14 Obama Holdovers Still at the Pentagon

Drew Angerer – Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Kristina Wong, March 16, 2016:

WASHINGTON – There are 14 Obama holdovers still at the Pentagon, two months into the Trump administration.

Currently, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is the only presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed appointee at the Pentagon, out of 53 such positions.

Obama holdovers are filling four of those positions: Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work remains in his position; Robert Speer is serving as Acting Army Secretary; Sean Stackley is serving as Acting Navy Secretary; and Lisa Disbrow as Acting Air Force Secretary.

The Pentagon said there are 10 other Obama holdovers still serving, but has declined to name who they are or what positions they are filling.

Trump has filled an additional 32 slots for non-Senate confirmed positions, for a total of 33 hires, including Mattis. That number is less than a fourth of the 163 political appointees at the Pentagon on election day.

The White House was expected to announce a handful of names for top political positions at the Pentagon as soon as this week, a defense official told Breitbart News. The White House declined to give a time frame for the announcement.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis on Monday brushed off suggestions it was taking longer than usual to get appointees in:

“You have to remember, eight years ago, we kept our secretary — Secretary [Robert] Gates at the time, so a lot of people stayed on with him, and you didn’t have as abrupt of a transition. For those of us who were around 16 years ago, it was pretty abrupt and we saw positions that went unfilled for many months. It takes time to interview, to find the most qualified candidates, to vet them, to get agreement on them, to send them to the Senate for confirmation.”

Trump has also named picks for Pentagon general counsel and Air Force Secretary, but the Senate has not yet confirmed them.

“There will be more to come. It’s a process,” Davis said.  He said Mattis has “put a lot of names forward that are currently going through the final stages of vetting. We think that there will be multiple announcements coming very soon.”

Civil servants and former defense officials say the lack of political appointees has had an effect on Pentagon’s operations.

One civil servant complained privately that the Joint Staff — military staff who support a body of senior military leaders who advise the president — is running “roughshod” over the Office of Secretary of Defense, according to a former defense official.

The former official said civil servants who are filling leadership roles temporarily don’t want to formulate new policies that get ahead of Trump appointees who may change or disagree with them, and either sit silent in meetings or advocate for previous policies.

It’s not clear how that might be affecting several reviews the Pentagon is currently undergoing, including on the strategy to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), on how to rebuild readiness of the armed forces, and on its nuclear missile defense posture.

Former Obama administration defense official Loren DeJonge Schulman said without a trusted agent from the Trump political team in the building to lead those reviews, it may be a more military-led process.

“There are fewer politicals, there are civilians who are not in power, and President Trump trusts the military more…the [elements] are there to have a more military-led process,” said Schulman, currently deputy director of studies and the Leon E. Panetta Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

“It’s hard to run a strategy review when you don’t have your political leader in place,” she said.

Another official at the Pentagon said it is possible the military is having more influence in policy discussions, but pointed out that at the end of the day, policy decisions go to Mattis, who despite being a retired-four star Marine general, is a civilian.

A spokesman from the Joint Staff said in an email to Breitbart News: “From our perspective, the Joint Staff is being participating, contributing and working collaboratively with OSD fully when, where and how asked,” he said.

Schulman, who first served as a special assistant to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said that what is more worrisome is that the lack of appointees is preventing important work from being done, particularly with foreign partners.

She said, for example,  the prime minister of a small country who is visiting the U.S. may not meet with the president but will often meet with senior defense officials instead.

Now, she said, there is rarely anyone to meet with. Some defense officials have gone overseas to meet with foreign counterparts, but could only sit and listen, not participate or negotiate since they lack policy guidance, she said.

“Any meeting they go to which requires them to have a position or be a part of a negotiation, it either requires them to stay silent, or to rely on the old administration’s policy, or to have to go to Mattis and say, ‘Hey what’s our position on X, Y, and Z,’ and that’s simply not possible for him to weigh in on everything DOD does. That’s why we have political appointees,” said Schulman.

There has also been grumbling from Capitol Hill, with lawmakers complaining there is no one to talk to at the Department.

Schulman said it has always taken awhile for administration to get top appointees in place, such as under secretaries. However, she said under the Obama administration, deputy assistant secretaries put almost immediately in place in priority areas, she said.

“We’re not seeing that here,” she said.

Also see:

Vets say they were duped into helping Saudi Arabia dodge payouts to 9/11 victims

Former US Marine Sgt. Timothy Cord Kim Raff

Former US Marine Sgt. Timothy Cord Kim Raff

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, March 5, 2017:

Agents of the Saudi Arabian government are using US veterans as pawns in a scheme to gut a new law clearing a path for 9/11 families to sue the kingdom for its alleged role in the attacks, several vets complained in interviews with The Post.

“I joined the Marine Corps as a direct result of 9/11, so to be wined and dined by the very people I joined to fight against, that was sickening,” said Timothy Cord, who served as a Marine sergeant in Iraq.

Vets say the Saudi scam involves soliciting them to go on all-expenses-paid trips to Washington — including lodging at the posh new Trump hotel near the White House — to help pressure lawmakers into amending the recently passed bill, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

Trip organizers Qorvis MSLGROUP, however, are allegedly failing to disclose to participants that the Saudi government is funding the trips through some 75 paid foreign agents it’s hired across the US to oppose the law, which passed unanimously in September.

Vets complain they’re not only being misled but openly lied to. During one recent trip, an organizer denied any “Saudi involvement” in sponsoring the trip, even though federal filings show the organizer has a $100,000 contract with the Saudis and is a registered foreign agent for the kingdom.

In their recruiting pitch to vets, the Saudi lobbyists, who pose as veteran advocates, claim that JASTA exposes them as well as “150,000 [US] military personnel stationed in over 150 countries” to “retaliatory lawsuits” in foreign courts — even though international law experts note that JASTA deals only with the immunity of foreign states, and poses little if any risk to individuals.

Vets felt shock and anger when they found out they were duped into doing “the Saudis’ dirty work,” as one put it.

Thomas J. Hermesman, who was deployed in Afghanistan as a Marine sergeant, joined the Jan. 23-26 trip to Washington flown out of Durango, Colo.,with nearly 50 other vets. “The organizers were definitely keeping stuff from us,” Hermesman said. “We didn’t get the full story. It was pretty shady.”

He said organizers told the vets if they ever traveled again in Iraq or Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, they could be stopped at a checkpoint and taken into custody as a terrorist thanks to JASTA.

A briefing paper for the DC meetings drew some suspicion. In tiny print at the bottom of the second page, it reads: “This is distributed by Qorvis MSLGROUP on behalf of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.”

Former Sgt. Cord said the trip leader, Jason E. Johns, shot down any concerns about Mideast sponsorship as soon as the vets arrived in DC. “He stood up the first night to announce that ‘there are rumors going around about Saudi involvement, and they absolutely aren’t [involved].’ ”

Johns’ bio describes him as president of No Man Left Behind Veterans Advocacy Group. But federal records also list him as a registered Saudi agent making $100,000 to mobilize vets to lobby against JASTA. The primary registrant on his disclosure form is Qorvis MSLGROUP, the Saudi government’s top PR firm in Washington.

“It really pisses me off that vets are being lied to by other vets that are in the Saudis’ pocketbook,” said Cord, who says he wants to alert others in the veteran community that they’re being targeted and set up by the Saudi government. Johns did not respond to requests for comment.

Cord calls the trips to Washington a form of bribery. All travel expenses were covered for his group’s four-day trip — including airfare and taxis, as well as meals and rooms at the $560-a-night Trump International Hotel, where the vets were welcomed with a “reception in The Patton Room.” Even “complimentary drinks will be provided,” the itinerary states.

In exchange, it says, vets were expected to storm Congress and “make members fully aware that veterans have serious concerns regarding JASTA and convince them that JASTA needs to be amended.”

Marine Sgt. David Casler, who was flown in from Sacramento, says a prime target was the House Armed Services Committee. Casler says he and the other vets were warmly received by lawmakers and their staff, some of whom expressed an interest in “fixing” JASTA. “Who is going to turn down a vet?”

President Trump, who strongly supported JASTA during his campaign, would have to sign any amendments into the law.

The head of Qorvis denies he or his Arab client are trying to hide anything from vets they’re recruiting. “My understanding is everything is fully above board and everyone is fully informed of the issues,” Qorvis Managing Director Michael Petruzzello said.

JASTA has cleared a path for two large lawsuits against the Saudi government that could end up in millions of dollars in Saudi assets being seized in a court settlement. The suits will be aided by the recent release of the classified “28 pages” documenting Saudi government officials’ funding and other support for the Saudi hijackers. Saudi Embassy spokesman Nail Al-Jubeir did not return calls seeking comment.

Sperry is the author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Ralph Peters: What our nation would get with Gen. Mattis as Defense Secretary

Alex Wong / Getty

Alex Wong / Getty

Fox News, by Ralph Peters, December 2, 2016:

I’m lucky enough to know General James Mattis slightly. Just well enough to trust him unreservedly with our military and our nation’s security.

The president-elect could not choose a better man to be our next Secretary of Defense. Not just because Mattis is a battle-hardened Marine with a remarkable combat record. And not just because he has a mind of remarkable clarity and is, without question, the best-read general of his generation.

I trust Jim Mattis because he’s a man of character, that most un-Washingtonian quality. His public image is of one rough-and-tough Marine, but the man I’ve encountered is, above all, one of integrity. His code of honor is so out of fashion that one has to reach back to a Victorian vocabulary:  He has a noble spirit.

And he’s a genuine patriot, not a shouter with his eye on the next chance. He will do what’s right, not what’s expedient.  And he will never go along with anything he believes might harm our country.

In addition to plenty of dirty-boots experience in the Middle East and a deep knowledge of history—that most underrated study—Jim Mattis has another great qualification to be SecDef: He wasn’t looking for a job. He was happy in retirement, studying, helping his fellow Marines, and contributing thoughtfully to our national security behind the scenes.

The last time I heard from him—a bit before the election—he mentioned, not for the first time, that he was glad to be west of the Rockies. A Washington, D.C. post was not part of the plan; rather, he thought of farming in rural Washington State.

This matters. In an age of sycophants and clawing ambition, it’s a splendid prospect to have a classic patriot who’s willing to sacrifice to serve (as Jim Mattis already has for four decades in uniform).

Our most underrated president of the last century, Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, didn’t want anyone in his cabinet who actively sought the position. He wanted successful men from various walks of life who would have to leave successful careers and contented lives to come to Washington and run a department ethically (an earlier version of “draining the swamp”).

For General Mattis, the position of Secretary of Defense wouldn’t be just another inside-the-Beltway badge to add to his resume. The greatest danger would be that he would prove too honest for D.C.

Yet another quality Mattis would bring to the office—a vital one—is that he’s a superb listener (yet another rare quality in Washington). He’s not quick to speak, but when he finally does have his say, his words show command of the subject under discussion. And he uses words with the same economy as a rifleman uses bullets: no wasted rounds.

As a member of the Hoover Institution’s Military History Working Group, he’d listen to the rest of us blather on for hours before saying a word. Then he would succinctly, politely and irrefutably explain why we had no idea what we were talking about.

What would the nation get with General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense? Integrity. Deep knowledge. Courage, both moral and physical. Humility. Decency. Vision. A steely sense of duty. Fiscal responsibility. A natural leader of men.

In short, character.

Inevitably, we’ve heard plaints from the left about the “danger” of generals in high government positions, with the suggestion that they’ll take us into wars. But it hasn’t been the generals who’ve gotten us into our recent conflicts or who have failed to resolve them. For the last sixteen years, we’ve seen civilians with no military experience launch ill-considered wars and impulsive interventions without considering the second- and third-order effects. Generals, by contrast, are reluctant to send our troops to war—they know the complexity and the cost.

General Mattis has a long list of military accomplishments, but I suspect that one of the experiences that cut deepest came in 2004, in Fallujah. After a week of brutal, successful combat his Marines stood within forty-eight hours of a clear-cut victory over a terrorist army. And the Bush administration lost its collective nerve, calling a halt just short of the finish line. I watched the tragedy unfold from northern Iraq, where I was a guest of the Kurds. And we all said the same thing to each other:  “We’ll have to go back and finish this.” And we did have to go back, in less than a year.

Having seen his Marines die, only to be denied victory at the eleventh hour because the global media was howling, must have been terribly painful for General Mattis. One of the many reasons he’s so widely respected in military circles—not just by Marines—is that he understands that, contrary to academic pronunciamentos, victory is not only possible, but essential.

Jim Mattis not only fights the good fight—he fights to win. With him as our next Secretary of Defense, the United States of America would win.

Fox News Strategic Analyst Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army officer and former enlisted man. He is the author of prize-winning fiction and non-fiction books on the Civil War and the military. His latest is “The Damned of Petersburg: A Novel” (Forge Books, June 28, 2016).

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A Look into the Mind of Gen. James Mattis: 15 Quotes from Trump’s Secretary of Defense Pick by John Hayward

Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense, and he is one of the most quotable figures in modern public life.

He rarely gives a speech without saying something that should be emblazoned on coffee mugs, or in some cases stenciled on the side of bombs. Here are some of his greatest hits:

  1. “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” – from a speech Mattis delivered to Marines arriving in Iraq in 2003. This is widely acclaimed as the ultimate Mattisism, winning extra cool points for being compatible with Patrick Swayze’s famous advice to new bouncers in Road House.
  2. “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.” – probably the other most widely-repeated Mattisism, it has been quoted in contexts ranging from the Iraqi troop withdrawal to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.
  3. “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades on the left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.” – from a letter Mattis wrote to the 1st Marine Division, the day before they began their assault on Iraq in 2003. He is restated his point about using your head on the battlefield many times; another popular formulation was, “The most important six inches on the battlefield are between your ears.”
  4. “From our first days at San Diego, Parris Island, or Quantico, NCOs bluntly explained to us that the Corps would be entirely satisfied if we gave 100%, and entirely dissatisfied if we gave 99%. And those NCOs taught us the great pleasure of doing what others thought impossible.” – from a speech Mattis gave when receiving the Marine Corps University Foundation’s 2014 Semper Fidelis Award.
  5. “Now from a distance, I look back on what the Corps taught me: to think like men of action, and to act like men of thought!” – from the same 2014 Semper Fidelis Award speech.
  6. “I’ve never found it to be useful. I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, and I do better with that than I do with torture.” – Mattis’ thoughts on waterboarding, according to Donald Trump.
  7. “Every morning I woke up and the first three questions I had, had to do with Iran, and Iran, and Iran. It remains the single most belligerent actor in the Middle East.” – Mattis on Iran, from an April speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies
  8. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.” – Mattis on the Taliban, at a 2005 panel discussion in San Diego, California. This one caused some trouble for Mattis. Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee defended him, but said “should have chosen his words more carefully.”
  9. “There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.” – Mattis choosing his words more carefully, after the above-mentioned controversy.
  10. “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim. It’s really a hell of a lot of fun. You’re gonna have a blast out here! I feel sorry for every son of a bitch that doesn’t get to serve with you.” – Mattis drawing an important distinction between assholes and sons of bitches to a group of Marines in Iraq, as quoted by Thomas E. Ricks in his book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005.
  11. “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f**k with me, I’ll kill you all.” – Mattis to Iraqi tribal leaders, also quoted by Ricks in Fiasco.
  12. “In a country with millions of people and cars going everywhere, the enemy is going to get a car bomb out there once in a while. There are going to be good days and bad days. Bottom line.” – Mattis on the grim realities of counter-terrorism operations in a 2007 interview. He was talking about Iraq, but unfortunately his observation would be valid anywhere.
  13. “I think it’s very clear that this enemy has decided that the war, the real war for them, will be fought in the narrative, in the media. This is not a place where we’re going to take the enemy’s capital and run up our flag and drink their coffee and that sort of thing.” – from the same interview.
  14. “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.” – proudly cited by the USMC as the retired General’s salute to the indomitable spirit of the Corps. Misusing this quote to tease Marines about their spelling abilities is not recommended.
  15. “I get a lot of credit these days for things I never did.” – Mattis on his own legend, to midshipmen at the Naval Academy in 2004. He also gets a lot of credit for things he never said, as hilariously satirized in a Twitter hashtag full of phony #MattisQuotes. (A sample: “Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a night. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”)

Pentagon in Internal Struggle Over Calling out Salafi Jihadism

The Pentagon. (Photo: © Creative Commons/David B. Gleason)

The Pentagon. (Photo: © Creative Commons/David B. Gleason)

Clarion Project, by Elliot Friedland, October 2, 2016:

From time to time, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the country’s most senior military officer below the commander-in-chief himself, puts out a National Military Strategy. This document is intended for senior American military commanders around the world and sets out big picture strategy guidance for how the U.S. military ought to cope with the myriad threats it may face in the line of duty.

New Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine General Joseph Dunford is compiling a new National Military Strategy. Special Operations Command (SoCom), the branch of the military charged with hunting down and killing terrorists, is providing input and expertise to the report.

SoCom is pushing for Salafi jihadism to be discussed in the report as the branch of Sunni Islam responsible for most global terrorism in the world today. It is the ideology shared by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

“If you look at threat doctrine from that perspective, it’s a much bigger problem because it’s not just the violent jihadists, it’s the non-violent jihadists who support them,” one person knowledgeable about the National Military Strategy told The Washington Times. “Pretending there is no relationship between the violent jihadists and Islam isn’t going to win. We’re completely ignoring the war of ideas. We’re still in denial. We’re pretending the enemy doesn’t exist.”

Dunford’s staff declined to comment on the upcoming report, which will be classified. The last National Military Strategy, by the previous chairman, General Martin Dempsey, was released publicly on the Joint Chiefs of Staff website.  It did not make mention the ideological roots of terrorism.

Sources close to the team responsible for preparing the National Military Strategy told The Washington Times  Dunford’s staff was not persuaded on the merits of including the term.

Quintan Wictorowicz, one of the architects of Obama’s national counter extremism policy, charted the relationships between Salafi jihadist groups (although he did not use that term) and other sects of Islam in a 2005 academic paper entitled A Genealogy of Radical Islam.

“Al Qaeda and the radical fundamentalists that constitute the new ‘global jihadi movement’ are not theological outliers. They are part of a broader community of Islamists known as ‘Salafis’ (commonly called ‘Wahhabis’).”

He distinguished between violent and non-violent Salafis saying “The jihadi faction believes that violence can be used to establish Islamic states and confront the United States and its allies. Non-violent Salafis, on the other hand, emphatically reject the use of violence and instead emphasize propagation and advice (usually private) to incumbent rulers in the Muslim world.”

Wictorowicz details several important theological points that distinguish this movement, notably the use of takfir to brand the enemies of the jihadi movement as apostates deserving of death and the concept of jahilliya which posits that the contemporary Muslim world is not really Muslim because they follow man-made laws and are therefore akin to the pagans who ruled Arabia before the time of Mohammed.

He names Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb as a central figure in the development of this doctrine.

Understanding this application of radical theology to the political sphere helps us to identify why certain groups are dedicated to fighting the United States and helps in setting out clearly the differences between Salafi jihadism and Sunni Islam in general.

Special Ops Command to Pentagon: Stop Ignoring Jihad

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But the Pentagon’s orders are to ignore the jihad come from on high.

CounterJihad, Sept. 26, 2016:

Staff officers of United States Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are stonewalling demands by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to add Salafi Jihad to the description of our enemies.  The Washington Times reports:

U.S. Special Operations Command has privately pressed the staff of the nation’s highest-ranking military officer to include in his upcoming National Military Strategy a discussion of the Sunni Muslim ideology underpinning the brutality of the Islamic State group and al Qaeda…  The 2015 public version does not mention Islamic ideology. It lists terrorists under the ambiguous category of “violent extremist organizations” and singles out al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

…Special Operations Command wants the National Military Strategy to specifically name Salafi jihadism as the doctrine that inspires violent Muslim extremists. Salafi jihadism is a branch within Sunni Islam. It is embraced by the Islamic State and used to justify its mass killings of nonbelievers, including Shiite Muslims, Sunnis and Kurds, as well as Christians.  People knowledgeable about the discussion toldThe Washington Times that SoCom has not been able to persuade Gen. Dunford’s staff to include Salafi jihadism in any strategy draft.

The National Military Strategy (NMS) will be a classified document that will spell out the nation’s strategic goals and means of attaining those goals.  It occupies a middle position in a cycle of obtaining the right means to the nation’s strategic ends.  The NMS follows the production of the National Security Strategy (NSS), which is issued by the President of the United States.  The NSS is more general, as the President occupies the higher position of Commander in Chief, and lays out what the President takes to be the important goals of the nation globally.  The NMS is then prepared by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and lays out in much greater specificity military means to supporting the ends identified by the President in the NSS.  The NMS then serves both as guidance for combatant commanders, such as the commander of USSOCOM, and also for helping Congress to identify military budget priorities.

It is a crucial document, in other words, but one over which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has only limited control.  The NSS sets limits on what the NMS can say.  Combatant commands like USSOCOM are deeply interested in the content of the document, as the NMS will set similar limits on what they are allowed to direct subordinate units to say and do.  SOCOM is encountering resistance at the Pentagon because they are asking the NMS to push out into territory that the author of the NSS does not want to enter.  The Pentagon’s orders come from the highest levels on this matter, indeed from the President of the United States himself.

For that reason it is no surprise that SOCOM’s pushback has not yet created any effect on the forthcoming strategy.  Nevertheless, they are manifestly correct about the importance of recognizing that the Islamic State (ISIS) is in fact Islamic.  As the classic text on war by Sun Tzu counsels, a nation can only be confident at war if its leaders understand not only themselves but also their enemy.  Refusing to understand your enemy is a crippling defect.

However, the identification of the problem as Salafi theology is only a partial fix.  Certainly within the context of the question of ISIS and al Qaeda, whom SOCOM have been instructed to treat as enemies, Salafi and Wahhabi Islam are the correct subsets of Islam to consider.  Yet there is another “brand” of Islamic theology that is just as radical, which is the velayat-e faqih model of Shia Islam pushed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.  SOCOM has not been ordered to treat Iran as an enemy.  Rather, the US military has been ordered to avoid conflict with Iran, and to operate alongside Iranian-backed irregulars in Iraq as if they were allies instead.  The result has been that our fighting forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria, as well as our naval forces in the Persian Gulf, have been exposed to huge risks that they are forbidden to combat.

Meanwhile Iran continues to develop long-range nuclear-capable missiles for warheads it currently swears it will never produce.  Iran installs advanced new anti-aircraft missiles to help fortify its Fordow nuclear site, which President Obama’s deal supposedly put beyond use.  Why fortify it against air attack, then?  Why develop missiles if you never intend to have a payload that would make them a useful option?

It is clear that our military is being forbidden from even thinking clearly, or speaking clearly, about the threats we face and where they originate.  The next President will need to reverse course, and quickly, if we are to avoid a disaster that costs American lives, America’s position in the world, and America’s national strategic goals.

The American Military and the Specter of an Untrustworthy Commander-In-Chief

hillary_clinton_testimony_to_house_select_committee_on_benghazi

Front Page Magazine, by Ari Leiberman, Sept. 8, 2016:

In August 1993, Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill dispatched a force of U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force commandos to war-torn Somalia in an effort to seize the Somali warlord, Mohammed Farrah Aidid. Military commanders had assessed the need for armor and air cover to carry out the dangerous mission. They requested M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, as well as AC-130 gunships but the Clinton administration obscenely denied the request placing U.S. forces in a very vulnerable situation.

On October 3, a taskforce of lightly armed U.S. forces seized a good portion of Aidid’s political and military echelon in Mogadishu as they assembled for a meeting in the capital but the operation stirred a hornet’s nest and the troops began engaging Somali militiamen in urban combat. Two Black Hawk helicopters were subsequently shot down with rocket propelled grenades. The nature and dynamic of the mission rapidly changed from a lightening operation involving quick seizure and extraction to one of protracted urban combat pitting outnumbered and outgunned U.S. forces against thousands of Somali militiamen armed to the teeth with machine guns, RPGs, mortars and recoilless rifles.

Though the Rangers and Delta Force commandos ultimately prevailed, 18 soldiers were killed (some of the bodies were mutilated), 73 were wounded and a helicopter pilot was captured. Had the request for armor and air cover been granted, there is no question that the outcome of the Battle of Mogadishu would have been vastly different and U.S. casualties would have been minimal. Adding insult to injury, Aidid’s aides, captured at great cost and sacrifice, were quickly released on orders from the political echelon.

Bill Clinton should have resigned but instead passed the buck to his loyal secretary of defense, Les Aspin, who resigned in disgrace a few months later. Bill Clinton never served in the military, never went to military school and had no concept of what it means to be a soldier and send men to battle to fight and die. Clinton was and still is a power hungry, political opportunist and nothing more. His inexcusable actions, in denying our service members the best equipment, cost lives.

Fast forward 23 years. With her husband’s backing, Hillary Clinton now seeks the same office previously occupied by her husband. Like her husband, Hillary is a political opportunist with an insatiable lust for power. Her only foreign policy “achievement” was to transform Libya into an ISIS/al-Qaida haven through short-sighted and irresponsible interventionist policies.

Hillary also shares a more ominous resemblance to her husband. Her complacency and sheer incompetence on the days leading up to September 11, 2012, needlessly cost the lives of four American heroes, including J. Christopher Stevens, the first U.S. Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.

The Islamist assault on the U.S. consulate office in Benghazi on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks was meticulously planned and well-coordinated. Requests for beefing up security at the site were either ignored or denied by Hillary’s State Department. An additional contingent of U.S. military personnel or private military contractors could have meant the difference between life and death.

Despite Clinton’s best efforts to stage-manage the Benghazi hearings (as emails from the Clinton camp suggest), the Select Committee on Benghazi released a damning report that reflected poorly on the former secretary of state’s actions before, during and after the September 11, attack. Poor intelligence and needless bureaucratic bungling prevented rapid deployment of forces to the theater.

But it was Clinton’s web of lies, spun after the Benghazi assault, that truly highlight the wretchedness of this person. As countless emails reveal, Clinton was well aware that the consulate attack was premeditated and the work of trained Muslim terrorists. But that did not reconcile well with the narrative her boss was attempting to peddle to the American people – chiefly that al-Qaida was on the run and America was winning the war on terror. So instead, she along with Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice concocted a story about how an obscure YouTube video about Mohammed was responsible for the cold-blooded murder of four Americans. Clinton though, went one step further than the other Obama stooges. She told this lie not only to the American people but also directly to the family members of the victims of the attack.

Clinton is a serial fabricator who maintains a sociopathic-like lack of empathy for anyone or anything that stands in her way. That includes the families of the victims of Benghazi.  Like her husband, Hillary Clinton’s fateful decisions cost American lives and like her husband, she shirked responsibility and failed to own up to her faults.

A recent NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll suggests that Trump leads Clinton by a whopping 19 points among current and former members of the U.S. military. That group understands what it means to be Commander-in-Chief. It requires character, honesty and a proven track record of getting the job done. These traits and characteristics are sorely lacking in Hillary Clinton.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.

Trump brands Hillary ‘trigger-happy and very unstable’ as he calls for more ships, fighters, and service members in Philadelphia speech

Donald Trump clobbered Hillary Clinton as 'trigger-happy and unstable' on Wednesday as he outlined a 'peace through strength' military buildup platform

Donald Trump clobbered Hillary Clinton as ‘trigger-happy and unstable’ on Wednesday as he outlined a ‘peace through strength’ military buildup platform

  • Said in speech that unlike the former secretary of state, he ‘will emphasize diplomacy, not destruction’ 
  • Said sometimes there almost wasn’t a country Clinton didn’t want to ‘invade, intervene in, or topple’
  • Trump is calling for a boost in defense spending in a speech to Philadelphia’s Union Club
  • Wants plan to defeat ISIS 30 days after taking office
  • Would boost active Army by 61,000 to 540,000; add 77 ships to get the Navy to 350; push for 1,200 Air Force fighter planes
  • Calls for ‘state of the art’ missile defense
  • Cites eliminating ‘government waste’ and ‘gimmicks’ among pay-fors, but doesn’t give exact savings 
  • Vows to ‘enforce all classification rules’ in shot at Hillary Clinton

Daily Mail, by GEOFF EARLE and  DAVID MARTOKSO, Sept. 7, 2016:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blasted Hillary Clinton as ‘trigger happy’ and ‘reckless’ in a tough speech on national security in Philadelphia where he also called for a substantial defense buildup.

‘She’s trigger-happy and very unstable. Whether we like it or not, that’s what’s going on. She’s also reckless,’ Trump told a crowd at the Union League of Philadelphia.

The real estate mogul went after the former secretary of state in what Clinton believes to be her own wheelhouse, saying, ‘Unlike my opponent, my foreign policy will emphasize diplomacy, not destruction.’

‘Sometimes it seemed like there wasn’t a country in the Middle East that Hillary Clinton didn’t want to invade, intervene in, or topple,’ Trump said, referencing Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War.

Trump ran through a litany of global problems from Libya to Syria. ‘This is Hillary Clinton’s legacy, failure and death,’ he said, reading prepared remarks from a teleprompter.

‘Including veteran health care costs – and this was just announced and read over the last number of weeks – the price of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will total approximately $6 trillion,’ Trump said.

‘We could have rebuilt our country over and over again. Yet after all this money was spent and lives lost, Clinton’s policies as secretary of state have left the Middle East in more disarray than ever before. Not even close.’

‘Had we done nothing, we would have been in a far better position,’ Trump continued. Meanwhile, China has grown more aggressive and North Korea more dangerous and belligerent than ever.’

Trump returned to relations with Russia, a country he wants to partner with in the campaign against ISIS.

‘Russia has defied this administration at every single turn. Putin has no respect for President Obama and has absolutely no respect for Hillary Clinton,’ the candidate said.

Then he connected Clinton’s ‘reckless’ behavior in the world to her private email server, calling her ‘so reckless, in fact, that she put her emails on an illegal server that our enemies could easily hack, and probably have.’

Trump also called for a substantial boost in Defense spending, with more ships, fighter aircraft, and men and women serving in the Army.

‘They’re old – they’re tired,’ he said of aging vessels.

Trump laid out his remarks in a speech at the Union Club of Philadelphia.

According to a fact sheet released by his campaign, Trump wants a 350 ship Navy, and increase of 77 vessels over the current level.

He wants an Active Duty Army of 540,000, an increase in 61,000, and a Marine Corps of 36 battalions. There currently are 32 Marine infantry battalions.

The proposals are meant to ‘upgrade and update America’s military,’ according to the campaign.

Trump wants Congress to ‘fully eliminate’ the 2011 budget sequester, which includes automatic cuts.  All the changes would require getting legislation through the Congress.

Trump on Tuesday spoke woefully about the size of the Navy, noting it was the fewest ships since World War I.

The call for the build up recalls Ronald Reagan’s call for a 600-ship Navy. Trump’s 350 ship level has been promoted for years by GOP defense hawks, though budget hawks whose primary focus is trimming spending have balked at the idea.

Former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig called the push for a buildup ‘sloganeering and lacking in ‘strategic thought,’ Politico reported in 2015.

Trump also wants a ‘state of the art’ missile defense system. A campaign aide said Tuesday it would be a sea-based system. Some defense hawks want to put in place a more robust system to better counter the potential missile threat from North Korea and other adversaries.

‘One of Mr. Trump’s first commands after taking office will be asking the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all relevant federal departments, to conduct a thorough review of United States cyber defenses and identify all vulnerabilities – in our power grid, our communications systems, and all vital infrastructure,’ according to the fact sheet.

Trump also is asking generals to provide him with a plan to defeat ISIS within 30 days after he takes office.

He wasn’t as specific about how he’d pay for the buildup.

He called for ‘common-sense reforms that eliminate government waste and budget gimmicks, and that protect – absolutely protect – hard-earned benefits for Americans.’

Trump said he would ‘reduce’ the size of the federal bureaucracy through ‘responsible workforce attrition.’

He called for paring back ‘improper government payments’ estimated to cost $135 billion per year, while clawing back unpaid taxes estimated at $385 billion. Trump didn’t say whether he favored increased IRS funding or audits to bring in the unpaid taxes.

‘We can also stop funding programs that are not authorized in law,’ Trump said, saying Congress spent $320 billion funding 256 expired laws.

‘The military will not be exempt either. The military bureaucracy will have to be trimmed down,’ Trump said. ‘We have to create that strength, and sometimes we have to reduce bureaucracy. it just gets in our way.

Promoting the Marine Corps and Air Force increase, Trump’s camp cited the conservative Heritage Foundation. It said the Army increase is ‘what the chief of staff has said he needs.’

In a shot at Hillary Clinton, Trump’s camp said he will ‘enforce all classification rules, and enforce all laws relating to the handling of classified information.’ Trump has previously called for an investigation of Clinton by a special prosecutor to begin ‘immediately.

Trump is Trump set to deliver another speech Wednesday to New York’s Conservative Party, again with a national security theme. He also participates in a forum on security on NBC tonight.

The crowd at the Union Club was more buttoned down than those who gather for Trump’s big rallies.

Reporters following the candidate were advised to wear business attire. The building’s wood-paneled hall has high ceilings and oil portraits of leading Philadelphians from over the years.

***

(Trump at 54:38) Transcript

FACT SHEET: KEY POLICIES PROPOSED IN MR. TRUMP’S MILITARY READINESS SPEECH

PROPOSAL: Immediately after taking office, Mr. Trump will ask the generals to present a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military as soon as he assumes office.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will build an active Army of around 540,000, as the Army’s chief of staff has said he needs.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will build a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions, which the Heritage Foundation notes is the minimum needed to deal with major contingencies.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will build a Navy approaching 350 surface ships and submarines, as recommended by the bipartisan National Defense Panel.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will build an Air Force of at least 1,200 fighter aircraft, which the Heritage Foundation has shown to be needed to execute current missions.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will seek to develop a state of the art missile defense system.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will modernize our nation’s naval cruisers to provide Ballistic Missile Defense capabilities.

PROPOSAL: Mr. Trump will enforce all classification rules, and enforce all laws relating to the handling of classified information.

PROPOSAL: One of Mr. Trump’s first commands after taking office will be asking the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all relevant federal departments, to conduct a thorough review of United States cyber defenses and identify all vulnerabilities – in our power grid, our communications systems, and all vital infrastructure.

Also see:

Islamic State: From nation-state to terror group

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who took over the lead war-fighting command in March, told reporters at the Pentagon the ultraviolent jihadi group's capabilities have been greatly degraded and dismantled in Iraq and Syria, including significant loss of territory it once controlled. Recent military operations have cut off key supply lines and routes used by foreign fighters. (Associated Press)

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who took over the lead war-fighting command in March, told reporters at the Pentagon the ultraviolent jihadi group’s capabilities have been greatly degraded and dismantled in Iraq and Syria, including significant loss of territory it once controlled. Recent military operations have cut off key supply lines and routes used by foreign fighters. (Associated Press)

 , August 31, 2016:

Battlefield successes against the Islamic State could force the group to shift away from nation-state status to a less visible terror threat, the commander of the U.S. Central Command said this week.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who took over the lead war-fighting command in March, told reporters at the Pentagon the ultraviolent jihadi group’s capabilities have been greatly degraded and dismantled in Iraq and Syria, including significant loss of territory it once controlled. Recent military operations have cut off key supply lines and routes used by foreign fighters.

“As you look across the full battle space, you see that [Islamic State] is under more pressure now than at any other time in the campaign,” Gen. Votel said Tuesday. “We are causing the enemy to have to look in multiple directions and they are struggling to respond under this pressure.”

The group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, remains a threat and is adapting to the attacks on its strongholds and the loss of territory. Also, external operations outside Iraq and Syria also are a concern, the general added.

In Iraq, Iraqi government forces are on track to retake the key northern city of Mosul by the end of the year or sooner, while the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria also may soon fall, Gen. Votel said.

“Certainly in both Iraq and Syria, in a lot of locations, we are continuing to target their leadership or continuing to target their revenue-generation sources in both Mosul and northern Iraq and certainly in Syria, so I think we continue to keep them on the horns of a dilemma here,” he said.

Two key setbacks for the Islamic State took place in northern Syria at the towns of Manbij and Jarabulus, forcing Islamic State forces to retreat quickly from those areas. The retreats took place despite calls by Islamic State leaders for the fighters to “fight to the death,” Gen. Votel said, adding that the group is being forced to choose to fortify other locations.

Once Mosul and Raqqa are taken, Gen. Votel said, the Islamic State could evolve away from being a nation-state and revert to being a more of covert terrorist organization without a geographic base.

“And so we should expect that as we come out of the big operations like Mosul and Raqqa and others here, that they will continue to adapt and we will continue to deal with the next evolution of ISIL, whether they become more of a terrorist organization and return to more of their terrorist-like roots,” he said, adding that U.S. and allied forces are anticipating a long fight against whatever emerges after the shift.

“I know I’m giving the impression that when we finish with Mosul or Raqqa that we’re done. We’re not. We will continue to deal with them,” he said.

***

NATO News: Aug. 30, 2016. CentralCom Commander, Gen. Votel Briefs Reporters at the Pentagon.

Also see:

How to rebuild U.S. military might

Illustration on financing the rebuild of the U.S. military by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Illustration on financing the rebuild of the U.S. military by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Washington Times, by Tom McInerney and Erin Cassidy, Aug. 29, 2016:

In order to rebuild the U.S. military the next president is going to have to do the following things with the economy. The next administration must design a growth plan that will allow the U.S. economy to expand at a 3 percent to 6 percent rate per year. Only Donald Trump’s plan has the opportunity to do this. It can be accomplished by the following these important actions:

• We must become energy independent within three years, and that should include Mexico and Canada. Energy independence creates the economic environment that can grow millions of jobs over the four-year period. A President Trump will take the handcuffs off our energy resources.

• Obamacare must be terminated immediately as it has already become a sinkhole for federal funds and increased costs of medical care in the country.

• The nearly $2 trillion that U.S. corporations hold in overseas banks should be granted a one-year tax holiday if they bring them back and invest in U.S. companies with modernized plants and production. This fiscal stimulus will have a huge job creation effect and the 93 million Americans without full-time jobs will be back in the work force again.

• The corporate income tax should be reduced from 35 percent to 15 percent. Not only will this stimulate jobs by U.S. corporations, it will also enable them to keep their plants in the United States as well as bring back others from China, Thailand and Mexico. In addition, a favorable tax structure will encourage foreign corporations to relocate to the U.S. This is an important addition that people have not fully understood. Those who say that cutting the corporate tax rewards the wealthy do not understand the job creation impact it will have. A fully employed American work force will give a substantial increase to U.S. tax revenues as demonstrated during the Kennedy and Reagan administrations.

• We must eliminate the huge number of regulations the Obama administration published during the last eight years. Today this burden costs the United States $108 billion annually in inefficiencies. This is just not acceptable and it is one of the major reasons why the administration has had one of the lowest growth rates in our history. Growth and wealth creation must be our objective.

Individual tax rates must be lowered. The economy will expand when people can keep what they earn and invest it in homes, education and other areas that increase our growth rates. American workers need a tax break — not a tax increase.

• We have both worked in the U.S. industrial base and know that it must be rebuilt. During the past eight years the U.S. industrial base being downsized to where we are at the critical point of survival. The industrial base is what enabled us to win World War II and it sustained us through the Cold War in defeating the Soviet Union, with a deterrent strategy that was well funded but affordable for the nation. Leading-edge technologies from the industrial base were instrumental. Today we are faced with adversaries like China, which is building F-22 and F-35 equivalent jet fighters. They have taken our blueprints through cyberwarfare and cut the lag time from 15 years to two to four years. We cannot tolerate this in the future. It is no longer an insider threat or espionage problem. Chinese Unit 61398 is doing this in the Pudong District of Shanghai while we slumber.

In summary, only Donald Trump’s economic plan will enable us to grow sufficiently rebuild our military. We cannot throw dollars at the Pentagon like the Reagan administration did when the gross domestic product (GDP) reached 7 percent. Now we have almost a $20 trillion debt given to us by President Obama. It will take initially 4 percent GDP, growing to 5 percent to rebuild the structures that all of the services need. The American public does not realize that this administration and Congress have unilaterally disarmed us such that we cannot handle any major regional contingency in our current state. The in-commission rates on our aircraft are down to 50 percent or lower on average. We have been fighting radical Islam for 15 years and, unfortunately, we’re losing. During the past eight years, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and Orlando have all been attacks directed by radical Islamists.

We have let them declare a caliphate in Syria and Iraq that is spreading to 28 nations. Russia has seized Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine. China has expanded island airfields into the South China Sea. All these action are unacceptable.

We must rebuild our military now and the Trump economic plan is the only one that can do it.

Tom McInerney, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general, is a former Air Force assistant vice chief of staff. Erin Cassidy is chief of staff and vice president of communications for Yottastor LLC.

General Allen’s Service to Al Qaeda’s Paymasters

gaFront Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Aug. 4, 2016:

After two American soldiers were murdered by an Islamic terrorist in Afghanistan while a crowd of protesters shouted “Death to Americans” and “Death to Infidels”, General Allen visited his men.

“There will be moments like this when you’re searching for the meaning of this loss. There will be moments like this when your emotions are governed by anger and a desire to strike back,” Allen pleaded. “Now is not the time for revenge, now is not the time for vengeance.”

General Allen had already apologized to the killers for the “desecration” of the Koran by American soldiers who had been destroying copies of the hateful document being used by Taliban prisoners to send notes to each other. “I offer my sincere apologies for any offence this may have caused, to the president of Afghanistan, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and most importantly, to the noble people of Afghanistan,” he had whined.

The “noble people” of Afghanistan were the ones chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Infidels”.

Meanwhile General Allen was telling the American soldiers grieving the loss of their own that the real tragedy was the destruction of the terrorist books. “Now is how we show the Afghan people that as bad as that act was in Bagram, it was unintentional and Americans and ISAF soldiers do not stand for this.”

Then Allen said that he was “proud” to call General Sher Mohammad Karimi “my brother”. Karimi, was the Afghan military strongman who had defended previous attacks on NATO troops and demanded that the American soldiers be put on trial.

“We admit our mistake,” General Allen cringingly continued. “We ask for our forgiveness.”

Then he praised the “Holy Koran”. Six American military personnel faced administrative punishments for doing their duty in order to appease the murderous Islamic mob in all its nobility in Afghanistan.

This was typical of General Allen’s disgraceful tenure. It is also typical of his post-military career which has included a prominent spot at Brookings and a speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention. After his enthusiastic endorsement of Hillary and attacks on Trump, Hillary has insisted that anyone who criticizes Allen is not fit to be president because Allen is a “hero and a patriot”.

If there’s anyone who is an expert on heroism and patriotism, it’s Hillary.

Allen’s heroic post-military career brought him to Brookings. The road from the think tank runs to Qatar which donated nearly $15 million to promote its agenda. That agenda took General Allen to its US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar.

Allen praised the “magnificent institutions” of Qatar. He endorsed the mobilization of the Jihadist terror groups known as Popular Mobilization Forces, some of whom have American blood on their hands and are owned and operated by Iran. Allen insisted that “many PMF fighters are not Shia-hardliners but Iraqis who volunteered last summer, answering Grand Ayatolah Ali Sistanti’s fatwa to defend Iraq.”

Then Allen sank to a new unimaginable low by urging compassion toward ISIS Jihadists from abroad.

“We must strive to be a Coalition of compassionate states,” Allen insisted. “There is no denying that many societies find the idea of rehabilitating foreign fighters objectionable. And indeed, those who have broken the laws of our lands must be held accountable. But long-term detention cannot be the sole means of dealing with returning foreign fighters.”

Then he touted “deradicalization” and “reintegration” programs by Muslim countries for Jihadists.

Allen claimed that seeing the “Muslim faith practiced and lived” in Afghanistan had made him a “better Christian”. But his messaging wasn’t surprising considering his employment and his location.

Qatar was a key international state sponsor of terror.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, had been tipped off by a member of the Qatari royal family. The same Qatari royal family whose shindig Allen had shown up to perform at. Their terrorist media outlet, Al Jazeera, had been Al Qaeda’s media drop outlet of choice.

Qatar is a strong backer of Hamas. It has been accused of funding Al Qaeda. More recently it’s been linked to backing Al Qaeda’s local platform in Syria, the Al Nusra Front. The Taliban opened an office in Qatar. Even an early ISIS leader got his start with patronage from Qatar’s royal family.

A strong backer of the Arab Spring, Qatar exploited the chaos by aggressively smuggling weapons to Jihadists in the region. Two years ago, a bipartisan majority on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and its Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade had called for an investigation of Qatar’s links to terrorist funding.

General Allen’s visit to Qatar was shameful. He was praising and pressing the flesh of the paymasters of Islamic terrorists whose hands were and are covered in American blood. Allen had betrayed the soldiers fighting against Islamic terrorists. He had betrayed his country and his cause. He is a traitor to both.

Allen’s disgusting DNC performance was the climax of a series of betrayals. It is not the worst speech he has ever given. Nor is it the most dishonest or the most despicable.

General Allen has gone from serving his country to serving the enemies of his country. That is the man whose endorsement Hillary Clinton is proudly waving around as if it is a badge of honor instead of a badge of shame.

Allen is neither a hero nor a patriot. He is a man who has sold his soul to the highest bidder. Hillary Clinton has won this latest bid for Allen’s shopworn soul, alongside the tyrants of Qatar who trade in human slaves on a global scale. It is likely worth about as much as Hillary’s own soul. Whatever tattered spiritual scraps are left of it.

The mass deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan under Obama still remains a largely untold story. It is the story of how Obama and his collaborators among the military elite sold out our soldiers and left them to die on the battlefield without allowing them to defend themselves so as not to offend the “noble people” of Afghanistan and their fine religious traditions.

74.5% of American deaths in Afghanistan occurred under Obama. Countless more came home, crippled and scarred. While General Allen hobnobs at parties with Al Qaeda bosses, the men he betrayed come back in body bags.

They are heroes. Allen is a traitor.

***

Budget cuts leaving Marine Corps aircraft grounded

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Fox News, by Jennifer Griffn, Lucas Tomlinson, April 15, 2016:

EXCLUSIVE: Since 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps has prided itself on being “The Few” and “The Proud.” But while the Corps takes pride in doing more with less, senior Marine officers are warning that the Corps’ aviation service is being stretched to the breaking point.

Today, the vast majority of Marine Corps aircraft can’t fly. The reasons behind the grounding of these aircraft include the toll of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts precluding the purchase of the parts needed to fix an aging fleet, according to dozens of Marines interviewed by Fox News at two air stations in the Carolinas this week.

Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy.

U.S. military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015. The cuts came just as the planes were returning from 15 years of war, suffering from overuse and extreme wear and tear. Many highly trained mechanics in the aviation depots left for jobs in the private sector.

“Quite honestly, it is coming on the backs of our young Marines,” Lt. Col. Matthew “Pablo” Brown, commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-533, a Hornet squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. “They can do it, and they are doing it but it is certainly not easy.”

Brown’s squadron is due to deploy to the Middle East in the coming days.

Lack of funds has forced the Marines to go outside the normal supply chain to procure desperately needed parts. Cannibalization, or taking parts from one multi-million dollar aircraft to get other multi-million dollar aicraft airborne, has become the norm.

To get one Hornet flying again, Marines at Beaufort stripped a landing gear door off a mothballed museum jet. The door, found on the flight deck of the World War II-era USS Yorktown, was last manufactured over a decade ago.

“Imagine taking a 1995 Cadillac and trying to make it a Ferrari,” Sgt. Argentry Uebelhoer said days before embarking on his third deployment. “You’re trying to make it faster, more efficient, but it’s still an old airframe … [and] the aircraft is constantly breaking.”

Maintaining the high-performance Hornets is a challenge with 30,000 fewer Marines, part of a downsizing that has been ongoing since 2010.

“We don’t have enough of them to do the added work efficiently. We are making it a lot harder on the young marines who are fixing our aircraft,” said Maj. Michael Malone of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31.

Sometimes it takes the Marines 18 months to get parts for early model F-18 jets whose production was halted in 2001.

“We are an operational squadron. We are supposed to be flying jets, not building them,” said Lt. Col. Harry Thomas, Commanding Officer of VMFA-312, a Marine Corps F/A-18 squadron based at Beaufort.

The cuts include those made by the Obama administration as well as the sequestration cutbacks agreed to by Congress.

Asked about the Marines’ concerns on Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest put the onus on Congress to right the problem – and said Republicans have blocked spending reforms that would have helped military readiness. He said Republicans “championed” the sequester cuts.

Lt. Col Thomas, call sign “Crash,” deployed to the Pacific with 10 jets last year. Only seven made it. A fuel leak caused his F/A-18 to catch fire in Guam. Instead of ejecting, he landed safely, saving taxpayers $29 million.

Thomas has deployed eight times in all, including six to Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now only two of his 14 Hornets can fly. His Marines deploy in three months.

“We are supposed to be doing the type of maintenance like you would take your car to Jiffy Lube for replacing fluids, doing minor inspections, changing tires, things of that nature, not building airplanes from the ground up,” he added.

The aircraft shortage means pilots spend less time in the air.

“This last 30 days our average flight time per pilot was just over 4 hours,” said Thomas.

Ten years ago, Marine Corps pilots averaged between 25 and 30 hours in the air each month, according to one pilot. “This is the worst I’ve seen it,” he added. Another pilot who asked to remain nameless told Fox News that Chinese and Russian pilots fly more hours each month than Marine Corps pilots.

Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets are supposed to have a shelf life of 6,000 hours, but they are being refurbished to extend the life to 8,000. There is talk that some aircraft might be pushed to 10,000 hours while the Marine Corps waits for the 5th-generation Joint Strike Fighter, which is slated to replace the F-18, but has been plagued by cost overruns.

“Our aviation readiness is really my No. 1 concern,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Congress last month. “We don’t have enough airplanes that we would call ‘ready basic aircraft.”

Col. Sean Salene oversees nine helicopter squadrons at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina.

“Unlike previous wars, we did not have a period of time afterwards where we did not have tasking,” said Col. Salene. “There was no time to catch our breath.”

Maj. Matt Gruba, executive officer of HMH-461, a Super Stallion squadron at New River took Fox News reporters inside one of the large helicopters, which has sent thousands of fully loaded Marines into combat over the past three decades.

Inside, hundreds of small wires cover every surface of the helicopter except the hard non-skid deck. It’s up to the Marine maintainers to inspect each one. One failure could be catastrophic, as happened in 2014 when a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon crashed off the coast of Virginia after a fire engulfed the aircraft due to faulty fuel lines.

“It would be easy to miss some small minute detail, some small amount of wear [which] could potentially, eventually cause a fire,” Gruba said

Lt. Gen. Jon M. “Dog” Davis is the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for aviation, tasked with getting his aircraft back in the air.

Davis ordered the Corps to refurbish all of the old CH-53E helicopters to their pre-war condition, including fixing the chafing wires and jerryrigged fuel lines that were repaired in theater.

“The biggest thing is right now after 15 years of hard service, of hard fighting and deploying around the world, is we don’t have enough airplanes on the flight line,” Davis said.

The cuts have not sat well within the military leadership. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Fox News’ Bret Baier in a recent interview that he felt betrayed when told to cut billions from the budget after having already done so.

“I guess I’d have to say I felt double-crossed. After all those years in Washington, I was naïve,” he said.

And last week, the Army’s top officer, Gen. Mark Milley, said cuts could mean more American troops could lose their lives.

“If one or more possible unforeseen contingencies happen, then the United States Army currently risks not having ready forces available to provide flexible options to our national leadership. … And most importantly, we risk incurring significantly increased U.S. casualties,” Milley testified last week on Capitol Hill.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.

 

Report Suggests Radical Islamists Infiltrating German Military to Receive Training

Soldiers of the German Bundeswehr's mountain hunters battalion stand to attention with their weapons at military training in Bavaria. Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa

Soldiers of the German Bundeswehr’s mountain hunters battalion stand to attention with their weapons at military training in Bavaria. Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa

by IPT News  •  Apr 13, 2016

A growing number of Islamist radicals are infiltrating Germany’s military, the Bundeswehr, with an estimated 30 former soldiers later joining international terrorist organizations, reports German press agency DPA International.

Germany’s military counterintelligence service (MAD) says 65 active soldiers are under investigation for suspected Islamist tendencies. Since 2007, 22 soldiers designated as Islamists have been discharged or left the military. Moreover, 29 former soldiers have left for Syria and Iraq to join Islamist terrorist organizations.

“We perceive a risk that the Bundeswehr may be used as a training ground for potentially violent Islamists,” says MAD leader Christof Gramm.

German intelligence believes that the Islamic State is actively recruiting operatives with a military background. Moreover, Germany’s Ministry of Defense expressed concern that no background checks are required for soldiers in unclassified positions.

“Like all armies, the Bundeswehr can be attractive to Islamists seeking weapons training…,” Hans-Peter Bartels, the parliamentary commissioner for the military, told the DPA. Bartels added that Islamists in the German army pose “a real danger that needs to be taken seriously.”

Following the January 2015 Paris attacks targeting the Charlie Hebdo satirical publication, Gramm became increasingly concerned since the terrorists appeared to have professional military training.

“It would be negligent of a MAD president not to ask what would happen if a Bundeswehr-trained Islamist did something like this, and we had failed to notice anything,” Gramm said.

In one case, a German convert to Islam, called Sascha B for anonymity, gradually began exhibiting signs of increased religiosity and extremism. He began growing his beard, wearing Middle Eastern attire, and even going AWOL at times.

Sascha B eventually refused to train reservists after soldiers in his unit were deployed to Afghanistan. He justified his position by arguing that weapons could be used against other Muslims. During interrogation by MAD officials, Sascha B proclaimed that sharia law should override Germany’s constitution.

Several prominent examples of Islamist infiltration within the U.S. military also have caused immense concern.

A Muslim army soldier killed two comrades and injured 14 others after throwing a live grenade in a tent in Kuwait prior to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. In 2009, U.S. Army major and psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hassan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood because he believed that no Muslim could faithfully serve in the U.S. military.

Hassan exhibited signs of increased radicalism for a significant period of time prior to the terrorist attack. “It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims,” Hasan said during a 2007 presentation at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Three years later, Army Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo was arrested for planning an attack on a popular restaurant frequented by Fort Hood troops. He plotted to set off an explosives device in the restaurant, then shoot and kill as many survivors as possible.

When his mother asked her son why he would commit the terrorist attack, Abdo replied: “The reason is religion, Mom.”

Brutal: Former Defense Secretaries Openly Slam ‘Inexperienced’ Obama White House War Micromanagement

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Town Hall, by Katie Pavlich, Apr 07, 2016:

For years the Obama administration has been accused of micromanaging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from inside the White House. Now in an astonishing report from Fox News anchor Bret Baier, three former Obama Defense Secretaries are openly slamming him for his distrust of the military, his failure to lead and they’re exposing his inexperienced and closest advisors for second guessing senior field commanders with phone calls to the battlefield.

“President Obama, he’s one of the youngest presidents we’ve ever had. One of the most inexperienced presidents we’ve ever had. He has a staff around him that is very inexperienced. I don’t think there’s one veteran on his senior staff at the White House. I don’t believe there’s one business person. I don’t believe there is one person who’s ever run anything. Other than Vice President Biden, none of them have ever been elected to anything. You must levin the loaf, levin your advisors where you get a lot of experience at difference things where he, the President himself, is so inexperienced,” Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. “I think he’s got to fundamentally understand and I’m not sure he ever did nor people around him, the tremendous responsibility the United States has. Not to be the world’s policemen, but to lead and we’re the only ones who can. The world becomes more dangerous, not less dangerous, when America gets less involved in the world. I don’t mean invading and occupying and imposing, but leading.”

“It was the operational micromanagement that drove me nuts of White House and NSC (National Security Council) staffers calling senior commanders out in the field and asking them questions, second guessing commanders,” Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who also served under President Bush, said. “When I I was Deputy National Security Advisor, if I would have tried to, even as deputy, if I had tried to call a field commander, going around Dick Cheney who was Secretary of Defense or Colin Powell who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I’d have had my head handed to me, probably personally by the President.”

“I told the combatant commanders and the field commanders, ‘If you get calls from the White House staff, if you get a call from the President that’s one thing, that’s totally okay, that’s the chain of command, but you get a call from some White House or National Security Council staffer, you tell them to call me instead and then tell them, oh by the way, go to hell and that’s directly from the Secretary of Defense,” Gates continued.

“I think what I’ve seen in these last four years is almost this cautiousness and over correction which makes it appear that the United States is hesitant to take action and that sends, I think, a message of weakness,” Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

As if inexperienced White House advisors micromanaging the battlefield wasn’t bad enough, late last year we learned from an exclusive in the Daily Beast intelligence reports were being scrubbed to fit the political narrative that terrorism around the world, including ISIS, was shrinking.

More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.

The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.

“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.

Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim.

It should be noted that second guessing field commanders had severe and serious consequences in Afghanistan with 70 percent of U.S. troop casualties there occurring during President Obama’s time in the White House.

***

Fox News Insider, 3/31/16

When Barack Obama took office, he inherited a professional, world-class, battle-toughened military. Seven years later, many experts and insiders see the U.S. armed forces as a tattered and demoralized organization.

Bret Baier looks at the hundreds of billions in cuts, the radical social change forced upon the troops and a foreign policy that breaks with decades of tradition and leaves us in a world more dangerous than ever.

The hour-long program includes interviews with Obama’s first three Secretaries of Defense – Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel – as well as numerous people on the ground, who work to keep America’s fighting forces battle ready.

Gates weighed in on Obama’s decision-making on the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The president ultimately pushed for Mubarak’s immediate removal, despite the military urging caution.

“Literally, the entire national security team recommended unanimously handling Mubarak differently than we did,” Gates said.

During the Libya uprising in 2011, Gates said he had reservations about information on military options going to the White House without his approval.

“You had concerns about that – running military operations out of the White House,” Baier noted.

“Yeah. The experience we had with that in Vietnam didn’t work so well,” Gates responded.

 

Sitting Ducks? ISIS threatens American troops in Egypt’s Sinai

unnamed (34)Fox News, by Lucas Tomlinson, Jennifer Griffin, April 7, 2016:

Concerned that hundreds of American forces based in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula are vulnerable to attack by a nearby Islamic State affiliate, top administration officials are worried about their safety and what to do next.

The State Department said Wednesday the U.S. troops will not be withdrawn from Sinai.

“We remain fully committed to our multinational force and observers mission,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “So no change in policy, no change in our force structure.”

But troop safety has U.S. military leaders weighing what to do next.

More than 1,600 international forces occupy outposts in the Sinai, including 700 mostly U.S. Army National Guard troops. But these forces are unable to carry out offensive operations against ISIS-affiliated groups such as Wilayat Sinai since they are bound by an agreement made months after the 1978 Camp David accord, which made peace between Egypt and Israel.

At the Pentagon Wednesday, a senior U.S. military leader said discussions at the “highest levels” were taking place among the U.S., Israeli and Egyptian governments about the future size of the U.S. commitment to Sinai.

“My focus is making sure that they have the force protection measures in place and we have increased the force protection measures,” said Rear Adm. Andy Lewis, Joint Staff vice director for operations, in a briefing with reporters.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s top officer, visited the force in December, accompanied by Fox News, shortly after four U.S. soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

In early September, the Pentagon added 75 more troops, as well as additional armored vehicles including four Bradley Fighting Vehicles, after another ISIS attack injured two peacekeepers from Fiji. Their base is typically hit by incoming fire once a day.

As part of the routine harassment attacks, mostly from small arms fire, ISIS-aligned forces sometimes launch mortars without warheads to land inside the camp in order to send a message, one official told Fox News.

“The threat is increasing,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The warning signs have been mounting.

In November, a group claiming allegiance to ISIS said it downed the Russian airliner that crashed over Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.

In December, the Middle East Institute’s Geoffrey Aronson got the Pentagon’s attention when he wrote in an article: “Sinai is ground zero in the ongoing insurgency against the Egyptian government led by ISIS.”

Another foreign policy expert said it is unlikely the United States will be able to change its treaty agreements regarding the international force.

“The Israelis and Egyptians do not want them to [pull out], they don’t want to appear to be giving into ISIS,” said Paul Salem, of the Washington-based Middle East Institute, in an interview with Fox News. “They’re pushing the Americans hard not to … redeploy.”

Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld faced pushback when he tried to pull the U.S. troops out over a decade ago. Israel and Egypt have resisted calls for American troops to withdraw, leaving the Pentagon and the White House with a dilemma considering 700 U.S. troops are now positioned in the middle of an increasingly dangerous region.

“Almost everything has changed in the last few years,” Salem said. “Now there’s a full-on battle between ISIS and the Egyptian army.”

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.

 

Why should Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen operate charter schools on U.S. Military bases?

GULEN-630x357The Hill, by Robert R. Amsterdam, March 31, 2016:

A secretive Islamic movement is trying to infiltrate the U.S. military by establishing and operating publicly-funded charter schools targeted toward children of American service personnel.

That charge may sound like a conspiracy theory from the lunatic fringe, but it is real and it is happening right now.  The most immediate threat is in Nevada, where Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas (CASLV) is currently negotiating with the United States Air Force to locate a charter school at Nellis Air Force Base, with classes starting this fall.  What is not widely known is that CASLV is part of a nationwide organization of charter schools and other businesses headed by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, a reclusive but influential Imam living under self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania to avoid criminal prosecution in his native Turkey.

Our law firm has been engaged by the Republic of Turkey – a key NATO ally in a hotbed region – to conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the operations and geopolitical influence of the Gülen organization, which is behind the Coral Academy of Science and over 140 other public charter schools scattered across 26 American states.  Our investigation, still in its early stages, reveals that the Gülen organization uses charter schools and affiliated businesses in the U.S. to misappropriate and launder state and federal education dollars, which the organization then uses for its own benefit to develop political power in this country and globally.

Aside from defrauding American taxpayers, the Gülen organization has an even more ominous objective in the United States.  The organization is one of the country’s largest recipients of H1-B “specialty occupation” visas, which it uses to import Turkish teachers into its charter schools, supposedly because local U.S. talent is not available to fill math and science teaching positions in its charter schools.  The Gülen organization illegally threatens to revoke these visas unless the Turkish teachers agree to kick back part of their salary to the organization.

More importantly, the Turkish teachers in Gülen organization charter schools are evaluated not on the basis of their teaching skills, but rather on whether they achieve monthly goals in a secret point system designed to instil Turkish culture and Gülenist ideology in our American students. The goal, we are told, is to develop a Gülenist following of high achievers, incubated in our local community schools across the country.

The Gülen organization has been able to grow in the U.S. largely because it conceals both its identity and its motives.  The first line of defense for Gülenist charter schools and companies has been to deny any affiliation with Fethullah Gülen (their officers and directors claim that they are merely “inspired by” Gülen’s religious teachings), as if the simple creation of business entities in which Fethullah Gülen himself holds no ownership interest could alter his ultimate control over the organization.  In reality, the governing boards of the Gülen charter schools are populated disproportionately by loyal Turkish men answering to a handful of Imams who rule over defined regions across the U.S., reporting ultimately to Gülen in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

In Nevada, CASLV is a three-campus school operating under a charter held by tax-exempt Coral Education Corp., headquartered in Reno.  Three of Coral’s board members are Turkish, one of whom was formerly the Principal at two other Gülen organization charter schools, the Sonoran Science Academy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and the Bay Area Technology School in California.

Unfortunately, Nellis Air Force Base is not the Gülen organization’s first stab at a U.S. military base.  The organization successfully opened a school on Davis-Monthan AFB in 2009, and it tried but failed to gain access to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois.  In California, Magnolia Public Schools applied for a charter in Oceanside, where Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is located, although it temporarily withdrew its application after our law firm pointed out Magnolia’s connection to the Gülen organization earlier this year.

Lest there be any doubt about the objectives in the United States, the strategy of subtly indoctrinating school children into the Gülen movement is a familiar one overseas, and there is great peril in allowing it to flourish in this country.  In his native Turkey, Gülen created a network of hundreds of schools that have produced – over the past three decades – a vast cadre of followers now prepared to perform his bidding from official positions in government, law enforcement, the judiciary and the media.  Although precise numbers are impossible to verify, some have estimated that he currently controls more than half of the entire Turkish police force. The Economist newspaper compared Gülen’s influence in Turkey to the Freemason infiltration of law enforcement and judicial elites in Europe during the last century. Numerous documented cases in Turkey involving planted evidence, tainted prosecutions and illegal incarceration of Gülen critics underscore that he is quite willing to abuse his power and influence.

The same game plan is playing out, at last count, in 101 countries on every habitable continent.  With an estimated six million followers globally and assets in the range of $20-$50 billion, the Gülen organization has managed to conceal a great deal about its doctrine, mission or objectives.  Whether Gülen’s followers are classified as a religious sect, a commercial enterprise, a political movement or – as Dutch legislators concluded – a cult, it should be a matter of significant concern for our security and regulatory authorities.

In light of Gülen’s modus operandi elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security should be asking itself why such a non-transparent, religion-based organization would seek to establish itself on our military bases, teaching the children of our service men and women.

Robert R. Amsterdam is founder of Amsterdam and Partners LLP, an international law firm based in Washington, DC and London.