Who’d have thunk it? The United States of America in retreat. Humiliating, embarrassing; drunken stupor retreat. The word stings the tongue.
Closing an embassy shouldn’t hurt so much, but it does. It hurts because we pretended so hard that Yemen had come so far.
In fact, there was hope beyond hope on the part of the administration of President Barack Obama that we could return the 47 Yemeni Guntanamo Bay detainees to their home, as they are cleared for release from the U.S. military detention facility.
The idea was that by bringing down the total number of unlawful combatants at Gitmo to under 100 Congress would revoke the law restricting transfer of detainees to U.S. shores. Recently, members of Congress have pressured the Obama administration to not allow any of the Yemeni detainees to return. Fat chance now.
Security forces stand guard around the Italy Embassy building in Sanaa, Yemen, on February 12, 2015. Some countries U.S. , U.K and France government say they has closed their embassy in Yemen and evacuated all its diplomatic staff amid following Shia Houthi rebels have taken over large parts of the country. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
It wasn’t bad enough that in 2011 Obama retreated from Iraq, the high ground in the Global War on Terror, throwing the place to the Iranian wolves...but then he actually declared the Global War on Terror OVER in 2013. The president continues to drone “folks,” most recently Abdul Rauf a former Gitmo detainee and recruiter of late for the Islamic State, but he does so with what moral authority?
There’s no question Rauf was a bad guy, and good for us that he’s out of the picture, but for a president trying in vain to convince people Gitmo hurts us overseas, droning makes Gitmo seem like a playground. More than 630 Gitmo detainees have been RELEASED, and NONE have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up, dragged naked and lifeless through the street or BURNED ALIVE - all things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.
Droning has reportedly caused 2,400 deaths, among them 273 civilians, many of them children. Collateral damage? Never happened at Gitmo. Just a “handful” of waterboarded LIVE detainees, “which saved many lives,” according to President George W. Bush in his memoir, “Decision Points.”
Yemen was supposed to be the success story for Obama and his team of almost completely non-military cabinet members. Only five of those closest 55 advisors have ANY military background, and one, a famously anti-war former Navy junior officer and now Secretary of State, named John “Swift Boat” Kerry. There is not ONE direct advisor to the president of the United States who has ANY Army or Marine Corps (that’s pronounced “core” not “corpse,” Mr. President) officers with combat experience.
So, high-tailing it out of Yemen seems to have been the prudent thing to do in the wake of what must have been a whopper of an intelligence report. Indians on the war path? Restless cannibals? Zombies on the march?
More like, “Hey, they are threatening to overrun our embassy just like they did in..DON’T SAY IT...”
An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Killery, uh, I mean Hillary, Clinton is on the ropes, waiting her turn to testify (again) about her role in the massacre of four U.S. personnel, including ambassador Christopher Stevens in a terrorist attack on the U.S. CIA annex on Sept. 11, 2012. She could not survive a repeat of that event, even though she’s out of the chain of command currently, her ambitions for president in 2016 in part hangs on the success or failure of current U.S. foreign policy. She is a Democrat, and Democrats hold the high office.
She can run, but she can’t hide. It can be reasoned that she set the stage for whatever is happening now. She can ride the coattails of success (be there any), but surely a wily opponent she may face in the future would use any and all failures to bury her hopes – guilt by association.
According to U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, "Recent unilateral actions disrupted the political transition process in Yemen, creating the risk that renewed violence would threaten Yemenis and the diplomatic community in Sanaa.”
That fear sent the U.S. and allies France and Great Britain scurrying away, post haste, with Germany soon to follow.
It was reported that U.S. embassy weapons, documents and equipment were destroyed as embassy personnel, including the ambassador (remember "going down with the ship?" In the diplomat world the ambassador should be the last one to leave, with the U.S. flag) left for the hills, or at least the nearest secure airport.
There are also reports that the U.S. Marines attached to the diplomatic mission in Yemen had to relinquish their weapons prior to boarding civilian aircraft out of the danger area. The reports also say they disabled their weapons prior to doing so. Still, for a Marine to surrender his weapon, apparently ordered by the State Department, it must've taken monumental self-control. Marines don't retreat, or give-up. God bless them, everyone, some of the finest human being on earth and it's a damn shame they weren't allowed to do their jobs.
My, how the brave have fallen. A threat so serious and imminent that documents, equipment and crew served embassy weapons had to be destroyed and Marines gave up their weapons. Now that is heavy.
No doubt the political situation in Yemen is complex – think a multiplayer game of Risk after an earthquake scatters the board. There’s not enough time or space to explain it all. The bottom line is another complete failure on the part of our “smart diplomacy” president. A strategy that has yet to show even a glimmer of possible success, anywhere.
We are witnessing chaos. Global chaos. Deadly, global chaos.
The entropy of which may leave us bare, bruised and culpable for international disaster after international disaster.
You think Sept. 11, 2001 was bad? Wait until the caliphate comes knocking on our door. Each of these failures is a step closer for them. Gitmo as recruiting tool? Nah, try “U.S. Embassy in Yemen Folds.” Doesn’t even matter to whom. Now THAT’S a recruiting tool.
Where will this absolute failure lead us? Down the same path of confusion and despair that leaving Iraq did vis-à-vis the Islamic State? Another domino in the row? Tumbling, falling, and crashing down on hope for peace and prosperity in the Arab world, heck, in the whole world?
A way forward?
If we want to degrade and then defeat the Islamic State, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Islamists in general, we must deploy the United State Marine Corps and the United States Army, and then STAY. Just like we did in Germany, Japan and Italy after World War II (we’re still in those places by the way, and not as conquerors, but as friends and allies).
And then we need a Middle East Marshall Plan in order to REBUILD the Middle East. Bombing and droning only DESTROY what will need to be rebuilt. Send in the tough men and women of the U.S. military and let loose the Dogs of War.
Call it a Crusade. Call it the Third Barbary War. Call it whatever the heck you want, but call it what it is. Now. I’ll be damned if my American flag faces the wrong way again, ever.
I am the author of "Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior," and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1
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