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‘Aim Before You Shoot’: Obama Blames ISIS’ Reign of Terror on George W. Bush

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

What a joke.

OBAMA: Two things. One is ISIL is a direct outgrowth of al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion which is an example of unintended consequences — which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.

I never saw such a classless American president. He knows perfectly well that President George W. Bush won’t defend himself, because he — unlike Obama — does have a sense of decorum. So Obama quickly tries to put the blame for his own failures on Bush.

This isn’t about left versus right, but about being a gentleman rather than a boor. It’s clear which one Obama is.

Of course he isn’t just rude, he’s also lying. George W. Bush made some tragic mistakes, but ISIS’ rise is all on Obama. He was informed about the group’s potential a full year before it started its reign of terror, yet did nothing.

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Psaki: Assad Should be ‘Responsive’ to Diplomatic Talks If He ‘Cares About the People in His Country’

Monday, March 16th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki insisted this morning that the Obama administration wasn’t capitulating to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad — the president that the White House once said had to go — with Secretary of State John Kerry’s new desire for talks.

“We are working very hard with other interested parties to see if we can reignite a diplomatic outcome. Why? Because everybody agrees there is no military solution. There is only a political solution,” Kerry told CBS in an interview aired Sunday.

The Syrian revolution began four years ago yesterday, after Assad began mowing down peaceful protesters hoping the Arab Spring fervor could sweep the dictator out of office. The conflict escalated when he used chemical weapons on men, women and children, and he continues to drop barrel bombs and use chlorine gas on the populace today. Syria has since opened as a terrorist haven for ISIS and other groups, with Assad’s forces and terrorists generally leaving each other alone as the regime makes oil deals with the groups. Assad’s alliances with Iran and Russia have also grown stronger in the face of international isolation.

Some quarter-million people have died in Syria in the past four years.

“We’re going to have to make it clear to him that there is a determination by everybody to seek that political outcome and change his calculation about negotiating,” Kerry told CBS. “That’s underway right now. And — and I am convinced that with the efforts of our allies and others, there will be increased pressure on Assad.”

Asked if he’d be willing to negotiate with Assad, Kerry replied, “Well, we have to negotiate in the end.”

Psaki told CNN this morning that U.S. policy on Assad “has not shifted.”

“I’ll just remind everyone that for more than two years we’ve been talking about how there has to be a political process. That’s what Secretary Kerry was referring to. The process has been on hold for some time. But there’s no question that in order to bring an end to the suffering of the Syrian people the international committee would need to bring both sides to the table together,” she said. “But Assad has lost legitimacy. The United States government absolutely continues to believe that. We don’t see a future for him in Syria.”

“…You can’t have the opposition negotiating with itself. You certainly wouldn’t get very far. So our goal continues to be, as does the goal of the international community, bringing both sides together. That’s not a process that’s ongoing or that exists right now… We would love to reboot the process because that’s the only way we can see bringing an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.”

Psaki said Kerry is discussing Syria peace talks with Russia, which has been selling Assad weapons used against civilians, and with Gulf countries.

Assad undercut Kerry’s effort by going on Iranian TV to say, “Any talk on the future of the Syrian president is for the Syrian people, and all the declarations from outside do not concern us.”

“Well, I think we have to take anything Bashar al-Assad says with a huge chunk of, grain of salt here because he has killed tens of thousands of his own people,” Psaki responded. “I think the international community is not going to stand by and accept his word that he’s thinking of the people of his country and we’re going to continue to think of ways to put necessary pressure on. That includes diplomatic ways.”

“…To be clear, nobody sees a future for Assad in Syria, not the United States, not anyone in the international community who’s been on the side of the opposition and on the side of the Syrian people. We’re talking about how to exert any kind of pressure we can exert.”

Psaki said if Assad is someone “who, as he claims, cares about the people in his country,” then diplomatic pressure “is something he should be responsive to.”

Syrian activists responded angrily on Twitter to Kerry’s comments, noting it was the administration’s “red line” weasel that enabled Assad to continue his genocide.

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Foreign Policy Elite MEME OF THE WEEK: Accept ‘Moderate’ Al-Qaeda

Friday, March 13th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

As I’ve said here at PJ Media repeatedly, there are some ideas so profoundly stupid that they can only be taken seriously inside the political-media-academic bubble that stretches along the Washington, D.C.-New York-Boston corridor. These typically populate my annual year-end “National Security ‘Not Top 10′” review.

Such is the case with this week’s foreign policy “smart set” MEME OF THE WEEK: we need to accept “moderate” al-Qaeda in order to defeat “hardline” ISIS.

Understand, this is a continuation of a popular theme amongst the foreign policy “smart set.” See the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” which just a month ago declared all-out jihad on the Egyptian government. Or the New York Times, pitching “moderate” elements of the Iranian regime. Or current CIA director “Jihad” John Brennan calling for the U.S. to build up Hezbollah “moderates.” Or hapless academics proclaiming the “mellowing” of Hamas. Or the so-called “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel groups that, as I have reported here, regularly fight alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda and have even defected to those terror groups.

So why are the foreign policy elites now having to talk about engaging “moderate” al-Qaeda, of all things?

Because all of those previous “moderate” engagement efforts have ended in disaster. But rather than abandon the whole “moderate” theme, the foreign policy community seems intent to double-down on failure by continuing to move the “moderate” line.

First out of the gate this week was an article in Foreign Affairs by Harvard’s Barak Mendelsohn, “Accepting Al-Qaeda: The Enemy of the United States’ Enemy,” that argues:

Since 9/11, Washington has considered al-Qaeda the greatest threat to the United States, one that must be eliminated regardless of cost or time. After Washington killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, it made Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s new leader, its next number one target. But the instability in the Middle East following the Arab revolutions and the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) require that Washington rethink its policy toward al-Qaeda, particularly its targeting of Zawahiri. Destabilizing al-Qaeda at this time may in fact work against U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS.

Here’s how Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, billed this conventional wisdom:

There are several problems with Mendelsohn’s thesis. One problem that he barely acknowledges is that al-Qaeda is still a declared enemy and an active threat to the United States. They have said repeatedly that they intend to kill U.S. citizens and have continued to plot to do so. The enemy of my enemy can still also be my enemy.

A second pragmatic problem with trying to use Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, as a tool against ISIS is that the relationship between the two groups is constantly evolving. Not long ago, ISIS and Nusra were comrades-in-arms. Despite their present falling-out, within recent months they still occasionally worked together: in August they joined forces to attack Lebanese border checkpoints; in September they were engaged in joint operations around Qalamoun. And Nusra appears more interested in wiping out the U.S.-backed “vetted moderate” groups and fighting the Assad regime than going head-to-head with ISIS.

Thus, it is considerably more likely that ISIS and al-Qaeda will engage in some form of reconciliation than al-Qaeda falling into the U.S. foreign policy orbit and serving as an anti-ISIS proxy in Syria.

So what drives the folly of the foreign policy “smart set”? Mostly it is the hubris that only they comprehend the vast and constantly changing complexity of international affairs, but also it is their added belief that their pals in the administration can harness this “smart set” omniscience to manipulate global events to a predicted end.

That rarely, if ever, happens. Just witness the Obama administration’s foreign policy disaster in Syria.

Mendelsohn has not been alone this week in calling for greater “acceptance” of al-Qaeda. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published Yaroslav Trofimov’s “Al-Qaeda a lesser evil? Syria war pulls U.S., Israel apart,” where he makes the following case:

MOUNT BENTAL, Golan Heights — This mountaintop on the edge of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights offers a unique vantage point into how the complexities of the Syrian war raging in the plains below are increasingly straining Israel’s ties with the U.S.

To the south of this overlook, from which United Nations and Israeli officers observe the fighting, are the positions of the Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda that the U.S. has targeted with airstrikes.

Nusra Front, however, hasn’t bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer — and some of its severely wounded fighters are regularly taken across the frontier fence to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.

To the north of Mount Bental are the positions of the Syrian government forces and the pro-Iranian Shiite militias such as Hezbollah, along with Iranian advisers. Iran and these militias are indirectly allied with Washington in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq. But here in the Golan, they have been the target of a recent Israeli airstrike. Israel in recent months also shot down a Syrian warplane and attacked weapons convoys heading through Syria to Hezbollah.

It would be a stretch to say that the U.S. and Israel are backing different sides in this war. But there is clearly a growing divergence in U.S. and Israeli approaches over who represents the biggest danger — and who should be seen, if not as an ally, at least as a lesser evil in the regional crisis sparked by the dual implosion of Syria and Iraq.

Trofimov’s argument boils down to: “Accept al-Qaeda! See, the Israelis are doing it!!!”

Needless to say, Trofimov’s article quickly received praise from the foreign policy “smart set,” including the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl and The Century Foundation’s Michael Hanna:

A couple thoughts on this. First, some have treated the report of Israelis helping injured Nusra fighters in the Golan as some breaking game-changing news, but in fact Vice News reported on this back in December.

Secondly, I reported from the Golan here at PJ Media back in September 2013, and I even stood on Mount Bental and looked over the ruins of Quneitra while fighting raged across the border. And yet, that perspective didn’t help me magically see al-Qaeda as some lesser evil that we needed to engage or accept.

Thirdly, and I know this will strike some as heresy, the Israelis are not infallible and have seen this approach literally blow up on them. Take, for instance, the January 2009 Wall Street Journal article, “How Israel helped spawn Hamas“:

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric. [...]

When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.

“When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.”

“Nobody thought about the possible results.” Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around.

I should note that this is not the first time that the foreign policy “smart set” has taken a run at the “engaging moderate al-Qaeda” meme. In January 2014, Foreign Affairs published an article titled “The Good and Bad of Ahrar al-Sham” which contended that the U.S. needed to “befriend” the Syrian jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham as some kind of counter to more extreme jihadist groups, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. The precedent they cited was the U.S. failure to designate the Taliban (!!!) after 9/11.

Mind you, at the time they wrote this one of Ahrar al-Sham’s top leaders was a lieutenant for al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri who openly declared himself a member of al-Qaeda. After most of their leadership was wiped out in a bombing in September, they gravitated closer to the jihadist groups they were supposed to counter and their positions have been bombed by the U.S. – much to the consternation of other “vetted moderate” rebel groups.

The article was originally subtitled “An al-Qaeda affiliate worth befriending”:

Ahrar al-Sham1But after the article authors took some flack on Twitter for their much-too-obvious “an al Qaeda affiliate,” the subtitle was quickly changed to “an al Qaeda-linked group worth befriending” on the Foreign Affairs website:

Ahrar al-Sham2This seems to give evidence that the foreign policy elite know exactly what they’re doing when making these arguments. For fear of the unwashed masses catching on to the dangerous game they’re playing, they’ll quickly try to walk things back to keep the appearance of being nuanced, smart, and sensible as they talk amongst themselves about befriending terrorist organizations.

Another telling sign is that when this article appeared there was ZERO blowback from the foreign policy “smart set.” Much like the articles from Mendelsohn and Trofimov this week, they received widespread praise and acclaim from their peers.

I mentioned earlier the hubris that drives much of this thinking. But an added element of this phenomenon is the obliteration in our political, media, and academic elite of any distinction between good and evil.

Such distinctions are perceived as archaic and naive, while suggesting “befriending” terrorists is nuanced and realist. And yet the 20th century is littered with examples of these two factors (elite hubris, no distinction between good and evil) working in concert to horrific effect.

Recent history has examples as well, such as when the Obama administration decided to engage “moderate” al-Qaeda leaders in Libya, including LIFG head Abdelhakim Belhadj (whom the CIA had renditioned back to Libya in 2004) to overthrow Gaddafi at the behest of the warhawk trio of Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. How well has that worked out and how many lives has it cost?

We see it again now in the administration’s support of Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq fighting to push back ISIS, who are regularly engaged in war crimes and religious cleansing no different than ISIS itself. Will there be any good coming from the the U.S. acting as Iran’s air force in their ongoing takeover of Iraq?

Probably no more than what will come from following the foreign policy elite’s MEME OF THE WEEK, accepting “moderate” al-Qaeda.

UPDATE: FBI Director James Comey told Congress this week that Al-Qaeda, which we are supposed to now “accept” according to the foreign policy elite, is still a threat to the U.S.:

Al Qaeda and its affiliates—especially al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)—continue to represent a top terrorist threat to the nation and our interests overseas. AQAP’s online English magazine advocates for lone wolves to conduct attacks against the U.S. homeland and Western targets. The magazine regularly encourages homegrown violent extremists to carry out small arms attacks and provides detailed “how-to” instructions for constructing and deploying a successful improvised explosive device.

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VIDEO: The Holocaust Survivor Band Takes Vegas by Storm

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The New York Times reports:

Like many survivors of the Holocaust, after World War II, Saul Dreier and Reuwen (“Ruby”) Sosnowicz moved to America, started families and careers, grew old, and retired to Florida. For these octogenarians, settling near Boca Raton could have been the last chapter in their story.

But then, last summer, Mr. Dreier, 89, decided to start a klezmer band, drawing upon the music he grew up with in Poland. Playing the drums, he teamed up with Mr. Sosnowicz, an 85-year-old Polish accordionist. This Op-Doc video profiles the two men and their group, which they’ve named the Holocaust Survivor Band. In recent months they have performed for audiences at venues ranging from local nursing homes and temples to The Venetian in Las Vegas.

…For them, music is catharsis. The Holocaust Survivor Band summons the bittersweet memories of childhood, but more than that, it is a celebration of life.

Seniors Dreier and Sosnowicz prove that life doesn’t stop and start at the convenience of a radical dictator or cultural norm.

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Democrats Stonewalling Obama Request for Authorization of Force Against ISIS

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Obstructionists!

Republicans, who control Congress and criticize Obama’s foreign policy as too passive, want stronger measures against the militants and fewer limits on the use of U.S. combat troops than included in the plan.

But more serious opposition came from Obama’s fellow Democrats, who demanded a strict time limit for any combat troops. Many also want to repeal the 2001 AUMF the Obama administration has been using to justify the anti-Islamic State campaign.

“This AUMF, hardly anybody supports it that I know of,” Republican Senator Orrin Hatch told reporters.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee set its first major AUMF hearing, with testimony from Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, for Wednesday.

The panel’s chairman, Republican Senator Bob Corker, said he planned one or two more hearings. But without support from Democrats, he said he was not sure how it would move ahead.

I’m sure we will be hearing an outcry from domestic media sources (Reuters is international) about the “do-nothing” and “obstructionist” Democrats any time now, right.

Right?!?!?

It is infuriating that the Democrats still want to take the polite, “planned event” to war and let ISIS know exactly how long they have to lay low, because that worked out so well last time. At this point it seems Democrats in Congress or the press can’t remember anything that happened more than twenty four hours ago unless George W. Bush did it.

The terrorists are cunning, organized and committed to victory. None of those can be said about any of the politicians in charge of the military forces capable of battling them.

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VIDEO: Senate Republicans Go Over Obama’s Head, Warn Iran Against Cutting a Deal

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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“It has come to our attention that you may not fully understand our Constitutional system,” Senate Republicans explain in a letter addressed to Iranian leadership in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s impassioned speech to Congress last week.

Penned by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, the letter is a stark warning to the leaders of Iran and a massive slap in the face to President Obama. Obama shot back in disapproval, attempting to equate the Republican Senators who signed the letter with the “hardliners in Iran”.

Rubio, Cruz and Rand Paul, all considered contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination were among the 47 Senators who signed the letter. The following Republican Senators did not sign: “Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Dan Coats of Indiana, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.”

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Taliban: Hell No, We’re Not in Peace Talks

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Taliban in Afghanistan said reports that it is willing to negotiate have been greatly exaggerated — and are “baseless,” in fact.

Press reports last month indicated that the Afghan government and Taliban would sit down for Pakistan-moderated negotiations in the coming weeks. But the jihad is still on, the group calling itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said in a statement today.

“The media has been publishing false reports periodically over the past week asserting the heating up of negotiations and even fabrications about visits by the delegations of Islamic Emirate. We reject all such claims. There is no such process taking place and neither can such matters shape up behind closed doors or be kept hidden,” the Taliban said. “If there was anything taking place in this regard, the Islamic Emirate would have informed the media and its countrymen through its official channels.”

They said they support a “dignified peace as a necessity and aspiration of its countrymen” — but in a Sharia state of mind as “the main factors fueling this war are the presence of foreign invaders and continued anti-Islam activities.”

“Since Jihad is an individual obligation due to the presence of invaders therefore the Islamic Emirate until now deems the use of weapon as upholding this command,” the statement continued.

“Since all reports about negotiations are baseless, which seem to be the work of intelligence circles, hence no one should believe them. Such baseless rumors have been circulated many times over the past 13 years but all praise is due to Allah, it has failed in harming the Mujahideen or cultivating distrust. This wave of lies shall also pass by fruitless this time around and time shall prove everything.”

The Taliban further stated it believes “such rumors are the work of secret agencies with sinister goals therefore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls on its nation to be vigilant as ever about enemy plots and not be fooled by mere propaganda.”

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Netanyahu Speech to Congress Leaves Only One Question on the Table: Do You Believe THIS Man?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 - by Scott Ott
Iranian Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khameini

The Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei is supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and ultimately the man with whom President Obama wants to make a deal on nuclear weapons development. (Seen here in front of a portrait of his predecessor, the Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini.)

Only one question remains after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s epic speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress Tuesday, and it has nothing to do with Netanyahu, nor with U.S. President Barack Obama. The question is this:

Do you trust the Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

The question is not “Do you trust Khamenei to keep any deal on non-proliferation?” As Netanyahu pointed out, Iran is a danger if it breaks an agreement, but it’s an even great danger, albeit longer term, if it keeps its end of the bargain for the supposed 10-year compact. That’s because, freed from sanctions, it would emerge at decade’s end as a more prosperous nation, with long-range missiles and the capacity to build a nuclear weapon from its mothballed, but not destroyed, centrifuges, in less than 12 months.

As Bibi reminds us, we’re negotiating with Iran about nukes, but NOT about long-range missile development. Iran can already hit Israel, but it lacks transoceanic launch capabilities. Try not to think about that. It will only cloud your mind with thoughts of self-preservation.

In the speech to Congress, Netanyahu respectfully and forcefully answered all significant objections to his opposition to what he called “a bad deal” with Iran. In addition, the Israeli leader proposed a common-sense peace process that would give Iran the opportunity to prove that it really wants to join the community of nations, while safeguarding Israel, the Middle East, Europe and the United States from Iranian nuclear attack, on the off chance that the Islamic Republic turns out to be a jihadist revolutionary apocalyptic regime committed to destroying some or all of the above.

You see, while the media has focused on the supposed personal spat between the Israeli and U.S. leaders, ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you like or trust Bibi Netanyahu or Barack Obama.

According to Wikipedia, Khamenei , like his nearly homophonic predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has allegedly issued a fatwa against production, storage and use of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Khamenei  has presided over the construction of 19,000 nuclear centrifuges designed to purify uranium and plutonium to weapons grade. Officially (and laughably), Iran’s government purifies nuclear material to produce electricity, as it sits atop one of the world’s three largest petroleum reserves.

So, do you trust Khamenei  to idle not only his known centrifuges, but also his hidden sites? Do you trust the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic to suddenly become entirely transparent with the inspectors who will monitor the terms of the agreement?

If you said, “Yes,” do you know that Khamenei …

  • has repeatedly referred to Israel as “a cancerous tumor which should and will be cut out,”
  • has referred to Jewish leaders as subhuman,
  • leads a government that sponsors rallies to chant “Death to America” the “Great Satan,” and “Death to Israel,”
  • has supplied the weapons to kill thousands of U.S. troops, and that
  • Khamenei has said “the Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened”?

Do you think the Islamic Republic of Iran, which in 1979 threw a modern Persian society back to the days when Muhammed was teaching camel wranglers how to wash their hands with sand after scraping the excreta from their keisters with stones — do you think these people now wish to find common ground with the civilization that they find immoral, repugnant and Satanic?

Remember, it’s not actually enough to trust Khamenei to keep his word, as Netanyahu points out, because Iran is a danger if it breaks the agreement, but it’s a potentially greater danger if it keeps the agreement.

What you have to believe is that Khamenei  has undergone a personal revolution, back to the future, and that he will lead his peace-loving Islamic Republic to do the same.

Do you believe?

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Feminists Fail to Notice Netanyahu’s Stand for Muslim Women

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Fast-forward to 19:12 (or better yet, just watch the whole thing).

In the world of contemporary feminist politics, criticism of Islam is off the table. Unless, of course, you’re a female Muslim in a Muslim-dominated country who desperately seeks reform. If you are, you’re stuck banging your head against the wall as your sisters in the West do everything to ignore you in pursuit of wage equality, sexual consent apps, and chronicling Lena Dunham’s latest hair adventure.

Most women who follow feminist media is sadly too drunk on the Kool Aid to realize that popular sites like Jezebel, Feministing, the Mary Sue, Everyday Feminism, and the Feminist Majority Foundation have all failed to comment on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic address to Congress. Their flagrant ignorance of the most important foreign policy issue of our time is inexcusable. The willful blind eye they continue to turn towards women oppressed by radical Islamic rule is unforgivable. In one simple, powerful sentence Netanyahu did what contemporary feminists in the West refuse to do:

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

His Game of Thrones mention received more attention than did the fact that Netanyahu equated “freedom for anyone” with “no rights for women.” There’s your meme. There’s your platform. There’s your unifying fact: If women are not free, no one is free. And yet here Western feminists remain embroiled in a heated debate over Patricia Arquette’s lack of “intersectionality“. There’s an age-old meme for that one, too: It’s the pot calling the kettle black.

In appearing before Congress today, Bibi Netanyahu did more for women oppressed by Islam than the feminist movement has on a worldwide scale. He joins a small but powerful group of real feminists including Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali who are brave enough to use their western platforms to speak out on an issue vital to women across the globe. Israel’s Prime Minister ended his speech by quoting Moses: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them…“. It’s time contemporary feminists ask themselves what they are so afraid of.

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Dakota Johnson Joins ISIS on Saturday Night Live

Monday, March 2nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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SNL did a spoof of the Toyota Camry commercial involving a proud father taking his daughter to meet up with fellow military recruits at the airport. In the SNL version, 50 Shades star Dakota Johnson played the daughter who, this time, joined ISIS.

I could get all uptight over this, but I’m not. The entire sketch played out rather well by SNL standards. It wasn’t too long, too overbearing, too improvised. It played on the fact that yes, young women in the West are joining ISIS, and it did so in a rather clever way, contrasting the proud military dad with the teary-eyed dad asking the ISIS commanders to take care of his daughter. All in all, why wouldn’t the sketch have been green lit for production?

The fact that the sketch also highlights the audience’s relative naivete and passive-aggressive, ultimately non-responsive attitude towards the threat posed by ISIS shouldn’t be dismissed as a typical conservative take-down, either. As a member of the generation who grew up with SNL, I am battle-hardened by the cynical, borderline nihilistic thread in the show’s ironic humor. We are the powerless generation, after all. Our baby-boomer parents gave up, gave in and didn’t give a crap about us, so why should we care about anything? The target audience might be so-called “hopeful” millennials now, but the dark Matt Groening/Kurt Cobain reality is what informed the show’s current set of writers and producers. Had they wanted to take the irony to a newer, funnier and even more relevant level, they would’ve had Johnson present the ISIS commander with a sex contract app via iPhone. But that’s still a little too 21st century for this obviously ’90s crowd.

SNL’s original baby boomer generation cast had their own ironic take for sure. But it was a hopeful one that mocked the system with the goal of improving it, if by no other means that simply inspiring thought-provoking conversation. Today we just throw our hands up at the threat, laugh and look around for that joint we keep misplacing backstage. And that’s the real shame of the now-infamous Dakota Johnson/ISIS sketch. Not that it wasn’t funny, but that its humor doesn’t really matter at all.

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Stretched Thin, Air Force Seeks More Money

Friday, February 27th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Via Reuters:

The U.S. Air Force has a quarter of the number of fighter squadrons it did 25 years ago and two-thirds of the active duty airmen, a drop that threatens U.S. air superiority, defense officials told lawmakers on Friday.

“Enough is enough,” Air Force Secretary Deborah James told lawmakers in the House of Representatives as she defended a Pentagon budget request that exceeds federal spending caps. “Given the state of the world … the number one thing we have to stop is this downsizing.”

But members of the defense appropriations subcommittee said President Barack Obama’s 2016 Pentagon base budget of $534 billion exceeded spending caps by nearly $35 billion and would have to be cut. Some $10 billion of that would have to come from the Air Force request, they said.

“The budget he (Obama) submitted … frankly is politically … a fantasy,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma. “It’s not going to pass, and he knows that.”

Cole said he hoped lawmakers ultimately would be able to reach a bipartisan deal to provide some relief from the spending limits.

The problem is that the Pentagon budget is treated as an equal to the other departments that are federally funded and it probably shouldn’t be. We’re not sending park rangers from Interior over to bomb ISIS, after all. Under the current plan that involves escalating air raids, the Air Force should be an obvious recipient of a budgetary bump and not be fighting to avoid cuts.

It might also help if the alleged adults in charge would admit to the protracted nature of this battle and stop acting as if it is a controlled skirmish that will be wrapped up on a predetermined date.

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Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Thursday, February 26th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A man seen in multiple ISIS propaganda videos speaking with a British accent and beheading Western hostages had his identity revealed in the Washington Post this morning, and yet again the suspect is another case of what I have termed “known wolf” syndrome since he was already known to authorities before engaging in acts of terrorism.

The Washington Post reports:

The world knows him as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who taunts audiences in videos circulated widely online.

But his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.

But the article goes on to reveal that Emwazi had been detained by authorities not once, but twice:

Emwazi and two friends — a German convert to Islam named Omar and another man, Abu Talib — never made it on the trip. Once they landed in Dar es Salaam, in May 2009, they were detained by police and held overnight. It’s unclear whether the reason for the detention was made clear to the three, but they were eventually deported.

Emwazi flew to Amsterdam, where he claimed that an officer from MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, accused him of trying to reach Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabab operates in the southern part of the country, according to e-mails that he sent to Qureshi and that were provided to The Post.

Emwazi denied the accusation and claimed that MI5 representatives had tried to recruit him [...]

In June 2010, however, counterterrorism officials in Britain detained him again — this time fingerprinting him and searching his belongings. When he tried to fly back to Kuwait the next day, he was prevented from doing so.

The Daily Mail adds that after that June 2010 encounter with law enforcement, Emwazi was put on the UK terror watch list:

They allegedly fingerprinted him and searched his belongings, and he was not allowed to fly back to Kuwait. Emwazi was put on a terror watch list and banned from leaving the UK.

The BBC added that Emwazi was part of a known network of jihadist sympathizers:

We don’t know when the British or the American security services worked out that the masked man in the killing videos was Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.

But we do know that he was a “person of interest” to MI5 going back to at least 2011 because he features in semi-secret court cases relating to extremism overseas and back in the UK.

Nobody in official security circles is going to comment on what they know and why they know it.

Emwazi has been previously described as a member of a network involving at least 13 men from London – and at least two of them were subjected to house arrest control orders or T-Pims. One absconded. The chances of Emwazi ever returning to the UK are vanishingly small.

So yet again, as we’ve seen in practically every recent terrorism case, the suspect was already known to authorities.

I’ve reported here at PJ Media on the long line of “Known Wolf” terror suspects who committed acts of terror:

  • Earlier this month I reported that the Copenhagen shooter was Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, who had been convicted in a stabbing in December, and yet remarkably released by authorities despite being branded as “extremely dangerous.”
  • Also this month I noted that Moussa Coulibaly, who stabbed three police officers outside a synagogue in Nice, France, had just days before been deported from Turkey for attempting to join ISIS.
  • The two Kouachi brothers behind the massacre on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices last month in Paris had been long known to law enforcement, with one of them already having been in prison on terror-related charges, and yet they had been removed from the radar by authorities just last summer because they were deemed no longer a threat. They were also on the no-fly lists of both the U.S. and the UK.
  • Man Haron Monis, aka Sheikh Haron, who in December took hostages at a chocolate shop in the heart of the commercial district in downtown Sydney, Australia, was not only known to law enforcement, but was out on bond on two separate cases and had previously been convicted of harassing the widows of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Authorities had been tipped off via their hotline to extremist statements Haron had been making on his website 48 hours before the attack.
  • I first noticed this “Known Wolf” trend back in October after two separate attacks in Canada by Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, both of whom reportedly had their passports stripped by Canadian authorities because they were deemed “high risk” to travel overseas to join ISIS.

Yesterday, an interview I had with Erick Stakelbeck aired where I discussed the “Known Wolf” terror phenomenon (the first 11 minutes of the program):

Needless to say, if the currently growing track record of Western authorities missing these “known wolf” suspects is any indication, the next terror case will undoubtedly be a subject already known to law enforcement and intelligence authorities, but sufficient action not taken to stop their terrorism.

 

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IMF Chair’s ‘Conspiracy Against Women Working’ as Effective as Obama’s Generic ‘Extremism’

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Lip Service

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde followed Obama’s trendsetting “War on Muslims” narrative, thus failing the cause of women’s equality across the globe. The Feminist Fail started out on the right track:

Nations should remove laws that prevent women from working in order to increase the female labour supply and boost their economies, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said.

“In too many countries, too many legal restrictions conspire against women to be economically active,” Lagarde wrote in a blog. “In a world in search of growth, women will help find it, if they face a level playing field instead of an insidious conspiracy.”

What exactly is this “insidious conspiracy” Lagarde is referring to? Don’t worry, she hasn’t taken the Patty Arquette pill, although she’s definitely drinking the Obama Kool Aid, because it’s all downhill from here:

But the IMF has to tread a careful line on this issue to avoid explicitly critiquing the laws in its 188 member countries, including states like Mali and Yemen, which have been among the worst performers on indices of gender equality.

Mali and Yemen, both Muslim-dominated states. Mali’s logo, “one people, one goal, one faith” is a contradiction in terms, at least when it comes to fostering economic growth, which is the only topic up for discussion on Lagarde’s watch:

The IMF has sought to couch its arguments in economic terms, saying in a previous study that having as many women in the labor force as men could boost economic growth by 5% in the United States, 9% in Japan and 34% in Egypt.

Note the radical climb in potential economic growth when the stats begin speaking to Muslim nations? Oops. Guess Lagarde’s staffers didn’t get the “War on Muslims” memo until after they prepared their findings, to which they quickly tacked on the following caveat:

“In recommending equal opportunities …this study does not intend to render a judgment of countries’ broadly accepted cultural and religious norms.”

Classy. Let’s talk about an obvious problem without directly drawing attention to it, since the problem is defended by radicalized terrorists. Is that called the White Elephant defense strategy?

 

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Over 50% of Jewish College Students Encounter Anti-Semitism on Campus

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The JTA reports:

More than half of current American Jewish college students have personally witnessed or experienced an anti-Semitic incident, according to a new study.

Some 54 percent of Jewish college students participating in the survey  released Monday by the Louis D. Brandeis Center and Trinity College said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism within the past academic year. The survey was taken in the spring of 2014, prior to the outbreak of hostilities last summer in Gaza.

The online survey of 1,157 students, conducted by Trinity College Professor Barry Kosmin and Associate Professor Ariela Keysar, found that percentages of students reporting encounters with anti-Semitism were relatively consistent across gender, religious outlook, and geographical region.

Students who affiliate with the Conservative and Reform movements were more likely to report such experiences than Orthodox students, with 69 percent of Conservative students, 62 percent of Reform students and 52 percent of Orthodox students responding that they had reported anti-Semitic encounters. Those who said they were always open about their Jewishness on campus were roughly as likely to have encountered anti-Semitism as those who said they were never open about their Jewishness, at 58 percent and 59 percent respectively.

According to the report, those taking the survey defined the term “anti-Semitic incident”. The organization Jew Hatred on Campus, a new organization established by the David Horowitz Freedom Center,

…compiled a list of the 10 U.S. campuses having the worst anti-Semitic activity in 2014.  Universities included in the top 10 played host to numerous incidents of anti-Jewish acts, such as Israeli Apartheid Week (a week-long event that demonizes the Jewish state); interrupting university activities by staging mock “checkpoints” on campus; campus speakers that call for the destruction of the Jewish state; and verbal or physical harassment and violence against Jewish and pro-Israel students.  These anti-Semitic incidents occur on university property, often with the support of university funds, despite the fact that such behavior is explicitly forbidden under campus codes of conduct.

From my own personal experience I’d add to the list a set of individual encounters with various students who questioned me as to why “there are so many of you in the media” and demanded my opinions about the”injustice” of the non-massacre at Jenin. In the case of these encounters, each oddly enough motivated by foreign students from Middle Eastern Muslim nations, the interrogators waited until we were alone with no witnesses before launching the “conversations”.

Perhaps it’s time campus Jewish groups start offering Krav Maga classes.

 

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Hollywood’s Rich & Famous Trumpet Wage Inequality

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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By the time most folks at home had passed out from boredom, or gone to bed because they have real jobs to wake up for on Monday morning, Patricia Arquette sobered up enough to use her Best Supporting Actress win to preach to the choir about wage inequality.

Snort, blink, roll over, resume snooze.

The speech stood in stark contrast to host Neil Patrick Harris’s earlier joke about the $160,000 SWAG bags being given to those nominated in the Oscars’ top 5 categories. After saying that the bags were loaded with such goodies as two vacations and a $20,000 astrology reading, Harris joked that the bags also contained “an armored car ride to safety when the revolution comes.” The stars clad in gold and diamonds responded with appropriate Marie Antoinette-style laughs and gloved claps.

Having won the Oscar, Arquette won’t be getting any SWAG. Those bags are only for the runners-up. Perhaps that’s what she meant when she referenced wage inequality among the rich and famous. Shouldn’t all the beautiful people get $20,000 astrology readings for free?

92.5 million of the Oscars’ potential viewers are currently jobless. For Arquette’s reference, that’s boys as well as girls. Those 92.5 mil and their employed compatriots just spent a week listening to their president tell them he could solve the problem of terrorism (not Islamic, just terrorism) by offering ISIS members (ironically notably all Islamic terrorists) the power of job creation. While the men of ISIS would argue that they already have jobs, I bet the women that have been kidnapped by ISIS and forced into marriages/sex slavery would really dig some income equality right now. Or perhaps just some equality in general.

But hey, Hollywood women suffer. They don’t get paid “as much” and they definitely don’t all get the SWAG at the parties. Thanks, Patricia, for addressing the economic inequalities in our society that, much like the revolution preached and fostered by your fellow stars, is the responsibility of none other than Hollywood’s favorite politicians.

Had Arquette really wanted to bring a much-needed laugh to the boring ceremony, she would’ve threatened that Hollywood’s women would join ISIS if their wage issues weren’t resolved. If there’s anything that can’t wear down radical, non-descript terrorists, it’s the incessant whining of spoiled socialists.

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Senators Fuming Over CENTCOM Revealing Mosul Offensive Strategy to Reporters

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told President Obama that the amount of information revealed about upcoming operations against ISIS is both unprecedented and dangerous.

In an extensive briefing Thursday with reporters, an official with U.S. Central Command said the planning to attempt to take Mosul from ISIS continues.

“The equipping that’s associated with those training sites is — is not free of challenges, but it is generally working on pace. As an example, it is our estimate that the amount of equipment that we have put between coalition contributions and U.S. contributions, in excess of about six brigades’ worth of equipment. And so it is generally keeping pace with those training sites and the effort to get ready for Mosul,” the official said.

The CENTCOM official said they’re shooting for an “April-May timeframe” for a Mosul offensive.

“There are still a lot of things that need to come together. And as we dialogue with our Iraqi counterparts, we want them to go in that timeframe, because as you get into Ramadan and the summer and the heat, it becomes problematic if it goes much later than that. But by the same token, if they’re not ready, if the conditions are not set, if all the equipment that they need is not physically there and they are trained to a degree in which they will be successful, we have not closed the door on continuing to slide that to the right.”

The official went further into detail about the forces expected to be involved. “What we know as of right now is there — in the attack force, there will be five Iraqi army brigades, there will be three smaller brigades that will comprise a reserve force, there will be three Pesh brigades that will help contain from the north and isolate from the west, and then there will be what we’re calling a Mosul fighting force, which will be compromised of largely police and tribal that are being put together right now of mostly former Mosul police, and then finally, a brigade equivalent of CTS forces.”

The official also went into detail about the training schedules for five brigades to take part in the attack, yet estimated “it’s going to take about 12 brigade equivalents to execute the Mosul operation, and we still kind of stand to that.”

McCain and Graham wrote a letter to Obama today calling it “deeply disturbing” that the CENTOM briefing “provided detailed operational information regarding coalition plans to retake Mosul from ISIL.”

“Never in our memory can we recall an instance in which our military has knowingly briefed our own war plans to our enemies,” added McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Graham, a member of the panel.

“These disclosures not only risk the success of our mission, but could also cost the lives of U.S., Iraqi, and coalition forces,” they continued. “Given the serious impact of these disclosures, we want to know who at U.S. Central Command was responsible for this briefing, and whether they had prior approval from the White House to divulge this information. Those responsible have jeopardized our national security interests and must be held accountable.”

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‘Anybody But Bibi’ Funded by More Than Just State Department

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Adi Ben Hur reports that there is more than one foreign government funding the “Anybody but Bibi” V15 campaign in Israel:

Recently, the activity of V15 and One Voice, those “spontaneous” groups established to defeat the reigning government in elections, were revealed to the public at large. They have been pounding the pavement, going door-to-door, and conducting a campaign with a very simple message: “Anyone but Bibi” and “Bring Back Hope.”

So, who is their alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu? After all, despite the strident denials, the people behind this campaign are a long list of known Labor activists. They understand that Labor’s uncharismatic leader, Isaac “Bujie” Herzog can’t do the job alone, and so they’ve decided to lend a hand.

…Even if all this activity is technically legal, it’s still very problematic. What makes it worse is the massive funding from foreign governments. Democracy means rule by the people, and the intervention of foreign countries is nothing short of subversion. According to the screenshot below from One Voice’s website (accessed on January 29th this year), One Voice’s funding sources are “corporations and governmental sources in Israel, the PA and the international community.”

But even this isn’t accurate: last month, Christina Taylor, in charge of grants to One Voice in the US, said told Front Page Magazine that One Voice had received two grants from the American State Department in 2014. Taylor claimed that the money was not meant to assist intervening in Israeli elections. The present heightened activity and presence of V15 in elections makes this disavowal dubious to say the least.

In addition, the list of “partners” to One Voice on the English website includes the European Union, the U.S. State Department, and the British Labour and Conservative Parties. Strangely, none of these last appear on the Hebrew-language website. Instead, we see other partners, including “Shatil” – the practical arm of the New Israel Fund.

…One Voice is billed as an international organization with branches in the US, Israel, and Europe. However, to prevent problems, none of the local branches are connected to the main headquarters, and appear to be listed separately in their host countries. Thus, it can declare in tax reports that it does not “maintain offices, employees or agents outside the United States,” and that it did not “take part in activities…to promote a campaign for or against a candidate for public office” – all this while engaging in just that.

Is anyone bothering to ask why Bibi poses such a threat to these various factions? Or why no single Labor candidate is strong enough to combat him face-to-face in a clean election that doesn’t dance around ideology with “anybody but” and “hope and change” lingo? What is it that the U.S. State Department, European Union, and British Labour and Conservative Parties fear the most about Netanyahu’s potential re-election?

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Majority of Israelis Believe American Government Interfering in Israeli Elections

Sunday, February 15th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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IMRA picked up on a report for the Israeli daily Maariv based on an Internet poll of 589 respondents including Israeli Arabs) conducted on February 11:

Is Netanyahu justified in wanting to present his position on the Iranian
nukes before the American Congress?
Yes 56% No 36% Don’t know 8%

Is the American Government interfering in the Israeli elections?
Yes 61% No 31% Don’t know 8%

What should Netanyahu do in the wake of criticism regarding his planned
address to Congress?
41% Go and speak regardless
17% Go but speak at AIPAC
36% Don’t go at all
06% Don’t know

According to the Jerusalem Post, the poll had a margin of error of 4.5%.

The interference on the part of the American government, specifically the Obama administration, appears to be nothing less than a part of Obama’s well-orchestrated “Bulworth Plan” to “be more honest” in his second term, as Seth Mandel at Commentary writes:

So what does it mean for Obama to be “authentic?” Here’s CNN:

In addition to revealing his actual position in favor of legal same-sex marriages, and working on immigration reform and to combat climate change, the president singled out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Axelrod wrote. Specifically, he wanted to be tougher on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Just to put this in perspective, Obama had been working to collapse Netanyahu’s government almost immediately. What Obama was saying was that trying to collapse the duly elected Israeli government was his way of pulling punches, of not being tough enough on Netanyahu. It’s easy to see why Obama thought this might make some of his advisors nervous.

Mandel is right that Obama’s strategy is “morally bankrupt and ill advised,” although I wonder why he’d think Obama was out to gain the trust of an already doubtful Israeli electorate. Based on Obama’s “War on Muslims” platform, gaining the support of the Israeli population is furthest from the American president’s mind. Obama’s real end-game is simple: Destroy whatever is left of the Israeli-American political alliance by fostering as much distrust as possible among the Israeli and American electorates towards one another and their respective governments.

Don’t let the Messiah motif mask the reality that Obama is only the figurehead of a very large, very powerful snake that seeks to crush more than any one human being, no matter how powerful, could possibly control or destroy on their own.

Also read: In ‘Bipartisan’ Move, J Street Unites with Republicans Who Bash Israel

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While Obama Plays with Selfie Stick for BuzzFeed, ISIS Closes In on U.S. Marines in Iraq

Thursday, February 12th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Another Obama foreign policy success.

Islamic State insurgents took control on Thursday of large parts of the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, threatening an air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi troops, officials said.

Al-Baghdadi, about 85 km (50 miles) northwest of Ramadi in Anbar province, has been besieged for months by the radical Sunni Islamist militants who captured vast swathes of northern and western Iraq last year.

Militants attacked al-Baghdadi from two directions earlier in the day and then advanced on the town, intelligence sources and officials in the Jazeera and Badiya operations commands said.

The officials said another group of insurgents then attacked the heavily-guarded Ain al-Asad air base five km southwest of the town, but were unable to break into it.

About 320 U.S. Marines are training members of the Iraqi 7th Division at the base, which has been struck by mortar fire on at least one previous occasion since December.

Here’s a little perspective on just how quickly the world is spinning out of order.

Five years ago this month (maybe even this week), I was at al-Asad air base with four other comics doing a show. The place was still a war zone but the Americans and Iraqis were very much in charge. The show was packed, the troops were ready to go home and leave things in what seemed to be capable hands. Heck, the other comics and I hit the base store for souvenirs before we choppered out of there.

Now ISIS is trying to overrun some Americans there.

One can debate all that went wrong in Iraq in the last five years, but there has been one constant in this equation that entire time: the Americans have had the same commander in chief since 2010.

This guy:
selfiestickpotus

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Sanders Opposing Obama’s AUMF: ISIS Fight a ‘Battle for the Soul of Islam’

Thursday, February 12th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he’s opposing President Obama’s request for an authorization to use military force against ISIS because it’s a “battle for the soul of Islam” that needs to be fought by Muslim nations.

“I remember the war in Afghanistan, which was supposed to last a few months. The war in Iraq was going to be very easy. We were in those countries for over 10 years. We have lost close to 7,000 brave men and women. The country has spent trillions of dollars,” Sanders told CNN.

“At the end of the day, if ISIS is going to be defeated — and this is a brutal, horrible organization that needs to be defeated — it is going to have to be defeated by the Muslim nations in the region,” he added. “Saudi Arabia has the fourth largest defense budget in the world. You’ve got billionaire families in Qatar, in the UAE. They have got to be increasingly involved in providing security in their region. The U.S. can be supportive. Western Europe can be supportive. But they’re going to have to do the hard work.”

After months of needling from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Obama submitted his AUMF plan to Congress yesterday. It includes an exception that “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

“Look, I think the president is doing everything that he can in trying to defeat ISIS. But when I hear words like ‘enduring conflict,’ it makes me very, very nervous. I think it opens the door wider than it should be. I think we’ve got to continue airstrikes. I think we’ve got to use Special Operations Forces when we can,” Sanders argued. “But I do not want to see a never-ending quagmire in the Middle East where our troops die, come back with terrible illnesses and we end up spending trillions of dollars.”

“Once again, this war is a battle for the soul of Islam. And it’s going to have to be the Muslim countries who are stepping up. These are billionaire families all over that region. They’ve got to get their hands dirty. They’ve got to get their troops on the ground. They’ve got to win that war with our support. We cannot be leading the effort.”

On his own presidential aspirations, Sanders said he’ll decide whether he runs in 2016 “as soon as I have to.”

“We are going around the country. We’re talking to a lot of people. We’re getting a lot of support. But when you take on the billionaire class, that ain’t an easy assignment. So I got to make sure the support is there, and that’s what we’re trying to ascertain,” the senator said.

“I would be taking on the Koch brothers and Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry and the private insurance companies. My job is not to run against Hillary Clinton. My job is to take on the political, economic and media establishment which have so much power in this country.”

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Obama on AUMF to Fight ISIS: America Shouldn’t be on ‘Perpetual War Footing’

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

With Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at his side, President Obama this afternoon vowed to go after ISIS with the military might of the U.S.

Well, to a point.

Obama was trying to gin up support for an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) proposal that he submitted to Congress this morning.

“This resolution reflects our core objective to destroy ISIL. It supports the comprehensive strategy that we’ve been pursuing with our allies and our partners. A systemic and sustained campaign of airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, support and training for local forces on the ground, including the moderate Syrian opposition, preventing ISIL attacks in the region and beyond, including by foreign terrorist fighters who try to threaten our countries; regional and international support for an inclusive Iraqi government that unites the Iraqi people and strengthens Iraqi forces against ISIL; humanitarian assistance for the innocent civilians of Iraq and Syria who are suffering so terribly under ISIL’s reign of horror,” Obama said.

“…The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria. It is not the authorization of another ground war like Afghanistan or Iraq. The 2,600 American troops in Iraq today largely serve on bases. And yes, they face the risks that come with service in any dangerous environment, but they do not have a combat mission.”

The text states it “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

The president, who often notes he pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq, stressed he’s “convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East.”

“That’s not in our national security interest and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL. Local forces on the ground who know their country’s best are best positioned to take the ground fight to ISIL and that’s what they’re doing,” Obama said.

“At the same time, this resolution strikes the necessary balance by giving us the flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances. For example, if we had actionable intelligence about a gathering of ISIL leaders, and our partners didn’t have the capacity to get them, I would be prepared to order our special forces to take action because I will not allow these terrorists to have a safe haven.”

His proposal repeals the 2002 Iraq AUMF and limits the new one to three years. “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war or by remaining on a perpetual war footing,” Obama said, adding that it’s “not a timetable” but “it’s conceivable that the mission is completed earlier.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) called Obama’s three-year AUMF limit “aspirational,” but noted that the limit gives the next president time to review Obama’s strategy and decide if a change in course is needed.

Obama insisted that progress is being made against ISIS: “We’re taking out their commanders, their fighters and their leaders… and we’ve seen reports of sinking morale among ISIL fighters as they realize the futility of their cause.”

“Its barbaric murders of so many people, including American hostages, are a desperate and revolting attempt to strike fear in the hearts of people it can never possibly win over by its ideas or its ideology, because it offers nothing but misery and death and destruction.”

Lawmakers from both parties generally agreed that the AUMF will go through lots of debate and negotiations in Congress.

“I’m concerned that the president is more focused on threading a political needle here rather than how to be successful in beating ISIS,” House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told CNN.

Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said he was concerned about the AUMF definition of “associated persons or forces” and safeguarding against “mission creep.”

“We must strike a balance between providing the current administration with the authorities it needs to ensure national security, while safeguarding against future Executive Branch overreach,” Smith said.

“If you put a geographic limit on the authorization of the use of force, you’ve basically told ISIL where they can go to hide,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told Fox. “If you say, for example, you can only hit them in Iraq and Syria, they have every incentive now to move their operations and their training facilities to some other place that’s not included within it.”

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Obama Gives Congress Language for Authorization for Military Force Against ‘So-Called’ ISIS

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama today submitted his plan to Congress for an authorization of military force against “the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

The White House also added an afternoon statement in the Roosevelt Room to the president’s schedule.

ISIS, Obama argues to Congress in the letter accompanying his proposal, “threatens American personnel and facilities located in the region and is responsible for the deaths of U.S. citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller.”

“If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland,” he added.

He stressed that current AUMFs make his strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq legal, but “I have repeatedly expressed my commitment to working with the Congress to pass a bipartisan authorization for the use of military force.”

The proposal doesn’t address the 2001 AUMF, though Obama said he’d like to “refine, and ultimately repeal” it.

Obama’s AUMF plan specifically “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said “the world needs to hear that the United States speaks with one voice in the fight against ISIL” by passing Obama’s AUMF.

“I spent almost thirty years in the Senate. I care about the institution and I particularly respect the voice that Congress can and should have on foreign policy and national security. This is a moment where Congress can make it clear all over the world that no matter differences on certain issues, at home we’re absolutely united and determined in defeating ISIL. I meet and talk with many of my former colleagues. I know how committed they are to getting this right,” Kerry said. “I also know from talking with so many Foreign Ministers all over the world that they study our debates here at home, and these public signals matter to them. The coalition itself will be stronger with passage of this AUMF.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said passage “would provide an important signal of support to DoD personnel, of commitment to our partners, and of resolve to ISIL.”

“The president’s draft language reflects important input from Congress, and would give our personnel the support and flexibility needed in our military operations against ISIL. The Department of Defense will continue to work with members of Congress to secure this resolution,” Hagel said. “Given the nature of our adversary and the complexity of our ongoing campaign, I urge Congress to avoid any undue restraints on the commander-in-chief’s choices in the effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it’s “certainly in order for Congress to debate an authorization like this.”

“And because Congress must meet its responsibility to decide whether our military should use force, the Senate will review the president’s request thoughtfully,” he said. “Individual Senators and committees of jurisdiction will review it carefully, and they’ll listen closely to the advice of military commanders as they consider the best strategy for defeating ISIL.”

McConnell noted that the Republican Conference would meet on the proposal in a discussion led by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.).

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said he has concerns “about how the proposal the president has put forward will enable our military commanders to degrade and defeat ISIL.”

“In making his request months after military action against ISIL has started, the president must tell the American people why an AUMF is necessary. He must explain his strategy for success. He must detail where the resources will come from to achieve that success. He must explain how the military can operate within the restrictions he has suggested. And he should explain why he is seeking to tie his own hands by limiting authority that he’s already claimed,” Thornberry said.

“He must also assure the American people and our allies around the world that his heart is in the fight. And the Congress must uphold its Constitutional obligations as a separate branch of government with vital responsibilities to defend the American people against a bitter enemy.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) had an amendment in a different AUMF before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December that would require “any funds made available for activities authorized by this joint resolution should be fully offset through reduced spending, increased revenue, or both.”

“We cannot write another blank check for war,” Coons said. “Paying for war is not only fiscally, but also morally, responsible. It’s not right to expect our troops and their families to be the only people to sacrifice. It is the duty of the Congress, as we debate the scope and strategy for this conflict, to also look squarely at its cost and how to pay for it.”

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Because It Worked So Well The First Time…Obama Seeks Another Specific Exit Date From Iraq

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Painfully stupid president is painfully stupid

U.S. President Barack Obama will propose to Congress on Wednesday a new three-year authorization for the use of force against Islamic State with limits on U.S. combat troops’ involvement, lawmakers and congressional aides said.

Obama has defended his authority to lead an international coalition against Islamic State since Aug. 8 when U.S. fighter jets began attacking the jihadists in Iraq. But he has faced criticism for failing to seek the backing of Congress, where some accuse him of breaching his constitutional authority.

Facing pressure to let lawmakers weigh in on an issue as important as the deployment of troops and chastened by elections that handed power in Congress to Republicans, he said in November he would request formal authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).

An outline of that request, expected to be handed to Congress on Wednesday, could stir debate over how U.S. troops should be deployed and the extent of U.S. engagement in Iraq and Syria.

The proposal would allow the use of special forces and advisors for defensive purposes but bar “enduring offensive ground forces,” lawmakers and aides said. It would not, however, set geographic limits for the campaign against the group.

This administration is beginning to make me understand why warning labels are put on hot coffee and toys with small parts that might cause choking. One also wonders whether anyone on Team Lightbringer has ever read a history book.

This “plan” not only avoids committing to the only thing that will work, it once again lets ISIS know exactly how long it has to hang on until the next fanfare-laden exit of the troops keeping them in check. In a more sane world, it would be nice to think that there was some deep thinking behind the three year number but with this group it’s more than likely they merely plucked it out of the air because it sounded good.

Everyone’s fingers should be crossed and hoping that the American people elect an adult in 2016.

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Pentagon Defends Need To Exceed Spending Caps

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Will anyone listen?

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work on Tuesday defended the Pentagon’s decision to ask Congress for a 2016 budget that far exceeds federal spending caps, saying several years of cuts have hurt the military’s ability to modernize to meet future threats.

“The stark reality is that the military modernization programs of our potential competitors are in hyper-drive,” Work told a Navy convention. “We see nations, as well as non-state actors, developing capabilities that threaten the technological overmatch we rely on … as we fight our nation’s wars.”

Work, the Pentagon’s chief operating officer, said heavy use of U.S. forces overseas even as the department was being forced to cut spending in recent years had eroded the military’s current readiness and limited its ability to invest in new technologies.

This is a direct result of Team Lightbringer not really paying attention to the real world. After they convinced themselves that the ill-advised withdrawal from Iraq meant all was right with the world, they decided that they could slash the defense budget to free up money for more important things, like “free” health care websites and Big Green subsidies. Now as the ISIS threat continues to grow, rename itself and show up seemingly anywhere, it turns out we may need more weapons than electric cars for this fight.

True, the Pentagon can quite often be just another wasteful cog in the bureaucratic machine but its mission can’t be viewed as co-equal with other budgetary concerns. The technological capabilities of the U.S forces are what keep us a step or two ahead of an enemy with an almost endless supply of bodies willing to be sacrificed and this is not the time to fall behind in that area.

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Admin Quietly Closing U.S. Embassy in Yemen After Resisting Posture Change

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Obama administration has quietly frozen U.S. Embassy operation in “volatile” Yemen, once hailed as a success story in the war on terror, despite insistence that a U.S. footprint needed to remain in the country.

In January, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa urged U.S. citizens to leave Yemen “immediately” as it will be unable to provide regular consular services.

“Due to ongoing security concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa is unable to provide routine consular services but remains open and operational and is providing emergency services. We are continuously analyzing the security conditions and will resume regular consular operations as soon as possible,” read the emergency message to U.S. citizens.

On Sunday, the Embassy told U.S. citizens that “due to ongoing security concerns in Yemen, U.S. Embassy Sanaa has suspended all consular services until further notice.”

“For now, we ask U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance to contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country… The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen. U.S. citizens still in Yemen should make plans to depart immediately.”

The White House insisted after the January Shiite Iran-backed Houthi rebellion that it didn’t want to “change the posture” of the U.S. in Yemen, despite protests from lawmakers who wanted to see U.S. personnel pulled out around the time of the State of the Union address.

Press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today that they have “indicated for a number of weeks now that we have been closely monitoring the security situation on the ground in Sanaa and throughout Yemen, with an eye toward taking the necessary steps to protect the safety and security of American personnel who are in Yemen.”

He referred reporters to the State Department for more questions about the facility, but faced questions about holding Yemen up as a model of a successful anti-terrorism policy.

“The president has indicated that the counterterrorism strategy that we have successfully pursued in Yemen is consistent with the kind of strategy that we are pursuing against ISIL. And the reason for that is that it’s consistent with our broader national security interests,” Earnest said.

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed today that they “have been reducing staff in Yemen over the past few weeks, as all of you know, given the volatile political and security situation.”

“We have nothing further to announce over and above what we have previously announced,” she said. “Our focus, of course, remains on what’s in the best interests — the safety and security of our staff.”

Psaki would not confirm multiple reports that the U.S. Embassy will be locked up tomorrow and the U.S. ambassador would fly out of the country.

“I just provided all the information I can at this point in time,” she said. “…Obviously, the safety and security of our personnel is one of our top priorities as well as, of course, our national security interest. And we take steps in order to make sure we do everything we can protect that.”

“…We don’t outline specifics publicly for good reason, and I think you all understand why.”

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White House Makes Obama’s “Random Shooting” Statement a Million Times Worse

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The reaction on Twitter deserves to be duly noted:

And we wonder why Netanyahu views speaking with Congress as an “imperative”.

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VIDEO: Obama Dubs Paris Jewish Supermarket Attack ‘Random Shooting’

Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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It was a typical rambling Barry interview until 1:45 when he declared,

It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.

We’re in a War on Muslims, folks, and Offensive General Obama has no trouble causing much offense when it comes to the Jews. While American Jewish leaders scramble to speak out against Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress, General Barry is warning his soldiers not to “bow” to Jewish donors. He’s also paying lip service to America and Israel’s historic relationship while making it very clear that he and Netanyahu disagree on Iran. Then there’s that pesky “anybody but Bibi” V15 campaign kerfuffle that’s appearing more and more like an undercover op by the day.

But this isn’t just about the Jews. When he’s not picking on Christians for their near-thousand year-old response to the war crimes of the radical Islamic world, General Obama is meeting with his War on Muslims coalition, including representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood. The General is right when he states this isn’t a Republican/Likud versus Democrat/Labor thing. This is obviously a reality versus War on Muslims thing, and the General is doing everything he can to make sure the world knows he has 2 years left to use both Jews and Christians on the front lines of his own personal Operation Human Shield, better known as “Bunches of Random Acts of Violence.”

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Leftist Livni Declares Israelis Have Been Brainwashed

Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Yediot reports:

Co-chairwoman of the Zionist Camp Tzipi Livni said on Monday that “Israel is becoming more and more isolated and withdrawing itself from the world.”

According to Livni, “there are citizens who have been brainwashed to think that we are a ‘nation unto itself’ and that the entire world is against us, and that there is nothing that can be done, everyone is anti-Semitic and that we do not need to communicate with the rest of the world. We deserve more than a government that starts with the words Bibi-Bennett.”

It’s a mentality common among Israel’s Left. Livni recently partered with the Labor Party’s Isaac Herzog to form “The Zionist Camp”, a party that could be criticized as anything but Zionist, at least by those who value Israel’s security above their own internal spats over redistribution of wealth.

After the V15 story broke, the Free Beacon reported on a “confidential strategy memo” sent out last December by Ameinu, the American wing of Israel’s Labor movement, soliciting funds for a “massive, non-partisan Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign” in Israel. Touting their American contacts “…with experience in similar recent operations, including the Obama presidential campaign,” the memo details a direct link between Ameinu and the organization tagged to operate the GOTV campaign, Givat Haviva, a recipient of State Department funding.

Ameinu claims it broke from the alliance with what eventually became V15 before the V15 campaign was formed, instead choosing to direct its non-partisan fundraising efforts specifically towards Israel’s Arab community who, while traditionally Left-leaning, were not necessarily registered with any particular party. Still, as the leading representative of the Labor Party in America, Ameinu’s strange ties to what eventually became V15 defend the notion that V15 was, indeed, a Labor initiative to oust Bibi despite claims to the contrary.

To a foreign audience, the idea of a group of Jews, Israel or American, sponsoring an Arab “get out the vote” campaign sounds patently absurd. An American audience, attuned only to the threats from Israel’s bordering states and radical Islamic militias, can’t begin to comprehend an Israel where Jews and Arabs live in peace. It does happen. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve also lived the flip-side and experienced first-hand the hatred that comes out of radical Islam that reminds me we are a “nation unto ourselves” for very good reason. If you want to encourage voting in Israel, targeting a specific demographic is not the way to be “non-partisan”.

In all their consistent pandering to the international community in pursuit of peace, the Labor Party and their compatriots have bowed so low, so deep that their heads are now thoroughly buried in the sand. With asses in the air the party that made the modern state of Israel is quickly becoming the laughingstock of the Jewish world, billions be damned. There isn’t enough cash or land in the world to redistribute in order to make everyone happy. For their part, Ameinu walks a fine line, protesting the BDS movement on the Left while fundraising against the Right. Bottom line: no one really knows where Labor stands, including Labor. They proclaim themselves a “Zionist Camp” the way Obama proclaimed “hope and change”. Both blame their opponents for their own lack of results, but how can you accomplish anything when you’re only breathing your own hot air?

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Obama’s Drones Have Killed More Than the Spanish Inquisition

Saturday, February 7th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Controversy still swirls around Obama’s comments during the National Prayer Breakfast this week, where he chastised Christians for getting on their “high horse” over the ongoing global jihad, invoking medieval abuses that occurred hundreds of years ago during the Crusades and Inquisition.

But perhaps it is Obama who should avoid getting on his high horse, since according to recently published statistics, Obama’s drone campaign has killed more people during the six years of his presidency than were killed the 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition.

In his speech on Thursday, he said:

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

Fair enough. But how is Obama himself doing on that score?

Well, on Monday of this week the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published their annual study of deaths from U.S. drone strikes, and reported the following:

At least 2,464 people have now been killed by US drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones since President Barack Obama’s inauguration six years ago, the Bureau’s latest monthly report reveals.

Of the total killed since Obama took his oath of office on January 20 2009, at least 314 have been civilians, while the number of confirmed strikes under his administration now stands at 456.

Research by the Bureau also shows there have now been nearly nine times more strikes under Obama in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than there were under his predecessor, George W Bush.

And the covert Obama strikes, the first of which hit Pakistan just three days after his inauguration, have killed almost six times more people and twice as many civilians than those ordered in the Bush years, the data shows.

The figures have been compiled as part of the Bureau’s monthly report into covert US drone attacks, which are run in two separate missions – one by the CIA and one for the Pentagon by its secretive special forces outfit, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

The research centers on countries outside the US’s declared war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

So how does that number of 2,464 killed in Obama’s drone program — not including those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan — compare to, say, the Spanish Inquisition?

A decade ago the Vatican published the results of a six-year study of the Inquisition, including the number of those killed across Europe. With respect to the 350-year-long Inquisition in Spain, the BBC reported that the study found the following:

According to the 800-page report, the Inquisition that spread fear throughout Europe throughout the Middle Ages did not use execution or torture to anything like the extent history would have us believe.

In fact the book’s editor, Professor Agostino Borromeo, claims that in Spain only 1.8% of those investigated by the notorious Spanish Inquisition were killed.

Nonetheless, as the report was published, Pope John Paul II apologised once more for the interrogators’ excesses, expressing sorrow for “the errors committed in the service of the truth by the recourse to non-Christian methods” [...]

But the Vatican report, the product of a six-year investigation, insists that the Inquisition was not as bad as often believed.

Professor Borromeo says for example that for 125,000 trials of suspected heretics in Spain, less than 2% were executed.

A quick calculation finds that 1.8 percent of 125,000 would represent 2,250 killed during the Spanish Inquisition if Prof. Borromeo’s estimates are correct.

So Barack Obama has killed at least 2,500 in drone strikes during the six years of his presidency, not including those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Spanish Inquisition reportedly killed 2,250 over 350 years. For comparative purposes, I would note, as I reported here at PJ Media last month, that Boko Haram reportedly killed 2,000 over several days in a massacre in Northern Nigeria.

Be careful of the fall off that high horse, Mr. President…

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U.S. Hostage ‘Extremely Devoted to the People of Syria,’ McCain Says

Friday, February 6th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The family of a humanitarian aid worker has agreed to release her name now, leading to the first congressional reactions from her home state senators in Arizona.

ISIS claimed today that 26-year-old Kayla Mueller from Prescott, Ariz., was in a building near Raqqa that was allegedly hit by a Jordanian airstrike. They claimed she was alone and no jihadists were killed in the strike.

Mueller was kidnapped in August 2013 while leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria.

“Kayla had been working along the Turkish-Syrian border for months helping the thousands of innocent men, women and children whose lives were torn apart by the humanitarian catastrophe created by Bashar Assad and the Syrian civil war. Since her graduation from Northern Arizona University in 2009, Kayla had dedicated her life to helping people in need around the world – in India, Israel, the Palestinian territories and back home in Arizona,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement.

“While I have no new information today on Kayla’s current situation, I do know from speaking regularly with her family that she is extremely devoted to the people of Syria, and to doing all she can to alleviate the terrible suffering which has left more than 200,000 people dead and driven millions from homes into refugee status. I also know that Kayla is extremely well-loved and dearly missed by her family and friends in Arizona,” McCain continued.

kaylamueller“I ask that the news media please respect the privacy of the Mueller family at this difficult time, and for all Americans to say a prayer for Kayla, her family, and her safe return home to those who love her.”

Doctors Without Borders said in a statement today that Mueller was not employed by the group.

“On August 3, 2013, a technician sent by a company contracted by MSF arrived at one of the organization’s structures in Aleppo, Syria, to perform repairs. Unbeknownst to the MSF team, Kayla, a friend of the technician’s, was accompanying him. Because additional time was required to carry out the repair work, the technician and Kayla were harbored overnight at the MSF hospital in Aleppo, due to safety concerns,” Doctors Without Borders said.

“Upon completion of the repair work on August 4, the MSF team organized transportation for Kayla and the technician to the Aleppo bus station, from where they were to depart for Turkey. Kayla’s detention occurred during the drive to the bus station.”

Like in the case of the Jordanian pilot, whom they tried to use as a bargaining chip after burning him alive, ISIS hasn’t offered recent proof of life. Nor have they offered proof of Mueller’s death — the three photos released are just of a damaged building.

ISIS had contacted her family and demanded $6 million for her release.

Jordan says ISIS’ claim, meant to drive a wedge in the coalition, is a “PR stunt.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said the reported events “can be laid squarely at the feet of ISIL.”

“She deserves to be remembered for dedicating her life to the service of others,” Flake said. “My thoughts, like those of so many across Arizona and around the globe, are with Kayla’s family. The best thing Congress can do now is authorize the mission against ISIL to let our allies and our adversaries know that we are united in our resolve.”

Mueller’s congressman, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), stressed it’s “important to wait for the intelligence community to gather more information before making any conclusions.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf would not confirm the report or get into the topic of Mueller’s captivity. “Obviously, as you can imagine, these are very sensitive situations, so we’re just not going to get into those details,” Harf said.

“I can assure you that our intelligence community is looking into them,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters. “…I can tell you that, of course, the United States of America spares no effort to secure the safe release of any American held overseas. That includes exhausting military options, intelligence resources, diplomatic channels, obviously the financial stranglehold we put on ISIL.”

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Kerry Loves ‘Ambitious,’ ‘Clear-Eyed’ New National Security Strategy: ‘Next Door is Everywhere’

Friday, February 6th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State John Kerry hailed President Obama’s new “strategic patience” National Security Strategy as “a blueprint to leverage America’s leadership in a more complicated world than many people would have ever imagined.”

“It’s ambitious and achievable. It’s a pragmatic, clear-eyed assessment of both the challenges we face and the full arsenal of our power to confront them through moral, diplomatic, economic, development, and military tools. It’s a strategy to promote our values in a world where no ocean, no fence, and no firewall can shield us from the reality of threats across the globe,” Kerry said. “In the 21st Century, next door is everywhere.”

“Whether the opportunities and threats are old or new, from proliferation to violent extremism to global climate change, this strategy reflects the fact that America needs to lead, we will lead, and we are leading. It’s a vision of an America that energizes and galvanizes alliances and partnerships and puts our credibility and our capacity on the line to get things done.”

Republican on the Hill had different adjectives in mind, such as vague and confounding.

“The president’s 2015 National Security Strategy highlights a conflict between perception and reality,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). “The president puts an emphasis on climate change as a means to address our national security, which is nothing new and not a strategy. It’s his same old arguments but in new packaging.”

“The reality is we live in a world where the threats to our security have grown exponentially over the last six years. During this period of time, our U.S. military has been systematically dismantled and the lack of U.S. leadership and presence has created a vacuum around the world,” Inhofe continued. “The president’s strategy promotes a continued pivot to rebalance Asia and the Pacific, but yet there are no resources available given the instability in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The president promotes nuclear zero with a willingness to unilaterally disarm America while watching Iran and North Korean develop their nuclear capabilities.”

Obama for “strategic patience” to face challenges ranging from rampaging terrorists to Vladimir Putin on the march.

“America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world,” Obama wrote in the preface of the report. Global challenges, he added, “require us to take our responsibilities seriously and make the smart investments in the foundations of our national power.”

“I doubt ISIL, the Iranian mullahs, or Vladmir Putin will be intimidated by President Obama’s strategy of ‘strategic patience.’ From their point of view, the more ‘patience’ President Obama practices the stronger they become,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

“The Obama Doctrine, or ‘strategic patience,’ has led to a world in chaos. We now confront a growing threat from radical Islamists intent on striking the American homeland as well as wreaking havoc on the Middle East, Iranian mullahs intent on obtaining nuclear weapons capability, strengthened dictatorships in Russia and Cuba, and the poorest relationship with Israel in decades.”

Graham added that the consequences of Obama’s “strategic patience” are “an America that is less secure and at greater risk.”

“Applying more ‘patience’ to President Obama’s failed foreign policy just prolongs failure.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon “actively participated” in developing the strategy.

“It is clear-eyed about our nation’s challenges as well as our strategic opportunities,” Hagel said.

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Biden to Bibi: Drop Dead

Friday, February 6th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Scum:

Vice President Biden will not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress. Biden’s office confirmed Friday the vice president is expected to be traveling abroad on March 3, when Netanyahu is expected to deliver his widely anticipated speech.

“We are not ready to announce details of his trip yet, and normally our office wouldn’t announce this early, but the planning process has been underway for a while,” Biden’s office said in an email.

The address has infuriated the White House and congressional Democrats since Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had arranged the speech with the prime minister without informing Obama administration officials, announcing the speech the day after the president’s State of the Union. Democrats have said it’s a violation of protocol, and a handful of lawmakers on Capitol Hill said they will not attend the speech.

The vice president would normally attend the speech in the House chamber and sit with Boehner just behind Netanyahu as part of his duties as president of the Senate.

 

 

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‘Strategic Patience’: White House Unveils National Security Strategy

Friday, February 6th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama issued a national security strategy to Congress this morning calling for “strategic patience” to face challenges ranging from rampaging terrorists to Vladimir Putin on the march.

“America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world,” Obama wrote in the preface of the report. Global challenges, he added, “require us to take our responsibilities seriously and make the smart investments in the foundations of our national power.”

The 35-page document mentions “Islam” just twice — in spelling out the formal name of ISIL, and stating, “We reject the lie that America and its allies are at war with Islam.”

The report begins by lauding the administration for perceived progress won by Obama’s “active leadership,” including the perpetually dragged-out Iran nuclear negotiations. “We led international efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, including by building an unprecedented international sanctions regime to hold Iran responsible for failing to meet its international obligations, while pursuing a diplomatic effort that has already stopped the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and rolled it back in key respects.”

“Even as we have decimated al-Qa’ida’s core leadership, more diffuse networks of al-Qa’ida, ISIL, and affiliated groups threaten U.S. citizens, interests, allies, and partners,” it adds.

The strategy vows, in bold letters, that “first and foremost, we will lead with purpose.”

It encourages “a rules-based international order advanced by U.S. leadership that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges.”

It lists as security priorities:

- Catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland or critical infrastructure;

- Threats or attacks against U.S. citizens abroad and our allies;

- Global economic crisis or widespread economic slowdown;

- Proliferation and/or use of weapons of mass destruction;

- Severe global infectious disease outbreaks;

- Climate change;

- Major energy market disruptions; and

- Significant security consequences associated with weak or failing states (including mass atrocities, regional spillover, and transnational organized crime).

“We will lead with strength. After a difficult decade, America is growing stronger every day,” the report states. “…We will lead by example. The strength of our institutions and our respect for the rule of law sets an example for democratic governance.”

The strategy brags about the drawdowns of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as allowing the U.S. “to realign our forces and resources to meet an evolving set of threats while securing our strategic objectives.”

“In so doing, we will prioritize collective action to meet the persistent threat posed by terrorism today, especially from al-Qa’ida, ISIL, and their affiliates.”

On stripping the military: “Although our military will be smaller, it must remain dominant in every domain.”

It emphasizes a “Whole of Community” approach on homeland security. “We have emphasized community-based efforts and local law enforcement programs to counter homegrown violent extremism and protect vulnerable individuals from extremist ideologies that could lead them to join conflicts overseas or carry out attacks here at home.”

“The threat of catastrophic attacks against our homeland by terrorists has diminished but still persists,” the document states.

It stresses Obama’s Global Zero quest for “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

“As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must invest the resources necessary to maintain—without testing—a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent that preserves

strategic stability. However, reducing the threat requires us to constantly reinforce the basic bargain of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which commits nuclear weapons states to reduce their stockpiles while non-nuclear weapons states remain committed to using nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes.”

“Our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is rooted in the

profound risks posed by North Korean weapons development and proliferation,” the report adds. “…We have made clear Iran must meet its international obligations and demonstrate its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.”

It singles out climate change as “an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water” with “present day” effects being felt “from the Arctic to the Midwest.”

The report further states that “even where our strategic interests require us to engage governments that do not share all our values, we will continue to speak out clearly for human rights and human dignity in our public and private diplomacy.”

“Our vital intelligence activities are also being reformed to preserve the capabilities needed to secure our interests while continuing to respect privacy and curb the potential for abuse.”

The administration vows to be “a champion for communities that are too frequently vulnerable to violence, abuse, and neglect—such as ethnic and religious minorities; people with disabilities; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals; displaced persons; and migrant workers.”

“We will deter and defeat any adversary that threatens our national security and that of our allies. We confidently welcome the peaceful rise of other countries as partners to share the burdens for maintaining a more peaceful and prosperous world. We will continue to collaborate with established and emerging powers to promote our shared security and defend our common humanity, even as we compete with them in economic and other realms. We will uphold and refresh the international rules and norms that set the parameters for such collaboration and competition.”

The report makes no mention of Boko Haram and only refers to “violent extremists fighting governments in Somalia, Nigeria, and across the Sahel” — terrorist groups that aim to add to the caliphate, not just rebel against a government. Boko Haram has plunged beyond the borders of Nigeria, and a former D.C.-area cabbie was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list last week for recruiting for Al-Shabaab and potentially identifying targets in the U.S.

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Shucks: North Korea Won’t Renew Talks with ‘Gangster-Like’ United States

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

And we were just starting to get along so well.

North Korea is dismissing the possibility of renewing talks with the United States, which it said is trying to overthrow the communist government in Pyongyang.

In a statement Wednesday, the National Defense Commission, North Korea’s top military body, also threatened retaliatory nuclear and cyberattacks on the U.S.

“Now that the gangster-like U.S. imperialists’ military strategy towards the DPRK is inching close to the stage of igniting a war of aggression, the just counteraction of the army and people of the DPRK will be focused on inflicting the bitterest disasters upon the United States of America,” the statement read.

Such inflammatory comments are common in the lead-up to Washington’s annual joint military drills with South Korea, which are set to begin in March. Pyongyang says it views the drills as preparation to invade.

The world is just a super fun place now that the craziest non-Castro dictator has nukes, isn’t it? Imagine how it will be after the ayatollahs get them too.

Seriously though, with the American fighting forces being reduced and slightly recommitted to fighting the terrorists we left alone just long enough to get stronger in the Middle East, what would happen if the Pyongyang Pudgy wanted to start acting up?

Each passing day makes me wish Newt could have gotten his Moon bases built.

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‘Bombs Over Tokyo,’ and How They Got There

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Pursuant to my essay of the other day, this documentary about the crucial role the United States Marine Corps played in bringing Imperial Japan into bombing range via the Marines’ fierce island-hopping Pacific campaign. With each island they took, the Marines brought the Army Air Forces‘ bombers ever closer to the Japanese home islands, and in so doing brought the war ever closer to its end. Take a look:

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