Terrorism–Is it about religion or is it really about something else?
We have all heard the quote, “My enemy is your enemy, and therefore you are my friend.” While this quote makes sense and may hold some credibility, it is too simplified. Since the horrific terrorist attacks of 9-11, we have heard extensive debates about the religion of Islam. When President Barrack Obama took office, many began to discuss socialism. Those who discuss socialism often discuss such through the internal economic destruction of the United States and Europe. Have terror specialists missed the true underlying foundation of today’s war on terror?
Long before the twenty year reign of the Troubles in Ireland (the period of ethno-political strife in Northern Ireland during the 1960’s through the 1980’s) was the rise of Irish Nationalism. Some claim everything taking place in the late 1800’s early 1900’s in Ireland was an attempt to defeat British Rule. Maybe that was the case, but simultaneously few realize those attempting to defeat the British were also Socialists and American born Eamon De Valera was a major leader in the Irish movement.
Born in New York 1882 of an Irish mother and Spanish father, young De Valera quickly found himself growing up in Ireland. He studied mathematics, language, and English Rule at Blackrock College in Dublin later to immerse himself in Gaelic culture through joining the Gaelic League in 1908. The Gaelic League served as his social conditioning influencer—it was a key recruitment center for up and coming revolutionists.
The Gaelic League was formed to bring back the origins of Irish culture. To have the most pure form of culture though, language was critical. The League pushed to have its citizens renounce the English language and speak Gaelic. Because of its difficulty in learning, Gaelic would later become the official language used by the Gglaigh na hEireann (Irish Republican Army) in an attempt to surpass British communicative intelligence interception and maintain pure nationalistic pride.
Make no mistake though that the IRA and its political arm Sinn Fein were not all for the betterment of Ireland. They aligned themselves with the German Nazi’s time and again prior to and long after World War II. Not only did they directly communicate with German Nazi’s, they collaborated with American Nazi’s who would serve predominantly as logistical arms support mostly within the northeastern seaboard of the United States.
As times grew, the Irish Republican Army, like the German Nazi’s of World War II, aligned themselves with Middle Easterners. Of note, not all of the Middle Eastern culprits to the IRA or Nazi Germany were Islamists. With that in mind, the IRA and Nazi Germany embraced Islamists equally to those believing in different religious theology. Hitler was known to love the Bosnian Muslims of the Hanjar SS Division.
Taking a play out of Hitler’s playbook, the IRA knew how determined and capable Middle Eastern fighters were. They too aligned with numerous Middle Eastern terrorists groups. The IRA’s understanding of explosives and homemade mortars made them highly sought after serving as teachers to other fascist terror groups. The IRA taught explosive training to a plethora of fascist groups founded throughout the Middle East, Europe, and South and Central America.
Very few are willing to discuss the grave threat of global socialist movements. These are not just political parties but also entail terrorist organizations. Make no mistake that Islamic terrorism is a problem but when it is combined, supported by, and aligned with global socialists, a very disheartening picture begins to unfold.
An ideology of socialism was born long before Hitler and the establishment of the Irish Republican Army. Arguably, some may claim that a socialist terror movement was born by the mother and father combination of the IRA and Nazi Germany. Their offspring developed into South and Central American terrorists like the Colombian FARC, European terrorists like Spain’s ETA, and Middle Eastern terrorists like the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Have the offspring of yesteryear turned into parents of today’s global terrorist?
The IRA virtually married the German Nazi’s. Their children and even their grandchildren have married other nation states. Today, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party are in deep rooted relationships with Syria and Iran. Venezuela runs deep with numerous social terrorists’ splinter groups in South America along with Middle Eastern terrorist entities finding safe haven in the Tri-Border region.
Human networks do not solely depend upon religion.
Numerous factors contribute to human network cohesion like the environment, economics, religion, customs, politics, etc. Every terrorist group comprises of multiple nodes, ties, and systems later establishing its network. Since 9-11, arguably, many terrorist specialists have failed in digging deep enough in their network understandings predominantly looking into the foundation of religious beliefs of radical Islam. Unfortunately, many of those persons have failed in understanding that today’s war on terror is a global war induced with deeper roots in socialism.
Another CIA disaster induced by political correctness
The Central Intelligence Agency witnessed its most devastating blow while fighting this war on terror on December 30th, 2009. An asset controlled by Jordanian Intelligence detonated himself in a remote outpost in Khost, Afghanistan leaving seven dead and six injured —all CIA operatives and their contractual counterparts. Numerous government reports were later created in an attempt to better clandestine tradecraft. Today, another CIA disaster has unfolded demonstrating clandestine tradecraft may or may not be the underlying problem within the CIA.
The Associated Press released news that numerous assets being controlled by the CIA in Lebanon and Iran have been compromised–old news considering this atrocity occurred last summer. More to the point, none of the assets appear to be Americans rather local indigenous persons working for the Agency. None the less, case officers are responsible for their assets and sources health and well-being. While they may not have been American citizens; rest assured, case officers treat them as such.
Two cells of assets have been compromised, missing, and presumably killed. Hezbollah, along with Iranian intelligence, claims responsibility for interdicting the American spy rings. Has the CIA learned anything from Khost?
Agree or disagree, rest assured, our Central Intelligence Agency took numerous lessons from the Khost incident. Without divulging specifics, two key points are noted. The CIA has beefed up their security protocol when dealing with sources and they are constantly honing their skills of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) tradecraft.
Interestingly enough, the AP makes a unique point in its report–one significant aspect that should spark the interest of many.
“The CIA’s top counterintelligence officer, who was one of the most senior women in the clandestine service, recently retired after approximately five years in the job. She is credited with some important cases, including the recent arrests of Russian spies who had been living in the U.S. for years.”
Five years of on the job experience is now construed as “most senior?” Five years of experience should not construe anyone as being senior. Since this is the case, obviously our CIA has a crisis on their hands in maintaining a pool of truly senior operatives.
Was there a point in specifically mentioning that the senior clandestine operations officer was a woman? Remember, the team leader in Khost was also a woman. There is nothing wrong with women serving in Clandestine Services; in fact, many do a much better job than many of the men. But was there a specific point in mentioning the sex of the senior clandestine operations officer working against Hezbollah?
Many would like to point flaws in tradecraft. Unfortunately, and while tradecraft may or may not have been flawed, it surely was not the only reason the CIA continues to be haunted by such tragedies. The CIA has been infiltrated just like every other U.S. Government organization. It has been infiltrated with political correctness.
When dealing with some of the world’s most heinous terrorists and rogue regimes, there is no time for political correctness. It gets people killed. Political correctness can easily be the main culprit which killed seven Americans in Khost and it very well can be the main reason why two cells of U.S. assets were recently compromised in Lebanon and Iran.
Make no mistake, if anyone knows what truly happened during the Bin Laden kill mission, excluding those operatives on the ground, it would be Chuck Pfarrer. Chuck served several years in the U.S. Navy as a SEAL eventually ending his career with the very unit involved in the Pakistani raid—DEVGRU.
Even after being interviewed by several media outlets, it’s hard to believe that everyone who swiftly jumped on the story could be, at a minimum, partially wrong.Chuck may also be a bit off in his depiction of the event however, it is likely he is more astute about the situation than most–but why?
If Mr. Pfarrer is correct about the Bin Laden kill mission, rest assured that his previous SEAL background is not the main reason. Sure, he has the contacts within but so do many of us. His contacts were not enough to shed the full light into the public domain. Pfarrer’s ability to block fear is what truly shed the truth behind the real story of Operation Geronimo.
That’s right—controlled fear. For anyone who has served in any type of classified domain and later goes public, they often either subconsciously or consciously have some fear within them. That fear stems in saying the wrong thing to the wrong persons in the wrong setting. Such operatives have been programmed to live in a fear based mode knowing that if they breach the trust instilled within, they could face serious ramifications.
Make no mistake, everything I write, I ensure that I can find such insight in open source domains just to reassure myself that I am not divulging anything I shouldn’t. But even with that, there are many things in open sources I just won’t discuss—because of fear. Mr. Pfarrer obviously cares more about truth and honor than any action which the government may attempt to endure against him.
Following the SEAL vs. Bin Laden episode, many national security professionals stuck with the game plan. Say only that which was released by Big Brother Uncle Sam. If the media was already divulging something, go along or revert back to what Uncle Sam released. They stuck together doing that which they were trained to do—hold secrets. Right, wrong, or indifferent, this is what they were taught and this is why so many conflicting reports have come about.
Could all of this been mitigated? Yes. If the government would have simply provided facts, instead of bits and pieces of truth, no one would have been left pondering the situation. Those professionals interviewed should not be ridiculed though. Again, they did what they were trained to do by keeping what they knew as “classified” away from the public domain. Needless to say, I am sure many will be foolishly ridiculed anyway simply because too few understand the severity of breaching national security trust.
Still, even with Pfarrer’s recently released book, it is unlikely too many experts will confirm or deny anything he had written. With that said, congratulations Mr. Pfarrer, you held yourself to the standard which you believe in. You interviewed the right persons, took your own understanding towards special operations Direct Acton tactics, and feared not in writing an incredible account of brave American heroes exterminating evil.
When Iranian MP Ali Larijani said “this is just the beginning of the road,” in reference to expel British Diplomat Dominic Chilcott from the country, he wasn’t bluffing. The British Embassy in Iran has just been stormed by Khomeini hooligans closely resembling that of the U.S. Embassy crisis of 1979. The Iranian road of isolation and destruction has just begun.
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations specifically outlines international agreements made to protect embassies and their personnel. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean the embassy is considered sovereign territory. It does mean however that persons and resources within are protected.
Article 22 specifically states:
1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.
When Iranian hooligans abruptly stormed the United States Embassy of Iran in 1979, international outcry unleashed. Sixty-six embassy personnel were held captive for 444 days while six U.S. diplomats evaded capture. The crisis swiftly ended in 1981 within minutes upon the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan.
Compare and contrast the U.S. Presidency between that of 1979 and 1981. Carter, a weak President and observed as such among numerous enemy states like Iran. But soon, America’s great Ronald Reagan took office and enemy state’s like Iran quickly cowered. Will another Reagan evolve in due time to finally squash the Iranians?
During the Iran hostage crisis, one nation state became empowered—Iraq. International support to the former Saddam regime flourished. The United States provided military armament, intelligence, and even satellite technical assistance to Saddam. Ever since, Iran has never been observed as “the good guys.”
Could Israel become the Iraq of 1981? Obviously there is no compare and contrast between Iraq and Israel. Israel is much more competent, much more trustworthy, and much more capable than Iraq ever was or ever will be. They have been biting at the bit to unleash offensive actions against the Khomeini regime and today they should have a green light to move forward.
Iran has demonstrated its ill-will time and again. Nuclear developments, a foiled Saudi assassination on U.S. territory, spy rings compromised, and proxy uprisings throughout the Middle East are more than enough reasons to impose actions against Iran—actions much greater than sanctions.
In the past two weeks we have learned of unique and deadly explosions throughout Iran. Two weeks ago seventeen Iranian military personnel were killed along with Brig.Gen. Hassan Moghadam, one of their top missile defence architects, in a mysterious explosion. Today, news reports another mysterious explosion occurred in Isfahan city—home to one of Iran’s major Iranian nuclear research centres.
Maybe these explosions are pure coincidence. Maybe they are the aftermath of unique clandestine activities. No one will likely know the answers to how or even the possibility of who may have been involved in these incidents. Should we expect more of these unique and mysterious explosions in the near future due to the recent British Embassy calamity?
Iran had crossed many lines on numerous occasions in recent months. They aggressively tormented the United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Israel, and now Britain. Sanctions will play little value against Iran for their unruliness. The mysterious Iranian explosions of the past may become obvious in the future. The international community desperately needs another Reagan like President in its immediate future to once and for all free the world from the Iranian threat.
Thanksgiving celebrations have special significance to Americans. For one day in November family, food, faith, and football bring us together in a spirit of gratitude unlike anywhere else in the world. Americans thankfully remember God had a hand in the hearts of those who first ventured to our eastern shores seeking simple freedoms we now take for granted.
My ancestry goes back to Mayflower pilgrims of the 1600′s and earliest settlers of the colonies where freedom to worship was as important to being American as any other freedom Americans have come to enjoy.
It doesn’t take ancestry to have heartfelt dreams of freedom, or to belong to the exceptional American experience as my family has benefited from for four centuries. Consider the story of one tired American soldier, an Iraqi with a dream and one request, to have his heart buried in America.
Platoon Sergeant Grant L. Pratt III with the 1st Cavalry Division supervised 23 other medics in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad. This letter home was sent September 11, 2007.
I wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know of an experience I had here that really affected me.
I have wondered over the last seven months of my deployment if this war can be won militarily, or if there is any hope that this country can embrace a democratic government. In my eyes the people seem more intent on themselves and their contempt for other each other than making things work here.
With the things I have seen, experiences, and watching friends die I kind of believe that our endeavor here is pointless. I did not believe that there was a single Iraqi in this country that really cared if the violence stopped or that there were any that did not want to kill every American they see. Then I had something happen that gave me some hope.
About a month ago an Iraqi came to my aid station; he is one of the Iraqis that works with us as an interpreter. His name is Sam and he is 20 years old. He came to my aid station with a severely broken and lacerated finger after it was shut in the 300-pound door of an armored vehicle. I spent about two hours cleaning his finger and suturing it, all the while making small talk. He continually told me how he wanted to come to America and join our Army so he could come back and do more for Iraq. He told me of how he loved Americans and that all he wants is to become one.
I listened and talked with him until I was finished with my procedure and wished him well, and in my mind dismissed most of what he said as just words and never thought much else of it.
On September 9th it came across the radio that an explosion had hit one of our vehicles and we had one soldier killed, two wounded, as well as the interpreter that was with them. I put my gear on and went with the squadron commander to the hospital to check on our injured men.
It was quite a gruesome sight. First I saw my medic, who had minor wounds, then went to the young man who had served as the gunner. He had received blast wounds to the leg, which had torn away a majority of his outer thigh. I then went to view the body of our fallen brother who died due to a head injury. We helped console the other members of the platoon, as this was the second soldier they had lost in five days. Overwhelmed by the experience, we walked in to see the interpreter, which turned out to be Sam.
Sam had suffered severe lacerations to the head, resulting in over 40 sutures and staples. He had a small skull fracture and a small brain hemorrhage. Despite his severe injuries he would only ask how the others were doing. He was covered in blood and in extreme pain and just wanted to be sure that the soldiers he had been with were okay.
Once satisfied they would be taken care of, he took my commanders hand and said, “If I die please take my heart to America and bury it there.”
We assured him his injuries were not mortal and left him in the care of the doctors at the hospital and told him we would be back the next day to see him.
The next morning I received a call from the hospital telling me that Sam was going to be released to an Iraqi hospital, but that he did not want to go. He feared that because of his ethnic background that he would be denied treatment and sent away. I told them I would call back in a few minutes and that we would come and get him and continue his care at my aid station. After 20 minutes of talking to the commander and making arrangements, I called the hospital and told them we would be there shortly to pick him up when they informed me that they had already released him, and had given him money to get to the Iraqi hospital. Needless to say, we were a little upset.
We began searching the area around the hospital and could not locate Sam. We were worried that he would fall into the wrong hands as any Iraqi that works with the Americans are often killed because they are aiding the enemy.
Three hours later we got a call from the gate to our base that Sam was there. He had walked from the hospital to our base, about seven miles in flip-flops and pajamas, despite fairly significant injuries. My medics brought him to the aid station and as we laid him on the bed I looked at him and said, “You are a pretty tough guy.” He grabbed my hand and looked me in the eyes and said, “I knew if I got here you would take care of me, Sergeant.”
Tears filled the corner of my eyes and I replied, “You bet I will.” He then said, “I had to get back here for two reasons. First the memorial service for Johnson (the soldier we had lost a few days prior) is tonight and I cannot miss that. We also have an important mission tomorrow and they need me.” I informed him he would make it to the service, but would not be going on patrol anytime soon. He argued for a short time then agreed that it would be in his best interest to relax for a couple of weeks before going outside the wire, but still insisted his guys (the U.S. soldiers from his platoon) needed him.
Later that night I sat two rows behind Sam as we paid tribute to our fallen brother and watched as he mourned and cried with the rest of us. I realized he is as committed as the rest of us and is considered a brother to us.
I just got done rechecking his wounds and talking with him. He still insists on going back out with his guys because they need him. He talked about his dreams of living in California some day. I have to say I admire this guy. He displays courage like no other Iraqi I have seen and in some ways made me think again of my views.
Despite what you see and hear on the news, there are Iraqis like Sam that are dedicated to seeing their country succeed. There may not be many, but some sacrifice along side us with a simple dream of their country being better off, or like Sam of being an American citizen. It gives me some hope that things will eventually work out here, and that someday Sam will be an American citizen, because he has earned that right. — Grant
Gratitude is a noble quality requiring humility. Many citizens show it. Soldiers possess it. Sam carried it in his heart.
For all those who want to be like Europeans, or modeled after failed ideologies of socialism and their tyrants, or whose self-loathing cause them to detest their own American culture, consider Sam, a young man from Iraq who’s greatest aspiration is to become an American, at what ever cost, even if it means only his heart.
James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling novelist (The Lost Valentine – Hallmark Hall of Fame/CBS 2011) and non-fiction author, President of The Lighted Candle Society (501 c 3) Founder of PowerThink Publishing, public speaker, Op Ed writer for The Daily Caller, and Founder of Reagan Revolution 2. His creative work may be reviewed at www.jmpratt.com. Email: email@example.com.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to release a report about Iran’s nuclear program this week. Many nuclear experts and diplomats expect the worse. Israel is getting sketchy and rumored plans of military operations against the Shiite state are increasing—operations vehemently opposed by Russia.
Iran’s recent foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador on U.S. soil exemplifies Iranian defiance against the United States and our ally Saudi Arabia. Their continued influence in Iraq sparks grave concerns among many Iraqi citizens. The Arab Spring uprisings induced by Iranian proxy haunts many Middle Eastern nations. The list of reasons to engage war against Iran is endless—but is war feasible?
Prior to launching Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States could have easily squashed the Ayatollah regime. In fact, the United States and our allies could have defeated Iran while simultaneously conducting operations in Afghanistan. When we entered Iraq and pushed outward to other “red zones” in places like the Horn of Africa, our capabilities swiftly deteriorated.
Today, due to prolonged global military operations, the United States military might is in dire need of rest, recuperation, and repair. Economically, we cannot afford another war which involves conventional assets. Socially, the American people are tired and simply want our service members to come home. Based off these three points, war against Iran does not appear feasible.
So how can the United States and our allies secure national interests against the nuclear seeking Shiite nation state? Clandestine proxy activities could be the answer.
The United States, like our European allies, is broke. Clandestine proxy activities would need money. The nations with the money are also the very nations facing the most austere danger against Iran—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. If these nations are willing to handsomely pay the United States along with a few of our “friends,” we can, and should, expedite operations against Iran.
An “Arab Spring” is needed in Iran. In 2009, hundreds of thousands protested in the streets of Tehran. This protest was later identified as the Iranian Green Movement. More than 500 persons were arrested in the movement similarly compared to that witnessed in 1979. It was an opportunity the United States and our allies failed to capitalize.
Considering the next Iranian Presidential election will not occur until 2013, it appears the world cannot wait that long to see Ahmadinejad ousted from power, then again, he is not the real power broker in Iran anyway—he is not the Ayatollah . Something must be done before Iran grows greater intestinal fortitude threatening the world.
After years of lessons learned in fighting counter insurgencies throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere, the United States clandestine services have learned a lot—so have our allies. We understand the criticality of human sources and assets, we are better aligned in dealing with nation state diplomats, and our tradecraft has been honed. Whether we have learned the invaluable lesson about politicians interfering in such operations remains in question.
No matter how sketchy Israel becomes, they will not be capable of fighting Iran alone. The United States and our allies too would not withstand a prolonged war against Iran under today’s global economic conundrum. This does not mean a war against Iran is not feasible. It simply implies that with the right tools, the proper alignment, and the necessary monetary allocations, the Iranian regime can be toppled but only if we leave political correctness at the door and conduct such operations under a unified front.
Do Middle Eastern nations sleep restless at night or do they remain awake thinking about Iran? How willing are they to provide billions to the United States and our allies so we can once and for all rid the Iranian people from their evil puppet masters? Hopefully, the Saudi’s and their neighbors aren’t high on the anti-insomniac drug Zolpidem.
About a year ago, Chicago based Pastor Erwin Lutzer had written a fascinating book titled When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany. I have read all 141 pages now on three separate occasions. Fascinated every time, I just cannot get over the fact that everything he had written about Nazi Germany is taking place here inside the United States—the English settlers of yesteryear would be ashamed.
In 1621, fifty-one English settlers, along with members of the local Wampanoag people, celebrated their harvest with a three-day festival. The English were pilgrims who sought religious freedom. Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim and the only person to write a first-hand account of the Thanksgiving of 1621 is quoted as saying, “And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
Pastor Lutzer was likely not a student of our pilgrims but it is obvious that he understood their religious minds, kindness, and sacrifice. I have simply listed two of his chapter titles in an attempt to get people to grasp how on point Pastor Lutzer was in this magnificently written document. Yet those chapters are not enough as it is encouraged on this Thanksgiving feast to embrace discussion pertaining one incredibly disturbing account founded on page 21 of his book.
Chapter 4 titled Propaganda can change a nation seems like a no brainer yet “We the People” have done nothing to stop main stream media propaganda. Look at Chapter 5 titled Parents-not the state-are responsible for a child’s training, then observe the catastrophic circumstances we have placed our children in because of dependence of state schooling versus the real education that should come from within the family unit. I’ll get off my soapbox.
What strikes me, and virtually brings tears to my eyes every time I get to page 21, is the recount of Christians attending church during the peak of Nazism. Train tracks were in the immediate vicinity of their church. Parishioners would hear the train coming knowing Jews were inside like cattle being shipped to face their ultimate fate. They would hear the cries of the Jewish people yet did nothing but sing hymns of worship to fade out the sounds of horror—but what else could they have done? What would you have done?
Needless to say, Jews and Christians alike are being shipped on a very unique geo-political track here inside the United States today. No, I am not comparing the atrocity of the Holocaust to what is taking place today inside America—but then again, maybe I am.
The Holocaust was genocide—an ethnic and or religious extermination. It was induced by mass propaganda, hate, an evil legal system that served little justice, indoctrination, and comprised of too few heroes. Today’s American government is doing everything in its power to exterminate a Christian-Judeo society—a society it fears knowing such persons are some of the most patriotic, Constitutionally savvy, and followers of our founding fathers passion to see America remain the “Land of the Free.”
On this Thanksgiving, our founding fathers should not be observed in the more traditional sense of persons like Washington, Edison, Payne, Hamilton, or the like but rather the pilgrims such as Edward Winslow. The American Pilgrims embraced all persons living in “America.” These persons included even those who did not follow the footsteps of Jesus like the Wampanoag Indians. Yet followers of Jesus and the non-believers were capable of embracing one another in feast only later to bring non-believers closer to God.
Our moral code, a code induced by religious faith, is deteriorating. Without that moral code, the nation will inevitably collapse as it did for Nazi Germany. There are so many lessons to be learned but we must become students first willing to read, listen, and study. America is not lost—yet.
The German parishioners who lived a life of regret hearing the horrors of Jews being shipped to their death and doing nothing to stop the tragedy of genocide is something that should never happen again. So the question is, “what can we do to stop the genocide of patriotic Christian-Judeo Americans inside the United States today?” “What can we do to ensure the United States never forgets the Christian-Judeo God which it was founded under?” If we do nothing, we are no different than the German Christians who did nothing to prevent the fall of their nation but if we act like the Pilgrims, we can embrace those who believe differently than us to re-build our great nation.
Bus doors opened. Upon exiting, sounds of chaos filled the air. The meanest, yet most professionally appearing “Smokey the Bear” hat wearing Military Instructors foamed out of their mouths barking orders. Complete strangers would soon become lifelong brothers—this was initiation to the military path in becoming a veteran.
Our young vets endured weeks on end learning the basics of military discipline. They marched for hours, perfected their “make a dime bounce” beds, shined boots only to see their reflections, and embraced one another knowing teamwork was critical to defeat this hellish encounter of boot camp. Eventually, the majority would succeed while many would either be washed out or recycled only to endure more high stress agonizing psychological pain.
Those who graduate basic would eventually be sent off for some type of advanced training. Advanced training normally falls in one of two categories—combat specific or support and services. No matter the category, advanced training serves as the main schooling which prepares the troops for their primary military duty readying them for war.
For those who have endured military combat, the majority will agree that no training demonstrates the reality of such hell. Only one training event came close—the Night Infiltration Exercise, aka the Gauntlet. This was when troops were forced to low crawl, high crawl, breach walls, go under barbed wire, all under the blanket of darkness. Darkness soon turned to light when until slap flares were launched and live tracer rounds fired from machine guns barraging overhead lighting up the midnight hour skies. Controversial training tactics indeed and this was an event that actually took the lives of some.
Upon graduating advanced schooling, many veterans endured specialized schooling and advanced leadership training. This could comprise of Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger, SF, SERE, etc. Make no mistake, no matter the individual training endured; a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears was shed just to make it to assigned units.
After several months of training, our veterans were shipped off to military bases. Bases were inside the United States and others were strategically positioned around the world. These combat ready troops often skipped the luxury to take a breadth and learn what garrison was like. During times of war, the most “green” troops were often directly assigned to war time deployed or deploying units.
The stresses of living the life of a veteran start on day one of basic training. They never really end knowing that at any time, the United States could be engaged in a military mission. Whether offensive, defensive, stability, or support operations were conducted, make no mistake, the stress level was constantly peaked.
Brotherhoods were made, friends were killed, and boys became men. Our women veterans went through the same—sisterhoods were made, friends were killed, and girls became women. Sex was neutral on the battlefield. We all went through the same fiasco. Scenarios may have been different but the situation was not. We walked a path in life and became our nation’s best and brightest—Veterans.
Soft Power—Nations shaping lands where United States “Hard Power” couldn’t
The United States assisted in ousting Qaddafi leaving the weapon rich nation a complete quagmire—just last week a secret chemical weapon storage facility was located. U.S. troop withdrawals in Iraq leave the nation prone to inevitable collapse. And now the Turks, along with a handful of questionable nation states, are meddling in Afghanistan in preparation of America’s longest war’s end.
Turkey has been nothing but a thorn in U.S. relations throughout the Middle East in recent years. “The governments of Turkey and Iraq have an agreement that allows the Turkish military to make ‘hot-pursuit’ operations into Iraq.” This statement is in reference to Turkish operations against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Many Americans fail to realize how important the PKK and Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) have been for the United States throughout the duration of military operations in Iraq. But the very critical assets we have in Iraq now face military attacks by Turkey. What will happen to the thousands of displaced persons in Camp Ashraf?
Turkey is not only attempting to shape Iraq, they are now attempting to shape Afghanistan upon our exit—this initiative is known as the “Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia.” Interestingly enough, they are bringing in some key players who do not align well with U.S. interests.
Russia, China, Pakistan, and even Iran will be attempting to shape Afghanistan along with Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan through this Turkish led initiative. On the surface, these nations are in alignment with one another. Some believe Turkey is responsible for this situation–do not allow their tactical gusto blind the strategic initiative.
The United States has drafted catch phrases such as “Soft” and “Smart Power” along with “Winning Hearts and Minds.” Needless to say, while these concepts are brilliant, we have failed in executing them appropriately due to incredibly ignorant Foreign Policies. China’s Soft Power initiatives on the other hand have made an incredible global impact.
China has leveraged opportunities among numerous nation states–globally. These opportunities have placed China in a very unique global position to enhance its strategic game plan of world dominance. Arguably, many can claim that China has surpassed the United States in its competitive Foreign Policy.
With ten plus years of U.S. “Hard Power” in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, throughout the Horn of Africa and elsewhere, China has built incredible relations with numerous nation states through its incorporation of “Soft Power.” Those nation states are now confident to take on initiatives they likely would have never considered without China’s support. Look what Turkey is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan today.
There is a time for “Hard Power” and a time for “Soft Power.” Obviously, the United States has failed in executing anything close to what could be known as “Smart Power”—an oxymoronic phrase. While our economy has been crushed, lives of many patriotic heroes have been perished. We have numerous reasons as to why we initiated our “Hard Power” adventures. We have no reason allowing nation states such as China to become the real winners in the lands which we paid the ultimate price through their “Soft Power” tactics.