By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


AUG. 22, 2014 -- I had been in the U.S. Senate for 34 years before we went to war in Afghanistan; had received all the defense briefings and had never heard the word "Taliban."

After 9/11, Al Qaeda and Taliban were all over Afghanistan. Actually, Osama Bin Laden from Saudi Arabia had trained his Saudi compatriots on the Afghan border with Pakistan and he escaped through Tora Bora to Pakistan. We never should have gone to war against Afghanistan. Afghanistan was no threat to our security and the Afghans were very grateful for the U.S. ridding the Russians in Charlie Wilson's War. In George Crile's book "Charlie Wilson's War", the words Al Qaeda or Taliban never appear. My point is that we have become accustomed to giving dignity and form to everyone that disagrees with us calling them "terrorists" and giving them special names like "Taliban."

Sixteen of the 19 terrorists that went into the World Trade Towers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the culprit. We don't go to war with Saudi Arabia because of oil. We defend Saudi Arabia because of oil. The Saudis have these Wahhabi schools that teach children at an early age the Muslim religion and that you and I are infidels - need to be eliminated.

The Sunni Emirs in Saudi Arabia finance Sunni's everywhere. They finance the Sunni resistance to Maliki and the Sunni militants in Syria. They expected us to automatically back them in Syria but President Obama wisely couldn't find someone to support and manage the outcome so he kept the U.S. out of Syria. Now comes the "ISIS" - a State that we never heard of two months ago. The ISIS is no State. It's just a bunch of Sunni militants. Fortunately the New York Times tells it like it is. The NY Times headlines (8/5/14) "Iraq Agrees to Help Kurds Battle Sunni Extremists" and again (8/12/14) the NY Times headlines "Pentagon Says Airstrikes Have Slowed but Not Stopped Sunni Militants". There you have it. The Pentagon game exposed.

For thirty years, on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, I handled all the State Department funding which required travel everywhere to audit U.S. foreign policy. Everywhere I went there were no misgivings, the United States was respected and well liked. But in my last four years, 2001-2005, the U.S. was on trial. Our finding terrorism everywhere; our military response everywhere; our drone killing everywhere has raised questions.

Our leadership in Washington doesn't understand the change. Nuclear weaponry has checkmated the military. We can't puff and blow militarily. Today, we must engage. China, Russia, and even little North Korea have nuclear. Engaging in military conflicts must be avoided because they threaten a nuclear exchange.

Similarly, everyone is tired of war. That's what Europeans see in Ukraine. The European Union has always followed the United States lead but they are tired of war and see no reason for the U.S.'s extension of NATO into the Ukraine. They want to support us and be friends with Russia - consequently the hesitation. The Pentagon is always searching for a threat to the security of the United States. Now, my TV blares; "The ISIS State is determined to attack the United States." Baloney! There is no ISIS State. It's only the Pentagon's make believe. It's only a bunch of Sunni militants that were financed by Saudi Arabia, practicing the extremes of Wahhabism to eliminate any infidel not a Muslim. We've got to sober up; stop playing games and get realistic in Washington.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2014, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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