Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

Liberal Goddess Maureen Dowd Dethrones Obama

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

obamagolf

Maureen Dowd has finally cast her trademark dowdful eye on Barack Obama. In her latest New York Times op-ed, Dowd reflects on how the President’s admitted desire to be left alone is now leaving him lonely among political colleagues and voters alike.

First the president couldn’t work with Republicans because they were too obdurate. Then he tried to chase down reporters with subpoenas. Now he finds members of his own party an unnecessary distraction.

His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass.

The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket.

Acknowledging the conservatives in the room, Dowd remarks on America’s political climate, which has “only gotten worse” since Obama took office, noting:

The man whose singular qualification was as a uniter turns out to be singularly unequipped to operate in a polarized environment.

Dowd’s complaints about Obama’s complete failure to address the racial tensions in Ferguson are hardly new observances. What makes her commentary notable, even intriguing, is the fact that she’s willing to use her platform as an unabashed liberal to criticize the President her party crafted into a god. For that reason alone, her commentary is strikingly refreshing, deserving more than a quick file into the “better late than never” column.

With her quick wit, the writer asks, “Why doesn’t he do something bold and thrilling?” Her suggestion is priceless:

  Talk to someone besides Valerie Jarrett?

Tactical strikes are for military battles. This, Dowd acknowledges, is an ideological war in which taking prisoners is no option, leaving the entire Obama pantheon up for grabs. It starts to get ugly when the mob realizes their leader has let them down.

To be sure, there are still, and always will be, die-hard adherents. But apparently even they are no longer immune from the wrath of the disappointed liberal:

His boosters argue that we spurned his gift of healing, so healing is the one thing that must not be expected of him. We ingrates won’t let him be the redeemer he could have been.

Gorgeous. In two brief sentences Dowd manages to destroy the image of the messianic Supreme Leader the Obamaniacs have worked so hard to build. Dowd clearly defined Obama’s political, media, and voter following into a cult group fueled by the blind passion of idol worship. Sobered up, the dyed-in-the-wool liberal declares,  let those still drunk on the Kool Aid be damned. 

If you’re a fastidious pol who deigns to heal and deal only in a holistic, romantic, unified utopia, the Oval Office is the wrong job for you.

The right job? After reading this piece, I’m thinking something involving shoe sales and seminars on Hale-Bopp might be more appropriate. Or, perhaps, a retail job at the local golf shop just might do.

Read bullet |

John Kerry Calls for Disproportionate Response to ISIS Beheading an American

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Secretary of State John Kerry offered remarks in reaction to the Islamic State’s murder of American journalist James Foley today. The State Department tweeted the highlights.

For the record, yes, IS/ISIS/ISIL should be crushed. Tellingly, neither Kerry nor President Obama has offered a plan and they are not gathering a coalition of the willing to get the job done. Obama went back to golf this afternoon.

Crushing IS would be right. But it’s not a proportional response to the murder of one American.

Hamas routinely kidnaps Israeli citizens, murders them and leaves their bodies by the side of the road. Hamas launches rockets into Israel with the purpose of killing Israelis and creating the feeling of dread and terror among them.

The international community, of which Kerry and Obama are members in good standing, always calls on Israel to respond “proportionally” to Hamas terrorism and rocket attacks.

Responding proportionally to terrorism is…what, exactly? So far, it’s destroying tunnels and perhaps airstriking a few terrorist leaders, but the group itself is left intact enough to come back and wage terror war another day. It’s not effective in getting rid of the problem of terrorism.

In fact, if we take “proportional’ literally, Israel should respond to Hamas by kidnapping innocent Palestinians and by launching random bombs on houses, schools and hospitals in Gaza. But that’s not what the “international community” means.

No one in the “international community” is calling on the United States to respond to IS beheading an American “proportionally.” At least not yet.

Why not? Hm.

Read bullet |

Naive Mitt Romney Still Doesn’t Get It: Obama Does Not Make Policy ‘Mistakes’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

Mitt Romney, once again, proves himself unfit to be a candidate for president of the United States. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be a good president. We’ll never know.

Never.

Barack Obama, on the other hand (the left hand), has shown himself to be an excellent candidate, but a disastrous president.

With apologies to DC Comics, Romney is BizarrObama. Perhaps it’s more faithful to the Bizarro World storyline to say that Obama is BizarrOmney.

On the surface, Romney’s poll numbers climb with each step of Obama’s descending popularity. Where Romney demonstrates towering competence, Obama’s executive effectiveness inhabits the abyss–he’s abysmal. Romney sees the Russian threat clearly, and stands against it. Obama sends Putin a shiny red “Reset” button which, when pressed, reboots Soviet territorial ambitions.

But it goes deeper than that. Romney inhabits a spherical planet on the opposite side of the sun from Obama’s cube, leading him to say things like this

I was not a big fan of the president’s policies, as you know, either domestically or internationally, but the results of his mistakes and errors, in my opinion, have been more severe than even I would have predicted.

The headline quote making the rounds is that Romney, at a West Virginia rally for GOP congressional candidates, said Obama is “a good deal worse than I ever expected.”

This can be explained only by positing the existence of Bizarro World, where everything is a flipped version of life on Earth. Otherwise, we’re left with the inexplicable scenario of a Romney who understands the darkness in the heart of Vlad the Impaler, but finds Barack Obama’s motives inscrutable.

Read bullet |

NBC: Islamic State Is Collecting Foreign Hostages

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A day after news broke that the Islamic State beheaded American journalist James Foley, NBC News’ senior foreign correspondent has grim news of the near-term future.

According to Engel, IS terrorists are going about capturing foreigners and trading for them, building a cache of foreign hostages. Engel says the group already has between 30 and 40 western hostages.

IS is still holding American Steven Sotloff. The group tweeted out images of him Tuesday, and warned that his life depends on what President Obama does next.

Read bullet |

Syrian Town Pays Tribute to James Foley, Digs at Obama’s ‘Vague Vision’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

It’s not the first time the northwestern Syrian fig-and-olive-producing town of Kafranbel has cited President Obama in its famous signs — see Obama as Pinocchio and a genocide enabler — but it’s especially poignant in their touching tribute to slain journalist James Foley:

 

Read bullet |

James Foley, Radical Islamic Terror, and How Quickly We Forget

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Daniel Pearl by  Bosch Fawstin

Daniel Pearl by Bosch Fawstin

My two-word response to the beheading of James Foley and captivity of Steven Sotloff: Daniel Pearl. Americans still suffer under the delusion that oceans are borders. America is so physically huge that we can watch the riots in Ferguson the way we watch the rockets being fired from Gaza or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: From the comfort of our couch. Neither we, nor our families, nor our homes are physically in danger. In truth, we are disconnected. At best, those of us who do pay attention do so through screen media. We participate by commenting on internet forums or through social media, or perhaps writing a check to a charity to help those in need. But we should not confuse compassion or concern for actual awareness.

As I watch what is happening in my second home, Israel, I marvel at the reactionary comments I’ve seen from well-meaning Americans who are confident that if they lived next door to Hamas, they’d just go after the terrorists with Christianity-fueled faith in their Second Amendment rights. It’s so easy to see yourself as the next John Wayne from the comfort of your living room. It’s far more difficult when your family and your home are on the line. Much has been said about the right of those overseas to tell Israel how to run their military operations. From a writer’s point of view, I can remain at best pragmatic by saying that the surreality in which these armchair soldiers dwell is, at least, far more supportive than the stupor that plagues most Americans. For their sake, and the sake of America, I hope the bravado isn’t masking an army of summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.

I recall watching my friends collapse in horror on 9/11. As profoundly moved as I was by the horrific tragedy of that day, my response was simply: Intifada. The reality of countless suicide bombers trolling city streets, blowing themselves and countless civilians up at nightclubs, hotels, or on city buses had become a way of life for Israelis in the ’90s. Because I am so deeply connected to that land I felt that impact in a way most overseas do not. There was no shock in 9/11 for me, only awe at the sleeping America that responded to their alarm clock by repeatedly hitting snooze.

Read bullet |

Dem Iraq Vet: If Our Mission Isn’t to Take Out ISIS, ‘We’ve Got a Real Problem Here’

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A congressional Democrat and Iraq veteran cautioned that the U.S. has a “real problem” if the current mission in Iraq isn’t to take out ISIS.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who in 2004 chose to serve in Iraq with the Hawaii National Guard over running for a second term in the state’s House of Representatives, appeared on ABC News on Sunday with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I think it’s important as we talk about whether or not there should be troops or exactly what tactical strategy should be used moving forward we’re missing a critical question here, which is what is our mission? What is the United States’ mission. What are we trying to accomplish here?” Gabbard said.

“You know, Adam and I both enlisted, joined the military after 9/11 because we heard our nation’s leaders say after that attack that we would go and take out these Islamic extremists wherever they are. We would fight against those who are waging war against the United States,” she said. “That stated mission after 9/11 has been lost… and as we heard from White House officials last week, they said, and I quote, these airstrikes are not an authorization of a broad based counter terrorism campaign against ISIS, end of quote.”

“So if our mission is not to take out the Islamic extremists who continue to threaten and wage war against us, then I think we’ve got a real problem here. If we focus on that mission, which I think we should, then we can look at what are the tactics that we need to take them out.”

Gabbard stressed that “we need to arm the Kurds with heavy weapons, because they are doing the hard work on the ground, they are fighting against ISIS. And we can augment that and support that wit hour targeted air strikes.”

Kinzinger called the situation on the ground “the worst-case scenario.”

“Back in January I called for air strikes against ISIS, in fact, on this show. When they were just about 1,000 or 2,000 people. Today we see them in the tens of thousands and they are only continue to metastasize,” he said.

“I think what we begun doing is very good, but I think we have to get even bigger and realize that the crushing and the pushing back of ISIS, not just in Iraq, but also in Syria, is utmost priority. And allowing the Free Syrian Army who now finds itself in Syria surrounded by both the regime in Syria, al Nusra, and ISIS, has got to be emboldened to be able to fight them back. They need the equipment and the weapons.”

The congressman added, “At the end of the day I think the defeating of ISIS is the mission. And so I think everything has to be on the table for that end result.”

“The reality is they have made it very clear that they want to strike us in the United States of America. They’ve made it clear that they want to strike Europe. And they have the means to do it,” Kinzinger said. “So they have the intention and they have the means, the means being, you know, passports and westerns fighting with ISIS with the ability to get back into the United States or to get back in Europe. I think we have to have a goal of saying, we need to crush ISIS.”

“…I understand that the American people are war weary. I mean, I hear it a lot. But the reality is, is after World War II, Harry Truman didn’t look at the American people and say I know you’re war weary, so Russia is Europe’s problem. He talked about the bigger issue of what American strength means and what it means for security of our land. And he said we’re going to leave troops in Europe.”

Obama, the congressman stressed, “has got to stand up in front of the American people and say, look you may be war weary, but in five or 10 years we don’t want to look back and say that we missed all the signs, all the signals of the intention of these extremists and this is — it’s definitely there and it’s very serious.”

Read bullet |

Obama to Congress: Mosul Dam Strikes Necessary Because Break Could Endanger U.S. Lives Downstream

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama sent to congressional leaders on Sunday a notification under the War Powers Resolution that his original operation to protect Irbil and provide aid to refugees on Mount Sinjar had been extended to fighting around a key dam along the Tigris taken by ISIS.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces said today that the Mosul Dam is now back in their hands. The Islamic State said it still had control of the key water and power facility.

“On August 14, 2014, I authorized the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted air strikes to support operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam. These military operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to support the Iraqi forces in their efforts to retake and establish control of this critical infrastructure site, as part of their ongoing campaign against the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Obama said in the letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate President Pro Tempore Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).

“The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace. Pursuant to this authorization, on the evening of August 15, 2014, U.S. military forces commenced targeted airstrike operations in Iraq,” Obama continued.

“I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. These actions are being undertaken in coordination with the Iraqi government.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said reiterated that the strikes were “limited in their nature, duration, and scope and are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the Government of Iraq.”

“The Administration will continue to consult with the Congress on the way forward in Iraq and our efforts against ISIL, and we will continue to provide appropriate reports to the Congress consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” Hayden added.

Tweets indicated that the battle was still continuing Monday morning.

 

 

Read bullet |

Obama Admin Halts Transfer of Key Weapon to Israel

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to YNet News, the Obama administration has halted shipment of Hellfire anti-armor missiles to Israel.

The administration blames the decision on Israel:

The Journal reports Israel requested money for more Iron Dome interceptors from the US Defense Department mere days after the ground incursion into Gaza began. While Israeli officials told the Americans Israel had enough interceptors for the current Gaza operation, they said it wanted to replenish its stocks.

According to the Journal, the Obama administration, with Israel’s consent, decided not to seek emergency funding, and instead hold the Congress vote on the $225 million military aid proposal in the fall.

While the White House had no qualms about supplying Israel with the defensive, non-lethal Iron Dome interceptors, the Journal reports Israel took another route to secure $3 million worth of lethal munitions, including 120-mm mortar shells and 40-mm illuminating rounds.

The request, made by Israel’s Defense Ministry to the US military, was approved without needing or seeking the approval of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry, officials told the Journal. At the same time, the standard review process was properly followed.

After the shipment of the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds caught the White House by surprise, the Pentagon was instructed to put another arms shipment to Israel – a large number of Hellfire missiles – on halt and the administration instructed all of its defense agencies to consult with the White House and State Department before approving any additional arms requests from Israel, the Journal reported.

The halt puts future shipment approvals high up in the administration, with the president and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Both Obama’s and Kerry’s relations with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are severely strained. Hamas, a terrorist group according to the US government, started the war and has broken several cease-fires, yet US policy under Obama has not been to give Israel the benefit of the doubt. Kerry drew criticism in Israel in June when he attempted to broker a cease-fire with Hamas patrons Qatar and Turkey, while ignoring a better cease-fire offered by Egypt, which would have marginalized Hamas.

Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu has never been good. Obama and the Israeli PM are reported to have had a “particularly combative” phone call over Israel’s operations against Hamas just yesterday.

Read bullet |

Islamic State Threat May Force Obama to Do the Unthinkable

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Does President Barack Obama have a plan to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq? If he does, he has yet to tip his hand.

In recent statements on the world’s most recently declared country, an Islamic caliphate that Obama’s own advisers said was never going to happen, the president has acknowledged that IS is a threat, but has repeatedly and forcefully declared that no matter what, no American troops will be sent back into combat in Iraq to fight against the IS or anyone else.

But the US is already engaged in Iraq. US air forces have conducted air strikes and humanitarian air drops to relieve the siege of the Yazidis, who have been encircled at Mt. Sinjar in Iraq. According to the Pentagon, those missions have been successful, and the crisis on Sinjar was not as severe as initially reported.

While the siege at Mount Sinjar may have been lifted, the crisis in Syria and Iraq has not abated at all. The United Nations on Wednesday declared that the Islamic State is creating a “level 3″ humanitarian crisis in Iraq — the UN’s most severe rating.

This Vice News documentary on the rise and spread of the Islamic State explains just how much of a threat, now and in the long term, the IS may turn out to be. IS is proudly brutal and is already recruiting the region’s Muslim children into its ranks. IS is killing and dispersing the region’s Christian and other minorities at the same time. If this continues, IS will be unchallenged in its territory. The 2014 caliphate is better armed than al Qaeda ever was in Afghanistan. Its existence threatens Iraq, Syria and every other state in the region.

Warning: Graphic images.

YouTube Preview Image

IS is enforcing sharia, publicly crucifying people, beheading people, murdering children, staging pogroms against religious minorities, all while carving its territory out of Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State has declared its intention to attack non-Muslims around the world.

From the same documentary, this is probably the best map produced to date that shows the reach and limits of the Islamic State’s territorial gains.

is-vice-map

 

The Kurdish Peshmerga, even armed with American and now French weapons and even Iranian assistance, are not likely to be strong enough to defeat IS on their own. In the unlikely event that the Kurds do defeat IS, what is to stop them from carving their own state out of the husk of Iraq?

That’s a worry for another time at the moment, and given the Kurds’ pro-American outlook, might not be all that much of a worry, at least for the West. It will be a greater worry for Turkey, which has a large Kurdish population and has become more Islamist over the past few years.

The immediate worry is the Islamic State caliphate. Baghdad is in no position to defeat it. The Kurds probably cannot do it on their own. The Syrians still have their civil war, of which IS is a part.

IS is attracting fighters to its cause from all over the Middle East, indeed all over the world. Many — no one knows for sure how many — of IS’ fighters have western passports. They are fighting in Iraq/Syria now, but if they can consolidate their territory, IS can export those fighters to conduct attacks globally. IS has already declared its intention of doing that. IS sympathizers have already turned up in Malaysia, London, and the United States.

IS is so well armed because the Iraqi army, trained and armed to fight Islamist insurgents by the United States, melted away in the face of IS’ less well armed attacks earlier this year. What’s left of the Iraqi army is currently a pawn in the political struggle between factions in the Iraqi government.

President Obama clearly does not want to put American forces back into Iraq. He has already inserted hundreds of troops there in the past few days and weeks, but they are not serving in combat roles. Yet he is on a slippery slope toward combat in Iraq.

Earlier in the Syrian civil war, Obama declared that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had to leave power. That was in August 2011. Even then it was far from clear who would replace Assad. Many of the rebels fighting him were Islamists and are now the Islamic State’s leaders and fighters. But fast forward to now, and while Assad is without question a brutal dictator, is he worse than IS? Does Assad present the same level of threat that IS poses?

Obama is dealing with two very serious international crises at the moment, Putin’s proxy war in Ukraine and the Islamic State. Obama clearly wants to do as little as possible about both and would prefer to conduct fundraisers and snipe at Republicans, but the Islamic State may force his hand.

Don’t be shocked if, in the near future, US troops join the fight on the side of both the Iraqi government, the Iranians and the Syrian regime — the very regime that Obama declared non grata three years ago.

Read bullet |

Obama Moves to Defend Hamas

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House in 2010

The Times of Israel reports:

A senior Israeli official confirmed to Israeli media that the US had suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel amid worsening ties over fighting in Gaza.

According to the report, the Israeli official corroborated a story published earlier in the Wall Street JournalWhile the article focuses mainly on the souring relationship between Netanyahu and Obama, it pays a decent amount of attention to the fact that both the White House and the State Department are actively working to block the shipment of arms to Israel.

The decision to evaluate every request by the Israeli military separately came after the White House and State Department discovered last month that the Pentagon was supplying Jerusalem with arms without their knowledge, the newspaper report said.

While one US diplomat described the American reaction to the arms transfer as a feeling of being “blindsided,” another US defense official emphasized that the back channel transfers were legitimate and did not require a sign-off from President Barack Obama or the State Department.

“There was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have,” a US defense official told the paper.

After learning of these transfers, the Obama administration, perturbed that much of the ammunition was used by the IDF in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, revised the review process in a move that is likely to limit or at least delay Israel’s requests for weapons.

Israeli officials are, of course, concerned over the apparent worsening of ties between Israel and the U.S., with Likud Knesset members using the incident to both defend Netanyahu and the America-Israel relationship. However, it has become impossible to deny the fact that Israel and certain political leaders in America have differing perspectives on radical Islamic terrorism:

Numerous US officials say the Gaza violence “has persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

As far as the Israeli view of the Obama Administration, the report cited John Kerry when noting that “…Israeli officials consider the US view of the Middle East ‘weak and naive.’” Despite their lack of faith in Obama,

Netanyahu is confident his supporters in Congress will back Israel, and remains unconcerned that the sparring with Obama will have significant adverse effects.

With the American politics of the situation sure to be addressed in the upcoming mid-terms, the actions on the part of the Obama Administration (and Britain, for that matter) also make a strong case for the timeliness of crowdsourcing for Israel’s military defense.

Read bullet |

Religious Leaders Call For the Destruction of ISIS/ISIL to Halt Genocide in Iraq

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

140617-iraq-isil-mn-1106_50528352031836632fd8eca6aef7b065

Saying that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq in it’s efforts to establish a caliphate, a group of religious leaders has signed a petition calling on the United States to destroy the terrorist group.

ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons.

It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities. This goal cannot be achieved apart from the use of military force to degrade and disable ISIS/ISIL forces.

Signatories of the petition include Robert P. George, professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ben Carson, author and retired neurosurgeon, author and speaker Eric Metaxas, and Edward Whelan, head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The group approved of President Obama’s use of airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL in key cities and the humanitarian aid the U.S. has provided but said much more needs to be done and, “There is no time to waste.”

Saying they always favor non-military means of resolving disputes and protecting human rights, unfortunately, they believe the evidence is overwhelming that such means will not be able to halt the genocide unfolding in Iraq.

Therefore we call upon the United States and the international community to do everything necessary to empower local forces fighting ISIS/ISIL in Iraq to protect their people. No options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table.  We further believe that the United States’ goal must be more comprehensive than simply clamping a short-term lid on the boiling violence that is threatening so many innocents in ISIS/ISIL’s path.  Nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.

They called upon President Obama and Congress to expand airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL and to provide full air support for Kurdish and others opposing ISIS/ISIL.  They also said the United States should provide arms, ammunition, equipment, and intelligence to Kurdish forces, Sunni tribesmen, and others fighting ISIS/ISIL.

In addition to military aid, the signatories said the humanitarian crisis is urgent. “Local churches and aid agencies are overwhelmed, and we have grave concerns about how these victims of violent religious persecution will be cared for this winter. The U.S. can and should take the lead in providing food, water, medicine, and other essential supplies.”

The group said it was important to note that the U.S. “is not without responsibility for the plight of victims of ISIS/ISIL genocide.”  They said the crisis in Iraq would not be happening “but for errors and failures of our nation’s own in Iraq.” Though they were not all in agreement on precisely what the errors and failures were and who was to blame for the problems,  they did agree that, “The point is not to point fingers or apportion blame, but to recognize that justice as well as compassion demands that we take the steps necessary to end the ISIL/ISIS campaign of genocide and protect those who are its victims.”

Read bullet |

Hagel Says Service Reviews Progressing for Women in Combat Roles

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Queried by Marines at Camp Pendleton yesterday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the review to consider how women can serve in combat roles is continuing.

The Pentagon announced in January 2013 that it would lift the ban on women serving in combat, and proceeded to open a formal review process to gain input from the different service branches.

“Well, as you know, we are — we, the Defense Department, are all of us in the process, each of the services, for working through the last very small group of positions that have been restricted to men only,” Hagel told the Marines. “And I was just talking with the commandant the other day about this. The Marines are working exactly in the direction they should be working, are working to get these directives and requirements met on time.”

“Each service is different, as you know. And requirements are different. Combat is a different world. I served a year in Vietnam in 1968 as an infantryman, and I know a little something about that business, your business. And so we want to make sure that as we work through all of this and we open up more opportunities for women in every service, in every MOS, that we give everybody as much assurance as we can that this will be successful, that they can be successful,” the Defense secretary continued.

“At the same time, everyone agrees that we’re not going to lower our standards, and whether it’s a male or a female in any occupation, no one wants to do that. And we are not doing that, and we won’t do that.”

Hagel stressed, though, that “there are ways that we can explore and we are and adjust to making sure that we continue to move forward and assure that these occupations that have been closed to women get opened up and get opened up on the timelines that are now in process.”

Read bullet |

Hagel to Marines: ‘Every One of the Decisions That the President Has Ultimately Made’ in Iraq are ‘Recommendations I’ve Made’

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Marines at Camp Pendleton yesterday that President Obama “has authorized me to go ahead and send about 130 new assessment team members up to northern Iraq in the Erbil area to take a closer look and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis with what they’re doing and the threats that they are now dealing with.”

“I would tell you that, as you know what’s going on in Iraq, for example, that we are focused once again on assisting the Iraqis. They have — are in the process of forming a new government, as you know, which is going to be the centerpiece of how that government is going to be able to deal with what’s going on there, the specific threats of ISIL and the other realities that are now confronting the people of Iraq,” he said.

“…The Iraqi people, the government of Iraq, country of Iraq is now under threat from some of the most brutal, barbaric forces we’ve ever seen in the world today, and a force, ISIL, and others that is an ideology that’s connected to an army and it’s a force and a dimension that the world has never seen before like we have seen it now.”

Hagel told the Marines that Obama “made some decisions on, first, on the basis of protecting our people and our interest in Iraq, and also on the basis of humanitarian assistance, we’re doing an awful lot, and we’ll do more, as we continue to support the process now underway to form their new government.”

The secretary said the additional 130 advisers were approved after his recommendation to the president, and have already arrived in Erbil.

“I would also say it follows the criteria that President Obama has made very clearly, that this is not any extension of any role other — for the United States other than to find ways to assist and help advise the Iraqi security forces, which we have been doing,” Hagel continued.

“As the president has made very clear, we’re not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in, in Iraq. Very specifically, this is not a combat boots-on-the-ground operation. We’re not going to have that kind of operation, but short of that, there are some things we can continue to do, and we are doing, and I just wanted you to know that, because that team of 130 new assessors that just arrived in Erbil, it’s a inter-service team, but there are a lot of Marines on that team.”

Still, the first question posed to the Defense secretary was “given the current situation in both Iraq and Israel” why he doesn’t see the need for boots on the ground.

“Well, as I just mentioned, boots-on-the-ground regarding Iraq, the president said we’re not going to do that. And the mission that we had in Iraq on fighting that war and combat mission is over. And he’s been very clear about that,” Hagel replied.

“But also, if you recall, the Iraqi people made some decisions on their own sovereignty on that count. As to boots-on-the-ground in Israel, no, we’re not going to do that,” he continued. “Just a reminder, what we’re doing in Iraq now is at the request of the Iraqi government. Every one of the decisions that president has ultimately made [are] recommendations I’ve made to him, the most recent I just mentioned, the 130-member assessment team going — that’s now in Erbil.”

“We are working with the Iraqi government at their request to help them. We work, obviously, with the Israeli government, as we do with all governments on our relationships of what we can do. But no boots on the ground in Iraq and Israel.”

Read bullet |

US Sends More Troops to Iraq

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The US sent 130 more troops to Iraq on Tuesday. But don’t call it a combat mission.

Another 130 US troops arrived in Iraq on Tuesday on what the Pentagon described as a temporary mission to assess the scope of the humanitarian crisis facing thousands of displaced Iraqi civilians trapped on Sinjar Mountain and evaluate options for getting them out to safety.

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deployment in remarks to Marines at Camp Pendleton, Southern California base on the final stop of a week-long, around-the-world trip that also took him to India, Germany and Australia.

“This is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation,” Hagel said. “We’re not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in in Iraq,” he added, referring to the eight-year war that cost more than 4,400 US lives and soured the American public on military involvement in Iraq.

The more the administration keeps saying that, the more it signals either fear or indecision to ISIS — who, while we’re dithering over what to do, are advancing in Iraq and turning up here in the US.

ISIS is poised to give us the same choice that al Qaeda did — fight them over there, or fight them right here.

Another defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide additional details on the sensitive mission, said the extra troops were Marines and special operations forces whose mission was to assess the situation in the Sinjar area and to develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond current US efforts there. Still another official said the mission for the 130 troops could last less than one week.

That official also said that while the troops were not being sent in to execute some type of rescue mission of the Yazidis on the mountain, they would assess the feasibility of a rescue or what one might look like. The also would assist in the ongoing effort to evaluate the use of airstrikes as part of the mission to protect the Yazidis from attacks by the Islamic State militants.

Hagel referred to the 130 as “assessors.”

President Barack Obama has said repeatedly he will not send ground combat forces back into Iraq.

He says lots of things. He actually means some of them.

Read bullet |

‘Miracle’ Wind Saves Tel Aviv from Hamas Rocket

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
irondometelaviv

Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Tel Aviv, July 12, 2014 via Haaretz

The IJReview picked up a story from the UK Daily Mail that featured the eye witness testimony of an Israeli Iron Dome commander responsible for protecting Tel Aviv, Israel’s business center, from incoming rocket attacks:

A missile was fired from Gaza. Iron Dome precisely calculated [its trajectory]. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.

We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock. At this point we had just four seconds until the missile lands. We had already notified emergency services to converge on the target location and had warned of a mass-casualty incident.

Suddenly, Iron Dome (which calculates wind speeds, among other things) shows a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that … sends the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a God!”

The story, originally circulated in Israeli media, was translated into English by the Jerusalem-based news agency Israel TodayThe commander’s testimony continued:

“I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of God send that missile into the sea.”

Israel Today noted that earlier unconfirmed reports circulating around the Internet had Hamas fighters have attributed the success of Iron Dome to the ability of Israel’s God to move Hamas rockets in mid-air. This is not the first report of Divine intervention in the midst of Operation Protective Edge. Following the Biblical terms of a pre-Jubilee year harvest, Orthodox farmers took enough wheat from their fields to reveal terrorists hiding in their midst. Most recently, it was reported that an Israeli soldier’s well-timed recitation of the Shema saved a Hamas female suicide bomber in Gaza.

Israel Today ended their Iron Dome miracle report by detailing another report of miracles in the midst of combat:

Also last week, Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the Givati Infantry Brigade, described a mysterious fog that favorably covered he and his troops as they advanced on an enemy position in morning light, after their nighttime raid was postponed.

Col. Winter labeled the covering as “clouds of glory.”

Earlier in the Gaza war, Col. Winter sparked heated national debate when he encouraged his troops to lead the charge against an enemy that “curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel.” Col. Winter concluded his letter by praying that the “Lord your God go with you, to fight for you against your enemies and to save you.”

Read bullet |

George Clooney’s Fiancee Declines Appointment to Gaza War Crimes Probe

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The fiancee of the world’s former most eligible bachelor has said that she will not run a United Nations probe into alleged war crimes in the Israel-Gaza war. Which, by the way, is still going on.

GENEVA (AP) — The British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who is engaged to George Clooney, on Monday pulled out of an appointment to serve on a U.N. commission on possible violations of the rules of war in Gaza.

The president of the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council announced in a statement Monday that Alamuddin had been appointed on the commission, but the increasingly high-profile British-Lebanese lawyer later said she could not accept the role.

“I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time this morning,” she said. “I am honoured to have received the offer, but given existing commitments — including eight ongoing cases — unfortunately could not accept this role.”

Teasing out which way Alamuddin leans politically isn’t a straightforward thing. She is apparently Druze, which is an offshoot of Islam, or a re-interpretation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Druze are not associated with Islamism or terrorism. In Israel, they are defined as Arab but have been known to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. They don’t proselytize.

The United Nations has no business probing the Israel-Gaza war for war crimes at any rate. Hamas started the war, but the UN has played its usual role of pestering Israel while it defends itself from terrorists who are, by definition, war criminals.

UNRWA facilities have been used by Hamas to store rockets, which Hamas launches at Israeli citizens. UNRWA supplies have been found inside Hamas’ terror tunnels. If the UN must investigate, it should start by allowing an outside investigation of its own activities.

Read bullet |

ISIS Appears in New Jersey and New York

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mark Liebowitz caught sight of an ISIS flag flying in suburban New Jersey today.

 

A man believed to be sympathetic to ISIS was arrested at John F. Kennedy airport in New York Monday afternoon.

A North Carolina man was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on weapons charges earlier this month, a law enforcement official told CBS News.

The man, identified as Donald Morgan, is suspected of being sympathizer of the Islamic militant group ISIS, the official said.
“I talked to the FBI this morning. This arrest was a precautionary arrest. They’ll interrogate him and find out what’s happening. We have to be really vigilant,” Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Morgan was arrested upon his return from Lebanon, the official said.

Morgan was ordered held without bail after being arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn.

An ISIS flag turned up in London this week, too. A journalist went to the site to photograph the flag, and soon found himself surrounded by about 15 very angry young Muslims, who yelled “F*** off Jew!” at him and threatened him.

I asked them to explain the black flag. They said it represented their Muslim faith.

Then they asked for £5. “It’s our flag, we charge people for taking pictures,” they said.

I tried to keep it light-hearted: I joked I was a good photographer; they should be paying me £5.

A few more youths, all of them mid-late teens, a couple a little older, joined the group.

Then one stared at me.

“Are you a Jew?” he asked.

I’m not. I have a large nose; I fitted his stereotype.

I glared back at him. “What if I were? Would that be a problem for you?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “F*** off Jew, you’re not welcome here.”

ISIS supporters have previously posted a flag-selfie of themselves standing right outside the White House.

Read bullet |

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.”

Read bullet |

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.

Read bullet |

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.”

Read bullet |

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.

Read bullet |

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.)

Read bullet |

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.

 

Read bullet |

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.”

Read bullet |

Congressional Critic of Obama’s Use of War Powers OK with Current Strikes

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A House lawmaker who has gone after President Obama for what he says have been violations of the War Powers Resolution says he believes the commander in chief is acting within his authority in strikes on Iraq.

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) added an amendment to a defense bill last summer scolding Obama for trying to operate a “king’s army,” stating, “The precedence set by the Executive Branch in its assertion that Congress plays no role in military actions like those taken in Libya is contrary to the intent of the Framers and of the Constitution which vests sole authority to declare war in the Legislative Branch.”

Two months later, Rigell warned the administration to not treat Congress like a “potted plant” as it weighed how to responded to Bashar al-Assad crossing the chemical weapons “red line.” Rigell rallied a bipartisan effort to pressure Obama to come before Congress before taking any action.

Today, though, Rigell said of Obama’s airstrikes and drops of humanitarian aid to Yazidis under siege by ISIS on Mount Sinjar:  ”I believe these actions are consistent with the president’s authority as defined by the Constitution and the War Powers Act.”

“It could be argued that this use of U.S. military force to provide a means of escape for those trapped atop the mountain has no direct connection to our national security, and thus requires prior authorization from Congress,” Rigell said in a statement this afternoon. “However, the need to move quickly to prevent further loss of life of men, women and children is not in dispute, and the action authorized by the president – at this point at least – is purely defensive in nature.”

“Importantly, providing a means of escape reflects our American character and core values, which includes a willingness to do what we can to defend the defenseless and to safeguard the most basic human right, which is life itself,” he said.

Rigell stressed that “though I agree with and support these recent decisions by President Obama, my strong objection to his past willingness to disregard the War Powers Act, and concern that he may disregard it again, specifically in Iraq, remains.”

“Accordingly, I urge the president to present to the American people his vision and plan to elevate peace and stability in Iraq,” added the congressman whose district includes large military populations in Norfolk and Hampton. ”Should that ever include the introduction of U.S. armed forces into hostilities, the president must first seek and receive authorization from Congress. It is not the king’s army.”

Read bullet |

‘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.

Read bullet |

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.).

Read bullet |

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.

Read bullet |

Contest Winners: Obama’s Wimpy Image Taunted in Photo From Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
test

Photo tweet from Dmitry Rogozin

Thanks to everyone who entered our latest caption contest.  Russian-American relations have never been worse and it’s all your fault.

In case you are joining us late, Dmitry Rogozin whose official title is Deputy Prime Minister of Russia – tweeted the subject of our latest caption contest as reported by Fox News.  Now that everyone is up to speed, here are the winners.

Zipcode won the funniest caption award with:

Obama: The SPCA needs your help to place these three animals in a good home.

Zipcode also won an honorable mention for:

Putin talking to leopard: I’m sorry kitty but were out of Meow Mix, some mean man put a sanction on it.

JRSWINE cracked up the judges with this entry:

On the Left: a Bear with a Leopard.  On the Other Left: a Bore with his pet Media.

Kuce had several winners:

Poodle thought balloon – “Feel that warm tingle down your leg? Well, you’re now just like Chris Matthews”

Obama thought balloon – “This poodle is racist”

Poodle thought balloon – “All things considered, I think I’d rather be on Romney’s station wagon”

Obama – “Get Valerie in here. This was supposed to make me look like the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man!”

RockThisTown scored twice with:

Putin: Has a SuperBowl ring he didn’t earn.
Obama: Has a Nobel Prize he didn’t earn.

Putin transfers a country, Ukraine, to his domain.
Obama transforms a country, America, to down the drain.

Cfbleachers is on a roll lately and here is why:

Putin: I hunt, I ride horses and I practice martial arts. My highest ranking officials are bursting with pride.

Obama: I throw like a girl, bowl like a spaz and my highest ranking subordinate goes skinny dipping. We invented the face palm.

Putin: I never hit the lynx.  Obama: I always hit the links.

Putin: Meet my new pet. I teach it to capture prey. I call him Vlad the Impaler.
Obama: Meet my new pet. I teach it to roll over, fetch and play dead. I call it The Media.

Finally, the grand prize winner goes to cfbleachers OF COURSE for:

Putin: I can tame any feral beast.  Obama: I’m dog sitting for Pajama Boy.

This is truly hilarious because who can forget health care Pajama Boy? Well, in case you have, here is a reminder of the fun our nation had playing with him.

If Obama had a son

If Obama had a son.

See you all next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler photo caption contest OR if Dmitry Rogozin tweets again.

Oh no, he already has! Now he is making fun of that formally macho Vietnam War vet currently serving as our Secretary of State. Dmitry photo shopped John Kerry riding a pink Barbie bike around Nantucket, Mass.

This means war!

Oh wait, cancel the war.

Correction: Dmitry Rogozin did not tweet that photo. Our Secretary of State really does ride a pink Barbie bike around Nantucket. Please, pray for our nation!

Kerry pink bike

Image via Owen Perkins / Instagram

 

 

Read bullet |

The Man Behind StopARocket: Fundraising for the Iron Dome

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

YouTube Preview Image

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.

Read bullet |

Major General Killed in Attack on Delegation of Officers at Afghan Defense School

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A U.S. major general became the highest ranking American to be killed since the start of the war in Afghanistan when a shooter in an Afghan uniform opened fire on a delegation of coalition officials.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby, who didn’t release the name of the fallen pending notification of the next of kin, told reporters that there is currently “no indications” that the shooter “wasn’t anything other than a member of the Afghan national security forces.”

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi, though, told local media that the attack was carried out by a terrorist who had disguised himself in an Afghan army uniform.

“I can confirm that an individual believed to be an Afghan soldier fired today into a group of coalition troops at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul City, Afghanistan. There are a number of casualties as a result of the shooting, perhaps up to 15, to include some Americans. Many were seriously wounded. Others received only minor injuries. The assailant was killed,” Kirby said.

“I can also confirm that among the casualties was an American general officer who was killed. Given that the family notification process is not yet complete, I cannot and will not release any additional information about the general. I’m sure you can understand that we want to respect the notification process and the family’s privacy at this time,” he continued. ”The incident will be jointly investigated by Afghan and ISAF authorities. That investigation is just now getting underway. We need to let it proceed before speculating about any specific circumstances.”

Kirby said the officers were on ”a routine visit” to the institution, “which is akin to their sort of officers academy.”

“But I would point you to ISAF for the exact details. I don’t know. It was a routine site visit is how I understand it… not all of the casualties are American. There were other coalition members that fell victim to this shooting. So as I understand it, it was a coalition — an ISAF site visit to the university. I really don’t have any more details than that about how long they’d been there, what were they looking at. I just don’t know,” he said.

The International Security Assistance Force was sketchy with details, simply noting that “at this time, ISAF can confirm one ISAF service member was killed” and the “incident is under investigation.”

Afghanistan’s TOLO News reported that one of the seven U.S. soldiers wounded was a brigadier general and one of the three Afghan officers wounded was a general. Also reportedly wounded were five Brits and one German.

Read bullet |

NDTV Exclusive Footage: Hamas Preps Rocket in Hotel Backyard

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

YouTube Preview Image

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.

GazaGoogleEarth

Read bullet |

Pro-Hamas Activists Blockade Israeli Arms Factory in Britain

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

YouTube Preview Image

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’.”

Read bullet |

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.

Read bullet |