Category Archives: GWOT

ISIS Vulnerable?

140611_ISISmapiraq06102014

ISIS was once an insurgent guerrilla force.  But no longer.  ISIS is a conventional force. They have tanks, APCs, howitzers….  They can’t hide that aspect and remain a conventional force–they can move some small assets around, but not in numbers, and certainly not their heavier elements.

Seems to me that ISIS has left itself vulnerable to the same kinds of attacks that were used on Coalition forces–guerrilla style hit-and-run attacks, roadside ambushes. There is no deep security. Opposition would need only the ability to withdraw to the countryside and blend in, or, if unable to blend in, move far enough away with an ability to navigate the countryside (GPS?).

Look at the map above.  There are a number of choke points that could be used to make a nightmare of their need to support themselves, tactically and logistically.  Especially if a conventional force were to harass those “control zones” by way of distraction and harassment.

SEN Obama’s Judgment

Senator Obama has repeatedly denied the success of the surge, credited anything but the surge for reductions in violence in Iraq, and attempted to doom it to failure before it was even fully implemented. Senator Obama in his own words:

  • “The surge is not working,” Obama’s old Iraq plan stated (on website). Daily News, 7/14/08
  • “We don’t need more spin about how the surge is succeeding in doing what it was supposed to do which is to get the Iraqi’s to stand up and take responsibility for their own future, so we can start sending our troops home.” Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At a Town Hall, Rapid City, SD, 5/31/08
  • “I welcome the genuine reductions of violence that have taken place, although I would point out that much of that violence has been reduced because there was an agreement with tribes in Anbar province — Sunni tribes — who started to see, after the Democrats were elected in 2006, you know what, the Americans may be leaving soon, and we are going to be left very vulnerable to the Shi’as. We should start negotiating now. That’s how you change behavior.” Democratic Debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H, 1/5/08
  • “So, I think it is fair to say that the president has simply tried to gain another six months to continue on the same course that he’s been on for several years now. It is a course that will not succeed.” Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate 9/13/07
  • “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.” MSNBC’s “Response to the President’s Speech On Iraq,” 1/10/07

Other quotes:

  • “So far, I think we have not seen the kind of political reconciliation that’s going to bring about longterm stability in Iraq.” Obama speaks during a news conference at the citadel in Amman, Jordan, Tuesday, 7/22/08
  • “But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.” Barack Obama, Op-Ed, “My Plan For Iraq,” The New York Times, 7/14/08
  • “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” Obama For America Website, Accessed 7/3/08
  • “The Problem — The Surge: The goal of the surge was to create space for Iraq’s political leaders to reach an agreement to end Iraq’s civil war. At great cost, our troops have helped reduce violence in some areas of Iraq, but even those reductions do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006. Moreover, Iraq’s political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war.” Obama For America Website, Accessed 7/3/08
  • “The overall strategy is failed because we have not seen any change in behavior among Iraq’s political leaders. 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada 11/15/07
  • “And it is very important at this stage, understanding how badly the president’s strategy has failed.” 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College 9/27/07
  • “My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now.” NBC’s “The Today Show,” 7/18/07
  • “Given the deteriorating situation, it is clear at this point that we cannot, through putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve.” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” 10/22/06

While on his trip to Iraq, Senator Obama suggested he would shrug off the counsel and advice from commanders on the ground with regards to force levels. In a television interview from the US Embassy, Senator Obama made the following statements:

Barack Obama ABC Nightline Interview, July 21, 2008
ABC’s Terry Moran: “And then we sat down with [Barack Obama] to talk about what has become an open disagreement between military commanders here and Obama, over his plan to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a 16-month timetable. Did General Petraeus talk about military concerns about your timetable?”

Barack Obama: “You know, I would characterize the concerns differently. I don’t think that they’re deep concerns about the notion of a pullout per se. There are deep concerns about, from their perspective, a timetable that doesn’t take into account what they anticipate might be some sort of changing conditions. And this is what I mean when I say we play different roles. My job is to think about the national security interests as a whole, and to have to weigh and balance risks, in Afghanistan, in Iraq. Their job is just to get the job done here. And I completely understand that.”

Moran: “But the difference is real. Commanders here want withdrawals to be based on conditions on the ground. Obama emphasizes his timetable, but he insists he would remain flexible. I’m going to try to pin you down on this “

Obama: “Here let me say this, though, Terry, because, you know, what I will refuse to do, and I think that, you know…is to get boxed in into what I consider two false choices, which is either I have a rigid timeline of such and such a date, come hell or high water, we’ve gotten our combat troops out, and I am blind to anything that happens in the intervening six months or 16 months. Or, alternatively, I am completely deferring to whatever the commanders on the ground says, which is what George Bush says he’s doing, in which case I’m not doing my job as commander-in-chief.”

(H/T: Veterans for Freedom)

The truth though is very different than Senator Obama depicts it.

  • The Surge has been spectacularly successful in flushing al Qaeda in Iara from their strongholds. Thousands of fighters have been killed or captured.
  • US losses in Iraq have fallen dramatically; just five Americans killed in combat in July 2008–the lowest level of a war with historically small casualty rates. There were 66 fatalities in the same month a year ago – and 137 in November 2004.
  • Sectarian bloodletting, which was never a “Civil War” no matter the wishful thinking of the Senator or NBC News, has plummeted, with numerous Sunni tribal leaders abandoning their former Al Qaeda allies.
  • Shi’ite radical Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army was thoroughly routed by the Iraqi military. This is of enormous significance, as the only way the Coalition, yes the Coalition–SEN Obama arrogantly speaks and makes promises as though the US was the only interested party, can safely disengage is if the Iraqis can defend themselves. Confidence is a tremendous factor in that and this early, yes early–it takes 20 years to build a modern military, success has given the Iraqi forces a critical ego boost.
  • Despite the constant refrain form SEN Obama and his proxies, Speaker Pelosi, SEN Reid and others, that there has been no progress by the Iraqis, the Iraqi government has met all but three of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress to demonstrate security, economic progress, and political reconciliation. They likewise ignore the security gains themselves and many instances of Iraqi civilians reporting problems and suspicions to Iraqi and Coalition forces–that kind of bottom up reconciliation may well be more permanent and stronger than any top down imposed reconciliation the government could engineer.
  • As for the fiction that Iraq has been a distraction, the wider war against terror has shown significant progress; the number of incidents of terrorism outside Iraq’s borders have “in fact gone way down over the past five years,” per Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria – and popular support for Islamo-fascist organizations have declined precipitously in the Muslim world.

Some in Washington…

PREVIEW

Our warriors on the ground–Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines–understand their role is not to set policy, but instead to execute the mission set before them. And in doing so, despite the defeatist sentiment emanating from Capitol Hill, they kept moving forward and took the fight to our enemies…and the surge worked.

The response you’ll hear from the Copperheads that despite successes, that the surge did not serve it’s intended purpose. Keep tuning in and we’ll also help you understand why that’s not true.

A parting shot from Cicero?

Replying to my X-post on Vets on the Hill, days after it expired from the front page over at Protein Wisdom Pub, Cicero says:

hmmm, that is one way to make an argument: allege it about something other than that it is….

As for your brothers (and sisters?), can I assume you will be hoisting a brew with the Appeal for Redress crowd?

Good day

While I would not turn down the company of fellow service people, it’s much more likely that I’d be at the table with the Appeal for Courage group. After all, I signed that petition.

I’ll drink their beer, or buy one for them, but I would never sign onto Appeal for Redress.

As said the real Marcus Tulius Cicero:
Pares autem vetere proverbio, cum paribus facillime congregantur.[?]

As for what it is, I can only explain what motivates me. It seems Cicero oversteps to try to shove what I find important and worthwhile into his narrow view of the issues at hand. At the least perhaps this Cicero will find that my deeds match my words.

Interviewed last night…

I was interviewed over the phone last night by Ericka Anderson of Human Events.com.

Turns out that Signaleer is the number one hit if you search “testimony Vets for Freedom.” Probably shouldn’t be that way and if I get the chance I’ll talk to VFF folks about Search Engine Optimization.

Nevertheless, that’s how Ms. Anderson found, first my blog, and then my e-mail link (right hand toolbar).

From the Vets for Freedom site:

America has been waiting three years for a winning strategy in Iraq, and we finally have one in General Petraeus’s counter-insurgency strategy; Al Qaeda in Iraq is on the run, and rouge militias are being marginalized. We must do everything we can to make sure Congress doesn’t surrender in Iraq, just as we are turning the corner there.

The event is Ten Weeks to Testimony. VFF is calling for those who still support the war and victory of it to engage members of congress between now (5 weeks in at this posting) and the testimony of GEN Petraeus on “the Surge.”

The call went out last week for vets to go to Washington D.C. to support the General with our presence. I’m going to go. Follow that link and you can find things there that you can do too, even if you can’t get to DC.

From the article:

“It’s a crucial moment this summer while progress is happening in Baghdad, political will is going to the other way,” [VFF Director, Pete] Hegseth said. “If you can get vets around these members [of Congress], they’re going….to have the intellectual ammunition to say no surrender.”

What? You thought I’d quote myself? Heck if you’re interested, go read the article.
(And I’ve just revealed my real name out here for the first time, too.)

Click the image above to sign up!

41 Reasons Why I Support the War on Terror

The following is a synopsis of forty-one terrorist incidents that have resulted in US fatalities. The list begins with the event that initiated my own awakening to this problem, the bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. This is when I believe we should have begun the Global war on Terror. I’ve advocated it ever since.

This list only includes fatal attacks and only those with US victims. Not listed here are those that did not result in loss of life. Kidnappings and property damage incidents are also not listed.

October 23, 1983 — Simultaneous suicide truck bombs on U.S. and French compounds in Beirut, Lebanon. A 12,000 lb bomb destroys a US Marine Corps base killing two hundred and forty one U.S. citizens; another fifty eight Frenchmen are killed when a 400 lb device destroys one of their bases. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility. U.S. and French aircraft strike suspected terrorist bases in the Beka’a valley in retaliation.

November 15, 1983 — US Naval officer, CAPT George Tsantes, shot by November 17 terrorist group in Athens, Greece, when his car stopped at traffic lights.

March 16, 1984 — CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, William Buckley, kidnapped by the Iranian backed Islamic Jihad. He was tortured and then executed by his captors.

April 12, 1984 — Eighteen US servicemen killed and eighty three people injured in bomb attack on restaurant near USAF base in Torrejon, Spain. Responsibility claimed by Hezbollah as revenge for March bombing in Beirut.

September 20, 1984 — Suicide bomb attack on US Embassy in East Beirut kills twenty three people, 8 of them US citizens, and injures twenty one others. The US and British ambassadors were slightly injured in the explosion which was attributed to the Iranian backed Hezbollah group.

December 4, 1984 — Kuwaiti airliner hijacked en-route to Pakistan from Dubai by Iranian backed Iraqi Shia terrorists. The aircraft was forced to land in the Iranian capital, Tehran, after two U.S. citizens had been killed. The terrorists surrendered to the Iranian authorities and are later released.

February 7, 1985 — Under the orders of narcotrafficker Rafael Cero Quintero, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar and his pilot were kidnapped, tortured, and executed.

June 6, 1985 — Red Army Faction bomb explodes at Frankfurt Airport, Germany, killing three people. A TWA Boeing 727 was hijacked en route to Rome, Italy, from Athens, Greece, by two Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut, Lebanon. The eight crews and one hundred and forty five passengers were then held for seventeen days, during which one U.S. hostage was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers, on the aircraft’s return to Beirut the hostages were released after the US Government pressured the Israelis to release four hundred and thirty five Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

June 14, 1985 — A Trans-World Airlines flight was hijacked en route to Rome from Athens by two Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut. The eight crew members and 145 passengers were held for 17 days, during which one U.S. hostage, a U.S. Navy sailor, was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers, the aircraft was returned to Beirut after Israel released 435 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

August 8, 1985 — Three US servicemen are killed and seventeen injured in Red Army Faction bomb and gun attack on Rhine-Main airbase, Germany.

October 7 1985 — Four Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists seize the Italian cruise liner, Achille Lauro, during a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean, taking more than seven hundred people hostage. One US passenger, Leon Klinghofer, was murdered before the Egyptian Government offered the terrorists safe haven in return for the hostages’ freedom. US Navy fighters incepted the Egyptian aircraft flying the terrorists to safety in Tunis and forced it to land at the NATO airbase in Italy, where the terrorists were arrested. The Italian authorities however let two of the terrorists leaders escape on diplomatic passports.

March 30, 1986 — A Palestinian splinter group detonated a bomb as TWA Flight 840 approached Athens Airport, killing four U.S. citizens.

April 2, 1986 — Two US citizens are killed by the explosion of a bomb aboard a TWA Boeing 727 bound from Rome to Athens. Nine others are injured.

April 5, 1986 — Two US soldiers are killed and seventy nine U.S. servicemen are wounded in Libyan bomb attack on a night club in West Berlin, Germany.

April 14, 1987 — US Navy club in Naples, Italy, bombed by Japanese Red Army killing five.

April 24, 1987 — Sixteen U.S. servicemen riding in a Greek Air Force bus near Athens were injured in an apparent bombing attack, carried out by the revolutionary organization known as 17 November.

November 14, 1987 — Seven people are killed and 37 injured by the explosion of a booby-trapped chocolate box in a wing of the American University in Beirut.

December 26, 1987 — Catalan separatists bombed a Barcelona bar frequented by U.S. servicemen, resulting in the death of one U.S. citizen.

April 14, 1988 — The Organization of Jihad Brigades exploded a car bomb outside a USO Club in Naples, Italy, killing one U.S. sailor.

June 28, 1989 — Greek terrorists attacked and killed US Naval Attache, CAPT William Nordeen, in Athens. Nordeen used an armored car due to the persistent threat of small arms attack. Terrorists of the November 17th Organization (N-17) placed 50 pounds of explosives in a stolen car 100 yards from his apartment and command detonated it as he drove by. The attack followed several weeks of surveillance by the terrorists

August 8, 1988 — Pakistan president Zia Al Haq and US ambassador are killed, along with thirty seven other people, when a bomb explodes on a C-130 Hercules aircraft just after take off from Bahawalpu, Pakistan.

December 21, 1988 — Pan Am Boeing 747 blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, by a bomb believed to have been placed on the aircraft at Frankfurt Airport, Germany. All 259 people (189 US citizens) on the aircraft were killed by the blast which has been attributed to a number of Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Two Libyan intelligence operatives are being tried in connection with this attack.

February 26. 1993 — World Trade Center in New York, USA, badly damaged by a massive bomb planted by Islamic terrorists. The car bomb was planted in an underground garage and left six people dead and more than one thousand people injured.

July 19, 1994 — A commuter plane exploded in flight over the Santa Rita Mountains. Among the 21 victims were Israeli nationals, dual Israeli-Panamanian citizens, and three US citizens.

January 15, 1995 — A US tourist was killed and her husband was seriously wounded when Khmer Rouge rebels attacked their sightseeing convoy. A tour guide also was killed when the assailants fired a rocket at the van.

March 8, 1995 — Two unidentified gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles opened fire on a US Consulate van in Karachi, killing two US diplomats and wounding a third. The Pakistani driver was not hurt.

November 13, 1995 — A car bomb explosion in the parking lot of the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM/SANG) in Riyadh, killed seven persons and wounded 42 others. The deceased include four US federal civilian employees, one US military person, and two Indian Government employees. The blast severely damaged the three-story building, which houses a US military advisory group, and several neighboring office buildings. Three groups, including the Islamic Movement for Change, claimed responsibility for the attack.

January 31, 1996 — Suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eel am (LTTE) rammed an explosives-laden truck into the Central Bank in the heart of downtown Colombo, killing 90 civilians and injuring more than 1,400 others. Among the wounded were two US citizens, six Japanese, and one Dutch national. The explosion caused major damage to the Central Bank building, an American Express office, the Intercontinental Hotel, and several other buildings.

February 26, 1996 — A suicide bomber blew up a bus, killing 26 persons, including three US citizens, and injuring some 80 persons, including three other US citizens. HAMAS’s Izz al-Din al-Qassem Battalion claimed responsibility for the bombing in retaliation for the Hebron massacre two years before, but later denied involvement. HAMAS also issued a leaflet assuming responsibility for the bombing signed by the Squads of the New Disciples of Martyr Yahya Ayyash, the Engineer, claiming the bombing was in retaliation for Ayyash’s death on 5 January 1996.

March 4, 1996 — A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv’s largest shopping mall, killing 20 persons and injuring 75 others, including two US citizens. HAMAS and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) both claimed responsibility for the bombing.

June 25, 1996 — A fuel truck carrying a bomb exploded outside the US military’s Khobar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, killing 19 US military personnel and wounding 515 persons, including 240 US personnel. Several groups claimed responsibility for the attack, which remains under investigation.

December 11, 1996 — Five armed men claiming to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) kidnapped a US geologist at a methane gas exploration site in La Guajira Department. (The geologist was killed, and his body was retrieved by Colombian authorities in February 1997.)

September 4, 1997 — Three suicide bombers detonated bombs in the Ben Yehuda shopping mall in Jerusalem, killing eight persons, including the bombers, and wounding nearly 200 others. A dual US-Israeli citizen was among the dead, and seven US citizens were wounded. The Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), claimed responsibility for the attack.

November 12, 1997 — One day, after the conviction of Mir Aimal Kansi, two unidentified gunmen shot to death four US auditors from Union Texas Petroleum and their Pakistani driver after they drove away from the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. The Islami Inqilabi Council, or Islamic Revolutionary Council, claimed responsibility in a call to the US Consulate in Karachi. The Aimal Secret Committee, or Aimal Khufia Action Committee, also claimed responsibility in a letter to Pakistani newspapers.

August 7, 1998 — A bomb exploded at the rear entrance of the US Embassy in Nairobi, killing 12 US citizens, 32 Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs), and 247 Kenyan citizens. Approximately 5,000 Kenyans, six US citizens, and 13 FSNs were injured. The US Embassy building sustained extensive structural damage. The US Government is holding terrorist financier Osama bin Laden responsible. Almost simultaneously, a bomb detonated outside the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, killing seven FSNs and three Tanzanian citizens, and injuring one US citizen and 76 Tanzanians. The explosion caused major structural damage to the US Embassy facility. The US Government holds Osama bin Laden responsible.

February 25, 1999 — The FARC kidnapped three US citizens, according to media reports. The victims worked for the Hawaii-based Pacific Cultural Conservancy International. On 4 March the bodies of the three victims were found in Venezuela. FARC leaders claimed rogue elements within the organization were responsible.

March 1, 1999 — According to French diplomatic reports, 150 armed Hutu rebels attacked three tourist camps, killed four Ugandans, and abducted three US citizens, six Britons, three New Zealanders, two Danish citizens, one Australian, and one Canadian national. On 2 March, US Embassy officials reported the Hutu rebels killed two US citizens, four Britons, and two New Zealanders. The rebels released the remaining hostages.

September 6, 2000 — Thousands of armed militiamen and their supporters rampaged through a U.N. office in West Timor, killing at least three workers – including one from Puerto Rico – and burning their bodies.

October 12, 2000 — In Aden, a small dingy carrying explosives rammed the US destroyer, USS Cole, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39 others. Supporters of Osama bin Laden are suspected.

That’s 573 US lives lost. The next incident on this list would be the September 11, 2001 attacks. Terrorists hijack four US commercial airliners taking off from various locations in the US in a coordinated suicide attack.

It was a slow start; we’re finally rolling.