Tag Archives: drone strikes

‘Over the horizon’ reach? Is it enough?

Although I stand firmly behind President Biden’s decision to end our military involvement in Afghanistan — despite the horrifying rollout of the evacuation plan — I remain concerned about one aspect of our post-Afghan policy and posture.

It’s that “over the horizon” strategy the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence community plan to employ to protect us from terrorists.

We went to war in Afghanistan 20 years ago to rid the nation of the Taliban hosts who gave al-Qaeda safe haven from which to plan and then launch an attack on 9/11. We rid the government of the Taliban. Now we’re giving it back to them. Wise call? Ultimately, it will save us lives, heartache, misery … not to mention money.

How do we plan to conduct intelligence-gathering in Afghanistan with no physical presence on the ground? President Biden assures us we have assets and know-how and resources to confront terrorists if they emerge to pose threats to us.

Thirteen of our military personnel died in that horrific suicide blast the other day. Joe Biden pledged to make ISIS “pay” for its act of terror. We struck ISIS with a drone strike, killing a couple of terrorist planners. Americans should applaud that effort. However, we still have human beings on the ground there.

In just a couple of days our presence will be gone.

What happens then? I know we have the best intelligence gatherers on Earth. Our director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, is among the best of the best at what she does. I retain faith in her ability and in those at the top of the Pentagon chain of command.

They will have to be on top of their game 24/7 … likely forever, if we’re going to remain safe from terrorists intent on doing bringing harm and misery to our shores.

I just hope they can do so “over the horizon.”


U.S. redoubles efforts to protect civilian lives

drone strikes

U.S. drone strikes have killed perhaps as many as 116 civilians since 2009, according to the White House.

What, then, is the response from the commander in chief, Barack Obama? He issued an executive order today that redoubles our military’s efforts to avoid killing civilians in future drone strikes.

I can hear it now from critics of the president.

*¬†He’s soft on terrorists.

*¬†Obama isn’t really committed to killing Islamic killers.

*¬†We’re trying to conduct a “politically correct” air war against these monsters.

It’s all crap!

What the executive order signifies to me is that we’re better than the bad guys, who actually target civilians. They seek to go after so-called “soft targets” at airport terminals, train stations, shopping malls, schools, residential neighborhoods.

Our aim in launching these manned and unmanned air strikes has been to take out military targets — which we are doing with considerable effectiveness.


The White House figures are at odds with some independent estimates of civilian deaths, which place the number a good bit greater.

However, let us not give short shrift to U.S. military policy that seeks to minimize these deaths.

Sure, we didn’t always follow that doctrine. U.S. aerial bombardments during World War II targeted civilian population centers specifically. But that was then.

We are able in this modern age to launch air strikes with remarkable precision and accuracy. Are they always successful? Are we able to carry these strikes without inflicting death and injury on civilians? Of course not.

We shouldn’t change our standards to match the barbarism committed by our enemies.

Jihadi John might have been turned into a pile of ash


The late, great heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis once said of an opponent, “He can run, but he can’t hide.”

So it is with terrorists. So, indeed, it might be with a particular monster who — one can hope —¬†has been¬†incinerated in a drone strike in Syria.

Mohammad Emwazi has been dubbed “Jihadi John.” He’s the guy on the viral videos seen beheading captives. To say he is an evil monster is to commit a gross understatement.

A U.S. drone reportedly hit a target where it is believed Emwazi was holed up. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Prime Minister David Cameron cannot guarantee he was there.

Emwazi is — or let us hope was — a British citizen. He was born in Kuwait, moved to the U.K. as a youngster, was raised in a middle-class family, got a good education and then became a radicalized Muslim. He joined the Islamic State and became the voice of the terror organization; he hasn’t been the face, because he hides behind a mask whenever he is recorded committing those barbaric acts.

Let’s be clear on one thing. If Emwazi in fact was vaporized in that air strike, we shouldn’t high-five each other for very long. There will be others who’ll take his place. Just as others have stepped up to replace Osama bin Laden, the world is full of men with evil intent in what passes for their hearts and one of them would step into Jihadi John’s shoes.

Still, let them continue to run. They all must know they cannot hide forever.


Another ISIL leader bites the dust; more to follow


A U.S. drone strike is believed to have killed the No. 2 goon in the Islamic State terror command.

His name was Haji Mutazz and he died on Aug. 18 when a drone launched a missile at his location.

Boom! He’s dead.

Let’s be clear about one terrible truth. It is that another goon likely will emerge to take his place. Does that mean we stop sending these missiles into places where the ISIL monsters are believed to be hiding? Not for a second.

Mutazz reportedly was riding in a car near Mosul when the drone took him out.

As one who strongly supports the use of these drones, I am glad to know they are capable of inflicting serious pain on this network of terrorist monsters.

Will there ever be an end to this ? My guess: Probably not, at least in the immediate term.

That’s all right. The more effective we are at launching these missiles either from unmanned platforms such as drone or by manned¬†fighter jets, the better off the world is without these individuals slithering among us.


Drone kills another al-Qaeda leader

Before we get too excited about news regarding the death of an al-Qaeda terrorist leader, let’s ponder the obvious.

Someone else is going to emerge to take this guy’s place.

And someone will emerge once we eliminate the new terrorist leader.

It’ll go on and on and on.


A drone strike killed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi. It’s been called the most significant death of a terrorist leader since the May 2011 commando raid killed Osama bin Laden.

That’s good news. The more leaders we kill, the fewer of them are left to take up arms against us.

Does it mean we’ve¬†wiped out¬†the recruiting pool? Hardly.

What we’re seeing, though, is the consequence of President George W. Bush’s declaration of war against international terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It’s a war that will go on long after those who are reading these words are gone. It’s a war we must fight, given that the terrorists started it with their heinous attack on us in 2001.

The question remaining though is: How will we know¬†when we’ve finished the fight?

The answer remains as elusive today as it was when this fight began.


War is far from a perfect endeavor

Two aid workers — an American and an Italian — are dead because a drone strike hit a suspected terrorist compound.

U.S. intelligence did not know the men were inside the target area. Does this mean the air campaign using unmanned drones is a failure? No. It means that intelligence at times is incorrect.


President Obama expressed his support for the U.S. intelligence network during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the melding of intelligence agencies into a single national intelligence department.

Walter Weinstein and Giovanni LoBianco were killed when a drone-launched missile hit the compound where al-Qaeda terrorists were holding them. President Obama has expressed regret and sorrow at the men’s deaths. But he stands behind the intelligence network.

Do they get everything right every single time? No. We’ve suffered through many intelligence failures over many years. Do you remember the intelligence that became the basis for launching the Iraq War in 2003? Do you remember the assurance that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was preparing to use them? It didn’t pan out that way.

Obama said: ‚ÄúOur first job is to make sure that we protect the American people. But there‚Äôs not a person that I talk to that‚Äôs involved in the intelligence community that also doesn‚Äôt understand that we have to do so while upholding our values and our ideals, and our laws and our constitutions, and our commitment to democracy.‚ÄĚ

No matter the scope of the failures involved in intelligence gathering, it’s always critical to remember that human beings analyze this data and that those analysts do make mistakes. Thankfully, it’s not often.

Does that lessen the tragedy that resulted in the deaths of the aid workers? No. It does require, as the president said, that the nation ‚Äúreview what happened. We‚Äôre going to identify the lessons that can be learned and any improvements and changes that can be made.‚ÄĚ


Drone takes out ex-American

Adam Pearlman was born to Jewish parents and raised on a California goat farm.

Then he changed his religion. He became a Muslim. Then he changed his name, to Adam Gadahn.

After all that, he joined a terrorist cult.

And in January, he was killed by an American drone strike. It apparently wasn’t planned, but he’s dead nonetheless. Americans — other than his family — shouldn’t be shedding a tear over this man’s death.

Count me as one American who scores his death as a victory in our war against international terrorism.


Gadahn was killed in a drone strike that reportedly also killed two hostages, and American and an Italian. For those two men’s deaths, President Obama rightly apologized “on behalf of the U.S. government.”

Gadahn, though, is a different matter. As some Texans might say, “He needed killin’.”

And yet, civil libertarians — and I count myself as one of them — keep arguing that the United States shouldn’t kill Americans without giving them due process.

I am prepared to argue that these terrorists no longer qualify as deserving equal protection under the laws of the land. They forgo those protections the moment they take up arms with an enemy forces hell bent on killing Americans or any other innocent victims.

Gadahn had forsaken his rights as a citizen when he decided to join al-Qaeda. He had turned his back on his country by becoming a spokesman for the late Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization, the monsters who plotted the 9/11 attacks and, thus, fired the first shot in what’s become known as the “global war on terrorism.”

Yes, we should mourn the deaths of innocent victims. I join those in grieving for the loss of the American and Italian hostages who were held captive by al-Qaeda.

But for the man formerly known as Adam Pearlman? I won’t grieve for a single moment.


No 'mistakes were made' apology

President Obama has taken full responsibility for the deaths of two hostages that had been held by al-Qaeda terrorists.

For that he deserves credit.


A drone strike in January targeted some terrorist leaders. Two men, one American and one Italian, also died in the strike.

The American was Warren Weinstein, an aid worker; the Italian was Giovanni Lo Porto. They had been captured by terrorists and, sadly, became the unintended victims of a strike aimed at killing enemies of the United States. The strike did kill some al-Qaeda leaders, but the president today had to own up to the deaths of the hostages.

“I realize there are no words that can ever equal their loss,” said Obama, who spoke with¬†Weinstein’s wife and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The deaths of the two men perhaps say¬†more about the nature of their captives than about the intelligence capabilities that preceded the drone strike. Obama said the best intelligence¬†gathered indicated the hostages¬†weren’t present in the¬†target area.

One of the al-Qaeda leaders killed in the strike were two Americans, Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn, who were described as leaders for the terror network.

And that brings to mind¬†another matter for which the United States¬†should not apologize: the killing of Americans who align themselves with enemies of their country. Farouq and Gadahn reportedly¬†were not¬†specific targets of the drone strike — to which I would ask: So¬†what if they were?

We’ve killed other Americans who’ve defected to terror organizations and the U.S. government need not apologize for those deaths, either. Those former Americans have all but renounced their citizenship by the mere act of joining these ghastly terrorist cults.

It’s been maddeningly common over the years to hear government officials hide behind that passive-voice “mistakes were made” admission of responsibility. The problem with that kind of delivery is that it absolves individuals or specific organizations of any blame — if it is warranted — for the act that occurred.

We did not hear that today, which is to the credit of a president who isn’t hiding behind rhetorical trickery.


'Take the fight to terrorists'

Bet on this: President Obama’s critics will say his statement today about how the United States plans to aid Iraq in its fight against Sunni insurgents is insufficient.

They know this, how?

I’m willing to give this strategy a try.


The president today announced the deployment of 300 military advisers who will guide the Iraqi armed forces on using the weapons we’ve given them to defend their country against the insurgency that has erupted.

The United States, Obama said, is ready to launch “targeted” attacks against Sunni military positions. When those attacks occur no doubt will be kept secret.

It’s fair to ask: What in the world is the political and/or military gain sending ground troops back to Iraq? The president believes we have nothing to gain by re-entering the battlefield. Sure, we could whip the Sunnis, force them to retreat, perhaps surrender … and then what? We’d leave yet again and the Sunni fighters would emerge from their hiding places to resume the fight.

Do we want to keep a residual force there — a la South Korea and Europe? What happens when the insurgents start targeting Americans? Do we start shooting again, thus reigniting a war we thought was over?

It’s been said time and again: This crisis requires a political solution, not a military one. The war we’ve been fighting since 9/11 is as unconventional as it gets. It’s a war against terrorists who know zero boundaries. We need to employ counter-terrorism measures, which we’ve been doing with considerable effectiveness.

While we’re on this subject, allow me this additional statement about the nation’s security.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and others have been yammering about the alleged “surrender” of American security to the bad guys. Have we been attacked the way we were on Sept. 11, 2001? No. Have our forces been killing and capturing terrorists? Yes. Did we exterminate the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden? Yes again.

Will this country be any safer if we send thousands of troops back into Iraq? I think not.

It’s time to force Iraqi political and military leaders to step up the fight and defend their country against those who seek to topple them. It’s their fight in their country. We can lend a hand. Our battlefield job is finished.

Global war on terror far from over

The standing down today of 21 U.S. embassies around the world because of so-called terrorist “chatter” has opened up a bit of a debate over whether President Obama said the “global war on terror is over.”

It also illustrates how headlines can be, well, a bit misleading.


The headline on this link illustrates the point.

It tells of speech Obama made in May in which he declared a significant change in U.S. strategy in fighting international terrorists. He vowed to end drone strikes, restated his intention to close the U.S. terrorist prison in Guantanamo, Cuba and declared that the global war as we’ve known it since 9/11 has come to an end.

But as I read the story contained in the attached link, I read that the president declared his intention to keep looking for bad guys, to keep searching for their hiding places and to kill or capture them whenever possible.

Yet, the president’s many critics in the conservative mainstream media keep harping on half-truths and keep trying to put words in his mouth in the wake of the embassy stand-down.

I’m pretty sure we’re going to remain at war with international terrorist organizations throughout the remainder of Barack Obama’s time in office and we’re going to keep fighting that war well into the next administration’s tenure in the White House. Heck, we might still be fighting them for the rest of all of our lives.

Our strategies do change, though, as circumstances warrant. That’s what I’m hearing the president say about the global war on terror.