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Will America be in perpetual war?

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Will America be in perpetual war

Sixteen years after the 9/11 terror attacks, and America has not “won” the War on Terror. In fact, for all the fighting, we’ve lost about as much as we’ve gained, depending on how you measure such things.

Terror attacks in foreign cities around the world are just as terrifying, if not more, than they were in 2001. ISIS and Al Queda are still active and planning attacks on America and the West. The Taliban is still strong in Afghanistan. Although many of the “Arab strongmen” have been deposed, they’ve been replaced with brutal theocrats.

There are now far less Christians in the Middle East than there were in 2001. It seems that our War on Terror, which was never a “war on Islam,” has suffered mostly at the hands of Islamic extremists, who ever free as ever to operate, openly, in most of Europe.

NATO, which, for the first and only time in its history, invoked Article 5 mutual defense on 9/11/2001 to protect the United States, is weaker than it’s ever been. The Russians, should they desire, could overrun the NATO member Baltic States in just 60 hours–something the former Soviet Union could never, ever contemplate doing to any NATO member in 1990.

The U.S. military is strong, possibly stronger on paper than it’s ever been. On paper. But fighting two wars over 16 years has taken its toll. Casualties, PTSD and drawdowns have cost the Army much of its professional NCO and officer core. The Navy is down to the bare minimum for experienced seamen and ship drivers, as evidenced by the recent spate of accidents they’ve had.

And the Air Force is making due with bombers (and some fighters) that are older than their aircrews. The problems that separate our military “on paper” from the actual facts in the field are tied to logistics, maintenance, duty cycles, and upgrades. While we fly all over the world, from land and sea, our enemies (and potential enemies) are sitting back and spending on new equipment without having to fight large wars.

In fact, many of our defense industry’s largest orders are not coming from the U.S. military, but from foreign military sales (like the enormous order by Saudi Arabia, the country that 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers, plus organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohamed called home).

When (if) we finally defeat our 9/11 enemies, there will be others waiting in the wings. Do we think the North Koreans and the Iranians, and the Russians, and the Chinese will simply let us go home and rest?

If America assumes a duty to purge the world of evildoers, then doubles down on that commitment for the sake of the lives spent to achieve victory, we will find ourselves in perpetual war.

There is no shortage of evil in the world. We will never purge all of it.

I believe that, after 16 years, we have avenged the lives of the 2,896 casualties on that day. We are now trying to avenge the nearly 7,000 deaths of U.S. personnel since October 2001. Yet the struggle continues with no end in sight, while new threats rise up to challenge the mightiest superpower the world has ever known.

Isn’t it time to consider whether America should be engaged in perpetual war, or should we more carefully choose the timing of our battles, and what struggles in which we will invest our blood and treasure?

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Foreign Affairs

Would the White House pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to form government with left-leaning parties?

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Would the White House pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to form government with left-leaning parties

On the surface, it may be difficult to imagine President Trump, a Republican, quietly pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government in a coalition with left-leaning parties should he win the April elections. But dig a little deeper and the thought becomes plausible. Why? Because it’s very likely his much-touted Middle East peace plan includes provisions for the Palestinians that conservatives in Israel may not allow.

A pair of articles out of Israel hint at this possibility:

My Take

It isn’t just those supporting such a move who are talking about it. New Right candidate Caroline Glick told the Jerusalem Post in an interview: “It’s mystifying that [Trump administration officials] think there’s a deal to be made when there so obviously isn’t one from the Palestinian perspective.”

Just as President Obama wanted to make his mark with the Iranian nuclear deal, so too would President Trump want to do what no world leader has been able to truly accomplish in history: a negotiated and firm peace in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be a crowning achievement if that was the only thing in his legacy. It would be truly historic.

Of course, most experts on Middle East affairs agree that there’s no chance for such a deal or a lasting peace without a two-state solution on the table, which is almost certainly what the Trump administration is going to push on Israel. The left in the Jewish state seem amicable to the idea, but conservatives are generally opposed. Doing so would weaken them militarily, forcing them to cover areas they currently control and bringing the potential for attacks against Israel nearly impossible to repel.

It’s the hope of any American leader to bring peace to the Middle East because it’s never been done before. Unfortunately, the path to peace is one that would eventually be covered with Israeli blood. That’s the nature of the hatred towards the Jews.

 


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Foreign Affairs

As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

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As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

The threat represented by Iran in the war-torn nation of Syria manifests in multiple ways. Other Middle Eastern nations are concerned that if Iran’s military is allowed to get entrenched in Syria, they will have too much direct access to the region in ways that threaten the peace. The United States and western allies are concerned that exerting control over the Syrian regime will turn them into a puppet state that will not solve the problems faced by the Syrian people.

Meanwhile, Israel faces the greatest threat as the nation that wants to wipe them off the map would be next door neighbors if they continue to fortify themselves in Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows this all too well and has not been shy about expressing these views to the world. In fact, he did it today in meetings with 60 world leaders and followed up by sharing his perspectives on Twitter.

Iran is not Israel’s problem alone. They are a problem for all freedom-loving countries in the region as well as powers throughout Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. Israel needs our support as well as the support of others who realize the threat Iran poses to us all.

 


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Guns and Crime

Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

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Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

What motivates people to defect from the United States to work with nations opposed to our way of life? We may never know what Monica Elfriede Witt was thinking when she defected to Iran in 2013, but one thing is certain. If the charges against her are true, her treachery may have put American lives in danger.

Though she defected in 2013, it’s unclear when her loyalty shifted away from the United States. She ended her official and contractor duties in 2010 after serving in a counterintelligence role since 1997, but it’s possible she was operating covertly even after that point. It’s conspicuous that a trip to Iran in 2012 was where she made contact for arrangements to move her to Iran permanently.

“The alleged actions of Monica Witt in assisting a hostile nation are a betrayal of our nation’s security, our military, and the American people,” said Special Agent Terry Phillips of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. “While violations like this are extremely rare, her actions as alleged are an affront to all who have served our great nation.”

My Take

This is thankfully quite rare in the United States today… or at least we hope. Perhaps it should concern us that we’re just now hearing about her even though she defected nearly six years ago. No, I don’t expect the intelligence community to reveal their leaks while in the middle of an investigation, but it still seems a bit too long in the modern era for charges to be filed after it seemed pretty clear she had access to sensitive data and her defection was made known when it happened.

There’s no way to prevent every single potential spy or defector from infiltrating our intelligence services or sharing information with our enemies. If someone wants in, they can go through the long process of participating, pretending to be loyal while hiding their true feelings. Then, there’s the risk of radicalization; those exposed to the enemy may grow sympathetic to them over time.

It may be very scary to think someone with access to sensitive information, including the identities of current operatives, could be working with the enemy. Thankfully, these cases seem to happen less frequently in America than in other nations.

 


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