U.S. Weapons in Afghanistan Likely Reaching Insurgents, Report Warns

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers prepare to participate in a military exercise on the outskirts of Kabul / AP

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers prepare to participate in a military exercise on the outskirts of Kabul / AP

BY: :

After spending $626 million in taxpayer funds to arm the Afghanistan security forces, U.S. government inspectors have discovered that large portions of the weapons have gone missing and have likely fallen into the hands of militant insurgents, according to a new report.

In addition to these lost or misplaced weapons, government inspectors found that the United States has over-armed the Afghan forces, creating a glut of weaponry that is only expected to grow larger as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) reduces its numbers.

Due to the Afghan government’s inability to properly account for and store these arms, U.S. inspectors are warning that the American weapons could fall into the hands of insurgents—a problem made more likely by the Pentagon’s lack of authority to recapture lost weapons.

“Given the Afghan government’s limited ability to account for or properly dispose of weapons, there is a real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents,” the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstructions (SIGAR) wrote in a report released early Monday.

Pentagon “officials told SIGAR that they do not currently have the authority to recapture or remove weapons that have already been provided to the ANSF,” the report found.

This means that excess weapons—including rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, and shotguns—that have not been tracked or stored properly could wind up anywhere.

“This issue will be compounded as the number of ANSF personnel decreases to lower levels in the coming years,” according to the report. “Without confidence in the Afghan government’s ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons, SIGAR is concerned that they could be obtained by insurgents and pose additional risks to Afghan civilians and the ANSF.

The Pentagon has spent at least $626 million arming with Afghan forces with some 747,000 weapons and auxiliary equipment, including around 465,000 small arms weapons such as AK-47s and M16s.

Yet the Afghan government, which has been accused of corruption and malfeasance by SIGAR and others, has failed to provide proper oversight on the U.S. weapons.

Read more at Free Beacon

Daniel Greenfield on “How Obama Surrendered Iraq” – on The Glazov Gang

Front Page:

This week’s Glazov Gang was joined by Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He writes the blog, The Point, at Frontpagemag.com.

Daniel discussed “How Obama Surrendered Iraq,” outlining a Radical-in-Chief’s suicidal foreign policy [starting at the 8:30 mark].

The dialogue also involved an analysis of Obama’s disastrous Afghanistan give-away, more revelations on the Benghazi betrayal, the scandalous Taliban-Bergdahl swap, and much, much more:

Refusal by Our Leaders to Know the Enemy and Destroy Them Leads to Catastrophic Consequences

AQUTT, by John Guandolo:

The American military crushed the Islamic fighters on the field of battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, long before the U.S. achieved unconditional surrender from the enemy – which never materialized – the State Department wrote constitutions in those two countries which created Islamic Republics under the rule of Sharia (Islamic Law), thus giving Al Qaeda two of its key regional objectives – Islamic States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is one in a long line of policy, war fighting, and foreign policy decisions highlighting the failure of America’s leadership to know our enemy and defeat them. This failure is coming back to haunt us with the events currently unfolding in Iraq and will lead to the loss of Iraq to Jihadi forces, as has been predicted by anyone who understands this enemy.

Today, these Jihadi/Islamic forces – and it does not matter what they call themselves – are moving towards Baghdad and seek to defeat the Iraq military and overthrow the government. In the not-so-distant future, Iraq will fall under the control of the Shia – 60% of the Iraq population – in tandem with Iran. Once the Shia control Iraq, Saudi Arabia will be vulnerable, and they know it. This is why Saudi lobbied so hard for so long to keep American troops in Iraq.

All that is unfolding is the logical outcome of this enemy practically fulfilling its stated doctrine. The Global Islamic Movement does not hate us and wage war against the West because of something we did. Nor do they do it merely for land conquest and material gain.
This enemy does what it does because its doctrine requires it.

The enemy threat doctrine is Sharia (Islamic Law). It is what the enemy states it is fighting to impose on the world, and it is the blueprint for all they do. Sharia is the filter by which we must understand all of their communications at all levels especially militarily and politically.

“Implementation of Sharia law and replacement of system of nation states with a worldwide Caliphate are the ultimate political aims (of the Jihadis).”
NYPD Report: Radicalization in the West

All of the jihadis we capture on the battlefield; all of Al Qaeda’s writings and videos; all of the Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws, strategic plans, and doctrine; and all of the jihadis we have caught or have conducted operations here in America state they do what they do to impose Sharia and re-establish the global Islamic State (Caliphate). In the investigative world that is called a “clue.” Where do the jihadis get these ideas from? The U.S. Attorney General, military leaders, FBI Director, DHS Secretary, Secretary of State, leaders of both political parties, and many other U.S. leaders call this ideology a “distorted version” or “radical interpretation” of Sharia. So we must ask the question…what Sharia law have you read?

As noted in the UTT May 8th blog article, 100% of all Islamic doctrine – including first grade school books in Islamic schools across the globe – define Islam as a “complete way of life (social, cultural, political, military, religious) governed by Islamic Law (Sharia).” 100% of all published authoritative Islamic Law obliges Jihad until the entire world is subordinated to Islamic Law. 100% of all published authoritative Islamic Law ONLY defines Jihad as “warfare against non-muslims.”

The next time someone tells you this is not true, ask them to produce one authoritative book on Islamic Law which details the “other version” of Islam as described by our leaders. You will not find it because it 1400 years it has never been written.

Until the time comes when America’s leaders decide to face reality that continues to smack us in the face – as jihadis are rising up in nearly every country around the world – that we have an enemy who is doing what they are doing because their doctrine requires it when they have the strength to carry it out, then we will continue to watch nations fall, tens of thousands of people be killed in barbaric ways, and our foreign policy and domestic “terrorism strategies” fail completely because our leaders have made the decision not to know the enemy.

Former FBI Special Agent and counterterrorism expert John Guandolo is the Founder of Understanding the Threat, an organization dedicated to providing threat-focused strategic and operational consultation, education, and training for federal, state and local leadership and agencies.

Dr. K, Wrong, Though Sincere

20110304_Krauthammer_OBAMAby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

This week on Fox News (here and here), the estimable Charles Krauthammer argued in favor of President Obama’s decision to swap detainees with a terrorist organization, indulging the administration’s portrayal of a “prisoner of war” exchange though the trade involves unlawful-combatant jihadists (two of them wanted for mass-murder war crimes) and a deserter.

I respectfully disagree.

Charles’s theory is that the West routinely engages in these sorts of swaps and should do so, despite always coming out on the short end, because it is a beneficial exhibition of the higher value we place on human life. I do not for a moment doubt Dr. K’s sincerity in stressing the value of human life, but I believe he is confounding the value and the exhibition – the high-minded display of good intentions. After all, as we shall see, his argument is a loser from a humanitarian perspective.

Charles appears to find the demonstration of our veneration of life beneficial because the so-called war on terror is, in part, a war of ideas. That is, even though these typically one-sided exchanges are a tactical victory for the terrorists, our cause is advanced over the long haul because the superiority of our values attracts convincible people to our side.

It is a nice thought, of a piece with the Lawyer Left pipe dream that we advance our security by bringing terrorists into our civilian criminal-justice system and abandoning such heavy-handed practices as coercive interrogation, military commissions, and indefinite law-of-war detention. Here’s the problem: These pieties do not correlate to real-world experience. Irresolute responses to barbarism beget more barbarism.

It is delusional to believe that most people in the Muslim Middle East view the conflict through our self-absorbed lens and perceive a contest between savage and noble principles. They have their own lens, and through it they see the strong horse versus the weak horse. You don’t win a war of ideas against a culture that brays, “We love death more than you love life!” by showing them how much you love life. To think otherwise is an example of what Roger Simon wrote about this week: the elevation of moral narcissism over objective reality.

Charles Krauthammer, of course, is no pie-in-the-sky progressive. So not surprisingly, he also cites a more concrete benefit of demonstrating our reverence for human life: It breeds a knowledge that we never abandon our captured troops, which is essential to the esprit de corps of the world’s most effective fighting force.

In principle, I agree. But in the Bergdahl-Taliban situation, the principle is inapposite. Charles, it turns out, is conflating some importantly distinct concepts. To begin with, there is a huge difference between how detainees are treated (a) in the midst of hostilities and (b) in an armistice at the conclusion of hostilities.

While combat is still raging – especially combat by terrorist methods that violate civilized norms – detainees should be held until the conclusion of hostilities unless there is some strategic advantage in releasing them. There can be no strategic advantage in replenishing the Taliban with five of its most capable commanders at a time when the Taliban, along with its al-Qaeda and Haqqani confederates, is still conducting offensive jihadist operations against both our troops in harm’s way and civilians.

On that score, it would not matter if the deserter Bowe Bergdahl were, instead, a heroic Audie Murphy. Indeed, as my old boss Rudy Giuliani observed on Sean Hannity’s program this week, an honorable American prisoner of war would not want to be released if the price were freeing five terrorists who would then gravely endanger his fellow troops.

Moreover, in stressing how a detainee swap satisfies the admirable objective of retrieving our captive troops, Charles misses the other side of the humanitarian ledger. The laws of war permit detention of enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities not to punish the captives but to promote peace. The theory is that depleting the enemy’s resources creates an incentive on the enemy’s part to seek a truce and bring the war to a swifter end with less bloodshed.

To the contrary, releasing enemy combatants while the war is still raging fortifies the enemy, incentivizes the enemy to extend the war, and causes more carnage. If we are going to talk about our values and the veneration of human life, it makes no sense to account for the marginal humanitarian benefit of obtaining the return of our captured troops while ignoring the humanitarian catastrophe of returning enemy detainees to a hot battlefield. That is especially so if the detainees in question are terrorists, who target civilians.

This is not to say that we forget about our captured troops. Far from it. We routinely divert military resources that could be devoted to other strategic wartime objectives in order to conduct combat rescue operations. But we do not “rescue” our captured troops by negotiating with terrorist organizations and releasing their captured operatives so the enemy can sustain itself and kill more American troops.

If we were talking about a settlement to conclude hostilities, Charles would have a point. When war ends, with it ends the law-of-war justification for detaining enemy combatants without trial. At that point, even detainees who continue to pose a threat must be released unless they can be charged with war crimes or other offenses. The five Taliban commanders, however, were not exchanged in a final settlement that ends the war. They are going back to a very lethal jihad.

The absurdity here is that President Obama seems to think he can bring a war to an end, abracadabra, by saying so. In reality, the war is not close to being over from the enemy’s point of view – they are continuing to fight. Under such circumstances, Obama can end the war only by surrendering. In effect, that is what he is doing, albeit in slow motion and under the camouflage of a risible Afghan “reconciliation process.” (Translation: The Taliban retakes the country in a way that is made to look like a political settlement rather than a jihadist coup.)

Read more: Family Security Matters

The Top 8 White House Bergdahl Lies

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Bergdahl was release May 31. In the days since, the administration has pushed the narrative that he was ill; his life was threatened; Congress was informed; this was not a negotiation with terrorists; he served with honor and distinction; the released Taliban leaders are not a threat; the Gitmo Five will be monitored by the U.S.; and this was the “last, best chance” to bring Bergdahl home. Every single one of these statements has been shown to be false — to be a lie.

By Joseph Miller:

It’s been just over a week since Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo Bay, and so far the Obama administration is averaging nearly a lie a day. Here are the top eight administration claims, laid out and debunked in full.

Lie #1: Bergdahl was very sick

Bergdahl’s health was not rapidly deteriorating, as the administration claimed. Reports have leaked that the only medical problems Bergdahl is suffering from are “gum and skin disorders” associated with poor hygiene.

The video of Sgt. Bergdahl’s handover to American forces that was released by the Taliban shows Sgt. Bergdahl looking relatively healthy. In the tape, he is seen walking into the company of U.S. special operations forces and then climbing into the aircraft without assistance. The video also shows him lucid and communicating with his captors. We know from previous reporting that he was able to write down the letters “SF” with a question mark on paper once inside the helicopter, as a way of asking his rescuers if they were special forces. This proved that his fine motor skills were intact, and that he was aware of his surroundings.

It has also been reported that one of the few exchange between Bergdahl’s rescuers and his captors was a question about his health. The Taliban said he was not sick. Finally, reports from Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany state that Sgt. Bergdahl has been in stable condition.

Lie #2: The Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl

To further justify its decision not to inform Congress (in violation of the law), administration officials claimed that there was a threat to kill Bergdahl if details of the prisoner swap were released. But Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has stated that there is no credible information indicating that there was a threat to Berghdal’s life.

Lie #3: The administration informed Congress about the swap

Reports from Capitol Hill have informed us that the administration last discussed the possibility of a prisoner transfer with members of Congress several years ago. At that time, there was bipartisan and bicameral opposition to the idea. The law requires that the administration notify Congress 30 days prior to the release of any detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The administration has admitted that it engaged in negotiations to secure the deal that set Bergdahl free for over a week prior to the swap. During that week, the administration never informed Congress — and only notified congressional leaders after the deal had been reached, after the detainees from Guantanamo were released, and after Berghdal was in American custody.

It appears that the administration chose to willfully violate the law by not informing Congress, as we now know that there was no credible threat to Bergdahl’s life, he wasn’t ill, and the administration was negotiating for over a week with his captors.

Read more at Daily Caller

Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.

 

 

Assault on Pakistan Airport Signals Taliban’s Reach and Resilience

Relatives and colleagues of airport security personnel killed in the attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, gathered near the coffins after funeral prayers. ATHAR HUSSAIN / REUTERS

Relatives and colleagues of airport security personnel killed in the attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, gathered near the coffins after funeral prayers.
ATHAR HUSSAIN / REUTERS

By DECLAN WALSH:

London –  Only a week ago the Pakistani taliban appeared to be on the ropes. Violent rivalries had split the insurgency in two. Peace talks with the government had collapsed. Military jets had pounded militant hide-outs in the tribal belt.

A squad of militant commandos, disguised as government security forces, stormed Karachi’s international airport after dark. They carried food, water and ammunition, apparently in preparation for a long siege, and big ambitions: perhaps to hijack a commercial airliner, government officials said Monday, or to blow up an oil depot, or to destroy airplanes on the tarmac.

The 10 attackers were dead five hours later, shot by soldiers or blown up by their own suicide vests. Yet the audacious nature of the assault shook Pakistan to its core, offering a violent reminder that for all its divisions, the Taliban remain an astonishingly resilient force.

It has kept a reach far beyond its tribal redoubt along the Afghan border, with an ability to penetrate the country’s busiest airport in the largest city. And the discovery that Uzbek jihadis were among the attackers underscores how, even in splinters, the Taliban can draw on an international militant network to conduct sophisticated attacks — which means trouble not just for Pakistan’s government and military, but for American interests in Afghanistan.

The determined attack seems to bear out earlier warnings by counterterrorism experts that the Taliban split two weeks ago was unlikely to erode the group’s capacity for mayhem.

“It’s become a hydra-headed monster,” said Najmuddin Shaikh, a retired head of Pakistan’s foreign service. “They had limited success in Karachi, but maybe that was just our good luck.”

Key to the Taliban’s strength is the web of alliances it has cultivated with fellow militant groups in North Waziristan, the tribal district along the Afghan border that since 2001 has evolved into a vibrant global hub of jihadi money, ideology and fighters — Punjabis, Chechens, Arabs, Central Asians, Afghan Taliban and a smattering of Westerners.

The Taliban’s major ally is the Haqqani network, a formidable force in the Afghan insurgency that held the American soldier Bowe Bergdahl hostage for five years until his release on May 31. But they have other allies too — fighters whose militancy was born elsewhere, but who have joined in the Taliban fight.

Chief among them are the Uzbeks, hard-bitten fighters who followed Osama bin Laden into Pakistan after September 2001, and who have since become an important element of the Taliban insurgency, offering Pakistan fighters what experts call a deep bench of militant training and expertise.

Read more at New York Times

How Many Americans Will Die Because of the Bergdahl Trade?

REPORTER_HERRIDGE_060214Front Page, by Ronn Torossian:

As Time Magazine reported this week, “Asked whether the Taliban would be inspired by the exchange to kidnap others, a commander laughed. “Definitely.”

Once again, President Barack Obama has shown why he is a horrible President. A weak, impotent American president. Here are some quotes that are important to share in regards to just how awful this deal was for America:

“Swapping Bergdahl for illegal enemy combatants (terrorists, in common parlance) signaled unmistakably to Taliban and al Qaeda that Obama is determined to withdraw from Afghanistan no matter what the cost to the United States or those in Afghanistan fighting to remain free.” — John Bolton

“We all must be mindful that the United States has diplomatic, civilian, and military personnel deployed in other countries with both challenging security environments and active terrorist networks interested in targeting not just our facilities but our people. One of their greatest protections – knowing that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists – has been compromised.” — John Boehner

“I fear that the administration’s decision to negotiate with the Taliban for Sgt. Bergdahl’s release could encourage future terrorist kidnappings of Americans.” — U.S. Senator for Florida, Marco Rubio

“If you negotiate here, you’ve sent a message to every al Qaeda group in the world – by the way, some who are holding U.S. hostages today – that there is some value now in that hostage in a way that they didn’t have before.” — Mike Rogers

“By releasing these five top Taliban commanders, the U.S. is demonstrating that it is throwing in the towel in the long struggle against the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies in Afghanistan.” — Jonathan S. Tobin

“This is an example of a signing statement where the President is taking power for himself that the law didn’t give him.” — Jeffrey Toobin

“While not as well known as Guantanamo inmates like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Taliban 5 were some of the worst outlaws in the U.S. war on terror. And their release will end up replenishing the diminished leadership ranks of the Afghan Taliban at a moment when the United States is winding down the war there.” — Eli Lake, Josh Rogin

“The idea that we’re now making trades, what does that do for every single soldier stationed abroad? It says the reason why the U.S. has had the policy for decades of not negotiating with terrorists is because once you start doing it, every other terrorist has an incentive to capture more soldiers.” — Senator Ted Cruz

“One was the deputy minister of intelligence for the Taliban. One was the deputy minister of defense for the Taliban. These are no local level individuals. These are leaders and this is serious to put them back on the street.” — James Lankford

“At least when Israel releases terrorists to gain the freedom of one of its soldiers, the country’s leaders have the grace to treat the decision as a regrettable action made out of necessity and nothing to celebrate.” — Jonathan S. Tobin

“It’s very interesting to me that they would be willing to release five extraordinarily dangerous Taliban members in exchange for this soldier who apparently left his post.” — Senator Susan Collins

“We have now set a price. We have a changing footprint in Afghanistan which would put our soldiers at risk for this notion that ‘If I can get one, I can get five Taliban released.” — Mike Rogers

“Radical Islamists are serious about killing in pursuit of their extreme objectives. Releasing their soldiers can only embolden them to take more Americans hostage. The deal for Sgt. Bergdahl may well turn out to have been a bargain with the devil.”– Cal Thomas

“If it was an isolated incident, then maybe you could just say, ‘Oh, this was an emergency situation.’ But what you have is a pattern of the administration ignoring the law, whether it’s health care, immigration or now national security. And obviously those sorts of patterns undermine our system of government.” — Rep. Mac Thornberry

“America has maintained a prohibition on negotiating with terrorists for good reason.” — James Inhofe

“Shame on the Obama administration for this “prisoner exchange.” It is sad that a U.S. soldier was a hostage for five years in the hands of the Taliban, but releasing five Taliban is wrong. These people will likely kill more of our troops, and this deal will encourage more hostage-taking.” — Sassan K. Darian

“Mr. Obama is more willing to negotiate with the Taliban than Congress.” — Joseph Curl

**************

Truth Revolt- Rep. Mike Rogers: Releasing Taliban ‘A Huge Regional and Geopolitical Problem for U.S.’

 

act4america – Will Bergdalh Prisoner Swap Embolden America’s Enemies?

 

 

 

How the Taliban got their hands on modern US missiles

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles. Photo: Getty Images

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles.
Photo: Getty Images

The Obama administration isn’t only giving the Taliban back its commanders — it’s giving them weapons.

Miliary records and sources reveal that on July 25, 2012, Taliban fighters in Kunar province successfully targeted a US Army CH-47 helicopter with a new generation Stinger missile.

They thought they had a surefire kill. But instead of bursting into flames, the Chinook just disappeared into the darkness as the American pilot recovered control of the aircraft and brought it to the ground in a hard landing.

The assault team jumped out the open doors and ran clear in case it exploded. Less than 30 seconds later, the Taliban gunner and his comrade erupted into flames as an American gunship overhead locked onto their position and opened fire.

The next day, an explosive ordnance disposal team arrived to pick through the wreckage and found unexploded pieces of a missile casing that could only belong to a Stinger missile.

Lodged in the right nacelle, they found one fragment that contained an entire serial number.

The investigation took time. Arms were twisted, noses put out of joint. But when the results came back, they were stunning: The Stinger tracked back to a lot that had been signed out by the CIA recently, not during the anti-Soviet ­jihad.

Reports of the Stinger reached the highest echelons of the US command in Afghanistan and became a source of intense speculation, but no action.

Everyone knew the war was winding down. Revealing that the Taliban had US-made Stingers risked demoralizing coalition troops. Because there were no coalition casualties, government officials made no public announcement of the attack.

My sources in the US Special Operations community believe the Stinger fired against the Chinook was part of the same lot the CIA turned over to the ­Qataris in early 2011, weapons Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department intended for anti-Khadafy forces in Libya.

They believe the Qataris delivered between 50 and 60 of those same Stingers to the Taliban in early 2012, and an additional 200 SA-24 Igla-S surface-to-air missiles.

Qatar now is expected to hold five Taliban commanders released from Guantanamo for a year before allowing them to go to Afghanistan.

But if we can’t trust the Qataris not to give our weapons to the Taliban, how can we trust them with this?

Also see:

 

Jihadists ‘are thinking in terms of generations’

Long War Journal:

 

The Long War Journal‘s Thomas Joscelyn appears on FOX News to discuss the Bowe Bergdahl – Taliban prisoner exchange and the five dangerous Taliban leaders who were released, the first American suicide bomber in Syria, and the overall war

Taliban Hails Prisoner Swap as “Victory”

bowe-bergdahl-IP

The prisoner swap is a tremendous morale boost for the Taliban and its allies who are eagerly looking for evidence that they are winning.

By Ryan Mauro:

The U.S. government’s decision to swap five senior Taliban commanders that collaborated with Al-Qaeda for an American soldier (who may have been a deserter) is being heavily criticized for valid reasons. Now, the Taliban is describing it as a “victory” attributable to Allah’s blessing.

“This huge accomplishment brings the glad tidings of liberation of the whole country and reassures us that our aspirations are on the verge of fulfillment,” said Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Omar reiterated his commitment to winning the release of “all those who have been imprisoned for defending the honor and freedom of their country.” We should therefore expect more Americans to be kidnapped, since the prisoner swap has proven the tactic to be fruitful.

Taliban spokesperson dismissed the idea that the swap would lead to political reconciliation, stating, “It won’t help the peace process in any way, because we don’t believe in the peace process.”

The five Taliban commanders will move to Qatar and cannot leave for one year. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says Qatar has an arrangement with the U.S. to make sure the commanders don’t pose a threat to the U.S.,  but this is the same U.S. “ally” that supports the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The Qatar-based spiritual leader of the Muslim BrotherhoodSheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, was a key mediator.

Read more at Clarion Project

The Taliban Swap and ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’

derildereliction-of-duty-obamaWhen the commander-in-chief replenishes the enemy at a time when (a) the enemy is still attacking our forces and (b) the commander-in-chief has hamstrung our forces with unconscionable combat rules-of-engagement that compromise their ability to defend themselves, that is a profound dereliction of duty.

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

The Wall Street Journal had a fine editorial Monday on President Obama’s reckless decision to negotiate with the Taliban and release from Guantanamo Bay five of its most senior, most capable, most implacably anti-American jihadists for an American army sergeant who, according to accounts from his fellow soldiers, went AWOL in 2009. I addressed the swap in a Corner post over the weekend and in a column yesterday.

Faithless Execution, my book on presidential lawlessness and the Constitution’s ultimate response to it, impeachment, has just been released. I’ve thus been repeatedly asked about the president’s violation of a federal statute in carrying out the exchange and whether this rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor,” the constitutional standard for impeachable offenses that is prominently discussed in my book. This line of inquiry misses the point. There surely is an impeachable offense in this irresponsible deal, but it involves the commander-in-chief’s dereliction of duty, not his failure to comply with dubious statutory terms.

The National Defense Authorization Act states that the president must give Congress 30 days’ notice before transferring war prisoners out of Gitmo, along with an explanation of steps taken to mitigate any potential threat the release poses to the United States. The administration concedes that the president did not comply with this law in releasing the Taliban commanders. The Journal’s editors pooh-pooh the allegation of some Republican lawmakers that this makes the exchange illegal; they argue, to the contrary, that the law is an “unconstitutional” constraint on the president’s “wartime decision-making.” The editors have a point, though one that is undercut by the president himself.

Article II of the Constitution gives the president significant unilateral authority over the conduct of foreign affairs. As commander-in-chief, moreover, the president has traditionally had near plenary authority over the capture and disposition of enemy combatants in wartime. Congress has salient constitutional powers, too. As the Journalpoints out, Congress could properly have used “its comparably strong power of the purse” to deny the president funding for objectionable prisoner transfers. Instead, with the 30-day notice prescription, it purported to legislate direct limitations on the president’s prerogatives. The president’s commander-in-chief prerogatives may be frustrated by Congress’s exercise of its competing spending power, but Congress may not legislate away the president’s Article II powers—i.e., the Constitution may not be amended by a mere statute. The Journal is right on that score.

The problem in this instance, however, is two-fold. First, there is the now-familiar hypocrisy point. Throughout the Bush administration, when the president relied on his constitutional authority to override congressional restrictions on his wartime surveillance authority and control over enemy combatants, the Left, including then-Senator Obama and many of the lawyers now working in his administration, screamed bloody murder. Some even suggested that he should be impeached for violating the FISAstatute. President Obama, of course, is now doing the same thing he and his allies previously condemned. As I contend in Faithless Execution, he is doing it far more sweepingly and systematically than Bush, whose statutory violations occurred in the context of his incontestable war powers and were strongly supported by judicial precedents.

Read more at National Review

How Barack Obama Ends Wars

barack_michelle_salute_APBreitbart, By Frank Gaffney, Jr.:

In discussing last week his decision to eliminate essentially all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the time his term of office ends, Mr. Obama declared:  “This is how wars end in the 21st Century – not through signing ceremonies but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility.”

Actually, how Barack Obama ends wars is by what amounts to surrendering to our undefeated adversaries, undermining elected governments by emboldening those determined to destroy them, and abandoning local security forces who lack the capability to prevail.

The President’s exchange this weekend of “prisoner of war” Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five of the world’s most dangerous jihadists is a microcosm of his way of waging–and losing–wars. Consider the following features of this odious act of appeasement and its roll-out.

  •          The exchange was unbalanced:  We purchased at exceedingly high cost the freedom of an American described by his comrades as a deserter. It appears that by abandoning his sentinel’s post in the dark of night, he not only jeopardized their lives, but he set in train searches and tactical situations that cost the lives of numerous other servicemen.

Treating Bergdahl as some sort of heroic figure because of his five years in self-induced captivity is a further assault on the principles of integrity, discipline, and honor that have been central to the character and culture of the U.S. military for generations. This is not an accident. Destroying that culture happens to be a well-established feature of Team Obama’s social engineering of the armed forces.

  •         The price paid to achieve Bergdahl’s freedom was to release no fewer than five of the Taliban’s senior commanders to the custody of Qatar. Let’s take what’s wrong with this picture, piece by piece:

First, the Qatari government is on the other side in the War for the Free World. It is a bankroller of al Qaeda in Syria (and perhaps elsewhere): the enabler of the Muslim Brotherhood, the underwriter of the enemy’s propaganda arm, al Jazeera, etc. Trusting the Qataris to be helpful to us with regard to anything having to do with jihad is worse than willful blindness; it is national security malfeasance.

Second, the best case is that these guys will be out of the fight for one more year. Since the administration won’t say what restrictions will be imposed on them in the interim, however, it is a safe bet they will be doing whatever they can to contribute to their terrorist organization’s return to power as soon as possible. But even if that were not the case, in the long war the United States is abandoning, a year is nothing for those determined to defeat us.

  •          To complete this exchange, President Obama violated the law, something he has done relentlessly in the course of his presidency.  (To appreciate just how often, see Andrew C. McCarthy’s splendid new book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.) The fact that Eric Holder’s Justice Department gave Chuck Hagel’s Defense Department a fig-leaf for doing so by claiming extenuating circumstances–namely, concerns about Bergdahl’s deteriorating health–does not alter the reality that Obama and Company did not conform to the statute requiring a 30-day pre-notification to Congress.
  •          Adding insult to injury is the fact that Bergdahl does not seem to be ill, let alone near death’s door. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Sunday the he is “in good health” and he has reportedly been released from the hospital in Germany where his medical condition was assessed post-release. Of course, he may have lingering psychological problems, but then that may have been the case before he deserted. Either way, there is no justification there for the president ignoring the law.
  •         Speaking of Susan Rice, her interviews on two Sunday talk shows this weekend vividly called to mind the notorious, serial appearances she turned in on five such programs in September 2012. Now, as then, she was the dutiful–almost robotic–spinner, relentlessly sticking to her misleading, if not patently fraudulent talking points.

Two years ago, Rice engaged in what amounted to lying about the murderous attacks in Benghazi, by insisting they were the result of a video, not jihadist attacks.  This meme, we recently learned, was manufactured by a man who is now her Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes.  It was explicitly designed by him to deflect politically problematic attention in the run-up to the 2012 election from questions about the President’s claims that al Qaeda was on the path to defeat, and other national security frauds.

This weekend, Rice reprised her role as untrustworthy flack by relentless insisting we have a “sacred duty not to leave anyone behind”–a duty that neither she nor any other senior Obama administration official seemed to feel while the Benghazi attacks were underway. All the while, she deflected questions that would have illuminated the reality of the Bergdahl exchange–the exorbitant price we paid, how the exchange was conducted under false pretenses, the dire implications with respect to strengthening our enemies and the lack of real justification for violating the law.

With the Bergdahl exchange, Americans are on notice: Unless this episode proves to be a very costly one for Team Obama, the President is on a trajectory not only to lose Afghanistan, as we previously lost Iraq. He will also ignore statutory inhibitions on releasing the rest of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay and close that facility, foreclosing its use by a successor. The upshot of all this will be to establish that the way Barack Obama “ends wars in the 21st Century” is going to get a lot more of us killed.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. formerly acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan.  He is President of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for Breitbart News Network and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio.

Bergdahl-Taliban prisoner exchange ‘won’t help the peace process in any way’

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, "It won't help the peace process in any way, because we don't believe in the peace process"

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, “It won’t help the peace process in any way, because we don’t believe in the peace process”

By 

One of the Taliban’s top spokesmen said that the recent prisoner exchange between the US and the Taliban will do nothing to further US hopes for reconciliation in Afghanistan as the Taliban “don’t believe in the peace process.”

The exchange of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who reportedly went absent without leave while on duty in Paktika province in 2009, for five senior al Qaeda-linked Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay took place over the weekend. The five Taliban leaders, who were deemed “high” risks to the US and its allies by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), include two accused of war crimes by the UN.

The five freed Taliban commanders have been identified as Abdul Haq Wasiq, an intelligence official; Mullah Norullah Noori, senior military commander; Mullah Mohammad Fazl, the Taliban’s former deputy minister of defense; Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, the Taliban’s former governor of Herat province; and Mohammad Nabi Omari, a senior leader. JTF-GTMO had previously recommended that all five remain in custody as they posed a threat to the US. [See LWJ reports, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl exchanged for top 5 Taliban commanders at Gitmo, and Taliban says 'five senior leaders' have been 'liberated' from Guantanamo.]

The prisoner exchange took place over the course of several months of negotiations between the US and the Taliban which were brokered by the government of Qatar. The five Taliban leaders have been sent to Qatar and are banned from travel for one year.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had told NBC’s Meet the Press that the US is hopeful that the negotiations that led to the prisoner exchange can further reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

“So maybe this will be a new opening that can produce an agreement,” between the Taliban and the Afghan government, Hagel said yesterday.

Within hours, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid shot down Hagel’s optimism for reconciliation.

“It won’t help the peace process in any way, because we don’t believe in the peace process,” Mujahid said.

Instead of portraying the exchange as the beginning of reconciliation, Taliban emir Mullah Mohammed Omar called the release of the five commanders a “great victory” and a “huge and vivid triumph.” The Taliban also published photos of the five released commanders as they arrived in Qatar. [See LWJ report, Mullah Omar hails release of 5 top Taliban commanders as 'great victory'.]

“This huge accomplishment brings the glad tidings of liberation of the whole country and reassures us that our aspirations are on the verge of fulfillment,” Omar said, according to a statement released yesterday at the Taliban website, Voice of Jihad.

Read more at Long War Journal

Blind Skies over Afghanistan and Pakistan?

pakistanal-al-qaedaCSP, by Ben Lerner:

The big headline this past week was President Obama’s announcement at West Point that the United States is drawing down its military presence in Afghanistan to 5,000 ground troops by the end of 2015. Left unsaid by the President, however, was that we’re scaling back substantially on fighting al Qaeda from the skies as well.

As Guy Taylor reports at the Washington Times:

President Obama’s call to cut the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to 5,000 troops in 18 months will end an era of American drone superiority over the region and jeopardize hard-fought gains against al Qaeda just as the terrorist movement’s original core is rising again, former senior defense officials and national security sources say….

…With regard to drone operations, the heavy U.S. troop presence in northern Afghanistan over the past decade created the logistical capability for sustained cross-border targeting in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where more than 250 U.S. drone strikes were reported from 2005 through 2013.

Taylor goes on to relay the concerns of David Sedney, President Obama’s former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan and Central Asia, that al Qaeda in the Af-Pak region is regrouping at the same time that we are pulling up stakes on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strikes:

What’s particularly disconcerting, Mr. Sedney said, is the manner in which al Qaeda appears to be recovering from gains made by the 2005-to-2013 drone campaign and the 2011 raid that killed bin Laden.

“These strikes were just having a dampening effect. They were not permanently degrading or defeating al Qaeda,” Mr. Sedney said. “Al Qaeda is an ideology, not a core of individuals. The number of attacks is ramping up again. The flow of recruits never stopped; the flow of money has not stopped. A lot of the flow has gone to Syria, but much of that is because al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan wanted it there.”

Is now really the time to degrade this capability, in that part of the world?  Judging from Eli Lake’s reporting at The Daily Beast, the answer would be no:

While it’s true that Osama bin Laden and other top lieutenants were killed in Obama’s first term, it’s also true that the pace of those drone attacks against the extremists in Pakistan have since declined. According to the New America Foundation’s database for drone attacks there have been no drone strikes in Pakistan since December 25, 2013. Reza Jan, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats project, concluded in a paper published Wednesday that the pause in drone strikes in Pakistan has given the Pakistani Taliban a chance to regroup and replenish its leadership ranks. Jan said Maulana Fazlullah, the new chief of Pakistan’s Taliban, has established a haven in Nuristan today. Other reports from the region have said he travels between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s border region with ease.

“I think our intelligence community is very concerned that al Qaeda in northeastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan will grow stronger without pressure being applied to them,” [House Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman, Rep. Mac] Thornberry said.

To Free Five Jihadists

guant-450x254by Mark Tapson:

“It was an extraordinary day for America,” said National Security Advisor Susan Rice on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, referring to the announcement of a deal that would free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Afghan captivity after five years. Indeed it was an extraordinary day: it was a day when we signaled to the world that America officially caves in to terrorists for hostages.

Well, not America herself, but President Barack Obama specifically. Obama, who has openly expressed frustration with the Constitutional constraints of checks-and-balances on his dictatorial impulses, circumvented Congress’ collective back to clinch a deal that would free five of the most dangerous guests at Club Med Guantanamo in exchange for Bergdahl. Even the Afghan government condemned it as a breach of international law.

His administration denies, of course, that it broke any laws or this country’s longstanding policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists. Bergdahl wasn’t a “hostage,” claimed our anti-war, anti-Israel, anti-military, anti-American exceptionalism Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: “We didn’t negotiate with terrorists. Sergeant Bergdahl is a prisoner of war. That’s a natural process.” What does that even mean? Is he saying we didn’t negotiate, or that the enemy aren’t terrorists? A prisoner of war can’t be a hostage? Sorry, but a prisoner of war becomes a hostage the moment the enemy makes demands for his safe return. A “natural process”? That phrase is meaningless.

I should concede that Hagel is technically correct: we didn’t negotiate, because giving the enemy exactly what they ask for isn’t negotiation – it is capitulation. Though America should not abandon her dead, wounded, or captured warriors, trading five Taliban leaders for one soldier who deserted after expressing his disgust for our own military is surrender, not a successful trade that benefits American interests. Bergdahl reportedly emailed his parents that “the US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at,” that he was “ashamed to even be an American,” and that “the horror that is America is disgusting.” Some report that he converted to Islam during his captivity and, outrageously if true, trained his captors in bomb-making and ambush skills.

And let’s get this clear about Bergdahl – he didn’t “wander” off base that June day in 2009, as the media so often put it, like a lost toddler; if reports from the ground are to be believed (and they are), he intentionally and premeditatedly deserted. In the wake of that, at least six good American soldiers died or were wounded in search attempts. Their names:  Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen, Pfc. Morris Walker, Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek, and Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey. Their families and friends have suffered a far greater loss than the Bergdahl parents.

As Jake Tapper reports, “other operations were put on hold while the search for Bergdahl was made a top priority… Manpower and assets – such as scarce surveillance drones and helicopters – were redirected to the hunt. The lack of assets is one reason the closure of a dangerous combat outpost, COP Keating, was delayed. Eight soldiers were killed at COP Keating before it was ultimately closed.” What punishment will Bergdahl face? An anonymous senior Defense official told CNN that he will not likely face any: “Five years is enough.”

Meanwhile our enemy rejoices. Five more dangerous Guantanamo terrorists are back in the field to plot havoc against American infidels, to kill and wound more American soldiers, soldiers who are already fatally hamstrung by Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan that don’t even allow them to engage unless they’re already under attack – and sometimes not even then. Taliban leader Mullah Omar rightfully declared the trade a “great victory.” It will result in more Americans – and not just soldiers – being targeted for hostages, because terrorists everywhere now know that that will pay off.

Read more at Front Page

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