Tag Archives: NATIONAL SECURITY

Mark Caserta: US foreign policy heartens aggressors

19 Jun

OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY

Jun. 19, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

The recent offensive launched by Sunni insurgents is the first real challenge to Iraq’s security since the American withdrawal in 2011. But the stakes are high for the United States as well.

America is only as secure as the strength we portray to the world in the integrity, determination and moral fiber of our leadership. Sadly, the fact that this administration is perceived as sorely lacking in these attributes is conducive to challenge.

A recent Washington Post editorial board column described Obama’s foreign policy as one based on “fantasy,” employed in a world in which the president believed “the tide of war” was receding and the United States could “without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces” as well as its tenacity in temperament.

“President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality,” the column read. “Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past.”

But leaders around the world are “old school” and operate in reality when it comes to military prowess.

An effective military isn’t simply based on its size and capability, but the enemy’s perception of its willingness to deploy assets if an immovable, non-negotiable line is crossed. And we can’t negotiate with terrorists. Conciliation empowers them.

President Obama did, however, make the right decision when he brought our troops home in 2011 to allow the Iraqis to take ownership of their own freedom. For years I’ve maintained that the U.S. has erred in thinking that freedom can be delivered by a U.S. carrier. Freedom’s value is relative to the price at which it was secured. In the case of the U.S., thousands of men and women have paid the ultimate price, not only to secure our freedom, but assist the Iraqis in achieving theirs.

But the naivete with which our commander-in-chief “trumpeted” our withdrawal was a huge military mistake brought on by political aspiration and was a gift to our enemies in the Middle East. And now any hesitancy to react with at least drone strikes to bolster the Iraqis and provide them a foothold would be foolish. But once again, the world is watching Obama’s passive and indecisive reaction to aggression.

The 4,500 Americans killed and the far larger number permanently wounded is too great of a price to pay to see all that they fought for lost. Iraq War veterans across the country are watching with dismay as the same insurgency they fought and defeated returns to control in Iraq.

The larger issue is that we have a president whose repetitive display of ineptness in dealing with our enemies is emboldening aggression across the globe.

The U.S. can only expect to avoid major military conflict by electing leadership able to reposition America in the eyes of our enemy.

And show the world the United States is unshakable about protecting our freedom.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Taliban trade may mar Obama legacy

12 Jun

Bergdahl

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

The Obama administration just released arguably the five most dangerous Taliban leaders detained at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. And it appears the president knowingly and willingly broke the law in doing so.

Under the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by Obama last year, the administration was required to notify Congress 30 days in advance of any such action. And even if the president can somehow find “legal” justification for what he did, he did not abide by the law.

Even Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that it was “very disappointing” that President Obama decided not to alert Congress about the deal, suggesting a low “level of trust” at the White House.

Taliban leaders are reportedly hailing the release of the five prisoners as a major victory over Obama and the U.S.

A senior member of the Afghan Taliban described the exchange for Bergdahl as an “historic moment for us.” He went on to tell NBC News this was the first time its “enemy” had “officially recognized our status.”

President Obama was defiant in his remarks that he will “make no apologies” for a trade in which he openly admitted the possibility that these leaders may “return to activities that are detrimental to us,” despite families who still mourn the loss of six brave American troops who died while searching for Bergdahl after he went missing five years ago.

So who were these five Taliban leaders Obama released?

One was Abdul Haq Wasiq, a Taliban deputy minister of intelligence who reportedly used his office to support al-Qaida and to “assist Taliban personnel in eluding capture.” Wasiq has been accused by Human Rights Watch of mass killings and torture.

Mullah Norullah Noori, a senior Taliban military commander, is described as a military mastermind who engaged in hostilities “against U.S. and Coalition forces.” Noori has been implicated in the murder of thousands of Shiites in northern Afghanistan and reportedly “does not express any regret” for his actions.

Mullah Mohammad Fazi, a former Taliban deputy defense minister, was held at Guantanamo after being identified as an enemy combatant by the United States. He’s also wanted by the United Nations on war crimes for the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.

Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, the former governor of the Herat province, once had close ties with Osama Bin Laden. He “represented the Taliban during meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against the U.S. and coalition forces.”

Mohammad Nabi Omari, a senior Taliban leader, once held multiple leadership roles in various terror-related groups. Nabi reportedly helped al-Qaida operatives smuggle missiles in Pakistan for use against the U.S. and coalition forces.

So what would prompt Obama to bypass Congress to trade these Taliban militants for a questionable soldier and risk retribution against the U.S.?

The president’s argument that “we don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind” is pretty hollow given his failure to act in Benghazi.

This is one decision which may return to haunt the Obama legacy.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: National security no flippant matter

5 Jun

CIA  obama

Jun. 05, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Admittedly, every administration leaks its share of classified information. But it seems Team Obama has raised the bar.

Last week, in one of Washington’s “Friday afternoon” information dumps, the White House admitted it had revealed the name of the CIA’s top officer in Kabul, Afghanistan, to some 6,000 journalists on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in the president’s surprise visit with U.S. troops.

Upon learning of the error, the administration issued a revised list that didn’t include the individual who had been identified on the initial release as the “Chief of Station” in Kabul, a designation used by the CIA for its highest-ranking spy in a country.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” deputy national security advisor Tony Blinken told CNN. “We’re trying to understand why it happened. The chief of staff, Denis McDonough, asked White House counsel to look into it, to figure out what happened and make sure it won’t happen again.”

Now while an internal investigation will likely satisfy Obama supporters, it’s a far cry from the bitter tone used years ago when the Bush administration leaked Valerie Plame’s identity. At that time, words like “traitor” and “treason” were used to describe Bush officials involved in the controversy.

But the leaks from the Obama administration stretch back for years and are some of the more notable in recent history.

Shortly after the successful raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, the Obama administration revealed the classified identity of SEAL Team Six, Special Operations Force behind the raid, placing a target on the backs of the team members as well as their families.

Speaking at an event two days following the raid, Vice President Joe Biden, apparently giddy over the mission’s success, publicly identified the unit that tracked down and killed America’s foremost enemy, giving jihadists a clear target to avenge the death of Bin Laden.

The Obama administration would then go on to “out” the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Bin Laden. Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani physician who helped the CIA confirm Osama Bin Laden’s presence in the city, was sentenced to 33 years by the Pakistani government for his role in the attack.

Even allied nation’s secrets apparently aren’t safe with this administration.

In December 2012, the Obama administration “accidentally” revealed extensive details about a top-secret missile base the U.S. planned to build for Israel to host a new ballistic-missile defense system called the Arrow 3. Israeli military officials were shocked when they learned that the U.S. revealed details of the project in documents it published seeking contractor bids.

Now many folks aren’t sure if this administration’s reckless disclosure of our nation’s secrets is for political gain or simply from sheer incompetence. I believe it may be both.

But it’s time for Obama to end his flippant approach to national security — before it results in catastrophic loss of life.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page

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