Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Iran | Israel | MidPoint | War on Terrorism | U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger | Sydney

Lt. Gen. Bolger: Hostage Taker Not Watched 'Closely Enough'

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 04:29 PM

Australian authorities were no doubt keeping tabs on Man Haron Monis, the self-proclaimed sheikh who reportedly took hostages before dying in a shootout in Sydney, but "in retrospect, they didn't watch him closely enough," retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"The police have got to be active in hunting down these types of people when they make themselves known," Bolger, author of "Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars," told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"This guy, Man Haron Monis, had already been charged with murder," said Bolger. "He came as a refugee from Iran, but obviously brought with him some ideas that weren't [compatible] with Australian society, to say the least."

Bolger acknowledged the difficulty of balancing a country's security needs with a commitment to civil liberties and compassion toward refugees. But an episode like the Sydney hostage crisis should prompt a reckoning by officials in Western democracies, he said.

"Our enemy uses against us the fact that we give people rights, warnings and lawyers, and that we follow the rule of law," said Bolger, who teaches military history at North Carolina State University. "They know that. They don't follow any rules.

"As a result, we've got to think really carefully about who gets the benefit of those privileges and citizenship in places like the U.S.," he said.

"As far as I know, this guy [Monis] was not an Australian citizen," said Bolger. "He was not subject to Queen Elizabeth, who's the head of state in Australia as a member of the [British] Commonwealth. This guy was a refugee and was admitted as a kindness by the Australian people, and then repaid them by killing."

Bolger said that "extra scrutiny" of entry visas is one policy that needs "a serious, serious look," and that people with nothing to hide will have nothing to fear from more rigorous screening. He said more protections from enemies at home should be paired with more dogged pursuit of them abroad.

"What we just did in Iraq, and what we're wrapping up in Afghanistan — we didn't stick with it in both of those two countries," said Bolger, who served in both theaters. "In both cases, we backed out before the job was done. We had to go back into Iraq, and the enemy gets a message from that — that we don't have staying power. And then they follow us home."

In Afghanistan, he said, the Taliban are taking full, brutal advantage of the shrinking U.S. troop presence.

"We've got about 10,000 still there, but we've announced withdrawal," he said. "Taliban will fill that vacuum. They are also headhunters, enslavers, and they're exactly as bad as ISIS — the same kind of enemy."

While the Middle East grows more volatile, he noted, tensions are rising between the U.S. and its most dependable regional ally, Israel.

"You talk about guys who know how to deal with terrorists," said Bolger. "The Israelis know that, and they've shared that practical knowledge with us. We have worked together for decades. It is the only legitimate democracy in that region, and why would we turn our back on them is beyond me."

Bolger also discussed America's deteriorating relations with an increasingly belligerent Russia, and said Russia under President Vladimir Putin has again become a nuclear-armed U.S. antagonist with an authoritarian cult of personality to exalt its ruler.

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"He's run the country for 14 years, he's manipulated their constitution, and he's denied rights, invaded Crimea and taken it over," he said. "The guy is a dictator. Look at the ceremonies around the Olympics in 2014 in Sochi and compare them with 1936 with Adolf Hitler in Germany. They look pretty similar."

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Australian authorities were no doubt keeping tabs on Man Haron Monis, the self-proclaimed sheikh who reportedly took hostages before dying in a shootout in Sydney, but "in retrospect, they didn't watch him closely enough," retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger said.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Sydney, hostages, Iran
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2014-29-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 04:29 PM
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