Gut Check Iraq

Updated July 1, 2014

Photo Credit: www.special-ops.org

Photo Credit: www.special-ops.org

By: Brent Parrish

Watching the ISIS blitzkrieg in Iraq achieve such stunning success in such a short time has come as a total shock to many. But are the disturbing developments unfolding in Syria and Iraq a complete surprise to the powers-that-be?

Well, that is the question.

Let’s just rewind a bit. One thing that has really disturbed me about the current volatile situation in the Middle East is the complicity and level of involvement of the United States and some of its allies in the region. Barack Obama has spoken quite glowingly about the so-called “Arab Spring.” But just what is the level of U.S involvement in the whole bloody affair?

When our intrepid president started to mention “Arab Spring,” I noticed a number of uprisings and chaotic protests springing up in places like Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, etc.

WikiPedia describes the Arab Spring as follows (emphasis mine):

The Arab Spring is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests (both non-violent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010.

By December 2013, rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya,and Yemen; civil uprisings had erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests had broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests had occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara, and the Palestinian territories.

Impact of the Arab Spring (Credits: WikiPedia)

Impact of the Arab Spring (Credits: WikiPedia)

Does anyone really believe all of these so-called “democracy movements” in the Middle East were just spontaneous and simultaneous “civil uprisings”? Hardly. There are some very powerful and dark forces behind the scenes organizing and fomenting all this chaos. One must ask, cui bono (“to whose benefit”)?

Back in August 2013, I wrote an article entitled “The Syrian Quagmire: The Dangers of U.S. Involvement.” I included a video of an interview that I just can’t seem to get out of my head.

Here’s a snippet from my article (emphasis mine):

In the video above [view here] a woman identifying herself as Laura Flanders, Free Speech TV, interviews spokesperson Nelini Stamp of the Working Families Party at the Wall Street “occupation” in NYC. According to the video, “The Working Families Party was established by members of socialist organizations like The New Party, ACORN, SEIU and a coalition of other labor unions and community organizations.”

Nelini Stamp claims so-called “democracy movements,” like Occupy Wall Street, are designed to bring about “revolutionary change to the streets of the United States.” At around the 4 min. mark in the video above, Ms. Stamp claims there were around 30 Occupy protests occurring in the U.S. at the time, and 57 “occupation movements” occurring around the world, presumably in the 57 Islamic states—the Arab Spring.

[…]

What has been the result of all this Marxist-style agitation (“democracy movements”) going on around the globe under the guise of the Arab Spring? Is it not clearing the way for Islamic supremacist groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Nusrah Front and the Muslim Brotherhood to snatch the reins of power in the Middle East in the hopes of reuniting the Islamic Caliphate (The United States of Islam)?

Anyone warning about the danger of the reestablishment of an Islamic Caliphate—folks like Allen West, Glenn Beck and others—were labeled “extremists” and “conspiracy theorists.” From my own experience, people who hurl this sort of ad hominem at those who warn about Islam’s aspirations of total world domination typically don’t know anything about Islam and its violent history of brutal conquest, and apparently have no intention to educate themselves on the matter, either … or they are facilitators in bringing it all about—meaning, the Caliphate.

The results of the Arab Spring were a mixed bag. Some of the uprisings fizzled, some succeeded in overthrowing their governments, some resulted in major protests, some resulted in governmental changes, some created sustained civil disorder, and some sparked civil wars—like in Syria, for example.

Syria appears to have not gone the way the revolutionaries behind all of these Middle East tumults had hoped, or planned. The leader of Syria’s regime, Bashar al-Assad, reacted brutally to the so-called “revolution” within Syria, much like his Bashar’s father, Hafez al-Assad, had done when he was confronted with a growing Islamic insurgency in Syria.

What surprised me about Syria was how quickly the situation began to spiral out of control, resulting in a very bloody and incredibly brutal civil war that rages to this day.

There are literally hundreds of named groups who are fighting against Assad’s regime and the Syrian Assad Army (SAA).

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was established on July 29, 2011, by former Syrian Air Force colonel Riad al-Asaad, who later lost his right leg in a car bombing in eastern Syria. His family members were executed by Bashar al-Assad’s forces, according to a Dateline SBS report.

The FSA is comprised mostly of Sunni Arabs—Syria’s largest community—but also includes Kurds, Turkmen, Palestinians and Druze members. The FSA is often described as “moderate” and “secular” by the Western press. This is in stark contrast to incredibly violent groups like the al-Qaeda linked Jahbat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), among others.

But is this really the case?

According to the Dateline SBS report, Riad al-Assad has made some controversial comments suggesting the FSA is anything but a moderate, secular force.

Via WikiPedia (source: Dateline SBS), my emphasis:

Riad al-Assad has made controversial statements such as suggesting that suicide bombing is “an integral part of revolutionary action, of Free Syrian Army action.” and “Al-Qaeda in Syria does not exist, extremists in Syria does not exist, stories about Al Qaeda in Syria are regime fabrications.” (Although most fighters in Syria come from the ranks of Al Nusra front, ISSI and united Islamic front and they all are on the UN list of terrorist organizations.)

Whatever moderate or secular factions existed within the FSA have been co-opted by extremist Sunni elements at this point. A great deal of violent infighting has occurred between the FSA and groups like ISIS and al-Nusra Front, et al. Furthermore, there has been a great deal of infighting between al-Nusra and ISIS.

But, in the end, it is the Sunni Islamic terrorists that hold sway over the FSA, and other named groups fighting against the Assad regime.

There seems to be a bit of confusion about groups like ISIS and Juhbat al-Nusra and their links to al-Qaeda. From sources I’ve read, al-Nusra Front is the group that is affiliated with al-Qaeda, while ISIS is the resurgence of Musab al-Zarqawi’s Ansar al-Sunnah Army (AAS) in Iraq. The AAS operated primarily in the infamous Sunni Triangle during the Iraq War—specifically, al-Anbar Province. This is the area where much of the heaviest and intense fighting occurred during the Iraq War.

628x471-sunni-triangle

Russia Today reported:

The Islamic State has called on Al-Qaeda and other radical Sunni militants in the region to immediately pledge their allegiance, ushering in “a new era of international jihad.”

Additionally, al-Naqshabandiyya (Sufis) has joined ISIS because “they are also jihadis,” according to Daniel Pipes. (Many Turks are Sufis, by the way.)

The depraved and astonishingly gruesome tactics of the AAS is what eventually led to the creation of the Sunni Enlightenment Councils, which were formed to counter the AAS. Ansar al-Sunnah was so extreme in its violence against Iraqi citizens that many Sunni’s who lived in the al-Anbar region decided that it would be better to cooperate with the Americans, rather than live under the merciless rule of Zarqawi’s murderous terrorist army, despite the fact that Iraqi Sunni’s held no particular love for the U.S. military or coalition forces.

The brutality of ISIS has been so severe that even al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front split from the group. Eventually they started fighting each other in mortal combat—much to the delight of the SAA, and others, I’m sure.

At this point, I need to do a bit of soul-searching. Watching the disastrous situation unfold in Iraq is gut-wrenching. And I can’t even imagine how those who fought and served in Iraq must feel. I know I’m not the only person who is asking themselves the question, what did we gain from all those years of sacrificing American lives and treasure in Iraq? What was it all for?

If you’re one of those who was opposed to the Iraq War from the beginning, you be might asking yourselves what my position was concerning America’s military involvement in Iraq. Well, I’m going to be brutally honest with you, as honest as I can be. And I’m not going to make any excuses, or pull any punches.

First, I’ve voted Republican my whole life. There was never a Democrat who ran for president that I even considered voting for. That’s just me. I believe in the unalienable rights of the individual, limited government and a strong defense. I believe in peace through strength, because I’ve never seen a credible example of peace through weakness.

But, after six years of continuous political and historical research, my views on a number of things have changed, if not flipped altogether.

I always tried to keep up on current events. Of course, that doesn’t mean I understood what the driving forces were behind those events. But, let’s just say I know a lot more now than I did six years ago.

During the first Gulf War, I was fairly young, but I remember it well. From a purely military perspective, I thought it was a brilliant operation. We assembled a very formidable coalition of some 600,000 troops. We took our time during the buildup, making sure we were fully prepared before we attacked the enemy. After a relentless and devastating air campaign, we launched ground operations. Within 72 hours the coalition had literally routed the Iraqi Armed Forces, and they wanted no more of what we were serving up. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to be on the business end of all that.

Now, I’m not going to get in to the whole discussion of whether we should’ve attacked the Iraqi Army in Kuwait in the first place, or whether it was an example of an international force trying to engineer a “New World Order.” That’s for another article. I’m strictly focusing on the effectiveness of the strategy, operations and tactics that were employed against the Iraqi Armed Forces during the Gulf War.

As far as pushing the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm was a resounding success. But we failed to cut the head off the snake. We didn’t take out the “mouth.” We left Saddam Hussein in power. Something I still don’t understand to this day. “Stormin’ Norman” came out and publicly disagreed with the Commander-in-Chief over his decision to abruptly end combat operations. Coalition forces were only fifty miles from Baghdad. According to Gen. Schwarzkopf, Baghdad could’ve easily been taken. But Schwarzkopf went along with Gen. Colin Powell and President George H. Bush, who felt we would look bad to the world if we wiped the floor with the Iraqi Armed Forces.

On the other hand, members of the Gulf War coalition like Turkey and the Arab League states would have never supported the removal of Saddam during the first Gulf War.

Another reason President George H. Bush gave for not taking Baghdad and removing Saddam Hussein was he didn’t want to get bogged down in a messy occupation. Well, with hindsight being 20/20, he certainly was absolutely correct that occupation is a very messy affair, and one to be avoided, unless the enemy has been thoroughly pacified. Even still, it truly is something to be avoided. But I never believed we had to occupy Baghdad or Iraq in order to take Saddam Hussein out of power. The Shiites and other groups could handle the “occupation” themselves.

Immediately following the end of combat operations in Kuwait and Iraq, George H. Bush encouraged the Iraqis to revolt and take down Saddam, which they attempted to do. The only problem was the mainly Shiite revolt was hardly equipped to take on what was left of the Iraqi Army. Furthermore, we did not secure an unconditional surrender from the Iraqi regime. Nor did we set up a no-fly zone across the entire country. Saddam’s regime was allowed to fly helicopters, which they used with devastating effect against the Shia rebellion, not to mention the Kurds.

The Iraqi Shia begged the U.S. for air or artillery support at the time. But the George H. Bush Administration rebuffed their requests. I personally find this unconscionable. It was Bush who told them they should revolt. With victory in sight, they just needed some extra firepower, which they did not possess. If we were willing to fly air sorties over Iraq for 13 years to enforce a no-fly zone, why couldn’t we have provided some air cover and used our stand-off weapon systems to assure the Iraqi rebellion succeeded in taking Saddam out, with minimal risk to American lives?

The failure to assist the Shia against Saddam resulted in the revolt being brutally crushed by Saddam’s forces. It is estimated 20,000 to 100,000 Shiites were killed by the Hussein regime following the 1991 uprising in southern Iraq. Many Shia said they would never, ever forgive the Americans for refusing to provide any military support during the revolt. Can you blame them? And did we not go back years later to occupy Iraq and take down the Iraqi regime?

Furthermore, after Operation Provide Comfort ended, the Turks launched a major campaign of murder against the Kurds.

kurdish-exodus

Now fast-forward to the that dark day of September 11, 2001, when we all watched jet airliners being flown into the World Trade Center, resulting in the deaths of close to 3,000 Americans and the destruction of the twin towers. They died by suffocation, being crushed, jumping from windows, being burnt alive, and Lord knows what else. I, like many Americans, wanted revenge. I wanted to see whoever did this to us completely destroyed, and their very memory wiped from the face of the earth. But, like they say, revenge is dish better served cold. One rarely makes good decisions when they’re too angry, too depressed, or too tired.

When we went after the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, it seemed perfectly logical to me. Afghanistan was giving safe haven to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist band of murderers. Furthermore, I thought the initial operations against the Taliban were brilliant. We sent in the Green Beret and other special operators to work with the Northern Alliance and the indigenous population to help assist them in taking out the Taliban and their supporters. With our air power and other assets, we were able to take down the Taliban within two weeks.

But, as time went on, and we put more and more boots on the ground in “The Stan” (as the military calls it), I started to worry we might make the same mistake the Soviets did when they invaded Afghanistan—namely, falling into what I call the “fortress mentality.” If we start to hole up on forward operating bases (FOB’s) and command outposts (COP’s), and we allow the enemy to control the countryside, while we rarely leave the wire—and we do, we do so at our own peril—then we really don’t control the situation. If the enemy controls the countryside, then they effectively control the country. We adopted a terrain-based strategy, as opposed to an enemy-based strategy, as Allen West has pointed out on numerous occasions.

As our involvement in Afghanistan increased, George W. Bush began a buildup of forces in Kuwait. It was obvious to anyone with half a brain that the Bush W. administration was serious about engaging in hostilities with the Iraqi regime.

From the very beginning, I had mixed feelings about Iraq. What was the strategy? What were our objectives? What was the end goal?

Prior to start of the war in Iraq, we were told that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that he gave free reign to known Islamic terrorists. Well, at the time, that wasn’t such a far stretch for me to believe. Remember, Saddam Hussein actually used chemical weapons against the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War, and even on his own people.

To my recollection, no one has used chemical weapons since the First World War. Even Adolf Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two. Perhaps it was because the “Bavarian Corporal” was briefly blinded in a mustard gas attack during his stint with the German Army in World War One. Of course, this is just speculation on my part. (Granted, one could argue that the gassing of millions of Jews during the Holocaust was indeed “chemical warfare.”) Regardless, Saddam’s use of chemical weapons shocked and horrified many at the time—as it should.

During the final stages of the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein launched the brutal al-Anfal campaign, also known as the Kurdish Genocide, headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid (“King of Spades”).

The Anfal campaign began in 1986 and lasted until 1989, and was headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid (a cousin of then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit). The Anfal campaign included the use of ground offensives, aerial bombing, systematic destruction of settlements, mass deportation, firing squads, and chemical warfare, which earned al-Majid the nickname of “Chemical Ali.”

It is estimated some 4,500 Kurdish and at least 31 Assyrian villages were destroyed in northern Iraq, displacing approximately one million Kurds. During the the spring of 1987 through the fall of 1988, it is estimated some 17,000 Kurds simply “disappeared,” according to Amnesty International.

Saddam’s regime focused on eliminating adult and teenage Kurdish males, which they viewed as a potential insurgent threat. Many of these “battle-age” Kurdish males were captured and sent to concentration camps (i.e. “detention centers”). After a few days at these de facto extermination camps, they were trucked off to be killed in mass executions.

In 2004, hundreds of bodies of Kurdish women and children were discovered by U.S. forces in Iraq buried in mass graves at a site near al-Hatra.

Iraqi authorities believe some 182,000 people were killed as a result of the merciless Anfal campaign against the Kurds, according to a 2007 Associated Press article.

And let’s not forget, it wasn’t just the George W. Bush Administration that was concerned about Saddam possessing WMD’s and using them, the United Nations was concerned as well. Additionally, the Israelis destroyed a nuclear reactor that Saddam Hussein was constructing during the 80’s, fearing he was trying to develop a nuclear weapon (which I have no doubt he was). A lot of people around the world were troubled by Saddam’s reckless and aggressive behavior.

But we can go back farther than that. It was Bill Clinton who made the connection between Iraq, VX weapons, and al-Qaeda in 1998. Clinton was serious about acting against Hussein. So much so, that the far-left became apoplectic over what they saw as Clinton’s turn toward warmongering.

Author Tom Nichols quoted a 1998 Pentagon speech by Bill Clinton in his book Eve of Destruction. Clinton claimed it was of paramount importance to act against Saddam Hussein in order to prevent him from gaining, and therefore using, weapons of mass destruction:

Now, let’s imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who’s really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too.

Of course, Saddam Hussein had already used chemical weapons against the Iranians prior to 1998, not to mention the gassing of some 5,000 Kurds at Halabja on March 16, 1988. So it’s not like it was a stretch to think he might use them again, if given the chance.

What has really angered me regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq is the duplicitous behavior of some Democrats like Senator Harry Reid and then Senator Joe Biden, and many others. They both voted for the congressional resolution to go to war with Iraq; they voted to fund the war as well. But then they had the unmitigated gall to turn around a short time later and claim the Iraq War was an “illegal war,” parroting the line by the far-left that it was “Bush’s war.” Well, if it was Bush’s war, they voted for it!

The claim that the war was illegal is utterly false. Whether you agree with U.S. involvement in Iraq or not, George W. Bush did acquire the necessary congressional resolution to go to war, as prescribed by the War Powers Act. It may have been an ill-advised war, but it was not technically illegal.

One war that was truly illegal was Obama’s war in Libya. He never obtained the necessary congressional approval. The president failed to notify Congress after the mandatory 90-day grace period afforded a sitting president by the War Powers Act—an impeachable offense. Yet the left never said a thing about it. Huh. Imagine that. And Congress failed to do anything about it. But I digress.

As I stated earlier, I always had mixed feelings about the war in Iraq. And as the war ground on, I started to worry, once again, that we were getting into yet another protracted struggle, with no end in sight, and no clear objectives or strategy. At least not a strategy that was made clear and concise to the American people.

What also become harder and harder to defend was the fact that no WMD’s were found. I’m not even saying there weren’t any. Once again, Saddam had used them in the past. What happened to them? They very well could’ve absconded to Syria, as some claim. But securing Saddam’s WMD’s was the main reason given for going to war in Iraq in the first place. Naturally, this is did not play well politically. Worse yet, the reasons for going to war pivoted to “we’re spreading democracy.” That made me cringe.

But consider this recent report via Frontpagemag.com, my emphasis:

The State Department and other U.S. government officials have revealed that ISIS now occupies the Al Muthanna Chemicals Weapons Complex. Al Muthanna was Saddam Hussein’s primary chemical weapons facility, and it is located less than 50 miles from Baghdad.

The Obama administration claims that the weapons in that facility, which include sarin, mustard gas, and nerve agent VX, manufactured to prosecute the war against Iran in the 1980s, do not pose a threat because they are old, contaminated and hard to move. “We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible to safely move the materials,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

The initial two-pronged attack by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps to take Baghdad was a brilliant operation, in my opinion. It only took 21 days to bring down Saddam’s Hussein’s regime. That’s a real testament to our military’s prowess on the battlefield. But I did agree with those (yes, that would mean Sen. John McCain … ugh) that said we should’ve gone in with more troops.

Although we were able to reach Baghdad and take down the regime in record time, we didn’t have enough troops to come behind the main strike force and conduct so-called “mopping up operations” in order to prevent an effective insurgency from forming. The troop shortage plagued our efforts in Iraq, in my opinion. Coalition forces would put out fires in one region, while another fire would pop up in another, and on and on. Of course, it eventually required a troop surge to stabilize the situation.

So, I rest my case.

Now we enter Barack Obama’s presidency. Obama was left with a tenuous situation in Iraq, to be sure. But he signed up for the job of American president. That means he’s the Commander-in-Chief in time of war. He may have objected to U.S. involvement in Iraq, but that is immaterial when it comes to respecting the sacrifice of our military, and all the blood and treasure expended in Iraq.

President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki signed the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in 2008. President Obama did nothing but watch SOFA take its course, and then had the nerve to claim it was he who had ended the war in Iraq. Obama claimed the “United States had left Iraq a stable and democratic country.” Well, not according to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:

Barack Obama not only pulled all of our troops out of Iraq, he pulled everything out of Iraq—roots and all. We now have no real intel network in Iraq. Whatever the U.S. accomplished was simply tossed in the trash by President Obama, including our Iraqi friends and allies. Once again, I find this utterly unconscionable. No wonder so many are cynical and distrustful of the United States. I would be too.

This brings us to the current crisis in Syria and Iraq. And this is where it gets messy.

If the administration played a major role in fomenting the chaos and destruction that is now occurring in Syria, then they can pat themselves on the back for facilitating the rise of ISIS.

Already I’m seeing more and more evidence of Syrian terrorists armed with American weapons, mostly small arms. But recently I posted how Syrian terrorists are in possession of ground-launched TOW missiles, which are designed to destroy modern main-battle tanks (MBT’s), and are quite effective against hardened targets.

Russia Today reported:

… Israel’s Debkafile website reported that two moderate Syrian rebel militias — the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Revolutionary Front — have been supplied with advanced US weapons, including armor-piercing, optically-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles, thanks to the Pentagon.

Screenshot from YouTube user Hazzm Movement.

Screenshot from YouTube user Hazzm Movement.

Some are calling to arm “moderate Syrian rebels,” now referred to as “vetted opposition.” (I would love to know what is meant by “vetted opposition,” by the way.)

Some military intel sources that I’ve been in contact with have stated that many Iraqi  Baathists are joining up with ISIS. They are allegedly seeking revenge against the al-Maliki government. The ISIS movement is being organized behind the scenes by some the old Saddam era channels. And one individual that is mentioned is what those in the military intelligence community refer to as the “King of Clubs.”

If you remember, back at the beginning of the Iraq War the U.S. military created a deck of playing cards to help coalition forces identify some of the most-wanted members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

wanted-_izzat_ibrahim_al-duri_is_the_king_of_clubs_1

The “King of Clubs” is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who is believed to have absconded to Syria early in the war. It is al-Douri who is believed to be organizing the Baathists and using ISIS as tools against the al-Maliki government. The Baathists allegedly have no intention of becoming a permanent part of ISIS.

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (King of Clubs) was the most senior aide in Saddam Hussein's inner-circle.

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (King of Clubs) was the most senior aide in Saddam Hussein’s inner-circle.

Allegedly, there have been numerous sightings of the King of Clubs in the region, but no solid intelligence at this point.

According to these same intel sources, Bashar al-Assad (a Baathist himself) has not hit ISIS very hard because he’s buying oil from themhis own oil that they stole.

Kurdish intelligence sources had reportedly alerted both the United States and the U.K. governments about the upcoming ISIS assault, but they did nothing.

Intel sources are also claiming Izzat Al-Douri helped mastermind ISIS’ capture of Mosul.

Following the fall of Mosul, ISIS was reportedly able to get their hands on American-made Blackhawk helicopters that were provided to Iraqi security forces by the U.S. and employed them to fire on Iraqi forces.

blackhawk-mosul

The regional instability created by the ISIS onslaught threatens to spread beyond Iraq and Syria, which was allegedly a calculated move by the King of Clubs group.

The foreign influx of fighters in the region has dramatically increased, especially after ISIS jihadis looted around $429 million from the central bank in Mosul, Iraq. The filth is flocking to the money.

Ominously, ISIS now boasts that they have access to nuclear weapons. Whether ISIS can get their hands on nukes or not, such claims certainly reveal their diabolical intent to obtain WMD’s and use them to “wipe out Israel” and her alliesnamely, the United States.

ISIS is now expressing their desire to use the territory they have captured as a launchpad for attacks against the United States.

Recently, ISIS has reportedly changed their name from the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” to the “Islamic State” (IS).

But above all this is the murky involvement of the Russians, Chinese, and, unfortunately, the United States. (The Communists have long used Islam as a battering ram against the West.)

It should be obvious now who has the power in Syria, and it is not the so-called “vetted opposition.” How the administration could believe moderate elements in Syria will be able to keep modern U.S. weapons out of the hands of extremist factions like ISIS and Juhbat al-Nusra is beyond me. And, quite frankly, it is criminal to believe that such weapons won’t fall into the hands of ISIS butchers and other terrorist groups.

Most disturbing are reports claiming the U.S. and other NATO aligned players are helping to train ISIS terrorists at a secret combat training base in Jordan.

Reuters reported:

Americans are training Syrian anti-government fighters in Jordan, the German weekly Der Spiegel said on Sunday, quoting what it said were participants and organisers.

Spiegel said it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were from the army but said some wore uniforms. The training focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.

Some 200 men have already received such training over the past three months and there are plans in the future to provide training for a total 1,200 members of the “Free Syrian Army” in two camps in the south and the east of the country.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported that U.S. trainers were assisting Syrian rebels in Jordan. British and French instructors were also participating in the U.S.-led effort, the Guardian said on Saturday, citing Jordanian security sources.

Additionally, as a direct result of Barack Obama’s illegal war in Libya, advanced weapons are now in the hands of such undesirables as the Taliban and Syrian terrorists.

Kenneth R. Timmerman writes in his new book, Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Ben­ghazi, the plan to arm so-called “Libyan rebels” backfired, resulting in weapons flooding into Syria. Others claim it was hardly a mistake, that the whole purpose of the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, was to run arms into Syria to the so-called FSA in the first place.

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles. (Photo credit: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with U.S.-made heat-seeking Stinger missiles. (Photo credit: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Not only have the Taliban received arms as a direct result of the U.S. and NATO intervention in Libya, the U.S. has now released five top Taliban commanders back into circulation following the Bergdhal affair. We’ve been reassured by both the president and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that there is nothing to worry about from the five notorious Gitmo detainees, since they are under the watchful eye of Qatar.

Are you kidding me? Already I’ve read reports the five Taliban commanders are allowed free travel within Qatar; and they were welcomed back as heroes. And that’s not all. Both the Saudis and the Qataris reportedly helped finance ISIS! And, remember, we still have troops in Afghanistan, and now military advisers (cf. special forces) in Iraq.

Now President Obama is talking about funding the training of so-called rebels in Syria to the tune of $500 million. What really floors me about this is even people like Charles Krauthammer are saying “it’s worth a try.”

Have we all lost our collective minds?

Or is there something far more sinister going on here?

I tend to believe the latter.

Of course, as is so often the case with Obama, the president is already contradicting himself.

On Face the Nation with Norah O’Donnell the president claimed arming so-called “moderate Syrian rebels” would not have helped:

On the flipside, Obama has considered working with the Iranians to help stabilize the situation in Iraq.

Just let that sit for a moment.

The president proposes spending $500 million to help train Syrian terrorists, while, at the same time, he considers working with the Iranians to help fight ISIS in Iraq. The predominately Shiite nation of Iran is actively supporting Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Yet the president holds talks with Iran, while he mulls spending $500 million to train Syrian terrorists who will fight against the Syrian Assad regime. This is either utter madness, or one helluva diabolical Hegelian strategy to destabilize the entire Middle East.

There’s plenty of blame to go around here. As I have stated before, when George W. Bush launched the war in Iraq I had a lot of misgivings about the whole excursion. As the war continued, I became more and more disillusioned with the strategy and purpose of the whole excursion. What were we trying to achieve in Iraq? But I also started to become disillusioned with our strategy in Afghanistan as well. What was the end goal there?

I feel very strongly that if you do not have clear and defined objectives when employing military power, then the conflict will just go on and on, with no end in sight. This breaks every maxim of war that I’m familiar with.

It used to be—and maybe it still is—that Sun Tzu’s The Art of War was required reading for members of our military. But it should be reading for our civilian leadership that sends our military into battle as well.

One of the maxims in Sun Tzu’s treatise: “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”

Sun Tzu warns in Chapter II (Waging War):

2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. 3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

So why does the U.S. keep getting into protracted conflicts? Cui bono (“to whose benefit”).

This is a real sore spot for me. I have serious issues about how the U.S. has employed our military post-WWII. We keep getting into no-win wars. And the one question that must always be asked, who benefits from all this? It certainly isn’t the United States. That should be painfully clear by now.

I recall George W. Bush being asked on numerous occasions about how long he intended to continue combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His answer was always the same: “As long as it takes.”

Wrong answer, in my opinion. And I would even say Sun Tzu might agree, according to what he wrote and compiled from other sources familiar with the art of war. The whole point of war is to achieve victory. You must crush the enemy. There is no middle ground on this. And if you’re not willing or able to clearly define the enemy and your objectives, then you will lose. Period. To let a war drag on and on only demoralizes the people and the military.

This brings me to the whole subject of isolationism and non-interventionism, and the differences that exist between the two.

There is a big difference between being an isolationist and a non-interventionist. The United States has never been a truly isolationist country, in my opinion. When I think of isolationism, I think of Japan back in the day when they would not allow anyone or anything into their country that threatened to change or upend their unique culture and traditions in any way whatsoever. China has been much the same way in its long and storied history, going so far as to build a Great Wall to keep the foreigners out, lest they infect and dissipate their culture and traditions.

There’s a big difference between completely isolating your nation from everyone in the world and the act of intervening in other nations’ affairs.

What I always find so contradictory about many on the left is their accusation that those on the right are “isolationists” if they don’t wish to intervene in the affairs of another nation, yet they are labeled “imperialists” if they do—a no-win scenario. This hypocrisy of the left is exemplified by their bitter and vocal opposition to the Iraq War, yet they said nothing about Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya. Are the leftists admitting they were isolationists during the Iraq War but became imperialists during the conflict in Libya?

So, when should we go to war?

That is a very simple question for me to answer. The only time I believe the United States should use military force is to protect American lives and property. Period. That’s the reason why we have a military in the first place—to defend our nation, nothing else. No “nation building,” no “spreading democracy,” no “winning hearts and minds,” no “protecting the environment” … simply to save American lives and property. Period.

There was a famous speech made by the late USMC Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler in 1933 called “War Is a Racket.” In his speech, Maj. Gen. Butler said, “There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.”

And this brings me to the subject of neo-conservatism.

I used to believe that the whole neocon label that some hurled at those on the right-side of the political spectrum was just a derogatory term for their political rivals. To be sure, many do whip around the “neocon” label as a slur without knowing the real meaning behind the term. I’ve since discovered there is a lot more to it than that.

Is neo-conservatism and conservatism the same animal?

Answer: no, absolutely not.

Via History Commons:

The philosophy that becomes known as “neoconservativism” traces its roots to leftist ideologues in New York City who, before World War II, begin sorting themselves into two camps: those who support Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic “New Deal” policies, and more radical individuals who consider themselves followers of Soviet communism.

This is why some refer to de facto neo-conservatives as “Trotskyite Neocons” or “Rockefeller Republicans”—members of the elitist “Eastern Establishment,” as Dr. Carroll Quigley describes it in his monumental work Tragedy and Hope.

Quigley-Carroll-right-left-quote

“The other important influence on neoconservatives was the legacy of Trotsky…. In the framework of international communism, the Trotskyites were rabid internationalists rather than realists or nationalists.”

—John Ehrman, The Rise of Neoconservatism, 1995

Irving Kristol, father of editor and publisher of the Washington, D.C.-based political magazine, The Weekly Standard, stated, “I regard myself as lucky to have been a young Trotskyite and I have not a single bitter memory.”

irving-kristol-neo-conservatism

From Irving Kristol’s 1995 book, Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea:

“In 1972, the nomination of George McGovern signified that the Democratic Party was not hospitable to any degree of neoconservatism…. Only a few of us drew the obvious conclusion that we would have to find a home in the Republican Party…. But with every year passing year, our numbers grow.”

[…]

“We … accepted the New Deal in principle, and had little affection for the kind of isolationism that then permeated American conservatism.”

The neocons are often accused of being “warmongers.” But the progressive liberals are no better. For example, people like Barack Obama and George Soros support the Responsibility to Protect doctrine (R2P).

Via TrevorLoudon.com:

The “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine employed by the UN and advanced by Obama is beyond dangerous. Within the globalist’s charter is the ability to deem civil rights violations an offense warranting military action against the offending country.

If R2p isn’t the worst sort of interventionist doctrine imaginable, I don’t know what is.

Our Founders had a much different perspective from the neocons on intervening in the affairs of nations.

“The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.”

—George Washington

“America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.”

—John Quincy Adams

Recently, I was listening to an interview with former Congressman Allen West and was  surprised to hear him say, “I think all this isolationism and non-interventionism is dangerous.”

Really?

Usually I agree with most of Allen West’s political positions—almost wholeheartedly. To hear Allen West say that “isolationism and non-interventionism is dangerous” made me wonder if I understood him correctly, because I’ve heard him say that he is not a fan of “nation building.” Perhaps he was conflating isolationism and non-interventionism as being synonymous. But as I stated earlier, they are two very different things to me.

I am not an isolationist; I am a non-interventionist. That does not mean that if American lives and property are at stake that we shouldn’t go wherever the enemy is and crush them decisively. Some might call that “intervention.” I call it national defense.

What I don’t say, when it comes to waging war, is the U.S. should only go to war to protect American lives, property and our vital national interests. I used to add the “and our vital national interests” when explaining under what circumstances I believed military force would be justified. I have come to the conclusion that this was a big mistake on my part.

And here’s why: when one says military force is justified in order to protect our vital national interests, it becomes difficult to explain just what is meant by “vital national interests.” A Republican president will have one definition of what our vital national interests are, and a Democrat president will have another definition. Therein lies the problem. “Vital national interests” can mean whatever you want them to mean. And that’s unacceptable when it comes to sending our people into harm’s way, as far as I’m concerned.

We seem to be playing the blame game now. Democrats, liberals and progressives, et al., are wont to constantly blame George W. Bush for the disastrous situation in Iraq. Well, there’s plenty of blame to go around … on both sides. And I’m more than willing to take George W. Bush to task for getting us into a long and protracted conflict, with no clear strategy for victory. Once you lose the will of the people, or what Sun Tzu might call the Tao of the people, you will lose the war. Another maxim of war that Bush W., et al., seem to have either forgotten, or never learned in the first place. Or maybe it is something far more nefarious.

But the Democrats are not off the hook either. For people like Harry Reid and Joe Biden to vote for the war, then have the nerve to turn around and claim the war was illegal, in order to score political points with their base, is utterly despicable. And one of the most egregious examples of Democrat duplicity, in my opinion, was when Sen. Harry Reid took to the floor and declared the “war was lost,” while we have troops in theater fighting and dying. I find it unconscionable. If the war is lost, then pull the troops out. I find this utterly unconscionable and disgusting.

And while we’re on the subject of blame, let’s take a hard look at Barack Obama in this matter. Perhaps it would help if I boil down it all down to a parable.

Let’s say we have a large corporation that’s failing miserably. The shareholders and the board of directors decide to fire the CEO and hire a new one. But after a few years after hiring the new CEO, they discover the business is doing even worse that it was with the old CEO. So, the shareholders and directors convene a board meeting and invite the new CEO in to discuss the matter.

Now, if they asked the new CEO why things are going so badly, and he stated, “Well, I inherited this whole mess from the old CEO; it’s all his fault.” The shareholders and directors look at each incredulously and then tell the new CEO, “We now you were left with a mess, that’s why we hired you because you said you could fix it … you’re fired!”

That’s how I see Barack Obama. The man never admits to ever being wrong about anything. It is always the fault of someone or something else. It’s Bush’s fault; it’s Congress’ fault, it’s the fault of climate change, but never his fault. He’s just a victim, according to the gospel of Barack.

And then there is Obama’s cheerleading crew—the main-stream media. I believe if Barack Obama shot his own mother dead on live TV, the sycophant media lapdogs would try and spin it. I imagine it would go something like this, “Well, it may not be the method we would choose. But his mother was suffering from a debilitating disease and it was just his way of trying to end her suffering. Although we realize it was a bit extreme, and may not be the method we would choose, it was over relatively quickly. Now she is no longer suffering, which is a good thing. He was just simply trying to end her suffering, albeit in a rather dramatic fashion.”

This why I am no longer a cheerleader for any political group or cause. It doesn’t mean I don’t support certain members of the GOP or the TEA Party, or what have you, it just means I’m not going to sit there and try and defend the indefensible just because they’re playing on our team. Wrong is wrong and right is right. Period.

It is high time we rise above the right-left paradigm that creates so much division in our nation. It was purposefully crafted construct to create the very division we are experiencing now.

Of course, it is practically impossible to discuss American politics without bringing up right and left. And, to be sure, I’m just as guilty. Actually, I’m a hypocrite on this matter. I mean, what is the name of this web site? Yeah, The Right Planet.

Guilty as charged.

But I feel strongly now that this has been my failing. The “insiders” and “ruling elite” usurp right and left; they play both sides, using tactics like Hegelian dialectics in order to bring about their predetermined outcomes. We’re being played like fools. Enough is enough.

In my opinion, we need to drop all the labels and quit sticking each other into little groups and boxes. We need to start talking to each other by name, as individuals, regardless of which side of the political spectrum we’re on. You can’t talk to a group. In order to communicate in a constructive two-way fashion with members of a group, you have to deal with individuals individually. You can’t talk to ten people at once. So, individuals do matter. We all have names, hopes, dreams, and all that good stuff. There is no such thing as a mass of people. It is a group of people comprised of individuals. There’s no getting around that, no matter how much the collectivists of the world wish it were not so.

Ronald Reagan once said, “There is no such thing as right or left; there is only up or down.” He is absolutely correct, in my mind. And right now we’re going down on a greased sled to hell, if you ask me.

In closing I would like to point that I have never faulted our military for any of the Middle East quagmire in which we now find ourselves. Our troops have given their all, and their lives, and parts of their bodies, not to mention the sacrifice of their families. And they did it without complaint. Amazing. I am eternally grateful for their sacrifice and bravery, and their families too. I fault our civilian leadership. Period. It is they who send our fighting men and women into battle. And it is they who bear the ultimate responsibility for the outcome, with all its inherent ramifications, whether they like it or not.

h/t: @rrisc, @jihadwartracker


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About Brent P.

Author, blogger, independent researcher, Conservatarian, and strict Constitutionalist.
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