Wednesday, July 7, 2010

War on Terrorism Update: Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea


General David Petraeus was confirmed by the United States Senate to be the new commander of the Afghan War. During his confirmation hearings, he made a number of noteworthy statements. General Petraeus acknowledged that the July of 2011 deadline to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan that was announced by U.S. President Barak Obama at the same time he announced he would implement the troop surge strategy for the Afghan front in the War on Terrorism that the idea was not one that was proposed by the military. It was a policy based upon the political ideology of the civilian leadership of the Obama Administration, not an example of sound military doctrine. Obama’s arbitrary deadline has damaged the morale of American troops in the Afghan theater of operations, caused U.S. allies there to doubt American resolve to remain as long as necessary to win this critical battle in the War on Terrorism and encouraged the Taliban and al-Qaeda enemy that they could wait until the U.S. withdrawal to return to power and reestablish a safe haven for terrorism in Afghanistan.

Gen. Petraeus also declared that the withdrawal of American troops will not be immediate, but phased. Most importantly, it will be based on the conditions on the Afghan front, not political expedience. He also indicated that the rules of engagement would be revised in a way that better allows N.A.T.O. troops to defeat the enemy while avoiding innocent civilian casualties, which, like his other statements, should improve morale for U.S. troops. In short, Gen. Petraeus is correcting the mistakes of the Obama Administration, which is increasing the chance for victory in Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism.

See also my post from last month, Two Recent Obama Contradictions, in which I explain the contradiction of nominating Gen. Petraeus, the architect of the Iraqi troop surge, after Obama predicted its failure and after its implementation insisted that it was failing, despite the evidence supplied by the General and long after it became obvious the surge was succeedinga strategy Obama has since adopted for Afghanistan, as the Bush Administration had proposed. Ironically, the turn of events in Iraq and Afghanistan has allowed Gen. Petraeus to become the only man in which both the Administration and the Democrats and Republics in Congress had confidence in could successfully implement the Obama strategy by making the proper changes in order to win the Afghan War.

Obama recently called the battle of Afghanistan the “longest war” in American history, a statement that is at odds with the U.S. government’s official position, is that the Vietnamese War lasted from 1964-1973, but includes the Mayaguez Incident in 1975, a period which alone (not including U.S. combat in the Vietnamese War from 1961-1963) would make it longer than the Afghan War, which began in 2001. See also my post last month, Afghanistan Is Not the Longest Ever U.S. War.


Obama signed a new set of U.S. sanctions on Iran into law in response to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The sanctions were imposed unilaterally because he failed to obtain United Nations Security Council approval of another round of multilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Both Obama and his predecessor implemented several previous rounds of sanctions on Iran without successfully halting the Iranian development of a nuclear weapon.

North Korea

North Korea was removed by the United States State Department under President George W. Bush from the list of terrorist-sponsoring states. The consequences for being on the list are comprehensive and harsh. Removal from the list was a North Korean precondition to returning to the Six-Party talks aimed at eliminating its nuclear weapons. The Bush Administration cited the fact that North Korea state had not committed any acts of terrorism since 1987. Although it has not sponsored any such acts in decades, the Communist state continues to harbor members of the Japanese Red Army, a terrorist organization.

Recently, a debate has emerged over whether North Korea should be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism. Some have labeled the sinking of the South Korean ship, the Chenoan, was an act of terrorism, but an attack on a military target does not constitute terrorism, as would an attack on innocent civilians, for terrorism is a violent attack on innocent civilians in order to intimidate the populace to give into the demands of the terrorists. The two Koreas remain in a state of war, having signed an armistice in 1953, but no peace treaty. Others have cited the North Korean assassination of a high-ranking government official who defected to the South as an act of terrorism, but, again, although an act of war, it did not represent an attack on innocent civilians.

Communist North Korean aid to terrorist organizations and other state sponsors of terrorism, however, clearly represents an act of terrorism which would justify relisting North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

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