Monday, June 28, 2010

Petraeus Needs a Winning Strategy, Resources

The debate over whether General Stanley McChrystal should have been relieved of his command over the comment revealed in a recent Rolling Stone Magazine by him or his aides will go on forever - however, there should be no debate that General David Petraeus is the right man to replace him. Patraeus' record speaks for itself and his military genius was demonstrated in northern Iraq in 2003 and then again in his strategy and success with the surge in Iraq in 2007. Petraeus' new command will come with terrain and operational challenges quite different from Iraq, however none of which he should not be able to overcome given the right resources to do the job. This is where he could run into a problem as his success strongly depends on his support by the President and this administration. Incompetent commanders, a lack of resources, untrained troops and a failed strategy, either combined or separate and apart, could result in a failure in battle. That being said, the President has now placed our best war fighter in command with what I believe is the best trained military in the world today. Now it's only a matter of strategy and resources. Last December the President said that, "after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home," when discussing the Afghan initiative. Petraeus, as politely as he could, disagreed with the Commander-in-Chief, saying that counterinsurgency is a "roller coaster experience," and does not lend itself to a strict timeline. Petraeus knows that the terrorists and Taliban will sit and wait us out and a timeline would embolden our enemies to change their overall strategies and sit tight until we're long gone. When Generals McChrystal and Petraeus put the Afghan initiative together, McChrystal asked for 40,000 additional combat troops to support his operation. The President on the advice of others on Capital Hill refused McChrystal's request and gave him far less than what he asked for. Why? Who knows better than the commanders on the ground as to what is needed for the mission? If the President has a real desire to win the Afghan offensive, he needs to allow General Petraeus to design the strategy and he must give him whatever he says he needs to carry out the mission. If the President refuses to do so, it will be his loss, but moreover a greater loss for the security of this country... one that we cannot afford. We have a proven winner in General Petraeus and we have the best troops money can buy. Now let's create a strategy that will win and give Petraeus what he needs to get it done. We must support Petraeus 100 % or we will be jeopardizing the lives of our brave men and women in harms way and that just cannot be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Terror Threat Should Have Prevented Disaster

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, Osama Bin Laden proudly announced that the damage they expected as a result of their attacks was far less than actually occurred. He continued to call for "spectacular" attacks against the United States both here and abroad. Since then, I along with several others had predicted that some of our greatest threats would eventually come from within, from home grown and naturalized citizens who were radicalized and hated this country. It is realistically our deadliest and most dangerous threat as these people are like chameleons amongst us. The most recent arrests of Mohammed Mohmood Allessa - 20, and Carlos Amonta - 24, both of New Jersey, is an example of just that threat. Two young men, radical Islamic fundelmentalists, living in suburban communities, was intent on joining Al Shabab, a radical extremist group believed to be connected with the bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania is the mid 90s. According to reports, Allessa and Amonta were dead set on killing American troops. Both men were arrested as they were about to leave the U.S., on their way to Egypt and it is questionable as to what they would have, or could have realistically accomplished. Over the past several years, New York City alone, has been the target of at least 11 terror plots, the most recent being the attempted Time Square bombing. It should be clear to a blind man, that the threats still exits and continue to grow daily, but how long will it be before these maniacs succeed in an attack, or the radical leadership regroups and establishs a chatistrhophic plan with point men that have an IQ over 10. I strongly believe that that time is coming and the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico is a clear demonstration of the amount of damage they could cause with just one such event. What if there were two? To date, close to $1 billion dollars has been spent cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico according to sources, and that is just the beginning. The economic damage to the fishing and tourism industries is far worse and will last for years to come. It's hard for me to believe that Bin Laden and his barbarians aren't sitting back watching this in humor, plotting... based on what appears to be, by all accounts a disaterous response. What's frightening is that according to a source in the Washington Post who spoke on the condition of anonymity, "Nobody as ever done what we're trying to do." So, here lies my question; WHY NOT? Knowing Bin Laden and Al Qaeda's threats in the past and their track record on 9/11, why hasn't the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security anticipated something of this magnitude? Why haven't they planned, prepared and practiced for events like this and those that could be equally chatistrophic, anticipating that our new found enemy would love nothing more than to call this, their doing? What about our power plants, water resavoirs, mass transit systems, airline control systems and national power grids? What about our ports and shipping industry and cruise lines? A dozen strikes against these types of soft target at the same time on the same day could be spectacular, in the words of Bin Laden. For now, it is outrageous that BP has failed to get this leak under control, but the government's failure to step in and get the job done, is even more concerning. President Obama should find that person that admitted they had never done this before and then have them flogged. Then he should be asking the the rest of his administration: Why aren't we prepared?