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Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Dr. Ben Carson on Fighting Islamic State

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 17, 2015

The spread of Islamic extremism and the disintegration of Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa are spiraling out of control.  While President Obama’s policies are note fully responsible, it is undeniable that the problems have become progressively worse under of his Administration.  Some of his policies have exasperated the problem include:

  1. The decision to withdraw all American forces from Iraq, including intelligence and training personnel. That decision allowed Al Qaeda to make a comeback in Iraq now under the banner of ISIS.
  2. Obama dithered when it came to the Syrian protests/revolution. That allowed the radicals to gain control of the events in Syria.
  3. The President made a decision to help take down the Libyan dictator Gadhafi. While possibly an appropriate decision, just like in Iraq, Obama left the vacuum that has since been filled by radical Islamists.

ObamaObama has taken the naïve position that America and its previous projection of power created many of the world’s ills.  The President’s retrenchment in the past six years and the significant increase in the radical Islamist’s power projection prove this policy wrong.  The President also believes that by not calling the battle a “war on terror” or the enemy radical Islamists that there is no war.  Since Obama’s election six years ago, terrorism has increased throughout worldwide and the radical Islamists control more territory in the Middle East and North Africa than ever.  There is a war ongoing and it has been declared by the enemies of the West.

Ben CarsonOne of the GOP presidential contenders is Dr. Ben Carson, a world renowned neurosurgeon. Carson has proven his intellect in the field of medicine.  He has yet to prove his mettle in the politics.  Still, Carson offers clarity and conviction when he speaks on issues.  When asked how he would handle the problem of the Islamic State, Carson said:

They’re extremely sophisticated and they have tentacles that are growing throughout the world. They’re still in their adolescent stage and this is the time when we can crush them.  But if we allow them to mature into a full-grown tree, with deep roots and thick branches, it’s going to be almost impossible.  We need to do it now.  I would use every resource available: military, banking, sanctions, you name it.  And I would not hesitate to put boots on the ground.  We need to be the leaders.  The coalition will form if it has a leader.  But you can’t sit around saying, ‘Oh, you guys do this.’ … This is serious.  So I would commit everything to eliminating them right now.”

Carson then quoted Winston Churchill: “Fight your enemy while you can beat them.”  Agree with Carson or not, he has a vision and strategy that is clear and definable.

The West needs to define a strategy to fight the war against terror and Islamic extremism.  This strategy must first be defined prior to implementing a plan of action.  It is unlikely that President Obama has the ability or the will to define such a strategy, which will result in further dithering by the United States until after the next president is elected.  The question is whether our enemies will wait that long.

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Posted in Radical Islam | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ISIS – JV to Dangerous American Enemy in One Year

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 12, 2015

Yesterday President Obama sent a request to Congress to authorize the use of military force against ISIS who has created a country in parts of Syria and Iraq.  During their land grab ISIS has murdered American, British and Japanese hostages and killed many civilians.

The debate on Obama’s request to Congress is in full swing.  Some suggest that he should have requested the authorization when he initiated the current limited bombing campaign against ISIS.  Others are concerned about mission creep that often accompanies authorizations.  Still others feel that the authorization is not broad enough or that the President has not come up with a goal and/or strategy for the military campaign.

While the above debate is necessary, it masks a more serious issue concerning President Obama’s exhibited skills as Commander-in-Chief of the military.  In January 2014, only 13 months ago, Obama showed a total lack of understanding of ISIS, its ability, or threats.  When asked about ISIS’s and its gains Obama compared them to the JVs stating: ‘The analogy we use around here sometimes and is accurate is if a JV team puts on Laker uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

How do they go from being JV to one of the most dangerous terrorist forces in the world in less than a year?  The answer is that they were not JV when Obama made the inappropriate comparison.  It was obvious than that ISIS was a much greater threat.  Since then Obama has been slowly ramping up not only his perception of the ISIS threat, as well as increasing the use of military force against them.  This has culminated in his current request to Congress.

Why did the President get the ISIS threat so wrong?  It could not have been lack of intelligence given the gains they already made in Syria and Iraq.  It is likely that Obama did what he so often does; ignore reality and dither.

This is not the first time the President made the wrong call on Iraq.  His miscues include:

Opposing Iraqi Surge – As a senator, Obama opposed President Bush’s surge stating:  “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.  I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there.  So I am going to actively oppose the president’s proposal.”  History proved Obama wrong.  The surge worked.

Withdrawing all Troops from Iraq – Since before being elected president, Obama made a commitment to withdraw all American troops from Iraq quickly.  This has been a cornerstone to his policies and politics since, ignoring potential consequences.  His statements include:

  • “….. with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008.”
  • If we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home.  We will bring an end to this war.  You can take that to the bank.”
  • Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.”
  • Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

Adding an explanation point to his promise to get out of Iraq, Obama said in the fall of 2012:  “I said I’d end the war in Iraq,  I ended it”.  It is evident that Obama did not end the war in Iraq.  Instead, by withdrawing all assets he left a power vacuum that has been filled by Islamic terrorists.  Now he is forced to reintroduce assets from a degraded strategic position and at greater cost.  The request for authorization to use military force in Iraq includes:

“The President is authorized, subject to the limitations in subsection (c), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces as defined in section.” … This is a broad authorization.  The request proves that Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq was premature and led to increased violence in that country, as well as the greater region, and now requires that the United States go back in to clean up the mess.

Obama’s naïve view of America’s role in the world, foreign policy and the Middle East is now apparent.  He came into office believing that by merely changing the way we project power will improve not only America’s worldwide stature, but are security.  These conclusions have been proven fallacious.  The Middle East is more dangerous to American interests than it has been in modern history.  In addition, America has thrown so many allies under the bus in the past six years that are stature worldwide has declined.  Incredibly, President Obama continues to maintain that his policies have been successful.  This is either an indication of delusionary thinking or blatant misrepresentation.

Posted in Iraq, Syria | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Doubletalk on Ending Iraq War

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 12, 2014

Barack Obama ran for his first term promising to end the war in Iraq. After becoming president Obama often bragged about fulfilling that promise.  Unfortunately, the President’s often repeated claim was false.

Six years after Obama took office it has become more apparent what he meant by “Hope and Change”.  He would hope for events to make positive changes in the country and world.  Unfortunately, hope is not a plan.

While President Obama did indeed pull US troops out of Iraq and called the war over, wars are between at least two parties. They cannot end unilaterally.  The war in Iraq continues.  While it was started by Bush, it is now Obama’s war.

Posted in Iraq | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Leftist Piers Morgan Slams Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 2, 2014

By the day more rats are leaving a sinking ship. This week it was former CNN host, Leftist Piers Morgan, who jumped ship.

Jamie TregidgoSince leaving CNN, Leftist commentator Morgan was named editor-at-large of MailOnline. In a scathing column for MailOnline, Morgan says that Obama “committed professional suicide” when went on 60 Minutes and blamed the intelligence community for ISIS gains in the Middle East and further said that the President “single-handedly alienate 200,000 employees in the American intelligence agencies by going on 60 Minutes and ruthlessly chucking them all under a bus over the rise of terror group ISIS.” On this issue Morgan concludes that the President’s action was “a more shameless, reprehensible display of buck-passing it would be hard to find from a sitting President”.

Adding insult to injury, Morgan concludes by admonishing Obama that “it’s time he got off the damn golf course, got up to speed with his intelligence briefings and focused on wiping out ISIS,” before they wipe out more of the people he serves.”

President Obama likely yearns for the good old days when mainly those on the Right criticized his policies and style. As for Morgan and other Leftist in the mainstream media; shame on you. Six years into a presidency you finally begin to speak up on the incompetent and narcissistic behavior of the man. You must also accept responsibility in a failed presidency.

Posted in Mainstream Media, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

America’s Incoherent Foreign Policy

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 9, 2014

It can be argued that George W. Bush made poor foreign policy decisions. Bush made an ill-conceived decision to invade Iraq. While that took down a nasty dictator, there were no weapons of mass destruction, the purpose of the invasion. Bush’s Afghanistan invasion was initially successful and necessary. However, once the Taliban and were taken down the mission morphed into nation building with no chance of success. Obama continues this failed policy six years into his presidency.

It can be said that President Obama has no foreign policy. He jumps from crisis to crisis with slowly developing tactical responses that have failed. In Libya, Obama helped take down Qaddafi and that country has since become a failed state housing terrorists. In Syria, Obama dithered in backing Democratic protesters during the early days of the Arab Spring. Now, the country is in Civil War with radical Islamists dominating the opposition to Assad. Iraq is in the process of disintegrating into three countries with radical Islamists controlling up to a third of it.

George Friedman of strafor.com wrote a piece titled Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy, link supplied below that begins:

“The United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the consequences of defeat would be manageable.”

Friedman’s call of Obama foreign policy “off-base” is an understatement. The Obama policies are also ill-conceived and naïve. However, this not only falls on the President, but also on the American electorate who voted in a Community Organizer with no foreign policy experience to the most important diplomatic position in the world.

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

Posted in Foreign Policy, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Current Iraqi Turmoil Predicted in 2011

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 19, 2014

Below is a posting originally included on this Blog on November 6, 2011. For President Obama and his administration to now act as if the current catastrophe in Iraq was not predictable strains credibility.

U.S. Fears Surge of Qaeda Terror in Iraq (Originally Posted November 6, 2011

The New York Times published an interesting and disturbing story on Iraq and the potential for future terrorism emanating from that country. Following are quotes from the Time’s article:

  • As the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq by year’s end, senior American and Iraqi officials are expressing growing concern that Al Qaeda’s offshoot here, which just a few years ago waged a debilitating insurgency that plunged the country into a civil war, is poised for a deadly resurgence.
  • I cringe whenever anybody makes a pronouncement that Al Qaeda is on its last legs,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the American military’s top spokesman in Iraq. “I think one day we are going to look around and say it’s been a long time since we have heard from Al Qaeda, and maybe then we can say it is on its last legs.”
  • Iraqi analysts express fears that ties between Al Qaeda and members of the former ruling Baath Party may be re-forming.
  • According to General Buchanan, there are 800 to 1,000 people in Al Qaeda’s Iraq network, “from terrorists involved in operations to media to finance to fighters.”
  • A Defense Department official familiar with the Qaeda affiliate said that the group’s leaders and foot soldiers are Sunni Arabs from central, western and northern Iraq.

The Times articles both is curious and perplexing. This publication, along with many Left-leaning news media, was quite vocal during the Bush Administration with their position that Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had no connections to international terrorism. Now, the media takes a contradictory position. While disappointing, this is not surprising for the mainstream media that has become a mouthpiece for the Left.

Posted in Iraq | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Obama Sending US Troops Back to Iraq

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 19, 2014

Here we go again.  The New York Times reported that President Obama has announced he is sending 300 military advisers back into Iraq.  Obama said: “We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if we conclude the situation on the ground requires it”.

Then the President did his typical two-step, indicating he will not send combat troops to Iraq, but that the US advisers will help Iraqis “take the fight” to the insurgents.  It is hard to comprehend the difference between combat troops and advisers who will “take the fight” to the government of Iraq’s enemies.  US soldiers entering that combat zone become combatants.

If protecting the current dysfunctional government of Iraq is so important to America’s interest, why then did President Obama remove all US soldiers from that country in the first place?  More leading from behind?

Posted in Iraq | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Iraq and Afghanistan in Turmoi

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 3, 2014

It has been a dozen years since the 9/11 attack by Islamic terrorists on the United States.  That attack ultimately led to US invasions of Afghanistan and later Iraq.  History will judge the results of these wars with mixed results.

Most Americans supported the invasion of Afghanistan who harbored the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and refused to expel them.  The initial war effort under the Bush Administration was brilliant.  With a relatively small number of American special forces and using indigenous forces, the Taliban were relatively quickly and painlessly routed from power.

After the overthrow of the Taliban America’s strategic goals in Afghanistan became muddled.  The Bush administration properly determined that winning a war in that country was not feasible and therefore went on a holding action while it focused on Iraq.

The inauguration of Barack Obama offered the United States a choice on Afghanistan.  After approximately a year of dithering Obama decided on Afghan surge, but added with a definitive pullout date for American troops.  This was a strategy doomed for failure.  The Afghans have been fighting foreign invaders for centuries.  Informing them that all they had to do was hold out a few years was but an invitation for their ultimate victory.

A CNN poll released last month shows the low level of American support for the war in Afghanistan.  That support is now below 20% of those polled, down from 52% at the time of Obama’s first election.

President Obama campaigned for his first term with the promise of ending the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  The fact that Americans are still dying in Afghanistan five years later is but one of another of his broken promise.  The reality that the Taliban are likely to regain power once we leave demonstrates a wasted effort and the loss of American treasure.

The outcome of America’s efforts in Iraq is faring no better.  The last American troops departed Iraq in late 2011.  Since then the country has gone from relative stability to fracturing.  The New York Times reported that radical Sunnis aligned with Al Qaeda are successfully gaining control in Falluja and Ramadi.  These two areas were pacified by American troops with great sacrifice during President Bush’s surge.  The Times has reported that Iraqi civilian casualties are approaching a five-year high.

The sole responsibility for America’s involvement in Iraq rests with President George W. Bush.  However, Barack Obama has been president for over five years and must now bear partial responsibility for the deteriorating situation there and in the greater Middle East.

  • President Obama’s decision to back the ouster of Libyan dictator Qaddafi has resulted in that country devolving into chaos.
  • The current Syrian Civil War may have been averted had Obama backed the Democratic protesters during the first few months of the unrest.  This Syrian conflict is now spilling over into Lebanon.
  • The ongoing Egyptian turmoil has not benefited from Obama’s decision to throw its previous dictator, Mubarak, under the bus.

Add to the above the US’s fracturing relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran’s continued March to nuclear weapons and a story unfolds of a pitifully inept and dangerous foreign policy on the part of Barrack Obama.

Posted in Middle East | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nancy Pelosi’s Uses 5-year Old as an Excuse for Attacking Syria

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 4, 2013

Nancy Pelosi once again showed herself to be an intellectual lightweight.  In the video below Pelosi discusses a supposed discussion she had with her five-year old grandchild in a contorted explanation of her support of Obama’s desire to attack Syria.  Ignoring for a moment the lame overall approach of bringing a five–year old into the argument, she justifies an attack on Syria based on that country’s use of chemical weapons on its own people.  How disingenuous.  This is the same Pelosi who excoriated George W. Bush for his decision attack Iraq, a country that used chemical weapons to kill many times the number of civilians.  More Liberal logic.

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Chuck Hagel to be Nominated for Defense Secretary

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 6, 2013

220px-Chuck_Hagel_official_photoIt is reported that former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel will be nominated by President. Obama for become his next Secretary of Defense.  It would be nice if this nomination of a Republican was done in the name of bipartisanship.  However, even a cursory review of Hagel’s past indicates other motivations by the President.

Tom Cotton, Republican Congressman elect from Arkansas wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled A Soldier’s-Eye View of Chuck Hagel with concerns about this upcoming nomination.  Cotton, who served as a US infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, offered the following concerns:

  • At the height of the Iraqi insurgency problem, Hagel made precisely the wrong conclusions about that war.  In November 2006, while a Senator from Nebraska, Hagel wrote an op-ed published in the Washington Post suggesting a rapid withdrawal from Iraq stating that further effort would not yield positive results.  Hagel called President Bush’s surge “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam“.  History has proven Hagel to totally off base with this assessment with the surge becoming a significant success.
  • In 2007, Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.  There can be little justification for this vote against not only America’s enemy, but clearly terrorists who to this day support the Syrian regime that has killed 60,000 of its own people.

Hagel has shown other propensities that make him to be a peculiar choice for Defense Secretary. Over the years he showed skepticism relating to America sanctions against Iran, a policy that is the centerpiece being pursued currently by President Obama.  In addition, he has been unwilling to isolate terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah.  In addition, he has taking a rather adversarial approach towards Israel once making the incredible statement: “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.

Chuck Hagel is likely qualified to be Secretary of Defense, not only because of his past political experience, but also as a veteran.  In addition, presidents should be given leeway on their choice for cabinet members.  At the same time, Hagel’s choice by Obama again shows that this president is a divider who is unconcerned by the portion of American’s that take it as an affront when radicals such as Hagel are appointed to position of power in his administration.

Posted in Politics, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »