Thursday, December 22, 2011

Can the United States Continue to Suffer the Willful Ignorance of her Government and Survive?

Herschel Smith and I have had some lengthy conversations about this current war, the disposition of the enemy, their relationship with the civilian populations amongst whom they operate and the substance of the religion they all claim to adhere to. Fundamentally, we agree. We have had some minor disagreements about strategy selections from time to time but agree that an unintended consequence of 'giving the nod' to the "innocent population" in the AO (Area of Operation) is more dead American servicemen. For me; that is intolerable! As far as I am concerned, the number one responsibility of an American administration, American elected "servants", Sec Def, the Pentagon and the entirety of upper echelon military circles is to declare the security of the United States, it's citizenry and it's Warrior community as primary before choosing which strategy to employ and govern our use of force in the AO.

To that end, it has been my contention that this administration, the past administration and the entire upper end structure of the military machine, has failed miserably. Not only have they chosen the wrong strategy to achieve a definable victory for their nation, they chose one that has been disproportionately brutal for our forces while providing cover for the enemy and the population that has proven, over and over again to be untrustworthy.

History has defined and will continue to define only a miniscule number of opportunities for a theater-wide application of the precepts of Counter Insurgency doctrine to have been efficacious. Even a casual glance at the human terrain in either Iraq or Afghanistan with Syria and Iran to possibly follow, should have given the critical thinker everything they needed to adequately keep COIN under lock and key in the vault of terrible ideas.

But rather than heed history, a bevy of analysts or common sense, and like undisciplined children discovering a new toy, the Generals and their civilian counterparts pounced on COIN and hitched their violated consciences, their personal legacies and the lives of hundreds of thousands of trusting, American Warriors to it.

The fruit of their arrogance is measured in the thousands of American Servicemen who have been sacrificed at the altar of pride and the tens of thousands more who have suffered life altering wounds.

Some legacy!

In the latest piece from the Captain's Journal, Glen Tschirgi does a masterful job in recounting the disastrous failures in judgment, political courage and decision making which have left both operations in this larger war on the edge of failure. In fact to bolster his points, I would say that arrogance bolstered by blind pride are the only things that could allow anyone to describe either theater of operation as anything but unmitigated failures. In addition, we have so bought into our own deception that we have chosen to propagate the fruit of those failures in Egypt, Libya and I fear soon, in Syria and Iran.

Glenn makes an observation about the religion of Islam however that I do not agree with and that is in the parsing of factions within the Muslim community. First of all, if someone can point me toward the ongoing, public record of support for America in either of these operations or the public record of Muslim denunciation of the actions of the "terrorist" or "radicalized" Muslim or Jihad as a war doctrine, Taqiyya as a deceptive practice with the intent of keeping the enemy off balance, please show me?

The clear evidence only suggests groups as defined by those who willingly strap on bombs and those who do not. Unfortunately, we know that from within the second group comes the financial and spiritual support for the first.

Suggesting you can parse these two and do harm to one while garnering support for said harm from the "moderates" simply misses the truth about religion - all religion!

Case in point; There has been a healthy division between the Catholic Church and the so-called Reformed Church movement since the 16th century. There are understandings of certain doctrines in the New Testament which both adhere to that are, in some cases, radically different. Bridging these differences with the hope of bringing these two groups of worshippers together has proven to be an insurmountable task with both sides declaring the other is filled with the lost. However; if you bring in a piece of legislation that appears to attack Christianity or core understandings of the beginning of life or freedom of religion issues, these two seemingly polar opposite, doctrinally divided groups, come together as Brothers.

The point is; regardless of our interpretations of specific doctrines, we are never-the-less bonded as Brothers in unity as followers of Jesus Christ. I will say that the likelihood of a successful destruction of that bond is incalculably small.

Seeing Islam and it's many fractured parts in a different light is naïve. Islam is similar to Christianity and every other great religion of the world on one point and that is, it has as it's focus, a deity. To deny the religion or to deny another Muslim is, effectively, to deny the deity that binds you.

In the piece he states; "A muslim who does not subscribe to the Wahhabist version and rejects militant Islam should be no more offended when we target the Islamists than a 1940's German would be offended by our targeting of Nazis." And this for me is where separating religious ideology and secular ideology is important. Even though the zeal with which some Germans supported Hitler and the Nazi Party may have bordered on worship, the fact is, Nobody thought Hitler was "god". Those supporters simply acted on a perverted understanding of nationalism.

Islam, while carrying within it's structure the seeds of jurisprudence which is defined as Sharia and also containing verses which effectively call it's adherents to arms, is still fundamentally, teaching and admonition from their "god", Allah. Thinking you can cause a Muslim to abandonhis fellow worshipper (and then effectively placing enmity between himself and Allah), for the sake of the vision of a non-submitted, infidel force of foreigners is simply misunderstanding the dynamics of religion; the difference between the spiritual and the secular.

While we can certainly visually define the actions of some as more violent than others, we cannot see into the heart of man. What history has told us is consistent with Gen 6:5; " The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." This was not a statement about a group or faction, the saved and the unsaved, Jews or non Jews. This was an indictment about the condition of the heart of mankind.

We watch the wanton destruction of human life by the forces of Islam and the associated silence from the "moderates" every day. Is it the contention of those who submit to the "two Islams" vision that we should continue to assume the best of a people whose religion is belligerent to non-believers? Are they suggesting we continue to place our Sons & Daughters at undo risk to preserve the lives of those who fundamentally support the destruction of those same Sons and Daughters? Personally, I will never submit to anything that requires our forces be sacrificed for a presumption steeped in willful ignorance of a self-defined enemy!

This country is at a crossroad. Americans are now facing the prospect of a future replete with civilian and military leadership that is hostile to the idea of sole security for our uniquely American documents, ideals, citizenry and security. Is this what Americans want for their Sons and Daughters because this current vision of the world places the United States citizens en par with those who would declare us an enemy and then institutes policies that intentionally endanger American lives with the stated purpose of preserving the lives of those who, endanger American lives!

It is time, we stop playing with the common definitions of ideologies. We must accept Islam at what it declares itself to be, a religion and not just another doctrine of governance. Seeing it as something else forces actions that will always fall short when trying to defend against it's most egregious doctrines; doctrines which were delivered to Mohammed by an entity he believed was a "god" who called himself Allah.

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard

Monday, December 19, 2011

US - Taliban Talks Said to be at Critical Point…Really?!

Today, Stratfor reported that secret talks between US officials and the Taliban, which have purportedly been underway for sometime have now reached a critical juncture. According to the story, tentative agreements about the disposition of EPW Taliban at the Guantanamo Bay facility are being ironed out. If this passes muster with the Taliban, the US would release an untold number of known Taliban operatives back to the Afghan government and then, presumably, back to Afghan society. The report also stated the US official would expect some kind of token act from the Taliban in kind; to show "good faith".

There are so many facets of this story that are wrong-headed that it is difficult to know where to begin. First of all, these alleged talks have proceeded for a significant period of time without direct participation by Kabul or Karzai. Apparently, US officials have felt "progress reports" to Kabul would suffice. While I am no fan of Hamid Karzai or his administration, it strikes me as presumptuous that any agreement between US officials and the so-called insurgency, the Taliban would be acceptable on it's face to the "legitimate" government in Kabul. If these talks have any chance of acceptance by the parties who will have to live with them, it is hard to imagine that happening without both parties sitting directly across the table from one another.

Another problematic point is that we have not only participated in talks with a unrepentant belligerent like the Taliban, but have offered to return hardened militants back to them and then, in all likelihood, back to the same battle space where our forces are still operating. This goes far beyond naiveté or even simple incompetence; this is laying the groundwork for future murderous acts which will certainly be perpetrated against our sovereign American forces.

Where do we find people like this? That an American would even consider returning known murderers back to the killing field from whence they were taken and upon which fellow Americans are still operating defies logic, common sense and compassion! It is certainly a criminal act in a parallel universe where they still understand the difference between right and wrong!

It will be interesting to find out what token action the Taliban will present as their sign of good faith. Is there truly anything they could offer to offset such an inexplicably generous offer by the US representative (unnamed)? Can anyone give a reason why the Taliban should take this seriously considering they are looking at the final months of US operations in Afghanistan? One thing that is absolutely certain at this point is there is probably no amount of evil the Taliban can perpetrate from now until 2014 that will cause any kind of shift from this administration's current plan to draw down - and the Taliban know it!

We have unilaterally chosen to not hold them responsible by virtue of our self-administered restraints in the hopes of motivating an unresponsive civilian population to be cooperative, if not proactive in their "liberation" from the blood-lusting Taliban "insurgency". Now we are holding talks with them, in an attempt to cause them to want to normalize relations with a sitting government placed there by us. Let's not forget, we are the ones who forcibly removed them from the seat of governance in Kabul ten years ago - an act of mercy for the average Afghan, if you truly buy into the narrative and an act of retribution for their participation in the planning phases of the attacks on US soil on 9/11. Now, somehow, the enemy that was unseated but not held accountable, that is still actively engaged in combat with us, is supposed to feel motivated to cooperate.


The better plan would have been to consider US interests and US interests alone. If the Taliban truly aided Al Qaeda in the planning, equipping and carrying out of the slaughter perpetrated on 9/11, then destroying them to a man would certainly have been a reasonable response. However, mounting an incursion into sovereign Afghan space to experiment with a historically failed strategy like COIN, the precepts of which define elements on the ground - which do not exist in Afghanistan, not only amounts to sloppy planning and a brutal failure to understand the human terrain, it was also a negligent waste of American lives and treasure.

If anyone still believes that any kind of positive gain can be measured from our ten year venture in this latest nation building fantasy, then stand by because it looks like we are preparing for more exciting adventures in the reshaping of the human psyche in yet other Islamic lands!

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard