies deployed forces rapidly removed the Taliban operational bases from Afghanistan – an action which expanded the US and allies military operations in that country – eventually turning the Afghan operations into the longest war in American history.
Within the same time frame, the unfinished war in Iraq was regenerated based on ten years of Iraqi violations of the cease fire agreement and the renewed concerns over Saddam Hussein’s continued development of Weapons of Mass destruction (WMDs – see Weapons of Mass Destruction below – pg 15). Without United Nations authority or approval, President George W. Bush acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243, joined by 30 other nations most notably the United Kingdom and Australia, launched the second invasion of Iraq on 20 March 2003.
Baghdad fell on 9 April 2003, Saddam Hussein was removed from power and in hiding (later found, tried and executed) and the US led coalition refocused its operations to stabilize, secure and reconstruct Iraq. Through eight years of occupation and support of Iraq public opinion and congressional mandates pressured for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. Through a series of negotiations, public releases on projected withdrawal and flexible extensions of the proposed drawdown of forces the last 500 US military advisors were withdrawn from Iraq on 18 December 2011. after a series of congressional mandates for total US withdrawal. On December 14 2011, President Obama paid tribute to the troops who served in Iraq saying the United States was leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.
Predictably, the continued publication of US military withdrawal from Iraq provided the al Qaeda, ISIS and ISIL fighters the intelligence needed to withhold major insurgency activities pending US withdrawal from the area. As carried by national media, the present administration knew of the ISIS and ISIL threats and apparently ignored the potential threat to Iraq’s future stability and independence.
Now faced with a new terrorists dynamics in the form of ISIL, President Obama has authorized the use of Air Power to deter the ISIL aggressions in Iraq and Syria . The president was advised that the solitary use of air power without attendant “boots on the ground” was inadvisable and would prove to be ineffective.
To date the advice has proven to be accurate – despite air strikes against the ISIS/ISIL coalition, the terrorists continue to gain territory in both Iraq and Syria. According to the latest news reports since June (2014), the compound at Al Muthanna, still containing Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (including cyanide precursors and old sarin rockets) has been held by the Islamic State, the world’s most radical and violent jihadist group.
Again, initial United States intentions to free oppressed peoples from tyrannical rule has turned a previously intolerable human rights concern into chaos and a potential catastrophic future for the populations involved. Chaos and catastrophe resulting for administrative and bureaucratic mismanagement and control of military operations as well as the political concessions to uniformed and vociferous (anti war) opposition groups. Again American lives and resources sacrificed for the end game lose – lose scenario.
It is obvious that the lose -lose end game is in store with the current planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. Our initial intent to capture Osama Ben Laden and stabilize the country successfully dislodged elements of Al Qaeda and their protectors – the Taliban from Afghanistan. However, in the ensuing years, operating from the sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan, the Taliban waged guerrilla warfare against indigenous populations and the coalition military forces. Through the intervening years, our United States force levels increased fro 36,000 under President George W. Bush to 53,000 under President Obama. The increase made necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan to counter increased insurgencies from the cross border Taliban fighters.
President Obama stated that Afghanistan “.. has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires. The Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda supports the insurgency ad threatens America from its safe haven along the Pakistan border.” With that thought in mind, and future releases indicating a reasonably successful achievement of stabilizing Afghanistan, a scheduled planned withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan was released to the public. Another strategic planning boon offered to the Taliban and Al Qaeda to diminish insurgencies until such time as the area is cleared of opposition coalition forces. As the United States force withdrawal winds down, what has become the longest war in its history, Afghans are left to wonder whether hard-won gains can be preserved.
Returning discussion to the two phases of desert Storm under Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, a major concern was Iraq’s possession and manufacture of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and nuclear capabilities. In February 200s Secretary of State (retired general) Colin Powell stated that Iraq was in possession of and working on nuclear and bio-chemical weapons of mass destruction. Employing that as a basis for renewed American and coalition reentry into Iraq to unseat Saddam Hussein and terminate the production and possession of those weapons.
Following the cessation of hostilities with the fall of Baghdad, US and international inspection teams reported they found no traces of nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. The media and the public accused President George W. Bush and his administration of lying to enable military operations against Saddam Hussein. Based on the “findings” both President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell recanted the premise of WMDs blaming the initial disclosure on faulty intelligence.
According to Democracy Now:
“On Feb. 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State General Colin Powell addressed the United Nations Security Council. His message was clear: Iraq possessed extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was systematically trying to deceive U.N. inspectors by hiding prohibited weapons. A decade later, we host a debate between Powell’s former aide, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson — who prepared the U.N. speech, only to later renounce it — and media critic Norman Solomon, author of “War Made Easy.” “I don’t believe the hype about that presentation having been the ultimate presentation … that led us to war with Iraq,” Wilkerson says of Powell’s speech. “George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others had decided to go to war with Iraq long before Colin Powell gave that presentation. … It added to the momentum of the war. … Frankly, we were all wrong. Was the intelligence politicized ….”
Ergo the lie was put to the nations justification to go to war a second time against Iraq. However, flash forward to October 14 2014:
Contrarily, According to the NY Times October 14 “The Secret Victims of Iraq’s Chemical Arms” extracted quotes signify the lie put to the lie which supposedly formulated the lie for Desert Storm 2 :
“Five years after President George W. Bush sent troops into Iraq, these soldiers had entered an expansive but largely secret chapter of America’s long and bitter involvement in Iraq……
From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule…….
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act……..
The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds…….
Congress, too, was only partly informed, while troops and officers were instructed to be silent or give deceptive accounts of what they had found. “?’Nothing of significance’ is what I was ordered to say,” said Jarrod Lampier, a recently retired Army major who was present for the largest chemical weapons discovery of the war: more than 2,400 nerve-agent rockets unearthed in 2006 at a former Republican Guard compound…….
Since June, the compound has been held by the Islamic State, the world’s most radical and violent jihadist group. In a letter sent to the United Nations this summer, the Iraqi government said that about 2,500 corroded chemical rockets remained on the grounds, and that Iraqi officials had witnessed intruders looting equipment before militants shut down the surveillance cameras…….
When three journalists from The Times visited Al Muthanna in 2013, a knot of Iraqi police officers and soldiers guarded the entrance. Two contaminated bunkers — one containing cyanide precursors and old sarin rockets — loomed behind. The area where Marines had found mustard shells in 2008 was out of sight, shielded by scrub and shimmering heat….
The Iraqi troops who stood at that entrance are no longer there. The compound, never entombed, is now controlled by the Islamic State.”.
Regardless of which lie in the string of lies is the truth, the hidden fact of actual possession of WMDs in Iraq has resulted in those weapons (even diluted by age) being in the possession of the most brutal military insurgency force in the world. The lie has place not only Iraq and Syria, but also the entire Middle East in jeopardy and at the mercy of ISIS/ISIL. Their ability to transport terrorist internationally and penetrate our borders gives them the tools needed to create havoc, death and destruction within the United States.
Per an AP report, the King of Saudi Arabia has warned that extremists could attack Europe and the U.S. if there is not a strong international response to terrorism after the Islamic State group seized a wide territory across Iraq and Syria.
Prophetically, President Obama’s efforts to recruit a credible coalition of forces to counter the ISIS/ISIL aggressions was met with less than favorable responses – most industrialized nations refusing to commit forces to armed intervention. The question then arises as to the basis for those “allied” nations to reject entering an international coalitions whose aim is to prevent the spread and conquests of international terrorists and terrorism.
Quite possibly within this scenario, our “allies” have lost faith in America’s determination and ability to carry the fight to a decisive conclusion – re Vietnam, Iraq 1 and 2, Afghanistan, Benghazi and the list of America’s failure to provide dynamic and decisive actions against aggressors continues to grow.
This then takes us to the next element of National security -border protection under Homeland Security Administration. As specified in the Restore America Illegal Immigration section, our borders are porous and our border guards are powerless to prevent or deter illegal infiltration across our borders. Recent mass infiltration by Latin American “youth” were not only ignored but the infiltrators were placed in protective custody and shelter, sustenance and educational rights attended to legal economically distress immigrants.
Despite major protest and demands for preventive measures from the American public, the Congress of the United States remained non committal in responding to the problem. Concurrently, the President of the United Sates either through complacency or in support of the infiltration procrastinated and refused to render guidance or decisive mandates to effectively close off our borders to stop the infiltration. Unfortunately, whether factual or speculation, there are reports that terrorists from the Middle East infiltrated into the United States through those porous, basically undefended, borders – a situation, if true – poses a significant threat to our national security,
Another critical factor in respect to border security is in respect to both the recent authorization to allow entry/return of American Ebola victims into the United States and our deployment of US Military personnel into the heart of the Ebola epidemic. Based on recent experiences in Texas where a singular individual infected with the Ebola virus in turn infected two trained, monitored and controlled medical practitioners within the hospital and by latest count exposed over 225 other personnel in the area.
Stringent monitoring and control of the border is an essential element to ensure that the Ebola virus does not generate into a national pandemic situation. In this respect then, what consideration is being given to the return of exposed military personnel, ill advisedly deployed to the West African region. How will the administration deal with their exposure and impacted health conditions ?
Or will the fate of the military men and women so exposed be another convenient case of ‘credible denial’ of the basic cause of their condition/situation and another long term series of procrastination on recognizing the consequences of their exposure to the lethal Ebola virus ?
In summary, considering the ever present and growing threat of hostilities against the United States, it appears that every effort has been, and continues to be, made to debilitate the ability and capabilities of our military forces to provide a credible deterrence to aggression. Budget constraints, unfavorable rules of engagement mandates, manpower table of allowances restrictions and reductions, over-commitment of over stressed forces and a non definitive foreign policy all contribute to our military’s ability to provide an effective deterrence capability.
While retired Generals and national analysts have warned, due to the continued reductions of forces, the United States military is incapable of long term decisive commitment to a general war – in contrast to the idealistic previously stated goals of being capable to engage in contingency operations (apparently on the level of Iraq/Afghanistan) and a major war simultaneously.
Ignoring the warnings of military and international analysts and turning a blind eye to the existing multiple threats to international communities and to the United States and world peace – President Obama’s 2014 Budget mandates significant reductions in our military force in terms of weapons systems, equipment and manpower – and further reductions to be programed in subsequent year budgets. These reductions mandated due to stringent budget constraints.
When Secretary of Defense Hagel was challenged on the risks inherent within these mandated reductions his response was based exclusively on tailoring the reductions rhetorical justification to fit President Obama’s mandate budget authorizations. Contrary to the advice of experts in the field, with a force reduction to a level less than pre World War II, Secretary Hagel opined that the proposed reductions, if there is no sequester:
“...the smaller force still would be capable of decisively defeating aggression in one major war ” while also defending the homeland and supporting air and naval forces engaged in another theater against an adversary.”
He goes on to say if the budget returns to the steep automatic spending cuts imposed by sequester:
” We are gambling that our military will not be required to respond to multiple major contingencies at the same time”. When asked what the risk would be a senior department of Defense official said “If the force is smaller , there’s less margin for error. Lets face it things are uncertain out there.”
When considering the global tensions described within this text, that uncertainty today is not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when and where and how significant”. In considering the potential consequences of President Obama’s Budget priorities and his administrations continued malaise on resolving major issues of immigration, employment and national debt, these budget constraints will increase significantly over the next 5 years (refer to Restore America Nation Economy) and true to form the preplanned solution is further budget reductions on our national defense.
Yet it is inconceivable that the administration would jeopardize the security of this nation and its people in order to provide budgets, resources and support for Social Services, Welfare, Affordable Health Care and full series of benefits to support, rather than deter – illegal immigration while sacrificing the structural integrity of our military. In retrospect then, it is appropriate to critically evaluate Dr Sowell’s observations as to whether President Obama’s actions are a matter of incompetence or a hidden agenda to destroy America.
John F. Vallone Sr.