The LuLac Edition #3175, March 26th, 2016
To my friends here that support Trump: do you even know what is plan “to make America great again” is?
Because he doesn’t have one.
He is not hated by the establishment, he is the establishment. He is friends with all the bankers and politicians. He went bankrupt 4 times and got bailed out by those bankers. With OUR money. He is friends with the Clinton's, gave them money for their campaigns and were even invited to his weddings.
He will make sure his billionaire and banker friends will get even more tax cuts while they make billions and again, you get NOTHING. He is not a “master negotiator”, he lets other people make decisions around him and then blame them when it goes sour.
Have you even looked at Sanders plan? It makes me laugh when I see the “Sanders supporters want free stuff!” What free stuff? I work my 40+ hours a week and I support him because I believe that we deserve paid sick days, cheap college education, and a one payer health care system and fix our broken infrastructures. And he wants the cheating, lying billionaires like Trump who PAY LESS TAXES THAN YOU OR ME to pay for their fair share of the bill!
This country is going to shits; he’s the only honest one that has a real plan, a plan for the working people, and you would rather support a lying trust fund baby that never had to work a real day in his life? Stop gobbling what the TV tells you and do your own research.
A few days later, the CNO took the single power point slide I gave him to the “tank,” where the Joint Chiefs of Staff were meeting with then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. My slide cautioned that this new war with terror would last “at least a decade.”
My assignment took me to Afghanistan early in the conflict. There for a brief mission, I met up with SEALS late at night, watched detainees brought in….and learned that the illiteracy rate of women in Afghanistan was 98%.
I then commanded a carrier battle group for the air strikes into the country – and later Iraq. As General Powell said of Iraq, “if you break it, you own it.” And we broke it.
Today, I often reflect upon my time at the National Security Council at the White House overseeing the Clinton’s Administration’s annual update of our nation’s National Security Strategy of Engagement, laying out how to secure America’s peace and prosperity, protect our interests abroad and at home, and grow our values – without entanglement.
This week’s horrific terror strike in Brussels, Belgium, highlighted once again that this war on terror is on a timeline far beyond what I even imagined when I wrote the original time frame for our military leaders.
But, if followed with greater adherence, the national security principles of what we must do to defeat the threat of international terrorism – including ISIS – remain resilient to win the war as well as to secure an enduring peace.
First, in a global war, no nation stands alone. I saw this firsthand after 9/11, when I commanded a battle group in the Persian Gulf. I had 30 ships to carry out our mission – but only 10 of them were American ships. We were a coalition, and success was defined by our ability to work seamlessly with foreign militaries. It’s how we won the Cold War, with over 60 defense arrangements with other nations, as well as U.S. leadership of international diplomatic and economic institutions.
This need is starkly apparent today. We must work more closely with our global allies to share intelligence, support police actions against terror suspects, run bombing raids, and conduct joint on-the-ground operations to capture and kill ISIS members in Syria and in homelands.
In an increasingly complex world, this requires occasionally working with those who are adversarial to us, such as Russia and Iran. Unscrupulous nations often liaise with unscrupulous elements. But when these adversarial nations are aligned against a common threat – ISIS – we need the intelligence on and from their elements, and their arms aimed at our shared enemy.
Second, and in conjunction, diplomacy matters. Look through the Wiki-leaks and see how resourceful in intelligence gathering, alliance building, spying, and advancing U.S. interests the State Department is. The downgrading of their manpower and resources has hindered our efforts at a time when information sharing is our most-needed asset.
Diplomacy isn’t meant to be a cup of tea. It is often intended to “hurt” if the diplomatic overture isn’t accepted (e.g., Iranian and Iraqi sanctions). Diplomacy is used to benefit another nation’s interest – if we gain by doing so.
So let President Assad remain in Syria (for now) if his supporters (Iran and Russia) then pivot to focus on the common enemy, ISIS. In return, we restrain the more moderate anti-Assad militias with Saudi and Jordanian support, corralling together other Arab nations, with disjointed “partners” from Iran and Russia, to Turkey and Iraq. Diplomacy must work even with the devil….just don’t sin.
Third, economics is the bedrock of power – ours and our adversaries’. It’s why China wants to dominate the South China Sea: to secure the undersea resources that it needs for economic power projection. And it’s why the ISIS caliphate must be denied the approximate $2 billion in annual revenue flow from oil field profits to taxes, ransom to theft.
Our airpower must more aggressively kick the legs out from under these economic support systems that fuel ISIS’ foreign policy (such as destroying oil fields and not just oil tankers) and cutting off internal funding by destroying the infrastructure that collects/extorts taxes from the population. Our Treasury and international banking institutions we lead need to close down the remaining money to choke ISIS to death.
Fourth, the new domain of warfare is cyberspace. We must dominate this new area of warfare as we do any other, so that we know what ISIS is thinking, trying and doing. With troubling questions about the competence of Belgium’s and other allies’ intelligence and law enforcement services, we must enhance our support for their efforts in order to protect ourselves.
The right metric of warfare today is knowledge gained by sensors, human intelligence and the network, and our capability to quickly turn this gained information into swift action. Measuring what it takes to win our conflicts requires leadership that shifts the procurement benchmark away from capacity in numbers of ships, brigades, air wings, and toward capability in acquiring knowledge.
But it also takes leadership to address a resolvable conflict between national security, civil rights and proprietary rights. Appropriate safeguards that also permit access to dangerous information that flows through the internet and into consumer phones must be established.
Whether it’s Apple’s proprietary rights or our citizens’ civil rights on the internet, resolution of the proper balance cannot be permitted to wait for the next crisis. Resolve them now … or our security may be breached before we do.
Finally, don’t just win the war, but secure the peace – or, as General Powell said, we will still “own” the aftermath of unresolved conflict in the Middle East.
Military strategists cautioned centuries ago that, in war, leaders must not “take the first step without considering the last.” U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS needs an explanation of how we want our military and diplomatic efforts to end.
For once the Caliphate ends, where do remaining ISIS forces lurk off to? Who fills the cracks left by the Caliphate’s breakage? How is Syria rebuilt after 9 million of its people have been displaced, 250,000 killed, and more maimed?
What of the replacement of basic services and infrastructure in the region, from homes to rudimentary sanitary and water services? What conflict do these open areas provide fertile ground for?
What is the ending we want with the demise of ISIS that precludes us from having to return?
Simply, although imperfect, it is a peace that provides us stability, which likely means Russia’s continued influence in Syria; Iran with its limited role in the outcome; Sunnis and Shias separated if they cannot peacefully co-exist; and the Kurds no more restive than a semi-autonomous state.
That is why the 98% illiteracy rate of Afghani women I learned about when on the ground at the beginning of the war struck me most: resolving that issue would do more to secure the peace than most else.
After all, while our military stopped the problem of a fascist Germany, it took the Marshall Plan of economic recovery to secure the peace by a democratic Germany with economic security.
As I reminisce on the time from the plane striking the Pentagon on 9/11 to today’s effort to stop ISIS – an outgrowth of Al-Qaida in Iraq that arose after our invasion of Iraq – I acknowledge that the fog of war means no strategy is perfect.
But today, the fog can be lifted by better utilization of the light that cyberspace can shine; the intelligence sharing that other nations and groups can provide; a diplomacy that binds others to our common interests; and a strategy that has as it’s ultimate objective not only winning, but securing the peace for our security and prosperity.
As John F. Kennedy said, “The hour is late, but the agenda is long,” and we must be persistent in this long fight, as well as persistent in adhering to the national security principles that can both win and secure the peace.”