Oliver North: Obama's Afghan Pullout Creating 'Bitter Harvest' of Troop Deaths

Tuesday, 14 Aug 2012 08:41 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Decorated military veteran and best-selling author Oliver North tells Newsmax the killing of American soldiers by our Afghan allies is the “bitter harvest” of Obama’s decision to schedule a withdrawal of our forces.

North also says Israel has “no choice” but to attack a nuclear-armed Iran, Syria is on the brink of collapse, another 9/11 attack on the United States is “entirely likely,” and Americans have a chance to hire a new U.S. commander-in-chief in the November election and “fire the guy” who is there now.

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North served in the U.S. Marines for 22 years and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Ronald Reagan administration.

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North now hosts “War Stories with Oliver North” on the Fox News Channel and is the founder of the Freedom Alliance foundation. His latest book is “American Heroes in Special Operations.”

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, North was asked, now that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, if he should have tapped someone with more foreign policy experience like General David Petraeus.

“I’m a military guy. I’m not a political character. But I think from what I hear of the folks that I keep company with, and they’re conservatives, they’re excited by the fact that Paul Ryan is the running mate to Romney,” North says.

“The hope is that he’ll be able to bring to bear some attention on details of national security policy that are going to be as good as his ideas on the budget and reducing our debt.

“My hope is that’s the team we’re going to send to the White House. We have a chance to hire a new commander-in-chief, head of state and chief executive on November 6. God knows we need to fire the guy who’s there now and hire the new team.”

So far this year 34 Americans have been killed by our supposed allies in Afghanistan.

“This is the bitter harvest of Barack Obama’s decision to announce withdrawal,” North observes.

“Even though it was announced over a year ago, what you’re seeing is the rush to the exits. The need to increase the number of recruits for the Afghan National Security Forces, meaning the Army and the police, their intelligence services, has gone up dramatically. The ability to screen them as they’re coming in and vet out those who might be terrorists is almost gone.

“So the end result is the terrorists now know if they’re going to kill an infidel, you’ve only got a short window in which to get it done. You’re going to see a whole lot more of this. It’s become the number-one killer of Americans, replacing the IED as the most lethal part of this war, and it’s all because an announcement was made telling everybody, the enemy included, when we were leaving.”

Is radical Islam still a threat to American citizens and interests? North was asked.

“Well you certainly wouldn’t know it by the way this White House and the State Department are acting, but yes, it is,” he responds.

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“[Some Americans] think the War on Terror is won just because bin Laden is dead and oh, by the way, Barack Obama did it. The fact is radical Islam will continue to be a major threat to American interests and our citizens, and another attack like 9/11 or the embassy attacks back in the 90s under the Clinton administration are entirely likely unless America does more to make sure that radical Islam does not get a toehold in places where they can train for those kinds of activities.

“You see Yemen and Somalia rising to the fore in places where we need to have U.S. forces. We need to have U.S. friends in that part of the world and friends in that part of the world are not easy to find, particularly given the way we treat Israel. These are our friends. Goodness gracious, what do we want, more enemies?”

North does not support the use of targeted attacks by drones to deal with the terrorist threat.

“I’m going to break company with a lot of our conservative friends in this,” he says. “I find the idea that American citizens can be killed by a Predator flying with hellfire missiles with only the authority of the president of the United States, the attorney general, the director of the FBI, the director of National Intelligence and some National Security Council staff making a decision, and the president whips out of his pocket his little list of people on his targeted capture/kill list and makes a decision like that to kill an American citizen, I find it to be very dangerous.”

Massive cuts in defense spending will automatically be implemented at the start of next year unless the White House and Congress do something to stop them. North discussed the impact this could have on national security.

“You already see the rise of China in the Pacific, even though there’s a promise that we’re now going to have a specific strategy as Mr. Obama announced a year ago,” he tells Newsmax.

“The ability to carry that out and actually build friendships and military relationships with those in the Pacific is going to be limited by the lack of ships, aircrafts and troops. We’re going to lose 100,000 U.S. Army soldiers, 20,000 Marines, up to 40 ships taken out of the Navy inventory, no modernization of our nuclear weapons system and, of course, ballistic missile defense off the table, as far as Barack Obama is concerned, until after his election.

“The bottom line of it is this country cannot afford not to have a preeminent national security apparatus. That means military and intelligence capabilities. You don’t have it today. We’ll have less tomorrow if the sequester goes through.”

Regarding the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, North stated: “The Israelis are at least smart enough now, knowing how badly this White House leaks, not to tell them what the plans are. So I really don’t know, but obviously the window is closing.

“They have a very good fix on the fact that the Iranians are much closer than anybody expected to developing a nuclear weapon. My sense is that the Israelis have good relationships with other intelligence services, not necessarily our own anymore, but others who also have concerns about Pakistan and Iran and where those nuclear weapons might end up and are going to tell the Israelis if they see a warhead being put on the end of a missile that could take out Israel.

“I think the Israelis will certainly act, and because it’s an existential threat to Israel they have no choice.”

Syria, North also tells Newsmax, “is certainly on the brink of collapse. And we know that there are plentiful munitions, perhaps even biological weapons of mass destruction that are MIA right now in Syria.

“There’s no doubt that the days of the Assad regime are limited. The question is what happens in the aftermath? We don’t know an awful lot about those in the so-called Free Syrian Army that is leading the efforts to unseat him.

“We’ve got to get some intelligence so we know who the players are. We don’t today. We’re counting on Turkey and we’re counting to a certain extent on the Iraqis to tell us information that they probably could find out or know and we don’t. We’ve got to know who the folks that are going to be running Damascus will be over the course of the next several months.”

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Asked who the Islamist leaders of Iran, Egypt and other countries would prefer to win the American presidential election, North says: “Hard to tell. I’ve not heard a great deal of the foreign policy plans and the national security plans of the Romney administration. I’ve been writing about it for months trying to get them to lay out how they would be different than Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama. Hopefully they would be but we don’t know because we haven’t heard.

“So it’s hard to tell what the other side really would like to have. But you know what it was like when Jimmy Carter was running for re-election and Ronald Reagan was running? There was no doubt they wanted Carter but they got Reagan. Hopefully we’ll get Romney this and it will be better than what we’ve had.”


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