Tuesday, September 30, 2014

From the JV Archives

..archives known as You Tube.  Here's the head of the 'intelligence community' speaking to Congress about the terror threat from a destabilized Syria back in January 2014:

James Clapper: "it's a huge concern to all of us". 

Here's the CinC talking to 60 Minutes last night...
Steve Kroft: What? How did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?
President Obama: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.
Emphasis added for context. So.. "they", the intel community, went under the bus.

But wait, no they didn't!  Not according to the admin press flaks today.

First, State spokesgal Marie Harf told CNN that even ISIS was surprised at how fast they took over parts of the Iraq.  She didn't say when they were surprised, such as if it was when they took over Faluja in early 2014 or Mosul in June, or Tikrit, etc.   She also didn't mention the trip al-Maliki made to the White House in November 2013 to plead for more ordnance and equipage to stop this looming AQ threat, which Obama acknowledged and promised support.  She just said everyone was surprised.  Wolf Blitzer responded by blowing kisses at her while winking. Basically.    

Back in the archives, press flak Carney talked about Iraq on November 1, 2013, saying that support would come but would not include 'boots on the ground'. Nevertheless the administration was tacitly acknowledging Iraq was in trouble almost a year ago (emphasis added)..
MR. CARNEY: The President believes it’s in the interest of the United States to have a robust relationship with Iraq and to help Iraq deal with its security challenges, and to help Iraq deal with its overall challenges as it makes its way out of decades and decades of dictatorship and tyranny, and then a decade of terrible violence.
And that's in the United States’ interest to do that. The President does firmly believe that it was the right thing to do to end that war. And he obviously believed that it was the wrong thing to do to get involved in that war. But when he became President, it was his responsibility to make sure that we ended that war in a way that protected our national security interests.
Q You keep saying that the President does believe that he needs to provide a relationship that helps with security. If Prime Minister Maliki is saying, hey, he needs even more help with security, does that mean the President would be open to some sort of special forces, some sort of troops? Or is there sort of a line?
MR. CARNEY: I don't anticipate -- no, I don't anticipate troops on the ground. What I think will be a focus of the discussions is the ways in which the United States can provide assistance. We are providing assistance and believe it’s important that we make that case on Capitol Hill. I wouldn't expect any announcements, but if you're asking about boots on the ground, I think we've made clear we withdrew from Iraq and we think that we can continue to provide assistance to Iraq in its effort against al Qaeda short of boots on the ground through our foreign military sales and through other means.
So the PM of Iraq itself told the admin in 2013 they needed help due to a growing threat, but months later they were all surprised when it actually occurred!   The funny thing is, Kroft's question wasn't necessarily about Syria but the speed of conquest across the entire IS area, including Iraq, which works better with the surprise meme (surprised the Iraq Army collapsed so fast).  Trouble is Obama blew the answer.  His reply to a question about the rapid expansion of ISIS was to blame Jim Clapper for not seeing the rise of ISIS in Syria.  Yet everyone saw that in 2013.

ABC's Jon Karl later grilled spokesman Josh Earnest about how the president couched the blame, coming with facts such as archived warnings given by the intel community in 2013 and even comments made by State officials at the Baghdad embassy in 2013 as to the unlikelihood of the Iraqi Army standing and fighting AQ.  Didn't matter, Earnest puppeted the official line was that everyone was surprised.

Ed Henry of Fox followed up and asked whether this wasn't an intelligence failure and whether Clapper or somebody should be fired.  Earnest bizarrely stuck to the script.

Finally, the NBC reporter asked if the White House had seen the information and simply misinterpreted it.  She was told no, everything was a surprise you see.   It's hard to know whether the fighters will fight.  Except that's not what Obama was talking about when he threw Clapper and company under the Greyhound.

But, that's their story and they're sticking to it, even after Obama flubbed it.   

This isn't hard to figure.  Obama is the most liberal Democrat to hold office since Roosevelt.  He came into office with two main goals-- "end" the foreign wars (which he likely considered US imperialism anyway, causing the terrorism) and make America a more socialist state through re-distribution (mainly via taxes and global warming initiatives).

The problem is O is not a Prime Minister or even simply a president, he is a Commander-in-Chief.  He shied away from directly confronting the growing terror resurgence in Iraq and Syria (due in part to his 'ending' the war in Iraq in 2011, which the press failed to mention today) as long as he could until heads literally started coming off.   Now he brags of a robust coalition dropping bombs and taking the fight to the enemy, go 'merica F yeah that's how we roll baby!  But we don't roll like that dumb Bush, because there ain't gonna be no combat boots on the ground even if the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says he needs them to eventually win.

Yes, it's an assumption to assume Obama wants to 'win'.  With him winning is more defined on the domestic landscape.  Foreign wars are all hazy gray material, it's the Tea Party and GOP who are the real black and white terrorists and must be defeated at all costs!   The prez can't seriously expect the same ragtags who dropped their guns at the first sign of Toyotas approaching with black flags to suddenly pick them up and fight like Audie Murphy.  He's already said the citizen doctors, lawyers and accountants in the Free Syrian Army are incapable of defeating one force much less two.  And he knows the local Kurdish Pesh Merga with light arms are in business to protect Kurdistan, nothing else.

In reality he probably wants to bomb ISIS just enough to quell their advance but not so much that they remain in the top spot of domestic news cycles.  He still hasn't finished his domestic agenda and time is running out.  But he's willing to say anything to get it done. 

MORE  9/30/14

What a bizarre start to a press briefing.  State spokeslady Jen Psaki took over 7 minutes giving reporters a fairy tale rendition of how the administration was actually well aware of the ISIS threat all along and was almost ready to blast them after January 2014, back when they were being called the JV team.  She said she did it to correct some misunderstandings.  Eh, like from the president himself. who said everyone was surprised at their rise in Syria because Jim Clapper missed it?

As a Reuters reporter mentioned, if America was so engaged all along why was ISIS able to take over so much of Iraq so fast?   Her answer was the new line--the Iraqi Army sucked.  That's what surprised everyone (except the president, who blamed Jim Clapper).  But as ABC pointed out yesterday, Brett McGurk told Congress the Iraqi Army was not likely to fight back in January.  They are flailing. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Side Tracks

As the comments say, he nailed that solo. 

Denial runs deep

On Thursday a woman in Moore, OK was beheaded by a converted Muslim after he was fired from her company.  The suspect was reportedly yelling religious chants during the episode.   For some reason it didn't become a big story until Friday, whereupon it was explained as, although a little weird, just another episode of "workplace violence" with no 'nexus' to any terrorism.

Today the Drudge Report has a headline regards a nexus to terrorism, but a check of the mainstream news websites shows the story is already starting to fall off the front page.  

Meanwhile several reporters grilled White House press flak Josh Earnest on Friday over his steadfast contention that "Core" AQ has been "decimated". 

The White House is holding on to the thinnest of reeds to make the case, ie, Afghanistan is no longer home to AQ and Bin Laden is dead, so they can't easily hatch international plots.  Aside from the fact Bush had a lot to do with reducing their numbers, it doesn't really matter.  AQ has branched out into affiliates across the greater Islamic world to include individuals like Major Hasan.  The ideology is still being pumped by former number two Zawahiri and several other top leaders and operatives, who are training others to take over.  ISIS is a virtual state.  Continuing to say AQ has been 'decimated' makes our administration almost sound insane. 

Besides, it doesn't take a large personnel infrastructure, command and control, and millions of dollars to pull off attacks in the West that can kill thousands.  Our free society is full of vulnerabilities. 

The denial even extends to this new Khorasan Group, aka AQ, aka "AQ from Iran".   Iran has been helping AQ strategically to use them as leverage with the West over their nuke program as both factions understand that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a game-changer regards Israel and the Western powers.  Meanwhile our embassies in Tripoli and San'a have been abandoned due to unrest despite Obama recently using our actions in Yemen as a benchmark for success.

The sad fact is that despite the money we've spent and lives lost, Islamic radicalism isn't dead.  It's not on the run.  It hasn't been decimated.  It's a religious movement grounded in a harsh interpretation of a holy book that lays our political steps as to how lives are to be led, which is 180 degrees opposite of western values. It is literally a clash of civilizations.  The fight will be long and messy.  We have no choice but to continue or surrender large chunks of the world to this ideology.

But speaking that kind of truth to the electorate really doesn't help garner votes because Americans like their wars short and concise, not long and messy.  And they like their ideological sides, right and left, because the other side contains the evil stupid bastards responsible for the mess their side is having to clean up.  Not much room for understanding when this divide is allowed to remain wide open by political leaders for their own means.  

Back to Moore, Oklahoma.  If people truly wonder about what might turn a troubled young convict into a jihadist, read Morten Storm's book "Agent Storm", the chronicles of a Danish motorcycle thug who after years of trouble with the law converted to Islam and eventually befriended some of radical Islam's top leaders. Like Storm, Jah’Keem Yisrael, aka Alton Nolen of Oklahoma, found religion after years of trouble, perhaps drawn to the rigidity and paternalism of Islam.  He was possibly acting against an 'enemy' (bin Laden considered no Americans as innocent) by attacking his former employer.  Agent Storm, aka "Murad", eventually comes to his senses over the killing of innocents and turncoats to western intelligence to help them infiltrate AQAP and al-Shabaab.

It's a fascinating read (even if embellished some) not only shining light on radical thought but also on the contradictions of a free Western society that allows gay marriage, drugs, booze, rampant sex, scantily clad young women with tattoos and lax morals, which can be every bit as big a recruiter as was George Bush's Iraq war or GITMO.  The problem always goes back to the Muslim Sharia solution to such things, evidence of which keeps coming out on grisly web videos and is the main reason our Nobel Peace Prize President "who ends wars" has started bombing Iraq again and now Syria, even as his minions claim over and over that the enemy has been decimated.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sense out of Chaos

The Middle East has devolved into a tangle of alliances and factions so ridiculous it seems only a drunk man could make sense of anything.   A year ago the United States was calling for bombing raids on Bashar Assad, the new Hitler of Syria who had used WMDs on his own people; a year later, after no raids on Assad, America likely informs him (and Iran) of bombing raids on his enemies via Iraqi emissaries and he assists by not shooting at them. 

Over the same year Obama teetered on aligning with AQ factions, Syrian Islamic Freedom fighters, Iran, Iraqi Shiites, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Russia, and Hizballah.  Not to mention the craziness still taking place in Libya, which is being completely ignored by the US mainstreamers.

One of the goofier conundrums has been the Khorasan gang.  The leadership of this AQ-faction operating out of Syria formerly operated in Iran with the Mullah's blessings.  This is the same Iran that Obama and the West are negotiating with over a nuclear weapons program.  What in the world?!   We were told Iran's Shiites hate Sunni extremists.  And they do--but in this case the relationship might be a microcosm of how the game is played in the desert sands of Arabia, Persia and South Asia.

Iranian president Rouhani seems to have cleared it up in his UN speech:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday sought to leverage the crisis in the Middle East to ease sanctions on his country as part of nuclear talks, suggesting during a United Nations address that security cooperation between Iran and other nations could only occur if they struck a favorable nuclear deal.
Iran has a long history of holding AQ figures under 'house arrest', ie, outright supporting our sworn enemy. The Treasury Department long ago weighed in on this and only recently identified another supported group.

So we have a country holding Core AQ figures under their protection, allowing them to plot and plan free from Western drones, bombers and Special Forces, now telling Western nations if they want help get rid of a threat (Iran helped create) they best treat them right in the nuclear negotiations.  They are basically trying to hold us hostage, which should bring into question a lot of other things from the past.  

Hopefully the Hacker-in-Chief has a nifty poker hand to play on this one.  Give him credit so far--going after the Khorasans in the ISIS bombing raids was probably designed to remove one of Rouhani's poker chips, although word is the Khorasans have been "dark" since mid summer suggesting some had been tipped.  Eh, where is the booze...   

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"The People's.." Fill in the Blank

Anytime someone has a rally or function and calls it "the People's" this or that, bank on it being a socialist rally. 

Case in point, climate change marches happened this week around the world, one big one in New York.  A reporter writing for Grist took a train trip from California to the Big Apple with about 170 attendees of "the People's Climate March" (they called it the People's Train while riding there).  In talking to one of the on board organizers she got this quote:
Make sure you have a lot of grandmothers at your protest, says Marina Skinner, who worked as a deputy field organizer for President Obama’s first campaign. “When you see an 80-year-old person, that is your walking billboard.”
And don’t be afraid to censor the protests that you are in charge of. “You are giving birth to a new movement,” Skinner says, “and one of the things that you learn in birthing class is that you are in control of your own birth.
When Obama and Biden were campaigning, if someone was holding a sign that wasn’t their message, they just told them to take that sign down. It was as simple as that. The civil rights movement did it. You can do it too.”
In other words, do anything or say anything, because the goal is so important that lying, deception or obfuscation are OK. After all it's for the planet!  And the children!  And 80 year old grandmothers!

This ends justify means principle is used by both sides in politics, but generally speaking conservatives tend to feel guilty after doing it while liberals tend to embrace it wholeheartedly.  Case in point, the president's gumby-like handling of the truth leading up to the 2012 election...

It's one thing for this principle to be used with campaign promises. It's quite another for it to be used with factual issues, such as a health care plan or the state of the climate.  Yet there's Al Gore five years ago, giving us science lessons and bold predictions that turned out to be a pile of dog poop.  The pie he got in the face for those gaffes never approached a slow day of news about Sarah Palin.  Contrast it to how Jon Stewart just came down on a few GOP congressmen.   

This week the same president who, as Stephen Colbert might say, was 'truthy' about his own health care plan and threats from foreign terrorists in 2012 will be telling everyone on Earth about the need to 'sacrifice' to save the planet.  What sacrifice?  Well, that's where the People's Climate March comes in, part of which became "Flood Wall Street":  they point to the sacrifice being the end of western capitalism.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


How did this happen?
WASHINGTON — A Texas man who scaled the White House fence made it through the North Portico doors on Friday night before being apprehended, the Secret Service said.
The intruder, Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, was arrested just inside the doors and taken to George Washington University Hospital after complaining of chest pains, said Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman.
As the article says, most fence scalers are tackled immediately after they successfully cross. Yet this 42 year old guy was able to get over the fence then sprint to the White House and go in the front door before 'being tackled'?  No shots fired, not even any dogs?

Some will point out that the presidential entourage had just left the grounds so the first family was not in jeopardy, while CNN is reporting that Gonzales "was known" to the Secret Service, as if to say they knew he was more a nut than a terrorist, but if they didn't consider his act dangerous they wouldn't have evacuated the West Wing.  For all they knew he had a bomb sewn in his underwear and was going to blow up the Oval Office.  

Something doesn't smell right here.

MORE  9/20/14

The WaPo has more:
A sensor alarm automatically goes off when any unauthorized person crosses the fence line, and is transmitted to every on-duty agent’s radio and in the joint-operations command center. In many scenarios, if the jumper ignores demands to stop, a canine-team handler will release a trained dog to subdue the person.
But the dog was not released in this case, according to officials’ review of the event and evidence from Friday night. The Secret Service’s security review will look closely at why that dog wasn’t released. It typically takes a person sprinting across the grounds at least 20 to 25 seconds to make it from the fence line to the mansion.
Canine teams are trained to have their dog in position to be released within four seconds of the alarm sounding. The dog is trained to bite the arm or leg of the person they are sent to stop, and usually hold the person on the ground until their handler arrives. “We’re asking, why not release the dog?” said one law enforcement person who is reviewing the incident. “That would have stopped this.”
In October 2013 the Secret Service gunned down a woman in her car outside the White House with a baby on board after she allegedly tried to ram a gate on the property.  On September 11 this year dogs were used to subdue a white guy who jumped the fence dressed in a Pokemon hat and he only got about 10 yards from the fence line.  Let's hope political correctness has not intruded on Secret Service policies/actions.

It's hard to believe anyone would have time to say, "hey, don't shoot him or release the dogs because he's Hispanic and that might look bad for Obama in the media" but one also has to wonder whether things would have been done differently if he was wearing a black ISIS shirt or God forbid, a "Don't Tread on Me" flag shirt.   

MORE  9/21/14

Turns out Mr. Gonzales did have a weapon after all. Quite frankly a policy of "suspect doesn't appear to have a weapon or backpack" or however the Secret Service explains their reluctance to shoot is pretty much unbelievable considering what someone could be carrying without showing.

Of course the national mainstream media is all over this--as they should be--especially since Gonzales is reported to be an Iraqi vet suffering from PTSD.   Contrast their coverage of this with their almost non-existent coverage of Ali Mohammed Brown, a suspected domestic terrorist who killed 4 people, including 2 gay men, presumably in the name of Allah.  Yeah, just sayin.

MORE  9/22/14

This continues to be a little weird.   In one story we learn Mr. Gonzalez is a modern 'Chicken Little', allegedly telling the Secret Service the 'atmosphere was collapsing' and that he needed to get the word out to the big guy so he could warn everyone.  Yeah, nuttier than a fruitcake.

Yet in another story we get this:
However, neither prosecutors nor Gonzalez’s assigned defense attorneys invoked his mental competency as an issue for now. Assistant Federal Public Defender David Bos said Gonzalez understands the proceeding against him.
No doubt the national media is very interested in this story due to Mr. Gonzalez' background, which they might see as the Tea Bagger gun nut category--perfect to pound before the upcoming mid-terms--but saying 'the atmosphere is collapsing' is more in line with an environmental loon.   And that's a rabbit hole they will likely not descend within. 

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'. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Is that cool or what!

A nice Friday stroll after a trying week. 

The president detoured to Stonehenge to knock an item off his bucket list today.   No word on who paid for this private side trip, which was designed to tick off the fiscal conservatives in the Tea Party and John McCain, according to anonymous sources who were later arrested for leaking.   No word on any other sites that might be on the list or when US taxpayer funded transport aircraft might be diverted to help in future efforts. Insiders hint the North Pole is on the list, along with a certain bar in the Philippines.   

A lot was accomplished during the week despite the trials and tribs.   Obama finally won the argument with himself, declaring Friday that despite what Obama said Wednesday he would degrade and destroy ISIS to the extent possible, using a coalition of nine countries.  John Kerry quickly added there would be no "boots on the ground"--a "red line"--this despite over 1000 boots already on the ground.  No word on the consequences for Obama in breaking Kerry's red line or whether Kerry knew boots were already on the ground.  Asked for comment later Kerry's servant said the Secretary was out wind surfing.

But that wasn't the only news.  Asked by reporters earlier if the US considered itself 'at war' with ISIS, administration flaks quickly said 'no' despite the new strategy to degrade and destroy ISIS, who as recently as Wednesday could be managed but have apparently grown out of control and must now be destroyed, using a new rule created by Obama's pen and phone called the We Are Not at War Powers Bombing Act.  

This idea was expanded upon later by Joe Biden (he had stopped at a biker bar for directions after detraining at the wrong Amtrak station) who said America would pursue ISIS to the Gates of Hell as he chatted up a Hell's Angel biker chick he mistook for Hillary Clinton.  Administration flaks hurriedly tried to explain, saying "Obama ends wars.  We are not at war with ISIS, but they are at war with George W. Bush, who drove the car into the ditch and we're going to take away the keys".  NBC News' new Sunday Show host Chuck Todd nodded in agreement over his cheaters, scribbling something in his notepad looking serious.
Feeling left out, Michelle Obama and Jen Psaki considered starting a new hashtag campaign aimed at ISIS but couldn't quite come up with a catchy phrase like 'bring back our girls', considering what our citizens have lost in the past few weeks.  So that idea was quickly abandoned in favor of calling Bill O'Reilly a sexist meany on Facebook (or as BOR calls it, a machine).   There will be a one-hour Factor special on the brouhaha Tuesday.    

Some political analysts say the Stonehenge stop was a diversion away from a harsh reality of a president who won a Nobel Prize for ending dumb wars of aggression and, well, for being himself, having to start a war in an area where he had declared the war "over" after withdrawing all troops.  The decision to "destroy" anything appears to be a hard sell amongst his cabinet members and advisers since such would certainly require a commitment of forces to Syria, a place where he failed to uphold a self-imposed red line on the use of WMDs and failed to arm the light-moderate Muslims fighting Assad, who have now become moderate-severe Muslims (along with the renovation of ISIS). According to other anonymous sources the stop at Stonehenge was a mind exercise in exiting boxes, while Ron Paul supporters claimed it shows that aliens exist and called for 9/11 to be re-investigated.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Aviation Update

Regarding the eleven Libyan aircraft that supposedly disappeared from Tripoli's main airport, is this real?   Should people worry?   Maybe, maybe not.

Here's some scuttlebutt from a pilot forum..
Basically, all A/C that have been trapped in Tripoli when fighting started mid-July are either destroyed (that's sure for an AAW A330) or at least damaged. As the airport has been a war zone for more than six weeks with no access to civilians, it is very hard to get a status on those A/C. It is reasonable to presume that they are at least damaged (A/C structure is not very bullet-tolerant or RPG-tolerant) and unable to be used in any operation (including "9/11 style"). It is estimated that AAW and LAA have each less than half of their fleet still fit to fly.
In other words, the aircraft at the airport, such as the one in the picture above, aren't going anywhere any time soon.  One of the commenters linked to a Google document that listed an inventory, showing that most of the planes based in Libya are either destroyed by the fighting or flown out to Malta or Paris. But not all of them are accounted for.  "Plane spotters", those guys/gals who like to watch planes and tend to track 'tail numbers', have been talking about this for a month now, mostly saying "not to worry".

This ties in with what Snopes says about the issue:
However, there have been no statements from the State Department, the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, or any other authority warning of stolen airliners. The national threat level has not been raised. Algerian and Moroccan military and air defense, already on high alert due to the unrest just across their borders with Libya, would undoubtedly have noticed multiple flights of unidentified passenger aircraft.
Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't.   If the aircraft flew south through Libya into Mali without a transponder turned on, for instance, few would notice. MH370 flew through radar coverage as a primary target (no data tag) and the operators missed it.  The Snopes article was also bizarrely weak on facts to support a 'probably false' conclusion.  It's interesting too that several of the Airliners.net discussion threads on the missing airplanes have been pulled from their site.  

Snopes largely based their 'probably false' judgment on the fact the US Government hasn't raised any red flags yet.  But would they?   Especially if governments knew that jihadists had possession of eleven commercial aircraft?   Seems that could be panic-inducing.  A more reasonable assumption is that western intelligence would be quietly trying to find the aircraft to seize them back, or worse case, blow them up on the ground.

Another problem with the Snopes piece is it claims these news stories were based on rumors out of North Africa that somehow got passed along and were taken as facts by western newspapers.  But in reading the various reports they all cite "intelligence agencies" or a "US official":
A U.S. official familiar with the reports told the Beacon: "There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing. We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes."
Snopes did not include that dynamic in their report, ie, that western intelligence was actually getting their info from the newspapers, who were reporting as gospel rumors out of Africa.  Let's hope western intelligence isn't relying on outfits like USA Today or World Net Daily in getting their info, because if so they need to change their moniker to drop the word "intelligence".

At the same time, the respected Janes Defense doesn't think much of this threat, which may say something.  There is a lot of hype going on with ISIS, Libya, and the coming anniversary of 9/11.   It's not outside the realm of possible for the mainstream news orgs to consider a story like this "too good to check", at least until later. 

Bottom line, more information is needed before any 'probably false' or 'head for the hills' judgments can be made.   If "western intelligence" is truly concerned perhaps everyone else should be as well--but so far we only have some heightened military awareness from Libya's neighbors (standard considering the capital and main airport have fallen) and some leaks.  Assuming this to be a credible threat assumes a lot, but eleven airliners is far too close to the number projected in Project Bojinka to outright dismiss any plots.  As we saw with 9/11, they never give up on their plots. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Groping for a Strategy

Here's White House intelligence guy Ben Rhodes speaking to the media about the beheading of James Foley..

A terrorist attack against America, absolutely.  Here's State Dept spokeslady Jen Psaki today, on the apparent beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff..

No characterization.  In other words, these are "terrorist attacks against America" but we are not at war with "ISIL", despite the spokeslady's proud recital of over 100 bombing raids against this non-enemy.  Apparently it's now the policy of the United States to bomb entities using the War Powers Act that we are not at war against.  Just because they attack us and threaten our people and we bomb doesn't make them enemies at war with us.  Just disagreements.  It takes a true believer to stay on such a crooked path, folks.

In the meantime US drones may have taken out the leader of al-Shabaab in Somalia.  Awaiting confirmation. There are some places, such as sub-Saharan Africa for instance, where we can wage the fight against radical Islam (and even Joseph Kony, who hasn't declared war or killed Americans) without worry over politics or political correctness.   

MORE  9/2/14

If the report on the eleven missing airliners in Libya is correct (it depends on who has them), well, that's troubling enough, but consider there's also significance with the number eleven that goes beyond the date of the 9/11 attacks.  Surely the intelligence pro's haven't missed that coincidence.  


....and says we will DESTROY ISIL... into a manageable problem.    That's so Obama.  

A bit surprised that the bigger story isn't the audio/video shown on Fox News last night showing Obama bragging that if he were elected president it would be so awesome for the world because peace would break out everywhere.   If he really believed that it might explain why he's stumbling around now over all the problems in the world--dealing with a crumbling personal worldview is difficult, but probably 1000X difficult if you're the biggest leader of that world and suddenly realize that everything you used to believe is bullshit.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Of Naked Pictures and Emperors

Some in the media are actually beginning to notice that our president's grand RtP policy in Libya might be springing a leak..
Libyan militia members have apparently turned the abandoned U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, into a water park, judging by amateur video posted to YouTube on Sunday. The video, which reflects the anarchy that currently reigns in Libya's capital, shows fully clothed men diving into and swimming in a pool.
To those who say the embassy was abandoned so this means nothing--consider this: while the State Dept may consider it a vacant building the Islamists certainly do not and will broadcast their frolicking around the pool to the Arab Street as a powerful symbol of US decline in the face of fundamentalism. Coupled with the murdering of our ambassador in Benghazi, they've got a point.  

By the way, there are rumors the other captured American journalist held by ISIS, Steven Sofloff, was taken in Libya, not Syria.  And of course as mentioned on this blog numerous times CNN reported that AQ in Iraq (ISIS) fighters were present for the attack in Benghazi.   There appears to be a nexus. 
So recapping.....we have a failed policy in Libya after US air power intervention, a failed policy in Egypt trying to prop up the Muslim Brotherhood only to see it upended by a military coup and new dictator, a loss of all our progress in Iraq with the advent of a Saddam regime-led insurgency army using captured US military hardware who have killed an American, and a black eye over Syria, where the leader of the free world set a red line then allowed WMDs to be used without harsh consequences.

Is it any wonder why Mr. Flexible, Vlad Putin, is about to invade Ukraine after "helping" our president on the red line problem while being a cog in the nuke negotiations in Iran?  Is it shocking that a Chinese fighter jet did di-do's around one of our surveillance planes in international airspace now claimed by them, immediately following a visit to Vietnam by Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey?

No.  But worry not, Bush's military-security apparatus constructed after 9/11 will continue to keep presidential fundraising and golf safe, negating the need for any immediate strategies against ISIS that might put the mid-terms in jeopardy.  First things first--winning the war against the real terrorists

Meanwhile the press is certainly outraged--about nekkid pictures of Jennifer Lawrence pilfered off 'the cloud'.  Outrageous!   The cloud is supposed to be safe!   This must be stopped!    Hey--they should all be thankful they aren't waking from a coma like Joan Rivers