Archive for the ‘Rules of war’ category

Don’t Stop With Paris

May 31, 2017

Don’t Stop With Paris, PJ MediaAndrew C. McCarthy, May 31, 2017

(President Nixon entered into the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, purporting to nullify the constitutional requirement of Senate ratification of treaties before they can go into effect. He had no authority to do so and President Trump, perhaps with the backing of Congress should he deem it appropriate, should declare the “Law of Treaties” null and void, retroactively. — DM)

FILE – In this Oct. 13, 1973 file photo, then-vice presidential nominee Gerald R. Ford, right, listens as President Richard Nixon, accompanied by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

President Richard M. Nixon signed a monstrosity known as the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Think of it as “the treaty on treaties” — even though you probably thought we already had an American law of treaties.

Under Article 18 of the treaty on treaties, once a nation signs a treaty — or merely does something that could be interpreted as “express[ing] its consent to be bound by the treaty” — that nation is “obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.”

In other words, the Constitution notwithstanding, once a presidential administration signs or otherwise signals assent to the terms of an international agreement, the United States must consider itself bound – even though the Senate has not approved it, even though it has not been ratified.

Think, moreover, of how badly the treaty on treaties betrays our constitutional system, which is based on representative government that is accountable to the people. The Constitution’s treaty process is designed to be a presumption against international entanglements. Unless two-thirds of senators are convinced than an agreement between or among countries is truly in the national interests of the United States — not of some “progressive” conception of global stability, but of our people’s interests — the agreement will not be ratified, and therefore should be deemed null and void.

President Trump should not stop at Paris. While he’s at it, he should affirmatively withdraw the United States from the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. We don’t need an international convention on that. We have a Constitution that renders multilateral boondoggles unbinding in the absence of super-majority Senate consent. Want to put “America first”? Then it is past time to reify our sovereignty and the rule of law — our law.

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It is welcome news that President Trump will pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. The pact promises to damage the economy while surrendering American sovereignty over climate policy to yet another international, largely anti-American enterprise.

It is unwelcome news, nevertheless, that so much was riding on the president’s decision to withdraw the assent of his predecessor, Barack Obama — America’s first post-American president.

In reality, Trump’s decision is monumental only because America, in the Obama mold, has become post-constitutional.

The Paris climate agreement is a treaty. We are not talking here about a bob-and-weave farce like the Iran nuclear deal. That arrangement, the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” was shrewdly packaged as an “unsigned understanding” — concurrently spun, depending on its apologists’ need of the moment, as a non-treaty (in order to evade the Constitution’s requirements), or as a binding international commitment (in order to intimidate the new American administration into retaining it).

The climate agreement, to the contrary, is a formal international agreement. Indeed, backers claim this “Convention” entered into force — i.e., became internationally binding — upon the adoption of “instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession” by a mere 55 of the 197 parties.

For all these global governance pretensions, though, why should we care? Why should the Paris agreement affect Americans?

Yes, President Obama gave his assent to the agreement in his characteristically cagey manner: He waited until late 2016 to “adopt” the convention — when there would be no practical opportunity to seek Senate approval before he left office. But Senate consent is still required, by a two-thirds’ supermajority, before a treaty is binding on the United States.

At least that’s what the Constitution says.

But it is not what post-American, transnational progressives say.

They note that in 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed a monstrosity known as the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Think of it as “the treaty on treaties” — even though you probably thought we already had an American law of treaties.

Under Article 18 of the treaty on treaties, once a nation signs a treaty — or merely does something that could be interpreted as “express[ing] its consent to be bound by the treaty” — that nation is “obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.”

In other words, the Constitution notwithstanding, once a presidential administration signs or otherwise signals assent to the terms of an international agreement, the United States must consider itself bound – even though the Senate has not approved it, even though it has not been ratified.

If a subsequent president wants to get the United States out from under this counter-constitutional strait-jacket, it is not enough merely to refrain from submitting the treaty to the Senate. The later president must take an affirmative action that withdraws the prior president’s assent. That is why Trump cannot not just ignore the Paris agreement; he needs to openly and notoriously pull out of it.

Want to know how far gone we are? The treaty on treaties has never been ratified by the United States.

So why do we care about it? Because Nixon signed it. Could the reasoning here be more circular? The Constitution requires a signed treaty to be ratified before it becomes binding, yet we consider ourselves bound by signed but unratified treaties because a signed but unratified treaty says so.

How does that square with the Constitution? Wrong question. The right one, apparently, is: Who needs the Constitution when you have the State Department? That bastion of transnational progressives advises that, despite the lack of ratification under our Constitution, “many” of the treaty on treaties’ provisions are binding as — what else? — “customary international law.”

President Trump is taking a significant step in removing the United States from the Paris agreement. But the step should not be significant, or politically fraught, at all. President Obama’s eleventh-hour consent to the agreement’s terms should have been nothing more consequential than symbolic pom-pom waving at his fellow climate alarmists. It should have had no legal ramifications.

Think, moreover, of how badly the treaty on treaties betrays our constitutional system, which is based on representative government that is accountable to the people. The Constitution’s treaty process is designed to be a presumption against international entanglements. Unless two-thirds of senators are convinced than an agreement between or among countries is truly in the national interests of the United States — not of some “progressive” conception of global stability, but of our people’s interests — the agreement will not be ratified, and therefore should be deemed null and void.

Yet, the treaty on treaties enables senators to ignore their constituents’ interests without accountability. Senators from Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere are not forced to cast a vote on whether international climate standards, and the unaccountable bureaucrats behind them, should strangle their states. They get to say, “Don’t look at me. The issue has already been decided by the president, so our only remaining choice is to ‘save the planet’ by implementing these painful global mandates.”

President Trump should not stop at Paris. While he’s at it, he should affirmatively withdraw the United States from the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. We don’t need an international convention on that. We have a Constitution that renders multilateral boondoggles unbinding in the absence of super-majority Senate consent. Want to put “America first”? Then it is past time to reify our sovereignty and the rule of law — our law.

Terrorism in The Therapeutic Age

July 21, 2016

Terrorism in The Therapeutic Age, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, July 21, 2016

therapy

We know what is going to follow the latest terrorist murder in Nice. Shrines to the dead will instantly spring up. Conclaves of citizens will gather at sorrowful demonstrations filled with ecumenical clichés. The media will profile selected victims, wringing every ounce of pathos out of their tragedy. Twitter will be inundated with sentimental bromides and ephemeral hashtags, and politicians will give solemn and empty speeches laced with even emptier threats.

Welcome to terror in a therapeutic age.

What we will not read are passionate demands from most citizens of Western governments that mind-concentrating force be unleashed on those responsible for the latest slaughter of the innocents. Nor will we hear stirring speeches from our political leaders that forcefully make the moral case for war against the murderers and their enablers.

Obsessing over feelings and emotions is what many moderns reflexively substitute for meaningful action. Righteous anger and burning revenge of the sort that fired up Americans after the Pearl Harbor attacks are too “mean” and “hurtful,” and require a serious commitment and exorbitant risk. Displaying emotion is cheap and gratifying and offends no one. Indeed, such displays demonstrate the purveyors’ superior “we are the world” sensibilities and sensitivity. It is “conspicuous compassion,” as Alan Bloom called it, as much a status symbol as Veblen’s conspicuous consumption. It’s how people show themselves to be civilized and advanced, too sophisticated for retrograde emotions like avenging anger. That’s so Old Testament.

In the therapeutic world, conflict is to be resolved by peace, love, and understanding. Or as our Attorney General said after the Orlando jihadist massacre, “Our common humanity transcends our differences, and our most effective response to terror is compassion, it’s unity and it’s love.” Thus the institutional instruments for resolving our differences with the jihadists are diplomatic engagement, foreign aid, economic development, negotiated agreements, and careful nurturing of our enemies’ self-esteem. We must flatter them, stroke their egos, attend to their grievances, censor any unpleasant facts about their religion. Pretend, as Obama does, that Islam, the “religion of peace” and has absolutely nothing to do with Muslim terrorism, or what he prefers to call “violent extremists.” Assert, like Hillary, “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

The problem is, we live in a world of people with radically different ideas about the goods they should pursue, and who don’t give a damn about “peace, love, understanding,” or the opinions of Western infidels about their religion. Whatever their potential is for possessing and recognizing a “common humanity,” in practice this possibility remains mostly unexpressed in their traditional religious tenets. Rather, Muslim jihadists––and hundreds of millions of ordinary Muslims–– limit their compassion, sympathy, and respect for humanity to fellow Muslims, and deny them to the infidel or heretic. That’s why zakat, the personal obligation for Muslims to make charitable contributions, for the most part restricts that charity to other Muslims.

The only “common humanity” pious Muslims recognize is the divine obligation for all humans to become Muslim. Their highest goods are not democracy, prosperity, leisure, and tolerance, but obedience to Allah and his laws. And millions of them view violence in the name of Allah as the divinely justified instrument for creating a world in which “all men say there is no god but Allah.”

Appeals to a “common humanity,” then, are useless as appeasing flattery for dealing with a man who, willing to die and kill in the name of Allah, drives a truck over men, women, and children, killing, mangling, and dismembering them. Flattery only confirms the jihadist’s belief that the infidel West is populated by godless hedonists eager only to enjoy life for one more day, and so are willing to sacrifice their freedom and rights for the short-term pleasures of la dolce vita. They are unworthy of compassion, for they no longer know what is worth dying and killing for. They have forgotten what Lincoln called the “awful arithmetic,” the tragic reality that some people must die today so that more people don’t die later––the gruesome calculus that the Allies followed to defeat fascism, Japanese imperialism, and Nazism.

Over forty years ago, the great Soviet dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in his Nobel lecture identified this chronic weakness that permeates the West:

The spirit of Munich has by no means retreated into the past; it was not a brief episode. I even venture to say that the spirit of Munich is dominant in the twentieth century. The intimidated civilized world has found nothing to oppose the onslaught of a suddenly resurgent fang-baring barbarism, except concessions and smiles. The spirit of Munich is a disease of the will of prosperous people; it is the daily state of those who have given themselves over to a craving for prosperity in every way, to material well-being as the chief goal of life on earth. Such people––and there are many of them in the world today––choose passivity and retreat, anything if only life to which they are accustomed might go on, anything so as not to have to cross over to rough terrain today, because tomorrow, see, everything will be all right. But it never will! The reckoning for cowardice will only be more cruel. Courage and the power to overcome will be ours only when we dare to make sacrifices.

These comments about the Soviet Union and the West are just as true today about the “fang-baring barbarism” of Islamic jihad. The surreal denial of the nature of the enemy and his religious motivations; the symbolic military gestures that serve public relations and political advantage rather than a strategy for defeating the enemy; the unwillingness to accept the eternal tragic realities of war and instead create suicidal rules of engagement vetted by pettifogging lawyers; and the refusal of citizens to pay the price necessary for destroying the enemy––all reflect the disease that Solzhenitsyn identified.

The problem is one of morale, not ability. We can destroy ISIS. Even the fictional Peter Quinn, from the series Homeland, knows how: put 200,000 troops in a country indefinitely or “bomb Raqqa into a parking lot.” In the real world, Asia Times columnist “Spengler” agrees. Wage total war both against the enemy abroad and against fellow travelers and sympathizers at home.

But don’t hold your breath. The political will for such action does not exist among a significant number of Americans. They would rather feel than act. Meanwhile, they indulge lachrymose sentiment, a luxury of the pampered rich. They call for “diplomacy” and “engagement,” the tried and true camouflage for the fear to act. They prefer to spend money on more and more government provided “butter” rather than on guns, as they move on to the next episode of televised tragedy in between bouts of Pokémon Go.

Meanwhile, the reckoning for our cowardice grows ever closer and ever crueler.

Newsmax Prime | Raymond Ibrahim and Nonie Darwish discuss the latest US airstrike in Libya

February 22, 2016

Newsmax Prime | Raymond Ibrahim and Nonie Darwish discuss the latest US airstrike in Libya, Newsmax TV via You Tube, February 19, 2016

Re-evaluating the law that benefits the terrorists

January 5, 2016

Re-evaluating the law that benefits the terrorists, Washington Times, Fred Gedrich, January 4, 2015

In the aftermath of Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump created a political and media firestorm by provocatively suggesting the United States is fighting a “politically correct” war, and since jihadists “don’t care about their lives you have to take out their families.”

Predictably, critics such as Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and others immediately pounced on his comment as a non-serious response or, if implemented, would be tantamount to engaging in international war crimes. Once again, Mr. Trump succeeded in putting a topic on the debate table that needs to be discussed, even though it might have been better if he advocated hitting jihadis when family members are present as opposed to specifically targeting family members.

To be fair, Mr. Trump’s critics should acknowledge that President Obama has already admitted that U.S. drones (the president’s covert program that targets terrorists from afar) have killed civilians, but the United States insists that terrorists themselves are to blame for using family or other civilians as human shields. Also, the United Nations and groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others disagree, stating that current U.S. policy may constitute international war crimes.

Why would Mr. Trump bring up this issue? A recent CNN/ORC Poll offers an answer: 75 percent of those polled say they are unhappy with Mr. Obama’s progress in the war on terror. And it’s clear to many of them that something else needs to be done to deter jihadists.

What should be done? A good start would be for U.S. leaders to acknowledge that jihadists use international law and political correctness as a tactical weapon against the West, and their success is being enhanced by the support of witless enablers in America and elsewhere.

Terror groups like the Islamic State (ISIS), al Qaeda and others know their adversaries fight based on the idea that the rule of law is what separates the civilized world from the barbarians. They have shrewdly and callously exploited civilized rules of warfare to their advantage.

Jihadists’ weapons of choice are improvised explosive devices, suicide bombing attacks, videotaped beheadings, and caged executions by fire and drowning. They seek to inflict as much mutilation, death, destruction and terror on civilian and military targets as possible.

In the regions of the world that bore them, many jihadists are treated as heroes and, shockingly, in many quarters of the civilized world, including the United Nations and some media, they are considered freedom fighters, insurgents or militants — even though, among other things, they disguise themselves as civilians; use willing family members and civilians as human shields; store weapons in hospitals, schools and mosques; and kill, maim and torture with impunity.

When attacked, jihadists respond by claiming the retaliatory violence is misdirected against civilian populations and religious, educational and humanitarian institutions.

If killed, fellow jihadists claim innocent civilians have been killed.

If captured, the terrorists claim they have been denied legal rights as prisoners of war under Geneva Conventions and Protocols.

If questioned by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, they claim they have been tortured and abused.

The flagrant barbarism of the region would, a reasonable person might think, lead to a quick and general consensus on the need for military action and swift and appropriate justice for the terrorists — but they haven’t. Since his capture in 2003, Sept. 11 accused mass murderer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed still hasn’t stood trial owing to a string of legal wranglings.

The Geneva Conventions and Protocols of 1949 and 1977, behind which the terrorists attempt to hide, are the civilized world’s most recent attempt to control wartime behavior. These rules established, among other things, laws governing the conduct of soldiers and the treatment of prisoners and civilians during conflict.

At the heart of the conventions and protocols are clear distinctions between warring parties (combatants) and civilians (noncombatants). Their chief benefits are to make it easier for combatants to avoid targeting noncombatants and for lawful combatants (soldiers) from being prosecuted for acts of war.

To qualify as a lawful combatant under Article IV of the Geneva Convention, a soldier must:

1. Be commanded by a person responsible for subordinates;

2. Have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance (a uniform);

3. Carry arms openly;

4. Conduct operations in accordance with laws and customs of war.

Conversely, an unlawful combatant (jihadi) is a fighter who does not conduct operations according to these rules — and arguably is not entitled to Geneva Convention protections. This is the type of combatant the world and humanity currently faces.

It’s beyond time for White House decision-makers and policymakers, and congressional lawmakers and others — instead of reflexively criticizing someone like Mr. Trump — to recognize that this is a battle against stateless, lawless and uncivilized Islamic jihadists who have no regard for the civilized world’s laws of war but are effectively using those laws against it. Action should be taken to debate, re-examine and change those laws, international or otherwise, that impede successful prosecution of this war against Islamic jihadists that threaten Western civilization. The international order and humanity depend on it.

No moral outrage in the military

October 6, 2015

No moral outrage in the military, Washington Times, James A. Lyons, October 5, 2015

105_2015_b3-lyon-obama-shiel8201_c0-0-2933-1710_s561x327Obama Decimates the U.S. Military Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

[T]he degradation of our military’s core principles must be viewed in a much broader perspective. Actually, it is a key element in President Obama’s declaration to fundamentally transform America. When you want to take down a country, the first thing you do is weaken its military.

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Recent articles highlighting horrifying child abuse atrocities inflicted on defenseless children by our Afghan military and police partners are but the latest examples of how President Obama is destroying U.S. military forces.

Our military leadership’s response to these blatant acts of pedophilia by our so-called Afghan partners has been shocking. In short, the guidance provided to our Army and Marine Corps personnel was to just ignore these Muslim and Afghan seventh-century customs and traditions. They have been instructed to not interfere, even when such horrific acts are being committed on our own bases.

Those U.S. military personnel. whose moral outrage will not let them ignore these atrocities and instead act to stop these unconscionable acts against children, are either disciplined or forced to leave the service. In other words, even if you find a young boy chained to a bed so that a local police commander can sodomize him every night and you hear the screams, you are told to look the other way. This is not only un-American but an act against humanity.

Even the Taliban outlawed such practices and freed a number of children, thereby earning the gratitude of village elders. Does the Taliban with its seventh-century mentality have a higher moral code than the U.S. military leadership? It should be clear to any thinking person that when our honorable military personnel are forced to ignore these crimes against humanity, they are viewed as being complicit.

To those who have followed our involvement in Afghanistan, the current policy to ignore acts of pedophilia should come as no surprise. When “green on blue” attacks gained national attention, our military leadership tried to explain it away by claiming the friction that developed between the two forces was because our military personnel were not sensitive enough to Afghan culture and traditions. In other words, if our Afghan partners conduct violence or kill U.S. military personnel, it is our fault. What nonsense.

Other Afghan cultural idiosyncrasies our military personnel are forced to accept without reservation include wife-beating, rape, drug use, thievery, dog torture, desertion and collusion with the enemy, the Taliban. Furthermore, under no circumstances can our military discuss Islam in any form. The genesis for this goes back to the purging of all our training manuals and instructors who presented Islam in an unfavorable light or linked it to terrorism. It is totally against our core principles and everything we stand for as Americans. It clearly has an adverse impact on individual and unit morale, which affects the ultimate goal of the “will to win.” The bottom line is that we are forcing our great military to submit to Islam and its governing Shariah law, or possibly die.

This is exactly the choice offered to infidels who have been vanquished by Islamic jihad. Our military’s silence and acquiescence, particularly by the leadership, is the humiliating price for our coexistence with our Afghan partners. This is unacceptable.

However, the degradation of our military’s core principles must be viewed in a much broader perspective. Actually, it is a key element in President Obama’s declaration to fundamentally transform America. When you want to take down a country, the first thing you do is weaken its military. We cannot ignore the fact that with or without sequestration, the Obama administration has unilaterally disarmed our military forces and, consequently, our capabilities. Further, the social engineering imposed on our military forces — to include the acceptance of gay, lesbian and soon transgender personnel — further undermines the moral fiber of our military and constitutes a further degradation of our military effectiveness. Forcing women into combat roles only further degrades the situation. The restricted rules of engagement imposed on our forces has reduced our military’s effectiveness and caused unnecessary loss of life and debilitating injuries.

Likewise, the pin-prick attacks on the Islamic State cast a shadow over what a dedicated air campaign could accomplish. It projects an image of weakness and ineffectiveness of our true capabilities. It has taken the “awe” of our invincibility and overwhelming force capabilities out of the equation. The net result is that our enemies no longer fear us, and our allies can no longer trust us.

The imposed limit on the application and capability our military force is not limited to the Middle East. For example, in the Western Pacific, to challenge China’s illegal actions in the South China Sea, the Obama administration has restricted the U.S. Navy from enforcing its freedom of seas concept that has been a fundamental principle of the U.S. Navy for more than 238 years. Our Asian allies in the Western Pacific watch carefully how we respond to China’s aggressive actions. Our directed restraint clearly will not raise their confidence level.

Our national security is being deliberately jeopardized. President Obama’s bloviating to Vladimir Putin at the recent U.N. session that he leads the most powerful military in the world was only true on the day he took office. Since then, Obama has systematically degraded our capabilities. The chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee must take forceful action now to prevent further emasculation of our military capabilities.

After Blasting Israel, State Department Doesn’t Immediately Condemn Afghan Hospital Bombing

October 6, 2015

After Blasting Israel, State Department Doesn’t Immediately Condemn Afghan Hospital Bombing, Washington Free Beacon via You Tube, October 5, 2015

 

Satire | Pentagon Downplays Significance Of Taliban Taking Over All Of Afghanistan Last Night

September 30, 2015

Pentagon Downplays Significance Of Taliban Taking Over All Of Afghanistan Last Night, Duffel Blog, September 30, 2015

150929-D-NI589-068-750x400Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett with the U.S. Department of Defense

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following the Taliban’s complete takeover of Afghanistan late last night, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook noted in an early morning press briefing that the Pentagon remains “generally positive” about the war effort and that “there is minimal cause for concern.”

“That’s how things go in a protracted counterinsurgency,” Cook told reporters. “You face some minor setbacks regardless of how many troops lose their lives or how many billions of taxpayer dollars are spent equipping local defense forces incapable of defending their own country.”

After the Taliban overran Afghan forces in Helmand earlier this year and took over the city of Kunduz this week, sources say the Obama Administration and many senior defense officials seemed surprised that major media outlets expressed even the slightest bit of interest in a war over a decade old.

At Central Command in Tampa, Fla., Gen. Lloyd Austin — who oversees forces in the region — assured reporters there was little cause for concern.

“We’ve seen this time and time again,” Austin said. “This modest spike in Taliban attacks shows that our strategy is working. These massive coordinated attacks are merely the death throes of an insurgent movement.”

Austin cited a range of historical and contemporary intelligence analyses to support his claim, adding: “Don’t believe me? Just look at the history of insurgencies. The Tet Offensive, Saigon in ’75, Iraq in 2006, every summer in Afghanistan since 2001.”

Sources at the White House say the president has not been too concerned with the situation for at least a few months, especially after he declared a successful end to the war in 2014 and placed forces there at Defense Condition (DEFCON) “Chill.”

Duffel Blog attempted to reach the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan at his Kabul office but were ultimately unsuccessful. His new spokesman, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, stated that Gen. John Campbell and the U.S. Ambassador were unavailable for comment as they had departed Kabul via C-5 transport just a few hours earlier.

 

Army is breaking, let down by Washington

August 3, 2015

Army is breaking, let down by Washington, Stars and Stripes, Robert H. Scales, August 2, 2015

(Last year I also wrote a depressing article on the lamentable combat readiness of our military. It’s here at my blog and here at Warsclerotic. The situation has continued to deteriorate. How could Obama’s America help to protect freedom, particularly against an enemy whose name must not be mentioned, without a combat effective military — even if Obama wanted to do it? — DM)

image militaryU.S. paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade load a M119A2 howitzer at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, July 28, 2015.
GERTRUD ZACH/U.S. ARMY

Last month, Gen. Ray Odierno, outgoing Army chief of staff, and Gen. Mark Milley, his successor, testified to the difficulties faced by the Army. I’d like to make the same points by telling a story.

When I was a boy, tonsillitis was a dangerous illness. In 1952, it kept me in Tokyo General Hospital for weeks. I shared a cramped ward with dozens of soldiers horribly maimed in Korea. The hospital had only one movie theater. I remember watching a Western sandwiched between bandage- and plaster-wrapped bodies. I remember the antiseptic smells, the cloud of cigarette smoke and the whispers of young men still traumatized by the horrors of the war they had just left.

My dad came from Korea to visit me, and I recall our conversations vividly. At the time he was operations officer for the 2nd Engineer Battalion. He told me how poorly his men were prepared for war. Many had been killed or captured by the North Koreans. During the retreat from the Yalu River, some of his soldiers were in such bad physical shape that they dropped exhausted along the road to wait to be taken captive.

“We have no sergeants, son,” he told me, shaking his head, “and without them we are no longer an Army.”

In the early ’70s, I was the same age as my Korean-era dad. I had just left Vietnam only to face another broken Army. My barracks were at war. I carried a pistol to protect myself from my own soldiers. Many of the soldiers were on hard drugs. The barracks were racial battlegrounds pitting black against white. Again, the Army had broken because the sergeants were gone. By 1971, most were either dead, wounded or had voted with their feet to get away from such a devastated institution.

I visited Baghdad in 2007 as a guest of Gen. David Petraeus. Before the trip I had written a column forecasting another broken Army, but it was clear from what Petraeus showed me that the Army was holding on and fighting well in the dangerous streets of Baghdad. Such a small and overcommitted force should have broken after so many serial deployments to that hateful place. But Petraeus said that his Army was different. It held together because junior leaders were still dedicated to the fight. To this day, I don’t know how they did it.

Sadly, the Army that stayed cohesive in Iraq and Afghanistan even after losing 5,000 dead is now being broken again by an ungrateful, ahistorical and strategically tone-deaf leadership in Washington.

The Obama administration just announced a 40,000 reduction in the Army’s ranks. But the numbers don’t begin to tell the tale. Soldiers stay in the Army because they love to go into the field and train; Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently said that the Army will not have enough money for most soldiers to train above the squad level this year. Soldiers need to fight with new weapons; in the past four years, the Army has canceled 20 major programs, postponed 125 and restructured 124. The Army will not replace its Reagan-era tanks, infantry carriers, artillery and aircraft for at least a generation. Soldiers stay in the ranks because they serve in a unit ready for combat; fewer than a third of the Army’s combat brigades are combat-ready.

And this initial 40,000-soldier reduction is just a start. Most estimates from Congress anticipate that without lifting the budget sequestration that is driving this across-the-board decline, another 40,000 troops will be gone in about two years.

But it’s soldiers who tell the story. After 13 years of war, young leaders are voting with their feet again. As sergeants and young officers depart, the institution is breaking for a third time in my lifetime. The personal tragedies that attended the collapse of a soldier’s spirit in past wars are with us again. Suicide, family abuse, alcohol and drug abuse are becoming increasingly more common.

To be sure, the nation always reduces its military as wars wind down. Other services suffer reductions and shortages. But only the Army breaks. Someone please tell those of us who served why the service that does virtually all the dying and killing in war is the one least rewarded.

My grandson is a great kid. He’s about the same age I was when I was recovering at Tokyo General. Both of his parents served as Army officers, so it’s no wonder that in school he draws pictures of tanks and planes while his second-grade classmates draw pictures of flowers and animals. The other day he drew a tank just for me and labeled it proudly “Abrams Tank!”

Well, sadly, if he follows in our footsteps, one day he may be fighting in an Abrams tank. His tank will be 60 years old by then.

At the moment I’d rather he go to law school.

Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

Palestinian Summer Camps Preach Jihad and Train Youth to Become Terrorists

July 30, 2015

Palestinian Summer Camps Preach Jihad and Train Youth to Become Terrorists, Investigative Project on Terrorism, July 30, 2015

(In Gaza and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem: raising a new generation of Palestinian children yearning to be free kill Jews for Allah, virgins, their parents and Palestine.  — DM)

Hamas hopes to provide 25,000 children and teenagers with military training to seed future terrorist operations against Israel. Similar to the Al-Aqsa camp, the Hamas camp heavily emphasizes religious indoctrination and radical jihadist brainwashing, according to a news report translated by MEMRI.

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Palestinian summer camps in Jerusalem and Gaza are actively indoctrinating young children with radical jihadist ideology and preparing them for martyrdom (suicide) operations, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.

In an Islamic summer camp at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, little children are subjected to a radical sheikh’s lecture on the virtues of martyrdom.

 

 

“The martyr is absolved with the first drop of his blood…the martyr also gets to vouch for seventy family members (on Judgment Day)… the martyr gets two virgins of Paradise, but the murabit [someone guarding Islam against the infidel] gets 70 – 35 times more than the martyr,” preached radical cleric Khaled Al-Maghrabi.

The children generally appear like most children their age – fidgeting, looking around, some playing with toys, seemingly disinterested in the lecture. Al-Magrabi still appears determined to impart jihadist indoctrination into the next generation of Palestinians at a very early age.

A Palestinian bystander even confronts Al-Maghrabi and tells him his message isn’t appropriate for children.

“Listen, sheik, they do not understand what you are saying. They are children…you are talking to them about ribat, martyrdom, and the virgins of Paradise. Shame on you. You can teach these lessons to (adults) like us, not to them,” said the Palestinian man.

Unfortunately, Palestinians standing up against radicalization is all too rare of an occurrence. Al-Maghrabi carried on after the distraction, leading the children in chanting, “We shall sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, Al-Aqsa!” the children chant.

In a second video illustrating Palestinian indoctrination of its young people with hate, viewers are taken inside a Hamas summer camp called “Vanguard of Liberation.” Hamas hopes to provide 25,000 children and teenagers with military training to seed future terrorist operations against Israel. Similar to the Al-Aqsa camp, the Hamas camp heavily emphasizes religious indoctrination and radical jihadist brainwashing, according to a news report translated by MEMRI.

“The goal of the camps is to instil the spirit of Jihad and of fighting in these cubs, these youth, so that they will become the next generation of liberation,” says a masked Hamas operative and camp counselor.

 

 

 

“Liberation” in this context means taking over all of Israel since Hamas is openly dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state in any form.

The video features the youth running through military style courses, weapons training, and even shows a junior version of a Hamas naval commando unit dedicated to infiltrating Israel and conducting terrorist attacks.

Nasrallah to Israel: Accept “the mix of Lebanese and Iranian blood on Syrian soil in Quneitra” or face war

January 31, 2015

Nasrallah to Israel: Accept “the mix of Lebanese and Iranian blood on Syrian soil in Quneitra” or face war, DEBKAfile, January 30, 2015

Nasrallah_30.1.15More saber-rattling from Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah

In is first speech since the cross-border military clash with Israel this week, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah Friday, Jan. 30 tried dictating terms to Israel for border calm to continue. He said Israel must give up the right it reserves to strike out against the presence of his Lebanese Shiite organization and Iran on Syrian soil in Quneitra – or else, the war goes on.

“The resistance no longer cares about rules of engagement,” he said in reference to Israeli leaders’ repeated warning that they would not tolerate an Iranian-backed Hizballah takeover of Syrian Golan for opening up a second front against the Jewish state.

The Hizballah leader went on to say: “From now on, if any member of Hizballah is assassinated, we will blame it on Israel and reserve the right to respond to it whenever and however we choose.”

The main point he made was this: “The mix of Lebanese and Iranian blood on Syrian soil in Quneitra represents the unity of our battle and fate.”

During the day he conferred with a visitor from Tehran: Al Qods Brigades chief, Gen. Qassem Sioleimani.

Clearly, the high tension emanating from the Golan and its environs since the air strike on Jan. 18 that killed an Iranian general and six Hizballah officers near Quneitra – up until the Hizballah attack on an IDF convoy from Mt. Dov Wednesday, Jan. 28 – was just a preamble.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Israel’s armed forces find they are pitched against a dangerous concerted drive by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizballah, local and Iraqi Shiite militias, to seize and control a new pro-Iranian front line – a narrow strip 150-km long – which runs from the Qalamoun Mountains of Syria up to Mt. Hermon and includes the Syrian Golan.

This line overlooks Israel and touches its borders at more than one point.

Hizballah’s chief undoubtedly recognizes – as do his masters in Tehran – that they face more armed clashes with Israel in the coming weeks, because the terms Nasrallah dictated as Tehran’s mouthpiece are unacceptable.

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu said Friday that the continuous offensive staged by Iran to uproot Israel won’t succeed. He spoke on a hospital visit to soldiers injured in the Hizballah rocket attack on their convoy Wednesday.