The War on Terror Spectator

The War on Terror Spectator

Where Are the Good Guys in Iraq?

By 7.25.14

A search for the good guys and bad guys of Iraq commenced during a hearing in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs with representatives from the Departments of State and Defense on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was the first "bad guy," in the view of Congress. A few representatives are still making thinly veiled accusations about incompetence on the part of Bush for sending troops into Iraq, or Obama for taking them out, but most seem to agree that Maliki is out of favor. 

On the other hand, several congressmen expressed support for the Kurds, both in general and in their desire for an independent state. One remarked that no American troops were lost in the Kurdish territories during the Iraq war, thanks to the friendliness of the Kurds. 

Warm wishes were also expressed towards Jordan, while any partnership with Iran was roundly condemned. 

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

Kerry Shows His True Colors on Israel—Again

By 7.23.14

It should come as no surprise to anyone that our secretary of state, John Kerry, was caught on a hot mic bashing Israel during a commercial break while in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. Kerry sarcastically characterized the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as a “hell of a pinpoint operation” while on speaker-phone with an adviser. 

After all, it was less than three months ago that Kerry said Israel could become an Apartheid state if a Palestinian state were not established. This comment, made behind closed doors during a sitting of the Trilateral Commission, put Kerry on the defensive for a few days before he issued a classic non-apology apology.  

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

The Middle East’s Christian Diaspora

By 7.15.14

Anyone who obtained too much power in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had two choices: join the Ba’ath Party or die. Joseph Kassab, a medical researcher at the University of Baghdad, chose a third option—flee to the United States. Thirty-five years later, he describes his success here as “an American dream story.” But he is a Chaldean Catholic, and he worries for the fate of his people, the Christians of Iraq.

“Do we want our people to leave Iraq? The answer is no,” he told TAS. “Our ancestry in Iraq goes back 2,000 years before Christ.”

The Christian population of Iraq, which has its roots in the ancient Assyrians who embraced Christianity in biblical times, numbered 1.3 million before 2003. Over the next decade, nearly a million Christians fled to neighboring countries. Many who became refugees fled to the West if they could.

Most joined the Chaldean Christian community in Michigan, which began in the 1870s. They had helped build the automobile industry, saving factory wages to bring family members to the land of opportunity. The Detroit community of Chaldeans now numbers 200,000 and has associations for every profession from pharmaceutics to CPAs.

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

Cancel Aid to Egypt

By 6.23.14

Much about the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been an embarrassment. Some of its failures, such as Iraq, must be shared with its predecessor. In Egypt President Barack Obama and especially Secretary of State John Kerry incompetently followed in the footsteps of several administrations.

Three years ago Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship ingloriously collapsed. Although student-led protests in Cairo triggered the regime’s demise, it was Mubarak's plan to move from military rule to family rule that led the generals to abandon him. The Obama administration was constantly following events, first embracing Mubarak, then calling for a negotiated transition, and finally endorsing his overthrow. The Egyptian people ignored Washington at every turn.

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

America’s Dilemma in Iraq

By 6.20.14

To think of mass graves is to think backwards in history—Babi Yar in Ukraine or the one million Jews still being unearthed from the Treblinka death camp. To see similar images today, shown in vivid color photos right down to the grains of sand in the makeshift ditch, is startling. Yet that’s exactly what the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has provided us, along with boasts that the dead are 1,700 Shias from the Iraqi army.

The country that once concealed Saddam Hussein’s mass graves is once again the site of anachronistic brutality, but this time with a modern twist. ISIS has proven savvy at using social media to broadcast its destruction across the world. Earlier this year they released photos of two men in neighboring Syria suspected of being spies, covered in blood and crucified on crosses.

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

In Search of a Strongman

By 6.19.14

A Middle Eastern proverb tells of a Bedouin chief who believed that consumption of fowl would increase his masculine dignity and bought a turkey. One morning, he found his turkey was gone from its usual place outside his tent. The chief called his sons together and told them that his turkey had been stolen by bandits. "Find my turkey!" he told them in rage, but they laughed and departed.

The next morning, the chief awoke to find that his camel had been stolen. His sons came to his tent of their own accord to make a plan for its recovery, but the chief just told them, "Find my turkey."

The next day, the leader's daughter was raped, and his sons descended upon his tent in rage. "How could this have happened?" they asked. He replied, "None of this would have happened if you had found my turkey."

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

Iraq’s Deadly Geography

By 6.13.14

The demographics of the Middle East have long clashed with the region's geography. Nowhere is this clearer than in Iraq, where the arbitrarily drawn borders enclose three distinct ethnic groups. Now, with violence from Syria spilling into Iraq, the region, and the world, are learning a tough geography lesson.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIS, is demonstrating the power of a good mission statement. As even the group's name suggests, ISIS plans to establish a state of extremist Sunni Islam from Syria—where the group gained infamy fighting Bashar al-Assad—into Iraq. Their efforts so far have been alarmingly successful.

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

How Foreign Is Our Policy?

By 4.1.14

Many people are lamenting the bad consequences of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and some are questioning his competence.

There is much to lament, and much to fear. Multiple setbacks to American interests have been brought on by Obama’s policies in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Crimea and — above all — in what seems almost certain to become a nuclear Iran in the very near future.

The president’s public warning to Syria of dire consequences if the Assad regime there crossed a “red line” he had drawn seemed to epitomize an amateurish bluff that was exposed as a bluff when Syria crossed that red line without suffering any consequences. Drawing red lines in disappearing ink makes an international mockery of not only this president’s credibility, but also the credibility of future American presidents’ commitments.

When some future President of the United States issues a solemn warning internationally, and means it, there may be less likelihood that the warning will be taken seriously. That invites the kind of miscalculation that has led to wars.

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

Another Galling Betrayal

By 2.19.14

The Afghanistan government’s recent release of dozens of imprisoned terrorists, many of whom had killed Americans, was a galling betrayal of those Americans who died defending Afghanistan against the Taliban terrorists — as well as those Americans who have returned home with arms or legs missing, or with minds traumatized beyond repair.

If we learn nothing else from the bitter tragedy of the war in Afghanistan, it should be that we should put an end forever to the self-indulgence of thinking that we can engage in “nation-building” and creating “democracy” in countries where nothing resembling democracy has ever existed.

It would be a feat to achieve one of these objectives, but to achieve both at the same time is a gamble that makes playing Russian roulette look like a harmless pastime.

F.A. Hayek said, “We shall not grow wiser until we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.” Nothing is more foolish — and immoral — than sending men into battle to risk their lives winning victories that are later lost by politicians for political reasons.

Send to Kindle

The War on Terror Spectator

Why Syria Is Forcing British Intelligence Into Hard Choices

By 1.23.14

These are busy and difficult times at New Scotland Yard, Thames House, Vauxhall Cross and “the doughnut.” Over the last few days, British Police have separately arrested two men and one woman at London’s Heathrow Airport, another man at London’s Stansted Airport and a further woman in North London. The common theme? The suspects travel/intended travel either to or from Istanbul. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on here. Turkey is Europe’s launching pad for the Syrian civil war.

Send to Kindle

Pages