Category: Elise Cooper

209003.png

9/11, 2018


Seventeen years have passed since the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  As the years pass, people’s memories of that gruesome day also fade.  It seems the potential for another 9/11 is not on Americans’ radar.  For many young people, born after the harrowing incident, it is not even a memory. 

Seventeen years is a long time for a collective consciousness, and there are issues more pressing to many.  Bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker, in his latest novel, Swift Vengeance, has this book quote: “The ghosts of 9/11 are not just Taucher’s.  They belong to all of us who get fooled.”  Parker explained, “We as a people need to be vigilant to protect ourselves from another 9/11 or San Bernardino.  U.S. citizens have short memories and are busy people with hectic lives.  We tend to forget things.  We are now back to our comfortable ways and perhaps do not keep an eye out, or pay attention.  Our beautiful free society is a blessing, but also our Achilles heel.”

American Thinker interviewed two former Special Forces officers, one currently working in the military; a retired FBI agent; and a retired high-ranking CIA official.  All agree with Parker, although they emphasize that security and intelligence services are as diligent as they have ever been, but it is now a challenge to make sure the American public, many politicians, and the press are as well.

Sean Parnell was a platoon leader in the Mountain Division, fighting in Afghanistan.  “While watching television, I saw an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center.  It was then that I decided to serve my country.  I was inspired by the selfless acts of Americans running into the building instead of away from it, trying to save people they did not even know.  After having to medically retire, I decided to become an author.  I wrote my non-fiction book, Outlaw Platoon, because I wanted to bridge the gap between those fighting and American civilians.  I hope Americans understood what my men went through on their behalf, fighting for their freedoms.  The novel, just released, Man of War, was written to awake Americans that there are terrorists still out there who want to kill us, and that all over the world, our military is still in the fight.”

Jose Rodriguez, Jr., the former CIA director of the National Clandestine Service and author of Hard Measures, believes that the mainstream media are so obsessed and distracted with President Trump that they do not focus their attention on terrorism.  He has a point, considering that recent attacks were never in the headlines. 

A former Special Operations officer reasons that most Americans do not have terrorism at the top of their list because “they have become immune to the small-scale attacks where only a few people die.  We have been successful in preventing the large-scale attacks by terrorist organizations.  If we look at the weekend tolls from shootings in Chicago every week, they are much higher than recent terrorist attacks.”

All those national security officials interviewed feel that bipartisanship, something that occurred shortly after 9/11, has dissipated.  They point to history, claiming that this has been going on for years.  Retired FBI agent and the first deputy assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division Terry Turchie, wants people to “read the Weather Underground model of operation, where they say that resistance means causing division, and it takes everyone’s attention from the real problems.  Just look at disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok.  He headed the Counterespionage Section and was the deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division. Instead of concentrating on protecting us against terrorism, he became part of the resistance movement.  He is nothing more than part of a political hit team.”

Rodriguez points to the Gina Haspel confirmation hearings.  “She was my right-hand person for four years.  Yet she had to swim upstream at the hearings, even though she is competent, thoughtful, and has great experience.”  He has a good argument, considering that many of the Democratic senators were sympathetic to the terrorists.  Democratic New Mexico senator Martin Heinrich asked her, “Do you think that a transcript that says the detainees continued to scream has the same gravity, the same reality of an actual video?”  Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) had the audacity to compare a CIA officer to a terrorist when asking, “If one of your operation officers was captured and subjected to waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques, would you consider that to be moral and good tradecraft?”

Maybe these senators should think about the screams of those 3,000 people on 9/11 as they plunged to their deaths, were burned alive, or were dismembered.  They need to consider that these bona fide American heroes, among whom Gina Haspel is included, men and women who serve in the intelligence agency, never get the heroic welcome or thanks they so rightly deserve for the risks they take.  Their names will never be known, and they will never receive the public gratitude so many others get.  There are no parades for these quiet professionals.  They also should be reminded that the first person to die in battle, defending this country right after 9/11, was Mike Spann, a CIA paramilitary officer, who was beaten to death by the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan as they screamed, “Allahu akbar.”

When asked about the next threat, all cited either cyber-security or the porous border.  They want secure borders and ports of entry.  The Special Forces operator told American Thinker, “You would think this should be a nonpartisan national security issue.  But today we cannot have a rational discussion because immediately people are accused of being racist.”

Rodriguez agrees: “People who want to do nefarious things can get into this country, which can lead to all types of problems.  If there is a capacity for drug-dealers, traffickers, and illegal immigrants to cross the border, it is certainly possible to be used for all types of bad activities.  If we have totally open borders, terrorists would just be able to drive through.”

Today, terrorist organizations overseas have been forced underground, which makes it harder for them to plan and execute attacks.  Everyone emphasizes that, working quietly behind the scenes, those in the military and the Intelligence Community are busy finding and assessing threats around the world.  Yet, because of their prosperity and security, many Americans are disconnected from those who are trying to keep them safe.  Since the threats are not as significant, there has been a loss of unity.  Rodriguez summarized it well: “In many ways, the fact terrorism is now on the back pages, this is positive.  As long as the intelligence community and our government officials are laser-focused, they will be able to force terrorists to keep their heads down, allowing us to view and find them.  Rather than having the media and some politicians second-guess our every move, the Intelligence Community is being left to do our jobs.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

Seventeen years have passed since the horrific events of September 11, 2001.  As the years pass, people’s memories of that gruesome day also fade.  It seems the potential for another 9/11 is not on Americans’ radar.  For many young people, born after the harrowing incident, it is not even a memory. 

Seventeen years is a long time for a collective consciousness, and there are issues more pressing to many.  Bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker, in his latest novel, Swift Vengeance, has this book quote: “The ghosts of 9/11 are not just Taucher’s.  They belong to all of us who get fooled.”  Parker explained, “We as a people need to be vigilant to protect ourselves from another 9/11 or San Bernardino.  U.S. citizens have short memories and are busy people with hectic lives.  We tend to forget things.  We are now back to our comfortable ways and perhaps do not keep an eye out, or pay attention.  Our beautiful free society is a blessing, but also our Achilles heel.”

American Thinker interviewed two former Special Forces officers, one currently working in the military; a retired FBI agent; and a retired high-ranking CIA official.  All agree with Parker, although they emphasize that security and intelligence services are as diligent as they have ever been, but it is now a challenge to make sure the American public, many politicians, and the press are as well.

Sean Parnell was a platoon leader in the Mountain Division, fighting in Afghanistan.  “While watching television, I saw an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center.  It was then that I decided to serve my country.  I was inspired by the selfless acts of Americans running into the building instead of away from it, trying to save people they did not even know.  After having to medically retire, I decided to become an author.  I wrote my non-fiction book, Outlaw Platoon, because I wanted to bridge the gap between those fighting and American civilians.  I hope Americans understood what my men went through on their behalf, fighting for their freedoms.  The novel, just released, Man of War, was written to awake Americans that there are terrorists still out there who want to kill us, and that all over the world, our military is still in the fight.”

Jose Rodriguez, Jr., the former CIA director of the National Clandestine Service and author of Hard Measures, believes that the mainstream media are so obsessed and distracted with President Trump that they do not focus their attention on terrorism.  He has a point, considering that recent attacks were never in the headlines. 

A former Special Operations officer reasons that most Americans do not have terrorism at the top of their list because “they have become immune to the small-scale attacks where only a few people die.  We have been successful in preventing the large-scale attacks by terrorist organizations.  If we look at the weekend tolls from shootings in Chicago every week, they are much higher than recent terrorist attacks.”

All those national security officials interviewed feel that bipartisanship, something that occurred shortly after 9/11, has dissipated.  They point to history, claiming that this has been going on for years.  Retired FBI agent and the first deputy assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division Terry Turchie, wants people to “read the Weather Underground model of operation, where they say that resistance means causing division, and it takes everyone’s attention from the real problems.  Just look at disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok.  He headed the Counterespionage Section and was the deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division. Instead of concentrating on protecting us against terrorism, he became part of the resistance movement.  He is nothing more than part of a political hit team.”

Rodriguez points to the Gina Haspel confirmation hearings.  “She was my right-hand person for four years.  Yet she had to swim upstream at the hearings, even though she is competent, thoughtful, and has great experience.”  He has a good argument, considering that many of the Democratic senators were sympathetic to the terrorists.  Democratic New Mexico senator Martin Heinrich asked her, “Do you think that a transcript that says the detainees continued to scream has the same gravity, the same reality of an actual video?”  Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) had the audacity to compare a CIA officer to a terrorist when asking, “If one of your operation officers was captured and subjected to waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques, would you consider that to be moral and good tradecraft?”

Maybe these senators should think about the screams of those 3,000 people on 9/11 as they plunged to their deaths, were burned alive, or were dismembered.  They need to consider that these bona fide American heroes, among whom Gina Haspel is included, men and women who serve in the intelligence agency, never get the heroic welcome or thanks they so rightly deserve for the risks they take.  Their names will never be known, and they will never receive the public gratitude so many others get.  There are no parades for these quiet professionals.  They also should be reminded that the first person to die in battle, defending this country right after 9/11, was Mike Spann, a CIA paramilitary officer, who was beaten to death by the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan as they screamed, “Allahu akbar.”

When asked about the next threat, all cited either cyber-security or the porous border.  They want secure borders and ports of entry.  The Special Forces operator told American Thinker, “You would think this should be a nonpartisan national security issue.  But today we cannot have a rational discussion because immediately people are accused of being racist.”

Rodriguez agrees: “People who want to do nefarious things can get into this country, which can lead to all types of problems.  If there is a capacity for drug-dealers, traffickers, and illegal immigrants to cross the border, it is certainly possible to be used for all types of bad activities.  If we have totally open borders, terrorists would just be able to drive through.”

Today, terrorist organizations overseas have been forced underground, which makes it harder for them to plan and execute attacks.  Everyone emphasizes that, working quietly behind the scenes, those in the military and the Intelligence Community are busy finding and assessing threats around the world.  Yet, because of their prosperity and security, many Americans are disconnected from those who are trying to keep them safe.  Since the threats are not as significant, there has been a loss of unity.  Rodriguez summarized it well: “In many ways, the fact terrorism is now on the back pages, this is positive.  As long as the intelligence community and our government officials are laser-focused, they will be able to force terrorists to keep their heads down, allowing us to view and find them.  Rather than having the media and some politicians second-guess our every move, the Intelligence Community is being left to do our jobs.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

The Murder of Eagles


Eagles are dying at alarming rates.  Not because of any disease, not because of hunters, but due to green energy.  This includes America’s national emblem, the bald eagle, chosen in 1782 because of its long life, majestic looks, and great strength.

Wind turbines, consisting of 212-foot towers with arms 116 feet long that cover an enormous area as the blades rotate, are taking their lives.  The outer tips of some turbines’ blades can reach speeds of 179 mph.  It’s horrific to see the bird’s wing cut off by the knife blade whipping down upon it.

The EIS (environment impact study) allows wind energy facilities to cumulatively kill up to 4,200 bald eagles and 2,000 golden eagles annually with no prosecution.  In 2009, the Obama administration decided to increase wind energy substantially.  The Department of Energy directed the Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to make sure that wind energy development was not impeded by public concern for the eagles being killed by the large wind turbines.  As C.J. Box explains in his novel, The Disappeared, these agencies offer “take permits” that allow wind energy companies to take a certain amount of bald and golden eagles’ lives, legally, without penalty.

Michael and Jocelyn Barker, who have worked tirelessly to save these birds, told American Thinker, “While there are many wind energy projects, we are only aware of two operating projects that have an eagle ‘take’ permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  These permits are not required.  The companies only get in trouble if they are caught, so most of them don’t bother to have permits.  It appears they have elected to take their chances that they won’t get caught.  Many in the wind energy business have closed their eyes to birds dying, have not obtained permits, and don’t collect any evidence that might be self-incriminating.  The permit would at least require each wind energy project to prepare some sort of eagle management-conservation program.  We are only aware of two wind projects that have been criminally charged by federal prosecutors.”

An interesting fact is that many of the so-called liberals are the ones behind the killings.  One of those fined was Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway Energy in Wyoming.  The Barkers also told of a Raptor Research Foundation Journal article by a number of respected scientists who concluded that between 1,000 and 2,000 golden eagles have been killed at the nearby California Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area since the completion of the facility in 1987, the place from where Google gets a lot of its electricity.  Yet Donald Trump was chastised when he said this during the 2016 campaign: “[t]here are places for wind, but if you go to various places in California, wind is killing all of the eagles[.] … You know, if you shoot an eagle, if you kill an eagle, they want to put you in jail for five years.  And yet the windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles.”

Michael Hutchins, the director of the Bird Smart Wind Energy Campaign, was quoted: “[a]lternative energy is not ‘green’ if it is killing hundreds or thousands or millions of birds annually.  Our wildlife should not be collateral damage in our effort to combat climate change, nor does it have to be.  Improved regulation and science leading to proper sighting, effective mitigation, and compensation would go a long way to address this conflict.”

Those who want to hunt with eagles feel they are unfairly prohibited from doing it because the government agencies are acquiescing to the wind companies.  They are upset because they do not feel that the regulations are even-handed or fair, especially since they are the ones taking care of the birds, not killing them.  Essentially, the birds are their guns.  Eagles are sent up into the sky, where they spot and kill prey.  The falconer then trades the prey for some other kind of meat.  It is a way man hunted before guns.

The Barkers explained, “Between 1996 thru 2008, falconers were allowed to trap immature golden eagles in Wyoming in areas where ranchers were experiencing documented eagle predation on lambs.  Everything went along okay until 2009.  Ranchers benefited from having fewer golden eagles eating their lambs.  Wyoming Game and Fish got a small benefit from having a few less golden eagles eating sage grouse.  Falconers got a small number of very healthy immature Wyoming eagles to hunt with.  The eagles got to live a good life with a falconer rather than getting shot or poisoned.  But then the USFWS stopped falconer access to young golden eagles, until now. The current leadership at USFWS is listening to our concerns, and eagle falconers are more hopeful than we have been since 2009.”

Since eagles thrive in the wind, they are naturally drawn to areas where these wind turbines are set up.  Too bad these wind companies are not forced to replace their existing blades with new technology that would save eagles’ lives.  It appears that green energy trumps the eagles, and money speaks the loudest.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

Eagles are dying at alarming rates.  Not because of any disease, not because of hunters, but due to green energy.  This includes America’s national emblem, the bald eagle, chosen in 1782 because of its long life, majestic looks, and great strength.

Wind turbines, consisting of 212-foot towers with arms 116 feet long that cover an enormous area as the blades rotate, are taking their lives.  The outer tips of some turbines’ blades can reach speeds of 179 mph.  It’s horrific to see the bird’s wing cut off by the knife blade whipping down upon it.

The EIS (environment impact study) allows wind energy facilities to cumulatively kill up to 4,200 bald eagles and 2,000 golden eagles annually with no prosecution.  In 2009, the Obama administration decided to increase wind energy substantially.  The Department of Energy directed the Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to make sure that wind energy development was not impeded by public concern for the eagles being killed by the large wind turbines.  As C.J. Box explains in his novel, The Disappeared, these agencies offer “take permits” that allow wind energy companies to take a certain amount of bald and golden eagles’ lives, legally, without penalty.

Michael and Jocelyn Barker, who have worked tirelessly to save these birds, told American Thinker, “While there are many wind energy projects, we are only aware of two operating projects that have an eagle ‘take’ permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  These permits are not required.  The companies only get in trouble if they are caught, so most of them don’t bother to have permits.  It appears they have elected to take their chances that they won’t get caught.  Many in the wind energy business have closed their eyes to birds dying, have not obtained permits, and don’t collect any evidence that might be self-incriminating.  The permit would at least require each wind energy project to prepare some sort of eagle management-conservation program.  We are only aware of two wind projects that have been criminally charged by federal prosecutors.”

An interesting fact is that many of the so-called liberals are the ones behind the killings.  One of those fined was Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway Energy in Wyoming.  The Barkers also told of a Raptor Research Foundation Journal article by a number of respected scientists who concluded that between 1,000 and 2,000 golden eagles have been killed at the nearby California Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area since the completion of the facility in 1987, the place from where Google gets a lot of its electricity.  Yet Donald Trump was chastised when he said this during the 2016 campaign: “[t]here are places for wind, but if you go to various places in California, wind is killing all of the eagles[.] … You know, if you shoot an eagle, if you kill an eagle, they want to put you in jail for five years.  And yet the windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles.”

Michael Hutchins, the director of the Bird Smart Wind Energy Campaign, was quoted: “[a]lternative energy is not ‘green’ if it is killing hundreds or thousands or millions of birds annually.  Our wildlife should not be collateral damage in our effort to combat climate change, nor does it have to be.  Improved regulation and science leading to proper sighting, effective mitigation, and compensation would go a long way to address this conflict.”

Those who want to hunt with eagles feel they are unfairly prohibited from doing it because the government agencies are acquiescing to the wind companies.  They are upset because they do not feel that the regulations are even-handed or fair, especially since they are the ones taking care of the birds, not killing them.  Essentially, the birds are their guns.  Eagles are sent up into the sky, where they spot and kill prey.  The falconer then trades the prey for some other kind of meat.  It is a way man hunted before guns.

The Barkers explained, “Between 1996 thru 2008, falconers were allowed to trap immature golden eagles in Wyoming in areas where ranchers were experiencing documented eagle predation on lambs.  Everything went along okay until 2009.  Ranchers benefited from having fewer golden eagles eating their lambs.  Wyoming Game and Fish got a small benefit from having a few less golden eagles eating sage grouse.  Falconers got a small number of very healthy immature Wyoming eagles to hunt with.  The eagles got to live a good life with a falconer rather than getting shot or poisoned.  But then the USFWS stopped falconer access to young golden eagles, until now. The current leadership at USFWS is listening to our concerns, and eagle falconers are more hopeful than we have been since 2009.”

Since eagles thrive in the wind, they are naturally drawn to areas where these wind turbines are set up.  Too bad these wind companies are not forced to replace their existing blades with new technology that would save eagles’ lives.  It appears that green energy trumps the eagles, and money speaks the loudest.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

Nancy Reagan: A Complicated Woman


Melania Trump can learn from the example of Nancy Reagan, who was also made fun of by the press and those in the left.  In a just released book, Lady in Red. An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan, Sheila Tate tells how Nancy Reagan was referred to as the Dragon Lady and seen as cold, snobbish, and standoffish.  In fact, she was just the opposite.

Tate, who was the former first lady’s press secretary for the first four years of the administration, describes Nancy as reserved, thoughtful, and soft-spoken, with a great sense of humor.  She told American Thinker, “Nancy and I became close personal friends after I left the White House.  At her memorial service, many people came up to me and said, ‘We wish others saw her like we did.’  This planted a seed, and the result is this book.”

There are a lot of similarities between her and another first lady: Jackie Kennedy.  Both had grace and a strong sense of humor that was not seen often publicly, and both were criticized for their expensive wardrobes.  Tate tells of how Jackie wrote Nancy a letter shortly after Ronald Reagan was elected president.  “Jackie was one of the first people to call Nancy after the election to give her the benefit of her experience.  After that private meeting, both met several more times, and Nancy told of how much she appreciated what Jackie did.  I think they really liked each other.  Compare that to when the Clintons were elected.  Nancy reached out to Hillary, writing her a personal note and offering to help the new first lady in any way she could.  Nancy told me Hillary never even responded and said she would have absolutely no use for her after that.”

One of the best recollections in the book is when Nancy brought the media elite to their feet.  “I wanted to write this because it describes Nancy’s ability to make fun of herself with such a great sense of humor.  She changed her image overnight with her surprise appearance on stage at the Gridiron Club.  It hosts an annual dinner where various members of the press and elected officials have skits and speeches that usually make fun of people.  I knew Nancy was going to be the target and they were going to hammer her.  The reporters were going to sing a song mocking her as they changed the lyrics to ‘Second Hand Rose.’  Some of the words: ‘I never wear a rock more than just once.  I sure miss Rodeo Drive.  We’re living like kings.  So what if Ronnie’s cutting back on welfare?’  I suggested she dress up as someone with no taste in fashion, and we keep it a secret from most everyone, including the president.  She was all in to come onstage and sing our own version.  As applause for the press started, Nancy came onstage behind a rack of clothes.  She is wearing plaids and stripes, colors that do not match, a raggedy hat and rubber boots, mismatched and ill-fitting clothes.  Some of the words she sang: ‘Even my new trench coat with fur collar, Ronnie bought for ten cents on the dollar.  Secondhand gowns, and old hand-me downs.’  She rehearsed that constantly, even keeping President Reagan from knowing.  After she finished, there was the demand for an encore in which she obliged.  She was just masterful.  The president was so excited and laughed heartily.”

Another comparison is how Jackie and Nancy were de facto diplomats.  Most everyone remembers the famous line by JFK about Jackie while in Paris: “I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I enjoyed it.”  But many do not know of the line by the Premier Deng Xiaoping when the Reagans traveled to China.  Tate recalls, “He actually flirted with her, inviting her to return to visit again, but without President Reagan.  He also thanked her personally for launching a campaign where children across the U.S. collected and sent pennies to her for the Chinese Pandas.  The children’s contribution went toward buying bamboo, which was in short supply in China.”

Nancy Reagan was a pioneer in using her power as first lady to make an impact on issues: “Once a first lady recognizes her power to influence opinions, she learns to draw her audience in and, before they know it, make them her allies.”  She had a deep commitment to ending drug abuse and refused staff suggestions to pursue an alternative.  Tate noted, “Her answer: ‘If I am going to pursue something four to eight years, it has to be something I care about.’  I think after a dear friend lost a daughter to drugs, she took up the mantle.  She took the spotlight that shined on her and turned it around to have it shine on this issue.  It was important to Nancy to try and prevent young children from experimenting with drugs.  She did not stop here, but enlisted the first ladies’ help around the globe.  They attended a conference together in Atlanta, Georgia and met again at the United Nations.”

When asked her opinion on Melania Trump and her issue of bullying, Tate’s advice: “I think Nancy Reagan would tell her to take her time.  She needs to talk more about bullying and has to get involved in a program or groups that have the same objective.  If she were interested in the opiate epidemic, she might be very effective.  But whatever issue, she needs to become more involved.  People forget that Mrs. Reagan traveled weeks in every month to speak on the drug abuse issue.”

Nancy Reagan was very much her own person.  For example, she stood her ground when asked about the Equal Rights Amendment.  Although she did favor equal rights for women, she was against a constitutional amendment.  Yet there were other instances when she played the press.  At a wedding after the Reagans had left office, where there was a majority of liberals, she was asked to dance by a lesbian.  Nancy did not skip a beat, but responded, “Only if you lead,” and proceeded to dance.

Anyone reading this book will see the other side of Nancy Reagan.  She was not only a loving wife, but also a first lady who made an impact.  She even gained the respect of many in the White House press corps.  This book is a glimpse into the life of a complicated woman who had much more depth and grace than she was ever given credit for.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

Melania Trump can learn from the example of Nancy Reagan, who was also made fun of by the press and those in the left.  In a just released book, Lady in Red. An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan, Sheila Tate tells how Nancy Reagan was referred to as the Dragon Lady and seen as cold, snobbish, and standoffish.  In fact, she was just the opposite.

Tate, who was the former first lady’s press secretary for the first four years of the administration, describes Nancy as reserved, thoughtful, and soft-spoken, with a great sense of humor.  She told American Thinker, “Nancy and I became close personal friends after I left the White House.  At her memorial service, many people came up to me and said, ‘We wish others saw her like we did.’  This planted a seed, and the result is this book.”

There are a lot of similarities between her and another first lady: Jackie Kennedy.  Both had grace and a strong sense of humor that was not seen often publicly, and both were criticized for their expensive wardrobes.  Tate tells of how Jackie wrote Nancy a letter shortly after Ronald Reagan was elected president.  “Jackie was one of the first people to call Nancy after the election to give her the benefit of her experience.  After that private meeting, both met several more times, and Nancy told of how much she appreciated what Jackie did.  I think they really liked each other.  Compare that to when the Clintons were elected.  Nancy reached out to Hillary, writing her a personal note and offering to help the new first lady in any way she could.  Nancy told me Hillary never even responded and said she would have absolutely no use for her after that.”

One of the best recollections in the book is when Nancy brought the media elite to their feet.  “I wanted to write this because it describes Nancy’s ability to make fun of herself with such a great sense of humor.  She changed her image overnight with her surprise appearance on stage at the Gridiron Club.  It hosts an annual dinner where various members of the press and elected officials have skits and speeches that usually make fun of people.  I knew Nancy was going to be the target and they were going to hammer her.  The reporters were going to sing a song mocking her as they changed the lyrics to ‘Second Hand Rose.’  Some of the words: ‘I never wear a rock more than just once.  I sure miss Rodeo Drive.  We’re living like kings.  So what if Ronnie’s cutting back on welfare?’  I suggested she dress up as someone with no taste in fashion, and we keep it a secret from most everyone, including the president.  She was all in to come onstage and sing our own version.  As applause for the press started, Nancy came onstage behind a rack of clothes.  She is wearing plaids and stripes, colors that do not match, a raggedy hat and rubber boots, mismatched and ill-fitting clothes.  Some of the words she sang: ‘Even my new trench coat with fur collar, Ronnie bought for ten cents on the dollar.  Secondhand gowns, and old hand-me downs.’  She rehearsed that constantly, even keeping President Reagan from knowing.  After she finished, there was the demand for an encore in which she obliged.  She was just masterful.  The president was so excited and laughed heartily.”

Another comparison is how Jackie and Nancy were de facto diplomats.  Most everyone remembers the famous line by JFK about Jackie while in Paris: “I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I enjoyed it.”  But many do not know of the line by the Premier Deng Xiaoping when the Reagans traveled to China.  Tate recalls, “He actually flirted with her, inviting her to return to visit again, but without President Reagan.  He also thanked her personally for launching a campaign where children across the U.S. collected and sent pennies to her for the Chinese Pandas.  The children’s contribution went toward buying bamboo, which was in short supply in China.”

Nancy Reagan was a pioneer in using her power as first lady to make an impact on issues: “Once a first lady recognizes her power to influence opinions, she learns to draw her audience in and, before they know it, make them her allies.”  She had a deep commitment to ending drug abuse and refused staff suggestions to pursue an alternative.  Tate noted, “Her answer: ‘If I am going to pursue something four to eight years, it has to be something I care about.’  I think after a dear friend lost a daughter to drugs, she took up the mantle.  She took the spotlight that shined on her and turned it around to have it shine on this issue.  It was important to Nancy to try and prevent young children from experimenting with drugs.  She did not stop here, but enlisted the first ladies’ help around the globe.  They attended a conference together in Atlanta, Georgia and met again at the United Nations.”

When asked her opinion on Melania Trump and her issue of bullying, Tate’s advice: “I think Nancy Reagan would tell her to take her time.  She needs to talk more about bullying and has to get involved in a program or groups that have the same objective.  If she were interested in the opiate epidemic, she might be very effective.  But whatever issue, she needs to become more involved.  People forget that Mrs. Reagan traveled weeks in every month to speak on the drug abuse issue.”

Nancy Reagan was very much her own person.  For example, she stood her ground when asked about the Equal Rights Amendment.  Although she did favor equal rights for women, she was against a constitutional amendment.  Yet there were other instances when she played the press.  At a wedding after the Reagans had left office, where there was a majority of liberals, she was asked to dance by a lesbian.  Nancy did not skip a beat, but responded, “Only if you lead,” and proceeded to dance.

Anyone reading this book will see the other side of Nancy Reagan.  She was not only a loving wife, but also a first lady who made an impact.  She even gained the respect of many in the White House press corps.  This book is a glimpse into the life of a complicated woman who had much more depth and grace than she was ever given credit for.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

The Most Amazing Special Forces Fighters You've Never Heard Of


On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists horrifically attacked the United States, killing 2,996 people, injuring over 6,000, and causing $10 billion in infrastructure damage.  President George W. Bush in addressing the nation stated how “these acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”  This was no more evident than when U.S. Special Forces teams were deployed as a first response to what happened on 9/11.  A recent movie, 12 Strong, based on the book by Doug Stanton, Horse Soldiers, documents those soldiers’ stories.

A former Green Beret, Scott Neil was part of a specialized direct action unit assigned to infiltrate Afghanistan.  He was one of the select few, from the U.S. Army’s 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), to put America’s first “boots on THE ground” in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Neil told American Thinker, “We have always been the silent warriors, deploying around the world.  In this case, we felt vengefulness, pride, and wanted justice.  Our mission was to kill or capture al-Qaeda and Taliban senior leadership.  There was a military-centric focus, which unfortunately has now morphed to provide stability to the Afghan government and infrastructure.  Back then we tried not to appear as American soldiers and used transportation similar to what the tribes used.  Today, the infiltration is a twelve-vehicle convoy that wear uniforms alien to the environment.  When we first went in, we used a low-visibility footprint, integrating with the population, with the Afghans as the primary force.  We were there to train, advise, and assist.”

This small band of Green Berets was the strategy chosen by Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, instead of a large conventional force.  Stanton wanted to show through the movie and book how “the Special Forces are skilled in language and will use the cultural and religious aspects of that community to their advantage.  They are able to react quickly to a changing environment that has a lot of variables.”  Neil concurs: “We brought together these warring tribal factions to support our objective, and used surprise, speed, and energy.”

Using the model of blending in with the insurgency, they fought alongside those fighting the Taliban.  There, tribes, whom Stanton calls “the resistance fighters, were known as the Northern Alliance.  I think Afghanistan is really a state and not a nation, with many autonomous regions that are divided up along ethnic lines.  Within months, the Green Berets, along with the tribes and air support, were able to destroy the Taliban and chase bin Laden into Pakistan.  Part of the reason for their success was using unconventional warfare and direct action.  They were covert, grew beards to blend in with the force they are fighting alongside.”

These special warriors were not subjected to the disastrous rules of engagement of the Obama days.  Instead, they were given the authority to make unconventional decisions.  Stanton wrote how “the captain was able to make pretty big decisions on the part of the U.S. along with his counterpart, the Afghan general, who actually participated in the battle instead of sitting on the sidelines.  One decision made was to ride alongside their Afghan counterparts on horses.   These horse soldiers combined cavalry warfare with twenty-first-century aerial bombardment technology to defeat the enemy.”

Neil explained, “Those that did ride had no cavalry training.  The only one who knew how to ride a horse was the captain, who had a rodeo scholarship at the University of Kansas.  The others learned on the spot, as they ate what the Afghans ate, fought as they fought, and used the horses as a form of transportation as they did.  All of us who went into Afghanistan during the early days, the ‘horsemen’ and those of us who did not ride horses, were a very small, highly trained, and highly skilled group that was given a very broad mission with limited technologies.”

Both the movie and book chronicle how dangerous it was for the American forces, considering they did not always know who the bad guys were and who the good guys were.  A quote from Horse Soldiers hammers the point home: “[t]he teams were now surrounded by the very soldiers whom minutes earlier, they had been planning to kill.”

Both book and movie account for how the Taliban is pure evil.  Taliban fighters forced youngsters to fight for them by threatening to kill their families.  General Abdul Rashid Dostum, from the Afghan Northern Alliance, refused “to live in a country where a man can’t drink vodka and where women can’t wear skirts or go to school.  The Taliban had marched into the city of Mazar, laid waste, killing an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people.”

Unfortunately, these silent warriors never get the recognition they so rightly deserve.  Stanton captured this problem with a scene in the book, where one of the Special Forces soldiers, Ben Milo, is dropped off late at night in the middle of a U.S. park and has to call his wife to pick him up.  He wants Americans to understand that these silent Special Forces “never received a bona fide public homecoming celebration like the kind the guys in the regular Army got.  There are no parades for these quiet professionals.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists horrifically attacked the United States, killing 2,996 people, injuring over 6,000, and causing $10 billion in infrastructure damage.  President George W. Bush in addressing the nation stated how “these acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”  This was no more evident than when U.S. Special Forces teams were deployed as a first response to what happened on 9/11.  A recent movie, 12 Strong, based on the book by Doug Stanton, Horse Soldiers, documents those soldiers’ stories.

A former Green Beret, Scott Neil was part of a specialized direct action unit assigned to infiltrate Afghanistan.  He was one of the select few, from the U.S. Army’s 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), to put America’s first “boots on THE ground” in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Neil told American Thinker, “We have always been the silent warriors, deploying around the world.  In this case, we felt vengefulness, pride, and wanted justice.  Our mission was to kill or capture al-Qaeda and Taliban senior leadership.  There was a military-centric focus, which unfortunately has now morphed to provide stability to the Afghan government and infrastructure.  Back then we tried not to appear as American soldiers and used transportation similar to what the tribes used.  Today, the infiltration is a twelve-vehicle convoy that wear uniforms alien to the environment.  When we first went in, we used a low-visibility footprint, integrating with the population, with the Afghans as the primary force.  We were there to train, advise, and assist.”

This small band of Green Berets was the strategy chosen by Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, instead of a large conventional force.  Stanton wanted to show through the movie and book how “the Special Forces are skilled in language and will use the cultural and religious aspects of that community to their advantage.  They are able to react quickly to a changing environment that has a lot of variables.”  Neil concurs: “We brought together these warring tribal factions to support our objective, and used surprise, speed, and energy.”

Using the model of blending in with the insurgency, they fought alongside those fighting the Taliban.  There, tribes, whom Stanton calls “the resistance fighters, were known as the Northern Alliance.  I think Afghanistan is really a state and not a nation, with many autonomous regions that are divided up along ethnic lines.  Within months, the Green Berets, along with the tribes and air support, were able to destroy the Taliban and chase bin Laden into Pakistan.  Part of the reason for their success was using unconventional warfare and direct action.  They were covert, grew beards to blend in with the force they are fighting alongside.”

These special warriors were not subjected to the disastrous rules of engagement of the Obama days.  Instead, they were given the authority to make unconventional decisions.  Stanton wrote how “the captain was able to make pretty big decisions on the part of the U.S. along with his counterpart, the Afghan general, who actually participated in the battle instead of sitting on the sidelines.  One decision made was to ride alongside their Afghan counterparts on horses.   These horse soldiers combined cavalry warfare with twenty-first-century aerial bombardment technology to defeat the enemy.”

Neil explained, “Those that did ride had no cavalry training.  The only one who knew how to ride a horse was the captain, who had a rodeo scholarship at the University of Kansas.  The others learned on the spot, as they ate what the Afghans ate, fought as they fought, and used the horses as a form of transportation as they did.  All of us who went into Afghanistan during the early days, the ‘horsemen’ and those of us who did not ride horses, were a very small, highly trained, and highly skilled group that was given a very broad mission with limited technologies.”

Both the movie and book chronicle how dangerous it was for the American forces, considering they did not always know who the bad guys were and who the good guys were.  A quote from Horse Soldiers hammers the point home: “[t]he teams were now surrounded by the very soldiers whom minutes earlier, they had been planning to kill.”

Both book and movie account for how the Taliban is pure evil.  Taliban fighters forced youngsters to fight for them by threatening to kill their families.  General Abdul Rashid Dostum, from the Afghan Northern Alliance, refused “to live in a country where a man can’t drink vodka and where women can’t wear skirts or go to school.  The Taliban had marched into the city of Mazar, laid waste, killing an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people.”

Unfortunately, these silent warriors never get the recognition they so rightly deserve.  Stanton captured this problem with a scene in the book, where one of the Special Forces soldiers, Ben Milo, is dropped off late at night in the middle of a U.S. park and has to call his wife to pick him up.  He wants Americans to understand that these silent Special Forces “never received a bona fide public homecoming celebration like the kind the guys in the regular Army got.  There are no parades for these quiet professionals.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

In Search of Liberty


In Search of Liberty takes viewers on a patriotic journey showing the importance of the U.S. Constitution and its amendments.  It educates and reminds people the values the Founding Fathers wanted to emphasize: civil liberties and limited government. 

It begins with the famous Nancy Pelosi quote, that we must “pass the bill to find out what is in it,” and how President Obama said he was going to use pen and phone to sign executive orders.  In other words, who needs Congress to pass legislation?  The important point to consider is that education has fallen into the hands of those who want to keep the people ignorant.  The video shows both Democratic and Republican presidents during their inaugurations being sworn in and stating they will “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  That’s a far cry from what Pelosi and President Obama did.

Norm Novitsky, the director and producer, told American Thinker, “The United States of America is governed by a written Constitution, a landmark legal, philosophical, and political document that greatly limits the power of government; safeguards certain individual rights, such as freedom of expression and freedom of religion; and establishes a system of ‘checks and balances.’  It should be a bipartisan document.  Unfortunately, Hollywood would not want to distribute the movie because of the subject matter, so we decided to use a robust social media campaign and do it ourselves.”

The movie has Benjamin Franklin coming back to life, emphasizing how “[a]n investment in knowledge pays the best interest” to a modern-day family who is ignorant about the supreme law of the U.S.  Key aspects of the Constitution are outlined, and important amendments, such as those guaranteeing freedom of religion and speech, the right to bear arms, warrants for search and seizure, and states’ rights, are shown to be vital in everyday life.  The Ellis family is enlightened on how a document that undergirded our country over two centuries ago continues to shape and define our modern nation.  The U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and amendments are the forces that separate and balance the powers of government, safeguarding the rights of individuals and majority rule.

The reason for having Ben Franklin as the Founding Father who would guide people through the key elements of the Constitution: “[w]e wanted someone with a lot of interesting attributes including his use of gadgets.  We were able to have a 21st-century dimension using cars and other technology.”

The film explains the rule of law by making interesting points using football and poker games.  It shows how people get upset if there is cheating or if the rules are not enforced.  People in their everyday lives want to adhere to the rules, yet, when it comes to the most important rules of the land, many ignore the Constitution and feel that it is misguided as well as outdated.  Novitsky noted, “When representation favors a certain group and disregards the Constitution, it is similar to a sports event where the referee shows bias.  The point I wanted to make is that the Constitution should not be favoring any one person or group.”

After seeing the movie, many should consider what is happening today.  Novitsky wants Americans to understand that the president should be the one to execute the laws that Congress legislates.  During the interview, the issue of DACA was brought up, where President Trump is blamed for causing the problem.  Too bad more people do not watch this movie, because just maybe they would understand that the president is actually following the Constitution as he forces Congress to do its job. 

Another issue addressed is the 2nd Amendment.  Today, the president and others speak of reasonable gun control.  The film has a quote: “[t]he problem with gun crimes is that people blame the guns.”  In other words, the gun is a tool.  After watching this scene, people might think of other tools that will not work if not for the person.  Take, for example, a pen.  If both a gun and a pen are placed on a table, nothing happens.  A person needs to pick up a pen, click it, and then actually point it to the paper for it to work.  Similarly, a person needs to pick up a gun, point it at a person, pull the trigger.  So is it the object that is to blame or the person?

Novitsky strongly believes that people must be aware of their constitutional rights.  He stated, “George Washington said the Constitution is the people’s only keeper and that ‘the power under the Constitution will always be in the people.’  Our first president did not say the government, but referred to the people.”  This is happening today, when Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and other companies have decided on their own, and are not forced by the government, to have reasonable ways they will sell guns.”

What he hopes to achieve with this movie is to “help people to rediscover the Constitution and bring it back into the hearts and minds of all people.  After all, it was Thomas Jefferson who said, ‘The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution,’ and that it is important to ‘educate and inform the whole mass of people[.] … They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.'”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

In Search of Liberty takes viewers on a patriotic journey showing the importance of the U.S. Constitution and its amendments.  It educates and reminds people the values the Founding Fathers wanted to emphasize: civil liberties and limited government. 

It begins with the famous Nancy Pelosi quote, that we must “pass the bill to find out what is in it,” and how President Obama said he was going to use pen and phone to sign executive orders.  In other words, who needs Congress to pass legislation?  The important point to consider is that education has fallen into the hands of those who want to keep the people ignorant.  The video shows both Democratic and Republican presidents during their inaugurations being sworn in and stating they will “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  That’s a far cry from what Pelosi and President Obama did.

Norm Novitsky, the director and producer, told American Thinker, “The United States of America is governed by a written Constitution, a landmark legal, philosophical, and political document that greatly limits the power of government; safeguards certain individual rights, such as freedom of expression and freedom of religion; and establishes a system of ‘checks and balances.’  It should be a bipartisan document.  Unfortunately, Hollywood would not want to distribute the movie because of the subject matter, so we decided to use a robust social media campaign and do it ourselves.”

The movie has Benjamin Franklin coming back to life, emphasizing how “[a]n investment in knowledge pays the best interest” to a modern-day family who is ignorant about the supreme law of the U.S.  Key aspects of the Constitution are outlined, and important amendments, such as those guaranteeing freedom of religion and speech, the right to bear arms, warrants for search and seizure, and states’ rights, are shown to be vital in everyday life.  The Ellis family is enlightened on how a document that undergirded our country over two centuries ago continues to shape and define our modern nation.  The U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and amendments are the forces that separate and balance the powers of government, safeguarding the rights of individuals and majority rule.

The reason for having Ben Franklin as the Founding Father who would guide people through the key elements of the Constitution: “[w]e wanted someone with a lot of interesting attributes including his use of gadgets.  We were able to have a 21st-century dimension using cars and other technology.”

The film explains the rule of law by making interesting points using football and poker games.  It shows how people get upset if there is cheating or if the rules are not enforced.  People in their everyday lives want to adhere to the rules, yet, when it comes to the most important rules of the land, many ignore the Constitution and feel that it is misguided as well as outdated.  Novitsky noted, “When representation favors a certain group and disregards the Constitution, it is similar to a sports event where the referee shows bias.  The point I wanted to make is that the Constitution should not be favoring any one person or group.”

After seeing the movie, many should consider what is happening today.  Novitsky wants Americans to understand that the president should be the one to execute the laws that Congress legislates.  During the interview, the issue of DACA was brought up, where President Trump is blamed for causing the problem.  Too bad more people do not watch this movie, because just maybe they would understand that the president is actually following the Constitution as he forces Congress to do its job. 

Another issue addressed is the 2nd Amendment.  Today, the president and others speak of reasonable gun control.  The film has a quote: “[t]he problem with gun crimes is that people blame the guns.”  In other words, the gun is a tool.  After watching this scene, people might think of other tools that will not work if not for the person.  Take, for example, a pen.  If both a gun and a pen are placed on a table, nothing happens.  A person needs to pick up a pen, click it, and then actually point it to the paper for it to work.  Similarly, a person needs to pick up a gun, point it at a person, pull the trigger.  So is it the object that is to blame or the person?

Novitsky strongly believes that people must be aware of their constitutional rights.  He stated, “George Washington said the Constitution is the people’s only keeper and that ‘the power under the Constitution will always be in the people.’  Our first president did not say the government, but referred to the people.”  This is happening today, when Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and other companies have decided on their own, and are not forced by the government, to have reasonable ways they will sell guns.”

What he hopes to achieve with this movie is to “help people to rediscover the Constitution and bring it back into the hearts and minds of all people.  After all, it was Thomas Jefferson who said, ‘The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution,’ and that it is important to ‘educate and inform the whole mass of people[.] … They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.'”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

The FBI and Collusion: An Inside View


On May 17, 2017, former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to investigate the supposed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  Now, over a year and a half later, this has become the equivalent of the Energizer battery that keeps going on and on forever.  Not only is it apparent that there is no prosecutable collusion case, but what the investigation has proven is that the world’s finest law enforcement agency, the FBI, has become blemished, stained, and tainted.  The Mueller probe and the FBI leadership have become contaminated by an anti-Trump bias, improper leaks, and text messages between senior FBI officials showing their own form of collusion.  American Thinker interviewed Jim Kallstrom, the former assistant director in charge of the FBI office in New York and a twenty-eight-year veteran of that agency, on his views.

The political attitude of some in the FBI led to an investigation started by then-FBI director James Comey on March 20, 2017.  Kallstrom says, “I personally don’t understand why there is a special counsel at all, because the statute is very clear that there needs to be a criminal element.  This was started as a counterintelligence investigation, so there was no legal justification to have a special counsel.  It also states very clearly that there should be no conflict of interest.  Bob Mueller took the position even though he was a close friend of James Comey.  Now this investigation is about two years old, and there is no evidence of collusion.  I am saddened that the FBI has played a role in perpetrating this falsehood.”

Having served with him on his advisory board for a number of years, Kallstrom always thought of Mueller as an “honest and a forthright guy, even though I did not agree with a lot of his policies.  For example, he changed the managing of investigations from the field offices to bringing everything back to headquarters in Washington, which Comey continued.  You might wonder why more agents did not come forward.  This is due in part to headquarters closing down the field investigations so Comey and McCabe and Strzok could control it with a small number of people involved.  Let’s remember: these guys had the power over the field agents.”

Kallstrom is disgusted with the obvious bias among some in the FBI’s leadership.  He points to the fact that James Comey, the FBI director at the time, drafted an exoneration statement of Hillary Clinton before the FBI had even interviewed her.  “I cannot believe there was no authorization for a grand jury.  Instead of having a press conference explaining how this was all wrong and then resigning, Comey decided to dance with the devil.  They were devising a way to exonerate her despite compelling evidence that she [had] committed crimes under the Espionage Act in her mishandling of classified documents on her private email server.  In my view, this was one of many things that cost confidence in the FBI, and I think it is going to take a long, long time for it to regain its status.  Why?  Because it is a huge obstruction of justice.  Do you know all the co-conspirators were in the same room for interviews?  This is unheard of, and the interview with Hillary Clinton was a joke and a farce.”

Peter Strzok, still working in the FBI, has shown complete disregard for the Constitution.  “I would argue: how did Mueller not know whom he chose to work this investigation?  He showed no common sense in accepting the job with his conflict of interest and then hiring these FBI partisan people.  Appearances should matter.  Although I don’t know Strzok personally, I judge him by his actions.  Those texts are extremely damaging – when he said ‘terrifying’ on the possibility of Trump’s election; his role as ‘protector[] of the republic’; and the most damaging of all, ‘I want to believe [that] the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.  It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40[.]’  As far as I am concerned, he is not someone who should be carrying an FBI credential.  In my view, he committed federal felonies and has shown he is unable to be fair and accurate.”

Regarding James Comey as FBI director, Kallstrom has nothing good to say.  “Under his leadership, the FBI became stained.  He is a totally dishonorable person.  He was not only complicit in the IRS investigation, but actually assisted them when they stomped on American citizens’ rights by putting fear in them for no reason.  Comey’s FBI also did nothing about Benghazi [and] Fast and Furious and had a double[-]standard with the investigation of Hillary Clinton.”

He furthermore notes, “Arrogance has no pinnacle higher than James Comey, who is weak, driven, and egotistical.  He is an example of why the FBI director should never ever come from the Justice Department.  In retrospect, I think there have been way too many FBI directors from the Department of Justice.  Instead, an agent should have been appointed as director, someone who was steeped in knowledge of criminal investigations.  I think it was a fatal decision for the bureau when he became FBI director.  Under both Mueller and Comey, the FBI suffered in reputation and leadership, considering those they brought forward and their obvious bias.  They seemed … concerned [only] about political gain.”

To restore credibility in the FBI, Kallstrom would have investigations of the leadership.  “When I was working with the FBI, we never involved ourselves in politics.  What changed was the eight years under Obama.  I have received numerous emails, texts, and phone calls from those inside the FBI and also retired agents who are unhappy with what is going on and has gone on.  These bad eggs must be removed from the bureau.  It would be a disgrace to let McCabe and Strzok remain at the FBI and be able to collect full benefits.”

What he wants Americans to understand is that it should never have been about the FBI; rather, it should be about the rule of law and following the evidence where it may lie.  “The majority of the agents who work there want to solve cases, from kidnapping to extortion to drugs arrests to espionage.  The bad eggs have caused many to question the trustworthiness and reputation of the bureau, which affects the reputable agents.  This is extremely harmful to them.  I want to say without hesitation that the majority of agents are a credit to this country.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

On May 17, 2017, former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to investigate the supposed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  Now, over a year and a half later, this has become the equivalent of the Energizer battery that keeps going on and on forever.  Not only is it apparent that there is no prosecutable collusion case, but what the investigation has proven is that the world’s finest law enforcement agency, the FBI, has become blemished, stained, and tainted.  The Mueller probe and the FBI leadership have become contaminated by an anti-Trump bias, improper leaks, and text messages between senior FBI officials showing their own form of collusion.  American Thinker interviewed Jim Kallstrom, the former assistant director in charge of the FBI office in New York and a twenty-eight-year veteran of that agency, on his views.

The political attitude of some in the FBI led to an investigation started by then-FBI director James Comey on March 20, 2017.  Kallstrom says, “I personally don’t understand why there is a special counsel at all, because the statute is very clear that there needs to be a criminal element.  This was started as a counterintelligence investigation, so there was no legal justification to have a special counsel.  It also states very clearly that there should be no conflict of interest.  Bob Mueller took the position even though he was a close friend of James Comey.  Now this investigation is about two years old, and there is no evidence of collusion.  I am saddened that the FBI has played a role in perpetrating this falsehood.”

Having served with him on his advisory board for a number of years, Kallstrom always thought of Mueller as an “honest and a forthright guy, even though I did not agree with a lot of his policies.  For example, he changed the managing of investigations from the field offices to bringing everything back to headquarters in Washington, which Comey continued.  You might wonder why more agents did not come forward.  This is due in part to headquarters closing down the field investigations so Comey and McCabe and Strzok could control it with a small number of people involved.  Let’s remember: these guys had the power over the field agents.”

Kallstrom is disgusted with the obvious bias among some in the FBI’s leadership.  He points to the fact that James Comey, the FBI director at the time, drafted an exoneration statement of Hillary Clinton before the FBI had even interviewed her.  “I cannot believe there was no authorization for a grand jury.  Instead of having a press conference explaining how this was all wrong and then resigning, Comey decided to dance with the devil.  They were devising a way to exonerate her despite compelling evidence that she [had] committed crimes under the Espionage Act in her mishandling of classified documents on her private email server.  In my view, this was one of many things that cost confidence in the FBI, and I think it is going to take a long, long time for it to regain its status.  Why?  Because it is a huge obstruction of justice.  Do you know all the co-conspirators were in the same room for interviews?  This is unheard of, and the interview with Hillary Clinton was a joke and a farce.”

Peter Strzok, still working in the FBI, has shown complete disregard for the Constitution.  “I would argue: how did Mueller not know whom he chose to work this investigation?  He showed no common sense in accepting the job with his conflict of interest and then hiring these FBI partisan people.  Appearances should matter.  Although I don’t know Strzok personally, I judge him by his actions.  Those texts are extremely damaging – when he said ‘terrifying’ on the possibility of Trump’s election; his role as ‘protector[] of the republic’; and the most damaging of all, ‘I want to believe [that] the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.  It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40[.]’  As far as I am concerned, he is not someone who should be carrying an FBI credential.  In my view, he committed federal felonies and has shown he is unable to be fair and accurate.”

Regarding James Comey as FBI director, Kallstrom has nothing good to say.  “Under his leadership, the FBI became stained.  He is a totally dishonorable person.  He was not only complicit in the IRS investigation, but actually assisted them when they stomped on American citizens’ rights by putting fear in them for no reason.  Comey’s FBI also did nothing about Benghazi [and] Fast and Furious and had a double[-]standard with the investigation of Hillary Clinton.”

He furthermore notes, “Arrogance has no pinnacle higher than James Comey, who is weak, driven, and egotistical.  He is an example of why the FBI director should never ever come from the Justice Department.  In retrospect, I think there have been way too many FBI directors from the Department of Justice.  Instead, an agent should have been appointed as director, someone who was steeped in knowledge of criminal investigations.  I think it was a fatal decision for the bureau when he became FBI director.  Under both Mueller and Comey, the FBI suffered in reputation and leadership, considering those they brought forward and their obvious bias.  They seemed … concerned [only] about political gain.”

To restore credibility in the FBI, Kallstrom would have investigations of the leadership.  “When I was working with the FBI, we never involved ourselves in politics.  What changed was the eight years under Obama.  I have received numerous emails, texts, and phone calls from those inside the FBI and also retired agents who are unhappy with what is going on and has gone on.  These bad eggs must be removed from the bureau.  It would be a disgrace to let McCabe and Strzok remain at the FBI and be able to collect full benefits.”

What he wants Americans to understand is that it should never have been about the FBI; rather, it should be about the rule of law and following the evidence where it may lie.  “The majority of the agents who work there want to solve cases, from kidnapping to extortion to drugs arrests to espionage.  The bad eggs have caused many to question the trustworthiness and reputation of the bureau, which affects the reputable agents.  This is extremely harmful to them.  I want to say without hesitation that the majority of agents are a credit to this country.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

An Emotional and Silent Wound


With the holidays having just passed, people should remember that not everyone celebrates with sugar and spice and everything nice.  Those who have fought to keep Americans safe have experienced triumphs and tribulations on the battlefield and after returning home.

Some who have come home from the War on Terror have experienced PTSD.  As authors Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor wrote in their novel Last Christmas in Paris, those with PTSD “walk on both legs without the use of crutches.  They swing both arms by their sides.  They have no need for facemasks to hide their injuries.  These men suffer in an entirely different way.  They suffer in their minds.  The horrors they have seen and the endless sounds they have endured night after night stay with them.”

American Thinker interviewed Adam Shumann, one of the soldiers highlighted in the book and film Thank You for Your Service, about the true-to-life struggles and trauma he experienced.  The statistics are overwhelming, considering that one in five – at least 500,000 – of those who have served in the War on Terror have either TBI or PTSD.  Adam’s former wife, Saskia, noted, “It’s not as if he caused this.  He didn’t.  It’s not as if he doesn’t want to get better.  He does.  On other days, though, it seems more like an epitaph, and not only for Adam.  All the soldiers he went to war with, the 800 in his battalion, come home broken in various degrees, even the ones who are fine.  I don’t think anyone came back from deployment without some kind of demons they needed to work out.”

Adam compares the emotions he has with PTSD to “how you might feel after a really bad car accident with your nerves fried, adrenaline pumped, scared, having a rapid heartbeat, and your mind racing.  This is what it is like for me on some days.  It is exhausting because it lasts all day.”

Although he acknowledges being changed by the war experience, he does not think it was all for the worse.  “I have a different perspective on life.  I tend to value what I have a little more.  Of course, there is always a negative side.  I tend to hold people to a higher standard that sets me up for disappointment.  For example, the military teaches you to be punctual and professional.  In the military, when someone is not doing their job, it is an obligation to correct them.  But now, in this politically correct world, I have to watch myself and to stop from telling someone they are messing up.”

Although he does not call it by that name, he still has survivor’s guilt, feeling remorse each and every day for his buddies who died in the war.  “People have to understand what we went through.  They were not over there.  Those of us who fought cannot put ourselves in a mindless box and become desensitized to what happened over there.  Most of us have experienced a traumatic incident like your buddy getting killed.  Each and every day, we wondered if we were going to be killed.  It becomes an imprint on our brains.  There are things I will never, ever talk about unless it is with the guys I served with.  I can only open up to someone capable of listening who has the ability to handle what I have to say.  I would love to unload some of this baggage, because it is some heavy stuff.”

It is not just the soldier who goes through these experiences, but also their families.  Adam wants people to understand that initially, he did not comprehend what he was going through and was terrified.  “I could not explain anything to my wife, Saskia.  The more she would press, the more I would shut down, literally falling asleep during arguments.  Her patience was worn down after a while.  She was just as confused as I was.  She heard my violent outbursts at night.  I slept with my rifle by my bed.  If it were not there, I would get up and freak out while I looked for it.  She was the one who spurred me to seek help.”

Unfortunately, she was not happy with Adam’s choice of programs.  The one in Kansas, where he lived, had a bad reputation.  His advocate suggested he enroll in the Pathway House in California.  He credits that program with saving his life because of his suicidal thoughts.  Adam describes it as “a group setting where you lived together in what best can be described as a barracks.  There was this unit mentality, once again a part of a team.  Guys would pair up with a peer.  They understood how embarrassed I felt that I could not even satisfy my contract with the military.  Funny how it was my mind that got me thrown out.  Even after my first deployment, I sought out a doctor but was told I was fine, prescribed some pills, and sent back to my unit.  It was after my third deployment that everything came undone.  I really just wanted to get better, and I really wanted to be myself again.  Every time I would run into a door or barrier, I would just figure out a way around it.  It was probably the hardest fight of my life to just get back to who I was, and the biggest revelation of that is that you are not going to get back to who you were before.  You are not going to be that person again after an experience like that.”

Adam is an introspective person.  He has some suggestions for the military, considering that the higher-ups invest a lot of money in training.  “It is sad that more is not invested in continuing care and doing it on the spot.  After a death on the battlefield, they send a chaplain.  But these units are so tight that they don’t want to speak with someone they do not know.  I think a doctor and psychiatrist should be embedded with each unit.  After a mission, we can unload on them and talk about our experiences.  It would help to figure out on the spot why we are confused or angry instead of internalizing it.  I wish I could have gone back in time and sought help before I reached the end of my rope.”

PTSD is an emotional and silent wound that is not out there for people to see.  The stereotype is still alive and well where many associate it with being a lunatic.  Adam told American Thinker he is looking for work.  “Any job at this point would be fantastic.”  He insists he does not want charity and wants the job only if he is deemed qualified.

As Americans, we should never forget those who have fought for our freedoms and have sacrificed themselves emotionally or physically.  As Adam summarized it, “I wish for a little more love and happiness and to understand each other.  We are all in this together, whether someone who is a veteran, still serving, or a civilian.  If you are in a position to help, do so.  And if you need help, ask for it.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

With the holidays having just passed, people should remember that not everyone celebrates with sugar and spice and everything nice.  Those who have fought to keep Americans safe have experienced triumphs and tribulations on the battlefield and after returning home.

Some who have come home from the War on Terror have experienced PTSD.  As authors Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor wrote in their novel Last Christmas in Paris, those with PTSD “walk on both legs without the use of crutches.  They swing both arms by their sides.  They have no need for facemasks to hide their injuries.  These men suffer in an entirely different way.  They suffer in their minds.  The horrors they have seen and the endless sounds they have endured night after night stay with them.”

American Thinker interviewed Adam Shumann, one of the soldiers highlighted in the book and film Thank You for Your Service, about the true-to-life struggles and trauma he experienced.  The statistics are overwhelming, considering that one in five – at least 500,000 – of those who have served in the War on Terror have either TBI or PTSD.  Adam’s former wife, Saskia, noted, “It’s not as if he caused this.  He didn’t.  It’s not as if he doesn’t want to get better.  He does.  On other days, though, it seems more like an epitaph, and not only for Adam.  All the soldiers he went to war with, the 800 in his battalion, come home broken in various degrees, even the ones who are fine.  I don’t think anyone came back from deployment without some kind of demons they needed to work out.”

Adam compares the emotions he has with PTSD to “how you might feel after a really bad car accident with your nerves fried, adrenaline pumped, scared, having a rapid heartbeat, and your mind racing.  This is what it is like for me on some days.  It is exhausting because it lasts all day.”

Although he acknowledges being changed by the war experience, he does not think it was all for the worse.  “I have a different perspective on life.  I tend to value what I have a little more.  Of course, there is always a negative side.  I tend to hold people to a higher standard that sets me up for disappointment.  For example, the military teaches you to be punctual and professional.  In the military, when someone is not doing their job, it is an obligation to correct them.  But now, in this politically correct world, I have to watch myself and to stop from telling someone they are messing up.”

Although he does not call it by that name, he still has survivor’s guilt, feeling remorse each and every day for his buddies who died in the war.  “People have to understand what we went through.  They were not over there.  Those of us who fought cannot put ourselves in a mindless box and become desensitized to what happened over there.  Most of us have experienced a traumatic incident like your buddy getting killed.  Each and every day, we wondered if we were going to be killed.  It becomes an imprint on our brains.  There are things I will never, ever talk about unless it is with the guys I served with.  I can only open up to someone capable of listening who has the ability to handle what I have to say.  I would love to unload some of this baggage, because it is some heavy stuff.”

It is not just the soldier who goes through these experiences, but also their families.  Adam wants people to understand that initially, he did not comprehend what he was going through and was terrified.  “I could not explain anything to my wife, Saskia.  The more she would press, the more I would shut down, literally falling asleep during arguments.  Her patience was worn down after a while.  She was just as confused as I was.  She heard my violent outbursts at night.  I slept with my rifle by my bed.  If it were not there, I would get up and freak out while I looked for it.  She was the one who spurred me to seek help.”

Unfortunately, she was not happy with Adam’s choice of programs.  The one in Kansas, where he lived, had a bad reputation.  His advocate suggested he enroll in the Pathway House in California.  He credits that program with saving his life because of his suicidal thoughts.  Adam describes it as “a group setting where you lived together in what best can be described as a barracks.  There was this unit mentality, once again a part of a team.  Guys would pair up with a peer.  They understood how embarrassed I felt that I could not even satisfy my contract with the military.  Funny how it was my mind that got me thrown out.  Even after my first deployment, I sought out a doctor but was told I was fine, prescribed some pills, and sent back to my unit.  It was after my third deployment that everything came undone.  I really just wanted to get better, and I really wanted to be myself again.  Every time I would run into a door or barrier, I would just figure out a way around it.  It was probably the hardest fight of my life to just get back to who I was, and the biggest revelation of that is that you are not going to get back to who you were before.  You are not going to be that person again after an experience like that.”

Adam is an introspective person.  He has some suggestions for the military, considering that the higher-ups invest a lot of money in training.  “It is sad that more is not invested in continuing care and doing it on the spot.  After a death on the battlefield, they send a chaplain.  But these units are so tight that they don’t want to speak with someone they do not know.  I think a doctor and psychiatrist should be embedded with each unit.  After a mission, we can unload on them and talk about our experiences.  It would help to figure out on the spot why we are confused or angry instead of internalizing it.  I wish I could have gone back in time and sought help before I reached the end of my rope.”

PTSD is an emotional and silent wound that is not out there for people to see.  The stereotype is still alive and well where many associate it with being a lunatic.  Adam told American Thinker he is looking for work.  “Any job at this point would be fantastic.”  He insists he does not want charity and wants the job only if he is deemed qualified.

As Americans, we should never forget those who have fought for our freedoms and have sacrificed themselves emotionally or physically.  As Adam summarized it, “I wish for a little more love and happiness and to understand each other.  We are all in this together, whether someone who is a veteran, still serving, or a civilian.  If you are in a position to help, do so.  And if you need help, ask for it.”

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

An Early Hanukkah Present


President Trump gave supporters of Israel an early Hanukkah present when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6th. This is very much overdue and recognizes the obvious reality. Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem shows that at least America realizes that the nation of Israel should be allowed to determine its own capital.

Presidents’ Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump all made the campaign promise to move the embassy and the current president was the only one of the four to make this significant move. Unlike the previous three presidents of both parties who only paid lip service, Trump honored his campaign commitment.

Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. He told American Thinker, “The Palestinian Liberation Organization’s executive committee and former negotiator Saeb Erekat were quoted this week protesting that an American president cannot decide Israel’s capital. Quite right, but neither could the PLO or the United Nations. Only Israel can, and it has. In peace negotiations, West Jerusalem is not in dispute anyway. It is where the Knesset, Supreme Court, president’s and prime minister’s offices are, and where they have always been. So I give the President high marks.”

Unfortunately, the current rhetoric concerning President Donald Trump’s decision can best be described as anti-Semitic. Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan called the United States a “partner in bloodshed.” In Malmo, Sweden Muslim demonstrators chanted “death to the Jews,” and “shoot the Jews.”

Andrew McCarthy answered those who said all President Trump has done is spur anti-Semitism, “If you treat terrorists like they’re normal, they make terrorism a norm. If you reward their savagery with concessions, they go savage to get concessions. And if you treat Israel like it’s not a real country with real sovereign rights, Islamists conclude that they can attack Israel with abandon, on every platform from Gaza to Turtle Bay, until Israel is no more.”

Abrams goes even further, telling American Thinker, “The growth of Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe is a great problem. It has been happening for years. Some questions that need to be considered, ‘given the fact that there is such Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe how much do we want that to control American Foreign policy? How far does that argument go? How much do you give rioters, demonstrators, and anti-Semites a veto over American foreign policy?’”

If Nancy Pelosi had her way the embassy would not be moved, and those critics would have a voice. She states, “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish homeland. But in the absence of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem now may needlessly spark mass protests, fuel tensions, and make it more difficult to reach a durable peace.” Someone should remind her that she is ignoring the fact she supported the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. It had passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House and reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate that urged the Federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.

Maybe Pelosi should consider that under the eight years of President Obama, the Palestinians refused to negotiate. Basically, there was no peace process. So what has really changed? The Palestinians over the years have said “from the river to the sea,” fired off crude missiles, encouraged suicide bombers, paid off families if someone kills an Israeli, and still refuse to recognize Israel.

If anything, rejecting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has delegitimized the Jewish state. Abrams believes, “The refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has for all these years been part of the campaign to refuse the Jewish state the legitimacy every other state gets. It makes Israel uniquely disadvantaged among nations, the only country in the entire world not permitted to choose its capital, giving a sense of impermanence and reduced rights. This is precisely why Trump’s decision is right and is important. It sends a message: The Jewish people are there now and they will be there forever, and they are there by right and not by our sufferance.”

He also wants Americans to consider an additional response, “It is the reaction of leaders all around the world who will now take Trump’s promises more seriously. Everyone knew that he couldn’t possibly mean to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, that this was just another campaign promise, but it turns out he did mean it. So when next he makes a pledge or promise or threat, don’t you think Xi or Putin or Khamenei will think twice before dismissing it?”

“Next year in Jerusalem,” are words uttered at the conclusion of the Passover Seder. Wouldn’t it be nice if those words rang true regarding the U.S. Embassy? Let’s hope it will be built with speed and President Trump will not let those in the State Department delay progress.

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

President Trump gave supporters of Israel an early Hanukkah present when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6th. This is very much overdue and recognizes the obvious reality. Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem shows that at least America realizes that the nation of Israel should be allowed to determine its own capital.

Presidents’ Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump all made the campaign promise to move the embassy and the current president was the only one of the four to make this significant move. Unlike the previous three presidents of both parties who only paid lip service, Trump honored his campaign commitment.

Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. He told American Thinker, “The Palestinian Liberation Organization’s executive committee and former negotiator Saeb Erekat were quoted this week protesting that an American president cannot decide Israel’s capital. Quite right, but neither could the PLO or the United Nations. Only Israel can, and it has. In peace negotiations, West Jerusalem is not in dispute anyway. It is where the Knesset, Supreme Court, president’s and prime minister’s offices are, and where they have always been. So I give the President high marks.”

Unfortunately, the current rhetoric concerning President Donald Trump’s decision can best be described as anti-Semitic. Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan called the United States a “partner in bloodshed.” In Malmo, Sweden Muslim demonstrators chanted “death to the Jews,” and “shoot the Jews.”

Andrew McCarthy answered those who said all President Trump has done is spur anti-Semitism, “If you treat terrorists like they’re normal, they make terrorism a norm. If you reward their savagery with concessions, they go savage to get concessions. And if you treat Israel like it’s not a real country with real sovereign rights, Islamists conclude that they can attack Israel with abandon, on every platform from Gaza to Turtle Bay, until Israel is no more.”

Abrams goes even further, telling American Thinker, “The growth of Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe is a great problem. It has been happening for years. Some questions that need to be considered, ‘given the fact that there is such Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe how much do we want that to control American Foreign policy? How far does that argument go? How much do you give rioters, demonstrators, and anti-Semites a veto over American foreign policy?’”

If Nancy Pelosi had her way the embassy would not be moved, and those critics would have a voice. She states, “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish homeland. But in the absence of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem now may needlessly spark mass protests, fuel tensions, and make it more difficult to reach a durable peace.” Someone should remind her that she is ignoring the fact she supported the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. It had passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House and reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate that urged the Federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.

Maybe Pelosi should consider that under the eight years of President Obama, the Palestinians refused to negotiate. Basically, there was no peace process. So what has really changed? The Palestinians over the years have said “from the river to the sea,” fired off crude missiles, encouraged suicide bombers, paid off families if someone kills an Israeli, and still refuse to recognize Israel.

If anything, rejecting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has delegitimized the Jewish state. Abrams believes, “The refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has for all these years been part of the campaign to refuse the Jewish state the legitimacy every other state gets. It makes Israel uniquely disadvantaged among nations, the only country in the entire world not permitted to choose its capital, giving a sense of impermanence and reduced rights. This is precisely why Trump’s decision is right and is important. It sends a message: The Jewish people are there now and they will be there forever, and they are there by right and not by our sufferance.”

He also wants Americans to consider an additional response, “It is the reaction of leaders all around the world who will now take Trump’s promises more seriously. Everyone knew that he couldn’t possibly mean to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, that this was just another campaign promise, but it turns out he did mean it. So when next he makes a pledge or promise or threat, don’t you think Xi or Putin or Khamenei will think twice before dismissing it?”

“Next year in Jerusalem,” are words uttered at the conclusion of the Passover Seder. Wouldn’t it be nice if those words rang true regarding the U.S. Embassy? Let’s hope it will be built with speed and President Trump will not let those in the State Department delay progress.

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

Cuban War Crimes in Vietnam


The Cuban government is an oppressive regime known for its human rights violations. In late last year, sixteen American diplomats based at Havana’s U.S. Embassy, appear to have suffered traumatic brain injury caused by a subsonic attack. President Trump has gone on the record accusing the Cubans of responsibility for the attacks. But this is not the first time it has experimented on Americans.

As a former Marine, Mike Benge believes that there were seventeen Americans held in the Villa Marista prison and confirms that there were Cubans who tortured American POWs in Vietnam. In 1968, he worked for the Agency for International Development, serving as a civilian economic and community development advisor.

 

On January 28th Benge was captured by the North Vietnamese. He told American Thinker, “For five silent years I endured forced marches through South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, into North Vietnam. I was tortured by the hands of the Communists for my ‘bad attitude.’ While in captivity I was kept in solitary confinement for 27 months. At intervals I was forced to maintain a difficult position on my knees with my hands over my head for between 11 and 16 hours at a time. If I dropped my hands I was beaten. Although I was never beaten by the Cubans, nor was I a part of the Cuban program, I did witness nineteen American POW’s that I know of who were tortured by the Cubans in Hanoi during the Vietnam War.”

 
On November 4th, 1999 he testified before Congress that a team of interrogators, believed to be Cubans, brutally beat and tortured 19 American airmen, killing one in the prisoner of war camp known as `The Zoo,’ a name given by American POWs to describe the Cuban section of the Hanoi prison. Through the psychological experiments they attempted to test interrogation methods, to obtain absolute compliance and submission to captor demands, ultimately using them as propaganda. If the prisoners did not cooperate they were tortured physically and psychologically by ‘Fidel’, ‘Chico’, and ‘Pancho’ as the torturers were called.

The testimony of Jack Bomar concurs with this. He was a retired Air Force colonel who became “a graduate of the “Fidel” Program, Class of 1968 after being shot down in 1967. Bomar stated before the Committee, “`Fidel” used torture not for direct propaganda or antiwar statements as the Vietnamese did. He used torture to break us initially, and to control us and keep us right under his thumb so we would do what he wanted done. His brutal torture of Cobeil and Kasler was due mostly to his frustration and his inability to force his will on them. When he lost his temper, he was a complete madman.”

Through his research Mike discovered, “Upon their return to the U.S., the POW’s were told by the U.S. Government not to talk about the Cuba Program. Some of them resisted, as they had resisted ‘Fidel.’ and they broke silence. Regardless, the U.S. Government swept the Cuba Program under the rug. I began researching the Cuba Program and wrote a paper in 1996 for presentation at the annual meeting of the National Alliance of Families. I found intelligence intercepts that that Cubans were guarding POWs in Laos, and Intel reports stated that 17 American POWs from Vietnam were being held in Cuba. There is a distinct possibility that American POWs from the Vietnam War have been held in Los Maristas, a secret Cuban prison run by Castro’s G-2 intelligence service. The Cubans who claimed to have seen them later escaped, made it to the U.S., and were debriefed by the FBI. In fact, in my research paper “The Cuban Program,” I identify Fidel (Maj. Alegret), something that DIA and the CIA said they couldn’t do, and that man was the Minister of Education in Cuba. POWs who had been tortured by the Cubans verified this ID.”

Mike thinks Senator McCain is a war hero, but is very disappointed in his actions regarding this issue. “I decided to research the “Cuban Program” after repeated claims by the Administration, Senators John McCain and John Kerry, Ambassador Pete Peterson, and members of the Department of Defense (DOD) that the Vietnamese Government was ‘cooperating fully’ in resolving the POW/MIA issue. This is far from the truth. Senator McCain likes to make himself out as the speaker of the truth, but interestingly enough he did nothing regarding VN POWS supposedly tortured by the Cubans. In addition, The Cuban Program was evaluated by two of the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office’s (DPMO) chief analysts Robert Destatte and Chuck Towbridge. Destatte also has the audacity to claim that the Vietnamese were unaware of the Cuban Program, and it was stopped once the Vietnamese found out that “Fidel” and the others were torturing the American POWs.”

 

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Defense to obtain records about American POWs who may have been held captive by the Cuban government or military forces on the island of Cuba. The lawsuit came about after the Defense Department failed to comply with a June 1, 2015, FOIA request seeking “Any and all records depicting the names, service branch, ranks, Military Occupational Specialty, and dates and locations of capture of all American servicemen believed to have been held captive by Cuban government or military forces on the island of Cuba since 1960.”

Tom Fitton, the President of Judicial Watch told of his impression, “the fact that we had to sue the Obama administration to get simple answers as to whether Cuba held and tortured American POWs strongly suggests that a cover-up is underway. In replying to the suit, the Department of Defense initially claimed to have no responsive records.”

Mike is hoping that the Trump Administration will restrict “relations with Cuba until the documents are released. The Cubans should admit that they participated in War Crimes, using diplomatic cover during the Vietnam War. Full cooperation by the communist governments in Cuba and Hanoi includes the full disclosure of the true identities and roles of these Cuban ‘diplomats,’ who were ‘advisors’ to the Hanoi prison system, and were directly responsible for the murder, torture, and severe disablement of American POWs.” Let’s hope that unlike the Obama Administration who chose to look the other way, the Trump Administration will seek answers and give Mike and others closure on this subject.

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

The Cuban government is an oppressive regime known for its human rights violations. In late last year, sixteen American diplomats based at Havana’s U.S. Embassy, appear to have suffered traumatic brain injury caused by a subsonic attack. President Trump has gone on the record accusing the Cubans of responsibility for the attacks. But this is not the first time it has experimented on Americans.

As a former Marine, Mike Benge believes that there were seventeen Americans held in the Villa Marista prison and confirms that there were Cubans who tortured American POWs in Vietnam. In 1968, he worked for the Agency for International Development, serving as a civilian economic and community development advisor.

 

On January 28th Benge was captured by the North Vietnamese. He told American Thinker, “For five silent years I endured forced marches through South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, into North Vietnam. I was tortured by the hands of the Communists for my ‘bad attitude.’ While in captivity I was kept in solitary confinement for 27 months. At intervals I was forced to maintain a difficult position on my knees with my hands over my head for between 11 and 16 hours at a time. If I dropped my hands I was beaten. Although I was never beaten by the Cubans, nor was I a part of the Cuban program, I did witness nineteen American POW’s that I know of who were tortured by the Cubans in Hanoi during the Vietnam War.”

 
On November 4th, 1999 he testified before Congress that a team of interrogators, believed to be Cubans, brutally beat and tortured 19 American airmen, killing one in the prisoner of war camp known as `The Zoo,’ a name given by American POWs to describe the Cuban section of the Hanoi prison. Through the psychological experiments they attempted to test interrogation methods, to obtain absolute compliance and submission to captor demands, ultimately using them as propaganda. If the prisoners did not cooperate they were tortured physically and psychologically by ‘Fidel’, ‘Chico’, and ‘Pancho’ as the torturers were called.

The testimony of Jack Bomar concurs with this. He was a retired Air Force colonel who became “a graduate of the “Fidel” Program, Class of 1968 after being shot down in 1967. Bomar stated before the Committee, “`Fidel” used torture not for direct propaganda or antiwar statements as the Vietnamese did. He used torture to break us initially, and to control us and keep us right under his thumb so we would do what he wanted done. His brutal torture of Cobeil and Kasler was due mostly to his frustration and his inability to force his will on them. When he lost his temper, he was a complete madman.”

Through his research Mike discovered, “Upon their return to the U.S., the POW’s were told by the U.S. Government not to talk about the Cuba Program. Some of them resisted, as they had resisted ‘Fidel.’ and they broke silence. Regardless, the U.S. Government swept the Cuba Program under the rug. I began researching the Cuba Program and wrote a paper in 1996 for presentation at the annual meeting of the National Alliance of Families. I found intelligence intercepts that that Cubans were guarding POWs in Laos, and Intel reports stated that 17 American POWs from Vietnam were being held in Cuba. There is a distinct possibility that American POWs from the Vietnam War have been held in Los Maristas, a secret Cuban prison run by Castro’s G-2 intelligence service. The Cubans who claimed to have seen them later escaped, made it to the U.S., and were debriefed by the FBI. In fact, in my research paper “The Cuban Program,” I identify Fidel (Maj. Alegret), something that DIA and the CIA said they couldn’t do, and that man was the Minister of Education in Cuba. POWs who had been tortured by the Cubans verified this ID.”

Mike thinks Senator McCain is a war hero, but is very disappointed in his actions regarding this issue. “I decided to research the “Cuban Program” after repeated claims by the Administration, Senators John McCain and John Kerry, Ambassador Pete Peterson, and members of the Department of Defense (DOD) that the Vietnamese Government was ‘cooperating fully’ in resolving the POW/MIA issue. This is far from the truth. Senator McCain likes to make himself out as the speaker of the truth, but interestingly enough he did nothing regarding VN POWS supposedly tortured by the Cubans. In addition, The Cuban Program was evaluated by two of the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office’s (DPMO) chief analysts Robert Destatte and Chuck Towbridge. Destatte also has the audacity to claim that the Vietnamese were unaware of the Cuban Program, and it was stopped once the Vietnamese found out that “Fidel” and the others were torturing the American POWs.”

 

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Defense to obtain records about American POWs who may have been held captive by the Cuban government or military forces on the island of Cuba. The lawsuit came about after the Defense Department failed to comply with a June 1, 2015, FOIA request seeking “Any and all records depicting the names, service branch, ranks, Military Occupational Specialty, and dates and locations of capture of all American servicemen believed to have been held captive by Cuban government or military forces on the island of Cuba since 1960.”

Tom Fitton, the President of Judicial Watch told of his impression, “the fact that we had to sue the Obama administration to get simple answers as to whether Cuba held and tortured American POWs strongly suggests that a cover-up is underway. In replying to the suit, the Department of Defense initially claimed to have no responsive records.”

Mike is hoping that the Trump Administration will restrict “relations with Cuba until the documents are released. The Cubans should admit that they participated in War Crimes, using diplomatic cover during the Vietnam War. Full cooperation by the communist governments in Cuba and Hanoi includes the full disclosure of the true identities and roles of these Cuban ‘diplomats,’ who were ‘advisors’ to the Hanoi prison system, and were directly responsible for the murder, torture, and severe disablement of American POWs.” Let’s hope that unlike the Obama Administration who chose to look the other way, the Trump Administration will seek answers and give Mike and others closure on this subject.

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link

How to Thank a Soldier on Veterans' Day


Veterans’ Day is a time for Americans to step up and honor those who have served in the armed forces.  From the days of the Founding Fathers to today, those in the military, whether enlisted or drafted, made tremendous sacrifices for their fellow Americans.  We should offer thanks, but the question is how we go about doing it.

Today, many people will tell a veteran, “Thank you for your service.”  During the Vietnam War, those who fought gallantly for this country would have welcomed that greeting instead of being spat upon and called baby-killers.  But for those who fought in the War on Terror, is it enough?  The recent book by David Finkel and movie by Jason Hall, Thank You for Your Service, implies that the sentiment is great, but more is needed.

The movie and book follow a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and struggling to integrate back into family and civilian life.  They live with the horrific memories of a war that threatens to destroy them here at home.  Both film and book explore the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects both the warrior and his family.

David Finkel’s first book, For the Good Soldiers, told of his experiences while embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Iraq during the infamous “surge.”  His follow-up book, Thank You for Your Service, and the movie based on the book show what happens to these men after their deployments have ended.  He told American Thinker, “They came with various psychological and moral injuries, and some are broken.  I think the movie found the true heart of my book, getting the big picture.  The war affected these guys, and they came home different, many times unable to talk about it.”

Jason Hall, the screenwriter and director, concurs: “I hope the movie opens people’s eyes regarding the continued war that these guys are fighting, trying to find their way back home.  This is very much their second war, as they come home changed and altered by the war.  Since I wrote the screenplay for the movie about Chris Kyle, I am calling this film the spiritual sequel to American Sniper.”

Some have criticized the book and movie because they say it implies that all soldiers coming home are broken.  Finkel responds to the criticism: “I just do not buy it.  Of course not every vet is broken, but every vet is affected.  When I embedded with these guys for about eight months, I saw a lot of them injured and lost.  I think it is fair to say that there was not a man of those 800 that was not affected in some way, but this does not mean they were all broken.  After my first book, some who returned from deployment contacted me and told of having a hard time with divorces, DUIs, depression, anxiety, medication, and suicidal thoughts.  They came home with various psychological and moral injuries, and some were broken.  The fact is, they were changed, and it will take some time to recover, but it certainly does not mean they are broken forever.  It is a shame for people to say, Don’t tell this story because it buys into the broken vet idea.

Hall added, “I am by no means saying everyone who comes home suffers from PTSD.  I think it is one in four or one in five.  It is certainly the minority.  Yet we have to be aware of those who have the feelings that everything feels different and looks different, with a different texture and meaning.”

The book and movie should not be criticized for pointing out that approximately 25% of the soldiers need help, because the goal is to start a discussion and make Americans more aware of these veterans who need support. 

The relatives are also affected.  While at war, the soldier’s peers became their family, and their family at home were left to fend for themselves.  Both appear to be strangers to each other in some way.  A scene in the book has one of the returning soldiers, Staff Sergeant Adam Schumann, now retired, cooking pancakes for his daughter, making a happy face with chocolate chips.  The problem is that the child does not like chocolate.  Another scene has his wife finding a questionnaire, which shows his distressed mental state.  It becomes obvious that the soldier feels out of place within his own family and the family feel like outsiders, unaware of everything the soldier has experienced.

Hall describes this process as “having these guys stepping through a door as they go off to war.  When it closes, the veteran has extraordinary experiences, profound and meaningful relationships.  Their families back home are waiting for the door to open up and for the veterans to step back in their lives.  In some instances, the veteran has changed, with the family left to grapple with and unravel the mystery of who is this person?

Finkel wants to make it clear that being broken is not a sign of weakness, nor should someone be regarded as crazy.

He is hoping anyone who utters the words thank you for your service “realizes it is not a conversation opener, but a conversation closer.  I want people to take away from the book that these people are noble.  I want Americans to understand there are many protocols, and don’t stereotype anyone.  Some people are helped by medication and others by cognitive therapy.  We should ask them how they are doing.  We should appreciate them every day, not just on holidays like Veterans’ Day.”

The movie and book need to be applauded for bringing to the forefront how profoundly those serving have been affected by war.  After all, PTSD has existed since World War I in the form of “shell shock.”  Basically, for one hundred years, soldiers have come home with psychological issues, and what people should be asking is how much have we learned to help them.  Today, only one percent of the population is connected to someone serving, but we cannot ignore or forget about those coming home.

Americans should see the movie and read the book to understand what the families and those who put their lives on the line are going through.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

Veterans’ Day is a time for Americans to step up and honor those who have served in the armed forces.  From the days of the Founding Fathers to today, those in the military, whether enlisted or drafted, made tremendous sacrifices for their fellow Americans.  We should offer thanks, but the question is how we go about doing it.

Today, many people will tell a veteran, “Thank you for your service.”  During the Vietnam War, those who fought gallantly for this country would have welcomed that greeting instead of being spat upon and called baby-killers.  But for those who fought in the War on Terror, is it enough?  The recent book by David Finkel and movie by Jason Hall, Thank You for Your Service, implies that the sentiment is great, but more is needed.

The movie and book follow a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and struggling to integrate back into family and civilian life.  They live with the horrific memories of a war that threatens to destroy them here at home.  Both film and book explore the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects both the warrior and his family.

David Finkel’s first book, For the Good Soldiers, told of his experiences while embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Iraq during the infamous “surge.”  His follow-up book, Thank You for Your Service, and the movie based on the book show what happens to these men after their deployments have ended.  He told American Thinker, “They came with various psychological and moral injuries, and some are broken.  I think the movie found the true heart of my book, getting the big picture.  The war affected these guys, and they came home different, many times unable to talk about it.”

Jason Hall, the screenwriter and director, concurs: “I hope the movie opens people’s eyes regarding the continued war that these guys are fighting, trying to find their way back home.  This is very much their second war, as they come home changed and altered by the war.  Since I wrote the screenplay for the movie about Chris Kyle, I am calling this film the spiritual sequel to American Sniper.”

Some have criticized the book and movie because they say it implies that all soldiers coming home are broken.  Finkel responds to the criticism: “I just do not buy it.  Of course not every vet is broken, but every vet is affected.  When I embedded with these guys for about eight months, I saw a lot of them injured and lost.  I think it is fair to say that there was not a man of those 800 that was not affected in some way, but this does not mean they were all broken.  After my first book, some who returned from deployment contacted me and told of having a hard time with divorces, DUIs, depression, anxiety, medication, and suicidal thoughts.  They came home with various psychological and moral injuries, and some were broken.  The fact is, they were changed, and it will take some time to recover, but it certainly does not mean they are broken forever.  It is a shame for people to say, Don’t tell this story because it buys into the broken vet idea.

Hall added, “I am by no means saying everyone who comes home suffers from PTSD.  I think it is one in four or one in five.  It is certainly the minority.  Yet we have to be aware of those who have the feelings that everything feels different and looks different, with a different texture and meaning.”

The book and movie should not be criticized for pointing out that approximately 25% of the soldiers need help, because the goal is to start a discussion and make Americans more aware of these veterans who need support. 

The relatives are also affected.  While at war, the soldier’s peers became their family, and their family at home were left to fend for themselves.  Both appear to be strangers to each other in some way.  A scene in the book has one of the returning soldiers, Staff Sergeant Adam Schumann, now retired, cooking pancakes for his daughter, making a happy face with chocolate chips.  The problem is that the child does not like chocolate.  Another scene has his wife finding a questionnaire, which shows his distressed mental state.  It becomes obvious that the soldier feels out of place within his own family and the family feel like outsiders, unaware of everything the soldier has experienced.

Hall describes this process as “having these guys stepping through a door as they go off to war.  When it closes, the veteran has extraordinary experiences, profound and meaningful relationships.  Their families back home are waiting for the door to open up and for the veterans to step back in their lives.  In some instances, the veteran has changed, with the family left to grapple with and unravel the mystery of who is this person?

Finkel wants to make it clear that being broken is not a sign of weakness, nor should someone be regarded as crazy.

He is hoping anyone who utters the words thank you for your service “realizes it is not a conversation opener, but a conversation closer.  I want people to take away from the book that these people are noble.  I want Americans to understand there are many protocols, and don’t stereotype anyone.  Some people are helped by medication and others by cognitive therapy.  We should ask them how they are doing.  We should appreciate them every day, not just on holidays like Veterans’ Day.”

The movie and book need to be applauded for bringing to the forefront how profoundly those serving have been affected by war.  After all, PTSD has existed since World War I in the form of “shell shock.”  Basically, for one hundred years, soldiers have come home with psychological issues, and what people should be asking is how much have we learned to help them.  Today, only one percent of the population is connected to someone serving, but we cannot ignore or forget about those coming home.

Americans should see the movie and read the book to understand what the families and those who put their lives on the line are going through.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.



Source link