Saturday, March 31, 2012

War on Terror 2.0

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In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush made several crucial moves to revive an intelligent apparatus that was gutted during the 1990's. He increased training and funding for paramilitary units within the CIA and bulked up our human intelligence (humint) gathering by putting boots on the ground. When Taliban or al-Qaeda fighters were apprehended on the battle field or in raids, trained interrogators were in place to glean as much as intelligence as possible in a short period of time.

Some of this intelligence gathering was restricted by liberals in Congress who screamed torture at every paper cut inflicted on suspected (or known) terrorists. But the overall effort led to numerous arrests and took some big fish out of play before we could be struck again.

Fast-forward to the present and let's examine our intel gathering regimen now. While we are gaining some intel in Afghanistan, the conflict has settled into a stalemate where neither side seems to be gaining any advantage. The American public has soured and we are stretching our military well past the appropriate limits. Our intelligence gathering has suffered as we've changed our tactics. Instead of humint, we are relying more on electronic intelligence gathering or "chatter". While we are very good at this type of collection, we lack the available personnel to decipher the millions of conversations and other electronic communications.

Yes, we did track down bin-Laden but my opinion is that it had more to do with information obtained using humint collection techniques that were residual from the Bush years.

Now we are in a stand-off mode in this global war. Instead of capturing AQ leaders, we are exterminating them with pilotless drones. Yes, we take them out. No, we gain no intelligence from them when they are blown into fifty pieces. This may have far-reaching ramifications as AQ and the hundreds of other offshoots have gotten smarter from a communications perspective. Without humint, we will lose much of the advantage we once gained and good men like Mike Spann died for.

So why are we changing our tactics? because liberals have a visceral hatred for intelligence gathering by organizations such as the CIA, FBI and NSA. It goes back to the 60's when the FBI infiltrated home-grown terror groups and the CIA pulled numerous covert ops in Latin America and Africa. many of these operations should never have been revealed but that's a post for another day.

Liberals live in a dream world where nations can be negotiated with and all problems can be solved by the UN. Except the world has changed dramatically since President Obama was inaugurated. Instead of despotic but reliably stable regimes in Egypt and Libya we have radical Islamist's like the Muslim Brotherhood ascending to power. Instead of covert training camps, we now have huge nations that can sponsor terror and still conceal their participation. The rules have changed and we are in no position to adapt. Without human intelligence and people on the ground, we are weaker than we've been in 12 years.

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