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Posts in "Special Forces"
November 7, 2014
It wasn’t a boring one.
- Election crazy. We went nuts on election coverage and analysis here at Five By Five this week, from the altered state of the security agenda, to the key committee changes, to the reaction in various security/foreign policy spheres, to the new military experience in both the House and Senate.
- Other parts of the world. Rachel Oswald (@oswaldrachel) had two dispatches for 5×5 about what U.S. diplomats were saying: the U.S. assistant Secretary of State for African affairs (on Zimbabwe) and the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (on Syria). Oh, and on the subject of Syria…
- Serious coverage elsewhere. The Washington Examiner offered a contrarian point of view about how much impact the elections would have on national security. Away from the election: The Washington Post wrote about changes afoot with the Defense Clandestine Service. The Navy Times had the peculiar tale of the Navy intel chief being forbidden from viewing classified information.
- Less serious coverage elsewhere. Navy Seal + dog rappelling into an NFL game = delirious reaction. And how does camouflage ice cream sound to you?
October 17, 2014
Mark Gunzinger is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. This week, he co-wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed with another CSBA senior fellow, John Stilton, entitled “The Unserious Air War Against ISIS.” The piece argues that the United States has been too “timorous” in its number of air strikes compared to other campaigns. He answered questions from Five By Five Friday about the piece, and about the campaign against ISIS in general. Full story
October 15, 2014
The New York Times’ blockbuster story about how U.S. forces discovered chemical weapons in Iraq and suffered injuries due to chemical exposure — unbeknownst to the public — is almost sure to provoke congressional overseers of the armed forces and veterans’ affairs. But the story also contains some worrying information that has implications for future U.S. action against the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State or ISIL.
American troops found thousands of warheads after the 2003 invasion, and a large number remain in Iraq — in easy reach of ISIL, the Times reports. Many of the chemical incidents and discoveries took place around a chemical weapons plant known as the Muthanna State Establishment, which was operational in the 1980s.
“Since June, the compound has been held by the Islamic State, the world’s most radical and violent jihadist group,” the Times reported. “In a letter sent to the United Nations this summer, the Iraqi government said that about 2,500 corroded chemical rockets remained on the grounds, and that Iraqi officials had witnessed intruders looting equipment before militants shut down the surveillance cameras.”
The military contends those weapons are old and pose no threat, but the story notes that Iraqi chemical munitions have a habit of staying dangerous after their expiration dates.
The reporting could prove to be another black mark for the government of Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister until this year, that gave ISIL an advantage. The al-Maliki government was also in charge of maintaining the Iraqi armed forces that collapsed as ISIL advanced.
September 17, 2014
A day after the U.S. military’s top officer raised the possibility of boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama clarified the administration’s plans during an address to troops at U.S. Central Command.
“As your Commander-in-Chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq,” Obama said on Wednesday, the day after Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there could be circumstances under which he’d recommend the president use combat troops to fight the Islamic State.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed inclined to agree with Dempsey, telling CBS This Morning: “The reality is, they’re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own.”
“So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy,” he added, noting that to say otherwise “traps” the president.
See below for more commentary and analysis on the issue:
July 14, 2014
War is expensive, and the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, has a default disinclination against both foreign military intervention and government spending. So, on Monday, Cato hosted a panel that asked whether a better option in a time of declining defense budgets would be training more countries to deal with their own insurgencies.
The answer? It depends. Full story
July 7, 2014
Congress is back in town after the July Fourth holiday, and not entirely coincidentally there’s a great deal of Afghanistan on the schedule this week, from nominations to hearings to events off the Hill. Full story
June 24, 2014
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Gen. David Petraeus offered a rare on-camera interview to ABC News to accompany the tale of Special Forces Maj. Jim Gant, a top Green Beret officer who had to resign over an affair with former Washington Post reporter Ann Scott Tyson and other rules violations. Full story
June 9, 2014
A newly released House report raises questions about whether U.S. Special Operations Command is exploiting a personnel trick to set up permanent presences overseas — rather than seeking the proper legal approval to do so. Full story