The lessons of the past 19 years are crystal clear…
By Sebastian Gorka Phd
In August 1996, the scion of one of the wealthiest commoners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declared war on America. Five years later, Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda operatives killed almost 3,000 Americans in the space of 102 minutes…
How bin Laden masterminded the deadliest terrorist attack in modern history has been the topic of hundreds of books and thousands of articles and classified analyses. Following last week’s 19th anniversary of that attack, as the names of all the people who were killed are read out once more, and as we remember and pay our respects to those who died on that sunny Tuesday morning, as well as to those who gave their lives taking the war to the Jihadists in Afghanistan and the Middle East, we must ask a handful of strategic questions…
Where are we today in the “Global War on Terror?” Have we possibly won? And if so, how?
I spent the years after 9/11 working for the U.S. military and the FBI dissecting the ideology of groups like al Qaeda and ISIS… communicating what I found to our warfighters and special agents… and then working with them to effect ways in which to defeat our new enemies wherever they may be.
Eventually I would collect what I had found – and learned from those who actually were the tip of the spear – in a book called Defeating Jihad, which eventually would help propel me to the White House and into the position of Strategist to the President. As a result, I’ve had a ringside seat to watch the evolution of how we waged this irregular war against an unconventional foe and witness what worked… and what didn’t.
First came George W. Bush’s Global War on Terrorism phase. It started well and ended badly.
The beginning was defined by excellence as a handful of Special Forces troops and CIA operators sallied forth on horseback into Afghanistan armed with personal weapons and laptops, eventually leveraging 20,000 indigenous fighters from the Northern Alliance to topple the Taleban, which had given shelter and succor to Al Qaeda, and to destroy bin Laden’s terror camps. However, this textbook case of irregular warfare, the reason why the Green Berets were originally founded, would be the exception.
In the years that followed, we would see ideologically blinkered neoconservative members of the Bush Administration take us from killing or capturing those responsible for 9/11 to squandering blood and treasure to effect regime-change in Iraq, chase after weapons of mass destruction, and bog us down in fantastical “nation building” ventures in Afghanistan. It was not our finest hour.
But it would get worse… As next came Barack Obama and an utter volte face in our terrorism policy.
No longer would we be in a global war against terrorists and their “Axis of Evil” sponsors. In fact, clarity and moral conviction would be jettisoned as the architects of Obama’s response would generate Orwellian phrases such as “upstream factors” to explain away terrorism or blame it on economic and political grievances, not religious conviction and ideology.
So bad would this politically motivated distortion of the reality that was the post-9/11 world become, that the Obama Administration would eventually ban words such as “Jihadism” from government training and blackball any expert who dared link the clearly religiously motivated acts of Al Qaeda to any aspect of Islam. Then of course there came the disastrous decision to placate the Shia terror state in Tehran with the Iran nuclear deal in a desperate attempt to balance out the rise of Sunni extremism, followed by the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the subsequent rise of ISIS. By this point, Obama would try to convince Americans that groups like ISIS were a “generational” threat we had to learn to live with.
Biggest Transfer Of Wealth In U.S. History Has Begun A Maryland multimillionaire says the biggest legal transfer of wealth in American history has just gotten underway. Here’s #1 step you must take…
And then America chose a non-politician for her Commander in Chief…
When the Trump Administration came into the White House, we utterly rejected the Obama article of faith that we just have to live with terror attacks, beheading videos, and ISIS slave markets. Soon after, President Donald Trump unleashed our military, stripped them of the outrageous restrictions put upon them by his predecessor, and gave them a simple mission: destroy the physical Caliphate ISIS had built in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.
Less than six months later, Obama’s “generational” threat was no more. Yes indeed, elections have consequences.
We have the greatest military the world has ever seen. And if you have faith in them, believe in America, and have strategic objectives that are rooted in reality, we can crush any foe.
Have we killed every terrorist? No. Will new ones be recruited? Of course. But the lesson of the last 19 years is crystal clear: We have the greatest military the world has ever seen. And if you have faith in them, believe in America, and have strategic objectives that are rooted in reality, we can crush any foe.
Sebastian Gorka PhD was Strategist to President Trump and served as a professor for counterterrorism studies in the Department of Defense and at the Marine Corps University. Today, he serves as presidential appointee on the National Security Education Board and is host of AMERICA First. SebGorka.com