Her Son Died In Ramadi. Now She Has An Open Letter For Obama’s General Who Said Ramadi Doesn’t Matter

The mother of the first Navy SEAL killed in the Iraq War said the fall of Ramadi over the weekend is “gut wrenching” and blames the Obama administration for failing to recognize its significance.

Debbie Lee’s son, Marc Alan Lee, died in a fierce firefight to secure the Al Anbar Province’s capital city of Ramadi in 2006. For his heroism in combat, Marc received the Silver Star. Anbar Province was the focal point of the Sunni Muslim insurgency in 2006-07. The “surge” ordered by George W. Bush in early 2007 ultimately brought stability to the region.

As ISIS threatened to take Ramadi this past April, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey tried to downplay the city’s strategic significance. He said during a press conference that the fall of Ramadi would not be “symbolic in any way.” He added, “I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it won’t be the end of the campaign should it fall.”

Debbie traveled to Ramadi in 2007, as the Iraq War still waged, to honor her son’s sacrifice and visit Camp Marc Alan Lee, named for the fallen SEAL. She brought back a bag of soil from Ramadi to her home in Arizona. After hearing Dempsey’s assessment, she could not hold back her emotions.

The mother of the fallen hero wrote an open letter to the general:

I am shaking and tears are flowing down my cheeks as I watch the news and listen to the insensitive, pain inflicting comments made by you in regards to the fall of Ramadi.

“The city itself is not symbolic in any way”? Oh, really? Are you willing to meet with me and with the families who have lost a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, aunt, uncle, grandson, or teammate?

My son Marc Lee was the first Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life in Ramadi Iraq Aug 2, 2006. His blood is still in that soil and forever will be. Remember that was when so many of our loved ones were taken from us. You said that “it’s not been declared part of the caliphate on one hand or central to the future of Iraq.” My son and many others gave their future in Ramadi. Ramadi mattered to them. Many military analysts say that as goes Ramadi so goes Iraq…

You sir owe an apology to the families whose loved ones blood was shed in Ramadi. Ramadi matters to us and is very symbolic to us. You need to apologize to our troops whose bodies were blown to pieces from IEDs and bullet holes leaving parts and pieces behind, Ramadi matters to them…

You and this administration have minimized that Ramadi could fall, now you are minimizing that it is falling, but you Sir WILL NOT minimize the sacrifice my son Marc Lee made or any of our brave warriors!

She signed the letter, “Awaiting an apology.”

Gen. Dempsey responded to Lee’s open letter shortly thereafter with a letter of apology and a phone call. Though Lee thought the letter was a “soft” apology, she appreciated what he said during their 15 minute phone call.

In the letter Dempsey wrote, “I do apologize if I’ve added to your grief,” and noted that Marc Alan and the others who fought with him won the fight in their day.

Marc and so many others died fighting to provide a better future for Iraq. He and those with whom he served did all that their nation asked. They won their fight, and nothing will ever diminish their accomplishments nor the honor in which we hold their service.

Dempsey then turned to what is presently happening on the ground, writing, “We are in a different fight now, with a different enemy, and with a different relationship with the Government of Iraq. They must determine the path and pace of this fight.”

During their phone call, Dempsey admitted to Lee that he needed to “restructure or sharpen his language.” She agreed with him and recounted that “He said that what he was trying to say is that [the fall of Ramadi] was not significant to ISIL, that they’re just trying to take every and any territory between where they’re at and Baghdad, and he did not at all mean to make it sound like it wasn’t significant to us and for the loss that was there.”

“I was grateful that he did step up and do the right thing, but we will be watching all of our elected officials to respect our troops,” she added.

Lee founded America’s Mighty Warriors after her son’s death to support our nation’s troops and the families of the fallen.

h/t: The Daily Beast

Do you agree with Debbie Lee that the Obama administration is not honoring the sacrifice of our soldiers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

BREAKING: Islamic State Seizes Town In Syria And Tries Again To Set Up Camp On The Israeli Border

Today the Islamic State again won a major battle, this time in Syria.

After being pushed out of some neighborhoods of the ancient town of Palmyra on Monday, Islamic State fighters now control almost all of Palmyra after violent clashes with Assad’s forces and its Shiite allies, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an hour ago.

Syrian state television reported earlier this evening that Assad’s forces were battling large groups of ISIS fighters and citizens of Palmyra were evacuated.

The BBC reported that Syria’s head of antiquities, Maamoun Abdul Karim, said the world has the responsibility to save Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known as Tadmor in the Bible, tradition holds the city was first fortified by the Israelite King Solomon over 3,000 years ago.

Hundreds of statues have been moved to safety, but large monuments could not be moved.

IS militants have ransacked and demolished several ancient sites that predate Islam in Iraq, including Hatra and Nimrud, leading to fears that it might attempt to damage or destroy Palmyra.

In southwest Syria, ISIS is still trying to set up camp in the vicinity of Kuneitra, close to the Israeli border. Israeli news radio station Reshet Beth reported today that two days ago, the Free Syrian Army, in cooperation with the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra, overpowered fighters of the Islamic State affiliate Shuhada al-Yarmouk Brigades. This was the second time in a month Islamic State fighters were driven out of the area.

Over the last two weeks, a number of mortar shells landed in Israeli territory on the Golan Heights, but this time Israel chose not to respond in order to avoid undermining the effort to drive out ISIS from the area.

The fighting against ISIS on the Golan Heights is solely carried out by the Free Syrian Army, which is backed by the West and reportedly receives aid from Israel and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which declared war on the Islamic State last week. Israeli defense officials claim the fighters of al-Nusra on the Golan Heights are simply local residents who joined the organization to benefit from the logistical and financial support it offers them.

Elsewhere in Syria, ISIS last week launched an offensive, supported by multiple suicide operations, in the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor against President Assad’s regime holdouts at the military air base.

Islamic State also recently clashed with Syrian rebels and the regime in the eastern countryside of Aleppo and the provinces of Homs and Hama.

The Islamic State’s gains in Iraq are not confined to Ramadi. The group has advanced deep into the Baiji oil refinery, the largest in the country. Islamic State has, since the fall of Ramadi, pushed on with an attack on the town of Khalidiya. If ISIS succeeds to seize the town, it will provide the necessary territorial depth to advance on Baghdad.

It is clear from all these developments that the U.S. policy of airstrikes and a sporadic ground action to take out an ISIS commander has failed. It will never be enough to stop the Islamic State from taking over more territory in Iraq and Syria because this strategy is allowing the group immense space for planning, maneuvering, and redeployment.

The White House, however, insists its overall Iraq policy is a success.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Watch: Obama Admin Spokesman Makes Absurd Ramadi Remark, Immediately Gets Shredded

During the White House press briefing Monday, Jonathan Karl of ABC News asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest a pointed question about the U.S. strategy in Iraq after news broke that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had captured Ramadi:

Karl: On the overall track record of military operations of the president’s strategy on this, you said, “We’ve seen periods of progress and success.” Would you say that overall the strategy has been a success?

Earnest: Well, Jon, yeah. Overall, yes. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been areas of setback, as we saw in Ramadi.

Karl: I mean, is the exporting of terror to Libya, taking over the capital of Iraq’s largest province, this is overall a success?

Earnest: Well, what we’ve also seen is we’ve also seen a coalition of 60 nations within the region and around the world join the United States in this fight. We’ve seen a new prime minister take office in Iraq and unite that country.

Ramadi, located 60 miles west of Baghdad, was taken by ISIS after four days of fighting. The skirmish killed 123 Syrian soldiers and their allies, 115 ISIS fighters, and 57 civilians.

The ISIS victory overshadows a successful mission by U.S. forces to kill Abu Sayyaf, who was in charge of financial operations for ISIS. Reports of the mission by the Delta Force team surfaced earlier this week.

“It was a real firefight,” a defense source told Fox News, “a no kidding, old school firefight.” The Delta Force team also killed 12 ISIS fighters and captured Sayyaf’s wife.

h/t: BizPac Review

Are we winning in Iraq? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

New Military Spending Bill Expands America’s Empire

On Friday, the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee U.S. involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come. The Republican majority resorted to trickery to evade the meager spending limitations imposed by the 2011 budget control act — limitations that did not, as often reported, cut military spending but only slowed its growth.

But not even slower growth is enough when you have an empire to maintain worldwide, so the House majority slipped into the military spending bill an extra $89 billion for an emergency war fund. Such “emergency” spending is not addressed in the growth caps placed on the military under the 2011 budget control act. It is a loophole filled by Congress with Fed-printed money.

Ironically, a good deal of this “emergency” money will go to President Obama’s war on ISIS, even though neither the House nor the Senate has debated — let alone authorized — that war! Although House leadership allowed 135 amendments to the defense bill — with many on minor issues like regulations on fire hoses — an effort by a small group of Representatives to introduce an amendment to debate the current U.S. war in Iraq and Syria was rejected.

While squashing debate on ongoing but unauthorized wars, the bill also pushed the administration toward new conflicts. Despite the president’s unwise decision to send hundreds of U.S. military trainers to Ukraine, a move that threatens the current shaky ceasefire, Congress wants even more U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The military spending bill included $300 million to directly arm the Ukrainian government even as Ukrainian leaders threaten to again attack the breakaway regions in the east. Does Congress really think U.S.-supplied weapons killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine is a good idea?

The defense authorization bill also seeks to send yet more weapons into Iraq. This time, the House wants to send weapons directly to the Kurds in northern Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi government. Although these weapons are supposed to be used to fight ISIS, we know from too many prior examples that they often find their way into the hands of the very people we are fighting. Also, arming an ethnic group seeking to break away from Baghdad and form a new state is an unwise infringement of the sovereignty of Iraq. It is one thing to endorse the idea of secession as a way to reduce the possibility of violence, but it is quite something else to arm one side and implicitly back its demands.

While the neocons keep pushing the lie that the military budget is shrinking under the Obama Administration, the opposite is true. As the CATO Institute pointed out recently, President George W. Bush’s average defense budget was $601 billion, while during the Obama administration the average has been $687 billion. This bill is just another example of this unhealthy trend.

Next year’s military spending plan keeps the U.S. on track toward destruction of its economy at home while provoking new resentment over U.S. interventionism overseas. It is a recipe for disaster. Let’s hope for either a presidential veto, or that on final passage Congress rejects this bad bill.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

ISIS Holds Military Parade After Seizing Ramadi, US-Led Coalition Does Nothing To Stop It

After seizing the strategically important city of Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, on Monday, the Islamic State held a massive military parade in the western part of Iraq’s largest province of Anbar.

The Gateway Pundit published these photos of the parade, which was held yesterday:

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Where was the U.S.-led coalition, the Pundit wondered.

Other images posted on Twitter showed multimillion dollar minesweepers, donated by the U.S., that have fallen in the hands of the Islamic State:

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Scenes of jubilation also filled the streets of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul as men and boys loyal to the Islamic State waved flags, honked horns, and stopped traffic to celebrate the weekend’s fall of the western city of Ramadi to the Islamic State.

Mosul was the first large Iraqi city seized by the Islamic State in the spring of 2014, soon after the declaration of the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the region. ISIS released a video from its official media arm in Nineveh showing men shouting in praise of ISIS and warning that Baghdad, Karbala, and other Shiite holy cities would be next. “Baqiya,” they shouted, which means, “We’re staying.”

The scene in Ramadi was quite different. Islamic State released a video showing the deserted streets of the city against the backdrop of the Great Mosque, one of the main landmarks in the capital. ISIS fighters were seen hoisting their flag atop buildings and along the main roads.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported the Islamic State has succeeded in gaining a foothold in Libya.

Islamic State leaders in Syria have sent money, trainers, and fighters to Libya in increasing numbers, raising new concerns for the U.S. that the militant group is gaining traction in its attempts to broaden its reach and expand its influence.

The Journal reported that, in recent months, ISIS has solidified its foothold in Libya as it searches for ways to capitalize on its rising popularity among extremist groups around the world.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth