Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Afghanistan Problems More Dangerous

The United Nations envoy for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, has pointed out . both some progress and the severe challenges in that nation.

While the Government has committed to holding parliamentary elections which should be “fair, inclusive and transparent by the Afghan people,” the Taliban retains extensive military capabilities. It’s extreme views on women also put a damper on the fairness of any forthcoming election.

“The deteriorating security situation remains of great concern,” notes Yamamoto. He urged the Taliban to enter peace talks without preconditions and warning against attacks by foreign fighters including ISIS.

Last year, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)  recorded the worst number of civilian casualties since record-keeping began nearly a decade ago. Deteriorating security also led to the highest-ever level of internal displacement in 2016. More than 650,000 Afghans were displaced. Returns from Pakistan exceeded 620,000 people. Displacements and returns for 2017 are likely to remain at these levels.

Yamamoto notes that due in part to the worsening security situation over the past two years, service delivery has become increasingly difficult. “We have witnessed some downward trends in key indicators, such as access to health clinics and education facilities,” he said.

As reported by the New York Analysis of Policy and Government  in February, Russia has reached out to the Taliban. A senior official of that terrorist group told Reuters in early December that Russia’s relationship with the Taliban began in 2007, as Moscow shared the Taliban’s objective of forcing all U.S. troops to swiftly withdraw from Afghanistan.

“The official end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2014 did not cause Russia to distance itself from the Taliban…Critics of Russian foreign policy argue that Putin’s outreach to the Taliban is a cynical ploy to undermine the legitimacy of President Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government. Some Afghan policymakers and General John Nicholson, a leading U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, have publicly given credibility to this contention…Citing a high-level Taliban official The Daily Beast reported in October 2015 that Moscow also encouraged Tajik intelligence operatives to facilitate the shipment of Russian arms to the Taliban.”

A Foreign Affairs analysis points out that “Trump inherits a more challenging situation in Afghanistan than his predecessor did. …Several other countries, including Iran and Russia, have also stepped up communication with, and provided limited material support to, the Taliban…Afghanistan’s national unity government remains weak and hamstrung by corruption…

Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, gave his views on the Taliban’s strength in a statement  to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015

“The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF)…will require continued international security sector support and funding to stave off an increasingly aggressive Taliban insurgency…Without international funding, the ANSF will probably not remain a cohesive or viable force. The Taliban will probably remain largely cohesive…and sustain its countrywide campaign to take territory in outlying areas and steadily reassert influence over significant portions of the Pashtun countryside, positioning itself for greater territorial gains …The Taliban has publicly touted the end of the mission of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and coalition drawdown as a sign of its inevitable victory, reinforcing its commitment to returning to power.”

In his February joint address to Congress, President Trump promised to “demolish and destroy” terrorist groups. The fight in Afghanistan will prove to be the most difficult due to the number of terrorist groups operating in the area.  It will also be the most important, because in the absence of a western military presence, one of those terrorist organizations could gain access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Writing in the National Interest Akhilesh Pillalamarri describes the problem: “Although Pakistan argues that its nuclear weapons are well-guarded, many experts are not so sure, pointing out that the Taliban and other militants have frequently struck at supposedly secure military bases with impunity. More worrisome, though, is Pakistan’s history of proliferation, which increases the chance that one day some element or the other in the Pakistani military will provide nuclear materials to an even more dangerous third party…”

What to Do About Afghanistan

The list of foreign and defense policy errors over the past eight years is lengthy and serious.  None was so clearly evident as the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, a move which destabilized a nation on a slow path to stability, and allowed ISIS to grow into an international danger.

A similar situation is arising in Afghanistan. While U.S. participation there has been lengthy and costly, a similar, total withdrawal of western forces could produce results as consequential as that which occurred in Iraq.

In May of 2014, President Obama announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Providing advanced notice of a departure date was correctly seen as a major diplomatic and military blunder on the part of the White House.

While the Obama Administration stated that it supports the current government in Kabul, the fact that it opened talks with the Taliban in 2011 reduced credibility for that position. Several years ago, The BBC reported that the Taliban had cut off the fingers of at least eleven Afghans who participated in that nations’ presidential run-off election. The terrorists did not want the voters to participate in that exercise in democracy.

In addition to the legal issues surrounding the White House’s decision to negotiate, very significant moral questions abound, as well as matters of diplomatic precedent.  Washington had, in the past, held to a wise policy of not negotiating with terrorists. To do so invited more acts of terror by groups and individuals who see those acts as a path to extorting demands from governments. The Obama Administration abandoned the precedent of not negotiating with terrorists, and did so without consulting Congress, or with much discussion with the American public.

By elevating the Taliban to the status of a negotiating partner, it gave that terrorist organization a very substantial boost in its bid to return to power after America withdraws. Insurgent bombings rose as U.S. troops reduced operations.

In July 2016, Obama modified his withdrawal stance, and decided to keep 8,400 U.S. service members in country through the end of his term.

Now, President Trump faces the difficult decision of whether to continue the withdrawal, or to take a different strategy of “surging” forces in an attempt to substantially defeat the Taliban and prevent their takeover after western forces withdraw.

In a Washington Post article, former CIA Director and CENTCOM commander David Petraeus, who commanded coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, along with co-author Mike O’Hanlon, criticized the end of 2016 deadline established by Obama, noting “Unfortunately, having displayed such patience, the president [assumed] that neither his successor nor the American public has the desire — or stomach — to continue even a modest U.S. effort in Afghanistan after 2016… This …raises considerable questions… We can schedule an end to our role in that nation’s conflict, but we cannot schedule an end to the war there or an end to the threat from al-Qaeda, the Islamic State or other extremist elements of the global jihad. Moreover, the Afghan political leadership and public overwhelmingly want us to stay.”

According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, “Afghanistan needs a stable security environment to prevent it from again becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda or other terrorists. More than half of all U.S. reconstruction dollars since 2002 have gone toward building, equipping, training, and sustaining the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). However, the ANDSF has not yet been capable of securing all of Afghanistan and has lost territory to the insurgency. As of August 28, 2016, USFOR-A reported that only 63.4% of the country’s districts were under Afghan government control or influence, a reduction from the 72% percent as of November 27, 2015. Capability gaps in key areas such as intelligence, aviation, and logistics are improving, but still hinder effectiveness.

Effectively diminishing the Taliban’s power would necessarily raise the difficult issue of pursuing it to its safe havens in Pakistan. According to the Pentagon in its latest Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan Report, “The security situation in Afghanistan continues to be dominated by a resilient insurgency; but the Afghan government remains in control of all major population centers and key lines of communication, and the ANDSF continues to deny the Taliban strategic ground throughout the country. Although the Taliban maintained a higher-than-usual operational tempo over the winter, overall levels of violence this reporting period were consistent with historical trends of a seasonal decrease in violence over the winter months and an uptick leading into the traditional spring and summer fighting season. Over the last six months, both ANDSF and insurgent casualties have increased, continuing their upward trend from the previous reporting period. Increased insurgent fighting in urban areas has also contributed to record-high civilian casualties, primarily caused by insurgent and extremist groups…

“Although al Qaeda’s core leadership in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region has been degraded, elements continue to seek safe haven on both sides of the border to regenerate and conduct attack planning. The continued development of an al Qaeda affiliate in the region, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), highlights the dynamic nature of the terrorist and militant landscape in the region, posing risks to the mission and to U.S. interests…Pakistan must play a role in reducing the threat from terrorist and militant groups in the region. Consistent mid-level military-to-military dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan on specific issues, such as the shared threat from IS-K, and occasional discussions at higher levels of the military and government early in the reporting period were encouraging. However, sustained Pakistani efforts to pressure the Haqqani Network and the Taliban and to disrupt active threat streams are necessary to help decrease violence in the region, to reduce the threat posed by these groups, and to achieve lasting progress on counterterrorism issues.”

Continuing the fight against the Taliban does not necessarily entail nation building, a policy President Trump does not favor.  It would involve direct military action aimed at destroying the Taliban, or at least reducing its power and influence to the point where the Kabul government can defend itself and expand its control over the entire country.

What Happens if America Loses in Afghanistan

The President’s decision to allow 8,400 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan until next year is a recognition of the extraordinary harm that would result if the mistake he made in Iraq is repeated.

Mr. Obama’s total withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Iraq led to the disaster in Iraq, the rise of ISIS, general turmoil throughout the Middle East, and an escalation of worldwide terrorism. The result of withdrawing from Afghanistan while the Taliban is increasingly resurgent would be equally devastating.

While American troops could not remain in Afghanistan indefinitely, progress achieved before the current administration has been jeopardized by a series of poor decisions by the Obama Administration, including the opening of negotiations with the Taliban in violation of long-standing American policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and, against military advice, the announcement of a withdrawal date. The Obama White House has clearly renounced the goals candidate Obama announced “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaida would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting; this is a – this is fundamental to the defense of our people.”

While the decision is appropriate, it may not be sufficient.

Off the record conversations by the New York Analysis with individuals who have been part of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan have indicated that during the Obama presidency the fight against the Taliban has been plagued by shortages of equipment, the forced layoffs of key officers, and the general reduction of funding for the U.S. military.

In 2014, notes the BBC,  Taliban leaders declared “victory” as NATO withdrew its (mostly American) forces, leaving only a residual training force. The potential to reduce the Taliban to relative impotence was eliminated in 2012, when America abandoned its policy of not negotiating with terrorists and the White House outlined a policy goal that discarded the prior Administration’s reasoning for entering into the conflict in the first place.

A Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) study  notes that the “Taliban has seized swaths of rural Afghanistan in such provinces as Helmand, Uruzgan, Nangarhar, and Kunduz. Over the past year, Taliban forces have also conducted several offensives against district and provincial capitals. In September 2015, for example, the northern city of Kunduz temporarily fell to the Taliban before being retaken by government forces.”

Clearly, the CFR notes, more than just a diminished commitment to victory by Washington is to blame for the reversal of fortunes. “[T]he effectiveness of the National [Afghan] Unity Government continues to be undermined by poor governance and internal friction between President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah, and their supporters.”

The Taliban resurgence could be halted through greater U.S. emphasis on fulfilling original goals such as insuring fair elections, and economic development of areas beyond the Taliban’s control. But a military option—similar to the 2007 “surge” in Iraq that produced outstanding results (which were destroyed as a result of the Obama pullout) remains the most important. The 8,400 troops will not accomplish that goal.  It prevents an immediate disaster but leaves the hard decision-making to the next President.

The CFR study suggests that  “The United States could halt further reductions—or even increase—the number and type of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. These forces can train, advise, assist, and accompany Afghan forces and conduct direct-action missions; supplement Afghan forces with more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance enablers; and increase close air support. The United States could also broaden U.S. counterterrorism legal authorities to proactively target the Taliban and Haqqani network. At the moment, U.S. forces can only target al-Qaeda and ISIL-KP operatives in Afghanistan, except in situations where extremists are plotting attacks against U.S. or other international forces or during in extremis cases where the Afghan government requests U.S. aid. The United States could also increase the authority for U.S. forces, particularly conventional forces, to train Afghans below the corps level.”

It is fully understandable that after so long the American public would be weary of the effort in Afghanistan. But the results of a Taliban resurgence should also be realized. The Taliban played a key role in the 9/11 attacks, and would commit vast new resources if power is regained in Afghanistan. The influence that would be gained in neighboring Pakistan would be dramatic. A complete takeover of that government would give the terrorists access to the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

Obama Repeats Past Mistakes in Afghanistan

Deeply disturbing news comes from a recent Congressional hearing on Afghanistan.

Unlike the contentious political skirmishes that surrounded the Iraq war and U.S. involvement in Libya, America’s military action against the Taliban, which has now become the nation’s longest fight, were widely supported. Clearly, that organization’s involvement in the destruction of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon made the necessity for a response beyond question.

However, in a repeat of questionable political dictates from the Vietnam era, U.S. and allied forces did not engage in full scale warfare designed to bring about absolute victory.  The enemy was allowed to take haven across national borders, and rules of engagement designed more for public opinion and legal scholars took precedence over actually defeating the foe.

In accordance with President Obama’s drive to end U.S. combat operations and withdraw most troops, similar to his policy in Iraq which allowed ISIS to become a major regional power, Americans are handing off combat duties to Afghan forces.  Unfortunately, they do not seem ready or capable of handling the responsibility.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) Chair of the House Armed Service Submcommittee on Oversight and investigations, stated “In reading the recent Congressional reports submitted by our witnesses, and listening to testimony from General Campbell, the subcommittee understands that the Afghan security forces are still in their nascent stages of becoming a professionalized, self-sustaining, and capable institution.  But, there are still various shortfalls and insufficient capabilities in important functions hindering these goals.

“The Afghan forces do not have enough airplanes or helicopters, especially those capable of providing close-air support.  While there clearly has been improvement, the ability to collect and disseminate ample intelligence is lacking, as is the ability to maintain and account for equipment.  Even the ‘bread and butter’ administrative issues, such as pay, leave, and medical services for Afghan forces need attention…these challenges are compounded by the fact that 70 percent of the problems facing Afghan Security forces result from poor senior leadership within the Afghan Ministries of Defense and the Interior.

“The Taliban are emboldened, the Haqqani Network continues to sponsor terrorist attacks, and there is a growing Islamic State presence in Afghanistan…

“I am concerned that the president’s current budget request for aiding the Afghan forces is $200 million less than last year’s amount, and the Administration plans to withdrawal U.S. forces down to 5,500 beginning as soon as April of this year.  We must not prematurely reduce our commitment to the people of Afghanistan.  All one needs to do is look at the result of premature withdrawal in Iraq to determine what will happen if we repeat near history and prematurely leave Afghanistan.”

As noted in a Stratfor review,  “…the Taliban’s 15-year insurgency is escalating. The militant group now controls more territory than at any time since the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001. Worse still, the Taliban’s resolve to continue waging war remains undiminished…Army Gen. John Campbell, the outgoing commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, commented that Afghanistan has reached an inflection point, warning that 2016 could be even worse than 2015 if the United States fails to prosecute a consistent and effective strategy. Campbell also urged Congress to extend its annual $4.1 billion aid package to Afghanistan until at least 2020.”

Quoting Taliban sources, Longwar Journal notes that the organization as saying  embraced this death and destruction for the sake of some silly ministerial posts or a share of the power.  ‘This objective’ mentioned in the above quote is the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s official name of its government. The Taliban has insisted from the very beginning that it will settle for nothing less than regaining full power.”

Over objections based both on practical and moral grounds, the Obama Administration opened discussions with the Taliban in 2011.  Since then, Taliban forces have become more brazen and effective.

The Taliban’s return to power

The announced withdrawal of most American forces from Afghanistan may lead to results as deadly as those following the premature departure of US forces from Iraq, which allowed ISIS to develop into the powerhouse it has become. The White House goal is to reduce the size of American armed forces to 1,000 personnel, down from a high of 101,000 in 2011. There are currently about 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Providing advanced notice of a departure date is correctly seen as a major diplomatic and military blunder on the part of the White House. While the Obama Administration has stated that it supports the current government in Kabul, the fact that it opened talks with the Taliban in 2011 removes credibility from that position.

Several years ago, The BBC has reported that the Taliban had cut off the fingers of at least eleven Afghans who participated in that nations’ presidential run-off election. The terrorists did not want the voters to participate in that exercise in democracy.

In addition to the legal issues surrounding the White House’s decision to negotiate, very significant moral questions abound, as well as matters of diplomatic precedent.  Washington had, in the past, held to a wise policy of not negotiating with terrorists. To do invites more acts of terror by groups and individuals who see those acts as a path to extorting demands from governments. The Obama Administration abandoned the precedent of not negotiating with terrorists, and did so without consulting Congress, or with much discussion with the American public.

By elevating the Taliban to the status of a negotiating partner, it has given that terrorist organization a very substantial boost in its bid to return to power after America withdraws.

The results are already coming into focus. Foreign Policy  reports that insurgent bombings have risen as U.S. troops reduce operations against the Taliban.

These attacks have resulted in high civilian casualties. The Taliban is best known as the organization that sheltered Al Qaeda when it launched the 9/11/01 assault against the American homeland. The attacks from the newly emboldened Taliban extend to Afghanistan’s neighbors, as well. The Arab news source Al Jazeera  recently reported that a minimum of 14 people, including the anti-Taliban provincial minister Shuja Khanzada, have been killed in a suicide attack in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The Wall Street Journal reported on August 20 that “Afghans are braced for more bloodshed after the most deadly wave of attacks that many can remember, including those on Aug. 7 that caused more than 350 casualties, all civilians. That is the highest one-day total the U.N. mission has ever recorded…New U.N. data published Aug. 5 shows a 78% increase in six months—compared with the same period last year—in civilian casualties caused by suicide attacks and complex attacks like the recent bombings in Kabul.”

The Taliban’s rise is furthered evidenced in a Reuters report noted in the Guardian,  that “Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has pledged allegiance to the new head of the Afghan Taliban in a move that could bolster his accession after the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar.”

The Taliban has, essentially, already claimed victory. In 2012, as reported in a Stratfor analysis,     “The Afghan Taliban … declared victory against Western forces in a statement titled ‘Formal Proclamation of the Islamic Emirate’s Victory.’ The document does not stop at claiming military victory over the United States, but also promotes the Taliban, not just as a national political movement but as an international player.”

James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, gave his views on the Taliban’s strength in a statement  to the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year.

“The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) prevented the Taliban from achieving a decisive military advantage in 2014. The ANSF, however, will require continued international security sector support and funding to stave off an increasingly aggressive Taliban insurgency through 2015. The ANSF, with the help of anti-Taliban powerbrokers and international funding, will probably maintain control of most major population centers. However, the forces will most likely cede control of some rural areas. Without international funding, the ANSF will probably not remain a cohesive or viable force. 21 The Taliban will probably remain largely cohesive under the leadership of Mullah Omar and sustain its countrywide campaign to take territory in outlying areas and steadily reassert influence over significant portions of the Pashtun countryside, positioning itself for greater territorial gains in 2015. Reliant on Afghanistan’s opiate trade as a key domestic source of funding, the Taliban will be able to exploit increasing opium poppy cultivation and potential heroin production for ready revenue. The Taliban has publicly touted the end of the mission of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and coalition drawdown as a sign of its inevitable victory, reinforcing its commitment to returning to power.”

Obama’s Failed Terrorism Policies

The catastrophic failure of the Obama Administration’s policies towards towards the Islamic world in general and radical Islam in particular is becoming increasingly evident.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the fate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, a purely terrorist entity which now controls an area the size of Massachusetts and is, according to the Arab news source al-Arabiya reportedly even issuing its own passports.

Al-Baghdadi, the new Osama Bin Laden, was actually in American custody until he was released by Mr. Obama in 2009.  Despite his rise to prominence following his release, the identical mistake has been made again in the release of the Taliban 5, prominent terrorist figures freed by the White House this year.

Elsewhere, we have seen the Administration’s inexplicable assault on Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi, who no longer threatened threatened the west, a move which gave rise to new opportunities for al-Qaeda in that nation; the White House’s vigorous endorsement for the overthrow of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, a flawed  but pro-peace, pro-American leader which led to the rise of the terrorist Moslem Brotherhood in that nation; the announcement of the withdrawal date of U.S. troops from Afghanistan as the White House negotiates with the Taliban, the same entity that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; the refusal to even voice any support for the Green Revolution in Iran, which sought to replace that nation’s vehemently anti-American regime; and the continual decline of U.S. relations with Israel, the only true friend the U.S. has in the middle east.

The White House continues to fail to provide any rational explanation of its bizarre actions and policies, which have clearly been to the detriment of the American people.

Negotiating America’s surrender in the war on terror

The BBC has reported that the Taliban had cut off the fingers of at least eleven Afghans who participated in that nations’ presidential run-off election. The terrorists did not want the voters to participate in that exercise in democracy.

This is the organization that the Obama Administration has been in negotiations with since June of 2013, in violation of U.S. law.  It is the same organization that has wrecked havoc in Iraq, and that, worldwide, assaults and kills women for seeking education or basic civil rights.  The same organization that bears responsibility for the deaths of thousands of Americans in the 9/11/01 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

In addition to the legal issues surrounding the White House’s decision to negotiate, very significant moral questions abound, as well as matters of diplomatic precedent.  Washington had, in the past, held to a wise policy of not negotiating with terrorists. To do invites more acts of terror by groups and individuals who see those acts as a path to extorting demands from governments.

The Obama Administration abandoned the precedent of not negotiating with terrorists, and did so without consulting Congress, or with much discussion with the American public.

Added to this is the fact of the very public announced departure date of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.  By elevating the Taliban to the status of a negotiating partner, it has given that terrorist organization a very substantial boost in its bid to return to power after America withdraws. The disaster that will befall that nation is similar to the fate of Iraq following the President’s premature withdrawal there. With al Qaeda making gains throughout the world, and the Taliban restored to the status quo that existed at the time of the 9/11/01 attacks, the safety of the American people has been placed in severe jeopardy.

In essence, the Administration has effectively negotiated a U.S. surrender in the war on terror.

Administration’s odd idea of “victory”

Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have claimed at various times that Mr. Obama’s premature withdrawal of America’s troops from Iraq was a “victory” for the President.  Similarly, they have supported and encouraged the release of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.

A review of the facts questions that assertion. Al Qaeda and Iran threaten to take over Iraq, a nation that stood on the path of becoming a peaceful, tolerant state at the end of the Bush Administration. Not perfect and facing major challenges, but on its way to becoming a responsible member of the world community, it is now in danger of being in the clutches of terrorists and a terrorist state in the absence of a countervailing western influence.  The battle to take over Iraq has been led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was released from Guantanamo Bay by Mr. Obama in 2009.

Precisely the same road is being paved by the White House in Afghanistan. Rather than take the steps necessary to truly slash the strength of the Taliban, the White House has released the top Taliban leadership held at Guantanamo Bay, figures who are seen as the worst of the worst. Combined with the announced withdrawal of U.S. combat forces in 2016 and the general unpreparedness of the Afghan government’s forces, the Taliban has been substantially restored to the status quo ante before the 9/11/01 attack.

An odd concept of success.

White House Silence on National Security Issues Reaches Crisis Levels

The extraordinary incompetence of the Obama Administration continues to further jeopardize the safety of the nation and those that serve it.

The startling news that the White House itself released the name of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan was a blow to America’s intelligence gathering capabilities in that region, the homeland of al Qaeda that launched the 9/11 attacks that brought down the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and killed Americans in the air and on the ground.

There is a direct connection between the failure of the White House to adequately respond to the assault on the US facility in Benghazi and this latest example.  Both incidents demonstrate unprecedented levels of naiveté and disregard in global and national security matters, as well as an apparent lack of attention from the President himself.

The importance of the unanswered questions—the subject of forthcoming Congressional investigations—about Benghazi have been magnified by this latest security mistake.

Did the President review the Afghanistan information before it was given to the public? If not, why not?  Has Mr. Obama begun attending national security briefings, and even if he has, why did he fail to do so for so long?

These questions are similar to those still extant concerning Benghazi.  Why was the President not in the situation room when that crisis was ongoing?  What role did he, as well as then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, play in the decision making?There are other existing national security issues that require answers, as well.  Why did the President agree to an arms treaty with Moscow that left Russia with a ten to one advantage in tactical nuclear weapons, and that completely ignored the growing nuclear arsenal of China? Why has the White House strenuously advocated the softening of sanctions with Iran despite Tehran’s blatant actions in furtherance of its nuclear goals? Why have all American tanks been withdrawn from Europe, at the same time that the White House is seeking to kill the Air Force’s tank killing planes? Why hasn’t the President allowed federal lands to be used for energy exploitation in order to soften Moscow’s iron grip on Europe’s energy supply?

The list of vitally important national security questions continues to grow, and the Obama Administration remains silent.