Tag archives: war on terror

Applying the Gary Hart PrincipleTo Pakistan

by Robert Morrison

May 16, 2011

In order to avoid become a cynic in my old age, I try to apply what I call the Gary Hart Principle to public statements of public figures. That principle is this: Lets suppose they are telling the truth.

The principle derives from Sen. Gary Harts experience back in 1987. He was running for president, youll recall, and he dared the reporters to tail him if they doubted his fidelity to his marital vows. They did. Uh-oh. Soon, poor Hart was seen coming out of his Capitol Hill townhouse in the presence of a fetching young lady not his wife.

Not to worry, said the embarrassed senator. He had been up all night discussing U.S.-Soviet relations with this bright young college student. In those days, before Bill Clinton, actually getting caught in such circumstances was not considered job-enhancing.

OK. Lets assume Gary Hart was telling the truth. Here was a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee who had access to Top Secret U.S. intelligence material. By his own account, he spends the night discussing our relations with the USSR with a young lady he had met some 48 hours earlier.

Had anyone done a background check on this eager foreign affairs major? Had anyone thought to caution the senator about the need to be somewhat circumspect about discussing sensitive national security matters with someone youd just met?

Just before his campaign collapsed, Sen. Hart appeared before the hungry pack of jumping journalists. Whew, he said. After what Ive been through in the past week,

Ill look forward to negotiating with Gorbachev.

Gary Hart never got that opportunity, thank God. But I wondered from that day to this: What makes you think you havent already been negotiating with the Communists?

Supplying compliant western politicians with female companionship is one of the oldest ploys in their bag of tricks. Succumbing to the charms of warm friends in the Cold War even sent West German Chancellor Willy Brandt packing, Nobel Peace Prize and all.

There are some things even Socialists cant swallow.

Back to Pakistan. Suppose they are telling us the truth. Suppose they are not, as one American cartoonist waspishly put it, Stab-you-in-the-Back-istan. Suppose they did not harbor Osama bin Laden for the past six years.

Lets suppose that Pakistans version of West Point could march and drill happily while the most wanted terrorist in the world was building a two-story compound just a few hundred yards from the main gate. And lets suppose further that the famous ISIPakistans intelligence servicehad no idea that bin Laden was so happily ensconced.

If they really had no idea bin Laden was in the neighborhood, how valuable an ally in the war on terror would that make Pakistan? Does anyone think such a trusted ally with such priceless intelligence to give us would be worth, say, $20 billion over a decade? Does anyone seriously think President Obama should have alerted the Pakistanis that we had located Osama bin Laden?

I remember a day in New York City in the fall of 1974. I was desperate to find a full-time job and feeling rather low as I stood on a Manhattan street corner. A huge black limo came careening around the corner. I recognized the occupants from their photos in the New York Times. They were Zulfiqar ali Bhutto, then the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Sitting next to him was his attractive young daughter, Benazir. They made eye contact with me and waved. Surprised, I waved back. The senior Bhutto was on his way to address the UN.

Soon, however, he would be hanged back home by the Pakistani general who had ousted him in a coup. And his daughter would go on to become Prime Minister herself, get overthrown, and then be blown up as she campaigned for a second term as Pakistans civilian leader. The coup leader, Muhammad Zia-ul-Huq, went on to be killed a decade later in a suspicious plane crash in the Punjab that claimed his life, those of several of his top generals, and that of the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

Thats pretty much what passes for government in Pakistan. If you are Pakistans leader, you are lucky if you only get overthrown and not murdered. It reminds me that even the young and unemployed in America have better prospects for a peaceful and prosperous life in this Great Republic than the richest and most and powerful in that failed country. And it reminds me why we cannot rely on anything being said by the Pakistani leadership. Even if they are telling us the truth, they cannot commit themselves or their government to anything.

Obama and Jack Bauers War

by Chris Gacek

January 21, 2010

I follow national security news stories pretty closely, but I have to admit to being shocked by Human Events magazines publication of an excerpt from a new book. It is Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack, by Marc Thiessen. Thiessen was a top speechwriter for President George W. Bush. For that reason he had access to very highly classified national security documents and information.

One excerpt about information gathered from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) is astounding, mind-boggling:

[KSMs] resistance is described by one senior American official as superhuman. Eventually, however, the techniques work….

He begins telling his CIA de-briefers about active al Qaeda plots to launch attacks against the United States and other Western targets He holds classes for CIA officials, using a chalkboard to draw a picture of al Qaedas operating structure, financing, communications, and logistics. He identifies al Qaeda travel routes and safe havens, and helps intelligence officers make sense of documents and computer records seized in terrorist raids. He identifies voices in intercepted telephone calls, and helps officials understand the meaning of coded terrorist communications. He provides information that helps our intelligence community capture other high-ranking terrorists,

KSMs questioning, and that of other captured terrorists, produces more than 6,000 intelligence reports, which are shared across the intelligence community, as well as with our allies across the world.

Perhaps Ive been under a rock, but I never heard these details before. I assume they are correct.

Some of the KSM information appears to have foiled an August 2006 plot to destroy seven airliners flying across the Atlantic from London-Heathrow in a revised version of KSMs failed 1994-1995 Bojinka operation.

Top CIA officials are clear that the enhanced interrogation methods in the Bush counter-terrorism program were essential to obtaining extremely valuable, life-saving information. According to Thiessen, Obama shut the program down within 48 hours of assuming office when he signed Executive Order 13491. That order allowed only interrogation techniques permitted in the U.S. Army Field Manual 2 22.3. The manual does not permit water boarding, for example.

The Left and President Obama have completely misread the desires of the American people on this matter. I put it this way: Jack Bauer Yes; Nation Building No. That is, the American people want to fight the jihadists in any manner necessary to kill and defeat them anywhere in the world. They have never waivered on this principle, and that includes keeping Guantanamo prison open in Cuba. It also means keeping it filled. That said, the American people have never been keen on protracted wars of attrition, counter-insurgency, and/or nation-building see, Iraq and Afghanistan.

To be fair, President Obama may have been fooled by John McCains idiosyncratic positions on interrogations and Gitmo. I mean idiosyncratic for a Republican. Inside the GOP there are very few people who agree with McCain on either position.

That said, the Obama Administration clearly does not understand how Americans feel about Jack Bauers War. Consequently, its behavior after capturing the underwear bomber left bare a policy which Americans deem to be ill-advised and dangerous. Instead of treating Flight 253s Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant, Obama/Holder have decided to try him in federal courts. After singing for a mere six hours, Abdulmutallab was given a lawyer and has stopped talking. Now hes negotiating with prosecutors.

Look above at Thiessens quote and think about the information that would have been lost had KSM only talked to us for six hours. Seven planes lost over the Atlantic? Thats a pretty high price to pay for adherence to glib liberalism.

This is a public opinion cancer that will not go away for the administration. The KSM trial in New York City may decimate the Democrat Party in that State, and it will go on for months and years. Now there will be a trial in Detroit for Abdulmutallab. And, heaven forbid, that an actual attack on the United States or Americans overseas succeeds. Obama would be finished instantaneously. Every Gitmo prisoner brought to the United States will constitute a new crisis.

Therefore, it is completely unsurprising that Scott Brown, the senator-elect from Massachusetts, was able to pound Martha Coakley on this point. Brown is a USAF reserve JAG officer who was able to hammer away at the Dems soft position on terrorism. This he succeeded in doing even in ultra-liberal Massachusetts.

In sum, while we are correct in focusing on the health care legislation as the core political issue at present. I would argue that the Obama Administrations foreign policy and national security strategy are hurting it and doing so at an increasing rate of damage with the passage of time.