Presidents don’t have to know …
Everything! Leading a large enterprise demands reliance on subordinates and colleagues. No one is expected to know everything and when it is the president of the US, it is dangerous to presume such. At the Commander-in-Chief interviews on NBC, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tried to convince viewers that they had a grasp of all things and answers for everything.
The fact of the matter is that sound leadership relies on the subject matter experts in each area of the massive government bureaucracy. It is the responsibility of the leader to choose competent people and delegate responsibility for developing ideas and solutions to problems and bring them to the leader for approval.
In presidential politics, some plans should be public and specific and some should be private and vague. Diplomacy and war involve our national security at THE highest levels. Those matters should be classified. It is the responsibility of the American voters to choose leaders in whom we can be confident the national security issues will be handled in our best interests. Telling all in a public forum eliminates options the leaders may have available if the opposition already knows what actions are on and off the table. Many business and military leaders study the Chinese general Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” because it teaches the differences between strategic and tactical and deception and reality. Mr. Trump said he wanted to be unpredictable – that follows Sun Tzu’s teachings.
National security issues are different from reforming the IRS, the VA, and school vouchers. Those issues can be explained and debated in public without compromising strategic and tactical advantages. The reasons we have spies, security operations, and secrets is because it is not a fair fight if the other side already knows your strategy.
It would have been preferable had Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton say they would hire the best people they could find and delegate the responsibility for national security issues to them to vet ideas and strategies based upon the leader’s specific guidance.
War is not something to be decided lightly based on personalities and posturing. War should only be declared in matters pertaining to the national interests and national security of our country. War is not surgical or humane. War is about killing the enemy, its infrastructure of support, and will to resist. You cannot win “hearts and minds” while you are killing everyone and thing in your path, including their pet goats.
As Mr. Trump has said on numerous occasions, “we do not win anymore.” We do not win because politicians prevent the military from executing its mission and defeating the enemy by creating rules of engagement that benefit the enemy and determining the targeting based on politics. While excessive destruction must be avoided when necessary, destruction of infrastructure and annihilation of the enemy is how you win wars. We reduced Germany and Japan to rubble and today they are two of our strongest allies.
The one thing the Islamists understand is force. When the US ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan for harboring Al Qaeda we demonstrated the lethality and reach of the USA. But when we turned around and apologized for our assault by pouring trillions into nation building they laughed at us and the fear of further retaliation was lost.
My colleague, KD, and I have discussed many times the value of providing a demonstration of power in Afghanistan and elsewhere by detonating a fuel-air mixture bomb over poppy fields in Kandahar or ISIS in Raqqa. The total and complete destruction of everything in the area would send a powerful message as to our intent and capability. American politicians have got to get over the idea that people die in war. It is the job of our military to make sure it is the other guys. We can never be so concerned about casualties that we put our troops at risk. That is why the decision to go to war must be deliberate and reasoned.
Matters pertaining to the commitment of troops into combat are political, but execution of combat is military and must be left to the military. The commanders must determine the rules of engagement, not politicians. When our lives are put at risk in war, we want the other side to do the dying.
When dozens of Americans were under attack in Benghazi American politicians were concerned about over-flight rights to get American combat aircraft on the scene. Can you imagine what limp-dick in DC was making that call! Terrorism will stop, not when we all submit to Islam, not when jihadis get jobs, not when Iran has nuclear parity with Israel, terrorism will stop when the jihadis are tired of getting their asses kicked by Americans.
Thomas Jefferson established the standard in Tripoli in 1803. The Quran has not changed since 1803, but American resolve has. If we are to coexist with Islam it will be on our terms- not theirs. It is time to stop placating these peckerheads that rape children (yes, girls and boys), stone, lash, burn-alive, bury-alive, and behead human beings that disagree with their twisted version of humanity.
If they want a fight, then give them a demonstration of what to expect … most people I know do not want to live under Islam, if they want us then we make the price so high there is not one of them left to savor the smell of napalm in the morning air.
If you get the feeling I am tired of this tiptoeing around the gorilla in the room you are right. We either live on this planet in peace and harmony or we kill every one of them and “their pet goats.”
So leadership, aspiring presidents, is the key to victory and victory requires the masterful use of all available assets with the decisive will to win by defeating the enemy not winning their hearts and minds.
Semper fi, Colonel sends