Not serious, laughable, doubling down, no leadership – "The Cliff"

Editor’s Note – Here’s what you voted for – nothing – more nothing from the White House. Actually it should be called a joke. The President keeps calling for a balanced approach, but when they negotiate, or in the case of Timothy Geithner, they present a laughable miasmic plan you have to laugh.

How can we take our leader serious if this is how he plans for the next four years. If raising taxes now without cuts, or a promise of cuts in the new year, what is balanced about that? He says he wants one higher tax number, then we see it is doubled. The lies just continue, and he is not even running for office again. How do we trust this kind of leader?

They talk of revenue enhancement (which of course means raising taxes on those dastardly rich people) but they will not offer any believable specifics on cuts – and what they did bring is tiny in comparison to the rise in taxes. It all avoids the third rail of cutting our bloated social programs.

Senator Mitch McConnell, President Obama, Speaker John Boehner

Spending cuts are mandatory now, and that means real cuts, not a reduction in larger spending planned. Be careful of the words the President and his party use – its just so hypocritical, disingenuous, and misleading at best. Here is what the response was to the laughable, non-serious plan of the White House:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented President Barack Obama’s opening offer on a fiscal cliff deal to Republicans on Thursday, reportedly eliciting laughter from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who found it absurd.

McConnell told the National Review that he “burst into laughter” as Geithner outlined the plan. The Republican said no offense was meant, and that it was simply a candid reaction to the proposal, which he characterized as one-sided and ridiculous over its calls for large increases in tax revenue, while being light on promises of the large spending cuts or entitlement reforms that many of McConnell’s colleagues have demanded.

If you live as a retired person on dividends, your income that you saved for is about to take a dive. Yes, you are a rich person if you earn over $250,ooo, or live off dividends. Meanwhile the President is still on the campaign trail to sell this tripe – come back Mr. President, time to lead, if you can. Put real numbers on the table, and then lead the way – demanding numbers from the Congress first is leading from behind – as usual.

This Unserious White House

The president makes the GOP a fiscal-cliff offer he knows they will refuse.


The White House this week finally explained just how serious it is about averting a fiscal cliff that could throw the country back into a recession. The answer: not serious at all.

The markets and the media in recent days have been operating on an optimistic belief that the administration simply will not let the country fall off the fiscal cliff. They’d best rethink. On Thursday, the president dispatched Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors to Congress to finally outline the White House’s offer to avert the coming tax hikes and sequester.

It was something out of Wonderland and Oz combined.

According to sources on Capitol Hill, the White House wants Republicans to pony up $960 billion in immediate tax increases, which will come from hiking the top marginal rates and increasing capital gains and dividends taxes. That is just for starters. The administration also wants the GOP to surrender an additional $600 billion in revenue via later tax reforms.

The president’s team specified noamounts or details on spending cuts. Rather, the White House wants more spending: at least $50 billion in new stimulus, an extension of unemployment insurance, a one-year deferral of the sequester, new money to refinance underwater mortgages, a Medicare-doctor fix . . . and a partridge in a pear tree.

Oh, the White House also wants Congress to give Mr. Obama the authority to increase the debt limit, whenever he wants, as much as he wants.

What do Republicans get in return? Next year, the White House will agree to talk to the GOP about cutting as much as $400 billion from entitlement programs. Maybe. If Democrats get around to it. Which they won’t—because they’ll have everything they’ve wanted.

How to put this tax-and-more-spending offer in perspective? It is far in excess of what the Democrats asked for in last year’s debt-limit standoff—when the political configuration in Washington was exactly the same. It is far more than the president’s own Democratic Senate has ever been able to pass, even with a filibuster-proof majority. It is far more than the president himself campaigned on this year.

But the president’s offer is very much in keeping with his history of insisting that every negotiation consist of the other side giving him everything he wants. That approach has given him the reputation as the modern president least able to forge a consensus.

Don’t forget: The man now engaged with Congress to work out a grand deal is the same one who could not pull over to his side a single Republican vote for his stimulus legislation, who had to ram through ObamaCare with procedural tricks, and whose inept handling of last year’s debt-ceiling talks ultimately led his fellow Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to isolate him from the final negotiations. This is not a history to inspire confidence.

Mr. Obama’s tendency to campaign rather than lead, to speechify rather than negotiate, has already defined this lame-duck session. The president has wasted weeks during which a framework for a deal has been in place.

Within two days of the election, Mr. Boehner had offered an enormous compromise, committing the GOP to provide new tax revenue, through limits on deductions for the wealthy. Mr. Obama campaigned on making “the rich” pay more—and that is exactly what Mr. Boehner agreed to give him.

All that was left for the president to do was accept this peace offering, pair it with necessary spending cuts, and take credit for averting a crisis. Mr. Obama has instead spent the past weeks campaigning for tax-rate hikes. He wants the revenue, but collected only the way he chooses. And on the basis of that ideological insistence alone, the nation is much closer to a crisis.

John Boehner, Barack Obama and Harry Reid at the White House, Nov. 16.

Talks that had been at a standstill may now crumble, thanks to the Geithner-Nabors proposal. The president is boxing in the Republicans—offering them a deal they cannot accept, a deal they can’t even be seen to be treating seriously. Mr. Boehner is legitimately interested in a bargain that will set the country on sounder footing. Yet the most immediate outcome of such an open slap from the White House will be to make even those Republicans who were willing to cut a deal harden their positions. Someone get the White House a copy of “Negotiating Tactics for Dummies.”

Then again, the most frightening aspect of the White House proposal is that it wasn’t an error. Perhaps the proposal was thoroughly calculated. This suggests a president who doesn’t care about the outcome of the cliff negotiations—who thinks that he wins politically no matter what. He’s betting that either the GOP will be far more responsible than he is and do anything to avert a crisis, or that the cliff gives him the tax hikes his partisans are demanding. Win-win, save for the enormous pain to average families across the country.

The Republicans will have to contemplate how to deal with such an unserious offer. But in presenting his demands, the president has now made very clear that there is only one side that is working in good faith.

The tyranny of the local majority – Blue Super Cells

By Scott W. Winchell

There is a mandate, but its not Obama’s – its our House of Representatives’ mandate!

To many people across the country, some questions rose to the top after the election. What the heck just happened? Is this a second term mandate?

On November 6th, America basically voted for the status quo with a few exceptions. The House is still controlled by the Republicans, the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats, and the same man sits behind the ‘Resolute Desk’ in the Oval Office. But there are now 30 states with Republican Governors. Go figure, it defies credulity and reason, but why?

The Democrats tell us that America voted for their policies, giving them a mandate, and now the Republicans are wavering as the ‘cliff’ approaches. Obama keeps sticking to his ‘revenue’ increase scheme, otherwise known as taxing the rich for their fair share but did they really achieve a mandate? Did America really vote to increase their taxes or does it just appear they did? In truth, it’s all an illusion. Why, well let’s examine what took place that fateful day. Your future depends on understanding the answer, so does your bank account.

After losing the election, Romney mentioned why he thought he lost, and many of his supporters have come up with a series of excuses, accusations, and now there is a lot of hand wringing, but its all focused on the wrong aspects. The media actually has left-leaning talking heads as well as Republicans themselves telling us how the Republicans need to change their message. They say it was the Hispanic vote, or the ‘war on women’, or some other demographic unit. But really, when you boil it down, these methods of deciphering what happened miss the point all together.

What really happened was the Left recognized the populace for whom it is, where it is, what it is, and exploited these data in a manner that our forefathers tried to stop on the macro-scale long ago. The original design called for stopping the tyranny of the majority – we just witnessed it on the more micro scale. You may ask, since Obama won by a small margin in the popular vote but he did have a wide margin in the Electoral College, so was there a tyranny of the majority? A closer look does show this indeed happened, especially at the local level in the urban centers. They knew how to win, not through message or record, but more importantly, by artifice. (I am not going to touch the fraud rail.)

The Electoral College, a bad thing when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Presidency in 2000, something that was roundly loathed by many when losing, but you do not hear that today from the left. Obama won 332 to 206, a mandate? Sounds like a mandate, but that is an illusion. In the same election we also voted for Governors, Representatives, Senators and myriad local and state offices. The key to understanding why that was an illusion, and why the man who won the race has no mandate is that this nation does not have a national election, rather, it has 50 state elections and one in the District of Columbia and our territories. Obama did win, but what does it really mean?

The theory when America was much less populated was that the heavy urban areas, where life is led one way, would overwhelm those who live another way by the tyranny of the majority. If we had a national election, New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago would be the only battlegrounds, and urban people would always get their way. Fortunately, “we the people” have representatives. The Electoral College prevents tyranny on the macro, but tyranny does happen on the state level. Effectively, one urban community can command an entire state, and that is exactly what happened. To argue that it was a demographic issue is largely true – the urban demographic.

Obama won in 26 states and DC while Romney won 24. Our system worked, and the candidate who won more states won the race handily, yes? Well not necessarily. If not for a few key locations, the opposite would have occurred. These few locales became “blue super cells” and they were in key battleground states, and they ended up controlling the outcome for that entire state. Ohio is perhaps the greatest example. In one county, one locale, in Cleveland, in Cuyahoga Countyand its surround. This is an area comprised of many local precincts, where the difference was so great between the two that it overcame the difference of the combined total of the 87 other counties in Ohio. That is tyranny of the majority writ micro.

Notice the House Districts in Ohio and Pennsylvania - red states that went blue because of the blue super cells

If we look at it from a different perspective, what the forefathers tried to prevent was the very tool the Democrats used, and employed what Tip O’Neill so eloquently said: “All politics are local!” The left identified several super cells, applied over four years of building those areas into a machine they knew would tilt those states in their favor, and it worked. When over 50 precincts or zones as they are called in Philadelphia vote 100% for one candidate solely, the plan worked to perfection – Obama won Pennsylvania more easily than expected in the later days of the campaign.

When we look at the famous red/blue maps by the state, we get one picture. When we look at the county vote we get another, but perhaps most important was how the map of the district seats for the House of Representatives looks. The story of American elections lies in her House Districts, not her counties or states. The blue islands show us where these blue super cells were and the district map shows why there was a tyranny of the majority. The power of the people is in her House, not the White House, yet the media and the parties all talk about demographics as if we have a single national election, as if the nation spoke as one.

Each House District is comprised roughly of the same amount of people with a few exceptions in sparsely populated states, so the way America thinks is actually more apparent when we look at the House of Representatives. Some will say that the Senate make-up is just as meaningful, if not more important, but that defies our foundations. Here is why.

If the nation was showing a mandate, it wasn’t in the race for the Presidency; it was in the race for House seats and Governor-ships. At the district level, the tyranny of the majority is seriously reduced as a weapon. Look at Ohio, or Florida, or Colorado, or even Pennsylvania on the map above. In these states, the people voted overwhelmingly for Republicans for the House, yet each went to Obama for the White House. The battleground states are largely red, not by geographic representation, but by equal representation at the District level. The left knew this going in, so they loaded up in the blue super cells to offset the preponderance of districts going Republican.

The left’s “get out the vote” and registration drive efforts, along with the massive ground game already in place for four years, buoyed by almost a billion dollars in those ultra-blue super cells was the trick. This was where the right lost badly. Why, because they did not recognize the importance of the ground game and they completely gave up in the inner cities; there were no “red super cells”. When you have slivers of land so densely populated, it’s easy to get the voter turnout chugging. It’s all very local, so organizers can load buses and cars easily, quickly repeating the process and attain the record turnout where they know they have the vote. This overwhelmed efforts elsewhere, especially in more spread out districts. But again, its all about the House Districts really when it comes to message and mandate.

On a state wide basis, this formula works, but it does not work for gaining seats in the house – only the message works for that. If it was the President’s message that won the day, the House would look quite different in the 113th Congress. For President and Senator, it’s a statewide race; races that can be swayed by blue super cells. One or two urban locales can move an entire state – quite the reason the founders feared the tyranny of pure democracy, one that undermines the representative republic we are supposed to be. They meant well, but it seems this was not anticipated fully.

So in a sense, if we need to fix our Electoral College system we may be better served by counting how state districts voted, and award that elector to vote for the state as does Nebraska and Maine – the “congressional district method“. The two votes each has by virtue of its senate seats would go to who carried the entire state. But we simply cannot allow just one densely packed area where group think rules the day to continue to control the outcome. Our states are assigned electors by the number of districts and Senators, yet the states popular vote rules the Electors, a recipe for tyranny of the majority writ micro.

Florida is a great example of this as well. The people have repeatedly voted for Republicans for state offices; voted to fill 17 out of 27 Representative seats with Republicans yet have a Senator from each party and Obama won. For federal office, the Democrat machine grinds away in Miami, Orlando, and the gold coast, and arguably stole one seat in St. Lucie County. In Ohio, the people voted for a Republican Governor previously, and filled 12 of the 16 seats in House districts with Republicans, yet they have a Senator from each party. In Pennsylvania the people have a Republican Governor and 13 of 18 House seats are held by Republicans, and again, a Senator from each party. Obama won each of these battleground states in a somewhat comfortable way as a result, but these states are largely red, very red.

The message then for the Republicans is this, re-educate yourselves, do not change your principles, stick to your guns, and make sure the tyranny of the masses at the micro level does not ruin our country again. The Obama mandate does not exist – you, our Representatives have the mandate – defend those you represent, conserve our representative republic. Become more conservative, not less. Moderation is for those without core principles and the left has you believing them. Do not cave in and let them take us all over the cliff!

Epitaph for a Four Star

Foreword by Sam Holliday:

In Lessons from Vietnam, 30 July 2012  (see Vietnam Revisited)  I state: We failed to learn the lessons we should have learned from Vietnam, and then we repeated many of our mistakes in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Currently there are many who want to limit “the military” to conventional war (forces), and leave any protracted, complex, frustrating conflict against non-state actor to someone else. This was the error made after Vietnam. If the US does not learn the correct lessons now, it is likely to repeat the errors made in and after Vietnam during any attempts to counter efforts of the Third Jihad.

Gen. David Petraeus, father of the COIN Doctrine (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Epitaph for a Four Star by MacGregor supports my conclusions for it illustrates that our senior leaders failed to learn the lessons they should have learned from Vietnam–and Korea.

We have created an overgrown politically correct bureaucracy committed to jobs for generals, rather than developing warriors dedicated to countering the threats to our country at the least cost in blood and treasure. Knowledge is the only guardian of order, success, satisfaction and stability.

Our leaders–both civilian and military–have failed to learn the importance of decentralization and local authority; they do not realize the need for common identity through shared beliefs and convictions; they think in terms of relations between nation states, top down control by central governments and foreign aid to influence behavior.

The Petraeus Saga


Originally published in Counterpunch

When Major General David H. Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division met Lieutenant General William Wallace, commander of the U.S. Army’s V Corps on 27 March 2003 at a site near Najaf, only five days after American forces began the attack to Baghdad Petraeus and Wallace were deeply pessimistic. They concluded, “The war was in dismal shape.” Petraeus, an officer who had risen to Major General and Division Command with no previous combat experience, was deeply worried about the level of Iraqi resistance.

The fact that 3rd Infantry Division (mechanized), an armored force of hundreds of tanks and armored fighting vehicles was already 50 miles south of Baghdad and poised to attack the city did not seem to matter.  Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. would have flown into a rage and fired them on the spot.  Yet both men went on to four stars.

Was General David Petraeus the heroic figure his press releases suggested or a piece of fiction created, packaged and presented to the American people by the Bush Administration and its Neocon allies in the media and academia as the poster boy for counterinsurgency?  Was he simply a world class aid de camp, military assistant and speech writer, a slick briefer who successfully cultivated dozens of Army four stars and political appointees on the ladder to four stars? Or is Petraeus simply the victim of his own press releases?

Consider these points: The Shiite dominated government of Iraq is not only more corrupt today than its secular Baathist predecessor. It’s also among the most corrupt states in the world, far worse than North Korea or Russia. And, unlike Saddam Hussein’s Iraq it is unambiguously tied to and aligned with Iran.  In Afghanistan, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) continue to run from fights with pathetic Taliban in bed sheets and flip flops and more Afghan civilians died during the 18 months of Petraeus’s “Afghan Surge” than at any time in the previous ten years.[i] How did these things come about?  Who is responsible for this debacle?

How many times have Americans read the flattering assessments of Petraeus on the editorial pages of The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal or heard Journalists repeat Petraeus’s assertions of “progress” and “success” on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC? Whenever Petraeus wanted to show that his alleged “counterinsurgency” strategy was delivering significant progress in Iraq or Afghanistan, the mainstream media offered unconditional support for whatever narrative Petraeus provided.[ii]

Vacuous statements removed from the facts were routinely treated like sermons on the mount, “It’s about being comfortable with a degree of chaos,” he [Petraeus] said in the interview. “And the whole point is that I am comfortable with that kind of situation. What you want to do is constantly push the envelope in every respect.”[iii]  Huh???

When the Surge in Iraq began, no one in Washington was interested in explaining why the world’s most powerful military establishment led by Petraeus was buying off its Sunni Arab opponents with hundreds of millions of dollars, effectively supplanting counterinsurgency with cash-based cooptation.[iv]  When the Surge in Iraq ended, no one in Washington wanted to discuss why Tehran’s Shiite allies in Baghdad restrained their fighters, and waited until the U.S. occupation ended before consolidating their control of Arab Iraq. In 2009, an Iraqi journalist described the outcome in terms no serious observer of the conflict could ignore:

“Observers not steeped in Iraqi history might be bemused to find that six years after the toppling of a dictator, after the death of several hundred thousand Iraqis, a brutal insurgency, trillions of wasted dollars and more than 4,000 dead US soldiers, the country is being rebuilt along very familiar lines: concentration of power, shadowy intelligence services and corruption.”[v]

A year later, Al-Qaida together with its Sunni Islamist affiliates in Iraq was also making a comeback recruiting scores of Sunni Muslim Arabs to rejoin the fight against the “crusaders and the Shiites” by paying them more than the monthly salary they received from the Maliki Government.[vi]  Petraeus had brought the country back to where it started. Members of the House and the Senate privately acknowledged Iraq was a failure,[vii] but this tragic outcome did not obstruct the Petraeus proposal to repeat the folly of Iraq in Afghanistan.

On 7 October 2009 before the surge in Afghanistan began,  Marc Sageman, a veteran intelligence officer with years of experience in Pakistan and the region warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “The proposed counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan is at present irrelevant to the goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda, which is located in Pakistan.  None of the plots in the West has any connection to any Afghan insurgent group, labeled under the umbrella name “Afghan Taliban.”[viii]  Reason and facts took a back seat.  Sageman was ignored.

A year later, when I asked a field grade officer in Washington, DC with experience in Afghanistan if the simultaneous departure of General Petraeus and Ambassador Eikenberry from their posts in Kabul at the start of the security transition and after two high-profile assassinations (Jan Mohammad and Ahmed Wali) would undermine the Afghan population’s confidence in the U.S. leadership, he answered, “Absolutely not!  There is no public confidence to lose.  Read the local media translated every day in The matter is absolutely irrelevant to the population-Uzbek, Tajik, Huzzara or Pashtun.”[ix]

Sadly, what happened in Afghanistan was also irrelevant to the American people.  By now, Americans had figured out that large-scale U.S. military occupations of non-Western societies to transform them into images of the West inevitably provoke resentment and breed violence; even when the U.S. pays $25 million a month in hard cash to its enemies not to fight.

Why did these things happen?

The short answer involves the skillful use of data and information to create a false picture of military action in faraway places.  It’s not a new practice,[x] but in Iraq, Petraeus elevated it to an art form. With the backing of the Bush Administration, Petraeus created a narrative based on the illusion the he, David Petraeus, had “discovered” a military solution to Iraq’s societal misery in the form of counterinsurgency.

Secretary of State Dean Acheson said it best, “Americans are suckers for good news.” And P.T. Barnum insisted, “A sucker is born every minute.” Both were right.

However, in Afghanistan, Petraeus overestimated his ability to control the narrative even with a friendly U.S. press.  True, the chronic absence of accountability for lost funds and failed nation building projects persisted as they did in Iraq,[xi] but when Marjah, the alleged test case for the Afghan Surge faltered badly, IED strikes multiplied and U.S. casualties rose, the Afghan narrative fell apart.[xii] Unfortunately for General Stanley McChrystal, he arrived in Kabul just in time to embrace Petraeus’s false counterinsurgency strategy and supporting narrative, an act that brought him down as much as any imprudent remarks he made under the influence.

When Petraeus finally left joined the CIA, a place from which he could direct black operations that are largely unmonitored and uncontrolled by the president and congress, Americans simply tuned out operations in Afghanistan that were going nowhere. If such disastrous leadership did not result in the pointless loss of American life in uniform,[xiii] undermine American strategic interests abroad, and empty the U.S. Treasury of its hard earned tax dollars,[xiv] it would almost be comedic.

Of course, these observations still don’t completely explain the meteoric rise of Dave Petraeus, or how his carefully crafted image swayed American public opinion.  One reason is very that few Americans know much about the military. Most are conditioned to see generals through the prism of Hollywood films. They are easily persuaded that today’s generals are indistinguishable from the battle-hardened leaders of the Second World War or the Korean conflict. Nothing could be more inaccurate.

Directing air strikes, raids and patrols from the safety of the Green Zone, a place that compares favorably with any number of elaborate shopping malls and motels in the United States, is not waging war. Suppressing hostile Muslim populations that resent Western occupation is not the same as confronting the Waffen SS in the Ardennes or hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops on the Korean Peninsula.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, there are no opposing armies, air forces or air defenses.

In truth, only a fraction of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who deploy, are ever under fire. Their courage and devotion are never in question, but confusing them with generals is tantamount to equating senators and Wall Street Bankers with American citizens struggling to survive the economic meltdown.  In such an artificial war environment, sacred cows like Petraeus are never slain, they simply vanish.

In addition, Petraeus made a common mistake that is all too common in the Army’s four star ranks. He concluded he was the smartest guy in the room and he made sure everyone in the room knew it.  Petraeus was always one of those guys who wanted to be a general for the sake of being a general and he was prepared to do anything to secure the stars,[xv] the product of extreme careerism coupled with the façade of false humility.  President Bush and the Neocons in his administration needed a “hero,” an alleged “great captain” to make the case for victory in Iraq when there was none.

Petraeus was eager to play the role and, the otherwise unknown Paula Broadwell, a former Army officer and West Point graduate, was anxious to tell Petraeus’s story.  Broadwell and Petraeus were simply two people with converging agendas.

Petraeus wanted a biographer who would cultivate the myth he worked so hard to create, someone who would glorify him, his “surges” and legitimate the Neocon policy of occupation and nation building with which he identified himself.  Broadwell wanted the fame and fortune that access to Petraeus and his narrative would bring.  Both got what they wanted, at least, for a while.

However, given that amateur hour in Benghazi is taking center stage on Capitol Hill, there’s little reason for the Obama Administration to keep up appearances with its generals.  The latest revelations cast doubt on General John Allen’s future.

It turns out that in two years Allen sent approximately 30,000 pages containing hundreds of emails to Jill Kelley, a volunteer social organizer at the MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, and a bit player in the Petraeus-Broadwell affair.  How many emails a day is anyone’s guess, but how could Allen have any time left over to focus on operations in Afghanistan when he was sending so many messages to the magnetic Mrs. Kelley!!!

None of the generals’ peccadillos is newsworthy, but for its commentary on the generals.  The affairs are genuinely irrelevant. But the events demonstrate that the readiness of four stars like David Petraeus and John Allen to enthusiastically push utterly foolish and self-defeating policies conceived in Washington, DC is not the result of individual failures, but the crisis of an entire institution.[xvi]

Americans must wake up. The contemporary American military is not led by a Roman or Prussian class of hardened professionals.  On the contrary, for the most part, the senior leadership is really an overgrown bureaucracy committed to jobs for generals. But these bureaucrats in uniform have gone too far. They are now responsible for the extraordinary loss of American blood, treasure, as well as, strategic ground in Iraq and Afghanistan at a point in time when the American people just cannot afford it.

Douglas Macgregor is a retired Army colonel, a decorated combat veteran, a PhD and the author of four books. His latest work, Warrior’s Rage from Naval Institute Press describes the generals’ failure in 1991 to exploit the victory in the Battle of 73 Easting and destroy the Iraqi Republican Guard.



See the first paragraph on page 1, then, look at the charts on page 7 showing the overall trends in violence. See the graphic on page 8 and note the information on RC-Southwest (and, in fact, all of the regional commands). Page 9 provides a province by province breakdown. Once again, Petraeus and his staff did not tell the truth.

[ii] David Wood, “Auditors Despair over Pentagon’s Books,” San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 July 2004, page 1.

[iii] Yochi J. Dreazen, “The General’s Playbook,” National Journal, 30 October 2010.

[iv] Michael Vlahos, “Fighting Identity: Why we are losing our wars.” Military Review, November-December 2007, 7.

[v] Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, “Six years after Saddam Hussein, Nouri al-Maliki tightens his grip on Iraq,” The Guardian, 30 April 2009.

[vi] Martin Chulov, “Fears of al–Qaida return in Iraq as US–backed fighters defect. American allies the Sons of Iraq being offered more money by al–Qaida to switch sides,” The Guardian, 10 August 2010, page 2.

[vii] Daniel Tencer, “GOP congressmen: Everyone agrees Iraq war a ‘horrible mistake,” The Raw Story, 19 March 2010.

[viii] Marc Sageman, M.D., Ph.D., Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 7 October 2009, “Confronting al-Qaeda: Understanding the Threat in Afghanistan and Beyond.”

[ix] The officer declines to be identified for obvious reasons.

[x] Robert Maginnis, “Distrust Corroding The Military,” Washington Times, 2 March 200, page 11.

[xi] Marisa Taylor, “U.S. Spending In Afghanistan Plagued By Poor U.S. Oversight,” McClatchy Newspapers (, 15 January 2010.

[xii] Alex Strick van Linschoten, “Five things David Petraeus wants you to believe,” Current Intelligence, 22 November 2010.

[xiii] Pauline Jelinek, (AP), “Army’s Suicide Rate at 26-Year High,” Boston Globe, 16 August 2007, page 1. The failure to devise a more humane rotational system is a case in point. Jelinek writes: “In addition, there was a significant relationship between suicide attempts and number of days deployed’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, or nearby countries where troops are participating in the war effort, it said. The same pattern seemed to hold true for those who succeeded in killing themselves.”

[xiv] Paul B. Farrell, “America’s Outrageous War Economy! Pentagon can’t find $2.3 trillion, wasting trillions on ‘national defense,”MarketWatch, 28 August 2008, page 13.

[xv] Thom Shanker, “Concern Grows Over Top Military Officers’ Ethics,” New York Times, 13 November 2012, page 2. Also see:David Barstow, “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex,” New York Times, 30 November 2008, page 1.

[xvi] LTC Paul Yingling, “A Failure in Generalship,” Armed Forces Journal, May 2007, page 27.

Racist racists, accuse others of racism – for speaking English

Editor’s Note– May we ask a few questions – racially related ones? It seems we have a new language we need to adopt, the one we speak as our native tongue is no longer legal – at least according to some in Congress. It appears that the memo went out and we were not notified, at least for the white Congressman and Senators who find fault with Susan Rice. Dare we say these people are racists themselves?

Yes, racists! When all your thoughts and actions start and end with the word racist, are you yourself a racist? It appears some Congressman think so – at least of non-blacks, and by their own words and actions they have proven themselves beyond any “code” word that they are racists.

Rep. Marcia Fudge - Is she a racist for always calling things racist?

Dear Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Congressman Jim Clyburn;

  • What is the definition of racism?
  • Remember when they called Condi Rice the “House Nigga“?
  • Is there a Congressional White Caucus in Congress?
  • When 50 plus precincts in the inner city of Philadelphia vote 100% for the black man – is that racist?
  • Is Barack Obama a white man or a black man, or is he an Arab-American, or an Irish-American…?
  • When you personally change the meaning of a word or phrase uttered by a white person and call it a code word for racism, is that not racism?
  • Is any elected or appointed government official who is not white open to criticism from any American regardless of COLOR?
  • What English words are English speaking people now barred from using? Can we describe anything other than people by its color?
  • Is there a Congressional Green Caucus, how about a Left-handed Caucus, or a Bald Caucus, how about a Short Person Caucus – where does this tripe end?
  • If an Illinois community re-elects Jesse Jackson, Jr. while he was confined to a hospital for mental health reasons – was racism an issue? (He resigned already, unable to even be sworn in for his re-elected seat, and don’t forget those investigations ala the Blago-Scandal.)

Congressional Black Caucus Discovers Entire English Language is a Racist Code Word

Front Page Magazine

Responding to Republican criticism of UN Ambassador Susan Rice for claiming that the Benghazi attack on the US mission and annex there had been caused by a photo of a stuffed teddy bear named Mohammed, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus and Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on 40 Acres, an Obamaphone and a Mule denounced any attacks on Rice as “horridly and unspeakably racist.”

While Fudge could not point to any single word that was racist, she insisted that every single word used to criticize Rice was a racist code word.

“If the language is being used to criticize a black person then we must deem such language to be irreparably and irrevocably racist,” Fudge said. “Every word that is used to disguise the racist intentions of a racist political movement must be deemed a racist code word disguising the true racist intentions of the racists who make use of them.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn - Is he a racist, it appears he thinks all English spoken by a white is racism?

Congressman Jim Clyburn went even further. “The entire English language was created by slaveowners as a means of oppression. You can’t just say that one word is a racist code word or another. The whole language, every single word, letter and apostrophe in it is racist. It’s a fact. If you speak English, you’re a racist.”

Democrats rushed to conduct conference calls over this new development worried about the consequences of continuing to use the racist English language. Some called for staffing the Democratic Party entirely with illiterates, while others argued that such a measure would be entirely redundant. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was reportedly taking Spanish lessons from Mayor Bloomberg in preparation for the Democratic Party’s  shift to conducting all business in broken Spanish.

Barnard College announced that it was immediately shutting down its English literature program and burning its collection of medieval English manuscripts to protest the Saxon oppression of Africa.

Does the Congressional Black Caucus, by its name alone not a racist group for separating themselves based on color?

Hope was however restored when Congressman Clyburn was lured out of his mansion with an offer of a 3 million dollar grant to a museum of basket weaving in his name, and was persuaded to clarify his remarks.

“All Republicans is racist,” Congressman Clyburn said, “therefore whenever they use English, they are using it to hiddenly express racist ideas. Whenever they speak, they are speaking entirely in racist code words. But when Democrats like us speak English, we’re using tolerance code words.”

And so it was settled. Anything a Republican says in English is racist. Any racial slur used by a Democrat is however a hidden tolerance code word.

Republicans responded to this development with their usual extremism by ridiculing the cry of the oppressed and refusing to repudiate their racism. A number of leading establishment Republicans however have suggested that this represents an opportunity for their party to embrace the future by switching to Spanish.

“The greatness of America is that it means the same thing in every language,” Senator McCain said. “It doesn’t matter if we say ‘opportunity’ or ‘smaller government’ in English, Spanish or Swahili. It doesn’t matter if we even call the country America. What matters is that we stay focused on our message of selling out everything that makes America, America, in the name of deregulating some 20 percent of the regulations that the Democrats imposed in the last ten years. And then not even doing that much.”

Latino groups affiliated with the Democratic Party responded to the proposal by denouncing the colonization of the Spanish language by Yankee imperialists and Attorney General Eric Holder promised that the Justice Department would investigate any instances of Republicans speaking Spanish and treat such cases as hate crimes.

Israeli Intelligence – Not just Mossad, a primer on Gaza Ops

Editor’s Note – We in America take great pride in finally nailing Osama Bin Laden, and rightfully so – however, in America, despite the heinous 9-11 event, we live relatively free from daily terror threats as compared to Israel. In Israel, the civilians live an existential existence and rely heavily on their intelligence services and military.

That kind of intensity is something we in America do not experience, but in Israel, its a whole different world, and their services do not fail, and they succeed in real time – days not years. Compare the facts in the well crafted essay below about the differences and the expense.

Inside Israel’s Hunt for Arch Terrorists: How Shin Bet Always Gets Its Man

From Algemeiner

The operation to track down and eliminate the the arch-terrorist Osama Bin Laden was a well- planned and ultimately well- executed  American  intelligence operation- one of the most successful in recent history.

It was the culmination of long years of patient intelligence gathering by at least sixteen top secret US organizations, among them:

  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
  • United States Department of Defense Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA),
  • Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM),
  • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA),
  • Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA),
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA),
  • National Reconnaissance Office (NRO),
  • National Security Agency (NSA),
  • Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI),
  • United States Department of Energy Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI),
  • United States Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A),
  • Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI),
  • United States Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
  • Drug Enforcement Administration,
  • Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA/ONSI),
  • United States Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR),
  • and the United States Department of the Treasury Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).

The total cost of taking out one really bad guy likely ran into the very high billions of American taxpayer dollars. For a base line: according to some credible media reports, on October 30, 2012, the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that the National Intelligence Program (NIP) budget for FY 2012 was $53.9 billion. The Military Intelligence Program (MIP) budget for FY 2012 was reported to be $21.5 billion. So the combined cost of American intelligence for a twelve month period alone amounted to a whopping 75.4 billion.

If you consider, that the hunt for Bin Laden went on for a number of years- combined with the associated costs of the mission- including the culmination brought about by the professionals of Seal Team Six on May 2, 2011- the ultimate total cost is nearly impossible to estimate.

Of course it was worth every penny – and the US intelligence professionals who pinpointed his ultimate whereabouts deserve the highest praise.

In recent months best-selling books were written about the Bin Laden assassination and to date at least two major motion pictures were produced on the subject.

The operation to take out Bin Laden will surely be going into the American history books.

With the world’s attention squarely focused on the current Gaza conflict, people take it almost for granted, that key Palestinian terror leaders with blood on their hands are eliminated with extraordinary precision, skill and even a certain amount of “elegance” by the IDF.

The current flare-up started with the superbly executed removal of Hamas armed wing Izzadin Kassam Brigades commander Ahmed Jabari in central Gaza last Wednesday. The textbook airstrike marked the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations in Gaza.

Grainy video footage shows a grey Kia saloon car driving through the crowded streets of Gaza City, at a speed designed not to attract notice. An ominous target cross-hair tracks the car from high above, which –as it enters an intersection with no one in the immediate vicinity-is suddenly engulfed in flames and smoke, as pieces of metal fly off.

The front of the Kia is blown away and blood, glass, shreds of carpet and one Nike tennis shoe are all that remains of the crushed, burned out chassis.

Two mangled bodies are retrieved from the burning wreckage, though parts of them have been hurled as high as the fourth-floor window of an adjacent building, with blood splashes on its white walls.  A score has been settled with no innocent bystanders getting harmed in the process. Hamas armed wing Izzadin Kassam Brigades commander Ahmed Jabari is no more.

Operation Pillar of Defense is an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation in the Gaza Strip, officially launched on 14 November 2012 with the targeted killing of bloody-handed arch terrorist Ahmed Jabari.

The stated aims of the Israeli operation are to halt the indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian targets originating from the Gaza Strip and to disrupt the capabilities of militant organizations.

The operation began in response to three events: Palestinian groups launching over 100 rockets at Israeli civilians over a 24-hour period, an attack on an Israeli military patrol jeep within Israeli borders by Gaza militants, and a tunnel explosion caused by IEDs near Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the fence.

Subsequently, the IDF has launched more than 1,400 air, tank, and warship strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip so far including rocket launching pads, weapons depots, individual key terrorist leaders and facilities of the Hamas authority in Gaza.

During the operation, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad further intensified their rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns in an offensive code named by Hamas Operation “Stones of Baked Clay” in reference to a verse from the Quran (Surah 105:4).

It is known as “Operation Blue Sky” by members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The militant groups fired over 1,147 Iranian Fajr-5, Russian Grad rockets, Qassams and mortars into Rishon LeZion, Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon and other population centers; Tel Aviv was hit for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, and rockets were aimed at Jerusalem. The Palestinian rockets have killed four Israeli civilians – three of them in a direct hit on a home in Kiryat Malachi – one Israeli soldier, and at least two Palestinian civilians.

By  November 19, over 252 Israelis had been physically injured in rocket attacks, and thirty more had been treated for acute stress reaction.

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted at least 342 of rockets fired into Israel, 664 rockets have landed in Israeli territory. (See my earlier column.)

In what the Shin Bet is calling one of the most successful intelligence-based operations since Operation Pillar of Defense began last week, four senior Islamic Jihad terrorists were hit during a well planned and executed precision  airstrike on a high-rise building in Gaza City, on Monday afternoon.

It was the second strike on the above- mentioned building in two days. The Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, is located on the top floor. The building also houses the offices of Britain’s Sky News and Saudi-owned Al Arabiya Channel. Most journalists heeding repeated Israeli warnings left the premises on Sunday following the initial strike.

Terrorist leaders targeted at that site were:

Baha Abu al-Ata, a member of the Higher Military Council, was the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Gaza City Brigade and is involved in orchestrating rocket launching and terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Al-Ata was also deeply involved in the manufacturing of arms and firing long-range rockets at Israel.

Tissir Mahmoud Mahmedd Jabari was born in 1972 and is a resident of Sajaiya Turkman, Gaza City. Jabari was also a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, a member of the Higher Military Council and Head of the organization’s operation branch. Previously, Jabari was the Gaza City Regional Commander for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

He was personally involved in carrying out various terror attacks against Israel, including massive rocket fire and attacks against IDF soldiers. Jabari also held responsibility for training within the organization and gave approval for the carrying out of terror attacks.

He is a key figure within the long-range rocket launching operations and responsible for internal security.

Islamic Jihad identified [one of] the dead men as Ramiz Harab, one of its senior commanders. Harab was born in 1976, was a resident of Shujaiyya Jadida and was responsible for the propaganda of the Gaza City brigade, he was an aide to Tissir Jabari and was formerly head of the Sheikh Rajuan Division.

Another terrorist killed in the surgical airstrike was Hallil Bahatini, a senior Islamic Jihad commander who has also played a key role in the rocket fire on Israel’s south. Just think for a minute: who provided the essential  “real-time” intelligence information on thousands of individual targets to the IAF and other IDF units?

Who gathered the extraordinary information that was so precise, that it also provided a reliable system to prevent loss of innocent Palestinian lives? Who sent the thousands of text messages, warning emails, leaflets and Arabic-speaking phone calls to individuals in the conflict zones?

How much Israeli intelligence effort went into preventing as many innocent Palestinian’s deaths as they did by the pinpoint accuracy demonstrated in every one of the thousand targeted attacks so far?

In the mind of this writer, in the past week alone, Israel carried out -with extraordinary preparedness – well over one thousand individual intelligence coups on the scale of the single US assassination that had Bin Laden in the crosshairs!

The unsung heroes of Israel’s struggle to live in peace are the nameless faceless intelligence personnel that are on the front lines of the country’s defense. I know what you are thinking, yes, of course you are thinking of the legendary Mossad.

Actually, in great measure, the true intel heroes of the current conflict are mostly members of the General Security Services (Shin Bet). This security service lives in the shadows and only rarely is discussed in public.

One such earlier occasion was the elimination of a highly dangerous Palestinian terrorist master bomb maker. Described as “well educated, ambitious, and soft-spoken,” Yahya Ayyash hailed from a relatively affluent family.

Married, with one child, Ayyash had planned to study for a master’s degree in Jordan, but was denied permission to do so by Israeli authorities. It was around this time he joined Hamas.

Ayyash built the bombs used in a number of Hamas suicide attacks: the Mehola Junction bombing, the Afula Bus massacre, the Hadera central station massacre, the Tel Aviv bus 5 massacre, the Egged bus 36 bombing, the Ramat Gan bus 20 bombing, and the Jerusalem bus 26 bombing.

As part of a strategic alliance between Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ayyash also built the deadly bombs used by Islamic Jihad at the Beit Lid massacre.

Because TNT and other high explosives were generally not available in the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza strip), Ayyash often used a combination of acetone and detergent, both commonly available household products. When combined, they form acetone peroxide, an explosive known as “Mother of Satan” for its extraordinary instability.

Ayyash first came to the attention of Israeli security forces as a result of the failed bombing of Ramat Ef’al. Following a high-speed chase, three would-be Hamas suicide bombers were arrested by police. When police inspected their car, they found it rigged with a bomb—five 12-kilogram (26 lb) gasoline tanks filled to capacity, connected to an acetone peroxide-based detonator.

After evacuating the area, sappers used a robot armed with a shotgun to shoot the detonator, in the hopes of defusing it. Instead, it detonated, in a massive explosion. [Police investigators] “were sure that if it had been detonated in a crowded area, it would have killed hundreds”.

Shin Bet investigators learned Ayyash’s name during subsequent interrogation of the three arrested suspects.

Following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Palestinian Authority began to cooperate more closely with Shin Bet in hunting Ayyash. Shin Bet learned (through means that remain classified to this day) that Ayyash had, on occasion, spent the night in the Gaza City home of Osama Hamad, a childhood friend of his. Shin Bet had previously had dealings with Kamil Hamad, Osama Hamad’s uncle.

From right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen, Minister Silvan Shalom and Minister Dan Meridor at Tuesday’s special cabinet meeting.

In October 1995, Shin Bet operatives approached Kamil Hamad.

Kamil Hamad demanded money and Israeli identity cards for himself and his wives. After the Shin Bet threatened to inform Hamas of his betrayal, Kamil Hamad agreed to cooperate.

Shin Bet agents gave Hamad a cell phone, and told him it was bugged so they could listen in on Ayyash’s conversations. They did not tell Hamad that, in addition to eavesdropping devices, it also contained 15 grams of RDX explosive.

Kamil Hamad gave the phone to his nephew Osama, knowing that Ayyash regularly used Osama’s phones. At 8:00 am on 5 January 1996, Ayyash’s father called him.

Ayyash picked it up and talked with his father. Overhead, an Israeli plane picked up their conversation and relayed it to an Israeli command post.

When it was confirmed that it was Ayyash on the phone, Shin Bet remotely detonated it, killing Ayyash instantly.

The assassination was  so elegantly masterful that a person standing right next to the terrorist bomb maker did not get hurt. Another feather in the cap of the Shin Bet: “The Militant”, an international communist newsweekly, reported that “100,000 Palestinians… attended the funeral”.

The State of Israel has a long-standing policy that it never confirms or denies its participation in selective assassinations. In line with this policy, Israel did not confirm or deny its role in killing Ayyash. This led to wild rumors and speculations as to the extent of their involvement.

As we watch in awe how individual terrorists are taken out of commission one after another in a systematic, highly professional and surgically precise fashion by the Israel Air Force, Navy and other special forces, we don’t think of the amount of painstaking intelligence gathering effort behind the scenes carried out by the undercover personnel of the Shin Bet.

On many previous occasions the Shin Bet has also worked closely with the Israeli Air Force in highly successful “targeted killings” of field commanders and senior leaders of the Palestinian militant factions of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and Fatah.

These high-precision targeted killings are usually done by helicopter gunships, where both IAF commanders and Shin Bet agents sit together in the command center monitoring the operation.

Shin Bet’s task is to give precise intelligence when and where the target will be available for a strike and then reacting to IAF drone feedback and ensuring the men on the site are indeed the correct targets.

Shin Bet’s motto is “Magen VeLo Yera’e” –or- “Defender that shall not be seen” .

Among thousands of highly skilled professional intelligence staff Shin Bet also employs a large number of fluent Arabic speakers, who are masterfully able to pass themselves off as Palestinians and go freely about the West Bank.

New recruits to these elite intelligence operations units are said to have to pass a test by going to a Palestinian market and engaging shoppers in conversations without raising any suspicions about their true identity.

The net result of years of meticulous information gathering under extremely dangerous circumstances in the back alleys of Gaza that is analyzed then processed- and later refined to actionable battlefield intelligence will long be remembered as one of history’s most spectacular intelligence coups.

Shin Bet agents play a highly dangerous game facing extraordinary personal dangers when they develop assets on the ground.

The terrorists are so paranoid that in many cases they also settle personal scores by accusing members of other clans of being informers to the Shin Bet.

Terror groups then publicly execute those accused of collaboration with Israel. At the time of this writing there was such an incident taking place in Gaza.

Masked gunmen publicly shot dead six suspected collaborators with Israel at a large Gaza City intersection Tuesday of this week, witnesses said. An Associated Press reporter saw a mob surrounding five of the bloodied corpses shortly after the killing.

Some in the crowd stomped and spat on the bodies. A sixth corpse was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets as people screamed, “Spy! Spy!”

The Hamas military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, claimed responsibility in a large handwritten note attached to a nearby electricity pole. Hamas said the six were killed because they gave Israel information about fighters and rocket launching sites.

The killing came on the seventh day of an Israeli military offensive that has killed more than 120 Palestinians, both militants and civilians. Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes, targeting rocket launching sites, weapons caches and homes of Hamas activists, as Palestinians fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.

In selecting its targets for airstrikes, Israel relies on unmanned spy planes, or drones, but also on a network of Palestinian collaborators who feed information to their handlers from Israel’s domestic Shin Bet security service.

Israel has relied on informers ever since it captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War. Some are recruited with promises of work permits or money, while others are blackmailed into collaborating.

There is broad consensus among Palestinians that informers for Israel deserve harsh punishment, and it is rare to hear someone speak out against killings of alleged collaborators. Such public killings have been carried out in the West Bank and Gaza since the first intifada — or uprising —  in the late 1980s.

Last Tuesday’s highly publicized killings took place in Gaza City’s Sheik Radwan neighborhood.

Witnesses said a van stopped at the intersection, where four masked men pushed the six suspected informers out of the vehicle. Salim Mahmoud, 18, said the gunmen ordered the six to lie face down in the street and then shot them dead. Another witness, 13-year-old Mokhmen al-Gazhali, said the informers were killed one by one, as he mimicked the sound of gunfire.

They said only a few people were in the street at first — most Gazans have been staying indoors because of the Israeli airstrikes — but the crowd quickly grew after the killings. Eventually several hundred men pushed and shoved to get a close look at the bodies, lying in a jumble on the ground.

“They should have been killed in a more brutal fashion so others don’t even think about working with the occupation (Israel),” said one of the bystanders, 24-year-old Ashraf Maher.

One body was then tied by a cable to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets. A number of gunmen on motorcycles rode along as the body was pulled past a house of mourning for victims of an Israeli airstrike.

In Israel’s last major Gaza offensive four years ago, 17 suspected collaborators who fled after their prisons were hit in airstrikes were later shot dead in extra-judicial killings.

During the current offensive, Tuesday’s killings brought to eight the number of suspected informers being shot dead in public. On Friday, the body of one alleged informer was found in a garbage bin, and another was shot dead in the street. Hamas claimed responsibility for both killings.

Since seizing Gaza in 2007, Hamas has executed four informers by firing squad, and about a dozen more are on death row in Gaza.

When Israel’s controlled Gaza and the entire West Bank, some informers openly cooperated with Israeli forces. For example, one informer in the West Bank town of Jericho displayed a photograph of Israel’s army chief at the time on the wall of his office, in a defiant display of his allegiance.

After Israel pulled back troops from parts of the West Bank, he and others were given refuge in Israel. Other informers were evacuated from Gaza after Israel withdrew in 2005, but Israel is believed to have maintained a network there. Human rights groups have alleged, for example, that Gaza medical patients seeking treatment in Israel are sometimes approached by the Shin Bet at the crossing into Israel.

Some time ago, I learned first- hand from a senior Shin Bet operative that developing intelligence assets among the opposing population requires a great amount of skill, patience and sensitivity. The operative told me about a deep cover Palestinian asset who developed his cover and reputation among the terrorists by assisting would be suicide bombers on their way to their targets. (Unbeknownst to the informer, the Shin Bet replaced the high explosives with a dummy bomb.)

What this particular asset wanted in return for serving as a highly effective informer over a long period of time was that the Sin Bet officer running him on his dangerous mission should –as a personal favor- help him prepare for higher education by actually becoming his de facto math tutor.

There is no school that can prepare an agent for dealing with the human and psychological aspects of running a valuable asset.

Gathering small- sometimes insignificant-sounding tidbits and then painstakingly connecting the dots- turning chatter into actionable intelligence requires extraordinary professionalism.

Such a high degree of professionalism then results in creating an effective real-time road map to the armed forces of the IDF so that they can carry out their missions with laser accuracy and – in most cases – without considerable collateral damage.

Members of Israel’s General Security Service carry out their vital work in total anonymity most of their careers, but the results of their diligent work make a huge difference in the outcome of their nation’s ongoing war on terror.

Those nameless, faceless field officers are Israel’s front-line of defense, standing guard against the various terror groups whose aim is to kill as many innocents as possible.

Israel’s citizens owe them a great deal of gratitude!