Will Griffith is former Chairman & CEO of The Griffith Corporation. He now devotes his time to human rights as founder of THE GRIFFITH CENTER. He is a member of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association, the National Military Intelligence Association and the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. He resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Alysyn Bourque where they raise two children together.
I never took Obama to be a pacifist, but remember that presidents are shaped by history and their times. His approach to the war against terrorism and the battle fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan is the result of the realization of the burdens of his office.
The obligations and duties the President has sworn to uphold are evident to him and with that, I have every confidence that he will execute his duties as Commander-in-Chief and do what is right for the country.
We are living in an age in which pacifism is largely unrealistic. It is also important to recognize that we had to invent new rules for a new kind of warfare and President Obama has recognized that keeping those tools put in place by the Bush Administration, perhaps with some fine-tuning, are valid, just and the right thing to do from a national security perspective.
GriffithCorp4/16/2009 12:51 PM
You know Craig, when we say `It`s about the country stupid`, we are of course addressing those in Washington where everything is about politics.
And we keep waiting...hoping they`ll get it!
The president, I think, will stand the test in the war to fight terrorism. I believe President Obama has begun to feel the full weight of his responsibilities and with Robert Gates carried over from the Bush Administration, there is a degree of consistency in our approach to the war on terror, despite all of the political posturing and back tracking.
I do believe that the military action this week, as small as it may appear, was an indicator to the world that this president is not afraid to use a hammer to kill a mosquito. And if he went that route for the issue off the coast of Somalia, then how far will he go to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I think Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations (and the nations that sponsor them), could well be in for a rude awakening if they counted on this president to be weak. But in the large scope of things, I do believe it meant something. It may have been vague, but the meaning was not lost in political translation.
Thank you as always for weighing in gentlemen. To address Craig`s view, I agree that there are a variety of factors that need to be considered with regard to that region.
Obviously an allied military effort would have to be met with a political and economic effort as well. The weight of the nations taking action would have to be exercised far beyond guns and fire power. We would have to present a solid Somali Recovery Plan, creating waivers and economic incentives with regard to the IMF and the World Bank, as well as United Nations relief.
The humanitarian aspects in Somalia have not been addressed in a serious way and need to be. I have been a critic of the United Nations in the past and put little stock in their effectiveness. Bureaucracy, as in any governmental body, runs deep at the global level. The United Nations is not immune. So we utilize the U.N. to our advantage in an action such as the one I`ve outlined and MAKE the U.N. work in its favor.
The shipping companies need to face stiff penalties for succumbing to the piracy. They need to be restricted in the paying of ransoms, and Sea Marshals should be utilized in much the same fashion as we did with Air Marshals. Rather than pay ransom to the terrorists, the insurance and shipping companies can take a portion of that money and invest in greater security measures.
Turning the other cheek or simply ignoring the problem will certainly not make it go away.
Let me address the thugs who run the villages and control their `business` through violence and crime. We MUST put them on the hot seat. We can work with Interpol to create a Somali Task Force that will begin putting price tags on their heads. We create a global law enforcement assault, under the direction of Interpol, to sweep these guys up once they have been identified and located. We implement everything we know about hunting and locating war criminals and dictators and we use the same methods to weed the Somali garden. If we use the resources available, (and we have them), we can be effective. If we can round up Nazi war criminals and the likes of Slobodan Milosovich, then the Somali gang leaders are not immune from a global campaign to root them out.
There are plenty of global resources to utilize to save Somalia
I read the French resolution in depth, and while some aspects were vague on who would actually assume leadership in the effort, the resolution was workable, viable and had merit. I support it because it is a plan. And through international cooperation that plan can be better and more comprehensive in scope.
We have to have a solid policy for the region and I have confidence that the Obama Administration is on the right track on this level. When it comes to terrorism and fighting it, I think the President will meet the challenges and this is where political positioning ends.
Again, thank you Craig for your comments. Thank you Matt for weighing in with your support and your comments on our military.
GriffithCorp4/14/2009 10:21 AM
FRANCE has introduced a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for member nations to send naval and air support to the Somali waters to fight the ongoing threat of piracy and terrorism.
The radical Islamic element that has high-jacked Somalia, leaving it without any form of centralized government, has made a profitable industry out of their place in the terrorism and piracy arena.
Military action in a Global Security Initiative is warranted. France has the correct approach and I believe the United States should join our French allies in this effort and engage the threat.
I would call for member nations to seal-off Somali waters, creating a blockade and barring any private or commercial ships from those waters during such an action. I would set a policy that ANY BOAT OR SHIP NOT AUTHORIZED to be on those waters during that engagement will be fired upon and sunk.
I would then urge a collective use of allied intelligence, pin-pointing known radical Islamic training camps, pinpointing known points of operation in Somalia and order the commencement of air strikes. Such an effort, with the cooperation of an international coalition of nations would strike a massive blow against the terrorist-pirates of the region.
Ground troops WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED, and the naval and air operations could be done successfully with international cooperation and the consent of the U.N. Security Council.
Not enough was done to eradicate the terrorist elements that have led to the horrors of The Darfur Region of The Sudan. As long as the terror elements and pirates of the region continue, the people of Somalia have little hope of regaining their country and restoring some semblance of order.
President Obama`s recent handling of the crisis involving that region and the U.S. Response under his authority as Commander-in-Chief, proves the President has the will, the ability and the international support to use military action, along with our allies, and strike a fatal blow to the Islamic element of terror and piracy alive there.
Following this action, private security companies can be hired to maintain order and protect the interests of the innocent on the seas who would otherwise fall victim to the pirates. These companies can be hired through a collective alliance of government and commercial shipping companies.
There is no other way to fight this terror than to get in their face, eyeball to eyeball until the other guy blinks. When they blink, we level a fatal blow against their efforts and eradicate the threat currently reigning over the region.
I endorse and support the French approach to fighting the piracy in and around Somalia, and call upon the United States and allied nations to get behind this effort. Letting a cancer grow will not lead to recovery of the body. If Somalia is to recover and regain control of its nation and if the region is to be safe for commerce and shipping interests, then we must locate the cancer, cut it from the body and make certain that it never returns.
Will Griffith, Chairman
The Griffith Corporationwww.griffithcorp.com
GriffithCorp4/13/2009 8:16 PM
As the news arrived late last night that U.S. Navy Seals took out three pirates in the Somalia stand-off, leading to the rescue of the Captain of the maritime commercial ship who had been taken hostage, I was overcome with pride, once again, in our military and in the actions taken by the Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama.
For all of my criticism concerning President Obama`s economic policies and a variety of his foreign policy positions, I was proud this morning of my President and of the Obama Administration for taking action against these thugs on the high-seas.
When a military victory is won on the watch of the Commander-in-Chief, regardless of whether or not we voted for him, credit must be given where it is due.
Our United States military, who executed this rescue with brilliance and with accuracy, deserve a salute from every American this morning. Our President also deserves to be saluted for his willingness to take on the pirates and end this particular siege of terror.
For those who dislike President Obama`s policies on a variety of levels and will not appreciate this moment of victory, giving the Commander-in-Chief credit for a successful military action, I would remind you that when it comes to the national security of our country and our willingness to fight terror where ever it is found, political affiliation and our personal political bias should be replaced with a spirit of pride in our country. This action, along with President Obama`s decision to continue the intelligence surveillance programs of the Bush Administration, are actions I applaud, not as a Republican, but as an American
The President of the United States deserves this moment and the recognition of the American people for a job well done. When we are faced with moments such as this one, it is not about republican or democrat, liberal or conservative. It is not about whether we like the person or the president. To my friends on both sides of the aisle, it is not about politics...IT`S ABOUT THE COUNTRY STUPID.
Congratulations Mr. President and congratulations to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
Will Griffith, chairman
The Griffith Corporationwww.griffithcorp.com
GriffithCorp4/13/2009 11:41 AM