The Obama National Security Team’s Expensive Lack of Focus

Tony Shaffer London Center for Policy Research
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“Just Say No” was the anti-drug slogan coined by Nancy Reagan during her time as First Lady. Then as now, we had a portion of the population addicted to “mind altering substances” that put drug users into an alternate reality. Many of these addicts were enabled by a society that permitted them ready and plentiful access to these drugs.

Well – we now have a similar problem – we have addicts living in an alternate reality. Their inability to grasp the reality around them, or the ramifications of living in a dangerous world, has left them detached and isolated; they are also known as the Obama national security team.

The new addicts, and their alternate reality are fueled by their drug of choice — money – funds that they demand to fuel their completely ineffective foreign policy.

In this 21st century alternate reality, the Department of Defense (DoD) is at the spearhead of our national security – and primary consumer of money.

Congress is now being asked to fund the Pentagon’s “war chest,” basically a slush fund used to break the budget ceilings put in place by Congress (and signed into law by the President), without any strategy or idea as to what they will do with the money.

So – let us ponder this for a moment. The White House and DoD now want more money … to do what?

In previous administrations, there were much better defined national security objectives (not always the right ones – but at least they were clear). There was the policy for the “containment” of Communism, or “The Global War on Terror” by the Bush White House – there was an overall strategic tether that focused national security efforts; no such theme or focus exists for this White House.

After DoD and the Intelligence community missed the build-up of ISIS and it’s planning to take territory in Iraq, the president says we can’t play “whack-a-mole” with “militant groups.” Sorry, Mr. President, ISIS is no “militant group” – they are a terrorist organization that is even more evil and more determined than al Qaeda to attack us and may well capture the Iraq oil fields and drive up the price of oil.

The White House absence of policy is compounding the Iraq policy failure. And 300 military advisors will not do anything to help; in fact, they will likely become targets.

President Obama speaks of America being “exceptional” by following “international norms” in his 28 May West Point speech but then sends back two Taliban leaders wanted by the World Courts – going directly against international norms of providing wanted criminals to the International Criminal Court. We used to “render” such criminals, such as those in the Bosnian War, to the International Criminal Court, not allow them a life of luxury in Qatar.

Combine this with China’s insinuation of new security zones in the East China Sea, the Russian intimidation of Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea, that there is NO basis or justification for any new spending by this White House, the upcoming failure of Afghanistan (the moment we leave begins the countdown to the failure of the Afghan central government), there is zero justification for any new funds to support the Pentagon’s global aspirations.

Until President Obama fires his entire national security team and creates a cohesive strategy, all Congress will be doing by providing funding is underwriting failure; all they will do is purchase more of the same.  The current budget is being used to create chaos – and to provide the additional funds the Pentagon is now asking for will simply be used to fund more failure.

Now we have a national security team that wishes to consume more “green gold” to foster its global activities, yet there nothing to show in the way of positive accomplishments for what we’ve already paid for.

Over the past six years the DoD has become a money junkie and Congress its dealer – with little regard to the fact that providing funds to this White House enables it to continue to perform badly and without accountability.

There is a saying: you get more of what you subsidize. We cannot afford more failure.

Congress it is time to stop the enabling behavior – if they are given the money, they will likely just make things worse – it is time to “just say no” to funding the Obama national security debacles.

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (ret.) is a CIA trained former senior intelligence officer and the New York Times bestselling author of Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft an Special Operations on the Frontlines of Afghanistan – And The Path to Victory.