Category Archives: Iraq

FOXNEWS: West Point report describes Islamic State threat as crisis 4 years in the making

A new report from the West Point counterterrorism center challenges the notion that the Islamic State only recently became a major terror threat, describing the network’s gains in Iraq as a crisis four years in the making.

Meanwhile, Fox News has learned that top aides to President Obama expect the threat from the organization, also known as ISIS or ISIL, to outlast Obama’s time in office.

The details underscore the challenge facing the U.S. government and its allies as the president and military advisers weigh how — and where — to confront the Islamist militant forces.

“ISIL did not suddenly become effective in early June 2014: it had been steadily strengthening and actively shaping the future operating environment for four years,” the report from the West Point center said.

Sure, 4 years in the making, but the choice, if anyone was thinking about it to make a choice, I think was just which four years.

I’m not sure it wasn’t inevitable, no matter who was President; just a matter of sooner or later. The only solution is to raise our game to a level of ruthlessness that our modern sensibilities will not countenance. We don’t have to go full Mongol and kill them all. We don’t even have to go biblical and kill all the men and take the women and children as our own. But we do have to decide that Total War can be an imperative, that we must engage in it.

As for our sensibilities, the—well “reasons” gives too much credit for thinking it through, but I don’t know a better word—the reasons that we lack the mettle to be ruthless is our cultural sensitivity.  If there is a population out there that is so near the edge, that they can be radicalized by how we fight the war, then by all means, push them past that edge and let them die on our pikes as they charge. Let them become enraged by our actions. Enraged opponents may be fierce, but emotional people make mistakes that we should be happy to seek out and exploit.

And we have to remain unemotional doing it.  We can neither afford to love it or hate it and warriors that find themselves doing either must be sidelined.  We have to be cold and dispassionate about the business even while being energetic and passionate in executing it.

We have to shake off the traditional American lack of fervor in the fourth phase of warfare, which is pursuit.  We must pursue—hunt them down and kill them where we find them with whatever means we have available for doing it.

ISIS Vulnerable?


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.

Soldiers Caught Cheating on Tests

US Army Soldiers have been caught cheating on tests they have been given while in Iraq.

Failing the tests might mean either evacuation for treatment or an early ticket home.

They want to stay, to finish the job and support their buddies, so badly that they obtained a copy of the test and memorized key words. A new test was recently put into use and it’s not clear if that was in response to the cheating, or it was the change that lead to the discovery of it.

The test is supposed to guage short-term memory in an effort to uncover the subtle, early, effects of Traumatic Brian Injury (TBI).

Filed Under: Cry Me a River

Calling it “a potential death sentence,” several hundred diplomats expressed their resentment Wednesday over a new State Department policy that could force them to serve in Iraq or risk losing their jobs.

The very first question I’d ask, if I had any of these [cough] selfless public servants in front of me, is how many of you have ever said, “there’s no military solution”? That phrase, of course, is widely misunderstood, or deliberately misrepresented, as meaning that the use of the military has no place. But either way, a strong diplomatic effort is a requirement and if the diplomats don’t step up then selection is the only alternative.

Speaker Pelosi annoys me yet again….

sent here:

I saw a clip of your appearance on ABC’s This Week and it made me angry. Why do you and others in the Democratic leadership continue to try to smear our military with Abu Graib? How many convictions must be made before you’ll accept that the actions there were not sanctioned by the government? You owe our men and women in the Army an apology for continuously insinuating that they condone immoral and illegal acts.

I mean really, the third in line for the presidency should know better.

things that make me angry….

sent to Sen. Reid.

You made this claim in your statement today:

“And what’s worse – Limbaugh’s show is broadcast on Armed Forces Radio, which means that thousands of troops overseas and veterans here at home were forced to hear this attack on their patriotism. Rush Limbaugh owes the men and women of our Armed Forces an apology.”

Forced!? really!? How many AFN stations are there Sen. Reid? You do realize that they play programming that soldiers are surveyed about so it’s what they want to hear? My husband is in the Army National Guard, has been deployed a couple times, and your statements about the war have upset him much more than anything Rush Limbaugh could say, because you are an elected leader of our country. Perhaps you should spend more time governing the country and less time worrying about what some right-wing opponent says.

These people are so stupid it hurts. I mean GAAAAAH!!!!! What could be more “irresponsible, hateful, and unpatriotic” than telling the troops they’ve lost the war and their tactics have failed before they’ve even been fully implemented?

update: Sen. Tom Harkin seems to be taking this personally, as well he should.

and yet more at Hot Air.

For Immediate Release

The Oklahoma Army National Guard announced today that the 45th InfantryBrigade Combat Team (BCT) has received their mobilization order for duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 45th has been on alert for possible duty in Iraq since last April. On Oct. 19th more than 2,400 Oklahoma ArmyNational Guard Soldiers will be mobilized for active duty in Iraq. For Brig. Gen. Myles Deering, the Brigade’s commander, it is bitter-sweet news. “We have known for several months that the mobilization order was in the works, but until you actually receive the order the possibility of deployment doesn’t seem like a sure thing,” he said.”Now we can focus on the job at hand,” said Deering. “It is never easy to send Soldiers into harms way, but the Soldiers and the families of the 45th accept the mission and will carry on with courage and determination.”

The 45th recently completed 28-days of pre-mobilization training at Camp Gruber, Okla. and Ft. Chaffee, Ark. The Soldiers trained on basic weapons marksmanship, Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), land navigation, convoy operations, improvised-explosive device recognition, physical fitness improvement and combat-life saving. The weapons training consisted of familiarization and qualification with the new M4 carbine rifle and a number of crew-served weapons, as well as, 9mm pistol qualification, hand grenade qualification, live-fire exercises and night-fire exercises. Before mobilizing, the 45th will conduct another 15-day training period beginning Sep. 10th.

During the Pre-mobilization Training (PMT) the Soldiers of the 45th will continue training on basic Soldier skills and participate in Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP). During the SRP each Soldier will undergo additional medical screenings, legal briefs, finance record reviews, in addition to several other crucial pre-mobilization tasks.

“Before we begin the final pre-mobilization training period, I would like to thank the families, communities and employers of our Guardsmen. Without your support there would not be an Oklahoma Army National Guard and your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed,” said Deering. The 45th will have a farewell ceremony on Oct. 18th before moving to Fort Bliss, Texas, for approximately ten weeks of intensive, mission-specific pre-deployment training. Once every Soldier has successfully completed their training the 45th will deploy in early 2008. All Soldiers affected by this deployment are expected to be back home one-year from their mobilization date.


Interviewed last night…

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

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!