Category Archives: islam

MORE Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”

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This little tidbit managed to elude the American press.  The SAME American press that can tell you nothing about Benghazi, but everything about the George Washington Bridge scandal, nothing about Barack Obama’s college transcripts, but everything about George W. Bush’s military service (even if they have to make it up.)

From Iran’s Fars News Agency, via Drudge, these statements from Brigadier General Hossein Salami of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps:

“Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power (that we want) right from here,” Salami said, addressing a conference in Tehran on Tuesday dubbed ‘the Islamic World’s Role in the Geometry of the World Power’.

“Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400km away for the day when such an incident (confrontation with Israel) takes place,” he added.

Well, given by Islam and Barack Obama.  I am sure the General doesn’t MEAN anything by it.   It isn’t like he has the ear of the Supreme Leader or anything.   And I am certain that Iran is bargaining for uranium enrichment in good faith.  The Israelis?  They’re just paranoid.

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Filed under Around the web, Artillery, Defense, guns, history, Iran, islam, israel, nuclear weapons, obama, Politics, Uncategorized, war

Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”

An Iranian graduate student at Georgia Tech has an apartment with a bunch of Molotov Cocktails in it.  He manages to explode one, burning himself, and dies of his burns.   What’s the FBI’s take?  The same FBI that identified white males who are Veterans who believe in God and the Second Amendment as likely terrorists?   From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Creeping Sharia:

“The FBI has relayed that, to date, they have not developed any information or evidence indicating criminal intent in this investigation.”

Some damned fine law enforcement work there, boys.  Didn’t you fellas handle the Benghazi Consulate “crime scene”, too?

Investigators determined that Akhshabi was not a threat to the Georgia Tech community, Connolly said.

Well, not after he burned himself so badly, no.  And especially not after he died.  But before that?  I dunno, Chief.  I think you need to get your money back from that on-line detective course.

Any theories about why an Iranian military-age man would be building bombs in his apartment?   I may be somewhat obtuse, but I would also require an explanation as to how that does not really constitute evidence indicating criminal intent.   Especially when the State of Connecticut is making newly minted felons of legal firearms owners by passing unconstitutional laws against AR-15s and other rifles.

As the folks at Creeping Sharia point out, Iranians with no terror ties show up in the darnedest of places.  

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Filed under history, Iran, islam, Politics, Splodey, stupid, Uncategorized, veterans, war

It is Difficult to Overstate Our Diplomatic Incompetence

Head in Hands

A resurgent Russia, under a ruthless and savvy autocrat, is flexing its muscles in Eastern Europe.  Communist China is threatening our allies and our interests in the Pacific.  That same Russia and China appear headed for closer relations.  Iran, thanks to the feckless naivete of Obama and Kerry, are poised to have nuclear weapons, with which they have vowed to destroy Israel.  North Korea, in league with that very same Iran, continues to act provocatively, with full approval of the PRC, despite public protestations to the contrary.  The “Arab Spring” has unleashed radical Islamists throughout the region.  Russian influence throughout the Middle East has been exponentially enhanced by America’s “leading from behind” fiasco.  We are without a viable grand strategy, and are slicing our Armed Forces to well below the levels at which we can defend our interests and deter our adversaries.

So what is Secretary of State John Kerry’s “critical mission” in his message to his diplomatic corps?

“Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat,” Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department.

Yep.  Climate change.  America’s foreign policy team is being pushed around and laughed at for the pathetically weak milquetoasts they are.  Our credibility in the world is sinking alarmingly.   Our adversaries and rivals are acting with impunity, virtually without fear of repercussion from what remains (for the time being) the most powerful nation on earth.  Our allies are frantically scrambling to fill the security gap where America once stood.  What strategic leverage we might have, abundant sources of fossil fuel energy, is being deliberately suppressed by these same far-left “environmentalists” in the name of “saving the planet”.

An editorial this Friday in the leftist rag that passes for the local paper here in Upper Valley of Vermont tried to make the argument that somehow Republicans were being disingenuous in claiming Obama to be a strong-arm quasi-dictator on the one hand, while accusing him of being pathetically weak on the other.   Of course, the columnist assiduously avoided the fact that Vladimir Putin (and Rouhani in Iran, Assad in Syria, etc.) is immune to intimidation by Eric Holder, or Lois Lerner, or Kathleen Sibelius.  Foreign policy means dealing with people whom cannot be silenced by Obama being able to sic the apparatus of government upon those who defy him.   Alinsky’s “rules for radicals” work for domestic politics, when opponents are not willing to kill and starve and imprison on a massive scale to achieve their goals.   But ideologues like Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, and Barack Obama are way out of their element in dealing with foreign leaders who understand REAL power.  Leaders who call their bluffs regarding “red lines” and “severe consequences”, and such.  Which results in President Obama “prancing around swinging his purse at Moscow”, as SKK so eloquently expressed.  Putin and Lavrov have shown utter contempt for Obama and Kerry, and it is not difficult to understand why.

So in place of actual statesmanship, John Kerry injects tripe about “climate change”.  (Which used to be “global warming”, if you are keeping score, until far-left environmentalists could no longer obscure the fact that the world was not, in fact, getting warmer.  Not to be confused with “global cooling”, which 40 years ago was the “settled science”, until they could no longer obscure the fact that the world was not, in fact, getting cooler.)  It is not at all clear how a diplomat in an embassy or a consulate can quite go about “elevat(ing) the environment in everything we do”, or how that got to be the job of a diplomat in the first place.  Oh, wait.  Because it was one of John Kerry’s “causes”.

“The environment has been one of the central causes of my life.”

Right.  Along with claiming America was “the world’s monster”, advocating for wealth-redistribution statist socialism, collaborating with our nation’s enemies (worthy of a drone strike?), and fomenting anti-American sentiment wherever he went.    Oh, and avoiding taxes due on his yacht (where he spent significant time during the recent Egypt crisis and then lied about it, by the way).   And jet-setting to any of several multimillion-dollar homes.   No word on whether advancing America’s strategic interests appears anywhere in there.

And it ain’t like his boss drove a Prius to his Florida golf vacation.  Which comes just weeks after his Hawaii golf vacation.

The United States will pay a terrible price for the mind-boggling incompetence resident in the people entrusted with our foreign policy.  They, themselves, the Kerrys and Obamas, the Hillarys, they won’t.  But we will.  It is difficult to overstate that incompetence.  Though, between last week’s appearance on Meet the Press, and this inane memo to our diplomats this week, Kerry seems as if he is sure giving it a try.

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Ten Years Ago Today

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We flew in to Habbaniyah on a C-130 out of Kuwait, and the pilot juked on the way in, just in case.   Once on the deck, we were dispatched into an Army-Marine Corps convoy headed to Ramadi.  On the way out the gate of the laager, a VBIED detonated next to one of the lead security vehicles, killing two soldiers.  It would be an interesting eight months in Iraq.   The First Marine Division, led by MajGen James N. Mattis, whose ADC was John Kelly and Chief of Staff Colonel Joe Dunford, was one hell of a team (that included the Army’s excellent 1-16th Infantry).

The 1st Marine Division (not including Army casualties) suffered 118 killed and more than 1,400 wounded in those eight months in places like Fallujah and Ramadi, Haditah, and a lot of other dusty villages and towns nobody could find on a map except the men who fought there.   A high price was paid to hold the line in Anbar, to hold elections, and cultivate conditions for the Awakening.   For the Marines and soldiers who did so, recent events with AQ flying flags in Anbar’s cities and towns are particularly maddening.  It was clear that the “cut and run” philosophy of the White House was an exceedingly poor one, and subsequent events show that the so-called “zero option” is as descriptive of the President’s credibility as force levels in Iraq.  And we are set, with the same litany of excuses, to do it again in Afghanistan.

I wondered then what all this would be like, ten years on, should I be fortunate enough to survive.  Some things remain very vivid, the sights and smells, and the faces of comrades.  Others I am sure I would have to be reminded of.  And a few memories, thankfully few, are seared into the memory for the rest of my time on this earth.

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Gun Owners are the Enemy to Ohio National Guard

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Seems that the 2nd Civil Support Team of the Ohio National Guard is participating in an exercise where the perpetrators of a chemical attack are posited to be “Second Amendment supporters”.    Media Trackers tells us the story.

Buckeye Firearms Association spokesman Chad Baus told Media Trackers that “it is a scary day indeed when law enforcement are being trained that Second Amendment advocates are the enemy,”

“The revelation of this information is appalling to me, and to all citizens of Ohio who are true conservatives and patriots, who don’t have guns for any other reason than that the Second Amendment gives them that right,” Portage County TEA Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski said in a separate Media Trackers interview.

Not a new paradigm, of course.  Law-abiding citizens who are political opponents of the Obama-Holder secular-progressive statist left have been considered enemies all along.   Aside from the preposterous scenario, this is yet another of the Federal Government/Law Enforcement/Military leadership’s conditioning the American people to think of gun owners (and advocates of free speech, limited government, and due process) to be violent and unreasonable criminals, comprising threats that need to be dealt with in the harsh totalitarian measures so often favored by those far-left ideologues who despise our liberties so.  Of note is that, when similar training involved positing an environmental advocacy group committing an act of terror or violence, the apologies were profuse, and immediate.

Before I get the same hackneyed arguments that “this is just a training exercise”, the same weak reasoning was used to explain away the following:

  • The FBI report that white Veterans who believed in God, the Second Amendment, and limited government were a terrorist threat
  • The change in language from “Islamic extremists” to “violent extremists” was mere semantics and not for the purpose of labeling political opposition in the same language as America’s enemies
  • Increased militarization of police, including having them acquire heavy armored vehicles for use on American streets
  • When Barack Obama referred to political opposition when he talked of  “punishing our enemies”
  • The Joint Staff College posited a training scenario with the enemy being Tea Party activists

There have been myriad other instances where elements of the government have acted against law-abiding citizens as if they were criminals and threats to security, while often ignoring those who are sworn enemies of this country.

“You want to have it as realistic as possible, but you don’t want to single out an issue as emotional as that,” Eliason said.

Of course, the quote above would never be uttered by any official regarding demonizing of gun owners and advocates of our Second Amendment liberties.   Everyone knows that gun owners are evil.   That is to say, gun owners that didn’t vote for you.  Which is almost all of them.

It is telling that the spokesman for the Ohio National Guard was unwilling to talk.   Law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise their Constitutional liberties and see themselves portrayed as violent terrorists are due an explanation for such an outrage.

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Iran: “We did not agree to dismantle anything.”

Obama-as-Munich-copy

Well, that didn’t take long.   From The Weekly Standard, via Drudge.  Just 48 hours after sanctions were lifted against Iran, and several billion dollars in assets and capital were released, Iran’s Foreign Minister tells the world Iran’s true intentions, and lets the world know that Barack Obama, John Kerry, and the United States were played for fools.  Or worse.

The worst aspect of this statement from the Iranian Foreign Minister is that I have a sinking suspicion Zarif is telling the truth.  Which means, of course, that the American people were lied to (again) by this Administration, because the terms of a “deal” with Iran were so unfavorable as to be a virtual sell-out.  So, essentially, what we have lifted three decades of sanctions for is an Iranian promise not to enrich uranium past five percent.   With virtually no way to verify if they comply or not.  Despite UN Security Council Resolution after UN Security Council Resolution demanding Iran stop enrichment altogether.   Already, the talk about sanctions being lifted has had the profound effect of bolstering Iranian currency, which was once in free-fall.  Now, with the injection of the hard capital released as the sanctions are lifted, any economic leverage we had to turn the screws on the recalcitrant supporter of terrorism and violence the world over, is gone.  G-O-N-E.

Congress, for its part, has feet as cold as this Vermont evening, and wants no part of the Iran deal.  A bipartisan coalition has threatened to vote further sanctions against Iran, carrying enough votes to override Obama’s veto.   Not getting the hint, Obama then threatened (why is it that all of his threats are directed at political opponents and not national enemies?) to use executive orders to override sanctions against Iran.

Expect that Iran’s nuclear program will continue, unabated.  Enrichment to weapons grade can re-start at any time, if indeed it is ever halted.  The sanctions which had allowed the West leverage over the sponsor of terrorism are now lifted, and cannot be easily, if ever, resumed.  Sort of like putting toothpaste back in the tube.  Even if Congress wishes to do so, our own President has promised to thwart the effort.

So, not long from now, Iran will have a nuclear weapon to put atop the ICBMs they are jointly developing with the North Koreans.  They will once again threaten Israel with destruction, and have exponentially increased their ability to do so, with the acquiescence of the United States, especially Barack Obama.

One has to wonder whether Barack Obama is more Neville Chamberlain or Vidkun Quisling.

It’s a good thing we don’t look like idiots in Syria, at least…..

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Hillary Clinton and Benghazi

It’s all a matter of perspective.

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H/t to TomH

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Filed under Around the web, islam, Lybia, obama, Politics

“If you wanted to make some money in Washington, you would have to toe the line that the Muslim Brotherhood was not a threat.”

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Author and Middle East expert Barry Rubin gives an unvarnished appraisal of the Obama Administration’s embracing of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Faustian deal with Iran.

There was a secret debate happening in the Defense Department and the CIA in which some people thought that all Muslims were a problem, some believed that only al-Qa’ida was a problem, and still others thought the Muslim Brotherhood was a problem.
The main problem, however, was that all Islamism was a political threat, but it was the second position that eventually won over the Obama administration. Take note of this, since 2009, if you wanted to build your career and win policy debates, only al-Qa’ida was a problem. The Muslim Brotherhood was not a threat; after all, it did not participate in September 11. This view was well known in policy circles, but it was easy to mistake this growing hegemony as temporary.
The importance of moral courage in the senior uniformed and civilian leadership cannot be overemphasized.  Nor, unfortunately, can the glaring lack of that courage in the actions and words of blatant political sycophants like Ray Mabus, Mike Mullen, George Casey, Marty Dempsey, Sam Locklear, be minimized.  The indicators of their pliability to political masters, and their willingness to compromise their oaths and integrity, are symptoms of a much more damaging disease.
Some high-ranking defense department officials–for example, one on the secretary of defense’s level–were pressured to fire anti-Muslim Brotherhood people. I know of at least five such incidences.
Oh good.  After all, the Brotherhood is “largely secular”, or so we are told.    We must pay no attention to Brotherhood’s motto, or the words of their founder.   To point those out, it would seem, is to jeopardize one’s livelihood.
Al Banna:  “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”
Brotherhood motto:  “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
The quashing of dissenting voices has to start with the subjugation of those who hold influential positions, and are ostensibly to supply meaningful advice and counsel.   The Obama Administration has become a notorious echo chamber, and has become so along ideological lines.   Worse, the opinions and views which prevail are from those with no discernible qualifications or talents.   Quite the contrary, the people who hold sway in our Defense and State Departments, and in National Security posts, are and have been mediocre, talentless ideological fops, remarkable only for their arrogance and demonstrated lack of acumen in international affairs.  Figures like Tom Donilon, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Jim Clapper, and John Kerry have aided in the non-stop catastrophes that have characterized US foreign policy during the Obama Administration, from the Cairo Apology speech to the Munich-esque Iran deal.
Egyptians protest Obama as Osama
Sandwiched in that dreary record of abject failure is the forcing of a Muslim Brotherhood government on the people of Egypt.  When Egyptians rose up by the MILLIONS in the streets this past July, and ousted Muhammed Morsi’s brutal theocracy, the Obama Administration turned its back on Egypt, asserting that a “democratic regime” had been overthrown by military coup against the will of the people.   Ignored, of course, was that the Morsi/Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was guilty of brutal repression of its citizens, and was openly and systematically murdering and driving Egypt’s millenia-old Coptic Christian community out of the country.   Also ignored was Morsi’s immediate renouncing of the peace treaty with Israel, and tacit support for Islamist infiltration into the Sinai.  Without US support, Egypt has turned to the new power broker in the Middle East, Putin’s Russia.   Yes, the same Russia who has propped up Assad in Syria, and who is a long-time benefactor of post-1979 Iran.   THAT Russia.
Rubin’s missive is worth the read in its entirety.   It highlights how our President and his Administration has come to turn its back on its allies, negotiate away US interested and influence, and sought to treat America’s sworn ideological enemies as allies.   And why any voice raised in objection to such a course is decidedly unwelcome.
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The result of such ideological pactum servae is the imbecilic notion that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular”, and that an alliance with “moderate Islamists” in Syria is something to strive for.    The Muslim Brotherhood is, as it has always been, the most Islamist of factions.  To behave as if they are otherwise is either foolhardy or deliberately subversive.   And finding a “moderate Islamist” is somewhat akin to finding a tall midget.
H/t to FranD

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Kerry Wants Iran in Syria Negotiations? “It’s mind-numbing.”

John Kerry and  Sergei Lavrov  in Moscow

John Kerry wants Iran involved in mediation in Syria.

“You have a forest fire that’s raging and you’re calling in some of the arsonists … to discuss the best way to put it out,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group. “It’s mind-numbing.”

Our allies, the French?  They want no part of Iran in Syrian negotiations.  Neither do ex-pat Syrians.  The Russians?  All for it.

Either John Kerry is dim-witted to the point of disability, or he is a traitor.  Or working for one.  The more he sells America’s safety to Iran, the less any other possibility remains.

Enemies, domestic.

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Israel, Alone

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Word comes tonight that the so-called “Iran + 5+ 1″ talks have reached a preliminary agreement.   Reuters tells the story.

The Western powers, including the United States, will ease sanctions against Iran, including releasing tens of billions of dollars in Iranian assets worldwide, resuming oil and precious metals trade, and importation of aircraft parts, for Iranian promises to suspend weapons-grade uranium enrichment.

Some say that Iran’s anti-US and anti-Israel rhetoric is not to be taken seriously, that Iran’s interests and those of the United States make rapproachment a logical move by both countries.  That it is interests, and not ideology, that determines the course of a nation’s statecraft.   There is talk that new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is a moderate who represents a significant shift in Iran’s policies and objectives from his predecessor, the mercurial Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Believe none of it.  The trappings of office of Iran’s Presidency are so much window dressing.  It is the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, who is the holder of power.  This is the same Khamenei whom, less than a week ago, predicted the “extinction” of Israel.

In essence, any Iranian pledge to suspend uranium enrichment is unverifiable, any agreement unenforceable.  Iran has been given license, and international recognition of its “right”, to enrich uranium for any purpose it chooses, handed to them by a weak, amateurish, bumbling Obama Administration.  Israel, the only western-style democracy in the Middle East and vital US ally, has been cut adrift.  She stands alone, precariously, while her neighbors plot her destruction with, for all intent, the permission of the United States.

This deal, if reports are accurate, is the biggest American foreign policy catastrophe in the history of this nation.  We have sold our honor for a promise.  And with that honor, sold the security of our ally.   Like Munich, this dark episode in Geneva may be a precursor to the slaughter of many of the Jewish race.   Israel is not Czechoslovakia, however.  Benjamin Netanyahu has no intention of capitulating.  Which of course means that war in the Middle East just became far more likely than less.  Tensions are not eased, but heightened.

Interestingly, Netanyahu is in Moscow, and not Washington, during this crucial period.   He has little regard for Obama, believes Obama to be untrustworthy, weak, and more than a bit anti-Israel.   With good reason.   The shameful events of November 23rd, 2013 may not lead to war, or to Israel’s destruction.  But if we are fortunate enough to avoid that eventuality, it will be Israel, and not the United States, that will prevent that outcome.   Israel now stands entirely alone.  Because the greatest nation on earth has leaders without the courage and honor to stand with its allies, and without the character to recognize that the promise of peace at the expense of the security of your friends is no peace at all.

Weep for our Republic.   The price of our folly will be the lives and liberty of our posterity.   Our leaders are without shame.  Which brings shame upon us all.

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Just yesterday, we reflected on the death of a President whom, in his Inaugural Address said:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. …

Fifty years is a very long time in America, it would seem.

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The real impact of the Iran “deal” is nicely summed up by John Bolton, who calls the Obama Administration “feckless” and the agreement “abject surrender”.   Difficult in the extreme to argue the contrary, if one has any grip on reality.

This interim agreement is badly skewed from America’s perspective.  Iran retains its full capacity to enrich uranium, thus abandoning a decade of Western insistence and Security Council resolutions that Iran stop all uranium-enrichment activities. Allowing Iran to continue enriching, and despite modest (indeed, utterly inadequate) measures to prevent it from increasing its enriched-uranium stockpiles and its overall nuclear infrastructure, lays the predicate for Iran fully enjoying its “right” to enrichment in any “final” agreement.  Indeed, the interim agreement itself acknowledges that a “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program.”  This is not, as the Obama administration leaked before the deal became public, a “compromise” on Iran’s claimed “right” to enrichment. This is abject surrender by the United States.

Think of it as a Nuclear Munich.

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With Friends Like Obama….

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…who needs enemies?  Unfortunately, when you are Israel, you have plenty already.

Chalk up yet another foreign policy blunder for the Obama Administration.  Israel, not surprisingly, is quite unhappy with Obama and his cast of diplomatic nitwits for the revelation that it was the Israelis who struck at the column in Syria to destroy Russian-supplied missiles that were likely headed for Hezbollah, for launching at Israel.

Daniel noted that by keeping silent on whether it carried out such attacks, Israel was maintaining plausible deniability, so that Syria’s President Bashar Assad did not feel pressured to respond to the attacks.

But the US leaks “are pushing Assad closer to the point where he can’t swallow these attacks, and will respond.” This in turn would inevitably draw further Israeli action, Daniel posited, and added bitterly: “Then perhaps the US will clap its hands because it will have started a very major flare-up.”

Yuh huh.  It is entirely possible that Obama, Kerry, Rice, et al. are just so startlingly ignorant and arrogant as to miss the not-so-subtle subtleties of not pushing Assad into conflict with Israel.  It is also increasingly possible that Obama and his Administration seek to bring about just such a conflict.  Israel certainly has reason to openly wonder about the reliability and honesty of its American ally.   Is the Obama Administration rightfully perceived as being anti-Israel?

Which brings us to Iran, the elephant in that room.  With an understandable perception of Obama’s diplomacy as bumbling, naive, vacillating, and weak, Samantha Power’s remarks about Obama’s determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon are increasingly being seen as mere hollow bluster, yet another empty “red line” behind which there is neither the will nor (soon enough) the means to enforce any “change in calculus”.

The perception of weakness could harm US efforts to get Iran to end its nuclear push, Foxman warned. “I hope that we get our act together.”

I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.  For that we need statesmanship.  And there is not a statesman in sight.  Not in this Administration, anyway.

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Errata Sheet for SecArmy Guidance on Extremist Organizations

As most of us who’ve served in the military know, official documents, policy statements, training and technical manuals will often contain mistakes, errors, and omissions.  It is natural enough, as nobody is perfect, and review of every last thing produced is impossible.  In those instances where such mistakes, errors, and omissions are found, an errata sheet is issued, either with distribution of the original document or during the next quarterly update.

Here is the errata sheet for Army Secretary McHugh’s memorandum of 18 October.

McHugh Errata

There, Secretary McHugh, fixed it for ya.  Since you apparently couldn’t bring yourself to type or speak the words you should have.   You would boil in oil any Company or Platoon Commander who had made such public statements offensive to women, Islam, gays, minorities, or any other protected victim group du jour, and I suspect you wouldn’t have waited several weeks to say something on the matter.  No, in such an instance, I believe you would have been tripping over yourself to apologize on behalf of the Army, in front of a microphone, and would have initiated any number of new “training initiatives” that political pressure dictated.

A memorandum?  Extremely weak soup, Secretary McHugh.  Why don’t you stand in front of a microphone and apologize to those of Christian faith?  And then to the groups your training identified as “extremist”?  With a reassurance to your soldiers that their rights of free expression to donate to and affiliate with those organizations will be fiercely protected in keeping with the Constitution you and your Officers were sworn to support and defend?

And if you can’t manage that, why don’t you find the door, and put yourself on the other side of it?  And take Dempsey with you.

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Thirty Years Ago, 23 October 1983

There is a large gathering of Beirut Veterans today at the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  I am sorry I was unable to make it.  Today is a day to think about the 241 men who lost their lives that Sunday morning thirty years ago.   And those who survived and dug their surviving comrades from the rubble.  Semper Fidelis, Marines.

***Below is a re-post from 2009***

A Blast that Still Echoes

At 0619 on a bright October morning in Beirut, Lebanon, a Mercedes pickup truck packed with explosives raced past US Marine sentries with empty weapons, sped through largely dismantled vehicle barriers, through a fence, and into the lower floor of the US Marine Barracks that held HQ Company Battalion Landing Team 1/8.  The explosion, one of the largest non-nuclear detonations since the end of World War II, collapsed the barracks, killing 241 Americans (mostly Marines)  and burying and wounding dozens of others.

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The facts from Beirut were grim and maddening.  Sentries without loaded weapons, crew-served guns with no ammo belts, lack of barriers on high-speed avenues of approach.  All tactical sins, all foisted upon BLT 1/8 by those in Congress and in government concerned with “posture” and “appearances”.

Imad Mughniyeh, the alleged mastermind of the Beirut attack (where a simultaneous bombing killed 58 French soldiers) died in a car bombing in Lebanon in 2008.  In the intervening 25 years, he ran rampant throughout the world, killing and terrorizing as far away as Argentina.  He was responsible for the hijacking of TWA 847 in 1985, and the murder of US Navy Diver Robert Stethem, 23, a passenger on that flight.  In addition, Mughniyeh was linked to the bombing of the Khobar Towers.

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Some hard lessons came out of that physical, military, and diplomatic rubble.  One would think that they would be with us yet.  Some apparently either forgot, or never learned.

  • Muslim extremist are willing to die in order to kill Americans, even when they are send to help other Muslims.
  • Proper “posture” is one in which US Servicemen are allowed to defend themselves and kill the enemy.
  • Restraint in pursuing and killing those responsible for such acts is seen as weakness by America’s Muslim Extremist enemies, and such encourages more and more terrorism and killing.

BEIRUT BOMBING

We learned, though.  Didn’t we?

Well, the words coming from Afghanistan sound eerily familiar.  Overly restrictive rules of engagement that allow the enemy to engage and disengage at will unless caught in the act of shooting at American servicemen.  An admonition on the parts of General McChrystal and CJCS Admiral Mullen for US Servicemen to take “more risks” and not be so concerned about their own protection.  An outpost sited on poor defensive ground and vulnerable to attack, positioned not by tactical necessity, but by political expedience.  Again we hear the words “appearance” and “posture”.   We see the handcuffs on our servicemen engaged in combat with an elusive and ruthless enemy.

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Let’s hope we don’t hear again how US Soldiers or Marines died sleeping, or without a chance to fight back, because appearance, posture, risk, and political expedience put them in that position.    On 23 October, 1983, 241 US lives were lost.  If we do not remember them, and how and why they were lost, we allow those lost lives to be wasted.

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Female Suicide Bomber Kills Six in Volgograd

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The BBC has the story.  Female suicide bombers from Dagestan have become increasingly common.  “Black Widows”, as the article alludes.  Volgograd was once called Tsarytsin, and beginning in 1925, Stalingrad.

There was speculation elsewhere that the woman had carried a hand grenade aboard.  The above photo is reportedly the detonation, and if so, certainly appears to show a device much larger than a hand grenade being detonated inside the bus.

Russia has its hands positively full of Islamist extremists.  At least they have the good sense to call them what they are.

Update-XBradTC: Here’s video of the attack. Concur that it’s a good deal larger than a hand grenade.

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6 October 1973, The Beginning of the Yom Kippur War

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Tomorrow is the Fortieth Anniversary of the beginning of the “Fourth Arab-Israeli War”, known for its auspicious holiday beginning as the Yom Kippur War, or Ramadan War.

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In the weeks leading up to the war, Egypt’s President Sadat had made overtures of warmer relations with the United States, to include the expulsion of nearly 22,000 Soviet “advisors”.  In addition, Egyptian military commanders carefully hid preparations for the offensive from Israeli observation.   Israel had made a planning assumption that any future conflict with Egypt would give the IDF 24-48 hours of warning, time to mobilize reserves and reposition forces for effective defense and counterattack.   As it happened, Israel would get fewer than 12 hours’ warning, and this through espionage/diplomatic channels, in the early morning hours of 6 October 1973.

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The Egyptian forces began to move against the east bank of the Suez canal at 1400 on the same day.  Breaching the sand wall with fire hoses, the lead elements of the Egyptian forces established bridgeheads within a few hours.  This was Operation Badr, which would last for the first five days of the war.   Operation Badr is worth reading about in detail, as the use of integrated fire support and anti-mechanized capabilities by the Egyptian Army nearly spelled disaster for Israel.

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Initially, the Bar Lev line, the western Israeli defenses of the Suez Canal, was lightly held by fewer than a thousand IDF soldiers and a handful of tanks, supported by a few 105mm, 155mm, and 175mm artillery batteries, and two forward airfields.   The opening preparation fires, a combination of direct fire, massed 152 and 130mm artillery, and ground attack fixed-wing air support, was brilliantly executed.  The Israeli airfields were put out of action, and the artillery batteries neutralized.  In addition, several air search and ground radars were destroyed, blinding the IDF to the movements of Egyptian ground and air units.  The Egyptians had also studied their foe, and had rightly guessed that the IDF would react with powerful air interdiction and armored counterattacks.

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In the preceding years, Egypt had invested heavily in air defense and anti-armor capabilities for the Army, increasing its air defense forces fourfold since 1967.  Now, that investment would pay massive dividends.  With a brilliantly-executed combined arms strike that had neutralized Israeli artillery and air defense systems, the Egyptian Second and Third Armies were able to move the SA-2, SA-3, and SA-6 missile systems forward to establish a layered air defense system over their forward ground units.  It was this integrated air defense which took a frightful toll of the Israeli Air Force, especially in the beginning days of the war.

IDF tank

On the ground, Egyptian tank killer teams roamed about setting ambushes for Israeli armor, employing AT-3 Sagger man-portable antitank missiles, where those teams destroyed more than 300 Israeli tanks and armored vehicles.   The IAF strikes and IDF armored counterattacks, staples of Israeli doctrine to defeat their Egyptian enemies, could only be executed at considerable risk and with expectations of heavy losses.

By 10 October, with losses far higher than their opponents, Israel was forced entirely to the defensive in the Sinai.  In the Golan Heights, a strike on 7 October by three Syrian armored brigades, supported by an Iraqi brigade, required a diversion of forces to counter the new threat.   In the Golan, Israeli fortunes were better.  Despite being badly outnumbered by the Syrian forces, and the bravery and skill exhibited by the Syrians, Israeli armored and mechanized units held, and in the Valley of Tears, all but destroyed Syrian offensive capability.   A great little book was written about the Golan fighting by the Commander of the 77th Battalion of the 7th Armored Brigade,  LtCol Avigdor Kahalani.   The Heights of Courage should be a read for all company and field grade officers.

A cease-fire was brokered on October 25th, 1973.  In the end, Israeli forces pushed the Egyptians back across most of the Sinai, and inflicted heavy losses.  But the IDF was only able to do so because of a massive influx of US aid, including mothballed F-4 Phantom fighters from Davis-Monthan  AFB, M-48 and M-60 tanks, and great quantities of munitions and logistical support.

Israel lost almost 3,000 killed and 11,000 wounded and captured in the 19 days of the Yom Kippur War.  The IDF had been ill-prepared for the Egyptian attack, both in its dispositions and its warfighting doctrine.  Since 1967, Israel had invested disproportionately in its vaunted Air Force and elite armored units, and had neglected infantry and artillery capabilities.   Israel had also committed the grave mistake of leaving planning assumptions about enemy capabilities and intent unquestioned, a mistake they would never make again.

The aftermath of the Yom Kippur War has been profound.  Egypt, once Israel’s most grave threat, reached a peace treaty in 1978, with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin signing the Camp David Accords.  Egypt, with a brief pause for a Muslim Brotherhood-led government, has remained on relatively good terms with Israel, and has (with a current brief pause AFTER the overthrow of the MB by the Egyptian Army) maintained a close relationship with the United States.    Operation Badr, significantly, represented the first Arab victory over Israeli forces on any scale since Israel’s founding in 1948.  It represents also the birth of the modern Egyptian Army, which remains a capable and well-equipped force, especially in comparison to its Middle Eastern neighbors.

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Just six years removed from the swift and devastating victories of the 1967 Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War was a profound shock to Israel.   Nobody will ever know for sure how close Israel came to being destroyed, or whether Golda Meir would have been willing to use the nuclear weapons in her possession to prevent that destruction.   We never had to find out, thankfully.   But it all began in earnest forty years ago tomorrow.

Update-XBradTC: URR writes: Israel had also committed the grave mistake of leaving planning assumptions about enemy capabilities and intent unquestioned, a mistake they would never make again.  

I’d argue that is incorrect. Israel badly misunderstood Hezbollah’s capabilities and tactics in the 2006 war. Israel’s incursion into Lebanon was not nearly as successful as hoped, and casualties were far higher than anticipated. The Israeli Army had planned and equipped and trained for a war of maneuver against an armored force, and found itself in an urban fight against a dug in irregular force in urban areas.

As a historical matter, the Yom Kippur War had enormous impact on US Army doctrine. I highly recommend to my readers King of the Killing Zone, the story of the development of the M1 Abrams tank, which also has an outstanding thumbnail sketch of the development of the Army’s AirLand Battle Doctrine. Our Army intensely studied the 1973 war, sifting for lessons learned on how to fight against a larger enemy, especially when strategically surprised. One of the real surprises the operational analysis of this and several other wars was that the smaller army in a war more often than not wins. The question became, “Why?” The answer was agility. Far more than the mere physical agility, the ability to move forces, smaller forces often have the mental agility to operate faster. AirLand Battle doctrine’s focus on operational agility predated, and foreshadowed, Boyd’s OODA Loop theory.

Update Update-URR:

I almost included a blurb about the 2006 Lebanon incursion.   Hezbollah tactics may have surprised the senior Israeli leadership, but did not surprise ground commanders.  I had the privilege of an extended conversation with Israeli BG Shimon Neveh, whose study of the 2006 fighting is absolutely superb.  His take was one that should ring familiar.  This from an interview with Matt Matthews:

Now, the other idea was to really assault by about 90 company-sized columns from all directions. Some elements airborne, some coming from the sea and others infiltrating almost without armor. The idea was to move in small teams and identify, feed the intelligence
circles, exploit our advantage in the air in remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fixed-wing and helicopters. When we introduced this idea, after certain experiments in CENTCOM in 2003, I remember it was a special meeting of the General Staff, presided by Chief Ya’alon, and I didn’t say much then because the whole idea to develop was presented by the Northern Command (NORTHCOM) commander at that time, Beni Ganz, who was against it then – and of course he was against it now. So when Gal Hirsch tells him to mobilize, let’s review the plans and see what our options are because we’ve been running out of time, he totally brushed this aside. “Halutz, we don’t need that. It’s a waste of time.”

BG Neveh believed strongly that the IDF operational commanders knew what awaited them, and the reasons for the “asymmetry” were political rather than doctrinal.  Including, as he told me with no little disdain, the idea of using military force to prompt a political decision rather than for the destruction of the enemy.

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North Vietnam Hero of Dien Bien Phu, Vo Nyugen Giap, Dead at 102

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BBC has the news.

They called him “Red Napoleon”, and for all his brutality and callous wasteage of the lives of his forces, he was a man of considerable military genius.   He had never been formally trained in tactics, strategy, or the operational arts.  Yet, his accomplishments on the battlefield and his unmistakeable savvy in exploiting enemy weakness make him one of the great military leaders of the post-World War II 20th Century. 

He once said that the NVA and Viet Cong were never strong enough to push half a million US troops out of Vietnam.  So his objective was to break American will.  His victories, not coincidentally, remain textbook lessons for insurgents and revolutionaries the world over.  

Interestingly, it was Giap who strongly encouraged warmer relations with the United States in the mid-1990s, as the threat of a burgeoning China began to grow. 

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Negotiations, the Alternate Technique

Iranian Revolutionary Guards probe officer’s ‘horrific’ death

Another one of their “Cyber” guys ends up dead.  In an up-close and personal way.   My guess is that not every country will sit still while another country (or group) vows its destruction and pursues a nuclear arsenal.

Certainly not every country looks around for reasons to send arms and munitions to those groups in order to assist them in the overthrow a regime in a strategically important area of the world.   While vowing to take them from the citizens of its own country, despite their Constitutional guarantee to keep and bear arms.

To this point, at least, President Obama is restricted to IRS investigations and NSA surveillance as weapons against his political opponents.  Unless, of course, he can get Eric Holder’s star chamber (formerly known as “due process”) to authorize a drone strike.

Just sayin’.

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Negotiations

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They are the intentional life-blood of domestic politics.  As was intended by the Founding Fathers in their brilliance in the Separation of Powers of our three branches of government.

Barack Obama wants to negotiate.   Loves to negotiate.  Willing to negotiate with just about anyone.  Traditional adversaries and sworn national enemies?  No problemo.  Russia?  Sure.  Tell Mr. Putin about my flexibility.  Iran?  Absolutely.  No matter they still vow the destruction of an ally.  Pick up the phone.   The Taliban?  Why not.   Let’s get together and talk through our differences.  North Korea?  Red China?  He’s all ears.  (Heh.)   Obama is willing to auction off American standing and American interests like so much attic junk at a white elephant sale.

But domestically?  With Congressional Republicans?  No way, no how.  Not interested.  Don’t wanna hear it.   Not gonna budge.  Because that means HIS prestige.   And he is clinging to that no matter the damage to the country that elected him.   He will hold our national defense hostage, like a petulant schoolboy, if he is not allowed his Obamacare, and another $1 trillion annual budget deficit, while continuing profligate government spending of tax dollars.   Perhaps if for the next meeting House Republicans showed up attired in dishdasha, shouting “Death to America!” and demanding conversion to Islam, Barack would hear them out with a sympathetic ear.

Gotta say one thing, though.   Barack Obama is really getting the hang of this leading from behind.

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Fair’s Fair!

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Except none of the 80 million legal gun owners in America cheer when a psychopath kills people with a firearm….  nor do they tell us the victims deserved it because of their beliefs or religion.

H/T KB

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IRS Scandal: Lois Lerner Wants Immunity

lois lerner

Seems “retired” IRS Senior Executive Lois Lerner wants immunity before being called again to testify at Congressional Oversight Committee hearings regarding the IRS targeting Obama political opponents for special scrutiny and privacy invasion.

IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner is negotiating through her lawyers with Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about possibly gaining immunity to testify again in the committee’s investigative hearings.

Funny, that, given her assertion in those hearings that:

“I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations”

Why, that would make any notion of immunity quite unnecessary, were it true.  But she is indeed seeking immunity.   She may already be facing a perjury charge if she is found to knowingly have violated IRS rules with her actions, or allowed others to do so under her supervision.   That would make her a liar, and that, under oath.

As for the President, a while back he parroted that rock-solid font of unvarnished truth, Jay Carney, in calling the use of the IRS as a political cudgel against political opponents a “phony scandal”.  Because Barack Hussein Obama is a liar also, he of the inveterate type.   In fact, can anyone tell me the last time Barack Obama said something to the American people what was actually true?  About Benghazi?  About the IRS scandal?  About unemployment?  The economy?  Tony Rezko?  Obamacare?  Syria?  The NSA?  About guns?  The weather?  Sequestration?  ANYthing?

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Kerry: “This Is Not a Game”

John Kerry

Except it IS a game.  It is, in fact, The Great Game.  The outcome of which is immeasurably better for one’s nation when that game is played by great men.   Something John Kerry is not.   He is a small man.  Not in stature, but in character, in talent, and in intellect.  Small in insight.  A blind and arrogant ideologue whose proclamations and bombast reflect the mediocrity of his equally small boss.

And in this Great Game, Mssrs Kerry and Obama have been embarrassed, frustrated, out-witted, out-maneuvered, and exposed as the rank amateurs and base frauds they are.   They have come against hard professionals in Assad and Putin, men who understand force, and survival, and the workings of statecraft, something our own struggling, stumbling civilian leadership knows not.   What is our Secretary of State’s comment regarding the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal?

“It has to be verifiable. It has to be credible. It has to be timely and implemented in a timely fashion. And finally there ought to be consequences if it doesn’t take place.”

He makes such a statement without the slightest notion of how such can be accomplished given the reluctance of the President to commit to anything more than a gesture of some Tomahawks being fired from offshore.  The supposed disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, dutifully wiped clean of Russian and Iraqi fingerprints, will be neither verifiable nor credible, and will happen at the pace which Russia allows such activity.  And then there are the rebels, Islamic radicals and Al Qaeda among them, every bit as brutal and far more of a security threat to the US than the Assad regime.  They also have a vote.  And, likely, control some of that chemical stockpile.

Be assured, Mr. Kerry.   There will be consequences.  Big ones.  There already are.  The diminishing of American credibility and stature worldwide, laid bare for our allies and our enemies to see.

And perhaps, one day, another brutal dictator will have taken his measure of our amateurish and incompetent statesmanship and decide to act.  And, if warned away from such an act, will simply say “My enemies are worms, I saw them in Syria”.

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The Obama-Kerry Syria Narrative Unravels Completely

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There have been many, myself included, who viewed with more than a little skepticism the Obama Administration’s instant and unequivocal claim of proof that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons on 21 August, allegedly killing more than 1,400.  Whatever the number of killed, the video of dead children and contaminated victims occupied every network lead news story for more than a week.

Yet, the assertion didn’t make sense.  Why would the Assad regime use chemical weapons and take the chance of being even more of a pariah and losing support of its greatest benefactor, Russia?  Especially when the regime had the initiative almost everywhere and the crisis of the preceding months had passed?  For no tactical advantage?  There was a chance, of course, that the Assad regime had miscalculated in the wake of Obama’s non-response to the “red line” violation in March of 2013.  Or a chance that a field commander used such weapons without regime authorization.  But, especially after Obama’s foolish threat of a “red line” that “changes the calculus” (for which he apparently has little stomach to make good on that threat), use by one of the various Islamist extremist/Al Qaeda-affiliated “rebel” groups seemed every bit as likely.

An opinion piece by Ken Timmerman in The Daily Caller last week went unnoticed by many, but it makes some pretty damning statements regarding the Obama-Kerry casus belli for military action against Syria.

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

The intercepts of communications that were alluded to by the US media and the White House, which supposedly spelled out regime elements as being responsible for the attack, were not quite as advertised, according to Timmerman.

According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.

According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

An international version of the selective editing of the Zimmerman police calls, NBC-style, as it were.  Not surprisingly, the Russians were highly skeptical, and then outright dismissive, of the Obama Administration claims.  But there is more, information that has not been presented to the American public by either Obama or any of his foreign policy or intelligence personnel.    This bit of evidence, if it is indeed true, is even more troubling than the intentional doctoring of Israeli communications intercepts to build a false case.

…evidence known to the U.S. intelligence community, and presumably, to Congress.

An Egyptian intelligence report describes a meeting in Turkey between military intelligence officials from Turkey and Qatar and Syrian rebels. One of the participants states, “there will be a game changing event on August 21st” that will “bring the U.S. into a bombing campaign” against the Syrian regime.

The chemical weapons strike on Moudhamiya, an area under rebel control, took place on August 21. “Egyptian military intelligence insists it was a combined Turkish/Qatar/rebel false flag operation,” said a source familiar with the report.

This, of course, would not be the first time that the Obama Administration and its officials in the State Department have made public statements they knew not to be true, in order to deflect blame and obfuscate an ugly truth.   The attack on the Benghazi consulate, a year ago this coming Wednesday, was attributed to the actions of a spontaneous demonstration by Libyan protesters when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and now-SecState Susan Rice (then-UN Ambassador) knew good and well what they were saying to the American people and the world was simply not true.
Now, Obama finds himself painted into a corner by his own ill-considered rhetoric and the emphatic assertions of his Vice President (“no doubt” about Assad regime use of chemical weapons) and his Secretary of State.   Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle should recognize the titanic blunder committed by President Obama, and stop doubling down on his incompetence and that of his foreign policy team in a vain attempt to maintain “credibility”.
Worse for Obama than the Assad regime not being credibly linked to a chemical weapons release is the alternative, is that “rebel” groups may have gotten their hands on some of the Syrian stockpile and have used those weapons themselves, doing so in order to bring the US and other Western nations into the Syrian Civil War to overthrow Assad and allow them to establish yet another anti-Western Islamist regime in a strategic country in the Middle East.   One has to wonder if the harsh and uncompromising words used to describe the Assad regime will be employed to describe the anti-regime forces whose hands may be very dirty, as dirty at least as the regime’s, in this civil war.
The entire of the Obama Administration’s case for military action against Syria is collapsing.   What we were told was true, likely wasn’t.   Obama and Kerry both also likely knew that.   I will say it again.  Our foreign policy is in shambles.
H/T to Fran D!

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The Syria Distraction

DaveO over at Op-for has a GREAT piece for us.

Syria versus Trust in Government

As America’s thought leaders present Syria as worthy of your moral outrage, remember it is just a distraction. The real battle is the steady erosion of trust in our government. When enough people distrust a government, there’s a Lexington and Concord, or a Bull Run, not a Damascus.

Go read the whole thing.  Every single word.  He is absolutely correct in everything he says.

 

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“I Have Not Made a Decision”

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So says President Obama in reference to US military action in Syria.    Problem is, he has.  Two of them, actually.  Whether he acknowledges so or not.  Both of them are exceedingly poor ones.  The first was Obama’s August 2012 ill-conceived bluster about use of chemical weapons being a “red line” for the United States.  Tough talk that sounded good, at least to the untrained ear.

When it seemed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on rebel forces, in April of 2013, Obama was caught bluffing like a teenager in a grown-up poker game.   So, his second decision was to do nothing after promising “serious consequences” for such use.

Now, the rather predictably beholden news media, led by ABC News, is attempting to tell us that Obama really did not say

“…a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”

Or, if he did, that he didn’t mean to imply what his words meant.

And now, he is stuck.  The Administration has “concluded” that the chemical weapons, likely Sarin (GB), which is not a gas but a liquid nerve agent, were fired by elements of the Assad regime.  What evidence?  Not very much.  None, in fact, that would stand up to the scrutiny of 2004.

“We have concluded,” the president said, that Assad’s regime “in fact carried these out. And if that’s so, there needs to be international consequences.

“…We have looked at all the evidence and we don’t believe the opposition possessed… chemical weapons of that sort,” he continued. “We do not believe given the delivery system using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks.”

Anyone with much intelligence background would acknowledge immediately that such an assertion is utter nonsense.  Following a statement from that icon of Foreign Policy, Joe Biden, that there was “no doubt” the attacks came from the Assad regime, the President uses the phrase “we don’t believe” twice in making his assertion.

In truth, neither Biden nor Obama has any way of knowing.  The delivery system?  Such is easy enough to acquire.  In Iraq, the enemy captured or fabricated rail fairings for 122mm rockets, and for the Chinese-made 107mm variety, routinely.   The capability most certainly exists in Syria.  In fact, there are videos of anti-regime elements firing 122mm rockets from captured BM-21 launchers and improvised systems all over YouTube.   Here are two.

So much for the Administration’s assertion on that point.

As for Assad’s chemical stockpiles, my guess is that they have been divided among dozens or even hundreds of caches, with varying levels of security around them, in order to keep Western forces from being able to secure them with special operations forces.   Have the “rebels” (which include Al Qaeda in strength, and other radical Islamists) lain their hands on one or more of those stockpiles?  There is no way for the US to tell.  And it isn’t as if the Assad regime would volunteer the information, even if they knew.

The major point, however, is the question of why the Assad regime would resort to chemical attacks at this juncture.  Regime elements are no longer hard-pressed, the Assad regime is winning.  What would be the strategic purpose of facing international condemnation and risking the alienation of a very powerful ally (Putin’s Russia) to launch a chemical attack that doesn’t even accomplish a tactical objective?   Assad is not a fool.  He understands survival.

This is not to say conclusively that the Syrian government did NOT launch such an attack.  A miscalculation borne of the weakness and vacillation of the US response the first time, a thumb in the eye of America on the heels of the empty “tough talk” of Obama, may have played into the decision.  But I find that eventuality rather unlikely.  Could a junior commander have fired the chemical barrage without authorization?  Also a possibility, and perhaps more likely.  Though I find hard-pressed and increasingly desperate anti-government forces using such weapons with the hope of being saved by outside intervention just as likely.  Especially if they are egged on by an Al Qaeda presence that understands the import of the fall of Assad for the advent of yet another Radical Islamist state in a strategic region.

There are no good options, and thanks to Obama’s indiscretions regarding his “red line” comments, there now are not even neutral options, only bad ones.   Yet another head-on collision with the real world for the arrogant, naive, incompetent, bumbling, indecisive ideologues in the White House and at Foggy Bottom.

And the newly-minted US Ambassador to the UN?  Where was she when the emergency UN session on Syria was held?  On vacation in Ireland.  She did, however, “tweet” on the subject.  Perhaps she even used a frowny-face icon when discussing the chemical attacks.  Not yet a month on the job.  Gotta wonder, how many Corporals have been recalled or had leave canceled in the last two days because of this crisis?  At least Malik was absent in protest, and not in a pub in Belfast.

Our foreign policy is in shambles.   Absolute shambles.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Three-quarters of which the NSA can capture and record.

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The above image was front and center on this morning’s Drudge Report.   And it is telling, perhaps more so than even the folks at Drudge realize.

Such an image cannot be viewed in isolation.   Bearing in mind Franklin’s warning about trading freedom for safety, one cannot but be most chagrined at the course of individual liberty during this present Administration, especially if you are not of a preferred color/gender/sexual orientation.

But the image above captures something deeper, more disturbing even than the predictable constriction of individual freedom by secular-progressives who desire a statist command-economy and all the forced equality trappings that go with it.   What the image shows is a US General Officer, sworn to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, explaining how the subversion of that Constitution is helping protect us from bad people.    He is, by transitive property, asserting rather unilaterally (and against the ruling of SCOTUS) that Americans have no reasonable right to privacy in their electronic communications.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Still ringing in my ears is the voice of Marine General James Cartwright, in full uniform, explaining how Constitutional limits on the authority of Title 10 forces represented “obstacles to mission accomplishment” which must be “overcome”, instead of those limits being bulwarks of liberty against the arbitrary and dangerous use of government/military power.

Here is where the political pliability of our senior uniformed leadership is far more than just disappointing, becoming instead a grave threat to our liberty and our Republic.   The willingness of men like General Casey to insert the politically-motivated remarks about diversity in the immediate wake of a Muslim Army MAJOR killing 13 at Fort Hood (while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’), and CJCS Mike Mullen violating the most basic of discipline by offering his personal opinion unsolicited, while in uniform, regarding repeal of DADT, are of themselves deeply disappointing and corrosive to the credibility of both men, and that of senior leaders in general.   Marine Commandant General Amos’ alleged actions in subverting the legal rights of Marines accused in high-profile misconduct is yet another example.  But each is a symptom of a much larger problem.

The politicizing of our senior uniformed leadership is not a new phenomenon, but what is a far more alarming and grave situation is the willingness of these senior officers to set aside their oath to the Constitution and to the tenets of their offices in order to comply with and curry favor from their political bosses.   Marty Dempsey’s shameful conduct in criticizing lawful free speech of a Veterans’ group was compounded immeasurably by his despicable actions in the Benghazi incident.  He was quick to call a private American citizen and urge that citizen to refrain from lawful free expression, and did so in the execution of his office.   Not only is that a blatant violation of the Constitution he is sworn to support and defend, but it was patently dishonest.  Even before  Dempsey made that call, he knew that his premise, the supposed video that sparked a spontaneous protest at the Consulate, was a lie.   And he did it anyway, selling his soul and what shreds were left of his honor for his political masters.  Worse, it seems General Dempsey was conspicuously derelict in allowing someone with virtually no Constitutional authority (Valerie Jarrett) to make decisions regarding deployment of military forces, when she likely issued the stand-down order contributing to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three brave Americans, and the humiliation of the United States internationally.

The Obama Administration has amply demonstrated its willingness, even eagerness, to identify political opposition as national enemies.  The FBI identification of white Veterans who believe in small government and the Second Amendment as possible “domestic terrorists” happened not long after Obama entered the White House.   Military exercises in which law-abiding political movements are posited as violent enemies of the state have been conducted on more than one occasion.  In fact, the replacing of “Islamic extremist” with “violent extremist” has very intentionally allowed the far-left to demonize gun owners and believers in the right to keep and bear arms with that very label, “violent extremists”.  The media, ideally a check to such detestable action on the part of government and its elected officials, has been all too eager and complicit in the efforts to demonize.

Not long following the Obama Administration’s Alinsky-esque demonizing of those who disagree with the socialist-progressive mantra has come the wielding of the apparatus of government to punish and persecute political opponents, and to cajole and threaten others into compliance and cooperation.  The IRS scandal, in the wake of the Benghazi fabrications, is indicative of both the ruthless nature of this Administration and the dangers of unchecked government authority.  Sibelius’ extorting of hundreds of millions of dollars for the support of Obamacare is another.  The NSA surveillance revelations, first revealed by Edward Snowden, are unsurprisingly far more serious than we had been led to believe.

Our senior Officers, those who swore the oath to support and protect the Constitution of the Unites States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, have become politically pliable sycophants who follow unquestioningly the direction of their political masters.    There may come a time when these senior Officers are faced with the moral dilemma of following orders from senior civilian (and other military) officials they know are in contravention of the law and our Constitution, or standing firm on their oath and honor to uphold that Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  Alas, it is all too predictable which choice so many of them will make.

The men who held those posts once stood as the guardians of freedom, brave men whose moral and physical courage were to be admired.  Not perfect, even sometimes badly flawed, but loyal to our Constitution and the oaths they swore.  Those days, and those men, are gone.  At the top of this post is photographic evidence.  One more critical protection of our precious liberties has been dismantled, and replaced by yet more instruments of a dangerous Administration to increase and consolidate its hold on power.    Such is the apparatus of rulers of the people, rather than government by the people.   Should we lose our Republic, posterity can point to this time, and to these men, as the true beginning of the end.   The shame and disgrace of those in uniform who helped it along will be eternal.   And those they so desperately wanted to please will still despise and scorn them.

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