A soldier’s letter 5

On August 2, 2012, Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton was killed when he stepped on an IED while patrolling across a mine-field in Afghanistan.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton with his wife, Sarah

Diana West writes at Radical Islam:

Below is an extraordinary, heart-stopping and historic letter. It is a letter SSG Matthew Sitton sent to U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young after his commanders in Afghanistan told him to “quit whining” about orders to lead patrols without objective “through, for lack of a better term, basically a mine field on a daily basis,” as Sitton wrote.

Twice daily basis, in fact. On August 2, 2012, Sitton and another U.S. soldier were killed in one the IED-riddled field he spoke of. …

It is time for Sitton’s commanders and their commanders and on up the chain of command to be questioned … about who devised and signed off on this morally and militarily bankrupt doctrine — counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy — that patriots such as Matthew Sitton have paid for with their lives.

It is time for Generals Petraeus, McChrystal, Allen, Dempsey, Admiral Mullen and many more to face us and explain. It is also time for former President Bush and his advisors and President Obama and his advisors to answer for the failure of their misbegotten and irresponsible policy of nation-building in the Islamic world, which COIN supports.

Here is the letter in full:

Sir,

Hello my name is SSG Matthew Sitton. I am in the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Ft. Bragg, NC. I am currently deployed with the 4th Brigade Combat Team in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I am writing you because I am concerned for the safety of my soldiers. This is my 3rd combat tour to Afghanistan, so I have seen the transition in Rules of Engagement and Overall Tactics over the past 6 years.

I am only writing this email because I feel myself and my soldiers are being put into unnecessary positions where harm and danger are imminent. I know the threat of casualties in war and am totally on board with sacrifice for my country, but what I don’t agree with is the chain of command making us walk through, for lack of a better term, basically a mine field on a daily basis.

I am in a platoon of 25 soldiers. We are operating at a tempo that is set for a full 35-40 man infantry platoon. We have been mandated to patrol twice daily for 2-4 hours each patrol on top of guarding our FOB [Forward Operating Base] and conducting routine maintenance of our equipment.

There is no endstate or purpose for the patrols given to us from our higher chain of command, only that we will be out for a certain time standard.

I am all for getting on the ground and fighting for my country when I know there is a desired endstate, and we have clear guidance of what needs to be done. But when we are told basically to just walk around for a certain amount of time, it doesn’t sit well with me.

As a Brigade, we are averaging at a minimum an amputee a day from our soldiers because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives. Not to mention that the operation tempo that every solider is on leaves little to no time for rest and refit.

The moral and alertness levels on our patrol are low and it is causing casualties left and right.

Here is an example of how bad things have gotten. Our small FOB was flooded accidentally by a local early one morning a few days ago. He was watering his fields and the dam he had broke and water came flooding into our living area.

Since our FOB does not have any portable bathrooms, we had to dig a hole in the ground where soldiers could use the bathroom. That also got flooded and contaminated all the water that later soaked every soldier and his gear.

Instead of returning to base and cleaning up, our chain of command was so set on us meeting the brigade commanders 2 patrols a day guidance that they made us move outside the flooded FOB and conduct our patrols soaked in urine.

That is just one single instance of the unsatisfactory situations that our chain of command has put us in. At least three of my soldiers have gotten sick since that incident and taken away from our combat power because of their illness caused by unhealthy conditions.

I understand that as a commander you are to follow the orders of those appointed over you, however there needs to be a time where the wellness of your soldiers needs to take priority over walking around in fields for hours a day for no rhyme or reason, but only to meet the Brigade Commanders guidance of you to conduct so many patrols for such an allotted time.

I’m concerned about the well being of my soldiers and have tried to voice my opinion through the proper channels of my own chain of command only to be turned away and told that I need to stop complaining.

It is my responsibility to take care of my soldiers, and there is only so much I can do with that little bit of rank I have. My guys would fight by my side and have my back in any condition, and I owe it to them to have their best interest in mind.

I know they would, and I certainly would appreciate it if there was something that you could do to help us out. I just want to return my guys home to their families healthy. I apologize for taking your time like this Sir, and I do appreciate what you do for us.

I was told to contact you by my grandmMother [name blacked out] who said that you had helped her son (my uncle) [name blacked out] many years ago. He also was serving in the military at the time. Thank you again for allowing soldiers like me to voice their opinion. If anything please pray for us over hear. God bless.

Very respectfully,

SSG Matthew Sitton

The victim who helped prepare his own destruction 2

The murder by Muslims of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was a cause for war because he was a US  ambassador.

The statement must stand without any qualification.

That said, we need to take a closer look at the man himself. He was the victim not only of Islamic savagery but also of US policy towards Islam over the past decade – a policy which under President Obama positively encouraged and finally enflamed that savagery. And we ask: To what extent did Mr Stevens himself accept, agree with, endorse, or even actively and enthusiastically promote the policy that brought him, as an official representative of it, to his violent death?    

Daniel Greenfield has also asked that question, and he writes:

Christopher Stevens was a Middle Eastern diplomat who typified the new breed going from the University of Berkeley and the Peace Corps to desks in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria. He taught English to Moroccan children in the Peace Corps and helped Palestinian Arabs in the East Jerusalem Consulate, which has a firm policy of pretending that Israel does not exist.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Christopher Stevens that he “made other people’s hopes his own” and that may serve as a fitting eulogy both for Stevens and for the disastrous foreign policy of making “other people’s hopes” our own that brought on the Arab Spring.

Stevens, like Clinton and Obama, made the hopes of Islamists his own and they repaid him for it, just as Afghans repaid America for supporting them against the Soviet Union, as Lebanon and Somalia repaid America’s peacekeeping efforts by killing American troops and on down the litany of gratitude in bombs and bullets that have come America’s way from the Muslim world.

“He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to build a better Libya,” Hillary Clinton said, but if anything his murder exposed the lie that there is a better Libya now than there was before Hillary and he intervened in Libya. Clinton’s eulogy comes perilously close to conceding Stevens’ real mission and the degree of American intervention in the overthrow of Gaddafi.

Stevens was the connection between the Islamist Benghazi rebels and the Obama administration’s illegal war to overthrow Gaddafi. His mission, like the true mission of the war, was secret, and the consulate, marginally fortified and devoid of Marines, reflected that secrecy. Stevens did not think that he had anything to fear from the Islamists because they were his friends.

And he wanted to be their friend because he romanticized them. He looked at them through a veil of pro-Third World “anti-colonialist” leftist sentimentality. It made him feel good.

In the Wikileaks cables…

Useful things, those!

… Stevens cheerfully described fighters who saw “resistance against coalition forces in Iraq” as “an important act of ‘jihad’” …

Of which campaign for world domination by Islam – one must therefore conclude – he heartily approved!

For years he had walked safely in their company without understanding that he was just as much of a target as a Marine in Baghdad, but without the training, the weapons or the survival skills.

The only reason Christopher Stevens had lasted this long is that the jihadist fighters had known a useful man when they met him. And Stevens proved to be very useful, but his usefulness ended with Gaddafi’s death. Once the US successfully overthrew Gaddafi and began focusing on stabilizing Libya, Stevens ceased to be a useful idiot and became a useless nuisance. Attacks soon followed on the Benghazi consulate and on other consulates as well, but the Marines were not brought in and Stevens continued relying on local goodwill to secure his offices. It was only a matter of time until the attackers got through.

Clinton, her State Department and its media allies appear unnaturally eager to paint Christopher Stevens as an American martyr to the cause of Libyan Islamism, a kinder, gentler Rachel Corrie who willingly died so that the Islamists might have their dream of an Islamic state in Libya.

We will of course never know what was going through Christopher Stevens’s mind on September 11, 2012, as he battled the choking smoke, experiencing what so many New Yorkers had experienced on September 11, 2001. Like them, he was faced with a terrible dilemma, a choice between remaining in the fire and committing suicide by going outside.

Many in the World Trade Center chose to jump to their deaths, but Christopher Stevens chose to remain inside and die rather than face the tender mercies of his attackers. Stevens had spent enough time in Libya to have seen what the jihadist fighters did to their captives and must have known what horrors he could expect at their hands. The photos that have been released, along with claims by Libyan jihadists that they sexually assaulted his corpse, suggest that he made the right choice. And perhaps in those final moments, facing that terrible choice, Christopher Stevens finally understood the true horror of the Muslim world that he had fallen in love with as a Peace Corps volunteer.

But could he, even at that moment, especially at that moment, have allowed himself to admit the unendurable truth?

“He was an avid student of Islam and the Middle East, and consistently strove to build the proverbial bridge between our two cultures in the face of sometimes overwhelming antagonism and bitter misunderstanding,” a friend from the diplomatic service tells us. But though Christopher Stevens may have studied Islam, he had learned very little about it, and so his final lesson was the bloody one that Westerners who never really learn what Islam is about end up receiving.

“The world needs more Chris Stevenses,” Hillary Clinton said, but does it really? … Does it need men who give up the hopes and dreams of their country to take on the dreams of their enemies without ever realizing where the fatal road of those dreams leads?

Stevens’ former Peace Corps colleague says of him, “Chris devoted his career, and life, to improving relations between the Arabic/Islamic world and the West.” That he did and he died doing it …

And failing to achieve the impossible goal of course …

… losing whatever career or life he might have had if he had not embarked on a futile errand to make the Muslims who killed him and paraded his body around like him. And … the effort was to no avail.

“It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save,” Obama said, repeating the same lie that he used to drag America into his illegal war. Benghazi was not in any need of saving, it was the Americans who came to Benghazi, like Chris Stevens, who needed saving.

That is the terrible blind spot in our vision which, like Christopher Stevens, tells us that we need to save the Muslims who hate us, rather than showing us that we need to save ourselves.

So it emerges that Christopher Stevens in his illusions and commitment is like John Walker Lindh, who “wanted to help” the Afghans and is serving a 20-year prison sentence for fighting with the Taliban. The only significant difference between them is that John Walker Lindh the Traitor devoted himself to helping barbaric Muslim terrorists when they were fighting against American forces as their enemy, while Christopher Stevens the Martyr devoted himself to helping barbaric Muslim terrorists when they were fighting with American forces as their ally.

And therein lies the stark proof of the confusion of values which arose when America, a nation idealizing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was forced into a betrothal with Islam, a cult idealizing total control, joyless submission, and death.

America’s humble defense 1

It seems that the (misnamed) “War on Terror” is over – not because Islam has been defeated, or Muslims have stopped waging jihad but because the US will no longer resist it.

America’s anti-America president would rather the US military does not fight. Maybe he’d allow it to do a little social work abroad now and then. But the US should have nothing as nasty as a formidable military capability.

This is from the Washington Post:

For most of the past year, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has stressed that the vast military complex over which he presides is at a “strategic turning point.”

A decade of grinding guerrilla war is drawing to a close. Defense budgets are shrinking. The implication is that major changes are coming to the military. …

And what is this civilian with no experience whatsoever of military service doing about it?

The watchword for Panetta’s tenure, senior defense officials said, has been “humble.”

“He’s told the service chiefs to be humble in their predictions of warfare,” one senior official said.

Be humble in their predictions? What does that mean? Humbly predict? Or predict US humbleness?

In an interview describing his defense strategy, Panetta said he has helped craft an approach that hedges bets against a range of potential enemies. “It really does provide maximum flexibility,” he said.

You bet they won’t attack you, and as you’re not committed to any kind of response  (“flexibility”) you won’t have to do anything in particular about it if they do?

The military is going to be smaller … “

Ah-hah!

“… but it is going to be more agile, more flexible …”

No fixed orders, no fixed plan, no fixed aim?

… and more deployable so that it moves fast and stays on the cutting edge of technology.”

Drones then, mainly?

Panetta’s vision is notable for some of the big questions left unanswered. A highly touted promise to shift the military’s focus to Asia has produced little in the way of major new deployments. Nine months after it was unveiled, there is scant evidence of how it will be implemented.

This is a time when you would expect an intense focus on where we want to go and what we want to be,” said Andrew Hoehn, a senior vice president at the Rand Corp. and a former Pentagon strategist. Hoehn said such a debate does not appear to be happening inside the Pentagon or in the presidential campaigns, which have largely ignored national security issues.

Although the war in Iraq has ended and troops are being withdrawn from Afghanistan, Panetta has not pressed the ground forces to conduct a tough and detailed examination of their performance in the two long and costly wars, said Eliot Cohen, a military historian at Johns Hopkins University and an adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign.

In recent years, Army and Marine Corps officers have tended to blame their struggles on the State Department and other federal agencies, which were unable to provide the necessary help to rebuild the war-torn countries’ governments and economies.

Were unable to rebuild the enemies’ economies?  Well then, the news isn’t  all bad. Though the US did waste a vast amount of energy and money trying to do just that.

Cohen said the finger-pointing has prevented the ground services from acknowledging their own shortcomings, such as their inability to produce a core of experts in the culture, politics, history and languages of the two countries where they have spent most of the past decade fighting.

But since when have countries needed to be familiar with the culture, politics, history and languages of their enemies? The only mission has always been to defeat them.

Panetta said he would like to see the military do more in this area. “I think we have to look at the lessons that we draw, particularly from these last 10 years of war,” he said. “I’m not satisfied. I think more needs to be done.”

Good grief! Far too much social work has been done by the US military in Afghanistan. (See our posts Heroic inaction May 19, 2010; No victory or something like that June 15, 2010; No reason at all April 19, 2011.)

The Obama administration’s defense strategy, meanwhile …

So they do have one?

… plays down the likelihood of the military fighting major counterinsurgency wars in the coming years.

Not a likelihood of their having to fight such wars, but just not fighting them in any circumstances.

To that end, Panetta has ordered the Army to shrink to about 490,000 soldiers by 2017, a reduction of about 80,000 that will leave the force slightly larger than it was before Sept. 11, 2001.

A surprise pick to run the CIA in 2009, Panetta had spent most of his career as a congressman from California and … in the Clinton administration, including a stint as White House chief of staff.

Even after two and a half years at the CIA and 14 months at the Pentagon, Panetta’s speeches tend to steer clear of the kinds of detailed policy prescriptions and tough questions that were routine under Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, his immediate predecessor.

“Do we really need 11 [aircraft] carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?” Gates asked a Navy audience in 2010. He also challenged the Marines to consider whether, in an era of increasingly precise cruise missiles, they would be called upon again to storm an enemy’s shore — a question that cuts to the core of the Marines’ identity.

Gates’s goal was to encourage lower-ranking officers to challenge military pieties. By contrast, Panetta sometimes sounds more like a congressman representing the “Pentagon district” than the leader of the world’s largest military. …

Contradictorally, he is against the devastating reduction in the defense budget that the Obama administration proposes.

“It’s mindless, and it will . . . do incredible damage to our national defense,” Panetta said last month in a speech in New York.

But then, he is not a man who worries overmuch about depleting public funds:

As he did during his days as a congressman, Panetta spends most weekends in California, commuting home on a military jet at a cost of more than $800,000 as of this spring, the latest figures available. …

Although the Washington Post states that “the current list of crises stretches from growing unrest in Syria and Iran’s nuclear ambitions to a new leader in North Korea and rising tensions between China and its neighbors around the South China Sea”, it blandly reports that Michele Flournoy, “the Pentagon’s top policy official”, declared that

For the first time in a decade, the urgent priority mission is not staring us in the face.

Got that? No urgent priority mission staring the US in the face.

Though Iran is rapidly becoming a nuclear power.

 

Sensitive investigations 0

These days there cannot  be many states, if any, with governments free from corruption, but some are more corrupt than others. Afghanistan looks to be among the worst. Its make-believe democratic institutions, president and parliament, and the police and the military, are oiled with corruption. Bribery and extortion characterize the politics of the country. A thousand busy Americans driven by noble intentions will not easily succeed in purifying the soul of the nation or changing the Afghan way. Even John Kerry, whose noble intentions are on display though his own soul has been tainted by fibs about his military adventures, has failed to persuade President Karzai – the fellow who literally wears a mantle of power – to play nice. And though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls Karzai to inform him loftily of her “displeasure”, he continues to do it his way. This so disheartens the well-intentioned folk pursuing the counter-corruption endeavor that they are thinking of abandoning it.

This is from the Washington Post:

A close adviser to President Hamid Karzai, arrested last month on charges of soliciting a bribe, was also under investigation for allegedly providing luxury vehicles and cash to presidential allies and over telephone contacts with Taliban insurgents, according to Afghan officials familiar with the case.

The Afghan officials also said that it had been Karzai himself who intervened to win the quick release of the aide, Mohammad Zia Salehi, even after the arrest had been personally approved by the country’s attorney general. The new account suggests that the corruption case against Salehi was wider than previously known and that Karzai acted directly to secure his aide’s release.

The intervention by Karzai came after the Afghan investigators had begun to pursue corruption cases against the aide and possibly other Karzai allies inside the presidential palace. A commission formed by Karzai after his aide was released concluded that Afghan agents who had carried out the investigation with support from U.S.-backed law enforcement units had violated Salehi’s human rights and were operating outside the constitution.

The back-and-forth revolves around the work of two American-backed Afghan task forces, one known as the Major Crimes Task Force and the other called the Sensitive Investigative Unit. It has created perhaps the most serious crisis this year in relations between Afghanistan and the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Karzai to express her displeasure with any decision that undermines anti-corruption enforcement, and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) flew to Kabul this week with a warning to Karzai that his actions put at risk U.S. funding and congressional support for the war. …

Salehi is a Pashtun from Wardak province who heads the administration of Afghanistan’s National Security Council. Salehi has played a key role in support of Karzai’s efforts to win reconciliation with Taliban insurgents and end the war in Afghanistan. The current and former Afghan officials said he had spoken regularly by cellphone with Taliban representatives and had arranged meetings between the Karzai administration and members of the Taliban …

The Afghan officials said that the investigation had determined that Salehi had also been involved with making cash payments from a palace fund to pay off Karzai’s political supporters, and distributed gifts such as armored Land Cruisers and luxury Lexuses.

“He was one of the most trusted staff members in the palace to do special things,” said one Afghan official with direct knowledge of the case. …

One of the special things he did was to accept a bribe not to investigate bribery:

Wiretapped conversations had also produced evidence that Salehi had accepted gifts, including a car provided to his son, in return for playing a role in opposing a corruption investigation aimed at New Ansari, the nation’s largest money-transfer business, which was raided by investigators in January. “The talk on the intercepts was pretty clear that this car was intended to get Salehi to interfere with the investigation,” said a senior U.S. official who worked with Afghan anti-corruption teams. The American official said the evidence had been presented to Afghanistan’s attorney general, Mohammad Ishaq Aloko, who signed an arrest warrant for Salehi and instructed the Major Crimes Task Force, an Afghan police unit mentored by the FBI, to execute the arrest. …

On July 25 … Salehi was taken to a counternarcotics detention center in Kabul.

By 6 p.m. the same day, however, police with the Major Crimes Task Force received a second letter from Aloko, the attorney general, ordering Salehi’s release.

An Afghan official with direct knowledge of the case said that Aloko had come under “enormous pressure” from Karzai to set Salehi free. A second Afghan official with direct knowledge of the events said that Aloko “received an order from the president” that Salehi be released. …

According to the Afghan officials, corruption investigators now say they fear for the safety of their families and do not believe it is possible to convict those close to the president. They do not expect Salehi to be indicted. Some believe the two elite task forces will be disbanded.

That would be a blow to General Petraeus. Apparently he’s pinned his hopes on them, believing that the country could be “restored” to stability if only the corruption could be got rid of.

Gen. David H. Petraeus the new American commander, has made clear that he sees the effort as central to restoring stability to the country.

So the story of Salehi is not encouraging to those who still believe there is something to be won in Afghanistan. To others it bears a message of despair.

The shaming of America 0

It looks increasingly probable that America’s long military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are ending in failure and ignominy.

Bush’s surge succeeded. Iraq was won. It seemed at least possible that the country’s experiments with democracy might continue. But Obama has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. His premature withdrawal of American troops is bringing its logical consequence – a resurgence of terrorism and civil strife.

And his announcement that American forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan next summer works like an instruction to the Taliban merely to have patience and they’ll be left a clear field.

Frank Gaffney writes:

Back in February, Vice President Joseph Biden declared: “I am very optimistic about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration.”  Even for a politician much given to strategic ineptitude compounded by foot-in-mouth disease, that was a doozy.As has been pointed out innumerable times since, if Iraq turns out to be a truly “great achievement” in any ordinary sense of the word, Mr. Biden and Barack Obama – two of the most insistent opponents of George W. Bush’s efforts to consolidate Iraq’s liberation – are among the last people in Washington who should take such credit.

Worse yet, unfortunately for the Iraqi people and others who love freedom, it looks increasingly as though the Obama administration will have the loss of Iraq as one of its most signal accomplishments.

Three murderous suicide bombings in Baghdad over the weekend are but the latest indication of the renewed reality there: Those determined to use violence to destabilize the country, foment sectarian strife and shape Iraq’s destiny can do so with impunity.

The fact that the Iranian embassy was one of the targets suggests Sunni extremist groups – perhaps including the once-defeated al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) – are responsible for this round of attacks. Elsewhere in the country though, Shiite death squads that may or may not have ties to the pro-Iranian factions currently running the country are ruthlessly liquidating prominent tribal leaders and others associated with the movement in Anbar Province known as The Awakening. The latter were instrumental to the success of the U.S. surge and to the opportunity thus created for an Iraqi future vastly superior to its despotic and chaotic past.

Among the objects of the growing violence are individuals who stood for office in the recent parliamentary elections. This amounts to post facto disenfranchisement of the Iraqi voters whose turnout of over 60 percent – in the face of threats by anti-democratic forces that voting would be deemed a capital offense – powerfully testified to their desire to exercise the right enjoyed by no others in the Mideast except Israelis: to have a real say in their government and future.

Sadly, all other things being equal, that popular ambition seems unlikely to be realized. There is an unmistakable vacuum of power being created by President Obama’s determination to withdraw U.S. “combat” forces no matter what, starting with the cities a few months ago and in short order from the rest of the country.

Increasingly, that vacuum is being filled by Iran and its proxies on the one hand and, on the other, insurgent Sunni forces, both those aligned with al Qaeda and those that have, at least until recently, been suppressing the AQI. On what might be called the third hand, Iraqi Kurds are experiencing their own internal problems as well as an increasingly ill-concealed inclination to assert their independence from the rest of the country.

The signal of American abandonment was made the more palpable by Team Obama’s decision to dispatch Christopher Hill as its ambassador to Iraq. Hill is the diplomat best known for his determination during the Bush 43 years to appease, rather than thwart, the despot most closely enabling the realization of Iran’s nuclear ambitions: North Korea’s Kim Jong Il. The unreliability of the United States as an ally – a hallmark of the Obama presidency more generally – is reinforcing the sense that it is every man for himself in Iraq.

The prospects of any “great achievement” in Iraq are being further diminished by the direction to the Pentagon to shift personnel and equipment from Iraq to Afghanistan. The President himself reinforced that commitment during his speech to U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base last week. The detailed planning and ponderous logistics associated with such a transfer increasingly foreclose options to change course. Our commanders will soon be hard pressed to preserve today’s deployments of American forces in Iraq, let alone to have them take up once again the sorts of positions in the urban areas that they held to such therapeutic effect during the surge.

The inadvisability of relocating U.S. forces from the strategically vital Iraqi theater to the marginal Afghan one is made all the greater by another grim prospect: The mounting evidence that our troops will be put in harm’s way in Afghanistan simply to preside over the surrender of that country to one strain of Shariah-adherent Taliban or another. There, too, President Obama has publicly promised to begin reversing his mini-surge by next summer, again irrespective of conditions on the ground. And his insistence on “engaging” at least some of those who allowed the country to be used as a launching pad for al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks augurs ill for the Afghan people (especially the female ones) – and for us. …

The repercussions of the Obama administration losing Iraq will cost us dearly in the future as adherents to Shariah around the world are reinforced in their conviction of that our defeat and submission is preordained. Even if, at the moment, we cannot fully comprehend the implications of such a perception, we will know from here on out whose “great achievement” precipitated the resulting horror for America and the rest of what was once the Free World.

How to win the war (1) 2

The President told the truth (uncharacteristically) when he conceded, some days after a terrorist tried to blow up a plane over Detroit, that America is at war.

But he did not tell the whole truth when he said who the enemy is. He named al-Qaeda, but that’s like naming one battalion in a conventional engagement. There are many battalions on the enemy’s side in this fight: Hizbullah, Hamas, the Taliban, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and many more.

It is absolutely necessary to say plainly who the enemy is.

To call it ‘terror’ was always a misnomer. Terror is an emotion. Even the more accurately referential ‘terrorism’ would not be right. Terrorism is a method, a tactic, a means, not a movement or a cause.

What else has been tried?

‘Extremists’ and ‘extremism’ ?  Wide of the mark.

‘Islamism’ ? Nearer. But wait – ‘Islamism’ does not exist. There is no ‘Islamist Manifesto’. There is no tradition of ‘Islamism’.  Can it even be defined?  It is an invention of Western pundits who want to avoid offending what is charitably called ‘the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims’.

For years now American politicians have been pretending not to see it, refusing to speak it, but they know very well the name of the enemy. And it brings them up against a peculiar difficulty, because it is the name of a religion, and freedom of religion is a foundation stone of the Union. The United States of America is a conscientiously tolerant nation. Within its boundaries, no religion may be prohibited.

Or is that not entirely true? Would religions that require human sacrifice be tolerated? They still exist in Africa and India. Immigrants have brought them to Europe. A couple of years ago the remains of a child was found in the Thames and  investigators found that he had been ritually sacrificed by an African religious sect.

It may be argued that such tribal cults of ritual magic cannot deserve the same respect as a moral religion that has well over a billion followers worldwide, as is the case with Islam.

And Islam is the name of the enemy. In must be said however shocking it feels to say it: The name of the enemy is Islam.

It certainly has over a billion followers, but is it a moral religion? ‘An immoral religion’ would describe it more accurately.

In view of the difficulty Western civilization has in declaring a religion to be inimical, even when it has declared itself to be so, it’s better to think of Islam as an ideology – which it is. All religions are ideologies, even if all ideologies are not religions.

Islam is the religio-political ideology of an illiterate warlord of the dark ages.

It is a totalitarian ideology.

It is a collectivist ideology, and like all collectivist ideologies, it claims to be the unique repository and disseminator of truth, and demands unquestioning submission to its authority.

It is centered on a dual power, a divinity and a particular man inseparably bound to each other. The man, as the sole conduit of divine truth, dictated a book and a body of sayings that established a code of conduct and set of laws. These can never be altered and must be taken literally. They ordain that to kill and be killed for their deity is the highest duty of the faithful. They declare that females are inferior to males, and imply that females exist solely to serve the physical needs and appetites of males.

It is universalist. It assumes the obligation to bring all mankind into its community, or umma. It holds that everyone is born a member of the umma but many fail to realize this and are drawn away to false beliefs and practices. It is the duty of all the faithful to recover the lost members. It will use persuasion, offering to welcome ‘reverts’, but those who cling obstinately to their false beliefs must be forced to capitulate or die. It is therefore unremittingly at war with the rest of humanity. Peace will only come, it teaches, when the whole world is Muslim. In the meantime Islam will allow certain other religions to continue if they are not overtly polytheistic and if their devotees accept social abasement and legal discrimination, and pay tribute to their Muslim overlords.

That is the nature of the enemy. It has always been in a state of war against the rest of us by the compulsion of its beliefs. From time to time since its inception in the 7th century, it has risen and hurled itself in furious battle against the ramparts of our culture. For the last half-century or so it has been in active conflict with the West in general and the United States of America in particular. From its own point of view it is continuing the war it has always waged to subdue the world in accordance with the will of its god and prophet.

This is the war being waged against us now. We have no choice but to fight it.

The name of the enemy is Islam, and once it is identified the next thing to do is devise ways to vanquish it.

How then? If another country is your country’s enemy, you can invade it, or wait for it to invade you and defend yourself from its attack, or you can do both at the same time.

American armed forces are engaged with this enemy in two of the countries where he predominates and in which he plots against us. We may win those battles, but if we do we’ll not have won the war. Victories on geographical battlefields will not vanquish this enemy. Psychological warfare will achieve much more.

Consider this for an act of psychological warfare: At the heart of the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are enjoined to make at least once in their lives, is the holy Kaaba, a huge cube of a building covered with black silk in the middle of a mosque. Although it existed before Muhammad was born, it is Islam’s holiest site. All Muslims everywhere turn towards it every time they pray. It shelters the Black Stone, a piece of a meteorite that Islam dates ‘from the time of Adam and Eve’. If the Kaaba were bombed and the Black Stone pulverized, just think how demoralizing that would be for the enemy.

And how else can we defeat a foe who is not only spread over many countries but is also here in our midst, thriving and increasing dangerously amongst us, and striking at us unpredictably and at random?

(More to follow.)

If not that, what? 0

Truth is, they don’t know what the hell they’re fighting for.

The following extract is from a Washington Post report on the grinding process by which Obama eventually arrived at a decision on how to proceed in Afghanistan:

In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. … “Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population.”

“Is that really what you think your mission is?” one of those in the Situation Room asked.

On the face of it, it was impossiblethe Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a significant part of the population. “We don’t need to do that,” Gates said, according to a participant. “That’s an open-ended, forever commitment.”

But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, and it was enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan — the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.

“I wouldn’t say there was quite a ‘whoa’ moment,” a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. “It was just sort of a recognition that, ‘Duh, that’s what, in effect, the commander understands he’s been told to do’.”

Read it all if you have the stamina.

Posted under Afghanistan, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 11, 2009

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Wasted lives 1

Five British soldiers were shot dead Tuesday by an Afghan ‘policeman’ they were training.

An unnamed soldier contributed this to The Independent:

When I heard the news this morning, I thought “Christ, five in one go…” I was shocked and saddened – but I was not surprised that it had happened. I’m surprised it took this long.

We went out to Helmand to mentor the Afghan National Police without understanding the level they were at. We thought we would be arresting people, helping them to police efficiently. Instead we were literally training them how to point a gun on the ranges, and telling them why you should not stop cars and demand “taxes”.

Most of them were corrupt and took drugs, particularly opium. The lads would go into police stations at night and they would be stoned; sometimes they would fire indiscriminately at nothing.

They had no understanding of the basics of what it means to be a policeman. We expected to be teaching adults at a certain level and then realised we would be changing nappies. Give them 20 rounds and they will hit the target once.

The first time I saw them I realised that they had almost no training; some of them had very little ability. Their uniforms were dirty and didn’t fit. Their weapon-cleaning was non-existent.

They certainly didn’t have a concept of being upstanding members of the community. They had no loyalty, esprit de corps or cameraderie. …

How do you train this band of idiots and turn them into a force to be reckoned with if they have no sense of loyalty, no sense of belonging?

The biggest problem was that we didn’t know who we were getting. There were no security checks – they were literally allowed to come into the compound and we had to rely on the local chief of police, who recruited them. We kept a close eye on them because we didn’t know or trust them – it was for our own security.

Perhaps half of them genuinely wanted to try to make the community safe: they had the right intention but the attention span of gnats. Twenty would turn up one day, none the next, then 15, then suddenly a new face would appear.

It was difficult just getting them to a basic level, to do things like man a post. They would take drugs, go to sleep, leave their post, have sex with each other. Very few were vigilant or alert. …

British troops felt extremely vulnerable. If they were going out on patrol they didn’t tell the Afghans where, so they couldn’t pass on the information – they didn’t want improvised explosive devices (IEDs) laid in the area. They didn’t trust them one bit.

There was an operation involving the Brits and the Afghan National Army to clear Nad-e-Ali, and it cost lives. The police were left at checkpoints, but within 48 hours all the checkpoints had been overrun or the police just buggered off. As soon as the ground was won it was lost again. …

Lives get lost for nothing. …

I am convinced that a lot of money has been wasted and people have lost their lives unnecessarily because it was for a political end, and not a military decision. The British Army has been pushed into doing something it should not be. …

Posted under Afghanistan, Commentary, Defense, Islam, jihad, Muslims, United Kingdom, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 5, 2009

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Struggling with a culture called Islam 3

On September 1, George Will wrote that it was time to stop the war in Afghanistan. Broadly speaking, we agree with him – we have said that the war is pointless. (See A pointless war, August 20, 2009.) To us the most interesting part of the article was this:

The Economist describes Hamid Karzai’s government – – his vice-presidential running mate is a drug trafficker – – as “so inept, corrupt and predatory” that people sometimes yearn for restoration of the warlords, “who were less venal and less brutal than Mr Karzai’s government”.

We don’t trust the Economist, and the statement that people (who exactly? How does the reporter know?) yearn for the restoration of the warlords (did they ever go?) is prima facie unlikely. But that the Karzai government is corrupt, venal and brutal we fully believe. Also that his running-mate is a drug-trafficker. How many rich and influential Afghans are not well-connected to the opium industry, we wonder. And isn’t it like wondering how many rich and influential Saudis are not well-connected to the oil industry?

George Will’s article has been much discussed in the blogosphere. By far the best discussion of it, and of the Afghan war in general – the one with which we are in closest agreement – is by Diana West in Townhall:

Finally, some debate over U.S. war policy in Afghanistan. Or at least debate over George F. Will’s call to pull the plug on U.S. war policy in Afghanistan, headlined “Time to Get Out of Afghanistan.”

The negative response from conservatives was revealing. It showed that after eight years of America’s post-9/11 war efforts, which started out as President Bush’s vaguely named “war on terror” and never crystallized into a cogent strategy against the jihad driving the “terror,” ambiguity and confusion still cloud the prevailing thinking, from the conventional wisdom to war strategy.

Most conservative rebuttals ignored Will’s reckoning of just how grossly ill-suited Afghanistan is to the hallucinogenic U.S. policy of constructing a modern society out of dust as our military worms affection from a hostile population. Instead, they focused on the concept of leaving Afghanistan — a move I, too, have advocated since April in my column and at my blog as a necessary precondition to better repulsing global jihad. Such an effort is, or should be, a multi-level campaign to reverse jihad’s ultimate goal, which is to extend Islamic law by both violent and other means. In this larger context, Afghanistan is not only just one front, it is also a front too far.

Most of my conservative colleagues, however, see withdrawal from Afghanistan as surrender.

This assumption, based in the fallacy that U.S. forces are simply fighting an army called “the Taliban,” rather than struggling with a culture called Islam shared by enemy and civilian alike, makes sense only if withdrawing from Afghanistan means ending our efforts against global jihad. The point of withdrawal is not to stop destroying America’s active enemies in Afghanistan or elsewhere … The point of withdrawal is to stop trying to create an American ally out of Sharia-supreme Afghanistan, something we attempted at great expense in Sharia-supreme Iraq, and failed.

Of course, what animates and drives most conservatives today is their vision of Iraq as a “success,” and their desire to repeat that “success” in Afghanistan. What has become increasingly clear to me, however, is that an infidel nation cannot fight for the soul of an Islamic nation. This, in effect, is what our “nation-building” troops have been ordered to do both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let me rephrase: An infidel nation can indeed fight for the soul of an Islamic nation. It just can’t win it.

It also turns out there is nothing there for infidels to win. After six U.S.-intensive years, Iraq remains just another OPEC-participating, Israel-boycotting, Hezbollah-sympathetic, Sharia-supreme, anti-U.S. entity with new and improved ties to Iran. Why? Our belief systems, Islam’s and the West’s, are so diametrically opposed that our interests cannot intersect. Left and Right in this country, however, scrub this truth and its centuries of confirming history from all policy — an antiseptic way to view conflict in the world that will always miss the cure by ignoring the germs.

On this count, Will’s column is no different, never once contemplating Islam. Which is why his conclusion may be a little fuzzy. Describing his “offshore” alternatives to basing a massive army inside Afghanistan, Will identifies the key mission as “concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.”

I’m not sure what Will means by calling Pakistan “a nation that actually matters.” Certainly, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal “matters” because it could hurt us, and thus our national security demands an execution-ready plan to neutralize it. But Pakistan, a jihad-based culture, doesn’t “matter” in terms of fitting into an anti-jihad alliance — the ultimate goal, whether admitted or not, of efforts to work together. It can’t. Quick facts: Pakistan’s army’s motto is “Faith, piety and holy war in the path of Allah.” Seventy-eight percent of its people, the latest Pew Poll tells us, support the death penalty for leaving Islam. Not exactly our ideal match.

But we keep such politically incorrect facts out of focus. Then we struggle to see why things go wrong. More clarity is required. More debate is essential. Eight years after 9/11, this means finally reckoning with Islam — discussing jihad, analyzing Sharia, understanding dhimmitude — as a strategic factor in U.S. policy.

One thing we can be sure of: such a ‘reckoning with Islam’ will not happen on President Obama’s watch. He likes Islam.