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David Axelrod Stands By His Man

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Hillary Clinton’s little grenade over “Don’t do stupid stuff” has hit its mark. Barack Obama’s brain man, David Axelrod, is hitting back.

We have some blue-on-blue here, which is always enjoyable as the Democrats tend to march in lockstep. Suddenly, they’re turning on each other.

But we also have some revealing thinking.

So Axelrod thinks that “occupying” Iraq qualifies as “stupid.”

His counter point to “occupation,” though, is what, exactly?

Libya — the war his president led from behind and then left to the tender mercies of jihadists afterward? Is that what Axelrod would prefer?

Going back into history a bit — always a risky proposition these days, since schools don’t actually teach history anymore — the United States waged a couple of very successful occupations in relatively recent times. Japan and Germany were our enemies, but they are our allies now. They started war with us. We defeated them. We occupied them. We turned them into stable democracies. Today, both are key players in our overall strategy to wage peace in their respective regions.

We still have troops in both countries, decades after the war with them ended. Decades.

The war in Iraq was won when Barack Obama took office. It is lost now. Obama swept into office only promising to “end” the war. That should have been warning enough to keep him out of the presidency. He had no interest in keeping that war won.

Compared to Iraq, both Japan and Germany were far more likely to become stable democracies. There is no way to get Iraq stable and keep it stable without an ongoing and forceful American presence. The ongoing war with ISIS, and its own internal political rifts, tell us as much. Without us there, Iraq has no chance. ISIS will chop off some of its territory, Iran will take its revenge, the Kurds will go their own way, etc. While both Japan and Germany had severe ideological issues to deal with, neither had the Islamic culture to contend with.

But our president and his brain want us to think that “Don’t do stupid stuff” involves cutting and running and leaving brutal Islamists to do whatever they want.

Christopher Stevens remains unavailable for comment.

“Don’t do stupid stuff,” from now on, ought to include not electing inexperienced, devious ideologues and their loyalist ideologues into the presidency. That has proven to have been a very stupid thing to do.

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Let’s Start a Terrible Day on A Positive

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The last 24-48 hours on earth have been pretty awful. Iraq is falling apart. ISIS is hunting and killing Christians and other non-Muslims there and only the Kurds, badly outgunned at this point, have the stones to stop them.

Russia is invading Ukraine.

Our commander-in-chief stirred himself to leave the golf course long enough to address the nation via Facetime and say little, other than to advocate for regime change in Iraq. That makes him the fourth or fifth US president in a row to publicly call for that, but this president lacks the geostrategic wherewithall to use Australia as a base to win at the board game Risk. His statement on Monday left much to desire. That Obama again called for the Iraqis to have an “inclusive” government when Obama leads America’s most divisive government — a government his own loyalists have weaponized against dissent — was just the perfect topper. Does the man even listen to the words that come out of his own mouth? Does he know what they mean?

Though not on the same scale of tragedy as the horrors in the preceding paragraphs, the shocking death of Robin Williams hits hard. That a man who made us all laugh for decade after decade — since he played the lovable alien Mork all those years ago — battled depression is just a bit much to take.

Robin Williams was as much a pillar of American culture as anyone. He was just always there, going off on stream-of-consciousness riffs and making us laugh without taking the lazy route of going political to get cheap laughs. He earned every single laugh he ever got. Robin Williams also spent a great deal of his time entertaining the troops serving overseas and never made a big deal about that. By all accounts he had it all, was a nice guy, and was unquestionably talented. And yet the demon of depression got him.

As it said, it’s just hard to take.

I just want to start the day on a positive, and soccer is one place I go to escape the bad things.

Texan Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders is one of a very few American players who can claim to be among soccer’s elite. He was the hero of the US effort at the World Cup this summer, Captain America, scorer of that goal against Ghana and that other goal against Portugal. He’s clutch.

The other night, his Sounders beat Houston and Dempsey came off at the end of the game. What he did next created a memory that some kid will carry with him for the rest of his life. Those of us of a certain age remember the old Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial.

Clint Dempsey did something like that.

YouTube Preview Image

 

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Pentagon Official: Airstrikes ‘Unlikely to Affect ISIL’s Overall Capabilities’

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

An official with the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters at the Pentagon today that U.S. airstrikes “have slowed ISIL’s operational tempo and temporarily disrupted their advances toward the province of Erbil” and Kurdish forces are holding territory near the imperiled city.

“However, these strikes are unlikely to affect ISIL’s overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria,” cautioned Lt. Gen. Bill Mayville, director of operations.

“ISIL remains focused on securing and gaining additional territory throughout Iraq and will sustain its attacks against Iraqi and Kurdish security forces and their positions, as well as target Yazidis, Christians, and other minorities,” Mayville said. “Our current operations are limited in scope to protect U.S. citizens and facilities, to protect U.S. aircraft supporting humanitarian assistance, and to assist in the breakup of ISIL forces that have laid siege to the Sinjar Mountain.”

That assistance has included “14 successful missions” over the past four nights between the US and UK “airdropping more than 310 bundles of food, water, and medical supplies, delivering almost 16,000 gallons of water and 75,000 meals.”

“To date, U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft, to include F-15Es, F-16s, F/A-18s, and MQ-1s have executed 15 targeted airstrikes,” Mayville said, and “over 60 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft are supporting our coalition efforts.”

He stressed that there are “no plans to expand the current air campaign beyond the current self- defense activities,” even though Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) ”a threat to the civilized world.”

“As for what we might do next, we’ll have to wait and see and get a better assessment on the ground before we can offer some options to the president,” Mayville said.

“We are, right now, gripped by the immediacy of the crisis. And our focus right now is to provide immediate relief to those that are suffering. We are looking at the effect that we’re having on those fixed sites, those ISIL sites, those ISIL sites that are laying siege, and we are trying to reduce that threat. And for the near term, that’s going to be our focus.”

Mayville stressed that “in the immediate areas where we have focused our strikes, we’ve had a very temporary effect.”

“What I expect the ISIL to do is to look for other things to do, to pick up and move elsewhere. So I in no way want to suggest that we have effectively contained or that we are somehow breaking the momentum of the threat posed by ISIL… The targeting in this is going to become more difficult.”

The Joint Chiefs ops director said he remains “very concerned about the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and in the region.”

“They’re very well-organized. They are very well-equipped. They coordinate their operations. And they have thus far shown the ability to attack on multiple axes. This is not insignificant,” Mayville continued.

“What happened last week was that Iraqi security forces simply did not have the equipment and the supplies and the ammunition to sustain their defensive positions around the Mosul Dam and in and around Mount Sinjar. And it is for that reason that the ISIL forces were as effective as they were.”

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‘Would We Rally Behind Obama After the Next 9-11?’

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

That’s what Ron Fournier would like to know.

After dismissing ISIS as al-Qaida’s “JV” team last fall, the president has awakened to the bloodcurdling threat. Last week, he ordered air strikes and air drops in northern Iraq to prevent genocide and to protect U.S. assets. The CIA is reportedly arming Kurds to fight the emerging Islamic state. The world is focused on whether the United States needs to do more, despite the reluctance of Obama and most Americans to recommit troops.

But I can’t shake another, darker, question. What if we get hit again with a 9/11-sized attack?More to the point, hypothetically, would a crisis pull us together or drive us apart? It’s a morbid question worth asking before the worst happens, because there’s reason to worry about the durability of what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

Fournier goes on to note that we’re more divided now than we were in 2001, that Bush and the GOP had a strategy to “defang” Democrats who criticized him after 9-11 (but Fournier does not explore what, if any, strategy the Democrats might have deployed to “defang” then then very popular Bush), and so forth.

The one player who all but escapes Fournier’s attentions is, incredibly, Barack Obama — the man who would have to do the rallying if we got hit again. Fournier devotes one paragraph — the following one — to Obama’s six years in the presidency.

Third, the Obama White House has proved to be self-generous and ruthless in its defense. When critics said his refusal to aid Syrian rebels helped embolden ISIS, Obama tartly called the analysis a “fantasy.” But it wasn’t just Republicans who made the case against him. Obama’s former secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, warmed up for a potential presidential bid by calling the Syria policy a failure.

The Obama White House, and Obama himself, has gone much farther than that. It began by running a DHS study positing that veterans and small-government activists might be terrorist threats. It moved from there to dividing the country neatly over its handling of Obamacare, and then added to the divisions by using Obamacare’s regulations to create the “war on women.” Along the way, Obama has told Hispanic voters to “punish” their “enemies,” by which Obama meant anyone who disagrees with him on immigration.

When his administration got caught in the IRS scandal, Obama at first expressed outrage, while fake-firing the acting IRS commissioner, and then declared the scandal “phony.”

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US Drops ‘Useless’ Aid on Stranded Yazidis

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I’m not sure that I share Allahpundit’s skepticism of this story. It’s written by Jonathan Krohn, for the Telegraph.

I was on board an Iraqi Army helicopter, and watched as hundreds of refugees ran towards it to receive one of the few deliveries of aid to make it to the mountain. The helicopter dropped water and food from its open gun bays to them as they waited below. General Ahmed Ithwany, who led the mission, told me: “It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead.”

Two American aid flights have also made it to the mountain, where they have dropped off more than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, and last night two RAF C-130 transport planes were also on the way.

However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000 ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.

The question here is not how good our pilots and crews are, it’s what rules are US airdrops being conducted under? The Pentagon’s DVIDS site isn’t posting about the new operations in Iraq yet. So the horse’s mouth, if you will, isn’t whinnying.

According to this, from DoD, we’re using C-17 Globemasters to drop the aid to the Yazidis.

c17-iraq

The C-17 is an incredible aircraft, but like any system it does have its limitations.

According to Military Times, the C-17 was accompanied by two C-130s and a pair of F/A-18s (from the carrier George H. W. Bush, by the way) for escort. So, not a large or heavily armed force. Also, not a force that’s going to fly close to the ground. If you really want to be sure that your aid is getting where you want it, you’re going to have to a variety of aircraft, helos and fixed-wing, operating from a supply base somewhat near the siege. These C-17 and C-130 aircraft are apparently aiding the Yazidis from their base in Afghanistan.

Obama’s first and foremost goal in Iraq is to do something without doing anything that might put American boots on the ground. His prime interest is not necessarily to do anything effective. It’s just to be seen doing something.

That includes not engaging any talk of inserting ground forces to take on ISIS, as Obama has made clear, and it includes not having any of the humanitarian missions fly too close to any ISIS positions, running the risk of shootdown and then a search for the downed airmen and to retrieve the wreckage from the aircraft. ISIS has captured major caches of US weapons as the Iraqi army, for which the weapons were intended, melted away in the face of ISIS attacks. The question is, what are ISIS’ anti-air capabilities?

According to ISIS’ propaganda, they have captured some anti-aircraft guns.

The video also features ISIS fighters firing what appears to be an SA-7 Man Portable Air-Defense System, commonly known as a MANPADS, as well as some kind of wire-guided anti-tank guided missile, much like the U.S.-made TOW currently in use by moderate Syrian rebels. Both the Chinese HJ-8 and Russian AT-4 anti-tank systems have appeared in ISIS hands in Syria.

MANPADS are serious business. That wire-guided anti-tank missile is probably a TOW. They cost about $10,000 a pop last time I checked, which was admittedly a while ago.

Video footage also shows ISIS fighters with towed and mounted anti-aircraft guns, including powerful 12.7mm DShK machine guns and what appears to be either a Chinese-made Type 65 or Type 74 37mm twin-barreled anti-aircraft gun, raising the question of what risk Iraqi or U.S. helicopters and planes would face unless effective artillery missions were launched to suppress ISIS air defenses.

Whatever the risk is, I’m sure Obama has seen a readout of all the hardware that ISIS scooped from the Iraqi army. That’s sure to inform how he tells SecDef Hagel to set the rules for the aid flights to the Yazidis.

So, add that up plus the way Obama handled Libya, an air war led from behind in which Obama’s prime directive was again to conduct all operations from the air and to keep all US aircrews entirely out of range of the various enemies on the ground, and it’s entirely plausible that the rules of operation in Iraq have our pilots flying too high to drop aid to the Yazidis very effectively.

If a show is all you want, then that’s enough. It’s not like the media or Obama’s core supporters are going to wade into the details of this anyway.

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Three Glimpses Into the Mind of Barack Obama

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Over the weekend, Iraq pretty much unraveled. If it weren’t for the Kurds, ISIS probably would have massacred tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians. President Barack Obama headed off on vacation.

Ahead of his vacation, President Obama delivered remarks on the situation before a small group of reporters. One asked him if he regrets withdrawing all US troops from Iraq without securing a status of forces agreement.

Obama’s response: blame Bush, dodge responsibility.

“What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision,” Obama said. “Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government, and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.”

“…as if this was my decision.”

Barack Obama bragged about “ending” the war in Iraq, during his re-election campaign.

If it wasn’t his decision to leave Iraq, why was he bragging about it?

While the crisis in Iraq has built up, and chaos has increased around the world, Obama remains determined to stoke Americans’ anger with each other. He sat down for an interview with Thom Friedman, and suggested that the greatest threat to America is people who disagree with him.

“The president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us,” said the interviewer, Thomas Friedman.

“Our politics are dysfunctional… societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions,” said Obama, who repeatedly claims to be a moderate stymied by the GOP’s supposed obstructionism and radicalism.

Says the man who told Hispanic voters to view other Americans as “enemies” to be “punished.” Says the man who engineered the entirely phony “war on women” purely for the sake of taking a maximalist position on contraception — and of course, cementing the single women’s vote to the Democrats.

Having fired this parting shot at the majority of the country which disapproves of him, Obama headed off to vacation. Within one hour of arriving at Martha’s Vineyard, playground of the rich and famous, Obama was golfing again. “In record time,” according to ABC’s Jon Karl.

According to Karl, the image of a president playing around while chaos burned across the world leaves the president “entirely unconcerned.”

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Senators Want Kerry to Investigate Hamas Rockets at Taxpayer-Funded UN Facilities

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) are demanding that Secretary of State John Kerry launch an independent investigation into at least three incidents where Hamas rockets were discovered at facilities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

The senators argued in a letter last week that the weapons were particularly troubling when coupled with anti-Israel statements and actions of the UN agency.

Their letter cites “multiple instances of weapons found at UNRWA schools as well one-sided statements from UNRWA leadership that unjustly condemn Israel,” including  UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl stating July 14 that Israeli security forces are acting “contrary to international humanitarian law” and conducting an “illegal” blockade of Gaza.

“As you know, UNRWA admitted on July 17th, July 22nd, and July 30th that it found rockets belonging to Hamas on its property. We commend UNRWA’s quick condemnation of these incidents, but are concerned with the ultimate fate of these rockets, which UNRWA claimed to have turned over to the  ’local authorities’ or have gone missing. We fear that this means these rockets may have found their way back into Hamas’ hands,” the senators wrote.

“We urge the State Department to launch an independent investigation into these incidents and to call on the United Nations leadership to hold UNRWA accountable, including by reprimanding or dismissing the UNRWA staff responsible as appropriate, as well as asking the U.N. to ensure that these incidents never take place again,” the letter continues. “In the course of your investigation, we ask you to examine the fate of these rockets, what measures the U.N. took to secure UNRWA property, and how the U.S. intends to work with the U.N. to make sure incidents like these are never repeated.”

“As you know, the United States is the largest donor to UNRWA and has contributed almost $5 billion to the organization since 1950. The United States taxpayers deserve to know if UNRWA is fulfilling its mission or taking sides in this tragic conflict.”

The 2013 U.S. contribution to UNWRA was $294 million. In September 2012 elections for UNRWA’s workers union board, Hamas-affiliated candidates won 25 out of 27 seats.

At the State Department last week, spokeswoman Marie Harf said “our folks are looking into” reports that UNRWA summer camps are teaching Palestinian kids to hate Jews and wage jihad.

“They didn’t have any clarity for me when I came out here, but I’ll follow up with them because obviously, look, any — any anti-Semitic language, any — any language like that really just has no place in the discourse about this or any other issue,” Harf told reporters.

“Given UNRWA’s ties to terrorism in the past, U.S. taxpayers deserve immediate answers and full transparency regarding their intentions and actions,” Kirk said in a statement. “The State Department must make clear to the U.N. that it needs to take all necessary steps to prevent Hamas from using taxpayer-funded property to launch terror attacks against our allies.”

“When leaders and organizations of the United Nations blur the clear distinction between a nation-state defending itself and a terrorist organization attempting to murder civilians, Americans take note,” said Cardin. “When an organization funded in part by the U.S. suggests that the two are morally equivalent, U.S. taxpayers take note.”

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Middle East Meltdown: Here’s What’s Happening

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

The Middle East is in full meltdown and the U.S. is rapidly nearing full retreat in the region. But considering the incompetents running our foreign policy, our absence may be best for the Middle East for the moment.

So here’s what’s happening:

Iraq: Last night Prime Minister Maliki gave a speech accusing new President Fuad Masum of violating the constitution as Golden Dawn militias backing Maliki took up strategic positions around Baghdad, including the Green Zone, in an all-out coup. Remarkably, Maliki is accusing Masum of a coup. Maliki’s issue with Masum is that the new president has not selected Maliki for a third term as prime minister. One report said that U.S. forces had to extricate President Masum from the presidential palace when it came under mortar fire from Maliki’s renegades. Let’s not forget the words of President Obama in December 2011, when he declared that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” upon pulling out all remaining U.S. troops.

Islamic State: A coup, of course, is exactly what Iraq needs right now as the terrorist Islamic State continues to push south despite U.S. airstrikes. The terror group is conducting ethnic and religious cleansing of Yahzidis and Christians, creating a staggering humanitarian crisis. Last week the Islamic State forces captured the dam north of Mosul, the largest dam in Iraq which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described in 2007 as “the most dangerous dam in the world” because of its instability. This is a key strategic asset that will give the Islamic State control of the Tigris River as they push towards Baghdad. The best hope to stall this push is not the Iraqi army, which collapsed several weeks ago when the Islamic State began their offensive, but Kurdish forces. The Islamic State is also preparing to target Saudi intelligence officials as they plan to open a front there, despite the fact that much of their funding has come from Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon: Iraq is not the only place where the Islamic State has launched an offensive. Last week they launched an attack on the Lebanese border town of Arsal, overrunning Lebanese army checkpoints and taking Lebanese soldiers hostage. Arsal is home to a large camp housing refugees from Syria. ISIS took the captives hoping to exchange them for a Syrian Islamist militia commander supported by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State who had been arrested by Lebanese authorities. Although the terrorist groups eventually agreed to withdraw and release their captives, the New York Times quoted one of their commanders saying that the attack forces included the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra (the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate) and the Free Syrian Army – the same Free Syrian Army receiving weapons from the U.S. As I reported here last month, some of those U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army forces have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Meanwhile, Lebanon remains without a president as Hezbollah and their March 8 Alliance allies in parliament refuse to elect a president, a position reserved for a Maronite Christian. Syrian refugees now make up one-third of the country’s population, further destabilizing Lebanon.

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What’s the Libertarian Answer to ISIS?

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

That was the question posed over the weekend by Jack Tomczak, one-half of “Up and At ‘Em with Jack and Ben,” the local morning conservative talk radio program in the Twin Cities. Posting to Facebook, Tomczak cited a report from Catholic Online detailing horrific atrocities perpetrated by ISIS against Christian men, women, and children. “What’s the libertarian answer to this?” he asked.

The thread which followed reflects the tension present in the persistent foreign policy debate within the Republican Party. The one thing which most respondents seem to agree on is that facts are hard to come by, and the fluid situation in Iraq makes it difficult for laypeople to provide an informed policy prescription.

We can articulate a couple of principles, however. The first deals with our response to the atrocities themselves. As a Christian and a father, my sense of justice is rightly inflamed by pictures and accounts of children murdered by Islamic totalitarian thugs in Iraq. It would take a cold heart indeed to feel anything less than contempt and condemnation for the animals ravaging Iraqi citizens. That said, the federal government of the United States does not exist to satisfy my sense of international justice. It exists to, among other things, protect the citizens of the United States.

Opposing U.S. military intervention in Iraq does not mean one fails to care about the atrocities being committed there. It merely recognizes the appropriate limit of the federal government’s authority. Have a private mercenary army you plan to unleash on ISIS? I’ll gladly donate. But there exists no compelling state interest in spilling American blood and spending American treasure to protect non-citizens in a country halfway around the world.

But what if American citizens are at risk? Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain appeared on Sunday news programs to herald the threat they say ISIS presents to the United States. From The Blaze:

“If you read what they’re saying, we are the enemy, they want to destroy us,” [McCain] said [on CNN’s “State of the Union.”]. “They are getting stronger all the time. Their goal, as they have stated time after time, is the destruction of the United States of America.”

At about the same time on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Lindsey Graham offered a similar prediction.

“They’re coming here,” he said. “This is not just about Baghdad, not just about Syria. It’s about our homeland. If we get attacked because [Obama] has no strategy to protect us, then he will have committed a blunder for the ages.”

Libertarianism and non-interventionism should not translate to sticking our heads in the sand regarding objective threats to the lives and liberty of American citizens. The expressed intention to destroy the United States, to fly a black flag over the White House, coupled with a demonstrable capacity to act upon that intention, stands as a de facto declaration of war. And when war is declared upon you, you have to take it seriously.

If we re-engage in Iraq, it should be with the specific goal of utterly destroying a clearly identified enemy, in this case ISIS. We shouldn’t look to win hearts and minds. We shouldn’t look to nation-build. We shouldn’t use restraint and yield to any possibility of civilian causalities. We should act decisively to end ISIS, to wipe it off the face of the Earth.

How’s that for a libertarian answer? It may not be what you’re used to hearing from professing libertarians or non-interventionists. But it’s nonetheless consistent with the principle of individual rights. Aggressors prove morally responsible for the death and destruction which results from necessary retaliatory force. Whether it’s Iraqis defending themselves, or the United States defending its citizens, the objective should be the elimination of ISIS by any means necessary.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 15:58 minutes long; 15.4 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

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One Soldier’s Faith Saves Hamas Female Suicide Bomber

Sunday, August 10th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

IDFprayer

Breitbart published an exclusive report on the details surrounding the deaths of three Israeli soldiers, including Lt. Hadar Goldin, originally thought to have been kidnapped after Hamas terrorists set off a suicide bomb near a tunnel entrance. The report highlights Hamas’s gross abuse of women in Gaza, including their willingness to turn young women into suicide bombers. The account also provides evidence of the life-saving power of faith at work on the front lines:

In the midst of this attack, a second force of IDF soldiers–which had gone into a mosque looking for weapons, explosives, and rockets– encountered a female suicide bomber who was about to detonate the belt she wore, which would have resulted in the deaths of the soldiers. One of the soldiers instinctively recited the opening words of the holiest Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael”. The female suicide bomber hesitated and began trembling, giving the soldiers a chance to grab her and disable the device.

The soldiers then took her prisoner and turned her over to a counter-intelligence unit. Their investigation uncovered that the female suicide bomber’s mother was a Jew who had married a Palestinian in Israel and, after the wedding, was smuggled against her will into Gaza. There she lived a life filled with abuse and humiliation, and was basically a captive. In addition to the female suicide bomber, there were two smaller children as well. An armored force went in and rescued the two small children.

The Shema, “Hear O’Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One,” taken from Deuteronomy 6:4, was the last prayer recited by countless Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

 

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The Need to Prepare for Christian Refugees

Saturday, August 9th, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

Last week when I wrote elsewhere that Christians should start networking to be ready for the possibility of Christian refugee children from the Middle East, it felt like a far-fetched challenge. Our border is open to children, but the Christian children in Iraq require more logistics to travel here than the children of Central America led here by coyote guides. The idea seemed remote.

But events happen.

The terrorist entity now calling itself the Islamic State is targeting the Christian children of Iraq. These children are not facing just the generalized violence in lands where the government cannot control their resident mafia. They are being systematically beheaded. Women and girls are being raped and taken from their families to become unconsenting wives. Perhaps worse. And, finally, the world media is taking note.

The world can be a dark place. Genocides happen, they just aren’t always known. We know about this genocide happening right now. Suddenly, the need to prepare for refugees isn’t so theoretical.

The hard part will be getting the children out and here. I hope that those in a position to extricate them are already working the problem. (And no, I don’t mean the government. Oskar Schindler wasn’t a government official. Harriet Tubman wasn’t, either.) Upon the assumption that they are, then we should prepare.

Decide what you are prepared to do. Take in a child? Support families who do? Help your church make a temporary shelter? I can’t make a comprehensive list of To Dos, or I could but they’d be inadequate as the details are still in motion. Nor can I name every organization that might help right now. I figure I could spend a few hours calling contacts to come up with one or two to report. Or I could spend an hour writing a post calling for readers to work their own contacts and networks and open many potential avenues for help. I offer to collect and post contact information for parties who can help. Put them in the comments and I will organize and post them later.

For those of us not in a position to get the children out, let us spend the waiting days figuring out how to help them when they get here.

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Feinstein Urges No Half-Measures on ISIS Fight: ‘It Takes an Army to Defeat an Army’

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Senate Democrats teetered Friday between cautiously supporting and cautiously criticizing President Obama’s airstrikes and humanitarian drops in Iraq.

But Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) warned that just a slap at ISIS won’t be enough.

“I strongly support the president’s authorization for airstrikes against ISIL. This is not a typical terrorist organization—it is a terrorist army, operating with military expertise, advancing across Iraq and rapidly consolidating its position,” Feinstein said in a statement today.

“ISIL is capturing new Iraqi towns every day, is reported to be in control of Mosul Dam and is engaging in a campaign of ethnic cleansing that appears to be attempted genocide. I believe that once this group solidifies its hold on what it calls the Islamic State, its next target may be Baghdad,” she continued. “It has become clear that ISIL is recruiting fighters in Western countries, training them to fight its battles in the Middle East and possibly returning them to European and American cities to attack us in our backyard. We simply cannot allow this to happen.”

“It takes an army to defeat an army, and I believe that we either confront ISIL now or we will be forced to deal with an even stronger enemy in the future. Inaction is no longer an option. I support actions by the administration to coordinate efforts with Iraq and other allies to use our military strength and targeting expertise to the fullest extent possible.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), however, stressed that he opposes ”open-ended military commitments, which the President’s actions in Iraq could become.”

“Humanitarian relief is necessary to prevent genocide and provide food and water to meet an urgent emergency, but the president owes the American people a better, fuller explanation of the scope and strategy of military actions,” continued the senator, who sits on the Armed Services Committee. “I am deeply concerned that these actions could lead to prolonged direct military involvement, which I would strongly oppose. As a condition for any military aid in Iraq, I have said that there must be a new government that is inclusive and unifying.”

“I continue to believe that the current situation in Iraq is a failure of Iraq’s leaders, who have used the security forces – with training and equipment we provided – for their own sectarian ends, rather than uniting their country. It is also a consequence of the failure of the international community to contain the ongoing civil war in Syria.”

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White House Explains Obama’s ‘Flip’ January Basketball Analogy About ISIS Weakness

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

In a January interview with The New Yorker, President Obama said of the ISIS threat:

The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.

Naturally, when Obama last night decided that ISIS had become enough of a threat to warrant immediate action in the country from which he withdrew U.S. forces, that quote — branded by the New Yorker writer at the time as a “flip analogy” — circulated fast around social media.

At today’s White House press briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest tried to offer an explanation:

Well, I think what is appropriate to say is that there is no question that the Laker uniforms that were worn, to use that analogy a little, to draw out that analogy a little bit, that were worn by the Al Qaida leadership in Afghanistan has been decimated and defeated in Afghanistan. There’s no question about that.

And that is the result of the many decisions that were made by the president and the courageous service of our men and women in uniform and our men and women in the intelligence agencies.

What is also true is that there are other organizations that subscribe to the violent extremist ideology that’s espoused and promulgated by Al Qaida. Many of those groups in nations across the globe are not particularly sophisticated, are focused on local, sectarian conflicts, that don’t pose a significant or immediate threat to the U.S. interests or the U.S. homeland.

There are, of course, a couple of other organizations that do pose a more substantial threat to the United States and our interests. Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is one of them. And you’ve seen the United States in concern with our allies and partners take significant steps, important steps, to mitigate the threat that’s posed by those organizations that do have designs and some capability to try to strike the United States and, in some cases, even try to strike the homeland.

We do remain concerned about the military proficiency that’s been demonstrated by ISIL, and it’s why you’ve seen the president take steps, including the authorization of military force, that would protect American citizens who might be harmed by ISIL.

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BREAKING: ISIS Captures ‘Hundreds’ of Yazidi Women (Updates)

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

No details yet, just this from the AP.

 

The first thing that comes to mind from this news is Boko Haram and its kidnapping of all those girls. It’s still holding most of them, but has reportedly forced some to become suicide bombers.

If anything, the scale of evil that ISIS represents eclipses that of even Boko Haram. ISIS has been beheading Iraqis, mainly Christians, by the scores in recent days, including beheading children.

The Obama administration’s response is far from adequate, and appears to be driven by the idea that “Whatever you do, don’t help anyone under attack from Islam.”

More: Fox adds some details.

The spokesman for Iraq’s human rights ministry says hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority have been taken captive by militants from the Islamic State group.

Kamil Amin says the women are below the age of 35 and some are being held in schools in Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. He said the ministry learned of the captives from their families.

Update: Moqtada al-Sadr (remember him — “Mullah Atari?”) says he’s prepping his men to defend Baghdad from an ISIS offensive against the Iraqi capital.

NAJAF – One of Iraq’s most influential Shiite clerics, Moqtada Sadr, claimed Friday that jihadists were poised to attack Baghdad and he vowed to send his men to defend the capital.

“There are terrorist groups that have completed their preparations for a breakthrough into Baghdad,” the cleric said in a statement.

“We are ready to defend the city, we are ready to supply forces and coordinate with the authorities to face any scenario,” said Sadr, who announced the creation of the Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades) group in the aftermath of the jihadist offensive that began in June.

The force includes former fighters from his now dissolved Mahdi Army that fought US troops 10 years ago.

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The West’s Prostration to Islam

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by Fronda, a leading website in Poland. The English-language version of the Polish interview, originally titled “Raymond Ibrahim: Prostration before Islam,” follows:

Who is Raymond Ibrahim? A scholar, a writer, an activist? What is his mission and the main goal?

I am a little of all that and more. Due to my background, academic and personal, I have had a long interest in the Middle East and Islam, especially the historic and contemporary interaction between Islam and Christianity. After the strikes of September 11, 2001, I took an interest in the current events of the region vis-à-vis the West, and what immediately struck me was how, on the one hand, the conflict was almost identical to the historic conflict, one of continuity—at least that is how many Muslims were portraying it.

But on the other hand, in the West, the narrative was very different and based on a “new paradigm,” one that saw Islam and Muslims as perpetual victims of all sorts of outside and material pressures, mostly from the West. Thus the analyses that were being disseminated through media and academia were to my mind immensely flawed and, while making perfect sense to people in the West—for they were articulated through Western, secular, materialistic paradigms—had little to do with reality as I saw and understood it.

That was one of the reasons I left academia and began writing for more popular audiences, to try to offer a corrective to these flawed narratives.  My first book, The Al Qaeda Reader (2007), was meant to do precisely this—to compare the words of al-Qaeda as delivered to the West and as delivered to fellow Muslims, and to show how when speaking to the West, al-Qaeda and other Islamists used Western arguments, claiming any number of grievances, political and otherwise, as being the source of their jihad.  Obviously such arguments, widely disseminated by Western mainstream media, made perfect sense to the West.

But al-Qaeda’s Arabic writings that I discovered when I was working at the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and which I translated for the book, made completely different arguments, basically saying that, irrespective of all grievances, Muslims must hate and wage jihad on all non-Muslim “infidels” until they come under Islamic authority, according to the worldview of Sharia, or Islamic law.

So in a way, you can say my mission since then has been to open Western eyes to the truths and reality of Islam—at least the reality of how it is understood and practiced by many Muslims—for Western eyes have been closed shut in recent times.

You have a dual background. You were born and raised in the U.S. by parents who were born and raised in a Coptic community in Egypt. Are you the ‘clash of civilizations’ personified? What kind of advantages and disadvantages does such an identity and upbringing lead do?

That’s an interesting way of putting it. Along with obvious benefits—being bilingual (Arabic and English), for example—yes, I do believe my background gives me more subtle advantages. Growing up cognizant of both worlds and cultures has, I believe, imparted a higher degree of objectivity to my thinking. Most people’s worldviews are colored by whichever culture they are immersed in—hence exactly why so many Western people tend to project their own values on the Islamic world, convinced that any violence and intolerance that comes from that region must be a product of some sort of socio-political or economic “grievance”—some sort of material, not religious, factor. While I understand, appreciate and participate in Western values and norms, because of my “dual” background, I also cannot project such values and norms on non-Western peoples (and vice-versa, of course).

This has caused my worldview to be, I believe, more neutral and objective, less colored by cultural values and references.  Conversely, I have, so far, not encountered any notable disadvantages from such a background—other than perhaps being overly objective and not always able to participate in the common.

In addition to numerous articles in a variety of media, you are also the author of two books. The last one, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians argues that martyrdom is not a thing from the past. It is not a book with a happy ending, is it?

I prefer to think of it as a dire wake up call to the West. The topic of Muslim persecution of Christians is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.  In Crucified Again, I look at the history of this phenomenon, the Islamic scriptures that support it, and the modern era.   And what I find and document is unwavering continuity. According to Islamic teaching, Christians and other non-Muslims are “infidels,” and as such, they are seen as at best third class subjects in Islamic states. They cannot build or renovate churches, display crosses or Bibles; they have to pay tribute with humility, according to Koran 9:29; they cannot speak well of Christianity or criticize Islam. They are even required to give up their seats to a Muslim if he demands it, according to strict Islamic teaching (and as found in the “Conditions of Omar,” an important text that discusses how Christian minorities are to be treated under Islam).

Now if you look at history—as recorded by early Arabic/Islamic historians—you will see that that is exactly how Christians were treated under Islam for centuries; that is exactly how nations like Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and all of north Africa, went from being Christian majority to Muslim majority over the centuries: most Christians opted to convert to Islam rather than constantly suffer from third-class status as well as sporadic persecution.

And today, what we are seeing is simply the ongoing continuation of history, as Christians continue to be persecuted, continue to dwindle in numbers in lands that were Christian centuries before Western Europe embraced the faith. Yet, according to Western analysts, etc., all of this is some sort of “misunderstanding” or because Muslims are angry about Israel—anything and everything but codified religious intolerance, even though the latter is so well documented, doctrinally, historically, and in current events.

There are many initiatives aimed at bringing the ‘spirit of dialogue’ between the religions. In the Catholic Church we even celebrate a Day of Islam. What is your opinion on this kind of inter-faith outreach? Will it be successful in decreasing the persecution of Christians or helping individuals like Asia Bibi?

No, it will exacerbate Christian persecution. From my perspective, the more the West and/or Christianity kowtow to Islam—and that is what modern day “interfaith outreach” often amounts to—the more aggressive that religion becomes.

Here, again, is another example of Westerners projecting their norms onto others, namely, Muslims.  In the Western paradigm, itself an offshoot of Christianity, showing tolerance and forgiveness will supposedly cause some sort of reciprocation from the one being forgiven and tolerated—since everything is always supposedly a “misunderstanding.” Yet in Islam, might has always made right, and “tolerance” has always been seen as sign of equivocation or weakness—a lack of conviction.  If Christians praise Islam, so many Muslims conclude, that is because they feel it is the truth—not because they are trying to find commonalities, a paradigm that is foreign to classical Islam, which sees the world in terms of right (Islam) and wrong (non-Islam).

Again, history sheds some light on this. In the medieval era, there were Christians like Francis of Assisi who tried to have dialogue with Muslims—but in order to get to the truth, including by asking hard questions about Islam often in the context of Christian teaching. Such dialogue is of course admirable because it is sincere. But trying to have dialogue in order to find and parade some minor “commonalities”—while overlooking and ignoring the fundamental differences, which are much more immense and the true sources of conflict—is simply a game of wasting time.

In your writings regarding the Muslim persecutions of Christians, two themes are constantly recurring. Firstly, you claim that it constitutes “an elephant in the room” and secondly you believe that liberal academia and media are biased “whitewashing Islam and blaming the West” for Islamic attacks against non-Muslims. Can you explain the reasons for such arguments?

It’s the “elephant in the room” because few things show such remarkable continuity between the past and the present—while still being thoroughly ignored and treated as an aberration by academia, media, and government—as Muslim persecution of Christians.  If you look at the true history recorded by both Muslims and Christians during the Medieval era—one Muslim historian tells of how one caliph destroyed 30,000 churches—you will see that the persecution and subjugation of Christians is an ironclad fact of history.

Today, not only do we see Christians persecuted from one end of the Islamic world to the other, but we see the same exact patterns of persecution that Christians experienced centuries ago, including hostility for and restrictions on churches, hostility for the crucifix and other Christian symbols and icons, restrictions on Christian worship and freedom.  (I discuss this in more depth here and here.) As for academia and media, they reject modern day persecution of Christians for a plethora of reasons—not least because they tend to be ideologically anti-Christian—but primarily because it contradicts their entire narrative, specifically the notion that, far from being persecuted, Christians themselves are the most intolerant groups, and that Muslims are “misunderstood others” who have been oppressed by the West.

These themes are today so predominant in the West that few can believe they are almost entirely fabricated—but so they are, according to both history and current events, both of which are naturally suppressed or distorted by academia and media in the interest of keeping their ideologically-charged narrative alive.

In her book, Tenth Parallel, Eliza Griswold writes that religion becomes means of political emancipation, especially between the equator and the tenth parallel, where Christianity and Islam meet. So perhaps it is not about spirituality but power?

Again, one need only turn to history, followed by doctrine, to see that mainstream Islam has always been about power.  Its founder and prophet, Muhammad, was a warlord, who went on caravan raids and incited his followers to attack and plunder other tribes that rejected his “prophecy,” seizing their property and women and children—and all in the context of “God told me so.” After his death, his followers did the same, giving people three choices: be part of their “team” by converting, or else keep their religious beliefs, but pay tribute and live as third class subjects, or else die. In this context, and over the course of several centuries of jihadi conquest, the Islamic world was forged.

All this is well justified by the Koran and Islamic Sharia.  Compare and contrast this with Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ: far from a warlord, he preached mercy, peace, and spirituality. And that’s one of the problems: Westerners are so well acquainted with Christianity that they tend to project its approach to Islam—naively thinking that all religions must be the same, primarily spiritual, not concerned with the temporal.  But Islam is immensely concerned with the temporal—with power.

You have written about conceptual failures dominating the Western discourse on Islam. What are the main fallacies and why are they dangerous?

Along with the aforementioned fallacy of projecting Christian/Western worldviews onto a distinctly different religion/civilization like Islam, secular Westerners almost always try to understand Islam through secular and materialistic paradigms—the only paradigms they themselves are familiar with. Thus the mainstream interpretation in the West is that “radical Islam” is a byproduct of various sorts of material discontent (economic, political, social) and has little to do with the religion itself.

Westerners apparently think this way because the secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the “other,” irrespective of grievances.

Conceptually, then, it must be first understood that many of the problematic ideologies associated with radical Islam trace directly back to Sharia, Islamic law. Jihad as offensive warfare to subjugate “infidels” (non-Muslims); mandated social discrimination against non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim nations (the regulations governing ahl al-dhimma); the obligation to hate non-Muslims—even if a Muslim is married to one—all of these are clearly defined aspects that have historically been part of Islam’s worldview and not “open to interpretation.”

For example, the obligation to wage expansionist jihad is as “open to interpretation” as the obligation to perform the Five Pillars of Islam, including praying and fasting. The same textual sources and methods of jurisprudence that have made it clear that prayer and fasting are obligatory, have also made it clear that jihad is also obligatory; the only difference is that, whereas prayer and fasting is an “individual” duty, jihad is understood to be a “communal” duty (a fard kifaya).  All these intricacies must be understood before Westerners can understand Islam on its own terms.

One of the most popular views as to the reasons of Islamic terrorism is that it is based on political and economic grievances. The recipe to achieve the peaceful world would be then to remove the factors contributing to poverty or oppression and this way disarm the ‘relative deprivation’ bomb. Do you think it is feasible?

Again, as mentioned, political and economic grievances may be a reality; yet it is a distinct fact that, wherever Islam is—including in immensely rich nations like the Gulf nations—violence and intolerance of non-Muslims exist.  For example, Christian persecution around the world today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America.  Moreover, much of the underdeveloped world is suffering from economic, political, and social problems—and yet it is the Islamic world where terrorism in the name of God (Allah) is rampant.  One does not hear of, say, disenfranchised Cuban dissidents crashing explosive-laden vehicles into government buildings—while screaming Jesus is great.  Yet sceams of Allah is great in the context of terror attacks are ubiquitous.

You have devoted one of your publications to the concept of taqiyya. Can you explain what taqiyya is and why is it important to know it in the West?

Although Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, taqiyya is an Islamic doctrine that permits them to deceive non-Muslims, who by nature are deemed enemies.  Some Western scholars and apologists for Islam insist that taqiyya is a very arcane teaching developed by Shi’a and to be used only when their lives are in danger. In reality, however, taqiyya—as well as its sister teaching, tawriya—is used by mainstream Islam (Sunnism) and gives Muslims great freedom to deceive infidels if the deception can be rationalized as a way to help empower Islam over non-Muslims.

Normative Islamic teaching is so that, almost anything can be rationalized as permissible—for example “martyrdom operations” (even though suicide is banned by Islam)—as long as they can be perceived as helping empower Islam. Islamic prophet Muhammad himself permitted deceit, including to one’s wife.  One of the few Arabic language books devoted to the subject, At-Taqiyya fi’l-Islam (Dissimulation in Islam) makes it clear that taqiyya is hardly limited to Shi‘a dissimulating in fear of persecution. Written by Sami Mukaram, a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam, the opening sentences of the book clearly demonstrate the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya: “Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”

Do you have any words of advice to countries like Poland where the influence of Islam is still relatively weak but increasing due to immigration and certain radicalization of indigenous Muslim groups (e.g. Polish Tatars stopped their traditional prayers for Poland which used to be their custom)?

My advice is to take heed of what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers,” which is basically the unwavering, statistical fact that, the more Muslims grow in numbers (and thus strength), the more aggressive they become. In the U.S., for example, where Muslims are less than 1% of the population, acts of Islamic intolerance are relatively uncommon. Islamic assertiveness is limited to political activism dedicated to portraying Islam as a “religion of peace,” the painting of any and all critics as “Islamophobes,” and sporadic, but clandestine, acts of terror.

In some Western European nations, where Muslims make for much larger minorities—for example, the UK and France—open violence and religious intolerance is common. But because they are still a vulnerable minority, Islamic violence is always placed in the context of “grievances,” a word that, as we have seen, pacifies Westerners.

Where Muslim numbers reach 35-50% of a population, the full-blown jihad is often declared, as in Nigeria, which although is half Christian half Muslim is also one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. In short, Islamic aggressiveness is very much a product of Islamic strength in numbers. I discussed this at length here.

Inevitably one stumbles upon the ‘so what?’ question. Nobody persecutes Christians in France and churches are not burnt in Germany. It is doubtful that Europe will be washed away with the waves of Islam. To the contrary, it looks like Europe wants to leave religions behind. Would you not say so?

Much of this view is based on selfishness, of the modern West’s egoistic and highly individualistic worldview. What such people are really saying is that, by and large, if nothing changes and people remain indifferent, they themselves and their generation will go through life fine without much worry from the Islamic question. But this position also shows absolute indifference to future generations and the world they will inherit. In short, yes, most Europeans today may not personally suffer from Islam.  But they are opening the floodgates wide to the potential suffering of their descendants.

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‘There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.’

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

See that headline? Sen. Barack Obama said it on July 20, 2007. So, he understood that his decision could lead to where we are now.

Of course, he followed it up by saying: “But a US presence there will make it even worse.”

“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.

Shorter Obama: They hate us and they have a point.

It’s fair to say now that he got that assessment wrong. Iraq hasn’t become a “magnet” for terrorist activity, it is becoming a failed state in the south and a cruel and menacing Islamic caliphate in the north.

It’s good that America has gotten back to bombing terrorists. I didn’t think Obama really had it in him. Yes, he authorized — after several call-offs — the mission to get bin Laden, after he made it clear the he preferred to capture and try the terrorist rather than just take him out. But Obama also helped Islamists take Libya, he helped Islamists take Egypt, he wanted to help Islamists take Syria, and he keeps telling Israel to respond “proportionately” to Hamas rocket attacks.

Just what is a “proportionate” response to genocidal fanatics who don’t happen to have expert rocketeers? Should Israel respond to Hamas’ wild, indiscriminate rocket attacks with wild, indiscriminate rocket attacks of its own? The “international community” would sure love that.

What is a “proportionate” response to ISIS/ISIL waging genocide against Christians, the Yazidis and even other Muslims in Iraq? If we’re being “proportionate,” should not Obama authorize enough force to wipe the Islamic State off the face of the earth?

Yes, it’s good that Obama ordered some airstrikes to go along with the humanitarian aid. Good, but hardly enough.

Now, for their next trick, watch the Democratmedia turn to accusing Republicans of wanting to re-invade Iraq. It beats holding Obama accountable for his unconscionable, callous decision to leave Iraq to the tender fates of the Middle East.

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Obama Authorizes Airstrikes in Iraq, Says Threat to Irbil Justifies Move Against ISIS

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama emerged in the State Dining Room at the White House on Thursday night to announce “targeted aistrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.”

Obama referenced a vow he made in June to take action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, ”if and when we determined that the situation required it.”

“In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Irbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate, and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces,” the president said. “To stop the advance on Irbil, I directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move towards the city. We intend to stay vigilant and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Irbil and our embassy in Baghdad.”

“We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.”

The second part of the operation — the humanitarian assistance — came “at the request of the Iraqi government” to “help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.”

“As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis, and these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect,” Obama continued. “…ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide.”

“I’ve said before the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there is a crisis in the world. So let me be clear about why we must act and act now. When we face a situation like we do on that mountain, with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide. That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.”

Obama said the airstrikes have been authorized “if necessary” to help Iraqi forces break the siege of Mount Sinjar and humanitarian air drops have already begun.

“Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, there is no one coming to help. Well, today, America is coming to help,” he said, adding the administration mantra that the lasting solution to ISIS’ reign of terror is an inclusive political process in Baghdad and government reforms.

“The several hundred American advisers that I ordered to Iraq will continue to assess what more we can do to help train, advise and support Iraqi forces going forward,” Obama said. “And just as I consulted Congress on the decisions I made today, we will continue to do so going forward. My fellow Americans, the world is confronted by many challenges, and while America has never been able to right every wrong, America has made the world a more secure and prosperous place.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that Obama “has acted expeditiously and appropriately in authorizing targeted military action and providing significant humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq at this very difficult moment when it is vitally needed.”

“With a gut-wrenching humanitarian crisis unfolding, and the rolls of the starving and sick growing daily, there’s not a minute to waste. The United States is acting and leading, and the world cannot sit by and watch innocents die,” Kerry said. The Turks actually took lead on the first humanitarian drops escorted by their F-16s.

“We will continue to coordinate with our allies in the region and the international community to assist Iraqis to confront ISIL’s brutal ideology which poses a severe threat to Iraq, the region, and the United States,” he added. “President Obama has been unequivocal that he will do what is necessary and what is in our national interest to confront ISIL and its threat to the security of the region and to our own long-term security.”

The Pentagon said tonight’s mission was “conducted from multiple airbases within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility” and included one C-17 and two C-130 aircraft, escorted by two F/A-18s, dropping 72 bundles of supplies including drinking water and MREs.

“The aircraft were over the drop area for less than fifteen minutes flying at a low altitude,” the Defense Department said. “As part of the United States commitment to allies and partners in the region, the Department of Defense maintains a robust stock of food items and water for rapid distribution if needed for a natural disaster or other crisis.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he supported the administration actions.

“There are a number of justifications for these actions, but the reasons he cited are surely sufficient. It is helpful that the government of Iraq has requested our assistance, and it would also be helpful under the circumstances, though not necessary, for a number of neighboring countries to publicly support our actions,” Levin said. “I have urged the administration to provide greater assistance to the Kurds, to assist their defense and to help them resume their protection of Christian villages in their area.”

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Obama’s proposal ”far from sufficient to meet the growing threat that ISIS poses.”

“A policy of containment will not work against ISIS. It is inherently expansionist and must be stopped. The longer we wait to act, the worse this threat will become, as recent events clearly show,” the senators said in a joint statement.

“We need to get beyond a policy of half measures. The President needs to devise a comprehensive strategy to degrade ISIS. This should include the provision of military and other assistance to our Kurdish, Iraqi, and Syrian partners who are fighting ISIS. It should include U.S. air strikes against ISIS leaders, forces, and positions both in Iraq and Syria. It should include support to Sunni Iraqis who seek to resist ISIS. And none of this should be contingent on the formation of a new government in Baghdad.”

McCain and Graham added that “if ever there were a time to reevaluate our disastrous policy in the Middle East, this is it.”

“Because of the President’s hands-off approach, the threats in the region have grown and now directly threaten the United States,” they said. “We are already paying a very heavy price for our inaction, and if we do not change course, the costs of our inaction will only grow.”

“Without immediate U.S. action, it will not just be innocent Syrians and Iraqis who pay the price of ISIL’s rise,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

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Rep. Wolf to Obama: ‘You Will Come to Sincerely Regret Your Failure to Stop the Genocide’

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A 17-term congressman who has dedicated much of his career to human-rights issues lashed out at President Obama for inviting genocide with his lackadaisical policies.

“Much like President Clinton has deeply regretted his failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, I believe you will come to regret your inaction for years to come,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) wrote to Obama today.

Before recess, Wolf was repeatedly speaking on the House floor about the massacre of Christians in Iraq and decrying how the U.S. was doing nothing in response.

On Monday, Wolf wrote to Obama to charge that “you and your administration have failed.”

“You, Secretary of State Kerry and Ambassador Power all need to speak out. Having a mid-level White House advisor meet with a group of concerned Assyrian leaders is not enough. In fact, it was little more than an empty gesture,” he wrote. “Time is running out. How many more people must be killed for you to acknowledge this situation?”

In today’s letter, Wolf ripped Obama for the 2012 creation of his Atrocities Prevention Board that hasn’t lived up to its pledge to make the prevention of genocide “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”

“Tragically, mass atrocities are happening again today – and on your watch. Genocide is taking place today in northern Iraq, where the Christian and Yezidi populations are being exterminated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There is no question that systematic and targeted brutality is occurring. Yet, as I said on the House floor last week, the silence from you and your administration is deafening. Why have you not spoken up, and why has the Atrocities Prevention Board not taken action?” Wolf said.

The congressman highlighted how last weekend the Yazidis were forced onto Sinjar Mountain by ISIS forces, some dying of thirst waiting for help and some women and girls captured by ISIS as sex slaves.

“The homes of Christians and other religious minorities have been marked with spray paint to target those who live there. Families have been force to flee, often on foot, with nothing but literally the shirts on their backs,” Wolf wrote. “We cannot pretend these atrocities aren’t taking place; there are now videos on the Internet being promoted by those sympathetic to ISIS proudly displaying their brutal and grotesque slaughter and abuse of Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities in Iraq.”

“Your administration is aware of what is going on, yet you are doing nothing. Just what is the point of having an ‘Atrocities Prevention Board’ if it takes no action to prevent or stop atrocities? When was the last time this board has met? Has the board even been convened to address the genocide taking place in Iraq?”

Wolf then reprinted what Obama said at the Holocaust Museum in 2012:

“And finally, ‘never again’ is a challenge to nations. It’s a bitter truth — too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale. And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.

“Three years ago today, I joined many of you for a ceremony of remembrance at the U.S. Capitol. And I said that we had to do ‘everything we can to prevent and end atrocities.’ And so I want to report back to some of you today to let you know that as President I’ve done my utmost to back up those words with deeds. Last year, in the first-ever presidential directive on this challenge, I made it clear that ‘preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.

“That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there’s an injustice in the world. We cannot and should not. It does mean we possess many tools – diplomatic and political, and economic and financial, and intelligence and law enforcement and our moral suasion – and using these tools over the past three years, I believe – I know – that we have saved countless lives.”

“It is now clear to the nation and the world that your words were hollow; your ‘presidential directive’ apparently was nothing more than a token gesture. You will come to sincerely regret your failure to take action to stop the genocide in Iraq,” Wolf wrote. “Your conscience will haunt you long after you leave office. Mr. President, say something; do something.”

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State Department’s Harf: The Iraqis Need to ‘Pull Themselves Together’

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Another classic from the “promise of hashtag” crowd.

During today’s State Department press briefing, deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf addressed the unfolding crisis in Iraq.

That crisis has many sources, but its chief source is ISIL. ISIL has taken hold of a large swath of northern Iraq and is killing anyone and everyone who gets in their way, or who refuses to bow to their take on Islam. Currently ISIL has about 40,000 men, women and children holed up on top of a mountain, starving them to death.

A reporter asked if there is a “confrontation to stop” ISIL’s spread.

Harf: “It’s not just a humanitarian crisis. I mean, that’s certainly a key piece of particularly what we’ve seen over the last 48 hours, certainly. But there’s a huge security challenge – if you talk about the Mosul dam, if you talk about other places. ISIL is a threat not just because they kill innocent civilians because of their religion, but because they’re a huge security threat to the stability of certain parts of Iraq. And that’s why throughout this conflict you have seen us continue to ramp up our support and continue to look very urgently at other things we could do to help fight this threat, because at the end of the day we can help the Iraqis, but the Iraqis also have to stand up, they have to pull themselves together, with our help, because this is a threat that certainly they but no one else in the region wants to see grow any more.”

Pull themselves together…

Like a lovable rogue who drinks himself to sleep on your couch every once in a while. “Pull yourself together, dude, I have to get to work and I’m not leaving with you here to eat up all of my food.”

At the moment, there’s barely anything for Iraq to pull together. That country has sectarian differences that go back more than 1,000 years. The army that we trained, and left on its own prematurely because Obama put his political priorities ahead of geopolitical realities, melts away in the face of ISIL attacks.

Should the Iraqis ISIL has blown up and beheaded pull themselves together too?

We’re looking at genocide.

Pull yourselves together.

From there, the briefing descended into a debate on reality and whether Harf is or is not a capable spokesperson.

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Turkey Steps in to Help Save Yazidis, U.S. May Follow Soon

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Obama administration is reportedly considering air drops of supplies — and potential military assistance — to help tens of thousands of minority Yazidis surrounded by ISIS on Mount Sinjar.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Washington “strongly condemns” the ISIS siege of Mount Sinjar, adding it is “nearing a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Earnest wouldn’t go into specifics, however, about what kind of action is being considered.

The Yazidis, targeted by dozens of genocides over their history for following their ancient religion, in Nineveh Province fled Saturday to the mountain as the Islamic State fighters closed in on the town of Sinjar. Since then, the death toll on the arid mountain, particularly of the elderly and children, has been “rising by the minute,” according to Kurdish media. People have reportedly been eating leaves off trees in a desperate attempt to survive.

The Peshmerga have been trying to save the Yazidis and carve out a corridor to save them, but ISIS has been pushing hard against the lines of the fierce Kurdish fighters.

Turkey took the lead on humanitarian assistance to the Yazidis, according to Hurriyet Daily News:

The Turkish government airdropped humanitarian aid to thousands of members of the Yazidi community on Aug. 7, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, adding that Turkey was the sole country conducting humanitarian operations for displaced Iraqis fleeing from ISIL violence.

“Humanitarian aid [provided by Turkey’s disaster agency, AFAD] was delivered by Iraq’s helicopters for members of the Yazidi community trapped in the mountains of the Sinjar region,” Davutoğlu told private broadcaster NTV Aug. 7.

Davutoğlu’s statement came right after he chaired a security meeting with the participation of Land Forces Commander Gen. Hulusi Akar, Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Servet Yörük and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan. The meeting focused on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) advance into northern Iraq, which presents a security risk for Turkey amid growing concern about an influx of Iraqi minority groups fleeing violence into Turkey.

Until this afternoon, the only member of the Obama administration to publicly talk about the plight of the Yazidis — though not mentioning the ethno-religious minority by name — in recent days has been UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who said in a statement that she condemned “in the strongest possible terms the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) recent attacks on Sinjar and Tal Afar in Ninewa province that have reportedly led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, many from vulnerable minority communities, deepening Iraq’s already acute humanitarian crisis.”

“ISIL’s reported abuse, kidnapping, torture and executions of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities and its systematic destruction of religious and cultural sites are appalling,” Power said.

“The United States supports the Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga Forces working to defend these areas against ISIL. We urge all parties to the conflict to allow safe access to the United Nations and its partners so they can deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including to those Iraqi families reportedly encircled by ISIL on Mount Sinjar. The United States is committed to helping the people of Iraq as they confront the security and humanitarian challenges in their fight against ISIL. Iraq’s leaders must move swiftly to form a new, fully inclusive government that takes into account the rights, aspirations and legitimate concerns of all of Iraq’s communities. All Iraqis must come together to ensure that Iraq gets back on the path to a peaceful future and to prevent ISIL from obliterating Iraq’s vibrant diversity.”

Related: ISIS Seizes Mosul Dam, Threatens Genocide Against the Yazidis

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The Man Behind StopARocket: Fundraising for the Iron Dome

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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After watching his fellow pro-Israel ralliers get attacked by a pro-Palestinian mob, one average Canadian citizen wanted to send a message, not just to the thugs who sent 6 people to the hospital, but to the entire world. If you doubt that average people can do big things, you haven’t met Ron from Calgary, the founder of StopARocket.com.

Amused by the idea of a crowdsourcing campaign for the Iron Dome, I reached out to the folks at StopARocket.com to see if I could get a handle on the folks behind the fundraiser. It turns out that the “folks” is one guy named Ron who was willing to do an email interview. Obviously the guy has a day job. Most of his responses were sent in the wee hours of the morning, illustrating how dedicated he is to what he refers to as a simple, but profound way for Israel lovers across the globe to show their support for the civilian defense of the free world. Ron’s humble, straightforward responses illustrate how much we can accomplish when we’re willing to embrace Ben Carson’s axiom “Think Big”.

Please start by telling me a little about yourself and the group ForCanada. What is the group’s purpose? What are the goals?

I’m a private professional in Calgary. I attended a pro-Hamas rally a few weeks ago that degenerated into a violent mob that sent six people to the hospital. I’m worried not just about Israel’s safety in the Middle East, but the safety of Jews and non-Jewish Zionists in the west, including in North America.

For Canada is the committee that organized the pro-Israel rally last Thursday in Calgary. They agreed to let StopARocket.com use their mailing address and bank account to collect cheques from people who don’t want to use PayPal.

What drove you to fundraise specifically for the Iron Dome, as opposed to some kind of humanitarian aid for Israel (i.e. supplies for soldiers, etc.)? Shouldn’t military aid be managed by government officials?

Supporting Iron Dome is merely symbolic. I read a CNN article that said each Iron Dome anti-missile costs $62,000 so that seemed like an achievable fundraising goal. As we say on our website, we will ask the Israeli government to put the money towards the cost of one anti-missile, or any other civilian defence expenses to protect Israelis. It’s only for defensive efforts to protect civilians. But Iron Dome has captured the world’s imagination as a symbol of Israel’s ingenuity and value placed on life.

Are you working with any officials in Israel to coordinate this effort?

Before we launched the website, we confirmed with the Israeli embassy in Canada that they would support this project and would help us direct the funds to the appropriate agency in Israel.

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Dem Chairman in Israel: ‘A Nation Has a Responsibility to Defend Itself’ Against Hamas

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Several members of Congress are spending the first week of the summer recess in Israel to show support for the Jewish state, view the tunnels used by Hamas and see the Iron Dome missile defense system that they helped fund.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that he was “humbled to be traveling to the United States’ greatest ally… to show my support for the Israeli people during this time of instability.”

“I have always been one of Israel’s strongest supporters in the U.S. Congress, and I will always stand up for its needs,” he added.

Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), also part of the congressional delegation, said he hoped the presence of the bipartisan group “communicates the unbreakable bond between our two nations.”

“There is a lot to learn about the peace process and the impact of events here on U.S. interests at home and abroad,” Graves said. “While we will discuss a broad range of economic and political issues, I am especially interested to learn more about Israel’s counter-terrorism techniques, including their approach to securing borders and ports of entry.”

Rep. Israel was pressed by CNN on Wednesday about the Obama administration criticism of Israeli strikes on Gaza.

“Well, I will tell you what the prime minister said, that Israel mourns the loss of every life,” the DCCC chairman said. “But the fact of the matter is that it is Hamas that has chosen to hide its military commanders underground and put civilians above ground. It is Hamas that has decided to embed its military technologies and weapons in schools, in mosques and other facilities.”

“It is Hamas that decided to launch rockets in an asymmetric way. And so it is Hamas that has the responsibility for increasing the number of fatalities. I happen to agree with that view,” Israel continued. “What would you do? My district — 200 of my constituents lost their lives on 9/11. What did we do? We responded. Israel has not the right, but the responsibility to protect its civilians while trying to minimize the loss of innocent civilians and that’s exactly what they have done.”

When pressed again on whether the administration criticism of the Jewish state was valid, the congressman said, “I do not know what more Israel could have done.”

“Look, in any war, you’re always going to get the tragedy of those casualties. And we have drone programs that operated against the bad guys, and, unfortunately, there were casualties that we mourned and that we didn’t want. That’s what happens in a war,” the leading Dem said.

“This war happened to be started by a terrorist group that launched rockets at heavily populated Israeli cities. Now, the other thing I would mention is this. We can bemoan the criticisms and the back and forth. What’s important is that the United States and the United States Congress under this administration has helped finance the Iron Dome program, which has saved thousands of more lives and prevented an already horrifying escalation of hostilities from escalating even further. So I’m going to continue to focus on technologies like the Iron Dome program. I don’t care who said what. I care about the deed, and that we are actually in very good shape with Israel on military and intelligence cooperation.”

Rep. Israel was pressed on the timeline of the conflict and allegations that the Jewish state hid the fact that the three missing Israeli teens kidnapped from the West Bank had been murdered.

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British Cabinet Member Resigns to Protest Gaza Policy. Media Blame It On Everything But the Obvious.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The British Tory government is solidly backing Israel in its current war with Hamas. As it should, since Hamas is a terrorist group, Israel is a British ally, and Hamas started the war in the first place.

Britain’s first ever Minister of Faith, Sayeeda Warsi, has resigned to protest Britain’s backing of Israel. That happened Tuesday morning.

She wrote a letter of resignation to PM David Cameron outlining why she was quitting:

“For some weeks, in meetings and discussions, I have been open and honest about my views on the conflict in Gaza and our response to it,” she wrote in her resignation letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, which she posted on Twitter. “My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.”

Some Tories started talking to the press off the record, which is hardly ever a good idea for members of a conservative government to do. The media are only too happy to stick a shiv in you.

Enter Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman. Newman gets a few quotes for the Telegraph, packages them, and then blames the Tories’ ire on sexism. And racism, of course. Don’t forget that.

One Minister told me how “stupid” Warsi’s decision to quit was – a sentiment that was echoed in the Chancellor George Osborne’s clip about her “frankly unnecessary” resignation. He tried to conceal his contempt for the cameras but couldn’t quite manage it. Off the record, his colleagues didn’t need to bother reining in the bile.

Another “senior Tory” – an “infuriated” one no less – told the Daily Mailthat “Warsi is an egomaniac; not a team player. Good riddance. The feeling in the parliamentary party is that this probably has as much to do with her own lack of promotion (as with Gaza).”

Working class, Northern, a “girl” – those are labels that a vast swathe of voters can identify with. But they apply to depressingly few Tory MPs, and I’m amazed so many of her colleagues seem so pleased to see the back of the sort of politician they can ill afford to lose.

Like the playground bullies, they hit out at the kid whose face doesn’t quite fit. And the media establishment connives in that. Would the Daily Mail have accused a male minister of “flouncing” out? Highly unlikely.

The Guardian’s Rafael Bahr plays a similar game. Warsi’s resignation isn’t really about Gaza at all, he says, but about Cameron. Even though Warsi comes off as “abrasive” and “outspoken,” to the point that Cameron felt that he had to invent a cabinet position for her just to keep her from becoming an enemy within his own party.

There were advantages to having an outspoken, state-schooled Asian woman from the north of England speaking for a party widely judged to be stuffed with privately educated, southern white men. Warsi always despised the way her role was depicted as ornamental, not least because she had strong views on the scale of change required if the Tories were to be serious about recruitment outside their demographic comfort zone. As party chair, she made enemies of MPs who found her manner abrasive and who doubted her grasp of the party machine. Warsi was thought insufficiently clubbable, which was inevitable when her agenda was to change the club culture. But Cameron’s instincts tend towards the status quo.

There is, it should be stressed, no evidence that Warsi’s status as a woman or a Muslim ever soured relations with the prime minister. If there was a problematic trait connected to her background it was, say insiders, her Yorkshireness – a habit of bluntness with criticism, to which Cameron is allergic. Only the inner circle is permitted dissent, and even then it should be politely dressed. The prime minister is sensitive to lese-majesty; Warsi doesn’t do deference.

Both of these stories are obviously written to prop up Warsi and tear down the Cameron government — which is what Cameron feared would happen eventually with Warsi around. Now it has, she has resigned over Gaza, and will start going after Cameron on that and a whole lot else before long, one supposes.

Despite himself, Behr almost stumbles onto the real reason that Warsi resigned from the cabinet. Notice this sentence:

There is, it should be stressed, no evidence that Warsi’s status as a woman or a Muslim ever soured relations with the prime minister.

She’s a Muslim. Muslim attitudes toward Jews and Israel tend to be disapproving, to say the least. The fact that she has resigned over Gaza is pretty strong indication that she’s on Hamas’ side, not Israel’s.

That’s a story, or it would be to a genuinely curious reporter. A genuinely curious reporter would ask her what her specific problems are with the Cameron government siding with its ally against a group that is launching rockets at Israel’s civilians. A real reporter might ask her if she believes Israel ought to accept that threat, and if the British would be obliged to as well.

It’s clear from the two stories above that the authors did speak directly with Warsi. But neither of them asked her even the most rudimentary questions about her own position on the war. In fact, they both applaud her.

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Paul: Foes ‘Trying to Create a Story’ by Saying He Wants to Cut Israel Aid

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that foes of his efforts to cut Palestinian aid are behind media reports claiming that he wants to cut off aid to Israel.

The controversy goes back to a 2011 interview in which Paul argued that foreign aid should come after domestic debt crises. “We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries, even if they are our friends…. I think they’re an important ally, but I also think that [Israel’s] per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world,” he told ABC back then. “Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don’t think so.”

Last night on Fox, while stumping through Iowa, the potential 2016 presidential contender stressed he’s “never targeted Israel for any aid cuts, never voted to cut any aid to Israel.”

Paul unsuccessfully tried to get his Stand with Israel Act through the Senate last month by unanimous consent, a bill that would stem the flow of aid to the Palestinian Authority if it maintains its ties with Hamas.

“And the interesting thing is I spent the last two months trying to cut aid to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and people seem to be trying to create their own story here,” the senator told Fox. “But I’ve been on the Senate floor three times in the last two weeks challenging the Democrats to say, you know what, Hamas should not get any foreign aid. That’s the real story here. Anything else really that’s being brought up is someone trying to create a story.”

Paul, who voted for extra funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system before Congress left for the summer recess, said he’s never voted for any amendment to specifically defund Israel.

“I think it’s misinterpreted. I’ve had votes and budgets that would have reduced overall foreign aid. Some people have interpreted it, saying this is to deny aid to Israel, when, in fact, my inclination and my propositions have always been to strengthen our ties to Israel. So really people misinterpret it. I think foreign aid — we don’t have enough money to continue foreign aid to everyone all the time,” he said.

“But I’ve said repeatedly, I think we ought to start with the countries that are burning our flag, the countries who hate us. I’ve been to Israel. I don’t see anybody there burning our flag,” Paul continued. “So really, I’m for slowing down the aid, saying we don’t have enough, attaching conditions, making sure Hamas never gets any aid. All I’m asking is for some of these outlets that are unfriendly outlets, that they would report the truth, that I have spent a lot of time trying to reduce aid to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. And if they report otherwise, they’re reporting something truly not accurate.”

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Jimmy Carter Will Not Go Quietly into the Worst Ex-President Night

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

“One useful idiot please, heavy on the idiot.”

Former President Jimmy Carter once again is getting way out in front of the U.S. government on the Middle East, co-authoring an op-ed in which he calls for Washington to recognize designated terror group Hamas as a legitimate “political actor” — while blasting Israel for its military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

The scathing column on ForeignPolicy.com was written by Carter and Ireland’s former president Mary Robinson.

The article called the current conflict a “humanitarian catastrophe,” and while acknowledging Hamas’ “indiscriminate targeting” of Israelis, focused its criticism on Israel.

“There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war,” they wrote. “Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals.”

Carter is bristling at the fact that he lost his Most Embarrassing Nobel Peace Laureate title to Barack Obama. Now he just wants to work as hard as he can for the next couple of years to keep The Idiot King from wresting the “Worst Ex-President” mantle away from him, as most expect him to do.

After a presidency that Americans would love to forget, Carter has spent over three decades spouting inanities for media attention just so we can’t. Bill Clinton has exhibited more class as an ex-president than Carter, and he’s the guy who stole furniture on his way out of the White House.

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NDTV Exclusive Footage: Hamas Preps Rocket in Hotel Backyard

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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India’s NDTV has released exclusive footage of Hamas terrorists assembling a rocket to fire in a residential neighborhood in Gaza:

 In the minutes before the ceasefire kicked in at Gaza this morning,  Hamas fired a flurry of rockets towards Israel – 30 according to some counts.

Israel has argued that that these rockets are fired from civilian areas, and this is why its retaliatory strikes can result in civilian casualties.

But this morning, NDTV witnessed one such rocket silo being created under a tent right next to the hotel where our team was staying.  Minutes later, we saw the rocket being fired, just before the 72-hour ceasefire came into effect.

NDTV made sure to note that the report was filed after their team left the Gaza Strip:

This report is being aired on NDTV and published on ndtv.com after our team left the Gaza strip – Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones.

Blogger Aussie Dave posted a report at the popular pro-Israel blog IsraellyCool mapping out the location of the launch site based on the footage within the NDTV report:

As you can see, right near not just the hotel but the beach and houses.

From the hotel room view, you can see a tall white building on the right, and a tall building with jagged balconies in the background. The building on the right partially blocks the view of building in the back.

You can see that the right side of the image, is the source of the sun in the morning launch, making it a view towards the north.

When the reporter walks away from the launch area, across the street, a bit to the north, lies the 5-star Commodore Hotel with its yellow and glass facade.

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Pro-Hamas Activists Blockade Israeli Arms Factory in Britain

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The International Business Times reports:

Pro-Palestine activists have shut down a factory in Staffordshire owned by an Israeli military company in protest at the current Gaza conflict.

Members of the London Palestine Action group scaled the roof and chained the doors of the UAV Engines Limited factory in Shenstone.

UAV states that it produces “engines for various size tactical UAVs, target drones and single mission platforms”. It is owned by Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems.

London Palestine Action are demanding a closure of the factory, as well as an “end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel”.

The group unfurled banners on the roof of the factory with the slogans “Elbit Arms Israel Kills” and “UK: Stop Arming Israel” as part of the ongoing protest.

The link between UAV and Israel has long been a subject of British speculation. A 2009 article in the Guardian reported:

UAV Engines, of Lichfield, Staffordshire, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engines for drones - unmanned aerial vehicles that are becoming critical frontline systems for military and civilian use around the world.

The company, known as UEL, is owned by the Israel drone specialists Silver Arrow, a subsidiary of the Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems.

One of its rotary Wankel engines is used in Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone. A version of the 450 makes up a squadron of the Israeli air force and has been seen over Gaza in the current conflict, being used for surveillance and targeting for Israel’s F-16 strike fighters.

Commentators on reputable defence and aviation journals and Elbit’s own website suggest that the Lichfield factory produces engines for the Hermes.

But Elbit’s head of corporate communications, Dalia Rosen, has denied this. She said: “UEL engines are provided to the British UAV programmes and to other international customers, not to Hermes 450 in the service of the IDF [Israel Defence Forces].”

When provided with references she replied: “If you want me to confirm a false speculation you can do it, but I strongly recommend that you trust my comment.” She did not respond to a request asking which other engine could be used.

The Middle East Monitor, a pro-Palestinian media agency dedicated to “creating new perspectives,” issued a report on the factory protest in Staffordshire. Referring to the protesters as “occupiers” who are pursuing a new front in the battle against UAV and Elbit, the report detailed:

The occupation comes the day after the UK government pledged to investigate whether any of £8bn of arms exported to Israel in the last 5 years are being used in Israel’s ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.

Currently, British police have cordoned off the area around the factory and are working to “ensure the protest remains peaceful and safe.” An estimated 10 protesters are on the rooftop, many of whom are live tweeting photos and messages “…saying they have enough supplies to ‘last a week’.”

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Hamas Is to Blame for Civilian Deaths in Gaza

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

At some point over the past century, a profound shift occurred in the West’s popular mood regarding the morality of violence. As Objective Standard editor Craig Biddle reminds us in an outstanding piece tackling “Hamas and The Left’s Pretense About the Deaths of Innocents in Gaza,” the United States ended its conflict with Japan in World War II by dropping two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over 200,000 people died as a result. Surely, the vast majority of those killed were innocent individuals who did not conscientiously participate in the bombing of Pearl Harbor or any other aggression against the Allies. But our nation killed them anyway.

Would we do the same today? Do we have the stomach? Perhaps the better question is: do we retain the moral sense to place blame for such deaths where it belongs?

It’s true, dropping those bombs and killing 200,000 people saved millions more. Yet, it’s not a utilitarian weighing of this many lives versus that many lives which justifies the bombings. The United States was correct to drop the bombs as an act of retaliatory force, neutralizing a threat against its citizens. As Biddle articulates in his piece, which you should read in its entirely, proper moral blame for the 200,000 dead lay with the empire of Japan. Biddle concludes:

The principle is: He who initiates physical force is morally responsible for the destructive consequences of the retaliatory force he thereby necessitates. So says the law of causality.

This principle is as clear in a warzone in the Middle East as it is on the streets of Miami. If a thug grabs a woman and tries to shove her into a van, and the woman pulls a gun from her purse and shoots at the thug, thereby killing an innocent bystander behind him, who is morally responsible for the bystander’s death? Every thinking adult knows the answer.

Of course, the kind and extent of retaliatory force warranted in a given situation depends on the full context and can be a complex matter. But the matter of who is morally responsible for the harm caused by retaliatory force necessitated by an aggressor is simple: The aggressor is.

As a culture, we in the West seem to have forgotten that. Perhaps later generations never learned it to begin with. Instead, we uphold notions of “restraint” and “proportional response” as if civilian causalities among an enemy state should haunt us.

The death of innocents is always a tragedy. But the nation that kills is not necessarily the nation at fault. Deaths should not be tallied for balance, as if fairness necessitated a Jew die for every Palestinian killed, or as if the United States should have allowed 200,000 of its citizens to be bombed as an offset to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fault for death and destruction lies squarely with the aggressor. As Dennis Prager states concisely in the video on the next page, the aggressor in the Middle East is clearly Hamas.

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IDF: Hamas Planned to Wipe Gaza Town Off the Map

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The Israel Defense Forces report:

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip found a Hamas manual on “Urban Warfare,” which belonged to the Shuja’iya Brigade of Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. The manual explains how the civilian population can be used against IDF forces and reveals that Hamas knows the IDF is committed to minimizing harm to civilians.

Throughout Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has continuously used the civilian population of Gaza as human shields. The discovery of a Hamas “urban warfare” manual by IDF forces reveals that Hamas’ callous use of the Gazan population was intentional and preplanned.

This Hamas urban warfare manual exposes two truths: (1) The terror group knows full well that the IDF will do what it can to limit civilian casualties. (2) The terror group exploits these efforts by using civilians as human shields against advancing IDF forces.

The IDF report quotes specific portions of the manual that focus on Hamas’s purposeful usage of human shields:

The soldiers and commanders (of the IDF) must limit their use of weapons and tactics that lead to the harm and unnecessary loss of people and [destruction of] civilian facilities. It is difficult for them to get the most use out of their firearms, especially of supporting fire [e.g. artillery].

According to the Hamas manual, the presence of civilians poses three distinct problems for the IDF:

(1) Problems with opening fire
(2) Problems in controlling the civilian population during operations and afterward
(3) Assurance of supplying medical care to civilians who need it

Perhaps the most disturbing element within the manual is the “value added” segment which illustrates the perverse psychological warfare Hamas wages on the Palestinian people:

The destruction of civilian homes: This increases the hatred of the citizens towards the attackers [the IDF] and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders (resistance forces[i.e. Hamas]).

The manual belongs to the Shuja’iya Brigade, named after the town of Shuja’iya, a terrorist stronghold in the Gaza Strip. The IDF concluded that, “the discovery of this manual suggests that the destruction in Shuja’iya was always part of Hamas’ plan.”

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Wiesel Calls on Obama to ‘Condemn Hamas’ Use of Children as Human Shields’

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel has launched an ad campaign through his foundation in which he personally urges President Obama “to condemn Hamas’ use of children as human shields.”

The ad, appearing in newspapers in major cities, notes that “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago,” which a reference to Abraham and the binding of Isaac. “Now it’s Hamas’ turn.”

“In my own lifetime, I have seen Jewish children thrown into the fire. And now I have seen Muslim children used as human shields, in both cases, by worshippers of death cults indistinguishable from that of the Molochites,” Wiesel writes.

“What we are suffering through today is not a battle of Jew versus Arab or Israeli versus Palestinian. Rather, it is a battle between those who celebrate life and those who champion death. It is a battle of civilization versus barbarism.”

Wiesel stressed that “before sleepless mothers in both Gaza City and Tel Aviv can rest, before diplomats can begin in earnest the crucial business of rebuilding dialogue… the Hamas death cult must be confronted for what it is.”

“Moderate men and women of faith, whether that faith is in God or man, must shift their criticism
from the Israeli soldiers – whose terrible choice is to fire and risk harming human shields, or hold their fire and risk the death of their loved ones – to the terrorists who have taken away all choice from the Palestinian children of Gaza,” the Holocaust survivor continued.

“I call upon the Palestinian people to find true Muslims to represent them, Muslims who would never voluntarily place a child in danger. I call upon President Obama and the leaders of the world to condemn Hamas’ use of children as human shields. And I enjoin the American public to stand firmly with the people of Israel who are in yet another struggle for survival, and with the suffering people of Gaza who reject terror and embrace peace,” Wiesel wrote.

“Let us return child sacrifice to the darkest corner of history, and work towards a brighter future with those who choose life, Arabs and Jews alike, all of us Abraham’s children.”

Wiesel and Obama were together in May at a USC Shoah Foundation dinner in Los Angeles, where the president reminisced about touring Buchenwald, the camp in which Wiesel’s father was killed weeks before liberation.

“As most of you know, he who had endured that camp as a teenager. And we walked among the guard towers and the barbed wire. We saw the ovens and the crematorium. We saw the memorial to the prisoners, a steel plate heated to the temperature of the human body, as a reminder of our common humanity,” Obama said. “And at the end of our visit, as we stood outside the place where his father and so many other souls had perished, Elie spoke these words — he said: ‘Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.’ Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.”

Yesterday, the State Department issued a statement saying it was “appalled” by Israel’s “disgraceful” shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah.

“The coordinates of the school, like all UN facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces. We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties. UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected, and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians. We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA schools.”

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Will the Power of the People Fund the Iron Dome?

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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A gentleman identifying himself as “Ron from Calgary, Canada” has taken it upon himself to start an Indiegogo campaign titled “Stop a Rocket” to crowdsource funding for Israel’s Iron Dome.

“Let’s stop a rocket and help Israel buy more Iron Dome anti-missles!” the campaign’s headline reads. The fundraising plea details:

So many people around the world are concerned about the terrorist attacks on Israel, especially through rockets fired by Hamas terrorists based in Gaza.

We are shocked at Hamas’s Nazi-like hatred for Jews; we feel sorrow for the victims of this violence, including innocent civilians in Gaza that Hamas uses as human shields. But most of all, we feel helpless — what can we personally do about this?

Is there something positive that people of goodwill around the world can do, both as a symbolic gesture, and that might actually save a life? We think there is.

…It wouldn’t be for an offensive weapon. You can’t use the Iron Dome to attack anyone. It’s 100% defensive — like a bulletproof vest. It only saves lives. And it doesn’t discriminate — it protects Jewish, Muslim and Christian Israelis all the same.

Let’s do it — let’s crowd fund this project, to save lives!

The campaign, which started on July 31, has already reached 27% of its goal. It is scheduled to continue fundraising until August 14.

Pamela Gellar, the blogging activist behind Atlas Shrugs endorsed the Stop A Rocket campaign, tweeting:

“Crowdfunding an Iron Dome!: FANTASTIC! I just contributed, so should you. Free people defending free people…”.

Canadian media personality and conservative political activist Ezra Levant promoted the campaign, tweeting:

“My friend Ron is crowdsourcing $62,000 to pay for one Iron Dome anti-missile. I think he’ll save a life: http://www.StopARocket.com  #Israel”.

Very little has been reported on the Stop A Rocket campaign. ForCanada, the organization to which donors can send checks, is a grassroots fundraising organization that has supported a Calgary for Israel Rally, and a Stop the Riots legal fund for victims of pro-Palestinian aggression. The organization is also tied to a campaign to “fight anti-Christian bigotry in Canada”.

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Caption Contest Winners: Obama Says Muslims Built ‘The Very Fabric of Our Nation’

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
dinner

Photo Credit: AP

Thanks to everyone who entered our very popular caption contest from July 29. If you are just joining us, please refer back to the original contest to better understand what you are about to read.

Due to the provocative questions raised by the purveyor of this contest, we had several categories of winners.

Let’s start with the most competitive category that asked:

“What is Abe Lincoln thinking as he watches over the dinner?”

The grand prize winner was cfbleachers with:

Abe: Even a house divided against itself cannot stand this guy.

And cfbleachers won a double grand prize with:

Abe–Four score and seven years ago   Obama–Fore! Score? And seven holes ago?

MRG01 entered the winners circle with:

Abe Lincoln: All things considered, I’d rather be at the theater.

An honorable mention went to Me 2.0 for:

Lincoln: I knew Lincoln, and you, sir, are no Lincoln!

KUCE won a ribbon for:

Abe: “I fought the Civil War only for this guy to divide us again?”

Walterc earned a prize for:

The Lincoln picture is thinking, “please, shoot me now.”

The next category of winners answered the question:

“What would the Founding Fathers think of this White House statement?”

The grand prize was won by thesnake for:

Founding Fathers: “Dude, where’s my country?”

ME2.0 won again for:

Founders: King George’s revenge!

MrG01 also won again for:

Founding Fathers: WTF?!

The next category of winners was in response to the question:

“Is that a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz on Obama’s podium?”

KUCE won with:

Of course that is a Flying Monkey. Valerie Jarrett doesn’t leave home without them.

RockThisTown had a brilliant observation:

Is that a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz on Obama’s podium?
Either that or Obama’s Nobel Screech Prize.

Uncle Lar received an honorable mention for:

Might very well be a flying monkey, but to me looks more like a ruptured duck.

Cfbleachers, who is cleaning up in every category, won with:

The American eagle has formally been replaced by a gargoyle.

MRG01 scores again for:

Flying monkey: “Pay no attention to the man behind the teleprompter”

Our next contest question, “What is on the mind of the young man standing to the right of President Obama?” – was answered by Katherine in RB in the most politically incorrect manner:

“Did that woman just put on one of our table cloths?”  (Woman at far left seated next to the real President of the United States, Valerie Jarrett.)

Finally, we have the winners of the general caption category.

Spudnik won the grand prize with:

“As you can see from the portrait above me, some of our greatest presidents were Muslims!”

Spudnik also earned an honorable mention for:

“I don’t always leave the golf course. But when I do, it’s for something really important.”

Yoroscoe took home honors with:

“You didn’t build that Jihad.”

Belial Issimo received a trophy for:

“If you like your caliphate, you can keep your caliphate.”

 USMCVet ranked high with:

You fine folks are the fabric of our great nation. It is great to get away from the hatin’.

Cfbleachers won the grandest of grand prizes for the overall contest.

His two winners in the general category were:

If Muslims built that…who exactly then are the people who “didn’t build that?”

Obama took time out from golfing and vacations to throw a tantrum at Israel and celebrate a holiday named after him.  – Idle Fitter.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to enter this contest. The contest was a reaction to an extremely controversial statement by President Obama which was widely reported  everywhere except in the mainstream media. The remark was made at the White House during the Eid-al-Fitr dinner marking the end of Ramadan.

Usually this is the part when I say, “See you next time a photo is worthy of a PJM photo caption contest.” However, on Sunday an old friend sent me a photo/tweet which deserved my immediate attention. Thanks RB!

Now that photo/tweet is our newest caption contest already in progress. See you there!

 

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UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Israel, U.S. for Not Sharing Iron Dome with Hamas

Friday, August 1st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Iron Dome was built by Israel with partial funding from the US, to protect against rockets that Hamas is launching at Israeli civilians. Its entire purpose is defensive, against Hamas and Hizballah rockets.

Today, the UN’s Human Rights Commission’s chairman condemned Israel and the US for not sharing the Iron Dome technology with Hamas.

Haaretz reports that United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, delivered this blistering statement on Iron Dome.

Pillay said that she was appalled at Washington consistently voting against resolutions on Israel in the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council.

“They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the ‘Iron Domes’ to protect the Israels from rocket attacks,” she said. “But no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling.”

Sharing Iron Dome with Hamas would have given Hamas insight into how to defeat it, in addition to being entirely pointless for Israel, given Iron Dome’s design. Its capabilities involve intercepting small, unguided rockets that are aimed at civilian populations. Israel uses no such weapons, and neither does Egypt, Hamas’ other major enemy.

Perhaps Pillay would have Israel give Hamas its drones, and the US hand Hamas a fleet of B-2 stealth bombers as well? How about a Los Angeles class nuclear sub with cruise missiles while we’re at it?

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John Kerry, American Idiot?

Friday, August 1st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It was 3 a.m. in India. While most people there were asleep, the American secretary of State, John F. Kerry, was up all night announcing yet another cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Kerry’s tirelessness came to nothing. Hamas violated the 72-hour ceasefire in less than two hours, and kidnapped an Israeli soldier to boot, as anyone who knows anything Hamas should have expected. Breaking cease-fires and kidnapping (and killing) Jews is what Hamas does. Kerry’s response: More words.

 

As any sentient being knows by now, trusting Hamas is a fool’s game. The terrorist organization is one of the world’s leading taqiyya practitioners. They lie in the service of their Islam.

Perhaps Secretary Kerry doesn’t watch Hamas TV. Hamas says nice things to him, and preaches genocide to its own faithful.

Before Secretary Kerry flew off to Israel uninvited, before he wound up in India, he could have achieved far more for Israel and for the peace of the world by staying put and saying just a few clear words. Charles Krauthammer picks up the story.

Kerry seems not to understand that the Arab League backed the Egyptian ceasefire-in-place, which would have left Hamas weak and isolated, to ensure that Hamas didn’t emerge from this war strengthened and enhanced.

Why didn’t Kerry just stay home and declare unequivocal U.S. support for the Egyptian/Arab League plan? Instead, he flies off to Paris and sends Jerusalem a package of victories for Hamas: lifting the blockade from Egypt, opening the border with Israel, showering millions in foreign cash to pay the salaries of the 43,000 (!) government workers that the near-insolvent Hamas cannot.

Forget about Israeli interests. Forget about Arab interests. The American interest is to endorse and solidify this emerging axis of moderate pro-American partners (Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states, and the Palestinian Authority) intent on seeing Islamist radicalism blunted and ultimately defanged.

Indeed, but as Krauthammer notes, Kerry doesn’t see it. His slavishly devoted staff, like Marie Harf in the tweenish tweet above, don’t see it. Does anyone in the State Department see it?

Some of their joy over cease-fires that fail to cease any actual fire springs from the “everyone gets a trophy” culture. They keep playing up “engagement” in this and that as if merely talking equals getting something done. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki keeps talking up “engagement” while Putin keeps waging war in Ukraine.

But John Kerry isn’t from that millennial culture. What explains his wretched handling of the current Israel-Hamas war? What explains his acting as Hamas’ lead advocate, and isolating the United States when he could achieve something good by isolating Hamas?

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Kerry to Hamas: Give Back Kidnapped IDF Soldier ‘Immediately and Unconditionally’

Friday, August 1st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State John Kerry called on Hamas to “immediately and unconditionally” release an Israel Defense Forces soldier kidnapped in a Palestinian attack that rapidly broke what was supposed to be a 72-hour cease-fire.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack, which led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the apparent abduction of another. It was an outrageous violation of the cease-fire negotiated over the past several days, and of the assurances given to the United States and the United Nations,” Kerry said in a statement.

“Hamas, which has security control over the Gaza Strip, must immediately and unconditionally release the missing Israeli soldier, and I call on those with influence over Hamas to reinforce this message,” he continued.

“After the horrific loss of life in this attack and its aftermath, it would be a tragedy if this outrageous attack leads to more suffering and loss of life on both sides of this conflict. I have been in close touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry and with other regional partners. The international community must now redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life.”

The father of captured soldier 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin, Simha Goldin, says he’s “sure the army will not let up for a moment and will turn over every stone in Gaza to bring back Hadar safe and sound,” according to The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister spoke with Kerry by phone and assured him “the Palestinians had unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 09:00.”

“PM Netanyahu told Secretary Kerry that Hamas and the other terrorist orgs in the Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions and that Israel would take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens,” his office said.

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