Afghanistan

Adam Kokesh ‘runs’ for Congress; is an antiwar activist seeking to return Ben Lujan to the House?

Ben Lujan (D) — Tom Mullins (R) — Adam Kokesh (?)

Incumbent U.S. Congressman Ben Lujan (D-NM, 3) was once considered ‘safe’ to win reelection to Congress. Yet Lujan voted for bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed here for federal trial, the health care bill, Cap and Trade, and the TARP bailout. In the only recent poll, a Democrat pollster now finds Lujan’s lead over main Republican rival Tom Mullins has narrowed to within the margin of error, 40 to 36.

Adam Kokesh running as a Republican in the primary against Mullins and his trailing Lujan only 40 to 32 are both far harder to explain.

Is Kokesh a grass roots fiscal conservative or an antiwar activist masquerading as a conservative-libertarian to deceive the people of New Mexico? Before voters there decide, perhaps they should review his multiple arrests — including for smuggling home a firearm — in addition to his anti-war protests while in uniform, anti-military recruitment actions, and travel to an allied nation to encourage U.S. soldiers stationed there to go AWOL.

According to the Washington Examiner, Kokesh was busted after his tour in Iraq;

He was supposed to go to Iraq a second time, but was demoted from sergeant to corporal and not allowed to return after it was learned that he brought a pistol back after his first tour in 2004. [Hat tip to This Ain’t Hell.]

On September 1, 2007, Kokesh called for help from Veterans For Peace with an upcoming antiwar “die-in” in Washington, D.C. Kokesh was arrested there on September 6, 2007 for defacing public property (here is the video). On September 15, while 10,000 of so A.N.S.W.E.R.-led students “died” on the Capitol’s west lawn, Kokesh was again arrested when he, Code Pink, and perhaps thirty more crossed the police line.

In mid-May 2007, Kokesh traveled to Germany where he and another Inactive Reservist brought an unauthorized civilian onto a U.S. military base. He then entered a crowded dining facility. Kokesh himself recounted the “IVAW German Expeditionary Team … base action” and his reading aloud a letter from “the people of Ansbach” to soldiers there, many of whom who would soon deploy to Iraq:

If any of you should decide to leave the Army while in Germany and throw down your arms, the people of Ansbach will support you and do our best to provide you with aid, comfort, and sanctuary. We wish to build a new relationship between the people of Germany and the people of America on the basis of peace, reconciliation, and understanding. [Unfortunately, someone at IVAW no longer wants New Mexico to see the video they once so proudly posted on YouTube. Kokesh’s Iraq Veterans Against the War post is reprinted here, his original post is here [Note June 2, 2011: The orginal narrative by Adam Kokesh has been changed to unrelated commentary] and I have the screen shots just in case they decide to hide it as well.]

Two weeks later, Kokesh was back in D.C. acting nothing like a new-age founding father:

[T]he Marines have launched investigations of three inactive reservists for wearing their uniforms during antiwar protests and allegedly making statements characterized as “disrespectful” or “disloyal.” Two of them were part of the guerrilla theater squad of 13 Iraq Veterans Against the War who roamed Capitol Hill and downtown Washington in March, clad in camouflage and carrying imaginary weapons, to mark the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war. A Washington Post story about that protest is part of the evidence gathered by Marine lawyers. … Upon learning he was being investigated for wearing his uniform during the mock patrol, Kokesh wrote an e-mail to the investigating officer, Maj. John Whyte. The combat veteran discussed his service and his critique of the war, and asked this officer assigned to look into his “possible violation” of wearing his uniform: “We’re at war. Are you doing all you can?” He concluded with an obscene recommendation about what Whyte should go do. This earned him the count for a “disrespectful statement.” [Kokesh was discharged ‘under general conditions‘.]

Over the Columbus Day weekend 2007, Kokesh and six other students tacked up racist anti-Islamic posters around the campus of George Washington University with “Brought to you by Students for Conservativo-Fascism Awareness” across the bottom. GWU was “dismayed” at the “satire” to mock the sponsors of Conservative Awareness Week 2007.

Band of Mothers founder and Blue Star mom Bev Perlson has witnessed Kokesh’s anti-recruiting and antiwar efforts:

I remember Kokesh when he brought a whole busload of members of World Can’t Wait, ANSWER, SDS, to disrupt the recruiting station at 14th & I Street in Washington, DC. They ran around in circles out in front of the recruiting station that day yelling silly slogans against our Soldiers and the War. Their antics caused about 7 members of the Metro Police to have to stand guard out in front of the station for hours. How’s that for how he disrupts the recruiters, the city and wastes our tax dollars. I remember Kokesh when he tried to stage a re-enactment of the Winter Soldier testimony of the traitor John Kerry days! We disrupted both of these events and the Winter Soldier nonsense was a debacle. Adam Kokesh is a phony who reinvents himself yearly.

Ron Paul can’t let a denouncement of Kokesh by a Tea Party group go unanswered:

Adam Kokesh under fire on Glenn Beck’s 9/12 site (updated)

Liberty candidates are under fire on all fronts. Even from groups that claim to be for liberty and the Constitution. On the main page of the 9/12 Project’s website, and again in its New Mexico forum are topics named “A Traitor in Sheep’s clothing trying to deceive the Voters” … This is a hit piece on Adam Kokesh and needs to be slapped down. The thread on the New Mexico is worse than the one on the front page, but they both need to be countered. Update: For those that want to see what the attack is before going to the site, here it is.

We are writing to you to express our grave concerns about Adam Kokesh, who is aspiring to become the Republican nominee for US Congress from New Mexico’s 3rd district. Mr. Kokesh has an extensive, and well-documented history of affiliations with radical leftist groups. In concert with these groups he has engaged in numerous anti-America and anti-military demonstrations and protests. Moreover, Mr. Kokesh does not appear to have any personal qualifications that would recommend him for serious consideration as a candidate for the Republican Party. He has a significant history suggestive of poor character and judgment, and he has notable incidents of direct activism against Republican office holders. [READ THE REST yet note The Daily Paul re-posted it from 9/12’s site forum. The original is here.]

Retired U.S. Army senior NCO and combat infantry veteran Jonn Lilyea writes, “I’m not sure that Kokesh doesn’t think he’s a Republican. The Paulians are convinced that they can change the party and I think that’s what his real goal is.” Makes perfect sense to me. Yet even if Kokesh loses the June 1 primary, he can register as an independent candidate, be on the ballot in November, and attempt to bleed support away from Tom Mullins so Ben Lujan returns to Congress.

I don’t know Mullins from Adam yet perhaps voters in New Mexico’s 3rd District will soon sort out the saints from the sinners in that race.

Update, March 10, 2010: Michelle Malkin linked over from her post today, ‘Adam Kokesh: An anti-war smear merchant in “Republican” clothing.’

Obama’s missed memo to Rahm, ‘Afghanistan is a war of necessity’ (updated)

Did Rahm Emanuel miss President Barack Obama’s speech two months ago on Afghanistan or is he just working from the latest talking points? Bill Kristol (see Keep America Safe) has a few thoughts along those lines yet his third point seems the most likely explanation to me:

3. It’s presumptuous. Wasn’t the White House just complaining about Gen. McChrystal offering his judgment in public while internal administration debates were ongoing? I suppose one can’t say that Emanuel should have confined himself to privately offering his view up the chain of command — the only person above him is the president. But are we then to conclude Emanuel was speaking for the president today? Are Sunday talk show declarations by Emanuel and political advisor David Axelrod an appropriate way to announce the considered judgment of the president at this stage of a long Cabinet-level review process? Or is Emanuel end-running the process? Do Secretaries Gates and Clinton agree with Emanuel? Were they consulted before Rahm popped off?

We have a White House that wanted to pass national health care without a written bill, a Congress approving Obama’s plan — without being presented one — to bring Gitmo’s terrorists to the U.S., and Rahm Emanual telegraphing the President’s change of thinking on Sunday morning TV.

If Rahm Emanual is the administration’s deception plan before 100,000 fresh American troops pour across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas next spring to destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda there, I hope someone at least sends the Pentagon a secret memo right away.

Update: Obama and Rahm do know how to keep a secret (from our side).

WaPo tells Obama, ‘Taliban has gone from struggling for survival to aiming for control over both Afghanistan and Pakistan’

This morning’s editorial, ‘The Taliban Threat,’ in the Washington Post, must have shocked Vice-President Joe Biden:

“I think the Taliban are, obviously, exceedingly bad people that have done awful things,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last week. “Their capability is somewhat different, [from al Qaeda] though, on that continuum of transnational threats.”

That analysis — which is being used by many who oppose sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan — made some sense in the first years after Sept. 11, 2001. Now it is badly out of date. Al-Qaeda, though still dangerous, has suffered serious reverses in the past several years, while the Taliban has gone from struggling for survival to aiming for control over both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though it is not known to be planning attacks against the continental United States, success by the movement in toppling the government of either country would be a catastrophe for the interests of the United States and major allies such as India.

For years the United States has been trying to persuade Pakistan to fully confront the threat of the Taliban, even as its government and army dithered and wavered. Now that the army at last appears prepared to strike at the heart of the movement in Waziristan, the Obama administration is wavering — and considering a strategy that would give up the U.S. attempt to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

After all, VP Biden only suggested that General McChrystal step up attacks in Pakistan on al Qaeda and add Mullah Omar’s shura council in Quetta to the target list, using drone strikes and ground troop raids.

The WaPo’s editors summarized it with this:

Adopting such a strategy would condemn American soldiers to fighting and dying without the chance of winning. But it would also cripple Pakistan’s fight against the jihadists. With the pressure off in Afghanistan, Taliban forces would have a refuge from offensives by Pakistani forces. And those in the Pakistani army and intelligence services who favor striking deals or even alliances with the extremists could once again gain ascendancy. After all, if the United States gives up trying to defeat the Taliban, can it really expect that Pakistan will go on fighting?

When the lights went on inside the chicken hawk house at the Washington Post, somebody was actually at home. An unholy alliance of violent Islamic jihadists — the Taliban, al Qaeda, and senior officials within Pakistan’s government — seek power in Pakistan and control of its 60 nuclear weapons.

Maybe tomorrow the WaPo’s editors will advise President Barack Obama to broker a four-way winning strategy between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States to both end the dispute over Kasmir and destroy this threat to all nations.

Has al Qaeda won the War on Terror? (plus an update on Afghanistan from Bill Roggio)

Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal provided Freedom Radio an update last night on Afghanistan and Pakistan. In part, he said, “The momentum has definitely shifted towards the Taliban and towards al Qaeda, particularly over the last year … the U.S. military, NATO, and Afghan government admit the Taliban openly controls 11 … of the 34 Providences in Afghanistan.”

Roggio recently did the math and found that since January 2008, “74 airstrikes and ground raids the Taliban and al Qaeda’s network in Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency [have killed] 13 senior al Qaeda leaders and one senior Taliban leader [and] sixteen other mid-level al Qaeda and Taliban commanders and operatives.”

General McChrystal was placed in command to fight a counter-insurgency operation there with the mission to protect the civilian populace and train up the Afghanistan army and police. The mission entailed setting the conditions for good governance, the infusion of aide, and the building of needed infrastructure. Yet he does not currently have in country sufficient troops to do all those things. Roggio explains the General’s frustration:

“We will not invade northwest Pakistan. … There is another irony with this. Last year, what were we told? We were told conducting cross-border attacks into Pakistan was illegal, it’s immoral, it’s against international law, [and] what we’re doing is killing civilians. Now the same people who told us that was bad want to ramp up those types of attacks. What am I missing here? It is a convenient way out. They’ve learned that Afghanistan is much harder than they thought. They thought everybody supports Afghanistan, it’s the “good” war … but once they found out how difficult [it is] and what the situation was, now they want to back off.”

Click the speaker to listen to Bill Roggio’s 27-minute interview (Windows Media Audio file – see note below):

Me: Perhaps it is fair to say the previous administration “took its eye off the ball” yet most Americans and the media all but forgot about Afghanistan. Pakistan stood by and watched the Taliban reconstitute and grow to more than 100,000 armed insurgents in its northwest and tribal areas. American intelligence officials have shown the Pakistan government evidence that from 8,000 to 14,000 al Qaeda are operating under protection in those areas and helping to train the Taliban’s fighters. In addition, Pakistan’s ISI watched as a total of 62 terror camps opened and now “15,000 to 20,000 trained militants” are directly aimed at India.

President Barack Obama is at a decision point. With McChrystal’s troop requests and recommendations in hand, he is considering whether to change the mission in Afghanistan back to counter-terrorism. Before he decides, America should ask itself a few questions.

If destroying al Qaeda’s ability to conduct terrorism worldwide, denying them sanctuary anywhere, and bringing justice to the murderers of 2,976 men, women, and children on 9/11 was the right mission back then, is it not the right mission today?

Will we accept the occasional mass-murder of our citizens both home and abroad?

Will we let Israel stand alone as again six million Jews face incineration?

While we have the world’s finest military and troops, have the civilians they defend lost the will to fight?

Has al Qaeda won the War on Terror?

——

Note: A 13 MB mp3 file of the interview is available here to download.

President Obama Urged to Properly Resource War Effort in Afghanistan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2009
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jamie Fly – (202) 360-2802, Executive Director, jfly@foreignpolicyi.org
President Obama Urged to Properly Resource War Effort in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — A distinguished group of Americans active in the foreign policy debate expressed support today for the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, and called upon President Obama to continue to provide the necessary resources requested by his commanders on the ground to ensure success. In an open letter organized by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the group offered its appreciation for the president’s decision earlier this year to deploy 21,000 additional U.S. troops to the country, and urged him to continue to properly resource the war effort. Given increasing public concern about the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan, the letter also suggests that the President make it a priority to explain to the American people why it is important to remain committed to winning in Afghanistan, and why such a victory is feasible.

The letter’s signatories write: “The situation in Afghanistan is grave and deteriorating … Since the announcement of your administration’s new strategy, we have been troubled by calls for a drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan and a growing sense of defeatism about the war. With General McChrystal expected to request additional troops later this month, we urge you to continue on the path you have taken thus far and give our commanders on the ground the forces they need to implement a successful counterinsurgency strategy. There is no middle course. Incrementally committing fewer troops than required would be a grave mistake and may well lead to American defeat. We will not support half-measures that repeat the errors of the past.”

The letter’s signers so far are: Steve Biegun, Max Boot, Debra Burlingame, Eliot A. Cohen, Ryan C. Crocker, Thomas Donnelly, Eric Edelman, William S. Edgerly, Jamie M. Fly, David Frum, Abe Greenwald, John Hannah, Pete Hegseth, Margaret Hoover, Thomas Joscelyn, Frederick W. Kagan, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Tod Lindberg, Herbert London, Clifford May, Robert C. McFarlane, Joshua Muravchik, Sarah Palin, Keith Pavlischek, Beverly Perlson, Danielle Pletka, John Podhoretz, Stephen Rademaker, Karl Rove, Jennifer Rubin, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt, Dan Senor, Marc Thiessen, Peter Wehner, Kenneth Weinstein, and Christian Whiton.