Negotiating With Terrorists, We’ve Already Lost


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. }

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


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.


Another reason to leave Afghanistan

Another reason to leave Afghanistan

From the AP news wire….

We learn 2 things.

1. We know why they were so adamant to get control of the prison at Bagram… to release their friends.

2. They have no concerns for the safety of our troops. They are releasing prisoners who are a threat to foreign troops and have dragged out the negotiations for our continued presence in AFG.

The US stated we would be completely out of AFG in 2014 without a status of forces agreement by the end of 2013.  I hope we hold ourselves to this threat.  I haven’t heard any update from the White House.

Syria Debate 2.0 and a Prediction of Syria’s Future

Before Mondays meeting with Senator John McCain and Graham both men had stated the administrations call for limited strikes was inadequate. According to the WSJ “said they couldn’t support isolated military strikes without a broader plan to change the dynamic of the civil war.” Apparently the President is considering their request.

I find this interesting as 3 months after the White House authorized the CIA to arm the moderate rebels, according to the WSJ not a single weapon has gone forward due to a fear for the outcome if they succeed… I think they also fear the weapons going in to the wrong hands once in Syria.

So they question I pose as a former planner.. Are we trying to deter and degrade chemical weapons capability or is our strategy going to expand to make a difference in the civil war? I see the latter expanding our continued involvement in Syria despite our fear of the result.

According to the press, Pentagon (CENTCOM actually) planners were told not to offer strike packages that could help drive Assad from power, but the McCain//Graham request to modify our strikes seems to open this line of bombing as an option. Silly me, but if we bomb shouldn’t we be taking out chemical weapons capability by bombs, UAVs or other options? Oh yeah, I forgot, with all of this build up Syria has had plenty if time to hide their weapons and chemicals, further reducing the effectiveness of a military strike now.

So do we now have a grand strategy for transition of power in Syria? Who is in charge of Phase 6 operations…rebuilding, and whose troops and $$ will pay for this? Who is planning for the next step?

If Congress votes for expansion, what is our desired end state? Who would we push to take over? Right now there is no valid political “govt” that could take over despite the attempts of Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the last 2 years. I fear that the best organized and the most brutal AQ groups would fight for total control – as the have the best weapons and monetary backing of the rebel groups.

Let me be honest, I am no fan of Assad, but ffwd a little to if he is taken out – If AQ and some extreme Sunnis take the helm expect a battle between the Sunnis for control, a slaughter of the Alawite minority- like Iraq Sunnis a decade ago- and continued fighting among the minorities and faction such as the Kurds/Sunni/Sh’ia groups.

Sectarian strife would continue and the possible breakup of Syria. The Iraqi Kurds have already said they will come to aid their brothers. I know Qatar and Saudi Arabia will continue to support their friends, and Iran the same. Meanwhile the US will still be looking for the Moderate rebels and wondering how we need to help.

Oh yeah, wasn’t this action supposed to be deter and degrade chemical weapons capability? Wasn’t this supposed to be multilateral operations led by our President who was given a Nobel prize for multilateral diplomacy in 2009?

Above is my prediction for the road ahead on our current course of action. I can only hope that our military planners are providing the same warnings to the Central Command Commander for his discussions with the President.

But as I know from my studies, war is just an extension of politics, and our President seems keen on more involvement. I just hope Congress or he realizes the pull of continued operations once you get involved. I believe Gen Powell was the one who stated about Iraq ” if you broke it, you bought it… ” and we would be looked at to be the transition force.

It would be nice though to know precisely what our strategy and desired end state is going forward and if our military action even supports that strategy OR helps the rebels.


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