Tag Archives: Terrorism

Uncommon Valor- Book Review

   Frank Antenori with Hans Halberstadt, Roughneck Nine-One: The Extraordinary Story of a Special Forces A-Team at War, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2007

 

Rising above the politicization of the Iraq war is a task best left to the men who fought it.  Well publicized memoirs by the commanding Generals, the Secretary of Defense, and the Commander-in-Chief only fueled the partisan debate.  Green Beret Frank Antenori’s gripping account of the Battle of Debecka Pass is a vital primary source detailing the misunderstood conflict. An unusual blend of tactical storytelling and technical detail, Roughneck Nine-One is a rare look into the world of America’s “quiet professionals.”

Roughneck

Antenori expresses the unprecedented nature of his battle history.  Typically, Special Forces battles are classified affairs, kept from public scrutiny until years later.  Embedded reporters from CNN and the New York Times present at Debecka prevented the combat from being classified.  Antenori and co-author Halberstadt are able to relay the events with brutal frankness and commendable accuracy.  The frustrations of military logistics are explained to build anticipation for the inevitable battle.  Glimpses into American military planning are rare, and Antenori’s insights are particularly telling- the warrior struggling with red tape to acquire the necessary tools.

 

Roughneck Nine-One is essential reading because it dispels many commonly held myths about the Iraq war.  First, most importantly, the myth about weapons of mass destruction.  Mainstream media perpetuates the narrative of Bush lying about WMD to start the war- Antenori establishes that if true, this was a most elaborate lie.  Special Forces units were assigned specific missions targeting known WMD sites. Strategic complications delayed US entry into Iraq giving Saddam Hussein time to destroy or hide the incriminating evidence; Debecka was fought on such a mission.  Secondly, that Saddam had no ties to terrorism.  The Green Berets regularly engaged foreign fighters using the Iranian border as shelter- Antenori has no politically axe to grind, he tells a story the way he experienced it.

Quiet Professional

Quiet Professional

Frank Antenori opens an important window to a misunderstood conflict.  Partisan bickering over the justification for the war has clouded a proper historical picture of it.  Stories like Roughneck Nine-One are invaluable to scholars looking to accurately record America’s involvement in Iraq.

    

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In A Dangerous World

“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.”

 

These are not the words of George W. Bush… Ronald Reagan, or even John Kennedy.  This is the essence of the Truman Doctrine- a clear outline for America’s strategic place in the world.  Though primarily written by Dean Acheson, Harry Truman’s plain spoken manner made the intent abundantly clear.  Our security at home was directly tied to our vigilance abroad.

Carry the battle to them...

Carry the battle to them…

Would such decisive language be welcomed… by Democrats today? Politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to be embracing the self-destructive tenants of isolationism.  They are deluded as were our early leaders that neutrality was not only desired, but possible.

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Terror at Home

The assassination of William McKinley by an anarchist… was still fresh in the minds of the US Justice Dept.  The triumph of the Bolsheviks in 1917 prompted radicals in America to step up their campaign of violence.  Anarchists agitated through organized labor and started a campaign of violence not seen since the end of the Civil War.

Domestic enemies everywhere

Domestic enemies everywhere

April, May, and June of 1919 was a time of terror… from a foreign threat hiding among us.  Eastern European radicals first sent 30 letter bombs to businessmen and law enforcement officers  around the country, killing two people.  In June, the anarchists struck again, placing packaged bombs at the homes of government officials, including Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer.  Two more people were killed- flyers were distributed around the country declaring war on capitalism.  The American people demanded action.

Come_unto_me,_ye_opprest

Palmer responded by setting into motion… the newly created investigative bureau, headed by 24 year old J. Edgar Hoover.  The orders were simple- find the radicals, arrest and deport them.  Hoover launched sweeping raids in 23 states.  Over 3000 people were arrested, many without warrants or indictments.  Communist organizers, Eastern Europeans, and union agitators were targeted.  As the raids grew in intensity, critics emerged to challenge their constitutionality.  By 1920, the public seemed to lose interest in combating the terror threat posed by the anarchists.

palmer2

Palmer once was considered a Presidential hopeful… but the raids ultimately cost him his political career.  American public opinion turned against the heavy handed tactics of Hoover’s FBI, despite the threat still posed by anarchists.  This was clearly on display during the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1920- Two self-confessed anarchists tried for murder and robbery, and public opinion was decidedly against the government’s case.   The violence continued with little public outcry….

 

 

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Ending Impunity

America’s war on terrorism has deep roots… deeper than many care to remember.  The President has the duty to protect the citizens from threats abroad and in our backyard.  US Grant did just that during Reconstruction in the South.  The terrorists were the Ku Klux Klan.

Extraordinary power

Extraordinary power

The Klan was terrorizing former slaves… and in many cases, killing with impunity during Reconstruction.  Local law enforcement and state militias provided little relief.  Grant speedily signed a third Enforcement Act, designed to bring law enforcement under Federal control.  Klan atrocities had grown so prevalent, no accurate statistics can measure the true impact.  The law gave Grant the power to:

  • Suspend habeas corpus in counties deemed “detrimental to implementation of Federal law”
  • Use US military forces in the execution of the law
  • Try the offenders in Federal court.

White_League_and_KKK_2

Grant ordered sweeping raids across… Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia in 1871.  Federal troops arrested hundreds and forced many hundreds more to flee.  Federal courts, many with black jurors, handed down the stiffest of penalties.  The power and influence of the Klan was broken.

Grant2

In an all-too-common pattern… the extreme measures polarized the American people.  Grant’s actions were necessary, but American voters were swayed by the perceived improprieties.  Reconstruction came to a crashing halt in the election of 1876.

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Uncommon Valor- Book Review

   Frank Antenori with Hans Halberstadt, Roughneck Nine-One: The Extraordinary Story of a Special Forces A-Team at War, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2007

 

Rising above the politicization of the Iraq war is a task best left to the men who fought it.  Well publicized memoirs by the commanding Generals, the Secretary of Defense, and the Commander-in-Chief only fueled the partisan debate.  Green Beret Frank Antenori’s gripping account of the Battle of Debecka Pass is a vital primary source detailing the misunderstood conflict. An unusual blend of tactical storytelling and technical detail, Roughneck Nine-One is a rare look into the world of America’s “quiet professionals.”

Roughneck

Antenori expresses the unprecedented nature of his battle history.  Typically, Special Forces battles are classified affairs, kept from public scrutiny until years later.  Embedded reporters from CNN and the New York Times present at Debecka prevented the combat from being classified.  Antenori and co-author Halberstadt are able to relay the events with brutal frankness and commendable accuracy.  The frustrations of military logistics are explained to build anticipation for the inevitable battle.  Glimpses into American military planning are rare, and Antenori’s insights are particularly telling- the warrior struggling with red tape to acquire the necessary tools.

 

Roughneck Nine-One is essential reading because it dispels many commonly held myths about the Iraq war.  First, most importantly, the myth about weapons of mass destruction.  Mainstream media perpetuates the narrative of Bush lying about WMD to start the war- Antenori establishes that if true, this was a most elaborate lie.  Special Forces units were assigned specific missions targeting known WMD sites. Strategic complications delayed US entry into Iraq giving Saddam Hussein time to destroy or hide the incriminating evidence; Debecka was fought on such a mission.  Secondly, that Saddam had no ties to terrorism.  The Green Berets regularly engaged foreign fighters using the Iranian border as shelter- Antenori has no politically axe to grind, he tells a story the way he experienced it.

Quiet Professional

Quiet Professional

Frank Antenori opens an important window to a misunderstood conflict.  Partisan bickering over the justification for the war has clouded a proper historical picture of it.  Stories like Roughneck Nine-One are invaluable to scholars looking to accurately record America’s involvement in Iraq.

    

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Foolish Comparisons are Dangerous

The recent Islamic terror attacks in Paris… have reignited the debate over so-called “Islamophobia” and discrimination against Muslims.  The actions of a minority seem to be attracting more scrutiny to all followers of the religion.  The discussion as to what “moderate” Muslims must do to combat radicals in their faith is completely legitimate.

Good, Christian Men?

Good, Christian Men?

Examples of violence against Muslims are being exploited… now for greater political gain.  Such attacks are cowardly and counterproductive- but the reaction to them is becoming just as dangerous.  Social media is buzzing with the awful comparison of Islamic motivation for terrorism and Christian ties to the Holocaust.  Some are even going as far as to portray Hitler as some kind of Christian warrior exterminating the Jews for Jesus’ sake.  The misguided attempts to defend moderate Muslims have hoisted this clumsy moral equivalency on an overly-impressionable millennial generation.  Social media is alive with “Don’t blame Muslims for Paris, unless you blame Christians for the Holocaust.”    This tripe passes for intellectualism to younger people today….

 

No reasonable scholar has ever considered National Socialism as… anything but a political and ideological movement.  The leading scholar on Hitler and Nazism, Dr. Ian Kershaw, considered Hitler’s religious ramblings a farce; the dictator was in fact anti-christian.  Using Christianity as a convenient tool for propaganda is a far cry from killing people in the name of a religion, citing its holy book as your dogma.

 

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Nuanced to Death

The need for the Obama administration… to have a more “nuanced” approach to foreign policy is weakening our position in the world and killing innocents trapped in the middle.  ISIS represents a most serious national security threat, yet Obama and his state department refuse to recognize them for what they are- the new Islamic caliphate.  “Nuance” provides a different picture; disaffected Arab youth with limited job prospects are at the heart of the ISIS threat- find them jobs, and ISIS goes away…. Obama’s refusal to recognize religion as the ideological core of this group is putting the entire world in danger.  This “nuanced” approach is a poor excuse for true foreign policy initiative to combat a threat the late, great Christopher Hitchens predicted back in 2005.  History shows us the true nature and danger of a united, radical Islamic state…

What, me worry?

What, me worry?

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were part of our first… diplomatic delegation   in London in 1785.  They were instructed to seek out Tripoli’s ambassador, Abdra-Rahman, and seek a maritime agreement.  The ambassador shocked the Americans with his exorbitant demands for ransom and tribute- even a fee for his personal attention. Jefferson protested the piracy by stating the facts: The US had no quarrel with the Muslim world, we had never been Crusaders, we took no part in the Spanish conquests of Muslim lands- what right did Tripoli have to exact such a toll?

Don't tread on me !

Don’t tread on me !

The response must have struck every reasoned bone… in Jefferson’s body- Abdra-Rahman claimed that the Koran gave Tripoli permission;  The US and Europeans were infidels, and therefore subject to war and slavery by the Holy Ottoman Empire.  Monarchy and theocracy combined to create terror and wickedness.  Jefferson immediately responded to the US Congress that no such payment should be made to such an objectionable form of tyranny and banditry.  He advised that a naval squadron  be outfitted and sent to the Mediterranean to enforce our commercial rights.

 

Our policy for this region of the world demands strong, definitive action-  not “nuance” 

I don't think they are looking for a jobs program.

I don’t think they are looking for a jobs program.

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