Hard learners

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


OCT. 10, 2014 -- Osama Bin Laden, as a successful contractor in Saudi Arabia, complained openly that our support for Israel was a Second Crusade against the Islam World. He caused so much trouble that the Saudis ran him to Yemen and Yemen ran him to the Afghan border with Pakistan. Bin Laden gave us plenty of notice. He warned us with the assault on the U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia; then blowing up embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; and then killing twenty one sailors on the USS Cole. We didn't listen - then 9/11.

Thanks to Andrew Bacevich in the Washington Post (10/3/14) since 1980 the U.S. has bombed or invaded "Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981,1986,1989,2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011,2014-), Somalia (1992-1993,2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991,1996), Afghanistan (1998,2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000,2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria." Now, we've not only proved Bin Laden's case, we've sewn doubt of the U.S. intentions in the minds of the Mid-East and appear to some to be the extremists.

President Obama, in announcing his assault against ISIS, said to expect a long war - not a long effort to get together a coalition for training. Turkey, our friend in the Mid-East, is worried about the Kurds, not ISIS. Other countries hesitate joining the Obama coalition and the ISIS terrorists are not extreme but doing exactly what they were taught in the ninth grade in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi schools and the Salafi Institution are financed by the Saudi government and teach intolerance. Salafi teaches that other Muslims that are not Salafis are not really Muslim. All children are taught that Christians and Jews are infidels and ought to be eliminated - to be killed. Salafis scattered in the Mid-East finance ISIS and, fighting religious teachings of the Wahhabi schools, make the religious more determined.

General Colin Powell in Desert Storm enunciated the Powell Doctrine: in war you've got to go all out, no training a coalition or just trying air strikes but go all out in the air and on the ground. Now under President Obama's policy, the U.S. is caught in between - sometimes in the air and never on the ground. At the beginning of our assault against ISIS, I suggested that we drop Seals or Special Forces into the two headquarters of ISIS in Syria, kill off the leadership and then round up the disorganized in Syria and Iraq. Mossad, Israel's intelligence can tell us whether it is too late for that approach or withdraw. We either ought to assault or withdraw - one or the other.

Senator Fritz 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.

Today, Hollings continues to be influential in public affairs and offers this website as a compendium of current and past positions on public issues. Learn more about Fritz Hollings.


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