Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let Them Fight or Bring Them Home

This writing below is from a friend and colleague of mine, Jim Sauer. He's a retired US Marine Corps Sergeant Major with a lot of overseas experience. In fact, that's where we met. Having studied counterinsurgency and low-intensity conflict for my master's degree (and in the proverbial sandbox, Iraq) I can very much appreciate his perspective. This is a great read. Thanks Jim!

There have been some phony arguments put forth for another “surge” in Afghanistan. We need not a surge of troops, we merely need to let our forces there do what needs to be done – kill the enemy.

There is this misconception of Afghanistan in particular (and Islam in general) that somehow we can bring Central Asia (and the rest of the Islamic world) kicking and screaming into the 21st Century through good will. This is simply not the case. There is no amount of money to spend, infrastructure to build, schools to provide, hospitals to heal, or good will that Americans can display toward the Afghan people that will produce a lasting effect. I was once told by an accomplished Afghan intelligence analyst that, “you can rent an Afghan, but you can’t buy him.”

The hard fact is that the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan “people” are not for sale! The descendants of “The Great Khan” and their tribal cousins have no interest in being Westernized in any way. And, the human sewers that serve as their political leadership can only be rented. Americans are interlopers in a land where interlopers generally have their heads lopped off.

Nobody read their Kipling. (I know, “who or what was Kipling?” Look it up.) Americans do not know their OWN history (except the spun trash that passes for “social studies” in our heavily socialistic high schools) much less the history of Afghanistan. And, this includes our political leadership! Ask an American on the street – or a congressman in the House – to point to Afghanistan on a map, and they will probably start with their finger cautiously orbiting somewhere over Rhode Island.

This writer spent thirty years listening to and deciphering military acronyms and idiotic jargon. The catch phrase today is “COIN” – Counterinsurgency doctrine. Our political and military leadership act like this is some sort of secret knowledge – Gnostic esoteric knowledge – that is now coming to light. That is crap. There is nothing new here.

Counterinsurgency predates Rome. In modern times, the first COIN doctrine called Small Wars Manual was written by the U.S. Marine Corps in 1935 with the final edition being published in 1940. The first few decades of the 20th Century saw Marines intervening as “State Department Troops” from Central America and Hispaniola to China and the Philippines. The Small Wars Manual is a compilation of information describing nation building, establishing “constabularies”, civil affairs, infrastructure repair, election management, donkey packing and inspiration, river crossing, intelligence gathering, psychology and ethnicity of native peoples, disarmament of the populace, force composition, supply and logistics chains, public image (both in the target nation and in the United States), and everything else it takes to drag a Third-World backwash into the current day and age. There is even a section on inspecting the feet of native troops for bunions, corns, and severe trichophytosis (athlete’s foot).

The manual is also full of contradictions. If one were to summarize in a sentence or two the center of conflicting mass, one might say, “Try to be nice, but if they don’t go along with the program manipulate them. If that doesn’t’ work, kill them – every one of them.” It reminds one of a quip from Vietnam that went, “Let us win your hearts and minds or we’ll burn your damn huts down.”

It seems our current crop of political and military geniuses think that COIN can be conducted in a sanitary manner. This belief is insane. The “small wars” of the 20th Century were every bit as dirty and brutal as any conventional war ever fought.

Legendary Marine Corps hero and two time Medal of Honor recipient Major General Smedley Butler wrote of his “COIN” experience a short tome titled “War is a Racket”. It spelled out the misuse of American forces and the waste of American lives during the first three decades of the 20th Century. General Butler was an unlikely critic of the use of military force – the more reason to heed his caveats.

Though published in 1940, the intervening years of conventional war (World War II and Korea) saw the Small Wars Manual fade into disuse.

The formation of the U.S. Army Special Forces in the 1960s led to an attempt to bring COIN doctrine to Vietnam. While this effort met with some success against the Viet Cong, the introduction of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces diminished the strategic effectiveness of the Special Forces effort. Further, as the NVA entered the fray and the war progressed, the Viet Cong themselves, although diminished by the Special Forces effort, became more sophisticated with regard to their remaining cell structures, logistics, and weapons employment.

There are several things to consider:

1. With the exception of Malaysia, there have historically been very few – if any – real, long lasting counterinsurgency success stories.
2. Wars are like fingerprints and snowflakes – no two are alike
3. The sophistication of the insurgency with respect to tactics, weapons, as well as ethnic loyalties to and from the populace, can negate COIN efforts.
4. The subtleties and grace of Tae Kwon Do are nice, but there’s nothing like a good punch in the mouth.

COIN may be a legitimate strategy in a limited sense when the “insurgents” are seen as outsiders – or at least trouble makers with a foreign ideology – by the native population in a fixed geographic region. However, the insurgency we face is not limited to Afghanistan. It is a global movement. Civilian casualties must be avoided whenever possible – not at all costs. There is no excuse for the wanton slaughter of innocents. However, if a COIN strategy is to succeed, our political and military leadership must demonstrate the willingness to adjust the tactics used in the battlespace in order to allow our troops to kill the enemy.

When The Great Khan rode through Central Asia in the early 13th Century, he did not take into consideration public opinion. He had lands to conquer, people to rule, and resources to exploit. He spread fear and misery across Persia and into Europe. Whether an Afghan is Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, or Turkmen, some – the real Afghan warriors – still have the spirit of the Mongol Horde in their blood.

That having been said, their blood has been thinned by time and centuries of misery. The current crop of Afghanistan’s “Warriors” is almost exclusive to the opposition. The true believers are fighters – cowards too, but fighters nonetheless. By contrast, the bulk of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) are not fighters, nor are they “true believers”. They are simply cowards – frauds – corrupt to the core by any standard and an apostate to their own faith. They are slovenly, drug-addicted, dimwitted, and totally unreliable at any level. Like the Taliban, they are brutal to their own countrymen. They thrive on their petty powers and refuse to shoulder any burden or responsibility. Does this sound too harsh? Not for the Marines and Soldiers who have been killed by the treachery of ANA and ANP who have purposely led them into ambush.

According to the great military minds of our time, these ANA/ANP forces can be trained and formed to fight their own war. At what cost? How many American lives? How many taxpayer dollars? It would take decades if it were simply a matter of sophistication and military training. However, the obstacle is the way and philosophy of life in the Islamic world.

Iraq is a case study in deception. You have been told by the media and our politicians that the Iraqi Army is now capable of maintaining order in Iraq with limited U.S. support. Well, read the news. Iraq is still in chaos. As we withdraw it will become worse; Sunni v. Shitte, Kurd v. Sunni and/or Shitte. Arabs are as brutal as Central Asians. However, they are even worse soldiers, and bring new meaning to the term cowardly. An American colonel who tried to train an Iraqi brigade regularly quips that his greatest accomplishment in twelve months was to get the Iraqis to use the toilets. He was not exaggerating. Americans have no idea how screwed up the world is east of Greece. Iraq is not yet a success story. The insurgency is just laying low. The Muslim mind thinks in terms of years, decades, and centuries – not election cycles. You will hear optimistic talking heads speak otherwise. They will tell you of the great success in Iraq. You will even hear this occasionally from Soldiers, Marines, and “Operators” who have had good experiences with the Iraqi forces. However, their experience is the exception.

Americans have been conditioned and have become accustomed to tiptoeing about, fearing to offend anyone – even those who are offensive to the bulk of humanity. Thus, there is not an American politician or a media guru who will speak the truth clearly.

Although this writer has read extracts from the Koran, there is no claim from this quarter to any real Islamic theological scholarship. My understanding from Muslim acquaintances is that a true Muslim understands the Koran as literally as an Evangelical Protestant understands the Bible. Those who do not are apostates. Relying on the New Testament we believe that “By their fruits ye shall know them.” This is how we know them:

· Dismemberment of American soldiers in Somalia while Somali Muslims danced in glee – October 1993.
· The celebrations in “The Arab Streets” (include all of Islam from Gaza to Indonesia) after the bombings of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the downing of United Flight 93, animating Muslims throughout the world to joy and celebration – September 11, 2001 and the weeks following.
· Dismemberment of Americans from Blackwater in Fallujah complete with the hanging of burned bodies from a bridge to the delight of the Muslim crowd – March 31, 2004.
· Decapitations of Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl, Kenneth Bigley, and others at various times and places.

Lest we think that this barbarism is reserved for Westerners, Islam promotes:

· Honor killings of girls and women not only in Islamic nations, but right here in the good ‘ol USA.
· Child brides.
· Conversion killings of anyone even thinking about leaving the Islamic faith.
· Child abuse and indoctrination via children’s cartoons (Muppets no less!) that make sport of killing Americans and Jews and portray us as pigs and dogs. (You can find them on YouTube!)
· Punishing children for petty theft by having their arms broken beneath the wheel of a truck. (You can find this gem on YouTube as well!)
· Slavery in all its glory. Both for labor and sexual purposes. This is rampant in the Islamic world particularly among our Saudi “allies”. Victims are Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Indian, and from any country where one could be lured with the promise of an escape from poverty. Some victims are from the West.
· Cruelty in all its forms to one and all.

Having spent the best part of five years in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel (Gaza/West Bank), I can tell you that I have personally seen an adult man take off his shoe and beat a toddler around the head and shoulders with its heel. The little boy was wearing only a dust soaked shirt that came up above his belly. Yet, not a tear fell on his dirt-smudged cherubic face. He fell down breaking his fall with his tiny hands, but would not – or could not cry. I have seen an adult man suddenly and repeatedly strike a burka-wearing woman with a stick when she tried to exit a compound through a gate without a male escort. I have seen a man beat a donkey on the legs and back with a club until the panicked, pleading, and bleeding animal fell to the ground.

Kabul has astounding traffic tie-ups. Road rage is limited because one never knows if the other guy may have a flamethrower in his vehicle, but the cursing and honking is legendary. In the spring of 2007, during a massive, two-hour traffic jam on Jalalabad Road, I watched as an Afghan driver and his assistant got out of their flat bed truck in an attempt to beat the heat by lying down in the shade under the tires. The truck was hauling two large containers of medical supplies marked with a Red Cross. The driver apparently forgot to put out the tire chalks, and the truck rolled over both men crushing their heads like peas. Nobody – nobody – lifted a finger to help them. Their bodies were simply pulled to the side and the honking and shouting went on as usual. Life means nothing.

Apologists will bring up the crimes of the West – especially the Crusades. The fact is that the Crusades were waged to counter the Seljuk advance on Byzantium and the atrocities inflicted on Christians and Jews in the Holy Land. The Crusades were waged during a period of time when life in general – not to mention war – was totally barbaric. That degree of barbarism is unimaginable to modern Western sensibilities, but still considered absolutely reasonable by Muslims. Had the Crusades not been waged; had the Habsburg Monarchy not turned back the Ottoman tide at the end of the 17th Century; had Isabel of Castile not driven the Moors from Grenada, you would not be reading this diatribe. You would be illiterate, ruled by a tyrant, and squatting on the dirt floor of a mud-brick shack picking your nose.

On September 24th, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations General Assembly. He basically put the world on notice. Israel will not tolerate any more nonsense from the Islamic world. In contrast to the incoherent rambling of Gadhafi, the rancorous rants of Ahmandinejad, and the lame political oration given by President Obama, Netanyahu made his points with force, conviction, and clarity. Speaking of Islam he stated:

“In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.”

With cessation of the draft in the early 1970s America cultivated a professional warrior class. For over thirty years we have trained and equipped the most lethal fighting force ever known to mankind. They have sworn an oath to our Constitution that they take seriously. The question is whether or not their political leadership takes their own oath seriously. Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are worthy of competent leadership that they can trust. Our president has demonstrated his contempt for America on foreign soil. In speeches around the world he has apologized for our history and failed to recognize our contributions. His personal history is littered with questionable personal friendships and professional associations. He has denied our Judeo-Christian heritage and stated that “Victory” is not in his vocabulary. We need to ask ourselves if he is worthy to be trusted with making policy that may mean the lives of our brave Warriors.

President Obama and General McCrystal need to review their history. When you treat the Afghans with kid gloves, they will bite off your hand.

Jim Sauer is a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major and combat veteran with over thirty years of service. Since retiring he has worked in support of U.S. Government efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel.

Source: Personal email from Jim. Originally posted here, but also posted on author Diana West's blog, here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Pledge of Allegiance

A good buddy of mine, a former FAST Marine, SWAT team member and former Federal Air Marshal, who is still an American-loving warrior, sent me this great video that was first aired on CBS in 1969. I normally try to focus on spiritual things on Sundays, but I felt this was appropriate to post. After all, we are still "One Nation Under God."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Little Boys Ever Really Take Showers?

One of my boys recently turned 9. My wife said she caught him today wearing the same undershirt to school (and to bed) for several days in a row. "Disgusting boys!" she said.

Funny, he told me something really sneaky the other day, "Pssst... Dad, if mom ever makes you take a shower..." Just that sentence alone made me chuckle on the inside from his perspective. "...If mom ever makes you take a shower, you can just take off all your clothes, wrap yourself in a towel and put a little water on your hair from the sink. She'll never know."

Kids are great, and sometimes little boys can get a bit smelly. Big boys can too. Fortunately, I like to take showers--and use soap!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Terrorist Plot Prediction -- Airports are the Target

FBI agents just raided the residence of a man suspected of making bombs in a plot that spans from NYC to Denver, Colorado. What's their target? It's the airports and airlines. Why do I say that? Well, there's a number of reasons.

First, it's still a very easy target. TSA doesn't have their stuff together enough to stop a grand scale attack even in the meandering lines at the Denver International Airport (DIA). I just finished writing a chapter about the Israeli airport security paradigm in my forthcoming book, "The Work of Death--for God, Family and Country." We aren't as close as we should be when it comes to having safe airports. As a former air marshal, I always felt DIA was one of the better targets for an IED attack because of the way the people are all piled together in tight lines. And, hey, there's no real security before the metal detectors and bomb sniffers anyway. It's a perfectly easy target.

Secondly, attacking the airlines would not only cause mass chaos and terror, but it would be an ideal way to shock the country into further economic difficulty. If you think the airlines had troubles after 9/11, another attack would put several airlines out of business. Would the government use our tax dollars to bail them out? (Cringe) I rue the thought.

Thirdly, hitting the airlines have always been a great emotional and psychological target. The average American would feel that the government simply wasn't able to stop terrorists from striking again. They'd feel--we'd all feel--frustrated that the millions of dollars and bureaucratic levels of government created to help airports since 9/11 were all a giant waste.

Imagine blowing an airliner from the sky--now that would be spectacular. That's what terrorists want. And, they'd probably record it too so the news reels would play it over and over and over.

It wouldn't be that difficult for a dedicated terrorist to sneak some explosives on a plane, particularly one who's very familiar with the airports and who blends in. Consider this:

According to the FBI, agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) searched the home of Najibullah Zazi, as well as the nearby residence of his aunt, Rabia Zazi, near the Denver International Airport, where he picks up and drops off passengers as a driver for ABC Airport Shuttle. Yikes! Talk about prior planning in preparation for a bombing!

According to an AP report, Zazi was born in Pakistan but moved to the United States at an early age and grew up in Queens. He moved to Colorado several months ago, she said. He flew out to NY this weekend; that's when the FBI moved in on both sites. They also put out warnings for people to be on the lookout for people with burns on their hands or face from making liquid, hydrogen peroxide-based explosives.

Hummm...this sounds strangely familiar. Sound like the London Bomb Plot? How about the Bojinka Plot? I'm not going to go into detail with either right now, but suffice it to say, I've dealt with terrorism issues before. Because of our law, it's difficult to arrest or even detain suspected terrorists, but it doesn't mean they're innocent. Now, I've witnessed government mess-ups first hand, but on this one, I think they're right on the money...or on the bomb trail, to be literal. The 24-year-old man who claims he's not a terrorist, doesn't have me convinced.

Check out the news video here:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Betraying Our Dead - Ralph Peters

Ralph Peters

Eight years ago today, our homeland was attacked by fanatical Muslims inspired by Saudi Arabian bigotry. Three thousand American citizens and residents died.

We resolved that we, the People, would never forget. Then we forgot.

We've learned nothing.

Instead of cracking down on Islamist extremism, we've excused it.

Instead of killing terrorists, we free them.

Instead of relentlessly hunting Islamist madmen, we seek to appease them.

Instead of acknowledging that radical Islam is the problem, we elected a president who blames America, whose idea of freedom is the right for women to suffer in silence behind a veil -- and who counts among his mentors and friends those who damn our country or believe that our own government staged the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Instead of insisting that freedom will not be infringed by terrorist threats, we censor works that might offend mass murderers. Radical Muslims around the world can indulge in viral lies about us, but we dare not even publish cartoons mocking them.

Instead of protecting law-abiding Americans, we reject profiling to avoid offending terrorists. So we confiscate granny's shampoo at the airport because the half-empty container could hold 3.5 ounces of liquid.

Instead of insisting that Islamist hatred and religious apartheid have no place in our country, we permit the Saudis to continue funding mosques and madrassahs where hating Jews and Christians is preached as essential to Islam.

Instead of confronting Saudi hate-mongers, our president bows down to the Saudi king.

Instead of recognizing the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi cult as the core of the problem, our president blames Israel.

Instead of asking why Middle Eastern civilization has failed so abjectly, our president suggests that we're the failures.

Instead of taking every effective measure to cull information from terrorists, the current administration threatens CIA agents with prosecution for keeping us safe.

Instead of proudly and promptly rebuilding on the site of the Twin Towers, we've committed ourselves to the hopeless, useless task of rebuilding Afghanistan. (Perhaps we should have built a mosque at Ground Zero -- the Saudis would've funded it.)

Instead of taking a firm stand against Islamist fanaticism, we've made a cult of negotiations -- as our enemies pursue nuclear weapons; sponsor terrorism; torture, imprison, rape and murder their own citizens -- and laugh at us.

Instead of insisting that Islam must become a religion of responsibility, our leaders in both parties continue to bleat that "Islam's a religion of peace," ignoring the curious absence of Baptist suicide bombers.

Instead of requiring new immigrants to integrate into our society and conform to its public values, we encourage and subsidize anti-American, woman-hating, freedom-denying bigotry in the name of toleration.

Instead of pursuing our enemies to the ends of the earth, we help them sue us.

We've dishonored our dead and whitewashed our enemies. A distinctly unholy alliance between fanatical Islamists abroad and a politically correct "elite" in the US has reduced 9/11 to the status of a non-event, a day for politicians to preen about how little they've done.

We've forgotten the shock and the patriotic fury Americans felt on that bright September morning eight years ago. We've forgotten our identification with fellow citizens leaping from doomed skyscrapers. We've forgotten the courage of airline passengers who would not surrender to terror.

We've forgotten the men and women who burned to death or suffocated in the Pentagon. We've forgotten our promises, our vows, our commitments.

We've forgotten what we owe our dead and what we owe our children. We've even forgotten who attacked us.

We have betrayed the memory of our dead. In doing so, we betrayed ourselves and our country. Our troops continue to fight -- when they're allowed to do so -- but our politicians have surrendered.

Are we willing to let the terrorists win?

Ralph Peters' new thriller, "The War After Armageddon," goes on sale next Tuesday.

Finding Hope After 9/11

Aside from watching Glenn Beck on Fox and seeing the TEA party, I'm spending time with family and reflecting on what really matters most in life. This video says it all.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Who Can Forget 9/11?

I don't believe a missile hit the towers, or that the government planted bombs beneath the WTC. I cannot fathom the minds of those who come up with such things. I took about a half hour this morning, September 11, 2009, to watch this home video footage from downtown New York.

I'm sure there are a lot of other powerful videos. Today is a day of remembrance. It's the reason why we're at war. In fact, one of my air marshal buddies is over in Afghanistan now with 20th Special Forces Group. Pray for our troops and pray for the victims of the horrible catastrophe that occurred on 9/11/01.

Explosion on a Plane

With the unfortunate hijacking in Mexico recently I'm reminded of the jihadi terrorists behind the London Bomb Plot. That was the 2006 attempt to blow up British and U.S. planes over the Atlantic. Here's a brief clip of a BBC report on what a liquid explosive might do: