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Michael Scheuer

US Thinking on Arming the Kurds: Complex, Intricate, Nuanced, or Just Plain Stupid?

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We are halfway through May, 2017, and it seems to be a month that again highlights the dearth of commonsense in the minds of most of those who are responsible for conducting the republic’s foreign and domestic affairs. On this score, one event merits special notice, namely, the arming of the Kurds.

This decision will eventually have such a widespread and disastrous impact on the Middle East region that the interventionist diplomats, media, generals, and academics who advised President Trump to arm the Kurds will have to fall back on a paraphrase of that old Iraq-War, Bush lie, “We did our best and the calamity that resulted from our decision to arm the Kurds is a case of unintended consequences.” When the worst occurs, anyone with a bit of commonsense will recognize that the failure, destabilization, and additional war that has resulted from arming the Kurds was something that (a) was perfectly and easily predictable and (b) another long step into a fatal swamp in which America has nothing at stake save the feelings, sensitivities, and ardor for lucre of the already rich American governing elite. But first, take a quick look at these two maps.

As can be seen, there are substantial Kurdish populations in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, and, at least in Iraq, Kurdish territories sit upon enormous oil and natural gas reserves. Each of those four nations has long feared the Kurds’ strident demands for an independent Kurdish state, their fighting abilities, and their fiery nationalism. As fear always does, the nations’ fear of the Kurds has led to their economic, social, linguistic, and – at times — military oppression by each government. In short, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran have long seen their Kurdish populations as malcontents bent on independence and so a threat to their territorial integrity.
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President Trump, with respect, start ruthlessly purging the US general officer corps

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President Trump:

Last time we discussed your refusal to abide by the Constitution’s hard-and-fast war-making provision, a decision that merits — as it did for most of your post-1945 predecessors — impeachment proceedings. Waging war in the manner you did in Syria is the work of an absolute monarch or a dictator, not that of a popularly elected president of this republic.

Today, we must discuss a topic that has been covered in this space on multiple occasions; namely, the need for you to immediately purge — via forced retirement — scores of your general officers. The American fetish for treating these officers as god-like wonders is baseless, and must be curtailed to the greatest possible extent. Among the most obvious reasons they merit forced retirement are:

–They and their predecessors have not won a war since 1945. In truth, they have won nothing in the most war-filled 72 years in American history.

–They have regularly betrayed the military men and women entrusted to their care by American parents by taking those troops to fight in wars that neither they nor their political masters intended to win. I do not know of a single case, since 1945, when a general officer resigned and told the citizenry that he did so because he refused to lead their soldier-children into a war no one meant to win, and in which the rules-of-engagement made those soldier-children targets rather than killers.
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If you have time, Mr. President, Senator Paul can help you learn the Constitution means what it says

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A central concern of the Founding generation, when writing the Constitution, was to ensure that no one man, or one man and his clique, could take the republic to war. To that end, the Constitution delegates the citizenry’s power to declare war solely to its servants in Congress, and, in doing so, uses language that makes it clear that the Congress cannot delegate this power to the executive branch of the government. The ability of a president to order military action was — and is — tightly limited to instances in which the United States is attacked or, perhaps, if a clear threat must be preempted.

Since 1955, however, every president and every Congress have acted in clear and deliberate violation of the Constitution’s allocation of war-making powers. In 1955, the Congress passed a resolution — called  an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” (AUMF)  — that allowed President Eisenhower to do what he wanted, when he wanted to do it, with U.S. military forces in the defense of Formosa (Taiwan) against Mao’s China. Later, the Vietnam war began with another AUMF, and every other U.S. war since Vietnam has started with one, save for those which the president started off his own hook — the Obama/Clinton Libyan war, for example, — without even bothering to seek an unconstitutional delegation of the war-making power from Congress.

Your 6 April 2017 attack on a Syrian military airfield/chemical-storage depot, Mr. President, is the latest example of this unconstitutional war-making. The barrage of 60 cruise missiles — worth about $5.5 billion — was, as usual for the U.S. military, a feckless exercise in concrete-smashing. As in Bill Clinton’s Serbia war, the national government attacked a state that had not harmed the United States, and in which the republic has no genuine national interests at stake. All of this was done via the decision and then orders of one man — advised by his unelected advisers — for the U.S. military to conduct an unconstitutional act of offensive war, as if the republic is an absolute and so lawless monarchy.
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Mr. Trump: Here is a Worthy, Perhaps Final Opportunity to Put America First

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Although Obama’s effort to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign by taking Mosul on the eve of the election failed, there is a good chance that Mosul will fall to the heterogeneous coalition that is attacking it. Be that event in six weeks, six months, or a year, the United States and its allies will rejoice over the event as if it is the death knell of the Islamic State (IS). They will be wrong to do so, showing again how deeply ignorant they are of the Islamist enemy and the religious war it is waging against them.

IS has lost in Palmyra, Anbar, Ramadi, and other territories, and yet its troops are putting up their hardest fight yet in Mosul. Why? Two reasons: (a) IS leaders prematurely declared the caliphate, ignoring Osama bin Laden’s guidance that the lasting re-creation of caliphate was impossible until the United States was driven from the Arab World; if he was alive, he would probably add Russia to that guidance; and (b) because in the minds of IS leaders, fighters, and their supporters, everything, good or bad, comes from Allah; victory is from Allah, and defeat is a trial sent by Allah to test His followers’ faith and perseverance. While far from irrelevant, IS’s defeats in 2016, in Islamist minds, are in part a consequence of a IS leadership mistakes, but overwhelmingly because Allah did not grant them victory at this time.
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Mr. Trump, Explain Why America First Must Mean Ending Foreign Aid and Foreign Military Assistance

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Now that Mr. Trump has vowed that the concept of “America First” will be at the core of his administration’s foreign and domestic policies, he should begin to tell Americans what he intends to do make that pledge a reality and why it needs to be done. He should do this before his enemies — and America’s — can turn the phrase against him. On MSNBC this week, for example, Mr. Chris Matthews asked if Trump “was trying to make us mad” by using the term “America First”. Mr. Matthews said that the term refers to Americans who wanted no war with Germany in 1939-1941; he did not mention Japan, probably because it would blur the damning parallel he intended to draw between Mr. Trump, the America First movement of 1939-1941 and the Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews.

Mr. Matthews, like all on the left, is a historical ignoramus. He demonstrates that status, in this case, by not knowing that the great majority of all Americans in 1939-1941 opposed getting into a European or Asian war that did not concern our vital national interests, and would not until Imperial Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on us later in December, 1941. After those events, most America First members fully supported both wars and participated in the war efforts to defend America.

Even Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh – whose reputation and historical importance were ruined, then, by Roosevelt and his coterie, the British, and the Jewish-American elite, and, now, by Israel First and those it intimidates and bribes – risked his life in the war as a test pilot for new US military aircraft, and as a volunteer guinea pig for testing new means of protecting pilots and aircrew from the debilitating impact of high-altitude flight.
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Islamic State is Winning, America Must Soon Use Its One Remaining Option

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Three of the US national government’s self-imposed and surely lethal handicaps in dealing with the Islamist threat are (a) a fixation on looking at the problem in a state-by-state manner; that is, what do we do in Iraq? what do we do in Afghanistan? what do we do in Libya? etc.; (b) an enduring but long-disproved assumption that in its war with Islam the West has time its side; and (c) an addiction to an unwise, unnecessary, and bankrupting interventionism that is the main motivator of the international Islamist movement, a phenomenon which was fathered and is still nurtured by the West’s so-called “allies and friends,” Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.

By forming and implementing interventionist policies for each nation-state where an Islamist threat is identified as needing to be addressed, Washington and its NATO allies miss the point that their main Islamist enemies — the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, and especially the former – think in a regional manner and then design and execute policies meant to establish bases from which they can further expand in a way that advances their ultimate goal of driving the West from the Muslim world and creating an unitary and worldwide Islamic state or caliphate. Whether or not such a state can be created is an open question, but for the time being the subject can be left for academics to endlessly, theoretically, and inconclusively debate, thereby leaving the sane to try to defend the United States.

What is important, at the moment, lies in the quite inexplicable inability of US and NATO policymakers to see what the Islamic State is up to in terms of its regional planning, or how that planning is not only immune to but fueled by the relentless, seriatim intervention of the West in each Muslim country that displeases it – excepting, of course, the Muslim tyrannies the West fawns over, protects, and is bribed by. (NB: This is not to argue that a multi-Muslim-nation intervention by US-NATO forces is needed.
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ISIS Makes the British Lion a De-Clawed and Shabby Cat

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The recent and rapid successes of the Islamic State (IS) in seizing Palmyra in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq, together with its three successful same-day strikes on 26 June 2015 in Kuwait, France, and Tunisia seem to have left British Prime Minister David Cameron rather panicky — like a twitchy kitten experiencing its first thunder-and lightning storm.

In response to these events, Cameron has come somewhat unglued. The leader of a once mighty, respected, and feared nation has responded to IS’s offensive operations by (a) calling on the UK Muslim leaders to perform a miracle and control the thoughts, sympathies, and actions of all members of the Muslim community; (b) predicting that IS was on the verge of “terrible” attacks in Britain, without offering any sign of the backbone needed to credibly warn IS of “terrible” British retribution if its forces attack in the UK; and (c) demanding that the BBC stop identifying the Islamic State as the Islamic State and instead call it “ISIL” because it is “death cult” and has nothing to do with Islam. On the latter point, Cameron sounds like an Oxford-educated version of Barack Obama.
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Insanity’s Definition is Sending More US Ground Troops to Iraq

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There seems to be great Republican resistance to the idea that their interventions in Iraq and the Muslim world are the main cause of both the mess in Iraq and the growing and increasingly powerful worldwide Islamist movement. To the extent that Hillary Clinton and other Democratic senators and congressmen joined the Republicans in illegally delegating the war-declaring power to George W. Bush there is a point to the Republicans’ resistance. The correct formulation of the statement is that both parties are equally responsible for the mess in Iraq and for the formidable Islamist foe that now exists. Also a correct statement is that the bulk of both parties now want the United States to become an even stronger motivator of and recruiter for the Islamists by expanding the military re-intervention in Iraq that began in the summer of 2014. Before that occurs it would be best to review a few facts:

The 2003 invasion of Iraq was approved by both parties and driven by the Neoconservatives in both parties. There was no need for a war in Iraq. Even if Saddam Hussein had WMD he was not a threat to the United States, and because we have none but parasitic allies in the Middle East, we needed to let them fend for themselves. (NB: We need to do this now.)

Saddam Hussein was our best ally in the war against the Sunni Islamists, an ally that we did not have to cajole, pay, or urge to act against the Sunni militants. That he diddled around with and funded the Palestinian fighters is true, but he was reliably lethal — for his government’s own interests — when it came to killing mujahedin trying to transit or set up shop in Iraq. Without Saddam to hold the center of the Arab world and block the insurgents’ easy east-west movement, we now have a mujahedin theater of operations that extends from Morocco on the Atlantic, to Jakarta in the Pacific, and from the North Caucasus in the north, to Nigeria in the south.
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Garland’s Lesson? Democrats, Republicans, and Neocons Bring The Jihad to America

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Since 9/11, Americans have been treated to an ongoing tutorial by the self-professed best-and brightest from America’s universities, media, Christian clergy, and national government explaining how American Muslims become radicalized into Islamist militants. These Muslims, say the country’s brains-trust, are discriminated against by other US citizens; are disenfranchised by poverty; have a hard time transitioning to US society from the Muslim culture they lived in abroad; hate all non-Muslims, or are brain-washed by cynical Islamist leaders and so learn to hate America and become eager to waste their lives in attacking it.

These same explanations have been spewed forth by the aforementioned elites ever since the second plane hit the World Trade Center, and now fourteen years they later they are again being served up to explain to the citizenry — really, to mislead the citizenry — what radicalized the Garland, Texas, attackers.
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General Dempsey Errs by Telling The Truth, But Quickly Recants

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During his term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey has shown a decided inability to differentiate between truth and falsehood when talking to Americans and their congressional representatives, more often than not erring on the side of the latter. Those paying attention, for example, will recall General Dempsey repeatedly telling the media, the citizenry, and the Congress that the US military’s training of the Afghan National Army (ANA) had gone splendidly and the ANA would be ready to operate on its own when President Obama’s withdrawal date arrived. 

Now, we see that Obama’s deadline has been extended and the stay-behind force increased. General Dempsey, unless he has learned nothing in a long taxpayer-funded military career or is plainly brain dead, knew that what he was saying about the ANA was an absurd lie, but he tugged his forelock and lied for the administration.

This month, however, General Dempsey let slip a snippet of truth and then had to scramble to re-establish the lie that — sooner or later — all parents of America’s military personnel will have to accept, cope with, and, perhaps, avenge. In reaction to the Islamic State’s (IS) advance toward the city of Ramadi in Iraq’s Anbar Province, General Dempsey said that he was not worried about IS taking the city because it was of little importance to the overall war that is occurring in Iraq.
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