Sunday, September 14, 2014

Explaining Himself

The poor guy.  Nobody will let him eat his waffles.  President Holland, the GOP, the media, and the bitter clingers are holding him back--even the ghost of Reagan..
It was clear to the guests how aware Mr. Obama was of the critics who have charged him with demonstrating a lack of leadership. He brought up the criticism more than once with an edge of resentment in his voice.
“He’s definitely feeling it,” said one guest. At one point, Mr. Obama noted acidly that President Ronald Reagan sent Marines to Lebanon only to have hundreds of them killed in a terrorist attack because of terrible planning, and then withdrew the remaining ones, leaving behind a civil war that lasted years. But Reagan, he noted, is hailed as a titan striding the earth.
But he'll always have the Times to explain how everyone is racist and stupid and impeding his greatness.  Everyone including people his own military, as the article makes it clear he approved the Syria hostage rescue mission plan immediately upon delivery to his desk, executed only 'days' later, which comports with this version but necessarily with this one.   

But let's give him the benefit.  The Times piece clearly suggests Obama is blaming the public beheadings on his forced decision to war-monger, which was apparently the result of the failed rescue mission on July the 4th, a mission that if successful might have precluded a new dumb non-war war before its time. Nobody wanted those hostages out of there more than he did--because it meant he wouldn't have to deal with it right away.  There was no dithering or delay, his hands were tied by the intelligence knuckleheads who screwed up.

Meanwhile, our deliberator-in-chief was quoted as saying something interesting that's been puzzling me as well regarding the intent of ISIS with these brazen beheadings.  According to the Times:
If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.
Aside from blaming the American public for wanting revenge and forcing him to take focus off spending quality time breaking the law on immigration or redistributing more wealth, he's asking why they would poke the bear?  Why indeed.  Is it because they think the bear has no teeth or claws? Is it because they think the bear has gone into hibernation and won't act?  Are they just stupid true believers completely unaware of their limited power or don't care? 

Or is it because they think he will act and that's exactly what they want? The AP had a story last night about other barbarians operating in Syria that aren't getting as much attention:
At the center is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front. But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say.
Instead, they were sent by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a U.S.-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials. In addition, according to classified U.S. intelligence assessments, the Khorasan militants have been working with bomb-makers from al-Qaida's Yemen affiliate to test new ways to slip explosives past airport security.
The fear is that the Khorasan militants will provide these sophisticated explosives to their Western recruits who could sneak them onto U.S.-bound flights.
In other words, how much coordination do these groups have and is the Khorasan group willing to be some sort of proxy international terror arm to ISIS that will be employed once the Obamabombing begins in Syria?  We are told that AQ doesn't get along with ISIS.  But maybe this is an enemy of my enemy thing and Izzat al-Duri's trained band of Islamic hooligans are craftier than they appear.  

Or on the flip side, maybe these ISIS guys are just as dumb as they appear and have been hoodwinked into provoking the bear by their ex-Saddam Ba'athist trainers who themselves might want the US to come in and destroy them so they can jump into the vacuum and re-take Iraq.  Useful idiots, just as Saddam viewed them.

Hopefully the Decider Guy can figure out all the possible chess moves on the back nine today.  

PS, snark aside, this Times article is troubling if any part of it is true.  

Side Tracks

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Hostages

The story of David Rohde, a reporter for the New York Times who escaped capture by the Taliban several years ago, has never been sufficiently told to the American people.   Part of the reason seems to be because of what happened behind the scenes, which makes the mainstream press appear even more unbelievably hypocritical and duplicitous than they already are.

For instance, here's how Wikipedia explains a massive press blackout engineered by the Times to help save Mr. Rohde:
Rohde's kidnapping was kept quiet by much of the world's media following a request from the New York Times not to publicize the abduction. At least 40 news agencies were reported to know about the kidnapping, but observed the media blackout.[9]
A few outlets did briefly report the news. It was first reported by Pajhwok Afghan News in November 2008, citing two Afghan officials on the day after the abduction.[10] Al Jazeera[4] and the Italian news agency Adnkronos initially reported the kidnapping, as did the right-wing blogs Little Green Footballs, The Jawa Report and Dan Cleary, Political Insomniac.
In March 2009 Michael Yon "just did a small item because it was pretty much out there." Other bloggers and agencies were contacted by the Times and agreed to take their pieces down.[11] Yon kept information subsequent to his initial report quiet "upon request from related parties."[12] Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor & Publisher, described it as "the most amazing press blackout on a major event that I have ever seen.
Keep reading that piece and you'll find that Wikipedia itself was in on the deal:
Wikipedia also participated in the media blackout. Prior to any references to the kidnapping being added to Rohde's article in Wikipedia, a Times reporter, Michael Moss, made changes to the article to emphasize the work that Rohde had done, in such a way that Rohde would be seen by his captors as being sympathetic to Muslims.
Subsequently, reports of the kidnapping, which began on the following day, were removed by Michael Moss and some Wikipedia administrators. The Times also approached Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales for assistance in enforcing the media blackout. Wales turned to "trusted" Wikipedia administrators to repeatedly edit the article to remove all references to the kidnapping, and prevent already published information from being further disseminated
What an incredible effort.  They even made up stuff to help him. 

Contrast that diligence with the sad ending to James Foley's capture. After his beheading a story soon came out that the US Military, on orders from the Commander Guy, executed a risky raid deep into Syria to rescue Mr. Foley and fellow captives but it failed.

Many at the time remarked about how such a story could put the remaining hostages' lives in danger, not to mention it being classified information.  The administration explained their hands were tied in releasing the story because someone leaked it to the press and the press was going to publish it.  So they put it out, along with a lot more details, which drew the ire of a few Pentagon officials according to Rohde's old paper. 

Now another hostage has been beheaded.  He's not a journalist (aid worker, or perhaps even MI6), but Foley and Sotloff were certainly in the same line of work Rohde was in--and there are other journalists being held. 

So why wouldn't the mainstream press exercise the same diligence with this rescue story as they did with the Rohde story?  Why didn't they tell the Obama administration they would sit on it like they did with the Rohde story?  Maybe get the New York Times involved to put some weight behind it?   They knew breaking such a story could place the others in more danger. 

It also would be helpful to know who leaked this to the press and why, or on whose authority.  The Obama administration has gone after more leakers than any previous administration therefore someone in Holder's office has surely opened a criminal investigation, right media?  So c'mon, do some digging.  A Pulitzer may await.  Do right by your colleagues. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Are we Winning?

The Global War on Islamic Terrorism, that is.  Are we winning?  That question was asked quite often during the Bush administration.  It doesn't seem to get asked much under Obama. Matter of fact, just a few years ago Obama folks were suggesting the war was on the verge of being won. 

But according to the Rand Corp, we are certainly not winning in any sense of the word, assuming the definition of winning is cutting down the number and influence of Islamic terrorists.  The fact that a liberal president and preemptive recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize had to go back to war in a place he had "ended one" in 2011 says a lot about the threat.
Here on the 13th anniversary of the second major jihadist attack on America (the first one didn't get everyone's attention), it's worth asking today where we stand.   Such a discussion could easily get a little long-winded and ambiguous, but it's more useful to observe how our leadership is framing the battle and the combatants today.

We begin at the State Department briefing, where spokesgal Marie Harf was asked today about the term 'war on terror'.  She said she's never used it, nor would she ever use it to describe what's going on with terrorism.  Earlier today her boss John Kerry was asked whether the United States was 'at war' with ISIS-- he said no.

Evidently the State Department doesn't characterize dropping bombs and forming a war coalition to aid 'moderate' boots on the ground to fight a common enemy as a 'war'.  It's something else, perhaps a "contingency operation" in response to "workplace violence" from "violent extremists".

Even the Commander-in-Chief himself, during his 'tough' speech last night announcing we're going to increase our non-war kinetic activity against a non-enemy, couldn't even admit that ISIS was 'Islamic'.   

Top everything off with the administration's weird but apparently deliberate strategy of calling IS, or ISIS, "I S I L" or Isil.  IS came about when AQ in Iraq, later Islamic State of Iraq, merged with a like-minded groups operating in Syria against Assad and changed their name to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Levant), or ISIS.  Some say the last S means "Greater Syria".   ISIL is another name for it, using L for Levant, an area which includes Israel.  They now call themselves the Islamic State while the administration continues to call them ISIL. 

Why?  The possibilities are many, including: 1) not acknowledging them as a State, which was made clear in the speech last night, 2) ISIS sounds meaner than ISIL (the Ace of Spades people were calling Obama's plan VAGISIL today), or 3) The last S in ISIS connotes "Syria", which the administration wants no part of due to their recent history there so they use the L for Levant, maybe to tweak Israel, who knows. 

So, in 2014 our leadership will not admit our terrorist enemies are Islamic, can't agree on what to call them, and don't consider us at war with them, despite using the Authorization for Use of Military Force to 'destroy' them with war weapons.   That's where we stand.   Are we winning?  Doesn't appear so.   But if winning actually means 'containing' or 'managing', or making them a 'nuisance', well, we're not quite hitting that goal either, depending on the definition of nuisance.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Prime Time Two Step

The Communicator-in-Chief will be hitting the airwaves tonight to explain what he's not going to do in Iraq.   Sounds like must-not-see TV.   Here are some fearless predictions:

1.  We will not be going to war in Iraq again because the Iraq war is over and the troops have come home. Obama is the president who ends wars. 

2.  The over 1000 US servicemen/women boots on the ground already in Iraq are not combat boots.  If you believe they are-- then your mother wears them.  Non-combat boots are different boots. 

3.  Bush got us into this mess.  Never forget, always remember.   

4.  "ISIL" will be contained and destroyed, but the Gates of Hell are a long way from here.  It could take years and cost millions (no wait, that was from Animal House).  No, ISIL will be destroyed over time by the massive Kurdish forces and the Free Syrian Army we haven't armed yet (maybe because they sold Sotloff to ISIS).  The United States will provide limited air support designed not to significantly risk any lives except collateral lives, which are expendable.  We will never stop until we destroy this force of disaffected dead-enders who bitterly cling to their God and guns and xenophobia.   Wait, that's the Tea Party.    

5.  The world, at last count nine countries, is with us.  Compare that to the cowboy Bush, who unilaterally attacked Iraq on his own, with a few, maybe, 35 countries, but countries like Poland.  Haha, Poland!

6.  Tomorrow is 9/11.  AQ Core has already been decimated and bin Laden is dead.  We must nation-build at home, free illegal aliens, and build more highways, as soon as the real terrorists in Congress see the light.  Maybe they can take an object lesson from our new non-war strategy against ISIS.  God bless 'merica. 

In support of this major speech the president met with a bi-partisan set of luminaries, sometimes called "40 pound brains" in DC.  One of those was disgraced former National Security Advisor Sandy "Socks" Berger, who famously pilfered and destroyed archive documents in supporting the Clintons during the 9/11 investigation.

He also still believes the hit on Al-Shifa pharma plant in Khartoum in 1998 was based on good intelligence, this despite the intelligence being that Iraq was helping Bin Laden cook up VX nerve gas.  It's almost as strange as Obama hiring James Clapper, the same guy who said Iraq sent their WMDs to Syria.  

So what does Berger know and why was he willing to give up his law license to protect it?
What information was worth risking his reputation, his career, and his freedom to keep hidden? And who was he risking that for? Recently, the Board of the DC Bar, which had granted Berger his license, began asking those questions.
There was only one way to stop that investigation, to keep from answering questions about what he did and why he did it, to keep the Bar from questioning his colleagues in the Clinton Administration about what had been in the documents Berger destroyed. Berger took that step, surrendering his license, and stopping the investigation.
Maybe more interesting is why the GOP never made Berger a massive target of ridicule and investigation.  Was Berger's act similar to Bush's (and Obama's) classification of 28 pages of a congressional report on the 9/11 attacks regarding foreign involvement in terrorism, thought to be Saudi influence (you can glean a lot about this from the Memos for Record released by the 9/11 Commission, especially a guy named al-Bayoumi).  Or just skanky politics?  There was a lot of butt covering after the attack to protect reputations, careers and nest eggs so it's possible Berger was just trying to cover up something like this.

But was that alone significant enough to risk getting caught in a felony act and later surrendering his legal career?   Seems hardly.   Whatever the case, he was advising the president last night, which was completely un-newsworthy to the mainstreamers, who found this advisor on the other side of town much more appalling.

STRATEGY  9/10/14

Let's be clear.  Seriously.   Obama hasn't been a total slacker on terrorism, overall.  He's tried to hide the battle here and there (Major Hasan, Abdulhakim in Little Rock, a few others) but he has taken out a few top dogs.  Other than bin Laden, he's taken out al-Liby, Awlaki, the leader of al-Shabaab, and various lower level AQ terrorists on the wanted list.  Zawahiri is still at large, but doesn't seem very effective.  So as to what he calls 'core' AQ, he's done well.  Kept up with Bush's pace, shall we say.

Where he drops the ball is connecting dots.   AQ Core doesn't matter anymore.  The organization branched out years ago, knowing it would be harder to whack all the moles.  ISIS is simply a manifestation of the cause on steroids.  The reason he's dropped the ball on them is because he's so hung-up on Bush's 'dumb' war in Iraq--and all the political capital for the Democrats in continuing that paradigm--that he cannot see terrorists sharing the AQ ideology in Iraq the same as he sees them elsewhere.  So he pretends they are "JV" because he thinks "core" AQ is the only threat due to 9/11.   But 9/11 was a cheap operation done with a handful of jihadis out of Afghanistan.   They must all be confronted, no matter where they are. 

So that's what he needs to say.   He needs to remind everyone the battle is not against 'core' or 'ISIL' or various factions, it's against the radical Islamist ideology that relies on religious supremacy at the point of a scimitar.   No matter what dumbass name they call themselves.   He's correct they cannot be entirely eliminated, but if he wants to reach the people he's got to explain the enemy and why it's important to keep fighting back.  Such a thing requires the courage of calling a spade a spade.      

HERE IT IS..  9/10/14

This is what the White House is tweeting right now....

In other words, "you are either with us, or with the terrorists".   How bizarre, coming from the guy who called Iraq a dumb war, the worst foreign policy mistake ever, was against the surge, then heralded his removal of all the troops while people said it might be the greatest success of his presidency, a withdrawal that led to ISIS.  All so he could get in front of cameras and say we are going to destroy these terrorists and announcing his bold new doctrine, despite having ignored the terrorists in Iraq and Syria for over 3 years.

And this coming after an emotionless speech whereupon he declared the "Islamic State" was "not Islamic" (Bush once said AQ had "hijacked" Islam) and that America is safer as he's removed all the troops from Iraq while announcing 450 more are heading over there (making almost 1500 now).
It's as if we're living the script of a bad movie.   

Monday, September 08, 2014

Press on Cathy Passing

Lots of stories this morning about the passing of Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A. Here's a snippet from the AP's eulogy:
Those religious views helped win Cathy and his family loyal following from conservative customers, but also invited protests when Cathy’s son denounced gay marriage. Cathy’s son, Dan, who is currently chairman and president of the chain, had told the Baptist Press in 2012 that the company was “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family.”
The WaPo described this comment in both headline and story as 'controversial'.  CNN also used 'controversial' and featured a picture of Cathy with the evil George W. Bushitler.  True, it was controversial in the gay community, but in late 2011 the President said:
“I’m still working on it,” Obama said when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos whether he would move from supporting civil unions for same-sex couples to supporting gay marriage.
The president's rationale for opposing gay marriage was religiously based. But apparently opposition to Biblical traditional marriage became 'controversial' in 2012 as soon as Obama changed his mind. 

So a poor kid in America gets an idea for a chicken sandwich, develops a very successful business employing thousands of people and making billions while at the same time staying true to his faith by closing the restaurant on Sundays.  A great success story in America.

But after passing it on to his son, the son replies to a question about homosexual marriage by essentially agreeing with the former positions of Obama and Hillary on the matter and the mainstream media describes this as 'controversy' and makes it a prominent feature of their eulogy on the founder.  And the politicians who never had any real views on the issue or took any principled stands are heralded as brave.  Such is the state of America in 2014.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Side Tracks

Outstanding.  And the main reason is because in these clips (there are several in this setting) Ian Anderson simply plays his songs as written without all the crazy meandering and blathering typical of a Tull concert performance.  Yes, that's personal preference, but he's such a good musician that it's refreshing to see him 'just play'.