Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law

Monthly Archives: August 2017

WHITHER AFGHANISTAN; 08/23/2017

I have just finished reading General H.R. McMaster’s book about the Vietnam War entitled “Dereliction of Duty”. In that acclaimed book, the General excoriates in the harshest terms the civilian and military leaders of our Nation for failing in their duty to the American public, as well as those fighting that war. He illustrates how there was no coherent well-defined end game; without that, there was no chance for developing and implementing strategy for accomplishing a well-defined, feasible victory.  President Johnson  principal concern was that the War not derail his Great Society legislation. His charge to the military was to “kill more Viet Cong”, but do it quietly. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk were willing to accept defeat so long as the United States put forth enough effort to not damage our prestige abroad. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (who were essentially cut out of the decision process) thought the goal was to increase the military pressure until  North Vietnam ceased its support for and operations in South Vietnam. Only lip service was given to developing a stable, functioning government in South Vietnam. Ad hocery became the norm.

I just finished reading President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan; I like to read the speeches rather than just listen to them.In it, I find several goals:

1,  An honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the sacrifices made;

2,  Prevent the creation of a vacuum for terrorists in that region;

3.  Break the will of ISIS and all terrorists, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and defeat them;

4.  Support the Afghan government and the Afghan military so they can take ownership of their future, govern their society and achieve a lasting peace;

5.  Integrate all the instruments of American power – economic, diplomatic and military – toward a successful outcome;

6.  Insist that Pakistan play a positive role in this effort.; and

7.  Allow the generals to conduct the war on the ground and in the air.

How does this differ from the picture of Vietnam painted by General McMasters?  Unlike in Vietnam,It, apparently, is a comprehensive program, short on details but long on goals, conceived in concert with the military rather than around them. Unfortunately, like in Vietnam,  there is no clearly defined, desired final result that drives the strategy. If the Afghan government continues to lose ground against the Taliban, will we increase our on – the – ground presence?  What evidence demonstrates the defeat of the terrorists?  What constitutes an ‘honorable and enduring outcome?

Our longest continual conflict goes on. I applaud President Trump for changing his campaign position of total withdrawal once presented with the facts and opinions from “his generals.” That realization, however, is only the beginning. The hard part has been, and will be, convincing the American public that the sacrifices made and yet to be made are worthy and in our best interest. President Johnson couldn’t; can President Trump?

STAY TUNED

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BANNON BANISHED; 08/20/2017

“…there can only be one big dog in the Trump world”. See VP Sweepstakes; 07/14/2016 Steve Bannon was not one of the original Trump team. As President Trump himself said just a few days ago, Bannon came on board  in August of 2016, after the nomination was secured, to solidify the support of the alt.right.… Continue Reading

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CHARLOTTESVILLE; 08/18/2017

This is the hardest post I have done. Please bear with me as I struggle through this complicated subject. First, last and always -there is no place in any civilized society, much less the United States of America, for acceptance, encouragement, support, or even existence of the vile, disgusting, warped hatred, bigotry, anti-semitism, nativism, and… Continue Reading

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THE PRESIDENT AND THE PARTY; 08/08/2017

IN 2015, Donald J. Trump surveyed the presidential hopeful landscape, decided against running against Hillary, Inc., and the DNC, and declared himself a Republican, notwithstanding the fact that his political affiliation prior to that time had been largely Democrat. He bullied, abused and humiliated a large and rather well-qualified field of Republican wanna-bees and walked… Continue Reading

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NORTH KOREA; 08/06/2017

It appears to be the accepted reality that North Korea now has the missile capability to  reach the western portion of the continental United States. At this time, it does not appear that they have managed to downsize a nuclear warhead sufficiently to ride on such a missile. How long it will take them to… Continue Reading

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