I had a difficult time picking topics this month. In the spirit to keeping my commentary brief on each subject matter, there is a great deal of information on each topic. I tried to summarize, so bare with me.
Unless you were completely disconnected for the last two weeks, there has been a great deal of news on the prisoner swap of Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal for 5 prisoners who have been kept at Guantanamo Bay. So lets break some of this down and try and determine the issues. First, we have the issue of never leaving any service member behind. Then we have the policy where we do not negotiate with terrorists. Finally, we have the issue of a fair exchange, when we need to negotiate the treacherous ground that runs between these two very distinctive policies and commitments. It’s my personal opinion that we must retrieve our soldiers from harms way, period. If they have committed crimes while serving, they should be brought back to the United States and extended their legal right to a fair trial. We also have the issue of the prisoner swap and the manner in which it was conducted. Specifically, section 1035 of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed by President Obama in December of 2013, states; “The Secretary of Defense is authorized to transfer or release any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay, if the Secretary determines the individual is no longer a threat to the National Security of the United States.” Additionally, the law states; “The Secretary of Defense shall notify the appropriate committees of congress of the determination of a Secretary under subsection (a or b) not later than 30 days before the transfer or release of the individual”. Secretary Hagel did not comply with the 30 day requirement, which is why members of congress, both Democrats and Republicans, where in such an outrage.
The five detainees have been nicknamed the “dream team” of terrorists and at least two have direct connections with the late Osama Bin Laden. As I was watching new coverage in various forms, I noted that the consensus was that these five were direct threats to the United States in one way or another, with all of them having plotted or engaged in events against our country. On the surface, it certainly seems like an uneven prisoner swap and there is more here than we know. It’s also interesting to note that dating back to the Bush administration, there have been over 600 detainees that have been released from Guantanamo Bay, which include the current five that have raised the latest ruckus about detainees. The media states these five released prisoners will simply live out the rest of their lives, without seeking revenge on us; it’s naive to believe that.
It will be hard to summarize what is happening in Iraq in this small space. However, there are some very distinctive things that are worth noting. As I writing this, it’s Saturday the 14th of June, we have just decided to move the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to the Arabian Gulf. Though this seems somewhat threatening, under normal circumstances, the fact of the matter is, it’s not. The current U.S. foreign policy, as I stated in the past, is weak at best. We have made numerous threats, including Syria’s “red line”, and have not backed them up at all. That gives terrorist groups like ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), which is a spin off of Al Qaeda, lots of motivation as they believe we will do nothing to stop them. This is the same Al Qaeda that; “has been decimated and is on the run.” Those words don’t mean very much at this point, kind of like “spiking the football”, before the victory actually happens. Nonetheless, I can’t help think about all of our solders who gave their lives to stabilize Iraq, only for us to telegraph our eventual withdraw. To not believe the current events would be the result, is the highest level of naivety. It breaks my heart to think about our young men and women who gave their lives, for the people of Iraq. I was always on the fence about our involvement in Iraq, but at the time, it was the correct decision, based on the information we had. My fear at this point is that ISIS has taken a major foothold and it will be extraordinarily difficult to reverse the events of the last week. The other concern I have is that ISIS stole better than $429 million dollars when it invaded Mosul; it was taken from Iraq Central bank. Needless to say, they are now very well funded. If we combine those events with the fact that Iran has also volunteered the Revolutionary Guard to assist Iraq…well, you can let your imagination figure out the rest. These guys from ISIS are butchers…they behead and commit such acts of violence, that the Iraq military and police simply surrender.
I take most of these events in stride, but this is pretty scary stuff. If ISIS were able to procure nuclear or chemical weapons, I can’t even begin to imagine what would happen to our allies in Europe and Israel. This is serious stuff and the administration needs to get off their proverbial butts and start taking definitive action. We cannot sit on the sidelines and let these events unfold, there is too much at stake. It is time for us to stop looking and acting weak.
As of this morning, June 16th, it’s being reported that ISIS now has Stinger Missiles, small arms, Hummvee’s and lots of other U.S. made equipment and weapons. How did this happen? The Iraqi Army fled their posts and basically left everything for the taking. That creates serious issues with the United States intervening using Air Tactics. We can now have our drones, planes and jets, shot down, using our own weapons. The events have been going on for almost a week now and we have not lifted a finger, other than more idol talk about having some sort of an alliance with Iran, if you can believe that, to try and mitigate the issues.
So what do I believe is going to happen? It’s likely at this point that Iraq will be a divided country and the ISIS militants will control the northern and eastern parts of the country, from this point forward. Without ground troops, which we will not provide and I certainly do not support, removing ISIS from these areas will be virtually impossible.
I’m sure many of you are waiting for me to criticize the Administration for the lack of attention to these events. Additionally, we have been completely surprised and caught off guard by the intensity and level of violence that is being displayed. We lack the desire, fortitude and resolve to back up threats that have been established in the past and therefore, it is believed and perceived that we will not act or react to events such as Iraq. It is quite chaotic and it very likely to get much worse, unless we are able to essentially “blunt” the advancement of these militants. The Iraqi army has been unable or more importantly, unwilling, to stop the advancement. ISIS has been executing and beheading anyone who resists them, which is seriously demoralizing to the Iraqi troops.
We need to get our Foreign Policy together….Period….
Bottom line? This is going to turn out badly if we do not intervene in some manner…..
We are being overrun by illegals coming from Mexico, Guatemala and Central America, mostly children. I was very intrigued when this started to happen a couple of weeks ago, so I started to research and find out the source and issues surrounding the sudden influx. These are kids…young kids. They can travel anywhere from 300 to 1500 miles to get to the United States, normally in groups and smuggled into the country by Mexican smugglers, who charge a fee. They are dropped at the border, with little or nothing and most don’t know where they are from. This creates serious problems for us to send them back to their country. There is no place for them to go here in the U.S., we do not have facilities to house them, feed them and provide basic essentials.
One of the things I uncovered in my research is that there is actually media, TV and Radio, in these country’s that advertise for these kids to flee to the U.S.
Stay tuned for more on this problem….I mean, seriously, what do you do? They are children…..
Ok, so this is what you are waiting for:
This administration is constantly being caught flat footed. Here are some examples; IRS Emails are suddenly lost ISIS Invades Iraqi, we no nothing about it Illegals infiltrate our Southern border, we are completely unprepared Congress is not notified of a major prisoner swap, based on a law that was passed just six months ago Obamacare is a mess, Afghanistan is going to have the same results as Iraq, I could go on….
We need to get it together…both side of the political spectrum.
That’s all for this month…
As always, my very best to you and your families.