Getting out of Dodge… er… Kabul

June 23, 2011

It was as inevitable as the sun rising in the east: on the heals of President Obama announcing our acquiescence to defeat a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Brave Sir Robins of the NATO governments are rushing for the doors:

This morning NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has told reporters today that one-third of NATO forces will withdraw from Afghanistan by next year.  In Paris President Nicholas Sarkozy said France would begin a “progressive withdrawal” from Afghanistan.

Everyone is rushing for the exits.  The President was warned this could happen if it looked like America was about to cut and run.

In fact over the last few weeks during his worldwide farewell tour, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that the worse thing to happen is for NATO to “rush to the exits” in Afghanistan. This, he said, would jeopardize military progress.

Gates is right. Obama committed only a portion of the “surge” forces his commanders recommended, and so they were only able to secure the south of Afghanistan, instead of simultaneous operations to secure the south and northeast. The plan had been for follow-up operations to secure the northeast along the Pakistan border this next year, but, well, that was sacrificed to the gods of reelection. With last night’s news, there will likely be no offensive in the northeast and, as withdrawals progress, holding on to the gains made will be harder and harder. And it will be all the more difficult with our allies vanishing over the horizon, encouraged to do so by Obama’s speech.

“Just words,” eh?

All al Qaeda and the Taliban have to do now is wait us out, and Afghanistan will likely fall into their hands in just a few years. I never thought I’d see another  “helicopter on the embassy roof in Saigon” moment, now I have a hard time imagining it not happening.

I only hope there will be visas for all the women who want to escape the coming nightmare.

PS: I’ll have further thoughts on Afghanistan later this weekend, after I’ve had some time to read and get past my disgust.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Advertisements

Brave Knights of Allah hide behind women

December 31, 2010

But then, women are little better than chattel in Islam, so why not use them as living bombs?

The Taliban and al Qaeda have established female suicide bombing cells in remote areas of northwestern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan. The female suicide bombers have struck in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The existence of the cells, which appeared evident after female suicide bombers attacked twice over the past five months in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was confirmed by a 12-year-old Pakistani girl named Meena Gul.

Gul, who said she was trained to be a “human bomb,” was detained by Pakistani police in the Munda area in Pakistan’s northwestern district of Dir, according to the Times of India.

“Gul said that women suicide bombers were trained for their deadly task in small cells on both sides of the porous border and were dispatched to their missions with a sermon, ‘God will reward you with a place in heaven.'”

Oh, and did I mention some of the women are just girls? Yes, for the valiant jihadi, it’s women and children first. Preferably in the same person.

A long time ago, someone explained to me the First Rule of Texas Common Law: “He needed killing.”

Well, these barbarians need killing.

RELATED: These “holy warriors” also exploit emotionally abused women, the elderly, and the developmentally disabled. Such wonderful people.

 


I’d call this an act of war

September 5, 2010

Call me a frothing right-wing neocon zealot, but I’d say Iran paying a bounty to the Taliban for each American soldier killed constitutes an act of war:

Iran is paying Taliban fighters $1,000 for each U.S. soldier they kill in Afghanistan, according to a report in a British newspaper.

The Sunday Times described how a man it said was a “Taliban treasurer” had gone to collect $18,000 from an Iranian firm in Kabul, a reward it said was for an attack in July which killed several Afghan government troops and destroyed an American armored vehicle.

The treasurer left with the cash hidden in a sack of flour, the newspaper said, and then gave it to Taliban fighters in the province of Wardak. In the past six months, the treasurer claimed to have collected more than $77,000 from the company.

The Sunday Times said its investigation had found that at least five Kabul-based Iranian companies were secretly passing funds to the Taliban.

The newspaper’s correspondent, Miles Amoore, said he met and interviewed the treasurer, who he said had been an illiterate farmer who was taught to read and write, plus basic accountancy, by the Taliban last winter.

“We don’t care who we get money from,” the treasurer was quoted as saying. He described the relationship with Iran as a “marriage of convenience.” Iran is a predominantly Shiite country, while the Taliban is dominated by Sunni Muslims.

“Iran will never stop funding us because Americans are dangerous for them as well. I think the hatred is the same from both us and Iran. The money we get is not dirty. It is for jihad,” the treasurer told Amoore.

Emphasis added.

We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Iran funds, arms, and directs militias in Iraq that attack American and Iraqi forces, and they’ve been arming the Taliban for years. In truth, Iran has been at war with the US since the 1979 revolution that brought Khomeini and his religious fascists to power.

Some day we’ll wake up to that and deal with the problem.

(via Hot Air)


Endangered species: the progressive Muslim

July 6, 2010

This guy had better be careful; suggesting reform or changes to Islam, or that any portion of the Qur’an is not applicable for all time, can earn one a death fatwa. At Technorati, A. Mohit muses on Islam in the wake of a school teacher’s beheading:

Proponents of Islam maintain that most of these practices are attributed to sharia laws, and many progressive Muslims claim that sharia laws are not always derived from the principles laid down in the Muslim holy book Quran; rather in many instances these laws are contrary to Quranic instructions. The problem is that there is no universal acceptance of these opinions among the Islamic scholars.

Many non-Muslims allege that Islam is a dangerous religion, and I admit that at the core of my heart, I feel I do not have ammunitions to refute this allegation about my faith. I have been taught that Quran is a divine book that God has preserved in the way it came to mankind. Nevertheless, I find many statements in Quran are not defensible in the justice system of the civilized world, just as Muslims find such statements in other holy books, which to them are not holy, since they consider those books to be adulterated.

The divinity of Quran has failed to save my people. I pray that they learn to respect other religions, realize how people of other faiths have reexamined the core concepts of their denominations, and reformed their practices to accommodate the latest discoveries of science to make them suitable for society with its ever expanding knowledge base.

Good luck with that. As I wrote elsewhere, the task of reform seems impossible without tearing out the foundations of Islam, itself. I hope Mr. Mohit and other reformers prove me wrong.

(via Jihad Watch)


The unengaged president

June 26, 2010

Mark Steyn has a great column at National Review you should read, comparing the President’s lack of interest in dealing with the Gulf oil spill to his lack of interest in Afghanistan (except when he’s accuse of being uninterested) and find the major media finally getting the message our enemies already understand:

Only the other day, Sen. George Lemieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, over-manned, and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “super-skimmers”: Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Senator Lemieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” reported the senator.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

“This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”

Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses.

Read it all.

(via Sarahbellumd)


On Obama, McChrystal, and Petraeus

June 23, 2010

As I expected, President Obama has relieved General McChrystal of his command in Afghanistan:

President Obama named Gen. David Petraeus as top commander in Afghanistan on Wednesday after he relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal for disparaging comments McChrystal and his staff had made about senior administration officials in a magazine article.

Petraeus, currently McChrystal’s boss as head of Central Command, needs to be confirmed by the Senate before he can assume the job. He is widely credited with turning the tide of the war in Iraq with a counterinsurgency strategy he authored. As Obama’s third top commander in Afghanistan, he will be expected to repeat his Iraq success.

“Make no mistake,” Obama said. “We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum.”

“This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy,” Obama said Wednesday in a Rose Garden appearance.

Obama said he accepted McChrystal’s resignation because his conduct “does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.”

And he’s right. McChrystal showed very bad judgment in granting that interview, letting his staff disparage the civilian leadership, and then doing nothing to repair things when allowed to review it. As Chuck DeVore, himself a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Army Reserve, pointed out, McChrystal was in violation of Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For the sake of the office of the President and not just for himself, Obama had to accept McChrystal’s resignation.

The choice of General Petraeus to replace him is surprising, but, I think, a very good one. Not only was Petraeus the architect of victory in Iraq, but he has a well-deserved reputation for being able to handle the political and diplomatic challenges his new duties with throw at him, not the least of which being the very touchy Afghan President, Hamid Karzai. In other words, he carries both substantial military and political credibility.

He’ll need every bit of it, too. The current offensive is not going well, the Taliban is building momentum, the Afghan government is unsure they can rely on us, and this brouhaha over McChrystal has to hurt morale in the Afghan theater.  While it seems unusual for general to step down from a position with global responsibilities (in Petraeus’ case, head of Central Command)  to resume a field command, I believe he is perhaps the only general to possess what the Romans called auctoritas – the needed prestige, clout, and authority to do what needs to be done.

So here are some rare words of praise from me for the President: he did what needed to be done, he didn’t dither, he chose probably the best man to take over, and he recommitted his Administration to the fight. (Unavoidable grumble: I wish he had used the word “victory.”)

Let’s hope that good for us and for Afghanistan comes from this fiasco.

LINKS: More from Hot Air, with a compare and contrast video presentation, and from Michael Barone. The Anchoress has a round-up of reactions to the dismissal of McChrystal and the return of Petraeus.


Obama should fire General McChrystal

June 22, 2010

Those aren’t easy words for me to write, but the President has no choice after his field commander in Afghanistan aired scathing criticisms of the administration and the President himself in an interview with, unbelievably, Rolling Stone:

The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan is being called to the White House for a face-to-face meeting with President Obama after issuing an apology Tuesday for an interview in which he described the president as unprepared for their first encounter.

In the article in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, as he and his aides took shots at other top officials.

McChrystal’s comments are reverberating through Washington and the Pentagon after the magazine depicted him as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration.

It characterized him as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation’s longest-running war and dejected that the president didn’t know about his commendable military record.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

(via ST)

He’s damn right it should never have happened. Forget the venue (Rolling Stone? WTF?), one of the pillars of the American constitutionalism is absolute deference to and respect for the civilian chain of command on the part of the military. It’s something that’s been drilled into our officers for so long and so hard that it’s become almost reflexive. The President has a constitutional role as Commander in Chief, and for any military man to disparage publicly the President of the United States or his ambassadors is by extension to disparage the Constitution itself and carries the faint whiff of Caesarism.

“But what about the general’s rights of free speech,” one may ask. First, they were necessarily and voluntarily limited when he swore his oath and donned the uniform. No captain would tolerate being openly berated by a corporal, nor can any president tolerate being openly insulted (and that’s what it was) by his generals. The principles of chain of command and civilian  control demands severe discretion on the part of the military, and McChrystal violated that.

Second, he has reasonable avenues to make his complaints known: he can talk to his superiors directly, including the President. If that doesn’t work, he can testify before relevant committees of Congress to air his concerns. And if that doesn’t work, he can always resign and return to civilian life, reassuming his full right of free speech, and then blast away.

But to castigate the President in a magazine? That’s three strikes in one, general. You’re out.

As I wrote, it’s not easy for me to advocate the dismissal of General McChrystal. Not only does he have a heretofore honorable record, but, at first glance, I largely agree and sympathize with his criticisms. But his method of airing was unacceptably insubordinate. As President Truman did with General MacArthur, President Obama should fire General McChrystal.

And then, one hopes, he’ll replace him with a modern Matthew Ridgway.

RELATED: Byron York examines General McChrystal’s real offense and says it was just a matter of time before the general stuck his foot in his mouth. Jed Babbin argues that Obama cannot fire McChrystal. Meanwhile, Politico reports that McChrystal reviewed the Rolling Stone article and didn’t complain. Hmmm…

UPDATE: Rolling Stone has posted the article. Don’t forget, this isn’t the first time the general has spoken out of turn.