Secure Freedom Radio Podcast

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Jim Hanson, Bill Roggio, JD Johannes

September 7th, 2011

Today on Secure Freedom Radio, Jim Hanson of sits in for Frank and sets out to determine the overall posture of the War on Terror.  Now that President Obama is back to the only job he’s good at, Campaigner-in-Chief, Hanson discusses the latest “trial balloon” announcement of dropping troop levels in Iraq to 3,000 to appease the Left and gain reelection support.  “Just because we’re a little tired doesn’t mean the bad guys are gonna stop their efforts—and they haven’t,” he says as he tries to discern the strategy for our wars.  “In the end we have nothing but a collection of Band-Aids put on the same gaping chest wound over and over and over again,” and now is the time for a cohesive strategy against an enemy that “thinks in terms of centuries and millenniums, not the next election cycle.”

Then, Bill Roggio, Managing Editor of the Long War Journal, joins Jim to discuss the state of al-Qaeda and if it is really “on the ropes,” as some government officials say.  Roggio asserts that the organization was “always bigger than Bin Laden,” with a “deep bench” that draws on its affiliates in Yemen and Somalia.  Roggio, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, examines al-Qaeda’s growth and how the Pakistani ISI at best turned a blind eye to Bin Laden’s move to Abbottabad.

Jim continues with Bill Roggio to discuss the intelligence problems in the years ahead in the fight against radical Islam.  Since most of the interrogations took place in the early stages of the war, “that intelligence is going to dry up at some point,” he explains, given that we have seemingly stopped detaining terrorists. “You can’t seize any documents with drones,” says Roggio, explaining how the politicization of Guantanamo Bay and enhanced interrogation has hampered our intelligence gathering.  The “fetishization” of the predator drones, he says, is safe, looks clean, and ironic, since it is now more humane to kill than to detain indefinitely.

Finally, JD Johannes, Documentarian and correspondent of Outside the Wire, just returned from the Sulaiman Mountain Ridge in Afghanistan and gives Jim the perspective of the war on the ground.  From what Jim calls a “lovely vacation spot,” with all the poppies and the land mines, JD surveyed the troop morale after Obama’s announcement of the Afghan drawdown.  “A lot of wind came out of the sails” as soon as the announcement was made, he says, after such great progresses were made in the surge areas of the Helmand province.   Johannes details the shift in the psychological momentum, and also looks to what’s next for Afghanistan.

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