Tag Archive for Secretary of Defense

President Trump’s Misplaced Faith in the Generals

Approximately, one month ago, President Trump tasked the Pentagon with delivering him a plan to defeat the Islamic State or IS.  What Trump failed to understand was the same people he tasked to solve the IS problem, were the same people that in a very large way created it.  His trusted circle of advisors not only are all products of an institution with a heavily flawed system of promotion, but collectively failed to deliver a winning strategy when they were in combatant command roles.  What kind of “solution” to IS does President Trump honestly think he will get from a group of institutionalized generals?  Does anyone want to bet it will be a “solution” that requires more war?  President Trump is literally asking “the swamp” to create his war policy and this is a fool’s errand.  Based on a 100% failure rate of our Generals this century, this is unfortunately another juncture where it is very easy to assess with high certainty that the “solutions” President Trump will be presented will turn into another policy disaster.  Both Presidents Bush and Obama suffered this hard lesson.  President Trump needs to trash these recommendations and look at completely different ways of soliciting policy if he is to defeat IS and make America great again.  This article is my attempt to speak truth to power and warn President Trump of the mistake he is making before it destroys his presidency. Read more

Obama’s pick to head CENTCOM testifies his strategy to fight ISIL will be to use the previous failed strategy to fight ISIL. Can it get any worse for the military?

President Obama picked General Joseph Votel, the current commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), to succeed General Lloyd Austin as the new head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) pending Senate approval. This was a genuine opportunity for Obama to change the strategic trajectory of US failures in the Middle East. However, after hearing Gen. Votel’s comments, I can say without any doubt the man is an incompetent commander that was politically chosen as a policy “yes man.” In short, Gen. Votel does not have a viable strategy to achieve victory and therefore should be fired as a commander, not promoted. Gen. Votel will not be the man to defeat ISIL unless he takes credit for the good work the Russians, Kurds, and Syrians are doing. Even then, I have full faith and confidence that the White House will manage to scuttle Russia’s successes too for the time being. What it means if Gen. Votel is confirmed by the Senate is that you can expect more of the same series of failures and continued perpetual indecisive wars across the globe. I urge every one of you to make it clear to your senators that Gen. Votel is NOT the man for the job or he will be confirmed and you will see another one of my predictions come to pass. Tell your senators we need a CENTCOM commander that will break from the failed strategies of the last 15 years. Congress must know Gen. Votel is incapable of charting a strategy for decisive victory, which our nation requires.

I am sure that some of my readers, which are well meaning, but loyal brainwashed company men of the military establishment, are cussing me for my blasphemy against such a vaunted general. However, I can say that anyone that places stock in military commanders that fail to achieve victory against a force as inept as the Taliban is a qualified idiot. Further, if they are currently serving in the military and support these professed students of what I refer to as a defeatist military strategy, they are suicidal. How weak minded must someone be to buy into the rhetoric that the Taliban are a super human force that would require a generation to defeat? Only by choosing to lose could that be a reality for the US military. This is strategic dereliction and I will not accept it even if the best Army post graduate students are too institutionalized to see the truth. At times, it is far more effective to be tactful in commentary; however, this is a case where blunt honesty is needed because lives will be lost because of this mockery of a commander. Incompetence left to its own devices is forgivable, but I will give no quarter to incompetence that seeks the power to sign the death certificate of a single life.

Gen. Votel was in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) before taking over SOCOM and should know that our current strategy of training rebels isn’t working unless you are taking into account the number of ISIL and Taliban fighters we armed, trained, and equipped. Gen. Votel’s professional pedigree sounds superb until you consider “brilliant” losers like General McChrystal came from JSOC as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love the superbly professional organization JSOC has become and can say from working with their phenomenal operators around the globe that they are “tactically” the best in the business. However, the special operations cult worship has to end on Capitol Hill. Special operators regularly do take on missions of vital strategic importance, but they do not decisively operate at the strategic level. The distinction is crucial. Special operators are an extremely valuable warfighting tool, but have become the defacto tool for supporting the flawed notion that you can fight a war on the cheap and win decisively with a handful of special operators training foreign armies and rebels. Part of this comes from the fact many special operators trace their roots to traditional Army Special Forces units where their primary “special” mission is training and advising indigenous forces to support COIN and Foreign Internal Defense (FID) missions even if the historical data now overwhelmingly shows the COIN and FID tactics and techniques don’t work. The bottom line is unless said special operators are launching a strategic nuclear strike, the strategy simply isn’t working at a strategic level and over 15 years of failed war attest to this fact. Neither JSCOC nor SOCOM is designed or capable of giving us a decisive strategic victory against ISIL. Only, a through a true total war of attrition will you finally turn back and utterly defeat the Islamic Holy War against the West.

Specific to Gen. Votel’s demonstrated incompetence, in testimony Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Votel told lawmakers that he supports moving forward with a revised effort to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels battling Islamic State militants. Gen. Votel described the “new” approach as a “thickening effort” as opposed to just raising a large force. What that exactly means is anyone’s guess, but this much is clear. This is the same “old” counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy the US has been peddling since Vietnam, which has never led to anything but total strategic failure. This is repeating a failed and completely discredited strategy and expecting a different result, which is insanity. Gen. Votel should know that there are no “moderate” rebels that will effectively challenge ISIL. He should also know that the only effective fighting force has been the Kurds and Washington is about to double cross them again on behalf of the Turks, which will blow back horribly on our anti-ISIL efforts. How, after billions of dollars were spent overtly and covertly on the failed strategy to arm, train, and equip rebels to fight ISIL in Iraq and Syria, can Gen. Votel honestly believe it will be different this time? Even Gen. Austin, the retiring CENTCOM commander, admitted in Congressional testimony the entire plan only trained four of five fighters! Not even Gen. Votel can be this naïve. Only someone that has sacrificed their integrity at the gates of politics would continuing such a ridiculous policy be possible.

Gen. Votel’s testimony did not improve. He went on to testify, “But I do think it is helpful to have people who have been trained by us, who have the techniques, who have the communications capability, and the resources to link back into our firepower.” The trained fighters, Votel explained, present the Islamic State with added “dilemmas.” This is a very disturbing conclusion by the general considering the historical record shows that US trained forces repeatedly failed when tested in battle and also defected in most cases without even a fight. Worse yet, these indigenous forces took all of our training, techniques, communications, and firepower to the enemy when they defected. In fact, based on the US track record, it would be more accurate to say that it is only helpful to our enemies.
Gen. Votel’s lack of integrity and or lack of good sense will rightfully earn him the blame for the failure of US strategy (or lack thereof) in the Middle East against ISIL. Mark my words, Obama has never accepted responsibility for his growing list of strategic failures and isn’t going to start now. Gen. Votel is signing on to a disastrous strategy that cannot work. Obama will hang this around Gen. Votel’s neck just like he has done with nearly every other commander. If Gen. Votel is even a bit savvy as a strategic thinker, he should clearly see that he is being set up as bad as the disgraced General Petraeus and run for the door or get a new strategy right now.

As with most articles I write, I try not to just criticize and point out flaws, but offer solutions. This article is no different. The links at the bottom of this article are a short list of key articles I have written that accurately predicted the progression to the state of affairs as it stands now in the Middle East with regards to ISIL. A key part of those predictions has been to repeatedly warn that President Obama’s strategy was never a “strategy” and would ultimately fail in a very predictable fashion, which has played out exactly as I predicted over two years ago. This should serve as my bona fides for correctly assessing and accurately predicting events years in advance. Second, I have also included an outline of what a real strategy for a decisive strategic victory would look like. I hope that these articles end up in the right hands of individuals that actually have power over policy, but it suffices for now that the public is being educated about the military’s lies. Whether or not Gen. Votel is confirmed, I will continue to extend the offer to step up and advise anyone actually serious about defeating ISIL going as far as staking my reputation to a winning strategy, which to date, no one has had the courage to do. It is time for our senior policy makers to show real courage and leadership by breaking away from the old caste of establishment beltway characters and seek some fresh, independent perspectives because to date, nothing the snake oil salesmen have provided has worked and it never will. Until then, in the least, call your senators and explain that we need a real military commander in charge of CENTCOM and that Gen. Votel should not be confirmed.

By Guiles Hendrik
March 10, 2016



Why No One Should Serve in the US Military: Your leaders are incompetent and your next Secretary of Defense is no exception.

The face of your next wartime leader...really?

The face of your next wartime leader…really?

As a combat veteran of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I am going to be very blunt.  Lives depend on being direct and the need for military personnel to come forward and tell the truth.  In fact, it is chilling that no one has called out the insanity taking place before our very eyes within the ranks of the military.  The senior military leadership is incompetent to lead.  Our failures in both Iraq and Afghanistan bare this out.  Today’s testimony by the soon to be next Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter should make it blatantly clear that no one should consider joining our military.  For current active duty and reserve members, run for the door and get the hell out as soon as your obligations allow. Read more

Senator “Chuck” Hagel’s Nomination for Secretary of Defense: Traitors Oppose Him Because He Told the Truth and Put America First!

What appears now to be President Obama’s imminent nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel has caused a firestorm of criticism from traitors in our midst.  In particular, Senator Hagel is under attack because he was gutsy and honest enough to state an obvious fact about the disproportionate and decidedly negative influence various Israeli lobby groups exert over U.S. policy.  Some may try to deny this fact, but I would submit that the mere fact that there is such uproar over this small statement made years ago proves how disproportionately powerful this lobby continues to be.  Then Senator Hagel didn’t stop there and was brazen enough to also boldly state that U.S. interests should come first and that he swore an oath to the Constitution!  How dare he put the U.S. first and swear allegiance to the Constitution and want to follow the rule of law!  On second thought, how dare any American criticize him for taking that stand!

Let’s separate fact from fiction.  Senator Hagel in my book is far from a perfect candidate for the position of Secretary of Defense, but the man has a lot going for him.  For starters, he is a self-made millionaire and understands business.  The Department of Defense is the world’s largest bureaucracy so we need a good manager to rein it in.  Mr. Hagel has also openly made comments suggesting he recognizes that the interests and security of the U.S. should be placed ahead of other nations’ interests and that he recognizes the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land.  This too IS a good thing for America!  However, if you happen to believe that the best interests of a foreign nation should supersede those of the U.S. and you are not a foreign national, then you need to disclose yourself as an agent of a foreign government to the F.B.I. and the American public before suggesting Mr. Hagel is a bad guy for taking the side of the country he is sworn to protect.

Second, Mr. Hagel seems to recognize that the Constitution is an important and valid document.  This is a vast improvement from his predecessors, which under Congressional Testimony seem to forget that the Constitution exclusively gives the power to declare war to the legislative branch of government (Congress).  Both Panetta and Gates, when questioned directly by Congress on this subject, testified to the point that the authority to commit U.S. troops to war lie not with Congress, but the international community, whatever that is.  What it isn’t though is Constitutional.  Further, in the context of Hagel’s statements against the Patriot Act and then President George Bush’s constant push for the war in Iraq, it was quite clear that he was drawing a distinction between party politics and the best interests of a free nation.  Again, this is commendable.  Finally, Mr. Hagel voted in favor of Senate Amendment 2022, restoring habeas corpus, the right to due process, to American citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but voted against a similar resolution restoring it to non-U.S. prisoners detained at Guantanamo.  This demonstrates Mr. Hagel understands that U.S. citizens have certain unalienable rights granted by the Constitution and are materially different than foreign combatants.  The need to have a Secretary of Defense with this type of legal and ethical compass is even more important now after President Obama just signed into law the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which effectively suspends habeas corpus and allows American citizens to be captured and indefinitely detained even while inside of the U.S.  This latest law is draconian and the epitome of tyranny.  Mr. Hagel may be one of the few that could achieve appointment while still imparting some balance.

Third, the man actually served in the U.S. military, has seen “ground” combat in Vietnam, and earned two purple hearts.  Any one of these would clearly set him apart from his peers, but combined, suggests Mr. Hagel recognizes the dangers of useless wars with no winning strategy or end.  His criticisms of the War in Iraq demonstrated that not only did he see Iraq for the massive waste of life and resources it was, but also was willing to stand up and say something about it when the rest of his Senate peers quietly walked in lockstep with the Republican Party.  I for one believe anyone acting in the position of Secretary of Defense should know firsthand what it is like to be in combat, risk your life, and be put in a position where you must take the life of others.  No text book, degree, or amount of empathy can replace the raw horror of war.  As such, no one that hasn’t actually experienced war can truly appreciate what our troops are asked to do and properly formulate Department of Defense policy.

If not enough, Mr. Hagel serves on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board.  This is a senior position with access to highly classified information and is central to the development of security and defense policy at the Presidential level.  As such, Mr. Hagel is in the know.  What is funny is that he is criticized for his “soft” position on Iran, when he is one of the people who would be in the exact position to understand exactly what the U.S. is doing in respect to Iran, how well it has worked, and what the actual versus publicized threat of Iran really is to U.S. national security.  Further, he would also be acutely aware of the degree to which countries like Israel have lobbied to inject their interests into our policy with respect to Iran and whether or not this was in the best interests of the U.S.  Knowing all of this information, Mr. Hagel has come out against “hard” policies toward Iran as counter-productive and particularly against sanctions.  Mr. Hagel was correct in his policy prescription toward Iran in part because he is privy to information most readers honestly are not.  Second, specific to his opposition to sanctions, he was again correct in his policy prescription.  Sanctions haven’t worked against Iran and have only complicated our negotiations, made life very difficult for the average Iranian, and bolstered the regimes propaganda that Iran’s ills are being caused by America.  Finally, Mr. Hagel speaks first hand regarding the intimidation the Israeli lobby wields over U.S. policy makers.  Note, Mr. Hagel’s statements regarding Israel never suggest he didn’t believe that Israel was a U.S. ally or that the U.S. and Israel would not continue to support each other.  Mr. Hagel only stated that U.S. interests must come first.  This clear state of mind and understanding of his responsibilities to “our” nation is of the utmost importance and I applaud him for telling the truth.  If anything, one should be demanding why the media hasn’t raised such a cry for those nominees and candidates that haven’t taken such stances and seem to put America last.  This is the real story of a seditious media that lacks any real accountability and has a clear bias against “U.S.” interests in its reporting.

No nominee is perfect and this is true with Mr. Hagel.  Although, I would like to see other nominees and do believe based on the above Mr. Hagel is a better choice for Secretary of Defense than other potential candidates, he does have critical flaws.  Specifically, even though he has voiced support for the Constitution, which today is exceedingly rare amongst politicians, he did support the Patriot Act after initially voting against it.  He also voted for FISA, which among other classified powers, gave wide surveillance and warrantless wiretapping authority to the government.  I believe the damage the Patriot Act and FISA have done to the freedom, liberty, and privacy of citizens is egregious and is difficult to reconcile with anyone truly respective of civil liberties and the Constitution.  Perhaps the only defense of Mr. Hagel on these issues is that the most invasive spying, surveillance, and detention policies these acts proscribe were only written into law and passed after he left office.  All considered, under the circumstances Mr. Hagel is likely the best nominee free Americans can hope for from this Administration, but the buyer should beware.

By Guiles Hendrik