Friday, July 27, 2007
You may have seen Col. Hunt on Fox News. He is by far the best military analyst in the news. Don't know much about him, he has written several books and is well respected by insiders, so he gets a lot of first hand poop.
His latest book is a riot to read. Lots of new facts and colorful language. He pulls no punches. Below are some excerpts from the book to get you interested. Read the book you will love it.
Liberty or Death
“The truth is that the Afghan military is not something we can fix in this lifetime. Without the Americans there, the army doesn't exist; it is just a bunch of guys we trained who will go home. We knew this-or should have known this. You can't take a group of people with a stoneage mentality and turn them into a military force in a short period of ' time. We have learned this from experience. For example, we have been in South Korea, training its armed forces, for more than fifty years and they are still not even close to our standards of fighting. We knew this but weren't honest about it, and now everyone is paying for it.
Given all this, it's no surprise that we've failed miserably when it comes to disbanding and gaining control of the militias. Afghanistan has 65,000 to 80,000 militia members roaming around. This makes any of our efforts to venture into more and more of the country too dangerous. The reality is that the country is slipping out of our control.
Even though we need right-now-on-the-ground-happening intelligence, we're sending in CIA personnel on ninety-day tours, and our State Department guys are assigned there for no more than six months. In ninety days, some people in the CIA can't even locate their position on a map, never mind build relationships with the people in that country. In six months, State Department employees barely have time to unpack their paper clips before it is time to come home.
We need a change in assignment policy. CIA and State Department personnel should be assigned to these places for a minimum of one year-just like in the military. When all the government agencies that are designed to fight this war are not on the same.
A few years ago the North Koreans perfected the counterfeiting of U.S. currency to the point that the U.S. Treasury Department could not discern the forgeries. North Korea uses this phony-money capability to buy things and undermine governments. Oh, don't forget that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that "Israel must be wiped off the map." The range of the missiles Iran bought from North Korea is 3,500 kilometers-that gets them to Israel, and parts of Western Europe too.
Five years into an undeclared War on Terror and we have not increased the size of the military and only recently started to talk about beefing up our overall strength. Any questions? These guys are not serious-not in the way of winning serious, not in a way anyone who wants to fight terrorism recognizes.
If how poorly prepared we are for the War on Terror scares you-and it should-then the war in Iraq should really make your hair stand on end. We have gone from a great victory in Iraq, in which we lost fewer than 160 of our great soldiers and marines, to an insurgency and then to a civil war in which we have had more than 23,000 men and women killed or wounded. What the hell happened? We attacked and kicked Saddam Hussein's ass because he supposedly had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), was building nuclear weapons, and had barrels of chemical agents. We saw satellite pictures of trucks running around the desert with nasty stuff inside-except when we went in and looked for them, we found nothing. For two years, 1,500 experts ran around trying to find anything that even remotely looked, smelled, or tasted like a nuke, chemical weapon, or biological agent. At the end of this mad search, we were told the stuff ain't there-they don't know if it was ever there, and even if it was there, they have no idea where or when it went elsewhere.
I would have backed the war in Iraq if our government had said it was about influence in the Middle East, putting bases near Iran and Syria, and stopping Saddam from training terrorists at the secret Salman Pak facility. As the CIA and FBI have confirmed, this facility was a training facility.
In a great book, Cobra II, Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor show us that Rumsfeld controlled almost every aspect of the deployment to Iraq. He was in charge. He made the decisions. The buck stopped with him. Rumsfeld was presented with a workable plan, but he told the generals to tear it up and make one designed for a smaller force. He then rejected every other plan that was presented to him until the troop numbers were what he, and not the generals, wanted.
PowerPoint slides and protect their own asses. General John Abizaid, the MFFC (main motherfucker in charge), has two days of actual fighting in Grenada. General George Casey, the head guy in Iraq, has ... hold on, let me count them ... zero days in combat.
It took less than three weeks for our soldiers to get to Baghdad. Many of my great friends, soldiers with whom I served, were among the first into Iraq and Baghdad, and they have told me over and over that there was no plan for the peace. I have heard this from guys at all different levels and in all different services: generals, colonels, captains, sergeants, Navy SEALs, Special Forces soldiers, you name it. To a man, they say they weren't given a scintilla of guidance on what to do once they won the war. They never had any doubt that we would win, but none of them was told what to do the morning after.
Garner, a retired three-star Army general, was given the job to fix Iraq-specifically, as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). But he was given no money, no staff, and no power. He began reconstruction efforts in March 2003 with plans to hold Iraqi elections within ninety days and to quickly pull U.S. troops out of the cities to a desert base. Garner should have known better than to take this or any job under those circumstances. The guy in charge must have control over the money and have tasking authority. Garner had neither; he also lacked the guts to tell Rumsfeld to stick it. Garner's can-do spirit and ego got in the way, and it had the predictable result-failure. He was replaced by L. Paul Bremer on May 11, 2003.
Therefore, dismantling the Iraqi army and police was the number one dumb idea in a war that has seen a legion of dumb ideas. Some military Iraqi units had disappeared, but some had not. Some cops had run away, some had not. The looting did not help, but we had planned to deal with it by using the Iraq police and military until Bremer showed up, panicked, and signed a piece of paper dismissing them all. This yielded the predictable result-chaos.
Recently, at a graduation ceremony for the Iraqi military, the newly commissioned soldiers were told that they would be sent to Fallujah and not
their hometown. The soldiers responded by resigning and stripping off their uniforms right there on the parade grounds. Two steps forward, how many back?
We need to announce to the world that we are withdrawing in six months and leaving 50,000 troops in three bases. Divide Iraq into thirds and let the Shia keep one section, the Sunnis take another, and the Kurds keep the north. Will giving the Kurds territory piss off the Turks? You bet-but they deserve it for not allowing us to use the northern approach from Turkey during the initial invasion in March 2003, and also for their persecution of the Kurds for decades. Put a U.S. military base in each third to continue influencing and watching Iraq, Syria, and Iran. This will help us finish the job we started-that is, to achieve a stable and secure Iraq. We should ensure that there is power sharing within a centrally located Iraqi government and that oil revenues are shared.
Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein revealed the plan after interviewing top al-Qaeda lieutenants for his 2005 book Al-Zargawi: Al-Qaeda's Second Generation. The terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is now dead, of course, but make no mistake, the grand plan remains in place.
Here's how these seven phases roll out:
Phase 1, "The awakening": The terrorists use attacks like 9/11 to provoke the United States into declaring war on the Islamic world, which will mobilize Islamic radicals, getting them to rally around al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda considers this phase complete.
Phase 2, "Opening eyes": During this period, which Hussein said would last until the end of 2006, the terrorists continue to form their secret battalions and show Muslims how to wage war on the "infidels" and the "Western conspiracy."
Phase 3, "Arising and standing up": This phase, which should last until 2010, will bring increasingly frequent attacks against secular Turkey and archenemy Israel. The aroused Muslims will go to war against the infidels, and the devastation that Israel will face will force world leaders to negotiate with al-Qaeda.
Phase 4, "The downfall": This period will last until 2013 and will see the fall of hated Arab regimes, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Oil suppliers will be attacked and the U.S. economy will be targeted with cyberterrorism. Al-Qaeda will control the Persian Gulf, the oil, and most of the Middle East, giving them enough power and resources to attack the U.S. economy and military forces.
Phase 5, "The caliphate": Sometime between 2013 and 2016, al-Qaeda will establish the caliphate-that is, one government for all Muslim nations. All Western influences will be eliminated from the Muslim world. The caliphate will organize an army for the next phase.
Phase 6, "Total world conquest": Beginning in 2016, the Islamic army will begin the "fight between the believers and the nonbelievers" that Osama bin Laden has predicted. By 2022, the rest of the world will be conquered by the mighty and unstoppable armies of Islam.
Phase 7, "Definitive victory": By 2025, the army of "one and a half billion Muslims" will have proven their superiority. All the world's inhabitants will
be forced to convert to Islam or be ruled by the caliphate as second-class citizens.
The first thing we need to do is modify our vehicles to resist the effects of EFPs-something we could do if the private sector threw money at the problem. But we could also deal with the source of the problem, Iran. We have tools in our political arsenal that could deal with Iran, at least at this level of weaponry.
Our police, fire, and National Guard can't talk to each other. Hell, they can't talk to themselves on any single emergency frequency. This is after five years of spouting about how "we are safer."
Care to guess who has come up with a fix? It's none other than a Democrat, a senator from Delaware named Joe Biden. The fix is rather complicated, but simply put, it would require an expansion of the channels designated for public safety. By converting the analog signals to digital, we'd make many more channels available and would secure certain channels for the exclusive use of the responders. In other words, they would be able to talk to one another and messages would get through. Also, the signal quality would be significantly improved. Biden proposed this as early as 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The 9/11 Commission also urged Congress to take steps to ensure greater communication capacity. So let's get it done. For crying out loud, what are we paying Homeland Security for? I don't care who fixes this stuff or how much it costs as long as it gets fixed, and gets fixed now.
We can also install sensors inside containers in order to track their movements. General Electric has developed a sensor called CommerceGuard that can be mounted inside a cargo container and can tell government officers if a container is opened at any time en route from factory to stores. This provides protection during the most vulnerable leg of any container's journey: the trip from the factory abroad to a foreign port. We can do lots of things. All of it takes money and a change in attitude-that is, being serious about our national security. We need
to get serious.
Nearly 8 million containers come through our ports each year; of those, only about 6 percent are inspected closely. This leaves us incredibly vulnerable. Not a single, solitary open-water or river port in the United States of America is adequately secured. None! Sea and river ports are difficult but not impossible to secure. Ports cover large open areas and provide many varied ways of entering-the water on which they are based, the land next to the water, and the vast road networks needed to support the port facility. It is a lot of area to cover.
Want to get some idea of how bad this can get and just how vulnerable we are? Let's look at the Port of Tampa. No one expects Florida to be hit. We tend to think that the terrorists are stupid and that they will try to hit D.C. or New York again. But Tampa has a population of 320,000. Tampa is a tourist hub. It is also Florida's busiest port in terms of raw tonnage of cargo. Half of Florida's cargoes
include hazardous materials such as anhydrous ammonia, liquid petroleum, gas, and sulfur. Tampa has a nuclear power facility. Tampa is also home to Central Command (CENTCOM) and MacDill Air Force Base, where the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and any other place in the Middle East that might have to be conquered or disturbed, are headquartered. Any serious attack on the Port of Tampa will cost us billions in commerce and kill untold numbers of people.
Since the beginning of the Iraq war more than 18,000 U.S. troops have required medical air transport out of Iraq due to disease.' The Army doesn't know what diseases we're talking about or why the number is so high. Might be nice to know, don't you think?
By 2006, more than 850 soldiers in Iraq had been diagnosed with a parasitic skin disease.
Toward the end of World War II, we got lazy and stupid. It seems we lost our way, and it is reflected in the other battles we have had to fight: Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the failed Iranian hostage rescue. Somewhere along the way, between technological advances and arrogance, we started to believe we could do war without casualties. The officers of the corps lost its sense of purpose by taking on the roles of briefers, writers, and career men; they were no longer soldiers. They did not appear to care about their men, only about themselves and their futures. These are the people in charge today.
We can't win the War on Terror with this current crop; nor can we win with the
current way of thinking and doing things.
A sterling example of a commendable leader is Colonel, David Hackworth. He was given eight Purple Hearts, ten Silver Stars, and two Distinguished Service Crosses. Colonel Hackworth earned each honor he was granted. He had all the values of a true leader, the same ones he wrote about in his book Steel My Soldiers' Hearts. The values are courage, perseverance, communication skills, and teamwork. Hackworth had a feel for battle; he loved his men. He was innovative, selfless, and an amazingly brave soldier and leader.
Losers. Want a name? How about this one: General Tommy Franks. Franks' job was to face, chase, and kill the enemy. A good leader does this because that is what he has trained his troops to do; he knows his men, and he knows that doing his job involves putting them at risk. You tell them that, and you go with them when and wherever you can. But Franks did not have the courage to put his men at risk to get Osama bin Laden; he refused to send 900 Rangers in to capture the terrorist. He didn't want his easy victory in Afghanistan to be tarnished by
disaster or the loss of life.
The Pentagon undercut the Army to make their point. They leaked in, formation on Shinseki, they ridiculed his numbers (which, by the way, the Army staff had produced), and then they announced his successor fifteen months before Shinseki was set to retire, which of course made him a lame duck.
Army Secretary Thomas White was fired in April 2003 after ex pressing his agreement with Shinseki's assessment of the needed troop levels in Iraq. According to USA Today, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "was furious with White when the Army Secretary agreed with Shinseki." In an interview after leaving the Pentagon, White said that senior Defense officials "are unwilling to come to grips" with the scale of the postwar U.S. obligation in Iraq, adding, "It's almost a question of people not wanting to 'fess up' to the notion that we will be there a long time and they might have to set up a rotation and sustain it for the long term."
McMaster knows too that part of being a leader is being up front with the troops and witnessing firsthand the reality of the situation on the ground. While on active duty, he wrote the definitive piece of criticism on the Vietnam War, Dereliction o f Duty.
There were provisions that already existed within the law for these kinds of situations. There was a super-secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The FISA court was available to the government-at any time-to go over the evidence to determine whether there was probable cause to eavesdrop. If you thought there were not enough judges available to do the work in a timely fashion, you thought wrong. The number of FISA court judges was increased from seven to eleven in 2001 upon the passage of the Patriot Act, and no fewer than three must reside within twenty miles of the District of Columbia. I am betting you think doing a wiretap or bugging someone does not happen fast
enough. Well, that's not true. It takes hours and sometimes days to do it right; it must be checked and rechecked. So the good guys have plenty of time to get the FISA court's approval. Plenty of time.
The FISA court also had a pretty good track record as far as this stuff was concerned. Hell, when compared to other government institutions or programs like the Department of Homeland Security, it attains superstar status. According to statistics compiled from the Department of Justice, the FISA court did not reject a single warrant application from its beginning in 1979 through 2002. In 2003 it rejected only four applications. Count them, one, two, three, four. Four, quatro.
That's A few years ago, the Pentagon actually got it right and founded a secret unit called Able Danger. This unit brought together the best military operators, intelligence officers, technicians, and planners from the Special Operations Command, the Army, and the Defense Intelligence Agency to focus on al-Qaeda. Their goal was to discover information about al-Qaeda and then use that information to prepare intelligence and military operations designed to detect, monitor, and-when the timing was right-destroy al-Qaeda.
The guys who found this info said, "Hey, we need to tell the FBI and have these guys picked up." The Pentagon lawyers said, "No!" Then they ordered the information destroyed. Why? Well, because of the big wall that separated foreign intelligence gathering from domestic intel gathering. And because these agencies didn't like to share.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh has told us that the Bureau could have prevented 9/11 if it had been given this information. We had information
that could have saved 3,000 lives, and not only did we not act on it, we destroyed it. Lost to us now are the profiles and methodologies used to identify Atta. They are all gone. Why? Petty bureaucratic turf wars and the lack of interagency cooperation and coordination created this mess.
Provisions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. This act allows us to deport foreign-born individuals without charge or trial. You preach violence, you leave. You advocate killing us in the public square, you go home. You associate with terrorists, you can leave; in fact, we will help you leave on a slow tramp steamer with lots of work to do on the voyage home. Things have changed. The terrorists are on our soil. We have to protect ourselves. Will the courts here uphold these policies? We'll see, but so far, so good.
The government has responded to the Hamdi decision by passing, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which sets up a system of military trials for suspected terrorists. Of course, we aren't sure how this will work in practice, or even if the courts will rule that it's constitutional. It'll probably take years before we know any of this. The bottom line is that we're still not dealing with the issue.
An estimated 50 percent of all' combat injuries are blast injuries resulting in traumatic brain injury; that's a 30 percent increase in traumatic brain injury from other wars. So could we get our guys better helmets to protect them against such blasts? You bet. But they're probably hard to find and ridiculously expensive, right? Uh, guess again. According to Operation Helmet, the necessary
shock-absorbing helmet pads are commercially available. And they cost under $100!
The speech followed weeks of the political equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The entire team leading or rather, not leading, in Iraq has been canned, reshuffled, moved around, fired, lessened, or made to retire. From the political leadership in Iraq, with the change of Ambassador Kalaziaid, to the head military guy in Iraq, General Casey, to General Abazaid, the CENTCOM boss, to Mr. Negroponte, the first and so far the worst National Intelligence Director, all have been changed.
None of this will help. Success in Iraq, which I continue to hope for but increasingly see as lost, rests with a political and economic success, as it
has for the past three years. Changing a few generals and an ambassador without drastic policy changes will not work. My bottom line is no more soldiers should die in Iraq. No more soldiers should lose their body parts for a country and a people that will not stand up for themselves. On a recent visit to Iraq, I was once again shown how great our servicemen and women are, how brave, how dedicated, and how they have given enough. Our great military did their job. Now, it is beyond time for our politicians to do the same.
THE THREATS-AND HOW WE'RE FIGHTING THEM
Improvised Explosively Formed Projectile deployed in Iraq. The weapon is filled with high explosives and an inwardly dished steel or copper plate is fitted to the front of the canon. It is this plate that is formed into the projectile when hit by the detonating wave from the explosive.
The number of aliens other than Mexican ("OTMs") illegally crossing the border has grown at an alarming rate over the past several years. Based on U.S. Border Patrol statistics there were 30,147 OTMs apprehended in FY2003, 44,614 in FY2004, 165,178 in FY2005, and 108,025 in FY2006. Most of them were apprehended along the U.S. Southwest border.”
The Salman Pak camp was no secret. Indeed, it was established in the 1980s with direct assistance from Britain's MI6. Special Forces were dispatched there to help train Iraqis in counter-terrorism operations. DIA, CIA and FBI all conclude that the camp was for counter-terrorism training. INC defectors who claimed otherwise have been thoroughly discredited.