Category Archives: israel

Hidden Treasure

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It can be found in the most unlikely of places.  This haul of pure naval gold came from the little book library that I found next to the gift shop aboard USS Midway in my sojourn to San Diego for the West Conference.  I saw a sign for “book sale”, which, except for “free ammo”, is most likely to make me stop every time.  I was allowed to go into the spaces that had the books for sale, and found this’n.  I decided to have a little fun with the docent who was running the sale.  When I asked “How much?”, he told me “Ten dollars.”  I worked up my most indignant expression, and said “TEN DOLLARS!  That’s highway robbery!  I won’t pay it!” at the same time I slipped a twenty to his elderly assistant, and gave him a wink.   He was a bit flummoxed, but the old fella gave me a smile.  I asked that they keep the change as a donation, which they were truly grateful for.

Anyway, inside the large, musty-smelling book that had likely not been opened in decades, there is to be found a veritable treasure of naval history.  From the advertisements at the beginning pages from famous firms such as Thornycroft, Hawker-Siddeley, Vickers-Amstrong Ship Repair and Shipbuilding, Bofors, Decca Radars, Edo Sonar, etc, to the line drawings of nearly every class of major combatant in commission in 1964, the book is simply fascinating.

What is first noticeable is that a great percentage of the world’s warships in 1964 still consisted of American and British-built vessels from the Second World War and the years immediately preceding.   Former Royal Navy aircraft carriers were the centerpieces of the navies of India, Canada, France, Holland, Australia (star-crossed Melbourne was a Colossus-class CV) and even Argentina and Brazil.   US-built ships comprise major units of almost every Western Bloc navy in 1964.  The ubiquitous Fletchers, of which nearly one hundred were transferred,  served worldwide, and remained the most powerful units of many Western navies into the 1990s.   But there were other classes, destroyer escorts, patrol frigates, minesweepers, and an untold number of LSTs, LCTs, LCIs, Liberty and Victory ships, tankers, and auxiliaries of all descriptions, under the flags of their new owners.   Half a dozen Brooklyn-class light cruisers went south in the 1950s, to the South American navies of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.  (General Belgrano, sunk by a British torpedo in the Falklands War, was ex-USS Phoenix CL-46).  A surprising number of the pre-war Benson and Gleaves-class destroyers remained in naval inventories, including that of the United States Navy (35).   A large contingent of Balao and Gato-class diesel fleet subs also remained in service around the world, with images showing streamlined conning towers, and almost always sans the deck guns.

Nowhere is there a ship profile of a battleship.  By 1964, Britain had scrapped the King George Vs, and beautiful HMS Vanguard.   France had decommissioned Jean Bart, and though Richelieu was supposedly not decommissioned until 1967, she is not included.  The United States had disposed of the North Carolinas and the South Dakotas some years before, and only the four Iowas remained.  They are listed in the front of the US Navy section, but not as commissioned warships, and they are also not featured.   Turkey’s ancient Yavuz, the ex-German World War I battlecruiser Goeben, had not yet been scrapped (it would be in 1971), but apparently was awaiting disposal and not in commission.

The 1964-65 edition of Jane’s contains some really interesting pictures and facts. And definitely some oddities.

There is a launching photo for USS America (CV-66), and “artist’s conceptions” of the Brooke and Knox-class frigates, which were then rated as destroyer escorts.  In 1964, the largest warship in the Taiwanese Navy (Republic of China) was an ex-Japanese destroyer that had been re-armed with US 5″/38 open single mounts in the late 1950s.  The People’s Republic of China also had at least one ex-Japanese destroyer in service, along with the half-sisters to the ill-fated USS Panay, formerly USS Guam and USS Tutulia, which had been captured by the Japanese in 1941 and turned over to China at the end of the war.  The PRC also retained at least one river gunboat which had been built at the turn of the century.

Italy’s navy included two wartime-construction (1943) destroyers that had been badly damaged, repaired, and commissioned in the late 1940s.  The eye-catching feature of the photos of the San Giorgios is the Mk 38 5″/38 twin mountings of the type mounted on the US Sumners and Gearings.

A couple other oddities that I never would have known but for this book.  In the 1950s, West Germany salvaged one Type XXI and two Type XXIII U-boats, sunk in the Baltic in 1945, reconditioned them, and commissioned them.  While the Type XXI was an experimentation platform, apparently the two Type XXIII boats (ex-U-2365 and U-2367) became operational boats.    The Israeli frigate Haifa had been a British wartime Hunt-class frigate, sold to the Egyptian Navy, and captured by Israeli forces in Haifa in the 1956 war.

The Indian Navy was made up largely of ex-Royal Navy warships, understandably enough.  But one in 1964 was particularly significant.  The Indian light cruiser Delhi had been HMS Achilles, famous for its role as a unit of Commodore Harwood’s squadron in chasing the German panzerschiff KMS Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate in December, 1939.

There is much more contained in the pages of this old and forgotten edition.  This book is an absolute treasure trove of naval history.   And was a most unexpected find.    I have unleashed my inner geek!

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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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It is Difficult to Overstate Our Diplomatic Incompetence

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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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Disastrously Delusional- Kerry on “Meet the Press”

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The events of this week in the Ukraine, particularly Russia’s de facto occupation of the Crimea, have highlighted the shambles that is US foreign policy.  Aside from revealing the complete impotence of NATO, the situation which has evolved in the last 72 hours has brought to the fore the contrast between the Machiavellian power-broker realism of Putin/Lavrov and the naive and feckless bumbling of Obama and SecState John Kerry.

To the list of foreign policy disasters that include the Cairo speech, the West Point speech, cut and run in Iraq, a stunted “surge” in AFG, the “Arab Spring” debacle, leading “from behind” in Libya, the Benghazi attack and cover-up, supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, being caught bluffing with the “red line” nonsense in Syria, selling out our Israeli allies to make a deal virtually guaranteeing a nuclear Iran, we have the crowning fiasco, and likely the most dangerous in long-term impact for the United States and the world.

Kerry’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today reveals just how misguided and dangerously naive the arrogant amateur buffoons are who are careening our ship of state onto the shoals at flank speed.

This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century, and there’s no way to start with that if Russia persists in this, that the G8 countries are going to reassemble in Sochi. That’s a starter. But there’s much more than that.

Is he kidding?  Power politics was centuries old when Machiavelli defined it in his works in the 1530s.  Power politics has dominated every century since, including the 20th.  In fact, there is virtually no reason to suddenly embrace some notion of “21st Century” statecraft that is any different from that of the previous five centuries, since the emergence of modern nation-states.  That Kerry and Obama think otherwise, and think the rest of the world behaves accordingly, is the height of hubris.  Treating the world as you wish it to be rather than how it exists is simply bankrupt intellectual foolishness.  But there’s more.

And we hope, President Obama hopes that President Putin will turn in the direction that is available to him to work with all of us in a way that creates stability in Ukraine. This does not have to be, and should not be, an East/West struggle.

There is no excuse whatever, other than a willful ignorance of history, to utter such a decidedly stupid and ill-informed comment publicly.  The central theme to the existence of European Russia is an eight-century long existential struggle between East and West.  The tragicomic foolishness of Hillary Clinton’s “reset button”, so contemptuously ridiculed by Foreign Minister Lavrov, was indicative of just how amateurish and incompetent the Obama Administration’s foreign policy and national security players were, and just how precious little they understood the art of statecraft.  Statements like the above reveal how little those players know about the history of the nations and peoples with which that statecraft requires them to interact.

There is worse to come later in the interview with David Gregory.   These two positively head-scratching pronouncements can rightfully make one wonder how tenuous this Administration’s grip on reality truly is:

David, the last thing anybody wants is a military option in this kind of a situation. We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.

President Putin is not operating from a place of strength here. Yanukovych was his supported president… President Putin is using force in a completely inappropriate manner that will invite the opprobrium of the world.

Such a bizarre pair of assertions is difficult to explain.  The several thousand Russian forces, which include mechanized infantry, attack aviation, and self-propelled artillery certainly seem to point to the notion that Vladimir Putin believed some semblance of a military solution was desired to ensure Russia maintained a friendly buffer between what Putin believes is a hostile West.   A buffer that incidentally includes the strategically vital naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and has a population demographic of approximately 60% ethnic Russians.

As for understanding a position of strength, one might also wonder just how Kerry would go about defining strength.  There is virtually nothing NATO can do militarily, should they even be willing; the United States, with shrinking defense budgets, is in the midst of gutting its military to pre-World War II levels.   The leverage the EU has over Russia is limited, despite Russia’s very significant economic problems.   Any “opprobrium”, or threats by the US, France, Canada, and the UK to suspend the G-8 Summit, is positively pittance to the Russians in comparison to the security of their strategically essential western neighbors, regions that have countless times stood between Russia and destruction at the hands of a conquering West. Russia has acted virtually unchallenged, presenting a fait accompli to the West that, despite assertions to the contrary, will not be undone.  If ever there was a position of power, Russia holds it right now in the Crimea, and will be asserting it anywhere and everywhere in the “near abroad” that Putin has long promised to secure.

The United States never has had all that much leverage to prevent Russia and a talented autocrat like Putin from leaning on their western border states, despite the fitful attempts by the US to draw some of those states into the Western sphere.  The invasions of Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008 proved that beyond a doubt.  But what is most disturbing about the current crisis is watching the US Secretary of State and the US President misread, misstep, and attempt to bluster their way through another confrontation with a geopolitical rival that is acting without restraint and without regard for the empty rhetoric from the Obama Administration.   The most fundamental lesson of statecraft is that of understanding power.  To that end, we have another object lesson in the use of that power.  There is no such thing as hard power, soft power, or “smart” power.  There is just power.  As it has since antiquity, power consists of the capability to enforce one’s will upon an adversary mixed with the willingness to use that capability.

Putin and Lavrov know that lesson well.  They are hard-bitten professionals who act as they believe necessary to promote Russian interests and improve economic and physical security.  Obama and Kerry are rank amateurs, blinded by an ideology that begets a naive and woefully unrealistic understanding of how the world works.  They have been outfoxed and outplayed yet again, seemingly willingly forfeiting US influence and credibility in pursuit of a badly-flawed world view in which influence is based upon hollow threats and ill-conceived public statements.  Any doubts regarding that assertion should be erased when one listens to the cognitive dissonance emanating from our Secretary of State as he describes the Crimean crisis in terms which have little to do with reality.   It is to weep.

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“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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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.

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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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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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Noted Author Tom Clancy Dies at 66

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Tom Clancy, the brilliant and irascible author of an incredible series of fiction and non-fiction works that include The Hunt for Red October, Red Storm RisingThe Sum of All Fears, and many others, has died at the age of 66.  His work was also inspiration for a generation of military-based first person shooter video games.

Clancy’s work was revolutionary, and his technical research exquisite.  I remember the hubbub of the release of Red October, and the speculation that someone had leaked him classified information that allowed him to portray so accurately the then-hidden world of US and Soviet submarine operations.

Clancy was a brilliant storyteller who revolutionized his genre, which was accurately described as “military/espionage/thriller”.  He will be missed.

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Obama “Snubs” Putin, Cancels Meeting over Snowden

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Seems Barack Obama is miffed at Vladimir Putin.   So much so that he has canceled a bilateral meeting with the Russian President coincident with the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg in early September.  On Leno last night, our esteemed Statesman put forth this gem regarding Putin’s Russia:

“There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality”

Such ill-informed and ill-considered commentary is endemic of this Administration’s lack of competence in the sphere of international relations.   Obama has little concept of a “Cold War mentality”, and less of what Russia’s was during those 45 years.  In addition, Obama has no real understanding that Soviet Russia was far more Russian than Soviet in its approach to diplomacy and geopolitics.  And, thus, Russia is today what Russia has been for centuries.   Russia remains xenophobic and deeply suspicious of its neighbors and the west.   Putin, being a REAL Cold Warrior, is imbued with a soul-deep understanding of power politics and the value of economic and military leverage.  He is not willing to come bearing Russian strategic interests for bargain like so many Pokemon cards.

Obama, on the other hand, has no feeling for power politics.  In fact, he is loath to admit that they are the basis for relations between great national rivals such as the US and Russia.  He and his foreign policy team are also willfully ignorant of history, and approach international affairs with a twisted and dangerous belief in moral equivalence, where allies, rivals, adversaries, and sworn enemies are all peers in some Model UN project being conducted at an Ivy League seminar.  This situation partially explains why the US was an active participant in the “Arab Spring”, and the overthrow of two (almost three) admittedly repressive regimes that most represented US interests, and opened the window for Islamic Extremists to seize power in key nations.  It explains Hillary Clinton’s imbecilic “Reset Button” concept to Russia, a nation with a history eight centuries of virulent conflict with the West, as if Putin will be willing to wipe away Russia’s heritage because Barack Obama brings Hope and Change with him.

One of the more enlightening quotes came from one of this Administration’s staunchest supporters, uber-liberal Senator Chuck Schumer.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that “Putin doesn’t deserve the respect after what he’s done with Snowden.” “I know what he’s doing. He’s trying to make Russia a big power again…”

Yes, Chuck, he is.   He said he would, and he has acted on those words.   You and your colleagues on the far-left are the ones who refuse to acknowledge his ambitions for Russia and himself.   If you did, perhaps you wouldn’t be actively eroding the power of your own country so that it will no longer be a great power.

Obama has far more to talk to Putin about than Putin does Obama.  This bit of childish petulance on the part of the American President is indicative of the dangerously ineffectual US foreign policy path.   Yes, Putin does deserve respect.   He is acting in what he perceives are the best interests of his country.

O, that we should have a President who even knows what America’s best interests are, let alone with the courage of conviction, diplomatic acumen, and mastery of statecraft to act upon them.  Seems the “flexibility” Obama promised to Putin includes such foolish charades as this.

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Samantha Power to the UN?

Our (erstwhile?) Israeli allies have to be thrilled with this.  Drudge has a link to Power’s 2002 remarks (see above) regarding US “intervention” with Israel, presumably to halt what Power terms time and again in her remarks as “genocide”.

Then, as Drudge also links, there are the 2008 campaign remarks about former SecState Hillary Clinton.

“She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything,” Ms Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark.

Ms Power said of the Clinton campaign: “Here, it looks like desperation. I hope it looks like desperation there, too.

“You just look at her and think, ‘Ergh’. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive.”

Power, married to Administration official and Socialist laywer Cass Sunstein, is yet another ill-qualified, America-hating, far-left activist whose version of reality will be sure to cause problems.   She was a journalist, covering the Balkans in the 1990s, and her point of view is largely shaped by the micro and not the macro issues of statesmanship and international affairs.   While Power has campaigned for US-led military intervention to prevent genocide, apparently the killing of nearly a million Iraqis by Saddam Hussein’s Nazi-inspired regime does not  qualify, as she opposed the Iraq war.    Nor, can I recall hearing in her “religious freedom” exhortations, a public peep about the massacre of Christians across the Middle East and Africa since the 2008 election of Barack Obama.

However, the appointment of “humanitarian” interventionist Samantha Powers, coupled with the Obama Administration’s assertion that international permission rather than that of Congress is the ticket to use of military force, creates potential for yet another interesting showdown between Obama and Congress regarding that pesky old Constitution.   It also proves decisively that the Obama Administration has learned nary a thing from its consistent and disastrous appointment of ill-suited, inexperienced ideologues charged with execution of any kind of coherent foreign policy for America.

Cue the calliope music.

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Obama’s Syria Intervention Talk: An Echo of Bush

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“I think that in many ways a line’s been crossed when we see tens of thousands of innocent people killed by a regime, but the use of chemical weapons and the danger that is poses to the international community, to neighbors of Syria, the potential of chemical weapons to get into the hands of terrorists, all of those things add increased urgency to what is already a significant security problem and humanitarian problem in the region,” Obama told reporters.

So the hundreds of thousands of innocent people being killed by a regime, the use of chemical weapons, the potential for chemical weapons to get in the hands of terrorists, ARE considerations for military intervention?    Could we say as a counter, perhaps, that Bashar al-Assad poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors…and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history?

Yes, indeed we could.  I am not advocating for or against intervention in Syria, though I would be curious to know whom we believe we would ally with, and whom against, and just what we could accomplish given the active opposition of Putin’s Russia (not least because of the possibility of Russian fingerprints on Syria’s chemical stockpile, and on a chemical stockpile of Iraqi origin).

It seems that President Obama’s “student union view” of the world and how it works has once again collided head-on with reality.    The “game-changer” bandied about so often of late has already happened.   The world, our allies, and our adversaries, will see what comes next.    Will we see the Obama who condemned his predecessor for Iraq?  Or the Obama whose tough talk regarding Syria is a virtual echo of that predecessor?  Has he the statesmanship and foreign policy acumen to act decisively and effectively?   Considering the string of diplomatic failures punctuated by the Benghazi catastrophe and the ineffectual confrontation with the DPRK, I am not terribly hopeful.

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Obama to Israelis: “Put Yourselves in Their Shoes”

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President Obama’s remarks urging Israeli empathy with Palestinians is yet another indication that his (and his Administration’s) understanding of the world around him is woefully lacking, and remains, after four years,  not the slightest bit grounded in reality.   A nation whose founders were survivors of mass extermination attempts, a nation that sees mortal ideological and religious enemies in every direction, enemies that have openly vowed that nation’s destruction, is being lectured by America’s President as to where their sympathies should lie.

The President’s remarks reflect an astonishing arrogance.  Worse, they reveal a startling ignorance (and lack of propriety) that reflects the amateurish and muddled character of US foreign policy under this Administration.  President Obama is making no friends among our Israeli allies, which is reflected by his barely civil relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his low regarding among the Israeli public.

When prodded in the early 1970s about Israel’s hyper-vigilant posture, Golda Meir remarked, “If the Arabs lay down their weapons, there would be no more war.  If the Israelis lay down their weapons, there would be no more Israel.”

In the forty years since she made those comments, little has changed for the good for Israel.  Israel’s neighbors are as fanatical as ever about her destruction, with one of those neighbors possibly less than a year away from being a nuclear power.  Her closest ally has a President whose lack of understanding of the Middle East and barely concealed hostility toward Israel is cause for real alarm.   Despite the platitudes of solidarity this week, the US-Israel relationship remains decidedly cool.  Remarks like today’s certainly won’t help.  Israel’s enemies are taking notice, to be sure.

If President Obama really wants to talk about people putting themselves in someone else’s shoes, here is what he can do.  His wife Michelle and his two daughters can take up residence in Beersheba for one year.  No special protection, no armored cars.  The girls can wait on the street corner with the other children for the school bus, and Michelle can shop at the mall and the grocery other places, like the other parents.  Perhaps then, as three thousand rockets and mortar rounds are fired into Israel from Gaza (with the blessing and encouragement of the leadership of the very people Obama believes deserve nationhood),  President Obama can better put himself in the shoes of Israelis who live day to day with the spectre of violent death of loved ones at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.   Doubtless, news reports of dead and wounded from bombings and rocket/mortar attacks emanating from Gaza may tend to get his attention just that much more.

Perhaps then, also, President Obama will be less prone to lecture Israelis about empathy for Palestinians, and a little more willing to understand that of which he speaks.

Perhaps.

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Non-Leadership

DEEBOW over at BlackFive sums it up very well.

Perhaps Obama might stop treating American political parties like enemies of the state, and also stop treating enemies of the state like political parties.

Oh, and General Dempsey?  If you have one phone call to make on that taxpayer-provided cell phone of yours, try calling the RSO and Chief of Mission to see how things are going, instead of calling a private citizen to try and influence his political opinion.

If you just can’t wait to be a politician, remove that uniform before you disgrace it further.  I hear the Democrats have a position open in Florida.

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That Damned Audio!

Seems, when speaking to a training session of Jewish Democrats, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) stated that:

“We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

The Washington Examiner reported the remarks.   Ambassador Michael Oren, for his part, vehemently denied the comment.
“I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel.  Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”
At which point Ms. Wasserman Schultz denies having made the remark, and blames the “conservative newspaper” which, of course, misquoted and misrepresented.  Until audio of Ms. Wasserman Schultz turned up in which it is proven that the Examiner quote is entirely accurate:
Who are you going to believe, Debbie Wasserman Schultz or your lying ears?  Ask yourself what the effect would be if RNC Chairmen Preibus or Blackwell had done such a thing.

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“Chicago Values” Quiz

“(FILL IN THE BLANK) values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values,”

Which expression of values is Mayor Rahm Emanuel talking about?

1. “The white man is our mortal enemy, and we cannot accept him. I will fight to see that vicious beast go down into the late of fire prepared for him from the beginning…”

2. “We are very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family unit,” … “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

If you guessed Number 2, you are correct.   Chick-Fil-A  CEO Dan Cathy is apparently no Louis Farrakhan.   There is no place for that in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago.   Rahm seems okay with Number 1, though.   Plenty of room to consider the White Man a mortal enemy and a beast.

One would think Rahm would realize that Farrakhan is also against Gay Marriage.    But, maybe he thinks Calypso Louis makes up for it by being a bigoted anti-Semite.

Ahh, Chicago.

 

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Two Sides of the Same Coin

The New York Times has an article this morning regarding the difficulty Washington is having in sorting friend from foe in the wake of the”Arab Spring”.    The article mentions a State Department visit of Hani Nour Eldin, a now-member of Egypt’s Parliament, but also a member of a designated terrorist organization, Gamaa al-Islamiyya.

Pressed by reporters after the visa quickly became a Congressional controversy, a State Department spokeswoman, Victoria J. Nuland, said Mr. Eldin had been judged to pose no threat to the United States.

“It’s a new day in Egypt,” she added. “It’s a new day in a lot of countries across the Middle East and North Africa.”

The Times article then begins a full-court press of making the case for America’s (meaning George W. Bush’s) failure to delineate between Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Jihadists.

The overthrow of dictators across the Arab world and the rise of Islamists to new influence or power is forcing Washington to reassess decades-old judgments.

Which strongly suggests those judgments were somehow incorrect.  Indeed, the article goes on to assert:

In the decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans largely viewed the Middle East and Islam through the lens of the terrorism threat. The United States exercised stark judgments, encapsulated by President George W. Bush’s warning to the world nine days after the attacks: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

Foreign Muslim scholars were denied visas because of outspoken views at odds with American policy. American officials did not always carefully distinguish between Islamists, who advocate a leading role for Islam in government, and violent jihadists, who espouse the same goal but advocate terrorism to achieve it.

While such words seem to provide some measure of comfort to those who might have been viewing the situation in the Middle East with increasing alarm, the very foundation of the assertion by the article’s author is an unfounded and foolishly optimistic premise.  The goal of the Islamists has never been simply for Islam to have a “leading role in government”, and the author of the article likely knows this.  So, indeed, should those members of this nation’s Foreign Policy team, including the President, his National Security Adviser, Secretary of State, and all those whose responsibility is the direction of American statesmanship.   There can be no other views expressed, at least publicly, that will not reinforce the fact that President Obama’s “Muslim Reset” and his ill-advised Cairo apology was a dreadful mistake that America’s enemies in the Middle East and elsewhere rightfully viewed as an act of submission and example of the naivete of an inexperienced and arrogant Chief Executive who lacks a basic understanding of Realpolitik and international affairs.

The premise of the Times piece (cloaked in the familiar meme of blaming the previous administration), that there are critical differences between Islamists and Jihadists, and that our failure to understand them was out of willful blindness, is shot absolutely full of holes by the publishing of a pamphlet by an Islamist group that spells out the true goals of the Islamists.  The United Muslim Nations International is an Islamist organization closely aligned to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the publication in question, “The Global Islamic Civilization: The Power of a Nation Revived”, sheds some rather harsh light on the true goals of these Islamists:

None will resist, you will submit! Islam will conquer the hearts of all Christendom, this is a definite reality. Every government has surrendered to the Revived Global Caliphate and those nations who resist will be placed under a police state within their realm!

The author, Sheik Farook al-Mohammedi, spares no hatred for Christianity:

“Christianity should be destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth,” al-Mohammedi said. “It is an evil demonic and Anti-Christ system, all Christians are in complete Ignorance.”

“Islamic Power has returned upon the face of the earth and the Revived Global Caliphate has set eyes on the West to once and for all rid the world of Christianity and there is nothing you can do about it,” al-Mohammedi said.

While Farook al-Mohammedi is not Egyptian, and his organization is ideologically aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood but not actually a part of the Brotherhood (that we know of), Youssef al-Qaradawi is both.  What is Qaradawi’s contribution to the Islamist/Jihadist discussion?

Qaradawi advocates establishing a “United Muslim Nations” as a contemporary form of the caliphate and the only alternative to the hegemony of the West. He hates Israel and would love to take up arms himself. In one of his sermons, he asked God “to kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them.”

In January 2009, he said: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler.”

So, it would seem hearkening to a systemic extermination of an entire peoples is merely “advocating for a leading role for Islam in government” and should not, in any way, be confused with the “violent jihadists” who might use terrorism to achieve that leading role for Islam.   That should be nothing new, by the way.  The Muslim Brotherhood were open supporters of Hitler’s Third Reich, and have never moderated their views in any way.

The complete bankruptcy of those who continue to insist on telling us that Islamists and Jihadists are not the same thing cannot be overemphasized.   The failure (or refusal) of this Administration to face the facts about the nature of America’s enemies has been little short of criminal.  Blaming the last administration is sophomoric, and reeks of the immature and unprofessional atmosphere that is the shambles of American foreign policy.

Wiping out Christianity?  Calling openly for another Holocaust?  A police state for the non-believers?

It seems one can take Egypt’s Jibril telling us “There are no extremists” one of two ways.   Either he is lying because he knows we are too stupid and naive to realize it, or he doesn’t consider the above views to be extreme.    Perhaps both.   Whichever, those in our government who continue to insist on the differences between Islamists and Jihadists won’t believe either.

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“Our loved Egyptian night?”

From Raymond Ibrahim of FrontPage:

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi‘i, those “symbols of paganism,” which Egypt’s Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax.    Most recently, Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.”

This is a reference to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s companion, Amr bin al-As and his Arabian tribesmen, who invaded and conquered Egypt circa 641.  Under al-As and subsequent Muslim rule, many Egyptian antiquities were destroyed as relics of infidelity.  While most Western academics argue otherwise, according to early Muslim writers, the great Library of Alexandria itself—deemed a repository of pagan knowledge contradicting the Koran—was destroyed under bin al-As’s reign and in compliance with Caliph Omar’s command.

Read the rest.    It is to weep.

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“Their blood will not go in vain.”

So says Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate who is now the President-elect of Egypt.   As if the so-called “Arab Spring” and the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt was a cry for Islamic Fundamentalism rather than freedom.

Interesting article from NBC News, providing the most hopeful spin on the situation.

But let us remember that the Muslim Brotherhood are still staunch Islamists, who once heartily supported National Socialism, the Final Solution in particular.  Interesting that they have never moderated their views publicly.   They have also broken most of the rules they agreed to follow when they entered the political process.

Now, we are told, we have the Army trying to keep this candidate in check:

The generals, who oversaw Mubarak’s departure, have repeatedly said, both to Egyptians and to their close U.S. ally, that they will return to barracks and hand over to civilian rule. But they present themselves as guardians of Egypt’s security and long-term interests and moved to block the Islamists from taking more than a share of power.

Sounding ever more familiar, isn’t it?    Israel may already be seeing the shape of things to come.   The Muslim Brotherhood was best positioned to both inflame the unrest and instability in Egypt, and to take advantage of that instability and power vacuum to seize power.  They did so, rather predictably, amid the promises of tolerance and moderation that seldom last long.    And now they seem to be revising the narrative to make those in Tahir Square who suffered at the hands of the Mubarak Regime, fallen heroes of the Islamist victory.    We are left with a contest for power between the Army, the most powerful political institution, and the Party, the most powerful social institution.

Perhaps events will surprise us, and the Islamists didn’t hijack the “Arab Spring” into an orchestrated and successful effort on the part of Islamists to seize power across the Middle East.   Just the same, though, how does one sing die Horst Wessel-Lied in Arabic?

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Uniformly Stupid? Part 2

See Part 1 here.

I’m on the road, so I’ll be doing some “best of” posts. Right now, this is the most searched for post. 

While most people in the Army spend just about all their time in a working uniform like the ACU, there are occasions when something a little more formal is needed.

Since the late 1950s the standard Army Service and Dress uniform for most soldiers has been the Army Green Uniform. Folks in the Army almost universally refer to it as “Class A’s”.

When the uniform jacket is removed, the Army Green Uniform can be worn as the Class B uniform, suitable for most office environment jobs. When I served as a recruiter, most days we wore the Class B.

No, that's not me...

No, that's not me...

The problem with the Army Green Uniform was simple. It was ugly as sin in church. There was an alternative, however, one with a great history dating back practically to the first days of the Army. The Dress Blue Uniform.

Female Officer and Male Enlisted Service Dress Blues

Female Officer and Male Enlisted Service Dress Blues

There’s a reason why the trousers are a different shade blue from the coat. Back in the days of the Old West, when cavalry troopers wore the blue uniform as there work clothes, they would routinely remove their coat, roll it up and carry it strapped to the back of the saddle. The trousers faded from the sunlight and wear and tear, but the coat didn’t. Hence the difference.

Service Dress Blues were always an optional item for enlisted personnel. You could buy them, but you didn’t have to. Since they cost a lot of money and there were relatively few occasions to wear them, most junior folks did without.

Back in 2005 or so, the Chief of Staff of the Army made the decision to do away with the Army Green Uniform and modify the Blue uniform to replace it.The new variations are shown below.

The Army Blue Uniform

The Army Blue Uniform

Personally, I wish they had done this about 25 years ago. I always hated the Green Uniform, and as soon as I could, bought a set of Blues. And anytime I had a chance to wear them, I did. One fairly common occasion was the “Dining Out”. A Dining Out is when a unit, typically a battalion, has a formal banquet, with spouses and sweethearts invited*. This is a social occasion run on military lines- the colors are presented, the chaplain gives the invocation, there are a couple of (usually brief) speeches, and maybe some awards and recognitions. Then there is usually some dancing. The important thing is, your best girl gets a chance to put on her best dress and go out to be seen. Chicks dig that.  Since a lot of guys didn’t own Dress Blues, they made do with the Army Green Uniform with a white shirt and a bow tie.

Your author, center, in Dress Blues, flanked by two friends in Class A's.

Your author, center, in Dress Blues, flanked by two friends in Class A's.

Incredibly, I managed to save this picture, but lost the picture of my date. You’ll have to take my word for it that she was stunning. Really. The two guys in the photo were great friends and fellow warriors, but neither was all that attractive….

*You could invite your spouse, or your sweetheart, but NOT your spouse and your sweetheart…

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Brief thoughts on the Gaza cease fire

So Israel has announced a unilateral cease fire and pulled its troops out of Gaza. Some on the right are unhappy that Israel has ceased offensive actions so soon. But here’s the thing- they were rapidly reaching the point of diminishing returns. All military actions take place in a political sphere, both domestic and international.

Domestic Israeli politics supported the incursion as a means to curb Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, provided there were not a lot of casualties among the Israeli ground forces.

Internationally, there was generally support (or at least muted condemnation) for the same goal.

Israel could reasonably expect its operations in Gaza to attrit a portion of the Hamas leadership, locate and destroy stockpiles of rockets and the production centers for them, disrupt the smuggling tunnel network and punish Hamas enough to make them reconsider the efficacy of their rocket attacks.

What ground operations could not be expected to do was destroy Hamas as a political entity, nor cow the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to the point where they sued for peace. And Israel has no desire at all to engage in long term occupation of Gaza. That would be costly in terms of money, leave Israeli troops vulnerable to attack by insurgent forces and undermine domestic political support and international forbearance of their actions.
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As to the timing of the cease fire, there can be reasonable disagreement whether it came too soon, too late, or just right, but to argue that Israel could have continued to fight in Gaza without paying an undue penalty of some sort is niave.

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Things that really piss me off…

Via Mere Rhetoric, news on bringing war criminals to justice:

Israel has formally presented the UN with evidence outlining Hamas’s military exploitation of Palestinian civilians. The UN has responded by tasking at least two commissions with gathering evidence for war crimes prosecutions related to Palestinian civilian casualties. Prosecutions of Israeli officials of course. Not Hamas officials. Because how would that make any sense? (emphasis mine-XBradTC)

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Why I don’t always trust the Palestinian press…

The Palestinian press often try to portray Israel’s actions as disproportionate and bloodthirsty. Now, I won’t deny that there has been a great deal of civilian blood shed in the recent fighting. But I will say that I take Hamas claims with a grain of salt. Here’s why…

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