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Oliver North
Oliver North
2 May 2013
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Barack Obama's Mideast Madness


WASHINGTON — Nine years ago this week, President George W. Bush ordered more than 250,000 troops in a U.S.-led coalition to cross the "berm" on the border of Kuwait and head into Iraq. Weeks later, Saddam Hussein's brutal regime was finished, and the despot was in hiding. It was a stunning victory for the force of American arms and leadership. Though it took until Dec. 13 to find the former dictator hiding in a "spider hole" near his hometown of Tikrit, Saddam eventually was tried by his own people, convicted, inter alia, of crimes against humanity and executed by hanging Dec. 30, 2006. But Saddam's demise and the installation of a democratically elected government didn't quell the vicious insurgency that began shortly after the liberation of Baghdad.

In November 2008, American voters hired a previously obscure U.S. senator as commander in chief. During his campaign, Barack Obama pledged to "get us out of Iraq," and he made good on his promise. On Oct. 21, 2011, he precipitously ordered all remaining U.S. troops to leave Mesopotamia. The ill-advised decision had three profoundly important unintended consequences:

—Unlike the victors of the Gulf War in 1991, none of the 2.2 million American soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines who fought and won every battle in Operation Iraqi Freedom — including nearly 4,500 U.S. personnel killed in combat and more than 32,000 wounded in action — received a "welcome home" parade. Though administration and Pentagon officials won't admit it, the deleterious effect of the hasty pullout and lack of public acclaim has adversely affected military morale and contributed to a spate of damaging incidents involving American personnel in Afghanistan.

—The hurried U.S. withdrawal from Iraq emboldened radical Islamists throughout the Middle East, who now claim their jihad succeeded in "driving the American invaders (or crusaders) out of Iraq." This oft-repeated theme is now part of radical Islamist rhetoric in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon and is disseminated in propaganda organs supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida, the Taliban and even al-Shabab.

—The rush to get out of Iraq and now Afghanistan, coupled with major cuts in the U.S. defense budget, has discouraged America's allies and emboldened our adversaries. The most pernicious consequence of our retrenchment is evident in Syria, where Bashar Assad's brutal regime is perpetrating a bloodbath.

U.S. influence in the region is now so diminished that our government has been reduced to the role of bystander in a yearlong atrocity that has claimed at least 9,000 lives.

The Obama administration refuses to offer anything but rhetorical encouragement for the Syrian opposition. But Iran — supposedly smarting under "severe" U.N. economic and diplomatic sanctions — continues to provide a full range of economic, military and intelligence support to buttress Assad's grip on power.

According to refugees arriving in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, thousands of Iranian "volunteers" and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds force are killing Syrians using small arms, artillery and tank ammunition delivered by Iranian vessels and aircraft. The ayatollahs also have sent land mines for emplacement on Syria's borders; dispatched intelligence officers to assist in locating, interrogating and torturing captured rebels; and sent technicians to enhance Syria's air defenses.

Tehran isn't Assad's only ally in the war he is waging against his own people. Until Saudi Arabia threatened to boycott next week's Arab League summit in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki allowed uninspected Iranian aircraft unfettered over-flight rights to and from Damascus. Both Russia and China consistently have used their veto power in the United Nations Security Council to stymie harsh sanctions against Damascus. And the Russian navy's port facility at Tartus is widely suspected of being used to import banned military hardware and materiel for Assad's army.

On March 21, the day after a Russian ship reportedly delivered special operations troops to the port, the Security Council issued a "statement of support" for a "Syrian peace plan" being advanced by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Seeing as the measure is meaningless, the Russians and Chinese didn't object. The Obama administration considers this to be a great sign of progress. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "This is a positive step. The council has now spoken with one voice. It has demanded a U.N.-supervised cessation of violence."

Apparently, Assad wasn't listening. Human rights organizations report that another 500 Syrian civilians were killed this week in government-initiated, Russian- and Iranian-supported military violence furthered by the Obama administration's naive incompetence.

For Americans, the consequence of this ineptness is most visible at the pump. The Syrian catastrophe helps push up the cost of motor fuel and threaten our fragile economic recovery. Gasoline prices this week — averaging $3.86 per gallon — are nearly 10 percent higher than they were a year ago. Independent experts tell us we should expect prices as high as $4.50 or more per gallon by midsummer. All of this because the Mideast mess, precipitated by the Nobel laureate in the White House, is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Oliver North is the host of "War Stories" on Fox News Channel, the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, and the author of "American Heroes in Special Operations." To find out more about Oliver North and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



3 Comments | Post Comment
Wow. Where to start.
1. I noticed that you skipped right over the disaster of the Bush administration's total lack of planning for the aftermath of their military adventure. Beating Saddam's army was the easy part. Too bad little thought went in to what to do next. A few choice items: Disbanding the army, thus providing endless manpower for the rebellion. Making almost no attempt to secure the arms depots, thus giving large amounts of munitions to the fanatics. And who can forget "Bring 'em on". Obama inherited a mess from a criminally incompetent previous administration. This invasion was one of the greatest military blunders in our nation's history.
2. Syria is not the cause of increased gas prices. They are not an oil exporter. They do not have the power to mine the Persian gulf, or sink ships in the Straits of Hormuz. If you want to truly mess with gas prices, just keeping beating the drums for war with Iran. (Listen to any major GOP candidate on the topic if you want to fear for the future price of oil.) Is oil in the $4 range because the oil companies want their buddy Romney in the White House? (The thought has crossed my mind...)
3. And the correct, effective move for dealing with Syria that has escaped the President is? As always, Mr. North, you are long on how the President is doing all the wrong things and silent on what the correct moves should be. With your famous military background and deep Fox "News" experience, surely you must be able to devise the magic strategy? Could it be that you litany of what is going wrong is the extent of your insight?
And, speaking of deep insight, Mr. North, this is now your 27st column since "don't ask, don't tell" ended and there still appears to be no crisis of retention or recruitment in the military, as predicted in your last "sky is falling" squawk on this subject. Mr. North, will you ever have the courage and personal integrity to admit that your column predicting disaster in this matter was just political theater? Aren't you happy to report that the men and women serving in our military are more dedicated and professional than you, apparently, could imagine? Or is it simply that your corporate masters at Fox "News" demand that you avoid this truth as the price of playing in their sand box?
Comment: #1
Posted by: Mark
Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:47 PM
Re: Mark
Mark, it's the same with "the sky is falling, Chicken Little", David Limbaugh, according to him and Ollie, because of Obama we on at the edge of disaster. I worked at an Army Hospital (Tripler) for two years in 2009-2011, my patients were soldiers from the front or on their way to deployment, almost none of them for the first round. They were smart, trained, positive and bully on America. They wanted to get out of the Mideast. None of them thought we should be there or had a clear objective about what we were supposed to accomplish. Bush got us there for one reason, to puff the pockets of Cheney's buddies. For what?
I listen to Fox, it's one big song and dance about the disaster called Obama. based upon the disaster that he walked into, I think he has done an OK job so far. If the GOP would get out of the business of obstructing anything positive for this country Obama could have a great second term. Obamacare is expensive and will evolve, not as expensive as 46 million Americans walking around with no insurance. Conservatives think that anyone without insurance can just walk into an ER or free clinic and get great health care, That is naive and uninformed. If you have insurance you are paying for the guy without insurance, or your employer is. The conservative argument that they shuold just get a job and get insurance is ridiculous, jobs are hard to find and jobs with benefits are even more scarce. If you are over 40, or have any pre-existing conditions, you will find private insurance impossible for the average person to afford, Obamacare is not perfect but it is a major step in the right direction. Just like social security and Medicare, it will evolve as it matures. And it will serve a great need. Let's hope that the Supreme's rule based upon legal aspects and not political ones, like when they selected that disaster, Bush.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Bloom Hilda
Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:54 PM
Sit tight, Ollie.

1. Assad doesn't have the dough to keep buying weapons from Russia and Iran, and the longer Iran backs him up, the closer it'll get to bankrupcy. With all the internal fighting going on in Syria, they won't have any opportinuty to sponsor terrorism all over the world. Lastly, with Syria fighting internally, they won't have the strength to fight Israel. Nor will Israel need to fight them.
2. Let Russia supply Syria. Putin isn't going to live forever.
3. Syria isn't the cause of the rising oil prices. Have you forgotten that China is using 50% more gas than ten years ago? Did you not hear about the megacities sprouting up all over China? Did it not occur to you that they're sucking up more gas? What about India, where the people are using more gas, thanks to their skyrocketing living standard?

If you think gas prices are high now, just wait until the living standard in Africa rises. When that happens, gas will cost $7 a gallon because you'll have all those Africans driving cars and trucks. Food prices will rise too, because Africa will be buying more imported food.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Stanley
Sun Apr 1, 2012 12:48 AM
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