Last week my husband and I were back in our hometown of Washington D.C. where we both had business and events to attend. Normally I do not write about my personal travel adventures but this trip had a rather unique “historical time capsule” element that makes it worth recanting.
My husband, a retired State Department Foreign Service officer is now an executive with Cross International/Cross Catholic Alliance, both an international Christian and Catholic humanitarian organization that improves the lives of the poor in 40 countries around the world.
He also serves on the board of an advocacy group which is comprised of similar Christian faith-based organizations.
Mid-week while attending a conference of the advocacy group, my husband told me they spent an entire afternoon discussing how Christian groups are being increasingly squeezed/harassed by the Obama Administration in matters such as hiring policies, health insurance coverage and IRS audits. (Cue the foreboding music.)
Meanwhile, Thursday on Capitol Hill, I attended a luncheon held by the Republican Women’s Federal Forum, a group in which I am a long time member and where Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the speaker.
We all know that Senator Paul is putting out feelers as to whether he should make a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but first he must increase his name identification, make some headlines and develop his brand image.
On Wednesday, the day before the Rand Paul luncheon the Congressional Benghazi “whistleblower” hearings had occurred, showering the entire town with political fall-out. So naturally, Rand Paul saw fit to weigh in on this hot topic.
Senator Paul in his Thursday lunch speech said that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi should “preclude her from holding higher office.” I immediately turned to a friend sitting next to me and said, “Now that was a headline.” It was obvious that Rand Paul had just fired his first warning shot of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Then later on, more 2016 Republican presidential campaign antics were yet to come.
In the early evening, I attended an event called POLITICO’s Playbook Cocktails with MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
The event was supposed to be about Mika’s new book called Obsessed, America’s Food Addiction – And My Own, but of course politics soon entered the discussion. Joe Scarborough said something like President Obama should have remained a U.S. Senator in order to have gained more experience, and Senator Marco Rubio was not yet ready to run for president in 2016 and should stay in the Senate. (I strongly agree with both assessments.)
As Joe was talking about the future of the Republican Party, Mika’s cell phone rang and she immediately says, “Hi Chris.” Big surprise! N.J. Governor Chris Christie called in to join the discussion and upstaged everyone on stage. Truly it was an entertaining moment and you can watch as it happened here.
During the call, Christie said his recent secret weight reducing LAP-BAND surgery was a difficult personal decision based on health and family issues, not future political considerations. He was referring to his assumed 2016 presidential run for the GOP nomination.
However, if this surgery is successful Christie will emerge physically smaller but politically larger with an image more suitable for a jog on the national campaign trail. Therefore, Christie feels the need to justify, re-justify and further defend his “tough personal” medical decision.
So my Thursday in DC could be summarized like this: Rand Paul vs. Chris Christie vs. Hillary in 2016.
Then it was Friday and ABC News revealed that there were 12 versions of the Benghazi talking points. I cheered this “breaking” news because finally the mainstream media (MSM) were on to Benghazi, after months of Fox News being ridiculed by the MSM for its non-stop pursuit of this unresolved story. (Kudos to PJM as well, along with Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard who was the first to report the Obama Administration’s multiple Benghazi talking-points. But as we Conservatives know, news is only real news when the MSM reports it.)
Then over the weekend the Benghazi story had fully evolved to where Republicans want the whole truth while Democrats accuse Republicans of using Benghazi to target Hillary for 2016. Here are two pieces I posted last week in Washington on this exact issue.
My big question is, “Why in Washington D.C. in May of 2013 does every lunch, event and hearing have to be about the 2016 presidential election?” Could it be that Washington is such a forward thinking city? (Try not to laugh.)
While my husband’s conference finished up I had a two free hours and decided to visit the American History Museum which I had not been to in years.
On my way there, news broke that the IRS had just admitted targeting Tea Party groups who were applying for perfectly legal tax-exempt status.
How timely that the group of Christian aid agencies my husband helps represent, just two days ago in their Washington meeting had discussed how their faith-based group members were being targeted for audits by the IRS. (My husband’s organization among them.)
As I entered the American History Museum my thoughts turned to Nixon and Watergate. Remember how Nixon used the IRS to harass his political enemies? In fact, that was one of Nixon’s 1974 impeachable offenses. There are, as of this writing, no direct ties to Obama, but after all, the IRS is part of his administration.
Now the American History Museum was swamped with school kids and at one point the crowd broke into a spontaneous singing of the Star Spangled Banner while unfurling a huge flag in the lobby. This outbreak of patriotism renewed my faith in the American people even as news about the IRS will undoubtedly contribute to the growing distrust Americans have towards their government.
With my museum time short, I wandered into the American war exhibits and was shocked to see that WWI and the Korean War were stuffed into very small corners. Certainly these wars deserve more space than currently allotted.
However, WWII was the exact opposite with endless rooms covering all aspects of the war. In the Home Front exhibit there were WWII posters hanging on the side of a battleship. As an owner of a small collection of WWI and WWII posters, I was delighted to see one of my own posters on display.
So now my new definition of growing old (semi-gracefully) is seeing stuff you own hanging in the Smithsonian. And to further add friends to this definition, I spotted the name of a close friend on a movie exhibit. Instantly I sent him an image of the display, exclaiming that he was “Smithsonian” famous, as opposed to just Hollywood famous. He immediately thanked me because he had not known this and was thrilled.
Finally, on Saturday we are at Reagan National heading home and in the terminal we stumble upon a group of WWII veterans arriving as part of an Honor Flight. If you are not familiar with Honor Flights they are an organization that brings WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII memorial.
Greeting them at the gate was a full band and much flag waving. Random passengers like us instantly formed lines in the terminal clapping and cheering as these heroes of the “Greatest Generation” got the welcome they richly deserved.
This spontaneous demonstration of patriotism and respect was a remarkable sight, especially after I had just visited all those Smithsonian exhibits dedicated to their struggles.
After arriving home, I had a good laugh on Sunday as Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, quoted Rand Paul’s controversial remark about Hillary that he repeated again in Iowa over the weekend. It seems 2016 is looming very large.
Then I walked into our guest room and looked lovingly at my Smithsonian WWII poster hanging on the wall. After what I consider a “time capsule” trip to Washington with so much breaking news, the poster’s slogan took on new meaning. Its stirring message is just as applicable today, whether Americans are fighting a foreign enemy or raging against their own government.
My WWII Government Printing Office poster dated 1942 says: Strong in the strength of the Lord we who fight in the people’s cause will never stop until that cause is won.
Perhaps I should send the IRS and the Obama Administration a photo of this poster? But I am sure that the poster would be outlawed today as a violation of church and state and I would be audited for even sending it.
When future historians write about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, my bet is the most memorable statement will be the one spoken by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was back in January of 2013 when Clinton finally testified before a Senate committee and famously yelled, “What difference –at this point, what difference does it make?”
Her statement was referring to a top diplomat who said, “from the beginning” everyone at the consulate thought the attack was an act of terror — as opposed to a spontaneous demonstration stemming from an anti-Islamic You Tube video — the explanation put forth by the Obama Administration.
So today, as the Benghazi hearings took place on Capitol Hill, Drudge Report, at one point, had our contest photo featured front and center with the caption, “What Difference Does It Make?”
Now I am quite sure that PJM readers can write captions much more colorful, so prove me right! However, your only restraint is the rule, “be nice and stay classy because the media is watching.” (Here again are the winners from our last contest who followed that rule and still managed to flourish.)
Perhaps decades from now, Hillary’s statement will rank as high on the “scandal statement scale” as Howard Baker’s, “What did the President know and when did he know it,” from Senate Watergate hearing fame in 1973.
That of course depends on whether voters ask the same question, “What Difference Does It Make” and apply it to Hillary’s 2016 White House plans.
And the answer to that question is still, “to be determined.”
On Wednesday, at least three State Department employees will testify before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Benghazi. They are expected to say that yes, there was a stand-down order during the battle. They may also testify that the State Department itself has tried to bully them into silence. What else they may say is not yet known.
As the Benghazi story has unfolded, many mysteries have persisted. Why wasn’t the Benghazi mission’s security enhanced? Where was President Obama? What role, if any, did Obama campaign officials play in crafting the government’s communications after the attack? Perhaps Wednesday’s witnesses can help shed some light on them.
1. Who gave the stand-down order, and why? Fox and CBS have both reported that there was a stand-down order issued during the battle in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Four Americans died, while as many as 30 survived. Assistance could have come in from U.S. bases in Italy or possibly from bases in the Middle East. There was a drone, unarmed, overhead, and there have been reports that an AC-130 gunship was also overhead at some point during the prolonged battle. The question is not, now, whether there was a stand-down order issued. Fox and CBS have independently reported that there was. The question is, how far up in the U.S. chain of command was that decision made, and why was it made? Additionally, how did U.S. forces react to that order? Was anyone relieved of command for considering or attempting to disobey that order, as has been rumored for months?
2. Where was President Obama and what was he doing? As commander-in-chief, the president is ultimately responsible for any U.S. response to attacks on our missions and personnel overseas. According to official schedules and White House answers after the fact, President Obama held a regularly scheduled meeting at 5 pm Washington time with his then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, around the time that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began. No photos from that meeting have been released. The American people have been told very little about the president’s activities that night. He held the meeting, the attack began and would unfold for several hours, and the president reportedly went to bed that night in the White House. By the time he went to bed, news had already broken that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was missing. Obama went to bed not knowing his ambassador’s fate, and reportedly learned the next morning that Stevens had been killed. No photos of the president being present or in command during the attack have ever been released by the White House. This in itself is strange behavior from a White House that even released a photo of the president, by himself, holding a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston bombing. In February, Panetta testified that he had no communication with Obama after their September 11 meeting, and in fact had no communication with anyone at the White House at all during the attack, raising the question of whether anyone was in the White House Situation Room monitoring the attack. It’s implausible that the secretary of Defense and president of the United States would not communicate at all during an attack on a U.S. facility overseas, but that is Panetta’s testimony. That mystery deepens when we consider then Secretary of State Clinton’s actions during the attack.
3. Where was Secretary of State Clinton and what was she doing? How much did Clinton know about the security situation in Benghazi before the attack? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s whereabouts and activities during the attack in Benghazi are similarly mysterious. Clinton’s State Department repeatedly rejected requests for enhancing security at Benghazi, even as Ansar al-Sharia’s power in the area grew over the summer of 2012. Why did State not beef up the Benghazi mission’s security? The Benghazi attack was focused on the U.S. consulate, which belongs to the U.S. State Department. Why Stevens was in Benghazi that night, and what the consulate may have been used for, remains unknown. One of the Wednesday whistleblowers, veteran counterterrorism officer Mark I. Thompson, is expected to testify that Secretary of State Clinton sought to cut the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making during the attack. Thompson also claims that the State Department suppressed his account after the attack. Another unnamed State official corroborates Thompson’s account. But Daniel Benjamin, head of the counterterrorism unit at the time, says Clinton never tried to cut his group out during the attack. All of this brings to mind the question, exactly what was Clinton’s role on the night of the attack? Secretary of Defense Panetta testified that he and Clinton never communicated during the attack. All three of the nation’s top national security and diplomatic officials — President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton — were in Washington that night. Panetta and Clinton were evidently engaged in responding to the attack, independently. Yet according to Panetta, they never talked to each other during the attack. Why would they not communicate during an ongoing attack on a U.S. facility overseas, if indeed they did not? Both Defense and State would surely be involved in any effective response to an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission overseas.
Tough love. But without the love.
There was one moment in President Obama’s world-weary press conference last Tuesday when he seemed genuinely interested and engaged. At the very end, when Obama had already begun to depart the podium, a reporter shouted a question about the previously obscure but now famously gay NBA center, Jason Collins. Obama returned to the podium and was animated as he expressed his pride in Collins: “I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. . . . And I think America should be proud. . . . So I’m very proud of him.”
In the meantime, between his hoop-shooting and golf-playing expeditions and his expositions on the social significance of sports, the president does have a day job. At the press conference he implicitly acknowledged that his job performance on Syria hasn’t been all that great. “What’s happening in Syria,” he said, “is a blemish on the international community generally.” But Barack Obama claims to be nothing if not a leader of “the international community.” So a blemish on the international community is a blemish on the presidency of Barack Obama.
Indeed, when it comes to Syria, even Barack Obama couldn’t claim that there’s much to be proud of: After two years of posturing and vacillating, of big talk and no action, of portentous but unenforced warnings, 75,000 people have died, Bashar al-Assad has remained in power and used chemical weapons, turmoil has spread to neighboring countries and the region has become increasingly unstable and dangerous, and America’s credibility lies in tatters.
Kristol gets in a couple more sharp digs about Collins and basketball which serve to highlight that the president is good at looking cool and concerned to his mindless cult of personality but, over four years into this, remains hopelessly out of his league when it comes to foreign policy.
But Obama may still act. Despite the wavering red line he seems to have laid down, Obama still maintains his earlier position that the (appropriately verified and confirmed, chain-of-custody and all) use of chemical weapons “would be a game-changer,” a phrase he repeated three times at his press conference, and elaborated on once: “That is a game-changer because what that portends is potentially even more devastating attacks on civilians, and it raises the strong possibility that those chemical weapons can fall into the wrong hands and get disseminated in ways that would threaten U.S. security or the security of our allies.”
So what is to be done? The options are far worse than they were two years ago. But Barack Obama must know that in the rough world of Middle East politics, as in the rough world of NBA basketball with which he seems more familiar, a game-changer unresponded-to results in a changed game. It results in defeat.
President Obama’s “Just elect me and the world will love us” foreign policy pitch in 2008 (which got a generous assist from his press monkeys) has been the nightmare any sane person knew it would be. Don’t mention that to an attendee to the court of The Idiot King, however. He or she will begin screaming “He came down from Heaven and slew the wicked bin Laden with a lightning bolt!” over and over, conflating one coordinated military and intelligence operation that began under the Bush administration with foreign policy.
But, hey, empathy or something.
Upon hearing this news I thought it was a good time to check out the list. (You never know what you will find because these days you might even spot that “quiet” neighbor or pot-smoking classmate.)
After reading the list I strongly encourage President Obama to do the same. Perhaps then he might not be so hesitant to utter the phrase, “Islamist Terrorist” when discussing the Boston bombings or the numerous other recent domestic Islamic extremist/terror attacks that were either successful or foiled.
Please feel free to forward this list to the media or elected officials who are resisting the truth about a very small number of people from a certain group who want to do our nation great harm.
From reading this list one would think that political correctness and ethnic sensitivity would take a back seat to the reality of the serious threats we face. But remember, this is 2013 and we are super-respectful of everyone’s feelings, both group and individual.
So now, be sure to keep your feelings in check as you scroll down the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List.
Most Wanted Terrorists
At the bottom of the list are several FBI legal paragraphs and now I would like to add my own:
This list has been posted as a public service by an American who loves and fears for this nation.
A right-wing blogger gambles on speculation: “Why It Is Obvious That The Boston Marathon Attack Is Islamic Terrorism” http://bit.ly/ZmGwpG
Even though my “gamble” paid off, I will not be collecting any winnings. However, two developments connected to the Boston attack — one involving a carjacking and the other a mosque — hit the winning jackpot of supreme irony.
First up is the “COEXIST” bumper sticker on the back of the Mercedes that was carjacked by the brothers Tsarnaev last Friday night. This incident began what turned out to be a deadly shoot-out that killed big brother, Tamerlan.
Now, COEXIST bumper stickers are often found on pricey foreign-made cars in liberal conclaves and are also popular among college students and twenty-somethings.
As reported by the Daily Caller and accompanied by the screen image below:
The bumper sticker, which spells out “COEXIST” using the Islamic moon, a peace symbol, a gender symbol, the Star of David, a pagan symbol, a ying-yang and a cross, is put out by the Coexist Foundation — “a non-profit organization creating understanding across divides.”
Wondering whether the Coexist Foundation acknowledged the carjacking that globally showcased their bumper sticker, led me to the foundation’s web site. There I was “shocked” to learn that the foundation had totally neglected to take advantage of all the free publicity. Surely they were missing a lucrative fundraising opportunity that would have read something like this:
Donate to the Coexist Foundation and receive the iconic bumper sticker that attracts sensitive Islamic terrorists looking for get-away wheels.
As a side note, this bumper sticker has always intrigued me, especially because my own twenty-something stepson used to have one on his car after he attended college in Massachusetts.
The second supreme irony is that the mosque where the Tsarnaev brothers worshiped was built on land that was greatly subsidized by the City of Boston.
Again from the Daily Caller:
Suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (and his older brother revealed later) attended a Massachusetts mosque that made a controversial deal with a Boston city agency that allowed it to buy land at a lower-than-market price in exchange for various token services to the Boston community, despite the mosque’s links to some radical anti-American figures.
One can only assume that new churches in Boston are also receiving similar subsidized land deals. Ya think?
So what have we learned today? Here is the re-cap:
There once was a Boston man driving a Mercedes with a COEXIST bumper sticker that told the world he was a supporter of peace, love and “kumbayah.” That same man is now lucky to be alive after Islamic terrorists took him and his car hostage, making him withdraw money from an ATM. Finally, Mercedes man’s Friday evening ended after his COEXIST themed peace-mobile was riddled with bullets.
And then, these same Islamic terrorists who attacked Boston attended a mosque that stands on prime real estate because of a subsidized land sale — approved by the city, no doubt, because of COEXIST-themed political correctness.
For the record, the mosque’s exact role in the radicalization of the brothers Tsarnaev has yet to be specifically determined. However, once again I am willing to gamble that there could be some connection.
Political correctness makes us want to close our collective eyes to the growing threat posed by American Islamic would-be terrorists. Our response is to display feel-good bumper stickers on our cars, and watch as cities subsidize land sales for new mosques knowing full well that hate is sometimes sowed in a few of those mosques. Than occasionally, that same hate is channeled into violence against innocent Americans, as with the Boston attacks, and the Ft. Hood shootings in 2009 which resulted in the killing of 13 people and wounding dozens more.
Finally, I will conclude in a manner similar to my second terror related piece from last week, with a profound quote from then Secretary of State Condi Rice when she testified before the 9/11 Commission saying:
The terrorists were at war with us, but we were not yet at war with them.
Now 12 years after September 11, 2001, the American domestic mindset is that we are STILL, not really at war with them.
So is it finally time to wise up?
Now along comes the influential, left leaning, Salon.com with this “most read” piece by David Sirota.
The headline and subhead are enough to make me first recoil in horror and then weep for our nation. See if you do not have the same reaction.
LET’S HOPE THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBER IS A WHITE AMERICAN
There is a double standard: White terrorists are dealt with as lone wolves, Islamists are existential threats
The piece is accompanied by the above photo of Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden. Please read the entire piece because it is a window into a warped left-leaning mind set. In my opinion here is the most offensive paragraph:
Because of these undeniable and pervasive double standards, the specific identity of the Boston Marathon bomber (or bombers) is not some minor detail — it will almost certainly dictate what kind of governmental, political and societal response we see in the coming weeks. That means regardless of your particular party affiliation, if you care about everything from stopping war to reducing the defense budget to protecting civil liberties to passing immigration reform, you should hope the bomber was a white domestic terrorist. Why? Because only in that case will privilege work to prevent the Boston attack from potentially undermining progress on those other issues.
Now, here is my theory about why the left and the mainstream media are openly cheering/hoping that the Boston bomber will turn out to be a Timothy McVeigh type rather than an Islamic terrorist.
If the perpetrator was “radicalized” (a term the media is now using) in a training camp somewhere other than in the USA, that could mean President Obama may be forced to take some future international retaliatory action. In fact, that action might even resemble actions taken by George W. Bush after 9/11 when he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. Oh, that would not sit well with the left, but you have to admit the irony is priceless.
Furthermore, if the bomber turns out to be influenced by foreign radical Islamic forces that would also mean homeland security, once again, becomes a front and center issue in our national dialog. It also means that President Obama failed to protect this nation from an Islamist inspired terrorist attack and that would be his worst nightmare — giving his past propensity to want to downplay that kind of threat.
But if the Boston bomber is revealed as a right-wing nut job, then the mainstream media has a more explainable, less feared villain. And that would make similar attacks easier to prevent in the future by just rounding up all the right-wingers and taking away their pressure cookers.
The name of Timothy McVeigh has been mentioned countless times since Monday’s bombing, but wishful thinking will not make it so. The truth is more than likely the real perpetrators may be from the same group that then Secretary of State Condi Rice referred to when she testified before the 9/11 Commission saying:
The terrorists were at war with us, but we were not yet at war with them.
Hopeful headlines such as the one above from Salon.com, will not make a 2.0 version of Timothy McVeigh the Boston bomber, no matter how many times his name is mentioned.
Being born in Boston and raised in the close-in suburb of Needham, I remember Patriot’s Day as a holiday that meant a day off from school. When I was in high school it was also a day to head into Boston to watch the Boston Marathon (and when my friends and I tried to act mature enough to get into bars that lined the Marathon route).
Now, for those who are not familiar with Patriot’s Day, here is why I believe that an attack in Boston on this day has all the hallmarks of Islamic terrorism.
Patriot’s Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, which were two of the earliest battles in the American Revolutionary War.
Thus, Patriot’s Day marks the unofficial beginning of the American Revolution. This was the day when farmers and fisherman bearing rifles, known as Minutemen, decided they had had enough of being unjustly treated by the greatest power on earth, took matters into their own hands, and a battle ensued.
(Ironically in view of today’s gun control battles) the British were marching toward the arsenal in Concord to confiscate weapons and ammunition that were stored there.
We celebrate Independence Day on July 4, 1776 when the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. But Patriot’s Day was the actual beginning of armed conflict between the colonies and Great Britain, and a day of which Boston is especially proud.
So with Patriot’s Day as the symbolic beginning of the American Revolution, Islamic terrorists would find it a very appealing day to launch an attack, for we know Islamic terrorists love symbolism — with the date 9/11 being a prime example.
Now consider this premise:
Boston, a town known as the “cradle of liberty,” while celebrating its role in our nation’s drive toward independence with their iconic annual marathon, is crudely attacked by those supporting an ongoing “Islamic revolution.”
That is why it was obvious to me when I first heard the tragic news today that we now have a new 9/11, i.e., 4/15.
The “shot heard around the world” in Lexington and Concord on that fateful day in 1775 is now the blast heard around the world in 2013.
Earlier this week a video began circulating on Arabic-language websites purportedly showing a crowd of Muslims in Egypt assaulting and raping two Christian women — on a crowded street and in broad daylight. The video opens with Muslim men repeatedly shouting the word “Nasara”— the Koran’s derogatory appellation for “Christians”— as they identify two Coptic women who proceed to scream and run, only to be knocked to the ground by several Muslim men who savagely attack them, strip their clothing, and try to gang rape them. Throughout, the women scream in terror while the men shout “Allahu Akbar,” that is, “Allah is Great,” as well as chant the shehada, or Islamic profession of faith: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah.” None of the many passersby intervene in any way.
Little other information about the video accompanies the Arabic sites posting it. So I did some searching; apparently the events recorded in the video occurred in 2009. As for the context, I found a pro-Muslim article titled (in translation) “The truth about the video of Coptic girls raped in the street.” Here I expected to encounter denial and dissemble, claims that the video was a “hoax,” that these are not even Egyptians, etc., etc. Surprisingly, the article confirmed the authenticity of the video and what it depicts. The main quibble it offered was that the video was in fact made in 2009 and that the Coptic activists who recently uploaded it are troublemakers trying to create “sectarian strife.”
Much more interesting are the arguments the article makes to justify the rape of Christians: it claims that Muslim rage (for this particular incident) was prompted by accusations that a Coptic man had raped a Muslim girl. Accordingly, Muslims were merely retaliating in like manner (along with raping Christian girls, Muslims also rioted, burned, and destroyed Christian shops and homes, as is customary)…Continue reading and/or see the video.
Yesterday afternoon, Congressman Frank Wolf received a phone call from Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, the foreign service officer killed in the Benghazi attack last September. She expressed her support for Wolf’s House Resolution 36 that would form a select congressional committee to investigate the Benghazi attack.
Following up the phone conversation, Mrs. Smith sent the following letter to Wolf:
April 10, 2013
Hon. Frank R. Wolf
This letter is to endorse resolution H. Res. 36 to create a Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks.
I am the mother of Sean Smith, one of the four people murdered in Benghazi by terrorists along with ambassador Chris Stevens and ex-seals Ty Woods and Glen Daugherty. When I was in Wash. DC at the reception of the caskets, I asked for and received promises from Pres. Obama, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, VP Biden and several other dignitaries in attendance. They all looked me directly in the eyes and promised they would find out and let me know. I got only one call from a clerk about a month later quoting from the time line, which I already had.
I agree completely with items 1 thru 16 of this resolution. I especially want to know WHY the four were abandoned the way they were. My son told me that he saw someone taking pictures just before this happened and reported it. He told me they asked repeatedly for better security.
Please, Please help me find out who is responsible and fix it so no more of our sons & daughters are abandoned by the country they love. It is very difficult to find out Leon Panetta advised Pres. Obama that the attack was occurring and Pres. Obama went to bed without sending help. It is too late for my son but not too late for those that follow.
I have been following John McCain and Lindsay Graham hoping they had the ability to get some answers but no luck. Hillary finally testified but didn’t answer the questions (i.e. If they were watching this happen in real time, why wasn’t help sent).
Patricia A. Smith
Mother of Sean Smith
Killed in Benghazi
Ps Sean was in Special Operations in Okinawa before joining the State Dept.
Mrs. Smith’s letter follows the actions of 700 special ops veterans who sent an open letter to Congress also demanding an investigation into the Benghazi attack, including the answer to at least 16 specific questions.
More than 60 House members have co-sponsored H. Res. 36, But it appears that the GOP leadership has other ideas:
Before the recent congressional recess, House Speaker John Boehner convened a meeting of three leading Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of Florida and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, as well as the chairmen of the house committees on Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs, respectively, who are leading their own investigations. Rather than form a select committee, a decision was made to coordinate and pool their findings, to be completed in “weeks, not months.”
“We want to make sure that we have a full story of what happened, and where there are conflicting stories, we going to work to de-conflict them,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers told Fox News on Mar. 21.
His committee counterpart, Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger, said he had “no problem” with his colleagues “continuing to get the facts and data,” and suggested the Benghazi issue should not be further politicized.
With the Special Operations Speaks letter expected on Capitol Hill Monday, it is not clear whether this new push for a select committee will change the minds of lawmakers.
Congress has a full plate in front of it now, with gun control, immigration reform, and the next round of budget negotiations scheduled for the summer. Boehner et.al may have seen it as politically impractical to proceed with a select committee.
Egypt’s Coptic Christians frequently accuse State Security and police of overlooking Muslim attacks on Christians and their places of worship, especially monasteries and churches. The Western mainstream media often ignores these accusations, or mentions them in passing as “unsubstantiated reports.” Last weekend’s assault on the St. Mark Cathedral — unprecedented in significance — was no different, except for the fact that there are many pictures demonstrating State complicity.
To recap: After last Sunday’s St. Mark Cathedral funeral service for Egypt’s most recent Christian victims of jihad — including one man set aflame — gangs of Muslims attacked the Christian mourners, resulting in the deaths of two more Copts, including one shot through the heart. Hundreds of Christians retreated back into the cathedral — both to get out of harm’s way, and to protect their holiest site. They were trapped there all night, enduring projectile and firebomb attacks. State Security also opened fire on the cathedral, including through tear-gas.
Several Egyptian media outlets and newspapers, especially the popular Youm7, have published a variety of pictures showing Muslims attacking the cathedral in front of an absolutely indifferent, possibly approving, security forces. Three of these pictures, with my captions, follow. To see all pictures, read on website.
Over the weekend, Muslims launched yet another all-out jihad, replete with cries of “Allahu Akbar,” on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority—also known as the original, indigenous inhabitants of Egypt, before Muslims invaded in the 7th century. Different reports are citing different sources as prompting this latest Islamic assault: some say Muslim children drew swastikas on a mosque, which prompted the imam and others to scapegoat and attack Christians; some say the source of the conflict is a feud between a Christian family and a Muslim family (over the latter’s sexual harassment of Christian girls).
Whatever the source or pretense of this latest jihad on Egypt’s Christians, the hate has led to the deaths of several Christians—including one Copt intentionally set on fire—and the wounding of hundreds. The next day, after the funeral of the slain Christians, Muslims again attacked and opened fire on Christians, this time in the St. Mark Cathedral, one of the most sacred spots for Copts.
Worse, various elements of Egypt’s military, police, and security, have not only failed to protect the beleaguered Christians, but, according to numerous sources, have even joined in the attack on the cathedral.
This should be unsurprising, considering the Egyptian military intentionally slaughtered some 23 Coptic Christians—including by intentionally running them over with armored vehicles—during the Maspero Massacre of October 2010, when Copts dared protest against the constant Islamic attacks on their churches.
Similarly, just as the White House issued a statement during the 2010 Maspero Massacre, saying “Now is a time for restraint on all sides”—as if to imply Egypt’s beleaguered and unarmed Christian minority needed to “restrain” itself against the nation’s military—one expects more whitewashing and relativism from the White House. For, just as the Obama administration tried to cover up the fact that the Benghazi attack, where American diplomats were killed by the same jihadi forces that Obama helped empower, so too will it naturally try to dissemble the fact that Egypt’s Christians are being terrorized and killed by the same Islamic forces—in this case, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, who routinely incite Muslims against Christians—it helped empower.
Because there is so much startling and disturbing information concerning this latest attack on Egypt’s Christians in the Arabic-language media—much of which will never make it to the English-language media—over the next few days, I will be combing through the many Arabic reports and videos to bring you the facts and details of this latest atrocity.
Yet another Islamic cleric recently made it permissible for the Islamic fighters waging a jihad in Syria—politely known as “the opposition”—to rape the nation’s women.
Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni, a Jordanian of origin who earlier lived in Damascus, Syria for 17 years, posted a YouTube video last week where he said he was preparing to issue a “legitimate fatwa” making it legal (in the eyes of Islam) for those Muslims fighting to topple secular president Bashar Assad and install Sharia law to “capture and have sex with” all non-Sunni women, specifically naming Assad’s own sect, the Alawites, as well as the Druze and several others, in short, all non-Sunnis and non-Muslims.
The sheikh used Islam’s legitimate Arabic term for these hapless, non-Muslim women, melk al-yamin, a phrase that appears in Islam’s sacred book, the Koran, and which is simply a reference to non-Muslim sex-slaves. For example, Koran 4:3 commands Muslim men to “Marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four… or what your right hands possess.” Islam’s ulema, or “scholars,” are unanimously agreed that “what your right hands possess” is, according to Islamic law, simply a sex-slave. Linguistic evidence further suggests that she is seen more as an animal or a possession than a human—hence this inhuman fatwa.
Jordanian Sheih Yasir al-‘Ajlawni is certainly not the first cleric to legitimize the rape of infidel women in recent times. Calls to capture and rape non-Muslim women are appearing with increasing frequency from all corners of the Islamic world.
A few months earlier, Saudi preacher Muhammad al-Arifi also issued a fatwa allowing jihadi fighters to engage in “intercourse marriage” with captive Syrian women that lasts for a few hours “in order to give each fighter a turn”—also known as gang-rape.
Then there is Egyptian Sheikh Ishaq Huwaini, who once lectured on how infidel captives, or to use another term from the Koran, ghanima, the “spoils of war,” are to be distributed among the jihadis and taken to “the slave market, where slave-girls and concubines are sold.” He, too, referred to such women as “what your right hands possess,” saying: “You go to the market and buy her, and she becomes like your legal mate—though without a contract, a guardian, or any of that stuff—and this is agreed upon by the ulema…. In other words, when I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her.”
Indeed, even some Muslim women advocate the enslavement and rape of fellow (non-Muslim) women… Continue reading.
The Egyptian government started a Twitter battle with the U.S. over the embassy’s promotion of a Daily Show clip in which Jon Stewart defends his Egyptian counterpart and slams “viva hate” President Mohammed Morsi.
Bassem Youssef is host of El Bernameg (The Program), a news satire show in Egypt that regularly draws more than 30 million fans. The 39-year-old rose to fame after the Arab Spring, and is commonly called Egypt’s Jon Stewart for mocking newsmakers.
Last week, Youssef was hauled in on an arrest warrant for allegedly insulting Islam and Morsi and held for five hours of questioning.
“Democracy isn’t democracy if it only lasts up until someone makes fun of you,” Stewart said, defending his friend and playing some of Morsi’s insulting comments such as calling Jews “apes and pigs.”
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo tweeted a link of the video and the official Twitter feed of the Egyptian presidency fired back. Both have since been deleted, but not before we grabbed a screenshot:
Morsi’s office then tweeted a link to his Facebook page with a rambling press release “on the Questioning of the Comedian.”
The Presidency reaffirms that Egypt after the revolution has become a state of law with independent Judiciary. Hence, the Prosecution’s summoning of any Egyptian citizen regardless of his title or fame is the decision of the Prosecutor General, who operates independently from the presidency.
The current legal system allows for individual complaints to be brought to the Prosecutor General. All the current well-publicized claims were initiated by citizens rather than the Presidency. The Presidency has not filed any complaint against stand-up comedian Basem Yousef.
The Presidency reiterates the importance of freedom of expression and fully respects press freedom. All citizens are free to express themselves without the restrictions that prevailed in the era of the previous regime.
The first legislation passed under President Mohamed Morsy was concerned with the prevention of pre-trial detention of journalists. This demonstrates the determination of the President to encourage press and media to operate in a free environment.
We urge citizens to exercise their legal right to freedom of speech while respecting the rule of law.
“We are concerned that the public prosecutor appears to have questioned and then released on bail Bassam Youssef on charges of insulting Islam and President Morsi,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday. “This coupled with recent arrest warrants issued for other political activists is evidence of a disturbing trend of growing restrictions on the freedom of expression.”
The Muslim Brotherhood issued several tweets over the situation, including:
Another undiplomatic & unwise move by @usembassycairo, taking sides in an ongoing investigation & disregarding Egyptian law & culture
— Ikhwanweb (@Ikhwanweb) April 2, 2013
— Ikhwanweb (@Ikhwanweb) April 2, 2013
And from Youssef:
Touched by people’s support and media attention,however, there are many more activists being prosecuted that deserve to get that support
— Dr Bassem Youssef (@DrBassemYoussef) March 31, 2013
Dr. Abdullah Badr — an Egyptian Muslim scholar, Al Azhar graduate, and professor of Islamic exegesis, who spent ten years in prison under Mubarak, but, along with any number of Islamic terrorists and agitators, was released under Morsi — recently gave an excellent summation of the second half of the highly divisive Muslim doctrine of wala’ wa bara’ (or, “Love and Hate”) — namely, that the true Muslim should love and help fellow Muslims, while hating and being disgusted by non-Muslims.
During a conference last week (see video below, with English subtitles) he explained how he is so “disgusted” by Christians, to the point that, if a Christian were to touch his cup, he would not drink from it:
[It’s] not a matter of piety, but disgust. I get grossed out. Get that? Disgust, I get grossed out man, I cannot stand their smell or … I don’t like them, it’s my choice. And they gross me out; their smell, their look, everything. I feel disgusted, disgusted. I get disgusted not only by that, but by many things.
He kept stressing that, while Sharia law does not ban Muslims from eating food prepared by Christians, he personally is sickened by them. Badr explained how he once entered a store in Egypt to buy food, but when he saw the crosses and Christian icons on the wall, and understood that the owner was Christian, he immediately gave the food away on the street… Continue reading and/or to see video.
According to a new report from the Arabic-language website Misr al-Gidida (New Egypt), during Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi’s recent visit to Islamabad, Pakistan, he secretly met with Ayman Zawahiri, the leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, and promised to smuggle the Egyptian-born jihadi back home. The Arabic report cites a Pakistani source saying that the meeting was clandestinely arranged, away from the delegation accompanying Morsi, and “facilitated by elements of Pakistani intelligence [ISI] and influential members of the international organization, the Muslim brotherhood” [all quotes translated from Arabic by author].
Morsi himself is a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood; Zawahiri is a former member who grew impatient with the Brotherhood’s tactics of non-violent patience and perseverance, eventually quitting the organization and joining the jihad, becoming its current leader. (See “Ayman Zawahiri and Egypt: A Trip through Time” for an expose on Zawahiri and his decades-long connections to Egypt, the Salafis, and the Muslim Brotherhood.)
The Pakistani source adds that “the meeting lasted 45 minutes, during which Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi promised to make preparations for Ayman Zawahiri to return soon to Egypt, indicating that some Muslim Brotherhood members would handle the operation, by first smuggling the al-Qaeda leader to a Gulf nation, likely Qatar, and then easily transferring him to Egypt—on condition that Zawahiri disappear lest he embarrass Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood with its American ally, whose security and intelligence agencies consider Zawahiri most wanted.”… Continue reading.
A video recording from a recent Friday sermon in Egypt, where the imam swears to Allah several times that the flag of Islam will be raised above the White House of America, recently appeared on the Arabic Internet. According to the imam preaching, all Muslims need do is be patient and continue working towards this goal.
I uploaded it and included subtitles on my YouTube account, below:
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said he’s confident the United Nations appointment of a Swedish scientist to investigate whether Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons will lead to the conclusion that the dictator has.
Proving the use of chemical weapons by Damascus would put the White House in a tough spot, as President Obama has vowed it would be the “game changer” that pushes the U.S. to concrete action against the regime.
The United Nations, however, is just investigating one allegation by the Syrian government that rebels used the weapons, whereas Western countries want incidents probed where Assad is believed to have used them against his people.
“When you look at the body of information and evidence over the last two years through intelligence reports, it’s very clear to me, and a high probability that a small amount of chemical weapons has been used,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said on Fox. “And they’ve put the weapons in a position to be used, and expressed intent to use. All of that is really concerning, and quite destabilizing to the region.”
Responding to the attacks, though, doesn’t mean U.S. boots on the ground, Rogers said.
“We need to use small groups with special capabilities. And we do have the ability to render the use of those weapons improbable moving forward. And my argument is, listen if we know they have it, and that is undisputed by the international community including Syria. We believe they have this intention to use,” the chairman said.
“We believe that they used a small quantity within the last two years. Shouldn’t we use what capabilities we have to make sure they don’t compound the 70,000 deaths with a chemical weapon exchange here that would be a humanitarian disaster?”
Rogers called indecision “as dangerous as getting this thing wrong.”
“If we’ve learned nothing from Libya, it is you can’t just topple the regime and hope for the best. That doesn’t work. And so if you want a diplomatic solution so there isn’t this mass chaos, you have to have the credibility with the opposition, and the Arab League. And we have neither right now,” he said.
“So the opposition wouldn’t even — didn’t want to meet with our secretary of State, they’re so frustrated. And the Arab League has been — and I meet with them a lot, saying hey what are you guys doing? We need your leadership at the table. They don’t need our military, they just need some of our special capabilities in a very small, and limited way.”
The new Egypt: Worse than the old Egypt.
Islamic hard-liners stormed a mosque in suburban Cairo, turning it into torture chamber for Christians who had been demonstrating against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in the latest case of violent persecution that experts fear will only get worse.
Officials at the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque said radical militias stormed the building, in the Cairo suburb of Moqattam, after Friday prayers.
“[We] deeply regret what has happened and apologize to the people of Moqattam,” mosque officials said in a statement, adding that “they had lost control over the mosque at the time.”
The statement also “denounced and condemned the violence and involving mosques in political conflicts.”
The latest crackdown is further confirmation that the Muslim Brotherhood’s most hard-line elements are consolidating control in Egypt, according to Shaul Gabbay, a professor of international studies at the University of Denver.
So, why again is the US government sending Egypt hundreds of millions of dollars and weapons?
Islamists’ treatment of mosques doesn’t get enough scrutiny in the media. Our infidel military goes out of its way to avoid even looking at a mosque the wrong way, but Islamists will bomb them, attack them, even turn them into prisons and torture chambers like the Muslim Brotherhood did in this case.
When I was in Baghdad in 2007, on a patrol with the US Army I visited a mosque run by some very unfriendly characters. The US military’s meeting with them felt like a scene out of a mob film. The local imam conducted the entire meeting like a mafia don eyeballing the cops. He had his junior capos around him, and he treated the military officers with open contempt. But for the Army’s training, the whole scene could’ve gotten ugly, quickly. Our men handled themselves with utmost grace and professionalism. The local don may have suspected that the military was about to arrest him, though, since just the week before, a missing man turned up as a prisoner inside that very mosque. He had been kidnapped, and his kidnappers had bound him and tortured him. The infidel Americans had freed him.
As a Baptist, I cannot even imagining turning my local church into a prison and using it to torture, say, a kidnapped Methodist.
In another moment of Islamic sectarian kumbayah, forces on one side of the Tigris — Sadr City — regularly lobbed mortars in the direction of Khadamiyah on the opposite side of the Tigris. They were trying to destroy a famous mosque that belonged to the Shiites, if I remember correctly. Every night they’d lob a few mortars at it just to see if they could do any damage to it. You could stand up on the roof of one of the buildings at FOB Justice after sunset and hear the thump-thump-thump of the mortars firing. The spray and pray tactic never did hit the mosque, but did hit an awful lot of houses and businesses.
As for Muslim Brotherhood Egypt:
“It will only get worse,” said Gabbay. “This has been a longstanding conflict, but now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in power, it is moving forward to implement its ideology – which is that Christians are supposed to become Muslims.
“There is no longer anything to hold them back,” he continued. “The floodgates are open.”
State Dept. Says with Straight Face: UN Human Rights Council ‘Once Again Took Decisive Action’ on Syria
The State Department patted itself on the back for U.S. performance at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council, touting “the importance of robust engagement” at the discredited panel that the Bush administration refused to join because of its membership of human-rights abusers and disproportionate resolutions against Israel.
“The United States continues to work with a diverse range of countries from all regions of the world to address urgent human rights concerns,” the fact sheet says of the opening session of America’s second term on the council.
“U.S. leadership helped to keep the Council at the forefront of international efforts to promote and protect human rights. We continue to engage strategically with the goal of making the HRC a more effective and credible multilateral forum for promoting and protecting human rights. At the same time, the Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel remains a major challenge, as exemplified by the annual Item 7 resolutions.”
The State Department then rattles off its country-by-country successes at the council, including “a landmark resolution on North Korea, establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the grave and systematic violations of human rights in the DPRK” and renewing the mandate for the Special Rapporteur on Iran.
“The Council once again took decisive action regarding the crisis in Syria,” the fact sheet continues. “The Commission of Inquiry on Syria made a forceful presentation regarding the violations of international law committed by all sides, and highlighted the egregious crimes committed by the Assad regime. The Council voted to extend the mandate of the Commission for one year to investigate ongoing human rights violations in Syria.”
Also touted under actions for freedom of religion was the adoption of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation’s resolution on “combating religious intolerance, discrimination and violence.”
“This Council session was once again marred by six separate resolutions targeting Israel under the Council’s biased Agenda Item 7. The United States strongly opposed all six resolutions, including a resolution following up on the report of the Fact Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements, created at the Council last March.”
This video was sent to us by Reza Kahlili. He was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and was a CIA operative in the 1980s and 1990s. In the video, he details evidence of an Iranian nuclear site that so far has not been disclosed or reported on. He says the site’s existence is evidence that Iran’s nuclear program has already crossed the “red line,” into the production of nuclear warheads.
Kahlili says a high-ranking officer of the Islamic regime provided him the evidence of the site’s existence.
The site, approximately 14 miles long and 7.5 miles wide, consists of two facilities built deep into a mountain along with a missile facility that is surrounded by barbed wire, 45 security towers and several security posts.
The new secret nuclear site, named Quds (Jerusalem), is almost 15 miles from another site, previously secret but exposed in 2009, the Fordow nuclear facility. The power to this site comes from the same source as Fordow – the Shahid Rajaei power plant – with high power towers surrounding the site.
Construction of the site started about the same time as Fordow, and in the second half of 2010 all industrial tests were completed. The site became 60 percent operational in 2011.
Gen. Ahmad Vahid Dastjerdi, who works in the supreme leader’s office to protect the regime’s information and counterintelligence, manages the site. His deputy, Hojatolislam Ramezani, was appointed to the protection of intelligence at the Defense Ministry after several leaks about the country’s nuclear operations.
In the video and at the link above, Kahlil provides substantial photographic evidence of the site.
Fritz Ermarth, who served in the CIA and as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, reviewed the imagery. “There is much work to be done by imagery analysts on the photos Reza (Kahlili) has produced,” he said. “For example, is spoil from the tunneling visible? Does it tell us how extensive the tunneling is? But taken as a package, this imagery strongly suggests that Iran is working on what we used to call an ‘objective force.’ That is the objective of a deployed force of nuclear weapons on mobile missiles, normally based in deep underground sites for survivability against even nuclear attack, capable of rapid deployment. … They do suggest that Iran is working the problem of becoming a nuclear weapons power in a serious way, not just playing around for a few nukes on the shelf.”
President Obama went to the Middle East with hopes of stamping his signature on the stalled peace process, but comes home claiming another diplomatic victory as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Gaza flotilla incident.
According to senior administration officials, after Obama’s needling Netanyahu phoned Erdogan for the first time since 2009 and apologized for the Mavi Mara flotilla incident and acknowledged “operational mistakes.” Erdogan accepted the apology.
The officials said Netanyahu made the call from a trailer at the airport just before Obama took off. At some point, Obama hopped on the phone in the 30-minute conversation.
One official called a “first step” toward normalization of relations between the two countries and both added it had been a topic of talks with Obama this week.
“I welcome the call today between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Erdogan. The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security,” Obama said in a statement.
“I am hopeful that today’s exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities,” he added.
Nine activists were killed, including eight Turks, and 10 Israeli commandos were wounded in the 2010 raid of the six ships intending to breach the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Today, President Obama once again called for a “contiguous” Palestinian state.
During a press conference following their meeting President Obama reaffirmed his administration’s belief that the “Palestinians deserve an end to occupation and the indignities that come with it,” through an “independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people alongside the Jewish state of Israel.”
Question: How will that work?
The orange parts are the Palestinian areas. The big green part is Israel, “big” being a very relative term here. The entire area is tiny by American standards.
Both Israel and a future Palestinian state cannot be contiguous at the same time, unless:
A. Either the West Bank or Gaza are ceded to Israel, thus confining the Palestinian state to the area not ceded.
B. Israel itself becomes the Palestinian state, so the entire area becomes one larger Palestinian state.
At this point we can rule out B, because Obama did call for Israel to continue to exist as a Jewish state. No one is contemplating A that I’m aware of.
There is a third possibility: The Palestinian state becomes contiguous at the expense of bisecting Israel. Obama didn’t explicitly rule that out in his comments.
In the past, Obama has called for Israel to retreat back to its 1967 borders. But Israel would have to go back to something like the 1947 mandate borders to get the Palestinians into a contiguous state. Like this.
Is this what Obama has in mind? Or does he just not know what he’s talking about?
The Syrian government may or may not have used chemical weapons in its civil war this week. Or, if you buy the word of the Syrian regime, rebels may have used chemical weapons. After an attack in the city of Aleppo Tuesday, the Syrian government released photos that it says show evidence that the rebels used chemical weapons in a rocket attack. The rebels claim that they don’t have chemical weapons at all. The US and Russian governments so far have very different views of what happened. Or didn’t. Not all experts even agree that the photos show evidence of a chemical attack at all, though a top Israeli official says chemical weapons were used. President Obama is visiting Israel this week.
Two senior U.S. officials said they don’t believe the rebels used chemical weapons and suggested the government itself may have manufactured the incident to preserve the ability to use them in the future.
“The regime is using (the claims) as a pretext for their own possible use,” one of the officials said. “The opposition has no such weapons.”
But the Russian Foreign Ministry, citing information from Damascus, said rebels did use chemical weapons, causing deaths and injuries.
“We believe the new incident is an extremely alarming and dangerous development in the Syrian crisis,” the ministry said. “Russia is seriously concerned about the fact of (weapons of mass destruction) coming into the hands of militants, which makes the situation in Syria even worse and brings the confrontation in the country to a new level.”
Syria is a long-time ally of the Russians, along with the Iranians.
The calls for more direct US intervention grew after Aleppo, on both sides of the aisle. Rep. Mike Rodgers (R-MI) says that it’s “time to act” in Syria, without specifying that the US action should be. Rep. Carl Levin (D-MI) endorsed establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. That idea was first floated during the 2012 presidential primary, by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has gone the farthest, calling for the US to insert ground troops to secure Syria’s chemical weapons sites.
“My biggest fear beyond an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is the chemical weapons in Syria falling in the hands of extremists and Americans need to lead on this issue. We need to come up with a plan to secure these weapons sites, either in conjunction with our partners [or] if nothing else by ourselves,” Graham said.
Asked if he would support sending U.S. troops inside Syria for the mission, Graham said yes.
“Absolutely, you’ve got to get on the ground. There is no substitute for securing these weapons,” he said. “I don’t care what it takes. We need partners in the region. But I’m here to say, if the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, I vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) hints of very serious difficulties to come in Syria:
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein says “The probabilities are very high that we’re going into some very dark times. And the White House needs to be prepared.”
The Obama White House has repeatedly stated that the Assad regime’s use of its chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” but has not stated what the consequences of crossing that line would be. It doesn’t appear to have a plan in place for Syria.
There are no good guys leading either side of this fight, from a strategic US perspective. The Assad regime has been a US enemy for decades and has aligned itself with the Iranian mullahcracy. It lends itself as a proxy against Israel, dominates Lebanon which it uses along with Hizballah as a base to attack Israel, and is also aligned with the Russians, raising at least the possibility of direct Russian military involvement. The rebels include many Islamists aligned with al Qaeda. The US would have to borrow more money from China to fund any Syria operations.
And yet, the Obama administration’s “red line” talk and the statements coming from Congress suggest that pressure is building to do…something.
This is the attitude that Barack Obama is taking with him on his first official visit to Israel as president.
When President Obama was asked by a group of Arab-American leaders during a meeting last week on why he did not intend to launch a new peace process, the leader said that Israel was not ready to make concessions, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, cited an official, who was present at the high-level meeting, as saying.
The official, who kept his identity anonymous, said the U.S. leader was frustrated with fruitlessness of the peace process, claiming it would be pointless to pressure the Israeli government at this time.
Obama arrives on Wednesday for his first trip to the region as president.
Now, the president’s comment is being filtered by someone who is hiding behind anonymity. But it fits with just about everything else he has said and done as president. Obama began his Middle East policy with the 2009 Cairo speech, in which he apologized for past US policy and signaled a tilt away from Israel and toward the Arab powers. The Arab Spring followed the next year, and Obama helped topple secular tyrannies when it was obvious they would be replaced with, at best, anarchy and at worst, Islamist tyrannies. We’re getting the former in Libya and the latter in Egypt. Both end up empowering Israel’s (and America’s) worst enemies. In May 2011 Obama called for Israel to retreat back to within its pre-1967 borders. If that’s the concession that he’s still seeking, he will leave office frustrated: Israel cannot and will not make that concession. It’s unrealistic to expect them to.
Obama is now evidently communicating to Muslim leaders that he remains tilted away from Israel, and is expecting concessions of them without expecting the Islamic and Islamist states to modify their behavior. Dangerous stuff.
Many are the reasons why Americans — including most Christians — are utterly ignorant of the plight of Christians under Islam. Yet there is no doubt that the media, where we get our information, is the root source of this ignorance. Whether by distorting, engaging in apologetics for Islam, or simply not reporting on the reality on the ground, the mainstream media has seen to it that Muslim persecution of Christians, arguably the greatest human rights abuse of our time, is little known and even less acted upon.
Michael Kravshik offers a good, recent example of how the media, including those most expected to be objective, habitually, perhaps instinctively, distort and thus minimize the situation. Excerpts from his article, which is well worth a full read, follow:
This most recent example comes courtesy of both Foreign Policy Magazine and the Associated Press, two sources that are expected to uphold objective integrity when reporting on straight facts. Foreign Policy Magazine’s opinion pieces are exceptions to this rule, but this example comes not from an op-ed, but from its “Morning Brief” which is intended to report on facts, not opinion… [O]n March 1, 2013 I was greeted with the following: “Muslim-Chritian fighting has reportedly broken out in a town in Southern Egypt.” [Note: spelling error on the word Christian from original source.]
Following the link to the AP report that this headline was sourced from leads to an article entitled, “Christian-Muslim tension flares in southern Egypt.” The actual facts of the situation are presented quite clearly in the first paragraph:
“Dozens of Muslim residents threw firebombs and rocks at police on Friday as they tried to storm a church in southern Egypt in search of a woman suspected of converting to Christianity, security officials said.” You can find more specifics in the body of the article.
The report refers to the event in a number of ways:
1) “Christian-Muslim tension flares…” (in the title)
2) “Clashes between Copts and Muslims…”
3) “Violence between Egypt’s Christians and Muslims…”
4) “The fighting…”
Tensions, clashes, violence and fighting. By reading the actual details of the event, it is clear that none of these phrases adequately describe what is quite obviously an assault on a besieged Egyptian minority. All of these phrases—especially clashes, and fighting—including the Foreign Policy headline imply the culpability of both parties, which in this case is far from the truth. Regardless of whether the intention to deceive exists, deception has certainly occurred; especially if a reader decided to take Foreign Policy’s brief at its word without looking into the details (something everyone is guilty of from time to time). The phrasing used leaves readers with a thoroughly false perception of the actual events. Whether by intentional deception or just plain old poor reporting, the damage has been done.
Thus the power of subtlety; something not limited to the case of Coptic Christians. Intentional or not in this case, in other cases it certainly has been. Either way, the authors have betrayed the integrity and trust that readers have placed in them. As consumers of information, we must always be cognizant of the power of words like these and the ease with which we can all be fooled by them. We must always do our best to use our common sense, and the sparse details we can get our hands on, to make our own value judgments. Unfortunately, this trend is far too common.
President Barack Obama told Israelis Iran is still more than year away from developing a nuclear weapon and sought to reassure them that military force remains a U.S. option if sanctions and diplomacy fail to thwart its nuclear ambitions.
In an interview with Israeli television broadcast on Thursday, just six days before his visit to the country, Obama appeared to send a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the need for patience with Washington’s Iran strategy while also showing U.S. resolve to confront Tehran if necessary.
Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West will be high on the agenda during Obama’s first presidential trip to the Jewish state, where he faces a tough challenge trying to narrow his differences on the matter with the right-wing prime minister.
Laying the groundwork for his talks with Netanyahu, Obama took the rare step of offering a U.S. assessment of how long it would take Iran to build a nuclear bomb should it make the final decision to pursue one. Tehran denies that is its aim.
“We think that it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close,” Obama said.
Netanyahu, at the United Nations in September, set a “red line” of spring or summer for when Iran would be close to weapons capability, suggesting prospects for an Israeli attack around that time. But Iran’s latest talks with world powers plus adjustments in Tehran’s uranium enrichment processes are widely thought to have pushed back that deadline.
Asked if he would order an attack on Iran should diplomacy fail, Obama said: “When I say that all options are on the table, all options are on the table.”
That’s a classic politician’s response to the attack question, as “all options” could mean only those that have been seriously considered and it still isn’t quite clear if the administration has spent a lot of time doing that when it comes to military action against Iran. Iran seems to have been budging a bit in recent talks but what little progress that seemed to have been made was quickly undone when the unhinged Ayatollah Khamenei immediately dismissed, well, all of it.
Customary introductory text: Nice people, let’s give them a country.
Hamas is warning that if President Obama visits the Temple Mount it would be a “declaration of war” against the Islamic world.
Israel National News reports the terror group made the threat during a protest march at the religious site following riots on Friday.
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman, called for a third intifada if Obama visits the contested religious site in Jerusalem’s Old City between Israelis and Muslims.
Obama reportedly doesn’t intend to visit the Temple Mount during his trip to Israel, which will be his first as president.
“Currently Alicia Keys is being urged to cancel her performance in Tel Aviv this July, via Facebook, open letters, Twitter and a petition with thousands of signatures,” The Creative Community for Peace reports. They’d like some help punching back twice as hard, as the president would say:
Many artists scheduled to perform in Israel are being inundated by false accusations about Israel, particularly that it is an Apartheid state. Currently Alicia Keys is being urged to cancel her performance in Tel Aviv this July, via Facebook, open letters, Twitter and a petition with thousands of signatures. It is critical that all artists hearing the same false accusations, hear from voices that support liberal, open democracies and the independence of artists.
Addressing Keys directly, the Creative Community for Peace adds:
We therefore urge you to keep your tour date in Israel, the land Madonna calls “the energy center of the world.” Join the ranks of independent-minded artists who have performed in Israel recently, including Rihanna, Macy Gray, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Black Eyed Peas, Missy Elliot, Metallica, Linkin Park, Lady Gaga, Seal, Meshell Ngedecello, Erykah Badu and many others. Your fans in Israel are looking forward to seeing you and know that you will use the power of your music to help bring hope and peace to the region!
Click here to read the whole thing, and then add your signature to the petition, if you agree.
Yes, I’ve been part of a “fire away” crowd. I agreed with Charles Krauthammer ‘s view that “once you take up arms against the United States, you become an enemy combatant, thereby forfeiting the privileges of citizenship and the protections of the Constitution, including due process. You retain only the protection of the laws of war — no more and no less than those of your foreign comrades-in-arms.” However, given Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination to be our next CIA director, which ended after 13 hours, I’ve reconsidered my view on the subject. Furthermore, it exposed my own shortcomings when it comes to my advocacy for adhering to constitutional principles.
I recently said that the strike on Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda propagandist and talent recruiter, was “legitimate.” While there may have been enough evidence to convict al-Awlaki of treason, which would have stripped him of American citizenship, he was never put on trial – even in abstentia– by a U.S. court. I’m not defending him, or weeping over his death, but giving the Executive branch the power to kill Americans without due process is disturbing.
At times, my passion can get in the way. Al-Awlaki was a bad guy, who promoted jihad against the United States, but the legal framework used to justify his demise isn’t honest. As Kevin D. Williamson at National Review wrote last month, it’s not clear if al-Awlaki took up arms against us. The FBI didn’t deem him a serious threat. He was cleared of any involvement in the planning of the 9/11 Attacks, and was invited to the Pentagon for dinner as part of “Islamic-outreach efforts.” He even led prayers at the U.S. Capitol.
Williamson added that the parameters in which one could get their name on the “kill list” are also flawed.
Abdulmutallab [would-be 2009 underpants bomber] had sought out al-Awlaki in Yemen, and al-Awlaki had blessed his bomb plot and had even introduced him to a bomb-maker.
That, according to the Obama administration, is what justified treating al-Awlaki as a man-at-arms, earning him a place on the secret national hit list.
If sympathizing with our enemies and propagandizing on their behalf is the equivalent of making war on the country, then the Johnson and Nixon administrations should have bombed every elite college campus in the country during the 1960s. And as satisfying as putting Jane Fonda on a kill list might have been, I do not think that our understanding of the law of war would encourage such a thing, even though she did give priceless aid to the Communist aggressors in Vietnam. Students in Ann Arbor, Mich., were actively and openly raising funds for the Viet Cong throughout the war. Would it have been proper to put them on kill lists? I do not think that it would. There is a difference between sympathizing with our enemies and taking up arms against the country; there is even a difference between actively aiding our enemies and taking up arms against the country, which is why we have treason trials rather than summary execution.
If al-Awlaki was engaged in a firefight with U.S. troops, then he’s fair game. However, he was on the side of a road eating breakfast. Yet, there’s also the other side who argue that targeted killings can be legal. If al-Awlaki was planning an attack, then his demise in 2011 would’ve been legal.
Deborah Pearlstein wrote in Slate on February 8 that:
The white paper says that the president has some power to use force as part of his “constitutional responsibility to defend the nation.” Indeed, the Supreme Court has recognized that Article II of the Constitution gives the President at least some authority to, as the framers put it, “repel sudden attacks,” without having to go to Congress first for permission—in other words, to play defense in the moment. It’s not hard to imagine an argument that the government targeted U.S. citizen Anwar al Awlaki in Yemen because of a discovery that he was about to launch a particular, sudden attack.
But the paper doesn’t actually make that argument. It’s not just that al Awlaki goes unmentioned. So does Article II. And true enough, the administration has been at pains, in court challenges to its detention power at Guantanamo, to avoid resting its claim of authority on the president’s constitutional power alone—precisely because such claims of authority can be overly broad.
Perhaps another tack, then? There’s also the Authorization for Use of Military Force [AUMF], passed by Congress in 2001, which gives the president the power to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against the organizations responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Since 2001, Presidents Bush and Obama, the Supreme Court, and Congress have all said this “necessary and appropriate force” includes the power to detain, even the power to detain American citizens picked up in Afghanistan. The same logic by which all three branches of government have agreed the law authorizes detention—because detention is a necessary incident of war—supports the argument that it authorizes lethal targeting as well.
But as the executive, Congress, and the courts have also recognized, the power granted by the AUMF only extends as far as what is allowed by the international laws of war. And there are a lot of those laws. For now, let’s just take one of them, and for the sake of argument, state it in a way that gives the administration the widest possible latitude for targeting. According to the relevant treaties, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (the world’s most recognized interpreter of the law of war), members of organized armed groups that do not represent states may be targeted in war either if they are directly participating in hostilities when they’re targeted, or if it was their “continuous function” to prepare for, command, or take part in acts that amount to direct participation in hostilities.
Pearlstein wrote that al-Awlaki could’ve been included in this “continuous function” portion of this law, which would have permitted his killing. However, the DOJ White Paper never mentioned this, which is why there are so many questions.
Joseph Klein reiterated AUMF as a justification in his column for FrontPageMag.com on October 5, 2011, and adds that if al-Awlaki had presented himself to U.S. Courts via our embassy in Yemen – he would’ve been protected from lethal force. He didn’t.
The price of failure in capturing American-born persons of interest is high. If they escape, they become harder to find, and can continue to plot attacks against America. I’m for the drone program. I’m for killing high-level al-Qaeda targets, but if they’re American citizens, and they’re not posing an imminent threat at the time, it should be incumbent upon us to capture, detain, and place them on trial.
Our Constitution was meant to constrain government, and to ensure that certain rights can never be suspended by a usurpatory government. A president assuming the power of judge, jury, and executioner is an awesome power, and one that doesn’t have any congressional oversight as of late.
As I’ve said before, there are legitimate arguments for both sides, but the DOJ White Paper fails in making the case for legal targeted killings against American citizens abroad. As Sen. Rand Paul asked on the Senate floor, what are the limits of presidential power? Furthermore, Sen. Paul said that we know little about some of the people on these kill lists. Concerning the president’s authority to use drone strikes on American citizens within the United States, the answer should be definitely no.
What’s more disturbing is the fact that liberal Democrats seem content with this campaign. After all, we had a conservative Republican lead this filibuster effort. If this was George Bush, articles of impeachment would’ve been brought up. However, while some in the media don’t seem to be willingly to admit their failure in reporting Obama’s hypocrisy, I’m more than prepared to say that I was wrong in my support of killing American citizens abroad without due process.
The War on Terror has plunged us into new areas of warfare and legal theory, but we cannot forget the principles we’re fighting for in our conflict with al-Qaeda. What good is our Bill of Rights if we decide to shred it for a quick kill on one of our fellow citizens? Even the most despicable American deserves the right of due process under the law. John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, and Jeffrey Dahmer, some of the most depraved Americans to ever be processed under our justice system, all received a fair trial upon their arrest. Future American terrorists deserve the same treatment. Our Bill of Rights was never meant to be applied to citizens on a case by case basis.
As Williamson wrote today in National Review, the “War on Terror” is not conventional, and requires a myriad of tools, such as law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and military operations, in order to wage it. He also added that the “battlefield is everywhere” mindset shouldn’t be taken literally, and brings us to a place that is in direct conflict with our principles about the freedom and liberty codified in our Constitution. Let’s be smart about this.
Al-Qaeda and its sympathizers are savages who will kill when and where they can; they could strike anywhere, but it does not follow that everywhere is therefore a field of battle subject to the law of war. The Museum of Modern Art and the Mall of America might be possible targets for terrorists, but martial law is not in effect in those locations, nor should it be.
If your government can put you to death without trial — not on the field of battle, but at breakfast — then you are not a citizen at all: You are a subject. And Americans were not born to be subjects.
A Democratic senator today urged the Obama administration to impose sanctions on China for allowing illegal shipments of components to Iran that can be used in its nuclear program.
In his letter to Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said at least two U.S. court cases have demonstrated how Chinese companies and private individuals conspire to violate U.S. export control laws.
In 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicted Parviz Khaki, an Iranian national, and his Chinese associate, Zongcheng Yi, on six counts of conspiracy, export control violation, fraud, and money laundering charges for procuring and attempting to procure “U.S. goods that can be used to construct, operate, and maintain gas centrifuges to enrich uranium” in Iran, Casey noted.
On May 12, 2012, the District Court of Massachusetts charged Qiang Hu, a Chinese citizen, with one count of conspiracy to violate export controls for allegedly using his position as sales manager at MKS Instruments Shanghai Ltd. to fraudulently obtain U.S. export licenses and sell over $6.5 million worth of MKS pressure transducers, a technology classified as “dual-use” under U.S. export control law. These components were seen in photos from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the Natanz enrichment plant in 2008.
“I urge you to consider designating China as a ‘Destination of Possible Diversion Concern’ under Title III of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA). The U.S. and multilateral sanctions against Iran are working, but ensuring that Iran cannot acquire sensitive technology requires all parties to UN sanctions to rigorously and consistently enforce them,” Casey wrote.
The designation would require Chinese companies to apply for special licenses to import controlled or sensitive U.S goods because of the high risk of diversion to Iran.
“China’s failure to address weaknesses in its export controls regime and to enforce UNSC sanctions is a loophole that Iran will continue to utilize, unless we take steps to close it by designating China a ‘Destination of Possible Diversion Concern,’” wrote Casey. “I urge you to consider doing so and request that, should you determine that China does not meet the requirements for the designation, you reply to me explaining your determination.”
During a recent interview, Dr. Mahmoud Shu‘ban, a professor at Egypt’s prestigious Al Azhar University, made clear that the Copts, Egypt’s Christian minority, will pay the jizya — what is often referred to in the West as an Islamic “poll tax.” According to the Al Azhar professor, “If non-Muslims were to learn the meaning of ‘jizya,’ they would ask for it to be applied — and we will apply it, just like Islam commands us to.” His logic is that, if Christians pay the jizya, they would buy for themselves “protection,” hence why they themselves should want to pay it.
Most Western apologists for Islam also claim that jizya money was historically paid to protect conquered dhimmis, though they often imply protection from outside enemies, non-Muslims. In fact, the jizya was/is protection money from surrounding Muslims themselves — precisely Shu‘ban’s point: pay up and maybe your churches won’t be burned and your girls routinely abducted; because you are not paying, you are not protected from such things and have no right to complain.
Incidentally, this Shu‘ban is the same scholar who went into hysterics on live TV, insisting that an Egyptian Muslim man who tore a Koran “deserves to be struck by the sword in a public place — and as soon as possible; as soon as possible; as soon as possible!” He is also the same sheikh who recently issued another fatwa on live TV calling for the killing of the leaders of Egypt’s secular National Salvation Front party for being openly critical of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, when all the latter want to do is enforce the laws of Allah. He unhesitatingly pronounced that the “Sharia of Allah” demands their killing, basing his decree on the words of prophet Muhammad — specifically, to behead those who oppose the Islamic leader — as found in the canonical collections of Sahih Muslim.
In short, Professor Shu‘ban is one of Egypt’s most frank scholars of Islam. Those who would learn the true, unadulterated teachings of Islam would do well to heed his words, for he never seems to miss an opportunity to expose the things of Islam (for those who have eyes and ears to see and hear with, that is).
Hamas, those reasonable fellows with whom Israel is supposed to negotiate a lasting peace, just got the Gaza marathon canceled because it doesn’t want men and women to “mix.”
The UN agency which organises Gaza’s marathon has cancelled the event, blaming the refusal of the territory’s governing Islamist Hamas movement to allow women to run.
The marathon was scheduled for Sunday and would have been Gaza’s third.
Hamas said the marathon could go ahead if “local traditions” were respected.
Conservative elements in Gaza have sometimes complained about mixing between the sexes, especially in schools and at sporting events.
The UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) said in a statement that it had taken “the disappointing decision” after “discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate”.
Let’s give them a whole country!
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) warned the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gala tonight that he fears “some of our nation’s leaders are complacent” about the threat posed to Israel and the west, illustrated by a preference for focusing on domestic issues over foreign policy.
“The alliance between the United States and Israel is often tested, but never shaken,” Cantor said. “We’ve helped protect each other. We’ve helped protect our friends. And we’ve helped protect humanity.”
He offered a special “salute” to Christians who joined the lobbying conference and said “thank you for standing with us to defend the gift that is Israel.”
Cantor said he’d never questioned America’s historic support for the little guy against the bully — until now.
“In the pursuit of comity with Israel’s foes some will seek distance,” he said. “These worries are not unfounded. Israel is under attack.”
Even though the Iron Dome and other missile-defense systems supported by the administration are helpful, they’re not panaceas and must be correct “100 percent of the time or Israelis die.”
“True peace will mean an end to Iranian-backed weapons smuggled into Gaza,” he stressed.
“Some in Washington hold the view that Iran is all bluster… but that impression is wrong,” Cantor said.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden stood on the same stage and loudly defended his boss, declaring “presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff, and President Barack Obama is not bluffing” on Iran.
“We need to be clear-eyed that the nuclear talks with Iran cannot be unending,” Cantor said. “America must be prepared to lead from the front and the challenge should not be Israel’s alone to bear.”
In Syria, the majority leader decried the slaughter of Syrians by Bashar al-Assad’s regime that has resulted in “mass graves all too familiar to us Jews.”
The U.S. can’t simply “let the chips fall where they may” or disregard the revolution for fear of another enemy of the U.S. taking Assad’s place, Cantor said. “We’ve got to be on the side of those looking to end Assad’s tyranny …without action we can guarantee that more innocent lives will be lost.”
Post-Arab Spring, the region is in an “epic state of political transition and uncertainty,” he added. “When there is no American leadership, there is no leadership.”
“America’s security depends on putting a stop to the bullying on the worldwide playground,” Cantor summed up. “We must now and forever stand with Israel, or we risk losing the great promise of America.”
Secretary of State John Kerry got upstaged in his press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh today, with the world’s longest-serving foreign minister striking a far more forceful tone on Iran and Syria than the new U.S. diplomat.
Al-Faisal on Iran: “Basically, any negotiation should have a time limit. We can’t be like philosophers who keep talking about how many angels a pinhead can hold. We have to talk seriously, we have to talk honestly, and we have to put our commitment clearly on the table. That’s what negotiation is. Negotiation is not to get somebody that negotiates to trick you into a position along with the negotiation because it still is not told. A negotiation must be serious. It must – the negotiation must show intent. A negotiation must show his motive is really settlement. They have not proved to anybody that they are sincere in their negotiation. They have continued to these negotiation to ask for to add to more negotiation in the future… They continue to negotiate and all it comes down to building an atomic weapon continues unabated in an area where it is already dangerous with the availability of atomic weapons. So we have to insist on Iran showing the motivation and a clear understanding that they are there to negotiate for a period of time and then come to terms with the conditions of IAEA and NPT.”
Kerry launched a long-winded monologue detailing his five reasons why others in the region should not develop their own nuclear capabilities for protection from Iran’s program. “Reason number one: Because President Obama has made it clear that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon, and therefore there is no need to develop that security,” he said.
“If one nation does it, another nation does it, another nation does it; you haven’t increased the stability or the peaceful prospects of a nation, and what you’ve done is you’ve diverted your resources from the young people who need jobs, from the investments you need into business, into something that we learned with the Soviet Union and the United States leads to a place where you ultimately want to figure out how do you get rid of them. Remember President Reagan and Secretary Gorbachev meeting to say we’re going to go from 50,000 nuclear warheads and reduce down. Now we have moving towards 1,500, and President Obama wants to move to less. So we do not want a movement – the road to a world with less nuclear weapons does not pass through a nuclear Tehran, and that’s another reason why we don’t want to do it,” Kerry continued.
“And yet another reason why we don’t want to do it is that important people who have been part of global affairs for a long time – Secretary Henry Kissinger, Secretary Bill Perry, Secretary of Defense Jim Schlesinger, every former Secretary of State of the United States with one exception – have all said, people like Secretary George Schultz, Secretary Colin Powel, have all said we should move to a world hopefully, ultimately without nuclear weapons when we learn how to resolve our problems and deal with conflict differently.”
Al-Faisal on Syria: “We do believe that what is happening in Syria is a slaughter, a slaughter of innocent people, and we just can’t bring ourselves to remain quiet in front of this carnage. Morally, we have a duty to protect them. I have never heard or seen in history or in our present time, it is the only time in a great while that a regime would use a strategic missile towards his people and he too is killing innocent children, innocent women and old men. He is hitting his cities diabolically at a time when we are concentrating either to get food or medication, he is choosing a time when there is more citizens in the area of bombardment than any other time. This cannot go on. He has lost all authority in that country. He does not have a role to play anymore. Nobody who has done that to his citizens can claim a right to lead a country.
Kerry on Syria: “I think His Royal Highness has spoken very eloquently about the situation in Syria. And I would simply add there is no guarantee that one weapon or another might not at some point in time fall into the wrong hands. But I will tell you this, that there is a very clear ability now in the Syrian opposition to make certain that what goes to the moderate, legitimate opposition is, in fact, getting to them, and the indication is that they are increasing their pressure as a result of that. Believe me, the bad actors, regrettably, have no shortage of their ability to get weapons from Iran, from Hezbollah, from Russia, unfortunately, and that’s happening. So I think His Royal Highness has made the status of this challenge absolutely crystal clear. Bashar Assad is destroying his country and his people in the process to hold onto power that is not his anymore. The people have made it clear he’s lost his legitimacy.”