Recently we shared the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) testimony of U.S. Forces Commander in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, who, when asked by Rep. Bridenstine (R-OK) if he had authority to engage the Taliban replied, no.
If there’s one thing that angers me for certain, it’s knowing my combat brothers and sisters who’ve sacrificed so much are watching their hard earned gains in “da ‘Stan” be wasted. It is no different than what happened in Iraq. I spent two-and-a-half years after retiring as a civilian-military adviser to the Afghan Army down in Kandahar. I remember landing in Helmand province to meet with the newly arrived British Army representatives as we stood up the 3d Brigade of the Afghan 205th Corps and the building of Camp Bastion began.
My own nephew has deployed twice to Afghanistan, so what’s happening there is personal…not to mention my concerns for the young men who were our interpreter/translators.
But this story goes far beyond me; it will have ramifications for the next president, which means the outcome is truly in your hands.
As reported by Stripes.com, “A senior American general has proposed resuming offensive strikes against the Taliban, exposing a rift between the military and senior administration officials over the U.S. role in the war in Afghanistan, according to military officials.
Senior Pentagon officials complained that Gen. John F. Campbell, who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan until earlier this month, broke with standard military procedure when he forwarded his proposal in recent weeks directly to the White House without the backing of Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. Campbell said he followed normal procedures in submitting his recommendations, which could draw the United States back into a broader air campaign against the Taliban.
The dispute comes as Afghan forces struggle to hold back resurgent Taliban forces, which have reclaimed some areas won at great cost during the U.S. troop surge. And many Taliban fighters think “they are operating from a position of strength,” according to Campbell, speaking recently to troops at an American base in Afghanistan.”
General John Campbell is a warrior of a breed not welcomed by the Obama administration. You see, General Campbell knows what’s happening on the ground and as a combat theater commander, you’d think the commander in chief would appreciate his thoughts and insights. But not in this current presidential administration, because his highness declared combat operations over, and to conduct “offensive” air strikes would be an admittance that Obama’s unilateral declaration was not translated into Farsi or Pashtu so the Taliban would acquiesce. They sadly did not get the memo.
So here we are again facing another embarrassing moment for the United States. Here we are again enabling the resurgence of an enemy that should have been long since defeated. Here we are with the capability but without the will to bring our weapon systems to bear against the enemy. Here we are showing weakness. This is not about perpetual war but it is about sending a clear message to Islamic jihadists that we shall leverage our combat power against you.
We are emboldening the Taliban and such fecklessness only invites others, such as ISIS. Again, our foreign policy and strategic-level military decision-making is being driven by political ideology and campaign promises.
Barack Obama is putting our men and women in these combat zones in peril. We are not bringing about a combat power that tips the balance our way — and that is not just about combat troops on the ground. It is all encompassing air to ground combat assets that can provide 24/7 all-weather offensive capacity against the enemy. Sadly, the Obama administration lacks the will to press the enemy into capitulation — heck, in Iraq he gave it all back.
Our military is being constrained, artificially, with troop levels that meet some political acceptable criteria. Yes, we’re killing a guy here and there, but generally speaking, the enemy is still on the battlefield and just as with ISIS, the Taliban is seizing and maintaining hold on terrain.
“Campbell, who is in the final weeks of a 37-year career in the U.S. Army, denied trying to go around his civilian bosses at the Pentagon. “Absolutely NOT,” he said in an email. “I forwarded my recommendations through my chain of command, always have and this time was no different.” An official at U.S. Central Command supported Campbell’s account.
The proposals made by Campbell, before he left Kabul on March 2, include authorizing some U.S. air support for Afghan operations against the Taliban, conducting strikes against Taliban leaders, and placing American advisers with conventional Afghan forces closer to the front lines.
Campbell declined to discuss the specifics of his request, but a senior military official described it as a stopgap measure to give the Afghan forces time to build up their tiny air force and intelligence capabilities over the next several years. “The way you end this insurgency is you got to beat them down to a lower level of violence,” said the military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. “The Afghans won’t have any real air power capability until 2017. … We can take more of the edge off the enemy until their capabilities are fully online.”
Currently, U.S. commanders can strike the Taliban only when they pose a direct threat to U.S. forces or when Afghan troops are in grave danger of being overrun. Campbell’s request to broaden his authorities to strike the Taliban is one of the few levers at the military’s disposal to increase pressure on militant leaders and drive them to the negotiating table for peace talks.”
Folks, I want y’all to clearly comprehend what I am about to say. You tell me, who do you REALLY want in the Oval Office sitting at the Resolute desk as our next commander in chief? Hillary Clinton would abandon our men and women to die, stand before cameras and with a straight face tell you a lie — including to the families of the fallen.
Bernie Sanders does not have a clue beyond promising to give everyone participation trophies.
Of the remaining GOP candidates — Cruz, Kasich, and Trump [that is alphabetical] — who will build a team of capable generals and advisers that will present viable plans enabling victory? Who will be that steady level-headed leader about whom the enemy will know with certainty doesn’t talk a lot, but delivers?
Barack Obama, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, based on what some chuckleheads thought he would achieve, has created and will leave a more chaotic and destructive global security situation, in which we have purposefully decimated our military capacity.
The next president can turn to Art Laffer and fix the economy…but he will need a team that will be written about in history books and studied for decades to come, who will secure this Republic and unleash, as Maximus said in “Gladiator,” “hell at my signal.”
And to my lovely and sensitive liberal progressive socialist detractors, that is not over-the-top hyperbole. It’s just how we roll in the U.S of A!
General Campbell, God bless you Sir for your 37 years of steadfast and loyal service to America. Airborne, Sir!