Negotiating With Terrorists, We’ve Already Lost

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A 2008 Presidential candidate quote stated President Bush

didn’t use the full force of American power to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden, al-Queda, the Taliban, and all of the terrorists responsible for 9/11. Hmmm.

Another quote by Defense Secretary Chuck Bagel during his Senate confirmations..

We didn’t negotiate with terrorists

This past Monday White House Press Secretary would not call the Taliban a terrorist organization, but only

an enemy combatant

.

I think our military, our allies, and Afghanistan may disagree. They went on to belabor the point that we have always negotiated in times of war… ( forgetting our long standing US position of not negotiating with terrorists)

While I am not upset that Sgt Bergdahl is coming home, I am surprised at how it happened and how words are being twisted to make it sound less harmful than it probably is. I will save the debate on if he was a deserter or AWOL as that will soon come to light.  What is interesting is press reports from Dianne Feinstein, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman who says that when the idea was brought up in 2011 as an idea for a trade it was almost unanimously rejected. Hmm again.

What changed? Did the President know more? Did he need a boost in the polls., I would think that would not be his reasoning, did he know more than the military – outlasting his CENTCOM CDRs?

Did President Obama inform the Congress 30 days prior to releasing prisoners from GitMo as required by law? No.

Did the President perhaps consult our Afghanistan or Pakistan allies on releasing 5 Taliban members (4 of which are senior leaders) for their opinion on this proposal? I think not since the Afghan govt seems to be upset.

Did the President look at some of our past Gitmo releases to see if they returned to combat? I don’t know but apparently it was not a deciding factor as many have been seen in Yemen, Afg, Iraq, and Syria among others according to press reports.  A few have ever been taken out by our drones.  Most recently, 3 Gitmo detainees that were returned to Morocco 10 years ago, and despite assurances that they would be monitored,  left Morocco and were the founding members of the AQ rebel group in Syria. Hmm.

Now we are told by the White House that the emir of Qatar has personally guaranteed that these 5 members will be fully monitored and will not be allowed to leave that country for a year. Sounds to me like a good amount of time to recover, raise funds, re-engage AQ via the internet, and return to fighting in AFG or elsewhere in a year.  In fact the news is reporting Gulf sources saying the 5 Taliban members are

with family, can travel anywhere in Qatar for a year, and can go anywhere including Afghanistan after a year.

 

{Update June 6, One of the Taliban Cdrs in Qatar has already vowed to return to AFG and kill Americans there.  http://news.yahoo.com/report-freed-taliban-commander-vows-return-war-against-165007948.html }

So it brings the question

What are we assured of by the emir?

So when these terrorist..err enemy combatants kill US soldiers and or citizens in a year or two, who will tell the families that this trade was worth it? Who will tell the parents of the next US citizen or soldier who is kidnapped by AQ or the Taliban? Who will tell the government of Afghanistan when they return to the Taliban as

heroes?

Coincidentally, these fabulous 5 from Gitmo could be returning to Afghanistan as we pull out almost completely next fall of 2015.  I’m sure they will live peacefully, love the AFG government, and won’t harbor any ill will against the US citizens still there in the embassy or the hundreds of charitable organizations throughout the country.

But I guess that hardship and realization will happen in the next administration after this President is gone from Washington and only those of us who appreciate history will remember.

I wish I knew what changed..

I apologize for any formatting errors. The android WordPress app is not as easy as typing on the computer for WYSIWYG.

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How Obama became a bystander President

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How Obama became a bystander President

Fortunately for me, I read this in the Calgary Globe and Mail editorial page.  It’s a good summary of President Obamas’ presidency from the Great White North.  From a brilliant campaign, promises to unite, then separation, and missed promises.

Iraq Makes a Plea

Iraq Makes a Plea

Today an Op-Ed in the NY Time by the Prime Minister of Iraq.  This leads his upcoming visit to the White House next week.  Promising more help on AQ and Syria, the Prime Minister is looking for accelerated delivery of F-16s, increased intelligence sharing, and more weapons such at helicopters and night vision equipment.

Karzai not in a hurry… We are.

Karzai not in a hurry… We are.

With 2014 approaching and the drawdown coming, President Karzai seems to be in no hurry to sign a future forces agreement. If he thinks the pressure is on President Obama, he is sadly misreading him. The President can’t wait to announce all combat troops are out of AFG. I bet all of his budget planners wish the same.

Rumor says Karzai wants us to guarantee defense of Afghanistan in case of invasion. Ok, are we signing a training mission or an alliance? We are talking about training forces. If no agreement -we are gone. We should be pulling all our extra gear out now, which I believe we are, and plan forward with the amount of troops we think are likely. If we get to 6 months prior to the next troops deployment order without an agreement, just announce the deadline has passed and we a don’t deploy any more troops there.

Will dragging this out push us to give him “modern weapons?” I don’t think I need to answer that one.

I think he forgets we have to plan for future training missions a year out…and we are a year out. It’s time to plan get out.

No pressure on us either.

Is it War, or does it Matter?

A week ago, President Obama told us that he did not need Congressional approval to bomb Syria. Then after seeing the International Coalition dissolve, he proclaimed he would get backing from Congress. Now Sen Kerry states (Interview from the HUFF Post):

“Constitutionally, every president, Republican and Democrat alike, has always reserved to the presidency, to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the right to make a decision with respect to American security,” Kerry said during an interview in his State Department reception room on Thursday.

“Bill Clinton went to Kosovo over the objections of many people and saved lives and managed to make peace because he did something that was critical at the time. Many presidents have done that. Reagan did it. Bush did it. A lot of presidents have made a decision that they have to protect the nation.”

So do they need Congress? I don’t know. Apparently they want a scapegoat if it goes south.. Otherwise , (tic) well, you better vote for it Congress, or the President might do it anyway..

Are we going so that we can save the people and provide peace like Kerry states in his interview or are we going to uphold the “international laws” against chemical weapons that Syria has never signed? Oh yeah, and without UN backing or any sort of NATO or Coalition force. Somehow we will also do it with limited strikes that will “punish” Assad but somehow not destabilize the security of the weapons. (or destroy them for that matter) Never mind our tired military since 9/11, limited stockpile of tomahawk missiles (well over a $1 million a piece), sequestration, and a Congress that never passes a military fiscal budget before a fiscal year starts.

Even larger in the debate, doesn’t military action without international sanctions violate “international law” ?

Do we need to declare “war” with Congress? Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post asked in her editorial this morning:

What would we call it if another country fired missiles our way? ….

I know what the Syrians will think of it.

Will this “non-war” punishment make a difference to Assad? I doubt it. Would it have made a difference to Qaddafi? Oh yeah, it didn’t matter there either. He would fight to the death like Saddam. Will this change the momentum on the battlefield? Perhaps 3 days of strikes could. But who will take charge? Who has the best weapons and is the most brutal? I let you answer that.

Worried about the weapons falling into the wrong hands or AQ elements taking charge of the weakened state of the Syrian government.. ? (From the Huff post interview)

But if we “degrade” the structure for controlling those weapons, how do we keep them from getting into the wrong hands without some kind of on-the-ground involvement?
Let me give you the reverse question. If we don’t send this message to Assad that this should not be used, and if we don’t strengthen the opposition over a period of time through the support that the world is giving to them, and the United States backs off of sending this message, there is a much greater likelihood that those weapons will fall into the hands of the bad guys and a much greater likelihood that you will have a lot more of them, because those are the people who are going to get the support to remove Assad.

But the specific question is, if you degrade the delivery systems, how do you keep those materials from getting into the wrong hands?
By being very thoughtful in your selection of what you do, so that you do not undo his ability to be able to maintain and guard the actual stockpiles. Stockpiles are spread out in various parts of the country. And we know where they are. And the United States is obviously going to be very careful not to do something that makes matters worse.

So to summarize his answers, Sen Kerry believes the chemical weapons are more likely to fall in to the wrong hands if we don’t strike. Don’t worry, he’s not going to strike anything that affects the chemical weapons or their security. As he says, he’s talked this all through. Really? Thats our assurance? You’ve talked it through? Sorry, I’ve seen post strike Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and you think it will be alright? Did those work out as planned? Uh, no.

In the end I feel like I’m on a roller coaster from the White House. A year ago chemical weapons are a red line. A year later 100k Syrians are dead with perhaps a million refugees and we don’t say anything until Syria’s second chemical attack.

“We must attack within 48 hours”

“We can’t wait on the UN inspectors report”

“We have a large Coalition with us”

“I don’t need Congress to authorize this immediate threat”

“I will seek Congress’ authorization” (for this immediate threat but not until next week, oops 2+ weeks)

“But I don’t need their authorization”

“We will punish them militarily” (but not destroy the weapons themselves)

(To get some Republicans onboard) “We will change the momentum of the battlefield”

“If they hand over their chemical weapons we won’t attack”

Don’t worry about Syria’s response, AQ, rebuilding Syria or affiliated extremists.. “We’ve talked this all through”

My question is, what is next in the plan?

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