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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

19 Embassies Closed; Carney still Claims Al Qaeda on the Run

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 9, 2013

This past weekend saw the Obama Administration order the closings of 19 US embassies throughout North Africa and the Middle East.  Today the State Department warned nonessential Americans to be on alert and leave Pakistan.

While embassies have been closed in the past for security reasons, the scope of the current closings is unprecedented.  Does the United States have a growing terrorist problem?  Assuming the Administration’s current steps are necessary, then the answer is an unequivocal “yes”.

Given the current high level of terrorism threats there was a remarkable exchange this week between the press and the mouthpiece for the President, Jay Carney.  When questioned about his previous comments that Al Qaeda was on the run Carney would not back down as shown in the text and video below.

While Jay Carney is an embarrassment to this Country, he is but an extension of Pres. Obama’s personality placing style above substance.

“There’s no question that core al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been severely diminished.” 

“It’s leadership decimated and there’s no question it’s on the run.”

“For many years now, it has been less organized and less capable of coordinating attacks on a scale that it was able to do, most notably on 9-11.  And that remains the case.”

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Water Boarding Versus Drone Assassinations

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 25, 2012

It the early days of the Obama presidency, the Administration attacked President George W. Bush’s war on terror policies.  This included Obama’s promise to close the Guantánamo Bay terrorist detention center, which still remains open.  There were also announcements of prosecuting some involved in the war on terror including CIA employees who used enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding.  While the Administration did not follow through on this politically motivated war against its predecessor, it caused embarrassment for the Country and fear within the intelligence community.  The Leftist mainstream media was an eager assistant in the Administration’s effort.

Nearly four years later it is instructive to review the Obama Administration’s related policies against suspected terrorists.  No longer is there talk about enhanced interrogation techniques, but that is not a guarantee that such techniques are not being used.  However, the Obama Administration’s increased use of targeted assassinations through drone strikes has conveniently eliminated the possibility of such interrogation in many cases.

The mainstream media does not seem to a problem with Obama’s use of assassinations.  In fact, when it does report on this issue it does so with a callous attitude towards the killings.  Today’s New York Times published an article titled Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy, which demonstrates this remarkable metamorphosis by the press.

The Times reported that during the Obama presidency, there have been over 300 drone strikes by the CIA killing approximately 2.500 people including suspected terrorists and innocent bystanders.  These attacks have occurred in various countries without permission including Pakistan and Yemen that have created ill will towards America.

The Times also reported that prior to the recent presidential election, there was concern in the Administration that Romney might be elected and therefore began creating legal papers to define and add constraints on the drone assassination program.  The President raised a related issue in mid- October on The Daily Show saying: “One of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making.”  However, after his reelection the Administration has placed this effort on the back burner.

The United Nations has announced plans to investigate America’s drone strikes.  It is likely they will find the program in breach of international law.  This raises the interesting question as to whether the President could be subject to prosecution by an international court.  Given that the United Nations is run by Progressives with similar views to those Leftists currently occupying White House should give Obama concern.  Hopefully his successor will act with more dignity concerning this issue than Obama did concerning the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding.

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Taliban Assassinate 14-year-Old Girl

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 11, 2012

In yet another sign of the brutality of radical Islam, the New York Times reported that the Taliban assassinated 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan.  The young girl’s crime: she dared call for equal rights for women.

In confirming their role in the assassination, Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan stated: “She has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it,” and that if she survived her serious wounds, they would try to kill her again.

For her courage and speaking out, Ms. Yousafzai was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and was awarded her Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.  This recognition threatens the power of conservative and radical Islamists in their drive to maintain power and to subjugate women.

Politicians including Barack Obama often proclaim Islam’s peaceful intent.  While this is true of many followers of Islam, it not publicly proclaimed by the majority of followers.  While followers of Islam will march in the streets by the 10,000s to protest a distasteful cartoon, there is not one protest for the brutal shooting of a brave 14-year-old Muslim girl.

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US-Pakistani Relations Deteriorating

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 15, 2012

The United States and Pakistan have had a tenuous relationship over the years.  While at times acting like an ally, Pakistan often has played a two-sided game that included supporting terrorists.  Such double-dealing in diplomatic affairs unfortunately occurs, especially when dealing with dysfunctional countries like Pakistan.

US-Pakistani relations deteriorated significantly in recent years.  This degrading relationship came to a head in 2011 when America’s Seal team assassinated Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil without involvement or permission by Pakistan.  The relationship has since gotten worse with America’s ongoing and uninvited drone attacks on suspected terrorists on Pakistani soil.  In addition, a Pakistani doctor, Shafiq Alfridi, who assisted the US and putting it to bin Laden has been sentenced to over three decades in a Pakistani jail for these efforts.  Adding insult to injury, the Pakistanis have refused to allow the United States to use supply lines through its country for the Afghan War.

One theme Barack Obama used during successful campaign for presidency was how he was going to improve United States’ relations with other countries.  He blamed his predecessor George W. Bush’s approach to foreign policy as a reason for poor relations with some countries.  This naïve approach indicated Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience.  Countries pursue agendas and policies that are in their best interests, not because of a relationship with a foreign leader.

One of the first steps Obama took after becoming president was his well-publicized outreach to the Islamic world.  This effort has been a failure.  Iran is as belligerent is ever, Syria’s regime is killing people by the thousands, and Pakistan-America relations have never been worse.  However, disintegrating relations are not limited to Muslim countries.  America’s relations with Israel had been frayed under the Obama Administration and a Cold War is heating up between the United States and Russia.  If the president is responsible for relationships between United States and other countries as Obama proffered during the campaign, then he receives a failing grade for the current state of relations with various countries.

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Pakistani Doctor Sent to Jail for Helping US Find Bin Laden

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 23, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reported that Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi has been sentenced to 33 years in a Pakistani prison.  His crime?  Dr. Afridi helped the CIA tracked down Osama bin Laden who was killed last year in Pakistan by US special forces.

The Afridi incident shows once again that Pakistan is no friend of the United States and an unreliable partner in the war against terror.  American foreign policy for too many years has focused on appeasing this dysfunctional and rogue nation.  During this period, Pakistan has played a game of duplicity that included acting as if it was fighting terrorism, while at the same time its Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency supported terrorism and the Taliban.

On the border of Pakistan is the largest democracy in the world, India, who was also been on the receiving end of Pakistani terrorism.  The United States should have long ago played the “India card” against Pakistan.  Assuming it would still have us, the United States should immediately strengthen its relations with India and cancel all aid to Pakistan and its military.

The United States is preparing to leave Afghanistan after a long war has led to few benefits for any except the crooked warlords of Afghanistan.  Whether Washington likes it or not, Pakistan will likely dominate Afghanistan after that period.  It’s time to move on to a different strategic policy in the region.

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Afghan War Heading in Wrong Direction

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 17, 2012

The New York Times reported on the disintegrating military situation in Afghanistan in an article titled Afghan Assaults Signal Evolution of a Militant Foe.  This past weekend Taliban forces carried out a series of raids throughout Afghanistan that included its cities of Kabul, Jalalabad, Gardez, and Pul-e-Alam.  The breadth, scope and sophistication of these raids caught US military officials by surprise.

Shortly after the Taliban raids, Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed his Western allies for not stopping the attacks stating that they were the result of “intelligence failure for us, and especially NATO.”  Making matters worse, the U.S. military believes the attacks were carried out by the Haqqani network who has been accused of close ties with the Pakistani intelligence service.  It doesn’t take a great deal of connecting the dots to conclude that the Pakistani spy agency is paying the United States back for its raid last year that assassinated Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil.

The Times also reported that some US military officials are beginning to now question Pres. Obama’s proposed 2014 timeframe for US troop withdrawal.  However, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as a bad case of denial saying of the raids: “We’re going to continue to see suicide attacks.  We’re going to continue to see efforts by them to try to undermine confidence in Afghanistan that we’re headed in the right direction. It hasn’t worked in the past.  I don’t think it’ll work in the present.”

Now in its eleventh year, the war in Afghanistan is going poorly.  Like Johnson and Nixon during the Vietnam war, President Obama mistakenly believes that incrementally increasing pressure on a nationalistic and insurgent enemy will break its will to fight.  Such policies are doomed to fail.  It is only a matter of time before the United States and NATO will leave Afghanistan.  The Taliban and, however, will remain and may likely defeat the corrupt government in Kabul.  Given this, President Obama’s unwillingness to exit Afghanistan merely waste American lives and money.  As this Blog has questioned previously, where is the mainstream media and Leftist antiwar movement that was so vocal when George W. Bush was president?

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United States Admits it Erred in Pakistani Attack

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 22, 2011

On November 26, American and Afghan commandos were involved in a firefight near the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.  During the combat, American air power was used in response to incoming fire being received by the commandos.  The airstrikes resulted in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The Pakistanis immediately blamed the Americans for the deaths.  However, the Americans military blamed the Pakistanis for supposedly not informing the United States that they had troops in that area.  Today the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. military is modifying its response and now accepting blame for the killings.  According to the report, the U.S. military read a map incorrectly that directly resulted in unfortunate incident.

While serious mistakes occur during wars, the response to this error was mishandled by the United States.  It further magnified the growing rift between the U.S. and Pakistan, a serious issue given America’s dependence on Pakistan to properly prosecute the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s ownership of nuclear weapons.

Early in Barack Obama’s presidency he publicly apologized to the world for many of America’s supposed past sins.  The President, as Commander-in-Chief, has not been as precipitous in apologizing for the killing by the U.S. military of the Pakistani soldiers.  This is in keeping with the President’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for any errors that occur during his administration.

When Barack Obama was running for the presidency, he indicated that he would change the way America interacted with other countries to improve its standing throughout the world.  While the President has made changes that include the apologies and following NATO, instead of leading it, America’s standing in the world has not improved.  The deterioration in our relations with

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Afghan’s Karzai puts it to the United States

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 25, 2011

The United States has spent over 10 years, spent billions of dollars and expended its solders’ lives to assist the Afghan people against the Taliban.  It is bad enough that this tremendous effort is not going well.  However, last week’s statement by Afghan President Karzai shows the futility of continuing them.

In an interview broadcast last Saturday on a major Pakistan television network, Karzai said:  “God forbid, if any war took place between Pakistan and the United States, we will stand by Pakistan.  If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan needed Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you.”  Unbelievable!

Karzai’s incredible statement is telling on various fronts.  First, he is using American treasure to fight what is a tribal (civil) war.  By indicating he would side with Pakistan over the U.S. without even considering the dispute shows a loyalty to Islam before Afghanistan.  This insular view of Islam verses the infidels is deeply ingrained is a contributor to the growing chasm between many Islamic countries and the West.

President Obama should have demanded a public apology for Karzai for his statement.  After Karzai refusal Obama then would have had an excuse for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a war not worth fighting.  But that would take moxie and a strategy, neither of which this President has demonstrated.

Before Republican readers of this Blog get too giddy, they too are complicate with a lack of leadership on Afghanistan.  They have the power to stop funding this unnecessary war.

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Waterboarding and Drone Strikes

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 20, 2011

Since the election of Barack Obama as president, the Left has had its sole tested and it has failed.  Moral issues that Obama raised in the campaign against the Bush Administration included the Patriot Act and governmental intrusion into individual Civil Liberties, the terrorist prison in Guantanamo, America’s worldwide military interventions, and the government’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques; i.e. waterboarding.  Now nearly three-years in the Obama Administration it is instruction to revisit these issues.

Patriot Act – The president has supported the continuation of this Act that is likely un-Constitutional.

Guantanamo Prison – The prison remains open even though one of his first acts as president, Obama signed an order to close it.

America’s Military Interventions – They have not lessened under the Obama Presidency.  The Afghan War has been escalated; the President has and continues to breach Pakistan’s and other countries’ sovereignty through clandestine strikes; Obama has participated in an attack on Libya; and most recently the President has sent troops to Central Africa.

Perhaps the key issue showing Obama’s and the Left’s disingenuous behavior towards the Constitution is the Administration’s use of assassinations in foreign countries.  While most Americans agree that the hit on Bin Laden was justified given his participation in the 9/11 attacks, Obama’s use of Drones in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries to assassinate those targeted by the Administration is on shaky legal and moral grounds.

It is ironic that in justifying the assassinations, the Obama Administration now uses a lawyer who was an attack dog of the Left against less lethal use of force by the Bush Administration.  Former law professor and dean of the Yale Law School, Harold Koh, was a vocal opponent of the Bush Administration and its use of waterboarding.  Now Koh is part of the Obama Administration and prepares legal documents justifying the use of drones to assassinate those defined as terrorist by the Administration.

Progressive Leftist either have a unique sense of morals or none at all.  Should we accept that they have morals, then they believe that waterboarding individuals after capture is a crime, but killing them before capture is not.  Unbelievable!

It is evident that the Left has used claims of morality in the past to pursue political ends.  Not only has Obama changed potion on these issue, but the Leftist mainstream remains silent and the anti-war movement has not initiated a protest.

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Afghanistan War has Become Obama’s Viet Nam

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 17, 2011

The New York Times today posted an article about the ongoing problems with the Afghan War effort.  Since America took out Osama Bin Laden six weeks ago, there has been a significant increase in the cross-border attacks from Pakistan into Afghanistan.  These attacks are mainly in the form of rockets, some fired from within a mile of Pakistani military bases indicating Pakistani complicity in them.  This year there have been 55 such attacks compared to only two the year earlier.

The Times report is an indication why Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last month publically called Pakistan on its support of guerillas.  He then called the insurgents that attacked the American Embassy in the Kabul “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s military intelligence service.

Pakistan’s duplicity and support of terrorism should not be a surprise.  They have used it as a tool of their foreign policy for decades, mainly in a dispute with India over Kashmir.  The world turned a blind-eye to Pakistan’s dirty efforts that have resulted in civilian deaths in India, as it has with other Islamic causes that use terrorism.  Allowing the genie of terrorism out of the bottle will be costly for the world for years into the future.

Pakistani duplicity is only part of the problem in Afghanistan.  The Afghan War has taken on too many similarities to America’s tragic efforts in Viet Nam.  1) In both cases the enemy had significant guerilla forces.  2) Both saw lengthy periods of battlefield stagnation.  3) South Viet Nam and Afghanistan had/have corrupt governments with limited popular support.  4) In Afghanistan, the guerillas have safe haven in Pakistan.  In Viet Nam there was Cambodia.  5) In both wars, America failed to follow the Powell Doctrine that calls for overwhelming force to win wars quickly and decisively.

The Afghan War is now 10 years running without significant progress being made since the Taliban were removed from power nearly ten years ago.  This will not change with additional months/years of American effort.  President Obama’s surge plan has failed.  No further expenditure of American dollars or blood will change the ultimate results of this struggle.  The Taliban will return to power unless the Afghan people have the desire and will to stop it.

President Obama, like other armchair warriors including President Lyndon Johnson, are ill-prepared to make strategic decisions relating to the use of military force.  Obama incredibly believes that troop withdrawal decisions can be planned even before a battle is fought.  Such decisions can only be made after battles are won (or lost).

There are telling differences between the Viet Nam and Afghan wars.  During the Viet Nam debacle the mainstream media and Left called Johnson (and later Nixon) on their failed strategies.  These groups today are quiet on Obama’s Afghanistan folly.  Instead, the Progressives gave Obama the Noble Peace Prize.  We certainly live in strange times!

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