Sunday, June 29, 2014

Looking Back At Iraq

It is historically inaccurate to say the war was cooked up by Bush alone.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Army Third Division soldiers advance on Baghdad, April 2003 (Getty Images via NRO)

Army Third Division soldiers advance on Baghdad, April 2003 (Getty Images via NRO)

So who lost Iraq?

The blame game mostly fingers incompetent Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Or isBarack Obama culpable for pulling out all American troops monitoring the success of the 2007–08 surge?

Some still blame George W. Bush for going into Iraq in 2003 in the first place to removeSaddam Hussein.

One can blame almost anyone, but one must not invent facts to support an argument.

Do we remember that Bill Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 that supported regime change in Iraq? He gave an eloquent speech on the dangers of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

In 2002, both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to pass a resolution authorizing the removal of Saddam Hussein by force. Senators such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Harry Reid offered moving arguments on the Senate floor why we should depose Saddam in a post-9/11 climate.

Democratic stalwarts such as Senator Jay Rockefeller and Representative Nancy Pelosi lectured us about the dangers of Saddam’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. They drew on the same classified domestic- and foreign-intelligence reports that had led Bush to call for Saddam’s forcible removal.

The Bush administration, like members of Congress, underestimated the costs of the war and erred in focusing almost exclusively on Saddam’s supposed stockpiles of weapons. But otherwise, the war was legally authorized on 23 writs. Most of them had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction and were unaffected by the later mysterious absence of such weapons — which is all the more mysterious given that troves of WMD have turned up in nearby Syria and more recently in Iraqi bunkers overrun by Islamic militants.

Legally, the U.S. went to war against Saddam because he had done things such as committing genocide against the Kurds, Shiites, and the Marsh Arabs, and attacking four of his neighbors. He had tried to arrange the assassination of a former U.S. president, George H. W. Bush. He had paid bounties for suicide bombers on theWest Bank and was harboring the worst of global terrorists. Saddam also offered refuge to at least one of the architects of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and violated U.N.-authorized no-fly zones.

A number of prominent columnists, Right and Left — from George Will, David Brooks, and William F. Buckley toFareed Zakaria, David Ignatius, and Thomas Friedman — supported Saddam’s forcible removal. When his statue fell in 2003, most polls showed that over 70 percent of Americans agreed with the war.

What changed public opinion and caused radical about-faces among the war’s most ardent supporters were the subsequent postwar violence and insurgency between 2004 and 2007 and the concurrent domestic elections and rising antiwar movement. Thousands of American troops were killed or wounded in mostly failed efforts to stem the Sunni–Shiite savagery.

The 2007–08 surge engineered by General David Petraeus ended much of the violence. By Obama’s second year in office, American fatalities had been reduced to far below the monthly accident rate in the U.S. military. “An extraordinary achievement,” Obama said of the “stable” and “self-reliant” Iraq that he inherited — and left.

Prior to our invasion, the Kurds were a persecuted people who had been gassed, slaughtered, and robbed of all rights by Saddam. In contrast, today a semi-autonomous Kurdistan is a free-market, consensual society of tolerance that, along with Israel, is one of the few humane places in the Middle East.

In 2003, the New York Times estimated that Saddam Hussein had killed perhaps about 1 million of his own people. That translated into about 40,000 deaths for each year he led Iraq.

A Saddam-led Iraq over the last decade would not have been a peaceable place.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Islam Gave Us The Civil War

My view of Islam is that it was started by a guy who dreamed of being someone. He accomplished his goal by either good tactics or blind luck, but he did conquer other tribes and steal enough booty and enslave enough folks to keep his fellow thieves happy and loyal to him. He was able to recruit more to his fold with each successful conquest. If a battle went against him, he would claim that they lost because they had lost their faith in Allah.

Now if I went up on a mountain and came down telling folks what Allah had revealed to me, you would place no credence in it. Mohammed had the charisma to pull it off, but that does not make it true.

So I say that Islam is based on conquest, thievery and slavery and it was spread throughout the Mediterranean world by more conquest, thievery and slavery.

While slavery was not unique to Islam, it was the followers of the Islam faith to bring it to the places they conquered. Don’t believe in Allah? Then you are our slave.

So just who were the folks enslaving blacks and selling them to whites? The ones who say Allahu Akbar just before cutting off your head. The same ones who were grabbing Europeans in the 1700’s and  ransoming them. The same ones that Jefferson refused to pay tribute to, then known as the Barbary Pirates.

I say it was the followers of Islam that made slavery possible in North and South America. It was the followers of Islam who raided villages all over western Africa to capture humans that were sold to the redneck English who settled the southern states.  The rednecks who had little, took care of nothing and made their living off the sweat of other humans and dreamed of being the equals of titled English. It was the combination of Islam and the dregs of the English that made the Civil War.

Is this too much of a reach?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Benghazi – Security and Root Cause

This discusses two Benghazi topics, the lack of security and the root cause.

Doesn't Hillary Clinton Know the Law?

She says she didn't make security decisions on Benghazi. But that's the secretary of state's job.

June 17, 2014

In her interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer last week, Hillary Clinton said "I was not making security decisions" about Benghazi, claiming "it would be a mistake" for "a secretary of state" to "go through all 270 posts" and "decide what should be done." And at a January 2013 Senate hearing, Mrs. Clinton said that security requests "did not come to me. I did not approve them. I did not deny them."

Does the former secretary of state not know the law? By statute, she was required to make specific security decisions for defenseless consulates like Benghazi, and was not permitted to delegate them to anyone else.

The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999, or Secca, was passed in response to the near-simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998. Over 220 people were killed, including 12 Americans. Thousands were injured.

Bill Clinton was president. Patrick Kennedy, now the undersecretary of state for management, was then acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security. Susan Rice, now the national security adviser, was then assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

As with the Benghazi terrorist attacks, an Accountability Review Board was convened for each bombing. Their reports, in January 1999, called attention to "two interconnected issues: 1) the inadequacy of resources to provide security against terrorist attacks, and 2) the relative low priority accorded security concerns throughout the U.S. government."

Just as U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens did in 2012, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, had made repeated requests for security upgrades in 1997 and 1998. All were denied.  

To ensure accountability in the future, the review boards recommended "[f]irst and foremost, the Secretary . . . should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility of ensuring the security of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad" and "should personally review the security situation of embassy chanceries and other official premises." And for new embassy buildings abroad, "all U.S. government agencies, with rare exceptions, should be located in the same compound."

Congress quickly agreed and passed Secca, a law implementing these (and other) recommendations. It mandated that the secretary of state make a personal security waiver under two circumstances: when the facility could not house all the personnel in one place and when there was not a 100-foot setback. The law also required that the secretary "may not delegate" the waiver decision.

Benghazi did not house all U.S. personnel in one building. There was the consulate and an annex, one of the two situations requiring a non-delegable security waiver by the secretary of state.  

Mrs. Clinton either personally waived these security provisions as required by law or she violated the law by delegating the waiver to someone else. If it was the latter, she shirked the responsibility she now disclaims: to be personally knowledgeable about and responsible for the security in a consulate as vulnerable as Benghazi.


Root Cause - Retaliation

This is excerpted from Benghazi: The Definitive Report by Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy. You may have heard of Brandon, an ex SEAL who as a sniper laid waste to terrorists in Iraq. They know of what they write. The ebook is available for $3 on Amazon.

John Brennan is running his own private war, he is not going through the normal chain of command , and operations are not deconflicted. Ambassador Stevens, for instance, was not read in to the JSOC operations in Libya. He was kept in the dark and ultimately killed in a retaliation that he never could have seen coming. Likewise, the CIA never knew what hit them. They were trying to track down fissile material in Libya and had no way of knowing what was coming.

Ambitious bureaucrats like John Brennan need to be reined in or fired if these operations are to be successful, or we will see plenty more Benghazis happen. This occurs on a fairly regular basis in Afghanistan, where JSOC will raid a terrorist compound and kill the enemy, and the conventional units who patrol the area end up paying the price. Long after JSOC takes off in their black helicopters, the conventional forces are getting IED-ed along the roads by angry jihadists who are retaliating against any Americans they can find.

This is what really happened in Benghazi, and this is why the Obama administration is more than happy to have the media fixated on red herrings like poor security at the consulate or wound up in an intellectual Gordian knot about some YouTube video.