Shia Altman

They just don’t get it

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice, delivering the White House’s 2015 National Security Strategy, in what very much sounded like a very general non-specific in critical areas, all-encompassing political speech, a lot of which had nothing to do with national security, said this: “But, too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective.  Yes, there’s a lot going on.  Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War.  We can’t afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle.”

It is Rice and her boss who are missing the sense of perspective.  So in other words, unless there is some country or force that can possibly physically destroy the US, nothing else is existential or causing alarm?  There is no doubt that even al-Qaida cannot destroy us.  So why should we have cared what they did to us on 9/11?  As long as there is no one out there that can wipe us out, so what?  Things have to be “existential?”  And is there any doubt that if crazies like ISIS somehow get hold of a nuclear or chemical weapon of mass destruction capability they wouldn’t use it?  That they would not use a small “dirty bomb” to kill hundreds, maybe thousands?  Of us, or our allies and friends?  Appeasers didn’t think much of Hitler either when he started his reign of terror.  Many, even in his own country, dismissed him as a loudmouth rabble-rouser who would fade away quickly enough.  How did that go?  And isn’t the loss of our freedom, our way of life, because of extremist violence existential in a way? People like Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry and the president, have already given up the freedom of telling the blunt truth when it comes to Islamic terror because of political correctness, naiveté and the fear to offend.

Rice continued: ”American leadership rallied the world to toughen sanctions against Iran.  Through diplomacy and sustained economic pressure, we’ve halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and rolled it back in key respects.”  President Obama said the same in the State of the Union, but a fact checker column in the Washington Post on January 22 said the opposite.  The column is somewhat technical and I will spare you the details, but clearly notes the president was not being honest.  Most frighteningly, it quotes David Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, saying this, “In effect, the amount of nuclear material available to Iran has gone up “about a bomb’s worth during the JPOA (the Joint Plan of Action accord as part of the negotiations with Iran over the past year).”  Perhaps that is why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so passionate and exercised about Iran, so much so to even defy the president of the United States by speaking about the threat to the US Congress without Obama’s OK.

Rice: “To degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, we assembled a broad coalition that is confronting this scourge from all angles – from training Iraqi security forces and supporting the moderate Syrian opposition to encouraging political reforms in Iraq that foster greater inclusion.”  Our “broad” coalition includes many countries doing hardly anything.  Even after ISIS murdered the Jordanian fighter pilot, Jordan’s stepped-up air campaign will not do near enough.  Jordan would like to do more but cannot get the weapons from us that it wants.

And why won’t Jordan use troops, or the Saudis, or others in that part of the world, such as Turkey?  It is because of a lack of leadership and trustworthiness on our part.  The Saudis and other Arab allies watched as we pulled out of Iraq too soon and as we let the Syrian rebels flounder, rather than support them.  (Unless that means giving the Free Syrian Army 200,000 almost expired Meals Ready To Eat (MREs.)  I hope the rebels enjoyed them as Assad’s chemically-filled barrel bombs dropped on them and their families.)  And the Saudis and other Arab allies are as mortified as the Israelis, as Obama, looking for a come hell or high water history book diplomatic achievement, tries to make a bend-over-way-backward nuclear weapons program deal with Iran, while that terrorist country advances its nuclear program and while it or its proxies continue to make trouble all around the globe.  The Kurds do want to fight ISIS; ISIS is without question an existential threat to them.  But we don’t supply them with nearly enough weaponry either.  The administration’s lack of support of the Free Syrian Army and the Kurds is one of the reasons why there is an ISIS and why Basher Assad still sits in Damascus.

Rice said we’ve pushed ISIS out of territory.  And while it is true some air strikes have forced ISIS fighters out of some areas, it is also true that they retake lands lost and in fact have pretty much doubled their land size in Syria, just since late August.  If we didn’t know what was really happening, we would think Rice’s rosy scenario wasn’t the joke that it is.

After Rice made some weak connection with the equality of the sexes and said this: “We believe that all humans are created equal and are worthy of the same love and respect – including our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters,” which is fine and with which I wholeheartedly agree, but what it has to do with our national security in this time of terror I don’t know, she said this: “We’ve reduced the population of Guantanamo by nearly half, and while there are tough challenges ahead, we mean to keep going until we finish the job.”  Great.  Keep letting them out.  I discussed last week the folly of trading, basically liberating, the so-called Taliban 5 for a US Army deserter.  We just make ourselves more vulnerable when we free terrorists who may very well try to kill Americans again.

Ms. Rice, you and your boss have no sense of urgency, and a warped sense of reality.  The Obama administration “reset” with expansionist Russia, giving in to them on several fronts, it keeps extending one-way nuclear talks with Iran, as Iran foments terror with words, money and soldiers all around the world, and our flaccid leadership has deluded itself into thinking Islamic Jihadist radicalism is receding and not advancing as it so obviously is.

A couple days before you laid out the National Security non-strategy, Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., said this: “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”  Who is thinking about getting on a “high horse” about any other religion’s actions?  And those un-Christian Christian abominations happened over 500 to 1000 years ago!  Last I checked, there was no rumbling army of crusaders on its way to Jerusalem, or some Torquemada-wanna-be inquisitor burning non-believers alive.  But there are crazies burning people alive today.  And they are Islamic extremists and they did it just a few days ago!  I am not saying we should put US combat troops on the ground, maybe it should at least be discussed, but we need a real strategy, one that will include leading our allies where they can believe us and trust us, not insulting them where they wonder and worry about us.  The time for dispassionate, silly, illogical and false victory lap platitudes is long past.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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