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If I Were Secretary of State

In Foreign Policy, Front Page, Military by Allen WestLeave a Comment

I spent two-and-a-half years in Afghanistan as an adviser/mentor to the Afghanistan National Army. I shall never forget the unilateral declaration of Barack Obama that “combat operations had ceased” in that war-torn, troubled nation. Combat operations only cease when you either win, or you lose. No competent leader would just say we aren’t playing any more, and leave your enemy on the battlefield. And, yes, the Taliban, ISIS, Haqqani Network, and any Islamic jihadist group are our enemies. We should be focused on defeating them wherever they seek to establish a sanctuary — regardless of borders — since they do not regard national borders. If we cannot have trustworthy allies that will find, engage, destroy, and pursue this enemy within their borders, the resulting deduction is that we shall, and must.

Furthermore, we must not forget, we have men and women in harm’s way in Afghanistan, and they are not there to pick flowers. We must support our deployed Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who are there, and have been there for going on 17 years. It is time to cut bait, or kick ass . . . and here is just another reason why.

As reported by NBC News:

“The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, escaped injury during a Taliban-claimed gun attack Thursday, but three Americans were wounded. The police chief of the southern province of Kandahar, Gen. Abdul Raziq, was killed. A senior official said Raziq was shot in the back by one of the Kandahar governor’s own elite guards following a high-level security meeting at the governor’s compound. Col. Knut Peters, a Resolute Support spokesman, said the shooter was reportedly dead. “There was a situation at the Kandahar palace today,” he said. “Initial reports indicate this was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident.” Peters added: “Gen. Miller is uninjured. We are being told the area is secure. Initial reports also say the attacker is dead. We don’t have any more details at this time.” While Kandahar Governor Zalmai Wesa was initially reported to have been killed in the attack, later officials clarified he was wounded and undergoing an operation. Afghan lawmaker Khalid Pashton said the regional intelligence chief, Momin Khan, was also killed. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for attack, telling NBC News that Gen. Miller had been one of the intended targets. “Actually we planned this attack to kill U.S. military commander and his team members,” he said.”

My first point of disbelief is how did the Taliban spokesperson communicate with NBC News? I mean seriously, NBC News is chatting up the enemy, who admittedly just attempted to assassinate our Commanding General in Afghanistan? I am sorry, but this is not about journalistic freedom, this is about the lives, safety, and security of our men and women on the ground. Did NBC News pass on any intelligence to our forces, or just say thanks to the Taliban spokesperson, and write a story? I mean, could you imagine an American news agency chatting it up with Tokyo Jane, or with Joseph Goebbels during World War II?

But, the even bigger issue, and quite disconcerting, is how the Taliban has been so effective in infiltrating security forces at the highest levels? If the elite guards of the Kandahar provincial governor can be compromised, who else has been breached? How do we provide security at the lowest levels for our men and women on the ground there? We have to ask ourselves some very serious questions about Afghanistan, especially after 17 years, in my humble assessment, that is 13 years way too long.

We have been reticent and recalcitrant in firmly identifying the enemy and going on, what we in the military, call search and destroy missions. We got too bogged down in building infrastructure, schools, and governance in a country that is run at the local level by tribal elders. We cannot make Afghanistan into some Jeffersonian democracy when they still violate the most basic of human rights, and dignities. We cannot pacify and create a stable environment in Afghanistan until we seal off the infiltration of the enemy, militant Islamic jihadists, namely the Taliban. The fact that the Taliban spokesperson can just pick up a phone and have an interview with a major American news network . . . well, that’s FUBAR.

It is time we stop goofing off with these nations that are the antithesis of who we are, and what we stand for. Sorry, Pakistan is not our ally. Just as we are now facing a real moral dilemma with Saudi Arabia, and the Jamal Khashoggi incident.

If I were the US Secretary of State, my position would be simple. ‘Splain me Lucy, how the heck does Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi with a United States green card, legal resident, and journalist working for the Washington Post, walk into the Saudi consulate in Turkey . . . but never walk out? Is he still alive? It appears not. So, how did he lose his life in your consulate? Who was responsible, who ordered this, and no, you cannot investigate this yourself. This needs to be turned over to Interpol, or some other trusted, viable, outside investigative agency . . . and not the Turks.

No, I have not, and never will be, a fan of the Saudis, and, yes, it has lots to do with 9-11 . . . among other things, like funding Islamic jihadism, and fundamentalism worldwide.

Yes, it is time to get tough. It is time to stop sending American taxpayer dollars, via foreign aid, to those who support our enemies. No, I do not want any further aid, and military equipment, sent to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. It is time we, along with civilized nations, isolate these violators of the most basic of human rights. It is time we take a fight to the enemy, and stop trying to fight against them while ceding over the initiative, and advantage, to them, fully knowing where their sanctuaries, and bases of operation reside.

We can no longer operate under a specter of fear, worrying about what markets will do. Either we have fundamental principles, and values, which will not be subjugated for relations with abhorrent global actors. The defense industry can find others to whom they we can sell military technologies — Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic States come to mind.

Yes, combat operations are ongoing in Afghanistan. We nearly lost a Four Star General. It is time we definitively say enough, or, we can continue to play the insidious game of half-measures, and this drags on forever . . .

[My latest book, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and retailers nationwide!]

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